Sunday, March 26, 2006
Pass the Celery Sticks, Please
As I was cleaning out my closet, I came across the jeans I had saved just to prove to myself that I was once really was that thin. Then I found the pair of jeans that I saved because for years I believed that I would fit back into them "someday". So I did something mortifying: I laid those two pair of jeans on top of the size I wear today. This is how it looks:
Scary, isn't it? Just for the record, I currently have three different sizes of pants that fit exactly the same (none of them, unfortunately, the smaller sizes shown.) I spent some time measuring the larger sizes against the smallest one, and they are all identical in waist and hip. This proves to me that there is no such thing as quality control in the garment industry. (Am I good at rationalizing, or what! I couldn't possibly really need that biggest size!)

I think I will print out this picture and put it on my refigerator. Place your bets on whether I will:
A) Eat less and exercise more
B) Tear up the damn picture!

posted at 10:15 AM
Comments (10)

Thursday, March 23, 2006
Time Is All We Have
I spent today in a time management seminar. See how well I'm managing my time now? I'm blogging. This actually is an improvement, because I've been very skimpy on my posts lately. When I got home, I opened my emails, and deleted or responded to every new one. (The other 1000 or so will take a little more work -- they didn't tell us how to catch up, just how to manage things from here forward.) If I follow all their recommendations for 21 days, supposedly I will do it for life. They promise I will be more efficient and productive, calmer, happier, and beautiful. Okay, I made that last one up.

I could handle either work or the rest of my life, but the two together have gotten to be too much. On Sunday, I am giving the Little Angel a birthday party at Club Libby Lu's, a place where they give little girls a makeover -- you know, glitter, sunglasses, pink hair. She has wanted to do it for years, and she is probably not going to think it's so cool for much longer. The party is late afternoon. After I made the reservations (read: took the opening they had left), it hit me that I would have to feed these girls dinner. No problem, march them over to the food court, right? Wrong! The food court closes early on Sunday. So I'm still trying to figure out how and where I'm going to feed them, and then there's the little matter of the birthday cake... Ah, but there's no problem, I will just make the proper notations in my planner and everything will magically work out. (Hey, that's what they said!)

Late next week the Professor and I are going to Costa Rica for a few days. I hope FTS doesn't read this, because he will think I am nuts, but I am supposed to be in Snowmass CO right now, skiing. I changed the tickets because I couldn't squeeze everything in and the pressure was getting to me. Anyway, I just did the snow thing in January, and I'm ready for beaches and jungles.

Stormii's surgery is April 12th. When the doctor changed the date, I had to change the plane tickets for her mother and grandmother. Continental wanted an additional $100 per ticket to make the change. I had to talk to a supervisor and do one heck of a selling job to convince her to waive the fee. My feeling is, if the doctor changes the date again, he's paying the $200.

Then we have Easter on the 16th, so I'm buying up goofy toys for the Easter baskets. Even the teenagers (which is what we mostly have now, come to think of it) still get baskets, and still want toys. Then on the 20th, we are going to Savannah for a long weekend. I have been begging to go there for years, but the Professor has always told me the tickets were too high or the schedules too bad. Gee, they're cheaper than the tickets to Denver were, and the flight leaves after work for Savannah and gets me home at 8:00 Monday morning. Amazing what you can learn when you do it yourself!

I know all this sounds like fun, and it will be, but it also comes with a fair amount of work and planning and organizing ... oh yeah, that's why I took that time management seminar. I'll give them a good 21-day run for their money. If I can get through all this without having to run around like a mad woman, I will be a true believer.

I have to leave you with some quotes from a video we saw today. I forgot a couple of them, so please ignore the gaps.

What is the value of a year? Ask a woman who was just diagnosed with cancer.

What is the value of a month? Ask the parents of a premature baby.

What is the value of a week? Ask the lovers who have been apart.

What is the value of an hour? Ask an hourly worker who has to feed his family.

What is the value of a minute? Ask the man who just missed the last train of the day.

What is the value of a second? Ask the person who survived a car wreck.

What is the value of a millisecond? Ask the runner who came in second -- or ask the one who won the gold medal.

posted at 7:11 PM
Comments (3)

Monday, March 20, 2006
Caught Unprepared
Oh, my. One of the bloggers I most admire, FTS, has spotlighted my blog this week. And here I am, with my blog a complete mess. I haven't dusted off my thoughts, or sorted out the good ones from the ones that need to be thrown out. Swept out the cobwebs? Organized my ideas? Ha! There's probably even a participle or two dangling around here. But please overlook the disarray. You are very welcome here.

Today's good news is that I am no longer the only woman in the sales force. The new hire is on the east coast, so I will only get to see her once a year at sales meetings, but it's nice to have her in the group. It's even nicer because my boss' wife told me confidentially last summer that he was so pleased with my performance, he was eager to interview more women for sales. As one who remembers when job listings were divided into "Help Wanted -- Men" and "Help Wanted -- Women" categories, and, even worse, when job applications had a whole section asking very personal questions about your periods (how heavy, how often, did you get cramps, etc.), I find the old phrase "you've come a long way, baby" floating happily through my head. (Avoiding, I hope, those pesky dangling participles!)

I saw 8 turkey buzzards perched on top of the house at the end of my street. Of course, by the time I went home to get my camera, they all flew away, presumably to dine on the finest of road kill. Two of them took off from the roof as I drove by. They are huge, with wingspans that must be five feet across. I know scavengers are necessary, but that doesn't mean I have to like them.

The weekend was very nice. I bought a set of coppery orange sheets, some reddish orange towels, and a bright orange outfit. Yes, I am very attracted to orange right now. Kritter and I went to the ballet Saturday night. I have a dreadful sense of direction, and they would not let me exit from the parking garage at the place where I could have found my way home. Instead, I went about 30 miles out of my way before I figured out where I was. (For those of you from Houston, I wanted to get to Seabrook, but I ended up going west on Memorial until I hit 610.) Yesterday I cleaned out part of my closet and filled two trash sacks full of clothes, some of them still with price tags on them. I very seldom shop, and still I have all these excess clothes hanging in my closet. I donate everything to the women's shelter. I was struggling over whether or not to get rid of my red "power suit". I haven't worn it in a long time, but it gave me confidence at some critical times, and I had a sentimental attachment to it. Then I imagined that some woman with her confidence in tatters would put on that suit and go interview for -- and get -- the first good job of her life. I'll never know if that actually happens, but just the possibility made that suit go into the Donate pile.

Well, I warned you that I hadn't organized my thoughts! I hope everyone has as happy a day as Monday can be.

posted at 1:00 PM
Comments (2)

Friday, March 17, 2006
Diary of a Crazed Road Warrior
Oh, what a week I've had! On Tuesday, I spent the day in Beaumont, then went to a meeting and got home about 10:00 PM. On Wednesday, I had to go to a computer class all day. It was held across town, fairly close to Dolphin's house, so I went there when the class was over, and got home about 9:30 PM. Yesterday morning, I drove to San Antonio, made some calls, then drove down to Corpus Christi, arriving just in time to throw my suitcase into my hotel room and run to another meeting. All I have to do today is make a few calls here in Corpus, drive back to Houston, and start back in on my ever-lengthening to-do list. And, somehow, I have to get back into the cats' good graces. I suspect they are not happy about the lack of petting and the stale cat food they've been forced to eat.

I spend a lot of time going to these professional meetings, but there is method in my madness. Security has increased so much at the plants that it's very difficult to get in, and of course since the advent of voice mail, it's incredibly hard to get someone on the phone. But if you meet someone in a casual setting, chat with him over a drink and dinner, it's a whole different ball game. Now you are friends, and he's delighted to make an appointment. In fact, I have never even been in the office of one of my best customers, but many times we have sat at a table after the meeting ended and figured out the solution to a problem. The other salesmen think I'm nuts, but it sure has worked well for me.

The Professor is on another dive trip. He will get home tomorrow, but too late to make the ballet (we have season tickets), so Kritter is going to go with me. She has been my best ballet buddy over the years. Sunday night the Professor and I are having dinner with my "adopted son" and his parents. Tony works for my former company. He came here from England several years ago, and I didn't want him to sit all alone for 4 days for his first Thanksgiving holiday, so I invited him to dinner. Now he has his own stocking, and everyone considers him a part of the family. A few years ago, his parents and brother were here for Christmas, so I had them all over for the day. (There isn't a whole lot of difference between feeding 24 and 28.) This will be the first chance I've had to see them again, and I'm really looking forward to it.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

posted at 8:14 AM
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Numbers and Grammar
I've been a very bad blogger lately. I'm not sure that I've accomplished anything, but I sure have been busy not accomplishing it! I am my own worst enemy. For example, my company has a new fleet manager and we now have to enter our monthly business and personal mileage on line. We have to go back to Nov.1, when our fiscal year began. So I pulled out all my reports and my calculator, added up all the personal and business miles, entered the data for November and started on December. Ooops! December is not adding up. Aw, gee, I entered my beginning November mileage instead of my ending November mileage. Okay, call the 800 number and ask how to fix it. "Sorry, we're closed". Of course, it is 6:30 AM .... still, I'm up and working, why aren't they?!

Another New Orleans evacuee has been found murdered near Houston. This one was a 19 year old whose story appeared in the December issue of Seventeen. Here is how Seventeen wrote it up:

We climbed out of the dining room window onto the roof of a parked car that was right there, In the pouring rain we scrambled onto the roof of the house. Quiana and I looked at each other, terrified, and burst into tears. "How are we going to survive?" she said.

What if I never saw [my daughter] again? We hugged tightly, bawling.

Here is how the Houston Chronicle quoted her sister:

The pressure from the water busted the door down. The water was up to our necks so we had to escape out a window.

Seventeen's version struck me as patronizing, as though the girl was so unintelligible that they had to clean it up to a version that no one on earth would actually say. (In the pouring rain we scrambled onto the roof of the house? We hugged tightly, terrifed???? Come on, now.)

I used to be a purist about English, but I've mellowed, lowered my standards, or learned to appreciate spoken English, one or all of the above. (Although it still drives me totally insane when one of my children uses bad grammar.) I'm curious if I'm alone in this.

All quotes probably need to be cleaned, but with the er's and um's left out, people can be quoted pretty much as they spoke. Do you prefer direct quotes or cleaned-up ones a la Seventeen?

Do you notice the difference?

Do you even give a rat's patootie?

posted at 7:00 AM
Comments (4)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Letters from Mwende

I received my first letter from my new sponsored child in Kenya. Well, okay, she's only six, so someone wrote it for her. I just have to share some of it with you.

"She was very happy to hear that she's got a sponsor. She jumped up and down singing a chorus. Her parents were also very happy for your schooling her as your beloved child... Mwende has planted a pawpaw tree as a symbol of the friendship with you. She says that she'll keep watering it until when it will start bearing fruits so she'll never leave it to dry. She thanks you a lot and she says that she'll send you a photo with her family and the pawpaw tree."

That brought tears to my eyes, but it became an even greater symbol when I found a second letter (apparently someone forgot to mail it in January) and read this:

"The climate now is hot and dry. Last rain season, we did not harvest anything from our gardens because the rain was very low in such a way that the crops only germinated and no more rain fell on them, so they dried up leaving us in a very tough famine. But we believe that God is able and is the provider."

There was als an official letter from the Wamunyu Children Development Fund -- Wamunyu is probably a tribe, but I haven't had time to do research on it yet. Anyway, it begins:

"It is with great joy and ululations that we are sending many greetings from Wamunyu chidren Development fund the family of Mwende Nzioki and from Mwende herself to you. Do also receive much greetings from the entire Wamunyu fraternity as a whole. It is our hope against wish that you are just fine inhaling and exhaling that good air and you are at the best of health with your family members, friends, relatives and fellow countrymen up there. The saeme case applies to us down here. God has blessed us richly with the gift of life."

I cannot add anything to that. I hope against wish that all of you are inhaling and exhaling that good air.

posted at 4:30 AM
Comments (8)

Friday, March 03, 2006
It's been a really busy week. I've had lots of good meals as I take customers to lunch, but there has been so much going on, I can't get it all done. I think that's job security ... anyway, I know I am happier and more efficient when I have a lot to do.

My boss wanted some good stories about how we get new business. I said heck, I don't know what I do, I think it's the people at the factory who actually get us the business. He said, don't be so modest, brag a little. Then he put out a phone message to all the salesmen asking for stories, and clarified a bit what he was looking for. So I gave him a couple of stories to work with. Now he leaves me a message saying thanks for the stories, no one else gave me anything, guess the guys are all too modest to take credit for their efforts! Is this damned if you do and damned if you don't, or what?

Actually, my boss has told me more than once that he loves to read my call reports. I write them just like they happened: customer said this, I said that, then I noticed something and suggested...etc. God love him, my boss was a super salesman who did such an incredible job that they created a management position for him. His heart is still in sales, so he likes my call reports because they make him feel like he is making the sales call with me. Or, as I told the Professor, a lot of my success is due to the fact that I can tell my boss a good story whenever I need to!

posted at 5:21 AM
Comments (5)

Mitey Mite

Texas, United States

I am older than dirt, but I still feel pretty young & some call me the Energizer Bunny. I share a house with the Professor & 3 cats. Between us we have 5 grown children, all of whom are productive members of society (!), and 10 grandchildren. I have a job I love, a little money for the 1st time in my life, and so many more things I want to do than I will ever have time for.

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