I mentioned yesterday that today was a Stop Cyberbullying Day and I have quite a bit more to say about this now that I’ve had some time to formulate in my head what I want and need to get out. But first a bit of background as to why this event came about.

I also mentioned Kathy Sierra yesterday. I had only read her blog a few times when I’d been linked there and she seemed like a swell gal with some great ideas and posts pertaining to community/userbase building in the blogesphere. Most recently I had read her Devil’s Advocate post about Twitter. (Because I love all things Twitter. I’d even use the word ‘addiction’ but more on that later.) When I was linked to her site last week from a post that Cincyli wrote I was flabbergasted. When did it suddenly become okay to post such horrible things about people online? To photoshop pictures of them with a noose, or gagged with women’s panties?! I agree with her reaction, wholeheartedly. It’s disgusting and sick and so beyond what is thought of as “okay” by anybody that has any amount of decency.

I think the problem with the Internet is anonymity. When you can throw rocks at somebody while nameless and faceless you feel much more powerful. And to me, at least in my own case of cyberbullying, that’s the goal. To feel like you have some kind of power over people. I haven’t addressed my cyberbully on my blog at all. To me, to publicly address him, is to give him the power he desires. I have the power and this is my way of dealing with it.

This doesn’t mean that I’m not very thankful and sympathetic to what Kathy is going through and I applaud her for dealing with it in the best way she see’s fit and for drawing some much needed attention to the matter. My bully hasn’t ever made an actual threat against me but believe me, if it ever came to that I’d be in contact with lawyers and police with a quickness.

The big thing that I have seen and been disturbed by is the willingness of other people to ‘look the other way’ when they see it happening. They continue to allow these offenders to comment and participate in a community even though they see cyberbullying going on. They have the attitude that if it’s not happening to them, they don’t care. This is where the blog community has faltered. If EVERYBODY stood up and said ‘What you are doing is not okay, and you are not welcome’, I think this problem would be greatly reduced. The bullies would lose that power they are trying so hard to maintain.

P.S. – Also, check out Kami Watson Huyse’s blog. She has a great post today about the effect that cyberbullying has on kids and teens beyond the blogging realm. I’m scared to think about the world that my own daughter is going to grow up in with the Internet making it so easy to anonymously attack your peers.

Diligently working…

Diligently working...

On a new theme. So far I’m about 40% done with the Photoshop mock up. So it’ll be up sometime… around Christmas maybe? I can’t seem to get away from these gray color swatches with little splashes of pink. Meh. Guess it’s me?

Andy Carvin has declared tomorrow Stop Cyberbullying Day. The recent drama over on Kathy Sierra’s blog has quite a few of the A List blog community finally taking a unified public stance against Cyberbullying. Finally. It’s tragic that it had to come to light the way it has, with a woman afraid to leave her own home or travel to be a part of a community that should offer only support and friendship. But I think that many bloggers have fallen prey to little egos and anonymous cowards for long enough.

I’ll be writing more tomorrow to support this event but I wanted to give you all a head’s up so that if you want to you can join in. I really hope that some of you are willing to finally step up and speak out for once. Not because you’ve been attacked, but because you want to do what you’ve known all along is the “right thing to do”.


So, I get an email saying that Rosie O’Donnell has updater her flickr photostream and when I look it’s a camera phone shot and her phone has included her PHONE NUMBER. On her flickr. By the time I saw it, (maybe 30 seconds after the email came in) it had been viewed a few hundred times. Doh!

She’s removed the info so I blurred the number out of the screen capture but I wonder how many phone calls she’s gotten from that 10 minute flub.

Rosie O'Donnell has a cell phone!  And now we all know the number??  Doh!

Hates me, It does.

I’m sorry for any whiny crybaby-ness this post may contain. Having said that, you are not allowed to complain at the end.

I am SO ON MY PERIOD. Thankfully, the normal physical STUPIDNESS that my body forces on me didn’t happen this month. Unfortunately, that left me no warning that It was coming. It first hit me Saturday morning when I got up and was seriously pissed off at the alarm clock. SERIOUSLY. Like, if it was an actual person that shook me awake at 8AM on a Saturday I’d have knocked it’s teeth out. When I was getting dressed I glared at it and rolled my eyes and cursed it under my breath. It just looked back at me and clicked off another minute, unfazed by my Death Glare, which pissed me off even more.

Luckly, I got Cassidy to Saturday School with no big drama and Ben was busy out in the garage with Reid so I didn’t really have anybody around to set It off. I just putzed around the house getting some laundry done and cleaning here and there while cussing at more inanimate objects. Except my beautiful plants. I didn’t cuss at them. I walked around the entire house checking on everything I planted last weekend. Everything was doing very well, growing and flowering and smelling wonderful and somehow that managed to turn my mood around and I was able to enjoy the rest of the day.

At noon I picked up Cassidy and we headed to the Children’s Discovery Museum which is 10 minutes away but we’d never been to. It was a little too young for Cassidy but she still had a good time. I even managed to have a good time despite the fact that a woman and her child seemed to be following us around the museum and whenever the child didn’t get what he wanted he’d lay down on the floor and violently convulse while screaming like a cornered pig. Seriously, at one point the kid laid there and screamed for a good 7-8 minutes while the mom JUST STOOD THERE AND WATCHED. When she tried to pick him up he started scratching and hitting and BIT HER! She just put him down and let him continue…

I was about to get up and drag him out of there myself when Cassidy tried to throw a ball into a massive whirlpool and missed, hitting The Mom of Screaming Terror Kid smack on the side of the face. Then I couldn’t get up for fear of PEEING MYSELF.

That evening we met The Gang at Dave and Buster’s to celebrate Guillermo’s birthday. I was designated driver (without much hesitation because I’m still a little sick from Sandra’s party a few weeks ago) but still had a great time and managed to hit the Jackpot on our favorite game four times total and three times IN A ROW. I rocked the ticket counter.

Then Sunday came and It was the absolute other end of the spectrum. My mom came with me to a Bridal Show and I turned into a CRYBABY! When the fashion show started I actually had to LOOK AWAY as all the skinny models strutted down the runway in frilly white dresses to keep from crying. I’m totally not kidding. I suddenly had this flash of me walking down the isle towards Ben holding my Dad’s arm and it was such a powerful feeling that I almost had to just leave. I was choking back tears and trying to blow it off as allergies. (Note to self: DO NOT plan wedding around time of period or you will just be a blubbering idiot bride.) I mean, I was CRYING over DRESSES! Who the fuck AM I!? I HATE DRESSES! OF EVERY COLOR AND SHAPE AND SIZE AND LENGTH AND PATTERN!!

Well, I don’t hate ALL dresses. (But most!) And then, after that feeling passed I started to panic that I’d never find THE dress. I know what I want, exactly. The cut, the color, the length the flow… and it’s a combination of about 15 different dresses that I’ve never seen combined into one. And it has to be perfect. I want Ben to become weak knee’d and light headed when I start down the isle. So it HAS to be perfect.

Then I started to realize just how expensive wedding’s really are. According to all the budget planners, reception’s are generally 40% of the wedding. The LOW END average of all the places I’ve looked at around here for 100 people is $6000. So if the receptions is $6000 and that’s 40% of the general wedding cost then are we looking at $15000??? To get MARRIED! No, no we can’t do that. That’s too much money to get married.

I have to scale down what I want. I try not to mention “last time” when I talk about this but in this case I will. Last time I didn’t really give a lot of input. I didn’t choose the flowers, I just kinda nodded and said “Yeah, that’s okay.” It was the same way with the cake and the decorations and the music… “Yeah, that’s fine we can do that.” Other than the dress, it just wasn’t me. Victorian is SO NOT ME. I want this wedding to be everything I’ve dreamed of. And I want it to be what Ben’s always thought this day should be. We really need to sit down and hammer out a budget because I want a Cinderella wedding but need to do it on a pre-Fairy Godmother budget.

And this is a testament to my state of mind… At one point during the fashion show, a bride came out holding a bouquet and threw it into the section making the most noise. The person catching it got a free bouquet ($175 value) from the flower vendor I FELL IN LOVE WITH. I waved my hands in the air like a lunatic SCREAMING for those flowers and the bride looked me square in the eye, tossed the bouquet in a perfect arc directly at me… and the girl IN FRONT OF ME jumped up and grabbed it out of the air. I looked at my mom, then back at the girl, then back at my mom who gave me this look of, “We are at a bridal show and if you make a scene I will TOTALLY DISOWN YOU.” She told Ben later, “I thought Anna was about to clobber the girl over the bouquet.” And she was right. That was MY BOUQUET DAMMIT and if my mom hadn’t been there to look at me I’d have grabbed that bouquet and ran for the door. But considering the 1000 rabid women around me, I’d have probably been beaten to death with Louis Vutton purses and four inch Manolo Blahnic’s.

THEN! To top off my emotional roller coaster, when I got home from the show I saw that somebody had ripped my daylily plant out of the ground and dropped it about three feet away. Two of the three stocks had been broken in half so it was completely not salvageable. I was heartbroken. I bought those flowers specifically because they are always included in any bouquet that Ben sends me. I’m sure this isn’t even some conscious decision of his, he just happens to choose bouquet’s that have them in there. But they are very sentimental to me and they were BEAUTIFUL and smelled SO GOOD and I couldn’t wait till they were producing enough flowers that I could bring them in and put a few on my desk and smile at them.

And that was it. The day before of being constantly strained and on the edge, Crazy Screaming Kid at the museum, the late night at Dave and Busters, the wedding show almost breaking me down, some lunatic woman grabbing MY BOUQUET, then my beautiful plant… I was just SO DONE WITH THE WEEKEND. I was exhausted. And I’m sure it was nothing more than my normal monthly period induced exhaustion + the after show Margarita my mom treated me to but I laid down on the couch and slept the rest of the weekend off like a bad hangover.

*click* *snap* *post*

Cassidy and I planted a bunch o’stuffs this weekend. I wanted to get some shots of everything today but when I got home the sky was really overcast so the light was crap and while trying to frame shots, I realized that everything was still so small that it looked kinda sad. Maybe it was the weather… heh

So, I got some close up shots and decided to molest them in photoshop for your viewing pleasure.

Sweet Basil:
Sweet Basil


Daylily w/ Orton Effect:
Daylily w/Orton Effect

P.S. – I want a Macro lens SO BAD. It can be my Birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Second Saturday in July, WHATEVER gift. Or ALL of them! *drool*

Lesson’s learned.

So, I know that in the past I’ve mentioned some of my co-workers and some of the problems I had forming relationships with them. It was really hard at first. The Yackass was my biggest problem. She was a walking bomb of drama and negativity with a very short fuse.. and I like to light things on fire. We did not get along. AT. ALL. One day, she upset me so much that I got up, walked to my boss’ office and told him, “Fix her attitude or I’ll go back to my desk and type up my two week notice.”

His bright idea was to get the two of us into a room together and attempt to ‘talk it out.’ I hardly had to say a word. She made herself look like a complete tool and instead of working it out she basically said, “I’m not talking to you, don’t talk to me.” OKAY! AWESOME! Like in grade school!!! We should have done this WEEKS ago! It was a tense six or so months after that and I felt bad for our two other team members because The Yackass went way out of her way to avoid me and make a mini-scene if we had to interact at all.

Then Ben’s dad and step-mom came to visit. They are Buddhist and quite possibly the most Zen people I’ve ever encountered in my life. Ever. And I live in the Silicon Valley! It’s always difficult for me to wrap my mind around the things they say because I’m always wound up so tight that if you drop a feather on my tightrope it might snap and exploded with the force of an atomic bomb. I was not ready to hear what they had to say and I got even more frustrated as Ben agreed with them and I was like, YOU PEOPLE don’t have to deal with this girl. It’s IMPOSSIBLE. You just DON’T KNOW.

Gary: Be nice to her.
Me: I WAS nice to her. I AM nice to her now even though she is snide and STUPID.
Gary: You are nice to her because in your mind you HAVE to be. There is a big difference. Be nice to her because you WANT to.
Me: I don’t want to be nice to her! I want her to quit and go away and never come back.

Okay, that last line was me being a whiny putz but I really believed it at the time.

This conversation led Gary into explaining that my best bet to get what I wanted out of The Yackass was to change MYSELF. I tried for almost an hour to make him understand that I HAD been nice to her and all that had done was lead her to believe it was OKAY to treat me the way she did. So I was DONE WITH NICE. I was at the point that I was just done with ALL OF IT. He said that since I couldn’t change her, and the only person I can really control is ME, that I should change. And I admit, I was being less than nice to her at the time. When I did have to deal with her I kept myself very guarded and if she tried to throw me attitude, I threw it back with the force of a heard or hungry elephants.

Gary: So how’s that working out for you?
Me: It’s not.
Gary: Do you think that will change?
Me: No.
Gary: Because you can’t change her.
Me: No.
Gary: But you can change you.

About a month later Ben brought the conversation back up in another context on the way to dinner. Even then I told him, YOU DON’T GET IT LEAVE ME ALONE.

Ben: No, YOU don’t get it. My dad gave you good advise. You should step outside this situation, step outside YOURSELF and really think about what he had to say. The concept, if you understand it, can be very powerful.

So I did. I thought about it a lot. And then I started on Lexapro and it was the first SSRI that really worked for me. So I thought about it some more with a clearer mind. And okay, I admitted that in THEORY, it could work. But I was still really bitter about how the whole thing had come to blow up before that meeting with my boss. I hadn’t let go of that yet and I knew even as I thought about it, that until I did that, I could not change me. LETTING GO would have the be the start of the change.

Then one day a few months ago we were really swamped at work. We had people in upper divisions coming down on us pretty hard because of a mistaken procedure change that we all said would be a bad idea but they pushed through anyway. I mean SWAMPED. And since I’m faster at what we do than any of the other three, my boss was really leaning on me to produce and I was completely stressed out as I watched our credits balloon from $5,000,000 to $8,000,000 in two months.

One day I had listened to The Yackass spend the better part of an afternoon on the phone fighting with her husband while I struggled to get ready for a meeting I thought was just a waste of time. And then Ben called. And he said something really funny and it made me laugh. He does this all the time. And when I hung up and heard her, something changed. Instead of being annoyed she wasn’t working, I felt bad that she had a husband that didn’t call JUST to make her laugh.

A few minutes later she came to my desk and asked me if I could do something for her and instead of thinking, “SURE!! I’ll do your work for you so you can sit over there and FUCK OFF!! ABSOLUTELY! Because I had nothing better to do!”

INSTEAD! I looked at her face and saw tired. Tired, beat down, emotionally wrecked and I felt bad. I felt… compassion. I replaced my usually snide “Okay, put it in my bin and I’ll get to it at some point today”, with “Yeah, I actually have a few of these I need to do already so it shouldn’t be a problem.” And instead of just dropping the papers in the bin and walking away, she HANDED them to me and… said “Thank you”.

And I was floored. And slightly confused. Then pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. The cynic in me is hard to turn off.

That single encounter started a kind of chain reaction. An upward spiral of ‘nice’. It didn’t happen over night, and I can’t actually look back and say when the change REALLY happened. Maybe at that point, maybe a day, a week, a month later… but it did. And now? She offers to help ME. And we can talk about the weather, and her bunny rabbit, and Cassidy’s uncanny ability to DRIVE ME MAD.

The other day the four of us had a meeting with my boss and, like he does at every other monthly meeting, he asked all of us in turn what’s new with us. It’s a little way that we can all connect and remember that we are HUMAN and have lives outside of work and to share new stuff we have going on. At the end he said, “So everybody is good! That’s good.” And Yackass said, “Actually everything with us is great. I think all of us are back on track and doing really well.” And she meant the two of us.

And I think what I really want to end this with is a very big ‘thank you’ to Gary. And an ‘I’m sorry’. I’m sorry for acting like a rubber wall when you were trying to offer me some very excellent advise. And Thank You for being so kind and persistent and willing to take as much time with me as you did to teach me one of the single biggest lessons I’ve ever been taught. Thank you for guiding me down a path that lead me to becoming a better person.

It’s not me, it’s you.

I have this blog all typed up complete with points and counter points and bullet lists and links to support everything I believe and I know to be true.. and I’m not going to post it. Because what’s the point? I’d just be giving you what you want and I’m not going to do that. I won’t let you win. Because I’m better than you even on my worst day. Even when I’m PMSing and forget to take my Crazy Pills! So in other words, you REALLY SUCK!

HA! I win.

Note to self:

Next time you go over a month without any coffee and you decide that you need a little pick me up in the morning don’t get the shaken iced coffee w/one Splenda you love so much because you probably need something a little more diluted with cream and flavoring and all that jazz because when you drink the full strength stuff after a month of not having any at all chances are you will be so wired you can’t sit still or concentrate or get any work done which will kind of defeat the purpse of having the coffee in the first place which was to be more alert and aware and sharp at the meeting you had in the morning which is over now but you are still so wired that you can’t stop moving or thinking or getting anything done other than really really long run on sentences on your blog and even that is hard because you are so wired YOU ARE SHAKING.

Dear Firefox,

Normally I have warm, fuzzy, wonderful feelings about you. Tonight I’d like to shove sticks under your thumbnails and force you to eat slugs. Can you just SEE THE GODDAMN BORDER?! And really, would it BE SO HARD to just LET THE DIV BE 100% height? Please? I promise to be nice and make you cookies when we are done.

IE is playing nice. So until you decide that you are not ‘above’ playing with us, I’m going to have to rethink our relationship.

Not so patiently waiting,