Sunday, September 10, 2006

Catching up my blog Part III: The Cedar Point trip!!!!!!!
I do not know if it is normal for an adult to find that Cedar Point is one of their favorite places to visit, so I guess it is a good thing I am resigned to being abnormal:) because I love Cedar Point. When we went last fall it reminded me of what it was to be alive and is one of the few truly wonderful memories I have before the winter blahs set in last year. Originally, I had planned to take A and B in May when the park first opened but that was when I first began really focusing on trying for the asst manager positions. D, N and I picked a weekend at the end of June that we were at first going to use for a camping trip. Plans changed and decided not to go camping but since we both had the time already decided to go to Cedar Point instead. I knew that I wanted to return for Holloweekends and so I wanted to purchase season passes for me, A and B-which would be $300.00. Then you have the cost of the hotel. I really wanted to stay on the island because I did not want to deal with driving and parking everyday at the park and the hassle involved. Staying on the island was cost prohibitive but I felt that if we really made an effort to bring at least two meals a day-sandwich stuff for lunch and milk and cereal for breaksfast it might be worth it. Then I wanted to bring J but was worried about her experience with me mostly focusing on the rides. My mom decided to go and since she would never ride any of the rides-or so we all thought anyway-she could be J's keeper. I was shocked that my mom wanted to go. Amusement parks are not my mom's thing at all and she and I had talked about taking the kids to Mackinac Island-but to be honest A did not really want to go. I guess my mom really wanted to take a vacation with us, or needed to get away or whatever-because she went with us and it was kind of fun. My time off was adjusted at work due to staffing issues so instead of going friday, saturday and sunday we were going monday, tuesday and wednesday. D was able to get an additional day off so they went sunday and monday and left for home tuesday morning. I got up at 5 on Monday so we could pick my mom and J up on the way. I called my mom the moment I woke up because I know how long it takes for her to get ready. I really wanted to have Monday be a day in the park not getting to the park and I wanted to meet D and N so we could have one fun day together. Of course, my mom was not ready when I got there. It really irritated me too because we got up earlier so we would not lose time by stopping at her house since she did not want to spend the night here like A and B. I called her the moment I woke up so she had an hour at least to get ready. We get to her house and needs milk and diet coke and a glass of ice and a whole wheat english muffin with chunky peanut butter, YIKES!!!!!! Plus we had to fit all of their stuff into the car too. I finally pointed out to her as politely as possible (ok, not very polite but not bad for having gotten up at 5 in the morning) that it was out of our way to pick her up and that we all got up an hour earlier just so she could sleep in her own bed sunday night, the least she could do was be ready and not hold us up. She made noises about why I needed to get there so early. I thought but never said that it was my trip, planned months ago and while she was welcome to join us, we had already set our itinerary and I had made her aware of it from the get go. But, the less said the better and soon enough we were on our way. The drive was pretty uneventful and I spent most of the time worrying about whether or not I would get the asst manager position I was supposed to hear about that day. We met N, D and M at the hotel. D found a hotel online that was near the park and had a free shuttle that took us to and from the park. The hotel was cheap enough that three nights there cost less than one night in the cheapest part of the hotel on the island. The hotel also had a free continental breakfast. In all it turned out pretty good, though I do have to admit that the shuttle-waiting for it, being on it why it dropped off folks from 5 different hotels-did eat into our time at the park. Luckily we had three full days there and so it was not as bad as it could have been by far. In fact, I plan to go next summer the second week-as soon as school is out-in June and stay for three more days at the same hotel-as long as they still have the shuttle. I would not do it in the busy tourist season of deep summer, when I know the shuttles can not possibly keep up with the demand, but early June should be good. I rode the Dragster with B, D and M. It was over fast and not that bad, though I have to admit that when we hit the top and started to go down I paniced and counted to calm my nerves. The whole ride is not more than 17 seconds-which is what I kept saying to myself in line- and I can do about anything for that short an amount of time. The pictures were hilarious and I gotta get D to send me a scanned copy of the pic because the face B is making is hilarious! We went back on the Raptor-the rollercoaster where your feet dangle-hated it again-though I was not as paniced as I had been the first time I went. We rode pretty much everything we wanted to except for the Millenium Force. We decided to stay for the fireworks and laser lights show. We had ridden everything we wanted to and decided to ride the Mantis-the stand up rollercoaster-one last time before the show started. Man, oh man, oh man. Somehow D and B talked me into riding in the first car. I think I must have still been high from the job offer:) We waited longer in line to ride in the front and nothing about the Mantis scares me, so I figured what the heck. As the ride was coming back I did notice that no one in the front car looked happy, but I was not sure why. As we got in I noticed that the restraint that goes over my head and snaps in around me had dead bugs all over it. I almost did not go, but B and D looked at me like I crazy so I went. Everything was going well and it was kind of cool to be in the front and I love the park at night all lit up. Then we passed over the water for the first time. Dear me, then I knew why the people getting out of the front car were not looking so happy. Our faces were serving as human windshields-easily a thousand bugs died smooshed onto my face, into my pores. By far it was the most disgusting experience of my life. Just the writing about it makes me quesy. Needless to say after that we did not ride in the front car (hell, the front 3 cars!) on any rides, even in the middle of the day:)
My other truly memorable experience happened after D, N and M had gone home. J was super suspicious of the rides. I did not want her to get on anything she was afraid of, but I am at the Point to ride the rides and did not really want to spend time watching her ride the same boring kids rides over and over. Thank goodness my mom was there. Anyway, I had been racking my brain for a ride that would not scare J. Finally I decided on the Disaster Transport. The Disaster Transport was basically a toboggan ride in the dark. It was short but kind of cool. I liked the idea of not really being able to see where you were going and it was not scary and did not have drops or curves, etc. So, my mom decided to go on the ride with us. LOL!!!! Well, the good news is J was not scared at all and in fact liked it alot. Too bad we can not say the same for my mom. My mom was ok getting on the ride until they started to pull us up the slope where you are then dropped (gently and not a great distance) into the toboggan portion of the ride. B does the impression best, but it went something like this. "Oh my god!!!! You weren't completely honest with me, I hear the click, click, click." She screamed, "Oh MY god." during the ride-until even J was comforting her-and when it was over she refused to get out immediately and even had tears in her eyes. It was hilarious. I mean it was such a nothing ride there were not even seat belts or a height restriction. Honestly, she was shaking and unsteady leaving. We were all laughing, though I was trying to be subtle about it. The kids-including J-wanted to go right back on and surprisingly enough my mom went back on for a second round. I wish I had my phone with me so I could have recorded her voice it was too funny. When she went back to work she told her co-workers that she rode a ride at Cedar Point and they were all surprised and impressed. Somehow I do not think she shared her comments on the ride.
All in all it was a great trip. I had never spent so many days in a row at Cedar Point and it was really nice. There is so much to see and do besides just the rollercoasters and it was fun to have the time to explore other options. We are planning to go back at the end of this month for Halloweekends and we are staying on the island. I want to take one of those period pictures-where you dress up in the costumes and everything. It is only about $50.00 and since we are staying on the island we can pick a time, take a shower and dress for it. I am thinking we should do it saturday when the park is at its busiest during halloweekends.
~~~~Where ever you go, There you are!!!
Catching up on my blog part II: On the job front!
Well, after Con, I returned home to discover that Octavia Butler had died. I think it a way it set me back to my sad winter blahs almost as if Con had never happened. I began looking for a way out of the blahs, a resolution as winter seemed never ending. I made a few decisions. I decided to focus on the controllables and work within them. My life needed an overhaul, not drastically, but my attitude and outlook. I decided that writing made me happy but I was rarely able to focus on it because I spent so much time at work and then when I got home I had my repsonsibilities to A. I felt that my whole day and outlook would be different if I could write on my lunch hours-a few stolen moments to not be present in my everyday life. My mom financed a lap top for me. I was not sure about it or if I should do it, etc. I did and while my life has since gotten so busy A uses it as much to play games as I use it for my writing, it made a critical difference for me and I believe it will in the future as well. I also got OU paid off so can finish my last class and graduate. I decided to focus on my writing and finishing my degree. I had already decided that my chances for advancement without going through sales were few, but as much as I wanted and needed out of my particular store and away from my direct manager, I did not want to leave the company until I was fully vested-which is September 22. So, I decided to go back to college, finish my degree-which the company would pay for, focus on moving to either to a different position or a different store and if nothing improves by September 22, to focus on looking for a position with another company. It was a scary prospect, but peaceful none the less. I needed to decide that my experience was coming to an end and make moves to make that happen.
You know how life is though, no sooner do you reach peace with what you have when all of your options change. Such was happily the case for me. I was at a mandatory wednesday morning meeting-on my day off, of course-with upper management-when my district managers boss announced that positions and head count were being added all across the district. Each large store which already had a store manager and an asst manager was adding a second asst manager and the smaller stores that only had one manager were getting asst managers. I looked at D (my asst manager) and she looked at me nodded. After the meeting she encouraged me to apply. I was not sure. I knew S would not back me in applying for asst manager-and it would be a long shot anyway since I would be skipping sales to go to management. The position was up for 10 days I think before I decided-on the very last day I could-to go ahead and apply. I had intended to apply to all of the stores close to me but in the end only applied to two. S (the store manager) was surprised to see I had applied and interviewed and declined me within 1 week. I was not too disappointed as I fully expected her to decline me and was in fact grateful for the practice interviewing. I had a successful interview at the other store only to find that the store manager was leaving, it was up in the air who would replace the store manager and the position was waiting to be filled. However, by that point I had gained confidence and decided to really pursue it whole heartedly. I can honestly say it was really, really rough. D saved my life. She helped me with my presentation and turned into a powerpoint which was impressive. She also gave me lots of advice and encouragement. I applied to every single store I could drive to-period. Then began the harrowing, intimidating and sometimes down right painful process of interviewing. I bought a sleek black Anne Klein business suit and set off. I took all of my declines with a good attitude and decided pretty much that I would try for CC supervisor-which is kind of a step between senior sales and asst manager. I had resolved myself to that when my DM took a personal interest in my desire to be manager. He let me know that he was turned down repeatedly for management and that he felt it was good of me to keep going and to take my feedback not personally but as suggestions for improvement. He also let me know that he wanted to keep me in his district and felt that I would do best in a smaller store. He gave two suggestions. One of the suggestions was far away but the manager was someone I knew and liked alot. The second was closer but in a not so good area with people I do not know and had not heard alot of positive things about. I took he closer one for many reasons, first I felt that I had the best chance of getting that position and second because I wanted to move closer to my family friends and that was better positioned for me to do that. The DM encouraged me and I did a phone interview with the manager and DM. I felt it was awful and that I stumbled alot and kept saying, "um, um, um". It was difficult to do because it was a conference call and the phone kept ringing, and sometimes I could not hear what they were asking me. I could not see facial expressions to get a feel for how the interview went, yikes. Well, the following weekend was our trip to Cedar Point. I will go into the Cedar Point trip in a later post, but let me say that we left for Cedar Point Monday and I was supposed to hear the final word about the position on Monday. Usually I leave my phone in my room or car but this time I draged that thing on every ride with me. D had told me that she was not supposed to say but it was 99% sure I was going to get the position. I was nervous and did not want to get my hopes up only to have them dashed with disappointment, so I was cautious but excited. After every ride, I would run to see if I had missed a call, it was harrowing. By 5 pm I figured I did not get it and was trying to resign myself to deal with the disappointment. We had taken the shuttle back to our rooms, gone to dinner and were preparing to return to the park when I got the call. A and J were making alot of kid noise and I think B had a movie on her laptop, so I indicated to my mom that this was "the" call and stepped into the hall. K (the manager at my new store) was kind of dry. I now know he is always like this and not to take it personally, but at the time I thought for sure it meant I was not getting the position. When he offered it to me I made the wise comment of which I am proud of to this day (satire) "No way!" He was so surprised by outburst he did not say anything, at which I explained that I did not think I would get it. He sounded generally surprised and ket me know that our district manager was heavily supporting me and that I never should have doubted that I would get the position. He explained that S (who knew the whole time and never said a word) refused to release me from my current position until July 31st. It pissed me off since I found out the last week in June and she could have been truly great and let me go July 1st-which would have been out of character for her. I figured she would be decent and let me go July 15th-but no, in true S fashion she held me until July 31st. Which meant that I did not get my raise or commission or anything until August 1st. It really irritated me, but at the same time gave me a chance to spend another month with the team at Sterling. I have to admit that as much as I love my team-and I do love them-I miss Sterling almost everyday.
~~~~Where ever you go, There you are!
Catching up on my blogging part I: Convocation
Well, so much has happened I am not even sure where to begin.
First, there was Convocation back in February. I left Con intended to write a detailed blog of all that happened and how I felt, but came home to find my favorite author of all time-Octavia Butler dead-and somehow never got around to it. This past winter was really a difficult one for me. I was stifled and frustrated with my work situation. I was having a difficult time finding an rough estimation of a "happy medium" with A. I was not sure what path I wanted my romantic life (or lack there of) to take. The end of February brought Con and it was a welcome and much needed opportunity to cleanse my spirit.
Con was great this year. I am not sure if it was Con itself or just that I so desperately needed the chance and opportunity to cleanse my soul and spirit. A and I went early on thursday. This year I was smart and took the entire week off-so I was not feeling rushed for Con. We met N, D and M at the hotel. We had tried to get rooms next to each other, but because we got a room with two double beds and they got a room with a king size bed-we were in different areas. I had decided this year to bring many of my magical tools with me. Con is a time to focus inward and cleanse your spirit and I wanted to begin each day with yoga and meditation. For the most part I was able to do so.
Con is also about renewing friendships that have waned during the year. I saw T and L who it now feels like I ONLY see at Con. T and I even attended a ritual together-though both she and N were at the women's ritual with A and I. I was also able to hook up with Je and Ja. It had been a long time since we had a seen each other and it felt really good to see them again. I was surprised at some of the changes in Je, but I believe they are mostly for the best. Ja was the same and I can see how steady, easy going soul is a balm and healing for Je. It was somewhat akward with T and L and Je and Ja-given the past and hurt feelings. I have to say that I felt that T was not as sensitive as she could have been given the circumstances. But, such is life and somehow I managed to weather the thin line between supporting all of my friends and staying out of everyone's personal drama and beef. My heart was with Ja though.
The first class I went to thursday night was boring. The teacher was an author and spent most of the class trying to talk us into purchasing his books. I was irritated to say the least. The sad part is if he had spent as much energy teaching the subject as he did trying to sell his books, I probably would have bought his books to learn more. Needless to say I did not go to any more of his classes.
The more years I attend Con-the less classes I go to. There is less that I am interested in and this year I really wanted to focus on the rituals. The Women's Ritual was amazing. I feel that way every year after every Women's Ritual-but this year was special. A was in he ritual with me. She really fought me tooth and nail about going and at times I was not sure if it was best to push it or let it go. In the end I pushed it and she admitted later that she really enjoyed it and was glad that she had attended. I will not say what all happened-because that is between myself and the goddess-but let me say that it served wonderfully to renew my soul. There are no words to describe what such a ritual is like or what it offers to those who participate in it. I felt renewed, lighter, freer, at peace. It was exactly what I needed and I left the ritual as more than I began it as.
I shopped in the Merchants Room-but again the more years I go, the more things I have and the less I buy. I always try to spend at least $100.00 to support the vendors. I want to encourage and support pagan vendors and I know that many make a huge effort and at much expense to attend Con inorder to vend. I also know that many attened for shopping as much as classes. I enjoy the variety of what is offered and want to do my part to support that variety.
A made friends with a jewelry designer and spent much of Con with her and with the other 'tweeners. A has a real gift and interest for making jewelry. I wish she would focus more of her energy on it. She spends alot of her energy and time trying to do the crafts I do-like crocheting-but while she is the spitting image of me physically-we could not be more different personality wise. I try to encourage her interest in jewelry making. She is good at it and it makes her happy, but not push too hard so she will not rebel to spite me. Sigh, parenting a pre-teen is hard work!
Brooke was not able to stay a complete day-but she did wear a skirt of mine to go to the drumming and looked wonderful. I think Con is good for Brooke and she insists that Con 2007 she will stay for the whole thing and she wants to bring her friend OJ with her and have them get their own rooms and everything. She will be 18 by Con of 2007 and I think she feels like she will be able to share the truth of what we do that weekend with her mother. I hope for her sake that is the case.
My mom talked about going, looked at the site and everything for weeks but in the end decided not to go. She was feeling crowded by K and the kids and decided to stay at my house while I was gone. I was ok with it, but very irritated to return home and find she had made a mess. I can not abide chaos and disorder and was real irritated. I was nearing the end of my vacation and had only monday left off before I had to return to my job and A had school and that was going to be a day of reflection for me. Thankfully, my mom did not stay late sunday and I still had my monday to myself. In a sense I was grateful she did not attend Con. I am not sure if she would have felt confident enough to go her own way. I have no attachments at Con. A is old enough to do what interests her. I keep up with her and insisted she attend some classes-but otherwise she requires little hands on care. My friends are all there and we have some classes or rituals together and I always eat with some or all of my friends for meals-but we each go our own way. I like that apsect of Con. I think my mom would like that as well and fit right in. However, I am not sure if she realizes how very pagan Con is. My mom is really more of a hnew age christian than a pagan and I not sure how comfortable she would feel. I do not want to short change her-my mom is a woman of a myriad interests, most would be surprised at how unique-yet, if she is not comfortable she might be clingy and it would annoy me alot. I just was in a low place this past winter and really did not have the energy to spare. I am sure Con 2007 will be better.
I LOVE the drumming and D had his huge drum this year. Drumming and rituals are all Con is about for me. I am almost in a trance when I dance during it. I do not really think of anything or anyone. My heart beats in time with the drum and I move my body to the beat of the drum and my heart. It is like a moving meditation. I am truly able to clear my mind and take advantage of the clarity such a state brings. I think it went a long way towards chasing away the winter blahs.
The other ritual I attended (with T) was an Egyptian ritual where you visited the land of the dead. It was a powerful ritual about facing the choices you have made and answering for them. I have to say that I do not consider myself to be a person who has made many choices that I fear to face-with the exception of one that I do not look at too closely and have never admitted to anyone all that was involved-but I have to say that I looked at more choices I have made in my life than I realized and found some measure of the peace with the choice that haunts me still.
~~~~Where ever you go, There you are!
These are three aspects of the Goddess from the Womens Ritual at Con .06. In black is the Crone, in red is the Mother and in white is the Maiden. Posted by Picasa
Same three aspects of the Goddess, only the Mother is featured primary. Posted by Picasa
Again, three faces of the Goddess, but this time focusing on the Maiden. Posted by Picasa
This is the other who participated during the ritual. One the far left in a white robe, with a brown shawl is the lady who greeted us entering the ritual and marked us, to the right of her is the Mother, Crone and Maiden. In front of the altar to the far left is the drummer-who never missed a beat and kept us all in thrall and the three ladies to the right of her were the Goddess's helpers and they guided us through the ritual. Posted by Picasa
This is but a small part of the many different Goddesses represented on the altar during the ritual. On the far left we have Isis with wings spread, Gaia with the world in her prenant belly, tradional Goddess candle of ancient celtic goddesses represented with soft bellies and no arms, legs or head, sexy goddess (mother goddess) with her long locks and lean body, in the back on the right we have another winged goddess-not sure who, in the back on the left another traditional neo-pagan representation of the goddes holding the triple moon over her head. Posted by Picasa