Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hi. How are You? -- UPDATE

Wednesday, April 27, 2011.....

At the beginning of this month, I decided to say hi, how are you to everyone who crossed my path. Well, I haven't.

Actually, it was very eye opening to me. I would remember that I wanted to do this AFTER I passed most people. I became conscious of the fact that I much more shy than I realized and look down a lot when I walk (in fairness to me, I am somewhat klutzy and trip quite a bit). However, when I remembered, the reactions were interesting.

I think the more interesting reactions came from people who were either service people (parking attendants) or people that were a different race than me. They responded with more zeal than others and put a smile on my face. It was nice seeing how one polite salutation made a difference.

I never really realized how much this experiment would impact me, but it has. It has made me aware I need to stop being so timid and how I saying something so simple can make a person smile.

I liked doing this experiment and will continue to do so. I'm hoping it becomes second nature and I don't have to remember to say it. Until then, I will make the conscious effort to remember.

I'm curious, has anyone tried an experiment like this? If so, I'd love to hear your results.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Great Easter Egg Hunt of 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011.....

This past Sunday was Easter and tradition in our family is to have an Easter egg hunt. Granted, my 24 year old nephew is the youngest participant, but sometimes traditions should have no age limits.

The weather was something we worried about. It had been raining for several days and the weatherman predicted rain showers on-and-off for the day so we were a little leery if it was actually going to happen. I'm glad it turned out to be sunny because there was a fair amount of smack talk going down on the phone, twitter and facebook. My family has a hardcore competitive spirit (we also like to pull pranks on one another)and to gloat for one entire year is priceless.

My nephew arrived and showed me his bruised and bashed up ankle. It looked bad, but found it funny it was the first thing he showed me as he came through the door. It's nice to know he gets in the spirit of the hunt and knows we're pretty serious here in LMBville on Easter day.

We did mix it up a bit. In addition to hiding small chocolate eggs, we hid 4 Cadbury eggs. One Cadbury egg counted as 5 eggs and out of the 4 hidden eggs, I found 2 of them.

Was there shoving? Yes. Was there people jumping on others once a patch of eggs were found (my dad hides the eggs in bunches, so 12 eggs could be in one area? Yes. However, I don't think that's the question you want answered.

You want to know if I won....Well, I believe in creative liberties as I am the author of this blog, so my response is YES.....However, it's just wrong to lie on a holy holiday and have to tell you YogaGirl won and got to wear a tiara for the remainder of the day (this is something new I added into the mix). Like the Masters' blazer, YogaGirl gets possession of the tiara for one year and passes it along to the next winner. My husband has already announced he won't wear the tiara next year and wants a crown. However, I don't think I have to worry about finding him a crown because YogaGirl is going down next year.

Monday, April 25, 2011

April: The Month of Odd Dreams.....

Monday, April 25, 2011.....

Since the beginning of April I have been having odd dreams. For example, I had a dream where I rented a house in Italy on the Mediterranean coast. It was decorated all in soft white, but the pillows were blood red and white. There is more to this dream, but nothing like the dream I had right before waking up Saturday morning.

The last dream I had before getting out of bed involved a German Sheppard. It wasn't my dog, but it was following me everywhere (gradually moving closer and closer towards me, but staying at a 5 foot distance from me). This dog just wanted to be with me and I didn't know why. In my dream, the dog warden came to take the dog from me, but when I explained that dog never left my side, he said he didn't care and had to take the dog. There was more back-and-forth conversation between us and the dog warden finally agreed that the German Sheppard could stay with me if it could dance to country music.

{Note: I have seen country music artists in concert, but it is not the music station I first select -- so I haven't a clue where this came from.}

I couldn't get the warden to budge from this compromise and let him put on his country music cd. As soon as the music started, the German Sheppard started doing the 2-step. It was impressive (I know I can't).

The dream ended with the warden leaving and the German Sheppard following me, but now began walking right next to my side.

I got up and searched the Internet for the dream interpretation for German Sheppards and this is what I found:

To see a German shepherd in your dream represents your protective instincts and alertness. To dream that you are training a German shepherd suggests that you are easily influenced or open to new ideas.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sometimes You Have to Laugh...

Wednesday, April 21, 2011.....

Job searching can be hard, but every now-and-again, I get a good chuckle. Today I received this reject letter:

Hello LMB,

Thank you for your interest in our XYZ position. We have had a chance to review your resume and compare it against other people who have expressed an interest in this position as well.

Unfortunately, we have decided to pursue other candidates who appear to match (skills and experience) our requirements more closely at this time.

Should something change on our side (or we get another job opening that matches your background better), we will not hesitate to contact you.

Thank you again for your interest in an employment opportunity with ABC Company, and we wish you the best in your current job search.

Thanks for sharing your background and for your interest in ABC Company. Our team has reviewed your resume. Although you have good qualifications, we've decided to pursue other candidates who fit our requirements more precisely.

We will keep your resume on file for future possibilities. If you have applied for another opening at ABC Company, your application will be considered separately.

I have to admit, I appreciate a company that notifies its candidates either way (many don't), but am thinking it's overkill to tell me twice I'm not qualified. I got it the first time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Superstition: Omaha Steaks

Tuesday, April 19, 2011.....

According to Wikipedia, a superstition is a credulous belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge. My superstition, Omaha Steaks, definitely fits the Wikipedia definition.

It started in August 2001. I went to a local Omaha Steaks' store and bought a lot of food to stock my freezer. The next day, I was let go from my job (the company actually folded a couple months later).

In March 2003, I go to Omaha Steaks again, fill my freezer with yummy foods, and the next day am laid off (another company that went under).

It is then I notice the connection of Omaha Steak visits and my layoffs. I share my theory with sister YogaGirl and tell her I'm never going to the Omaha Steak store (lucky for me, it closed down). I can't really remember YogaGirl's response to my theory, but I'd like to believe that my logic behind my theory was enough to convince her my theory is rationale and grounded (hey, a girl likes to dream).

May 2008, I take a Friday off. In Saturday's mail is a boatload of Omaha Steak coupons and Monday I get a call from my boss laying me off (I, along with several of my co-workers were supposed to be laid off on Friday, but they couldn't lay off my co-workers because I had taken the day off). I blame the Omaha Steak coupons for the layoff (not the fact that my company was downsizing like no one's business).

So...why am I retelling my tale...because I watched the Celebrity Apprentice and the task involved Omaha Steaks. I'm hoping the curse is over and just watching Omaha Steaks being promoted will land me a job.

Note: I really do love Omaha Steaks' products, but my superstition will not allow me to buy another of their products for fear of never getting a job.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Some Days I Just Lose It.

Monday, April 18, 2011.....

Yesterday was one of those days that I just lost it. I mean I had an emotional vomit session and my husband was the toilet. It wasn't anything he said or did, it was totally me. I can't explain why (having had a womanly cancer, I've eliminated the option of PMS) and it was extremely frustrating to me.

I could feel a variety of emotions building up and brewing inside of me and it was though I could feel my blood boil. I hadn't a clue why I was so angry and when asked what was wrong, I just began to weep.

The weird part is that I really wanted to stop. I really wanted to know why I was so mad, but couldn't.

All day I was like this. In fact, I wish I could have left my own body and hung out with someone else, but I was trapped with me.

I finally calmed down by nightfall (I wonder if I'm like a vampire) and today is a good day.

There are reasons why I'm so off my rocker at the moment and I know I'll find a way to handle the stress. In the meantime, my husband sent me an email this morning with something he knows I'd love to do. He gets amazing specials on plays and dinners in NYC and I love going into NYC, but can't right now. He offered to take me. It is a sweet idea, but I believe this is as fun to him as a root canal.

Although I appreciate the gesture more than you can imagine, I don't want to go with someone who wouldn't enjoy the experience the same way.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sister Act

Friday, April 15, 2011......

For people who have been reading my blog for awhile, know I participated in my first triathlon last September with my two sisters. We participated as a team and my part was the 5k run.

I knew I was going to walk it, set a goal, and hit my goal. Although I was happy, I knew that my sisters really pulled their weight and had killer times in the swim and bike portion of the event.

My oldest sister, Science Girl, is the one with the competitive sports bug. She participates in century rides (100 mile bike rides), marathons (26.2 mile runs) and sprint triathlons. It is a passion of hers and like other siblings in my family, has a competitive streak -- always striving to do better.

I know this year I plan on running my portion of the triathlon. Walking will not suffice this year. I also know I need to set a decent goal for self for fear of being kicked off the Sister Act team (which I don't want to happen). So for the fear of getting kicked team Sister Act, I am now trying to go to the gym at 5:50 a.m. during the week and have been slightly successful, but plan on kicking it up a notch.

I have about 4 and 1/2 months until this race. I wonder, will I become a morning person by the time the event rolls around with the a.m. training schedule? Hmmmmm.....probably not unless miracles happen.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Airline Travel

Thursday, April 14, 2011.....

I'm going to apologize in advance because I know I might offend some parents out there, but I have a beef with some parents who travel with small children AND not for the reason you think.

Small children make noise. That's okay. What's not okay is when I make my airplane reservations,choose my seat, but a parent with a small child comes into my row and turns to me and asks if her child can sit in my window seat. I politely turn to the mother and say no. She then turns to her child and tells him, "Sorry Johnny, but the nice lady won't move so you can't sit by the window" and promptly turns her head to see if I heard her.

This happened to me years ago on a red-eye from CA to NY. I thought it a fluke until I talked with my sister the other day. She was on a flight back to NJ and this family was sitting in her row when she boarded the plane. She went to get into her seat when the father asked if he could sit in her seat (he implied that he wanted to sit with his family). She said no and he, and other members of his brood, got up and moved. He went and talked to the flight attendant and my sister discovered no one in his party were sitting in her row to begin with.

So....what's my point to this story? When you book your tickets, if you plan ahead like I do, pick your seat. Don't pull out the kid card, it's just wrong. If I make the time (an additional minute) to choose a window seat, do the same.

I understand it must be hard traveling with a toddler, but that doesn't excuse you from doing the same thing I do when I make a reservation. Oh yeah, if you want till last minute, this still doesn't excuse you and give you the right for my seat.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Love When It's a Slow News Day....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011......

I live outside a major metropolitan city, and my husband is a complete news junkie. Every night, he flips on the news and we watch it for about 2 hours. It's insane. I hate it and typically do other things during this time.

Why LMB don't you want to be informed? Not really. I do enjoy watching the weather man on CBS, Channel 2 (NYC) deliver the weather, and enjoy the food/cooking segment. but, that's about it. Overall, news is pretty dismal and right now, I don't need to be scared or depressed to death with the local news report.

However, I'm curious about something. Who is the person who determines which story goes on the air when it's a slow news day? Yesterday, I saw a news trailer for the story about a police officer spraying a squirrel (segment was entitled Cop vs Squirrel). Am I missing something? Why is this newsworthy?

If we're going to create a news program entirely based upon stories like this I might actually watch the news more. Yes I just mocked this, but it's a nice break in my day because it is absurd. Based upon the absurd news story criteria, I believe we'd see stories such as these:

- Royal penguin wedding being held the same day as that famous English royal couple.

- People dying their hair purple in support of National Welch's Grape Juice day (I made this up, but I bet there is a national grape juice day)

- Local condo association board prohibits kids from being able to play in their front yards because of the noise (oh wait, that was a true news story - I heard this and immediately thought these people needed to move to an over age 55 complex if they don't want to hear children playing in their condo complex).

Okay, you get my point. A slow news day is a waste of my television viewing. Now, if I could only get my husband to agree.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Lingering Odors from My Kitchen.....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011....

I live in a small house and cook in a very small kitchen. Often when I cook, the aroma, or odor, lingers throughout the night. Sometimes the house is filled with the scent of a chicken roasting or vanilla if we baked (that is rare, but it happens). These scents I like. However, last night I made turnip greens for the first time.

I cooked them with a little rice wine vinegar, veggie stock and Asian chili paste. There wasn't any smell while I was cooking them,but afterwards, I have only one word: HORRID.

The smell was so bad, it made it difficult to sleep and I was up spraying Fabreeze sometime in the middle of the night. It still smells this morning and I am now forced to think of something to make to combat the smelly foot odor smell. Hmmm.... not sure what, but I'll come up with something so I don't pass out or have the smell penetrate into my skin (god, I hope I don't smell like that).

Btw, the turnips greens were actually very tasty. Smoky and spicy. It'd be great with white rice (and I'm not a big fan of plain white rice) and sesame chicken.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Beauty of a Warm Saturday......

Monday, April 11, 2011.......

This past Saturday, hubby and I got to enjoy a great warm Spring day and definitely took advantage of it. I have to admit, it's been an extremely stressful time for me, so spending time outside with hubby on a wonderful Spring day was just what I needed.

We spent the time working our garden (YogaGirl would not find this fun, but what does she know). We also separated some of our seedlings (heirloom tomatoes) and planted lettuce, beets and sugar snap peas. We were also surprised that some of my herbs survived the winter, so I repositioned them. Now, I just have to be prepared for Mr. Woodchuck and his friends.....and I am. I have my cayenne pepper and dish soap and will get him before he has his first nibble on the parsley and think my garden is his version of Denny's all-you-can-eat buffet.

I love these days. It is these type of days when hubby and I slowly turn over our garden, clean the yard and stand in wonder of how crappy our front yard looks compared to our neighbor's that make me forget all that's going on with me right now.

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Starbucks Barista.....

Friday, April 8, 2011.....

Last night I met a girlfriend at Starbucks. We usually meet every couple of weeks at Starbucks, but it had been awhile since we last got together.

The last time we got together, a small snafu happened. My order was placed, but the guy making the drink didn't hear the order. After about 10 minutes, I asked where my drink was and he looked at me as if I had 2 heads. I said I had ordered a grande mocha and he said he didn't know and please don't snap at him. I laughed. I asked him why would I snap and he said a lot of people would. I explained if not getting my coffee order was going to set me off on a tirade then I had some serious issues (I wish not getting a coffee order was my biggest problem). However, I understood what he meant.

I live in an area where people are always in a rush, expect too much, forget to say thank you and are often condescending. We chatted a bit and he was a really nice guy.

Fast forward 6 weeks later.... I go into Starbucks and before I even get a chance to say: "Hi. How are you?" (in honor of my April experiment) he blurted out: "Where have you been"? It made me laugh to think he remembered me, but I guess it's rare to meet polite customers.

We chatted a bit while I waited for my friend and asked him about a new drink a caramel mocha latte (I thought that is what my sister in NJ told me it was great and how it cut the bitterness of the mocha drink)and the 2 baristas behind the counter thought I was crazy. I mentioned my sister is from New Jersey, and that sparked a very fun conversation (sorry, New Jersey). By this point my friend arrived and the barista, well, he told me the secret to cutting the bitterness from a mocha latte -- ask for 2 pumps of vanilla.

It pays to be nice to your barista. What am I saying? You should always be nice to anyone you come along -- it may just make their day and yours.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hi. How are You?

Thursday, March 7, 2011......

While out running errands on Tuesday, I stopped at my local convenience store to pick up a Powerball lottery ticket. As I was getting out of my car, a older gentleman was getting into his truck. He had backed into his space making his car door next to mine. When I got out of the car, I said hi, how are you? I could tell he was a bit taken aback and responded with saying hi and began talking about the weather (skies very gray and opposite of what you envision a spring day would be). I commented the skies were gray, but it was warm out and better than snow.

As I made my way away, I told him to have a good day and he said the same. What struck me was how my simple interchange seemed to happily surprise this gentleman and I told my husband how I plan to say "Hi, How are you?" to every stranger I come across for the rest of this month.

I'm curious how people will respond. I wonder if they will. I also wonder if they will try to engage in further conversation or just walk away. I'll let you know at the end of the month.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Words I Never Wanted to Hear.......

Wednesday, April 6, 2011.....

Sunday evening, hubby and I were watching 60 Minutes and they did a segment on the unemployed. I always get a pit in my stomach watching these things, often turning the channel, but decided to watch it. They mentioned how employers are now requiring an applicant be employed to apply for the posting. There is nothing illegal about this, but in the back of my mind I always fear an employer may dismiss my application because I've been out of work far too long.

Monday I apply for a position through an agency and get a call about my resume. They were very interested in me until she saw the gap in my resume. She asked if I had been employed elsewhere since 2008 and when I said no, she told me I'm not the type of client her agency wants to represents.


I actually asked her this. Her response: "We don't make any money". Again, I asked why, but added it logically didn't make any sense. I explained my interviews, pulled positions, geographic limitations, what I've doing since 2008 and finished with: Why wouldn't you make money off me? After all this time, I'd be grateful for a job and there would be no worries about you getting a commission.

I think she realized how she came off. I have to tweak my resume, but have an interview with this agency on Friday. I know nothing will become of it, but know it's good practice to sharpen my interviewing skills with people who have a wall up.

Interviewing is like dating. Often it takes a lot of first dates to get into a meaningful relationship.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Can Anyone Explain This to Me?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011.......

Last week I heard on the news that Snooki from the reality show, Jersey Shore, was paid $25,000 to speak at Rutgers University on partying and tanning. What's more astonishing is that Nobel-Prize winner, Tonie Morrison, is getting less for making the commencement speech.

Initially I laughed, but then I started thinking, how much does it cost to have a celebrity speak at an engagement, so I did a little research. For under 10K I can hire the following:

Reality TV Personality - Jillian Harris
Model - Kim Alexis
Actress - Mackenzie Phillips
Music - Beatlemania

Granted there are a slew of other speakers within this price range, but I didn't have a clue who they were. So, I did a little more digging....

Lance Armstrong gets over $50,000, Jay Leno and Donald Trump over $100,000, but did I expect to pay anything less?

What I was surprised about, assuming info on the Internet is accurate, I was pleasantly surprised that Jacques Pepin's fee is under $20,000. I adore Jacques Pepin. My dream job would to be his assistant....wait, I'm getting sidetracked.

Point of my findings is that Snooki, gets $32,000? Am I missing something?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Celebrating My Dad's 89th Birthday.....

Monday, April 4, 2011.......

This past Saturday was my dad's 89th birthday and my sister invited YogaGirl, dad, hubby and I over for lunch (Saturday is church day for my dad and although it starts at 4:00 pm, he leaves 1 hour in advance of service - we don't really know why and stopped asking).

My dad is an AMAZINGLY active man. He golfs, walks daily, president of his town's senior center, a member of a men's club, bridge group, but for the past 2 years, I've noticed how he hasn't been that happy about getting another year older. I guess I can't blame him.

He's outlived 2 sets of friends (this reminds me of Tom Hanks' character in the Green Mile) and starting to really slow down. He's finally acknowledging his hearing is going and wearing his hearing aid. Mind you, unless we told him to put them in, we'd have to scream at him in order for him to hear us. I can only imagine if a stranger saw this, I wonder if they thought we were guilty of elder abuse.

Anyway, the lunch was nice and then all talk turned to our Easter Egg Hunt. Yes. Easter Egg Hunt. My family takes it very seriously and it can turn into a blood sport (note: youngest member of egg hunt is 24). Winner gets to gloat for an entire year, and, when I say gloat, I mean GLOAT.

The one tricky element about the hunt is that my dad hides the eggs and as he ages, well, he hides them in unusual places. He recently started hiding the chocolate eggs under patches of grass he cuts up. Every year it gets weirder, and every year, he can't remember where he put them.

This should be interesting, but I do plan on taking down my contestants. Everyone is going down this year. Just saying.

{I'm glad potential employers know nothing of this blog because they might begin questioning how old I really am}

Friday, April 1, 2011

Serious Doubts About Volunteering.....

Friday, April 1, 2011......

Wednesday night I went to the 2011 kickoff meeting for my park's annual plant sale. This is the 3rd year I've been on the committee and the 3rd year the park has had it's sale.

The first year was a wonderful success, but last year, the dynamics changed. The chair people weren't strong enough to hold their own to the President of the park group (who claimed she didn't want to be in charge of anything on the plant sale committee, but got into everyone's business.

Needless to say, the President of the park group micro-managed everyone and this didn't sit well with me. She was quick to point out others' flaws, but didn't take ownership for hers.

A year passed and I really wanted to help, but in the light of day after the meeting I think I may bow out because of PERCEPTION.

Let me back up....I volunteer for the good of the cause. I focus on the event and cause, and do it to the best of my ability. When I was in my late 20's I did some heavy duty volunteering that involved boards with influential people in business. The more I got involved, the more I noticed the President of that board was useless and her reason for being on the board was to have another board member nominate her and her husband to the membership committee of a local country club. Oh. My. God. Other issues pursued, but it made it incredibly difficult to work with a woman who really didn't understand the real reason she should be volunteering.

Flash forward to 2009....I sign up to volunteer for the park's 1st plant sale. The President of the park (it's a 'friends of X park' group) wasn't really involved, the chair people were likable, delegated well and trusted their volunteers to come through. Sure, there were some issues because life got in the way for some volunteers, but it happens. However, even with the issues, the plant sale was a hit.

I survived year one and realized these people had their hearts in the right place and volunteered for the 2nd one. This time I signed up for more responsibilities. Unfortunately, the President who removed herself from year one because she didn't want to have her name tied to the event, until the end (when she saw we were successful), decided to take hold of the 2nd annual sale, BUT, she didn't want to be a chairperson.

As I worked with this group for year 2, I began pulling away more and more. The unnecessary bullshit and aggravation were too much. I swore at the end I wouldn't do more than the day prior and day of for 2011.

Wednesday night comes, I receive an email from another member telling me she couldn't come to the meeting and probably didn't have the time to give for this year's sale. I go to the meeting and tell the host (the President of the park committee) this and she sounds put off because the woman emailed me and not her. It becomes apparent that she was put off as she later asks me again why this woman emailed me and not her with this news. She was shocked when I told her that we've exchanged emails throughout the years. I consider this woman a nice person and we've chatted about other things having nothing to do with this plant sale. Is she my bestie - no, but would I have coffee with her - yes.

After a 3rd time of the President questioning why this woman emailed me (I think she finally believed that the woman emailed me and told me she wasn't coming because we were an hour into the meeting and she wasn't there).

However, this is not what has pushed me over the edge. What has pushed me over the edge is that the President (once again not wanting to be the chairperson, but acting like it) feels as though we may fail because we don't have enough volunteers. She may be true, but when discussed about not doing the sale this year, but picking it up again for next year; her response was priceless. She actually said: "What will people think?" Think about what? For god sakes, plants are always needed. Who cares what people think from other towns. Isn't it more important to focus on an event? We're not a huge park, and it is one of those things that people happen upon. It's a nice thing to come upon, but it isn't the Oscars or Golden globe Awards.

In my mind, people who care far too much about perception often forget the real reason they are volunteering. The event at hand is lost and, for me, the event at hand is what is important when it comes to volunteering.