Tuesday
Mar042014

Creeping Crud

For only the 2nd time in our entire 30+ years of marriage - The Oracle and I are sick at the same time with the same thing. Pretty sure it's bronchitis.

He's about 36 hours ahead of me. Normally he can just sleep for 24 or so hours and whatever he comes down with is magically - gone. Not this time.  In fact in the 32 years we've been together this is only the third time that I've ever seen him this sick.  Fevers, chills, coughing - poor man.  He stayed home from work today - a rare occurrence I assure you.  He'll be staying home again tomorrow and making his way to his doctor.

I'm going to visit my doctor tomorrow as well. With asthma you can't take chances with barking coughs like the one that developed within 2 hours today.  I have ramped-up my asthma meds as prescribed by my pulmonologist whenever I feel like I'm getting sick.  But I don't plan on waiting for the inevitable fever or cough-of-death before I see my physician.

In the meantime it's Airborne, Zicam, Neti Pot, Mucinex and Hot Toddies. Ugh!

Saturday
Mar012014

The Weekly Muse

It's a hot chocolate kind of morning.  It's about 28 degrees out, bright sun and a pale blue sky.  I've already had a refreshing breakfast and a cup of coffee.

But now...time for Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate.  Lovely indulgence.

And I deserve it for it's been an ardurous week.  And you know what?  I can't really tell you why.  I just know that by Tuesday I felt like I'd been beaten with a baseball bat.  By the end of the day yesterday...well let's just say that as I drove myself home from work I fought back tears.

I lost that fight a few times over the 30 mile drive.

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Well, I did that yesterday.  I let the words fall out of my mouth and onto the ears of someone who expressed concern for me.

At work.

A concept so foreign to me these days that when he asked me if I was OK - I was confused by the question.

Kevin and I have worked together for about 7 years now; he's a 2VP who reports to my boss.

My boss - the cold, hard, calculating executive whose ambition has warped him.

But I digress.

Kevin approached me yesterday to see how I was doing; basically because I asked him the same question earlier in the morning.

I asked him if he wanted the loyal answer or the honest answer.  Kevin said he'd listen to whatever answer I felt courageous enough to give him.

So - I dug deep and found a deep well of bravery I didn't know I had. 

And I gave him the honest answer about my boss - the total lack of recognition, the complete ignorance of the words "thank you", the inability to recognize any of my accomplishments, the lack of any meaningful feedback - even the lack of a performance review in three years.  While Kevin listened attentively I could tell by his body language and unguarded facial expressions that he was - shocked and saddened for me.

Then, his response took me back a few steps - he indicated that it has been observed that my boss is very hard on me and Kevin confessed his confusion as to why.

That - brought me to tears. That someone else has noticed that the treatment I get from my boss is unfair and that someone else sees it.

Funny that - how validation can make a person feel...stronger.

In the end Kevin wanted to know what he could do to help.  And there really isn't anything he can do; in my role as an Exec Admin I have the illusion of power but that's all it is - an illusion. When you are the Admin to the "big cheese" there isn't anyone who can intervene when the relationship goes south.  I am on an island alone and the only one who can change my circumstances is me. So I told him that I am looking for another position within the company.

I could see the frustration in Kevin's eyes as he took that all in and realized that I'm right; he's a good man, Kevin, and always tries to do the right thing for his people.  He expressed concern that I would take care of myself in the best way possible - which I assured him I would - and offered a continued sympathetic ear for me to share my concerns and bounce my thoughts off of him.

I do have concerns, that Kevin legitimized, that my boss could - behind-the-scenes - sabotage my efforts to secure another position elsewhere.  For whatever his reasons - he does have that much power over me.  I didn't get the job I was interviewing for earlier this year and the thought did occur to me that my boss may have had a hand in that; the reasons given for why I didn't get the job were - vaguely stated and no details were offered despite my inquiries.

It seemed - suspicious.  And it still does.  Especially since I am in the process of interviewing for another position in the company; a fact that my boss knows and has all the details about because of how our job posting notification system works.

I can only pray - literally, I'm doing alot of that these days around the subject of my career - that I connect with people who can stand up to the "golden boy" and get what they want and not cave in to whatever he thinks he should have.

Because I believe - and Kevin confirmed this in our conversation - that deep down my boss knows he has one of the best Exec Admins he'll ever have and he doesn't want to lose me.  Yet despite the many conversations he and I have had in the past 3 years around the subject of my job performance and what I need from him as my boss - he doesn't seem to care very much about ensuring my happiness.  Lord knows I've given him the tools, hand-fed him my expectations and even openly encouraged him to tell me how I'm doing.  And while, bless his heart, he does try for a little while in the end - he reverts to his true form and I become, once again, a body at a desk.

I'm tired of being invisible; only being noticed when I demand it thru frustration and questions.  Which is why I continue to search for positions and pursue them with diligence.  While not once neglecting my job responsibilities or my own personal commitment to my boss and my team.

And in the midst of all this - The Oracle has an unexpected new job.  His boss is leaving the company and will be transferring his responsibilities to The Oracle's already-burdened shoulders.  Heavy conversations are already taking place since the boss is leaving in one week.

One. Week.

For The Oracle to process a flood of information and get clarity on a new role that will be heavier in responsibilties, higher in profile and fraught with potholes that could, potentially, derail him.

He's been working pretty much non-stop since Thursday afternoon - valiantly hunting for the decoder ring that will unlock the secrets to being a liaison between systems architects across a line of business and the voice of reason to the executives across that same line of business.

It's a huge job that, at least for now, doesn't come with a promotion, pay increase or anything else that usually comes with the trappings of increased responsibilities.

Because...why would it, right? /sarc

This new job for The Oracle - while a fantastic bit of recognition for his skills and abilities and the logical next-step in his career - is going to wreak havoc with our personal lives.

We are fairly certain our much-loved commute together will largely become a special event rather than a normal occurrence.  So I've secured bus schedules and ride passes for myself to begin using - next week.  Parking in downtown Hartford is challenging on a good day; and expensive all day, every day.  We have one parking garage pass with no discount allowed for a second one.  So with The Oracle needing a flexible schedule I'll be the one to take the bus.

His hours will become longer so our time together will be reduced.  And while working on weekends has been a rarity these last years - I suspect it's going to be the norm for The Oracle for the coming months.  I'm very nervous about what these longer hours are going to do to the various things we have going on after work; my main concern is The Oracle's beloved saxophone lessons.  He's reduced them to every other week to accommodate church commitments; it will break my heart for him if he has to eliminate them altogether.

So it would seem there is to be much change in our household in the coming weeks/months.  I'm proud of The Oracle - nervous and proud; I am anxious for myself and my situation.

The rest of this year should be - interesting, at best.

Thursday
Feb272014

NSFW

Temps today ... 28.

Tonight ... -10 with the wind chill.

Sunday and Monday ... 12-14 inches of snow.

Winter...please fuck off.

Sunday
Feb232014

60 Months

I would not be honoring myself if I didn't post this today.

Happy 5th birthday to my right hip!

Yup - 5 years ago today I had my right hip replaced.  At age 45 it's not what I thought I'd be doing in the early months of 2009; recovering from the most major orthopedic surgery there is. But - recover I did.

And went on to actually have a pain-free life.  I learned how to LIVE my life, for the first time.  Unburdened from stage 4 osteo-arthritis and a joint literally crumbling out from underneath me - I bounded into living a wholehearted life.

There were bumps along the way that first year after surgery - physical and some unexpected emotional turmoil - but the end result of all of that is a person who lives life pretty fully; no restrictions and certainly no regrets.

When 3 years passed and it was revealed that my left hip would need to be replaced as well - the only thing I could say to my much-adored surgeon was - how soon can we get it scheduled?

Happy Birthday to my right hip!

Sunday
Feb232014

The Weekly Muse

I'm a little off-schedule right now. I continue to battle the off-again/on-again jaw pain from the bruised tooth, which has lead to some fairly epic sinus headaches.  And yesterday there was no rest for the wicked or weary.

That - was all in good fun and family.  One of The Oracle's Aunts won, in a silent auction, a dinner for 6 at the Rectory of her Parish; her main intent, as she told us, was to share it with US so that we could share our conversion story with her priest. This wouldn't be just a dinner cooked by a friend - it was one planned and executed by the gourmet chef brother of the priest, Fr. Roy.  As with every year there was a theme and this year's was favorite dishes of Popes. 

Well I have to say - the chef is truly gifted.  He produced magic for the 6 of us in the form of 6 delectable, rich and exotic courses.  From an olive oil & anchovie fondue called Bagna Cauda to start (which, despite the presence of the disgusting furry fish - was quite tasty, served with various raw veggies and crusty bread) to a decadent Polish Papal Cream Cake - we gorged ourselves on shrimp, scallops, risotto, braised short ribs, parmesan polenta, fantastic wine pairings and delicious conversation.

Oh - the conversation!  Sharing our conversion story with the Aunt's favorite priest was an amazing experience.  His questions, his interest, his pleasure in hearing about our journey was the final course of frosting and sweetness.

 

Instrumental versions of songs like the one above and below played softly in the background.  It was, simply, an amazing evening spent with the Aunt, The Oracle's parents and a wonderfully sweet man who happens to be a priest.  And while The Oracle and I were, in essence, the evening's "entertainment"...it didn't feel like that at all.  We shared our experiences with great joy and willingness.

The conversation wasn't all about us, thank goodness.  Mixed in were discussions about faith, religion in general and the revelation of a great poem that, I'm sure, will engross me for weeks to come.

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat-and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet-
'All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.'

The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson, first verse above. At 182 lines it's a very long read and yet - the beauty, the harshness of the language - is intoxicating. Written in the late 19th century by a tortured, drug addicted gentleman it speaks to a desperation to find meaning in what seems to be a meaningless life. To find - and be found by - God. Simply heartbreaking and breathtaking.

And so today...I pay for the very long day yesterday. We didn't get home until midnight and while I slept very late today...I feel like I've been run over by a truck. I also feel like my head is still stuck underneath one of the wheels.

I had great plans for today - nice deep clean of the house, finishing hanging some decorations in the kitchen, get the laundry done, work on the journal for my class, perhaps put together some bags of clothes to be donated.

If I can get the journal work done - I'll be very happy with that single accomplishment.  Well, that and the endless piles of laundry.

And now for something completely different - here is a reworked version of the great Guns 'n Roses "Sweet Child o' Mine" as envisioned by a New Orleans jazz group.

Now - isn't she something else and something else again?!

We are also glad that the Olympics are over. We love watching them but they have completely messed up our sleep cycles, which I am well-aware is one of the contributing factors to the way I'm feeling today. Tonite we shall skip getting sucked into the closing ceremonies and shall, instead, get caught up on Downton Abbey.

With temps close to 50 degrees today I have half of the windows in the house thrown wide open. The heat is off, the birds are singing and I am catching the scent of ... well, if not spring than something other than winter.

For tomorrow we will be back in the 20s for a high and my mid-week the polar vortex will be upon us once again with lows in the single digits.

Ah, winter in New England. And so I turn my ear to the sounds outside the open window behind my head - and dream of green grass and bright blue skies. And the sounds of my beloved birds.