Monday, January 31, 2005

Mandatory Karaoke Update

Is anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is anyone home?

Come on, now.
I hear you're feeling down.
Well I can ease your pain,
Get you on your feet again.

I just need some information first.
Just the basic facts:
Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're sayin'.
When I was a child I had a fever.
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I get that feeling once again.
I can't explain, you would not understand.
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.

Just a little pinprick [ping].
There'll be no more -- aaaaaahhhhh!
But you may feel a little sick.

Can you stand up now?
I do believe it's working, good.
That'll keep you going for the show.
Come on it's time to go.

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're sayin'.
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb."

- Pink Floyd, "Comfortably Numb"

It was Sunday, yet again (can you imagine it happens once a week?), and so DM and I made our way to The Chalet for karaoke. There was something strange about tonight though. All day long I had a feeling that karaoke would be different tonight, somehow. When I awoke this morning, it was from a dream about karaoke. I do not dream often so vividly and clearly. Normally my dreams consist of things that happened previously to me, not of things that haven't happened [yet]. When the dreams do come through so vividly, I usually spend the entire day trying to figure them out. I'll get to the dream in a bit, but just know that it put me on my toes for the day.

The drunks came out early tonight. By the time we arrived, there was already a woman who hopefully ended up throwing up once she got home to get rid of all the alcohol in her system. You know that point right before alcohol poisoning? She was there. She seemed to be hitting on Bryan (the host), she kept touching him and he looked uncomfortable. When DM got up to sing, she screamed (volume control had been lost on her hours before), "She's gonna do her thang!" Then she turned to Bryan and repeated her message, yet a little louder and a lot more forward, "You let her do her thang!" I hope your image of her includes the head bopping side-to-side in defiance. Bryan is staring blankly at her, trying to figure out how by letting DM up on the stage, handing her a microphone, and entering her song in the computer he is restricting her from doing her "thang".

Once Bryan started to sing (which is bliss - wow, that man has a talent), she approached him and I got the impression she meant to dry-hump him where he stood. His response was quick and I saw a side of Bryan I've never quite seen before. He reminded me of my mother, in fact. Actually, anyone who has ever been scolded by their mother probably knows the look he gave her and the correct tone of voice. It was firm and there was no nonsense in his words. "No! You need to sit down right now."

The woman managed to pick up Bryan's glass of Coke and started drinking it. The extremely odd part was that she finished it and then replaced it with a full glass of Coke. Finally, she left. Another table of drunks replaced her, making sure they were loud, obnoxious, and generally the "life" of the "party".

It was "New Song Sunday" for us and we each tried some new music. Michael has a Pink Floyd karaoke CD and only recently have I begun to appreciate the music. I know that sounds strange, but remember I'm only 26. I was born in 1978, towards the end of the Pink Floyd era. Pink Floyd (PF) was my parents music, right? I have found as I age, I have started to love the music of the 70's more than I would have thought at age 15.

My previous experiences with the music of PF was from a night hanging out with my ex-boyfriend from high school (The Jerk). I remember showing up at his place and sitting around watching The Wall while he got stoned. I'll tell you, watching this movie while sober is an extremely odd experience, especially when you are naive and somewhat sheltered. It freaked out my logical brain.

Michael has sung "Hey You" before and I found that I like the music. I really do. Tonight, Michael sang both "Hey You" and "Brain Damage". "Comfortably Numb" was sung by someone and I'll get to that. I know, I know, enough with the "suspense" right?

In between "Hey You" and "Brain Damage", the door opened to The Chalet and I felt all the color drain from my face. Imagine me, the vampiress already, looking like I've been exsanguinated*. My stomach started flip-flopping, John Kerry-style, and I almost screamed. I did not, however, have the same reaction as the time I ran into The Jerk on campus**.

After a month hiatus, the boy and Pete strode into The Chalet. I guess there goes my theory of scaring him away completely. I didn't think that I was scary enough to chase a regular away from his weekly fix of beer and karaoke, but it had seemed to be the case. (If you don't know who The Boy and Pete are, please click this link and scroll down to the part labeled, "The Most Recent Disaster". I've documented it quite a bit actually.) Now, my dream should have prepared me for this. You would have thought the fact I had a dream that he walked in, started talking to me, and picking up where he seemed to have left off would have left me prepared. I had even joked about the dream with DM in the car on the way. I told her that he was at karaoke in the dream and he explained why he hasn't been there for a month and hasn't called. We laughed about it. It wouldn't actually happen, would it?

And yet...

I still look up each time the door opens, looking to see if it's him striding in. (He strides. He has a confident walk and I notice this.) I have done a good job of fooling myself that I am not still attracted to him after his not calling. I'm not sure if I fooled anyone but myself, and I even knew deep down inside, I still was curious about what happened. I don't see myself as uber-attractive, but I don't think I'm a Yeti or anything. I couldn't believe I was a monster scary enough to freak out the confident man.

So he walks in with Pete***. My eyes about bug out of my head and I figure they will hang out at the bar. Nope. Instead, they get a couple of bottles of beer and come over and join us. It's all smiles from The Boy and he keeps making sure to refer to me by name. He directs questions to me and we converse a little. He tells me that he was in another state for a bit of time over the holidays. He flirts with me. He acts like he was glad I gave him my number, but acts like the flirting is still going in a forward direction. He acts like I didn't screw up by bursting my bubble.

His first song of the night was, "You'll Accomp'ny Me". Which, I have to say, he sings fantastically. I still have problems listening to others try Bob Seger songs at karaoke. His second song was, "Comfortably Numb". He was excited to see that Michael had a PF disc and he asked to try the song. He had asked me to look for the song in Michael's CD case.

Here's the thing, it was his first time ever singing the song. It's a commonly known song. He normally does pretty good at his songs, but it was if this song was written and composed for him. He was f**king AWESOME at it.

I can't kid myself, I'm still attracted to him. I still want something to happen. I'm kind of confused, especially since he acts like there is no uncomfortableness. And the thing is, there really isn't anything all that uncomfortable, other than me being so confused.

His hair looked really strange. I don't know what he did to it, but it looked like an experiment. DM commented that maybe he had been wearing a hat earlier. I have noticed though I'm not usually attracted to a man's hair. Okay, I fell in love with a guy whose prominent hairstyles were a mohawk and that horrible bowl haircut so popular in the late 90's. The other guy I still care about had a mop-top. I'm not picky about hair, apparently.

When he was getting up to leave (after the last song of the night), he made it a point to make sure we were going to be there again the next Sunday. He looked me in the eyes as he asked. He smiled. I melted. Duh, right?

I feel like I've been side-swiped by a Mack truck. I thought this was over. I guess I was wrong. I don't know what is going on and I'm not overly anxious to get all girly again, but...

It was fun to flirt. It was fun to go a little (lot) crazy thinking about him. I still want to get to know him better. I'm weary and guarded, but I enjoyed the time he was there tonight. I just don't know what to think. I think I should become Comfortably Numb.


*To prove how much of an X-Files freak I am, I could not for the life of me figure out how to spell this word. I use the word, but I can't spell it. I remembered that it was used in one episode of The X-Files during season one and knew which scene it was. I put in the DVD, found the scene and watched it with the subtitles just to figure out how to spell it.

**A year after The Jerk and I stopped corresponding via telephone and pagers, I was walking out of my astronomy class. Another mass lecture class was exiting the building the same time as mine. Imagine my shock when I look to my right and I'm walking right next to the ex-boyfriend that I took a little too long to get over. My reaction? I screamed and ran back to the dorm. I didn't even know he went to the same school. I need preparation for these things.

***About half-way through the time of The Boy and Pete, I remembered that Pete's actual name is not Pete. DM also couldn't remember his real name. Michael didn't even blink when I called him Pete. Luckily, I did not actually call Pete by the fake name. That would have been slightly awkward. It was easy to not refer to him as Pete, since neither DM or I actually ever heard him say a single word. He has absolutely no personality.


At 1:02 PM, Weary Hag thought...

Beth, I laughed myself silly at your footnote on the proper spelling of that five-dollar word! This confirms it. Like it or not you are a true perfectionist. I love it!
If I lived closer, I'd be stopping into the Chalet to join you and your friends from the sidelines ... sounds like you folks have a blast!
Glad you led me to your blog ... I'm having so much fun trying to keep up with you.


At 10:32 PM, CarpeDM thought...

Oh, you crack me up. I loved that you used X Files to find the spelling.

What a weird, weird night. From my being told to do my thang and being nuzzled in the neck by yet another drunk guy to the whole the boy thing.

What is going on with our world? It is askew!

Yeah, the boy was awesome singing comfortably numb. But what is with the hair?

At 11:33 AM, Firebear thought...

I love the line

"My eyes about bug out of my head and I figure they will hang out at the bar. "

it is very visual and funny when taken out of the paragraph. I just imagined the old cartoon eye popping wolf when he came in "Boing!" then they not bouncing back into the socket.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

An End of an Era...

It is now official. I am the last surviving original Sheepsheadian working at our call center.

Writing "our call center" seems strange and implies my desire to hold onto the past. I must move on, yet how can I when all the stories at work involve such wonderful people? In telling them, am I not just glorifying the people I adore and love?

The Sheepsheadians formed when I was a helpdesk representative. Adam and I had become friends and had gone to a Barenaked Ladies concert together. Keem and I became friends by watching The Simpsons on the break room T.V. before our shifts each day. DM and I met and became friends when we worked on the helpdesk together, sitting in the quad right next to each other all night long. The four of us started leaving work each night together to go hang out in the parking ramp, to grab food at Fridleykins, and to play the most addictive card game known to man.

Soon after the formation, there were others added to the "club". Prominent members (who may or may not have played cards with us but were considered honorary members) included: Matt, Scott, Jim, and the Single Mother who Hates Me (SM). One by one, the members of the club left our call center.

Not after too long, it was back to Keem, DM, Adam, and I as the surviving members (dang you Matt!). Then...

At the end of September, Keem and DM both abandoned me completely from our call center. No more would I walk in on a sunny afternoon to see them there, spreading smiles.

Friday marked the end of my being able to refer to it as "our" call center. Now I am just going to sound like I have multiple personalities. Adam has moved on as well, leaving me at "our" call center alone. I am the only one who still knows about spending five hours in the parking ramp in downtown St. Paul after work, listening to songs from the radio, singing, dancing, and laughing. I am the only one in "our" center who still has the urge to drive to Fridleykins at the end of my shift EVERY night, knowing that Stuart (a former server) would be waiting with our sodas and plenty of napkins.

Yes, the other Sheepsheadians still remember, it's just they are not there, making my eight hours feel like "Playtime!" It's been almost three years since the four original Sheepsheadians went to Fridleykins every night, but part of me still longs for it. I long for the company, the stories, and the feelings. I am speaking about the feelings of knowing these are the people who you were supposed to meet and call friends.

Many times in our lives, we create friendships based on convenience. I think back to high school. I still talk to one person from high school, my best friend, Liese. We don't even talk all that often. If I look at my yearbooks, they are filled with autographs that end, "Best Friends 4-Ever!" What a lie. And it's not an intentional lie, it doesn't hurt, it's just still not true. When we are children, we tend to form friendships with people because they live next door or they are in the same class as we are. Friendships of children do not typically form because the children share the same interests. Some of the interests may be the same, yes, but the children only know what they are exposed to. There is not as much self-discovery. I know that when I was a kid, I didn't think, "Hey, this person has some of the same beliefs about life as I do and they can understand my thoughts about [insert topic]." In no way am I stating that I only look for those who are exactly like myself, I am stating that I try to find human beings that I can have meaningful conversations with over cups of coffee or gallons of Coke.

I have a strong core group of friends whom I would do almost* everything to help them. DM, Keem, Matt and Scott are primary members of this core. Adam is too, even though I sometimes I want to scream at him. They all go beyond the causal friend to being the people I want to see happy in life. I see this core group as my support group, my lifeline, and I think they are a reflection of myself. I see similar dreams and goals and hopes and beliefs in these people. I wish each of them the best in their lives and I want to be there, cheering them along each step of the way.

So even if the Sheepsheadians no longer work together, the club is still strong. We just don't meet as often.


* I do draw the line at murder or intentionally hurting others in spite. The whole drawing the line at murder does not come from not wanting to kill people (which I don't, but it's a minimal reason), it comes from the fact I know we'd get caught and if we're both in prison, I couldn't visit them. So I would not be an accomplice because then I couldn't keep my friend company while they do prison time.


At 7:47 PM, Wandering Coyote thought...

Alas, another example of the transience of life. I know how you feel and have had similar experiences. I'm glad your bonds of friendship are strong; that is a true blessing.

You're right about most friendships being born out of convenience. The trick is always to continue the friendship once the convenience no longer exists. It sounds like you and your "club" have the will to do this. Excellent.

At 10:35 PM, CarpeDM thought...

I miss seeing you for those 3 hours a week. I miss hanging out in the parking lot and having a blast. I miss going to Perkins each night.

Life throws many curves into the mix. I'm glad that you're still part of my core group.

Love ya!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Headache Has Been Minimized

I should be leaving for work in a few minutes, but I wanted to do a quick post about my "Splitting Headache". I had dreaded going to work on Friday, but luckily, the day was good.

Negative Nelly was there, however she was subdued. After the talk with our boss on Thursday, she went home and did some serious thinking. She came into work and apologized to both my boss and I for her behavior. She also made an effort on Friday to be enthusiastic about her job and remained positive throughout the night. She also said that she didn't really think we were picking on her.

You don't understand how much of a relief all this was. I am sick of walking on eggshells around her and this made it so I don't have to worry about looking in her direction. She also got a bit of help with her resume on Friday night and she's looking into more career opportunities. She had been upset that my boss hadn't been giving her career development (which he had been) and he had told her, "I'm happy to help you. It's a two-way street though. I can't fill out your applications for you." So she's more prepared to make some effort towards her own future.

I have to run! DM and Keem are coming over after I get off work for scrapping and it's going to be a total blast, as always. I will post about my Friday night with a few from work and my big brother soon.


At 8:59 PM, CarpeDM thought...

Oh, that's good. I'm glad Nelly has realized she can't blame you and your boss for everything.

Yay! Scrapbooking! I'm so psyched!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Splitting Headache

In all my time at NABABNA, I don't think I remember wanting the week to be over as much as I do right now. Just as any night, tonight showed its positive and NEGATIVE aspects.

On a positive note, the head of the training department approached my boss again to say how much she enjoyed my presentation. She also told him today, "I know her schedule. I'm going to utilize her A LOT!" She also wanted me to apply for a supervisor position.

One of the other teams has an open supervisor position right now. A few people have inquired if I'm going to apply. I'm not. That's my personal choice at this time. The number one reason for not applying is the hours. As much as I can sometimes gripe about working nights, I do not want to work at 5:30 AM. I could probably handle a 10 AM to 7 PM shift, but I don't want the shift that is open. Plus, it would probably mean giving up Sunday night karaoke, something I am not prepared to do.

Another positive from my day was seeing a few more quality assurance scores come in and a couple of people did really well (a couple did not though - ugh!).

The headache comes from Negative Nelly. We have 20 bankers on our team and 19 of them are really happy people. Then there is Negative Nelly. Nelly likes to complain and likes to play victim. Nelly also feels everything should be handed to her on a plate.

She has the usual list of complaints that she tells EVERYONE in our call center. They range from, "I don't make enough money" to "My personal life sucks" to "Upper management obviously hates me and has it out for me". The only reason why upper management even knows her name is because she is so vocal in complaining that she's built herself a reputation.

Our team had three meetings tonight. Since we have a large team and we work the night shift, our bi-monthly team meetings are split into two groups, which causes two of the meetings. The other is a weekly feedback session with a 1/3 of the team. Nelly was in the last two meetings of my night.

At the first meeting, she chose to act as if the information we were discussing (talk time) was none of her concern. She doesn't pass this category, but I guess that means she doesn't have anything to learn. I don't understand her logic here. As our team was having a productive conversation about talk time, she put in her two cents after each person spoke.

During our team meeting, we were discussing quality assurance. Five times (in a period of ten minutes) questions were directed to me specifically (such as, "Beth, what do we do when...?"). As I was answering them, she interrupted me to give her answer. Now, when she gives her answer, which was unsolicited, she gives it with attitude. Imagine her shaking her head back and forth as if she was leading a gang into a war on the streets. I'm not trying to stereo-type here, but she has actually told people that's she's "ghetto". Now, she's not "ghetto", but I think she tries to fit the stereo-type as a defense mechanism.

At another point during the meeting, she interrupted another banker who was giving an answer. This may have been the moment I reached my tolerance point. I can handle her interrupting me and just brushing it off, but when she disrespects someone else who has a hard enough time speaking in front of a group, I get a little defensive of that person. I said firmly, "Nelly, could you please let Betty finish her sentence?"

You would have thought I had just killed her family from the look I got from Nelly.

Before I had said anything, there were three bankers and my boss watching in amazement and utter horror of the behaviors from Nelly during the meeting. There were only five bankers in the room with us. So, out of 7 people, 5 had a problem with her and one just doesn't show emotion. The other one was her.

After the meeting, one of the bankers walked up to me to say, "You are the most patient person I've ever met. I HATE it when people act like that."

My boss had a talk with her about a half hour after the meeting. Instead of trying to learn how to act appropriately at work, she sat in the meeting accusing him of wrong-doings and stating that I didn't have a right to answer the questions presented to me. She was also upset that she isn't getting the career counseling she wants. She's been offered numerous jobs in the company and pretty much burned every bridge she's been given.

My boss told her that she does not have the authority to act as the lead and that she needs to start respecting us or she's going to be written up for insubordination. She is extremely confrontational and we walk on tip-toes around her. It's not that we want to please her, but when she's upset, she makes the entire team feel uncomfortable.

On another note, my boss witnessed the entire meeting and knew she was out of line and that her claims were unfounded. He also witnessed her outburst at him yesterday and her attitude has been documented by two other supervisors. Complaints from other bankers have been made about her. There is a pattern here and it just might be time to do something more concrete about her attitude at work.

I guess I just needed to vant. I'm hoping Friday will be better around her.


At 6:51 AM, Weary Hag thought...

This post made me feel right at home. Office work mixes so many personality types it's incredible. There's a test put out by, I think, John Deere Headquarters in Illinios. It's a workforce management test. Beth, you should suggest this test to the powers-that-be at your job! It's a simple personality alignment screen for all employees in each department. They sort out (for the supervisor) just what people to physically place next to other people in order to have a cohesive environment. It sounds to me like this test would place Negative Nelly somewhere out on the street selling hotdogs from a wagon. This would work well for her. Everyone expects the hotdog-hawker to be grumpy, opinionated and irritable.

I hope you have a better day today. Sounds like you work hard and much of what you do is at least recognized by those who count.

Love the way you write! You have a clear and comfortable way of saying exactly what you need to say. You never disappoint me.

Has anyone asked Nelly if she'd like a some cheese and crackers with her whine?

At 11:41 AM, The Lioness thought...

Beth, my exam has just been changed from the 1st April to the 16th, please tell me you can still change your vacation time or it will suck rock so majorly i can't even picture it! I'm really sorry, I just found out. Oof, let me know as soon as you can ok? We'll work something out.

At 8:56 PM, CarpeDM thought...

I wanted to comment on this earlier but couldn't. I want to smack your headache for being such a damn pain in the ass. Oh, I don't miss being a lead at all. And none of my bankers were half as annoying. At least of the rest of your team is pretty cool.

At 6:56 PM, srmc thought...

Sounds like the negative Nelly that used to sit next to me. Hmmmmmm I guess she ended up at your call center after she was fired from here. Sorry.

I'm Addicted to Flickr

I really like Flickr for showing photos. I wanted to share another picture tonight.

I took this picture on a boat ride down the St. Croix River in July. Being able to go on the boat ride was a reward for our team's performance at work. The evening was great fun, relaxing, and just plain enjoyable. I brought DM as my guest and that worked out perfectly. She was able to share the excitement of her bankers as well.

Here's a picture of the water from the boat.



At 9:42 PM, Firebear thought...

Wow! that is a great picture!

At 8:34 AM, CarpeDM thought...

Very pretty!

I loved that trip. It was much fun.

Pleasant Surprise & A Little Bit of Bragging

**Warning: This is a post about my day at work. It may be rather boring if you really don't give a darn about what I do for a living. If you care to read, enjoy!**

After the crap day I had yesterday, I got a nice surprise today at work. The bank ran a sales contest for fourth quarter of last year. I don't necessarily think it was the best contest to run (I'll explain why), but some people got fun rewards from it.

The contest was based on how people performed during second quarter of 2004 and to see if they could improve upon their performance. In theory, this is a good thing.

The problem with the contest (the part I think was unfair) was that people who did poorly during second quarter had three payout levels while the people who did awesome during second quarter would only be rewarded if they did it again. It breaks down like this:

If you were an unsatisfactory sales person in second quarter, you could be paid for being satisfactory, great, or excellent.

If you were a satisfactory sales person in second quarter, you could be paid for being great or excellent.

If you were great or excellent in second quarter, you could only be paid for being excellent.

So if an unsatisfactory person was now great, they'd get paid $100. If the excellent sales person was now great, they get nothing. Yet they performed the same. That's where I don't think the contest was set up fairly.

I didn't care about my own performance on this contest. The reason I was upset is because we have quite a few people on our team who were rated at the "excellent" or "great" levels. Most of them did not get a payout because they were only great this last quarter. They still performed at higher levels than many getting payouts, but they didn't get rewarded. So it annoyed me.

I figured I wouldn't get paid anything for the contest because our team had been at the top level for second quarter. We were at the great level for fourth quarter. That means I get no money, right?

Well, since my current manager started in July (third quarter), he was rated unsatisfactory (or ineligible during second quarter). That's fine. He should be eligible for the contest and he ended up getting paid a few times over the contest.

The contest is over and I was in charge of figuring out if the guy who does the numbers for our center (who I have my opinion on his usefulness) calculated everything correctly.

He had me listed as a recipient of the awards. I figured I shouldn't qualify since our team did not perform as well this last quarter (even though we still performed pretty great, it just wasn't at the same level). I emailed him, saying that a different team lead should get the payout.

Here's the surprise. Since I had a new manager, I was set at his level (this was company wide). I was eligible for a payout. So the company gave me $325 in bonuses that I didn't expect. And the payout is given in Visa gift cards.

I'm using them towards my plane ticket to Portugal! How awesome is that?

Now for the bit of bragging. Our training department rolled out a new program. For the bankers coming out of training, they are scheduling another hour and a half off the phones two weeks into their normal jobs for a "reunion" and to do extra training on subjects that the groups feel they didn't learn fully.

A survey went out about a week ago about this. The survey asked the team leads and managers to write down the most common problems from those coming out of training. I had written that most of the newer bankers ask for more information about loans and the confusing loan system we use. The survey also asked if we would be interested in being "Subject Matter Experts".

Since I work nights and training always happens in the day, I said yes, figuring that I would NEVER be asked to actually help.

The "never being asked" plan backfired. The head of the training department found me and asked for my help. Oops. Oh well. I figured it would be fun at least and I'd get to meet the newer bankers. Of course I was asked to prep something and train new bankers on the MOST confusing system we have ever used.

Last night, I spent a couple of hours (while doing other things) preparing a Word document and packet to hand out covering eight common problems that people run into with loans. I had the sections divided up and I prepped each one with the question the banker usually has or the question the customer tends to ask. That way the newer bankers would know when the information was useful. I was told I had twenty minutes to do the presentation and that's how long it took.

I found out after the presentation that another person had taught the same topic on Tuesday to a different group, but with the same trainers in the room. I was told that person (who I totally admire and think is an awesome helpdesk rep) ended up confusing the newer bankers. I was also told that the person got chewed out for her presentation.

After my presentation, the head of the training department came up to my boss and told him how much she liked my presentation and that the information was great. Another trainer complimented me on how I brought the information to the group. I was also asked to give the presentation to our team at our team meeting tomorrow night. The bankers in the class also told me they felt more comfortable with loans.

I guess I'm just proud of my presentation. I put some thought into what I was presenting and tried not to overload the bankers. I tried to keep it simple and give them the information that they will need the most often.

So that was my day. There were moments that were not so great (watching the attitude from a banker being directed at my boss (seriously, if I said things like that, I think I'd be fired, but in this person's case, she just manages to make herself unpromotable), catching our talk time offender doing what we've told him REPEATEDLY not to do (the last time he did it he went on a warning), and finding that someone got marked down on their quality for doing the SAME thing they got marked down for last month (not reading a required script that POPS UP on their screen)). I also got to see a banker who started six months ago go from 24% on their quality to 98%. I have worked with him on his quality quite a bit, but he surprised me. I'm so proud of him.


At 8:32 AM, CarpeDM thought...

I am glad you had a good day, Beth.

You're right about the contest, that's really not fair that people who performed well in 2nd Quarter didn't get a payout.

The training thing is cool. You rock.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Happy Memory

After getting myself seriously pissed off (see post below), I decided to search my hard drive for some happy memories. I found the folder of pictures from the 2003 Fridley 49er Days Parade. I went to the parade with my mom, her boyfriend, Adam, DM, Keem, Matt, and Matt's kids, Alli, Vinnie, and Riley. These pictures were taken pre-digital camera day and they were scanned. The pixels show, but the general idea is there. I look back on this day (and night at the carnival where Scott joined us) and I smile. It is such a beautiful experience to watch children enjoy the same things that you formed your happiest childhood memories around.

The Original Sheepsheadians (Adam, Matt, Keem, Me, and DM)

Mafia Material?

To prove she's insane, here's my mom with a carrot sticking out of her pants. (I do love her, but she's NUTS.)
mom carrot

Matt's kids
3 kids

Alli (She is just beautiful)

Vinnie (Can you resist that smile?)

Riley ("Dad! Dad! Dad! Look!")
riley run

Being Five (I know Riley was only four in this picture, but he's the perpetual five-year old to me)
being five

Soaring High - This is one of my favorite pictures, ever. It shows such a moment of trust and freedom and to me it symbolizes the perfect father/son relationship.
Riley flies


At 9:00 AM, CarpeDM thought...

Oh! I love it! That picture of Riley and Matt is great! Many exclamations of joy! !!!!!!

I needed this. Thanks for the memories.

Although that is a horrid picture of me. Hey, let's buy the tightest t-shirt I can find and shove my stomach into it. I am surprised it didn't burst.

At 12:04 PM, The Lioness thought...

YEY, pics! And yes, the last one is simply fabulous!

At 4:39 PM, rod thought...

I love the evolving look of your blog. Thanks for the pics. Yes, that Father/son pic is magic. There is a lifetime captured there.
I really admire your devotion to and celebration of community. Most people have no idea how to love and enjoy other people. It is what emanates from your writing, your photos and your smiles.
Here's to you Sheepsheadians. You make me happy.

At 2:55 PM, Matt thought...

Little Sister,
You did it, I want to tell you that you did it, you made me cry looking at those pictures. It brought back so many happy memories for me, and that is the reason why I am crying. Not because I am sad, but because I was so damn happy. Looking at that picture and seeing the trust, the emotion, and the utter connection of father and son, and knowing that it is me and my little guy, it made me cry. Thank you for flooding my head with memories and emtotions, it made my day. I will forever remember that day, it was awesome. I hope that I talk to you later Little Sister, you take care.
Big Brother (With His Eyes Full of Tears)

Crap Day

Tuesdays are my Mondays. I have an odd schedule (can you believe I've willingly worked most Friday and Saturday nights for the last 5 years) and I have Mondays off. Because of my so-called weekends, Tuesdays always feel like what others refer to as Monday. Except I get to work to deal with those who are already approaching the middle of their week before I even get to my desk.

It gets slightly annoying.

It may not be quite as annoying as those who approach me on Thursdays as I am walking in the door to say, "Have a great weekend!" That's like telling someone on their Wednesday morning to start thinking about the weekend.

But I do like my schedule (some of it). I am a night owl and being able to stay up late is a benefit for me. The 10% increase in salary also has it's allure.

I am side-tracked. I meant to say that I had a crap day at work tonight. The overall evening was not so terrible, it was mainly one small thing that just depressed the heck out of me. I think I'm pre-menstrual. I found myself crying twice last night and getting pissed off at things I really have no control over, yet I still paced back and forth, swearing under my breath. Ug.

One of the bankers on our team is one of the sweetest people I've ever met. She tries exceptionally hard at doing her job and she tries to be a top performer. And she keeps making these small mistakes which our quality assurance team focuses on and hounds her beyond belief.

I am starting to wonder if the quality assurance team is discriminating against her because she speaks with an accent. And THAT pisses me off more than anything else.

The QA team failed her on a call where she called a "credit line" a "loan". She even corrected herself after saying it. The thing is, a credit line is just a revolving loan. It's not like we're talking apples and oranges here. We're talking about Granny Smith apples and Red Delicious apples. For the love of God people. Get a life. (I'm vanting at the QA monitors here, not you, you adoring members of the blogosphere community.)

They failed her for suggesting to a customer they try to get a credit product to help them with the fact they are tight for bills. We're in BANKING. We sell stuff. This is the PRIMARY function of her job. And they failed her for it. She didn't violate any federal regulations, they are just picking on her.

They failed her on another call because she slipped up and told someone the wrong date. For other bankers (read: those without accents), this is a two point deduction. For her, it's a failure of the call. This is really starting to piss me off. And this one I can't dispute because technically, she did give the wrong date. But I'm just upset that fair treatment is not being given.

So when a banker walks up to me and says, "The QA team is out to get me," how do I defend them?

Thanks for reading my vant. I guess I just needed to get some of this out before I see her at work tomorrow and burst into tears because she's being picked on and I CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. I'm supposed to be the one who fights the battles for the bankers. I'm supposed to make sure they are given the opportunities to do their job to the best of their ability. How do I fight this? How do I make it better? I guess I'm not expecting an answer, I'm just frustrated.


At 8:51 AM, CarpeDM thought...

God, that sucks. Remember when QA said they didn't want to have an adversarial relationship with us and we laughed and laughed because we knew they were lying through their teeth?

I hate them. And they should not fail her for correcting herself. That is crap. They are evil, evil bastards and I want to smite them!

I think you should talk to someone about this. It doesn't seem right that this continues to happen and it's over such trivial things.

I hope today is better.

At 8:05 PM, Wandering Coyote thought...

The QA sounds quite big brother-ish. QA probably has nothing to do with assuring any quality; my guess it's a means of power and control over the employees and does nothing but intimidate the employee, causing fear and anxiety. Typical big business. No doubt your employer has a QA team because it just wants to cover it's butt, and as a result, it creates a negative vibe within workplace. None of it has anything to do with you, but I understand your frustration.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Going through "the Motions" - imagine the quotes emphasized with the help of body language

"My eyelids said 4:30, but the radio clock said six and I was thinking of a reasonable excuse." - Cowboy Mouth, Louisiana Lowdown

It does not matter how much REM I get a night, I am still not a morning person. I never have been and I most likely never will be. It also never fails that when my alarm clock goes off, I hit the snooze button as quickly as possible and curl back up in the comfort of my warm blankets. If I ever meet a man, fall in love, and decide to live with/marry him and I find out he's a morning person, I might kill him.

Now, I am not a morning person, but I'm not as bad as some when it comes to just waking up. It normally takes me about twenty minutes to function properly and turn on my brain.

This morning was no exception. When I finally got out of bed, I headed to the living room to turn on the computer and check my email. I sat there, staring at the screen, trying to register the information. In an effort to heighten my senses, I decided to try the shower. Here's where I realized I was still not fully-functional.

In my brilliancy, I put my towel on the floor as a bath mat and then grabbed the actual bath mat, started drying myself off, and THEN got into the shower with the bath mat. This was the moment I thought, "Oh, I need a Coke. I really, really need a Coke."

I ran out of soda at home. This is a problem, yes, I know. I also ran out of this fitness water crap that makes me feel like I ate something really bad for me. So yesterday I was thirsty and I kept refilling this empty water bottle with water from the tap. I drank water. This is quite unusual. I don't LIKE water.

What I noticed about water is that it's very easy to drink. This should not be a shocker, but it was to me. I ended up drinking 85 oz. of water yesterday without much effort involved. I may just hit my New Year's Resolution yet.

What is the recommended water intake for an adult female? Does anyone know? I remember hearing something about 8 glasses of water a day, but then I think I heard something about drinking your body weight in ounces. I should find out.

Have to head off to work now. At least I'm more awake now!


At 4:10 PM, CarpeDM thought...

If it is ounces, I am in trouble. I should drink at least 40 8 ounce glasses of water a day. I think I would drown.

At 6:53 PM, Wandering Coyote thought...


I think it's at least 6 but as many as 8 8oz glasses per day. If you can get one of those water bottles everyone sells that contains 16 fluid ounces or 500mL, drink 3 of them a day. I know when you visualize 6 or 8 glasses it seems like a lot. Your body will thank you, though!

At 12:05 PM, The Lioness thought...

Crappy days suck. yes, it should be at least 8 glasses. I find water very hard to drink for some reason. Blah.

In Good Company

A few hours have passed since I checked my email and I've relaxed a bit. I do want to share with everyone my thoughts on a movie.

Tonight, DM, Keem, and I went to see In Good Company, starring Topher Grace and Dennis Quaid.

The movie is fairly simple. An older man, played by DQ, is replaced at work by a younger man. He doesn't lose his job, but he's demoted in the company. The younger man, played by TG, starts to admire and almost idolize the older man.

When we left the theater, I commented to DM and Keem that the movie reminded me of About A Boy. While looking for links, I found out why I had such a similar feeling. The movie was directed by the same man, Paul Weitz.

In it's simplicity, the movie intrigued me. There are no overly dramatic moments, the action in the movie is minimal, and it focuses on characters. I enjoyed watching the character played by TG grow up a bit and finally start to evaluate where he wanted to go in life.

It's not a laugh riot, it's not a tear-jerker, it's not really a date movie, and it's not a blockbuster, action filled adventure. It's just a simple story about a man dealing with life and teaching a younger man how to live in the process.

I enjoyed it. I will be buying it on DVD when it comes out. It surprised me by being better than I had thought. I am also really starting to enjoy Topher Grace as an actor.

Monday, January 24, 2005


Maybe I was born at the wrong time. Maybe my life has been fairly sheltered and maybe I'm just idealistic. Maybe I'm too optimistic and maybe I care too damn much. Maybe I was taught by my parents that everyone is equal. Maybe it would be easier to treat others unfairly because they are not exactly like me. And maybe the last statement would make me hate myself.

Maybe when I was a child and I was taught the Constitution, I read into it too literally. I truly believed at all men are created equal. I never read that as all white, rich, Christian, heterosexual men are created equal and all minorities must be pushed under the rug.

When it comes to politics, there really is only two issues I have beliefs strong enough to cause me to get emotional, worked up, pissed off, and vocal about. The issues are human rights and religion. As it turns out, religion tends to be the instigator of human rights issues. And that makes no sense to me. I don't understand why those who consider themselves religious can honestly look at another human being and say, "I'm better than you." To me, that goes against everything I've ever been taught in a church.

I am a little too upset to keep writing much of my own words on this subject right now. I wanted to share what I found in my inbox tonight:

Dear Beth,

The news broke early this morning: Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) is reintroducing the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) on the Senate floor today – making it one of the first items of business in the first full week of President Bush’s second term.

In light of the many serious issues that our country is facing, it is absolutely outrageous that a small group of right-wing Senators would make discriminating against GLBT people their TOP priority right now.

But just as we did during the past two bouts with the Amendment last year, the Human Rights Campaign will fight them every step of the way. Here’s what you can do now to stop this hateful amendment -- again:

1) Write your Senators today. and urge them to oppose the newly reintroduced Marriage Protection Amendment and ANY efforts to put discrimination in our Constitution.

2) Follow up your e-mail with a phone call. After you’ve sent your e-mails, make a phone call to each of your Senators as well. You can call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senators' office.

Use your own words to let your Senators know about your opposition, or follow our script:
“My name is _________ and I live in the Senator’s state. I am calling to urge the Senator to oppose the so-called ‘Marriage Protection Amendment’ that will discriminate against same-sex couples. This amendment does nothing to ‘protect’ marriage. Instead, it singles out a group of people for discrimination in the United States Constitution. The Constitution has always been used to guarantee rights and freedoms, not to take them away. I strongly urge the Senator to oppose the amendment. Thank you."

Let us know what your Senators’ staff members say to you - click here to send us an e-mail. Thank you.

3) Spread the word. Our combined response must be loud and immediate. There is no doubt that the extreme right-wing has already begun mobilizing their activists. We must drown them out by being louder, larger, and more organized.

Click here to send this message to at least five friends now – especially in more conservative states where they need to hear from fair-minded Americans the most.

As you might guess, the legislators behind this amendment are responding to a small but vocal group of right wing individuals and organizations who try to discriminate against the GLBT community at every turn. It is the job of fair-minded Americans like us to tell them that they are wrong. Thank you for your immediate action today. We are glad you are with us, and urge you to stay tuned for news about what’s next.


Seth Kilbourn
National Field Director
Human Rights Campaign

I just don't understand discrimination. I don't understand why someone would treat someone unfairly just because of the person's race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, or religion. I never will understand it.

I do know that not everyone shares my views on this subject. This is America and free speech is allowed. You have a right to your opinion. I just hope you have looked at the reasons why you've formed that opinion.


At 11:07 AM, CarpeDM thought...

I love this post, Beth. You know I'll be writing.

This is stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Oh. And if the world wasn't crazy enough, there is a major backlash against SpongeBob SquarePants because apparently Bob and his little friend Patrick hold hands. So the cartoon is promoting a gay lifestyle.

Should Bob beat the crap out of Patrick? Would that be manly?

The show has always annoyed me but now I'm about ready to start watching it to show my support to Bob's alternative lifestyle.

What's With All the Secrecy?

The post I've been planning to write is still in development. It is taking more than I thought it would and I have too much schoolwork built up to give it complete justice right now. Oops.

The purpose of this post is to do something I've been meaning to do. I avoid writing my last name here because I am still under the impression that "secrecy is good" in the blogosphere. What am I on?

So, I'm coming out. I've been hiding in the closet, but for a different reason than most associate with "coming out".

My last name is Brooks. Like you couldn't guess that considering my screen name is "Brooksba". You might be asking, "Why are you sharing this?" Here's a list:

1. Good luck finding me. I have one of the top 100 most common last names in America. Although I have written that I live in Mounds View, Minnesota and I went to Fridley High, so I guess I'm not that secretive, but if you really wanted to find me, you'd already have had the materials needed.

2. I have an extremely common and easy to spell last name. You would not believe the odd spellings I've found on letters to me and the vast number of people calling me "Brooke" is funny.

3. I have a few funny stories about my last name I would like to share at some point in the near future.

I also have updated the picture on my profile to give a clearer image of my face. The picture was taken on my 25th birthday up at The Chalet. My hair is nowhere near that color right now (although the red is gone now).

Here's a funny note about the picture. I was searching through the hard drive on my computer for a suitable picture and stumbled across that image. I opened it and got a little bit of a shock. I have cropped the image for the page; however the original has another in the background. The person happens to be looking at the karaoke book sitting on the counter where Bryan does his hosting gig.

Now, the picture is from over a year ago. So imagine my surprise when I notice the boy standing in the picture. It freaked me out, just a bit.


At 6:00 PM, Wandering Coyote thought...


You are brave! It's nice to put a name and face to a fellow blogger. I'm still not quite ready to "come out" myself yet, though I have a common last name, too, (my maiden name isn't very common in Canada, though, but it is in the UK). One day I'll take the risk, but not quite yet.

At 4:07 PM, CarpeDM thought...

Yay. I can comment now. Blogger wouldn't let me earlier.

I can't wait for your stories about your last name. I am excited!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

This made me laugh

Alright, still not the post I promised, but this made me laugh way too much. I think DM may appreciate why it made me laugh the most.


Management and Logic


At 8:46 AM, CarpeDM thought...

Yeah. Probably because I've been the one yelling that. Stupid logic. What has it done for me lately?

After Midnight...

The post I promised for today is not quite written yet (I have notes though, this is a good thing. Yes, notes, white paper that no longer screams, "Fill me up!" Does anyone else have problems with office supplies talking to them, or is it just me? Probably just me. Don't be scared, I'm really not insane.)

Before I get to that post, I wanted to just give a few funny things from this evening. After work, I was going to meet Matt at Fridleykin's. These are some of the moments from the night.

I stopped at the gas station across from work on the way to Fridleykin's. The clerk behind the counter tends to flirt with me. I don't know why. About every three weeks, I manage to stop at that particular gas station after work. The last time I had frequented the establishment, he told me all about how he was on vacation and asked if I missed him. I didn't even know he was gone. Tonight, he made a very large point of telling me how he cleared off his driveway. One of his direct quotes was, "The pavement is shimmering." Confused, I just nodded. I'm not entirely sure if he's trying to say, "I have a house. I'm not just a gas station clerk. I'm a winner." It's rather strange. Oh well.

Two men at a table near ours got into a verbal argument at Fridleykin's (Perkin's to those unfamiliar). It seemed like a strange thing to get worked up about.

Jeb (He looks like a Jebadiah): You've gotten me more than once. [This is said in an empathic way, almost as if Jeb is proud of the fact he's been "gotten".]
Dude: No, I've only gotten you once. It was at Wal-Mart. We're not even yet. Zeke got you once.
Jeb: No, Zeke got me once and you got me twice. [Still proud of the fact he's been "gotten".]
Dude: Not in the balls both times!
Jeb: No, in the balls, both times.

Why was Jeb happy that his friend kicked him in that area more than once? And why would he choose to share this with the crowd at Fridleykin's? This seems strange to me.

While talking about music, Matt refers to a Counting Crows song as "Pink Paradise." I look extremely confused. I'm not a huge Counting Crows fan, so maybe they have a song called Pink Paradise. Then Matt mentions that maybe there really is swearing in the song. This is when I realize that Pink Paradise = Big Yellow Taxi. Now, there is no swearing in Big Yellow Taxi, however; one of the bankers on my team at work seems to think that there is explicatives in the song. I'm not sure if he thought the phrase, "Paved paradise and put up a parking lot" was actually, "Paved paradise and put up a f**king lot" or what, but it was a long discussion one night at work. Can you believe I get paid for my job?

Katie, one of the servers, asks us if we want pie. I say, "Yes!" Why? Because pie is good. I like pie. I am also found of phi, but that's a whole other realm. I ask her what types of pie Fridleykin's has (because I have not quite successfully memorized the entire menu) and I respond. Here's what I said:
B: You don't have orange pie, do you? I want orange pie.
K: Do they even make orange pie?
B: I'm sure they do. I want orange pie.
K: We don't have orange pie. How about I come back in a few minutes?

When Katie returns, I am still hung up on the orange pie kick. I manage to justify that orange pie must exist somewhere since there is apple, cherry, strawberry, lime, banana, and lemon pie. There has to be orange pie. I am still craving orange pie. I ended up with apple/raisin pie. This brought on an entire discussion with Matt about raisins.

I went grocery shopping once when I lived with Adam. (Now, in the context of this sentence, once is just a description, but not necessarily the number of times I went grocery shopping in the two year period. If you wanted to know the actual times I set foot inside a grocery store while living with Adam, I can tell you. It was 4. Two of those times were for a pot luck at work the next day. I hate grocery stores.) When I came home from the store, I had bought some raisins. Here is the resulting conversation:

A: You bought raisins?
B: Yes. I like raisins.
A: Craving raisins means there is a depletion of [some vitamin] in your system. You should go to the doctor.
B: Um, I just like raisins. I saw them and bought them. I wasn't craving raisins. It's not like I was sitting at home going, 'Oh no! If I don't have raisins, I might die.'

Now, in my head, this was not a nice thing to say. Except I'm doomed with customer service skills when talking to Adam. I tend to tell him things that sound sarcastic in my head, but come out sounding really sincere and sweet. So, of course, he didn't realize I was annoyed with him implying a vitamin deficiency because I happen to like raisins.

And on that note, I like cottage cheese and cream cheese. I don't care if he doesn't like it. Just because I want some damn cottage cheese, I don't need to hear him complain. I never bitched him out for eating that crappy pasta crap with the alfredo sauce. That smell makes me want to puke. But did I complain? No. Whoa. I need to hop off that soapbox now.

As I was eating my apple (not orange) pie, I started stabbing one of the apples. I exclaim, "This is more fun than Jell-o!" It was. I'm not sure if I liked the pie, but it wasn't repulsive. There's a plus.

One of the other servers stopped in after she had left the bars. It is her birthday today (coincidentally, the day is significant to the other post I'm going to write). She was trashed. Completely and utterly hammered. She sat down with us, avoiding the group she arrived with and told us how much she "loves [us] f**kers!" We enjoy her. It was rather amusing to watch her order a steak, bloody rare, have another server cut it into bite size pieces for her. Then she ate it with her fingers. Not attractive, but funny, none-the-less.

I know this post was a little random. Thanks for reading, I just wanted to write something before heading off to bed. Sunday is here! That means sleeping late, going to Dad's for a bit, and then karaoke with DM! Happy day!


At 8:41 AM, CarpeDM thought...

I bet we could make orange pie if we wanted to...just adapt a recipe for key lime pie.

There isn't a watermelon or pineapple pie that I'm aware of either.

Pineapple pie, pineapple pie, pineapple pie. That's kind of fun to say. You could mix it with coconut & have a pina colada pie.

Why am I fascinated with pie now? Hmm.

Well, at least you know he has a house and a job. That makes him somewhat of a winner. Unless, of course, he lives at home with mom & dad and it's their driveway that's now shimmering.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Winter Wonderland

Living in Minnesota, you learn to deal with two seasons. Winter and Road Construction. (Yes, very old, cheesy, corny, horrible joke, but it's pretty true.) There are some things I love about Minnesota and some things I don't. I don't particularly like hot, humid summer days. I don't enjoy it when it's -20 outside in the winter either.

I do, however, love snow. I love it when all the trees are coated with in dusty white flakes. I love it when piles of snow are sitting there, crisp and clean and even. I love big, fat snowflakes that you can catch on your tongue. I love it when a cute guy has snow flakes on his eyelashes. I love seeing children running outside in snowsuits where they can barely move and when they fall down it doesn't hurt because of all the padding.

This winter has been of the cold variety. Usually, we only have one or two really cold weeks a year. They are usually during January. Shocking to my system, the cold snapped in during December and the sad part of cold is that it doesn't snow. All the grass dies and the ground just looks barren, lonely, and no one plays outside. Christmas decorations just don't look the same if the lights are not reflecting off of layers of sparkling white.

Up until today, we had under two inches of snow TOTAL for the winter. Then we finally got the storm I've been wanting.

Yes, I wanted a snow storm. Why? It's pretty!

I have not heard a total at all and this snow storm is not overly bad. If I had to guess-ti-mate, I'd say we got between 4 and 6 inches of snow. That's really not much, but it's so much fun!

On my first break tonight, I ran outside to play in the snow. I hopped along, jumping into mounds of untrampled snow. Then I was sad that it didn't look as fluffy and soft as before, but I still ran to another mound, enjoying the feeling of landing into the snowy goodness.

Yes, I said snowy goodness. On that break, I also ran around saying, "Snowy, snowy, snow!" Adam laughed at me. He doesn't love the snow as much as I do. The fact he doesn't live 3 miles from work may have something to do with it. When I got back into the building, I went to the vending machine and bought an ice cream cone. For some reason, it just seemed fitting to me.

When work was over, I went out to my car and cleaned it off. I jumped around in the piles of snow, not minding at all that it came up past my boots and soaked the bottoms of my blue jeans. I was having too much fun. I tried to convince my supervisor to have a "King of the Hill" challenge on the piles of snow the plows were building up in the parking lot. I giggled as I wiped off snow from my car.

Driving home was not a problem for me at all. My new car rides higher up than Foxy did and so it's a little easier to make it through the ruts and piles the plows leave behind. I'm fighting the urge to run outside now and make snow angels. Doing that at 1 in the morning may be a little crazy though. I am hoping I can take some time this weekend to get out to a park or a river and take pictures of the snowfall. That's something I want to do every year and never do.

My mom called to tell me that Taco had been outside playing in the snow. When he came in, he was covered in snow! Our little black dog was all white! She wrapped him up in a towel and held him until he dried off and warmed up. Chip always loved it when it snowed. When he was a puppy, Taco could run circles around him during the spring, summer, and fall. Then when it snowed, Chip had the advantage. His legs are longer and he just bounds around the backyard and you can just see him laughing and loving it.

While looking for snow related pictures on my hard drive, this is the only one I found. I hope you enjoy. It's over 50 years old, but it's my dad.

Terry snow

Coming tomorrow, a post dedicated to a person from my past and maybe the conclusion of a story I have touched on, but never gave full justice.


At 6:06 PM, Matt thought...

I know the feelings that you have about the snow, I myself doth love it as well. I also look for the untouched snow and love to jump in it, it is so much fun. For abrief second or five I do feel bad because I did disturb the untouched part of nature that is beautiful, as I am seeking out the next pile to jump into. I am a snow desecrater, and I do not care. Oh well, I loved this post and that is a great picture of your dad, I love finding old pictures, they are so much fun. The one thing that I really loved about your post was this line:

"I love it when snow flakes land on a cute boys eyelashes"

I thought that was a fantastically written line, I love it. I hope to see you later, I have afeeling that I will. I will talk to you later, take care Little Sister.
Be good.
Big Brother

At 6:55 PM, The Lioness thought...

I like the memory of snow better, took a walk w dog today, too warm for a coat even, *blissful sigh*. You mean to tell me I WAS in Canada when GOD KNOWS IT WAS SNOWING and I missed the whole snow-on-eyelashes bit??? Oh bloody hell! very very cute pic of your dad.

At 8:44 AM, CarpeDM thought...

I like to twirl in the snow. It is very fun to have snowflakes fall on your face while you twirl. Then you get dizzy and might fall down.

The time it snowed before this? I made a really tiny snowman & Keem and I put him up by the windshield to see if he would make it home. He did. But then he melted in the parking ramp. It was sad.

Plug for new sites

It's official. I have new additions to my links. If you have a few moments, be sure to check these out.

Wandering Coyote - She's a student going to chef school in Vancouver. I get hungry when I read her posts and I'm envious of the skills she has to make food. I wish my cooking experiments were not such disasters.

The Cerebral Outpost - This is Carol (aka Weary Hag). I really like her writing style and her posts are a good read.

Merv's BlogLog - I found his site the other night and I enjoyed the story he shared. It's called The Carrot, The Egg, and a Cup of Coffee. I hope he doesn't mind me adding a link to his site.


At 7:48 AM, Wandering Coyote thought...

Thanks for the advertising! I noticed 10 people visited my blog overnight.

It's So Easy...

It has been well established that I work for a bank (NABABNA). As a bank employee, it would stand to reason that I would have every single banking product known to (wo)man at my disposal. It has also been established by certain comic strip creators that women like to shop. Now, I'm not a huge fan of clothes shopping or Christmas shopping. I tend to "Power Shop".

Power shopping, in the context of Beth, involves me walking into a store with a goal in mind and grabbing everything I possibly can between the front door, my goal, and the checkout counter. The ability to do things in moderation is not my forte.

Case in point. Scrapbooking and stamping. I feel the need to possess EVERY single tool known to the human race to work on my scrapbooks and make cards. This may be why, during my move to the new apartment, I had an entire room of my apartment filled with boxes upon boxes of scrapbooking and stamping materials. I don't have a dining room. I have a scrapping area that tends to try and overtake my kitchen. You should see my stove and my second refrigerator. They are both have a dual purpose. They serve as shelves for items I want within reach while I work on crafty projects. It's a little sick.

Where am I going with all of this information? Well, I'll tell you. Yesterday, on my lunch break, I needed to purchase some card stock for a project at work. I needed to make stars with my dye-cut machine for a billboard at work. Simple, right? Yeah, right.

I bought twenty sheets of card stock at the scrapbooking/stamping store near my apartment building (which is also conveniently close to work! Imagine that!) I also managed, during the entire 8 minutes I was in the store, to purchase $60 worth of scrapbooking materials for myself. I found three sets of new stamps, three additional St. Valentine's Day stamps, and some paper. Oh yeah, I also bought a border picture for a page I haven't even taken pictures for. It's a disease, I tell you. A disease.

That's what happens in person. With the joys of the Internet and the benefits of Visa, I can shop without leaving the comforts of home. My addiction turned on me tonight when I decided to "browse" iTunes for some new music.

I managed to get on a 70's rock kick and I bought way too many songs. Granted, they are great songs. Did I need them? Not at all.

But I got really cool songs. One disclaimer - I did not search these songs out. They just showed up under categories like: Classic Rock, Guilty Pleasures, and iTunes essentials.

Some highlights:
The 35th Anniversary Hits Collection of Three Dog Night (this is the only album I purchased outright)
Let's Get it On (Marvin Gaye)
Car Wash (Rose Royce) - Don't ask what came over me here
Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix) - Live
American Woman (The Guess Who)
Rock and Roll All Nite (Kiss) - In honor of DM and my nights at the old dungeon
Bye Bye Bye (*Nsync) - Hey, I was a closet *Nsync fan. This is the one song I still like and the entire CD was stolen when my car was broken into
Owner of a Lonely Heart (Yes) - It showed up, I clicked yes.
I Can't Drive 55 (Sammy Hagar)
Save a Horse/Ride a Cowboy (Big & Rich) - Yeah, it's the dance mix. How strange is that?
It's Not Unusual (Tom Jones)

It makes for an interesting playlist, I can tell you that. But I'm lovin' studying!

I need to be better about shopping. I have to save up for Portugal and seeing Johnny in April. An update to the trip: DM and I both managed to acquire time off from work during April. We're working on the passport issue and I need to contact a travel agent to find out a few answers to questions about overseas travel. But the trip is on and we're gaining excitement.

At Christmas, I told my parents that I was going to Portugal to see Johnny. They don't read my blog (like I'd give them the address! I can share with the blogosphere, but my parents? Are you on crack?) so they don't know who Johnny really is. I braced myself for the, "Who are you visiting?" "But it will be so expensive." Or the "What, that's another country, you might get killed."

What response did I get, fully reinforcing my love of my parents:

"That sounds exciting and wonderful. Need any help?"

My mom did say, "Oh, I bet your passport expired, I can help you if you need to get it renewed."

On a slightly funnier note, my mom's boyfriend asked, "What type of money do they have in Portugal?" We explained the fact that Euros are pretty common in Europe now and then he asked, "What if you get kidnapped?"

My mom replied to that one, "Oh, just be yourself. They'll give you back right away."

Ouch! Then I reminded her that she's 50! And she hit me.


At 10:44 AM, CarpeDM thought...

Ooh. New scrapbooking stuff. I am looking forward to our next scrapbooking session. Yay!

What page haven't you taken the pictures for yet? I am intrigued.

Yay! Tom Jones!

At 11:53 AM, The Lioness thought...

OK, first, GET A GRIP! You are not allowed to buy anything else till you go through ALL your wxisting supplies. HEAR ME?

Second, that was hilarious! I doubt you'll be kidnapped though, we're into petty theft more and the likes. Kidnapping is not yet a Portie hobby. Anyway, you can give them my email and they can grill me ove rthe web, wouldn't that be fun?

Finally, please tell DM, that scatterbrain, that I DID HER CODE FOR *HER* DROP DOWN MENU, emailed it, she only needs to replace it in her template. yes I did. Get her to get going already, DDM are the coolest thing ever (which makes you equally cool of course, still can't believe you figured it out you bloody genius!)

At 5:00 PM, Weary Hag thought...

Loved this entry! The only difference between your shopping and my own is that I to go to stores on a specific mission, race through the aisles and get what I absolutely need, then somewhere between the aisles and the check-out, I usually wind up putting half the stuff back ~ unable to justify my purchases. Your writing style is comfy and casual ~ I really enjoyed this post and will now have to continue through your blog. Glad we connected!

At 7:14 PM, Wandering Coyote thought...

The comment from your mom's boyfriend reminded me of something I went through with my husband when we were backpacking around Europe (he was living in Italy;I went out to visit; we travelled afterwards; I planned the trip and set up the Eurail passes). He didn't want to go to Spain of all places because he believed it was too "politically unstable". He couldn't satisfactorily explain that one (something about the Basques), but we didn't go in the end. Also, he didn't want to go to Turkey because "they shoot tourists there." Never got to Turkey, either. In any case, I am pretty confident that Portugal (along with Spain and Turkey) are quite safe. I know people who have vacationed there and they loved it. April should be a very good time of year to go, too. Those southern parts of Europe can be brutally hot/humid in the summer.

At 6:15 PM, Matt thought...

Little Sister,
As you know, when the mood and the time of the year is right, I can also do some damage to a store. How many times have we gone into a Wal-Mart at about three in the mroning just to have some shopping fun? It is weird to do it, but it is also fun, isn't it? I would like to say something however about your is awesome! I have never heard the song Save A Horse/Ride A Cowboy however, but the rest of the songs are excellent choices. I especially liked to see Tom Jones, I feel that he is a wonderful talent that most people just do not seem to appreciate anymore. The Owner of a Lonely Heart song? I grew up with that fantastic piece of music, and still like to hear it today. I also like Car Wash, it is from a peiod of music that I feel should never have been made (I hate the Disco era, however there are some Disco songs that I like) And who could go wrong with Jimi Hendrix? I looooooovvvvvvveeee Jimi, he is awesome! He is awesomer than awesome! He is awesomer than the awesomest guitar player that ever aopted the title of awesome! I don't know where that came from, but it is true and I do love Jimi, he is a talent that will never be duplicated, ever. Period. No questions asked. Ever.

Until later when I see you,
Big Brother

At 1:50 PM, srmc thought...

I see nothing wrong with the scrapping supplies taking up more room than a human being. Nope nothing wrong at all. Now of course should I admit that the only reason I had to move into a 2 bedroom apartment was because of all my scrapping crap? Nope. Not telling anyone about that! No siree!

So when are you gonna post to your scrappin site? huh? Oh wait......I shouldn't talk. I have not posted a new layout in ages.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

My Reputation Proceeds Me

As children, most parents teach simple rules. Girls are taught to be "lady-like" and told that they have to wear shirts when playing sports outside on hot summer days. They are given dolls and dress-up clothes. They have tea parties and as they mature they have sleepovers with makeovers. Little boys are rarely dressed in skirts and hardly ever wear bows in their hair. Boys are encouraged to play rough sports like football and hockey. When little girls join in, boys are told to play gentle. Boys are told to not hit girls.

As a little girl, I hated bows in my hair. I despised dresses and I always wanted to join in the pick-up games of field hockey and touch football. I never wanted to hurt the other kids. I expected the same consideration. I did know that sometimes you get hurt playing sports, but intentional hitting bothered me. I was six.

Beth six

It was winter, 1984 was drawing to a close and I was attending kindergarten at Hayes Elementary School in Fridley, Minnesota. It was my first year of big kid school. My family had just moved to Minnesota the August before and I was getting to know all the kids in the neighborhood.

Making friends has never been a problem for me. Being an only child may have something to do with it. I could entertain myself, but sometimes I wanted to have other kids around to share stories and play games and laugh. When my family lived in Iowa, we lived in a quiet neighborhood and most of the kids were at least a couple of years older. That was not a problem. If I saw someone who was not fully-grown yet, he or she could be my friend. Well, anyone could be my friend. I had many a conversation with the garbage man.

When my dad was laid off from his construction job, our family moved from our house in the country to a small apartment in Waterloo, Iowa. We left the neighborhood that I knew and loved and moved to a lower-class apartment complex. Looking back, I can see the difference, but as a kid, it didn't phase me. I remember missing my best friend, Amy*. I missed my old room with the Big Bird in the corner. Big Bird got "lost in the move." I swear I was 10 before I realized that my parents just threw him out. Other than Amy and Big Bird, I didn't miss too much. There were other kids in the new neighborhood and I just made friends with them.

We only lived in that complex for a few months before my dad got a job in Minnesota. Our family moved to Fridley. The first home we had in Fridley was a town-home complex. At the complex, there were enough kids to have one bus take all the kids to school. Each school day, I would go to the bus stop and wait for the bus to arrive.

Before the school bus arrived to pick us up, the kids would play games of tag and talk and have fun. There was one boy at my bus stop. His name was Jason. (He's not the same Jason who I wrote about here.) Jason was the first time I had ever run into a bully.

Every day, Jason would pick on me and hit me and just be mean. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but his words still hurt. He wouldn't let up until I cried each and every day. None of the other kids were mean to me. In fact, they were really nice to me. I don't think Jason had many friends.

At least three days a week, I would run home, crying to my mom. I would tell her all about the mean things he said to me. She listened patiently as I told her about him hitting me. After three weeks, my mom got sick of having to walk me back to the bus stop and wait for the bus to take me to school. She finally told me, "The next time he picks on you, make a fist like this [she demonstrated a fist] and swing." Now, my mom didn't teach me how to throw a punch correctly, but it the effectiveness of it still sticks in my memory. She held her arm straight out. Imagine a cheerleader imitating the letter "T". Now, drop one of the arms. The swing involved moving my arm in a 90 degree angle so that my right arm was sticking out in front of me.

By this time, it was a little cooler out. Well, snow had already fallen and I was now going to school wearing a hat, a scarf, a snowsuit, mittens, and my "moon" boots. I hated those boots. Jason decided to pick on me again. Remembering how to throw a punch like my mom taught me, I set up and swung.

Contact! My swing knocked Jason on the side of his head. I made direct contact with his left ear. The temperature had dropped a bit and I managed to crack his skin. He was bleeding. It was time for all out war.

By the time the bus arrived; I had Jason pinned down on the ground and we were hitting each other. Imagine two six-year olds rolling around in the snow, complete with snowsuits and winter gear. Jason was crying. All the girls at the bus stop were cheering. The school may have had a problem with it, but I got into no trouble at home. My mom was proud of me.
Jason moved away during winter break. I never saw him again. But the legacy of that day survived all the way until graduation.

For years, the boys at the bus stop tried to "white-wash" the girls. They would grab other kids and shove their faces into the snow. I was never once white-washed. The boys also learned quickly that if they went near a girl to white-wash her, I would be there backing her up.
In middle school, two boys a grade above me were fighting in the hallway. They annoyed me. I told them to stop. One of the boys cocked his fist back and made like he was going to throw a punch in my direction. The other actually grabbed his hand and said to him, "Do you know who she is? Don't do it man."

The thing is, I'm a wimp. I can't fight worth a darn. I have not been in a fistfight since that day in kindergarten, but image is everything. The image kept me out of a lot of trouble in high school. People didn't invoke fights with my close friends or me. No one wanted to be against me in a fight. I never challenged the image.


*Amy lived across the street from us. She was also an only child but two years older. I remember sleepovers and we both enjoyed Lite-Brite and PEZ. I had a Wonder Woman PEZ dispenser and she did too. We would eat the candy and then run down the hallway, yelling, "Wonder Woman!" Sometime, I'll have to share more stories about Amy.


At 8:30 AM, CarpeDM thought...

Quick comment before work.

I love this story. I remember hearing this before and thinking it was great but don't remember you telling me about the guy saying "Do you know who she is?"


At 1:42 PM, The Lioness thought...

You do kick ass, always said so! Lovely pics. I wish you'd been around to prevent me from being beaten once in a while. Being small and frail sucked rock majorly!

At 4:15 PM, Firebear thought...

I love this story! Thank you!

At 7:17 PM, Matt thought...

I love it! I remember hearing this story before, and I still have the same smile on my face now as I did then. I agree with the Lioness, you kick ass! It is nice to know that my little sister can take care of herself if she needs to, that is just awesome. I loved this story, I truly did.