Monday, July 28, 2008

Job Security, is it a thing of the past?

Is anyone's job safe? I mean other than the law enforcement field, is there any job that is not going to be outsourced?

In December the Customer Service Manager for my company (my boss, basically) lost his job to someone in Florida. The manager would travel up to Illinois once a month until they decided it would be cheaper to promote one of our current supervisors to the position.

Now last Wednesday we were informed that our Email team would not have a job on Monday. They could either take a sevrens package or go to the phones. Neither one is a good choice. Now the Email did effect me. For the last 7 months if things slowed down, or if the email team needed help I would be pulled off the phone to answer emails. This is much less stressful as you do not have the customer yelling in your ear and calling you all sorts of nasty names. Not only am I now chained to my phone, I will loose one factor when it comes to evaluation for raises.

So today I go into work all ready to spend the day on the phone and 2 hours into my shift I am told We still have emails that need cleaned out. They came in after business closed Friday and the transfer to the mailboxes today. While I am furiously typing away answering questions, or deleting spam one of our human resources people along with our manager start packing up 2 of our supervisor's desks.

So with no warning two supervisors were let go. The explanation we are given is Here in Il our supervisors have teams of 10 to 15 people they oversee, in Fl they each have 20 plus, it is more cost effective to fire these supervisors, we were management heavy.

Ok, reality check, why are you getting rid of supervisors when whenever we need help with something, we can never find one because they are busy doing or helping someone or something else? And another thing, If schools are trying for smaller classroom sizes so that each teacher can spend more time with each student, wouldn't the same hold true in an employment situation?

Well, This is just one more burden added to the load that is driving me to seek employment else where. I mean, if they can come in one day and fire our management with no warning, what is to say the same thing won't happen to the rest of us when they decide to move everything to Florida (which supposedly isn't going to happen)?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I am patiently waiting for the 6th of Aug. This is the day I will not go to work, but travel to Oak Brook to once again meet Mrs Kenyon. I am really excited as this day draws near.

But the countdown is for the release date of a much anticipated book. This book is the reason for the AG's tour.

View My CountDown Page

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This has been one crazy year. In Sept I met a small group of very strong women and I decided to join them. My attempt to skate ended up looking like this:

At first the doctors thought I had broke my elbow, but once someone who knew what they were doing looked at the x-rays they found that I had badly bruised it. I was then off skates for all of Sept and Oct. In Nov I started all over again. I worked my rear off. I skated hard and made it to as many practices as I could. I drove through blizzards to get to the community center to find out practice had been canceled. I would drive over 50 miles one way just so I could get better. My life revolved around this game. I was rewarded in May, I got to skate in my first bout. I was awarded again in June, I was in the starting lineup and skated a good majority of our bout against the North Star girls. But all my hard work was rewarded once more by my team mates this month. I was presented with the Most Improved Skater of the Year Award!

I just want to say Thank you for believing in me!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Call of Nature (part 2)

Over the last 3 months we have been keeping an eye on the nest. Shortly after my first sighting I peeked up to see one of them sitting the nest.
As you can see, this was still early spring, as the tree had not even started to bud out.

A few weeks later, after there were too many leaves to take a decent picture I looked into the nest to see two white fuzz balls. I really wish I could have gotten a picture for you, but I couldn't.

This spring and summer has been very stormy. We have had many severe storms with high winds. About 3 weeks ago we had a storm that caused a tree next door to loose the top half of it. That storm also sent our young birds out of their nest. Thankfully with the aid of their parents they have survived. They have since learned to fly and are still hanging around our house, across the street in the cemetery to be precise.

Tonight I heard the call of the adult Falcons as they hunted rabbits, squirrels and birds. I searched the trees, and I searched the skies until I was lucky enough to see one of the younger birds land on the ground. I quickly went in and got my camera. Here are by baby falcons, I am sure they are learning to hunt on their own now, but mom and dad are still helping them out.

This has been a great spring. It isn't often one has the chance to view the circle of life so close to home, with such rare creatures.

The Call of Nature (part 1)

This was originally written on April 12th.

Today while I stood outside, waiting for my ride to practice to pick me up I heard a bird call. The call was different from your usual crows, or sparrows. I scanned the trees in the neighbors yard and I spotted a pair of Falcons.

I was stunned. I was also happy because I have started carrying my camera every where I go. I was able to get 2 shots before they flew away.

I considered myself very lucky to have been able to see such a rare bird. Yes I live in a very small town of 1500 people, but with all the wooded areas around You would figure these two magnificent creatures would find a more secluded spot to build a nest. Well, you can imagine my surprise when I see one of the Falcons flying over my head with a small branch in it's mouth. It landed in one of the oak trees in my yard!

This is going to be a great spring, this is the first year they are nesting here and I hope they manage to hatch and continue to return every year in the future.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

You bet your sweet behind, I'm biker trash

No, I wasn't raised biker trash, I just became biker trash. When I first met Jake, he had, I believe a '92 Sportster. For the first year we were together, and the first month or so we were married, that bike was our only transportation. It was Arizona, we could get away with it. Then in 1998 Jake bought me my first Harley for our second wedding anniversary. It was a 1987 black-cherry sportser.

I loved that bike. It gave me the freedom to just get up and go when ever I felt like it.

When we lived in Arizona we were very active in our local H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) chapter. We planned, volunteered for, and ran many events including poker runs and bike rodeos. For the last few years we were there, our chapter organized and ran the bike games for the state rally. Our H.O.G. chapter was our second family.

Then in 2002 I talked Jake into leaving Arizona for greener (literally)pastures. We sold my bike to help pay for moving expenses and headed to Illinois. The first year we were here we joined a local chapter, but they were just too big. They were organized to the point of chaos. They had many small day trips, but no large event like we were used to. It was very hard for us to fit in, so we drifted away. We became solitary riders. Independent from any group. Jake and I rode into Milwaukee by ourselves for the 100th anniversary. We rode all over the southern and middle of Wisconsin that week. Always on our own. While it was fun, it just wasn't the comradare we loved in Arizona.

This year, with the soaring gas prices, we have started growing our own little biker gang. One of the Sgt's Jake works with went out and bought himself a full dresser, then his neighbor went out and bought a bike. Suddenly it's "Hey, Jake, when are we gonna go ridding?" and Jake answers, "When you can ride for more than 30 miles at a time" and they laugh.

Then our buddies down the street traded their Honda Shadow in for a full dresser so the wife would be more comfortable on the back. Now it's the same thing, "Hey guys, when are we going to go ridding?" It has taken us 5 years to find a small group of friends we can ride with on a regular basis.

Then about two weeks ago We are told a guy in town is selling his bike for a very reasonable price. We think, well the car will be paid off in 10 weeks, why don't we try for it. We get the call from the bank and Jake is the proud owner of a 1995 dresser (I don't know the model).

And I get my own bike once more.

What is really funny about our bikes is, because they are only a year apart, the colors and the pinstripes match, exactly. No, it wasn't planned.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tiny sparks of insanity...I mean inspiration

I have been involved since 2004 with a small group of people I met over the internet. We all have one thing in common, we are all big fans of Anne McCaffrey's Dragon Riders of Pern. We have come together on line to live on this wonderful planet with the magical beasts that were genetically altered to save the planet from the ravages of an organism whose only purpose is to consume anything and everything organic.

dragon riders of pern

In these worlds each of us creates a character, or in most cases characters. I have had over four years now interacting with complete strangers, who I now consider friends. I have watched as one friend went from high school freshman, to Valedictorian of her senior class.

Through the years not only have we grown as people our characters have developed into real personalities. Is it insane to say I have several voices in my head yelling at me to tell their story? Worse yet, am I a complete failure as a writer to say that my characters would be totally one dimensional without the other characters to interact with? I just want to take this small space to thank all the people who interact with my imagination on what is supposed to be a daily basis, but due to real life has been a hit and miss kind of thing lately.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

An Honor

My roller derby team played our final game of the season on June 28th. I was asked by one of our board members to write something up for the team blog. I was hesitant at first, but I didn't want to let her down. The fact that she trusted me with this task, which in my eyes is a big deal, made me feel honored and scared. I am sure when she gets it she may edit or ad to it, which would not bother me in the least. So with out further ado, here is my view on the last game of the 2007/2008 Derby Diva Season:

The events as they are listed below are from one skaters point of view and may not be an accurate summary of the days events.

The Divas Take on the North Star Roller Girls.

June 28th 2008, Beloit Wisconsin.

The day started out like any normal summer day in the Midwest. The sun was bright, there was very little humidity with a light breeze. It was a picture perfect day. All across the Stateline area women were spending a few moments with family and friends. Other women however, had violence on the brain. As the storm clouds darkened the horizon bringing short down pours these women counted down the minutes till they strapped on their wheels.

Five o'clock rolls around, skaters, refs and volunteers converge on the Skating Station. Tonight there are no bleacher's needed, no kids to shoo off, the rink belongs only to the Derby Community. In no time the chairs are set, the track is up.

Six o'clock the doors open, friends and family start to trickle in. The North Star girls start their warm up. The Divas suit up. Pads are donned, skates are laced up and tied. Wait, there is an envelope in with someone's derby gear. One of our founding members opens her skate bag and finds a card...."Awe" we say, "That is so sweet, you have a good man." everyone's attention is on the card when Annsanity says "What's this?" as she picks up a small pink wrapped package. "Where did this come from?" Boom Boom has a questioning look on her face as she unwraps a small box. Slowly the lid is opened and her eyes become as big as saucers, she slams the box closed with a gasp and runs across the rink to properly thank Mr. Martini. What is all the fuss? several girls who didn't see the action ask. Mr. Martini had hid a HUGE ring in her skate bag.

Okay, time to focus. It's seven o'clock, Whitney Houston makes a rare public appearance to sing our National Anthem. Bob Noxious from Madison's Mad Rollin' Dolls and Cracked Pepper of the North Star Roller Girls join our own announcer Sac Scratch to introduce the skaters for tonights battle.

The stage is set, the first line up of girls are on the starting line. The whistle blows, and the final Bout of our Inaugural season is on the way.

From here on out everything to me was a blur. I remember trying to get my jammers through an impenetrable wall of green jerseys. We skated like a team, but our strategy just wasn't working against the blocking skills of the North Stars. After the first twenty minutes we had to change the game plan. Pack speed was to become our ally, we needed to control her to get our girls through.

At the end of the second period we had gained more points, but we still had a way to go. We had a lot of hard hits, the fan's in the suicide seats were getting their money's worth. We had skaters sliding under the score and time keepers table. We had a jammer break her plate, tempers were rising, but the camaraderie of sisters was still there. Split the pack, let them get 20 feet away, was still the game plan. The chest area is a legal place to hit Maiden Korea. (Who by the way skated almost the entire bout backwards!) These words became our mantras.

The third period begins, the second jam in, one of our girls goes down. Head referee Machete Holiday, on loan from the Brew City Bruisers, tells everyone to take a knee. Our EMT on duty, Ron James, is called out to where Velvet Vendetta is curled up on the track clutching her knee. The rink falls silent in respect as everyone waits to see if she will get up. Unfortunately she doesn't. Velvet is lifted up and carried off the track to applause. She skated, and she skated hard. Line them up and here we go again. The last period continues, the hits are as hard as ever, and the pack is fast. As the last seconds tick by I still don't know what the score is. The last whistle blows and North Star is declared the winning team.

A great bunch of girls take the track one last time as a team for the night to make their victory lap. Everyone is smiling a flood of "great game"s, "you were awesome"s, and "thank you"s can be heard as we shake hands in the tradition of every little league game.

Then the North Star Roller Girls show us and our fans the true meaning of Sports-woman-ship. They tell us to take a victory lap.

Even though the score board said one thing at that moment every girl who had the nerve to strap on a pair of skates in the past year as a Diva was a winner!

After the game was played and the rink cleaned, we all headed out to Mick and Tony's. Tony as always had plenty of food for a crowd of hungry Derby Girls. We partied, drank, broke out the whipped cream for body shots and a few brave souls from both teams played sand volleyball in a down pour. Several of our team mates, referees and volunteers went home that night looking like sugar cookies.

At the end of the night I still did not know what the final score was, and to me it doesn't matter. I was apart of a hard hitting, fast skating game. Even now when I think back on this game the last thing I even think about is the numbers on the board. I remember the respect and sportsmanship. I remember women coming together as strangers, only to part as sisters. I remember the smiles and the hugs and the tears that we had done it.

We are Derby Girls, this bout was what we had worked so hard to achieve.

Viva La Divas!!!

North Star Roller Girls: 124
Stateline Roller Derby Divas: 33


aka DD Hunter
Kill it, Grill it, Repeat.