Supervisors by the numbers

  • I have had 10 bosses in not quite 8 years with the same company.  Well, 9 bosses, since my current boss was my boss a year ago, but I had a different boss in the year in between.
  • 4 of them don’t work for the company anymore.
  • In 2 cases, I got a new boss because they left the company.
  • My shortest period of time working for someone was about 3 months.
  • My longest period of time working for someone was nearly 2 years.
  • 5 of my 9 bosses have been women, but not the past 3.
  • All 9 are older than I am.
  • I have had 3 bosses since I started working remotely (more than 2 years ago).  4, if you count the one who’s my boss again.
  • I’ve had 1 boss I’ve never met in person (my current boss), although that will change in about 3 weeks.

This has been illuminating.  I don’t know what it tells me – maybe that we have a lot of turnover (except that more than half of them still work for the company), or maybe that the company doesn’t know what to do with me, or maybe nothing, and this is just how it goes when you work in one place for nearly 8 years.

There are too many things to learn

I want to do too much.  We went to see Against Me! – I came home wishing I still had my drumset so I could practice.  We went to see Colin Hay – I spent the evening planning to come home and play my ukulele.  I saw a poster for a dance school – I want to find adult tap classes.  We saw horses over the weekend – I want to find a new barn to pick up my lessons.  I want to learn French.  I want to learn Welsh.  I want to learn sign language.  I want to take piano lessons.

I’m a little overwhelmed by the number of things I want to do, so I retreat into reading.  That’s easy.  I already have books.

Feeling at home

Mom bought me this book called This Is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are, and it’s about someone who moves a lot and her attempts to feel at home in those places, either to make the stay more pleasant or to find that place that feels like home so the moving can stop.

I can’t help but feel Mom is trying to tell me something.  🙂

Anyway, early on, the author makes a list of things one should do to be active about feeling at home in the place you are, and as I read down the list, I was able to check off 8 out of the 10 things.

  1. Walk more.
  2. Buy local.
  3. Get to know my neighbors.
  4. Do fun stuff.
  5. Explore nature.
  6. Volunteer.
  7. Eat local.
  8. Become more political.
  9. Create something new.
  10. Stay loyal through hard times.

I did those things in Eugene, and I started many of them the first week we were there.  Those things were not enough to make me feel like Eugene was the place for me.  I did at least half of those things in Annapolis – again, not enough to make me feel like Annapolis was the place.  So either I’m difficult and really picky (possible, but I don’t think I’m that special) or those things aren’t enough.

I think it’s just about time spent in the same place.  We were ready to leave Ashburn for several years before we finally did, but it felt like home.  It still feels like home, sometimes, but it ought to after 10 years.  I don’t think having a place feel like home and feeling like you don’t belong there are mutually exclusive.

I spent most of the book disagreeing with the author and wondering why she was dumbing down the written version of herself.  Maybe it was supposed to make her relatable, but I found it irritating.  Those “insights” are obvious.

At the beginning, she talks about being excited to move to a new place right up until she gets there and then almost immediately feeling like it’s wrong.  I don’t feel that way – I keep the excitement of the new place for quite some time, I think, and I gotta say, I’m feeling pretty good about Providence.  Of course, I felt pretty good about Eugene, too, but I don’t think I ever really thought Eugene was going to be it.  For me, Eugene was always a fun experiment, but I didn’t expect to want to stay there (Eugene, or Oregon, or the west coast in general).  Maybe that’s why I didn’t, at least partially, but I don’t know.

I can understand the author’s urge to write this book, but I haven’t had any sleepless nights worrying about whether I’ll ever find THE PLACE.  I’m confident I can be happy in any place (and I’m certainly not miserable in the places we go or have been), but for now, I’m not ready to settle down.  That does not make me unhappy.

Fleeting thoughts about traveling

  • Oh my god, I love being this close to an airport.
  • Maybe I should start booking two aisle seats, same row, for us when we fly.  Then I don’t have to sit in the middle seat, I get the aisle (always my first choice anyway), and we can still sit next to each other.  Of course, John won’t get the window, but I feel like I’ve spent enough years sitting in the middle for him to owe me this one.
  • I find airports to be peaceful places. As long as I’m not late.
  • Mosquito bites are the WORST.
  • That was not a travel thought. Stick to the theme!
  • I like travel size things, like the little containers of Advil and the little bottles of contact solution and the little packets of Benadryl that aren’t helping with the itching.
  • I hope the TV screen in the seat back shows our flight progress.
  • Holy mother of god the itching.
  • My seat mates won’t notice if I gnaw off my legs, right?
  • Maybe I can buy enough tiny bottles of wine to light the bites on fire.
  • Fire!
  • $&#*”&-@$&@

Contemplation

Some more thoughts on The Gate to Women’s Country, all entirely non-spoilery.  Or maybe less about this book in particular and more about, well, let me get to that.

I have read a large number of books that left me wanting more when they were over.  More books in a series, more information about the world that was created, more information about the characters or their families or their earlier adventures.  Sometimes I have questions, maybe a mystery was left unsolved, or maybe something mysterious happened in the past that drove a character to do something, but that mysterious thing was never explained.  I usually consider this a good thing, even if it’s mildly (at best) frustrating.  It meant I was fully engaged.  I want to know more.  The author did something right, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get those answers in later books.  I’m not always so lucky.  Robin McKinley is a good example.  Off the top of my head, I can name three books of hers, all stand-alone novels, set in three distinct worlds.  All three books were complete on their own*, but the worlds in those books had histories, the families had problems, and the books were about one event, one adventure, just one snippet of those worlds.  I want to know more about those worlds and those characters.  What was the cataclysmic event that happened to the world in Shadows before the story that was written began?  How did a world that was basically our own turn into that world?  In Sunshine, what is up with the main character’s family?  It’s clearly important to her character, but wasn’t necessary information for the story itself so it’s only hinted at, not included.  I don’t remember having a lot of questions after I read Dragonhaven, but I want more family history AND more dragons, please.

The Gate to Women’s Country falls on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Everything is explained at the end, even a few things that the very smart main character should have already figured out.  Some of it is explained to the main character, some of it is explained to someone else, but all of it is explained, and I find it very satisfying.  No loose ends.  No open questions (except the reader’s own questions about the future of this civilization, which are totally acceptable).  There’s clarity at the end, the kind that makes you go back and re-read the first few pages now that you’ve been enlightened.  Sheri S. Tepper tends to do that, to lay everything out for the reader at the end, to spell out the things you’ve suspected or point out the things you missed.

I don’t know which approach I prefer.  I like it when things are wrapped up neatly.  I like knowing everything there is to know about a fictional universe.  (There’s a reason I own two companion guides each to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern and Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time.)  On the other hand, hinting at the richness of another world leaves so much scope for the imagination.  I find it harder to let those books go and move into something else, and I can’t think that’s a bad thing.

*I’m not talking about books without resolutions, like one by an author I really like that is billed as a mystery and that moves like a mystery and HAS a mystery in it but is really just a cover for character development so it ends WITHOUT SOLVING THE MYSTERY.

The comedian’s a bear!

I’m so glad I don’t have to write jokes for a living.  There are many, many, many jobs I’m glad I don’t have – SO MANY – but having to be funny all the time?  For money?  SO MUCH PRESSURE.  Also, I’m not funny, so I would fail right away, assuming anyone hired me in the first place.  On the rare occasions where I AM funny, it’s accidental and cannot be repeated (and is usually because I messed up the punchline to someone else’s joke).  Crafting a joke, revising it and messing with the timing to make it funnier – that’s hard.  It’s fascinating, and I love to hear comedians and comedy writers talk about it, but I can’t imagine doing it myself and having the end result make people laugh.  Is that a skill you can learn?  Maybe?  Maybe I’ll add it to the long list of things I want to do.  At the bottom.  And in the meantime, I’ll just enjoy all the actual funny people out there.

He grew up okay

Memory associations are weird.  When I came home from dinner with Christina tonight, John was watching the end of a Law & Order: SVU episode.  It was about pedophilia at a boarding school (aren’t they all?), and this guy was on it.

John asked me if I thought he looked familiar, and I was like, yeah, he was the TA in Road Trip.  (This was not a good movie.  If you haven’t seen it, don’t bother.)  So I looked him up on IMDB, and yes, I was right, he WAS the TA in Road Trip, but why was THAT my association when I SHOULD have recognized him as Daryl from Adventures in Babysitting?  I’ve seen that movie WAY more times and it’s a million times less embarrassing to reference Adventures in Babysitting than Road Trip.

Stupid brain.

Musing when I should be focused

Take action.  Take it where?  Why is that the phrase?  What are you taking?  I’m doing an action.  I’m performing an action.  I’m not taking anything when I act.  Unless I’m taking something from you?  If I take an action, am I preventing you from taking it?  In some cases, sure.  In others, most, not in the least.  So why is that the phrase?  Google is not so helpful this time.

Don’t bring me down

Let’s play a game:

Optimistic or Naive?

1. I ordered a t-shirt.  The tracking information indicates it’ll arrive by 8pm today.  Do I think it will?  Of course I do!

A. Optimistic?
B. Naive?

2. I ordered mouse pads from Amazon.  They’re being shipped by a company from China.  They never arrived.  I contacted the seller, and they responded immediately and said they would ship again.  Do I think I’ll get those mouse pads?  Of course I do!

A. Optimistic?
B. Naive?

3. I travel plenty.  For the most part, my plans take off and arrive on time, I don’t miss connections, and my luggage arrives with me.  Do I think that will continue to happen for me?  Sure I do!

A. Optimistic?
B. Naive?

4. Earlier this week, the forecast showed pretty constant rain through the end of Friday.  Today’s forecast shows rain today, but sunshine and a high of 60 degrees for tomorrow (Friday).

Do I  think the weather will be nice tomorrow?  Yes.  Yes, I do!

A. Optimistic?
B. Naive?

The mighty motormouth

I couldn’t make myself stop talking today.  (Yeah, yeah, you’re a bunch of comedians.)

I talked the ears off people in my work meetings, I asked a ton of questions during my riding lesson, and I kept up a constant stream of chatter directed at Tigger when Wendy wasn’t handy.  I’m usually self-conscious about talking to the horse, which is why the nonstop babbling caught my attention.  I talked to him while catching him, walking him to the stable, grooming him, walking him to the arena, while cooling him off and walking him back to the stable and feeding him treats.  He didn’t toss me today, so I hope that means he appreciated the attention.

It’s more likely I wore him down so much he didn’t have the energy to shake me loose.

Putting the fun in chores! Or something less stupid.

The only way I know of to make doing the dishes fun is to play loud music and sing along.  Dancing is optional, but encouraged.  Drunkenness is encouraged but not always practical and often not necessary.  We do a lot of dishes now that we’ve downsized our kitchen.  We run out of clean dishes to use before we have enough dirty ones to fill the dishwasher, so we rarely use it.  We never used the one in Annapolis, and we’ve used the one here once.  We didn’t use the one in the apartment in Ashburn, either, so that’s….one dishwasher cycle in two years.  Because wow – two years next week is when we moved out of our house.

Anyway, dishes.  I prefer to wash than to dry, and I don’t mind the washing because really, how hard is it to wash two plates, two forks, and two glasses?  Plus music.  Music makes the world go round!

Deep thoughts on Christmas Eve

Molly’s t-shirt says “BILLIEVE”.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean.  I think it’s “BILLIEVE” instead of “BELIEVE”, and not “BILLI-EVE”, like some sort of conflation of two names, but both options are equally nonsensical to me, so it could go either way.  I’m also pretty sure it’s a Penn State shirt, but that doesn’t get me any closer to what it means.  If it’s a Penn State shirt, then it’s probably sports-related, probably football-related, and there’s probably a coach or a quarterback or whatever whose name is Bill.

Eh. I could Google it.  I could ask Molly.  I don’t care that much, but I am interested in finding out just how long I can stare quizzically at Molly before she finally asks me what the hell is going on.

Some level of talent is necessary

I’ve had voice actors on the brain and in my ears with all the fiction podcasts I listen to, and I noticed the other day that some of these voice actors SUCK at laughing.  On Wolf 359, which I love, only ONE of the actors is any good at making his character’s laughter sound real.  Thankfully, he plays two characters.  When the others laugh, it’s painfully obvious that it’s fake, and one of them is so bad I almost can’t listen.  It’s just as well that that guy plays a minor character AND he’s an uber-bad guy, so I only feel a little bad for not liking him.

I’m judging them for their bad fake laughter, but it’s not like I could do any better.  I don’t think I could be a voice actor.  I feel strange just reading things out loud.  I don’t do voices or accents, although I’d like to, not that either of those are requirements for voice actors.  I suppose I’d get better if I practiced.

I could never be an actor at all, I think.  I mean, the biggest obstacle is that I can’t act.  I can’t say I’ve tried much, but I pretty much suck at it.  And I get weird when someone points a video camera at me.  (Weird in still photos, sure, but WEIRDER on video.)  Not on purpose – I just can’t help it.  Again, though, I imagine practice would help.

Batteries included, but how can you tell if it’s dying?

A few weeks ago we bought a cute little waterproof bluetooth speaker so we could listen to music in the shower or while doing dishes or wherever without using headphones or dealing with crappy phone speakers.  Good purchase!  It sounds good, it’s cute and little (as mentioned above), and it’s called the Oontz Angle.  Worth it for the amusement I get out of the name alone.  Its battery is rechargeable via USB, and it’s all-around wonderful except for one minor thing: there’s no battery life indicator.

When it arrived, we couldn’t tell if it had been charged.  Most electronics need to be charged before their first use, but when we turned it on, it worked immediately.  And with almost daily use (not more than an hour a day, but still), it ran for nearly six weeks before it died.  Of course, it died mid-shower (my shower, naturally), and I had no warning.  If I’d known it was low, I would have plugged the poor thing in.  Maybe a warning light?  Where blinking means “Plug me in, please”?  But really, that’s the only complaint I have about it.

I just don’t get why

I was only disappointed by one thing at Disney World – we missed the Main Street Electrical Parade.  They don’t do it every night anymore (and they didn’t do it the nights we were at the Magic Kingdom), and they’re moving it to only Disneyland after October 9th this year (thank you, Brian, for breaking the news to us).  There’s a Fantasyland parade they do every day at 3pm, but it’s not the same.  First of all, it’s at 3pm.  Second of all, it’s mostly princesses and not much else (from what I remember, anyway).  I mean, I liked it, and the mechanical Maleficent-as-dragon is pretty darn cool, but nothing can replace the Main Street Electrical Parade.

Oh no!  I just looked it up, and it’s only going to Disneyland for a “limited-time encore engagement.”  What the hell, Disney?  You can’t retire that parade!  Maybe there’s a petition I can sign.

Disney convenience

If you stay at a Disney resort, they send you a Magic Band (which I have already shown you) that acts as your park ticket, your room key, and your FastPass (skipping long lines for rides), and if you link your credit card to it (and a PIN), you can use it to pay for EVERYTHING.  (If you don’t stay at a resort, you can still buy one and use it the same way.)  It was incredibly convenient, and it meant we could really pare down what we had to carry.  It’s making me reconsider services like Google Wallet and Apple Pay.  There are still security concerns, and I’d always have to have my phone, but I always DO have my phone.  Obviously, there are still places that don’t use those services, so I couldn’t use it all the time, but I’m willing to bet it’ll become more and more common, just like it’s more and more common for even street vendors to take credit cards.  It’s something I’m thinking about, anyway.

Dog fix needed

Our bike ride this afternoon took us past the dog park.  It’s a really big dog park, and there were a lot of dogs playing and looking happy.  We watched for a few minutes, trying not to be those weirdos who lurk outside dog parks without dogs.  I missed our puppies, but was mostly happy to watch all those dogs play.  I’ve toyed with the idea of volunteering at an animal shelter before, and I’m toying with it now.  I’m not Mom – I can be trusted not to come home with a new pet.  But will it make me feel better, knowing I’m helping out homeless animals, giving them love and attention and helping them get adopted?  Or will it make me feel worse to come home every time, NOT having adopted a new pet (a new dog, let’s be honest here), knowing I’m not rescuing them and giving them all a loving home?  Because really – now is not the time for us to get a dog.  We’re not ready emotionally.  We’re a week away from three years since Roxy’s death, and about a year and a half from Riley’s. We both have dreams about one or both of them fairly regularly, which is kind of nice.  They’re not sad dreams – they’re matter of fact (we’re doing something and oh hey, one of the dogs is with us), and it’s kind of like saying hello.  For me, crying about them is not a thing of the past.  On top of that, our travel plans make it complicated, so it’s not an option.

But anyway, volunteering at an animal shelter – good thing for me?  Bad thing?  I should probably try it and see.

Things I don’t understand

I don’t know a lot of things, obviously, and that will always be the case because who can ever know everything?  But I think that if I learn something, or someone explains something to me, I’m capable of understanding it.  I feel like that should be true of EVERYTHING.  I’m intelligent and curious.  Tell me, and I’ll understand.

There are exceptions.

Things/actions I don’t understand:

  • People who wear make-up to work out
  • People who wear perfume/cologne to work out
  • People who don’t wave/nod/smile/say good morning back
  • Acquiring a taste for something
  • People who cut in line (there are some exceptions, but they require explanations and politeness)
  • Dog-walkers who don’t clean up after their dogs
  • Drivers who don’t use their turn signals

This may be Part 1 of an ongoing series, but for now, those are the big ones.

I can hear the chapel bells chime

Our apartment is directly across the street from the Naval Academy and just a little bit down the block from the Naval Academy chapel, where midshipmen get on the longest wait lists EVER to get married.  I have yet to see a wedding there, but I rarely go on the yard.  My view of the chapel is the back view, pretty much.  But I can hear it!  Bells chime on the quarter hour from 8am to 8pm daily.  Sometimes I can tune them out, sometimes every quarter hour shoves me through the day.  Most of the time I don’t mind them.  What I’m not crazy about are the songs.  At noon every day, after the bells ring the hour, they play “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”, and at 6pm every day, they play…something.  I think it varies, and it’s not always recognizable.  Sometimes it’s not even recognizable as a melody.  Tonight, though, it was “Amazing Grace”.  I think.  I’m pretty sure.

The Naval Academy website has a page for the chapel but NOTHING about the bells.  I found a 16-year-old article in the Washington Post about them, so now I know that they’re not rung by people (they’re digitized), I’m right about the Navy Hymn at noon every day, and apparently a hymn is selected at random from a database at 6pm every day.  Although it also says that the organ was going to be hooked up eventually, so maybe eventually came during the last 16 years and some person on the organ is responsible for the 6pm hymns that don’t sound like anything melodic.  I choose to believe that.

We’re about to trade constant bell-ringing for train chugging and whistles.  Which will we prefer?

Too many anthologies

It seems I’ve been reading a lot of short story collections lately (over the last year), and I’ve noticed a common thread – I put a lot of them down without finishing all the stories. It happens more with collections from different authors – just when I find a story I like, it’s over, and I have to shift gears for a new voice and a new story. When I read an anthology by the same author, I don’t have this problem. Same voice, I guess? Maybe the next time I pick up a collection, I should space the stories out. Read a story, switch to a novel, read another story, read another novel. That’s an actual plan that I will follow. Good idea, me!