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Christmas memories, vol. 20

It's that time of year again. Time for you to learn more about how I ended up this way, how I've spent my Christmases lo, these last forty-odd years. This year I expect we'll have some sad ones - it's my first year with both my parents gone, and it's bound to make me kind of melancholy. Heck, I just started crying by the flatbread at Whole Foods because I used to buy it and bring it to my mom as a treat. But the thing is, the reason I miss my folks so much is because my life is filled with happy memories. They were people worth missing. I'm sitting in public right now, so I think we'll start off with something kind of innocuous. Public tearing-up garners worried glances, and I don't want to stress out that nice man at the next table who's selling Comcast subscriptions to unsuspecting callers who think he's in an office somewhere. (SECOND time I've see one of these guys out in a public place - last time it was in the waiting room at the ti

Plate o' shrimp, vol 8

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The 2 millionth Eagle Scout The world's most famous Senior Wilderness Guide Sometimes life does imitate art. Squirrel!

This week's revelations, vol 2

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I cannot tell you how much I wanted to buy this.

This week's revelations, vol 1.

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And next time he's taking the bathrobe.

Hey you. Straighten up.

I live by a code - a clearly defined set of policies that specifies which personal behaviors are acceptable, which are rude, which are annoying and which ones are deal breakers. I've been like this for some time now - in fact, sometimes I wonder how I got this way, because it's not actually normal. And, since I sometimes come off as a bohemian lefty what with my flyaway hair and funked up trendy style, people are often taken aback by my standards. They expect this sort of judgment to come with a string of pearls and a twin set. The good thing about policies is that they give me a very specific prism through which to analyze the world. For example: my policies protect me from people who only have friends from the present stage of their lives - they are not to be trusted with your heart, ever, because you're only as good as what you can do for them right now. My policies tell me that hoarders are trouble any way you slice it - not only is hoarding likely a symptom of some

Always on the edge of controversy

Susan Boyle didn't win Britain's Got Talent , but predictions are that she's going to be a worldwide mega-star and make millions of dollars. Maybe, maybe not. Personally, I think she's a singing Rubik's cube, or possibly more of a Chia pet that can carry a tune. I'm not suggesting for a second that she isn't talented...on the contrary, she has a lovely voice and a story that underdog-lovers and people tired of picture-perfect-looks as a requirement for fame eat up like it's candy. But I just don't see that her pretty voice alone is going to make her a mega-star. There is no one like her out there making records, and it's not because she is such a unique talent but more because there isn't a big market for her style of singing. Opera people want real opera. Pop people want pop music with a bit more rhythm and a trendy style. Easy listening people have Barry Manilow and greatest hits albums from Paul Simon. Showtunes folks have original cast

Making temping more charming

I'm amending the post below with italics so I can get my frustrations out before I go to work tomorrow. I figure if I can tell someone (you) what I think should be done differently, then it will be easier to let it go and just enter the dang data like a good drone.

Oh, the charms of temping

Let me preface this post by saying that I am really pleased to finally have a temp job. I am getting closer to an actual job, as well, but in the meantime I'm really happy to have income again. But I'd forgotten how truly ridiculous temping can be. Here's what I walked into: - I'm doing data entry at an insurance company, though our actual client is a law firm I think. We're bar coding every file in the history of the company so they can find the relevant hard copy should it be required to defend them in a lawsuit. Data entry itself is never interesting. But that's part of temping...the work is SELDOM interesting...and so it is what it is and I'm fine with that. - I was told that the company is business casual but that I should dress closer to business since it was my first day. In reality, we are not working in the main offices and all 30 temps AND the supervisors were in jeans, sweats, and other casual clothing. But I looked nice in my trouser suit. Thi

Life's downs and ups

My long absence from this blog has mostly been driven by the circumstances of my life. My days have been looking pretty much the same for the past few months, and I just haven't felt like there was anything to say: 1. I get up at 8AM. There's nothing that pressing to do so I don't need to be up earlier, but if I sleep much later I feel like a complete loser. Plus on Mondays, it's important to call the temp agency to let them know you're looking for work. 2. I do some wake-up surfing for news and other info while watching a bit of cable TV. There's a constant cycle of Gilmore Girls on ABC Family at 10AM on weekdays, FYI, or if you prefer they repeat at 4PM. Of course, until just now they've been stopping at the end of the sixth season so I could never find out how it ends. Curse you, ABC Family! 3. On the days she works, I usually take Beth to work at 11 so I can use her car during the day. That kills an hour. 4. From approximately noon until 4PM everyday a

Empathize this

I've got two things on my mind today. First off, I really like Sonja Sotomayor. And I especially like that when discussing his selection criteria for Justice Souter's replacement, President Obama brought up empathy. Empathy is not the same thing as sympathy, compassion or emotion. Empathy is perspective. The idea that our laws have strict, specific definitions that should be considered without perspective is ridiculous. Laws mean something, but they must also be considered in context. That isn't to say they should be applied arbitrarily, or to advocate making exceptions left and right to suit a judge's whim...suggesting laws should be considered in context simply means that the courts must consider how our laws should be interpreted, and how they can make our society a better, more habitable, more functional one. How they can help Americans live their lives without impediment to their personal liberties. Empathy provides the perspective necessary to do this. Judge