Friday, October 29, 2010

The End of My Perfect Record

My record of 30+ perfect years is over. And I can't help but laugh about it. I find this so funny that I have to share even though this probably falls in the category of WAY too much information.

On Wednesday night while I was still in Dallas, I was able to meet one of my best girlfriends and her 11 month old daughter for dinner. And I use the term "dinner" very loosely! Tanya (my friend) knew that Milla (her daughter) would only be OK for about an hour because her bedtime is 7:30 and she HATES riding in the car. So we rushed through one taco and a glass of water, some quick conversation and they were off to get Milla to bed.

In the meantime, I had to pee and had been holding it for an hour or so, which is entire TOO LONG. Once Tanya left I was lugging my suitcase, purse and laptop bag through the streets of "The Shops at Legacy" waiting for my in-laws to pick me up. I was not about to haul all that into the ladies room of a restaurant or store. So I continued to hold it.

Finally, my in-laws showed up and we headed to their house for the night--only a 15ish minute drive. But not before stopping at Chick-Fill-A for a little dinner for them. OMG. I thought I was going to burst. We got home and Carolyn (my mother-in-law) declared it comfy clothes time before we tuned in to the Rangers baseball game. I ran to my bedroom, grabbed my jammies and then ran to the bathroom relieved that I would be relieved in a few moments.

So, in an effort to conserve time, I stripped off my jeans and was putting my pajama bottoms on while sitting down, and this all seemed to happen simultaneously. And then I felt the warming. I realized that I still had my underwear on. Yep, that's right. I still had my underwear on. But instead of dealing with the problem right then I decided to continue down the stream...pun intended. And in my defense, I realized yesterday that my habit is to grab the side of my underwear along with the side of my pants so it all happens in one swoop.

So, when finished, I realized that I now had an entirely different problem to contend with. What to do with the underwear. Well, it just so happens that my face cleansing cloths had been drying out so I was keeping them in a sandwich-sized baggie. There were only a couple cloths left anyway so I took them out, managed to get my wet underwear to the sink, rinse them out and stick them in the baggie.

As soon as I got home, I started to get the load of laundry ready. Chris and I were talking while I was digging through my suitcase putting everything into the laundry basket when he saw the baggie and asked. I blushed and proceeded to tell the story. He was laughing so hard he was crying. He managed to say, "Oh, you SOOOO have to blog that one!!" So I am. He also said the funniest part of the story is that I cut it off mid-stream and made the decision to continue my business rather than dealing with it. I could only respond with "well, now you know how bad I really had to go."

So, there you go. A perfect 30 + years ruined by one misunderstanding with my underwear. I hope all of you are laughing and not gagging! Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Finding my way...

I have been in Dallas all week and am finally home. Exhausted. Smarter. And certainly happier.

It was a productive week. Some training, lots of conversation, the inevitable year-end conversations about how things will be next year. Nothing out of the ordinary. Except me. I felt like I was out of the ordinary. Not in an extraordinary kind of way, but just not myself. And I notice that I am like this whenever I am around my coworkers.

I am trying hard to find my way in this sea of women, but it's difficult. I have been "one of the guys" for most of my adult life. Girls are sometimes mean-spirited, catty, and competitive with each other for no reason at all. Or at least some of the women I am around seem to be.

Throughout my career I have worked in a predominately male-driven environment. Some would even call my industry "an ole' boys club." And I don't disagree. That's probably why I feel that I fit in. I am smart, quick on my feet, never afraid of a challenge and can command the attention of a room with little effort. However, you put me in a room full of women and I become distant, aloof, quiet and even shy. I hate that! It's just that I don't feel the need to repeat what two other people have already said. And when I have something to say, I speak up. But I won't talk OVER them. I actually caught myself raising my hand to say something this week. That didn't work.

Now, that's not to say that I don't get along with women. I do. Very much so. But I don't understand the need for talking all at once, repeating what somebody else said just so your voice is heard, and the constant glances of "I told you so's" and "can you believe she said that's?" I see what you are doing and I know you just rolled your eyes at her. So. NOT. Cool.

I work with a great group of women. They are smart and know the world of marketing strategy as it relates to banking as well as, if not better than, anyone else I know. I have nothing but the utmost respect for their knowledge and know that I will learn much from working with them. But most of the time I don't find my job as challenging as finding my way through our meetings.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Soul Train

In 1998 I started down the ever eventful road of my life. Planning a practice wedding, fixing up a house, finishing up my eduction, enjoying every last minute with friends I knew I wouldn't see every day after we all graduated and working full time. And that was just 1998.

The band Train released their debut self-titled album with the song Meet Virginia. I was instantly in love with the group! Their pop style wasn't bubble-gum like many other bands on the radio and they had no desire to compete in the ever present boy-band genre...thank goodness. Since the debut album, many things have changed in my life and it seems that with each passing event, triumph and tribulation Train was there with a new single or a new album.

They went silent, even broke up for a few years from 2006 to 2009, but that was OK. The lead singer, Pat Monohan cut a solo album that was just as great as the group stuff.

Yesterday I heard their newest single, "Marry Me," and like so many Train songs before it, it touched my soul. I don't know if its the acoustic style or the lyrics. Or if I am just a fan of a band like so many other people. Regardless, Train is always on my playlist. Their music speaks to me. It has a way of completely absorbing me and taking me to a place where I know everything will be OK. And if I don't need the lift, the music has me singing and dancing.

My only hope for this song is that radio stations don't make it the go-to-hot-song of the year and play it so often that I forget how much I once loved it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Girly Humor and the New Thing You Learn Today

Warning: If you don't want to read about girl stuff, skip this post and read a different one. Or just come back a different day!

Today I am feeling a little icky. Between my sinuses (allergies I think), the headache and the cramps, I really just want to crawl in bed and sleep it off. But there's work to be done. And a lot of it! Crazy busy at work for the foreseeable future. No complaints. It's job security!

So, it's been quite a while since I have experienced cramps and bloating, etc., like this. So while at Walgreens asking the pharmacist a million questions about which over-the-counter allergy medication is best to take when you are on blood pressure lowering medication (Chris, not me!), I asked for help with this problem too.

Lucky for me, the pharmacist is a woman! She recommended Midol. It's been around forever and should take care of all the problems with just a couple of capsules. I am not much of a pill popper, but I am teetering dangerously close to needing a sick day once a month. That's reminiscent of when this all started in 7th grade!

Anyway, before popping my first capsules today, I saw the note on the top of the box, "See new warnings information" and thought, jeeze, maybe this stuff will grow hair on my teeth or something. Nope. That wasn't it. NOT EVEN CLOSE. Now, I cannot attest to how new this warning is. Or even if this is the new warning that I was instructed to "see." But I couldn't help but read this and think, "oh my gosh! My blog girls will LOVE this one!!!" So, here goes:
Apparently it's dangerous to take Midol if you "have difficulty in urination due to enlargement of the prostate gland." Really? That was a concern? And if I ask my doctor before use because of this, I think we have bigger problems! I hope you laughed a little! I know that I did.

p.s. Before sharing my humor, I wanted to make sure that I am not a total idiot. I actually googled (pretty sure I already knew the answer) "do women have prostates" and the answer was as follows:

"In 2002, female paraurethral glands, or Skene's glands, were officially renamed the female prostate by the Federative International Committee on Anatomical Terminology."

So, while I was not totally wrong, and this is funny, I was maybe a little wrong! And while an enlarged prostate it nothing to laugh at, I am still laughing a little! Because of the context of course, not the enlarged prostate part!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Almost Perfect Spanish Rice

I love Spanish Rice. And I eat it whenever it's an option. My earliest memory of having Spanish Rice was when I was really young and all four of us grandkids were at Grandma Melanie's house. And Leslie was there but still allergic to everything and she made Spanish Rice for us. I remember thinking "Spanish Rice comes from far away. She must know how to make this stuff because she can speak French too." I was young enough to be clueless to the world of cookbooks.

By the time I was old enough to ask Grandma for the coveted Spanish Rice recipe, she had already been diabetic for years and the flavor of the rice had changed. Needless to say, she probably never really had a recipe anyway. Although, I heard that my cousin Allisongot her hands on it! But I have something that Allison doesn't have. The Spanish Rice "pan." The significance of which was lost on me until I began to love cooking and appreciate really good cookware!

The infamous Spanish Rice pan is a REALLY old red/orange cast iron Le Creuset pot with a lid. It even says "Made in France" on the bottom! And the Spanish Rice that had been baked in it for 30 years or longer that came with it washed right out...Grandma's eyes were pretty bad. She couldn't see to wash the dishes so I think she just wiped them out. Gross, I know!

I have attempted, and failed miserably) at Spanish rice more than a hundred times. Last night was my first attempt in the special Spanish Rice pan. I don't know if it was luck, the lessons I learned from failed attempts, or maybe Grandma working me through it with the special pan, but it turned out almost perfect.

No recipe, no calls for help, and no cookbooks. Just the perfect pan and a million fond, loving memories of Grandma Melanie. She was the only thing missing that made my Spanish Rice fall short of perfect! I miss her every day but know that she'd be really proud of my Spanish Rice and love of cooking. And she'd be tickled that I love her pan too.

And it was so good, that Chris said it goes on "the list." A pretend list of the foods I will serve the the pretend restaurant I will pretend open someday!

Here's what I did:
Cooked 1 cup brown rice in 2 1/2 cups water with a touch of chicken bullion
It said to cook covered for 40-50 minutes. After about 30 minutes I added a cup and a half of chopped onions.
When the rice was done and onions super soft, I added 2 cups of petite diced tomatoes (from a can-Hunts is my favorite). I had drained the water from them but ended up adding it back in.

I let that hang out over low heat and added a little garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, a little chili powder (not much) and a hint of ground red pepper.

After it was all cooked, I put it in the special Spanish Rice pan and squished up 8 saltine crackers and sprinkled over the top and browned in the broiler. It yields about 5 cups of Spanish Rice and was wonderful as a side dish with our grilled chicken.

It was even better today as a main dish for my lunch! And Chris' too! Two dinners, two lunches, and just enough left over for lunch tomorrow for long as I get to the kitchen first!

p.s. Grandma used to say she was "tickled" a lot. I think that expression really spoke to her and perfectly described how she felt. I get it now. It seemed fitting to use it today.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I got a Shellac-ing!

I don't know if it's really a word or not. But it sounds like a beating, doesn't it! But it's's (wait for it)... a manicure! That's right! A manicure.

I have bad nails partly because of genetics and partly because I can't stop picking at them. Weird, I know. I refuse to have artificial nails that are difficult and expensive to maintain, but I also don't like paying for manicures that don't last through the first sink of dishes.

On Saturday, my mother-in-law told me about the Shellac Manicure and that it's supposed to last for two or more weeks. They treat your nails just as any other manicure (cuticle trimming, shaping, filing, etc.) then they put this fancy clear polish on and you sit under a UV dryer for 30 seconds. Then a coat of color, UV dryer, coat of clear, UV dryer, coat of color, UV dryer, final coat of clear and UV dryer. By the way, that link will take you to the salon listing in Michigan...three in Mt. Pleasant alone!! Snoop around on the site if you would like a more detailed description of the manicure than color, UV, clear, UV....

The entire process only took 30 minutes. Granted I think I found the most expensive salon in the area, but on average, the Shellac manicure only costs about $5-$10 more than a regular manicure and lasts for weeks rather than hours! Today is Tuesday. I have done a lot of dishes and taken three showers since the manicure and not a single chip, nick, ding or peel to be found. Oh, and if you don't want the manicure, to change the polish and put a new Shellac color on is only $10! Hopefully this will help my nails grow a little, my hangnails stop getting out of control (I pick at those too...I know. Gross.) and I will be less embarrassed to have someone see my fingers.

I am really hoping this will work... and because it lasts so long I won't have to do it more than once a month! I'll show you at Christmastime!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Us!

It's Chris and Jenna day. The sun is shining and it is supposed to be a beautiful weekend. It's been a super fun day today... Chris and I have actually had the chance to work together today. At my desk. Sometimes it's really nice having a built-in IT department. I love the guy in my office (in Plano, TX). He's really nice and he tries really hard. We are a software company of 55 employees located in 6 different states using countless different software applications on refurbished computers with an IT staff of 1. That's right. 1. Just 1 guy. I feel bad for him and cut him a lot of slack. So, sometimes I just lean on Chris for help.

So, this morning my computer said "Happy Anniversary, Jenna! I don't like you anymore so you're screwed." This is what is lovingly (not jokingly) known as the Windows "BSOD." In case you are curious, it's the Blue Screen of Death.

So, after a reboot and about an hour of hiccups but no more BSOD, I have decided to work slowly and save often. Glad I learned about recoverable vs. unrecoverable data . I am spending the afternoon saving everything to our network. The status bar says I only have 6 hours left!

Happy Anniversary, Jenna!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Admission of Guilt

Ok, I have to fess up. I have been working from home since March of 2005. In the beginning, I would get up in the morning, put my work clothes on (picture business casual from my home office) and hit the ground running. That lasted for a week or so until I figured out that it didn't really matter.

Then I went through the phase of early morning workouts and running in the door just as the clock strikes 8:00 am. On those days, I would work in my gym clothes until I found a point in my work where I could be absent for 30 minutes with no harm. That phase still comes and goes, but more often times than not, I end up sitting in stinky gym clothes until the end of the day!

Most of the time, I roll out of bed at 7:30, brush my teeth and stumble down stairs to get my first cup of coffee and am checking email by 7:45. For the first time in many many moons, I actually have a job that matters and is busy every day. Because I start in my PJ's, I am finding that I am ending the day...still in my PJ's. It's not pretty. Imagine hello kitty flannel pants and a matching long-sleeved red shirt with hello kitty buttons on it. Cute right? Now imagine the jammies being 6 years old. So. Not. Pretty.

This week I had an 8:00 meeting for Junior Achievement which required not just real clothes, but a shower and makeup too. I found that I actually liked ending my day clean and in real clothes. So I did it again today. And it's nice. I think I will do this more often! It makes me feel smarter or something!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I liked it better when it was raining

Weird, I know. But we get so few rainy days here. With an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, we almost never have a washout. I was really loving the rainy cool fall day.

I think the weather was helping me cope with my computer challenges today. I have rebooted two different machines twice each and neither of them seem to want to cooperate. When it's rainy I am more patient because the idea of going outside for anything is far less appealing than sitting at my desk waiting for my machine(s) to perk up.

But now the sun is out and there are a couple of errands I have to run. And my computers are STILL not wanting to work as hard as I do. So, here I sit. Blogging about stupid technology, waiting for my IT support team to call me back. The sun is shining and it has become a truly perfect fall afternoon. Sunny, cool, slightest of breezes and the freshest air in the world.

At least I can open my window and enjoy it. Stupid technology anyway.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Celebrating Four and the Start of One More

October is the best month. With it comes my favorite season and wonderful weather, happy children in school yards, vivid colors and crisp blue skies, the end of air conditioning and the beginning of fireplaces. But best of all, October is our anniversary month.

October 14 will mark our four-year wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe it's been 4 years already. When I started to write this morning I thought I'd make a list of the things we have done during those four years. But I quickly realized that not only do I want to see that list, but you probably don't either. It was full of difficult memories with some fun things interspersed. I seemed to be a count of the number of jobs I have had and places in which we lived. So instead, I am blogging about celebrating four incredible, loving, happy, fun years and the beginning of our fifth year.

Since Chris' parents will be here next weekend, we will be celebrating tomorrow. To commemorate the four, we are trying four new things tomorrow:

1. Roasted Veal Shanks with Rosemary
2. Skillet Turnips and Potatoes with Bacon
3. Homemade German Chocolate Brownies
4. Dressing up for dinner at home.

Often times, Saturday night dinners are prepared and enjoyed in sweatpants and a ponytail. I figure a little mascara and pants that actually have a zipper and button might make the dinner feel even more special. Although, it's pretty special on its own. A life filled with love and laughter, a partner in crime and a best friend. It took a while to get here (I mean finding Chris!), but I am grateful for every bump in the road, detour taken and tear shed.

I wish that every person could find the happiness within themselves that I have finally found. The perfect partner certainly contributes to that. I am so lucky, and so grateful.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Best. Office. Ever

It's a perfect fall day. Cool, bordering on cold. Cloudy, chance of rain later today. I love it. I mean REALLY love it.

The thermometer in my office read 61 degrees and my fingers read "brittle with chance of breaking." So I turned on the instant heater and this is the view from my desk chair. I don't even have to move my head or eyes!

Can working get much better than this?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Killed a Mockingbird

Not really! But I did finish "To Kill a Mockingbird." Chris and I have our own little book club so tonight we will discuss the classic and go to Barnes and Noble to buy our next book for under the "R". I am taking suggestions for must read classic books that will look fantastic on the mantle!

And something that is easy reading. Angie wants to read with us and we will Skype our conversations with a glass of wine after the kids are in bed. Pretty smart, eh?

We were thinking about Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn. But there are so many great classics. Please post a comment with your favorite. All suggestions are welcome!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

Ok, I don't really have a case of the Mondays. But today HAS been absolutely crazy. I had a beautiful breezy run this morning, made it a little bit farther and a little bit faster...that's always a GREAT way to start a week.

I was at my desk by 8:00 and hit the ground running. Pun intended. I was really on a roll when I realized I was getting hungry. I glanced at the clock, it was 10:30 and I hadn't had breakfast! Grabbed some greek yogurt and got back at it. Got hungry again, looked at the clock and it was 1:30. Holy catfish! Where is this day going.

The last 2 hours have been the best part. A client just wasn't getting it. I tried to explain using my best third grade vocabulary, but she still didn't get it. With my windows open and fresh air streaming through my office, I was finally able to make her understand! We both started to giggle about her confusion when all of a sudden this rogue rainstorm came from nowhere, blew everything off my desk and soaked the carpet! Seriously! That made me laugh harder!

Then another client said, "Oh, did I say I needed it on October 14? I am really sorry, I meant October 4!" Hurry hurry hurry doesn't even begin to describe my speed, but I got it done and now Monday is almost behind me!

Whew! I need a break. It's 4:00 and I am still sitting here in the clothes I ran in this morning. I have barely had half of my water today and my chapped lips are driving me crazy. Small price to pay for having a good job, I suppose!

So, with all that, I will now take a breath, and take a shower. Here's a clip from Office Space. A cult classic movie that coined the term "A Case of the Mondays"