Tuesday, March 27, 2007

No Wonder the Indian Cried

Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day with sunshine and temps above 70. Spring was surely in the air, so after work Ben and I headed to a nearby park along the Grand River for a walk. As we rounded a bend in the path, the accompanying picture was the view that greeted us. How sad that people have to be such slobs -- haven't they heard of trash cans? I was reminded of the anti-littering commercial in which the Native American shed a tear at the sight of a littered landscape. Folks, if you have trash to throw, find a trash can -- your neighbors will thank you as will those who come along after you.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Corporate America Heading East

Below is an edited for content, company name and extraneous information copy of an email I received at work regarding an upcoming netconference with our support team in Malaysia. Take note of the line about our jobs disappearing. Even though I am there through a temp agency and know that my job time is limited, there is just something wrong about helping to train the people who are going to take not only my job and those of my co-workers, but who also will be taking yet these more jobs from the US and particularly Michigan economic base. This meeting and this email are wrong and offensive on so many levels that I hardly know where to begin. So, dear friends, you can read this for yourself and draw your own comments and conclusions. The email content follows in italics:

"You have been selected to "Job Shadow" with the Malaysia team. You may be wondering what this means…well, the work we currently do today will eventually be handled by Malaysia, no official date has been set. At this point we're at the "Job Shadowing" phase, so Malaysia can get a feel for how we process our work. We need to provide them the "day to day" with processing the work. Specifically, Malaysia has asked for review of the following:......."

I guess I won't be getting quite so comfy with this job. I sure hope that a church call comes through for Ben or for me. Looks like a rocky road may be on the horizon! OUCH.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday Monday

Well, the new and improved (their words) software package rolled out at work today -- and what mayhem resulted. It's slower and less user friendly than before. And there's so many bugs in it that they ought to call Orkin! Produtivity was off by at least half. Tomorrow may be better, but later in the week the new phones go online -- that ought to be a blast. I remained remarkably calm today and seemed to do better than some of the others around me. It's not a good program and it's surely not a step forward. It has prettier colors and a little more modern look, but as to functionality -- they've taken the fun out of function. Ah well, that's progress -- and that's why there's so many terminations and so few raises. Corporate America -- yuck!

Sunday, March 18, 2007


This morning the phone rang before 8Am and the realtor left a message telling he had scheduled an open house for this afternoon. We scurried about shifting stuff to boxes, basement, closets, and garage. I headed out for church; Ben worked until it was time for his to go to church. He came home and did LOTS of work -- the house looks pretty decent (of course it's dangerous to open closets LOL). I came home in time for us to vacate for the open house. We hit the home show which was awesome. It's amazing how they do those HUGE displays and then tear them down in three or four days -- what a waste. We came home and shared dinner and now it's TV time. My morning at church was taxing. It was my farewell sermon and I was pretty direct, challenging and encouraging the congregation to re-group and recommit and to move forward. It was surprisingly well received. I just hope that it sank in and ultimately makes a diffence. Next Sunday is my last service there and they are planning a going away celebration. It will be just about as taxing as this morning, but it is time and we will muddle through. Now the question comes -- WHAT NEXT? I think I am just gonna take some down time and carefully consider the future. Will I be called somewhere, will Ben, will neither of us? Who knows? Surely not us. But the future will happen. Stay tuned. Tomorrow is the roll out of the newly updated software system at work -- and I thought today was taxing. I will no doubt be a basket case by 5PM.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Little "Self Tooting"

Monday and Tuesday we had a corporate level trainer onsite (see yesterday's post for how that made me feel). Today I sent her an email with some information on a task I had completed. I sought her input to make sure I was on track. I got back an email saying, "We need to talk." We arranged a NetMetting and conference call for this afternoon (that meant taking over my boss's office for a while. I stewed all morning and into the afternoon wondering how I had screwed up. We were online and on the phone for over an hour doing and re-doing the work that I had "done wrong." The upshot at the end of an hour was that I had indeed done the task correctly. There was no apology and I didn't really expect or need one. There was a concession that there might be more than one way of doing things and also some discussion that our clients need to learn how to submit their information in a format that allows us to do our jobs in a timely manner. So, following the meeting, I came back out and announced to my co-workers that I (with their input) had done the work correctly and that some positive changes may be in the works. That's all great, but I kind of dread next week when the new version of our primary software tool rolls out -- that and our new phone system in the same week -- a scary thought. More as details unfold.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

So Far a Week from Hell

Hi all, it's Tuesday night and only three days of work to go before the weekend. The past two days at the office have felt like a week and not a good one at that. Between bizarre data requests, extra (and inept) training, visiting "higher ups" and the like have made the past two days HELL. However, I think that the next couple of days will be better. The higher ups have gone on their merry way, the training sessions are over for now, and tomorrow should - I hope - be business as usual. On the home front all is well except that we are both dealing with back discomfort -- Ben even more than I. It was really tough being at work today as the temperature here hit 73 degrees. It felt almost summery. Almost all the snow is gone (though there may well be more on the way), Anyhow, it's nearly bedtime, so I will sign off and wish you all well -- hug someone special.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ben is HOME

He's now home safe and sound and getting himself cleaned up and unwound. Needless to say, I won't be making this a long involved post -- I have to catch up on my "Ben Time" this afternoon. Suffice it to say that I am one happy camper about now. Talk to you all some time later on.

Call Someone Today

IT was on this day in 1876 that AG Bell made that fateful first phone call. He needed Mr. Watson, so he called him. People have been calling each other ever since, often at dinner time, bath time, or other interruptive moments. I wonder if Mr Bell had any idea what kind of monster he was unleashing on the world. Today we find it incredible that people could do without phones, but before 1876, they did it all the time. Take time today to call someone -- preferably not during dinner or sleep. Thank God for the wonders of modern technology -- like voice mail LOL.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Whoopie! The Weekend is HERE

The wonderful thing about it being Friday night is that I don't have to jump out of bed first thing in the morning. Sunday morning church comes early and Monday through Friday mean up in time for work, so Saturday is a treat. The joy of this particular coming Saturday is that Ben will be back by early afternoon. He will probably be exhausted, so he will want to nap - and I will let him -- after a while LOL!!. The weather is starting to show signs of Spring -- the temp was in th e40s today and that trend is supposed to continue. Maybe winter is past (but I wouldn't put the snow shovel away quite yet. Anyway, it's just about bed time. I gotta get some sleep so that I can be chipper and ready to welcome my man home. By the way, if you were going to call us tomorrow afternoon or evening -- don't! We will be busy re-connecting and catching up on each other. Have a great weekend -- we will.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wednesday Words

Here it is -- "hump day". Just two more days of work and it's the WEEKEND again..... Last night after work I drove from Lansing to Grand Rapids (about 60 miles)as the snow began blowing. By the time I headed home, roads were horrid, visibility was poor, and on top of it, I was driving Ben's small pickup with no weight in the back end. Without a doubt, it was a hair raising trip. It took me over an hour and a half instead of the usual hour. What's worse is that there was no one here to comfort me when I arrived. Ah well, I watched a little TV, had a beer, hugged the dog, medicated the cat, and went to bed. Tonight I came home and put another (the final) coat of paint on the spare bedroom. Now I am sitting here inhaling paint fumes. That means that if what I am writing makes no sense, we can blame it on the fumes LOL. Now, I'm chatting with all of you as American Idol is going in the background. Have a great rest of the week and hug someone special.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Gay, Straight, or Stupid?

Well I have now watched a few episodes of the "game Show" "Gay Straight or Taken" in which the young woman asks questions and puts the three guys in odd situations all in an effort to figure out who is gay, who is taken, and who is straight and single. If she chooses the single straight guy, they get a vacation trip. If she chooses either the taken straight or the taken gay, that couple takes the trip. The concept is cute (in an inane passing the time way), but I am baffled. I think it's inherently homophobic. The guys likes to cook -- he's gay. The guy didn't squirm when she put spiders on him -- he must be straight. Gay guys don't..., or "Straight guys can do...." One positive thing is that probably four out of five times, teh girls are wrong in their choices. That is, in some ways, exploding some of the homophobic myths. I can't decide whether it's cute or whether it's demeaning -- to the gays, to "taken" strsights, and surely to the young women who are hunting for a date. I guess the upshot of the whole dilemma is to find something else to do with that half hour of TV time. What do you think?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Stuff

Well, it was church this morning. I guess all was well, though I wonder what would happen if some of the folks would stop putting themselves ahead of all others. We had some pull into the parking lot and turn around and leave because the sidewalk hadn't been shoveled yet -- and this was nearly an hour before service time. If they had sat for ten minutes, the walks would have been clear and all would have been well. Ah well, any excuse to skip church I guess. At the end of service my resignation letter was read. It sounded much more harsh out loud than it did when I wrote it. Many people expressed sorrow and upset at the news, but by the time the month ends I suspect it will be much ado about nothing and all will continue as status quo. I expect my leaving to be nothing more than an insignificant blip on their radar screens.

After church I went to the senior complex that I was managing so that I could drop in on a couple of dear friends. I learned that one of the tenants passed away this morning. Life goes on, I guess. I chatted with Norm whose wife Blanche passed away soon after my departure. I wrote about Blanche in a post a couple of months ago. Norm seems to be handling things well though his recovery will be long. They were married for sixty years. Norm showed me a picture of him, Blanche, and me that was taken the week I was moving. Hopefully he will get me a copy of it. Except for me looking about the size of a barn, it is a memory I would treasure.

Then I headed home, went to the bank and the grocery store, and here I am parked at the computer with the TV going. Goodness, is THAT the gay agenda? LOL.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was busy, but good. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if Ben had been home to share it. He is now in New Orleans after a LONG drive and a night in Baton Rouge (Good old RED STICK) ...... just a few more days and he will be back. Can't wait, but we already know that.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Saturday Morning

Hey all. It's the morning after my first night alone in this house. I went to bed, snuggled a pillow or two, and promptly went off to sleep about 11:15. I woke up just before 7:30AM, cold and alone (except for the dog who was snuggled close by). About five minutes after I woke up, as I was just laying there thinking about Ben, the phone rang and there he was calling to say good morning. He was bemoaning the fact that the person who had been driving for the past few hours was a "Drive 55; arrive alive (or eventually)" kind of driver. He sounded like he was in good spirits and I know he will be glad he went on this trip. Today I am going to drive to the Detroit area and see Mother. She is in the process of getting ready to move, so there is much to be done. Tomorrow is church and I will probably go visit some friends after that, so I won't be home alone quite so much. All you who are faithful readers, please let me know if I get whiney this week. I tend to do that when I am alone. I hope that the weather coopeartes today and tomorrow -- I hate driving in yucky weather. Have a great Saturday and hug someone special.

Happy Anniversary, SSB

Yes folks, it was on this day in 1931 that the US Congress passed legislation designating The Star Spangled Banner as the US National Anthem. I find it to be a totally unsingable song with words hard to remember. As to unsingable -- consider all those "stars" and "celebs" who mangle this song at sporting events. And be honest -- can you -- without really thinking about it -- recite the words off the top of your head? I am among the growing crowd who thinks that this legislation (like so much other legislation) was not really thought through and that perhaps we need to consider a different song for our national anthem. Perhaps "America the Beautiful" or "America." I would suggest "God Bless America", but that would stir the ire of some who want nothing to do with God. Perhaps even a national contest to compose a new national anthen. Maybe we could get Simon Cowell to be one of the judges LOL. And don't say, "We couldn't change our antional anthem!" Canada did it several years back. Anyway, happy anniversary, SSB. Love it or hate it, it is still the National Anthem and brings a sesne of pride and patriotism when it is performed well. Well, that's my opinion this Saturday morning. If you are reading this outside the USA, thanks for listening. Who has an opinion on this one? Let's hear it.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Alone and Feeling It

Well, I dropped Ben off at the church a couple hours ago for the start of his New Orleans ministry trip. He will be gone until next Saturday. This is the first time since living together that we have been apart, and this house creaks and knocks and makes me wonder what's going on. Aside from the noises, there is a marked emptiness -- the house just isn't the same without Ben's lively spirit -- whether he's doing anything special or not, just his presence brings the house to life. I'm already missing that spirit, and the week has only just begun. I will be away most of tomorrow and most of Sunday and I will be working all week, so the daytimes won't be so bad. It's the evenings that are going to suck. I have a few projects to keep me busy -- got to finish painting the spare room and get some stuff for church before my departure. Those things will help, but it just isn't going to be the same until he gets back here. This empty feeling brought on by his absence just points out how much I love him. Ben, if you are reading this, know that I love you. For the rest of you, thanks for letting me pour out these emotions. Watch for updates during the week.