Friday, February 29, 2008

I found a job listing back in affordable housing doing exactly what I was before, a job where my diverse skill set would actually be an asset instead of something that sets people against me.

[Why is being multi-talented such a bad thing?]

I took nearly two weeks to gather my courage to apply.

[I have had too much rejection in the past two years.]

Some time after midnight, I sent off my cover letter, resume, and link to my online portfolio. When I awoke this morning, I found an email from the company asking me to call. I did, had a phone interview, and then was asked to come in for a second interview on Monday.

I am not crossing my fingers, though, about this job. I am trying not to hope because the hiring manager literally told me that she had been looking for someone just like me for months, that she despaired of finding one, and just extended an offer for a junior communications person as a part of a plan to parcel out the workload of the communications manager she needed. Still, she did ask me to interview in person.

I keep telling myself that if the Lord would like for me to escape my present job (and it would be an escape), then He will provide a means to do so.

Still...the thought of getting back to doing a job where I actually am allowed to do that job...ah the longing!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I keep trying to write about pain, but each time I do, I feel as if it only comes out sounding like a personal "pity party"--a phrase I particularly dislike. However, I wanted to try again.

I hurt all the time. Period.

If it is not arthritis, then it is MS. If not MS, then arthritis. And if it is not both, I am probably having pulmonary discomfort, though I admit that is much less common than the other two reasons.

For this fitness team stuff at work, I had to choose two goals. Mine were Dr. Pepper and stretching, as I mentioned previously. Well, I treated this week as a practice week, although the real practice week, as it turns out, does not start until Monday. I did not do so well with either steps or water. Stretching ought not to be considered.

The great health personnel overseeing the program determined that I should be drinking 100 ounces of water per day for "proper hydration." I stink at getting 16 down (0r whatever is in an average bottled water bottle). Water just does not taste very good to me. Plus, I get so involved in what I am doing that I find myself drinking only at meals. I have milk for breakfast, milk for lunch, a Dr. Pepper for dinner, and a small glass of Gatorade at snack time. I keep a bottle of water at my desk and try to drink it during the day, however it usually lasts several days if not the work week.

I did try the stretching, but I have only done it two days out of six. It is too painful. I am a wimp. I am a wimp even knowing that if I could find a way to push through the first few weeks, it would get better.

So, how is this about pain? I hurt all the time, even when trying to do something to have a more healthy lifestyle.

When I get up in the morning, I have to steel myself again the pain I will feel when I place my feet to the floor and bear my weight for the first time. It is as if I am standing on knives. I am also stiff and have to loosen up before I can move freely without pain.

When in a car, after a half hour of driving, I stiffen up and have difficulty exiting the vehicle. After an hour, I am in pain. After two, I am in agony. I have tried driving with pillows and moving as much as possible whilst remaining safe behind the wheel, but nothing seems to help. My back, knees, wrists, ankles, and hips protest rather vehemently my exit from the vehicle. The more I move about, the pain subsides. However, after long drives, the time it takes for the pain to do so is far longer than I would wish. I should also add that when I moving about, pushing through the pain, I have a slight tendency to be grumpy. Okay...perhaps more than slight. Sometimes I wonder that B does just through me out of her house when I arrive because instead of greeting her with the enthusiasm that reigns in my heart, I grunt hello, trying and unload the car as fast as possible, settle my pets, and then fervently hope I will feel better soon. My thoughts are mostly about me and little about her.

Sitting at my desk or in a conference chair for long periods also results in pain (and grumpiness). Riding on a plane or car hurts. Meetings hurt. Not moving for extended periods of time hurts.

Standing for extended periods of time hurts. My lower back stiffens in a different way than it does when sitting. Sometimes it feels as if it is a cramp and I try to bend over or raise one leg as if it is on a step to relieve the painful pressure. Standing for an extended period of time also hurts my feet. No matter the type of shoe or cushion sole insert, the pain begins. It is difficult to shift my weight from foot to foot because my left ankle has not healed fully from the fracture of two years ago. I can, briefly, have my full weight on it, but I cannot raise myself with that ankle at all and have to be careful when I try to stand on my tiptoes that my right foot is bearing most of my weight.

Going up and down stairs hurts. If it is not one set of muscles, it is the other. Muscle fatigue happens so very quickly. In addition, that pesky ankle makes navigating the steps downward rather risky at times. Finally, negotiating stairs upward--usually more than a single flight, but sometimes just one--finds my breathing labored and painful.

Putting my legs up for extended periods of time hurts. I have to be careful about how the weight of my legs is born. For example, I cannot have my ankles bear the weight because they become quite painful and stiff and tears will spring to my eyes when I try to move my legs. I usually try to have my calves bear my weight, but I have to do so with my knees slightly bent. I have to do so because all my joints save for my shoulders need to be slightly bent or they will hurt.

When I lie in bed, I have to have my legs bent, elbows bent, wrists bent, and fingers slightly cupped in order to be pain free. This is most easily done lying on either side, but if I do so, then some nerve in my arm is pinched, which eventually simultaneously deadens my skin, stiffens my hands, and awakens me with severe pain. I will turn to the other side or try to get myself all bent but still lying on my back. If I lie on my back, though, my lower back will stiffen up and become painful. I also have to be oh so very careful that my neck is supported since I tore the muscles in my neck in college and can get lingering cramps if I do not have the pillows just perfect. And they must also raise me up some so that I can breathe more freely while lying down.

I also have pain in my hands. They cramp severely after just short periods of repetitive motion. Washing my hair hurts. Brushing my hair hurts. Blowing it dry is out of the question.

Unloading the car and carrying groceries results in pain. B knows I prefer to shop for my groceries a month at a time, but I wonder if she connects that fact with how much it hurts me to do so. The weight of the bags hurts my elbows, wrists, and hands. Holding heaving things, even something as small as a ream of paper makes it hard to breath. Doing my one-trip-from-the-car nonsense compounds the pain, but then it is over quickly.

I could go on, I suppose. But I hope I have made my point. Living hurts. That is my excuse for being so poor at my therapeutic stretching exercises. It is a feeble excuse. After all, I ought to be used to pain. I do have that oh-so-wonderful-drug Celebrex that battles the general arthritis pain quite magnificently. Without it, I couldn't function, I couldn't work. In fact, I couldn't imagine life without it. However, it can only do so much. Far more often than I care to admit, I supplement that drug with copious amounts of Ibuprophen, but I have tried to be better about that of late.

My two thoughts about the stretching, other than why put myself through that suffering, are to somehow gather my courage to try acupuncture one time or to try having someone massage my legs before or during the time I tried stretching. However, both options costs money. The first would also entail conquering fear and trying to figure out how to determine who might be a good acupuncturist and the latter entail trying to figure out the logistics of getting a massage and then stretching right then and there instead of having to get back into a car and end up stiffening up before I could get home or finding someone willing to massage my legs while I tried stretching.

Too much thought.

Too much pain.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Have you ever envisioned something and then have it actually turn out better than you had thought it could?

I have been laboring beneath the weight of having to come up with a display for an expo table at a very important vendor fair for virtually no money.

I did find this four panel set of display boards that are covered in practically the same gray fabric that lines all of our cubicles. After staring at it for a few days, I came up with the idea to create an agency cubicle. I figured that I could scrounge out desktop items from empty cubicles, set up a Power Point presentation to run on a flat panel display (with a disconnected keyboard and mouse resting before it), and set out collateral and give aways on the "desk."

I ordered a nameplate that had the program name on it. I also ordered some 8x10 photos and clipped them to the panels just as employees do on their cubicles. In addition, I created a framed version of our logo and tag line to hang in the center of the "cubicle." Finally, I put up three pieces of paper with agency message threads on them.

I know that this might be a poor description, but I surely received the feedback for which I was hoping as my co-workers saw the display today.


I was hoping the end result would be creative and not cheesy. I must say that I absolutely hit the mark. Of course, I will be spending the next two weeks printing the collateral I need for the event, including chopping up several hundred bookmarks once they roll off the printer. Still, today I could be satisfied with a job well done.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I spent over an hour today comforting another co-worker who was in tears.

I do praise God that I had the opportunity to bring Light to someone else's darkness.

Each time I do, I am reminded anew of the grace God has shown in my own frustrations with my experience at the company and with my responses to those criticisms and challenges. He has taught me much and then immediately repeatedly put me in circumstances where I can speak Truth to another who needs to hear it instead of the critical lies that have filled their ears.

My theme: It's business, not personal. Do your work heartily unto the Lord and with probity. Let everything else fall away.

I pray that I can continue to remember these things myself...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Well...I stopped wearing my Dallas Cowboy lounge pants today.

I must admit that they will not last very long if worn every day and most certainly would want to at least wear them for the games next season. So, I decided a change was in order.

When I looked in my closet on my "comfortable clothing" shelf, I realized that I had been woefully neglecting my Sugarland and Dr. Pepper t-shirts and the four pairs of lounge pants that I wear with them..

I am becoming reacquainted with them.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Today, I worked on the next Tips, Tools & Resources Fact Sheet for the parent mailing. It will not be going out until March 1st, but with a few big projects coming up, I decided to tackle the job.

This is the second one I wrote from start to finish, instead of compiling information that I researched. The first one I did was on literacy matters, so it was basically a matter of trying to figure out how to fit three college degrees on one page. This one, however, was based on a comment my friend D made a few weeks ago.

He and I, as older singles, have spent quite a bit of time hanging around families since we do not have one of our own. His comment had to do with something that had actually been bothering me for a while: even members of Christian families do not really speak kindly to each other.

He started noticing how little praise, encouragement, or gratitude was spoken. Instead, the general interchanges were filled with teasing, cut downs, and down right rude remarks. We commiserated a while about this, sharing examples less-than-kind speech and noting missed opportunities for kind words. So, when I set out to draft the resource page today, my mind kept returning to that conversation.

After a few rough starts, I settled on a way to express my thoughts: Honey Speak.

I built the piece around the adage " You will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." It is basically filled with ideas of opportunities where families can speak words of encouragement, praise, and gratitude.

Well, I liked my idea so much that I built a wee little website around it: I was having trouble getting the domain name to forward to my free website compliments of Verizon. If it is still not going through, you can see the original site here.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I decided to join a fitness team for this contest at work. [Don't laugh.] I did so because I wanted some folks to hold me accountable for a few fitness goals.

The company held the competition last year and decided to repeat the program. There are two categories of awards: those who take the most steps (we all have pedometers) and those who lose the most weight. I sought out some team members and signed us all up. Somehow, along the way, I managed to get myself nominated as Team Captain. [I said, "Don't laugh."]

The "nutritional consultant" has determined that I should be drinking 72 ounces of water every day. [Really, don't laugh!]

Everyone had to pick two goals. I chose 1) to stretch every day for a minimum of 30 minutes and 2) to give up drinking Dr. Pepper save for one can a week. [Fine! Laugh!] well do you think I will do???????

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ah, well...what can I say about B's visit?

Three days of lounging on the couch. Three days of stuffing ourselves with tasty food. Three days of battling wits and luck across myriad games.

A truly sublime time!

Note: B is coming a long way towards embracing the wear-the-same-comfortable-outfit-over-and-over-again club.

Friday, February 15, 2008

B is here!

Besides give me a great big hug, what was the first thing she did? Walk straight to my microwave and find the rice button that I had been swearing was not there! Tomorrow evening we shall have Chinese food and rice made in the new rice cooker her mother gave me at Christmas!

What was the second thing she did? Immediately start putting her peanut butter cookie dough into the oven so that I could have her incredible cookies.

Now, I should note that there was some strawberry bread on the bottom of the oven that started smoking, filling up the kitchen and threatening to trigger the alarm system tied into the phone line to contact the fire department automatically. The air was a bit thick for quite a while.

I am rather reluctant to admit that the remaining work on her laptop did not go as planned. We spent a rather long while trying to get the wireless card to recognize my network. I was on hold with Linksys when B thought to reinstall the driver. That did the trick. I should have thought of that immediately, but progress was made.

However, there were many updates that needed to be downloaded and her memory is only 128 megs. The laptop only handles 256, but I found another 128 chip online for just $24.

After stuffing myself with six cookies, we played Scrabble. B was really hindered by all the downloading that was going on and couldn't easily access Dictionary.Com, a key tool we use to slaughter each other across the board. I won the game, but it was a bit of a hollow win. Still, I am back in the 600's...albeit temporarily.

We have yet to line up our moving viewing list or bring up the stack of games from the basement closet.

I cannot wait for tomorrow!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I very much dislike Valentine's Day. Very much.

It is not a day for singles. Nor is a day for a forty-year-old woman who yearns to share her life with someone who will cherish her.

We had an all-staff meeting during which I actually submitted some suggestions for ways to improve the agency. This was not the best choice since those are usually not well received no matter how often they are solicited.

Then the COO asked to talk with me...and postponed the meeting just minutes later. I very, very much dislike when someone announces that he/she needs to talk to me. I admit that I immediately and rather frenetically try to figure out what I did wrong. Now...I just have to stew...

I do not like this day. I struggle with seeing couples on a good day. On a day where expressions of love and commitment abound are ubiquitous, I find simply being alone quite difficult.

So, I worked late, late, and well...late. I didn't even roll out of the parking lot until after 9:00, which was quite unfair to Kashi. Even more so, were my tears on the phone to B when she should have been snuggled up on the couch with her husband.

While I revel in the grace God has shown me, I desire with my whole heart to not spend the rest of my life never being loved, never knowing the covering of a man.

B was kind and caring whilst I cried, but way too soon G needed to use the phone. It was with great reluctance that I said good-bye.

Still sniveling, I called my cousin D. Now let me tell you, no matter how awkward it is for him, he will go a long, long way to try and understand. Four hours later, we tabled the conversation for another day.

Yes, I have introduced D to the wonders of the marathon phone call. While we have talked for a few hours several times before, it was just last month that we had our first call of super length. I had called on the way home and ended up spending dinner and the evening with him, via the wonderful product that is unlimited night and weekend minutes!

We both prepared salads for dinner and then compared our culinary experience bite by bite. We discussed technology, photography, writing, consulting, family, pets, tennis, and his globe-trotting trips. Although many states lie between us, we could have been hanging out on the couch together.

Tonight, our conversation was similarly far ranging. Upon learning of my tears he asked a few awkward questions and then rather skillfully changed the subject. By the time we were both ready to fall into bed, it was no longer that wretched holiday.

He did admire the design of the poetry book I have created using the poems of children and youth from 8 affordable housing communities. The cover is so-so, one I had to make do with the parameters given to me. The inside, however, is totally me. Just one part I will describe: the page numbers are centered on four different geometric shapes that are in different places on different pages. For example, if there is a natural curve in the lines of the poem, I tucked the circle shape beside it. It is a bit whimsical, a reminder that this is a book of poems by children, a work of art. He found my design provocative. SMILE

Of course, Kashi and Fancy feel rather neglected. I am exhausted. And I still need to vacuum and dust before B arrives tomorrow.

I really, really do not like this day. Thank you D for carrying me across the finish line!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The power went out at work this morning. It took over an hour for the powers that be to send us home. In my opinion, the fact that a tree took down the power line should have made the decision quite obvious. I certainly could do not work without phone or computer.

On the way home, I stopped by Target to purchase a gift for my nephew on behalf of my brother and stock up on some groceries in time for B's visit. You would think that since she will be here in just two more days that I might actually let her get some work around the house, but instead I sweet talked her into playing Scrabble for a second day in a row. I am rather greedy in that regard!

She won one game. I won another. That should be a good pattern, right? Well, it actually is not so much good for me as for her. With a higher ranking, she gains more points on her wins than do I. I did manage to scrape my way back into the 600's...barely.

While it was not a snow day, getting to leave at 12:30 was a pleasant surprise. A double dose of Scrabble made it quite a good day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A mere 4 hours and 45 minutes later, I have finally updated the maps on my Magellan!

Little did I know that this would be such a difficult task. Had I known, I still would have ordered the update. Had I known, I might have saved the arduous work until later. However, once started, I had to finish.

The good part about the update is that the software came with an AC adapter for my GPS unit. The 6000T has been great for me, even if I still get lost since I can be a bit doltish at times about following its directions. "Recalculating" and "When possible, make a legal u-turn" are phrases I hear far more often than I would like. My only wee disappointment was that it did not come with a charger for the house, only one for the car.

Over the past year and a half, I have toyed with the idea of buying one, but I didn't have to have it. I just wanted it for the convenience.

For the most part, I have been rather diligent at putting the majority of my money, even holiday gifts, toward my debt. When I have strayed, it has been to get something for B's computer or to take a colleague to a much needed lunch. I did spend a smidgen more than my Amazon.Com gift certificates totaled at Christmas. But those books have been quite helpful in keeping me occupied at home and not out engaged in activities that take money. This is in part due to my policy that if I get a new book in a series, I must re-read all the ones I have before opening the new one.

Anyhow, patience paid off in this instance because I got one for "free" with this upgrade. Of course, the charger is a necessary part of the update process since it took so blooming long!

If you read B's blog, you will be happy to know that I have gotten her XP properly installed and Office re-installed (a better version). It sure is great to have IT folk as friends. I still need to update XP, but for that I need the installation disc for her wireless adapter since her laptop does not have an ethernet port. I am HOPING that when she arrives with the disc on Friday, the update will be a mere afterthought and not another computing ordeal. That way, we can play on-line Scrabble while she is in the green chair and I am on the couch!

If you are keeping track, she won four games in a row before I finally won again. I am in those dreaded 500's. Her favorite word from today's game: afloat.

My legs turned into watery noodles this morning, just as I arrived at work. I felt several times before coming home. Between the constant headache and the blurred vision, I should have known something was coming. Even though I told my co-workers that I had MS, I do not think that it really registered with any of them. They were a bit taken aback as I struggled to get around before heading home.

B has been great at getting rid of her germs for our visit. I would hate to be hobbling around while she is here. Her most wonderful mother is taking over the care of her children straight from work on Friday so that B can leave earlier in the afternoon. Three days of games, gal time, and movies galore!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Well, 50 information packets, 200 magnets, and 1,000 envelopes later, I am done with the stuffing, sealing, labeling, sticking, and arranging projects I had this day. Nine and a half hours passed whilst doing so, much of which I confess that I struggled not to resent what which I was doing. Oh, how I wish I were doing else wise at work. Tomorrow I do get to write a press release...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fancy was 85 grams on Friday. Today, she is 91 grams. Since Madison's death, she will climb up to 101 grams, but does not stay there very long. Dropping down to the mid 80's is so very dangerous for her.

I called my vet yesterday to see if I should bring Fancy in again. We made an appointment for Wednesday. Fancy trembles more, but she is eating and drinking and preening herself. All of which is normal behavior.

I am starting to think that perhaps her struggle is because she is too lonely during the week when I am at work and is just not eating enough without the company she has with me on the weekends. Today, for example, she has camped out on my shoulder for much of the day, napping and preening and nuzzling.

I found a bird at a rescue shelter, but in order to get it, I have to have two interviews and a home visit. The adoption fee would be half of the cost of purchasing a bird. However, I am leery of the interviews and home visit. Funny, I can walk into a store and walk out with a bird. But trying to rescue a bird, I have many hoops to jump through without even the guarantee that I would get the bird. That seems a bit backward to me.

I would go out tomorrow and bring home a new companion for her if it were not for the fact that a match with cockatiels is hardly a sure thing. Were she to not take to her new flock or he to her, it could depress her further. I have had her now over 6 years. I just want to do the right thing for her well-being. I simply do not know what that is.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

To be honest, I should admit that my Scrabble boast of a week ago is not longer valid. Alas, the last three games I have lost. The last was by one point, but the first two losses were by large amounts of points.

My ranking in the 700's for which I launched a most rigorous campaign did not last long. One more loss and I shall loose hold of the 600's.

B's post about the wins is most humorous. She notes that when my rank falls into the 500's, I become a pointmonger. I cannot argue with that. I go for the cheap points. You see, I will play "ha" in two directions where the "h" is on a triple letter square. That's a quick 25 points. Alas, the truth is that for all my love of great words, I find myself most often going for the cheap points. B will play great words, even if doing so means getting less than 10 points. I want two dozen or more points on every play possible. Okay, let's be real: I want to win every game.

I revel in playing B. She is so smart and so crafty with whatever 7 letters arise on her screen. Half the time I am playing her, I find myself marveling at her play. However, while I wish victory for my friend always, I would like that victory to somehow magically take place without my own defeat.

Friday, February 08, 2008

You know, sometimes I feel like my obsession with avoiding smokers is taken a bit oddly by those around me. Today, I was in Costco with co-workers shopping for the upcoming training session when the issue arose.

We were sitting down enjoying a slice a pizza with our shopping done, when I smelled smoke. Now, smoking is not allowed in Costco, so I was a bit puzzled. The acrid smell triggered that familiar tickle at the back of my throat, and I thought about my inhaler back in my bag at work. I swiveled my head around trying to figure out who was the source of my potential distress so that I might effect a strategic retreat. I couldn't spot the problem and nervously bent over my pizza again. I was loathe to leave it, finding Costco pizza most tasty, but I did not relish the thought of another asthma battle. My co-workers kept telling me not to worry, but I did start a mild cough.

The problem, as near I could tell, turned out to be a very old man who was wearing smoke tainted clothing. He was wandering around, and when he came close, I was overwhelmed with the smell of smoke.

When I see smokers, I will often cross the street. If I have to pass them, say to enter a building, I will take a deep breath, cover my mouth and nose, and hustle by as quickly as possible. If I enter a restaurant that has too much smoke, I will turn around and leave. I feel badly doing so when I am with people, especially since going to restaurants has virtually been eliminated from my existence given the financial strain from which I have been recovering. Basically, I only go when I am being treated to a fine meal.

It bothers me, deeply, when I catch flack for doing so. My brother and my father, by whom I have been treated the most since I lost my job nearly two years ago, are the worst about chidding me about my worries about second hand smoke. My dad just doesn't remember with his cognitive difficulties. I think that my brother just doesn't care.

Anyhow, I read this article today about a teenager who died from an acute asthma attack shortly after arriving at a smoky bar where she worked. She had struggled with her asthma several times in the past year or so. She also avoided her meds unless she was feeling the symptoms. However, none of that should have resulted in her death.

The whole reason smoking has been banned in public places is that we know second-hand smoke kills. When you hear this, you think: Oh, yeah...lung cancer. However, second-hand smoke can be deadly for asthmatics.

I guess I am writing all this to say that I found the article quite sobering. Sometimes, I feel pressured to not be so vigilant in looking out for smokers. Today, I thought that perhaps I have been too lax of late. Dangerously so...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I printed for 9 and 1/2 hours today, at times using three different printers.

I printed 100 program cut sheets for the recruiters.

I printed 750 pages for 50 informational packets, although I still need to print the business card sized adverts for the magnets. Those pages have to be feed in one page at a time, pushing the green check button after each sheet is completely through so the printer will grab the next sheet. Once those are done, I still need to assemble those packets.

I printed 975 letters and 975 labels utilizing two black and white printers. Of course, I did run into a problem since the antiquated version of MS Word that I use refused to do the large mail merge (one that had been completed several times before). Fortunately, I had brought my laptop and was able to move the source document over via flash drive, merge them, and move them back.

I printed 1,500 of the 4,000 fliers I need for the mailing. Even if I can get the printer to churn out the other 2,500 tomorrow, I will not be able to print the 1,300 bookmarks that were to be included in the library mailings because each of those sheets (that fit 4 to a page) have to been fed the same way as the business card sheets and done so on both sides.

Alas, I am so very discouraged over what I am doing verses what I desire to be doing.

That said, I have continued to be able to serve as a source of encouragement to the two women who are going through a rough time and to do my work heartily as if for the Lord (I need to look up whether or not I ought to be doing it cheerfully as well--the verses about cheerful givers I know, but do not remember if the same holds true for workers...). I am trying to focus on serving the Lord that way instead of the arguments over toner and manual mass mailings that are filling my days.

NOTE: Monday was filled with a monthly mailing to the parents, which includes a packet of information and much, much printing. April will be the next time I have to do this mass mailing again. Also, my headache has moved into its seventh day of existence. SIGH...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I have spent the last three days at work trying to get a toner order fulfilled after being placed last week. The order is large, granted, but it is for a mass mailing about our next training session. This will be the fourth time I have done the mailing and the third time I ordered so many cartridges for our color printer. And yet...

And yet...someone stopped the order and then questioned it for days on end.

I very much dislike the fact that I have been reduced to arguing about toner for a mass mailing that I resent I must do.

I practically melted down when I was told that the order had finally been approved, but only for 4 cartridges, not 10. I was supposed to place another order when those were done. What??? Had I not already explained that I would blow through five the first day, one to replace the cyan which was empty and then a whole set with my print job. I had even told my boss that we would most likely need at least 4 if not 8 to return us back to having a set in the printer and a set on hand status.

I was supposed to be printing every day this week to get the materials ready for the volunteer who is coming on Monday. She only comes on Mondays. Next Monday is a holiday. And the mailing is due out now. I have to get those darned letters, labels, and fliers printed! All I could see was red, red because I knew I would need to print on the weekend unless I had very long days Thursday and Friday.

At the end of three contentious days, I have been told that the order should be here tomorrow afternoon...or definitely by Friday afternoon.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

From Friday through this moment, I have been sporting a rather vicious headache. It is ever present and quite painful. I have taken pain medicine, rested, and slept with cold compresses over my eyes. I find myself clenching my jaw against the pain, which only makes it worse.

What worries me is that the year I was diagnosed, I suffered this same sort of headache from May to October.

The joy of God's grace and the happiness at the victories have helped, but it has been difficult to keep my spirits up beneath the weight of this constant pain.

Tonight, I am abandoning my long-standing firm belief that milk should only be consumed ice cold. I am about to toss back a glass of warm milk and crawl into bed, thinking of non-headache thoughts.

Note: Last night, I struggled to fall asleep because of the pain, so I threw back the covers, fetched a pair of scissors, and tended to my much-neglected bonsai. When I was finished my pruning, I watered it, breathing deeply of the damp earth. While I savor the cold and wish it lasted far, far longer than it does here in the nation's capital, I do miss the oneness that comes while working with the soil.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I have despaired over this fact with B and W time and time again. At least I am not crying over it now. What fact? The reality of my existence: Nothing is ever easy. Nothing.

My mother offered to pay for three plumbing repairs that have been wanting in exchange for helping her with her website. I readily agreed, sought out recommendations for a plumber, and awoke at the ghastly hour of 7:00 this morning to open the door to company who had the most positive reference.

I am most pleased to report that the leak in my bathroom faucet is now repaired, allowing me to remove the mason jar that had been capturing the water so that it wouldn't be wasted. I am equally pleased to note that the outdoor faucet that suffered from the same problem now leaks no more. However, I am disheartened to report that, while the toilet is no longer leaking from the flapper, I can barely flush the handle and, when I manage to do so, there is this distressing whooshing, sucking sound at the end of the process.

I called the plumbing company to come back and repair the repair. The manager said he would talk with the plumber and call me back. That was 9:00 this morning. How long do I wait?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Tiger Woods came back from behind to win by one stroke at the Dubai Classic. He had to shoot a 7 under par to put himself in contention and then wait out Els on a par 5. Just like in 2006, Els shot his chance to win in the water. Yeah, Tiger!

As the world knows by now, the Giants also won. I am glad Eli is out of the shadow of his brother and was heartened to see Payton there heartily cheering him on to victory. I am glad Eli and Coughlin were vindicated by such a victory since the harsh and fickle fans of New York have been awfully hard on the two of them. And I was glad that the '72 Dolphins kept their place in history. Those football players played for the game, doing so for a mere fraction of what players make today. They deserve to hold that record.

Yesterday I got to slaughter my dear friend B in a game of Scrabble even though she was ensconced with her extended family up in the Poconos. How wonderful is she to include me in her mini-vacation! I am rather grateful for the way technology has kept up close. Between the byways of the Internet and the airways of Sprint, we enjoy time together even though we are separated by miles and miles and miles. Of course, just because I was quite moved by the opportunity to play, I still felt the need to WIN!

For the record, I should note that B will be here the 15th to the 18th for a girls only long weekend. While I will revel in her presence, I will admit that, alas, most of the games we will play will not be won by me...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Fancy Gram Watch: 93

Friday, February 01, 2008

Today was a perfect reflection of God's grace.

I spent much of the day thinking about yesterday and how perfectly clear it was to me that I needed to be at my job in that valley so that I could be a light to someone who would be faced with some of the same darkness. It is difficult to describe how I could ache with tears over her hurt and yet want to dance for joy for the perfect sovereignty of God.

Well, as if I needed another reminder of His grace, I had a co-worker call me this evening, broken over her marriage and a serious financial hole her husband tumbled them both into without thought to the repercussions of his actions. I found myself, for the second time in two days, serving as a beacon of the Truth of Christ and His Word.

It is funny how much counseling I have absorbed from W over the long tenure of our friendship. I was able to help her work through some of what she was thinking and feeling and point her back to the crux of her marriage and life: Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, I was able to share godly examples of the ways between a husband and wife from not only B's life, but from the woman I was with yesterday. Circles of light shed from life to life.

For all the tears I have shed, two days in a row I was privileged to staunch the tears of a sister with the Truth of Christ.

I am not where I wish to be. I struggle with feeling like a failure all the time, feeling as if I have spent the last decade waiting for the opportunity to do what I am capable of doing and yet only find myself in menial labor again and again and again. I produce high quality work and yet I am neither adequately compensated for it nor truly acknowledged for the value added. I have been attacked while trying to work with integrity, and I find myself working with less than sane folks making less than healthy business decisions again and again. And yet...

And yet...God is sovereign. I believe he brought me to this job. While it is not where I would place myself, my time has not been wasted in the Kingdom of God even if there have been no earthly rewards. I admit that I wish those would come, but I revel in the grace God has shown me in the past two days.