April 14, 2009

I am writing this post not really for your benefit but more for mine. Sorry guys, but it is my blog after all so I am pretty sure that I can do what I want!

April 14, 2009 will now be the second date I will no forget because of the attack that happened while I was still in Boston. Now, my goal for this date is to remember it because it is the day that the good people in the state of Massachusetts show that hate will not be tolerated.

I am scared though, I am scared for my normal reasons like

I don't like to speak in front of large groups of people... but I am also scared for a much bigger reason...

I don't want to go back there, and there is more like a state of mind then a place, as I have been back to Boston. I don't want to go back to feeling small, and being traumatized because of violence and hate speech. I don't want to go back to the nightmares and not being able to sleep. I am scared of the person this attack made me. I am (and never will be) the most positive person, but the feelings inside of me were dark and full of hate. I wanted to crawl into a corner and sit there until everything was over.

And then I started to move on, I started to feel like myself again, a little bit grumpy (bitchy) but not the person that cried everyday. I was okay walking down the street by myself and while I would still look behind me as I walked I wouldn't feel my heart racing in my chest. I stopped crying when I was alone in the house. I felt like my life belonged to me again. This all took a lot of work on my part, I forced myself, with the help of the doctor to not let this bother me. I believe I said in my blog right after the attack...

And now I vow that I am not going to cry anymore, I am not going to let this affect my life in a negative way. I am going to live my life safely but I am going to be myself.


And I didn't live by this saying, and now that this is being thrust back into my life I feel like I am back there. I feel like I am scared to live my life, but I am not going to let it get to me. I am going to live my life (this time I am not lying) and I am going to make sure that we win.

With the days and weeks that are leading up to April 14, 2009 I will try to remain positive, I will do all that I can to make sure that hate does not win by taking over my life. I will do all that I can to make sure that HATE does not conquer other peoples lives. We all are entitled to the right to live our lives the way that we want to live them. Nobody can take this away from us and what I am hoping for is that this trial in Boston shows people that. A conviction will not only help all of the people involved get some closure but it will help everybody in Boston, in Massachusetts and in the United States. We can not and will not tolerate HATE.

I had my last cry of fear last night, I stood there and admitted I was scared. I stood there and had all the "buts" in the world. In my mind I knew what I needed to do and the Doctor continued to hit me upside the head with it. I just needed to make that change in my heart. That is the difference between now and August, I am passed the stress, I know I can live my life with this. I can be happy. I can sleep. I can eat. I can love. And no matter what I am still me, that has not changed.

So now I am going to live by what I said a few months ago, and I am going to do one better... I am going to make sure that I help other people live their lives as well!

Now I am done ranting about my feelings, I promise you won't have to read any more emotional rants from me for a little bit. But like I have said many times, this blog can be like a free shrink for me... so every once in a while you are gonna have to read about my craziness... or just not read that post.


com·mence·ment (k-mnsmnt)n.
1. A beginning; a start.
a. A ceremony at which academic degrees or diplomas are conferred.
b. The day on which such a ceremony occurs.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Yesterday was the third day of the commencement fair here at my store. It is an event that kicks off the graduation season where students can pick up their caps and gowns, order a ring, get a diploma frame, and pick up their commencement tickets. Being that the third day was the last day for students to do all of these things in one centralized location it was a bit busy and I was called over to help out during the afternoon.

I worked the tables a little bit and as the line built up at the registers I went over to help ringing up the students who were purchasing caps and gowns. I ring a few customers up and answer some questions. I call the next customer down to my register and greet him, ask him if he found everything he was looking for, and if he has any additional questions. He does have another question, and he asks me what the people at the table behind me were doing...

"That is where you pick up your commencement tickets"

The student honestly, with a straight face responds, "what's commencement?"

I try to keep a straight face as I kindly respond, "commencement is your graduation ceremony, you pick up tickets for it right there"

"Oh, cool thanks"

I have a line of students, but I just want to scream, "YOU ARE GRADUATING, HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW WHAT COMMENCEMENT IS!" I am honestly amazed that this man could be finishing college and not know the meaning of commencement, he is attending a commencement ceremony yet he doesn't know what he is attending.

It really makes me question the current state of higher education.

A Blog Post About Nancy Pelosi

Mr. NG don't get too excited about this post its really not about politics, despite the title. It is however about a politician.

Last night I was very disappointed that I couldn't watch American Idol because of the Presidential Speech, not that I didn't want to watch the speech but because it was Tuesday and I needed my weekly dose of crazy from Paula.

But as a good American who voted for Obama and who believes that this man can make the changes needed to put this country back on the right track I sat and watched the speech and I enjoyed and agreed with most of the points made in the speech. I was amazed at the energy in the room and I was proud to see what was happening.

But I was not nearly as proud, happy, caffeinated, or hyper as a certain speaker of the house! I was watching as Nancy could barely keep her butt in the seat, and she would literally jump up as Obama was making a point she obviously believed in. I know that traditionally you stand and clap for the President when he makes strong points that you believe in, but I don't think Nancy realized that she was on camera and she looked like a bored four year old who couldn't sit down. Right behind the president up and down what felt like 200 times each time more animated then the last.

Now don't get me wrong I like Nancy, I think she is an excellent politician and has done amazing things for her state and the country. But as I watched it I realized, that on this Tuesday night I didn't need my Paula for my weekly dose of crazy... I had Nancy this week instead!

A Conversation With An Automated System

Thank you for calling the National Passport Information System, for information in English please press 1 por informacion en espanol oprima el numero dos.

The doctor coughs... gracias

Hang up and try again... Thank you for calling the National Passport Information System, for information in English... I press 1... I'm sorry I didn't understand your selection... goodbye

Seriously, dial the number again and wait for the automated ass to finish speaking then I press 1 for English.

If you are traveling internationally within the next 14 days you can access our automated appointment system in the following menu, if you are not traveling within the next 14 days please visit our website... (literally talks for 2 minutes) For more information we are available Monday- Friday 9-4.

For information on how to apply for your passport or Visa please press 1... the coffee maker clicks on... thank you... the requirements for a passport are... the system goes through the options but then doesn't give you the opportunity to apply or set up an appointment.

I hang up and try 6 more times to get through the menus one the neighbor get home and turns the key in his door... thank you for making your selection the code to nuclear launch is... then the dog barks.... thank you... in order to eliminate this system you must travel to space... Gracias... tu mama es... thank you... we are complete and utter idiots and we know that you hate us and this is just fun on our end.

I finally retire to the bedroom, pull the covers over my head, make sure to not labor my breathing and get through the screens and make my appointment for next Tuesday. I should then have a passport just 2 days after that!

And that young people is our government at work. They can't even get a phone tree right!

Costa Rica Here We Come

So in just a couple weeks myself and the doctor will be heading to Costa Rica. The picture off to the side here is the view from our hotel... OK that's not the best picture but it is the one that I pulled from the hotel website.

The infinity pool looking out to the ocean with an island in view is amazing and I can't wait to go. Now this is kind of a spur of the moment trip. We both have the same spring breaks at the schools we are working at so we decided we should go somewhere. i was thinking Florida, but the Doctor was thinking on a much grander scale. He has always wanted to go to Costa Rica and after seeing pictures and listing of the things you could do there I couldn't really disagree. The only problem of course is we leave in just 2 weeks and I still don't have a passport... but I am working on that!

The plan is to arrive in the capital and then head out to the middle of the rain forest practically to this cute little hotel with the amazing views that is right on the beach. While we are there we are going to do a zip line through the rain forest, go white water rafting and take a tour of the national park. We wanted to go see the volcanoes too, but it appears that they are too far away from our destination and the infrastructure of the country would really prevent us from traveling all the way out there. The Doctor wanted to do a lot of other things but i am trying to limit him to 3 or 4 activities so that I can spend some of my week on the beach reading a book or two.

And the best part is that we have wireless Internet in the room so I will make sure that I am updating the blog while I am there with pictures and stories of the daily occurrences, and knowing my luck it could be some great reading!

A New Blog on the Roll (at least on my roll)

I added a new blog to my blogroll off to the side there. A friend of mine here in DC writes this blog, it is very different from the other blogs on the blogroll (except for maybe my celebrity gossip link.) As much as I loved and laughed at his blog the first time I looked at it I will warn you that it is not for all my readers.

Take a look and support his blog is you like... http://skylorlicio.us

For those of you who make the jump to the site, I hope you Enjoy!

ETA: OMG so I totally forgot to mention that depending on the place you work this may not be an appropriate work site! Sorry!

June 16

It is very rare that I get so excited about a book, however, since I finished reading the Shadow of the Wind a couple years ago I have been waiting for Carlos Ruiz Zafon to have another book released in English. On June 16, The Angel's Game is released and I am not sure that I can wait, as a matter of fact I may try to get an Advanced Readers Copy from the publisher...

Here is the synopsis from Barnes and Noble...

In the turbulent and mysterious Barcelona of the 1920s, David Martin, a young novelist obsessed with a forbidden love, receives an offer from an enigmatic publisher to write a book like no other before — a book for which “people will live and die.” In return, he is promised a fortune and, perhaps, much more.

Once again, the author of The Shadow of the Wind takes us into the gothic universe of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and creates a breathtaking adventure of intrigue, romance and tragedy, and a dizzingly constructed labyrinth of secrets where the magic of books, passion and friendship blend into a masterful story.

Yes, I am really that excited about a book, and if you haven't read Shadow of the Wind, read it now!

Holy Mashed Potatoes

Saturday night, Valentines Day, we had a reservation here in DC at Capital Grille. Thank goodness we had a late reservation because the Doctor was taking a review course for his exam that didn't allow him to get home until after 8pm. We changed and hopped in the car where we got in a disagreement with the GPS, then we had to return home to get the gift cards, and then finally we were on our way to the restaurant.

When we arrived there was a huge line of cars at the valet but the moved them quickly and amazingly there was no charge. We walked in checked our coats and within two minutes they had us at our seats. It is a very pretty restaurant and everybody had a smile on their faces and seemed to be having a great time (that's always a sign of great service.) The hostess presented us with our menus and the waiter (who became practically a friend) was over in a few minutes to help us decide on drinks meals and appetizers.

After a little while the doctor decided on a salad and steak in some fungus (as in mushrooms) and I decided on the mozzarella tomato and basil salad and the 14oz fillet Mignon. We also decided to split a side of mashed potatoes (because I love my carbs). The waiter was very attentive and filled our glasses of wine regularly, the salads and bread came promptly and were delectable.
When the entree arrived I was already starting to feel the effects of a food coma, but I needed to eat because it just looked so damn good. I cut into my fillet and it was like cutting into melted butter. I was amazing and I probably could have died right there and been happy (yes, I stole that from Jacques Pepin's comment on this weeks Top Chef) and then i had a fork full of the mashed potatoes...

Oh my god, I could not believe what I was tasting, I am not a huge foodie but I do love my white carbs and up until now my grandmothers mashed potatoes were by far the best in the world. I am sorry Bella but these were amazing, just pure perfect mashed potatoes no extra stuff getting in the way and they were amazing.

I wasn't sure how I did it but I finished a majority of my steak, as did the doctor, and we cleaned the plate of mashed potatoes. And there was no way we were going to pass up dessert. The waiter kindly helped us decide on a champagne to accompany our dessert and recommended the coconut cream pie as the perfect dessert to share with this champagne. He was right again and we enjoyed every bite and sip we could fit into our bodies.

Pleasantly plump after this meal and loving the ambiance of the restaurant we were both presented with a single red rose and a box of chocolate (possibly to soften the blow of the bill we were just presented) or maybe because the waiter was actually excellent at what he does. We paid and left completely and utterly satisfied. This was one of the best meals we have ever had.

And damn those mashed potatoes were good!

Watch Out Mr. NG

Yesterday afternoon my facebook post was:

Jonathan updated his blog again and it includes comments on Paula's broken mirror necklace from last nights AI.

Mr NG commented on this facebook status saying:

Those are such valuable, meaningful, thoughtful posts about the most salient "stuff" on your mind. :-)

I immediately ran to my computer and look up salient in the online dictionary (ok not really) and then I realize that he is making fun of my very thoughtful and salient posts about American Idol and cute animals. I then respond to Mr. NG via blackberry messenger telling him that he is going to need to pipe down. I then say that I can't always be commenting on world events, political issues and books I have read.

His response was "You could comment on little philosophies of life"

And my response to that was, "But my philosophy is "be a bitch... Always"

Now, I am not sure if this is what he was looking for, I think he was hoping I would have some deep insights on the way a person should live life, maybe some overarching ideas on world affairs. Something deep, but you don't always have to be deep, you can have fun and enjoy.

I guess when it comes down to it, American Idol and cute animals sort of encompass my overarching idea on life though. The way that I should live life (not that I always follow it). You need to enjoy your life, not care what other people think, break down boundaries, and experience all that you can. You should work hard and play hard, but most of all you should enjoy the life that you lead. You should enjoy the work that you do, spend time with those you love, and just have a good time.

Sure I have hard days at work, and crazy days, there are days that I want to kill customers, but for the most part I don't dread going into work (although getting up at 5:45 am I do dread!) I never dread coming home either because I have a great person to come home to, that I love very much. A person that I can talk to and I can fight with, a person who loves me back even when I am a grumpy bitch. So to a certain extent I am living a happy life, and following my idea of what I should do, and the person I should be...

This is a very different direction then I thought that this post would go in, as a matter of fact I was planning on being a total bitch to Mr. NG because... well because it would be fun to do, but instead I kind of discussed a way of life and some thoughts that are slightly "deeper" than American Idol. But I am sure that I will have additional posts on American Idol but I will also have ones that are slightly more salient.

And soon enough I will be a complete and total bitch to Mr. NG... because I have to have a post that goes in that direction.

Paula Paula Paula

So many of you know I am addicted to American Idol, I love it and I just can't pull myself away. Yes I know there are a lot of things I could do to make better use of my time but when I get home from work or the gym it is enjoyable to sit down and watch some "brainless" television.

This year there is a change on American Idol... a new judge... some uppity chick whom I hate. The Doctor says I am crazy for hating her but she just seems to ruin the dynamic.

I like my Paula CRAZY, my Simon GRUMPY and my RANDY all sorts of dawg like. This woman just doesn't fit into my concept of the show. And I don't think she brings anything to AI at all. I would like for her to be gone!

Ah yes and speaking of Paula... what was that necklace she was wearing last night... did she break her bedroom mirror and not want it to go to waste so she strung it together and wore it around her neck... it was sooooo UGLY and I LOVED it because my Paula was CRAZY!

Cute Animals

I had to go to the pet store last night to pick up a new dog cage for Annie. While I was there I saw a really cute kitten, looked exactly like a baby Val (the doctor's cat), his name was Joe. He was white with little orange spots and the cutest little face. I stared at him for a good 15 minutes but I had to walk away because more animals in this house would be a bad thing.

Last night when I went to bed I popped in Planet Earth to watch. I knew there would be something cute to keep me happy. We were watching it and the most adorable ducklings were jumping out of a tree for the first time, and they flop around and then fall and then bounce. It was so cute... I was laughing, really really adorable. And there were cute little cat like animals and the squirrels were adorable too.

So now anytime I need to see cute animals, or I walk into a pet store and see an animal I want to adopt I will walk away and watch Planet Earth and I will get my cute animal fix... at least I hope.

Mistakes Were Made...

The last few weeks have been a rude awakening for me. When I came on as text manager here at my new store I was told to sit back and watch and learn. My general tendency when I come into a new store is to bulldoze the people and make changes that I see need to be made. I am pretty quick to realize where deficiencies are and I recognized a few in the system here at my new store.

However “baby steps” where the key words. I sat back and watched how the process worked and made changes as where I saw fit but still things were not done according to my standards. And then Rush arrived, and I found myself writing a whole lot of letters like the one below:

Professor -

I wanted to follow up on our conversation from earlier and extend my apologies for not having the books in by the start of classes. I know that apologies will not get the books here faster, but we are rushing them all here to hopefully minimize the impact on your schedule and your students ability to learn. They should arrive tomorrow and at the latest on Friday. I will contact you when they do arrive. The desk copy you need must be ordered through your department since Oxford does not allow the bookstore to order a desk copy.

Unfortunately, when the order came in it was not entered into the system. Human error is to blame and I take full responsibility. I am looking to make some changes to prevent things like this from happening next semester. While the changes in the future don't excuse the mistakes of the past I wanted you to know that we are working to improve the process.

Once again my apologies. If you have any additional questions or concerns, or simply suggestions on ways to improve the process please let me know.

Thank you,

Textbook Manager

After about two weeks of falling on the sword I started to fall apart and get very stressed. Generally 90 hour work weeks can do that to you but when you are working 90 hours covering for your subordinates and taking the fall it gets to be exhausting.

Yes, I know mistakes were made… but not by me! The problem there is… this is my department! The one thing that I can guarantee is that next semester none of these mistakes will be made and we will run a clean Rush.

If only we could flash forward to September!