January 1 - May 29, 2008

January 1, 2008
» a year in review

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
Visited Houston Texas, took a direct flight to my destination city, made waffles in a waffle maker, and made green bean casserole

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2007, I set some goals, and I did work toward them.

Again for 2008, I plan to continue - like the Bible says - to "be happy and do good." (Ecc. 3:12) I also resolve to have a serious talk very soon with my boyfriend about our relationship.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My Great Aunt Laverne passed away in January, 2007, although I hadn't seen her for quite a few years.

5. What countries did you visit?
None, but I did travel more (three separate trips) than I did in any previous year.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
A better understanding of my job

7. What date from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July 4th, because of the incident mentioned below in question 9

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I accomplished quite a few of the website-related items on my To Do list.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Without going into detail, on one specific occasion I did nothing when I should have done something, and I will regret that for a very, very long time.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing terrible. In fact, after changing my diet, some spots (warts?) that had been on my left hand for years cleared up.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Some furniture (stackable storage units) from Pier 1

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Stacey Grenrock Woods, who cited my MacGyver website (albeit misspelled) in her story for the book "What Would MacGyver Do?"

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The Drama Queens and Petty Game Players at work

14. Where did most of your money go?
Again this year, to my apartment

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My crushes on the guys at work

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
"Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie, because my feelings for my boyfriend cooled down

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Happier
Older or wiser? Wiser, as I really do try to learn things from my experiences
Thinner or fatter? Fatter, since my old jeans still don't fit :depressed sigh:
Richer or poorer? Richer, since I continued work in my entry-level job in the engineering field

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Sharing my faith and encouraging people

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Complaining about my boyfriend

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I stayed at my mom's. We opened presents with my sister. I helped make lunch (hey, someone's gotta open the cans). My sister and I watched a Scooby Doo video and then Pretty in Pink.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
No, but I had a couple of *really* strong crushes ;)

22. How many one-night stands?

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Current programs? None. But thanks to DVDs, I'm still falling in love with my old favorites: Remington Steele, Wings...

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

25. What was the best book you read?
I actually read two books this year, and I liked them both: "What Would MacGyver Do?" by Brendan Vaughn and "Helen of the Old House" by Harold Bell Wright.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I rediscovered several of my favorite, not-heard-in-WAY-too-long songs via their videos on the Internet, of which my most favorite is arguably "In a Week or Two" by Diamond Rio.

27. What did you want and get?
My six-year-old computer was on the verge of crashing. I wanted it to keep working, so (yesterday) I tried reinstalling the operating system. The computer is now working with no Blue Screen of Death. And woo hoo, I had my files backed up prior to all of this!

28. What did you want and not get?
Fresh tomatoes. This spring, I planted two plants, but thanks to a worm attack, they produced only one small tomato.

29. What was your favorite film of the year?
Fave Film Released This Year: Ocean's 13
Fave Film Of The Ones Seen This Year For The First Time: Pretty in Pink
Least Favorite Film Not Just Of 2007 But In All The Years Since I Saw Anaconda: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

30. What did you do on your birthday?
My sister and I took the day off from work, and she drove me around as I shopped. Alas, I didn't find anything to treat myself to. And I decided to get a haircut which turned out to be the worst one of the year. Grr.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If the company I worked for had been more profitable

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
I experimented with some looks I've seen at work: flowy, "girly" tops and an accessory or two.

33. What kept you sane?
My faith and talking to my family

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Kiefer Sutherland, I guess. As I recall, most of my "thoughts of fancy" in '07 were directed toward people I know in real life.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
I'm not really political...

36. Who did you miss?
Still the people from my old job: Mary, Cassandra, and Johnathan.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Jessica, from work.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007:
Sometimes you get what you want only to discover that it isn't what you were expecting.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"I survived all those long, lonely days when it seems I did not have a friend. 'Cuz all I needed was a little faith so I could catch my breath and face the world again. Don't forget your second wind." from Billy Joel's "Second Wind"

January 10, 2008
» that ever-elusive happy medium

For the record, I know that my lesson learned (#38 in the previous post) is not a new concept. It's been "said many times, many ways" even, but it was just really driven home to me in at least one part of my life last year.

And that would be the change of the person that trains my OfficeMate and me. I've written here many times about my dissatisfaction with the lack of help we received previously. We finally voiced our complaints - heck, OM was about to quit because of the frustrations - and things were changed. In early December, a Former Employee was brought back and appointed as our trainer.

During the transition period, some higher-ups from the parent company were down to answer questions and offer assistance ... yeah, they were pretty much policing the place. Things went smoothly, with all of us answering to their authority. But then they left. FE took the reigns, and I admit that I haven't particularly liked all of the changes he's been trying to start.

Really, it's nothing terrible, or major. The toughest part is going from the hands-off approach in our training to a *very* hands-on, micromanager sort of situation. Wait, I tell a lie. The toughest part would have to be that after one and a half years at the job, we're starting back at square one, and we KEEP. STARTING. BACK. THERE. It seems like every time I think I know something, FE rattles off a correction, and I find myself on the verge of despair, feeling as if I know nothing and have little chance of ever "getting" everything that there is to learn. FE even said that when he gets some things done and has more time to spend with us, we'll "throw out everything we've learned and start from scratch." To me, that says that I've wasted every minute I've spent at work so far - and I'm still wasting it, waiting for this crash course in FE-led training. (Yeah, I'm really looking forward to that, btw.)

Yet, having said all that, I'm still not sorry that we lobbied to get FE back. Our trainer now takes a more active role, and I'd rather have the frustrations that go along with that than the ones that come from being left on my own, overwhelmed by what I'm expected to do. Plus, what are the odds that any one person would provide the exact amount of training that each of us needs? And it occurs to me that I shouldn't expect a perfect teacher when I'm certainly not the perfect student. Sometimes we just have to play the cards we're dealt.

January 16, 2008
» in which I again talk hair

It's almost time yet again for me to get a hair trim, and I'm more than a little nervous. I've been noticing lately that my hair is *finally* getting back to the length where I want it. That's right: let the record show that at this time I am purty near satisfied with my hair.

Oh, sure, it's still terribly thin, and the practical thing to do would be to cut it short. If I had a cute, dainty face with cute, dainty features, this would be no problem. However, I have a big face - seriously, someone told me that and honestly, I can't say that she lied - and it's got square tendencies, and I *need* some hair to balance things out and soften those edges.

I did try a shorter 'do for a while. (See March of last year.) When I first got it, I really liked it, even though for the longest time after that, whenever I'd see myself in the mirror, my first thought would usually be, "Oh, yeah, I *did* get a haircut!" My subsequent efforts to recreate the short, good 'do were to no avail. Then I looked at some pictures of me with my hair a bit longer, and I thought, "Practical be darned, I looked SO much better then."

So, I've been saying "just a trim" at the last couple of visits to the hairdresser, and now I think I'm about to like my hair's length again. But what if it's "trimmed" too short at the next visit? And it's messed up for another six weeks, before it starts to grow out a bit and looks good and then the whole vicious cycle repeats?

I know that it's ridiculous for me to obsess about this, although I don't think I'm alone in my concerns. I heard that a notable percent of women in a survey admitted to calling in sick because they were having a Bad Hair Day. I haven't yet gone that far ... but I am tempted. I'll see how the next trim goes.

January 24, 2008
» pop quiz, hot shot

Co-Worker#1 (in the next office, looking at some building plans with Co-Worker#2): Hey, Anne, do you know what a natatorium is?

Me: Isn't that a building with a pool? A place where people swim?

Co-Worker#1: I mean this in the nicest way: you are a dork!

[Not much later, I sought an ally in Co-Worker#2.]

Me: You knew what it was, right?

Co-Worker#2: I had to look it up. We called them "aquatic centers".

January 31, 2008
» I ain't that crushy yet

Last week, the Cute New Guy dropped by to see OfficeMate and me. CNG had a question, but he lingered for several minutes and we all chatted. (I think everyone was in a loopy, unproductive mood that day.)

At one point, I could see another employee approaching from the hall, and I gave her a knowing look, because she'd earlier told a story in which Cute New Guy tried to be sarcastic and got shut down so hard it can only be called a burn. She walked in, saw him, tried to turn to ask me a question, then had to stop and walk outside the office (out of the line of sight of CNG and OM) where she stood chuckling, unable to say whatever she had come in for. I could see her, so I laughed too, thinking about the story she'd told.

After she left, she returned to stand in the hall at the other end, and then two other employees stood in turn, each looking at me. One scolded me with the "shame shame" fingers which puzzled me a bit ...

... Until a bit later, when the first employee was telling the story to the guy in the office next door, and I heard her say, "Anne had the strangest look on her face, then I stepped in the office, and I saw why!" The office next door guy asked if I have a little crush on Cute New Guy, and the other employee said that that would explain my look. At that point, I knew it was fruitless to deny it. They're obviously going to see what they want to see.

I *know* I don't have a crush on that guy. (Sure, he's attractive, but he's too young, and he's a major flirt.) I do, however, find it hilarious that my co-workers think themselves so clever and me so unable to hide my silly infatuations, and yet not one of the real crushes I've rambled about here has been discovered.

So, when people try to tease me about Cute New Guy, I just have a bit of fun with it. Today for example, I declared that I've decided to crush over everyone there a week at a time "to be fair."

Little do they know that I've just about done that already! ;)

February 3, 2008
» any right at all to criticize

"Yeah, we walk through the door, so accusing, their eyes, like they have any right at all to criticize. Hypocrites, you're all here for the very same reason." - Anna Nalick, Breathe

A guy at work was looking at the calendar in my office while he waited to talk to the person next door. This led to a brief discussion of birthdays, and he remembered that mine was in October, although he guessed the wrong day. I supplied the correction, and he, looking casually at the calendar, guessed the year. I corrected that, too, and he said, "Oh, is your age not a secret anymore?" (Apparently, he missed the meeting where it was announced. )

He did the math and exclaimed, "And you're not married yet?!" Okay, see that? Is exactly why I didn't want people to know my age. As I wrote previously, I didn't want to be put in some box based on who people (aka They) think I should be at this age. And obviously They do just that! They hear the number and decide "she's old and single and must therefore be pathetic and desperately seeking marriage to avoid impending spinsterhood."

Yeah, I found that judgment maddening, but then, as I also wrote, what would be the appropriate age/marital status/life that would satisfy Them? Suppose I was single because I was divorced? Would They find that sufficiently respectable? I don't think so, since a divorced lady was mentioned during lunch just last week, and They scoffed that she is a "train wreck" and it's "no wonder she can't get a man."

What if I was married? Maybe even had a kid or two? Would *that* satisfy Them? Again, it isn't likely, because They also talk about the married people we know, and more often than not, the spouse of the person in question is deemed a loser and the kids spoiled or bratty or delinquent.

What if I was single but content with my life, and I realized that Their need to belittle other people speaks volumes about Their own self-esteem issues? And what if I realized that the small-minded opinions of such people are not worth worrying about? Well, then I'd be exactly where I am now. *big smile*

February 15, 2008
» hat hair

After all this time I think I've realized something about my appearance: the more my bangs cover my forehead - without laying flat on it - the more my face is shaded from harsh overhead light, and the better I look.

To test this theory, I'll be attempting to shape my bangs like the brim of a baseball cap. (Note to self: need extra hold gel.)

February 17, 2008
» me hearties

This year's Valentine's Day qualified as one of my best ever. Granted, the competition for the title includes one or two slightly better than average, a lot of not worth mentioning, and two complete catastrophes, but still this one was very good. It had all of the elements:

Sweets. I baked peanut butter cookies - from premade dough, but baked nonetheless - and took them to work, and people seemed to like them. I was given a cupcake just because someone had a few, and they were giving them to the girls. A guy at work also decided to give some of us girls a large bar of Hershey's Special Dark.

Music. A guy at work and I sometimes swap CDs. We haven't in a while, but I arrived to find The Who's double CD greatest hits(?) collection waiting for me. I choose to believe that Work Guy waited specifically for Valentine's Day to share it. ;)

Lunch provided by someone else. We had a working lunch, and pizza was provided. (Not to sound ungrateful, but my veggie one was highly unstellar. Dominoes, what has happened to you?)

Dinner prepared by someone else. My boyfriend offered to make the 1.5 hour drive to come see me. I *really* wasn't expecting that, but I appreciated the offer and accepted. As planned, he made dinner. To my great delight he also arrived with ...

Flowers. Hee.

All in all, a very good day.

March 6, 2008
» dance monkey dance

Yesterday, I was talking to some of my co-workers. To avoid a long backstory, I'll just say that I blurted, "The tango," and because I can't just say things but must be expressive to the point of ludicrousness, I did a little dip/step forward.

I thought nothing of it, but my co-workers scoffed laughingly, "That is NOT the tango." Okay, given the fact that I was standing confined in the corner of my L-shaped desk, and also given the fact that I had my arms crossed and my sweater wrapped around me backwards because some thoughtless, warm-blooded co-worker had decided to freeze me by opening the window (and given the fact that I don't know how to do the tango, really, although that is very much not the point here) I didn't really have the space or the freedom (or the knowledge) to do the actual tango, now did I.

The co-workers' critical, must-put-other-people-down-to-feel-good-about-self attitudes notwithstanding, their mocking reminded me of a similar incident from years ago in my waitress days. I was walking down the main corridor of the restaurant's kitchen, and I suddenly felt compelled to move to the music. So I did, and I swayed and strutted, imagining myself the confident center of attention as I prowled the catwalk in a fashion show.

Unfortunately, I was snapped hard back into reality when I turned to find the only co-worker present doubled over with laughter. That wouldn't have bothered me so badly had that same guy not soon been all "you go girl!" to another, older(!) employee who gave in to the urge to shake her groove thing. For her he claps along to the music, yet all I get is, "Silly Anne, sexy is for ... someone else."

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind being the "girl next door" type, although I *really* don't like to call it that. I even like making people laugh - I think it comes from being the youngest child - because I really feel I've made a connection if I can make someone laugh. It's just that sometimes I get tired of being the goofy court jester, you know? Every once in a while, it would be nice to be the princess.

March 11, 2008
» dead heat

In the past four days I've had to replace both the hairdryer that I keep at my mother's house and the one I have at my apartment. Because making blog fodder of things like this makes me regret spending money just a little less, I decided to post the details and do my own comparison of how well they work/last.

Dryer #1 (at my mom's) is the Revlon (RV499?) 1875W Travel Dryer, purchased at Kmart for around $15. It says that it's suitable for home or travel, and it comes with an attachment to concentrate the heat flow.

Dryer #2 is the CONAIR 1875 Watt Ionic Styler, purchased at WalMart for around $15. I just got this one today, and as listed among the features, it does have a "quiet motor". It also comes with diffuser and "concentrator" attacments.

FYI, the hairdryer that was replaced at my mom's was the Vidal Sassoon 1875W Turbo Dryer, from WalMart for about $10. I purchased it in August of 2006, but just over a month after that the high setting burned out and wouldn't work anymore. (And this? Is why I didn't even consider purchasing another Vidal Sassoon product.) Rather than pay for shipping to and from the "service center" to replace it, I just used it on the low setting until this weekend when the smell told me it was starting to burn out. Again.

And that's all I have to report so far since I haven't used either of the new ones yet. If I don't post any more about this for a while, you may assume that both dryers are working well.

May the best dryer come out ahead. :D

March 17, 2008
» Monday one, Anne zero

I'm having one of those mornings where nothing is going the way I want it to, and I am finding this very, very, very annoying!

March 26, 2008
» Who's on first?

Unfortunately I have need of the services of a physician. Since I didn't fancy driving the hour-plus drive to my so-called family doctor, I decided to look for a new one where I am. This was a big part of the frustration of my previous post: after I finally decided on two choices, I called them only to discover that neither one was available. Grr.

Today, I decided to call another place, and I wanted to apply my umpteen - okay two - recent calling experiences to get right to the point and save us all some time. Unfortunately...

[The receptionist answers.]

Me: Yes, hello. What is the earliest available appointment you have for a new patient?

[Since there are several doctors in this practice, I thought that this would make it clear that the When Available was more important to me than the Who's Available.]

Receptionist: Which doctor?

[Okay ... maybe they're all available?]

Me: Dr. So-and-so?

Receptionist: Oh, she's not accepting new patients.

So much for my efforts to save time. This was followed by an exchange over alternate choices, then getting my information, and talking about insurance, although now that I think of it, "What kind of insurance does the patient have?" was her reply to my very first question.

Anyway, fortunately after the five minute and twenty-six second conversation (seriously, per the timer on my phone), I was able to get an appointment and before May, so yay for that. I'd better start now stocking up on pens to fill out paperwork when I get there.

March 31, 2008
» a consumer reports

The hair dryer comparison that I started mere weeks ago already has a new development: yesterday I returned Hair Dryer #1 (which was a Revlon Soft Feel 1875 Watt, despite what I reported earlier). Compared to the Conair, the Revlon just didn't seem to have much power. Plus - and I might just be hypersensitive about this, given my past experiences - the Revlon started to have a slight burning-out smell on both the high and low settings. I decided that since I was still in the 30-day can-return-to-the-store window, I'd best not wait and see whether I was just overreacting.

For the replacement dryer, I purchased another of Dryer #2. Hmm, now my comparison can be how the same type of dryer fares under different conditions.

Also, perhaps using only one type of dryer will give me a chance to learn how to style my hair with it!

April 4, 2008
» how to end an argument

OfficeMate and I were riding in the company van with three other people, including a visitor from another state. On the way back from lunch, the driver (aka the boss) decided to take the scenic route and check out a job site. He turns onto a street we've been to before ...

OfficeMate (teasing): This is the way we went before when Anne almost got us lost.

Me: *I* did not get us lost. *You* got us lost. You were all, "I know the way!" and then we wound up at the water tower! Then I was all, "I know where we are, I'm taking over." and I led us to safety.

OfficeMate (still teasing): So you knew where we were, but you didn't speak up.

Me: You acted like you knew the way!

Visitor from Nebraska: You two sound like an old married couple.

OfficeMate and Me: [Awkward silence.]

April 8, 2008
» by the numbers II

Recently, currently, or soon:

0 - jeans purchased after trying on a dozen ill-fitting pairs
1 - notice left on my door by the Sheriff's department
1 - phone call made to the Sheriff's department that the person they're looking for no longer lives at this apartment
1 - number of times I've made French Toast (first time ever, btw)
2 - I plan to post quotes from episode 2 of The Young Riders tomorrow.
2 - number of items on this list I plan to blog more about, at some point
3 - times I've left a radio station because it's broadcasting some sporting event instead of playing music
3 - boxes of tissues currently open at my apartment
7 - days I've been taking medicine for my messed-up sinuses
8 - ounces of orange juice I'm trying to drink every day
14th - day my OfficeMate leaves to go to Nebraska for a month
18th - the seven year anniversary of the day I started my first website
1985 - the theme for an upcoming website layout
30 - approximate number of hours my mother spent at the hospital having some chest pains checked out (thankfully, she's fine)
6:30 - time of the upcoming company banquet and my non-date with a fellow employee
$1.36 - amount of money I spent today (at Dollar General on lotioned tissues)

April 15, 2008
» the other other woman

If I had a dollar for every time I've liked a guy that I couldn't have, I could buy and sell Bill Gates. (Not Bill Gates the Microsoft guy, mind you, but still a fairly-well-off Bill Gates.)

Then, about two and a half years ago, I met a guy that I really, really liked, someone who liked me back AND was available. All three qualities? In one romantic prospect? For me, it was positively unprecedented! We started dating, and I thought I'd finally found my happy ending.

Before long I found myself in still more uncharted territory. Now *I* was the person people liked and couldn't have. Two people have told me so - not sure I recommend spilling your guts about your unrequited feelings, btw - and with another one or two, I (flatter myself that I thought I) picked up a few "if only..." vibes. That gets to me because I've been in their shoes so many times, and I know how much it sucks.

But then, that happy ending I thought I'd found? Turned out to be just the honeymoon phase of the relationship, and it ended, as such periods of elation always seem to. Reality set in, and my Mr. Right turned into Mr. Not What I Thought. Again I started to notice how attractive other guys are, but this time I wasn't free to pursue even those who were free to be pursued. Although I didn't (and don't) yet feel like breaking up with my boyfriend was the right thing to do, more than once my feelings for him have paled in comparison to those I've felt for a crush.

Thankfully, those feelings of random attraction again settled down as I recognized that even if I didn't have a boyfriend, it probably wouldn't work out with the current objects of my affection.

So, I've been in a pretty neutral place lately, crush-wise. Therefore, when I was invited a few weeks ago to attend the company banquet with Cute Work Guy, it was no big deal. After all, last year I went with one of the married girls at work when her husband couldn't make it. If I could be her "date", why couldn't I do the same for CWG? As far as I was concerned, the situation was the same, simply two work acquaintances at a company function.

Yeah, I was pretty much fooling myself. At first - even though I was thrilled to have been asked, shoulda been my first clue - I truly thought it was no big deal, and I was all, "It's not a date!" Then right after that, on the way to see my boyfriend I heard "Be Without You" by Mary J Blige. I remembered that back when I first heard the song, I would think so passionately about my boyfriend because I was working with one of my exes, and I really wanted my boyfriend to know that he had nothing to worry about. Back in the present, I suddenly felt terrible. Was the teasing at work true? Was I really cheating?

I decided that I'd casually tell my boyfriend about the banquet after it was over, being sure to compare it to my "date" the year before. If it's no big deal, I can tell him, right? I did tell him about it as I'd planned, and he seemed okay with it although he sure did change the subject quickly. I hadn't even had the chance to say who the guy was, and I felt that was an important element of truth not to be omitted. So the next day I emailed him a picture from the banquet, joking that "[CWG] says he'll take you next time, to be fair." After I sent that email, I wondered what a psychiatrist would say about this compulsion I feel to say things that could cause trouble between me and my boyfriend. (Maybe I'm subconsciously trying to get some sort of reaction? Or trying to break up? Maybe it's my mother's fault?? (Just kidding about that last one.))

On top of all this, I think my at-work protests downplaying our "non-date" hurt Cute Work Guy's feelings. :slaps forehead: He knows I have a boyfriend, and he agreed that it wasn't a date. So why did someone tell me that CWG repeated how quick I was to deny the dateness of the situation? :sigh: Apparently, yet again, I'm not the only one with mixed emotions about this whole thing.

I'm going to go now and try to recall why I ever thought any of this was a good idea.

April 24, 2008
» photoblogging

Highlights of the latest photo postings include befores and afters of my new 'do (with no highlights, only a cut, just so we're clear), a visit to Bridge Street and one picture from the banquet I mentioned in the previous blog entry.

May 1, 2008
» the cautionary tale of Mr. (I'm) Right

Years ago, a co-worker of mine was getting angry describing a dispute he'd had with someone else. Listening to him talk about it, the exchange sounded to me like a simple difference of opinion, really nothing worth getting worked up over, and I tried to (impartially) say that. He was not to be consoled, so I tried to reason that "just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't make them wrong." "Yes, it does!" he replied, as if I'd just said the stupidest thing in the world.

Okay, now, I'll admit that there are those Big Issues where we truly believe we're right, and if you're a confrontational sort of person, you'll take any occasion to voice and/or defend those beliefs. If you're non-confrontational like I am, you are secure enough in your beliefs to hear other people's opinions, and you realize that you're probably not going to argue anyone into seeing your point anyway.

That was my point with my co-worker: there are billions of people in this world, and if every differing viewpoint makes you fighting mad, well, you'll probably be angry a lot and your health will likely suffer. Why not just agree to disagree?

Recently I've seen another danger in stubbornly clinging to one's strong opinions. As I've mentioned before, my OfficeMate is one of the most opinionated people I've ever met. On the surface, he seems very easygoing, but after you've shared an office with him for a year and a half, you see that he's very ... *affected* by what he thinks about things. He will interpret a situation a certain way and then be angry over some wrong that he's perceived.

Late last year, OfficeMate and I both felt that our training situation wasn't working out. OM turned in his resignation, and because the higher-ups value his work skills, they negotiated a change in the training situation to appease him. They rehired a Former Employee and put him in charge of training us because that's what OM and I said we wanted.

However, since FE returned, OM still hasn't been happy with the training situation. He has taken to complaining to me that FE has changed and that he used us to get rehired. Seeing things that way makes OM so mad that he can hardly respond to any work-related critique from FE in a civil manner.

This has not gone unnoticed by FE. Because OM hasn't even tried to talk things out with FE, FE truly doesn't know why things between them changed. All he sees is that OM won't come and ask him questions, and because of that, OM has been late in finishing all of his recent projects. So, FE asked the higher-ups if they could bring OM to the parent company for a month, so that maybe they could find a training method that suits him. And as I write this, my OfficeMate is many, many miles away in the Midwest, and he's got one more week before he gets to come home.

As I see it, although FE is not the most people-y person out there, he does want to do a good job. And the higher-ups agreeing to endure the expense and trouble of bringing OM there to train for a month reinforces how much they value him as an employee. Sadly, I'm fairly certain that OM still sees everything that happens and has happened as supporting his initial impressions of the situation. He still believes that FE is out to get him, and he's concerned that he's in Nebraska because the bosses have bad news to tell him. He doesn't realize that he wouldn't have had to take the trip at all if he could've put his negative assumptions aside and found a way to work with FE. His strong opinions have blinded him -- to his own hurt - from looking at the situation objectively, and his subsequent actions are causing some negative repercussions.

The moral of this post can be summed up in three words of caution: Self. Fulfilling. Prophecy.

May 6, 2008
» the guilty one blogs first

Remember the previous post? I was all, "Oh, OfficeMate! If only you weren't so quick to judge! You could spare yourself so much grief if you didn't always assume the worst!" It was just so clear to me how much energy he wastes feeling bad over troubles that are only in his mind.

I've heard it said that the things that bother us most in others are the things we are guilty of ourselves. Embarrassingly, yet again I have proven that true in my own life because that same week, as I was reflecting on OfficeMate's negative tendencies, I remained unaware of the fact that I was repeatedly doing the same thing.

You see, my boyfriend would be viewing my new haircut for the first time on Saturday. In the past, he's responded to my attempts at a new look with a neutrality that borders on insulting. "Oh," he remarked on one occasion, "you're wearing your hair *up* today." (I always want to respond to comments like that with something similarly noncommittal. "And you're wearing a *blue* shirt today.")

I expected him to respond to my latest 'do in the same bland way. And the more I thought about that, the angrier I became. I peevishly decided that if he did respond with some observation-not-really-a-compliment, that I would point out that everyone else who has felt compelled to share an opinion on the matter has said something nice - sometimes *very* nice - so WHY is it that MY OWN BOYFRIEND can't be at LEAST that POLITE?!?! If I thought that once I thought it twenty times, and I griped about it to at least four people.

Since I'm writing all of this in the context of confessing my wrongness, you can probably guess that I'm feeling pretty sheepish right about now. He did not have the reaction that I had so angrily anticipated. When he first saw me on Saturday, his eyes grew wide and he sort of leaned back expressing his surprise. That in itself was much better than I expected. (A reaction! I got an actual reaction!) But then he proceeded to say something nice. Out loud. With words. And he said that he could tell I liked it too, which made me feel good both that I appeared confident and that he noticed. And when I half-joked, "Really, the way everyone at work has raved over it, I'm kinda starting to feel bad about the way I looked before," he responded encouragingly to that as well. "No, no," he soothed, "just take the compliments as a good thing and leave it at that."

As I told my sister about my boyfriend's response being way better than I thought it would be, the truth hit me. I was being an OfficeMate! Hypocrisy, thy name is Anne.

So the next time I start to fret because I "just know" a situation is going to turn out badly, maybe I'll remember this incident and consider three more words of caution (and hope): Sometimes. I'm. Wrong.

May 16, 2008
» vegetarian in a small town, part I

At the Hot Dog Lunch Cookout at work a few weeks ago, the guy doing the grilling was complaining about having to cook the veggie burgers that were purchased for me.

Complainy Carnivore (trash-talking the veggie burgers): "... and they are SO dry, and they've probably been frozen since last year. You'd rather have something like that than good old 100% Grade A American beef?"

Me: "And you think *that's* what in these hot dogs??"

May 22, 2008
» vegetarian in a small town, part II

While trying to think of a blog topic last week, I recalled that I'd wanted to use the above subject line, which I'd thought of a while ago. At that time, I had become annoyed that every(!) time(!) we get together to eat at work, without fail, someone will comment on me being a vegetarian. I finally pointed this out to someone, and she replied defensively, "Well, you've gotta expect it when you choose to eat that way." I said, "But it's the SAME people and the SAME comments every time!" Apparently, my simply sitting there eating my meatless food just begs comment from some people.

As I saw it, the whole thing was a prime example of their cliquish, small town attitude. (Don't get me wrong. I *love* small towns. I'm *from* a small town, but if we act like that, I apologize profusely because I remain oblivious.) The comments aren't a polite interest in a different way of doing things. They're to point out, "You're different, and that's just not right."

As I mentioned, I thought again of bringing this up, but I realized that no one had said much about the vegetarian thing beyond their "joke" of suggesting bacon when I mention being hungry. But the same day I was thinking it hadn't been mentioned much, it was brought up twice. Once when someone announced that "there are some leftover Subway sandwiches up front, with meat, because that's how normal people eat." And again when someone else declared that it says in the Bible that we are to eat meat. (Um, what translation are you reading? Correct me if I'm wrong, but what the Bible does is call out what animals were deemed unclean for those following the Old Testament laws. "Can eat" and "must eat" are two different things.)

Once again, I completely understand why a guy vegetarian friend of mine stopped telling people he was a vegetarian. He wasn't ashamed of it. He simply got tired of having to defend his choice to the vast majority of the people he knows every time they shared a meal.

May 29, 2008
» the last Beatlemaniac?

I may be forty years behind, but recently I've been developing a mild obsession with the Beatles. Not so much John, but very much George.

It started a few weeks ago when the radio station I was listening to played some Beatles songs as part of a special oldies program. It'd been a long time since I'd heard any of their non-solo music, and I enjoyed that trip down Penny Memory Lane so much that I had to get up and dance. Multiple times. (Good thing I was alone in my apartment, or there could've been mocking.)

When I heard "She Loves You," the line "I can hurt you too. Apologize to her." really struck me and in a good way. Ooh! Threatening Beatles! Me *like*!

At some point between that radio broadcast and now, I was clued in to the fact that Eric Clapton wrote "Layla" for George Harrison's wife, Pattie. That snippet of info piqued my curiosity, and I had to look it up. I read that Pattie had said George was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. Really? George? I'd never paid that much attention to him - or any of them, truth be known - during my brief previous exposures to the Beatles, but the picture at Wikipedia of him with Pattie was not bad.

I'd been wanting to hear "She Loves You" again, so earlier this week, I watched the video at YouTube, then I watched several others, and I must admit that George is absolutely gorgeous. His eyes . . . wow, do I love a man with dark, dark eyes. :dreamy sigh: To see more of him/them, I watched the group's first movie. I had no idea what to expect with that, but it's actually pretty funny. Then again, that could just be the mania talking. ;)

This week I've also read quite a bit about the guys, their other projects, even about John's murderer, who will be up for parole again in October of this year.

Oh, and about the situation with Eric Clapton: Pattie left George for Eric. Shame on you, Eric Clapton ... although the rest of the story reveals that apparently George was no saint either. And this? Is why I typically make it a point not to read too much about famous people that I'm obsessing over. I usually find out something that I'd rather have gone on not knowing.

I'm feeling a bit less obsessive now.


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