Friday, August 29, 2008

Long Weekend Ahead


It is finally Friday and it is also the start to a long weekend...that's right, It's labor day weekend! I am more than ready for this weekend to be here and for the much needed day off on Monday. We are planning a fairly relaxing weekend - nothing major, perhaps a trip to the Zoo, a movie and some back yard B-B-Q time with friends, but not much else.

In the spirit of keeping things light and breezy I will keep this short and simple...

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Believe in Good or the Power of Evil?

Have you ever seen the movie "Diary of a Mad Black Woman?" There's a scene in the movie where this woman is taking care of her ex-husband, a man who has been nothing short of cruel to her the entire time and in this one scene he falls into the tub, he's cold and shivering and asking her to help him get out to which she does nothing. She just sits there with him and makes him wait.

At that moment, the tables have turned and she has the power to return every ounce of crap this guy pushed on her over time. All the anger she felt can be exacted in that moment in the movie - even though it is typically out of character for the woman being played in the movie.

That is today.

One minute life is speeding along and the next you realize you have the power to affect something on a much larger scale than you ever imagined. With a single action, you - an individual, could put into motion a series of events that could have long lasting repercussions and yet, none of this is in your nature...or is it?

What is our nature?

Do these moments of human kindness define us as people or is the constant barrage of murder, pain and chaos a testament to our true nature? Personally, I like to believe we are good and the exception to the rule is evil. I am typically not a vindictive or hurtful person, however I have been known to lash out if provoked far enough.

Realizing today, that I hold that capability - the ability to affect someone else in a major way, especially if I think you've done me wrong - is intoxicating and tempting, but my belief in Karma/a higher being/god(whatever you want to call it) is stronger...and right now it's the only thing that separates me from those without a conscious.

Have you ever been faced with a choice and you could do what was in your nature or you could do what was totally out of character? Which did you choose?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Teacher Likes It

I've said it once, I'm sure I'll say it a million more times during my lifetime...
Raising girls is not an easy task.

Then again, I don't think raising boys would be much easier. Either way, I tend to my daughter on a daily basis and despite my best effort, she has a way of making me question my success as a mother. (How do we measure success as a mother?)

See, my daughter started 1st grade this year and because we start school so early here, she has been in school for 3 weeks (plenty of time to get the hang of things.) My daughter LOVES to talk - always has and talking is her biggest problem area in school.

She is smart and does very well in the academic area, however, her conduct for talking has always been less than stellar. Last year we implemented a reward systems based on her daily color conduct chart. There were rewards for Green - Excellent and punishments for each color there after. The punishments were not severe, yellow was a loss of dessert with dinner, blue was a loss of a movie, dessert and cartoons the next morning before school and so on. She struggled with green last year. More often than not she had yellows, but there were those rare occasions where she would have a week of all green and her reward was a day at Chuck E Cheese. (She still asks for that as her BIG reward)

In preparation of this impending year I put a lot of thought into her behavior and what we would do about it. This year, she will get letter grades E, G, S, N, & U and for each there should be a reward/consequence. E&G = reward, S = loss of a privilege and N&U = punishment (I pray everyday I don't see these letters.) Being that she is getting older (thinks she is grown) I want to provide her more of an incentive in the areas that I think she will struggle...E. It's not that I think she can't do it, but more along the lines of probably won't do it because she likes to tell me, "Mom, it's ok...I just like to talk."

So with a system in place we start the year. Her goal is to get an E and for every E she gets during the month, I will give her $1 at the end of the month to do with as she pleases. For an entire week of E&G I will take her to Chuck E Cheese or some other activity of her choice. She is excited with this idea.

The first week comes and goes and there are no E's. She did good, G & S...and some almost E's but almost doesn't count I explain to her. Week 2 comes and goes and she has E, G, and S. She is very excited to have earned $2 that week - we mark it on her calender so she can keep track of it. Week 3 begins and so far this week she has gotten E's on both days.

She is VERY excited.

I am very excited for her.

Then she informs me...her TEACHER likes her to get E's.

But...but...what about me? What about MOM? You know, the one who wants her to do her best? Doesn't mom like her to get E's?

I won't complain too loudly, because at least she cares...I just wonder if my success as a parent - my ability to motivate my child to do well is really a reflection of me or her teacher?!

I am amazed at how one little girls statement can reduce me to a questioning I just stare in the mirror and repeat... I am the momma. I AM THE MOMMA!

Do your kids ever make you question yourself? Did your teachers or your parents opinion matter more?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Holding On...Letting Go

Have you ever held on to something for future use?

I did.

No, I wouldn't consider myself a pack rat, however, for almost 6 years I've carted around my 1st daughters baby things thinking I will re-use them "IF" I ever have any more kids. This was done for three reasons:

1. My daughter was the first girl in the family and I had WAY too much stuff...seriously, she never wore her clothes the first year more than twice.
2. This stuff is expensive - they use it and then they outgrow it, its not like it gets worn out.
3. I'm slightly superstitious (ok, more than slightly) and I believed the minute I got rid of all of it I would get pregnant again (I wasn't ready for more kids yet)

Suffice it to say, that 5 years later I made the decision to get rid of it all and began the process of going thru it. It had been carted across 3 states and 5 homes...I had no idea what I had left...I had also slowly been giving it away to people who were having girls. One week before I was set to put it all in a yard sale, I found out I was pregnant (superstition come true or coincidence?) and I decided to keep it all a little bit longer. I mean, if I'd carted it around this long, what's the harm in a little longer?

We did one more move and I began the process of going thru it, luckily for me I was having another girl, however they were going to be in completely opposite seasons (one in May and one in December.) I meticulously sorted thru the stuff keeping what I could and giving away some, dropping some off at good will and boxing the rest up for sale. In the process, some of what I kept was for the baby when she got a little older, like 3-6 month or 6-9 months. Obviously it was all too big when she was born so I put it in a container in her closet, sure I would get to it when the time came.

Then summer came, Jr arrived, and Little Miss had her room converted from a nursery into a little boys room (with purple walls.) In came the toys, the posters and the TV - which was put in the closet on top of said boxes with stuff for Little Miss. Little Miss grew, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8 months. Summer came to a close and Jr. went back home to his mother. During this time I begin the process of turning Little Misses room back into a nursery at which time I find all this stuff I had saved only to realize it is too small and now is going into the sale boxes.

Talk about feeling like a dork. I pride myself on not being a pack rat and keeping only thing necessary or of momentous value. For 6 years, however, I have carted a TON of stuff around in hopes of being able to reuse it...only to finally meet and "forget" that day was coming. On the positive side of things...there is now more for my sale, will I ever get around to selling it? Ha, probably not...good will probably won't know what to do with the stuff that has never been used and still has tags on it.

Have you ever held on to something for future use only to forget it is there?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Madness - Home Repairs

At some point in time we've all thought "I can fix that." No I'm not talking about filling in a hole in the wall, but more along the lines of replacing a light fixture, maybe some simple plumbing like replacing a faucet so it's not leaky or maybe even fixing a broken door. I was always one of 'those' girls who NEVER did these things...I lived in apartments that had maintenance and thoroughly enjoyed being able to call these men when I had an issue. Now however, I have a house that requires upgrades and updates and all things maintenance related. In honor of this I give you Monday Madness Home Repairs

1. Cost - Why are the simplest little pieces so expensive?
I want a little rubber gasket to fix a leaky faucet and it cost $5 for a teeny tiny piece of rubber? My other options are to replace the entire faucet...not so cost effective...I'd rather spend the $5.

2. Simplicity - It's NEVER simple.
It doesn't matter how easy the Home Network on TV makes it look (or the fact they can do it in 30 minutes) because it will take all day just to do what takes them 10 minutes (not including the cursing and stomping that will ensue out of frustration.

3. Parts - Can it not come with all the parts needed when purchased?
You shop for a good deal and when you finally find the one you want (in your price range) it turnes out you also need hoses, nozzles, clips, caulking and stoppers (which cost as much as the stupid upgrade)

4. Completing - Is it possible to ever be done?
Nope, there is always something else, even if you get done and say NEVER will, eventually do it again.

**Disclaimer** I have to note, that I have a wonderful husband who graciously does the home repairs and never asks me to help. I complain at the madness, however he is a master home repairer (and has learned its cheaper and easier to do it himself, because if his wife has to do's going to get ugly and he'll have to do it again anyway!)

What is your Home Repair Pet Peeve?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Smile - It does a body good

Once again it is dark and raining outside. Thunder and lightening flash overhead as I sit beneath the florescent lights still wanting to crawl back into bed. Despite all this, I am going to believe today will be better than yesterday because I want to. I want to say thank you to everyone who left encouraging words yesterday - it was much appreciated.

It has got me to thinking though, at all the little ways simple things touch and brighten our lives.

Mail -I am an Internet junkie. I live by instant communications - email, instant messaging, tweeting, texting etc. My family communicates most often in this method, but at heart I am a snail mail kind of girl. Rarely are there days when I go to the mail box and see a hand written note that has been postage stamped in my box, usually it's the notes that say "You've won..." or "You've been pre-approved" or "Please pay..." - you know, the typical mail. But on those rare occasions I get those cards or "just thinking of you notes" my day seems a bit brighter.

Just Us - The hub and I are fairly geeky (he more than I) but it is this shared love of geekiness that has given us something just ours. We have spent so much of out time in front of a computer for so long that we often think differently. We don't just see numbers and letters in their original definition...we see letters made out of numbers, we see words in symbols, we see meaning in code. One of the things the hub started doing a few years ago was leaving little notes that were comprised of 143. The first time I saw this I thought, hum, one hundred and forty-three...what does he mean? I thought about it and it took a bit, but I understood. 143 = I love you (the number of letters per word.) He's done this for many years now and it still brings a smile to my face when I see them at the end of an email or in a random text message or just on a sticky note left somewhere for me to find.

Random Acts of Kindness - I hear these stories and sometimes I get to experience these stories first hand. I'm talking about the random acts of kindness like paying the toll for the person behind you, buying a cup of coffee for the person who looks like they've had one of those days(weeks), or giving someone some roadside assistance when it looks like they can't do it for themselves. These stories fill the web-ways, but how often does this really happen? In today's society...I at least, am a little leery of strangers and wonder what they want in return.

For example, my crazy neighbor is always trying to get near our house to take a peak inside. (She once lived in our house years ago) Anyhow, we tried to start off on the right foot, but a few incidents later we dubbed her the crazy lady and usually we interact very little. This summer she planted a garden which was full of veggies. The great tomato outbreak occurred and she saw an opportunity to 'sell' her home grown tomatoes to passersby. A few days later, I thought about stopping by to purchase some, but got busy and forgot. A little later that evening, I heard a knock on the door and what did I have, but a bag of tomatoes. I have to admit these were some very yummy tomatoes. About 2 weeks later my daughter comes in the house with a basket full of tomatoes and peppers and such from the neighbor. Well there was more than we could eat and I didn't want them to go bad so I decided to make a batch of salsa (we eat this stuff year round.) Because the neighbor had been so gracious with her veggies I sent a jar back to her house with the basket. She loved it and asked if I could make her a BIG batch. Now, I didn't have to share, but I did. There is just something about a homemade pie, cake, jar of jam, jar of salsa or whatever that says I was thinking about you.

Perhaps it was how I was raised - my mother was a homemaker and we regularly 'shared' with neighbors and strangers alike. It was never something that was expected but it was always appreciated. I wonder if the world would be a different place if more people thought that way?

What are the special things that make you smile?

BTW: My friend is hosting a Venus Embrace give away over at JandJacres. Be sure to stop by!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Moody Blues

Do you ever just have one of those weeks?

You know, the ones where your just crabby and it seems to rain on your parade on a daily basis? The ones where all you want to pull the covers over your head and stay there until the sun goes down again?

Yep, I'm in one of those weeks and while I can appreciate the fact that these moments come and go (i.e. it will eventually pass) I can't seem to shake this one. I'm moody and sullen (very unusual for me because I don't want to talk to people,) I want to be left alone, but can't stay home so I get up and go to work and just kind of ... be. It's kind of like being on auto pilot for me.

I'm not quite sure how I ended up here (swallowed up by this dark cloud) but I'm here and can't seem to shake it - I'm starting to wonder if my mood is mimicking the weather outside since it's been dark and rainy for a few days now and is projected to have rain into next week. Funny thing is that other than my mood, life is going pretty least well enough that I wouldn't complain about anything major.

(Sorry for the crabby post, your regularly scheduled sunny commentator will be back tomorrow)

How do you shake off the Moody blues?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Social Media Introvert?

Would you classify yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?

a shy person

an outgoing, gregarious person.

Fundamentally a rather simple question, however not always such an easy answer because many times we can exhibit qualities of both. Personally I would classify myself as an introvert, however if you ask anyone who knows me I am a talker. I mean, I literally talk ALL THE TIME and will typically talk to most anyone. I blog, I twitter, I run the gamut on most social networking sites but even then, I lurk in the shadows until someone or something draws me out of my comfort zone (or perhaps I've had a few cocktails.)

I logged into twitter this morning, like I always do, to find a tweet linking back to a BlogHer post by Maria Niles "Social Media is for Introverts." I immediately read the article nodding my head in agreement with so many of her points.
Introverts conjure up images of anti-social hermits. Yet some of the biggest users of social media consider themselves introverts.
Could this really be? Are we lurking behind the screen in the comfort of our own settings giving even the biggest extrovert a run for his socializing money? I think so.

In a post prompted once again by a twitter discussion Pete Cashmore writes:
Perhaps social media affords us the control we lack in real life socializing: the screen as a barrier between us and the world.
This prompted me to think, perhaps my own want to be involved but to feel in somewhat control has left me following the introverted path in life and explains why in a social setting I am usually standing in the crowd, thoughts swirling with things to say yet feeling utterly invisible to the world. It would possibly also explain why the hub and I are so compatible...he is the extrovert to my introvert.

No, he is not so much for online interaction, but give him a crowd and the spotlight appears. I on the other hand, excel at behind the screen communications and typically shy away from first IRL meetings. Give me a few of these in person communications and then I am usually ok...its breaking that barrier that I struggle with the most.

Perhaps that is the irony in all of this - Social Media and Social Networking is about the communication between people, clients and businesses and yet it's socializing on a whole new level. Technology has provided a link to the masses that affords all of us (introverts and extroverts alike) a rather level playing field. I can meet and chat with people I might never have the courage to speak to face to face as well as share thoughts and discussions with people I might never have had the chance to meet who are just as introverted as myself.

Are you an introvert or extrovert and do you think social media challenges the traditional view of these roles?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Amethyst Initiative

It's called the Amethyst Initiative and more than 100 college presidents have signed on in an effort to bring this concern to the table of conversation.

All across the news headlines are flashing that college's are wanting to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18 in an effort to curb binge drinking, but will this change work? The backers of the change are claiming that the age of 18 grants people the rights to vote and to join the military claiming they are an "adult" now, but yet they are not old enough to have a beer. In opposition to the argument
"Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says lowering the drinking age would lead to more fatal car crashes."

Personally, I'm not sure if 3 years makes that much of an impact. I can remember when I turned 18 - I drank like a fish. Was this illegal, yes. Did I understand I was breaking the law, yes. Did it stop me, no. Truth is, I thought I was grown and I wanted to drink - it was a social thing for me and I was always comfortable with a drink in my hand. There were nights when I would drink responsibly and nights I cannot remember. I made some bad choices, but fortunately for me, I survived to tell the tale. Not everyone is so lucky.

By the time I was 21, drinking was not such a big thing...I'd been doing it for years and while there were still moments of alcohol impaired judgement, they were fewer and definitely more far between. I'm not advocating drinking under age, but much like anything else in society - I believe knowledge about something can help make it manageable. I'd have to agree with the university presidents in the fact that drinking under age is so taboo that it draws the kids in. How many times do you remember being told "Not to do something" and you did it anyway?

The main concern behind this initiative is not a request to have the drinking age lowered (at least not at this point) but to bring this topic of conversation to the table for an open and honest debate.
A recent Associated Press analysis found that 157 college-age people, 18 to 23, drank themselves to death from 1999 through 2005.

While I don't think this possibility will stop binge drinking, I do believe that it might find a way to lower the numbers of binge drinking deaths.

What do you think about possibly lowering the drinking age?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Madness - Rude

Typically Monday Madness is about things that irritate me, but today has followed one of those weekends where it has been particularly odd. So instead of a specific subject of which I find oddities...I give you Monday Madness - Disgustingly Rude

1. Lewd Gestures - As a child, this might be considered funny...the type where some teenager moons/flashes you unexpectedly, regardless of age this is not always funny.
(In my case, if you are a 60 year old man who drives by my house as I wait at the end of my driveway so I can enter traffic, rolling down your window and sticking your tongue out 'wriggling' it around is not at all found to be appealing - Especially at 7 o'clock on a Monday morning...not a great start to the week)

2. Common Courtesy - When visiting friends it is not, I repeat NOT, ok to use the guest bathroom for the bathroom of choice, to do your 'dirty' business - ESPECIALLY when it is your house and you have another bathroom in the master bedroom. Remember guests have to use that bathroom and do not want to smell your crap!
( know who I am talking to)

3. Wal-Mart - When shopping at the grocery store, when lines are long and baskets are overflowing, it is NOT OK to send your 4 year old daughter to scout the shopping lines and stand in it as you slowly make your way from your previous line, while the rest of us stand there patiently with our carts. It is likely to get you run over by another 1Ton cart as you try to enter the line.
(I prefer to be cussed out in ENGLISH, since this is America and not Spanish as I stare you down and give you dirty looks. Just because you speak Spanish and I am white does not mean I don't understand every word you say)

4. Running - I understand that exercising as a group might be a foreign concept to you and your BMW, but when you see 25 or so people at 5am in the morning jogging down the road in the outside lane for driving because there is no shoulder - this does NOT mean 'speed up and you get bonus points for each person you take out.'
(We are not bowling pins and are a close group...if you take one of us out you will have the whole mob to deal with!)

What are your RUDE random pet peeves?

Thursday, August 14, 2008


The news has been littered with John Edwards affair and the aftermath that is his life. Yesterday, in fact, there was an article on MSN that was titled "Edwards' wife in anguish after affair." This struck a chord with me in the fact that even if we do not deal with infidelity directly, the odds that it will touch our lives in some fashion is likely.

Over at "On the Flip Side" Kellan posted a question "What would you do if you Found out your husband was cheating?" After all the comments were in, most people agreed their first instinct would be to kick him to the curb, but in the end would rather attempt to work it out and stay with their husband.

For me, I've seen the issue from both sides. I've been the friend who's watched a marriage crumble because my friend made a mistake. Her husband never did trust her quite the same, nor did she trust him. She always thought he would 'cheat' just to get even with her and he always thought she was cheating, even though she wasn't. Their relationship didn't survive and now they have moved on with their lives.

In my own personal life, years ago (before my husband and I were married or had discussed marriage) we went through a rough patch. I have always said relationships are hard work - this one is no different. We had been together for about 2 years and had endured living together, working together, ex-spouses, very young children, natural disasters and just all around really bad times...we had finally reached our breaking point and yet, neither one of us said "lets walk away, lets call it quits." Instead, we moved our families into separate states and attempted to carry on some semblance of a long distance relationship. I felt that things were wrong between us, but I wanted to believe we would come out of it ok, perhaps some time and distance apart would make the heart grow fonder. (I am a bit of a romantic) The hub (then boyfriend) also knew things weren't going so well and had decided to go his own way, one little problem, he 'forgot' to tell me. So yes, he cheated on me.

I never knew. I went along in my own little cocoon because that is what I wanted to know, needed to believe despite all the other signs. To this day, I doubt I would have ever known had he not decided to tell me the truth. Shortly before he 'popped' the question, he called me one night and started with the dreaded "I need to tell you something..." My heart stopped - I knew what was coming even before he said it. It didn't matter the reasons or the who or any of the rest - in that instant my world cracked, but it didn't shatter. Yes, I was hurt, I was angry - how dare he do this to me after the time and energy we've invested into this relationship. If he wanted out, why didn't he just say so?

Those were the questions I wanted answers to...why didn't he just leave? In the end it came down to one thing...Do I love this man? Do I love this man enough to forgive him?


No I wasn't married to him so we could have gone our separate ways without much hassle, but personally I couldn't imagine my life without him in it. Doing some of the things I've done in my life, especially from a military standpoint, I've watched men and women alike throw caution to the wind and follow their desires. I know first hand that we are only human and we make mistakes. I believe the key to getting past this however is forgiveness for yourself and your partner.

I don't believe there are things we can do to prevent infidelity despite what some say is the reason behind it. If we gave them more attention, showed more love, praised more - I don't think these things will actually prevent someone from cheating. It might delay the process, but I believe that if the lines of communication are broken in a relationship and you can't talk to your partner about what is bothering you, then how could you ever expect them to make you feel better? I am a firm believer that no one is responsible for your happiness but you and if you are not happy, no one person or one thing will be able to fix it but you.

Trust is a fragile thing and once it's broken it is never quite the same. For my relationship though, I loved this man enough to work through it and today we are stronger - however if he ever does it again...

Party Planning

I've always been a planner - I plan how my day will go, I plan what I will say to so-and-so, I plan what my house will look like some day, I plan how I will teach my children, I plan for what type of job I am going to have someday, I plan what kind of FUN parties I will have with my friends ... and the list can go on (but I won't bore you because I'm sure you get the idea.) The problem with this is that even though I am a planner, I am not always so good at the execution of the plan.

Case in point: I am in the planning stages for a Halloween Bash at my house.

Yes, this is mid-August and I realize that Halloween is in October, but there is SO much I am wanting to plan for...decorations (need lots of them), Food (what is going to be my theme) Invitations (evite or paper), People(how many), Games (kids and adults), and most importantly what am I going to wear?

These are just a few of the questions I've been racking my brain with lately...fortunately Google provides some links to some wonderful sites that share valuable information and my MIL has graciously helped in the decor department by sending the hub back with her stash of Halloween decorations. Now as for the rest...still yet to be determined.

In my mind, I have grand visions of happy people, kids games (bobbing for apples, toss the bag in the pumpkin etc.) food and merriment all around. In real life - I often wonder if this is a pipe dream or if perhaps I could pull it off. Up until this year, we have not hosted parties like this...typically our residence was too small and we stuck to the traditional 'have friends over for dinner' recipe. Now, however, we can do these things, but I am still a novice. What do I feed the masses? How do I get the most for our money? How do I make sure there is enough variety to keep everyone happy and keep the party lively?

This is where the part about "not being so good at the execution" comes in. See, I am obsessing now...I will probably obsess right up until the big day, buy WAY too much stuff and end up with only a few people. Most of which will be our close friends who will drink a bit, let the children run like wild banshees and enjoy some good conversation. So, why do I just plan for this type of party?? That's simple, there is something fun about a big lively party where everyone dresses up in costume that you just can't get from a few people 'hanging' out together (plus, people usually feel like a dork dressed in costume with just a few people.)

Yes, I'm sure I'm obsessing a little bit at this point - perhaps this is normal (I didn't obsess this much over my wedding and it was just fine). Instead of worrying too much I thought I would throw this out to all of you, wonderful readers - you know what you like.

What is your favorite part about attending party? What do you dislike the most when attending a party? Any great Halloween party memories?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Out of the mouths of Babes

My husband came home from taking his son back and one of the first things he noted was "Boys and Girls are SO different." When I question him on this ...
"oh really, (insert sarcastic look here) What makes you think that?"

"Well, they don't care about the same things. All he cared about while we were there was fishing. It was a completely different atmosphere because they were seperated."

Well Duh! I could have told you that before you ever left home.

Case and point...
My daughter started 1st grade this year and this is what she has to say about it.

DQ: Mom, school is great - it's super easy
Me: That's because you are smart.
DQ: Yeah and I have a boyfriend.
Me: Hum...a boyfriend? Who is this boyfriend of is only the second day.
DQ: His name is Dillion.
Me: I don't know can't have a boyfriend if I don't know him...what if he is mean.
DQ: Well he's not mean, he's nice. He likes my hair.
Me: Likes your hair?
DQ: Yes, he thinks it is pretty.
Me: Well, I still say you can't have a boyfriend unless I meet Dillion and I don't remember a Dillion on the first day.
DQ: MOM - why not?
Me: I don't think you can have a boyfriend until you are 30...yeah 30 and then we'll talk.
DQ: Oh Mom...but he is really nice, just come to school with me and I'll show you.

I've been trying to teach her that boys have "cooties" but that isn't seeming to work very well. I try to remember being that age, but honestly my first "boyfriend" wasn't until I was in the third grade. His name was George and he gave me broken jewlery. I know, even then I was a sucker for the stuff, but we were in different classes and each day at recess we would go outside and play 'red rover' and hold hands. (awe, how sweet) That was back in the day when "holding hands" was a BIG DEAL. Now..not so much.

Anyhow, as you can see, I've got one who's only concern is catching the Big Fish and one who's concern is catching the 'boyfriend.'

What is a mother to do?

Do you remember your childhood sweety?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A-Z Meme

I know, this is a late post for the day, but I've been running like a mad woman today. Anyhow, DysFUNctional Mom tagged me on Friday so here goes.

A.) attached or single? Attached (at least that is what I hope my says otherwise he has a live in stalker.

(B.) best friend? Hum...I've had many wonderful friends who each have a special place in my heart...however, my oldest friend would be Amy 22 yrs.

(C.) cake or pie? Cake...I'd rather decorate than eat it, but give me one with fresh strawberry's and you'll have to fight me for it.

(D.) day of choice? Wednesday...something about HUMP day that makes it all better :)

(E.) essential item? Phone - it mostly rings when I'm away from the hub, but it's my best friend in the car (only time to talk alone, without children interrupting)

(F. ) favorite color? Blue

(G. ) gummy bears or worms? neither, peanut m&ms

(H.) hometown? BFE South Texas (or more commonly referred to by me as Hell)

(I.) favorite indulgence? Pedicure, bubble bath, or Saturday Morning long runs (2+ hours of no kids while the sun rises)

(J. ) January or July? July - But I prefer October

(K. ) kids? 3 between the two of us...5 if you count the hub and our cat

(L.) life isn't complete without? Laughter, love, and a dash of hope

M.) marriage date? August 4, 2006

(N.) number of brothers & sisters? both

(O.) oranges or apples? apples

(P.) phobias? no phobias, but REALLY don't like cockroaches

(Q.) quotes? They change with my mood, but my all time favorite is "Hope is only hope with all else is hopeless."

(R.) reasons to smile? My life - who could ask for more.

(S.) season of choice? Summer ... I love the heat

(T.) tag seven peeps! SEVEN? I won't make seven of you do this, but let me know if you decide to participate.

(U.) unknown fact about me? When I was little (4 or 5 maybe) the next door neighbor kid and I played a game of "the bad guys are trying to get us" and we ran to the neighbors house and told them someone was trying to break in. The little old ladies (we told) called the police and they came to investigate. Oddly enough they found marks at the window we said they were trying to break in and we described almost the same person to them (after being separated) ... funny thing was it was broad daylight when we claimed this happened, his sister was in the house sleeping and my mother was next door at my house when we claimed all this was taking place. No, we never admitted we made it up and No, we never played that game again.

(V.) vegetable? All of them, I've always enjoyed them

(W.) worst habits? disregarding a position of authority and speaking my mind

(X.) x-ray or ultrasound? both

(Y.) your favorite food? Tacos and homemade tamales

(Z.) zodiac sign? Libra

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday Madness - Back to School

It is that time of year again - the time of year I've been simultaneously looking forward to and dreading all summer long...the first day of school. So in honor of My daughter's 1st day of school this year...
Monday Madness - Back to School

1. Shopping - Tax free weekend signifies "come one, come all" and get your back to school gear here.
It also signifies hot, stuffy stores, clothing that has been ransacked by other eager parents and a guarantee that you will wait an hour to pay for your stuff.

2. Supplies - As soon as the school year is looming ahead the supplies are dropped down to pennies on the dollar.
The stores know we will be buying them in mass quantities to satisfy our school requirements...why is it then that pencils can be sold in bundle packs of 50 for 25 cents but all the rest of the year I have to buy them in packs of 10 for $1?

3. Shoes - My child's feet seem to grow like weeds. Rarely do they ever last long enough in 'wearable' condition for her to outgrow's more like I just keep replacing them.
Any other time of the year buying shoes isn't such a deplorable idea, at the start of the year however the stores seem to plan for 1 person to man the entire shoe department - at which time I am sending them back with 4 pairs in 2 sizes (one whole and one half size) to see which ones fit better. Add that to the list of other parents sending the guy back and you are bound to not see him for at least 30 minutes.

4. School Specifics - The requirements from the school that can only be bought from the child's school.
The school notebooks used to relay information/homework home to the parents each day that are imprinted with the schools information or the writing tablets that can only be found at the schools library or the specific glue tops? Seriously...a glue top??

5. Student Pickup - There are specific rules when driving thru the drop off/pickup line at my daughters school...2 lines in filter into 1 (picture cattle being herded into the cattle shoot) - each year however there are the new parents who don't know the 'driving etiquette' or the drivers who show up once or twice to pick up the kids and screw it all up for the rest of us parents. Seriously, if you drive down the road and see 15 cars lined up on the side waiting to turn into the driveway, then you should realize they are not just hanging out for cannot jump in front and cut line.

What quirks do you have at the start of the school year?

Friday, August 8, 2008

For Every Excuse A New Strategy

The Customer is always right (even when they are wrong.)

It used to be a staple point of the customer service job, but lately I've been wondering where has that mentality gone? Was it ever right? Does it fit with todays times or are we just greedy, "I want it my way" kind of people?

A conversation took place at work recently where our customer service "help desk" people we able to aire their grevences. While each person had individual complaints, they all centered around one basic issue - lack of clear cut and INFORCABLE standards with how the customer should be delt with.

"The customer is being unreasonable, where do I draw the line and say no to at request?"

The answer was simple..."You don't."

I can say I believe these words to be true because 'I've been there and done that.' It was a difficult lesson for me to learn, but in the effort of satisfying a customer, regardless of how unreasonable their requests may be - your job is still 'customer service' and they need to be accomodated to the best of your ability.

In todays world, technology has enabled us to air our grievences in many outlets. Social Media's are taking the marketing community by storm and even though a company has spent a lifetime building a reputation, all it takes is a few negative tweets or blogs to start an avalanche of bad PR.

Just look at the recent news with comcast and their massive generation of press because they have a staff that watches the tweets of disgruntled customers in an effort to minimize bad press. Many more companies are jumping on the band wagon and I imagine this will only be the beginning. Companies that are attempting to stay out of the social media frenzie are not safe either - take for example the recent Exxon media in which a woman by the name of 'Janet' had taken to posting as an Exxon Rep which stirred up controversies in itself.

Technology has given us many new and wonderful things - I can buy and sell items in the comfort of my home, I can praise and complain someone without ever having in person interaction, and I can review and rate a product without ever having my opinions questioned. It really is a wonderful place - however in the eyes of customer service, it puts a whole new spin on 'big brother watching.'

Think about it for just a moment, it used to be you filled out a comment card or were asked to participate in a survey when visiting a store - now, surveys are online and companies monitor your purchases via cookies or purchase history. Now they monitor your online interactions as well - personally I'm a little afraid.

What do you think? Customer service changes, are they better than what they were years ago or do you think we are headed into the unknown.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Facing The 26.2 Dragon

Every so often I mention the St. Jude Marathon I am going to run on December 6. (notice I said "GOING TO RUN" - positive affirmations)For the past 6 months or so I've been running in an effort to build up mileage and strength so that I can complete the 26.2 mile race without injury. In this process I have gotten a trainer to help with the preparation for the race because I have never done this before. Yesterday - he finally sent out the specific training schedules for the race and I have to admit that I was a little shocked and then a little frightened by what I received.

For some of you, the mere idea of ever running 26.2 miles for FUN - is delusional. I too used to be of this mindset. I usually joke my kids drove me to this point, but the truth is I enjoy running (most days.) When I first started training (8 weeks after my daughter was born) Walking 2 miles was hard, running 4 miles seemed difficult and 26.2 that was beyond psychotic at the time. Eventually, 2 miles turned into 4 which has turned into 10 and sometimes 12 miles. Running 6 is an easy thing now.

What's the problem?

Well, when I was reviewing the training schedule I noticed the 20 & 24 mile runs on there over the next few months and honestly, those numbers seem, well...a little frightening. I've been saying these numbers for a while now - telling myself "sure, whats a few more miles than what you've already been doing." Truth is, seeing them in black and white is a whole new ball game. Regardless of what I thought before, they seem to be looming ahead in all their massive glory.

I'm sure, much of it is still in my head and once I face this dragon it will seem much smaller than I's just the getting there that is the hard part.

Have you ever wanted to do something only to find when you are facing it head on, it's more frightening than you imagined?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What's in a Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
I've been thinking about names lately, preferably nick-names. Why do we choose the nicknames we do? For example, here in blogland my name shows up as "Kel" where as I sign everything ~K. I have always signed things in this manner, by using my first initial...I can't remember how it started or why, but it has been many, many years since I first started doing this. Kel on the other hand is a shortened version of my legal name Kelli. This seems logical but at the same time it kind of reminds me of a childlike name, kind of fun and whimsical but not really grown up. (Yes, I have friends who call me Kel, most of which are long term friends. )

My hub on the other hand, he refuses to go by anything other than the name listed on his birth certificate. There will be no shortened version, no cute 'nickname', no lighthearted names used by only his family...nope, he will just not answer to anything other than his name.

What's the big deal?

Well with the hub, it goes back to his father (the hub is a Jr and his son is the III) - I however, have noticed that my daughter DQ questions her names. She has her legal name and then there is the shortened version of her name which is interchangeable depending on who is talking to her. When she was learning to write her name she would tell you her first name, her last name and her nickname. Even to this day she thinks she has 4 names - 1st, middle, last and nickname. She's asked me once or twice why I call her by her nickname, and honestly I don't have an answer except to say that is her name too.

In blogland, we are given an opportunity to choose our own name and some of us don't stray from our traditional name, some of us choose an alias to protect our identity and some of us choose a new name that is more of a reflection of our personality. Some names like Elizabeth have multiple variations - Liz, Lizzy, Beth, Lizbeth etc. and they can change with time as we grow and reflect the image we convey outwardly.

I guess what intrigues me most is that our names are given to us by our parents (both good and bad) is that some of us have a very strong attachment to it while some of us change it to suit us as we go.

Does it matter to you what people call you? If so, how do you choose YOUR nickname?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

From Corporate Grind to SAHM

A good friend of my recently had her first baby, at which time she quit her job and decided to stay home with him full time. It is no surprise, because I've mentioned it many times, I am not a SAHM - I work a full time job and always have. I think it takes a special person to be able to stay home everyday with their kids and although I love my children I crave adult conversation and interaction. I do however give props to those mommies who do it, because I think that regardless of what miserable and/or crappy day I might have had at work, I can leave it there and come home, they however do this job ALL THE TIME!

Back to my point...

My friend quit her job and became a SAHM and it got me thinking, "Why go thru the corporate rat race to just give it up in the end?" She graduated from college, ventured off on her own to start a job at entry level and over the course of 4 years she fought the daily grind of work, catty co-workers, self-centered bosses and eventually climbed her way up the food chain. She easily worked 60 hour weeks and made sacrifices on her personal behalf because she didn't have a family waiting at home for her. In this time I watched a person grow from enjoying what she did to despising the work, feeling disenchanted and biding her time until she could leave.

I am not saying that we all don't feel this way sometimes, I know all too well how frustrating long work hours without any break can do to the psyche, however I've also never felt like I wanted to leave it all behind for something different. A different job or work environment, perhaps, but never just walk away. When my first daughter was born, I was a single mother, not working was not an option. When my second daughter was born, this was an option, but I chose to go back.

I've worked for this life I lead, I've gained knowledge so I could advance, I've worked long hours to show dedication in hopes of being considered for the next promotion/raise and I've also juggled my schedule so that I could be there when my family needed me most. I just can't imagine going thru all of that just to walk away at the end - why? Why do it if it is not where you want to be headed? Why put yourself thru corporate misery if in the end you don't want to climb the ladder?

I think both jobs are equally important, working mother and stay at home mother. I think they are both demanding on your time and difficult as well as rewarding. I understand doing one or the other out of necessity but busting your butt to build that work portfolio seems like a lot of work just to walk away in the end.

Do you think the corporate grind is worth it if in the end you decide to become a SAHM?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday Madness - Marriage

Today is the hub's and my 2 year wedding anniversary. " sweet" you might say, but truth is it's not always what it's cracked up to be. I can say this - we are long past the honeymoon stage, but I love the man as much as I did when I fell for him. We've been together now for 5 years. Funny, I never thought I would say I'd been with someone for 5 years, but we have and it's been one helluva ride. Marriage--it doesn't come with a handbook, no guided class to prepare you for what life will be like and despite my belief that "I know this man" after this long, yeah, well, you learn that you just keep learning.

So in honor of this momentous occasion I present to you
Monday Madness - Marriage Style

8 Things No One Tells You About Marriage

1. You will look at the person lying next to you and wonder, Is this it? Forever?
2. You'll work harder than you ever imagined.
3. You will sometimes go to bed mad (and maybe even wake up madder).
4. You will go without sex — sometimes for a long time — and that's okay.
5. Getting your way is usually not as important as finding a way to work together.
6. A great marriage doesn't mean no conflict; it simply means a couple keeps trying to get it right
7. You'll realize that you can only change yourself.
8. As you face your fears and insecurities, you will find out what you're really made of.

I love you honey, as much now as ever and I hope we never stop growing and learning together. You are an amazing man with unlimited potential to be whom ever you want to be. It may not always be easy, but it is always an adventure that I couldn't imagine spending with anybody but you. Happy Anniversary!!

What have you learned about marriage/relationships?

Friday, August 1, 2008

In need of TiVo

Some of us work and some of us don't, but we are all familiar with tactics used to obtain our business. We've all called a customer service hotline at some point only to find that after many automated choices we either get put on hold for eternity, we get a voicemail or we get disconnected and rarely do we ever get a call back. Today however, we also have the joy of email...which leads me to today's post.

It used to be if someone was fortunate enough to get your phone number they would call you to death, but now it is all about email. I can follow up with someone 15 time via email if I choose (gotta love technology,) but what I received as a follow up was beyond anything I had ever seen before. In my job, information is gathered and prepared and then sent up the food chain where eventually a decision is made....this can take a LONG time, depending on the expected need of the product. Most of the time this is done far in advance as money becomes available. Below you will find a copy of an actual email I received from a vendor who is trying to obtain my business. Imagine my shock when I read the email below, knowing I have NEVER met the writer and only spoken to him via phone about business related issues.

Hello K,

A number of days ago you inquired about *** Hosted Exchange services.
We provided some background information about our firm along with a
description of the service and a cost estimate.

After subsequent follow-up attempts, we have not heard back from you.

Please hit "Reply" and select one of the following with an "X":

1) I've been so disappointed since the “World Cup”, the last episode of

“The Sopranos”, “Treasure Hunt”, Rockstar Super Nova “, and “The Apprentice”

that I can't get out of bed and thus could not respond.

2) My recent travels to Tibet and the Himalayas lasted much longer than
anticipated and Internet / phone access was tough to come by.

3) I found a provider who would do it cheaper and 99.9% uptime isn't
critical for my firm.

4) I decided to keep email in-house.

5) Other priorities arose and my firm never made a decision.

6) I would like you to have someone call me to discuss *** Hosted Exchange again.

Thank you for your response.

[If you selected option (2), I would be happy to help you find a more knowledgeable Sherpa next time.]


In case you were curious my response was as follows:


In response to your email…

1) X






I’m sorry, I have had so much difficulty with my TV programming that my depression has kicked in full force and I have not been able to reply to any work related issues. This is such a problem that I have not been able to have my “sanity” medication refilled for many months now, which is beginning to become a real struggle. I really appreciate your concern and understanding with this matter.

Do people really send emails like this or am I just the lucky recipient of one such email???