Friday, March 31, 2006


More wisteria.....less hysteria

They're in bloom everywhere right now. Posted by Picasa


Wisteria... and wistful

Ok, I've been in a cruddy mood the last couple of weeks. For reasons I don't really want to go into here, I've been more than a little depressed.

Maybe that's about to change soon. I have a weekend trip planned to see the family in April, hopefully I'll be out of this stall at work soon, and with the time change it won't be dark every night by the time I get home.

But whatever it takes, I've got to get out of this funk somehow. I feel positively toxic.

I know I'm in trouble when I start looking for software to buy. Other women buy shoes when they're low. I buy graphics applications. It's a sickness. LOL Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Succulents....and things that suck

Caught this shot on the beach last week. It's a very pretty plant with sharp barbs that will tear you right up if you're not careful.

Suits my mood tonight.

Came back to the office from a week away to discover that new name plates had been made for myself and the other members of the ID team. They were very pretty, and much ado was made about them.

There was only one problem with mine. They got my name wrong, and no one-- not my co-workers, my boss, or anyone else who saw the sign beside my door-- noticed until I got back from Miami. You would have been proud of me. I didn't go ballistic, I simply sent an e-mail complimenting the work and pointing out the error as an FYI.

This just sucks. I've been on this project for 18 months. The person who created the signs is someone I've worked with on a few small projects, and with whom I trade e-mail on a fairly regular basis. I suspect she could actually pick me out of a lineup even if everyone else in the group wasn't male and not caucasian. I'm actually her go-to person when she needs technical or practical assistance with imaging, presentation tools, Visio, graphics.... Iver the past year and a half, I've provided communications with high-res photos, shot at least a dozen different project events.....We attend a 2-hour group meeting together every single week. But she clearly doesn't know my name.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

When I pointed it out to her, she very graciously corrected it, but that's not the point. This was not a "slip of the fingers" typo unless her fingers are 6 inches across and hollow in the center. The P is on the second row on the right side of the keyboard, the B is on the fourth row in the center. The woman is in the communications department, has worked with me for months , and she doesn't know my freaking last name and/or didn't think to verify the spelling on the e-mail address book.

Remember that long-winded post about being **in** an environment every day but not really being a part of it? Welcome to my world. This is just one more example.

There's a "team social event" going on at a local tavern tonight. Gee, I wonder why I'm not just dancing in my shoes to get over there? I don't need free appetizers enough to play the game tonight. I'd be surly and cranky and if I had a drink might be tempted to tell the unvarnished truth...which is never a good career move.

I'm so tired of this stupidity. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss the people I love. I miss feeling like I'm "home" when I go to sleep at night. I really don't know how much more of this project I can take. I'm **so** not sure I can do this for another year.

I'm not burned out yet, but I'm definitely getting a little crispy around the edges. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


South Beach People Watching

I love this photo.... for so many reasons. I probably have absolutely nowhere to use it other than this blog, but it is such a classic image of the beach during Spring Break.... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Primary colors

Is it a trick of the light here? I was talking with several of the other photographers and the surreal intensity of the colors in our images taken Tuesday was reality. The water *was* really that green, the sky that blue. Posted by Picasa


Selective focus

In life, and photography, the trick is to stay focused on what's most important. Posted by Picasa


Just Beachy!

The beachy version of the splash logo. A little water, a little beach glass, some sand, water and waves.

Returning to Tally tonight. Conference was wonderful, my favorite classes were with John Paul Caponigro and Vincent Versace. Caught up with both Ben and Bert. Met some new folks I hope will stay in touch (and some who probably won't) and had dinner with a fascinating guy who works for Olympus last night. We talked cameras and families and travel and was just like being a grownup. And nobody said "PeopleSoft" for a whole week. :-)

My cellphone got wet in Thursday's downpour and is trashed. I'm off to get a new one. Bluetooth, probably, so I can get one of those cool ear things. Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 24, 2006


Intense colors/ Intensely annoyed at the Deauville

Another shot from the trip to the zoo. The colors are not enhanced. Those are the real colors.

PSW continues to be a great experience, even though the weather tanked today. Got thoroughly soaked three times today, and every pair of shoes I brought is damp. Hope they dry out by morning.

Bought a couple of good books, talked to Ben and Bert, made friends with someone at O'Reilly...

Wednesday night's "Dinner with a Stranger" was fascinating. A really diverse and interesting bunch, a nice restaurant, (Tiramesu) good conversation...

My Deauville experience has been all over the map. Not really bad, just annoying. I've certainly stayed in worse hotels, but there's just something so ...chintzy... going on here. Small irritations. The TV that works perfectly in the bar, but not in my room. The byzantine internet access setup. The crappy toiletries in the bathroom. The little surcharges for services any other hotel would comp. The non-existent customer service.

Case in point--- It was raining cats and dogs tonight, so I wanted to eat here in the hotel rather than going elsewhere. The cafe was closed at 7PM, so I went to the lobby bar. There were maybe 6 other people in there, all watching the basketball game. The menu was mostly soups (2), salads (4) sandwiches (5) and appetizers (4 or 5) -- not a really extensive menu, and, while not a bargain, not really overpriced for a resort town. I had some soup, a veggie quesadilla and some iced tea.

When my check came, they had automatically added an 18% tip to my check. Why? who knows? It's like the $7/day "resort fee" that supposedly pays for my beach towels and the use of the hotel safe, and the surcharge ($10/day) for internet access. Nickel and dime-ing you to freaking death. In this case, however, this attitude turned out to be counterproductive, as I usually tip 20% or more after dark. I did not increase the gratuity. Why? Because as I'd passed through the lobby, I'd seen the sign on the bell captain's desk. Bag storage is $1 per bag per day. Not enough to be outrageous, just enough to be annoying. I'm sorry, but in a hotel where the rooms start at $200/night, that's just plain rude and tacky.

As a guest, these policies are like Chinese Water Torture. Maybe there are some cheap bastards out there who were never taught to tip bellmen, housekeepers, and waiters appropriately. I, however, am not one of them. I travel 50 weeks a year. I have learned the long-term value of taking care of the people who take care of me. If the cheap losers are a problem for your staff, raise your base rates and pay them appropriately, but don't play bait and switch with me.

I calculated the "real" rate for my room, and in the end, the Deauville's no bargain, by any means--- especially when half the amenities don't work properly, I cannot use their crappy soap or shampoo unless I want to smell like inmate # 4567345, and my upgraded oceanfront room apparently has a ghost who randomly flushes the toilet and scares the life out of you in the middle of the night.

Ahhh, life on the road. The glamour! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Golden Glory

Not all the wonders of the zoo were animals. Posted by Picasa


New Friends, Old Friends

Some of my buddies from the Nikon event Posted by Picasa


Dawn on Miami Beach

This is what I awakened to this morning... It took everything in me to leave my balcony and go to my meeting.

I need moments like this to make the stressful and the mundane elements of my life manageable. Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 20, 2006


Another Birthday Poster Parody

Seemed appropriate for a former English teacher. Posted by Picasa


Shaun the Piper

Party at Chez Pierre Posted by Picasa


Kilted in Tally

A shot from the local St. Pat's parade Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 19, 2006


What they don't tell you in business school....

In the past week, I have attended 2 baby showers, a bridal shower, a going-away party, and 2 birthday parties. In every instance, I either contributed food for a potuluck or purchased a gift (or both). At every event, it was requested that I bring my camera and "take a few snapshots."

It's called being a team player.

I actually know 50% of these people. The other 50% are co-workers I see perhaps once a month--if that often-- in meetings. At more than one of these social events, I've had people say things to me like, "I didn't know you had children!" (There are pictures of my kids and grandkids on my desk, and getting me to talk about my kids isn't hard.)

There is something really odd about all this for me. I'm not a curmudgeon. I don't hate babies or brides or people who are celebrating birthdays, and I'm not cheap or antisocial. I'm actually very social, and most folks would say I'm generous and supportive. But it's the artificial nature of the relationships we form in the workplace that feels "off" to me.

I've spent more than 17 months on this project, working with these people. Two Christmasses, 2 birthdays, 2 New Years Days, 2 Halloweens, 2 St. Patrick's days, 2 Thanksgivings, 2 Valentine's Days, etc. In that time, I've seen one son married, one grandchild adopted, one born, and am preparing for the birth of a third. There is an inner circle of about 15 folks who know those things about me, but the majority have no clue who I am between the hours of 5PM and 8 AM.

It is a delicate balancing act, still, for women in the workplace. In order to be credible, you have to appear strong and in all times. Yet go too far in that direction, and you are branded "cold" and "unapproachable." A guy would be called "remote" or "enigmatic." A woman risks being branded a "bitch." It's even more complicated as a consultant.

So on the surface, I am social, even gregarious at times. My camera and I go to parties, buy gifts, make jokes....At my core, however, I am essentially private. It is a choice that I have had to make. I cannot afford to connect on any deep personal level with most of the people I encounter in the workstream, because this is not my home, my community, my stable base.

There is a reason people burn out as consultants. Particularly single people. It is the isolation.
There is something soul destroying about being constantly in an environment but not really part of it. I suspect it would be different if, like my married counterparts, I was going home on the weekend to a spouse and family... but neither a weekend spent frantically traveling to end up in another empty residence, or one here in Tally in an anonymous apartment has a lot of appeal. Some singles do the bars, but that was never my scene, and Tally's nightlife is geared toward 20-somethings or couples.

It leaves you feeling very fragile and brittle and alone. There are days when I wish I drank. The idea of getting numb sounds good. Which is why I won't do it. Why I can't let myself do it.

I've been battling some personal demons and crises in recent weeks, but the problems are not of a sort I would feel comfortable discussing with the people in my work life. I am perhaps more open here, in this realm of anonymous strangers, than I can afford to be with the people with whom I share 40 hours a week.

I'll get through it. I always do. By myself.

I keep coming back to the poem by Edgar Allen Poe that I first discovered at age 10 or so.

From childhood's hour
I have not been
As others were
I have not seen
As others saw
I could not bring
My passions from a common spring
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow
I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone
And all I lov'd, I lov'd alone

Then — in my childhood —
in the dawn
Of a most stormy life —
was drawn From ev'ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still
From the torrent, or the fountain
From the red cliff of the mountain
From the sun that 'round me roll'd
In its autumn tint of gold
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass'd me flying by
From the thunder, and the storm
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view —

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Seinyard Restaurant

Had lunch there yesterday with a group of co-workers celebrating an associate's birthday.

Or rather, the rest of my party had lunch.... I waited an hour and a half for a grilled chicken breast and a side of cheese grits.... I finally asked them to wrap it to go, as I had to get back to the office.

Note to self: cheese grits do not travel well in a styrofoam clamshell takeout container. Especially when the clamshell also contains paper napkins, aluminum foil, and a dinner roll. They all tend to congeal together into a substance that vaguely resembles unset concrete.

The company was exemplary. The service was....a great deal less than acceptable.

I have no idea whether the food was good or not. By the time I got it back to my office it was not in acceptable condition to be eaten.

The manager offered to mail me a coupon for a free meal. I politely declined. In order to use the coupon, I'd have to go back. Somehow, I don't see that happening.

Evidently, I'm not the only one who has had a less than wonderful experience there.
WCTV Seinyard Restaurant

Monday, March 13, 2006


Get by with a little help....

from my friends.

Got called to snap pics at another party today. Not one of the better images, here.... Carl looks like he's auditioning for the lead in Little Orphan Annie with those blown out eyes.

I know I have at least 2 more parties I'm supposed to photograph this week.... It's a good thing I learned all that stuff about software and instructional design--- maybe I should have taken up party planning and catering, instead. Posted by Picasa


I don't often get the urge to put balloons on my pictures, but there was something about this flock of seagulls that were visiting the lake that just brought out my anthropomorphic bent.


Duck, Duck Goose

snapped at a park not far from here.

Cultural diversity among waterfowl? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Suwanee Cooters Theatre Re-enacts Titanic

I have a sick sense of humor Posted by Picasa


What posesses some folks?

I snapped this image at a St. Patrick's Day event.

What would posess an adult old enough to have gray hair to bring a leprechaun doll to a parade and use its little hand to wave at the parade formations as they pass by?

Don't get me wrong....On the scale of human foibles, it's pretty far down on the list of oddities, but it's just one of those things that makes you say, "Am I missing something here, or do other people think this actually makes sense?"

Don't ask me why, but when I saw this all I could think of was South Park's "Mr. Hat" puppet.

(For all you non-South Park fans out there, Mr. Hat is the hand puppet that Mr. Garrison, the kids' kindergarten teacher, carries nearly constantly. As Garrison's alter-ego, Hat says and does all the things that Garrison is afraid to say and do, and takes the blame/responsibility for anything from which Garrison wants to distance himself.)

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Happy Birthday, Charles

Yesterday was also the birthday of a favorite co-worker.
As is my custom, I immortalized the day with a pop-culture poster. Posted by Picasa


Erin and Ben's Shower

Some of the nicest people I know were honored a t a wedding shower this week.

Happiest wishes to you both, always. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Equal Time-- Another Mythical Warrior

In a previous post, I talked about the origin of my younger son's name... well, his older brother bears the name of another legendary warrior.... George.

I'm going to be frank...I would not have named my eldest "George" had I been given any choice in the matter. It's not a bad name to have at 20, or 30, or 60-- but it's tough to look at an infant in a cradle and call him George. But it was his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather's name, and I was outvoted.

While the legend of St. George and the dragon is incredibly parallel to that of Michael and Lucifer, and it may have played some part in the naming of some man in his father's family somewhere along the line, this son was actually named for real people.

He was an incredibly easy baby, and a sunny toddler. About age 2, he started to become, as my mother would have said, "a handful" but he was never cruel or mean-- he was just something of a blockhead and had absolutely no concept of cause and effect. He was not best pleased by the arrival of Michael, and made his displeasure apparent in numerous ways-- several of which required a trip to the ER for the treatment of minor injuries-- both on his part and Mike's. (Ironically, these incidents would taper off as Michael grew older. As their Mom, I want to believe that it was because the 2 grew closer as they grew up. Pragmatically, it was probably because by the time they were in first grade, Mike could dish out as good as he got.)

His curiosity and "creative problem solving" landed him in hot water more than once. The "Spiderman Incident" that dropped him off the porch and into my rosebushes six feet below comes immediately to mind. The special locks that we had to put on the second floor windows to prevent him from removing the screens and crawling out on to the roof-- at age three-- and the time he dumped a 30-gallon aquarium because he was trying to "pet the fish" both speak to his determination and fearlessness.

George was, and is, a gentle soul at heart. He's smarter than he gives himself credit for being. Like all young people, he has not made it through his 20's without a few stumbles and false starts, but I look at him in the context of the folks his age whom I encounter professionally, and he's doing far better than "just fine." He has good friends who support him and to whom he provides support. He's learned an openness and spontenaity that I could never have taught him. He loves his daughter with an intensity that is a joy to behold. Olivia is the making of him. Just as I always say that my sons were the best thing to ever happen to me, I suspect in 30 years George will be saying the same about Olivia.

I had a conversation with him yesterday, and it was the highlight of my day. He's funny and upbeat, and he makes me smile even on days when there isn't a lot to smile about. Whether it's a silly turn of phrase ("I told her it was just a random Mother apparition, not a planned event") or his take on Olivia's pre-language babble ("She looks at you as though you're the nutjob because you don't understand her, then repeats the exact same thing with exactly the same inflection three times because she knows--isn't it sad?-- you're so incredibly slow and stupid.")

Love ya, kid. You're my hero. Posted by Picasa


What's in a name?

When my younger son was born, two months too early and very much "Not Ready for Prime Time" the doctor said to me, "He's got some challenges ahead of him. He needs to be a fighter."

His father and I had not settled on a name for him-- we still had 2 months to make a decision, after all. The Irish-sounding names that I liked-- Gerad, Brendan, Geoffrey-- were not to my husband's liking. We had almost agreed upon John, in honor of both my Grandfather and his beloved Great Uncle who was in his last days as the birth of our child approached, but neither of us was really thrilled with the idea. Neither of us was fond of "trendy" names, particularly for boys, and classics like Christopher, David and others had been kicked around... but we were still undecided.

Then I saw my son for the first time. Preemies are not pretty babies. He had the body of a spider monkey and the face of a 60-year old man--- most precisely, my father. (At 21, my son would look so much like his grandfather it was uncanny, but even at 20 minutes the resemblance was clear) My father's name was Stanley. Not only is Stanley a rather horrid name, but there were at that time already three in the family.

But, I thought as I looked at this tiny scrap of humanity fighting to breathe with lungs too small, too weak, and not fully formed, that Dad's middle name was Michael-- and that was a name for a warrior.

The first school I ever attended was St. Michael's. Though I was only enrolled there for a year and I was five at the time, I have very clear memories of staring in awe at the statue of Michael the Archangel on the grounds. This was not a prissy, angelic countenance, but a buff superhero in full Roman battle dress, standing at attention with his hands crossed upon the hilt of his sword-- the point of which was embedded in the head of a serpent. I also remembered the prayer to St. Michael said every morning which included the phrase

Healer of the sick,
Help of those in their agony,
God’s messenger for the souls of the just,
Terror of the evil spirits,
Victorious in battle against evil

So Michael it was... and is. Today he's still a fighter, though he does it in a courtroom as a prosecutor. He is always in my thoughts, but even more so when I captured these 2 images of Michael recently. The one above is from Mission San Luis de Apalachee and is a reproduction of one that was used in the 17th century to teach the indigenous Apalachees about Christianity. I liked it because although the angel is a bit to soft-looking for my taste, he balances power with justice.

There is another Michael the Archangel I've photographed recently. It is an icon from Holy Mother of God Greek Orthodox Church.** He is a bit more stern, and even looks a bit like my own Michael... long and lean and with eyes that seem to see everything... and he carries his sword in readiness, but balances it with the scroll-- in the traditional symbolism of icons, wisdom.

Mike's got a few challenges ahead of him right now. But he's got the right stuff to deal with it all-- strength, wisdom, courage, determination, and a well-grounded sense of fairness and compassion.

If I don't say it out loud often enough, my sons are incredible men, and I'm proud to know them. I love them more than I can ever say.

**(I really like iconic art a great deal and photograph Orthodox and Byzantine churches whenever I get the chance. There is a gallery of my visit to HMOG at by Picasa

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Bless me, father, for I have sinned.......

.....It has been one week since my last blog.

(Only kids who went to Catholic school will get the joke)

Sometimes my life just gets too crazy to cope with..and, for heaven's sake, do I really want to rehash it enough to report on it here?

All together now, "Hell, no!"

That has been my life this past week. Family issues, personal issues, job issues..... the fun just never stopsAnd, trust me, you didn't want to know anyway.
The only ray of sunshine has been the final resolution of the car stuff.

I love having my own car back. So much so that I took it on a short road trip the other day to be sure that everything was working properly before I signed off on the paperwork for the insurance company. The only "issue" was that I have a theft deterrent stereo system and I couldn't find my reset code. A call to Honda customer care resolved the issue, and I now have tunes and books on tape/CD in the car again. Life still is insane, but you take pleasure in the small victories when you can.

The "short road trip" took me to Valdosta, GA... a little over an hour from here. I've put up a gallery of images from Valdosta-- which is a pretty little city just over the state line-- on my Photography page. Posted by Picasa

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