Friday, July 22, 2011

summer songs and yard sales and in-laws

Well it looks like my posts of late have been a little on the heavy side. Sorry about that. Let's lighten it up a bit with this topic:

Summer songs

I have a giant list of songs I listen to in the summertime. For some reason they mostly include oldies but I thought I'd list 5 songs for you to add to your summer play list if you don't already have them -

1. NYC Girl by The Orion Experience
2. Sister Golden Hair by America
3. If Looks Could Kill by Camera Obscura
4. In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry
5. Busted by The Black Keys (or pretty much anything by the Black Keys...sigh)

We're having a yard sale tomorrow. We'll be setting it up for hours on end tonight. Want to see the ad I placed for it? :)

Come enjoy the thrill of the hunt at the BEST YARD SALE EVER!!! What makes this yard sale better than all the rest? I'm glad you asked. Let me count the ways:
1. we have shade
2. we have fabulous stuff that we are selling for CHEAP
3. you will not have to sift through nasty used panties and crusty unwashed dishes to find that one piece of treasure
4. everything is displayed as if in a lovely boutique because I'm one of the most anal retentive people in the world and because I know and appreciate design and exhibit with aesthetic prowess (and I'm using the word prowess in a craigslist ad... points? yes?)
5. we can tell you the story behind almost any of the things we are selling because we like things with a history (i.e. our house was built in 1894...)
6. AND if we don't know the story of the object then we will tell you a really awesome and convincing story about the object that you can feel comfortable repeating to generations for years to come
7. we won't make you feel guilty for perusing and not buying anything (though you'd be crazy not to - hint: window shopping + yard sales = bad)
8. you'll have fun - its your Saturday, you deserve to have a great time and a fabulous day

Items for sale include
- designer pillows, comforters, throws
- art, frames, posters
- men and women's clothes (brands like Banana Republic, H&M, Gap, etc)
- building supplies (limited amounts of wood, paint, random tools)
- antique and new dishes
- vintage tablecloths, aprons, tea towels
- furniture
- and more!

Come enjoy your Saturday with us at...

And so on.

Wouldn't you come to a yard sale with an ad like that?

Anyway, then within hours of the closing of the sale my in-laws will arrive.

If you're wondering who was the idiot who decided they should turn their house over and make it a disaster in order to sell off tons of stuff and then who needs to make it spotless and pass a white-glove test before my lover of cleanliness mother-in-law shows up... well... that'd be... crap, yeah its me.

So, thats my weekend. Happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

on the age of success

It seems the clamor of concern over success has increased of late. Or maybe my ears are just more keen to it. Either way...
There's this idea in every achievement junkie's mind about where they'll be and what they'll be doing by a certain age. Maybe its in everyone's mind regardless of how prone to belt notching you are.
Where will you be at 25? or 30? How about 50?
And somehow we place value in successes by age. They graduated college at what age? Retired at 30, seriously? President of the United States and only 40-something?
And somehow those exact same sentiments that make our eyebrows go up suddenly become the new goal for the ambitious and competitive types. And for the rest, the ideas of success by a certain age become that much further out of reach.
I'm coming to hate this elusive pressure of success. The older I get and the less I "achieve" the more I feel I have to make up for each year. And this is coming from an admitted achievement-aholic!
I think so many people feel this way. I thought I'd be at least a director by age 30. Or I figured I'd be married by now. And there are so many of these crazy ideas that we just magically place in our head either through sanguine eyes or perceived societal norms.

And now I wonder, where did these ideas come from?

And now I wonder, when I came to have so little faith in God's divine timing?

And now I wonder, who did I allow define success for me?

I know I've been posting a lot of articles lately but I think there are a lot of interesting things out there to read. So heres another one, titled: How Will You Measure Your Life? by a distinguished professor at Harvard Business School named Clayton M. Christensen. Since most of you (myself included) probably don't have an HBR subscription, here it is on some random dude's blog.

I like this article because here is an incredibly successful man in the eyes of the world, let alone the HBS students listening to him as he imparts this wisdom, and he doesn't tout his worldy achievements. He discusses what success has really meant to him. I suspect that his ability to keep this perspective was one of the reasons God blessed him so much in his worldly successes. I like when he writes, "It’s quite startling that a significant fraction of the 900 students that HBS draws each year from the world’s best have given little thought to the purpose of their lives." I think how true that must be. That here we have some of the world's best and brightest, those who have structured their entire lives to achieve achieve ACHIEVE, and yet, not even they have the foggiest idea about what they really want out of life.

Its a crazy rat race. I find myself guilty of committing the "success" by a certain age crime. But I'd like to stop. I'd like to ask what I really want, ask what God wants for me, and have faith that all things will take place in their proper time.

Thats what I'm striving for.

By age 28.

at the least. ;)

Monday, July 18, 2011

when speaking to a little girl

Did you see this article titled, "How to Talk to Little Girls"?

I highly recommend it.

At the risk of sounding like a complete feminist


no I don't care if I sound like one. How about feminist or not, lets start talking to little girls about more than their pretty hair and lovely dresses!

And maybe it will be fruitless.

It reminds me of when I was first put in charge of all the female adolescents in my church. I asked them to fill out a large questionnaire that asked them about activities they were interested in. Then I went through and ranked them in order of interest. These activities ranged from horseback riding to a career night, and would you guess what? Not one dang girl circled anything about careers, education, colleges, etc. And would you guess what else? Every freaking one of them circled the hair and makeup night.



I get it. Teenage girls aren't that interested in expanding the confines of their mind. So, too, may little girls not be interested in discussing books or anything beyond barbies and bows.

But lets try.

And you know what? I think they enjoyed the career night.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

life lessons from me and conan

Well I've not been posting much of late. I'm going through work hell right now. Its kinda absorbing everything in me. I got a few really negative anonymous pieces of feedback during our semi-annual review process. Its been really damaging and turned my world upside down. Luckily my boss and team have nothing but positive reviews of me and the majority of the company feels the same way. My boss and I were able to sift through the comments and work to find the constructive criticism so I can continue to progress. And in the meantime, those people who gave me such poor reviews will hopefully see my efforts and things will get better. Or even better - they'll actually come and approach me about their concerns instead of resorting to putting it on a review. But working through this stuff is easier said than done. And I've had to really work through my hurt feelings and my insecurities about the positive relationships I thought I had with every person I work with. Its hard not to look at everyone suspiciously after receiving such harsh feedback like that and wonder how they might really feel about me. In five years, I've never gotten anything but perfect scores on my reviews and I've always prided myself on being a fabulous employee. These last few weeks really threw me off of my game and for the first time in five years, I haven't enjoyed work. I think I've pretty much trudged through all the crap now and I'm starting to feel better about things. Management listened to my concerns about the feedback process and are working to improve the review process as a result. So hopefully things will get better.

All of this stuff really got me thinking about failure.
For the first time I started to really consider what failure means to me and if I had somehow failed my boss or my company or even myself. I thought about the extraordinarily delicate balance I have between work and church and marriage and everything else and how my marriage and work have always been so solid that I've never had to worry about them. I could worry about everything else. But worrying about work so much made me bring it home with me. And bringing it home with me caused strain on my relationship with my husband. I started to feel what it must be like for people who bring the baggage of work home with them all the time and I worried about failing at all of it. What if one thing snowballs into another and I can't get the pieces untangled enough to stop the momentous fall?
But this is what I came to in the end: sometimes we juggle everything and something happens and we can still somehow juggle everything and fix it simultaneously. And sometimes, we juggle everything and something happens and it all just falls down. And we sit down and cry and stare at all the broken pieces and think that we'll never get it all put back together. But, somehow, amazingly, we do. And sometimes, we just move on and juggle new pieces or less pieces.
This all probably seems really elementary to you because you are so dang smart, but for me it was the first time where I think I allowed myself to let everything fall. And you know what? I didn't even get a crack or a dent in my marriage. And my other obligations just waited on the floor patiently for me to pick them back up when I was ready. And work let me take my time and put the pieces back one by one.
It made me think of this awesome commencement speech I heard from Conan O'Brien, whom I love dearly, in which he imparts some life lessons. Its brilliant. Its long. Its 24 min long. Its worth every minute. The first 15 min or so are funny and lightly interspersed with tidbits of wisdom but by the end, ugh, man...its just really amazing.

So here it is:

Work hard. Be kind. And amazing things will happen.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I saw this article and knew immediately that I wanted to re-post it here on my blog. I feel like sometimes I might be getting cranky in my old age but then I read an article like this and I feel validated. It's not me. It's them.

The subject is permissive parents and here's the article:

If you're the kind of parent who allows your 5-year-old to run rampant in public places like restaurants, I have what could be some rather disturbing news for you.

I do not love your child.

The rest of the country does not love your child either.

And the reason why we're staring at you every other bite is not because we're acknowledging some sort of mutual understanding that kids will be kids but rather we want to kill you for letting your brat ruin our dinner.

Or our plane ride.

Or trip to the grocery store.

Or the other adult-oriented establishments you've unilaterally decided will serve as an extension of your toddler's playpen because you lack the fortitude to properly discipline them, in public and at home.

And we know you don't discipline them at home because you don't possess "the look." If you had "the look," you wouldn't need to say "sit down" a thousand times.

If you had "the look," you wouldn't need to say much of anything at all. But this nonverbal cue needs to be introduced early and reinforced diligently with consequences for transgressions, just like potty training. And whenever a kid throws a temper tantrum in the middle of the shopping mall it's just as bad as his soiling his pants to spite his parents, and it stinks just as much.

I have seen a small child slap her mother in the face with an open hand, only to be met with "Honey, don't hit Mommy." I have seen kids tell their parents "Shut up" and "Leave me alone" at the top of their lungs -- and they are not put in check. I shake my head knowing it's only going to get worse from here.

If I'm sounding a bit judgmental, I assure you I am not alone in my judgment.

Remember that couple that was kicked off an AirTran flight for being unable to control their 3-year-old back in 2007? The child threw a tantrum, refused to get in her seat and delayed the flight by 15 minutes. In a subsequent interview with "Good Morning America," the mother talked about how much more understanding the passengers were compared to the crew that removed the family. That may be true -- but I'm also willing to bet plenty of passengers were happy to have a much quieter flight. An AirTran spokesperson estimated 95% of the 9,000 e-mails the airline received were supportive of taking the family off the plane, according to MSNBC.

Responding to complaints about crying babies keeping people awake, Malaysia Airlines decided to ban infants from first class in some of its flights.

I don't know about you but I would gladly support an airline or restaurant that didn't make someone else's yelling, screaming, kicking offspring my problem.

And there are kid-free cruises and resorts for a reason.

Children are wonderful but they are not the center of the universe. The sooner their parents make them understand that, the better off we all will be.

This is the part of child-rearing people don't like to discuss, because socially, it's not OK to dislike kids. The ugly truth is it's the spineless parents who parade their undisciplined children around like royalty that make people dislike kids.

Parents who expect complete strangers to just deal with it are not doing anyone, including their children, any favors. They are actually making things worse. Not only are their children allowed to interrupt social events and settings when they are young, but they often grow into disruptive forces in the classrooms later. And nobody likes them for that.

I covered education for years and one of the biggest complaints from teachers was about the amount of time they spent disciplining students. Their threats were empty because parents sided with their kids. And, of course, the use of corporal punishment in the classroom is seriously frowned upon, and even punished.

Spanking is not a cure, and should not be the first resort, but I don't think it should automatically be taken off the table when dealing with small kids. We're so preoccupied with protecting children from disappointment and discomfort that we're inadvertently excusing them from growing up.

A young child slapping his or her parent's hand away in defiance is not cute, it's disrespectful. In my house, growing up, that would have earned much more than "the look" from my mother.

If I sound a bit old-school, I am. If I'm coming across as a bit of an ogre, so be it.

As a parent, I can empathize with how difficult raising children can be. There are challenges, especially within the framework of divorce, when parental guilt can sometimes blur what should be the best decision.

But I don't believe making a child's wishes top priority is a demonstration of love. Nor do I believe I, or the rest of the world, should act as a surrogate parents for somebody's bad-ass kids.

You wanted them, deal with them.

by LZ Granderson

So do I sound like a big judgmental jerk yet? Or are you shouting "AMEN" right along with me? I've seriously been appalled at times with what parents will allow their children to do.

On Independence Day, for one example out of a hundred I could choose from just from this weekend alone, we were at a neighborhood breakfast and we saw an unsupervised child running around with a huge piece of rebar. He set it down long enough to unplug all the equipment on the stage near us and then picked it back up so he could put it in the sockets and then knock over the microphones and other equipment with it. Doug, my husband, went and took it from the kid who we assumed at this point was an orphan and had probably killed his parents with a large metal device of sorts, only to discover that his parents were in the yard watching their child destroy thousands of dollars of equipment while they ate pancakes.


Maybe I'm just going to be a mean mom...