28 November 2009

The cost of re-alphabetizing

Silly me; I forgot what happens when I re-alphabetize my books.  Pain.  Wow.  It's kind of stunning.  Day two of no sleep.  Hmm.  Not good. 

Still worth it?  I guess, so long as I don't get sick again. 

Our concert is coming up in a little over a week.  My small group may not pull it together in time, which makes me sad, but we have a couple of days to try to make it work, so I haven't given up yet!  Onward . . .

26 November 2009

Why I hope the Ultimate Dinosaur exists

There was no snow when I woke up.  :(  Why do I even bother to believe the meteorologists anyway?  I know they're only right about 2% of the time, but I still get excited when they promise snow.

One of my former-co-workers, who constantly lit up my life while we worked together because he had the strangest sense of humor and loved to say inappropriate, weird, off-the-wall-and-sometimes-apparently-from-another-universe things, used to talk about how when he would take over the world with his Ultimate Dinosaur, his first victims would be career politicians and meteorologists because of how useless they both were.

I like my snow to fall on days I don't have to drive in it (such as Thanksgiving), so I hope it doesn't come tomorrow.  I don't want to fight crazy traffic on the way to and from work on "Black Friday," and I especially don't want to fight crazy traffic driving on snow.  I like going to work at 5:30 because there's usually no traffic since what store in its right mind would open at, say, 3 am?  (I mean, besides the one right next to mine.)  I hope there's room in the parking lot for the employees . . .

Happy Thanksgiving!  May you survive the upcoming "Holiday Season" with style and grace!

25 November 2009

Just a tad too wet

A few days ago we had this day that almost didn't seem like fall.  It was damp, and I couldn't taste that dry, dusty bite that I think of as what proper autumn air should taste like.  That thought made me laugh.

That night, it was hazy, and unless you knew where to look for the moon (almost directly south, it seems), I'm sure you wouldn't have seen that faint fingernail of light shining through the haze.  I'm glad I saw it.

24 November 2009

Thanksgiving for the blessed

At work yesterday, someone said something wonderful to me.  He knows I've been having trouble with a particular manager who is doing her best to get me fired, and he said that if I needed a witness, he would speak up on my behalf.  I nearly cried; it was that touching.  He knew that they might not even care what he said, and he knew it might get him in trouble, but he said he thought it would be a real shame if I got fired. 

As Willy Wonka said, "So shines a good deed . . ."  Since things have been so bad lately, it really meant a lot to me, and it reminded me of the importance of telling the people important to you how you value them.  (Just in time for Thanksgiving!) 

I think this year I'll give Thanksgiving cards to the people at work who make working there a positive experience, and I hope it encourages them to appreciate the people who make their lives brighter.

Do you have anything you do for Thanksgiving to show people you're thankful for them?

21 November 2009

A family visit

Yesterday night was really beautiful because the sky was oddly dark, making the fingernail-edge moon startlingly bright, like a yellowed diamond or the edge of the light hanging over the table in the darkened restaurant where I went to eat an early birthday dinner with my older sister, her husband, and their adorably cranky 22-month-old son who were visiting.

His parents are incredibly good with him; what a team.  They kept him occupied enough to consume a meal, although they finished before I did, probably a necessary skill for parents.  At the end of the meal, he was having a great time reaching out to send that light swinging, and we shared ornery grins when I held it just out of his reach.  He is definitely in possession of my family's genes, as he is ornery, has bad ear drainage, and isn't quite sure about this hugging thing.  Also, he loves books.

I didn't really think it was a good idea to visit my 385-square-foot apartment because if there is a dictionary entry for childproof, my apartment is listed in the antonym section.  He seemed pretty hesitant about entering it, and his comment when I turned the light on was "books," which is a pretty accurate description of my home.  He may not be able to manage my name, but if he calls me Books, we'll get along just fine.

The poor kid wanted to run around, and he just couldn't, what with three adults on the floor, so he contented himself with knocking over a few piles, picking up some things he wasn't supposed to, and taking the lids off a few things.  He was always basically within arms reach, so nothing got broken, and he only pulled one book off a shelf above his head.  He met my visible stuffed animals (the ones lined up on top of my TV) and seemed really stumped by the dragon, though he knew dinosaurs when his parents pulled out the sparkly s-t-i-c-k-e-r-s they use as a secret weapon to get his attention. 

We read a few pages of a book, but it was past his bed time, and he hadn't slept well, and it's been more than a decade since I read to a really young kid.  His dad had the book mostly memorized.  We took some pictures in the lobby, and then they left, and I remembered to say thank you and good-bye, but I forgot to tell them to be sure to look at the moon.  They were heading in that direction anyway, so I'm sure they saw it.

18 November 2009

Thirsty for Logic

The VP of X at my RetailEstablishment's corporate office has decided that a reason sales are down this year is because the store employees have a drinking problem.  Yes, because we are drinking water and juice and coffee and such, people aren't buying our goods.  Obviously.  Therefore, no employees are allowed to have liquid with them on the sales floor. 

I'm sure he made this decision sitting in his office sipping coffee.

Customers are allowed to keep drinks with them even though they do spill all over books, furniture, and each other frequently.  Just saying.

The war on employee hydration at my RetailEstablishment started a while ago when they decided that giving the employees stale, expired coffee beans from the cafe was costing them money because they could charge us for coffee instead.  You read that correctly.  Then we were told that we had to keep our drinks out of sight because it was unprofessional to drink.  Now we're told we can't drink except on our lunch breaks. 

Keep in mind that our job is to talk to people.  For hours at a time.  Every day.

"It's like every day, there's something more to make it harder to want to come to work," a coworker said today.  Yeah, it's a tough retail climate, but why on earth would you take it out on the folks on the front line?

Hey, Mr. VP, do you know the meaning of the word "ludicrous"?  Please look it up.

I have asthma and allergies.  I'm also still sick right now, as are half the people in my city.  (Let's not even bring up how singers need to keep themselves well-hydrated.)  I can't go 4 hours without a drink of water (or 6, since sometimes we have that many hours before we have a break, and we can't really request our guaranteed 10 minute breaks because we don't have the staff, and even if we do, the management acts like we're a huge pain in the neck for asking and thinks of us as troublemakers). 

Let's be honest: I can't really go 2hours or even 1 hour without a drink without worsening my health and making it harder for me to do my job.  We're so short-staffed sometimes that even if I were having an asthma attack out on the sales floor, I couldn't go up and get a drink or my inhaler if I needed to.  If I went to get it anyway, I would likely be fired.

Now, I could understand this new policy if sales people were drinking vodka or cocktails out on the sales floor or spilling coffee all over themselves or the customers or the books, but this is not the case at my store, so I can't help but wonder what these corporate people are thinking.  Are drugs involved?  Beverages of questionable contents?  Mushrooms?

Today I had to call my doctor's office to ask him for a note saying that I need to have water with me.  The mind boggles.  I wonder what he'll think as he's writing it.  (X years of medical schools to write prescription for water?  You have got to be kidding me.)

I thought of a reason why they might be doing this.  You've heard of the need to be hungry for sales, right?  Well, maybe they want us to be thirsty for sales!  So thirsty that our throats get dry and we cough and hack and choke when we're trying to talk to people . . . 

Can you think of any "good" reasons (serious or funny) why anyone would create such a policy?  Do share.

16 November 2009

Long-delayed responses

You know what's nice about someone not getting back to you about important email right away?  The joy you get when the response comes months (or years) later.  Ah, you think, they didn't ignore me; they were just busy or disorganized or whatever.

So don't throw away that old email out of guilt!  Respond to it, and give joy to the recipient!  (Unless it's no longer timely; then you should change the subject line and just say hi.)

Have you ever received a long-delayed response that brightened your week?

11 November 2009

I wish I could sing

I am sick.  Fevers are kind of annoying.  How many times do I have to put on and take off the sweater/sweatshirt/blanket?  (12 or so, at least.  This hour.)  It's also that in-between seasons time of the year where outside temperatures and inside ones are at odds with each other, so the fever just intensifies that.  Also, coughing is gross.  And I can't sing!  That's the worst, even worse than the coughing and wheezing and breathing through a furry windpipe, etc.

10 November 2009

Still sick

Being sick is unpleasant.  I always forget how awful my stomach feels when I get some sort of virus that involves a lot of coughing.  I'm sure it's a great workout for my abs, which is good because I don't foresee a lot of other exercise in my future, at least not until I can stop coughing every five seconds and breathing like Darth Vader . . .

I've always wondered at the contradiction: carbonated beverages are supposed to settle your stomach when you're ill.  Why is that?

09 November 2009

Some things I did during my vacation

What I did on my vacation
  • + Exercised 7 days in a row (about 18 volumes of manga, and it was glorious except for when those three obviously very under 16 brats barred from the sauna and exercise room without adult supervision were running in and out of the exercise room without adult supervision, opening the door to the sauna while turning up the heat, making it about a million degrees in the room I was trying to exercise in)
  • - Didn't get any sleep on three separate nights (arms very awake, very awake)
  • + took care of several piles
  • - couldn't complete the most important piles (job applications, writing, researching) because my hands are just shot right now
  • + caught up on several shows I've been waiting to watch (hands free!)
  • - couldn't do much with my blogs (to prepare for rough holiday weather ahead)
  • + had two concerts that went really well
  • - got sick (thanks for coming to that concert sick, fellow choir member, and then coughing on me; I really appreciate it)
  • + heard Brahm's Requiem for free . . .
  • - . . . from the lobbey because I was coughing so hard it would have just been rude to try to stay in the auditorium
  • + was able to avoid leaving my house for one whole day (ahhhhhhhh)
  • - got my final "screw you" from Uncle Sam
  • + didn't cry

07 November 2009

Italian music, Italians, Latin

We had a mini-concert tonight, three pieces in a music department showcase they do every fall for Parents' Weekend on campus.  Our first song was in Italian, and I found myself thinking of a friend who is of Italian descent and has the ability to make any foreign language sound like Italian.  It's hilarious.  My favorite was his impression of The Count from Sesame Street, sounding like an Italian trying to sound (like an American trying to sound) Transylvanian or something.  You probably had to be there.  He makes incredible Italian food, too, and cheesecake, which is not exactly Italian, or is it?  Also, his wife makes the best chocolate bread pudding in the history of ever.

The concert went pretty darn well.  Wow.  That second song (in Latin) went much better than I thought it would from our rehearsals, but I think in a month when we have our Christmas concert, it could actually be breathtaking, like people in the audience might stop breathing during the pianissimo parts because they want to make sure they hear it all.  Then again, I think the chamber music concert hall we performed it in today may have actually been the best acoustic for it, so we'll see how it fares in the muddled reverb of a cathedral.  There weren't a ton of people at the concert, but those who were there will have a lovely memory of "Lux Aurumque".  Pretty. 

Excuse me while my eyes roll back in my head as I remember how lovely it was to be a part of that sound . . .

Ever had any fun with accents/other languages?

04 November 2009

Trying out new toothpaste

When I came home from the event I volunteered at on Halloween, my hands were covered with paint.  I had a concert the next day (a really formal one), so I spent a lot of time washing my hands that night, which is why it's kind of funny that I didn't notice that my toothpaste had thrown up all over the sink.

I was trying out a new kind of the toothpaste I use.  The new kind comes in a cool, futuristic dispenser (I had a coupon).  It's worked fine for the last month, but now whenever I use it, I come back later and find that it has vomited up a truly appalling amount of paste onto the counter.  (Where is all this paste hiding?  It's not that big of a tube!)  I don't know why.  The dispenser doesn't seem like it's jammed on or anything.  It just sort of oozes up a pile of blue when I use it.  Back to the drawing board, folks.

Have you ever tried out a new product and gotten something other than what you thought you'd get?  Or found it doing something not advertised?