Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Well, I got the job!

I've given my notice--my last day of work will be December 23. I'll have the rest of the month off and start my new job on January 3.

I don't think it's really sunk in yet that I'm leaving. I still have three weeks, although I have TONS I need to do before I leave, lots of housekeeping stuff. I need to write up "how-tos" for everything, because I'm not sure we're going to have anyone hired before I get out of there. This could be a big problem for my boss, but honestly, he knows what he needs to do, so I have to let go and let him deal with it.

I haven't told many people so far, but our holiday party is tomorrow night, so I will probably start telling people there. I probably won't see many of those folks again after tomorrow night, so it's a good time to start spreading the news. Everyone has been really very sweet about it, even my boss. He hates that I'm leaving, but he admits that if I feel it's a better thing for me, then I need to do it. I cried twice when I told him I was quitting. He hired me when I was hanging on by my last thread. I had been unemployed going on six months, and I had $15 dollars in the bank and no way to pay my bills or my rent. To say I was close to suicidal would not be an exaggeration. He helped me get through the six weeks it took for me to get a paycheck (LOVE working for the state and getting paid only once a month!), and I will be forever grateful to him for hiring me. I have learned so much for him about politics and campaigns, fundraising and event planning, and it's been wonderful working with a fellow Democrat. But it's time for me to go.

Actually, I've cried several times since then. I hate leaving so many wonderful people that I've gotten to know and work with over the last 3-1/2 years. I've made many good friends through this job. But I need to move on for my sanity, and they understand that.

I will be working for most of the senior staff at the new company, including my old boss and his old boss from the job I held previous to my current position. I'm very happy about that--my old boss was absolutely the BEST. I'm not sure I've ever had a better person to work for. And, to top that off, I'm replacing a very good friend of mine, also from my last job, who is moving to a new position in the company, and one of the VPs is another former co-worker. They're all very excited about having me come to work with them, and I think it's a really good move for me. My new company is growing by leaps and bounds, and it will be a good place for me to settle in and stay a while.

Plus, I have a big, fat check coming because of all my accumulated leave! I can't wait to go shopping--I need some new clothes REALLY badly.

So, I'll get to say all my goodbyes at this job, attend all the holiday festivities, and have 10 days off to recuperate before I start the new job. I think it's a great way to start the new year!

Think Piece: Blasphemy About New Orleans

Someone on DU posted a link to this article, and I want to pass it along also. It's definitely worth reading.

Blasphemy About New Orleans: A God With Whom I Am Not Familiar

I especially liked this section:
Your God – the one to whom you prayed today, and likely do before every meal, because this gesture proves what a good Christian you are – is one with whom I am not familiar.

Your God is one who you sincerely believe gives a flying fuck about your lunch. Your God is one who you seem to believe watches over you and blesses you, and brings good tidings your way, while simultaneously letting thousands of people watch their homes be destroyed, and perhaps ten thousand or more die, many of them in the streets for lack of water or food.

Did you ever stop to think just what a rancid asshole such a God would have to be, such that he would take care of the likes of you, while letting babies die in their mother's arms, and old people in wheelchairs, at the foot of Canal Street?

Your God is one with whom I am not familiar.
I've heard too many people, including Democrats who should know better, blame the people of New Orleans for "not getting out of the city and saving themselves." The wrongness of that statement absolutely renders me speechless. Obviously these people have not been anywhere near the "seriously poor" for many, many years.

I swear, the best justice would be to take these people and transform them into the very ones they criticize. Put them into that same situation and see how well they do.

I think it would be a great "Reality Twilight Zone" series.

I oughta keep a copy of this article with me and give it to people when they ask why I don't go to church anymore.

Pound: - Time for Plan Brat!

from Pound:

Ladies! Are you sick of getting the stink-eye whenever you bring your small children to froofy coffeehouses? Tired of having to take them to some sticky McDonaldLand to turn them loose? Or maybe you keep reading about those snotty parents who seem to feel no compunction about letting their spawn run amok in grown-up places and find yourself wishing that you could act that entitled and self-righteous. Looks fun, doesn’t it?

But where can you take your kids, relax a little, and impose your own values on strangers? Forget those twee little bakeries with their overpriced scones and tin ceilings: Why not take your kids to the pharmacy at Target instead? Or Rite Aid? Or Walgreen’s? Any pharmacy, in fact, with a policy of employing pharmacists who believe children are so special, they think it’s a shame when you try to not conceive them. These nice people in white coats will be thrilled to host your rambunctious toddlers for a couple hours while you shop. Sure, they make it hard for you to get Plan B, but you can always count on them for a big dose of Plan Wheeeee!
Read the whole thing--it's awesome. I'm so glad I'm past the point of worrying about fertility issues.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

This was a GREAT Thanksgiving present . . . .

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Look, Oklahoma's turning blue! WHOO-HOO!!

Some articles of note . . . .

I want to point out a couple of articles written by an English professor at UCO, Kurt Hochenauer:

1) Current Republican Ideology, Policies Closed Oklahoma City's GM Plant

Oklahoma City had a crushing blow this week when GM announced that it was closing their plant here. Although the local news reports stated that no one--the governor, the mayor, no one--had any idea that GM was planning this move, most people seem to believe that it was "because the union and the workers were too greedy." I heard this myself, from a coworker whose husband benefitted from union employment both before and after his retirement.

I think Mr. Hochenauer says it best here:

But facts will not stop local Republicans from maintaining it was the awful, terrible people who make $50,000 or so a year and have halfway decent health insurance who brought about the plant’s demise. Here’s the trackback of their immoral ideology: If only Oklahoma City’s GM workers would have, heck, taken a big cut in pay to minimum wage and not taken their kids to the doctor, then maybe things would be different.

(Current Republican ideology: Low wages, no health insurance, rising living expenses=patriotism, moral values, religious faith. Is anyone in Oklahoma still buying into this?)

Why is it suddenly so wrong to want a decent life for yourself and your family? I don't know where this idea comes that GM employees were making exorbitant amounts of money--average pay is $50,000 a year. I don't know what you believe, but I don't think that 50 grand would go very far in this day and age, especially if you have a family to support. Yes, they have very good healthcare and pension, but why not? Why shouldn't employers "give back" something to their workers? And since when is it "greedy" to want to have health care if you should get sick? Is the right to see a doctor and receive treatment now going to be for the rich alone? Suddenly the thing to do is "shut up and be glad you have a job."

Democratic leadership needs to stand up and fight this to the heavens.

2) Point: No proof for intelligent design

Representative Thad Balkman has apparently been chosen by his republican masters to introduce a bill that would incorporate "intelligent design" into our school systems. According to him, those of us who value credible science above "pie in the sky" theories are the ones who are oppressing our children:

In reality, those who oppose open and honest discussions of evolutionary theory are the dogmatic extremists--the forces that would silence debate and stop the development of young minds.

The organization that employs me, as well as many others in this state, are working diligently to get more high-tech, high-paying science and research jobs into Oklahoma. At first glance, many people are very impressed with what we've done so far here, but how many of them will give us a second glance if we pass something like this? Oklahoma has a good start at becoming a world-reknowned bioscience center, but continuing to allow such unproven theories as these into our schools and teaching them as fact will do nothing to help our economy grow and prosper.

Again, from Mr. Hockenauer:

Evolutionists help to fight cancer, cure disease, and affirm life. Intelligent designers dismiss real science over religious faith or, in this case, an unproven idea.

All I can say is, if the schools start teaching "intelligent design" as one of the "latest scientific discoveries," then they damn well better teach about the theory of the Flying Spaghetti Monster--it has as much validity as "ID."

There are times when I wonder how long it will be until we shut the hospitals down and start treating the majority of diseases by bloodletting and leeches. Of course, if the republicans have their way, that will be the only treatment most of us will be able to afford.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

We hope you have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm "boss-less" until Tuesday!

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

With next week being Thanksgiving, I'm feeling pretty good. Cutting out of work for a couple hours to do my bit to improve the economy made me feel even better.

I live 2 blocks from two of the nicest shopping areas in OKC, but I never go to either one. Seriously, I've been to one place probably twice since I've lived here (2-1/2 years) and not at all to the other. Seeing as how I have a real aversion to shopping during the holidays, I decided I should go now for the few things I needed. I was never so happy to get out of a place as I was to leave there today. But I did get a new pair of jeans and some smelly stuff, so it was worth it.

I also bought a few more pansies and ran to Target--I try not to go there between Thanksgiving and New Year's, so this was the last trip of the year.

All in all, I was gone about 3 hours, and it was really nice to be able to
get away from the office for a while.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I forgot to blog this weekend!

Yesterday I made a couple of changes to the blog template, and then I stopped so I could clean up the porch "garden" and plant the pansies I bought a couple of days before. So now here it is 6 pm on Sunday night, and I just remember that I never typed up an entry! Oops!

My summer "garden" is history. I carted off all the dead plants and some of the containers, transferred the remaining soil to the three larger planters and the one long one, and planted two flats of pansies. I need to go back and get about a dozen more plants--there are some holes I need to fill up, but it looks really nice. I'll post a picture when I get the final plants in.

I also ordered a couple of cute garden flags to liven things up a bit, one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas. I wanted more, but I restrained myself--I could have bought a dozen. Hopefully they'll be here in time for Thanksgiving. If they're not, oh well, I'm not one to rush Christmas.

I had two more interviews with the same company (as before) this week. I'm supposed to have a phone interview (which may turn into a live interview, who knows), and then maybe they'll have enough information to make a decision. I've given up worrying about it. I had enough to do this weekend that I've barely thought about it.

I finally finished the back of my sweater and have started on the front. WHOOO!!!

This week I must finish drinking the final two bottles of 2004 Beaujolais Nouveau, because Thursday's the day "Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!" I need to make a battle plan to get to the liquor stores that day. I think last year I bought five or six different varieties. My favorite is the Berringer Beaujolais, so that will be first on my shopping list.

One last thing--poor Maggie--early this morning she rolled over and fell out of the bed! I felt so bad for her--she was very embarrassed. I tried to make her feel better by telling her it's happened to all of us, but I don't think it helped much!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Forwarded from a friend--

Thanks, Chris!

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Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not heard of that party again in our political history.  There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things.  Among them are . . . Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas.  Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower
November 8, 1954

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Finally, an update!

Well, let’s see, I hardly know where to start . . . .

The last week and a half has been absolutely insane in every way possible, from a very sick boss to two drunken nights (okay, only one was really drunken, but I’d like to project a certain rep, ya know?), and the completion of a four-year (3-1/2 for me) project. I’ve done just about everything you could cram into ten days and not fall down and never get up.

A week ago Thursday my boss became suddenly ill at work. That ended up with one of us taking him down the street to the emergency room while I stayed at the office to wait for his doctor to call. His ER visit turned into an overnight stay. Fortunately, they weren’t able to find anything wrong with him, but unfortunately he continued to be ill for several days afterwards. That was Thursday.

Friday and Saturday nights were the second “Les Femmes de Vin,” a two-day wine event for charity which featured 28 of Napa Valley’s female vintners and upwards of 15 local restaurants. Friday night was a sitdown dinner Gala with a wine tasting and both a silent and live auction, and Saturday night was a large wine tasting with munchies from a lot of really wonderful restaurants. Now, I didn’t attend the first one of these events two years ago, but this time I went quite enthusiastically—a little too enthusiastically, as you’ll soon see.

My assignment was to work the check-in desk, but we were also able to partake of all the offerings each night. Because of the silent auction on Friday night, I didn’t get to eat dinner, only some of the leftover hor d’ouveres from the wine tasting. Each table had several different wines to choose from; however, there were also lots of bottles of wine left at the tasting stations. Well, I was not about to pass up the opportunity to try some really fantastic (and pretty much out of my price range) wine, so off I went trolling for whatever looked good. By the time the evening ended, I think we had 25 wine bottles at our table. But I found some REALLY good wine.

Honestly, I don’t know how I made it home, but once I was in the door, I became DEATHLY ill. I don’t think I have been that ill from alcohol since I was in college. I did make it to the bed, and when I woke up the next morning, I felt like crap. At least I was smart enough to throw up in the shower, so there wasn’t a huge mess to clean up, and I can't imagine how sick I would have been on Saturday if I hadn't thrown up and gotten some of that stuff out of my system. So I spent most of Saturday trying to recover enough to go BACK and do it again that night.

Saturday night was much nicer. I had invited some friends, and we spent the evening trying different wines and eating lots of good food, everything from your basic Chinese eggrolls to crème brule, salmon, and prime rib. Oh, it was yummy!!! I didn’t drink nearly as much, and I had a lot of fun.

All in all, it was a great two days, we raised a lot of money, and everyone had a wonderful time. But those two events killed over half my weekend for me, so I started off Monday not quite as rested as I usually am.

My boss was working from home as much as he could and only attending the meetings he absolutely had to for most of the week. Seeing as how we had the dedication of Founders Plaza at Stiles Park on Wednesday night, I pretty much was in charge of everything—not like I wasn’t going to be anyway, but you want your boss to think he’s in charge most of the time, don’t you? Monday wasn’t bad, but Tuesday became the day everything seemed to fall apart, lots of last-minute emergencies that pop up with no notice. But everything was taken care of, and Wednesday night we had a lovely event with about 170 people to officially light the Beacon of Hope for the first time. We had BBQ and beer under a tent next to the park, and at about 6:45 p.m. the last surviving member of the group of five founders that made the Oklahoma Health Center reality gave the signal to light the Beacon.

It’s truly magnificent. The sky was clear as a bell, the high winds from earlier in the day had fallen away to a comfortable breeze, and the evening went off without a hitch (okay, there were a few minor glitches, but when isn’t there?).

To say my boss was estatic was putting it lightly. I swear on Thursday he was floating. He left the sweetest message on the office voicemail, thanking me for all my work and everything that we had done to help him in the last week and how much he appreciated it all. It made me cry.

And there’s my dilemma. Here I am looking for a new job, and he says something so very sweet to me, and I felt guilty as hell, and I still do. I know I need to look out for myself, but it’s hard NOT to feel guilty when he’s having a hard time—I feel like I'm gonna kick his puppy.

As for the job interview I spoke of previously, after two weeks I received a call for a second interview with two more people, one of which was a former boss of mine at my last job. That will be next week. I had all but written this off because it had been two weeks, but I guess they’re in no hurry to fill the position. So we’ll see what happens. Actually, the two weeks has really been a good thing, because it’s gotten it off my mind and not I’m not obsessing over it nearly so much. If it happens, great; if not, I’ll look somewhere else.

And yes, there has been knitting in the last couple of weeks. I decided I needed a little inspiration, so I started a new project—

This is a basic cardigan sweater pattern from Ann Norling, “The Basic Cardigan, #13.” I’m using Lion Brand Woolese Thick-n-Quick in Color #138, Cranberry. This is not the first sweater I’ve attempted, but I swear it will be the first one I complete. It’s actually knitting up rather quickly, but since I’m a slow knitter and don’t knit every night, it may take a little while. I would like to have it completed by December, but we’ll see. Anyway, this yarn is really nice, and I think it will be a nice, heavy sweater, almost a coat. I’m knitting it extra long so that it will fall below my rather large rear end, but the pattern is easy to adjust. Actually, it’s mostly a guide that allows you to make whatever adjustments you wish. The pattern comes in many sizes and yarn gauges, so it’s a great beginner pattern. We’ll see how well I do with it.

So anyway, this weekend is all about rest and quiet. If I get really ambitious, I'm gonna throw away all the dead plants on my porch and decide whether or not to plant pansies and mums. I’m also going to see how much I can get done on my sweater, and I’ll post more pictures later.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I haven't abandoned my blog,

although it may seem that way. I've just been really busy with work, and what little working brain cells I have left only want to eat and sleep when I'm at home.

I will catch up this weekend, I promise (and I actually have knitting content to show, too)!