30 September 2013

Not Prime Time News

On the way home from work, I usually listen to TMZ Live. It's a one hour program that features the people who run TMZ.  It often veers more toward ethics discussions based on celebrity happenings rather than celebrity news. It's nothing like the television show, much to my disappointment.  The owner is a former lawyer and reporter who has worked in Hollywood forever.  Somehow in my head, it lends a little more credibility than the infotainment shows a person sees on the television.

An instance I can provide is that they were talking about Britney Spears stock portfolio, which on surface sounds like Tabloid News. What they were actually discussing was whether or not it was a conflict of interest in that she did commercials for Pepsi, yet had stock in Coca-Cola.  They decided that while it is a little wince-inducing for the Pepsi people, it wasn't an ethical error.  Also a point made was "Who thinks Britney actually  CHOOSES her own stocks?"

The other case they debated was the David Tutera dividing up his twins between he and his soon-to-be ex-husband.  The debate began as whether or not that was a good idea. (overwhelmingly no) and then turned into a discussion about the new challenge of divorce and custody in the gay community.

While reporting the most recent douchey thing the Biebs has done, they often veer into discussions like "Would his behavior be considered age appropriate if he was a normal kid?" and the long-lasting effects of being a Hollywood child star.

Something they often discuss is strangely & not without irony, the paparazzi.  Where I respect TMZ is that they fire photographers that disrespect, break the law, or otherwise harass people.  They also don't run with "news" (I'm in no way pretending they provide a worthwhile service) unless it is confirmed in multiple ways.

I just find the discussions they have as interesting.  It's frequently not about the star but the surrounding or resulting circumstances.  Often, I've mentioned a discussion to Kevin at the dinner table and we've debated it further.  (he agrees: it's impossible to believe that Britney chooses her own stocks)

(Not a sponsored post, although it reads like it.  TMZ Live is on Sirius/XM Stars #106, if you're interested)

29 September 2013

Career Opportunities

Lately I've been snooping around the job market.  I've known since forever that my job isn't my dream job.  It's a *good* job and I'm lucky but it's not what I want to do every single work day for the rest of my career.

My first choice would be, of course, a writer that stays home to work.  I did that for about a year and loved it.  But, I want to be able to retire someday so it's not a permanent option.  Even if I did somehow land some sort of a writing gig, it certainly wouldn't be enough to stop working.

My second choice would be to return to the Early Childhood Education field.  I'm afraid that option has passed.  Not only am I not physically able to do it anymore, I would have to finish my degree.  The education cost versus salary earned is in the Why Would You Even category.  There is no such thing as a good paying job in E.C.E. especially when I wouldn't want to return to an administration job per se.

My third choice is just as unattainable as the first two: I would love to work at the racetrack.  There are multiple impossibilities to this idea: a) it's in Canada b) it's part-time temporary and c) we wouldn't be able to race also.

One possibly viable option I need to look into more is becoming a para-professional, which is a teacher's aide for the school districts.  There are two concerns with this: the physical ability and that they are usually non-contracted jobs.  (like teachers)  The inconsistency of working for a school district makes me a little anxious.
So....what to do...  I like most of my job.  I don't enjoy working with a percentage of clients as they are often addicts or mentally ill and often: both.  This part of social services is not something I've ever been interested in, yet here I am.  Upcoming changes to my job will add women who've experienced domestic violence which is something I've always avoided.

With this change is the opportunity to move into a different office.  That sounds exciting until I tell you that it would mean sharing an office....with three other people.  Those of you who know me in reals just tutted and shook your heads "no", didn't you?  Yeah, talk about setting me up to fail.

The job market in this region isn't terrible.  There are opportunities to be made, it's just making the leap.  Do I stay in social service or change to civil service or try the private industry...all of them have benefits and shortcomings.  The nice thing about staying in social services is that jobs are consistent; contracts don't expire, economic changes don't usually effect them, and there is a flexibility that the private sector doesn't provide.

I am usually a Make It Happen person but I'm finding as I age that it's not always possible.  I'm reaching the age of being able to see retirement on the horizon. (a little over 10 years for those of you wondering...providing Kevin retires as scheduled)  I'm not longer in my twenties when throwing caution to the wind is easier.

I don't subscribe to the Oprah way of thinking, as in "If you want it badly enough, it will happen."  This is magical thinking that I believe sets people up to fail.  I've become a "Let's look into it and see what happens" person. 

So what's a girl to do?  Tough it out?  Find another "This Will Do"? Try something completely different? I guess we'll see.

22 September 2013

Measuring Cups

To continue an old conversation that Swistle had with us a while ago, I hate how manufacturers seem to be believe that if you're a certain size, you automatically enjoy and desperately need large floral patterns and most recently: sparkles.

However, it is the reverse with bras.  If you are a larger size, then you get to wear white or nude.  Nothing fun for you so don't even ask.  I just wear black (I know, you're shocked) and even that can be difficult to find.  It's not like I want or would invest in having every color of the rainbow but I'd like to have the option. Especially the option of anything else other than what appears to be a replication of a picture from the 1955 Sears Catalog.

To add insult to injury, the expense is twice. I understand materials and demand factor into the cost but looking around at regular 'Merica and I see quite the demand for the larger sizes that clearly isn't being fulfilled.

Also, there aren't many sports bras.  This I don't complain about because Just No.  At a certain size you forgo being able to do much of anything that requires a sports bra.  This I support.  (see what I did there)

Then we look at the "You Get What You Pay For" scenario.  If you get less expensive ones, they won't last as long and you don't get what you need. Don't even try regular stores. There's a reason that Oprah & Rosie O'Donnell go to that expensive bra shop in New York.  I've heard that Macy's does a really good job but perhaps not in having the larger sizes.

I noticed that the "How to Measure" had changed on a website so I looked into it.  Yeah, not so much.  I think they changed it to "How to Measure for Maybe, Close Enough, That'll Do."  I am a (are you ready for this?) a 36-G and the new measurement had me as a 40-DD.  Umm, NO.  Just NO. With that size, a really, really tight t-shirt would probably do the same task.

Also, if you're in the above size range, online shopping is your deal. Most stores don't stock above DD or DDD and certainly not when you're a 36 and need the bigger sizes.  Also, trying them on is on par with trying on swimsuits in a store.  Just kill me and then I won't need one.  I've found Amazon to be really helpful.  Some of the other sites swamp you with spam or want you to register or simply aren't as helpful.

I've found online shopping to be easier but a person has to be super careful when ordering to avoid the not-fitting scenario.  Luckily, I've only had to return one and it was via Amazon so easy-peasy. 

Swistle wondered about this the other day and this is my opinion:
If you need to wear a larger size like that, you need to wear it all the time.  Going without - even in the comfort of your own home - is not doing anyone any favors.  (think: delivery persons, in-case-of-emergency, unexpected guests, emotional scarring of the children)  Not to mention the wear & tear on your back & neck.  They're not joking when they say it makes all the difference. Like the sports bra, somethings are just not negotiable when you're a larger size.

So once you find the right size and style, order a million of them because there is a specific kind of panic and disappointment when a style is no longer available.

16 September 2013

His Name was Paul

I have been working on multiple family trees over the past few years.  The Ancestry site makes it so easy and it quickly becomes addictive.

I've mentioned before that my grandparents have been married a mind-boggling three times apiece.  Paternal grandfather: divorced then widowed then died, Paternal grandmother: married AT LEAST three times.  Her past is SKETCHY, wooo boy!  Maternal grandmother was married three times and outlived all of them.  The only reason my maternal grandfather was married only once is that he died young.

So, I found out in my twenties that my mother had been married before and it was a bit of a shocker to learn.  Not that the news was shocking but that why not say something anytime in the twenty previous years.

Turns out that she married a boy named Paul when she was SIXTEEN.  It was 1952, so not terribly unusual but still.  He was eighteen and went into the Navy.  (I knew he was in the service but not what branch.  It seems he was in the Korean War, as was my dad although in the Army) Sixteen, whew. I thought getting married at nineteen was too young.  I can't even imagine.  Going from second period Lit to married and living in Tennessee.

The State of California's records are incomplete. I can only find dates of the marriage certificate and divorce.  I like marriage certificates because they list the witnesses and I'd like to know WHO was there.Who in the world of Where's Waldo thought this was a good idea?

The marriage license gave me his name so I was able to look him up, including his senior yearbook photo.  How strange is that? 

Continuing the multiple marriages track was Paul.  He was married three times, once in Reno (like you do. haha) and the other two in California, my mom being the first.  He is listed as having died in 1988 but otherwise, there is no information on him whatsoever.  No obituary, no census records, nothing.  Perhaps he was career Navy but it almost feels like he just didn't accomplish much with his life. I find that very sad.

Because I have an overactive imagination I imagined if he had a family or where he lived or what he accomplished.  Did their paths every cross again?  According to the interwebs, none of that happened.  One could say that my mom dodged a bullet but I'm more thinking out of the frying pan and onto the ground next to the fire.

Not that I would have done anything if he turned out to be a pediatrician or city councilman.  It's not like his children would be my siblings in any way at all but wouldn't that be curious?

I'm not going to tell my mom what I found.  I might mention it to my little brother because I bet he would be equally as fascinated.  

Oh, the things we find on the interwebs.

15 September 2013

Yelling at the Gas Station

On the weekends we take Lucy to the mocha stand for treats.  Oh, and we get coffee for us too. 

This morning after getting treats for all involved, Kevin pulled in to get gas.

As he got out, he turned to tell me something then exclaimed "OH MY GOD, why don't you get your phone off the toolbox?"

I turned around to see that I had left my phone on the toolbox while playing with Lucy before we left the house.  It had ridden back there the whole 2+ miles from our house.

I got out to get it and Kevin was sassing. (I know: surprising) "I know you want a new phone but this seems extreme. I can't believe...."

Meanwhile, the poor gentleman on the opposite pump was looking a little concerned.  Because we're Talking Loudly to each other and this is Alger, where these things seem to happen.  I know he was thinking "I just need to get into the truck then I'll call 911 when I pull out."

Kevin noticed the guy and told him "She left her phone on the TOOLBOX. She's so lucky it didn't fall OFF.  I can't BELIEVE she did that!"

Now the guy is laughing. Now that he knows he's not going to be a witness to an assault.

Kevin continues when it occurs to me:

"WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!!! How did you  get your new phone?  What happened there? Oh, that's RIGHT! You left it on the HOOD.  THAT'S how you got a new phone!"  (true story...on Christmas Eve, nonethelesss)

"This isn't about ME," he shouts, "This is about you wanting a new phone!"

I am cracking up laughing as the gentleman gets in his truck.  Kevin looks over and reports that he's telling his wife, gesturing, and laughing.

We continue to stand there, sassing and watch the gentleman pull out of the gas station.  They're seemingly nervously laughing as they pull away.  They did wave though.

In all honesty: I can't believe the phone stayed back  there either.

14 September 2013

That's a Heavy Tote Bag

Somewhere along the way I developed the habit of carrying a tote bag back and forth to work.  Sometimes it's because I have magazines I bring to work, or too many things to carry, or whatever.  One of the items that is often in the tote is my bag of bills. 

It's an organized, small bag of bills like magazine invoices, doctors bills, or things that I am meaning to do. Stuff like call for appointments, make payment arrangements, or argue with insurance.  I don't carry bank statements or anything like that, just the little stuff that tends to get shuffled elsewhere or forgotten.

There was always a sense of frustration and disappointment when I saw that organizer. Again I would forget something or go to pay one of them only to have to wait, or not have stamps or checks, or whatever.

Recently I made the decision to just stop doing it. Break the habit, as clearly as it had become.  It wasn't helpful or organized, it was burdensome.  Swistle popped into my head "Does it bless or oppress?" she asked.  A resounding OPPRESS! was my response.

On the big scale of life, this is not a problem.  But it's just one of those habits that people fall into and completely forget why they started or continued to do.  They say it takes 21 days to break a habit.  I'm starting NOW.

How about you?

06 September 2013

I Like the New Car Smell But...

Some of you may know that I am super-anti-new-car.  As in: off the dealership lot new car. There are multiple reasons (my intense dislike of salesman and the accompanying guilt for said dislike, for instance) but my reason is mostly financial.

I just can't, can't, can't justify spending money on something that depreciates the very moment you sit in it.  It's a bad investment.

What really bothers me is the prospective of repairs.  Right now, my 4Runner is in the shop and the cost is going to hurt.  All in all, the cost of repair is still in the column of "worth it" versus getting something different.

But if this was a new car? Just kill me.  Replacement parts that are available from the dealer only, thus marked up a billion percent, complicated systems that require specialized tools and skills, warranties that require dealership mechanics versus our wonderful crazy smart mechanic. No thank you because  OF course, this comes not even a little bit inexpensively.

I've heard stories of repairs being so costly that the cars are returned to the dealership at a loss.  This would be my luck. 

When we rent vehicles when we travel, I certainly appreciate driving a shiny new vehicle just not enough to have a payment, increased insurance, and costly repair bills.  Required maintenance as opposed to Kevin doing the regular maintenance? Again: big, fat, No Thank You.

I'm just not sure what I'm going to do when they have cars that fly.  Because I'm in on that. 

05 September 2013

Ever Growing Wish List

With the culling of all our antique VHS tapes, I made a list of what needs replacing with dvds.  Some of them I won't bother replacing while others I can't believe I haven't replaced yet.

I went onto Amazon and found myself in a black hole.  One hour later "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" is KILLING ME.  The list keeps getting exponentially longer!  I haven't added all the movies needing replacement yet!

AND, AND, I know by the time I get through this list, some new technology will be created that will make this obsolete.  Hello Cassette Tapes > CD's > MP3's > Digital music.  And yes, I know about downloading movies but who has that time & memory space?

Some of the movies are older so they're not readily available so they're ridiculously expensive. I'll wait for the next version of dvd's for those, I guess.

My little brother uses my Amazon wish list for birthdays and Christmases.  Last year he won big time by giving me "A Wedding for Bella", a sounds cheezy on the surface movie that is absolutely wonderful.  He chose it because "It's been on the list the longest."

I can only imagine when he checks out my list in two months.

02 September 2013

It's Just Stuff

I set my intentions this weekend early last week.  I knew I was going to be sans vehicle so I tried to plan accordingly.  (Don't ask re: vehicle.  Out of 4, only 2 are working. Up from only 1. Gah)

There are a few tasks that I'm still getting caught up from after lazing about through 2012.  Spring Cleaning is one of those tasks.  Specifically: cleaning out random cupboards.

I began with the one in the bathroom that I dislike.  It needs one more shelf and not to be a lower cupboard.  I dragged out everything and reorganized completely.   It's still not my favorite cupboard but at least I don't growl at it when I need something. Also: epsom salts? 2 bags.  Need lotion?  I've got a stockpile going on over here. 

I also have a little plastic, three-drawer organizer under our sink where I keep my stuff.  It's the easiest solution for me as this bathroom looks nice but has a lack of storage.  Except that I have three things precariously perched on top that fall off with regularity.  The fix?  a plastic basket.  A $1 solution to something that's bothered me since we moved into this house.  (only 8 years.)

Then onto the kitchen.  There is one random cupboard next to the refrigerator that stores phone books.  Seven of them, as a matter of fact.  No, I don't collect them, it's a hassle to be rid of them.  Oh, and candles.  I told Kevin to tell the family: no more candles.  I must have a dozen of small canister candles plus three yankee-style candles. All new. Plus the random accoutrements that go with candles: lighters, holders, snuffers, etc.

Cupboard number two has our med bottles from the last year.  I haven't quite gotten the knack for recycling these.  Taking off the labels is nearly impossible and scribbling with a sharpie is tedious.  Also, sometimes Kevin uses the odd shaped ones so I have the tendency to hoard them a bit.

Next up: the movie/cd cupboard.  Gone are all the VHS  tapes. (I know, I KNOW)  I made a list of movies that I still need to replace to dvd while I went through them.  Surprisingly, it's not a long list.  Gratitude to Amazon for that.  Now I have one complete empty cupboard.

I still have to figure out what to do with our one gabillion cds though.  Kevin has the ones he wanted converted but I still have to do mine, which is the lion's share of the cds.  Rainy days are on their way, I suppose.

Next up: my office.  I didn't even try to organize Monica's closet again.  That is going to be a full day task.  It's not as bad as before but I've since downsized to one closet as I am the best wife ever and have a racecar closet that stores tires, boxes, gear, parachute, etc.

My desk is a mess, as filing hasn't been done in a while.  Enough time has passed that I just need to do another shredding party.  I hadn't reorganized from when the dinosaur computer died so I'm embarrassed to admit that the monitor was still plugged into an outlet.  Electronics seem to multiply during the night: earbuds, sd cards, cords, usb's. 

I have to go through our address book again.  Yes, an actual physical address book.  I can't bear to be rid of it, it's our history.  I need to update it from the random slips of paper and business cards.  I'm saving that for a rainy day as well. But hopefully before Christmas, when I really need it organized.

But I feel better.  I feel lighter.  Stuff has a habit of accumulating and I'm glad to cull through it.  The idea of empty cupboards is ridiculously pleasing to me.  (I realize that there was a chorus of gasps/shut-ups there: EMPTY CUPBOARDS!?!?! What is this that she speaks of!?!)

01 September 2013

Clearly She Aced Finishing School

I met a little girl today whom seemed as if she came directly from finishing school.  She should teach all of us how to meet new people.

"Hi, what's your name?"


"It's nice to meet you.  It's a nice day today!"

"Yes, it is.  It's nice to meet you too"

"My name is Leila"

She leans forward as if speaking confidentially "I like your shoes." 

"Thank you. They're purple, my favorite color."

"My shoes are pink, I like those too.  You have a pretty necklace."

"Thank you, I like it too. He (gesturing to Kevin) gave it to me."

"Ooohh" she says and smiles demurely at Kevin.

"This is Timmy, my dog, and your dog's name is Lucy.  She's fun!  They like to play together"

The conversation continued as such for a few minutes.  She's six - almost seven - and begins school on Tuesday.  She went to lunch with her great grandpa but they're leaving soon but wouldn't it be fun if they could stay. She got to go explore in the creek and she's looking forward  to coming back to do it again.

As we left, it occurred to me that she is at Pro Level Small Talk.  She just kicked the ass of most adults I know, especially myself.  In a few minutes, she found my name, shared hers, sincerely complimented me, and pointed out what was going on around us.  She even managed an introduction of someone else, even if it was just her dog. She even commented on perhaps seeing each other again.

I can only hope to become so poised.