Saturday, October 27, 2007

Getting in the Spooky Spirit

Tonight is the annual Ezzell family Halloween party, so we are going. First chance for the kids to try out their costumes and all. And I think this year I'll pull out the old "Ancient Noble" toga and stole a friend made me several years ago for a LARP (Live Action Role Play -- if you don't know, don't ask. I know that doesn't work well in the military, but it works well here). This will be the first year in probably 5 that I have worn a costume. I'm pretty excited about it.

Anyhoo, I need to purchase a rope to tie the thing (I think I borrowed one last time) and I may need to buy some sort of white shorts or skirt or something, as apparently when I first wore it at 27, the slits at the side of the thing didn't end at the tippy top of my leg. Either that, or I didn't care... I also saw some bad wigs at the costume shop the other day, so I may splurge on one to give myself long, curly hair tonight.

Athena is stoked to be going as Belle tonight. She briefly changed her mind early in the week and thought she would be Cinderella. I nixed that quickly. The main problem at the moment is that I can't find her freaking Belle shoes. Sleeping Beauty: check. Cinderella: check. Ariel: check. Belle: MIA. Of course. May go to Toys R Us and see what they have today. Does it piss me off that I might have to buy her ANOTHER pair of dress up shoes. Yup. Will I do it to avoid the temper tantrum that is sure to come if she doesn't have shoes to match her dress? Youuuuuuuu betcha!

I offered Chris my dad's old lab coat so he could be a mad scientist, but he muttered something about being a hockey player... which is no more original than the mad scientist, so it will do. Marcus should be the star of the show, as I purchased him a fancy Captain Hook costume at the Disney Store. It's way more than I would normally spend, but since he wears exclusively hand-me-downs (thanks to Aiden and my boss' two sons), I figured I could dig a little deeper for this one. We'll have to get a hook at Toys R Us as well. I didn't feel that the $5 the Disney Store wanted for it was really my best deal. They also had a great hat (feather and all) for $12.50. I skipped it as well (despite the *cough* rock-bottom dollar-store price) since Marcus rarely keeps a hat on his head for more than ten seconds.

We also have to make a "spooky snack." I just did a Google search that netted MANY good ideas. However, I've elected to take the easy way out an make deviled eggs. Cop out, I know, but at least the word "devil" is there. The devil is still pretty spooky, yes?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Someone's Idea of a Cruel Joke

One of those projects that has been sitting on my desk... sort of since July... is actually laughable. It's laughable in that it has taken me so long to finish it; laughable in that I'm even doing it; laughable in that I've been asked to do it. But I was called upon, and I shall carry out my promise.

The project? Birthday cakes.

Ah, yes... the age-old office debate of how to handle the birthdays of our fellow employees. Apparently, the staff at my library, despite how amazingly nice and considerate they all are, have been having trouble coming up with a system that works for all. So I mentioned to someone this summer while we were closed that we had a very smooth, easy way to handle it at my old library, and next thing you know... POOF! I'm the birthday fairy.

The irony here is that there isn't a person in the building (or probably reading this blog... except maybe for Amy and certainly Chris) who is as "T" (per Myers-Briggs) as I am. "T: for Thinking" as opposed to "F: for Feeling." Those of you familiar with the test know that this does not mean that I am merely a Vulcan, ruled completely by logic, but generally, I tend to squelch my personal emotions for logic when the situation arises. This gives me the ability to "not care" when, for instance, an organization is reorganized, as long as I see the sense in what is happening. "Oh, sure, combining two identical jobs into one to save money... makes sense. Sucks for Joe, I suppose, but it makes sense."

See? I have some feeling in there... a little emotion. "Sucks for Joe." I recognize (usually) when someone's feelings are hurt, but that is only because I have spent over a decade of self-improvement getting to that point. I am, in fact, a nice person. But at work, I am, predominantly, all about work.

And here I am, trying to figure out how to be sure that those who wish to have their birthday trumpeted are duly heralded and those who don't are permitted to fade away to anonymity on their natal day.

And if you think this is easy... you have not done it. I actually produced a list in August, only to find out that there was a whole set of staff I had not included (long story) and now I am redoing. Fortunately, one of my colleagues who is particularly strong in the "F" category stepped in to help me out and deal with the ugly conversation where we apologize for not including people in the birthday cake rotation. I am VERY grateful. I would have handled it like, "Uh, hey. I heard through the grapevine that you want a cake. That true? Cool."

And you wonder how I'm a manager? Same reason my "F" colleague is. Because when it comes down to it, I care about my staff, and I get the job done... unfortunately not always in that order. But now we all know why I am kind of self-conscious about my skills, no matter how often they are touted.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

One Ring To Rule Them All

Life is full of weird little coincidences. The least of which is how Jessey's life and my life often intersect (while remaining completely different). This time, we are both amazed by the language of our little ones...

Marcus is still only barely saying a word at a time, with the notable exception of his favorite question "What's that?" Athena is (no big surprise here) orating constantly, not really giving Marcus a chance to say, "Boo." He, instead, is practicing hitting her head so hard it lands in Cleveland. A useful skill, true, but not one I really feel he needs to perfected in place of his language skills. Especially since they changed the NHL rules and goons don't get the ice time they once did. Now the only money for that is in organized crime and wrestling.

So... here's the really weird bit. A month ago, I listened to a lecture on CD on Fantasy literature, which of course was about half devoted to Tolkein. This professor is an expert in middle English, so he discussed Tolkein's language a LOT and read a great deal of the Elvish stuff (which, if you don't know, is really a pretty complete language considering one dude made it up all on his lonesome).

Anyway, although I never listened to this lecture with Athena in the car... she has begun speaking Elvish. She is uttering what appear to be complete sentences with nouns, verbs, and objects... often using consistent sounds that make it sound like she really is speaking another language. Many of the fricatives and blends seem consistent with the Elvish I was listening to. It's freaky. And she thinks it's awesome.

So now I have a son who has a promising future helping people swim with the fishes, and a daughter who seems destined to wear prosthetic ears and attend Sci Fi conventions.

My job here is done.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Mom-Mobile

Well, I have indeed entered into the world of soccer moms. After jamming ourselves into the SUV for a couple of recent roadtrips, and then after getting a taste of traveling in a minivan courtesy of Chris' mom... I took the plunge. I refer to this as my "accidental purchase" of a car.

Basically, I have been looking at minivans for a few years now... eyeing what my friends have and checking prices. I've been looking at the Sienna and the Odyssey because that's what everyone has, and recently Kathryn informed me that the Quest would earn me cool points, so I started looking at that. My dad bought a Town and Country years ago and that bad boy is still running... I guess almost 15 years now. But Chrysler has its issues currently, and the cost has been prohibitive, so I had crossed it off the list, even though their stow-n-go seats seemed awesome. And I do feel better buying American...

Then, on Monday, I was actually at the gym and Chrysler had an ad up for the 2008 model with the swivel-n-go seats. I had just been thinking how great it would be if minivans could stretch back to their "party-van" predecesors and do something like that and VOILA! So, on Tuesday morning before I went in to work, I went to look at the thing. I really wanted to see if the seats were really all that easy to swivel, or if it took a small army to do it. (That is the big drawback of Dad's minivan... taking the seats out requires super-human strength.)

Well, sure enough, the swivel part is super-easy, the van has tons of storage, and the price was better than I thought. Very comparable to competitors. So, after much pressure from the floor manager, I bought one. I didn't wake up Tuesday thinking "Today, I shall buy a minivan!" But lo and behold, that is what happened.

I do miss my VUE a bit already. She was a good car and was still running well. But now car trips will be SO much better. Of course, we don't have another one planned for several weeks (the one last weekend was cancelled due to my lovely stomach bug, which is only just now clearing up). But that's fine, since it's going to take me about two weeks to get through the manual and figure out how to set my presets on the radio.

Speaking of radio, this car came with a year of Sirius radio and TV for "free." Today, when I took the kids to school, I pulled up a kids station on the radio (commercial-free). This was a glorious thing... as I realized that I no longer have to listen to the SAME FIVE CDs over and over again. Variety makes me REALLY happy. Then, when the kids were gone, I switched over to an audio bookin the CD player. But on my way across town for a meeting later this afternoon, I discovered the station of show tunes. Yay.

Tonight, on the way back from swimming, Athena (who had just discovered the tv's in the ceiling) wanted to watch "her shows." I didn't have a DVD with me -- I'm trying not to encourage the kids to ask for tv for short trips -- but I thought that I'd give the tv a try. We get three stations... Nickelodeon, Disney, and Cartoon Network. None of those are really geared to preschoolers at 7pm, but she watched a little Hannah Montana and then something on Cartoon Network that I hope wasn't too horrible.

All-in-all, I love the car. It has lots of features that make me refer to it as "the space ship," but I don't think it will take me long to master them. There is an issue with the passenger side sliding door, which I'll have them look at on Friday when I take it in for a final check. Hopefully they can also show me how to set the radio stations. Then, I'll be free to offer rides to any takers (keeping in mind that the gas mileage sucks... of course). *sigh*

Friday, October 05, 2007

Something Different

Well, I'm still sick. I'm not AS sick... but I had to come home early today. Made it through yesterday with little issue, but today, not so much. This is the most sick time I've taken at once with the exception of my maternity leave.

However, I refuse to continue to talk about my illness. Therefore, I will update you on goings on around here.

Hockey season has started. We lost our first game. As usual. Five years in a row now. That's impressive.

Athena is in Round Three of swim classes. This time, her teacher is a boy. She doesn't seem quite so comfortable with a boy teacher. She didn't even want to go to her second class. Hopefully, when Chris takes her next week, it won't be a problem. After this round, she will be asked if she wants to try something new (dance, music, ice skating) and we'll see what she says.

Disney - The November Trip is planned and I only have one more dinner reservation to make. As many times as I have been there, there are STILL restaurants I haven't tried. And there will still be some once we return from this trip. The place is amazing.

My sister has been emailing me pictures of vacation homes in Sonoma since we will be heading West for Thanksgiving this year, and she cannot accomodate my mom plus our growing brood in her one-bedroom condo. So we're renting a house in Wine Country. All the houses she sent have pools. Heated pools. Fine by me, but we'll have to keep an eye on our water babies... The houses are beautiful, though, and I'm looking forward to seeing her and her husband. Athena is looking forward to getting on an airplane. Marcus hasn't expressed an opinion.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Still Sick

When I went to Urgent Care yesterday, it was the first step in admitting I had a problem. What had simply been inconvenient was now painful, and I began to worry about the state of my gall bladder. My mother had stones removed at age 38, and although I'm not there yet, I couldn't help but worry.

They gave me something for the pain and something else for nausea. When I discovered that I would really have to do the drug route in order to become functional again, I decided to not go in to work today. I hate taking sick time, but I do it when absolutely necessary. I "worked" all through last week while sick, and although I did accomplish a little, I decided that although my task list is long, if I can get better, I could do much more in much less time and under much more comfortable circumstances.

So, I'm sleeping, reading, and folding laundry. I'm about to go attempt to eat. Tonight is the start of Athena's third round of swim lessons and Chris is in Fayetteville for training all this week. He's coming home each night, but it's a solid hour of a commute, so I'll be doing the kid duty tonight.

Only fair, since I've been of no use to him or the kids for the last seven days...