Friday, April 13, 2007

So It Goes

The surge of troops into Iraq has worked so well that there is a proposal to extend tours of duty by three months, from 12 to 15. Don Imus has been fired, and fired again, for stupidly thinking he could describe a women's collegiate team in a way that was politically incorrect, socially unacceptable, and realistically untrue (while 24 hour cable outlets have repeated the epithet so many times my brain has turned it into it's own sitcom jingle). We now know who fathered Anna Nicole's baby, and my baby got his first goose egg at daycare yesterday after horsing around with a classmate. And at some point, while all this was happening, Kurt Vonnegut passed away after long, interesting, and fairly incomprehensible life.

So it goes.

I'm still working on delivery for the project I've been working on for a year, and two weeks from now, will be completely done with the documentation for this particular effort. Then we go into evaluation and I began the documentation for another project. I was picked, inexplicably, as a winner for the department Excellence award at the Platinum award, meaning I receive a monetary award and trip for two to a swanky five-diamond resort in Florida for four days in May. While my teammates and boss are very excited for me, I feel a little strange about it, as if I drove the cement truck but they were the ones who laid the foundation and built the house. Then I tell myself to relax and go with it, stop being my own worst critic, and don't worry about expectations when staring at a blank PowerPoint slide and just do my thing.

This seems like an excellent time to bust out Jenn's five questions for me:
1. What's your favorite speech/drama memory from high school?
I've been mulling this one over for a week, since there are so many--each gavel I picked up; stopping at Ehrler's for ice cream whenever we were near; the year I managed to place 5th in the State and the weirdness Susan and I felt when I kept making it through each level when I had never dreamed I could be one of those kids but Susan knew all along I had the potential; the Cujo joke Susan, Isaac, and I shared while walking into the Pizza Hut in Shepherdsville that drew us some perplexed stares from the waitstaff, and other general memories of friendship, camaraderie, an amazing first kiss, and other assorted benchmarks of life that I can't imagine sharing with anyone other than the people who were in my life then.

Trying to narrow it to one, I go back to the one that pops up first: Some details are fuzzy. I think this was senior year, coming back Bowling Green for the State Tournament that year. I don't remember everyone in the car, but I know Mandi, Doug, and I were in the backseat and Susan was driving. This was odd, since I usually sat up front next to Susan, but this time someone else had that place. Doug was the only male, and we covered his head with my jacket while Mandi and I stripped off skirts and pantyhose to put on more comfortable clothing and shoes. Doug got bored and began clucking my name, "Buh-Buh-Buh-BeckEE!!" till Susan was crying with laughter. In general, we were having a grand old time as the sky got darker and darker and Susan began to wonder why we hadn't E-town yet on the Parkway. About that time, we spotted the sign for Shepherdsville--in all the fun, we'd missed the Parkway completely and kept moving up the 65!

This was before cellphones, so we just kept going, grabbed the Gene Snyder Expressway, and came down 64, getting to the high school at least an hour later than we should have (if not longer). Parents were worried, as were our fellow classmates, and it was pretty hard to explain exactly why we had missed the correct exit on a drive Susan had made at least 20 times.

On a somewhat related note--For some reason, I was the only person who could remember which exit to take off the Gene Snyder to get the Bullitt Central High School, the one that looped around and back. Other cars would always take the wrong one and have to turn around. After I graduated, Susan began taking the team to a different high school that weekend instead of Bullitt Central, and the location for Catholic Regionals changed. Coincidence? I think not.

2. If you were offered the chance to go back to college and finish up your degree, regardless of subject matter, what would you study and what would you do with that educational background?
I was thinking of this not too long ago, since I get tuition assistance as a perk and I want to finish my education. My decision was to major in History (or Historical Studies, or Humanities, I forget how ASU has it listed) with a minor in Religion or Cultural Studies. The schools I have available name the subjects differently in their curriculums. Basically, I want to learn more about the patterns of the people who live in this world, about the causes and effects of past actions, and understand how the religions we practice and the places we live influence our decisions and communication. It's something that interests me since I live in an area much different in racial population than where I grew up, and I work for a company where cultural differences can be slight, yet profound. For instance, my boss attended school in India and did well because intelligence was highly celebrated; as he put it, being a nerd was desirable. In my opinion, our culture celebrates and awards mediocrity over intelligence and effort. It just seems like a good idea to understand those overarching differences, especially if I want to continue in my line of work where that cultural divide is not going to go away.

3. What's the funniest thing C.J. has done so far?
He does something funny every day, so there's always a new one. Last Sunday, he had me cracking up when he was playing with his ball--it looks like a softball but is literally soft, stuffed with fiber and safe for playing in the house--anyway, he was about the throw it to me when He lifted his t-shirt and stuck his ball under it, then pulled the t-shirt down. Proportionally, he looked nine months pregnant with this huge round belly sticking way out, then he spread his hands and shook his head, "Where'd it go? Where'd it go?" I stammered out, while laughing, "It's under your shirt!" and he looked down and got this look of surprise, then exclaimed, "there it is!" This might seem strange, since he's only 2, but he was definitely trying to be funny, knew this was funny, and was completely committed to it. Plus, the visual was completely, perfectly absurd.

4. What's the most romantic thing Tom has ever done for you?
Again, lots of moments in nearly eleven years, so narrowing it down is difficult. We're not overt in our notions, but do more subtle things for each other--in other words, he might not give me a card or flowers for Mother's Day, but he'll wash all my laundry and cook my favorite steak for dinner, that kind of thing. When CJ was six months old and the last Harry Potter book came out (the day before my birthday), Tom watched CJ all day on my birthday so I could curl up and read, something I hadn't really done since CJ was born.

We've been getting ready for a yard sale in a couple weeks, and this weekend we were going through our books to decide what to keep and what to sell. I found the copy of The Bean Trees he gave me for one Christmas, with this inscription: "From a man who's very happy a certain Kentucky girl moved to Arizona." Still, for most romantic, I'd pick this example: Right after I moved out to AZ, I discovered I was missing one of my Eddings books, a hardcover copy of the Ruby Knight, that was irreplaceable. I didn't find out I missing it until I had finished a re-read of the book before it, so I was pretty upset. Months later, for our first Christmas, Tom gives me a present to open--a paperback copy of the book, with an apology that he couldn't find the hardback! He'd actually looked on the list in one my other Eddings books to see which one I was missing so he could replace it. A small thing to be sure, but it gave me a fairly good idea of the kind of person he was.

Ten years later, he hasn't proved me wrong on that.

5. What's your dream job?
I doubt it exists. It would give me tons of flexibility to work when and where I want, pay well enough that Tom could stay home and I wouldn't have to worry about the bills, would give me a sense that my accomplishments actually affect the earth and the people on it in someway, give me a tangible feeling of satisfaction for completing my tasks, and let me be as creative as I want to be.

My current job, luckily enough for me, fills some of these goals, but not all. Enough for now, I suppose.

Sort of like this post--enough for now, I suppose.