Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Write, write, writing away!

It is that time of the week where I promote that other stuff I have been writing again!

Meridian Magazine- Singles and New Years- why do singles feel so much pressure on New Years Eve?

WikiLeaks gets leaked on Twitter (Examiner)

George W Bush uses "the Facebook" - check this one out just to watch the video. GWB and Zuckerberg make a pretty interesting duo, with surprisingly, a lot in common!

And don't forget my $500 offer to pay you to find a friend a job still stands!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday Deals

Have I mentioned I have awesome Cyber Monday deals on my other blog to major retailers? Go check them out! Buy early! Buy often!

Thanksgiving, the Day After, and other thoughts from the mind of me

This little cutie got baptized by her dad before Thanksgiving Dinner. When I asked her what she thought she said, "I'm so glad you got to see my special day!" She's a true McBride. 

The McBride Family Thanksgiving Spread
Miss Beverli and a horse she didn't ride (hers is way in the background)
Steph and her noble steed, wearing bright orange for the benefit of the last day of rifle hunting season.

Me with an awesome unmatching ensemble, and a horse that was determined to knock me over with his face. And GO SKINS!  

Things I am Thankful for and Highlights of Turkey Week 2010
Having my parents in-country and in-town!
Making the best turkey of all time! (when we took it out of the cooking pan to put in the pretty dish the entire skeleton fell out!)
Having Beverli down to visit for the weekend!
After a year of an undefined future, having 2 solid options for a great future!
Black Friday shopping with Sarah at 4 am! My steal was a $200 set of luggage for only $50 from Macy's. I may still not know where my future will take me, but I do know it will involve a lot of travel (more on these hints later)!
Horseback riding with Steph and Bev in the FREEZING cold! (But it was totally worth it!)
Getting to talk to my brother on Skype (the Air Force currently has him out of country in an unfriendly location).
Getting to see tons of cousins in one place.
My little cousins taking turns sitting in my lap (I am the Pied Piper and I love it!)
Even if BYU didn't win, the BYU v U of U game was seriously awesome!
Antibiotics (even if they do have seriously bizarre side effects**), decongestants and a "uncle doctor" who helps his unemployed and uninsured niece. (Even if she after she gave his whole family her cold!)
Introducing my parents to "Modern Family" on Hulu. And staying up way too late to watch the whole season online with them.

**fact- a side effect of my antibiotic (Avelox) is "tendon rupture" and serious ankle pain. And I'm here to tell you, it actually happens! And it hurts!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More amusing conversations with children

I recently took Cousin #32 (Miss L) out on a playdate (she's 5). From the moment we got in the car she had a lot to say, not unlike a windup doll that talks a lot. Here are a few gems from that conversation.

Me: Your [big sister] is going to have a baby soon! Are you excited to be an aunt?
Miss L: I am NOT an aunt! Aunts are OLD!
(sidenote- her sister is 20 years older than her. Her youngest aunt is 42 years older than her.)
Me: Oh, so the baby won't call you Aunt L?
Miss L rolls her eyes and in her best DUH voice: No! It's just a tiny baby, it can't talk yet!
the conversation continues on regarding a cupcake we were eating
Me: So what will your sister name the baby?
Miss L: I don't know! I have lots of ideas, but she thinks they are all DUMB!
(i can assure you her sister did not say that to her)
Me: Like what?
Miss L: Well, I think House, or Cat would be nice. But she doesn't like those!
I maintain a straight face.
Miss L: My other sister (age 11) likes the name Katie, but Big Sister thinks that is too much like my friend Kaylee.
Me: You mean your cousin Kaylee?
Miss L: Right, my friend cousin's name is Kaylee. And I have a cousin named Peter. And a (uses hand motions to indicate very tiny, and switches to a munchkin voice) a little tiny cousin name Kendon!
Miss L is about 10 pounds and 3 inches taller than Kendon. They are both little tiny people.

The "little tiny cousin named Kendon" questions Miss L's authority.

We drove past a bright yellow sports car. Historical background: her sister drives a small, tan, compact car.
Miss L: That looks like [big sister's] car. She probably shops there sometimes. That's where we turn to go to my pre-school.
Me: What's the name of your pre-school?
Miss L: Hmm... I don't know. I forget sometimes. I have a brother named Sterling he goes to college because he knows lots of things. I know a lot of things. Like (breaks into full song voice) "God rest ye merry, gentle mint, Let nothing you DISMAY! Remember, Christ, our Saviour,Was born on Christmas DAY! To save us all from Satan's power, bah bah bah bah bah bah, Good tidings of comfort and joy, BAH BAH BAH BAH, Good tidings of comfort and JOY!" Sometimes I just sing bah bah bah bah when I don't know the words and nobody notices. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

I could blog but...

I could blog but I am way too tired. And I do have some interesting things to share, but they haven't finished happening yet. So please stand by, life is in progress. We'll return to our regularly reported randomness shortly!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Peace Corps

This totally excites me! Just a fun little video to keep up the Peace Corps motivation!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

(Don't) Rock the Boat!

Whenever I hear the expression, "don't rock the boat!" I think of Girls Camp when I was 12 years old. I was in a canoe with at least Cindy, Laurie, Katie, and who knows who else. I do recall we had way too many girls in the canoe. We pulled up alongside another canoe that had a much more manageable number of girls in it (maybe 2?), and decided to unload a few passengers. At the same time, two other girls from the lake decided to climb in our canoe with us. I can still remember Cindy yelling, "Don't rock the boat!!" She was quite determined to not fall in the water. For some reason I am also remembering that we had some crazy idea that we could do lake activities that day without actually getting in the green, murky water.
Multiple 12 year old girls, moving water, and 2 canoes, obviously you know what happens next. We all fell out into the green, murky water.
(I also recall that for some reason we were convinced there was a large sea turtle living in the bottom of this lake. We had a name for it, which sadly, I don't recall.)
But the most important part that I remember, is that rocking the boat is what lead to thousands of giggles and laughter and fun. (And drama, because 12 year old girls THRIVE on drama!) Good things came from rocking the boat.
Yesterday was a rock the boat day for me. I published two different columns yesterday, both rocking the boat in their own special way.
The first one was for Meridian Magazine, "Life's Instruction Book for Single Women." To be honest, I was shocked at what positive response it received. (Not that I expected negative responses.) It isn't an earth-shattering rock the boat. It is just an eye-opener. It really has me motivated to continue on with some new endeavors in that area. It was also very inspiring and heart warming to see several of my friends endorsing it in their Facebook feeds! Thank you everyone!
The second article was for the Examiner, "Religion vs sexuality in the courtroom of political correctness." And it was definitely a more inflammatory rock the boat experience. In fact, it lead to me getting a LOT of hate thrown at me on Twitter. So far, surprisingly, it hasn't received a lot of comments on the actual article. I predict that changes with time.
I like rocking the boat. I like saying things no one else will say. I like making my point clear. Staying in the boat isn't memorable. No one ever says, "Hey, remember that time we didn't stand up for what we believe in, and we just sat there and did nothing?" It is falling in the green, murky water that you remember.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get your friend a job and you get $500! (now with job listings!)

After 10 months of unemployment I ended my losing streak by becoming a head hunter! No instead of looking for a job, I'm helping others find a job. There's a nice yin-yang to it all. I like it.
But I'm finding there is an interesting discrepancy. Job hunters tend to migrate to the big sites like Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, etc. But head hunters are usually not found there. Why? Because it costs big bucks to place jobs there! I am trying to bridge that gap and find the job hunters directly.

How am I going to do this?

I am going to pay you $500 for getting a job for a friend!

Here are the terms and conditions-

You must have your friend email me a resume (in WORD format) to erin dot mcbride at phase3recruiting dot com. In their cover letter they must mention that you sent them to me! (Just sending me an email that says, “Hey, I think Mike is looking for a job, try him!” Will NOT count!)

If I can place your friend in a job between now and December 31, 2010, I will pay you $500! (If for some reason the commission on the job is less than $1,000, your prize will only be 50% of the commission.)

If I can find YOU a job the same offer still stands- I will pay you $500!

Some tips and tricks-

We are an IT placement firm. Chances are much better that I will find a job for someone who works in the IT field.

If you want more details about how this all works (when you would get paid and how) send me an email. This is an offer to my friends and acquaintances only. And not just an offer to the general public at large.

Currently hiring for-

MS SQL Database Administrator - mid to senior-level  - Salt Lake City
Oracle DBA - Senior-- Salt Lake City
Mechanical Engineer- Austin, TX
Illustrator-- Austin, TX
Ruby Developer- Provo, UT
Sr Software Developer C++- Austin, TX
Software Developer (C#.NET)  - Salt Lake City
Software Engineer (C#)- Salt Lake City
Configuration Management - Systems Administrator-- Salt Lake City

For more information on any of these jobs email me at erin dot mcbride at phase 3 recruiting dot com

Monday, November 15, 2010

Housework and other foul words!

I feel like I have achieved some sort of maturity milestone this week. My parents are coming to visit for 3 weeks. Normally having house guests for any overnight length of time would have sent me into a tailspin preparing the house- doing laundry, dusting, organizing, cleaning places I never clean, re-organizing, scrubbing the places I hate cleaning, etc. But this is a new thing for me- the house is already clean! Other than freshening the linens on their bed, I just have to do the regular daily chores.
I don't have to kill myself cleaning the house this week!
I don't know how to handle this! This NEVER happens!
Is this what growing up feels like?

Disclaimer- I should also mention this is also all made easier because I don't have to go grocery shopping or do extra menu planning for their visit. My mother (who, in case you aren't aware, lives in a country where she is not permitted to go shopping alone, and can't drive herself anywhere) says she is looking forward to taking the car (which will NOT be my stick-shift vehicle) and going for a nice long drive by herself, and then going to the grocery store alone, and walking up and down the aisles by herself. Note how she kept saying "by herself." I am gladly not doing any advance grocery shopping for them. (But I did cut out coupons to help her save on some good deals!)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I may or may not have sat around today thinking up new blog names

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Harry Potter- 10 years later

It is almost hard to believe that these three little kids-

have grown up to be three of the most recognizable faces in the world!

I remember after seeing the first film I thought, "I hope they invest in some acting lessons for Harry/Daniel Radcliffe. The kid can't act!" I also hoped that Ron/Rupert would grow up to outgrow his goofy face. I'm glad he didn't.
Either way, I cannot wait for the release this week!! I need to find some buddies to go to the midnight opening with me!

This picture alone has me excited. I can't wait to see Helena Bonham Carter as Hermione as Bellatrix acting alongside Harry and Ron!
I think some of the best parts of Harry Potter are wasted on the kids. The incredible talent and legendary actors that the films have brought together really do make the movies that much better. It's no secret that I love to watch BBC miniseries and British films. Every time I see another major British name from one of my favorite BBC shows appear in a Harry Potter film I get excited. Bill Nighy is a new addition to book 7, which is going to be great. I'm a little disappointed they never managed to bring in Colin Firth or Hugh Grant (both who said they would love to have a part), but oh well.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Head cold

Three times this morning I have thought, "I'm hilarious! I should totally blog that!"
You should be glad the same bottle of Nyquil that makes me think I am hilarious also makes me forget what I was going to say.
Can someone please come over and bring the box of Kleenex up from the kitchen to my bedroom? My sleeves are getting slimy.
Never mind, by the time you get this message, I will have fallen asleep again. But you can leave some soup on the front porch. The dog can bring it in for me. But you'll need to make it hot. She can't put it in the microwave. No opposable thumbs.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Happy Face!!

Why the Happy Face? Because today happy things happened! Starting with (see the posts below) that big bad scary thing that would have kept me out of the Peace Corps- it isn't keeping me out! Turns out I'm not a national security threat after all! Woo-hoo! (also, phew!)
So for the last few days I've been trying to distract myself away from that bad thing by thinking up other happy things. Which lead me to remember that I've always wanted to be a matchmaker. And soo.... beware my single friends! I'm on the loose!
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Cute nephew quote of the day

Porter, age 5

From my sister, Sisty Ugler:

I am sending the boys to a Christian day care on Thursdays and Fridays while the boys are off track and I am still in school.  The teacher there had the children think real hard about a question they would like to ask to God.  If there is one question you could ask him, what would it be?  
Porter asked, "If I don't like my Mom's dinner and I say 'no thank you', do I still have to eat it?"
PS- All my nephews and god-daughters are growing up too fast. I'm in the market for some newer, younger models. If you have a small, cute, preferably not walking or talking (but exceptions can be made), sized child in need of a fairy godmother to spoil it, I'm taking applications.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

You're invited- to my official new blog launch!

I am happy to announce the official new launch of my blog Cutting Back and Going Green! Please take a visit over there and check things out! As the name implies it is all about cutting back financially, while trying to live a more green friendly life!
Please feel free to take a button and share it on your own blog! They are free and good for the environment too!

Cutting Back and Going Green

More adventures in sleepwalking

As I have documented here before, I am a world-class sleepwalker. I'm sure everyone has their daylight savings time change story today, but mine is simply this-
I went to bed relying on the satellite gods to update the clock inside my phone. I woke up in the sunshine, looked at my phone (7:30 am), got up, passed the bathroom clock and it says 10:45. Hmm...
I decided to rely on my phone.
I get dressed, leave at 8:50, get in my car, and it says 10:50.
Wait, shouldn't it say 9:50??
I go back inside and check the microwave clock. 10:50.
Something is very strange here.
And why didn't the alarm clock go off this morning?
I investigate further. Somehow my phone is now set to Central Time. Very strange.
Needing further confirmation, I check my computer, which should also be updated by the satellite gods. 10 am.
I pick up my phone again, right as the alarm clock goes off. It is no longer set for 8 am, and is oddly set for 9:07.
Either the satellite gods are messing with me, or I'm sleepwalking again. Maybe I'll set up a camera to record myself this time. I'd really like to know where it is I hide my shoes in my sleep.

Confessions of a Sleepwalker

Saturday, November 06, 2010

So now what? (also, the "what if" world)

Tonight I am overwhelmed with thoughts of what happens if I don't get to join the Peace Corps due to things completely beyond my control. I've lost a lot of dreams in the past year, and now possibly the Peace Corps. I hope I'm having all of these feelings unnecessarily. Hopefully I will find out that I'm not disqualified very soon, and I can go back to living out a life long dream.
But what if?
It's normally a question I never ask myself. I try to never live in the "what if**" world, and instead operate on facts and reality. I live in the world of events that I can control, and don't operate on "but what if?" But tonight the reality is that I may very well be losing the thing that I have always wanted.


**the "what if" world is where people hold themselves back by saying things like "but what if you meet someone and get married? would you quit your job?" or "but what if you join the Peace Corps, how will you meet someone and get married?" or "but what if you don't like working there?" or "but what if you don't like it?" or my favorite, "but what if you like him? would you marry him?" (really the "what if world" consists of a lot people thinking i should hold myself back from doing what i want because i might meet a man i like.)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

It's a spy thing, you wouldn't understand!

And we're off!
Did anyone else just hear a starting gun go off?
No sooner did I get the nomination yesterday, then today I've already got critical paperwork coming my way for the Peace Corps. One item, it turns out, is more important than I had expected it to be. I'm hoping I get a phone call tomorrow telling me it really isn't a big deal after all. But when you see the words "to determine your legal eligibility" on something related to matters of (I kid you not) national security, suddenly things seem more important. Thankfully, it does sound like we'll be able to get a decision made on this issue really quickly. I'd hate to find out 5 months from now that I can't go. I'd rather get rejected sooner than later.

It's a spy thing, you wouldn't understand!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Peace Corps and what happens next (and how)

This is my happy face.
This is what I looked like today as I left my interview with the Peace Corps. (except this picture was not taken today. It was taken about 8 weeks ago after I left a different interview. And I was wearing a black shirt today. And my hair has changed colors since then. But still, it's mostly what I looked like today!)
Have I mentioned that there are 15,000 applicants to the Peace Corps annually, but there are only 4,000 spots? Well, as of today, I am one of the lucky 4,000!
Please join me in the Dance of Joy!

Thank you. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me.

Now, before you get too excited with me, here's the rest of the story.
No, I do not know where I will be going. And I won't know until May at the earliest!
I have officially been "nominated" into the Peace Corps. I now have to pass a medical review (which shouldn't be a problem, as I am an adult in reasonably good health). And an FBI background check (again, shouldn't be a problem). And there's some other little paperwork issues that may come up since I have 2 close family members that work in intelligence/security. Again, I just have to do paperwork and go through a review to prove that everything will be fine (in other words, I don't come from a family of spies).
And then I also have to do some placement testing to make sure I have the right skills for the areas I have been nominated in. What are those areas? I'm so glad you asked. Let me explain! Most people go into the PC right out of, or even during, college, and therefore don't go in with a lot of specialized skills. These volunteers end up teaching english or math in schools around the world. They make up 40% of the PC. The other 60% enter with specialized skill sets- knowledge of engineering, medical issues, farming, etc. In my case, I know business and computers. So I have been nominated for business development (which was also my first choice), computers/IT, and medical (health/sanitation).
What does this all mean? It means that I will get tested (in the form of more paperwork) to make sure that I have the necessary skills for the different countries (to prove what kind of computer skills I have). And then, when the time comes (in about March/April) country leaders can look at the list of available applicants and say, "Hey, we need someone who can set up and run an internet cafe here! We'll take her!" And then, around early May, I will get a letter "inviting" me to do that job.
Here are some other little things I can tell you-
First, all things are subject to change.
Depending on medical tests (and how long it takes to schedule appointments), May may be a pipe dream.
You can play along (daydream) with me and narrow down the list of possible countries by looking at the PC wiki calculator and the PC wiki timeline. Basically you select "worldwide," as a possible location, and then select my nomination areas (business development). It tells you which countries have that program and what likelihood there is of going there. You then compare it to the wiki timeline and figure out which countries will most likely have openings around or after June 1, 2011.
Which if we all did it the same should bring up Ukraine, but then you compare it to the timeline, and you will see they depart in March, and maybe Sept. So unlikely for me.
Oh now, one more thing to throw in. I won't be going to any country where corn is a major dietary staple. (I'm deathly allergic.) So as my dad puts it, "No Taco Land for you." We can rule out pretty much most of South America as a destination.
Then, there is one more fun step. There are little buttons next to the countries on the calculator. Click the countries that are ruled out (both for corn and departure dates), and they disappear from the list, adjusting the percent automatically. If I am doing it right it looks like this in the end-

Kenya is now at 27% and Togo is at 23%. And Mongolia is scaring the beejeezus out of me at 19%. (Mongolia is cold! I am very afraid of the cold. Bring on hot countries! I like the hot!)

And now just for fun- my other possible nomination areas-

Information Technology-
(Tanzania, by the way, is high on my list of places I'd love to go- Mt Kilimanjaro!!)
And as you can see on this list, Uganda is a REALLY strong possibility!

So as you can see the wiki calculator and timeline are fun, but not really practical. If anything, they are just good for ruling a lot of places out. (For instance, it doesn't look like there is any chance of me going to the South Pacific, which is a bit of a bummer.)

So there you have it, I'm in, but I have no idea where to!

And in case you were wondering, YES, I can have visitors!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Best conversation of the day

3 yr old Boy #1 (to me): My cup is red. 

Me: What color are your pants?

Little Boy #1: Blue.

Me: What color is your hair?

Little Boy #1 (He looks up intently, trying to see his hair.): I don't know, I can't see it!

3 yr old Little Boy #2 (points helpfully at #1's head): It's right there!

Monday, November 01, 2010

31 Days of Service Wrap Up

The last 31 Days of Service have been amazing. I have loved every single day of it. I admit, I missed doing service or acts of kindness on 2 days. But still, come on, 29 days isn't too shabby!
I had expected it to be a lot more difficult. I had researched plans to volunteer at a homeless shelter and the animal shelter. But what I found is that there were plenty of other things to do around me. From helping my family out, to doing favors for friends, or church work, I rarely had time to go find those bigger projects I had expected to need to fulfill my goal.
I didn't expect this goal to do so many acts of kindness would be fun. I had expected it to be more of a sacrifice. But really, it just felt good and natural to just do something good each day.
The best part of it was that every Sunday I took a handicapped woman to church. I had expected it to be more of a sacrifice and an inconvenience. But it turned out to be fun, and I really enjoyed getting know her. I was only filling in for someone else, who just happened to need a substitute the same weeks I was looking for a project. But I think I may even volunteer to take her more often.
This won't be the end of my service goals. I intend to try and do one act of kindness for others every day.
To my friends that filled in and helped me out by doing service days for me this past month- THANK YOU! It meant a ton to me to know that my friends would do that for me!

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