Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm just humbled that you'd read this post....

I was listening to Judge Sonia Sotomayor giving a speech after Pres Obama nominated her to the Supreme Court. One of the first things she said was that she was "humbled" to be nominated. What?? This is a common cliché used by politicians, awardees, etc. It must stop because it makes them sound stupid and uneducated.

According to Webster's Dictionary:

Main Entry: humbled
Function: transitive verb
Date: 14th century
1 : to make humble in spirit or manner 2 : to destroy the power, independence, or prestige of


And, because Webster's can't be bothered to define a word without using that same word in the definition, we must look up "humble" as well:

Main Entry: hum·ble
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin humilis low, humble, from humus earth; akin to Greek chthōn earth, chamai on the ground
Date: 13th century
1: not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive2: reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission 3 a: ranking low in a hierarchy or scale : insignificant, unpretentious b: not costly or luxurious


So Sotomayor was saying that receiving this awesome appointment -- surely the dream of judges throughout the country -- has made her "not arrogant?" Or has made her "insignificant?" Or has destroyed her power and prestige??? This makes absolutely no sense. I can be humbled by having a blatant error or embarrassing secret made public. I can be humbled by losing everything and having to start over. However, I cannot be humbled by being told how awesome I am. Neither can she.

I understand what she was trying to say. But if this woman is possibly going to be writing decisions that will stand for centuries and will be interpreted, reinterpreted and relied upon for the most important matters, she needs to learn to use the English language properly. Maybe if someone points this out to her, she will be humbled.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stuff that doesn't bug me

I have good friends. Despite my horrible experience last Friday, I really, really appreciate Harley's Mom for rushing home from the salon to take me to the ER. You da best!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Health, doctors and medicine

Last Thursday, I went home from work with a migraine. A bad one. Friday, I went to the Emergency Room because the migraine was much worse, and I lost the vision in my right eye. About 45 minutes after arrival, I was hooked up to an IV and drugged up with morphine. The headache started to ease. About 2 hours later, I went home, groggy, headachey, and getting my vision back. I slept a while, and then the itching kicked in. I'm assuming that not everyone gets this reaction to morphine -- given the number of people addicted to it and Oxycontin and all the other heroine-related drugs. 26 hours of almost unbearable (but better than the full migraine) itching later, I was feeling better. Headache almost gone, itching gone, mood improved.

I get it. I have a chronic migraine condition -- 8-15 migraines a month. I know some of my triggers and avoid them. Others are a mystery to me. I just have to live with it. What I shouldn't have to live with is stupid doctors.

The ER doctor did what she was supposed to do. She took the edge off the headache and sent me home. My frustration is with my regular doctor and the various "specialists" I've seen. Migraines are not new. Their cause is not well-known, but there are lots of aggressive treatments being tried by different doctors throughout the world. Not mine. Mine want to give me some abortive drugs (stop it when it starts) and send me on my way with a pat on the head. Um, how about trying to PREVENT the damn things?? I've seen 3 neurologists and several GPs, none of whom has been willing to work with me to find the cause. My acupuncturist has done more to help prevent them than the guys with the fancy degrees!!

So, doctors suck. If you've had any sort of ongoing or chronic condition, you know what I'm talking about. They don't get it, and they aren't really concerned about getting it. My worst doctor experience was when a neurologist sent me to a neurosurgeon because he had discovered I had a brain tumor. The neurologist was an ass, and refused to give me info about the tumor, saying that the neurosurgeon would do that. Of course, I had to wait two weeks for that appointment. The neurosurgeon said, "You have an acoustic neuroma brain tumor. You can have it removed by surgery or radiation. Which do you prefer?" Ummm, let me see.... Having my head cut open sounds gross. Having my head irradiated sounds gross. Yeah, thanks for helping me make the choice. What a dufus. As if he had been asking "Coffee or tea, which do you prefer?" Fortunately, the internet has vast resources, and I was able to find lots of info and support groups to help me decide. Doctors suck.

Know who else sucks? People who pretend to have "migraines." Seriously. I have a coworker who walks around wearing sunglasses, going out to lunch with friends, and joking around the law cafe, having a "migraine" that is preventing her from working. Gah! Migraines aren't just crappy headaches. They are a debilitating condition with a headache like you've never experienced, nausea, and a whole host of other symptoms. You don't walk around and joke and laugh. Wearing sunglasses doesn't cut it. Stop using them as an excuse to leave early. Stop using them as an excuse to get out of work. Stop using them as an excuse to be a goof off. You're making it harder for the rest of us who are actually suffering with the disease.

Ok, off my pain-induced soap-box. I hate doctors.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Life at Widget Co

Widget Co is a rather odd place to work. Don’t get me wrong, I really like it here. I work with great people who make it fun to come to work everyday. Well, at least, I'm sure it's more fun than mining coal 200 feet underground in earthquake country with nothing but coal-dusty gruel to eat and one’s own urine to drink.

Today was a typical Wednesday. I got up, got dressed, came to work, and turned on my computer. I got some work done on a filing, answered some emails, and before I knew it, it was 11am. Time for the Widget Co Law Department Country Western BBQ! Of course!

I went downstairs to the little park area that separates the reserved parking lot (the gold-paved lot, lined with cherry blossoms and roofed by rainbows, where senior attorneys such as Yours Truly get to park) from the lame-o parking lot (made of loose gravel and surrounded by a flaming moat full of snapping turtles) where the riff-raff (including lesser attorneys) park. Down in the park, there was a lovely BBQ set up, with long tables lined with burgers, hot dogs, chili, cookies, fruit, lemonade, baked beans, potato salad, etc. A very nice assortment of quite yummy food.

After collecting my food, I went over to a table my friends had staked out. I noticed that, like always, the attorneys sat with attorneys, the staff sat with staff, paralegals sat with paralegals, etc. Very self-segregated. It always reminds me of 4th grade, when I learned that boys have cooties, and thus girls only sat with girls and boys were left alone to pick their noses elsewhere. Of course, in 4th grade, I was confused about why cooties were bad (I knew they were by how others said the word, but...), because we used to play this family game called Cootie, and they were adorable. For those of you who were children in the 70s:

Anyway, once most people were served, the line dancing started. Yes, line dancing. With an instructor. In the parking lot. I like to be a participator in things (because I know I'm a dork, and if you're gonna be a dork, you might as well enjoy yourself and embrace your dorkitude), so I danced a couple songs, sweating like a pig and moving like a fat tired cootie covered in molasses and thumb tacks attempting to swing dance in an ultra-high gravity environment. Fun, but ugly.

Fortunately, as far as I know, there is no video of the spectacle. The same is not true for my coworker. I took my camera, with it’s crappy video capability, and made sure that his endeavor in work-related line dancing would live ... FOREVER!. I even arranged for it to be posted to the Law Dept. intranet. I know, I’m evil. I give you Connor, the whiter-than-me Irishman dancing a line dance. He’s now been nicknamed “Shimmy.”
video
Of course, it’s not all fun and games here. We also work. And we take things – especially safety – very seriously. Leon, one of the managing attorneys here, just got back today from vacation in Mexico. Yes Mexico, home of the chimichanga, tequila, and the swine flu. Of course, several of his colleagues made sure that it was safe for him to return to work. I’m not sure what all the exam entailed, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know. Poor Leon. Welcome home, guy! Hehe.
Now, back to work. I’m pretty sure I can get something done in the remaining hour before I leave early.

Trashy Neighbors

I have some of the most annoying neighbors. They live across the street, and daily bring down the value of the homes in our neighborhood. I'm not sure exactly who lives there. There's the Dad. I think the mom now lives in Oregon most of the time, but is often visiting. There are two women my age who appear to be their daughters (whom I affectionately refer to as "Carrot Top" and "Trashy Girl"), and a guy about my age who appears to be their son. They are not always there, but I can't tell if that's because sometimes they're at work or because they just visit all day every day. There are two small infants and a teenage boy ("Gangly Boy"). One of the infants is named "Junior." I know that because I hear "Junior!!!!!!!" shrieked at the top of Carrot Top's lungs several times a day. I wish I were exaggerating. I'm not. Junior runs around in just a diaper on nice days. His mom borrows Gangly Boy's pocket bike (like a tiny motorcycle with a whiny motor) and circles the block for half an hour at a time (never long enough for the police to catch her). She wears no helmet, and best of all, she puts Junior on the handlebars of the bike, with just a diaper and no helmet. Mother of the Year material to be sure.

Who else lives there? 22 cats. At least, that's how many I've been able to count at any given time. There may be more. There are also 3 dogs, one of whom regularly poops on my lawn. The cats are all carbon copies of each other, and are clearly all from the same exact family tree, with no branches (I suspect the neighbors themselves might be inbred as well). I called the Humane Society and they came to get the cats and spay/neuter them, and then returned them. Hopefully, that means there won't be future generations. Gross.

How do they bring down the value of the neighborhood? Let's see. How about the tent (those mosquito tents you put over your picnic table -- see-through gauze protects you from the bugs but lets you see out clearly) on the front lawn with clothing hanging on racks in it? This was up for 2 1/2 months, until last week. How about the furniture on the lawn? A desk, two dressers, a nightstand, a TV and an armoire, all sinking into the mud, because they've been there since the rainy season started -- January. Sometimes they're covered with plastic, sometimes not. I suspect they are actually being used. What else? How about the wrought iron fence in the front yard? "What's wrong with a fence?" you may ask. It's 15 feet long, and not connected to anything. You can walk around it on either side. It doesn't even stretch the length of their yard. I think they only have it there to chain the 5 bicycles to. Not sure who rides the bicycles. I've only seen Gangly Boy on one of them, once. Other things on the lawn: a new front door (finally installed in March, was there when I bought the house in April 2008), boxes, a 10' x 12' piece of plywood (propped up against a tree), and lots and lots of cat poop.

Let's talk cars. There are 5 cars that "belong" to this house in one way or another. One, a red jeep, parks in front of my house all the time. I wouldn't care (I park in my garage, so it's not blocking me), except the Dad is always out there under the hood. I feel like I live in a mechanic shop. Sometimes the Dad sleeps in the jeep. Wish I were joking. The driveway is mostly unpaved. Three of the other cars are usually in the driveway (two never move). When the black car is there (the one that leaves sometimes), there is always someone sitting in it. I'm only exaggerating slightly. There is ALMOST always someone sitting in it, legs hanging out the door. One of the other family members is often leaning in, talking to the owner of the legs.

These people are yellers. I can hear almost all of any conversation they have, because it is at such a volume. Add that to the fact that, except at night, they don't go inside. Seriously. They don't. They threaten Junior with "do you want to go inside???" to make him behave. I can't imagine what is inside that is so frightening.

These people are the epitome of "white trash." I suppose I should at least be grateful that they don't hire a live mariachi band for a yard party every three months like the house two doors down from them.

I'd love to hear your stories of bad neighbors in the comments section. If someone can top these folks, I really want to know about it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Work "events" on weekends

This past Saturday, all of the lawyers in Widget Co's law department were invited to the home of the general counsel (of our parent company) for lunch. Actually, the event was quite nice, with servers bringing around yummy hors d'oeuvres, several stocked bars (with really hot bartenders) both inside and outside the home, and valet parking. Since I generally like my coworkers, it was not unpleasant to sit in the sun eating sandwiches with them and their spouses and SOs.

But... it was Saturday. Saturday is my day. Saturday is the weekend, and should be sacrosanct! I don't care how much booze you're serving, you're still taking up my weekend. However, given the status of the host in the Widget Co food chain, I figured it would be better for my career to just go. I didn't have it nearly as bad as some west-siders. They got stuck in bad traffic and it took more than 2 hours to arrive. On a lovely Saturday. Sa-tur-daaay....

I generally think of these events as a bigwig's opportunity to show you how much better his house is than yours (or any you'll ever own), and demonstrate that his salary and benefits package allows him to hire chefs and valets for a 4 hour party. I'm not saying that's why he did it, but it sure feels that way to me.

All in all, it's gotta be good to be the Big Cheese. But it was Saturday....

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Best Quote Ever!

Confucius say "Kids are like Legos, lot of fun to make, but sooner or later, only end up messing up house."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tunes

Have you ever put in a CD and, even though you've listened to it a hundred times before, the lyrics just really hit you? I switched out the CDs in my car yesterday, and on the way to work today I was listening to one I've heard many, many times. One lyric, though, really caught my ear. It seems to sum up how I've been feeling lately (actually, the whole song kinda does). It's a good feeling -- like the songwriter understood me, or was going through something similar. Anyway, the lyric that really got me was this: "Lives are running novels; at times you read, at times you write. The choice of which to do might keep you awake at night. Should I just accept or act against this pressing moment? Should I run for cover or stand and fight?" I guess I've been into moody songs lately, but this one really hit me over the head. Thanks, Enchant!!

On another music front, apparently one of the duets on American Idol last night (I don't watch, but I'll have to find this one on YouTube) was one of my long-time favorites: Renegade by Styx!! Awesome!! Maybe this will help the new generation discover a "new" old band that really rocks!!

Edit: Since several people have emailed asking what the song is, it's In the Dark by Enchant, off the Break CD. Here's the entire song:

Some nights I lie in forced awakeness
My thoughts won't let me go
A sleep like death has claimed the world outside
The silence reshapes my solitude, from a refuge to a prison
Distractionless, nowhere to hide

Aloneness holds the mirror
I see things I just can't work through
Some things you'll never shine any light into
Like how to read what will be, from what has been
Like what's in store for me, and you

I wonder what my life will be, what lies ahead for the people close to me?
How can I make my peace with uncertainty -- in a sea of risk, swim with serenity?

Some nights my thoughts drag me to a cold, cold place: the dark side of mortality
Who will be the next to go -- their light blown out forever, in that merciless finality?

Lives are running novels; at times you read, at times you write
The choice of which to do might keep you awake at night
Should I just accept or act against this pressing moment
Should I run for cover or stand and fight?

I wonder what my life will be, a public failure or success in obscurity?
How can I make my peace with uncertainty -- in a sea of risk, swim with serenity?
I wonder what my life will be, what lies ahead for you and me?
Can I make my peace with uncertainty?
I wonder what my life will be: I wonder.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Late afternoon meetings

My boss set a meeting from 4-5 today. What??? I get here at 7ish so I can leave at 4ish. Ack!! and now, the meeting is delayed because her 3-4 meeting is delayed!! Does she not know it's Drinko... er... Cinco de Mayo??

Seriously, who thinks it's ok to set meetings at the very end of the day??? Of course, it could be worse. At least it's not 4-5 on a Friday!! Actually, I've had 5-6 meetings with bigwigs on Fridays. That's just evil.