Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Please stop doing this

Folks, we need to talk about a few things. 

Things you need to stop doing.  Like, NOW.


Using these two phrases, for starters:

'Took a turn for the worst'

'All the sudden'

Because, really, it's presumed that (unless you're a non-native English speaker) you have come into contact with a variant of these turns of phrase before, and at that contact it's likely the phrase was being used correctly.  Perhaps I am wrong in this, but I'll bet not.  The use of these phrases MUST be stopped.

They are, in correct form, as follows:

'Took a turn for the worse'

'All of a sudden'

Please take note and endeavor to use them in their proper form from this point on.

Thanks much!


Also, if you would be so good as to cease being exclusionary, purposely ignorant, hateful, judgemental, violent, manipulative, and/or close-minded.

Instead, try being these things:


It might seem weird at first, but once you get some practice in I'll bet you find that you're a lot less angry and defensive.

Good luck!


One last thing (this is for anyone who works in a cube farm): if you are having a conversation in your cube with someone, either on the phone or in person, please, for the sanity of all around you, do NOT drop your voice to a whisper just as you're getting to the juicy parts of what you're sharing.  It's really super-annoying and makes some of us get a little stabby. 

If you KNOW you're going to 'go there' in a conversation, either take it to a meeting room or save it  for instant messaging.  Because that would be the kind and least distracting thing to do, and might save you from being impaled by a plastic cafeteria knife.


These message brought to you by someone who clearly has some 'issues' with people lately.

What are yours?

Tiff out.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Thanks for that

Part of why I don't love my job is that there's a LOT of training involved.  Like, a lot.

I also don't like having to follow the rules, like ever, but must adhere to The System where training is concerned or the folks in the Upper Offices get notified and I would get called on the carpet, which I like even less than following the rules, so follow them I do.

Therefore, I do the damned training.

This morning's offering was along the lines of 'How we made your job easier by introducing new steps in the process and multiple new forms to fill out, plus make you do more of the work other people should be doing.  Amen.'

What, that doesn't make sense to you?  Welcome to Corporate America, my friend.

Oh sure, it's padded with little items like 'we now provide a fully hyperlinked document for you to check, so now YOU check it instead of that dude in India,' which isn't as fun as it sounds (!) because the type of document we're talking about can have thousands of pages and multiple thousands of links to check, and did I mention I'm not all that hot on detail work either?  Of all the things I don't care for at my job though, detail work, especially QC work, is my least least favorite, and sometimes I enjoy it, but THIS kind of detail work is mind-numbing.  Oh, and then we need to complete a form that says 'I checked it, it's FINE,' which if it turns out things are NOT actually fine when it comes time to submit the thing, will bounce back at the sign-ee like an angry toddler on a trampoline.

But I digress.  Back to the training - -

Normally, intructor-led training is more entertaining than the canned slide decks or recorded sessions in which the same smiling lady is used to present a wide variety of topics (eg, 'Marcy' in one training is 'Lucy' in another and she wears the same clothes and holds the same poses, because why pay for another set of stock photos when you already have The World's Stiffest Spokesmodel on hand?).  Instructors can do that little interaction thing, and sometimes can inject a little humor, right?

Well, notsomuch today.  Sure, there were humorous things that happened, like that long space of dead air while the nice fellow swooped around a long document looking for his one example of a broken link (so he could show us what one looks like), a time during which I may have hoped that the connection to the meeting was irretrievably broken, and that awkward giggle when the other instructor fished around for a way to say "I don't know" to a good question, but otherwise this one was pretty dry.

It had to be, because they rip-raced through absolute PILES of material, barely mentioning stuff that's pretty important. THEN they had the nerve to tell us that the meeting would end 25 minutes short of the scheduled hour, and I had to wonder why they glossed over so much if they KNEW the presentation only goes 35 minutes.  Seriously.  If  I'm going to not do actual work and instead go to a training, I want that training to last the full allotment of time instead of 'giving me back' 25 minutes of my day to, ostensibly, DO WORK. That's just a terrible trick to play on someone, wouldn't you agree.

So, yes.  Thanks for that trainers for all that "time back" hooey, but I played a trick on you.  I didn't work at all.  I wrote this post instead.


Oh, and my kid graduated on 06 June.  GPA of 4.875, 18th in his class of 500+ kids.  He seems to think that's pretty normal.  I seem to think it's pretty awesome.  He worked HARD for those grades, but didn't want to celebrate it.  Weirdo.

So I'm putting his picture on the internet instead.

Yes, he's still in braces.  We got started late...
One proud mama, out. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Oh for F*(&s sake

Years from now it is likely that the furore being experienced in the hearts and (I guess they are) minds of some folks is going to seem quaint and adorable by most of the people who are still around to remember this one earth-shattering thing that has happened that can now never unhappen:


OMGOMGOMGOMG!  Where's the bomb shelter?  How do I protect my children?  What has this world come to that a man's man like Bruce is now a lady named Caitlyn?  It's an outrage!!  He can't be a she!  He's a he and he needs to be a he because if he is now a she then all my teenage broodings over how great a 'he' he was are now in vain because he was living a lie and liars are sinners and sinners go to hell and in my Heaven Bruce Jenner should be there gleaming like the god he is, medals around his burly neck and his glorious hair blowing in the celestial breeze!  Damn! 

Who wants to be a LADY, for crying out loud?

Well, me.

I am a lady, who never really felt all that 'girly.'  Don't think that makes me less of a lady because I tend to not think like one.  Does that make me a boy?  No.

I have a sound mind, a strong one, even, and while I don't tip around in girly acroutrements and preen over hair and makeup or get tall worked up over the newest fashions and manicure styles and Who Has The Biggest Diamond, I can be as much of a lady as the next man.  Or female.  I don't think it's about the outside as much as the inside, in other words.

I am a lady, who often feels much more like a guy.  I'm basic, simple, and now that I'm old I have much less drama and hormones to flood my physical being with what was chromosomally determined at conception, I have pared back to what I believe I really am, which is a PERSON.


Imagine.  Wanting to be the person you are.  What nerve.

Well, Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner has been trying to be what she isn't for well over 30 years.  THIRTY.  Let her have a moment when she feels just right in who she is, even if the plumbing might not match the rest of the remodel.  Who gives a tiny crap about something as insignificant as that, when someone can finally say something as banal (to me) as 'hey, I like jeans and a tee just fine, no need for pantyhose and perfume here,' or, more likely, 'I like me in a dress and heels and big hair like Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias.' 

Word: It's not the end of the world.  This transitioning doesn't reflect on YOUR gender situation (unless it does, and then I hope in some way what is happening right now helps you).  It's not as though this sort of thing has never happened before.  This is not the first time.  It's HER first time, though, and I think that while it might be confusing and strange and really uncomfortable for some folks, in the end it's about finding what make a person comfortable and at  peace that matters, and not what they wear or who they are becoming, or have become.

It's just not that huge a deal, except for him.  A little support would be great instead of a heaping helping of obnoxious bullying and creepy innuendo (Mike Huckablech!).

God.  Give me a spirit of graciousness and understanding in this moment.  Remind me to be civil and not fan flames of hatred and discomfort.  Let me be the open arms, the understanding heart, the sought-for peace.

Rant over.

Friday, May 22, 2015


It's been almost a month since I last posted, if the Blogger list is to be believed.  Clearly, things have been happening around here.


A) Thing the Younger is graduating high school this year, and so naturally I have to set aside some 'fret' time each and every day about this momentous life passage that was too quick to arrive.  OK, I don't really do that, but could if I was that sort of person, which I am not, and likely should be more of because things would get done around here, most likely.  We were involved, however, in discussions regarding enrollment and housing choices, both of which have occurred and are paid for.  It's going to be Tarheel country up at our house!

B) There were some birthdays and that whole Mother's Day raft of shenanigans really took the wind out of my sails for several days.  Plus which I got chocolate, so that took priority over writing anything here.

C) I also had to pay rapt attention to the Internet, as it's been a little dicey lately and needs to be monitored.  Closely.  Every day.  Did you know the average Facebook user spends 40 minutes a DAY there?  Slackers.

D) I started to write more than once, but each and every time a puff of wind blew in my face, or a cat wanted in (or out, or both, because, catS), or nobody else was making dinner, or I just coulld expend the energy to open up Blogger and just start in.

E) Also, I spent a fair bit of time working out the plan for my novel, and managed to whittle way some of the really bad ideas to arrive at what I think might be workable, and so got all skittish about writing anything else for fear that activity might push the good ideas out, which as it turns out happened quite naturally over time and it seems at this point like I'm going to have to go re-think my previous thoughts to see if they're still in the 'winning' column of Stuff I Would Like to Read (and therefore write).

F) Oh, and getting Thing 1's cosplay outfits ready for Animazement, which started yesterday, took some time.  I spent a LOT of time avoiding it, because it was going to be hard and I wasn't sure I could do it at all so didn't start because then, in a twisted way, I couldn't eff it up.  It was only when I noticed that HE wasn't starting anything either that we had a little chat about our shared procrastination issues and we dove in.  Things were going pretty well for me until yesterday, when I put the jacket (like, an actual SUIT JACKET!) together all wrong and it was too late to fix it so I wound up PAINTING another jacket approximately the right color and sheen to match what would have been the Perfect Jacket if I hadn't messed it up.  See today's pic above for what was supposed to happen.  I didn't make it that far, though it would have been awesome to have it come together, because we started working on it in January and the pattern and material set me back 80 bucks and C put a LOT of time into fusing the shiny stuff to some beefier material to make suitable (!) suiting fabric.  Oh well.  There are about a hundred ways to interpret this character (as I just found out (INTERNET!)), so I hope that the cosplay will be recognizable and enjoyed.

We DID successfully style the wig and make a Worbla mask and heart for the other cosplay character he's doing, so that's a win.  This is what we were going for:

He also did the whole suit and gloves and tie and shirt thing.  It came together nicely and I cannot WAIT to see pictures.

So, yes, it's been a while and I have NO good reasons why I haven't continued the frenetic pace of blogging I have set thus far this year.   Please accept the above neatly-listed Maytime activities as proof of my continued existence and interest in reaching out to you, the good people of the internet (and sometimes real life).

Happy long weekend!

Tiff out.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wern-in-natin' the countryside

Ask anyone around these parts why we got a dog last year and most if not all of them would say “we have no idea.  Both Tiff and Biff have stated bluntly that they were never going to get another dog because cats are so much easier and they can just leave for longer periods of time and gallivant and frolic and such without having to worry about some dumb ol’ canine needing to be walked and fed and loved and stuff.

And it would be true.  Every single syllable.  Once Skeeter Thee Dog passed on, we were freed up significantly to do whatever we wanted to, when we wanted to, for periods of up to 3 whole days at a time without having to call in the kitty-sitter to come refill the food bowls and check for carcasses.  We were footloose and fancy-free, and it was great.  GREAT!!  No dog hair to sweep up, no toys to throw and throw and throw, no schedule to be aware of, just loosey-goosey life, livin’ la vida lazy!

I didn’t realize how good we had it, until we got a puppy.

The most unexpected puppy ever, a puppy that really probably ought to be living with someone else right now.  Someone else who understands dogs, who forgives them their stupidity and messes, who adores their goofy flabbergasting ways.  Who might be able to make sense of what happened yesterday afternoon in the 5 hours or so he was home alone.  Picture it:

I walk in the door at about 4:15, greeted as usual by Wern, who is standing on the couch in the usual position, happy as all get–out to see me, or so it would have appeared if I was utterly blind and had no sense of touch or smell.

The happiness was not FOR me, though, it was for the ‘work’ he’d been up to while on his own.  Work that included jumping ON the kitchen table (he’s never done that before) and eating 2 packets of ketchup, 15-20 Hershey’s kisses (wrapped in festive pastel foil, which I expect to start seeing again any day now), a tube of lip gloss, a tub of tuning slide grease, a (small) bottle of rotor oil, 2 ziploc bags, and a work glove.  In the carnage, he managed to dislodge 10+ CDs from the Ziploc they had been stored in and scatter them all over the floor, knock the (small) pile of mail to the floor, possibly eat some of the mail (can’t be sure, it’s either that or he snacked on some cash-register receipts), and knock a box of sewing pins all.over.the.floor (and carpet, and couch, and under the recliners).

It looked, quite literally, like someone had chucked a lit stick of dynamite into just the right spot to maximize ‘stuff spread’ on the BOOM.

I didn’t react well.

To put it mildly.

Oh sure, I put him outdoors (after slamming the door in his face and without checking his feet or mouth for PINS) so he wouldn’t get in my way (‘stay safe’) while I was cleaning up, and once done cleaning up I called the vet to get their recommendation on what to do (they said ‘go to the emergency room’ and I laughed and laughed).  Sure, I made sure he was safe and secured the incident zone, sure I did, and then I called Biff and asked him where the shotgun was.

I did.

Because #1 – I’d had it with this wild beast and #2 - I do not have, at this time, any money to give to ER vets for our dog.  Not even for an X-ray, because here’s why: there was some mix-up in the HR system at work and mysteriously my withholding allowances went from 0-80 (sort of) sometime in the latter third of the year and as such I owed several thousands of dollars to the Feds which I THOUGHT I was going to use to buy siding for the house after we get the foundation work done in May.  Put it another way: foundation work + tax payout (the former siding!) = almost my entire savings account, with purt’ near no room left over for stupid dog tricks like maybe SWALLOWING PINS and having to pay out mucho dollars to assess the situation.

Well, calling Biff was the right thing to do, because he couldn’t put his fingers right smack on where the shells were for the shotgun.  Not only was he totally non-helpful in my bloodlust, Biff talked me back off the ledge from which I was planning to jumpstart my murderous career and suggested I call our buddy Jen, who knows Things About Animals and is good about putting the tops of upset people’s heads back on when their idiot pets caused it to nearly blow right off.  So, I texted Jen, and Jen said ‘call me,’ so I called, and she talked me down from the radiator next to the ledge back to a reasonably comfortable wing chair in the parlor, advising us to take a path that sounded sensible and level-headed and cheap.  Gosh Jen, I’m glad we crossed paths at a company that shall not be named many years ago – and not only for your ‘don’t be daft about the dog’ attitude.

So, Wern was fed well throughout the evening.  We watched for signs of distress but none came.  No GI effects throughout the night.  This morning he was pacing a bit but I think that’s because I was up at 4:30 a.m. for NO REASON AT ALL and he didn’t get his customary lie-in until 8 a.m. with me and was confused about how to be in the morning, in the dark.  I asked Mason to take him out at lunchtime, and I’m leaving soon to go check on him/let him out/feed him some more/ensure he’s not eaten through the back door and into the garden like some canine Lawnmower Man. 

Because even though he was in mega-jerk dog mode yesterday afternoon and evening, I’d still hate for the big galoot to feel sad or sick or ‘off’ without someone there to help him through what ails him.

Which does NOT mean I’m a ‘dog person,’ yet, but I think it’s one more step down the road to crazytown.

Tiff out.