Friday, August 27, 2010

A Long-Overdue Job Update

Today is the last Friday I will be working at my current place of employment.

This has been a major thing going on in my life for the past two months but I haven't blogged about it. I've had a lot of thoughts, feelings, fears, hopes and questions about the whole process...but couldn't put them down on this blog for a few reasons. The first and most important is that this is a public blog and you never know who is reading (and sometimes you know who is reading and that affects what you say, too).

Knowing that, I will attempt to briefly explain what's going on while being concise and politically correct.

My job is moving in one direction. It is a direction that doesn't really fit with me professionally. I know this. My boss knows this. Mid- last month I went in and was upfront with her and decided we should part ways amicably.

I did not have another job lined up. This caused quite a bit of uneasiness in me, the idea of facing that abysmal hole known as the job market, wondering how long Michael and I would be living off of just his income. Don't get me wrong, we have plenty of money saved up for such an occasion, but who wants to dip into their savings when you don't have to? Still, I felt great about essentially being forced to do what I'd been considering for quite some time...trying a next step in what I hope is a journey toward finding out what I really want to do with my time on this planet.

The C.E. (current employer) was very kind in understanding that I was out there looking for another job. I went on a few interviews and ... got hired! I'm very relieved and excited to report that I will be starting work at my N.E. (new employer) the day after Labor Day, giving me a nice little week off in between jobs.

I might be jumping the gun by posting this so early, but I'm tired of censoring myself on this blog. (I say this while writing a very vague and censored explanation of this whole thing...oy vey.)If something falls through then I'd rather be able to vent about it here than keep it all inside like I have been doing. (Keeping it all inside to you, I should add, because Michael sure has gotten an ear-full.)

I can't wait to give you updates on the new job! Also, as we move into September, my hope is that the slowly lowering temperatures will provide Michael and me with the motivation to actually do things on the weekends instead of cooping ourselves up in our little den of air conditioning.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stream of Consciousness

Confession:

I watch the Bachelor Pad on ABC. This, for those of you who don't know, is The Bachelor(ette)'s trashy cousin where some of the old contestants get together and compete for love and money. Last night there was a competition of who was the best kisser. All the girls were blind-folded and then made to kiss all the guys and then the same routine was done with the roles reversed. Michael was so disgusted that he stood up and went to the kitchen, deciding he'd rather wash dishes than continue watching the awkwardness. I kept watching.

Observation:

I fully expected the men to give the best kisser nod to the girls who were really going at it, kissing aggressively and making us at home squirm from discomfort. Instead, the girl who won was the one who admitted to using no tongue! She said she just tried to be "soft and sweet" because that's what she likes, if I remember correctly. I can't believe the guys chose this for the win! Don't you just picture all these horn dogs going for the girl who seems most...how to say this delicately?...ready and willing to go?
Nope! They went with the girl who kissed like the girl next door.

Observation:

The awesomely awful or awfully awesome tv show "The Ghost Whisperer" has commercials almost exclusively from life, health and car insurance agencies. Also, Activia Yogurt (it helps keep you regular). There is some kind of cosmic connection here and I will one day put my finger on what it is.

Confession:

When I see someone in public who I know I've seen somewhere before but can't place, or who I know but do not want to chat with (like that evil girl from my high school track team), I will act as if I haven't seen them. HOWEVER, this is way too obvious and they probably notice you noticing them, SO... I usually contort my face into a horribly unattractive expression because no one would ever willingly make a face like that if they knew someone in the area, right?? Examples include: the look on your face when you're cleaning your teeth with your tongue, playing with your lips puckered in the "fish" position and the look you adopt when trying to pick off a piece of dead cheek skin from the inside of your mouth with your tongue/teeth.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gamers

Michael and I saw the movie "Switch" this weekend. I find it sad that our movie snacks never make it past the previews. It was a cute movie...maybe not an award winner but it definitely had me choked up during some of the father-son bonding scenes.

Afterward we met JP and Kai for some fun at the mall. We went to Dave and Busters to play some games and have appetizers and a drink.

Kai proved himself to be well-adept at driving games but could stand to see some improvement in the skee-ball department.

We spent 870 tickets on a stuffed soccer ball and some candy (instead of the little machine that makes fart sounds) and then made our way to grab some dinner.

Overall a very relaxing weekend, but one much needed and enjoyed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Glad to Be Gathering Moss

Today I had to fill out a form listing all of the residences I've lived in for the past seven years.

My list was nine items long.

And those are all in Arizona.

I knew that I've moved around a lot but it never really hit me quite how much until now. This is an exercise in complete narcissism and nostalgia, so feel free not to read any further, but this is my journey into my recent homes past.
  1. Current home. First owned space. Love nest.

  2. Townhouse in Old Town Scottsdale. Cool location, walking distance to the mall and bars/clubs. Had a cool ceramic chandelier that I was unable to buy off the owner.

  3. Small and dark apartment. First living situation after marriage. A sweet period of time, but I'm glad we didn't stay here long.

  4. Renting a room out of a house near campus to finish off my college career. Found out that living with a friend can really test the relationship.

  5. Rented a room in a condo from a stranger I met on Roommates.com. Didn't get murdered.

  6. Stayed at Mom and Dad's new home between living in Flagstaff and starting at ASU.

  7. Lived with three teammates in Flagstaff in a little home. It started beautifully, ended horribly.

  8. Lived in the dorms. Had a cool roommate. Burnt popcorn once and malodorized the entire 7th Floor. Got hate messages on our whiteboard. Spent hours talking on the phone with a handsome stranger and future husband.

  9. Mom and Dad's previous house during high school. Number of times I had sleepovers on the trampoline and was woken in a pile of limbs in the center of the tramp by the sprinklers going off: 2. Number of times I sneaked out of my bedroom's French doors to go skinny dipping in the backyard with girlfriends: 1. Number of times I sneaked out through said doors to meet a boy: 0. Hm. I, apparently, was lame.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hokey Karaoke

Don't you wish you could be just wonderful at karaoke? Don't just you imagine that you'd go up to the mike in front of hundreds of bar patrons and sound just like you do in the car or in the shower? Don't you wish that the crowd would either scream along with you because they're so pumped, or else fall silent in awe of how awesome you are at singing?

Unfortunately, it's a lot harder than it looks. I've sung karaoke a few times in my life. In New Zealand I did a moving rendition of Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You." You've also read about Shannon and me doing "A Whole New World" on the cruise. But I think my favorite incident of doing karaoke was at a shower I had right before our wedding. The first part of the night was a lingerie shower (*wiggles eyebrows*) at a cool local bar called Geisha-a-GoGo. We had a nice, rather large group of ladies but some had to leave early. So with our smaller group we made our way back to one of the small private rooms in the back that are rented out for private karaoke parties!

It was nice because I didn't have to impress a lot of people, we just belted our little hearts out in front of 8 close comrades. And we got to sing over and over again, rather than waiting for your once chance at a public karaoke joint. By the end of the night it was all of us shouting the songs at each other instead of just one or two people singing. And anyway, you have to love when four white girls get up and sing "Gangsta's Paradise."

I'm not sure why the following picture is the only one I currently have of us singing. You can see my mom and Pam doing a lovely dance during an instrumental bridge in a song. You can see the microphone and the TV with the words in the background.
Here's the whole group of karaoke'ers.
So here is my list of karaoke songs I'd like to sing if given the chance:

Piano Man - Billy Joel
Fever - Michael Buble or other
I'll Stand by You - Pretenders
Afternoon Delight - Starland Vocal Band

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Life and Death of a Cupcake

This week we had a going away potluck to celebrate the Ashley's last week at work. Since my cake decorator kit had gathered a bit of dust since its last use, I offered to make the sweet treats for the event.

Unfortunately I didn't end up with a ton of time, so I had to go simple. I still like the way they turned out.

First, I used a new technique that I learned from a food network show, rolling my cupcakes in colored sugar to make little red glistening snowballs.

These were pretty and delicious. These little sugar ones are the only sprinkles I really like.

Next I decided to pipe "goodbye" in different languages onto the cupcakes.

These turned out pretty well, but Auf Wiedersehn ended up with a hyphen in it, as I'm sure you can imagine.

While there were some leftovers after the potluck, I wouldn't say there were any survivors.

For any of you non-Arizonans, this might show you one small side-effect of living in America's Oven. This was after about 30 minutes in the car while I ran in the store. They were pretty while they lasted!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A BBQ Revelation

I just did a Google Image search for myself. Does that make me vain?

The only relevant picture of me that came up in the first 3 pages was a picture of barbecue food from Dickey's restaurant from my Examiner.com page.

The next picture actually from me was the picture of barbecue sauces at Famous Dave's.

I don't really know what to do with this information, other than to observe that this is a pretty solid representation of me as a whole. And that I'm a little awed that there are no other pictures of me on the interwebs. And that now I really want barbecue for dinner.



I haven't written anything for Examiner in awhile, in case you are a dear and decided to subscribe to my articles. I've been so busy traveling that when I'm home I don't eat out much. Plus I've just been very busy lately.

By the way, if you didn't click on the link above, please click here. It is very important to me that you view this video/virtual phenomenon. Make sure you wait til the end to get the full effect. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We Make Plans

When I picture God in a humanly image (because most times He's just to big to put into human forms), His form changes a lot.

Sometimes He looks like King Tritan.
Except, you know, minus the fish tale. (Mer-MAN! Mer-MAN!)

Other times He looks like Morgan Freeman.
Although less so since hearing about this awful ordeal which I hope isn't true.

Point is, I see God as a loving, all-knowing fatherly figure. One who is doting and kind but also knows how to give you a stern eye that makes you slowly climb down from the roof after deciding you could do a mega-jump onto the trampoline two stories below. But also the type to find beauty and humor in small things, like a sassy comment from an old lady or a potato chip that looks like a celebrity.

I don't find much in common with the religions that paint God out to be this wrathful, menacing, unforgiving being. Don't get me wrong, I know God has His rules and standards and I believe He sticks to them. So while I approach God with humility and reverence, I still see Him as approachable, you know? I feel like I don't have to be on my knees every time I pray. (Sometimes you can be desperately clutching your husband's hand during a particularly bumpy airplane takeoff and I think He gets the message just fine.)

Part of my image of God as having a good sense of humor comes from the next up in my series of Martin Idioms. I can't tell you how many times while growing up I heard, "We make plans, God laughs."

Doesn't that image just fill you up to the brim with affection for God, picturing him laughing good-naturedly at us mere humans making big ol' decisions while He has complete other plans for us? Like the time I decided to major in Public Relations and gave it one semester before deciding I didn't even know what Public Relations was. (Don't look at me like that, I know what it is now.) I just picture God having a nice little chuckle, saying, "Aw, bless. She thinks she knows what she's doing."

Or the time that we planned on having a romantic evening in Venice and ended up taking planes, trains and automobiles across the European continent, concluding with a breathtaking view of the world's most romantic city and an incredible story. He's got bigger plans and a better perspective.

Usually Mom or Dad would say this little diddy in a much smaller circumstance, such as a cancelled party or a delayed flight, but that doesn't make a difference in the message I took from it. Sometimes bigger things are at play. Sometimes it wasn't meant to be. Sometimes it makes you feel better inside to absorb those disappointments and view it as a step in what was undoubtedly the right direction for you.

And for the record, I don't feel that God would find this post flippant or blasphemous. I feel like He'd be amused, like a father looking at his small child's finger painting. Not as interesting as a sassy old lady but more serious than a Paul McCartney Frito Lay.

What do you think?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sometimes

Sometimes marriage is not easy.

Sometimes one of you makes a clicking noise in the back of your throat when you sleep, not allowing the other member of the marriage to fall asleep.

Sometimes one person is much worse at keeping secrets than the other.

Sometimes one person just can't seem to find the motivation to clear off all the junk on top of her dresser and it just sits there forever looking so very untidy.

Sometimes you've been in out of town for a week and are so ready to come home that you become irritaty and complainy and restless.

Sometimes the air conditioner stops working and you're left to sleep through an arid Arizona night and swelter in the heat of day for 30 minutes before saying "FORGET IT" and driving up to your parents house for the weekend.

But other times marriage is easy.

Like when you come home from Louisville to find that the other person bought all the snacks you mentioned wanting on the phone the other day.

And snacks are so much more important than a clicking noise anyway.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Some Great Danes in Solvang

I know this post on our wonderful trip to Solvang with my In-Laws is long overdue, but maybe you can believe me when I say there's been a lot going on lately.

We got into California on Friday evening and went straight to a restaurant to have dinner with the family and two friends. We had a little celebration for the birthday boy:
We got down to business on Saturday morning. After stopping for some coffee, we started the drive up to Solvang, which is just north of Santa Barbara. It was time for lunch so we stopped at a local market to grab some picnic items to take to the first winery.

The first place we stopped was the Rideau Winery. We had a wonderful tasting inside in the Reserve Room and then bought a couple bottles to take outside with our picnic.
Wines, bread, cured meats, cheeses, cherries...heaven.
Rideau had some gorgeous grounds.


The Family Tree!
Or, the family in a tree.

The next place was the Buttonwood Vineyard.
In addition to creating wines, they are a peach farm. The smell was so sweet and these trees were so beautiful!

We stopped in Solvang on our way to the hotel. I think I previously mentioned that it looked like an old Dutch settlement - well, it was actually Danish, as in 'from Denmark.'

Just hanging out...in some clogs.

That's a saddle he's sitting in, if you couldn't tell.
I now blog before you in shame. I did not take any pictures in The Hitching Post! I don't know what came over me! But it was so fun - I saw the bar where Paul Giamatti sat at while filming Sideways, ate some delicious steak and tried their own wine.

The next morning we stopped in Solvang again. Although we were in 'downtown' Solvang, a lot of local wineries had tasting rooms in the little town.
We stopped for some Danish danishes, which we delish.
See the Solvang name on the Danish flag?
Despite the fact that I'm dressed for arctic weather and the rest of the family is in summer clothes, I promise we were in fact on the same vacation. I just got a little chilly in the shade is all.
We took the scenic route on the way home, stopping at a cool recreational area on the beach.


Gorgeous, isn't it?

We had such a great time with the family. We had great weather, tasted great wines, saw great sights and shared some great laughs.