Articles

On running into people you know in a small town.

In Post on November 8, 2009 by BillieHarper Tagged: , , ,

I grew up in this town, if someone doesn’t know me, they probably know someone from my family…at least on Mom’s side.  Since I moved back after leaving college and going to Denver for a while, I’m experiencing much, if not most, of what made me want to leave so badly in the first place.  For most of the three years since I returned from Denver, I worked out of town, long (or weird hours), which kept me from having to deal with the “Hey, are you still in college?” and “Oh, you’re working here, now?  I didn’t know you were back!”

Now, working in town again, at a place most residents frequent, at that, has brought all that back into my life.  I deal with it fairly well, with a smile and a few words that don’t make me sound like a complete and utter failure, but I’m still looking forward to getting out of here.  There are only so many times you can explain what’s happened and where you’ve been and that, no, you haven’t graduated from college, you just left to take some time off, before you start going crazy.  Honestly, people, I may not hate this town as much as I did in high school, but it doesn’t mean I want to deal with all your small-town curiosity and your stupid advice and the “Oh, so you’re going back to school!  Good for you!”s.  I’m getting out, if it’s the last thing I do.  And then, I’m only coming back for holidays.  See you then.

Articles

Happy Halloween!

In Post on October 30, 2009 by BillieHarper Tagged: , ,

I know I’m a few hours early, but I know I won’t have time to make this post tomorrow.  I’ve never been a huge fan of Halloween, though I love spooky things: movies, pictures, books, poems, and the like.  So, in honor of the celebration of All Hallow’s Eve, I bring you one of my favorites:

 

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
“‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”- here I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering,
fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore!”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”-
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
‘Tis the wind and nothing more.”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and
flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed
he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no
craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “other friends have flown
before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never- nevermore’.”

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and
door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he
hath sent thee
Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!- prophet still, if bird or
devil!-
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-
Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil- prophet still, if bird or
devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend,” I shrieked,
upstarting-
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my
door!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the
floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted- nevermore!

Articles

How not to offend your boss…

In Post on October 18, 2009 by BillieHarper Tagged: ,

I’m no stranger to the workforce.  I’ve had several different jobs, with several different types of bosses, and yet, I still can’t quite figure out how to bring up “sensitive” subjects with your boss without offending them.  I mean, how do you talk to them about getting a raise, being scheduled too much, or the fact that you deserve a promotion over someone else?  I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately because of my crazy work schedule.  When I went in today, I saw that my boss had changed my schedule for the week (starting tomorrow) after I’d just checked it last night.  It wasn’t the normal “I’m switching your hours around, it shouldn’t be a problem” kind of change.  It was an “I’m adding ten hours to your already hectic schedule” kind of change.  To say the least, I wasn’t happy.  I’m still getting paid minimum wage, have been working 30 or more hours a week, covering extra shifts when needed, and taking on all the responsibilities of the assistant manager – who refuses to work weekends.  So, I have a problem: how do I bring all this up without going on the offensive and getting angry with her?  I have to admit, I’m never good in socially (or professionally) awkward situations.  I guess that’s why I’m writing this…to kind of…give myself the strength, the courage, to actually sit down with my boss tomorrow morning and bring up all these concerns.  I don’t want her to think that I’m trying to give her an ultimatum or that I’m threatening her, I just want what I feel is rightly deserved.  I’ve put in a lot of hard work, I practically live at my work, and I’m there almost as much as she is, so why am I still getting paid a hell of a lot less than more than a few other people that I work with and who get much better perks than I?  There are people who are allowed to pick and choose when they work, to call in sick and not feel like a complete asshole.  Speaking of sick…I can feel myself getting sick already, I’m a little afraid that I’ve caught the dreaded H1N1 from my mom, and my boss keeps talking about how I “can’t get sick”.  I understand where she’s coming from, we’re short-staffed as it is, but how can I even begin to get feeling better if I’m always working and don’t have time to rest?  Not to mention I have almost no time to do anything else, and I’m in school.  I don’t know how she thinks I can do it all…

Articles

Another year older, another year wiser.

In Post on October 16, 2009 by BillieHarper Tagged: ,

In just an hour, the date will turn to October 16, and I’ll turn 24.  Hard to believe how fast this year’s gone, and pretty soon, I’m not going to be able to even keep up with my own birthdays.  It’s interesting to me how much meaning we seem to put into birthdays.  We celebrate, we throw parties, we buy gifts (sometimes, very expensive gifts), and we even go out of our way to make other people’s birthdays once-in-a-lifetime special.  Of course, as we get older, we like to tell people that they aren’t important to us, that we don’t want to be reminded of another year going by, but, I think the truth is that we really enjoy having a day – a holiday – that’s all our own…to a point.

Even if we only take the day to pamper ourselves, to stay in, do something we love, it’s still special.  It’s a day to reminisce, a day to remember what we’ve done with our lives, how far we’ve come, where we’re headed.  Of course, there are those milestone birthdays, those that hold special meaning in different societies.  As far as I know, 24 isn’t one of those.  And, really, 21 is the last big birthday we have before 30, and then it’s 40, 50, and so on…I only hope that we accept them with grace, dignity, and the realization that age is merely a number.  What really matters is that we keep ourselves young.  After all, you’re only as young (or old) as you feel, and, me…I feel like I’m turning 11 again.

Statuses

In Status on October 15, 2009 by BillieHarper

C-A-P-S-I-Z-E all the way home!

Articles

The joy of new technology!

In Post on October 15, 2009 by BillieHarper Tagged: , , , ,

My birthday is still two days away, but because FedEx is unbelievably prompt in their delivery and my parents are really great at the whole “being prepared” thing, I have a new toy to play with! And thus I write to you from my brand new, shiny, purple, laptop. It’s funny that I had the same reaction to this as I did when I was five and got the exact doll I wanted for Christmas.

So, why, as adults, do we still act like kids on Christmas morning? Like our lives will never be the same now that we have a shiny new tool? Probably because they never will, and that’s a fact. I know that my life is vastly improved by this addition to my life. If only because I can once again experience sitting in front of the TV while typing a blog entry. It’s sad, really, that we line up for the latest cell phone, video game, personal technology…people wait in the cold for hours for these things and pay more money than some of us spend in a month to have these new toys. Even sadder is the fact that, once we have them in our hands, there’s someone out there already working on a newer, faster, prettier, shinier device for you to wait for next year.

It’ll never end. And our lives are forever changed.

Statuses

In Status on October 6, 2009 by BillieHarper

Wishing I could see the mountains from here.