Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'll write you a Song, my Dear

There's seriously almost nothing in the world I'd rather do than play the piano. This weekend, everyone ended up in the Center of the Universe, and a few of us spent literally hours at the piano - playing, composing and singing. It was absolutely beautiful.

In life, there are sometimes moments that you wish would never end, and I think that was one of them. Bizarro Mom always says that I live from "Luft und Liebe" (meaning "air and love")... but I'd argue that I live from music as well, in a way.

There's some killer talent at our church... a couple of us are even working on some of our own pieces and such. And working in a group can sometimes be even more inspiring (and fun). The only thing that was missing was Syd, but despite the fact that we miss him, he's doing the right thing (though some might argue that he ought to become a philosopher as opposed to an engineer).

Friday, February 22, 2008

The International Melting Pot That Is Headquarters

One of the funniest things is meeting people you've written and telephoned with, but have never actually met or seen in Real Life. You have certain ideas of who they are, how they look, and how they carry themselves... which are often quite incorrect. I e-mail and talk with several colleagues from Headquarters on a regular basis, and had the pleasure of meeting them live and in person for the first time this week. I also had no idea which nationality they were (sometimes you can't tell by the name), so that was interesting finding out as well.


... I've worked with people from the following countries this week:

  • Holland
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • Japan
  • Macedonia
  • Indonesia
  • Pakistan
  • England
  • Turkey

    At other times I've worked with people from:

  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Austria
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Australia
  • China
  • South Africa*
  • Brazil*
  • Taiwan*
  • America*

    Our Headquarters is seriously a cultural melting pot, which is great. And of course everyone speaks in a butchered English (sometimes I do too!), but at least we understand eachother for the most part. I've also realized that people tend to understand me better when I put on a fake British accent. Maybe it's because they all learn British English in this part of the world.

    *back in the BenQ Siemens Days.
  • Sunday, February 17, 2008

    Back to Holland (or, the Chivalry Soapbox)

    Beck and I are going to be in Holland again this coming week kicking some major business butt. So, if I don't answer the phone or the door, then that's why. This time Marketing Guy won't be there *sniff* but it'll still be fun.

    Which reminds me that I wanted to spend a few minutes on the Chivalry Soapbox.

    Chivalry is almost completely dead, which I didn't realize until spending a week in Holland with Marketing Guy. Sometimes you have to experience something good to realize that something's lacking. The opposite is of course true as well.

    Anyway... at first I thought the door-opening and the letting-the-ladies-go-first and the walking-on-the-side-of-the-street and the helping-with-the-jackets was coincidental, so I decided to put it to the test. I probably shouldn't test people like that, but it's kind of irresistably interesting sometimes. And he passed with flying colours.

    First, a background story: I wasn't always pro-chivalry... as a matter of fact, I was a rabid little feminist girl at one point. It started around the 5th grade, with a very polite young man at our church who was a couple of years older than me, and who always made it a point open the doors for the ladies. We had huge double doors at our church, and one Sunday morning as I approached the doors, he rushed in front of me to open the door for me. Any nice, normal little girl would have smiled and thanked him politely, but not me. I looked him square in the eyes, walked to the other door, opened it myself, and walked into the building. For whatever reason, I concluded that his gesture was unecessary, that I was perfectly capable myself, and that this ought to be made clear to him. Of course my parents didn't approve when they found out later, and we had a nice long talk which resulted in me apologizing to him (though I didn't mean it at the time).

    As I've gotten older, however, I've realized and come to terms with the fact that men and women are different, that this is ok, and that this is even the way things are supposed to be.

    A certain realization helped me come to terms with this... but that's a topic for another day.

    I think it's unfortunate that chilvalry is dying out, though I can't pinpoint exactly why I think it's unfortunate. Which is also unfortunate. Maybe because it shows a certain respect which is often lacking in our society. Maybe because we should be embracing and enjoying differences instead of trying to deny them. Maybe because it's actually more freeing for women to be treated well.

    Sometimes I feel that though we, as women, have gained a certain amount of equality (though we're still far from equal), we've sacrificed much of our dignity and respect. It was a sort of sorry trade-off, in a way. I don't want guys treating me like "one of the guys" or as a complete equal. I don't want guys to feel free to discuss any topic or make any joke in my presence. But I do want to be treated slightly differently - and respectfully.

    And two weeks ago in Holland, things somehow fit together in a weird way. Whenever the door was opened for us, or whenever I was encouraged to move to the front of the line, I felt like I was being told, "We're different, but that's a good thing, and instead of denying it or ignoring it or making fun of it, it's something I respect. After you."


    I'm not saying that any of the men or young men I know are impolite or bad-mannered in any way. It's just that this one particular young man was so very consistantly and noticeably polite and helpful, and thus made me realize that chivalry as a whole is practically non-existent.


    If anyone's interested, Ms. Barber's Refined School of Chivalrous Manners is now accepting applications for the Fall Semester.

    I think that's enough for today.

    *steps off the Soapbox*

    Saturday, February 16, 2008

    Fab Four

    Some pictures we took over Christmas have finally been uploaded... this year, for whatever reason, we didn't take as many pics as usual. Oh well.

    I love my chicas. We're all sisters, and all within a couple of years from eachother age-wise, but we're all so different - from personalities to interests to ways of thinking to looks.

    And now only half of us are in Texas, we all have different goals, we all kind of have our own lives, and growing up is just plain weird.

    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    To dye or not to dye...

    ... that is the question.

    I'm considering dying my hair black, like Duchess Ravenwaves.

    One test-strand is already black (kind of like that blonde streak I had back in the day when Kat dyed her hair blonde)... and I kind of like it. Now the question is whether or not I should go all black.


    Beck thinks it'd be too much because my skin is fairly pale, and maybe she's right. But then again, maybe black is the new blonde, and maybe pale is the new tan. My Japanese boss has jet black hair and pale skin... though I wouldn't quite call him a fashion guru.

    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    Work and Life and Ranting and Raving and Smiling

    Sometimes people at work don't seem to understand that I have a private life, and that I sometimes have things to do outside of work. And sometimes other people (non-work) don't understand the extent to which I work, the challenges I deal with at work, and the toll it sometimes takes on me.

    So, basically, since I'm the only one with the Big Picture here, I guess I'm the only one who can make my own decisions and set my own priorities, which I've been doing: both at work and outside.

    The other day was rather frustrating - I had quite a bit to do, things to take care of, and expectations to meet. And certain people* were making me feel an immense pressure. A month ago, I would have literally cried my eyes out. But now? I'm slightly annoyed. Nothing less, nothing more. And because it's all not do-able anyway, what did I do? I pulled the plug on the phone, turned off the computer, put on some comfy PJs and read a book.

    Last year, I felt frustrated and trampled on and used up and tired and sad for 8 out of 12 months. And I'm not playing that game anymore. I lived in Survival Mode for way too long, and now it's the end.

    Anyway. It was a nice evening.

    And I'm slowly feeling sane again.

    Which was one of the 2008 Goals.


    *it was no one who reads this blog, and no one who's directly related to someone who reads this blog

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    Heavenly Chorus?

    The other night as I was laying in bed, about to drift off into wherever it is we drift when we sleep, I was awoken by a Heavenly Choir. At first, the singing was rather faint, but with each second it grew louder and more clear.

    As I lay there, I knew it was the end of the world, and I somehow took comfort in that supposed fact.

    The Choir was singing in German, which surprised me... I somehow expected Heavenly Choirs to sing in Latin or in Aramaic or in Tongues. But German? Though theoretically, by definition, they could have been singing in Tonuges, and I happened to understand it as German.


    As I was pondering and enjoying the Chorus and waiting to somehow float up into space, I was surprised to suddenly hear them go fuzzy. And then they got a little more quiet, and then fuzzier, and then they stopped alltogether and I heard a booming voice announcing the weather.

    I sat up in bed, thought for a minute, and realized with disappointment that my neighbor had his television on and had evidently just changed the channel.

    Yeah... sometimes some of the screws are slightly lose... especially in that lovely stage between wake and sleep.

    Annoying neighbor. Turn your stupid television off.

    Saturday, February 02, 2008

    Oh, say, can you see...

    Is this not the best picture*?

    My sister Kat moved to Washington, DC a couple of weeks ago, and as you can see, she's had some free time on her hands before starting work this Monday.

    For my Dear German Readers, yes, as most of you have learned in your English classes over the years, that's the US Capitol. And yes, you can evidently frolic on the front lawn if you feel like it (and if you have a frisbee, and if the country isn't on Red Alert).

    That's my Kat.

    I'm super-proud of her - she's aced her nursing board exams and will start working at the hospital ER this week. If anyone has the right personality and people-skills to work in such an environment, it's her. She's always been relatively calm and collected. And she stays under control, thinks clearly, and can make wise decisions in high-stress situations.

    Sometimes I wonder if we're really related. Ha.

    Like I said, I'm really proud of her, and am excited to hear about how things work out for her. Yay Kat. :)

    *photo courtesy of Kara Payne