Posted by: twopercentmind | 05/08/2017

Time to begin again

I started this blog when I was laid off. Being laid off is like being fired, except that at this particular company being fired took 8 weeks. I knew people who would sit at their desk and get paid for doing nothing for 8 weeks. I tried that. I lasted 3 hours. I just couldn’t do it.

I spent a year trying to find work just as the Great Recession (2008) hit the local economy hard (2010). A bit of advice for someone who has started to hate their job: find another one before you are forced out. I had looked around a little but not seriously enough. I did probably 20 job interviews without landing a job. I have “sparkles” in my hair although I don’t look my age. My secret was to put the year I graduated from college on my resume, 2006. I even had an interviewer look around a waiting room for a younger person (repeatedly) when I was the only person in the room! I listed 20 years of experience on my resume, apparently no one looked at that.

In 2013 I finally landed another job as a contractor. I’ll post more about that job in future posts. In 2015 I retired and it’s taken me two years to be ready to start this up again. I wish you well. I’m working on that myself.

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Posted by: twopercentmind | 04/23/2015

Open Letter IV

Dear Zac,

I feel so close to you right now. We lost our dear Buddy this week. He was our pet but so much more. Walking from room to room we see evidence of his life. We can’t even open our front door without breaking down. Coming home the first thing we did was open the door for him. The last thing we did before leaving home was to make sure he was safe. God, it hurts. Sometimes I just stand still and stare. It doesn’t really matter what I’m staring at. I just stare. It hurts to breathe. It’s hard to walk, one leg seems to drag behind wanting to wait for him.

Thinking of you,

tpm

Posted by: twopercentmind | 08/16/2014

An Open Letter (III)

Dear Zac,

I haven’t written in a long time. I’m sorry I let so much time go by without writing. I have been busy. That is no excuse to leave you alone without words of comfort.

I hope that time has been kind to you. Sometimes it is not. A date will appear on the calendar and bring instant heartache and painful memories. The pain will fade. It may reappear at strange times, not on a specific date or a holiday or on the birthday or day of loss. I can’t tell you if it will be because you hear a story you shared or if you see someone wearing a familiar coat or jacket. I’m sorry. Those times will come. Try to remember the laughter. Try to remember the joyful times. One day the joy will outweigh the ache. Share those joyful memories and make new friends with them.

Thinking of you,

tpm

Posted by: twopercentmind | 07/20/2014

Just a Note

I really haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. “‘Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans,’ was published in Reader’s Digest in January 1957” [Huffington Post, 12/6/12]. I found temporary work and the temp service has kept me working as much as I want.

Face blindness has punished me lately. Could we please make face blindness into one word “faceblindness” please? I was at work and my PC was acting strangely. I called the help desk and after some phone/remote access trial and error an IT person appeared and stood in my cubicle more than once while I was working. After the problem was successfully resolved said IT person appeared in the central work room where I was making copies and asked me if my PC was still working. My thought was “Who are you and why do you care?” My blank stare resulted in his blank stare. My brain does not translate what I sitting down into what I would see standing up. His tee shirt gave me a clue and I promptly and briefly explained my face blindness. I recognized him for the rest of my temporary employment at his company–not by his face–by hair color, height, and tee shirt and jeans.

So I’m back, face blind and all.

Posted by: twopercentmind | 04/26/2012

It happened again!

I lost my daughter’s face again. I know it can happen in a crowd but I had just had lunch with her! After lunch I was standing by my car and this woman was walking across the parking lot toward me. I looked at her and looked around for someone else. When I looked back she was still walking directly toward me and she was the only person in the parking lot except my granddaughter. Oh, bleep. The faceless woman was my daughter.

I’m going to lose the face of my granddaughter too. She’s wearing braces that are going to push her jawbone forward to correct her bite. What they will also do is make her look more like other girls her age.

While I see the two of them up close for family dinners I don’t see them out walking around. I can recognize my granddaughter at swim meets by the shape of her head and the shape of her shoulders–and her swimsuit until her team starts wearing matching suits. Then she’ll be lost in the crowd.

I’ve been holding off on publishing this post because I was afraid that I would hurt my daughter’s feelings. It turns out she is a very understanding person and is fascinated with the condition that effects some members of her family.

Posted by: twopercentmind | 03/27/2012

Face Blindness and 60 Minutes

On Sunday March 18, 2012, 60 Minutes ran a segment on face blindness. They did a good job of showing how people with face blindness have trouble recognizing faces. They also presented the other side of the coin, super recognizers who can’t forget a face even if they want to.

The piece made me think of other ways people with face blindness have trouble with things that aren’t faces. Technically face blindness means that you can recognize everything except faces, but there are things that people who do not have face blindness link to that those of us with face blindness can’t. People can recognize my car in a parking lot. I cannot recognize someone’s car and associate it with that person. The cues I use to recognize people such as height, shoulder width, the amount of space between their eyes, their gait, the way they hold their heads, these things do not leave enough space in the recognition database in my head to record things like vehicles or a spouse’s name. It’s as though everyone has a set amount of space in their brains for identifying other people and the things associated with them. People who do not have face blindness use that space to store spouses names and even faces, the names of children, vehicles, and pets’ names. I use all that space to record things that no one else notices. If I can recognize a person from the front I can probably recognize them from the back.

I recognized a former coworker from the back in a restaurant while she was seated. How did I do it? By the way her earring swung as she shook her head. I could tell she wasn’t happy by the way her earring bobbed and by that I knew who she was. In grade school I could tell identical twins apart from the back from across the room by the way they stood. I couldn’t understand why other people had trouble telling them apart. This is fairly common for people with face blindness.

If you Google “60 Minutes face blindness” you should find links to the segments of the show.

Posted by: twopercentmind | 03/14/2012

Wars past and present

Imagine being in a foreign county surrounded by people that don’t look the way you do and don’t speak the same language you speak. Imagine that some of the people around you want to kill you. Other people want you to help them keep from being killed. The people around you all look alike and you can’t tell friend from enemy. Now imagine that you are there because of a number on a list or because you wanted to go to college and you couldn’t afford to go.

There have been six American wars in my lifetime. I count the undeclared wars known as conflicts too because war is war. Bad things happen. Good people end up doing atrocious things because they are scared or they were broken by what they had seen or done or what had been done to them. Lesser intentioned people find themselves in a situation where they have an excuse to do anything they want and will probably be praised for the outcome.

Soldiers in the Korean war could go to war for a year, fight and nearly die for their country, and come home to neighbors that hadn’t even realized they’d been away. Fighting in the Korean war could make you into an invisible warrior but at least you were part of a unit that trained and fought together.

Vietnam was different. Soldiers were drafted as individuals, trained in groups and shipped out individually to positions in country. Returning Vietnam soldiers were not ignored when they returned home from the war. They were met by angry crowds who threw tomatoes at them in protest of the war. Some returning vets felt like the only people they could trust and talk to were other soldiers that had been there.

The three wars in the middle east are different yet again. These are the volunteer wars. There are true volunteers and there are people who joined the Reserves in order to help pay for their education or for additional income. Reserves are sent by unit into the “theater” of war. What’s left of the unit after their tour returns home. Veterans of previous wars and grateful citizens try to greet each returning flight. No one wants to repeat the treatment that Korean and Vietnam veterans received. At last the American people honor and respect their warriors like those of World War I and II.

The pain of separation from family and friends is recognized for both sides of the ocean now but settles into certain geographic areas more predominately. Awareness is being raised for those waiting at home too. They also serve who wait at home by shouldering burdens alone that were normally shared, by meeting life demands not well prepared for and keeping silent when they need to ask for help.

How are we letting all of our veterans down? By cutting spending on the benefits they were promised. By not giving the physically-damaged and mentally-damaged vets the medical and mental health care they need and so rightly deserve. Many veterans are now homeless because they do not get the mental health treatment they need. Physically damaged veterans need better access to medical facilities, medical equipment, and well-trained medical personnel.

It appears that America will not give up going to war even when diplomatic or targeted means would be more productive. Let’s take better care of our active duty and veteran soldiers now and into the future. It’s the least we can do for their service.

 

Posted by: twopercentmind | 03/11/2012

Women’s shoe fashion

What is it with women’s shoe fashion? For over two years I’ve been hearing that flats are coming back in style. The only person in the public eye I’ve seen in flats lately wearing flats was a clip of a Katy Perry concert and another woman barefoot performing in concert. Other than that all you see are ridiculously high heels. Dangerously high heels.

The heels may be over three inches high but the toes must still reach the ground. That’s why you see the thick toe section of the shoe. The human foot can only stretch so far. I understand it is to make women look like they have long legs, but really. Legs are like toes–they are designed to reach the ground.

To me a shoe is much sexier if it looks like it came from the Sixties. The soles are thin, the heels are stilettos. My wearing preference, if you are going to get me into a pair of heels, is a height of two inches where the heel is at least one inch thick where it meets the ground–I have to be able to walk after all.

What do I see when I see the obscenely high heels with thick toe platforms? If the shoes are shaped so that the arch of the foot is popped forward instead of angling back like a normal foot, I see ballerina toe shoes. The shoes I wore in high school dancing “on point.” The shoes that gave me such high arches I find in nearly impossible to find comfortable shoes. The shoes that made my feet wider than they were naturally and they were already wide. Then there’s the PAIN. Just the thought of toe shoes hurts. The ingrown toenails (that run in my family anyway), the falls, the ankles weakened and gave way when I didn’t put my foot down squarely on the flat of the toe. My ankles pop to the outside to this day. I recently fell. My bones may be stronger from that exercise in my teens but my feet are still mad at me decades later.

Where did outrageously high heeled shoes come from? I’d guess porn. At least they have the sense not to try to WALK in them. Where do we go from here? Hopefully down. Soles that are thick enough to protect the foot–after all that’s why humans invented shoes–but thin enough to be able to walk in them easily. High heels are designed to make women look sexier. Limping and stumbling don’t seem that sexy to me. Maybe men like their women unable to get away or tottering so badly that they have to cling to them. Want to be really sexy? Wear shoes that let you swing your hips when you want and not wobble like a bowling pin or beg for assistance from everyone nearby.

Oh, and one last thing. If you’re nominated for an Oscar and even if you are positive you can’t win, wear something you can climb steps in: dress, shoes, even hairstyle. If you have something to say no one will hear you if you can’t make it to the podium.

Posted by: twopercentmind | 03/10/2012

The idea that got away

For some reason I get some of my best ideas while I’m driving. Some I get processed enough to write down or remember when I get home but some get completely lost. Sometimes at home I’ll even get an idea captured in a Word document but it’s just the title or a few lines. The seed dies before even sprouting a leaf.

Other ideas hang around while I try to make them work. There’s an indoor garden for a new construction home with glass walls, a skylight and a watering system complete with a drain in the concrete floor. One side would face the front door and have stair steps of miniature roses lining the sides and tropical greenery in the middle. The back side would have glass shelves for growing herbs or small vegetables.

There are ideas that last a few minutes but I still have time to put them to use. An example would be attaching an Ethernet cable from the cable box to the DVD player to improve downloading for movies. It didn’t work, but I was able to at least try it.

Then there’s the idea I’m reminded of every time I perform a certain interaction with a type of product. I get mad that I haven’t processed the idea enough to get to the point of submitting it somewhere where it can grow up into a product I can use.

The other night I had an idea for a new product in a dream. The next morning I managed to make it to a piece of paper and draw out a rough draft. Later in the day I improved on the drawing and idea. The one that didn’t get away!

A friend suggested that I record my ideas on my phone when they come to me while I’m driving. That one is a no-go. By the time I get my phone unlocked and set to record I will have wrecked my car and that is not a good idea.

Posted by: twopercentmind | 02/21/2012

Wedding styles change to five-minute wear

Once upon a time, well, no not really. Years ago–that works–women wore hats and gloves everywhere, even when it was hot. Women wore girdles and hose with skirts–the chastity belts of the 60s. Now there are Spanks in place of girdles and nothing in place of hose, except when you want your legs to be a different color or if you’re trying to make a good impression.

A slip used to be required with a dress or skirt. God forbid someone could see your legs through your dress. Now wedding gowns come with see-through corsets. Really? Isn’t that stuff saved for the wedding night? Apparently not any more. It’s okay to wear five-minute wear to your wedding as long as there are crystals on the corset and a veil on your head.

One of my friends on Facebook posted a picture of her wedding back in the early 70s. Her gown had long sleeves and a high collar. Her veil was short and perched on top of her head. I was reminded of wedding pictures in the back closet of a wedding in 1969 and the bride wore long bishop sleeves (fitted at the top and billowing at the bottom with fitted cuffs) and a short collar with the veil perched on top of her head. In the 70s picture the veil was elbow length and in the other picture the veil is shoulder length.

So what happened to wedding fashion? Even in the 90s brides wore sleeves and their shoulders were covered. The neckline was probably V-shaped. The trains were long and the veils were still short. When did nearly-naked brides start waking the aisles? Apparently around 2000 and it may have had something to do with an episode of “Sex in the City.” Charlotte wore a strapless gown for her first wedding. Trains became shorter (easier to maneuver for dancing) and veils became longer and were removed for the reception. The strapless wedding gown became even more revealing with a sweetheart neckline and sometimes the see-through corset.

The veil has disappeared for second weddings. Really, how many surprises are left by the second wedding? Some brides want the huge wedding the second time around because they didn’t get one for their first marriage. If “Say Yes to the Dress” is any indication some brides will have several children before they can afford the wedding they want.

Kate Middleton wore a beautifully modest gown for her wedding and her bouquet was a proper bridal bouquet. Bridal bouquets for decades were shaped like an inverted teardrop and held in front of the uterus–literally. The bouquet was held below the waist and it tipped forward toward the ground. Apparently the tree-trunk style of bridal bouquets came into being about the same time as the bare-skinned wedding gown. Brides no longer carry the bouquet below the waist it is carried in front of the chest or up and out to the side like cheerleader’s pompoms.

Styles change. Kate Middleton, now Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, went back in time for her gown and bouquet to pay homage to Diana Princess of Wales (Lady Diana), who would have been her mother-in-law.

Longer veils placed farther back on the head and separate from tiaras or other bridal headpieces are more attractive than little beanies perched atop heads. Little hats with birdcage veils go back to the 30s and 40s but don’t have the appeal of the long trailing veil.

A happy medium would be long veils placed low on the back of the head above a dress covering the shoulders and possibly complete with sleeves. Five-minute wear should stay behind closed doors.

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