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by Karen Fayeth

My New Nickname

This morning I geared up my mind and girded my loins for an important meeting. The event was a compliance review on a big project that I am working through. This project is the cause of many long hours, at least three migraine headaches and a lack of sleep. This compliance review is the last bit of internal check boxes required before we can implement this project fully and completely.

That I was even sitting in the room having the meeting is a gigantic achievement for this challenging project.

That said, I don’t necessarily have the cleanest track record in these compliance review meetings. About a month ago in a similar meeting for a different project, I lost my cool and let the chairperson have a bushel full of how I really feel.

After which I was “spoken to” by my manager who mostly empathized with me. I stand by what I said, and told my manager as much. I was simply asked to “try a little harder” next time.

Because there is always a next time.

Today I had to go back in there and keep the end in mind. I knew if I was able to get through the compliance meeting, and get approvals, that I would be able to finish this project that has me burning out quickly, turning into a crispy little Karen.

The order of the day was calm. Serene. Peace.

Now, I realize that not all of my fair and wonderful readers know me in person. If you do know me in person, you could know that calm, serene and peaceful are not adjectives often used to describe yours truly.

But I had to “try a little harder.” So I did deep breathing and a few deep knee bends before the event. I got to the meeting room early and got situated. I planted my feet on the ground and made a promise to myself that I would stay calm.

As the meeting progressed there were times where I wanted to say what was really on my mind, but somehow I magically refrained.

“Okay. What would you like to see in the documentation?” I said calmly and not at all snarkily. I felt the inner snark but I kept it tucked away under a beatific smile.

When all was done and I had the full list of changes and corrections, I walked out of the conference room and back to my desk.

Where I texted The Good Man the following:

“You oughta f—–g nickname me Buddha after that last hour of my life….”

You see, he knows me all too well and he knows I had this important meeting today. Then I followed it up with:

“I ohm’ed the sh*t out of that meeting.”

And then I took to Google where a short image search netted me the perfect image, which I also sent to The Good Man to further emphasize my point.

And that about sums it up.

Just call me Buddha, bitches.








Image found here.




Don’t Disobey the Dictionary!

__________________________

bal·ance  [bal-uhns] noun, verb, -anced, -anc·ing.

1. a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.

2. something used to produce equilibrium; counterpoise. Source: Dictionary.com

__________________________

and

__________________________

Work–life balance is a broad concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) on the one hand and “life” (Health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development) on the other. Source: Wikipedia

__________________________

So if balance means equal distribution, then work-life balance would imply that the two, work and life were equally distributed in my life.

Like so:




If I read our HR website correctly, for every hour I toil in Cubelandia, I get one hour of frolicking.

Work eight hours on one side. Play eight hours on the other. Sleep eight more. There’s a nice day. Right?

However.

As companies compete harder in the market place and my own employer is viciously cutting costs, and since people are, by far, the highest expense on any company’s financials, our employee numbers are shrinking. We are now called a “lean” staff. Or “right sized”. Or “efficient”.

Then work-life balance looks a lot more like this:




Rude.

So, who wants to volunteer to go tell my executive team? I see all their (luxury) cars in the lot, so they’re here today. C’mon!

Let’s march up to the boob painting floor and let them know they are directly in conflict with the generally accepted definition of the word balance!

C’mon, ye mighty defenders of the lexicon!

C’mon you slayers of sintax and abohorrers of “corporate speak”!

Come with me now!

Follow me!

Here I go!

Anyone?

Hello? Bueller?

*sigh*

Back to work.



Today’s Theme Thursday is: balance

Graphics by Stephen Stacey and used royalty free from stock.xchng.


In Which My Victorian Side Emerges

Ok, ok, I admit I was raised in a pretty strict Catholic family, but I don’t really consider myself to be that uptight.

In fact, I’m a fairly laid back cat in a lot of ways. I laugh at dirty jokes. I *tell* dirty jokes and I have enough street smarts to make it through life just fine.

Generally I believe live and let live. It’s all good.

Ok. Now that we’ve laid that groundwork.

There is something going on at work that has my Puritanical lace handkerchief all in a ruffle.

It’s really in my craw, and so I’m going to use my blog to have some group therapy.

Ok. Here we go.

This is the breakroom on my floor here at work.





Your everyday average office breakroom, right? Coffee. Tea. Microwave. Sink for rinsing out your dishes.

Great.

Across the hall from the breakroom is the “mom’s room” where ladies who are breastfeeding their babies can go, have a quiet moment, and pump.

Great. I’m all for that. I think it’s fantastic that my company has set aside this resource strictly for working moms.

And it’s convenient that the women who use this room have the sink nearby to wash up their gear and get it ready for the next use. Perfect.

Well.

Ahem.

Let’s zoom in a bit on that last photo.





One of the ladies rinses out her pumping supplies and leaves them on the counter to air dry.

In the public breakroom. Right by the coffee maker (usually. Not in this photo.)

Yesterday, she set them to dry on the same paper towel that held the coffee cup belonging to Mr. Big Boss. They were touching his coffee mug.

Her boobs were just in there, you know. AND…I know who it is who is doing this, so it makes it seem even weirder. I try not to think about my coworkers boobs.

I am really struggling with this. I utterly support a woman’s right to breastfeed her baby, and be a working woman, and use the resources in the office.

But do I have to reach over this to get myself a tea bag and a packet of Splenda?





Her boobs were just in there!

I believe if it were me, I’d want to take the boob couplers with me back to my office to dry. I mean….who KNOWS what people are doing in there around your boob dealies? What if someone splashes their lunch on there? Or…touches them?

I know. I know. This betrays the “laid back” attitude I described above.

But this just drives me bonkers.

Thanks for letting me talk about it. I’ll get over it.

I feel better now.



Craft Catatonia

Hoo boy….I am beat down to a nub. I have been arts and crafting my ass off in preparation for the upcoming local county fair.

While the term “county fair” may imply something small and hick-ish, my local fair is anything but. It’s a huge event

Back in February, I visited with my godkids in Las Cruces, and they were all fired up about their own county fair coming up in September.

My niños are all about 4H and have decided to raise pigs this year to show at the fair. Their excitement was contagious, so I came back to Northern California fired up and ready to participate in my own fair.

In fact, I was so excited that when the guidebook arrived, I decided to sign up for four events. Four. Which means I’m either stupid or sadistic. I, uh, have a full time job.

Since the fair kicks off June 11, my four entries are due, oh, NOW.

The events I’m doing are: short story, photography, visual art, and baking.

Yes. I said baking.

The short story had to be turned in over a month ago so the judges had plenty of time to read and evaluate the stories. Last week I got the smoking hot news that my story won my genre category, which was Western.

Whoo hoo! The fair hasn’t even started and I’m liking this already!

The story will be published in an anthology of stories put out by the Fair and sold to benefit charity.

Pretty damn excited, I can tell you that!

The photography entry has gone fairly well, too. I knew which photo I wanted to use and it was a matter of getting a good print made (harder than it sounds) and then cutting the mat and framing the piece. I got that done mid-last week. Boom!

The visual art piece is a Dia de los Muertos inspired craft. Oh, how this work has vexed me. I had a *very* ambitious idea and have spent the last couple months constructing tons and tons of tiny details and figures and touches. The work, just finished this morning, doesn’t include all of the aspects I’d hoped to accomplish, but I have to say, I’m very proud. This project really pushed the bounds of my abilities as both crafter and storyteller.

Yesterday evening I slumped back in my chair, catatonic. I had nothing left. I had glue and paint all over my hands, sweat on my brow and an ache in my lower back that defies superlatives.

But yet I was still compelled to keep going and finish this piece on deadline, for no other reason than the pure satisfaction of having completed something so very boundary testing.

I did it. I DID it. I’ll be damned…I actually did it. Whoa.

Today I’ll turn in the framed photo and the art work and then I’ll do a little “I made it by the deadline” dance.

Then I’ll collapse.

But wait, there’s more! The deadline for the fourth event comes up next week. I entered the “ethnic desserts” category and I’ll be whipping up a batch of Biscochitos.

New Mexico! Representin’!

And then I will eat my fill of anise seed treats, slip into a sugar coma, and sleep for a very long time…or at least until The Muse taps me on the psyche again.





Calling Schenectady

When prolific author Harlan Ellison is asked where he gets his ideas, his response?

“Schenectady. They have them on a shelf in a Mom & Pop on Route 147.”

It’s a great quote. I mean, Schenectady is an inherently funny word. So is Poughkeepsie. And Poconos. Those East Coasters know from funny.

But the thought that the repository for the wild and engaging ideas of a writer like Ellison are neatly packaged, shrink wrapped if you please, and ready to be lifted off the shelf and plopped into form is one that tickles my senses.

In the opening credits of “The Ray Bradbury Theatre” television shows (dating back to the 1980’s, The Good Man and I have been watching them recently), Bradbury says that he’s often asked “where do you get your ideas?”

His answer refers to his writing space which is filled floor to ceiling with books and mementos and a whole plethora of, well, junk. He says all he has to do is look out and whatever his eyes fall upon, that’s what he writes about.

In an essay on the topic, Neil Gaiman says,

“…these days I tell people the truth:

‘I make them up,’ I tell them. ‘Out of my head.’

People don’t like this answer. I don’t know why not. They look unhappy, as if I’m trying to slip a fast one past them. As if there’s a huge secret, and, for reasons of my own, I’m not telling them how it’s done.”

Truth be told, there is no huge secret. There is no mystery. Ideas simply happen.

When the hose is squeezed too hard, hoping for water, no water can come out.

When you step back and let go, then ideas flow faster.

Then again, every once in a while, you get a big calcified chunk of gunk that blocks the tubes. An esoteric gall stone, if you will.

So where DO you get your ideas?

Hell if I know.

Some days that shop in Schenectady is out of inventory and I have to wait for my back order to arrive.






Photo by username Clix and used royalty free from stock.xchng.


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