30 June 2008

Beachin' Good Time!

We survived a jaunt to Ocean City, MD this past weekend. To end of my week of between-jobs, Kim, her parents, Georgia, and I went over last Thursday through yesterday. What a glorious time to being away!

G became a "waterbug" and only wanted to stay in the pool. But she also liked our visit to the beach which was filled with looking for shells and playing with sand. My back is still complaining a bit but it was well worth it for a nice summer weekend.

Pics should be coming soon...


24 June 2008

Wirelessness

So far, so good. I've survived 5 days WITHOUT A CELL! Can you belive it? My cell was the work phone, so when I turned that in Friday upon my departure of W*USA9, I entered foreign terrority: a wirlessness world! Horrors.

Actually, it's been refreshing. No constant pings from incoming emails or texts. No additional ringys from whomever. While driving around for errands...yeah, there's a part of me that'd like to have a cell handy. Or while in the Highlander to Ocean City tomorrow, yeah, I'd like to have the freedom to search the web. But I can wait.

My hope is that I'll get a cell with the new gig at AOL and perhaps a laptop. We'll see.
For now, we're off to the OC until Sunday morning. Chow for now!


23 June 2008

Freedom and the Long Goodbye!

I resigned from W*USA9 May 30. The next three weeks are a blur of training my staff to perform my duties and multiple goodbyes. Who doesn't hate goodbyes? Probably the only thing worse than a goodbye is a long goodbye.

There comes the point you just wanna say, "Okay, time to sneak out the back door." You're ready to roll, said all the toodles you want, and your heart which hasn't been in your job for a while REALLY is ready to move on. Yet, you know you've gotta stick it out.

W*USA9 will always be an important chapter in my life. I'll never doubt or regret coming to work at the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC. The opportunity presented itself at a time I truly felt that I had to "know someone" in order to get out of Jackson, Mississippi, and work on the east coast. The Lord reminded me, "Yeah, HELLO, you know Me!" Boom, I'm in DC!

The last four years have been tough professionally and personally. If you've read my earlier posts, missing out on my child's first year of life and wondering when my house was going to sell...yeah, tough. Being away from friends and family in Mississippi...tough. Being on call 24/7 and being constantly "plugged in" via a smart phone and computers...mind-numbingly tough. What's not tough is realizing the peace I have from closing that chapter and moving on.

Actually, I've been searching for other opportunities the first year I've been here. First, due to wondering when our house would sell. Then, growing weary of indecisiveness and lack of support and resources from W*USA9's previous management. Since October '07, W*USA9's current administration proved that my input had little value or everything I shared was questioned.
At a job, there's little worse than being a department head and having staff of multiple personnel adore you and you them...but having no support above you.

I learned about recruiters as many came of of the woodwork to offer their services. Recruiters are paid by companies...so, they don't work for you - key point. Their reputation is to bring to the table solid candidates, so their companies will pay them and reuse them for their keen candidate sense.
I'd been on multiple job interviews - some with, some without the assistance of recruiters. I visited about three local recruiter offices before I asked myself, "Why do you keep going to these recruiter offices, interviewing in front of them, and then waiting for them to set something up for you or interviewing again with their client?" It seemed silly and a waste of time. So, I canceled what would've been my fourth visit and refined my prayer: "Lord, if it's Your Will for me to get a new job, please create the opportunity and grant me the discernment to know what to do with it."

I said "refine" above, since the Big JC and I had been chatting about my woes and struggles for a while. But just like in Jackson, He would pave the way...I just needed to trust His timing.

Several weeks would pass, maybe even a couple months...but then WHAM! I get an email out of the blue from Christine Hampton, Manager of Recruiting at Harbor Light Recruiting, Inc. in Tampa, FL. She shares with me details of a new position at AOL. We begin trading information and before long, she's passing those details along to AOL. Christine and I haven't spoke on the phone. Every recruiter before her, I at least had to interview on the phone and go to their office. Granted, she was in Florida, but no calls? She had everything she needed over email and via my resume.

Next, the phone interview and in-person with AOL was a super-breeze. All of this became quick confirmation that when the Lord paves the way, it'll happen fairly quickly and fairly painlessly. When we are doing the hunting and pushing - we're exhausted, frustrated and overall spent!

This next week will be a pleasure to have no responsibilities...to unwind and have 3 days to myself...and a weekend in Ocean City, Maryland, with my family and in laws. I'll start at AOL at a position where I'll have the freedom to mostly work from home, make more moolah than at W*USA9 at year's end, have less stress, and not have everything I do dictated by every breaking news, weather or sporting situation. Intoxicating bliss.


20 June 2008

Bulldog Speaketh

Not expecting a reply to my note, it would seem I'm getting the "standard safe form response":

====================================================

Dear Mr. Garner:

Thank you for getting in touch with me again about energy policy.

You have obviously given this a great deal of time and thought ‑‑ I've learned from hearing your views. I want to be responsive to the needs of all Marylanders when I make decisions. Information from people like you is essential if I'm to reach that goal.

Again, thanks for keeping in touch with me. Please let me know if I may be of assistance in the future.

Sincerely,
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator

17 June 2008

Senator Speak: More Blah, Blah and Less Oompah


If you haven't written your Senator about issues that concern you, please give it a whirl. It's your right as a U.S. citizen and as a voter. After all, these folks work for you.

The gal at the left is my Senator. I lovingly refer to her as "the Bulldog" due to her looks and basically what falls out of her face: blah, blah.

If folks in politics could have more oompah, more action to their words...how different things might be.

So, I wrote to Bulldog about doing something with gas prices. Her response:

----- Original Message ----
From: senator@mikulski.senate.gov
To: webmonkeydc@yahoo.com
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 5:58:07 PM
Subject: Responding to your message

Dear Mr. Garner:

Thank you for contacting me about the high price of oil and gasoline. It's nice to hear from you.

Gas prices are putting a tremendous burden on family budgets at a time when they are already stretched. That's why I am an original cosponsor of the Consumer First Energy Act of 2008 (S. 3440).

This legislation would create tough new federal protections to guard against profiteering and market manipulation by oil and gas companies, create a temporary windfall profits tax on oil companies reaping record profits, and prevent commodity traders of U.S. crude oil from routing transactions through off-shore markets to evade speculative limits. This bill would also empower the U.S. Attorney General to bring an enforcement action against OPEC and any country or company that is colluding to set the price of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product. Oil companies need to know that we are watching and that price gougers will be caught. People in Maryland and across the country need immediate relief from gasoline price spikes.

Unfortunately, S. 3440 did not receive the necessary votes on June 10th to pass a procedural motion to allow for further debate. However, I will continue to fight for an energy policy that protects consumers and will keep your support for this legislation in mind should it come before the full Senate in the future.

You should also know that I supported an amendment (S.Amdt. 4737) to the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act (S. 2284) that will suspend the filling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve through December 2008. This measure will help increase supply and lower prices. The amendment could result in as much as a 5 cent reduction at the gas pump. Similar legislation (H.R. 6022) was passed by the House of Representatives. The two versions of this legislation will need to be reconciled and passed by both chambers before being signed into law by the President.

Since President Bush came to office, gas prices have more than doubled, and big companies have made more than half a trillion dollars in profits and the United States is even more dependent on oil. Gas prices in Maryland have increased by $2.18 per gallon, an increase of 153 percent. The Department of Energy estimates that families, businesses and farmers in Maryland will spend $464 million more on gasoline in May 2008 than they spent in January 2001.

Again, thanks for contacting me. If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to get in touch with me again.Sincerely, Barbara A. MikulskiUnited States Senator P.S. If I can be of further assistance in the future,please visit my website at http://mikulski.senate.gov/or call my Washington D.C. office at 202-224-4654
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nice. A warm, fuzzy, and informative note that took a dive at the end. I had to respond to her note. Will she and will it be more Democrat blah, blah?

So, my response:

Senator Mikulski,

Thank you for your reply and information. I would've respected your email more if you hadn't added the remark about President Bush near the end. Your inference that his being office has assisted gas prices to rise brings another point to mind: While everyone is focused on President Bush's approval ratings being low (around 25%*)...the approval rating of Congress is lower (around 13%**)

Why? You'll likely disagree with me but I feel it's because Democrats expressed such great change and issued so many promises into coming into power. Many of those promises haven't come to fruition. While blame wishes to be placed on President Bush and his administration, many of our issues today are inherited from the poor decisions of President's Clinton's administration. Every admin has successes and failures and more often the next admin inherits those successes and those failures.

I also recall the then Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on April 19, 2006, mentioning, "Democrats have a plan to lower gas prices…join Democrats who are working to lower gas prices now.”
Democrats have been in power with promises of lower prices...yet prices keeping going up.
Let's start drilling in our own backyard and off shore to ease the burden. Offshore drilling bans have been in place since 1981, but Democrats have repeatedly blocked such attempts on the basis of environmental concerns.

Enough is enough. Stop blocking efforts and at least make a compromise on the drilling issue. We all want to be green and protect the environment and resources. Since we have a majority of automobiles requiring gasoline and diesel to operate, we should make some serious compromises that'll better everyone!

Rick Garner
Columbia, MD

*CBS Poll 5/30 - 6/3/08
**NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll 6/6 - 6/9/08


11 June 2008

She Did Great!

Those are three little words you like hearing a surgeon say about your daughter who had her tonsils and adenoids removed this morning at 8:30.

There's something a bit scary about having your child going into surgery. Even though, she's prayed over and you have a peace that everything will be fine...there's still a little part that doesn't like the idea of your little girl being unconscious and cut on by strangers.

After the quick paperwork and a few questions, G slipped into her hospital gown and bouffant cap. We spoke with a nurse, an anesthesiologist, another nurse, the doctor, and Grammie and Poppie slipped back for well-wishes. One parent is allowed to accompany the patient. G picked me. I was pleased, yet wasn't sure how this experience was gonna play out. I was already wanting to tear up about the whole thing. Soon, I was in a gown, shoe covers, and a bouffant cap.

When it was time, I wheeled her into the operating room in a large plastic wagon. What kid could resist a wagon? Plus, one filled with books and toys? G was soon sitting on my lap and being talked to about the Bazooka bubble-gum scented sleepy gas. The nurse's technique was one of "calming distraction" as she talked on and on about the flavors she has and which ones became available which days. Meanwhile, I'm starting to smell this stuff and wondering, "I'm sure it's not that strong but should I really have my nose in the updraft of this stuff?!"
In a matter minutes, G was a limp rag on my chest and being poured on the table. I was escorted back to the waiting room. I was okay. No tears. Now, we waited but first some coffee!

About 30 minutes later, she was in recovery and soon enjoying "Lady and the Tramp" and treats of a Popsicle and juice. But what I thought was grape Popsicle juice in the corner of her mouth was blood. The operating doctor, Karl Diehn, shared that a small area of where her tonsils were had developed a blood clot. So, she had to go back into surgery to remove the clot and cauterize the area.

After all, we are talking about Georgia Kennedy Garner here...nothing is easy with this child - she does it her own way! :)
Needless to say, there was a bit of drama with G since it was apparent to her she was going back. This time, Mommy went in and since G was crying and not happy about the whole thing, Mommy cried a bit too.

Around 2:30pm, we finally got out of there...and G should sleep very well tonight after her long ordeal. We all should sleep well.

She'll get to stay home for 10 days. Kim will stay home Thursday and Friday, I'll work from home Monday and Tuesday, and Grammie and Poppie will come over Wed - Fri.

Let the days of ice cream, pudding, and chocolate milk begin!


09 June 2008

Scrub Some Grass On Your Face, It'll Clear It Up!

Something about my work in broadcasting has always made me "break out" around my temples and forehead. Perhaps when I'm stressed, I just get more oily and thus the lovely pimple.

So, Kim finds this stuff. Thoroughly Clean Face Wash with Tea Tree Oil and Awapuhi. Awa-what?! Tea Tree oil? Apply this stuff in the shower is like landing face first and skidding on thick grass. Not the feel...just the smell. Wow. Make the mistake of getting some in your mouth and that's worse than chewing grass.

It's described as "a gentle cleansing solution that leaves your skin feeling clean and silky. This unique face wash contains natural Organic Tea Tree Oil, an inherent antiseptic. Included also are extracts of Goldenseal, Hawaiian White Ginger (Awapuhi) and the essential oil of Swiss Chamomile (Matricaria). Mineral-rich Bladderwack, harvested from the sea, nourishes the skin to leave it looking vibrantly healthy. Thoroughly Clean Face Wash ever so gently helps improve the texture, clarity and radiance of your skin. "

Wow, I feel very metrosexual after reading that. Fact is, it's actually working since I haven't had any breakouts since starting to use the stuff a month ago. Of course, my turning in my resignation from WUSA a week ago may also be helping.

Stay tuned...more to come on that.

06 June 2008

Hot Time In The Old City...

I've truly found my nemesis when it comes to spicy. For those of you who know me, you're aware that spicy is the way I prefer nearly everything. My good buddy Preston has always warned me that one day my stomach and I are gonna seriously disagree.

I've tasted many a hot sauces but Mad Dog Inferno is definitely the hottest I've encountered. Described as: "A full 20 minutes of serious burn..!" This stuff combines concentrated capsicum extract and jalapeno peppers with unsulphured molasses, garlic and clove to form an intense fusion of Caribbean flavor. One drop and you'll wonder what hit you. Extreme heat level - "90,000 scoville."

Most spicy sauces can nearly become a beverage for me but this stuff I've only been able to ingest mixing it with mayo.

Next time you need a spice-off...this is the stuff that will break any opponent assuming you can handle the heat!


03 June 2008

Gimmie A Break...

Everone's up in arms about Vice President Dick Cheney's comment delivered yesterday at a National Press Club's award lunch.

“So we had Cheneys on both sides of the family...and we don’t even live in West Virginia." Cheney then added, "You can say these things when you're not running for reelection."

The crowd got a nice chuckle out of it. Yet, this comment today is viewed as ignorant, insensitive, inappropriate, and disrespectful.

Gimmie a break. I'm a born and bred product of Mississippi which has taken labels and jokes relating to poverty, rednecks, education, lack of footwear, cooking, hunters, weight, and even inbreeding. During Katrina, more importance and attention went to Louisiana than to Mississippi which literally had its sea legs wiped away by the hurricane when towns, cities, history, and lives were erased into oblivion.

It's a joke, people! "Well, he's a public official, he shouldn't say things like that." Yes, we prefer our public officials to be politically correct robots who agree with our mode of thinking and NEVER show any sign of humanity or humor...who never make mistakes.

Now, everyone will demand he make an apology, travel to West Virginia and grovel. Please. In Central Mississippi, a city called Pearl receives the jokes for being the most redneck, hickville place around. People in Pearl make fun of Pearl. Yet, Pearl has a bunch of cool things to see and do. So, what? In the scheme of things, it's nothing given any thought.

The sadder commentary is that the majority of people (including those in West Virginia) who are upset at the remark are likely from the DC Metro and say similar jokes about West Virginia.

I salute each of you. Here's a warm glass of "shut the heck up."