To Quote Mr. Trump: Sad

Aside from a few freelance gigs, when people ask me what my last “real” job was and I answer “process analyst,” they either scratch their heads because they’ve no idea what I’m talking about or they scrunch their faces in disgust because they do.

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In the software industry, a process analyst’s main job is to figure out why projects either 1.) spiral over-budget 2.) take months longer than promised, or 3.) produce an end product so full of bugs that customer support runs screaming to the executive boardroom demanding the project manager’s head. If a project is guilty of all three, water-boarding would be a breeze compared to the verbal abuse and humiliation they face from a CEO schooled in the social graces by Donald Trump.

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This project manager’s not going to make it out of the room alive!

I didn’t have any training in “process analysis” and was hired primarily because I could write coherently, pull together a reasonable web site and I was too dumb to realize what I was getting myself into.  You see, process analysts are expected to develop checks and balances to make sure projects run on schedule, on budget and as bug free as possible.  And the worst part – we are expected to accomplish this task without armor and weaponry while the executives trot off to conduct business sessions at golf courses. Right!th-2

My first task as a process analyst was to reformat a set of templates used by project teams to gain approval of their plans. Many of them lacked coherent structure which drove the execs crazy. So I tried to make it easy for them to find key projections such as ROI (return on investment) without having to actually read the darned things.  You know how busy and important execs are!

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Should really read: “our processes aren’t complicated enough.

After approval, the plans were reviewed at quarterly meetings. The stated objective of these meetings was to see how far off track the teams were and help them back on target. Sounds friendly, doesn’t it? Not really. These meetings required a project manager to either song and dance around issues, point the blame at another group, or beg for more resources.  And they went on for days.  I know because I was required to attend each whip-lashing.

Before a product was released, the project had one last hurdle: the “release readiness review.” At this meeting the results of testing were revealed, deadliest bugs discussed and a decision made: Could marketing put a good spin on the release despite known issues or would they have to come up with a reasonable story for the delay?

I was at one such meeting when the CEO made the following comment to his team of execs.

“I didn’t know you all spoke fluent German.”

There was silence.  They looked around perplexed.  What was he talking about?  Well, readers, on this particular project all the testers were German thus their report to the execs was – you guessed it – in German.

“Perhaps one of you can tell me what this document you’ve all approved actually says. Unlike you I do not speak German.”  Ah, ah, ah.  Quickly the other execs whipped out their finely honed excuse generators. None of them spoke German either.

I’m amazed I lasted as long as I did. It wasn’t easy being the “process police” or witnessing daily evidence of the Peter Principle. But, because it was a multi-national company I enjoyed getting to know people from other cultures and perhaps that’s why I was able to stick it out. Sometimes it’s the people you work with and not the job.

Besides, thanks to my boss (who really should have been running the company) I learned how to bring groups together who are dependent upon each other for success but acted like they were at war (remind you of Capitol Hill perhaps?). On a team the objective should be  to sail across the finish line together and not drive each other off the cliff.thEventually the company was sold and the new owners had their own processes so my group, along with about one third of the company, found ourselves saying good-bye in the parking lot while pathetically holding our boxes of personal items. We were the lucky ones.  I heard from friends who survived the slaughter that the new owners had no process analysts and few development checks and balances.  Eventually everyone escaped.  Except for a few managers. They were the sort of people to have tossed children from lifeboats into the icy water and then bragged about surviving the Titanic.  On January 20th we’ll find out what it’s like to live in a country governed by people who increasingly have no need for process analysts, morality, decency or even checks and balances on their unconstitutional behavior.  To quote Mr. Trump “Sad.”

The Consequences of Fornication

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img_2509 “Tree” by Connemoira circa 1980

Over Christmas I got an out-of-the-blue email from someone I rarely hear from and have little in common with however he and I have one of those bonds that cannot be explained and will never be broken.  You see,  we knew and loved the same person.  A woman whose crystal heart broke early on, leaving her to unsuccessfully limp through life trying to avoid emotional landmines.   

I met her in the brief moment of innocence allotted her and we bonded over Tolkien and all things Middle Earth. When he met her it was too late, but at first he suited her needs like a Tums would the winner of a hot dog eating contest.  However, gradually she realized you cannot go from a great albeit deadly passion to warm milk and cookies.

Anyway, that was forever ago.  It…

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A Chair Without Wheels

Another gem from Aaron.

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i’m not tall enough to mark it level, she said

it’s a joke, just let it hang crooked, i said

you think everything is a joke

i sat there admiring her, not it

get me a chair without wheels, she said

i stood up, waited for the dizziness to fade

and then i went over to mark it level

it’s your diploma, she said as she put the bit in the drill

i watched the movement of her hands

and then i went down

to the kitchen

to get a chair without wheels

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#ThursdayDoors: The Rent is Due

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This door is around the corner from Trump International Hotel in Washington DC.  Its message is ominous, don’t you think?

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From Bing images

In case you haven’t heard, Trump bought Washington DC’s Main Post office and converted it into a hotel.

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From Bing Images

Built in 1899 the Old Post Office is a 12 minute walk to the Capital. Before Trump decided to run for president, his plan was to make this building into the jewel in his crown.  Every head of state would want to stay in a Trump hotel, don’t you know? Lather in golden bubbles while munching on Trump chocolates and drinking Trump wine.  However early reviews are not glowing:

From the outside, it responds to a growing need, serves an audience, and looks quite grand. But on the inside, it is a complete disaster, mostly empty inside, riddled with nonsense. From Vanity Fair

Of course when he brought the property he was told if he went into office there would be a conflict of interest but I don’t think he thought he would get into office.  Now I’m sure he thinks the rules don’t apply to him.  After all, look at all he’s gotten away with so far.

Here’s a door of a different sort which I pray is never made into a Trump resort or golf course but in this crazy world, who knows?

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This is one of the many archways at the outdoor stadium in Arlington Cemetery where Memorial Day tributes to our veterans take place.  I didn’t take too many pictures at Arlington. I always find it such an overwhelming experience that snapping pictures seems wrong.

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From Bing Images

Anyway that’s the end of my contributions to Norm Frampton’s addictive #ThursdayDoors event for awhile.  I need to figure out the publishing business I’ve  been ignoring for the last nine months! The rent is due for me; it’s back to work I go.

Horriblescopes

You are likely to have a new, exciting and sexually passionate relationship. This is a time for new and exciting things, not the routine. This leads to what will happen if you are already in a relationship. Expect the unexpected! Maybe even a baby or news about pregnancy! – Gemini yearly horoscope for 2017 from Sunsigns.org

On New Year’s Day the first thing I did was read my horoscope for the coming year. I don’t know why I bother. Those darn things are never remotely accurate but I keep hoping.  However, this year they really screwed the pooch. The last thing I need in my life is an affair!  I can barely handle one man. horoscope

My husband thinks it’s silly to read horoscopes (he calls them horriblescopes) however he is neither superstitious nor overly imaginative (he’s an Aries, wouldn’t you know). He’s also quick to point out that due to the shifting of the earth’s axis and numerous other “scientific” facts, I was born under the sign of Taurus and not Gemini. He’s wrong, of course. Here’s a description of the typical Gemini (from Serendipity Astro-lovers):

The eyes [of a Gemini] aren’t big, but they are bright and may be blue, gray, hazel or brown in color.

The facial expression is both bright and alive, but subject to change.

I think that describes me to a “T,” don’t you? I have either blue or grey or brown eyes and my facial expressions are alive and change.  Definitive proof that I am indeed a Gemini.

My husband is always trying to prove he’s smarter than I am.  This is because he was born in the Chinese year of the Rooster and they like to strut around with their chests all puffed out bragging.  I’ve forgotten what manner of fowl he is: Metal, Water, Fire or Earth. I was born in the year of the Tiger which means I’m impulsive and fearless but, according to Travel China, definitely not romantic.

“Tigers cannot give sweet love to their partners because they lack a sense of romance.”

So, I guess when that special someone comes along I’ll have to warn him to only expect sex – no sweet love from me.

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Well, here we are heading into the year of the Rooster with a man born in the year of the Dog as our president. If you’ve ever lived on a farm, you know dogs don’t always get along with roosters.  But, looking on the bright side, maybe Donald Trump (who’s also a Gemini) will have a passionate love affair and get pregnant!

 

 

ThursdayDoors: Blasting Off into 2017

Today’s door isn’t very pretty.discover

Well, if you’d been launched into orbit 39 times in the space of 27 years, you’d be looking a little funky too. America’s oldest space shuttle, Discovery, is currently in retirement at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center outside of Washington DC.  Udvar-Hazy is the Smithstonian’s air and space museum.  Besides Discovery, there are hundreds of planes and jets – both military and civilian – however, if you decide to visit do so on a full stomach.  The only place to get something to eat or drink is an overcrowded McDonalds.

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Puny mortals beneath the thrusters

 

Our guide was a retired Air Force pilot who peppered his dialogue with non-stop stories of famous generals and senators he’d flown hither and yon. I imagine his wife was quite happy to get him out of the house so she didn’t have to keep listening to them!

As we blast off into this crazy year, let’s hope like Discovery we return to an intact world safely.

Happy New Year everyone. Hop on over to Norm Frampton’s swinging pad to see other doors from around the world..

Good-bye Christmas 2016

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Today I am still recovering from a combination of too much sugar and ears that never popped after the plane I was on made a nose drive to escape nasty weather.  It was such a rough flight that stewardesses remained in their seats the whole way. We didn’t even get peanuts!img_2446

The winds pushed ashore monsoon rains, making my dream of Christmas Eve at the Cantina seem more like a nightmare.  Instead we stayed close to home and made Christmas cookies and gingerbread houses.

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Not bad for two five year olds and a three year old!

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Love means going through a security checkpoint with a special present handmade by five year old Audrey for Pretty Kitty.

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He seemed pleased, however he didn’t know exactly what it was.  A scratching post, silly kitty!

Flying home I sat on the western side of the plane and watched the sun set over marshes at the southern tip of the San Francisco Bay.

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I hope you all had a magical Christmas!  Onward we march towards 2017. God help us all. Perhaps homemade cookies and milk will save us.  Well, it couldn’t hurt.