birra's Journal

birra's Journal


Honor: 13    [ Give / Take ]


6 entries this month

My heart gives too much sometimes...

03:42 Nov 21 2008
Times Read: 839

...one of my colleagues just confided in me that he is trying to leave his position without losing his job. He is gaining custody of his only son and can no longer travel constantly as he has in the past...

...I have no commitment to him in terms of his employment. He is not my employee... but he is my friend.

I feel obligated to help him, even though I am not.

What to do?



04:46 Nov 22 2008

wish i had some words of wisdom..... all you can do is help him as the friend you are

15:20 Mar 27 2009

My heart always gives to much and to much commitment


And it continues...

06:35 Nov 20 2008
Times Read: 851

Sitting on a flight to Chicago. Flying United is like flying on a school bus…

Waiting for my originating flight in Montreal was a bit odd. There was no non-stop and at every gate CNN feed. Instead they had on a Canadian news feed that was mostly in French. I don’t speak French, at all… yet somehow it was still more informative than CNN.

Someone who will remain nameless… let’s just call him douchebag… asked again tonight if I could meet him in Chicago at 9:00PM when my flight takes off from DC at 9:58PM… he has my itinerary and I've answered this question no less than four times in the last two weeks... logistics are so difficult for him.

It should be an interesting night… and tomorrow. Getting into Chicago late tonight and needing to be up early tomorrow for training. I feel like tomorrow is going to be a day of scrutiny against me… just the way things have been going for me lately. I feel like they’re looking for a reason… any reason, to shove me out the door from this contract. I’m still trying to solve the reason why. I have my suspicions, but I’ll keep them to myself.

Still, I think it’s funny. From the side of the contract I’m on, no one on the team has been doing this longer, or better, in my opinion.

This trip was last minute. The project manager quit. The entire project was left dangling. No one took charge and they turned it over to their WORST project manager to handle. I was asked to go less than a week before I had to be there...

The local sales rep commented, “I can’t believe how quickly and how well this whole project came together this week with no prior IT planning…”

“Well, they sent you the best they had…” was my only response.

And I sincerely believe that. Ok, that might sound a bit conceited, but those that know me know I am anything but. I will be the first person to be disappointed in myself. I have the highest expectations for me and falling anywhere short of those expectations is devastating to my self-esteem. I have to do better, no matter how well I might have done.

But in this case, I am the best they have.

The attitude they’ve taken towards me lately has been more than discouraging in what has already been a very one-sided relationship.

Story of my life, I think.

Now to solve that problem. I don’t know if it will happen tomorrow, or Friday… but it will happen.

I’m set to embark on the next phase.

But the first couple days of this trip were pretty awesome. Montreal, a city I have always wanted to visit but have never done so. I need to make it a more frequent spot to go. Besides Melbourne and Sydney, this was by far the best place I’ve been. I think it’s the European flair and flavor that gets me. The narrow, cobblestone streets. The turn of the century architecture. The language… the people… the fashion… it was all so captivating to me. So much different than the little snow-globe world I grew up and have lived in my whole life in upstate New York.

Now granted growing up only a 15 minute drive from the Canadian boarder, the culture in Buffalo is at least a little more aware of Canada – the differences, the similarities… where it is on a map. Much more aware than the average populace in middle-America at least. But the culture in Buffalo is still so much American. Rigid, self-centered and conservative…

Much different than what I have found the places I’ve visited and spent time in further north to be.

And I had a great time with the local rep for the vendor. Someone who actually said, “Hey, your first time in town, let me show you around.” Usually they want little to do with the contractors after the day is done. We went to a restaurant in old Montreal, spoke to beautiful women, watched a Canadiens’ game, had excellent wine. He taught me a little French and I taught him what a Jagerbomb was.

I actually had a really good time.

I was a bit worried about working with the guy after he asked me for the fifth time over the weekend if I could fly in on Monday night, and I had to answer that Tuesday morning was the best I could offer, yet again. He seemed uptight about the job. I assured him we would be fine with one and a half days to finish what needed to be done. And, of course, we were. He was much more relaxed after the first day when he saw how quickly I could go through what needed to be done.

I’m pushing to get more jobs up there. With more notice and no trip to Chicago right afterwards, it’s a drive from home, not a flight. I can deal with that.

But I have to sort the issues at hand and get the jobs.

Ahhh… as Joe Walsh has sang, “Lucky I’m sane after all I’ve been through…”

Yeah, for the most part, life’s been good to me so far…

Ironic that I feel I can say that right now… it really is.



20:07 Nov 20 2008

You are the best ... in all things

Take a pay rise and a month's paid holiday in Barbados ... anyone asks tell them to see me :)


Life saving elixir...

13:37 Nov 18 2008
Times Read: 870

...my life was saved this morning by Starbucks and a random gift card....

Thanks mom!



17:28 Nov 18 2008

Mom's flipping rock, hands down.


One of those mornings....

10:27 Nov 18 2008
Times Read: 879

Weird morning…

…I keep getting this pain shooting through my left hand. Almost feels like all the joints are seizing up at once. It comes and goes, but when it hits I can’t move my hand or fingers, at all, for about 30 seconds…

…I have finally reached the saturation point with my laptop bag. Ten pounds of manure in a five pound bag? TSA had to go through everything because the x-ray of my bag came through as a big black blob. Superman couldn’t see through it. It is time to replace my back-pack and go back to the two-bag system I think…

..I’m flying to Montreal running on about an hour of sleep… I’m going to crash out on the plane the minute my ass hits the seat…

So we’re posting theme songs? I think this one may be mine…

Spirit of the West, "Home for a Rest"

You'll have to excuse me, I'm not at my best

I've been gone for a month, I've been drunk since I left

These so-called vacations will soon be my death

I'm so sick from the drink I need home for a rest.

We arrived in December and London was cold

We stayed in the bars along Charing Cross Road

We never saw nothin' but brass taps and oak

Kept a shine on the bar with the sleeves of our coats


You'll have to excuse me, I'm not at my best

I've been gone for a week

I've been drunk since I left

And these so-called vacations

Will soon be my death

I'm so sick from the drink

I need home for a rest

Take me home....

Euston Station the train journey North

In the buffet car we lurched back and forth

Past old crooked dykes through Yorkshire's green fields

We were flung into dance as the train jigged and reeled


By the light of the moon, she'd drift through the streets

A rare old perfume, so seductive and sweet

She'd tease us and flirt, as the pubs all closed down

Then walk us on home and deny us a round

You'll have to excuse me, I'm not at my best

I've been gone for a month

I've been drunk since I left

And these so-called vacations

Will soon be my death

I'm so sick from the drink

I need home for a rest

Take me home....

The gas heater's empty, it's damp as a tomb

The spirits we drank now ghosts in the room

I'm knackered again, come on sleep take me soon

And don't lift up my head 'till the the twelve bells at noon

You'll have to excuse me, I'm not at my best

I've been gone for a month

I've been drunk since I left

And these so-called vacations

Will soon be my death

I'm so sick from the drink

I need home for a rest

Take me home



11:44 Nov 18 2008

That is a great song! It reminds me of the Isles...lol. Green King forever! Missing that Guinness :)

12:28 Nov 18 2008

Sounds like it could be beginning carpal tunnel. Hope you can catch some rest :)

13:17 Nov 18 2008

I hope not, X-man. It seems to have subsided but still mildly hits here and there...

It didn't keep me awake on the first flight at least!


Everything is socked in by fog from here to Chicago…

18:42 Nov 14 2008
Times Read: 900

“Would you like me to check the weather report, Captain?”

“No, why don’t you check the weather report?”

This happens every time I fly through or to Atlanta. Rain, fog, sleet, high winds, you name it. And then, the inevitable delays.

I can’t wait to get back to Buffalo where the weather is… NICE.

...just some thoughts from the runway in Atlanta this morning where I got to spend an hour waiting due to fog related delays...

The pilot actually got us in only 7 minutes late. Kudos to Major Tom!



18:47 Nov 14 2008

That's a badass pilot. It's fun to fly with badass pilots.

19:33 Nov 14 2008

woohoo for Major Tom!


The conversations I overhear…

04:15 Nov 14 2008
Times Read: 909

Working in hospitals, sometimes I overhear the scariest stuff. The room we were working in this week was adjacent to a pace-maker lab. For some reason, after their procedures, the doctors insisted on debriefing the patients and their families in the corridor right outside of the room we were in.

The patient, lying in a bed, barely conscious.

The families all standing around.

And we could hear… most everything of their conversations.

Patient after patient rolled through, every day. Conversation after conversation… that I didn’t want to hear.

Then, the room we were in was also being used for skills training and testing for a new post-natal catheter insertion system.

Yeah… heard way too much on that one too.

But then I also hear the conversations that really tug at my heart-strings.

Like the ER nurse, talking to the one instructor prior to the training, explaining how her daughter was misdiagnosed with asthma, but really had a rare pulmonary disorder. If caught early, it could have been treated. Instead, she died at eleven years old…

And the instructor relating back to her that his daughter died in her teens while surfing. Not what you would think… she had an aneurism…

Being hundreds of miles from home... hundreds of miles from being able to hug my own kids…


One of the nurse instructors was telling a story to one of the students after their training – describing how she grew up with her Italian immigrant parents on the shores of Lake Erie… explaining what her parents and grandparents went through during the great depression. Her family stories, her memories of all of them. Her parents passed long ago, but the stories, with the way she told them seemed as vivid in her memory as yesterday.

And it took me back. I had to do a project in school when I was younger and I chose to interview my grandparents about their experiences growing up as Italian and Hungarian immigrants on the shores of Lake Erie. Surviving the depression and what they had to do to cope with those times. What it was like for my Grandfather to fight in World War II – driving the trains that took vital supplies to the front lines in France and Germany… returning home to work at the steel mills and raise his family on a farm. How my grandmother coped and tended to everything while he was gone. How she took care of her family and stretched every penny to its fullest.

They never lived a life of financial riches… not even the modest life-insurance policies they took out decades before their passing would be enough to cover their funeral expenses, let alone medical… but they were rich. Rich in their memories, rich in the lives they led and families they raised.

And they went about life without compromise. They led it the way they chose to. They had gone through a lot – and they were always there for their families when they were needed.

I ended up with two 90-minute cassette tapes full of their recorded interviews. I could have listened to them speak of their lives for hours and in my immature, foolish mind I probably thought I would be able to whenever I wanted.

Time, as time will, destroyed those cassettes… never duplicated or cared for. What I wouldn’t give to have them again. To hear their voices one more time. To hear their wisdom and feel their guiding hands on my shoulder…

Time passes… as all things… pass in time.



20:38 Nov 17 2008

that was beautiful... :)

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