Friday, September 17, 2010

Vote for Merle!

The Evansville Courier Press is having its annual “Pet Idol” calendar contest to benefit the Tri-State Newspaper in Education Foundation. I’m not sure what this is or what they do, but…a couple of weeks ago, Haley was down and she took a picture, at my request, of Merle. I had tried, because he is so handsome and those eyes are so incredible. But it wasn’t a one person job. Every time I’d get ready to snap the pic, he’d walk toward me or walk away. I thought with Haley handling the camera, I could herd Merle. The result is photographic history.

So, I entered the picture of Merle into this contest. The top 13 vote getters will have their pic in a calendar (sold for donations to this foundation) for 2011. The official pictures came out for the first time in Sunday’s paper – in black and white. WHAT!? How can his adoring fans get the true feel of those eyes in BLACK AND WHITE!?

As I’ve written before, Merle has got to the point in a young male (mostly) cat’s life when he roams. Probably since spring, he’s spent more time away then he’s spent at home. But since his picture was in the paper, he’s been there every morning when I open the door. Frankly, I think he’s keeping it close to home to avoid his groupies. Not that he could do much with said groupies… or could he? Do the parts still work? Hmm… In retrospect, it’s too bad we “fixed” him, he could have passed those eyes on to another generation (or six.)

I got to work Monday and promptly emailed Merle’s picture (in color) to everyone in my email address book… whether I’ve spoken to them in the past 10 years or not!... and asked them to vote for Merle. I’ve received a variety of emails back from people, it’s been fun. My cousin Sara asked me if he was named after Merle Hazel (a little old man who is somehow related to us, or at least he always comes to the Barger Family Reunions in July). I wrote her back with the following story of how Merle got his name:

He was one of three boy kittens and I drove out to Wadesville early one morning before work to help corral them because Mom and Dad had an appointment for them with the vet to be fixed. They still had not decided on names for the kittens, so I tried one last time and pointed out that the vet was going to want names. So Dad say, “Ok, Willie Nelson”. And I was like, “Uh for all three of them??” And then he said “Willie, Waylon, and the boys.” I said, “You’re going to name this one, ‘The Boys’?” (Especially since ‘the boys’ were the reason for the visit to the vet!) So finally, we ended up with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard. Of course, none of us are country music fans, but that was beside the point. (Willie just disappeared as male cats of a certain age tend to do in the country. Waylon was run over in the road -although I think it would have been more fitting for Willie to be run over so I could say he was playing “on the road

Merle is entry #17 in the contest, and as of Thursday (the last time they updated the stats on the website) he’s in 2nd place!! I think it’s a wasted opportunity that you can’t vote online (and wrote the paper and told them so), so I set up “Vote 4 Merle” Headquarters at my desk at work.

I’m collecting fundage and will take care of turning the money in for Merle. Greg even donated the contents of the “Curse Jar” into the fund for Merle. (Since most of the money in said jar was FROM Greg, this was nice.)

Voting runs until Friday, October 1st. And the winners will be announced on Sunday, October 3rd. For all of my many fabulous readers everywhere, IF you are interested in voting for Merle, he would appreciate your vote. You can call in your vote to 1-866-683-1724 and pay by credit card – votes are $.25 per vote. Either way, you KNOW I’ll let you know the election results after October 3rd.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Inherit the Wind

I am my father’s daughter. I impressed Mom the other night when, about 9:00 pm, I opened up the box that my new Dish receiver came in (the old one had been having problems and what with the new TV Season coming up, I had to get it fixed), hooked it up, and got it working correctly in about 30-40 minutes. It wouldn’t have taken that long, but it involved me getting down on the floor and unplugging the old one, while removing the cats from the area where I was trying to work, then getting up and dusting, then getting back down, removing the cats again, and plugging the new receiver back in, all while continuously fighting to keep the cats, specifically Gizmo and Cleo, out of my way. I’m pleased to say the problems have been resolved. Cats aside, Dad had his way with electronic equipment. He worked for 25 years as a TV repairman. Now, I’m not one to open up something and work on the innards – Haley inherited that trait – but I do seem to be able to get things to work without having to read much, if any, of the instruction manuals! (This bodes well for the advent of my iPhone!)

I inherited another trait from my father. No matter where he went, he liked to back the car/van/truck/whatever into his parking spot. At home, at church, at the mall. The man loved to back the car into parking spots. I seem to have got this from him. The other morning, I was getting out of my car, in the “big boy” parking lot, and the partner beside whom I park happened to be arriving at the same time and he noted that I always seem to be backed into my spot. I responded that it aids in making a quick getaway. He looked at me oddly… they never seem to know how to respond to me. And then I said that I inherited it from Dad and how it always drove Mom nuts (in a good way) and now I continue his legacy (in both ways – parking and driving Mom nuts!)

I wrote a couple of blogs ago about my having inherited from Grandpa Hollis the quirk of getting up and going to bed 15 minutes before the show is over. There are a few other things I seem to have inherited from my ancestors.

Granny Barger had a way with African Violets, or so I’ve been told. I only vaguely remember, but mom tells me that she had a window with lots of African Violets (does that need to be capitalized?) growing in her kitchen. Mom has a black thumb where indoor plants are concerned and I sort of assumed I got it from her. But several years ago, at the Secretary’s Day lunch, there were African violets on each table and after the lunch, I ended up with one. I named it Bob. Nowadays, Bob is big. He blooms about every three months (I assume that’s normal), and I have to repot him periodically. I also have Jeffrey, who was a part of one of the floral arrangements we received for Dad’s funeral. Jeffrey should be a nice big, blooming dude, but when I moved in with Mom, Jeffrey moved in with us and after about two weeks, someone (I’m assuming said someone has four legs, as Mom disavows all knowledge) ate all but one of his leaves. So I took Jeffrey to work. He is slowly recuperating, but so far, no blooms. I think poor Jeffrey is still in shock – but come on, it’s almost been a year, dude! Get over it! Then there was Ted. I rescued Ted from one of the attorneys here (Ted, as the case may be) and brought him back to health and repotted him. But he kept growing weird and I think there was something wrong with the potting soil I repotted him in last time because it started molding, so I cut off some good looking leaves and stuck them in some water to grow roots. After a couple of months now, they’ve grown roots, been potted, and so far so good. I assume they are continuing to grow good strong roots because they aren’t doing anything above ground, but they appear to still be healthy.

Finally, one of my odder quirks, I got from Great-Grandpa Hindman (Grandma Hollis’s father). According to Mom, he, like me, did not like to co-mingle his food on his plate. Which I don’t find weird at all. Who wants their baked beans oozing onto their potato salad? I would much rather have several small plates or bowls. Of course I tend to take it a step further and generally eat all of one item before moving onto another items, saving the best (the meat) for last.

Friday, September 3, 2010

New Beginnings

This past summer has been grueling, and not just because of the weather, although it has seemed like a living, breathing entity bearing down on everyone for several weeks now.   A couple of weeks ago, I told my mother that the only good thing about July is my birthday and that since I became an adult (about thirty minutes ago), even that pales.  She pointed out that we have a family reunion and the Fourth of July in July.  I repeated myself by saying that the ONLY good thing about July is my birthday.


August isn't very good either.  It doesn't even have my birthday going for it.  It's just hot, the grass is dead, and we're still several weeks away from cooler weather and Christmas shopping.


But then all of a sudden, it's September.  September!  MANY years ago, I began to look forward to September as a month of new beginnings – a new school year, new school supplies (I LOVED going shopping for school supplies – still can be found roaming those aisles at Target in August), and a new teacher.  I've been out of school now for several eons, but there is still a BIG new beginning that I can look forward to each September – the new Fall TV Season!!


Now there are some, my fiend Jennifer being a major one, who rant about there now being a fall season and a spring season with several months of repeats in between.  My thought is that there were always first runs from September through November (a sweeps month), then the month of December was reserved for holiday specials (i.e., the Grinch and the ubiquitous day of "Christmas Story" airings on TBS) and repeats, the first part of January usually had repeats too, but then by the time the kids were back in school until May (another sweeps month), you could plan on there being mostly first run episodes.  Last year was unusual, because of the Olympics, and the "spring" season didn't start until March.  But so what?  During the months of December through February, I was scurrying to watch the stuff on my almost full DVR to make room for the upcoming "spring" season. 


Of course, now there is a "summer" season, with all of the cable shows like Psych, The Closer, Burn Notice, Eureka, etc.  So again, I don't seem to ever be without first run episodes of my TV shows.  I still have half of last year's episodes of The Middle to watch before the new season starts!


Last year, I could look forward to the return of faves like 24, Heroes, and Lost.  This year they are all gone.  Of course, Heroes really tanked there in the end, don't even know if I'll bother to get the season DVD, and I was hit by the fifth-year curse regarding 24.  See, generally, about the fifth year of a show, I just get sick and tired of it and drop it like it's hot (drop it like it's hot!).  With 24, I made it to season eight, but about 4 or 5 hours into the season, I just didn't care if Jack Bauer saved the world anymore.  Don't get me wrong, I still think Jack Bauer rocks!... just didn't want to watch the show anymore. 


Steve had problems believing that I could just drop Jack mid-crisis.  (Frankly, I think he was just miffed that we couldn't have what had become our traditional Tuesday morning discussion/dissection of the previous night's episode.)  I believe it is a gift I inherited from my Grandpa Hollis.  I never met the man, well, technically we met, but I was like four months old at the time, so I don't think he'd be offended that I don't remember him… although there is very adorable photographic evidence of that meeting.  I digress, though…  hmm…chickens..  hmm.. oh, yeah…  Mom tells me that Grandpa Hollis would watch a show or movie on TV and then get up and go to bed about 10-15 minutes before it was over. 


The first new thing I have to look forward to is the Fall Preview issues of the TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly.  I'll probably have to call in sick just so I can devote the necessary time to researching all of my choices.  There's The Event – which looks interesting, so I'll start watching it, love it, and it'll be cancelled.  Then there's the new comedy Outsourced – which seems to take place in an Indian customer service phone bank type place.  Of course, after I spend a couple of hours on the phone this weekend with Dish Network's customer service department trying to figure out what is wrong with my receiver (not mom's, just mine), I may not feel the same way.

Betty is Gone. Long Live Clarissa.

Yup, Betty is gone.  And although I had my issues with Betty, personality-wise, I feel sort of bad about her leaving.  First, I gather that her boss… he needs a name… let's call him Dr. Jekyll.  Anyway, I understand that Dr. Jekyll did not make her last month or so here very conducive to her feeling welcome.  But she was here through a temp agency, so she was going to fulfill the three-month contract.  Then her mother had a stroke and she took a couple of weeks off to go be with her… up north somewhere, not sure where.  Then, just when mom got to the point where she could be moved to a rehab facility, and Betty could return to us, mom had another stroke.  So at that point, Betty officially was not coming back.  Frankly, I wouldn't have either.  If my mom has a stroke or anything equally bad, God forbid, I'll be out of here and Steve and Carrie will just have to call me to find their filing and other stuff. 


We keep talking about having a going away lunch for Betty, but between making up time for doctors appointments, condo appraisals, meetings with photographers, we haven't been able to find a time for a good portion of the group to be able to take a full lunch hour.  Maybe next week.


I sincerely do hope that Betty's mother gets better and that Betty finds a new position some place that his a better fit for her. 


That being said, now we get to meet "Clarissa."  I was able to sit in on the get-to-know-her-personality portion of Clarissa's interview with a couple of the other assistants, and we all think we have a winner.  (I was late to the meeting, though, so I'm not sure if anyone discussed her feelings regarding meat.)  She has a teenage daughter and has previously worked for "difficult" attorneys, so she feels dealing with Dr. Jekyll cannot be too different.  Everyone within ear-shot of Dr. Jekyll's office wishes her much success and longevity in this position.
As always, I'll keep you informed.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's Annual Review Time (yeah!)

The HR person at the Firm is gathering input on much needed changes to the form used for annual reviews of support staff.  She sent around a proposed form today and my first thought was, UGH!, these questions might require thought on my behalf (as opposed to the current form which requires none.)  However, after thinking about the questions (ironic, eh?), and since my annual review is underway, I went ahead and filled in my answers.
1. List the top three to five highest priorities of your job as you understand them.
1. Supporting Steve and Carrie (i.e. phone, dictation, correspondence, pleadings)
2. Supporting Collection Department
3. Entering time and then (once a quarter or so) filing the freaking time tickets
4. Filing
5. Propagating African Violets
6. Providing M&M's
2.  What do you consider to be your greatest strengths or accomplishments this year?  I showed up on time (relatively), performed my job (relatively) with a (relatively) positive attitude and outlook.
3.  Complete the following sentence:  I believe I make the greatest contribution to the firm by being the person that almost everyone (attorney and staff member alike) goes to with questions about their job (or life in general), complaints about their job (or life in general), and for M&M's.
4.  What could your supervising attorney/s do to help you in your job?  Go on more vacations.
5.  What could your co-workers do to help you in your job? 
1. Support Steve and Carrie (i.e. phone, dictation, correspondence, pleadings)
2. Support Collection Department
3. Enter time and then (once a quarter or so) file the freaking time tickets
4. File
5. Propagate African Violets
6. Provide M&M's
6.  How could you perform your tasks more efficiently?  From home, in my pajamas.
7.  In what area would you like to gain more experience, training or education?  I would like to learn a foreign language (specifically, Spanish, so I know what Ted and Angelli are saying about me when they talk to each other), how to cook like Julia Child, and small engine repair.
8.  Complete the following sentence:  I believe my goals and objectives for the coming year should be to show up on time (relatively), perform my job (relatively) with a (relatively) positive attitude and outlook.
9.  How do you feel your performance over the past year has contributed to the department you work in and to the Firm?  I provide comic relief in the face of, well, having to work for a living.
10.  Do you have any suggestions or comments that you would like to share? 
1. Being able to access my FarmVille farm from my computer, so I could plant quicker growing crops, like raspberries, and not have to depend on my neighbors to provide me with bushels of them, therefore allowing me to make certain products at my spa.
2. Being able to come to work in my pajamas – I think my Sylvester and Tweety robe and the bunny slippers would look very professional.
3. Having the following items provided in the kitchen at all times:
   a. McDonald's sweet tea
   b. Easy Cheese and canned frosting, to dip my pretzels in
   c. fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookies
   d. fresh off the grill steak (or veggie burgers for the veggie-tarians)
   e. fresh from the bar margaritas
4. Shorter work week
5. Shorter work days
6. July and December off
7. Hunky cabana boys to serve the aforementioned margaritas.