Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Big Sale

I was going to be in bed half an hour ago. Today is just one of those days.

The company I have worked for for the past 3 years was bought out by another very large company today. I have been working very part-time since I started law school but even if I wasn't working for the company at all, this would still be a bit of a blow. As we all know, economically speaking, banks have not done particularly well this year. Some can scream that it's their own darn fault for creating their own darn messes. Others can say that it's about darn time this company went by the wayside. But for people like me and some of my family, as well as some of my closest friends, the fall of the giant company is much more than a Fox News alert--it's something personal, no matter how much anyone thinks personal and business should not coexist. So I don't intend to address the economic issues or the long-term impact of the largest bank failure in U.S. history (as if I adequately could). No, all I want to do tonight is try to explain what it feels like to have the wind somewhat unexpectedly knocked out of you.

This company was not just a money-making corporate entity for me. No it wasn't a permanent career for me and I was rarely more than a part-time employee just trying to make enough to pay for my undergrad, but the company was much more than something that could simply be put on paper for me. It's a company that I really love. One that I never had a hard time dedicating myself to. I have made some of my very closest friends working there. I have also met some of the most wonderful people throughout the community I have worked in that I will likely stay in touch with all of my life. I grew so much within the walls of that little building and had so many experiences there that I will take with me wherever I go. I'm a different person now than I was 3 years ago and it's largely because of this company. There I was encouraged, supported, taught, and befriended. I was challenged, appreciated, and scolded regularly. And now that this is all coming to an end, I feel like a big piece of me is going away.

I can't believe it was 3 years ago that I first walked into that building. The tile floors had just been set and we were days from opening for business. There was so much excitement as our company brand was posted all around and I quickly began to feel a part of the team that was introducing our new branch to the community. I didn't have a clue as I sat behind a desk reading and watching training video after training video while my assistant manager quizzed me on company policies that to this day he'll tell you I either still don't know or rebelliously refuse to follow; this has been a major point of contention between the two of us for 3 years. And when I called him tonight to ask him what tomorrow would be like just after I heard the news, he said "business as usual." He then scolded me on branch policy that I had not obeyed the previous weekend when I submitted some paperwork.

I don't suppose this all means much to anybody reading this except for maybe those directly involved in the situation; but we can all relate somehow to really big change. We all handle change differently. Some of us cry; some are "business as usual" types; and others of us are the ones running through the building, throwing paper in the air screaming, as if anyone hadn't heard, "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!" Whatever your method is, I sincerely hope for all of you that there is something inside that doesn't stop saying "sure it's sad. I know it's hard. But everything is going to be just fine." And even if there doesn't seem to be any logical explanation of why everything will be fine, which is often the case, that something has a rather convincing power, logic defied and all.

It Just Gets Stranger~

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This Will Be Just Like Senior Year. Only FUNNER! Part II

By way of update--That baby's daddy did not win the class election. Neither did the Beach Boys candidate. I must say it was quite awkward when they sent out an email to announce the two winners because a thousand dreams were crushed that day and there was a general bitterness in the air. So many good ideas for assemblies that will never get used. So many good dance decorations that will never be hung. So many yearbooks that will never be signed. (If we have year books, I WILL violently projectile vomit all over the school until everyone is thoroughly covered in Cafe Rio, as I'm sure I'll have eaten Cafe Rio that day).

The saddest display of bitterness was by one girl who sits near me who had told me at orientation before I even knew there were elections that she was going to run and win and she had so many fantastic ideas. Consequently, she and a guy that met at orientation and sit directly in front of me in every class started a ramped love affair on day one, so dramatic that I feel like a guest star on days of our lives in classes every day. Sometimes I go to class just to find out what's going on in the relationship. Super nice people. She DEFINITELY wears the pants.

But this girl was talking loudly to a friend about the election while I was studying at my desk. The friend had asked her how she felt about losing and this girl responded without hiding any of the bitterness "well, over half the class is married so it doesn't surprise me that the two winners were married white males!" To which I uncontrollably turned my head in their direction and started laughing. I quickly stopped when I realized that I had done this; I was just so shocked at what I heard that it was as if I couldn't control my actions. I could have told her she needed to calm down. I could have told her that out of the 4 class representatives in the two older classes, three of them are black single females (which is true). But that would clearly have been in violation of my policy to stay out of things. On a side note, I did feel really bad about laughing at her and I've tried to be extra nice to her ever since to make up for it. I may need her vote next year~

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I Think I'm Losing It

Two times in a row now I have put my clothes in the washer, dumped the soap in, and then walked away without starting it or even closing the lid. Yesterday I walked back over to it a couple hours later to move the clothes over to the dryer and I saw blue streaks all over my whites and thought I had just stained all my whites somehow; then I realized that the streaks were not stains but soap that had not yet been used to wash the clothes.

Why is this happening?

On a side note, I've been having a strange tingling sensation in my back just below my left shoulder blade off and on for about a month. Any idea what this could be? I think I have it narrowed down to diabetes, MS, tuberculosis, scabies, shingles, and/or plague (I can't tell yet but there may be dark spots forming in the area). But seriously, any ideas on this? It may just be some kind of power that tells me when fortune is coming. Or tragedy. Hopefully it's fortune though.~

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Curve Balls

Lately I've been thinking a lot about some of the decisions I've made that have brought me to this point. This time of life is an especially interesting time in terms of making big choices that will direct you and put you in a position that will ultimately determine where you end up. Over the past 5 or 6 years I've made a lot of decisions that have been really hard to make; ones that have required a lot of prayer, effort and most definitely faith; and many of the huge choices I've made, I fear, have not been given enough thought or prayer. Maybe some of you can relate; maybe some of you have had to choose between two very different options and you've wondered from time to time if you really chose the thing that God intended you to choose; maybe you've wondered if you really prayed or listened well enough and really got on the path of choices that Heavenly Father ultimately wanted for you.

We believe so much in the church that Heavenly Father has this very individualized path that he wants each of us to follow so that we can be the most happy people possible and we make the decisions along the way that keep us on that path or take us to another. Problem is, it's so easy to feel that with our imperfect lives and thousands of imperfect choices, we've totally derailed from the original plan. But God, being perfect, I believe really is the best at handling curve balls. And instead of saying once we've made our first mistake, "well you, my friend, did not follow my perfect blueprint. You're on you own now!" He completely restructures how we need to progress in order to become the happiest we can be, always according to the most current circumstances, whether they're ideal or not.

The trick is differentiating between the ultimate goal and the positive steps toward that goal. Heavenly Father may want us to go to church one Sunday instead of a football game but that doesn't mean that that's His ultimate goal for us. His ultimate goal may instead be for us to raise families in the gospel, learn from trials, and return to Him--and going to church is a way that He can help us reach that goal. So if we make the wrong choice, that doesn't mean the ultimate goal, the most important thing, is out of the question; it simply means that under current circumstances, Heavenly Father will have something He wants us to do in order to best reach toward that goal. And the more we come to realize all of this, the more we'll want to take the in-between steps that He encourages us to take.

So in light of all that, it's really useless to whine and worry about the choices we've made, wondering and stressing about whether or not we've completely derailed from the perfect path our Father had perfectly created for us; it's because those choices are really irrelevant once they've been made. Instead of trying desperately to validate our decisions in order to save ourselves an ounce of pride, I think it's probably much more helpful to ask Heavenly Father what he would have us do now, according to our most current circumstances, to reach toward the ultimate goals He has for us.

I suppose that despite all the tricks, traps and trials we encounter, each one completely individualized with the greatest potential to do the greatest damage to each of our souls, it's vital to really try to grasp the eternal picture; often we say that those who have an eternal thinking mindset don't care about their trials anymore. I don't think that's true. I do believe that the more eternal thinking we can be, the more we understand the point of our trials even if sometimes that point is nothing more than to strengthen without callousing; that effect being entirely up to us. And the more and more we push onward and use every ounce of energy we have or borrow to try to understand the what and how of the trials we face with every intention of using those answers to make ourselves and our families better, the less we'll worry about the why and when. And then we've mastered the curve balls~

Monday, September 8, 2008

15 More Shots of Ukraine

Another batch. Enjoy~

The last one is my model pose in a Ukrainian forest:)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

15 Shots of Ukraine

More old images. Each picture represents a variety of stories. Maybe one day I'll tell them all~

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

This Will Be Just Like Senior Year. Only FUNNER!

There are a few time pertinent questions which have utterly plagued my soul for many years now. They always start with the word "when" and end with both an question mark and an exclamation mark. When will they stop showing reruns of "The Golden Girls"?! When will I be officially old enough to stop breaking out every 4 days or whenever it snows?! When will they speed up that roll at the bottom of the news channels that gives quick updates to a normal reading speed so you don't have to read it as it feeds in one letter at a time when you just want to know who the heck got arrested for DUI charges without having to wait 5 minutes for the sentence to play out?!!!!!!!!GRRRR!!!!!!!

But lately a completely new question has been haunting me. One that I unfortunately believe probably does not have an overwhelmingly positive answer. When will a high school diploma be enough of a pass to get permanently out of high school?!
As many of you know I have just finished my first week of law school. I'm now in the middle of the second week and it's been a pretty good experience so far. Don't get me wrong--my eyes are completely blood-shot, my ulcers have developed ulcers which have mutated into every ailment east of the Nile, and I cry myself to sleep at night--but that was all to be expected. What was not expected, however, was not only the immediate halt in social progression but the absolute 180 degree turn and violent thrust which has launched us back into a time when some of our parents were still dropping us off at the mall to hang out with our friends and our greatest fear was the wrath of the parents brought on by the notorious broken curfew. Middle school. High school. We all had awkward hair phases. We all hated gym class. And we were all relieved to leave the politicking and drama of our real life 90210 which played out in the hallways of a dark misty old building day-in day-out.

I thought I was alone in feeling like law school was nothing more than high school for adults until I googled it. Apparently it's quite a cliche topic. We all have desks with locked drawers which function as lockers. We have all our classes together all in the same building every day. The classes go every hour and feel like periods. First class of the day feels just like home room. And it wasn't two days before the rumors started about who likes who. I dealt with it and felt confident that I could continue doing so . . . until today.

Apparently each class elects representatives that work with the administration to represent the class and make sure that 2008-2009 is the best year ever!!! Sound familiar? Student Body Officers, Student Counsel, Class Officers; the absolute travesty goes by many different names throughout high schools across the nation.

The campaigns began this week and the same annoying fliers sporting the same annoying slogans covered my desk by lunch time today. The top picture is of one desk which was left unattended for 3 hours. Everything you see on that desk is campaign fliers. The second picture is all 23 fliers for all 23 candidates which were brought to me or left on my desk today (by the way, I calculated that over 16% of the student body is running right now). Each flier promises exciting changes such as getting a second refrigerator in the ping pong room on the first floor, uniting the class so that we stick together (that one had a stick of gum taped to it), creating a facebook group for first year students, and, yes, someone even promised to "make this year the best year ever!"

As you can imagine it didn't even take me until the most annoying of the candidates marched up and down the aisles of our desks with a radio playing a beach boys song dancing and handing out fliers while giving each person that would make eye contact with him the thumbs up, to be thoroughly fed up with the whole thing. Or the person who is using his baby to promote his campaign which is evidenced by the third picture which begs students to "vote for my daddy."

No, I'll just bitterly sit at my desk reading about torts, wondering if I can nail any of the candidates for battery by throwing fliers at me, eating all of the candy they hand out. And maybe one day the madness will all end. I was talking to a friend about the whole situation recently and he told me that if you don't want to feel like you're in high school, you should stop acting like you are in high school. I suppose I can take something from that. I can't really control what goes on around me but I can keep myself from the rumors and irritating tactics and actually act like I'm in a professional school, seeking a professional degree. But I'll worry more about that after prom.