31 December 2006

My First "Meet Up"

I had the pleasure of attending my first official "Meet Up" Friday night. I'm glad we went. A good evening at Cosi (1919 M Street) with nice people and a fun card game ("Oh Hell") and a post holiday regifting swap. Kudos to Julie for organizing a very pleasant experience. I think I'll check out more of these. It's a chance to do something different, meet some new folks, get out and about. Sort of like a friend of a friend's cocktail party, with a focus. Joe Bob says "Check it out!"

29 December 2006

January 2/Day of Mourning/Fed Day Off

President George W. Bush signed an executive order on January
28, 2006, stating that "all executive departments, independent establishments, and other governmental agencies shall be closed on January 2, 2007, as a mark of respect for Gerald R. Ford, the thirty-eighth President of the United States."

Is it wrong to be happy that I have a day off to honor the memory of Gerald Ford?

Gerry seemed like a likable enough fellow, whether you agreed with the whole pardon thing or not. I'd like to think he'd be pleased that I'm pleased. I'd sure be pleased if people got the day off from work in rememberence of me! Talk about passing on good karma!

Giving people the day off beats the heck out of having a highway named after you. You get a highway named after you and your name'll be used most often in conjunction with expletives, as in "There was a %$^@@! 24-mile back-up on the Cochran today." Poor Woodrow Wilson. I can only imagine how many times his name has been linked to all those special characters above the numbers. And all because they named a bridge after him.

Definitely, a day off is the way to go if at all possible. If not, then at least a park instead of a traffic route.

I wonder what will be/has been named for James Brown. Something appropriately soulful, I hope.

28 December 2006

At last the holiday season comes to an end...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas... all done and I am home again! I am grateful for my family and friends and the chance to spend time with the ones I love. I am also grateful to be done with the holiday season, the built in stress that comes with it, and the naughty cookies and cakes! Ack!! :)

What's weird about coming back to the office between Christmas and New Year's is it's kinda creepy quiet. I'm sure it's not as quiet as the day after Christmas, but still... some places I'm used to seeing open are closed and there are a lot of dark offices right now.

What's nice about coming back to the office between Christmas and New Year's is it's a somewhat acknowledged down-time. You get some work done but there aren't any meetings and mostly people check in on each other and catch up with each other in a low key way and that's quite nice.

20 December 2006

Spinning the Wheel of Fortune at the Christmas Party

Well, I lucked out this year. At the office Christmas party gift exchange, I managed to get rid of something I wasn't using nor planning to use and replace it with something I actually think I'll use . And, the thing I got rid of was highly desireable to several folks in the room. So that's good karma all around.

Curious game, this party gift exchange. Put something wrapped into the middle, then, in pre-determined order, either pick something wrapped out of the middle or steal something from someone else.

I was one of the lucky ones. I picked a relatively high number so I could scope out what others picked and steal without having to go for an unknown. That was a good thing, looking at the majority of cheesy gifts being "regifted." Felt a little sorry for the people that unwrapped hideous stuff that nobody wanted to steal from them. [Reminds me of an old comedy routine that consists of a coupla guys saying "What IS that?" "I think it's a... what the hell IS that?" etc.] But, hey, these are $10 or less items anyway so how badly can you get stuck in the exchange?

I'm not sure the message "if you're not happy with what you've got, steal somebody else's stuff" is really the moral we want to be putting forward, even in a game setting, but everybody seemed to enjoy it.

Unfortunately, with this holiday season, I have a new crop of things that will likely go into the closet for next year's gift exchange. Then, again, it might be a good time to give away some things to charity. As was clear from the game, one man's trash can truly be another man's treasure.

Happy holidays to all. And may you receive the gifts you want most!

18 December 2006

Gonna Buy 5 Copies for My Mother... (Time Magazine's Person of the Year)

Well, Time Magazine has announced that their Person of the Year is me. And you. And--to quote that cheesy So Long, Farewell song from The Sound of Music--"you and you and you."

Quoted from the cover, with a picture of a PC, "Time Person of the Year: You. Yes, you. You control the information age. Welcome to your world."

The Person of the Year is everyone. Talk about a "Long Tail!" Is this the ultimate extension of everyone in school getting medals for trying? Pardon me if I'm not thrilled about being one of the choosen millions. Sure, it'll look nice on my resume but, I mean really, where's my picture on the cover?

To quote a different song by Dr. Hook, I'd rather have "the thrill that'll get you when you get your picture on the cover of The Rolling Stone."

15 December 2006

The ballad of "Maybe Just One More"

[To the tune of "Silver Bells"]

Have a brownie
And some cheesecake
Gotta try the rum balls
Down at work there's a feeling of Christmas

Plate of cookies
Chocolate truffles
Look, there's egg nog out, too
And at every work gathering you feel...

Bulging guts,
Bulging guts,
Too many sweets looking yummy
Diet woes
Can't say "no"
Soon it will be New Year's Day

Days are shorter
Days are colder
Makes you want to eat more
And who's got the hours to work out
Getting flabby
Getting lazy
And you know I'll regret
All the yummy food items I eat

Bulging guts,
Bulging guts,
It's Christmas time at the office
Diet woes
Can't say "no"
Can't wait to see New Year's Day.

12 December 2006

To news or not to news

Having been in training all day and into the evening for close to two weeks, I got very little local/national/world news. And, you know, I haven't rushed back to it. The news is usually totally depressing (war, natural disasters, crime, ack!!) To quote Dr. Christiane Northrup:
If you spend much time watching television or reading newspapers, you are actually being barraged with the bad news from all over the world. If you have ever worked in journalism, you know the deal, "if it bleeds it leads," therefore they choose the news to have an effect on your arousal system to make you even more anxious.
I don't want to be out of the loop indefinitely but a little rest from anxiety has to be a good thing.

11 December 2006

Meet Ups--What a Great Idea!

While I was away at training, we got together in different configurations after dinner/evening class sessions to socialize and play cards. I love card games... well just about any game, really. It was such a treat to play old favorites (like Hearts) and learn some new ones (Texas Hold'em, Oh Hell, etc.) Now I'm back and feeling the card jones take hold and don't have a readily available card group. I go to the web (the font of all knowledge: right and wrong) and what do I see to my delight? www.meetup.com! This is a way for people to find like-minded enthusiasts in their community for meetings in public (read: safe) locations. How great is this?! Not just for cards either! There are wine groups and brunch groups and language groups and parenting groups and you name it, it's out there! Yowza! Ask the universe for what you want and you will find it! WHOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

03 December 2006

The real value of training

I have been in a residential training program for the last week and am about half-way through the whole thing. Because it's one of those "think abouth things and then think about what you think about things" kind of programs, I've been on the look out for revelations.

The closest I've gotten to an "a-ha" is this: it doesn't really matter what training is about. Training is a mechanism to get people out of their everyday lives, out of their complacency, out of their autopilot. Once that happens, great awareness can happen. Or not, but at least if you slow down enough to hear your own thoughts you'll notice if you have any.

Which brings to mind a few favorite quotes:

"You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself." --Galileo Galilei

"Every journey has a secret destination of which the traveler is unaware." --Martin Buber

"Of magic doors there is this: You do not see them even as you are passing through."--?

"There is more to life than increasing its speed." --Mahatma Gandhi

"Be here now." --Ram Dass