Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolution Solution

I wanted to have a blog posting that was really deep today since it is the last day of 2010.  I wanted to wow you with my insight on 2010.  I tried reflecting back on my year and . . . well . . . there honestly wasn't that much to reflect on.  We went to Hometown a few times, Hubby went on a few business trips, our daughter did her thing with school activities but overall it was a rather uneventful year.  As I am typing this, I am looking at a sticky note stuck to my computer monitor with my resolutions for 2010 on it.  I didn't do bad at them but I guess I could have done better.  They were 1) Live simply, 2) Cherish that which cannot be seen, and 3) Find comfort in order and awareness.  When 2010 started, I was very proud of these what I considered deep, philosophical resolutions.  These were going to change my life I thought.  But while I have worked at these I realize that they should not be new year's resolutions - they should be a way of life period.  I should not think of it as what can I do to improve in this coming year.  I should think of it as what can I do to improve my life period.  I made some progress on those resolutions but not enough.  And I don't want to give up on them just yet.  I feel there is more work to be done in these areas and just because 2010 is ending doesn't mean I should just give up on them.  And it is not just making the same resolution year after year because I didn't fulfill it last year.  My life is a work in progress - something that is constantly changing and morphing.  I'm sure these ideas will be added on to as the year progresses but as far as new year's resolutions go, my resolution is to continue improving on my last year's resolutions . . . no . . . make that to continue with my new focuses in life - to live simply, to cherish that which cannot be seen, and to find comfort in order and awareness.  Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Insuring a Perfect Holiday

Dear Nationwide Insurance,

I would like to thank you for covering the recent copper pipe theft we experienced in the house which we are trying to sell.  You handled our claim swiftly even promising us that we were paying too much and adjusting our policy.  We appreciate all you have done for us including opening our eyes to your ridiculous practices and idiotic procedures.  Not being able to talk to an actual person at your office has been a true delight.  There is nothing I enjoy more than pushing buttons trying to get a real person.  Your front office staff has been remarkably unhelpful.  It seems they really excel at taking customers money and, if they are calling for any other reason, making sure they get disconnected.  I myself got to experience this wonderful skill during three consecutive phone calls - all within a fifteen minute span.  Now that's talent.  But most of all I would like to thank you for the wonderful Christmas greeting that arrived in our post box yesterday.  Most Christmas mail simply says "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" but no, you went with the much more original "We sincerely regret we are unable to continue your Homeowner insurance protection at this time".  Wow.  Never has a more eloquent Christmas greeting been uttered.  What an amazing gift - adjusting our policy so that our payments will be zero.  I hope you all had a magnificent Christmas break of four and a half days out of the office.  Nothing beats spending time with family especially when you drive together to your agent's office to find it dark and vacant.  Your holiday spirit in unmatched and your new year will be prosperous, without you even having to do anything to deserve it.  Thank you for making this a craptastic Christmas for me and my family.

quirky me

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Christmahanukwanzukah To You!

Today I have taken a break from all the wrapping and baking and planning and preparing to say Happy Whatever-It-Is-You-Celebrate to you!  I'm not sure with all of the excitement of the next few days that I will be able to get to blogging.  So I want to wish you, well, to be honest, a Merry Christmas.  Christmas is what I celebrate and I don't really understand what is so bad about saying Merry Christmas.  If I say Merry Christmas to someone who is Jewish are they going to slug me?  I doubt it.  If someone who is Jewish were to wish me a Happy Hanukkah, I would feel honored that they were sharing their celebration with me.  Same goes for Kwanzaa.  Same for the Winter Solstice.  Whatever you celebrate, you should be able to wish a friendly greeting to people in that time of year.  Its too hard to remember who to say what greeting to so as not to offend anyone.  Sharing your feelings of happiness shouldn't have to be politically correct.  Its all gotten way too out of hand.  My daughter came to me the other day confused.  She was wondering if Chanukah was a politically correct way to combine Christmas and Hanukkah.  After I set her straight (and had a quick chuckle), I really got to thinking about the term Happy Holidays.  I went from thinking of it as a polite way to encompass everyone's beliefs in one salutation to thinking of it as a forced means of regulating society into being too generic.  I think we've all just gotten a little too sensitive on the topic.  What's wrong with being proud of who you are and what you celebrate.  So to all of my peeps out there - Merry Christmas!  I send you a warm greeting inviting you to share in my celebration of the joy of the season.  Be proud.  Don't wimp out with Happy Holidays.  Share your feelings and if someone says "I don't celebrate that" then ask them what they do celebrate.  You may just learn something new about them and allow them to show their pride in their beliefs and celebrations.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Krogering

This Saturday is Christmas and yesterday I had to go to the grocery store.  I would have rather licked the parking lot pavement than gone into the actual Krogers but it had to be done.  I hadn't bought anything for Christmas dinner, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas baking or, well anything food-like remotely related to Christmas.  Not to mention the usual milk and bread staples.  I was amazed at the lack of courtesy that was on display within the super mega-sized store.  I should have known not to expect much but I wasn't prepared for what I encountered.  People were acting like they were the only ones in the store - blocking aisles, grabbing items, crashing carts and generally being obnoxious.  It was like a pack of rogue monkeys was let loose in the store.  I thought maybe since its Christmas everyone will be filled with the Christmas spirit.  Apparently they checked their Christmas spirit at the door because no such luck.  I followed one lady (because there wasn't space to get around her) for at least five minutes as she strolled along at a snail's pace just to have her decide at the end of the aisle that she needed to suddenly do a 180 and hit into my cart at which point she looked at me like I suddenly jumped in HER way.  It took a total of an hour and a half to get through the store and I left without some of the things that I needed (their stock was well picked over).  And the wonderful Christmas carols that we all love just add to the aggrivation.  I really enjoy the carols when I am shopping but not in those kinds of crowds.  One cannot be calmed by "Joy to the World" when there is no joy in your world because someone just snaked the last pouch of sugar cookie mix as you reached for it.  I should have known better than to try to go to a store this close to Christmas.  This is why I shop for my gifts in September.  Too bad food expires.  Oh well, at least I don't have to go to the Wal-mart this week.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jingle Fails

So I realized today that its the last day before Christmas break.  I remember when I was in school and it felt like we went to school all the way up to December 23rd every year.  But no, our daughter gets out of school on December 17th for Christmas.  That's over a week before Christmas actually happens.  But whatever, my complaining isn't going to change the school calendar.  It'll just make me feel better for about 2 seconds.  There - back to being annoyed.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my daughter and love spending time with her.  I just have way too much left to do before Christmas to have break start already.  I was so proud because my tree was up early but other than the tree, there's not a speck of Christmas to be seen.  Creating a holiday wonderland - Fail.  See once Christmas break starts, wrapping presents for her is not an option during the day.  So today, after my great realization, I spent over 2 hours wrapping Christmas gifts in every shape and size imaginable.  Now my shoulders hurt, my neck hurts, and I'm still not done.  Wrapping gifts early - Fail.  But hey, 2 hours now is 2 hours I don't have to spend wrapping in the middle of the night between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  But there is still so much more to be done.  There are still a few more presents to buy.  Shopping ahead of time - Fail.  It was much easier last year when we spent the week before Christmas in Florida at Disney World.  Everyone who wasn't bought for ahead of time got something cool from Mickey himself.  Then I had an excuse.  Most things were done well in advance and the things that weren't done ahead of time just didn't get done under the guise of "we weren't home".  Baking being one of them.  This year, I still haven't even bought the ingredients to bake anything.  Yummy Christmas cookies - Fail.  This year its back to the same old last minute wrapping and shopping and baking and decorating.  At the rate I'm going, I think I'll be done some time in - February!  But I love Christmas and I will make it happen and what doesn't happen oh well.  Christmas is about family and love and much more than cookies and presents and decorations.  Whatever happens I need to remember its my book and I write my own ending and I say it ends like this: Failing at having a wonderful Christmas - FAIL!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wanted: Family - Must LOVE Horses

Apparently, all children in foster care get ponies for Christmas.  I don't intend to sound mean but this is my first impression of searching for children in the foster care system to adopt.  75% of the children I have found LOVE horses and enjoy riding horses and delight in tending to horses and want to live with horses.  I'm not kidding.  I have a severe allergy to horses.  So do I immediately rule these children out?  What if they seem perfect for our family in every other way except the horses?  Do you give the child an ultimatum of forever family or horse?  Should I even do that to a child?  By expressing interest am I putting them in a horrible situation?  Another 15% on top of the 75% want to be veterinarians when they grow up.  Again, allergic to animal fur here.  This is not a career choice that I can exactly promote.  Its probably the people at the stables where their ponies are kept that are encouraging this occupational path.  Wherever it is coming from its definitely not helping me.  I'm just feeling discouraged at the moment.  The whole process is frustrating.  There are so many children out there that seem like a good fit until I get to the horse and/or vet portion of their little bio.  I know they won't all become vets or olympic equestrians but how are you supposed to know which ones are truly in love with the idea and which ones said it just to have something in their bio.  Hubby came up with the idea that the horses may be a therapy thing.  Since many of the children have been through traumatic experiences or have disabilities this may be the situation, but that doesn't help me any.  Oh, and they apparently all get trampolines for their birthdays.  I don't have one of those either.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Right On Target

This is just a message for all you shoppers out there looking for those last minute Christmas prezzies.  Go to Target and then check your receipt.  It is apparently name your price time at Target.  At least it is at our Target.  We went the other night and bought two things.  When we got to the cashier with our items, he scanned the first one.  Ok fine.  He scanned the second one and it didn't come up in the system.  So he goes "Do you remember how much this costs?  Just take a guess."  Well, having the memory of an elephant and some morals worked against me this time and I answered with the correct price which he quickly typed in and charged me for the item.  Then he told us our total and it didn't sound quite right.  When I looked at the receipt on the way out, we had been charged ten dollars too much for item number one.  Before we even left the store we headed to customer service/returns and told the woman we had been overcharged by ten dollars for an item.  She said "Ok", hit a few buttons and ta-da ten dollars back in my pocket!  No questions.  No price check.  No problem.  I thought "Wow.  What a nice employee." as I left the store.  Then today we had to return something to the Target.  The people in front of us had the same problem.  They had been overcharged for something too.  Without even blinking an eye the employee (a different one than the one we had) refunded them their money.  Two theories on this - either A) Target is going with a "the customer is always right" motto for the holidays or B) Target knows that their items are scanning for the wrong prices and are trying to overcharge people without them noticing.  If they notice, good for them.  They get their money back.  If they don't, all the more money for Target.  Either way, the moral of the story is if you want to get a good Christmas deal, go to Target.  You may get to name your price.  But beware and check your receipt, or you may be out of luck!  Happy Shopping Everyone!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Who Am I Foolin'? Oh, That's Right, Me!

I have figured out a wonderful solution to my exercising dilemma.  You remember my exercising dilemma - I hated doing it and thus just didn't.  Anyway, the solution - music!  I forgot how much I like music.  There is no way I can have music on and not move.  Even while I am sitting here in my chair typing this, I have the music on and am grooving around.  I was a dancer for many, many, many years so I guess its in my blood.  And since I have experience as a choreographer, I have decided to choreograph my own exercise routine.  I'm not going to do 100 squats in a row.  That just won't work with me.  But I will move if the moves are dance related and moving is what counts.  My goal is to get this organized for the new year and start my self-choreographed dancercise program as one of my resolutions.  Its a bit ambitious for me considering I love to just sit on my couch, but I really have to do something.  I don't like the way things are at the moment.  I'd love to be the skinny little dancer girl that I was in college but I realize that's just not going to happen.  What I would like is to not jiggle when I wiggle.  Not resembling jello would be a great start.  The holidays are not going to help which is why I'm not even attempting this until after the holidays are over.  There's no point in making an attempt that you know will be thwarted through your own lack of self-control.  So that's my plan.  P!nk and Lady GaGa, among others, will serve as my personal trainers and will whip my butt into shape.  I just have to remember its not exercising, its dancing.  Can't wait to see how long I can actually fool myself with that one!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Guilt Blogging

Ok.  Today's blog is out of guilt.  I haven't blogged in a few days and I'm feeling guilty about it.  But when I stopped and thought about it, I really didn't have anything creative, pertinent, or even witty to say.  Its been a pretty normal past few days.  I had my Christmas party at work.  It was fun.  My boss, who is the only other person in the office, worked through half . . . well . . . most of the party.  So I sat and read a lot.  I've heard from some of the caseworkers but nothing more than "Please send us a copy of your homestudy".  I have to wait until next Monday to submit any more names to my case worker.  I didn't go to work today because I have a sinus headache that could bring down a bear.  I've been thinking a lot about my purpose in life again, but still haven't come up with any lightbulb moments.  I've been up to . . . well . . . not much.  I'm not quite sure why I'm telling y'all this but I am just blogging out of guilt.  Guilt.  There's one thing I'm good at.  I'm Catholic.  It's something we're taught from a very young age.  It is an amazing thing.  Not only do we know how to experience it, but we know how to inflict it as well.  We're masters at the art.  We use it to get what we want and then feel guilty for using it.  It amazes me how participants of other religions don't get the full experience of guilt that Catholics do.  My husband is perfectly capable of having no guilt.  I don't know how he does it.  He also has the ability to not place blame.  Something I have had to work hard to not do.  I think guilt and blame go hand in hand.  My family loved playing the blame game and for some reason, I always seemed to be get the brunt of it.  But I won't bother you with that right now.  I'm just babbling.  Today's blog is just not up to par and, Lord help me,  I feel guilty.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Number Two! Where are You?

Ok.  Let's not kid each other here.  I am not an everyday blogger no matter how hard I try.  Especially on weekends.  So I will no longer make promises about blogging every day.  I will simply say that each post I make will be from the heart.  And I will try not to have gaps that are too big.  Too big being subjective I guess.  I hope you will still read and follow along as I navigate my way through this thing called life.

Well.  Today kicked off the official "Search for Daughter #2".  Over the weekend, we as a family decided on seven girls to inquire about to our case worker.  It was a hard decision process but we actually were all happy with the girls we settled upon.  I turned the names in to her today and I guess now we wait and see.  I hate the waiting.  I also registered us on an adoption website.  Have to wait for that to be verified too.  It was a lot more intense than I thought it would be.  We had to write a family narrative about ourselves.  That was hard.  I'm hoping what I wrote will be good enough to intrigue the case workers on the other end.  I also added girl #8 at the last minute.  She was on a different adoption site and I was able to make an inquiry about her right away.  Quickly, I got a response that she already had a potential family identified and was visiting with them.  If she already has a family identified - take her off the site.  This process is hard enough.  The amount of children to sort through so vast that having children who are spoken for in the mix just complicated things even more.  I suddenly got this image of us parents-to-be swarming like sharks to bait as each child is dangled in front of us.  This is a whole turn to the process I guess I wasn't prepared for.  I mean I knew we would encounter children that we weren't a match for and that.  I didn't expect us to have our choice of any child we wanted, but I also forgot about the losing out factor.  I guess I better get used to it.  That feeling of being rejected.  I hate encountering that and honestly don't have much experience with it.  I better toughen up and get some thick skin because it looks like this will be a long, bumpy road.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Different Kind of Christmas Shopping

Yay!  Shout it from the rooftops.  Alert the media.  It's official!  We are licensed to adopt!  We got the word yesterday and it still feels surreal to me.  All that work.  All of the requirements.  All the waiting.  Over and done.  Now we just have to find the right match and things will be on their way.  I'm excited to say the least but still scared at the same time.  What if I screw this up?  What if I get a child in my home and can't handle that child?  I can't stand the thought of having a child move in just to have it all fall through before the adoption is final.  The "child shopping" aspect comes into play again and I just don't know if I can handle it.  I also am scared financially.  If the rental of our house had gone through as we hoped, we would be in a much better place.  But it didn't.  We just couldn't risk having someone obviously financially irresponsible in our house most likely NOT paying rent.  We've really drained our finances and I am not sure how physically far away we can look for a child.  I would hate to miss out on the right child simply because they live at a significant distance from us.  There are just so many children out there needing homes.  How am I to pick just one?  I know that the social services agencies will help.  If we are not a good match for that child they will let us know.  But what happens if we're a good match for more than one child?  How would I ever choose between them?  I thought once we got to this point in the process that it would be smooth sailing from here on out, but it actually seems more stressful now than it did at any other point.  I guess that's because it is more real now than it ever has been before.  I know I should be to the moon happy, and I am, I just get knocked back down to earth every time I realize what a momentous step we are about to take.  I just can't seem to wrap my brain around it.  I guess its like any other life milestone - getting married, having a baby, moving across the country - you just have to jump in with both feet and hope for the best.  Ok.  I'm ready.  3...2...1...JUMP!!!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How Great Thou Art

Today I had a wonderful conversation with a friend on what makes art art.  It all started with him asking me if I would be offended as someone who was raised Catholic if a crucifix was used in art.  Apparently there was a recent exhibit where a video media piece was removed because of complaints.  It had a shot of a crucifix with ants covering it contained in the piece.  I answered "It would depend.  First off, it is your choice to view the art.  If you don't like it, walk away but don't enforce your opinions on others.  Let them form their own opinions.  Art is art in the eye of the beholder.  Personally, if it is used in art with a purpose versus simply used for mockery and shock value then it would be ok, but if it is defiling the crucifix in some way I don't think I would agree with that unless the artist had another reason other than just defiling the religious object.  I believe each artist has a responsibility to create something that conveys something whether that be a message or an emotion or whatever.  Not that I think all art should be blatantly labeled or have an accompanying explaination.  I believe that art is an experience and each individual may get something different out of seeing that piece.  In turn, I think the viewer has the responsibility to educate himself on the art/artist hopefully prior to forming an opinion.  How do you know that which you are personally feeling will be the emotion or whatever invoked in others upon viewing the same piece?  You must consider the artist's intent.  When the responsibility of the artist to convey something and the responsibility of the viewer to educate themselves meet, that is the point where you find really great art.  Maybe that's why it is easier for someone to enjoy a Monet versus a Kandinsky - the Monet, being more blatant than the Kandinsky, is more easily conveying a message or an emotion to the viewer because the viewer can easily identify what is being conveyed.  When you take away that easy identification do you lose some of the viewers - yes because there is no way for them to relate to the piece unless they have done their homework or have a personal connection that they are making of some sort.  Would you feel that same why about a Monet if it were given a different title?  A more ambiguous title maybe?  Would you have a greater appreciation for abstract art if you knew more about why it was created or what it's purpose was expressed in the title?"  So the next time you go to a museum, pick out a painting that you just don't get, something that just doesn't speak to you, and do a little research on it later on.  You may just view the piece in a whole new light.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Say Cheese! III - Finally

First off, let me apologize yet again.  I broke my promise to you and didn't blog yesterday.  The truth is I was distracted by two things - 1) it snowed here in Suburbia for the first time this year and 2) my daughter's school picture retakes finally came home.  The snow was just flurries but enough to get me excited.  I am always thrilled by snow unless it is laying on the roads and I have to drive through it.  Then snow sucks.  But more importantly, the photographers finally brought the school picture retakes to Suburbia High.  Daughter was excited to get them until she saw them.  She says she looks drunk.  I don't think they are that bad, but I can see where she's coming from with her opinion.  They're not the best pictures she's ever taken.  They're not the worst pictures she's ever taken.  The photographers did their job.  Her eyes are open.  She appears to be smiling or talking.  (We can't decide which.)  And most importantly her hair is a normal color and not like a shamrock.  She seems disappointed in them but they're school pictures.  What do you want?  There's a reason these people aren't award winning photographers shooting magazine covers and superstars.  They're here to snap a picture and move on to the next child.  I give them credit.  They do take a couple of thousand pictures in one day when they go to Suburbia High.  They can't all be Vogue-worthy.  Do I think I got my moneys worth?  By school picture standards, yes.  By actual bang for your buck, no.  But it's a picture of my baby girl so it means the world to me.  Now I just have to cut, sign, sort, and stuff them into the Christmas cards so I can get those out of my living room and into the overpriced postal system.  Oh joy!