Thursday, July 29, 2010

The big desk

Well, since MommaLlama didn't brag on me yet, I will go ahead and toot my own horn. I got a promotion at work a couple weeks ago. You are now reading the words of a "Senior Underwriter".

Oh yes, it is every bit as impressive as it sounds. Well, not really. It's exactly the same job that I had before. Same assignments, same workload, same goals. But there are some major benefits to this whole Senior thing. The first has to do with what they call my "letter of authority." That means that I can do more without needing a manager to sign off. I can quote larger accounts, and I can give them more aggressive prices, all by myself. They trust me with literally millions of dollars of exposure to loss. Ain't that a scary thought? Of course I'll always be audited and supervised and checked-up on, and I can still get smacked down if I make a mistake. But for most of the ordinary day-to-day transactions, I can do what needs doing without having to make an appointment and explain myself to someone. I haven't had trouble getting those sign-offs for a long time because my managers trusted my judgment and signed nearly everything I proposed. But it takes time to go through that, and frankly it's a little bit annoying and even humbling. And I am not the most humble person you've ever met. So I am now free to oversee my own little corner of the market and do what I want with it. Very cool.

And, referring to the title of the post, one of the very best benefits of all is my new desk. Seniors get bigger desks. Previously, I had what could be described as a quarter of a cubicle. Not much desk space, two miniature file cabinets, a bookshelf in the hall that I had to share, and three other people in my "pod". So now that I am a Senior, I have a "half cube" which includes a big extra counter top behind my chair, like 2.5' x 6', with two extra little chairs for visitors to sit on, and a bookshelf of my own. Not only is it spacious and comfortable, but I only have one neighbor in my "pod", another newly minted Senior, and she is the quietest person you've ever met. And there's nothing across the hall from us but a file room. It is the most wonderfully quiet space in the building.

The best part of all, I admit, is the ego boost. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to achieve this arbitrary milestone by this age. I feel like an actual adult with an actual career.

So, sorry if I'm bragging, I don't want it to go to my head. I just wanted to celebrate and share the joy of the big quiet half-cube with private bookshelf.


I literally just told a bunch of kids to get off my lawn... I thought it would be another 30 years before that happened.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Can't you just feel the excitement

I love this time of year... I get all giddy, anxious, thrilled, and definitely impatient... just like a child waiting for their birthday or Christmas gifts... but it isn't my birthday or Christmas... nope it is Curriculum Ordering Extravaganza!

COE starts for me back in January. I start combing my favorite websites and catalogs for new things that they are printing and will have ready for the coming school year. I watch my mailbox like a hawk, waiting for the latest catalog to arrive filled with glossy hopes and dreams just a few short months away. I have spreadsheets from all the years of the boys schooling so that I can see what I've ordered, notes on what I like and don't like, and things from previous wish lists just waiting to make their mark on the coming year.

Then July hits... oh the fun that is the homeschooling conference arrives in town. It is sort of like a shot of adrenaline for a homeschooling parent. The day is stacked with amazing speakers, and vendors fill a room with all their goodies... You walk out of that day, renewed, recharged, and ready to tackle the new school year... if you're one of the lucky few with your curriculum money in hand... you walk out with the prize finds of the day, the new year packed away in your trunk ready for you to start planning the minute you walk through the front door. This year I had to wait a few days, but that was okay... I still had a few tough choices to make, and needed the time to iron out the details, consult a few friends and a few more websites!

Then the day came... TODAY came... I had my lists, my money, my keyboard, and off I went... like a kid in a candy store filling my treat bag with all of the things that will fill our coming days.

Now the waiting... the watching... and the listening for that wonderful brown truck to slow down and stop in front of MY HOUSE!!! Oh the joy, and anticipation... ripping open boxes, the smell of new books, bindings being cracked for the first time... oh it is truly a wonderful time of year!

Monday, July 26, 2010

On a roll

We are half way through week 4 in the C25K program... the program this week calls for:

5 min walk, [3 min run/90 sec walk, 5 min run/2.5 min walk] x2

Saturday we managed a door to door time of 31 minutes, and today we kicked it up a little and shaved off a minute for a total of 30 minutes door to door.

Wednesday will be the last day of this routine, and we will move on to week 5 on Saturday. I'm really looking forward to that series (weirdly) because each of the three workouts are different... up to this point each of the three workouts have been identical... but we are nearing the end so they have kicked it up a notch. Next Wednesday we have to run an entire 20 minutes... while this is a little intimidating, I'm looking forward to not having to stop after each little running section. Every time I come to the end of a walking section I don't want to start running again, it takes too long to get back into the groove of an even stride and what not... I would much rather just push through with no little breaks in between.

Oh, and Bubba's asthma dr. gave us the big thumbs up last week (and a pat on my back) saying that this is the great sort of exercise to help build up his lungs (as long as I keep a close eye on him). He joked that he would be tickled beyond words if I could get him all the way up to a half marathon. I did asked Daddio about this, but it is 13.1 miles which translates to around a 2 hour run (as a respectable time). I can't wrap my head around that yet, so this is NOT on my current running radar!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You've got to be kidding me...

So yesterday was a REALLY sort of day, today has been a NICE (but not the good nice, in the good grief NICE sort of way) day.

It started off by needing to take the beast in to have a tire repair, nice! Thankfully they were able to get me in relatively quickly and we were only there for about 40 minutes. I did have a great book on St. Kolbe to read, and the boys had books as well so time moved fairly quickly.

Next we headed home for a little while, got some math and laundry done then off to the allergy dr., nice... we always have to spend a forever amount of time waiting around... thankfully they were running pretty quickly and we were only there for an hour, nice.

Considering the FUN morning the boys had to sit through, a quick stop at a fast food joint seemed like the nice thing to do... a little treat from the value menu seemed well deserved. As we wait in line (lunch rush, nice) I see a little bird on the ground near the car. He is jumping along and clearly is having some wing issues. When I first start watching him, he isn't that close to my car, we move up a car length and I'm a little closer to him, another car length and he is next to the car about midway on the drivers side. I had this sinking feeling that my next time to move, if he's hopped under the car... well you know... I point my side mirror down to see if I can see him, but I can't. I don't open my window and look out because I see that the car ahead of me has moved and I need to go... so I do. When I round the corner I look in the mirror... NICE... but not in the good way. I killed a poor, broken bird... REALLY FREAKIN' NICE!

For Real

Do you ever have a day when one word can really sum up the entirety of the day? Rarely, right... but it can happen. Mine was yesterday, and my word: REALLY!

Oh, on so many occasions I found myself saying that word that it took on a life of it's own. It started out normal, really.

Snooker was in a mood to start off the morning, and instead of just leaving him to get up on his own, his brothers (loving little critters they are) decided to push the bed in (trundle style) with him still in it. Yeah, I know, like stirring up a hornets nest! So I looked at them as Snooker was having the first melt down of the day... "Really guys?"

Then there was the escalation in tempers when Bobcat was next to me during the run, and Bubba thought he should be next to me... and there was a constant back and forth which included my heels getting stepped on several times. "REALLY GUYS?" (slight crooking of the neck)

I simply can't replay every event, but the word went something like this:

rEAlly?, REALLY?, reaLLY?, ReaLlY?, reallY?, REAlly?, really?, ReAlLy?, rEaLlY?... over and over again, and my neck, well apparently at some point I must have decided to make an origami bird with my neck muscles (caw caw). Good grief! I was quite pleased to put that day to BED!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Record keeping

Week three started on Saturday... the training schedule says you should do two reps of 90sec jog/90sec walk, 3 min jog/3 min walk

Saturday: 5 min walk warm up, 90/90, 3/3, 90/90, 2/2 (just couldn't do another minute), 3/3 (because I just had to do a three minute set... I didn't want to quit)

Monday: 5 min walk warm up, 90/90, 3/3, 90/90, 3/3, walk home (door to door 32 min).

I'm pleased that I got the series done in the right order this morning!

Friday, July 16, 2010

What's that smell?

Hello dear readers and friends! I feel like we know each other fairly well, and I think I can be frank with you. First put your arms down, you don't smell (well, if you do, I'll do my best to ignore it)... and thankfully at the moment I don't smell (I'm sure of this!).

Anyway, back to my point about smelliness... I've come to the gripping realization that there is no worse personal smell than that of having just run for 30 minutes (or longer if you are that cool, I'm not). Look, everyone gets hot and stinky working in the yard, working around the house... all that sort of thing, but nothing compares to the horrific odor of oneself and one's clothing after a run... good grief. I mean, I freak myself out in the shower realizing that it is in fact ME that smells that bad at that moment!

Why is it so much worse? Well, (if your still reading) I've come to a conclusion... that jarring motion of running/jogging literally shakes the stink right out or your pores. That can be the only logical answer, right?!

So there my friends, mystery solved :-)!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Speaking of shoes...

Further evidence that Tony Romo is a swell guy. Check out this post about his new line of shoes and clothing, distributed exclusively through Wal-Mart:

As a former kid who couldn't afford cool shoes, and got teased for it a LOT, I really admire Tony Romo's decision. These shoes may still be looked down upon by the snotty kids, but it's a step in the right direction, and I think more athletes should be aware of this and try to support affordable gear for their young, working class fans. I hated 80% of my elementary school days because of the grief I took for being a poorly dressed dork.

Those of you reading who know our friend Mike will appreciate this story. In 6th grade, he noticed that I got some new shoes. They were just some sort of PayLess special. I asked if he liked them, and he said, "Do they stay tied?" My old shoes were falling apart and I constantly had to stop and re-tie them when we were running around during recess after lunch. He teased me for that, but didn't give a dang about the shoes themselves. He was the first true friend I had who just liked me, and didn't care about name brands and labels. I had many good friends just like him through middle school and high school.

I admit that I'm kind of a shoe snob myself now. I don't have many pairs (work shoes, running shoes, camping/yard work shoes, flip flops), but when I do need a new pair, I refuse to buy cheap ones. It's honestly more for practical considerations - I want things that last, and I want to project a professional image at work. But it may be partly vanity and hurt feelings. So while I will not be buying Tony Romos for myself, I do appreciate what he is doing for kids stuck shopping at Wal-Mart and facing bullies. And my own boys, who are blissfully free of materialist school snobbery, would probably love to have the Dallas Cowboys shoes, and I'd be happy to get them a pair.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Goooooood Evening Friends

Since Daddio had Monday off we ran a few errands, and we stopped by the running store to see what they had and to pick a belt/bottle thingy for Daddio. While we were there Daddio decided it was time to get me a real pair of running shoes. I couldn't have been more happy (especially considering I hadn't even asked for any!)...

Now, I've never been fitted for running shoes, and have no real idea what the fuss is all about... that's when the lovely lady there got down to her job. First they measured my feet, turns out they are the same size (apparently this isn't always the case), inspected my arches (low rise) and then grabbed a pair of shoes for me to put on for the next part. Now, I suppose I should set the stage just a little better. We were out and about and I was wearing a cute little skirt and shirt and sandals... not really running shoe shopping apparel. So I needed a dummy pair of shoes for the next phase. I had to get on a treadmill that had a camera mounted behind it and then I had to jog for a minute or so, and they analyzed my style! With that information she knew exactly what type of shoe (support wise) I needed and brought out a few for me to try!

When I try on shoes, I pretty much follow this criteria... first I have to like how they look, and they have to feel right on! Notice the first part... how they look... well, just throw that out the window with shopping for running shoes... it's only about fit! I realized this right away by what she brought out and so immediately tossed away my desire for my favorite colors on sneeks!
Low and behold, the shoes that fit the best and felt like pooffy clouds of heaven were...


Oh, and Daddio even got me some fancy running socks (apparently the little cotton socks I was wearing before will more than likely cause blisters)... and they are AWESOME (oh and a new sports bra because he thought it was ridiculous that with my old one I had to wear an old regular bra and the sports bra together to get the right support... the new one rocks!).

And because Daddio can read my mind, one of the first things he said to me when we got back into the car was that I wasn't to go on another run that day... since I had already been that morning :-(! He knows me so well, because that is exactly what I wanted to do.

In the interest of sticking to my schedule, I followed it and didn't do my next run till today. I waited until this evening to get out because I felt so crummy this morning. The boys and I are just wracked with allergies right now, and I thought a day of being quiet and still (and lots of allergy meds) would mean a successful run tonight! For the most part I was right, although at 8:00pm it is was still 90 degrees... but I really couldn't wait any longer because of their need for a shower and bed time once we got back home. So off we went... listening to my new podcast that keeps track of the time for you and chimes when you need to switch! Boy, not having to look at my watch or really worry about my stride and just listen to the music was a really nice escape. If you are doing this program (C25K), I would highly recommend either the podcast or the apps for iPhones!

Performance of the shoes and socks... rockin! It took a little while to feel normal in them because they are just so different than what I was wearing before. The saleslady also said that I should notice some relief from knee pain as well. I'm not too worried about that right now, the strap I'm using seems to be really doing the trick, but every little bit helps!

As for the program, tonight was the last time at this interval. Saturday I will be stepping up to the next level. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm really enjoying the challenge!

Monday, July 5, 2010

I hate the Charlie Brown song

I might have written this post last year... but I hate hate hate the stupid sappy Charlie Brown song about peace on earth, especially at Mass, and especially on Independence Day!!! Not only is it cheesy and hokey, but it's difficult to sing. (Everything we sing at our church needs to be taken down about three steps, because the only person in the room who can actually sing in that register is the show-off choir director.) They also did that lousy St. Francis song at communion. I like the poem well enough, but it makes for a very awkward song, "...and in dying that we're born-to-eternal-liiiiiiiife". It's a strange rhythm that even the choir can't sing together, let alone the congregation.

I've also never really been into patriotic stuff at Mass, it seems inappropriate. But the hippy dippy stuff just pisses me off.


Update - This is the song:

I was wrong, it's not from Charlie Brown. Sorry about that. Not sure why I thought that, I guess it just seems perfect for a preachy cartoon children's chorus.

Check out the history of the song here…

"One summer evening in 1955, a group of 180 teenagers of all races and religions, meeting at a workshop high in the California mountains locked arms, formed a circle and sang a song of peace. They felt that singing the song, with its simple basic sentiment – 'Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,' helped to create a climate for world peace and understanding."

Good grief… ;)

At least they didn't use the "inclusive" lyrics at mass. I don't think so anyway, we didn't stay long.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Worn smack out...

Tonight will be our third concert in 9 days... that's a lot! Usually we have one a month and 3-4 rehearsals for the month... so to have so many grouped together can take a lot out of you!

I do love playing, and I certainly don't want to complain... it's good to have the gigs (it helps fill up our band account so we can buy new music and what not)... but it's A LOT!

Thankfully tonight is close to home (this one always has a great audience), which means it won't be a late night... and SIL has generously offered to keep the boys while we go... which means the boys will have fun, and we don't have to worry about them while we get our job done!

Next week... we're off! It will be nice to be able to relax in the evenings and not worry about who needs to be where, when, and for how long!

Apples and oranges...

The boys and I hadn't played cards games in quite some time, so Wednesday evening as Daddio and one of the boys started up a game of chess (that was frustrating at best) I decided to rummage through the box of card games I re-found the other day (the day I spent cleaning out the office closet for like 9 hours ... trust me I have photos and a post rolling around my brain, but not yet). Anyway, I decided we should play Go Fish. Now, honestly I thought that we've played this before... but clearly I was wrong, not only could I not remember the rules, they had no idea what I was talking about... But no matter, we ended up having several rousing hands with everyone laughing and cutting up.

Cut to Thursday morning, I get the boys up and as they are heading towards the kitchen for breakfast I am giving them the morning pep talk which included something along the lines of...

"Are we going to have a good attitude for math this morning... come on guys, right?! "

Without missing a beat Bubba looks right at me with his huge shifty brown eyes and says "Nope, Go FISH!" Then starts grabbing his sides and laughing hysterically! I lost it, I was laughing so hard tears were pouring out of my eyes!

And that my friends is an apple that doesn't fall far the tree... or an orange that grew on an apple tree in our case ;-).