Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mom, don't read this

Okay, if you're easily grossed out, stop reading.

Somehow the conversation between Craig and me comes to prostate health. Let's blame the television. I blame it for everything else.

And he asks how old he's supposed to be before he needs to get that checked out. I tell him. And then he asks if it's possible for the doctor (she's a woman) to maybe wear a cute outfit (boots? leather?) before she checks him out for such ailments.

And then he keeps it up. "Will she maybe wear a wig? Will she get into a character? Will she get a costume? Will she spank me first? Could she pull my hair a little?"

As I write this, he's still talking. "She can't just go at this willy-nilly; it's an event!"

Am I wrong to document his sickness to the internets? Because, in his words, "If it's wrong, I don't wanna be right."

I hope to God that my doctor doesn't read this blog.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Long distance

I'm not usually a phone person. I'm much happier with a quick email conversation most of the time. Or even an open thread while watching television. But occasionally I really jones to talk to one of my girlfriends, the two most crucial of whom live far, far away.

It's been far too long since I spoke to the friend in New York. With three kids, she's way too busy to keep up her blog, and it was time to break the silence, despite the hour's time difference. So I called her tonight, while on the way to yet another Starbucks (yes, I'm scouting staff).

We talked for pretty much the whole car trip (20 minutes), then continued the conversation after I got home. The phone was affixed to my ear when I tucked the kids into bed, and she finally cut it off at 11 p.m. Eastern time. I didn't look, but I'm pretty sure we talked for about 2 1/2 hours tonight.

There's something magical about long-term friendships. J and I have been friends since I was fifteen, and, because of that history, we can talk in shorthand. I know most of her secrets, and she knows mine. When we talk on the phone, the laughter starts way before the punch line. And a lot of steps get skipped in getting to that punch line. I know her parents well enough to get the family issues. I've known her sister since she was a pre-adolescent, and she's known my brother long enough to have been one of his very early crushes. There's a depth to that kind of friendship: she knew me before my husband knew me.

But she's been geographically distant for years now...sufficient years that she has two children I've never seen in person (though I saw the middle child in utero, years ago). She is my daughter's godmother, and she received a shock when she called me back and got Susie on the phone. Apparently Susie has grown up a bit since they last spoke on the phone.

All that to say...I miss my girlfriends. My two best both skipped town a few years ago. While I have lovely people surrounding me, that deep intimacy that I share with J and K has not yet been recreated. I doubt either of them will move back (ever), but it would be great if someone local took their job. Because Sprint is only free after 9 pm and weekends. And Eastern time is an hour later.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Peer pressure

It's that time of year again...when the cool kids start getting nominated for awards. The big flurry right now is the UU Blog Awards. And, because I can't possibly stay away from such awesomeness, I'll follow suit and pimp some of my favorite Unitarian Universalist entries from the past year.

Five of Five: In which I discuss the pros and cons of subscribing to a religion without a creed.
Sometimes it's sad: Musing about working at a children's cancer hospital
Preaching the word: My first full-length sermon
Mother's Day Sermon: I shared the pulpit with our minister on Mother's Day.
A Unitarian Universalist's Take on St. Joseph's Day: This is one of my favorite posts, ever. And nobody commented. Which tells me that when I get thinky, most people stop reading. (That or they're so intimidated by my brilliance that they're struck "dumb". You be the judge.)
She Forgot Again: Living and working in Memphis means that racial issues are in my face most of the time.
But aren't you scared?: More about race and class and crime and urban renewal
On the Verge: More urban renewal, prompted by a nasty debate on our neighborhood's internet message board
Grace, Interrupted: This one makes me seem like a much better person than I think I really am. But I'll take the credit anyway.

So, if you feel so moved, feel free to nominate me. I don't expect to win (remember? I'm famous for my second-place finishes!), but I'd be happy just to be in the running.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


My poor blog is dusty. While I'm walking the dogs (three times a day), I often think about my blog and its dusty state. I ponder writing a new entry and consider topics and what happens inside my brain is something like white noise. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

And, in all honesty (which is, of course, the point of blogging, right?), I really don't have anything now either. Things are, well, fine. Not in that teeth-clenched use of the word. Just fine. Work is going fine (if a bit confusing, since my promotion still hasn't been announced to my new staff...). I've stayed quite busy taking on the administration of this venue, and I'm looking forward to some changes in the next few months.

And at home? The kids are doing fine. (That word again!) School is, well, school, meaning the kids have good grades but all the same annoying things keep being annoying (particularly the weight, likely measured in tonnage, of my pre-adolescent daughter's backpack). I sometimes wonder if we'd be happier with a different school, but I have a feeling that we'd just get a new set of grievances. This week's grievance speaks more of the public served by the public school than the school: just before winter break, a note came home that the school would no longer accept checks for payment for field trips and other incidentals. Craig and I read the memo several times, noting that it specifically did NOT say "afterschool enrichment tuition". Afterschool enrichment tuition is $100 per class, and our boy takes two classes, so we knew we'd be sending a $200 payment in mid-January. We re-read it again, just to make sure, and quite confidently sent in the registration form with a check.

And the check? Came back home that afternoon. With a stressed little boy who thought he wouldn't be able to take the classes since it was the deadline for registration.

Oh hell no! (Spoken in my best Memphis ghetto accent, arms akimbo, with a bit of motion in my neck.) I wasn't about to send $200 in cash with an eight-year-old child, nor was I planning to head over to a gas station to get a money order.

So I called the school. I explained, quite cordially, that there was no way in hell that I was sending $200 cash with a child of eight, and that if they needed me to pay with a money order, I'd be happy to get that to them next Monday, because I have a job and can't just run out and buy money orders whenever I feel like it. (Maybe I was bluffing just a tiny bit...but that doesn't really matter, does it?) The regular secretary gave me the whole, "I totally understand your point, but the deadline is tomorrow," response, then offered to transfer me to the financial secretary, who also totally understood my point and hated that a few deadbeats who wrote bad checks to the school ruined it for all the rest of us fiscally-responsible people.

Then she did exactly what I meant for her to do.

"Mrs. Kid's Mom, go ahead and send the check with your son tomorrow. I'll make an exception this time."

She also gave me her name, which I wrote on the registration form, along with the time and date of our conversation, just in case someone got all crazy and forgot that we had this conversation.

Annnnnnnnnnd, I just spent longer typing this entry than the whole drama took in real life. And it's actually kind of hard to even call it drama. Maybe anecdote is a better word?

Which brings me to this: my blog is dusty. Probably because my life is less-than-scintillating just now. I'll update more when I actually have something to say, okay?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Day One

It really wasn't like a first day of work. Maybe because I have the same desk, the same phone number, the same co-workers. And when the majority of the day was spent answering old emails, attending departmental meetings, working through a big pile of stuff, and completing my expense report, it really felt more like a last day than a first day.

Oh, and maybe also because my direct reports haven't been told yet about their change in supervisor.

So, no drama. Which is fine. It'll come. But not yet.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I realize that I've been quite absent of late, and I apologize. Apparently the deviation from my routine that was my past three weeks had blog-related repercussions. I'll try to do better.

I also realize that, in being a bit circumspect, I've confused a few of you. In the interest of being less confusing, I'll give a bit more information about my professional life than I usually do. (And, in all honesty, I'll likely delete this entry quickly, as I don't want it to haunt me later.)

I work for a children's hospital. It's a very prestigious place to work, and I have no interest or intention of ever leaving, barring retirement. I live ridiculously close to this place (I can see the hospital from all the rooms on the second floor of my house) and love everything about it.

Until December, my job was a little bit more interesting than an administrative assistant. When I was hired, the job was newly-created, and I did a lot with it that had not been imagined. My first boss did not utilize my skills terrifically well, but my second boss immediately saw that I was being horrendously underutilized and spent several months trying to find a new place for me. A place that made more money and had a true impact on our department.

So, in undergoing barista training, I've crossed a hurdle toward my new job. (The new job has been titled, described, and pay-classed already...retroactive to the day I began said training.) BUT...that doesn't mean that my job is barista. In fact, I anticipate that the number of coffees I'll make in a typical week will be closer to five than a hundred.

For those of you keeping score: I have not changed employers, nor departments. My work phone number has not changed. My title, pay grade, and number of direct reports have changed.

The direct reports? That's the most interesting part. And I won't go there on my blog. Because those are people who have their own lives and did not ask, nor consent, to have their careers discussed on the Intarwebs. But yes, I have direct reports, and yes, their lives are fixin' to change.

Because basically? I'm a fixer. We have a broken thing in my department, and I'm going to fix it.

But I also want to tell you about the marvelous people I spent the last two weeks with, in Birmingham. I attended training with them, only because they were kind enough to let me crash their party. They were 100% welcoming, 100% kind, and 100% hard to leave. I may have even slipped one or two or five of them a business card and told them to call me if they ever wanted to move to Memphis.

And then, when it was time for me to drive home? They gave me presents and a card and one of them even gave me a company-specific recognition thing that really, really melted my heart.

Those ladies, folks, are fantastic. The store they're opening will be awesome. I wish I could be there for their grand opening tomorrow, because YES, it will be GRAND.

So, yes, new job. No, new employer. Yes, more money and responsibility. Yes, direct reports.

And, yes, a little nervous about Tuesday. And more than a little happy that tomorrow is a holiday.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Over the past couple of years, I've gotten some career-related certifications. Certifications so unrelated to my college major that my freshly-out-of-college self would have had a big laugh to even consider them to be part of my life.

I got another one today. And got an almost-perfect score on the exam.

And what I can tell you is this: I smell, at this moment, like a combination of espresso, hazelnut syrup, and whipped cream. It's not a bad smell. But I may not sleep for the rest of the month.

I'm pretty sure my parents didn't have this in mind when they sent me to college, but I'll tell you: I'm really excited about my new job.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Unproductive time

I had such lofty goals for my time in Birmingham. I was going to work on my NaNoWriMo book. I was going to work out every day. I was going to venture out to exciting restaurants.

Bet you're dying to know what I've accomplished. Yes?

I've become completely addicted to C.S.I. Specifically, the Las Vegas version.

It began innocently enough. My lovely family dropped me off at the Birmingham airport, and I drove away in my rental car, hotel-bound. We'd just spent the better part of a week together, half the time driving to and from Orlando, Florida. We'd ridden roller coasters and other thrill rides. We'd spent quality time with my parents. We'd braved a rare cold front in the usually-balmy Sunshine State.

I was, sad to say, a little tired upon my arrival to the hotel.

And I switched on the television. I don't know exactly what happened, but I watched most of a pretty lame movie starring J. Lo, then ordered some lovely Chinese food (the only nearby restaurant listed on Delivery.com), and somehow the television found itself on an episode of C.S.I.

Then another.

And another.

Turns out Spike runs FIVE episodes of C.S.I., back to back, on Sundays.

The rest of the week's evenings have been spent in fervent searches for more episodes. I'm telling you, it's like crack.

As a result, I've not ventured far from my hotel room, other than attending the training I'm here for. I've eaten nothing wonderful. All dinners except one have been consumed in my room, in the chair I'm currently occupying, with the television just four feet away.

I found an episode at 7 this evening, but haven't found one at 8, so I'm drooling while watching Jamie Oliver on Iron Chef America. I'm pretty sure E.R. is new at 9, but I know I'll get two more C.S.I. episodes at 10 and 11.

And I'm eating from the same Chinese place. There was a tornado warning this afternoon, and it's still windy and rainy and I didn't feel like going anywhere.

BUT! I did work out as soon as I got back from "work." So that's something, right?

And I've got dinner plans with my "co-workers" next week. On two days!

But I'll be getting "home" early, because I'm a junkie.

(Is it totally horrible that I'm looking forward to getting back here on Sunday night?)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Tough call

I'm having trouble picking a favorite Democrat for the upcoming primary election. I leaned toward Edwards, then Obama, then Clinton, and back and forth. But this makes me lean closer to Hillary again.

More posting later. I'm tired right now.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Not quite done with 2007

The year's not officially over, it seems, until a blogger completes this meme. I'm the last to jump in, so I won't bother linking to everyone who's already done it. Because it's pretty much everyone.

1. Where did you begin 2007?
At the house. I didn't pace myself (thank you, Jagermeister) and was in bed by 12:30. And maybe a glass got broken.

2. Did you have to go to the hospital?
Um, yeah. Because I work there.

3. Did you have any encounters with the police?
None that I can recall.

4. Where did you go on vacation?
There was a trip to West Virginia to see my cousin get married and give my parents their annual temporary custody of the kids. Then the return of the kids, along with BlogHer 2007, in Chicago. And a long weekend in Branson. Then another long weekend in Chicago, for my brother's wedding.

5. What did you purchase that was over $500?
A new washer. Does a new a/c system for the car count? Because it was way over $500.

6. Did you know anybody who got married?
Yes, my brother (and his wife) and my cousin (and her husband). And I gave some impressive coaching to a co-worker who proposed to his girlfriend on Christmas Eve.

7. What sporting events did you attend?
I don't recall any. We somehow missed the entire minor league baseball season.

8. What concerts/shows did you go to?
The Memphis Vocal Arts Ensemble's holiday concert, and I sang in their two spring concerts.

9. Where do you live now?
Downtown Memphis, Tennessee.

10. Describe your birthday:
Shared with Mothers' Day, preached a sermon in church, sang an opera concert. It was a busy day.

11. What’s the one thing you thought you would never do, but did in 2007?
Joined a gym.

12. What’s something you learned about yourself?
I like working out.

13. Any new additions to your family?
My sister-in-law and our kitten.

14. What was your best month?
That's a toss-up between July (kids out of town) and December (promotion at work).

15. What music will you remember 2007 by?
Probably the music my kids practiced, on guitar, piano, and cello. And that damn "Umbrella" song, the tune my son's hip-hop group performed their number to. Oh, and Soulja Boy.

16. Made new friends?
Yep, at BlogHer. You know who you are.

17. Favorite night out?
Huh. Not sure there is one. My kids and husband and I almost always have a great time when we go out together.

18. Any regrets?
We always have trouble budgeting our money between semesters. I wish we'd done that better.

19. What do you want to change in 2008?
I've already made some budgetary changes; I need to work on that some more.

20. Do you have a New Year’s resolution?
Not really. I've made a few attainable goals. But really, just staying as awesome as possible is the plan.

21. Be honest - did you watch American Idol?
Hells yeah!

22. Will you be happy to see 2007 go?
It was a rough year for lots of people, but it was fine by me. I think 2008's gonna be even better, though.

23. How did you end 2007?
At home, again, with suitcases packed for a trip to Florida, to be followed by a two-week business trip for me to train for my new job. My age must be catching up with me, though, because I took a nap so I could make it to midnight. And, in a staggeringly uncharacteristic move, I did not finish my glass of champagne, nor did I finish my daily glass of red wine. (And I haven't had any in 2008 yet.)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


My children are, by all signs, in the midst of a growth spurt. Normally, they take turns with the growing. My son will almost catch up to his sister's still-superior height, then she'll shoot up, physically proving that she is the big sister and he's the little brother.

We, the parents, are given a bit of warning when the growth spurts are beginning. The child, who normally has a, well, normal appetite, suddenly is starving. Like, tapeworm starving. And sleeps more than normal. A week or two later, pants are outgrown (which, for girls, is okay...long pants can turn into capris until they get tight).

The boy is taller than he was the last time he saw his grandparents, about six weeks ago. And the girl won't. stop. eating. The boy, usually an early riser, has been the last to awaken for the past few days. The girl, who is currently sleeping about a meter from me, looks much more like "woman" than "baby", even in sleep. Which, I suppose, is fitting, since she's chronologically closer to womanhood than infancy.

It's a roller coaster so much more amazing than any we'll ride tomorrow.