Monday, October 31, 2011

Rude People

I just hate having to be nice to rude people.  I mean really.  I would love to just love to tell these people off and really get it off my chest but I can’t do that because I am calling on behalf of someone else.  I know that this is probably my penance for being rude to people on the phone myself.  But I have solved that problem by just not answering my home phone.  But this stress is really raising my blood pressure. 

In this job that I am doing now, I have to speak to literally thousands of people.  I can probably count on one had the people who are civil to me.  The rest are neutral or downright rude.  Admittedly I am calling about a subject that people feel passionate about; politics.  However, do you really have to be that way?

I suppose people are inherently rude to others.  When you put the telephone in place of actual face to face communication, you add a layer of anonymity.  I suppose if people don’t really feel that they are talking to another breathing human being the cease to act civil and decide that since you are calling about something they don’t care to know about, you are no more consequential that a flea.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Death and the People Around You

I often get the feeling that you never know someone until they die.  When you go to the funeral there are all kinds of pictures and stories of the deceased that you never knew about.  For example, I attended the funeral of a neighbor a while ago.  We had lived next to him for many years but didn’t know him that well.  They had a small biography of the person and I learned many facts about him; so many that I wish I had known him better.

The same is true when a family member dies, although it’s not really the person who dies who you find out about, it’s the people around them.  As you may know, my father passed away recently and my stepmother has shown me some things that I really don’t want to have to deal with.  I don’t know if it was my father or my step mother, but my mother was “banned” for lack of a better word from going to the funeral.  My parents have been divorced for over 40 years, but they were still on speaking terms probably because of my brother and me.  But I thought my Dad was okay with things.  However, through the years, I have seen some things that I just thought were petty and sad.  For example when I got married I had the ceremony at my mother’s house.  It’s a beautiful house and she and my step father entertained there a lot.  My husband and I were trying to save money and so we had it there.  I talked to my father about it and he was fine for a while and then at the last minute told me he was uncomfortable being there.  Yet when my brother was married, all the parents and step parents flew to Kansas and had a grand old time. 

So now we come to the end of my father’s life and I am going to deal with my stepmother without my Dad around to get in the middle if things get strange.  And they will.  I suppose I could not deal with her at all, but that seems a little harsh, after all she was very good to my father and took care of him for the last years of his life with no complaints, and I guess I would feel kind of guilty not doing anything for her because of that.  Ah, such complications of life.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Tribute to My Father

My father, Orlando Otey, passed away yesterday morning and I thought I would share some thoughts I have of him with you. He was a man of great emotion, as evidenced by the way he played the piano.  He was gentle, but could have loud outbursts of anger when something provoked him.  Those times were few and far between as I remember, although my mother may say differently.  He was also a man of great compassion, but he didn’t really feel comfortable showing emotion and would remain quiet if there were things that were extremely upsetting going on.

When I was in high school, I wrote a poem, which I had a friend who knows calligraphy write up on a large poster.  I had included a picture of him conducting at the Wilmington Music School and decorated it with some press-on designs.  I think I may have had it framed, or maybe he did, but he displayed it in his studio ever since I gave it to him.  That meant a lot to me, even though I never really said anything.  It hangs there still.  Without looking at it, I don’t remember the words, but it was about his music, which was the one thing that really defined him.

I never felt I really knew my father; his nuances, his likes and dislikes, but I guess it wasn’t important to either of us. He was my father, and I his daughter.  That was all that was really necessary.  I knew him enough to know his views on things were drastically opposed to mine and rather than fight about the reason for the world’s problems, political issues, women’s rights, or social injustices, it was more important for me to have him believe that his views were shared.

Only one view we really did share, and that was his love for God.  His was a spiritual person who dedicated his life and his love of music to the Lord whom he thanked each day for the talent he was given.  A talent that transcends all others and one that will be missed by anyone who ever heard him play.  Under his fingers, the piano keys became a life on their own coaxed by his feel for the music.  Whether it was Chopin or Otey, Scarlatti or Bach, the notes emanated from the keyboard with a tone unmatched by others.  Others could play the same composition, but it never really sounded the same.  I was constantly amazed by his ability.

The one thing about his music that astonished me the most was his ability to take three notes and turn them into a composition in any style in an instant.  He would joke and say that Steve Allan, a comedian and musician in the 60s, did it with four.  People would try to make it difficult for him and chose three notes that were wildly apart from each other.  But he was never stumped.  He always just created something right there on the spot.  

But overall I learned a sense of determination from my father.  Maybe it was stubbornness, but he was constantly pushing forwarded, willing himself to live.  That’s probably what kept him going this last few months.  He was just too stubborn to die.  I keep joking with him that he had more lives than a cat.  My step mother would call my brother and me and say he was near death and we would all rush to his bedside only to have him rally the next day.  He may have been slightly dramatic about it and it may have taken a long time, but he never gave up and kept on going until it was right for him. Peace be with you now, Papi. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Garden

For the last few months I have become obsessed with gardening.  I started a vegetable garden this spring and grew the regular tomatoes, hot peppers, melons, and zucchini.  But this year, I also tried broccoli and cauliflower, which I never did before.  I also took on the side flower garden which had been neglected for many years waiting for my husband to do something but realizing that he would not do it in my time frame. 

It turned out somewhat well, considering since the time I started I began a job that would take 75 hours a week and not leave me with practically any time to do anything in it.  I did have a few hours here and there and put some things in the ground, but it was generally a rush and didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.  I wanted the flower garden to be full, like and English Garden and it didn’t turn out that way at all.
The one thing I did do was start a Garden Journal.  I found a website that has templates for recording the seeds and plants purchased so that you can keep track of what you have and how things do.  I found an empty notebook in my office and put some paper and some of the templates in, along with a pocket to house the receipts from the purchases and have been tracking things to the best of my ability along with taking pictures and putting them in the notebook.

So starting next year, I am starting new.  I have a plan for a new garden design for the vegetable garden and will be starting many of the flowers from seed for the flower garden.  I won’t be working these crazy hours so I can devote my free time getting my hands dirty and seeing the fruits of my labor – pun fully intended.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
-          - Buffalo Springfield

I have written before about the fear in this county.  However, it was brought to light again the other day for me.  I hired three young women to do a job that involved knocking on doors talking to people.  When they found they were going to be by themselves doing it, they balked and walked.  At first I didn’t understand what the problem was.  I do believe I talked about that when I interviewed them, but maybe they didn’t understand fully.  It turned out that they were fearful of going to a door by themselves, not just being in an area that was unfamiliar to them alone.

I could have been because their grandmother got into the situation.  I talked to them alone at first on two separate occasions and when they came in to start, she was with them.  She asked me about it and I told her that the first day they would be paired with someone to show them the ropes, and then eventually they would be by themselves.  That didn’t fly well with the grandmother at all.  The area that we were going into was kind of spread out and a fairly high-end area too, so the houses are kind of far apart.  I always send people out with a partner the first few times but eventually they are out there on their own.  None of the other people have had any problem, but their grandmother kept saying they had horrible experiences and walking the streets “in that area” alone was not a good thing.

Finally I understood what she was talking about, although it still didn’t make sense to me.  The three girls are African American and they would be going into a white area.  She called those areas racist and eventually the girls said they would not do it and left.  I was shocked.  There are other African American people on the team and they don't seem to have any problems, and have not had any issues with any of the areas they have gone into.  It also never occurred to me that there would be any problems like that because I guess I mistakenly thing that this kind of thing doesn’t happen any longer.  It is sad that in this day and age racism is so alive and kicking that three young women were afraid to be in a white area on their own.