Monday, January 30, 2017

If I Only Had a Brain!!

Back in December, when Mom and I drove up to Indy for Christmas, we drove as far up I-69 as we could.  It's very nice road, not much traffic, few cops, so it cuts the trip down considerably.  The only downside, so far, is that there are no McDonalds along the road. 

Now, I've eaten at enough McDonalds in my life, that I consider that I've got lifelong bathroom privileges.  I mean, they are generally of a certain level of cleanliness.   Having been raised in the 70's, I consider guessing the level of cleanliness of any given gas station restroom to be similar to Russian roulette.   Therefore, I always prefer stopping at a McD's.  Plus, there is the opportunity to grab a bag of fries while I'm there!

Let's return to December.  We drove all the way to Bloomington without a stop, and we needed to stop.  I realize there probably 20 McD's in Bloomington, it being a college town, but we found ourselves stopped at a gas station.  I suppose we just had to stop and didn't have time to investigate and look for one.  After we took care of business, and purchased some water and munchies - see I always feel like I have to buy something at non-McD's, we exited the building.  Their was a car parked right there, and a man was exiting it.  I saw that he had something interesting hanging from his rear view mirror and I had to know, so I asked him, "Hey, what is that?!"

Let me interject that 16 years ago, in my "pre-Paxil" days, or 16 PP, I would never go around talking to strangers.  If I end up getting into danger, sometime in the future, due to my talking to the wrong person, I blame two people - Erin Gibson and Donna Nicholson.  They know what they did.

So I asked this complete stranger, "Hey, what is that hanging from your mirror?"  He said it was a brain cell.  I understood and immediately needed one.  Thank God for Amazon. 

Amazon had two sizes - the "giant" and the "giant XL". Both seemed big, but you know I needed one, so I got the smaller of the two.  It arrived and there was no way for it to hang from anything, so I spent that evening lovingly sewing a ribbon on it, so I could use the ribbon to tie it to my rear view mirror.  I hung it from my mirror and while it looked adorable, it was just too big.

I wasn't sure what to do about it.   But in the bowels of my memory, I remember Deborah at the law firm sharing a funny advertisement a couple of years ago that said "Give your girlfriend Herpes for Valentines Day!" Or something similar.  It was from a website that sold stuff germs, so I found it humorous... bookmarked the link, but never really felt that I, as a mid-40's adult needed a stuff cold sore, or flu germ.  Let me point out that the breast cancer cell is adorable, AND part of the proceeds go to research, so if you're looking for a gift for someone....

I started thinking that IF there were a smaller version, I could probably get it there.
Unfortunately, the only small version was a keychain, which was perfect in size, but they're only sold in packages of 10 and, although some might argue the point, I didn't feel as though I need that many.  Then I saw that they also sold a five pack that contained a brain cell, a red blood cell, a white blood cell, a bookworm (?), and a kissing disease germ! 

I'm sure you can see the rest of the story, so long story short, I now have an appropriately sized brain cell hanging from my mirror. And I just love his little ganglia!

Anyone want a keychain?  You can choose from the red blood cell, the white blood cell, and the kissing disease germ! 

Monday, January 16, 2017

I Can't Blog, I'll Be Out of Town on Business.....

I recently changed email addresses.  That news generally meets the big question "WHY?"  It's not because of anything specific.  The catalyst, I suppose, was hearing, yet again, that Yahoo email had been hacked.  The reporter on the evening news was telling about it and how if you were going to switch emails, not to just cancel the yahoo account because then the hackers could reopen it and do all sorts of crappy things in my name.  He then went on to talk about how if you were inclined to change emails, that gmail and one other, whose name escapes me, were the safest.

So I opened a new gmail account - it's taking some getting used to.  I'd been using my yahoo email for probably 20 years.  It was on the resume that I used to get my job at the law firm, back in 2000!  Consequently, I receive a lot of crap - not spam, specifically, but newsletters and such.  For example, last fall, when my iPad died, I entered 50 million sweepstakes online to try win a replacement.  Spoiler!  I didn't.  But part of entering these sweepstakes involved signing up for various newsletters.  Some, I read.  Most I immediately deleted.

What does this have to do with the price a kibble?  Well, after switching the main important things, I haven't been checking the yahoo email as often.  So one morning recently, I was sifting through the 100's of emails and my eyes landed on an email about an upcoming Paralegal Cruise of some Paralegal association.  I didn't spend much time contemplating it - I've never worked anywhere that would ever consider sending me to something like that.  So I went on with my day.

Later that day, I'm asked if I'm excited about going to Orlando.  My response was, "wha..?"

So, let me back track.  As I believe I mentioned in my last blog, I've been busy at work.  A big part of the busy was that about a month into my new job, so about March of last year, I was told that I was going to be the Legal Dept's admin for the new contract lifecycle management ("CLM") software that the company had been investigating for a couple of years, and was just now getting ready to begin implementing.

One of the biggest bits of growing pains that I had to deal with after switching jobs was going from the firm where most everything (document-wise) was organized and stored in a software system - not very well, since the firm didn't use the software to even half of its capabilities, but still there was some organization.  When I got to Berry, one of the most frustrating problems was trying to figure out where something was stored or should be stored.  We had a Legal folder on the Z drive and there was just a mish mosh of folders in it and oh it drove my administrative side crazy - I wanted to just sit and organize everything.  I was told to just wait until the CLM was implemented.

In May, I participated in a solid week of training on the software.  If I try to describe this system, it would be like we bought a bunch of cabinets, but there were no shelves in it.  The software is programmable, by us, so that it fits what we need.  Rather than having cabinets with shelves already places, so you have to fit your needs into the spaces provided.  Dang, as I think of it, that's a pretty good analogy.  Anyway, the first week of training, I learned SO much, about the software, the company in general, plastics, and the sales procedure in specifics.  The training was the week before Memorial Day and I used every minute of that three-day weekend afterward to recover.  I was mentally exhausted.  But I was likewise stoked.  This was so me!

In fact, Mom asked me at one point, how I was chosen over the other paralegal for this, and did they have any clue how perfect a fit this was for me?  My answer was that I was probably chosen over the other, because I was the contracts person, whereas she has other responsibilities; and no, they probably had no clue, but they would figure it out!  Although I'm sure I mentioned some of my abilities at the interview, right?

In June we had another week of concentrated training, and again in July.  Our trainer, a man named Don, was really good, and those of us being trained all agreed that we needed to get I (heart) Don tattoos.  We haven't done that yet, hmm.. need to get on that.

The subsequent five months were spent continuing to program, training sales people, and brining one of Berry's three divisions online.  It hasn't been pretty, but we're getting there and making progress on getting other divisions and departments online, too.

So back to later in the day after I read the email about the Paralegal Cruise and my immediately forgetting it because I knew I wouldn't be going and then one of the people on the "Team" asking me about whether I was excited about going to Orlando.

Turns out the software company has a conference every year, in Orlando, and we, as customers are invited. Then, even better, it turns out that I, your favorite blogger, is being sent to the conference!
I've never worked at a place that was going to pay to send me anywhere.  At law firms, the attorneys are the ones who travel.  And frankly, during the economic downswing, that was firmly discouraged.  In my 26-ish years, the closest I've ever come to traveling for work was when BFOH sent Jennifer and me to Chicago to attend a computer trade show in order to have a live demo of some collection software the firm was contemplating purchasing.  We drove up, spent the night at the hotel, caught the demo and drove back.  Mostly it was just a fun road trip paid for by the firm.

I enjoy traveling and am pretty sure that I'm running low on body parts that can go bad during the trip, so I guess it'll be a fun trip!  And IF I have the chance to check out Disney, I'll search for that duck-butt hat I've been kicking myself for not getting 16 years ago!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Year's Resolution - Shine My Light into Your World More!!

I have been told by several people that I need to get back to blogging.  Well actually, it was expressed more like "You haven't blogged since April!!"  Looking at it in black and white, it's hard to convey the stress that was placed on the words "haven't" and "April," but you get the point. 

I can only blame it on actually being busy at work.  Not that I would be blogging at work (sssshh.. my boss might read this!) - although back when I had nothing to do at work, I did blog while there.  But when I'm so busy at work, first, I don't have time to think about things; and B) I don't want to come home and sit in front of a computer, and frankly I have two other computer-related obligations!  Mom would point out here that I come home and sit in front of my iPad, but that is different - I have farming to do, and such.  It's more mindless and doesn't require thought.    Whereas it actually does require a little thought to be as witty and entertaining as I am in my blogging life.

So here we are, it's a new year, and people for some reason make resolutions to do something to make them a better person, or to make the new year better.  Well, I'm already a pretty great person, so my resolution will be to try to blog a little more often to, if nothing else, make the lives of you, my peeps better.

To this end, my thoughts are that I'll start off by sharing my observations of the past few weeks to bring you up to date. 

First, Christmas.  Turns out that, along with other fabulous perks, Berry is generous with holidays around Christmas and New Years.  We receive both the big days and the accompanying Eves.  So, since all of the holidays and their Eves were on weekend days this year, we got the surrounding Fridays and Mondays off - resulting in two four day weekends!!  I realize that for my former co-workers at the law firm this is not something they want to hear, so I'll continue on quickly.  

For the actual Christmas weekend, Mom and I packed up the buggy and travelled up to Indy to visit the Sibs, their Hubs and kids.  I think a good time was had by all, even me.  The Introvert inside of me would have killed to spend the weekend alone under a blankie with a cat at the condo, but even the Introvert
had a good time. 

During the weekend, we learned that Holly's hubs,Tom, has accepted a position in Georgia, so in the next few months they'll be looking for someplace to live and getting packed up, and moving.  My observations on how their move will affect me are twofold.

First, it seems that the ubiquitous response upon learning of their move is to the effect of "well, I bet you won't miss the winter weather!"  Presumably the winters are softer down south.  Personally, I like winter - sweaters, fireplaces, snow.  It's the summer I don't like.  But my brain started percolating - Mom isn't good in the winter - she gets cold easily, isn't stable of snow/ice.  Therefore, I had an epiphany!  Mom can go stay with Holly during these softer winters.  And since she wouldn't want to play favorites and cause discord between the twins - after all, they already have to contend with ME being the favorite child - so Mom could go spend the summers with Haley in Indy.

Then she could enjoy the spring and fall at the condo with me.   

So where was I?  Oh yes, how Holly's news would affect me...  The second, and some would say more realistic effect is that Holly'll be living MUCH closer to a beach and Mom'll probably want to see Mistake #1 once in a while, so I'm thinking Rose'll be going to beach more often!!

The next item on the docket is also Christmas related.  Mom asked me a couple of weeks before Christmas what she could get me.  I told her that I didn't need anything so not to worry about it.  After all, I was getting equal enjoyment out of the Keurig I'd gotten her (and she'd opened way early, but that's another story).  At some point, I came home and she tells me that she's figured out what she's getting me for Christmas.  Now, I have to point out that we have the world's most uncomfortable sofa.  When I moved out on my own, I bought a fabulous sofa - it was deep and allowed my long legs to rest comfortably; whereas what we have isn't very deep and my legs never get comfy, especially when a handsome 15 lb boy likes to lay on them.  So, I'm like, what is it?  She says she's going to get me a recliner (or pay for part of one, as I got a very nice bonus from work).  I said that her idea sounded great and that she needed to get one for herself, too.  So on New Year's Eve, we went shopping.

I have always been the kind of person who makes shopping-related decisions easily.  I walked in, sat down, and my butt fell in love.  The only questions left being what color to get and did I want it to be an electronic chair or the "old fashioned" kind where in order to enjoy lounging comfortably, you have to move the lever yourself.  Meanwhile, Mom is looking around.  We'd already talked and decided that she needed the kind that moves and helps you stand up, but she didn't like the style and fabric of any of the choices.  I kept trying to get her to just sit in one of them, and finally, as she agreed and sat, my eyes fell on the price tag and saw the words "heat" and massage."  See many moons ago, Dad had got Mom a heated massage thingee that goes into your chair and you control the temp and strength of the massage movements.  I knew that we'd found a winner.  After sitting for way too long with an overly chatty sales lady, we ordered our chairs, AND when they deliver the chairs, they're willing to take away the couch!!  We just have to wait 4-8 weeks (well, 3-7, now).  We're pretty sure the cats will enjoy them, too.

This past week, we had our first really cold weather and even a smidge of snow.  Of course schools were closed, but otherwise, it wasn't all that bad.  Still it was cold and as I got to work, it was still coming down.  One downside of where I work is the parking.  I pray each morning that the Lord will bless me with a "good" parking spot, and by that I'm meaning a spot in the main parking lot.  On a bad day, I get a spot and have to walk three blocks.  Anyway, on this particular morning, the Lord blessed me with the best spot, other than the United Way spot, that I could have possibly got.  If I'd stood in the door to my building, I could have taken a picture, without the zoom!  I didn't because my phone was buried in my bra, under my sweater, under my scarf, under my coat... you get the point.

 About noon, someone walked by and asked me if I was going out at lunch.  I replied, "No, I am not throwing away my spot!"  Then I had to laugh - see, I've slowly yielded to the mass hysteria over Hamilton - in fact, after the conversation with about what to get me for Christmas, I told her I knew what she could get me for my birthday.... tickets to Hamilton, in Chicago.  So yes, we have tickets for a matinee on my birthday, July 22nd!  Rose is very happy.  But back to my point, I amused myself so over my wit, that I've chuckled continuously over it since.  It it probably going to rival "Hold Me Closer Tony Danza" as my favorite song lyric-related pun.

I've seen a couple of movies this past month.  Rogue One - surprise, I know.  Loved it.  Have seen it twice so far, wouldn't recommend you take your young children.  Moana, enjoyed it thoroughly even before I realized that some of the lyrics were written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (of Hamilton fame).   Sat there thinking the music reminded me of Hamilton as I watched and listened.  Take your kids.   And finally, Hidden Figures.  Don't worry, I am well aware of my shallowness and preference for movies with explosions and superheroes, preferably Batman, and I have no intention of starting to like movies that are "good for me," but this movie was historical, AND had Cookie Lyon in it!

Ok, so my carpal tunnel is acting up and Gizmo wants in my lap, so I'm going to wrap it up here.   I promise not to stay silent so long.