Thursday, July 31, 2003

Totally Useless Fact

I'm on hold right now with Altman Luggage and the friendly recording lady just gave me this interesting factoid:

Your foot is the same length of your forearm. G'head... place your foot along your forearm and test it. Mine matched. I'm normal.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Support When Ya Need It

Bras. I hate 'em, but I gotta wear 'em. When I got home last night, a mail order from Title 9 Sports was waiting for me. One thing I had to think about for the IBR was undergarments. Sitting on the bike for 15, 20 hours a day means I need to think about comfort. As much as I'd like to go without while riding, that's really not an option, so I had to shop for "foundations" that would lend support when and where I need it while feeling comfortable for long wearings. I knew I wanted CoolMax due to the extreme heat I'll be enduring. Somehow, while cruisin' the information super highway, I stumbled upon Title 9 and was delighted to find sport bras that would meet my needs. The bra I selected has passed the test ride. Thanks T9.

Feelin' Satisfied

I'm home where everything that should be working, is. It's been a technological nightmare around here for the last couple of weeks but *knocking on wood* all appears well now. Before I left for Ward, AL, we had DSL back up and running *big sigh of relief* and intermittent phone service. Jack, the hottie from BellSouth, told me that I should expect the service to remain unstable for the evening and he was right. While I was in Ward, the phone was ok to dial out but incoming calls were a no-no. Sheesh. I called MaBell on Monday and was told that the service was still under repair and that the issue should be resolved by today and alas, it is. I'm satisfied.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Little Satisfaction

I'm in the York, AL public library where I had to use my dad's library card to gain access to the 'net. Once here, I learned that I can not access email. For the love of humanity.....

Looking forward to getting back to my computer at home tomorrow.

Monday, July 21, 2003

I Can't Get Me No... Satisfaction

Well, that was true until I rode to St. Augustine today and stopped by the St. Johns County library. I am currently without phone service and internet access at home because someone cut a phone cable near us. I've heard that excuse before when our service has been interupted so it's like hearing the little boy cry wolf ... again. It's very frustrating to go without but I'm getting by. Anyone want to place bets on how well BellSouth credits us for this outage? What about the additional cell phone usage? I'm convinced... I'd never made it as a frontierswoman.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

It's All Good

I know someone who doesn't like that saying and I must share his opinion to a certain degree. I don't like things when they're overused and many hip sayings lose their impact quickly due to just that. But that's not what I'm here to blog about. After several negative comments I made today, both to myself and others, I decided I need to say something good. Here are a few things that come to mind at the moment:

ice cream ~ being able to fold fitted sheets neatly on the 1st try ~ purring ~ seeing a sunset ~ smelling bacon fryin' ~ the sound of fall leaves crunching under foot ~

%$#@! I Love Technology

I was foiled not once but TWICE today by technology. One part I can partially claim as user error, but not both.

My dependence on the internet became blindingly apparent today since I couldn't log on from home. When I fired up the main PC I heard our router thingy beep and should have known there was an issue immediately. We have two PCs and two laptops, fyi. Once the PC booted up, it didn't acknowledge the mouse or keyboard. %$#@!. I did the ordinary troubleshooting steps... checked the connection to the PC and rebooted. A dozen times. My efforts did not pay off and I was not able to make the router recognize the 2nd PC so I was SOL. I was going to fire up a laptop but didn't have the patience to deal with the network issue so I decided to commence with my errands and stop by the public library to get my fix.

I needed to work on some correspondence so I stopped by Starbucks for a snack and a frap. Caffeine in my mental state maybe wasn't a good idea as I look back, but I handled it well. ;)

Once I completed my three page letter to my dear penpal Leah in NC, I mosied over to the Mandarin branch of the Jacksonville Public Library. I was excited to see several available PCs so I wouldn't have to wait. There, things are going to be OK, I thought. As soon as I secured a machine, I was instantly disappointed to learn that they do not allow access to web-based email. %$#@! I use hotmail. I went ahead and hit a couple of sites that I check daily as well as my blog. I wrote a wonderful piece called POSTCARDS FROM THE PUBLIC LIBRARY but lost it. This, I will claim as my error. I'd opened a 2nd window to collect links for the blog and ended up losing the 1st window. The browser doesn't allow two windows at once. %$#@!

I finished my errands and came home to install my AOL disk on my laptop. I hate AOL the intrusive mess that it is, but I was planning on taking it on the road for the IBR so I'd have easy access to the 'net. Sick, I am. I'll use the free hours and remove it within my 45 days/1025 hours.

So, it was a technically challenging morning but I'm back online and am feeling my heartbeat mellow.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Rats in the Race

There was a time when I thought it was so enviable and metropolitan to be in the rat race. To go play Corporate America girl with the high and mighty cape of a costly suit adorning my body was fuel to my fire but it got old, quickly. I worked in a Fortune 500 company for a few years and somehow managed to weasel my way into Human Resources to secure a well-paying and respectable position. HR is the department that people whispered about around the water cooler and feared when rumors started flying about lay-offs. As a member of HR, you tend to flock with other members of that department only because no one else really wants to associate with you. You're the people everyone loves to hate when stinky things hit the fan... yet there are some who are bold enough to befriend someone in HR. I was one of those HR people who tended to hang with the outsiders. I wasn't into the corporate games and being a Yes-Woman is something I can only do to a small degree and for a short while. My loyalty was to the employee and in the company that I worked for that wasn't always the favored stance. Our department had balance which is best for any company. You have those who stand firm in the company rhetoric; those who fight for the people; and those who dangled their legs from the fence and view both sides with as much fairness as possible. I liked the group of folks I worked with, we had balance not only in company politics but in personalities and styles. I can honestly look back on that part of my work life and say that I enjoyed the job and the folks I worked with, which is comforting. I left them because of upper management changes and company-centric initiatives that I didn't agree with. It was a wise decision for me and one that I do not regret in the least.

Especially now.

The company started job cuts today. Again. I was in HR a few years back during a December downsizing... Happy Holidays, here's your box, no bow. It was a very difficult task to escort employees to their workspace to gather their personal belongings and hear them say "It'll be ok, call me" to co-workers they've become friends with over the years. Watching them remove their family photos from bookcases and desktops to take their spot in a box next to coffee cups and squishy balls seemed to diminish their importance in a way that I just couldn't justify in my mind. I had to separate myself as a human to complete this daunting task. For three straight days, people would see me on their floor and a suffocating silence would hush the air. I'd have to smile immediately and say "I'm having lunch with so-and-so... no worries" just to get them to take a breath that escaped them moments before. How can people enjoy their career with that much power? It didn't boost my ego in the least... instead, it hardened my heart to the reality of the workplace. I knew that I wasn't in the right environment for me and in time, the best career move I could make happened... I resigned from the company.

Many were saddened by the news. I was the HR employee many came to with personal and professional issues. They trusted me with their quandries, their dilemmas. They trusted the advice I'd offer and welcomed the silence I offered as they emptied what was on their chests. I was someone to come to for a breather when days were tense because I had toys and candy and an open-door policy that always said "Come in, you're welcome to stop by." I never knew what an impact I had on people until the week before I left the company. There were many emails and phone calls and people stopping by to say they just couldn't believe I was leaving. Some folks who stopped by were people I'd met only once but they felt compelled to tell me that I would be sorely missed. I was "the one person in HR" that people could relate to and that was the highest compliment I could ever wish to receive. I respected our employees for their dedication and intelligence. Their skills and humor. They were a top-notch group and were never given the respect they deserved.

Some things never change.

I had lunch with an ex co-worker today and the issue of job cuts came up in our conversation. As I mentioned, today the company initiated yet another round of cuts, this time up to 1,000 jobs will be lost. One thousand families will be subjected to the stress and turmoil of losing a strong financial foundation and benefits that protect them. I knew it was coming and many in the company did too since rumors always have a way of becoming truth. My friend seemed to be handling it well and is looking forward to a vacation with his wife and child next week. He's considering his options in case he is the one to receive a visit from an employee of HR. One who isn't on his floor to meet him for lunch.

Random Acts of Observance

Lately, I've been feeling quite shallow. Not towards others, instead, it's more like I can't think deeply. I don't feel as though I can contribute to a conversation with any meaning... any depth. My observances have been shallow and so there's nothing feeding me. How does one flip the switch to take in more so that there's more to think about? I've been living, mentally speaking, in the mundane. Sometimes, I believe it is a good thing to let your mind rest a little. Don't tax the synapses. My mind is still active, however. It's just not crankin' out anything of interest, at least to me. There have been times in my past when I'm on observance-intake-overload. I've experienced, encountered, enjoyed, incorporated and witnessed people, surroundings, and events that have left an impression. Those were observances because something of meaning was instilled in my mind. I need to indulge in observing again. I'm hungry.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Comic Quizzes

Ohhh bother!

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

Ewww! I'm not happy about this... but maybe sometimes the truth hurts!

I am Sally

Which Peanuts Character Are You Quiz

Rain, Rain Go Away

I wanna drive around topless! Yes, it's true. I'm adventurous, indeed. I must be if I bought a Rubicon ~~~ look out Lara Croft! YEEHAW! The vehicle of my childhood dreams is now parked in my garage. It's a treat to drive but I just wish the rain would stop so I could drive it with the top down. WOW.. a convertible! I've always considered my motorcycle to be the ultimate convertible but now I have one I can drive and feel comfy cruisin' in without a helmet. It's got a drinkin' problem there's no doubt about that but I make up for the fuel consumption by riding a motorcycle. How's that for justification?

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Meaningless Quiz Time

Is the glass half full or half empty?

Which [5 Elements] are you?

Which [Rainbow Colours] are you?

Even A Blind Squirrel Finds A Nut

I've been feeling really happy the last couple of days and it's because I've been found. Me <--- the nut. While at the hanger over the weekend, I was able to feed my dependency to the 'net by logging in to surf and check email. Yeah, I was there to work/assist with the bike, but my attention span is that of a four-year-old so I would take breaks every couple of hours. On Sunday morning, I logged in to my hotmail account and found not one, not two, but THREE emails from this fella who was yelling at me in the subject line. He was trying VERY hard to get my attention and it worked. I took pause, however, and made a decision to open the emails. More times than not, I delete emails when I see suspicious subject lines from folks I don't normally correspond with. Once I opened the first email, I knew I made the right decision.

M and I met on AOL a couple years back on a biker board I used to frequent. We both rode the same bike and had an immediate connection due to that. There's something about a FLHT that gets under your skin... ya can't help but love that bike. As time passed, M and I got to be decent friends and communicated a lot. It was a good thing. He's a smart fella, great conversationalist, a reader, a writer and a lover of the road. Wonderful qualities in my opinion. We learned that we both were headed to the same destination that late summer, Sturgis, SD, and were hoping to hook up while in the area but that never happened. He was doing a lot of traveling, we were doing a lot of traveling and although we're sure our paths crossed, it was never at the same time. It wasn't too long after that, as I recall, that he and I severed the connection and communicated no more.

Over time, we both tried to contact the other person, but email addresses changed and we were left to just wondering about the other. Every few months, I'd run across someone's handle in a motorcycle related chat room or message board but once I read profile info, I knew it wasn't him. I'd resigned myself to thinking he was a fleeting friend, an acquaintance from the internet... someone who typed their way into my mind and heart and unplugged leaving a bittersweet smile and a blank screen. It happens time and time again but there are some folks who ya really wish you could hang on to, people who you know would be a great friend to share coffee with on a rainy Saturday morning. I'm not one to lump all internet people into "that world" because a couple of my best friends are folks I've met through the 'net. Without it and them, my life wouldn't be touched by their existence, and for that, I'm thankful.

Back to Sunday morning....

Once I opened the emails and realized it was M, I immediately replied with the same enthusiam he had when he wrote to me. Fortunately, he was around that day to start up the correspondence conversation and so we agreed to meet online that evening to chat. I was absolutely giddy all day and looking forward to catching up on him and the time that had silently passed between us. He did tell me how he found me which was through a forum on Delphi so I owe his friend, who recommended the site, and Delphi a big o' thank you.

It had been a long day by the time Sunday night rolled around. My dear and I got a lot accomplished with Thor and came home feeling like we were well on track as far as IBR preps go. Even though I was really tired from the long days spent in the hanger, I was too excited to go to bed and so I met with M online as planned. Chatting with him was as easy as it was two years ago... the same flow in conversation, the same giggling, the same emotion. M is a firefighter and I've always taken an interest in his career and his devotion to it. He's a rider and enjoys seeing the world from the saddle, so hearing about some of his travels as well as his upcoming month out on the road kept me interested. Fatigue quickly vanished once we got past our jubilant HELLOs. We ended up chatting for a couple hours while he ate a PB&J sammich and I ate a bowl of cereal. We swapped pics of ourselves from various locations around the U.S. and gave condensed versions of our life happenings to that point. It was just wonderful and it made my heart feel good to be back in touch.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

I Work For Dick

Yeah, that's what her tshirt said. I was waiting on lunch at Dick's Wings when the waitress' shirt caught my eye and put a smirk across my face. On the wall behind the bar a bumper sticker reads: GOT DICKS? The 'shroom burger was good and the entertainment was cheap.

There will be updates in the next couple of days. I've been at the hanger working with my dear to get the fuel cell platform constructed and dayum, it's lookin' good! I have news on Thor's progress and on the eBay scoundrel, Nick Smalling. Do come back now, ya hear? And OH ... what a great read Breaking Clean has proven to be. I was nearly in tears earlier today when reading her account of the blizzard of 1964. I'm gaining a truer appreciation for the ranchers and farmers of this great land...

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Miss You Mama

There's a pot of my mother's goulash on the stove... I made it just the way she taught me. Browned hamburger, sauteed onions in a pot of elbow macaroni and a couple cans of tomato sauce. It's the salt and chili pepper that set it off and leave ya wanting a second bowl. My mom was known as a great cook and I sure wish I'd spent more time at her elbow in the kitchen learning to cook. I do ok with meals, that's never been a problem, but there are some things that only mom can make and it's those things I miss on occasion. I DID learn how to whip eggs the way she did and every time I scramble eggs for breakfast, she is there with me, smiling to let me know I learned well.

Thoughts of my mom came back to me today as I started reading Breaking Clean by Judy Blunt, a memoir of a Montana ranch child and wife. Although I'm only 30 or so pages into the book, I am there, consumed by her storytelling and memory of her parents and grandparents. Her style enveloped me and I know this will be a book that I won't leave on the stack abandoned. The book first appealed to me because it takes place in Montana, which I look forward to seeing again next month. Memoirs of rustic life appeal to me, like Arctic Schoolteacher by Abbie Morgan Madenwald. A young couple hire on as government employees in Kulukak, AK during the early 1930's as a school teacher and health care provider. Reading these kinds of books reminds me that life has been and can be a more simple and a lot more rewarding. Their struggles make me thankful that I do have comforts today that weren't available then and that reminder is something I need to not take for granted. These tales do make me melancholy because I yearn to hear my mother's stories... her memories of youth growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. I still have her yearbooks and remember going through them with her when I was a child. Hearing about her friends and looking at pictures throughout her life was something I dearly cherished. We'd sit for hours next to her cedar chest with yearbooks and photo albums spread about her bed... those are truly treasured memories of her, some of the best.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Christmas in July

Today is July 1st and I was opening packages as though it was Christmas morning. Three boxes were delivered by UPS and I wasted no time before tearing into them. Two of the boxes were from Motonation and one from Crutchfield and all are motorcycle related. No big surprise there. For those of you who read my blog and aren't into motorcycling, hang in there. Most of the discussion in my life these days revolves around Thor and the IBR. I think I'll go ahead and make a blog that is m/c specific.... or perhaps for the IBR only. Motorcycling is the dominant interest currently, but this too shall pass. Like most people, I have several interests, hobbies, things that help keep me sane. I can't imagine never having a project or passion to keep me active. Even if it is watching movies continuously for a weekend, I'm active. I'm absorbed by what I'm doing and I'm ok with that.

Ok... now let's back up to a couple of those links up there. Did you check them out? I'm a geek when it comes to researching things, so goin' Googlin' is a great way to exercise brain cells while killing precious time. I found a couple of the links above to relate to some of my other interests: travel and all things postal. The UPS link made me think back to the trip I took out there in '95 as a graduation gift to myself. I was on the 11-year plan when it came to completing my degree so it was only right to treat myself to a wonderful vacation to congratulate myself for my hard work. The Pacific northwest was my destination and what a fantastic destination it was! My 10 days in Washington were wonderful and I'll have to post on that soon. Maybe I'll rummage up a few pics to share as well. Just think... today in 1847 the first postage stamp was issued in the United States. That also make me think of travels and the time I went to the National Postal Museum... or Heaven On Earth as I like to call it. If I wasn't so eager to vacuum right now, I'd ramble on about these two excursions but it'll have to wait til another time.