Category Archives: Work

Being Who I Am And Saying What I Feel

Tonight, the museum is hosting a reception for the opening of a new exhibit. The reception will be the first in-person event, and the first time the public will be allowed in the museum since the pandemic started. However, it will still not be back to normal. Anyone wanting to attend has to register for the opening by calling the museum. Attendees are also required to have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the event and/or proof of vaccination when they check in. Also, the reception will be held outdoor, so we can allow a few people at a time into the museum to view the exhibit. All of this is exciting but also nerve-racking.  I never do well at these types of events. I get nervous in crowds of people I don’t know well.

When I’m in a room full of strangers or only passing acquaintances, as will be the case tonight, I never really know how to interact. I listen more than talk because I never know what to say. I tend to overanalyze every movement, word, and thought a hundred times throughout the event and afterward. If I can stick close to someone I know well, then I am generally okay, but if I am left alone with someone I barely know, my anxiety takes over. Sometimes, I can do quite well. This is probably conceited of me, but the more knowledgeable I am about my surroundings, the better I do. However, this is an art exhibit, and I am a military historian, not an art historian. I can usually hold my own with art pieces that are at least a hundred years old, but all of the art in this exhibit is abstract art from a living artist. I am completely lost.

Yesterday, I talked about “clothes make the man.” Tonight, I will be wearing a suit. The biggest problem is that I have lost some weight, and my newer suits (they are at least 2-3 years old), are too big now, and I have not lost quite enough weight to fit into my older suits. I rarely wear suits. I only wear them for university functions like the reception tonight. I have no need for a suit any other time. So, I have to make do with what I have. It’s too late to try to buy a new suit, and that’s an expense I was not prepared for anyway. Plus, everywhere I know of in Vermont that sells suits has a very small selection of suits that would fit me. It’s hard enough to find a shirt that fits well, let alone a suit. Besides, I hope I will continue to lose weight, and if I do, then any suit I buy right now would also be too big.

I like to look my best at these functions. I will wear what makes me feel most comfortable and looks the best on me. But, as much as I want everything to look good on me, I can’t help but wonder what others will think if I wear a particular piece of clothing a certain way. I can’t help but create these internal struggles that I can only see and feel. I don’t want to believe that these thoughts are my truths, but they sometimes take precedence. While I don’t compare myself to others usually, I can’t help but feel that I have to act, talk, or look a certain way to be allowed to be a part of someone else’s world instead of just trusting myself that I am enough to be loved for who I am.

The American financier and statesman Bernard M. Baruch once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” While this is excellent advice, I have the university’s administration to impress tonight. I have met our new university president only once for a few minutes back in October. He started a year ago, but we have had little contact with him in person because of the pandemic. There will be other big wigs there as well, but I hope I can go by Baruch’s maxim: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Below are a few pieces of advice I am trying to take to heart:

  1. Be kind to myself and appreciate who I am
  2. Resist the urge to please others constantly
  3. Only say things I mean
  4. Get to know myself better
  5. Try not to overanalyze and be fully present in every moment.
  6. And finally, as RuPaul sings in her song “Sissy That Walk”:

Pick myself up, turn the world on its head
Don’t forget what my mama said
People talking since the beginning of time
Unless they’re paying your bills, pay them bitches no mind


TGIF

I’ve been virtually attending a historical conference this week. It runs through tomorrow, and so far, some of it has been interesting. The best part of the whole conference has not been the papers presented or even the launch of the book in which I have an essay. It has been that I was able to put an out of office automatic reply on my email, so I have been able to ignore everyone at work all week long. Sometimes, I just need my time away from my coworkers. They have a bad habit of contacting me on my vacation days, so I made it very clear to them that I was not available this week, and they should not expect me to get back to them until Tuesday when I am back at work.


At the Museum Today

It looks like we may be slowly getting back to working at the museum on a regular basis. For the foreseeable future, we will be wearing masks, and we are still not open to the general public. Hopefully, we will reopen to the public soon. We are in the midst of putting up a new exhibit. It looks like our opening for the new exhibit will actually allow some of the general public to attend. Of course, they will have to show proof of vaccination, do temperature checks, and wear masks to come onto campus, but it will be nice to have people in the museum again. I just hope they will come.


Bad Mood

I was not in a good mood yesterday. My day started with my boss calling me and telling me that he forgot that a film crew was supposed to be in the museum all day, but that he was home with a sick child and could I go open the museum and babysit them until my other coworker showed up to take over. My boss never cared to tell anybody else at the museum that this filming was taking place, so when my coworker showed up, she had no idea what was going on. She couldn’t do any work because she’s in the process of deinstalling an exhibit and getting ready for the next exhibit but could not do any of that because she couldn’t make any noise because they were filming. I have the disadvantage of being the person who lives closest to work. Whenever they need somebody at the museum quickly, I have to be the one to go. Granted, this was a workday, but it has, at times, been either after hours or on the weekend when they needed somebody to go to the museum for any reason. It always aggravates me because it is like I am on call at all times. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen. I feel like they take advantage of me, and at the same time, I am often left clueless until the last minute about things that are happening at the museum, if I am ever told at all.

Later yesterday, my boss emailed me about taking a work trip in June. A few months ago, he had mentioned me returning some artifacts that we had borrowed from another museum. Still, at the time, it was only going to be me because I’d be fully vaccinated at the time the objects were supposed to be returned. However, now it appears that my boss will be going with me. That part isn’t the worst. The worst is that he and another coworker have been planning this trip that I am supposed to take without consulting me in any way. A week or so ago, I had heard from the other coworker that my boss would be going with me, but he had neglected to tell me anything about it. Yesterday, he sprang it on me that he wants to go a particular week in June. I understand that we are scheduling with other people, and we have to go when they want us to go, but he could have been keeping me in the loop about things the whole time. Instead, I have been shut out of the conversation altogether.

He also informed me that he wants to go and come back on the same day. It’s over a four-hour drive one way, plus we have another side trip we have to take to get another artifact from a restoration place. I had understood that I’d be going, spending the night, and coming back the next day. He knows that I have bursitis in my hip and that I have back trouble, and both conditions cause issues with me sitting for long periods. The over four hours there is non-stop one way, I can’t sit for four hours straight. We will have to make stops so that I can get up and walk around, which will add even more time to the trip. I’d have rather been able to take my time getting there and not have to hurry back to the museum by the end of the day. I made a similar trip a few years ago when we had to go pick up some donations in Washington, DC. We flew down early one morning, picked up the donated artifacts, and then drove back. We ended up stopping and spending the night in Baltimore because it took so long to get out of the DC metro area. The next day we had to drive from Baltimore to Vermont. We had to drop the artifacts off at the museum then go to Burlington, where my car was at the airport. It was a trip from hell. If I were younger, I could make these trips a lot easier, but I am not young anymore. I’m not old, but dammit, I can’t just go like I used to be able to go.

By the way, the week we are supposed to go on this trip is the week of my next set of Botox injections for my migraines. My appointment is Thursday, and I have to drive down to New Hampshire to the Headache Clinic. It’s only an hour, but I refuse to spend all day in a car on Wednesday and then drive an hour to the Headache Clinic the next day. My boss also told me that he could not go on that Monday because it’s his daughter’s birthday. So, I told him we would have to go on Tuesday. I will not miss my appointment, and if something were to happen that delayed us, we could either spend the night or get back late.

I will probably be taking today as a sick day. I’d planned only to take the morning, but after yesterday, I need a mental health day too. I have to go to the dentist this morning to have a broken tooth filled. Hopefully, he will also look at the sore spot on the side of the tooth socket where they removed the tooth two weeks ago. I have been told I should not still be having pain, but this place is swollen to the size of a split pea and looks dark red, almost purple. I’m just prepared for the rest of today to have a sore mouth. It’s going to be hard to eat much besides soup or jello. Dental work: it may be painful, but it makes for an effective diet.

I hope today goes better than yesterday. I was in a foul mood yesterday, and I just couldn’t seem to pull myself out of that funk. I don’t like being bitchy. I prefer to be a pleasant person. Some days, it’s just hard to be pleasant.


Preparing for Work

I am a planner in almost every way. I especially plan and prepare what I am going to wear. When I was going into the office every day, I used to plan my wardrobe for the whole week. Now, I only really have to plan for Mondays and special events. I should wear jeans today because we are supposed to deinstall the current exhibit to get the gallery ready for the next exhibit. I always find it difficult to wear clothes that are too casual to the museum. I’m not sure that it matters though. I don’t even know if we will actually open the museum today. Graduation was Saturday, so there will be no students on campus and we’ve only been opened for them, not that they ever came to the museum. So, I have no idea why we would actually unlock the entrance to the museum. If that’s the case, I’m not sure why I should care what I wear as long as I look presentable.

Anyway, I am just rambling and babbling today. I just didn’t have a lot to say, and I wrote what was on my mind.


Hope

Last night, president Biden gave his first speech before a joint session of Congress, even if it was a smaller crowd than usual. Since Biden became the nominee, I have seen hope in him. While I still wish Pete Buttigieg had been the nominee and was now president, I fully support President Biden. I believe in him. He’s not a perfect man and he admits that, but I do believe he is a genuinely good man. I’ve never felt this way about a president before in my 43 years on this earth. I think there have been presidents who were good men, but I’ve never felt a real hope in a president before Biden. I often find myself getting emotional when I hear him speak. He is what we need in this moment. I hope that parts of this speech will go down in history. I found it one of the most inspirational speeches I’ve heard in American political history. It was a speech of hope, unity, and progress.

The only faltering in my hope is members of the Republican Party. They know what needs to be done, but because it’s not their idea nor their administration, they oppose nearly all of Biden’s agenda. Most Republicans also have no issue with lying, which Senator Tim Scott did numerous times during his rebuttal. Scott claimed America is not racist, that Democrats blocked justice reform, and that Republicans have made voting easier in Georgia. These are so untrue, and it continues to show that Republicans have divorced themselves from truth and reality. It bothers me how much they want to block progress and freedom. In contrast to Biden’s speech, Scott’s speech was one of lies, division, and regression.

In other more personal news, today I am fully vaccinated. It has been two weeks since my second COVID vaccine. I will continue to wear my mask and social distance, but it feels like we are nearing the end of this horrible year. We are still at least several months away from something resembling a return to normalcy. I think it will be at least 2022 before we see real normalcy. If Biden’s opponent had won the election, I don’t think we’d be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. With Biden, we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Also, I am having times of relatively no pain. I’m not totally pain-free yet, but I am seeing some improvement. For most of the day yesterday, I was feeling pretty good (even though I woke with a headache, it did get better), but by the evening, I was in pain again. I have hope that I am getting better. There is still some swelling that is still aggravating my trigeminal nerve, but the tooth socket is not hurting nearly as much. As I’ve said before, time will tell, but I am hopeful.

My virtual program for the museum yesterday seemed to go as well as could be expected. There was a bit of fumbling with the technology, but it was quickly fixed and things went smoothly. We did run over by about twenty minutes, but people seemed to have enjoyed it. Some even asked for more programs similar to what was presented yesterday, and I do have two in the works for fall. Hopefully, they will be hybrid virtual/in-person programs. Again, time will tell.


Programming Wednesday

Today is my last public program at the museum for this academic year. It’s a virtual program, which I hope will be one of the last of my virtual programs. I hope in the fall we can get back to in person programming, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I have a record number of people signed up for this program, so I hope it turns out well and without the technical issues of the last one. It will be a fun one like the last time, but I do plan for it to be a bit more structured than before. I’ve worked really hard to fix the issues we had last time, and I’m praying that I’ll be successful in presenting a smooth program.

In other news, I was feeling much better yesterday. Monday threw me for a loop, but the Tylenol seems to be helping with the pain. The headaches haven’t been as intense, but as I was going to bed last night, I did have a moderately bad headache. I just hope I’m feeling good today, and it all goes as planned. I really want this program to be a success, and I fear it won’t be if I am not feeling well.

Right now, my biggest dilemma is what to wear. I want to look nice, which would usually be dark colors for me, but I wore dark colors for the last program and I was told it made the setting too dark and I needed to wear something lighter or maybe more vibrant. After I get up this morning, I’ll figure out what I’m going to wear and hopefully it will show up good on camera. The lighting should be a bit better this time, so I’m hoping what I wear won’t matter as much. We’ll see. I know I obsess way too much about every little detail, but I just want things to go right and be able to anticipate any issues beforehand.


What Do You Do…?

What do you do when you have a tour of the museum scheduled, and no one shows up? On Monday night, we had an after-hours event planned for students to take a special tour of the museum. We were trying to get some students into the museum since we are basically only open for them. All semester, we have had a grand total of two visitors. Our actual numbers look much better to the administration because every time we walk up front to open or close the museum or go to the restroom, it counts us as visitors, but we are the only ones who know that. 

We organized a special event so students could register to come to the museum at night, have some food, and have a special tour. We ordered sliders (barbecue bacon cheddar, black and blue, and mushroom swiss burgers), chips, drinks, and brownies, all of which were advertised on the flyers. We set up a scheduling system for tours on Monday and Wednesday, with two tours each night. It was supposed to be a fun “Night at the Museum.” 

However, only one student actually signed up. We should have canceled on Friday when we still could cancel the food, but my coworkers decided to hope that more students would sign up over the weekend. I tried to tell them that they wouldn’t, and we’d be wasting a lot of food, but they wouldn’t listen to me. So, Monday rolled around. My coworker, who was supposed to be helping with the tour, came down with food poisoning, and I was left to do the tour on my own, which is fine since we only expected one student. I knew there would be a lot of food, so I invited my neighbor and friend who works in the library to come.

As it turned out, the one student never showed. My friend came, and we had a dinner of sliders and chips. Then we boxed up all of the food and put it in the refrigerator, and then I gave her the tour. We had a fun time, just the two of us. Even though she works next door in the library and had been in the museum numerous times, she’s never really gotten a tour of the museum. Both of us talk a lot, so time got away from us. As I was finishing the tour, I looked at my watch and realized three hours had passed. We both had fun, though, so it wasn’t a problem. However, I am still disappointed that no students came. We canceled the tours for tonight. No one had signed up for them anyway. 


Practice Makes Perfect

Today, I will be working with my director to fix the technical difficulties we had in the last webinar. I am pretty sure that I have figured out the problem, and it wasn’t all because my director did not know what he was doing. Part of it was, but not all of it. However, I will not make the mistake again of assuming he knows what he’s doing, even when he says he does. I will practice with him and teach him how to work on all of the technical aspects of the webinar.

Once I deal with my director, I will work with my co-presenter to get this program a bit more organized. I have a week and a half to get all the kinks worked out, so I should be able to take care of all of it. I let my co-presenter last time take the lead in the discussion we had in the webinar; this one will be more structured so that we can discuss all of the points I want to be addressed. It won’t be easy to control him, but I think I can do it. When I was an oral historian, I learned how to keep people on track during an interview, and I can do it during a webinar. At least, I hope so.

I will spend the rest of the day working on emailing people with the registration link so that we can get more people registered. I need to send a link to our department and the list of people who registered for the last one. We had 48 people register for the last one, but only about 25 attended. Currently, we have 35 signed up, and I am hoping to get more registered. Hopefully, we will also have a better registered/attendance ratio.

Even our in-person events rarely have more than about 35-40 people, since that is the most that our conference room can hold for events. I hope that when we can have in-person programs again, we will be able to broadcast them as we have done with our webinars. We have been using Facebook Live to broadcast in-person events, but we have never been able to record with very good quality. I hope we can improve on that in the future so that no matter where someone is, they will be able to attend our programs.


Pic of the Day