Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Inevitable Picture Travelogue

I'm finally home and back in my own bed. Oh yes, I am blogging from my bed. If you had had to travel for over 22 hours yesterday, you would be spending New Years Eve in bed too.
Being home means being reunited with the USB cord that unites camera and laptop, and thus, means I can now share with you the carefully selected pics of my Christmas vacation where I don't look as fat in some as I do in others.
Enjoy. I'll try to explain them. Please try and keep up.

We played Phase 10. Even the dog, Trixie, played it. I bet your dog doesn't play Phase 10.


Dad opens gifts. Dads rarely show up in the Christmas morning pictures, you know? So I think it is only fair and appropriate to show a picture of Dad on Christmas morning.

I am not the only member of the family who enjoys taking self-portraits. I discovered my brother likes to do it as well after finding approximately 10 pictures of just him randomly on my camera today.

Trixie was also enthralled by the gift openings. Sadly, no one thought to give her anything. Also, if you are noticing Stephanie is wearing a bathrobe in multiple pictures, allow me to assure you that she rarely got out of her bathrobe and wore it most days around the house. That's what vacations are all about.


This picture should pretty well explain that Christmas breakfast got burned beyond recognition and why we ate at IHOP that morning. I'd actually recommend IHOP on Christmas morning again. The place was packed and hopping, and the wait staff in truly high spirits. Holiday double pay and generous tips will do that to a waitress.

This is my skeptical face when told we were going to IHOP. I was much happier about it later. Its also one of the few pictures where I don't like ginormous.

Up till this point in the trip (a whole 2 days into it) we had been pretty muchbeen with only our immediate family. That changed quickly with Christmas Dinner at the Other McBrides' house with about 30 relatives. Also, apparently when you live in the same town as approximately 500 (not exaggerating here!) of your closest relatives, there is a reason to go "stop by" someone's house at least once a day. So when I say we were with just our immediate family, I mean as an immediate family we were making lots of drop ins and several random relatives.
That all changed on Saturday when Dad, Mancub, and I joined up with Uncle Mike, Chris, Remmy, and Savannah to do a little redneck shooting. What? Your family doesn't go redneck shooting as a part of its holiday festivities? So sad.
We went up to "the land" (which is code for our portion of the family mountain. if you don't know about how my family all lives on a mountain in Southern Virginia together, ask me about it. The short story is, I was born into a redneck family, and I only pretend not to have a seriously southern accent.) So back to "the Land." The Land is an uncleared several acres up on the mountain. For all you Utahans reading this, trees grow naturally and spontaneously in Virginia. No one had to plant them. They just grew there all on their own, and there's a good thousand berzillion trees on our land.
We set up our redneck targets- orange clays, a chick-fil-a cup, and a pumpkin I found in the road, along a fallen tree. We walked up the hill a ways, and shot things. The rules of our little range were best summed up by Savannah, "How about we all just agree not to shoot anything that moves?" We all agreed. You may have to enlarge this picture to really see that we put a pumpkin in a tree.

Then we shot things. And watched as other people shot things.

 
  
  
It has been a long time since the last time a picture of me posing with a gun was on this blog!
 
My all time favorite gun- a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum. Be still my beating heart!
 
 We were a bit surprised that the pumpkin didn't explode. We had been hoping for a few good splatters. (however, i knocked the crap out of the chick-fil-a cup with the .357!) What we really weren't expecting was to find that we had shot bullets completely through the tree!
 
If you look closely in the bark you can see the dark, lead bullet lodged in the tree. 
 
Maybe we're just not redneck enough to have known pumpkins don't explode when shot with a .357 mag? After all, it was a medical doctor and a retired lawyer taking us out shooting...
So you might think this would be the end of the shooting adventure. Little did we know this was just the beginning. We headed for the car to pile in and head home, and instead found ourselves with a Suburban in the mire.

Apparently not all Suburbans come with 4WD. Another sign we're just not redneck enough! We come from a mountain and don't have 4WD! For the next hour and a half we found ourselves pushing, pulling, jumping, laying down sticks, reversing, and all sorts of things, trying to free the beast from the mud. 
 
 
 
Hopefully you can tell from Savannah's smile here that we actually had a pretty good laugh over the whole situation. Strangely, it was one of the highlights of the day to get stuck in the mud!
 
 
 Finally, we were able to back the Suburban back down the trail about 50 yards. 5 of us climbed into "the way back" to sit as close to the rear wheels as possible, creating some better weight and traction. Mancub stood on the bumper, holding on to the luggage rack on top, and Dad gunned the car down the road. I wish I could properly explain the scene from my point of view, in the back of the car, looking up at my brother's feet and legs flying out behind the car, while my Dad is cheering "whee-hoo!" and driving like a bat out of hell down the slippery, muddy road. I can say with "no trepidation" (family joke) that I haven't laughed that hard in a very, very long time. 
So we finally got home just in time to clean up, change clothes, and head over to the baby un-shower for Jonathon and Sarah. To see pics from the shower, visit their blog. To see the pictures of me and "my boyfriends" keep reading below.
Our family, at any given time really, has an abundance of babies going on. The past year we seem to have a rash of little boys born, and now we are about to have several little girls join the family. Not unlike my mother, I have a history of "borrowing" the babies so their mothers can visit with the rest of the family. This is an entirely selfish act, and has nothing to do with actually wanting to be nice to the mothers, and everything to do with wanting to play with the babies. 
I present to you my boyfriends. 
This is Baby Alan (still being held by his father). I stole him away just often enough that by the end of the week, he was reaching for me, and showing signs of jealousy when I'd hold Baby Kenny.  We call this expression, "Diaper Face." Alan is 12 mos old, and expecting a little sister in about 7 weeks.
Baby Zachary. Alas, our relationship did not last long as he was whisked off to Minnesota (I think) to visit more relatives. He's 3 months old.
Baby Kendon (or Kenny)  This little man is a sweetheart. This picture makes him look far more active than he really is. He's 6 months old and about the size of a Cabbage Patch Doll. He's very cuddly and the most content baby in the history of the world.
Petey apparently does not want to be my boyfriend, in spite of all my attempts at bribery. He's 2, and Kendon's big brother.
Just to give you an idea of how many tries it took to get a picture of me and Alan together--
 
  
Sad this one didn't turn out. I actually look decent in it!
  
Saturday night was a lot of fun with tons of family around, the baby presents, and a slide show after the fact. It was one very very long day. Here's a few more pics of the family-
My 89 yr old grandfather (and a sliver of an aunt)-
My mother holding Kaylee (she of "look, Mom! I found the pregnant lady!" quote). My mother, Aunt Alicia, is always a favorite among the little cousins. Kaylee saw me holding Kendon and talking to my mom. She just walked right on over, and climbed up in her lap. So cute!
 
  
And then came Sunday- another whirlwind of a day!
My Aunt Darla (who managed to escape all of my photographs) will soon be leaving us to serve a mission in the Samoa Apia Temple for our church. This has a lot of special meaning for our family. We are thrilled that she has chosen to serve the Lord, and we are thrilled He chose to send her to Samoa. My great-grandfather was one of the first missionaries there, and my father served there as well as a missionary. My parents and I returned to live there briefly when I was a baby. And my Uncle Dane and Aunt Karma lived there briefly in the 70's as well. 
Sunday was Aunt Darla's "farewell." In other terms, it was the day she spoke before her congregation to basically say goodbye, and bear her testimony before she leaves. After church we held a large family gathering (any gathering of our family is large, quite frankly) to celebrate her and say our goodbyes (even though she doesn't leave for another month). 
Here are a few more pictures of the family from the big crazy dinner-
Mancub and Serena
Michelle and me
Holding my 2 boyfriends! (this is not as easy as it looks) (and I swear I'm not this fat!)
  
Serena and her boyfriend, Jedi, the Keeshond (and I am now in love with these crazy dogs and must have one of my own!)
 
There are more pictures, and a few more stories to tell, but I think this blog post has already reached epic length. I know most of the readers don't want to see all of this, but a few of my cousins will actually want to see what they missed out on, and see the pictures. (That will teach them to skip out on family events! I don't care if you were giving birth!)
I'd imagine there will be a few more pictures tomorrow! See you then!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Dance Time!



I think you know what this means! HAPPY DANCE!

Among other things, one of the best reasons for today's happy dance is the birth of Abigail Conklin. My cousin Tami (she and her husband are both regular blog readers) gave birth, AT HOME (on purpose), au naturel, at 5:20ish this evening to a 9 lb, 20 inches little lady. I hear Abigail has cute chubby cheeks! (and at 9 lbs probably lots of chub in other places as well).

There are other reasons to dance for joy today, but Baby Abigail (who was due over a week ago) is definitely the best reason!

More Fun With Family Conversations

*erinannie*: So, K-tux, what's new in Cow-town?

K-tux: Oh you know, this, that, and the usual.

From the backseat, KJr (an 8 yr old girl with the sassiest Southern accent you've ever heard):  There was a man dressed all in black, laying in the road, hoping for a car to hit him, and people were standing by the road watching him. My friend and I wanted to ride our scooters down to go watch too. I asked my dad, and he said, "KJr, what's interesting about watching a man dressed in black laying in a road?" And I said, "Dad, what's NOT interesting about watching a man dressed in black laying in a road?" And he said, "Well, I can't argue with that logic."

*erinannie* (trying not to run off the road while laughing hard): So did you go watch him?

KJr: No, it didn't sound all that interesting after all.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More Great Quotes by the Family

After seeing the movie, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,"
Erin: That was really interesting. I think I'd like to go read the real story now.
Stephanie: WHAT? That was a real story??
(for those who don't know, the movie is based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which was what I was referring to.)


Cousin Merry Brooke: Uncle Maurice, did you get to wear flip-flops on your mission to Samoa? (Pause.) Wait, did they HAVE flip-flops back then??


After going out shooting redneck style (homemade trash targets in the woods) with some cousins and then getting the Suburban stuck in the mud for nearly an hour.
Dad: Well, I'd have to say this day started out at a 6.5. But then with the shooting it moved to a 9. But well, this (referring to the 6 family members covered in mud standing around the completely stuck car, all of us laughing at the predicament), THIS makes the day a 10, I'd say!


At the baby "un-shower" for Jon and Sarah, little 4 yr old Kaylee suddenly spots Sarah after being in the room with her for nearly 30 minutes, "Mom, look! I found the pregnant lady!"

I'd post pictures, but I forgot the USB cord from my camera to the computer. So if you want to see a few of the pics (including a wretched one of me, for which he shall pay), take a gander over at my cousin Jonathon's blog. www.vantagepictures.net Or you can see some pictures of us stuck in the mud, plus some of me and my "boyfriends" in my twitpic stream.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Apples to Nephi

A glimpse into why the McBride clan does not play many board games.

Or

I bet you've never had to pull out the scriptures to win a round of Apples to Apples.

... Mom and Mancub were tied at the end of the game, so we went to a lightning round. Mom and Mancub each had 2 red cards left. We turned over the last green card- Saintly.

Mom's card: Machine Guns

Mancub's card: Deer Hunting.

Mancub's argument: Nephi went deer hunting and prayed about it. And he was as close to a saint as you can get.

Mom didn't try to back hers up. But she did challenge Mancub that if he could finish quoting the scripture, or telling the story, he could win.

Mancub attempted to explain Nephi's broken bow and arrow story.

Mom did not agree.

Which is how our game of Apples to Apples was won by Dad who pulled out his scriptures to tell us the story.

And now you know why we don't play many board games around here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Feliz Navidad, Y'all!

Happy Christmas!
I must admit I am enjoying the lovely 50+ degree weather here in Southern Virginia this week. After years as a child of hoping and praying for a White Christmas, and never having my wish come true, and then moving to Utah where we get our fill of snow and then some, I have to say, I am perfectly happy with a very evergreen Christmas.
Christmas is always a personally introspective time. I'm torn right now between writing the travelogue of a post you might expect, full of meals and gifts, or writing what is really on my mind- which is how hard it is to be single during the holidays.
I'm going with single and the holidays, because I know there are a few of you out there who feel the same and probably need to hear that you/we aren't alone.
First of all, I want to go on the record as saying I love my family, both immediate and extended. We all fit in with our families in our own special way. And nothing I am about to say has anything to do with whether or not they accept me and love me. I know that they do. And I know that never has anyone ever tried to make me feel the ways I am about to describe.
But its tough being single on major family holidays, isn't it? I think Liz Lemon said it best on 30 Rock a few weeks ago, "When your mother kindly explains that they thought by now you'd have your own family and traditions for Christmas, and they wouldn't still have to be including you in everything."
Being single on a family holiday means finding a place to sit in between the children, the adults younger than you who have their own children, the adults your own age who have their own children, and the adults who call you their children. Because that's what family holidays are all about, aren't they? The children!
Christmas morning loses a lot of its luster when there aren't little children anxious to see the tree and open presents. (We slept in till 10 this morning, and nobody had to be told to keep away from the tree until Mom could find a camera.)
I'm not saying holidays can't be enjoyable and full of love. In fact, you realize even more as an adult how much of a sacrifice you are willing to make to be with the ones you love and participate in your family traditions. Especially when you are in a place in life where you aren't getting to start traditions of your own that you always thought someday you would do.
This year while I've felt no depression or anxiety over the holidays, I've been more acutely aware how so many people might. I'm happy and ready to move on to my next phase in life. I'm anxious to make some of my biggest goals and dreams a reality. In fact, the longer I sit here in Virginia, with my hands tied as to the future, the more I want to just get back to Utah and get on with it, DANG IT!
So single friends, I'm thinking of you right now. I hope you are happy. I hope you are finding what works for you this year. And I hope more than anything, you never let the lack of a man in your life hold you back from getting what you want.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Slowly Going Crazy

Okay, I have a quick confession to make (but only because I know my immediate family never reads my blog). I should not have come home to Virginia. When you are under the gun with a major marketing campaign, feeling unreasonable amounts of work stress, questioning your entire career and life goals, and ready to just kick and scream and throw things at the computer monitor, and wanting to just quit your job because this is really not the way you want your life to be, this is NOT the time to have to make nice with family, visit with relatives, not have a car, not have an escape hatch, not have much privacy, disrupt your entire routine, and have a family that thinks it is their personal mission in life to un-addict me from Diet Coke.
That is all. 

Virginia is for Lovers (and Family)

I'm back in my home state. It was surreal landing at DCA, and then driving past Arlington, past Falls Church, past Fairfax, past Oakton, and past Centreville. We just kept on driving for 4 more hours, past all of the towns I call home. And now I'm in Roanoke with my family, in our new house, in a new town, trying to get used to things.
On top of all the major family life changes going on with this vacation, I'm also attempting to work from home full-time during this trip. Let's just say that is easier said than done.
But today was great! My cousin Karma stopped by for a visit with her 3 kids. Karma and I never get time alone together anymore, so that was a fun chance to sit and talk. And then we headed over to my uncle's house for family home evening (after much debate over who has the better tv and surround sound for watching "The Dark Knight"). I got to talk shop and visit with my cousin Jon, his wife Sarah, and hold my other cousin Matthew's new tiny baby Zachary. And really, when was snuggling with a tiny baby not the hallmark of a great day?
 
Baby Zachary won't be the reigning baby for long around here. At 3 months old he has 3 baby girl cousins hot on his heels, ready to be born. We're hoping for Baby Abigail to make an appearance this week, and then 2 more little girls are expected to join the brood in February. (And I'm really hoping for new tiny cousin Baby Abigail to be born this week before I leave town. Come on, Tami,  just have this thing already!)

Being in a town with so many relatives definitely has its advantages. But it is a huge change- especially for the single, old maid of the family who lives on the other side of the country from everyone. I'm certainly not used to all of this. But it is fun, I will admit it.
Now, if I could just adjust over to the Eastern time zone, things would be fantastic. Unfortunately it is 1:38 am right now, and I am wired, in spite of taking sleeping pills. I may be forced to add Nyquil to the mix as well.

Friday, December 19, 2008

too busy to find another happy dance video

I would post another happy dance for this, but its actually kind of hard to find a happy dance posting sometimes. But THIS made me happy. In case you are wondering, I am, solely, the marketing department he is referring too. (I don't want to put in names or details because I'd like my personal blog to remain somewhat personal, and not come up in a google search for certain other terms.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

They are dancing, and well, these little guys do make me quite happy...



I just found out last night that I won't be spending Christmas with the Three Nephews, which is a sad thing, but also, a happy thing, because it means I'm going to Virginia for Christmas after all! Surprise!
So add that with those other things I've been keeping a sort of secret and you get- a happy dance posting!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Win $500 from my company. I can't win, but you can!

 
Want to win a $500 gift card? Go to http://cheapoair.wordpress.com for details!!
Blog it- Take the logo above and post it on your blog, and then leave a comment on the Cheapo blog, with a link to your blog (or they won’t know you did it!)
Twitter it- Tell your friends about the contest by sending out the following ‘tweet’ on Twitter-
Win a $500 gift card for travel from #CheapOair.com by retweeting this message! Details at http://cheapoair.wordpress.com
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That’s all it takes! Blog it, Twitter it, or Facebook it, and you are entered into the $500 gift card giveaway!
The giveaway runs December 17-22, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Introducing StoryAnnie

Many of you are getting my Christmas letter in the mail this week. As for the rest of you, I either don't actually know you, or don't know your address, so you're not getting one. But if you did get one you already know that this year I decided to do something a little bit different, and instead of sending out a regular Christmas card or letter, I sent out a short story I wrote.
(I also included my blog address in my Christmas non-letter, so I'm guessing I'll have a few new visitors show up here soon. Welcome!)
I have decided to put a little more effort into my imagination and writing. And with that decision comes a new blog called, "StoryAnnie." You'll find the history behind StoryAnnie by clicking on any of the times you see me type StoryAnnie. I have exactly 1 story up so far, and that is the same story that went out with my Christmas letter.
I hope you like it. If you don't, well, no one is making you read it.

Service

I can honestly say that I spent my entire day today in service to other people. I don't say this to toot my own horn or anything of the like. I say it because

Monday, December 15, 2008

When I become the brand

Today I'm going to branch out a little and talk to you about social media marketing (SMM). As most or many of you may know, I work in this field. But most of you have no idea what it means.
Social media encompasses the online tools that encourage communication and interaction. For instance, Facebook- it encourages communication, networking, and interaction. Because social media cannot be explained without the word networking, you will also hear it called Social Network Marketing, but not as frequently. Personally though, I think SNM describes what I do better than SMM. And yet, we're going to keep calling it SMM.
Other SMM tools include Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and any website that uses discussion boards (LDSLinkup, Cafe Mom, for instance). And blogging is a huge SMM tool.
My job(s) for the past year have all been SMM oriented. I represent brands or companies and use social networking websites to communicate the message the brand wants to share. Usually my goal is to get the message across, make you aware of the brand/company, and get you to their website.
Over the last few months something interesting has happened. I have become a brand of sorts. My online screenname "erinannie" has a following across different platforms (blogs, various networking sites, Twitter, and other). This happened without me really intending for it to! My blog readership skyrocketed as my Twitter following grew. And now Twitter is the #1 referring site to my blog.
Now, some people would argue that I should be more careful what I say online, as in theory, what I say reflects on my employer(s). But I'm going to go out on a limb here and argue the opposite. My name, "erinannie," has brand equity in it now. People know that when they see that name they are going to read about my personal life, and not about my professional life. What I choose to say about me and my personal life is not meant to reflect on my employer(s). Many will argue this point with me and say I should be more careful and watch what I say online, or risk my job. And this does have some weight. But I disagree.
The name 'erinannie" has brand equity and represents a single girl, her ups and downs in life, and her blunt honesty about what she really feels. This name is in no way, shape, or form, meant to ever represent another brand. It represents me and me only.
The day is coming where what I am arguing won't be the unexpected argument, but instead will be the norm. If you choose to brand who you are, and keep that entity separate from your professional identity, you should be protected. That is my argument. Currently, I'm in the minority for believing that. But I do think within the next two years this will be the norm, and more advanced way of thinking.
Many will argue with me and they have that right. But do keep in mind that I work in SMM, and that is a very very different world from other industries. In SMM if we don't use these tools for personal gain, we're not doing our jobs. Our personal and professional come very close to colliding frequently. Or at the least, we have to use one personality to help the other if we really want to do our best.
There's more to say on this subject, but I'm running late. So I'm leaving this post a little rough and open ended. I'll be back to finish it up later.

Christmas For Me

I keep getting asked what I'm doing for Christmas, and then also, what do I want for Christmas.
To be honest, I'm just not all that into Christmas this year. I have chosen to not go "home" for Christmas, and I'm too lazy to decorate my apartment much, so other than buying other people gifts, I just don't care.
If you think there is some underlying depression or something going along with this, you are wrong. This is how I feel most years actually. I love buying other people gifts, and sure, I like getting presents too. But honestly? I just don't get into it the way some people do.
I love the music, and it is nice to see other people's decorations, but I'm just not into it.
So anyway, yes, I'm not going back to Virginia for a variety of reasons. Mostly I just couldn't see how it was a good idea to spend $600 on a plane ticket to go to a town I don't consider to be home. (My parents recently moved, and therefore, home is not home.)
So instead I will be taking off and driving to Reno at some point. I'm excited to spend Christmas with my nephews. I haven't spent Christmas with them since Dallin was born- 7 years ago (today). It will be fun to be with little kids who believe in Santa, and feel their excitement. I still haven't figured out how long I plan to be in Reno, or even when I am leaving to go there.

As for the 3 people who want to know what I want for Christmas this year-
1. Target gift cards
2. Ikea gift cards
3. Wonder Woman t-shirt to replace my beloved shirt that recently died (Natalie has already claimed this for me.)


However, if you are looking for a great and personalized gift to give to someone else, that also in return gives to me, may I humbly suggest giving this?

Click here to buy your own copy, or a copy to give to someone else! If you buy it from me, you can also send me an email and we'll personalize an inscription for you!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things

*erinannie*: Andi, I'm going to steal you, and take you home, and keep you forever.
Andi (without missing a beat): Okay, but you have to ask my mom first.
*erinannie*: Maybe I'll just borrow you for a while. You're mommy would miss you too much.
Andi (pauses and thinks): It's okay, she has my sister!

******
(From my sister Natalie)
The kids in Dallin's class wrote a xmas wish list on paper stockings and hung them up outside of their class room.  Dallin's said, "Dear Santa Claus, Please bring my mom some make-up so she can look pretty.  And please bring my dad some pants."  It is true that I could use some new make up but Steve owns about 12 pairs of paints.  Either way, it was very thoughtful of him. 

****
Dallin was concerned that we didn't have a fireplace and how could Santa get inside.  I assured him that Santa is magic and Dallin should not worry about it.  Dallin said, "Oh, he will just 'poof' himself into our house?"  Yes, he will 'poof' himself in.



****

Yesterday, we watched Porter's pre-school Christmas program.  It was very cute.  While waiting for it to start we sat in a huge room with bad lighting.  The kind of bad lighting that picks up on every hair on your face.  Tell looked at me and said, "Mom, you have a mustache, right there."  Great, thank you, son.  So, when we got home I went to the bathroom mirror with tweezers in hand.  Dallin came in and said, "What are you doing?"  Being irritated I said, "I am growing a mustache."  Dallin ran out of the bathroom and I could hear him yell to Tell in another room, "Tell, mom is growing a mustache!"  Tell responded in a know it all voice, "I know."  I rolled my eyes and dropped my head, while Steve laughed.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Statistical Anamoly

Three nephews, 2 god-daughters, 12 months a year. Five birthdays to spoil my favorite kids. Doesn't sound all that complicated right?
So someone explain to me how it is 4 of the 5 have birthdays within 4 weeks of each other, and within 4 weeks of Christmas? So today I wasn't shopping for just Christmas presents. Oh no. I had to get 5 Christmas presents (for kids) and 4 birthday presents.
But did I? No. Instead, I bought zero birthday presents, and 3 Christmas presents. That would be joint presents for 2 girls, and 2 boys. And one kid is getting his very own present. And 3 of them are going to get "special shopping trips" with *erinannie* when they see her this week. And the one kid who had the decency to be born in July is getting a much better present.
(All that being said, I finished all my Christmas shopping today. And to my family that decided we're doing a name draw this year after I had finished my shopping? Well, you're all getting presents anyway. You don't have to give me Christmas presents. But I'm expecting a generous birthday. January 17. Don't forget it.)

What? Could that be a happy dance posting?

I will admit that much like this video, the beginning of my day was nothing like the ending. I debated whether or not a roller coaster today with some open ended questions deserved a happy dance, but I decided if I want to choose to be happy, then gosh darn it, I will be happy. After all, there was a point in the day when the cutest little 4 year old girl I know ran up, gave me a big hug and said, "She's my big sister. Well, no she's my sister's big sister. But I love her like she's MY big sister!"
And how can you not post a happy dance after that?



Make it to at least 55 seconds in, and I promise you'll start laughing.

Oh and one more reason I am happy- it turns out that the person I am stalking, is stalking me back in his own special way. Its a little creepy and ridiculous, but I choose to take it as a good thing.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Ups, the Downs, the Heres, the Theres

You'd think I'd learn by now. After approximately 22 years of mood swings and PMS, you'd think I'd know when that's the real problem, and not the rest of the world.
Except when sometimes it really is the rest of the world, and Mother Nature is just making it all twenty times worse.
I was thinking this was a crappy yucky week with lots of things happening that I can't control. But then today I looked at a calendar and realized, "oh no, it's just me." And why can't that be good enough??
Sorry to the 50% of the population that was just grossed out by those thoughts, but well, the other 50% can relate.
The summary of things I'm not sure if it was me or the world-

1. The realtor not calling me back in spite of my daily calls. Hello, have you seen this housing market? Can a realtor really afford to not return calls??

2. My paycheck has always been deposited on Thursday, in spite of the fact that payday is on Friday. My account is looking very empty. I know I am paranoid for many valid reasons on this issue, but I should be giving this new company the benefit of the doubt, right? Except for the part where I'm not feeling any doubts.

3. The Cute Blushing Boy was very cute and did lots of blushing this week. But it wasn't good enough. In fact, when given the big chance to make a move, he failed big time. Heidi thinks I need to give him the benefit of the doubt as well. And yet, I seem to have few doubts again.

4. Let it be known I am a social creature that requires a lot of activity to keep me entertained. The world, and my job, in general are failing me greatly on this major issue right now.

5. Like an idiot I dropped my purse on the floor of my car, spilling all contents today. I thought I put all of the contents back in my purse, but apparently missed a few key items, like my debit card. So when I was in a local store and suddenly had to write a check (for the first time since forever), I was a little blindsided. Is it just me or is it really stupid that a local merchant wouldn't take a check because even though the address on the check is local, the bank is local, and my phone number is local, my license is from out of state??

6. I nearly cried on the phone with Comcast today as we went over exactly what the absurd problem continues to be with my cable box. How hard is it to understand that every friggin day at 6 pm I suddenly lose all my local channels? And magically, every morning they are working again? And how I really don't think sending over a tech at 1 pm (although he was very cute and nice) was really going to solve the problem if he couldn't see it?

That's all I have to say about that right now.
Other than all of that, it hasn't been that bad of a week. But then again, it hasn't been that great either.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Go Due West!!

TODAY, TOMORROW, AND SATURDAY!! 
They are within striking distance of winning this thing! So help us all out and GO VOTE!!!
Why do I care so much? Well, who do you think entered them in the contest??

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tell me I'm not alone in this (Please!)

This is another post for all my single friends. (Sorry, Smug Marrieds. ;-) )

There are days when you *feel* single.
And then there are days when you don't just feel it. You *know* it. You know you are going to be alone and single forever, and it just hurts and it bites, and there's nothing you can do about it.

There are days when you *think* you've got it all together. The career, the social life, the budget, the future.
And then there are days when you know that no matter how hard you try, no matter what you do, it is never going to be enough, and you are just going to die trying, and no one will ever care.

Tell me I'm not the only one who feels this way.

**post now edited**


Thanks to Laurie and Heidi for showing me this video just when I needed it most!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

In honor of the song stuck in my head for the last few hours of total chaos, I hereby give you a youtube of it.


There's nothing magical about the video. No real reason to watch it. It's just the song I have been singing all afternoon.
Why?
Because my afternoon went like this.
1 pm- get notification I have a 2 pm conference call
2 pm- during this conference call find out I have another call coming up
2:50- start this call wondering how I am going to effectively handle said call while going to pick up Little from school. She knows to take the bus to daycare if I am not there to get her on time, but last week I was late, and she was out waiting for me. It's snowing and sleeting and she's not known for wearing a jacket. Not a good combination.
3:10- still on my call, I drive to pick up Little, opt to not use the loo while on a business call.
3:15- discover road closure 2 blocks from her school. take a totally random detour. now running late.
3:25- pass her school bus driving the opposite direction
3:30- still go to school just in case. She's not there. At least, I'm really hoping she's not there.
3:45- get to her daycare and hang out and wait a while. In the past when this has happened her bus has taken nearly 45 minutes to reach daycare, while it only takes me 10 minutes.
3:45-4:15- amuse myself with Twitter and random phone calls. Start to panic that I didn't log myself out from work.
4:20- still no sign of her school bus. Decide to go inside daycare to use the loo. Find Little waiting patiently for me in the front of the room. What the?? Forget to use the loo, take Little and leave.
4:25- stop and get milk and chocolate chips so we can make cookies and watch a movie and avoid the cold, wet snow
4:45- finally get home, finally pee, nearly combust from the bladder pressure. Little laughs as I run through the apartment in a fashion she has never seen before.
5:00- we get settled, and decide Little is going to make me cookies, while I finish up some stuff for work. I figure its good practice for her to try cooking while she's learning fractions. This will come back to haunt me later. But only because I suck at fractions.
5:10-5:30- Little encounters the following problems-
-we don't have enough flour- I give her cake mix instead. Recipe called for 2.5 cups of flour. I won't explain my logic, but my stupid brain decided this made 1.75 cups of cake mix. Don't ask me why.
- I gave her 1 c. of butter, not a 1/2 cup
- we bought some disastrous thing called grain sweetened chocolate chips. learn from my mistake- don't do it!
- I gave her baking powder instead of baking soda. (Um, J, she still doesn't know this, so let's keep that between you, me, and the internets.)
5:45- we realize our cookie dough in no way resembles cookie dough, and yet tastes magically delicious, and put cookies in oven
6:00- notice the apartment is filling up with smoke, pull cookies from oven, discover our dough was more like brownie mix really. And my very flat, no edge cookie sheet has not held the new brownie concoction together very well. Lots of dough on bottom of the oven, small fire, lots of black smoke. Manage to NOT scream and alert Little to the fire problem. Instead I just tell her to open the windows.
6:15- Don't ask me why, but I clean out the oven and we try a second batch.
6:25- Second batch actually turns out fairly decent, although there is a continuing black smoke problem. The kitten decides this is a good time to freak out.
6:35- Third batch attempt goes in oven. Little is watching a movie and settling in nicely. I decide to take her cookies and milk to the living room.
6:37- The thought crosses my mind as I carry 2 cups of milk and a plate of cookie brownies that waitressing isn't all that hard really.
6:38- Spill cookie brownies on the floor and the milk all over myself. The kitten freaks out and has a field day. After all, there is now chocolate all over my already dirty kitchen floor. Little can't stop laughing.
6:45- Call Dominos. It has now been 3 hours since we were supposed to eat our afternoon snack. We're both starving. Change out of milk sopping clothes.
6:47- take photographic evidence of the disaster.
7:05- Pizza arrives while I am in the loo (again). Little opts to not answer the door for strangers while at my house. This is normally a good technique. Except when it is our pizza and I'm indisposed!
7:08- Grab the pizza guy as he starts to leave, pay, EAT!!!
7:45- finish movie, take Little home. Looking forward to passing out on the couch, and watching "Chuck" and "Heroes"
8:15- get home just in time to discover my cable is out. AGAIN. No Heroes, no Chuck.
8:20- whine, complain, and blog.
Mama said there'd be days like this. She just didn't tell me it would involve a kitten eating chocolate off of my floor.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

2 Fast Things

1. Why is it I only get migraines on Sundays? And not just any migraine, but tunnel vision migraines that are so sensitive to light and sound that going to church is completely unacceptable? And they come worse on Fast Sundays, making fasting impossible as well?? No matter what I do to ward them off, or better prepare my body for the change in activities and routine, this happens every Fast Sunday. So right now when I should be getting ready for church, instead I am laying my bed with my laptop, looking at the screen with sunglasses on, cause my head is spinning and I know nausea is the next level of this headache.

2. if anyone is on a Windows Vista computer and knows how to turn the broadband thing off, please help me. I don't have a wireless router here in my apartment, so I'm still hardwiring in. But every few minutes or so (especially on websites with large content, music, or videos) my broadband connection window pops up. And it is driving me batty! And I can't figure out how to permenantly turn it off! help!

For Andi Bo Dandi

For Andi (and my mom, my sister, and my nephews, who all love this song and every year ask me to somehow produce it for them)



You know, if I could find the sound track to this song without the vocals, I would totall do it for the ward Christmas talent show this week.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Musings on Music

This morning I have had the chance and reasons to contemplate why I love music as much as I do. I've never met someone who just flat out didn't like music. I've met a lot of people with preconceived notions about variations of music, or with preferences so narrow as to limit their scope and intake. But I've never met someone who just didn't like music at all. I think it is safe to say everyone likes music of some variation, style, or taste to some degree. We even go through significant periods of our lives when we are defined and categorized by our choices in listening to or performing music.
Performance Music has been a part of my life ever since I was a very little girl. When I think back I can only recall one short period of time in my life (my late 20's) when performance music wasn't a major part of my life. I started singing and dancing around the age of 4 or 5. I was in a church rendition of the "Music Man" (still one of my favorite musicals) around that age. My extended family has always incorporated singing into our family gatherings. Many of my cousins and aunts and uncles (and by many, I'll go so far as to say the majority) play the guitar and piano. Family gatherings have always included singalong time from our family music collection for as long as I can remember. I was in every school musical and choir from the time I was old enough. By the time I was 11 I was in my first "pro-am" choir (my definition: we rehearsed and performed as professionals, but received no paycheck for our efforts), performing around Washington, DC. When I was 14 I aged out of the choir and moved into an older choir, as one of the youngest members. I was in that choir until I graduated from high school. The friends I made in those 2 choirs are the friends I still think of when I refer to home. I also participated in high school choirs, from show choir to madrigals. Music was always a part of my life, and life revolved around performing.
There was one difficulty I always encountered with music. I have a terrible ear. My mother is what you might call "tone deaf." And the truth is, I'm probably more naturally like her than I am wont to admit. But years of determination to get to sing with choirs forced me to overcome things I could not hear. I have to work three times as hard as other musicians to hear the chord or the harmony. It never helped that my lower register voice sounds better than my higher voice, forcing me to always be assigned to sing alto. For those not familiar with music enough to know, altos almost always sing the harmony. Sopranos always luck out with the melody. Thankfully in my mid-20's a good decade after most of my friends, my voice finally changed. I no longer got compliments for sounding so much like a cute Shirley Temple, and started to develop a vibrato. And I was most definitely a Soprano. However, 20 years of training also meant that my alto register is still there, and I have a fortunately wide range for singing. Unfortunately my ear insists I stay on the melody as often as necessary.
So what is the point to singing music for fun, or listening to the radio, or hiding between our iPod ear buds?
Feelings.
Through music we discover new emotions, we learn new feelings. We hear and feel an expression as we have never known it before.
We do we perform music? To express emotions in no other way possible.
It breaks my heart when I meet people who will only listen to one style of music. While I think it is great that they have found one style of music that expresses their emotions adequately, I think they are also limiting if not stunting their emotional growth as well. By discovering new music you discover new emotions and expressions. So why limit yourself to just one expression?
This weekend I am enjoying several new musicians and styles. And what I love the most about it so far is that I'm feeling something new too.
So just for fun, some links to that which I am experimenting with. Each from a different genre.

http://www.myspace.com/shaunbarrowes  Shaun Barrowes - When I Need You the Most  (I can't get enough of this song) - Genre: Fusion/Jazz/Alternative

http://www.myspace.com/dido Dido- her newest album "Look No Further" Genre: Indie Pop

(I'll add more to this list as I have time over the next few days. In the meantime, I'd love your suggestions!)

Friday Night Brain Dump

Things rolling around in my head-

- I never thought I'd spend a weekend working on my lawsuit against an employer. I am way too passive aggressive to sue people.

- Every day around 1 pm my kitten turns from being your average cat into an absolute nightmare. I can't wait to get him neutered.

- Every night at 10 pm my kitten turns from being the most annoying animal on the planet into the cutest most cuddly thing you have ever seen. He still insists on falling asleep on me and me only.
 
- I am working on the coolest Christmas card and letter ever. And seriously, if all you do is send a card with a signature on it, don't send me one. If you send a letter with an interesting amount of information in it, send it on over.

- I have to find the perfect much bigger house to live in. And figure out which town to move to. And a bunch of other crap. And soon.

 - I'm tired.

Friday, December 05, 2008

One more thing.

I'm showing great restraint not blogging about my relationship and romantic angst tonight.
The end.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The one where I impart my wisdom upon you

Okay, when I made my confession that I am a pro stalker I expected a little more teasing, and less support. But I what I really didn't expect was for people to ask me for tips on how to stalk someone online. I guess we can chalk this post up to using my powers for good.

I shall now impart my wisdom upon the masses.

Online stalking is so much more than just using Google. Google is for amateurs. If you really want to stalk you have to go beyond Google and embrace tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, and 411.com. Of course, these tools only work if you know the person's full name. And it really helps if you know what town they live in as well.

Now we're still only in pro-amateur country here. To really go pro, you have to figure out what the person's job is. If you know what company he/she works for, look up the company website and/or blog. A lot of companies put up profiles or bios on their employees. You can learn a lot that way. Sometimes they even (stupidly) put up rosters with phone numbers and email addresses. Excellent for stalkers. Don't know what company they work for? Google their profession, what town you think they work in, and their name. Or, if you know their name and profession, and it just happens to be the kind of profession that has a professional society (for example, the American Medical Assn, Texas State Bar Assn, etc) look them up on the professional society's website and database.

Need to take it farther than that because you are a total psycho? Hire me. I'm a professional Online Reputation Management Specialist. I can't give you all of the keys to my kingdom. I have to keep some of my secrets!

BTW, rarely ever, do I take it as far as I know how to take it. A little knowledge can take you a long way. (It just apparently can't make cute blushing boys actually ask you out. Buyers beware.)

Its All About Me and the Benjamins

In the near future there is a good chance that I am going to have to make a tough decision. It will mean choosing between career satisfaction and great money, or the chance to say I'd rather pursue the rest of my life's dreams. Prior to this point in my life I've never really had to choose between the two. My career was always the center of my life because it could be. The "rest of my life's dreams" weren't really something I could pursue yet. And my jobs have always required a lot of attention and time.
All that being said, forget it now.
This is a question for the single people out there. Marrieds, its not that I don't think you don't have words of wisdom here, but unless you got married after the age of 30, I'm pretty darn certain you probably haven't ever had to encounter this situation. And without experience, quite frankly, your input will just be annoying. Because nobody likes know-it-all marrieds who think they know what singleton life choices feel like.
:-)

So Singletons-
We all know, especially after the age of 30, that there comes a day when you ask yourself if there is any point in pursuing dating. There also comes a day (and I know we all reach it at very different times in our lives) when we have to choose how much we want our jobs to be the center of our lives. Sometimes we never even encounter the question, it just happens.

I think most of us want to think we are on a path to a fulfilling life. At least as far as I know most people don't intentionally chose the non-fulfilling, not so purpose driven life knowingly. If I'm wrong, let me know.

So where is your tipping point? How much money is enough money to get you to walk away from "the rest of life" to become amazing at your career and make serious bank?

Is that even a question for you?

The reason I don't want to hear from the Marrieds is because it is all a very different situation when its just you and your own bad self you have to take care of, versus choosing what is best for a family. I want the "its all about me and me only" responses!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Using My Skills For Good and Evil

Sometimes I feel like I should explain something to the world. And that is simply that I'm really good at cyber-stalking and manipulating social media tools. In fact, I'm so good at cyber-stalking and social media that I've now officially made a career out of it.
What does this mean?
It means that for the most part, with rare exception, I can find just about anything about anyone online. And I can use this knowledge for good or evil.
For instance, my blog has all sorts of invisible magic tools on it that tell me how much traffic I get in a day, where it is coming from, and even what link you followed to find it, or what operating system you are on. If you are curious, 90% of my readers are using Windows XP, and most of you use Firefox for the internet. Why does this matter? Well, it probably doesn't to you, but to a nerd like me, I can use this information for other things in the future.
Back to the links.
I can not only see what link you followed to get to my blog, for instance, Google Reader, Google Bookmarks, Bloglines, etc, I can even see what town you live in, who your ISP is, and how much time you spent on your most recent visit to my site.
My point?
There is a person out there who thinks he or she is anonymous and I don't know that they are my "hater." But this person is stupid enough to actually have me linked off of his or her own registered blog and bookmarking tool. And I know exactly who it is.
So seriously, grow up. If you are going to leave hateful or stupid comments anonymously on a blog, think it through. I'm a professional expert in social media tools. (And no, I don't think it is egotistical or arrogant to call myself an expert.) I know who you are. So just own up to it, and admit you hate me, and yet read my blog nearly every single day. I can't think of a more pathetic activity- hate someone, and then spend that much time reading their blog daily. When never, not once, have they been mentioned on this blog, because, hello, I barely even remember you.
Now, for other things.
Let's say I was quasi-stalking this cute boy. And I did happen to very very easily come across a goldmine of personal information on him. (Hey, its not my fault he's not smart enough to block that info online.) How much of this info am I allowed to use for personal gain? Info such as his birthday, address, college, graduation year, siblings' names, even his workout program (you'd be amazed how much info I can get on a person in less than 2 minutes). Obviously I won't be walking up to him and announcing exactly how much I have learned about him without his knowledge. But its okay if I use this information to help him start a conversation with me, right?
See people, I can use my skills for good or evil. And I try to be good, with just a little evil thrown in.

Secret Millionaires

Tomorrow night on Fox there is a new show debuting called, "Secret Millionaires." Along with a few of my friends, I am eagerly going to be watching. One of the "secret millionaires" is an acquaintance of mine. I'm not in the mood to share which one right now, because I'm tired of my blog being found in google alert searches.
Surprised I know a multi-millionaire? Well, like I said, he's just an acquaintance. He was the owner of the company that my old employer shared office space with. I doubt he recalls my name, or remembers me. But I was around during the time he took off to go do his undercover work. And I heard him talk a little bit about his experiences. I was even in the office the day the camera crews came around to interview him, and get some footage of our office space. So I'm interested to see how this all plays out. He's in practically none of the promos for the show online. But his profile is on the site, and I have seen him in one of the TV spots for it now. So I'm going to watch. If you do too, I'd be interested in having a discussion about it. If there's anything to discuss that is.
Also, I think this is actually slightly redeeming reality TV. At least its reality TV trying to do something good for a change. And for that reason alone, I'll support it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

If you're single and you know it, clap your hands.

Let me tell you a little secret, World. If my marital status is always going to depend upon me making the first move, I'm going to be single forever.
Which is also why there is no happy dance posting today.

Working Girl

Recently, I've been picking up work as a background extra on various projects. In the past month or so I've worked on 3 different m...

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