Friday, October 28, 2011

Like My Mimi Always Said ...

Everybody’s grandma had a saying.  In the south it’s the way most anecdotes start … “Like my Grandma used to say …” It is like you have this person who validates what you mean.  A person that can relate what you say, and if you offend whoever you’re talking to, well … your Grandma used to say it.  Not you.  My grandma had a great phrase.  Whenever someone did something really stupid, or that just “didn’t make no sense at all,” she’d always say “Oh that just tears me out of my frame!”  I don’t know what it means.  I can’t tell you why she said it. But she said it a lot. And it’s one of my favorite things my Mimi used to say.  ‘Cause boy do I still use it today.  It’s just the best thing I know to say for some things. 

One of the top things that tears me out of my frame is the phrase “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.”  Ooh boy does that get me!  Frame gone, crazy redneck lady here.  I mean it’s one thing if the way we’ve always done it works.  Or if it does something positive.  Or if it gets anyone else to join in our cause.  But when the way we’ve always done it is a dead horse that we’re beating then it’s not okay.  It’s stupid to look at a fish, get all mad at it for climbing a tree to get something, yet every year get a fish to do the job.  If we only did things the way we always did them there’d be no wheel.  Or phone.  Or vaccine for polio.  If we don’t find innovative ways to do things, we sit in the same ol’ rut and make the same ol’ decisions and nothing gets better. 

New ideas are exactly what I live for.  I love to find new ways to do the same ol’ same ol’.  Creativity meets new ways to do things.  It makes what we were doing better.  It tweaks things.  It’s my thing.  I love to find new ideas.  I love hearing “hey, what if this time we …” followed by something that is amazing and great!  Or it isn’t and we don’t do it again.  Whatever.  But we tried it.  We moved on beyond the biddies in the hen yard that refuse to learn to fly because hens can’t fly.  Beyond the idea that it just can’t possibly work because we’ve never tried it.  We move into the realm of Edison, Einstein, and Newton, Pasteur.  Among those who said “good enough isn’t good enough anymore.” 

Tell me it’s the way we’ve always done it and it’ll get me riled up.  It will challenge me to find another way simply to show you that there is possibly a better way.  Moving on, and moving up is the way to make things better.  It’s a way to better an organization.  I love my kids’ school.  I love being able to put my two cents in as a PTA Board member.  That’s my passion.  Making a difference.  But you better doggone guarantee that when it comes to the way we’ve always done it, I won’t accept that.  There are so many new, inventive ideas out there.  Everyone has them, and we just have to embrace them.  That’s what I do.  I like new ways to accomplish the same old goals.  It’s easy to put on the comfy way we’ve always done it slippers and sit back and let it be what it’s always been.  But I’m getting my spiky boots and trying something new.  Because new may be the way to get more people involved.  Because new says “we want to grow and change”.  New says “we don’t want the same 10 people we’ve always had doing the same 10 things we’ve always done because change is scary.”  Change is scary.  But scary is fun.  I love scary.  I get on the rollercoaster that goes backwards because it’s scary fun.  I want to leave my mark.  I want people to do things in a new way because I tried something different today.  And I refuse to accept that because it’s “not the way we’ve always done it” as justification for not trying something.  I want to be the Edison of my organization. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

When my redneck side gets agitated ...

I’m not a slacker, I’m just lazy.  Really.  Last post I was contemplating my birthday.  Like almost a month ago.  Then life went into full gear mode with soccer, gymnastics and PTA.  Mostly PTA. Mostly this battle in PTA that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.  That is stupid.   But it’s a battle.  And I’m stubborn.  But first my laziness. 

For my birthday Clark Kent got me a tablet thingy.  You know, those touch screen fancy doodads that everyone wants.  Not a iPad.  Even without Steve Jobs, I can’t commit to Apple stuff.  They are elitist.  They are ridiculously over priced.  They come with bugs that they know are there when they release them, but they release them anyway.  And the white ones are bigger. So you need a new case.  Elitist. So there.  But I got a tablet.  And honestly, I can’t blog from it because I have to have my Microsoft Word so I can spell check and idiot check my stuff.  I type too fast.  I type about a kajillion words a minute, and most of them aren’t right.  That’s what Word does.  That’s not what the tablet, with its lacking OS and minimal apps, can do.  So my lazy butt hasn’t wanted to get the laptop from over there.  Just over there.  Just 5 feet away from here.  Lazy Lazy Jess.  Peanut would have even gotten it for me.  But I wanted my new shiny play pretty.  Which doesn’t have a word processor program yet.  Nor does it have the picture download thing.  Which is why none of the kids’ lunches are getting posted.  Because I’m so stinkin’ lazy I can’t get up off my rear and download and edit some lunch pictures (I have several) and go on and on about the new bento box thingies and all the neat things they can do.  Lazy.

And busy.  I am so busy with the PTA thing.  Because someone told me it was impossible. Because someone said “well, we already did everything we could.” And I decided that wasn’t enough.  And because someone else said go for it.  And because parents are tired of this thing at school.  It’s traffic.  It’s left turning.  That’s all.  The school has been open for 21 years, and this year we can’t turn left out of school.  Why, you may ask?  What great safety reason is there for this?  Not one.  What great flow of traffic is being disrupted, you wonder? Not one.  Nothing.  Just one man who has decided to act like the adults in Matilda.  “I’m right, you’re wrong.  I’m big and you’re little.  I’m smart and you’re dumb and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Well, he’s mistaken.  This mama bear has a stubborn streak as long as a summer day.  One teacher asked me if I was from up north.  (Why are Yankees known for being fighters, anyway?  Rude, yes.  Inconsiderate, yes.  But fighters? Where’d that come from?) “No ma’am,” I told her.  “I’m from South Carolina.  We love to start fights!”  Okay, so I stole that from a Citadel Cadet with a bad pick up line, but still … it’s true.  Stubborn-got-to-have-it-our-way-come-hell-or-high-water is what South Carolinians are made of.  And I will.  I will fight this battle.  Then they’ll be the ones wondering “Why on EARTH didn’t we just let them turn left?  If we had done that, we wouldn’t have this bat-crap crazy lady up our butts about it!”  And I will be up their butts.  And I’ll go to the news too.  Don’t you think I won’t get all over the TV saying how stupid it is?  I love the Police.  I know an amazing Police Officer (they don’t like to be called Cops, BTW).  But this one Officer, well … he and I don’t agree and that doesn’t work for me. 

See?  I meant to talk about the awesomeness of technology.  I mean, 11 years ago if you had told me that there’d be this thing, a little teeny ½ inch wide computer thingy with a touch screen that you could move around all Minority Report style, I’d have laughed at you.  That technology seemed SO SO far away.  But here it is.  Sitting next to me.  My Precious.  But my big ol’ mama bear fur has gotten all ruffled.  And if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s stupid for stupid’s sake.  People are entitled to be stupid every now and again.  Heck, I’m stupid a lot of the time about stuff.  But deciding to dig your heels in on a point just because it’s YOUR point and YOU have to be right with no explanation … that is a special kind of stupid that annoys me.  At least I have reasons for mine.  And I have paperwork, and a map and graph.  I mean really.  If you are going to have a point to make and want to make it well, have a graph.  Graphs say “I’m smart and I know what I’m talking about.” And they say “Gee whiz … look at me!  I can use Excel, so obviously I know more than I think I do about this topic!”  Then I type up something all sunshine and rainbows.  That’s a gift from my daddy.  I can talk to anyone.  No one is a stranger.  And I can tell you about something I really have no idea about, or don’t have the answer to, and you can walk away feeling better because I put some sunshine on it and sprinkled it with word rainbows.  “I am doing everything I can to fix that problem” sounds so much better than “there’s a snowballs chance in you-know-where that will work”.  It’s the “bless your heart” at the end of a sentence that excuses you from whatever incredibly rude thing you just said.  Fighting battles for what I believe in and sprinkling the world with world rainbows.  Now, go have a cookie and by the time you’re done you’ll feel better about today. J