downcast eyes

rebecca_in_blue


on your journey, i will bless you...

...and you will be a blessing


Rebecca was warned. Nevertheless, #shepersisted.
trembling hand
rebecca_in_blue

We're now two weeks into the new software system (VC) at work. Maybe if I post about it here, I'll be able to look back someday and laugh about how trivial it all turned out to be... but it's hard to believe that now. I keep telling myself that I'm doing the best I can, and that's all that matters. I keep telling myself that I cannot hold myself to my old OP standards. Maybe I need to print that out and tape it to the wall next to computer.

Today was especially rough. This time, the shipping software inexplicably stopped working, and I had to spend most of the morning on the phone with their tech support. At some point, I said to A---, "I don't think I'll ever be good at this again." He didn't contradict me. A------ got ugly when I called her out for spending so much time on her phone. (Which I don't enjoy doing, but how obnoxious is it to sit there and stare at her phone right in front of me, when she knows I'm busy as fuck?) Despite staying over an hour late, there was still a pile of work on my desk waiting to be done when I left. Boss-Man brought some grocery bags into work for me, and when I didn't thank him for it (I didn't know who they were from), I swear I heard him mutter rude things about me under his breath. I try to think I only imagined that, because it was pretty low for him (and boy, I'd just love to see how he'd react if he ever heard me muttering under my breath). The ironic thing is that I once admonished Boss-Man for swearing so much at work. Now, I spend all day screaming curses at this new program.

It feels more and more obvious that Boss-Man hates me. Maybe he senses how much I've come to hate this job. (I used to like it, but then, I used to know what the hell I was doing.) He's had problems with my tone and my expression. Once I accidentally smiled when he was talking about something serious, and boy, was that a big. deal. But he doesn't know how much shit I can put up with. I spent my entire childhood being raised as the least favorite child. I can sure as fuck cope with being the least favorite employee.

We gladly feast on those who would subdue us.
Not just pretty words.


You can Rebecca when it's over if the switch was worth the pain.
trembling hand
rebecca_in_blue
Man, this work week has been rough. We finally went live with our new software system, VeraCore. We've been getting ready for this since freakin' October, and been talking about it for even longer, and I was kinda starting to think that we would just put it off forever and never actually go live with it.

This week was a rude wakeup call.

I used our old software system (OnPoint) constantly - practically all day, every day. I could not have been more knowledgeable or experienced with it. Now, I'm having to restart completely and relearn from scratch. It basically feels like a have a whole new job, because almost everything has changed.

It is so frustrating, because I never wanted to switch over to this new system. I was happy with the old one. It's too similar to that God-awful move of 2015, me getting dragged along kicking and screaming into something that I never wanted to do. I keep wanting to yell, I didn't want to switch to this, and I didn't vote for Trump! How fitting that we should start using this system almost in time with Trump's inauguration. I may or may not have accidentally blurted out to A--- that I had as much hopes for this system as I did for Trump being a good president. On top of that, all week the WiFi network at work kept kicking me off for some reason, so I couldn't use my phone at lunch. I think I finally got it fixed, but I wanted to bang my freakin' head against the wall for a while.

We were having some nice mild weather, but on Groundhog Day, the temperatures dropped back to wintertime weather, disappointing me and the cats. February is shaping up to be a long, bleak month, with lots of overtime. I will likely be drinking lots of wine and eating lots of chocolate-strawberry Oreos. I missed the animal shelter last weekend to go protesting, but I'm really looking forward to being back there tomorrow.

Somewhere beyond the barricade is a world Rebecca longs to see.
dishevelled hair
rebecca_in_blue
Yesterday, nine days after Trump was inaugurated, I went to a protest for the first time.

I'd never been a protest for/against anything before, and I wasn't quite comfortable with the idea of going to this one (I hate driving downtown, and social interaction is torture) but I felt like I had to do something. It was a protest in support of immigration and in solidarity with Muslim Americans, following Trump's executive order barring immigration from Syria and other Muslim-majority countries. Like most Americans, I wasn't expecting Trump to be a great president, but that was a new low even by his standards. What happened to the Jewish refugees of the St. Louis is one of the shameful, saddest stories of the entire Holocaust to me. They asked America for help, and America slammed its doors right in their faces.

I want Muslim-Americans to know that America is their home. I want them to know that there are people who want them here. I want them to know that we Jews remember what this feels like. So, I went when I saw a Facebook post about it from Rabbi B (who likely would've attended too, but he's in Washington DC right now). I purposely wore my American flag t-shirt, my Star of David necklace, and my dad's dogtag, to represent things that are important to me. (For several years after Dad died, until 2010-11, I wore his dogtag almost 24/7, but in recent years, I've worn it more sparingly.) I even stopped by my old stomping grounds to make a sign out of poster board; like a good Jewish girl, I went with Leviticus 19:34, "The foreigner among you must be treated as your own, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."

Some things aren't coincidences. There I was, feeling all liberal and tolerant, printing out my sign in the copy/print department, when the guy working there saw the Torah verse and mentioned that he was a "Messianic Jew."

I bit my tongue and said nothing, and he didn't say anything else, but it gave me pause. I still absolutely mean everything I said about Muslim-Americans (or Middle Eastern Americans of any faith) and I'm very glad I went to the protest, but I can't believe it was a coincidence that on my way to show support for people of that religion, I encountered someone from the one religion that makes me really uncomfortable. I've always seen "Messianic Jews" (or "Jews for Jesus") as Hamans, people who seek to destroy Judaism/make a mockery of our faith. I like to think that I would never manifest this belief in unkind action, but I do think God was using this guy to hold up a mirror, to teach me that I still have a ways to go, too.

A few observances about the actual rally: There was a big crowd (people of all ages and colors), several "pussy hats" leftover from last week's womens rallies, and a lot of memorable signs. I saw Love Trumps Hate, a big photo of Trump with a Hitler mustache drawn over his face, Laundry is the only thing that should be sorted by color, the words on the State of Liberty, Make white nationalists afraid again, and First they came for the Muslims and we said, Fuck no. I think Trump is creating an America with its eyes wide open.

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
dozing off
rebecca_in_blue
A little look back at what's happened during January 2017, besides the God-awful obvious.

We had our first snowfall of the winter early this month. I still didn't get a snow-day out of it, just a late start at work. Maybe because it wasn't that much snow (1-2 inches), or maybe because (as I prefer to believe) I'm finally getting more experienced with it, but it wasn't too bad this time. I was able to drive into work okay, and I finally learned to not try driving up the hill in the driveway to my job. Since the snow, we've had some very cold days, but also some nice mild ones. This weekend, we let Mayim sit outside in the sun and I went on a bike ride. Last weekend, I caught a nasty head cold and must have sneezed 500 times in one day (not exaggerating). Another weekend this month, I finally bought a pizza and ate it while watching my new DVD of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Secret of the Ooze. LIVE THE DREAM!

My sister made a new year's resolution to start eating healthier, and she's really sticking to it. She's cut way back on sodium and caffeine, and I am beyond impressed. I could never do that. (I don't drink a lot of caffeine, but when I do, I really rely on it, and as for sodium, I put extra salt on my French fries!) But I have picked up one healthy habit and started doing yoga. It's helped out with the pain in my knees and hips, and I really hope I can keep it up. Now I just need to find something to help me stay asleep. Too many mornings recently, I've woken up around 5am and couldn't go back to sleep. It is awful and leaves me tired and cranky all day. It looks like I might be back on sleeping pills for now.

Sara and I finished reading Incredibly Alice, and started reading Robin's Diary. We watched Finding Dory (mediocre), Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (both very good). HBO has been showing M. Night Shyamalan movies, Cast Away, and Definitely Maybe. The song we listened to in the synagogue's monthly music class was "Runaway Train," by Soul Asylum, not suggested by me but one of my favorites.

But will Rebecca ever read a book aimed at adults again?
dropped jaw
rebecca_in_blue
During temple services tonight, I read some more of Independence Avenue, a children's book about a young Jewish man who immigrates from Russia to Kansas City. I started reading during services around this time last year, when it felt like the honeymoon between me and Shabbat services was finally over. The services became consistently boring to me, which they'd never really been before, but rather than just cut back on going to temle, I decided to start using them as reading time. (Shamefully, this English major graduate hasn't read a lot of books in recent years. Fanfiction, yes, but not actual books.) The temple's children's library is on the way to the sanctuary, and it has a good selection of both Jewish and secular books, so I started sneaking books out of it and reading them during the service. It's made Shabbat services into a quiet, relaxing time that I look forward to again. I've tried to be discrete about my reading (I put the book insde the siddur), but my attempts at discretion always fail, so it's probably really obvious to everyone. Oh, well.

Then, at some point in 2016, Sara and I got into the habit of rereading old children's books before bed. We eventually established a pattern of one book each from the Alice series, the Anastasia series, the Baby-Sitters Club series, and the Besty Tacy series. When we reached the end of a Betsy Tacy book, we started over at Alice. It was interesting to read them all one after the other and compare the different series. The Betsy Tacy books are really excellent and timeless, and I wish I'd discovered this series sooner. The Anastasia and Baby-Sitters Club books are good. The Alice books... man, I almost regret that we started reading those agian. Alice's stupidity isn't as funny as it once was, and Phyllis Reynold Naylor's dated writing, unrealistic depiction of teenagers, poor pacing, and pointless overabundance of subplots are just painful. The last book we read (Incredibly Alice) was one never-ending sludge of "this happened, then this happened, then this happened." None of the subplots connected or even served a purpose. Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is just churning them out to take up space so she can sell as many books as possible. She should be ashamed of herself.

Anyway, here are all the books, divided up by series:

The Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor: The Agony of Alice, Alice In-Between, Including Alice, Incredibly Alice, Lovingly Alice.

The Anastasia series, by Lois Lowry: Anastasia Again, Anastasia Has the Answers, Anastasia Krupnik, Anastasia on Her Own.

The Baby-Sitters Club series, by Ann M. Martin: Baby-Sitters' Island Adventure, Claudia and the Middle School Mystery, Claudia's Friend, Dawn's Big Move, Dawn and Whitney, Friends Forever, Jessi and the Dance School Phantom, Logan Likes Mary Anne, Mary Anne and the Libary Mystery, Stacey's Big Crush.

The Betsy Tacy series, by Maud Hart Lovelace: Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown, Betsy in Spite of Herself, Betsy Was a Junior, Heaven to Betsy.

Various children's books, read on Friday nights at temple: All-of-a-Kind Family, by Sydney Taylor; Dave at Night, by Gail Carson Levine; Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye,  by Lois Lowry; Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, by Judy Blume.

Rebecca's favorite end-of-the-year list.
excited grin
rebecca_in_blue
The first sentence of my first post for every month of 2016. I love posting these every year.

January
The last day of 2015 was a pretty rough one for Rebecca.

February
I'm probably too old to still be making New Year's resolutions, and usually I don't, but I did make one for 2016.

March
This was my third March in this state, and the first one where we didn’t get dumped with one last big snowfall during the first week of the month.

April
This city's Jewish Food Festival was last weekend.

May
Sara's movies for this weekend were Lamb (awful) and Regression (mediocre).

June
Memorial Day is always such a breath of relief for me.

July
Six years ago today, Rebecca published the first chapter of her first fanfiction.

August
Sara is still sleeping.

September
Man, when I think back to the weeks since getting from vacation, I feel like I've been hit by a train.

October
Mom drove up from Louisiana to visit us this weekend.

November
The drive back to our hometown is usually long and tedious.

December
It has been such a soggy blue weekend here.

Rebecca woke up early just to compile all her lists for 2016.
happy smile
rebecca_in_blue
I must be getting old, because I opened my last Hanukkah gift from Mom last night (it was the last night of Hanukkah) and I was actually darn happy to have a new set of bedsheets! They're aquamarine and very soft. I made my bed with them and cleaned my room last night, and that was my New Year's Eve. Sara and I were watching Speed at midnight, like we did last year, but neither of us could stay awake through the end. I guess we're both getting old.

Anyway, here are some lists for 2016: most played songs of 2016, movies I watched, and books I read. What a year it was. I didn't listen to a lot of new music this year, because of the radio in Muse Watson being broken for so long. Anything released in 2015-16 qualifies as new.


Most-Played Songs of 2016: "Old"Collapse )

and...

Most-Played Songs of 2016: NewCollapse )

I saw a lot of young actress movies this year, and for the most part, they were darn good!

Young Actress Movies of 2016Collapse )

Lists for previous years: 2015, 2014, 2012, and 2011.

Non young-actress movies I saw in 2016: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Boy, Crimson Peak, Don't Breathe, Florence Foster Jenkins, Green Room, Lights Out, The Martian, The Night Before, Pan, The Shallows, Star Wars: Episode 7 - The Force Awakens, We Are Still Here, Zootopia.

Hanukkah 2016: There's nothing Rebecca won't do for latkes!
dropped jaw
rebecca_in_blue
December has been rolling along much smoother since I got the company dinner out of the way. We've had some really frigid days (as in, the temperature didn't even break 30!) but some milder ones, too. One night, I attended a class at the synagogue, which hopefully will become a monthly thing, where we listen to and discuss secular songs in a spiritual way. This month, it was Ripple, by the Grateful Dead, and Ombra Mai Fu, from Serse.

Another night, Sara and I braved the cold and drove downtown to see Home Alone in the theater! I'd just seen it when we were at Mom's for Thanksgiving, but I don't think I will ever get tired of that movie. We were the only people in the audience who weren't there with kids, which surprised me. I wore my "Happy Hanukkah, ya filthy animal" shirt that Sara gave me last year. Only seeing Home Alone could motivate me to drive downtown at night! (I despise downtown. The parking and traffic there is always awful. Always.)

Hanukkah actually started on Christmas Eve this year. It was cold and rainy that night, but I went out to the big public menorah lighting, anyway. The Lubavitchers were serving hot latkes and sufganiyot, and there's little that I won't do for latkes! They all sang Mao Tzur in Hebrew, and I sang along... in English. On Christmas Day, Sara and I slept in and ate our traditional big breakfast when we woke up. We had French toast, blueberry waffles, bacon, sausage, eggs, chocolate milk, and orange juice, while listening to some of those rare Christmas songs that we don't hate (ie, the ones they never play on the radio): Christmastime Is Here, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, White Wine in the Sun. Sara listened to Papa Noel for my sake, and I listened to I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas for hers, even though that song makes my ears bleed. Mayim had so much fun playing in the wrapping paper and gift bags.

Christmas evening was the second night of Hanukkah, and I took a deep breath and went to a Hanukkah party at the home of Charlie, a man who goes to my temple. I usually hate social interaction, especially at strange places with people that I don't know well, but I'd heard that latkes were being served, and again, there's little that I won't do for latkes! It started out awkward, but I actually ended up having a pretty good time. The crowd wasn't too huge, and enough people were so talkative that I didn't have to say much. And the food was so good! I think I ate my weight in latkes and kugel. Everyone brought their menorahs, and we lit them together at the end of the night. I just bought a new electric menorah made from a recycled circuit board, and I really love it. I ended up staying later than I meant to.

The only thing that marred the evening was the news that George Michael had died and Carrie Fisher (who just had a heart attack) was now on life support. 2016 had better not fucking take her, too.

Man, I do not want to go back to work tomorrow! My coworker A--- is out because he and his wife just had a second (badly-named) baby, which means it will be largely up to me to get our new software system in place to go live by the new year. Ugh, just writing about it is stressing me out...

Three weeks until Rebecca can hear real music on the radio again!
trembling hand
rebecca_in_blue
It has been such a soggy blue weekend here. Friday night was the annual company dinner, and I am so glad that we only do it once a year, because I so did not want to go. I had to psyche myself up before I went; I told myself to think of it as more work, as something that I had to do to get my holiday bonus. But it was still so rough. I ate being "on," especially in LOUD, unfamiliar environments. Boss Man told us to come hungry at 7, but we didn't order entrees until almost 9. It was a "Cajun" resteraunt, and being Cajun myself, I was suspicious of what passes for Cajun food in this state. I had sausage and okra gumbo, which wasn't half bad, even though it didn't come with boiled eggs or potato salad like I like.

The one coworker that I really hate (Mr. "I Never Pull Up My Pants Before I Bend Over") was sitting right next to me, and I spent all night trying to not turn my head in his direction. He and A------ were pretty obnoxious. The live music was loud, inescapable, and not very good. Several people at our table screamed every time they ordered drinks, or whenever anything else happened. And did I mention it was four hours long? Four. Hours. I ducked out into the parking lot halfway through and had to fight the urge to get in my car and drive back home to my nice quiet apartment. (The food was still nowhere in sight at that point.) Four. Hours. I'm not even sure if it was worth the holiday bonus.

The weather was cold and wet all day on Saturday, which was so frustrating for me and the cats after five workdays of sunny, mild weather (!!*@#$%*!), but it did make for a good excuse to sleep in, stay inside, and recover. Sara was at it again with loud movies, but my two birthday presents for her just arrived in the mail, and I've been enjoying rereading them myself before I give them to her. I got her one thing that she asked for and one thing that's a surprise. I have a feeling she's going to freak when I give them to her! Today wasn't quite as cold or wet, so I bundled up and went out to the dog park. (I've been thinking about being in the Holiday Parade with the shelter next weekend. It was actually supposed to happen yesterday, but it was rained out and rescheduled.) Enzo has just been moved into the free-range cat room, where I think he'll do a lot better!

Sara has gotten into the habit of baking since she started watching The Great British Bake-Off, and I approve! Today she made a lemon meringue pie from scratch, and it is so good. I've been off lemon meringue pie since I threw one up in front of a liquor store in New York City in 2005, but this one was such a good combination of tart and sweet that even I ate a little. She used the homegrown lemons we got from Aunt Connie when we saw her at Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 2016: Too much pizza and politics, and a bittersweet bike ride.
dozing off
rebecca_in_blue
After having diarrhea for so long last night, I probably should've taken it easy today... but I didn't! I woke up early to run some errands (the bank, Sara's hotel, and the grocery store) and then I tried baking sugar cookies. I don't think I'd ever used my Hanukkah cookie cutters before. The cookies turned out ok, but I didn't have time to decorate them before Sara and I met Athena at the pizza parlor. She and I both love this pizza chain and don't have one near where we live, so we used being back in Louisiana as an excuse to go there and pig out. Sara doesn't like it as much as we do, but she didn't mind coming, especially since we used some money that Athena's mother-in-law gave her for gas to pay. I was terrified the whole time that I would get diarrhea again, but I lose all self-control around this pizza!

I'd meant to go back to Mom's and bake more cookies, but instead, we spent the afternoon at Aunt Connie's house, swinging, eating lemons, reading old issues of The Week, and... getting screamed at some more. Maybe "crazy people screaming" is just the new thing for Aunt Connie's house. On Wednesday, it was Olivia, and today, it was Aunt Connie. I can't even remember how politics/the election came up, but before I knew it, she was screaming about Hillary Clinton and Benghazi and e-mails. I know that politics are a passionate topic, but good grief, it is possible to talk about them without screaming in people's faces at the top of your lungs and foaming at the mouth. (I am not exaggerating.)

It was so scary and uncomfortable that Sara and I both clammed up and didn't say a word, and left shortly after. The ironic thing is that when I got into a debate about Trump with some of my cousins on Facebook, Aunt Connie saw it and sent me a private message because she "didn't want to say anything publicly." But then she actually sees me in person, for the only time all year, she has no problem ranting and coming unhinged. Maybe this is what happens when you live in a nasty, close-minded place like L-town and don't have a job. It reminded me to be grateful every day that I moved out of this town. Anyway, that marred a lot of Thanksgiving this year for me. Seeing Athena and Abram was definitely the highlight of it.

But there are still sane people in L-town. On Friday evening, I rode Mom's bike to my hometown temple for Shabbat services. I didn't have time to make any Hanukkah cookies to bring, but a lot of people are traveling and there was a small crowd, anyway. I didn't see Paul or Sandy or the G's or the D's. Jacob and George (the lay-leader) were there, and a few other familiar faces. I really miss the simplicity of this temple. I miss knowing almost everyone in the congregation. I miss the worn, old gray Gates of Prayer siddurs and being able to ride my bike to services. (I live too far from the temple in L-city to bike, and I feel like everything there has to be a show.) Riding through my old neighborhood to this temple will always be my favorite bike-route in the world. I loved seeing all the Christmas lights on the way.

After temple, I finally got around to making some Hanukkah cookies. I guess I'll take them to work on Monday.

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