Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Donate, donate, donate...

80% of that beautiful, vibrant, firey, passionate city... under water.

What else is there to say???

The Times-Picayune was only published electronically yesterday - the local stories are heartbreaking.

The only good thing is that the French Quarter is (at least so far) relatively untouched. I say this is good primarily because it's going to allow them, eventually, to rebuild via tourist money, because that's about all they are going to have left to them.

All around the lake is completely flooded. That means that the restaurant where my high school choir learned how to eat crawfish (and that's a story I'll have to tell here, later, when I have more time to write) is probably gone.

I guess this hits me harder, too, because I know I have blood relatives in St. Tammany Parish. I don't know who they are or anything about them, but my maternal grandmother was from there and I know there were still great-aunts and/or uncles in Slidell. Even though I don't know them, I have always wondered if that contributed to how home-like N'Awlins felt to me when I visited there. I even considered going to Tulane. Beautiful campus... at least it was...

You know, some sort of network of Mardi Gras parties to raise money for the relief efforts would be cool... I wonder how one would organize that?

Monday, August 29, 2005

All I can say is...

...someone had WAY too much fun with this headline:

http://www.thenewmexicochannel.com/news/4899208/detail.html

Praying for one of my favorite cities in the whole world...

I've only been in N'Awlins once, and I was too young by about a year to be in the bars, which is where I wanted to be (no, not to be a drunk, silly people - that's where the MUSIC is! Not that I would turn down a mint julep or two, BUT... :). I'd wanted to get down there this summer, but just couldn't come up with the money.

Now, I'm hoping there's a city left after Katrina gets done with it. I'm not comforted by articles that say things like "...computer simulations indicate that by Tuesday, vast swaths of New Orleans could be under water up to 30 feet deep. In the French Quarter, the water could reach 20 feet..." and "Katrina is expected to push a 28-foot storm surge against the levees. Even if they hold, water will pour over their tops and begin filling the city as if it were a sinking canoe. After the storm passes, the water will have nowhere to go. In a few days, van Heerden [director of the LSU hurricane center] predicts, emergency management officials are going to be wondering how to handle a giant stagnant pond contaminated with building debris, coffins, sewage and other hazardous materials..."

At least it's only a cat 4 now, and going just east of the city. But still... I'm definitely trying to send good mojo to the gulf coast now!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

More leadership ability than I expected...

Sorry I've been quiet this week, but it's almost IIT - Informal Integration Testing. Last year, we worked 7am - 6pm during testing. So far, they aren't planning that for us this year but I won't hold my breath, either. The good news is, I don't have to run any test scripts. The bad news is, any and all security defects are -mine- and if I'm not around to pass them, they can't get fixed. Therefore, I have to be available any time testing is happening. So it's going to be a busy 6 weeks. We have fun, though - I already have toys to pass around (foam airplanes, things like that). :)

Meanwhile, in a completely different kind of testing, I didn't expect this test result (well, except for "efficiency" and "organization" - I already knew they weren't exactly my strong points. :) :

From the Tickle test, "Are You A Natural Leader?"

Total - 6.5 (on a scale of 1 - 10)
Congratulations, you're a real leader! Your leadership skills are quite strong, so don't be afraid to step up to the plate when problems need solving — you'll do great. You've got a solid combination of positive leadership traits — from organizational skills to communication ability. These talents make you a great resource in the workplace, someone people can look to for guidance and direction. Still, there are a few things you might need to work on. To brush up on the different components of leadership, check out your scores below:

Organization - 5.5 (on a scale of 1 - 10)
Let's get it together! Your organizational skills need a little work. Keeping things in the right place means you can move more quickly, making you more efficient and productive at work. So no matter what kind of career you're pursuing, the ability to keep yourself (and your work space) organized lets you spend your time on what's really important — working.

Efficiency - 5.5 (on a scale of 1 - 10)
Stop spinning your wheels and get in gear! Your efficiency could use a little help. Take some time to really analyze the work process, and learn how to get things done. Basically, you need to work on spending your time wisely — just talking about something doesn't always make it happen. You've got to persevere and focus your effort in the right places. Being more efficient is a tried-and-true way to move forward at work.

Teamwork - 7.5 (on a scale of 1 - 10)
Go, team, go! Your sense of teamwork is so strong you're practically out on the field doing cheers. Which is great — the ability to communicate and work closely with others is essential to good leadership. Team-building skills are the foundation of all interactions with your co-workers and can set the tone at work. So give yourself a pat on the back — your talent in this area gives you a real leadership edge.

Confidence - 7 (on a scale of 1 - 10)
You're a born leader ... and you know it! Confidence is a key component of leadership. And it's more than just feeling sure of yourself. It's about tackling new situations without being held back by any doubts. Your strong confidence level lets you focus your energies on success and truly shine as a leader at work.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Stolen from He Who Is Waiting For The Bar

Though I tend to use "Bother" more often... :)

Your word is BUGGER. You are generally quite restrained, but sometimes your anger or frustration comes to the surface and it all comes out. Yet you somehow can't stop sounding polite, despite it all.
Which Swear (Curse) Word Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Just because he's my ex...

...doesn't mean I can't appreciate what he has to say. Enjoy this commentary on Pat Robertson's latest faux pas!

('Sides which, he's still one of my best friends. I'm weird that way. :))

No, really, Officer, you must be mistaken...

...I was just high on the Lord! :) :) :)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Perspective...

Nice to be back in this space...

Is Your Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

Half-Full Glass
You try to look on the bright side, and optimism is a skill you've cultivated to help you weather life's rough spots. All the same, you know it's okay to admit when you're angry or hurt. You're neither blindly positive, nor prone to dwell on slights and injuries, and your generally positive outlook helps prepare you to take risks without being held back by bitterness or a fear of failure. Believe it or not, some scientists have theorized that there is an evolutionary advantage to optimism: Human beings may be programmed to view the world as just slightly better than it actually is, in order to recognize clearly any real threats to our well-being and handle them appropriately. Your ability to rise above negative thinking while remaining realistic about temporary setbacks is a great strength.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Finally, some sense...

The case where in a divorce settlement the judge ruled, against the wishes of both parents, that a child couldn't be exposed to his parents' religion, was overturned unanimously today in appeal! (Yes, I know all the people involved in the case, in case anyone was curious...)

Monday, August 15, 2005

I gots Wheels!

Due to complicated circumstances which I won't bore you with here, I've been car-sharing with the almost-ex. But now I gots my own wheels! Nothing fancy, a very basic 1990 Civic sedan, but it's in fabulous shape, only 131000 miles which on a Honda still means it's got a decent amount of life in it yet, and it's a stick! And it was nice to know I could get right back in to the swing of driving one after... geez, 10 years since I've driven one regularly?

Meanwhile, my son starts middle school this week. How did I get this old? :)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Before and After

I think the lyrics to these two songs sum up where I was two weeks ago and where I am today with such precision that no other words are necessary...

-=Then=-

Cheryl Wheeler, "Addicted"

She says she hates to sleep alone but she'll do it tonight
She wants to grab her telephone but she knows it's not right
So if he won't call she'll survive
And if he don't care she'll get by
Climb into bed, bury her head and cry, cry

From the beginning he was all anyone could been
They were delirious with love, they were certain to win
Now he's breaking plans more and more
And he's leaving notes on her door
'took a trip out of town, couldn't turn this one down'
He said 'I guess I should have told you before'

(Chorus)
She says she feels like she's addicted to a real bad thing
She's always sitting, waiting wondering if the phone will ring
She knows she bounces like a yo-yo when he pulls her string
It hurts to feel like such a fool
She wants to tell him not to call or come around again
He doesn't need her now at all the way that she needs him
She's on the edge about to fall from leaning out and in
And she don't know which way to move

She wants to be fair, she couldn't say he was ever unkind
But if she could bear to walk away, she thinks he wouldn't mind
'cause he just keeps himself so apart
And there's no one else in her heart
So she's taking a dive from an emotional high
And coming down hard

She's determined to try, but she'll still give in when he gives her a call
And she'll ask herself why, but in the end it won't matter at all
Sure she could sit at home, stay inside
And sleep alone with her pride
And as she walks out her door, she feels as weak as before
With nothing to hide

(Chorus)

-=Now=-

Fred Small, "Other Side Of The Wood"

We met in the quiet of the meadow
We rambled hand in hand through the glade
We lay entwined on a pallet
Of clover and columbine made
But now the forest fills with shadows
And the raven and the wolf call your name
And you wonder how you ever came to wander
So deep into this unknown terrain

CHORUS:
So go your way I cannot hold you
Nor would I detain you if I could
I will wait for you in the clearing
On the other side of the wood

How I would speed to your rescue
Through the darkwood so wild and overgrown
But where you go I cannot follow
The staff you hew must be your own
For my comfort would only confine you
And my love would close about you like a shroud
All my fears for you would confound you
All my fears for myself would drag you down

CHORUS

I know the wind will tell you stories
And every tale come to a bloody end
But somewhere in that dread parade of possibilities
Is it possible I am your friend

To walk with a companion is a blessing
To forfeit one's freedom is a curse
To open the heart's wounds is agony
To bind them tight is even worse
Wherever the light before you leads you
And whether you find me or no
My love will travel softly at your shoulder
And abide with you wherever you may go

CHORUS

(As a complete aside, why should it not surprise me that Fred Small, my all-time favorite folk singer who almost no one else has heard of, is a UU minister? I just discovered this with a net search. Small world!)

Monday, August 08, 2005

Shift your perspective...

I love these "Magic Eye" pictures, both because they're fun and because to me they teach an object lesson in "all reality is perception." You can enjoy some pictures here - and if you're one of those people who swear you can't see them, you might check here.

Meanwhile, some fantastic "quote of the day" type things can be found here. My favorites from a quick read:

Security does not exist in nature. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. - Helen Keller

If you treat a man as he is, he will remain as he is; if you treat him as he ought to be and could be, he will become as he ought to be and could be. - Goethe

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no person can sincerely try to help another without helping themselves. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

And this one might answer my question, "How does it feel to be in a healthy relationship?"

While doing research for a doctoral thesis, a young man spent a year with a group of Navajo Indians on a reservation in the Southwest. He lived with one family, sleeping in their hut, eating their food, working with them, and generally living their life.

The grandmother of the family spoke no English, yet a very close friendship formed between the grandmother and the doctoral student. They seemed to share the common language of love and they intuitively understood each other. Over the months he learned a few phrases of Navajo, and she picked up words and phrases in English.

When it was time for the young man to return to the university and write his thesis, the tribe held a going-away celebration for him. It was marked by sadness since he had developed a close relationship with all those in the village. As he prepared to get into his pickup truck and drive away, the old grandmother came to tell him goodbye. With tears streaming from her eyes, she placed her hands on either side of his face, looked directly into his eyes, and said, "I like me best when I'm with you."

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Ok, they're not ALL accurate, but most of 'em at least fit someone I grew up with! This should actually be labeled "you grew up in small-town Indiana" 'cause it doesn't fit my kids, growing up in "The" big city. :)





You Know You're From Indiana When...


You drive for three hours and the scenery outside doesn't change.

There's three feet of snow on the ground and school is still in session.

You only go to the mall once a year 'cause it takes too long to get there.

While driving all you see is corn.

People still have Christmas decorations up at Easter.

You start saying to yourself "More than corn in Indiana my butt."

Anyone with a cell phone looks out of place.

Walking through Wal-Mart with two carts full of kids is normal.

Anyone with a tan is rich.

The hip hang-out place is McDonald's. (Hardees, in my hometown. Or the truck stop!)

There really is more than corn in Indiana. There's soybeans, too.

When you plan an orgy and a Euchre game breaks out. (This has to be my favorite one on the list! Why is Euchre the quintessential Indiana card game, anyway?)

A restaurant has an invisible wall in the non-smoking section and you believe it works.

Speeding consists of 2 miles over the speed limit.

You think you don't have to use a turn signal on your car because you don't use it on your tractor.

You build your dream house on a cornfield, and you considered it posh.

You warsh your clothes and you think George Warshington was the first president.

You're proud to be called a Hoosier, even if you don't know what one is.

You have no problem spelling or pronouncing "Terre Haute"

Detassling was your first job. Bailing hay, your second. (Not mine, but just about everyone else I knew!)

You can stack hay, swim in the pond to clean off, and then have the strength to play a couple of games of hoops all in the same day.

You say things like "catty-wumpus" and "kitty-corner".

You own a dirtbike or a ATV. (Nope, but have ridden on a friend's. :)

You live in a city ... and there's a cornfield in your backyard.

High school basketball game draws a bigger crowd on the weekend nights than movie theaters.

You can see at least 2 basketball hoops from your yard.

You can name every one of Bob Knight's "exploits" over the last few years.

You shop at Marsh. (We didn't have a Marsh where I grew up. Them was only in the big cities!)

Damon Bailey was your childhood hero. (Wow, I'm so much older than this question...)

The biggest question of your youth was "IU or Purdue?"

Indianapolis is the "big city".

"Getting caught by a train" is a legitimate excuse for being late to school.

People at your high school chewed tobacco.

Everyone knows who the town cop is, where he lives, and whether he is at home or on duty.

You actually know what the CART vs IRL debate is about and have taken a side.

To you, a raccoon is simply a "coon".

The vehicle of choice in your area is not a car, but a pickup.

Someone you know is BIG John Mellencamp fan.

You've been to the Covered Bridge Festival.

To you, a tenderloin is not an expensive cut of beef, but a big, salty, breaded piece of pork served on a bun with pickles.

You call a green bell pepper a "mango". (OK, this one I've never heard?)

Sometimes, you call the toilet the "commode" or the "stool".

In the fall, one of your favorite pranks was corning cars. (And soaping cars, and TP-ing. And they didn't mention cow-tipping!)

You know what FFA and 4H stand for.

You know what chip-and-seal is, and your high school was located on just such a road.

You go the county fair every night of it's week-long duration.

You can say "French Lick" without laughing out loud.

There's actually a college near you named "Ball State."

The last "g" is silent in any word ending in "ing."

You think the state Bird is Larry.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Indiana.




Thursday, August 04, 2005

Epiphany

I've been in a lot of pain lately.

I just read a book that transformed my life.

No kidding, folks.

Now, I'm not so naive as to think that everyone will respond the same way. This happened to be a symbol set that -reached- me, right at a time when I -needed- it. It won't reach everyone.

But for them as are interested, the same book that I found by chance at Half Price Books tonight is also available for free, on-line, here:

http://www.whyagain.com/book-en/Default.htm

Basically, I discovered I've been addicted to the concept of romance, as a symptom of a need for external validation. I thought I clung in relationships because I was afraid of abandonment. But taking that a step further, I've not been afraid of abandonment, but been afraid of losing the good feelings I have about myself when I tell myself stories in my mind about a relationship. Because I was afraid of losing the good feelings, I clung to the relationships, and did all sorts of things to try to "make" them work, "rescue" the other person and "make" him stay with me. Oh, nothing overtly controlling... but analyzing every move and modifying my emotional responses in order to evoke emotional response in another person -is- control, and not unconditional love. I learned a lot of this at another fabulous website, http://www.coping.org/coping/titles.htm.

Now, intellectually I have known that external things don't have to affect my internal self-perception, self-validation, and sense of being. I've read and heard those words over and over and over.

Until tonight, I'd never -experienced- them.

And though I've known it intellectually, now I *understand* that I can create these good feelings all by myself. What a tremendous weight to be lifted - to no longer feel compelled to change anyone, for my happiness to not be dependent on anything but me!

This is definitely one of those experiences that just doesn't translate into words. But boy, it feels good.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Today's lyrics

Julia Fordham, "Threadbare"

Threadbare, frayed around the edges
Down where all I'm getting is you don't care
And hoping that I'm wrong

I am crushed by your indifference, know I must try
To stop wishing if only I
Could undo what I've done

If I knew then what I know now
I would have saved my words somehow
Headed underground, crushed without a sound

Threadbare
Tired from the inside out
I'm kind of worn down by the doubt
And time will tell how it should be
If I knew then what I know now
I would have saved my words somehow
Headed underground, crushed without a sound
Threadbare

There's something I'm missing
You're not giving me
I talk and you listen
But will you ever see?

Love's a funny thing

More Memes

Huh. Pretty accurate.

How You Life Your Life

You seem to be straight forward, but you keep a lot inside.

You tend to avoid confrontation and stay away from sticky situations.

You tend to have one best friend you hang with, as opposed to many aquaintences.

Some of your past dreams have disappointed you, but you don't let it get you down.