Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ohhhh boy...

Well, I'd always guessed it. Really, I could tell even without seeing it with my own eyes.
Yet nothing prepared me for the shock of actually watching myself sing on a video tape. UGH.
So granted, I do smile a lot of the time but during the actual singing, the higher notes and particularly hard passages, I look completely deranged. There's just no other way to put it.
A friend of mine from choir had obtained a brief few minutes of a videotaping of Beethoven's 9th. You know the concert we did in April? Well, I'm there in plain view of the camera and seriously some of the face contortions look downright demented. My eyebrows shoot up almost to my hairline (fine, so what if it does improve pitch quality), my mouth makes shapes I never knew possible (again, improves pitch quality) and I actually bob my head along with the music sometimes (no excuse for that other than pure enjoyment)!!!

Yikes... better never to look at it again. Might actually put me off singing!!! No way in hell will I ever let anything or anyone take that joy from me, no matter how retarded and freakish I look doing it! Yeah, that's the best thing to do. Don't watch again, Maky. Just listen :-D

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Some heartbreak...

Well, it was obvious I'd eventually get a big lump in my throat at the thought of leaving here. And as it happened in Woking, it was because of leaving my choir.
God, I cried a river the last time I had rehearsal with the Woking choir... I came home and cried and cried and couldn't stop.
Not to say it will happen here but walking into rehearsals today I had this alto come over to me and say "I heard you're leaving us for good! I have to give you a hug!" and she hugged the stuffing out of me and I mean... of course tears welled up. Geez, I'm such a wuss.

For this one single reason I wish I didn't have to leave. I've loved every minute of it, everyone's been so sweet and nice and people have welcomed me into the choir as if I'd been a longstanding member for many years. How odd to feel like my choir was my family for the short time I've been here. And Diane... well, I don't even know how I can ever sing the same without her conducting me. She is just pure joy to watch, to hear, to follow. I sincerely doubt that any other conductor will ever make me so happy to be singing for him/her. But with the bad (IBM) I have to let go off the good too (choir).
I've told everyone that as soon as I get back to the UK I'm gonna do whatever I can to get elected on the board of Woking choir and then see if I can get Nashua choir to come over so we can sing together. Oh, what a wonderful thing that would be! Anyway... enough. Time for bed now. Ice skating tomorrow! YEY! Oh, I'll miss that too! *sniff*

Monday, August 27, 2007

From yesterday's Sunday paper...

... the comics page... SO CUTE!!!!!

Over the hedge

Sunday, August 26, 2007

WHY can't this be me????

Single winner in $314 million Powerball lottery


Hmm... I guess becaue I don't play the lottery! :-(

Friday, August 24, 2007

But of course!!!

That is so typical!
I bought my home phone over a year ago, when I moved in here. I have the voicemail function with my provider so day after day after day I come back home from work to find three or four voicemails on my phone. I was never able to figure how to delete the damn things without having to listen to them (it's never anyone I know, always salespeople), so I painfully sat through listening to the crap they talk about until the message was done and I could finally hit 7 to delete.
It was last week that I mistakenly (out of frustration) hit 7 twice in the midst of the message. BINGO - "Your message has been deleted" the woman's voice said.
Now that I'm about to leave, I find it out... DUH!!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Going home

Well, who would've guessed... certainly not me! After barely a year in the US, I'm heading back to Europe again.
Provided you're one of the few people reading my blog, I'm also assuming that you know me very well and never knew any different: Maky=USA, USA=Maky. It has been that way for 15 years now and chances are, you may be confused, shocked, speechless... well, you get the idea. I don't blame you. I've always made it very clear that the US is where I see myself growing old. So why this sudden decision to return? Let me give you a brief overview of the changes in my life over the past year or so - maybe that will help you understand.

When I got here last July, it was for good. I wanted to be here, I wanted to stay, I was convinced it was the beginning of a new life. Two and a half weeks later, I was proven wrong. When IBM came swooshing in acquiring my company, everything changed.
Now, I don't need to go into details about the acquisiton partly because I've already blogged about it and partly because I am waiting to have left my job and found a new one before I let loose on what I really think about them!!! (That will be one heck of a loooooong post!!!). But the truth of the matter is that instead of finally being able to settle down and call Nashua my home for the foreseeable future, I was left hanging. Yet again, waiting.

Had MRO stayed MRO, there is no doubt in my mind that I would've stayed here. I would've worked for them for a few years, I would've gotten my Green Card with their help, and eventually, probably would've moved on to something else. But IBM is a different story. It was clear from the beginning that I would be out of a job very soon.
The decision to find something else here didn't weigh too heavy on my mind. I had/have skills that IBM could use very well. I have 5 year's worth of product knowledge and that qualifies me for a ton of jobs within IBM.
As the end date approached, I started looking around, never finding anything that would've really rocked my boat all that much. I was asked by different managers whether I wanted to join their departments but neither one of those jobs sounded all that great.
As time flew by and I got better acquainted (and frustrated) with IBM, I started a realization proccess that was somewhat stunning to deal with. I realized that I just didn't want to stay in the US bad enough to have to deal with the crap at IBM. I know... right? What am I talking about? USA is USA, I've wanted to be here for so long, so suck it up and just do it. Take whatever job comes your way and make it work for you.
Well, sorry to say, that's just not me. I couldn't deal with the idea of having to spend 9 hours every day in a job that I didn't like and a company I hated. Even if it meant staying here.
On top of that comes the simple fact that I just never really found this place to be "home". When I went to visit a friend in South Carolina in April, everything changed. It was like... I can't explain it. It just felt so much more right than up here north. And then I remembered of course that what I had loved so about the US was what I had known in Nashville, back in 98. That was the southern part of the US too. People were different, more... relaxed, easy going it seemed. And then of course I just never found anyone to really "click" with here. I made a lot of wonderful friends here but it's just not the same when you're not on the same wave-length in at least certain aspects. Not having friends here made me miss the ones I have in Germany and the UK. The ones I had fun with, I went out with, spent hours on the phone talking to. Now even that wasn't all that possible due to the time difference.
In the end, everything was pointing to one thing and one thing only. You have to go back, Maky. It's as simple as that.
As I'm packing up my stuff, I'm astounded at how little I feel about this place. I would've assumed that I would at least miss something about it but it doesn't look like I am. Granted, it's still a few weeks away but still - weird.

Now, don't get me wrong. I fully intend to be back one day. I'm not giving up on what I still believe is my destiny. But this wasn't the right time or the right place. There are times you have to let go off things that you've been hanging on to for so long. This feels good and it feels right. I will be back in Woking in October and will start looking for a new apartment and a new job. I will go back to my wonderful Woking choir and will go to see "Joseph" and "Les Mis" in London, visit "my" Houses of Parliament that I've missed so much and go up on the London Eye. There's still so much I want to see of Europe - places I never considered going to because I was so intent on saving it all for America. Time to live in the "now". I can't wait! :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Trikke - Day 1

Well, my Trikke arrived yesterday. I got the T8.5 Air which has real tires as opposed to the polywhatever wheels which don't have to be inflated.

After taking a good hour to put it together I was so tired that I postponed riding it until today. This morning I packed it up in my car (it just about fits on the back seat of my Corolla 03) and went to Walmart to buy a bike helmet. Found a blue one (yey!) and set off to a gas station to inflate the tires properly (in order for the Trikke to be safe during transport, the tires are not totally inflated). I drove around about 5 gas stations looking for air but only at the 6th did I find a column with air. Paid $.75 for 3 minutes and after hurting myself trying to get to the valves, I managed to inflate the Trikke's tires properly.

And then off I went, to the paved parking lot of an old stadium here in Nashua. It was almost completely empty so I took the Trikke out, hurt my hands again trying to lock the footholds into place (or unlock them for that matter. The mechanism is a pain in the ass!) and finally got up on it and stood for a while, just to get a feeling for it. I moved the handlebar left and right a few times to get a feel for that also and then followed the instruction manual and pushed myself off a little to get some speed.
Well, if I thought it looked so easy and it must be easy to do too, I was wrong. Try as I may, I couldn't get the trikke to move anymore than it wanted to from the pushing off. I read the manual again and starting moving the handlebar from left to right rapidly and sort of got a teeeeeensy bit of a movement out of it.
They say some pick it up instantly, others take longer. I'll definitely take a LOT longer. Not one to give up so fast though, I kept starting again and again and again, pushing myself off to get some speed going and trying to figure out how to use the weight balancing thing and the arm movements right. After about half an hour of trying, I was drenched in sweat and had managed to get an idea of how it should be. Far be it from actually making it work though... this is going to take a long time to perfect to make it look like all those people riding it carelessly at 18mph.

Look out, world! ;-)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Socializing

Not exactly my favorite word, socializing. Whilst I'm far from being a complete introvert, the thought of going out with people always awakes an uneasy feeling in me. Don't get me wrong, I can chat and small talk with the best of them. I have funny stories, I joke, I flirt, I have opinions on just about everything (and BOY, do I have opinions!!!), I can be serious...
Still, no matter which way I turn it, if given the choice, I'd stay home and enjoy my own company.
The reason for this post? I've just returned from an evening out with most of the old MRO IT department. We went out to celebrate the VP of IT's last day in Bedford. He is staying with IBM but moving to North Carolina to start a new job there. My boss boss (as I like to call him because he's my manager's manager) is one of those people who is exceptionally human, even though he was way high up in the company hierarchy. I remember when I applied for this job over a year ago - at that point all I wanted was ANY job just so long as it was in the US. After interviewing with him over the phone, I was totally sold on the job itself though. For the brief 25 minutes we spoke, he must have mentioned "the people", "the team", "the guys" hundreds of times. It seemed to me at the time like that was all he was about. The people. Coming from a department where the boss boss couldn't give a shit about people (old accountant, all that matters is money and numbers) this was as refreshing as summer rain. He actually made me WANT the job because I knew I'd be working for him. And he didn't let me down. In the past 13 months, he has been the glue that held this thinning department together. Everyone was mad at IBM but everyone wanted to do well by him so we continued to work hard and do our jobs, knowing fully well we'd be terminated a few months down the road. I haven't met many people like that in my life.
I've worked for even fewer. In fact, the total runs to 3 people, including him. Three people I enjoyed working with/for, three people I was proud to represent, three people I truly, honestly respected professionally in every sense of the word.
To see him leave is like the final curtain, in a way. The definitive "It's over" moment, where you realize nothing can bring back what you used to have, nothing will be the same again. I found a "Thank you" card in a store and wrote a few choice words to let him know how I felt about working for him. The cool thing about it is... I know he will appreciate them, just like he always appreciated me and let me know it.


As for the socializing part - we met up at a bar and just spent about 4 hours talking about heaven knows what. I saw a few people who used to be in the team but aren't anymore and lots of stories were told of the good ole days. We discussed which celebrities we fancied (me: Scott Bakula!!!), what the PanMass challenge was like and other things. Again, all stuff I could talk about without effort and yet, leaving the gathering, I got into my car to suddenly realize I had a throbbing headache.
I blame it on the constant need to smile, mostly. I don't seem to be able to relax my face fully when listening to someone talk. I constantly catch myself smiling and try to stop it but by that time, my face muscles hurt, as does my jaw. So at four hours of constant smiling, plus a lot of talking about things I might or might not care about, no wonder I get headaches. Which in turn makes me uncomfortable when thinking about going out in general. Mind you, this is only an issue when I'm not around friends. Obviously, I won't put on a mask for friends when I go out. I don't have the constant need to be "sociable" when I'm with them - it just happens in a very relaxing way.

Anyway... so much for socializing musings from me. I'm off to bed as my headache isn't getting better and the humid heat outside doesn't help much either. Thank heavens for air con units!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

MINE!!!

I am too mentally/emotionally exhausted and frustrated to update you on my current work situation. Suffice it to say - I AM STILL WAITING.

On a more positive note though... this is MINE as of today. I ordered it on Ebay and can't wait to get it - sometime early next week! I will let you know how it goes once I start trikking! :-)



Wednesday, August 01, 2007

If you...

... don't want to hear my opinion, then bloody don't ask for it!!!
Twice today was I involved in a situation where I was asked to stand in and present my opinion to people. One disguised as a dilemma but really wanting some major handholding and pitty party throwing, the other just plain wanting to put across who's "more right".
Seriously... I don't have time for this kindergarden crap. If you make it a point to ask me about something but then get pissed off when I tell you what I think, take a hike. I have better things to do than to play your stupid game. Instead of wasting my time and energy on hissy fits or indignant remarks, I could do a million other things that might even bring a smile to my face.

Over and out.