Monday, January 18, 2016

A Change Would Do You Good

I don’t deal well with change.  Much like the cats that I adore, any modification to my environment, schedule, or even the people in my life is totally unwelcome.  So it’s a rare bear that I actually take a step and encourage change. 

As some of you know, about this time last year, I made the decision to make a change, with the cooperation of the management here at the firm, regarding my job.  It wasn’t an easy decision, but I feel that with a lot of prayer and good advice from trustworthy friends, it was the right decision and I handled it with grace. 

This past year, I’ve been living with my decision.  Again, no doubt in my mind that it was the right decision at the time.  But I’m beginning to think that it may have just been the first step in the Lord getting me moving, with an eye toward even bigger changes.  I am truly a creature of inertia, both literally and figuratively.  For example…

Fifteen years ago, on August 16th, to be exact.  My world crashed around me.  I was working at a job which I’d held for 10+ years and, in my own special na├»ve way, I anticipated retiring from that job.  For the preceding 9-6 months or so, it hadn’t been the best work environment, but no job is perfect and there’s an ebb and flow to everything.  I assumed it would get better.  I had prayed that the Lord would fix the situations at the core of my discontent.  He did; although it certainly wasn’t in a manner I would have predicted or chosen. 

So as I said, on the afternoon of August 16th, I was called into a conference room and told that they were doing away with my position, but that they would give me a month to look for different employment, and I could do my searching for a job on their time/dime.  In retrospect, they could not have treated me more fairly.  However, in the moment, I was devastated.

If anyone who’s ever been “let go,” for whatever reason, tells you that it didn’t have an impact on their self-esteem, well, they’re lying – either to you or themselves.  Growing up, I was always successful at whatever I did.  My grades were A’s or B’s, depending on the amount of effort I put into my work – generally as little as possible.  Except for gym and driver’s ed – I made C’s in both of those classes – gym, for the obvious reason that I’m not Sporty Spice; and driver’s ed, well, it would take more space than I want to devote to it here to explain it, but it was not due to my driving abilities, (which are excellent!)  There was never any question that I would get into college, when I applied.  The question was which scholarship I would take.  I really sort of fell into my summer jobs and, subsequently, my job at the “previous firm.”  I’m not saying this to boast, just to point out that I’d never really encountered adversity. 

Which brings us back to August 16, 2000.  As I said, my world as I knew it ended that day.  I likened how I felt to being married for ten years and, although there were occasional rough spots, not thinking there’s anything drastically wrong, when your spouse comes to you out of the blue and asks for a divorce.  I spent the first few days in tears – crying is one of my specialties, after all.  Then I sat down and started on my resume.

That particular story had a happy ending – I’ve been with my current firm for 15 years now.  It was an answer to prayer.  I’ve learned to be more specific in my prayers.  Let’s come back to last year, when I was unhappy and contemplating change.  In all honesty, I didn’t know if I wanted to stay or to leave.  It looked like a door was opening (or would be opening soon), but this firm really has been like a family - maybe I don’t like all the members all of the time, but …. 

Not knowing for sure what to do, I prayed.  Something had to give.  I’m not one to seek out change.  But if change was coming, I asked that I be an active participant this time, rather than being “forced” into it, like last time. 

That door I was talking about never really opened, so I decided that I was to stay and the change would have to be in-house.  It all worked out fine.  Until,…

Around Thanksgiving, a friend and former co-worker informed me that there was a position for a Corporate Paralegal opening up at her company.  Now, my 25 years as a paralegal/secretary have been in litigation, with a recent concentration on labor and employment law.  So my immediate reaction was, thanks, but no thanks… I’m a litigation paralegal.  But then I started thinking that I can’t really ask God to let me be an active participant in any changes if I don’t be active by sending in a resume.  What could I lose?  I have a job.  They seem happy with me even if I’m not very busy.  Worst case scenario, I take this opportunity to update the old resume and brush off my rusty interview skills.  I did it.  I applied and sent them my resume on a Friday evening and I felt really good about the decision.

The whole process when through the Monster website and in the back of my mind there was this niggling doubt that I should somehow confirm, if possible, that they received it.  I was able to talk to my friend and ask her to subtly look into checking that out.  And good thing, too!  Because something happened and they didn’t get my resume/application.  I am not sure what happened, but I was able to quick, like a bunny, redo it and email it directly to them. 

Of course, with the holidays and all, I never expected to hear anything until the first of the year.  And that was good because in order to receive credit (i.e., reimbursement) for unused vacation days accrued in 2015, I had to be an employee at the firm on 1/4/16.  It’s a rather confusing policy, and isn’t even the current policy, but I’m grandfathered in, as it was the policy when I started.  But that’s ok because on 1/4/16, I received a phone call from the HR department wanting to set up an interview! 

The following Friday, I interviewed with 3 attorneys, two of whom I have worked with previously, and a paralegal, as well as the HR rep that had called me.  Before the interview, the Lord and I talked and I confirmed that I knew that if He planned on me having this job, that I would get it, but I asked that He still help me be calm, cool and competent.  It all went well and I was told there was one more person they were going to interview, but they'd let me know either way by the end of the next week.

So obviously, the next week was the longest week of my life! 

Thursday, I planned on taking the afternoon off in order to attend the monthly DAR meeting.  I dressed accordingly - which was good because mid-morning I received a telephone call from the HR Rep asking if I could come in the next day for about an hour for a second interview with people who couldn't meet with me the first time.  I said sure, but as it happens, I have this afternoon off, and if possible that would be better for me.  It was possible and after the DAR meeting, I went back.  Again, it went well.

Friday evening I received the call and an offer, which I accepted.  For those of you who don't known where this is going, I'll have mercy on you and cut to the chase.  This morning I turned in my two-week notice and on February 8th I will start as a Corporate Paralegal at Berry Plastics in Evansville!!  Yeah!

Now all I have to do is deal with the nerves and nausea related to starting a new job!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Bond, James Bond...

(Disclaimer: If you haven't seen this movie, there may be information in this review that might be considered a "spoiler" - although I consciously try not to put major spoiler info in my reviews. Please proceed with caution.)

As long time readers know, my type of movie has, in no particular order:  explosions, car chases, a little smut, some mystery/intrigue, humor, and a hunky hero.  So basically, you knew I was going to be going to see Spectre, the latest James Bond movie.  

Technically, it came out Friday, but Mom, Holly, and I went to go see it the night before.  (I do so enjoy having an AMC Theater nearby.)

I was born in ’68, and while I’m sure that I wasn’t taken to see Bond movies in the theater for several years, after a certain point, I’m guessing around 1979 with the release of Moonraker since that’s the first one I remember seeing in a theater, I’ve eagerly looked forward to each new Bond film and have gone to see them in the theater, not waiting for release on video.  Of course, I’m pretty sure that I watched, with the family, any Bond movies that aired on TV before that.

Growing up, to me, Roger Moore was James Bond - his were the only movies to which I had access, this being back in the days before VHS and DVD’s and Netflix.  That isn’t to say that I don’t adore the Sean Connery movies – so please don’t send me hate posts about how Sean Connery is the ONLY James Bond!
All of these movies are basically the same:  handsome spy; sexy good girl who (generally) holds out on him – for a little while, at least; sexy bad girl who doesn’t; incredibly majestic scenery in (usually) three different locales; lots of shooting, car chases, and explosions; and the good guys win in the end.  Again, my basic requirements for an enjoyable movie.  That being said, my favorite 007 movies are, in chronological order:

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – The undying romantic in me loves this movie because our hero truly falls in love.  Plus I always liked Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in the Avengers and one of my all-time favorite movies, The Assassination Bureau.  Despite all the trash talk about George Lazenby, I really liked him too.  I think he just suffered from “rebound syndrome.”  Face it, anyone who wasn’t Sean Connery was NOT going be a success in the first non-Connery Bond movie.  

Of course, part of my reason for liking this movie may be because he wears a kilt to get married in (SPOILER ALERT!) and I do like men in kilts!

Live and Let Die – I love this one because Roger Moore looks (relatively) young and dashing, fresh off of the Saint TV series.  I also enjoyed the humor and camp that the Roger Moore era seemed to bring to Bond.  The boat chase through the Louisiana bayou being one of my faves.  And the theme song is my favorite

For Your Eyes Only – My favorite Bond movie, despite Roger Moore’s looking like a dirty old man when compared to Lynn-Holly Johnson’s “teenage” ice skater with the hots for James, … where was I?  This is my favorite.  The title song, by Sheena Easton is one of the more enjoyable for me; I adore Topol, who plays one of the “bad” guys, from his role in Fiddler on the Roof; I just really like the interweaving plot points.

Skyfall – This movie came out for the 50th anniversary of James Bond, I think, and I really like this movie for itself – although I find the bad guy to be rather creepy.  But, I enjoy franchises that pay tribute, if you will, to their history and Skyfall was full of Easter eggy things that did just that – for example, it brought back the Aston Martin!  And even though M dies (SPOILER ALERT!), I like the new M and Ms. Moneypenny… and Q!

As for Spectre, I really enjoyed it.  Mostly for the same reasons as I enjoyed Skyfall.  I think as I become a more mature viewer, I have grown to enjoy arcs, if you will.  I can only compare it to Doctor Who where, for example, over an entire season, things happen where you really don’t realize they are at all related, but then in the final episode of the season, all of the bits and pieces are tied up in a really neat bow!  You enjoyed each episode for what it was, but then after seasoning the entire forest, you can appreciate each individual tree for the part it played.  So that is what Spectre is… it ties up nicely all of the previous Daniel Craig movies, in ways that may or may not have been initially intended, but it worked well in my opinion.

I really do like Daniel Craig as James Bond.  And his blue eyes are just mesmerizing!  I don’t know if he’ll be back for another – scuttlebutt has it that he doesn’t want to, but supposedly he’s contracted for at least one more – but if this is his last one, I think Spectre is a good way to end his reign.

Now let the speculation begin as to who should be the next James Bond... thoughts?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Speaking of Vacations....

Someone alert Kimberly-Clark!  The world's Kleenex usage this coming week will be dramastically (that's a combo of drastically and dramatically) reduced due to the fact that Mom and I will be leaving the Tri-State area (a/k/a allergy central) and going to the beach for a few days.

As a side note, when I first started working at the law firm, a couple of things struck me as being FAB-BOO about my (then) new job there - keep in mind this was 15 years ago and it was a much simpler, more innocent time - one was that at the new firm, we were able to send faxes from our desk, a feat which, at that time, the old firm's IT Department had yet to master; and B) the firm provided Kleenex for the employees.  There may have been other things, but they aren't germane to today's post, so...

 I'm rather snotty.  Any given day, ask me how I am, the honest answer could easily be, "I'm snotty."  Of course, that's both senses of the word!  I don't know what it is about Southern Indiana, but I have continuous post-nasal drip along with not smelling very good... hmm..  not smelling well?  I can't breathe!  I do bathe, so I don't smell bad, I smell good, between the shampoo/conditioner, body wash, hair spray and (sometimes) perfume, I smell sort of like a fruit salad!  Mom is snotty too, but only really in the phlegmy use of the word.

The point here is that I am leaving the land of pollen and ... hmm.. I'm leaving to go to the beach - where I firmly believe I was meant to live.  There's something about the sound of the waves pounding the beach, and feel of sand under my soft, nicely exfoliated feet.  I don't really care for seafood unless it comes in a can or from sea captains (Cap't D's) or prirates (Long John Silver), but
in this day and age, that's not a problem.

Sometime late spring or early summer, I was whining because I had all these vacation days to use or lose (I know, #firstworldproblems) and no where to go, nothing to do.  So whoever it was I was whining to said, "So go somewhere."  And I was like.  Okay!  I pulled up the hotel in Orange Beach, AL where I went last time and had such a good trip to check the rates and pick which week I wanted to eyeball.  Last time was perfect - it was the last full week of October.  The weather was great!  The hotel was sparsely populated, and Rose had a very nice time.

Meanwhile, Brittney, a girl I work with, asked
why don't I just rent a condo.  I'd never really dug too much into that, but she gave me a couple of websites to try and I started snooping.  I found what I hope to be a really nice condo, on the beach - in fact, it is NEXT DOOR to the aforementioned hotel! - and the price, all totaled, is like $10 more than the exact same time would be at the hotel, plus, no people.  Now at the hotel, I could get a free breakfast, but I can buy a box of Cocoa Puffs and a half gallon of milk for under $6.  AND at the condo I would have access to a refrigerator; whereas at the hotel, I would not.  A fridge is important since I never leave a restaurant without a to-go box.  I live on leftovers.  And last time, at every place I went, I'd feel horrible about the amount of food I was leaving on my plate.  So I crossed my piggies and put down a deposit!

The condo sleeps six and I know that my general main reason for going to the beach is to get away from people.  But I started thinking that I could invite someone to go with.  First I asked my BFF Jennifer - her hubs passed away earlier this year and I thought maybe she could use some time away life.  But for reasons that are none of your business, she couldn't go.  Then I thought about some other people - they couldn't or didn't want to go.  Meanwhile, Mom is assuming that I'm going with someone and not just myself.  I'm her baby girl, and her favorite child, and she worries about me, despite the fact that I'm 47!  But I worry about her and she's even older, so I try not to let it annoy me.

At some point, a conversation was held and she realized I was going alone and, after another conversation during which I told her several times "you are invited if you'd like to have a nice trip to the beach, but if you're going because you don't want me to go alone, you are NOT invited!", Mom was going to go with me.  Of course it was just like the next day, by now it was in July, and I was having lunch with my Latin
expert Kathy and when we were discussing whether or not she thought her 18 year old would be willing to cat-sit for us again, I had an epiphany that I should invite her to go with.  Her response was that she'd love to go, but, you know, she had all these children at home.  So my second brilliant thought was, the
condo sleeps six, bring the three younger ones with us!  I'm thinking that at first, she thought I'd sprung something - anyone who knows me knows that I do NOT like children.  Not just specific children.  Children in general.  In fact, in a previous life, the only way I could
be talked into helping with Vacation Bible School at my church was to be promised a job where I would have no contact with children.  But Kathy's children are abnormally good children.  I like them.  And they think I'm the bee's knees!  So I was serious.

She said the kids would love it, if I was sure, (Duh!), and that she'd have to talk it over with the hubs, but pending his agreement (to having a week alone in his own home?  Again, I say DUH!), YES!  His answer was yes and plans began.  At first, Kathy said that she'd wait a while to tell the girls, since it was several months away.  As of my writing this, they still don't know and it's become a challenge to make it to the end without letting it slip!  The plan as of right now is to tell them as they're getting into the Party Van!  I can't wait to see their reactions!

Of course, I explained to my co-vacationers that three things that I ALWAYS do on my trips to the beach, and they are non-negotiable, and they (the co-vacationers) can join me or not, their choice.  1) I always take a dolphin cruise, I love it.  Don't care if I see any dolphins.  I just enjoy being on the water with the wind in my hair, watching the view; B) I always go to Old Time Pottery in Foley.  I adore roaming up and down the aisles of the store and the closest one to home is in Greenwood, south of Indy, so when I'm beachin' it, I make a trip to Foley for some OTP!; and finally, I always hit Souvenir City.  I've never been rich - and I say that knowing full well that there are millions of people worse off than me, and I thank God for what he's blessed me with.  My point is, when it comes to souvenirs, the cheaper and tackier, the better.  And no, odds are they don't have much that I haven't seen and not bought before, but still, I enjoy going there.  Plus, the entrance to the store is through the mouth of a giant shark!  (See picture - from Dec. 2005 when me and the 'Rents went there)

(NOTE: I looked up Souvenir City's website in order to put a link above, and I noticed that you get a free koozie with every online order!)

So FINALLY, the day has arrived and I can't wait!  On my last day at work, not one but two people felt compelled to rain on my parade by telling me there's a hurricane where I'm going.  Of course, the hurricane is actually in the Pacific, on the totally opposite side of Mexico, and it may just be rain that affects the trip.  But what bothers me if why people can't just be happy for someone.  I know someone who, if you say you're going to go get a professional mani/pedi, they will insist on telling you all about how they know someone who had to have their finger/toe amputated because of gangrene!  Sigh.  Just get me out of here!

I'm not concerned if it rains while I'm there.  I have an umbrella and unless we're talking gale-force winds, I enjoy walking in the rain.  But I'm taking my iPod, iPad, and laptop, so I'm sure I'll be able to farm, or blog, or watch my Doctor Who shows.  Or, I can work on that murder mystery.  Maybe I can kill off thinly-veiled version of that co-worker!  I can see myself now, slaving away on the book...