Visualize a Psychoanalysis

We are getting visual voicemail at work, and I think this is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I hate picking up the phone, and generally will let my VMs languish in my inbox forever.  I just don’t like not being able to mitigate my response to what’s coming, I don’t like being caught unaware.

I also find it a lot faster to have everything in print, I don’t have to waste time dialing into my voice mail, or spend time in an unproductive phone call when I could be doing other things.

Those who pooh-poohed the idea of getting visual voicemail stated it was a generation-gap issue: that previous generations didn’t have the advent of this technology and learned to deal with the “surprises” that come from an unexpected phone call.  I was effectively rendering myself incapable of dealing with person-to-person relationships and undermining my ability to conflict-resolve.

I think that part of the argument disregards the fact that there have been people in society for millennia that do not care to interact a lot with others (classical “introversion”), and that there is nothing wrong with being an introvert.  I am an introvert: I am really good at “turning on” in social situations, but I am very content just to be alone with myself.

But the argument still struck me: has my preference for a “buffer zone” created a personal fault of not being able to learn how to deal with unexpected situations?  I know that I am not as quick-thinking as I would like to be, and I’ve definitely manufactured a technology-structure that facilitates my ability to avoid that discomfort.

Bigger still, I know that I want to be better and more smooth at fielding questions and issues that I was not prepared for.  Do I eschew this new technology, and instead embrace regular VM and pick up every call on the first two rings?  Is immersion-therapy what’s going to fix me?

I think I’m going to do some research on the subject and see what the best balance would be between visual voicemail and actual person-to-person contact.

Guardian Angel

I had a dream last night that I was taking a psychological/spiritual evaluation at a medical center.  At the center, in order to aid you in the process, every person was given a Guardian Angel, who would be with you as you filled out the more grueling portions of the eval.  My Guardian Angel was named David Reede, and he looked a lot like a dentist that was a former member of the BNI group that I was in.  Very kind, very genial, a little scraggly, but hey – who am I to judge?

One of the things that I really liked about my Guardian Angel was how warm and kind he was – it wasn’t an outward display so much as it was a clearly-felt warmth and kindness.  You just knew as opposed to experiencing. At one point during the evaluation, I was getting very stressed, and he just put his hands on my shoulders, rubbed my back a little and said, “Is that better?  Do you feel okay?”  And I did.

When everyone finished their evaluations, their Guardian Angel would disappear – they were there only as support through the evaluation.  I was so upset and heartbroken when David disappeared: I kept holding onto his hand, begging him, “Please don’t go.  Please don’t go!”  He smiled and faded away.

I asked one of the administrators (Scott Stapp from Creed), if he had any information about the Guardian Angel I was assigned.  Scott handed me the file on David Reede – that he had originally been an ex-convict and had actually tried to murder Scott.  Scott, however, being a man of God, convinced him not only to spare his life, but to turn his life into one of service to others.

The file wasn’t clear how David had died, but I assumed that he had – as Guardian Angels are not living people.  I remember how shocked I was to see that my Guardian Angel originally had a criminal record; but it was not enough to squelch my sadness that he had disappeared.

I woke up from this dream at around 4 in the morning, and typed out the disjointed notes while it was still in my memory on my BlackBerry.  Two things of note:

  1. I am not religious in the least.
  2. I never write down any of my dreams – they never seem that important.

I’m not saying what I had was a religious experience, although, I’m sure that other people, if they read this, will assume that’s exactly what I had.  Who knows?  Maybe it was.

All I know was that I had a very bad day yesterday, and having a Guardian Angel comfort me so fully when I was so abjectly miserable felt really good.

As for a “deeper meaning” to the dream, I have no speculation.  I don’t know what it means, short of being a comfort after psychological turmoil.

Renovate This, Baby

Last weekend was the first weekend of the bedroom renovation.  I’m keeping photo documentation of the process here.

Saturday was spent moving everything out of both bedrooms, getting rid of some furniture, ripping up both carpets (including the foam underneath and the carpet tack strips).  Sunday was spent plastering over holes left in the wall.

At one point, in the middle of ripping out 3-foot wide swaths of carpet, I got panicky, regretted getting elbows-deep in the project, too terrified to continue, unable to go back.

On Wednesday, I will be purchasing the paint for both of the rooms.  This weekend will be Big, Fat, Painting Weekend.  If I lay everything out the day before (I might dip out of work early), I can get the first coat of paint in both rooms on Saturday, and the second on Sunday.  (I hope, I hope – I still have do all of the “cutting in” by hand, and with class on Saturday morning, I have 4 hours eaten out of the day.)  The carpet should be installed sometime the week of the 24th.

New Year, New Semester

I cannot believe I have been in graduate school for a full, continuous year.

I am not enrolled in the Executive MBA program through CSU, but the classes that I will be taking this semester are part of the program, so the schedule is pretty rigorous.  Including that they go from 8-12 on Saturday mornings, and they started two full weeks before the regular semester began.

Many people would complain about getting up at 6 in the morning on a Saturday to go to a four-hour class.  It didn’t bother me.  Out in Geauga County, the stillness and the darkness of the morning hung thick in the air, and until I got to Bainbridge, it was just me traveling alone on the road.  I listened to NPR sports the entire way to Solon.  It was a nice, quiet, stressless drive.

I will be a little bummed when the sun starts rising earlier, and it won’t be just me and the darkness on the road on Saturday mornings.

A Book List Update

What with all of the combined lake effect and snow belt snow that Geauga and Ashtabula county has seen since Thursday night, I decided that I would skip my Sunday night dinner with The Boy’s parents, and catch up on some reading.  I was trying to slog my way through In Defense of Food, but that is definitely a book that I need to listen to rather than read, so I went for a list off of my 101 book list, The Lake Effect by Les Roberts.

And, just for those of you at home who are keeping score, the tally is as follows:

83. Read all of the books on a book list of my choosing.

The Milan Jacovich Mysteries

Pepper Pike ( 1988 )

Full Cleveland ( 1989 )

Deep Shaker ( 1991 )

The Cleveland Connection ( 1993 ) [Finished, 06/26/10]

The Lake Effect ( 1994 ) [Finished, 01/04/10]

The Duke Of Cleveland ( 1995 ) [Finished, 01/24/10]

Collision Bend ( 1996 ) [Finished, 02/09/10]

The Cleveland Local ( 1997 ) [Finished 01/15/10]

A Shoot In Cleveland ( 1998 ) [Started and Finished 1/15/10]

The Best Kept Secret ( 1999 )

The Indian Sign ( 2000 ) [Finished 03/13/2010]

The Dutch ( 2001 )

The Irish Sports Pages ( 2002 )

King of the Holly Hop ( 2008 )

(by the way, all of these books can be found on Amazon.)

I know that my mother used to have the entire collection of novels, but somewhere along the two moves, some have disappeared.  I’m pretty sure I’ll buy them off of Half.com for my collection.

I also mentioned in the startup entry of this part of the project that I wanted to read Les Roberts’ memoir, We’ll Always Have Cleveland.  And I did.  And I was extremely touched at all of the things that he observed about our town which were spot-on.  (I’m currently crafting my own entry about the revitalization of Cleveland; but I’m still working out the kinks.)  I would recommend his book to anyone who wants to know why we Clevelanders love our city.