Friday, December 26, 2003

The Guest

style="FLOAT: left; MARGIN: 0px 10px 10px 0px; CURSOR: hand"
alt="" src="12-26-03 The Guest_files/kisha.jpg"
border=0>She wandered in off the street to the party
univited. She was not dressed for the occasion, her coat
ratty, and she thin and hungry. No one said anything
even though she obviously didn't below, yet a few party
guests took pity and gave her some food from the buffet
table. She was quietly thankful, knowing it would cause
a scene if she became too visible and that she would be
asked to leave. Kelly introduced herself and got her a
plate and took her over into a corner where she smiled
and ate, not saying much. When she had her fill, she
looked up knowing it was time to leave and began to head
toward the door into the chill of the high desert

Kelly looked at me, tears in her eyes, but
said nothing. I knew what she wanted to

"Let's ask her to stay at our place for a
while," I said.

Kelly smiled and headed straight
to the door. I could see her talking with the young lady
and then hugging her. I walked over and Kelly introduced
me to "Kisha," who nodded submissively but I could see
in her eyes that her spirit had not been

We all walked back to the house together,
smiling, the cold night air warmed by the event. At our
home, we introduced her to our animal children --
Comogente, Suerte, Gidget, Dahli Ween, Chica, and
Goldie. They all welcomed Kisha without objection. They
have seen many guests come and go.

Kisha looked
up at us as if to say one more time, "Are you sure this
is OK?", and then laid down by the fireplace next to
Goldie where she would sleep, warm and protected, as she
has ever since. Sometimes now when we arrive home late,
I am reminded of something Margaret Mead once observed,
"One of the oldest human needs is having someone to
wonder where you are when you don't come home at night."
Kisha wonders and we can see the relief in her eyes when
we walk in the door.

href=""> style="FLOAT: right; MARGIN: 0px 0px 10px 10px; CURSOR: hand"
alt="" src="12-26-03 The Guest_files/kisha2.jpg"
Now, two months after meeting Kisha and
bringing her home, it is time for her to find her home,
a forver home, and give us room to bring in more guests
from the streets and feed and comfort them until they,
too, find the place they should be

You'll agree she is beautiful, a
brilliant black with white markings, loves to be
touched, to sleep next to the bed at night, and always
protective. She gets along well with her roommates, but
would make someone a wonderful only companion. If you
are that person, or know who he or she is, please let us
know. We will be driving to Dallas in mid-January and
will bring Kisha with us to a special, loving, always

Epilog: We miss all of our guests when they
leave, and I would be lying if I said we have not shed
many tears when that time comes. This will particularly
be true with Kisha whose love, joy, and spirit will be
missed. Yet, unless we let our guests move on to their
forever-homes, we cannot bring in more guests from the
streets, and as Kelly reminds me, oftentimes through her
tears, that is the mission.

Saturday, December 20, 2003


Christmas is a time of
reflection which leads most of us to conclude we have it
pretty good, that we are blessed, fortunate, or just
plain lucky. For sure most of say we are "thankful" and
it strikes me that, depending on circumstances, that
word takes on different meanings.

"I am thankful
for my friends and my family." Most of us say that and
we mean it. We are thankful for others with whom we
enjoy meaningful relationships. We are "thankful"
because we believe them to be like ourselves and it is
easy to feel compassion for those whom we know and

I also hear people say they are
"thankful" because . . .

"I am not one of the 850
million people on this planet who will go to bed hungry

"I am not one of the 30 million people
who go to work in the United States everyday, but do not
earn enough to provide food, shelter, and clothing for
their families."

"I am not one of the 50% of the
world's population who live on less than $2 a

"I have a new car and he is still driving
that old one."

"I have a good job and he just
lost his."

It strikes me that being "thankful" by
way of comparing ourselves to others is not being
thankful at all, but just being relieved that our
burdens are not as heavy. We feel somehow different,
even superior, that we dodged the bullet while they
caught it right between the eyes.
It is sometimes
hard to tell what we are feeling, but I do know that it
does us good to think about what we feel and why we feel
it. When we look around and see others who were dealt a
poor hand of cards, what do we feel? Are we "thankful"
because we are different than they are, more fortunate,
somehow deserving of our fate? Or, are we "thankful"
because we recognize that we are the same, and that but
for our seat at the table when the cards were dealt, we
would be playing their hand instead of ours?

is an interesting question and perhaps the answer is
found in whether we find ourselves glad we're not in
their spot, or whether we want shuffle the deck and
redeal the cards.

Happy holidays.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The PC Christmas Celebration

This time of year in the workplace (more than any other) I am reminded of those companies that substitute institutional programs for individual relationships, in an effort to say "we care."

"We're ABC company -- we care about you!" is ironically comical to most employees who know that their company cares for them only as "human resources," emphasis on "resources." The implication a disembodied corporation "cares" for its "resources" is believable only as they care for their other producing assets -- that is, they care enough to keep them in good repair and fully functional.

Genuine care, compassion, and concern, on the other hand, are the thoughts, feelings, and emotions we express for and to each other as individuals, one-on-one. No parties, gifts, or celebrations can ever replace that which is most needed, and regretably lacking in most workplaces -- meaningful relationships between managers and those for whom they are responsible. These are the Credible Connections that are not for sale.

Below is a little story -- a caricature of reality that illustrates the point as well as comically documenting the ultimately doomed attempt of those who place themselves and their organizations into the mire of political correctness.

P.S. To all you HR Directors out there -- we feel your pain! -karger

December 1st

I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take
place on December 23rd at Luigi's Open Pit Barbecue. There will be lots of
spiked eggnog and a small band playing traditional carols...feel free to sing
along. And don't be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus to
light the Christmas tree! Exchange of gifts among employees can be done at that
time; however, no gift should be over $10.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Patty Lewis
Human Resources Director

December 2nd

In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish
employees. We recognize that Hanukkah is an important holiday thatoften
coincides with Christmas (though unfortunately not this year).However, from now
on we're calling it our "Holiday Party." The samepolicy applies to employees who
are celebrating Kwanzaa at thistime. There will be no Christmas tree and no
Christmas carols sung.

Happy Holidays to you and your family.

Patty Lewis
Human Resources Director

December 3rd

Regarding the anonymous note I received from a member of Alcoholics
Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table, I'm happy to accommodate this
request, but, don't forget, if I put a sign on the table that reads, "AA Only,"
you won't be anonymous anymore In addition, forget about the gifts exchange-- no
gifts will beallowed since the union members feel that $10 is too much

Patty Lewis
Human Researchers Director

December 7th

I've arranged for members of Overeaters Anonymous to sit farthestfrom
the dessert buffet and pregnant women closest to the restrooms.Gays are allowed
to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have tosit with the gay men; each will
have their table. Yes, there willbe a flower arrangement for the gay men's
table. Happy now?

Patty Lewis
Human Racehorses Director

December 9th

People, people -- nothing sinister was intended by wanting our CEOto
play Santa Claus! Even if the anagram of "Santa" does happen tobe "Satan," there
is no evil connotation to our own "little man ina red suit."

Patty Lewis
Human Ratraces

December 10th

Vegetarians --I've had it with you people!! We're going to hold this party atLuigi's Open Pit whether you like it or not, you can just sit atthe table farthest from the "grill of death," as you put it, andyou'll get salad bar only, including hydroponic tomatoes. But, youknow, tomatoes have feelings, too. They scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream. I'm hearing them right now... Ha!

I hope you all have a rotten holiday! Drive drunk and die, you hear me?

The Bitch from Hell

December 14th

I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery from her stress-related illness. I'll continue to forwardyour cards to her at the sanitarium. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.

Happy Holidays!
Terri Bishop
Acting Human Resources Director