Friday, June 4, 2010

Rugby season comes to a close

Yesterday was SJC Rugby's end of the year alumni v/s seniors game (though we had several juniors playing), and subsequent picnic. We managed to get through the game without an actual "storm," but the rain did come, and thunder was periodic. Unfortunately it did come through shortly after the whistle blew, and everyone was forced to crowd in to the concession stand and press-box. It was "cozy." We had our usual end of the year speeches from the coaches and boosters and team captains, but an extra surprise was handed down by our head coach who announced he would be stepping down and passing the torch to one of the assistant coaches. This was pretty shocking to most of the guys, but certainly understandable considering his wife is having baby number 2 here in just a few weeks, and baby number 1 is only two years old. The guys works insane hours at his actual job on top of all the time he puts in to coaching and orchestrating the rugby team. I'm certain his family would like to see him alot more than they do.
All that being said, I am not entirely sure that wasn't my last hurrah with the team. I've got a couple of pending job applications in the works, and am constantly looking for other opportunities to pursue. Partly because I just want to return to full-time athletic training, and party because I need to make considerably more money. Heading back to full-time athletic training would prevent me from working with the team (for about 30% of the games anyway). Who knows what will happen, and I wasn't about to stand up there yesterday and make any pre-emptive speeches about how enjoyable it was to work with everyone.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summa, summa, summa time....

I remember when summer was a time to sing. I used to love the feeling of the school year ending, of getting all excited about spending my days at the pool, grilling every night, working on whatever semblance of a tan I could muster. Those days have eluded me for the past several years now. I've gotta say, it sucks. I knew, upon leaving my job at Gallaudet, that I would be giving up that oh-so coveted luxury of summers off. That being said, I was ready to take that leap (and frankly my bank account demanded that I do so), and I certainly can't say that I've regretted it, or that I am unhappy with my job. What I am unhappy about is the whole idea of having to work all summer. Last year was a slight luxury as I took a month off for maternity leave. It's not like I got to do whatever I wanted, but I didn't have to get up and go to work, so that was good.
Yesterday was Memorial Day - the "official" yet not "scientific" start to summer. Sadly, it was the only day we all spent together at my house. Brad worked all day Saturday, and all day Sunday, but we did our best to enjoy Monday. I found myself sitting there, enjoying the relaxing nature of not having to go to work, or anywhere really, and wished (yet again) that I could win the lottery, so we could spend every day like this. Together. Now, in reality, I'd hurt someone were I forced to spend all day, everyday with them (members of my immediate family included). Everyone needs their "me" time - alone - with their thoughts and feelings, and peace and quiet. As far as I can tell it is a basic human right. What I would like is to have the summer off. To spend the days with those that I love, maybe even take a nice vacation somewhere. I do anticipate that someday this will happen for us. Someday things won't be so hectic. We won't be working 4 jobs. We will have a rainy-day fund. We will be able to take a real vacation (as opposed to the snippets of vacations we get that are generally attached to my business travel).
I applied for a job with FCPS - they had several ATC openings. It'd be great if I could land one of those positions. While nothing would change for this summer, it would be a wonderful thing to look forward to for next year.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mike Leaving

In September, my boss annouced he was going to retire at the end of the fiscal year (which had just started, so we still had about 11 months to go). Being that he's our CEO, search parties were formed, and the job was officially posted (probably in half a bazillion places around the internet). In the late winter, the four top candidates came in to interview, and at our convention last month they announced Mike's replacement - a guy from the USTA who seems to be very cool (though today was the first time I ever heard him utter words).
I'm excited for Mike. He's dedicated the better part of his life and professional career to this asssociation and his job. He deserves to retire, to do what he wants when he wants, and to not have to answer to any more ridiculous people (of which I've come to find there are many in a job like his - hell, even in a job like mine). On that same note, I'm sad to see Mike go. He's who gave me this job. I was making a major career move coming here, sitting behind a desk, doing something completely foreign to me, but Mike seemed to see that it was a job I would do and do well (despite having zero prior knowledge of the program whatsoever).
All that being said, I'm excited for a new chapter at work. I debated on whether to try and exit stage left with Mike, or stick it out and see what happens with the new guy. While I did put my hat in the ring for a pretty sweet federal job, those things literally take months to fill, so while it sits over there on the back burner, I will continue to do the job at hand. The speed and effort behind which I put my prospective departure was always dependent on who the new guy would be. Out of the 4 original candidates, I only disliked one. Had that person been the pick, I'da had my resume out to every job within a 20 mile radius within a weeks time. Thankfully that wasn't the case, and I'm looking forward to working with newbie.
There are always things we'd like to change at work. I feel like this is a good chance for our office to make some real changes. I can only imagine how long the list of prospective changes will be at our next CEOAC meeting. All the things we tried to pass by Mike over the last few years will now be presented to the new guy. He's got a different outlook on things, and undoubtedly a different way of doing business. I'm certain that while many things will remain the same, many things will change, and hopefully for the better. This isn't to say that I'm unhappy with my job, or how the office is run. It's more that there are little things that could and should change - things that would make a big difference around here - and boost morale if nothing else.
So, it's all a bit bittersweet. The end of an era if you will. Mike will be gone in just about a month, but the new guy will not start until September 1. This could be an interesting summer.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Moving the old blog

Ok, so the next SEVERAL blogs below are reverse order (as all blogs read) reposts from my old MySpace blog. I'm considering cancelling the account, but didn't want to lose my old posts. They're all dated, so you can clearly see when they're originally from.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 - I’ve been to the holideck

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I’ve been to the holideck
From my experience with Star Treck, there were numerous episodes (or maybe it just seemed like numerous episodes) where someone goes to the holideck. This person would ask the computer to load program xyz and magically they'd be transported (or so it seemed) to a dark, smokey lounge, with a live jazz band, or maybe a blues singer, a stiff martini or single malt scotch served right up at the bar, or perhaps delivered by a cocktail waitress. This, my friends, was my honest to God experience at a joint in Ft. Worth.
Yes, yes, I've been back from Ft. Worth for a month now, and I've been meaning to write this blog from the moment I walked outta that joint, but here I am - just now getting around to it.
So, on my 4th day in Ft. Worth, my best work buddy Kaycee FINALLY rolls in to town. We'd made plans to go out for dinner and drinks and whatever trouble we could find to get in to. I'd passed by a wine bar several times in my walks during my 3 previous days there, and recommended we try that out as our first stop of the evening. The wine was good, the food wasn't bad and overall it was an interesting (and not particularly cheap by Ft. Worth standards) excursion. We decided to leave after 3 glasses and see what else we could find around town. While heading over to a recommended joint, we passed by the Scat Jazz Lounge and the bouncer outside offered us 2 for 1 and said that a really great band was there that they don't get to book very often because they're very popular. We declined and kept walking to our original destination. Upon arrival we realized it was the "student" hangout, and promptly exited stage left. We agreed that the jazz bar might be ok, and decided to go for the 2 for 1 offer. We paid the guy and he tells us we have to take the elevator down one level to get in. Doors open, we step inside and apparently one of us said "computer load program" cause that's what happend next.
The doors open and we're in a short hallway just outside of the bar. It's VERY dark, and when we walk in there's an enormous jazz band taking up 1/4 of the place. They're pretty good (as we were expecting) and so we wander around trying to find a seat. Since it seemed that this was, in fact, a limited engagement, the tables were all full, but we did manage to find one near the front on the far side of the joint. The cocktail waitress comes over and we order drinks (though not martinis, nor single malt scotch). "So we're sitting there, in almost complete darkness, at a table for two, when a couple comes in and sits at the table in front of us. Oddly, they're dressed in 50's garb. We look around thinking how odd it is, but nobody else seems to notice. Behind us is a group of old ladies, obviously living up the jazz scene and paying little mind to anyone outside of their group.
The band takes a two minute break and is joined by a guy who proceeds to pick up a mic and address the audience. He's dressed in a 3-piece suit, and is clearly not your average, everyday Joe. He starts to sing, and dance with the mic and we decide that we really need to get out before the Klingons blow up the ship without our knowledge.
We weave our way out of the bar and back to the elevator in the hall. At this point Kaycee actually says "computer, end program." The doors opened, we got in, and were magically transported back to reality. "Seriously, was that not just like being on the holideck? You know what the holideck is, right?" I had to agree wholeheartedly. We had been to the holideck. Totally freaky.

Monday, April 21, 2008 - Chores for two - what I’ve been trying to accomplish for years!

Monday, April 21, 2008
Chores for two - what I’ve been trying to accomplish for years!
Chores for two: Why men don't pitch in
Leslie Bennetts explores the role men play in housework and childrearing
By Leslie Bennetts
Tango Media

As a reporter, I often travel on assignment. When my children were small, the prospect of my leaving town for a few days typically elicited great alarm from our family's nearest and dearest. "Who will take care of the children!" they exclaimed, as if the little darlings had only one parent. When I replied that their father would doubtless make sure they didn't starve to death while I was away, everyone from my women friends to my mother would simper adoringly, "Oh, you're so lucky! Jeremy is soooo wonderful!"
Like my husband and me, our upstairs neighbors during those years, Amy and Nick, were both working journalists with complicated schedules, as well as children and a dog. When Amy saw my husband hauling groceries into our apartment one day, she asked me what on earth he was doing.
Since the bags were overflowing with the usual staples of family life, from breakfast cereal to toilet paper, the answer seemed pretty obvious. But instead of questioning Amy's observational skills, I explained that twice a month Jeremy bought large quantities of household supplies, thereby reducing the number of necessities I had to lug home every day. Duh.
Amy looked as if she were about to swoon. "Oh, you're so lucky!" she moaned, her voice trembling with an unnatural fervor so exaggerated as to suggest I had just won the MegaMillions lottery. "My husband would never do that! Jeremy is soooo wonderful!"
When the big holidays roll around, the sainted Jeremy and I always have a houseful of guests. I spend days planning, shopping, and cooking lavish meals for ridiculous numbers of friends and relatives. I do everything from the flower-arranging to the silver-polishing to the table-setting.
After eating themselves into a stupor, one or two people usually rouse themselves long enough to make halfhearted, visibly insincere offers to help clean up. We tell them not to worry about it; Jeremy does the clean-up.
Sinking back into torpor, they sigh with relief. "Oh, you're so lucky!" they murmur. "Jeremy is soooo wonderful!"
Excuse me? Here's a news flash for you: Jeremy is not soooo wonderful. I, actually, am the one who is soooo wonderful.
Although both Jeremy and I work full-time, I do all the cooking, and I have always taken care of considerably more child-rearing tasks and domestic drudge-work than my husband. In this regard, we resemble most other two-career American couples.
According to the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, women spent an average of 27 hours a week on housework in 2002, while men spent 16 hours (which at least represents an improvement over the 16 seconds or so a lot of them spent a generation ago). Even today, married men perform little more than a third of household labor, whether or not their wives are in the paid labor force. And women spend more than twice as much time as men do on child care.
Ask your typical American dad what size shoes his children wear, and you will likely draw a blank stare. He has no idea. Guess who makes sure the kids' toes aren't poking through their sneakers?
My own husband claims that any imbalance in our household contributions derives solely from the fact that he has to go to an office while I work at home, a luxury that permits me to take care of many domestic tasks during my workday. This disparity in our schedules may explain why I make dinner every night—because I'm home to stir the pot on the stove—but it does not explain why our weekends begin with him enjoying a third cup of coffee over the morning newspapers while I rush around making breakfast, cleaning up the house, and organizing the children's day. I'm the one everyone asks when they want to know when the next orthodontist appointment is, what the cross-country meet schedule is, or where the birthday party is being held (yes, I remembered to buy a present; yes, it's wrapped and ready to go).
And yet everyone acts as if Jeremy deserves some kind of medal just for making a run to the supermarket. No one has ever suggested that I'm a heroine for doing the things every mother is expected to do. I admit that my husband helps out more than many men, but here's another news flash: It isn't because he's such a fabulously enlightened being. Left to his own devices, he would doubtless park himself in front of the TV like some sitcom male-chauvinist couch potato while I did all the work. The reason Jeremy "helps" as much as he does (an offensive terminology that itself suggests who's really being held responsible) is simple: He doesn't have a choice.
From the beginning of our relationship, I made it very clear that I wasn't going to be any husband's unpaid servant. If Jeremy wanted to be—and stay—married to me, let alone have kids, he couldn't stick me with all the boring, mundane stuff nobody wants to do. We were going to share the work, or we were going to forget the whole deal.Unlike my first husband, who announced after our wedding that he didn't like the way the French laundry did his shirts and he now expected me, the Wife, to wash and iron all of them, Jeremy recognized both the righteousness of the principle involved and the intransigence of the woman he'd married, and proceeded to pitch in.
That was 17 years ago, and while we haven't exactly achieved equity, we've come a lot closer to it than most of our peers, judging by all the dreary surveys proving that men are slugs and their wives are superwomen. So how have I accomplished this? By holding my husband's feet to the fire every single day of our lives, of course.
Yes, dear readers, it's true: Maintaining some semblance of parity in your marriage requires you to deploy the same kinds of nasty tactics you swore you would never stoop to as a parent but nonetheless found yourself using the minute you actually had a kid. Bribery and punishment work; so do yelling and complaining. Threats are also effective, as long as everyone knows you mean business. With husbands, tender blandishments and nooky are particularly useful, as is the withholding of the aforementioned.
These strategies admittedly take a lot of energy, but not as much as performing all the functions necessary to maintain home and family by yourself. When my husband has lingered too long over the sports section and I'm feeling overwhelmed by the number of errands that must be run, I hand him a list.
"This is what I need you to do today," I say in a tone of voice that brooks no equivocation. He may moan and groan, but the jobs get done. And while I still have to mastermind the operation — somehow he is never the one who remembers that our son needs new mosquito netting, baseball cleats, and basketball shoes for sleepaway camp — I'm not the only one schlepping around town checking items off the To Do list.
What I don't understand is why my insistence on some approximation of equality is unusual. I live in Manhattan, which is full of smart, educated, successful women who are juggling the responsibilities of family and career with extraordinary competence. And yet most of them will readily admit that their husbands don't do half of anything remotely domestic.
Go to any school event for parents and you will find it crowded with working women who have taken time out of their busy professional schedules to meet with teachers or sit in on classes or attend the fourth-grade play. My children's school sponsors a regular forum where parents gather to discuss such pressing issues as curfews, homework, and the social mores of hormone-addled teen-agers. At every single one, the room is full of women — doctors, lawyers, and CEOs, as well as stay-at-home moms. The only man who ever attends is a widower who admits his son never tells him anything, so he comes to the discussion groups in hopes of learning what his kid is up to from his classmates' moms.
Where are the other fathers? In their offices, no doubt. Before you start protesting that this is exactly where those big strong male breadwinners belong, let me make one thing crystal clear: In many of the families I'm talking about, the wife is actually the major breadwinner. This seems to have no effect whatsoever on the husband's willingness to be an equal partner — or on the wife's readiness to demand that he become one. Although almost half of all working women provide at least half of the family income, and women are the major breadwinners in nearly a third of all American households, they remain far more likely to take time off from work when their children are sick. Needless to say, one survey after another shows that men also have more leisure time. Ask most working mothers what they do with their leisure time and you're lucky if they don't hit you.
The fact that guys, when left to their own devices, rarely rush to offer more toilet-scrubbing and diaper-changing is not in itself surprising. As Martin Luther King Jr. once observed, "We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."
So why aren't women demanding something closer to parity? While many are resigned to seething in silence, the stakes are far higher than they seem to realize. When wives permit their husbands to shirk a fair share of the homemaking and parenting, not only do they themselves suffer, but chances are good that they're also sentencing their children to a similar fate. When you have kids, everything you do teaches them how to live their own lives when they grow up. Unfortunately, all too many women are still teaching their children that "woman is the nigger of the world," as John Lennon and Yoko Ono put it so memorably in a song lyric years ago. And what too many fathers teach their sons and daughters is that men can get away with dumping the scut work on their wives, and that women will grit their teeth and put up with it.
So all I can say to my fellow wives and mothers is: Rise up — you have nothing to lose but your unjust share of the burden. I know what you're thinking: "I've tried to get him to help out more, but he won't! What am I supposed to do?"
You're supposed to insist, that's what you're supposed to do. It's not as if women don't have leverage these days; despite the stereotype of the middle-aged guy running off with the secretary half his age, two thirds of all divorces among Americans over 40 are initiated by women, not men. What does this tell us about their relative levels of satisfaction within marriage?
And while I recognize that gender stereotypes are risky, in my experience husbands are a lot like children. They will get away with whatever they can get away with. When you put your foot down and make it clear that you won't take no for an answer, somehow the kids' rooms get cleaned, the groceries bought, the laundry folded. It really does work, I promise.
Leslie Bennetts is the author of "The Feminine Mistake" and has been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair since 1988, writing on subjects that have ranged from movie stars to U.S. terrorism policy.

Monday, February 11, 2008 - Memories and Michael Jackson

Monday, February 11, 2008
Memories and Michael Jackson
Do you ever forget how much you loved Michael Jackson? No, not recently loved him, but in like 1st grade loved him. When I was in 1st grade, along with many of you - Michael Jackson was da bomb. He was the coolest, most talented, best entertainer out there. We all loved his songs (go ahead, try and deny it), wanted to do the moonwalk like him, and watched Thriller over and over again. Regardless, I'm not on here typing away to convince you of anything.
So, we've established that I loved Michael Jackson as a kid. I continued to enjoy his music even though Michael, as a person, became the exact opposite of someone who I would admire. The music he made during the early 80's, and even the early 90's was great. Catchy tunes that have been sampled and remade time and time again in the current music scene. This is what leads me to this blog and the recent updates to my playlist.
Rhianna's newest radio release has a nice sampling (or pseudosampling) from Wanna Be Starting Something which in turn leads me to think of Michael Jackson, which in turn leads me to think about a very long trip to and from Connecticut with my partners in crime Ron and Cami (and Will was along that trip which made it even better). We didn't always all agree on what should or should not be on the radio, but we all agreed on Michael Jackson. (BTW, Cami or Will if you happen to read this - one of my favoritest memories ever.) This story has already been recapped in a 2 part blog way down my list called "We're supposed to take 95 north," and "We're supposed to take 95 south."
Anywho, all this brought me to today when I finally remembered to add some MJ songs to my playlist - along with Rhianna, and some new Chris Brown. When you have nothing better to do, or need the best playlist ever to get you through your day - check it out :)