Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Are You Sure You Want To Delete Everything in this Folder?

No!  No, I'm not sure! 


So it's my last full day before my short vacation.  I'm preparing my bosses and co-workers for every possible scenario:  payroll is prepped, offer letters for hypothetical future employees are written just in case one needs to be written or sent in my absence, I've distributed document templates, pre-written emails for others to send on my behalf, all with the required legal verbiage IF certain situations arise.  My brain hurts.  I've detailed my processes, broken them down further and even created a version I secretly refer to as the "Dummy" version, and then ended every last email with ". . .but seriously, if THAT happens just call my personal cell and I'll log in from San Diego." 

I do this to myself everytime I take a vacation.  I know the world won't end if I'm not here, but it would be difficult for others for a while, without these instructions, if I were to be eaten by a shark. 

Anyway, while proactively preparing for the worst and arming my colleagues with wisdom (and also annoying them with my anxiety driven  "just double checking" emails), I ended up running into an issue that could only be resolved with a document that only one of our executives has in his possession. 

He's out of town. 

No worries, I thought to myself, we map our personal drives to virtual servers so....

So, my plan was to use my system administrator rights to reset said executive's password, access his files, retrieve the document and move on, with his permission of course.  Was the document stored in his mapped drive?  Nooooo.  It was saved to the hard drive on his laptop.  (Just in case you are wondering, this is not best practice). 

New plan:  Log in to the physical machine, retrieve document, email it from his Outlook to myself, log out, and then. . .move on.  Everything was going smoothly, although I did  notice his electronic files were not efficiently arranged and categorized and I had to fight the urge to re-architect the files. Then. . .dun dun duuuunnnnn

The question of doom popped up as I was exiting his email:  Are you sure you want to delete everything in this folder and sub-folders? 

Those sitting in the cubicles outside of his office heard an audible "Gah!  No!  No, I'm not sure!"  I know my way around technology and have no idea why that popped up.  This has to be a joke!  If it had happened under my own account I would have been fine, and would have calmly clicked No, but imagining having to tell Mr. Exec, "Ummmm, so I deleted all your stuff.  That's cool, right?"  made my anxiety skyrocket.

I frantically clicked No, logged out, and backed away from the laptop and out of his office as if it could explode any moment. 

Have I mentioned lately that I'm looking forward to vacation?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

The best laid plans are often foiled by situations and things that seem out of scope but end up being way better than the original plans.

The closer my trip to Phoenix and San Diego gets the more I realize that I need a vacation.  It's like the universe is throwing extra stressful, extra tedious, extra annoying things, tasks and people at me so that I really appreciate the upcoming time off.  All I can think about is sitting.  Sitting on the beach.  Sitting on the beach with no make-up on (okay, maybe a little bit of make-up).  Running on the beach.  More importantly, I look forward to being on vacation with two of my very best friends, enjoying. . .whatever it is that we decide to do. 

I made a spontaneous <insert anxiety and heart palpitations here> trip to visit family this weekend.   My original plan for the weekend was to pre-pack, make packing lists, revise my pro/con list for my work and departure schedule on Wednesday, sleep, catch up on school work, sleep, work out, work out, and sleep.  Instead, I packed a bag and drove through the night to southern Missouri so that I could attend my great-uncle's 80th birthday party.  My g-Uncle is one of my very favorite people so there was no way I would miss the celebration; however, I am not a spontaneous person.  I like to plan spontaneity.  So while I was excited about the weekend, in theory, all I could think about was my upcoming, very needed vacation and the fact that this little weekend excursion was not in my timeline nor in my budget.

BUT.  I love when there's a "but".  My weekend excursion was not in my timeline nor in my budget. . .

But I arrived at my parent's house and got to spend hours of one on one time with DudeGuyMan (my younger brother).  He's a freakishly talented musician so we listened to some of his latest recordings and laughed hysterically, about random things, until the early in the morning.  It is only with DudeGuyMan that I make midnight ventures out to Taco Bell. . .and actually eat Taco Bell, which I later regretted.  My head was like, "You know better than to eat fake, overly processed fooooood!" and then it applied excruciating pain to my temples.  It was worth it.

But I was able to spend a few hours with my sister, who had to attend a rodeo to take photographs for the county newspaper.  Quality time with my sister AND experiencing a rodeo=priceless.  Rodeos are not my thing, but cowboys might be?  I'm just kidding. . .I was definitely out of my element and every part of me screamed, "I'm a city girl!!!" to the locals.

But I got to sit outside with my mom and eat ice cream.  I got to drink coffee and eat breakfast with my mom, sing with my mom, just spend time with my mom.

But I spent time with 5 generations of relatives, some of whom I haven't seen for years, and who all used to be constant, integral parts of my life.  It was like nothing had changed even though so much has changed.  These are my people.  These people taught me how to hug, how to really love, how to make bottlerocket launchers on the 4th of July. . .etc.

My mom, my aunt, and me

On my drive home today, I spontaneously took a different route home with the help of my iPhone navigation system.  It turned out to be a much shorter, much prettier drive AND the speed limit was 75 mph which means setting my cruise control on 80 mph was totally acceptable!  The route also took me by a few different small municipal airports so I was able to view single engine planes and gliders taking off, descending to land, or just flying freely above me.  As I neared home, to my left, I saw several hot air balloons floating majestically in the sky, with the setting sun behind them. 

Turns out, in addition to needing a vacation, I also really needed every spontaneous and unplanned, unbudgeted part of this weekend.  I was provided with everything I love:  family, time, the privilege of watching flight, alone time (in the car during my trip), and the realization that it really is the simple things in life that make me happy.  If not for spontaneity ruining my plans I would have missed out on all of it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Way of Regarding Situations, Facts, etc, and Judging Their Relative Importance

I love the definition of perspective even more than I love the word perspective.  I love it because, to me, perspective is a "growing" word and it's still always subjective.  Often when our perspectives change, it's because we have gained more knowledge or experience or have been open to at least understanding another way of thinking as it pertains to our situations, facts and judging relative importance.

I spent Sunday night through Monday morning (8:00PM to 4:00 AM) moving furniture, storage bins, clothing, shoes, baby seats and toys, photo boxes, etc. out of my soaking wet closet and bedroom after discovering my water heater had been leaking for days.  It wasn't fun.  It wasn't fun discovering the wet floor, trying to figure out the source of the water and quickly moving heavy furniture with a newly healed, formerly fractured hand. It wasn't fun staying up until the wee hours of the morning (on a work night) waiting on maintenance to show up.  It wasn't fun sitting on the living room floor blow drying my shoes.  It wasn't fun having to throw out letters, photos, kid artwork and cards that I stupidly stored in a cardboard box.  It wasn't fun, but it was necessary so I did it.

The majority of my experience, looking back, is humorous and sleep deprivation makes it even more funny but I'm not going to go into the funny stories associated with the Great Water Heater Flood of 2011.  I am going to talk about a way in which I now regard the situation, the facts, and how I judge their relative importance.

My perspective changed when I arrived home from work yesterday.  Maintenance had been in my apartment most of the day ripping up carpet, changing out the water heater, and they left behind a few ginormous fans to finish drying the floors out.  The maintenance guys had also taken it upon themselves to move my bedroom furniture back so that I wouldn't have too.  Yay!  My shoes were finally dry so I began arranging them, in pairs, in the corner of my kitchen.  I made quite a few trips with musty smelling shoes stacked and spilling from my arms. 

Perspective:  I immediately thought of the kids I know personally in Honduras with only flip flops to their name.  Or the people I saw with no shoes or wearing someone else's worn out hand-me-down shoes, sizes too big or too small.  Here I am with a kitchen floor full of multiple pairs of cute heels, boots, flats, tennis shoes, flip flops, slippers, and sandals.  Multiple pairs.  Some I don't even wear; I just keep them around because I might wear them again.  I don't feel wrong owning all of these shoes; however, I do regard my situation differently.  The night before, when armed with a blow dryer and feeling frustrated that my shoes were wet, I kind of felt sorry for myself.  Now, I realize that I'm lucky to have shoes to damage or lose in the first place.  I have things to miss, while so many others don't even have the essentials to live comfortably.

That change in perspective, or reminder, led me to take another step back and look at the Great Water Heater Flood of 2011.  Water.

Perspective:  Anyone been keeping up with the crisis in Somalia (and other famine stricken parts of the world)?  Anyone ever been to a third world country?  We take water for granted.  I knew this and learned to take it less for granted after visiting Honduras last year, but I still take it for granted, obviously. 

While I don't want water all over my apartment, I realized that I have a crazy abundant supply of water.  I have so much water I didn't know if it was leaking from the sink, the bathroom plumbing, or the washer.  I'm so unfamiliar with everything that houses and processes water for me that I didn't even consider it might be the water heater for a good hour into the clean up.  I have a tank of constantly heated water while people are dying because they don't even have a sip of water to drink.  People are dying because they can't water their crops, hydrate or feed their animals, and so they starve.  They suffer.  And I have water all over my apartment floor. 

My situation on Sunday night/Monday morning wasn't fun.  Water damage can be bad and can create mold.  I have little irritations toward the maintenance crew who waited what felt like an eternity to show up, but at least I have a maintenance crew.  I had someone to call.  I didn't have to handle the whole situation totally by myself.

Regarding my situation in a different way, weighing the facts and judging their relative importance, this is what I've decided:

If my only complaint is that the situation wasn't fun, that I'm exhausted, that I had to apply some muscle to salvaging my stuff and go to work sleep deprived, then in the grand scheme of things my situation wasn't that important.  I have more than what I need and am thankful to have been reminded of that.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Captcha: One More Way to Feel Self-Conscious

I would like to focus your attention on a couple of things in this picture.  First, the captcha letters (or so-called letters), used to verify I am not a spambot, and secondly, the text in the pink box.  Would you like to know how many times that box snickered at me while telling me that the text I entered did not match the security check?  I think eventually it added, "idiot" after please try again.

Dyslexia and captcha security checks are not friends!  I could maybe identify the letters, in the correct order, after a moment of scrutinaization IF the letters weren't also wavy and blurry.  I still seriously cannot tell if the last word has 5 letters in it or 6. . .or 7?!  The other difficult aspect for me is when I do finally identify the letters or numbers, I often type them incorrectly, usually in the wrong order but when I compare what I've typed to the letters it looks correct, even though it's not!  Gah.  So, then I get a new captcha to decipher and the viscious cycle continues.

Granted, I've always had issues with numbers.  My whole life, printed numbers would scurry all over the page at school, making math difficult for me.  Even if I understood the concept or process of solving the equation, I would almost always mess up the numbers along the way.  Math up through middle school was a breeze becasue it was pretty basic, but once I hit algebra and geometry where numbers met up with letters and symbols, it was all over for me!  I had to work my booty off to pass those classes with a D-, and up until that point I was an A and B student. 

I even process numbers, given to me verbally, incorrectly.  Once, my co-worker was reading off numbers for me to write down.  87 12 71 14 30.  This is what I wrote:  87 12 71 42 30.  When I read it back to her, I read it off correctly, even though it was written down incorrectly.  I heard 14, wrote 42, and read back 14.  Crazy weird.  It took us 20 minutes to figure out why there was a discrepancy in our numbers.  She had to come over and look at what I had written.

I have a love for english and writing.  I legitimately love spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure.  I love editing.  I loved spelling bees as a kid.  I love words!  So who cares if I have to work harder with numbers?  Double and triple check everything?  I have letters! 

I wasn't always dyslexic.  This is still a relatively "new" issue for me.  Up until I was 19, I never had an issue with letters; never had to doublecheck my spelling, etc.  That was until I had a small stroke, now called a TIA. Back then it was called, "Ummm.....we don't know what happened?  We're going to call it a migrainous stroke.  Here are some drugs that will likely make you feel worse or kill you.  Good luck." 

That episode changed my life, forever, in a number of ways. One of the many long term effects?  Dyslexia.  Eight years later it still makes me self-conscious; even though I am considered mildly dyslexic and should recognize that I'm blessed not to be severely dyslexic, I'm still self-conscious about it and get mildly annoyed when I can't figure out a freakin' captcha check! 

The great thing is that there are work arounds for both dyscalculia and dyslexia; most people don't even know I struggle with either.  Now I guess everyone knows, but that's okay.  I'm successful in my job, I do what I love.  Some things just take me a little longer than most people.  One of the greatest positive aspects is how awesome my boss is about triple checking my numbers at work (I handle payroll and have NEVER made an error) without making me feel like a moron.  :)

That being said, Captcha is still my arch nemesis!  Hmmm.....I might have a new idea for a Post-it Art blog post.  Yes, it involves spandex and capes!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Beach as Your Backdrop

This is the best thing I've read all day year!  "Our quaint beach bungalows are inches from the ocean, with no roads between the rental and the beach! Right out your front door you have a shared patio to enjoy with a barbecue, patio furniture, and fire ring, all with the beach as your backdrop!"

Oh dear sweetness. . .I can't wait to be in California, going to sleep to the sound of the ocean, having coffee with my two BFFs in the morning, walking barefoot in the sand, and really relaxing.  Two weeks is too long to wait!  The only downfall is that I have to submit payroll while on vacation, but for real prepping and submitting payroll in a cottage by the ocean, with the beach as my backdrop, is going to be a lot more fun than from my office in the Midwest!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Getting to Know You, Getting to Know ALL About You

Here's an extreme, all emcompassing, automatically-negative-thought:  I almost always regret getting to know people.  It's true.  I have realized that I have a good, core group of friends that were established years ago and the older I get the less friends I gain that fall into the good, core status.  There have been maybe two in four years.

So if you have recently become an acquaintance of mine, don't take offense to this statement.  If we're still communicating in some way I don't yet regret getting to know you :)  We might not end up BFFs but more than likely we'll continue to be friends/acquaintances and the rest of the post won't apply to you.

Maybe I should soften my statement to: I almost always regret getting to know people because typically they just end up being lunatics that you have to nicely avoid later (or maybe not nicely, in some situations).  It makes situations like this, with seemingly normal new acquaintances, awkward:

New acquaintance:  "Well, this was fun!  We like a lot of the same stuff....we should hang out again."

This sounds fun and promising but experience has taught me that when/if we hang out again more than likely this person will be a total contradiction, a weirdo, or clingy. Very rarely does making new friends in your late 20s work out like it did in elementary school.  "We have the same favorite color!  Yeah!"  BFFs for life!  or at least through the school year.  So I automatically resort to vague, conservative answers, such as:

Me:  "Yes, it was fun.  It would be cool to hang out again....someday.  Gosh, but when?  We're both so busy....."  In my head this statement actually sounds like this:  "MLEHHHHHHHH.  Too.Much.Effort. Just to be disappointed.  Mleh again."

I know I sound mean, but really I'm not.  I'm extremely frustrated that people waste one another's time pretending to be awesome and then turning out to be cuh-razy.  This is frustrating mainly because I end up being the person who has to "break up" with that person and it usually effects me recreationally---well, can't go there anymore.  Gotta switch my schedule a bit to avoid the crazies. . .possibly change my number and quit my job.  Mleh.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mind vs. Body

My mind and body are literally in conflict today.  I am so happy that it has been raining!  There's a cool-ish breeze and the dark skies are soothing.  I love a good, cool, summer rain!  However, because of the moisture and change in barometric pressure from the storm, the entire left side of my body has been popping, creaking, aching and grinding today due to various injuries over the past few years.

The great knee and hip displacement from 2008?  Oh, how I'm feelin' it.  Dislocated shoulder from 2010?  Yep, feelin' that too.  Newly fractured wrist? Gah! At one point today I thought it might hurt less to saw it off with a blunt butter knife but, luckily, my very rational bff convinced me that such a thought was pretty stupid.  So, I will not be performing any amputations.

The right side of my body is teaming up with my brain, "What's the big deal, Lefty?  It's a beautiful day!" 

I think I'll go eat some ibuprofen now.

Happy Friday!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Come For Me First. . .John 15:13

This week, Glenn Beck was the keynote speaker at the Christians United for Israel summit in Washington, D.C. where he boldly stated, If the world goes down the road of dehumanizing Jews again, “then count me a Jew and come for me first.”

The purpose of this post is to focus on the statement but I need to give a disclaimer and also some opinions about the verbiage used above. 

Disclaimer:  I think Glenn Beck is ridiculous.  I would like to make some extreme statements/judgments about him to justify my disclaimer but it's not necessary.  Anyway, I just want to make it clear that while I am giving him credit for his statement, I am not glorifying him in any way, whatsoever.

When speaking in front of a group called Christians United for Israel, reporting that he boldly stated something pro-Israel is laughable.  It would have been bold of him to have made that statement in front of an organization less keen on Israel.  I had trouble finding any articles that didn't use the word 'boldly' though.  Kuddos to Beck for taking a passionate stand, or at least proclaiming one, about Israel.

Also, the world has never stopped dehumanizing Jewish people so this statement "If the world goes down the road of dehumanizing Jews again. . ." perplexes me.  Since the beginning of time, people have sought to annihilate the Jews.  It's nothing new and it never stopped. . .  In fact, the whole basis of the holiday Purim is to celebrate a time when thousands of Jews were spared from annihilation at the hands of Haman.  (Thanks, Esther!). 

Let me get back to the point of this post.  Regardless of whether or not I like Glenn Beck, if he was bold or not, or if I agree with how the story was reported and if the verbiage was to my liking, I have to say that the mentality behind this statement struck a chord:  “then count me a Jew and come for me first.”

John 15:13 states: Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

I remember the day I realized that had I been alive during the time of the Holocaust I probably would have been killed.  I was probably in high school when I realized this.  It was a strange thing to realize.  I would have hidden Jews.  I would have supported them.  I have always been so comfortable in my support of Israel and the Jewish people that I had never really taken into account those who felt the same way that I do now, who boldly and actually risked their lives, and lost their lives, for their neighbors who were being murdered.  The nazis targeted not only Jews, but also those who sympathized with the Jews.  They targeted the mentally ill, those with deformities, homosexuals (or alleged homosexuals).  Do you know anyone who falls into those categories (and many other categories)? I do.  Would I let them be annhilated or dehumanized?  Would you?

We get so caught up in our own lives, our circle of people, our comfort zones that we don't see history being repeated or fail to recognize how easily it could be repeated if we aren't careful.  There are so many genocides taking place in our world, but because it doesn't happen here, we shrug it off or we aren't even aware of it.  There are crimes committed against minorities just because they are minorities.  Still.  Here in the U.S., this great melting pot, people are persecuted and hated because they are different.

I had lunch with a business contact of mine a few months ago.  He's a very educated, friendly, wordly guy but something he said sort of devastated me, "Huh.  I didn't realize there was any conflict in the Middle East.  What started it?"  Ummmm....Isaac and Ishmael? I was dumbfounded. If we aren't even aware of major conflicts happening around us, how can we take a passionate stand for anyone?  It doesn't have to be Israel.  I love Israel and I hope you aren't anti-Israel, but everyone has to have their own cause.  Would you protect anyone?

So fill in the blank.  "If the world goes down the road of dehumanizing _________, then count me a _______ and come for me first.” 

Just a thought or two that came to mind today.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Panic in the Dressing Room

I love skinny jeans and jeggings.  I love them so much that today, when I saw an especially cute pair of light grey jeggings, I just had to try them on!

Aren't they cute? 

Check out the bottom of the pant legs!

What I somehow failed to consider is my current, minor disability.  Jeggings are difficult to get on and off with two good hands, an injured hand makes it comical.   I did pretty well getting them on mostly one handed.  I quit using my left after pain shot up my arm.  Getting them off?  Oh my. 

Jeggings can only be removed by literally peeling them off, which is not comical....and it's also not an option for me to do in my current state.  I used my right hand, the edge of my splint, and my feet, to no avail.  I was trapped and I silently started panicking!  The dressing room started shrinking; I'm almost positive it literally lost some square footage.  I was tempted to give up my last ounce of pride and yell for my friend who was still shopping but attempted one last psychotic episode induced peeeeeeelllll and then I was free!

The worst part is that I didn't purchase them.  One would think after all that I would want a reward for the difficulty but now I just associate clautrophobia, pain and anguish with that particular pair of pants.  Once my arm is better I might reconsider :) 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bookmarks: Sabbath, May 6, 1988

When my Great Grandpa Leighton-Floyd passed away in 2007, I inherited some of his books.  The family kindly and generously took one another into consideration when dividing up his books which made it all that much sweeter walking away with an armload or two of words he held dear.  The pages in the books are marked.  Sections of the text are highlighted and some pages have his notes written in the margins.  To me there is nothing that tells me more about him.  I have learned a lot about my great Grandpa L-F by reading what was important to him but part of him will remain a little mysterious.  Why was this passage so important?  What was he thinking when he marked that page?  I kind of like the mystery.  Here is my favorite book:

The New Union Prayer Book for Weekdays, Sabbaths and Festivals.
I love reading this book when I need to be uplifted or when I am seeking peace.  Sometimes I read it while sitting outside, in the quiet. 

I found this Israeli stamp taped to the inside cover:

More importantly, this bookmark,among many others:


I have the privilege to know the exact Sabbath reading my great Grandfather led on May 6, 1988.  First of all, for those that don't know, Shabbat is more commonly known (and this is an assumption on my part that my readers are not familiar with the term Shabbat) as the Sabbath.  Sabbath means "rest" or "cessation".  It is a time to give up the things of the world:  work, labor, etc. and to reflect, praise God and spend time with family. I won't type out the whole Shabbat, reading, because it is very long, but wanted to include some of it because it's so beautiful.  The bolded section below is for my friend Amy M.  Amy, I have been praying fervently for you and when I read this tonight, I prayed again. 

Eternal God, open my lips that my mouth may declare your glory.

Lord, You are our God, even as You were the God of Abraham and Sarah, the God of our fathers and mothers, the God of all the ages of Israel.

They are our past and we are their future.

We recall their vision and pray for the strength to keep it alive:
Help us, O God and Shield, to keep their faith.

O God, Shield of Abraham, Sarah's Help, in all generations be our Help, our Shield, our God!

Eternal God, the power of Your spirit pervades all creation.  When we open our hearts to You, we are filled with Your strength:  the strength to bear our afflictions, the strength to refuse them victory, the strength to overcome them. 

And then our will is renewed:  to lift up the fallen, to set free the captive, to heal the sick, to bring light to all who dwell in darkness.

Add Your strength to ours, O God, so that when death casts its shadow, we shall yet be able to say:  O Source of blessing, You are with us in death as in life!

Tucked inside the reading is a slip of paper that reads:
O Eternal Father of heaven and earth, we do praise you for your mighty works, your loving kindness toward us unworthy creatures, yet in Your great love You condescended to come down from your high and holy habitation, and save us from our sins. 

On this Sabbath we ask that we might worship you in Spirit and in truth, we pray, in Jesus' precious name, Amen.