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Because I'm having an "only posting positive stuff" day, and I haven't updated here in far too long.

Of course, I meant to start cooking dinner over an hour ago, and since I took too long putting THIS blog together, you'll have to click on the link. :)

*tap tap* Is this thing on?

Well hello there, Livejournal. Seems you've done some redecorating since I've been gone. And added things like being able to see my facebook feed from my livejournal, which is definitely a feature that would bring me back.


I stopped by a few days ago when a friend mentioned a post over here, and commented on a number of people's entries (at LEAST five, okay so that's more like "several" than "a number of"...but still).

And not a single comment back? From any of them?
I mean, I know this isn't Facebook and we all have lives, but it's been 3 days and not a peep?
Tell me again why I should find livejournal worth my time?
Because 3 days ago, I was pretty excited by the idea of maybe reviving my presence here, and enjoying the deeper connection and more robust platform for sharing bigger thoughts than can be contained in a tweet or Facebook post.
The jury is still deliberating. 


So That Just Happened. For reals.

This has GOT to be the funniest thing to hit my e-mail that wasn't intended as an actual joke, or meme, EVAR! It starts off as an innocent notice from Dr. Odell Owens (the President of CIncinnati State Community and Technical College - who happens to be a real doctor, and served as county coroner here, among other things) to the student body about the college's approach regarding the Ebola Virus. Remember - this e-mail (the those that follow) went to the entire student body.

From: on behalf of Owens, Odell <>

Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2014 9:48 AM

To: Students

Subject: Ebola concern

Dear Student,

Cincinnati State has been closely monitoring information about the Ebola virus and has added links to MyCState and the Cincinnati State website to provide quick access to the latest information from the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Health and other sources.

To answer questions and address Cincinnati region-related health concerns, the Hamilton County Health District is available during business hours at (513) 946-7800. In addition, the Ohio Department of Health has activated a 24-hour-a-day call center for public health questions at 1 (866) 800-1404.

We are committed to keeping the campus well-informed and protected from communicable diseases to the best of our ability, and we will continue to monitor and follow guidance supplied by the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health. We also ask each member of the community to stay informed and to be proactive in sharing information as this international issue evolves.

Public health experts have stated that at-risk children and adults, and the elderly, are more likely to die from influenza this year than Ebola. As we enter flu season, please remember to follow good-health guidelines including washing your hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, getting your flu vaccination, and avoiding contact with others if you are acutely ill.

Thank you for your time and attention and for your help in keeping the campus a safe place to study, and work.

For more information about current health issues, please visit<> or the intranet:


O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H.



C, Brian N

10:48 AM (34 minutes ago)
to Odell, Students

drear Mr. Owens I have a problem with my professer. she kicked me out of class all because I asked if I can print my paper that was due today, it was finish and everything and she told I cant come back untilTuesday. but that is wrong I am a good student and I do my work and home work all the time. but her name is Sandra Buschmann. she just don't do me like that she does all of the black students like that too.


On Oct 30, 2014, at 11:52 AM, "Mhamed J wrote:

I'm not sure f you doing this on purpose but  you are sending the e-mail to everyone.

Good luck with your teacher

James W

Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2014 11:34 AM

To: C Brian N

Cc: Owens, Odell; Students

Subject: Re: Ebola concern

In response to Brian,

1) If you're going to email someone about a topic like accusing a Professor of racism please do not include the whole student body.
2) It is your responsibility to have all your documents and classwork ready BEFORE class.
3) A lot of classrooms do not allow printing thus why you should have went to the Lab room to print out your documents.
4) Seriously, how will Mr Owens take you seriously if your email looks like 4 year old wrote it?


  • Today at 12:11 PM

  • Mhamed Jelil

  • Cavanaugh, Brian N

  • Owens, Odell

  • Students

Dr. Owens,
Please let this student get back to English class as soon as possible!

  • Owens, Odell


Could everyone please quit commenting. Thanks.


  • Owens, Odell

  • Students

This is reddit gold.
First meeting - 7:00 PM Friday April 12, 2013 in Dayton, OH!!
April's topic: Jealousy

Please join our Meet Up group (it's easy and free!) to RSVP and for
notifications of upcoming events!

Live monthly forum for an exchange of ideas, friendship, and support for the
poly community. The focus of discussion is polyamory and poly-related topics. We
are not a swingers group, so if you're just looking to swing, swap, or hook up,
this is not the place for you.

This group is for adults 18 and over. We meet the 2nd Friday of the month in the
Dayton or Cincinnati area (addresses given with meeting notices). While we have
no membership fees or dues, a small donation towards the group expenses is
appreciated if you attend.

Meeting Guidelines:

1. Anonymity is requested: what is said at the meeting stays in the room

2. No cross-talking; please listen respectfully while others share

3. Do not give advice unless advice is asked for

4. Respect diversity, differing opinions and lifestyle choices

5. Meetings are an alcohol and drug free zone

6. "Babes-in-arms" are welcome, but please arrange for childcare if you have
older children - we LOVE kids and strive to be "poly family friendly" (and
encourage family friendly socializing) but as a discussion group we want to
create an atmosphere where any subject can be discussed without censoring,
judgement or undue distraction.

Hope you can join us for the discussion!

Xtine & Euphrates

The Hug That Matters

C is one of my favorite residents. I think a lot of the other aides find her frustrating, as she tends to be somewhat needy (aka uses her call light fairly frequently during the course of a shift) and is kind of overly emotional. I pegged pretty early on in working there that she'd had a stroke sometime in her past (which the nurses confirmed) - her lack of emotional control and tendency for waterworks at the drop of a hat reminded me of my mom (after she had The Stroke she lost all emotional "brakes" and we - all, she used the term for herself too - started calling her "faucet face"). So I've always looked out for C, particularly whenever I'm assigned to the group down her hall (since for some reason even though she changed rooms a few months back she was still considered part of "group 1" which is around the corner, which meant her aide would have to make a special trip around to answer her light, and might not notice if she needed help and couldn't get to her call button for some reason). She used to complain about how I never seemed to be assigned to her group on her shower nights. LOL She was always thrilled to see pictures of the grandbaby, and she was the resident who insisted I take pictures of my daughter's fashion show (and bugged me about it when it was rescheduled due to the snow day we had the first week of March).

Since I started working at Beechwood, C had started using oxygen a bunch (she suffered from congestive heart failure), and had gone from eating in the dining room to mostly staying in her room. She had good days and bad days, days where she was obviously wiped out (and more weepy than usual). This past Wednesday was one of her bad days, and as her aide that night I tried to be as gentle as possible (she was in a lot of pain due to a sore that had developed on her left hip). And checked on her a few extra times, since she wasn't using the call light nearly as much as she usually did. When I did my final check on her that night, she seemed so weepy and miserable, I felt compelled to just give her a big hug and tell her to hang in there, and that I loved her.

The following day (Thursday) when I got to work, I found out she'd been transported to the hospital that morning (though I never got any explanation as to why). It wasn't the first time she'd been sent out since I've worked there, but I was kind of worried about her this time. I thought about her a lot on my day off yesterday (Friday), and had almost put up a "please keep my resident C in your prayers" post up on facebook, but never got around to it.

C died today.

After I found out (another aide gave me the news when I first got to work), I went around and talked about it with the nurse supervisor. She explained they'd sent her out because her labs hadn't looked good Thursday morning (apparently because of the congestive heart issues she was one of the residents they do regular labs on besides checking vital signs per usual), and her kidneys hadn't been in good shape when she left. She went into full blown kidney failure while at the hospital. The nurse told me she'd just gotten the call that they were transporting C to hospice, and about 5 minutes later they called back to say she'd passed - around 2pm today. A mere 45 minutes before I heard the news. The nurse also mentioned how glad she was that C's family was able to throw her a big 75th birthday celebration earlier this month.

And all I keep thinking is how glad I am that I was her aide the last night she was here, and how incredibly glad I am that I followed my instincts and gave her that hug.

I tear up every time I think about it.

Of course, life goes on and work didn't wait for me to take time to really process much. My favorite fellow aide asked me if I was okay when I told him the news. And I was okay, mostly, though I had occasional twinges walking by her room and seeing her family packing up her things. It wasn't until I was driving home that I really let myself think about it much. And I started thinking about my mom, and how I hoped that my compassion and care for C had made up just a little for some of my impatience with my mom back then (because as a teenager, the person who came home from the hospital drove me nuts and I wasn't always pleasant or patient with her emotional outbursts or short-term memory issues). And I "heard" (or rather, "saw" in my mind's eye) my mom in the back of my head like I do all the time (funny the ways your parents find to haunt you after they go, my mom "talks" to me all the time) a conversation between C and my mom. And C let my mom know just how much she loved having me as her aide, and my mom got all teary because she was so proud of me. And I got a pretty strong impression they're gonna be hanging out a bunch, 'cause like I said, C reminded me of my mom and I think they're going to be fast friends.

My turn for the waterworks.

Not that I'm sad, not really. C isn't in pain anymore. It's more this overwhelming sense of feeling grateful that I got to have at least a little part in making her last months a little better. That she liked having me take care of her. That what I do matters.

Goodnight, C.
I love you.


I'm all kind of topsy-turvy at the moment, and recognize this as a pattern with me when starting a new relationship. I quickly go from the euphoria of "OMG he/she's interested!" to terror "OMG, is he/she going to go away and I've ruined everything?" to euphoria again "OMG he/she is still here! I don't suck!" and back again...until EVENTUALLY I achieve some kind of balance. Maybe.

Gods know I wore y'all out over 'Yote that way several years back. And my work-friend R before that.

And here I go again.

I could go into all the gnarly details of what's transpired over the past couple of weeks (and I'm sure you'll eventually hear all about it, 'cause that's how I roll), but for the moment I want to address something of an "apostrophe" (aka "epiphany" ala the movie "Hook") that I'm grappling with. I'd LIKE to eventually write it up as some kind of pithy "Dear Poly Date Prospect" blog or something, once I figure out how to explain myself. Right now, the idea is still forming.

Basically, it goes something like this:

I don't need to be everybody's Number One Priority, not every relationship has to be a Relationship, and I'm totally okay with casual FWBs. BUT I expect FWB to imply FRIEND. And to me, FRIEND implies conversation. Give and take. If you are actually interested in me, you will notice when I post something and make a comment. Or comment back if I comment on something you've written. (Comments = love to me, seriously kids, I've been pretty up front about that.) If all you ever do is sext at me, and ignore me otherwise, I'm going to lose interest in maintaining contact pretty quickly. I am also NOT going to be your convenient booty call. If every time we try together as friends (i.e not alone in your apartment when you've got an hour free some afternoon) you find some convenient excuse to cancel (or hell, just never get back to me on whether you can make it), don't expect me to have a lot of sympathy when you decide to whine at me about how you haven't had sex with your wife in 6 months and then push me to get together. Or keep sending me pictures of your dick every time I respond to you in chat, no matter what the original topic of conversation was.

It gets old REALLY quick. And if you set that pattern, I'm not going to make time to see you.

But if you start a conversation with me and actually keep talking, asking questions, sharing information, WRITING BACK and generally becoming a friend, I'll move heaven and earth to get together in person. (Eventually...I do have one such person I've become pretty good friends with on facebook that I keep having to reschedule on...sighs...gods my schedule sucks right now.) And amazingly, if you keep pushing and hinting at sex, it's probably not ever going to happen...BUT if we get together as friends and things click, holy crap sex can break out quickly and unexpectedly (which is exactly what happened last weekend with New Guy I'm Crushing On). Which is why I've been pondering this, because after being on OKCupid and Fetlife as long as I have, this is the first time *ever* that things have worked out in any kind of way I'm comfortable with (at least, I think they're working out, I'm in the terrified "OMG did I scare him away with my enthusiasm" phase at the moment).

Now how to write that for public consumption... (Or maybe it's good enough as is...what do you think?)


Okay, back to being on pins and needles waiting for NGICO to send me a message back on OKC as to whether or not our schedules will sync up at all before the next time we all (all being him, me and 'Yote) plan to hang out together, or if I've "flexible and understandinged" myself out of a date altogether. :(
Which makes 'Yote a Grandpa, a fact that is providing endless amusement for most of his friends and family. 

But anyway, let me introduce my grandson, Gavin Rhys Dugan!

Born on 12/18/12 at 10:33 PM EST (39° 3' 34" N/ 4° 10' 38" W for any astrologers out there)  

9 lbs (even), 22 1/2 inches long

Born AT HOME, 20 hours from water breaking to birth. (Yes, my daughter-in-lawless is a super hero)

Gavin Rhys Dugan Born 12/18/12 at 10:33 PM9 lbs, 22 1/2 inches long

Plenty more pictures where that came from - 
Grandbaby Adventures album on facebook - it's public so you should have access even if you don't do facebook

Oliver Twist Revisited

This is the first draft of the final paper due in my English 102 class this semester. After reading several entries in the unit of our book about "Perspectives on the Workplace", we were given eight suggested writing topics. I chose to respond to one of the selected readings in the text: "Temporary Workers and the 21st Century Economy" by Jody Greenstone Miller. 

My professor's response to this first draft was "I really enjoy reading your work. This is a great piece. I will leave you to your own devices." Which is AWESOME, except...well, it still feels unfinished to me. (Gee, perfectionist much?) In my essay I point out where Greenstone's arguments are shortsighted, but I don't give a lot of concrete suggestions to fix the problems as they exist now. And honestly? I really don't know WHAT would fix things. Having just left my soul-sucking job over what I considered to be abuses regarding my rights as a *permanent* worker (i.e. rights to privacy regarding invasive biannual background checks, trolling people's facebooks and emotionally abusive behavior by management), and having seen what a number of people close to me have dealt with regarding contract work, AND seeing what just happened (and is happening) with Hostess, I find myself enraged with nothing productive to aim it at. I'm fresh out of ideas, folks. In an "employers market", workers need protection. But what exactly? What would help? Laws? How would they be inforced? Economic sanctions against employers who abuse their workers? Don't those already exist? Are they just not being enforced? What do we do to change that?

I look forward to your comments! Thanks in advance!
* yes, this is me blatantly fishing the internet collective for ideas - but I know I have some pretty smart friends who generally have pretty concrete ideas about such things, so I thought I'd toss this out there and see what comes back. That said, I MAY just leave the thing as is, collect my A in the course and call it good (depends on how much time I actually have to work on this before the final draft is due on the 14th). 

Click for full essay, including works cited...Collapse )


Hello there LJ-land. Don't feel bad, you're not the only blog I've been neglecting lately - Sparkpeople hasn't seen much of me since at least August, also known as since I started a new semester and a new job within a week of each other. Facebook has become exceptionally useful as a way to minimally keep up on things (and I DO mean minimally - my friends list is far too long for stuff not to get buried before I have a chance to see it, and if I allow myself more than a half hour of internet time per day beyond stuff I have to do for school, it's rare anymore). 

So here's a bit of catch up on what Euphrates has been up to lately, good, bad and in-between:

Please click - I wouldn"t have typed it out if I didn"t want to share, but I"m being polite and trying not to explode everybody"s friends" page...Collapse )
So in some ways, I absolutely couldn't be happier. In others, the universe has some 'splainin' to do. 


So what have you learned, Dorothy?


I really wasn't expecting fall out from my last blog, certainly not the fall out that occurred.
Warning - if you have issues with me and my blunt Sagittarian transparency, don"t click the link...Collapse )

I've now had a few days to assimilate all this, and have come to a conclusion. There are some people who are going to make things all about them, whether those things actually involve them or not. And it doesn't matter how many pretzels I twist myself into, or how much blood sweat and tears I put into trying not to step on any toes...some people are going to take things the wrong way anyway. And that is THEIR issue. As long as I act with integrity, respect what boundaries are specifically set before me to the best of my ability without giving up my voice, and do my best to speak my truth with kindness and compassion, it's MY truth to speak. If other people get their panties in a twist...that's their issue. I will take responsibility for what is MY issue, and for my own mental health I need to STOP trying to anticipate every possible negative reaction in order to counteract it before it happens. Because I can't. It doesn't work. Other people's reactions, other people's emotions, aren't mine to fix.

Now...please remind me I wrote that when I forget again (and consider this full permission to kick me in the seat of the pants as necessary). Because as a "fixer" and "people pleaser" (aka codependent but recovering child of an alcoholic)...we all know we're going to have this conversation again. Probably more than once.


At least the periods between me and the stupid seem to be lengthening some. I take a small measure of comfort there.

Growing is...

Oh Hey, I Did A Marathon...

There has been fall out from my last blog (I was a mess over it Friday night, now I'm just mostly bemused) and I have a follow up percolating, but for now I'd rather focus on happier things.

I finally uploaded this to Youtube to make it easier to find (I'd previously uploaded it to facebook via my Sparkpeople blog, but that's a rather round-about path). Enjoy!

I've pointed you at The Ferrett before, faithful readers (I really shouldn't laugh maniacally in my head when I write that, should I?) and I'm doing it again. 

I should probably mention that I've had a crush on his brain from reading his blogs for YEARS. We finally met up face to face during the last NEO trip (due largely to the fact his lady wife is a fellow Sparkpeople blogger and we've become pretty good friends over there), and there's a pretty nifty friendship budding between his chosen family and ours, which makes me all kinds of squee (and not in a "name dropping OMG I know FERRETT!" kind of way, more "Yay, kindred spirits! And they're in the NEO! We go to the NEO!" just to be clear). 

So ANYWAY, his wife recently wrote this gem that's had me chewing on events (particularly events here, on my very own livejournal) of a few years ago: It's only a Code of Ethics if you stick to it when the going gets tough

This really got me thinking...and I commented back (not there, but on another site where it was crossposted):
See, I'm not sure how I feel about this one. On the one hand, I agree with you totally, and can understand the trust issues involved. On the other hand I have a personal policy of being an open book online. This has caused problems. Serious problems. I've lost friends over it, who took issue with my honesty. I've lost lovers over it. Though to be fair, to myself at least though I doubt they'd agree, they KNEW how I was online when we first met - hell we MET online - and never ONCE told me they had an issue with anything I wrote, ever, until they'd decided to break up with me and it was too late (to this day I still have no idea what really happened or what I said that was a problem, and it still hurts). Interestingly, after the break up we were fiercely careful not to smack-talk or say anything negative (party line was "we're transitioning gracefully"), and found out the person was spreading stuff about US... Gods it was a mess (and still has me leery of showing up to events, I'm always wondering what people know or what they've heard, or if I'm going to run into an ex I still love desperately and miss terribly and thus may do something stupid).

So I struggle with this. There's a balance there somewhere, but I've yet to figure it out. Had their been communication, and I'd had the chance to work through those issues and come to a better understanding of each of our boundaries, I suspect I might have a better handle on this one. Now I'm just gun shy and confused.

There were a few comments back and forth, but the whole thing left me...conflicted. As I stated later in the exchange, I'd like to think I've learned through this experience and come out a better person, too. Unfortunately I tend to flip back and forth between self-loathing ("Am I really that horrible at poly? Am I really such a bad person?") and being mind-boggled at how badly I was misjudged.

So now Ferrett comes up with this gem, which makes a HELLUVA lot of sense to me. Why I Don’t Bitch About My Girlfriends On The Internet

Of course, reading that makes me vaguely uncomfortable at having just openly shared the comments above. Will they be taken wrong? Probably. Will I lose more readers? What difference does it make now, the prediction he made (that # 1 will eventually become #2 and #3) can be seen vividly demonstrated in how my readership (and the current lack thereof) has changed over the past few years.


So, I'm pondering the balance here. And hoping maybe I'm learning something through all of this.
Growing is.

Evolutions in Polyamory

Long LONG ago in a galaxy called "before 'Yote dug himself outta Kent and moved 4 hours southwest", I went to my first Origins Game Fair. And it was...eventful. As in, the first experience of being poly together and the first "so how are we going to do this poly thing" discussion eventful (not to mention, the "So how does the first week of August sound for me to move down?" conversation...we packed a lot into that weekend). 

Here, I've unfiltered my impressions (ah yes, this was back when I wasn't allowed to talk about being happy in front of the ex so most of the "good stuff" was filtered) - Entitled "Self-Revelations and Personal Impressions"  (FWIW, reading #4 again was tough...some of you probably remember John killed himself last year, which I'm still not really dealing with well...I poked his widow on fetlife the other day to see if we'd see her at Origins this year and her only response was "probably not"...more regrets there, as I haven't been nearly as available as I should have been for her...sighs).

Part of the discussion we had after 'Yote's adventure with our now-ex-but-then-future-girlfriend on Saturday involved "so how much do you want to know?" See, I knew my loves in Atlanta would tell each other intimate details (in fact, the details of the first sex between me and him - yeah, this was WAY back in the day - sparked THEM into hotel sex that night), and to ME that seemed incredibly enlightened and something to emulate. But I wasn't sure I was ready for that level of disclosure (if you went back and read the entry, you'll notice all the "brain hamsters" I was wrestling with during that time), which I admitted to 'Yote, and that was that. For the rest of the relationship, we tended to keep our private moments private. In retrospect, it probably made things WORSE rather than better (I learned after the break up that I was assuming a LOT regarding the "wild and crazy" I figured they must have been doing without me...apparently the hamsters lied. A lot). 

So here we are, five years later having spent the past 3 years since the break up of the triad "functionally monogamous" - oh there has been the occasional playmate (wondering if I'm going to have to find a way to ditch my daughter on Saturday night at the Big Bar on 2 at Origins if certain people have an interest in reprising last year...totally playing that one by ear), but neither of us has had anything resembling an actual "date" (casual or otherwise) in a very long time. And the longer we've gone, the more I've found myself wondering about how it's going to go when we DO find someone else. Have I faced down the hamsters sufficiently? Did I do too much damage with my insecurities around "The Flirtation" that also happened around that time (I really handled that shit badly and owe a very sweet lady in the NEO a huge apology), so maybe 'Yote is too gunshy to try again? I've worried about his recent introversion and lack of desire to leave the house...have I ruined him? Domesticated him somehow? Where did the charismatic guy who cut a swath across Northern Ohio from Vermont to Albion MI, and gets away with lines that would get anybody else slapped disappear to? happy and settled as we are, will we be able to handle the disruption of our "happy status quo" by a new relationship? 


So during our last trip to the NEO, we (FINALLY!) met up with some folks I'd known for quite some time on livejournal and around various places on the interwebz (yay for Sparkfriends!), but hadn't ever met face to face before. Oh MY, but everybody hit it off famously! (Which I expected, seriously, but it's always SO cool to be right.) Since that fateful meal at Mike's Place (naturally), a lot of texting has been going on. Flirtatious texting (what? wait, somebody's flirting with me? Is that allowed? Me? Seriously? How do I flirt back, or initiate flirting with their partner and not flub this? OMG!? Iz scared!) Of course, as always, 'Yote thinks it's adorable and goes back to playing with his Square Headed OSO (aka his XBox). Until he mentions offhandedly to me he's been trying to figure out how to initiate flirting with said person's OTHER partner, which sets ME into motion getting them talking. LOL 'Cause I do that. And now there's text-flirting going on there, too. Lot's of it. 

Thus, "Remember that 'so how are we doing this poly thing' conversation we had in the way back? I think since we may be sticking our toes back into the poly pool here shortly, and it's been SO long, we might want to revisit the conversation..."

And you know what? It's completely different. And completely wonderful! Now don't get me wrong, I have NO regrets about the relationship with the ex-girlfriend (well, except a few things that resulted in the "ex" status, but that's a different topic altogether) - we learned a LOT about ourselves and each other, and how we prefer to operate with our relationships, and I think we're in a far better place for having gone through all that so early in our life together than we would be otherwise. But I'm realizing that a LOT of our struggles (particularly my difficulties with the Flirtation situation) resulted from things still being so NEW with us. Because now? Are you kidding? We hand each other our phones and share text conversations with each other, and I think it's adorable. I LOVE getting to watch the mate flirting, and seeing someone responding in kind. It is the COOLEST thing on the planet! There are no twinges of fear, no "panic at hearing that text sound" (which I had a lot of during the Flirtation...seriously, it got to the point I wanted to throw away his phone), no moments of "but what if he wants to do something with her we haven't done..." Not even a hint.

Of course, the fact that these people ALSO practice open disclosure and appear to proliferate pretty goddammed mature relationships (and trust me, I've been reading dude's poly blogs for a WHILE now, so I was fairly familiar with how the family operated BEFORE having such things confirmed in practice) makes a world of difference. 

So yeah. This is fun. :) No clue where it's going (we've already had the "my dance card is pretty full regarding relationships right now, but playmates are always an option" least between 'Yote and the cute partner anyway), and not really all that worried about it. Enjoying what is. And trying to schedule another trip to the NEO ASAP dammit... (And yes, we've recognized the irony there...what IS it about the NEO? 'Yote says 'It's a Kent thing' and shrugs...)

Have I mentioned how much I love my life?


As many of you already know, my last day working at Vantiv (formerly Fifth Third Processing Solutions) was March 21, 2012. As I've stated elsewhere, there's no real "short version" that can adequately explain why, after 16 years of sucking it up at a job I've always hated but stayed with since it funded the rest of my life, I finally couldn't continue doing so in good conscience. 

So today you get the long one. 

I'll start out with some back story, facilitated by a few old posts that you don't have to go back and read unless you want to. The first being the original announcement that Fifth Third Bank was selling off it's processing company during the banking crisis a couple of years ago. Not surprisingly, I was one of the people slated to go to the new company and though I wasn't especially happy about it, it was a new adventure right? So I did my best to embrace the changes. Not that I didn't express my concerns to the new management, I was pretty clear in fact. Then I started doing some research regarding the new company and how they were going to approach the things that made me ABLE to 'hold my nose and think of England' and continue working there. Which is when things started going seriously downhill (more on that it a second). Eventually they announced that once we were officially Vantiv employees - as of January 1, 2011 - we'd be going to 12 hour shifts. That's when I REALLY got worried - y'all know that I tend to get migraines when I don't get enough sleep, and they'd been increasing in frequency over the past few years, so 12 hour shifts scared me. Happily, I can now say in hindsight that I did everything right and from the first day at Vantiv until I left I had a grand total of 2 migraines that entire year and 3 months. But that was only due to religiously guarding my sleep schedule on my part - the company mismanaged it just as I'd expected they would (because in THEORY having 3-4 days off a week sounds wonderful, until you have to deal with holidays, vacations and sick time and suddenly SOMEBODY has to work 4, 5, 6...or in some cases 14 days of straight 12 hour shifts. If they'd hired in enough people the MOMENT they knew who was going where so we could have been fully staffed with people who knew the job starting out, it would have worked. But they dragged their feet, and only started hiring people about a month before I left...after they'd totally beaten a few people into the ground and lost their back up plan. But I'm getting ahead of myself...)

The writing on the wall...Collapse )

But right on schedule, as of January 1, 2011 all of those slated for transition officially became employees of the new company. Things in the Command Center didn't really change all that much at first, except that fur started flying between the old management and the new. Seriously, we'd mostly all been working together as a team for years, and those of us on the FLOOR were perfectly willing to continue helping each other and working as a team through the transition, but management somehow all (with only a very few exceptions, my boss being one of them) devolved into kindergartners fighting over who got to play in whose sandbox. It was insane, and drove US all batty between mis-communications, conflicting information and general chaos. But we survived, and a few months later (the week between the US Spring Time Change and the European Spring Time Change) we did the big mainframe split that completed the transition into two separate companies. And then things REALLY went to hell, in my world anyway. 

Things start to deteriorate...Collapse )

So one day (as I told him AGAIN to just fire me and be done with it, and he told me AGAIN that he wasn't going to fire me dammit), he looked at me quizzically and asked "Are you really serious about wanting to leave? Because lay offs are coming, and we've been trying our best to keep them from touching the Command Center, but if you WANT to go...." and thus was born the my original exit plan. I'd stick it out (and keep a lid on the lay offs coming so as not to incite a panic) until probably March, and then they'd lay me off with full severance - which, considering 16 years of service, wasn't a small amount of money. I leave on good terms, they'd hire in some contractors (still avoiding full hires due to not knowing future business need) and I could train my replacement, and we'd have severance to draw on so I could go to school and not worry for a few months. Win win! I started training Barb in earnest (SHE knew the real score...), and as word trickled out that I was leaving I just told people I was finally going to pursue nursing like I should have years ago. 

But then the stupid REALLY started.

And the camel"s back just can"t take it anymore....Collapse )

I'd love to say that's the end of the story, but the stupid actually got WORSE at that point.

No really...Collapse )

And that, as they say, is that. 

Stay tuned, because I have really big stuff I'm pondering in the "figuring out our future" department that I could use some feedback on, but I needed to post this FIRST for any of THAT to make sense. 


Next NEO Trip Confirmed - April 15-18!

YES, we *could* technically make it to the Bruce Springsteen show in the 17th. 'Yote has nixed the idea though ("At those prices? No, I've seen The Boss before.")

Why the mid-week plan? Well, it's not like I have to be back for work after all, right? LOL But the primary reason is that I really can't afford to miss any Saturday trainings at this point, not with The Flying Pig only 5 weekends away. And for reasons that will only make sense to a VERY tiny and select group of people, we wanted to be in town on the anniversary of the Titanic, so the 15th was going to happen one way or another. So there ya go.

Our only solid plan? See family and friends, and make it back to Cincinnati in time for Lucy Wainwright-Roche's show at Molly Malone's on Wednesday night.

Which MEANS, dear friends, we can still do the ritual Mike's Place meal before we leave town at noon, it'll just be noon on Wednesday instead of Sunday (and we'll need to hit the road no later than 2pm).

SO, who's up for a mid-week lunch meet up? I'm pretty sure a spark friend, her hubby and their girlfriend (what, you thought Sparkpeople was only for "normals"? Ha!) are going to show. Curious? BE THERE!

** Yes, I know, I know, I'm late on some poetry. Stay tuned, gotta get to the gym first!

RIP Hagrid 2/2/04 - 3/25/12

The very first post I ever made on LJ was something of a tribute to how my dog kept me sane through the biggest nightmare of my life.

He was only 5 months old at the time, and already the size of a full grown labrador

Pictures of when we brought him home in June 2004...gods, he looks so TINY to me in these pictures!
Of course, even Ariadne looks tiny to me in these pictures. :)

I got the call early Sunday afternoon - we were still in Atlanta, with no clear timing in mind for heading home, sitting around routerninja's kitchen table talking (how we spent much of the weekend, which was perfect). It was obvious my ex-wife was upset, I could hear the tears in her voice and steeled myself for bad news. Apparently Hagrid had been feeling poorly for the past several days, having trouble with steps (not unusual for him, and not surprising for a mastiff) and not eating. The plan had been to take him to the vet on Monday if he hadn't improved. The ex-spice were making a run to the ER that morning (the docs have been having trouble balancing the ex-husband's blood pressure medication, resulting in panic attacks), and the ex-wife couldn't get Hagrid back in the house so she left him outside planning on helping him back up the steps after she dropped M off and came back home. She found him unresponsive, tongue and gums white...and she tried to revive him to no avail. And then had to deal with the fact that the city won't pick up animals outside of business hours. When she called me, her folks had come over to help her deal with the situation, and she was in the process of taking him to Petsmart where they could cremate him.

I can only imagine how traumatic the whole thing had to be for her - I mean, we're talking about a dog the size of a human here (hell, bigger - he had 40 lbs on 'Yote), and he's been such a huge part of the family for so long... Gods I hope the kids are okay (particularly Alexander...they had a special bond, since Hagrid decided Alex was HIS puppy, having been right there when he was born).

(Alexander & Hagrid 10/08)

I don't think the reality really hit me until we were driving home, and 'Yote put some OTR in the CD player. As Karin sang "Laugh of Recognition" (the opening line of which she's described came to her as she was calling her dogs in one evening from playing in the yard) and then "Johnny and June" ("some questions cannot be answered...who's gonna bury who?"), and a few songs later "No Kill Shelter", and I was wiping tears as the sun set over the smokey mountains. Hagrid was literally my angel...the only thing that kept me going during those dark months when we didn't see my heartkids. I don't think I would have made it through all that without him.


Honestly, it's better this way. Mastiff's only live an average of 10 years anyway (he was 8), and aging for them tends to involve a host of medical problems, particularly painful joint issues. I'd rather have had him die suddenly like this than have to suffer a long protracted downhill slide. The ex-wife is getting me a key-chain made with some of his ashes (it was that or a memorial stone, and we don't have a yard to put one in), so he'll be with me always (I already have his original collar tag on my keychain anyway, 'cause yes, I'm sentimental like that, and since he lived with the exes, it kept him close).

So now, he'll be my angel up in Mastiff Heaven. Chasing all the squirrels he wants (without me there to stop him, eh?), eating his weight in pig ears (again, without me there to stop him...LOL) and keeping an eye on his "puppies" from above.

Yep, Euphrates is going to do this (not like I've got anything getting in the way of my time right now, right?), and hey, sounds like a great way to dust off the ol' Livejournal and get back into the habit of posting and reading regularly right? So here we go!

For today’s prompt, write a communication poem. The communication could be dialogue between two (or more people); a postcard correspondence; a letter; a voicemail; a text message; a series of tweets; or whatever. Heck, I guess a poem is a form of communication–so there’s really no way to screw up today’s prompt (outside of writing nothing at all). Let’s get this party started!

The Things We Take For Granted
PAD 4/1/2012

I got a phone call from my niece today.
We talked about riding her bike
And about her new friends.
She asked about why I left my job
and I explained that I want to be a nurse.
And then she was off to play and the phone call ended. 
Five minutes of miracle, if that.
But still a miracle. 
Because phone calls are miracles when you're deaf like my niece.
Phone calls, and closed captioning and interpreted performances...
So many miracles
So many bits of daily life that we take for granted.
Never thinking of the people who can't hear what we hear
Or see what we see
What miracles have you missed today?


In Other News...

Well, there's some news. :) Which I've already blogged about over on Sparkpeople, so rather than attempt to recreate that here (gods it's SO much easier to post pictures there), I'm just going to link you to it. 

Note - I am NOT using my sparkpeople disclaimer or user pic, because this is actual news and I don't want folks to just skip over this as "Oh, Euphrates is just talking about being on the elliptical again." 

That said, as of today I've lost a total of 75 lbs, so GO ME! 

Anyway...the news...

A Weekend Ends With New Beginnings!

And a follow up from Tuesday...

An Amusing Testament to How Far I've Come

So yeah.
Neat, huh?

OH, one more important announcement...

We'll be in the NEO next week! For the Over The Rhine show at Kent Stage, of course (combined with doing the usual birthday/holiday stuff with the 'rents). The plan is to get into town early on Thursday (the show is Thursday night), and then stay until Sunday (ending with the traditional Ritual Mike's Place meal at noon on Sunday, for anyone who wants to hook up that we haven't managed to see yet). SO, hit me up if you want to try and get together, OR let me know if you plan to show up at Mike's on Sunday.
Because I was accosted by a certain "daughter-in-lawless" last night with "WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS! AND NO SAYING 'I DON'T KNOW'!"

That said, you can cross "Flute" off this list, thanks to the ever awesome kilted_omalley, and you can add "Gift Card to Mercy Healthplex" (though I have no idea if they are actual physical cards) to be used for future personal training (here's the link with information: Mercy Healthplex Gift Cards ). Because yes, I've become a crazy fitness nut like that. :) Oh, and I no longer need specialized head phones.

For the ya go!

Link to the aforementioned Not a Wish List post

Our Big Fat Lesbian Wedding, Take 2

Because I figured out I CAN just upload music from my PC to make videos with Animoto, so this had to happen. Enjoy!

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