Friday, August 31, 2007

Mother - Daughter Fun

Hollywood is mad at me.

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She was going to spend the night at a friend's house tonight, go to the opening football game in a nearby town, and go to the mall with her friend tomorrow. We had it all planned, I'd had a lovely chat with her friend's mom about it, and things were set.

Until I caught her texting on her phone.

I know, I know... texting isn't the worst thing a kid can do. While I don't get the texting phenomenon, it's not illegal, dangerous (unless some dumbass teenage girl is texting while driving - something I've witnessed on numerous occasions), or bad on any level really, by itself. It is, however, expensive - an additional charge per text received and sent - on the cell phone plan that I have. And, because of that, I very clearly explained to Hollywood when she got her phone, that she wasn't to use it as a portable IM device. That's what our computer is for, and God knows she IMs on it plenty.

So her phone's gone, and she can't go to her friend's house tonight. When Hollywood clearly understood that I was sticking to her punishment, she calmly called her friend and told her she couldn't go, and then sulked off to her bedroom. I was amazed - normally she'd have exploded like a ripe zit on a teenager's forehead (the kind that splatters the bathroom mirror with white goo?) and we'd have a good thirty minute argument. Because she handled it like a mature young lady, I will likely give her the phone back sooner than if she'd have gone nutso on me.

Later on in the evening, Hollywood wrote me a letter and asked me if she could read it out loud to me. She was emotional and upset when she read it. It started with "I'm sorry I didn't follow the rules on texting..." Ok, good start. "I know you do this because you love me, but..." she started. Uh-oh, this won't be good, I thought. Then, it veered into a bitch session on how unfair I am. "You never let me do the things my friends do. I have the most protective social life of all my friends. You always want to know where I'm at and what I'm doing, and I know you do that because you love me, but..." I was mentally eye-rolling at this point, but I kept my mouth shut and my eyes did not roll. "My friends all get to do so much more than I can. Their parents don't set strict rules like you do. You go in my room and go through my stuff, and you read my files on the computer - "

That's where I interrupted her.

"Wait a minute. I don't go through your files on the computer, and I don't go through your things in your room." I said. "I've only made it clear to you that I reserve the right to do those things if I feel that there's a need for it."

She huffed off, infuriated that I interrupted her, and stormed downstairs to her room for the night.

So, folks. Here's why I'm a bad mom:
  • I set rules for my daughter and expect them to be followed.
  • I don't let her go anywhere without knowing who she's with and what she's doing. (Horror of horrors! I mean - wow. Could I be any more unreasonable? I want to know what my 13 year old is doing. That's cruelty!)
  • Her friends' parents let them do whatever they want. (I love this one. I'm sure that I'm the only parent with rules like this. This one gets a big, fat Whatever from me.)
I wonder how many times a variation of this conversation happens across the U.S. I'm sure that gazillions of other parents have the same discussions with their kids. Lord knows I had them with my own mom twenty years ago.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Slogging

I'm beat. I just finished my 30 minute run. If I'm feeling truthful, I should call it a slog (slow jog).

I've been keeping with the program (Coolrunning.com's One Hour Runner Program), and I have to admit that I feel pretty awesome for sticking to it. But here's a great big dose of humility for me:

On Sunday we were graced with gorgeous weather. The program had me running 41 minutes for my 'long' run, so I asked Hollywood to join me outside. I normally run on the treadmill, but couldn't pass up the fall-like weather. We ran along a route that took us past 3 miles of nothing but cornfields. It's kind of cool, but please, don't do the math - I know 3 miles in 41 minutes is incredibly slow running. Before we left, Hollywood said, "I'll never be able to jog that long without stopping" I told her that was no problem. We'd stop if she needed to.

She stopped to walk a few times while I kept running. But here's the kicker: She not-even-so-speedily speed walked beside me while I slogged along. That's right, folks. My 5'1" daughter can WALK as fast as I can jog. I might never call it 'running' again.

Yeah, I'm not as cool or athletic as I wish I was.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Country Music Kind of Post

I love country music. As a whole, the genre isn't known for it's technical mastery. But that's ok with me. It's the stories the songs tell that makes me love country music. My love for these stories dates back to when I was a kid. I'd spend hours listening to Kenny Rogers croon about The Coward of the County and making up dance moves while mom's record player blared Anne Murray singing Let's Keep it That Way. I can still remember where that record had a skip. "I don't want to have to tell him a lie when he gets back home. Cuz it would tear apart his fair- air-air-air-air...." Woah - I'm contemplating those lyrics right now. What an uncomfortable song that is! "Before we forget, we're not cheaters yet, let's keep it that way..." Wow. I know I didn't understand the meaning of that song way back when I was trying to jazz it up with cool dance moves in my mom's bedroom.

Sometimes country music is so cheesy that it's horrible - lots of Brad Paisley and Joe Nichols songs fall into this category. Though I love the song Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off because it has a Bon Jovi reference in it. ("Those panty hose ain't gonna last too long, if the DJ puts Bon Jovi on...")

More often than I like to admit, country music makes me cry. Like that song I've Had my Moments or whatever it's called. The song's about a vagrant who stops a young man from jumping off of a bridge. Or Kenny Chesney's There Goes my Life, a song about unplanned pregnancy turning out to be a wonderful gift, which hits close to home for me, and makes me weep when I hear it. Or the one about the little girl who doesn't know Jesus' name but she knows who he is because he was there with her the night her dad shot her mom and himself... Know that one? It's a tearjerker!! There are more of these songs that make me cry, but I won't embarrass myself further. I'm an emotional train wreck. I cry a lot.

There are also a ton of country songs about people counting their blessings. Songs like I'm a Lucky Man, Who Wouldn't Want to be Me (my very favorite Keith Urban song), and In A Real Love tell a story about being happy with what they have, even if they're not living high on the hog.

Totally off track here, but that dorky 'high on the hog' statement made me think of something that's been bugging me for years. In the movie Sweet Home Alabama, Reese Witherspoon's mom says to Reese's New York fiance: "If I'd have known you were coming, I'd have put on the dog..." What in the world does 'put on the dog' mean??? If anyone knows, I'd appreciate an explanation.

Back to the counting your blessings country music style train of thought... I really appreciate songs that are upbeat and remind me that I have a lot of blessings. I decided it would be a great idea to write a list of things that I'm thankful for at this very moment. So here goes:

  • I got an awesome back rub from TH last night. He might not have thought to ask me about my job interview, but he does give one hell of a back rub.
  • It's Friday!
  • My nephews are coming over tonight!
  • We have another easy weekend planned.
  • Our fantasy football league draft is on Sunday. Look out league - the Dino Mamas are going to win it all this year!
  • Football season is almost here! Go Packers.
  • Regular tv season is almost here - no more reruns!!
  • The Boy and Hollywood seem to be enjoying their first week of school.
  • Bumblebee cleaned her room last night - with a lot of help from Hollywood. Now I can walk into it at night without the lights on and not fear for my life.
  • There is only one hour and forty-six minutes left of my work day.
What are some of your blessings? I'd love to hear them!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Murphy's Law of Job Seeking, and Other Stuff..

Today I got another call today from someone who wants to set up an interview with me. I haven’t called her back yet because the company is a smallish insurance company and I’m just not loving the idea of working for an insurance company. At first I didn’t think anything could be more boring than banking, but when you compare insurance with banking, I think insurance might win the most mind-numbingly boring industry prize.


Here’s what’s weird: It’s some form of Murphy’s Law… When I was at my last job, I hated it. I wanted out so badly that I got a stomach ache every day I got up and faced going into the office. It was that bad. I spent months and months looking for a new job. I hardly ever got callbacks.


Today, I have a job that I like. Usually. For the most part. A few months ago, I had what I’ll call a ‘valley’ where I didn’t like it. We had a lot of system problems, things got really hectic and stressful, and I had some VPs yelling that we couldn’t keep the websites up. I applied for two jobs outside of Giant Ass Bank (GAB), thinking that I could escape being the messenger who got shot.


I got called in for the interview I had on Tuesday, and today I got a call from the other job I applied for. AND… Remember this post? I got called from a company I didn’t even apply with! What gives?!


Why is it that when you really need a job, they’re impossible to find, but when you don’t really need a new one, interviews fall out of the sky?

Enough about that…


Yesterday I spent the entire day thinking it was Thursday. I was so depressed every time I remembered that it was only Wednesday. Now that it actually is Thursday, I just wish it was Friday.


I’m going out for drinks after work tomorrow because my girl Webgal is leaving the team I work for to go work on a different team, in a completely different division of GAB. This will be fun – it something I rarely get to do because The Husband usually isn’t home to pick Bumblebee up from daycare. But he’s home now and can pick her up, so I’ll actually get to participate in the ritual of sending someone off by getting them schnockered on their last day. I won’t be the one getting schnockered, though, since I get to babysit my nephews tomorrow night. This week is my brother and sis-in-law’s 10th wedding anniversary. They’re going out to dinner without the boys, so that means I get to play with them!!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY E AND K!!


Bumblebee said something funny last night, but I was an idjit and forgot to write it down. Now I’ll be wracking my brain to remember it. When she said it, I thought to myself, “That’s blogworthy. Write it down.” But I didn’t. All I can remember is that it was a joke. I’ll have to ask her tonight if she remembers it. You know that an original joke from a 4 year old will be funny.


Exciting news… My best pal from way back is in Ethiopia adopting a baby right now. They’re scheduled to bring their new bundle of joy home tomorrow, I believe, but he’s been sick since they’ve been there. I am so excited for them! They have three gorgeous kids and decided that they wanted to have another one, and they chose to adopt from Ethiopia. Tariku was born on April 30th, so he’s a wee little thing! Congratulations to them, and I can’t wait to meet the little guy!


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Not the Perfect Mom

Sometimes I really hate that I'm not a perfect mom.

Last night, after a very stressful and busy day of work, I ran to Menard's to get some veneer for the table after picking Bumblebee up from daycare. She was cranky and misbehaving. And whiiiiiiiiny. I had very cute, but very painful shoes on. Menard's is the size of a small country. I had to run from one corner of the store to the other, and back again in those ridiculously painful shoes because I'm a Home Depot gal and don't know my way around Menard's.

We got to the van after finally finding everything we needed, and Bumblebee whined about how hooooooot it was, while crying that she had to go to the baaaaaathroom. I was at my wit's end.

We got home, I checked the veneer and found that it wasn't long enough and that I'll have to special order the veneer for the table I'm refinishing. That means I have to return to Menards and take back the stupid stuff. Ugh.

See how my day was going?

I was tired and crabby. When I walked in the door, Hollywood told me that she wants to be the manager of the football team. Last year when she was signing up for activities, I begged her to cut back and choose only those that she really loved. She dropped band and volleyball but kept chorus, basketball, track, softball and TAG. And she wants to take guitar lessons again. This fall season was supposed to be our two months off for the whole year - free from sporting events and practices and everything else. But now she wants to be the football team manager. When she told me this, I flipped out. I complained about the fact that this is just another commitment, that we have too much going on, blah blah blah. Hollywood got upset and started crying because I wasn't happy about her doing this. She pointed out that I wouldn't have to do much other than pick her up from practice (and she could easily get a ride if I was busy), that I didn't have to go to the games or anything, since she wasn't playing - and so on.

I thought about it some more, realized that she was right. Initially, it just seemed like another thing to deal with on my overwhelming schedule. But the time she needs picked up from practice is the exact same time that I get home from work, and the football field is only a mile away from the house, so it's not a big deal. Really. I just overreacted. I hate that attribute. I'm a hothead. I freak out over little things. And it makes me feel like shit when I calm down and assess the situation, and realize that I blew something like that way out of proportion.

I apologized and said she could do it. She was happy. I forced myself to get my 30 minute run in, so that I could de-stress a bit. I definitely needed it. It made me feel better, and the rest of the evening was quite lovely.

Later that night, as she came in to say goodnight (Hollywood goes to be after me. How lame am I?) she said, "Oh - wasn't that job interview today? How'd it go?!"

I almost started to cry because of how thoughtful she was. The Husband hadn't remembered to ask me how it went, and I was secretly sulking about that. But in my passive-aggressive way, I chose not to bring it up during our nightly phone call. (He is traveling for work this week, like he has been for the past two months.) I wondered how long it would take him to remember that I had a job interview. Don't bother pointing out that nobody is a mind reader and that I should have brought it up myself, and all of that. I know he's not a mind reader. I know he forgot about it. I know I should have brought it up to him if I'd wanted to talk to him about it. (I guess If he reads this, he'll remember, but... ) Whatever. It doesn't matter that he forgot. Well, not that much I guess. Ok, clearly it still bothers me a teeny bit, but... back to Hollywood.

I thanked her for being so thoughtful and reminded myself not to fly off the handle at her so much just because I've had a stressful day. She is a great kid, a thoughtful kid, and picking her up at the football field after school is no big deal. Besides, who wouldn't want to hang out with the football team every day after school? Can't blame the girl.

Oh, and by the way... The interview went well. But I don't want to jinx it, because I think I would really LOVE this job. It would be right up my alley and it pays well. It might be a teeny bit out of my league (I'm a bit thin on the interactive/web marketing experience), but I feel like I did a good job of selling myself. I guess we'll see. I was already warned that this would be a long process and I won't likely hear anything for a few weeks.

That's all I got. Later Gators!

Monday, August 20, 2007

First Day of School

**Warning... I had absolutely no time to compose this post. I tried to start it at work, but got interrupted by people who wanted me to do the things I get paid for. (The nerve!) Then I tried it before dinner, but the kids kept whining that they were hungry. (How dare they?) And finally, I finished it after dinner, while The Boy chattered on about his first day of school this year. I finally gave up on smooth transitions and engaging prose. As a result, it's choppy, grammatically erroneous, and generally painful to read. With that said, read on, please...**

- - - - - -

Today was The Boy's first day of fifth grade and Hollywood's first day of eighth grade.

Here are some pictures of them:

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I think the kids were ready to go back. I know I was, not that it changes my schedule that much - if anything it makes it busier. I just like the routine it brings. Hollywood and I both had a hard time sleeping last night. I expect she was having trouble because she was excited about school. I think I just jogged too late in the day. I couldn't fall asleep, and when I did, I kept waking up in between weird dreams.

I dreamed (or is it dreamt? dictionary.com says it can be both. I think I like dreamt better...) Aw screw it.... I had a dream in which I was attending a Keith Urban concert being held in my old junior high auditorium. Some guys in the front row got arrested by security for trying to capture Keith's sweat in the lid of a felt tip pen. Yeah, I have weird dreams. It was hot and humid in our bedroom, so maybe that's where the sweat part of it came in? I know where the felt tip pen part came from. Yesterday, I spent twenty minutes searching Target for the two red checking pens that were on The Boy's school supply list. All I wanted was a red Bic pen. Is that too hard to ask for? I don't think so either! I ended up having to buy those felt tip pens that nobody likes to write with. All because I procrastinated until the day before school started to get supplies. If I'd have known they would be such a hard thing to find at Target, I'd have pilfered two red checking pens from work!

So back to the kids. They were both excited, but claimed not to be this morning. The Boy was ready to go and had his heavy backpack filled with all of his supplies on his back by 7:30. The bus doesn't come until 7:55. After breakfast and pictures and all of that, he was ready to go to the bus stop early so he could horse around with his friends. Hollywood was a bit more reserved, but she spent extra time on her hair and makeup and was irritated that a fresh zit popped up this morning.

Last night she had me paint her fingernails and toenails for her. Black on the fingers, blue on her toes. I always tell her how much I hate the black polish which is probably why it's her favorite. Oh! I almost forgot... We bought her electric guitar yesterday. This is what she spent hours and hours scanning tax return documents at her Grandpa's work for:

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Pretty cool, huh? The eye makeup she's wearing was an 'experiment.' It is WAY too dark. If her father saw her, he'd flip.

Tonight at dinner, Bumblebee picked up a shrimp and stared intently at it. Since the camera was right next to the table at the time, I had her stage a reenactment. Here is the pose:

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As she was looking the shrimp over, she asked, "Did this thing used to crawl around the desert?"

Funny kid.

So, back to the first day of school... I'm surprised at how quickly this summer passed. We had the busiest summer in history with all of our weekend trips and our vacation to New York and Ohio. I'm amazed that June, July and August pass so much quicker than December, January, and February do. Although I'm a bit sad to see the summer months come to an end, I'm excited that the weather will soon cool down (no sign of that today though, ugh); I'm really excited to see football on tv (GO PACKERS!! TH says their Defense will be great this year) ; and I'm happy that another season is on it's way. Because that's what keeps things interesting.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The No Plans Weekend

This was the scene this morning:

I woke lazily to a cool, 63 degree breeze and the sound of light rain outside. It was 7:04. And, Bumblebee and The Boy were still sleeping. (Hollywood is at a slumber party.) TH and I took advantage of the moment, and drifted lazily back to sleep. We slept until 8:33 a.m.

I got up, made some coffee, and started breakfast. Because I'm on a healthy eating kick (I wonder how long this one will last...), I made oatmeal with blueberries. Not donuts. Not greasy bacon or sausage. Not something unhealthy. And guess what? My kids are RAVING over the stuff. "This is GREAT!" The Boy said. Referring to the blueberries and sauce, Bumblebee said, "I think the juice tastes the bestest." High praise for healthy food. She's on her second bowl of it now.

I'm so excited because it's now 9:15 on a Saturday afternoon and we have no plans this weekend. Well, I have plans. But they're my plans, and I don't have to drive anywhere far away to do them. Last weekend we spent 16 hours in a car to head to Fargo and back. We've been all over the place this summer, and it's nice to have a relaxing weekend planned.

Oh the possibilities... I plan to work on refinishing my table, clean the house a bit, do some laundry, take a nap or two, read a book, watch the TiVoed episode of What Not to Wear, play with the kids, finish up on school supply shopping, get some groceries, weed my flower beds, organize my filing cabinet (inspiration source for that is CMommy), and whatever else I can cram into a 'no plans' weekend. I know, it sounds like a lot to do, but I'm still stoked that I can get to these things at a fairly leisurely pace.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Helpful Tip Thursday

It's a bad, bad idea to take a four year old to the State Fair after receiving immunization shots in her leg. We had to rent an ancient, undoubtedly germ-ridden stroller from the fair because her legs hurt. By the time we left the fairgrounds, her leg had stiffened up so much that she couldn't walk. And I had to carry her the five blocks to the car.

It was 92 degrees and stiflingly humid. We spent $21 on water alone.

Fun times.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Just A-Swingin'

This weekend was crammed full of activity, as usual.

Friday night we went to the State Fair. The first Friday night of the fair is known for it's 'rough' partying. We go every year and have drinks at the beer tents before heading home. This year we were standing in our usual spot and I spotted some people we knew. They go to our church, their kids go to the same school as ours, and our sons played on the same little league game a few years ago. A very nice couple.

I waved at "Peggy Sue" (not her real name) and she came over and gave me a big hug and said hello. I love how beer drinking makes casual acquaintances instant best pals. Her husband "Buddy" (not his real name) came over and started chatting with us. We talked about the kids and about going back to school and work and whatnot. They got called away by another friend and Peggy Sue hugged me again, while Buddy slapped my shoulder and said goodbye.

Those guys are really nice people. We should hang out with them sometime. I thought to myself after they left.

Fast forward to Saturday night. We'd driven up to Fargo for The Husband's Uncle Bob's ash scattering on the Red River. The ash scattering was a very cool thing to witness, I've never seen that done before and it was a fitting tribute to the man Bob was. Before he passed on, he picked out the spot to have his remains scattered and it was perfect - a tranquil and gorgeous location. I was briefly horrified when Bumblebee said she got some of the "dust" in her mouth (it was windy) but I tried not to think about it much.

That night, we hung out at the hotel with TH's uncle and aunt, and my in-laws. We had a nice time sitting by the pool drinking wine, eating pizza, and watching the kids play in the pool. TH casually mentioned to his uncle that we ran into Peggy Sue and Buddy at the fair the night before. He knows them too - small world. Anyway, TH's uncle dropped a little bomb when he said, "Did you know they're swingers?"

Wow. That's definitely food for thought. Maybe it's gossip, maybe it's true, who knows. It sure did get my mind going, though. It wandered in this type of direction...

If you're a swinger, how do you pick up your partners? Are they called 'partners' or are they 'dates' or 'acquisitions' or what?

Does it hurt your feelings if you ask a couple to swing and they say no? It must hurt, at least a little. And what about the embarrassment of running into them again? I wouldn't want to be picking out a melon at the grocery store when one of the non-interested, non-swingers I propositioned at the bar the night before stood across the aisle checking out the kumquats. That would be awkward.

What if you come across a couple at a swingers bar and the woman is smoking hot, but the man looks like he'd been hit by a mack truck? Does your spouse ask you to 'take one for the team'? Or do you do rock, paper, scissors to decide if you make a move or not? Or do you have a rule that both of you must agree upon the swinging partners before a move is made?

I think swinging would be very complicated. The logistics are tricky. Say you meet Bonnie and Clyde in a bar. Where do you go once you've decided to fool around? Do you both go back to the same house? Do Peggy and Clyde take the master bedroom while Buddy and Bonnie go to the den? Or do Bonnie and Buddy go to the Holly residence while Peggy and Clyde go to the, {insert Clyde's last name}'s residence?

Aside from where you do it, the frequency is also a question I have. If it works out and Bonnie and Clyde are a good match for Buddy and Peggy Sue, do they meet up again? How often? What if you get more action with your swinging partner than your spouse? Does that make you jealous or grouchy or happy?

If you're a swinger, and you want to have kids, does the man always question if he's the true parent of the woman's children? Or is there a moratorium placed on all swinging activity during the trying to conceive phase? What happens when there's a 'surprise' pregnancy?

Do gay people swing? Is 'swing' the correct verb here?

See, lots of questions. I could go on, trust me. There are a lot more in my brain. But my fingers are tired. Anyone else have questions? Or, better yet, is anyone out there qualified to answer these questions?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Post Without a Witty Title

Today is Thursday.

Today is gloomy, like it has been for the past week.

Today is August 9th, and where, oh where, did the summer go?

I was walking into work this morning by the plasma tv they have hanging across from the coffee shop. The tv is always set to Headline News or something like that. This morning, I glanced up at it to see this caption: "If you were a terrorist, how would you attack?" I actually stopped and gaped. What the? Then I heard the tv journalist say, "Send in your suggestions and we'll air them."

That doesn't seem like such a great idea to me. Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure the international big time terrorists have plenty of creativity among themselves to come up with their own plots and ideas. Clearly, they've proven that. We probably couldn't come up with something they haven't thought of. But, do we need to have this kind of discussion? I'm more worried about the ideas it might plant in the whacked out brain of an unbalanced nineteen-year-old watching the show while he's supposed to be studying for his advanced physics midterm.

Which reminds me of the scene in Real Genius where they're all studying for finals in some commons room and a guy gets up and just starts screaming and pulling at his hair. Classic. I. Love. That. Movie. Val Kilmer is absolutely delicious in that movie. Here, let me go find a picture of it just in case you haven't seen him in it:

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Ok, it's kind of a dorky picture. But trust me, it's a good look for him.

Wow, that was quite a tangent. So yeah, the terrorist thing caught me off guard this morning. It just seemed wrong.

What else is new? I'm mad because TiVo screwed up and instead of recording the premiere of LA Ink, it recorded some other stupid show. (I think maybe my kids were involved in the program change, so sorry, TiVo, for blaming you. I know it's not your fault - you're the best invention of this decade.)

I had never read Nora Roberts before. But figured I should give her a shot since she cranks books out by the gazillions. It was my audiobook for the past week, what I listened to on my commute and during my runs. I enjoyed it, actually! It's not my normal style of book, but it was entertaining. Except for the swear words that made it tough to listen to while I was doing housework. "Mommy? Why did the CD player say that bad word?"

The Boy has this really interesting hobby. I love his creativity - he spends hours creating new comic book heroes and villains. Sometimes instead of a comic book, he says he's creating a new Pokemon monster or whatever. He's very talented at coming up with interesting characters. Last night he was working on them after I went to bed and he asked if he could come show them to me when he was done. I was falling asleep, and knew he'd be at it for another hour or so, and I told him to lay them out on the table and I'd write him a note about them this morning. He had some really great ones on the table! One looked like a sumo wrestler, one had wings that were designed like leaves, one looked like a robotic football player. He's just so creative with these things, it amazes me. My favorite was the football player one. :)

Well, that's enough rambling for one post. Happy Thursday, everyone!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Job Interview

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that my job has its ups and downs. A few months ago I was in a 'down' trend. Currently I'm fairly happy with my job. Well, I don't like the fact that I have to answer to 'the man', but until I write a bestseller, I suppose I have to continue the corporate routine.

Since I'm fairly happy, and not ecstatic about my job, I do myself the courtesy of keeping up on what other jobs are available within Giant Ass Bank (GAB), and I occasionally check out what's going on in other similar companies in the area too. I even have a Career Builder email alert. But I never see anything that really trips my trigger.

Not long ago, a colleague of mine who left GAB to go to Company X, emailed me to say that Company X was hiring a Web Marketing person. He was nice enough to suggest to the hiring manager that I was a great candidate. I emailed my resume to my ex-co-worker, and that was that. I didn't hear much for a while, and kind of wrote it off.

Then I got a call from Diane at Company X. She called my work phone, which irritated me, because my cell phone is what's listed on my resume. Anyway, I played phone tag with her and finally got her voice mail. It said:

"Hi, this is Diane from Company X's talent and acquisition department. Please leave a message..." Talent and acquisition? Huh. Whatever happened to good old fashioned HR?

Anyway, once I got in touch with her, she said she wanted me to come in to discuss the opportunity. I took another look at the job description and agreed to the interview.

For a while, I got all puffed up and pleased with myself, thinking I rock since a company came to me for an interview, instead of me posting an application to them. Then I started to think and analyze and rethink and reanalyze. I thought it was odd that Diane didn't ask me what my salary requirement was. I thought the job looked a lot like web marketing implementation instead of strategy, which likely meant it was a lower paying job. As my friend Webgal says, 'people get paid more to think than to do.' And I'm a thinker, not a doer.

I decided to email the hiring manager about the salary. I didn't want to waste my time on an interview that wasn't going to go anywhere, and it would take a pretty hefty salary increase to get me to leave the flexibility and comfort of my current job. I wasn't surprised when he responded that my desired salary was outside of the range for that position. So I courteously canceled the interview and decided that Company X's 'Talent and Acquisition' department needs some more talent of its own. Any good HR rep would have screened an applicant before the interview. I'd have been really irritated if I'd have gone all the way out to Company X to get through the interview only to find out that my salary expectations weren't even in the range for the job.

Yeah, well. Now I'm back where I started. But I'm ok with that for now. I like the flexibility here. I mean, really... how many jobs exist where you can write blog posts at 1:30 in the afternoon?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Gone Fishin

Bumblebee got a fishin' pole for her birthday. (She never says the 'g' sound in words ending in 'ing', it's really cute in a country-bumpkin sort of way.)

All week, she's been asking when Daddy was going to get home so he could take her fishin'. So on Sunday, we took the kids out to a pond to catch some bluegills.

The Husband got the worm on Bumblebee's Disney Princesses fishin' pole and cast it out. Here's a shot of that:

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Within thirty seconds, she'd caught her first fish:

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Bumblebee was standing by the water watching her bobber when she said, "See Daddy? I can do patience!" He's always telling her that she has to be patient and wait for the fish, so she was pretty pleased with herself for standing still. Eventually, though, she got tired and decided to lay down:

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Soon it was Hollywood's turn to catch some fish. That's my girl - she squealed when the fish flopped in her hand:

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The Boy was starting to get irritated. He didn't like the fact that his sisters caught before he did. He had lots of bites (or 'nibbles' as Bumblebee called them), but when he went to set the hook, the fish got away.

Finally, he got to reel in a fish that bit on TH's line. Here he is with his own fish:

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And, he's a trooper - not afraid to take the fish off the hook. Bleck:

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It was a fun day - and we enjoyed having The Husband home for the weekend.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Attempting to Save the Bird

I was happily playing badminton with The Boy tonight, when Hollywood and Bumblebee noticed a baby bird on the patio. We have had swallow nests in the rafters of our deck (which is directly above our patio) for a few years now.

I'm not really a bird fan. I mean I like their cheerful chirping in the mornings while I have a cup of coffee in my sun room or on my deck. So as a species (or I guess that would be genus or order or something, I'll have to ask The Husband), and from a distance, I'm ok with birds. But up close, they give me the heebie jeebies. I think it's because I found my brother's dead parakeet in the laundry hamper one time. Birds are just creepy. And the mama and papa swallows do these angry dive bombs when I try to go hang out my laundry, which isn't helping them win me over.

A baby bird is especially creepy. And not in that Alfred Hitchcock The Birds kind of creepy, but in a more subtle way. Why? Because it has sparse tufts of fuzz instead of feathers, and there's nothing but those hollow boned skeletons to them. But just like Jeffrey Dahmer probably was as an infant, it was still sort of cute, even with it's creepiness. (Ok, I'm not so comfortable with that analogy, but I'll keep it because I'm too drained from this experience to come up with a new one.) This little bird fell out of the nest and was floundering on the ground. He didn't appear to be hurt, and he kept opening his mouth, whether to make a sound, or to request food, I'm not certain.

The kids begged to help save him. Hollywood wanted to give him a worm and raise him on her own. At one point, Bumblebee excitedly hopped around by the bird, slipped and fell on her tushie, and landed a centimeter from the poor creature.

I didn' t know what to do, but the little sad bird struggling to open his mouth and flop around the patio even melted my solid bird-hating heart. I had Hollywood go get my latex gloves (the ones I should have been using to clean my toilets, but that isn't happening tonight.) I decided that if I wore gloves, my evil human scent wouldn't get on the bird, therefore making the mama and papa swallows abandon the nest when I dropped him back in with his brothers and sisters.

I squeamishly scooped the little guy up in my gloved hands, and was TOTALLY unprepared for it's clawing and grasping reaction. I almost threw the bird across the yard at that point, but all three of my kids were watching me with wide-eyed wonder as I saved this bird. Actually, that's not true. They were laughing at my girlish squeals while the bird clung to my finger with it's sticky little talony things. Ew, ew, ew.

I tried to lift him up and drop him into the nest, but his pesky brothers and sisters freaked me out by sticking their necks out and opening their mouths when I got close. So I had The Boy grab a slotted spoon from the kitchen to kind of drop him in the nest. You know, like you would if you were gently dropping a ball of dough into hot grease to make a donut? Yeah, that was the plan. Hollywood added a second level of safety by holding a badminton racquet under me.

But the slotted spoon was a mistake. Just when I thought we had the bird saved, he clung to the slots of the spoon and was suspended by one tiny little foot (claw?), upside down above the nest. Hollywood was still spotting me with the racquet, but the bird still bounced off the spoon, to the side of the nest, to the racquet, to the ground.

A moment of silence please.

The poor bird wasn't going to survive two falls from the nest. He was no longer flailing around the pavement, though he was breathing. It looked like he landed on his head. We didn't know what to do. I suggested that we put the bird in the yard, so that we could give some animal a good meal. "It's a circle of life thing." I explained.

"More like a circle of death." The Boy grumbled.

"We need to make a grave for it." Hollywood said.

So we did. We buried the poor little guy and the kids put a marker by his 'grave'.

But, my friends, that freaks me out even more, because that bird was still breathing when we buried him. How EVIL and MEAN are we? And what are mama and papa swallow going to do the next time I go outside to hang out my laundry?!

I Don't Like This One Bit!

This is a post about unhappiness. Before I start, I should preface by saying that I'm fully aware that I have many blessings in my life, including a great husband and family, a nice home, a good job, a dog, a cat, and my health. I know there are lots of people out there going through *real* hard times. But still...

I've been in a rut for the past several days. I'm feeling grumpy, unmotivated, lazy, unhappy, and generally irritated with myself. I can't fully explain the feeling. It's like I want things to be different, not as hard, with more time to relax and not be stressed or busy. It's a weird feeling. And I don't like it one bit.

Here's my list of things to be unhappy about:

  1. This morning I got up to run, did my 5 minute warm-up walk and... I quit. I got off the treadmill, went upstairs and sat in the sun room with a cup of coffee. Then I started to feel guilty for quitting. I just couldn't run this morning, but I don't know why. I wasn't particularly sleepy, I had no aches or pains, it was cool in the basement, so really, there was no reason not to run. But I quit anyway. And now I feel guilty. Why? Am I obligated to run three times a week? No... But my goal is to stay reasonably fit, and I have a history of failed resolutions and goals.
  2. I'm also unhappy about work. I won't go into it here, and I feel bad for TH who had to listen to a tirade last night on the phone, but I'm just sick to death of the pompous, arrogant, Senior VPs that I have to work with. I could write a 5000 word essay on why I'm sick of them, but that would induce a narcoleptic episode on y'all.
  3. I'm unhappy that my house is a mess and I need to clean it, but I'd rather work on refinishing my table or taking a walk with the kids and the dog, than cleaning up the house.
  4. I'm unhappy that The Husband is out of town so much. We've had so much going on lately on the weekends when he is home, that I feel like things have been rushed between us lately. No time for real conversation, no time to just 'hide under the covers all afternoon' like my pal Keith Urban sings in his Raining on Sunday song. So that makes me grumpy.
  5. I'm unhappy that our finances have been slipping a bit lately. We charged more than I'm comfortable with on our vacation, and now I have to scrimp and save to pay it off before we fly to SF this December for my brother's wedding.
  6. I'm unhappy about my weight. I've been losing and gaining the same 3 pounds since February. I'd like to lose 10 more and keep them off. But I can't get a grip on my eating. It's a cop out to say I'm powerless, but I really have no motivation in that area lately too.

When I go back through my list, I see that all but #2 are things I control. And really, #2 can be controlled by perception. So what to do about all of this unhappiness? I'm usually a very happy person. I don't like this kind of rut. Drink more water? Exercise more? Force my mind to quit wallowing in self pity and make the most out of the great life that I know I have? Yeah, that's what I should do.

Ok, here's my plan:

  1. Get off my butt and run tonight. No excuses. Also play volleyball with The Boy and take the dog for a walk.
  2. Have a couple of very productive days at work. This will help my sense of accomplishment, and make me feel less angry about the things I can't control in the workplace.
  3. Spend an hour with Keith Urban blasting on the CD player while I clean the toilets, scrub the floor, and dust the house. Make the kids do some weeding for their chores.
  4. Make plans for an overnight getaway (even if it's just to the town 10 minutes from our house) with TH. We need time to reconnect.
  5. Restructure the budget and be thankful that TH is working a lot of overtime that helps put us in a better financial situation.
  6. Eat five servings of fruits and veggies today. (That's about all I can commit to at the moment there, but it's a start...)

So making the list did make me feel less grumpy and unhappy. I'm sure listening to my Keith Urban CD while I tackle #2 on my list will help too. Well, as long as one of those irritating VPs don't come ask me for something while I'm working, that is.