Thursday, February 26, 2009

This octopus smells like cherries!

Nothing much new to report.

Work = hell
School = hell

Pretty much the only bright spots in my day are the nanoseconds I get to spend with my husband and daughter, which were decreased even more this week by after-business hours events that I was running for work. However, since M and Zozer are brighter than the sun, moon and stars combined, things always seem to be pretty good, if not great.

I've been working at our O'Fallon location on Thursdays for weeks now, as we're between general managers and it was determined that members of the executive management team would rotate shifts out here to keep an eye on things and generally act as Big Brother in the interim. It's been a great gig, as I've gotten to really know the staff out here and have had fun doing spa coordinator duties as needed. Last week we were really slow, so I wandered through the retail area and checked out the products. Each location has its own retail specialist who chooses stock according to the demos of her individual market, which is great, but which means that we can have some really cute items at another location that I don't ever even see.

So last Thursday I perused the stock and found an adorable little plastic octopus filled with pink bath gel. A lot of moms come in to our location out here, so it makes sense to stock kid-friendly products. Zozer has a thing for octopi (and can tell you that if you have more than one octopus, you have octopi) so I knew I had to buy it for her.

Of course, she was thrilled to have her own octopus (the other octopus in the house is a glass creature that mama gave me and that sits on my vanity...she's enthralled by it and knows she's not allowed to play with it on her own as it's pretty fragile, so she regularly asks, "Please can I touch the octopus?" so sweetly that I immediately stop what I'm doing and get it so she can pet its head).

She's carried her new octopus almost non-stop since I gave it to her, and the other day held it up and announced, "This octopus smells like cherries!"

It was such an odd statement, and yet so totally true, that I had to share it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ansel's Birthday

Happy Birthday, Ansel Adams!

I'd like to think that if Ansel were around today, he'd fully embrace digital photography and continue to make totally kick-ass images. With his cool Nikon D300, just like mine.

'Cause me and Ansel...we have a lot in common.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cool, baby, cool

She's a cool hipster, a hepcat, a with-it It Girl rockin' the Hollywood shades while scattin' in the FP mic (that would be Fisher Price, for you peeps not down with it). Three guesses as to what she's singing here:
  1. Snow, The Red Hot Chili Peppers
  2. Let It Be, The Beatles
  3. The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Author Unknown (you can google it, but I already did. No one knows who wrote The Itsy Bitsy Spider, although it appears it was first published in the 60s. Huh. Learn somethin' new every day.)

'Course, in all liklihood she's rapping, since she's wearing her jeans lower than 50 Cent...the girl needs some hips to hold up her pants!

New Zozer Art

My daughter is being far more creatively productive than I these days, so I'll share the fruits of her labors (unless you really want to read my case study on Wal-Mart's vast distribution't think so).

She used race cars to make this art. The top (blue) piece are imprints from the wheels, and the bottom piece was created by driving the tires through paint, then on the paper.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A hodgepodge of inanity

Nothing much new to write about...we're up to the same ol' same ol'. Work, study, sleep (a little), play with Zozer (Candyland...a lot).

She's doing pretty well with her Big Girl Bed, although she's fallen out a couple times in the middle of the night. We've placed the body pillow purchased when I was pregnant on the floor next to the bed to help cushion the falls. She goes right back down after we scoop her up and mumble, "It's okay" as best we can in our own half-asleep stupor in the middle of the night.

Yesterday I got a little unexpected treat. I drove to Plaza Frontenac to have lunch with a friend, and as I was cruising down Lindbergh I noticed a crane in the parking lot by Nieman Marcus. As was taught from a young age, I immediately checked out the boom. Sure enough, it read "Taylor," Daddy's company. Of course the parking lot was blocked off around the crane so I couldn't drive anywhere near him, but I went around three sides anyway just trying to get a glimpse of the operator. I finally picked up the cell phone and called him, "Where are you working today?" "Plaza Frontenac." "I knew it was you! I knew it! I'm here!" As my friend was expecting me for lunch, I told him I'd call after.

So there we stood for five minutes in Nieman Marcus, just chatting, after lunch. It's amazing what a little unexpected treat like that can do for the rest of your day. It made me realize even more, though, how much I miss everyone. I can't wait for school to be over. O-V-E-R. Done. We're ready to get our lives back.

We've signed up for the next term...two classes again. Economics and...something else I can't remember right now. I can't decide if I think Economics will be cool with everything going on right now, or if it'll be harder. Let's go with cool for now. It helps to try to stay positive.


This post is boring. Why? Because my life is boring. Very, very full, but boring as hell. What fun is there in studying all night, every night? M and I do have some laughs with our classes, but they aren't the kind that would translate into sharing them here. I'd have to write all the backstory and such, and once you do that, the humor is kind of lost anyway. Like how I was tempted to take last week's Organizational Behavior discussion board topic of "Violence in the Workplace" and write a post on "Violins in the Workplace," using that old SNL skit of Gilda Radner's as fodder. I'd write about how violins are very nice but they might be a bit distracting when people are trying to concentrate, plus the salary of a violinist would be detrimental to the profit margin, although, on the whole, I rather like violins. See, falls flat here. Okay, okay, so it didn't even really elicit a chuckle from M, but the attempt was there. I thought it was funny. At the time. Not so much any more.

I do have kind of a funny story from yesterday, actually. I got a facial in the morning (we're training a new esthetician...yay!) and so came out of the room with no makeup on. This is really not acceptable for my job, so I wandered up front and asked our makeup artist for help. She's been telling me for weeks that I need new colors. Okay, fine. Here's your chance. My face is a blank canvas...have fun. I should have added, "You know, within reason." But I didn't. Because I was stupid.

She chose a new color palette that looked really beautiful in the compact. Turns out that's the only place it looks beautiful. Way, way too dark on my eyes. I knew it wasn't right when people were just not saying anything at all or, worse, would see me and go, "Oh!" That's typically not a good sign. Surprise/shock is definitely not a goal of changing one's makeup.

The final straw was when my wonderful husband, who tells it like it is (bless his heart), asked, "What happened to your eyes?" Okay, that's it. I'm washing this crap off my face and going back to my more subtle look. M's take on the situation, "I wondered why you had been hit twice." Which is kind of funny to me, as it implies that he wouldn't wonder if I had been hit only once. Yes, apparently my lovely new makeup didn't freshen my look or make me look glamorous (or G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S...either way) or anything like that. It merely made me look like I had two black eyes.

Today I'm back to my (old...boring...stodgy...conservative...insert adjective of your choice) look, which I sincerely hope doesn't elicit any reactions of shock, horror, or questions about physical violence. Or violins.

Okay, I'm done.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The essay exam from hell

Okay, so I haven't really been a good blogger lately. I've been too busy tapping on the keyboard for school instead. I'd like to get to the end of this term and do a word count on what I've written, but it would take too long, I don't have the time, and I think it would be too depressing. Suffice it to say that the spacebar on my laptop has a spot that's worn shiny, and part of my "N" key is gone so that it now looks like an upside-down V.

Friday night was the second part of our marketing mid-term. Two hours to answer 10 essay questions. I wasn't too, too worried about it. After all, I'm a writer and a marketer. While I didn't exactly expect a walk in the park, I was unprepared for the marathon through the Sahara.

Essay questions don't phase me. In fact, I'd almost prefer essay to multiple guess. This, however, was like no other essay exam I've ever taken.

For instance, one question (one, out of ten) was something like this: Describe in detail the five parts of the market segmentation process and provide a detailed example of a real product and how it may go through the process. If you allot the same amount of time to each question, you have exactly 12 minutes to do this. At some point your brain starts to cramp up and you start wondering if it wouldn't be easier to simply make up a product and hope you don't get called on it.

I "finished" with 7 minutes left, which was enough time to fly through roughly 3 of the 10 answers just to check for typos. The rest of 'em be damned.

We clicked submit with 3 seconds left on the timer...I've never cut it that close before. If you go over, you get a point subtracted for each minute. I wasn't about to risk that. After we clicked submit we just looked at each other. Then a string of expletives.

Still don't know how we did. Don't know if I want to know, really. There's no way on earth that test could have been given in a classroom setting unless each student had a computer. Even then, if you don't type at blazing speeds (like moi), you're screwed. M and I pounded on our keyboards for two hours straight. It was the fastest two hours of my life...I don't know that I breathed much during it, and was completely unaware of anything else beyond the laptop screen. It was pretty intense. Makes me so look forward to the final.

The rest of the weekend was spent working on this week's assignments. We read six chapters (three in each book), completed another large chunk of our final project for the marketing class, and did some of the required discussion board posting. I'm looking forward to the time where I don't even have to look at a laptop screen for an entire weekend.

Big News in Zozerville: in between all the class crap we did this weekend, we also took the front off Zozer's crib, thereby making it her Big Girl Bed. She is thrilled beyond belief. Climbed in and out a few times, sometimes with Hoot, sometimes Hootless. After her bedtime, we went to work (again) on school, wondering if she'd be out to visit at all given her newfound freedom. Nope. She stayed put all night, bless her little footy pajama'd heart.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Roller coaster

Monday night: not good. Not good at all. My brain went into overload mode and pretty much just entirely shut down. I essentially wasted 30 minutes of the night staring at my laptop screen and crying, which makes it hard to study for mid-terms or write case analyses or post to the discussion boards, whathaveyou. I had a case of the Mean Reds, as Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly said in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Tuesday didn't start off much better. I did get a decent night's sleep thanks to my friend Mr. Sleep Aid Pill and lots of affection from my adorable husband, but the newly-calm nerves frayed once again when I received my latest marketing article analysis grade of 73% with some feedback that I wrote "to general." It bothers me when my writing is being graded by someone who can't distinguish when to use "to" or "too," but she's the prof and I'm the student so I'm thinking it would probably not be wise to give her feedback on that. What kept me from completely and totally hating her (versus the low-grade bitter disgust I'm currently harboring) was that she offered the chance to rewrite the paper and possibly earn a better grade. Okay, I can do that. I sorta mailed it in the first time and she called me on it, so that's my fault and I'll rewrite.

Which I did last night, after taking my Organizational Behavior mid-term that involved 46 questions in a 60-minute timed exam. Let me just say that it's impossible to memorize detailed information from 9 friggin' chapters to recall in literally a moment's notice.

Between the exam and the paper and everything else, last night had the potential of taking the Mean Reds and turning them into a full blown "have me committed right now" case.

After Zozer went down (complete with more discussion about the potty, on the potty and near the potty), we spent about 45 minutes reviewing both the text and the 20-page study guide we created for the mid-term, then launched in. Went as fast as we could and tried to keep the rising panic at bay for at least 60 minutes. The exam was multiple guess so it was graded immediately. 44/46, or 95.65%. Yeah. I almost cried in relief. Turns out I'm a really good guesser.

Then, I retrieved the phone and turned the ringer back on and checked e-mail. And there it was.

Confirmation from Kim Weston's wife, Gina, that we could stay at Bodie House (part of Edward Weston's estate, who is only the most fabulous photographer ever and whose work I adore and whose grandson, Kim, is also an awesome photographer who offers workshops that I think I'm going to give myself as a reward for completing the hell that is grad school). I've wanted to stay at Bodie House for years, ever since I learned that the Weston family welcomes guests and thought that was one of the coolest things ever. When I started planning our California trip last fall, I screwed up my courage and sent Gina an e-mail, introducing myself and asking if it were possible to stay at Bodie House one night. She wrote back and said that she did not have the '09 workshop schedule up yet and to check back in a few months.

You bet your bippy that I checked the Weston site every day since then, waiting for the schedule to be posted. It went live in January and I e-mailed Gina again. Then, two weeks later, again. I hope she doesn't think I'm stalking her...I just wanted to create every opportunity to meet her and Kim, and stay where Edward Weston once lived.

When I got the e-mail last night, that's when I lost it. I cried for the second night in a row, but this time the tears were good tears.

Fortified from the exam results and the Bodie House news, I sat down and rewrote the Marketing paper. The prof happened to be on-line when I e-mailed it to her, and she read it immediately and changed my grade on the spot: 15/15. This, of course, happened around midnight. Because that's when most student-teacher interaction should take place, don't you think?

By this point I was utterly exhausted and emotionally spent, and dropped in to bed near 1, where I laid there and thought about all the other stuff we have to do until about 2. 6 a.m. comes way too early (to early?) when you don't fall asleep until 2.

Potty News: M and I talked last night, and then I talked with Zozer's teachers this morning, and general consensus is that all the potty efforts are not getting any of us anywhere. Zoe is now holding everything in and it's affecting her personality (well, yeah, who wouldn't be uptight doing that?). She's miserable, we're miserable, and there is no indication she's ready. Well, okay, there are about 500 indications she's ready (she can hold for several hours, she can pull her pants and underpants down and up on her own, she can sit on the potty, flush and wash her hands, etc.), except for the one most important factor: she's just not willing to do it. I firmly believe that it'll be like when she walked and matter what we did, she did it at her own time, on her own terms. And when she did it, she was perfect at it. I told M she's likely to just disappear from playing one day and then come out saying, "I went on the potty." And that will be it. In the meantime, let's not stress us all out and have Zozer develop a bladder infection because she's holding it for too long.

So it's back to diapers and pull-ups for the Z family. Sigh.

Monday, February 02, 2009


That was our weekend. Mine and Zozer's anyway. Every thirty minutes, we'd sit on the potty for two minutes. Sometimes longer if she wanted to read one of her potty books. While she's now quite experienced at sitting on the potty, she has yet to actually use the potty. We both now know "A Potty For Me" and "The Potty Book For Girls" pretty much by heart, though.

Best part of the weekend: when she pointed the cartoon hands of the "Potty For Me" character (who remains nameless, unlike the "Potty Book For Girls" character, who is Hannah) and asked, "Why doesn't he have thumbs?" There are five fingers, but they're pretty much all the same length so she had a point.

I'm hoping that her teachers this week can convince her that going on the potty is actually good and not, well, apocalyptic as she seems to think. Poor thing would be sitting there on her potty, practically cross-eyed from having to pee so bad, and just would not go. I tried everything. "I'll hold you. You hold me. Here's Hootie. How about some candy. I'll buy you your very own ice cream cake. A pony. A Beemer convertible when you're 16. Whatever you want, just for the love of all that's holy pee on the potty."

M says, "It wasn't so bad. We haven't been at this long, after all." We? WE? Since Daddy is specifically requested to not attend our regular potty sittings, there ain't no "we" about it.

So, here's the weekend by the numbers:
30 - number of minutes between potty sittings
2 - average number of minutes sitting on the potty
0 - times actually going on the potty
5,462 - readings of "A Potty For Me"
4,965 - readings of "The Potty Book For Girls"
563 - times we ran up and down the stairs to go to the potty and then return to playing in the basement
5 - number of "accidents" in our lovely plastic training pants
4 - number of incredibly soaked pull-ups used for nap and night time
8 - quantity of new training pants purchased by Daddy on his Sunday errand run

Despite no deposits in the potty, I do believe we made real progress this weekend. The potty is not something to be feared (although going in the potty is), and she's very, very aware of the need to go now. As is Mommy.