Friday, August 29, 2008

FTW!

Finally something goes right!
Last month's Questar bill (and my usual average): $68.70
This month's Questar bill (after turning off a/c and trying really hard to conserve): $18.17!!!!

And on that happy note, I am leaving town for the weekend. More on that later. Ciao!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Nephew Original

It's been a while since I had a funny original nephew comment to share. But I thought this one was hilarious. In the words of Sisty Ugler (my sister Natalie)-
We were in the car and Steve went into 7-eleven to buy a snack.  He came back with a beef jerky type snack called Turkey Tenders.  Tell's eyebrows raised and he said "Mom, you are going to eat that?"  I said sure, why not.  But I could tell something was not right in Tell's mind.  So, I asked him, "what do you think Turkey Tenders are?"  Tell pointed down to his "tenders".  I started laughing and I still giggle when I think about it.  (today we had hot dogs for lunch, turkey tenders were probably in them, but I kept that to myself)

Due West is coming! Due West is coming!

Friends- ones I know, and ones who lurk and read my blog- you are invited to join me at Harry O's in Park City, Friday, Sept 5, to see my favorite band DUE WEST perform! You've heard/read me talk about this band for ages now, and now you can come see what the fuss is all about. I promise my boys don't disappoint! There will be live original country music by Due West all in the amazing Harry O's setting. What is Harry O's? Just the most exclusive night club in Park City, let alone Utah. It's going to be one of those nights where you can feel like a super star just for coming and ordering a shirley temple.
So come out and play with me! We want to pack the house! This is a big deal night for them, and a big deal night for me! We can't have too many friends show up! So spread the word, put on your favorite blue jeans, and come out and dance! (And if you don't dance, come out and have a Diet Coke on me!)
You can check out Due West on their regular site here.
Or hear more of their music on MySpace here (be sure to listen to "Wake Up the Neighbors," is it my favorite!)
Or read their blog, and link to their blog, right here!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

SitRep

Here's the current sitrep-
I'm unemployed. Again. I still haven't been paid by the past employer who owes me 5 weeks of pay, plus bonuses and fees. My claim with the State against her should be moved to the Utah Attorney General's office soon. They send a few more threatening letters to her, and assuming she fails to reply to those as well, they eventually put a lien on her house. I have no idea how long the process takes from there before the seize the house or she declares bankruptcy. But needless to say, I won't be getting my money out of her any time soon.
I was working for the film company that unexpectedly lost its funding. And that is what leaves me jobless again. To complicate things I was working for a little less than half of what I used to be making while I was there. I thought I could supplement it with side contract work. I knew August would be tight on funds, but figured some creative financing could get me through. That was before I had to get new tires and the car  broke down. And before I got laid off from that job.
On the bright side, I do have 2 contract side jobs. Neither one is big money, and I won't be getting paid from either job until late September. So while that will help eventually, it doesn't help now.
And then there's the banking situation. My last check from the employer bounced. She never replaced that check (nor do we ever expect her to). Did you know your bank will hold YOU responsible for repaying a bounced check? Yeah. In most cases you get 30 days to fix a bounced check you deposited. Well, my 30 days are just about up. My credit union is being very helpful and understanding about the situation. But still, they want the money. They *kindly* offered to have me pay it back in 4 installments over 60 days. Normally that wouldn't be a total hardship, except that I'm unemployed and had to apply for unemployment. And the amount the bank wants is more than what I'll be getting from unemployment.
And then there is unemployment funds. Thank goodness for unemployment, but it isn't that much money, and it takes nearly 4 weeks for the first funds to show up. So again, by the end of September, I should have money again. Which isn't helping the current situation.
And that brings me to the car. First there was the tire blow out, and I had to get 2 new tires. I've known for a while that my clutch is slipping, but it suddenly got much worse last week. And then the check engine light came on, so I took it to the mechanic who told me my catalytic converter is clogged. They also checked out the clutch and advised me to not even leave their parking lot. Estimate on the clutch? $1100. Estimate on the catalytic converter? $650. Not exactly chump change, even if I did have a job!
So right now I'm basically stuck at home saving what few funds I have. I am only willing to risk driving 1-2 miles from home, or locations I can walk home from, in case the car does finally give up the ghost. Conveniently being homebound means plenty of time to work on these contract jobs. But really, that only occupies so many hours of the day.
There's something of a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. I am still owed one week of wages from the film company. There's no word however on if we'll be getting paid this Friday like we're supposed to. I'm guessing we probably won't. But the owner did promise he'd make sure we all got paid. He's a good man, so I trust him to come through. But I won't hold it against him if it is a little bit late. It wasn't his fault this all happened.
Hopefully with the week's wages and what cash I have left I can get the clutch replaced if I can find a really cheap mechanic who will put on a used clutch. (Know anyone?)
And then there's just the temptation to not fix the car yet, and instead get a scooter or Vespa. I can get a decent scooter for considerably less than what the repairs will cost me. And then at least I won't be so homebound.
So yeah. Things pretty much suck right now. My temper and anger is just right at the surface these days. So if I'm ignoring you, it's because I don't want to lose it and take my frustrations out on you! (It's a good thing, really!)
Oh and there is a bright side- I do have 2 more job interviews coming up, and I'm talking to head hunters. Hopefully a job will come through soon. But I doubt that will happen before rent is due on Monday!

Further evidence my kitten is the best

I've been trying to train the kitten to not jump on my keyboard. So tonight when he decided it was time to play fetch (again) he would jump up behind my laptop, and toss his toy over the top of the screen on to my hands. I think he's just about the cutest thing ever.

 
And yeah, 3 blog posts in one day. I know, I need a life.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

That wasn't the kind of exposure I was looking for

Dear Netflix:

We need to talk. I have been a customer for possibly four years now. I'm a very big fan. I've even recruited new customers for you. But still, we need to talk.
Considering your rapid growth, and the complicated logistics of your business, I've always been impressed how few troubles I have had with my account. I was even completely sympathetic when you had your big outage 2 weeks ago. Cause really, you still have a better track record than pretty much every other business I've ever dealt with.
But listen, you've screwed up my queue and I want you to fix it. In what world would I have queued up Northern Exposure, Season 3, discs 3 and 4, and then Season 4 Discs 5 and 6? And skipped right over season 3 discs 5 and 6, and season 4 discs 1-4? Does that make sense to you? Do you think I wanted to skip over Fleischman and O'Connell finally "doing the deed," just to only see the aftermath and not the actual deed?? No, I wouldn't want that now would I?
And then when I fixed my queue, having viewed the discs out of order, and then making sure my next up discs would be the ones I missed, you again jeopardized our love by sending me the same exact discs all over again! WHY?
Why would you want to do that to me? Are you trying to get me to break up with you? That is explanation I can fathom at this point. Nothing else makes any sense.
Now, I received Season 3 disc 1,2, and 4 again today. I also, inexplicably, got disc 6. Where is disc 5? I want it!! I have fixed my queue again, and put the repeat offenders back in the mailbox. This is your last chance. Please get it right this time!
I admit that I've been a little testy and short-tempered lately. I can't help it. I'm unemployed, stuck in a ridiculous situation with the State, the bank, etc, with no car and basically can't do much more than sit here on my couch playing online and watching TV. (Ok, I do take daily breaks to go to the gym and buy a diet coke.) I'm perpetually grumpy with a chip on my shoulder right now. And I admit I've been taking out my frustrations on the wrong people. But this time, I'm pretty sure it's not me. It's you.
GET IT RIGHT.

Thanks,
erinannie

Why My Cat Is Better than Your Cat

I told myself I wasn't going to blog or talk about my cat (much). But today I realized exactly how superior my kitten is to all other cats. He plays fetch and he watches tv. Does your cat do that? I didn't think so.
I bought him some little pink fur mice chew toys a few weeks ago. He only started to notice them this week. He carries one of them around like a baby everywhere he goes. The other one we play fetch with. This morning he woke me up, standing on my chest, with his pink mouse in his mouth. As soon as my eyes opened he dropped the mouse on my face and dashed off. We played fetch from my bed for over an hour. When I would fall asleep between tosses, he would jump on my face and give me little love bites to wake me up. (I pretend they are love bites anyway.)
I also bought him a little cheap play house thing which he loves. I'm normally not the kind of person to buy toys or accessories for my cat. But considering his fascination with playing with me and me only, I had to get him something- anything- to distract him away from biting, playing, chewing, etc with me for just a few minutes a day. The play house has worked wonders in that department. I normally keep it in my bedroom to keep him entertained at night. Otherwise he chooses to attack me most of the night. And if (like a normal person) I lock him out of my room at night, he cries at the door and body slams it FOR HOURS. Not just a few minutes. HOURS. So yes, his play house is right by my bed, and he plays on it for hours until he decides to come and sleep on my head. Because his favorite place to sleep is with his face right up against my face. Nothing else will do apparently.
So back to why my kitten with separation anxiety is superior to other cats. Not only does he play fetch, sing, attempt to type, and cry every time I leave the room he is in, today he dragged his play house from its normal resting place to the door. He couldn't navigate how to get it around the turn and out the door, but still, he dragged it to the door! I'm guessing he wanted to bring it into the living room where I am working today.
It's the strangest thing I have ever seen. This cat will not leave me alone!
In other happy news, his baby teeth are finally starting to break. If you have seen the scratches and bites on my arms lately you'll understand why I am so happy about this.
And don't tell the kitten, but tonight he gets his first bath and a real claws clipping. I can't take it anymore!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Yes, I have a big family, what about it?

I come from a big family. Many of you know this because you are my cousin. The rest of you just don't know how you are related to my family (yet). Give us time, we'll figure out which leaf you sit on in the family tree.
Exactly how big is my family? Just ask Facebook. Every day it seems that another family member has joined Facebook. And because we all love each other, and we have no family feuds among us, we all add each other as friends. I always like to then "suggest a friend" to my family members so we can all be one big happy Facebook family. But we have too many cousins now. Facebook will only allow you to suggest 20 friends per person, and we have (way) more than 20 cousins. Is this Facebook discrimination? I think so!

Facebook discriminates against big families!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mind over matter, right?

The truth is, I am in a crappy, horrible, no good, terrible, bitchy, I hate the universe and especially you mood right now. So I'm trying to counter act it with other things. After a week of practically no sugar or fast food, and working out every day, I ate a hamburger and the tiniest serving of ice cream ever. And then I cleaned the apartment. And took a nap with the kitten we now call Evil Kanevil (it fits him much better). And then I heard very unexpectedly from He Who Brightens My Day, who I wasn't supposed to hear from for a few more days.
Now, I'm still in a cranky crappy mood, (and NO it is not PMS. Don't make me post the lion picture here. The internets have seen enough of that picture.) but I'm attempting to override it by listening to sappy songs.
And I think I have created a great playlist of love songs. So, because I basically have no life, no car, no money, and only half a real job right now, and my kitten stopped being amusing to me hours ago, and I'm burned out on the Olympics, here is the playlist for your own twitterpated amusement.

1. Lucky- Jason Mraz and Colbie Callait
2. Everything- Michael Buble (did you know this was recently voted best wedding song of the year? not surprising. it's sort of perfect for weddings.)
3. White Flag- Dido
4. A Wink and a Smile - Harry Connick, Jr.
5. You Were Meant For Me- Jewel
6. Love Song- Sara Bareilles
7. I do- Jewel
8. Fall - Clay Walker(this is one of my all time favorite country love songs)
9. Sweet Gravity- Due West
10. This Woman and This Man- Clay Walker
11. I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
12. 's Wonderful- Diana Krall
13. Home- Michael Buble
14. Gravity- Sara Bareilles- (holy cow- this song is worth listening all the way through for. the way she knocks it out of the park on the last few phrases with her vocal quality is AMAZING.)
15. Somewhere Over the Rainbow- Katharine McPhee
16. It Had to be You- Harry Connick Jr
17. Try a Little Tenderness - Michael Buble
18. Here With Me- Dido
19. Love is Free- Sheryl Crow
20. And Then Some- Brad Hull

I'm Yours

I'm strangely loving this song. Normally, Jason Mraz does doing for me, so it's a bit of a surprise. As Rico would put it, it's very "hooky." And I tend to like "hooky."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Update

The repair estimate on my car: $1800, not including the $50 I spent on the oil change and diagnostic test. Or the need for a new windshield and wipers.

Adding insult to injury: there was a manufacturer's warranty on one part. It expired at 80,000 miles. There's 83,000 miles on my car right now. That repair alone is $650.

Seriously, worst.luck.ever.

what doesn't kill us makes us hungrier

I am convinced that sometimes karma intentionally kicks you while you are down. Right now I'm in this ridiculous financial pinch and now my check engine light has turned on. I was praying the whole way home from the park yesterday with the 2 little girls in the car that I wouldn't break down on the side of the road. The sting of the tire blow out on Saturday has me fearing another break down. Where I will get money for a car repair is beyond me.

In this situation it is hard not to be angry at the woman I can so easily blame for all of this. But why waste my time worrying and being angry over things I cannot control?

And therefore I force myself to look on the sunny side and accept the opportunities this situation is giving me. Last night I came to the realization (and not yet acceptation) that I can now follow the path to a dream I have always had. I have always wanted to work part-time and give myself the chance to spend a few months writing. The only problem with this situation is that I always had planned to have a decent-sized nest egg to get me started, and not beginning in a financial hole.

But setting out on such an adventure of freelancing and writing requires a few more amenities than I came to the situation with. Items like a desk, printer, chair, and better computer. I can get away without a better computer for a short while, but something to sit on other than the couch or my bed is pretty imperative. All things that require money to acquire. And what is the one thing I don't really have right now? Money.

Which brings me back to putting a lot of energy into not hating the person who put me into this situation. So cross your fingers for me that the check engine light will be nothing more than a need for new spark plugs. Or some other repair for less than $100. (those happen, right??)

Oh, and here's the good news report! I have been offered 2 contract part to full time positions. In theory, together the two will cover my expenses. Both are work from home (couch) jobs. There's just no indication when they will start, let alone provide an income. And I have other small freelance work to do as well.

So here's to crossing my fingers and holding my breath that this craziness will all settle down soon, and I'll be able to get my first real paycheck in nearly 2 months.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Best Quote From an 8 Year Old Today

Little Girl#1: I had to be rescued by the lifeguard once. But it was a girl lifeguard, so it was okay.
Me: Is it better to have a girl lifeguard?
Littler Girl #2: Yeah, cause in case they have to do that tongue thing to make you breathe again, its better to have a girl lifeguard if you are a girl.
Pause, pause.
Me: Did you see the movie the "Sandlot?"
Both Girls: Yes
Little Girl #2: The tongue thing is really gross, so it is better to have a girl lifeguard and not a boy lifeguard, cause he might try to do that, like in that movie.
Me (trying for all I was worth to not laugh so hard I wreck the car): Girls, it's actually called "CPR" and it doesn't involve any tongue at all.

first it was captain underpants, now it's my skirt

hee hee

someone googled "wind up my skirt" today and found my blog.

i'm easily amused.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reading time

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed. I found the list pretty interesting.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Place an asterisk (*) by those you’ve not read, but have seen a movie or stage performance of.

4) 2 dashes (--) means you have started it but never finished it for whatever reason

5) a ?? means you have never heard of it before


1. The Lord of the Rings*, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice*, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman ??
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy*, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire*, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird*, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh*, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe*, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights*, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks??
14. Rebecca*, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women*, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy --
21. Gone with the Wind*, Margaret Mitchell --
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone*, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets*, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban*, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien --
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland*, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson ??
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez ??
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett ??
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens --
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory*, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson --
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute ??
38. Persuasion*, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma*, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables*, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams --
43. The Great Gatsby*, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol*, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy ??
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian ??
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden*, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome ??
58. Black Beauty*, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky --
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman ??
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha*, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles ??
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman ??
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett ??
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell ??
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary*, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith --
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake ??
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson ??
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley --
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez --
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries*, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie


I'm actually rather pleased with myself. I've read more of these books than I had expected. But I'm also disappointed in how many I had never even heard of before. Hmm... I may have to start making a better effort at reading classics (and not so much Suzanne Brockmann) again.

Why me?

If I thought the weekend was unexpected, nothing could have prepared me for how unexpected today would be. I got to work today just to be sent home. I've been working for the last few weeks at a film production company. And today our boss had the integrity to tell us that we had a financing problem, and sent us home. We may get our financing back in a few days, or in a few weeks. But for now, the funds are not there, and he didn't want us working for free.
Considering the situation with my previous employer, who lied to us, avoids our calls, and still owes me close to $5,000, his honesty today was most welcome. Sure, it makes things complicated. But the fact that he apologized and was truly sympathetic to our situations, made it better. No one did that for us at the last company, which was/is truly unfortunate.
In other news, I got 2 job offers last week, plus 2 very strong leads/indications for more work. And tomorrow (Tuesday) I have another interview, plus some other opportunities to work on. So all is not lost. In fact, there are more opportunities ahead of me than usual. But that doesn't mean there is no stress. Given these situations lately, I'm very wary of start-ups, and anyone who makes big promises right now. Consulting/freelancing is also scary in its own way. I'm not sure what I want to do, or how I want to do it.
I just don't know what to do. I'm not usually one to ask, "Why me?" but right now, at least for tonight, I can't help it. How have so many things happened so far out of my control that effect me so much? Was there anything I could have done to prevent this? Change this? Or at the very least, seen this all coming?
I don't know. I don't know what to think, what to do next, or even how to feel about the situation. And so I ask the Universe, how much must you endure before you decide it is time to make a major change?

Monday, August 18, 2008

When nothing goes as planned

I had an unexpected, but fun weekend. It started out with what was supposed to be dinner out with new friends and our first book club meeting. What really happened was an unexpected adventure.
It started so simple. I had a meeting to attend at 3 pm, but things got postponed and didn't happen till closer to 4:30. I wanted to look cute but casual, so I wore a fun short blue breezy dress, and heels (this detail is important later). By the time I got on the road to head north for the night, I was about an hour behind schedule.
I picked Juli up and we started driving up to Ogden. I commented to Juli that my car had just minutes earlier started making a strange ticking sound. No sooner did I say that than the ticking sound turned into a sound that resembled a helicopter landing on my roof, and I nearly lost control of the car. I had a full tire blow out- not just a simple flat tire, but a full blow out. We pulled off the road quickly, and before we even got out of the car, a pickup truck pulled off behind us. Out hopped 2 teenage boys, one wearing a high school basketball camp shirt, graduating class of 2010, who ran over to help us.
I have no doubts that Juli and I could have changed the tire on our own. In fact, I am quite certain we could have done it with no problems. It may have required reading the instructions, but I am sure we could have done it. But there stood 2 white knights in high school t-shirts with a pick up truck, ready to help us.
Remember that breezy blue dress and heels I was wearing? Do you know how much wind it takes to blow up your skirt when standing by a freeway? The answer is: not much.
These 2 boys had my blown out tire off the car, and the donut back on the car in 10 minutes. It all happened so fast that we never even got their names. They were polite, quick, and efficient, and considering how many cars I had already flashed on the highway in that breezy short dress, quite frankly, a god-send.
Those boys were what every mama hopes her boy will grow up to be. Helpful, kind, and an overall well prepared Boy Scout. I didn't get their names, but I do know where they go to school and which sports they played, so I am still giving serious thought to sending their coaches (and hopefully by extension their mothers) a note thanking them for raising them right.
Juli and I were on our way up to Ogden just moments later. (I admit I grumbled quite a bit about having to buy a new tire, and having to drive at a snail's pace on that stinking donut. My car and I were not meant to drive slow.)
Dinner and the book club company were great. I felt welcomed and comfortable with these fun new ladies instantly, and can't wait to read our first new book.
While I had been standing on the side of the road trying to hold my skirt down, I had texted a guy I recently met online that lived in the area to tell him what was going on. When he found out I was in the vicinity, he invited me over. So after book club, I dropped off Juli, allowed 5 year old Andi to inspect the spare tire on my car (she declared it interesting, and yet safe for me to drive on), and went to meet a total stranger at a truck stop Denny's. Thankfully, the guy was as out of place in that restaurant as I was. But let me tell you, the scenery was interesting!!
Saturday was nothing special, but I did start a hard core 3 week diet and work out plan. Go me!
On Sunday morning I woke up with my cat snuggled against my head. Why he has to sleep so smashed up against my face every night I will never understand. Normally I sleep on my side, and he curls up in my hair at the base of my neck usually. But this morning I woke up on my back, with the cat on my shoulder, and leaning funny on my head. I stretched, my neck popped, and I couldn't move my head, and could barely move my left shoulder, for hours. Several Advil, a hot shower, and self-massaging later, it's getting better.
Today was beautiful though, and I couldn't stand the thought of staying inside all day, doing whatever it is I do all day. Especially since I turned off the a/c to enjoy the nice temps outside, I had to get out. So with what little mobility I had in my head, I went up to Alta to hike the easiest of the easy trails for a little bit. My legs were up for the very easy challenge, but my lungs, as usual, protested right at 4,000 feet above sea level. So I took it even easier than I thought I would have to. But it was beautiful, and I got a few nice pictures out of it. And I sat and wrote some more for my book for a while, which was really nice. The picture above is from Catherine's Pass above Alta.
So now I am home, knowing full well I need to put the heating pad on my shoulder, and add some muscle relaxants to the evening if I want to turn my head tomorrow. But the a/c is still off, and I don't think I could handle the heat. It's so warm in here that the kitten doesn't even want to snuggle. He still insists on sitting right by me with at least one limb touching me, but at least the little heater box purr engine doesn't want to sit on my shoulder tonight.
I should prepare a little more for the week ahead, but I'm too tired, sore, and quite frankly out of sorts, to even try. All I can say is this weekend was very unexpected from beginning to end- blow out tires, blind dates at midnight, neck injuries, even the hike. I need a weekend to recover from this weekend!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

For the last few months I have had a guilty pleasure that has turned into a full blown obsession. It's the late 80's/early 90's TV show, Northern Exposure. Every week Netflix sends me 2 more disks, and every week I am incapable of getting anything else done until I have watched all the episodes.
It started out so simple. I thought I'd try out the first season and see if I liked it. But I didn't just like it. I loved it. So there was seasons 2 and 3. And now I'm in season 4, and I'm addicted! I still have 2.5 more seasons to go, and I'm going crazy because I'm way too busy to just sit and watch tv these days.
So what is your guilty pleasure tv show? Am I the only person who has ever become a complete incompetent while waiting for netflix to weave it's magic?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Picture pages, picture pages, having fun with picture pages

In three weeks I will be seeing my whole immediate family all together for the first time in about 5 years. We haven't all been in the same place at the same time since Dallin was the baby of the family. So it's high time we took a family picture with all of us in it. But in McBride Family tradition, we can't just go to a studio and pose for a camera. Oh no. Heaven forbid we do something simple. No, family pictures always require a great deal of effort, planning, and matching of outfits. In spite of my repeated requests for no "matchy matchy" we are yet again doing themed apparel. But at least we are only going for a theme, and not completely "matchy matchy" colors and clothes. If all goes according to the current plan, the women are wearing sun dresses, and then men will wear "nice t-shirts" and jeans. The setting for the picture will be similar to the one below. We're going up to Lake Tahoe with the photographer.
So now I need some help. I need my friends to help me find the perfect white flowy sundress to look soft, fun, and romantic to wear on a mountain top without looking like a totally out of place sun dress on a mountain top.
A little help please? Suggestions?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Men and Tampons. Seriously.

I got hit on tonight while buying tampons at the drug store. Two guys were standing behind me talking smack to each other, when suddenly I realized they were talking to me.
"Hey baby, why won't you turn around and show me what you got? Look at me, Miss Salt Lake and show me your stuff. Why you not giving a little smile Miss Salt Lake?"
Annoyed after a minute of this crap, I turned around and just looked at him, holding up my pink box of tampons. I could have puked on his shoes and had a better response. He looked like I had just tased him.
"Aw baby, why you gotta be that way? Why you be killing on my mood?"
I paid and walked out.
It's true what they say. Tampons really are men's kryptonite.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

what you don't know about social media (but i do)

We take a break from our usually scheduled blogging to take a look into what social media marketing is and why it matters. Why? Because I feel like it.
Social media marketing is a new twist on marketing. It is usual "social media" to approach your market or target audience. What is social media, or that other emerging term, "Web 2.0?" It is when the internet is used in a social way- one person talking to another person, or one person speaking to many people, in a conversation inducing way. Got that yet?
Social media tools include, but are in no way limited to, blogging, online discussion forums, social networking sites (facebook, myspace), websites, Twitter, Flickr, and many others. Individually, these sites are not truly "Web 2.0." Put two or more together- i.e.- a blog with a Twitter or Flickr feed- and you have Web 2.0.
While my friends weren't really looking, and thought I was just really getting into blogging and trying new toys, I have become an expert in social media marketing (SMM). SMM is when you take social media and use it to market your products. Right now I'm in the process of recruiting more SMM clients, and still

I love the Olympics

I'm nostalgic tonight for the Olympics, and for all my childhood memories that involved watching the Olympics.
It is no secret that my family is rather patriotic, and we get even more so during the Olympics. And if the Olympian is from the DC/VA area, LDS, or a gymnast, we get even more supportive.
My first Olympics memory was from 1980. While the rest of you recall the Miracle on Ice, I still recall the diving. We had a lime green, plaid tweed, pull out bed, couch in our family room back then. And Little Sisty Ugler and I loved to put on our leotards and watch gymnastics and diving all night with our parents, and then get to fall asleep on the pull out bed. It was not uncommon for us to re-enact the routines on the TV. And my first Olympic memory is of Little Sisty Ugler re-enacting a dive routine- right off the couch, onto the tile floor, knocking herself out cold. What happened next was my then 3 year old sister's first ambulance ride, and the first time I ever vomited. What?? Yes, the stress of seeing my unconscious and greenish (I still remember how she looked green) sister being taken out of the room on a stretcher caused me to "feel a tickle in my throat." "Feel a tickle in my throat" has now become synonymous with "Erin's about to blow."
My next Olympic memory is of 1984 and the LA Summer Games. I remember wearing patriotic colors for weeks. And idolizing Mary Lou Retton and Greg Louganis and Peter Vidmar. Connections? Mary Lou- gymnast. Greg Louganis is half-Samoan (and therefore worthy of McBride clan admiration), and Peter Vidmar is LDS. Really, as if the Games being played on US soil wasn't enough, our loyalty to them was over the top. I was certain I was going to be the next Mary Lou. I despised all Romanians and Soviets appropriately. And my parents even took us to see the US team national city tour later that year. We met a news reporter there who "interviewed" Little Sisty Ugler and me, and wrote in the Washington Post how much we loved Mary Lou Retton. Which is to say, a lot.
I remember crying when Greg Louganis busted open his head on the diving board. And I still hold my breath for every diver until they have cleared the platform, especially on back flips.
I can recall practicing my gymnastics dismounts when I jumped off the trampoline, the pull up bar, my bed, and any other place I could probably "dismount," always landing with my arms in a perfect V above my head.
I love the Olympics. I love the team spirit. I love the non-politics of it all. I love seeing the impossible get conquered. And I love imagining in my head that I'm still a 9 year old girl in her favorite red, white and blue, leotard doing her Perfect 10 floor routine.

I gotta get outta this place...

The combination of a no vacation travel-less summer, and watching the Olympics/dreaming of faraway places, has me going stir-crazy. I gotta get outta this place! But I can't decide where I want to go. In the last week I have convinced myself I need (not just want, but NEED) to go to China, Montreal, London, Switzerland, Mt. Kilimanjaro, India, and Cancun. At one point I was even trying to figure out how with freelance work I could do one big all around the world trip and make it happen. But then I remembered that when you are reliant on freelance work, you don't get paid vacation days off.
So world, tell me where you are going on vacation this year. I'm not going anywhere. There's no time off for this blogger until Christmas (and if you know me, you know I hate cold traveling). Let me live vicariously through you.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Another Blog Book Passage Exclusive

I am sitting here, watching the "women's" gymnastics (its hard to call 16yr old pixies women) and procrastinating things that should be done. So instead of doing things I get paid for, here's something I hope to some day get paid for. It's a very rough draft of another passage from my book. I like putting the pressure on myself by sharing this way.

The setting- Lindsay is a 30 something single woman with a long term on again, off again boyfriend. She's neurotic, but doesn't know it. She's very self-centered and convinced what she wants is always the right thing. Edie, her best friend, is good friends with the boyfriend. Kari is very level-headed and pragmatic, but very tired of hearing about the boyfriend. Jeremy is the boyfriend. These are all in emails.

To E and K, From L
Re: It's so over.
Things are going south with J again. We haven't talked much since I left NYC last weekend. We had such a great weekend together, I don't get it. We were so connected, and so in love. And now?? Whatever. There's been a few texts and emails, but nothing interesting. I really thought he was going to propose over the weekend. And things were so great, I don't know why he didn't. How can we go from best weekend ever to a few lousy text messages?
When I leave him all I can think about is how much longer until we can see each other again. I get home and start a countdown on my calendar. But him? He says he loves me, spoils me rotten, kisses me goodbye, and then goes for a week without calling. What's up with that?! I don't get it!
He ruins every trip with the way he acts after I leave. Does he really hate being with me so much that all he does is endure the weekend and can't wait for me to leave?
L

To L and K, From E
Re: Um, I seriously doubt it.
Can I play devil's advocate? I think you are looking at it from a one-sided point of view, and not considering his side. You need to think like a guy, and not just any guy, you need to think like J. He's a very busy guy and not a big talker. You know that about him! If he "hated you" he wouldn't buy you train tickets to go visit him every month. He wouldn't spoil you while you are there. You know he is busy, and goes to a lot of trouble to make the time to spend with you while you are there. When you leave he has to make up for all that time and work harder. That's a lot of sacrifice for him!
Besides, it's J. Look at it this way- he thinks he just spent a great weekend with you, and everything is solid. So now he's thinking all is well, and he doesn't have to keep calling you to make sure you are okay.
But that's just my 2 cents. The only opinion you should be looking for is J's. Have you asked him?

To Kari, From Edie
Re: I have a bad feeling about this.
Do you get the impression that maybe J is having an affair, and Lindsay is the affair? Like maybe he's cheating on someone else with Lins?

To Edie, From Kari
Re: HELL NO
Not all men are cheaters. Just apparently all the ones you date.

To E and L, From K
Re: Just say no to WARTS!
Wait! I agree with almost everything Edie said. But don't you dare go asking J what he's thinking. I think the biggest problem in your relationship is that every time you do call J all you have are "What are we talks." No wonder he avoids the phone! Send your man a happy lovey dovey crap text message about great he is. Don't make him fear hearing from you!

To L and K, from E
Re: Re: Just say no to WARTS!
For the record, happy lovey dovey crap would make me fear the phone. (But I get your point.)

To Kari, From Edie
Re: I hope you are right.
That's all I can say. I really am cursed.

Goals for the week


This week I will not-

-eat more chocolate than vegetables
-accidentally call my kitten by my mother's dog's name
-

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Breaking what silence there was still remaining

Today I feel like breaking my silence about the job situation I just left. I know many people would caution against talking about the situation, citing that "someone" may read it. Well, I have nothing to hide. I'm not the one who did anything wrong or illegal, and I'm feeling the need to educate and protect others.
The company I left (see, I'm still politely not saying the name of the company) was headed up by a very detached CEO. For a company of 12 people it is truly staggering how detached from the company she really was. She had (still has) no idea who worked on what and who specialized in anything. And she made up crap like you wouldn't believe. To hear her introduce us to other people was both an ego trip and embarrassing for being so completely unreal. I'll give her credit, she is amazing at what she does- which is broker deals. But as a CEO, no one could be worse.
How bad was it? Well let's see... in late April I was offered a large pay raise and promotion. The work and responsibility I got immediately. The money was supposed to start in about 4 weeks. But naturally, she forgot. And then when she did pay me, the check bounced. The next paycheck was late. The next one was the wrong amount. The next one bounced again. Oh, and then the next one was so late I had to get the State involved. She still shorted me about 30% and did everything in her power to make the check invalid (misspelled my name, misspelled the amount, post dated it, and more). And then the check bounced again.
I could go into more details about the 10,000 reasons this woman deserves to be in jail, but knowing her, she'd sue me for libel for sharing the truth. Instead, I'll tell you what I have learned.
1. Get everything in writing. Put everything you say in writing as well.
2. When in these sorts of situations, copy a lawyer on every email you send.
3. The State Wage and Labor Commission is here to protect and help you (even if you still are employed there). Did you know that for every day a paycheck is late or overdue to you that your employer has to pay a fine to the State? And you get about half of that fine? If your employer fails to pay up both the wages to you and the fine to the State, they risk criminal charges.
4. Your bank is also here to protect and help you. I went into my bank, explained the situation, they looked and saw that I had 3 bounced checks from her, and have put a block on all checks from her account to that bank while a fraud investigation takes place. My bank was able to help me out considerably in this situation. I just wish I had thought to go to them for advice and help sooner.
5. It is easy to get intimidated and want to try and trust people to do the right thing. Someone who has no pattern of doing the right thing, is highly unlikely to start just because they have screwed you over.
6. Paper trails are a good thing.
7. It's a waste of time to get angry and stay angry. Do you have every reason to be angry at the person who is denying you your livelihood and income? Absolutely. Should people who are that dishonest be punished more severely? Absolutely. But getting angry is worthless and gets you nowhere. Channel your anger elsewhere and make it productive.
Unfortunately, I was not the only one forced into this situation. There are several other (former) employees in this situation with me. I wish I could say we can see the end in sight, but we all know this woman too well to think she'll admit her mistakes and crimes and fix the situation. I expect she won't do this until criminal charges are fully pressed. And then she'll probably come to each of us, offer us another check "with some extra," with some untrue and insane story about how she was too busy to even realize she had bounced 5 employees' paychecks (out of 6 possible), and pretend she can make it all better. That's just her style. And she's so conniving we might fall for it. But this time I doubt we will.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Friday, August 08, 2008

I am a single woman with a cat and a career.

I've discovered that freelancing and consulting is not the simple easy thing it sounds like it should be. I have a full-time job for 40 hours a week. But it is a 4-6 month gig. I'm enjoying it and look forward continuing on the project. It's an interesting combination of my background skills in marketing, online marketing, and politics. I even used some of my trade show procurement skills today. It's fun to use such an interesting combination of my past skills this way.
But then I'm also building up other clients and working on other projects for them as well. So after the 40 hours a week, and nearly 2 hours daily commuting, I still come home to find another 2-3 hours of work a night waiting for me (not to mention the attack kitten).
It has only been 2 weeks of this so far, and I'm exhausted. Last Saturday I felt the need to play and play hard! And all I can think is how very badly I want a vacation or at least a weekend camping trip. Something besides sitting on this same old sofa and typing and staring at another computer. And then there is the mounting mess problem. And by the mounting mess, I am referring to my bad habit of taking a clean dish out of the dishwasher, eating off of it, and then sticking it in the sink. I never really empty the dishwasher. And the sink is overflowing. The kitten loves to find little tiny things and attack them every which way he can. Putting them away is a futile activity. So my living room floor is covered in random junky little things. Oh, and my laundry? Have I ever told you about the antique bench that resides in my bedroom? You can't sit on it. But you can pile clothes on it really well. The kitten thus far is oblivious to the pile of clothes, but has a growing obsession with getting into my closet and scaling the clothes and getting stuck at the top. So the clothes stay on the bench, and then get worn, and move to the floor, where the kitten attacks them. Eventually I need to where them again and they get migrated to the laundry room. The same laundry room that the kitten's litter box and food bowl reside in, as well as any toys he's guarding from me.
I am in serious need of a nap, more allergy pills (stupid Utah tumbleweed and wildfire season), and intern to organize the paperwork, and a maid.
Is that so much to ask?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Blonde Ambition

I have a question. What the heck is up with all of the accented blond hostesses on reality shows? Don't get me wrong, I am quite jealous of Cat Deeley's (So Think You Can Dance) hair (but not of her wardrobe). And if I could think of the other non-American chicks' name, I'd say something nice about them too. But seriously, what's the deal? There aren't enough blond ambitious American girls?

I Got Hit on Today. Shocking, I know!

My new job is in the basement/bottom floor of an smallish office building in Utah County. The rest of the building is occupied by one large telemarketing company. And the 8 of us in our company are holed up downstairs, with another small company down there somewhere too.
I swear that the telemarketing company intentionally recruits the scuzziest of humanity. Every employee has multiple tattoo's and piercings. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But you can have some tats and holes without being a scuzz. And then there are these people. All of them smoke I swear. And they are all scary and nasty looking.
We don't have a bathroom down in the dungeon, and have to either go to the main floor with the scary people, or go to the top floor where the execs of the telemarketing people work. We have permission to go to the top floor, because the main floor bathroom is so freaking nasty we hate it. It's like a gas station bathroom in there or something. It's unreal.
Have I painted a good enough picture for you?
So this morning I was walking into work and some guy opens the door for me and asks if I was there for the class. I politely said no and moved quickly away.
And then this afternoon I went to the main floor (I was feeling adventurous) to fill my water bottle. Some guy at the water fountain sees me come up from the dungeon and asks if I am in training down there. I said no, I work for the other company. He looks stunned to find out there is another company down there. But continues to tell me if I want a new job his company is hiring.
Um, NO WAY.
I went downstairs completely despondent. Did I really look that bad today that I was mistaken twice for one of those people?!?!
I told my team, who all understood immediately why it was upsetting to be thought of as an upstairs person. I asked them if I looked that bad? (I admit I didn't look so hot today. I've had a bad stomach ache for 2 days that has my stomach swollen big enough to be 6 months pregnant.)
My 2 darling male co-workers assured me that I looked cute enough that the upstairs people were hitting on me, and that no one with a brain (again, ruling out the upstairs people) would ever think I belong up there.
I heart my dungeon dwellers.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sunday Shout Outs

It has been a few weeks since I shared some Sunday Shout Outs. And even though it is nearly Monday now, I'll still share some things I've been thinking about, but are a little bit different in nature.

1. Overheard in the Ward has some very funny posts this week.

2. I'm in love with Plurking. Twittering is so yesterday. Be my friend!

3. I recommend checking out Kick Like a Girl's blog.

4. Me! I need business! Now that I am self-employed, I could use more clients. If you know someone who could use some help with social media (online) marketing, let me know! Big companies and small individual projects welcome. I create custom marketing plans to help virally market products and people.

5. Ooh! I'm famous for 5 seconds right now. Can you see me? (Scroll WAY down.)

6. Mormon Times is running interesting stories about LDS Olympic athletes.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

It's a Single's Life For Me

Somehow as I started to write this post the Pirates of the Caribbean song got stuck in my head. "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me." And now I can make no guarantees about where the thoughts in my head might lead me.
I'm single. There is no white knight on the horizon. I have a cat. I live alone.
And I'm okay with that.
I'm not saying I wouldn't like to find a man to share my life with. I'm just saying I'm happy. Which seems to come as a surprise to some people lately.
In August there are 3 articles in the LDS publication, the Ensign. You can read one by mental health professionals and parents of singles here, an article by a single male that is so generic as to be useless right here and one by a single woman about "finding comfort" in the Scriptures about our horrible horrible singles lives.
All three articles made me gag.
Let's start with mental health professionals. Seriously?? That's the message you want to send to singles? We need mental health counseling? I read the article. And if I wanted an interesting case study on what a single could be defined as, I would recommend this article.
Where's the useful and helpful advice? Do people really think we still need counseling at age 33 on communicating and being patient? REALLY?? PATIENT? To quote Charlotte from Sex and the City, "I've been dating for half my life! Where is he?!" Trust me, after 17 years of dating (which is actually more than half my life) I've got patient covered. And last I checked, I've mastered communications and even got a degree in the subject to prove it.
I can't find any useful counsel to singles over 30 anywhere. Believe me, if I could find it, I'd share it. But since I can't, I'm just going to have to share my own 2 cents worth of advice.
First, be true to yourself. Find your own happiness. Chances are you may never find someone. Do you really want to spend your whole life holding your breath and not appreciating the happiness around you? Be happy with who you are and what you have built for yourself!
Second, always remember the definition of insanity. "Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result." If that is what your dating looks like, stop and think about it.
Don't put your life on hold. I am so tired of hearing people say, "Oh I want to be married before I go to Hawaii." Do you really want to risk never doing anything interesting on the hopes of finding someone? BE SOMEONE! Be someone worth meeting. Don't put your life on hold.
Create your own support network. Fill your life with good friends and people you love. Make meaningful relationships. Having valued relationships and love in your life will never completely take away that basic human desire to have a significant other, but they will help keep you company.
And that's it. That's my advice for now.
Also, I want to share something a friend said on this subject today pertaining specifically to LDS singles.
In this church we lump everyone into categories from the minute they can walk- Sunbeams, CTR's, Beehives, Deacons, etc. And then we do or don't becomes Singles, while the other adults our age just become Saints. Is there any question as to why we never feel like we don't fit in?
I've been in family wards where I have fit in. I've been in singles wards where I have fit in. And I've been in wards where I never did fit in. But the Gospel is still the same. I just wish more people remembered that the Gospel is one size fits all.
And one last thing. There is no singles mecca. Utah does not have some sort of magical pull over singles. In fact, I find it harder here to meet people than I ever did back in DC, FL, and even CA. There is no convenient way to meet people. And there is no central gathering place for singles. And I miss that a lot. I miss the sense of community among singles. And I really miss the go-getters that helped create that community. Utah is seriously lacking in community.

It's a Single's Life for me. I plan to make the most of it. I just wish more people would.

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