Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas 2008

I hope you all had a great holiday! Tim and I had a quiet Christmas - just us and my sister. Although, with my sister, how quiet could it really be?! :)


Here are some pics:







Here's a good picture of the three of us. Don't my sister and I look alike? Well....one of us is adopted. I'll give you a hint - my brothers are blonde, too.







This is Tim and my sister learning to play nice.



Again, notice the family resemblance?




On Christmas Eve, we played a little Super Scrabble. I got my ass kicked, as usual.






I believe my exact words were "fuck, fuck, fuck."

So that's our Christmas in pictures. Hope you had a great one!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Just a Little Something...

...to get you OUT of the "Humbug" mood...




Our nephew.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Scrooged


Humbug. That's kind of how I've been feeling this holiday season. It seems as if the older I get, the more pressure there is this time of year. Remember when you were a kid and you just couldn't wait until Christmas? Oh, sweet anticipation. Everything was so exciting - the carols, presents, decorations. Now, I think carols are irritating, presents are too much pressure, and decorations are just too much work.

Tim and I have to move out of our house at the end of January - no big drama there, our lease just isn't being renewed. Decorating would be silly, because that's just unpacking boxes that are already packed. We also found out not too long ago that he was going to have to take a decrease in his salary. This is why we couldn't make it out to Maine to see his family, or to Minnesota to see mine. We've chosen not to do gifts for each other this year, in order to save money for movers, security deposit, and other moving incidentals. In a lot of ways, we are the type of people who would rather just have a nice dinner out instead of gifts. We had hoped, however, to be able to send gifts to his nephews, at the very least, but that won't happen, either.

People tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves this time of year - baking cookies, sending out Christmas cards, decorating both the inside and outside of the house, buying presents for everyone, throwing parties, traveling to see out of town family members. I suppose if I had kids, I might view things differently - I would never want to ruin the magic of Christmas for a child. However, since that will never happen, I feel as though all my years of doing all the things I just mentioned have earned me a free pass to be a Scrooge this year. 2008 was a tough year for us - root canal, pneumonia, salary cuts for me first, and then him, being laid off from my mortgage company, unemployed for two months, my grandfather getting cancer, and a number of other things that I won't get into now. At this point, I'm just going to be glad to see 2009 come and hope that it will be better.

I think my sister will be here for Christmas this year, although she left Florida late, so who knows at this point. If she's here, we'll probably just hang out here at the house, make a nice dinner, and watch some Christmas movies. If she's not here, well, we'll probably do the exact same thing. I'm okay with that.

So that's Christmas 2008 in a nutshell for me. Bah humbug pretty much sums it up. The one thing to enjoy about Christmas this year is that my office closes down at noon on Christmas Eve and doesn't open until January 2. I will still be there off and on to take care of some things, but it's nice to know I have an option.

Thanks for letting me vent. :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm a Mama!

Relax, Gini & Cathy - you're not going to be grandmas!


Earlier this summer, Tim discovered The Something Store, which is some website where you send them $10 and they send you something. You don't know what it is until you get it. So he ordered two. One of them was an Eggling. I took the Eggling to work a week ago or so, and watered it. Here it is Day One:






Here it is Day 7:



See the tiny little green speck on the left side? If you squint, you may be able to see it a little better. These pictures were taken with my cell phone, so the quality isn't the best, but you get the idea. I'm so proud of my little Eggling!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the States!




I have an awful lot to be thankful for this year. I have a job and so does Tim. We have a place to live, food to eat, and we're both healthy. There are so many people who can't say the same.


We had a slightly difficult week, getting two separate pieces of news that kind of rocked our world. Tim's salary got cut due to the weakening economy, and we may need to move out of our house at the end of January. Last week, four of my coworkers were laid off due to the real estate market in Phoenix. I also have a grandfather who has cancer and a father who has shattered his knee. However, as I said, I have a home and food to eat, and a job that I love.


I was reminded this week of just how lucky we are. The Real Gift Foundation is a charity that my company supports and a number of us volunteered to help pack food boxes on Tuesday morning for families to have a Thanksgiving. Well, due to a lack of food and monetary donations, they didn't need volunteers after all, and they were going to have to turn away hundreds of families who want a Thanksgiving dinner. I'm sitting in my house today with a turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, homemade dinner rolls, scalloped corn and onion pie, with apple crisp for dessert. That's for just the two of us. I'm very thankful.


I hope you all take a minute to really think about how lucky you are to have food on the table today, a computer with which to check the internet, a television to watch football, and family/friends to keep you company.
To our families in Minnesota and Maine, Happy Thanksgiving! We miss you and love you!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Getting Caught Up

Look at this, it's two posts in the same month! Be wildly impressed!
It's been kind of a difficult couple of weeks. On Halloween Day, I started coughing a bit and feeling under the weather. I made an appointment with my doctor, thinking if I were coming down with something, maybe I could catch it early. I went to the doctor and found out I had bronchitis and early pneumonia. So he drugged me up and told me to rest. So I stayed home two days the first week of November.
The second week of November wasn't easy. The company I work for is wonderful. It's really like a family. Well, we lost four members of the family last week, due to the economy. They had to lay off four people and everyone else had to take a pay cut. It was a very, very sad week. I was lucky enough to keep my job this time, but I was definitely sad for everyone who lose their job. Damn this economy, anyway.

I'm very glad the elections are over - it's so wonderful to be able to watch television without being bombarded with political advertisements.
My dad fell off a ladder a couple of weeks ago and shattered his knee. He had to have emergency surgery and have a bunch of pins put in his knee. Yuck. Not fun.
My grandpa also had surgery this past week for a type of cancer. He's recovering right now and I've heard he gets to go home early next week.
It's my birthday Monday. It's a day that tends to be a bit sad for me, but it's coming and there's not much I can do about it. Damn getting old, anyway!
I'm getting more and more excited for my sister to visit next month. She's going to be here for two months, which will be nice. And then my little brother is going to fly down to drive back to Minnesota with her, so I'll get to see him, too. I haven't seen my family in a year and a half.
Tim's family is busy planning their vacation in April, which I'm looking forward to, too. They're renting a house on Cape Hatteras for a week, which should be a lot of fun. Not to mention we'll finally get to meet his newest nephew. I mean, seriously, is he not the cutest baby you've ever seen? My one goal in life is to pinch his fat little cheeks!

Look at those dimples? It breaks my heart that we haven't gotten to see him yet! I think his sister sends us pictures like this just to torture me!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Anybody Out There?

Anyone still reading this? I could give you a ton of excuses as to why I haven't been blogging lately, like the fact that I've been working 60 hours a week, or the fact that I have bronchitis and pneumonia AGAIN for the second time this year. The real truth, though, is that I just haven't felt like it. So there. :) (The other stuff is true, though, too. I really have been working a lot and I really do have bronchitis and pneumonia.)

The weather has finally turned here in Phoenix, and it's been wonderful! The highs during the day now are in the 70's and 80's instead of 90's and 100's. This is why we live through the brutal summers - the rewards are so worth it! On Halloween, it was in the 90's. It sure is a far cry from my days in Minnesota. Anyone remember the Halloween blizzard of 1991? Anyone? Or remember the day back when we were seniors in high school and we had an ice storm and some people had to stay overnight at school? No? Just me? I think that would have been in 1993, although it's possible it was the end of 1992.

Not much for news around here. My sister will be in Arizona in a month or so and I'm really excited. She's finishing her masters degree and has an internship in Tucson. She'll get here right before Christmas, so I'll get to spend Christmas with her, which I haven't done in at last 7 or 8 years. I'm definitely excited to see her.

There's not much else to talk about tonight. I am headed to bed and really, you should too. It's after 11:30!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Am

My cousin Carrie tagged me for a meme, and since I've been woefully negligent in updating this blog, I thought this would be something nice to update with that wouldn't take a ton of time. I'm not feeling well this weekend, so this is merely cutting into my "lying around time". :)



So, here we go:



I am...a daughter, sister, girlfriend, friend

I want...a live-in maid

I have...cramps (too much information?)

I wish...it would cool down once and for all

I know...I need to spend less time working and more time at home

I hate...talking on the phone

I fear...losing my job again

I hear...Iron Chef America on TV

I crave...bacon

I search...on Google

I always...work too much

I usually...spend too much time on the computer

I am not...living the life I always thought I would live when I was 33

I miss...spending time with my grandparents

I love...Tim, my job, my bed

I never...let Tim off the hook

I rarely...leave work on time

I cry...occasionally for no reason at all

I lose...patience too often

I am confused...by this whole bailout thing and why the economy is so awful

I need...more money

I should...go back to school and a degree

I worry...about money

I dream...very, very strange dreams

I tag...nobody. But if any of the two readers I still have want to do this, consider yourself tagged!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

In Case You Were Wondering.......



I'm still alive. Apparently, I've been incognito for almost a month. Time flies when you work 60 hours a week. Tim got a comment on his blog asking if I was alive. So here I am, not chopped into pieces and buried in the desert or trapped under something heavy. I'm just busy. I feel like the woman in the picture above, but her desk is a bit neater than mine.

I worked 59 hours this week and 53 hours last week, so the little bit of time I have away from the office is spent sleeping. In fact, I pretty much spent all day today in bed. I woke up with a headache and just spent the whole day napping on and off. It was decadant and I could use another day to do the same, but alas, it's Sunday and tomorrow begins another week. I've been breaking my rule about not working on the weekends, too. I always used to follow the rule that I was willing to work late every night, but never on the weekends. Well, it appears that no matter how late I work at night, there still aren't enough hours to get everything done without working at least one day during the weekend.

I had forgotten how lovely it is, though, to work somewhere where I feel appreciated and respected. About ten years ago, I had a wonderful job and an even better boss. I had forgotten how nice it feels to have that. I love this company. It's insanely busy and total chaos, but I love it. The people are great and it's a real "family" environment. There's drama, as there will be in every office, but I've made some real friends there.

So, it's getting late and waaaaaaaaay past my bedtime, so I'm off. I just wanted to let you know I'm alive and kicking. Hopefully things will get "caught up" sometime in the coming weeks and I'll have more free time. In the meantime, though, I may not be around regularly. Thanks for checking on me, though!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Twinkies and Racial Incidents

From Wikipedia: The slang "Twinkies" used by Asians describes other Asians with very little difference in lifestyle and/or mannerisms to caucasian or "white" people. The term is further described as being "yellow" on the outside and "white" on the inside, identical to the composition of the Twinkie snack.

I am a Twinkie. I was born in South Korea in November of 1974 and adopted by a Minnesota couple at five months old. I do not speak Korean, I don't have any memories of Korea and if pressed, I'm not sure I could immediately locate Korea on a map on the first try. (My high school geography teacher is rolling his eyes). I was raised in a small farming town in Minnesota, with a population of 5000. Three Asians, 4997 white people. I don't have an accent (unless you count Minnesotan as an accent), I don't hate the Japanese, and I can assure you, I've never fought your people in a war.


Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about racial incidents. I moved to Arizona six years ago and since then, I've had quite a few of these incidents. My first job here was working at Barnes & Noble. The very first racial incident happened at the check-out counter. A guy came up to buy a book and there was some small talk and then out of nowhere, he says "are you black?" I was thinking fast that day (unusual for me) and said "if I am, is that going to affect whether or not you purchase this book?" He looked at me rather oddly and then said "no" and I took his money and he was on his way. That was the first of many incidents that happened in that bookstore. I overheard myself referred to as "that little Japanese girl", and I had someone ask me if I could tutor them in Japanese. I always told my co-workers about the incidents and they kind of laughed. Then came the day I was standing at the Information Desk with two of them and a girl walks up and starts speaking to me. In Chinese. I looked at her blankly until she said "oh, you don't speak Mandarin?" Um....no.

The worst incident was when I was working as a teller at the credit union. An older gentleman (I use that word facetiously) walked up to my station and said "Hi, Kim." I kind of looked at him and pointed to my name tag and said "my name isn't Kim." He said "I call all you people Kim." I looked at him with one eyebrow arched (I'm not good at it, but I try hard) and said " 'you people'?" He replied "don't look at me like that. I fought you damn people in the war." At this point, my boss overheard a bit of what was going on and made the very timely suggestion that I walk away for a few minutes.

The ironic part, of course, is that when I was placed at the orphanage in Korea, I didn't have a name because I had been abandoned, so they gave me a name that involves "Kim". Tim laughed a LOT when he saw my birth certificate after hearing that story.

A few weeks ago when I was having the sister of a friend cut my hair, her 5 year old son and I were talking about the Olympics. He asked if I was from China and his poor mother was mortified. He's a child and I laughed it off. Most of the time, I am able to laugh off racial comments, but they are tiresome. I have never in my life asked a white person, a complete stranger, if they're German or Norwegian or Irish. I am not ashamed of being a Korean, but I also don't think it's appropriate to walk up to someone you don't know and ask them what race they are.
Am I being too sensitive?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why I'm Working This Weekend


This was my desk as I was leaving tonight. (I've blacked out some of the stuff, including company logos).

Let's go left to right, shall we? On the left, we have a couple pieces of paper. What you can't see in this picture is the pile to the left of that they fell off. It's about the same size as the two other big ones. That pile will take me about two hours to get through. Right next to that is a stack of blue files. That is something that was dropped on me just this week. It will take me about 6 or 7 hours to get through that pile.

Then we have my iHome iPod clock radio and a really, really, really old iPod (both gifts from Tim. Honey, if you're reading this, I'd really like an iPod Touch now. Thanks!) :)

Then you see my computer. What I've blacked out on the screen is my email program that currently has 42 unread emails. I was in a 3.5 hour meeting early in the day, and a 2 hour meeting late in the day. The entire day was spent covering for the receptionist who took the day off, preparing for meetings, and sitting in meetings. I came out of said meetings with more work.

Next to the computer is pile #3. It will take me approximately 8-10 hours to get through this pile.

Then we have several small piles. About 2 hours.

To the right of that (couldn't fit on the picture), we have another pile. That should be relatively easy to take care of - an hour at the most.

You also can't see the pile of stuff to be filed that's underneath my desk.

I really like my job, though. I love the people I work with and I am learning so much. I love having the responsibility, now I just wish I had time to get everything done! So, that's where I'll be spending my weekend. Sigh....

I Slept Through The Whole Damn Thing

I love thunderstorms. Love, love, love. I used to be really afraid of them, but I distinctly remember one night my stepmom said to me, "I'm not going to have you go through your life afraid of storms. Let's go." And she dragged me to the porch and she showed me how cool they really are - we watched the lightning, counted until the thunder came, drank hot chocolate, and bonded a bit. Ever since then, I love storms and anxiously wait for them every monsoon season in AZ.

Last night was a doozy of a storm - check out the slide show from our local paper. Wow is all I can say. The bugger of it all is that I was freaking exhausted last night and I missed the whole thing!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Enough, Already

When I lived in Minnesota, March was my least favorite month of the year. By the end of March, it had been cold for literally six months. March was also the snowiest month of the year. It was enough already. That's how I feel about August in Phoenix. It's the end of August (can you believe how fast this year is flying by?) and it's enough with the heat already. I believe we've had a record number of days over 110 already (don't quote me, I 'm guessing based on something I read a while back), and it's enough. I know this will all be over in a month or so, but sheesh.

I have officially been in Arizona for six years now. I moved here in August 2002. When I think back now, it's amazing to me how much I've grown and changed since then. I don't even recognize the girl who moved here. What I remember very clearly, though, is the car ride to Arizona. I got to my new apartment, got out of the car in the 115 degree heat and said "my God, what have I done?" Everyone told me that by the third summer, I'd "get used to it". That's like saying you can "get used to" the cold in Minnesota - you don't get used to it, you get used to dealing with it. Big difference. Well, I rolled my eyes and said "yeah right" and then sat in front of the air conditioner for three years. Here we are, six years later, and I'm chilly when it gets below 75. I can honestly say I've learned how to handle the heat.

I'm still sick of it, though. Enough already.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

100

This list has been ALL over the blogs lately. It's a list of 100 things every good omnivore should try at least once. This list was developed on a blog called Very Good Taste. Here's a link to his original post. Tim and I both saw it and counted how many we've tried.

Okay, so before I post the list with the items marked that I've eated, let me disclose something so you can all stare at me with your jaw on the floor like Tim did. I've never eaten a PB&J sandwich. It's true. I don't like jams/jellies/marmalades. I've also never had S'mores. I don't like marshmallows either.

So without further ado, here is the list.

Here's what to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. I couldn't do this in Blogger, so I just made the text red)

I can't have spicy food, so I'll never be able to eat some of these things (like a raw Scotch Bonnet or some of the curries). I didn't mark these, though.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese (I just can't)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam Chowder in Soudough Bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted Cream Tea
38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (Again, I just can't)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost or brunost
75. Roadkill (I just can't imagine a situation in which this would seem like a good idea)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang Souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a Michelin 3-star restaurant (Not yet, but sign me up!)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash (I've had the American version, but not the traditional Hungarian stuff)
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

For Jen

Have you been sitting on the edge of your chair, wondering how my new job is going? I'm sure you have. After all, it's all about ME, is it not? :)

It's going pretty well. I am struggling to learn a new industry, which has been frustrating for me. If I had gone to another mortgage company, I would have at least had a clue. Obviously everybody and every company does things differently, but if someone asked for a 4506-T, at least I would know what it looks like and where to get it. This is all new territory for me and it's a little scary. I hate the learning period - I want to be able to just walk into the job and know how to do everything. Unfortunately, 99% of the world needs at least some training before being able to be 100% effective at their job, so I know I'm being unreasonable. (Some people are never 100% effective - believe me, I know.) I was telling Tim last night that I wish it were like four months from now. By then, I'll know what I'm doing and I'll be more of a help to my co-workers. I hate feeling like I'm a burden.

So really my only complaint is that I'm not already great at the job, which is just me being a Type A freak.

The people are very nice. I'm also working with three former co-workers, which is just awesome, too. I had two really good meetings today, which helped to define my job a bit and answered a lot of questions. I'm still a little at the point where I don't even know what questions to ask, much less who to ask and how it all fits into the big picture.

I sound pretty negative, huh? I really do like the job. The company is great and I have real benefits. For example, when I get paid, the company doesn't automatically skim 10% right off the top and put it in their pocket. And I get paid time off. And health insurance that doesn't cost me $400 a month (1/10th that amount, actually). All good things.

So, Jen, that's how the job is going!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Help My Friend Propose!

My friend Michael is proposing to one of my very good friends, Leslie. Click here to help him propose!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Doing a Happy Dance

I got the job, I got the job, I got the job, I GOT THE JOB!!! Hooray!

Happy Anniversary!

I have a confession to make. Tim and I met on the internet. On a dating site, of all things. Yup, I admit it. I used to be embarrassed to tell people that, but it’s so common now, that everyone I tell either met their boy/girlfriend online or knows someone who did. Let’s face it – once you get to a certain point in your life, it’s hard to meet people. I had moved to Arizona in 2002 for another guy and after we ended our relationship, I had no idea how to meet other people. I worked in the office from hell with a bunch of jerks, so I knew that wasn’t the way to go about it. At the encouragement from a friend, I joined match.com and Yahoo Personals. I met Tim through Match, I think. We were both on both sites, so I can’t remember the specifics.

Our first date was four years ago today. We went out for sushi and to a movie. Sushi was at Blue Wasabi, a sushi bar in north Scottsdale that was running a deal at the time where if you wore blue on Sundays, you got 50% off your bill (and their wasabi really is blue). The restaurant was fairly new at the time and we loved it. In fact, we went every single Sunday for at least a few months. After a while, though, we started to realize that it was becoming a major asshole hangout and it came to the point where I didn’t want to go anymore. Plus, I got a bit sushi-ed out. I like it, but every week for a few months was a bit much. Tim, on the other hand, could eat sushi three meals a day every day.

After dinner, we went to see a movie and I learned that Tim is the kind of person to laugh out loud at movies, like me. After the movie, we walked out to my car and he said “well, I don’t know when I’ll be able to see ya again. See ya around.” Gee, thanks. In his defense, he was working weird hours at the time and they were the exact opposite of mine, so I knew what he was talking about. I got in my car and called my friend L and told her the date was a disaster and a waste of time and the guy didn’t even like me. And then I turned the wrong way down a one-way street and hung up. A week later, we went out again. And as they say, the rest was history.

After four years, I still think I’m a pretty lucky girl. He’s so easygoing, he lets me be the bossy control-freak I am. :) We do joke all the time that we’d make a terrible eHarmony commercial because we are definitely not compatible. I love country music and he hates it. Ditto Everybody Loves Raymond. He loves sci-fi and I hate it (it’s that whole suspension of disbelief thing). Same with Formula One. I’m a workaholic of the very worst kind and he’s not at all. I have an unhealthy obsession with being on time (which means early) for everything and he tends to be of the fashionably-late mindset. He’s laidback and I’m definitely a Type A. For whatever reason, though, it works.

So here’s to four good years. Love you, honey!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Still Fighting Boredom

I miss working. Three months ago, I couldn't have imagined saying something like that, but I really do. I miss feeling useful, like I've contributed something to the world. Plus, I'm a terrible workaholic and sitting around the house all day goes against everything I believe in! Yeah, I miss working - a lot. I don't miss slaving 14 hours a day for no money for unappreciative jerks, but I do miss working.

My friend D told me Friday that she received a call from the company I've had three interviews with. They were checking my references, which leads me to believe they're getting close to making a decision. I've felt all along that I was going to get this job, but it was just a waiting game.

So....still fighting boredom, depression, and insomnia. I'm hoping for an end soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Inspiration

What inspires you? One of the things that inspires me is music and it has always been important to me. My family is musical - my grandmother in my stepmom's side is a pianist/organist and my grandfather was a band teacher and conductor, and plays pretty much any instrument you put in front of him. I started taking piano lessons at a young age, and in 5th grade, I started playing the flute. I quit taking piano lessons when I was a junior in high school for a lot of reasons. I got very busy with school, my part-time job at a grocery store, band, and sports. I also had a hard time finding a teacher I felt was right for me. I grew up in a small town in Minnesota and the options were limited. I'd had the same teacher for about 8 years, but at a certain point, I think I outgrew her. I wasn't born with a musical gift. I'm not naturally talented, but I did work very hard at it and I was good. My sister was born with the gift, but she quit piano lessons after only a couple of years and quit band too. Neither of my brothers lasted in piano or band very long either. Music taught me so much - discipline and passion, to be specific.

Yes, I was a band geek. Here's the weird thing, though. In my school, band was pretty damn cool. The cool kids were in band, not sports. It's okay, you don't have to believe me.... :) The music department in our small high school was one of the best in the state. My grandfather, as a high school conductor himself, had a great deal of respect for my conductor. The number of music department trophies and awards far, far outnumbered any other department's.

Band is where I made a lot of friends and had some of the best experiences of my young life. The summer between 9th and 10th grade, we took a trip to Traverse City, Michigan to participate in their Cherry Festival competitions. The spring of my junior year, we went to Florida and spent a week at Disney, also competing. The summer after my senior year, we went "out west" to Wyoming, Colorado, etc, to compete. Those trips were wonderful experiences and absolutely some of my very best high school memories. It breaks my heart that none of my siblings stayed with it and were able to have these experiences, although they obviously had their own wonderful experiences.

My conductor, Mr. R. was my hero. He had been a teacher a long time and he was loved by everyone, because he truly loved his students and his passion for music. He was hard on us sometimes because he wanted us to live up to our potential. I loved him almost as a second father. He was the teacher you went to if you wanted advice because you got into a fight with your boyfriend, or if you needed help with your homework, or maybe had problems at home you wanted to talk about.

Mr. Hollands Opus was playing on AMC tonight and I was reminded again of my relationship with him and my relationship with music. After high school, I attended college for one year and joined the band program, but my high school was far advanced compared to this band and I was quite frustrated. Since then, though, I haven't found a lot of opportunities to pursue my music. Back in Minnesota, I did join a community band for a year, but since moving to Arizona, I haven't even picked up my flute. I bought a piano about ten years ago, but sold it about 4 years go, so I haven't played piano in ages, either.

My iTunes is packed with classical music, although not nearly enough. Every now and then, I'll hear a song we played in high school, and I'll get goose bumps because I remember how I felt playing that piece of music. It takes me back.

Think about music - I'm sure you have at least one or two or ten songs that remind you of a certain time of your life or a certain person. Music is a powerful thing and it inspires me.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Still Waiting

The third interview for the job went well last week Wednesday. Both guys I interviewed with (the two owners) said a couple times "well, you're exactly what we're looking for". I'm thinking that's a good sign, not to mention that they've had me there three times to interview me. I still haven't heard anything, though. They were moving into a new office building at the end of last week, so I wasn't really expecting to hear anything. The move started Friday and went through the weekend, so I'm hoping to get a phone call or something the beginning of this week.

My friend S called on Thursday and said that K heard from someone who heard from someone that they were going to make me an offer. It's just a waiting game at this point, I guess.

On Tuesday, I get to babysit for S's little baby. Baby P is about five months old and soooo precious. I can't wait to spend a whole day playing with her! I love babies when they're that age - they're developing their own little personalities, and they don't seem to cry as much!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

He's Very Good To Me

Yes he is. Here it is, 9:23 pm Tuesday night and he's making me popcorn because I have a strange hormonal craving for it. Altogether now....awwwww.

*I am not pregnant - ignore the hormonal comment*

In other news, I have a THIRD interview tomorrow for the job I'm hoping I'll get. Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

How Was Your Long Weekend?

We had a great 4th of July weekend. Because of the whole getting fired thing, I actually had a 6-day weekend. I haven't worked in almost a week.

Thursday we were awakened quite early in the morning by someone calling Tim about work. He got up early and was able to sign off early. Around 3:00, we decided to head to the 4:45 showing of Wall-E. We got to the theater, bought our popcorn and licorice and settled in. The movie was very good. I didn't LOVE it like I loved Monsters Inc. and The Incredibles and the humor was just a little different. Very good, though. There were parts that were freaking hilarious and parts where even Tim started to get tears in his eyes. I won't give anything away for people who haven't seen it, but I definitely say go see it - it's great.

After that, we decided to have dinner at our very favorite Thai restaurant - Osha. We love that place and if finances allowed, we'd eat there every week. It's a cute little family-owned place with mom and dad in the kitchen and daughters and aunt in the front. If it's been a long time since we've been there, they always harass us and ask us where the hell we've been. They know our usual orders too.

Friday was pretty low-key, but we did decide to head to Tempe to check out the fireworks at Tempe Town Lake. We wanted to avoid the festivities (drunken crowds) at the actual celebration, so we parked at a shopping mall just east of it and watched the fireworks from there. They were pretty good. They set them to music and it was obviously impossible to hear the music, but it was fun.

Yesterday, we headed to Wicked Bakery, a cute little bakery a couple miles from us. We got some treats and decided it's our new favorite place. We then headed to Gilbert to have late lunch/early dinner at Joe's Farm Grill, which was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Drives recently. We had been there once before it was on TV and really liked it, but it's a 50-mile drive and we hadn't been down there since. Well, there was one time right after the show aired that we drove down there, but the line to get in stretched forever and we went somewhere else. Yesterday, though, it was nice and quiet and we had a great meal. After eating, we did some shopping and came home and watched Juno. We received it from Netflix a LONG time ago, but never got around to watching it. I loved it. Definitely see it, if you haven't already.

I was supposed to start another temp job tomorrow, but I don't know yet if that's still on. The lady at the temp agency was supposed to call me Thursday to let me know if it was still a go, and I haven't heard from her. So I figure I'll get up and get ready to go to work tomorrow morning and just try to call her when she gets in the office.

I had a second interview for my friend's company on Wednesday of last week. It went pretty well, but it sounds like it's going to be at least a week or two before they make any decisions. I really want this job. From the sounds of it, it would be perfect for me. And "perfect for me" sounds like a nice change of pace from my old jobs.

What did you do this weekend? Hope it was fun!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, America!


Happy Independence Day, Americans! Enjoy your long weekend and please be very safe.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Things Sure Have Changed

Around this time ten years ago, I was starting to think about looking for a new job. I was working for a huge insurance company in St. Paul, MN at the time and was pretty unhappy. There were a lot of reasons, but I knew it wouldn't work out to stay at the company. Back then, I didn't even own a computer and to be honest, didn't really know how to use the internet. I did it the old-fashioned way. Sunday I went and bought a newspaper and scoured through the "Help Wanted" ads. I then typed my resume and some cover letters at work (don't tell anyone!) and printed them off on cream-colored resume paper. I mailed out 7 resumes. From those 7, I received 7 phone calls, 6 interviews, and 6 job offers.

I don't know if I thought it was always going to be that easy or what. For the next few years, any time I wanted to change jobs, I just did it. I didn't even have to work that hard at finding a new one. It seemed like there was always someone who wanted to hire me.

It is now 10 years later and I've probably sent out 75 resumes and not one of them has been on cream-colored resume paper. Can you even still buy resume paper? No, everything is done via the internet.

As far as my job search, things are still plugging along. I finished my temp assignment yesterday (Monday) and had an interview in the afternoon. The interview was for a company where two of my friends work. We all worked together at "The Bad Place". When my friend Stephanie heard I'd been fired, she forwarded my resume to her HR manager. It took them about 4 weeks to call me, so I had written them off. They called last week, though, and scheduled an interview. It went pretty well, but I wasn't sure if she liked me. Steph called me last night and said that after the interview, she overheard the HR manager tell the hiring manager she really liked me and wanted me to come back for a second interview.

As I was typing the above paragraph, I got a call from the HR manager and I have a second interview tomorrow afternoon. I've said all along that I had a good feeling about this job. After the interview was scheduled, I called the HR manager to ask for a job description. She said they didn't really have one, but she called me to talk about the job. We ended up talking for about a half hour about the position. After that conversation, I felt like "okay, I'm going to get a job there." I have had a very strong feeling about this job.

I certainly hope to find something soon. I have another temp assignment that starts Monday, but I'm not looking forward to it. It's in a very scary part of town and it's a long drive. Tim and I drove down there a couple weekends ago and the building was surrounded by a metal fence topped with razor wire. Doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. I'm hoping I get this job and they want me to start Monday and I won't have to go. If I don't get the job, I'm going to have to do this temp assignment so we can pay some bills. So cross your fingers - I will cross mine as soon as I'm done typing!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Looky What I Got!



I got me some Bacon Salt! I believe I first read about this on one of my favorite blogs, Bacon Unwrapped. I went and checked out the website, but there weren't any stores in Arizona that sold it. You could order it online, but I just never got around to it. One of our friends emailed Tim yesterday because he had just heard about it and went to their website and discovered that one of the "boutique" grocery stores in Phoenix carries it.

Naturally, one of the first places we headed yesterday was AJ's. We love AJ's. It's not as nice as Central Market in Texas (I've never been there, but Tim reminds me constantly that everything is better in Texas), but it's really nice. It's a great place for foodies to wander around and find some treats.

They only carried the "original" flavor of Bacon Salt, but that's okay with me. As soon as we got to the car with the treasure, I ripped it open and put a little on my fingertip and tasted it. It tastes a lot like the stuff that's on barbecue potato chips. Yum! I love that stuff! I totally forgot about it this morning, though, and it would have tasted great on my breakfast! I can't wait to give it a try!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Overheard at the Grocery Store....

Him: I think I'll be able to pass the test on the first try.

Her: I think you're giving yourself WAY too much credit.


Ouch...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Looking Up

Things are starting to look up a little. For anyone like me who was viciously, maliciously, undeservedly fired via email, (who, me, bitter?) the best advice I can give you is to sign up with a bunch of staffing agencies.

Here's what's been going on this week:

Remember the interview I told you about? I didn't get the job. I think it's probably for the best. While the money was good, it would have been a huge adjustment for me - going from a corporate to a manufacturing environment. Although they did wear jeans every day! It was a long drive and not necessarily what I was looking for.

The same agency that sent me on that interview is also scheduling an interview for me at a land development company in Scottsdale. Ah...more my type of thing. Money is even better, and it's in the real estate/development industry that I enjoy so much. It's much closer to home, and everything she's told me about it so far sounds great. She said they may not start interviewing until after the 4th of July, which isn't surprising, but she's keeping me updated.

A different agency has me temping last Wednesday through Friday and all of next week with a non-profit organization. The people are great and the organization is really cool. It's called AWEE - Arizona Women's Education & Employment. They started long ago as a resource for women who had been displaced - divorced, abused, etc., and needed some assistance in finding work. They have since branched out to help women, men, troubled youth, and ex-offenders with their job skills. They have workshops for resume writing, interviewing skills, career, exploration, computer skills, and a bunch of other topics, they have a clothing bank to help people with finding professional clothing, they have a computer lab so people can come in and work on their resumes or use the internet to find jobs, and a number of other things. It's a terrific organization and I'm so happy to be working there for a week and a half. It's lovely to make a difference in someone's life.

After my assignment ends there next Friday, I begin another assignment with yet another temp agency that goes for 3-4 weeks. Woohoo!

Working is good. Making money is good. My temp jobs don't make me a ton of money, but at least I'm out of the house (Tim is thrilled about that part) and trying to contribute to the household income!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Interview

I had an interview this afternoon. It went pretty well, I think. It's a metal fabricating company in south Phoenix and I'd be the assistant to the CEO/owner. I met with the accounting manager today, and the CEO. I liked the accounting manager a lot - she seems like someone I would definitely work well with. The CEO was a little harder to read, and I'm not sure if he liked me or not. I'll hear something by the end of the week, from what I understand. It's a temp-to-permanent position, which would be good. It's quite a drive and a good portion of the drive is through bad construction, so that wouldn't be much fun. I'm used to having a really simple 7-mile commute. The hours are good, though - Monday through Thursday 7-4 and Friday 7-1. It's also a manufacturing company, and I've always been in corporate environments, so that would definitely require some adjusting on my part. We'll see how it turns out - I have faith that whatever is supposed to happen will happen. Cross your fingers, though, that something happens soon!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bored Freakin' Silly

I've learned a lot since I've been unemployed.

First, there is a television station called "Identification Discovery" - ID. They do reenactments of big FBI cases in the past few decades and it's pretty interesting.

Second, there are about 200 episodes of Law & Order on every single day on various stations. Seriously. You don't even have to look that hard to find them. They're just right there. This is a show I never got into but now that I'm home all day and desperate for something to do, they're pretty interesting.

Third, waiting for the phone to ring about a job isn't unlike waiting for the phone to ring after a first date. Of course, it's been almost four years since I've had to worry about it, but still. I remember all too well. Wait.....if you don't put out on the first date, they might call? Is that true? Wow. Who knew? :)

"Bored freakin' silly" is the phrase Tim used last night. He's right. Right as we were crawling into bed, I got very restless and started throwing a temper tantrum because I'm just bored freakin' silly! I've been corresponding with the temp agencies I'm signed up with to see if there is anything - even a one or two day assignment for $8 an hour. Anything. We need money and we need to get me out of the house before I implode! Everyone says the same thing - everyone else is in the same boat and they'll contact me if something comes up. You don't have to be a genius to figure out that with this economy, it's not a great time to be looking for gainful employment. At this point, it doesn't even have to be that gainful, just employment would be nice.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More Crazy Dreams

I tend to have strange dreams. Maybe it's the stress - I don't know. Anyway, over the past two nights, I've had some real doozies.

Dream #1: I am completely covered in bubbles. For some reason, I'm lying in bed and I'm completely covered in bubbles and I know that if I don't keep popping the bubbles and getting them off me, they're going to suffocate me. Tim said he can't remember if I was tossing and turning a lot, but I know at one point, I woke up with both my feet waving in the air. Weird.

Dream #2: I am at my parent's house and my sister's arms are completely covered in these blisters that are really itchy. Neither of my parents are home so I take her to the emergency room. We're sitting in this HUGE hospital on the second floor and I run into all of these people from my past - high school, college, Arizona. I'm having a great time catching up with everyone, but my sister is bored so she goes down to the first floor where the pediatric section is so she can play with the kids. I'm worried about whatever is on her arms being contagious, though, so I try to convince her to come back upstairs, but she refuses. (She is a stubborn girl, so that's not surprising). Anyway, we end up getting in a big fight and I walked out of the hospital and told her she has to find her own way home. So I go out to the parking lot and realize I can't find my car. I'm walking all around this huge parking lot clicking my thing and I'm unlocking all sorts of cars, but I can't find mine. Then I realize I've walked all the way to my dad's place of work and I wander around looking for my dad. Someone tells me to go through this door and down the hall and I do that, but I end up outside. My dad is out there and he's PISSED that I left my sister at the hospital.

Dream #3: For some reason, I really want to take a shower. I'm just dying to take a shower, and for some reason, it's very, very urgent that I take a shower right this minute. I somehow end up in this hotel room that's nicer than my house. I realize that the shower is in the middle of the living room and it's encased in glass. I feel too self-conscious to take a shower in the living room even though no one is in the hotel room with me, so I go into the private laundry room and crawl into the washing machine.

And then there's my recurring dream. I'm in school and I can't find my books for the class I have to go to, or I can't remember which class I'm supposed to be in, or I can't find my locker, or I can't remember my combination for my locker, or I didn't study for my test. I have some version of this dream at least twice a week.

Does anyone else have weird dreams, or is it just me?

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's Good to Have Friends

Hi, I'm bored, how are you? My God, this whole "being out of work" thing really sucks. That's not even including the "how are we going to pay the bills?" panic!

I am now signed up with three temp agencies and I've been submitted for one direct hire position through one of them, so hopefully something will come up soon, even if it's just temporary. I also have an assignment for this weekend - just two days - for a foreclosure auction. Since I have a bit of mortgage/real estate/escrow experience, they've given me that job. It's this weekend at the civic center and I have no idea what I'll be doing yet. The auction itself starts at 10:00, but I have to be there at 8:00 for training. It doesn't pay much, but it may give me a chance to network with some people in the industry, and that's always a good thing.

I was thinking today how lucky I am to have my friends. All of them have been really supportive and encouraging during this time. My friend S told me about a position in her company and turned in my resume, my friend A did the same, and my friend T called me this morning and said he's good friends with the owner of about 17 car dealerships and he can probably get me in the accounting department. Then there's L, she lives in California, so probably can't help me much in the job area, but she sent me an email and said "those assholes never deserved or appreciated you anyway." That was exactly what I needed to hear. My friend D took me to the Keith Urban/Kenny Chesney concert and she's been so nice about listening to me whine and cry for hours. It's been so nice to have them all. So, even though I'm a terrible friend, it's lovely to know that my friends aren't.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Break in the Boredom

When you're working 10-12 hours a day, having a few days to spend at home doing nothing sounds like heaven. In theory. In reality, it kind of sucks. I am so BORED! I've been sending out resumes like crazy and have interviewed with one temp agency and will be interviewing with another tomorrow. I'm hoping something comes up soon. Both for the sake of our finances and my mental health! Apparently I need to work, otherwise I feel like a big loser sitting around all day. Go figure.

Poor Tim, who works from home, doesn't know what to do with me! He's used to being home alone all day. I'm usually gone 10-14 hours a day and he gets a nice break. I try not to bother him when he's working, but sometimes I just need to hear a voice that isn't on the television.

Saturday, there was a break in the monotony. Months ago, my co-worker (now ex-co-worker) D and I decided to go to the Kenny Chesney concert, which we also went to last yeqr. What we didn't know at the time was that it was going to be a huge all-day thing. It was to start with Gary Allan, LeAnn Rimes, Sammy Hagar, and Kenny Chesney. An 8-hour concert, beginning at 3:30 in the afternoon and ending at 11:30 or so. Wait...Sammy Hagar? Huh? Who invited him? Which one of these is not like the others?

The concert was at the new University of Phoenix Stadium, where we hosted the Super Bowl a few months ago. We had pretty good seats and the concert was great. On Friday, I heard on the radio that LeAnn Rimes wasn't going to be performing because of some vocal issues. Bummer - I was looking forward to seeing her. Gary Allan was great and so were Keith and Kenny. I was in line for the bathroom the entire time Sammy Hagar was playing, but all I heard was screaming. Not exactly my kind of music. Once again, it was just plain weird that he was there.

All in all, a great day. I was kind of depressed and didn't want to go, but I'm so glad I did. It was a blast. My friend took some pictures and when she sends them to me, I'll post them. Kenny is so hot!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!


Happy Memorial Day, for all of you in the United States! Today is a great time to remember the men and women who gave their lives to protect our country. And a great day for me to remember that no matter how much my (former) job sucks - no one is shooting at me and there is virtually no chance of dying at the office.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thanks!

Thanks everyone for your kind comments! I'm starting to feel a little bitter (oops, better). Yeah, I'll be fine and I'll find something else where they actually appreciate me. In the meantime, I am registered with one staffing/temp agency and hopefully they'll be able to keep me busy until I find something else.

We ended up going to Trader Vic's for dinner Friday night. I enjoyed it, but Tim thought it was "eh". I think it's just a matter of me ordering better than he did. I had a Caesar salad to start and the macadamia-crusted Mahi-Mahi with whipped potatoes and broccolini. Tim had an egg roll to start and the seared ahi tuna with rice and sesame vegetables.

The egg roll was brought out on this little metal boat with a candle underneath to keep it warm. Unfortunately, it came out of the fryer lukewarm and the little candle didn't do much to heat it up. I like my food screaming hot, so I wasn't a huge fan. We got some red sauce that was kind of a cross between fruity and barbecue-y (is that a word?) and some hot mustard. I didn't enjoy either sauce, either. The egg roll tasted okay, but the temperature and the sauces turned me off.

My Caesar salad was a very classic presentation with romaine, croutons and shaved Parmesan. It was dressed perfectly - not dry and not dripping with dressing. I enjoyed it, although I've had better Caesars.

My fish was terrific. The macadamia crust was slightly sweet and the fish was nice and flaky. There was a drizzle of roasted pepper beurre blanc that just made everything that much better. The whipped potatoes didn't have a lot of flavor, but the beurre blanc helped in that regard. I'd never had broccolini before, and I loved it! It was like a very sweet broccoli. I think it was roasted, although I'm not sure. Totally rocked my world, though.

Tim's seared ahi came with rice and sesame vegetables. He said the tuna was fine, the rice was fine and the veggies were fine. Nothing really stood out.

We also got a side of the panko onion rings to share. They were cooked absolutely perfectly. The crust was crunchy and golden brown and the onion was cooked to exactly the right doneness. However, what we didn't know was that there was cayenne pepper in the batter. I almost died with my second bite. It was even a bit spicy for Tim. I can't eat spicy foods at all. First of all, being from Minnesota, I have no tolerance for it, but I also have ulcers and spicy foods tend to really give me some stomach pains.

For dessert, Tim wanted to try the Bananas Foster and I got the Polynesian Snowball with bittersweet chocolate sauce. Tim's Bananas Foster wasn't the traditional preparation - it came out on a place with bananas and a scoop of ice cream, then a separate bowl with the flaming sauce. Tim got impatient waiting for the sauce to stop flaming so he blew it out and poured it over the bananas and ice cream. However, what he didn't realize was that he didn't let the alcohol burn off, so his first couple bites were pretty potent, especially given that he doesn't drink. He didn't like it, though. His friend Joe makes Bananas Foster a different way and he prefers it that way. I don't like bananas, so I don't know anything about Foster.

My Polynesian Snowball was awesome. It was Haagen Dazs vanilla bean ice cream rolled in toasted coconut sitting in a pool of the bittersweet chocolate sauce. It was terrific. I loved the toasted coconut - it was crunchy and wonderful. It was almost like it was candied or something. The chocolate sauce was a great addition. I also stole the macadamias off Tim's bananas since he can't have nuts.

To me, it was a great meal, although Tim didn't really enjoy his that much.

On the ride down to the restaurant, however, I kind of lost my "celebratory" mood and turned a little blue. I promised Tim I would only wallow in self-pity for a couple days and then I'd be fine.

I'm working on it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I Blame Al Gore

This is so bizarre. This is the end of May in Phoenix. It should be around 100 degrees, if not 110. Today, it was under 70 degrees and it rained pretty much all day. I'm now sitting at home and it's hailing and thundering like crazy. Rain all day, hail, thunder, high wind - I almost feel like I'm back in Minnesota! So bizarre.

Tonight Tim and I are going out for a nice dinner to celebrate my firing. I figure we're about to end up in the poor house and we may as well go down in flames. We're not sure where we're going yet, but I'll write something about it.

Can I just say that this really sucks? Getting fired sucks. I didn't even do anything wrong. There were no performance problems. I know everyone says that, but it's true. Sigh. I'm SO getting out of the mortgage business for a while.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fired via Email

Have you ever met anyone who was fired over email? I hadn't until recently. This person's boss (one of her bosses), the president of the company fired her with a four-sentence email. Wouldn't you assume that the president of the company would be a bit more professional than that? And then to top it all off, he tells her to call if she wants to talk about it, but when she calls, he doesn't pick up the phone. And when she sees him in the hall, he just looks away and can't even look at her. Professional? No. Try gutless. Childish. Unprofessional. And a whole bunch of other words I'm too much of a lady to write on this blog.

This is why I'm looking for a job again. I was fired via email on Tuesday. I work for two people - they each pay 1/2 of my salary. One of the guys decided Tuesday that he doesn't want to work with me anymore and doesn't want to pay me, effective that day. Yes, the president of the company. The one who so valued me five months ago that he just couldn't let me leave when I wanted to and when I had some opportunities. Same guy who would have done almost anything to keep me in the company. Same guy.

So let's review here. My salary was cut at the beginning of the year by 41%. Ouch. That really hurt. (It was cut because of "performance issues", which coincidentally came up the day after I returned from being out of the office for a week due to pneumonia and bronchitis) And now? The remaining 59% of that has been cut by an additional 50%. My wages now are equivalent to that of a McDonald's worker. I'm sure they get treated a bit better, though. When I started my career 14 years ago, I was making more money than I am today.

I started out Tuesday pretty stunned/shocked/blindsided. Yesterday I was a mess - crying, panicking, freaking out. Today, I'm just pissed. Oh boy, am I pissed. Even today, the president's office is right next to mine and he walks by me and I said "good morning". He said "morning" without even looking at me. Did I do something wrong? No, actually, I didn't. I know this for a fact. He's just a coward.

What a way to run a business.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Here We Go!

Today it reached 100 degrees for the first time. It's actually pretty late in the year for the first 100 degree day, from what I understand. I actually haven't left the house yet. I spent the entire morning and so far this afternoon lying in bed and relaxing. Ahhh, heaven.

I'm becoming adjusted to the heat, for sure. I'm the pathetic Phoenician who gets chilly when it's 80 degrees now. My family in Minnesota is ashamed. :)

Tim hasn't been feeling well for about a week. Last weekend, we tried a couple of restaurants we hadn't been to before, and at some point, we both ate something that didn't sit well. Around Wednesday, my stomach stopped churning, but his stomach is still upset. We've been having a pretty quiet week while he rests.

I went in to work for a few hours yesterday, which was loads of fun. I had two piles that needed to be taken care of. I took care of one of the piles (the easy one), and then started on the second and decided I wanted to come home. I hate working on the weekends because I work 10-14 hours a day during the week. Since Tim was sick, though, and basically slept all day, I figured I could go in and be productive.

Not much else has been happening around here, which I hope explains the lack of posts lately from both of us. Tim has been on call for what seems like forever, and has been sick for about that long too. I'm starting to get a bit stir crazy, though, and may need to leave the house at some point today.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Skillet Chicken with Rice and Peas

The first food blog I ever read was Seth's. His is obviously one of my favorite ones, especially since we're now friends with him and have done a few reviews with him. His site had a link to The Home Cook's site, as well. I'd have to say her site is probably my second favorite. Whenever I see her site in bold with new posts in my Google Reader, it's always the first one I click on. I love reading her recipes and looking at her pictures. There are millions of food blogs out there and a lot of them are very elaborate with tons of pictures. Mine isn't one of them. I don't know enough technology stuff to make my blog elaborate and I take awful, terrible pictures of food. Really, truly bad pictures. This really isn't a food blog, either - it's a blog about my life and I like to cook, so I throw some food stuff on here every now and then.

Every Sunday, Tim and I do the weekly grocery shopping. Before we make out our list, I usually look through my Google Reader starred items to see if anything inspires me. This recipe has been on my radar for a while, but I hadn't gotten around to making it. I was a bit tired after work last night and wanted something that came together easily and wouldn't produce a ton of dishes to wash up. This totally fit the bill, plus we had almost everything already. Tim went to the gym last night and I had him pick up some lemons and an onion (we're never out of onions, it was a weird moment).

This was delicious. You can almost never go wrong with America's Test Kitchen, and this recipe was just great. I loved every single bite of it. The lemon added just a little freshness that made the rest of the flavors pop. I didn't take a picture because of the whole bad pictures thing (see above) and because our plates are ugly and we don't have good lighting, and well, I was really hungry! I'll give you this link, though, so you can check out The Home Cook's picture.

The recipe is below. I will be making this again and again and again. I left out the scallions because Tim doesn't really like them. I also only had about 3 1/2 cups of chicken stock, so I had to add about a cup of beef stock. Chicken stock is also something we never run out of. It's been weird around the house lately.

Skillet Chicken and Rice with Peas and Scallion Recipe
from America's Test Kitchen

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (vermouth)
4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
5 scallions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in flour to coat and shake off any excess. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the chicken well on one side, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

2. Off the heat, add the butter to the skillet, and swirl to melt. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and return to medium-high heat until softened, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rice thoroughly and let toast for about 30 seconds.

3. Stir in the wine and let the rice absorb it completely, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth, scraping up any browned bits. Nestle the chicken into the rice, browned side facing up, including any accumulated juices. Cover and cook over medium heat until the thickest part of the chicken registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes.

4. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate. Gently brush off and discard any rice clinging to the chicken, then tent the chicken with foil and set aside. Return the skillet of rice to medium-low heat, cover, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 8 to 12 minutes longer.5. Off the heat, sprinkle the peas over the rice, cover, and let warm through, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions and lemon juice to the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the chicken and lemon wedges.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Cinco de Mayo!


Happy 5th of May! I don't eat Mexican food, so there's more for you. Save me a margarita, though!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Your Mojo May Be Back"

That's what Tim said to me last night. I made pulled pork sandwiches and sweet potato fries. I don't want to talk about the fries. I love them crispy, but there are so many different opinions about how to make them crispy. I chose the wrong method and they were soggy. Tasted great, but mushy. Bleh.


The pork was the real star of the night. I've seen this recipe for Root Beer BBQ Pork ALL over the place. Like, here, here, here, here, and here. And those are just a few of them... As you can see, people are CRAZY about this pork!


Sunday night on our usual shopping trip, I told Tim I wanted to try it and we picked up a 2-pound pork loin roast and a 2-liter bottle of the cheapest root beer we could find.


So here's the "recipe":


Pork roast - any size you need to feed your family (2 lbs. was perfect for us - we each had leftovers for lunch today, and we'll have some left tonight too)

Root beer


Put the pork in your crockpot and pour in enough root beer to cover. Put it on low for 6-8 hours. Drain the root beer off and mix in bbq sauce. We used Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Barbecue Sauce. Use as much as you like. Use two forks to shred, and serve. It's that easy. I think it's the best pulled pork I've ever made. I've always cooked the pork in water, but this was absolutely amazing!


Here's a picture I took of my sandwich at work today. Please excuse the bad photo - I take bad pictures anyway, but this was with my phone, which doesn't help.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Perfect Timing

I had a really bad day yesterday. Really bad. It started carrying over into today and then I opened up my Google Reader this morning and came across this post, written by my cousin Carrie. I think she's my cousin. Although I may be wrong. I believe my stepmom and her mom (or her dad?) are cousins, so I'm not sure what that would make us. In my defense, my grandmother is the oldest of 13 children and they all had like 100 kids, who all had 100 kids, who are in the process of having 100 kids. At any rate, Carrie has a beautiful family and I love being able to stay updated on her life even though we only see each other once every five years at family reunions. HUGE reunions, by the way - we need a conference center to get everyone together.

This post was just what I needed to see today. I was so focused on the things that were going wrong and the things I wish I could change, that I forgot to be grateful for what I do have. Thanks for the perspective, Carrie!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's My Own Damn Fault

It really is. I went to the haircutting place and really didn't know what I wanted. And because I'm such a doormat, I almost got talked into something I really didn't want.

I had kind of an idea in my head of how I wanted my hair to look. Maybe something like this:




I wasn't entirely sure, though, and I figured I would look at the books they usually have in the waiting section and get a better idea. Well, this place didn't have any books, so I tried to explain it to the guy. He said "no, I don't see that on you. Your hair is too straight and your face is too big." Gee, thanks. So I asked what he did see on me. This is what he wanted to do:



Can you picture me in this asymmetrical cut? No. So then another stylist walked over and started talking to me and told my stylist that style wouldn't look good on me. He was pissed at her, but I was soooooo grateful. Then she said "I'm sorry I just ruined your plans, John, I'll just leave," and I said "No, please don't go!" So he didn't like me much either. So I told him just to cut it into a bob. I'm not in love with it, but at least I don't look like this. I'm sorry, but that is just UGLY and anyone who knows me knows that that is NOT me at ALL!

I know it's just hair, but yeesh. I have standards, ya know.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

World's Worst Friend?

Yup. That's me. I'm the world's worst friend. No wonder I don't have any friends!

I forgot my cell phone at work last night and when I got to work this morning I checked it. Last night, I had a missed call from my friend C. Her daughter, J called and said "Hi, Tara, am I ever going to see you again?" Yes, her 6-year old daughter called me out. I worked with C for about 10 months at the place of evil that is now under federal investigation for fraud. We became very close friends, but I really bonded with her little girl. She's my favorite little girl in the whole world, but it's probably been at least a year since I've seen her. Possibly longer. That's terrible. World's. Worst. Friend.

Then later this afternoon, I get an email from S, giving me a two-month update on her new baby. Two months and I still haven't met the baby. I haven't met Tim's new nephew yet either, but he's in Maine. S and J and the baby live like 30 miles from here. No excuse.

And L? Haven't talked to her in months. In fact, I think she mentioned to me they were going to be in town during March. Did I bother to find out when they'd be here? See if they needed a place to sleep? Nope. World's. Worst. Friend.

I've been so busy working, I've been totally neglecting my friends. And it's not like there's a million of them! I'm a terrible, terrible friend.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Yes, I'm Still in a Rut

I really don't have much to update you on right now. Literally all I do is work and work-related stuff. I've started reading tons of books and listening to CDs about mortgages. Exciting stuff, huh? Tim hates when we get into my car and we turn on the radio and it's some guy talking about adjustable rates. :) To me, interesting. Him...well, not so much. I can see that. When I say it's "interesting" to me, I may be stretching the truth a bit. I'm hoping to be successful at this job, though. Well, I'm hoping to make a lot of money. Let's be honest. I'm learning a lot and working a lot, and now I'd like to start making a lot.

I have been dipping my toes back into the cooking pool recently and have had terrible results. Two nights ago I tried making hummus. Um, yeah, that's something we need to get on the outside, apparently. It was DISGUSTING! It all went into the trash and I'm still shuddering to think about it! I have seriously lost my mojo. I used to be able to do this, and I was pretty darn good! I made some pasta thing a few nights ago too, and while I didn't like it at all, Tim said it was okay.

Last weekend, Tim and I were at Walmart to look for a light bulb for our kitchen. Personally, if we can't see what I've been cooking, that's totally fine with me, but Tim disagrees. So as we were leaving after determining they didn't have our kind of bulb in stock, we were just about to go through the detector things when we saw the 97-year-old woman at the door who can't even stand by herself try to stop a guy who had stolen a sandwich. She was shouting at him to stop and he just kept walking, and then she started yelling "enjoy that sandwich! Enjoy it!" As soon as he got outside the store, he took off running. What's wrong with people? I'm sure he had the money to buy the sandwich, so why didn't he just do that? And why do they have people standing by the door who can't even walk? The next night, we went to a different Walmart to look for the light bulb again and as we were walking into the store, the beeper went off and the guy kept walking. The 100-year-old woman called out to him, but he didn't hear. There were two guys walking in the door the guy was trying to go out, and they blocked him from the door and turned him around so the lady could check his bags.

Oh, you're never going to guess what happened to me yesterday afternoon. I went to the Walgreen's by my office to pick up a couple of things and as I was leaving the store, I saw that the car to the left of me was about to back out. I didn't open my car door, just kind of stood there waiting for him to back out. He obviously didn't see me, and he started turning the wheel as he was backing up. Well, his side mirror ended up hitting me in the rib cage. (Yes, I'm short - for most people it would be like their hip or their leg. Whatever.) It hurt a bit. He didn't even know he hit me, though! He didn't even pause! You'd think that at some point, he'd look up and see someone standing there clutching their side. Duh. Tim pointed out to me last night that I'm probably lucky he didn't pin me between the cars. My side is a little sore today. When I touch it or if I lean against it, I can't definitely feel something. No bruise yet, but we're waiting. Sheesh...

Okay, that's it for today. I haven't posted anything in a while, and these are the things I'm thinking about today.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Another Try

Back in September, I finally got my hands on one of the Vosges chocolate bars with bacon. I was a bit disappointed with it, though, because I didn't feel that the bacon flavor was distinct enough.

When we went to Maine for Christmas, Tim's mom bought me another Vosges chocolate bar with bacon. I kept forgetting I had it and finally got around to opening it tonight. I broke off a piece and....delicious! It's great! There seems to be a lot more bacony goodness in this bar than in the one we got a few months ago. It's great and I'm savoring every bite.

Do you want to know how sweet my boyfriend is? (He hates it when I say that). Here's what I got for Easter. Isn't it cute? It's almost too cute to eat!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Philosophical Question

Yesterday as I was driving to work, I was listening to my usual morning show and they were talking about an article one of them had read in a magazine. Yes, I know, what did we ever know about anything before trashy magazines?


Anyway, it was this survey they had done. I'll be honest and say I don't remember which magazine, how many people they surveyed or the results of the survey. What I do remember is the question that was posed.

If someone were to walk up to you today and offer you $20 million cash, but you would die at the age of 55, would you take the money?

This is a question I've pondered for the past two days. I talked to Tim about it last night and we both think we'd take the money. We're in a different situation from a lot of people, though, because we don't have families of our own. If I had kids, I would probably feel differently. On the one hand, $20 million would probably secure a pretty good future for the family. On the other hand, if I stop to think about, say, my dad, I'm certain I'd rather have him around than the money. And on yet a third hand, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow and never make it to 55, with or without the money.

I have 22 years until I turn 55. I have a feeling I could spend almost $1 million a year until then and lead a pretty great life. Tim agrees with me. Do you think peoples' answers to this question says anything about who they are? Are we bad people because we'd take the money?

What are your thoughts? Would you take the money? Or if it's not enough money, what's the over/under number? Of it 55 isn't old enough, what's that over/under number? I'd love to hear what you think.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An Epiphany

So I've had this project at work for about a month now. It was something I didn't know how to do and I was really struggling with it. I probably could have gotten help, but that goes against my "I can do it MYSELF" stubborn streak. I brought it home this weekend so I could spend a little time with it, but couldn't make myself do it until late Sunday night. It's the weekend. I work a LOT during the week and I want to relax during the weekend! Anyway, I worked on it for about a half hour, but then got disgruntled and put it away and went to bed.

I had two dreams about work Sunday night. I woke up Monday morning with absolute clarity on what I needed to do for this project and another one I just got. I got to work and jammed it out in about 20 minutes. The project that I've been struggling with for over a month.

No wonder I'm so damn tired all the time! I'm not only at the office 12 hours a day, but I'm working in my SLEEP!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Kiss Me - I'm .... uh .... not Irish!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Has Anyone See My Mojo?

I HATE COOKING!

This is partially true right now. I don't know what's happened to me, but I have no desire to cook. NO desire. Even the thought of it makes me tired. I have no desire to cook, and the couple of times I have cooked over the past couple of weeks, it's been inedible. Just ask Tim about the salty meatloaf and the inedible pot roast. Not to mention the greasy chicken parmesan. Bleh. I used to be someone who looked forward to cooking dinner every night, and every now and then, I would even clean up the kitchen or take out the garbage. My house is filthy right now and I haven't cooked in ages and I just don't care.

If you've seen my domestic mojo lying around anywhere, could you let me know? I think Tim's getting sick of eating cereal for dinner out of measuring cups.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

And It's Not Even a Full Moon


Okay, is it just me or do people get crazier every single day? Today has just been a really bizarre day. I started off my morning by calling a title company to schedule a closing for one of my borrowers. I have been emailing and calling this lady for about two weeks. I sit on hold for fifteen minutes until she finally gets on the phone. I ask when we can schedule the closing and also ask if I can verify her email address. (This is my passive-aggressive way of saying "why haven't you called or emailed me back?") She answers with "you know what? I get like a thousand emails a day. I don't possibly have time to read them all." Excuse me? Isn't that part of your job? I get like TWO thousand emails a day and I still manage to at least read every single one! That's part of my job! I can't imagine my boss' reaction if I EVER said that to a client! So anyway, I wasn't very nice to her. I snapped back at her and told her that in this market, she should be BEGGING me for my business, not snapping at me. I never, ever snap at anyone at work, but she really pissed me off.
And then I get a call from someone who wants to refinance his investment property. The tenants are on a lease-to-purchase contract and will be buying the house in a little over a year. So in doing my research on this property, I discover that his tenants have put his house on the market! They're trying to sell a house they don't own! Can you imagine?
I spent about 20 minutes of my morning explaining to another person that no, the cost of your homeowners insurance, which protects you against fire, theft, etc., is not included in the price of the home. It's like car insurance - you have to insure it for as long as you own it and have a lien against it, and it's not included in the purchase price. Naturally, she's a first-time homebuyer who is far smarter than we are. I believe it was her husband's cousin's nail tech who told her she shouldn't be paying for homeowners insurance. Lovely. The only time you don't is when your HOA pays for it, like with a condo. Don't get me wrong - I know most first-time homebuyers don't know a lot of this stuff (I wouldn't if I weren't in the industry), but when I explain it to you, I'm really not trying to trick you and I'm not going to lie to you. Just take my word for it and save us some time.
Then there's the 82-year-old guy who "don't speak to no women about no business matters" and every time I get him on the phone, I have to listen to him scream at me because we're all trying to swindle him out of money.
I can honestly say that the mortgage broker I work for is an honest guy. I've worked for three non-honest mortgage brokers and I can tell the difference. With this guy, his biggest concern is helping the client. The other guys - it was all about filling their pocketbooks. I understand why people are wary right now because of all the negative press recently about the mortgage business. It just makes my job tougher. Good thing my salary got cut by 25% to make the whole thing worthwhile... Grrr