Donna's Journal
20 most recent posts

Date:2003-12-06 00:47
Subject:3 for the price of 1
Mood: mellow

1. One step at a time

I've quit nagging. I've quit it cold, I've checked myself a dozen times in the past few days. In the past, Marvin's told me I'm a long, long way from being a nag. He hasn't seemed to change that position, even in the midst of all his anger.

Marvin was home Tuesday and today, and he made lunch for me when I was home for lunch, and both were quite good. Wednesday he went to work without incident. I refused to grill him about his work situation. I gave him money for his antidepressant and his diabetic medication; he's going to pay for the cholesterol medication out of his own salary. He has an appointment on the 30th of this month with Da Shrink Down Da Street, who had been both our Shrink before our current Shrinks, who he'd liked very much.

I read a domestic violence list on the web. Out of 50 "Does he...?" signs, only two applied to Marvin. Of our women's shelter's 16 Signs of Domestic Violence, three applied to Marvin.

I told Noelle and Lila what had happened. Noelle had been in two abusive marriages before, and understood, but doesn't think I'm in any danger. She told me the second husband, when he hit her, she beat the crap out of him and immediately left him - but the resulting divorce was amicable, because the power had been balanced.

I don't think that Marvin is violent by nature. I think he has a great deal of unresolved anger; but that until the other night, he'd never taken that anger out on me. I called him on it. I told him that it was in no way acceptable and he must never do it again. As I said the other night, we also discussed that I would defend and repel any physical attack on me or our precious ones.

Abusive people frequently abuse animals. Marvin, all the years we've been together, has never been anything but kind and loving and doting on our cats. I've never seen him threaten an animal. He feeds the cats, he changes the litterboxes, he gives Alarm Clock her medicine every single night with a lot of baby-talk, and he never EVER complains about any bit of it.

I think that we can work things out. I'm thrown, but I'm getting back up.

2. Other things happening

Lakeisha visited the office last week, home on leave. She's going back at the end of this month for several more months; but she'll be stationed in the U.S.


Marvin visited our neighbor downstairs who works in the complex. She and her husband have an African Bobcat. Marvin told me that he doesn't think Dylan was a Maine Coon mix: he thinks, now, that he had some Bobcat lineage. Like Dylan, the Bobcat was a "chatterer," making a vocal chattering sound when stalking prey; the Bobcat was a constant talker and mumbler; he completely relaxed in Floppy Cat mode when picked up, just like Dylan; and, what was most telling to Brian, when he came home with the bobcat's scent on him, Alarm Clock took on the same half-puzzled, half-condescending facial expression she used to have whenever she'd get close to Dylan.

It would explain a lot of things. It would explain Pamina's behavior when I brought Dylan home the day I adopted him more than the fact that I'd brought him home in Cyrano's carrier: Pamina had been very accepting of other cats coming and going, but had gone apeshit over Dylan's arrival. It would explain why Dylan didn't relate well to other cats, and why cat-oriented cats like Cuckoo Clock were always afraid of him. It would explain his size, his massive bone structure, his muscles so powerful it took three technicians to hold him down. It might even explain why he'd had to take twice the amount of Reglan to stop his throwing up after he ate that poisoned spider, and it might also explain why he survived that episode. I wouldn't be at all surprised to know that Dylan had a bit wildcat in him.


My drugs are kicking in. Time to go to bed.

3. Employee Luncheon

Today was the annual Employee Appreciation Luncheon.

I went with The Girls - Bullwinkle, Sister Anne, Paralegal A, Blue Eyes and Freida - to help set the place up. Paralegal A and I worked the front table with name tags and lunch menus; after a scotch and Coke, A loosened up a great deal, and teased colleagues and dignitaries alike. I wore my burgundy dress with sparkly swirls all over it, plain black slides with toenails polished the same color, and my garnet jewelry. I did my makeup the same way I'd done for MyssK's wedding, and left my hair straight. I looked SO glamorous.

Attorney M, though, shone all the women down. M is a minimalist dresser, she doesn't dress flashy. But today, her outfit was so... perfect, dead-on appropriate and 100% suited to her. She wore a flowing plain black shell and pants with a gold medallion pendant and an absolute jewel of a jacket: brocade stripes in autumnal colors, a single button at the top left unbuttoned. Like me, she left her hair straight and went light on the makeup. She looked good enough to eat, that one.

Da Big Bosss dropped by to tell us there were no programs at his table. "Ummmm... we figured you knew everybody?" I suggested lamely.

Miss Daphne's birthday is the same day as mine!

The Clerk of the Circuit Court was there! (I don't know when his birthday is!)

Along with several members of our Board of Directors!

Attorney D and Attorney F, formerly of the Tampa office and now working in New Port Richey, arrived together, and I couldn't believe how glad I was to see them. D sat down at the table next to me, arms and legs as akimbo as ever, teasing us by scooping up several name tags that weren't his; and I got up to hug him. Then I went over to F, who took my hand, then drew me to him and softly kissed my hair. "Thank you for that enthusiastic greeting," he said. "I wasn't sure how I'd be received." What, was he kidding? Just because he and D are polar opposites in personality, doesn't mean we'd be any less glad to see him, or that we'd forgotten the work he'd done on the Family Law Team. I saw F later at a table with Attorney T and Paralegal L, who go back to about his time.

There were plenty of door prizes; and speaking of Attorney T, he won a gift certificate for a facial. He gaily went out of his way to say that HE, not his wife, would be using that gift certificate! HE, not his wife, was more in need of it! Really, T did seem thrilled to win it.

Noelle had hailed me down to her table, where sat Secretary X and Operator S. With them was the new Intake Specialist, the eighth one, making the Lucky Seven of the PIT into the Great Eight. Number Eight - no no no, let's pseudonym him "Santa's Little Helper"! - was wearing a fly teal sports jacket and a jaunty hat. I enjoyed getting to know him a bit better during the luncheon: he has two grown children and a teenager; he is a diabetic who recently cut down his insulin dependency by losing a great deal of weight; he just started selling real estate part-time (I think we've done found ourselves a realtor!).

The whole conversation about diabetes came about when Santa's Little Helper passed and then poured me the ice tea. He was amazed that I took no lemon nor sweetener. Secretary X blabbed, "She's a diabetic."

"So am I," said SLH. From there, Noelle pointed out the other known diabetics in the crowd. I'd wanted to mention, but forgot, that B takes her coffee black. Thatsa woman.

The glitter from my dress was coming off everywhere. Bits of it was on my hands, my shoes, wherever I'd sat. As long as it didn't get in my lunch I didn't care.

Fred, his wife Wilma, Pebbles, and Pebbles' daughter Betty, the one who'd just had the kidney transplant, all arrived together. Betty is a little wisp of a girl who looks far younger than she is. She wore a black velvet gown, hair jewelry, and a mask over her mouth as appropriate for one who's just had an organ transplant. But her color is excellent, as was her appetite. Paralegal A told me that Peggy is still home recovering; while Bullwinkle added that she'd been told that recovery is harder on the donor than on the recipient.

What was really neat to me was getting to see our colleagues from the new St. Petersburg office, who had spent the week with us. A couple winners of door prizes came from St. Pete. A and I had had to convince one of the St. Petersburgers that really, he should take a door prize ticket.

Heliotrope, sans baby Adam, was there today. She's still nursing and hasn't lost much weight, and she's looking great.

The room was freezing. I didn't feel it, but I knew it was cold to a lot of people.

J wasn't there today. She was supposed to go to a fair housing conference, but fell very sick with the flu and didn't go to that either. J is hardly ever sick; but boy when she is, she don't do it halfway. I imagine both her boys have it too.

There was a presentation to Fred in honor of his 25 years of service to the agency. Bullwinkle preceded Da Big Bosss, demonstrating a latent, very good speaking skill as she told The Story of the $22 Pen She'd Better Be Buried With, her first encounter with Fred's thriftiness - yes, she still has the pen. Then Da Big Bosss presented Fred with a lovely engraved clock.

I always like the Employee Luncheon. I'll like it as long as I work there, and by golly, I plan to be there for a long time.

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Date:2003-12-02 17:20
Subject:Picking up the pieces

Marvin has agreed to go to anger management class. It starts the second week in January and runs eight weeks. He also went to crisis group today, and will continue going. I don't know what his job status is; but if he's free to go to therapy...

It so happened that I had an appointment with Da Shrink today. The one thing she made very clear was that I cannot control other people. I can only to what's right for me. I cannot make Marvin into someone I can be happy with; I cannot tell him what to do.

What happened last night was that Marvin was cornered, Da Shrink and I agreed. When I told him that he could be a househusband if he wanted, it broke through the last of his excuses for not working, leaving him with no safety. It doesn't excuse his behavior - nothing excuses that kind of behavior. But it explains it. And Da Shrink told me I'd better think carefully about making that kind of offer: not only was Marvin likely to reneg once he finds out what's really involved in keeping a house, but I'd be forced to compensate for him the way I always have, leading to further resentment, further breaches, more stress.

There's a lot of truth, though, in Da Shrink's saying that I cannot control Marvin. Take it a step further, and it means that I must stop trying. I must do what's in my own best interests, and take care of myself. Quit enabling Marvin; stop being the safety net.

In that light... it's in my best interests to pay the rent, electric, food, phone, cat items, laundry, my healthcare, and my debts. Marvin's medication is a gray area: if he doesn't make enough money in a month to pay for his medication, it seems that I should help him. But if he doesn't have enough money for meds because he blew it on books and computer games, he's SOL - let him go without his meds for a month and see how he likes it. That goes for his debts too: he has a separate checking account, let him pay his own debts.

I'm going to stop asking him to go on errands, too. I think they're an excuse for him not to look for work, particularly when he goes to the vet to pick up food, which takes a lonnnnggggg time. I'm just going to do it. Things I'd be doing for myself and the cats anyway, I need to start doing. No more excuses.

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Date:2003-12-01 07:27
Subject:Let's put a stop to this.
Mood: optimistic
Music:Mason and Bill Show

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Date:2003-11-28 12:14
Mood: thankful
Music:Ace whacking the Ball in the Thing around

Reader advisory: food and merriment ahead.


I'm drifting in and out, so don't mind me if I have to stop in the middle of the entry and continue later.

The funniest thing about this Thanksgiving was when we were playing Trivial Pursuit. Nitza's son's girlfriend, Maris, joined Nitza's daughter Ismelda and Ismelda's little friend as The Girls team; Nitza and Yoshi were the Mothers; and Lila and I were the Brains. Nitza's friend Thea read the questions. The game was very loud and chatty.

It was the Mothers turn. The question, for a wedge, was "What NFL quarterback sang 'Whatever It Takes' with Kenny Chesney?" Well I didn't know the answer, but I knew the Mothers would know it even less.

"Name some NFL quarterbacks," said Nitza. Yoshi laughed in her face - "name some NFL quarterbacks," yeah right.

"Joe Namath, he's a quarterback, right?" Nitza shot out to the room in general.

I was already sitting on the floor with Lila; and when Nitza said this, I collapsed into a hysterical, laughing heap. I had this vision of Joe Namath, who must be in his 60's by now, wearing his fur coat from the 60's and a Stetson for a country video. Poor Nitza, I literally rolled on the floor laughing.

"Don't laugh!" protested Nitza. Yoshi and Lila laughed, Yoshi because it was cute, Lila because she must've been embarrassed! I couldn't help it; both football and music are in my blood, and this was just the right absurd clash between them to set me off.

We were out late last night, having started late at around 6:30. I was able to eat two plates, the first one full and the second one moderate; but I couldn't eat dessert after that, and was uncomfortably full the rest of the night. It was all worth it, though, for real mashed potatoes. And oh, the collard greens!!!

OK, I'll have to continue later. We got home around 12:45 last night and I'm still tired.


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Date:2003-11-27 16:04
Subject:Thanksgiving Potpourri
Mood: okay
Music:Marvin taking a shower

Lila and crew are running a bit late, so I've got some time to write.


I believe in marriage. Mine happens to be the one man/one woman variety because it's right for Marvin and me. It is also right for us that we had no children. It is also right for us to always have cats because we love them so much. I went into this marriage planning to be with Marvin for as long as we both live; and believe me, I went into it with the fear of God, too - the joining of our two lives in marriage is sacred to us, a time that began the day I accepted Marvin's proposal and will continue until one of us dies, and recognized by the state.

That's not to say I don't believe in divorce. Divorce is appropriate in certain circumstances. I couldn't work in law if I objected to all divorces. I believe in marriage, but I believe in the sanctity of life too; and life is too damn short to spend it in an unhappy or bad marriage. There are times when couples need to divorce when the marriage is destructive to the partners' quality of life and there is no repairing it. That's why, during the divorce hearing, you have to be sure the marriage is really beyond repair when you go before the judge. Many scenarios fit the "beyond repair" or "irretrievably broken" criteria: abuse, another man or woman, etc. That's up to the partners too, at least according to the laws of Florida.

I think it would have been appropriate for my parents to divorce at some point during the time we kids were being raised. They had the unhappiest "happy 52 years" I've ever seen. After Marvin and I got engaged, Dad dropped a broad hint why he'd stayed in his marriage: he'd said that in his time, you got married, you had kids, because that was What You Did. I think he was trying to say that I had different options, that I didn't have to get married if I didn't want to. But I got from it that he'd stayed with Mom all those years because that was What You Did. But I'm not Mom or Dad, and their marriage wasn't mine. For God knows whatever reason, they stayed married as long as they both lived.

I don't know if I go along with the second marriage = adultery doctrine, either. Three women I know are on their fourth marriages, and finally happy in them. I'd hate to think that a loving God would hold it against them that it is not their first marriages. All were over 40 at the time they remarried, two were over 50. I'd also hate to think that a loving God would require them to be virgins at the times of their first marriages at ages 40 and 50. I'd also hate to think that a loving God would withhold the joys of marriage for a person who could not have children, or could not have them anymore. I like to think that God wants His children to be happy. If it means breaking some outdated rules, I'd like to think that Her children's happiness is more important.

Don't get me wrong: I don't believe in adultery. While you're still married, while your marriage is still together, adultery is wrong. But when the marriage is over, when you're no longer married, it's different.


I talked to Mom last night. I was at the computer, listening to VH1 and playing a game, and thinking "I ought to call Mom tomorrow," when she called me.

Mom said she was feeling lonely; she sounded like she had some regrets about not coming here for past holidays. She told me she knew what I felt like when I had been living alone. I told her it had been different for me: I was working, I had friends, I was never lonely when I lived by myself, especially during the last two years during which I went to school at night. But apparently Mom's seeing now that she could have made different choices. She could have come here for past Thanksgivings when we've invited her, for instance. If she wanted sympathy, she wasn't getting any from me; she knows she was always welcome to come. She still is. There's nothing stopping her, even now; I know that Lila and Yoshi and their friends would welcome her with open arms.


This morning while watching the Macy's parade, a singer came on and sang "I'll Be Home For Christmas." That song always gets me; it never fails. So after that, I had a good cry. I needed it. I got it over with.

I told Marvin that I knew Mom had had a hard life: she lost her dad at age 13, her mother at age 29 before Yakko was born; and later, she sustained the incalculable loss of Yakko himself, her oldest child. But that didn't mean she didn't have choices. She could have made better choices.

Maybe this year, I'll try to encourage Mom to come for Christmas. Maybe we can visit with Lila and Yoshi and their family. She can be here for part of Hanukkah, too. She can bring Duke, there's no reason for her not to bring Duke, we can handle it.


Just got a call from Lila; she and Stig are on their way.


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Date:2003-11-26 21:45
Subject:Schedule for the next few days

I'm writing down my schedule for the next few days. You know, IN CASE EITHER OF MY TWO FRIENDS HERE find themselves all alone and would like to CALL ME SOMETIME during the Thanksgiving weekend, OR ANY TIME AT ALL FOR ANY REASON AT ALL. Or something.

Tomorrow: Up around 9:00 to bake the cookies. Lila and Stig are coming to get us around 1:00. I expect we'll be home by 10:00 tomorrow night; Lila has various activities planned and it may be a long day.

Friday: Here all day, chillin. Yoga tape 5:00-6:00.

Saturday: Probably here all day. Got no money to go Christmas shopping; no need of anything except cat litter, which Brian will probably end up going to get because he's still doing most of the lifting and carrying around here.

Sunday: Here all day. Yoga tape 5:00-6:00. Watching the Bucs game Sunday night.

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Date:2003-11-26 13:33
Subject:Betty and Peggy
Mood: happy
Music:Alarm Clock snoring

Reader advisory: organ recital ahead.

It's safe now to write about this. Pebbles has indicated that this story might be on the news.

Peggy and Betty had the surgery Saturday in which Peggy donated one of her kidneys to Betty. Both patients are doing fine, altough Betty only today came out of the Pediatric ICU. Peggy had been improving, then relapsed, and is doing better once more.

It turns out that Betty is not a diabetic after all. She was simply born without functioning kidneys. Her father gave her one of his kidneys when she was an infant (she made medical history, J told me); and she lived on that kidney until she was 16 and her system began to reject it. She's been on dialysis since. Da Bosss, before she left for St. Lucia, sold her car to Pebbles to help her daughter get around to her appointments.

Betty has been the subject of many prayers and healing thoughts. She is the only grandchild of Fred and his wife, and they dote on her. She seems to have her grandfather's stubbornness and her mother's optimism - really, Pebbles is very upbeat, has been upbeat through all of this.

Just yesterday, J told me... Betty peed for the first time in years. What we all take for granted, Betty had not been able to do. Dialysis had had to replace the non-functioning kidneys, and dialysis is a messy process. Many people had been waiting for this particular pee for a long time. J made merry of it, but it wasn't lost on either of us what this pee meant: the kidney is working, and hasn't been rejected.

Fred was itching to contact the news, to tell the world what Peggy had done for his granddaughter. It could be on Channel 8 as early as today, Pebbles said. A member of our Board of Directors has contacted the Bar with this amazing story. Peggy has a long list of good deeds to her credit; there's not one person in the agency she hasn't touched in one way or another. But the real story, I think, goes even deeper than that. The real story is the Phat Network. When we say to each other "I got your back," it isn't just lipservice. We're there for each other, even to the point of saving each others' lives. We're ordinary people, not heroes; but together, we're liable to do heroic things. And in a way, Betty belongs to all of us now.


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Date:2003-11-26 08:09
Subject:Just thankful

I have only two friends here at Blurty/LJ, and I'm thankful for them both. So I'm going to try to write from the heart here.

Erika, I'll never stop being thankful that you got in touch with me again earlier this year. It's wonderful to have you back in my life. Such an open heart, so able to love.

And Patrick, for what you are to Erika, I'm thankful most of all. She couldn't do better: loving, intelligent, funny, respectful, with courage rare in such a young gentleman. I have no doubt you will do anything you set your mind to: you can be anything, anything.

I'm proud of both of you, as individuals and as a partnership. From the day you took the truly dangerous risk to declare that you loved each other, you ceased to be children and became grownups. And what a payoff: 44 months of partnership, overcoming distance, time, positions in life, many things that other couples have fallen apart over. Not only have you survived, you've thrived. This is a testament to your extraordinary characters, the foundation of your love, the building of your lives one day at a time. If I could make a Thanksgiving dinner out of my pride in yous, it would be a 44-pound turkey stuffed to the gills, with potatoes, rolls, string bean casserole, corn on the cob, carrots with cream sauce, three pies, two kinds of jello, three kinds of pudding, chocolate chip cookies, my best tablecloth and china, a huge floral centerpiece, a roaring fire and football all day.

You're always in my heart.

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Date:2003-11-25 21:35
Subject:OK, then.
Mood: peaceful
Music:Smokey Robinson, "Just To See Her"

"Post anything that you want, and post it anonymously. Anything. A story, a secret, a confession, a fear, a love - anything. Be sure to post anonymously and honestly. Post more than once, if you'd like. Then, put this in your Blurty to see what your friends (and perhaps others who you don't even realise read your Blurty) have to say."

Hmmm... how do I turn off anonymous/ISP logging for a single entry?

How do I turn it ON, for that matter?

Hoping to figure this out,

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Date:2003-11-24 07:35
Subject:A sprinkling of Potpourri
Mood: okay

The Bucs
In case you're a Bucs fan who's been hiding under a rock lately, the Bucs deactivated Keyshawn Johnson last week. He appeared on Fox NFL Sunday yesterday, and they tore him apart. I almost felt sorry for him. But he'd made his wishes known to the coach: he didn't want to play for Gruden next year. The coach had no choice but to deactive Keyshawn. It's a shame, Key was a good player - his attitude was his downfall.

It doesn't look good for the Bucs getting into the playoffs this year. But they're MY Bucs, and my color scheme is staying until the season's over; and it ain't over until it's over.

Aside, Mason Dixon predicted this morning that Bucs general manager Rich McKay is going to the Atlanta Falcons before the end of the season. Apparently he had a friend in the right place at the right time who heard about this. It could be a red herring, of course. But it would be a shocker if it's true.

Dreamlog: The Coach
I dreamed a few nights ago that Coach Gruden was visiting my office for some reason. He kept stealing looks at me sitting in my cubicle; then, when he got a chance, he came over and sat down.

"I'm going to marry you, Ms. Lightbulb."

"Heh. You sound pretty sure about that, Mr. Gruden. I'm happily married, and so are you."

Sheesh. I like Jon Gruden, for sure; but geez, not enough to marry him! I've never even met the man. I don't think I even saw him in person other than the Welcome Home party at Raymond James last January.

Thanksgiving Plans
Marvin and I are going over to Yoshi's for Thanksgiving. It'll be fun.

We made a trial bunch of chocolate chip cookie dough last night; the cookies have to sit in the refrigerator before they're baked. Marvin will bake them today. If they turn out, we'll make two more batches for Thanksgiving. I'll also make the banana pudding I made last year, and some reduced-sugar jello. Did a dumb thing at the grocery store, however: I bought only a gallon of milk. Good thing we live near a convenience store.

The St. Petersburg Office
Our agency's new St. Petersburg Office is to open next week. Everybody has been working very hard. I wonder if they're invited to the Employee Luncheon, also next week.

In fact, next week is turning out to be another Hell Week. I go see Da Shrink on Tuesday; there's that breakfast at which I'm representing J on Thursday; and the luncheon on Friday. At least I'll get to wear my gown to the Luncheon, and we'll have Friday afternoon off.

I'll need to write more later.


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Date:2003-11-20 21:15
Subject:Phat Network Hijinks
Mood: mellow
Music:"The First Cut is the Deepest," Sheryl Crow

The Coffee Mug I Really, Really Didn't Want

Rocky, Bullwinkle, me, our bosses, Operator S and Teaspoon are on break room duty for November and December. Determined not to get myself into a situation where I could be put on the spot, as Attorney C did to me last year, I've been vigilant about keeping the place clean.

I've already busted the owner of a blue plastic bowl who's in the bad habit of leaving her oatmeal bowl in the sink because "it has to soak." Well MAYBE IF YOU'D RINSE IT RIGHT AWAY IT WOULDN'T HAVE TO BE SOAKED!!!

So I see a mug sitting on top of the sink, unwashed. I recognized this particular mug and I knew that its owner, Attorney III, was very attached to it. So I sent out an e-mail saying "If I have to wash this mug, I'm taking it home with me. Don't make me do it, 'cause I don't want it. I really, really DON'T want it."

Sister Anne came by to bust my chops about it. "You want it," she say. "That's why you say you don't."

"No no no," I said. "I really don't want that mug! And neither do you," I added.

Attorney III drifted by my cubicle. "Might that be my Packers mug?"

"Ummmm... yeah, III, it is."

"You wouldn't have taken it home with you, would you? You're a Bears fan."

"And Bucs, III. Bucs." Sister Anne looked like she wanted to die laughing.

III, not at all offended, went to retrieve his precious Packers mug. Attorney M, who's from Wisconsin, came out of her office a little apologetically. "I don't think III got it, Donna."

A little later, I got an e-mail from Attorney H: "Throwing it out is always an option."

"Not for this one," I replied. "Its owner is quite sentimentally attached to it. Fortunately, he came and washed it, which was good because I really, really did NOT want it. (G) "

Heh, get it? Instead of using the standard for "grin," I wrote (G) for the giant G that is the symbol for the Packers. Ha ha!

Okay, so I'm a dufus. Deal.


Liberal Republican Smoke-Out
Libby is taking over as Office Mother. Not only is she knee-deep in Weight Watchers - she made Narciso pinkie-swear that he wouldn't smoke all day tomorrow, during the Great American Smoke-Out.

Then she went after Paralegal L, one of her bosses. Now Paralegal L had a scare recently - chest pains, arm numbness - but he hasn't stopped smoking. I told Libby if she needed a backup to get L to pinkie-swear to abstain, I'd do it for her. I'd hate to lose Paralegal L. I'd hate to lose any of them, but Paralegal L is one hella guy.

L had his excuses: he has a rough weekend coming up, doing outreach, getting a report together, yada yada yada. He had his websites and his support groups, he told Libby.

"Bullshit," said Libby.

"I'm trying," pleaded L. I just stood there grinning at him meaningfully.

"Pinkie swear," growled Libby. "It's just one damn day. Tell you what: when 5:00 comes, you're done."

"Not smoke until 5:00?"


"All right. No smoking until 5:00." L and Libby shook pinkies, and I was a witness to it - it's official.

"Where are you going?" I asked Libby.

"I gotta take care of Teaspoon next. And Scully... Scully."

"Scully." Another one I'd hate to lose. But Scully wasn't in his office. When he came back down the hall, he said lightly, "I see you peeking around the monitor, Donna. I've been warned."

"You saw nothing," I said. But Libby and I didn't get a chance to ambush - er, speak with him before the end of the day. We'll have to get him to pinkie-swear for Monday.

I gotta give Libby credit. It's not just Weight Watchers. She's determined to wipe out all bad habits. Sheesh.

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Date:2003-11-20 13:16
Mood: sad

There are times when I despair that some people seemed to be born into the world only to suffer.

I've talked about the Jackson family before, how I've felt that it wasn't worth Michael, Janet, and all the siblings suffering so that the world could have their music. I won't be able to hear their music the same way ever again, after knowing how much they were hurt, after seeing them (with the sole exception of Janet) turn into such tragic people.

And now, Michael is facing criminal charges - child molestation. There's no way he'll get a fair trial. He won't be able to pay his way out. His only hope is to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

Michael's upbringing made him crazy. He has no idea what is appropriate and what is not in relationships with children/minors. What he sees as "charming and sweet," a normal person would never do. If my 13-year-old nephew was in a relationship with a 45-year-old man where he was "being tucked in" at night, I'd demand the man's head on a platter, end of story - you don't "tuck in" 13-year-olds! But of course Michael Jackson has no idea.

Really, I think he has no idea. I think he's without guilt in that he really, genuinely has no idea that what he's doing is wrong. I think, in his mind, he would never hurt a child. But he has no clue what hurts and child and what does not - same as his sorry-ass double-espresso gold-plated puke-inducing enema-of-hell of a father of his recently said that he never beat his children, he just whipped them. No clue. No clue that what he did was wrong.

The music, the groove, the funk, the genius, was not worth this. "Stop" wasn't worth this; "ABC" wasn't worth this; "Off the Wall" wasn't worth this; not even "Thriller" was worth this. If Michael Jackson had written Beethoven's Ninth, it wouldn't have been worth this. His life is ruined for no reason other than because he's Michael Jackson. If he intends to fight the charges, his only hope is to plead insanity. At least then, he would be placed in a treatment facility rather than a prison, and would have his only chance for redemption. If he goes to prison, he'll die there. Nothing was worth this.

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Date:2003-11-17 07:47
Subject:Dreamlog: Miss Florida
Mood: depressed
Music:Mason and Bill Show

I dreamed that it was 1989. I was 28 and I entered the Miss Hillsborough County beauty contest on a whim. And I won! Then I went on to the Miss Florida contest - and I won that, too!

Then I went on to the Miss America contest. I was the oldest contestant; but I've never looked my age and I wasn't breaking any contest rules. I helped the other contestants with their hair, dress and makeup. I wore that dumb "Miss Florida" sash even when I was asleep.

I wasn't tall, of course, but in those days you didn't have to be tall to be Miss America. To my surprise, I made the first cut of... what is it, 16 contestants? I didn't dream my Talent Competition, but I assume I sang something.

Then I made it to the final 5. The question for each of the final 5 was, "How would you create your state if you had to do it over again?" I replied that Florida would create itself, that the state and its people would create something far more wonderful than I would ever do.

After that... I was second runner-up. I wasn't sad. I was relieved. Now I could go home and be Miss Florida, and go all over the state for the year. I went to a cattle parade in Ocala, to an azalea festival somewhere else, to an orange festival somewhere else... I was a good Miss Florida. And when my year was up, I crowned the new Miss Florida, the Miss Florida 1990.

It may not have been a beauty contest - wait, yes it was - but it beat the tar out of the nightmares I've been having lately.

I think I know where this dream came from. I've been very depressed lately, depressed and down. People with depression are going to have these times. It didn't help that I was watching CMT yesterday, which had on some Johnny Cash specials. The Bucs' loss didn't help either. I told Marvin I was depressed, but that I didn't know why; and that I had no right to be depressed, because I have a roof over my head, a fridge full of food, a good husband, three adorable cats, a good job, and everybody loves me. I dwelled on that last one for awhile, that "everybody loves me." I counted them all: Marvin, my family, my friends, my co-workers. I have no right to be depressed when everybody loves me, I told Marvin. So when everybody loves you... it's like when you win a beauty contest.

Yeah, whatever. Miss Florida is still depressed. But what the hell, I'm Miss Florida.


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Date:2003-11-15 23:26
Music:Marvin taking a shower

Note to self: cross-post to Dreamlog when OD comes back up.

I've been having some nightmares lately. I don't know what's up wit dat.

Doomed Plane
Marvin and I napped this afternoon (which is why I'm up so late tonight). I dreamed that he and I were flying in a plane that was doomed somehow. While it was still in the air, a second plane came to rescue the passengers and crew; but they would only take people who weighed less than 250 pounds. I don't weigh no 250 pounds yet; but apparently in the dream I did. I talked Marvin into going on the rescue plane, saying that one of us needed to survive.

A man who didn't meet the weight requirements was the only other one left. Nobody was flying the plane, so we decided to give it a try. We got through to an air traffic controller in Raleigh, who talked us into landing the plane safely at Kitty Hawk.

Word hadn't reached Marvin that I was alive. The rescue plane had landed in Raleigh, and everyone thought the doomed plane had been lost. When the news came that we were alive and well in Kitty Hawk, Marvin immediately came there and we did a renewal of our wedding vows.

When I told Marvin about this, he said, "You're really upset about the weight thing, aren't you?" Maybe I am.

Can't Save the Cats
In another terrible dream, I dreamed our three cats and Cyrano, Pamina's brother, were trying to swim in a hard-flowing stream. I couldn't reach them to save them.

Music Store
I had yet another routine music store dream wherein I told off the Pips. Rocky was in this one, he had come to work at the store as moral support for me. The nightmare part of the dream was that I couldn't get home on my bicycle (I rode a bicycle to work for awhile). I was being followed, it was dark, and the intersection of Hillsborough and Florida Avenues was dangerous and foreboding, as it used to be before they widened Hillsborough. I was afraid to go home to where I lived at the time.

Sand Key
I dreamed I was at Clearwater Beach and that a hurricane was coming. The beach was being evacuated to Sand Key, just south of Clearwater Beach, which was somehow safe from hurricanes (!).

I didn't have enough money for the tollbooth. Many pedestrians did not. I know what that's about. What I didn't understand about this dream was the appearance of my mentor from the Church of Christ, Teresa, and her daughter Laurie, who I used to babysit and who is now grown. It was the grown Laurie I saw with her mother at Sand Key. Teresa looked exactly the same, a beautiful Italian woman; while Laurie, who like my niece Araceli had been an extraordinarily beautiful child, considered her beauty a nuisance just like Celi does.

Teresa didn't recognize me. She looked right past me. Under normal circumstances I think I would have let this go; but the circumstances in this dream were clearly not ordinary, and I ran up to her. I had a feeling that I wanted to protect her and Laurie, rather than wanting Teresa to protect me. She didn't seem particularly glad to see me, seemed more concerned with getting to Sand Key and safety.

There was an ATM at the tollbooth, and I withdrew the amount needed for the toll. Then, several blocks after the first tollbooth, where we should have been at a cluster of hotels on the main road on Sand Key, there was another tollbooth. A few blocks down, there was another. What the...?


Ya got me, diary. I've no clue.


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Date:2003-11-15 12:34
Mood: mellow
Music:Marvin washing the breakfast dishes

Two of us chasing paper, getting nowhere...

That song was on the Mason and Bill Show yesterday morning; and I thought of J and me, who were chasing paper all day trying to get a grant application out. Fortunately, we did better than "getting nowhere" and finished ten minutes before our deadline.

J is going to sponsor me for a Christmas breakfast at one of our partner agencies. She said she has a doctor's appointment that day; but I think she just wants to be nice, and send me. I went two years ago with Attorney L and Attorney C. I think I might have mentioned in my diary that WTVT newscaster John Wilson gave us all a Christmas present: he DIDN'T sing. I hope we get the same present this year.

Last Friday at the end of the day, Rocky and I were talking about how things are going to explode in January. The Powers That Be are preparing our taking over our sister agency that's assigned to Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties, and one of the Bar Foundations in Pinellas. The St. Petersburg Office is getting read to open in December. It could be that mine and J's jobs will be further divided: conflict checks may need to become a separate department, while J remains vice-president of the agency and will need a secretary. No word yet on how the executives in our new three counties are going to figure into this; after being administrators all these years, I doubt they're going to want to take managing attorney positions.

J, for her part, has already asked me for a year-to-date comparison of conflict checks and client services issues for the past two years. Thanks to the reports that Scully hard-wired into the databases, I was able to get those figures quickly. Both issues have grown significantly; but the shocker was the number of conflict checks, up almost 45% from last year. I can't imagine what I would have done if I'd had to support Development for the past year as well.

I have to remember that J often psyches me up to do a lot more than she actually ends up asking me to do. This last grant was a prime example. Apparently she thought I'd need at least an hour to put all the page numbers in and do the Table of Contents; but there were only 40-something pages, the ToC was a table in Word, and I was done in less than ten minutes. Who knows - she may be psyching me up to do twice to three times as many conflict checks as I've been doing, when perhaps there'll only be a modest increase. It's not as if we were taking on three more counties the size of Hillsborough.



The Cirque du Soleil show "Allegria" is coming to St. Petersburg soon. I love watching the Cirque du Soleil specials on Bravo during various holidays. I also love how Cirque du Soleil employs all kinds of people for their shows: you don't have to be an acrobat, you can be a singer or a musician, or someone in the background such as a setbuilder or even a cook.

After I heard the "Allegria" commercial, out of curiosity, I visited , and it seemed like I'd stepped into another world. This isn't just a circus. What these people do is art.

There are several productions that have been touring for years now, and resident shows in Las Vegas and in Orlando. "La Nouba," the Orlando show, almost didn't make it there; during their negotiations with Disney, the Cirque people insisted on retaining creative control, and were ready to walk if their demands were not met. I'm sure Universal or another large entertainment complex would have had them in a second if it hadn't worked out with Disney.

All kinds of roles are available for all kinds of artists. They even have a role open for a full-figured mezzo-soprano with a Mona Lisa-like tenderness.... sighhhhh.... NO I'm not going to run away and join the circus. I don't think I could tolerate the rigorous life, rehearsals, traveling, as many as ten shows in a week. But I have greater respect now for what these people do, and for those who employ them for their devotion to this art form. I wonder what Bravo will be showing this year.



Several of the Phat Network have been having Weight Watchers meetings in the library. Yes, Weight Watchers, in our own library! I rigged my Outlook to send e-mails with any mention of Weight Watchers straight into my Deleted Items folder. I've put up with Liberal Republican Woman's "Big Loser of the Week" award being put on Sister Anne's office door almost right in my face; I've put up with the constant yammering of those who "have to" lose ten buggin pounds; I've put up with everything, and resented it.

Thursday afternoon, I saw Teaspoon walk very quickly to Liberal Republican Woman's cubicle, saying something about Weight Watchers were NOT going to take HER sugar and HER caffeine out of the soda machine. Obviously I had missed something, and glanced at my Deleted Items folder - sure enough, new message. From Libby to the Tampa office, asking us to consider putting sugar-free/caffeine-free drinks in the soda machine since "so many" of us were on Weight Watchers.

This was the last straw. I e-mailed Libby that a lot of thought had gone into that menu when we'd first moved in; that the reality was, the three best-sellers of the soft drink world were Coke, Pepsi and Mountain Dew, all loaded with sugar and caffeine; and that it was enough that the Weight Watchers group was having their meetings in an agency facility. It wasn't a flame on the level I'd flamed Rocky with a couple years ago, not a tenth that much. It was after 5:00 and Libby was long gone when I sent it.

But I still felt bad about it. For one thing, I had no right to even read that message, since I'd decided that I would not read messages about Weight Watchers. Then, I regretted my tone with Libby: it wasn't a Rocky flame, but apparently I still had something to learn from that awful fight, and I was likely to regret it for the rest of my life.

So bright and early yesterday morning, I got into the office before Libby and left her a handwritten note saying I was sorry before she even had a chance to read it. She read it, though, and took no offense - "it wasn't THAT nasty, Donna." But I was not willing to give her anything but an unconditional apology; I would not make excuses. I was wrong, and that was that.

"Are we still friends?" asked Libby, as if she were no older than her daughter Rose, hugging me.

"Of course," I said. "We'll always be friends. That'll never change." Weight Watchers or no, vast differences in political or world views or no, I'll always love Libby just the way she is: a strong, uncompromising character with deep roots.


I'm reaching my character limit; I'll post and see if I feel like writing anymore.


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Date:2003-11-15 11:24
Subject:I love their skin, their fur, their whiskers...

...their fuzzy bellies, the way they look at me with those eyes, the way they open their mouths to let out a soft, Silent Miaow.

I love how Cuckoo Clock gets between our pillows, how he can't wait to get up and settle there at night. I love how he and Ace sleep close together during the day, one head on another's belly, sometimes with heads and arms all intertwined. I love how Alarm Clock comes and sits in my lap when I have a nightgown on, pawing at it until she has it just so. I love the skin on her belly where her fur is starting to come back. I love how Ace rubs his face and body all over me in a frantic show of affection.

I love their cat faces, their cat eyes, their cat paws. I love everthing Cat about them.

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Date:2003-11-13 20:05
Subject:Cross-post from LJ
Music:"Beautiful," Christina Aguilera

(curtseys to E) - With all due respect, my dear.

1. How did you first find my journal?

2. Why did you originally decide to friend me?

3. What's your favorite part of my journal?

4. What's your least favourite part of my journal?

5. Ask me a question. Be as random as you want.

6. Recommend a band to me. I'm curious what you think I should be listening to.

Copy and answer in comments, and then add it to your own journal.

A - Act your age - 42
B - Breast size - I fill a DD cup. It's why, when I initial things, I put DSD, thankyouverymuchhh.
C - Chore you hate - Cleaning the bathroom. It's a stupid white-on-white and I can never get it clean enough.
D - Dad's name - Daniel Clayton, but everybody called him Stan (for Stanley, his last name/my maiden name).
E - Essential make up item - Lipstick/gloss. I hate the dry lip feeling.
F - Favorite actor - (shrugs)
G - Gold or silver - Silver.
H - Hometown - St. Petersburg, Florida.
I - Instruments you play - I used to play a bunch of 'em, when I was a music major in college. My principal instrument was voice.
J - Job title - Legal Secretary II.
K - Kids - None of the human persuasion, three of the feline.
L - Living arrangements - With husband and children, in a small apartment in the 'hood.
M - Mom's name - Rose Marie, but everyone calls her Dolly. My dad started calling her that; when they met, she was making these little clothespin dolls.
N - Number of people you've slept with - 1. In the past eleven years. Before that... well, let's just say I wasn't a nun. Come on, I was almost 32 when I met Brian.
O - Overnight hospital stays - (counts) One when I was an infant (secondary anemia); one when I had my gall bladder out (1991); one for a mysterious gastrointestinal ailment (1993); twice in 2003 related to a hysterectomy/oopherectomy. That's what, 6?
P - Phobia - None. P can stand for Panic Disorder, but the kind I've got is not related to phobias.
Q - Quote you like - "Luminous beings are we, Luke, not this crude matter." - Yoda
R - Religious affiliation - Currently, none. I was born a Catholic and have been at times a Methodist and a Church of Christ. I married a Jew, but I never converted. That makes me what, a Hindu?
S - Siblings - Two: Charlie (b. 1956) and Steve (1955-1976).
T - Time you wake up - 6:30-ish.
U - Unique habit - I twist my hair and sometimes pull it out.
V - Vegetable you refuse to eat - Olives and pickles.
W - Worst habit - I twist my hair and sometimes pull it out.
X - X-rays you've had - Aw geez, tons of 'em. Probably every part of my body at one time or another.
Y - Yummy food you make - Spaghetti and meat sauce.
Z - Zodiac Sign - Aquarius, Taurus rising.


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Date:2003-11-09 10:14
Subject:The wedding
Mood: happy
Music:Alarm Clock drinking

- Edit for Blurty -

Erika, precious one... we got the choice to sit it out or dance, and... WE DANCED. :D

We've only just begun to live;
White lace and promises,
A kiss for luck and we're on our way.
Before the rising sun we fly;
So many roads to choose,
We start out walking and learn to run.
And yes we've just begun.
Sharing horizons that are new to us,
Watching the signs along the way.
Talking it over, just the two of us,
Working together day to day, together.
And when the evening comes we smile;
So much of life ahead.
We'll find a place where there's room to grow.
And yes we've just begun.

I'm not a native Southerner, y'all know that. But last night when I got home, dazed with the sweetness of it all, it must have been my inner Southern Belle that all I could think to write down was some of what people wore to MyssK and Idoru's wedding. The event meant a great deal more than that, of course. K and Idoru are as married as Marvin and I are, and my greatest wish for them is that they will be as happy.

Marvin and I were well-rested when we started getting ready to go to the wedding. We started getting ready in plenty of time and had time to deal with emergencies, such as a broken lace on Marvin's dress shoes and his putting on the wrong color socks.

I took my time and did my makeup carefully. I put on a bright, silvery lilac eyeshadow that goes on like a creme and dries to a powder, accented on the brow with my gold creme eyeshadow blended in and drawn slightly out. A tiny bit of well-placed concealer and thickening mascara finished my eyes. I went with my natural facial coloring rather than foundation and blush, and combined two moisturizing lip colors to finish it off. My hair had dried with a bit of a wave in it, and I was happy with how it was turning out; for the bus ride, I put it in a clip immediately after I'd combed it out, so that it would be safe from the heat and would take on more body when released. In my plain deep purple fit-n-flare dress, I looked I'd just stepped out of the pages of the Just My Size catalog (which uses beautiful plus-size models to show their clothes).

As Marvin and I waited for a Hartline Number 5 to take us to the hotel, we practiced our dancing. We drew the attention of the fish place across the street, who came out to applaud us! When he's not too nervous or high, Marvin is a marvelous dancer.

We arrived at the hotel and I saw Idoru's sister, Idorina, but could not remember her name. (MyssK's "Veela"?) We ran into Idoru near the hotel bar, and he looked so happy and relaxed. The family was staging guests in the bar while putting the finishing touches on the atrium and taking pictures. There were soooo many cameras at this wedding! Marvin and I talked to one of K and Idoru's gaming friends, who gave Marvin his card. I'm going to encourage Marvin to get involved with these gamers, with whom he seems to have a lot in common.

Marvin spotted his former co-worker, Rising Sun, of whose family MyssK is a friend. Her son Phoenix had come down from up north for the wedding. As we went into the atrium, signing the guest book along the way, I saw Silver sitting with a row to herself, camera in hand. I'd liked her so much from MyssK's shower. I thought, We can't let her sit there alone; and I wanted Marvin to meet her, so we went to sit with her. Silver is a nurse by day, and she and Marvin had a lot to talk about: they even talked about having Silver shadow Marvin one day at work! She was glowing, happy and laughing. And that red satin gown Silver was wearing, she couldn't have looked more perfect.

The wedding ceremony started. Enigmatic Sea, MyssK's fellow OD friend, performed the ceremony; she took to the altar first. Then came Idoru and his best man. Then the Maid of Honor in her red satin and tulle Maid of Honor dress, in which she looked gorgeous. Then, the congregation gasped audibly as MyssK and her father came down the glass elevator. Gleaming as if lit from within, K walked down the aisle. Gentle applause greeted her arrival at the altar.

K and Idoru said their vows, exchanged rings, had a pagan tying of the arms ceremony, and were pronounced husband and wife. OMG THEY'RE MARRIED!!!, I thought.

K's dress, handmade and finished mere days before the wedding, made her look just scrumptious. It was off the shoulder, showing K's beautiful white shoulders to great advantage; I whispered to Marvin that K's skin was a perfect example of the poetic "skin of porcelain." The gown fell to the floor but had no train, allowing the bride to move about and greet her guests with ease. The color was extraordinary, exactly the color of rich whipped cream. Together, K and the Maid of Honor had done their hairstyles, both of which were beautiful and suited them perfectly; K's long, handmade veil had been worked delicately into her hair.

Our hosts graciously set out tables and chairs outside the main dining room, and we all grazed on hors'dorves as the wedding party finished taking pictures. When the hotel personnel opened the dining room up, Marvin, Silver and I met Rising Sun and Phoenix at a table. Here we all found out that Silver and Phoenix already knew each other, and hadn't seen each other for years - Silver's sister, I think, had been in Phoenix's graduating class. We were joined in time by MyssK's brother, SpecialK, and his date Blue. Also at our table for dinner was a very young man who spent much of the rest of the night hanging out with the Maid of Honor.

The dining room was dimly lit, with candles as beautiful centerpieces; and over the salad course the room went even dimmer as the hotel lost power and the room went FWOOF! Were it not for the lack of air conditioning, we might have preferred the room lit by candlelight and auxiliaries alone; it was so soft and romantic. But poor K, wrapped in hundreds of yards of heat-retaining fabric!

Dinner was, just the same, lovely. I had RSVPd myself for the vegetarian dish, Marvin for the chicken; both were quite good. I had my first taste ever of asparagus, and it was perfect - who knew apsaragus was actually good? Our ice tea had been refilled with sweetened, which is a no-no for Marvin (the combination of sugar and botannic acid turns him to a Hulk-like state); so I took both sweetened goblets as well as my unsweetened one when they brought it. Then there was the water goblet, and the wine goblet: five goblets at my one place setting. I quipped, "'Does someone you love have a drinking problem?'" Rising Sun giggled girlishly and loudly, quieting the room to a low roar.

I loved being with these people. None of us at the table knew for sure which of the 35 forks at each place setting was the proper one to start with, and opinions varied widely; finally we concluded that nobody cared, and went about enjoying the delicious meal. SpecialK said something about Idoru's bachelor party being a few beers and the go-carts at Malibu Grand Prix. I told SpecialK that I'd turned-over the Galaga machine at Malibu a couple times, and he'd thought that that was the most awesome thing. There was a naturalness, an unpretentiousness, that I felt very comfortable with.

Idoru and MyssK went around to each table, greeting guests and taking pictures. Up close, K looked even more beautiful. I told her she was beautiful, she told me I was beautiful, she was so glad we could be real-life friends now. The girl knows how to make people happy.

The wedding cake was cut and served. It was a delicious, light yellow cake with a creamy berry interior and soft frosting. While K and Idoru cut the cake, Rising Sun told me how she'd met K through a function at her son's high school, where he was a classmate of K.

Ten minutes after Papa Idoru came back to the reception with batteries for the boom box, the power came back on. SpecialK, who was on A/V duty, consulted his new brother-in-law about getting the dancing started; he came back to the table to let us know that the bride and groom had changed their minds about dancing, as it had grown too hot. "I respect his witch - er, wishes," said SpecialK. "It's his wedding. Well, I respect his witches, too," he added. At that, Rising Sun sent up the loudest laugh of the evening, a jarring cross between giggling and shrieking that, all told, sounded not too unlike a witch's cackle, silencing our entire table and the two right next to it.

"That was funny on SO many levels," deadpanned SpecialK.

But the bride and groom changed their minds yet again as the room grew cooler again. They danced their first dance to a song I didn't recognize, but that obviously had meaning for them; then, Mother and Papa K and Mother and Papa Idoru joined them on the dance floor. After that, MyssK opened the floor for other couples to dance, and Marvin and I went. Not the most graceful, or the best rhythm keepers, but we made sure we danced at MyssK and Idoru's wedding. Then Marvin took Silver for a spin, and after that attempted to dance with the bride - his feet were on the hem of her gown just too many times!

It was getting late, and people were tired. Marvin and I said our goodbyes to the Idorus, the K's, to Idoru and then to the Maid of Honor. It was when we talked to the Maid of Honor that the mystery of the young man who had been sitting with her all night was solved: the Maid of Honor gestured toward him and indicated that his name was Esperanza. Esperanza... Oh no. Oh NO. MyssK and the Maid of Honor had told me about Esperanza at the shower - it was THAT Esperanza. Esperanza was not a "young man" at all, but a fully-grown woman who was in fact the Maid of Honor's partner! GOD I'd never been so embarrassed! I hoped to God I had never at any time during the evening called Esperanza "sir."

After Marvin and I said goodnight to MyssK, we went to the front desk and they called us a cab home. Marvin fed the cats, we both took our meds, and mine hit unexpectedly fast, while I was trying to write about the night at the computer.

This was a very special wedding. The start of a new life for Idoru and K, the start of what we hope will be many friendships. They're just as married and Marvin and I are... husband and wife. Get used to saying it, you'll be saying it for a lonnnggggg time!

From this moment, as long as I live,
I will love you; I promise you this.
There is nothing I wouldn't give from this moment;
I will love you as long as I live,
From this moment on.


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Date:2003-11-06 08:12
Subject:Conflict Checks Class I and II
Mood: accomplished
Music:Mason and Bill Show

I have no voice left. 11/5/2003

After talking almost constantly for almost three hours today, I have no voice left. What, what, WHAT in God's Name did I think that I could SING for three hours straight in the Master Chorale?!

I did my two Conflict Checks Classes today. The first class, I had Noelle, Secretary X and Ocean. Ocean was having a particularly rough day: she'd been cussed out, cussed at and cussed over at various points in the call center. Ysatis was supposed to be in this class, but one of her kids was sick today.

After we went through the outline, I gave the students a Final Exam of ten conflict applications that they were supposed to Spot the Wrong Thing. Ocean did particularly well, although Noelle demonstrated a good eye for numbers. At the end of the class, I gave them each a Certificate of Completion.

The second class, I had Odalys, Luz, Narciso, Teaspoon, Liberal Republican Woman and Roger. Teaspoon was the cutup in this class - her name on the organizational chart was spelled "Teaspoonie," and she ran that gag into the ground. "Like, you're SO ineligible." But it was she who did best in both classes in Spot the Wrong Thing.

Oyé, I'm so tired. I'll have to continue later.


Class, continued 11/6/2003

My voice came back this morning. It needed a good rest, I think.

One of the lessons in my Class 102 was "Do not assume. To ASSUME makes an ASS out of U and ME." It was something I remembered from Lane's Operations Department meetings once upon a time. As I thought it would, it tickled my co-workers' funny bones. Among the graphics I put on their Certificates of Completion was a Clipart of a donkey with a circle and slash over it. The class will put these Certificates up in their offices/cubicles, and be reminded of the most important lesson they learned in the class.

All our co-workers will see the class's Certificates of Completion, too, and know that I certified them in conflict checks. They know when to make the call themselves versus when to send them to me; they know what to tell co-workers who badger them; they know the difference between a routine and an emergency; they know the chain of command.

Speaking of the chain of command, we went over that in the second class, the larger of the two classes. I delinated the limits of my authority in the office: I have limited authority to make conflict determinations, but I have no more authority than they do in the day-to-day operations in the office.

"You're not Safety Officer anymore?" asked Narciso.

"No, I'm not. Rocky and J are co-Safety Officers."

"Geez," said Narciso. "Can we ever get a Safety Officer over five-feet-five?!" The class roared.

"Rocky's taller than that," said Odalys. At the same time, Teaspoon said, "I've seen Donna go out there and be like, YO."

"That's why I'm NOT Safety Officer anymore," I explained. "I'd be too quick to rush into a fight."

We talked from there about some of the intra-team problems: one of Liberal Republican Woman's people who chronically set appointments without doing a conflict check; the unavailability of authority on the PIT team. If there are chronic problems on the teams, I told them, the Team Leader needs to get involved; and if that doesn't help, it needs to be taken to Da Big Bosss, or even J. But it needs to be more than one of them: on PIT, for example, if the problems are team-wide, it's going to take several of them going to Attorney M at the same time, or to J if there are no solutions from M. I hate to encourage subversive behavior; but I hate it even more when Team Leaders abdicate their authority when there are problems and force their subordinates to go over their heads.

It's getting late and I gotta get dressed.


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Date:2003-11-03 22:00
Subject:Phat Network

Saturday morning, I dozed off on the daybed watching Mystery Science Theater 3000, with Ace in the crook of my arm. I felt him start, sit up, and chirrup "Mwr?" Was that a knock at the patio door?

"What is it, precious one?"

"Rrrw." Wide-eyed, wide-eared, he stared from the daybed to the door. I got up, went to the door, cracked the blinds, and saw Shirley the Family Law secretary on my doorstep. I motioned to her, got my keys, and let her in.

"Can I borrow your key to the building? I'm performing Freida's wedding ceremony today and I left my notary stamp in the office last night." You can't marry people without your notary seal. Groggily, I invited her in and introduced Alarm Clock and Ace as I handed my key over. Cuckoo Clock, I'm sure, ran under the bed in the bedroom.

"Sorry for the mess," I mumbled. Meanwhile, Mike and the 'Bots were riffing "Track of the Moon Beast," one of their less horrible experiments. Shirley glanced at the TV with a cocked head, her hand down to Alarm Clock's muzzle.

"Thanks Donna, I'll have it right back."

"Mblafuf." Thus another co-worker gets a glimpse into my pathetic off-work life.


Liberal Republican Woman forgot that B was bringing in a new Development Council member to visit Friday, and she made herself up. She had on a pair of lighted devil horns, dark makeup, and black lipstick. Teaspoon thought it was the neatest thing, and colored her lips black.

Not long after that, I saw Paralegal L and Narciso with black lip prints on their cheeks. I wasn't about to ask which one had kissed them; and I didn't find out until I heard Libby yell at L, "I DIDN'T KISS YOU, TEASPOON KISSED YOU!!!" Well that would make sense, I thought - L and Narciso, along with Scully, are Teaspoon's smoking buddies (no, she didn't quit after all). She didn't kiss Scully, though, and I think I understood why not: her own father's a jerk, while Scully is a kind man and a good father, and there are probably some mixed-up pseudo-parent feelings.


The day before Halloween, Noelle sent our office staff a message with the following very long Subject line: "IS ANYBODY DRESSING UP FOR HALLOWEEN? AW COME ON LET'S. I HAVE A GREAT PAIR OF WINGS AND A HALO I'M GOING TO WEAR." Only when I clicked on it, the Subject line stopped at "...I HAVE A GREAT PAIR OF..." Holy shit, Noelle! Then I maximized the window to get the whole Subject line. WINGS! WINGS! I replied to Noelle what had happened, and I could hear her laughing all the way from the PIT room.


I teach my Conflicts Classes this Wednesday. I'm not nervous, I just hope my voice will hold out.



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