Moment of the day

2011/11/30

As I sit in my office today listening to not even digital music on my PC, but streaming music that I don't even "own", I am struck by how rarely I consult the gigantic wall of CDs only a few feet away from me. Evolution? 

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

2011/11/29


The Heart is a Lonely HunterThe Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this book. This is my second reading and I know there is still more to glean from it. This time through I was really struck by the loneliness, the solitude of all of the characters. It was heartbreaking how they each thought they had a singular confidant, who ultimately (perhaps?) didn't understand them at all. But it was also amazing how incredibly important it was to have that one person who *understands*, who knows you. Very true.


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Thanksgiving

It is a shame that this is really all I've got to offer for photo documentation of our Thanksgiving. It was a lovely and chaotic day and my camera was the farthest thing from my thoughts. So here you have the motley and rather sad "kid" table. The adults got the all the fanciness that will I suppose only live in memory. I so rarely make a fuss out of table presentation that it really is too bad. Ah well.

After our epic trip to visit family and friends last year, I was feeling rather sad at the notion of a small, lonely Thanksgiving at home. So I invited three families of friends who all willingly accepted and it became a big, happy, festive Thanksgiving at home. 18 total and it was no small feat to find a spot for everyone. But food was delicious and plentiful. I only had to do the turkey and stuffing. And pies of course. It was impossibly hard to whittle down my selections to only two as I am accustom to making all the pies. This year I made my favorite lemon meringue and a new chocolate cheesecake that was divine. Kinda messy to cut, but soooo worth it. The preparations for the day were a lot, but it was a great holiday. Good friends are big part of what I am grateful for in this life.

I reflected a lot in the weekend after our feast on how different my life will be come next Thanksgiving. My youngest sister will be living with us while she starts off on her college education. My mom will also be moving to Austin because she knows that's where all the cool people live (or maybe Austin will finally be completely awesome when she joins us). I will (hopefully) have a new job or possibly even a new career. I will have a middle schooler (gasp). I like change, but that is a lot to be sure. Gratitude and a lot of deep breathing will carry me through.

Worky

It is difficult when I am working in Phoenix to maintain significant contact with my girls. They are getting to be better phone talkers, but it's still far from ideal as conversations quickly spiral into "What did you do at school today?" and "Nothing". This last trip I started taking a lot of pictures to text back to them so they could better see my week, an attempt at new vein of communication. Little did I know that I would be losing my job and the result would be a bitter sweet homage to my lovely little job. I will miss campus.

Moment of the day

Behold the chaos that is chess club. I had to mediate more than one "I don't want to play with a girl/boy" dispute today. Both genders are thick with cooties at this age in my opinion. 

Breath, Eyes, Memory

2011/11/21

Breath, Eyes, Memory Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There was a fair bit about this book that I enjoyed. But in the end I did not feel the emotion that I felt the author must be trying to portray. I felt like the female-ness of the characters was key to their Haitian experience, but there were virtually no male characters to give me the proper context. I felt like there was too much left unexplained.


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My awesome week at work

2011/11/19

I just got back from Phoenix and it was not one of my best weeks at work. In a nutshell, I got to fly to Phoenix (at my own expense mind you) to be ignored by my boss and the rest of the college leadership and then finally informed that I will be losing my job. Strangely, as I write this I am not in a completely dark place about the whole experience. I know things will turn out alright and perhaps even for the better in the long run.

I've worked for Glendale Community College for over 12 years now. I started there fresh out of college and no idea what I was getting in to. But I had two great bosses and mentors that helped me turn Institutional Research into a career that I love. I was set to quit work altogether when I had Tessa over 10 years ago but my first boss asked me if I would be willing to try working part time, the majority of it from home. It wasn't always easy with a babe underfoot, but I really enjoyed working in general and my job specifically. The college created a half time position just for me and it worked out to be mutually beneficial. That worked for several years and then three years ago when we moved to Austin my second boss told me he couldn't live without me and made it possible for me to work from Austin even though such an arrangement was rather rogue for the college. The arrangement has worked well but we have a new college president and she is reorganizing our office in a pretty big way. I'm basically being forced out. I have strong opinions on this but I'm not sure how to articulate them without seeming like a whining egomaniac.

Anyway, my trip started out with three days where my boss was completely out of the office and everyone else higher up in administration was avoiding me. I should have seen the writing on the wall because one of my other co-workers had just been re-orged to another department and I was hearing rumors about the president ceasing all telecommuting across campus. (Not that there is that much, I'm one of the very few doing it a majority of the time.) Thursday ended up being a tragi-comedy of sorts. It was my co-worker's last day and my boss was also ignoring her (classy) so I had planned a going away lunch for her and arrange for a gift. About two hours before the lunch the HR director walked into our office and asked my boss if now was a good time to meet with me and her. And in that instant the floor fell out from under me. I knew this could be no good. They took me back to her office in the course of five minutes or so informed me that my position would now be full-time and telecommuting was no longer an option. So I have to move to Phoenix and work full-time if I want to keep my job. And honestly, I had to laugh that they told me that they want me to stay on. They even told me that "some people would commute". Yeah. That's gonna happen. They told me that I am "very important to the college". Um, awesome way of showing it. The one glorious bright spot it all of this is that I have a signed contract from the former president agreeing to my telecommuting arrangement until June and so my job will be kept in it's current state until then. Thank goodness (!!!) my wonderful boss put that document in place for me. Otherwise I'm sure my re-org would be effective in November like my co-worker and I'd be all kinds of out of work right now. This way I have a lot of time to plan and prepare and figure out what my next big move will be.

So I cried for the first time ever at work. I totally lost it and couldn't get my composure for a couple of hours. I walked for a long time and then hid in my car until I could handle myself. I'm not sure why it felt so raw but it was really hard to process. Doesn't feel so good when a job that was created specifically for you is taken away by people that (in my opinion) are not well informed enough to really do that. I'm going to (reluctantly) stop my editorial here because a) I am still employed by these people, and b) I truly do not think the world will cease functioning without me. Just cease functioning well :-)

So back to Thursday, one of my co-workers blessedly went and un-invited my boss from our lunch and it ended up being a good-bye slightly bigger and more bitter than I had planned, but good. After lunch I pulled myself together and went to present to a college committee and smiled through their comments and praise about how much they like working with me and what a great job I do. Nice. Friday was "normal". Meaning my boss pretended that nothing had happened and tried to talk to me about how weird everything was with the new president not really landing on what she wanted our office to look like yet and how the atmosphere was "awkward" on campus. Ya think? (I'm self editing here again. Bitterness seeping through.) And then at noon Friday I walked out of the office without saying a word to anyone because all my co-workers had disappeared without telling me where they were going. Good bye all.

Let me recap my current state since I've gone on too long as per usual. I am mad. I feel like they are making a stupid choice and I want them suffer and explode in ruin when they realize how much work I've been doing and how no one will be able to replicate my quality of work for years to come. What was that I said about being an egomaniac? Sorry. I am also hugely grateful that I have months to figure the next chapter. I am feeling nervous because I don't know what the next chapter will be. I am also beginning to be the teensiest bit excited about the prospect of change. I haven't been very happy in my position since my last boss left but too comfortable to do anything about it. Thanks for the nudge, universe.

More to come later I'm sure as I process. But good to write this down while my bitterness is still fresh enough to make for entertaining prose.

True

2011/11/17

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1 Corinthians 13:12

Biking and treats

2011/11/12

I got home from yoga today and found Tessa and her friend laying on the couch, "bored". I asked them if they wanted to go for a bike ride and they jumped up quick. Taking my cue from their enthusiasm I thought we'd push it and I offered to take them to our favorite frozen yogurt shop, about 2.25 miles away. The girls have certainly been tearing up the neighborhood on their bikes the past few months, but they haven't done much distance or real destination biking. They did great and had a great time. We stopped at a neighborhood park on the way back, adding to the fun of the afternoon. There was one hill on the way back and they were both worn out by it, but I was impressed. Tessa said we need to go every Saturday from now on. Gorgeous, gorgeous weather.

Moment of the day

2011/11/11

Haircut! I've been growing out my hair and have actually been pretty happy with the process, and but it always feels great to have a fresh cut. 

Moment of the day

2011/11/10

I bought these beautiful photographs when I was in San Antonio and I've finally found frames for them. Kinda funny that I went all the way to San Antonio to buy photographs of Austin. It feels good to put some more personal touches in the house. My creativity in that vein has been somewhat dormant. And of course the family room project is still on hold until I save up to hire a painter. I am not in the mood to tackle two story walls. 

Moment of the day

2011/11/06

What is about 2nd grade and Bon Jovi? Both my girls thought they were the best band in the world at this age. Sylvie is a karaoke star in the making. She'll play rock band by herself just singing for hours. She sings along with the radio in the car all the time too and I adore her for it.

Blankies

Since I'm documenting my craftiness, I thought I'd showcase two other blankets I've made this last year. And the super cute babes that enjoy them. I really love making baby blankets because they're not quite so large in scale and also because it's just precious to make a keepsake. Nothing quite like a baby blankie.

Kinda sad that I wasn't really feeling the crafty vibe back in the day and my own girls' blankies were store bought. But then again since Tessa's got lost at a motel in Wyoming several years ago and Sylvie's is in complete tatters from some *serious* love, maybe it's for the best.


More crafty


So yes, technically this was supposed to be a Christmas gift for last year, but in my defense I practically made Tessa's blanket twice. First I was making a version of Sylvie's blanket with colors of Tessa's choosing. But then as I was almost done I lost a bunch of the circles and was so incredibly sick of piecing Sylvie's together that starting completely over honestly sounded like less work. I really like the pattern and colors that Tessa chose. I always seem to get bored of big projects like this before I can finish them. I need to start making dish towels or something. Toilet paper roll covers maybe? Save me now.

Saturday

We visited the Capital of Texas Zoo yesterday. A little different than a typical zoo, but Texas seems to excel in the arena of small family run zoos. They had a handful of albino animals which I always find intriguing and strange. But my favorite was strangely the guinea pigs. Mostly because it's super weird to see guinea pigs at the zoo, but also because seeing them run around on the ground just seemed silly to me. Made me laugh. Sylvie has really wanted a guinea pig for a while now and I told her if they would live in the back yard my answer would be yes. That is certainly where rodents belong.

We also went to the Texas Science Festival downtown and it was fun. Probably a bit too much for one day with my grumpy Sylvie, but still glad we went. Lots of hands on fun and things to see.





Moment of the day

2011/11/05

Date night with my big girl. She required a Cinnabon. And shopping. And chit chat. Good times.

Moment of the day

Sylvie is having one of those days. She needs her mommy. I'm okay with that.

Song for your Friday

2011/11/04

Moment of the day

2011/11/03

Tessa won't let me take pictures of her anymore. I feel like a hypocrite for pushing her because I remember the sentiment all too well. But she shares her candy so I still love her.

Moment of the day

2011/11/02

I am sick of the car. I'm sure this is nothing impressive to you veteran road warrior parents, but I am just really sick of the car. I'm car sick from riding to San Antonio and blah from being mom the taxi. Yay.


Moment of the day

2011/11/01

New phone! See my happy grin? I do love new gadgets. You'll have to bear with the typos as I get used to a virtual keyboard. Love my new Droid with the rediculously long name. Samsung Epic Galaxy S II 4G Touch or something like that. The iPhone just wasn't enough to tempt me away. And that's saying a lot.


Halloween

My cute angel/devil. I would argue that the percentage of angel is actually higher than represented in this costume. Most days at least. Perhaps not last night when she tried to sneak her gigantic haul of candy into her bed with her.


And dear Hermione. I crimped her hair last weekend and it was pretty cool but the crazy day (and a big fat headache on my part) didn't allow for it last night. I don't think it hampered her candy collecting ability so she didn't care much.


Lots of fun with friends on the street. Best Halloween ever according to both my girls.