Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thank you, Gwyn, wherever you are....

I'm a little behind everyone else on this one, but Bob Dylan's Modern Times is a very good CD, and I'm so glad I decided to buy it over the weekend. I kept it in the CD drive at work today, and I'm betting I heard it through at least 8 times between 9 AM and 7:15 PM. Not a bad song on there. Bob is back, no doubt. But then again, did Bob ever really go away? (Okay, allow me to answer my own question: Tight Connection To My Heart. God, that was a weird time).

I got turned on to Bob by one of my roommates from freshman year. Gwyn was a huge Bob Dylan fan. Bob could do no wrong. I was a Bob detractor. She played him anyway. Eventually some of the songs began to seep their way into my brain. By the time the Traveling Wilburys came along the next year, I could deal with him and even bought Highway 61 Revisited and Greatest Hits (on cassette and I probably still have them somewhere).

And somewhere along the way, I grew to admire him. Respect him. Love the music. Hated the Tight Connection video, but hey, it was the 80s.

Fantastic. That's all I can say. And this -- thanks, Gwyn.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The decision is made.

I will be moving to A/P. We had a department meeting (or two) today, and we pretty much realized this was the only option there is. We can hire someone to do A/R with the understanding that the hours are gonna be hellacious. Of course, someone else could think they're fantastic hours.

I'm sad. I will always wonder what more I could have done. If I'd stood on my head and juggled or something...... you know? But I'm also hopeful -- learning something new and using my skills elsewhere. This could turn out to be very good. And I'll get to keep my normal hours.... a real blessing!

We shall see what happens. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I love Dylan ...

and this is still one of the funniest damn things I've seen in ages!! Enjoy!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Helplessly hoping

As far as my earlier decision in the week, I will know more this week. What the thing revolves around is either keeping my current job but drastically changing my hours (starting three hours earlier) -- or switching to a different position in the same department (other side of the accounting fence). My heart is breaking .... I love what I do. It's something I know I'm good at, and I have grown to enjoy the interaction very much. The other stuff, I am very hesitant about, but the hours would remain the same.

My body has never been a morning person. I get up at 5:40 on gym mornings but I force myself to. I rationalize it with "it's only 3 times a week" -- and it works sometimes. But I am hardwired for afternoons and evenings. I have been since I was a child. I was the only one of my peers in second grade who stayed up past 10 regularly. But even in kindergarten (when I went to bed comparatively early), my mother had to drag me out of bed each day. For years and years on end, I have not been able to go to bed before 11:00. If I ever do, there's a good reason: migraine or other illness, or else I had poor sleep the night before and so....

So I face a tough decision: obey my own body or betray it for work I love. I am still not sure how it will all pan out. I'll keep ya posted.

Tricks and treats

I was looking forward to a nice quiet normal Saturday. I had a hair appointment, and a birthday party to attend this afternoon, and other than that, nothing much. Just a perfectly normal, quiet Saturday.

Mother Teresa said, "If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans."

I wanted to get on the PC this morning around 10:00 AM. Turned it on, and the monitor came on, but no picture. Crap. That can mean one of two things: the monitor is shot, or the video card is. I'm bitching about both. It hits me that it's most likely the video card, which is a semi-blessing -- only about $100 compared to the $200 for a monitor. But by now, it's about 10:30 AM. I have a hair appointment in less than 2 hours. Decisions, decisions.

I had been planning to kind of spend a little time this morning at Earshot, a locally-owned CD store. Having to stop at a nearby office supply store to scout a new video card or monitor purchase would put a serious crimp in those plans. Time's a-wasting: Big Box to the rescue.

Now I'm all for saving money, but I really try hard to support Earshot and/or Horizon Records. They're both locally-owned and fabulous. Yeah, I'm going to pay a little more in there. But considering we nearly lost Earshot a few years back, I'm going to take as many opportunities as I can to buy from them to keep the business going. But time was of the essence..... so off to Big Box I go. There I can buy a video card and look for the CD's I wanted.

I found a video card. I bought four CD's (let's just call it retail therapy): a Donna Summer compilation, Faith by George Michael (because I wore out a cassette of it in college and wanted to relive it), Best of Bob Dylan (from 2000) and Modern Times also by Dylan. I came oh-this-so-terribly-close to getting The Essential Bob Dylan but the Best of compilation only lacked two songs I really wanted. So I also bought a download card to get those particular songs. (And am currently working on using up that tiny card VERY quickly on a whole bunch of other songs too). Yes, I saved probably about $20 buying them at Big Box. But honestly, I felt very bad -- so my next few purchases of music will be at Earshot or Horizon. Asperge me, Dominus.

Anyway, off to get my hair done. I'm going to have about enough time between hairdo and party to eat a quick lunch. And I do. And I manage to check the PC again. Still no dice. I open up the PC and see the video card and proceed to change it out. It's not coming out. I am freaking at this point, but it's time for the party.

I go to my cousin's house -- and what a great time! The party was for her little girl (Happy First, Maggie!!), but I was reveling in all the compliments on my appearance. I hadn't seen my cousin in about 6 months and she was floored -- as was everyone else. Her dad and my dad are brothers, but I've also known members of her mom's family off and on through the years, and her husband's family has always welcomed me with open arms. It's a crazy kudzu mess, but that's a Southern family (extended and so forth) for you.

We came back from the party, and I got my dad to help with the video card project. We were FINALLY able to extricate the card .... and my new one doesn't match anything remotely like this one. Same manufacturer, same model, but my current one is a 128mb and this new one is 256mb. Okay, but it doesn't fit ANY of the slots. What the hell am I supposed to do now? So I decided to pack the new one back up, take it back to Big Box tomorrow, and with a huge sigh, put the old one back in. For the pure sheer torture of it, I turn the PC on.....

Fan-fricking-tastic hallelujah. It works. I don't know what I did, but it's working. So I'm typing to you now, and enjoying downloading songs from this site. I can already tell I am going to be in some serious trouble. Serious. Serious. I may need to visit Big Box again and pick up another card.

Music: a harsh mistress and not a cheap one either. But I was seduced too many years ago to leave now!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Praise the Lord, I can crawl!

I'm not paralyzed by indecision anymore. I'm not fully ambulatory yet, but we're getting there. Decisions are usually overwhelming because I'm considering every option possible. Sometimes too much thought is a bad thing. I've overthought, overanalyzed, and generally beat a dead horse better than anyone.

I'll let y'all know how things go over the next couple of weeks as things progress and we see just how it will really all play out.

In the meantime, thanks for any good thoughts you may have sent my way.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Paralysis of indecision

I suffer from this problem.

I don't know about the rest of you, but when it's time to make a serious decision, I am absolutely paralyzed. I find it very difficult to come to the best decision and stick with it. I can make all the pro/con lists possible; I can analyze the thing to death; I can (and do) pray for guidance until I have assaulted heaven with a never-ending barrage of pleadings. And as decision time approaches, I remain completely baffled over what to do.

I'm going through it right now. I have a decision to reach later this week and I have all the tools ready and no clue what to do. None at all.

Not one of my favorite states of being or emotions. But I gotta plow through it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Very hard to believe.

Today has been one year since my friend Tee died. It is still hard to believe.

I wore a pink rubber bracelet for the longest time. I haven't in a while, and I need to start again; I am ashamed that I fell out of the habit. I bought a few things from The Breast Cancer Site. I need to do more. I click on it daily, hoping to fund mammograms for women who can't afford them. One of the items I bought was a pink ribbon tee with this phrase: "If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance." For me, it's inspiring when I wear it on the treadmill -- which brings me to what I want to do most.

I am actively working to participate in next year's Run for the Cure (although it will more likely be the Walk for the Cure). Our area usually has theirs the end of September/first of October. I missed it this year -- not that I would have been in shape anyway. I'm determined to do it this year. I will wear Tee's name proudly on my shirt, along with my aunt's (who is a survivor). I will shed tears of joy and of sorrow. I will not miss out on this opportunity to do something real and tangible -- to raise money to find a cure for the thing that took my friend's life.

I think of her, especially when I'm remembering things from high school. I have pictures in my scrapbooks and in my yearbooks, and her writing. And memories and so many other things that make me remember. I hope I never forget.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Novel update

Yes, I am still working on my novel (see November '06 posts). There's a lot of work that still needs to be done. Instead of having all the events take place over the course of a week at the lake, I've decided to make it more along the lines of "a year in the lives..." As I said before, it's a romance/chick-lit novel -- so it needs time to develop a little more properly. And since the characters are going to be in a long-distance relationship, it really needs the time to develop. I'm also adding interactions with their families, friends, etc.

So we shall see what transpires with E & C. Even I am not sure yet......

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The world's best waitress

(Preface: SeƱor Gleck has written some posts about wait service -- the good, bad, and ugly. It got me thinking.....)

One of my fondest memories of college is a little place called Alex's. There's no official website for them, but they have six locations (one near you). It's a Charleston chain, a la the Awful Waffle or Huddle House. Good food, cheap, open 24-7. And in the late 80s and early 90s, they employed one of the best waitresses ever at their Savannah Highway location.

I had never been to Alex's until my junior year. Todd & Ernie took me one night on the bet that the waitress would know their order when they walked in. We got there, and sure enough, Kathy (the night waitress) said, "Hey boys, your usual?" And they said sure, but I'd need a menu. I ended up order the same thing they did. the cheeseburger special. A REAL burger with the best baked french fries. Or at least they seemed baked because they were never greasy -- always perfectly crisp.

Anyway, Kathy always worked the late shift, and on occasion Dell (another waitress) would be there too. They were both great waitresses -- always taking care of us along with everyone else, knowing we were poor college students on tight budgets, and still treating us with kindness and consideration. Kathy especially took extra good care of us. She was a conscientious worker -- always knew her customers and our likes and dislikes. In our case, it surely couldn't have been for the somewhat meager tips, but again, it was just her way.

Not too long after I became a regular there, Kathy was out for a while after Hurricane Hugo. She lived on one of the islands, and had survived the storm but had lost her mobile home. The owners put a Mason jar near the register, asking for whatever pocket change people could spare. When we found out on one of our meals there, we took extra money the next time just for the jar. A short time later, she was back at work and stopped by the booth to thank us. She was getting a nice settlement from the insurance and a better place.

Of course, as in any field, you have your share of weird clients and customers. Later that spring, I was in a play. My parents came down for the weekend to watch us, and I took them to Alex's after the Friday performance. Alex's was just the kind of place my dad loves. Kathy was there and did not fail to be the same kind soul she was. The next night, after we broke down the set, I took my brother there as a thank-you (he'd helped us do break-down). He and I were sitting in the booth, noshing on our chee-burger chee-burgers. Kathy and Dell were both there working, and Kathy was joking about getting a present from the Easter Bunny (just jiving with Dell and us). She said, "I tell you, I wish the Easter Bunny would hurry up and show up with my gift!" At that point, some idiot redneck (who was mercifully leaving) stood up and yelled out, "Well I'm right here now, bay-bayyyyy!" Kathy shot him a look that would have melted Antarctica. My brother lost it -- starting laughing so hard his body was shaking. After Redneck left, Kathy remarked, "Easter Bunny, my foot!" The guy sitting in the booth behind us said, "More like Easter jackass!" My brother lost it all again.

The next fall, when we came back, Kathy was telling us about her new boyfriend -- nice guy in the Navy, who was mad about her (and her for him) and how this just might be the right guy for a change. He had even bought her a horse -- which she loved - just before he left for sea duty. One year to the day after Hugo hit, lightning struck the barn where her horse was stabled and it caught fire. They weren't able to save all the horses, and Kathy's horse didn't make it. She was totally devastated. Once again, we brought extra money and a "thinking of you" card to give her on our next visit. When she came back, it was hugs all around.

We never know the people who are going to impact our lives. No one would have suspected 4 or 5 college students bonding over a couple of years with a waitress. We were out there 2-3 times a week but still..... And it's obvious I have not forgotten Kathy or her kindness to us. I hope that life in the ensuing fifteen years have been good to her. I hope that her dreams have come true and that she is happy.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

YouTube is...

the crack cocaine of the internet world. Whatever you do, don't send me to rehab.

Friends turned me on to this a long time back. Now I have not personally put any videos on there but I am having the time of my life looking at old 80s videos.

God bless YouTube!


Ah! I am alone. It is divine. Just me, the computer, and no one else around.

Solitude is highly underrated. Don't get me wrong: I love being around people, but up to a certain extent. After that, I have to be alone, and I will take it any way I can get it. Usually, in my case, that will involve a long drive somewhere, and any amount of gas money I spend is worth it for those hours of being alone with my own thoughts. As if you didn't notice already, I am a world-class ponderer. I always have some thought rolling around in my brain and picking up steam. Those times of solitude allow me to either roll with it, or stop it and work it out.

I know this solitude can't last forever. Everyone will come streaming back in at some point, jaws flapping and voices filling what is now a beautiful silence. The only sounds literally are coming from my own breath, the quiet drone of the computer fan, the squeaky chair I'm in, the fingers hitting the keyboard, and the occasional chime of the clock. This is heaven.

Being alone used to bother me. The silence was always deafening. I had to have the crowd, the noise, the chatter. I realize now that it was because I didn't want to be alone with myself. These days, I'm far more apt to seek the quiet spaces. I guess I finally took Depeche Mode's advice and have learned to "enjoy the silence."

Again, not that I don't love people and want to shut myself away forever..... I would croak without human contact. But I find that I enjoy the social dimension of my life far more when I know that I have appreciated the beauty of being alone. There's a great article in Psychology Today about solitude versus loneliness, and it matches a lot of what I'm trying to say here.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I have returned!!!

Holy crap. Lesson learned from all this: Always have another alternative.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Shakin' Up The Lyra

Every now and again, it pays to shake things up. With that in mind, I shook up some of the tunes on the Lyra for my workout and my own personal enjoyment. I removed only a couple but added a few new songs to help me kick ass on the treadmill and on the machines.

Here's the new list:
  • (Every Time I Turn Around) Back In Love Again -- LTD (lead singer: Jeffrey Osborne). A real mover and shaker.
  • (Get Up I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine -- James Brown. Brother James' recent demise made me put this one back on. My favorite of his songs.
  • Ah! Leah! -- Donnie Iris. An old favorite that has been on here a while.
  • Alive & Kicking -- Simple Minds. Another old favorite.
  • All Fired Up -- Pat Benatar. This one has probably been on from the beginning. I had thought of rotating it off, but I can't bring myself to. It's one of those songs where the message means a lot to me.
  • Bitch -- Rolling Stones. Another old fave, taken off and brought back.
  • Boogie Wonderland -- Earth Wind & Fire. Great moving tune, and it's EW&F (need I say more?)
  • Boogie Woogie Choo-Choo Train -- The Tractors. I like the song.
  • Cigarettes & Alcohol -- Rod Stewart. Odd selection for music for healthy living, but it's the beat.
  • Cool the Engines -- Boston. Been here from the start and isn't leaving any time soon. It really is a great cool-down song and a nice reminder for me to cool the engines myself.
  • Cradle of Love -- Billy Idol. Great beat.
  • Crumblin' Down -- John Cougar Mellencamp. Another I'd considered rotating off, but I like it too much.
  • Dazz -- Brick. Had this one on here for a few weeks, and it will probably stay on. Good 70s funk. You can't beat it for anything.
  • Deeper & Deeper -- The Fixx. An old fave, not moving.
  • Don't Leave Me This Way -- Thelma Houston. A new addition, great beat, but have to remind myself NOT to dance on the treadmill..... that would not be pretty.
  • Eruption/You Really Got Me -- Van Halen. Oh yeah.......... (Nettie emits a devilish laugh and twinkle in her eyes).
  • Gemini Dream -- Moody Blues. A nice song, perfect beat for the middle of a walk.
  • Go Faster -- Black Crowes. The Black Crowes make several appearances on my list. I kind of hit the wall (musically speaking) around 1992, but the Crowes and Collective Soul (and Kenny Wayne Shepherd and maybe a couple of other '90s acts) grabbed me and didn't let go. Love this song, great beat, love love love.
  • Hair of the Dog -- Nazareth. The beat, the bad attitude. How can you NOT love this one? And I keep hoping I'll see a gecko in a little red convertible too.....
  • Hold On Tight -- ELO. One that I've considered taking off a couple of times, but just can't do it. It's a message song -- keep going, keep going, keep going.
  • I Feel Free -- Cream. NOT getting rid of this one.
  • James Dean -- The Eagles. Ditto.
  • Jealous Again -- Black Crowes. I love this song.
  • Keep Yourself Alive -- Queen. I like this song. I had thought about taking it off, but it seems to work well exactly where it is. So I won't ponder it any further.
  • Lights Out -- Peter Wolf. I don't know why. I just like it and it works for me.
  • Long Train Running -- Doobie Brothers. Yeah, I know, it's been burned-to-a-crisp thanks to classic rock stations. I swear, it's like they worship Tom Johnston and give Michael McDonald no quarter at all. Anyway, I like a lot of the Doobie Brothers song and this one works here. So for the time being, it stays.
  • So Alive -- Love and Rockets. Okay, for some oddball reason, the Lyra thinks the song is "Love and Rockets" by So Alive (apparently). Oh well. Anyway, it works and works pretty well here.
  • New York Groove -- Ace Frehley. Yes, it's cheesy. No, I don't care. I love this song.
  • One Vision -- Queen. I like the song, and I like Queen. But I am thinking of rotating this one off for another B2AC classic, "Another One Bites The Dust." I gotta think on this one.
  • Peace Frog -- The Doors. (without Blue Sunday). Yes, a very weird inclusion.
  • Radioactive -- The Firm. One of my favorites from the 80s. I guess I was suffering from lack of Zep when Jimmy Page reappeared on the scene, so I latched onto the Firm for their short career (one album, right?). They had good music.
  • Remedy -- Black Crowes. Told you, this was a Crowe-heavy list.
  • Right Here, Right Now -- Jesus Jones. Right now, this is working. We'll see for the future.
  • Rock You Like A Hurricane -- Scorpions. I openly admit that I am an 80s music kind of girl. So why not include the German screamers?
  • Romeo's Tune -- Steve Forbert. Yes, another odd inclusion. I think I had put this on the Lyra for some other purpose and just never took it off. I am not sure I will. I love this song.
  • Running on Empty -- Jackson Browne. I have a special place in my heart for this song. It speaks to me.
  • Sanctify Yourself -- Simple Minds. Another odd inclusion.
  • Shining Star -- Earth Wind & Fire. Hell yeah.
  • Sir Duke -- Stevie Wonder. If you aren't moving SOMETHING by the end of this song, check your pulse and call your local mortician.
  • The Boys Are Back In Town -- Thin Lizzy. Because it just rocks. (Note to self: be sure to put Jailbreak on here too).
  • The Other Side -- Aerosmith. There are lots of good tunes by Aerosmith, but this one seems to fit well here. Good driving beat, perfect for keeping things going.
  • Well All Right -- Blind Faith. I like it. It works for me. There you go.
  • Whatever Gets You Through the Night -- John Lennon. See above. I can almost hear Don Pardo saying "Saturday Night Liiiiiiiive" somewhere over the sax intro.
  • Winning -- Santana. Another one that won't be leaving anytime soon. Great song.

Hmm. 70s Funk and 80s metal. Who'da thunk it?

Friday, January 05, 2007

It didn't take Jesus this long...

My internet service is still down, awaiting the resurrection.

In the words of the Indian pimp in Bachelor Party, the Major Telecommunications Conglomerate (henceforth, "Buttheads") "have been liar to me!" Last Tuesday, my service was reinstated (don't ask - even longer story). Liar #1 told me, "I'll have it turned back on within 24 hours." Nine days later, my phone is on but NOT my Internet. Seems Buttheads assigned me a temporary new number instead of rolling everything back on to my normal number -- and never told me. The DSL order? Attached to new number. Then even after spelling my user ID, they still managed to screw it up and misspell it.

FINALLY, I got someone yesterday who managed to actually give a damn and listen to my problem. Bad news? Still 3 more days.

Dealing with them has been one gigantic cluster(expletive deleted) without the (personal product).