Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm baaaaack...

I know, I has been too long. I love that some of you took to my Facebook page to let me know too! I have no idea how all of you working mama's do it with work, babies and blogs. I also had no idea how little work I really did at my old job. I spent all day on Facebook. I read the local, US and then world news. I got a good dose of celebrity gossip in around the noon hour. I usually pumped out a blog just after lunch and topped off the day with more news updates, all the while e-mailing, IM'ing and texting my sister, my girl Laura and countless others. Seriously, this was my day, every day.

As you can imagine, things are much different now. I started US Bank on the 22nd. (Again, sorry for the 2 week hiatus) The people in my group are super fantastic. My work space is about 4x's the size of the collection agency and almost as big as my office at the old job. It is cubicles but really big ones with high walls so I am happy. I don't punch a time clock. It is all very laid back. They have a lactation room (not that I need it but nice, none-the-less) as well as a book share. I think I am really going to like it. I am learning a lot about a job that is nothing close to anything I have done before so I am more engaged than I have been in a job in a long time. My friend Courtney works in a different department but just 3 rows away so we take breaks and eat lunch together. That is totally awesome.

The weekend before I started the bank was my spring break from school. My sister's friend, Nikki, visited from Michigan so we had a great weekend STL style. On Friday we took her to a sculpture park, down to the University City Loop to eat on the sidewalk (the weather was awesome) and out for sushi dinner. Saturday we went to a little old German town called Kimswick. We had lunch and shopped around despite the spitting rain. That night we went out to the local lesbian bar. From what I remember it was a really good time but I literally drank to the point of blacking out. I am a small girl. I had no dinner and 10 or more vodka redbulls. As I was typing that I was thinking I am really lucky I didn't have a heart attack...and die. I don't remember from midnight on and we didn't get home until after 3. Apparently, after stopping for fast food, of which I did not order but only made obscene sounds with my mouth. I have no recollection of this. I felt like hammered shit the next morning so I made love to my couch all day long.

Last week was pretty uneventful after my wild, wild weekend. My gay husband did cook me, my sister and her wife a fantastic dinner on Wednesday. Thursday I hung with my friend Jen for movie night. Friday I met my girl Nicole for drinks and catching up. Saturday was back to school and I was very excited, once again. Another movie night on Saturday with a friend and Sunday was laundry and more couch lovin'.

All in all, things have been great in Toni Town. I am really happy with how all things have worked out for the best. I feel super lucky and I am extremely grateful for what I have. More good things are on the horizon for me so I am not stopping now. I will write more and be more exciting later. This blogging outside of work thing is rough!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dirty Dozen

1. On a scale of 1-10, how superstitious are you, honestly?

At least an 8. Bad vibes, signs or just a feeling can make me change my whole course of direction.

2. Julius Caesar is quoted as saying, "I came, I saw, I conquered." Which circumstance or experience of yours does this saying best describe?

My life! I guess things started out kinda rough and that makes me proud of who and what I am as well as how far I have come.

3. If I peeked in on your day like a mischievous little leprechaun, at what time would I most likely find you blogging?


4. Re springing forward for Daylight Saving Time, is there anything you've ever been really early or really late for?

I am usually no more than 5 minutes early or 10 minutes late, usually.

5. What are you most looking forward to concerning spring?

Getting out in nature to walk and feel the sun.

6. Shamrocks are the national flower of Ireland and are picked on St. Patrick's Day and worn on the lapel or shoulder. Do you wear green on St. Patty's Day?

Absolutely. It is a requirement.

7. One of Caesar's assassins, Casca, said, "But, for my own part, it was Greek to me," which of course means he didn't understand something. Probably his own lines in the play. Anyway, what is something that is "Greek to you," something incomprehensible or indecipherable?

Bible freaks. I just don’t get blind faith and living by someone else’s principles. How can people see so many paths of belief and think that theirs is the only pure one? I don't get it at all!

8. Is March behaving more like a lion or a lamb where you live?

March is a lion. I have gotten 2 jobs in the past few weeks. I stressed myself to the hilt about quitting the first one. I start my new job Monday. I can’t wait for things to calm down.

9. "An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later." -Winston Churchill. If you had one extra hour per day every day, what would you do with it?

Rest, relax, read

10. Legend says that every Leprechaun has a pot of gold hidden deep in the Irish countryside. Aside from real gold or money, what material item would be in your dream pot of gold?

Good green smoke, I guess:-)

11. "The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you." Robert Louis Stevenson. Look around you right now and tell us about something essential or beautiful very near you that you take for granted every day.

My dog. His love and companionship are essential to my life. I always say I am going to walk him more and get him more treats but I know my love and affection is what he needs because that is what I need from him. He has been the only one to stick with me through it all.

12. Just for a bit o' fun, click here ( and then report your Irish name.

Nuala Browne

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Damn conscience...

Let me start off by saying that I am not complaining. I am grateful and I feel lucky to be in the position that I am in. That being said, how do I quit the collections job now that I am in at US Bank? When I found out Monday that the bank wanted to hire me I had JUST completed the drug test for collections. I didn't want to go back day 1 and quit. I have already had 2 weeks off between my old job and getting this one so taking another 2 seems ridiculous. After 5 days of training with the same group, I really like the people. The company is holding me in very high esteem and is planning to put me in a top tier file above 85% of their current employees, as I found out Friday. We sat with other collectors and listened in on calls and I really liked the lady I sat with. I felt bad; like I was wasting her time. My plan was to work out this week and tell them at the end of the week. That way I would get 2 weeks pay (money is tight until my cashed out 401K check comes) and I would not be sitting at home bored. After a week of training I am starting to feel like the right thing is to just tell them I got another job and leave. It feels completely dishonest and deviant to stay there. They are nice people who are super excited to have my expertise. You are probably thinking; well if you like it so much, why not stay there? I don't like it. I hate the idea of 4x4 cubicals. Although I have a very decent base pay, collections are down because of the economy. Bonuses will be far and few between. Benefits aren't great. The trainer is a hot tranny mess who is a card carrying Tea Party member (need I say more?). She actually gave a 30 minute speech on her opinion on the direction of our country. She might be my ticket out. If you let people like that train new employees, what else do you allow to happen? My guilty conscience is what is killing me. I want to leave behind good Karma. This place is known to screw over their employees. They have a terrible track record in the industry which is why I was going to be ok with just quitting them. Everyone keeps telling me that they would not hesitate to cut me off at the knees but I still don't feel right about it. Damn conscience! What is a girl to do?

P.S. Not gonna lie, I am kinda hoping the trainer spouts off again about not everyone deserving the right to marry. 1 more beastiality comment and that will be my ticket out of there! Suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This is fun!

The only thing I miss about MySpace is the cool little surveys. I think I've found my fix...

1. How old is the oldest pair of shoes in your closet?

An old friend's mother gave me a pair of vintage brown suede boots from the early 1970's. They are knee-high lace ups. I will never part with them.

2. Did you buy Girl Scout cookies this year? If so, what variety?

I did not but only because no one hit me up. As usual, my mother bought me some. She did finally figure out that Thin Mints are my sister's favorite and not mine so that was nice. I got 2 boxes of Tagalongs (my favorite!)and 1 Thin Mint. Not gonna lie, I will buy more as those little bias are selling them in the grocery store and outside of Target.

3. Do you know how to ballroom dance? If not, would you like to?

I have always said that I would love to take dancing lessons of any kind. So no and yes.

4. Were you a responsible child/teenager?

I was "the" responsible one. Too responsible.

5. How many of this year's Oscar-nominated movies did you see?

Just The Blindside and it was absolutely fantastic!

6. If you're going to have a medical procedure done, such as having blood drawn, is it easier for you to watch someone else having the procedure done or have it done yourself?

It is easier for me to watch someone else but I don't mind needles. I do have to watch the needle go into my skin, which I know bothers some people.

7. What is your favorite day of the week and why?

I would say Sunday. It is usually my chill and leisure day. I sleep late and plan little. It is my do-what-I-want day. My friends and I observe something we call Skanky Sunday which basically means we don't shower and hang out in bum clothes all day. You are allowed to wash your face and brush your teeth but that is it!

8. Do you miss anyone right now?

I will always miss certain people but I carry them in my heart always.

9. Do hospitals make you queasy?

Not at all. I'm not scurred.

10. At which store would you like to max-out your credit card. Not that you ever would, you responsible person, you.

I think I would go with Target. They sell furniture, household goods and clothes! I am such a cheapskate that it would be work for me to max anything out.

11. Are you true to the brand names of products/items?

Certain things like face wash, moisturizer, and skin is nothing to mess with. Not really on food so much. Q Tips for sure...those cheapies will come off in your ear! Oh, and female products too.

12. Which is more difficult: looking into someone’s eyes when you are telling someone how you feel, or looking into someone’s eyes when he/she is telling you how he/she feels?

Definitely if I am telling someone how I feel. I am great with eye contact until I am vulnerable. I will totally deny it if you tell anyone though.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bit o' nature, Me Cube, a night out and a few guilty pleasures

This weekend was fantastic. The weather finally warmed up so I could get out of the house and be at one with nature again. My old roomy, Sarah, and I took a walk around a local lake with Bo. I love the way that exercising outside makes me feel. It is like therapy for my soul. I can’t wait until spring is in full bloom with green things growing and flowers abundant. I am thinking about planning a girls camping/float weekend just to celebrate the spring season; although we might have to stay in a cabin- just in case of rain. Well, you don’t have to but I think I would like a nice log cabin. Ok, I am daydreaming and way off track.

Where was I? Ah, the weekend! My Saturday classes went phenomenally. My research paper on Dan Choi is coming along great. I have not called him yet but I plan to this week. I hate to say this but after work shopping other people's papers in class (on the smart board), I feel more than confident with my work. Sarah (old roomy) is an English guru so she edited my paper and had some fantastic input. Sadly, I think I learned more from my evening with her editing my paper than I have from the entire class. I hope that College Comp II is a bit more challenging.

I got an A+ on my project for communication. The assignment was to decorate a box, all six sides with things that define or describe you. I thought about doing cutesy cut outs of mountains, oceans, diamonds and all things that I love. One of my biggest passions is photos. I take pride in my pictures and I am known to always have a camera. I decided to express myself on my “Me Cube” (that was the assignment name) through my pictures. I think it turned out wonderful and I know I am biased but I also think it was the best in class. Some people cut out a picture of flowers from a magazine for an entire box side. I took pictures of my “Me Cube” so you could see the final product. I put a lot of time into it and I was really proud of how it turned out.

The 'Me' side of my "Me Cube". There are baby pics, junior high and everything up until now.
Manda's side. Check out our baby pic in the middle. She's the real redhead. Now and forever.
Me and my sissy. I love the little kid ones in the middle.
My family. The bottom middle is my parents in 1969. The 2 on either side of that are the Core 4: Dad, mom, Cher and me. Left side is dad's new family. Right side is mom's. Top 2 photos are me with each parent. Oddly enough, after divorce we all traveled to Reno when my sister graduated the 1st or maybe 2nd time. Just me, my mom and dad went to stay with my sister and her then-husband together. That is a whole blog in itself. Mental note. Anyway both little corner pics were taken in Lake Tahoe on that trip.
Places I've Been: San Fransisco, CA- Vedauwoo, WY- Bellvue, CO-Pensacola, FL- Scottsdale, AZ- Santa Barbara, CA, Lake Tahoe, NV & CA- Steamboat Springs, CO- Amsterdam, Holland- Alcatraz-and many more that wouldn't fit.
The final side was to show my gay pride. The gays are really my only "cause" so they had to get a rainbow and a shout-out. Top left is me and my gay hubs, right is Aaron. Me and sis in the middle and prides gone by at the bottom. Did I mention that I was super proud of this project?

Saturday night was a night out on the town with my single girl, Nicole, and one of my fav gays, Aaron. My roomy had a bad day and was going to sit at home and drink alone so I invited him along as well. My newly single guy friend, Alex, called to see what was shaking so he came to meet us too. Nicole, Aaron and I dominated the dance floor while Ryan and Alex held down the fort at the bar. They are both newly single-again fathers so they have much in common. I was the designated driver so I only had 2 drinks but they were strong and I am not a drink n’ driver so we went to the casino after the bar so I could drink some water and chill. I lost $4 to the penny slots and we were on our way. It was the only money I spent all night somehow. Everyone had a great time. Nicole went all paparazzi on us so I will include a few pics for your viewing pleasure!
Nicole, Aaron and me
Striking a pose! Can you tell we have done this before?
I LOVE this pic!
We are funny, even on the dance floor!
I need to work on my faces while I dance, fo sho.
Aaron and Nicole
A and T
Ferg and me
Nicole and Aaron...again
Alex, me and Ferg
My Anastacia and me
Sunday was just strange. I didn’t get home Saturday until almost 5am. Alex stayed the night at my house because he is not a drink n’ driver either. He woke up at 9:30 and wanted to get home to his dogs. I took him back to the bar to get his car without even thinking that Ferg (current roomy) left his car at the bar too. I came home to Facebook (guilty pleasure) and my friend Bri called for a ride to her car that she had left behind "somewhere" (no shit, she said that) out of drunkenness as well. Clearly, my friends have a problem. At least they don’t drive though. So I woke Ferg, he dressed and we picked up Bri from down the street at her boyfriends and I deposited them both back to their cars. I had lunch plans with my mom and sister that fell through so I ended up ordering Chinese food (guilty pleasure 2) and watching the Oscars red carpet show all afternoon (gp 3). I rounded out the night with the Oscars (gp4) and promptly fell asleep on the couch (gp5) before all of the good awards. TGFY, Thank God for YouTube. It was really a good weekend and after hearing the great news today I am just over the moon!


I GOT THE JOB AT US BANK! Thanks to the Universe and the good vibes from all of my friends and family-and all of you;-) I started the collections job today for training. They sent me over for my drug test around 2pm with the other trainees. I got the call while I was waiting for my results. I stepped out to speak privately. They made an offer I really can't refuse and they would like me to start on March 22nd. I have to go in this week to fill out paperwork for a background check which will take a week or so. I will also have to drug test this week. Once all of that is complete I will be set to start. I have no worries on any of that. I have worked security for years and that comes with background checks, fingerprints and a promise of your first born so I know I am good. I don't know how people fail drug tests these days with all of the things on the market to fix that. I have decided to work at the collection agency for the next 2 weeks until the job starts. I already took 2 weeks off after being laid off so I would be bored with another two. I don't have money for the travel I would love to do so I might as well work. Plus, paychecks are nice! I feel bad quitting them after just a few weeks but I plan to be honest (next week, of course) and just let them know I got an offer that I could not refuse. Turnover is super high in collections so I don't think they will be mad. I don't desire to burn any bridges for sure. I prefer to keep my karma in tact. Thanks for all of your bloggy lovin' and good vibes!

Friday, March 5, 2010

2 things

Wouldn't you know it? I get my mind right with starting this collections job Monday (it took some convincing) and yesterday US Bank called! They want to interview me ASAP. The woman who is hiring was sick and she needs someone soon. Since I start the new gig Monday, and I am not relinquishing that position until I have another, I set up an interview for today at 2pm. The money is slightly better; there is room to move up, no working weekends (2 Sundays a month at the other) and insurance after 30 days (a year at the other). I really feel like I have to at least go and hear them out. I would hate to drop the collections job after a week or 2 but my old roomy has worked for them and she made a good point that they wouldn't hesitate to get rid of me so I should not concern myself with them. After getting the boot from my last boss without any warning I am taking on the attitude of looking out for #1. That's me! I am not really hoping I get the job so much as hoping it is a great fit. I really want them to be nice people that I want to work with. I want a good vibe from them and I want to see a good working environment. I think the universe hears me so we shall see what happens.

My 2nd tidbit more than blew my mind. Yesterday I blogged about
Dan Choi and his amazing efforts to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell; I e-mailed him just to let him know he is a hero. Reading his story made me proud to be an American. His bio is rather vague (I assume because he is now back training with his unit) so I wanted to find out more. I am a bit obsessive sometimes. I didn't really expect a return e-mail but I GOT ONE! Not only that he thanked me for my kind words and gave me his PHONE NUMBER to call him. He said he would be happy to help in any way. So my problem now? I am completely star struck! What do I say? How do I act? OMG, this is huge! My final paper isn't due until next weekend and to be able to cite him as my source for a quote directly would be more than awesome. I am trying to calm the butterflies in my stomach so I can call him. Any suggestions on questions to ask would be greatly appreciated.

I think that about wraps up my week. I will update you all on the status of US Bank just as soon as I know something. A great weekend to all!

Peace and Love,

Your daily dose of hypocrisy...

The Vatican was rocked by scandal this week after "a gentleman of his holiness" was caught on wire tap ordering young men for his pleasure; a male prostitution ring at the Vatican, if you will. The investigation started because this man was accused of swaying public works contracts to "favoured bidders". Once the wire tap was in place the police discovered that this man was actually ordering young men, some of whom were in training for priesthood. You can read the full story here. I bet the Pope is proud, proud, proud.

Today, because we are so lucky, we have 2 full doses of hypocrisy. Anti-Gay rights republican Senator Roy Ashton was
arrested Wednesday leaving a gay club in Sacramento. He was pulled over for erratic driving around 2 am and arrested for DUI. The 'unidentified male' (Does this remind anyone of Sex In The City when Stanford is photographed with Smith Jarred for a magazine and he is listed as the "unidentified older gay gentleman"?) passenger was released but not before admitting he left the club with Mr. Ashton. Anyhoot, with a wife and 4 kids at home, what was this guy doing out at a gay bar called Faces until 2am with a male caller? I think we can all guess that one. Blow jobs don't count, right?

Senator Roy Ashton

Fun Fact: St. Louis used to have a gay club called Faces. It had a dark room like Babylon on Queer as Folk. I went in once. I will never forget the smell and I would NEVER go back. They have no ladies room (it is actually borded up) so I have had a catfight or 2 in the bathroom with unaccepting gay men. My boys were there to back me up, of course. A bartender at Faces once smelled my neck and said, "I smell straight". I guess you can dance in a cage in a gay club but you can't hide your sexuality for one damn second.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Meet Dan Choi

I am writing my final research paper for my comp class this week. The assignment was to pick a topic that we are passionate about. It has to be a current news story that will spark a debate. I chose the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. We all know that I am passionate about gay rights. After watching Soldier's Girl a few weeks ago and witnessing the horror that my friend Aaron felt at knowing this senseless killing took place on his military base while he was serving there, I could not help but jump to that topic. In researching my subject I learned so much. My thesis statement is: Don't Ask Don't Tell is bankrupting our country while compromising national security. I will post my paper when it is completed and graded but for now I want to share with you the thing that sparked debate for me more than anything.

Dan Choi was an Arabic linguist and West Point Graduate. He served in Iraq as a platoon leader in 2007 and 2008. In total he gave 10 years of service as a gay man under Don't Ask Don't Tell. In 2008, upon his return from Iraq he sparked a romance with a man. No longer willing to lie about who and what he was he went on the Rachel Maddow show in March 2009 and declared, "I am gay". This is an act of professional suicide when you are in the military. He was immediately sent a notice of discharge from the United States military. He was given the option to leave quietly with honorable discharge or to fight it. Dan Choi chose to fight. His own unit leader did not push for discharge. He actually spoke up in defense of the highly trained and respected Choi. Less than 1 year later, after much activism work and the attitude that he would never back down, Dan Choi was invited back to drill training with his unit in February of 2010.

What a risk to take in the name of being honest about who you are? Dan started
Knights Out, which is a group of West Point grads who have come together to demand the repeal of DADT. He regularly speaks at events about equality and gay rights. This year in June he will serve as Grand Marshall of the New York City pride parade. Dan has a website that does not give many details, I assume because of his current position in the military. He was not discharged but he is still in violation of the current law which means he can be discharged at any time. I e-mailed Dan through his website to ask for more information and also to let him know what a hero he is. So many Americans follow the grid; do as they are told and let the man be in control. This is a shining example of how one person can change things for many. That is not to say that I feel like repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell was reintroduced strictly because of Dan Choi but his activism and fighting spirit sure helped it along. True heroes usually fall through the cracks. I think Dan Choi is a hero to many so I wanted to formally introduce you.

The cadet prayer states: “choose the harder right over the easier wrong” and to “never be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.” How can you say that is your prayer and then tell someone it is not ok to be openly gay? I found it interesting also that while homosexual conduct can get you discharged, heterosexual conduct cannot. Just to show you how archaic our rules and regulations are: Current US policy in the Uniform Code of Military Justice actually does prohibit sodomy and oral sex, even among consenting adults and married couples.

Some other notable facts:

More than 100 retired admirals and generals support repeal.

73 percent of military personnel are comfortable with lesbians and gays (Zogby International, 2006).

Majority of weekly churchgoers (60 percent), conservatives (58 percent), and Republicans (58 percent) now favor repeal.

The younger generations, those who fight America's 21st century wars, largely don't care about whether someone is gay or not-and they do not link job performance with sexual orientation. One in four U.S. troops who served in Afghanistan or Iraq knows a member of their unit who is gay (Zogby, 2006). Since 2001, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" discharges have declined by almost half.

During every major military conflict the number of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" discharges has dropped.

In 1993 Rand
Corp. concluded that openly gay people in the U.S. military do not negatively impact unit cohesion, morale, good order, or military readiness. Several other military-commissioned and GAO studies have concluded that open service does not undermine military readiness, troop morale or national security.

of Americans support gays serving openly - up from just 44 percent in 1993 (ABC News/Washington Post, 2008).

Just a little food for thought on this fine Thursday.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

OFFICIAL: NO H8 and another explaination for the uninformed

Official No H8 photos have been posted. I have gay people asking me what this movement is all about. I blogged about the No H8 campaign here when we attended the photo shoot back in January. You can read about the campaign on the official No H8 website. This group started out as celebrities having their photo taken with the No H8 tattoo and duck tape on their mouth to support gay marriage. The campaign went nationwide and there are now photo shoots all over the world to gain momentum for this campaign and to put an end to hate and discrimination. There will be a huge display of all of these photos from all over the world. If you are gay and you do not know this information I request that you relinquish your gay card to me directly with a written apology to your community OR you can sign up to have your photo taken in a city near you. You decide.

My official No H8 photo by John Elkins taken at NP's in St. Louis

My sister's official photo. My father would die to know that she is wearing his dog tags!
Our official No H8 photo together. Yes, I did let them write on my face with a Sharpie!


I haven't written in over a week! Life is good. I accepted the position at the collection agency to start next Monday the 8th. I didn't ever hear back from US Bank or any of the other 900 companies that I sent my resume to. I've done a lot of soul searching about this and I have a plan. I am on a grant from school this semester and summer. If I can stick it out in collections until the end of summer I would love to work out school full time and bartend again for a while at night. I figure I can work an office dead end job for the next 6 years it will take me to get a degree working full time or I can go to school full time and work at a bar. The money is usually better in the bar but there is no vacation or insurance so it is a trade off. I've thought a lot about all of my options and this seems best for now. The positive to collections is the salary. It is more than enough for me to live on with a very high likelihood of commissions so maybe I can finally payoff some debt and get ahead! I feel really lucky to have this opportunity so my attitude has changed quite a bit.

The last 2 weeks off have been fantastic, I have had time to catch up on all things put on the back burner. I was able to finally deal with some situations that needed dealing with (more on that later) and I have seen and lunched with lots of friends. My mental state is much better than it was when I was working that horrible job. I am doing things for me and only me again and it feels so good. Off to enjoy my last 5 days as a free woman. More very soon.