January 27, 2011

All about the nut - in a nutshell

I have been struggling with this post for days!  Don't ask me why, it's not a difficult one....it seems easy for me to tell you whatever I have to say but once I have to lay it out in bullet points it becomes daunting.  I guess, it's kind of like what I imagine a therapy session would be like - the therapist would ask about me and I would not be able to think of a single thing to say.

The ever lovely Cherished By Me has tagged me with a Stylish Blogger Award (I am so not worthy).   Thank you so much - this was a much needed surprise today a few days ago - especially as right before she contacted me in short order I had lost a button and then totally ripped out the hem of my slacks!    I certainly wasn't feeling very stylish as I grabbed the scotch tape and went to work trying to make myself presentable for the remainder of the work day.  It's amazing what you can do with office supplies in a pinch.
The Rules
  • Thank and link back to the person that gave you the award
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Award 15 recently discovered bloggers
  • Tell the people you have given them an award
Seven things?  This may be difficult.  It seems like I've already told you every possible thing about me.  (Deep breath) Ok, here goes nothing:

1.  I was the "co-star" in our first grade Christmas play (or was it second grade?  It had to have been second grade because somehow I can't picture Sister Susan putting on this play) "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."  I was MORTIFIED.  I had to sit on Eddie H's lap and pretend to kiss him.  In front of the WHOLE school AND their families.  I have to wonder if he remembers this as vividly as I do.  This was clearly where my desire to fade into the background stems from.

2.  Despite the fact that I spill (most of) my guts here - I'm actually a pretty private person.  (No, really!)  In fact, I just told a very dear friend about something I had been wrestling with for a while and she said, "Really?  I had no idea that you had so much on your mind!  Why didn't you tell me?"  Clearly, I didn't want to bother her with my trivial issue.

3.  Despite my tough exterior, I am a softie at heart.  This one you HAVE to keep between us - we can't let word of this get out - it may ruin my image as a cold hearted witch.

4.  I am NOT a crafty person - at all.  I WANT to be - I YEARN to be - crafty.  But I'm not.  Nine times out of ten when I embark upon some kind of DIY project (Hubby and Man-Child both duck for cover) it never turns out as it does in my head (or in the picture).  When it does actually turn out okay I am all kinds of proud.  I just read something about making curtains . . . it SOUNDS easy.....the question is "just how will this end?"  With me in tears and angry - or pleased as punch with myself?  I'm leaning toward the former - but I'll give it a shot anyway....because I'm also very stubborn (despite the many, many previous failed attempts at curtains). 

5.  I suffer from SAD.  Terribly.  No, I have not been diagnosed by a licensed physician - what do you think WebMD is for if not to self-diagnose?  Which, of course, has led me to mis-diagnose myself on a regular basis - but on this particular instance I'm positive I'm right.  In fact, I'm fairly convinced that the only treatment would be to move to a tropical island somewhere.  Hubby is being resistant on this - but I think if we have just one more snow "event" I could push him to see that I am right (as always).

6.  I'm not a patient person at all.  This is something I have struggled with my whole life.  I am getting better (I am)  but as with most everything it is a work in progress which, of course, makes me impatient.

7.  I'm not nearly as stylish as I may have led you to believe.  As much as I love clothes, shoes and all that go along with being a "fashionista"  I do relish comfort (and warmth this very frigid time of year).  If you were to drop in on me unexpectedly, you would most likely find me lounging about in something comfortable, old  and not very stylish.  And I would be mortally embarrassed.  So if you are planning on stopping by - please call first.

So there you have it.  Seven things about me that you never knew.  Don't you feel enlightened now?

Now comes the choosing of 15 new blogs (and I thought the above was so very difficult) that I have discovered.........

I can't choose just 15!  I can't.  So as always, I will be a rebel and break the rules (yeah, right!  I am such a rebel) and bestow this gift upon whomever wishes to take it.  Although I may have struggled - I have to admit it was fun and it is always nice to learn a bit more about our friends - so take it.  Run with it.  I can't wait to see the results.

January 22, 2011

It's a wonder I don't drink more.....

Corporate America. . . it confounds me on a daily basis.  But this one?  This one takes the cake.

Remember when I told you that my dear friend and colleague had decided to retire and leave me alone with the wolves?  Well, because of her selfish decision our department has been left in total chaos.  Well, not really - but there have been a lot of "what ifs" and "what nows".  Which all could have been avoided if Mr. Big Dog in our department had dealt with this prior to her leaving.  I mean, it's not like she waited until the last minute to announce her retirement - she gave at least two months notice before she ran off to do whatever it is retired people do.

Because of his inaction (and lack of thinking things through) it came to pass that I had to apply for the job that I am currently doing.  The position that I've held for the past five and half years.

I know - right?  It doesn't make any sense.  But whatever.  I applied.

And was then promptly informed by Human Resources that I wasn't qualified.


January 16, 2011

A quick trip down Memory Lane

I have tried to post.  I really have.  I've thought about things to post.  But then couldn't find the time, the inclination or the ability to get past the first line.

I assumed that when the boys took off this weekend leaving me alone that I would find my mojo and be back in the swing of things in no time.

Ummmmm, no.  It didn't work.

Instead I have spent all my time trying to find pictures for a slideshow I'd like to do for hubby for our anniversary.  And do you know what I've discovered?  Since the advent of the digital camera none of my pictures are in one spot.

Back in the day when you had to have your film processed I would bring the pictures home and put them in albums.  Easy.  I knew where all my pictures were.  And I was organized about it too.  I made sure to put names and dates on them and stick them in an album as soon as I got home with the prints.

Now?  Now I've got pictures EVERYWHERE.  Some are on this computer.  Some on the notebook.  Some on the dead computer that I will never be able to retrieve.  Some are on the work computer.  Some are on FaceBook.  Some are on Shutterfly.

You get the idea.  So what was supposed to be a quick project has turned into two days of hunting for pictures; never mind trying to put the slideshow together.

Although, I must admit the walk down memory lane was eye-opening and sweet.

I can distinctly remember being extremely self-conscious.  I can remember constantly comparing myself to others and finding myself lacking.  Of course, I sometimes still do this - but not nearly as often as I did then; thank God.  Apparently, I was an idiot.  Looking back, I can see now what I couldn't see then.  Obviously, I have traded my youth for a modicum of wisdom.

Also, looking back, I can now realize that I was a BABY when I got married!  For that matter, Hubby was a baby - and he's twelve years older than me!  It should be against the law to get married so young.  Wait a minute . . . . that sounds like I regret getting married; which is not the case at all.  I just look at how young I was and realize that in six short years Man-Child will be that age - and he will be entirely too young to get married.

All this hunting has made me realize that I need to get all my pictures in one place.  I do like the option of having them online as I can then access them from any computer.  But that also makes me a bit uneasy - because I remember at one point storing some on Yahoo.  Then Yahoo decided it didn't want to store pictures anymore and I had to scramble to move them - luckily I finally read one of the emails they sent instead of deleting them like I usually do; otherwise those photos would have been lost forever.  I'll have to do some research I suppose.  I have learned my lesson about storing them solely on the computer though - should the computer die of natural causes or, in the event that someone (*cough - Man-Child - cough*) drops it - then they are lost forever.  I know some of you are avid photographers - how do you keep and organize your digital photos?

I've also realized that since the "baby" was born most of the pictures are of him.  Very few of just us.  So this slideshow will mainly feature pictures pre-Man-Child.

You know what else I realized in my walk down memory lane?  I had big hair. Really, really BIG hair.

And?  I didn't have any wrinkles.

January 7, 2011

The Bastardization of American Literature

Have you heard/read about this?  The fact that a professor of English at Auburn University, Alan Gribben, who (supposedly) is a “passionate academic” of Mark Twain, is publishing a “sanitized” version of Huck Finn.  His aim, he claims, is to ensure that this book is welcomed by all schools and their curriculums.

This has just now hit my radar and I've got to tell you I am not happy about it.

I remember having to take turns reading the book aloud in class - a long time ago (high school? middle school?) and being extremely uncomfortable about "the" word.  But isn't that part of learning - stretching outside of what is "comfortable?"

Mark Twain is one of my favorite writers - I love his stories and have tried and tried to interest my son in them for years (he has no interest - yet).  Mark Twain wrote stories about society as it was then.  It wasn't pretty and nice. It wasn't politically correct.  And it certainly wasn't morally right.  BUT - that is the way it was.  

If the book is "sanitized" what lessons do we learn?  How is it possible that we think we can re-write the past?  And if we allow the distortion, nay – the bastardization - of the words of one of America's greatest writers - where will it end?  What's the next target? Roots? 

I remember watching Roots, with my family, and being extremely disturbed. Should that be sanitized as well?  Too keep people from being "uncomfortable?" When we bury our heads in the sand about what really happened in the past - aren't we doomed to repeat it in one form or another?
Yes, we all want our children to grow up in a peaceful world where everyone is treated with respect – but how do you drive that lesson home without the true telling of just how ugly the past really was?  If we make the past "nice" how then do we teach our children right from wrong?

Mark Twain's words were true to his time and were used in that context for telling a story about society in that era.  Unfortunately, "that" word was considered acceptable back then.  As was the treatment of other human beings.
Even more unfortunately, this word is considered acceptable in certain circles today; as evidenced in some music and videos.  So can you explain to me, why Huck Finn needs to be "sanitized" while the music industry continues to allow "that" word to be used prolifically? 
I asked my family what they thought – while one is an avid reader (though not of Twain, sadly) the other is not.  They were both outraged as well.  
I asked the Intellectual Property attorney at work about this – she too believes that the book should be left alone.  That it is a “snapshot” of history.  When I questioned the legality of it – she explained, that unfortunately; it is legal.  Apparently, so many years after the death of the author the work is considered "public domain".  
Be that as it may, she went on to say that if this “sanitized” version is published it should be well-noted that it is an AMENDED version of the original work.
Despite the legal right of the publishing company, and this professor, to do so – I call B.S.  Big time (and the IP attorney agreed.  And for that matter, so did a random litigator who happened to be walking by when he got sucked into this conversation).
Mr. Twain took great pains to capture the spirit and flavor of the era and locations of which he was writing.  Mark Twain’s writing actually transports you to the era and location with his prolific use of colloquialism, vernacular and ability to write in “accents.”  So when you begin to bastardize his work you lose the context he was trying to convey to the reader.
While Professor Gribben would claim that his goal is a noble one – I disagree completely.  As a professor of English – he should be encouraging that Mark Twain’s works are kept whole and accepted as part of an educational curriculum; as a key to open the door for discussion.  You cannot re-write history simply because you feel that the harsh reality is too much for today’s society.
As I feel that my ability to express my outrage is so very inadequate, here is a link to an article in the NY Times – that can explain it so much better than I can.  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/07/books/07huck.html

If you wish to voice your displeasure with this "new" publication, here is the address of the publisher (you can bet they will be hearing from me!).

NewSouth Books, Inc.
P. O. Box 1588
Montgomery, AL 36102-1588

I seriously doubt that it will help - but you never know.  I refuse to link to their site because I am so totally outraged.

My thoughts on Professor Gribben?  If he were truly a "passionate" academic of Mark Twain then he would never dare to presume that he could publish a "sanitized" version of the book.  In fact, I believe that were he a true academic of Twain he would be pushing that this book be on every required reading list - as is.  

Because as I said earlier - isn't the point of education is to stretch beyond what is "comfortable?"