Blogs in Space (space…space…)

22 05 2010

I haven’t had a chance to put up a blog post of my own in quite some time, though I’ve posted several for a friend.

I’ve attended a birthday dinner or two, a baptism, and a graduation.

I’ve traveled a state away to visit family, toured a house built in 1939 that is being lovingly restored by a family member, traveled BACK home with a Uhaul on my heels and the Wee Beastie riding shotgun in the cab with his grandma looking like he was born for that, and then helped unload the truck full of family memories before reloading it with other family memories.

I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve slept (a bit), but mainly I’ve just worked. Worked, worked, and then when I thought I couldn’t I worked some more.

So when better to find a little time for myself to sit and write a little than when strapped in the seat of an airplane, however high above the earth you are when flying, hurtling towards a meeting in Denver. One of the ‘little’ things I’ve been working for, but also a reward of sorts for all of the hard work.

This coming week in Denver will be a lot of things: frenetic, exhausting, labor intensive, overwhelming at times, and jam packed with meetings. It will also be a lot of fun. So much fun that I’ll wish someone would put me out of my misery come Wednesday night, but I will soldier on through monitoring a session on Thursday morning (EARLY) before rushing to yet one more meeting then closing up shop there and flying back home to arrive ~ 12:15 AM Friday morning.

I’ve only missed one year since I began going back in 1997. You heard me; I’ve missed only one meeting in 13 years. As much work as it takes to prepare for this annual meeting, as much running around meeting attending as I do AT the meeting, I’ve looked forward to this meeting every year since probably the 3rd one or so since I began.

The early ones weren’t as fun. I knew hardly anyone there and in order to attend at all (and back then it was for a very short time and I stayed in dives so that I could go) I had to prepare a presentation, have it accepted, and then deliver it to a huge crowd of people who I felt had more knowledge and experience than I could ever have. It was like 3 or 4 years of a Freshmen year at college where I was a little fish in a big pond.

Then things began to change. I started meeting more people. I became involved in a committee (where I’m on my second rotation as an officer). I got comfortable. Since then so many of these people have become very good friends and several more are like family. Some I get to see more often than others, but many I get to talk with regularly. We’ve lost a few over the years, some to death that we mourned like a family and others to job changes where you can still stay in touch. In a sense, it has been one long Senior year and I get to feel like one of the cool kids.

Where at first I knew very few people and was in complete and utter awe of some of the others. The ones I knew by reputation. The rock stars in my field. Now I know many, it is the most bizarre feeling in the world to me to walk around a city you hardly know and see all these people in the crowd you know. I don’t have that same experience at home very often. Yes, I’ve been in a store or restaurant and had a friend walk in, but at these meetings that sort of thing happens constantly. Or as you are walking through the convention center someone will call out my name or wave from across the way.

Some people I see annually, but don’t even know. We run in different circles, different areas of expertise, and yet we still wave at each other. How could you not? You see them every year, you feel as though you SHOULD know them, and so you wave. Letting them know that you too acknowledge that you see them every year. It’s just what you do.

There are also the people you wish you DIDN’T see, but they are ridiculously outnumbered by the ones you do want to see. There have been some funny events involving one particular person of that sort. It has now become a game to me when I see them since I’ve discovered they are more mortified to see me than I am to see them and well, that’s just too much fun to pass up. Messing with their head now overtakes that pit in my stomach.

Each year the meeting is in a different city and by now I’ve been to several more than once. Last year was my second year in Toronto. This year will be my third meeting in Denver, I think. I like discovering new cities and determining if I’d want to visit on my own dime, but I also like revisiting ones I’ve been to in the past because they are familiar. I look forward to Philly again because of a little hole in the wall we found. I also look forward to Minneapolis again because of several awesome restaurants. And Toronto, well, I just love Toronto. Next year it will be in Oregon, I’ve never been there. It should be an adventure like all the rest.

This will be the first year where social media will play a big part of my meeting attendance. We’ve been Tweeting about it (@B_EMC or BEMC_groupie should you desire to follow me geeking out), they have a Facebook page, I’ll be hitting foursquare as often as I can, and if I have time I may even blog about some of the fun things.

Wee Beastie is at ‘camp’ this week. He was thrilled to see where we were when we pulled up and he nearly busted a gut when he saw his favorite kennel person. No love for me when he was taken back, couldn’t delay getting back there to bark at the other dogs! He’ll be thrilled to see me when I return though and that will be good enough for me. He’ll be thrilled and then he’ll sleep for two days straight…even better for me!

We’ll both be exhausted from our own little adventures. Now, if I truly intend to blog from space I need to jump on it since we are about to begin the final decent that marks the official start of this year’s adventure!


Seriously? No really, I’m asking…SERIOUSLY?

11 03 2010

It is completely understandable, it happens all the time, and especially in parking lots.

I realize, sir, that you were probably a little shaken up after having rear-ended another vehicle in the restaurant, but did you really have to BLOCK IN *MY* CAR while you exchanged information slower than snails?

Forget the heart attack I suffered seeing someone with a dent on the front end of their light colored car that had dark colored paint on it parked behind my car while people were exchanging words.  And yes, please ignore me as I look to make sure that dark colored paint wasn’t from MY car, the one you have blocked into its parking spot.

Honestly though, at lunch time on a weekday you, in your admittedly shaken (and I’m not convinced not ‘drunken’) state, couldn’t have pulled up just a little further to stop and exchange information? The woman you hit had her vehicle well out of the way.  You obviously didn’t hit her behind my car so you had to have parked there.

Why for the love of all that is good in this world did you ignore me when I looked imploringly at you as I walked past your car to get to mine?

Why did woman just shrug when I looked imploringly at her when I realized you didn’t allow enough space for me to exit between you and the car parked next to me (aside: I parked on an end space so I’d only have one car next to out of concern that one less wingnut have opportunity to harm my not quite 1 year old (to me) car)?

When I asked nicely that you pull forward did you continue to ignore me? I was TRYING to be considerate.  I even waited a bit thinking to myself, ‘how long could this take? SURELY they must almost be done by now!’

NOPE.  So I waited a bit more until I realized I was now almost 30 minutes late getting back to work because of YOUR accident. Then you did the unthinkable and you got out of your car and WALKED AWAY! So yes, I yelled and I cursed (and I am LOUD and I curse WELL), but you STILL refused to budge (not helping my theory that you were drunk, by the way), acknowledge my existence, or even  notice the inconvenience you were causing me (not helping my compassion for your situation one teensy tiny bit).

I reassessed the situation, immediately discarding the idea of just backing out and taking your heap along with me as I went. I dug deep, I took a few cleansing breaths (HA, I *snorted* with rage, but it had a somewhat cleansing effect), and I channeled my family’s long history of car maneuvering abilities (my uncle can park  SIX 1950 vintage convertibles into a garage with two doors meant to be a 2 car garage with workshop area) before I performed a miracle maneuver WITHIN my parking space (did I mention I was in a CUV parked next to an SUV with a jackass parked on my ass? not a lot of wiggle room) so that I could ease my car out between your vehicle and the SUV next to me with my back-up alarm losing its shit because of the proximity of the other two vehicles (NOT helping my mood towards you AT ALL).

And guess what? THAT is the EXACT moment you chose to return to your car (still ignoring me and my efforts to escape the predicament you created for me)! And when I was almost clear of your car, THAT is the EXACT moment you chose to FINALLY move your P.O.S. That was also the exact moment when I almost completely lost it and jumped out of my car window to beat you to a bloody pulp.

Perfect timing, Jackass! Yes, I did yell that at you. Yes I did yell, now as I was almost clear of your fucking vehicle and you were finally going to move your car, that if you decided to move any direction other than forward and caused me to hit your car in the process I would most certainly kick your ass.

Trust me, that was no threat, it was a promise.  I wouldn’t have succeeded, having never actually hit anyone in my life, but I would have tried like hell and in the process you would have received the tongue lashing of your life.  That IS something with which I’m very experienced and quite adept too, if I do say so myself.

Here is some free advice for future such occasions:

1. At the VERY least acknowledge the innocent 3rd party’s existence. Maybe even apologize for inconveniencing them and offer to move your vehicle if it is blocking their way.

2. Don’t ever flip the bitch-switch on a Type-A Red Head unless you arrived willing to get the horns.

You’re welcome.

Hello Coffee Girl

8 03 2010

I spent my lunch break today at a coffee shop and I think I had one of Oprah’s ‘aha!’ moments.  I was talking with someone last week who was having trouble working at home because her mother walking into the room would distract her and because she had difficulty setting time aside to do the assignments (similar to something I’ve heard several freelance writing friends of mine say was an issue for them as well).  I told her that when I was having trouble concentrating on a book club book or some other personal project that I found it helpful to head to a bookstore or coffee shop so that I wasn’t distracted by the things that needed to be done around the house.

She said she had considered that, but that her mom had said that if her mom merely walking in to the room was enough to distract her then trying to work someplace as chaotic as a bookstore or coffee shop would be impossible.

Personally, I don’t find that to be the case and based on the number of people I see in there on a regular basis who seem to be working in some form or another I’m not alone. So today as I was working on day 5 of writing my 750 words a day journal I pondered this phenomenon. Sitting there listening to the banter of the baristas, the customers placing their orders, the guy next to me making phone calls, the women across the way engaged in conversation, and the hum of the equipment (oddly enough no loud music like there usually is when I’m there), it did seem rather chaotic and yet it became a sort of white noise.   Every once in a while one of the conversations would break through and grab my attention for a while, but on the whole not so much. But it was those times or the times when I needed a break from my writing that I realized another one of the reasons I enjoy working in a coffee shop. I like people watching. I like catching snippets of conversations. I enjoy that the baristas there know me and chat with me when I’m taking a break.

For a time I had a friend who would meet up with me in the evenings after work at another coffee shop where we’d discuss the events of our days, work on our separate projects, and maybe grab a bite to eat. Being single, having that sort of outlet was nice. It allowed social interaction while still getting some work done.  Things change and friends move on so I don’t have a regular outing to the coffee shop scheduled anymore which is when the ‘aha!’ hit me.  Since the regular coffee meet-ups ended, I’ve been staying later at work.  It hit me as I sat there today thinking about how a chaotic coffee shop could be a place to be productive that the reason I was working later at the office was because that is a place where I can concentrate on the tasks I have to complete.  However, there is something key missing from this latest routine…social interaction…with physically present humans and not my friends from all over via the internet (not that I don’t appreciate them).  It explains why I’ve enjoyed going to my friends’ stores and the coffee shop at lunch and on weekends to work on projects…the social butterfly in me NEEDS this sort of activity to keep myself sane and from completely withdrawing into my shell.

I’ve decided that even if I have to go on my own, I will make it a goal to hit the coffee shop at least once a week rather than staying at the office so late.  I will make a date with myself to put myself out in public.  Who knows what that could bring in addition to continued productivity and some good people watching?!