Saturday, November 5, 2011

Recent events

My eyesight is...improving?
A few days ago, it was time for my annual visit to the optometrist.  (Note to self: if you plan to get your eyes dilated, choose an appointment in the afternoon so you don't have to go back to work where you have to be able to see in order to be productive...)  While I don't mind having my eyes checked, I've always hated that machine that sends a puff of pressurized air into your eye to check for glaucoma (I think), a machine that my current optometrist does not use (thank God).  And when all was said and done, after making sure the receptionist did not charge me $35 extra for services covered by my insurance, I left with a prescription that was slightly improved than last year.  Having worn glasses since I was 14, and contacts since I was 21, I've been used to my eyesight getting worse every year, but this is the first time that my prescription has actually gotten better.  And since my insurance doesn't cover glasses and contact lenses, I'll be doing some shopping around to see what makes financial sense to claim this year.

I also left with a prescription for some antibiotic eye drops, which the optomistrist gave me because she said my tear ducts were clogged and causing my eyes to dry out, a problem she had noted in my file last year, but I didn't do anything about.  I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be surprised that they were still clogged after all the crying I've done in the past two months, or amazed that I was able to let loose the waterworks even with clogged tear ducts.  Regardless, after shelling out a $50 co-pay ("I'm sorry, sir, but it's not available in generic"), for the past two weeks, just before going to sleep, I've had to put a drop of this goopy stuff in each eye, and woken up with some crusty remnants in the morning.  Very attractive.

City living
My new apartment is in a great part of town, just one and a half miles from the office, which I have been walking most days, both ways.  There are tons of restaurants both on the way home and close to my apartment, but in the two months that I've now lived here, I haven't visited any of them.  While I know it's cheaper to eat at home, and you've seen my freezer, so lawd knows I have enough food, I think the greater issue is that I don't want to have to eat alone.  I know it sounds terribly cliched, but it's true.  And while I've been a social butterfly for the past few weeks, it's mainly been entertaining at home and showing friends my new place, which I've enjoyed doing, and which I've always preferred much more than trying to figure out a bill at the end of the evening.  But at some point, I'm sure I'll venture out and try one of the many places in my new neck-of-the-woods.  With a book.  Or a friend.  I haven't decided yet.

Adult learning
I have a love-hate relationship (well, more hate, really) with attending work conferences.  They always seem to be hit-or-miss for me (well, more miss, really), and I've always seen them more as networking opportunities than anything else.  I'm the type of person who learns by doing, which is really how I cut my teeth as I was starting out.  And, like many adult learners, you can put me a classroom or seminar session, but it's the practical application of the training that is more useful to me than anything else. 

This past week, I attended the annual conference for the local chapter of the fundraisers association.  While this conference was better than others I've attended in the past (and the food wasn't bad either, as evidenced by the five bite-size cupcakes and two cookies I consumed because I'm a sucker for any baked good that has cranberry in it), two things - neither good - stood out for me:
  • One smaller session featured a woman on a panel who said quite plainly that she wanted to give her daughter some work experience, so she gave a non-profit organization a donation to specifically hire her daughter in a quid quo pro arrangement, and then suggested that other non-profits use that as a way to get more donations.  I. Was. Horrified.  Not only is such an arrangement a tremendous conflict of interest (because there are way too many strings attached to the donation that ultimately has personal benefit to the donor and her family), but what possible benefit could there be to the non-profit other than having to create a position that they may or may really not need?  I can only hope that the representatives from other non-profits will not be so foolish as to pursue this dead-end of donations.  Seriously.
  • Stedman Graham (Mr. Oprah Winfrey) gave a closing plenary on leadership development that was completely useless.  Utterly, completely, terrifyingly useless.  Based on his book, the presentation was filled with esoteric platitudes that said nothing and meant nothing.  And yet some people seemed to lap it up.  An hour of my life I will never get back, yet desperately wish I could. 
The only other thing I noticed was neither good nor bad, but more...a matter of curiosity.  Out of about 400 attendees, I was one of only two people of Asian descent. This is pretty much what I'm used to in the profession, but it's always interesting to see in a large group setting like that.  Go figure.

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