Friday, November 30, 2007

New Blog

I will be archiving the Daily Green Actions in my sidebar into a new blog called (you guessed it) Daily Green Action. This one is open to the public so invite all your friends!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Do I have any chi in my teeth?"

For someone who so adamantly hates anything "new-agey" or "peace love and granola," Dr. K ascribes almost mythical powers to the force of her own attractions. She's constantly asking me to "check her energy."

If we have a bad week, she frets, "I don't know what kind of energy I'm putting out there that people aren't scheduling."

If we have a few new patients, it's, "Isn't it interesting that we have all these new people coming in? I wonder what's up with my energy that I'm attracting more people."

Every day I hear about how her magical energy is either attracting or repelling patients. When I hang up the phone, she immediately asks, "Whoisit?" before I can draw breath to tell her. Whether it's a patient calling to schedule or to cancel, I remain completely flummoxed when she declares their actions a result of her personal force field and then asks me how her energy is projecting.

"Umm, looks fine to me," I usually mumble.

This from a woman who refuses to order holiday cards with the more neutral "Seasons Greetings" on them because the phrase denies "The Reason for the Season," i.e. the birth of Jesus.

Yeesh.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Sunday

. . . was awesome!

Best line of the night:

Nivek: I could never cut down a tree just so I could put it up in my house! That's so bad for the earth.

Dad: Yeah, I've decided to stop breathing to reduce my carbon footprint.

Sorry Niv but that was dang funny.

I was up with the dawn to let Yspyg out. Even though I was dead-dog tired, I decided to figure out what vegetable I was going to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. I had tentatively proposed bringing green beans at Nnerb's birthday dinner and that seemed relatively well received, so I drove to the market and picked up a couple of pounds of green beans, some chopped almonds, and some mushrooms.

Once I got back home, I started chopping the beans and mushrooms. I boiled the beans for a couple of minutes, then packed everything up to take to Mom and Dad's. I had a red pepper and a yellow pepper in the fridge so I chopped those up too and packed them. Then Yspyg and I went for a stroll, I showered and packed up my car, and we headed up to Boyds, with plans for T-Bone to join us a little bit later.

We pulled up the driveway and I opened the door for Yspyg. She leapt out and immediately started tearing around the yard with a huge tongue-lolling "happy dog" smile. Semaj was fixing his car so we waved and strolled into the house.

Telmah and Anyhc gave us their usual cheerful greeting. It looked like I was the first child not-in-residence to arrive, so I hung with the folks and finished up the veggies so I would be out of Dad's way while he dealt with the turkey.

Luapellek and Niverb arrived and happy chaos ensued. We had a great time joking and catching up. The guys went out to help Semaj rotate his tires. Eventually T-Bone was released from the jaws of oppression and was able to leave work to join us.

We sat down to eat. Everybody's dishes were soooo tasty! Mom kept sneaking turkey to my dogchild, who T-Bone informs me is getting fat. Lots of general hilarity around the dinner table as well.

After dinner, Nnerb opened her birthday presents. She got some pretty cool stuff! While she was opening her gifts, Dad wooed my quivering mutt, which was my favorite part of the evening. Am I weird?

After all the excitement, I got slammed with a turkey coma. I wilted into the couch while everyone else watched some football. Once I woke up, I had to get home so I hugged and kissed and took the little food packets that Mom had so thoughtfully prepared for us, grabbed my pooch, and headed off into the darkness.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Thirty-Two Cents

This evening Dr. K was whimpering about how she "just really wanted something from Starbucks." She didn't want to go across the street because she was afraid to miss the patient who was coming in 25 minutes, so I offered to go for her.

"Okay, here's what I want: a tall . . . hmm, what I really want is a chai but I have that every morning, so maybe a latte, no . . . a gingerbread latte! I want a tall gingerbread latte, two pump, extra hot, decaf - definitely decaf - with, hmm, should I get whipped cream? Light whipped cream, make sure you tell them light, oh, no foam, did I say foam? No foam. Yes that's what I want."

Okay.

She fished in her purse for some cash. "I know I'm high maintenance," she said chattily, "but I figure, I spend so much money in there that I can be as high maintenance as I want."

Okay.

"I mean, I spend $1300 there a year."

O- what?!

"Have you thought about an espresso machine?" I asked.

She gave me her arched-brow "what do you mean by that?" look. "Well, we used to have one but I just like it better when they make it for me."

I nodded. "Oh, okay!"

So I bundled up and dashed across Rockville Pike as darkness fell. When I got to the Starbucks, I ran into a girl I used to work with. Her family is quite wealthy so I chatted her up about chiropractic and handed her Dr. K's card. When it was my turn, I read out the order, which I had written down on a post-it note. "Here, let me see that," the barista said cheerily, plucking my note neatly from my hand.

She squinted at it. "Ordering for the boss, huh?"

"Mmhmm," I nodded.

"Jeez." She rolled her eyes. "I bet she's a joy."

I laughed. "Mmhmm."

"So it's like that," she said sympathetically.

"Yeah, it's like that," I told her. She chuckled.

"Okay, calling!" she shouted, turning to the baristas manning the espresso machine. "Can I get a tall decaf no foam extra hot gingerbread latte with light whip!"

"Wait wait wait!" the others pleaded as they grabbed for jugs of milk, pump bottles, spray cans of whipped cream, and little espresso cups. She read it again, then told me my total was $3.68.

"Thanks!" I said, dropping the change into the tip jar and tucking the dollar bill into my purse.

I hurried back across the street, trying to clean up the milky brown whipped cream goo that kept spewing from the sip hole and dribbling onto my Steve Madden sheepskin jacket. Once I got to the office, I sped first to the kitchen to wipe off the beverage so that Dr. Kat would have a nice clean cup to drink from, then slipped into her office.

Dr. K was on the phone. I set the cup down gently but before I even had a chance to let go, she was thrusting out her hand and wiggling her fingers. I dug through my purse and handed her the dollar bill. She continued to wiggle. "Where's my change?" she mouthed.

My heart dropped.

"I, uh, gave it as a tip . . . " Her face darkened. "I'm sorry . . . I just assumed . . . I always tip when there's a tip cup, I just thought . . . " I sputtered off pathetically.

In truth I had hesitated before depositing the change. But I just would have felt too embarrassed not to leave a tip. When I was a barista, we really relied on the couple of dollars doled out to us at the end of a busy shift, and to me it's a necessity to toss some change in there. If I can't afford a tip, then I can't afford to make a purchase.

Apparently Dr. K feels otherwise. Her eyes bulged and her fingers curled shut savagely. She hung up the phone.

"You did what?" she asked quietly, biting into every word as if it was my head.

"I'm sorry," I blubbered. "I just always give a tip. I assumed - I'm sorry - here, I have the change in my purse," I offered quickly. I mean, what's a couple cents in exchange for peace and quiet?

"No, no," she spat. "That's okay. It's just I really counted on getting that change. I really needed it this week."

"Gee, I'm so sorry," I apologized again. "It was my mistake. Let me get you your change." I turned to grab my purse but she stopped me again.

"No," she sighed. "No, that's okay." She looked morose. "It's just one of those weeks when I really needed that change."

"It's okay," I told her. "It's no problem. I screwed up. I have the change right here." I ignored her as she called out another breathy reassurance and hustled to grab my purse. I counted out exactly thirty-two cents and went back to her office, plunking the four coins down on her desk in a stack.

"No no no," she insisted. "Really, it's okay." Then she caught sight of the coins. "Is that it?"

"Mm-hmm," I murmured, trying not to sound snappish.

"Really? Just thirty-two cents?"

"Yup, that's it."

She considered this for a moment. "Oh. Because I really thought it would be more."

"Mmm," I responded. I returned to my desk but I was feeling very angry. Perhaps I wouldn't have felt quite as angry if Dr. K had not shared with me the following tidbits throughout the day:

"I took Jen out to lunch yesterday. It only cost sixty dollars."

"I ordered Mary a bottle of wine for Christmas. We're not very close friends but she really likes wine. It only cost a hundred bucks."

"I bought our tickets today. We're using our miles so it should only be about three thousand dollars when we go to Egypt in April."

Yeah.

Three thousand bucks.

To Egypt.

So begrudging some beleaguered coffee slingers a couple of cents after they made your confusing-as-hell drink to your specifications seemed a little uncharitable. Particularly after I sat through a networking breakfast the day before where she rudely whispered through somebody's entire presentation, sharing with me fascinating tidbits about how all the Jews in the group really piled up their plates because they wanted to get their money's worth, and then jabbing me every time a Jew lifted fork to mouth.

With that in mind, I was feeling pretty pissed. But I didn't say anything because, well, she's my boss.

She, however, couldn't let it go. The rest of the evening I kept hearing about "the thirty-two cents" and how she would have been shipped off to the poorhouse if she hadn't had it. I continued to murmur my assent and try to look as industrious as possible, so that maybe she would drop it. Not satisfied, however, she tried a different tack.

"It's just that I pay so much," she said, "and I expect things to be done right. And," she continued, "I bought you that latte."

Oh, Lord, I thought. She did not just go there.

It's not that she doesn't pay well. I feel fairly compensated for my work and she is right to expect that I execute my job responsibilities completely and accurately. But even if the situation by itself had warranted all this breast-beating, there were a couple other elements that contributed to my growing exasperation.

For example, every week Dr. K goes to a networking lunch in a heavily congested part of town. She has to feed a meter in order to park and she never has enough change. Every week she asks me for change and nearly every week I give her a dollar or two. She also never has postage and I frequently give her stamps for her outgoing mail. I was not concerned about this because I like working in a mutually giving environment and I felt comfortable saying "No" if necessary.

I had no idea that we were keeping a running tally of who owed what to whom.

So I literally gaped at her as if she had lost her mind. "Wow," I said. "I . . . really don't want it to be like that. Do you?"

"What do you mean?" she asked cluelessly.

'Umm, just, I mean," I stuttered. I felt uncomfortable listing examples of my generosity, especially in such a "take that!" way. "Well," I continued, "I give you parking money every week."

She stared at me as if to say, "Yeah, so?"

"And . . . " I drawled. "And I try to give you postage whenever you need it . . . "

Was I really having this conversation? I felt as if I'd been transported back to the fourth grade, deciding whose Barbie deserves to wear the pretty outfit this time.

Apparently she had no such qualms. "I thought the latte took care of that," she said snippishly.

"Oh, well . . . " I didn't have anything else to say. I mean, if on her planet a $3.68 latte "takes care of" a forty or fifty dollar gift, then I guess I don't live on that planet.

I really stood back and reconsidered whether Dr. K is someone I can work for. Through most of her insanities, I can step away and chuckle to myself, enjoying to some extent the truly bizarre vagaries of her mind. But something about her resenting a couple of cents dropped in a styrofoam cup as a thank-you for good service made me reconsider. Maybe our values are just too divergent for me ever to be able to anticipate her needs. Maybe I won't ever have a day when I don't think, "I can't believe she wants me to do x. This is so wasteful, inconsiderate, or irresponsible." And maybe my resentment at having my suggestions dismissed, at feeling forced to be destructive, rude, or thoughtless, is just too large for me to stick with this.

I am sticking with it. I'm going to try to continue to learn and become a better employee, because I do have a lot to learn. But one of the things I've learned is that in some situations, I can't just shrug it off. I can't just mentally rub my hands with glee as I start imagining my next blog entry.

Some things are just worth more than thirty-two cents.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Promising Job Prospect . . .

. . . is now the promising job interview!

T-Bone got a call last night from the hiring director and is scheduled to have his interview this morning at 10:00. Thank you for all your positive thoughts! I personally think he is very gifted at one-on-one interactions so I expect he will be brilliant, though I may be just the tiniest bit biased.

Now here's hoping this will turn into the Promising Job Offer!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hail to the Chief


As I sat blearily on the bed this morning trying to put on my socks, T-Bone suddenly burst out of the bathroom. "Guess what, mami?!" he cried, brandishing his toothbrush at me.

"What?" I asked cautiously.

"Guess what happened at my tribal meeting?!"

Weekends are always busy in the Cameroonian diaspora, but this Saturday was enough to make the most steadfast warrior tremble. A woman in Bowie was having a baby shower; there was a wedding in Laurel; the set-in-stone monthly meeting of T-Bone's tribe, the Banyangi, would be held in Columbia; and to top it all off, a bus full of lawyers and political activists had tumbled off a cliff in southwestern Cameroon and needed to be mourned. Their friends and relatives here in the States had to get home as soon as possible so a "sitting," the exile's version of a viewing - minus the bodies - was hastily scheduled for that night. Respects would be paid and financial gifts collected to help pay for plane tickets.

T-Bone being the moderate man that he is decided to attend all of these events in moderation. His strategy for hitting every occasion? He purposely wore shoes that are too small so that he wouldn't linger too long at any one event, thereby offending another host by depriving them of equal "T-time."

I know.

The logic is astounding.

Well, somehow he made it through his whirlwind tour and back home safely to me - yes, call me a bad wife but I declined to attend. So back to this morning, with T-Bone spraying toothpaste and me struggling to find two matching trouser socks.

"What happened at your tribal meeting?" I asked.

"They want me to be chief!" he crowed.

I blinked. "Chief of what?"

"Chief of the tribe!"

"Like chief chief?"

"Like chief chief!"

I considered this. Would T-Bone become T-Bone-Through-The-Nose?

And what sartorial options would open to me as Chieftess?



Happy Holidays from Megan and Tabe!


(Apparently the Universal Code of Dissatisfied Looking Fashion Models with Weird Hair is truly universal.)


"Does that mean that people can't approach you at parties?" I asked, recalling one such event where a particularly eager white guy in a daishiki rushed a platform of traditional tribal leaders, hugging and grasping hands with alarming urgency.

"No, no," he assured me. "You are thinking of the fons. Those are more like figureheads."

"Oh, and the chief is like the political leader?"

"Exactly." He laughed. "Can you imagine me, a chief?" He shook his head. "No way!"

I could, actually, but we both laughed.

I finished getting dressed and moved to the kitchen. I was shoving a banana peel into our overflowing trash can when T-Bone reappeared, ready to head out to work.

"Call me Chief T-Bone," he murmured as he kissed me goodbye.

"Chief T-Bone," I purred indulgently against his lips, "Will you take the trash out?"

Friday, November 9, 2007

Raid Uncovers Hundreds of Virginia Dogs Living in Filth


Following an in-depth investigation into puppy mills in Virginia, the Humane Society of the United States raided Horton's Pups last night and seized unlicensed breeder Junior Horton's 1000 dogs. That's right, folks. You read that right. One thousand dogs. This video clip, released on Monday, offers a look at the puppy industry in Virginia and features Junior Horton, among other.

The rescue where I got Gypsy, the Washington Animal Rescue League, received 105 of the dogs late last night and is in the process of assessing them and treating their numerous injuries, illnesses and birth defects. I received this press release from them earlier today:

WARL Rescues 105 Puppy Mill Dogs
Now the real work begins...

Dear Friend of WARL and Animals,

Forgive me if this is a bit disjointed, but it has been a long night.

After spending all day Thursday assisting authorities in Hillsville, Virginia with the puppy mill rescue efforts, the WARL team arrived at our shelter at 4:00 a.m. A team of staff and volunteers met them here to feed all the dogs, give them clean water, and make sure they were comfortably housed and at rest.

Nine nursing mothers with a total of 35 puppies (some as young as a day old) were immediately placed in foster care with WARL volunteers.

All 105 dogs are now safe and in good hands. Among the breeds we have are Yorkshire Terriers, Bichon Fris├ęs, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Cocker Spaniels, Maltese, Cairn Terriers, Corgis, Beagles, Peekapoos, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Poodle mixes.

The WARL Medical Center, with its three veterinarians, has cleared its schedule for the day so that each of the dogs can be thoroughly examined, treated for external and internal parasites, and given an individual treatment plan to correct any problems found.

This process has already started. So far we have found respiratory infections, parasites, dental disease, severe matting, eye maladies, and malnourishment.

Many of the dogs will be available for adoption in about a week, perhaps even a day or two earlier. The youngest puppies will be made available when they reach eight weeks of age.

Even by WARL standards, this rescue mission is a large one. We have managed to get these dogs out of a horrible situation and into a supportive environment with the best available veterinary care. Their suffering and trauma is over, but their rescue will not be complete until they are healthy and living in permanent, loving homes.

To finish the rescue, we will need the entire community's help. Specifically, we urgently need two things: adoptive homes for these dogs and funds for medical care and supplies.

The cost of treating and caring for these vulnerable dogs will be at least $200,000! It may even be more, depending on what our veterinarians find today. In short, we need everyone's generous help to save these 105 refugees.

You can make an online donation by clicking here for the donation form, or you can rush a donation to Puppy Mill Rescue, WARL, 71 Oglethorpe Street, NW, Washington, DC 20011.

And please help us find homes for these dogs. Spread the word far and wide!

Thank you in advance for your much needed assistance.

For the animals,
Scotlund Haisley
Executive Director

Safe Stuff for Kids and Pets

I talked to my old college roommate Aras yesterday and she told me about a webstore called Ape 2 Zebra where you can find fun educational toys that weren't made in China. Now I don't want to be alarmist but one of my primary concerns this holiday season is product origin, especially when it comes to shopping for the mancub. There are plenty of countries, including my own, with disturbingly lax manufacturing and consumer safety standards, but this site has many choices from more stringently regulated places like Germany, Italy, Canada, and France. Yes, they are more expensive, but that just means the mancub will get a couple of quality toys instead of heaps of toys that won't fit in our apartment anyway.

T-Bone's interview for the Promising Job Prospect was scheduled for yesterday but on Wednesday night, the man who was supposed to interview called to postpone. Apparently he had picked up a bug on his last trip to Africa and had to call out sick. He didn't have his schedule with him at the time but he is supposed to call sometime next week to reschedule, so please keep those positive thoughts/good juju/groovy vibes/prayers coming! Thank you to everyone who has lifted us up, with special thanks to Uncle Luap for his drum dance.

After work yesterday, I went home to get the dog and then we drove to the bank to deposit my paycheck. I decided to go to a different branch. As I turned into the parking lot, I noticed a new shop next door called bark! It promised "premium natural pet food and supplies" so I decided to check it out. They had so many wonderful things, gifts for pets and humans as well as a daunting variety of organic, natural, and raw food diet options for all kinds of animals. The staff was super friendly and very knowledgeable; they helped me select a bag of Orijen, which is a grain-free kibble made of 70% meat ( a combo of "the highest inclusions of fresh grain-fed chicken, fresh wild-caught Whitefish and fresh whole eggs — regional ingredients that arrive at our factory fresh — never frozen or dried, and are low temperature cooked at 90c to preserve their natural goodness") and 30% veggies, all farmed in western Canada. And the best part? It was the same price as the grain-based Chinese-made Menu Foods brands that have been poisoning dogs.

I think what I appreciated most, though, was the time each staff person took to get down on the floor and coax my somewhat shy dog into his or her lap. She is still shy of men but even the one guy in the place got her to eat out of his hand and roll over for a tummy rub. By the time we left, she was wagging every time he came near her. What a great place!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Remember when you borrowed 20 bucks?

Invent a memory of me and post it in the comments. It can be anything you want, so long as it's something that's never happened. Then, of course, post this to your journal [if you like] and see what people would like to remember of you, only the universe failed to cooperate in making it happen so they had to make it up instead.

Ethanolics?

Mother Jones had a graphic showing what could happen in an ethanol-based society. Click here to see the larger graphic and readers' responses. Makes you wonder when we as a people will focus on reducing energy use, not just finding ways to sap new resources and cause new pollution problems.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Trick or Treat!



"Does this suit make my head look big?"



"Hey, who gave me a Cadbury egg??"