my ass got fired

So yeah, yesterday my bosses sat down with me and had a chat. Not the right job for me, will give good recommendations, want to send me out with no hard feelings. Bout as well as it could have gone. I just nodded a lot and said yes, I agree completely. Because I do. I've been hanging on out of sheer stubbornness pretty much since I got hired. Trying to do a job an order of magnitude more difficult than any you've previously held in a fast-paced environment while no one will tell you what your job is actually supposed to entail or explain to you how to go about it was never the part I liked. The part I liked was being able to almost manage to do it in spite of everything.

I told Mom on the phone last night (Amber and Pearl weren't home) just that I was "actively looking for another job". They are apparently being super nice about it and might (I'll ask tomorrow) be letting me tell people I resigned rather than got fired. Lady boss even called her dad's office and asked the manager there if the doc and his group needed anybody. Their physical therapy clinic is about to be looking for a receptionist; I said I'd interview for it but I'm none too keen on the receptionist gig.

Looking on Craigslist today was a little irritating for a similar reason. I felt like Goldilocks scoping out the porridge. Too big a job, too small a job. Red flags (to my eye) in the postings signifying a nasty boss, a truly ass-smashing level of busyness, or a company with no proverbial legs. Sent out a couple of resumes, but I don't feel too happy with my cover letter emails. I'll have to, grr, coordinate with Mom on what to put in those as I continue to apply for shit.

I feel a strange mixture of optimism and lack of confidence. I know I can adapt to all sorts of places and situations, but on the other hand I'm not too strong on having a "professional appearance!" or being "deadline-driven!" or any of that shit.

My big hope is that I can get something not too ass-smashing reasonably close by and still have enough time and energy to keep practicing with the stringy thing and start to practice writing more prose. Wanna start a band. Wanna write stories. Wanna be a shrink. Wanna be a teacher. Waah waah, working as an accountant is lame.


The crows actually did weird me out, it seems.

I couldn't stop thinking about them the rest of the night. The thought that annoyed me most was this. What if, instead of the incident indicating some kind of message for me, what if it indicated an opportunity for me to send a message, make a suggestion, take an action? And in having too generally passive an attitude, there was an opportunity and I did not take it? Today I'm just annoyed with myself for putting focus and energy into this crap when visible life needs my attention.

For the second night in a row, I had a weird series of emotional-fighty things happen as I was falling asleep. Couldn't remember my dreams.

speaking of that bitch

Got sent home early with half my day's work done. Which, oh, included half a day's work from last week that I couldn't finish cause I didn't have enough damn time.

Instead here let me post up a song I wrote the other day. It's my new happysong.

[that bitch]

who says I never wanna take a chance
who says I never try
who says I never wear my underpants
who says I always lie
and pretend
that I'm somebody
who says I don't deserve the time of day
deserve a piece of pie
who says I don't deserve to run away
with you into the sky
the horizon in front of me

she's jealous I've got
all I desire
that bitch in my mirror's a liar
a liar, a liar

it only takes a little criticism
takes a little poke
she can deflate me with a witticism
make it just a joke
that I just wanna make you come
or maybe something got away from me
it wriggled through the crack
she's acting like she's all afraid for me
I'll never get it back
oh, there's no more
where that came from

she's mad I got up
when she'd thrown me
that bitch in my mirror don't own me
don't own me, don't own me

there's something on the other side of me
it's dancing to get out
she makes an ugly little pile in me
of fear and shame and doubt
shoves it all up against the door
but now it ain't to her I'm listening
I swear I'm gonna learn
love and grace and gifts and giving
ain't no thing you gotta earn
let me learn
what my heart is for

where is truth, where is love
there is power
that bitch in my mirror's a coward
a coward, a coward

On my way back to the apartment from the train I saw five black crows chilling in the unpaved parking lot across the street. Maybe six. I told them hello, I was happy to see them, they were beautiful. Extremely beautiful. As soon as they caught sight of me one flew up to a wire and checked me out, and when I crossed the street onto my block it came over and sat on top of the lamppost I was walking under. I told it thanks for stopping by, that I wished I understood but I didn't understand. As I was heading up to the front steps I told another one, which was looking at me from a lamppost across the street, that if it really wanted to reach me, dreams were the best way because I have a head like a rock. At that the five of them took off and flew into the alleyway that leads behind the building, but a sixth stayed on the lamppost across the street and watched me till Dave came down to let me in the front door.

Things like this no longer weird me out. They seem as natural as people stumbling over their own feet if I look at them suddenly when I'm roiling with tension, or environmental city noises providing appropriate punctuation to important conversations, or warning omens preceding bad luck or the impulse to a stupid decision.

I don't even think of that as what magic is anymore.

ach, I give up, I need to make some words

My hours at work have been cut down during the summer slow period. Which, in addition to making me cut into my insurance money for bills, means I have less work time to do the same work. Oy. On a similar note, we sat down and did a monthly expenses thing last week. And yeah, our monthly expenses are more than I make at the moment, by a couple hundred at least. So when insurance money runs out, situation could be bad indeed. No cable and no internet bad.

However, there is in this nothing new or scarier than I already knew it was.
I have been practicing not panicking. I want to get a "DON'T PANIC" tattoo on the part of my right thumb that connects with my wrist. For now if I just mentally picture it in letters of fire and stare at the spot until my mind goes blank, it will if nothing else become a reasonably effective prayer/spell/whatever.

Responsibility doesn't have to drive you crazy or make you less of a fun person. I've spent days, months, weeks at a time being frustrated at various responsible people (Dad notable among them) for allowing the panic brought on by responsibility to rule them and make them miserable. Which means it would be hypocritical of me not to try and overcome the same panicky urges in myself, be they howsoever...persistent.

Dave has been great about getting me calmed down when possible, and not egging me on when calming down is impossible. In fact it was him that pointed out how much I'd been letting myself panic and how much unnecessary unhappiness it was causing me. Have I told everyone lately how I admire his singleminded pursuit of happiness?

But I should stop talking about this. Thinking about the panic makes it more likely to resurface, especially considering I'm at work right now.

I re-read Paladin of Souls yesterday. It was wonderful and uplifting and all the awesome stuff we always say about Bujold. Among the many other life lessons of which the book reminded me, I've been turning this one over in my mind a great deal. In order to be a proper mage of whatever type I turn out to be, I have to maintain my psyche demon-free. This is not to say I can't be friends with elemental creatures or people. Friends, however, just stop by when you have a reason to chill or work with them. It takes a very special circumstance for a genuine ally type invisible friend to take up long term residence in your psyche. Whereas with demons (parasitic elementals, predatory emotiforms, whatever you wanna call 'em) taking up residence is half of their raison d'etre.

Yesterday was a very calm, happy, meditative day for me. It occurred to me that maintaining a completely demon-free psyche is a most pleasant way to live. Takes a lot of effort and bandwidth, but I'm already spending that in pretty much that direction anyway. I am just at the point where the self-maintenance energy I've accustomed myself to always exerting can be distributed in a more efficient manner.

Enough for now. I have the usual shitload to do and pitiful little time to do it in.

Tuesdays With Abhorrent Fiends vol. 38 (final edition?)

This blog has been up for almost four years now, which is a heckuva long time for a blog. I know it's only been a few days since I last posted, but I've been thinking about a lot of stuff in those few days.

People react to life changes in many different ways, and one of my reactions to Dad's death was to throw myself more firmly into work. To "buy in" in the sense of becoming emotionally committed to an organization in a way I've never really done before. I've seen other people who go through the motions, don't invest their emotions in their roles at work, and end up hopping from job to job in a vain search for that perfect "government work" type position where they can get adequately paid for doing virtually nothing at all. Some do find it. I've seen other people commit heedlessly or thoughtlessly, pouring themselves into job roles where their talents may be misused or where people of the first type abuse them shamelessly until they're burned out. Some of those, too, get lucky and find a job where neither the manipulation nor the risk of burnout is severe enough to grind them to a halt.

Perhaps that dead Greek guy was right (don't recall whether it was Aristotle or Plato) that virtue lies in the median between the two extremes of any quality a person can have. Then let us say I've moved a smidge closer to the "job commitment" pole of the spectrum in search of virtue.

Leaving the question of virtue aside, this development has had the effect of vastly reducing my internet time. I had been accustomed all through my work life to getting the bulk of my websurfing time on the job. Maybe the lack of a second computer at home has decreased my web time. Maybe it's just that I have Dave there, with whom I can chill and hang out for long periods of time without strain, as opposed to Dad, from whom I did tend to hide a bit after the first two or three hours of nightly discourse. (Discourse in this case mostly means listening.)

So I am starting to ask myself, have I really got the minerals to support two blogs? I mostly need a blog, in practice, as a reasonably safe and central place to store any poetry or lyrics I happen to come up with. Considering the beginnings of this blog and the mental territory it has traversed, is this the representation of myself I want to put forward? However nice it may make me feel to imagine all that is an expression of "cards on the table" honesty, I wonder if it isn't something closer to intellectual mastrubation. Because you, the handful of people who actually bother to read the thing, are there because you like me as a real person. Not because my text is germane to the interests you are pursuing in your own life.

And maybe that, too, is another thought that's been leading me down this track. I've had a good run with my blog being my personal brainvomit station. It has been a very important therapeutic tool. But having a blog as a therapeutic tool isn't enough anymore.

It rather amuses me that what bubbled this post up out of my emotional soup on the matter was something that happened over at Accidental Historian. Some guy who Geds had reason to know from real life (I'll spare the details) took it into his head to leave religiony comments on some posts. These were not content-rich comments; rather the jist of them went something like, "I'm going to completely ignore the points you are attempting to make, restructure the discussion according to my pet definitions, and then condescendingly chide you for not toeing the moral line I have helpfully imputed here for you." None of my comments over there actually altered the discussion, to be sure. As I said to Dave yesterday, I got all amped up and took it into my head that the level of discourse could be raised, when I should have stuck to observed facts and participated in lowering it.

What that tells me about me is that I yearn for hatting. Pine for it. The mere presence of a reasonably articulate troll sent me into spasms of text. Not that I should feel bad about my reaction exactly--look at the example of the great discoursers of Western history. Socrates had an endless stream of trollish Athenians of wealth and influence (not to mention youth and stupidity) to spark his mischievous Muse. Shakespeare had Spencer and Will Kemp and all the other leading lights of the Elizabethan theater circuit, who all fought tooth and nail for market share and hung onto legal legitimacy by the skin of their teeth. (But oh, did Elizabethans ever have skin on their teeth.) Even the mighty Jesus had the Pharisees to kick around.

But they all went out and earned their own debate partners, both the noble wit-matchers and the blustering trolls. I should not be attempting to bogart the trolls of my friends! I should be attracting my own with the irresistible lure of my shiny content!

Which means I should probably be doing it somewhere else. Not here, where some of the painfullest and most ludicrous of my thoughts and deeds are recorded right here in gray and white (formerly tan and darker tan).

I believe that it is time for me to consider either moving to my other blog in its entirely, or deactivating both and inaugurating a new blog. A blog of splendor and magnificence. A blog worthy to be my workbook 2.0 for my next big project now that I've finished denizen and CONSUMER--my first-ever prose project. A blog worthy, in short, of the Anatomy of Trust.

but the ghost

There's a longer, more descriptive story that goes with this song, but it's not going up here. I may put it in the official, totally unaffiliated blog if I have time. But for you, the lyrics. Which in my opinion are the meat, without which all the bread and cheese of my prose and narrative are hardly worth biting into.
(edited so the words match the ones I've taken to singing)
(edit to put in a new verse I wrote in, like, August or September or something--the one about the cat)

[but the ghost]

lost my hat
missed a funeral
missed it like hell
ate by the train
wait by the station
feel so fat
without my stubborn I'd be
death on toast

lost my cat
jumped out the window
landed all right
she learned to fly
if she can do it, honey
so can I
broke my back, but I got
so damn close

lost my dad
missed his departure
miss his cooking
borrowed his boat
feel so stupid that I
gave it back
we all did nothing, 'fraid I
did that most

lost my nerve
missed my stop
kept on moving
all the same
bastard told me, honey
it's your game
don't have to give up nothin' darling
but the ghost

happy to help

I already told Dave this whole story, and he made me feel much better and was very encouraging. However I think I still need to write about it to get it all settled in my mind.

Yesterday I was "in the shits" as we like to say here at work. Which is to say, I was totally freaked out. Good may come of it, but that remains to be seen.

We just this month instituted a new Purchase Orders system for keeping track of alcohol purchases. Theoretically, the manager puts together a purchase order when they order wine and gives it to me to set up in the accounting software. When the wine is delivered, the manager then staples the purchase order to the invoice and gives it to me to enter and match with the purchase order file. Then I take the now-accounted-for invoice and put it in my binder. There it will theoretically remain until I go through the binder, determine that it has been paid, and move it to the long-term storage cabinet in the other room.

In practice the managers have been creating purchase orders in my accounting software and doing it wrong, mostly because I haven't shown them how to do it properly. Often the purchase order is not created until the manager has the invoice in their hands. And the alcohol invoices binder is something I just haven't messed with. It is a filing disaster area that I have not really touched in months. The managers often go through it, pulling out invoices to check prices, see which wines we ordered etc. Of course if we had the PO system all together they could just look through those and get the same info...but since the purchase orders are often created incorrectly, sometimes not created, etc that is not yet feasible.

And, as I discovered yesterday, sometimes for some unknown reason, the alcohol invoices end up in my binder without me ever having laid eyes on them. Which is not just against procedure. It means that the money we spent in that invoice has not been put into the accounting software at all.

Which means that when I went to make the month-end report on everything we spent in June so main boss could bring it to the managers' meeting, the number I gave him was WRONG. Like, by about half. I've been struggling the last couple of months to give him correct numbers on our labor expenditures. First because the detailed reports we get from the payroll company are confusing and hard to interpret, and second because I had no idea which parts of our expenditure were the important ones that needed to be tracked in the report. Pretax wages, after tax wages, tips, employer portion of tax, etc. Very confusing. So I was concentrating so hard on finally getting the labor numbers right (which I did) that I didn't think it necessary to go back and re-check the physical files on the alcohol numbers (over which, as I've established above, I do not have control).

Main boss comes back from attempting to start the managers meeting and drops the end-of-month report on my desk and goes something like "What is this? I told you so many times to pay attention to what you are doing." I object that this was what I got out of my accounting software, to which he replies something like, "This number is not right, it can't be right. Go back through the invoices and do it again."

Which was upsetting to me in and of itself. But when I discovered the actual state the files were in I freaked right the fuck out. Lisa was trying to talk me through it but I was crying in my anger and wouldn't calm down, so she went to get big Z. He was very nice about it even though I actually yelled at him at one point and at another said some very negative things about myself, in the vein of "I can't do my job and this is just more proof of that." And he helped me calm down enough to attempt to come up with a plan. Which is of course the same plan, in its general broad outlines, that main boss has been telling me for months that I need to do, but given me absolutely no suggestions as to how I can bring it about in practice.

But I'm still just so angry.

Because in order to keep up with the filing aspects of my job I need to become supremely unhelpful to other people whose jobs have little to do with mine. This means not answering phones, printing menus, taking reservations over the phone, digging up receipt copies for customers, any of the dozen things I do throughout the day to make other people's lives easier. I really, really suck at saying no. Especially when the things asked of me are reasonable and well within my ability and will harm the restaurant if no one does them. I need to eliminate words from my vocabulary like "sure, no problem", "any time" and "happy to help." And I like those words. I like the way they make other people feel about me.

Now I'm going to go punch in and start filing like my ass is on fire. 'Scuse me.

thought it was the 4th of July (till I got a calendar)

Still no clue what's going down on the 4th. Of July, you know.

Been posting less at work lately, for a very good reason. Main boss had a chat with me last week about how he'd like to see me be a little more focused and organized and things. And it did occur to me that I have been coasting a little bit here. Just a smidge, you understand. Too much internetting and not enough caring about worky stuff.

Today we got another calendar from Yamasho! They're a fish vendor form whom we only occasionally buy some fish. But they have these gorgeous calendars that they give out as customer appreciation gifts and I was worried we wouldn't get one this year. Each month has a like a 24"x36" photo of a natural scene somewhere in Japan, like a lake or trees or a mountain or a waterfall or something. They're printed on glossy translucent plastic film which, when separated from the calendar, is friggin perfect to put up on a window to block on the harsh, direct sunlight. Now, I'm a gal who likes pretty pictures of nature, doesn't own too many window treatments, and has massive high windows that are a pain in the ass to keep covered. So getting this calendar in July is like an Xmas in July present. Because I have to remove exactly half of the pretty pictures on their translucent plastic film in order to display the current month. And, O! The poor lonely pretty pictures have no place to go except home with me! :D

Feeling a bit crampy today but it hasn't dampened my spirits. I leave that to the positively muggy climate in the office. Seems no matter how angry lady boss gets at our regular AC guy for breaking his repeated promises to her, he is still on vacation and the AC in the office is still not fixed. As she has said to him repeatedly on the phone, it seems like the whole summer's going to be gone before we'll have air conditioning down here.