Posts from the ‘Navel gazing’ Category

Getting Used To Life Not Being Fair

I was walking through the Kroger yesterday after work and beings it’s Holiday Time, there was a voice on the speaker trying to get people to donate to Second Harvest.
Second Harvest seems to do really good work in feeding the people of Nashville when times are hard. I’ve participated in their various food drives through the years and am always glad to support them and would encourage anybody to help them out.

I could not help but giggle though when I heard the thing on the speaker about giving to Second Harvest. The voice said “Do you know 1 in 8 Tennesseans are at risk for hunger?”

Really? How does that jive with the news earlier this year that Tennessee jumped from 4th place to 2nd place in the nation as the Fatty State?

I am not a statistician nor am I good with numbers but somebody please explain who is right here??? Who is at risk for “hunger?” Define hunger”. Usually, the people I see whipping out the foodstamps at the grocery store do not look like they’ve missed any meals.

The whole thing just made me laugh.

When it comes to matters of a weighty sort, it irritates me to no end because now, I’m at a point where FINALLY, I do not obsess over how I am not as good as this person or that one because I’m not thin. I have birthed 3 children and although I’m not what I think to be big as a house, the weight charts say I am.

I now can boast having some high blood pressure to contend with. Everytime I’m at the doctor, they point out I need to lose weight. I especially love when the doctor’s nurse (who is about one and a half of me put together) calls and says, in regards to my blood pressure management to “Reduce your weight.” Right on, Honey. I’m so encouraged by you since you are so slim and trim yourself. It’s just effed up.

For years, I beat myself up and always felt as though I were inferior to others. The day I married in 1989, my dress was a size 8. AN 8! Yet, in my head, I thought I was as big as a house.

It might’ve been because several months before that, the first time I went out to eat with my future in laws, we were walking through Rivergate Mall. My then future and former sister in law, who is Japanese and weighed all of 100 lbs, and the rest of them, stopped to get a cookie at the cookie shop.

I did not desire a cookie at the moment. At that point, I was not big on sweets. My then future, now former mother in law asked me if I wanted a cookie. I said no. She said to me, with a sort of “Bless Your Heart” tone…”Yeah, I guess you have to really watch what you eat.”

WTF? That was June of 1989. I weighed 130 lbs and fluctuated between a size 6 and 8. I was also 20 years old and I wanted her to approve of me. I was convinced I was a lard ass.

She further convinced me of my heftiness a year after I married her son.

I ran into her one morning right before Christmas, again at the mall. She said “I want to get you some clothes. But not jeans. You don’t look good in jeans.”

Ahh…the Good Ol’ Days….nothing says “love” and “acceptance” quite like your mother in law reminding you you aren’t Twiggy.

I know I need to exercise regularly. I know this. I know I need to eat smarter. I know I have to think about my health, especially now that I’m over 40 and I don’t want to be 75 -80 years old and being one of those that say “If I’d have known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” 

It especially hits home because the last few days, my thoughts have been with a wonderful family I’ve known since I was a small child who are, at this writing, sitting by the bedside of their 44 year old son and brother in a hospice in Ft. Smith, Arkansas,  waiting for him to die as a result of a brain stem stroke he suffered last week.

John was a good school chum of my sister. We went to church with them when we were really young. I was in Sunday School with his brother and later in the Franklin band with him and his future wife. As an adult, their father was my upline boss. They are such great folks and I’m so heartbroken for them with what they are going through. He was not what I’d call huge but he did enjoy food, wine and life in general. Probably too much.

In your 20′s and 30′s, you eat, drink, smoke all you want and it doesn’t seem to have a lot of effect on your body, at the time. Somehow, though, you cross that 40 Line, and you suddenly have to, like, THINK about all that.

These are things in my brain today…

Mama and Them

I’m pretty worn out from this long day, but, wanted to get a couple things outta my head of stuff I saw and experienced.

First, Mom came through her surgery fine.  She underwent a cystectomy.   It probably took about 5 hours, a little longer than expected.  A couple of the lymph nodes right by the bladder had some cancer in them, but, the doc said the good thing about lymph nodes is they can be removed.  Her liver, spleen, etc all looked good.

We were kinda expecting some issues coming out of the anesthesia and breathing on her own (have I mentioned here that if you smoke, you might oughta think about quitting for times like this especially??).  We didn’t get to see her until about 10:00 tonight but when I saw her, she looked pretty good, considering.  They were giving her some blood and she was still out of it. 

I just got a text from my sister that said that the fun has begun…she was waking up a little and sitting up and not realizing she was sitting up, wanting to sit up.  Ahh…the joys of post-surgery conversation….Sandra’s staying there tonight and I’ll get tomorrow night. 

Thank you to the coolest Reverend around, Matt, who came by and it was about more than we could stand for our good friend Dean/Geega to show up.  Dean has been helping his wife of 52 years fight Multiple Myeloma.  That he sat with us in the waiting room today for a few hours….no words.  Thanks also to so many friends and family members who kept in touch, largely via Facebook, and offered support and prayers for us today.  It DOES make a difference. 

I’m a People Watcher and a hospital waiting room is the perfect place to engage in such activity.  There’s pockets of families waiting all over the place.  We had the Clampetts right in front of us and I swear, I couldn’t hardly look at them without breaking into laughter. (Yes, I’m bad. Youda laughed too if you’da seen them)

There was another family sitting across from us.  Didn’t really notice them at first.  A little after Matt left, I saw a doctor come in.  I could tell by the way he was walking and the look on his face that he was not walking in there to bring good news.

The doctor sat down and began talking with a man who looked to be about 55.  Suddenly, the man broke down and the young man sitting next to him, who I presumed to be his son, also broke down. 

Nothing gets to me like seeing a man cry.  These two men had their arms around each other, trying their best to comfort one another…then the other family members present began to cry.  The man told the doctor “I know you did all you could….”    

It was totally gut wrenching.  I felt like I was totally invading their privacy but you couldn’t help but look and feel the pain of what these people were feeling.   There was a guy sitting next to us, with his head buried in his laptop, but, he made the comment later how horrible that was. 

The doctor stayed and talked with this family a long time.  I didn’t see this, but, my sister said that when he got up to leave, he hugged the man and wiped tears from his eyes as he walked away. 

Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, other people congregated with this family, most of them in tears.  There was a lot of hugging, crying and even in the midst of the sadness these people were experiencing, I could not helped but be moved by the fact that they had each other.  You could see the strength that the man was drawing from whoever all those people were.  The two, grown sons also were strengthened and held up by everyone around them. As sad as it was, it was also a beautiful scene.

You could tell that major decisions were being made right there.  They’d alternate from being totally broken down to business-like. 

Then, a young woman came in carrying what looked to be about a year old baby girl on her hip.  This baby looked like the Gerber baby…beautiful little thing, just learning to walk.  When the baby showed up, the husband who was told devastating news about his wife, melted.  Why?  This was his grandbaby.  Everybody in the group went from crying to smiling when this baby came in.   Babies teach us a lot during times like that.

My own Manchild was such a baby when going on 18 years ago, at the very same hospital we were in today, we brought him directly from Centennial Hospital to St. Thomas to meet his dying grandfather before we even took him home to our house.   When death looms…babies are a reminder that life continues.   Just like the Manchild was for us back in 1992 (and STILL to this day because the Gene Pool dumped a lot of my Dad’s genes onto him)  this Baby Girl is a unique part of the grandmother who lay upstairs breathing only because of a machine.

At one point, the whole bunch gathered, baby included and all went upstairs together.   We all knew what they were going to do. 

I have no clue who these people are, their names…none of that, but  I can tell you this…I will never forget them, their faces, their pain, their tears, their love, their joy…Them.

Suckin’ It Up

What a long week.  I’m so tired I can’t think straight. 

To dumb it down a little, the week began with me moving into the “Transition” phase of my new job. 

Now, I am not stupid.  I have done lots of the type of work I am doing now in my 23 years of working.  I’m good at it.  I learn quickly.  Let’s just say Monday was overwhelming and I came THIS close to escaping and running.

I didn’t though.  I wanted to.  Badly.  I was telling myself that it would make sense to run because after all, this gig pays squat and is entirely too demanding and stressful to not get paid enough to make my rent.  I went through lots of other things but the bottom line is….I can’t quit.  What would I tell my kids?  No more quitting.  That’s how I handled things in the earlier part of my life.  Thus, enabling myself to be a transparent, testicle-less, ninny baby.

My old friend Eric, after I posted some sort of whiny status on my Facebook told me to suck it up. Most people will say something nice and sweet but ol’ Eric put it to me straight.  He may have been kidding but I doubt it.  I do have to suck it up and shut up.

What made Monday worse was finding out moments into the work day that Mom has cancer again.  It’s supposedly localized and I guess that’s good. 

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were better workwise.  I felt better about it.  Then I had another bout of the Pity Party yesterday evening. 

It will all work out.  All of it.  I will look back on the first week of Transition and laugh at my overwhelmed-ness.  I will throw my hat up in the air ala Mary Tyler Moore and sing that I’ve made it after all. 

What else can I do?

Dot Connecting

I guess I could actually blog some words, huh?

Blogging has indeed been light of late.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to say (I usually have something) but life has been in the way. 

I started working.  Do I like it?  Not really.  I  know I should be grateful and I am but the paycheck that came was frighteningly squattage and it sent me into a tailspin of the Blues. 

Back when that “dream” job appeared out of thin air, I took it because I thought I would be stupid not to.  If you have just joined us, the Dream Job lasted 6 weeks.  Not only did I lose my job, but, a number of others there did.  I’m really glad to not be there any longer, but, at the same time, I am starting to feel punished for giving up my State job to take a higher paying  job because now….I’m making less than I made at the State.  AND having to work a lot harder. 

Call me “spoiled”….but it sucks.   I do feel like I’m being punished for taking a chance and my mother’s lifelong warnings of not doing such have come true. 

A friend said something to me yesterday about all this though, that has made me think.  It was so profound, I can’t quite wrap my head around it, but, I know it was one of those things I’ll look back on and remember as a key point in this whole journey. 

I was talking to this person about how there is something I would LOVE to attempt but because of circumstances, individuals who are no longer in my general circumference because of annoying things like death and divorce… I feel like I have no access to explore  this particular area.  This friend  said to me that the answer lies within people and circumstances that present now, not things that are no longer available.

He also said this to me: 

“likewise i have a feeling that the possibilities of your taking that passion of yours and turning it into a blessing for yourself and others will come from attributes that are already present within you and opportunities that are within your reach right now”

This line of thought can apply to anybody and anything.  I’m so glad I had that little chat with my pal .  I was in terrible need of a fresh perspective and a vision.  He said something about having the “intellect to connect the dots” and I said that was the hard part and he said…

“If  it was easy it would be boring  and not worth near as much”

Just kinda blew me away…I needed it badly. 

 

The Economy and Stuff

As I’ve been sitting in Training this week with 9 other people, most of whom have been victims of layoffs, most of us struggling to survive and doing what we can to tread water, as well as my own experience the last three months as a single woman trying to get by,  I’ve thought about a lot of things.

One of the guys used to own his own finance company.  Read that again…he OWNED his own finance company.  Has worked for large corporations as this big shot, finance guy.  He is now, like me, training for a job he is way over-qualified for.

Another guy, a young guy in his mid to late 20′s is an architect.

Another guy is an electrical engineer and  has just returned from his second deployment in Iraq within the last several weeks.  You want to talk about HUMBLING, listening to Eric describe the numerous times his life was in danger, dealing with riots in an Iraqi prison, and all these things that are just about impossible for a dufus like me to wrap my head around.  I would say Eric is probably not even 30 years old. 

A young lady in my class, a little, teeny tiny woman originally from Guyana, who made her way to the United States, is also a military veteran, is a college graduate…

Another lady, probably in her mid to late 50′s, retired from working for the Government, took another job in the insurance business, is responsible for caring for her elderly mother and will be working the overnight shift.

There’s yet another young lady, who moved here to work for a very large company.  Packed up from her hometown in South Alabama, leaving her family and friends, getting an apartment here only to get laid off three months later. 

The thought has occurred to me this week listening to my co-workers tell their stories of struggle and trying to figure out what to do in these lean times and the constant news reports of how bad the economy is, all the people losing their jobs, etc….and this may sound weird but I think it’s probably good that we’re going through this Recession/Pre-Depression/Whatever You Wanna Call It. 

I don’t know what I’m trying to say and I’m certainly not an expert on talking about the dang economy and all that, but, I think maybe it’s good for the people of my generation to experience this stuff. 

 So many people in my general age group (that could be anybody born after say, 1960 on up to 1980) have never had any sorta clue what it’s like to struggle.  Our generation had everything.  I look at my own kids.  They certainly don’t live in a mansion but my word-they have no idea how lucky they are to have what they have. 

I’ve always been amazed at young people, not far out of college who have homes and lifestyles that it took their parents years of hard work to obtain.  It’s always been unsettling to me and it seemed like something was not quite right about it.  What is there to work for and dream for  when you have “everything” so young?

I’m not what you would call smart about stuff like this and I will tell you I’ve looked at many people my age who live quite well with a fair amount of envy.  Then again, I feel like maybe, my lack of riches as an adult, lack of credit cards (thank you, Jesus that a tiny taste of that was all I needed to know I didn’t want that)-as an adult, if I didn’t have the cash for it, I didn’t get it.  Plain and simple.  I’m not patting myself on the back by any stretch or saying everybody should use ME as their financial example cause that’s not it.  God knows I could use a lesson or two in budgeting.  I’m still flying by the seat of my pants with that.

I know that the Economy thing will eventually turn around.  I don’t know when or how or what, but, nothing ever stays the same.  It will go back up and I hope people will learn that maybe credit isn’t always the best way to do stuff, ya know?  And that the One With The Most Toys doesn’t really win anything but a lot of debt, stress, marital problems, despair, etc. etc. etc.

And I am once again disclaiming my ability to say anything about important stuff like the economy.  I’m very hopeful for our country, our Powers That Be, my own situation and future and am glad that God is in control. 

And I’m REALLY glad to be back amongst the employed people and hope that I will never forget those dark days of December and January, sitting here in my ever-so-humble, but very comfortable dwelling, wondering what in the world I was going to do next.  I don’t ever want to forget my wonderful family and extended family and how they helped me.  I hope and pray I will someday be able to do the same thing for somebody like they did me. 

More importantly, I don’t want to forget that even though I had some very dark days since December 5, I knew that God was going to provide for me.  Didn’t know how, but, I know from experience He’s pretty dang creative and has a way better imagination than I’ve got.   He’s done things for me I could’ve never thought of.  He’s bigger and greater to me now than ever.  I’m not out of my hole yet, but I can at least see that it’s not quite as deep as it appeared to be.

Dogs, Crud and Work

I have not been any sorta sick in over 2 years.  None at all.  I was home for three months and had some sinus stuff but sickly?  No. 

I started getting the sore throat last night.  I feel like crap today.  Third day on the New Gig, I’ve got some sorta crud.  I am the Poster Child for Murphy’s Law.

Work was good today though.  I’m just in the training process now which will last for 8 weeks.  5 of those weeks will be in the classroom and then I’ll go to transition. 

I’m not blogging where I’m working for a few reasons.  It’s a very large company (some of you know where/what) and it’s not that I’m afraid a crazy nutjob/apeshit stalker/ angry wife will show up or nothing like that, but, if you knew where it was, what I was doing, you’d get why I’m not telling the Internets where I’m working.   Just know it’s a good, stable company and I think I’m going to like it a lot.

I had a moment today that I realized that maybe I’m really becoming a grown up.

I was wanting one of Newscoma and Them’s puppies.  I’ve never gone this long in my life without having a dog.  I need a sidekick.  (I really don’t need a four legged one while I would not be so opposed to a two legged one who amuses me and looks good in a Wife Beater) 

I was all imagining me and one of these cute little things and then my pal Scott got all logical and mature about it and I realized that just cause I want one of those darlin’s, doesn’t mean I should get one and there are about ten billion reasons I shouldn’t get one of them, so I will not. 

Ok and Eric’s guess that Mama Dog might have some Bull Terrier in her and the idea of having an animal with “Bull” in the breed name, poses a psychological thing for me.  I know Aunt B and others would beg to differ but there’s personal reasons for that too. 

I just want it noted that I did not act on impulse before thinking it through.  I guess that’s parta that whole ADD thing and all that. 

 Near ’bout every animal I’ve owned as an adult was gotten on impulse, four of those impulses still residing at the home of my First and Second Husband.  Those wonderful little dogs are so glad to see me when I show up over there, they “talk” to me and do their little “happy wiggles.”  I felt like I would be cheating on them.  bogie-chelseaThat’s probably all kindsa twisted and stuff to think that but, I can’t help it. 

Another “impulse” though was part of our family for 15 years and I still miss her a lot.  I saw a puppy on Petfinder that looked EXACTLY like Chloe did when she was a puppy.  I was tempted to drive to East Tennessee to get it.

I could bring one of them to stay with me, I guess but I don’t think separating these two would be a good idea.  They love each other so much.  Every morning they are so happy to see each other, it’s like two, long-lost friends reuniting after decades apart.  Those are good dogs. 

Chelsea the Mutt Baby there….I do think of all the dogs I’ve had (including the one that grew up with me) is my most favorite dog ever.  She is the most cooperative, loyal dog.  I love her.  Bogie, the dachshund, is a good little dog, too.  He’s just not always as “agreeable” as his “sister.” He’s kinda a snob but the both of them are great dogs.

It does occur to me, though, this urge for a puppy is probably some sort of just now getting around to grieving losing my fur-kids in my Life-Change.

Oh well, if I get the urge to be around the dogs they’re  5 minutes away.  I can go over there and see them whenever I want to.  I don’t have to look far to rub a dog belly.

Whaddup?

I don’t know for 100% sure yet, but, I think my Unemployment Season will soon be ending. That is, if I can pass that dang drug test and if nothing “shady” pops up on my background check.

Ironic that Amber was talking about things like background checks the other day and I don’t remember ever going to work for a company and it being like this.  I guess it’s just the times we live in and all but I was even more amazed that there were a few people in this thing with me who had concerns of things showing up on their background checks.

This one young girl turned to me and said “My charge was dismissed.  Do you think that will be on there?” (Her asking the girl who was afraid to even think about attending a Kegger in high school for fear that I would be sent directly to jail for the mere thought)  I told her she’d better ask the HR lady and sho nuff…they said if there’s anything in the background, mention it or they’ll accuse you of lying and stuff.

It’s also interesting to me that the last job I got after a “Lay Off Season” was obtained through the suggestion and encouragement of another blogger and this upcoming gig sorta kinda came through one of my blogging friends.  Yeah, this little spot on the Internets has been more than just a place for me to ramble.  Amazing. (I will divulge who my blogging sorta/kinda co-worker will be later so stay tuned)

Let’s see…what else is going on…..I’m bored. Bored outta my mind.  I know I will look back on this season and be glad that I had a LOT of Solitude.  That I haven’t had the stress of getting to work everyday but have been able to really have some serious “Me” time even though I would’ve never chosen it to be like this.  I wasn’t planning on as much quiet as I’ve had at all, it’s just kinda worked out that way.  It’s positive all around and I know it won’t always be this way.  

I have moments that I feel like I’m gonna turn into Tom Hanks in Castaway and start talking to a soccer ball.  I have come to realize that as introverted as I can be, I have a side of me that really longs for and needs other people to play off of.  Matt was talking about this the other day….I don’t think we were meant to do life alone.  That’s not saying I think I need a man or anything like that.  I went a lot of years without having people close to me, other than family. 

  I can’t really say how grateful I am for my friends.  The last time I was divorced, I didn’t have this kind of support network that I have now.  It was just different.  Can’t really explain it other than maybe I’m the one who is different now than I was in 2000.  I’m sure that’s a big part of it.  I know I am a lot more open and although I still have the tendencies to bury myself in my protective shell, I am re-learning how to be a friend as well as how to have them.  That’s huge for me. 

WARNING: VAGUE ALERT!

Matt was also correct when he was talking a few weeks ago in his sermon about letting go of certain things so God can bless us in other ways.  I’m finding that to be so.  Hasn’t been an easy thing to let go of and I’ve done so rather reluctantly…ok, kicking and screaming. Still, it’s OK.

In Which I Am Very Vague

You know how there are those occasions you are hit with a brutal reality that you knew was there, but, at the same time, it wasn’t an issue because it was never really brought up and you didn’t really think a whole lot about it because it was something you never saw with your own eyes?

Then, when you are reminded of Said Brutal Realities you go “Ohhhhhhhhhhh.  So THAT’S the deal?”  Then everything makes perfect sense and you feel like a huge weight has been lifted and that you really weren’t losing your mind after all?

I love it when that happens.  I just hate that I didn’t figure it out way sooner cause it woulda saved me a lotta mental energy.  Or maybe I knew it, but, just didn’t want to know that was the deal.

To Old Long Ago…

When December 31 rolls around every year, I’m usually a little wistful and prone to gaze through the navel.  I tend to look more toward the coming year than the one that’s passed though. 

I’m reminded how time is marching due to my oldest kid’s birthday being the day after New Year’s.  Can’t help but think of New Year’s Eve 1991 when I was two days away from delivering, Mr. Smiff was on “Nashville Now” with The Osborne Brothers.  I had big time contractions early that morning and thought the Smiff heir was going to bust on through.  Sonny Osborne had an early model cell phone and live on the air, had it ring as a joke, to make people think that was “THE CALL” from me saying “It’s time”.

Lotta changes in 2008.  Lots.  Not easy changes to make at all and I honestly, last New Year’s, had no idea that by the time the next Holiday Season rolled around I would have a different residence and a different life.  It was in my thoughts but it seemed unattainable at that point. 

2008 brought moments of extreme sadness, lotsa tears, euphoria, a number of things I never experienced before on a lotta different levels: surprises (some pleasant others not-so-much), a life-changing friendship, grief, eye opening moments, humility, joy, frustration, laughter…not unlike anybody elses life. 

2009 is a milestone chronological year that doesn’t freak me out a bit. Next month, I will be 40 years old. I’m kinda pumped about turning 40.  Very excited to see what new stuff I’m going to experience in 2009. 

Brang it….

I can’t really begin to say thanks to all of you that have brought me so much encouragement with your emails and comments. I find it funny that anybody wants to read my pontifications. This little spot has brought me some wonderful friends and helped to renew old friendships.

Happy New Year, Y’all.

An Anniversary

It occurs to me that not only is it Christmas Eve, but, on this date in 1890 my great-grandparents united in marriage, for better or worse (mostly worse) creating a whole wad of descendants and a bunch of colorful, interesting, twisted people.

winfrey___lena_collie

They look thrilled, don’t they?  My great-grandpa Collie looks like he coulda been part of the Jesse James Gang and he probably was!  He was an ornery and mean little cuss.  Totally the Black Sheep of his family, he woulda never been nominated for Father of the Year, even so….

Winfrey left Lena in later years.  In spite of the horrible abuse he put her and their children through, she loved him until the day she died.  His children….not so much.  When he died in 1948, none of his children went to his funeral.  His burial was handled by the woman he was living with at the time.

Because I tend to play Devil’s Advocate and have the tendency to analyze, even though my great grandfater was mean and hurtful to his wife and his kids and I have no way of relating to the trauma of what he put them through, I’ve seen some of the same traits he displayed in his descendants.  From my limited, layperson point of view, I think he was bipolar.  

winfrey_d__collie__sr___papa_collie_

I like to think that somewhere in the meanness were some positive traits.  Good grief, my oldest son bears a physical resemblance, as do lots of us in the family.  He came from a good family (one of his brothers was a dentist) but he was loaded down with demons. 

I went to Spring Hill Cemetery about 5 times in the last year and a half trying to find Winfrey’s grave.  I knew what section it was in, but, couldn’t find it.  I went in October and literally, stumbled on it. I had been in that same spot I don’t know how many times and I realized his grave was covered in weeds and had finally been mowed. 

finally_found_it

 I would give lotsa money to be able to sit down and talk to him.

The Night Before The Night Before Christmas…

I don’t know what I was thinking this evening when I had this thought:

“I think I’ll just run into Wal Mart.”

It was when I walked into the Rivergate Wal Mart on Christmas Eve Eve that I was reminded of a couple things:

I really have been a little “detached” from Christmas shopping this year. I’ve done some but not like I’ve done in years past.  That’s one of the pluses about the kids being older.  Teens have more expensive wishes, but, as a rule, it requires much less “put-togetherness”. 

Had I not been so detached from the Shoppingpalooza, I would have thought better than to go into Wal Mart at 7:00 on the 23rd of December.  Baaaaad choice.

The Rivergate Wal Mart IS the Armpit and Groin Lent of Nashville-Never in my life have I smelt as strong an odor of cigarette smoke and seen more women in DIRE need of root touchups, poor grammar, baggy britches….it’s good in ‘da hood, boys and girls.

This whole holiday season has been a plethora of visiting with old friends.  I got to visit a little bit today with my good friend from 3rd and 4th grade, Kelly and loved seeing her and her kids. 009

Look at her beautiful, blue eyes, y’all.  I had forgotten how blue her eyes were.   (Note to self…scan photos of Dance Recital in 1978 in which Kelly and I both wore heinous costumes to give readers a REALLY good belly laugh)

Kelly gave me this Woodstock Christmas ornament in 1979 and it has hung on my Christmas tree every year since.  It’s made of some sort of ceramic and I’m really surprised it hasn’t broken in all these years.  One of my favorite ornaments. 

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Stuff like getting to visit with Kelly today are the things I love most about Christmas.  Forget the standing in line at Wal Mart and busting your bank account….for me, besides the whole Jesus’ Birthday thing, it’s about getting to visit with the Kelly’s in our lives and remembering.

I went out to Cool Springs tonight for a gathering of people who went to Brentwood and Franklin High Schools (thank you for organizing, Paige!) courtesy of Facebook. 

I ran into a kid I have not seen since probably 6th grade. 

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 Donald and I were in Elementary school together all the way through, but, I remember him being in my  5th grade class, especially.   I told him that one of my most warmest, fuzziest memories of childhood, (back when life was good, before the dreaded Puberty Monster hit, before cancer, car accidents came and I got hip to realities of life ) was at Christmas that year, our entire class went to Donald’s house and then went caroling. 

 Donald’s mom was one of these just fabulous, June Cleaver kinda moms, and that evening is one of those things I’ve always remembered and often wished I could escape back into.  He had no recollection of the event at all, but,  I told him to be sure and tell his Mama I’ve always remembered being in her home at Christmastime. 

THAT is the kinda feeling I’ve always tried to create at Christmas with my own family.  Just like what was in my home, especially those last few days before Christmas.   Warm, fuzzy, magical…the lights all seem to have a different glow. 

I’m praying that my kids, even though this Christmas has found our lives rearranged and different…I hope there is still some of that element for them.

Maybe Things Aren’t So Bad

Seems like everytime I try to attend my own Pity Party, something is thrown my way that helps me reconsider getting all doodied up and ready to go. 

Fighting the Christmas Blahs and feeling sorry for myself cause of the Unemployment thing, I get news this morning that a former classmate of mine met a very violent and tragic end to his life this week. 

Thanks to Facebook, there’s been a collective grieving and remembering of David Williams. 

I was in Elementary school, Junior High and High school with David.  We were both in the Brentwood band.  He was a strikingly handsome kid with a flair for art and a killer sense of humor.  (That’s him in the blue uniform holding the trophy. )n1441708119_30162540_1910

Camoflauge pants make me think of David…always have.  So does Moses Malone and pencil drawings…and trombones and blue eyes. He had the most piercing blue eyes that offset his dark hair.  I never had a thing for him (I know it sounds like I did, but, I didn’t) but I can tell you right here and now, hearing of the horrible way he died just makes me sick.

Also reminds me that things could be worse and are for a lot of people.

And How Was YOUR Friday?

I’ve had a little over 12 hours to let today’s Friday Bombshell settle on me. The pissyness of the whole thing has faded somewhat and I’m onto thinking about what’s next. It’s been a rather weird week all around and interestingly enough, I’m still breathing and I don’t see a gray cloud following me around.  

The whole week has really been rather humbling, which I suppose I needed after the whole car thing and getting inked…(or is that me once again, apologizing for living?)

Let me give you a little background on this gig, for those just tuning in….The Guy That Hired Me(who found me randomly out on the internets-I wasn’t actively looking for another job) was also new to this company, as were a number of other people.  He had been with another company that lots of people would recognize the name of if they heard it.   He got to this company through another one of the executive-types there that he knew from his former employment.  He told me, the day he interviewed me, that the Exec guy was a “good friend.”  Maybe he is, but, I never sensed a lot of warmth there.  I got the impression from the Git-Go that the other Executive Dudes seemed to keep a very defined distance from him. 

Guy That Hired Me (GTHM)…he seemed to be a nice guy. Very smart but a little too fond of Excel spreadsheets for my taste. 

I told him the day I interviewed with him, both on the phone and in person, “I am not an Excel aficionado.”  Now, I don’t know if he forgot that, didn’t hear me say it or what (I’ve been to a few trainings on Excel through the years. Excel is one of those things that if you don’t use it, you lose it.) Dude wanted EVERYTHING in Excel form. He had some anal things about him that I saw as a little “quirky” but hey, I love quirk. I get quirky. I can appreciate quirkly cause I are quirky my own self (but in a good way).

The Guy told me one day….”I didn’t hire you for your organizational skills; I hired your for your personality.”  I think that was a compliment, pretty sure.   I think the Guy had a specific agenda there that he thought, for whatever reason, I could help him accomplish.  I think he wanted to create a “culture” in that place because there didn’t appear to him to be one.  (That’s what he said to me anyway)

I think the Executives at this place (who all seem like genuinely good guys, though hard-assed) didn’t really give a flip about “culture.”  I don’t think they had anything against me personally (I got the feeling that the people in the office enjoyed having me around) but most likely, they would’ve not chosen to hire me , but, allowed this guy some leverage to come in there and bring what he wanted.  They wanted to give him the chance to do that, but, I was pretty unecessary there, bottom line.

  Really though, there was a culture.  A lot of the Hostessing with The Mostessing that GWHM had envisioned for me to do?  There was somebody else doing it.   I don’t know.  (Sorry, TW…I don’t know! Har) There was a real sense of walking on eggshells there because of fear you might be stepping into somebody elses territory.

The people that worked there, for the most part, I really liked and enjoyed getting to know HOWEVER, I noticed pretty quickly that there was indeed an absence of warmth, even though the people were nice.  I can’t really explain it.   Some of them, I REALLY liked but it wasnt at all a feeling of ever seeing these people as “family” like I’ve had in a number of other jobs.   That’s not important to everybody, but, I’ve always felt like if I’m going to spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with my work, I sure as hell need to kinda like the people I work with.   That’s a big deal with me. 

At first, I sorta figured it was just because there were so many new people.   I was never 100% comfortable or sure exactly what was expected of me (other than to live by Excel).   Also, the fact that it was a strictly Corporate, totally a money making  kinda atmosphere(not that other jobs I’ve had weren’t about that) the kinda thing where it wasn’t about passion for the product but rather a competitive, kick ass thing…He Who Has The Most Toys Wins……after ten years of a “non profit”, “ministry” type of company and then 18 months of working for State Gubment, it was a very different vibe than I was used to.  These people were hardcore and obviously, very into what they’re doing. 

Now, the GTHM.  He’s really good at Sales.  It ocurred to me this evening that THAT is why it was all so appealing to me….he sold this gig to me and talked it up almost like a used car salesman to me.  He’s still at the company, from what I understand, however, he’s been demoted.  The problem was not so much me, but, in all fairness to the Guy That Hired Me, I may not have been what he thought I was.  Perhaps I sold myself pretty good?  I dunno. 

I don’t regret the whole deal …I saw a potential opportunity for myself that seemed to drop in my lap and I would’ve forever kicked myself for letting an opportunity pass (again).  You have to reach up and grab opportunities.  Sometimes stuff works and sometimes it doesn’t. 

 I’m sure there will be  some who will say “I had a feeling that was not gonna work.”  Fine…my sister had Gastric Bypass two years ago.  I don’t think I’d have chosen that route, but, I am not her.  She probably wouldn’t have gone to work for somebody that found her randomly on My Space, but, there…she is not a single mom trying to carve out an independent life for herself.  (I’m not saying the sister has said that to me…just an example) .

Between you and me though…the first few days I was there…the GWHM said he didn’t want the CEO Guy to know he had hired me from My Space…I think that kinda explains it, don’t you?

I’m not worried about getting another job.  I’m well aware of how crappy the Economy is at the moment and there are lots and lots of people outta work.  (Ironically, when I got home this morning, the news about unemployment being the worst it’s been in 34 years was all over the CNN. )

I truly live by the “Consider the Lilies” theory in the Book of Matthew.  If the little birdies and squirrels (and all the other animals are provided for…my Father will provide for me as well cause He says I’m a whole lot more important to Him than the birds or the flowers. There was a reason I was put at this particular place for about 7 weeks.  What that is, I do not know.  But I truly believe (don’t give a rip how cornfilled and cheese-like that may sound) that everything happens for a reason and there arent any coincidences in life.   That simple.  Maybe some think I should be a little more panicky but what is that gonna accomplish, besides raising my blood pressure?  Nada.

I’m kinda excited to see what’s next….

There She Goes Again…

Sometimes I wish I were an anonymous blogger like Kate, who so beautifully tells stuff that’s going on, yet, we (at least I) have NO clue who she is.  I relate to a lot of the things she tells, as do a lot of people, I’m sure.

Yeah, I know all about Live Journal and other places one can blog stuff that either nobody or certain people can see.  I know all that.  I’ve tried that.  Something about it, is uncomfortable to me.  Don’t know why. 

Honestly, the biggest problem I have with multiple blogs is the multiple passwords.  I can barely keep up with signing in here. I like this being my place, ya know?  I mean, this here’s my little spot on the World Wide Web.  Sometimes (most times) I talk about insignifigant, boring junk, but, there are times, (like now) I wish I could get your input on some things, but, it is such, that I can’t, for a myriad of reasons.  My heart is full of stuff at the moment but it’s just not one of those things I can broadcast.  I’ve taken to carrying a little spiral notebook with me that I can jot down some of these things in as a means of something…I dont know what.  That’s helpful.  One thing I’ve learned from that intimate sort of journaling is that what we feel is not necessarily what is so cause feelings change from moment to moment.   Learning to differentiate “feeling”  from emotion.  I don’t know if that makes a lick of sense. 

One thing I can tell you here, that I don’t know that I’ve ever told here (but there are a couple people I’ve told and they seem flabbergasted) but I’ll tell you a little blogging secret about me:

I HATE the name “Sista Smiff.” 

I don’t hate the “Smiff” part.  I never had a nickname or nothing and I got that in my late 20′s and I like that ok.  But really, Smiff isn’t who I am.  That was a variation on my married name.  That’s not any sort of jab at my soon-to-be-ex husband or anything like that.  It’s not about him or anybody else.  It’s ALL about me, ya know.

Yeah, I know that was a name I gave myself when I started blogging long time ago in a spur of the moment, spontaneous, “What do I call this?” thing.  But, when somebody calls me “Sista” out in the real world?  I cringe.  I don’t know if it’s the same sorta cringe I get when I’m sung “Happy Birthday” to (I have never posted that picture but I must.  I HATE to have Happy Birthday sung to me.

  At my 5th birthday party, when it was sung to me, I hid behind a coat rack and a photo was taken of me.  Y’all would love that)  It’s almost like the cringe I got in 5th grade when I wrote this really lovely poem.  It was very spiritual and quite deep for a 10 year old, but, I cringed when it was hung in the hallway for the world to see.   I was embarrassed. 

I think it’s the same sort of cringe I used to get (not as much now) when I would recall a specific date or name of something and my family, or whoever, would marvel at my memory. 

Or in 1st grade, when I was sent to 2nd grade for Reading cause I read so well.  I was embarassed as hell by that.  Not by my 1st grade peers.  I don’t know what it was that mortified me so about it, but, I was really embarrassed.

I’ve always been embarrassed by my talents.  I’ve never quite figured out what to do with what I perceived for many years was weirdness.  I wanted to be a songwriter.  Did y’all ever know that?  I did  I dabbled in it a little, but, never got comfortable with opening up.  Same with singing.  I can sing but when I open my mouth in public (unless I’m doing a harmony part or something like that and can hide behind others) I don’t sound like I can carry a tune in a bucket. 

I’ll never forget when I was about 21, a newlywed and having a conversation with my mother in law and brother in law…both of whom are great songwriters.  I somehow let it out of the bag that I wanted to write songs and said how I’d always heard songs in my head…words, melodies….and just assumed everybody did.  I remember Hazel looking at me and saying…”No, Honey…not everybody hears songs in their head.” She went on to say how Harlan Howard used to say that songs were “floating around up there” and you had to reach up and grab them.

Why don’t I try to write songs anymore?  Cause I quit hearing them in my head and that really makes me sad.  Every now and then, a stray melody appears (happened today actually).  I quit trying because I was scared of it.  That’s so ridiculous. 

I was watching that show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew?  (Gawsh, I love him!)  Tawny Kitaen was telling how she came by that name….Tawny.  Her real name is Julie (trivia!) but when she was 12, her parents divorced and she moved to a new school.  She saw this kid on the way to school the first day named “Tawny” and she decided that’s who she wanted to be.  They went through this whole thing about how she wanted to be somebody else and part of her addiction problem is not being herself or something.

This is another one of those rambling, meandering pontifications that I do from time to time that I have no idea why I’m telling this or where it’s going.  I can say that it is definitely taking the place of some deep, navel gazing thoughts I’m not comfortable sharing here at this point, although I wish I were. 

I guess some things we have to figure out in private.  There are things we have to figure out that’s between us and a select few in our lives or us and God.

All Hallows Eve

Various and sundry scenes from Halloween 2008.  These little dawlings are some sort of cheese concoction that Rachel at work whipped up.  Aren’t they cute?

Two of my new work peeps…Sara and Kim.  

This is Abbie…my former next door neighbors adorable little grandaughter that I’m glad I pulled up just in time to see.  What a cutie.

My son, the Zombie.  (I knew somebody out there would be happy with this costume.)

Halloween was weird this year.  Normally, I’ve always walked #2 (and the other kids when they were younger) around the neighborhood.  This year, #2 didn’t want me to so I gave out candy.  It was weird.  Part of the awkwardness is due to the Changes but really, the biggest part of it is my kids are older.

This was one of my favorite Halloweens ever.   Sniff sniff.

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