Friday, June 26, 2015

West Virginia Black Bear

The Black Bear is the state animal of West Virginia. 

I was a senior in high school when I lived in the East Pear Ridge neighborhood in Huntington, WV. It was a half a day of school and I was charged with picking up my baby brother from EPR elementary school. 

My mom called the house from work. This was a time before cellphones. It's doubly important because she never called unless we were in trouble or had a chore list to complete. She worked across the street from East Pea Ridge at Kmart on 64, and she was frantic that I needed to keep Trey inside the house and be extremely careful when I pickup Blais​e. She said there had been a Black Bear cub wandering around the Kmart parking lot. Nobody had spotted the mother but they are ferocious in protecting their babies. Before we hung up the cub had crossed Highway 64 and was walking up East Pea Ridge.

Sure enough, I go outside and this bear cub is walking up our street! He crosses down the hill, we lived on the top of a mountain but in West Virginia they just call them hills, and makes his way through the wooded neighborhood. 

I drive five street over to the elementary school to pick up Blaise. By that time the bear cub had made it to the elementary school playground! Animal protective services was called, so were the police and fire department. They barricaded us in the parking lot to stop traffic. They encouraged us to get out of the car to watch the excitement unfold. Blaise and I had front row seats to what happened next. 

The bear cub, scared, lost, and confused climbed a tree. The animal services shot him a few times with a tranquilizer gun. We watched as the bear cub became drowsy and fell from the tree. They tagged him and eventually released him back into the woods. Nobody was harmed from a lost, wandering bear cub. 

This is one of my favorite memories I share with Blaise. I can't imagine how scarred I would have been had this bear been unloaded upon with a shotgun. Shameful, just shameful. 

Of course this young bear became irritable, he was being hounded by paparazzi and followed. He's used to living his bear life, not bothered, in the woods. What has changed in 19 years that a young Black Bear is gunned down by a police officer in Huntington, WV instead of being tranquillized, captured, and released back into the wild?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Only a Three

I told my best friend this week that every aspect of my life sucks sh*t except for my relationship with her. She laughed and in the way she does saw the good side, "At least I'm a positive." 

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon I'm really struggling with going into work at the DayJob tomorrow. On Friday the Interim Vice Provost came down into the basement "to have a frank conversation with everyone." He proceeds to tell us that he has taken it upon himself to change the rubric for how employee evaluations are scored. The scores are going to remain on a scale of 1-5: 1 is unsatisfactory performance, 2 needs some improvement to meet position requirements, 3 meets position requirements, 4 frequently exceeds position requirements, and 5 is distinguished performance, with decimal points being used as intermediate values to the nearest tenth. However, appraisers will now be grading on a harder scale, a truer scale, a more honest interpretation of employees work, the good as well as the bad. 

He says matter-of-factly, "Nobody is a 5. A person that is a five is glowing - they can do no wrong. And frankly, I shouldn't see many fours either. Most everyone should and will be rated a three. So we won't be seeing overall performance ratings of 90s. Your rating will drop drastically."

I have plenty of issues with evaluations such as the fact that I have never been given goals to reach, merit raises are non-existent, and rewards systems such as Award certificates are neglected. But here are my main issues with the whole situation. If I am going up for a position against a person in another department that is continuing to be rated as a Rock Star and the hiring supervisor looks at my Performance Appraisal and I'm only achieving a 3, I could see where they would have a hard time choosing me. It is going to harm our staff more than help us. I'm not saying to blow smoke when there isn't a fire, but let's be real, some people do aspects of their job and they are on fire. Secondly, he came downstairs in his starched Oxford, with the rigid, wrinkled fabric stretching and pulling so hard that the buttons are straining to stay locked in their holes across his gut, to kick us all in the ego and morale. Each word in his statement beating in, 'Don't fight, don't get up. Don't even bother to strive for a five. You're not a five, you won't be awarded a five. You're not even a four.' That was the least motivational and absolute opposite of team building speech I've ever been forced to attend. 

I'm here to say, I'm not a three. I'm an 11 damn-it! I won't continue to be held to the mediocrity of a three. But, I will definitely need a leader that sees the value of their staff, not just envisioning us as warm bodies meeting position adequacy. 

Living With Your Parents After 30

I swear to Hip Hop Jesus that coming back to live with my parents is going to "kilt me dead!"

I've been up since before 7am, something I don't even do for work. Although I hear their morning noises, water running, shuffling of dishes, vegetables being chopped, it's been silent all morning, not like The Silver Fox's normal marching band routine. They even leave for an hour, while I'm studying.

However, as I am preparing to get on the phone for this interview, a homework assignment, the marching band begins.

"Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhooooooooooohhhhhhhhahw!" The Silver Fox howls at my Dad outside who is weed whacking.

She turns on the Motown/Doo-Wop music channel loud enough so that she can hear it throughout the house as she dusts. "It's in his kiss..." She sings outside my bedroom door.

The clock is counting down closer to 10 when I have scheduled this call.

She's quiet. Just like a child, that's usually a bad thing.

Then I hear it. The wheels are squeaking as they rotate on the hardwood floors. The joints of the machine creak. The cords, still wound in a circle, but unraveled from the machine lands on the floor with a thank-type noise. It's not a thud.

The plug is inserted in the wall, the engine revs and she is howling with the vacuum.

It's 10 o'clock. The vacuum is running, like a drunk driver she is banging into furniture and walls, and she's singing with the music.

I gather my belongings together to sneak out to my office, aka my car. It's the only silent place I can go to conduct business. But with the eyes in the back of her head she sees me, "Where do you think you're going?"

"I have to conduct an interview for school."

It's the only acceptable answer I can give her to get me out if the house. And just like that I'm 17 again asking for permission to leave.

The Press

Last weekend I attended the Memphis Punk Fest. On Friday I was making my rounds and saying hello to all of the familiar faces. One of the musicians I know introduced me to his new bandmate, "This is The Press, be nice to her."

No name, just "The Press, "which would be a fantastic nickname if I were a wrestler. But there I was standing in disbelief. I thought y'all were nice to me because I follow the Golden Rule and of course my charming personality and not to mention good looks.


Granny Panties

Look y'all, I've been real distracted this week and I've neglected to do my laundry. But if this last pair of granny panties (before I have to only wear the sexy ones) slides off my hips and halfway down my thighs one more damn time I'm going to step straight out of them and keep walking.

#damnthosesomebigpanties #didyouloseyourdrawers


Earlier this week I had a hunk of skin removed from my body leaving raw meat in its place. I guess it's true what Bridget Jones says about single women over 30, "underneath my clothes, my entire body is covered in scales"

This morning I came out of the shower and I asked The Silver Fox if she would please apply the bandage to that spot. I can see it in the mirror, I just can't shift my body parts and reach it with my T-Rex arms all at the same time.

I hand her the prepared Band-Aid. She cannot see the hole on my body that reveals the raw meat. When she finally sees it she wastes no time in applying the Band-Aid. She's not gentle as you might expect from her experience and years of mothering. I imagined we would have a tv commercial moment, she'd gently smooth on the Band-Aid and probably say something like, "You should probably get this one looked at too." Nope. She slaps the Band-Aid on like it's a price tag. But it won't lay smoothly across my body so she keeps slapping it. Then she wants to rip it off to start over! I don't quite think she grabs the concept of needing a Band-Aid as a protection for an open wound.


Sunday Panties

June 9

This morning as I was getting dressed I put my fingernail straight through the fabric of my panties. I wore 'em anyway in the thoughts that I can throw them away after wearing them.#disposablelaundry

As I'm making my hour long commute to work, this is exactly how my thought process played out as I remembered, "Shit! I've got a dermatology appointment today that will have me in a paper gown. He'll see my tattered panties. Oh well, fuck it.! Last week I had a nip slip in front of him. I'm sure he can handle some Sunday panties."

#scandalousbehaviour #imapantyhobo#nosuchthingastmi

National Best Friend Day

It's National Best Friend Day, I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout-out to my Bitches.


This is Rock'n'Roll

The car is weighted down and loaded
with gear. The drummer is stretched out over the entire benchseat. His feet are filthy. He's sleeping in the parking lot before his next gig. This is the side of Rock'n'Roll you don't often see.#mprfest3 #memphisfamous #fucktylermiller #punkrockmusic

Reflection Upon 19 Years

Last Sunday morning I woke up and realized it was the 19th anniversary of graduating from high school. I scan FB to look at my classmates and acquaintances. Everyone has kids, is having babies, getting engaged, getting Botox, or getting married. I've never been married, don't have children, moved back in with my parents, work 7 days a week, and go out to photograph every weekend by myself. I've never been lonelier in my life. I better hatch a Romy and Michele scheme for this shit.