Monday, August 31, 2009

I can still turn a room dead silent

On Saturday we took Max for a haircut. I happen to really like his hair when it gets a little longer, but he i s having ear surgery on the 10th and we want as few obstacles as possible following the surgery and we decided to get his hair shaved.
We have taken him to the same barber since the very first haircut he received and went back again this time. I don't know WHY we keep going to this guy...anyway.
I hold Max's head while he is getting his hair cut and usually I am alone with him. This time I was there with the spouse and C-note (who I also think should have had a haircut since he is sporting a baby mullet but the spouse vetoed me). While we were there a family with three kids came in and sat down by us as we waited and we started talking to the mother. We had a little bonding moment over kids with problem ears and she shared some of her experiences with two kids needing surgery and some of the things she did, how they reacted, and so on. We all had a lovely conversation. Then it was Max's turn to get his haircut. So I am holding his head, my spouse is taking pictures (shocker, I know!) and the other kids and mom are still talking to us, saying how good Max is doing, and so on.
And then the bomb dropped. The barber asked which one of us was Max's mother. I say without ANY hesitation at all that he belongs to both of us... and the room went DEAD silent.
Did you know it is possible for a barber razor to make absolutely no noise? Cause I swear even the razor was shocked, and that lovely little bond we had made with the lady and her kids. If she could have shuttled them out and away from us she would have, but instead they all averted their eyes and sat in silence while crickets chirped until Maxies hair was done and we removed our sinful selves from that holy barber shop.
I love it that I can still turn a whole room dead silent (the crickets don't seem to care we are lesbos!)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dirt Pile

I suppose "ordinary" people, if all of a sudden one day a pile of dirt was dumped in their yard would make inquiries as to where it came from and what it was doing in their yard. We didn't order any dirt. We certainly didn't expect any dirt. So what did we do when dirt was mysteriously dumped in our yard? We decided to let the kids play in it to their hearts content!
Max will play literally for HOURS pushing things up and then down and then up again - as long as we are close by.
I suppose I should try to find out if it is supposed to be some other place. If not I can really use it to fill some spots in the driveway but I need to do something pretty quick because the weather is changing and I don't want this in the driveway over the winter. In the meantime we will keep playing!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a hill to die on

I have worked in the same location for a number of years. I am currently beginning the 6th year here. In the time I have spent in this location I have had four different supervisors, four different titles and worked out of three different offices all within 10 feet of one another. I have also worked for three different schools and gone through two "take-overs".

I can honestly say I have learned something from every one of my supervisors, but I won't say whether it has been bad or good!

I just want to say this...

I had one supervisor who would say to me whenever I brought something up "Is that the hill you want to die on?" So the message I got was that there were some things worth "dying" for and other things not worth dying for and it was up to me to decide my fate. In the course of working under this person and in retrospect, I totally quit "fighting" for anything. I just took the word that everything would be a battle and that nothing was worth it and essentially "gave up" before I even started. I would have to say that this is COMPLETELY not my personality. I am a fighter. I am a fighter sometimes beyond what others would consider is logical. I am not a quitter. I usually stick with something until I get results. Sometimes I failed, and sometimes I didn't, but in every instance I walked away believing that I had done all I could to make a difference and I had no regrets.

Working under this supervisor was stifling and even my spouse would say to me that I was not being "myself" at work and that I had completely changed since coming to this job. It was something that was reinforced by supervisors later and I felt as though I really folded in on myself and was unable to get anything done or have a say in what was happening to and around the department which I was supposedly responsible for.

This summer we went through yet another change. The second takeover, my fourth supervisor, and things seemed as though they were headed downhill fast. I wondered how it was possible for things to get worse than they were and although I LOVE my job, I was beginning to be resentful and very unhappy. Things were being presented to me and I was just accepting what I was being told. saying I didn't like it, but not doing anything about it and in every instance thinking "Is this the hill I want to die on?"

Then came the clincher. Something was "told" to me that directly affected the operations of the office and it was something that would impact me in a way that would almost make the work unbearable. I decided - after first accepting the change- that it was a hill I WAS willing to die on and I went to fight for something I believed in.

So the end result was this... The thing I stick my foot down on was something that was resolved in a way that was pleasing to me and ..... THERE WAS NO BATTLE! Let me say it again.... THERE WAS NO BATTLE!

I stood up for something I believed in. I gathered information to support my position. I presented the information and in 24 hours was told that things as I had presented were acceptable. What is striking to me as I sit here right now is that if I had NOT gone back to present this information, the loss to me would have been significant. There would have been no battle, but there would have been loss and casualties in my department. So I have learned, or RE-learned, that there are some things worth sticking up for, and there need not be any loss over asking or presenting options. Though I am sad it has taken me this long to relearn this principle, I am very happy to be where I am today, with the learning that came out of this interaction. Rest assured it will make a big difference for me in the future, and hopefully for my state of mind and stress level also!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

no tattoo

I was so very excited to get a tattoo this weekend and it all fell apart. So here I sit, less $40.00 of a deposit which was not refunded to me, but happy that I didn't accept what was offered and that I walked away.
I don't begrudge anyone trying to make money. It was pretty obvious to me after going to see the tattooist a few times over the past few days that he was here in town to bust out as many tattoos as he could over the weekend. I have no problem with that. Do business. Make money. But if you are putting something onto my body that is going to last longer than I will live, then make it good. I have no problem paying for it either. I will pay what it is worth, but again - it's MY body. I want it to be decent art.
It took a few return visits to nail down an appointment, then I went to him with some art of things I was interested in, then I went when my appointment was scheduled and he was running behind so I left and went back - twice. By the time I sat down in the chair I had been to his trailer more than 5 times.
I had decided before I arrived I wanted to have it on my left arm and not my right. When I went in and told him, he was a little agitated with me which immediately sent up red flags in my mind.
I don't understand why some tattooists (I have dealt with two of them personally) get upset over someone wanting something different than what has been presented. It is PERMANENT. I am PAYING for it. You are a contractor, hired by me, to put something I want onto MY body. Why are you irritated I when I want to make adjustments?
So he showed me what he had drawn (?) I am using the word "drawn" very loosely here. Yesterday when I took his some art he basically traced one of the pictures I had taken to him and it was the least impressive of all the ones I took. I didn't like it but tried to convince myself maybe when it was on my arm I might like it more. He put the stencil on my arm and I looked at it in the mirror and STILL didn't like it. I sat down in the chair and he showed me the needles and stuff were all sterile and the whole time I was thinking - BACK OUT NOW. I tried to convince myself I would like it as he got going. He asked if I minded if he went to the bathroom before we started. He went to the bathroom, re-gloved with sterile gloves and I got up the nerve to say "no".
I don't know what my issue is. I have NO problem sticking up for things. I have been known, in fact, to stick up for things to a point beyond which is reasonable or smart. I can dig my heels in and fight for something tooth and nail, and yet sometimes I have a very hard time sticking up for myself. I don't understand it completely, but right now I am completely and utterly relieved and happy that I stood my ground, and walked away without my tattoo. Losing the deposit is a bit of a pain - but whatever. I don't have an ugly black blob on my arm.
I will wait until I can get what I want, by someone I consider to be an artist, and I will be happy with the end result.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Farewell to summer

In exactly 3 minutes from now my summer at work is officially over. At the end of work today the fall has begun and I will be BACK to working weekends to check students in - beginning this Sunday.
I am so sad, I need a moment of silence for myself.

(moment of silence)

I think to celebrate the passing of the summer I will get a tattoo tomorrow. When I was driving to work today I saw a guy in his camper set up in the vacant lot next to the video store to do tattoo's. It seems a little suspect doesn't it? A tattoo from a gypsy? I LOVE it!

I stopped by the camper at lunch and took a look at his book of pictures and got his card. He actually has a LEGIT store in another town and is just out checking out the town and seeing if he can drum up some business. My spouse and I have wanted matching tatt's for a while, so if I can convince her to come down with me tomorrow then we will get tattooed in town. I am excited.

I think if I start out the year getting a new tattoo then maybe I will set a tone for the rest of my school year :) Now to convince the spouse.....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Important things

I believe that we make time in life for the things that are important to us. This is why I get SOOO frustrated a few times a year when all the things that I believe are important to me seem to get less and less of my time as I am spending time doing "other" things.

For this week and for the foreseeable future I am so busy at work that I don't see the cycle ending anytime soon. I have even started draft blogs about seven different times and have not finished any of them because I have not had the time I feel I need to write what I WANT to.

The thing for me about believing in things is that sometimes my beliefs come into conflict when it comes time to act on the belief. I believe that what is important to me will be reflected in how I will spend my time. I also believe that it is better to do a good job than to do a job poorly and have to do it again. I also believe that the details ARE important. I believe my kids are growing up too fast and I am missing time with them that I can never replace. Max called me today on the phone and Shel said he was signing me a story! (The surgery for his hearing is scheduled for September 10 and we hope beyond hope it will change his life for the better)

... this post almost took a segue there and turned into something I was not intending but which I can write about later. My point in posting this at all was to say that I am frustrated I have not posted recently. I feel like I have lots to write about and not enough time to do it.

Oh well. Perhaps I can save some of these ideas for a rainy day?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

the purpose of a book

For the last few weeks I have been VERY bad at not working on my thesis (which I KNOW I should do because I could potentially get LOADS done in the summer months). Having said that, I am thoroughly enjoying the time I am taking to read NOVELS. This last weekend I read three books and it felt GREAT. I can't wait for school to be finished for me so I can go back to reading without guilt.
When I read a book one of the purposes it serves for me is to take my mind out of my reality and immerse me in a completely different reality. Unfortunately sometimes the book just doesn't have enough to captivate my attention - or my reality is too overpowering!
This is especially disappointing to me when I need it the most. For some reason it has happened to me this week. I finished a book on Sunday night and tried to start a new one last night. No matter how much I tried to read I just could not escape thoughts of my daily life and it was a real pain. No matter how much I tried I could not transition from the stress of my day and as a result I was up really late - thinking about work.
I HATE it when that happens!
I obviously need something more captivating to read. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Monday, August 10, 2009

hotel reservations

I called ahead to get a hotel reservation in a hotel which was recommended to us because of it's proximity to the children's hospital and because the suites had kitchens - which we absolutely NEED with a child with special health needs. When I called and made the booking I reserved a room on the 21st floor thinking that it would be TOTALLY cool for the family to stay so high up and see the city from there. When I got home and told the spousal unit what I had done she promptly informed me that she would NEVER stay in a room higher than the 5th floor (that's how high the fire truck ladders can go, if you didn't know) and so I called back, gave my reservation number and changed our reservation to the fifth floor. (When I called and gave my last name the lady said "Is this ....?" and gave my mothers name. It was totally bizarre, my mom lives in a completely different country and to my knowledge has never stayed in one of these hotels. I told her that no, it wasn't and I gave my name and reservation number and she found my reservation without a problem.)

After our VERY long car trip, we arrived and went to check in, and surprise! There was no reservation for us, not under my name and not under my reservation number. (now that I think of it I should have asked if my mom had a reservation!)They were able to fit us in "anyway" and we were able to get a room on the fifth floor. So we checked in. We were also able to get two playpens from the hotel so we could put the boys to bed, and we brought everything up from the van. (I don't know how we forgot our own playpens, but we did!)
Well the boys did NOT go to bed, they were up till all kinds of crazy hours in the night and then up again at the butt crack of dawn. They played peek a boo with one another between playpens. They think they are hilarious.
I did manage to get a photo out of the door of the room. We have a balcony but we are NOT permitted onto it! We managed to get some things done today which I will blog about tomorrow.
Having internet in the evenings is AWESOME!!!!

the first 76 km

We are in the "city" for an appointment a the children's hospital for my boy. We decided to come a day early and do some things we don't otherwise have the opportunity to do - like go to the zoo - with the boys.
Traveling with Max has been a challenge since the say he was picked up from the hospital and this trip was no different. I said to my spouse we were in for one hell of a trip when we had travelled 76 kilometers from our home and had stopped twice already! I was right. A trip that should have taken us 5 hours took us more than 8!
But we made it in one piece and here we are.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Book: Paths of Glory

I have been taking a hiatus from working on my thesis (which I KNOW I should NOT be doing) but I wanted desperately to just read some books that I WANTED to read as opposed to NEEDED to read.
My Spouse and I went to the library last week when we were in town and took out a pile of books each. I have been making my way through my pile, and picked up Jeffrey Archer's book Paths of Glory. Now I have pretty strong feelings about historical fiction (don't like it) and books on mountaineering (don't like them) and on climbing Everest... in fact it is Everest that I think I very first blogged about ever in May 2006. When I picked up the book I did so because I like Jeffrey Archer and I thought I would try it out, but I didn't even read the book cover to find out what the book was about. When we got home and I picked it up and started to read I thought honestly that I was about to be supremely disappointed because the book is a historical fiction book about climbing Mount Everest.
Boy was I ever surprised. I loved the book from the moment I picked it up. I have barely been able to put it down. I read late into the night when I started it and even after turning out the light and rolling over I decided to read some more! Last night I didn't get to read any because it was my night with the boys and C-Note was being a stinker (and I like to hold him anyway!)
I could not resist bringing the book with me to work today and sneaking in some reading.
Let me just say it is VERY difficult for me to read at work. Even things that pertain to work are difficult for me to get into because of constant interruptions. IN spite of this I made it to the end of the book and I'll be honest, the last sentence of the book gave me goosebumps.
Perhaps I am too much of a romantic, but I LOVED this book. It was so fantastic I think I might get one for my "own" library.
I liked it so much I am hesitant to recommend it to anyone for fear they don't find it as captivating as I did. I am still shocked that I started to read it but so very glad that I did.
My only problem now is what to follow it up with?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

letter to Max: 34 months

Hey there my number one man.
Wow it has been TOOO long since I have taken a moment to sit down and write to you. I cannot believe that in just over a month you will be three years old already. It feels like yesterday that I saw you for the first time in the hospital crib all alone and waiting for us to come and give you all our love.
You are growing so tall, you are like a weed and I can't get over how beautiful you are. Your personality grows more and more every day, you are growing into such a wonderful young boy. You mom and I were talking the other day about all of the obstacles you have overcome in your short life. You are such a miracle to us.
For as much as your mom has the camera in her hand and takes pictures of our daily life she missed getting a remarkable photo of you the other day when we were playing with the water hose. You had the water turned on but I was kinking the hose so nothing came out. I was trying to get you to look into the hose so I could squirt you but you caught on way too quickly and you gave me a look and pointed at me and smiled and my heart took a picture of that moment that will stay with me forever. You have such a glint in your eye and you are such a tease, I should not be surprised that you figured out I was playing with you in that moment.

I laugh at your mom, she is still so fiercely protective of you. The other day at the daycare someone said that you were "grunting" and your mom almost hit the roof! Since we discovered that you have so many hearing problems we have been working on you with your sign language and you learn faster than we do! You have absolutely NO problem communicating with us and it was offensive to have someone say that you "grunted" when so clearly you are saying something!

I know we have a long way to go and lots to look forward to with surgeries and other things which we hope will help your hearing, but in the meantime we are making our way in the world teaching you to sign and learning the signs you have made up to interpret the world around you. You are so smart it is evident to us everyday as you make your way through this world.
I just got off the phone with your mom, you are working hard as always. You have had lots of fun watching the big machinery all around the property as they clean things up and move things around. The other evening you and I sat together on the porch for close to an hour watching the CAT move the big grain bins across the yard. The driver offered to take you for a ride but you wanted no part of it! You are still a little shy around others, but it's ok with me, you can hang out with me forever if you want!

Recently you have been incredibly helpful with your little brother. You teach him things and help him get around. We have to work a little on the "sharing" part, but you are just trying to keep him safe and it is evident! He adores you and watching the two of you interact makes us smile.

Well my buddy, I need to go so I can stop at the store and pick some stuff up for you.
I love you SOOOO much.

Rest your head close to my heart, never to part, baby of mine.

love mom.

meme again! Books this time.

I really need to thank Popping Bubbles, without whom there would be two less postings on this blog this week already. I am such a thief. And I apologise in advance for the stupid spacing on this post, I have tried to fix it twice and it still posts wierd. SORRY!

Popping Bubbles got this one from Canned Laughter.

I love love love love love reading and books and so I thought I would give this meme a shot. We'll see how it goes.

1) What author do you own the most books by?

I own a LOT of Enid Blyton books, thanks to my parents who helped to indulge my children's book buying "thing".

2) What book do you own the most copies of?

I try not to own too many copies of anything, if I do it is accidental. I think we have Tara Road by Maeve Binchy that I buy whenever I see it thinking I want to read it and then it turns out I have.
3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions? Not so much until I re-read them!
5) What book have you read the most times in your life?

Wow. I have read a lot of books over and over again. The one I like to read the most is probably To Kill A Mockingbird.
6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?

Shoot. I don't even know what country I was in when I was ten... Let's see. I was starting to read the classics then - my nan bought me Great Expectations which I loved.
7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year? Here is my dilemma with books. I have SUCH a hard time putting something down when I have started it, even if I hate it and it takes me SOOO long to finish when I should just put it down and read something I want, something better. The worst book I read was the one by Jenny McCarthy - about her son and autism. It was HORRIBLY written and she should have just paid someone else to write it for her and spared the pain of the rest of us who slogged through it.

8 ) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year? I would say it has been Middlesex and I hope I read it in the past year - if not then it has been the past 18 months anyway.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?

I am not tagging anyone, but if I were I would have a LOT of difficulty thinking of just one book to recommend. ONE?! REALLY!? I think everyone should read the Bible. For real. So they know what it is about.

What happened to number ten?

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

I have never seen a book I liked made into a movie that is comparable. It would be cool to maybe see an animated version of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.
12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?

They have pretty much been done already haven't they - and all done horribly. I would say Middlesex because Hollywood slaughtered Running with Scissors.

13) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?

Lowbrow? What is considered Lowbrow? I read lots of mass produced paperbacks, so I probably read lots of lowbrow books. LOL.

14) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?

I would say Atlas Shrugged. I got through the first 3/4 easily and then something happened and finishing was painful.

15) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?

Probably the French
16) Roth or Updike? Updike

17) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers? Haven't read either! ack!

18) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

Not Milton. I love Shakespeare but I enjoy Chaucer also. I can't say honestly that I pick up either of them for a "fun read".
19) Austen or Eliot? Austen.
20) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

Being in school and having babies has created gaps in the kind of reading I LIKE to do, but I read pretty much everyday.
21) What is your favorite novel? I have lots that I like. I like Alvin Maker by Orson Scott Card and I like The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. This question is way too hard.
22) Essay? I don't really read essays except for class and I am not pulling out my class notes to find one to recommend!

23) Work of nonfiction? Hmn. I am looking forward to reading an autobiography of Jane Goodall which I have high hopes for. I enjoyed Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and I have been on a bit of a kick reading about boy soldiers from Africa.
24) Who is your favorite writer? Probably Orson Scott Card is up there, but also Wilbur Smith.

25) What is your desert island book? I might take Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches Trilogy and give them a re-read.

26) What are you reading right now? Oh something by George Pelecanos that I picked up at the Library last week. I just finished Portobello by Ruth Rendell.
27) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

28 ) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?

Someone may shoot me for saying this but I am going to say J.K. Rowling. I think she actually convinced people to read that would not have otherwise done so. I don't know of anyone else who has written someone that got "non-readers" to say - "Hey I should pick up that book". But parents read to kids and kids read and I think it created readers.

29) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.

I can't recall a dream involving books or characters or writers.
30) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen? We went to the Shakespeare festival in Cedar City and we didn't see a Shakespeare play! I haven't really seen an obscure one.

31) Favorite Poem? Emily Dickinson
It dropped so low in my Regard

I heard it hit the Ground

And go to pieces on the Stones

At bottom of my Mind

Yet blamed the Fate that flung it less

Than I denounced Myself,

For entertaining Plated Wares

Upon my Silver Shelf

32) Favorite Short story? I am not really a Short story fan, but one that has stuck with me forever is The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

33) Who is the most overrated writer alive today? Oh, I don't know. Dan Brown? Salman Rushdie?

Meme ... musical meme

It’s a musical meme stolen from Popping Bubbles who took it from Citizen Janey.

1. Of all the bands/artists in your cd/record collection, which one do you own the most albums by?I would have to say I own a lot of Indigo Girls.... yeah, that's it.
2. What was the last song you listened to?
Uhhhh. Usually I am listening to music in my office but today I have the mute button on so I can talk to R in the other office. So.. the last song I listened to was on the radio on my way to work and what the hey was it.......The Magic Touch by the Platters.
3. What’s in your record/cd player right now?
Well, since I don't have a CD player....
4. What song would you say sums you up?
I would say that the song that sums me up would have to be....You Learn, by Alanis Morissette.
5. What was the last show you attended?
I think the last concert we went to was in Utah when we lived there ....WAYYYY too long ago.... and I am pretty sure it was IG
6. What was the greatest show you’ve ever been to?
I like most live music.... I would LOVE to see U2 in Vegas this year...
7. What’s the worst band you’ve ever seen in concert?
So the worst live music I have ever heard was Wilson Phillips and they were DREADFUL. PAINFUL. HORRENDOUS. GAG-O-RIFIC.
8. What band do you love musically but hate the members of?
I have always been an INXS fan, but I LOATHE J.D. Fortune.
9. What show are you looking forward to?
U2 in Vegas. I have no tickets though. so I hope I win some on the radio or someone gives me some?
10. What is your favorite band shirt?
Finger 11
11. What musician would you like to hang out with for a day?
Rob Thomas
12. What musician would you like to be in love with for a day?
Rob Thomas, but I am already in love with him so I would like him to be in love with ME for one day....
13. Sabbath or solo Ozzy? Sabbath
14. Commodores or solo Lionel Ritchie? Commodores
15. Punk rock, hip hop or heavy metal? Hip Hop
16. Name four flawless albums: 1. Indigo Girls: Despite our Differences. 2. Dixie Chicks: Taking the Long Way. 3. Sting: Fields of Gold. 4. Leahy: Leahy
17. Did you know that filling out this survey makes you a music geek? What? I resent being called a geek.
18. What was the greatest decade for music? Well, I didn't like the 70's much at all. I liked the 80's most, but 90's were pretty good and I am a sucker for the Andrews Sisters of the 40's and 50's.
19. How many music-related videos/dvds do you own? None. I don't buy DVD's ever.
20. Do you like Journey? Sure. I listen to the CD in the van and sing at the top of my lungs. Who doesn't?
21. What is your favorite movie soundtrack? uhhhhh.....definitely NOT Armageddon. One f my favorites of all time is the City Of Angels Soundtrack.
22. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Beatles
23. What’s the crappiest CD/record/etc. you’ve ever bought? I have two... The first one we bought at a truck stop thinking it was the Beatles, but it was "Country Stars sing the Beatles." Unfortunately it was no country star I ever heard of and the Beatles songs remixed to country SUCKED. The second was a Christmas Album - of which I have many, many, many, but I do not recommend Gloria Estevan Christmas album to anyone. Ever.
29. Do you prefer vinyl or CDs? I LOVE vinyl. I have no record player however which males listening to vinyl a little difficult.