Random musings and activities of a 30 something mom, potential sprint triathlete, vegetarian, dog and cat owner, and a evolving urban homesteader just trying to do the right thing in life for my daughter and the world around us. If the blog seems random, it's because life is and hits us all at 100mph.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
a few random pics from yesterday...........


Our Tree......




YESSSSSSS!!!!!!


Cinderella snow globe that Santa brought in her stocking.....



Her "pile" from Santa..... believe it or not, it's just all Easy Bake Oven and it's accessories..... looks like much more than it is!


It was a great relaxing Christmas where fun was had by all. I missed my family, but I'll see them soon!

PostHeaderIcon Xmas Cookies (sorta)

We made these penguins instead of holiday cookies for santa......... it was the project of my 5yo, and I think it wasn't too shabby.

It was her idea that the coconut was to be "snow"

We used....large marshmellows dipped in melted chocolate, let that dry than used a little melted choco to attach an upside down PB Cup on it's head

Then used a knife to cut a little slit in the front so she could attach a candy corn nose

two pecans underneath were the feet

not sure how much of a recipe that is... but that's how it was done.....santa loved them!!!!!

I'm sure with a little more care and a little older kid, they would have turned out not quite as lopsided, but she was VERY proud!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Our Healthcare System

I got a CT scan on the 16th...... of course knowing that they are trying to exclude a tumor. Yes, I realize the chances are small, but there is still a chance.

I also realize that there was a holiday in between then and now. BUT.... I am at wits end about this.....

Yesterday, I get the bill from the hospital for the damn thing. I will be out of pocket over $850 (bye-bye- christmas gifts).

I left a message for the dr asking for results on the 21st, yesterday, and today.

No return call.

PostHeaderIcon What's Your Personality Type?




You Are An ENTP



The Visionary



You are charming, outgoing, friendly. You make a good first impression.

You possess good negotiating skills and can convince anyone of anything.

Happy to be the center of attention, you love to tell stories and show off.

You're very clever, but not disciplined enough to do well in structured environments.



In love, you see everything as a grand adventure. You enjoy taking risks for love.

And if things don't work out, you're usually not too much worse for the wear!



You would make a great entrepreneur, marketing executive, or actor.



At work, you need a lot of freedom to pursue your own path and vision.

How you see yourself: Analytical, creative, and peaceful



When other people don't get you, they see you as: Detached, wishy-washy, and superficial

Monday, November 26, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Who Needs Water When We Have Bombs

An article today that caught my eye:

Scientist urge $2-3 billion study of ocean health

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Marine scientists called on Sunday for a $2-3 billion study of threats such as overfishing and climate change to the oceans, saying they were as little understood as the Moon.

A better network of satellites, tsunami monitors, drifting robotic probes or electronic tags on fish within a decade could also help lessen the impact of natural disasters, pollution or damaging algal blooms, they said. (click the above link to read more)

I would assume this study is a good thing. After all, oceans cover over 2/3 of the earth. Freshwater supplies are shrinking, and desalination for 3rd world countries remains cost prohibitive. I think I'm safe in assuming the oceans are our largest natural resource.

Then I googled and found: An estimated 80% of all life on earth is found under the ocean surface. Also, it's estimated that less than 10% of that space has been explored by humans. Each year, three times as much rubbish is dumped into the world's oceans as the weight of fish caught.

All of this is great and I think worthy cause! Actually I do! (I know, most of the time I'm making fun of these studies...but this one seems rational and necessary to me) Then I got to thinking about what else are we spending that money on current. Well, for starters... the war.

Do you realize the $2 billion dollars scientist want for this unprecedented study is dwarfed by our war in Iraq? This $2 billion is what we spend EVERY 4 DAYS on "our" war?

Why worry about the future health of our planet from our largest resource, when we can destroy a country and millions of peoples lives today?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

PostHeaderIcon The Art of Lying (or titled : Everyone Lies to Me)

Lying is one of those topics that can bring out strong emotions in people.... especially those who have been lied to (in a major way) many times in their life. Usually I don't find humor in it (because i'm one of those people)..... unless of course it's with MY child. Even then it's not funny, but can be cute (until my head starts spinning like a scene from Exorcist... then mommy isn't amused).

My child is not even a teenager yet.... heck, she's only in kindergarten.... but already I'm becoming acquainted with the concept of seemingly nice, sweet-mannered, well-adjusted children who lie to their parents and actually get away with it.

It got me thinking about the things my child has already lied about that I have believed (an abbreviated list ):

1. Yes, I did brush my teeth.
2. I took a shower at daddy's yesterday.
3. I went potty like you told me to.
4. I didn't hit him/her/the pet
5. No, I wasn't playing in the bathroom
6. I hate chicken and I told you that last time we had chicken.
7. I didn't hear you.
8. I didn't see the mess.
9. I already fed the dog.
10. I don't know why there is a hole in the yard, the dog musta done it.

I've read articles about people lying and how they don't make eye contact, they blink more often, etc (unless you're my ex.... .then either A) everything was a lie or B) I couldn't tell when he was lying).

With the way I converse with my child (her whirling around the room, trying to find something she can bounce or throw or write all over in permanent marker while I try to make her stop moving and talk to me, for pete's sake, and I thought girls were supposed to be easier?!?!?!?), she hardly make eye contact anyway... so how would I know?

Do you think by the time she is in junior high or high school someone will have invented a little alarm that I can wear (or, better, implant somewhere on their bodies) that will go off when she is lying? And will she ever stop? Does the lying ever taper off — like acne, it reaches its peak in adolescence, and then, luckily for everybody, eventually goes away? And why is it I'm so prone to believing her?!?!?!?!? Maybe because she gives me looks like this.....


Thursday, October 04, 2007

PostHeaderIcon A poem I found and liked.

The fog lifted itself up from the ground and rises
To encircle me, fill me with the looming sense
Of impeding doom.

Suspended, as if waiting, in quiet anticipation
For better weather, for warmth, for sun,
for dissolution.

The vapor blankets the world beneath its fragile
Weaving, curling, furls
of nothingness.

Monday, September 24, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Coach Mommy

LOL.... it's that time of year again.... where 8 little girls get together and run their hearts out.

Soccer (football for rest of world of course) for the u6 has it's charms.... but probably because I'm a mom.

Abby and a friend from school.

Pre-Game Shot.



Coach Mommy helping with pre-game practice (getting them to spread out was the hardest part):


LOOK AT ME! I can stop the ball like Mommy!


Unguarded goals are harder than you think when you're 5!!


One day they will learn there is more to the game than running in a herd!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Getting Old is a Bitch.

I sent out a bulletin on myspace asking for phone numbers from friends since my phone is out of order..... and one of my responses from a good friend was this:

Hey, lady, sorry about your phone! Seven years ago, it would have broken because you dropped it in a martini...now its because your baby left it in water. You are a grown up! Here are my digits.....


Hmmmmm.... somehow I'm not feeling better about this today! LMAO
Friday, September 07, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Fireman and daydreaming..... yummy

mmmmmmmm..........

I'm driving home from work, and I swear I must have been a good girl this week (hey... stop snickering, I can be!) because walking up to me in the hot sun, was a young, fine fireman walking towards me....

Yes Viriginia, there is a Santa Clause, and there is a God....

Suddenly I feel the urge for dollar bills...

I start waving them out the window, hoping he'll see me....

He is swearing in the hot September sun.... and I'll tell you, it was nice!

Then I realize, this isn't some mid-day conference-call fantasy, but a ploy to get women like me to give to the MDA. I normally don't give to that organization for a variety of reasons, but mostly due to the enormous overhead costs (always check out a non-profit before giving money.... how efficient are they?)

BUT! You put a fireman with a boot and a great smile in front of me, dollar bills come out of my hand like a 18 year old boy in his first strip club.

Back to the story.....He walks by my car, I give him the dollar bills.... in his boot in his hand... he smiles gives me my sticker and moves on to the next MILF in the car behind me having the exact same thoughts.

(this also tells me my dating life is lacking)

PostHeaderIcon HTC update.


I suck I admit it... I've been back 2 weeks and haven't told my Hood To Coast Story. You can't laugh too much at this pic, I hadn't slept in about 36 hours and ran over 17 miles....

After the shittiest year (2006), I would have to say 2007's best event was the HTC race.

By a series of other runners either a) not showing *grrrrr* or b) our best runner getting hurt, I ended up with one of the hardest (the hardest?) leg of the race (see chart for leg#3).

I shouldn't complain... some people had to run 4 instead of 3 legs.

When I looked at the hill, I was thinking NO WAY!!!! I wish there was a pic of my passing off my bracelet because when I was done I was the BIGGEST smile on my face.

What did I learn on this race?
(i'm sure I'll have to write multiple times on it... I learned so much about myself and running again)

1. I need to train harder and smarter (I don't have the luxury of running 2x/day like pre-bebe)
2. I need to improve my attitude (that hill was mostly mental)
3. Even ziplock bags can't hide the smell of those funkadelic clothes of 6 runner in a van for 30 hours
4. I'm addicted to relays I think
5. rinse and repeat #1

BTW, if you've read this far and have not a clue what HTC is, try here: http://www.hoodtocoast.com/

it's 12 runners, 197 miles divided into 36 legs, each of us rotating and taking 3 legs.

We run from Mount Hood to Seaside, OR.





My 3 legs were the following:

#1. The first run out of Van #2.... I didn't warm up properly and my time, form, and everything about this run sucked. Unfortunately, it was also my easiest..... though it was definitely my worst.

LEG 7

#2 This run was in the middle of the night, like at 2am. The runner before me saw a meteor shower while we are running through rural oregon, I wasn't that lucky. I was a little worried simply because they had a motorcycle cop and a patrol car going through the leg at least 4 times... I felt safer, but wondered if something had happened that warranted this.

Leg 18

#3 The best and the worst of my race. I'll admit, I walked a part of that hill, I hadn't slept in over 24 hours, not eaten enough, mentally was freaked out, and frankly, the altitude climb of this run was a lot steeper than it looked in the graph below. I was the least experienced runner (well, in the last 5 years... pre-abby I would have rocked this hill and then laughed) and running a "very hard". I'm just happy I finished it in so-so time and the sense of accomplishment it awesome!


Leg 29


I loved it, I know I didn't prepare as well as I could (and that embarasses me)... I have every day (starting today) to improve... so here I go.....
Thursday, September 06, 2007

PostHeaderIcon saved blogs

ok, I have over 30 saved blogs i've actually never published here. There are all sitting in blogspot's draft pile....

Why?

Various reasons:

#1: most would tell really how deviant my mind works I think... lol.
#2 Somethings are nice to write down, but not share.

Then there is reason #3.....

#3 see reason #1
Tuesday, September 04, 2007

PostHeaderIcon First Day of Kindergarten




Abby +3
Mom -2

Abby Wins. :)

Abby (+1) : walks in without fear
Mom (-1) : walks out in tears

Abby (+1) : shows her independence by walking in the room and making friends
Mom (+1/-1): both proud and sad she has so much independence at age 5

Abby (+1): takes a great photo
Mom (-1): does not - lol


PostHeaderIcon F '06

I have so much to catch up on here, writing about the HTC relay, Abbys first day of school, and a variety of other happenings..... but today I just don't have it in me.

Yesterday marked the beginning of what could possibly be the worst year of my life. In fact, I know it is. That is saying a lot considering my life (some self-imposed, some not).

This time last year, Lisa's funeral was being planned, my grandfather's health was going downhill quickly, and Dad was making improvements in rehab (though this ended quickly too). Not to mention some personal snafus (financial and relationship) that I would like to forget.

In the 10 weeks following Lisa's death, I would have my heart broken, my grandfather passed away, a rift in the family formed that has not yet been repaired, and then my Dad passing away. Then the merry-fucking-holidays were around the corner.

(I can't believe I am about to admit this) I think back to the Christmas when bebe was young and I was living with her dad. I was huddled in the shower stall, the water already turned cold but I don't remember it being cold, begging him to take me to the ER. I knew if I came out of that shower, I wasn't sure how I'd find the will to live until morning (as course being the sensitive man he is told me to "get ahold of myself and get over whatever it is... thank God I realized how bebe would never forgive me). So many things seemed so wrong at the time....

That Christmas was the lowest point in my life in many years. The difference between then and last year? Those people I lost? When I came out of my "funk" or whatever you want to call it, they were there.

My grandfather always had some life lesson to share with me, always happy to see me. My dad while not always pleased with me, always made it clear I was welcomed home. 3 out of 4 Sundays, I went Home to see him. Lisa represents a group of friends that have been in my life about 12 years now.

I also can't forget my cousin who died 8 years ago on Labor Day weekend as well. Everyone loved Chris..... and it seemed even when he messed up, he could do no wrong in the family. I remember how jealous I was of him, and how much I looked up to him.

I think this is the part where I conclude with some deep statement on how this made me stronger.... I have nothing. I'm crying when I write this and maybe in a few years I can look back and have some deep insight on how 2006 affected my life and made me stronger and better. Right now, it's just as raw as it was last year.

I think the most appropriate conclusion is how we ended 2006 in toast on New Year's Eve with my little (who acts like my big - bless his heart) brother : "F '06"
Wednesday, August 22, 2007

PostHeaderIcon leaving tomorrow for...

HOOD TO COAST (hoodtocoast.com) BABY!!!!


I don't know how I'm going to finish the race....

but I can't wait for the experience....


SEE YA SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

PostHeaderIcon I don't understand.

I don't understand how you can ask a person, "how do you feel about {insert some current event here}?" and they respond with, "I really don't know" or "I don't pay attention to the news" or "That doesn't really affect me."

But I guarantee if you ask that person:

"How many days did Paris stay in jail?"


THEY WILL KNOW!!!!!?!!!!!!?!!!!!


argggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(in my best charlie brown voice)
Monday, August 06, 2007

PostHeaderIcon The musings of a 5 year old

When you're 5, things must seem beyond your control all the time. you're told when to get up, when to get in the car, what to eat, who you'll spend time with, etc

So when they get angry at things they can't control, and realize that their control is taken away (or never given)..... they lash out.

How did my bebe lash out?

I told her the other night to go to her room for lying (yes, she lied about if she brushed her teeth. *sigh*). She decided to fight me on it a bit.....

Put her hand on her hip....

Glared at me.....

and said in her most serious voice......

"If you send me to my room, I won't invite you to my next birthday party!!!!!!!"

Yes folks, to a 5 year old, that is probably the worst punishment she could think of.

I was proud of myself... I didn't bust out laughing, which was the hardest thing to do....

I looked at her and simply said, "If that is what you wish, but you will need to arrange your next party yourself with your own money and house."

She took one look at me and I think she knew I wasn't playing, turned around, and went to her room as asked.

Then I went to my room, shut the door, and laughed my butt off.

Until next time....
Tuesday, July 17, 2007

PostHeaderIcon WTF? A "Christian" telling someone else they are going to hell?

Every time I hear a variation of this story, I get angry:
  • Christian finds out someone else isn't baptized.
  • Christian goes on to tell the person how they will burn.
  • Christian is not apologetic or explains position
  • Christian is smug and walks away not even knowing what they did was very not Christian-like.
(based on a true story that happened to one of the few people I consider a true friend this week)

I get angry at the so-called Christian who put themselves up on a pedestal above those they perceive not only as non-Christians, but lesser-Christians.

I am angry at their arrogance that they would tell a stranger, a waitress in a pub, that she is going to hell.

I am angry at their ignorance of the scope of God's love, which is obvious when they tell said waitress she also has condemned her son to hell.

I am angry that this "Christian" would dismiss and try to invalidate in front of God a marriage of love, mutual respect, and deep commitment based on some assumptions the patron has made.

I am angry that non-Christians (or nominally religious people) have more encounters with these types of "Christians" ( do I have to keep calling them that?) rather than ones who can share The Light with them.

I am angry that this "Christian" thinks they know enough to know the mind of God.

I am angry that this patron of the pub, I think, exemplifies what most non-religious people think of Christians.

I am angry.

I am embarrassed.

(maybe there is some irony in me implying the "f" word in my title and calling myself a Christian, but that is not directed at someone, and is strictly between God and myself)
Thursday, July 12, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Let's All Join Hands and Fight Fictional Evil!


Harry Potter is of da Devil!!!!!!
(haha, I just had to get in a Waterboy comment here somewhere)

puh-lease.

Once again, a group of self-righteous, probably "Christian", groups are proclaiming the Harry Potter is promoting the work of the devil.

Sad to say, many committed Christians miss this key point:

The work is fiction, yet people still fear it.

These same Christians are probably ones that want their kids to read CS Lewis', "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" series because Lewis was using these fictional mechanisms as allegory for Bible stories.... not sure that was obvious to me reading it in the 3rd grade, but ok... I'll go with that.

(As a side note, I think it is safe to assume that many of those opposed to Harry Potter have never actually bothered to read that which they are so upset about, and of course should come as no surprise that they have never actually bothered to read the C.S. Lewis books they are so enthusiastic about.)

Would God allow sorcery, magic, and trickery (something he abhors), to be used to promote his Kingdom??? Would drug dealing be acceptable to God if tracts were delivered along with the smack? Of course not!!! (unless you're that preacher in Colorado who thought exchanging meth for gay prostitution was ok.)

This is not to say that Harry Potter has a Christian message, or that J.K. Rowlings' work is on par with Lewis'; far from it! The fact remains that Harry Potter is fiction. I know some people might have nothing better to do than protest this movie, but wouldn't your time be better well spent improving His Kingdom on Earth? READ: Get off your arse and go help the "least and the lost" that Jesus was so concerned about....

This isn't the first time groups like this have gotten their panties in a wad.... remember these instances from when we were kids?

The Smurfs. Yes those cuddly little ficitonal blue characters who ran around the woods singing songs. The Devil works through them, yes it's true. Papa Smurf, well he protects his people with magic.... so it must be evil [end sarcasm].

Also, there was the D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) uproar (not allowed in our home). Apparently, the extremists in the church were not aware that the magic swords and dragons were not "real." My mom was convinced if we played, we would become suicidal and she would "lose" us to the dark side.

In more recent years, the Teletubbies came under fire. (If you can't recall, this was a British TV sensation featuring large fuzzy aliens with rather pleasant dispositions). The character of "Tinkie-Winkie" was said to be openly promoting the homosexual movement. Not sure why he is "more" gay than the others, but the rumor persisted nonetheless.

I am sure there are many more besides these and the additional attacks on Disney, Vampire movies, to other occult movies.

What I find ironic is that these protestors will continue to rally against [fill in the blank cause] rather than do something sensible like spread the Gospel. That is, if the Gospel is really what they are concerned about (which is a whole other blog in my mind).

If your kids wants to stay home from church to read the new Harry Potter book, it's not because s/he's been overcome by witchcraft, it's just simply more interesting than a boring sermon. Kids will do/say anything to get out of church. I know I tried.

Harry Potter does something that our church(es) lacks... engaging children. That is what I think is upsetting the parents (maybe on a subconcious level) more than whitchcraft. I wonder how many of the concerned parents allow their children to watch 1 hour violent dramas such as CSI or Law and Order or many of the others out there?

In the end, What are these parents teaching their child? That fictional evil is more dangerous than the real evils in the world? I am willing to bet these parents have spent more time explaing why their kids can't read Potter than they have talking to their children about poverty, environmental problems, drugs, casual sex, or so many of the other issues that affect our society today.

Everyone needs to stand up for what they believe in, and if you feel Potter or [fill in the blank media] is the greatest threat to the church, our society, and your children.... then PLEASE, put your heart and soul into that cause. We need passionate people out there!

At the same time though, I would encourage each of us to once in awhile step back, reexamine our "causes" and put them in perspective of the bigger picture -- how is this affecting my children, my family, and my community (in that order IMO). If you're worried about it from a Christian perspective... how is this affecting my relationship with God?

Honestly, I don't see where Harry Potter or the Smurfs should even warrant this level of facination or effort.

But that is my view from my pew.
Saturday, July 07, 2007

PostHeaderIcon FDA says what?

I FINALLY get a "release" from the FDA for containers that have been detained almost 10 weeks. They have been tested for everything but cat urine. Do you want to know what the bottom of the release says?

These products are released. This notice does not constitute assurance that the product released complies with all provisions of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or other related Acts, and does not preclude action should the product later be found violative.

WTF?!?! Are you serious? Does not constitute assurance?????????????

How can you not be assured???

First customs sampled it and held it for weeks.

Then we had a 3rd party sample the container, neither us or our customer were allowed to open the container. Then we sent the samples to a 3rd party lab, approved by the US government for melamine and melamine derivative testing.

THEN almost a week after they get the negative results, they ask for a document (that ended up being 35 pages) on the procedures used to arrive at the negative results.


If it's an approved lab, don't you think they procedures used for that testing would be pre-approved?

Then a week AFTER they get the procedures we get the verbal ok. Then 24 hours finally the document with the disclaimer.

I swear I will go postal.

But, hey at least the Iraq war is going good.... [end sarcasm]

Friday, July 06, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Fireworks at Royals Game

A few personal pics... excuse the pics, I had my pocket camera with me, not my "real" one...

I also sized them down to 320 to keep this page moving.....

Of course the obligatory self-portrait





then the pic of bebe with her souvenir... it's been awhile (*cough*85*cough) since we've been #1





What's a ballgame without a hot dog (she likes ketchup on it... yuck!)





Silly Pic requested by bebe





Pumpkin's 2 thumbs up for the fireworks...





fireworks... thank goodness we saw them on the 3rd.... they had a problem on the 4th, and there was no show!







As with most things, this event was best viewed through the eyes of a 5 year old.... I'm truly blessed, despite myself!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

PostHeaderIcon My Daughter's School

Confession, my daughter goes to Catholic School. (STA from here on out).

I hate a love/hate relationship with STA. Everything about the school we love. The teachers, the staff, the way things are run, the PTA, their curriculum, and the class sizes. I don't even mind her going to Mass every Tuesday morning.

Her paternal family is 99% Catholic. My side is a mish-mash of Christian beliefs.

So, what's isn't to like? It's simple.... we're not Catholic. It bothers pumpkin. I explain to her that her dad is Catholic, and he went to Catholic school. I feel left out of some parental happenings around the school, and I know it's because we don't go to church there.

In a previous life, I was married to a debvout Catholic, and it does not bother me she goes there. It's a good education.

The community at STA is something to envied. They play and pray together. Lots of the teachers at STA also were students there. when I think of how churches should be, most of the time I think of my small town church. This is the closest thing "in town" that I have found that even comes close.

I know she'll go to kindergarten there, but after that...... we'll see. I'd like that $600/mo back in mama's pocket sometime.

My bebe? She's worth every penny!

And who knows.... maybe I'm learning something about community that once I can articulate better, I can take back to my church....
Tuesday, July 03, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Observations by Joy.

today she said to me, "Jen, you're the only person I know who teaches Bible classes and feels ok using the word fuck on occasion."

While I'm not proud of the fact I use the word (or a lot of the words that come out of my mouth... usually when talking to truckers it seems), I don't go around feeling holier-than-thou because I teach a Disciple class. I find religious humor funny.... if we can't laugh at ourselves.... then we need to lighten up.

I figure God knows where my heart is and if I want to tattoo myself, have multiple piercings, and shout HOT DAMN! when excited about something.... it STILL doesn't change where my heart is.
Saturday, June 30, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Thanks a lot Chuck. You define Douchebag.

Dear Chuck,

You're an asshole.

Regards,
Jen


Why is Chuck an asshole? Because he knew he could have helped and refused. I needed a battery. I wanted to run to home depot and my car wouldn't start. I had a friend come over and jump start me (but of course I asked him : Hey! Can you come jump me?? He was disappointed that I meant my car). I drove to O'Reiley's and bought a battery.

Then he handed it to me.

I asked, doesn't the price include installation? (I know I should have asked before). He replies no, but I have tools to loan you and hands me a tool box. He claims it's a liability issue.

Luckily I've done this before and am thinking, "eh, no problem." I start digging and digging through the tool box. LOTS of sockets, no ratchet. There were other tools, none the right size. I look and test tools for about 20 minutes. I'm pissed, it's after 9 and I'm tired.

I go back in.... hand it back to him and give the box back to him. He saw me the whole time and asked, "was there a problem". I explain to him the problem of sockets without a ratchet. He actually had the nerve to say, "oh yeah, I forgot to put in back in there."

Now the store is closed and I have to ask him for a jump start, I'll drive to a friends' house to get this done. When I asked him for the jump, he looked at me, rolled his eyes and said, "I guess I can help you." He changes it (with the use of proper tools) in under 2 minutes.

Time lapsed for Jen? 28 minutes.

In those 2 minutes, he managed to ask where I went to high school.... typical question for a 22 year old I think. Turns out he went to my HS. Doesn't remember me.... there is a shocker. I was 8 years older. I stopped going to HS parties in, well, about when I was 18 years old.

Chuck, assuming the name on your shirt is correct.... You are the first person in 2007 that I can call a douche bag.

Congratulations.
Friday, June 29, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Summertime means lightening bugs and running through sprinkler!

at least for our house.... it's the simple pleasures around our house that makes me smile.


Also, I didn't realize that these lightening bugs are not all over the US.... friends from Portland have never seen one.... so, if you haven't.... come on over! We have HUNDREDS in our backyard!


Trying to catch one.....





Letting it crawl on her arm.....




Sprinkler in the backyard..... our dog hates it.... I'm starting to doubt she's 1/2 lab...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Thank Goodness the Recalls are Over.

Our company actually received DEATH THREATS over the recalls. We don't even make the food! We're just brokers.

I'm always amazed at people who love their pets so much, they are willing to (threaten to) kill a human. Irony lost on anyone?

Business is almost back to normal. Some will be forever lost.

I was able to get a unique perspective on this. On one hand, I am a pet owner and logged into petconnection.com almost daily to get updates (sometimes they broke news faster than we were hearing it) and on the other, I have a business that it is my job.

I think the most disturbing accusations from those outside the industry was that "we should have known". But in our case, we don't even see the product... as brokers, we just handle the paperwork in between the two.

I'm still frustrated about the way it was handled. I lost what little trust I had in the FDA. I no longer (knowingly) buy Chinese food products.

I continue to lose money over this. Personally. It sucks and I can't do anything to stop it either.

The government put some near-impossible restrictions on Chinese protein imports to satisfy the public, but honestly what used to take 2-5 days to clear is taking almost 10 weeks. Do I think these restrictions are long term solutions? No. But maybe it makes some people feel a little warmer and fuzzier that our government is doing something.

You know what impresses me about petconnection.com? They didn't fall for the doublespeak. They were analyzing the press conferences and picking apart the timelines. Although they never figured out 2 of our 3 buyers (thank goodness), they were darn accurate on 90% of other information they had. (The commentors made some stupid remarks). There are so many things I thought I could contribute to the "fight", but how do you do that and maintain my position? You can't.

Daily I think : What did I learn from this? There is so much.... and maybe that is a blog for another time.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Lord means "master", not mascot.

I moderate a Mormon Debate Board on beliefnet in my "free" time (which really means I sneak in/out during the day while on the phone at work holding).

It's a very active board with some interesting topics. Today, someone made the comment:

"I'm always astounded by those who think the main/only point of the Gospel is to get into heaven."

I agree with the said poster. As a Christian, I find myself CONSTANTLY embarrassed by those who I feel have hijacked the religion. Maybe some of those have never READ the Bible, they are just looking at the cliff notes they get in a 25 min sermon on Sundays or trying to remember Sunday School lessons from years ago. So, along that line.... SELFISH CHRISTIANS bother me even more. In fact, you can't be selfish AND be a Christian. (Study the New Testament, you'll see what I mean)

I have HUGE problems with heaven/hell centered preaching.

First of all, the preoccupation with salvation/afterlife I think causes some to devalue other things in THIS life. The importance of death is lifted up so high, the life before our mortal death is trivialized, causing many to forget to love thy neighbor. Remember that? One of the two GREATEST commandments?

Secondly, since when is Jesus only about personal salvation? You friendly buddy Christ? Seriously, get over yourself. In a self-centered (how am I getting to heaven) and hell-centered (I am only doing these things to prevent myself from going to hell) salvation, doesn't the teaching of Jesus just get reduced to a quick means to get to Heaven? We want to do it as painlessly as possible too.

Third, if you're so focused on self-salvation through your gospel, are you starting to lose focus that Jesus was the Savior and Lord of the world? Someone said to me once,
Lord means "master", not mascot. I can't agree more. Before you argue with me, take a moment to think about that statement.

Personally, I shake my head at most Christians. We've dumbed down Jesus to Buddy Christ sitting there next to us watching tv, enjoying our golden ticket into heaven.


Monday, June 11, 2007

PostHeaderIcon ok, again I went over a month....

And again, I'm trying to remind myself I feel more grounded when I blog.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007

PostHeaderIcon welcoming myself back

I don't think I've ever gone a month without blogging. In some ways I miss it, and in other ways I feel relieved.

things happen to me daily and I think, "that would make a great blog" and then I don't write it down and the moment is lost. My memory is too bad to recount it later. Though I do remember a story about Chuck and my car battery, that needs to be shared.

Blogging isn't just me writing down random events in my life and the irony that is lost on many people that I see, but it's been a great way for me to work through things in my head. If you read it or don't... in a way it doesn't matter.

I miss my brother's blogs even more... he has a way of storytelling that I'm envious of.

I've logged into myspace 2x this month... and what's funny, is as long as you stay in front of people they remember you... you stop posting or logging in and you're easily forgotten. Or maybe it's because my real-life friends knew where to find me.

I joined "A million blogs of peace" and have yet to write one in the past week concerning that movement. Shame on me.

I have a great water-project I'm working on for church that has far-reaching community effects and haven't shared that with anyone outside of my committee. Shame on me.

And frankly, I haven't been around to read all the other blogs that brought a smile to my face (Fran) or made me stop and think daily (Marcus and Kara) or just made me laugh (too many to mention). Does that make me a bad-blogger-friend? Nah, just means my real-life was too consuming to take time to do this.

I honestly should make time to do this... it's a great way to wind down my day, articulate things running around in my head and help me work through them before sleeping.

I miss you guys and hopefully it won't be another month before I'm back again.

:)
Tuesday, February 06, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Mega Churches Breed Apathy? Or just a place to hide?

As I was sitting in service this weekend, I had some observations. With the amount of people in there (2/3 full, so I'm guessing about 1800 people or so)... the general lack of enthusiasm during the songs was surprising. I would think 1500-1800 people singing would rock the house (like the Christmas Eve sermon when we sing carols), but sadly enough, no. I can't sing, so I more or less lip-sync and maybe everyone else does the same. No one wants to be heard about the crowd, so all we hear is the 30 person praise band / choir.

Then, they were asking for the 5th week in a row for volunteers for the kids' Sunday school and nursery. Our pastor made an additional plea. You are supposed to volunteer 1 weekend a month if you use the nursery. Obviously people aren't, because out of a 8,000 person congregation, they do not have enough volunteers.

If you go to a big (mega) church, is it because they offer a wide variety of projects, or because you can hide? Does it breed apathy because you assume that "someone else will do it"?

If someone else is always going to do it, then who will? My guess is that the people who are the most active in our church are those who would be the most active no matter what congregation they belonged to, whether it was 200 or 2000 or 20,000.

The two main reasons why I started going to the church I do was:
1) the pastor was particularly engaging
2) I could go in and get lost in the crowd on Sunday and leave. I was fairly new to attending church again (did the usual drop out in late-teens, early 20s) and didn't WANT to be noticed.

Now, things have changed and I feel I'm outgrowing those reasons. Don't get me wrong, the Pastor is one of the best I've ever heard, but how many people do we lose between the cracks?

When you're in a small congregation, people notice when you've been gone a month. Of course, we're supposed to belong to one or more small groups but since there are 5 services you can attend with 1000-2000 people in each one - how would they know if I was there or not unless we discussed attendance in small group? I rarely see anyone from my small groups at a service.

As I looked around and realized I was in the heart of Leawood, that maybe it was the affluence of the group that breeded apathy, much more than the size of our church. I believe that most Americans are apathetic and unwilling to personally risk their comfort to help others or make this a better society.

I have mentioned before that several trips to our sister church in Hondorous had to be canceled because of lack of volunteers. I would LOVE to go, but do not have the $1800 it requires. On the same note, I did not donate even $20 to sponsor someone else. Shame on me. If everyone on the rolls donated $20 (most probably spend more than that on a week's worth of Starbucks), just think what we could do for that mission. I just did the math - it would be enough money to spend approximately 130-135 volunteers for the next year.

Then I thought of another kind of apathy I believe that runs in our church, apathy towards the message. Sometimes I get the feeling as long as we go in there and get a "good sermon" that doesn't deal with anything too painful or shocking or mind-bending, it's ok.

It's ok to talk about Jesus' messages of love, but let's not touch the UMC position on abortion for example. We can talk about how to be a better person, but the one sermon we had on homosexuality caused quite the uproar. Why is that a bad thing? Why not preach a sermon that causes people to squirm a bit and rethink for themselves what their stance on something is?

I truly believe that a change in the individual life marks a Christian, not any church, however well attended. So, if people are not stepping up to volunteer or to be challenged in their faith, why are they there? Why are they content to sit back and let others do the "works" of the Christian faith?

If you asked many of the member of any church, I'm sure they would cite poverty, hunger, genocide, etc as concerns - but how many look for ways within their own community to fight those issues? One of the reasons I continue to go to my church, is that because of the mass, we are able to accomplish a lot of things in the community that smaller churches are not. But I wonder what percentage of our congregation actually participates? Or is it the same people volunteering each month? (the 80/20 rule maybe?)


If we can't even get parents to volunteer in their own kids' class, then as a group of Christians, how are we supposed to pool resources and fight many of the social ills of today?
There is no place for apathy in a world which sees 20,000 or more children die each day because of poverty related conditions.

But this could be just the view from my seat.....

PostHeaderIcon Shameless copy/paste regarding Suicide

A friend and I were talking today about another friend's attempted suicide. Came across this site and I think the opening sentence is profound and I went ahead and copied/paste the whole thing because I think it is a logical argument for staying alive.


Suicide is not chosen;
it happens
when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.

That's all it's about.

You are not a bad person, or crazy, or weak, or flawed, because you feel suicidal.

It doesn't even mean that you really want to die - it only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now.

If I start piling weights on your shoulders, you will eventually collapse if I add enough weights... no matter how much you want to remain standing. Willpower has nothing to do with it. Of course you would cheer yourself up, if you could.

Don't accept it if someone tells you, that�' not enough to be suicidal about. There are many kinds of pain that may lead to suicide. Whether or not the pain is bearable may differ from person to person. What might be bearable to someone else, may not be bearable to you. The point at which the pain becomes unbearable depends on what kinds of coping resources you have. Individuals vary greatly in their capacity to withstand pain.

When pain exceeds pain-coping resources, suicidal feelings are the result. Suicide is neither wrong nor right; it is not a defect of character; it is morally neutral. It is simply an imbalance of pain versus coping resources.

You can survive suicidal feelings if you do either of two things: (1) find a way to reduce your pain, or (2) find a way to increase your coping resources. Both are possible.

Now I want to tell you five things to think about.


1

You need to hear that people do get through this -- even people who feel as badly as you are feeling now. Statistically, there is a very good chance that you are going to live. I hope that this information gives you some sense of hope.

2

Give yourself some distance. Say to yourself, �I will wait 24 hours before I do anything.� Or a week. Remember that feelings and actions are two different things - just because you feel like killing yourself, doesn't mean that you have to actually do it right this minute. Put some distance between your suicidal feelings and suicidal action. Even if it�s just 24 hours. You have already done it for 5 minutes, just by reading this page. You can do it for another 5 minutes by continuing to read this page. Keep going, and realize that while you still feel suicidal, you are not, at this moment, acting on it. That is very encouraging to me, and I hope it is to you.

3

People often turn to suicide because they are seeking relief from pain. Remember that relief is a feeling. And you have to be alive to feel it. You will not feel the relief you so desperately seek, if you are dead.

4

Some people will react badly to your suicidal feelings, either because they are frightened, or angry; they may actually increase your pain instead of helping you, despite their intentions, by saying or doing thoughtless things. You have to understand that their bad reactions are about their fears, not about you.

But there are people out there who can be with you in this horrible time, and will not judge you, or argue with you, or send you to a hospital, or try to talk you out of how badly you feel. They will simply care for you. Find one of them. Now. Use your 24 hours, or your week, and tell someone what�s going on with you. It is okay to ask for help. Try:

  • Send an anonymous e-mail to The Samaritans
  • Call 1-800-SUICIDE in the U.S.
  • Teenagers, call Covenant House NineLine, 1-800-999-9999
  • Look in the front of your phone book for a crisis line
  • Call a psychotherapist
  • Carefully choose a friend or a minister or rabbi, someone who is likely to listen

But don�t give yourself the additional burden of trying to deal with this alone. Just talking about how you got to where you are, releases an awful lot of the pressure, and it might be just the additional coping resource you need to regain your balance.

5

Suicidal feelings are, in and of themselves, traumatic. After they subside, you need to continue caring for yourself. Therapy is a really good idea. So are the various self-help groups available both in your community and on the Internet.

Well, it�s been a few minutes and you're still with me. I'm really glad.

Since you have made it this far, you deserve a reward. I think you should reward yourself by giving yourself a gift. The gift you will give yourself is a coping resource. Remember, back up near the top of the page, I said that the idea is to make sure you have more coping resources than you have pain. So let's give you another coping resource, or two, or ten...! until they outnumber your sources of pain.

Now, while this page may have given you some small relief, the best coping resource we can give you is another human being to talk with. If you find someone who wants to listen, and tell them how you are feeling and how you got to this point, you will have increased your coping resources by one. Hopefully the first person you choose won't be the last. There are a lot of people out there who really want to hear from you. It�s time to start looking around for one of them.

Now: I'd like you to call someone.

And while you're at it, you can still stay with me for a bit. Check out these sources of online help.

Additional things to read at this site:

  • How serious is our condition? ...�he only took 15 pills, he wasn't really serious...� if others are making you feel like you�re just trying to get attention... read this.

  • Why is it so hard for us to recover from being suicidal? ...while most suicidal people recover and go on, others struggle with suicidal thoughts and feelings for months or even years. Suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • Recovery from grief and loss ...has anyone significant in your life recently died? You would be in good company... many suicidal people have recently suffered a loss.

  • The stigma of suicide that prevents suicidal people from recovering: we are not only fighting our own pain, but the pain that others inflict on us... and that we ourselves add to. Stigma is a huge complicating factor in suicidal feelings.

  • Resources about depression ...if you are suicidal, you are most likely experiencing some form of depression. This is good news, because depression can be treated, helping you feel better.

Do you know someone who is suicidal... or would you like to be able to help, if the situation arises? Learn what to do, so that you can make the situation better, not worse.

Other online sources of help:
  • The Samaritans - trained volunteers are available 24 hours a day to listen and provide emotional support. You can call a volunteer on the phone, or e-mail them. Confidential and non-judgmental. Short of writing to a psychotherapist, the best source of online help.

  • Talk to a therapist online - Read this page to find out how.

  • Depression support group online: Walkers in Darkness - Please note: this is a very big group, but amidst all the chatter (and occasional bickering), it is possible to find someone who will hear you and offer support.

  • Psych Central has a good listing of online resources for suicide and other mental health needs.

  • Still feel bad? These jokes might relieve the pressure for a minute or two.

  • If you want help finding a human being to talk with in person, who can help you live through this, try reading this article about how to Choose a Competent Counselor.

Sometimes people need additional private help before they are ready to talk with someone in person. Here are three books you could read on your own in private. I know from personal experience that each one has helped someone like you.

  • Suicide: The Forever Decision by Paul G. Quinnett, PhD (Continuum, 1989, $8.95, ISBN 0-8264-0391-3). Frank and helpful conversation with a therapist who cares. Order the book

  • Choosing to Live: how to defeat suicide through cognitive therapy by Thomas E. Ellis PsyD and Cory F. Newman PhD (New Harbinger Publications, 1996, $12.95, ISBN 1-57224-056-3). Another conversational book with practical help for suicidal persons. Order the book

  • How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person's Guide to Suicide Prevention by Susan Rose Blauner (William Morrow, 2002, $17.47, ISBN 0066211212). A very practical survival guide by an actual survivor. Order the book

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

PostHeaderIcon I have lots of faults, but one of my biggies is...

I'm a fixer. Not a good listener.

Maybe because I'm socially retarded I don' t realize when someone is just wanting to vent and when someone is coming to me for advice. I think stopping and asking, "are you venting or do you want an opinion?" is a little too forward. Subtlety goes over my head.

I don't believe in new year's resolutions, but I believe in making resolves for improvement.

In 2007 I resolve that I will be a better listener and not be so quick to be a fixer.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

PostHeaderIcon No time to go deeper than just to say..

Sometimes I think you have to go somewhere where the pain outside matches or exceeds the pain inside.


I have a blog in mind to go with this, but it'll have to wait.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Pro-Choice? You betcha!

Ok, ok... I have a friend that I go round and round with. She tells me you can not be against abortion on a personal level, yet on a political level support choice. I still stand by my argument that a person can and I do.

Personally? I have a few issues with abortion, but those are mine to deal with. On the same note, I have never been raped and it resulted in a pregnancy, or been a victim of sexual abuse or many of the other reasons I can see why women choose to have an abortion.

I am against abortion as birth-control. I see abortion as a last resort.

I support access to safe and legal abortion and, equally, that women should be protected from forced abortions.

The end.
Monday, January 15, 2007

PostHeaderIcon MLK - fighting for abolilition of Slavery? WTH? (also titled, our kids are f*ing stupid)

Today on MSNBC.COM is an article and I think the subtitle sums it up the best :

"College survey shows some think he was advocating the abolition of slavery"

yes folks, college students, NOT 3rd graders.

as you read the article, yes, you can blame it on "No Child Left Behind" (which is a whole other rant, oops, I mean blog)... but can we blame it on....

THE PARENTS??????

Hmmmmm.... it's MLK day, yes you're off school. How many parents ask their kids, "honey, do you know why you're off school today?" How many parents take their kids to MLK celebrations over the weekend (our church is having community service projects, but I'm stuck at work)?

Again, you can blame the education on the schools, or where it squarely belongs, on the parents.

As for not knowing who MLK is..... WTH?
Sunday, January 14, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Human Behavior, and a few random thoughts

Anyone who knows me in "real" life knows that human behavior never ceases to amuse me. Sometimes in a good way, and sometimes it gives me pause to reflect on why some people are, well, just so wrong in the head.

At a company I previously worked at, I was told while hiring another trader that :

20% of people will follow the rules and be ethical no matter what temptations are in front of them

20% of people will try to skirt the rules, break them, and/or find a way to cheat the system no matter what safeguards are in place

60% the rest of the population are generally good people.... they wouldn't think of stealing from the company, unless they were in dire need or extreme circumstances

I generally have found this to be true. I would say that I fall in the 60% and do not want to say my ethics are circumstanstial, but given an extreme situation, let's just say, I'd hope I'd do the right thing.

Friday's news brought two example of the 2 polars of the 20%.

First, Secret Santa Dies. This man went around for YEARS giving out $100 bills to those in need around Christmas time. He identity was unknown until recently when he revealed himself. He gave over 1.3 million in anonymous cash donations.

Then, reported on the same day, the polar opposite was revealed. Two boys who were kidnapped 4 years apart were found alive, hiding in plain sight. Reminds me of the Elizabeth Smart case to a certain extent. I can only hope that he is "accidently" put into the general population at whatever prison he goes to.

I believe that most of us fall in between these two (the 60%). We try to do the right thing, we think about volunteering more, but generally as long as we're not hurting others, we're content to continue on in our lives.
In fact, I would argue we're content to sit on the sidelines and benefit from everyone else's contributions.

I wonder, was there anyone (neighbors? friends? coworkers?) who saw that boy and thought maybe something was out of place and didn't want to get involved?

I wonder, how many of us have an extra $20 to give to someone in need?
We may not have millions to give, but we have time, and everyone has a little something to give.

Being in the 60% is comfortable, and I don't think any of us want to be in that bottom 20%..... but how much more of your time and effort would it be to be in that top 20%... giving a little more, showing more compassion, random acts of kindness, and yes.... doing something above and beyond what you normally thought you'd be capable of doing?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Signs from the Otherside

My grandmother shared a story with me this past weekend.

She was working in the dining room and up on the shelf is an antique music box. It's not the kind you have to open, but wind up and it'll play. She was at the table sitting when the box started to play, from beginning to end, without her even getting up or bumping the curio cabinet. She believe it was my grandfather talking to her (he passed on Sept 28th after 59 years of marriage).

I believe her and I believe it was him.

This story was mentioned to another member of my family who promptly dismissed the story as unbelievable that it could never have been my grandfather. This family member believes in an afterlife (Christian Heaven), she does not believe the dead can communicate with the living.

What do you think? Possible? Not? How can we know? How do you explain the thousands of stories such as this? Just curious to know your thoughts....

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Quotes as I come across them......

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, an hour, a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it last forever.” ~~~Lance Armstrong

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I like running because it's a challenge. If you run hard, there's the pain----and you've got to work your way through the pain. You know, lately it seems all you hear is 'Don't overdo it' and 'Don't push yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond." ~~~Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers general manager, NHL Hall of Famer. (Will-Weber's "Voices From the Midpack" chapter.)

The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.~~~Denis Watley

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly. ~~~Thomas H. Huxley (1825 - 1895)

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