Tuesday, September 29, 2009

London? Who are you?

Don't install Google Analytics on your blog. It will leave you wondering who in London visited six pages and spent 4 minutes on your blog this week.

Also, who are you in Melbourne? You've visited twice, so it can't be a mistake, can it?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Notes from Our Idiocracy.

Some personal favorites from my Facebook work today... basically the opposite of Good Thing Friday. This is Pissed Off Monday; don't tell me the world isn't worth hating sometimes!

(These are different people, thank god. All on one page might cause spontaneous combustion. And they are not my personal friends. Even I'm not that dumb.)

Religious beliefs: Episcopalian yet Catholic, at the same time, some how! (Um, no. No you aren't. And you're an idiot.)

Favorite Books: Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Infinite Jest, Walden, The Bell Jar. (Guess how old this person is.)

Political Beliefs: Undecided. (This person is 29 years old. I'm not sure they ought to be advertising their inability to decide on something like this.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Good Thing Friday: Referral

You thought I forgot my Good Thing Friday, didn't you?

But I am taking the easy way out with my very first blog referral! (But not my last.)

Jen is a friend-of-a-friend, a writer, a mom of three girls, a wife and an utterly delightful person. This sort of feels like an @ mention on Twitter, but really, she's great. And even greater for you, 'cause you might not ever meet her, is her blog.

It's called The Short Years (the years have seemed short, but the days go slowly by). It is wonderful observations about life as mother of young children, as a freelance writer, as an Oregonian and a modern woman. Go read it. She posts more than I do. You will like it; you can't help but like writing that good.

This sort of endorsement is in no way a plea for ReTweeting, or, uh, re-referring. It's Good Thing Friday, people! Paying it forward, as it were. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It is What You Make of It.

Don't people say that all the time? And isn't it totally annoying? Like, if your car gets broken into, you're NOT supposed to be upset or feel victimized? If you lose your job, you're NOT supposed to be angry and vulnerable?

So here's a story, however, about making of it what I will.

My debit card number was stolen this week, and someone tried to spend $2007.90 on a travel website. My bank denied it, called me, confirmed some purchases both before and after this attempt, and cut off the card. I'll be getting a new one in a week. Meantime, online banking and ATMs and checks are working, smooth sailing.

I could have flipped out about the lack of internet security. I could have wondered on what website it got compromised, or what merchant had their list stolen. I could distrust all forms of internet banking, and go back to stamps only and balancing my checkbook by hand. (Well, I am a geek who does balance her checkbook by hand, but you know what I mean.)

But I didn't. It was a fifteen minute interlude in the day, talking to the very efficient fraud department, learning I had not lost a dime, and will have a new debit card shortly. It was a blip. There were times in my life that it wouldn't have been be a blip: it would have been cause to allow all kinds of fears and prejudices and anger to come bubbling up.

So maybe, sometimes, it IS what you make of it.

And as I strive to choose calm, direct actions over insecure, frantic reactions, I am becoming ... lame! And old! And coming around to belief in that pithy adage.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Genocide, Schmenocide.

I have a very small amount of money invested in mutual funds, including the Washington Mutual Investors Fund. Today, I got to vote online, with a special code, as a shareholder. (I think I own 1.35 shares.) The fund is very helpful and lets me know which way the Board of Directors, in their worldly experience and incredible wisdom, would encourage me to vote. For example, the Board is "FOR" the following:
Let me say: I am for those things too, though I'm not sure we want the same things, the Board and I. Why?

Because the Board is, in fact, "FOR" all of the proposed changes. Except one. The Board recommends I vote "AGAINST" the following proposal:
  • To consider a proposal submitted by shareholders of certain funds that requests the Board of these Funds to "institute procedures to prevent holding investments in companies that, in the judgment of the Board, substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity, the most egregious violations of human rights."
Thanks, Board! I trust you! Who would want their money NOT TO contribute to the most egregious violations of human rights?! Self interest! Self interest! For The Win!

It's only Tuesday morning. And I already want to give up for the week.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Race That Knows Joseph.

That is a phrase from the Anne of Green Gables series, and it means the same thing as Anne's phrase "kindred spirits". Either someone knows Joseph, or they don't. And when you meet 'em, it usually takes no more than five minutes to tell if they know Joseph, too.

This past weekend, I had dinner with a new person who does not know Joseph. And I met one new person who definitely does. Welcome, Marc!

The thing I like about the race that knows Joseph is that sometimes family members belong - and sometimes they don't. It's not their fault, it's just is how it is. But how fun is it when someone in your family IS a kindred spirit?

Even if there is a dearth of kindred spirits in the family, that makes the others all the more precious. I always wanted a sister. And one has made her way to me. She definitely is of the race that knows Joseph and just like getting to know any sibling worth their salt, it's a slow and patient process that'll bloom in its own time.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Looking for an answer?

This may become a regular feature... just toying with it on the weekend for now...

Do I think the results to your Facebook quiz are interesting? No, I do not.

Do I think you're making a mistake? If you're thinking of not going for the change... then yes, I do.

I probably agree with whatever you think is unfair.

Do I think your idea a good one? Yes! I really, really do! Follow through!

Do I want to help you move? Want, schmant. The important part of the answer is that I will.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Good Thing Friday: 'isms.

I can't name names, but in my extended family, some are known more than others for messing up popular sayings - from accepted colloquialisms to popular proverbs to $5 vocabulary words. Among my friends, too, there is a certain someone who, in their excitement and love for life, sometimes ends up saying, "I feel like a pee horse!" instead of "I have to pee like a race horse."

Do you ever feel like a pee horse?

Last night provides today's Good Thing Friday - one part 'isms and one part chatting in bed while exhausted. One of my bosses has been out of town this week and my work schedule has been a tad lighter. I said to John, "I am going to tell you my secret from the day."

"Oh yeah?" he said.

"Yes... I took a nap in the middle of the day today for an hour. And ten minutes."

"Ha! Well, when the boss is away..."

"The cat will nap!"

Pause. Pause.

Me: "Wait! The mice will nap! Not the cat!"

John, laughing: "Yeah, because the cat naps all the time! Cats don't give a crap!"

(Disclaimer: cats aren't bosses here; in fact, my bosses never nap and regularly work 14 hour days. We were definitely going on literal facts only here.)

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On my way to full grinchitude.

I am the New Years Grinch. C'mon, it's a one-second holiday! It's lame! Usually you spend the lead-up week jockeying for the coolest thing to do, and I've often spent the actual evening running around trying to find the "best" party for the mood, and it ends up lame. Give me a good movie and a nice dinner any night. Don't even care about staying up till midnight.

I am considering now also becoming the Birthday Grinch. It just seems overplayed. I'm 28 now, and never was there someone who loved her birthday - nay, birthday MONTH! - more than me. But the last 2 or 3 years, it seems like a whole lot more trouble than it's worth. It's designed to set up expectations and expectations are pretty much like the word assume, ha ha ha, if ya catch my drift.

I sincerely appreciate the cards, the gifts, the tokens, the loving souls who remembered on Facebook even though my birthday does not display!, but it's OK. I think the need has been met. I've wailed, "but it's my birthday!" enough times for an army of nine-year-olds, and it's becoming inelegant. Time to let it go. So...

Birthdays sucks. Grr.

- the Grinch

Friday, September 11, 2009

Good Thing Friday: Real Compliments.

I received a lot of genuine compliments yesterday. I worked a catering gig for the grand opening of an office building, a shiny, fancy, hi-tech building in Lake Oswego.

The people were far from the nicest, frankly, but by evening's end, our A-Team crew had won them over, and they were popping into our staging room with effusive appreciations, plans for a holiday party, compliments for our service, for the kitchen's excellent food.

And then I got a wonderful compliment from wonderful friend J, over a glass of wine after the gig, who reacted to a story I told by saying, "That's why I like you, Emily!" It wasn't a compliment in disguise - it wasn't trying to gain anything, effect some outcome, manipulate a situation. It was just one friend saying to another: I see you. And I think you're pretty great.

So this Friday, I'm going to try to remind at least one person... one of the many people I like... how much I like them. I like them for who they are, right now, today. No strings, no expectations, no changing. Will you do that, too? To a coworker, a sister, a friend?

Is it a cop-out to say that there's also a pretty good chance that I like YOU? 'Cause I do.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Costco Hell.

I mean, it IS hell, and we all know it. I try to use the membership judiciously... I can get Dave's Killer Good Seed Bread for $3.59 instead of $5.29. The giant jar of sun-dried tomatoes for $8 is worth it. Buying meat there is much cheaper by the pound, and we can have a stocked freezer for less dough, allowing me to go out and do all the socializing I must do with the 'extra' cash!

And the Pellegrino: bottled, sparkling, mineral water. A total luxury. But it weaned certain members of this house off Diet Coke, so it might be totally yuppie, but I think of the alternative health destruction. Not that I need to justify my eating and drinking habits to anyone.

Right? Not to you. You love me. Not to STRANGERS, certainly?

Oh no.

In Costco yesterday. Middle-aged, loud guy in front of me in line. Cashier goes to scan the Pellegrino case. I say, "Oh, no, sorry, that's mine." She apologizes. He says to cashier, "Ha, ha, I have two kids, can't be buying bottled water, you know."

Then he looks at me with a nudge-nudge-nudge wink-n-laugh.

You know the patented waiter 5,000 yard stare, right? Yep.

The kicker is that I didn't respond, but should have. Because his bill, at the end of his purchases, which included 64 bags of butter-flavored microwavable popcorn and some diet supplements that will MELT THE FAT AWAY... was...

$883.97. Asshole.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Good Thing Friday: The Short Version.

This was a pretty awful week. And so the good thing is that rain-or-shine-and-probably-rain, I am unplugging from the phone, the internet, the DVD player and the world, and am off camping till Monday. Even if things go wrong, if misspellings occur, if bad links are revealed and gaping kick-myself-about-it mistakes are being made... I at least won't know about it till Labor Day.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cast away the bitter, keep the sweet.

It is always sort of a strange moment when something you've written is received negatively. I go with the flow when it's for a client because, in family parlance, them's the brakes. I stay neutral and consider the feedback later when it's something I've written just for me.

But it is too, too sweet to have a phrase within a client piece that I just wrote be called "trite" by said client... except that it was called "contrite"!

You - rather, I - must laugh at it. Indeed, I had much remorse when writing such an ill-turned phrase.