Thursday, June 09, 2016

It's All Relative



It's been a long time since I started this blog, even longer since it started as a Journal way back in AOL days. I haven't written in so long, that this may be a little rusty for me. Time has a way of -- well, time is relative.

It seems so long ago that I wrote about Kade's first days of school. Now, he's graduated, ready to take his first steps into the Navy. Yet, I still remember changing his diapers and singing him songs.

Kade graduated Magna Cum Laude 

I had the pleasure of having a visit from my high school best friend and it was like the time we spent apart never existed. We were right back where we were, giggling over the fun times we shared. And then I learned that one of our other high school friends had passed. Not even recently... like ten years ago. My heart broke over that news. I can still remember her laugh, her jokes, her infectious smile. Time got away from me with her.

There are so many changes coming. I am not good with change at all. I'll be without my best little buddy, while he goes out on his own. I just have to trust that all the guidance my husband and I have given him through the years will act as a sturdy foundation for him to grow as a man. While he is the one starting his life, why do I feel so lost? 

How can seventeen years go by so quickly?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Yearly Check-In

Aw, man. I long for the days I use to have, when I could come here whenever I wanted and just write, write, write. I work too much for that now. When I do get time off, I'm all about my video games.

Even so, I thought I'd do a check-in. It seems I have been coming back once a year, so we'll just go with it for now.

My last post talked about losing Sasha. My sweet girl. Well, about a month after Sasha passed, we lost Angel, too. She wasn't the same after Sasha died. One morning, my husband went to wake her up and she just wouldn't wake up. Strangely enough, the vet confirmed they both died of pyometra. It hit Angel so fast. I had just groomed her the day before and thought she seemed a little lethargic. The next day, she was gone. I believe it was because she was just so tiny that the infection just attacked her quickly.



She was my sweet little baby and I miss her so much. 

Life, however, goes on. I now have two new dogs that crack me up. We decided to go with boys this time, so we will never have to worry about pyometra again. We got Bode shortly after Sasha passed. He loved Angel, but she did not love him. He is a sweetie, but he's nervous of everything. 


Kade is the only person Bode will snuggle with. Yes, that's really Kade.


Here's Bode looking all worried.

He is a pure-bred Shar Pei, even though he doesn't look all wrinkly. We've had him for a little over a year and wouldn't you know it? He got really sick. He looks really skinny in the second picture. That's because he stopped eating. The vet did a surgery on him, because she thought his colon was collapsing in on itself. It wasn't, but he cannot eat certain fats. So, we now have to make him specially made low-fat dinners with protein shakes to keep his weight up. I know, low-fat seems contradictory, but he cannot absorb hi fat content. 

After having Bode for awhile, I missed snuggling. And then along came Remy...


Kade may say otherwise, but this little guy is mine.


Except, he isn't so little anymore.

My lovebug Remy, he'll come when I call. He's constantly resting his head on me. And he's got those sweet droopy eyes. How can anyone not love him? He's not the nervous nelly like Bode. While Bode looks more like the Chinese version of Shar Pei, Remy is the American verison, all wrinkly.  If I had to give them personalities, I would say Bode is the English gentleman, while Remy is my country boy. 

Wow, I come back to do year-in-review and end up talking all about dogs. Well more importantly, there is also Kade, who is now in his senior year of high school. This kid has surpassed me in knowledge and likes to prove it to me, daily. 


This picture is actually a year old, but it's hard to get the kid to stay still for a snapshot. This is before he cut off his pretty curls.

I work for a great company that I am not going to say for my own personal reasons. I am very spoiled at this job. I get to work from home, which is awesome. My work attire includes pajama pants and t-shirts. My husband has also switched gears and now works for elderly people as a home health care aide. All in all, we are happy, healthy and really, what more could you ask for?


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Pretty Girl

It pains my heart that I almost forgot how to log into this blog. Almost. My son found this and started reading it. He is now fifteen, soon to be sixteen in a few months. We laughed over a few posts. It's amazing the things I've forgotten over time, so it's great to be able to have a "virtual memory", so to speak. 

This time, I come with a heavy heart. My family is my world and it always has been. I've written about my son and husband. I've written about my mother and brother, as well as my dogs. And the latter is the reason for my return. I just lost my Sasha. In a desperate attempt to find pictures of her, I came here. Sure enough, my posts included pictures we'd lost through the years. I'm so grateful for this blog for that reason. 

I know I've written about Sasha before, but I cannot express into words just how important she became to our lives. I know she's just a dog. I am not trying to make her out to be anything more profound than that. But she was OUR dog. We got her when my son had just turned five. Those two grew up together. She had her own personality that was so darn unique, no other dog will ever be like her. And I put work into her. So much work. I remember the vet telling me when she was just a puppy, that she would grow to be huge. I made it a point to train her, so that I'd be able to control her. 

I was the one that took her out in the middle of winter to stand by while she pottied, because she was too afraid to go alone. I was the one that collected the stool samples to give to the vet for check ups. I was the one that administered the salve to her ear, when she'd gotten a cut that one summer. And most recently, I was the one to wear the rubber gloves to clean up her butt, which had gotten a little matted. Don't get me wrong, my husband put in just as much work. He definitely was her master. She and I, we had more a quiet bond. Like sort of a "can-you-believe-this-guy" bond that only two females can have. I could read her like a book. I knew what she was thinking. I knew every whimper, every bark, every growl. I knew what they all meant. I even had her trained to where I could ask her "yes" or "no" questions to find out what she needed. She would shake her head correspondingly, depending on what I'd ask. (Although, there were only three main questions: Do you want water? Food? Outside?)

I had her down to a tee. Except for this last month. Apparently, she had a pretty bad internal infection. I had no idea. She never whined. Never let me know she was hurting. She kept her tail high and wagging. She still wrestled with my son. She still annoyed Angel, as only she could do. I just didn't know she was sick, until it was too late. 

I've had lots of dogs in my lifetime. Every single one, I had to give up for some reason or another. My step-dad was allergic, the place we were living was too small, etc. But with Sasha, I got to keep her. She's the first one that has run their course with me. Side by side. All the way to the end. So, I've never had to go through the experience of putting a pet down before. My first instinct was save her, save, save save! But listening to the vet, I realized how much she was suffering. Those last days, the days where I discovered something was not right, those are the hardest days. She wasn't eating. She couldn't move her back legs. She tried, but ended up resembling a walrus, because those legs just would not move right. It is the most sickening feeling to not be able to do anything for her. 

What really gets me is that I never really understood how much I depended on her. I still sit on the back steps and think she'll come up behind me to rest her head on my shoulder. I still walk past her sleeping spot and expect her to reach out her paw and wrap it around my leg for a hug. I can't hear very well, so she was the one that let me know someone was at the door. I can no longer forget to lock the back door, because I don't have her guarding it for me. When my son was home alone, I never worried. Sasha was there. No one could hurt him. She would protect him. All that work I'd put into Sasha... I  never realized how much work she put into me. 

She was truly one of a kind. I will never find another like her.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Things I Don't Understand

Why do women pay money to have their nails done? And why would you pay $20-50 for this service? If you break one nail, boom, money down the toilet. Don't get me wrong, some of these nail jobs are gorgeous. I'm just not about to go waste money like that.

How do large families survive? I know families that are making the same income I am with tons of kids and they seem fine. I, however, have just enough money to make it and I only have one kid to worry about. If an unexpected issue comes up, I'll be doomed. I don't frivolously spend money, either. I just don't get what I am doing wrong. There must be a secret I don't know about. And why can't I win the lottery? It's my turn, already!

Why is it that I can store puzzles neatly and perfectly with no one touching them for years, but when I get them out to put it together, there will ALWAYS be one piece missing? I bet there is another dimension where all missing pieces go, along with missing socks.

Why is it that during the work week, I struggle to fall asleep at night? Come Friday at nine at night, I am struggling to keep my eyes open. Not fair!

Why is it that my husband can be diagnosed with diabetes, get medication for it and end up losing fifty pounds?! Hello, Doc, over here! Sign me up for that medication! Alas, my sugar is far too low. So, I am too healthy to get help.

Why don't people leave sharks alone? I once went to a tourist trap along the eastern coast. In this store, they had jars of baby nurse sharks in formaldehyde for sale. Why?! How could people do that? Why is this legal? What if those were baby dolphins? Would people feel the same? Why is it okay to do that to sharks? Ugh.

Why is it that my husband can cook up any culinary treat for breakfast, including crepes, but when it comes time to make a casserole, he loses all comprehension? Why am I always the one stuck doing casseroles?

Why can't I think of a good closer for this entry? Hmm... the world may never know.







Sunday, May 27, 2012

Reality Check

Hmm, I haven't written here in almost a year. Crazy how time flies. The truth is that I've been working steadily and haven't really given the time to write. I am only taking a moment now to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.

So what's new? Well, I started a new job. I am pretty happy with it, so I am refraining from speaking of it, lest I jinx myself. My son will be a freshman this upcoming year. This is the same child that once started a journal of his own, named Carl. (I had told him to give his online journal a name, so he named it like a pet.) Now, he woos the girls at school by singing solos and by being his utterly hilarious self.

I am still here in the same city, venting to anyone that will listen that Hollywood just cannot get an original thought. I still despise Paul W. S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich for ruining Resident Evil. I still adore Pink Panther. And I still have a dizzying addiction to video games that would rival Christian Bales' addiction to being an all-around douche. Life is good.

One thing that has changed is that I hardly ever watch television anymore. With the saturation of reality tv, it's become a joke. There's never anything good on. The people they give these shows to are boring and uninteresting. The shows that aren't reality are clichéed versions tv shows that have already run their course. How many friggin' doctor/lawyer/police shows can one person watch? Besides, my life is amusing enough to be a sitcom of its own.

So that got me to thinking... what if my life were a sitcom? Well, first of all, it'd never be able to air on any family-friendly network. When I am home, I tend to run around in over-sized t-shirts and undies. My husband and son never wear shirts, unless they are leaving the house. So, unless it's a network that can tolerate lots of skin, it'd never air.

Second of all, I am not sure how people would take us. My husband can get swept up in survival mode. What I mean by that is that at any moment of the day, he will be making survival kits or crafting some way to keep us safe just in case the "SHTF." (Shit hits the fan.) I have no idea why he does this. No, let me correct myself. I understand why he does it, I just cannot believe he gets so involved in it. It's one thing to store a few extra items just in case. It's another to research how to build a home-made bunker. Just sayin'. Sorry, babe, I don't think I'll be using that alcohol-soaked toilet paper roll you shoved into a coffee container to use as a home-made stove any time soon.

Also, the situations I find myself in, while amusing to me, may not be amusing to the masses. Yes, people would get to see me roll my eyes when my employer decided to do tornado drills complete with the kneeling-on-the-floor-head-in-hands on the one day I decided to wear a dress. Or the many instances where I misunderstand what people are saying because I cannot hear very well. Adele has a beautiful voice, I just cannot understand a damn thing she sings.

And then, there are those times when even I have to do a sideways glance and say a secret prayer, thanking the heavens that no one was watching. I think that's how it would be if we were on tv. I'd spend the entire time hoping no one was watching, because there are only so many times you can watch a person trip/sneeze/fall/forget or do something completely idiotic before it just becomes intolerable. Such is my life and I'm loving every minute of it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sad

Looking through my blogroll, I realize just how many bloggers are no longer updating. It breaks my heart. I'm just as bad as updating as the next guy, though. I miss the community we had. Some people have switched to different blogs and I cannot even find them anymore.

I guess sometimes, life gets in the way. I just don't have it in my heart to delete the links. I guess that would feel like I am giving up on them. Maybe another day.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finding Ari

So for the past year and a half, my confidence has been chiseled away to almost nothing. For the last six months, I've been at an all-time low. And now, I'm ready to talk about it. Because yesterday, I found a little bit of myself that had gone missing.

My home life is great. I have a wonderful husband, who has been very supportive, even when I didn't recognize him for it. It was my work life that put me through hell. As of this time, I am not going to talk about where I worked or give specific names. They know who they are and frankly, it's just not the point of my post.

Before I truly begin, let me just put a few background details. I come from a family of strong women. I am not saying this to brag, but to illustrate why I felt like such a failure. I come from women that who have been through a lot, but in the end prevail. My women don't take crap from people. My women are ladylike and demure until pissed off and then we are lions. I was taught to be a lady. I was taught manners and etiquette. I was taught to be polite, but whether they realized it or not, the women in my family also showed me how to be strong and how to use my brains and wit to get me through. And yes, if provoked, we can get scrappy, too. (I think I once posted how my ninety-nine pound, four foot eight grandmother whipped a racist man with a wooden spoon when he refused to let my friend walk on "his sidewalk". THAT is an example of women I come from.)

I worked for this company for four years. I had been promoted numerous times, so that by the time I left I had done almost every job within. I knew that job inside and out. I was good at it. It usually is a male-dominated field, although I must say women are really starting to get into it. Before I had been promoted, no woman had done this particular job in the location I worked for. So, it felt good to lead the way, to be a pioneer for the other coworkers. When I was told by other coworkers that no woman would ever be promoted to that particular position, I proved them wrong. I showed them it could be done. Not only could it be done, but I was excelling at a rapid pace.

During my time, there were a few management replacements. None of this bothered me, because I was willing to work with anyone. I had the team with me. I don't like to say they were behind me, because I don't feel I am better than they are. They were with me. Up until my last year there, things were wonderful. I loved that job. I still do and miss it greatly.

My supervisor became annoyed at his own position. He began searching for new employment. There is nothing wrong with this. If he could find himself a more satisfying, higher paying job, I could understand leaving. The problems began when he stopped caring about his job. My work began to suffer, because I no longer had his support. I no longer had him coaching me (which was a part of his job). Not only did I not have his support, when I tried to lead my team without him, he would go right behind me and undermind everything I did. So, I asked a more senior manager to sit down and have a talk with the three of us. I got it off my chest. I told him I felt like his head wasn't in the game anymore. I told him I needed his support. Afterward, I felt much better. He promised to get it together. Little did I know, it wasn't going to be so easy.

After our talk with the more senior manager (who had agreed with everything I'd said), he held a grudge against me. He began to get really nasty with me. Not only with me, but with other women in the store that had "opposed" him, as well. He became very condescending and his remarks were always dripped with venom. He became close with the few male employees we had and with one female, in particular. I made a comment to management about how I noticed the two of them flirting a little too excessively. The senior manager came to me to ask what I'd noticed and to tell me that others had come forward and made the same comments. He denied everything; it was pushed under the rug, so to speak. But it was one more thing for him to hold a grudge.

He began belittling everything I did. Nothing I did was good enough. The previous year, he had done my review. I had the highest scores. Unbeknownst to me, he did my last review and it was scathing. This review was never given to me, personally. I only saw it after I had requested my employee file after I'd left the company. When I got my raise, if you can call it that, I had questioned why it was so little. No one would give me a straight answer. They kept telling me that I was probably "capped" at the max, because I'd done so well in the past. The real reason was because he had given me lowered scores.

I went to the senior manager multiple times about my supervisor. Everything under the sun was promised to me, but nothing was delivered. And it began to get progressively worse. A second manager began screaming at me for every little thing I did. He also had the gall to call me "girl". Apparently, that was my name. When I told him that I didn't like it, that not only was I a full-grown woman, but I had a name he could address me by, he ignored it. He still called me "girl" up until the day I left, even after he'd been asked by senior management to stop. I had gone to senior management, who was ready to dismiss my issue with being called "girl" until I asked him if he'd like to be called "boy." Come here, boy. He looked me straight in the face and said he would not like it and I was to never do it.

My supervisor began taking cues from the second manager and began screaming at me, as well. The last time it happened, he was screaming at me in plain view of everyone. It was demoralizing, humiliating and degrading. He actually began jumping up and down, waving his arms. He also began talking about guy power with a raised fist. I felt so helpless. I felt like no one would listen. The only people that understood were the other women, who supported me and backed me. They said they had my back. And even after I complained to the EEOC, they were solidly with me and would testify on my behalf.

And eventually, I put in my two weeks notice. I felt like such a failure. No one would listen. Those before me that had complained to HR were either badgered by management until they quit or somehow they were fired over one reason or another. When I had tried to fight for myself, I was talked down to. I was talked over and interupted. I was verbally beaten until I felt like I had no voice left. I felt like I could scream and scream about what was happening, but no one could hear me.

After I left, the very woman that my supervisor had been flirting with was promoted to my position. My supervisor left a few months later and now they are dating. The company had had a third party hotline that one could call for such issues and I did. Whatever became of that investigation, I will never know. I was never contacted about it again.

Seven months of not working for that company, seven months of worrying, seven months of feeling dejected and deflated, seven months later, the EEOC steps in for a fact-finding conference. That was yesterday. I spent the night before lying in bed unable to sleep. I had asked some of my coworkers to come with me for moral support, but all had refused. I had read the sheet. The company would have four people there. I was going in alone. I spent the night going over everything in my head. I prepared all my paperwork. I got all my ducks in a row. Yesterday morning, I felt like I would be sick any minute. I thought, I could punk out and just ask for a settlement right away and get it over with. I could just drop it and take the easy way out. But I didn't.

So I went in and there were only two of them with a lawyer who was on the speakerphone. I had an entire briefcase of facts ready to go. It was all down on paper. They sat with a telephone in front of them. No paperwork, not even so much as a pen to write with. And then I told my side. I got it all out. I watched in fascination as they squirmed in their seats. These were the same people that would scream in my face? These were the tough guys? They didn't look so tough now that they might be held accountable. Red-faced and tight-lipped, they sat through what I said. They were given a chance to offer up their side, but there were nothing but flimsly excuses (which I carefully wrote down). When I got a chance to add comments, I rebuttled their excuses. They had nothing else to say. There was no real outcome. It is still being determined. She took what we said and we will get the results later on down the road. But I don't care what the results say.

I held my ground. I took what they said and gave facts back. I didn't need a lawyer to do that for me. When you are armed with the truth, there is no need for a lawyer. I already knew the truth. They couldn't rebuttle what I'd said. They had no answer. I looked them in the face and saw them for what they are. I've already won. All those months feeling as if something were robbed of me, I thought it had been my job, but it wasn't that. I was robbed of my voice. I was robbed of a little piece of myself. And yesterday, I took it back. I can't tell you the feeling I had when I left the building. Chances are this will all go away for them. Chances are nothing will ever come from this. I don't know. But I've already gotten back something far more precious than that company could ever give me. I won back myself. I don't have that doubt anymore. I did nothing wrong. I never failed at all.

If it is true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, then I suppose I will end up being a diamond after all. And somewhere up there, I think my grandmother must have smiled.