Friday, July 31, 2009

TGIF Photo Friday & Ethnic Slurs

Gladys remarked (yet again) about how tan my arms are. Today, however, she added "You look like a little dago." HAHAHA!

Photo Friday isn't very exciting, but this is what I need to put out there this week. Maybe it will help me break out of some bad habits I've developed over the past few weeks.

Is that me? What? I'm a runner?? Interesting. Perhaps then maybe I should...oh, I don't

Friendly reminder to Self: This is what you look like when you eat whatever you want whenever you want (who eats a lobster roll at Fenway? Seriously?) and don't move much. Stop eating crappy food and start running. Chubbiness lurks...but it is 100% preventable.

Happy Weekending. Maybe I'll try to fit in a run....if I can remember how.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Frisky Freddie

97-year-old Freddie just sang a love song to me as I sat down to visit with him. He told me that singing made him feel happy. I agreed with him, telling him that I often start the day by singing in the shower.

At the word shower, he hesitated only briefly before raising his eyebrows in exaggerated fashion and saying "well, now that is a little out of my jurisdiction."

Friday, July 24, 2009

TGIF Photo Friday

Here are some shots from this year's circus, taken by a friend of mine who is both a photographer and a clown. Not many people can put both of those titles on a business card.

This is the only 7-person pyramid in the world comprised of all females. It was taken from the catwalk. It is an amazing feat, performed by young girls all under the age of 19.

I love this picture because it was always one of my favorite acts to perform. I wish I was still that bendy! The hoop is hanging by the neck of her upside-down partner.

This was also taken from the catwalk, and shows how big our circus band is. All volunteers, and all fun.

And these little piggies....well, I like to play my flute barefoot. What can I say? At least the red polish covers the dark purple toes, still courtesy of Grandma's Marathon. (and I have no idea why he snapped pictures of my feet, but like I said, the guy is a clown.)

Photographer credit: Thank, C U Smile!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

From one circus to another...

The thought has occurred to me before that being at Rock Ridge has great similarities to the circus, so I'm not feeling sad about Circus Week ending. For me it seems to have continued right on into this week, which has been insanely busy. Or just insane. That would be an apt description as well.

I have spent most days this week avoiding Little Miss Chatterbox, whose daughter apparently told her she had dementia. So now LMC wants to remove said daughter as her POA and also wants to talk and talk and talk and talk some more about it. (Random question: Does anyone think it’s a good idea to tell someone with dementia that they have dementia? In case you aren’t sure…the answer is no. As in NO WAY.) I’ve never bitch-slapped anyone, well I don’t even really know what a bitch-slap is, but if I did and I was going to….I would bitch-slap Little Miss Chatterbox’s daughter.

I've also spent a good amount of time reassuring Gladys that I'm going to kick some Naomi ass because that dead bag keeps stealing her stuff. It makes Gladys giggle when I tell her I’m going to beat up Naomi, and she giggles even harder when I show her my guns. Even when she has told me a million times in one day that Naomi stole all of her makeup, I love her like crazy.

Tomorrow I’m going to Boston, for what I'm guessing will be another circus-similar experience. I have a family reunion this weekend. I’m sure I’ll have a story. Or four.

Happy Weekending!

Friday, July 17, 2009

TGIF Photo Friday

I wish I had to time to find and scan some old circus pictures, but all I have right now is this group picture taken in 1989. Trust me, I'm in there. You can't miss the hair.

This was a few years ago in the "back lot," which is where all the kids hang out waiting for their act to go on. We have a big circus family! Hubby was the back lot door nazi, my sister (in purple) was a rigger, my niece was a performer, I played in the band, and my mom was an usher. My dad was just along for the show in this picture, but he used to rig when my sibs and I performed. Fun stuff.

Happy Weekending! I'll be at the circus!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

May All Your Days Be Circus Days

Our town is steeped in circus history, dating back to 1884 when the local livery owner opened the Wallace and Company’s Great World’s Menagerie and International Circus. It was a huge success and soon grew to be one of the largest and most renowned circuses in American history, using our hometown as headquarters. Many circuses followed suit using the town as their winter quarters because of our convenient location on both a river and a railroad. History continued to be made here for the next sixty years until 1941, when Ringling Brothers bought out the small shows, still struggling to recover from the Depression. Our history is amazing, really. An important piece of Americana… right here in our small Midwestern town.

In 1959, some townsfolk got together and asked the retired circus people who still lived in the community if they would be willing to train a few high-school aged kids to perform acts. They wanted to put on a circus to celebrate our great circus history. The circus people agreed, and that first performance on the courthouse lawn has grown over the past 50 years into an amateur circus with a permanent big top and 200 kids performing annually every third week in July.

So, it’s Circus Week! This is a week when “circus kids” come home. It’s a week when doctors, lawyers, dads, moms and hundreds of other volunteers take off their normal hat and put on the hat of usher, rigger, bandleader, ringmaster, wardrobe mistress, ticket seller, or any of the other countless titles that help make the Greatest Amateur Show on Earth come alive. This is a week when you see everyone you ever knew in your whole life.

Circus Week never fails to awash me in nostalgia. I find my mind’s eye looking fondly upon my tiny 7-year-old self with my hands gripped around an equally tiny trapeze bar. I see a 13-year-old me being tossed between two upside-down boys with big muscles high above a net. I see my 18-year-old self hanging by nothing but my toes 30 feet in the air…and loving every minute of it. I loved hanging upside down and hurriedly searching for the faces of my parents, knowing right where they would be….every single night. I loved nailing a difficult trick, performing it perfectly, my cheeks almost hurting because my smile was so wide, yet quickly slipping out of the role of performer to hurry back into the arena to watch my little sister do her act. I would hold my breath as she flew through the air, only exhaling when her hands connected with the catcher. It wasn’t just my sister I would watch. We all watched each other. This was special…this support of performers. We were all one, everyone wanting everyone else to catch the trick, do their best. We would stand in clusters with our fingers crossed, sending out good circus juju to our brothers and sisters in sequins with nothing being more important than that very moment. We never wanted to see anyone fail, and if someone missed you could hear a hundred kids all groan in sympathy. That collective sense of being a part of something undoubtedly helped shape me into the adult I am today. I also think that is the same thing that keeps everyone coming back year after year.

This is my 30th year of involvement with the Amateur Circus. In some way, every year since that seven year old girl with pigtails put on a pretty costume and styled her first style, I’ve been back. Circus folk say that the sawdust gets in your blood, and I would have to agree. I can’t think of anything better to be infected with.

Friday, July 10, 2009

TGIF Photo Friday

Apparently a really important piece of equipment our maintenance man calls the "poop pump" has broken down. All I know is that it smells like shit in here. My eyes are watering and I'm distracted, so here's my quick post of the day.

My best girls, my best friend, my best cousin (carrying my godson!), and a really cute that order. Happy weekending!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

She keeps talking and talking and talking...

Little Miss Chatterbox, all 4’6” of her, is walking around wearing a long white lab coat. By long I mean it touches her ankles. She looks ridiculous…and where on earth she came up with a lab coat to wear, I’ll never know! (All I could do was shake my head and wonder for about the millionth time already this week "what the hell?" It's unbelievable how many times that phrase echoes through my mind on any given day at Rock Ridge!)

Anyway, nothing gets by Gladys. She made some comment to Little Miss Chatterbox, and although I couldn't hear what she said, apparently it referenced the lab coat. So now, all I can hear is the low whine of Little Miss Chatterbox’s grating voice buzzing outside my office. “Well, sure it’s bright and white. Anything can be if you wash it right. No one does laundry right anymore, that’s the trouble. People just buy new clothes because they don’t know how to do the washing, well I say that’s a shame. I only have what I have and nothing more, and I don’t need anymore because I know how to do the washing. My daughter says I need some new clothes but I say what’s the use in that as long as I can take care of what I have and taking care of it means knowing how to do the wash. I’ve had this blouse since 1979 and it still looks brand new and that’s because I take care of what I have.” I've said it before, but this woman’s oratory capability is absolutely astounding. All that in about five seconds and without taking a breath…and she’s still droning on.

How I wish Gladys could remember my advice to never, ever, ever initiate a conversation with LMC! Damn Alzheimer's.

Friday, July 3, 2009

TGIF Photo Friday

Since the employee issue has left me exhausted and I'd really, really, really like to leave work early today...I don't have much to say! Good thing it's Photo Friday.

Ha! I'd forgotten all about this picture! It was taken when I graduated with my masters in 2006. That look on my face? Me trying to wake up from the catotonic state caused by my thesis. I didn't even know this picture existed until last year, when someone sent me a brochure they had received from the university. That's right...I'm in the brochure! Me, a model!? I was feeling pretty good about myself until I realized the brochure is targeted toward returning adult students, or the mature student, if you will. Ouch.

(I've got them fooled.)

Happy Fourth!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

HR Sucks

This week I'm dealing with one mega pain-in-the-ass employee...the kind of employee who, no matter what, is never wrong. She is always the victim and it's always someone else's fault. This person lives with so much drama in her life it makes me dizzy. I've counseled her so many times....and she sits there looking at me with a blank face. She always acts shocked about whatever the topic is, always denies any wrong-doing, and usually strings together a bunch of stupid excuses that includes blaming other employees. She absolutely cannot hear what I'm saying. Sure, she hears me talking...but no listening takes place.

I really am a fair person. I always give employees the benefit of the doubt. I try to give people grace even in hard circumstances. I've had terrific bosses who have taught me the right way to coach someone how to perform better. My main goal in managing is that every employee will leave better than they came.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid that goal is unattainable with this employee. How do you get through to someone like this? Can you just tell someone that their negative energy follows them around like a black cloud? Is "passive agressive behavior" something for which you can write someone up? How do you teach someone not to talk shitty to other employees? How do you present valuable growth opportunities to someone who turns it around into being victimized, picked on, or treated unfairly? And to further complicate these questions....her actual work performance is good.

Two months ago, my regional director told me to fire this employee. Knowing her family situation, I just couldn't do it. I wanted her to have the chance to be better, to grow in her role. To save face. And now I'm having to deal with it all over again. Guess who's feeling like a big schmuck right now?