Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

Growing Old, Not Up

January 26, 2009

As mentioned a few times before, I’m mumblety-two years old.  Let’s just say I watched Ike through the slats of my crib on the ol’ black and white television with all of three channels.

Admittedly, that’s chronological age.  Emotionally I’m still a kid.  I like to play.

I was talking recently with a friend in more or less the same line of work* about how difficult it is in a career to balance work and play.  If you act like you want and play, even if you are very capable at what you do, you don’t go up the corporate ladder.  However, if you “act your age”, you’re liable to burn out and become painfully cynical.  Me?  I’m in the second phase of my career.  In the first phase, I was smart enough to rise up the corporate ladder.  I also saw the rare other high level executives who could still play, while being effective and efficient at their jobs.  Therefore, I thought I could as well.  That philosophy came crashing down when I hurt my neck crashing into the “act your age” glass ceiling.  While those other executives snuck through, I was stopped cold.  And done.  And cynical.

But not dead.  I came back in a similar job in the same bureaucracy, but starting over.

I’m trying to recapture the playfulness, both personally and at work.  Work is too serious to be taken seriously.  Hell, LIFE is much too serious to be taken seriously.  You need to work hard—and live seriously—yes, but have fun doing so.

Two events helped me see this is both harder…and easier…than I thought it would be.

First was a mandatory workshop set up by my bosses.  It was intended to teach us to think creatively and synergistically to solve problems.  On
arriving at the workshop, I was delighted to see little toys — legos, plastic cars, bouncy balls, crayons.  The workshop facilitators hit it right away–“You need to have fun at your job to be creative at your job.”  Excellent!!  Finally an advocate of the way I like to work.  I fell full throttle into the class.  I was multi-processing, playing with the toys while still listening to the facilitator and participating in the exercises.  Those around me (who happened to be from my office) were doing the same.  Comes the first break and a facilitator walks up to us, “I’ve been asked to tell you to tone it down.  You’re having fun is distracting the others from their learning.”  “Okay, let me get this straight… having fun is distracting from learning that having fun is essential to job creativity?”  “Right.”  My energy for support and participation in the workshop went from 100% to 0% in a matter of moments.  I used much of the remainder of the meeting using the crayons…quietly…to write over and over, “Shut Up And Color”.

It’s going to be hard…

The second was a recent and brief interlude in life.  A passing moment.  I went shopping at one of those warehouse stores and bought a bunch of
stuff for my condo.  It was very busy that day and I had to park quite a distance away.  Feeling the need, I started running with the shopping cart, getting it up to speed, then jumping on the back for a ride down the parking aisle (visions of the movie ‘Titanic’, on the bowsprit, “I’m the king of the world!!”).  It was exhilarating.  Whenever the cart slowed down, I repeated the process.  Just before getting to my car…and just as I had jumped off…a car comes pulling up beside me.  The lady driving rolled down the window and hollered, “Hey!”  Now, she looked to be about my age, as well as seeming a no-nonsense mom type.  Just because I’m mumblety-two doesn’t mean I won’t react to a Mom calling me to task.  I looked at her sheepishly**, already feeling busted for the crime of exuberance.  Then she stuck her lecturing finger out at me.  I’m thinking,  Uh-oh.  The ‘lecturing finger’!  I’m really in for it now.”  Then her words came out, slowly and deliberately, “Don’t. You. Ever. Stop. Playing.”  Shock…Escape…Vindication!  She went on to say we’re all too serious in life and a little bit of happiness should be pursued wherever you can find it.  I thanked her profusely and wished her a happy day.

It’s not going to be that hard…

Balance?  Yep, still working on it.  More so, I need to work on not giving a crap what others think.

…and just have fun.

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*meaning they more or less understand me and how i relate to my job…more or less…

**baaaaaa!!!!!

CI Homage 23Jan09

January 22, 2009

Floating down a stream of consciousness, Alice lazed idly in thoughtful waters.

With a circumspect hand, she lackadaisically stirred up the sediment of abandoned ideas which had settled to the bottom.

She watched the concepts swirl, entwining incestuously for brief affairs of hypothesis, only to withdraw again in solicitous self reverie.

Alice’s musings became nightmare as Nick, with a gratuitous shout of “Cowabunga!”, absent-mindedly cannonballed into her thoughts.

“Witless twit,” muttered Alice, drifting back to reality.

She blotted herself with happy notions and glided off to face the coming brainstorm.

Bureaucracy

January 14, 2009

By the book, in all the eleventy-seven business classes I’ve taken, a business corporate headquarters is there to assist the CEO, President, CFO, et al in running that business.  The people who work there facilitate, streamline, and enable the business unit (He…he…he… he said ‘unit’) to succeed.

But, as I keep learning, life is not ‘by the book’.  I was reminded of that at work recently.

And what I relearned was that a headquarters real job is to add meetings, oversight, reports, and needless roadblocks to the successful execution of a business.  Not to say that many business teams don’t need help from leadership, but wouldn’t it be nice if the ‘help’ was actually ‘helpful’?

Without getting into too much detail <pause while my readers have a collective sigh of relief>, each project over a certain budget value has to periodically go to the headquarters to prove they’re going the right direction.  Good business sense and these meetings are at critical junctures in the schedule.  Well, some bright Ivy League business grad decided we need to do yet another set of approval meetings, not tied to the schedule, yet the project cannot continue without it.

Whenever we get these policies from headquarters, we give the preemptory fight against the lunacy, but ultimately have to grit our teeth, take a deep breath, and accept our fate.  Which is what we did.

So, we reviewed the policy to see what we need to do for this new meeting/presentation to the corporate leadership.

And we looked again…

Nothin’…*

We called the next layer of bureaucracy divisional headquarters for guidance on how to conduct this new meeting.

Nothin’…

We called the black hole of questions corporate headquarters for guidance…

Somethin’!!

…well, sort of…

Corporate:  “We’re working on that.  We’ll know what we want when we see it.  Until then, just keep putting something together for us to look at.”

Us:  “Put ‘what’ together?”

Corporate:  “We’re working on that.  We’ll know what we want when we see it.”

Us [with teeth grinding]:  “Thank you, you’ve been more than helpful.”

Corporate:  “Oh, by the way… the leaders here at corporate are expecting your presentation in 60 days.”

Us [barely under our breaths]:  “Bastards.”

I’m not naïve enough to think any of you who work in a big…or even small…business have not run into the same phenomena. 

Doesn’t make it better…but does give me comfort knowing I’m not alone.

Bastards…

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*I can’t say or type this word without thinking of Yukon Cornelius from the TV special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.  If you’ve seen it, you know exactly what I’m referring to.  If you haven’t seen it, find it at watch… it is a classic of campy tackiness.

Pap-pap

October 13, 2008

Visiting my brother again.  Hoping for the best, fearing the worst as far as time left with him.  Other family members are also wandering in.  Was lucky this trip to share the visit with two cousins and a niece.  It was very heartening to see how happy it made my brother to have such company.

After a bit of libation (yeah.. yeah… take those feigned shocked looks off of your faces), we began to reminisce a bit.  Being the “oops” child, I was late on the scene compared to my brother and the two cousins.  As such, I listened with rapt pleasure at some of the stories.  A couple were about Pap-pap… my dad’s dad. 

Pap-pap was a farmer born and bred.  My cousins recounted some things he would say.  I’ve no clue if his homey phrases were his or stolen from his grandfather, but there were a couple doozies that were repeated with great glee. 

Now, not really being a farm boy myself, I’m struggling to understand the second two I’ll share here.  But the first?  Having a son of my own… heck, with Daughter Child as well… I truly understand this one:

–  Send a boy, get a boy.  Send two boys, get a half boy.  Send three boys, get no boy at all.

Yep… and having been (well… some say still am at heart) a boy, I do know this one.  Get a couple kids together on a job and they’re more interested in finding the toad or dipping feet in the stream or, when older, talking about girls. 

Again, the other two I’m struggling to understand.  Perhaps someone out there in the blogosphere can help me.  These two phrases were usually provided when Pap-pap wanted to watch the baseball game in peace or just wanted the youngsters out of the house.  He would stare the offending child or children in the eyes and say one of the following (I’ve actually seen both said one right after the other to a particularly annoying cousin):

–  What do you want to do?  Suck an egg?

_  Why don’t you get two sticks and go fight a hen turd?

[Big Grin]  That last one is my favorite.  I’m surely going to save that for my senior-er years to bamboozle and confuse the kids bothering me.

But, those last two also make me wonder if Pap-pap was attacked by a chicken when he was little… such angst against poultry….

There may have been more said, but, given the Scotch that was going down much too easily, was all I could remember. 

Next time?  A tape recorder…

Our Electoral Process

August 10, 2008

As we U.S.-ians…U.S.-ites?… gather later this month to select Presidential candidates to select from… I offer the following public service to my fellow Blog-lings…Blog-ettes?… and will venture to explain, briefly and succinctly, the American electoral process. Or at least I’ll do my best – – –

This is a highly complex issue which is typically beyond the normal mortal’s understanding, but being I’ve already assured myself that none of you visiting my blog are ‘normal’, I feel safe in continuing.

Presidential nominees are chosen through intense analytical study by several unpleasant 5th grade children who examine the tides, the World Cup schedule, summer TV reruns, vacation plans of Oprah (to accommodate), vacation plans of everyone else (to screw up), and skewed results of throwing defective darts at a collage of photographs of political contenders.

These are all added together, divided by pi (filled with strawberries and using 3.14159 as an approximation), corpusculated using imaginary numbers (e.g., eleventeen), then hamstrung and hung to dry @ 350 degrees for 2 ½ hours, basted with a light wine sauce, then planted in even rows 12” to 15” apart using the 99.5% confidence variability rule of the Geneva Convention on cruel and unusual warfare. At that point, whoever has the most money wins the nomination.

Any further assistance I can give in understanding this arcane and mysterious logic would likely require me to delve into fantasy and science fiction. It wouldn’t be pretty.

Thank you for your attention and I hope this clears it up once and for all.




Transitions

July 30, 2008

separated… on my way to a divorce… it’s lonely at night… i count the ceiling tiles in my motel room, pondering how to count the ones on the edges that aren’t a full tile… listening to the clock tick and the faucet drips to see if i can find a rhythm… hearing the neighbor peeing in his toilet, the walls being so thin… wondering whether my life will eve be normal again… HA! what is normal?…

Okay, enough of that tripe. And with apologies to all the cheesy writers and singers who used cheesy lines like that.

but, yeah, i’m in a motel to help defuse emotions while The Wife and i sort out the best way forward – divorce or dissolution. will talk more on that in a future post. i’m not finding i have enough time to lay around feeling sorry for myself and count ceiling tiles. well, for one, there are no ceiling tiles here. but, mostly, it’s because i still have stuff to do that keeps me busy and, admittedly, happy at times.

there’s the obligatory work. i still have to pay bills. but it is a distraction at worst and satisfying at best. then there’s the hunt for a new place to live. The Wife decided she wants to stay in the house, at least until the Daughter Person finishes university. i’ll likely find a temporary rental, then look for something more permanent (knowing full well, through recent experience, that “permanent” has no meaning other than “…for now”). then there’s exercise, even more necessary now that i’m eating out quite a bit more. that also means i’m more likely to cave in to desires for the unhealthy fast foods. thus, the exercise. biking, walking, and even Latin dance aerobics, which just makes me smile whenever i do them. and my friends are very supportive… here on the web, especially, but at work and play as well… i am blessed.

all will be fine… it’s just a transition from one phase of life to another. and trying to take care of myself in the process.

but, this is a cheap motel and i can hear the neighbor peeing in the toilet… [shaking my head]… ewww… at least i don’t have to listen to them having hot and noisy monkey lovin’… yet…

off to work and another day into my future…

Health Issues – Recap

July 22, 2008

Yet another installment of “Who Needs Soap Operas When You Have Real Life” – –

Ed. Note: This post is written to wrap my own brain around all that’s been going on in my life the last 15 years. It is not intended to garner sympathy or validation from others (though I’d be lying to say I didn’t appreciate it). It’s really so I can recount my life experiences in order to validate my thoughts and move forward with my own life.

Okay, so let’s recap…

GnuKid’s marriage loses its heart and soul.

GnuKid and The Wife hit the counseling circuit, marriage and personal.

The Wife contracts leukemia.

GnuKid takes on caretaker role through leukemia treatment.

The Wife contracts toxoplasmosis.

GnuKid’s tenure as caretaker is extended.

Yep, that’s the quick summary of the last few posts (and some of you may be wishing I’d left it at that level of detail…tough, this isn’t about you…Nyaah!!).

The addendums: some other personal issues going on through this 15 year time frame which may have had a mild influence on my mental well being (presuming there was any to begin with)—

GnuKid’s left eye gets a detached retina. They have to pop it out, freeze dry the rips to keep them attached, put a band around the ol’ eyeball, and put it back. My vision is saved, but my prescription goes way up.

Most likely due to stress, GnuKid develops a bad case of Urticaria (otherwise known as “Hives”). Swelling (and not in the good place), itching, and general misery. This lasted about three months, during which there were quite a few meds.

GnuKid’s right eye gets a detached retina. First fix attempt is to pump a huge gas bubble into the eye to hold the rips against the eyeball, requiring me to lie face down for 48 hours. When that doesn’t work, they resort to lasers, welding the rips back into my eyeball.

Mom passed away.

GnuKid is diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy, an enlargement of the heart which reduces its effectiveness. (See? I knew I had a big heart.) Luckily, in my case it is mild and its effects are controlled with exercise and diet.

One of the hives medicines, a steroid, resulted in my developing nasty ass cataracts, first in my left eye, then a few months later in my right. Both cataracts removed surgically… thankfully on separate occasions. (On a good note to this, the doc inserted intraocular lenses which meant no more glasses [other than reading glasses which I would’ve ended up with anyway]! And, it adds a certain twinkle to my eyes as well!).

And you already know about my sister’s lung cancer (remission) and my brother’s brain cancer (still fighting)…

So… I think I’m quite ready for some health and happiness in my life, thank you very much – – –