Friday, June 27, 2008

How to Lower Expectations

I read a great post a while (a few days?) ago titled, "How to Exceed Expectations". It was very inspirational. I highly recommend it. This post is not on the same topic. It's not even the opposite of that topic. It's just a desperate cry in the wilderness.

Okay, it's not really a desperate cry... not really.

I have a good sense of self-esteem (mostly).

This is me...just me. I don't have any illusions, or disillusions for that matter, about me. My vertical challenges are well outstripped by my intellect, although my height is much easier to view on most occasions. I top out at five foot, nothing. I would consider myself average in other physical aspects, including my average need to drop a couple of pounds.

So what's the issue with expectations?

I hear you asking. The issue is that folks get a different impression of me over the phone. I guess I have one of "those kind" of voices. I had an uncle years ago who told me that I would do well as a telemarketer. :^) My wacky sense of humor and other personality traits come through over the phone. I'm honest, straightforward, and transparent on the phone. The phone is my ally, if not my friend.

We're still waiting for the issue...

Sometimes I take a long ramble to get to the point. See, I know myself and I'm not ashamed of me.

The point is that I have a lunch meeting in about an hour and a half with someone I've been talking to off and on for a couple of years now. It's not a date; it's business - he's finally decided to make a job change. It's not a date; it's business - we've talked about his amazing girlfriend - I'm not her.

She's nice. You'll like her.

So why am I blind-date nervous? He said he's excited to meet me. I know he didn't mean that in the date kind of way, but still...should I warn him? I thought about replying to him email with a brief description, "See you there. Just look for the short, average black woman," or "You can't miss me...unless you look above five feet."

Is a picture worth a thousand words?

If I had any decent pictures, I might have sent one, you know, just so he could recognize me and make meeting up easier. I don't, and I didn't, and it would have been silly anyway...almost as silly as having butterflies about a business lunch. Maybe the butterflies rank even higher on the silly scale.

I'm probably not what he's expecting.

You might think that's a self-esteem issue rearing it's ugly head. It's not. You see, I've been "here" before, without the nerves. I was working with a client that I hadn't met in person. Actually, I had just taken over the account for someone who'd left the company. Everything was crossed and dotted when I got there, I just had to maintain (and hopefully build).

It's happened before.

After months of phone conversations (usually once or twice a month), we finally started really working together and decided to meet. I went to the company so that our meeting could also include a tour of the facility. I had the slight "don't get lost (that's another post, check back for it)" edginess working, as well as a little "first-time client meeting" nervousness. Overall, I was on an even keel.

I got to the reception area (after only one unnecessary loop around the block) and waited. My client came to the lobby to meet me and as he shook my hand he said, "You're absolutely nothing like what I expected." How do you respond to that? Say "Thank you"?

The clock is ticking...

It's too late for warnings now, or soon will be, so I won't be tempted. I'm going to make a valiant effort to ditch these nerves and walk proudly into that restaurant to face the verdict. Actually, writing this post has helped a lot already. If I have already acknowledged that I am probably not what he is expecting, there are no surprises in his reaction...and the restaurant is in a neighborhood I know well, so I can't (read shouldn't) get lost.

Maybe this post should be, "How to Overcome High Expectations".

Aww, man! This post almost reaches the borders of meaningful. Dare I hit "Publish" anyway?

I dare.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Look, Mom, No Clothes! I Exposed Myself in the Blogosphere.

Nick Cernis had a post yesterday that caused me to pause. It's a "read a book a week" challenge, not what one would consider a big deal. I love to read and enjoy a challenge. I've recently decided to do more reading for pleasure. Nick presented the perfect opportunity to start. So, why would I have to get all in my head before posting a comment?

Fear of exposure.

"Expose yourself", reason #4 on Nick's list of why we should accept the challenge, threw me for a loop. Choose two books to read and list them in the comments? I've got more books that I haven't read collecting more dust than I'd like to admit. Choosing books would not be a problem -- but telling people which books I'd chosen....

Expose yourself.

I had to think about that one. A lot of the books I like to read are...well, let's just say they're not literature. So, do I list two acceptable books (and read whatever I like on the side), or let other people know what I read? Expose possible derision, to appearing less than smart, to being more of a geek than some of the other self-proclaimed geeks who commented on that blog. I'd already told another blog audience (or two) that I'm into Trek and BSG. Do I want to say more? Should I really expose myself?

Truth and dare.

Historical romance, at least one other blogger has admitted to reading those.* Clancy? too much for my brain to handle right now -- I need to be able to put the book down so I can get some work done. MoL is only 25% complete according to the thermometer on Branden Sanderson's web site...not that I'll be able to put that down either...I hope.

I opt for splitting the difference: Life of Pi, because people with brains say it's worth the read, and Why Buffy Matters because I enjoyed the show and I'm geek enough to want to know (and besides, it was a Christmas present from my brother). I've got good historical fiction (it's an old Woodiwiss) that I haven't read in 12 years that'll be next on the list.

Seriously, geek and proud of it.

I keep saying that, but I have to remind myself. I'm not out to impress anybody. I just want to have a good time and possibly entertain someone else along the way. So I embrace my inner geek...and expose her to the world.

BTW, Nick responded to my comment. He said, "Life of Pi is a good read...."

*Ok, so I'm lame and lazy. I'm pretty sure I read that comment on historical romance on Men with Pens, but I've done a couple of searches on their site and can't find it. I'm just going to believe that I saw it there and link to them here.
Edited again - duh - try the post with "books" in the title if you're looking for novels.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Swift Lesson in Slow Speech

Color me nitpicky, but here I go (read am), complaining about the trivial once again. I was thinking about blog posts early this morning and decided that I'm going to go ahead and get all my deepest peeves, grievances, and stupidities (on my part) out into the blogosphere now. The way I figure it, I can say whatever I want now, while nobody's reading it. By the time I actually develop a readership, the controversial (and the stupid) will be so far back in the archives that no one will ever know that I wrote it.

It sounds like a perfect plan to me, regardless of the fact that I came to my blog after making the plan and found that Friar had been here. That's okay, though, it's not like he'll be back; nobody ever comes back. :^)

So here's my first salvo, aimed at a certain songstress in particular, and recording artists in general. No names will be mentioned (well, not really) because those who know who I'm talking about know (and might get mad at me) and those who don't know won't care. Like my blend of writing like no one is going to read and writing like I'm talking to an audience? See, I'm reading. Here is a prime example of cyber-multi-persona disorder.

Back on track: Songwriters, creative use of language is fine; it's totally supercalifragilisticespialadocious (funny, my spell check didn't go crazy with little red squiggles). However, if you're going to use the English language, use the language in English, please. Case in point, folks on the phone might TALK...REAL...SLOW if one or both parties doesn't have a firm grip on the English language. On the other hand, if I'm on the phone late at night and I don't want my parents to find out, I'd probably talk real low. You know, so no one would hear me...but maybe that's just me.

I'm not a hater, and not just picking on this singer; she just happened to be on my TV first thing this morning and became the target of my rant. I've given up on rappers, but I have not yet lost hope for performers in other genres. Songwriters, please, hear me! Stretch or fudge a syllable if you need to in order to keep your rhyme or beat -- I'm all for creativity. If using English correctly won't change your art, then please, please, please, use English correctly.

I many syllables does umbrella really need?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Life With No Morals

This post has been written several times today, changing each time I had a conversation or read another blog. Unfortunately, all of those versions were in my head, not in my computer. I can and will and believe that I am not putting inspirational posts on my blog. :)

Oh, I might accidentally write something that has deep meaning for someone somewhere, but I'm intentionally nursing my glass of Laphroig and telling tales from my life, my random thoughts, and my serious musings. You may laugh; you may groan; you may shake your head in disbelief and click away, but you probably won't reevaluate your life -- and that's the way it should be. I'm not aiming for maudlin or contrary at the moment, I've just been evaluating my purpose and making some decisions (again).

A lot of the posts that I've been reading lately are...inspirational. There's nothing wrong with that, and I have actually enjoyed the posts and commentary, but they made me think. My blog isn't geared for inspiration. I read all of my posts again just to be sure; there's not an inspiring word in the bunch (or the few, depending on how you look at it). Am I adding any value to the blogosphere? Should I get more inspirational? On one of the inspirational posts, titled "Participant", one comment (by Friar) included the line, "Is there anyone left (beside me) who isn’t currently self-actualizing on a journey of spiritual discovery?"

I could have written that line. So I thought about it and made my decision. This is my pub, a place to goof off, a place to be in time out from the "happy bubble" (Karen's, from the same post in response to Friar). I'm going to continue talking to myself in cyberspace about whatever strikes my fancy -- just life: no inspiration, no morals -- and probably no value added. I figure ice cream and alcohol don't add any real nutritional value to our diets, but that wouldn't cause me to remove them from my food chain.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Eating Is Good For You...Who Knew?

Dave Navarro's post on sleeping was the first thing I saw in my reader this morning. I thought about it, processed the parts that don't apply to me, and made a mental note to come back for the parts that did apply. I thought about folks I know who might benefit from the series, and then went on with my day.

I've been dragging a good part of the day, no matter how I tried to ignore it. I even planned (sort of) a post that tied in to Dave's, with an age aspect built in because I've been told that I'm old a few times today. I had all these one-liners and quirky commentary ready to go, but when I sat to write, nothing made sense.

My first thought was, "Sleep now, write tomorrow," but too many people have been telling me lately that I can and will if I believe, that I quit too soon, that I need to exceed my expectations, tell myself to shut up, and so on, and so on, ad nauseum. All I wanted to do was go to bed, people! Cut me some slack already. So I try to re-think instead of retreating, and my internal editor puts in her two cents, You're not really tired. Now I'm ready to tell her to shut up. I've already told myself that I'm not really tired (even though I'm sleepy). I don't need her telling me again.

You're not really sleepy. I can't fight everything at once, so I listen. What did you eat today? Taken aback, I stopped to think. What did I eat today? I got up at 6 and waited on my son. I played the good mommy when he got up at 10; he wouldn't normally get French toast on a weekday, but it's the first week of summer break at home. He went to a friend's; I went to the store for dinner ingredients. He did dinner at friend's house and I.... So it's 21:45 (my dad was military, "There's only one 9:45 in a day.") and my total food intake for the day was two slices of French toast. I hate it when that witch is right.

I went off to forage and came back to write. There has been some improvement in brain function, but I'm not sure how much. In future posts, I'll tell you about the dangers of the middle flame; how youth can age you; and how to make the perfect barbecue sauce. That's for the future, though, so, here's the recap for now: sleep deprivation is bad; getting up early to get more done after having slept enough is good; taking in too few calories can wipe you out no matter how much sleep you've had.

I've still got 10 minutes to make this post "today". It's 10 minutes to midnight, so I'm not quitting too soon, but I'm shortchanging myself on sleep tonight -- I'll be up at 6 tomorrow. Oh well, maybe I'll fire on all cylinders next time. I forgot about the hyperlinks...more time burned.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gas Prices Give "Coastal Living" a New Meaning

The last time I filled my gas tank, $50 got sucked out of my bank account. I don't drive a big car, just a little 12 gallon Jetta, but I really feel the "pain at the pump". I started monitoring my driving habits long before my last fill-up -- back when the price of gas first started rising -- but now I do it seriously.

I live near the beach -- ahh, the coast. These days, though when I think "coast" I immediately estimate "how far", and plan my routes accordingly. Grocery store "A" is up the hill and around the corner -- and not where I'd normally shop. I've discovered, though that the downhill journey home allows me to disengage the clutch and maintain speed. I get home with very few taps to the accelerator.

Every journey now includes considerations of the coastal route. I've found that coming home by the highway route allows for the best use of momentum. If traffic isn't being metered, I can build up enough speed coming off the on-ramp to just tap the accelerator once, reach cruising speed, and then disengage the clutch and coast to my exit. If the traffic light at the bottom of the ramp cooperates, I can get another half-mile out of the coast before I have to accelerate.

That's the sweet spot, though. It doesn't happen often, but when it does...woohoo! No, I don't get a lot of excitement in my life; give me a break. So, if traffic cooperates, I can coast all the way to the "Bike Lane Begins" sign. Tap it to forty at the sign and I can coast all the way to the stop sign -- about two blocks. Two short taps after the stop, one for first gear and one for second, and I'm in my driveway.

Know which journeys allow for maximum coasting? I do. I don't know if coasting actually helps save on gas. I don't know if disengaging the clutch really reduces drag and helps me get more momentum. I just get the sense that I'm doing something to help save on gas...and getting the max momentum is a strange kind of fun.

So, how are you dealing with gas woes? Do you have any suggestions that work? Anything that includes the words "public transportation" is not a suggestion that will work for me. Not that I mind the ten minute walk to get to the bus stop, I've done it before; it's the part where I have to ride for twenty minutes before I can transfer to a bus that will take me where I need to go that gets me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Flood Trumps Drought -- Why Not?

I'll start this post by stating the soon to be obvious: I am not an expert in environmental science, water (hydrology - at least I know the word), or anything water or weather related. I'm just a person reading the news and wondering.

I've read about the drought in Georgia and poor water conditions in California. I saw an article about the Army Corps of Engineers moving water from Lake Lanier (in GA) to help out endangered mussels in Florida. Then there's flooding along the Mississippi River.

So here's my question: Why can't we send a fleet of tanker trucks to Iowa and other areas affected by flooding, drop some hoses in the flood, suck it up and dump it in Lake Lanier and other lakes in states with water shortfalls (like California)? If there's concern about vacuuming up the local fishes, I would think that bucket brigades could form up as easily as sandbag brigades. I don't imagine that the cost of chartering the fleet and paying for the gas would exceed the cost of paying for all the flood damage, the lost crops, and everything else....

If this water transport already happening, I haven't read or seen it yet. Please point me in the right direction. If it's not, can someone please tell my why it wouldn't work? I'm serious here. If there are any experts out there who can explain it in English, or even folks who have a better handle on it than I do who want to put in their pennies, please -- explain it to me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ego. What a Mind-trip!

Welcome, Friends,

I'm back! Did you miss me?

I'm laughing in my brew over here, checking myself out in the mirror, and watching me shake my head ruefully. I realize that no one even noticed that I was gone. I hadn't been around long to start with, was just starting to comment here and there -- and it's not like people were actually coming to my blogs.

I had been posting pretty regularly here, and had a schedule for posting on my business blogs. Then I started getting overwhelmed -- too much life, too little time. The first thing that slipped was my schedule for business blogging. I plan to post on Thursdays. If I miss a Thursday, do I post on the next available day (and throw things off), or on the next Thursday (and go a week without a post). So, I fell behind. Too much was going on; I needed a break.

As I was considering this break, I read other posts about taking breaks from blogging. The one I remember most is from the Men with Pens. I appreciated the insights from the blogs and comments, but had to make my own decision. If I left my blog(s) for a while, would my readers come back?

As I pondered this weighty decision, my internal editor cracked up and nearly fell off her barstool. "You are your reader, ya idjit!" She cackled between gasps. "Will your readers come back?" She snorted indignantly and began giggling hysterically again. After a good laugh at my expense, she calmed down again and left me to think. I know that they don't just come if you build it (but that's another blog post); I know that I'm likely to be the only one reading my posts for a while yet; I know that becoming part of a community takes time; and I know that I'm not quite there yet. I guess I didn't know that I had so firmly enmeshed my ego with my blog presence that I had actual concerns about taking a break from reading/writing my own press. How's that for ego?