Monday, August 30, 2004

Lessons in the human condition

Yesterday evening, Greg and I were getting together with our friends Mary and Andrew and Mary's parents for a concert featuring Francine Reed. We are all huge fans. Unfortunately, due to the weather, the concert was cancelled so we decided to take our picnic food and break bread in the square at some picnic tables. Being the wonderful husbands they all are, they dropped us ladies off with the food and coolers so we could set stuff up and not have a long way to walk.

We barely got the table dried off and food laid out when a man came by and looked at our table and commented on how nice it was. We said thank you and went back to what we were doing as to look unaffected by our uninvited visitor. I determined from this experience that the three of us ladies have signs hanging over our heads that say we are suckers, complete suckers. Our uninvited visitor started to walk away and then changed his mind. He wanted something to eat and he wanted some money for a train ride home. At this point my over observation kicked in and I started noticing what and who was going on around me. I left my purse in the car so that was not a problem, but I noticed that Mary's purse was laying on the table behind her and it was in the open, there were three men eating at the table beside us. There was a group of young twenty some things, walking down the side walk and our husbands were walking to the table and were now in sight. I knew that I had a wine bottle opener in my picnic basket and if nothing else, I would personally let the guy take every bit of food I brought.

My husband is so much better at these things than I am, which I why I called to him first to see if he had a couple of dollars, which I already knew that he did not. As handsome and warm as he looks most of the time, he has a stern look that comes out in situations like this that basically lets you know that he is not messing around or entertaining you. We have exchanged stories from time to time about our dealings with panhandlers while we were in college and thus the reason why we sound so callus now. I have always felt bad for anyone in need and I do what I can to help someone when they are in need. The problem is that most of the time they do not want to help themselves. I remember there was a homeless man that use to ask me for money when I was in college. My first year of school, I think I gave him change or something every time I saw him. My second year, his story was always the same thing and he always told it to me as if he had not told it to me the week before. My third year of college, he caught me on a bad day. I had Eleven dollars in my checking account, the four dollars in cash I had, I just spent on gas and I was dreading the fact that I was going to have to call my parents and ask them for some money. So, he approached me and started telling me the same story he told me on campus a couple of days ago and I stopped him. I told him I just spent all the money I had. At that moment, the change in my car, was for me.... Not for him.

The most unfortunate thing, is that we were six people there in the square who have been very blessed. We had all that we needed and we able to enjoy a little extra, like time together on a Sunday afternoon. We are six people who really do what we can for others. We give what we can, offer help when possible and feel for people who are in need. But bad things happen to people like us who try to help others. If I had a couple of dollars on me that I could give this guy, who is to say that if I happened to have ten more dollars on me, that he may have seen that, and when he realized I was not going to give him that ten dollars, that I was only going to give him the two dollars, that he would not have a knife and would pull it on me. Over ten dollars. That is not even a chance I want to take now. It happened to my brother and I know it could happen to me. So, we gave him some food and a bottle of water and hoped that he would be on his way. I thought he was being grateful, but I found that he was being cynical. I know it is not his fault that I have fears of people approaching me and asking me for help. His intentions may have been all they seemed. But, for my brother it was not that way and I have the fears that I have now. I will remain guarded and even cold at times, but when I walk away I will say a prayer for them, that may help them more then my extra change will.

I may not have handled the situation, the best I could but when your mind starts swirling you do not always say the things that you should say and you find yourself just ignoring the person in front of you and hoping they will go away. Sad, very sad. But, what I find even more sad is that people will have the nerve to ask others for help and when that person lends the help, they threaten them. That I find even worse.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

I am really happy

I left work last night, ran some errands, and planned a baby shower on the phone in traffic. I was feeling so good. Things are just rolling and I feel like I have gotten so much done at work this week. I am really happy.

Dinner last night was wonderful! My other sister, Holly has been solo for a bit since her other half has been out of town. I know I do not like it when Greg is gone, but it certainly has been nice to have Holly around more. We have been walking regularly, she went to the neighborhood watch ice cream social with me, and she watched the Olympics with Greg and I. I am really happy.

I have a softball game tonight, that I will be playing in with friends. I am really happy. I have been getting to know my neighbors. I am really happy. My boss praised my hard work. I married a wonderful man who I never tire of spending time with. I love our house and I love that cute little black mop that follows me all over the house and jumps on the bed when she is in no mood to sleep in and can think of nothing but chasing squirrels.

I better not complain. Because I am really happy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

This girl has gone wild

I spent two hours today doing nothing and I mean nothing, but answering emails. Our company had some server problems yesterday evening and when I got in this morning there were very few emails which is not normal. Three hours later I had forty something emails to answer and once I started answering htose, there were replies to those answers which I, in turn had to reply to again. How is that for a run on. Crazy cycle.

On top of that, things are really busy at work these days. I am still plugging away on tasks for a conference in September. Then I found out I really do need to be at a meeting in downtown Friday morning and there is another conference in October that I should attend as well. All of this in between phone calls, quotes and questions. My desk is a mess and I have grocery shopping to do. Lunch was more time for work and not for blogging or reading my daily reads. My stomach finally had enough and decided that it was going to bug me to death until I feed it. With that done, I was ready to go again.

I feel pretty good though. I breezed through a ton of things today and even made a lunch date with two girlfriends for Monday. I am good! I love looking at a list of things that are completed and checked off. That is a great feeling.

Now, I am going to run some errands, hang out with my hubby and my other sister (Holly) and grill some burgers. Maybe get a walk in and a couple of loads of laundry. The Olympics are still on too, so I can not miss that.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Girl- Get your act together!!!!!

I hate it when I get off the blog wagon. This has become something that I really enjoy. Even my dear husband mentioned last night that I had not been blogging lately.. ARGH.... trying to be a new employee who is on top of everything and has it all together, is harder than it looks.

So, life has been interesting.... I got my first speeding ticket a month ago. I thought it was pretty pointless and BS to be honest, so I decided to fight it. I had to drive wayyyyyyy south in order to appear in court. Everyone looked as unhappy to be there as I did. The experience did not start off well to be honest. There was a man sitting behind me who kept leaning over and purring in my ear. I have never had anyone purr in my ear. That made me feel pretty uncomfortable. I really did not want to end up in jail because I was disrespecting the courtroom, so I decided that I should just move. The morning got even worse when I found out that I all I could do was tell them that I disagreed with the ticket and schedule ANOTHER day to come back and fight it. At that point I was pretty tired of the whole thing and I just ended up paying the ticket. I am still mad about that.

I also, had my first BIG presentation last Friday. After an evening of dealing with a program that worked and then did not work, we finally got things together. The presentation went very well and I now have a new client. Hooray!!!!!

This weekend I went shopping and I did not spend a dime. Nope! My friend Mary had a naked lady party. This was fun. A group of our friends came over to her house with bags of clothes, really nice things too. We spent some time going through the piles. I got a pair of jeans, two shirts, a skirt and a sharp red outfit that I want to wear the next time Greg takes me out. We took the remainder of the clothes and donated them to the Salvation Army for the hurricane relief. We dropped off six bags of clothes. It was wonderful! My girl friends have such great style.

Yesterday I had another presentation which also went well. That was exciting too. Right now, I looooooovvvvveeeeee my job!!!!

On the home front, things are even better. I have a wonderful husband. He asked me last night at dinner if I would like to hang some pictures that we set aside in our office. An hour later my bulletin board was hanging, along with a wedding picture, then we moved to the guest room and hung a large picture that has been sitting on the floor and the final hanging was the cabinet we picked out for the guest bathroom. Gorgeous!!!! I just stood back and admired how our house is coming together. I married a handy man- that is for sure.

For this week, I have more presentations to pull together and a very busy schedule to look forward to in September. Hopefully I will be able to keep it all together now.


Monday, August 16, 2004

Big Weekend In Little Town

Greg and I took an extended weekend to a small, south Georgia town this weekend, where he grew up. We were going to stay with family, hangout by the pool and just relax. Greg is really close to one of his cousins and we just do not get the chance to see her as much as we use to. This is a pity because she is one of the most fun people to be around. She can out shop, out dance, and out laugh anyone. You can not be around her and not have a good time.

So, Greg and I thought that we would be hanging out by the pool, desperately trying to catch some rays before summer was all gone. Well, thanks to the weather and bit a of late start, we did not hang out by the pool. We shopped. Yup. We got into town and exchanged some duplicate gifts that we received, had lunch and went to see his cousin who also happens to be the town's queen of auto parts. She had an evening all planned for us and we were game. We got to spend the evening pretending that we were graduates of the junior college there in town. Yes, the queen of auto parts gives back to the community.

We had a great time. There was a silent auction where you could purchase anything from a UGA Bulldog wall decoration to classic denim button down shirts. I did my shopping at a store there in town so I would fit in for the evening, so there was no shopping for me that evening. Very sweet hubby may not have been so sweet if I continued to spend his money. We had dinner, drinks and did some dancing. And you better believe I danced. This girl is not afraid to get out and cut a rug, especially when no one else is getting out there and you know the band hates to play for a dull crowd. Greg's cousin and I were also joined on the floor by her very fun friends. Want to talk about a good time, we had one. Her friends immediately made us their friends. We danced until we had enough and then sat up for a better part of the night (try until 3 AM) talking about almost anything that you can think of. Needless to say, Greg and slept the morning away. We woke up around 11 AM and laid in bed talking about what we were going to spend our money on when we win the lottery. That is conversation that we enjoy from time to time.

The remainder of the weekend was much more calm, but still fun. Greg's family treats me just as if I have been around all of my life so when Greg is going home, I am going home too. Greg's mom is hoping that one of these days he is going to get all of his toys and clothes and everything else he harbors in her house and take them to our house. I think he is going to wait until she has it piled in the yard and is ready to light a match to it before he will do that. So, we just brought old stuff out and looked through pictures he drew when he was in the 7th grade and I got to see what his cute little feet looked like when he was just a couple of days old. I just could not help but wish I could have seen them. I would have loved to play with all of his little toes.

Coming home was the hard part. It is always hard to leave family, especially when you feel like you have not spent enough time with them. But, we had a puppy to play with, a house to clean, a yard to cut, doors to paint, laundry to do, and work that needed to be done. And now Monday is here and I have another weekend to look forward to. One of my girlfriends who has moved far, far, away will be home and I am looking forward to seeing her. After that, I have football to look forward to and Christmas will be here before I know it.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The things you learn later

I love that my entries have been more of the light hearted and fun in nature recently. This one will not seem so.....

Wonderful husband and I went to a Braves game last night. Something we both share a great love for. Strangest thing happened though..... The power went out. It was really interesting to watch this happen. It is just as if all major league players have been taught this kind of "fire drill". The minute the lights went out the players all headed to the dugout without any hesitation. Security stepped back on the field and took their positions. There was silence for just a moment. It was getting dark and I have to say that for about half a second my heart did a little pitter pat. The announcer came on and informed the crowd of over 21,000 that we were experiencing a temporary power outage. He asked us to please stay calm, stay in our seats and do not block the aisle. Way to cover your bases I thought. By that moment, I was breathing calmly and just started taking note of where certain things were and making sure I was aware of my surroundings. Sweet husband turned to me and asked if I was okay (he is a true gentleman) and of course I was. I was with the love of my life, at a baseball game and everything was fine.

Everything really was fine. Ten minutes later the power was on again, the crowd cheered and we were back to playing ball. I noticed something though. When the lights went out there were several people around us who made calls on their cell phones. No doubt to ask if there was something going on that we would not know about. And I realized how in a post 9/11 world our first thoughts change. Three years ago if I was at a game and power went out, I promise you I would not be thinking about terrorist selecting a ball game as a place for taking out misguided and malicious threats. Things are different now. Thoughts run through my head like the fact that I had not spoken to my mother this week and she had no idea we had tickets to the game, I left my own cell phone in the car so there would be no way to make any calls and I was wearing flip flops which are not good for quick movement. I think it is terrible that anyone on earth ever has thoughts like that or has a need to think that way.

Not to get on a complete soap box on my thoughts of people who think it is somehow spiritually uplifting to go out and harm innocent people, just because they are not pleased with those in authority. Not to mention the fact that those in authority have no direct connection to the target these people have selected. It continues to make me sick and sad.

On a lighter note, the game was good. The Braves won 10-3 and I went to bed safe and happy. And thanking everyone in control that I did not need to be scared.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

And The Prince Has Spoken

I am completely amazed. An evening with Prince is truly an incredible thing. He is so entertaining and even did a great job of making the huge concert some how seem more intimate. Incredible!

Artist have Picasso, actors have Stephen Spielberg, GIS professional have Jack Dangermond and musicians have Prince. I told a couple of my girlfriends last night that I feel so lucky to be alive while Prince is alive and making music. He is simply breathtaking.

As a musician, Prince is so versatile. I have listened to his music for many years now, but I am not sure that I could truly appreciate what an amazing artist he is until I saw him in concert. Costume changes served as a brilliant time for his band to demonstrate how talented they are. The sounds of blues carried through the arena and thousands of people sat breathless. Strong drums were beat to the rhythm of the hearts of a captivated audience, and Prince with an acoustic guitar led the group like a camp fire sing along where everyone is in tune an on the right beat.

Almost like a Pied piper, Prince led the audience through a lesson in music and sent us away to the sounds of Purple Rain. We wanted to shout for more, but there is nothing to top it. We left the arena with the memory of rhythm and dance, knowing that we had all been in the presence of Prince. The one and only.

Monday, August 09, 2004

The Prince Arrives

Great excitement after coming home from a fun and relaxing weekend at Big Canoe with close friends. We had a great time and I know that my friend Mary will describe the weekend in great detail and do it some much needed justice. Good times my dear!

I have even more things to look forward to. I am going to see Prince in concert this evening. I can hardly contain the excitement! Prince being the huge Pop Culture icon that he is, is going to be in the same room with me this evening. I can not believe it!!!!

Friday, August 06, 2004

My brain is mush

I had a very productive business trip this week. Although by yesterday afternoon my brain felt like it was mush. I was in Savannah, Georgia which is an awesome place. That is a business trip I do not mind making. However, I think it would be better if I made it in the fall rather then the hottest time of the summer. I was running from office to office in historic Savannah in slacks, a heavy cotton shirt, a pair of shoes that are not every comfortable, and a black backpack that held essential meeting material. I was sweating like a pack mule.

The whole two days started off a little odd, anyway. The hotel I was supposed to stay at was over booked for the evening. The gentleman at the front desk was very nice and apologetic. He made a phone call and before I could blink he found a room for me at a hotel down the street. My clients are in the historic part of Savannah, so our company tries to put us up as close to the client's office as possible. Well, lucky for me, that was directly across the street. My new digs were at the Marshall House, known as the oldest hotel in Savannah. I tried to get a room there for Greg and I when I was planning a trip for us once. That did not work out so we stayed at the Best Western. Yeah, I did not succeed in making that a romantic get away that weekend. The memory just seemed a little ironic as I sat in a warm, historic, unique and romantic room- alone.
The business area in the hotel was complete full so I could not hook up my laptop which meant I could not check my email or get access to the company network to finish reading up on the history our company has with these clients, so I was going to have to depend on my co-worker who was very familiar with them and just wing it. I spent the evening reading, I wrote a letter to Greg on hotel stationary, and watched a rerun of Smallville. I woke early thinking that I would hear the city stirring awake as well, but to my surprise it was really quiet. I was the first to take advantage of the hotel breakfast, which was fabulous. They had fresh fruit juice, sliced pineapple and grapefruit, and a free newspaper. It was just what I wanted.

After breakfast I packed and moved my car, walked to the post office, and walked by the places I had to meet today, just in case I needed to know ahead of time. After feeling pretty prepared for the day, I walked to Starbucks and grabbed some coffee and a bottle of water because I was still not meeting my co-worker for an hour.

Living in Atlanta, I have noticed how busy it is. The mornings when I have to go downtown, I have noticed that I scurry about just as everyone else does. When I was walking down Bull Street and past Wright Square, there were a few people sitting on benches and just gazing at the trees as if they were bird watching. I was walking quickly down the side walk as if I thought my house was on fire. I looked pretty out of place and I am sure the map of the city I was carrying clearly gave that away. It was 7:30 in the morning and I could not understand why people were not sprinting down the street to catch the bus. Everything just moved slower. Even the people who were going to work moved slower. The only thing I can attribute it to besides the beautiful squares and the eighteenth and nineteenth century architecture is the unbearable humidity. Before 8:00 AM your clothes are sticking to you and you need another shower. You have not walked an entire block yet. The mind numbing stories I heard did not help either.

One thing I love about these clients is the fact that they are trying to work together to build an enterprise wide solution. The bad thing is that there are a lot of players in the mix and just when I thought I had them all, just for kicks, fate throws a few more in the mix. As I tried my best to keep my attention completely directed on the person speaking, I would remember something that someone else said in the last meeting and realize that they are further away from a solution then I thought. My co-worker thought the same thing, which made me feel a lot better because he has been working with them much longer then I have.

I need to regroup this whole thing. I need to empty out my inbox, answer 30 emails and take a bubble bath and listen to soothing music. A magic wand to fix all my clients issues would be nice too. Any idea where I could get one?

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I am really not a geek

I think I have mentioned before that I love what I do. I got lucky there. Baut apparently that has the potential for making me look like a geek. Everything seems to be going very well, my new job is going great, all except for the fact that I am swamped this week and I really should forego blogging in order to keep me from moving into my office. This time of the year is by far the most busy around here and I am finding out what it is like to figure it all out for myself some times.

This was very true today. I have a guy who is trying to determine which software to buy. Our tech guy and myself, met with him last week to go over a couple of different software options. We gave him a great book to check out along with evaluation software to use. He has almost read the 400 page book cover to cover. He has peppered my email account with various questions and they are good questions. I talked with him today because he had another question and I was not real sure how to answer it. I ended up having to spend some time reading a manual on it and then getting back to him. When I did, he laughed and said "Are you sure you are in sales? You talk about this as if you are more like a geek." That was followed by a good belly laugh from both of us and me ending the conversation saying, "No, really... I am not a geek. I am cool, really."

The moral of the story is; If you are having to explain that you are not a geek, you might as well give it up because you are one.