Friday, August 31, 2007


One of my favorite new pastimes is to watch people approach our front door and try to get in. I work in a secure building, where the lobby door is locked at all times. There is a camera by which I can monitor people standing on the stoop. I can often see them approach through the front windows. They can’t see me of course, which makes the game fun.

I have several significant signs posted on the door. The most important one is the company name, in big bold font, placed prominently where it should be impossible to miss. There is a second notice identifying the times of day when there is no lobby access such as when I take a break or go to lunch. This is on bright pink paper and is clearly marked. The third sign is posted right over the door handle so there is no reason they can’t see it. It reads “push button on pole for access”. On the pole, is another note clearly pointing out the button.

Several times a day, people approach the door. Their routine is so similar, it’s humorous to watch. First, they yank away on the handle. Then in confusion, when it doesn’t yield, they cup their hands and peer through the glass. Next, they take a step back and assess the entrance. Here they diverge. Some will notice the “push button” sign, actually find and push the button. Some pound away on the door. Others give up too easily and simply leave.

If they find the button, I will speak with them on the intercom and ask them their business. Inevitably, they will ask for the company next door. How they missed the big company name right beside the “push button” sign, I don’t know. I’m polite and tell them they have to go around to their left to find the entrance to the other suite. I then watch as they walk away to the right. Eventually, I will see them walk back around to the left. The old joke runs through my mind. “Correct! Your other left!”

If they pound on the door, I use the intercom and ask if there is something I can help them with. Of course, they will ask for the company next door and proceed to the right when I just indicated left. I don’t even bother with the people who give up too easily.

All of my interesting visitors today began arriving by mid-day. The first arrived while I was at lunch. This event I witnessed from the picnic table out front. I watch as the black Audi pulls into the lot and parks. A tall woman unfolds herself as she emerges from her vehicle. Her hair is dyed a brash shade of red and it is teased high on her head, with the rest coming to a flip at the shoulders. My eyebrows go up. She is wearing a very short, tight black skirt pulled over very pronounced love handles. As she turns, and I see that the black skirt is hiked up in the back. I have to hold the book I am reading up over my face to prevent her from seeing me laugh. She doesn’t seem to realize the need to yank down the back as she struts over to the front door on spiked heels. She proceeds to yank on the handle. Then she cups her hands and peers through the window. As she leans into the window, the skirt rises a few more inches. She yanks again, notices the button sign and starts pushing away. I realize of course, I could speak up and put her out of her misery. She gives up and steps away from the door and dials her cell phone. She has a short conversation and folds herself back into her car. I watch as she drives around to the right. I wait. A few moments later, she drives around to the left. I don’t know what her business is next door, but I sure would like to know.

When I arrive back from my lunch break, I take a call on the switchboard. As I’m speaking, I notice out in the parking lot, that a panel truck is circling. All the while I’m speaking on the phone; the truck drives this way and that. Finally, he selects a parking spot. I disconnect, and wait for the buzzer. The man who approaches looks like some type of service technician. I haven’t called for any service today. He yanks on the door. Then he cups his hands and peers through the glass. He notices the button sign and presses. As I begin talking with him, the phone rings again and I have to cut him off. I take the call, and then speak with the man at the door again. It’s something about “fire”. I ask if it’s the panel, because I have had trouble with the fire panel. No, it’s the extinguishers. I’m irritated now. He is making a service call without an appointment. I let him in anyway. He is trying to convince me that he is here to inspect the fire extinguishers. I am not very polite because he’s a bit pushy. In as plain a face as I can manage, I tell him in no uncertain terms that I realize it is time for the yearly inspection, but that unless I have a quote that my supervisor can approve, there will be no access to the building. I think I’ve been a bit harsh because his face drops and he is back peddling. In the end, we exchange business cards and wish each other a good day.

Toward the end of the business day, as I’m wrapping things up, and old buck makes his way to the front door. He has that stride that older folks have that is not quite a waddle, but not quite a sure footed gait. He’s round about the middle and his belt buckle is fastened securely just below is chest. On his head is a broad brimmed straw hat. He yanks on the door, then cups his hands and peers in. He steps away and I think it’s the end of things, when I hear the buzzer. Well I’ll be! The old buck saw the button sign! “Can I help you sir?” I ask over the intercom. “I’m looking for Bob.” he speaks loudly into his end. “I’m sorry sir; Bob is no longer with this company.” “But he told me this is where he works!” he replies. “He was in Nashua and they moved here and he works here.” I cut him off at this point and explain there was a large lay off and unfortunately Bob was one of many. I decide the old man is safe and tell him where Bob is working now and suggest that if he has a phone number to call him. He misunderstands and gives me his name and number. I turn my statement into a question. “Do you have Bob’s home phone number?” Yes he does. I suggest he call Bob at home. He thanks me and I think it is the end of things when he begins telling me what a nice guy Bob is. They used to work together at Kollsman and Bob even helped him move. It is more information than should be delivered via intercom. Now I feel bad that I didn’t let him in. He realizes, on his own, that he is going on, ends his conversation and wishes me good day. Maybe I should get a job as a door man in New York City? After today, I can imagine it’s a lot more interesting that one might think.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Against the Tide

This long and stressful summer, has caught me in a rip tide from which I cannot extricate myself. At first, I fought against the tide. This sapped my strength and took an emotional toll on me. To survive, I let it carry me where it will, while I merely tread water. All the while sending out signals, reaching for strongholds and eyeing the shore all in an effort to save myself.
The current has trapped many of us. We are a sea of humanity carelessly tossed about by Neptune’s vengeance. In his anger, he has struck the ground with his trident and reeked havoc among his faithful subjects.
Yesterday I felt a shift. The rip tide is beginning to release its grip. I’m ready for the uncaring sea to spit me onto the shore. I am not even concerned if the shore is abandoned and I have a long walk to civilization. I simply want to be free from its grip.
Let Neptune pull his treasures to him and isolate himself in his inland sea palace. We are finally free of his grip. He, however, is trapped with his treasures; bitter, alone and unloved.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Ahh Factor

My laptop is finally back from repair. Its return home wasn’t without some excitement however. On Saturday, I received an e-mail message from HP informing me that my laptop had been shipped on Friday for “next day” delivery. “Oh geez” I thought, “we’ll be away all day.” No matter that we will not be home, I will leave a signed note on the door to cover for my signature and indicate they can leave it at the door. After all, when I purchased it new, they left a door tag for me to sign, and left the package the next day. When we return home on Saturday, the note is still on the door.

I begin thinking about the “next day” message I have received from HP. I recalled that when I had to send out “lay off” notices, I had to specify “Saturday” if I really meant “next day.” With that in mind, I visit the FedEx web site and type in my tracking number. Sure enough, next day is to be Monday. “No matter” I think again, “the signed note should work for Monday too.”

On Monday, after work, I go to the gym as usual, and look forward to sitting comfortably during the evening to enjoying the laptop. When I arrive home, Andy indicates the door tag on the table. I look around. No laptop package is in sight. “What the heck!” Andy tells me to read the note. “Sorry” it reads, “sender requests live signature receipt.” “Why do they need a live signature now? They left it before without a live person to sign! No one is ever home during the day! I’ll never get this delivered!” I’m sullen as I eat my evening meal. I haven’t tasted a bite. All the while, I keep re-reading the note. “What is that fine print here near the scribbled notation?” I squint. Oh my, can it be true? The FedEx office at the airport is open until 8:30 pm. My eyes widen. I look at the clock. It is now 7:20 pm. I point out the fine print to Andy. He squints and agrees that is does indeed say 8:30. “Do we have time to get there?” I ask. “Plenty of time.” he declares. We drop everything and jump into the van. “You drive,” he instructs. I do, and off we go.

As we head toward Manchester, I notice that my gas gauge is reading low. No sooner have I noticed this, than I hear the low-on-fuel signal. “Don’t worry! We have plenty of gas to get there.” Andy proclaims. We have a bit of a ride, so I start chatting about my day. Twice, I almost take the wrong exit, and become flustered. Not only that, but as evening falls I can’t see the road clearly. The contact lenses I wear during the day are different for each eye. One is for reading and one is for distance. Once it gets dark, however, the world gets a lot more blurry. I usually drive with my glasses at night. Now, not only am I nearly taking the wrong exits, I can’t read the signs anymore either. Finally, I get us to Brown Avenue in one piece.

As we approach the airport, I take the first left onto Perimeter Road. I realize my error right away. I should have taken the second left. Andy is sure the road goes around and instructs me to continue. We do, but get nowhere. He’s telling me to take this turn and that, and now I’m so turned around, I barely know which way is which! In frustration and with a voice many decibels louder, I’m told to pull over. I happily turn over the driving to him. We continue to weave around the airport in search of the FedEx office. The needle on gas gauge is barely hovering over empty. “Stop worrying about the gas! We have plenty!” Andy insists.

We realize we won’t find the office without help and stop to ask for directions. We see a service truck parked on the side of the road. We stop and kindly ask for directions to the FedEx office. As the man is giving us instructions, I try to pay attention. It’s clear to me that we are really off course. I look at the clock. It is now after eight o’clock. I have my doubts about getting there before closing.

Off we go again. We find ourselves at another dead end and have to turn around. Finally, I see a turn that resembles the description the man has given us. We take that. Next, we need to find a stop sign, go through that and we should see FedEx. Just when we give up hope that we are on the right track, the stop sign appears. Low and behold, so does the FedEx sign! I breathe a sigh of relief. Andy pulls up to the door and I jump out and hurriedly make my way to the entrance. A customer, who is exiting, sees me hurry along and announces, “No need to rush. You have plenty of time!” he says to me. What is it with men and their “plenty of” syndrome?

At the desk, I hand over the door tag and ask for my package. I sign for it, and never once am I asked for identification. Now I’m irritated. If I drove all this way on fumes and jumped through all those hurdles, shouldn’t they at least make sure I am who I say I am? This leave me wondering why they couldn’t have accepted the signature I left at home.

With laptop in hand, we make our way out of the airport and to the nearest gas station. We have more hoops to jump through here as well. Half the pumps are out of gas, and the credit card readers are out of order. We find an operating pump. The van takes more gas than I ever remember pumping into it. “Holy smokes!” I think. “That tank must really be on fumes for sure.” While I’m paying inside, Andy discovers from other customers, that the stations all along Brown Ave are out of gas. I have never heard such a thing. I look up at the sky and think, “Must be the full moon!” We arrive home. I inspect the machine and settle in comfortably. The laptop is running smoothly. I know it was all worth it when I feel the ahh …wash over me.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Gift

I wanted to give a gift. A gift of enjoyment to those I used to ride with at work. The idea formulated from what had become our Annual Bike Rally. This tradition came to a sudden end one June day this year. The ride I had planned for the group was ridden by me alone in a somber farewell tribute to times now past. We are scattered now and no longer ride together.
Before the summer ended, I wished to reunite the group with a better ride than I could have planned in an hour’s time during a work day. So the idea blossomed into organizing an all day ride. I pitched my idea to Andy and he was willing to help. We rode the route twice more, and made modifications to the original. We planned and timed the stops, measured the miles, and considered the lunch stop. We built in a photo opportunity. The thought here was for a group shot that participants could keep as a memento.
For several days, using the notes we had taken, I mapped out the route in two separate but popular formats. I gathered information about all of the riders who had ever passed through the doors of our technology lab and typed an invitation to them all. To my surprise, I had only one acceptance. “No matter” Andy said. “If it is important to you then it is important to him as well. We go.”
I am not sure of the reason I felt my gift would be accepted by more people. What I believe now is that I wanted the gift for myself. Despite the one taker, I was not disappointed, for the one rider who accepted, had also been the one rider who followed me to work, to ensure my safety, when first I learned to ride. It was a fitting and appropriate gift to us both.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Recently I had the joy of watching my year and half old grandson run through the yard with a Joie de Vivre that was so palatable, you couldn’t help but be infected by it. Looking at the world through his eyes renews my spirit in times of stress. Can I imagine life without him in it? No. Life often presents us with gifts we are unable to see at the time. It is with this thought that I want to share what I wrote about his begin. It is my tribute to my grandson.

Excerpt from Aiden:
My daughter has stopped by the house in a surprise visit. She has recently moved back to the state and reconnected with an old boyfriend. She is living there now with his family. I don’t know much about them. For a year we had no communication with her. Only she knows what went on during that year, but I do not ask. That is behind us now. Here they both are, sitting in my living room making small talk.

The boyfriend walks outdoors with my husband. It’s just the two of us. “I’m pregnant.” She tells me. I blink. There is a moment of silence as I process this news. “Are you going to keep the baby?” I ask in what I hope is a matter-of-fact tone. “Yes” she replies. “Good.” I say, but my stomach suddenly feels acidy. Another silent moment passes. “Are you scared?” I ask next. I notice a faint crack in her composure. “Yes” she says quietly and with a slight quiver in her voice. She quickly recovers.

I admire the way she maintains her composure. My memory goes back to when she was a young child. One day in particular comes to mind. She is misbehaving and I threaten a spanking. “You can spank me all you want” she retorts, “buy you can never make me cry!” It’s at that moment that I know I have met my match. No two people can be as hard headed as the two of us. There is only this one difference between us. I let my tears flow freely.

“You are taking this much more calmly than I expected” she says. I have a lot of spinning going on in my mind. It feels less than calm. I try to bullet my thoughts like they are some type of report so that I can pick the right thing to say next. I’m always fearful of saying something wrong. “It’s not something that can be undone.” I tell her. “We are after all talking about my grandchild.”

I’m not ready to be a grandparent, and as the days wear on I can’t make sense of the thoughts rolling around in my mind. I think about the empty nest syndrome. Some couples have been known to have late in life children to fill a void left by departed offspring. I have no such inclination. I am enjoying my freedom. I feel reborn and reconnected with the world. I devoted my life to my children. I love them. I will always love them. However, child rearing is behind me and I’m enjoying renewed life. My head is filled with what-ifs. Will they manage? Will she need to move home? Will I become a surrogate mother? It makes me feel guilty and selfish to have such thoughts.

I seek out a confidant. This person has always been a good listener in the past and does not fail me when I approach as someone to confide in. He has a calming personality, and his gentle Quaker way often sooths my ruffled feathers. He has a story to tell of friends. They too had mixed and unfavorable emotions when presented with the news of a little one on the way. They were forever transformed however, with love of this child, when they cradled their “flesh and bone” in their arms. I think it’s a bit sappy, but all his advice to me in the past has proven reliable. I take this with me although I’m a bit skeptical.

My daughter has invited me to be present in the delivery room when the time comes. I’m surprised by this, but accept the invitation. I’m not sure what to expect. The reality is never what one imagines it will be.

The phone rings. The day has arrived. We head to the hospital. The labor progresses quickly. My grandson is wailing before he is fully into the world. I follow the nurse as he is weighed and then ushered under the warming lights. I stay by his side. He is cleaned, vitals are taken and then he is measured head to foot. All the while his little arms flail and he wails with strong lungs. I feel his confusion at the lack of familiarity the womb has provided. I place my finger in his palm as the nurse works on him. His little fist clutches my finger with a grip that is strong. His wailing subsides immediately as he holds on with tenacity. I notice how swollen his genitals are. Being born is serious business. He has his mother’s toes. He flexes them independently of each other. I have to release his little grip on my finger as he is wrapped and swaddle. The wailing ensues.

He is placed in his mother’s arms and she envelopes him as though she has done so hundreds of times. So it is with mothers down through the millennium. There is no training needed here. Where only moments before there was much bustling about, now there is subdued quiet. We watch in respectful awe. We are witnesses to the start of a new life. The quiet is broken only with the gentle cooing of mother and snuffling baby sounds. It is at that moment that I know it is going to be all right.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I love to write. I can’t seem to help but sit down and let my fingers move across the keyboard. I write about anything and everything that comes across my mind. When I think, it formulates itself in my mind as text. I shuffle it around, play word games, think abstract thoughts or have profound insights. When people speak with me, their words often arrange themselves as dictionary entries and I begin to contemplate the variety of meanings one word can have. People often convey their true feelings in this way without awareness of what they are doing, so I believe.
While I enjoy the written word as a hobby, I hope to one day make it my profession. Therefore, I would enjoy feedback from those who read this blog. Some of the feedback I am looking for would be your thoughts on content.
• Which entries were more interesting to you than others, and why?
• What didn’t I speak enough about that you wished had more information?
• In what ways do you feel I could improve my content?
• Are my musings of interest?
• Do you enjoy the descriptions of the people that cross my path?

You can address any area you feel needs my attention. Tell me where you think I am going right, and where I may go wrong. Content, style and structure are all eligible for scrutiny.

You may use this address: to send your comments if you don't with them public. Your input is appreciated.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Top Poster

I’m not sure why, but it came as bit of a surprise, when for the second time, I found myself one of the top posters on a forum. This time it was the group web site for recently unemployed colleagues. This group formulated to share information about such things as job postings, recruiters and interview tips. There is a wealth of information here that is helpful to everyone. What could I possibly have had to say that led to me ranking second in the top posters list? I began to asses the reasons.
First, I looked at the two top posters. One is a professional writer, and I, an aspiring writer. I smugly leap to the idea that I just like to write. While this may be true, it isn’t the whole picture. I also have a strong mother hen instinct that my friends are fond of pointing out. They all have varying degrees of positive and negative comments about their observations. I study this a bit more. I think about the members of this group. All members began with looking for work. To date, nearly half of them have been successful. Am I a top poster because I have a true concern? Yes, my concern is genuine. However, I could follow their efforts without posting anything. After all, I’m not likely to have any leads to software jobs, or be familiar with recruiters. So this isn’t the answer either.
Negative suggestions begin to pop into my mind. Is it possible I’m just nosy? On the other hand, maybe I like gossip? I disregard these as labels that should apply to me. I prefer to believe I’m a social butterfly. Forums are, after all, virtual places to “hang out”. I know for sure this is the reason I “hang” at the other forum. It is strictly for the entertainment value and the camaraderie of real and virtual friendships. My assessment then is that I’m a social butterfly, who wants to keep connected with friends she cares about, but doesn’t often have the “real time” face-to-face luxury for doing so.
This may be closer to the truth, but doesn’t explain why I fall in the top poster list. I realize at one forum, I almost can’t help but to post comments. They are all so funny at times, it can’t be ignored. As for the colleague group, its possible I just don’t want to be forgotten or that I want to continue to be useful. The true reason may be a combination of all the above. One thing is for sure, however, its evident I love to talk!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Nothing to Do

When I was a kid, I remember moaning to my Mother on some long hot summer day “there’s nothing to do!” Now I find too many choices on my plate and perplexed about which one to select. Don’t get me wrong, this is not something I am complaining about at all. My complaint is that I want to do all the things on the list. The problem is that I find they often conflict with each other. At such times I am faced with the having to construct a pros and cons list to decide what to do. The trouble with pros and cons lists is that they can’t help but be arbitrary. That is OK if the list will be applied strictly to oneself, but more difficult if they involve a group.
This was my challenge this past weekend, when a long planned group ride that I had been anticipating, clashed with an invitation from my daughter. Toss in an opportunity to spend time with friends we haven’t seen in a while and the situation becomes more confused. All turned out well, however, when the friends heard about the daughter’s invitation and the idea appealed to them as well. It was easy after that to decide and no pro or con list was needed when simple math would do. An opportunity to see the daughter and baby, toss in the “haven’t seen in a while” friends with one fun activity, ride to the destination on motorcycles, and we put the group ride aside.
Riding to any destination on a motorcycle is always more enjoyable than travel by car. There is a perception of the world around you that is missed when viewed from inside a car. I begin to have the impression that the people in the cars are traveling in isolated bubbles, oblivious to what is happening outside. The windows are closed, the air conditioning is running, the music is turned up or the kids are screaming. As they travel along with hundreds of other cars, their world is isolated to their immediate environment.
In our travel to Pease Air Force Base for the air show, the world around became a magnificent transformation from pine scented small towns, the gentle sounds off a lake water lapped shore of Massabesic, to the striking salt air scents off the ocean breeze of the Rye coast line. Add to that the salt flat, the Pemigwasset River and Great Pond and you have a wonderful mix of heady sights, sounds and smells that no automobile ride can come close too.
An air show is a fantastic activity for any genre of people. The lay person has an opportunity to see inside various aircraft that under normal situations they would never be exposed too. The aeronautical buff gets his fix of the real thing. Former service personnel take pride in, and relive past moments in history. Current service personnel take great pride in showing off their “stuff”.
We arrive at the parking lot and we are successful at parking four motorcycles in one spot for twenty dollars. This is good news as parking is twenty dollars per vehicle. Since we all fit in one spot, we get away with the one fee. We make our way into the airfield and meet up with Kyla and Aiden. Andy and Lee walk off to investigate some missile launchers he once worked on in the machine shop. Deb and I walk off with Aiden and Kyla to see the opening ceremony. The wind is very strong, and I can’t hear what’s being said because the sound is carried off. We decide to move along and stop to watch various activities around the Air Force section of the field.
We find the gyroscope type ride and watch a few people, mostly young, take their turn at spinning around this way, that way, and upside down. Kyla connects with Tim and he wants to give this a try. We watch as he is strapped into the contraption. I can’t determine the look on his face. I think it’s one of anxiety, but not the bad sort, more of a concerned anticipation. He has a wide grin and he is being spun around every which way, but his face is turning a bright red. In the end, he does very well and walks away with his dignity in tact. I’m impressed!
Aiden is taking everything in stride from the comfort of his stroller. When I stick my head under the canopy to give those cheeks a kiss, he takes me in with one long look, and then looks away as if too say “oh, it’s just Memere”. Memere doesn’t mind, he’s just too darn cute.
Around noon we are getting hungry. We head over to the vendors and find long lines we do not wish to stand in. The air show is in full swing and we don’t want to miss anything. We spot a vendor where the lines are shorter. They are selling smoked turkey legs. The things look huge! I watch a few people walking around with their huge foil wrapped drumstick looking like people out of the middle ages, and get in line. What the heck, the line is short and we’re hungry. The smoked turkey actually is pretty tasty and I eat half before I’m full. Kyla polishes it off. It turns out to be a good investment as it fed two for the price of one.
We park ourselves and settle in to watch the show. We are not disappointed at the formation flying, F18 fighter jet demonstration, the Stealth swooping in to hushed silence among the crowd. Deb and I watched the woman wing walker with respect, but we both though her crazy just the same. “The Only Canadian Woman Wing Walker” blares the announcer. Deb and I look at each other and are not surprised. We believe most Canadians have common sense.
Aiden is getting a bit restless. Andy finds a pinwheel and Aiden is amused with that for a while. However, little guys only have so much battery power, and Kyla and Tim head home so he can nap.
Lee, Deb Andy and I take a stroll while we wait for the glider to be towed to the desired elevation. We spot too old soldiers swapping stories. It’s a sight right out of a movie, and I am moved to ask them for a photograph. Joseph D Greeley may look ancient, but his mind is sharp. He stands with dignity for his photo and gives me his card so I know of whom I am taking a picture. I read the card.
“ 99th Bomb Group, 50 Combat Missions-B17G, Pilot- 15th Air Force, July 1944 to January 1945 Foggia, Italy.” I’m impressed! I think my Dad should carry such cards! There is an e-mail address as well. I will send Joseph the photo.
The announcer lets us know that the glider is ready and directs our attention to the sky. I have seen gliders before as the land at the Pepperell air field a lot, but I have never seen anyone do what this guy did. That glider looped, dipped and rose in a beautiful sight to see, choreographed with a classic piece playing from the loud speakers. It was a joy to watch.
We head back toward the vendors, and Andy and Lee engage in a bit of “trash talk” about getting on the gyroscope ride. Andy will not be out trashed and gets in line for the ride. Lee settles in his chair to watch the show. A little kid tries to cut Andy off in line. Andy points out that he’s waiting. I think the kid doesn’t believe him. The ride operator hands him the sheet upon which you have to list your name and age. He calls out to me, “How old am I now anyway? 60?” Andy is strapped in and when the ride starts up he is whooping and hollering like it’s some mechanical bull ride. The ride operator is chuckling and the crowd is enjoying it too. He does wonderfully and I am shocked that the ice cream cone he just ate stays down. Andy’s ride has generated a lot of interest and we watch a few other older men line up for the ride. The kids are watching their grandpas, some with embarrassment, and some cheering them on. It’s the most fun we’ve had all day watching the people take the ride. The young kids all wanted to be “cool”. The grandpas are hooting and hollering and the crowd is enjoying it all. Andy checks the sheet and the oldest person to take the ride is 62.
At four o’clock the show ends for the day. We take our leave and head south along the shore. We are rewarded with beautiful blue ocean, seascaped vistas and gulls sailing overhead. The perfect end to a perfect day.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Inner and Outer Beauty

I pull into the parking lot at 6:55 am. Today is Bug Man day. Once a month, the technician comes in to spray for insects and do whatever for pest control. Connie and I used to alternate months to be here early, but now it is just me.

This morning when I awoke, I had a sense that my present work situation is equivalent to the empty nest syndrome. All of my charges are off into the world. Somehow, this concept made me chuckle. After all, I had no problem with the real empty nest and seized the opportunity to find new and fun ways to play. I need to give that more thought.

I will let the empty nest theory rattle around in my head, but only to the back of my consciousness for the time being. Right now, I will focus on reclaiming my inner and outer beauty. Recently, while building my portfolio, I dug up my “accolades” book. I had begun this journal some years ago, when the idea was presented in a book I was reading. It is a way to keep concrete examples of how you are appreciated in your everyday life. While re-reading the entries that I had cut and pasted from various sources, I was struck by a profound understanding. The accolades that had been written, of and to me, were a result of the beauty within that spilled forth into my work and everyday life. The joi de vive that I remember having at those times was palatable enough to affect others in positive ways. Where is that inner beauty? When did I put that down and turn into a bitter shrew? Even I have had enough of me.

The state of my emotional well-being is equivalent to a toxic waste dump. The only cure for toxic waste dumps is to begin a reclamation program. The first step to any reclamation program is to identify the toxins that pollute. The second step is to stop dumping toxic waste into the system. I have a good idea what these toxins are that pollute the inner beauty. Listening to, or taking part in any negative talk, or passively letting someone draw me into his or her drama. Both give me stomach upset, a sure sign of toxic waste.

How will I reclaim outer beauty? I will reclaim my outer beauty in the same way I will reclaim my inner beauty. There will be no more dumping of toxic waste into the system. We all know what is good and what is bad for us but succumb to temptations. Other trouble occurs when we view our own body and the enemy, when in fact, it is our ally. What is required here is the equivalent of Homeland Security. I will watch my “borders” and keep covert operatives at bay. These are the people who encourage you to partake in sugary treats with such comment as “you can afford it” or “you have nothing to worry about.” It will be tough as it is not always easy to tell friend from foe. I am ready for the challenge. I miss my inner and outer beauty too much.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wind Therapy

This morning I take a walk during my break. As I make my rounds, I notice a car parked in an odd spot in the parking lot. I realize there is a man sitting in the car. I try not to stare, but I feel uncomfortable with a stranger in the lot. I head back into the lobby. Al is over by the fax machine. I tell Al about the stranger and he volunteers to go investigate. I think he’s brave to do so. There are a lot of nuts out there these days. I have an errand and tell Al I’ll be right back. When I return, Al is gone, and the guy in the car is moving. He’s heading my way slowly so I re-enter the building quickly and for the first time, am glad the doors are always locked. The car pulls into a spot near the building and the person emerges. I realize it is one of the employees! How embarrassing! It seems he wanted to chat with his wife on the cell phone and his car in the sun was just too hot so he moved to the shade. “Sorry” he says, “that I scared you.” I feel like such a scaredy cat. Al comes out a bit later and he’s chuckling about the whole thing. Seems he didn’t realize who it was either until he actually asked if there was something he could help with. Are we a paranoid bunch or what!
Later, I accepted another invitation to lunch. I decided not to turn down too many of these since there are less than five weeks left before the opportunities run out. It helps me to see familiar faces whenever I can. It gives me a sense of connectivity that is missing in my day-to-day work.
I rode the motorcycle over to the restaurant. I carry my riding jacket in with me. The host, who seats us, asks me if I’m from the south. I’m confused. He makes a comment about my jacket and today’s dry cool air. “Oh!” I say. I then inform him that it is a motorcycle riding jacket and since I paid a pretty penny for it, I’m not about to leave it on the bike. He looks a bit sheepish as he retreats.
I enjoy the stories going around the table. There are nine of us. Three will be finished with their current contract soon and then looking for work. Two have found work, two are still looking and one left before the lab closing and is employed nearby. There are jokes about looking for the personality counterparts in their new environments, and we all chuckle knowing of whom they are speaking. I admire their good nature, and the perseverance with which some pursue the job hunt. All agree that they now have great experience with the interview process. I enjoy the lunch and have to leave before everyone else, because I’m on a short leash these days.
Back at the office, I should be listening to the training CD’s and watching the training videos assigned, but I have no desire to do so. It has been quiet and now would be ideal to attend to this task. All I have managed to do is pull the packet forward and place it in plain sight as a reminder. I have yet to pop one of those CD’s into the drive. I know my attitude stinks and wonder how long it take to get over an emotional upset. Six weeks? Six months? I check the calendar and see that it has been nine weeks. I guess its six months then. I read once, that grief, for whatever reason, runs its course in six months to a year. I guess I should just accept it and let it run its course.
I take my afternoon break and head outside for another walk. As I round the parking lot, John pulls up in his vintage Corvette. He promised me a ride when he acquired it a few weeks back. “Hope in!” he says. You don’t have to ask this girl twice! He has the top down, and we take a ten-minute loop through the neighborhood. A little wind therapy and the thrill of feeling the pull of eight cylinders under the hood is just what the doctor ordered to pull me out of my funk!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Weighing the Options

This morning I found myself terribly distressed when I stood upon the bathroom scale and discovered that it had leaped over another ten marker. How can a person gain six pounds in 10 days! I started the day hating who I am. My self esteem has plummeted and I am discouraged with all the effort I feel I have done to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
My journey began 6 years ago. At that time, the office sponsored a Weight Watchers at Work program. I joined the program and in eighteen months lost 68 pounds. My self esteem climbed to new levels and I felt better than I had in years. When I reached my goal, it was at the very top of the weight range Weight Watchers uses for age, height and gender. I soon climbed 3 pounds and stayed there for some time. This did not bother me because I felt that my body was comfortable at this weight range.
In October of 2004, my dear friend was a victim of a motorcycle accident that upset me terribly. To keep my mind occupied, I joined the workout routine with the girls at work. This video is as a power workout and for 45 minutes of every day, I joined the group at lunch. Although the comments from my colleagues were favorable concerning how I looked, I jumped up six pounds. I read article upon article on the web trying to understand and eventually decided that muscle was the cause of my weight gain. The mirror, if not the scale was favorable. I enjoyed feeling strong and having muscle tone, probably for the first time in my life. I joined a gym and began in earnest to work out regularly. For me that means three times a week. My routine consists of a 30-minute cardio routine with 20 to 25 minutes of weight training.
The scale continued to climb. I returned to journaling all I ate. In addition to this, I kept an online calorie journal to track my intake and compare it with the Weight Watchers program. Surprisingly, I was well within the food limit and often below the daily requirement for my age rage. For weight loss, below is where I should stay. After a month of this, I had not loss one single pound. I put aside the journal and decided that sensible eating and continued exercise would sustain me. I stabilized just over a 10 marker and was able to maintain this for 2 years. Still this is about 12 pounds over the Weight watchers limit.
Despite standing on the scale daily, am still climbing. I am now twenty-two pounds over the Weigh Watcher limit by my morning scale. My inner voice said, “journal.” At first, I interpreted this as the food journal. I haven’t kept one lately. This is possibly the true problem, but in considering the food journal again, I felt that honest dialog with myself about where it is I am going wrong is what I need most. For this reason, I am posting this today. I am not interested in the support groups again, so I will keep two journals. One that tells me what I eat, and another that talks to me honestly. There is after all, power in words that statistics can’t tell me. I have tried all else.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Rubber Legs

Friday morning I wake up on the fast track. This is my second vacation Friday and I have a lot to do. I head to the gym first. I’ve been a little lax in the leg department and decide to put all the effort into that area today. After the cardio I head to the floor. I haven’t done any floor work here because the new gym has still been getting organized. This morning, the floor space is free and I do my lunges and squats, with a ten pound weight, of course. Gee, my legs feel a bit rubbery. Can I be that out of shape? I think it has been a month since I’ve done these. I shouldn’t feel this weak. I ignore it and go on to a few of the machines that isolate the inner and outer thighs. Then I concentrate on the calves. I make the rounds, shower and head off to the market.
At the market, I find that I’m holding onto the basket like an old woman. For goodness sake, my legs still feel like rubber! At the produce section, I’m trying to get near the head lettuce. A tall good looking young black man is tossing in head after head of lettuce. I stop counting after ten heads. He has a bright red tee shirt on with a gold chain around the neck. His hair is done is what seems to me to be short one inch dread locks circling the skull. It looks good on him. He looks at me while I select my head of lettuce so I joke while indicating the basket that he will have one big salad! He gives me a blank stare. He heads off down the isle. He has a bad cart. Ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk, is the sound it makes in rapid succession as he moves along. He stops and asks a question of the clerk and I realize his English is limited. That would explain the blank stare. I finish my shopping and all the while I know just where the black guy is by the ka-thunk ka-thunk ka-thunking.
Andy and I want to be off early to the Cape. We load the van and head out priding ourselves on the idea that we may beat all the rush hour traffic. We could never have been so wrong! What usually takes us two and a half hours stretches to four! When I finally climb out of the car at my daughter’s house, I realize that I have seriously taxed my legs. It’s an effort to climb the stairs of her split level home. I grit my teeth and bear it and am rewarded with a pot roast supper and lots of hugs and kisses for the baby.
Paulina is such a sweet baby. She is not shy of strangers, which to her, Andy and I are for the most part. She loves to cuddle and if you hold her, she readily lays her head on your shoulder. If held at arms length, for a better look and small talk, she’ll reward you with a wide toothless grin! Her bright slate blue eyes look right into your soul. This is softened further, by the soft riotous curly locks perched on her tiny head.
After supper and small talk we head to our Cape home. I am totally exhausted! Between my legs killing me and my eyes ready to slam shut, I can’t decide what is worse. I drop like a rock into bed and remember nothing more.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Thursday August 9, 2007

Some days, it is hard to identify my blessings. Recently I have been reading a spiritual awareness book that urges one to see the “gifts” each day brings. The reader is instructed to start each day by asking for a specific gift. If you have nothing in mind simply ask to be surprised. Today I asked for a specific gift. This gift is dependent on interaction with another person. I am anxious to smooth things over and make right a friendship, which is damaged by my thoughtless words. In the asking of this gift, I realize that it would involve another person’s free will. Free will can never be interfered with under any circumstance. So in order to preserve this, I ask to be surprised instead. The first surprise was finding my earring back. I had lost this yesterday and was dismayed as it was part of a set of expensive earrings. There it was, placed right on my desk where I would not miss it!
My next gift came in the form of a phone call from Steve. It was a lunch invitation! I was delighted! Steve has always given me sound advice. It was with this on my mind that I found myself expressing my circumstances and desires about the future. I will not attempt to quote Steve here, as I would never do him justice. However, Steve can see and hear the anger I am holding. I thought that I had moved on from recent unsettling events but it is evident that I haven’t. He notices that the upbeat, good natured Pat is missing. I ask for advice. The advice I receive from Steve is never unsolicited, but willingly given if asked. On those past occasions when I chose not to take the advice, I found myself sorely regretting it. Steve has an intuition that is surprisingly right on target. I’m going to pay attention this time.
The gift of Steve’s advice could prove to be larger than I ever expected. I now have a new perspective. It is quite possible that if my present circumstance is managed carefully, I could reap rewards, that until today, I had only dreamed about.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


My laptop is in the repair shop and I have been without it since Monday. It has become such an extension of me, that I feel lost without it. My postings here will be slim in the meantime, I predict. Not that there is a lot of excitement right happening in my life at the moment. There are a few incidental items of interest only to me I suppose.

Yesterday, I decided to take a long walk during my lunch hour. Although it was a hot day, there was a breeze. I watched for patches of shade along the way. As I rounded the turn to the front of our building, I looked across the street. It has been my habit to glance there ever since I learned that is where a rider in our group works. Low and behold, I see him backing his Goldwing out of the parking space and he heads for the exit. I stand on the corner and wait. He comes to a stop and watches for his opportunity to merge into traffic. All the while he is there, I am waving first one arm and then both. I add calling out his name to the arm waving, but he pulls out and never notices me. One of his co-workers stands in the lot watching the whole process. I am wearing a bright yellow shirt and suddenly feel like Big Bird, big, yellow and conspicuous. I make a hasty retreat. I send a few e-mails his way to give him a hard time and we have fun with the exchange.

Today, during an afternoon break, I stroll around the building just to get out. I listen the birds call, and watch a few butterflies return repeatedly to the same flower before they realize their mistake. Again, as I round the corner, I see the Goldwing making for the exit. He sees me. With a big grin on my face, I flail my arms. He pulls over to the side and we have a good chuckle. After a short chat, he is off.

A few of the old crew have stopped by one by one during the course of the day, and it is a pleasure to see them and catch up on how they are doing. Adjusting to a considerably smaller office is a challenge for me. I miss the interaction with the larger group of people I used to support. It is the small connections, such as these, that help me through my day and bring a bit of sunshine.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Limitless Opportunities Sunday, August 5, 2007

I wake early and check the forum to see if there are any changes in the plans for the day. I notice that I am the only person left who is willing to show up for “wrenching” day. The whole purpose for me to attend is mostly to be an observer, and possibly pick up a few tricks on how to work on my own bike. I write the guy a note, tell him to enjoy the beautiful day riding, and I will raise my hand again next time there are more people.
Now, my spouse does not like change what so ever and usually gets irritated when I change established plans. It doesn’t matter that the reason for the plan is no longer valid; he is irritated non-the-less. I go about my morning. I feel the opportunities are now limitless on what I choose to do. I attend to a few personal matters that have been occupying my mind. My spouse has been putting around the yard doing what it is he loves best; gardening. I am lulled into a sense of wellbeing.
At noon, I notice that he is stomping out of the house, riding boots on, and sporting his riding jacket. The motorcycle is rolled out of the shed, the engine started and idling. I call out the window and ask if he intends to tell me where he is going and when he will be back. I am blasted with a litany of accusations. The list includes the fact that I have changed plans; it appears I have other things on my mind, and I am attending to my own “shit”. Hmm, I’m thinking, what a perfect time to point out this character flaw. The last time we had this discussion about his pouting when I change plans; he denied that it was so. I take a deep breath and dive right in. “Right there” I say. “Look at what you are doing and all because I changed plans.” Another list of accusations spill forth. I listen to them all, and tell him that if he has evidence to support any of what was just said, then I will pay attention. Until then, I refuse to accept any of it and will not allow it to be put on me. The engine quits. “If you want to ride, kickstands up in a half hour.” We have a few words about possible destinations. He dismounts and walks off into the gardens.
I dress for riding, roll the bike out of the shed, and am ready by the assigned time. As we leave the yard, he announces that we are heading over to the “shop”. I wonder why we need to stop where he works, but since he is already ahead and on down the road, I can’t ask. We pull into the back of the plant; he dismounts, walks around a few trailers and comes back to the bike. “I take it we aren’t going to ride into Massachusetts,” I say, as you don’t have your helmet with you.” He mounts and indicates we will go back home for his helmet. When we leave home again, he takes a road that is not one that will take us to Massachusetts, and suddenly he takes a right turn into a cemetery. I follow part way in and watch as he rolls up and down the paths. I turn facing out. I realize I am being punished for changing plans. I refuse to be mistreated in this way. When he rolls by again, I announce that I am going home. As we leave the cemetery, he turns right; I turn left and head for home. As I roll into town, I decide to pull over in a shaded spot and wait. I will give him ten minutes and then I am truly heading home.
Just as the second hand sweeps to my self-imposed time limit, he pulls up beside me. He looks innocently at me and asks why I made a wrong turn. He isn’t fooling anyone. He has had time to think. So have I and I deliver the rules. “If we are to ride, I will not follow behind you irritated. It will only get me killed.” I then hold up my fingers one at a time. “We will not ride on dirt roads. We will not pull into strange places for obscure reasons. We will not stop at places without clear reasons for doing so.” We agree and begin to ride in a direction that will take us to Massachusetts. We had agreed that we would surprise our daughter in Plymouth. She has called and asked where we have been. It will also be a good opportunity to experiment with some new routes, not to mention a chance to kiss the baby too.

We are not long on our way, when he asks if I’m hungry. I’m not. He wants to stop so I suggest ice cream. The Ice Cream Factory is up ahead. He pulls in. We look at the menu and he orders a very large grinder. My punishment is not yet over. This will take time to eat. I decide that two can play this game and I look the menu over. “I’ll have the lobster roll please.” The $10 lobster roll should get his attention that I can punish too. He doesn’t flinch. Is that amusement in his eyes? We eat slowly. A few elderly patrons arrive and place their order. We watch them from the picnic bench nearby. Some bikers roll in. On guy is tall and skinny, with a long gray ponytail down his back. He’s listening to his iPod and the other two seem to have to repeat everything twice. He gets an ice cream cone and as I watch him eat, it is evident he has no teeth. Charming.

The toothless rider has given me enlightenment. Since I’m still irritated, I take a cue from him. With my elbows on the table and in full view of all the patrons, I play bad mannered biker chick and pick my teeth. My husband watches patiently and when I’m done, throws his arm around my neck and pulls me in for a full long kiss, again in full view of the elderly couples near by. My my. I wonder what he would have done should I have belched. Suddenly all is good and we are off to Plymouth.

We high tail it on 495 to the Carver exit. We want to check out route 44. It’s a comfortable ride. As we reach the interchange with route 3, Andy pulls over. I give my daughter a call. She is not home and is in fact on her way to a family function with her in-laws. My friend is right. Surprises usually backfire. Low and behold, I discover something new. Plans are allowed to be changed if the man is doing the changes. No sooner than we learn the news that she is unavailable, my husband has a new plan to visit the water’s edge. This is a lesson for another day. The teacher is tired, and since she has no trouble with changed plans, looks forward to the refreshing breeze along the ocean’s edge. Aren’t limitless opportunities delightful!

Jim's Party August 4th

I heard so much about Jim’s parties. I’m always out of town during one of his July 4th celebrations. This year however, this little family welcomed a new one to the household late in June, so the party was moved to August. This is wonderful news for me, because now I’m in town and able to attend. I hope to see a few of the old crew from work too.

We arrive mid afternoon. I find Tim so that I can finally give him his camera. I’ve been watching for this camera to arrive by courier since June. It is a relief to put it in his hands. I have been worried that I will forget it somewhere, drop it, or who knows what. My luck hasn’t been so good lately. Any mechanical item I touch has fallen victim to one hazard or another. I see him and deliver it in tact. He checks it out and all seems well. That’s a relief!

I spy Jim’s little guy. I haven’t seen him since he was a small baby. Wow, kids grow fast and often serve to remind me that I’m getting old. He’s a cutie and we seem to connect. During the course of the day, the adults find themselves sitting on the steps to watch some preliminary fireworks, and when I later move to a chair, the little one comes and takes me by the hand to sit back on the step beside him. What a sweetheart! I get a big kick out of it.

Chris is there with his boys too. They seem less shy then they did when coming into the office. We inspect the pictures on the boxes of fireworks and decide ahead of time if we like certain ones or not, and to speculate on those we can’t make an opinion about. Meanwhile Jim is at the grill and we all have a great feast.

I have been teasing Jim about the Jacuzzi. None of us have a suit of course and I don’t intend to actually use it, but the teasing is fun. Jim announces that anyone who is over 18 or under 55 may use the hot tub without a suit. Ann-Marie thinks he is discriminating. I think he is trying to determine our true ages. In reality, I think Jim is trying to avoid being arrested if someone is under 18, and avoid arresting by what he sees with someone over 55!

Jim has some roman candles that the kids can hold and we count each shot to make sure it has expired before they toss it down. I get to hold one too. It has a kick and I’m surprised by it a bit. We each take another turn. As I’m holding the second candle I’m thinking that maybe this is a bit dangerous. Then I think “Na! I motorcycle! This is nothing!” when one of the rounds shoots out the bottom, down my leg and onto my sandaled foot. I can feel it sting, am surprised, but now I am not sure how many have been fired. I don’t want to drop it and possibly hurt someone by an errant shot. Jim and the others notice, and tell me to go ahead and let it go. Phew! What was I thinking!

The time comes we have all been anticipating. The big fireworks display. We can tell where Jim is by the tip of his cigar in the dark. I’m sitting on the steps near Chris and his boys. Jim announces each one before it is lit. The boys and I decide if the pictures on the box live up to our expectations. We are pleasantly surprised to find that the pictured box we all rejected turns out to be the best display of all. We learn a valuable lesson. Never judge a fireworks display by its box.

As the others leave one by one and head for home, we linger a bit to talk about bikes. I so enjoy such conversations, and invite Jim to think about joining the NER on the Gorge Ride coming up in a few weeks. He’s starting his new job on Monday. He may find he can’t spare the time. We are all moving on. My hope, as we depart, is that going forward, we will find that our Numega connection is strong and we will have more days like this to carry with us.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Dumb Girl Routine

Ahh, my first Friday vacation day! I stay in bed until 7:30. When I get up, Andy asks why I didn’t sleep in late. This is late! I usually get up at 5:30. I have a full day lined up. I want to take care of those things that mess up my weekends. I don’t want anything to interfere with my plans.

You know what they say about best laid plans. I get a later start than I intend. I head to the gym first. It’s nice to finally have a gym closer to home. The clientele during a work day is interesting. I notice there are more women. They arrive two by two. I’m halfway through my workout and I see them leave as they came. That couldn’t have been very strenuous I think.

One guy has been here since I arrived. He’s giving it a good effort and he looks like he is fit and works out regularly. I’ve never seen him before. He has a long yellow ponytail trailing down his back and a black patch over his left eye. My mind starts to make up stories about how he may have lost his eye. Could the reason have him building such muscles I wonder?

An older woman is walking around with her check list. It’s the type of check list your personal trainer writes up for you. She has really good leg muscles. I need to get leg muscles like that! She can’t figure out how to set one of the machines and she asks me for help. ME? I must look like I actually know what I’m doing. I help her out and it seems I do actually know how to adjust the machine. What do you know!

It is already noon by the time I’m off to the market. Why is there so much traffic? Shouldn’t these people be at work? The market is busy too, and the shelves have a lot of bare spots. I have trouble finding some of the items on my list. There are a couple of workers in the isle that I take for stock boys. One guy is tall and slender, with gray hair and the other is shorter and younger. I’m not even sure he needs to shave. There is something not right about the body language. As I get closer, it is evident that the work schedule is being discussed. The older guy tells the younger one he is too busy! The young guy tells the older guy that it has to get done. He’s the only one available. I quickly realize that the young guy is the manager, and the older guy reports to him, and not taking too kindly to it either. I’m impressed with how the young guy is handling this total lack of respect that is bordering on insubordination. By the time I round the corner to the next isle, I’m ready to can the older guy. Maybe he should give himself an attitude check. He might then realize why he is the stock boy and not the manager.

After my late lunch, I take off for more errands. I stop by the Yamaha dealer for some brake pads. I don’t even think I need brake pads, but I need something to do for “wrenching day” on Sunday. I’m waiting patiently at the counter. The customer alongside me at the other register has just purchased something considered “miscellaneous” and the clerk can’t figure out how to enter it into the computer. My clerk has to move over to help him out. The other customer and I watch the fumbling for several minutes at which point I tell the guy his purchase must be free. It’s evident by the looks on the clerks’ faces that they don’t realize I’m joking or they didn’t like the joke. The big guy waiting to pay thinks it’s a good idea and gives me a quick wink. They finally get it sorted out and I tell the guy I need brake pads. Parts guys at motorcycle shops always give me the blank stare. “Oh geez” I think. “Here we go again.” This is the point where I always fall into the dumb girl buying parts routine. “It seems I’m going to be educated this weekend on how to fix my own bike” I tell the guy. The blank stare begins to disappear. I start to prattle on about how I don’t really think I need to change them. “After all,” I say “I just climbed two mountains and the brakes seemed fine to me. But since I just had a tune-up, I guess I have to be educated on something.” The parts guy is listening now. I tell him how beautiful Mount Washington was and his eyes light up. I go into my story of climbing Whiteface and Mount Washington all in one week. Now I have one up on him. He has never been up Whiteface. Both parts guys are now very helpful and chuckling at my stories. I always hate having to resort to the dumb girl routine, but I never leave without them knowing I’m far from it.

After a few more errands, I realize the day is getting away from me. If I’m going to make the best of these Friday vacation days during August, I will have to make better plans. All in all, I enjoyed the feeling of liberty and look forward to a month filled with freedom Fridays.

Shouldn't You Be Doing This?

August 2nd:

I make my call to the HP Technical Support Center as I don’t want to believe it will take a whole week to enter my laptop into the system. I’m connected with Lucien. Since this is my third call, I’m getting used to the routine and am ready for all of Lucien’s questions. Finally, we get to the support part I’ve been trying to get too in my last two calls. Lucien has me try a number of things, all of which I had the intelligence to do on my own at home. However, I’m gracious and realize that if I’m to get help, I need to repeat all the steps anyway. Then Lucien asks me if I have a screwdriver! I respond affirmatively and soon my mind is recalling a commercial on TV. In the ad, a doctor dressed in scrubs, is speaking on the phone. He’s giving instructions on where to make an incision. The scene switches to the other end of the phone. A man is standing in his kitchen holding a household knife, asking “shouldn’t you be doing this?” That is exactly how I feel, but none the less, I obey Lucien’s instructions. I remove the panel he indicates, and look inside the bowels of the laptop. Here I see circuit boards. Two are placed in a piggy back manner. I’m instructed to move the tiny clips from each side and when I do, the first board pops up. I pull this one out, repeat the procedure for the second board and reverse them. The laptop still has the pinstripe down the display.
Next I remove the panel for the hard drive. I lift the black ribbon as instructed and it tears a bit. I’m flustered now. Lucien is trying to be patient but I can’t figure out how to pop out the hard drive. I tell him how uncomfortable I am and that I am worried about destroying my warranty. He calms me and tells me it’s OK. I fasten all the screws back in place. I’m given some reference numbers and told the hardware people will call me later. I give several phone numbers so they have no excuse in not reaching me later. Someone does call by afternoon and arrangements are made for my computer to take a little trip in for repair. I’m told that I will be without my laptop for about nine business days. I can live with that as long as I get it fixed. I’ve had this thing a month and already it has become one of my most valued tools.
After work I head to Peddlar’s Daughter in Nashua for a Numega get-together. Kelly-Sue initiated this one. My Connie has good news! She got a job at the Talking Phone Book. I am so relieved for her. She is such a fine lady and worked for me so well. She deserves a break. A number of people have been successful in finding employment. Unfortunately, some of my dearest friends are still suffering under rejection. It is a hard time for everyone. I wasn’t sure I wanted to come this evening, but seeing everyone has given me a boost and it’s late before I head for home.
As I leave the pub, I am surprised at the oppressive heat this time of the evening. By now things usually begin to cool off. As I zip my jacket and put on the helmet, the sweat is starting to trickle down my face. At each traffic light, I find it hard even to breath. By the time I reach the by-pass in Milford, I can finally feel cool air. It must be at least 10 degrees cooler here than in the city and I’m thankful that I’m heading to the coolness of the woods. As I ride along Stony Brook that last stretch to home, the coolness generated by the water of the brook is refreshing. If I had a few more miles of this, I would continue on past home for the pure enjoyment of the evening.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


The morning is glorious! I decide to ride into work on the motorcycle. It’s always a big production when I take the bike, especially if I plan to go to the gym after work. I haul out all the stuff I need, lay in on the park bench near the drive, and then try to pack everything in the saddlebags or on the luggage rack. My arms are loaded with lunch, purse, gym bag, jacket, helmet and gloves and I bang out the front door. Two of my neighbors are out for their morning walk and they say hello. They come into the drive and ask if I can help them out. They’ve spotted a baby bird that has fallen from a nest. They ask if I have anything with which they might pick it up. I head back into the house and Andy finds a small box. Perfect!

One of the neighbors I have known for years. Her name is Anne. I don’t really know the other woman. We are introduced to each other. Anne tells me Lynn, lives in the house up on the hill once owned by Norm. Anne asks me how things are going. I ask if she’s heard about the lab closing. I mention this because she knows a number of people who were laid off. She used to work with them at another technology company. Both Ann and Lynn are interested in the story, but I’m going to be late for work. Lynn suggests a company to mention to people now looking for work. Anne tells me that her daughter, Grace, now works at e-Copy. I know a number of people who work there, including some past employees, but it is always nice to have another contact. I thank them, wish them luck with the bird, and then I’m on my way.

It is always bittersweet riding into work on such a beautiful day. The morning air is refreshing and the urge to keep going is strong. In the end, I always do the right thing, put my signal on, and turn into the parking lot. This morning, at a stop light, I pull up alongside a small yellow school bus. Since school is out for the summer, I wonder where this bus is headed. Summer camp possibly? I look up into the windows and a small boy is looking down at me with curiosity in his face. I smile at him and he smiles back broadly. He is the only child on the bus and is sitting directly behind the driver. It could be that the driver is Mom and the poor kid is relegated to riding a bus during his summer vacation. Here I was feeling bad for myself at having to turn into the parking lot on such a great riding day. Things could be worse. I could be sitting on a bus, going nowhere all day long.

I take my lunch out to the picnic table I had Bill move to the front of the building. Someone has moved it to the parking lot from the grass while I was away on vacation. I sit in the sun and eat my lunch while reading a book. After the first half hour, I move to the grass and sit in the shade of one of the pines. It’s pretty quiet around here. The traffic is light. There is a small breeze, which feels good after sitting in the sun. I put the book down, lean back on my hands and close my eyes. I just want to be still, feel the breeze on my face and listen to the quite sounds.

My hour is up all too soon and I head back in. The days are not as they used to be. I’ve resigned myself to that fact. Not too many people can say they once had a job they loved and people they loved working with. Is it possible that this can happen more than just once in a lifetime? I can only hope.

I head to the gym after work, and put some effort into the workout. I’ve become grumpy toward the end of the day and the workout is a way to exorcise my demons. I’m not very successful. At home Andy has prepared supper on the grill and has things set out on the deck. Since the house is hot, eating outside makes sense but the flies are annoying me. I’m not good at hiding the fact that my mood is sour and by the time supper has ended, we begin a verbal sparring. I quit first, because I realize I’m at fault and there is no excuse for it. Andy doesn’t hold it against me and after the dishes he presents me with a Mojito. I accept the peace offering. Things never look so bad after a Mojito.

Patience is a Virtue

I have often lamented that my patience could use improvement. Being patient means waiting out the tiresome habits of others. My husband tries my patience. It often seem deliberate to me. When I need assistance with something, I had better be ready to wait as help will not arrive until he has completed whatever task is currently occupying his time. As a young mother, I was often frustrated waiting for little ones to finish a chore. Children are so easily distracted by the world around them. If an ant crosses their path, you can be sure it will be followed; its body studied and the purpose of its mission discovered.

In my more pious days, I often prayed to the Lord for more patience. What the Lord bestowed upon me were more ways to practice at being patient. “Lord” I would lament, “just bless me with patience as I don’t have time for practice.” But practice it was to be. So that I would get plenty of it, the Good Lord saw fit to set me down with 130 people for whom I would need the ultimate practice in patience. They are all very fine people, but they never seem happy or satisfied. They are too cold. They are too hot. There is a hum in the ceiling above them. My in-box fills daily with complaint upon complaint. It is part of my work to iron out their complaints. It’s never ending. I cease to have compassion for their plight.

Recently I came upon this definition of patience:

Patience is quiet hope and trust that things will turn out right. You wait without complaining. You are tolerant and accepting of difficulties and mistakes. You picture the end in the beginning and persevere to meet your goals. Patience is a commitment to the future. [1]
I’m supposed to picture the end in the beginning? Persevere? A commitment to the future? What a revelation! If I had understood this definition of patience sooner I would not have wasted so much valuable time with being frustrated at my circumstance. In my personal life, my friends are finding me critical and annoyed at their every word. In my professional life, I’m intolerant of what appears to me to be half hearted efforts.
It seems I have been looking at this patience thing all wrong. Recently I decided to wait out a situation rather than demand a result immediately. I will wait to see how it unfolds. I didn’t know that was being patient! I thought I was being self-disciplined. I recognize that I do have a goal in mind. I want this person to come around to my way of thinking. I will try this perseverance thing. If the definition above is correct, I will be gratified when my goal is met.
The waiting without complaining will take effort. I complain to vent frustration. I will need a plan to overcome my habit of complaining. Possibly holding the goal before me will help me focus. Reason seems to indicate that your focus will drive your actions toward that end.
In motorcycle training courses you are told again and again to look where you want the motorcycle to go. If you do so the motorcycle will go there without fail. Once you focus on the object you are trying to avoid, you will surely hit it. This seems a good analogy to use for patience as well!