You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘This and That’ category.

Goodness gracious.

You know you’ve taken a long break from blogging when you come back and your domain has expired, somebody else bought it, and people wonder what the heck you’re writing about when in all actuality it’s not even you anymore.

I guess there is another mommy who wants to be a muser.

Here are the last seven months in a nutshell: had baby #3, bought a company, went to the lake a bunch, worked a bunch, haven’t shaved my legs in a bunch, travelled a bit, and that brings us to tonight.

My sister, her husband, and my goddaughter Mollie are here for the weekend as my sister and I are taking a photography class from rialee.

I wanted to eat her studio.

Seriously, it was so full of delicious photos and babies that I could hardly stand it.

Tomorrow is the practice part of the session, where we get to take our cameras for a spin.

The next challenge after that is to line up my posse and try to get some cute shots before somebody starts crying.

Dream big, eh?

I’ll post some photos post-class. Can’t guarantee how long it will take, but I’ll shoot for sooner than seven months from now.

Geez louise.

Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

(For trivia affeciandos – his actual birthday is January 15, observed the third Monday in January each year, and one of four United States federal holidays that commemorate an individual.)

News sites are featuring tributes to Reverend King today, many including transcripts of his “I have a dream” speech.

A bit more trivia for you – did you know that his delivery of that speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 was not the first time he shared those words with an audience?

However, this was the time the message was heard.

The passionate stanzas starting with “I have a dream” were new to Reverend King’s speech that day, and that is what people remember, pass on to present generations, and will share with future generations.

Reverend King’s passion made people stop and think, and we continue to do so 47 years later.

Amazing, isn’t it.

Be passionate about what you do and you will make a difference in the lives of others. You might not share your message with millions and have it resonate for decades, but you and your work have purpose and you too can be heard.

Be amazing.

It doesn’t seem like a new year until I write my first check.

Due to debit cards and automatic withdrawals I haven’t yet had the opportunity, so I’m still stuck in 2009. How unfashionable of me.

No worries, though, as the second mortgage daycare bill is due this week and I’ll be challenged to remember the new year as I sign the date line.

A lot of people make resolutions when a new year rolls around. Are you one of them? Last year I resolved to learn something about each country. My husband and kids bought me a globe for Christmas to help me with my goal and I was so excited to pick up where 9th grade Geography left off, thus prepping me for a future game show appearance.

I never started.

During Mass on New Year’s Day, our priest talked about resolutions and that we often give up on them because we often don’t think beyond what we resolve to do (or not do) in our lives. Instead of resolutions he said we should make revolutions, or real change.

Considering that statement, I realize now why I didn’t start my journey to global knowledge. I didn’t have a plan. Not that it had to be a fancy plan, but I never spent time thinking about how I was going to make it happen – the steps I would take, where I would document what I learned, why it mattered to me to have that knowledge, and how I could share what I had learned with others, namely my children.

To make a revolution I need to think about “the how” and then incorporate “the how” into my life.

I still have the globe. It’s a great addition to our home decor, but I want it to mean more than that. I’m ready to make that revolution.

How about you?

I’m stepping outside of my brain’s comfort zone and attending a pretty heavy conference today.

A “manference” really, as the core audience is made up of scientists and engineers.

I kinda feel like wearing a sign that says I’m just here to fill a chair.

While I’m clearly out of my league, so far I’ve heard a tidbit from the woman who inspired the Jodi Foster role in the movie Contact and am currently listening to the CEO from Honeywell.

The world is fortunate to have brain power from the people in this room.

Makes my day job seem pretty fluffy. Still important, but super fluffy.

I’ve always wanted to be graceful, but I don’t think my genomes will allow it.

In elementary school I was the girl that grew super fast and was a head or so taller than everyone else. (Actually, there was one girl who was taller than me but she moved away. I’m not going to lie – I was really happy to inherit her crown.)

The downside of quick height is that my mom said I looked like an octopus on the basketball floor. I like to think that I was agressive, with cat-like reflexes, but it turns out that might not have been the case after viewing pictures she took during one of the games.

In high school I was voted most clumsy and most athletic. I’m pretty sure that can only happen in a small school when the “girl” options are limited and you’re the only girl from your class still on the basketball team.

In college I distinctly remember slipping on ice at the crossroads of the campus inbetween classes. Excellent – an audience. I also remember falling the entire flight of stairs in my sorority, landing in a crumpled heap on the thinly carpeted concrete. My friends surely thought I was dead until I popped up.

When I would return home for a visit, my mom confessed that the family had taken to yelling “Jenny’s home” anytime something broke in the house. Ha. Ha. Ha.

On my wedding day I wore a long trained dress with a cathedral length veil. I probably should have had a tea length dress with a flower in my hair, but things seemed to work out that day. I’m going to chalk that one up to God’s intervention.

When I was 6 months pregnant with my son I fell down the stairs outside St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. We took it as a sign that the baby wanted to be part of history and named him Peter.

When both babies were born I was sure that they would slip out of my hands and that I’d be chasing after them, scooping them off the floor. I haven’t dropped either child, but they have fallen off the bed. (Which, by the way, is the most terrible feeling in the world.)

Over the last 6 years, my husband has been whacked in the head, dodged flailing body parts, poked in the eye, picked me up and out of containers, etc. This wonderful man takes it in stride, thank goodness.

I should almost buy cell phones that are construction grade. My brand new HTC Ozone has a nick in the top left corner that surely sacrificed a small bounce in its step. I once had a flip phone that was hanging on by a single green wire by the time I got a new one. Just today, as I checked email on the way to the car, my phone flew out of my hand and landed under the car. I had to crawl on my stomach on the street to get one part and then drive forward to retrieve the other. My son watched, bewildered, from the sidewalk.

As I got coffee the other day I realized I’d never be a ninja. Between getting a mug, the creamer, and pouring coffee it sounded like I was a barista in a crazy, busy joint. Nope, just me. Filling the cup in a white noise void office. I swear somebody shut their door to cancel the noise.

The funny thing about my non-grace is that I love high heels. Love, love, love them and wear them almost daily. I used to be a Clarks/Docs/Born kind of gal, but not for the last five or so years. You’d think that me plus heels would mean a teetering mess, but oddly, it doesn’t! In fact, I think the heels help me achieve some sort of illusion of grace, ala David Copperfield or something like that.

The good thing about being a clutz, though, is that it keeps things light. I’m able to laugh and not take myself so seriously. I’ve also given family, friends, and the occasional stranger an opportunity to laugh as well.

And for that laughter, I’ll gladly continue as the bull in the china shop.

A couple of weeks ago I caved and threw away my single sock collection.

Amongst my husband’s numerous, different enough to not be a match, Gold Toe black socks there were sweet infant socks, white Hane’s athletic socks, and my beautiful green argyle sock.

I never even wore the green argyle socks.

I remember seeing them at The Gap, on the 3 for $75 rack (okay, more like $20, but still. That much for socks?). I found two other pairs to get the deal and headed home a happy woman.

Dutifully I removed the sticky band, avoided clawing the undersides of my fingernails while prying up the metal clip that holds socks together, and bit the short plastic tag where the hanger resided.

(Do you ever wonder why it’s so hard to get socks out of their packaging? Do that many people shoplift socks? Or maybe these are preventive measures because shops are plagued with missing socks as well? Anyway…)

My beautiful green argyle socks went in the washer as a pair and emerged as single as a contestant from the Bachelorette (too soon? okay, how about a cat lady?).

I never even got a picture of them.

—————

Flash forward to tonight.

After shielding my head from falling storage containers, I decided it was time to organize that horrid shelf.

I was shocked, but mostly annoyed, with what I found.

too many tops

What?

I checked the sink and dishwasher – no bottoms for these multiple tops.

How is that even possible?

Does Tupperware suffer the same black hole fate as socks?

I can’t bring myself to throw away all those tops.

I just know as soon as I do, I’ll find my other beautiful green argyle sock.

I think the true measure of something really wonderful is if you can laugh and cry at the same time.

If my hubby and I were to ever get married again – to each other, I’m so very happy to report – but wait, that would be more of a vow renewal…anyway…I’d want to laugh and cry at the same time, just like the JK Wedding Dance made me laugh and cry this morning.

Enjoy!

A bit of inner turmoil this morning. Thank goodness I’ve developed some sort of filter that stops me from saying everything that I think…

Question: “Is plastic okay?”

Thought: Ugh. Darn it. I forgot my reusable bags at home. Again. I really should just carry this stuff instead of wasting a bag and putting more plastic into the world. I’ll just get paper. That’ll be better. But the paper bag is so big and bulky and I only have three items, and then I’ll be carting around this ginormous bag. At least with a plastic bag I can use it as a trash can liner afterwards. Why can’t I just remember to bring the reusable bags? I should really just keep them in the car instead of by the back door. You’d think I could remember a measly bag as I leave the house…

Answer: “Yes.”

plastic bag

Prayers for Stellan

This baby’s momma is one of the strongest people I don’t know. She’s the wonderful MckMama and though I do not know her in the real-life, I feel like she’s one of my best friends.

The internet is so weird like that.

Now that Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and the like are so accessible and permeable throughout our society, we come to know people who are cities, states, and countries away from us.

But yet we don’t know them.

And while it’s odd to my husband that I’m telling him stories about people I don’t know, and I feel weird for telling him stories about people I don’t know…

It feels so right to be able to love and pray for another family in need.

A Vietnamese Restaurant restored my faith in customer service.

I had 39 minutes reserved to pick up lunch for my husband and me, drive home to consume said lunch with afore-mentioned husband, and then return to the office to prep for a 1:00 team meeting. I called ahead to Jade Dragon for the take out. The food is wonderful and ready in 10 minutes every time. Exactly what I needed.

I arrived at the restaurant with debit card in hand, mouth watering at the thought of sneaking a dumpling or two (okay, probably three) before I got home. There was a new girl, Tillie, at the till. Fit well.

We chatted for a few moments until my order was ready, then I handed over the card to pay for my goods.

“I hope this works,” was Tillie’s reply. After telling her I was good for the $18.95, she said that their credit card machine was acting up that day. She ran the card once, error. Again she tried, time out error. One more time for good measure, nope. She then apologized and asked if I had cash or a check.

I’m just not a cash person (only know my ATM password because I got a new card last week), so I retreated to my car to see if by chance the check book was there. No suck luck.

At this point I had 26 minutes left before the start of my meeting. As I walked back into the restaurant I mentally calculated my routes to see if I would have time to run back to the office for my check book, back to the restaurant for the food, home to my waiting husband, eat, then drive back to the office.

Not a chance. Something was going to have to give.

I decided to drive back to the office, then have my husband meet me for a handoff. I started to tell Tillie my plan when she said the most glorious words of the day.

“Why don’t you just take the food now and come back later to pay.”

Seriously?

I’m a fairly regular diner, but the kitchen staff is nowhere near calling out “Norm!” as I enter the room (I guess technically they wouldn’t yell that name, but anyway). Tillie was totally ready to trust that this perfect stranger with a hankering for pho ga and steamed dumplings would come back in a few hours to pay.

Amazing, right?

I showered her with thanks and promised up and down that I would be back at 4:00 to settle my bill.

I hurried on my way, made it back for the meeting and a couple other things, then headed over to Jade Dragon.

Before I entered the restaurant, I decided to write them a thank you note. I sat in my car and wrote that as if their food didn’t merit it already, they now had a customer for life. I wrote how amazed I was at Tillie’s trust and willingness to help me. I wrote how happy I was that she felt empowered to make that decision. I wrote how extraordinary it was that she took responsiblity for a fluke system error, rather than making it my error. I wrote how I would share this story personally and professionally.

And now I’m making good on that promise.

This restaurant and Tillie have reaffirmed in me how important trust is. We don’t always know how things are going to work out, but isn’t it amazing what you learn when they do.

Who knew that a small display of trust could make such an impact?

I do now.