Sunday, April 29, 2012
The Ugly lives. I continue to be wholly repulsed by the well-loved "fird."
Even so, I dearly wish The Ugly had held her complete attention during her frisky mood last Friday afternoon. Instead, she made it her day's work to spur me into a homicidal-rage-like state. I was playing with some arrangements of photographs that I plan to hang at my new desk. The best place to do a project like this is, of course, the floor. I did not affix the prints together very quickly…this is part of the reason I am no longer employed in an artistic profession (nothing ever seems perfect enough to call "done").
I don't know how many times Sophie charged my loose mosaic, skidding across the prints and chirping with pure glee at the fun she created. Of course I didn't move my project elsewhere—I told myself, "It's my floor, dammit, not hers." Go ahead and laugh. I too see the holes in this logic…now…but at the time, I was prepared for a warring of our wills: just me and the imp.
Yeah, well, imps always win.
When Nick arrived home, he thought that (A) I was incredibly naive to have even entertained the idea of victory in my waged war and that (B) the situation was incredibly humorous. Instead of responding to my desperate cry, "Control YOUR cat!" he grabbed the camera.
Maybe you don't know her face as well as I do, but that's clearly mischief I see brewing in her eyes:
Thursday, April 26, 2012
The things that come out of Nick's mouth…you can't just make this stuff up.
We're out for a walk to enjoy the sunny evening as dusk falls. Rounding a corner, Nick sees a sign advertising for psychic readings.
Nick: Do you want to know your future?
Me: I'm better off not knowing.
Nick: You know what I think? I think that if I am going to schedule a psychic reading, a good psychic would call me first to help me make the appointment.
Monday, April 23, 2012
My work life has been complicated over the past couple of years but especially the last 12 months.
My company has three main regional buildings across the country, and I worked in the Madison, Wisconsin building from the time I was hired in 2006. It just so happens that the company is also headquartered in Madison—meaning there is also a campus within the city.
My work over the last two years has necessitated the ownership of a desk in each location. It's been very frustrating, especially as more and more of my time was required at HQ. You see, you can only have one "home office." With that home office, you have 24/7 access and you are on the building-specific mailing list. I was told that you cannot claim multiple home offices. So, as the regional building continued to be home in name only, I was feeling increasingly unsettled with my impermanent desk, my impermanent phone, my impermanent everything at HQ.
I would run into people in the halls and they would ask, "Hey! Are you over here full time now?"
I always replied, "No, just five days a week!"
Due to a combination of a new manager, a desk shortage in the regional building, and pure logic, I now have a single, permanent desk at the national headquarters. Today was moving day—which was considerably complicated in my opinion. They had to move me first from my regional desk to my temporary desk at HQ, then from the temporary desk to my new resting place three rows over.
I was not surprised that they managed to lose all my equipment (docking station for my laptop, 2nd monitor, full keyboard, mouse…etc.). In spite of this, everyone was great and I have basically the same setup again because they were able to match all the models I had with new equipment. Still, moving is not fun.
It's not like the work schedule stops to give a person time to unpack boxes. I did not have breaks in my schedule until the afternoon, and I was suffering from acute ADD. Alphabetize folders! Answer email! Hang photos! Answer questions! GO CRAZY!
It was in one of those spurts that I thoroughly amused myself. Maintaining two desks is serious business, man. I think I have enough paper clips to build a chain linking from here to Montana…and I haven't started my treatment program yet for the excessive amounts of black, fine point pens that I have hungrily consumed at two locations.
As I unpacked my last box, I found a stapler. Yes, I packed my stapler…and I was thrilled to find it! It's hard to find a good stapler these days.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Okay, I swear that I am able to write posts other than Sophie Sundays…though Sophie wonders why I would care to. I've been dealing with some discomfort (same old story, different day), and I went back to the pain clinic because it was a different sort of pain than normal. Good news is that there is nothing extremely wrong with me. My tumor has not changed much and isn't causing problems…but arthritis has settled in my L4-L5 facet joints and my SI joints.
There isn't much that can be done for it that isn't already being done (since I am already being treated for back problems)…but it is a wake up call to stop being stubborn. Hey Laura: when it hurts, don't do it. It's certainly a hit to my ego that "can't" has entered my vocabulary—but Sophie is ecstatic. She's been getting much more lap time with me lately.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
I was out of bed way too early for a Saturday. Nick wanted to work a little overtime, going in early so the whole day would not be lost. I came downstairs to spend some time with him before he left, but I started drifting back towards sleep as soon as I curled up on the couch.
Sophie was having none of it. She crawled over me and began to purr…aggressively. There is a code in this house. Sophie leaves us alone while we sleep during the night, but it's "all Sophie, all the time" as soon as we stir. We put off moving and talking as long as possible when we wake each morning…because she'll be on us as soon as we do either.
Since I had most certainly stirred by the time she found me on the couch, I was in serious violation of the code.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
I experienced a moment of absolute loveliness this morning. It was quiet and warm with the sun shining through the windows. I heard the trickle of a water fountain and the robin's cheerful song. Everything seemed right in that one moment, and the smile that spread across my face made me feel younger…fresher. It was as though my fairy tale just wrapped up in happily every after. It lasted the span of a single heartbeat, nothing more…but in that single heartbeat, life felt pretty wonderful.
Friday, April 13, 2012
One of my project managers walked by my desk at the end of a very long week. Seeing me bleary-eyed and hunched over my laptop, she pulled up a chair to offer an ear. The long and short of it was that I was tired of arguing.
I represent an area of my company and dispute decisions (when necessary), but I am not quarrelsome by nature. Yet I know that I have a responsibility to speak up: I force myself out of Switzerland when I would rather stay neutral…agreeable. Believe me, no one was more surprised than me to learn that I am actually pretty good at fighting—it helps that I know to choose my words carefully, of course.
The challenges have been more frequent in the last several weeks, and the weight of conflict was beginning to ache. I was happy to be leaving for the weekend shortly as the fatigue was overriding logic, and I felt like bickering purely for the sake of bickering. I no longer fear disagreements…occupational hazard I suppose.
I should have been smart and stayed in that night since I had a weak grip on patience. Instead, Nick and I organized a dinner out with family—family with whom I am trying to strengthen my relationship…or maybe I'm trying to build it for the first time…I just know that it could be better, whatever that means.
When we arrived, his tongue was already loosened with the help of a few amber bottles. The entire dinner was a verbal assault on us. I saw Nick staring at me from the corner of my vision because he couldn't stand to look anywhere else without saying something. I kept my eyes fixed on the wall across the room.
I was afraid. I was afraid that my instinct to retaliate, to stand up for myself, would damage the relationship irreparably. Instead, I said nothing and let him talk. He wasn't angry in the slightest, he thought he was just having normal conversation…this somehow gave his words even more bite. I could not get out of there fast enough because I hurt…and hurt people say things they don't mean (particularly if words come easily).
So here I am, stuck. I have discovered that I can win arguments, and smoothly…but I cannot use that weapon because I believe we are mismatched: I am not a bully. Part of me wants to start the conversation, telling him that hurtful words are not okay, but another part of me knows that he will think I am attacking him.
So again, I do nothing. I try my hardest to forget everything that was said to (at) us, but it will take time to get rid of the sting. My cousin came over later that night when my pain came through my text messages (and knowing that this isn't the first time I've been wounded). "Why!?" I cried to her. "Why do I put myself through this over and over again?"
She took another bite out of her ice cream (what else would the doctor order for emotional distress??) and let compassion blanket her eyes. "It's because you still have hope."
My skin has grown so thick with my work responsibilities…yet, with family, my vulnerability is staggering.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
I am posting this picture for two reasons:
First, Sophie's back paws always remind me of bunny feet—Thumper's, specifically. (I think it's just because they're so darn big and awkward.) Since the bunny season comes to a tumult today, I offer them to you.
Second, she does the cutest thing with her back paws that would melt the iciest heart. It's rare to see her do it on a surface other than our laps…but when she's content (which is often—we don't make life very difficult for her), she elongates her body in carefree bliss and crosses her back paws, curving her little cat toes in and out (continuously) as if she truly is happy from her head down to her toes. It sort of reminds of Bill Cosby expressing his love of pudding.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
So, I'm an appointed SME for several different projects at work. Apart from being trapped in what seems like nonstop meetings, this means that I am a regularly consulted resource: my mind is pulled in several directions several times a day. This tends to make me a bit daffy by late afternoon.
I have little moments of pure brilliance throughout the day, but they're not easy to hold. If I am not careful, they jump right out of my hand when I am not looking. Those little bits of wisdom are lost to me forever as soon as someone diverts my attention with another question and the stupor settles over my mind again. Such a waste.
That's where the Post-it Notes come in. During those brief moments of clarity, I write myself a note and stick it to my desk: genius. I joke to my coworkers that I am single-handedly keeping 3M in business.
For this system to work, I do have to go through the notes every now and then to make sense of the randomness. It is during this time that I discover notes that were written during my mind's transition to the stupor…they don't make a whole lot of sense. Warning! Thought not complete! (Honestly, alarms should sound.) My favorites are the squares with only my name or a simple yes/no.
It was at the end of a trying day today when I walked back from my last meeting. I trudged back to my buried desk and stared at the overwhelming insanity. I groaned and began mumbling a sad little soliloquy. The desk needed attention, but I didn't want to stay to organize. I just wanted to go home and decompress! "I don't know…should I just go home?" I chewed my lip and whined in indecision.
Then, out of nowhere, I noticed a Post-it Note poking out beneath some papers. Clearly this was a note written during one of those transitions. I had written "Do it." With that bit of advice, I grabbed my coat and headed for the parking garage.
See what I mean? Pure brilliance.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Supposedly, most cats are solitary beings—they are not pack animals like dogs. Animal behaviorists have speculated if a cat has the capacity to bond with a human or if they only depend on humans to satisfy their physical needs. The debates lasts because no one can really answer that but a cat.
I've been around cats nearly all of my life, and before Sophie I would attest to the solitary behavior. They would come around to snuggle with me when they wanted something, otherwise they were content to disappear and ignore me completely. They held grudges, and sometimes they were downright catty. I still loved cats even though they could take me or leave me—and I even kind of understood the mood swings, particularly during those teenage years. I had a dog to love me unconditionally, so I didn't need that kind of devotion from a cat. I didn't need those heart-melting eyes staring at me like I am the best thing in the whole world.
Oh yes, I would have agreed that cats were frigid animals who lowered their standards to let us pet them now and then.
I was quite smitten with Bandit when my aunts adopted their long-haired tabby. Brenda started telling me about a breed of cat who look a lot like Bandit but a whole lot bigger (she was a wisp of a thing): the Maine coon. I started to research the breed…in no time, I was hooked.
They were said to be affectionate, gentle giants with kitten-like playfulness that lasts into adulthood. Sophie is a dog in cat's clothes, just what I was looking for. Nick likes to rub that bit in when I am frustrated up to my eyeballs with the fuzzy thing doing her best to trip me, winding through my legs as soon as I walk through the door. She stands on her back paws with her front paws on my leg to beg me to stop and love her, and i just cannot resist that vulnerable "You're my everything" look she has in her eyes.
So was the case when the picture above was taken. It was one of the first truly beautiful Saturdays of the year, so Nick and I took advantage of Mother Nature's gift with a hike. We came home, showered, redressed, and drove to a friend's house where we spent several hours. When I walked into the living room after, it was a full-on Sophie assault. If she had been a dog, she would have knocked me over in her excitement to have us home.
We found ourselves nodding all the way through the breed characteristics in the video below when we saw it on TV—though when they talk about size, they're only talking about males (females have smaller frames, but still bigger than other breeds). Sophie would probably need help rolling over if she weighed 25 pounds. We find ourselves very lucky to have a dog who poops in a box.
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