Sunday, February 28, 2010

discontent () n. A restless longing for better circumstances.

OK, so two days of laying bed and watching movies has made me come to a realization (and no I am not sick, I just have A LOT of free time.) I NEED A PASSPORT. I need to travel, to get out and see the world. I love everything that traveling entails. I love trying new foods and experiencing different ways of life. I love exploring new cities and the excitement of getting lost only to find my way again.

It frustrates me to think that I have never been outside of the country. I would love to take a year or more and just go and if I thought it were possible to make traveling my career, I would do it tomorrow. One of the major things that is holding me back is that I know myself and I would never be able to do it alone. I would need companionship and someone to share the experience with. I am not to saying that I wouldn't want time to myself or that I am incapable of being alone. I am just saying that it would be hard for me to be somewhere alone w/ no one else understanding or sharing in a similar experience.

When I actually think about the reality of doing something like taking a year off and picture myself talking to someone about it the picture is my head is very bleak. It's always someone saying that taking a year to travel and leave everything behind is frivolous and silly or unrealistic. That is what is so disheartening about this whole thing. For me personally, I don't feel like I have even begun to see a fraction of what the world has to offer and it worries me to think that I am never going to be able to see everything. In a way I feel like I am missing out by not getting out there and seeing what there is to see.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I have a term that I think should be added to the mainstream. This term describes an item that everyone has seen and once the term is fully explained, everyone will agree w/ the description. The term is "Fun Mom Shirt". This term describes something that should not be worn in public and especially not to an event where there will be youth.

Let me start to shed light on this subject and tell you about this terms inception. My sister and I were seeing The Fray at the U of M a couple years ago. So it was your typical college concert in that there were college aged women in ripped jeans or mini skirts and guys who looked like they had just woken up and walked out of their dorm room. We had arrived late to the show and the opening act, Aqualung, was almost finished with their set. We found our seats and proceeded to listen to the last song before they were finish. (Which was "Brighter Than Sunshine" and it is sick that I remember that.) Once this song was over, the auditorium lights came up and sitting two rows ahead of us was a "Fun Mom Shirt". This was the first time my sister and I coined the phrase and it is something we have been enlightening others about ever since.

Now typically, a women ranging from 45-50 years of age, or the "Mom" age range, is who would be seen wearing this type of fashion misfortune. It can be short or long sleeved shirt and typically has an airbrushed scenic view on it. For example, a table at a cafe in Paris. Then in certain places, such as the rose that is in the vase on the cafe table or the Eiffel tower in the background, there are lovely jewels and bits of glitter. It is a shirt that, when the women was getting dressed for the concert or event, she looked into her closet and thought to herself, "Well thats a fun shirt!". This shirt is typically worn under a Jean Jacket w/ Khaki's or Jeans. Now, this descriptions does not begin to cover the shirts many forms. It is a shirt that will continue to be mocked by younger generations for its sheer ridiculousness. It is a shirt that after having seen it you really did know exactly what they were thinking, but you still ask, "What were they thinking?".

I hope this brief definition helped shed some light on this phrase and I hope that you will help me in drawing attention to the epidemic that is the "Fun Mom Shirt". Please use this term to describe this shirt when you see it walking down the street or at the grocery store.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Unanswered Questions

Today I find myself bored. When boredom sets in I usually end up thinking about "things". It can be "any-thing" or "nothing" that I end up thinking about. As this thinking continues questions inevitably arise. Occasionally these questions cause me to get upset about some event or someone's insensitivity. These thinking day have also been known to cause insecurities to flair up. Today happens to be a day where that isn't so much the case. Instead I have some unanswered questions that I have been pondering and have been unable to find the answers to some of them.

For some reason this past year I started thinking about my family's roots. I think part of it may have to do with the job I have right now. I work with people who are first generation immigrants. They have these beautiful and rich traditions that they have brought with them. I get to hear stories of how they celebrate holidays and momentous occasions in ways that I have never heard of before, and, to be honest, I get a bit jealous.

Another reason I have been thinking of my ancestry may have to do with the fact that I am seeing my Grandparents get older and realizing that they are not immortal as I once believed. They are my best connection to the past. I want to learn as much as I can from them before it is too late. Seeing the people I work with and their traditions makes me realize that I have no idea what traditions my ancestors used to have. They have gotten lost somewhere along the way. This makes me feel like I have no connection to my ethnic heritage.

I know that on my Mom's side of the family both of my Grandparents are German. As for my Dad's side of the family, I know my Grandmother is Norwegian, but I have no idea what my Grandfather's heritage is. There had been talk of English or Norwegian, but there is no definitive answer. There are unanswered questions about his background due to the fact that his mother was very secretive and didn't really tell anyone much about her past before she died. For him, there are no real records to pull from to find out.

I would like to be able to embrace my roots and have started to this past Christmas. I was talking to my Grandmother on my Mom's side and asked what some of the German traditions are around the time of the holidays. She told me about a couple of traditions. The one that I have fallen in love with has to do with a gift that is given to new brides. They are given a box of ornaments to put on the Christmas tree. They are beautiful glass blown ornaments and each one has a different meaning like "prosperity" or "health". For Christmas I got a book from my Grandmother that has all of the German ornaments listed out and what each one means. She also took the time to write down on a note card each one of the ornaments that comes in the traditional box that is given to brides.

It makes me sad to think that I know nothing of the Norwegian traditions and obviously nothing of my Grandfather's background. I have made a pact with myself to work on finding out about these things this year. Then hopefully, someday I will be able to travel to all of the countries that my ancestors came from. I would like to be able to see and experience "the homeland". I want to get a sense of what life was like for them. I know that these countries have obviously changed drastically since they lived there and I will never completely know what it was like for them. But it would still be nice to try to make that connection. It will happen, I am sure of it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Lesson In Interpersonal Communication

I am stressed tonight. I have my yearly review for work tomorrow and there is an issue that has been on the table for over a month now. I am worried that this issue is going to come up in my review and negatively impact my performance therefore lowering my raise.

It all started when one of the interpreters called me to let me know (AKA tell me off) about a case that they were not paged. This case had more hours than the one they had been previously assigned to therefore giving them more money. I am going to be honest about this interaction and say that I know I was not very polite with said interpreter on the phone which is mistake number one.

SIDE NOTE: Here is a little background on the situation. I do try to keep interaction between us to a minimum because I don't appreciate the way that they treat me. I am repeatedly interrupted, talked over, and spoken to in a very abrupt manner by this individual. There has not been a single conversation with this person where I felt like they heard what I had to say and that is very frustrating to me.

OK... Back to the story. So after this phone conversation, I was then sent THREE emails by this interpreter to prove that what I was saying was wrong. Mistake number two: I then replied to one of those emails. I started off by first apologizing and acknowledging that I was wrong. I then went on to offer a suggestion on how this misunderstanding could have been bypassed. I also suggested in the future they take responsibility for the part of it that they had control over. This email was very well crafted and polite. I did ask a question in the email that required a response and CC'd my boss and the interpreters supervisor. Two weeks or more pass and the interpreter then sends a response that is THREE typed pages long. Most of this email attacks me and calls me such things as power hungry, a poor listener, and a liar. I did not respond to this email and in fact to this day have not read it word for word; I have only skimmed it. I am letting my boss and the supervisor handle the situation.

So why does this make me nervous? The answer to this question is simple, because I was disrespectful on the phone in the beginning and didn't drop it after that. I admitted to my boss that I was disrespectful in my interaction over the phone. So I did own up for the part that was mine. But it doesn't make me worry any less that I was in the wrong and that it will affect my review.

I guess I will end by saying "Wish me luck" and "Here goes nothing".

(Rant officially over.)