New Employment!

March 15, 2006 at 7:26 pm (Uncategorized)

Due to Jeanette’s good job mojo, I have secured other employment. Yeah. They called at 10 a.m. and told me to be there at 1:00 p.m., bells on, whistles blowing. That wasn’t a lot of time to close out the stuff at my other law firm so I’ll be going in on Saturday to finish up, file, etc.

I have no computer, no phone, no nothing, and I won’t. This is strictly document review, about 35-45,000 pages worth. I’m working with seven attorneys on the case so far. I’m not sure if they’ll be hiring anyone else to help us or not. Five of the attorneys are in-house, the other two are temps, like me. We three temps are located at RAM West. I had to run back to my old law firm and pick up my radio so we wouldn’t be able to hear each other breath in the acoustically challenged room where we are working.

We had two informational sessions with two attorneys on the matter in the four hours I worked. The second one explained exactly what happened and exactly what we were looking for. Very, very knowledgeable, I learned a lot. I can’t say much about the case, even if most of it is public knowledge. It involves a local oil refinery, so, I now know what steps you take to refine oil into gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel, and asphalt. I know what caustic water, naphtha, and “cracking” are. I know the difference between light sweet and sour crude oil and the differences in how they are refined. I know where the stores of each type of oil are in the world.

Fascinating shit. The peeps I’m working with, temp and perm, are, so far, great. We have this incredible coffee maker, too. Over and over we’ve been told that if we need anything to run over to the RAM Central or call on a cell, left us office numbers, cell numbers, if we need juice, tea, pop, or coffee, just let them know. Flexible on the hours, just work eight hard hours a day.

The folks over at my old firm are happy for me. I’ll get to spend some time with my still current but soon to be former boss this weekend. I’m still on payroll there too. It’s going to be hard to walk out of there in many ways. In some ways, I’m happy and in others, I’m very sad. I know it will be worth it though, if for nothing else, a swift kick in my ass.

For those of you out there that have my mostly defunct cell number, that will be changing since I need a reliable way for folks to get in touch with me. I will send out a blanket e-mail with the new number as soon as I get it, which will probably be Saturday. Posting, commenting, and e-mails will be reduced to before and after work. That is going to be very tough!!! But, it will also be very good for me, because if I can hold onto this, it will be great practice for going back to school.

Thanks for the mojo Jeanette, I’ve sent it on to tinyhands!

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Revenge of the Empaths – Part Deux

March 15, 2006 at 7:36 am (Uncategorized)

I remembered what brought Lex and I to talking about relationships. It was the speculation that AZ would ask his girlfriend to marry him on their cruise. As close as AZ and I used to be, I think I would feel sorry for someone who married him. It’s also fascinating hearing both sides of the story, since if AZ is ticked at Lex, I hear it and if Lex is ticked at AZ, then I hear it.

I told Lex that I felt that one of the reasons that AZ and I had never dated was the fact AZ had been a very strong influence in my life when I was rather young, therefore, learning the head games at his knee. (That didn’t really sound right, but imagine it with a totally non-sexual undertone.) I know how to get his goat, piss him off, infuriate him, and calm him down, which is just unacceptable and non-conducive to a relationship. (At least not one with him)

It also shows the varying relationships we have with other people. I know AZ is hard to get along with sometimes, he really, really calls it like he sees it at the most inopportune moments and basically feels as though if you act what he feels to be stupid, whether you are or not, then you deserve to be spoken to like you’re three years old, thus alienating anyone without a rigid backbone, and he still gets to me and Lex.

Lex is not immune from speaking up, but he doesn’t allow things to build, nor does he believe he’s above the rules that everyone else has to follow. *Ahem* not like someone else we both know. Whether AZ believes that or not, it’s how he acts. I can tell that from talking to him sometimes. Lex asked when the last time I talked to AZ was and truthfully, on the phone, it was before Christmas, online it was at least two months ago. I was a bit brutally honest, not that I think AZ is pissed, but he doesn’t like that much either. I tend to cut too close to the bone at times, especially when you point out how they never try to make things better for themselves, instead making things worse.

Then there’s the insanity of those two. It was hard for me to be around AZ and Lex at the same time. So much there, so much unresolved within myself. Loving them both for different reasons, it was like a tennis match. But, I’ve realized that Lex is more like Love and AZ is more like Fault. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned and grown over the past two years. How clarity comes with time in small slices to form a big picture.

Not to mention, being around them together gives me a headache. Neither wanting the other to have the upper hand with me. It’s a silent war they wage. Each attempting the non-cock-blocking route to my attention, each subjecting me to the mental stimulation which I crave and which they know is the true route to my affections.

They underestimate me so much. Nanner knows who’s being true and who’s playing “head games” and Nanner knows who’s throwing the bone and who gives the bone. I know who wants me but is afraid to have me and I know who just doesn’t want me but doesn’t want anyone else to have me either.

Some of that is my fault, unwilling, unable, or just not ready to let go. But, as I said, clarity comes with time in small slices. All I can hope is that others forgive me as I forgive them.

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Revenge of the Empaths

March 14, 2006 at 10:19 am (Uncategorized)

As I mentioned, my ex Lex and I saw “Good Night and Good Luck” on Saturday evening. This was his idea. I just want to make that clear. Not that I object to spending time with Lex, mainly because he’s intelligent, thoughtful, articulate, informed, and an empath. We had another meeting, not date, please, set up but it ended up not happening. Lex is going to graduate school too (Masters in Business with a sub-specialty in International Business or something like that) and he was very supportive, to the point of rabidity, when I said I wanted to go to graduate school.

I cannot recall how long it has been since we’ve actually seen one another, in the flesh. He called and arranged to meet me further down the valley, since he was just getting off work and had to run a few errands. He sounded fine. I pulled up at the appointed place, where he was taking up two car spaces, which I kidded him about. He seemed fine. I can’t say I looked particularly hot, since he had given me exactly 30 minutes to get ready, including a shower, once I scooted Nate out the door to his sister’s, but I didn’t look too shabby either.

Yet, once I got in the car, he didn’t look at me, not even a glance. Didn’t reach over to hug me, which was odd. Ahhh, empath meets empath. He was shut down tighter than Jimmy Hoffa under cement. Not that he ignored me or conversation didn’t flow, but it was that emotional withdrawal that confused me.

I finally cornered him for a hug at the theater. While we waited for the movie to start, sans all but one trailer, we continued our dissection of everything but a frog. I’m not sure how the subject came up but he said, “The thought of a relationship right now just drains me. Whatever energy I have, three quarters of it is just immediately gone with the thought of a relationship.”
I looked over at him, even though he still wasn’t looking at me, and said, “Yeah, I feel like a relationship at this point is just one more responsibility I don’t have time for.”

Cue movie.

His resolve melted just a bit during the movie as I snuggled up against him because I was cold. He wrapped his coat around me, which was helpful since the movie was awesome and I didn’t need the distraction.

Afterwards, we went out to the car where I stood outside on the sidewalk shaking my butt, asking him for a ride with my thumb stuck out. He laughed and actually looked at me. Wow. We talked about the movie and my multiple thesis ideas, stopped for gas, took a quick tour of the city to see the new sites in the area, and headed back to our county.

As we pulled up to the parking area, he said we should do this more often or again, or something similar. I said I had had a good time and thanks for the movie, popcorn, etc. (Yeah, he paid for everything! Except I kicked in a few bucks to help with the popcorn, and yes, I offered to pay for my movie. Funny thing is, when we were actually seeing each other, we never did this. Weird.) He is sitting with his face turned completely away from me. I’m like, WTF??? I reached over, turned his face, and kissed him on the cheek. Well, 3/4ths cheek, 1/4th lips, which was his fault, not mine.

I got out, waved, and he was gone like the wind. I’m not really sure what to think. I just think he’s forgotten that no matter how much he shuts the door to his feelings in my presence, that door stands wide open other times, and if he thinks he’s hiding anything from me, he’s got another thing coming. I just have to remember, that goes both ways. Grrrrrr….

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The Soul of a Butterfly

March 13, 2006 at 12:08 pm (Uncategorized)

I spent Saturday night, following a showing of “Good Night and Good Luck” with Lex, and too much Pepsi, too late at night, working on my autobiographical essay for Columbia. There are three essays so I thought I would start with number one and work my way through.

The last paragraph warns against measuring a person against their family, their education or lack thereof, and other factors, insisting instead that the true measure of a person is to what extent a person educates and challenges themselves, realizing the only bars they must jump are those they set for themselves.

Columbia is a bar. Once I am there, I can laze into mediocrity, obtaining a degree by my teeth or challenge myself to achieve. The choice is always mine. The choice is mine to set my own bars regardless of the bars set by others.

This is but one of the realizations I have come to through blogging and peeling the infamous onion.

There are those in your life who will put the invisible bar out there. You will attempt to jump it, finding once you have worked and suffered, they have only risen the bar higher. First, there should not be bars to jump in relationships. That is called control. It is the “Good Child Syndrome” which I blogged about on July 30, 2004 and my “Dear Mom” letter from July 10, 2004.

I have been through this and now I recognize it in the people I meet. In any relationship, I believe you should be inspired and encouraged to raise your own bars, not as a condition of love or acceptance. Sometimes, we find that is impossible, not because we are not good enough, but because we buy into the myth that their bar matters more than our own. That is bullshit.

I have heard a song which, to me, asks what you are willing to do for that acceptance and for that love that you will never achieve, not because you’re not good enough, but because you buy the myth. It’s called, “Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly” by H.I.M.

Heaven ablaze in our eyes
We’re standing still in time
The blood on our hands is the wine
We offer as sacrifice

[Chorus]Come on, and show them your love
Rip out the wings of a butterfly
For your soul, my love
Rip out the wings of a butterfly
For your soul

This endless mercy mile
We’re crawling side by side
With hell freezing over in our eyes
Gods kneel before our crime

[Chorus]

Would you rip out the wings of a butterfly for them? Would you destroy something so fragile, innocent, and beautiful for them? If your answer is no, then why do you allow them to rip your fragility, innocence, and beauty out of you? Why do you allow them to destroy your soul?

You are the butterfly.

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President’s Approval Rating Tanks, Mine Stays Strong

March 10, 2006 at 10:26 am (Uncategorized)

The reason? Looming civil war in Iraq. Right. Ralph Peters, an imbedded reporter with the NY Post, has a different take and some scathing words for his fellow journalists. http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/64677.htm (Damn blogger won’t let me embed my link)

Fellow West Virginian Don Surber also commented on the “Iraqi Civil War” with links. http://donsurber.blogspot.com/2006/03/press-gets-burned-again.html

And, Columbia University Professor Samuel Freedman has the introduction to his new book, “Letters to a Young Journalist” (yes, I pre-ordered), posted on his website. The introduction is well worth reading if you’re interested in journalism, media, and an insider’s thoughts on the image of media to the general public, plus, a few scathing words. http://www.samuelfreedman.com

A commentary asked, “Do you feel safer now?” Meaning, do I feel safer that Dubai does not have control of our ports? Don asked whether we really thought they even wanted our measly ports, since the majority of their business is done elsewhere.

First, no, I don’t think Dubai is going to go home with hard feelings. As for whether I feel safer, probably not. Although I feel somewhat better that the issue has come to the forefront, won’t stay there long, but at least is being discussed. I had to point out though, that if we can’t control illegal immigration across the border then how can we control terrorism on that front as well? Yeah, I feel better that at least one potential point of entry has been blocked, at least from outsider influence. Now, what about FL, TX, NM, AZ, and CA???

In other news, I had an interview this morning. I’ve looked into working with this legal temp agency. The pay is incredible and the interview was by far the easiest I’ve had so far. Nice attorney, his handshake could use some work, but I liked him. I think he liked me. Therefore, the Nanner Approval Rating is in the high 80’s, even if I am doing political posts. Okay, maybe I’ll do like Zelda and just set up a political blog. The Multi-Faceted Blog Project, hey, great name for a new blog.

HAPPY FREAKIN’ FRIDAY!!!

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Dubya Meet Dubai, Dubai Meet The Congress

March 9, 2006 at 2:33 pm (Uncategorized)

On September 21, 2004, as our nation sped toward another Presidential election, I wrote a post entitled, “What Do We Really Know?” You may read the entire post here , however, I will also reprint the pertinent section for today’s post.

I’ve always heard, “consider the source.” I don’t give a crap about President Bush or Senator Kerry’s war shit. I’m worried about issues NOW! I hear, “President Bush vetoed XY&Z while Governor of Texas” or “Senator Kerry consistently voted against XY&Z in the Senate.” Okay, but why? Anyone who has studied our legislative system knows that those wily Senators and Representatives will stick anything on the end of an important bill to get it to pass.

Folks, wake up. Bills in the legislative arena that are being discussed and in committee are not just “Veterans’ Bill 400” or “Clean Air Act 2000.” Its “Veteran’s Bill 400… oh and cut the quality air standards in coal mines and make it illegal for Veterans to sue for medical malpractice.” The same for the Clean Air Act. I’m sure if bills were kept just bills for specific purposes they would pass. But NOOOO… some assmonkey has to stick a bunch of other shit on the end of it that could spell disaster.

Imagine the Clean Air Act 2004 would prohibit dumping, yada, yada, oil drilling in Alaska, blah, blah, but someone nicely tacked on the end of it that abortions would now be illegal and punishable by death of any living children you have or your parents. Would you sign that bill into law if you were Governor or President??? Would you vote for that bill if you were a Senator? That’s why some things don’t pass in the legislative arena folks. That’s why they’re vetoed at the Executive level. That’s why they go to the Supreme Court, or the judicial branch of our government.

This little rewind of blog history is in direct relation to the current snarling between a pack of wild dogs and the head dog in Washington (that’s Congress as the pack and Dubya as head dog) over the Dubai ports scandal. The bill under fire would provide emergency money for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and victims of Hurricane Katrina. Important issues in the grand arena of U.S. politics and those of our troops and American citizens.

Then, they stick this ports deal on the end of it, essentially giving control of particular portions of six American ports to DP World, a company, for all intents and purposes, owned and operated by the sheik of Dubai, a member of the United Arab Emirates. Now, the UAE recognized the Taliban and that makes a lot of people, including most Congressmen/women a bit uneasy, as it does, my guess here, the majority of Americans, for this corporation to have control over anything related to national security.

The issue is dead now as DP World “has agreed to turn over all of its operations at U.S. ports to an American entity, Sen. John Warner said Thursday.” (CNN) Yet, this is an important lesson for any American willing to use some common sense and application of learned material. If a bill supporting our troops and Katrina relief efforts cannot pass through Congress due to this outrageous addendum, even in the face of the Commander-in-Chief threatening to veto the measure if he does not get his way, what other important issues have been passed over and what issues have been pushed through, as addendums to other bills?

Additionally, I would be concerned not just with the operations of American ports formerly under the control of the British firm P&O, which sold it’s rights to DP World, but I would be concerned with any other port which DP World now controls, which are mainly in India and China. In my opinion, that’s the fox watching the hen house.

Kudos to the United States Congress for seeing the lunacy of allowing this bill to pass and standing up for the concerns of the American people. It’s about time some form of intelligence gripped our lawmakers. You may have done it to save your own rear-ends come election time but for now, re-write the bill, keep off the addendums, and send the money where it is needed.

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Self-Analysis

March 8, 2006 at 3:44 pm (Uncategorized)

Last night I happened across the blog of a local journalist named Don Surber. Go say hi to Don. I sent him an e-mail and he was kind enough to respond, even putting me on the list of “blogs to visit today,” and correcting my spelling. He thinks I should go to Columbia.

I read some of Don’s blog and the admissions information from Columbia and determined a couple of things. At this point, I’m woefully behind on where I should be to even have a chance at being accepted to Columbia. Woeful.

Although I love writing and I think I’m better than average when I get my groove on, to be an investigative journalist (they just opened a new sub-speciality in investigative journalism at Columbia), a couple of things have to happen.

One: I have to stop hiding my face in the sand. The very thing that makes me a better than average writer is what makes me a crappy journalist. My empathy is both a blessing and a curse. In order to learn more about the world, I have to learn to better filter the emotions and images of pain and suffering. I’ve learned once before that I cannot absorb, I must filter.

Two: I hate watching people get away with shit that is just wrong. Corruption, lies, deceit, things that hurt the average Joe on the street, and things swept under the rug just gall me. Being a crusader against injustices in the world is why I got into Criminal Justice to start with. It makes you unpopular and there’s a certain amount of fear there. I’ve never been what one would call “popular” so I don’t guess that hurts me too bad but I have to get over the fear of pissing people off. That’s not just in relation to journalism, that’s my life as a whole. I still carry a fear of Jeff inside of me. I literally do fear him. I’m tough but not as tough as I would like to be. Nate is my Achilles heel and he knows it.

Three: Speaking of Nate, regardless of how I feel about Jeff, I may have to face that Nate would be better off staying here. Not necessarily with Jeff, but just staying here, continuing into middle school with his sister, karate, golf, and tennis (both of which he has taken a liking to recently). If I go to Columbia part-time, it’s two to three years to complete the degree, full-time it’s 10 months. You do the math. Sacrifice sucks, that’s why it’s called “sacrifice” instead of “fun.” However, I don’t see our lives getting much better from here on out unless we both do a bit of sacrificing.

Four: There are some people in my life who will stand behind me and push me forward – you all, AZ, Lex, my dad, and my current bosses. There will those who question every movement – T-Bird and Nate’s half-sister’s mom. And, there will be those who won’t want me to do it. They will see it as selfish and ridiculous and criticize me for leaving Nate here (if that indeed happens). I’ll never win with these people – Jeff and my Mom.

The best thing is, I have a lot time to be prepared. Applications for the August 2007 M.S. program aren’t being accepted again until November 2006. I would then have to take the written test. Decision letters would be mailed around April 1, 2007. The only other issues at this point would be my house and my cats. I bet AZ could help with the house part, at least rent it out while I’m gone, find a “house sitter,” or something of that nature. I’m not going to worry. I’m just going to keep moving forward.

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School Days

March 7, 2006 at 2:24 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ve decided it will be worthwhile to pursue an advanced degree in Journalism. My school of choice is Columbia. Yeah, I don’t want much. There is a Master’s Program within 40 miles of my home. But, it’s Columbia. While the program nearby is good, the program at Columbia gives me more options toward my strengths and subject matter not to mention the sheer prestige of the institution, the contacts that could be made, etc. etc.

Then, there’s Nate. This is one of the main reasons why I haven’t jumped ship and swam yet. If I move, I have no support structure at all. The thought of leaving him behind in his father’s care is enough to give me hives, even if it is just for a year. A year is forever in a child’s mind.

But the naysaying has already begun in my mind. What if he get’s sick? What if, what if, what if??? How will I juggle Nate, school, and a job without any help? I know, I know, they have schools and babysitting services in New York, but who knows if I could afford that. Not to mention, the estimated fee for tuition, fees, living expenses etc. is over $58,000.00 for the year. One year. That is six times what my parents paid for my two college degrees over a 4 ½ year period of time.

But. I’ve always wanted to go to Columbia. I’ve been to the School of Journalism. I’ve looked at it, off and on, for a number of years. That’s what dreams are made of, right? Of 1,100 applicants, only 246 make it.

Plus, if you can write something intelligent (historical, factual, significant) about the following things, you may make it into Columbia:

Name 6 of the 9 Justices of the Supreme Court; (I got four current and two retired, doesn’t count)

Name the Mayor of New York City; (Got it!)

Name 9 of the 15 members of the UN Security Council; (Got four)

Karl Rove; Bernard Law; Brown vs. Bd of Education; Tony Soprano; Donald Rumsfeld; Freedom of Information Act; The Gulf of Tonkin; Eminem; Lee Bollinger; Bill Frist; Lance Armstrong; January 16, 1991; Frances Crick and James Watson; Ramadan; Hugo Chavez; Frida Kahlo; Hans Blix; Saddam Hussein; Al-Jazeera; and Gernhard Shroeder.

I at least knew who all of the people were, except for Lee Bollinger (he’s the President of Columbia University, DOH!). Then there was a map of the Middle East. I didn’t do so well. My brain is leaking…

Wouldn’t it be a great challenge? If I could make it in, you better believe I would go!!

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Monday Again

March 6, 2006 at 9:50 am (Uncategorized)

Oh, the joys of Monday. Although I’m not working today, I still had to get up and scoot Nate off to school. I was up at 3:45 this morning with a headache and backache from moving Nate’s dresser this weekend.

Under the “Weird Cats” segment of this broadcast, I present Ireland. Ireland is also in the family way and yesterday began nesting and meowing. I thought birth was imminent although she didn’t seem big enough. I was hoping she was only having one or two. Yeah, she had two alright. She has “adopted” Lola’s kittens, Marco and M.J. since Lola is weaning them.

Lola with kittens – one week

M.J. and Marco (four weeks) with Baby Sqeak (three weeks)

Similar in strain was the fact that Ireland and Lola’s mother, Morticia, and their aunt, Natasha, also shared kitten duty. Although Natasha was never in the family way, she still “babysat” Ireland, Lola, and Napoleon when Morticia left the room, up to the point she allowed them to “nurse” on her, even though she wasn’t producing milk. The vet told me that sometimes queens in the same house may begin to lactate even without their own litter.

Morticia and Natasha with Morticia’s baby’s. Napoleon is lying on top to the left, Mongoya, who later died is lying on top to the right, and Ireland is squished in the middle. I believe Lola is lying between Ireland and Napoleon.

Sometime during the night, Ireland sought out M.J. and Marco, since we had separated them, and drug them into the closet where her “nest” is and now the three are all sacked out, fat and sassy. *Sigh* Animals!

Ireland, M.J., and Marco (five weeks)

Here are some photos I took for our blogger friend and florist, Kenju, who posted a photo from a newspaper of her in this very spot. Ya’ll have a great Monday.

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Next Mood Swing… 2.5 Seconds

March 1, 2006 at 8:31 pm (Uncategorized)

Not mine, Nate’s. Yes, my little fellow is showing all the classic signs of puberty, including him telling me, “Mom! I’m going through puberty.” Which he then emphasized by telling me, “You know, when I use the bathroom, I also clean down. . .” and he glances several times towards below his belt.

“Well, Bubba, I’m very glad to hear you take personal hygiene seriously.”

“Yeah, well, I thought I had a hair wrapped around it, but it was attached to, you know, those little round things in the sac.”

Oh yeah, my heart stopped beating and I started hyperventilating, quietly of course, so as not to scare the child sitting next to me, being so honest about his body changes, knowing this conversation would probably never happen again.

Today, Nate had a mini-meltdown at school. Hormones, I swear. See, Baby Squeak did not respond to my most valiant efforts on her behalf and died this afternoon but was very distressed for a period of time last night. Nate is understanding of this and knows that we had done everything we could to help her out.

What concerned him more was the other kittens, MJ and Marco, had gone missing in the middle of the night, to freer quarters under the end table. We could hear them this morning but couldn’t see them and I told Nate that I was sure Lola could find her babies by sound and smell. He seemed okay with this but by 11:00 today it had bothered him to the point he burst out crying and they called me.

He had another meltdown in the afternoon and when we got home and pulled everything apart, he found MJ and Marco and cried tears of joy. Love his little tender heart. I realized while eating dinner that his behavior over the past week or so and the tears at school were probably very hormone related and have turned my child into a two-headed demonic being. This… is gonna be fun and it’s only going to get worse.

In other news. The private school determined they did not feel their school was right for Nate. I disagree but… we’ll continue on. Jeff said, “Well, you just need to work with him more.” Like I don’t already, assmunch?

Also, I have applied to be the Crime Victim’s Advocate for another county other than the one I live in (but is within 15 miles). The position reports directly to the Prosecutor and I happen to know, very well, one of the assistant prosecutors and called and bent his ear today for about 30 minutes. He said he would put in a good word for me and gave me tips about interviewing with the Prosecutor. I realize this job will certainly pay less than I’m making but is one that is very close to my heart. Once I explained to Assistant Prosecutor why it was incredibly ironic that I was applying for this job, he said, “You know, you would be perfect for this position.”

I’m encouraged and I’ll explain tomorrow why it’s incredibly ironic.

I took the afternoon off, and the rest of this week and Monday. Why? Because I have 28 sick days and I want to. I want to get my house cleaned up and my car and my yard and start fresh. Oh, and, you know, finish a few beading projects. Jury is in exactly three weeks.

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