Monday, February 28, 2011

Where is Mini Me?

Can you find her? 
I walked into my bedroom and found this instead of my child.
It's a wonder she can breathe.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Only I Could Screw Up Like This...

Monday evening, I went in to the office to do some design work from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. I knew someone else was in the building when I got there because of the alarm status code. It is a large building that is used by space sharing organizations.

About an hour in, I heard the alarm warning sound indicating it was set. I ran to adjust the alarm so I would not set off the motion detectors. In doing so, I locked myself out.

No key to the building. No key to my car. No cell phone. No shoes. No coat.

It was snowing outside. And a rather desolate street after dark.

I saw a cop car driving by. Tried to flag him down. He stopped. Waited. I waved some more, jumping up and down. He drove off.

Then I saw the guy who set the alarm driving out of our parking lot. I waved. I jumped up and down and waved some more. He drove off. He stopped. I wave and hopped towards him. He reversed. I ran towards him. In my socks. On the snow. I have big boobs and no coat. Must have been a sight.

He agreed to let me back in. Nice man. I know his name but from now on, he will be 'Jesus' to me because Lord only knows what he saved my evening from being.

Did I mention J is out of town and I had a babysitter at home, expecting me back at 11:15 pm? Even if I had flagged the cop down, I don't know a single person in Chicago's cell phone number by heart. The only co-worker whose home I know how to find w/o aid is the Irishman's wife. She would not have appreciated riding in the backseat of a cop car. Oh, but the stories we could tell our co-workers in the morning...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mindful Monday: It Takes A Village

J travels with his new job. That is our reality and I need to deal with it. I keep telling myself that once both kids are in the same school and that once recruiting and swim meet seasons are over, it will be fine.

Right now, I rely heavily on the goodness of my village. One of Mini Me's teachers and a friend of mine have let me drop Mini Me at their homes by 7:30 am and taken her to school for 9:00 am so I can get to work before my 8:00 am meetings. I've banked co-op babysitting hours so I can go back to the office when the kids are in bed. My employer has graciously worked around my schedule, letting me come in 90 minutes later than normal on days when I drop Mini Me to school myself.

Lots of fathers travel with their jobs and lots of moms deal with it. Being a solo parent is not something I have ever wanted. About 20 years ago, my then boyfriend got a great job that entailed travel. I told him we would not marry because I did not want a husband who traveled and I did not want to raise our children by myself. My opinion has not changed in 20 years. I still don't want my husband to travel. 

I thought to seek advice from several friends who have multiple children and their husbands travel. But they either don't work, or work from home. I think that makes a big difference in making life happen. I can't work from home every day. It is physically impossible to give school tours when you are not in the facility... 

Ultimately, I need to find a system that works for us/me and go with it. This is still pretty new. I'm willing to take suggestions!

18 months

This would be the primary reason why we can never lease a vehicle.

Car dealers will offer as few miles as they can get away with, perhaps as few as 10,000 per year, or 30,000 over a 3-year lease. But they will go as high as 15,000 miles per year if you negotiate it. You'll pay anywhere from 10 cents to 50 cents for each additional mile you drive over the limit. (Source:

We did 30,000 miles in 18 months.
4 trips to Canada, 2 trips to Tulsa, 1 trip to Branson.
Exploring our amazing city.
All worth it!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Got Enough In There?

Do you think Motor Mouth has enough friends to sleep with?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Knowing Me, Knowing You - Feb '11

Time once again for everyone's favourite monthly interview project.. Knowing Me, Knowing You, originated and hosted by the incredible Fairy Blogmother.

1. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
After my shower in the morning my personality gets perky. However, I can get a LOT done from 8 pm to 1 am at the office, alone.

2. What is favorite show of all time - you've seen all the episodes, you've watched it over and over and quote from it all the time?
I don't watch anything over and over. I tend to quote Oprah or her guests. 
That said, L.A.Law. I would not schedule anything or talk on the phone during L.A.Law. I love Jimmy Smits. Love him. Would have his babies. Or just practice. A LOT. 
And Criminal Minds. And Star Trek Next Generation. And Six Feet Under. And Nip/Tuck.

3. Who would you invite to a celebrity dinner party?
Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Barack Obama, and Seth Godin.
And no, I would not invite Jimmy Smits, Lenny Kravitz, Jeff Goldblum, or George W. Bush to dinner because I want to have each of them for dessert, one yummy morsel at a time.

4. Would you rather have breakfast out or dinner out?
Dinner. I don't care for breakfast out - never enough salt and pepper, too much butter. Besides, I'm the kinda girl that would rather spend money on dinner than for brunch. I can justify spending money on a good steak but not eggs and pancakes. 

5. Packers or Steelers?
After the Packers beat the Bears, I lost all interest in football until next year. It was almost 2 weeks before I found out who won. And even now, I'm not really sure .

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

Freestyle Relay - Feb 19, 2011

Sean, Dean, Parker, Jazz

Ready to Play Outside

Mini Me declared she is ready to play outside.
This is what our neighbors saw...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What I'm Reading

Sadly, my current life expectations prohibit me the luxury of sitting and reading a book, whether paper or on my iPad. It is a shame, because I LOVE reading. But, I have discovered audio books!!!

Audible on iPhone
- Purple Cow by Seth Godin
- Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah
If you sign up for a free Audible membership, you get 2 books free.

Audiobooks on iPhone
- Anna of Five Towns by Arnold Bennett
Some books are offered free.
The only downside of this is that I'm on Part 8 of 14 and on the 3rd person reading to me. This works if you like the voices. I don't care for the current voice but I love the story.

On My iPad
- Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell
Not Free?
The only one I paid for was Port Mortuary. Technically, J paid for that as it was one of my Christmas presents. See, Christmas. It's taking me 2 months to read a book by my favorite author!

Book on CD in Car
- Ramona and Beezus (I have kids!)
I have started borrowing kids' books on CD from our local library.
Keeps the kids quiet in the car.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Magic - Widney Banana Bread

I could win a prize for my banana bread.
My first posting for this recipe in August 2008 was a straight copy from Betty Crocker's recipe. I've since put my own touches to enhance the moistness and flavor. My family LOVES this recipe.
For you, I share my recipe.


1 1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
6 mashed ripe bananas
(ripe as in, if you don't use today, they are gone)
1/2 cup buttermilk
(I make my own w/1/2 cup 2% milk & 1 tsp lemon juice, let stand 5-10 min.)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
(Optional: Nuts. I don't but you can)
Note: You can make this healthier but it won't taste as good so don't tell people it is my recipe.

Pre-heat & Pan Info
Place oven rack in lowest position.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray Pam on 2 loaf pans.
Use either 2-8" pans or 2-9" pans

What to Do
Mix sugar and butter in a large bowl.
Stir in eggs until well blended.
Add bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla.
Beat until smooth.
Stir in remaining ingredients until just moistened.
If you are going to add nuts, here is your chance.
Pour into pans.

Baking Info
Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour or 9-inch loaves about 1 1/4 hours.
Or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
Cool 5 minutes.
Loosen sides of loaves from pans
Remove from pans.
Let it cool as long as you can stand waiting before slicing. 

Wrap tightly with Saran Wrap.
Store at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.

2-12 slice loaves (24 slices); 85 calories each. 
In real life, more calories per slice than that.

Using the Recipe
I don't mind if you use this recipe.
Just keep the name and link back here, please.
It's a matter of courtesy. Thank you.

Original Recipe
This recipe is adapted from Betty Crocker's 40th Anniversary Edition Cookbook, Prentice Hall, (c) 1991. I didn't follow some of their directions and added my own but most of the credit goes to them.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mini Me wanted meatloaf for dinner. She has been watching Sponge Bob on her iPod.

J wanted mashed potatoes. He has been sick but has his appetite back.

I got this recipe from

2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
3 slices bread
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 oz of shredded cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1 1/2 lean ground beef


1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard

Beat eggs. Add milk and bread and let stand until bread absorbs liquid. Stir in onion and cheese. Add ground beef. Mix well. Shape into a loaf.Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Combine topping and spoon over meatloaf after about 30 minutes. Spoon topping over meatloaf every 10-15 minutes while meatloaf is cooking.
Submitted by: Lisa Edmonds

Great Employers - Sears Canada

In my Great Employers series, I continue with Sears Canada. I started working for Sears in a local retail store when I was 18. The primary reason I was interviewed was because I beat my manager (who had an MBA and a MSc) on the aptitude tests.

I was supposed to work on the floor, putting kids clothing away, answering questions, getting cribs and car seats out for customers. I didn't have kids. I knew nothing about kid stuff. However, I excelled working at the cash terminal. Whenever anyone had a problem with the computer, I was the one figuring it out. It was a blast.

Through college, I worked in the store one weekend each month to hold on to the job. They paid well and that there was an opportunity for promotion. When I completed my schooling, I applied to head office.

When I went for the interview I thought I screwed it up with my physical appearance. I am 5'9". I wore 3" heels. The department director was a 5'4" man. I stood up to meet and be interviewed by the department manager. He too was 5'4". Dear Lord, I knew that if those men were not confident in their manhood, I was NOT getting that job. They were. I got the job. They were great to work with.

I LOVED working at Sears Canada headquarters in downtown Toronto. I met people from all over the company and worked with great vendors like IBM and the SAS Institute. I learned a lot. I did some fun things, like providing support for laptops when they were still a novelty technology. I was the project manager on an installation that IBM said was the best, most organized national install they had experienced for a company.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Great Employers - Scotiabank

The other day, I talked about a crazy employer. I want to share about a great employer.

If you don't know, my education is in computers. When jobs were posted in college, I only applied to the Toronto jobs. I remember a classmate of mine suggesting I hedge my bets and apply for a job in our home town. I told her I wanted to work in Toronto or nowhere at all. Even then I knew I was not made for the small or mid-sized city. I had the big city in my sights.

Fortunately, I was selected by my first choice: Scotiabank. I worked for Scotiabank headquarters in downtown Toronto as a systems analyst. Scotiabank is one of the top 5 banks in Canada. In high school economics, I studied the top 5 banks and most notably, Cedric Ritchie, a former CEO of Scotiabank. For years, I worshipped the ground this man walked on. Cedric Ritchie was a god of the banking industry.

It was a great time to work for Scotiabank. The brand new headquarters building, Scotia Plaza, was nearing completion. It became the 2nd tallest building on the Toronto skyline, next to the Bank of Montreal (BMO) building. And the 2nd tallest building in Canada.

My role had me all over the bank offices. I even supported some of the computers on the trading floor. The trading floor was never dull. Like the time one of the traders unplugged a major computer and shut his area down for days.

The craziest thing I ever did was take a computer for a walk. There was this one computer that was finicky. My team lead told me to take it for a walk around the block. I thought she was joking. Dead serious. There I was, wearing a linen dress with 3" leather pumps, pulling a computer behind me in one of the top financial districts in the world. Fortunately, it was a glorious summer day and I loved it!

One time, I was on the executive floor. I had been there so many times before. Each time, I hoped to catch a glimpse at Cedric Ritchie but it never happened. Until this day when I was escorting a service provider to a computer. I had to stand there and wait for him to finish. There I was, in the executive offices, standing around doing nothing when my idol, Cedric Ritchie, is less than 5 feet from me. I wanted to say something to him and die all at the same time. We made eye contact. I looked into Cedric Ritchie's eyes! He stared at me like he was wondering why the hell I wasn't working. But I was! I was providing security for bank assets!

I can't tell you how many times I have replayed that moment in my head over the past 18 years. Sigh. I know, most girls my age back then got all weak in the knees over a movie star or singer. I was fascinated with a financial genius.

It was still a dream come true to be in the presence of such greatness as Cedric Ritchie.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Christmas - Old School

Christmas 2007 - Widney House, Tulsa

I found these photos while flipping through an old site of ours.
Back in the day, this is what our Christmas Eve table would look like when J's parents, siblings and grandparents came over for dessert after Christmas Eve service.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Crazy Employers

Every work for a crazy person? Or a dishonest person? I have.
I have no idea what sparked this memory. But, well, enjoy.

In the late '90's, someone my family knew asked me to work for him.
It sounded interesting so I went for it. 

I had known this man to be a brilliant financial planner. We'll call him...BS as that is what he was full of. Truly, BS was very good and gifted as a financial planner. Things were great at first. But then he got into an upstart business that was draining him financially. He had dumped all of his savings into this new company. 

I knew something was wrong when some of the employees' paychecks bounced. Yikes! From then on, I would take my check to the company bank and cash it the morning it was given to me.

After that initial bounce, I noticed BS would get snippy and anxious a few days before payday. Then the clients would come in. BS would have his financial clients come in for a sales pitch on his upstart. If 5 people came in, at least 2-3 would have signed over their investment funds to him. And payroll was mostly met. Again, if you were the last to cash your check, you were screwed! So were the investors who were unwittingly giving their savings to make payroll.

BS had started off being nice to me. But he started to get mean. One day, I thought he was going to hit me! He actually started to charge towards me. Lucky for him, he caught himself, turned around and walked out of my office.

He had become so mean to everyone. One of the financial planners had quit. The financial strain was wearing on him. I'm fairly confident what he was doing with the payroll making scheme was illegal. He was careful to not include me in that aspect of his business dealings because I had personal relationships with many of his financial clients. 

BS was such a jerk, I actually contemplated spiking his coffee with ExLax. I wasn't sure how to do it, but I did think about it. When you start thinking crazy like that, it's time to quit. I cleared out my desk of all personal belongings. I was going to give him my notice. Lucky for me, he called me in to his office to lay me off due to financial difficulties. He offered me severance and was all apologetic. 

I was so happy to get out of there, it was all I could not to dance and sing, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!"

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Truthful Tuesday - Pregnancy

This past fall, my period was late. I didn't think much of it. It is no secret that J is sterile. On top of that, we didn't want God to suddenly 'bless' us with a child when I was in my 40's so J got fixed about 4 years ago. 

We knew we only wanted 2 children. We knew we could be good parents to 2 children and comfortably support 2 children. We did not want 3 children. 

We did not want God to get all wrapped up in the latest war raging in the Middle East and forget we don't want more kids then suddenly look at us and go "Oh, let me bless Widney Woman and J with a baby." Thus the extreme measure in J getting a vasectomy.

One morning, without knowing I was late, J said: "I had a dream you were pregnant and that it was MY baby!" For the record, I've chosen not to be offended by his shock that it was 'HIS' baby - like there could be a different father.

Couple years ago, a friend asked what I would do if I were pregnant. 
My response?
"Get a divorce. It wouldn't be my husband's child."

And so the seed (no pun intended) of pregnancy was planted in my mind. I waited yet another week. At this time, my period was 3 weeks late. I'm like clockwork. 

Finally, I went and bought a test. Actually, I could get a 3-pack for the price of 1 test, so I did. 

The result.......

Do you hear the drum roll?

I do.

I KNEW J was sterile.
I KNEW J had been fixed.
I KNEW we didn't want another child.
I KNEW this would screw up our lives.
I KNEW I would be 41 when this baby was born.
I KNEW that babies in dreams are not literal babies.

Yet still, I was devastated. 
I took to my bed for the rest of the day. 

Somewhere in my heart, the dream of creating a whole new little person out of love was still there. That dream, as crazy and messed up as it was, was still very alive.

When no one came a-visiting, I took a 2nd test the following week.
And this time........

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Again, nothing. 
No pregnante

Damn it!