Thursday, December 15, 2005

Religion

Just got one of those emails that everyone loves to pass around. This one concerned Christian holidays and stated that if the government did not want to acknowledge them, since "it's the law" then maybe government employees and elected officials shouldn't get Christian holidays off from work. I'd like to take it a step further: if the government recognizes Christian holidays then why not Jewish holidays, Muslim holidays and all other religion's holidays? Our country was founded for religious freedom as well as other reasons. Why are Christians, I count myself as one, so up in arms? Why aren't the Jewish people up in arms, and the Muslims?

Just a thought......

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Who's the Patriot?

I recently read a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. The letter was from a parent who was complaining about the November 2nd student walkout to protest the war in Iraq. This parent was vilifying any student who would dare to speak out against President Bush. My first thought was, Hello, this country is a democracy. EVERYONE has the right to speak their beliefs and thoughts. If you don't like this, then you can easy move someplace where the freedom of speech is prohibited. There seems to be a movement lately that claims that if you speak out against our government then you are unpatriotic, un-American and engaging in treason. Baloney! Do these same people feel that the founding fathers who laid the foundation of this great country were treasonous? (they might still be British colonials if they believe that!). That would also make the Boston Tea Party an act of terrorism and treason (again, it would be if you were loyal to King George).

If the government makes a bad decision, then it is our right as Americans to speak out!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Cruising for a bruisin'

I can't have a blog about life in Minnesota without mentioning the Minnesota Vikings. I am not surprised by the recent allegations about a cruise involving members of the team and their bad behavior. It seems to me that professional athletes seem to feel that they are entitled to everything. They are paid millions, and basically treated like children (ie taken care of by everyone). Wasn't it only a matter of time before their Sodom and Gomorrah became front page news? Can you say Wilt Chamberlin or Kobe Bryant? The good thing is that this has probably killed a special session of the legislature to decide if taxpayers should help foot the bill for a new "palace" for them to play in. I do not support using public money to finance either their game or their lifestyle. For those of you who do, well, feel free to contribute. I feel that there are much more important issues in this state that deserve the support of the taxpayers.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Bullying

Bullying aka mobbing is an interesting phenomenon occurring in our workplaces. Basically what this entails is managers and or peers ganging up on an employee or group of employee and harassing them psychologically and verbally. The main intent of this behavior is to force the person to quit or leave the job. I have seen this happen at my place of work. It has also happened to me at my last 3 jobs. I outlasted the bullies at the first job; they left and life got oh so much easier. All resources that would allow us to advance in our work have been removed for us. Training is not available, we cannot read books to learn about the subject and even free, outside training is not being allowed. It is unbelievable that such behavior occurs in the workplace! I thought this type of thing was over once you graduated to adulthood, but I guess not. It's time to fight back and make sure that these bullies are stopped.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Anxious and SAD

I have a lovely form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder. Every autumn around this time I start to feel anxious and depressed and I dread the onset of winter. It sucks even more because I live in Minnesota. Not that someone in California or New Zealand is immune from this disorder (SAD). I become a slug and no matter how hard I try I can't keep up with work and life. I just want to hibernate the winter away. Hey, maybe I have some genetic makeup similar to a bear! Anyway, it sucks, sucks, sucks. Especially since no one understands it, least of all the people at work. So I must medicate myself and hope that it keeps me on an even keel for the next 5 months. In case you have this, there are many great support groups and books on the subject; one of my favorites is Winter Blues by Norman Rosenthal, MD.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I wish I could win the lottery and remove myself from the rat race. I can still remove myself from the rat race though I suppose. Instead of simplifying my life I have created a complex, exhausting life. Commuting for an hour to a job that is stealing my soul. The one bright spot at my job is the people, who are amazing. I would guess that most of them are introverts like me and perhaps that is why we all get along so well. I guess this proves that there are bright sides to everything.

One of my coworkers is using her vacation to help EARS (Emergency Animal Rescue Services) care for animals and pets displaced by the hurricanes. She is my hero. It must be heart wrenching work and I'm not sure I could deal with it emotionally so I provide monetary support. Thank God for people like her.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Cell Phone Mania

Public cell phone usage is the bane of our society's existence. Everywhere I turn there is some clown who feels that "it is all about me" and therefore they can talk, very loudly I might add, on their cell phone whenever the spirit moves them. I was in the grocery store the other day where some man with his children was talking away on the cell phone (and for once it wasn't to his wife asking what brand of something they need). His children were misbehaving and cranky, even going so far as to tell their father to hang up the cell phone. Obviously they've been subjected to his blatant neglect before and were fed up. Today at a restaurant I witnessed a man reenacting the Verizon commercial "can you hear me now" as he attempted to get a better signal by moving throughout the restaurant while speaking into his cell phone. Daily I am subjected to obnoxious, rude people who insist upon sharing their life's most intimate details with the other passengers on public transportation. The bus company has resorted to posting signs in an effort to bring realization to this idiots that they are sharing public space and should be aware of the comfort and safety of others in said space. Has it helped? Somewhat, though last week I had someone sit next to me in the very front seat of the bus and procede to speak in a rather loud voice to various cohorts for most of the nearly hour ride. It was ironic, she was right below the sign. There is a time and a place for cell phone usage. People need to understand that it is pure rudeness to assume that you can use said phone anywhere and subject others to your conversation. You are not in your living room, you know!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Animal Victims of Katrina

Please visit www.hsus.org to contribute to the rescue efforts for the animals who were affected by the Katrina disaster. Animal life is as important as human life; remember the story of Noah's Ark? I am moved by the stories of courage that continue to come out of this disaster; both animal and human.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Depression is for real!

What is up with Tom Cruise and his scientology buddies when it comes to psychiatry? As someone who suffers from recurring unipolar depression, I can tell you that vitamins and exercise just don't cut it when it comes to curing depression. In fact, their hubris is putting lives at risk. Anyone who thinks they can tough it out when they are faced with major clinical depression is in serious, life threatening danger. Help, either through therapy or medication is essential. I know this because I tried to tough it out. I spent months dreading each day and wondering how I would ever make it through. Yes, I had thoughts of dying just to escape the pain. Mental pain and despair are perhaps the most debilitating type of pain imaginable, at least they were for me. I received so much advice from do-gooders; "wrap yourself around your religion" said one person. The problem was that my thoughts became so clouded by the despair that I could not even imagine the existence of a higher power. I brooded about death and dying and suddenly doubted the existence of heaven. I couldn't concentrate at work; a career I had enjoyed suddenly became the bane of my existence. I couldn't concentrate and the daily routine was no longer rewarding. To top things off, my manager, who knew of my bouts with depression, picked that time to push his weight around and bully me and others on the team. There was no compassion or understanding even though he later admitted that he knew I was struggling with depression. What he didn't understand is the implications of major clinical depression. It is a life threatening disorder that needs to be taken seriously in the workplace and in society in general. I was chastised for being irritable. My usually sunny, upbeat personality with a can-do attitude changed to one of dread and pessimism. Shouldn't it occur to someone who has known me for over a decade that something was seriously wrong?

I applaud Brooke Shields and the courage that it took for her to share her story of postpartum depression with the world. Tom Cruise and Leah Remini have no business judging her or anyone else who has struggled with depression unless they have walked a mile in the shoes of a major mood disorder. "The blues" are not the same as major depression. Shame on them for saying otherwise. Brooke, you go girl!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ahh!

It's great to be back working on my Java application. Our team is using Oracle's Jdeveloper to develop a system. It's a great tool and it really helps developers without a Java background create a decent, working application.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

It's Over!

Early this morning the Minnesota legislature passed a "lights on" bill that will restore government services for agencies affected by the shutdown. Hallelulah! It's about time.

Friday, July 8, 2005

Sticking Points

It seems that a major sticking point in the budget impasse in Minnesota is state-run gambling. The governor wants to put slot machines in at a local horse racing track. His agenda was dealt a major blow yesterday when one of his party members stepped down from his negotiating position because he could not support the tax increases on cigarettes and the plan to have state run gambling.

Meanwhile, I have vacation available but I must use most of it to move in with my elderly mother at the end of the month. My mom has memory problems so I plan to move in with her in order to help her out. We don't know yet whether she has alzheimers; she is being evaluated. It's a difficult time for us both. She is frightened by the implications as you can imagine. It's just one more challenge that we both must face.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Sympathy

I am deeply saddened by the news of terrorist attacks in the London transit system. My thoughts are with the people of London at this terrifying time.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Day 6 and counting....

We are now in day 6 of a partial government shutdown. Our government leaders seem to be no closer to an agreement. We can't even get a lights on bill out of them. It's very agonizing. If you're angry too, I've included a link to the state of minnesota website where you can email or call state legislators and let them know you are tired of the shutdown and want state employees back to work. www.state.mn.us

At the least the weather is beautiful here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Victim of a State Government Shutdown

Day 5. The daily countdown reminds me of a hostage countdown and to many of us who have been displaced by the government of minnesota, this feels like a hostage situation. Friday morning I awoke expecting to go to work but instead I was broadsided and forced to stay home. Oh, and by the way, none of us is collecting either a salary or unemployment; we are on unpaid leave for up to 2 weeks. I, like the rest of my nearly 10,000 colleagues, have bills to pay and others to provide for. I want to work, I need to work but I cannot. Meanwhile, within the capitol, the finger pointing continues as the governor and legislature play a macabre game of chicken with 10,000 + lives. We are in a stalemate with no end in sight and it is scary for those of us living paycheck to paycheck. As state employees we can't afford this.

I'm sure that there are some out there who believe that this is "just desserts" for state employees. However they forget that state employees are tax payers too. The majority of them work very hard, just like workers in private industry, public servants are extremely dedicated to serving the public.

I was amused by a state senator who claimed that if the racino bill passed (an idea unpopular among the majority of both republicans and democrats) then this stalemate would be over. Perhaps we need to look at the other side of the coin, if the top 4% of income earners accepted a tax increase (one they can well afford) then perhaps this stalemate would be over. Think about, those who have little are sacrificing so that those who have the most can avoid contributing to society. Doesn't sound very fair to me.

Meanwhile, the stalemate drags on and families worry how to make ends meet, if they will lose their healthcare coverage and if they will become unemployed.