Thursday, April 29, 2010

iWant an iPhone

Warning: not-so-subtle hint to M ahead:

Many apologies, dear Readers, for having no photographs to post from my travels.  If I had, for instance, an iPhone (cough, mother's day, cough, graduation, cough, I gave birth to your child), I could take and post images all the damn time.  How cool would that be?

Hey, look, it's Nashua!

Okay, I got my states mixed up. Hell, they're all so small and crammed together up here that it's no wonder.  Today I hit clinics in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.  For a Midwest girl, that's a wonder confined only to road trips with sparing potty breaks.  I think we're going to Connecticut tomorrow, but don't hold me to it.

Question: what sadistic nitwit designed my hotel room?  Whoever it was should be shot, drawn and quartered, tarred and feathered, etc.  Who in the hell thinks it's a great idea to put a giant vanity-to-ceiling mirror directly across from the shower?  I mean, really.  SO not something I need to see first thing in the morning.  Especially before coffee.  As if that's not bad enough, a full-length dressing mirror was installed right across from the bathroom, so unless you close the bathroom door when you're doing your, ahem, business, you get another fantastic view.  I dunno.  Maybe you all close the door when you use the bathroom even when you're alone.  Me?  I'm big into efficiency and if no one else is around, I don't bother with doors.  Until now.  Sigh.

Either way, I'm gettin' some new views when I really, really don't want them.

Ate at another great restaurant tonight - I love going to local places with people who know and swear by the food.  Awesome.

So, highlights of the day: Nashua, NH (as mentioned many times in The West Wing, which is only the greatest show ever) and eating at 3.  And meeting the staff of a wonderful little clinic in Nashua, including the vet's wife who told me about how they were nursing a parrot and took him home for awhile.  She positioned the bird so that she'd have to walk by the cage many times a day.  Every time she walked by, she said, "Dr. Phenix is a great vet."  Sure enough, the parrot learned it and took it home to its owners who thought, of course, that it was hilarious.  The woman is a marketing genius.

Lowlights of the day: catching unwanted glimpses of oneself in various states of dress (or undress, rather), when one least expects it.  Stupid mirrors.

Yesterday = looooooong day

Many apologies for not posting last night.  Being up since 3:30 a.m. and not getting to the hotel until 8:20 p.m. made for a very tired girl.  I landed around lunchtime here, so we grabbed a quick bite at Panera (love you, Stef!) and then started hitting clinics.  Visited about four before heading to dinner with a prominent local vet who has his own radio show and would like to start featuring us about once a month.  The dinner was wonderful (we ate here)...being on the east coast I had to get seafood.  Rare, rare yellow fin tuna (is it still flippin'?  good.) with a wasasbi mayo sauce on the side.  Yummy.  My fillet was absolutely huge.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around how big the whole fish would have been.  Conversation was was a good way to spend two and a half hours, but man, I was freakin' exhausted by the end of it.

My hotel is lovely.  My view is the airport, which sounds horrible except that there are no flights at night (save for the 8:45 take-off over my hotel that scared the bejeezus out of me).  I slept soundly and feel rested and ready to go this morning.

Which is a good thing since my rep is on her way to pick me up and we have another full day planned.  Yesterday was Rhode Island.  Today is Connecticut.  Tomorrow is Vermont.  I love the idea of visiting three states I've never been to in one three-day trip.

Popped off only a couple shots yesterday of a local dive.  The name is too good to just post here, so you'll have to wait until I get home and can get the images up.  My rep thinks I'm "adorable" for bringing my camera, which is far better than her being annoyed so I'll take it.

Well, she'll be here soon and I need to check some e-mail, so I'll sign off until tonight.  Hopefully I'll have more energy to post.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On the way

Sitting here in Midway, waiting for the next leg of my journey to Providence.  Flight uneventful, but a landing a Midway is a most rude way to be awakened.  Can’t post live, as the airport charges for WiFi (bastards).  Since I didn’t sleep last night, I promptly fell asleep on the plane before we even reached cruising altitude. I vaguely remember grunting that I don’t want peanuts, thank you.  Had to turn off my Kindle before taking off, as apparently a small digital reader from Amazon can flummox a Boeing 737 with no apparent effort.  Am traveling light today.  I have my trusty red leather roller briefcase that I still adore even after two years (mostly because it’s red and because I get compliments on it wherever I take it – this morning was a woman in STL going through security ahead of me: “Excuse me, can I see the front of your bag…ohhhh…I love it.  Where’d you get it?  I’m going to have to find one.”) packed to the gills with a laptop, various charging devices, work stuff, a travel umbrella and my emptied purse crumpled inside.  Then I’ve got my pared-down camera bag, which contains the contents of the afore-mentioned crumpled up purse, my boarding passes, and a not-so-small D300 with monster 17-55mm f/2.8.  Although the camera and lens are hefty, it feels light since I’m not also packing my usual 50 mm f/2.8, 18-200 f/5.6, fisheye 10 mm f/1.something, and SB800 flash, with all their accoutrements (lens caps, hoods, flash head diffuser, filter holders, filters, etc.).

I did get to talk to a very sleepy Zozer just before taking off.  I didn’t get much out of her, but I did get “I love you…bye…” which was enough for me.  Just hearing her voice was all I wanted, even with sleepy-girl crackles and slurriness.  Talked to M after landing at Midway, where he was nonplussed at my being awoken upon landing (veteran traveler that he is) and remarked, “Yeah, I know it’s a short runway.  Try landing on it during a storm or in snow.”  Okay, okay, I get it Mr. TravelMan.  Nothing I do from here on out will ever compare to your many adventures, including that time the plane circled around right after take-off and landed back on the tarmac from whence it came, empty except for the emergency vehicles with flashing lights that began chasing you as you landed (crashed?) in front of them.

Sitting here, I’m wishing I still had a smart phone so I could check e-mail and pop around on my favorite sites.  Oh, to be connected again.  The girl in the seat next to me earlier was sending off messages before we even hit the gate.  I had phone envy.

I rather enjoyed the drive to the airport this morning at 4:30 a.m.  No traffic, and dark.  Peaceful.  I like being awake in the wee hours.  It’s almost like you have the world to yourself, or you have to share it only with a few other people, most of whom are content to leave you alone and enjoy their solitude, too.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

RI here I come!

Heading out tomorrow, on the 6:35 a.m. flight to Chicago.  From there, I hop on over to Providence, Rhode Island.  I find it ironic that my first business trip with my new company takes me to exactly where M goes for most of his business trips these days.  That's piled on top of the heaping coincidence that we both work for the U.S. subsidiaries of French conglomerates.


Having never been to Rhode Island, I'm pretty excited.  I love seeing new parts of the country.  This means that in less than one year, I'll have been to California (and all states in between via train), Florida, Chicago and now Rhode Island.

I'm taking the camera, hoping that I might have a chance to rattle off a few shots here and there.  I'm going on ride-alongs with my northeast territory manager, who seems pretty cool from the few short phone conversations and e-mails we've exchanged.  It's a good way to see what our sales reps have to do on a daily basis, and learn what they need from a marketing standpoint.  It's also a great way for me to see the business from the front lines.

I'm only gone three days, which is a good amount of time.  I'll miss Zozer tremendously, but won't be gone so long that it starts to become distracting.  At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

My room is booked at the Hampton Inn near the airport, which is actually in Warwick, RI, although everyone calls it Providence.  M asked me the other night, "Where are you staying?"  When I told him, his eyes lit up.  Apparently that's his hotel when he goes up there.  I then got the complete run-down of the restaurant across the street and the breakfast offerings at the Hampton.  Methinks he's been there too much.

This is my first real "big girl" business trip, where I travel alone.  I've traveled alone on vacation-type trips before, but I've never gone out to meet a coworker I don't know and spend three days with her.  Mostly, I've done trade shows with colleagues, that sort of thing.  But, I figure, I did go up to ChiTown and spend a few days with a friend I had never met before, so this will probably be similar.  Only with an expense account.

Mmmmm.  Starbucks at the airport.

I will try to blog from up there, at night, in the hotel room, but I won't be able to post pictures.  I could take my card reader to dump images to the laptop, but my new work laptop doesn't come with Photoshop.  Or any photo editing/layout software.  Apparently now that I've reached executive management, we hire others to do that sort of thing.  Bummer.

Time to sleep.  Morning will come too soon.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Emma, 1 week

Spent some time tonight with adorable (and hungry!) Emma, and her parents.  It was so nice to just relax, and hold a weensy baby, and laugh.  I only got one decent shot of Emma, so I turned the lens towards some of the cute baby things in her room.

What's not to love about pink bibs and teeny tiny firefighter turnout boots?

Figuring it out as I go

Zoe's memory astounds me. She brought up the whole Two Hoots incident a couple days ago, which of course made me question my parenting abilities yet again and make a mental note to save as much for her future counseling sessions as for college.

Every once in awhile, she makes me grind to a stop and catch my breath. I have to remind myself that it's okay that I don't know what the f*** I'm doing when it comes to mothering. I'm going through this day by day, learning along the way, and that's okay.

Sometimes, out of the blue, she brings up Little Great Grandma and wants to talk about dying. Or, as she calls it, "died." She's intensely curious about died, which, hell, aren't we all. But the whole concept gives me the willies and I find that I can't think about it for very long without getting completely freaked out. Enter the 4-year-old who doesn't care about her mother's neuroses.

We were driving home from school and she nodded towards the funeral home that we pass twice a day, every day.

"That's where we said goodbye to Little Great Grandma."
"It sure is, Zozer."
"Where is she now?"
Pointing back towards the funeral home, "Is that heaven?"

All in the same nanosecond, I wanted to laugh and I started to panic. How do I explain where heaven is? How do I explain to a child that when you go there, you leave your body behind? How do I convey the meaning of "spirit" when, for once in my life, I can't come up with any words?

I tried to talk about how your spirit is something inside you, all mixed up with your feelings and your fears and your wants and urges and desires and passions. Okay, so maybe I left out a few of those words (just as I'm leaving a bit of magic in answering the question, "How does the baby get in the mommy's belly?"), but that's the, for lack of a better term, spirit of what I tried to convey.

She seemed satisfied. Thumb went back in mouth, Hoot went back to staring across the beautiful planes of her face, and a thoughtful look descended on her.

"Is that okay, Bug? Do you have any more questions? Do you want to talk about it some more?"

"Thanks, Mommy. I'm good."

Deep breath. This parenting shit is hard.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I Heart Spot-Metering

Our cousin, Dan, starred in another play tonight. This time, he was the Centipede in James and the Giant Peach. He makes a fine Centipede.

And this time, I pulled my head out of my arse and figured out how to use my flippin' camera. Today I was loading up my gear, and bemoaning the fact that I haven't been able to really capture great images of Dan on stage. Then, an epiphany. "Spot metering, you dumbass!" It was like a lightning bolt. I was excited and embarrassed at the same time. How could I have not figured this out sooner? Duh. Rookie mistake. I feel like a doofus.

Dan was great, as usual. And this time I finally managed to truly capture him and his castmates. These are my favorites.

(Here's a little run-down on spot metering, in case you're interested. If you're not, stop reading now. It'll just be really boring to you.

Most modern cameras, big and small, have built-in metering systems. That's what tells the camera how much light is coming in, and, if you use fully automatic settings, it helps the camera set both the aperture (f-stop) and shutter speed for you. Point and shoots have basic metering systems: the camera looks at everything that's in the viewfinder and averages the light it sees. My camera is typically set the same way. I usually want to get nice, even coverage and try to expose for almost everything in the viewfinder.

When you're shooting the stage, however, there are huge swings in lighting. The spotlight is on the star(s), and it falls off pretty quickly from there. The edges of the stage are really, really dark. When your camera looks at this, it sees a little bright light in the center, and a bunch of dark around it. So it adjusts for the dark. Because it thinks it's mostly dark, it compensates by slowing down your shutter speed to let more light in. It slows it waaaaay down. Which is why you end up with blurry pictures. The actors are typically moving around quite a bit, and when the shutter is open longer, it catches those movements.

By setting my camera to spot meter, though, I'm telling it, "Look only at this one spot, and use that to figure out how much light is coming in." Then you aim at the actor, in this case Dan, and the camera sees a well-lit subject and exposes for such. Voila! Perfectly exposed images of talented centipedes!)

(My high school photography teacher would be highly embarrassed for me, that I forgot this very basic lighting rule. I hang my head in shame.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday night

A long week, and a good one. A week well spent.

And now...sleep.

What are you dreaming about tonight?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tickle fight

Tonight, my little family hung out together and played Elefun, which, after several rounds, evolved into the most fun tickle fight we've ever had. At one point, we were all tangled up in each other and I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt.

And now it's raining. I love it when it rains at night. It reminds me how thankful I am for a roof over our heads, and comfortable beds, and all of us together. My gratitude list is miles long tonight. Katie and Shawn brought baby Emma home from the hospital today. My job is peaceful. My laundry is almost done. My hubby cooked an awesome pork tenderloin and I made smashed potatoes for dinner. I have dandelions going to seed in the flower pillow on my kitchen window sill. I'm hanging out with my Soul Sisters tomorrow night.

And a conversation with the receptionist/graphic designer at my work is still cracking me up. The girl is way young, like 12, and there's a reason she's a receptionist first and a graphic designer second, bless her little heart. I reviewed a design project with her today and told her that I'd be sending her copy in a few minutes. "Copy?" She asked, "Like, wordage?" Most of you dear readers aren't designers or writers, so I realize this might not be as funny for you as it was for me. But someone who is, by her very training, a graphic designer, should know what copy is. It's text. Verbiage. Those lettery-word things that go between the pretty pictures. Wordage? Okay, that's ranking right up there with "strategery" for me.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I write tonight with tears in my eyes and joy in my heart. A few days ago, I posted a story about a woman named Odette, and her journey through pain and suffering, and her hope of reuniting with her daughters half a world away.

I'm so happy to report that a few short hours ago that reunion happened. When I read the words, "They are together," I burst into tears. I wanted to go into Zoe's room and crawl into bed with her and just hold her. I wanted to shout from the rooftop. I wanted to dance with abandon. Instead, I took my sniffly nose and my tissue and headed into the living room to hold M tightly.

We looked at photographer Stephanie Roberts' iPhone images, which will have to do until she processes the "real" images shot with her "real" camera. I've never been so thankful for iPhones and Twitter in my life, as those technologies enabled Stephanie, Jen Lemen's Picture Hope partner, to bring us along for this most happiest of rides.

I used to think Twitter was pretty worthless. Hell, most of it still is. I don't need to know that you're standing in line at the supermarket, or that the drive-thru at Starbucks is 10 cars deep. But with something like this...something that pulls people (complete strangers, no less) together in joyful celebration of something (finally) that is so good, so right in the world...well...who can beat that?

My images tonight are in celebration of children and parents and friends and, most of all, love.

Jen and Odette still need help covering their expenses. Please consider pitching in a little something. And give your loved ones a million hugs tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Birth Day

O Sweet Emma...your mommy and daddy love you so!

Monday, April 19, 2010


She was supposed to arrive at 11:30. Or thereabouts. That's when the doc was going to wheel my sister in and then wheel her out with a baby in her arms.

Only, she decided that she'd like to come a little early, thankyouverymuch, and so her mama's water broke at 2 this morning.

She's saucy like that. I like to think she gets it from her auntie.

Introducing Emma Lee. Born first thing this morning after making her mom wait until the actual day of her scheduled c-section and then saying, "Hey, I'm ready now!" I took this with her mom's cell phone, proving once again that the type of camera you shoot with doesn't matter so long as you have a completely adorable subject.

Congratulations to Katie and Shawn on your beautiful baby girl. And welcome to the family, Emma!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mother to Mother

No. Scratch that. This post shouldn't be titled "Mother to Mother," but rather, "Human to Human," or "Soul to Soul."

Months and months and months ago, through a friend, I discovered a great new photography site dedicated to women. It was a whole new way of looking at my craft, within the supportive confines of a nurturing community. Don't get me wrong...I still adore my old favorite,, but ShutterSisters is different. No one cares what you're shooting, and no one argues that Nikon is better than Canon is better than Pentax. It's as much about exploring what's inside you as much as what surrounds you. So, I did what I always do...I lurked. For months. I've gotten real good at lurking. (Lurking, for those of you unfamiliar with innernet lingo, is when a visitor repeatedly goes to an interactive site but doesn't participate...she just lurks around and watches what everyone else is doing. A cyber wallflower, if you will.)

Through ShutterSisters, I discovered an amazing woman named Jen Lemen. Jen co-moderates the MondoBeyondo course I blogged about a couple months ago. She is living her life consciously and vibrantly, with every fiber of her being. She is truly an inspiration.

And now, she needs our help.

You see, Jen became friends with a woman named Odette a couple years ago. Odette came to the U.S. from Rwanda in the hopes of building a better life for herself and her two daughters. In doing this, she was forced to leave her girls behind, then 8 and 11. Trying to establish a life here and bring her daughters over has proven to be harder than expected. Enter Jen Lemen. A force of nature in and of herself. Because Odette could not go to Rwanda to visit her girls (various legal and political and immigration issues made it impossible for her to return), Jen went on her behalf. And has worked tirelessly to do the myriad of details necessary to reunite this family. There are so many ins and outs to this story...too much for me to relate here. If you want, click on over to Jen's blog and read up.

Suffice it to say, no mother should ever have to go four long years being separated from her daughters by an ocean and a sea of red tape. Grace and Lilian are now 12 and 15, and it's time to bring them home. The paperwork is finally ready, and all is set...except for funding.

Won't you please, please help bring them home? Even if you donate just $5 or $10, it could make all the difference in the world. People around our great country who have never met Jen or Odette are making donations towards this most worthy of causes. While none of us can undo what this little family has experienced in Rwanda, we can surely come together to give a brighter future. If we each give a little, tremendous things can happen.

Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Here's an incredibly easy way to do just that.

Jeans and Keens

I'm not one of those people that walks around on Fridays touting, "TGIF!" Those people annoy me. It's Friday. It comes around once every 7 days, and it's typically a good thing that it's finally here. Everyone loves Fridays. So it's redundant to keep gushing about it.

Except for today. I really am glad it's Friday. I have several reasons.
  • I get to wear jeans today. After 4.5 years of not having casual Fridays, I'm back to a company that allows it. And I love that. Love love love that. It's sad that a simple thing like casual Friday is enough to get me stoked, but there it is.
  • With my jeans, I get to wear the most comfortable summer shoes ever invented. There are two camps when it comes to my shoes (which are green Keens, by the way): love 'em and "Dear gawd what the hell is strapped to your foot?" Having been recruited to the former camp by Stef, I simply laugh at those in the latter camp and say, "Try a pair on and you'll be converted." Which, come to think of it, is exactly what Stef used to say to me.
  • My trivia night is tomorrow. Which means that all the planning and scrounging and e-mailing and begging and organizing will be over. Am I glad I did it? Yeah, of course. It's for a great organization that helps a lot of people struggling with infertility or going through the arduous adoption process. Will I do it again? Hell, no.
  • It's a colleague's birthday today, and my boss is bringing in bagels for everyone. 'Nuf said.
  • And, you know, there's that whole two-days-off thing that's right around the corner.
While I won't walk around the office cheerfully chirping "TGIF!" to everyone (because that would be annoying and worth throwing a stapler over), I will silently thank the world while sipping my mocha in the comfort of jeans and Keens.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Before I confess, I have to let you know that I really fought it. Really, truly. I tried so hard not to like her. But I can't hide anymore. I have physical proof now in the form of a 2-CD set.

I love Lady Gaga.

I resisted as long as I could. I mean, the outfits alone...really? We listened to "Poker Face" virtually not-stop on our trip last year, not by choice, but because apparently radio stations in California had figured out she's talented well before I did. So I was a bit on Gaga overload from that. Then she was given the role of creative director at Polaroid, which would be way cool, so I admit I was a weensy bit jealous.

But then...then I heard "Telephone" and "Just Dance." And my body betrayed me. I can't help but move when I hear her music. And feel happy. I want to, well, just dance. Which is fun for me. I love dancing.

So a couple weeks ago, without knowing it, M bought me the Lady Gaga CDs for Easter. I told him later, after he unwrapped the Jackson Browne CDs I got him for Easter. I wondered what he'd think, but it turns out, he's pretty gaga for Gaga, too. Awesome.

As for the fashion, I think it's pretty cool that she plays around and has fun. Talk about creativity! And guts! I'm just now breaking out and wearing actual colors and patterns again, so it'd be neato if I had the cajones to wear outfits made of tinfoil, packing tape and paperclips. Or something like that. Until that day rolls around, I'll keep shopping at Ann Taylor Loft and Target and Kohl's, and content myself with wearing a purple shirt and yellow shoes, which is today's outfit. The purple shirt never would have flown at my previous job, where the dress code was black, boring, brown, drab, cream, sigh, white, vanilla and invisible. No patterns, no florals, no nuthin'. Couldn't even do like a black-on-black pattern. I've gone shopping lately and find myself drawn automatically to the black blouses, and have to shock myself awake and steer myself towards clothes that seem alive. And that's when it hits me. Hey, shopping is fun! (If you're wondering what that sound is you just heard, it's M groaning and clutching his wallet.)

He needn't worry, though. Pretty sure Haus of Gaga isn't churning out anything mainstream yet. And so far, I'm happy with just a purple shirt.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Honors and dandelions

Much to blog about, and yet, no time to blog!

Suffice it to say that "Life is good," to borrow M's favorite phrase.

I'm happy at my new job, and I haven't gotten on the treadmill with my shirt on backwards lately. Although Wii Fit did let me know that I'm overweight (thanks, Master of the Obvious) and continues to do so on a daily basis. Having fun with it, though, and loving the fact that there's actually a game on there where I do better than M. Ski jumping, of all things. It's fun to watch him continue to hone his skills, as he's not used to me beating him at anything. My reign won't last, I'm sure, but I'm soaking it up while I can.

Our commencement is coming soon, and we're looking forward to that. M is driving me absolutely crazy with his obsession on getting every detail possible about graduating with honors. He's pissed that our degrees don't have an honors designation. I can't remember if my undergrad says "Magna Cum Laude," but I do still have my awesome medal awarded at the Mizzou Honors Convocation a million years ago. Maybe I should bust that out and wear it during commencement.

He seems to be quite surprised that he graduated with honors, having earned straight A's. I'm not surprised in the least, as I've known for a long time that he's brilliant. He still claims that our marketing prof "hates him," although just yesterday he felt the need to also tag on, "But I showed her!" His A in marketing was personal vindication, I think. I like to look at my A in Managerial Accounting as hard-fought and won, choosing not to think that our accounting prof had any sort of personal animosity towards me or anyone else. To each his own, I suppose.

Not feeling particularly witty today, which is shame, since I've now wasted lots of your time reading this and you've gotten nary a chuckle from it.

So I'll leave you with this little Zoe-ism that she popped out last week, and that continues to make me chuckle: "I'm going to tell Daddy that we need to plant dandelions in our yard!" She, as all four-year-old girls are wont to do, adores dandelions. I am presented with them on a daily basis, and our kitchen window sill is festooned with them in various states of decay. They are, of course, quickly becoming my most favorite flower in the whole world due simply to the spirit with which they are given me (as I'm sure most mothers in the world are wont to feel). M, on the other hand, continues to scowl at all dandelions, whether in our yard or others', with as much hatred and animosity as he can muster, as I'm sure most middle-age suburban guys with lawns they are responsible for maintaining are wont to do.

The scowling is not a waste of time in this regard, as we both agree that his death-glares towards a certain overgrown and ugly bush in our yard that had heretofore been unfortunately healthy soon met with an untimely demise, withering away under his direct gaze. If it were up to M, we would have a lawn devoid of all living things except for grass. Since that would be boring, we reach a point of compromise and choose shrubberies that are utilitarian in that they are substantial enough to hold strands of Christmas lights during designated times of the year. Or bushes that look like little Christmas trees. Can you see the theme here? I am also allowed to keep the trees we currently have, although I find it quite often necessary to break his death-glare laser beams lest the trees suffer the same fate as the aforementioned bush.

Tonight M goes to the baseball game while Zozer and I hang out and, most likely, pick dandelions.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Super Star

Say you've got The World's Greatest Kid. In your own humble opinion, anyway. So here you are with this awesome daughter, and her preschool sends home this little 5" yellow paper star with a note that says, "Here is a weensy star on which we want you to put your child's name, a picture, and why your child is a superstar. Oh, and squeeze in a copy of the Magna Carta while you're at it." Okay, maybe they didn't put that last part, but still. I mean, the star is only so big. How do you write about all the ways your little girl rocks when you have such a small amount of space? Even smaller after your stick her name in. Thank goodness she has a short name.

I received this assignment Tuesday, and have been pondering it ever since. The pressure! The pressure! All self-induced, mind you, but there nonetheless. I asked one of her teachers about it today. I needed some parameters. Free-form creativity is not my strong suit.

"Oh, it's no big deal," she said, pulling out another child's star that had already been turned in. "You just stick a picture on and stuff. See?" I looked down in horror. The little guy's class picture was pasted on, and it looked like his mother jotted down a sentence on the drive in to school. "Melvin* is a superstar because he is a good boy." I mean, it wasn't even good penmanship.

I couldn't imagine not coming up with something better than that. I needed to at least try to capture the effervescence that is my little girl. My creativity doesn't hold a candle to the light and love that emanates from her on a daily basis, but I had to give it a shot. So I did, tonight, because I have to turn it in tomorrow. I beg your forgiveness...I was up against a deadline. Given more time, I'd have probably added glitter, shiny star stickers, and, if her father was home, maybe some flashing Christmas lights. Because we've all been trained by him, "When in doubt...add more lights!"*Melvin is not his real name. I have changed names to protect the innocent. Except for Zoe's. Obviously. Because you all already know her name and it'd be silly to put "Mildred" on her star and try to pass her off as such for this post.

Monday, April 05, 2010

First Day

I would love to take the time to post gobs and gobs here how fantastically wonderful my first day at my new job was, but I'm too busy snarfling some food so I can book it down to the Pageant to see Train and celebrate my unbelievably awesome first day with my unbelievably awesome friends.

I'm completely exhausted, but in that refreshing sort of way that means the universe is saying, "You done good, kid."

Things discussed/learned today:
  • Distribution channels
  • It really takes virtually no time at all to pass up the office, swing through the Starbucks, and still get to work on time
  • How I am apparently a horrible cat owner and therefore my cats are stressed and need the products I am now responsible for marketing
  • More than I ever wanted to know about cat and dog pheromones (go ahead, ask me anything)
  • How to use my new e-mail system, phone system, and shared network
  • My new colleagues are a fun bunch of people, as evidenced by the ops director asking me, "Here's your key to get into the ya want the Mizzou one or the Cardinals one?"
  • Elin Woods should have used an iron on Tiger, not a wood (wood shafts are much weaker than irons...duh)
  • Jesse James is an idiot (proclaimed by the two men I lunched with, and seconded by moi)
  • One of our products that was developed to eliminate odor and stains from cat spraying and dog messes also works wonders when your kid vomits in the car (as evidenced in person by our on-staff veterinarian and his 2-year-old son)
  • I am already scheduled for several meetings and am in the process of being sent out of town for an overnighter to do client visits with a seasoned territory manager, so it's a good thing my new business cards were on my desk and waiting for me when I arrived this morning
  • My boss must immediately change the station every time Lady Gaga's Bad Romance comes on, just because he can't stand the intro (I won't hold it against him)
  • Go Butler!
And with that, I'm off to the Pageant.


Sunday, April 04, 2010

Mood: Anxiety

Starting new job tomorrow.

Am nervous.

Feel like puking.

Wondering why the hell I ever agreed to go to the Train concert a month and a half ago when it happens to fall on the night of the first day of my new job. Should have sold ticket to someone else.

Snapping at M for no particular reason.

Doubting myself, and my abilities.

Wondering if I should have just stayed in my soul-sucking cesspool of a job. Always much easier to fight the devil you know, right?

Asking myself stupid questions. Do I take a lunch tomorrow, or just assume that my new boss will take me out? How soon can I bring framed photographs of my daughter for my new desk? What's a good outfit to wear on my first day?

Berating myself for not getting more done in the time I've had off.

Wondering if the fever blister that popped up Friday will be virtually unnoticeable tomorrow. Well, hoping more than wondering.

My darkroom is a mess and I don't feel like tackling it right now. Even though the mess is driving me absolutely batty.

Telling myself, "Hey, look, you're ready to go." and then trying to believe it by listing in my brain why I'm ready to go. Laundry is washed, dried, folded and put away. Dishwasher is empty. Fridge is cleaned out. Trash is at the curb. Litter box scooped. Easter stuff put away. Dining room painted. Three closets cleaned out. Household finances up-to-date and organized. Shots from Florida and Chicago trips edited and posted. Easter shots await. Some freelance work done, invoiced and paid. More freelance work awaits. Tax info with tax lady for preparation. Gifts and cards bought and wrapped for the month of April.

Considering whether any or all of the shitty things my former boss said about me are true, and how will I make it in a "real" job that doesn't involve an abusive familial benefactor.


Starting new job tomorrow.

Am nervous.