Whoa Mama

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Advice? Really?

The BufBloPoFo creator suggests that we share any parenting advice today. I don't know that I'm qualified to do such a thing. What works for me doesn't necessarily work for you. You may see choices that I make and think I want to be like her/I am so glad I'm not like her/Why would you do that/What compelled her to think that was a good idea/I'm calling DCYF/Those are cute kids why doesn't she have more patience with them? To which I can only reply, we all do our best every day with what we've got and before we go judging anyone, I say: A mile in my shoes, my friend.

My favorite piece of child rearing advice was given to me by Uber Mom of a Pair & a Spare, Betty. I was only about half way through cooking my twin chickens when she reached over my voluminous belly, patted me on the shoulder and said, "Babies cry. As long as you know that you'll be fine."

It is with that levity that I try to face every day. They grow and change everyday. I hope that I am giving them a happy life with integrity, confidence and intelligence. But that is a tall order on a daily basis, so I just try to keep things light. I have things that I do feel strongly about for my family. Mostly I just feel really strongly about my family. As in, I love them all like crazy. So in a nutshell, here's the top three things that have worked so far for me:

  1. Turn the TV off.
  2. Work hard at your marriage.
  3. Music, veggies, crayons, love, coffee, books
Take it or leave it.

Gratuitous Cuteness Alternating With Filth

I made the mistake of showing Sammy his Easter outfit. He was beside himself that he might have to wait to wear it. I buckled. Obviously.

Not yet five and playing checkers more than just a little competitively!

For the love of pearl, is it Special Helper Day again already?!?! This time its brownies.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm A Big Girl Now

BufBloPoFo suggests that we share about our homes. Scott & I have moved a grand total of eight times in 13 years. I can add four more points of mail receipt prior to that. Not something I'm really tickled about as an aggregate number, but we do what we've got to do, right?

My very first big girl apartment was a studio with a California bed that rolled away into the wall and became a couch in Marlborough, MA. I had gotten my first big girl job complete with full medical and dental benefits, packed all of my belongings into my 1987 Nissan Sentra, my first big girl car and moved to Massachusetts. I promptly realized that my big girl job paid way little money and got introduced to the concept of overtime and embraced the all the joys that the Sears Portrait Studio had to offer.

After three glorious months with a little balcony, community vacuum, mini-fridge, hot place and ex-convict neighbor, I moved on to the spacious digs on Brown Street, big enough to house a full sized Christmas tree and dining room table. Ah luxury.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

as promised

We are so lucky.
A St. Patrick's Day message

Bragging without mention of my children???

BufBloPoFo topic of the day is: Bragging

OK, here goes:
  1. I have not one but 2 Masters Degrees (MBA & MSW).
  2. I make the very best chocolate chip cookies (and yes, Esther, we need to have an old fashioned bake-off).
  3. I can play three musical instruments, one of them happens to be the BASSOON. and raise your hand if you can even pick a bassoon out of a line up.
  4. I created, marketed and executed a kick-ass fundraiser that turned on/kept on the heat for over one hundred people who otherwise would have gone without heat in their homes this winter.
  5. I can usually whip together a dinner from whatever falls out of my fridge in under 30 minutes, while managing homework, observing the parade of projects coming out of backpacks and re-packing lunchboxes.
  6. I spend 5 months in France, one month of it was in Paris and the rest of the time was in a French immersion program working on restoration in Provence. here:
  7. I had a mountain of raw bar at my wedding following all-can-eat lobsters at my rehearsal dinner.
  8. I birthed a baby in under 6 hours, without so much as a Tylenol. The only help came from Scott, Gina & the heaven-sent midwife & L&D nurses.
  9. My husband has fabulous taste in jewelry!
  10. I've mentioned this before, I used to live 9 minutes from the ocean. This was the view on my daily commute. And this was where we would go to the beach all summer long
OK - I'm done.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

in homage to the great saint

nothing praises the high Saint Patrick, like dogs in sweaters, moving trucks, glitter stickers, llamas, vibrant green get-ups, dancing coffee cups and old ladies in pimp hats. ah...Buffalo's Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade

captured on film by the four year old.


I promise to get to the meals post. It should shape up to be a good one.

In the meantime, I'm just sharing this piece from NPR. This is the same listener commentator that I heard this morning and will share that link when it becomes available. She seems to be as weighty as I am feeling these days. This particular piece is about "getting real" and I like her style. Today's piece though, brought me to the side of the road in tears.

Gratitude was the topic. The message was delivered by telling of her friend who lost her husband to brain cancer at the age of 39. The author spoke of admiration for her friend's dignity, grace and substance throughout her grieving process. The piece ended with her friend,
two years after her husband's death, repeating a sentiment that they often shared with one another, "We are so lucky. We both married such wonderful men". In these changing and uncertain times, I spend a lot of energy focusing on gratitude and it should be said that the shining star in the constellation of blessings and gifts in my life is my husband. Thank you, Amy, for the reminder.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

purgatory - part one

Styles, preferences, personalities, experience, mood. Many many things affect one's leadership style. All can be successful...or not.

Recently at the drudgery I affectionately refer to as "purgatory", the manager came blustering out of his office, growling at the two of us sitting there, "Why are this week's results different than last week's"

I'm thinking, oh I don't know, maybe because you treat people poorly, meet one success with the recognition of "now make it two" (not making that up), allow your
foul-mouthed support staff to treat everyone like something scraped off the shoe, fired the blind lady without proper cause and have provided zero training to accomplish the objectives with which we are charged.

The poor girl next to me, who is the last one left in the office besides for me, begins to answer with, "Well"

And he pounced, hollering an edict from what I can only believe came from the Mike Ditka guide to management, "I DON'T WANT EXCUSES. EXCUSES ARE FOR LOSERS." I actually laughed out loud. When he glared at me, I laughed harder upon realizing that he was serious.

When I texted this story to Scott, he responded with :

Leaders are like eagles. We don't have either of them here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Damn BufBoPloFo or whatever it's called

It is 9:30 on Day One of Mandatory post week and a half. Off to a lackluster start, I give you this

On the way home from school, we were treated to "Poop Goes the Weasel". No, not pop, POOP Goes the Weasel complete with sound effects. March 10 officially marks the day when I surrendered the struggle for polite and appropriate behavior, at least in private. Publicly I still do not promote burping, tooting, chatter about anything covered by shorts and all things potty. But in the name of humor and shameless pursuit of favorite parent, I repeated this song 7x!!!

I even sang along.

It is a dark day for me.

Friday, March 13, 2009


So we are all caught up on the relocation, move, and current state of affairs for the family. If you can read between the lines of my answers to “what are you doing now?” on the international voyeuristic fascination we call Facebook, you know that I have been job hunting.

I have found some potential fits, some moderately satisfying opportunities and some that fit that category of better check it out just in case. Then I found my ideal job. It was listed by a community organization that supports the area where we own our house and an area that I love dearly. The title was Business and Development Specialist, that is to say ideally reflective of the two areas in which I have masters degrees – MBA & MSW.

I applied.

They didn’t call immediately.

Simultaneously, I applied for about 6 other jobs. One of which was Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator. The recruiter for this one called. Yay! Lots of phone work, she told me for a non-profit that shall remain nameless. Warm leads, not much cold calling. I suited up and went off to interview.

It was a dreary, snowy Buffalo day in January. I was simply buoyant. I can do calls. I’m perky, positive and persuasive. Not a usual combination, but I’m good at it. I had breakfast with my dad and fully caffeinated, headed off to wow them.

I followed my directions only to find myself at a strip mall staring at a sign that said:


I almost threw up. This cannot be my life.

Oh that doesn't fit. I don’t do self-pity. This has got to stop. I closed my burning eyes and thought of Jean Eagan. My grandmother had an unwavering work ethic, driven by having successfully survived the Great Depression and her profound intelligence and perhaps just a smattering of Irish pride. My grandmother was strong and proud and would have no sooner turned away work when she needed it than she would have run down Downing Street naked. I psychologically straightened my pillbox hat, slammed an iron rod in my spine and marched in.

After filling out an application and taking a series of skills assessments, I chat with the recruiter and she tells me when I should report to the agency. I report for this job that I affectionately termed “purgatory” for 6 weeks, 5 ½ weeks longer than the 5 other people that were hired with me. (There is another entry that goes to this topic)

In the meantime, I waited three weeks and heard nothing from this community agency. I’m pretty surprised but get that it is a tough time for job hunting to say the least. After the appropriate amount of time, I sent a follow up email and for good measure attached my resume again.

And now the executive director of the neighborhood association calls!

Again, I suited up and this time I am much more prepared for what I am facing. There are very few surprises for me in that I am familiar with the agency and their mission and objectives. I dare say he was surprised as I knocked his socks off!!! He pumped my hand when he repeatedly thanked me for coming in because it was “such a great pleasure.” We move on to second interviews when I learn that I am one of three culled from the pool of 83 applicants. He’ll make his decision over the weekend to allow for the announcement of the hire to be made at the Wednesday board meeting. I am sure that this is mine.

That was Friday. Monday comes and goes. Well, he mustn’t have been able to reach the executive committee. Tuesday morning comes and goes. One o’clock rolls around and I have to screen out a call that I don’t recognize while on the phone with a long-awaited human being on the customer service line. It is the executive director with a vague message with the comment that he would follow up on email. This does not sound good. I immediately call back and am told that he must have just left. Coward. Then I get the email. I did not get the job.

That is what prompted my sweet sweet husband to write this. Thank you.