Thursday, August 26, 2010

What I'm Popular For

More people are drawn to my blog to see this:

It's a hat I crocheted for my husband last year.
It's called 'Husband Hat'

There are days that over 100 people look at this hat on my blog.
And some of them actually follow the pattern I wrote.
Some post photos.

Like this one

And this one

This person credits my pattern on but not her blog...

I tried to follow a pattern to make a hat. 
I screwed up and in the end, made my own pattern.
Now crochet websites are directing people to MY pattern. 

That's messed up.

What kind of place is this?

Yesterday evening, Motor Mouth had been uncharacteristically quiet. Then he said, "Mommy, I feel different about Chicago than when we moved here."

"Really, Baby? Why is that?" I was scared. Motor Mouth used to say how much he loved Chicago. But all evening, he was in such a reflective mood. There's no telling what he would say.

"When we moved to Chicago I thought, 'What kind of place is this?' I didn't know what kind of city Chicago was. I wanted to move back to Oklahoma. But then I got to know Chicago, Mom, and I like it here. I like the City a lot."

"You do, Baby?"

"Yeah. Now I think Chicago is the best city. I don't want to move back to Tulsa. I miss Grandpa, but I don't want to live in Tulsa. I'm glad we live in Chicago, Mommy."

It was all I could do not to cry. We made the right decision to move to Chicago.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Knowing You, Knowing Me - August '10

Knowing Me, Knowing You is a monthly ritual created by The Fairy Blogmother. I look forward to reading her questions and answers each month. Which is why I am thrilled she finally had time this month to post!

1. What is your favorite kind of pie?
Mypie!! That's the nickname The Fairly Blogmother uses for her adorable little girl.

But if you meant food....I like light pies, like the one I make with whipped cream and pudding and fruit. I know it sounds peasant of me, but I don't like heavy pies. I love light desserts - you know, the kind that make you feel like you really aren't eating yourself to death.

2. What kind of wedding did you have? 
Small. Short. Effective. The minister, his wife, the photographer, videographer, our 2 witnesses and us. Less than 7 minutes long, including the bonus footage. It did the job and I wouldn't change a thing.

3. Ever been to a 3D movie?
Many times. I hate them. My kids hate them too. I wear glasses so unless I think to put my contacts in, the experience is aggravating.

4. What is the worst movie ever made?
I don't know. There are a lot of really bad movies out there like 'Bill & Ted's Big Adventure' and lame movies like that.

5. Are you all set for back to school?
Mini Me started last week. Motor Mouth starts in 2 days. All the clothes are ready and hanging in the closet. Backpack is waiting at the door. Motor Mouth attends a private school so all the school supplies are included. ALL. I don't even have to buy a box of Kleenex.

Now, head on over to The Fairy Blogmother to play along!

Friday, August 20, 2010


I. LOVE. My. Job.
It is varied and I get to do some fun stuff that makes people happy and feel special.

Each year, the school I work at has a Back-to-School all staff meeting and luncheon. It's my job to do the decorations. Our principal made it easy for me - she chose Learn|Grow|Blossom as our theme for the 2010-11 school year. 

First came the creation of the logo I plan to use throughout the year. 

As it was the first day back for many of the teachers, I wanted them to come in to a colorful, vibrant environment. The meeting and luncheon was held in our very large Gathering Place, an open area with skylights that can seat 240 at banquet tables. 

The luncheon tables each had colorful tablecloths
red, blue, green, yellow

I used watering cans to carry through the garden theme.

Dirt Cake was the dessert!! I made it.
I used pails, dried flowers, WORMS, and a shovel to scoop

There were 4 tables with assigned seating so I decided to create a theme of official flowers that incorporation our location in Chicago, Illinois. We are a faith-based school with a Christian worldview so the official flower of the USA and representative of Jesus were used.

Official flower of Chicago: Chrysanthemum
Official flower of the State of Illinois: Violet
Official flower of the Unites States of America: Rose
Official flower representative of Jesus: Lily of the Valley

We wanted to give the teachers something tangible to keep for the school year, as a reminder that their classrooms are a 'garden' and the students are seeds planted in that garden to learn|grow|blossom.

I was thrilled when I scored these little pots that say 'Garden'

Sadly, I did not get a photo of all 4 colored tables with their decorations.

The work tables did not need table coverings.
I served fruit with a shovel scoop, had pails with flowering plants, flower napkins, and the markers to write their name tags was color coded as part of the theme. 

We have mints with our school logo on them so I put a tin on each table. Fresh breath is important during all day meetings! 

There were place cards with the learn|grow|blossom logo as we had assigned seating. Can't show first and last names on the blog. I can show you that we used real plants on the meeting tables. To add color and carry the theme from the colored tablecloths, I put the plants in colorful pails.
Meeting Table Flowering Plant
I did a simple beverage setup with bottled water and orange juice.

The blue bags are for a team building exercise. The lunch was served from where the bags had been.
We have a new company coming in to do hot lunches a couple days per week. I asked the company to cater our lunch so the teachers could see the portion sizes, taste the food, and ask the company owner questions so when parents ask them questions, they can answer with personal knowledge and experience. 
We actually had Mediterranean Chicken w/Tatziki but this is a sample meal

The pre-kindergarten teacher wants to use the shovel and pail decorations for her classroom.

The important part of the whole day was that the teachers and staff felt appreciated, special, and thought of. There is energy and excitement going into the 2010-11 school year which has to be great for
our students.

Monday, August 16, 2010

You've Been Schooled!!!

Mini Me started school. 

It was so less dramatic Year 2. We all knew where to go and drop off was fast!

I did forget to pack her blanket and pillow for 'relaxation' time - not to be mistaken for 'nap' time. 

Although, Sunday night, an hour past bedtime when Mini Me was STILL awake, she reminded us that she has nap time at school so she should be able to say up as long as she wants to.

Mini Me also told us that she did not have any sugary stuff so she didn't know why she was still awake. And that seeing as she was awake anyway, we should just give her something sugary. 

Did I mention she is only 4 years old? Dear God, this girl is smart. She will keep us on our toes for sure!

But Words DO Hurt

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me!" So not true when the words come from someone you love.

Yesterday, when I told the kids to get dressed so we could go out and meet their father. Motor Mouth said he didn't want me to go. He just wanted Mini Me, Daddy and him to go because - and I quote - "Daddy takes us to do fun stuff and you don't."

Really?  Really. Why didn't he just torture me with paper cuts before stabbing me through the heart?!

I guess the beach the other morning was not fun. Neither was the car wash with 'all the pretty colors' that they love and ask for. Or dinner on Michigan Ave then the Hancock Observatory. Or what about the beach any of the last 5 times in 2 weeks? Or play dates with JuJu twice in one week? What about me taking them to the park spontaneously Friday morning? I would take them out more, but Motor Mouth has a sun allergy!!!

Not having as much free time with the kids as I used to, when I was a stay @home mom, does weigh heavily on me. We used to tear this town up!! That's probably why it hurts so much to hear him say that to me. Now, I work almost full-time hours at Motor Mouth's school, you know, so we can afford to send him there!!! I work from home another 10 hours a week or so for my client. I do volunteer work for Mini Me's school so I can be more connected to Mini Me and her education.

Is what I'm doing to help support my family so wrong? My God, it's not like I keep popping out a bunch of kids I can't afford and sitting on my fat ass at home, barely taking care of them, living off government aid and not doing my part to provide the basics and a good life for them.

Maybe in about 20 years when the kids grow up and have children of their own, they will begin to comprehend and appreciate the sacrifices we made so they could have good lives. Maybe.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Do Your Research, Dear Christian Fanatic

There are days I am ashamed to be a Christian. The Christian "Right" should be called the "Christian Herd" for the follow the leader herd mentality exhibited time and time again. Don't believe everything "they" say!! Take a moment and do 5 minutes of research for yourself.

Ground Zero Mosque

1. September 11th Memorial
Did you know the building housing the mosque will ALSO have a September 11th memorial and quiet contemplation space?

2. Among Other Things
The mosque is being built INSIDE a much larger Community Center facility housing: a Recreation Center (pool, gym, basketball court), 500-seat Auditorium, Culinary School and Restaurant, Library, Art Studios, Childcare Services. The mosque is to be run separately from the community center. Speaking as someone who lives in a large city, I can tell you there can't be enough community centers and places to take my children.

3. Location
Have you SEEN the location that is "only 2 blocks" from Ground Zero? Look at the map!! In a city as large as New York, 2 blocks is not the same thing as in suburban America. There are a lot of buildings crammed into those blocks. In addition, the Mosque is not straight down the street. You have to go down 2 blocks and turn down another street. Someone visiting Ground Zero is NOT going to stumble upon this place. You have to seek it out.

3. Not All Muslims are Terrorists
That's like saying all Christians are Jesus freaks that go stand on street corners preaching and speaking in tongues all day long, slaying people in the spirit, holding healing meetings and prophesying about death and damnation. Personally, I haven't done any of those "extreme" Christian actions lately. Have you? I'm thinking not many Muslims blow themselves up in suicide missions or they would be in danger of extinction by now (along with the rest of civilization).

4. Not in My Backyard
Mayor Bloomberg had no legal grounds to deny the building of the mosque, thanks to American laws and the American constitution. Our Christian school in Chicago recently received a permit to build non-profit leased spaces - including space for churches to meet. Should Chicago say yes to a church and New York say no to a mosque? Click here to read Mayor Bloomberg's amazing speech.

But don't take my word on all of this. Go research BOTH sides of the argument for yourself.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Google Yourself

From time-to-time, I Google myself. I google my married name and my maiden name. It's not vanity. It's about knowing what information is out about me. 

I have an online presence. 
I blog. I Twitter. I Facebook. I'm LinkedIN.

My mother is always telling me to be careful of what I put out. And that people only know about you what you tell them. Not necessarily true anymore. There is a bunch of stuff out about me that I did not post. 

For the most part, I believe that if I live my life honestly and do my best not to royally piss people off, what is out there about me should be safe and things I don't mind an employer finding out. Besides, my current employer follows me on Twitter and is a Facebook friend. There's no hiding....

Rest assured, important people DO Google you (not just your ex-boy/girlfriend). A couple months ago, I was dealing with a potential supplier. During our conference call, he asked if I had lived in Tulsa. I did. He had Googled me and read my blog before we talked. 

What's out there about me?

  • Corporate Project Manager for a well respected company
  • Marketing & Recruiting for a private school
  • Fundraising Banquet Co-Chair/Chair for non-profit
  • Assistant Director for a Literary and Arts Festival
  • Research & Personal Assistant to a Literature Foundation Director
  • Blog Reviewer for Thomas Nelson Publishing
  • PTO Secretary for a school
  • Comments I made on friends blogs
  • My knitting/crochet group
  • All of my blogs
  • All of my tweets
Who needs a resume when you have Google??

Most of that is stuff I've done since moving to Chicago 2 years ago. Quite honestly, I think I look really good on the net! My mother should be proud. Haha!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Writing Workshop II - Week Four

I did NOT want to go to class Monday evening. My carpool buddy was not going to make it. I had a TON of work to do for my job, my client, my volunteer work, and the ever present housework. J made me go.

My homework was done. I got that banged out on Sunday. We went to see the sunrise at one of the Chicago beaches. It wasn't until I was there and J said he planned to stay for 4 hours that I realized I had no paper or pen. J suggested I use my iPhone to write. I did. 2,700 words. Then I emailed the short story to myself. I heart iPhones.

For those of you who are interested in writing, here is a really brief synopsis. Mary Anne is writing her own book on how to be a better writer so this is just a taste to make you go out and buy her book when it becomes available.

Class Notes
3 different types of conflict - Internal, External Verbal Conflict, External Physical Conflict

Exercise: Take 1 character and write a paragraph or two where they are struggling with internal conflict. Then do the same for the same character using external verbal conflict and then external physical conflict

Info Dumbs & As You Know Bob
It's hard to avoid info dumps - a bunch of info that you throw into a big bunch of prose. The challenge as a writer is to convey the information in a way that does not bore or lose the reader. Many times the writer will contrive a conversation that would never happen in real life. For example, if 2 computer geeks are talking, they would not say, "As you know Bob, the Internet was founded by Al Gore..."

Exercise: Write about something you know well (like your hobby) but try to make it interesting and not just an info dump.

Readers find pleasure in structure and patterns whether they notice it or not. children love structure in books and have no patience for bad stories (they start talking or walk away). Structure can be in the form of a pattern (Sixth Sense where red appears whenever a dead person is present), time frame (all in one day), location (Orient Express takes place on a train), etc.

Exercise: Brainstorm to come up with 2 different forms of structure you can use to constrain your story.

Homework Due August 23rd:
1. Re-read 6 of Mary Anne's stories and look for structure in them. Make notes.
2. Write a list about 10 things you can think about that you are obsessed with. i.e. What angers you, upsets, you, what do you love, what problems do you struggle with, what larger social issues concern you...?

Homework Due August 30th:
- Write a max 5,000 word short story to be sent to class by August 23rd for critique.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Truthful Tuesday - Reality TV

Do you remember the time J and I were invited to the O Show to talk about the importance of communicating about sex in marriage? It was a packed show. We did not end up talking on camera but we did get to experience reserved front row center seats with our names on them!

Last month, I got a phone call from a producer working on a show for O's new network regarding an opportunity to be on the new show and talk to a sex therapist in person (and on camera). What I really wanted was the 'homework' and any 'homework materials'... We got to the 'let's schedule the taping' point before J and I decided we didn't want to do the show.

Filming was shaping up to be a logistical nightmare with our work schedules and would have taken time away from our kids. I already feel I didn't get to spend as much time with the kids this summer as I would have liked. Oh, and there is that little thing about both of us working in public positions at faith-based organizations....

It would have been a fun opportunity. Who wouldn't benefit from free professional help in that area? Whatever we're doing, I'd give it a 95%. Sure it would be nice to be overachievers and hit 110% but why be greedy?

I have to say, it was truly an honor to be asked. Maybe if they want to do a reality show about our mad crazy lives, we'd be up for that....

Monday, August 9, 2010

What I did this weekend

As is my way on our wedding anniversary these days, 
I got a new tattoo. Two sort of, really.

Left Wrist
This is the design from the center of my lower back tattoo. 
I really love that tattoo and I don't get to see it often enough.
Now, I get to enjoy part of it any time I want to.

I had a star added to my foot tattoo.
Last year, for our 10th anniversary, I wanted to add a 10th and final star. But I didn't want to pay $50 for one itsy bitsy star. 
I got it thrown in!

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, August 6, 2010

11 Years


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why I REALLY Eloped - The Truth

Why did J and I REALLY elope?

Well, to be honest....
The thought of walking down an aisle in front of dozens (or hundreds) of people staring at me made me want to lock myself in a closet and never, ever come out. I often need to visualize things before they happen. When I would visualize all of those people staring at me, I started to panic inside.

Yes, People, I can blog my life - even the icky life stuff. I can speak in front of hundreds of people. I don't shut up and stop talking when one-on-one, or even in a small group setting. But I couldn't stand the thought of being the center of attention at my own wedding. Deep down inside, I am still incredibly shy and can't stand to have people look at me. 

Crazy, eh?

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the real reason why I was thrilled we eloped and have never once regretted getting married the way we did.