I’m an Idea (Wo)Man!

Oh yes, I am the rainmaker of ideas here in my place of employ.

The next big thing is what comes tripping off the end of my tongue.

I’m on the cutting edge.

Watch me work:

Yesterday my Boss Lady (who is the Department Big Boss) was in my office. She stopped by to say hi and happy New Year. She was also lying low for a bit as she can barely walk the halls of this place without being pounced on from all directions.

So as we sat and kibitzed, I dropped my next big idea on her.

Me: “So, I saw this info graphic yesterday. It showed that, like, the majority of the country has a ninety percent chance of freezing temperatures.”

Boss Lady (BL): “Yeah, I know, isn’t that crazy?”

Me: “It is…it is…really crazy. I mean…schools and businesses are closed down because of this crazy weather.”

BL: “Really? Wow, I hadn’t heard that.”

Me: “Yeah, yeah…so don’t you think that we should stand in solidarity with the rest of the country and stay home today?”

BL: “…”

Me: “I mean…doing our part as good Americans and all of that.”

BL: “Karen.”

Me: “Yeah.”

BL: “You sit near a window.”

Me: “Yeah.”

BL: “Look out your window.”

Me: “Yeah.”

BL: “It’s 65 degrees out there.”

Me: “Yeah.”

BL: “I can’t really sell a snow day when it’s 65 degrees.”

Me: “I see what the problem is here.”

BL: “What’s that?”

Me: “I need to do a better job of managing my manager.”

The best big ideas are the ones that seem weird at the start. The ideas that are easily pooh-poohed.

The crazy ones.

Sometimes the difference is not in the idea, but how you sell it.

Genius comes in many forms.

I shall continue to make my pitch on this topic as I continue to stand in solidarity with all the poor souls who don’t have to go to work today.

I should be with you. I really should. Here’s hoping my employer can make this right.

Image found here. Check out that page for one school principal’s ritual guaranteed to net you a snow day.

Hard To Believe This is Me

Over the years I have suffered a certain amount physical ailments for which medical doctors can find no cause. The better part of discretion will keep me from detailing my woes (what my beloved grandmother used to call the “organ recital”).

But suffice to say, 1) it’s been going on for a while, 2) ow, 3) four different doctors have said, “want me to write you a big script for liver killing pain meds?” to which I said “no thank you”.

After years of wailing and moaning, a friend suggested I try acupuncture. I figured what the hell, I had exhausted my options with regular doctors so why not try something different?

I am not completely sure what I think about acupuncture. I vacillate from “it’s utter bullmuffins” to “hey, there may be something to this.”

Actually, over the past year or so, I have gotten quite a bit of relief from having those little needles stuck into me. Whether it’s all psychosomatic or not isn’t my place to decide. I just know I feel better, and that’s all that matters.

Since I moved to a different city several months ago, it was untenable for me to visit the same needle sticker as it was just too far away.

At the end of last week I had my first visit with a local hokey-poker to see if she could pick up where the last guy left off.

During the course of this visit, the new gal asked me if she could use a technique in addition to the needles. I say hey, why not. Give it a shot.

The technique was called cupping. My first thought was “oh that’s nice, she’s going to hug me and gently cradle my sensitive places. How thoughtful.”

No, turns out that kind of cupping is best left to The Good Man. She meant taking these glass bowl looking deals, heating them up and plopping them on my well oiled back, creating suction.

Holy smokes it hurt. A lot.

I’d seen photos of celebrities with these big sucker marks on their back and shook my head and chuckled at the time, thinking “buncha weirdos”. And yet here I was letting this lady do the same to me. What I don’t really understand is how those lilly-sensitive spoiled celebs are able to put up with this “treatment” while I had tears of pain rolling down my face.

What have I become? Who am I?

I’m old, that’s what. The days of rubbing a little horse liniment on the owie places is over. If these painful glass jars can help me feel better, well, fine.

When I whimpered a little and called out for my mommy, she said “oh, is that too much?” and she lightened the suction a little.

Finally she removed those sea serpent suckers from my skin with a moist sound and said, “Ok, you’re done. By the way, you might want to mention to your spouse or significant other what happened here. They may be a bit shocked to see the marks on your back.”

Marks? Holy crap, I look like I was treated with a meat tenderizer. My whole upper back was a raw red with big round sucker marks scattered about.

I went home and whined to The Good Man who gave me good clucking sounds and lots of sympathy. Then he did the kind of cupping that I like and that made me feel a lot better.

The skin on my back still isn’t all that pleased but whatever happened last week between the needles and the jars seems to have helped. The pain is standing a little off to the side and I seem to be improving.

Hard to believe a little girl from New Mexico who once held up a hand and solemnly swore, “I believe in the future of farming…” Is now laying on a table letting this woo woo stuff happen.

But I am and this is me and I’ll be damned if this crazy stuff might be helping a little.

: shrug :

Now this is the kind of cupping I am looking for.

Image found here.

Things I Do Not Understand

I’ve been on this big blue marble for a good number of years, and as I get older, some things make more sense, some make less sense, and then there are a few things I think I’ll never quite understand.

Last week was what I would call brutal. Ok, maybe brutal is too strong a word. My basic needs were met. My loved ones remained safe and sound, and also had their basic needs met. I got to and from work safely and even got paid.

But something really weird was happening last week. It all seemed to come to a head on Friday which is normally the greatest day of the week. A normal Friday flies by with ease from my late arrival to my early departures at work. If they call it stormy Monday, then the eagle flies on Friday.

Not this Friday. It didn’t soar like an eagle, it plopped like a cow patty.

Arriving at work in the morning I was bone tired. Sleep had not come easy over the previous four days. As I trudged to my desk I could only look forward to a happy hour birthday celebration that evening, then early to bed, and hopefully sleeping late on Saturday.

I had only one meeting on the calendar so I’d hoped to use the day to catch up, get on top of my to do list, and prepare for the week ahead.

Friday had other plans. Early in the day I was summoned to the manager’s office and informed that a particular project we’ve been working on has completely unraveled. Like…the thread on the sweater was inadvertently glued to the tail of a frightened rabbit thus unraveling not slowly but quickly and in herky-jerky motions.

As we were suddenly pulled into crisis mode, I was running around the office looking for certain people, finding certain documents, etc. As I sat in the manager’s office on yet another conference call, I noticed a small sparkling at the periphery of my eyes. Oh yay, an aura, the beginnings of one whopper of a migraine. Awesome.

Crisis mode + migraine + exhausted body + I’m still new here! = what a crummy day!

But wait! The day wasn’t done with me yet. Like a pitbull it clamped down with powerful jaws and refused to release.

I shot gunned some lunch as I ran to another meeting and another conference call and when that exhausting bit of work was through, I noticed something odd about my mouth. I had grit on my tongue. Oh awesome, I broke a tooth and still don’t even know how that happened. There is a huge chunk out of a back molar. Like a good little grownup I immediately called my dentist’s office and heard their message telling me that my favorite dental professional is out of the office until March 8th. Hooray!

Thankfully the tooth doesn’t hurt (so far) but it’s kind of sharp and annoying.

Finally, Friday saw fit to come to the end of daytime hours and around 5:00pm I got into my car feeling beaten, broken and sad. My office building is very near a crossroads of three separate highways, so getting onto the highway is always a little rough, and I have to endure about half a mile of cruddy traffic before I pick the highway I need and it opens up. Friday was particularly backed up and I’d not really ever seen it so bad.

Until I realized that a car had stalled right in the heart of the big interchange. In a location that impacted EVERYONE regardless of which highway they need to take. Double yay!

Let me remind, here, that this was just the details of Friday. The first four days of the week had been similar, so in the commute home on the last day of this hellish week, I found myself stuck behind a tow truck and of course no one would let me over. Honestly, I just about slipped off my nut. I came real close to just finally losing my tenuous grasp on reality.

I kept telling myself to breathe, to endure, to be resilient even as my resolve was being worn down by the big belt sander of life (which happened to be using the heaviest grit sandpaper available).

Quadruple Yay.

When I posted something on Facebook about Friday being a crummy day, I got responses from a few folks saying they had a bad day too. When I talked to friends at happy hour, they too said that Friday was especially bad.

What I’ll never understand is how this happens. How we all can be going along just fine then suddenly we all, every one of us, gets thrown a curveball low and inside.

I’m not much for big woo-woo type things, but is it something cosmic? The full moon and Mercury Retrograde and changing seasons all at once? Is the jet stream a little off kilter? Is it the long road until the next holiday day at work that has us all a little bent out of shape?

Hard to know, but I sure as heck don’t understand. A few people having a bad day seems pretty fat part of the bell curve kind of stuff. Everyone you talk to having a crumb-bum day seems like that cosmic belt sander is really working overtime.

Image by Wikimedia user Luigizanasi and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Canada license.

An Unexpected Convergence of the Universe

Had a weird day yesterday.

Well, most of my days are weird. Yesterday was especially so.

I was working in the studio and painting up a storm. Since The Good Man was out and about, I took the opportunity to turn on the oldies country station I like. 104.7 out of Albuquerque does an internet stream.

It’s a great station for classic country stuff. I try to spare The Good Man from my country music as much as I can. All for the sake of the marriage and things like that….

So as I painted, on the radio came Merle Haggard, and George Strait, a little Ray Price and even a stab at some Garth Brooks (the old stuff).

Well, it didn’t take but a minute, and I was vacuumed up into the Wayback Machine. I found myself struggling with heart pangs that were hard to ignore.

It doesn’t help that I’m also reading a Max Evan’s book right now. In it, he describes horses and New Mexico plains and mountains…

Well, it’s more than a girl can take.

I tried to fight off the homesick but it started to hurt deep inside.

So I called up my best friend.

“You either gotta come get me out of this wayback machine or you gotta get in here with me,” I left on her voicemail.

She called back quick. “Open the hatch, I’m coming in!” she said.

So being the kind of friend that you keep around for some twenty plus years, she talked me down and reminded me that I’m just a couple weeks from actually *being* in New Mexico again. So could I just hold out a bit?

Feeling a lot better, I hung up the phone and turned off the radio.

Then the Good Man came home and all was right in my world again.

About an hour later, I heard my iPhone buzz.

I picked it up to see that my old boss from Sandia Labs was pinging me. She is a dear friend and the best boss I’ve ever had. She told me that she and her boss (who was my first manager at Sandia and is also a good friend and a fine Aggie alum) were having drinks while out on a business trip.
Their conversation had turned to stories about, well, me.

She was recounting a few of them via text messages (we had a lot of fun back in those days…the mid-90’s) and she said, “That was the best time I’ve ever had at work. We should never have let you go to the Bay Area.”

And damnit all if that sharp pang didn’t come right back to my heart.

Now I keep in touch with my former amazing Boss Lady, but we haven’t spoken a lot in the past year (other than to congratulate her on a recent marriage).

Sort of out of nowhere, on a day when I’m homesick anyway, there she was relating stories of a great time in my life back when I lived in Albuquerque.

And I seized up a little.

It was weird how all these events came together on one day.

So I talked it over with The Good Man. I told him I’m afraid of forgetting who I am and where I come from. He suggested that just that fear alone may keep it from being so.

He asked, “Do you want to move back?”

And I said, “No, because I think I’d yearn for San Francisco if I left!”

Over the weekend, we went to see a theater show, “The Tosca Project,” that was so San Francisco and the heart of North Beach that I love profoundly, that it was moving and deeply gratifying to my soul.

The thought of being far away from the soul of that City is a sad thought.

Sometimes I’m a girl caught between all the Karens that make up who I am.

I don’t have any answers. I figure I’m just going to have a very high electrical bill this month, what with all this constant use of the Wayback Machine (it’s not Energy Star rated…..)

And so it came to pass….

….that living in the Land of Schwarzenegger, in the area of the Bay, there came to be a fish. A small fish. A fish who was filled with faith and hope.

A fish purchased under the accursed impulse-purchase vexation.

The fish was of the Betta clan, and was given the name of Benito, meaning “blessing” or “blessed one” in the Spanish culture (and meaning tiny little dictator in the Italian tradition).

And so it was that Benito came to live in the house of The Good Man and true to his name, blessed us all.

Benito swam and ate of the bloodworm. And it was good.

Until it wasn’t good.

And forsooth, Benito ceased to eat, and lay on the floor of the tank, flat on his side, and took on a gray pallor.

Which only raised memories of Frank, also of the Betta clan, who came before Benito and expired so painfully.

And so it was that The Girl wept, felt necessary to rend her garments, gnashed her teeth and howled to the heavens, “Why! Why must I have the curse of killing helpless fish?”

Then The Girl resigned herself to the knowledge gained that she was not meant for fish ownership.

Another matchbox coffin was prepared, and sadness befell the house of The Good Man.

In the last, desperate hours, The Good Man proclaimed, “he who believeth in the bettas shall never die.”

Thusly, The Good Man brought his mighty hand down and created freshly treated water and added the miracle of the antibiotic powder.

The limp body of Benito of the Betta clan was deposited into the fresh, medicated water and hope was not held out.

In the break of the morn, The Good Man, in his grace, went to the tankside of Benito of Betta, and proclaimed, “Yea, tho I believe this crazy fish is hungry!”

And chopped up pieces of bloodworm were deposited in the tank, and verily Benito of Betta did eat.

“No %$&#ing way!” came the cry from The Girl, who stared in disbelief at the miracle The Good Man had wrought.

“Yeah, don’t get your hopes up,” The Good Man admonished, but despite his downplaying the whole thing, The Girl did ignore him and did in fact get her hopes up.

And forsooth! Benito of Betta did continue to eat. And became more upright, and began to flap his fins in a normal manner.

And Benito of Betta was thusly nicknamed the Lazarus Fish, having risen from the dead.

So it is that some two weeks from coming to the house of The Good Man, Benito of Betta continues to live and eat and could almost be described as thriving.

And with the focus on a new, recovering fish, The Girl finds the sadness over the loss of Frank is beginning to ease.

With the help of The Good Man, guardian of the broken pets, The Girl may in fact learn to be a suitable owner of small helpless fish.

And for the moment, it was good again.

But don’t get your hopes up.

P.S. Margaret, female of the Betta clan, and The Good Man’s fish, continues to thrive quite nicely, thankyouverymuch.