Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Unsilent Night, Ho-Ho-Healthcare and the Granny-Killer

The holiday season was filled more with tension, angst and stress than anything else. Jim and I are dealing with a problem with the IRS. Yeah, yeah, so I know I did the taxes using Turbo Tax but apparently when the broker sent us our end of the year statement for the year in question they neglected to add one of the sheets, leading the IRS to think we made 120K more than we did. We're in the middle of straightening it out but it made for a nasty gray pall hanging over our present giving and chestnut roasting. Not much making merry but lots of sheer freaking out. We shouldn't owe anything by the time we file an amended return, but it's the stress of the entire thing.

In the course of this agita both Jim and I have been reexamining our attitudes, our childhoods and things we may have carried out of our birth families that negatively impacts us now. So it's been holidays, hostilities and self-therapy. I think we're in a better place now but ever since we left our old church it seems like the peeling of rotten onion layers from then continues. Every single time I think we are both past that past something crops up.

Example: My bff invited he and I over for Christmas dinner. But once it came out that she'd also included a few folks from the old church I bailed on the invite. Jim went without me, fortunately I had the excuse of extremely bad asthma acting up to get out of it, and he came back ranting and angry. That's the state I was afraid I might end up in if I had attended. He was triggered mightily and I'm sure he was sniped and sneered at.

I know I would have been triggered becauseI was in such a funk this holiday that I didn't even decorate the Christmas tree. I left it nude and plain sitting near the fireplace. The asthma made it tough to do anything beyond work a few hours and lay down. Plus it left me with no energy or enthusiasm for anything else.

That is one good thing I learned in the aftermath of leaving fundamentalist religion, that rituals like Christmas aren't required at all, it's whatever you feel comfortable with. For me this meant minimal holiday anything, in fact the only thing I cooked and ate on the holiday was scrambled eggs and toast. I was content with that, it was plenty on a day filled with asthma attacks and wheezing. In the church years I would have silently emotionally castigated myself had I done that, feeling like a failure and possibly making myself sicker trying to make it a hap-hap-happiest of holidays.

It reminded me of the year I was twelve and our family Christmas. All three of us, my mother and father and myself, came down with the flu within mere days of the holiday. Christmas morn we unenthusiastically ripped into presents before all of us going back to bed for the day. I remember being especially squicked out by the fact that one of my presents was a ten pound box of Elmer's Mastercraft chocolates. Ugh. Later when I was better I was so happy to have that box, just not at the moment I unwrapped it.

The good moments of the holiday were going to the kids house to eat ribs and unwrap presents. Sleeping, lots and lots of sleeping and recovery from my crappy lungs. Singing at the Christmas Eve Eve service and hanging out with the kids at work. I got a job promotion with more responsibilities.

Work is work, but we did have an admission that killed his grandmother a month before his 9th birthday. I've seen his records, looks like a serial killer in the making. Very likely we'll end up shipping him to a locked facility soon. He's already tried to torture a few animals here. Frightening. 

My doctor dropped a huge bomb on me yesterday. In less that a month he's closing up shop and departing for a position at a far away hospital. Why? Obamacare and the requirements he would have to fulfill to keep his small private practice.

Last month my long time gastroenterologist closed her practice and retired for the same reason. So now our small town will be without either specialist. This leaves me in a huge lurch as my pulmo gives me my treatments every two weeks and not everyone is qualified to do these injections. My asthma has been crappy for a few months now.

But more than that I'll have to find a new primary doctor as my pulmo was my primary for seven years due to the nature of my immune system disorder. I'm not even sure where to start because it looks like my options are going to be going to UVA clinics to be prodded, poked and gawked at by a squadron of interns and residents. That's the drawback of going to UVA with any illness not very common. Or I could drive the other way, towards DC and find another pulmo. Again, a long drive, establishing a relationship with a new doctor and keeping on track with my treatments.

This is going to complicate things considerably for me because I used to be able to call or visit my doc and scream out complaints about my asthma, colitis, neuropathy, sinus infections, hangnails, peeling skin, cough, plagues, locusts and get treated asap.

The fact that Obamacare has good physicians scrambling with career alternatives is a huge slap in the face to me, I volunteered with the teams nationwide to help develop the Affordable Care Act, never dreaming this would impact so severely my own ability to keep getting good treatment.

And my doctor wondered why I had a rare high blood pressure reading yesterday after all this and standing in line two hours at DMV? Ha!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nekkidness

I've started going back to the gym. Must do something to work off the coming onslaught of Christmas cookies and candying the yams, etc.. before my butt swells with adipose tissue roughly the size of the Titanic.

Stopped going back about 18 months ago when I had back and neck problems but I've wanted to go. Once we started our gym membership post-Evangelical church I found I loved being able to use the circuit training machines to build up my biceps and other muscles. It was oddly satisfying to be able to slowly increase the weight on the machines and the number of reps. It helped with the asthma too.

But the most challenging thing wasn't the pool, walking against the current, lifting weights or even days when my oxygen levels were low and all I could manage was trudging around the indoor track. Oh no, the biggest challenge was (drum roll please, and cue the dramatic music) The Dressing Room! (Eeeeek~ Insert scream sound effect)

It had taken a lot of overcoming the old voices in my head to even consider going to the gym. Self-improvement activities, like going to the gym or the hair dressers or anything just for 'you', good Christian mom you, was frowned upon as 'selfish'. Selfish, imagine that! Anything that you might do that wasn't geared towards family, God or church could be labeled selfish. But going to the gym was also something worldly people did, worldly people that cared about how they looked instead of looking to God for their personal validation.

I got over that quickly enough, but the dressing room was a hard one. There were nekkid people there, walking about without a care in the world, all shapes and sizes and it freaked me out. I'd blush and look at the ground and make sure I came from home with my bathing suit on under my workout clothes and have a loose swimsuit coverup packed to wear in the dressing room.

The journey out of the false modest/look-at-me of the jumpers or loose dresses had faded away but I still could not wrap my mind around the idea of traipsing about around strangers with nothing on, just what I'd arrived in when I was born.

But gradually I started to look around, look around with an artist's eye and see the beauty and diversity in all these different female bodies. All so beautiful in the weirdest ways and none two exactly alike, like snowflakes and my fear of being nekkid in that place started to fade.

It's still not the most comfortable thing for me to be, nekkid, but I've started taking baby steps towards accepting and loving my body as it is, right down to painting a nude self portrait.  And yes, I can finally walk around the dressing room wearing nothing but my own skin. It's taken long enough for that to happen.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Blood Runs Cold

Not a picture of work but one that is very similar to what we experienced on Monday morning.

After all that silly babbling about believing in the paranormal I had the fright of my life the other day at work. This happened Monday after the ice storm.

Where I work at is a large farm on top of a steep hill, so it was hell even getting down the dirt road that leads in. Downed trees and ice coated gravel plus that ever popular mud. Once I got to work it was business as usual. Traipsing around picking up and dropping off stuff bundled up like an Eskimo. It wasn't until I got to the cabin nearest the gate that things got weird.

After I parked I was walking through the woods towards the cabin in a deluge of ice particles and rain falling from above. I walked over the basketball court and up on the deck when suddenly I heard a noise, turning just in time to see a basketball bouncing furiously alone in the middle of the court. It was as if it were being bounced by a ghostly hand. There was no one around, no one in the cabin. I hightailed it out of there thinking this was just too weird.

Later I came back and told one of the house mothers about what happened and she started laughing. Apparently a couple of the bigger boys had tried to go out and play basketball in the snow only to have the ball stuck in a frozen net. The ball just happened to come down right after I passed the court. Whew~ I'm such a fraidy cat

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Bump in the Night

Zak Bagin at Bobby Mackey's 

I'm not going to bore you with my day yesterday involving Costco and the Honda dealership. But on the way back from the Honda dealership my husband insisted I take a 'short cut', an old back road I used to be familiar with but even then had never driven it in the pitch dark before.

Have to admit, I was more than a little spooked considering this farmland was once land that changed possession many times between the North and South in the Civil War. Add in that I've been seeing dead folks in places since I was three and you see why I avoid night time on battlefields.

Yes, I'm coming out of the paranormal closet. I believe in spirits, etc. Too many personal experiences to discount the possibility that there is something 'more' out there. I've experienced things happening at my last two or three employers that I must tag paranormal. It's made for some odd experiences living in a region that was hotly contested during the War Between the States.

But I don't look for it, I avoid it when possible and I stay out of places where I've had experiences, such as the Graffiti House and downtown Madison in too many buildings.

During my years at my old church my ability to see dead people was discouraged, at least until our pastor took a sharp left turn into demonology, removing evil spirits from houses and doing exorcisms. He encouraged my abilities and I have to admit it came in handy for praying for people, being able to glean some small thing about them. Plus I never minded doing a house cleansing but whenever they would do exorcisms I was always torn between skepticism and thinking that the pastor was opening doors he shouldn't have and dabbling in dangerous territory.

Between half the church going to Toronto Airport Christian fellowship whenever possible and also dabbling in the spiritual realm this created the first cracks that widened into an unrepairable gulf between two different factions at the church. There were those described above (myself part of that side) and the traditionalists that wanted only Bible study, hymns and the way it had always been done with no hocus pocus.

When I was twelve I got a Quija board as a Christmas present. I didn't even know what it was, but my inner voice kept telling me that thing was something not to mess with. I never played with it and so unreasonably frightened of it that I put it in the top of the guest bedroom closet. I didn't want it in my room.

I have to think my old pastor pal underestimated what he was dealing with when he tried to battle darkness and the demonic, which I'm sure didn't help the awfulness and backbiting that came later.

There are things in the spiritual realm that you just really do not want to mess with. Which is one of my big frustrations when I watch 'Ghost Adventures' with Zak Bagins. He curses, rants and provokes in places where he should tread very lightly and probably just stay out of.

He has said that he has had negative experiences in the aftermath of investigating places like Bobby Mackay's in Wilder, Kentucky and I believe it. You cannot strut arrogantly into places with such negative energy acting like you're a know it all and not expect whatever the place contains to not react back. But he learned something, and hasn't been quite the same ass when he's gone back.

Unlike my old pastor and others in the Christian community I believe there is likely a scientific explanation for hauntings, spirits, whatever you chose to name it. I think they'll find it has something to do with electrical energy we all carry in our bodies and that physics will have the hard science on why this happens one day. 

Wow, this is not at all the direction I was planning to write about today. I was going to write about getting lost in the back woods and only knowing where I was when I saw the Christmas blinged-out house of an old friend. How friends are sometimes signposts along the way, not my ability to see dead folks or just know stuff I shouldn't know.

But getting lost is how I first stumbled across Bobby Mackey's too. We were driving in rural Kentucky and all the sudden I started getting the weirdest feelings, like there was something supernatural in a bad way that I was nearing. I knew what it was as soon as I saw the road signs indicating that we were in Wilder, Kentucky. When we passed in front of the bar I sped up just to get the hell away from that place as fast as possible.

One thing I have learned from whatever this 'sense' of mine actually might be is that if you have inner feelings and church leadership tells you that it is 'demonic' or to not listen to your inner voice or they become a little too interested in it you should run away from that church as fast as you can.

I think if you ignore whatever version of the inner voice you might possess you're only hurting yourself. That inner voice is truer than anything someone else might say, including pastors.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Turf Wars

One of the things about religious organizations and charitable organizations is that most everyone is involved at some point in a turf war. Today I've run into all sorts of verbal peeing to mark territory, and it wasn't anyone at church, or my old church.

Thank you flying spaghetti monster that today is Friday because I'd be sorely tempted to tell someone off using colorful vulgarities if I had to come in tomorrow to work and play nice with the immature adults here.

At my old church it seemed to be the person marking their territory the most was the pastor's second wife and her brown nosing buddies. Suggest something different and you'd be shot down. But.. if you were known to be good at something you'd be saddled with that chore foreves. Even if you didn't consider it your turf or territory.

Which is how I found myself hosting baptism for a good many years, till the year I became dreadfully sick with pneumonia in mid summer and had a hard time kicking it only to find myself appointed to host baptism again at our pool. I tried to get out of it, but the pastor's wife kept on insisting I do it because I 'do it every year and have a pool at the clubhouse'

That summer Sunday after church after I had schlepped over every towel I owned along with a mountain of snacks and a cake I was so sick I had to lay down on the sofa in the clubhouse party room, laying on a mound of cushions at a roughly ninety degree angle trying to breath between the asthma and the pneumonia recovery.  The pastor walked in, took one look at me and asked "Are you sick?"

Uh, dumbass, what was your first clue?

No, I didn't say that but I thought it. I told him that just because I had hosted baptism for the last six years didn't mean I wanted to automatically host it again. He was puzzled and asked why I was hosting it this year. "Because your evil control freak of a wife insisted I do what she wanted, not what was best for me because she really doesn't give a shit what is best for me, only what she wants. She wanted an indoor pool, enough pastel baptism decorations and crepe paper to choke a bishop and CAKE, CAKE, FREAKING HALLELUJAH CAKE and for bonus fucking points she didn't want to do it for herself."

Again, I didn't say that, I thought it, but I only said that because others assumed I would do it the task was automatically assigned me, but this was the last year. Next time ask me first, don't just assume I'll do it.

Yes, I finally learned in that community to stand up for myself when others wanted more than I could give. It was one of the first little hints that I wasn't going to keep drinking that koolaid like a good little cult member.

Today at work there was all sorts of marking territory but no assigning of duties. I tried to offer to help out different departments that I know needed some help while I was doing the same damn assignment type of the executive office only to be shot down by being told that it was 'part of their job description' so I needed to butt out.

For reals, I am not after anyone up there's job. I wanted to help out on a slow day so I would stay busy in a way that helped the place run smoothly. It doesn't make good sense, economic or workwise, to assign four different people to do the same task in bits when one person could make short work of it. I guess everyone is just busy hanging on to their own little fiefdoms like they were are church. You there, do communion prep, you greet and you make sure you collect the dough.

Near quitting time I got an email telling me I could no longer go to the nurses station and get allergy pills or aspirin or bandages. I've asked for benadryl twice this week when I was so sick with allergies that my eyes tried to swell shut when the work crew pulled up the flooring and exposed the mold beneath. The bandaids were for the time I tripped on the sidewalk and skinned my knee up. WTF is the point of having HR tell us to go to the clinic when we need something medical if they are going to bitch about every aspirin and bandaid you use in the course of your job?

The worst bit happened when I asked if those of us not working tomorrow could come on campus to see the kids put on a holiday performance in the gym. Most of those kids have no one coming from home to watch them sing and act and I like to support them as much as possible. Especially now that I know and love many of them. You'd think this would be a no-brainer.

I was told no and the reason is the dumbest of all. The cafeteria was only preparing refreshments for so many people and that meant anyone not working could not show up to see the kids sing. Huh? I don't give a hoot about having weak punch and cookies like cardboard at all. I just wanted to see the kids. The head of the cafeteria is the one that came up with that. Peeing again.

But it's not all cranky marking of territory and assigning tasks. I did hear through my friends that Mr. Stink Bug helped Big Red pack and move. She did take a job in Vermont after being kicked to the curb at work. Stinky took the rest of the week off to help her move, driving the truck up to the Stowe area. I admit I am intrigued. Why would you do this for someone that treats you like three inches of pig crap? Makes me wonder if all the folks talking about them having an affair are right after all. Oooph! That is not a mental image I want in my mind~! Keep that territory.

I'm going to try to destress with a cup of hot cocoa and a new book of conspiracy theories on the death of JFK. Good times!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Turkey Surprise

I got back to work this morning just in time to witness campus security escort Big Red off campus. She was fired this morning. I've been smiling all damn day.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

Thanksgiving Day turned out to be pretty darn wonderful! We spent the day with our two youngest kids Andy and Laura plus assorted boyfriend/girlfriend. Everyone cooked several somethings, the food was delicious and pretty much everyone needed a nap after lunch. We came home late still stuffed.

But while I was there I heard about the bipolar relative that lives nearby and the struggles they've been having with their daughter.

Last month they (bipolar family) invited us to their home in Northern Virginia to have a family reunion type Thanksgiving tomorrow, Saturday. But I'd turned down the invitation, saying that we had decided to do the low key close to home thing.

Listening to Laura speak of these relatives I sighed and realized that Jim and I really needed to go over to their post-Thanksgiving thing, if for no other reason than to make sure things weren't too bad or see what we could do to help out.

So I called this morning, asking the lady of the house if it was too late to add two more guests, asking what they needed brought for the meal. Then I got an earful. Accusations, statements with no basis in reality, she even said something not so nice about Jim!

I tried to be sympathetic, say the right things, be supportive of her, but it was just downright awkward as hell! She told me that I was welcome to come but I could not bring my husband. Told her I would not be attending after all since I didn't want to add to her stress levels.

Jim's done nothing, in fact I think it's at least six months since the last time he even saw that family. It's all very secret squirrel and sort of out there. Dealing with mentally ill relatives isn't easy. I really believe based on the conversation that the lady of the house likely is having medication issues and probably needs to be inpatient somewhere until the right chemical cocktail kicks in.

At first I got all amped up by what was said and happened, to the point where I was making plans to go to her house this evening and try to talk some sense in her... but I found myself suddenly drained, like I usually do when the drama is in high gear. I decided the most sensible course of action for me was to do as the Jimmy Buffett song I love the most says, breathe in, breathe out, move on. Excellent advice. I also passed out and took a long nap and felt better for it.

I realize it's not my job to make sure her meds are stabilized or that she sees her therapist. I can't 'fix' her so being stressed out by what she says is just silly. I think I'll wait for her to contact me again instead of chasing after her to make sure she's alright.

You can't fix other people, only yourself and your reactions.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turkey Blues

Yesterday was like a big joke that the cosmos was playing on me.

Get to work just in time to get told that we were being dismissed for the week in about an hour. Now I know I was going to have to leave quickly to make my tests and doctors appointment but damn, I need every tiny pathetic hour of work I can get in the buildup to Christmas. Bummer.

Get home early at loose ends and decide to tackle the mountain of laundry and go ahead and bake the pies and cake I'm bringing to my daughter's today. Promptly burn the first pie and lose steam in making any more. Looks like the thermostat in my oven has died.

Go out to buy pies between a pulmonary function test and that doctors appointment. Get in line at the grocery, check out and discover my freaking wallet is missing. Rush home to find it had fallen out of my purse and behind the sofa. Rush back to finish the pie purchase.

My doctor does a thorough physical of me because I've been wheezing and using my nebulizer more than a stoner reaches for his favorite bong. I am pronounced as fit as I ever am, low blood pressure, strong pulse, and other good indicators and doctor tells me all of his pulmo patients are struggling to breath because of the screwed up weather. Just wait and it will pass. Grrrr.

The sky spit sneet while I was out driving around. Sneet, that cross between sleet and snow where the ice pings on your car and tiny icy snowflakes drift around. As a result everyone in town started losing their damn minds, driving more idiotic than ever, running red lights, speeding, running stop signs. People, get a grip. It's just snow and sleet that's melting the second it hits the ground.

And then I get home and decide it's the Best Day Ever!!! One of my buddies in Oz sent me a package of very Australian quilting fabrics and I'd received a book I preordered months and months ago and semi forgot about.

Amazing how a small thing can turn a crappy day to something wonderful! Plotting out my new quilt now. I usually get really cranky like this around Turkey Day because of the self-induced must dos and pressures and forget that there's really a lot to be thankful for. Today is a new day!

Happy Thanksgiving..

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Answering the Searches

Some of these searches make about as much sense as Pedro in Leroy Jenkin's cage.

I am noticing I've had some rather strange Google searches that lead people here so I'm going to answer a few of those queries....

Does Vaughn Ohlman beat his wife?

I don't know but I think the answer is likely no. Vaughn just doesn't strike me as 'that guy'. Go ask him at his page.

How do I get out of hot water?

If you've done something wrong, try to apologize and make it right. Or, if you're in a hot tub or a hot environment go to some place cooler.

Used Sanitary Napkin Fetish

Ewww!

How to twerk

Double ewww!

Razing Ruth fake

I don't know for sure. Visit this link and read to decide for yourself.




As The Residential Treatment Center Turns Addendum

I forgot to mention last night that Big Red also overheard Miss Tina talking about her possible adoption of one of the kids. The rules state you cannot work here and adopt one of the kids. If you adopt you must quit your job. Tina and her husband both work here.

So Big Red asks Tina about what she overheard and Tina tells her that if the adoption goes through she will be putting in her notice, not mentioning Mr. Tina's plans to quit at all.

What does Big Red do after telling Miss Tina it is all okay with her? Big Red goes to Mr Tina's supervisor and reports him for a variety of untrue things revolving around the possible adoption. Now both of them have been called up and reprimanded by HR.

 I had to call Big Red up from the executive building and request her old file folders for a project. She started to give me grief till she realized I had her on speaker phone in the admin office where all the passing big wigs could hear. The tone of her voice and attitude changed in an instant - sweet as pie and more helpful than a fawning lackey. I got my fifty old folders with no more crap.

Then Red publicly embarrassed Janey in front of the entire staff after hearing Janey make a short phone call to pay a bill. Janey took a short lunch just so she could do just that. Shortly after Big Red sent around an all staff email pointing out that you should not be using work phones to ever conduct personal business during work hours, even on your lunch hour and named Janey as a culprit.

I'm wondering if Janey is going to find herself moved to another dept on Monday morning but that's exactly the kind of stuff Big Red does. I hope for Janey's sake that they do. There are openings at the infirmary with Kris.

Oh how I wish I could match Big Red up with the other contender for the Asshole of the World award, Tom Smith. They would make such a lovely couple.

As The Residential Treatment Center Turns

I'm glad I experienced the gossiping, back stabbing, crazy, blame-shifting, self-righteousness of my leaving my old fundamental-evangelical church. It gives me valuable experience handling the irrational and mentally ill at work. Plus that ever popular game playing that is work place politics. I don't take the bait and indulge the game players. I keep my nose to the task at hand, or if it gets especially bad I make the popcorn and sit back to watch.

It's work griping, it's long, so you might want to ditch if you are busy... and it's not connected much to my spiritual journey except in the fact that I controlled myself enough not to beat down a supervisor or get much involved in the ugly stuff.

The last month at work has been office politics played with the seriousness of the contestants in that Hunger Games movie! Like it's a supreme battle with the victor winning the world and all its riches instead of just looking venial and vicious.

And here I was thinking the worst I had to worry about was the crazy gal asking me things like how to give a blow job and the little girl that runs around trying to masturbate in public. She's all of seven.

Oh no! That stuff is like a Sunday school picnic compared to the machinations of my ex-supervisor down in the dungeon of medical records.

Let me backtrack here. Back in mid August three of us were hired to help out with getting the paperwork ready for a government audit by a federal agency. We spent three weeks getting the school master files archive corrected before the three of us being sent to medical records to do the same there.

The other two ladies are somewhat younger than I. Kris is about ten years younger than I, she's black, and she has one of the worst life stories I've heard in a long while. Her ex husband faked his death to get out of charges that he robbed some place. She found out about the original charges and a lot of other illegal stuff he did only after his story hit the front page of the Washington Post. This all went down about three years ago. She promptly divorced him, but ended up losing their home to the FBI (I think) because he was also wanted on drug dealing charges. She lost her government job due to his arrest killing her security clearance. After the trial, losing everything and the general trauma of everything she's been through she's easing back into the work world.

I love Kris, she's pretty awesome.

The other lady I was hired with and have worked many hours with is Janey. Janey is also black, a single mom who's had her share of personal difficulties but is also a truly wonderful person I enjoy working with.

Once the three of us landed in medical records we were all glad that we'd not been split up as we all work well together. We all did what the supervisor Big Red directed us to do. But... it wasn't hard to see that Big Red didn't like Kris and I heard from one of the others in that dept, Mr. Stink Bug, that she didn't like blacks and had been sued and lost at her last position for racial discrimination against a black underling. Big Red started talking crap about Kris behind her back before calling up the HR dept and asking them to move Kris to another dept because she claimed that Kris was refusing to do as she asked and had an 'attitude'.

Kris didn't have any more attitude than anyone else there or talk as much as Big Red claimed. Kris worked as fast as the rest of us. It was true that she didn't always do what Big Red requested. The first time Big Red said something ugly about Kris I defended Kris, saying she was actually very smart and a hard worker.

Both Janey and I tried to warn Kris that Big Red was gunning to get rid of her and that if Kris wanted to keep getting the hours she needed to buck up, do everything Big Red asked and never talk back.

Around that same time I was told by Big Red that she wanted to hire me as a full time auditor and that would happen soon. It didn't happen and I heard later that she had no authority to hire for that position anyway. She still assured Janey and I that she would keep us working for the medical records division and try to get funding for official positions for us in that dept. Another lie it turns out.

I said nothing at work, just came home and grumbled to the husband about the liar I was working for and her ways of talking shit about everyone at the facility behind their backs. I did nothing, just did my job and said "Yes boss" for every request.

Kris ended up writing up therapy treatment notes for a therapist named Moe who could not use the computer to do his own because his hand was healing from being stabbed with a piece of glass by one of his patients. Janey and I, along with others, saw her do these reports, saw them printed out. Hell, I audited those reports before handing them off to Big Red so that they could be added to the archives filing.

Big Red still wasn't happy with Kris working in our building in one of the empty offices that Big Red had designs on taking to expand her own office. So Big Red made up more crap about Kris and Kris was told to report to the executive offices to work for Miss Carr. Kris refused because it was only 25 hours a week and she'd been hired for full time hours.

Two weeks pass and there's no work from Kris. Kris went to talk to the head of HR and found out what Big Red had told HR about her and had to be stopped from going to kick Big Red's ass. But once she calmed down she started working full time in the infirmary as the infirmary records auditor. She loves it because there's zero supervision. You show up, you do your job and you come into the office to help when they need extra help.

Two weeks ago Big Red comes into the office annex Janey and I are working in and instructs us to move all of our things because she's moving two other people to help with the archive auditing. There's just one problem, we had about the same amount of paper we were sorting on the two desks in there with about a couple of reams of paperwork. I told Big Red to give us an hour or so to get to a good stopping point to refile all this stuff and we'd be happy to move over and make room. Big Red's response was to say 'Never mind'

The next day I was in training and fell, breaking my right wrist and spraining just about everything there is to sprain. I don't go to work for a few days, following the doctors orders, plus I really don't like driving on heavy duty muscle relaxers anyway. No DUIs here.

When I do turn up again Big Red tells me I'm not allowed in the medical records office and that I've been reassigned to the Executive Offices and Miss Carr. I am surprised and trudge over the hilltop to the offices of Miss Carr, where I find I'm now pulling the daily behavior paperwork and reports, auditing it and filing it in the permanent files in the different children's dorm offices.

But when I am walking around the campus pulling treatment and behavior documents people I know keep asking me why I smarted off to Big Red so badly she had to fire me from her dept. I explain again and again I didn't smart off, I just said we needed an hour or so to comply with her request. I hear over and over that Big Red was telling everyone this and saying, "She complained she was uncomfortable so I'm going to make her even more uncomfortable by sending her to Miss Carr so she'll have to walk all over the campus and be really uncomfortable." I'm hot and want to beat down Big Red myself at this point.

I quickly realize I've been released from the dungeon, like Kris! No supervision, it's just assumed that I will do the job and do it well. I find I love walking all over the campus as it's one of the most beautiful farms you could ever see. I like the fresh air and the sunshine and interacting with the kids around the campus. I have side projects to work on if I get my basic work done and when I run out of the projects I decide to start going through the master files and making sure everything is correct. I love my job way more than ever and realize Big Red did me a big favor when she thought she was punishing me. My new supervisor is happy that I'm quick and accurate and able to see what needs doing and do it without being asked.

Since Kris and I are both auditing we sometimes go around together and work side by side in the dorms while crowing about having the best jobs at the facility.

Then yesterday happens. We're both working in a certain dorm, the same dorm that Big Red has her office in the basement and we hear crying and drama. Miss Treasure, one of the best sweetest therapists there is suddenly fired. Why? Because Big Red is claiming that Treasure is 18 weeks behind in therapy notes, which as I later discover is a huge lie because the master files I audit have her therapy reports up to last week. She's not behind. Today I point out to the folks in the executive office that Miss Treasures notes are not behind, that Big Red is seriously squirrelly and a racist. Don't know that it will do any good but I can prove the notes are up to date.

Later yesterday Moe, the therapist that Kris helped do all of his therapy notes for the last four months, comes into the office where Kris and I are working and starts having a meltdown because the notes Kris put together for him that I audited are missing. The files are erased off the server and the three inch thick piles of printed notes are not in the medical records archives files. He told us that he confronted Big Red about his notes missing from the files and she gave him many rude answers that weren't helpful before telling him to get out. Kris and I end up going to his boss and telling her that Moe did do the notes, Kris did them and saved copies on the server, I audited them, Miss Tina swears she filed them but now they are missing.

The upshot is that Kris and I are going to be working some overtime reconstructing his therapy notes and a big wig in the executive offices pulled the info on who did what on the server. The only one that accessed that file was Big Red's login and the file was erased by that login.

Me? I'm making popcorn, Kris is bringing the cokes and we're both sitting back to watch what happens next. I am hoping this means Big Red will be on the hotseat and likely be fired.

This is why you don't play political games and backstab at work. Karma comes around and if you're busy tearing others down you might be the one tumbling.

Big Red is not only riding her drama llama but she's watering it, feeding it, combing it's mane and rocking it to sleep. 

Did I also mention this is all taking place at a Christian charity?


Monday, November 18, 2013

Learning the Words: No

I've been thinking a great deal about the power of the word 'no'. It was something that wasn't in my vocabulary back in the days when I was trying mightily to be the perfect Fundagelical momma/wife/sister in Christ. Especially in the beginning.

After all, aren't you supposed to pour yourselves out as a blessing for others? A servant's heart. The way the scriptures read from a fundamentalist view you rarely have the right to say no to others if they are in need. Service, service, service. That old J.O.Y. - Jesus first, others second and yourself last in line. No matter what.

This weekend as I worked on a baby quilt for one of my daughter's many friends, baked breads, cookies and cupcakes for a CFC fundraiser at Jim's office, and I ignored my flared-up asthma it felt just like old times. Me rushing around toting that barge, lifting that bale while putting my needs on hold.

There was an enormous difference this time. While I was insane level busy like I used to be then, this time I really wanted to do those things. Laura's friend is someone I love dearly, whom I used to babysit occasionally back when she was two. Her mother abandoned her with various relatives and this girl is like another daughter to me. She's been part of my life for over twenty years. I'm making a baby quilt for her newest baby because she asked me if I would.

The baking? I love to bake but now that it's just Jim and I the baking is rare. Jim is in charge of CFC (Combined Federal Campaign - fundraising for charities) for his office and really enjoys his role. This year he's appeared on the CFC site promoting the program, been in one of the Washington Post publications and today's bake sale is going to be attended by the higher ups.

Both of these tasks are labors of love for me. Love for Laura's friend, love for my husband and the causes he is passionate about. I'm not expected or forced to do either, unlike my JOY years.

During the years when 'NO' was a dirty word I was busy from the time I got up until going to bed, busy meeting the expectations of others. No love there even as I was told this was loving others. Driving someone to chemo treatments, providing meals for those who were sick, cleaning the Pastor's house (yes, this really happened!), sewing forty costumes for a Christmas play, doing whatever was asked of me.

Inside I was sometimes seething but on the outside I appeared as if I were actually the calm, loving, gracious woman of God I was trying to be. In those days there was no time to sit outside on the lawn reading a book and sipping lemonade. No down time from the demands. After a while your mask slips and you explode. I did a few times in the safety of my own home.

Once we left our old church I started to realize I don't have to be saving the world before breakfast. That saying no to requests wasn't the end of the world. That what I needed the most was a huge time out from being busy all of the time.

Sometimes you have to put yourself first and if that means saying no sometimes, even to good things, then that's exactly what you'd better do.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Heard It Through the Sour Grape Vine

What is it about we humans that makes us such a gleefully gossiping bunch? I don't care what the circumstances are or the organization or the news, there will be gossip. Work, church, any group, whatever. Eventually someone is going to start talking about someone else to a third party.

Is it just to make ourselves feel better about our own lives or to shore up our own beliefs? So we can feel superior? Just to chase away boredom? Schadenfreude?

I freely admit I've been a gossiper, a gossipee and the subject of gossip. Where I work at there is oodles of gossip, sometimes disguised as patient information sharing, i.e. - "Little Johnette swallowed a big box of staples! Please follow her and make sure you have her defecate in a bucket to check for staples emerging." This facility wide email was followed by comments from various offices such as "Ouch, those are gonna hurt coming out" or "What? She couldn't get the stapler in too?" or "Get her to swallow a stapler remover and that oughta take care of the problem" followed by people in the various parts of the campus talking about this and joking about the incident. It's not that we're all cruel, I think this type of gossip and dark humor is a way to deal with the relentless assault of the abnormal happening around you on a daily basis. It's more healthy than bottling it up.

That type is just about the only type I engage in, sick work gossip, but there's another type that thrills me. It's not the one the world seems to love the best, celebrity gossip. There's no way I would ever be fascinated by the peeing in a mop bucket doings of Justin Bieber or speculations on what Kim Kardashian's butt is stuffed with. It's gossip about the world of self righteous fundamentalists and evangelicals.

Many times that gossip is either right or holds a kernel of truth. Look at what's happening now in the world of speculation about what it was that Vision Forum's Doug Phillips actually did. Doug has even issued two different statements contradicting each other. First he said the affair was emotional, now he says there was physical contact. So, which is it? Did he sleep with her or not?

When the news first came out one blogger speculated that the affair was more than emotional and that it was likely the family nanny was the other part in this drama. I posted that this morning at NLQ and some folks didn't like it so I took it down for the interests of site unity. But.....  Joe Sands of Incongruous Circumspection and I are both posting that this is very likely. Really, who else in the super patriarchal world of Vision Forum would Doug have access to another female. We all know the VF is the Boys Club so his options for female companionship is extremely limited.

So in the meantime while the others are tutting not to make assumptions you'll find myself, Joe and a few others starting to make popcorn, set up the deck chairs and assemble the beer and ice for the wait till the truth comes out.

On a smaller fundy scale I ran into the college student daughter that used to be my homeschooling art student. The one who's parents scammed a former member of our old church out of twenty grand, used people for what they could gain all the while acting like the most perfect fundies on the planet? Turns out Daddy was hit by a car going to work one morning, in the parking lot of his job, so now his daughter was busy braying that it was their personal Golden Ticket because Daddy broke bones and was suing both his job and the driver for making him incapacitated. They are expecting a huge payment for damages from Daddy's workers comp policy. Still scamming and saying it is the provision of the Lord.

And this is the valuable service that gossip provides in the world of scamming in the name of religion. It makes the scammers very easy to spot so that the rest of us can avoid them.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Christian Adoption?

I'm beginning to wonder about the wisdom of adoption, who gets to decide and how so many less than suitable parents happen to end up adopting. But mostly how people that call themselves good Christians that oppose abortion and say that adoption is the way don't adopt the kids out there that need it the most.

The Religious Right, like the Duggars and many others, oppose abortion fervently, using all sorts of made up facts and logic to push their agenda, yet once a child is born it's on it's own. No help for children born in poverty and less than optimal home situations. It's all about birthing that baby and nothing beyond. Way more cruel in my eyes.

Not that I am advocating abortion here. While I believe it's everyone's personal choice it's a choice that I would never make. Everyone has to decide on their own.

There's a girl at work who will be released as soon as they can find an adoptive family for her. I love this little girl, she's smart, she's worked the program till she has morphed into someone considerate and loving with high grades at the community school. She comes out of the worst abuse you could imagine and the courts have severed all parental rights.

Yesterday as I was coming out of one cabin she stopped me, eager to show me her last month's worth of tests, all A's and A pluses. Such a sweet soul that gravitates to those of us who are mothers on campus, just wanting a touch of motherly love, attention and affection. I tried in my short ten minutes to give her that, since she needs it so badly. Anyone adopting her would have to have the time and focus to keep pouring love and attention on her all of the time.

Here is where that becomes problematic. She's of a race that isn't usually as adoptable plus she's not cute or pretty. She has to have surgery soon for what is likely to be a type of cancer. She's likely to have special needs in the future. She's twelve years old.

Let's face it, in our culture looks are always factor, even if they shouldn't be. Breaks my heart to know that people might bypass her because of something she cannot control and miss a wonderful child that needs a family so badly. Add in the medical needs and she'll be passed over for adoption again and again. No one seems to want an older child, just a cute little baby.

In the eyes of the evangelicals she's not worth it.

I wish so badly I could adopt her.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Outing Myself

This weekend I've had more than a few folks 'warn' me that someone very curious was sniffing around trying to 'out' me. Curiosity killed the cat, in this case it's going to bore them to death.

That someone is trying to waste their time investigating me, me who has never tried to hide who and what I am, where I am etc. makes me laugh so hard. So I'm going to make it simple on them and 'out' myself. Save you the trouble.

There's nothing to hide but here it goes.

My first name is Suzanne but anyone cruising over to NLQ would figure that out in a heartbeat as well as my last name with it's semi-filthy first syllable. One look at my Facebook shows you exactly where I live and other facts such as I was raised in South Louisiana, attended school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana before marrying and moving to Europe and then the Greater Washington DC area.

My husband works for the federal government in DC and is listed various places online, such as the Who's Who in the administration and other joints. You can try calling him or emailing him to complain what a huge big meanie I am or accuse me of various and sundry crap but he'll just laugh. He's had to deal with some lunatic stalkers of mine in the past. In fact, my mother, my brother in law and my mother in law have all be contacted and told how they think I am and the family has laughed.

We have three kids, one married with kids and successfully self employed. A son working in a non-profit and a daughter short one semester graduating from George Mason. Yeah, yeah, they know what a meanie-bo-beanie I am. Even the one that nearly died from ITP.

I'm borderline crazy cat lady with three cats and two birds, down from an all time high of 12 cats and about 15 birds. I don't do drugs, I rarely drink and I love to cook, sew and paint. I hate to clean. When I was a young woman I have tried to smoke, shoot, snort and rub into my belly all sorts of substances. I was also in a band in my early twenties. I still sing in public sometime for various religious events/services.

I don't get high because I end up looking like this photo taken the day after I had my arm reconstructed ten years ago. I'm flying on pain pills and feeling as goofy as a person can get in that photo. Looking like my late father here..

I drive an older Buick and live in a three bedroom average suburban type house. I also own rental property and a large tract of land off the interstate in Louisiana that I inherited from my late father. I work at a childrens residential treatment center plus I admin and post up at No Longer Quivering. There are people still annoyed when I used to make fun of the crazy antics of the American Idol fans at Free David Cook and the long defunct Idletard. Sic mundi gloria transit Idletard, how I miss the fun there~

The Adam Lambert and David Cook super fans have beaten everyone to digging about me and coming up with some of the funniest personal speculations ever. Outdoing them in the outing sweepstakes is going to take some doing. 

My life is pretty happy without much in a way of hardships, except for my crazy asthma. I have friends, hobbies and places to be and things to see. Yeah, I like to bitch about my husband sometimes when he does something bone headed. It's as simple as that. I haven't scammed anyone on the internet out of money. I don't claim to be 'special' or the Queen of this or that. 

I've been following the drama about Razing Ruth and all I can say is that if the woman you're naming is the same as Ruth then there is something very weird and emotionally unhealthy going on. Who uses their kids illnesses like that besides a mentally ill person? The use of the kids by the person named disgusts me. Jury is still not completely out in my mind on this issue but I am fascinated. Reminds me of what a friend of mine dug up on a similar fake named L. Anne Carrington. Lying liars have a hard time keeping their lies straight and are usually outed by their own words. I don't worry too much about them.

If you feel the need to stalk me this is what I look like now. But usually I'm not wearing a cat like this.


Happy Stalking!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Halloweenie Surprise

I am starting to believe that God or the universe or maybe even the Flying Spaghetti Monster has put me in my new employer for a specific purpose. To listen to and give advice on the relationships of all the twenty and thirty somethings I work with. They all tell me their problems and usually I have something to say on that particular subject.

It's puzzling to me why so many great young ladies are putting up with scads of bad behavior in relationships. Has the world changed so much that immature and dysfunction is the new norm?

It all started with the little twerking girl when she started talking about how her steady guy kept forgetting his wallet every time they went to eat or to the movies. She would end up paying and he never paid her back. Top that off with him constantly texting on his cell during their dates and it was pretty clear this guy was a creeper, not a keeper.

Janey and I have given out hours of advice to Twerker, telling her she should drop him like the user and loser he was. Twerker did and I had to laugh when I saw how she did it, via a text message. Ha. This modern world we live in.

Yeah, yeah, so I know none of this is professional appropriate business behavior but if you're stuck in a stuffy office for hours on end endlessly auditing medical paperwork you have to entertain yourself somehow.

We've talked to her about respecting herself, not sleeping with every idiot at AA that possesses a penis, not responding to every guy that flirts with her, but I'm not sure it's not falling on deaf ears. This week's crisis was her rushing in asking for a tutorial on how to give a blow job. I had to ask the why of course, she said she'd met this guy that looked like Ryan Gosling and she had to make him fall in love with her this weekend and since her period would not end she was going to have to give him blow jobs till he fell in love with her.

Why this weekend? Apparently his baby momma is moving to town next week and Twerky wants him to be hers, all hers, with nothing to do with his offspring and baby momma. I sighed, slapped myself in the forehead and started to tell her why he wasn't worth having in the first place and that magical blow jobs don't always make a man fall in love with you. He's not special enough for special favors and it's way too quick to be handing out sexual favors. Respect yourself and make him work to get you, not the other way around.

She still wanted to know the goods on blow jobs and frankly, I was sort of shocked that she'd admitting to sleeping with over 500 guys and no oral sex was involved. This isn't the fifties.

My advice: "Your mouth is there, his junk is there, there's no really right or wrong way to do it."
Janey: "Don't bite his penis"

Speaking of biting something yesterday I bit the pavement. Tripped on the broken asphalt in the employee parking lot and ended up with a broken wrist, the other wrist sprained along with an elbow and assorted bruised, scraped, bleeding and hurting parts. I missed my beloved Trick or Treat and spent the evening in the hospital ER. At least I got good drugs out of it. Gonna need them to hear the latest romance problems of the young and foolish.

Next week my task is to work more on Twerky and pals, but particularly Twerky, to realize you don't have to shell out sex to guys you just meet. Specially if you're looking for the long term.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Who Cut The Government Cheese?

In between shuffling papers and throwing dirty looks at crackwhore mommas this week I accidentally ate the Government Cheese. You know, that USDA surplus cheese you can sign up to receive if you're below a certain income level along with other surplus items?

Sometimes the military used to get USDA surplus. I seem to remember getting ration cards to get large packs of beef and dairy that was surplus at the base commissary on post in Germany. Happened a few times. None of the stuff we received was what I would call Grade A food, more like tough gristly beef and strange cut rate Velveeta-like neon orange cheese.

Friday at work I bit into my grilled cheese sandwich, and past the hardened bread a slightly familiar unpleasant semi-cheese like taste hit my tongue. It was The Government Cheese! I had no idea our facility got USDA Surplus.

I guess if your cupboards were bare the government cheese is better than nothing. But not by much.

Uh, about the crackwhore mommas. The lounge where the supervised visits takes place between the abused or neglected children and their parents or legal guardians takes place is smack dab in the middle of the clinical area, just outside of my office. We see some real winners out there and it's hard not to use the death glare on them.

Friday's momma was a winner. She showed up drunk and/or high wearing clothing it looked like she slept in. Her eye makeup was smeary and her hair had some crazy looking tangled bits, like it hadn't been brushed in so long that it was starting to mat up in the back.

I try not to judge... but.... it's too hard when they show up wasted looking like an extra from a "Breaking Bad" party scene at Jesse's house. Plus if the kid's record has crossed my desk and I've read snippets such as "mother sold child at 1 year for sex to a group of men for drug money" or "locked in a dog crate for several months and fed dry dog food" or the ever popular "left children alone for six days while she partied with friends. No food in house" and the list goes on, then I'm going to get all judgmental on your ass.

Seriously, if you're going to have kids you should realize that your partying days are O-V-E-R. At least on those nights when grandma cannot sit the kids.

Most of the time by the point where the child's record has crossed my desk and I see some piss poor excuse for a parent making a visit I start wishing that the courts could punish the parents by inflicting on them what they've done to their children.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Role Reversal: Bringing Home That Bacon & Letting the Hubby Fry it Up in a Pan

Since the government shutdown my husband Jim has been at home and I've been working at my job.

It's taken a little adjustment to trade roles and I must admit that on the two rainy cold days this week I was more than a little miffed to come home to him snoozing in our cozy waterbed under a soft quilt while I was rain splattered, cold and hungry.

But we've settled in after two weeks of this. Jim has very nicely taken care of some rather large chores I'd been putting off. He's cleaned and reorganized both the garage and storage room, done the dishes daily, dusted, cleaned various rooms all the while working on the material for his Spanish class.

I come home and make us something simple to eat. He washes the dinner pots, pans and dishes.

What I'm wondering is why the Christian Right makes such a big deal out of the woman staying home and the man working long hours outside of the home as the only 'right' way to do life God's way? I can swear to you I'm no less feminine than I was before and my husband isn't grinding his teeth because my salary is the only one coming in. He's actually quite happy we have money coming in at the same time he is unemployed. We're both secure in our marriage, our sexuality and our fluid roles without any disturbances in our marriage, contrary to everything spouted by Debi Pearl, Nancy Campbell and all the ladies at Ladies Against Feminism.

Even with the lack of Jim's paycheck we're both relatively happy right now just the way things are. Hard and fast gender roles really suck.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Rank and File(ing)

I am so glad the weather has taken a turn for the cooler.

Why? My office is in the basement and we have precisely one air vent for a long L-shaped office. Which means we're crammed in there, like middle aged sardines, with three ladies of a certain menopausal age, with very little cool air coming out of that lone sorry air vent.

Today was almost bearable everywhere in our dungeon, everywhere but the file room, which happens to be what we're working on right now, correcting all the mistakes getting everything ready for that blasted government audit that might not take place now that the government is shut down.

The only real problem with inadequate air conditioning in the joint besides us ladies sweating like a whore in church is our lone man worker. He's a very odd duck, extreme nerd right down to his Star Trek coffee cup on the desk and model of the USS Enterprise sitting on the shelf overhead. He wears a jacket, even in the hottest of weather, a olive green old jacket, over Hawaiian print shirts. Add in the eau du cigarette smoke since he is always slipping out to smoke.

I'm not trying to be mean, it's just......    the second he takes off that jacket everyone in the office almost faints from the insane amounts of body odor and smokey coming off him in waves. Goats, limburger cheese, stink bugs and dirty feet smell better than this guy.

The question we keep pondering at work is how to deal with it. No one is even sure how the boss tolerates him in her small office for meetings without fainting. It's seriously that bad.

The office is too small to anonymously put a bar of soap and some deodorant on his desk with his name on them. I wonder if they make Star Trek branded soap and deodorant, that might be the only acceptable way to gift him some unstinkum.

We are all too grossed out for it to continue much longer.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Running With Scissors

We have had some exciting times at work recently. Some little Johnette and then a little Johnny each managed to get a hold of some scissors and attempt to stab staff with said scissors. Little Johnette was even more badass, she drew a bath tub full of water and threatened to drown her house momma in the tub.

Johnette was hauled away from our facility to another place suitable for very violent children. So was Johnny. The rest of us got lectures about locking away all scissored in desk drawers. Scissors, for good measure I threw my staple remover in with the scissors. Some very determined kid could probably gouge an eye or two out.

The other thing we've been up to this week was discussing what will happen if the government shut down runs longer than the 17th and Medicaid shuts down. The facility would not be paid for the care of the kids no one else will take. No payments means no paychecks means shipping the patients out to other facilities and shuttering our village at least temporarily.

I might be out of a job again if the government shut down lasts much longer.

Jim is home now since of the thousand plus workers in his building all but three were told they were out of work now. Jim is freaking out because of what he does, the daily collection and dissemination of information, press releases, tweets, site updates and the editing he does for the oldest publication that the US government still has. If this goes on long it's going to take them months to catch up again.

Throw in today's insane shooting just blocks from Jim's shut office and I'm starting to feel like the whole world is running with scissors. Even our big audit that everyone has been stressing over for months is now being put off somewhere in the distance considering it was two federal agencies that were conducting the audit. Who knows if it will ever happen now.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Grabbing Those Horns

We're down to the wire on if Jim will be working tomorrow and it's making me nervous, particularly since I took the bull by the horns Sunday and today in parts of my life.

Learning to stand up and say something to people who are less than honest or are treating me or mine not well is a skill set I'm still working on.

At church I gently confronted someone that had been my friend but started shunning me the moment she found out I was friends with someone that knew her secrets. I've never said a thing to her and treated her like always. I know nothing but I know she thinks I do. Five years of her running away when I say hello is enough, so I told her that I knew why she'd avoided me like the plague and it was unnecessary, even if I knew anything about her secret I wouldn't tell anyone in the first place. Some things, specially things that could negatively impact innocent children, I would never tell.

She insisted that wasn't the case, she'd just been 'busy' Such a lie! But perhaps a lie she needed to tell to keep herself together. Breathe in, breathe out, move on.

Today my confronting things head on didn't go so well. The job I'd been approached about and considered for fell through. I wasn't upset I didn't get the position. I was unhappy that the HR director basically screwed me over in favor of a friend of his. Even the dept head of that dept had been asking him for my application and he ignored her emails, my emails and both of our calls.

It's a disappointment but I'd already developed a zen attitude about the job, deciding if it was meant to be it would happen. But I hate it when people manipulate situations to make it work out just like only they think it should be. Ugh.

I wanted to cry when I heard how it had gone down but I sure didn't want to cry at work so I held it together.

My second reaction was that I wanted to write a nasty accusatory email to the HR director but realized that would be counter productive.

I sure never planned on being on the pointy side of the horns this morning.



Saturday, September 28, 2013

Shunning

One of the sad realities for me of living in this tiny town is that I'm always running into people I really have no desire to interact with. Example? Tonight at a local barbeque fund raiser I ran into someone I knew from my old church Possum Creek.

The lady was someone I'm going to call Cindy. I knew Cindy only slightly at church, she joined and quickly left within the year, not really fitting in. She'd show up at the women's Bible studies and complain about how horrible her husband was. At first the ladies of the Creek would try their best, including I, to persuade Cindy to obey her husband, submit, submit, submit, turn him over to the Lord in prayer and serve him with love. Emotion follows action and God will make your hard marriage glorious. You'll earn crowns in heaven.

Can you believe feisty me used to believe that crap, preach it and try to live it? I might have been choking under it, like a wild horse chafing under a ring bit and a big old prickly burr under it's saddle blanket but I still spewed that crap.

But the more we urged Cindy to love and submit to her husband the worst her tales of him got. When they separated Cindy was shunned by the ladies of the church, myself included. Pressure was put on her best friend, a lady we nicknamed Shirley Templeton, to also shun Cindy. Cindy was rebellious, had a wicked deceitful rebellious heart and must be made aware that we could not condone her behavior.  The word of the Lord fell on her heart like wheat mixed with weed seed and the weeds had choked out the good fruit.

Cindy left, Shirley stayed and life moved on. I ran into Cindy a time or two in town and talked to her, finding out she wasn't one bit remorseful of her actions. I heard later she left town.

When she showed up at this dinner tonight I have to admit I froze like a deer in the headlights. The expression on my face probably telegraphed to her my unhappiness over seeing her again. I've come to realize after my own experiences being shunned by the old church that I'd had no right to judge and shun her. My unhappiness was at being reminded of my old actions. I am ashamed and disgusted with myself that I ever could have acted like that to someone that needed support and friends at a critical time in her life.

I made an effort to be kind to Cindy, listen to her updates on her children and how her life has been going. It looks like her life has been hard, she's aged considerably, the kind of aging that happens when the world hasn't been easy on you.

Turns out she's going to attending our church, the same contemporary service I'm on the worship team. I think I shall try to step carefully this time and try not to do anything that could impede her own spiritual journey.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mysterious Meat

One of the things that I am not so wild about at work is the fact that they want us to eat the same meals as the kids.

Remember elementary school cafeterias back in the stone ages? When I was a kid, lo these 45 years or so ago, the school cafeteria served decent food. I didn't think so then, thinking that being served made on site fresh rolls and things like green beans and turkey plus dressing wasn't that tasty. But it's a veritable feast compared to what school lunches have devolved into lately.

When Laura and Andy were in elementary school I would sometimes go eat lunch with them. It seemed like it was always pizza and drippy iceberg lettuce salad plus canned peaches. Not that great, not that nutritious. Eventually both of them refused to eat the school lunches and I started sending both with packed lunches.

Today the cafeteria at the facility I work at said that lunch was chicken patties on rolls with salad. They do a great salad but the main dishes are suspect. When I bit into my chicken sandwich it tasted and the texture was the same as a pork chop, right down to the slight gristly bit on the end. Real live mystery meat. I know it's free but what the heck did I eat today?

Maybe I'm just hyper critical of the food because on vacation I was eating things like prime rib and oysters Rockefeller. Mystery meat can't even begin to hold a candle to that cuisine. Sigh, back to reality.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tippity-Do-Dah

Part of my vacation I've been thinking about servitude, serving others, tipping and how business standards that aren't transparent aren't worth a squirt of piss.

Yesterday morning we got roped in by a time share sales person here at the beach. The lure was a free meal at the best seafood buffet I've ever eaten at and a certificate for a free week at the same hotel we're at now.

We knew going in it was a timeshare, but figured we'd believe the hospitality gal who insisted the presentation would take no more than 90 minutes. It took 3 hours and the African American lady who tried everything to get us to sign up for a 1/52 deed in a timeshare condo with a five hundred dollar monthly note and 700 buck yearly maintenance fee. Oh, and cough up a downpayment check of four thousand right then.

The condo was nice but quite frankly it wasn't much better than the mid quality hotel we're in. The sales lady refused to give us the interest rates being charged by the financier on the five year loan. She had all this slick presentation babble down pat but no real answers to our questions. We walked at hour 3 and she flipped out, wanting to know what she did wrong to blow the sale. I had to explain to her that I'm not really a fan of middle America mediocrity, that I really don't want to stay in a condo like that at the beach. Hey, it's the BEACH, if there's a clean bed and a working shower plus quick access to the beach I am good. That I love quirky mom and pop oddball places, that my husband is thrifty. I hated saying no, but it was just something we would never do.

I do view the listings of timeshares on Ebay sometime and if I ever bought one it would be from some person desperate to unload it cheap. If you just took that 500 bucks they wanted monthly in a savings account you'd have 6,000 bucks at the end of the year and that would go a very long way on a luxury vacation.

Yet I also shopped at a ladies clothing store that had loads of fair trade beautiful neo hippy type clothing. The lady running the shop was awesome, helping me, making suggestions to the point where I walked out with a large bag full of stuff including organic hand cream and face care products.

The difference between the two experiences was that the owner of the boutique fully understood the challenges of my age, my body shape and my own tastes, steering me to colors, styles and unique pieces that would suit me best. The timeshare sales lady only wanted to make the sale, get the commission,  regardless of if the product even suited my husband and I, our lifestyle, our tastes, our needs.

One of the big things I learned in sales through the years is that if you rip off, hoodwink, or pressure a customer to buy something that isn't right for them it's going to backfire in your face. The key to sales success is loyal repeat customers and the secret to cultivating repeat customers is doing what is best for the customer. Before I left the clothing shop I'd gotten the owner's business card and website address so that I could order things in the future.

Today, being Jim's 62nd birthday, we spent the day swimming and hot tubbing before going out for a steak at a place we love here. I made an excuse about looking for the restroom before sneaking over to our waiter and asking her to bring us a piece of cheesecake with a candle on it if possible at the end of the meal as a surprise for Jim. She did way more than that, bringing a decorated plate holding the cheesecake with fruit and ice cream with a lit sparkler on it and the wait staff singing Happy Birthday. Way more than I expected! Jim was very surprised by it.

Things like our meal tonight and the great service I have no problem tipping for. But, I'm unsure about tomorrow. My years stuck in fundegelical ville have left me sometimes stumped as to polite social mores I once understood. It seems when I was toiling to be Most Perfect Jesus-Lovin' Woman we did like everyone else, rarely tipped, expected those serving us to just do it because, we loved Jesus, making us more specialer than anyone else.

Being emotionally knocked down by my former brothers and sisters in Christ leads me to understand I'm not special, I'm just like everyone else. Another meat suit wearer riding a ball of dirt around outer space. 

Now I feel a sense of gratitude I didn't in those days, a new appreciation for most folks that do the things that make our lives easier. I am trying to express that in my interactions with others, at least others that don't try to con or manipulate me.

So do people still tip their hotel maids? I feel like I should leave something but know I'd gotten seriously lax in my old tipping & polite society mad skillz. What to do?

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore!

I'm on vacay at a beachside locale this week. It's been, um, interesting even if it's only 24 hours now.

Last week work was insane, even more so because the silly little gal make a gazillion silly mistakes at work, mistakes that would have had her fired at any other place than the kids treatment facility we both work at.

So what did she do? She was supposed to go into the boss's office, shred everything in several boxes and the contents of six binders sitting out in a box on the floor. She shredded those and then shredded everything from the big table in the same office, only two months worth of work on putting together a better records system, new forms, new indices, you name it, months of planning and work, some of which was backed up nowhere. She's put the records dept back about 2 months of work we have to redo. Add in that she was told to do a lot of alphabetical filing, which turns out that she filed by patient first name. We're going to be months undoing her fuck ups.

She got a mere slap in the hand for all this bad action. She doesn't even have to help restore what she screwed up. Someone suggested that she did it deliberately. I don't think so because that would require forethought and planning, both she seems totally incapable of.

If there ever was a good time to go to the beach it's now. By the time I get back next week they will have started digging out from this mess. Plus I've picked up the hideous cold everyone at work as already had. It swept the patient dormitories and then the staff. Now me.

Jim drove us to the beach yesterday but I was so out of it from fighting this cold that I slept while he drove down 95. I slept the day away. Which turned out to be not so great because Jim missed our turn off to the beach because his navigator was snoozing.

The hotel is nice enough but Expedia had it listed as 'beachfront' when it's actually a block from the beach, but hey, it's nice and most important of all, budget friendly.

We got here after a detour through some scary ghetto and after unpacking took a walk on the beach as the sun was going down. The sand sculpting contest they hold every year is just starting and we looked over this year's site and few sculptures started.

Photo is from the contest two years ago.

The drag was that with this cold I'm fighting off I didn't feel like doing anything more than settling into the hotel room and watching "Breaking Bad". Jim wanted to watch some band playing on the beach. We did, at least for a while. It was breathtakingly cold and this place was filled with drunken old timers, people in my own age group, acting like tramps with itchy boils on their butts, dancing, rubbing up together, desperately trying to hook up. I don't know, maybe I'm being too harsh and judgmental, perhaps they were just trying to stay warm in the cold. One gal with zero ass started trying to twerk. It was a sad sight. I decamped after about 20 minutes and walked back alone to the hotel, leaving Jim to watch the mating rituals of the late middle aged. 

Today has shopping, swimming and sunning on the menu even if it's still chilly outside. I'll try not to think about the mess at work and what's waiting for me next week..

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Friday the Stupid

It's been a hell of a day, or few days. Figures that yesterday was the 13th. I probably need to check the moon phases too. Too much all around strangeness.

My horrid day actually has its roots in Wednesday when I misplaced my cell phone and turned the house upside down the next day looking for it. Jim was traveling on Thursday and I knew he'd give me grief over losing my phone once again. I swear, I think deep in my soul I must be a craven Luddite because that whole cell phone is more of a bete noire than a convenience. I don't want to talk to anyone that badly.

I was freaking out over the phone Thursday, not even thinking about the fact that we were having bad weather, lightning strikes every which a way. The weather even impacted leaving work, getting down off the mountain that houses the treatment facility. I was warned to keep the change of clothes and toiletries in the trunk because there have been times when the staff has been stuck by snow or storms, downed trees and power lines across the gravel back roads.

The weather Thursday made Jim's one pm flight out of DC not happen till after 6 pm, meaning he missed his connecting flight to San Antonio, making him very late arriving for his mother's 90th birthday visit. There were ugly text messages sent from his brother to Jim complaining that he wasn't a taxi service so Jim could call his own taxi. Oh yes, sibling nastiness going back almost 60 years now. Aren't family just so so so wonderful? Snerk.

A whole lotta stress leading to me having a panic attack Thursday evening. So after time spent listening to music before just giving up and going to bed I thought I'd start again this morning and all things would be new.

But Friday started with a very odd incident. I was running late that morning, too late to cook and sit down to breakfast so I stopped by the 7-11 between the house and work. I ran to grab more coffee and when I got to the counter I asked for a Breakfast Bite.

For all you gourmands out there who'd never sampled the greasy not so deliciousness that is a Breakfast Bite I will explain. It's a sausage, a breakfast sausage rolled into the shape of a hot dog and run on the greasy rotating metal poles of the 7-11 grill. You order one, they pluck it off the hot dog grill, shove it in a standard hotdog bun. You can dress it up with onions or pickles and other condiments from their hotdog condiment stand or you can eat it with nothing on it.

I noticed that the lady working the register was someone I'd not seen before. Asked for my breakfast and she turned towards the hotdog rolling griller, reached in with her bare hand and plucked one out. She doesn't put it in a bun, she doesn't wrap it, she comes up to the counter with this sausage in her bare hand and tries to hand it to me.

My jaw is dropped and I cannot believe what I'm seeing. I look at her, I look at the sausage in her hand and back at her face, back at the sausage before asking in a puzzled tone if I could have it in a bun. She tells me 'Why didn't you ask for a bun? I ain't a mind reader' and rolling her eyes. Seriously? She tried to fob off a sausage from her bare hand to mine? I can see the labor pool is getting stupider.

Work was uneventful with the exception that they shut down the offices at 2 pm so everyone could attend the employee appreciation picnic. I was pissed because I had to go forgo the picnic, barbequed chicken and adult-sized bouncy castle for getting my xolair shots.

That was bad enough, but when I got to my pulmo's office he's running way behind so I was sitting there stewing. Another patient was waiting, an elderly lady in a wheel chair and she started asking me all sorts of weird questions, starting with "When's your baby due?"

Aw hell naw! Been dieting like mad all year and somebody starts questioning me about my supposed pregnancy over and over and over again? I wanted to smack her in the head so damn hard. She wouldn't shut up. My very graying hair should have told her I wasn't popping out any kids. I kept telling her I wasn't pregnant but she kept yapping.

After the doctors office and my shots I came home just in time to be told that the HOA president had called a board meeting in a few hours. I explained to him that I had just had my shots and usually I had wretched side effects the evening after the shots and I usually ventured no further than the sofa.

So I went to the meeting, which was all about adopting new paperwork and rules, bleech! One of the board members that I know pretty well kept harping about how when she'd walked around the neighborhood to drop off news letters she could 'smell' from the yard how dirty many of the houses are inside and we should make rules about that. She also was offended because one house had cucumbers and melons plus other veggies growing in the front flower bed and another had squash mixed in with the zinnias.

The ridiculous thing is that the cukes and melons front flower garden is the HOA Veep and the squash one is mine. We both started laughing at the outrage of this elderly lady that wanted to fine us both! I didn't plant squash in my flowers but somehow a long vine started growing in the middle of the garden.

The meeting got way stupider from there so when my best friend called me I made excuses that I had to go, work related and RAN!

When I got home Jim called to announce we were probably leaving our new church because he was sick of the hypocrites. I told him just to ignore them, but it's official folks, we're going to be spending the fall church hopping.

I think I'm going to stay inside and deep clean the house today. No human face-to-face interaction. I need a freaking break.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Putting The Pieces Back Together Again

Sometimes when things happen or I happen to rub up against something to do with fundamentalist Christianity I am mightily triggered. Particularly when I have other stressers going on at the same time. It ramps it all up to another level. Before I know it I'm having a panic attack, having to talk myself down, off the rickety limb of the Trigger Tree.

The sad, sick, surprising thing is sometimes it doesn't take much to trigger all that old nasty garbage from my old life before I left for a new church with my husband. Just walking past certain people, seeing well-scrubbed earnest young folks with Bibles on my doorstep, a certain hue of color, a particular smell, injustice, bullies, people that spout Bible verses without having a clue of the historical content and a million other things trigger me.

I thought I was finally past all of that, it's been a long time since I've been triggered into a serious panic attack. Today, after returning home from a full day of work at a job that is supposed to be part time, dealing with paperwork on so many abandoned adoptees being unfairly dumped on the doorstep of the facility I work at by Evangelical mega-adopters, I was triggered again by something that had triggered me many times this week. Someone fundy insisting I do things his way.

What? Am I Burger King now where you can have it your way just because you think it should be your way? Don't think so buddy.

So tonight I spent my time with Jason Upton in worship. It always helps me gain my perspective again. Particularly the song "Freedom" because it reminds me anew what many of the rock throwers I encounter that sometimes trigger me are all about. I particularly love this verse -


Well, we live in a country supposedly Pharaohless
But all over town and in churches abide
Powerful weaklings who practice they're politics
Stealing from Jesus his beautiful bride
Whether you're Pharisees, Sadducees, heresies
You best get outta God's way! 



It's my 'untrigger' when I worship and realize I'm dealing with a pack of modern day Pharisees. I love  Jason. I am so thankful he is courageous enough for singing the truth and for being so welcoming every time I've run into him at conferences in the past.