Tuesday, December 07, 2010
For years, I have taken December 7 as a personal day off from work. This is a day of remembrance, of prayer, of sorrow and of honoring our veterans. Today was no different in that respect.
It might be because I had two consecutive days of high calories, but I did not feel well today and was a complete couch potato. I am way under on everything, but I am not hungry and the thought of food makes me feel ill, so that's ok.
Part of it could be emotions, though I am not consciously aware of that. I can never look at the pictures of the USS Arizona aflame without a very strong burst of crying, even though I have seen those pictures hundreds of times.
I was not alive on 12/7/1941 but I have always had an exceedingly strong emotional reaction to the date, the topic, the pictures, movies, books...I have one of the best private collections of books about the Day of Infamy.
A friend told me once she thinks I must be reincarnated from someone who perished that day. I don't know about that, but it does ignite the imagination.
Years ago, I had the privilege to interview a Pearl Harbor survivor in Vermont. He was a civilian working at Pearl. He allowed me to tape the interview and gave me a print of a photo he took. His camera was confiscated when he put the next roll in. The Navy took the camera because of their intelligence concerns. He was a wonderful man and I treasure the memory of that day, his gracious interview and the photo.
I was at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1984 (way overdue for another visit to Hawaii!). I regretted I did not bring a lei (never thought about it until I was there and saw some in the water). I have a flag that was flown (run up the flagpole, really) there.
I once worked with a Japanese guy who had grown up in Hawaii. Cary's grandfather served on the Akagi, one of the Japanese ships involved in the attack. We used to talk about how times have changed and we were such good friends after our grandfathers tried to kill each other. Surreal.
My sister-in-law is Japanese and I will go to Japan some day (all it takes is money!). My brother has already promised we will go to Nagasaki and I expect that to be an extremely emotional visit.
The men and women of WWII truly were the greatest generation. I honor their memory, am awed by their sacrifice and appreciate their service.
Monday, December 06, 2010
Yesterday was a big carbo load (see yesterday's blog) and I was *determined* to make better choices today. Wendy and I had lunch today, our only chance to do so before she heads back to Charlotte on Thursday. We went to Chilis and I had every intention of reading the nutrition info before going, but did not do so. I was swamped from the moment I got in the door. I should have set myself a Spark appointment to do it because I never thought of it while I was at the computer.
I should have lived my entire life not knowing how good their hot spinach and artichoke dip is! I was absolutely *stunned* when I read the info this evening! I always tell people to research before they head opset ut and I did not do so. My entre was the margarita grilled chicken and it comes with rice and black beans. We did not eat all of the dip or chips, but I inhaled all of my entre.
Today was crazy. I spent all day working for another department. I was cross-trained on this task a few months ago and I told my boss at the time that Yvonne would assume that I would step in and help her out during this crunch time. Sure enough! She is still upset that I did not help her out at all last week. I told her I was working on a project for the top attorney and she was only partly mollified.
I processed some orders today and went down to distribute the files to the negotiators and saw that Yvonne was logged into Facebook! On company time! I was a bit annoyed, but she was in a really nasty mood so I just walked away. She apparently came in yesterday and did some work - rare overtime. But she was not grateful, she was angry and resentful about the work. We have a different approach to things, I guess.
This afternoon, I discovered that she had done one of my files yesterday, but had left the request in my inbox! I had created a duplicate! I had to undo it...I'm just glad I caught the mistake. That kind of double invoice would be a very bad situation! I saw that she had made a mistake on another deal and am concerned that she's overworked to the point that doing more work generates more mistakes than positive product.
I'm not sure what to do. If I mention something to my boss, it may come across as if I am tattling. If I stop helping her, that hurts the company because this work *must* get done before Christmas. But my boss may be quite upset if he finds out otherwise what the situation is.
Getting off my high horse. I am still new at this task so it's not as if I knock out the contract creation and data entry as quickly as she does. But, this falls in the category of seeing a student employee playing solitaire or surfing on company time...I think I will sleep on it and not react right now.
I am off tomorrow as a personal day off. It is Pearl Harbor Day which is a solemn day of remembrance. I will miss the holiday Christmas brunch at work and the patent celebration (more food) in the afternoon. Actually, I am relieved not to be around the food! But these are the events where it's important to be seen...However, my observation of Pearl Harbor Day trumps office politics.
I plan to get some exercise in, too! Boy, do I need it after these two days!
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Today was the long-awaited fun day in San Francisco with my coworker friend from our Charlotte office. We are both paralegals and we get along wonderfully. We met for breakfast and I ate too much...I had an egg beater omelette with a bit of cheese, spinach and green chili. I had two heavy pieces of wheat toast and tasted some of the potatoes. I always am amazed how much food is prepared for breakfast.
Lunch was at Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco - a clam chowder in a sourdough bowl. I had never had that before. It was good, but, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about the choices I had made.
We did some window shopping and Wendy picked up a few Christmas presents. We went to the very small aquarium. It was so relaxing!
The best part was talking and visiting. What a great day as far as that goes.
I could have made better food choices and we did not walk as much as I could have handled (about 6K steps). Wendy is younger than I am but weighs a lot more so she was not interested in walking much.
Tomorrow, we are having lunch together and I will definitely make better choices!
Tuesday is the big day: the company Christmas brunch buffet (including caroling by a local high school choir) and the patent celebration in the afternoon (more food). However, I won't be there. Tuesday is also Pearl Harbor Day and that will never be a day for celebration as far as I am concerned. I always take it off as a personal holiday. But that is a subject for a different forum.
I was a little surprised that Wendy has not noticed the loss of 20+ pounds or at least she did not comment. Perhaps she did not because weight is an uncomfortable subject for her. I am ok with that. I am not happy that I have not lost more by now, but I am very glad that these pounds are gone forever!
I have not heard anything more about Mom. She is very much in my heart.
Thanks for the comments, support and SparkGoodies! You help me stay centered.
Saturday, December 04, 2010
My mother is still alive, but we have not had a relationship by her choice since the end of May 1971. She sent me to live with Dad and his new family in a manner in which none of us knew what was happening until it was all done. It turned out to be a good thing, though. My dad's second wife is a fabulous person! She is about halfway between Dad's age and mine, so there were lots of rough times in the beginning. I had a lot of issues and was not easy to deal with. She was a first time mom with an infant and suddenly had this immature teen dumped on her. We are still close.
A few years later, I went to college. It was a private college in another part of the US, so I was very much alone. During those years, my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and I did not handle it well at all. I had also suffered a catastrophic orthopedic injury right before I started college and spent the first year and a half of college recovering from it, so I had a lot on my plate. I was putting myself through school and working, going to school and living in a dorm was a real challenge for me!
Because this was a church-run college, we were required to take a religious course every semester. One of the teachers was a pastor and an inspiration. He had contracted polio as a young boy and was severely handicapped because of it. I had him as a teacher for several classes including the vaguely-scandalous-sounding "Sex in the Bible". (Imagine teaching that to 18-22 year olds!). He died at the end of my junior year and I was devastated. His was only the second funeral I had ever attended, I wrote a poem to his wife (she taught and was also a student. I knew her a little because we had been in an advanced composition class together.). She invited me to go with the family to the local river for a Fourth of July picnic and rafting trip. This was a month or so after the funeral and I was humbled to accept.
Shortly thereafter, the situation in the dorm became critical and I was told, for my own safety, I had to move out. I had nowhere to go. Without thinking much about it, I went to her house and asked if I could stay a few days. To this day, I marvel at having the courage to do that. She graciously allowed me to stay. The visit extended for a couple of weeks. She was out of the house the day the 2 weeks was up. I sadly packed my stuff, wrote her a thank you note and went back to the dorm. She called me and told me to come back. I ended up staying all summer. When my senior year started, I found out she had worked out a special deal with the dean to allow me to live "off campus" with her for my senior year. Her home was actually on campus, but, for housing, was classed as "off".
She became the center of my life that year. I experienced a lot of healing that year. I learned to open my heart, to allow love in and out, I learned from her quiet grace, her velvet strength and the example of her faith in action.
I call her Mom. Last year, the college dedicated a hall in the basement of the chapel to her husband and I returned to my alma mater for the dedication. I had not been back since graduation. It occured to me that I was in a unique position because I was the only person there who knew him as a teacher and knew the family. I made a speech during the dedication and was honored to do so.
Mom is in her 80s. She has had some health issues lately. Last year, she started using an oxygen machine at night. She fell and broke her wrist shortly after the dedication. There were some complications and surgery and a very slow recovery. Last night, I learned that she has been in the hospital with heart issues. First, her heart was racing. They kept her overnight for observation and gave her some meds in case it happened again. The meds worked too well and her heart slowed and even stopped briefly. Yes, she was dead for a few minutes.
It would cost at least $1K to fly to Missouri if I need to, let alone car and hotel. Money is a serious concern, but not nearly as serious as the contemplation of losing Mom.
I am scared!
Friday, December 03, 2010
Today was the department holiday lunch. I had my usual yummy high fiber cereal for breakfast and a small banana and lowfat yogurt as a snack. Even so, I was so hungry by the time it was lunch time! To my surprise, it was a small buffet instead of a sitdown meal with service. Earlier in the week, we'd been asked to vote on salmon and chicken or beef and halibut. I didn't care which because I love both salmon and halibut. Turns out, we were not specifically voting for our entre. We were voting on which two would be on the buffet. They actually had 3 choices because of the tofu choice that was not listed as an option for voting.
They had stir fry veggies, long string beans drenched in butter, salad with dressing already applied, rice and the halibut or beef or tofu mixed in with the stir fry.
I had some salad, loaded up on all the veggies, skipped the beef and had about 3 ounces of halibut. I skipped the roll and had about an 8th of a cup of rice. I had the equivalent of 2 thin slices of cantaloupe. I went back to the beverage bar to get coffee and came back to the table to find my fruit was removed! I missed out on my carefully chosen strawberries! (I had 3 on the plate!). I tasted the Tahitian coffee flavored creme brulee - a very small taste. It was plenty.
I had to guess on the nutritional value of the meal. It was a larger meal than I usually have for lunch, but I was very pleased. I did not feel deprived. I had planned by having the snacks beforehand, I drank water and I loaded up on the veggies. I could not do anything about the "hidden" calories in the dressing and butter, but I did the best I could.
I did not get a lot of steps in, but I did get in more than yesterday. I have been having some twinges with a groin muscle and a knee for a few days and I am pleased that, so far, I am not unable to function.
They let us go home after lunch - the last short day of the year. I will be putting in plenty of hours until Christmas Eve. My company shuts down between Christmas and New Years and that week is wonderful. This will be the first year I am not working a second job and going to school. (I had already been laid off from job #2 by this time last year, but I was still in school.) I am looking forward to spending some quality time with BF. A friend gave me a movie gift card for graduation and I am saving it for that week.
Sunday, I am going to San Francisco with a coworker who is coming in from Charlotte, NC. Even though rain is in the forecast, we are going to play tourist. She is a paralegal and has a lot of experience. We have become friends and enjoy each other personally and professionally. Even though I live about 30 minutes from SF, it is a real treat to go there.
Stay warm and safe, everyone! Thanks for all the comments and the Spark Goodies!
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