This weekend…

I slept for fourteen and a half hours between Friday night and Saturday morning. I actually did wake up at a decent hour and contemplated getting up and starting my day. But Mark had vacated the bed by this point and it was calling me back, to stretch out across the middle of it, to use all of its pillows and to burrow under its covers without another body to do the tuck-and-roll maneuver which always robs me of all covers and warmth. How could I resist such a call, I ask you? Resistance, as it turns out, is futile! I went back and slept until 11:30. And I was NOT sorry! Ha!

I learned a new phrase, “B. T. dubbs.” As in, “B.T. dubbs, Mom, if I decide to take that A.P. English exam, it will cost thirty dollars.” Or, loosely translated, “Oh, by the way, dear mother, did I mention that if I choose to take the Advanced Placement English exam, the passing of which will earn me a college credit, it will cost thirty dollars?”

Luckily, since I share living accommodations with a sixteen year old and her frequent abbreviations, I was able to figure that out all by myself!

I did some butt-kicking bowling, followed by some almost-but-not-quite butt-kicking bowling, followed by some purely pathetic bowling. Yes, our Saturday night couples team remains somewhere near the bottom of the rankings. I blame it on Mark because he choked when we needed him most. And Jim. It’s Jim’s fault too. Because Jim bowled on the wrong lane one frame and everything went downhill from there.

I decided I am sick of volleyball. We went to another tournament for the third weekend in a row and I was kicking myself all day because I should have stayed home and made Mark take Kacey to this one by himself. Because I had to take her to last weekend’s tournament by myself. And next weekend, I’ll have to take her by myself again too. Granted, if he’s not attending a tournament, it’s because he’s working. But that didn’t stop me from being crabby about being there when I had an opportunity to stay home and try to catch up on my chores which are eternally going unfinished. Yes, I was just crabby today. I blame it on too much sleep.

And the post-Olympic blues are setting in already. I’ll probably have to combat those with more bowling. And running, which I did none of this weekend. Bad me. I’m sure it’s only because I spent  too much time sleeping. And I’m still not sorry.

Life is Good – February 26, 2010

It’s been a great week! We got a little bit of snow, but it was a very little bit. It just sort of floated around in the air for a couple of hours and there really wasn’t any accumulation to speak of.  Temperatures dropped for about a day, but then started to climb again. The piles of snow are beginning to melt and although I think we’ll probably get at least one or two more significant snowfalls before it’s all over, it gives me hope that spring is on its way.

Work is challenging and exciting again. I’ve blabbed enough about that already, so I’ll refrain from saying anything more.

I had a great time bowling and having lunch with Jake yesterday. Neither one of us was happy with our bowling, so we blamed it on the oil on the lane.

And remember Preacher Dave? I heard from him this week and he’s turning in the sign up sheet for the summer PBA Experience league. He wanted to make sure I was still “in”. I told him of course I was in. ‘Cause you can never have enough bowling!

Lazy Thursday

I had a lazy start to the day today. No alarm clock. No hurrying out of bed. It felt good. I needed that.

For breakfast, I made myself a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich on Country Hearth multi-grain bread, toasted, of course. I am a bread lover, and this bread is to die for!

Okay, I think I’ve hit a new low here on the blog when I’m describing my breakfast and singing the praises of bread… So as long as I’m down here, let’s talk about peanut butter. I’ve never bought natural peanut butter before. It’s pretty good. Not as sweet as my usual Jif, but good. Do all natural peanut butters have the consistency of baby poop? I swear, when I opened the jar and started stirring it up – because that’s what you do with natural peanut butter – you stir in the oil – my first thought was, “Baby poop.” Didn’t stop me from eating it though. It’s very tasty when combined with Nutella, which just seems sinful, but who could resist it? It’s spreadable chocolate and goes great on toast! (And shortbread cookies, I might add.)

Speaking of cookies, those Girl Scouts are evil. I currently have eight boxes of Girl Scout cookies in the house and I think I have six more on the way. It’s not that I want to eat them all. I just can’t say no to those cute faces when they give me their sales pitch and tell me how bad they want to go to Girl Scout camp. I went to Girl Scout camp once, even though I was never actually a Girl Scout. Not sure how that happened, but it was FUN!

So we have cookies. Lots of cookies. I’m going hide them and put them in the snack cupboard, one or two boxes at a time. Otherwise, Jake will eat three boxes a day. Not that it would affect him. The kid eats anything he wants and nothing of value and still doesn’t gain a pound. It’ll catch up with him someday though. I keep warning him.

I think I’ll take Jake bowling today. He doesn’t have class for some reason. He’s asked me a few times lately to go bowling with him, but I’ve not been able to take him up on the offer for one reason or another. My almost-19 year-old kid still likes to spend time with me now and then. I’ll take it. Today’s the day.

Welcome Challenges

I really don’t want to make a habit of rambling on about my job, but that is everything I have going on right now. I am so very busy and I’m tempted to say it’s an almost stressful kind of busy, but it’s been so long since I’ve been challenged that I can’t help but feel happy about it! Instead of watching the clock and counting the minutes until quitting time (like I’ve done for almost two years), I find myself wondering where the time goes. My email inbox is out of control and I’m setting electronic alerts to remind myself to follow-up on tasks that carry through to the next day and beyond. (I can always tell when I’m really stressed because I develop canker sores in my mouth. I’ve got a whopper right now. I know. That’s a pretty picture, isn’t it?)

Coworkers often stop by my desk to ask me how to do something or to get my opinion on something they are working on. I think I am sought out in situations like this because my first reaction is always that if I’ve been asked for help with a problem, then I need to solve the problem for that person. That approach is only delaying me from completing my own work and it’s not helping anyone else learn how to find the information they need to solve their own problems. I really need to work on suggesting where to look for procedures and guidance rather than just handing over the answer.

The website project is moving along nicely. My co-lead and I are learning to communicate with one another. He is a young, enthusiastic, highly intelligent developer who, if you ask me, speaks a foreign language. I’m sure, from his perspective, that he feels the same way about me (the foreign language part, not the young or highly intelligent part). But we’re getting there and I am learning so much! Thankfully, he is a very patient person and is giving me all the space I need to catch on to the communication process which is apparently second nature to web developers, but like I said, foreign to most everyone else. He asked me yesterday what I envisioned for each of our roles. I told him that I felt it was my job to conceive the perfect website that has all of the capabilities I can imagine based on my knowledge of our customers’ needs. The sky’s the limit! His job is to tell me which expectations aren’t realistic, which ones are and how we will make those reality. My confidence multiplied when he completely agreed with me.

Leaving work today with a couple of coworkers, a half hour late, I stopped to finish a conversation about some of the hurdles we’ve been experiencing with our new venture. One of the girls’ parting words were, “There don’t seem to be enough hours in the day lately.” I had to agree, but as I turned to head toward my car, I added, “But we have jobs!

I have a job, and one that I love. There is no doubt in my mind as to how very fortunate that makes me.

Fun with Crab Legs

I feel like I’m falling behind on everything lately. I spent the day cleaning house, doing laundry, and grocery shopping. Everything needed to get done today because Kacey’s volleyball team has a tournament in St. Cloud tomorrow. (Drive time is well over an hour.) And we have to leave home by 5:45 am. It will probably be another all day event. We spent the entire weekend last week at a tournament, and now another one, so soon. We usually get a weekend off between. I am not so happy about this one.

I thought a nice run might ease the sense of frustration I’ve been feeling, but it didn’t, probably because the run didn’t go well. I had no stamina and ended up doing a combination of walking and running. And besides, my knee has been bugging me a little bit. At first it was just a feeling of a little pressure on the inside of my right knee. Today it started hurting a bit. Ugh.

I needed some humor today before I really started getting cranky. Lucky for me, my nephews were here. They had spent the night and for the most part, Kacey entertained them today while I got chores done. Danny, a sixth grader, wanted to show me some of his favorite Youtube videos. Apparently there are some talented kids out there with an over-abundance of Legos. This made me laugh until I cried:

Later on after the boys went home, I dragged Kacey with me to the grocery store. Grocery shopping on a Saturday is enough to drive me over the edge and I knew I needed to ease the tension. So while strolling through the meat section, I picked up a long package of crab legs, poked them toward Kacey and said, “RAWWWWRRRRR!”

Two seconds too late, I realized there was a woman walking right behind me. Kacey shot me an embarrassed eye-roll, grabbed me by the arm and said, “Do we need to get you a leash?”

I tossed the crab legs back in the freezer and carried on with our shopping, laughing until we were well out of the meat section. Kacey continued shaking her head and trying not to smile, all the while pretending to be disgusted with my behavior.

She loves me though, even though I embarrass her. I know she does. She has to. Who else is going to drive her to a volleyball tournament at god-awful-thirty on a Sunday morning? She’s just going to have to put up with my antics until she moves out.

Life is Good – February 19, 2010

My friend, Jane sent me this picture. These are the tracks from a wild turkey taking flight. Pretty cool, huh? (Click on the picture to see the larger version.)

This week has flown by! The new venture at work is progressing nicely, and while I can’t say we are working like a well-oiled machine just yet, we’re getting things figured out and working out the kinks. In addition to the usual stuff, the website project is looking to keep me busy for a long while and I’m really enjoying it. I feel capable and productive again and it is such a good feeling. Not being challenged is boring and depressing. We’ve got a white board in the office where everyone checks in for the day. Just before our “go-live” date, someone had written on it, “Adapt to change or become roadkill.” We all laughed about it for a few days until someone made a passing comment that we needed something more inspiring and upbeat. I’ve been finding motivational messages online since then and writing something on the board every day. I like the one I left there for Thursday…

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

George Bernard Shaw

Other than that, things have been pretty mellow. I’ve been getting to the gym pretty regularly and I can feel the difference when I run. I’m going longer, gaining stamina and feeling that high that people talk about when I think I’m losing steam and then all of a sudden the afterburners kick in. I love it! It does wonders for my mood. And I just got a strap for the new Ipod so I can strap that baby on my arm and listen while I run!

Are you watching the Olympics? I love to watch the snowboarders. I was watching the women’s half-pipe event last night and it just amazes me. I wish I were younger. I’d give snowboarding a shot!  I don’t like watching figure skating anymore though. I’m tired of Scott Hamilton announcing every move before it’s made.

This weekend promises to be a full one again. I’ve got a couple of nephews overnight tonight while my sister and brother-in-law go to Chicago for the weekend. Sunday brings another volleyball tournament that requires us to be on the road at the crack of dawn. I’m not thrilled, but after last weekend’s tournament, Kacey felt compelled to do all of the laundry so maybe this one will work in my favor as well.

I need a long weekend with a complete lack of obligations. Anyone know where I might buy one of those?

Overslept!

So, as I began to gain consciousness this morning, all snuggled under my warm comfy blankets and comforter, I was thinking how well-rested I felt. But I was cozy and in no hurry to exit the bed just yet. I resisted opening my eyes and thought to myself, “I hope it’s not 4:30 yet.”

Lazily, I rolled over, and peeked at the clock. There was a fleeting, but pleasant moment when it registered in my mind that it was  not 4:30 and then it only took a split second for me to realize it was after 4:30. It was, in fact,  actually 6:10, which is just about the time I normally hit the road. In my car. Fully showered and dressed with make-up applied and my tote bag all packed with the necessities of my day. It was time for me to leave for work and here I was in my pajamas with bed-head and yesterday’s mascara which I was too lazy to take off before I went to bed last night. Apparently I was also too lazy to turn the alarm clock ON!

Panic ensued, starting when I bolted straight upright in bed and gasped loud enough to awaken Mark who took one look at the clock and commented, “I think you’re gonna be late today.”

Brilliant observation, honey. Thanks for that.

I forgave him for his sarcasm because that Ipod Touch he gave me for Valentine’s Day is going to go a long way in garnering forgiveness for his transgressions. (Don’t get TOO comfy, dear. You have until about April before I’m going to start holding grudges again. Okay, maybe May. But that’s it. Enjoy it while you can.)

Mark fell back to sleep within approximately three seconds and I scrambled out of bed. The good thing is, I realized just how quickly I can get myself ready and out the door when all I am doing is showering and taking care of myself. I ended up only being a half hour late to work when all was said and done. (And yes, that half hour came right out of my PTO balance. Not my favorite use of precious vacation time!)

It would seem that when the morning routine includes doing some laundry, ironing clothing, unloading the dishwasher, showing some love to the cats, doing some crunches, tidying up the kitchen, writing a check for Kacey’s lunch account, and making a breakfast and lunch to bring to work, it all takes up valuable stretches of time that might otherwise be better spent sleeping! (No, I don’t do all of these things every day, but some combination of several of them.)

I couldn’t shake that panicked feeling until I was sitting at my desk at work. You can bet I won’t be forgetting the alarm clock again any time soon!

What day is this?

I seem to have lost a few days. Last I checked it was Thursday and now here it is Tuesday of the next week already!

And you thought I’d been eaten by an alligator or something tragic like that! Nope. Just busy.

Last Friday we got back to work at work after spending over 18 months in very uncertain territory. But we survived it and are back in business once again. I’ve been hair-on-fire busy there and LUH-UH-UH-VIN it! I’m heavily involved in a few things, one being a major project that involves website stuff. I get to envision this site (along with a few others) and then see if the great techie minds of the company can make it reality. I get to do things like reach into the depths of my brain and say, “Hey! It would be REALLY cool if we could make this a capability!” And then, if I’m lucky, the smart people go, “Yeah. We can do that!”  I love this stuff. Sometimes I’m such a geek.

So there’s that. And then there was a weekend. At least I’m pretty sure there was a weekend. Kinda hard to tell because it doesn’t feel like I really had a weekend. Kacey’s team played in the annual Presidents’ Day volleyball tournament. We were gone most of the day Saturday and all day Sunday, then drove home in some crazy weather on some treacherous roads and got home in time to hit the sack. (Resisting the urge to complain about winter and the weather here!) I got nothing done at home, but the girls came home with medals, so it was worth it.

Oh! And something really cool happened on Saturday night! I gotta give my husband kudos for this one. He did good!!! Saturday evening, I walked into the family room and there was a Valentine’s Day gift sitting on my chair. Mark said, “It’s not much.” And I said, that’s okay. All I got you was a card! So I opened the box and inside was a heart-shaped tin of Dove chocolates. Mark said, “It’s just chocolate.” And I said, “That’s okay! I love chocolate!” And inside my head I was thinking, “And besides, I only got you a card.” So I opened the tin and inside I found the candies, but ALSO… AN IPOD TOUCH! I gasped when I saw it! I have been wanting one, but just couldn’t justify the expense, but my hubby knew how much I wanted one so he got it for me! Is he great or what? So now when I find myself in the midst of another weekend, stuck at a volleyball tournament, I can find myself some wi-fi and play with my new toy! WOOT!

For those of you following my reading pursuits, I just finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The setting is Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960’s and the civil rights movement. I’m not going to try to review it. You can click on the link if you want to know more, but suffice it to say, I loved it and highly recommend it.

I’ve now moved on to The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. After hearing at least four people say this was the best book they’ve ever read, I couldn’t resist. It’s a biggie, and not typical of the type of books I normally read, but already just a few chapters in, I’ve cried and regained hope and been amazed and think I’m going to love it. But at the rate things are going, it could be months before I finish it.

These kinds of appliances don't usually cause this much excitement!

So, have I mentioned that we’ve decided to go forward with the kitchen remodel? We have.

Everyone should have a wife like me though, I’m telling you. I’m such a good wife. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money.  Seriously, I only wanted to strip (the cabinets… not myself) and refinish the existing cupboards. But it seems that the original finish is so dark, that it has impregnated the wood. (Really. That’s the word that was used to describe it. Impregnated. I’m a third grader at heart and couldn’t help laughing.) I was perfectly content to just do the work myself, keep the existing lay-out and counter tops and black splash and floor. “No, honey. Let’s not spend a ton of money. Let’s be frugal. Let’s be do-it-yerself-ers!”

But then, we had a cabinet-maker come over and take a look at my little kitchen…just to see. Just to get an idea. It doesn’t mean we have to go forward with a whole remodel. Let’s just hear what he has to say.

Okay. Fine. I’ll listen, but I don’t have to like it.

But I did like it…

Scott had some great ideas for giving us more storage space while at the same time, opening up the room. It’s such a crowded little space now. And when his quote came in, I was very pleasantly surprised at the price. So the project is a go. Twist my arm. Yes, please. I’ll take the new cupboards, counter tops, kitchen sink and faucet and tiled back-splash, thank you very much. And a side of new stove and refrigerator? That would be lovely, yes.

So last night found me at the local appliance store, getting all kinds of ga-ga over stoves and refrigerators. My stove is 21 years old. The refrigerator? I don’t know. For sure it’s more than 10 years old. And they are very basic appliances. I’ve really had no complaints about how they work. I’ve only complained, every single day for the past I-don’t-know-how-many years about the stupid meat-keeper drawer in the refrigerator that is cheap and broke years ago, so doesn’t quite roll out like it should. And the mysterious water leak that’s been going on for over a year. I might have complained about that a bit too. The water pools up under the crispers and has forced me to periodically announce (in my “Don’t say I didn’t warn you” voice) to anyone who will listen, “One of these days, this fridge is going to just bite the dust and we’ll be forced to run out and buy the first thing that serves the purpose!” But other than that, I’ve had no complaints.

We spent quite a bit of time in the store, perusing our options and talking with Gary, our appliance expert. He was very knowledgeable and answered every single question we had. And we had a lot of them. Mark kept saying things like, “Can you get us some literature on these models so Terri can decide what features she likes best?” And then I would chime in, “Or so Mark can decide what features he likes best because Terri isn’t going to be the only one using these things!” And then Mark would say, “Yeah, but you’re a much better cook than I am. It’s really more important for you to have what you like because you’ll probably use these so much more than I will.” And then I would say, “Your thinly veiled attempt at flattery will get you nowhere. Don’t even think that I’ll be so excited about new kitchen appliances that I’m going to let you off the hook with your share of the cooking.” And then Gary would nervously say, “Should I come back a little later on…?” And then we promised him we wouldn’t kill each other right there in the middle of the Warner’s Stellian Appliance store and if there were to be a murder, we’d give him the courtesy of taking it elsewhere.

So, again, I must say that my husband should be very grateful for me, because at the appliance store, I insisted I didn’t need appliances with all the bells and whistles. I’m very happy to go middle-of-the-road with this stuff. I have never needed a convection oven in my life. Why pay extra now for a range that offers it? And if I get a range that has all kinds of fancy features, I’m going to feel like my cooking needs to rise to the occasion and that’s just not very likely.  I’m a decent cook, but I’m going to venture a guess that I’ve maxed out my capabilities and am not likely to be opening my own restaurant or writing my own cook book anytime soon.

I do have to say, though, that I really, really want the refrigerator with the filtered water dispenser on the inside! I refuse to even consider one with the dispenser on the outside of the door. Because if that water dispenser on the outside of the door ever decides to leak, it’s going to ruin the new wood floor that, might I remind you, I insisted I didn’t want or need, but we’re getting anyway. Oh, and did I mention? It’s going to be one of those models with the freezer on the bottom and French doors on the refrigerator! SQUEEEEEEEE!

I’m feeling a level of excitement about these appliances that is usually reserved for something like the annual vacation to The Apostle Islands or at least a new camera lens!

I might even start to really enjoy cooking again! Livin’ la vida loca here, people!

More Snow, More Books, More Bowling

We’ve had some more snow fall over the past few days. Since it fell over the course of three days, it didn’t cause any major hassles. It just slowed things down and forced me to leave early for work a couple of times.

I finished another book, The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik. Good book. It caught my attention because the author is from Minnesota and the story takes place right here in Minneapolis. I always get a kick out of reading books that take place in my home state and being able to visualize many of the landmarks and settings. The story follows the life of Joe Andreson, who feels stuck in a life he never chose or even wanted. He spends much of his life comparing himself to others and feeling sorry for himself. (Don’t we all do that to some extent?) Eventually he starts to catch on to the idea that even those things that he never planned can bring him happiness if he will only choose to embrace those things. There was only one element that slightly bothered me about this book and that is the fact that since it was written by a female but is told from a man’s perspective, Joe is just a bit too in touch with his feminine side for my liking. But it wasn’t too hard to get past it and grasp the real meaning in the story, which was very uplifting.

I’ve now moved on to The Help by Kathryn Stockett and am lovin’ it!

Monday night was bowling, as usual. Immediately after arriving I was approached by Big-Boobed Mary. (And for those of you who complained about the lack of photographic evidence after my last mention of Mary, don’t get so excited. Think Roseanne – the early years.)

Now that we’ve got that out of the way… B.B. Mary wanted to know if we were looking for a new member on the Ball Busters next year, since Gina will be moving to Ohio in June. Mary’s team is already short on players and she doesn’t think the other women plan to return next year. I told her we had some other interested parties, but would definitely be interested in having her on the team. She’s a good bowler and just an all-around nice person. Of course, this means we’ll have to deal with Mary’s husband, Funky-Eyed Lou every week, which is fine too. F.E. Lou is nice, but he’s constantly calling me over, waving me over hurriedly as if he’s got something BIG to tell me, something “important.” Like…

“Hey! Terri! TERRI!” (At least he’s got the name right!) “Did you hear the Twins signed Mauer?”

“Hey! Terri! TERRI! Straighten out your arm before you release. You’re dropping your ball too early.”

“Hey! Terri! TERRI! Did you hear I bowled a 600 series last weekend?”

And then this week…

“Hey! Terri! TERRI!” (Waves me over until I approach him and then he leans in all secretive-like and hands me a folded piece of paper.)

I laugh and ask, “What is this? A note? Are we in seventh grade?”

I open the “note” and see that it’s Mary’s name and phone number.

“I just want to make sure you can reach Mary if you decide you’ve got room on the team for her. She won’t be able to bowl next year if another team doesn’t pick her up,” he says.

What a guy. He may have a funky eye and an annoying habit of making me come to him every time a thought crosses his mind that he feels must be shared, but he’s looking out for his big-boobed wife and for that, I like him.

My bowling scores this week were all over the place. The first game, I just couldn’t seem to find my groove. I bowled a 102! How embarrassing! Thankfully, I redeemed myself in game two with a 190, which is my all time high in a league game. And in game three, I came through with a very respectable 155.

One of these days I’m going to break 200. Just you wait and see! :-)