Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yes, Boobs and Brains CAN Co-exist!

Verizon came to repair my line today. I called them on Saturday while it was raining to tell them that there was a problem (losing my connection to my employer is not a good thing). They said 24-48 hours but didn't show up until today (I did get three automated phone calls telling me how important I am, which makes that all better).

When the man came I explained that there must be some cracks in the insulation because the problems I experienced only happened in wet weather. He said he didn't see any problems, and I pointed out that it was sunny. He said I might have to wait for it to rain again. I said that was not acceptable and that I did call while it was raining and if he checked the line test from Saturday he could clearly see the issue. Mostly, though, he didn't seem to believe that I could possibly diagnose the issue. (awww, look at the little woman...she thinks because she spends all day talkin' on the phone she actually knows somethin' about it!)

Half an hour later he shows up at my door, proud of himself for discovering that there was some cracks in the, really?

See, I am an old-fashioned girl. Well, not a girl anymore, but you get my drift. But old-fashioned doesn't mean Neanderthal, people! Yes, I usually wear a skirt and yes, I enjoy having doors opened for me, and it kills me that women have scared or cajoled men out of behaving like gentleman, but yes, I also am fairly intelligent and appreciate being taken seriously. Find the line between patronizing patriarch-ism and militant feminism, please, and walk it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our View of Ourselves

I was going through photos of myself as a child today. I kept saying, 'Oh, I was so cute!' and Nate kept looking over at the photos and saying, 'Gee, you look just the same.' And I would see photos of my mom and say, 'My mom is so beautiful!' and Nate points out, again, that I look just the same, LOL.

How does that jive? Although I have been redefining my view of beauty, and have come to believe that I am beautiful, I guess I still had myself graded pretty low...and looking at the pictures I was thinking I
used to be adorable. Nate set me straight, I guess.

I have heard/read/seen women talking about themselves lately and it makes me so sad. One woman who hopes she can lose weight so her husband might finally love her, one who says she'll never be pretty but she wants to at least be thin, etc. I cry for women. We have a very low view of ourselves--all of us! We need to overcome that...and I have no idea how.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Murphy's Law, the Snow Day Corollary

The day you get up at 4:30 to be showered, dressed and ready because your boss is doing home inspections, and your son gets butt-dialed and woken up at the day your boss is home sick and school is on a 2-hour delay.

Actually, since I have never been a public-school parent, we very nearly forgot to check for a snow delay and the kid almost walked to German class two hours early!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

So Has I

Generally my job is answering phone calls, and it can be quite entertaining (plus..seriously, I get paid to talk on the phone. Had I known, as a teenager, that this could be a career, my life would have been quite different). This weekend, however, due to unforeseen events on the other side of the globe, my job has been changed to answering emails. This is even more entertaining!

Today my favorite email, in its entirety, was this:
I has stopped everything.
I'm not quite sure what they are getting at here, and I am confident that I was no help to them whatsoever, but various things occur to me. Is stopping everything good or bad? Were they in need of a vacation? By any chance, does 'everything' include typing? Is there a particular reason I needed to know that everything has been stopped? Or was this just to make me feel ultra productive for the day?

You know all those people who complain that tech support instructions make no sense? This is why, folks. This is the audience we are trying to cater to.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Mental Exercise

Lately I have had fun with an exercise, I believe from Intuitive Eating, which goes something like this:

Imagine that a spell were cast on the world that locked everyone into their current weight. Nothing anyone would do from this time forward would change their weight one iota. Nothing you do will change your weight one single ounce! How would you live life differently?

Scary thought? It was for me, at first, as well. I could not imagine being happy at my current weight, so in my imagination, decades of misery stretched out before me. So sad!

Three years later, the story is different. And, that story in my imagination is much, much closer to my reality.

I eat freely, and in a way that feels good. I don't deny a hungry tummy the food it needs, and I rarely overfill it (and when I do, it's only by a smidge, no more pants-unbuttoning, uncomfortable belly!). I eat a variety of foods as my body requests them, from the 'healthy' foods to the 'fun' foods.

I move for the sake of moving and because I like how my body feels. My goals are different--to have strong legs, to go cross-country skiing, to have fun.

I buy and make clothes that fit me, right now. No more buying things that are too tight with the goal of fitting into them! No more denying myself clothes because I am too fat to deserve them! No more trying to hide or disguise the real me! And no more do I feel, after trying on something that doesn't work, that my body is the problem. Now I know it's the clothes.

I stop seeing myself through others' eyes, or my imaginary picture of others' eyes.

I love my physical self. I see all the positive things about my body now. It's strong and sturdy, with nice, dense bones, and curvy and sexy and it takes me where I want to go and it does what I want it to do.

What does your picture look like? What would letting go of the number on the scale set you free from? What richness could be added to your life?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Wish All My Customers Were Kids

My last customer today was about 11 years old. From time to time, I get a child on the phone. I wish all my customers were kids! Now, my view is probably skewed a bit because, of course, the kids who call tech support are clearly kids whose parents allow them to do so (one would assume) and who, therefore, are probably the kind of kids who are encouraged to be thoughtful, polite, etc. But this is what I know--they do what I tell them to do, without arguing. They explain the problem they are having quite clearly and generally without telling me what they think went wrong (and when they do tell me, invariably it makes me smile). They are extremely honest about what they did to their gadgets. And they are very, very tech-savvy.

More than once, I have been on the phone with a parent who is calling about a device they have never used. I usually ask to speak the kid. After all, if I tell the parent and the parent tells the kid...well, playing tech-support telephone is not a recipe for great results. Plus, I love to talk to kids.

I think there's a lesson here. Children are very capable, of more than most parents realize. And if we treat them like regular people, and expect them to conduct business like we would expect any over-18-year-old person to conduct themselves, they generally have no problem doing so. They don't need to be babied when it comes to interpersonal relations. (I think that's one of the reasons I dislike the standard school system--keeping them all cooped up in rooms full of people just the same age keeps them from developing adult-level social skills.)

Everyone I Know Is On A Diet

Ok, so not literally everyone. Nate, for instance, has never dieted and never will. But, you know, he's 14. Of course, he serves as a pretty darn good example of intuitive eating (rather than 'controlled' eating). It certainly seems, though, that everyone is dieting right now.

One would think that after years of work in this area, I would be ok with other people's food talk. But when it comes to talk about diets, controlled eating, etc, it still seems to be a bit of a trigger, and if nothing else, drives me nuts. Plus, I usually care about these people and it hurts me to see them hurting themselves...and being so gleeful about it much of the time. History does repeat itself, however, and I know that the glee is temporary and the misery is sure to follow.

Part of my problem is pride. With everyone talking about how 'good' they are being, my only counter would be...I have learned that I don't need that kind of good. No one that hasn't also taken this journey is going to understand. I am sure that most people think I have simply given up, and see that as a moral failing. It isn't a moral failing, though, it's a physical and mental healing. And it isn't nearly as quantifiable. I can't give you a dress size, scale number, whatever, to prove that I have made progress. And most people wouldn't be able to see the progress that I have made through the fuzzy lenses of diet thinking that they have on. Not to mention, it would be totally rude to answer, "I'm down two sizes!" with, "Well, we all know that won't last."

Part of it is hurt feelings. Probably childish ones, but they are there nonetheless. Nice for you that you lost what you are telling me is that you are more beautiful than I am? That beauty is quantifiable in numbers? I don't believe that, but occasionally the overwhelming strength of others' beliefs throws me off balance.

All in all, I have been on the path they are on, it's rough and it leads to nowhere. While it's frequently hard to remember that (and boy am I dreading the new year's diet push!), I don't want to go back. I don't need outside validation that intuitive eating is the way to go, at least for me. I don't need everyone else to see their own beauty in order to keep seeing mine. I don't need other people to enjoy physical activity in order for me to enjoy it and not see it as punishment of some sort. I do, apparently, need to keep telling myself all of this over and over, though!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Verizon Still Sucks...but Tom Doesn't.

Had to call Verizon again today...more billing issues. *Groan* Blessedly, though, the person on the other end of the line was a man named Tom in Tucson. Tom is clearly the most intelligent person in Verizon's customer service team. He actually figured everything out, explained it in a way I can understand, and, most importantly, took care of the issues. He didn't even transfer me. Not once.

I love Tom. I hope he gets what he wants for Christmas. He deserves it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More Tips from Tech Support

(see Tips From Tech Support if you have not already done so)

Today's crazy making (and here I am, only on my lunch break!)

As I said in tip one before, presumably you call tech support because we know more than you do. So stop arguing with us already!

Do not argue with me over security policies. I will not risk my job and make an exception for you. You are not that special.

Do not hack the operating system of your device and then call me and complain that things are not working like they should. It is your fault. I cannot fix it. Or you.

And, finally, this self-mutilation-inducing call (as usual, details obscured to protect my Superhero Identity):

My Toyota doesn't seem to be running very well.
Oh, I am sorry to hear that. I assume you put unleaded, regular fuel in the tank?
Well, no, actually I used some diesel fuel that I had leftover from my Peterbilt.
Sir, diesel fuel is not going to work in your Toyota.
Yes, it will! See, diesel fuel is this neat stuff that makes my Peterbilt run and it's really great and so I am using it with the Toyota. It worked for a little while...before it stopped working.
Sir, we are familiar with diesel fuel. It will not work in your Toyota.
But it-
Sir, we do not support the use of diesel fuel in your Toyota. You NEED to use unleaded, regular fuel.
Well, I guess I can try that...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why Verizon Sucks

(I don't normally say 'sucks' but in this case, I can't find a better word! Worse words follow, FYI)

After spending hours and hours on the phone with Verizon, I think I have a good handle on why they suck. My experiences are as follows:
When I found out that I would be working from home (yay!) I phoned to ask them to upgrade my internet and add a landline. Since they are a telecommunications company, one would think this would be simple, but no...I was given a waiting period of WEEKS. Seriously? They couldn't explain except to say that an actual repairman had to come out. This made no sense, after all, I already had internet, and you can't tell me that no one who ever lived here had a landline. But I wouldn't want them to argue if they called MY company and I told them to stand on their head while pushing 'back'. So I waited.

On October 2, the repairman came to my house...and left...after doing nothing. He said the orders didn't make sense, he couldn't complete them, and told Nate to tell me to 'call the office.' Easier said than done! What office? What number? What do I ask?

I spent THREE HOURS that afternoon on the phone with at least seven people, hung up on twice, transferred innumerable times, and generally becoming convinced that Verizon has a maximum IQ for their employees. No one could figure out what was going on, give me any answers, or get anything taken care of. THREE HOURS, during which I was supposed to be working, but could not. After WEEKS of commuting to the site when I should have been working from home (it turns out all they needed to do was flip a couple switches...seriously). After that three hours, a supervisor named Cindy in St. Louis promised to call me after my bill came out to discuss compensating me for the hell they had put me through.

Today I was balancing my checkbook and found that Verizon had taken money from my acct. They are not supposed to do that. I have never received a bill, like I am supposed to and Cindy never called. So I just spent another hour on the phone with seven more people, none of whom were very helpful. And during that call I found that I had been OVERCHARGED as well. Nice news!

Here is what I have learned:
Verizon associates have no insight into their own company. Each associate can only see into your account as far as their own duties reach. So, for instance, if someone is a weekend worker in the phone department, they can only see enough to facilitate weekend emergencies with your phone, even if they are, say, working on a Monday morning. If someone is in the internet department, they cannot see that you have phone service. Now, this is a company that advertises BUNDLING. One would think that bundling would mean, you know...putting it all together.

Verizon associates cannot transfer phone calls internally. If they need to send you elsewhere, they would actually have to go through the same phone tree that you or I would have to go to, and that takes too much time and trouble, so they just dump you in there with no instructions even on which buttons to push. You never know who you will get next, and every single time you get someone, you have to start from scratch.

Verizon makes it difficult to speak to a supervisor. In the company I work for, if you ask for a supervisor, I will give you one--even if you have no good reason. At Verizon, they apparently have to type up a paper explaining why they would need to bother a supervisor.

Verizon doesn't give its associates any power. They don't get to make decisions. This would be in keeping with the maximum IQ requirement (I would guess smart associates get the hell out as soon as possible).

Verizon doesn't really care about their customers. I found the continual 'thank you for holding! you and your time are so important to us!' hold messages absolutely insulting given the experiences I have had with that company.

Now, I know my view is skewed by the fact that I work for THE company with the GREATEST customer service in this solar system. I know not all companies can be us, but can't they at least give a damn?

In my company, I can see what's going on in your account, even if has nothing to do with my job. My bosses trust me to make choices, even choices about giving away money, free product, etc. I don't have to explain myself. If you asked for a supervisor I would have one on the phone with you in a couple minutes, and that is whether you had a complaint or a compliment. If I needed to transfer you, the person I gave you to would almost always greet you by name and know why you needed to speak to them.

And we would never, EVER, make you spend three hours on the phone because of our own screw-up.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eating My Words

Tonight was promotion night at Jukido. I was sure it was too soon for Nate to get promoted--after all, he just made orange in the Spring. But I was wrong, and am now the mother of a Blue belt!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Does Our Insurance Cover Mental Health?

Normally Nate can wander in my 'office' and chat with me or ask schoolwork questions between calls. I thought I should let him know that this afternoon we are running a stress test and I won't be available. He asked me what a stress test is.
"Well, for a couple hours we are going to run at top capacity, until--"
"One of you cracks?"

Yes, son, they are performing experiments on the employees. (fyi, it's to test the equipment/systems)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

At Least Chivalry Isn't Dead

I am sitting in my bedroom/office, eating ribs and home fries. Nate is sitting in the living room, reading a book he was supposed to save for his trip this weekend. We hear a crashing noise. I say, "Do I WANT to know?"
"That didn't come from your room?"
"Good. No need to rescue you, then!" and he keeps on reading...

I still don't know what the noise was.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Over the last couple of days I have noticed that I am eating when I am not hungry, and in kind of a desperate mode, and uncomfortable, and not enjoyably at all. This is rather unusual for me, at least over the last several months.

Today I figured out why. I have not been honoring my hunger.

What has happened is that I have been lazy in the mornings. I don't cook breakfast, and instead went to having a cup of cocoa, and then eventually to having nothing at all until my first break. Then I am starving but nothing really sounds good (my first break is at 7:30 a.m.) but I try to grab something and eat it while working. Then I eat something, or maybe not, on my 'lunch' break (9:15 a.m.), and then I am overly hungry by the time I get to my second short break, and then I eat while working, and from there it just goes even further downhill.

I am not eating enough early in the day and it throws me off completely! My poor body thinks I am starving it again, and it reacts badly to that both physically and psychologically. The result is an overwhelming urge to eat even when I am not hungry.

So, I suppose I should cook up a decent breakfast before I go to bed tonight, or at the very least set my alarm a few minutes earlier so that I have time in the morning. I have to stop this cycle, or I'll just spiral down until my eating is as un-intuitive as it gets. No fun!

Italian Bean Soup

For a change of pace, I thought I would share last night's dinner with you.

Italian Bean Soup

1 lb mixed beans (I find these are cheaper in bulk. If you buy them in a bag, please throw away any nasty ham flavor packets that are included)
1 box/4 cups or so chicken broth
1 lb bulk Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 or 2 cans Italian-style diced tomatoes (or the equivalent of another kind of tomatoes)
1 large onion, diced
Generous sprinkling of Italian seasoning

Put the beans in your crockpot, pick out any stones or anything, and cover with plenty of water. Leave the crockpot unplugged but soak the beans all night.
The next morning, pour off that water. Add the remaining ingredients, if that doesn't look like enough liquid add a bit of water (you may want to wait on that, things don't dry out in the crock pot as quickly as elsewhere), and cook for a long time on low or not so long on high. Beans being what they are, the cooking time can vary.

Serve with parmesan.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

If I Go Crazy, Take Two

Today's insanity-inducing call (and here I will pretend I work for iPhone. I don't, but you know the drill):

"Thank you for calling iPhone support! How can I help you?"
"I'm sorry to hear that. What can I do to help?"
"I bought one of these iPhone thingabobs and today I went to buy some movies for it. They almost all cost money! I don't understand! Why should I pay more to have a movie on my iPhone when I can get it at the library on DVD for free? The whole idea was that I could take the movie to Starbucks, and it would be easy to carry. But most of your movies cost money!"
"Well, we do have some free movies, but most movie prices are set by the studios and-"
"I know that! But these should be free! I want to watch Gone With the Wind and look, it costs 3.99!"
"I'm sorry about that, I-"
"So I checked some movies out from the library. Will they work on the iPhone?"
"Well, it depends on the-"
"Where are they?"
"Pardon me?"
"Where are the movies I got from the library?"
"Ma'am, that would depend on where you put them when you got home."
"Well, every house has a shelf to put movies on. Help me find mine!"
"Ma'am, I'm sorry, but I don't know where you put your movies. You could look around for them."
"You don't know much about houses, do you? Every house has a shelf!"
"Yes, every house has a shelf, but every house is different and-"
"You are supposed to help me! Tell me where to find my movies!"
"I'm sorry ma'am, but if you don't know where you put your movies, I really can't help you."
"I want to talk to your supervisor. You aren't any help!"

My poor supervisor. He had a very similar experience. And there were so many things I would like to have said to this customer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Why did the walking blog disappear? Because I found that it was more trouble to post about my walking than it was to just walk! I think that is a good thing-I walk most days and I enjoy it and it isn't something I have to force myself to do anymore. But it was taking up room on here and it felt like a burden to have to post about it. So, I may still post about my walking from time to time (still looking for some sort of definitive goal) but figured I would take down the running list. Um...walking list?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Could I Have Some of What He's Smoking?

Just for fun, I read this article in our local paper, the Tri-City Herald. It's about a local guy, Chet Biggerstaff, who wants a marijuana co-op for our area. Now, I have very little in the way of opinion on medical marijuana. It's legal in this state. But what Biggerstaff (pardon...somewhere in his lineage someone HAD to have been making up for feelings of inferiority) wants to do is put a storefront on marijauna cultivation. That is shameful. More shameful is that the landlords at the Parkway have allowed him to rent space there. This would be the place where free movies are shown for kids, free concerts thrown for families, the Farmer's Market shows up every Friday for half the year...what, are we gonna let him sell pot next to the peaches? I think it's abominable.

But that isn't why I am posting. I am posting because I think this guy is hilarious. Take a look at these quotes:

"More than likely we'll open and they'll shut us down and arrest me and I'll have to deal with it in court. I firmly believe most of the people in Richland and the Tri-Cities in general are for this."

Yes, you are right. Most people may be all-for your going to jail.

Biggerstaff also claims he's been harassed by Richland officers who he says have pulled him over and come to his house on an "anonymous" tip about a marijuana grow in his backyard.
Biggerstaff said his latest harassment by officers was Oct. 23, when he was pulled over for having expired tabs on his license plate. He said he was on his way home when an officer drove past him, turned onto the next street, then sat and waited for him to drive by.
He admits his tabs were expired, but questions why so many officers were required for a traffic stop. He was not cited, just warned to take care of it. "Why have I been pulled over so many times and not cited?"Biggerstaff said he's been stopped by Richland cops two or three times, but the only other instance he could recall was when an officer said he was "changing lanes too quickly in the middle of rush hour traffic."

So, you have been harrassed by....the police doing their job following drug hotline tips...and not arresting you...and the police doing their job by pulling over people with expired license tabs...and following protocol by having more than one car at the scene (this would happen if they pulled my little white-haired granny over, it's a basic safety precaution)...and not arresting you, and not even giving you a ticket for a clear violation of the law?! Because, the last time I was pulled over for expired tabs, I got quite a whopper of a ticket! Could I please have some harrassment?

Oh, by the way, if you can't remember all the times you were pulled over? You may be smoking too much pot.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Magnetic Personality

According to my dad, I have a magnetic personality. No, he doesn't mean that I am attractive (although I am, of course). He means I break things. With the mere power of my presence.

Lately this has meant things like being stuck home with a nonstarting vehicle, no hot water and no clothes dryer. Dad came over to take a look at the car (after giving me an emergency ride to the doc's office...another long story) and it started right up for him. He drove it home, washed it off, called me to tell me I was imagining which point the car quite working. See? All he had to do was talk to me while he was near the car and it quit! Then we hooked the computer up to it and drove all over town and it refused to misbehave-so we couldn't get a reading to figure out what is wrong.

The hot water heater's pilot light went out and for the life of me, I could not get it re-lit. The maintenance guy started it up with no problem and now I am afraid to go down into my own basement for fear that the mere sight of me will thrust us back in time to when we had to heat our water on the stove to do dishes (it isn't that far back...last week for me!).

The car now runs sometimes and the water is hot, but the clothes dryer is still drying for only 10 minutes at a time, requiring an hour break between each stint. I have been hanging clothes all over the house trying to get them dry but Mt. Washmore is still growing daily in my hallway and we are running out of clean clothes. I am hoping the mere act of dismantling the timer mechanism and putting it back together will cause it to work again...but I would have to go near the water heater to do that, and I just don't know which appliance is most important!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Everyone Loved Her

Our family lost a dear friend yesterday.

It's rare that I can remember the first time I met someone. Rarer still when I met them at the age of five. It was New Year's Eve, the first year my parents let me stay up until midnight, if I remember correctly. Jessie was drunk, loud, obnoxious and amazing.

She carried a gun. She talked to me like a grown-up. She dyed my hair, let me get my ears double pierced and took me to see the Phantom of the Opera. She could drive from Seattle to here in 2.5 hours instead of the four it took everyone else. She borrowed my roller skates when I was only seven, and they fit her tiny feet and we went roller-skating together. How many grown-ups do that? Over three decades and three generations, she charmed every one of us.

Jessie lived years beyond the doctors' expectations. That fits her personality and force of will so well that I have a hard time believing she is gone. I have never been one for those fuzzy, childish, earthly-minded views of heaven, but today I find myself wondering if there are roller skates up there.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hanging On To Dreams

This morning Nate and I were chatting with a bright young man who is in the midst of filling out scholarship applications, as he begins college next year. Somehow this segued into Nate discussing what he wants to study and the limitations of local opportunities for a child of his age (Nate will be 14 in two weeks). After getting over the 'what grade are you in' hump (um...all of the above?), the bright young man asked Nate what he wanted to be when he grew up.

"I want to be in the FBI."

I winced. I feel awful about it, but it's true. I winced. Until that moment, Nate appeared intelligent, mature, older than his years...and then out came his childhood dream. Nate has wanted to be in the FBI since he was about six, except for a short period in the middle where he didn't think he could shoot to kill. Even though he is seriously considering going into the Navy, his career goal is still the FBI (or possibly NCIS, but he says very few people get into the NCIS).

This evening, while he's gone at youth group and I am sitting in the quiet with nothing to do but be circumspect, I have been pondering my reaction to his announcement. I guess part of me considers it a childish, impossible dream, and figures other people will hear him say that and *boom* think he's 10 years old. Finally it dawned on me. The FBI is real. There are real FBI agents. They did not get there by accident! Clearly, some people hold on to that childhood dream, and thank goodness they do!

Nate comes by his dream honestly enough, with law enforcement on both sides of the family. When he talks about his career goals, he talks about double government pensions. He is not a little boy any longer, and I guess it's about time his mother realized he's serious about this FBI business. So here's to hanging on to the dream!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Well, That Backfired

Yesterday I was so tired that I called in and told the hotline I would be a couple hours late for work. My plan was, I would go back to sleep, and go to work later a much happier person. I am pretty stingy with my paid time off, so I must have been pretty dang tired.

It backfired.

In addition to having a hard time getting back to sleep, once I did, I spent over an hour in a harrowing nightmare. It went like this:

I was running for my life from a shape-shifter that was trying to kill me. My mom and my dad (who in my dream were nothing like my real parents) were running after me, as well. My mom kept trying to give me weapons with which to beat off my attacker. But the weapons would morph into useless items. For instance, she handed me a golf club that, once I swung it at the shape-shifter's head, became a spatula. My dad ran after us from location to location, but then he would sit down and read a newspaper and tell my mom she wasn't doing it right. Anytime I miraculously came close to killing the shape-shifter (once with a mixing bowl), it would take on the form of a baby, and then I couldn't bring myself to kill it.

Then my alarm went off.

It was anything but restful.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Modern Fairy Tales

I was sitting unsuspecting in the ladies' room this evening when two short people (ages three and five) in matching Barbie Cheerleader outfits invaded. They were not, however, pretending to be Barbies. No, they were princesses of some sort (they could not remember their pretend names) and did not let nature's call stall (no pun intended) their fantasy. I kept as quiet as I could, so that I would not scare them back to reality.

The fantasy unfolded before my ears. The two princesses were apparently in great mourning, as over the course of our stay in the ladies' room, several of their fellow royal children were struck down by either plague or witches' curses. (their mothers were the witches, oddly enough).

What struck me as a harbinger of this century, however, was actually that the death notices came via text message. No joke! Some previously dead prince named Peter kept texting them with sad tidings. Whatever happened to scrolls? Heralds? The Pony Express? Sigh.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Please Don't Do This

My friend, Jon, whom I have never seen with one shoe off, posted this on his journal. (You will need to click in order to understand)

So, here's the thing: Stuff like this? Doesn't help. While I can understand kinda-sorta where this woman was headed, the end result is yet another 'Christians are stupid and closed-minded!' experience. Do I disagree with most things our current president does, including aiming for nationalized health care? Of course. But, um, I have news: While Jesus died to forgive our sins, and hence paid for my life with His own blood, He is all powerful and really, did not charge people to heal them (as the sign might mistakenly be read to say), nor were such healings paid for by His death. He even healed ungrateful jerks (remember the 10 lepers?) for free. Now, that last part might be a bit closer to nationalized health care than is comfortable, but my point remains.

Think things through before painting them on signs, saying them, etc. Especially when dealing with unsaved people. Slogans like this are just too pointless and confusing, do nothing to help our country or our unsaved friends and, really, are a waste of poster paint.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Quiet, Dedicated Space

I have three days to set up my home office.

This would not have been quite the imposition that it now is if I had realized, prior to Friday, that I can't have my home office in my dining room. The rules call for a door that shuts. This leaves only one possibility: my bedroom.

When we moved into this house two years ago, I took the small bedroom. The boys moved into the larger one, and that made sense. There's only one boy in there now, but that's a possibly temporary thing, so moving him into the small room doesn't make much sense in my book. But my sewing stuff is all in my room, along with my full-size mattress and box spring (no room for the bed frame!) and rather large dresser. Adding a desk and chair feels like putting together a puzzle that has too many pieces. I think the sewing room is going to have to go, somehow, which just about breaks my heart. If money were no object, I would buy a daybed and a dresser that was taller than it was wide. Money is quite the object, however, so I will have to spend the next few days putting that puzzle together.

The upside of all this whining is that, clearly, I was chosen for the work-at-home pilot :-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hard Walk Tonight

At first I thought it was just because Nate wasn't walking with me, but by the end of the mere 11 minutes that I walked tonight, I was limping and wondering if I would make it home. Not sure what the difficulty was-three days off doesn't seem like it would be the reason, since I have had longer breaks. I did eat shortly before I left, and wonder if that could do it. And I wasn't feeling great today, but a nap cured most of that. Hmph. We'll see what tomorrow is like.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Shaking My Head

You know every mother's curse on her children? It's the one that goes, "I hope you have one just like you!"

Nathan's response?

"I WANT that to happen. I want a whole bunch just like me. Then I will curse them so they have several like me...and pretty soon, my clones will take over the world!"

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Not Enough Magic

Where I work, we talk about having magic. I think this actually began because customers frequently say we have magic (since they can't grasp how we fix things). I even had one customer say he was taking me to Las Vegas to be his lucky charm. But sometimes, customers want things that we just can't do-like yesterday's cruise ship customer. Yeah, we have great magic, but we can't defy the natural laws of the universe.

That is why articles like this one make me laugh. Entitled 'Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin' and with the subtitle blurb 'Whether because exercise makes us hungry or because we want to reward ourselves, many people eat more — and eat more junk food, like doughnuts — after going to the gym' it is both absurd and stating the obvious. It seems researchers found that physical activity makes you hungry! No DUH! Any parent could tell you that (any mother who doesn't have a snack ready when the kids are done swimming clearly hasn't been paying attention).

Our bodies were indeed wonderfully made (no matter how you think they got made) and, lo and behold, when you ask them to use energy, they ask you for more energy. It's normal, natural and good.

As for eating junk food (if you believe there is such a thing-we don't use that term in our home) as a workout reward--well, that thinking is a natural outcome of faulty thinking about 'workouts'. Our culture in general sees exercise as a punishment for imperfect eating or imperfect bodies. If that is how you view physical activity, then you get caught in a loop. I ate a piece of cake, so I have to punish myself on the treadmill. I was so good at the gym that I can eat a piece of cake... and on and on. It's just so wrong, so self-defeating and so psychologically messed up!

Physical activity isn't a punishment or dues to be paid. It should be done for the joy of doing it. That is why I will never have a gym membership. I don't like treadmills or other machines that simulate real-world activities. I'd rather take a walk by the river where the scenery is nice, knowing that I will feel all warm and gushy afterwards, and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. That is a joyful experience, where walking on a treadmill is...well, more like filing taxes.

It is also much easier to continue an active lifestyle if you are doing things that you find enjoyable AND when you are doing those things for reasons other than trying to obtain an unreachable goal. Because dieting and exercise rarely make someone thin (for long), and the exercise is associated with the dieting, people who do it for the sake of trying to be thin soon give up on both.

I have found that, after spending a couple years disconnecting dieting/trying to lose weight from physical activity, that physical activity is much more enjoyable, more varied, and now contains its own motivation. I will never be thin, but I get more active as time goes by. Maybe someone should do a study on that.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Not long ago, I told you about MOT (mandatory overtime). VTO is MOT's evil twin...or vice versa, I haven't figured out which yet.

Voluntary Time Off. I got some today. It's always a happy surprise, but if you aren't careful, you happy-surprise yourself out of a decent paycheck. Today I thought my chances were slim, but I was fresh out of patience, so I signed up. After half a day of back-to-back calls, everything went dead and they sent me home.

Why was I fresh out of patience? Well, in addition to adjusting to a new schedule, I had some, um, interesting calls.

"So, someone ran my Thingabob over and I need to know what you can do."
It's in how many pieces? Didn't occur to me until after we hung up that, for his Thingabob to be run over, it had to be, you know, in the path of motor vehicles. Still trying to figure that one out.

While asking various security questions, I asked a man his zip code. He didn't know. He told me I could look it up 'in my book' and that it was just the same as all the rest of Manhattan! I think he missed the point...or several points.

One customer was mad that, after we made him a special offer that included making a choice as to which offer he would like, and he made his choice and clicked on one, then called to complain that 'the email didn't say I couldn't change my mind after I clicked!' (Bob, I will take door, wait, Door #3...wait....!)

And then, to top it off, I had a customer today who claimed I had provided him with the worst customer service experience of his life. He had broken his Thingabob, and was in London, about to step onto a cruise ship, and wanted me to either magically fix it over the phone or get him a new, where did I put that magic wand?

Come to think of it, I should have sent him to talk to the British guy who called me 'a complete legend' this week. I hear that's a good thing, but I am still not sure. Sounded cool with his accent, though.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Looking a Gift Horse In the Mouth

When I left for work this morning, I had one set of living room furniture, and when I got home, I had another. I am not ungrateful-my couches were falling apart, wires poking out and scraping paint off the walls, cushions coming apart. They were well used and well loved couches. But they were also very large, comfy, and nice colors. My new couches are small, ladylike, don't match anything in my room, and don't have room for friends to sleep over. Also, I spent part of the day wondering if the discarded couch's cushions held something of importance. No, really, I had no idea I was getting new furniture. I guess the suddenness is why I keep looking at them and thinking 'not right!' instead of 'finally!' Give me a few days, and I will be fine, I am sure.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'm Driving a Red Lincoln

Why, you may ask, is Jennifer driving a red Lincoln, when Jennifer bought a black Buick two weeks ago? Because Jennifer used her Mommy Voice at the dealership today. When I bought the car, the driver's side window would not roll down (note to car shoppers-try all windows!). Two days later the dealer called to ask me to bring the car back so they could fix it. Bonus points! I took it back and, two hours later, they still had not fixed it and said they needed another part. Um, back there today. Keep in mind, I have to drive thirty miles up the valley to get there. When I got there, I politely explained that prior to the last 'repair' appointment, all of the buttons worked on that door (save for that window) but afterwards, the lock/unlock and rear passenger's window buttons did not, and I expected they would fix those as well. We sat in the waiting room for FOUR HOURS. At the end of the four hours, my window was fixed, but not the other two buttons. The man just did not listen to me. I said it was unacceptable and ridiculous, and I work far too many hours and live too far away and do NOT get the gas mileage that the salesman told me I would get, and it was too much to expect me to come back even after I already explained the problem in time for them to fix it (and waited twice as long as expected). I spoke firmly enough to get the attention of this man's boss, and then had to explain the situation again to him. He gave me the red Lincoln to drive and said he would bring me my car when it is fixed. I sure hope it's soon because, remarkably, I can't stand the Lincoln.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Giving Homeschoolers a Good Name

Me, to Nate, who supposedly (long story there) starts his first-ever public school course tomorrow morning: "So, should I find the school handbook and make you read it so you don't break any rules?"
"Mom! NO! If I read it I won't have plausible deniability!"
"Nate, there is no such thing as plausible deniability in the public school system."
"Oh, shoot. I was hoping for some lag time."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Aw, Shoot

Nate outgrew an entire wardrobe in one week. I knew he was an inch taller when I picked him up than when he left for boot camp, but we thought that might be attributed to his learning to stand up straight. But now all of his shirts are too narrow in the shoulders all of a sudden. Hand-me-downs? Not on your life. Not only does Brandon wear his clothes to pieces, he prefers jeans and button-down flannel shirts. Nate won't touch either and lives in cargo pants and crew necks (when not in uniform). Given his color preferences, I should probably shop some army surplus store. Anyone know of a khaki-olive drab-navy sale?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Work at Home, Finally?

Since I couldn't get them to send me overseas, I just turned in an application for my company's work-at-home program. It's a new thing, but it sounds like fun.

They say I need a 'dedicated, quiet space' and all I could think was...have you not actually been in my row? We are rowdy and noisy and there are more Transformers and Star Wars action figures than people!

Which might explain why they split my row up and spread us to the far corners (there are more than four corners around here). It's booooo-ring and depressing and I am sure we are weighing down the email servers trying to keep up the jumbled conversation we have been having for four months.

In any case, just to prepare, even though I haven't been interviewed yet, one of my goals this weekend is to set up said 'quiet, dedicated space', or some reasonable facsimile, along with pricing an upgrade to my internet connection and a landline, which I guess is required (two cell phones are not enough in case of emergency? I am sure they must have a reason).

I am working NO overtime next week and while my paycheck will suffer for it, I am so looking forward to three contiguous days of rest. (Days can be contiguous, can't they?) Ok, maybe not REST, but at least a change of pace.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Kid Has a Point

Nathan, watching an episode of Magnum PI:
"Mom, you HAVE to see this part!"
"Nate, I have seen all these episodes."
"Yeah, but your memory isn't what it used to be."
"Well, it's good enough that when Sensei asks me if you have been behaving tomorrow night, I will remember to say no!"
"Mom...karate is tonight."

Dang it anyhow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

He's Back

After ten very long and boring days, Nate has returned. My grandmother and I fetched him yesterday and I am very proud to say that for the first time ever, I went to the West side and did not get lost, not even for a minute! We even got off the highway at points on purpose! Yay!

Ok, so if you are done laughing at me...

Nate had a great time. He said he got enough to eat (this was a concern as they were limited to three meals a day and Nate eats 7 most days). His instructor told me that Nate was a great help to some of the other kids, one in particular who was quite homesick. Of course, he also said that Nate kept trying to teach the classes...which is reminiscent of the first parent-teacher conference my poor mother had during my school career. (Jenny does all right, but would you let her know that I am the teacher?)

He is still wearing Navy gear. It appears that it has become fused into his very being.

He ran (yes, ran) to the store last night to buy gummy bears. Not only were they not allowed at boot camp, the superior cadets WERE eating them, and apparently this was torture tantamount to that which the CIA uses for interrogation.

Now we are trying to move from recovery mode to useful mode. It isn't going so smoothly.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Well, She Was Sweet, At Least

I helped a....ahem...large-challenged, not-young lady this morning. (my grandmother objects to 'little old lady'). She was a sweetie, but she seemed to think I had some amazing magic. In any case, I had to re-set her password for her. I said, "I need you to give me a password that has at least six letters, that you have no used before." She gave me a series of letters and then I asked, "Any upper case letters in that?" and she said, "Not that I know of." Well, okay, then.

I really have nothing interesting to say. Between working tons and Nate being gone, basically I have become a big ball of boredom. This does not bode well for the day I have an empty nest.

Anyone who wants to pray, btw, I need to find a car by Saturday morning. No, that isn't a joke.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pride Going Before The Fall

While waiting for karate class to finish, I was singing in the car with the windows down. Granted, I can be quite loud, especially when moved.

I guess one of the other moms overheard me, because she went inside the building and said to my son, "Your mother has the most beautiful voice I have ever heard. What must it be like living with her?"

Nate answered, "Annoying."

I believe this answer stems from an incident the other night when he was stranded in the bathroom with no TP and trying to get my attention. I was singing in the kitchen and didn't hear him until he started banging on the wall.

I will try to keep his answer in mind while he is gone for the next 10 days and I am missing him like crazy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Where I work, we sometimes have MOT--Mandatory Overtime. Now, I try to work overtime, but somehow, when it is mandated, it isn't nearly as appealing. I worked an extra eight hours yesterday and have to go back tomorrow and to be honest, I just don't wanna.

Actually, I am just very tired and fighting a headache and can't go to bed early tonight like I would prefer. It's a lovely night for a walk but I feel too rotten to go for one. I didn't even stay to watch Jukido.

I think I am going to go hunt up some Calgone-type comfort.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hear Me Roar

Best customer comment ever:
"What can I say about Jennifer. She was great and did an outstanding job on finally fixing the issue I was having with my [item]. All those involved with my issue for the last three days have been great and understanding. Yet it took a woman to finally solve the problem...LOL."

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Shoot Me Now

Nate got more uniforms today. That need patches. Oh, joy.

I had a customer today. Well, I had about fifty, but I had one memorable one.

"Push the 'ABCD' button."
"When I do that, it says X"
"That doesn't sound right. Are you sure you are pushing the 'ABCD' button?"
"Well, of course. Look, I will do it again. See? It still says X"
"Hmm, ok, push the 'EFGG' button"
"That seems to do the same thing as the other button."
"Odd. Ok, now push the button that says 'ABCD' on it."
"I did, and it now says X"
"So, written on the button, it says 'A B C D?"
"You mean at the bottom?"
"The bottom?, I want you to push RIGHT WHERE IT SAYS ABCD"
"Oh, know, you might have something there." !!!

It IS Saturday, right?

So, Netflix is now shipping on Saturdays. Only I didn't find this out until it was too late to adjust my queue! Argh.

I was up half the night sewing patches on Nate's Navy Leaguer uniforms. If I never see another name tape it will be too soon. This morning I said, "There, I am all done! Now you know your momma loves you!" Nate said, "Or you are just doing your best to get rid of me for nine days!" LOL, at least now he can go to boot camp, and I still say I will come out ahead since I don't have to feed him while he's gone. Gonna miss him, though.

A clue to Nate's sense of humor: On my way out the door I asked him to turn off the lamp. It's been acting funny lately and I am worried about hazards. So I said, "Turn off this lamp before you leave. I don't want it left on when no one's home."

"I know what you mean, Mom! It's been convicted of assault four times and in jail on possession charges twice."


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Blessed Peace

For the first time in weeks it is cool enough to turn off the a/c. That thing, and the fans to circulate the cool air, are so LOUD! I am home alone and this is the most quiet that I have experienced in far too long.

It was a long and tiring day and I was not feeling well for most of it, so no walk this evening. Although, really, it is so nice out...maybe I will change my mind.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

File This Under...

'things I never thought I would have to say, prior to becoming a parent.'

"There is NO BUTT BITING in this game of Twister!"

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pevensie Invasion

(Wherein I try to remember the Pevensie children's names...they aren't really Pevensies, you know. I am too tired to check Mrs P's blog, but I think they are, in order of age, Peter, Lucy and Edmund...the eldest I can't remember, but she was not among the troops.)

Mrs. P and 3/4 of her kids came to play today. Her children and mine have this rare friendship where they can fall back in like they never left off, even if for some reason it has been months since they saw each other. (Why would it be months? Well, we ask ourselves that and the answer is 'life'. It tends to mess up the best laid plans.) Come to think of it, Mrs. P and I have the same type of relationship.

Anyway, it has been a lovely day, though I am not sure our two households produce enough hot water for the now-needed bathing.

My Nate and the 3 Ps are 13, 12, 10 and 4. Since they have all been homeschooled all their lives, they don't realize they aren't supposed to enjoy each others' company.

We left the boys here to wreak havoc while Mrs. P and Lucy got hair cuts. The house was still standing when we returned, but the living room had been turned into a Nerf armory. Lucy is a pretty good sport, so they swept her into their war after we fed them. Once the battle died down to a low hum, we gathered them all up and headed to the park. We did a sort of rotation--wading pool (I promised Edmund an Edmund-sized pool, and it went over quite well), the river, where they took turns hauling one another around in a raft and forming a flotilla with floaties, throwing rocks, etc; then back to the wading pool (20 degrees warmer water in there!), then the playground, then the snow-cone booth (thank goodness!). Mine was pink lemonade, by the way.

Back home, lo and behold...the natives are hungry again. We head for pizzas and come back to find them googling us. Slightly disturbing.

Mrs. P is at a meeting this evening, so I am attempting to hold the fort down myself. The Nerf war is back on but the children decided it needed a plot. They camped out in the living room to divide up the duties. Poor Lucy kept aiming for a princess-kingdom-knights type of thing, while Peter and Nate were aiming for espionage of some sort and Edmund just wanted to shoot people. I believe they finally settled on Lucy being a computer programmer of royal heritage.

It's dark and I should call them in, but I hate to break up the fun. Besides, earlier when they were inside, Lucy bit Nate on the knee. Don't blame her, I think he stole her pocketbook. Edmund hasn't had a nap and is going to pass out any minute.

Speaking of Edmund, he was a great disappointment today. I have a stack of movies that I never get to watch because my kids think they are 'too old.' So I let Edmund have the pick of the entertainment closet, hoping for Nemo or Simba...and instead got roped into Star Wars! Good thing the kid is cute.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Scale Paradox

As a sort of compromise between the focus I used to have on the number on the scale and the Intuitive Eating and body acceptance lifestyle I strive for, I allow myself one weigh-in on the first or second of the month, if I bother to remember. Many months I don't. This morning I did. And now I wish I hadn't.

Why? Because I weigh less than the last time I remembered...which I think was two months ago, although I could be wrong. Not much less, and it is little enough that it could simply be a natural fluctuation. Really, statistically insignificant! But it has caused me to spend too much time today (read: more than five minutes) fighting the old diet mentality. Oh, gosh, what did I do to make the number go down? What could I do to make it go down more? If I lost x amount every y time period..I could weight blank by new year's.

Ugh. That is the mindset I happily gave up. That is the nasty psychological warfare of diet-shake companies and stupid women's magazines and such. I don't want that for myself.

Curiously, when the number is the same or above what it last was, I never have this problem. And that is the paradox.

Clean Naked!

This way, when you mis-read the directions on the bottle of heavy-duty mildew-killing shower cleaner with bleach and, instead of turning the nozzle tip 180 degrees, accidentally unscrew the whole nozzle component, dropping the bottle and being splashed, your clothes are safe and it is only you that needs hosing off.

I was glad I did!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

One of Those Days

TWO TIMES today a customer has called and we have had the following conversation (edited, of course):

"It isn't working!"
"I am sorry to hear that. What exactly do you see?"
"Oh, should I turn it on?"
"Yes, definitely turn it on."
"Oh, look, it's working now!"

Electricity. It's amazing.

In other work-related news, it is shift-bid time. The shift that I have now, to which I have grown accustomed, that fits so well into my life and need for sleep? *poof* It is no more. So I have to choose from 11 other shifts, none of which are nearly as nice. Do I want to give up three days off each week? Having Sundays off? Sleeping? Seeing my child? I have stared and stewed and finally numbered them 1 through 11 and hopefully, hopefully, they will give me something that works. I am aware that last time around I was exceptionally blessed, this time I am hoping for merely workable.

I haven't walked today yet. Actually, I totally forgot until I signed in to my blog and saw the walking blog list! But my shoes are in the car, socks and everything, and I can head down to the river while Nate is in karate and maybe even catch a breeze. A hot breeze, but that is better than none.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Sudden Need for Motivation

I didn't make the cut on the very first round! I knew it was a long shot, but I thought I might have a chance. In any case, I now need to find another reason to walk. I did two short walks today, laps around the (inside! air conditioned!) of the building I work in. It used to be a Walmart, so even though we don't use the whole building, it's pretty sizeable. While I didn't get many minutes in, I pushed hard enough to hurt.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Walking Blog

I can't find a good gadget for this, so for the time being, it's going to appear at the top right of this page.

A word of explanation: As stated in the post previous to this one, I am beginning 'walking training.' This is for many reasons, not just a possible trip out of country. Walking is something people take for granted until they can't do it anymore. Due to an innate muscular imbalance in my legs, walking tends to be excruciatingly painful--as in, causing me to cry most times. My shin muscles are very week in comparison to my calf muscles. The shin muscles are what pull your toes up, so you can see how if they don't work well, walking could be difficult. My calf muscles try to overcompensate and end up cramping. Altogether it is no fun. The only cure is to walk in pain long enough to build up some sort of endurance. This isn't a result of being fat or lazy, by the way, I can remember this problem even during my teen years, even when tap dancing, an activity that strengthens the needed shin muscles. Walking has always been difficult and running simply out of the question. Combine this with a desk job and if I am not careful, I become unable to walk more than a block. This happened over the last two years, but I am fixing the situation now.

Tonight's walk was 12 minutes and a little more than half a mile. I walked pretty slowly, because I find that I can walk further that way. My goal isn't to get my heart rate up, lose weight, etc., it is simply to strengthen my shin muscles and build endurance, and for that, slow works, at least right now. Actually, tonight's walk went better than I expected-I haven't lost as much ground as I had expected over the last couple of weeks. My right foot didn't start to drag until the last block or so, and that is also about when the pain began to get bad-but it never did get as bad as it usually does.

Intrigue, Adventure and Motivation

So, I applied for an overseas position that I am not able to discuss. No, really. I even had the follow conversation (or just about) with my own mother:

Hey, if I leave the country sometime this fall, can Nate stay with you?
Of course. Where are you going?
I can't tell you. (and I don't really know)
What are you doing?
I don't know, they won't tell us.
How long will you be gone?
I don't know that, either.

Never say I am not adventurous.

This possible trip, however, raises some issues. Clothes, for instance. I may be going to a very hot place, or I may be going to a cold place. I guess I should make...a few sundresses and sweaters? Then there's the regular preparing for this kind of trip. Find my passport, plan Nate's schoolwork, figure out what to do with the animals, how to pay bills while gone, etc.

And then there's the walking. No matter which location they send me to, I will be doing plenty of walking. Since walking is generally pretty painful for me, I need to build up some resistance. A couple weeks back I was doing a lot of walking and found that it became a tad easier and in fact, when I quit walking (someone loaned me a car), my body reacted rather badly. I should have kept it up, but used the 'it's a hundred degrees outside!' excuse (and I am not exaggerating). But now I realize I ought to be in training.

Nate is heading off to boot camp in two weeks, as well, and while he passed his PT qualifications, he says his stamina is not what it ought to be, so I guess we are both in training. I am NOT running, however. The kid will just have to run circles around me or something.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Well, Thanks, Kiddo

Sitting in church today Nate leaned over and said, "You are sure having hair day."
"I am?"
"Yes, very interesting. It just kind of went Kapow!"


Friday, July 24, 2009

If I Go Insane...

THIS is the customer that put me over the edge.
(disclaimer: in order to hide where I work and what I work with, today we are pretending I work for a Toyota Repair Shoppe. Yes, I do mean 'shoppe'.)

"Welcome to Jenny-Fair's Toyota Repair Shoppe! How can I help you today?"
"Well, my husband's Toyota is broken. It does crazy things and sometimes it just won't go."
"Oh, I am sorry to hear that. Is that your husband's car that you brought with you today?"
"No, my husband has his car. This is my car. But I paid for both of them."
"I see. I would love to help, but in order to fix your husband's car, we need you to bring your husband's car to us."
"You don't understand. My husband is a very busy man. He's a doctor! He doesn't have time to bring his car in for repairs."
"Well, if you had your husband give you a description of the problem, and you brought his car in, we could take a look at it."
"Now, listen. Here is MY car. It is JUST THE SAME as his. You show me what to do."
"Um...I am really sorry, but if your husband's car is broken, then that is the car we need to look at. I can't tell from looking at your car what is wrong with your husband's car."
"Listen, I paid for BOTH cars. You CAN tell me. Just tell me what is wrong with the car and how to fix it! "
"Ma'am, really, without your husband's car, we can't actually help."
"Well, just show me on my car."
"No, really, we need to see the broken car."
"Fine! I am going to come back tomorrow with my own car and pretend it is the broken one! You will never know and you will fix it and I will be just fine!" (crazy lady stomps out)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Famous People

I talked to someone famous today. I mean, Time-magazine-cover-famous. I talk to famous people every so often, probably oftener than I realize as I am really bad with names. Every so often I will be talking to someone and realize they are an actor or movie producer and I was just too clueless to figure it out without being told, but sometimes there is no doubt as to who I am helping. Anyway, the thing is, I never get the ones that I WANT to talk to.
Being in the unique position of having power and knowledge that they don't have, but still 'serving' these people gives me an insight into what they are really like. For instance, the person I spoke to this morning, while never on my 'I'd love to talk to THEM' list, and while diametrically opposed to me in beliefs, was relatively humble, never pointing out who he was, never asking for anything special, and following my directions even when they may not have made sense to him. Also, he didn't have his assistant call. I feel sorry for the assistants of the world-they are overworked, underpaid and frequently uninformed. Their boss hands them something and says 'Doesn't work! Take care of it!'. I can tell a lot about a person by how worried their assistant is, as well.
I am somewhat relieved to find out that I treat people normally, as well. At least, I hope I treat every customer with the same respect that I give when I know I am helping someone powerful or well-known. I did have one customer say that we should rate our customers (she said she was sure she would be #1), but I couldn't abide by that system, I don't think.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Creeping Discontent

I am not sure if it is viral or bacterial, but I am sure that I have come down with it. Creeping Discontent.

It begins with something small, say, a car breaking down. Then it begins to snowball, adding teen troubles, busy schedules, money problems, etc...then I lose my ability to look at the glass-half-full side of life...until before I know it good friends are asking far too often, 'Hey, are you ok?'

Yesterday I turned to a work buddy and said, "I am in a bad mood!" and his reply was, "I had noticed."


Really, what is my contentedness supposed to be based on? I don't think it's the car, the money, the kids or the house. Apparently I need to climb to a higher vantage point, 'cause I have lost sight of the point.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

If God Texted The 10 Commandments

1. no1 b4 me. srsly.
2. dnt wrshp pix/idols
3. no omg's
4. no wrk on w/end (sat 4 now; sun l8r)
5. pos ok - ur m&d r cool
6. dnt kill ppl
7. :-X only w/ m8
8. dnt steal
9. dnt lie re: bf
10. dnt ogle ur bf's m8. or ox. or dnkey. myob.

M, pls rite on tabs & giv 2 ppl.

ttyl, JHWH.

ps. wwjd?


The Downside of Intuitive Eating

I don't talk about my Intuitive Eating journey often enough on here. Part of that, I think, is that in real life I frequently have to defend my way of eating, which makes me want to hold tighter to the parts of it that stay personal. But lately I have been struck many times by the downside of the process. Downside? There isn't supposed to be one! But, as with everything else in life, there are pretty parts and not-so-pretty parts, and sometimes they are even the same thing.

Family tension: My family doesn't eat like I do. They don't even understand my new way of eating. If I refuse dessert because I am not hungry or it doesn't sound wonderful, someone comments, "Jenny is trying to be good." Um, no, I am not...I think eating choices are morally neutral...I am just not hungry! Frequently if I don't put something on my plate, it's personal to the cook, and if my meal doesn't look 'balanced' I sometimes get a speech on the subject (as does Nate, who is the most intuitive eater I know...but at family dinners, there are veggies, fruit, chips and salsa out and he eats bunches of those and then when it is 'dinner time' he eats only meat...and gets a speech about it, every time. Um...he already had the other food groups? And what he eats is none of your business??!!). To be fair, this situation is getting better. I think my family has given up.

Inability to commiserate: Eat something not 'on your diet'? I could care less. Moaning and groaning about your belly? Really, I think your belly is fine. I think mine is fine, too. I don't care to sit around wallowing in self-hate, denial and false hopes. I actually think it's stupid to starve yourself or try to follow some formula. This does not make me popular.

Inability to eat emotionally: What?! But I thought that was the GOAL of this whole thing? Well, yeah, but do you realize what that means? It means...that when I am sad, chocolate is irrelevant. That some people who care about me can't make me happy by giving me Ghirardelli. I have to find new ways to cope. I am no fun at all-women ice-cream pity-parties. Chocolate sits in my cupboard or night table long enough that it has to be thrown out. In some ways that is very sad.

It's a bone of contention: Generally, what I believe about food and body size shouldn't be a point of argument, but it has become so at times. For instance, Raoul was coming over one evening. I asked him to bring me a cheeseburger. I don't eat cheeseburgers often but that night it really sounded good. What did he bring me? Nuts and berries. I kid you not. I insisted that nuts and berries are no 'better' or 'healthier' than a cheeseburger, but this was brushed aside. Of course they must be better for you! After all, you can pick them right off a vine! Um, no, actually, if one's body demands a cheeseburger, nuts and berries are not going to satisfy, no matter how 'healthy' they are deemed by some expert or another. And no, I don't really care that our ancestors and even some people on the planet today survive on that kind of diet, you can't listen to my stomach and you have no right to tell me what to eat. I could barely choke down a few nuts and berries and had to go to bed hungry (carless, mother hubbard me that evening, or I would have done something about that). Granted, not everyone is as conceited and self-righteous as my ex-boyfriend, but still, the need to shout "You're not the boss of me!" does pop up from time to time. Sometimes it isn't a friend or relative so much as it is society and at work, where the choice of convenience food is yucky vending-machine fare or the 'healthy food' table that only has granola bars and dried fruit...and this girl needs protein! So I have to go with the yucky Jenny-hating vending machine and be deemed 'that girl who is so fat because she eats hot pockets'. Well, no one has said that aloud, but you know how society makes you feel.

It won't make me skinny, and it ain't fast: Intuitive eating will never make me skinny. If I hadn't screwed with my metabolism to begin with, then perhaps I could intuitively eat myself to a socially acceptable weight, but I did screw with my metabolism and I have no delusions about what that means. I will be fat the rest of my life. I am ok with that now, but other people are not. The Navy, for instance. Nate's Sea Cadet unit could sure use another uniformed adult...but my body is, according to Navy regs, "a disgrace to the uniform." As if body size is, again, a moral issue? Um, no, thanks anyway. And other women are always assuming that I am trying to get thin. Nope! Wasted enough years on that, thanks! But then again, it is hard to give up the diet dreams, plus it is yet another way that I am different from the women around me.

The worst part? When angry at things like this, potato chips are no help. Sigh.

It makes special occasions harder: I almost didn't eat my own birthday cake this year. I wasn't hungry. It didn't even sound good, even though I had asked for it. I finally ate a small piece just to be polite, but I have grown to dislike doing such things. I know that naturally thin, intuitively-eating people eat when they are not hungry, and that is what I told myself, but I guess now that I am listening to my body, it's hard to argue with it.

It's more work sometimes: Starving myself is not an option, even for convenience's sake. Although I do struggle with this from time to time, the right thing to do is feed my hungry body. This is especially hard when I am home alone. Cooking a whole meal for one person who isn't even going to say thank you? What fun is that? But the other night I did make myself cook up a great chicken-pepper stir fry (with nuts...leftover from the anti-cheeseburger ex-boyfriend). It was wonderful, and I was so glad that I had done that. It hit the spot perfectly. But most days, I just want the hunger to go away rather than a cooking/eating experience. I have to learn to take better care of myself than that.

All in all, I still choose this path. I am free from the bondage of emotional eating, food rules and regulations, self-hate, despair, false's wonderful! Freedom is a tasty thing :-)