Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Sometimes I re-read, and decide to repost.

I need to get my creative juices flowing again.  Things have been a bit stunted lately.

I miss the days of writing, and blogging, and commenting, and being generally more entwined with people (even online) that I am now.  Things are all so throwaway now.  So packed with monetized content and PURPOSE, like social interaction has to mean something, for God's sake.

Sometimes you just want to laugh at a fart joke.

Or to turn the other direction and read something like this story I wrote many moons ago, in a voice that still tells most of my stories.  I really REALLY wish I knew who this tale-teller is that bubbles up whenever someone tells me to 'write something,' but there she is, time after time.

She needs a name.

Because, apparently, she's had kind of a rough life.

The story below, for example.


Well, you know, it hurt like a sonofabitch for a while, then it didn’t, then for a while it did again.

Fucking headaches, anyhow. They come fast as a buck rabbit on a doe sometime, and sometimes they’re like a hog on a sow, can’t break ‘em.

All my dang life, every day, which one’s it gonna be, buck or hog? If a buck, then the day’s work gets done no questions, cuz there’s 15 hours left of work at least before cleanup starts, but a hog? That’ll take half the day away and the washing won’t get done if it’s Wensdy, nor the irnin on Thursdiy.

Years back, before these grips kep comin on I went to school. I can still remember how to read and write, but by God if just keeping up with everything don’t keep a person from total recall on all the things they once knew.

That’s why I know to write this down now, before all the headaches claim what’s left of my sensibilities and I wind up just chasing one job to another tryin’ to git it all done before I don’t remember how to even speak.
Even my writing takes shorthand now. I just looked at what I wrote, not 60 minutes after the buck left the building, and I don’t even know who that person is. Oh, I know who the fuck the BUCK is, that much is for sure, but who wrote that what speaks of the bucking effects? I have no idea.
This sickness is eating me from the inside; it’s changing me. 
It’s tiring as hell. I don’t even get to drink a damn potion on purpose to make it happen.
I need to go do the laundry now. It’s already Thursday and I still need to iron.
Still Thursday.
A week later.
All is calm.
Friday is here. The boar is back. Stone cold sober he ain’t because he’s been goin at me for hours now, and I can’t get anything done at all. 

Take one step, he take another to block me.

Try to sidestep by chugging some water (sometimes that helps) but he keeps coming on. Determined to win this time. I am no match. Sense make no sense. 

Oh. I can’t see.
There’s a bug in my mouth. I can’t let go of it for fear of alerting the headachers. One complaint, they’re back. No complaint, I can keep the peace. It’s a burden, but worth the stillness. Like a quiet uncomfortable soundtrack, a secret silence, a scream in a vacuum.

It’s fine. I can do this.
Things are so heavy all over. Workin against the weight is hard. Daggone boar is hard at work now, pushin and mashin and just being ugly all over. Can’t get much done anymore. I scream at myself when I can.
Roll over. Hurts in arms. Night is everywhere. Legs are jumpy. I vomit.
There’s the spider. I hide it under my arms so nobody sees it. There are lots of people around.
Bright lights.
I feel strong and weak. 
More spiders. I vomit them from my guts, my lungs, my brain, my heart, my skin as I am bursting from within, bones breaking, heart growing, fear escaping.
I shout spiders, scream them, roar them, own them, claim them, banish them in this moment of power.
The spiders leave. They are afraid.
So are the buck and boar. They are afraid of the truth in my mouth, the poison they put there I was so feared of loosing. Cowards. Me included ,but no more.
I hold someone soft and warm.
Bonny baby.

So, yeah.  Happy All Saint's Day.  I guess.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Why I should never travel for work

Goes like this:

I was offered an opportunity to go to a really cool conference few months ago because of a group  I participate in at work that's all about innovation from within.  I do enjoy some innovation, but when you are trying to steer/outfit a big ol' ship, sometimes (most of the time) it's a very difficult thing to do.  Like, our company is an ocean liner big, and innovations mostly happen in the 28-foot cabin cruiser range of companies.  So, the chance to innovate on an ocean liner ACTING like a skiff was one  I couldn't pass up.

You know, by way of background.

The time for conferencing came and thus this Monday and Tuesday our ocean liner got a bunch of folks together to innovate.  Many of these folks came in suit coats and slacks/skits as their interpretations of 'innovation casual' (the actual dress code!), which means that 1) they own a suit coat, 2) feel more comfortable wearing one that not, and 3) are obviously People of Some Importance in the OL, like Officers and not the Enlisted.

(OK, there were some enlisted there too, like me.  I opted to wear Not A Suit Coat [surprise!  I don't own one] but rather floral-print black flowy pants with a long-sleeved v-neck black tee [thanks Eddie Bauer!] one day and a rib-knit crossover dress [Torrid] over cropped leggings [also Torrid] and a print infinity scarf [Charmin' Charlies!] the next.  The SAME black flats both days [The horror!]

I looked POSITIVELY innovative, if I must say so myself.)

However, clothing is not the reason I shouldn't travel.  I felt no embarrassment about my outfits, having thought through my choices and picking the ones I felt were a good mix of comfy/flattering/interesting.

No, the reason  I should probably re-think travel for work (or anywhere, especially when planes and hotels are involved), is how I LOOK when I travel.  OK, how everything above my neck looks, if we're being precise.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what 1) nights of poor sleep and 2) entire days of dehydration do your your (not so) faithful correspondent:

Normal me
Travel me.

NOT an exaggeration.  I lose my eyelashes and everything!  And stay this way for the duration of the trip!  Even with Visine and fancy eye creams and all the water I can get down my gullet!

Y'all, I feel SO BAD for the people that had to spend time with me the past few days.  It was NOT a pretty sight, though I tried my best.  Also, hotel lighting schemes suck in a major way, so there was no really good method to ensure I was 'doing it right' in terms of horror amelioration.

Shamefaced admission: For years I read in fashion mags and Good Housekeeping and ladies rags of that nature, that models are slavish to facial spritzers and chugging water and all manner of skin hydration methods  to stay 'fresh' while they jet-set, and I scoffed at their puny selves for not being more resilient and tough-skinned, like me, for whom travel never seemed a bother.  Well, SOMEONE must have found that picture of me in the attic and given it a nick, 'cuz now I scoff no more.


And should be shown to nobody, ever.

I did have a good time though, so there's that.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who suffers from the dreaded TF, won't you?

Tiff out.

Monday, September 11, 2017

In which I regret a thing or two

Hold my beer...
Hello once again, and welcome to another installment of 'why I should never answer a knock at my front door.'

Ever, really.

Years from now folks probably won't recall that the past few days have seen a gigantic hurricane, Irma, rip through the Caribbean and into Florida, and is now eating up portions of South Carolina.  Damage is horrific, loss of life is significant, whole islands have been rendered uninhabitable.

Stick with me.

Folks started leaving the Southern-most states a few days ago, and if they were lucky had enough gas to make it through to a mid-Atlantic state (or further).  The pictures of the traffic snarls on the northbound highways were mind-boggling, I'm sure being IN the snarls were enough to MAKE you snarl.  Folks were running out of gas, food, and water, things had been pretty desperate.

This is not why I should not answer a knock at my door, though.  Not yet.

One of the families that evacuated north are folks who used to go to our church.  Nice younger couple, he's a musician/worship lead, she's a teacher who now homeschools their young son and will do so for their baby daughter someday if I'm any good as forecasting the future.  They made what I think is the absolute right decision to get out, and their target destination was right be here in the 27587.  They still have friends here, it seems.

Saw them at church yesterday and had a nice chat; they were disappointed that Biff wasn't there (he had a gig).   Very sweet.

Almost there, hold on a minute longer.

So, I work at home.  This involves a commute of about 3 steps from my bed to my desk, and also very often involves me not getting out of my pajamas until late in the afternoon.  Also likely involved is a distinct lack of hairbrushing or other niceties that one would be expected to engage in if one was planning on being seen by anyone other than the dog.  It's a pretty darned impressive low-impact system, and one that I'm reasonably comfortable performing.  Sometimes I throw a bathrobe on if I'm feeling classy.

So  I should have known better than to go see who was at the door this afternoon.  I really should have.  I was in full-on PJ and bathrobe regalia, my slept-in hair blossoming almost OUT of the topknot I'd wrestled it into the day before, face unwashed, you get the idea.

You also probably know who was at the door.

It was not the mailman.  It was the nice young couple from church.

I'm reasonably certain that having me show up at the door, shambling around in a too-big bathrobe with a fully-risen hair muffin on my head, changed their perceptions of me a touch.  Maybe more than.  That's on them.

That's not the worst of it though.

That came a few minutes later, when their young son allowed as to how he might need to make a potty stop, which of course I agreed to after I put the dog out back.  The youngster and his Daddy made use of the facilities and were soon on their merry way, after which I needed to make a pit stop of my own, at which time  noticed what was The Worst Thing.

See, I live in a home with three very accommodating men.  They put the seat down after they're done peeing, so I don't normally see the underside of the seat.  Today was a day I also wish I hadn't seen the underside of the seat.  Really really wish that had been the case, but no.

The toilet I allowed that little boy and his nice Daddy to use today was...sullied.  Besmirched.  Bedecked.  Soiled, splattered, you get the idea.  This lovely little boy and his lovely Dad flipped up that seat and were met with the unfortunate aftermath of one of my family members' potty visits.

There's no way they could have missed it.


And THAT is why I shouldn't ever answer the door.  Because I might just unknowingly completely gross out people with the slovenly nature of my toilet seat.

Now where's the Clorox?

Tiff out.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Hanging out, listening in

For the record, alchemists
usually work alone
In the nonstop glamour that is my professional life, there is ample opportunity to become involved in meetings of all manners.  Planning meetings, update meetings, strategy meetings, advice meetings, etc and so forth and on and on.

Yesterday there was a 7-HOUR meeting to talk through a 180-page document.

Seven hours was not enough.  The team reconvened at 5 p.m. last night and appeared to have remained online for at least 3 hours.

Even that was not enough, for today the team are meeting for at least 3 MORE hours to talk through the last 20 or so pages of the document.  Which means, of course, that the computer systems are super-slow and seem to be teetering on the brink of collapse in the meeting sharing window.

The best part of this is that I'm really only just listening in to folks talking through the issues, picking apart what's been written, re-dictating crafted language, and scrambling to get this done.  I feel really bad for them, as this is a project that was super-sped up by the big bosses in the face of what was already a challenging timeline.  They're doing their absolute BEST, but jeez, how much can be asked of a group of individuals?  They're practicing virtual alchemy to create a golden ticket from a pile of confusion and conflicting opinions, at incredible speed.

It's astounding.  And for once I'm glad I'm not the one driving the content.  I just have to own the process, which is enough.

It's going to be enough to QC that 11-page reference list against the text...and get the data-driven sections QC'ed...and ensure it's the next 10 days.

Goodbye, weekend.


So, big eclipse plans?

Me neither.

The kiddoes are going with their Dad down to SC to see it happen, which is a nice thing to do with their Dad I suppose.  He's pretty big on Life Event things, so they have those moments built into their collective life experiences.  Me?  I'm not a planner and don't really like to go to place where I know a crowd will also be, so tend to just stay home and live vicariously through the participants on the street.

After seeing what happened in Charlottesville and Barcelona this week, maybe staying off the streets isn't a bad idea.

But, eclipse.  Let's talk about that.

Way back when (1991? 1992?  Can't recall), there was an eclipse, which happened during work hours.  I know this because all us science nerds were hanging out in the windowed stairwell of the beautiful new research building, peering up at the sun through a tiny window of a 'floppy' disc.


Yup.  Apparently one can view an eclipse directly by pulling back the 'locking' tabs on the floppy disc and using the disc itself to screen out harmful rays of sunshine.  Like this:
Ta daaaaah!
We probably looked really cool doing this in our white lab coats, a mass of nerdiness peering like Devo at the fireball in the sky.

Heck, 'probably' nothing.  We rocked the look and the eclipse, then got right back to work saving the world.

Good times.


And that's twice this month I've posted.  You are welcome.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Good DAY, Sunshine!

These didn't survive the Michigan-like winter, let
alone the brutal summer.  Goodbye, penstemon.
Summer 2017 has one giant bowl of hot n' muggy.  My flower garden can attest to that, as it's simply been too awful outside to go pull weeds or, you know, care much.  I bought some petunias before we went on vacation, then didn't PLANT the darned things, so now have $32 of wasted petunia to throw in the trash.

So of course I bought more flowers on  Sunday.  They remain unplanted, but now that the weather's turned a little nicer (high temps of only 90!) tomorrow morning I'mma be out in the garden finishing the weeding and planting my purdy new flowers.  I won't let that $27 go in the bin, as God is my witness!!


Oh, vacation was nice too.  As we do every year, we headed up to Smith Mountain Lake for a week of boatin' and floatin' and bloatin'.  We had a nicely zippy tritoon (150 horsepower is great!), a waverunner that had enough power to cause blisters on the (admittedly fairly soft) hands of one of its riders, and a speedboat that mostly ran pretty well.

The goal of any good lake week is to not put shoes on the whole week and not travel anywhere by car.  I can never achieve those goals, because someone needs to do the trash runs, and it's a nice drive with good views, so I slap on the sneakers and go.  Also, this introvert needs some time alone on a regular basis, which doesn't really get to experience when living for a week in a house with 6 other people and other family dropping on by for funtimez on the water.

I love my family, know.

On a related note, one of the long trips of lake week is to traverse the South-to-North path of the Roanoke River up to Hardy VA to eat hot dog bites and see what kind of crosses and hot sauce they have at Bay Roc Marina.  This year I elected to not go.  This is a trip that in years past has, for whatever reason, stressed me to the point of nausea (usually thunderstorm related), and I just wanted to avoid that this time around.

And you know what?  I might have missed out on some fun, but I had a WONDERFUL time by myself.  I relaxed like crazy, did some word searches, worked a puzzle, watched the water, and grabbed a tiny hunk of inner peace.

Fabulous, and very very tasty.


Anyhow, the laundry is washing, the dishes need doing, dinner needs fixing, and excuses for tomorrow's potential failures need to be created and catalogued.

Busy busy!

Tiff out.