BACKGROUND

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Best

I'm not sure there's an adequate way to describe last weekend. I flew from Houston to Portland, Oregon to visit with my best friend Britt and share an important moment in her life: she graduated with a Master of Arts in Teaching from George Fox University.

I have been proud of Britt for many things over the years, but this particular accomplishment kept me smiling for a long time last weekend. Why? Because Britt really earned this. Some people go to graduate school and get a degree, which their parents pay for. They spend two years working on the degree with no other responsibilities really. Britt paid for her education herself and managed a marriage, two children, a house, and a dog while completing her program. Even with all that, she managed to graduate summa cum laude. She has always worked hard at whatever she took on and I knew this would be no exception. In case it isn't clear, I am SO, SO, SO proud of her!

She works hard in another area too and that is our friendship. We've known each other for 13 years and in that time have shared so much, the least of which has been a love of cereal and useless chatter! We never fail to have a good time together no matter what we're doing. Even the worst of days has been made brighter knowing that she is in my life.

I moved from Oregon to Houston in 2002. Britt saw me through law school, broken relationships, the bar exam, and finally my wedding in July 2005. She has always been a phone call or e-mail away. I know that when I need comfort, a laugh, a shoulder to cry on, or a partner to assist in fending off an evil tulip farmer, she is always right there.

This last weekend, I got to see not only Britt, but her amazing children. I last saw them when they were 3 years old (N) and 2 months old (K). N is now 6 and K is about to turn 4. They are ADORABLE and incredibly well-behaved. Britt worried that she wasn't spending enough time with them while she was in grad school, but from what I saw of the children, that was a worry she could have tossed away. They are wonderful.

Yes, I suppose I'm biased, but they truly are the cutest and best kids ever. I so enjoyed spending time with them, playing with them, and listening to them talk. N is so articulate for his age and will do incredibly well in school. He has no choice now what with having a teacher for a mom:) K will be the same, I can already tell. She and N actually wanted me to sit down and quiz them on alphabet flashcards. How cool is that?

When we weren't running around like crazy, Britt and I had the BEST time eating beignets, talking, laughing, and indulging our new hobby: scrapbooking! I had made her a gift of a scrapbook of her life from the time I met her to the present. We went to scrapbook stores and spent a couple of hours at least looking at papers, stickers, scissors, albums...one of us is going to have to hit the lottery to support this shared hobby of ours.

Unfortunately, the days flew by and I had to leave for home on Sunday. It was a sad day and I miss Britt already. There's nothing like spending time with someone who knows the whole history of your life. Britt always knows how I feel and what I need. She is the best Best Friend for so many reasons, none of which I can do justice to in this blog.

So, I will just say this: Britt, I am SO proud of you. You have made it happen - whatever dream you had, you turned it into a reality with a lot of hard work and dedication. I am proud of your accomplishments and even more proud that you call me your best friend. It's a honor to be linked in that way with someone as wonderful and amazing as you are.

Two years will not go by before we see one another again and this time, I mean that. Next stop: Cozumel to swim with the dolphins! LOVE YOU!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane

So I'm definitely going to be running around like a chicken with my head cut off today. I have about 100 things to do before I leave tomorrow for Oregon. I am going to see my best friend graduate with her master's degree in teaching. I am so excited to see her and to share this special moment in her life. She has worked VERY hard for this degree and I am so, so, so proud of her! I haven't seen her in almost two years so it will be doubly special to get to hang out with her AND see her graduate.

Tomorrow, I have to do laundry because I have heard it's helpful to have socks and underwear when you're going on a trip. Sounds reasonable to me. I'm also finishing up a couple of projects underway here at home and I'm going shopping for a couple of things I need for the trip. I'm also hoping to fit a trip to the gym in there somewhere, but I am not holding my breath on that. I've gone Monday and Tuesday so I may skip today. The hotel I have reservations at in Oregon claims to have a fitness room. I will have to call and see what that consists of. Another thing to do tomorrow.

I am looking forward to the trip though. I find airplanes to be rather relaxing assuming I don't get seated next to the guy who spent the layover in the bar and who now resembles Keith Richards. I always read magazines and listen to music on the trip. I also take along my current "can't put it down" book and read that. It's nice not to have anything to do for a few hours except sit there. I think God made airplanes possible so we'd all learn to slow down a bit, which is ironic considering they were originally meant to get us places faster.

Ok, so that concludes my 4:30 a.m. ramblings. I should probably go and sleep now. I'm sure that would be helpful in completing tomorrow's to-do list. Being awake is a prerequisite for driving, although you wouldn't know that around Houston. I'm convinced everyone here is asleep at the wheel.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What a load

So I visited a MySpace page today that took FOREVER to load. Ok, well maybe not forever, but I was able to make toast, put some jam on it, eat it, let the dogs out and put the comforter in the dryer before it finished loading. I have high-speed internet so it shouldn't be a problem, but it is.

I'd like to suggest that people not put such complicated, graphic-intensive backgrounds on their pages. Sure, they look great when you first see them, but when you put them on your page, they look like crap. Also, be sure that people can read the words on your page with the background you choose. I see backgrounds all the time that are really pretty, but so overpowering that I can't read anything on the page so what's the point?

In other news, my back has decided it is unhappy and is showing it by pinching a nerve on the left side of my lower back. It does this sometimes. This usually indicates that I need to go lie down with a good book or lie down and quietly watch my Golden Girls DVDs. Hope all of you out there in cyberspace are having a pain-free day.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Into the Light

Today is one of those days where I realize that certain things in my life are not going to change because they require other people to do something that they just aren't going to do. Armed with this newfound insight, I've decided to stop waiting on said people to do what they say they are going to do and instead move forward with my own plans.

So often, we cajole, complain, argue, and cry at some person because they promise to do things and then they don't deliver. So we get upset and rail at them about how unfair they are being or whatever and then they say they will do whatever it is they promised to do before...no really, they will do it this time. And then they don't. And the cycle repeats itself.

The important thing to understand here, whether you're dealing with a spouse, friend, family member, or boss who does this, is that you really do not have to wait on that person to get their act together before you can move forward with your own plans.

It's very liberating to realize that despite someone else's issues, you can still find your own way to happiness. You just have to let go of the injustice of their behavior. Because, at some point, it stops mattering what they do or don't do. What matters is what YOU do or don't do.

I was explaining this concept to a friend of mine today in regards to a relationship she is trying to get started. She doesn't understand why the man in question does some of the things he does. She's been dealing with this for months now. I told her that it doesn't matter why he does what he does. There's a certain fascination with understanding the behavior of people we are close to or want to be close to. We believe that if we can understand them, we can make something work. Well, not so. It is truly wasted effort to try and understand someone else's actions or lack thereof.

Do not waste your time trying desperately to get them to see the light. Instead, walk toward it yourself and step out into a new day.

Some People

My poor best friend. She called me today to ask me to do her a favor. She had read my blog below wherein I discussed the homicidal rage I would fly into if anyone asked me to do anything. When she called today, I could hear the trepidation in her voice.

The thing is, there are some people that I am happy to drop everything for and do whatever they need. Britt is among those people. These are the people who have shared my life, who have dropped everything for me, who have made me realize who my real friends are. These are the people I will drive to the hospital in the middle of the night, talk through a crisis at 2:00 a.m., fly out to be there when they're going through surgery. When they call and say "I need you" these are the people I will be there for.

You are lucky if you have a handful of people like this in your life because they too will hold your hand through the tough times. This song says it all: Find Out Who Your Friends Are.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

WTH?

Today is a MUCH better day. I slept in this morning and then spent a leisurely day at home doing little things I've been wanting to get done. The most important thing I did to restore my sanity was to turn the cell phone off. Yup, left it off all day until I had to make a phone call around 4:30 p.m. It felt so good not to be bothered by it ringing all day. So, I'm feeling way better than I did yesterday.

On another note, and also to make sense of the title of this post, what the hell is up with job sites? I signed up with a site that shall remain nameless (we'll call it CB) that sends job postings once a week to my inbox based on the qualifications I put into the system. Ok, I don't know if they've got me confused with some guy in Duluth or something, but here's a sample of the things I keep getting each week:

1. Bilingual Project Administrative Assistant. Um...I don't speak Spanish or any other foreign language. Heck, some days I question my ability to speak English. Nowhere on my application to CB did I indicate I speak another language and yet, I receive job listings for bilingual positions ALL. THE. TIME.

2. Recruiter - Consumer Banking. Now, this one might be of interest if I knew anything about banking or financial transactions. But I don't. I can balance my own checkbook and that's about the extent of my financial knowledge. Even that skill is fading seeing as how I have no money and therefore no need to balance the checkbook. Anyway, once again, nowhere on my application to CB did I indicate that I knew anything about the financial industry. If I knew anything about finances, I'd have saved tons of money and would now be living off my savings while leisurely job hunting.

3. Contract PC Repair and Network Trainer. Haaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...I'm done laughing now. No, no wait, no I'm not haaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaa. Ahhh, ok really done now. Yeah seriously dear readers, NO WAY IN HELL, HEAVEN, OR ANYWHERE ELSE could I ever do this job. Dear Husband is the PC Repair and Network tech/trainer around this place. I have less than zero aptitude for this sort of work. You know what's coming next...nowhere on my application to CB did I indicate that I knew anything about fixing or training people in computer hardware issues.

And while we're at it, why do employers on sites such as CB fail to list the salary/wage of the advertised job? I have never understood why they would want to waste their time with having people apply and then say "Nope, sorry, I can't work for that wage." It's not that you don't WANT to work for a certain wage, but in some cases you really can't because you have bills to pay that exceed said wage. Now, some might argue that making something is better than making nothing. And yeah, that is true in the short run. But in the long run it makes no sense because once you find a job that does pay an acceptable wage, you will quit the low paying one.

I've seen this in action many times. I've taken jobs that paid virtually nothing in comparison to the bills I had to pay and it's never worked out to be a good thing for either myself or my employer. I'd rather give it another month or two and see if I can find something that will fit.

In the meantime, I'm removing my info from sites like CB. I don't think I'll ever have the skills to be a mechanic/day trader/foreign language teacher in Korea/yoga instructor.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Leave me alone

So I'm having one of those days where I've realized that if one more person asks me to do something, help them with something or answer a question for them, I will fly into a homicidal rage.

I feel like every time I turn around, someone else wants something. Even the simplest requests are causing flames to shoot out of the top of my head and smoke to pour out my ears. I need one day, just ONE, where no one bugs me for anything. Where I can sit in bed all day and sleep or read magazines or do both while drinking hot tea. Ahhhhh...it's a beautiful thought.

There is not one day this week when I will be able to do that. BUT...tomorrow, I am sleeping in and I'm looking forward to that. I'm not sure what my problem is this week, but I've just lost my patience and to be honest, I'm not so certain that I'm interested in finding it. I'm getting irritable and hostile, which means I need some serious alone time to recharge my batteries. MUST. GET. ALONE. TIME.

I'm off to drink my tea, which is labeled "Calm." I may follow that up with the tea labeled "Zen." God knows I could use both right now.

The First Time

Well, as my best friend said, my baby is not a baby anymore:( My "baby" started out as an adorable little puppy, but she has grown taller and heavier and now, at four months old, officially qualifies as a "little one."

A sign of this came on Friday when I decided to let her sleep in bed with us. She always has slept in her crate in our bedroom, but Friday she kept turning over her bedding in the crate and crawling underneath it. That's her in the picture underneath her bedding. I was afraid she would suffocate under there during the night, which probably was not a real danger, but she's my love and I worry about her. So, I let her up on the bed with us.

Now, we had not been doing this because I let her do that the very first night we had her here (we had no crate at that time for her to be in) and she peed on the bed. Well, Friday night, she slept through the night on the bed and did not pee. She repeated this on Saturday night. Her first time in the bed and she was good all night. She is growing up, which I am glad of, but I have to say that no matter what, she will always be my baby!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Listen Up!

So I know someone who means well, but is completely oblivious to the needs of others in conversation. He doesn't listen to what the other person is saying and will interrupt them before they are done speaking. He only listens to half, if that, of what is said and responds to that. Most of the time, his response is completely off because he hasn't listened to the whole thought or idea. If others do get a chance to speak, he spends all the conversation time waiting for his turn to speak instead of listening.

What's worse is that he will absolutely monopolize a conversation. It's not even really a conversation. It's a monologue with others trying to get a word in edgewise until they realize it's futile so they stop listening and start making a list of stuff they need to do in their heads while nodding and pretending to look like they still care ten minutes into the monologue.

It's incredible to me how many people are unable to listen. They fall in various places of the "don't listen" spectrum, but nonetheless the end result is the same. Is it really so hard to just shut up and listen to someone else? Anyone else notice how wrapped up in ourselves most of us are? We all do it and I'm no exception, but I do make an effort to listen to others and let them tell me whatever they want to tell me. Something I've learned from this is that everyone wants to feel heard, appreciated, and like they matter. Simply listening, really listening, is one way you can give all those things to someone. You never know the difference you might make for someone with the simple act of listening.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

In the Still of the Night

I recently took a job working overnights two days a week. I work Sunday/Monday from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. I'm a natural night owl, but I've done this three times now and it's killing me. It takes
two days to recover from it. I come home Monday at about 6:30 a.m. and I eat something then sleep anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. I get up (not of my own volition, my body just decides to do so) and do a few more things then I take an afternoon nap that lasts a couple of hours. After that, I get up and eat dinner, play around on the computer and I'm up until 3 or 4 a.m. or I go to bed around 11 p.m., but either way I'm still tired the next day.


So, I'm quitting this job. It's something I actually like, but I simply cannot take the schedule and I fear if I keep this up for long, my entire life will be lopsided in that days will feel like nights and vice-versa.


In other news, I have been trying to answer my e-mail FOREVER. I have messages sitting there that are two months old now. I just don't ever seem to sit down and do it. I am determined to get it finished by Sunday. I want to clear my inbox so I can at least feel somewhat productive.