Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ho Ho Ho!

I leaave on my fabulous Caribbean vacation Friday.  Was hoping to post pictures of me pool side, drink in hand (slathered in sunscreen) but it turns out that one is required to donate a pint of blood every time one wishes to access the internet on board this particular cruise line, so sadly, those posts will have to wait a week.

Thus, this is my last pre-Christmas post, so wishing you all a VERY VERY VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Leaning in

I ran with my bestest running buddy this morning.  This is always good catch up time (her kids, my kids, her job, my job, life, etc.) and of course the topic turned to the recent tragedy.  "Ugh," she said "I told everyone not to talk to me about it, I turned the television off, I'm not reading all the posts, I just can't deal."  I think this is not an uncommon reaction.  Especially today, as the names of the victims are posted on the front page of the New York Times, and the fact that the kids were all 6 and 7 is unavoidable etched in black and white.   You start to think about it, and read the details, and it very quickly gets to be too much, so you just stop thinking about it altogether.  Everyone deals in different ways, but I have to wonder if insulating yourself from it is "dealing."  Can avoiding be a real form of dealing?  I have no idea.

A few weeks ago I was with another friend, who was telling me about her horse, and an issue he's having with his neck.  She has a chiropractor who is working with the animal to try to sort it out.  Her horse gets horsie-massage to try to loosen the tightness up.  She said the the horse really seems to like it and that when the chiropractor really starts digging around in there that the horse leans in to it, as if he knows that it's a helpful kind of a hurt. 

My thought (today), is that on some level, we have to lean in to things that hurt in order to work them out.  Both individually and as a community.  I too, am avoiding the Facebook posts.  Gun control, mental health resources, security....everyone has, on some level, a valid opinion.  The right answer must be in the sum of the parts somewhere.  I don't know what it is. 

This woman's blog post, though, about her own challenges with her son who has a mental illness, was both heartbreaking and insightful and worth reading (if you're in the mood for leaning in, that is):

http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.com/2012/12/thinking-unthinkable.html

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sadness

How do we avoid these horrible tragedies? 

It's one thing to take your own life, it's another to take a whole bus load of innocent children with you.

So hard to wrap your head around it. 

Some kids at the school my kids attend created a video for an anti bullying contest.  It's sweet, but some of the other videos that were submitted really tear you up.

The video they created is here:  http://stopbullying.challenge.gov/submissions/9991-be-the-hero

If you select submission gallery, you can see the rest.

Fun with scalpels

I got to hang out with the orthopaedic surgeons today.  Kind of fun!


Scrubs are not that flattering, so I realized how SKINNY the Grey's Anatomy actors have to be in real life.  Hmmmpf!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Moms

I think I've mentioned that my daughter was accepted into college.  I wrote the deposit check yesterday.  It's a done deal.  This prompted me to say the words to her (that I do not say nearly enough) "I'm SO proud of you!"   Because truly, I am.  I assumed she would get in, but that shouldn't mitigate the accomplishment. 

I realized the other day that I have achieved an amazing milestone.  My daughter appears to appreciate....to some degree, how hard it is for me to be her mother. 

I chose those words carefully.  Because, it's not just that it's hard to be a mother, or hard to be her mother, but it's the combination of those two things that takes the real effort.

For you visual thinkers, the Venn diagram would consist of a circle on the left called "Just getting through the day with my own self created bullshit" and the circle on the right would be called "Motherhood" and the very tiny sliver in the middle would be the sweet spot.

This, of course, makes me appreciate my own mother more.  (Which I didn't think was possible because my mother is pretty phenomenal.)

She sends me pictures like this after she has decorated for Christmas:


And she sends me emails like this one today (a group email, obviously, in which I was included:

I had to send you all this. We just noticed an eagle off Weeks wetland who had just caught a large duck with quite a bit of white -- probably a bufflehead, but it was pretty big (could it have been a goldeneye?) Anyway, it was too heavy for him to lift off again, so we watched him "swim" it over to shore, where he is now feasting (with his mate on a nearby post waiting his or her turn.) Feathers everywhere. Just quick I-phone pics and the cropped one is pretty blurry (wish you and your camera had been nearby, Peter!) but hopefully you can get the idea. It was pretty amazing to watch the eagle doing the breaststroke with its wings! It had to stop a couple of times to rest, but finally made it.
Just a typical morning on Fisherman Bay!

Have a good day, everyone!

Accompanied by this photo:


See the eagle in the water there, just about the edge of the roof???

I am convinced that birds everywhere (or at least in this remote corner of the world) are better off because my mother is out there keeping an eye on everything.  Her own flock doesn't require quite as much tending any more.....so she has time to devote to this local feathered one.

And that's what mothers do.  We try to notice the unusual and amazing things our children do....we do our best to capture it with whatever tools we have at our disposal, and then we share it, with pride, with anyone who will listen.  That's the stuff in the sweet spot. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Stress



The only less restful thing than preparing for the holiday is preparing to TRAVEL for the holiday. HOLY CRAP:


Decisions I have to make (because I am a crazy person):

How many people do I put on payroll as a back up in case the dog sitter (who is not actually sitting, but who will have to come to the house twice a day to feed/water/pee) doesn't show??? Do I put my sister in law AND the neighbor girls? Or just the neighbor girls? Do I tell the dog sitter that I've hired back up because I don't want him to be surprised or offended or don't I, in case he decides "eff it, the neighbor girls are doing it anyway?"

Since we won't be home on Xmas, and we can't pack presents in our luggage, I still feel like I need to do SOMETHING to mark the occasion, so I have packed stockings (though not our real ones, because god forbid we lose those) so I have "stand in" stockings (and 3m hooks, because otherwise how would we hang them in our room.  Seriously, this is the level of minutea that clogs my brain on a daily basis.) what do I now buy to go in the stockings? Little things, but not food, because the luggage may end up in the hot sun waiting for us, but something that is "trip related" so it is meaningful, but I also don't want to spend MORE money than I already have, but I don't want to pack cheesy stupid crap.  Can I just fill them with sunscreen and Dramamine?  Too impersonal? 

What the EFF does one wear on a cruise? I have the evenings nailed down (two full length gowns, 10 cocktail dresses and two suits and two tuxedos later (yes, seriously, and the requisite footwear).....) but considering the decreasing free space in my suitcase (oh because I also bought Santa hats for everyone because how awesome will it be to take a family photo on the BEACH on Christmas in our Santa hats (only I had to buy one for EVERYONE, so now I'm packing 10 Santa hats in my suitcase) do I pack shorts? I'm so fat nothing fits, so I don't have any cute capris or anything, (plus I hate capris) so do I just pack jeans? My bathing suit doesn't fit, I haven't shaved north of my knees in so long I'm afraid to look, and I have a black toenail that is falling off (thank you running....I can't seem to lose weight with all these miles but I'm really going through the toenails!)  It's going to be unavoidably warm in the Caribbean. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU.......

I took boxes to the UPS store to mail for Xmas today, and collectively, the cost to pack and mail exceeded the value of the gifts (not really, but almost) so of course now I'm driving around town with a trunk full of denial that I don't know how to pack and ship but need to figure out a plan for before, what....tomorrow?

I need a Valium.

Friday, December 7, 2012

An oldie but a goodie

As I mentioned, I rarely go back and look at my own blog posts.  This will become a problem with encroaching senility, and I may begin to subject you all to the same post over and over again because I just THINK it's original when it's not.

However, being reminded about this one, I re-read it, and, gratifyingly, it's all still true.  (Both about my characterization, and the friend I use as the example).

So, here's to ALL of the trophy wives I know.  Again!

Had lunch with my friend Jen today. Sometimes I talk and she listens, sometimes she talks, and I listen and sometimes, like today, we both talk at the same time, which seems to work for us, but probably drives people around us completely W*I*L*D. (And that's fine...go eat your tuna salad sandwich somewhere else then!)


She too, needs another wife in her life, to help her maintain the myriad commitments on her plate and that got me thinking about the whole concept of Trophy Wives. (I refer you to wikipedia if you must brush up on the term...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trophy_wife)

I'd like to refute the blonde bombshell/big boobed hanger-on image of yore, however, and suggest a more relevant conceptualization.  Not to date myself, but I think that a true trophy wife can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and .......well, if you know the reference, then you know the rest.

For example, take my friend Jen.

Jen is smart (and not just, "let me help you with your Algebra homework, honey" smart...she is PhD- tada....your mice now have an extra chromosome and i've taught them how to knit-kind of smart) and funny (blow soda out of my nose - question my standards of continence laughing at her kind of funny) and kind (stays up til 4 a.m. crafting a homemade Scooby Doo cake for her 4 year old kid kind).

Moreover, she holds down a big time, stressful, required 4 years of post-bac, 7 years of apprenticeship training kind of a job where she saves people's lives and gets to say pithy things like "yeah, that patient was in DKA and the frigging intern had her set for discharge" that make the rest of us mortals go "oooh" and "aaaaah" and prompted me to list her as my #1 emergency contact in case I have a heart attack or get a splinter or something.

So, in addition to her crazy, time consuming, life force sucking career, she is this cuddly mommy person to her children.  She buys her own groceries and washes everyone's clothes and cooks things from scratch. She squeezes in the occasional date night with her hubby (with whom she still really likes to hang out). She spends her few free weekends digging holes for new plants in her yard, and carting her kids to sporting events, or holding down the fort so that her husband can do the same.

She reads, and writes, and stays abreast of current events. She swims and she runs (not because she's being chased, but because the thought of running 26.2 again is always just slightly on the periphery of her potential radar) and she has gaggles of friends over for cookouts and girl's nights.

Is she nuts? You bet! Over committed? Duh! Does she need an au-pair or a Mary Poppins in her life? Hell yes! But she's normal, and nice, and not a bitch, and does all these things, for all these people without ever making me feel like I'm inferior. She can laugh at me and then turn around and laugh at herself in the same breath, singlehandedly validating and destroying both of our neuroses in one fell swoop.

It is THIS woman, and so many more just like her that I know, who is the TRUE trophy wife. This isn't one of those cheesy gold painted plastic trophies that ends up on a shelf. No, this is the sterling silver cup that ends up being your favorite Pilsner mug.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ch-ch-ch-chaaaaaaanges

My youngest, at age 7(ish)



















My youngest, at age 13



My youngest last Saturday, a week before his 16th birthday

I love this kid more than air.  He is the nicest, smartest, funniest boy I have ever met.  How lucky am I?  It's amazing. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

The beauty of blogging

(to finish a conversation I started this weekend....)

The beauty of blogging is that you don't HAVE to DO anything in any particular way!

It's like an etch-a-sketch.  You draw something.  Everyone gets to look at it.  You can change your mind, shake it up, draw it again.

I have a LOT of blog posts that I've started and never finished.  They're all just benignly blinking at me from the post "queue" every time I log in.

I write to think.  It's how I personally process things.  If the 5 of you dedicated followers drifted off and never read my posts again, I don't think it would impact my desire to write at all.  I do it for me, not any of you.

HOWEVER, there is something about the possibility of an audience, that makes me think it through a little more than I would otherwise, I suspect.  I take the time to check spelling and grammar.

There is no wrong or right way to blog.  Just write something, or take a photo and begin posting.  That's it!  It slowly takes on a life of its own.  Or not.  I've amazed, sometimes, to realize that I've now been blogging for years.  It has just become a habitual outlet that I enjoy, so the desire to keep it up is completely and totally selfish.  I feel no pressure, I have to agenda.

There are a number of platforms.  I found this one a little confusing, and I've tweaked it a bit over the years.  If I were interested in really getting it "out there" I'd probably tweak a little more, create some widgets, blah blah blah.   Being fairly non-techie, though, this tool was fairly intuitive.

So.  Just start.  That's it!  Just start. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

The downside to the holidays.....

Before......






After........






Any questions?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Cheer

I am hilarious, therefore I have hilarious friends. 

Every year, for the last seven, I've been invited to a particular friend's Naughty or Nice Secret Santa Party, which basically ends up being a drunken, gift stealing, free for all where we all talk at each other at the top of our lungs, at the same time.  The evening inevitably degenerates into us all very sloppily telling each other how pretty we all are and how much we love each other.

I LOVE THIS PARTY.  LOVE LOVE LOVE. 
It is everything, about girlfriends, that is good and right.  It's only a week away!

This, therefore, seemed apropos:

Sharing

This blog is written by a friend with whom I went to college:

http://trouttowers.blogspot.com/2012/11/thanksgiving-real-version.html

She was a very funny and creative girl in college, and the years have only enhanced that.

It's worth adding to your list of reads, I think, because she is funny and honest and that's a combination I hold in very high esteem.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Changing Gears

It was a successful Thanksgiving holiday chez nous.  Not without it's drama....the oven died 30 minutes into the turkey roasting process (yes, like some horrible episode of Friends), but, with uncharacteristically minimal amounts of flipping out, the Head Chef crafted a very suitable Plan B, involving the gas grill, and dinner was on the table within an hour of it's originally scheduled time.  The sous chefs, however, had a bit of a spat over the sanctity of the dessert leftovers that resulted in this ominous signage (which seemed to do the trick).


Because it was balmy shorts weather here the day thereafter, I managed to get ALL of the Christmas decorations done (photos to follow) and now it looks like the Pier One holiday section threw up all over my house.  Fabulous.  So happy!  Bring it on Santa!!!




When I say ALL the decorations I'm probably lying.  I get everything up each year which is totally my gig, solo, because I am SUCH A CONTROL FREAK.  Of course, the kids decorate the tree, but once they lose interest and wander away, I always come back and do a "minor" readjustment just to ensure balance, and double check that none of the irreplaceable ornaments got mistakenly hung below the tail wagging line.  WOUND UP LABRADORS + CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENTS = SADNESS AND CRUSHING (literally) DISAPPOINTMENT for control freaks like me.  Learned this one the hard way.  In any event, my inside shtick is pretty much set (the house is not that big) but every year, once I get all the lights up, I invariably decide that I'm just not quuuuuuuiiiiiiiite there yet, and add something new to the collection.  This year it was two strands of blinky white snowflakes (about 6" round) that I strung to the bottom of my Bradford Pear tree (which STILL has leaves, hello?  clearly it hasn't gotten the Mother Nature Memo). For the record, I draw the line at anything inflatable so I do have some pretty well defined quality standards, but this whole "not quite done" thing is a problem and explains the ever expanding number of Tuppertotes I seem to need just to house the collection.  And for the record, to differentiate myself for single celled amoebas by remembering something I previously said here, I do fully acknowledge and admit that even HAVING a Chrismtas "collection" in the first place is totally and completely a first world, 1% percent, self indulgence.   While the baby Jesus might have stared in wonder, I'm pretty sure the grown up Jesus would not be so happy with me.  (I did just make a donation to the Food Bank that exceeded the amount I spent on decorations this year, just to help assuage my guilt).

Anyhoo.  There's the context of my week, more details to follow.

The real reason for writing is that my office is preparing holiday cards that we send out to colleagues (docs) here at the hospital.  I think the list is like 180.  Of course, we're not all Christian here at the hospital, so we have to default to "holiday" cards, which, in a word, according to my daughter, the Shiite Catholic (who keeps slipping copies of the catechism into my bag, my dresser, my bedside table as a not so subtle hint that she's worried that I'm going to hell, which is kind of cute, in a slightly disturbing way) is "EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD."

I did manage to find some cute ones.  One just says "Seasons Greetings" all over it.  One says "Peace on Earth" which I think is a great message, regardless of the time of year.  But then the cards start to go south...."Warm Holiday Wishes Festive New Year Celebrate the Season" yes, all on the front of the card.  I think the only thing missing there is the "Don't Drink and Drive"slogan.  Sheez.  The winner thus far, however, are the cards that have a picture of snow covered trees (outlined in glitter, natch) and the word "Peace" on the front.  So far, not so bad, but the message inside reads "May the peace of the season fall gently upon you."  Really?  I don't know about you, but I don't want anything falling on me, gently or not.  I flipped the box over.  "Hecho in CHINA for Kmart Corporation."  Sigh.

Focus on the tree.  Focus on the tree.  Focus on the tree.  (Which I got, by the way, and it looks super fun!)  Ho Ho Ho.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Be Thankful.....DAMMIT!

Nothing like the Holidays to totally zap your Holiday Spirit.  People.  Really?  I'm so irritated by the incredibly self centered, ungrateful, entitled, bullshit behavior that I have experienced in the last 24 hours that I feel the need to have a little Thanksgiving related rant.

I am truly thankful for everything I have.  I recognize, on a daily basis, my incredible good fortune.  I am healthy, my family is healthy, we have a safe, warm home, good jobs, and access to a multitude of resources.  None of this is a foregone conclusion and I know, on a cellular level, how blessed we are.

Much of the world lives like this:



This Tanzanian family looks pretty good, actually.  Clean clothes that are in good shape and everyone is wearing shoes.  This appears to be their house, and they have a goat (also looks pretty healthy) which they clearly are very proud of since it is front and center in the photo.  Kids look quite healthy.  By their own local standards, I suspect they are fairly well off and probably grateful for what they have. 

My family lives in a house too.  It's safe, and warm.  We have clean water to drink here in my town, and you know what?  It actually comes straight into my little house, so that we don't have to risk our lives walking to a well somewhere.  There is so much water that comes into my house that I can just turn the faucet on and let it all run down the sink...all day long!  We have jobs here.  Good jobs, that pay really well.  There are a lot of jobs that are inside.  I don't have to make anything or even get dirty doing anything.  I just sort of talk to people all day long, which, of course, is exhausting.  But that's okay, because I get paid a lot of money. (A lot more than Tanzanians get paid, as it turns out, as 60% of them live on $2 a day, another 20% have to make do on $1 a day.  Good grief, my daily latte costs more than that combined!!!)   I can use some of my money to buy food.  Our food is all in big stores.  It's organized, and refrigerated.  I don't have to grow or kill any of it.  I can just go in and buy it and take it home and either cook or just eat it, it is clean, and safe and delicious.  We have so much food, in fact, that we have special storage rooms in our homes, just to keep extra food.  In my town you can tell that people have lots and lots of food, and that they eat as much of it as they can.  All the time.  Sometimes though, we don't even get around to eating all that food, and sometimes we just throw it away in the trash.  A nice man comes to my door and takes my trash away, I don't have to throw it in the yard.  Which is a good thing, because there is so much of it.

In spite of the clean water and all that good food, sometimes we get sick though.  Fortunately we have a hospital in my town.  In fact we have TWO and they are both really big and super nice, and clean.  We have over 1,000 doctors working here, just in my hospital alone.  That is 200 more doctors than there are in the entire country of Tanzania.  No wonder only 64% of that country's population lives over the age of 40 (this is kind of funny, actually, as the mortality rate in my country is on a downward trend....turns out eating all that food can kill you.  If that isn't the definition of "irony" I don't know what is.  I wonder what the Tanzanias would think about THAT.)  Turns out about 40% of the people in Tanzania can't afford to pay for medical services, and that same amount couldn't even get to a doctor (if they did have the cash the doctor required up front to see them) because there is no transportation.  I have to pay cash to see my doctor, too, fifteen dollars!  But if I forget to bring it, that's okay, they'll treat me anyway and just send me a little reminder in the mail. 

So....to the lady in the brand new mini van with the 99% bumper sticker, with the two kids in the back seat watching t.v. as she backed out of Whole Foods this morning with her $350 worth of groceries....it looks like the joke's on you.  The amount of money you spent on that bumper sticker alone could have fed our Tanzanian family for an entire day.  Your 3 bags of groceries?  That could have fed that family for half a year.  Turns out its the Tanzanians that rightfully belong to the 99%, not you.  (Guess where that leaves you?) 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Worth the watch


I caught part of Ken Burns' documentary about the Dust Bowl on PBS last night.  Growing up here, you cover some of that stuff in history classes along the way, but certainly not in the kind of depth that you get in this documentary. The thing that struck me (and I only watched the first part) was how LONG it lasted.  You would think people would have given up and moved on a whole lot sooner than they did having to live in those kinds of conditions, but they were tough...or stubborn...or just didn't realize (which seems typical of human beings...the inability to look for solutions to a bad situation when you're right in the middle of it)...I don't know.

My father was born in Okarchee, OK in 1930.  He was a Dust Bowl baby.  He was the youngest of six kids (that I'm aware of, there may have been more, but that side of the family's history is spotty at best, and he's no longer around to quiz about it.)  After watching this, I'm amazed they survived, and I'd give anything to pick his brain about it.  His father was a share cropper, and the family eventually left Oklahoma and moved to California (hello, Grapes of Wrath) when things became untenable.  I wonder, after watching this, how bad it was before it reached the breaking point.  This picture is from a day in April, 1935 when they had the biggest and baddest of the Dust Storms.  Woody Guthrie, born and raised in Okemah, OK, who would have been 14 years old on this day, credits this horrible storm as the inspiration for his song "So Long It's Been Good to Know Yuh."  As that storm approached, he said, people were sure it was the end of the world, and they all started their goodbyes to one another.  Hard to imagine.

My uncle, a few years older than my father, met Woody at some point.  I'm not sure about the details, but they certainly would have had a few things in common. 

Probably not a great documentary for little kids, but middle school and up would be appropriate.  Ken gets fairly graphic about things like the wholesale slaughter of cattle, and jackrabbit round ups, not to mention some very sad and tragic stories about the loss of human life.

I need to watch the rest of it, and then ask my uncle a few more questions before he's no longer around either.

Friday, November 16, 2012

TGIF

Thank you Lord, for F R I D A Y!

I am particularly exhausted, it just seemed to be one of those work weeks.

Good news:  Our dishwasher works again as does the toilet in my bathroom.  Not that flushing with a bucket wasn't SUPER FUN or anything, but I have to say that both of these little fix-it jobs dragged on long enough that I actually found myself a little gleeful about being able to push the buttons and handle finally.

That being said, there are some big things going on that are not so fun, like this nonsense in Gaza and Israel.  I have a new friend who is Israeli, he's here in the US for two years doing training, and the rest of his family is home, just south of Tel Aviv.  Needless to say, he is very concerned for their safety.  Because he is my friend, suddenly I, too am concerned for their safety.  "It's okay, you know" he said, patting my arm after my eyes got all big and watery when he told me that his mom had to end their phone conversation yesterday because of the air raid sirens, "I mean it's bad, and it's scary, but we grew up like this.  There's never really been a time when we (as a country) weren't worried that someone was going to try to bomb us."

How crazy is that?

Kind of puts all of my plumbing woes in perspective. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A long time ago

In (what now feels like) a galaxy far, far away.... we rented this cabin in a place called Gid Brown Hollow, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It was a very special place, and we had a really, really, good time there. 

Here are some more (and more current pics) of that area that some of you may enjoy......



Cheer


I LOVE THIS TREE.  This tree makes me feel all warm, and toasty, and sweater-weather-comfy just looking at it.  I am buying this tree. 

It is bigger than it looks, at four feet, so I'm not sure exactly where I am going to put it, but I think in my front hall, so that when I come home from work (IN THE DARK) it will be sparkling at me from inside my home. 

Because we are all travelling for Christmas this year, I am fast-tracking the decorating process so that we can actually celebrate the day before we leave for the warm, sunny Caribbean.  (Totally spoiled, yes, I know.)  I'm fairly traditional when it comes to celebrating holidays...no carols before Thanksgiving, no tree before December 1st, but, given the compressed nature of our schedule this year I'm moving forward with reckless abandon.

Anyhoo, I am very proud of myself, because before I clicked "PAY" I thought, hmmmmm, I wonder if there are any coupons out there.  Sure enough (than you Google) I found an online code that permitted me to purchase the tree AND have it shipped, ultimately, for less than I would have paid for it regularly.  Yay!  Now, off to buy some eggnog.  mmmmmmmmmmm

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Carpe Diem

On Wednesday this week I attended a lecture at my hospital, a nursing "grand rounds" the topic of which was Nurse/MD relationships. That topic is irrelevant to my post which is more about the speaker, a nurse, Theresa Brown, and the book she has written, called Critical Care - A New Nurse Faces Death, Life and Everything in Between.   Briefly, she was an English professor at an Ivy league university who went back to school and became a cancer nurse.  Kind of an odd career progression, which gives her a bit of a unique take on the profession.  Coupled with her obvious talent for writing, this short book reads like a series of essays, jumping around and digressing here and there, but I found that forgivable because of the engaging and honest nature in which she lays it all out.

I think everyone should read this book. (Yes, even you, my doctor friend, because while you have similar experiences of your own and will not find the topic to be new, I think you would appreciate the humor and prose at least). For the rest of us health care neophytes, however, it softly and gently brushes us up against the shocking, but unarguable, reality of what happens when you get really, really sick and have to rely on complete strangers to save your life......or to just be with you when saving your life turns out not to be in the cards.  In truth you are not unlikely to die looking into the eyes of some nurse, who you've never actually met, while your loved one is downstairs in the cafeteria grabbing a coffee or parking the car or calling your family to give them an update. 

Her experience is drawn from her first year in cancer care and I appreciated her final take away which, essentially, is "rent the jeep." You know?  When you are planning for that vacation.....and you are staring at the list of rental car choices and while the thought of driving around that tropical island in the convertible, top down, hair flying behind you, is enticing for a few seconds, you inevitably settle on the mid-size economy choice because, after all, you should save your pennies for later.......  Her point is one we all know. Later turns out to be sooner for many of us, and at that point, the memory of that day in the convertible is more valuable than the money saved.  

I live with a cancer survivor who walks around in a perpetual state of carpe diem. Life with someone like that can be very frustrating for someone like me who lives to plan and plans to live.   My bank has lots of pennies in it which I will one day apply to all the things on my life "to do" list. His bank has fewer pennies, but he's already checked off pages and pages worth of things he has already done on his list.   I know what Theresa Brown would say about my strategy.....banking on time is penny wise and pound foolish. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Brrrrrrrrrr

Yipes!  Full frost on my car this morning.  It is a double cashmere kind of day out there.  (Sweater AND scarf....shout out to Goodwill for keeping me in cheap cashmere.  Here's a trick, folks, if you're a little feeling daunted ....just walk the length of the sweater aisle at Goodwill, and run your hand across all of the sleeves.  You can FEEL the cashmere, after a little practice.  There are some older acrylic sweaters out there, posing as cashmere, but a quick peak inside the label will confirm or deny your suspicions.  Also, make sure you check the MEN's sweaters, too.  Men wear cashmere, and, if it's an XL and you would swim in it, contemplate taking it home and washing it.  This experiment as worked well for me.  ALSO...moths seem to zero in on cashmere, so plan ahead for that!)

Anyhoo.  Kids have school off today, and my daughter came in with me to work a few hours at her part time gig here at the hospital. 

As I squeezed my little sedan into its parking space between two monster vehicles she said "Ugh!  I just can't imagine a sport that really needs THAT much utility!"  Ha ha ha.  Love her. 

Stay warm out there.  My heart goes out to everyone on the coast who has neither shelter nor electricity.  May help arrive for them soon.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thank You

Dearest Universe,

Thank you. 

I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Love,

Thursday, November 1, 2012

WOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!!


The eldest of my two babies got her first college acceptance letter today.

BIG BIG STUFF!!!


This may explain the unemployment problem

I have a vacancy in my office.  It is an administrative position, in a fast paced, occasionally high pressured environment.  It is not, however, rocket science that we do here.  Therefore, and because it is with a major academic institution and because it is an administrative role, I felt confident that the posting would generate some positive response.

Sure enough, I have just waded through 123 applications for said position.  Great, right?  Wrong.

Of the 123, I found 5 that I was willing to interview.

I have a couple of general comments I would, therefore, like to post to the unemployed public at large that might assist them in keeping their resumes out of future circular bins:

  • Do not apply for positions that are not relevant to your experience. 
  • There is a fine line between an appropriate amount of "distinction" in terms of your resume design aesthetic and letting your 4th grader create it in power point.  
  • Spell and punctuate your address correctly.  If you abbreviate the word "drive" as "dr" in your address, or you spell any part of your name/address incorrectly, or in lower case, I am not reading any further.
  • Tense.  Tense.  Tense.  And I am not talking about how I felt after reading all these resumes, I am talking about your narrative in reference to activities you "done did".  With me? 
  • Do not list "fluctuating price of gas" as your motivation for leaving your current position and moving to mine.
  • Do not list "running errands" as one your primary job functions.  
Sigh

I do have to give a shout out, however, to the applicant who made my day in telling me that they were seeking a "changeling position within my organization."

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/changeling

Indeed.



Monday, October 29, 2012

Boo!

I LOVE HALLOWEEN!  The older I get the more I love it.



I think the Mother Nature may "out scare" us all this year.  Unless you live in Outer Mongolia or under a rock, I assume you've seen the forecast.  YIKES!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like.....

Dear Santa,

For Christmas, I would like one of EVERYTHING in the Sundance Catalog please (especially this jacket).

I HAVE been a very, very, very, good girl.

xoxoxoxox

Sundance Catalog of Amazingness

WEATHERED LEATHER PEACOAT

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Better Homes and...

One of my bestest friends is an interior designer.  (I think I got that right, I know "decorator" is incorrect)  HER home is LOVELY.  When we convene for dinner, we always do it there because she has one of those big houses on the hill, with the marble counter tops and the upholstered furniture and all the fancy stuff.

I would love to live in one of those houses, but I'm incapable of actually making that happen (for myriad reasons, which, if you've been paying attention to my ramblings over the years, you are probably able to piece together).  In any event, I think, if asked, I'd have to say that the style of my humble abode is, perhaps, Early American Kennel Club.

They're not dogs....they're just throw pillows (that shed).


Two discoveries

I was not going to read this book (though I don't remember, now, why not), but somehow the 5 hour flight delay in the Ottawa Airport (which is not much bigger, nor has any more to offer than, say, your thumb) convinced me otherwise.

Only having heard that "this is NOT like Harry Potter" and "this is NOT a children's book" I ventured forth unbiased and with little expectation.

Not a children's book indeed!  I'm sure there are scads of children out there who managed to procure this book without their parents' knowledge and are now left silently grappling with issues about which they, heretofore, were blissfully ignorant.
Child abuse, drug addiction, corruption, avarice, bullying, alcoholism, rape, did I mention child abuse, um....oh yes, and sex.  Lots of it.  Apparently, when asked if she realized that her book had been outsold by Fifty Shades of Grey, J.K. Rowling replied "Well.....there's sex in my book, too.  Lots of it.  Only no one really enjoys it."

The Casual Vacancy has many of the same fantastic elements as her previous series.  She is a Master (Mistress?) at character and plot development.  In my mind, she simply took a step to the left from her Harry characters, and focused her sharp attention on the "muggle" side of the street instead, but with all the same care and devotion.

A quarter of the way in I got frustrated because I couldn't keep all the characters straight and found the politics a bit tedious.  Half way through, however, I was hooked.  The story pokes, ambles, and then lopes along until suddenly you can't catch your breath as it climbs to its horrible and fantastic finish.  I loved it.

The second discovery is that thanks to the ipad, and it's clever ability to increase the type size to oh.... 72 points.....so that I can read without glasses, I can now read AND run on the treadmill.  This is a wonderful discovery as reading and running happen to be two of my favorite things.  (Chocolate in my peanut butter!  YUM!)  Because I get so lost in the reading, the fact that I've just run several more miles comes as a fantastic surprise! A delightful win-win!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Greetings....'eh?!

Greetings from the lovely city of Ottawa!  More on these crazy Canadians later.  I LOVE traveling.  Having a whole evening or series thereof to myself in some shmancy hotel room is one of the best things ever.  I conducted a little business, did a little shopping, sightseeing, went for a run and am currently catching up on t.v.

Have discovered a little gem I couldn't wait to share. Not sure where it came out....HBO maybe?  But it is called The Big C, starring Laura Linney, and a host of other fun folks and I haven't related to ANYTHING on either the large or small screens like this in years.  Netflix. Run. Do not walk.  Funny stuff. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Teenage Economics 101

My two teenagers are polar opposites when it comes to their spending habits.

One will tell you they need lunch money, will pocket $3.00 of the $5.00 you gave them, and save it, and will then buy something in bulk with the remaining $2.00 which they will then spread out over the next two lunches.  This child is sitting on an impressive four figure piggy bank balance currently.

The second child will tell you they need $5.00 for lunch money, will repay $2.00 to the friend they borrowed from the day before, and will then spend $5.00 on lunch after they've managed to borrow another $2.00 from a different friend.  This child has dust in their piggy bank.

You can guess which child was the subject in this conversation that took place after play practice last night:

Him:  I'm STARVING, I couldn't buy dinner tonight because I don't have ANY money at ALL.

Me:  That's too bad.  I thought you had some cash?

Him:  Nope, nothing.

Me:  But we gave you a bunch of cash just the other day....

Him:  I already spent that!

Me:  Well, maybe when you have a surplus like that, you should plan ahead and think about saving it for later.

Him:  Yeah, well, later came a long time ago.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pareeeee!

My love for Paris is well documented in my blog.  I lived there, blah blah blah.....

I just returned home from a super fun week there with my mother, my sister and my daughter.  We are now,  collectively, sitting on more photos than we even know what to do with, so I know it will be a while before I get any uploaded anywhere.

Here is one to hold you over until we can get our acts together however.

My daughter, a fairly serious photographer (she is both serious, and serious about photography), agonized over which cameras to take on this trip and ultimately took three, including this small format camera which drew a lot of attention whenever she used it.  I suspect we will end up with a lot of shots of us photographing each other taking photographs. 


HH Dalai Lama

His Holiness was here last week for several private and one big public event.  I love him.  More than just being the leader of a major world faith, he's also got this super "awwww shucks, guy next door, relatable quality" that I find very endearing.

The two events were recorded and can be accessed here:

http://new.livestream.com/tavco/HHDL

There was some discussion (with inconclusive results....you can draw your own if you so choose) regarding his use of the F-word in the middle of the first talk.  He tells a funny story (not here, I don't believe) about his friend, the Bishop Desmond Tutu, who admonishes him repeatedly for not remembering that his is supposed to behave like a holy man.  And you can see why, because he has this kid-like mischeviousness that is not terribly world-leader-like.

The interpreter to the Dalai Lama is also a fascinating character.  Thupten Jinpa has been at his side for years, is a former monk and Buddhist scholar, well known in his own right, and this interview with him was fascinating:

http://www.onbeing.org/program/translating-dalai-lama/235

What an amazing experience that must be.

So, we've had a lot of chat, around the dinner table about His Holiness lately. There is a part in his talk where he goes through the routine of his day.  He arises around 3 a.m. to meditate (on his life AND his death) for several hours.  Then he eats, does some work, has lunch, meetings, etc. and then he goes to bed at 7 p.m. (without dinner, because apparently Buddhist monks don't eat dinner) and then he sleeps "really, really well."  With the possible exception of when he is on the road (and he tells this funny story as well) about lying in bed in a hotel room somewhere, next to a night club and hearing "boom boom boom all night."  Hilarious.  It's good to know that this happens to everyone.  Even the Dalai Lama!

Last night my son said to me (as we roasted marshmallows on our deck in the crispy fall evening air) "Why can't we have a reality show about the Dalai Lama?  I'd watch that guy eat cereal!" 

Agreed.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Currently paralyzed

.....by the amount of things on my to-do list so I thought I would write a blog post (as a coping mechanism...natch!)

So, do you know this guy?


Probably not, unless you happen to specialize in under-the-radar-blues-guitarists.

He looks a little derpy in that picture with his whole "grad school meets longshoreman" get up.  (Which is SO unnecesary, as he's actually super cute  - though appears in need of a steak dinner - and he has fabulous hair hiding under that hat.)

Anyhoo.  I anticipate, in a few years, I will be able to say I knew him when.

His name is Eli Cook, and he's only about as old as he looks (still finishing college apparently), but he's a VERY talented musician and I anticipate big things in his future (potentially nutrition dependant though).

In all fairness, I'm not a huge fan of the blues.  I'm good for about three songs usually and then I wander off in search of alternative entertainment.

That being said, I LOVE this guy's voice, especially the way it is so completely NOT what you expect to come out of his skinny little kid body.

Check him out:

http://www.elicook.com/

I have all his CDs, but the most recent one is the bestest!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Age Rage

I am 47.  I will be 48 this spring.  I'm happy to be 47.  I feel good.  There are a few minor complaints on the list, such as "can't read shit without my glasses" and "bikini days are probably over" but for the most part, as I told my OB at my annual visit this week I really feel like I'm in a pretty sweet spot in life.

It was quite a sucker punch, then, to hear her respond "enjoy it.....because the changes that happen between 50 and 60 suck."

I love her, but WHAT THE HELL? 

As the diligent daughter of a devout Christian Scientist my inner dialogue began immediately....."I will not accept that for myself, I will not accept that for myself, I will not...."

The realist in me, however,  (the one who gave up any hope of becoming a practicing Christian Scientist years ago) began to wrap my mind around that.

If that's true....or even partially true....and judging by the many friends with significant health challenges who surround me it certainly might be, I think it is time to get a little more diligent about sit ups, flossing and those 7 (yes!  5 doesn't cut it any more apparently) servings of veggies a day.

Food for thought.  Literally.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My daughter has her driver's license

It's official.  She passed the test, and she is now out there, driving my car, ALL BY HERSELF.

(insert moment of silence)

It is very disconcerting to come home and realize that she is gone, off somewhere, in the car.

I'm walking a fine line between being trusting and supportive and being a COMPLETE TOTAL FREAK SHOW.

I'm not sure how long I can get away with making her call me when she begins the drive and when she arrives at her destination.  It would probably make more sense to just enable the GPS locator on her phone, actually, because it's not that I care where she is.  I really, truly do not.  It's just that if I cannot find her, or she somehow disappears between the beginning and the end of a drive I would have some sort of starting point for issuing the APB.

I think she's probably an OK driver.  I'm quite certain she drives better when I am not in the car.  I made her super nervous when she was learning, which we've both acknowledged, and she has told me that she is better able to process information when she's not also having to factor what I might be thinking in the seat next to her.  This makes sense.  It is only a mild consolation, however.

I must figure out a way to manage the terror level (which is currently somewhere near "burnt umber" on the scale.)  Am open to suggestions.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hi honey, I'm home!

Temporarily, at least, I'm home.  It's been a very busy fall. 

To recap:

August - Pacific Northwest

September - Florida, Chicago, Paris

Am home for two weeks, before a trip to Ontario, and then, ultimately, a Caribbean vacation in December.

This all precedes two PacNW and a SanDiego trip this past spring.

I never, ever, EVER, want to get on a plane again.  I hate flying.  I now fly semi-sedated, and I swear it doesn't really help.  The only thing that even remotely seems to work is sedation + alcohol which renders me a plus/minus kind of a "seat mate."

I have all these impressions swimming around in my brain from my trip to Paris.  It's been 7 years since my last visit and a lot has changed.  Some better, some worse.  Paris has gotten much much more crowded which makes perambulating more of an effort.  Paris seems to be in the midst of multiple renovation projects on some of their major monuments, which, while rendering the perfect photo impossible, cannot possibly be a bad thing.  Paris is also in the midst of a "let's all be polite" campaign.  Literally.  There are all these funny signs on places like train station ticket windows that say "Saying Good Morning makes for a GOOD MORNING!"  Hilarious!  But, apparently it is working because everyone was quite pleasant.

Some things haven't changed a bit.  The whole city still smells slightly (or more than slightly) of pee.  One takes one's life into one's hands crossing any major thoroughfare (this is exacerbated by the increased number of motos).  Taxi drivers are still willing to swing the bat in my almost 50 year old direction, and Paris is by far the most beautiful, and my most favoritest city in the whole wide world. 

More later,

Monday, September 10, 2012

How far we have come....

Scroll through these amazing photos from the Paralympic Games.....without crying.

I dare you.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Photo-Galleries/In-Pictures/Paralympic-Games-2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sometimes life is a hard

We've just had a tragedy here, in my idyllic little town, and lost a beautiful family (mom and three children) at the hands of the oldest child.

The whys are unknown, but it doesn't appear to make any sense, to anyone.  Something had to have gone horribly horribly wrong (the kind of wrong you see on TV shows...not in your own lives) because this was a family just like mine, and yours.

Regardless, this family, all of them, had connections far and wide, and this loss riped a huge hole in our community.

The aftermath has unfolded on Facebook.  The children were 14, 17 and 19.  There are "RIP" pages and "Memorial" pages and groups and everything you would imagine. 

This is the third teenage suicide that has hit close to our home.  The first, the brother of a best friend, the second, a family member and this, the brother of a best friend.  I'm not sure, across the board, if the suicide rate is up in this country (I know it is among the military, which is tragic and heartbreaking), but it is solidly on my radar certainly.

In giving some thought to how I, personally, can help affect positive change in this regard, I came across a post on a FB forum regarding this event (posted by a wise mother, who I have not had the pleasure of meeting personally):

If you are in school I want you to do me a huge favor: Tomorrow I want you to walk up to that kid who eats lunch alone and ask if you can sit with them, if you see a kid on the playground without a friend..be that friend, that empty seat beside the person on the bus no one sits with.. sit with them, the kid who walks to class with their head down... talk to them! You may be the difference that person needs in their lives at that moment to change everything! We don't know what happened that night and we will never know why but as you walk through the halls of AHS, Murray, Sutherland or where ever remember these words: Be the change you want to see in the world! Don't let another friend slip away!

Touching, and true.  Could the answer really just be THAT simple?


Monday, August 27, 2012

WWDD?

Are you a Mad Men fan?

I wasn't the first time around.  Thanks to NetFlix (hi sweetie, love you!), however, I because a Jane-come-lately diehard fanatic. 

My son, knowing my love of Betty and the Gang, sent me this, which I must share with all of you:

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/wwddd

Not a fan of The Oatmeal yet?  You should be.

xoxoxox



Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympics

I missed the opening ceremonies, which was a bummer. I love those!  But, making sure my son was not doing drugs while we were trying to cover that music festival precluded me from having the time to stream it live around the campfire.

A couple of thoughts though, having had an evening to catch up:

Missy Franklin is the cutest thing ever.  Love her.

The men's diving teams all need bigger speedos. Really. It's so distracting ... In a bad way. Ditto women's volleyball, but that's been an issue for a while. If the men's swim team's suits can get THAT much bigger over the years, why are the diving team's suits getting smaller?   Stop it. Please.

Proposing to your fiancé from your medal podium might just be the most romantically cool thing ever.

Americans are pretty good looking.  This whole team is a fine looking bunch. Way to represent.

I think crying at the Olympics is totally appropriate. Whether its because you won or lost. Also, tattooing the rings on your body if you win a medal is also completely appropriate. You earned that shit!!!

Feet are funny

March Fourth!

We're you the jock type in high school?  We're you super cool, leading a band of ardent worshipping followers?  Did you have dates a plenty, and throw awesome parties that everyone wanted to attend?

If so, this note is not for you, so feel free to just walk away and check back for a future post.

If however, your only extracurricular activities in high school involved drama or band.....I am talking to YOU!

It's not the same if you don't see it live.....but this was an amazing experience:

http://marchfourthmarchingband.com/


Never.....ever ever!

I try to stay away from saying things like "I never....." because life is funny and has a vicious and sneaky sense of irony and the minute you utter those words you've laid a very tempting little trap for the Fates.

However.......

I made a little mental list of things this weekend that, at this discerning "middle" age that I have achieved, I am going to confidently set forth as things I never plan to do:

I am never going to get a big whopping tattoo on the front of my chest.  Not that there is anything wrong with this, it's just not for me.

I am never going to dreadlock my hair. At least not on purpose, though I can see after four days at festival without a proper shampooing, how easy this would be to accomplish.  Ditto, if this is your thing, and you can manage to hold down a job somewhere with such a coiffure, then kudos to you.

I am never going to gauge my ears. (if you don't even know what this means, then you can just go ahead and add this to your 'never' list, too ).  There is something wrong with this.  It looks unattractive, and painful and is a bit of a liability when twirling about in a crowd of people.

I am never going to be up at 4 am leading a drum circle around a campfire.   This is not wrong. Just a little annoying.

I am never going to use a port-a-potty barefooted. Never never. I will pee in the grass, next to it before I will walk in there without shoes.  This is SO SO wrong. Period.

The fact that I will never do any of those things singularly, sets me wildly apart from a very large group of folks who were doing those things in tandem or triplicate all around me this weekend.

I had my moments of hippiness. (right?  I know at least one of you was with me during this phase). It's just that, somehow, in the fading light of my memory, we were cleaner. And we smelled better. And we had enough sense not to contract ringworm.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Weekend Plans

Enough already with the waves of boiling, lava hot days.  Yikes!  I like heat, but enough already!

Am headed here for the weekend:

http://www.floydfest.com/

To do a little sidework reporting for this outfit here:

http://bluegrasstoday.com/

So many bands....so little time!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Facebook Etiquette

How long should one wait before removing a dead person's profile from Facebook?

Does that follow along with the time frame for emptying their closets?  Settling their estate?  Selling their furniture?  Spreading their ashes?

Or, perhaps, should Facebook not even be on that morbid little to-do list?  I could see how there might be some comfort to keeping a lost loved one's profile active for a while...maybe even forever? 

I have a friend, who died, a year ago, now.  And when I log in to The Book, he's on my little notification list of people who have "poked" me.  Ah HA, you might be thinking....clearly he was not a good friend, because a GOOD friend would know better than to poke me in the first place.  You are correct, he was a good friend, a bestest friend, of my husband's.  It, therefore, is irrelevant to me, in the end, whether his profile stays or goes, but it did and does continue to make me wonder about it. 

I was SO curious that I googled it, and, sure enough, there were plenty of posts on the subject.  Who knew?

http://allfacebook.com/should-you-unfriend-a-dead-friend-on-facebook_b45400

Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm back

Only not really back "enough" to write anything eloquent....this, therefore, is hilarious and should keep you busy until I'm really and truly back.

http://textfromdog.tumblr.com/

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend -- Day One

I kicked off this three day "Holiday Weekend" by working all day Friday. I came home, put dinner in the oven, drove my daughter to meet her friends, popped into the grocery store, and made it home to feed myself and the boy. Two beers later, I fell asleep at 9:30 to PBS. Yeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaa! Hard to imagine how I could possibly top that, but I gave it a try today: I was at work by 8:30. Ha! Bet you didn't see that coming. At least I was at work in shorts and flip flops. Four hours later, I headed home, got the kids, took them to lunch and then began a four hour pilgrimage in support of my daughter's quest for the "perfect" bathing suit. So here's the thing.... The perfect bathing suit (for MY daughter) does not exist. She's a size four, has red hair and she didn't want a bikini or anything that was low cut. There are very very few one piece bathing suits in that size. The ones we did find were all red!!!! The next few hours were a blur of dressing roms and Lycra. At about the exact moment where I was contemplating putting a shopping bag over my head and calling it a day I hear these words of salvation "well, I GUESS this one is okaaaaaaaaaaaaaay." I literally race to the register, without even having asked her to model it for me. I don't actually care how it looks. I am throwing credit cards at the cashier. It costs as much as my car payment? Sure, sure, fine. Whatever. THIS suit works. She LIKES it. We can STOP looking now! It wasn't until I was half way home that I realize I have totally been had. The last time I spent that much money on an article of clothing, and it has been a long time, was for boots. Boots that, I have to point it, make me look like I am 30 (and therefore are more "therapeutic aid" than they are "clothing.") At that point it was almost 6:00 p.m. Dinner for all followed by two beers, followed by mowing the back yard. (yes, Mr. Surgeon General, I do realize that was backwards.....operate heavy equipment THEN drink the beers.) It is 9:30.....and the only reason why I haven't fallen asleep to PBS yet is because I am typing. Maybe tomorrow will be more festive. I'm cautiously optimi..............

Friday, May 18, 2012

Random crap and the reason why I haven't posted for a while

Close your eyes.  Imagine me, at a desk, surrounded with piles of paper with things like "DEADLINE YESTERDAY" written on them.  Imagine the phone ringing off the hook, an admin vacancy, and impending IT vacancy, a boss (who I LOVE so it's all okay in the end) who tells when me to schedule things for her and then asks my why on earth I've scheduled something then because obviously she's unavailable, imagine lots and lots of numbers, in columns, on spreadsheets, imagine lovely people in other countries, calling me and using increasingly high pitched tones to express their panic over the fact that I have not secured their immigration documents.

Imagine me saying this a lot:

"No, I did not know that.  In fact, I had no idea that......

  • You were actually starting work this week and we haven't processed your license
  • That employee left the company 5 weeks ago and I wasn't notified so I've been paying him and now I need to somehow get that back
  • The safety measures we enacted have been circumvented
  • Your last day is actually next week and not next month
  • There isn't enough parking to go around and I have to decide who has to take a bus from the satellite lots
I'm thinking that this would all be much more easily managed if they replaced the water cooler at the end of the hall with a vodka cooler. 

On a positive note, I have "officially" begun my marathon training (for next fall....so the "official" training looks no different than the "unofficial" little jogs that constitute my current regimen, but it FEELS different, which is fun) AND the weather has been PERFECT. 

This current state of affairs will continue, sadly, into the beginning of July.

Will do my best to stay current.  And sober.

Dear Google

I love you.  Really, I do.  But PLEASE stop asking me for my effing cell phone number every time I log in.

You're starting to become almost as annoying as my bank, where I have this conversation every time I'm at the window.  (To anyone under 25:  the "window" is the place INSIDE the building, where there's a person called a "Teller", and where you can conduct "transactions" like, getting cash, depositing cash, etc. in person, without having to push any buttons, or sit in a long line of traffic.)

Teller:  Hello!  Welcome to (Shall Remain Nameless So It Doesn't Constitute Slander) Bank, how may I serve you?  (Which IMMEDIATELY and ALWAYS makes me want to ask for a vodka tonic, so I hesitate for a second)

Me:  Hi, I'd like to cash this check please.  (Under 25s:  A check is a special piece of paper, that you fill out and sign that allows you to get money out of your account without using a piece of plastic or pushing any buttons)

Teller:  Great, I am happy to help you with that.  Please swipe your debit card in the machine here.

Me:  I don't have a debit card, here is my license.

Teller:  ...................... You don't HAVE a debit card?

Me:  No

Teller:  Well, let's get you a debit card!

Me:  I don't need a debit card, thank you.

Teller:  .....................................You don't NEED a debit card? 

Me:  Nope, I would never use it.

Teller:  Oh, well, it would make all of your transactions so much easier!  You need a debit card!  You could just SWIPE the card into the machine when you come in to cash checks!

Me:  But I don't need a debit card to cash a check.  I signed the check.  I'm showing you my drivers license, that's all I need to do to cash my check, RIGHT?

Teller:  (At this point in the conversation, for some reason, this is suddenly a personal affront to the Teller who gets a little bit indignant and huffy, pauses for a second, and then says, snarkily....) Well, of course, but how do you use the ATM?

Me:  I don't use the ATM.  I just cash checks.  It keeps me from spending money too quickly.  I really don't want a debit card.  Thank you.

Teller:  ...........................................................You don't WANT a debit card? 

And then the Teller and I have this little staring contest, until she finally sighs, heavily and cashes my check.

The irony in all of this is that the transaction, would, certainly have been much quicker if I had a debit card that I could have just freaking swiped and avoided this showdown and the Bank-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless (BANK OF AMERICA) Corral.  I have, actually, finally trained one certain Teller to the point where she says (loudly of course, as if I'm 14 and buying condoms) before I even get to her little window "I know, I know, you don't WAAAAAANT a debit card, hahahahahaha."    hmmmpf


So.  That's a long way of saying, Dear Google, that I'm pretty sure I can just stare you down on this issue, so it's in all of our interests for you to stop asking for my cell phone number just in case my email account is disabled.  I'm on to you.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Airport Observations

Airports are so REAL.  Such a microcosm for the planet.  You see the oddest things, and yet, somehow, they seem just totally representative of our culture somehow, in a way that makes me just say "oh" and "huh" instead of "WTF?"

Some examples:

People in public in various states of pajamas.  I see this a lot, and while it is understandable, still, we are in public folks.

The woman in the row in front of me who decided to do a last minute makeup/hair touch up....only when she teased her hair (you really couldn't call it brushing, since it completely went against the grain) it just left the whole thing full of static and all the hair stood up on end.  Only, because she couldn't see it, she had no idea.

A very attractive( and slightly older than I) man in the gate waiting area, who, upon closer inspection, was crying while he was talking on the phone.  As he was close enough to me, it wasn't REALLY eavesdropping.....he was cancelling his entire schedule with people for the next week because his son had just died.  I've been there.  In the airport, crying, in shock and on my way somewhere I had no intention of going because someone was dead.  My heart went out to him.

Lots and lots of REALLY HIGH heels.  This seems to just be a "thing" at the moment, especially in California apparently.  I mean absurdly, stupidly high. 

Fanny Packs. I'm still not sure these are okay. Even in a travel setting.

I've just endured my third turbulent flight in a row.  This one was the most thus far.  I am, therefore, inebriated, because the thought of having to immediately get on the last flight of the day and head back up THERE made me contemplate walking the 100 miles to my next destination instead.

Vodka to the rescue.  I love you Vodka!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Perspective

Because she was discombobulated (couldn't find agenda, couldn't find backpack etc.) we ended up driving our darling velociraptor DAUGHTER to school this morning. 

"It can't be easy being her" mused my husband. 

I pointed out it wasn't easy being any of us. 

He laughed and said "You've made great progress though, my dear.  Remember when I met you, you could barely hold your own with strangers!" 

He's not wrong.  I was a self conscious, awkward social mess (Not my fault, I completely blame bizarre family dynamics when I was growing up.  The fact that I ended up marrying the world's biggest extrovert can only have been a very very good thing for me in the long run) 

He continued, "I knew that would take a while to resolve, and it wasn't even my biggest concern." 

"Oh nooooo?" 

"Nope.  It was your inability to throw a Frisbee that was almost the deal breaker!"   

He was dead serious.  And that's really funny to me.  I'm pretty sure that laughter is the only truly effective marital glue. 


Monday, April 23, 2012

Catching Up

Salut Mes Amis!

Just got back from a quick trip to visit my newly confirmed Catholic daughter's first choice of colleges. 

I love this child for so many reasons.

She's sweet, kind, funny, grumpy, sassy and smart.  It's a beautiful and at times infuriating combination.  BUT, it means that she knows what she wants.

While she investigated, mapped and charted her college options, she boiled it all down to one main choice. 

That being said, when I perused the fruits of her efforts (trying to prove that there really just had to be some other options she was overlooking), I had to corroborate that said college was not only the best in the defined parameters, but also the most economical, and so off we went.

It's not an easy "here to there" as the Allegheny Mountains lie between us and it, and after a white knuckled journey straight across them on the way up, we fortunately discovered, a longer, but less harrowing ride back.

But I digress.

We visited, she stayed in a dorm, we met with admissions, she went to class, we ate the food, toured the facilities, talked nitty gritty about scholarships, blah blah blah.

If I could have just left her there to begin her college experience, she would have been thrilled.  When I do leave her there in a year, she'll flip over backwards and only wave longer than normal as we disappear because she knows that I'll be crushed if she doesn't.

I'm not one to get all verklempt (just ask my hubby), but it's H*A*R*D* to wrap your head around your babies leaving home. 

My boss, who is a delightfully real woman (and whose oldest is graduating from college this spring), shared this with me, both as a testament that I will not be alone in my boohooing all the way home, but also as a bit of a warning not to be "that" woman who just can't let go at all.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129693174

Food for thought.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sweet

This takes about 12 minutes, but it's super sweet. (Get out the tissues...in a good way...no one dies, I promise!)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Purpose driven lives

There are multiple purposes to my life.  Some of them endure, some are constantly changing.

Currently they include:

Raising thoughtful children.
Working really hard while I have the ability to do so.
Trying to "create something" now, to "have" later when my ability to create things has diminished.
Being a good person.

While they sound vague, perhaps, this short little list keeps me very busy.

I think it's the last one with which I struggle the most.

I do feel like I'm not giving much "back" at the moment.  I have at times, been more involved in enhancing the common or greater good than I am currently.

I tell myself that the work I'm doing professionally, the the work I'm doing in item number one, above, is somehow, peripherally, contributing to the last item.

And then I go and read something here:

http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/about/

And I think, WOW!  There's so much more that I could be doing.  At least someone is doing it, and for that I am grateful.

Sharing

My cousin posted a link to this woman's blog post about teenage girls.

I agree with all of her points, (and am grateful for the opportunity to recognize that this woman does not need to address any of these points to my daughter since none of these are issues she has).

http://kateelizabethconner.com/ten-things-i-want-to-tell-teenage-girls/

I like this woman's blog.  I think she's thoughtful, clever and funny.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Food for future blog posts

I secured a summer job for my daughter (the aforementioned Catholic zealot) with my former boss, an irreverent and cantankerous Jew.

I am beside myself with anticipation.

Here I go again

Because, clearly, I've forgotten how grueling the last Marathon was....or because I'm seriously perimenopausal and insAAAAne.....or because I bow easily to peer pressure.  Or (C) perhaps all of the above.

In any event, this little bit of insanity is bought and paid for:

http://www.richmondmarathon.com/

Anyone care to join me?

It's fun.  Really.

heh heh heh

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stuff I see

A man and his son walking to preschool, they cross the street in front of my car so I stop and wait. The dad is tall, in a suit, serious. The boy is 4ish, in shorts. They are holding hands. The dad is focused on the school on the opposite side of the street as he strides purposefully forward. The boy, however, is jumping his way across the street, from one white crosswalk square to the next, with his own sense of determination, similarly purposeful, yet completely with glee. They are a funny duo on the same trajectory yet oblivious to one another's mode of ambulation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blonde Girl Math

Universal flow and a karmic bone to chew on

I meet a lot of people.  I meet hundreds of new people every year just through work, and then when you throw in people connected with the kids, or my husband and his many many creative ventures, it's a whole lot of names and faces.  I'm not always good at remembering, or at distinguishing, months down the road if it was this Bob or that Bob unless either of the Bobs happened to make an impression on me for some reason. 

Every once in a while, however, I meet someone who immediately "sticks."  Someone who I instantly have that "where have you been all these years" kind of feeling, which is really fun.

What is that all about?  How is it that one person out of the hundreds just stands out?  There's no rhyme or reason; sometimes they are male, sometimes female...older younger taller shorter wiser sillier.... there's no detectable pattern.  Perhaps the bond is enhanced by circumstances or environment.  Or maybe it's just chemical.  Whatever the reason, it's always fun when it happens.  I'm going to consider it a little gift from the  universal flow .... a little karmic bone to keep me fresh while I shake a couple hundred more hands attached to faces that I'll never remember......a reminder that somewhere along the way there's going to be a keeper or two!

 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Roe V Wade V My daughter

I gave my daughter a ride last night to meet her friends.  You know how teenagers are, always shirking responsibility and hanging out and stuff?  I dropped her off in a parking lot next to a row of mostly unmarked office buildings.  There was a small group of her hooligan friends already there, loitering in the parking lot.....PRAYING THE ROSARY....... in front of an abortion clinic.

That was a really hard thing for me to do, to take her there in the first place, willingly and supportively.  I've mentioned this before here, that she and I have agreed to disagree on this topic, but part of me really wanted to roll down the window and scream at these young girls "DO  YOU  HAVE  ANY  IDEA  HOW  HARD  WE  WORKED  TO  ACHIEVE  REPRODUCTIVE  FREEDOM  IN  THIS  COUNTRY ?????"

But I didn't do that, because they don't actually know how hard we worked, nor would they understand it or be impressed by it, and I guess that's the way it goes. So, I just smiled, and told her I loved her, and drove away in a surreal state of mystification.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that she wouldn't be who she is able to be, today, without the blood and sweat of generations of women who paved the way for her to be a member of a society where the choices she makes she is able to make so freely. Yet, because the road has been paved so smoothly now, for so long, I fear that she is not able to appreciate how dusty and full of potholes it truly used to be. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Summer!!!

It is EIGHTY DEGREES outside!

Seriously, Mother Nature, wth?  (I know you're just setting us up for some molten lava kind of August, right?)

The fact that I'm chained to a desk, clicking buttons to approve IT permission profiles for my 750 docs right now is almost too unbearable considering what's happening outside my window.

It makes me want to play hooky and go here:

Chandlers!

This place is totally awesome. It is stuck in a random parking lot between a CVS and a Tractor Supply. There are 4-5 benches and a few trees, but people just pull up and stand around slurping the best ice cream ever!

Now, I realize those are strong words, because we all prefer different kinds of ice cream.  I am not a custard girl, or a fro-yo girl, and while I worked at B&Js many moons ago, and still love the product, sometimes they're just a little too much for me.

This stuff is good old soft serve.  Vanilla, Chocolate, and "Swirl." Keep it simple, right?  Of course they make milk shakes with add-ins (al la DQ, only way better) and banana splits and sundaes, but my favorite is a vanilla cone, dipped in chocolate. The kind that hardens instantly.  On a 70 degree day, you can eat the whole thing before the ice cream melts through the shell. On an 80 degree day, you just don't stand a chance, and if you don't order an empty bowl to go with your confection, your tongue will chase the melted marvel right off of its coney perch and onto the pavement.

This place personifies Summer for me.  Good thing it isn't within walking distance right now.