Friday, August 29, 2008

Six Days from Sunday

Here is a wonderful entry to the Hockey Night in Canada anthem contest, written by composer Jamie Hopkings, who I think is very talented, and a major hottie. It's entitled "Six Days from Sunday". To vote on it and to comment, you need to sign in with a user name. I think it's great!












There is also a 60-second version:








Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The venting place

I wish that after just about 7 months on the job, I could say it's getting better. I guess it is, sometimes. But never for very long.

Today my b*** actually, for the first time, liked my draft of the prez column. I allowed myself to feel good about that for a split second, and then wisely tamped it down. Good thing I did. Because there was more information forthcoming from same source: "Is that all there was today - those two things?" she asked.

"Y-yes," I said. "Both of those and I was handling the distribution problems from the magazine delivery yesterday."

"I'm just concerned about how long it took for you to complete those two pieces."

I sighed. I said, "you know, it just takes as long as it takes. I know you and Gertrude think it shouldn't take long at all, but it just does."

She said, "Well, I know how long it takes because I've done it."

Yeah, honey, you did it exactly twice back in January, but you didn't have to submit it to a prig like yourself.

I don't even remember what else I said to her, but for sure it sounded defensive. Once again, I am angry and frustrated.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

News flash

Ever feel a little warm? Maybe break a bit of a sweat every now and then for no reason? In this blog I've been whining on and on over the past couple of months about peri-menopause, as well as the night sweats brought on by the pharmaceutical I'm taking.

Sissy stuff.

I had my first official hot flash last night.

All I can say is that now I have had a taste of the hell that generations of peri-meno woman have endured over thousands and thousands and thousands of years. I woke up in the middle of the night with a big, "uh-oh", which is the signal that I'm going to barf. I lurched to the bathroom, which I swear turned from beige to bright Beelzebub red as the minutes passed. It felt like I had stepped into an oven; the heat was so intense it was almost painful. Next, I thought, hmm, maybe I'm gonna pass out now, so I lay down - aaaaahh - on the cold tile floor. And fell asleep. Woke up, oh, maybe five minutes later, pouring with sweat, thinking now I'm really gonna barf (sorry; have to share this). Ugh. But at least the oven had turned off.

Yeah, and check out these helpful suggestions: "some evidence exists that regular exercise can reduce hot flashes and that yoga can help by teaching women to control their body's response to the stresses that can lead to bothersome hot flashes".

Regular exercise - feh! Doing it already.
Yoga? Bite me! And, oh yeah, they suggest - get this - dressing in layers! Oh now that's really helpful.

No, all I have to console myself is the deep and secure knowledge that I have looked Lucifer right in the eye.

PS: I stole the photo above from this very cool website.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

There is good in the world

An encounter on my trip home from work on the subway last night combined with inspiration from this wonderful blogger, specifically this entry, has put me in a good deedy mood...

Whenever I get in one of those darker moods (currently chemically alleviated somewhat) where I become hypersensitive to the destruction and despair in the world, I check in. Actually, in truth, I check in just about every day regardless of mood. But it's a place that will reassure you that there is good in the world.

I've also been inspired by this posting by blogger Posie Gets Cozy.

I use this passage of hers in particular, as a reminder of the good in the world, which is created by people; she wrote it while recovering from a serious accident:
I saw that the world was constantly falling apart, it was always in a state of little things always falling apart, and then there were these brigades of individual human angels, with kind eyes, apples and stitches, repairing, fixing, mending, patting, bandaging the wounds of the world, and putting it back together, piece by tiny piece.

Gooddeedaday and Posie are two of those angels. They make me want to be one.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pot of gold

The other night when we were eating dinner, some big dark clouds rolled in, as they have been doing all summer. And since Charlie has been obsessed with tornadoes lately, making us sit and watch them endlessly with him, he got quite excited and thought he maybe saw a funnel cloud forming. Though there were funnel clouds in the city during this storm, we didn't see one. Unless those hangie-downie ones are premies. Then, it rained, torrentially, as it has been doing all summer. And then the sun came out.

And so, we got a rainbow - and this one was the most magnificent I think I have ever seen. It was one big arc; actually two big arcs. Of course, I grabbed my camera. I have dozens of photos of rainbows - especially from our balcony - and they never even come close to capturing the rapture. But here they are. Seeing miracles like that rainbow bring me a lot of joy. I look forward to those kind of tears again.

Here's why:

It's been one week since I cut my dose of Cipralex from 10mg to 5mg.

I did it because I don't like the side effects, which have not abated after 4 months, specifically:
a) the stomach upset;
b) the night sweats and subsequent shivering which mean I wake up shivering every morning; and
c) I REALLY crave cigarette smoke; I've never smoked, but I tell ya, I could really use a ciggie right now; and
d) the emotional constipation this drug has given me.

Having been a very sensitive and emotional person all my life, and also having gone through all those sessions of CBT to get over my fear of crying in public, I've been reflecting that, while on this medication, I miss that part of me that could cry at a sad episode of Deep Space 9.

While at 10 mg, I had a good solid three weeks of no tears, no crying at all. There were times when I expected to cry and did not. Could not. Which would've been great back when I was so terrified of crying at work (i.e. the last 20 years).

But now, my chief assignment since therapy is that I'm supposed to just let myself feel what I'm feeling and deal with the consequences. The problem on the meds is that sometimes I need to cry and I can't. It gets stuck and won't come out. Emotional constipation is not how I want to live. Not after all that hellish processing and facing up the the nugget of my fear I went through in therapy.

Note: I did cry in my b*ss's office when she crapped all over my draft outline and told me she was "concerned". I hadn't cried in a long time. Figures the damn would break there and then - though not out of sadness, but anger. But I just talked through it - no big hairy deal. She of course sat there as cold as ice. All I can say is, maybe she should cut back her dose too.

So far, the stomach upset has subsided a lot. But the sweats: yipes! Maybe it really is peri-menopause this time. But does that include huge drops in temperature too?
One more pic: here's what the sky looked like after the rainbow faded. We get a real good show up here, we do. So good, there aughta be a law.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happiness is... Friday night


This is where we went last weekend.

I wonder what fun lies ahead? These are the good old days!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just a day at the spa

In a sharp contrast to my daily dose of being undermined, mistrusted and denigrated, I took the subway yesterday morning down to St. Mike's gastroenterology department, checked in with a friendly, calm receptionist, then sat with a magazine and waited for my colonoscopy.

I got summoned by a very polite student volunteer (wearing a T-shirt that said "Student Volunteer"), who led me to the changeroom and showed me my locker in the manner of someone welcoming to a spa treatment. He handed me my gowns - you get to double gown, so no bare bumbie. After I changed, I was shown to a Lazyboy chair and a nurse, who introduced herself and told me about St. Mike's international reputation for treating the kind of stuff I was being tested for. First though, she noticed I looked cold, so brought me a heated blanket. Nice.

After she stuck the IV thingie in my hand (it hurt), she led me to another Lazyboy chair, which was where she tucked me in to wait for
my procedure, and told me I could nap if I wanted to. It was a long wait, but I was very comfy, and the Olympics were on the tv in front of me, so I got to watch synchro diving team Alexandre Despatie and Arturo Miranda. They came in 5th (sigh), but it was pleasant just reclining there under a blanket with no obligations.

Then I was interviewed in my comfy chair by one of the dr's assitants. I totally forget his actual title, but he introduced himself, and after the
symptom & medical history questions, chit-chatted with me about my son, etc. I had oxygen & a sedative during the procedure - I fought the sedative as best I could - I wanted to watch the monitor - and so I got to see the whole thing, which was very cool. Another benefit of watching was I saw for myself that they didn't find anything. A benefit of the sedative is that you feel pretty darn relaxed.

The first thing they'd find - if they were to find anything during this screening - would be a polyp, which is pre-pre-cancer. And had they found one, they would h
ave remove it right then and there. In short, in means you probably won't get that cancer, if you get screened once very five years and have polps removed. They catch the trouble before it starts.

I got tons of praise from the four (I think) people in the room for being relaxed and not fussing about the discomfort. So, gleaning from that, I understand it
can be uncomfortable, and if I had felt any pain, I definitely would have squawked about it.

Then we were done, and I was told - again - what a great job I did (how I've been longing to hear those words!), and that I was completely and totally clear of any polyps. A new nurse rolled me on my soft comfy bed over to recovery, where I was instructed to sleep and feel free to toot (they didn't actually say "toot").

Two hours later I woke up, and a very chipper nurse brought me cookies and ginger ale. After she determined I was okay to go, I changed, greeted my hub and boy, and went with my boy to find the doctor so I could check out. He again praised me for being so relaxed and said he wished all his patients were like me. Jee
z! I mean, I've been feeling like I'm some sort of scourge whenever I have any dealings with my boss, I was almost in shock with all this nicey-nice talk from the doc, who may say all this stuff to all his patients - possible, because he really was nice. Then he gave my son a chocolate (with my permission), and off we went.

I was hungry, so hub and boy agreed we should go to Swi$$ Ch^le+, and so we did. A pretty darn good day, all told.

I'm glad I had the screening. I was dreading it, but I would not object to doing it annually if I had to -- it's really not that bad. I did need to be tested: I've go
t family with various related problems, which is why my GP booked me for it, plus I felt I should do it for personal reasons. My old mentor has colorectal cancer, one of my best friends has lost her sister and brother in law to colon cancer, and a friend's mom has battled it twice. Plus Katie Couric did it on TV - and good for her for doing that it reassured me that it couldn't be too mortifying. And in fact, it really was not embarrassing at all.

When I woke up on Tuesday morning - the morning before the screening - I was practically paralyzed with anxiety, facing my performance review with my b*ss cum borg drone, and then an evening with Kleen Prep. I was so anxious I couldn't eat lunch. And I wasn't supposed to eat after lunch - they want you to have an empty stomach before you start cleaning yourself out. Anyway, my performance review went okay. I came into it prepared with proactive plans for all of her previous criticisms and pointed out all the stuff I was already doing. Plus I reminded her that in-depth industry knowledge had not been a qualification for my job, but since it appeared that she now required it of me (actually demanded it), then I would need help in the form of courses.

I felt pretty satisfied about the meeting and once I got back to my desk, I was so bloody relieved I could've put my head down on my desk and fallen asleep. Turns out I was about a billion times more anxious about my review than I was about having a colonoscopy. Then, the colonscopy day turned out to be pretty good. Way better than a day at the frigging salt mine, that's for sure. And that's gotta change.

Colonoscopy prep notes:
The prep - which cleans you out the evening before the screening, as well as the morning of - is unpleasant, but not horrible; I expected the Kleen-prep would make me feel horribly sick, but it didn't. I had a stack of magazines, and highly recommend People's "Child Stars, Then & Now" -- it's perfect for an evening on the throne. You have to drink a cup of the stuff every 10 minutes until you "run clear". The only big deal about it is that you cannot leave the throne until, well, you can leave the throne. So the trip downtown had to be carefully timed for after the running stopped, which was about 2 1/2 hrs in total.

Photo:
Our sunflowers, which Char
lie planted back in April. I love 'em; they're so freaky.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I know dark clouds will gather round me

I know my way is rough and steep. But golden fields lie out before me where God’s redeemed shall ever sleep.

Just feeling rather dramatic here at 3:16am. And sleep - though not the permanent kind - would be most welcome. I've got more trouble at w*ork, and I need to vent.

This afternoon my b%ss crapped all over the outline I wrote for the big cheese's message - which I prepared in response to her crapping all over my first draft, which apparently did not have enough "thought leadership". As for my outline, she said she started to comment on it, but just had to do her own.

Turns out she thought mine was so terribly lacking she said is "concerned" about my ability to do this at all. Then as I looked at her outline she told me the three points she thought were most important. I grabbed mine, and circled the same three points.

She then said she didn't like the writing style of the outline; it didn't have a good narrative flow. I looked at her with some astonishment and reminded her it was an outline, not the article, and that I needed feedback before proceeding because she had thought I was so off the mark with my first draft.

I told her in future I need clear direction on what the article is supposed to be about, including the main point I'm supposed to make, as well as a brief outline.

She said they shouldn't have to provide me with an outline and that I should generate it. I said I didn't think it was unreasonable or unorthodox for a writer to require an outline about a topic that is unfamiliar, never mind wanting one even when the topic is familiar. She disagreed and said -again - that she's very concerned. I said well then Gertrude (her boss, and my dotted-line report) has hired the wrong person for the job. She again said she's concerned.

This is not a good sign.

Anyway I noted that the article is supposed to be 400 words and the outline looked to be more than that, and was there anything in there that shouldn't be. She said to not be concerned with word count and just see "where this lands".

In other news: I have my performance review tomorrow - hurrah! Plus I get to write and submit yet another draft by noon! Then, I get to consume 4 litres of Kl@@n-Prep to prepare for my colonoscopy on Wednesday. You know things are really good when you're looking forward to a colonoscopy.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Family

I'm happy and sad tonight. We just got home from visiting my brother and his family, who are moving out of town very soon. This was our last gathering in their house here. Next time, visiting them will mean a five-hour drive, rather than a 30-minute one. It also means we won't have any family in the city. Also, my only friend at work is moving too. Again, very soon.
Anyway, the happiness part of it is that we had a lovely weekend with my family. I've been feeling lately that I need to spend more time with my mom. I sort of feel like she needs me, but it's probably just as much that I'm needing her. One reason is that I miss her; we haven't had a lot of time with just the two of us much this year. And also because work is just so damn hard these days.
I'm going to have to let my boss feel like she's truly my "manager". Clearly she wants to "manage" me, so I think the only way to survive this is to actively make her feel as though I'm deferring to her. I asked my parents for their advice, and both agreed. And in fact my mom had a very similar situation at work when she was in her 40s having a much younger boss.
One of my old bosses used to get very edgy as soon as he felt like he didn't know what was going on, and the only way to get him off your back was to get in his face with daily detailed reports on what you were doing. Since my current boss no longer sits five feet away from me, she seems to be having the same kind of issues. So starting Tuesday, I will give her my morning agenda, along with a request for her input on priorities, like, does she agree. Then before I leave, I'll update her on what I accomplished. She hasn't asked for this, but I think it's what she wants.
Ugh.
Okay, back to happiness: I felt very loved and supported this weekend. I needed it and I got it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The horrifying, the weird, and some nostalgia for mucilage to leave you feeling the world is okay


If you don't feel like being upset right now, don't go there, but I can't just ignore this. The headlines from the past two days have been horrifying.

And alongside them, the just plain weird: exhibit A, B, and C.

Now, back to a happy place. The world is actually very often an okay place, with comics and people who make fun of them and people who read what people who make fun of them write. By the way, Josh, mucilage is the name of the kind of glue we had back in Grade 3 here in Ontario (I don't actually know if it was present in schools in the States). It was non-toxic, so kids could eat it. I didn't. But you could also gum up some semi-dry musilage into a ball and throw it to try to make it stick onto the classroom ceiling, which worked quite well. And I think most of its users think of it - the glue and it's little brown bottle - quite fondly. It's even had it's day as a muse.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Workforce Part I and II

We just watched an episode of Star Trek Voyager. The crew has been abducted from their drifting escape pods and taken to a planet that has a labour shortage at its power plant. Their memories are altered so that they forget their past lives and happily get jobs at this power plant, where every now and then they comment to each other something like, "well who wouldn't want to work here; it's a great job!"

It's just too funny for words, particularly since ex-borg 7 of 9, who at the power plant is an efficiency monitor, is my bo$s personified. I got scolded again today for chatting and for making personal phone calls in the middle of the day. I did make two personal phone calls this week, actually. One to my brother who is having a rough time, and another to my parents who are worried about him. Both calls were witnessed by my own personally designated efficiency monitor.

Must be the meds, but I find all this amusing. Depressing too, mind you; I'm not that drugged. The thing is, there's a big part of the actual job I do that I really like. It's not the work, it's the efficiency monitor who's main goal for me is to join her in corporate dronehood. This new scolding subroutine is doing nothing but inspiring me to update my resume, and to despise her.

Just as an aside, one of the bad guys, in the ep, a power plant bigwig, is played by Ralph Malph. He does not look happy at all. Maybe because the efficiency monitor is pointing a phaser at him.

The episode, a two-parter, inspired me to google, "corporate drone", and I was led to a blog called the Bitter Corporate Drone. All I've really read is the About me section -- it's great.

NB: If I'm exhibiting a heretofore unrevealed familiarity with Star Trek, please forgive me. I willingly admit that I like DS9 and Voyager. But not TNG, so it's okay.