Sunday, May 13, 2012

Risk Taking

Wow!  What happens when you don't post anything for a really long time?  Things change and then it is hard to figure out even how to get to the place where you can post a blog.  Gee wiz.

So happy Mother's Day to the mothers!  Anika and I went to church, as we usually do on a Sunday morning.  The sermon this morning was not particularly mothery, to tell the truth, but it was, maybe, better than that.  The scripture was the story about Jesus walking on water.  It is interesting that we characterize the story in that way since the point of the story is not that Jesus walked on the water, but rather Peter's role in the event.  And Pastor Matt highlighted some interesting points about this story that resonated with me.  And, you know, made me feel guilty, as I often feel about stuff.  So, risk taking.  Peter took a risk by stepping out of that boat and onto the water.  Jesus told him to come and he came- he stepped out in faith and was willing to do so.  Sometimes taking a risk is a hard thing to do, sometimes not.  I bet a lot of people, based on my proclivity to move from place to place, might think that I am not risk averse.  That might be a double negative, whatevs.  Like Peter, I am not afraid to take the first step out of the boat, this is true.  But the story does not end there.  Peter is out on the water, he is walking- he is walking on water, people!  Then he hears, feels, thinks about the wind blowing and doubt creeps into his mind.  Then he starts to sink.  He calls to Jesus and Jesus pulls him out of the water and says, "Ye of little faith.  Why did you doubt?"  This happens to many people, and is the story of my life.  I am willing to go there, but once I get there it seems all wrong, I get scared, I want the security of the boat or solid ground under my feet.  And, you know, one risk seems to beget another risk.  I step out and I continue to have to take more steps, and it is hard.  So this resonated with me because of something that happened last night.  I had an opportunity to act in a way that characterizes the kind of person I would like to think that I am - a kind, giving person.  A difficulty I have found over the last several years is that sometimes people are not willing to accept kindness and the gifts that are offered to them.  For me this is difficult to handle because I experience it as rejection, and it hurts.  I try to remember that people probably do not mean it that way but that usually does not help.  There is one particular person in my life with whom I have struggled with this issue.  Last night I could have done for this person like this person has done for me by offering a particular kindness, but I was afraid of rejection.  I was afraid that if I offered, my "gift" would be swatted away, so doubt kept me from making the offer.  I felt bad once the opportunity passed last night, and I feel bad about it today.  Hopefully in the future I will remember: 1) that one step isn't enough, five steps might not be enough, I just have to keep moving forward; 2) that someone saying "No" is not a failure on my part; 3) words are easy to say, it is harder to act; 4) I just read this again in Blue Like Jazz- some people have a hard time accepting love, this doesn't mean I should stop loving them. 

As always, I hope to continue to improve as I move forward in life.  I wish everyone else positive progress as well!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Porch

A blonde teenage girl, wanting to earn some extra money for the summer, decided to hire herself out as a 'handy-woman' and started canvassing a nearby well-to-do neighborhood.
She went to the front door of the first house, and asked the owner if he had any odd jobs for her to do. 'Well, I guess I could use somebody to paint my porch,' he said. 'How much will you charge me?' Delighted, the girl quickly responded, 'How about $50?' The man agreed and told her that the paint brushes and everything she would need was in the garage.
The man's wife, hearing the Conversation said to her husband, 'Does she realize that our porch goes ALL the way around the house?' He responded, 'That's a bit cynical, isn't it?' The wife replied, 'You're right... I guess I'm starting to believe all those dumb blonde jokes.
' Later that day, the blonde came to the door to collect her money. 'You're finished already?' the startled husband asked. 'Yes,' the blonde replied, 'and I even had paint left over, so I gave it two coats.' Impressed, the man reached into his pocket for the $50.00 and handed it to her along with a ten dollar tip.
'And by the way,' the blonde added, 'it's not a Porch, it's a Lexus.'

Thursday, September 9, 2010

More Blonde

Blondes Are The Best!!!

A blonde & her husband are lying in bed
Listening to the next door neighbor's dog..
It has been in the backyard barking for hours & hours.
The blonde jumps up out of bed and says,
"I've had enough of this".
She goes downstairs.

The blonde finally comes back up to bed
And her husband says, "The dog is still barking,
What have you been doing?"

The blonde says,
"I put the dog in our backyard,
let's see how THEY like it!


Two Blondes With Hammers...

Lynn & Judy were doing some carpenter work
on a Habitat for Humanity House.
Lynn was nailing down house siding,
would reach into her nail ,
Pouch, pull out a nail & either toss it
over her shoulder or nail it in.

Judy, figuring this was worth looking into, asked, '
Why are you Throwing those nails away?'
Lynn explained, 'When I pull a nail out of my pouch,
about half of Them have the head on the wrong end
& I throw them away.'
Judy got completely upset & yelled,
'You moron! Those nails aren't Defective!
They're for the other side of the house!'


Did you hear about the two blondes
who froze to death in a drive-in movie?

They had gone to see 'Closed for the Winter.'


You might have to think twice about this one.

A blonde hurried into the emergency room late one night with the tip
Of her index finger shot off. 'How did this happen?' the emergency
Room doctor asked her.

'Well, I was trying to commit suicide,' the blonde replied.

'What?' sputtered the doctor. 'You tried to commit suicide by shooting
Off your finger?'

'No, Silly' the blonde said. 'First I put the gun to my chest, &
Then I thought, 'I just paid $6, 000.00 for these implants...

I'm not shooting myself in the chest.'

'So then?' asked the doctor.

'Then I put the gun in my mouth, & I thought, 'I just paid $3,000.00
To get my teeth straightened I'm not shooting myself in the mouth.'

'So then?'

'Then I put the gun to my ear, & I thought: 'This is going to make a
Loud noise. So I put my finger in my other ear before I pulled the


A blonde was driving home after a game & got caught in a really bad
Hailstorm.. Her car was covered with dents, so the next day she took it
To a repair shop. The shop owner saw that she was a blonde, so he
Decided to have some fun... He told her to go home and blow into the
Tail pipe really hard, & all the dents would pop out.

So, the blonde went home, got down on her hands & knees & started
Blowing into her tailpipe.. Nothing happened.. So she blew a little
Harder, & still nothing happened.

Her blonde roommate saw her & asked, 'What are you doing?' The first
Blonde told her how the repairman had instructed her to blow into the
Tail pipe in order to get all the dents to pop out.
The roommate rolled her eyes & said, 'Uh, like hello!
You need to roll up the windows first.'


These are just too cute not to pass on!!!!

A blonde was shopping at Target &
came across a shiny silver Thermos.
She was quite fascinated by it, so she picked it up & took
It to the clerk to ask what it was.

The clerk said, 'Why, that's a thermos.....
It keeps hot things hot, And cold things cold.'

'Wow, said the blonde, 'that's amazing....I'm going to buy it!'
So she Bought the thermos & took it to work the next day.

Her boss saw it on her desk.
'What's that,' he asked?

'Why, that's a thermos..... It keeps hot things hot & cold things
Cold,' she replied..

Her boss inquired, 'What do you have in it?'

The blond replied......
'Two popsicles &some coffee.'



A blonde goes into work one morning crying her eyes out.

Her boss asked sympathetically, 'What's the matter?'

The blonde replies,
'Early this morning I got a phone call saying that
My mother had passed away.'

The boss, feeling sorry for her, says,
'Why don't you go home for the
Day? Take the day off to relax & rest.'

'Thanks, but I'd be better off here.
I need to keep my mind off it &
I have the best chance of doing that here.'

The boss agrees & allows the blonde to work as usual.
A couple of hours pass & the boss decides to check on the blonde.
He looks out from his office & sees the blonde crying hysterically...

'What's so bad now? Are you gonna be okay?' he asks.

'No!' exclaims the blonde.
'I just received a horrible call from my
sister. Her mother died, too!'

Blondes Are The Best!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Challenge and update

I have nothing much interesting to report on the food eating front, I guess. I am trying to use up things slowly but surely. No crazy recipes yet! I used more sorbet and frozen fruit for smoothies, and last night I used some of her rice and edamame to go with my stir fry. As I was making the stir fry I noticed that she left a lot more stuff in the spice cabinets than I would have expected given that when I moved in she was clear that we were not sharing olive oil. That just leaves more balsamic vinegar for caprese salad!! There are a lot of pitas in the freezer so I am trying to use those up quickly. I am trying to clean stuff out of the freezer because I want to get the ice bin in there ASAP since it is very hot and it would be nice to have plenty of ice available. There is a lot of stuff in the freezer though, so I have a task ahead of me.

Mostly, recently I have been puzzling about life and particularly the future of my life from the point where I am right now. This has also brought a great deal of attempted analysis of what has happened so far this year in several arenas.

At work, my boss left and told me that I was likely going to get his position. This was a position that I wasn't technically qualified for and one that would come with a great deal more responsibility and stress. I didn't really want the job, per se, but, as most people who know me know, I believe in the mission of the organization and am concerned about us putting out a good product. Given the timing involved, my boss leaving in the middle of gearing up for our next operation, the effort I personally put into the preparation for the operation, and my experience thus far in the operation (previous new employees who have entered our division have taken a whole operation to really understand what is going on) including the fact that my portion of the operation is a check on the work that has been done by the other teams in our department so we have no margin for error, it seemed like I would be a good choice for the position. Of course I didn't get the position. At first it was going to be given to someone who was at the same level as me, but apparently his supervisor threw a fit and she got the position. The problem here is that she had previously made it known that she does not like me and she is kind of the anti-me. In addition she has a very checkered past of decision making since we have all been working there the past year. It is very concerning. Further, her management style is different and my work functions have gone from tasks that required genuine planning and decision making on my part to being kind of a puppet of her (bad) decisions. The rest of the department had the pleasure this last week of sitting in a meeting where we were lectured about doing things that my boss does that we are not supposed to do, of course my boss was not present for this meeting. I have been looking for another job for a while, since this job is temporary and could end at any time really. I am fairly certain that if I stay I will be on until June 2011, but do I want to stay? Not really, I would rather have a job where I am challenged and can use some of the unique skills I have gained from previous education and employment. Before this change in management things were going pretty well at work. I loved my boss, we had a team that worked like a team, I had responsibilities, I worked with other teams, I had good rapport with my field employees, and I got to go observe and assist with training. I felt good about things, now it is a mess.

Couple that with the fact that my best friend tried to break up with me last weekend. Really he was saying that we cause each other a lot of pain and that has to stop, so either we have to part ways or renegotiate the nature of our relationship. We went for the later. Amazingly we were on the same page, for the most part, in understanding the current stage of our relationship. We haven't been on the same page about anything for a while, hence the conversation about the situation.

And I have been giving more thought to some other relationship issues as well. Those thoughts pretty much take me in circles. I like to wear circles, not think in them.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Clear Out Challenge

It has been a long time, yeah, yeah, yadda yadda. Maybe I will write something serious soon. Have been avoiding it as a lot of things seem to have been going wrong. Trying to move on to more positive things.

My roommate moved to Boston last week. She is working on a PhD in Psychology and has to do an internship and she got one at Harvard, or a hospital affiliated with Harvard. Point is she moved to Boston, she doesn't live here anymore and she left a lot of food. Obviously she couldn't take all the refrigerated and frozen stuff with her so I inherited it. Now I have to figure out what to do with it, and I have decided to embrace it as a challenge and write about what I do with her food. Additionally, I will probably be vacating this dwelling at the end of August so I need to clean out the kitchen as much as possible so I don't have to move too much stuff. Heaven knows the kitchen hardware I own is massive enough! This challenge sounds kinda pointless but amusing too. Getting rid of the roommates food shouldn't be too hard as she and I do have some overlapping food habits, but where we diverge it could get interesting. For example, she is a snacker and I am currently overwhelmed with the amount of snack food in the apartment because I had bought some things recently like vege chips and Ritz pretzel cracker things. Also, there are a lot of frozen vegetables, yikes. And soda. I never saw her drink much soda but there was always a few liters around, probably from or for parties. Now there are at least four partial liters.

Today was pretty much day one of eating any of her food. For breakfast I made a smoothie using some of her mango sorbet. For lunch I defrosted some of the pita triangles she had in the freezer and took them along with me to Montrose Harbor for my tanning session, with some red pepper hummus she left. Pita and hummus is certainly an overlap in our diets. For dinner I used some of her pasta sauce and pasta to make some sausage and penne concoction with some vege protein sausage I bought at Woodman's yesterday and some pasta sauce I had in the fridge. I also cooked some of the mixed frozen vegetables from the freezer. Ick. I think I will make a chicken pot pie to use the rest of those vegetables, I can't eat them straight. I had a glass of wine that she left too. Well that was today. We will see what happens tomorrow! I already made dinner and didn't use anything but my own stuff, maybe a side dish?

Eventually this might get more interesting as I go buy ten ingredients to get rid of one ingredient in a cupboard!! Or if I start making really odd things. I do have some condensed milk, pumpkin, and some coconut milk to get rid of so there is hope.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I guess I better get down to what appears to have become a monthly ritual! There is both a great deal and not very much going on. But that straddles that line between TMI and plain information. My last blog had me returning from my travels and it really seems like a blur of not very interesting stuff since then. We have had some good weather and some bad. Right now it is rainy and yucky. I am not opposed to rain in general, but for some reason I am not pleased with it today. I wanted to go running, grocery shopping, and transport some stuff to and from my storage unit today. None of these things are activities I feel like completing while contending with rain today. I should be cleaning up my desk, a task I have intended to complete for weeks now but have continued to put off. There are probably other things I could come up with to accomplish, but I feel kind of blah like the weather. Interesting things I have done lately... on Easter I went and helped at Tracee's church with an Easter meal they put on for those less fortunate. There were over 200 people in attendance and I was clearing tables of plates and trash as people finished. It was quite an undertaking. Then Tracee and I hosted some of her friends for Easter dinner which was lovely. I went to a concert at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Symphony Hall last weekend. The concert was good, the chamber was beautiful, but I left feeling a little disappointed by the whole thing. There were about 50 people in the audience when the concert began and the whole thing was a little odd. On Friday I took some time off of work to take the train to Milwaukee for the Brewers vs Cubs game. My good friend Tiffany had organized a gathering of people along with one of her co-workers so there was a crowd of ... well I don't know, I thought I heard 22 but it didn't seem like that many of us. So I got up there and they picked me up from the train and we jetted over to get a good spot in the parking lot and we succeeded! We ate some yummy food and had a great time tailgating in the parking lot, grooving to some tunes and some played beer pong. I accidentally encountered a guy peeing in the parking lot which I disbelieved at first but I have been assured that it was indeed what was happening. I don't know that I actually watched much of the game. The Brewers were not playing well and I had not seen Tiffany in many moons, and while I had seen Ryan recently, there is always a lot to talk about! In any case, we had a fantastic time. Best time I have had in a very long time. Unfortunately we all did not weather the evening as well as we might have so we all had to go directly to bed after the game rather than painting the town blue and gold in continued jubilation. It was good to be back in Milwaukee in familiar places. I do miss all my friends up there and wish I had friends like them down here.

Things have been pretty rough over the last few months in multiple facets of life. Work has been pretty stressful for a number of reasons. There has been tension between my boss and others at his level, and while it has reduced quite a bit as it effects my boss, it is still extant. And there have certainly been some ups and downs in my personal life. But I think things are looking up as the weather heats up. I am looking forward to playing softball in a league beginning near the end of May. My parents are also coming to visit at the end of May so watch out Chicago! Also let's hope for good weather for their visit so I don't have to hear about it!

Love to all!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Taxes and Travel

It is interesting when doing the taxes is a less stressful process than many of the other things going on in life. But such is the state of things for me right now. (Sigh) I am not yet ready to talk about all of that though I am more than a week removed from much of it... well I mean the actual action of it, I'll ruminate about it in my head forever probably and never be removed. No, no, I know I will get past it eventually and think about other things but I have been thinking about the same subject for at least nine months now so it will be a hard habit to break. That was all very vague.

So I worked on my taxes this evening. Each year for the past three or so I have had to remind myself that I can only get back as much as I paid, and I am unlikely to get that much back. Not that I mind paying taxes. I do not mind paying taxes as long as I feel that the money is providing appropriate services and funding to programs nationally. And I pretty much feel that that is the case. But I still get dollar signs in my eyes! This year I was pretty ticked that both Wisconsin and Illinois were taking taxes from my pay once I moved to Chicago. I hope I entered things correctly to have this problem rectified. It is a little dicey since IL and WI have tax reciprocity. At least I think it is dicey- in TurboTax I trust! But as I answered all the questions I got to peruse my spending for last year. I spent almost $7,000 on my car. Crazy! That was more than I spent on rent. I also found that I spent a little more on clothes than I did on groceries and you people know how I eat and the grocery shopping that supports that! But the amount I paid in federal taxes was greater than what I spent for clothes or groceries. Another interesting figure is that participating in Kilties cost me $963, that is nearly a month of graduate student income. Though I am almost surprised it wasn't more. In 2008 the figure was $865. Hmm... in 2008 I spent more money on rent than I did in 2009, that is funny since my rent went up when I moved to Chicago. But there was July when I didn't pay rent.

I returned on Friday from the last of my four weeks of trips. Week one I went to Mattoon, IL to observe crew leader training. Then I left on February 21 to attend dry run training at Census Headquarters near Washington, DC. That was a good time, on the whole. It was a little cooler than we (the attendees) anticipated but I did get to see some museums, my friend Chris and his wife Maggie, and some parts of the area that I had not seen before. I also got to meet people who do my job in other parts of the country. Then I was back in the office for a day and a half before I headed to Eau Claire, WI to observe training of employees who will be visiting homes. I was there for the beginning of training and then went to Waukesha, WI to see the end of training. On Friday, I left for Florida dragging Ryan along to attend Brad's wedding. It was great to get to wear shorts and lay on the beach in my bikini. It was windy, but Brad and Jennifer's wedding was beautiful looking out on the beach and the sun setting behind those in attendance. I am very happy for them! On Sunday, Ryan and I headed to Orlando where we took in a baseball game between the Braves and the Astros, and visited Downtown Disney. Ryan rented a convertible Mustang for the trip which was great, as you might imagine. Then I made it back to work for part of a day before I headed to Bloomington, IN to observer more training. I also got to eat dinner with one of my former classmates at UW Milwaukee who is working on his PhD at Indiana University. It was a great time. Then on Thursday the 11th, I headed to Muncie, IN to observe training there, but the folks were too bright there and had finished for the day by the time I arrived at 3 pm, so I sat and rested in my hotel room, which was a nice thing to do. After observing some of their training on Friday, I drove back to Chicago, having seen a great deal of the small roads of IN but none of Indianapolis! Oh well, I guess I will have to go there another time.

I got back yesterday afternoon and Tracee and I had nap time. Then we ate and got dressed and went to Clay and Cocktails at the Hyde Park Art Center. We met Aileen and her roommate there. We saw the exhibits, played with some clay, and met some people so it was a good time all around.

That is about all I have for now. I am not sure how I am going to reintegrate into 'normal' life after four weeks of living out of a suitcase, sitting in conference rooms, and eating out. I am having a hard time getting motivated to go to the grocery store but it will have to be done tomorrow!