Sunday, November 30, 2008

Visiting Santa

My daughter, son in law and Miss L.

Waiting to visit with Santa.

After standing in line for over an hour, the camera broke. Santa "worked" the line while they tried to get things going again. You can tell Miss L was a little hesitant but not frightened.

I was able to take my own pictures since the "official" camera was on the fritz. I was so glad to have come prepared!

This is the best shot I got before Miss L decided she did not need to discuss what she wanted for Christmas after all. This was such a great Santa, very authentic.

Little miss was worn out by this time but we still got some good shots.

A tired little angel..

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving and then some

I knew this Thanksgiving was going to be quiet. It turned out to be just me and my parents but we still cooked the bird and set out the good dishes, the kind that can't be put in the dishwasher. I did not think that would be a big deal since it was just three of us but we still managed to dirty just about every dish in sight and you would have thought we were expecting a dozen people there was so much food.

One sister and her family were all gathered in Florida. The other sister and her family are in Minnesota and their Turkey Day was postponed because sister and hubby are suffering from Whooping Cough. Yikes! I read on the Internet it was going around but I did not expect it to hit anyone I knew. Of course, you may remember my brother passed away this summer so that left me to do the family thing.

I always tell my kids they can be anywhere they choose at Thanksgiving but at Christmas we all better be gathered in Texas. With all the branches of the family it is difficult to be every where at once so I try to be gracious about sharing. Since Sport was just here last month he stayed in Colorado and actually deep fried a turkey for a group of friends. I'm impressed. TenderHeart was with her husband's father's family. With so many at that gathering all she had to cook was a broccoli rice casserole. Lucky girl.

After we ate, cleaned up and watched the Cowboys win, my folks and I sat down for a game of Phase Ten. Don't know if you have ever played it but it is a lot of fun and you can actually play with several people so it is a great group game. I can't believe it but my "elderly" parents whipped the socks off me. I kept cheering for myself that I had the highest score. Just wish that had been the aim of the game.

In the middle of the night I got a call from Sheriff, my boss. It seems the police called and our office had been broken into and she wanted me to go and assess the situation. Normally that would have worked since I am two miles from home to work but this time I was two hours away so she had to do the honors. In the last three years we have had maybe half a dozen false alarms but this time it was the real thing. And I missed it!!

Two huge glass walls were shattered. One into my office and the other into my boss' office. We work at a closed door pharmacy and naturally you would think they were after the drugs but nope. We have no signage and I do not think these guys even knew what kind of business they broke into or what was in the back. They never walked into the view of the security cameras and all they took was Sheriff's laptop. But what a mess they left behind. Sheriff was there from 2:30 AM until 11:30 AM waiting to get someone out to clean up the mess and secure the place. I learned that the police said the official "method of entry" was BFR. Big F***ing Rock Seriously, that was what was in the report!!

And me? I was diligently avoiding all sales and traffic.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

How can I think about Christmas already?

I better start thinking about Christmas! It will be here before I know it. November is just flying by and I do not want to be out in the middle of the traffic next month, at the last minute, making rash, illogical purchases.

This morning I went with my daughter, son in law and the baby to have her picture made with Santa at the mall. We went into Macy's just to buy a hair bow and I ended up buying two Christmas dresses for Miss L that I thought were just adorable. Her mother and I have very different taste when it comes to dressing the baby. I always want to go with the classic styles with the cutesy, girlie dresses with smocking, tiny pleats, etc. Daughter wants to go with clothes like trendy jeans or blue jean skirts and bedazzled shirts that read "Born to Shop." But, of the dozen Christmas dress choices we did find a few on which we could agree. If I had had the money I would have bought at least two more. They were just tooo cute.

This particular mall has a really great Santa who looks very authentic and a huge Polar Express set up. After the kids have their pictures made with Santa, you can move over to a porch set where the whole family can pose.

I brought my own camera with me so I positioned myself beyond the picture taking venue and put on the telephoto lens. I was in excellent view of everything going on and I had a lot of fun watching the little ones react. It was probably an hour wait and by the time my kiddos were at the front of the line Miss L was bored, cranky and done with the hair bow! There was one family ahead of them and you would not believe what happened! The camera broke and stopped printing out pictures!!! They waited and waited and waited while the little mall workers tried to troubleshoot the problem.

After a while Santa got up and started walking around talking to the kids in line. This was great for some and terrifying for others. He was very kindly and you could tell he was not trying to cause any drama. He just moved on down the line. Miss L was happy to see him and let him hold her hand and said "Hi, Tanta Claw." By now I had moved up to the perimeter fence and Santa suggested I go ahead and take pictures which I did of daughter, SIL and Miss L with Santa standing there. Great shots.

Then Santa told the mall workers, all gathered around the broken kiosk, he was going to sit down and let everyone take their own pictures. I was so thrilled that I had brought my camera and almost started to take orders from those in line! Tee Hee. But wouldn't you know, the minute Daughter placed Miss L in Santa's lap she began to squawk! She wanted no part of it and I got a very funny shot of her all straight-legged trying to get down.

A few minutes later the camera was fixed but by then there was no line left. Out of some sense of obligation we ended up buying the disk with the rights to the official picture. I just really think we should have gotten a discount for all the hassle but Daughter was too reserved to ask or allow me to do it.

Wished that reserved style applied to baby clothes! Just kidding!

Missing the compassion gene

Last week we had a trainer in our office from out of town. She was conducting several two day sessions with the staff to help us all prepare for the close of our office and the demise of our jobs. She was from a placement service and I participated in the first two-day session.

On day one of the second session she got a call that a close friend had died unexpectedly. She left the conference room and was quite upset in the ladies' room. I heard the crying but actually thought it was someone being silly at the other end of the office. A few minutes later one of the staff came to me and told me I was needed, that the trainer was crying in the bathroom. I went immediately to see how I might help.

Trainer was hysterical and had difficulty getting the words out but enough for me to know there had been a death. When Supervisor (I have told you about her before - see Tissuegate post) came in to see what was going on I instructed her to tell the employees in the training session to go on back to their regular duties, that training was canceled for the day. I then guided Trainer into the conference room for some privacy and to make arrangements for a flight home. For about 20 minutes she was unable to function and I ended up having to take the phone to talk to her boss. I say all that to give you an idea of how dramatic things were for a while and disconcerting for the entire office.

Well, my boss (remember Sheriff?) had gone to the dry cleaner and when she came back it was in the big middle of the drama. One of the employees approached her to tell her what was happening and as she headed for her office the employee said, "They are in the conference room." (in the opposite direction) She did not turn but went straight to her office. In less than five minutes she came out and told her assistant to notify the five employees that were in the training that they were on their own for lunch. She had canceled the boxed sandwich lunches! Can you believe it??? No concern for the distraught guest. No empathy for the staff that had been shaken up by the drama. Nope. Her primary thought was, "If they are not having training then we don't have to provide the lunch." You can imagine how this attitude went over with the entire office.

I ended up driving the trainer back to her hotel and she had a local friend who came to be with her and to take her to the airport. When I got back to the office my boss said, "I am glad you handled that. I just don't have that compassion thing ... I'm missing that gene." Ya think??? My response, "Well, I'm glad I have it."

A little bit later one of the trainees came to me and told me that since she always brought her lunch and she knew lunch was going to be provided for the two days of training she had nothing to eat that day. That is when I learned about the canceled lunches. This employee is in a very tight financial situation and had no money to purchase lunch. I told her that I really did not think it was my place to challenge the decision but that she should go to Sheriff and ask what she suggested. Sheriff's response? "I can give you the $6 to get your lunch but when you go back to training you will not get a lunch provided." Unbelievable!!!!!! The employee declined and went back to her station. I offered to get her lunch when I went out but she declined that as well. I brought back a lunch for her anyway. Glad I have that compassion gene.

I feel special!

It has been a long week and this evening I wearily plopped myself down for a cruise around the internet. Being a creature of habit I have a set computer routine and the first thing I do is read personal emails, then a jog around Facebook, look at the latest pictures of my granddaughter that have been posted, check out the newest tags in my tag group and, last but not least, stop at Blogger to catch up on some overdue reading and maybe, just maybe find time for a post. I was pleasantly surprised to find I have been given the Marie Antoinette Award by Lori at Dusty Pages. It is for real people who blog about real things. I truly am honored that my little piece of cyberspace has been deemed award worthy. Thank you, Lori!! That really perked me up!

I am now supposed to pass this on to seven more bloggers whom I believe are "real" bloggers who write about "real" everyday life. That describes so many of the journals I read, so I'm just going to have to pick a few of the many I could name. Many of those on my reading list have already been honored by someone else, so I'll try not to duplicate. (By the time I finished getting this all together I realize I have a duplicate after all but I don't care. They deserve another shout out!)

Here are the rules and my list of recipients.

The Rules

1. Please put the logo in your blog
2. Place a link from the person, from whom you received the award
3. Nominate at least 7 or more
4. Put the links of those on your blog
5. Leave a message on their blog to let them know

Jody at Dust Bunny Club of North America
Rose at
Roses Are Read
Veronica at Buffalo Squirrels
Jon at Lone Star Concerto


I named 15 organs in 4 minutes! How many internal organs can you name in 4 minutes?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rocket Science at the telephone company

I have been "bonding" with the AT&T call center agents about my screwed up account. I decided to bundle all my services when I added their high speed internet. This means that my television service, my internet and my land line should all be coming on one bill. And, at one point they sent me a check for the over payment on my previous internet service. But now my land line was cut off and in spite of repeated phone calls to get this resolved I still do not have a home phone. This is not a BIG deal to me since I only had that number added to make my family feel better that they have another way to reach me. I have been paying the bill but they cannot seem to wrap their head around getting it all on one statement as they promised six weeks ago.

The kicker was when I called again this evening and because I did not have my latest paperwork with me, I needed to answer a security question. The question: Who was your childhood hero? I could not remember giving an answer before but I responded with what I knew would have been my answer >>> Captain Kangaroo. Wrong. I told the agent, if that is not the answer then I have no idea who I would have listed. The agent then told me that there was no answer but because I had provided a response, it did not match and he could not discuss my account. I laughed out loud at the absurdity of the situation.

"So basically you are telling me that I had not ever picked that security question or given an answer and because I answered your question you cannot discuss my account with me??" Yep, that was it in a nutshell. Crazy, huh? But he did say he would update my answer for future reference.

The agent eventually did ask me for information I could provide which verified my identity and we went from there. And, before I hung up I asked for a new security question. The question: "Who has lame security measures?" Answer: AT&T.

He did not let me use that one.

I wonder when I will get my land line fixed??

Oh, yeah. In case anyone who knows me thinks it would be funny to mess with my AT&T account, Captain Kangaroo was not my childhood hero.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Since our office is closing in a matter of weeks, I do not think it will hurt to tell some of the more benign stories of what happens at work. There are days when things occur which are so bizarre all I can think about is, "I wish I could post about this!" Such is the story of the Kleenex.

I got a new boss last year and shortly after she came on board I had a car accident. My lengthy absence caused a necessary shift of duties. When I returned, the ordering of supplies was no longer my responsibility. Worked for me but it did not take long to realize there was a new sheriff in town and she was tight, tight, tight!

We are not a big office and I had been very careful to watch the budget, have companies submit bids for our business and keep a tight reign on expenses. Or so I thought. It seems that Sheriff started ordering the cheapest paper towels that tore into pieces as you pulled them from the dispenser, a sub par grade of toilet paper that disintegrated upon contact and she openly requested post it notes be cut into strips to conserve. I kid you not!! She did several other things that will have to wait for the telling since they are worthy of their own post.

But the tissue fiasco was the latest straw. I used to make a bulk purchase of tissues and kept the boxes under lock and key in the closet with the coffee, creamer and other staples. The boxes were placed throughout the office since not everyone had the luxury of a permanent station/office and it was not a big expense. No one took advantage. They were an off brand tissue and some folks, like myself, bought our own boxes if we wanted to express our personal style.

Well, when the last bulk box was gone Sheriff would not order any more. This caused a stir in the office as people came to request a new box. They were particularly peeved when Sheriff said, "I will order more during cold and flu season." What the heck?? One of the pharmacists came to me, asking for a new box since he was suffering from an allergy attack. When I had to tell him he was out of luck and why, he suggested he might just use his sleeve or, better yet, use Sheriff's sleeve. As funny as that sounded I offered my Kleenex to him instead.

Fast forward to last week. Sheriff's assistant, who has been delegated to do the actual ordering, placed a supply order and included a case of 20 boxes of tissue. We had recently had our flu shots and many of the office were suffering from various ailments which seemed to be a good indicator that it was cold and flu season. Not so!!

When the order came in and Sheriff saw the packing slip she was furious and royally reamed her assistant for taking it upon herself to order tissues. The assistant tried to explain her reasoning but Sheriff announced, "I am not paying for them! You are sending them back!!" This all happened in our front office and everyone in the department could hear the fallout. You would have thought this $20 item was the tipping point of our financial success or failure so great was the reaction.

But it gets worse.

The assistant put the case of tissues on her desk in her cubicle to be returned the next day and went off to deliver the rest of the supplies to the various departments. Sheriff went home for the day.

Turns out the lead supervisor came through the front office shortly after this, and seeing the much coveted tissues, opened the case and took three boxes for her staff. Assistant comes back and seeing the opened case had a bit of a meltdown. I heard the commotion and stepped out to see what was causing the latest uproar. It seems my staff was offering suggestions to Assistant on how to undo the deed.

Stuff the case with used tissues? Eewww. Wad up toilet paper to fill the void? Naw. It was too thin and would take too much, thus creating a toilet paper shortfall. There was nothing Assistant could do except face the wrath of Sheriff in the morning.

Sure enough, the next morning Sheriff saw the opened case and pounced on Assistant the minute she walked through the door demanding to know why she had not been obeyed. Sheriff was actually yelling and causing such a commotion we all came out of our offices/cubicles to see what calamity had befallen us. It was absolutely the most bizarre scene with a row of heads sticking out of cubicles all looking in the same direction like drivers on the highway straining to see the accident scene. And I, realizing there was no need to call 9-1-1, returned to my desk.

A few minutes later Sheriff flew into my office and essentially demanded that I help her get to the bottom of this inexcusable breach of security. "I want to know who did this!!! I want you to find whoever did this." She was so enraged I actually thought her next words might be, "Off with their head!!" As the kids would say, she was off the chain.

It was so hard for me to keep a straight face. I had taken a walk through the pharmacy the night before and saw where the kleenex had been placed and had learned from the supervisor that she was the "culprit." It was a harmless deed and we laughed that perhaps we were not far enough into the cold and flu season after all.

I announced to Sheriff, "I know who took them." Who?! The look of elation on her face caused me to think I was well on my way to a Detective of the Year nomination. "It was Supervisor and it was an innocent mistake. She saw them, knew they were needed in the back and helped by passing them out."

Well, I have never seen someone shift gears so quickly in my life and I believe Sheriff may have left skid marks on my carpet. The reason? The lead supervisor reports directly to the Big Boss and I knew there was no way Sheriff was going to take this to Big Boss. Even in her state of frenzy Sheriff knew she was out of options. She had to pay for the tissues.

Last I heard there will be a fund raiser to cover the non-budgeted expense. Anyone want to sign up to sponsor me?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mmm mmm good

I enjoyed going out to lunch with my daughter, son in law and grandbaby, Miss L, this afternoon. Miss L was in rare form and kept turning around in her high chair to flirt with the other diners. She is 16 months old and does not really understand what she is doing but she was so funny, overtly blinking her big blue eyes and smiling when people looked at her. Then she started staring at the ceiling fan above us. It was bright red and I think she made herself dizzy trying to follow the blades. We just have so much fun with her, she's like a toy and will mimic most anything you ask her to say. When she first saw me today she immediately said, "Hi, Nana!" which melted my heart.
The lunch was at my favorite rib place, Red, Hot, and Blue. I had signed up online for their email notifications thinking that I would get discounts, special offers, coupons, etc. but nothing! It got to where every time they sent out a notification I was getting more ticked at them because it was never about the customer. When they emailed about their 20th Anniversary celebration, once again their were no coupons, no discounts. But, they did ask their customers to send them pictures of when they had enjoyed their dining experience at RHNB.

I ended up sending an email expressing my frustration with their marketing strategy and heard back from them the very next day. A Regional VP sent me a personal reply and expressed his appreciation for my comments and his agreement with my thoughts. The marketing is handled out of a national office and the various franchises, including the Texas RHNB region was at their mercy. He said he was glad to have my email to forward to Corporate in the hope they would make it worthwhile for the customer to be a part of their email campaigns. Then he offered to send me some "Baby, I Done You Wrong" coupons.

So, I hope to see offers on line in the future but I was thrilled to save $20 today. Woo Hoo!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The writing on the wall

Yesterday was probably one of our last "normal" days before the office closes its doors permanently. This Monday, 25% of the business will be gone and the inevitable cutbacks will begin.

We decided to have a company luncheon on Friday so I got up early and made a huge green bean casserole. You know the one with the Durkee Onions and cream of mushroom soup. Mmmmm. My schedule got off track and I realized I was going to be running late so I called to give my boss a heads up. I am salaried and a few minutes is no big deal but I feel it is the professional thing to do, so I called.

Typically, when we have luncheons my boss will give me money to apply toward the purchase of meat or something because she never wants to be bothered with doing anything herself. But this time she never mentioned it so I did my shopping Thursday night and all I had to actually prepare was the casserole. So now she wanted me to stop somewhere and buy something for her for the luncheon. I walked right into this by calling the office before I arrived. I knew we would probably need more desserts but that would require more effort here at the last minute so I never mentioned it. I wanted to make it easy on myself so we agreed on a gallon of sweet tea since I had only bought one and I was not sure if anyone else was bringing any. I had to drive past the office to get to the tea but she is better at delegating than actually doing anything herself and I want to keep the peace so I did it.
There are a lot of mixed emotions at the office these days. The company that bought us was the previous employer of several of our current pharmacy technicians. Some left that company on good terms but others did not and they now know this will prevent them from filling any of the limited available positions being offered. You just cannot burn your bridges, no matter what your reasons. It will come back to bite you!!!

One of the techs lied when she left the corporate company, saying she had a family emergency. She then started working with us and never went back. No notice, much less working out her notice. Another tech gave notice but only worked two more days and quit. No one at our company knew about this at the time and these employees have never had any issues in the time they have worked for us. I am certain, like all of us, we never dreamed this new company that was new and so successful would ever close its doors. A couple more of the techs did some serious pot stirring at their old office after they started with us so they will probably prevent them from being rehired as well. I guess people have to learn the hard way to do the right thing.

I have mixed feelings about job hunting right now. I want to work through the end of when they will need me in order to get the severance package but I have no idea how long they will need the billing department. If I start to look for something now they may want me sooner than I want to go. Next week they will have an outsourcing firm there to help us so I plan to take advantage of their expertise as well.

It is no wonder I can't even think about Christmas preparations. So much is in limbo.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Embarrassing Moment - Part VI

Something happened at dinner this evening that caused a repressed embarrassing moment to pop into my head. I have to share.

A few years ago, while living in NC, I dated a gentleman who enjoyed singing. Since I do, too, we frequently hit the karaoke clubs/bars. It seems that most people need to knock back a few drinks before they have the nerve to take the mike. But for others, they will embarrass themselves in front of a room of strangers with little to no encouragement. That would be me. A Patsy Cline wannabe.

My friend, whom I will call RJ, would bring the house down every time he did his excellent rendition of James Brown's "I Feel Good." It was always a crowd pleaser. We had a lot of fun and found one DJ in particular we loved to follow. Freddy and his wife were retired and they were booked several nights a week at various locations to bring in business. Freddy, a little wizard of a man, worked the crowd and his wife played the music. They were a great team and had a very appreciative audience including RJ and me.

For a time, Freddy was booked as a regular on a week night at an authentic Mexican restaurant. It was not a fancy place but the food was excellent and with the karaoke, the crowds were steadily increasing. RJ and I liked to go to the places where the karaoke was new because it meant the wait time was shorter between when we could sing. And, I always said, after the other diners heard me sing, they were less inhibited about trying it. I think it is a gift I have to make others feel better about themselves. Tee Hee

On this particular evening, RJ was once again in the queue to sing and I had to find the little girls' room. The restaurant was not large and the door was in close proximity to the counter. I made my way over and upon entering I determined it was a unisex bathroom. I stepped back out to check the door. Yep, I was in the right place. I then found the latch on the door would not work. I was not about to run the risk of someone opening the door and any bypassing customers having an unobstructed view.

I stepped back out and found the nearest table where four men sat drinking their beers. I asked if one of them could come guard the door since the latch was broken and quickly realized they did not speak English. With my broken Espanol and sign language I explained my need and this dude stood up. He must have been 6' 3" and he came over, turned his back to the bathroom door and crossed his arms. I went in with every confidence that I would be uninterrupted.

As I came back out, I thanked my new hero. RJ was singing and he shot me a quizzical look. I found it funny that he was jealous of my body guard. I made my way back to the table with our friends and when RJ returned he was full of questions. Why did I need to get some guy to stand by the door? And, why did I choose to use the men's restroom?

It turns out the women's restroom was across the room.

Good grief. I do not remember the Spanish word on the door but I obviously misinterpreted. Can you imagine what those guys must have thought when I was insisting on using their men's room and was motioning one of them to come with me??!! RJ, who did not speak Spanish any better than me, went over to try and explain. Not sure if anyone was able to translate but they kept grinning at me the rest of the evening.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Glad I was in the dark

As the end of the year approaches, I am trying to make certain I get in all my standard annual doctor's visits. Since I have passed that magical 40th year, I get a mammogram each October. For that not-so-fun procedure, I like to go in October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, because they always give you pink ribbon goodies. I am a sucker for freebies. This year I got a jar gripper, some power bars, and a nail buffer. Woo Hoo!

I think there should always be giveaways at the doctor's office. "In exchange for your copay, here is a lovely Prozac pen as a parting gift." And, if I get free medication samples, I am as happy as a kid with a full Trick or Treat bag!
But, a week after my initial appointment, I got a call from my primary care physician's office. I needed to go back for additional tests ... someone was supposed to have called me already but they had not ... please make an appointment for an ultrasound ... the doctor will fax over the orders. I called the Women's Health office and arranged the appointment for today. No one seemed to be in a rush so I did not give it much thought. When I asked the reason for the new test the explanation did not sound too ominous. I try to take a low key approach to these things. No reason to add drama before there is a need.
When I got to the office I changed clothes and was put in the waiting room with the other ladies, all of us wearing the latest in pink, open-down-the-front tops. After a few minutes a nurse came and got me and quietly explained I was being taken to another part of the office. She was too nice ... too caring ... too attentive. I started to get unnerved. After a few more minutes a technician came and got me and explained that she would be "escorting" me to the procedure. Since when did I need an announced escort? Typically it is business as usual and you know to follow the businesslike nurse to wherever she goes. No explanations needed.

The technician was also very attentive and kind, explaining the process to me as though I was a nursing home resident suffering from dementia. By that point I felt as though I had stepped into a scene from the Twilight Zone. Nothing seemed normal.

The doctor arrived and explained why I had been asked to return. He had reviewed my xrays. There was a concern that I had lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes. He was quick to assure me about the success rate with early detection. I was stunned. But, less than five minutes later Dr. H assured me that everything looked fine. He showed me the original xrays and what had caused the concern and then an anatomy lesson of what nodes should look like. Mine were perfect.

Wow! Those few minutes seemed like an eternity. I can't imagine how I would have felt if I had known for several days about the possible prognosis. Just think - I missed all that opportunity to worry. So, just for the fun of it, I have been shopping online for Guatemalan Worry Dolls.

Random Thoughts

It was a year ago today I had my car accident. I am grateful to be alive but I am still p-o'd at the gal who was in such a big rush she had to turn in front of me. Silver lining: I got a new car with all the bells and whistles. And, now my ankle and knee let me know when the weather is going to change.

I should blog about that.

I am always thinking of things to write about but they leave my head when I sit in front of the computer. I used to carry a little tablet to jot down ideas but I can't find it.

I will blog about that as soon as I find my notes.

Facebook has been a great way for me to connect with old friends. My best friend from junior high found me on there. So did two old boyfriends ... and an ex husband. Okay. It is not a perfect system.

I should blog about that.

My land line is not working and I think I am okay with that. I am considering becoming a recluse.

I should blog about that.

AT&T frustrates the heck out of me.

No one wants to read a post about poor customer service and those who call themselves "supervisors."

In this economy are there really companies that will pay millions of dollars for a Super Bowl ad?

Do compulsive/chronic liars not realize we are on to them but we are sometimes just too polite to bust them?

If your company is closing your office and they offer you a job you do not want, can it prevent you from getting the severance package if you turn it down?

Do you know anyone who has had Botox injections? Were you surprised? Do they look surprised?
I've got nothing to blog about. I think I will call it a night.

Monday, November 10, 2008

We have South America! Do I hear Africa?

Since I have been on Blogger, I feel I have several readers that are new to my journal, some who leave comments and others that don't. In my sidebar you may have noticed my ClustrMap. It is so cool. I added it just out of curiosity to get an idea of whether the DBP was getting many hits. I seem to have gone international. In addition to my USA readership, I see I have repeat visitors from the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Pakistan, Australia, and someone floating around the Tropic of Cancer in the Pacific Ocean. This past week I had a visitor stop by from South America. There are a couple of hits where I cannot be certain of their origination so it is causing me to study my world geography.

In this time of global crisis, it is comforting to think that the world is actual smaller thanks to the technology that ties us together. And, if someone in Korea gets a chuckle from my cotton ball story (see Embarrassing Moments from college) it makes me feel good. Or, maybe they just think I am weird. Either way, I promise, I am no threat. Unless, of course I am in need of Dr Pepper. You've been warned.

It is a real addiction

In the spirit of full disclosure: I recognized my addiction to carbonated drinks some time ago, particularly Dr. Pepper and had quit cold turkey seven days ago. I know it is not good for me and it is a significant factor in my battle to lose weight. I had half of a two liter bottle of DP left and hoped, when I twisted the cap today that it would be dead. Nope. There was the "skoosh" sound of active carbonation. Oh, joy! Forget the appropriate set up with a glass and ice. I swigged it hot from the bottle like a woman possessed. I might as well have been crouched behind some dumpster with a brown paper bag wrapped around my vice, so great was my desire. I immediately was ashamed but once the day was ruined, I hit the bottle a few more times. Since this actually happened on Sunday, I will start the count over on Monday.

I should go into the kitchen and pour the remaining ..... okay. It is done. I poured the rest down the sink. Wish I felt better about it but I don't. Now, if I can just get past Sonic tomorrow on my way to work.

I missed the welcome from Blogger to all of us that journaled on AOL. If you missed it too, check it out.

I think this was a very classy thing to do.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Still getting the lay of the land

I felt a certain sense of loss this weekend as I realized my alerts from AOL were no more. Oh, they had already been dwindling as JLanders bid their final farewells, locked their virtual doors and walked away. I did not realize just how much I had come to rely on those daily greetings that connected me with people hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away. It made the world seem so much smaller and friendlier.

But I know you are still out there. I have a mental image of the Clampetts, in the past few weeks, packing up entries, comments, graphics and more, on to their overburdened Model T truck and clickety clacking down the road to Blogger. I have been working on putting together a list of Journals I followed (I did not realize how many) and finding the best way for me to be notified when you post something. The neighborhood looks somewhat familiar as many have transitioned to Blogger with the same journal name they used at AOL. So far I have listed over 200 journals that I have come in contact with through comments, sidebars or my personal interest. Slowly but surely I am loading my favorites. I am still a little overwhelmed by the cement pond but I am certain I will learn to adjust in my new surroundings and soon it will feel like home.

How are you feeling about the transition? Do you feel like the proverbial transfer student? What tips do you have for getting settled in?

Embarrassing Moments - Part V

Originally posted on my AOL journal.
Some years ago I worked in a high rise building. I happened to have an assigned parking place in the basement which had many advantages. It gave me quick and easy access to the underground elevator.

In the winter, the wind whipped through the parking garage with a vengeance and we found ourselves hurrying to the elevator bay to get out of the cold. Because of the pressure of the interior of the building against the outdoor suction of the wind, the door leading to the elevators did not always close properly. A notice was sent out to all the tenants of the building to take extra care to close the door and not allow the building's heat to escape into the garage.
One morning I found myself rushing into the building, trying not to be late. My arms were full of folders and pages of the current project assigned to me and my purse was hanging precariously on my shoulder. I entered the elevator bay by myself and realized I did not hear the heavy outside door close behind me. Without turning to look, I reached back with my free hand and gave the door handle a good pull. No, wait! I did not feel the metal of the door handle. I realized I was feeling material. Kind of a wool blend - like a suit.

I turned back and, to my horror, I saw the stricken look on the face of a very tall, handsomely dressed black man. I had grabbed him below the belt and all I could do was blurt out "Oh, I am so sorry. I was reaching for the door handle! I am sooo sorry." He didn't (or, more likely, couldn't) respond.

Awkward silence followed as we stood in the elevator bay waiting for what seemed like an eternity. I could feel my face was hot and I just prayed he would say something to break the tension. Nothing. We got on the elevator, just the two of us, and he no doubt moved to the furthermost part of the elevator from me. Silence.

I prayed he would exit the elevator on one of the first floors ahead of me but instead we continued our ride together. Oh, please, Lord. Don't let him be a co-worker. I eventually got off at my designated stop and he continued on, never to be seen by me again.

Naturally, I had to share my story with my girlfriends in the office and as politically incorrect as it may have been, I reinforced a stereotype that day. He had made quite an impression on me, as I am sure I did on him as well.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Still in shock

In 2005, when I moved back to Texas, I was hired as part of the start up operations of a long term care pharmacy that serviced 37 nursing homes in Texas. For the first few weeks I literally used my own card table and chair to conduct business. At that time it was just a huge, empty facility and I watched as it built up around me. I helped pick out the furniture, cubicles, equipment, and as the Business Office Manager I also did all the background checks on each new employee as well as new hire orientation. I have been here every step of the way as people have come and gone; shared good times and sad. I know these folks. We are like family.

We filled our first prescriptions in January 2006 and I was there when we worked out all the bugs of the new software and refined our processes. I have written policies and procedures, conducted training, been the Compliance Officer as well as the Billing Manager. We have been very successful and profitable. So profitable I guess that a large corporation made our owners an offer they could not refuse. We have been bought and the pharmacy's doors will be closing.

We are all in shock since they only wanted our customer base and are absorbing our nursing home residents into their existing infrastructure. They need a few pharmacists and technicians locally to handle the growth. Their billing is handled out of another state so they do not need my staff. And, yours truly will be looking for a new job.

I have never been part of a corporate takeover and I think this is the absolute worst time to be seeking new employment with the economy in its current condition. Just a week ago I was counting my blessings that I had a steady job with a decent salary and benefits. Wahhhhh! You just never know.

They have hired a firm to assist us in our job search which I see as a plus and in my position I am going to be needed through the transition to close the books after the doors close. How sad to watch all my friends as they will be phased out in the coming weeks. This will certainly make the holiday season dismal but I am trying to look for the silver lining.

Blogger better not close me down. I need some consistency in my life at this point, right?