Management 101

February 26, 2009

After reading this post by Erin yesterday and hearing this story on NPR this morning, I started thinking about all the dumb things management likes to say at staff meetings or board meeting or just to you when you are alone in your office desperately trying to get work done.  Here are five of my favorite, with their real life translations.

1) “We need to manage expectations” –  What they mean: I want you to make sure no one expects us to actually succeed at this or even do a decent job.

2) “Lets evaluate the stakeholders”- What they mean: Who is going to flip their lid and think they actually have a say in the matter when we make this change?

3) “It is time for some strategic abandonment”- What they mean: Lets quit some stuff with out looking like we are quitting.

4) “I am going to have this run up through your department”- What they mean: You do all the work, I will show up in time to take the credit

5) “Look for the low-hanging fruit”- What they mean:  As anyone from my last place of employment can tell you…they mean do the stuff that is easy right away so that you can spend months in meetings talking over and never actually doing the stuff that is hard.

I think I am totally ready to run an organization.

Through:

-more than 10 years of friendship

-an undisclosed number of boyfriends, three marriages and one divorce

-over 15 addresses spanning three continents

-sick parents and lost grandparents

-countless laughs, tears and hugs

We still belong together

skmbt_c352090224093301

(Christmas 2003)

Where do you belong?

Has it really been 6 years?

February 20, 2009

It occurred to me this morning that today is the 6 year anniversary of the Station Nightclub fire.  In 2003 C and were living in a townhouse apx 5 minutes from where the Station Nightclub used to be.  I remember hearing the sirens and watching the rescue vehicles fly down the sightly busy road we lived off of.  I remember turning on the TV to see what had happened and I remember the horrific images.  Since then….

-I never go in to a bar, a night club or theatre with out taking note of the nearest fire exit.  I don’t know that it would have mattered for many of those people, but I can’t help it.

-The world of fire safety and prevention in public areas has changed.  Every time you have an event and find out you can not have open flames or your hurricane glass must be so may inches taller than your votive, it is one of the may restults of what happened in Rhode Island in 2003.

-The courts are STILL trying to figure out how to compensate victims and their families for the horrific damage fire does to the human body.  

-The state and the people who remember the incident are still raw with emotion.  This was made clear to me a few months ago when Desperate Housewives was showing an episode that included scenes for a fire.  I don’t watch Desperate Housewives, but for hours before the program aired a yellow warning bands scrolled across the TV letting viewers know that the images in that evenings program may be difficult for some to watch and that they may be similar to what happened at The Station Nightclub. 

-The airing of the Doc’s last radio broadcast still sends chills down my spine.

Let’s make it a double…

February 16, 2009

A double post on knowing when to say when:

Five ways you can tell that your colleague has had way to much to drink (and that you will never be going out with her again)

1) When you put in an order for the best nachos this side of Austin and she responds sulkily “noooo, I’m too fat to eat”

2) When after being politely refused the first time she insists on asking the bartender out yet again in a manner that is both suggestive and offensive.

3) When she falls off of the bar stool on her way to tripping on the curb to smoke a cigarette that she does not own.

4) When the bartender looks at you with a mix of horror and concern asking if you think she has been over served and you must remind him that no, three glasses of wine in a three hour period is not more than a responsible adult should be able to consume while you both plot a way to get her out of the bar into a cab and out of your hair. 

5) When she returns from her cigarette break and puts hear head down on the bar, in a puddle of her spilt wine.

Five ways to tell that perhaps you have had too much to drink and will be spending the next day sipping tea and wondering where the night went. 

1) When the waiter makes a joke about having consumed a pitcher of sangria a person and suggests next visit you skip the glasses and just ask for a straw.

2) When your spouse, partner, significant other or friend takes one look at you and says “well, I can see you are in no condition to drive home either”

3) When the check arrives and your bar bill has way more than doubled your food bill.

4) When you ask the waiter for some water please and he politely points out that a full glass has been sitting in front of you for apx 20 min.

5) When you comment that the weather is lovely on the walk home after you froze your butt of simply waking to the car on the way there.

At least I managed not to trip on anything…I think. 

russell_mills_cup_of_tea_470x451

I believe…

February 12, 2009

A few weeks ago  F.B. over at The Change I Wish to See gave me an Honest Scrap Award and like a total flake I have neglected to pass it on.  I am supposed to tell you 10 honest things about me and the pass it along to 10 other bloggers.  I will stick with the ten things about me (consider it 2 lists of 5) and pick five other bloggers who I think have written about some really honest stuff. 

-I believe in second chances, Lord knows I have needed enough of them.

-I believe that there is a difference between yams and sweet potatoes and I believe I can tell the difference.

-I believe in public radio.

-I believe that coffee should be consumed hot, strong and black.

-I believe that when it comes to family, I hit the in-law jack pot.

-I believe that the people you spend time with say a lot about who you are.  For this reason I avoid; hypocrites, homophobes, racists, bigots, antisemites and anyone who feels they need to put others down to make themselves feel or sound better.  It is not that I don’t believe some of these people can be nice or interesting, I just don’t ever want to pick those traits up.

-I believe apologies should only be issued if they are sincere.

-I believe in dictionaries.  I have a 1972 Websters open on my desk every day and keep a pocket one in my purse.

-I believe that gays and lesbians should have 100% equality when it comes to marriage.  Not because I am on some sort of gay crusade (although I think if a crusade like this came up, Joan of Arc would be all over it) but because I believe when our forefathers painstaking crafted our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that followed it they took the time to specify the separation of church and state.  I believe they meant it.

-I believe that the best way to read the Sunday Times is in bed with a cup of coffee or a bloody mary.

If you want to read some other honest stuff check out these bloggers

Bethis– Beth’s accounts of daily life, friendship and relationships are not only hilarious they are spot on.  She is also one of the few people I know willing to post a picture of herself wearing leopard, pleather and boots all at the same time.

La Petite Belle– Carmen has some of the most sincere accounts of marriage and motherhood I have read. She is willing to share the good, the bad and the very funny.

These Little Moments – My dear friend Molly has been bold enough to talk to her readers about the ups and downs of recent unemployment.

Restaurant Refugee– Refugee recently posted about the challenges of remaining anonymous on a blog people love to talk about.

I Got Nothing – Mikes posts about the loss of his brother and his father are loving tributes to their life and the people they have left behind.

Here are five things to remember when you go on a wine tasting tour with your girlfriends (or guy friends, it does not matter)

1) Pack snacks. Everyone knows that food and wine were made for each other and nothing starts a day of early alcohol consumption better than a delicious pic-nick lunch

2) Have a designated driver! No matter how many of those snacks you consume and how stingy the pours may be, no one who has gone through 6 flights of wine should be behind the steering wheel of anything bigger than a Tonka truck.  Actually, I take that back…you should avoid Tonka trucks as well.  You never know.

3) Do not try anything that starts with the following introduction: “don’t think of this as a wine, think of it as a drink”.  Why?  Because wine should taste like wine, like dried cherries or Hungarian oak, like steel barrels or apricots,  but it should never, ever, under any circumstances taste like Hawaiian tropic tanning oil.  Blah.  (to both actually)

4) It is hard to determine exactly when you should stop visiting wineries or stop tasting wine.  I suggest stopping when you can no longer tell the difference from a pinot gris and a pinot noir or when you think “leather on the nose” is hilarious. 

5) When you find a bottle of petite sirah that you love and happens to be offered at a discount, don’t buy all that you can carry.  Buy more.  You will figure out a way to get it home.  Or,your sober driver will figure out a way to get it home.  I love sober drivers. 

Thank you C,E,G and M for an amazing Sunday.

Since it has become painfully apparent that some of our political figures are in desperate need of a review session; here are five points they may want to remember. 

1) In the United States of America we have something we call a Democratic system.  In that system, the people elect officials to serve in various capacities in government.  Those elected officials are responsible for making laws and providing services.

2) Some of the laws and services require money to run.  To pay for them, the officials collect money from the people through something we call taxes.  The people pay taxes on everything from chewing gum to income and no one is exempt*.

3) Sometimes the taxes can get confusing.  Some people are very good at understanding taxes and we call these people accountants.  You can hire an accountant to do your taxes if you are unsure how to pay for the private limo service someone has given you or for your second maid. 

4) If you don’t pay your taxes you get in trouble.  If you don’t pay your taxes and you are in the running to be nominated by the new president for an important post, bad things happen.  Not only do you make yourself look like a greedy moron, you make your party looks stupid and you force people to question the vetting system of the the party leader (in this case, that would be the president). 

5) So, lets review.  PAY YOUR TAXES.  Yes, that includes all of you who think that you are better than us little people, above the system or impervious to the law. After all, you idiot, you ARE the law.

PS: If anyone recognizes the where this post title is from, you have great taste in music. 

*Not-for-profits are sort of exempt, but they are organizations not private citizens and quite frankly, it seems like you profit from just about everything.

H & R and other things

February 2, 2009

F.B. recently did this at one of my favorite blogs The Change I Wish to See.  When I asked if we could change the format slightly (to suit my borderline obsession with listing things in 5’s) he happily complied.  If you want to participate leave a comment at the end of this post and I will assign you a letter (or two) and you will list ten things (or five in my case) that you love that begin with the assigned letter.  F.B. gave me H and R so…here goes.

Hi-C-  I love it.  I know that nothing in it even resembles food and one day when I kick the bucket the inside of my stomach will be stained that horrible orange color, but I can’t get enough of it.  It is the one thing that will get me to to stop (and make a purchase) at a Mc Donald’s because the only thing better than regular Hi-C is ice cold fountain Hi-C.

Hair- Well, facial hair.  On men.  Anyone who has met or seen pictures of D probably already knows this about me but I love facial hair.  I am not sure if it is the economy or the resurgence of all things 1970’s but the other night at a bar I noticed a lot more guys running around with well trimmed beards.  I am all over this.  I am also a big fan of chest hair but I think I will leave it at that.

Holmes, Santonio – Like any member of (what they seem to be calling) Steelers Nation the last few minutes of last nights game were killer.  And I don’t know about the people you were with but when Holmes first made that catch not a person in the room thought his feet were in.  He knew they were in, the ref saw that they were in and thanks to the wonders of replays from EVERY ANGLE we all got to see that they were in, but it was an amazing few seconds.  I don’t know if it was a good as last years helmet catch, but it was pretty great. 

Super Bowl XLIII Football

Having drinks with Blog friends-  Friday night I finally met up with the lovely Beth from bethis and let me tell you; she is twice as hilarious in real life as she is on her blog.  We chatted like old friends and proved the idea that no good comes from drinking before 4:00.   Actually, no good comes from drinking before 4:00 when you don’t move from your bar stools for 3 hours and your direct report from work shows up and sits right next to you.   My plan: to avoid him like the plague for the next 5 days. 

Historic Preservation- in addition to all the other causes I support, the idea of historic preservation is pretty near and dear to my heart.  I know that we all want big bathrooms and central air and I fully support the ADA.  However, you can read about history and hear about important places and people but nothing can come close to walking through the halls of Mt Vernon or along the gardens of Monticello

Rusted Root– ok, I know they are not the best band ever and their song writing does not necessarily knock your socks off but nothing takes me back to high school like the introduction to Drum Trip and the night I spent at SUNY Albany listening to them in 1993  may remain as one of my favorites.

Robbins, Tom– Aside from David Sedaris, one of the all time funniest authors ever.  When I am having a bad day or I just want to scream, I picture a large metal turkey zooming down the highway at 60mph and laugh out loud. 

a314b220dca0115722d47010__aa240__l

Running-  Contrary to some of the things I may have written, I really do love it.  Nothing feels better than a long run at the end of an even longer day and for the most part, it is totally peaceful.

Rain- Soft misty rain, rhythmic pitter-patter rain, drenching swollen drops, angry sideways rain, circular hurricane rain…I love it all.  I think this love may have been the one thing that made the six solid weeks of rain I experienced when I was living in London bearable.  

Reading- books, magazines, the NY Times and… all of your blogs.