Archive for ‘My Life, Unabridged’

October 9, 2010

I’m reading today!

Today I’ll be participating in the 24-Hour Read-A-Thon! I love this idea for so many reasons, but my personal motivation is quite simple: to rediscover my love for reading. I’ve let it lapse in recent years, choosing other entertainment over books and purposeful reading, and I truly do miss it when that happens. So today will be all about the written word! I also love that “print” now includes text on a screen, so I’ll be mixing up my selections throughout the day to keep interest alive and resist the urge to nap (much). Some of the items I have scheduled for the day include:

  • The Yankee Years
  • Bridge to Terabithia
  • You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried
  • Ford County
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Mud Hens and Mavericks: Illustrated Travel Guide to Minor League Baseball
  • and an assortment of magazines and blog posts that have recently piled up

A big part of the Read-A-Thon includes blogging about the event and about personal progress, as well as participating in hourly challenges designed to keep the mind fresh. Click over to phrenetical :: a state of mind to follow my read-a-thon journey.
24-Hour Read-A-Thon

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October 1, 2010

my September in review

Wrapping up September with a repost of my Facebook status blurbs.
Now, on to October!


Oh glorious end of summer (yes, please!)! My one and only closet is only 80 degrees today rather than the 110 it’s been for 3 months!  September 1, 2010, 5:02pm

‘Offset your stupid with some smart.’ Truer words were never spoken!  September 1, 2010, 5:40pm

just looked up to find the name ‘Derek Jeter’ still in my Google search box from 5 hours ago. #makesmehappy  September 2, 2010, 11:36am

Sleeping with the windows open on the 3rd of Texas September? whiskey tango!!!???!!!  September 3, 2010, 10:57pm

Did a search for a warm pasta dish using zucchini and tomatoes (fridge clean-out) but when the first result comes up with this, it’s a no-go: “Combine SPAM with zucchini and garlic….” ICK!!!!!  September 3, 2010, 11:52am

Zac Brown Band’s song “Free” is so reminiscent of Alabama in the 80s. Makes me nostalgic for classic country!  September 3, 2010, 4:57pm

If you’re gonna be up at this hour there’s no better song to hear than ‘Guitars, Cadillacs, Hillbilly Music”  September 4, 2010, 2:27am

I feel sorry for today’s kids, futilely pressing Silly Putty against the Google News page. (RT @JaneEspenson)  September 4, 2010, 4:57pm

Have I mentioned lately how bluetooth is my best boyfriend ever? I love how communicative he is! And he helps Phone get along with Mac.  September 4, 2010, 5:00pm

oh, Google. I so dig your fun little graphics!  September 4, 2010, 7:58am

Alright, kid going round and round the parking lot on a new motorbike… You’ve got it! You know what you’re doing now. Time to take it off-campus. Parents, set the child free. PLEASE.  September 5, 2010, 5:29pm

Love the new little iTunes icon! Oh, Apple, your design makes me so happy.  September 5, 2010, 8:09pm

Favorite Quote of the Day: “If you’re not sure whether you’ve seen a movie, you haven’t.” /// Unless you’re my dad and then, yes, you saw ‘The Jungle Book’ at least six times before you actually remembered seeing it.  September 6, 2010, 12:10pm

Note to people of the world: If you step outside to take a phone call because you don’t want to disturb your housemates, please do not speak so loudly that it bounces off the stairway landing. The rest of us don’t want to hear your conversation either. Thank you.  September 7, 2010, 12:02pm

Free movie passes and a Clooney consolation prize? Cool! Thanx, Studio Movie Grill!  September 7, 2010, 3:24pm

How appropriate that I had to defend my grammar corrections (with sources!) to a colleague on this, International Literacy Day!  September 8, 2010, 3:17pm

Wait… is that a break in the storm? Can I make it to Sonic before happy hour ends? ???  September 8, 2010, 3:18pm

Back in my “storm shelter” and checking newscast online. But first… a word from our sponsor. While the tornadoes touch down in your area, first let me help you add something to your shopping list! #sowrong  September 8, 2010, 6:00pm

Grandparents Day lunch (with an AJ special invite) at D’s school. He hops up from the table to introduce his teachers every time they walk past. Awesome!  September 10, 2010, 12:03pm

Is that thunder I hear or just noisy neighbors?  September 14, 2010, 5:41pm

Today’s word of wisdom: “Advice for today: be nice to your kids–they will pick your nursing home.” [RT @RickAtchley via @MaxLucado  September 16, 2010, 9:14am

January Jones judging ‘Project Runway’? Have they never seen her on the red carpet?  September 16, 2010, 9:52pm

So, who among you can tell me about Stephen King’s ‘The Colorado Kid’? Scary? Weird? Tame?  September 17, 2010, 9:17pm

feeling icky es no bueno  September 18, 2010, 1:05pm

A ‘Band of Brothers’ afternoon? Is there a holiday I don’t recall or is this just my lucky day?  September 18, 2010, 1:35pm

Watching the most boring film with the most charming actors. Love in the Afternoon. If it weren’t Audrey & Gary Cooper, I’d be done by now.  September 19, 2010, 12:44pm

Although, now I won’t be able to get that silly waltz out of my head. #adnauseum  September 19, 2010, 12:54pm

Aircraft dangerously close to my roof. I don’t recall giving permission to buzz the tower.  September 19, 2010, 4:32am

Oh my goodness… Don Draper’s really bad day is the best laugh I’ve had all year! Such tears and guffaws, I had to replay 3 times! #awesome  September 19, 2010, 9:46pm

After 10 minutes wrestling with shower hooks and wondering why I couldn’t snap plastic apart to replace a liner, I realized the clasps *slide* apart. #moron  September 20, 2010, 7:35pm

So, when did Billy (ahem) *William* Baldwin start channeling Alec? Once upon a time they were distinguishable from each other. #Parenthood  September 22, 2010, 10:22pm

phrase of the day: “with all the eloquence of a psychotic horse” // yup. this is pretty much where I live. thanks for the phrase @thepioneerwoman  September 22, 2010, 11:49am

Barely three days into the new TV season, and we have our first casualties. So long, @CW_network. I hardly knew ye.  September 22, 2010, 7:17pm

Dreamed about a box full of salads last nite. Lettuce & tomatoes & bacon bits & boiled eggs. I think my subconscious is nagging.  September 22, 2010, 8:21am

In writing about one of my favorite book series from childhood I am suddenly reminded how much I adore the name “Wynn.” How could I have forgotten?!  September 23, 2010, 11:20pm

So, one of the FB ads in the margin is asking me, “If your life was made into a show, would it be worth watching?” Once upon a time I would’ve said, “Uh, no.” But that was before Paris Hilton became a celebrity and people with no talent could get airplay on radio and TV. Maybe it’s not so far-fetched, after all. #notagoodthing  September 23, 2010, 5:15pm

No matter how much I try, I just can’t enjoy the music of Taylor Swift. #notreallycountry  September 24, 2010, 6:24pm

I’m considering a new blog series on discovering town history and finding interesting places to write about. I know nothing at all and don’t really know where to start researching it. Would love some ideas on places with great stories/history as well as where to look for info (other than the library, I’m guessing). Any thoughts, McKinney folks?  September 24, 2010, 7:11pm

Seriously diggin’ Sela Ward on #CSI:NY. Already she feels like the show’s best character. Love a profiler! And so happy for new #Sinise  September 24, 2010, 8:37pm

I wish we could call friends & families in tents – but what could I tell them? Nowhere to go for shelter in #Haiti. [RT @troylivesay]  September 24, 2010, 8:38pm

And lovin’ ‘Blue Bloods’ too! It started off like Law & Order (which worried me) but now it’s more like “L&O-Brothers&Sisters-in-Magnum’s-Boomtown” But really good. I do love me some Detective D.Wahlberg!  September 24, 2010, 10:00pm

open windows and magic numbers… this is my Autumn  September 26, 2010, 10:47pm

Is it a rule that American presidents turn and wave just before stepping into Marine One? Seems every single one has done it, every time I’ve seen them.  September 28, 2010, 6:39am

I just had a shiver and put socks on my feet for the first time in 5 months. #mykindofweather  September 28, 2010, 7:05am

Well, it happened. #GLEE made me like even Britney’s songs. No stopping the #Gleeks  September 28, 2010, 7:27pm

The benefit of editing an alien in #Photoshop is that you don’t have to worry about the skew when resizing. Just looks cooler when warped!September 29, 2010, 12:50pm

Watching premiere of #Undercovers. So far, not impressed. Kinda bored, actually. Have I been spoiled by Sydney, Bourne, and M/M Smith?  September 29, 2010, 6:45pm

Hmm… it’s 10 degrees warmer inside than outside. No breeze thru windows. Way not cool to make me turn on a/c again. #pushthroughthepain  September 30, 2010, 6:41pm

And I check my email to find an ad for Dippin’ Dots! Seriously, warm weather. Not. Cool. (no pun intended)  September 30, 2010, 6:43pm

September 21, 2010

September Listography | Day Twenty-One


all of the jobs I’ve had in my lifetime
I think this list is inclusive but I may be blocking some out :-/
1.  Taco Bueno — my first job at 16. I lasted for two weeks and my parents were never so happy to stop smelling tacos in their car on Sunday mornings on the way to church.
2.  Chick-Fil-A — my second job at 16, at which I lasted a full six weeks. I left to join a fun little group of women at a mall kiosk located just outside the Chick-Fil-A doorway. Basically, food service wasn’t for me and I just wanted to stop wearing uniforms.
3.  Attendant at a fruit and nut kiosk — my last job involving food, although this was really just bins of dried fruit and nut mixes. I mostly just stood around and snacked on the fruits. Not sure if I lasted a full six weeks or not. It got old pretty fast.
4.  Merle Norman Cosmetics Studio — I didn’t work again until after high school graduation, and then I was blessed to get a much better job while I took classes at the community college. I was still in the mall, but in the two years I worked here I learned more about makeup and skin care than ever before or again. Being the late ’80s, this was a prime period for such a job, as hair was big and makeup very creative. It was a great lot of fun playing with the products and dressing up for work regularly, and I actually really enjoyed giving makeovers and consultations. That kind of training never goes away, even if the styles do. Plus, I was the only employee of mother-daughter owners, so I got some really great gifts of jewelry and bling. Definitely some great perks!
5.  Live-In Nanny (twice!) — My first year living away from home was my third year of college, and I just lost my mind. I rarely went to class, though I had fun in the evenings, and my grades showed that habit with a string of failed courses. My junior year had been a bust, and I was fully confused as to what I wanted to do with my life. When I moved to school I’d begun the Fashion Merchandising program because my mom had raved so much about it during her recent semesters, but when I began attending class I realized that “fashion” meant “sewing” and “design”, neither of which appealed to me. Computers were barely in homes at the time, so there was no such thing as graphic design, and I can’t draw to save my life. My semesters included sewing courses and art courses, and I just gave up. When the semester ended and my parents questioned me about the breakdown, all I could think to say was how miserable I was in the program and how I had no interest at all. Of course, the next question from them was, “Then what do you want to do?” I still don’t know the answer to that question, but I said I felt like I would like social work and psychology, both of which had been interesting courses in the midst of my hellish semester. But I really didn’t want to do anything at all, so I sought something for the summer that would allow me to live away from home until classes started up again. That led to a short stint as a live-in nanny — first for a period of 3 weeks taking care of two elementary-age sisters and trying to deal with a divorced man who was actually looking for a woman to perform the household duties his wife had done before (that’s absolutely not me!), and then a few weeks later in New Jersey, where I moved after two phone conversations with an agency owner and then an unmarried couple with four children between them. I wasn’t smart enough to keep my emotions from clouding my judgement, so I took the New Jersey job and went to live in a closet-sized room and care for all four kids. (It was only supposed to be the man’s two sons but once I arrived it became a houseful.) My experience was horrendous and definitely something for another post, but I lived there long enough to miss the start of the fall semester. I also lived there long enough to know that the life of an au pair just isn’t for me.
6.  Childcare Counselor at a short-term juvenile shelter — While living away at college, I was still within driving distance of home, so I ended up getting a job back in that town when I started seeking something in my chosen field (at the time) of social work. The title “counselor” really just meant corrections officer, wherein my job entailed making sure the kids followed the rules, ate their meals on time, got off to school on time, went to bed on time, and didn’t sneak out of the house at night. Over the holidays I worked the night shift, so during that time my job was simply to stay awake all night and make sure everyone else stayed asleep. Not a difficult job but I did discover a great love for working with troubled teens. Which led me to seek that field after college.
7.  Holiday Retail Clerk — I searched for a career position for a full 18 months after graduating with a bachelor-level psychology degree only to discover that you really can’t get anywhere in the field without a master’s degree. Burnt out on school, I chose not to pursue it and finally just took whatever job would help pay the bills. The first thing that came along was back at the same mall where I’d begun my work life. This time I sold imported handicrafts at a place called Haus of Bavaria, and I learned more about strange little trinkets than I’d ever need to know. It was short-lived and boring, but I feel like I finally paid the retail dues.
8.  Wilderness Camp Counselor — I finally got a chance to work in my field after the 18-month search and ended up in a last-ditch camp for emotionally disturbed teen girls that happened to be located in the heart of an East Texas forest. The girls lived there year-round and the counselors worked 4-5 days straight with a midday-to-midday 48 hour off-period during which we were allowed to leave the camp. Everyone lived in open structures built by the girls’ own hands from the trees surrounding us, and we ate camp food for every meal. On weekends we cooked in our individual campsites over open fires and washed dishes with water boiled over the same fire. It was pioneer living at its best. There’s a lengthy post to be written about this experience, which lasted only 3 months of a summer, but the heart of the matter is that I realized my own heart wasn’t ready to be that closely involved with teens facing such depths of pain, bitterness, rage, and violence. God used that experience to bring me back to Him, but the job of it was more than I could handle at the time.
9.  Receptionist at a small realty office — God directed me to the office of a man I’d known from church while growing up, and in the process of learning how an office is run I found a spiritual mentor who helped guide me to a real relationship with Christ. The job was basic, and being in the early days of Windows, I was able to really learn computers for the first time, but I began walking a path that I’m basically still on. That was 15 years and a lifetime ago, but my best life memories are tied to that job and to my spiritual growth under Charlotte’s tutelage.
10.  Receptionist at a title company — the realtor’s office was a temporary gig while the regular receptionist was on maternity leave, but God provided a new job to begin immediately after the temporary one ended. It lasted for another year and all I can really say for it was that I was surrounded by some of the most arrogant and shallow personalities I’ve ever known. Not a pleasant experience, to say the least.
11.  Assistant to Music and Media Ministries at my church — I stayed in this job for more than two years despite a distinct lack of respect for one of my bosses, but only because the other boss taught me more than anyone had in my life up to that point. I was able to learn more software than ever before, was given more creative freedom than any other time, and was encouraged to dive deep into exploring personal computers as a tool for improving skills and life in general. It was the dawn of browsers for dummies and computers in every household, and I jumped in headlong to teach myself whatever came into my purview. I disliked my job most of the time, but I loved what I was learning. And that truly did change my life.
12.  Customer Care Rep at a start-up ISP — I made a connection through that job at the church and finally found my way out of the small hometown and into solo city living for the first time. What seemed like a perfect opportunity was actually a misguided attempt by the company’s owner to capitalize on the emerging dot com industry. What he couldn’t see was that “dot com” was on the down-swing and near its demise, which meant that I and half of my co-workers were let go within two years. The company went under entirely six months after that. I wouldn’t trade those two years for anything, as I learned so much about networking and the internet and the future of personal computing, and I experienced true independence for the first time ever.
13.  Receptionist for an investment broker — a friend of a friend had need for a part-time receptionist back in the hometown and Dallas employment was tough to come by, so I ended up back where I’d begun. By this time I had realized that I had true skills as an administrative assistant, that my attention to detail and perfectionism and inquisitive mind were perfect for office management, so I just continued on that path. I’ve never had any true “career” ambitions, per se, but I’ve come to know my strengths, so it made sense to continue doing what I was good at when someone needed the help. This job was always meant to be a temporary thing, though it still lasted for a year.
14.  Administrative Assistant at the local community college in a newly established corporate training program — because our office was located on the college campus, this job was actually a great deal of fun. I was one of four staff members who included a fun-loving Executive Director from the corporate world, a gentle-spirited training coordinator who had been in the Air Force, and a boisterous giant of a man who ran the college’s continuing education department and was also retired Air Force (a colonel). The military men and I shared one large room divided into three work areas by flimsy cubicle walls, and the atmosphere was constant laughter. I’ve never enjoyed a staff so much as I did those guys at the college. And I learned a lot about workforce training, submitting data to the state for grant funding, and even organizing a county-wide vision conference in a very short time. I always felt respected and important in that job, which isn’t something an administrative assistant gets to feel very often.
15.  Finance Ministry Assistant at my church — After the college I was able to finally make a move out of that little town of my adolescence, taking a job at my new church home. I’d never worked in a financial position before, but God is very good at taking me where He knows I need to be, and this position was full of great perks in the workplace. For the first time I was surrounded by a host of Christian women, something every woman should get to experience, and my job responsibilities were only half as important as the relationships I made while there. I became responsible for payroll, for recording donations, for keeping track of incoming data, and I learned principles I’d never encountered before. I had an incredible supervisor who was also a friend, and I shared lunches with co-workers and enjoyed gift exchanges and celebrations and even Bible studies with the women I saw every day. My time working at the church truly did my heart great good.
16.  Office Assistant/Webmaster for a student travel ministry — Up until just a couple of months ago, and currently on a part-time at-home basis, I worked for a local ministry that coordinates educational travel for student groups across the nation. My job involved a lot of record-keeping and shipping of materials, and fairly quickly after my hire, my duties also expanded into managing the company’s website content. All of the little bits of information I’ve learned over the years, plus my own personal exploration of web design and creative resources, allowed me to contribute something beyond what my resumé promotes. And though I wasn’t able to stay with the company any longer, I still love the website work and love that I have that experience for the next phase in my life.
With each job I’ve held there have been new skills to learn and new realizations of my own strengths and weaknesses. I don’t know where I’m headed next, but I’m thankful for all that I’ve learned up to this point. It’s not a career and I have no pointed direction toward what I want to do, but what I do have is a varied skill set and a drive to keep learning and improving. And so far in my life, that has worked very well for me.

My Listography was inspired by the site of the same name and list-maker extraordinaire Andrea at hulaseventy


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August 30, 2010

this girl’s mecca


As far as I’m concerned, The Container Store is the holy grail. My mecca. Or, according to my friend Meredith, “the happiest store on earth.” No matter how you see it, it’s pure heaven for us near-OCD types and anyone else who loves good design and symmetry and rows of colorful office supplies.
This post is for you, Cerella. I am so sorry you don’t have Container Store in your neck of the woods. When you come south to visit, be sure to bring an extra suitcase!
click image to see complete photo album
This Girl's Mecca


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