March 2010

Nada Mucho

 

I really can't think of anything very interesting to say, but it's been a while, so I am going to give this updating thing the old college try. I think bullets are in order.

  • I just finished reading Sarah's Key. It was super interesting, but the writing was pretty mediocre. It was a super fast read, though, and subject matter was interesting and important (the first half I kept having I-can't-believe-I-didn't-know-about-this feelings). The author is French, and she wrote from the point of view of an American journalist living in France, and I think there was a disconnect there. And as an editor, misplace modifiers and randomly placed commas really get my goat. It's a curse.
  • Since I finished my book club book in a week, I have plenty of time to read a book I've had on my night stand for a long time: Middlesex. I've heard nothing but good things about it. I am 80 pages in, and it is definitely very interesting AND well written. It is making me uncomfortable, though! This might be a long 500+ page book...
  • To answer the most-popular question I've been getting, work is good. Things are still pretty slow to start so far, but on Friday I got a big project that I can work on during any down time, and it's something I'm really interested in, so I'm actually excited for work tomorrow. Since I'm self-employed now, I just bought the Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition) with my own money. It was sort of liberating. It's my second-favorite style guide. J Nerd alert! I'm also working on landing a part-time freelance editing gig. Money-mo-mo-money! Money!
  • On the Greta front, things are good. One thing that seems particularly notable to me is that she was helping me with yard work today, and it actually felt like she was helping. Like, when she "helps" with things, it doesn't feel so much like help. But, today, I was making piles of dead leaves and she was grabbing it and putting it in the bag for me, and this went on for a good half an hour. She lost interest after that, but I think that was some sort of record. Yay for four.
  • Tonight the three of us went to Donuts Delite for the first time. I can't believe Pat and I have been in Rochester for 15 years and we've never been to Donuts Delite, but, anyway, it was okay. We can cross it off the list. We plan to go again in the AM sometime when the doughnuts are fresher, and then that will be the true test. Greta doesn't like doughnuts, but we ordered her one anyway. She refused to take a bite until right before we were leaving, and when she finally did, she made a face like she had just bit into a lemon. Such a strange child. Pat ordered a "white-cream filled," and the waitress brought him this. Apparently the only white-cream-filled doughnuts they had were in Cookie Monster's likeness. It's a good thing Pat is so secure in his manhood or he might have had to send it back.
  • In conclusion, Gene Simmons is on TV, and he looks like a caveman. He also seems like an amazing tool.

Fran

Two down, none to go

File under: birthday | greta

This past weekend we had Greta's family and friend-friend party. I'm not going to lie; I'm glad we don't need to host another party for many months. But we had a very nice time, particularly this past weekend. Greta loved having her favorite family members (minus a couple people who couldn't make it) and her best friends at her house. She got shy when she realized 15 or so people were all singing Happy Birthday to her, but she rallied to blow out her candles.

Greta got tons of loot, and her grandparents spoiled her, as usual. After the party, the Reeds stayed the night. We took a walk around the block, and Greta rode her new scooter. I didn't take many picture of the weekend, unfortunately, but here is one that cracks me up. There was a rogue sock on the ground, and the entire family was staring at it like it was something much more exciting than, say, a sock.

It was nice to hang out with the Reeds and stay up late with them chatting and watching guilty-pleasure TV. And that's all I got. Sorry, dudes.

Fran

Four

File under: birthday | greta

Greta Bean turned the ripe old age of four today!

March 17, 2006 - I thought she was pretty cute here.

March 17, 2010 - But she is way cuter here, opening up presents this morning with bed head.

We asked Greta what she wanted for her special birthday dinner, and she requested chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and corn on the cob. (I found fresh corn on the cob! It wasn't very good, but it was fresh.) She miiiiiight be white trash. Or she might be four. I was slightly bummed out she wanted chicken nuggets, since we've never had those in the house before, but then she only ate one. She also requested something called "Enchanted Unicorn Horns," from her Pink Princess Cookbook. They are basically ice cream cones, the tops of which are dipped in melted white chocolate and sprinkled with...sprinkles, and then, of course, filled with ice cream. The dessert was definitely the hit. Oh, the point of this story is that Greta likes things like steak and shrimp and couscous and artichokes, and she picked chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. Funny girl.

Tonight, as we were getting ready for bed, Greta asked, "Can I still be the baby?" Awww. That just melted my heart.

That's it and that's all.

Fran

One down, one to go

File under: birthday

Greta's birthday is coming up, and we're having two birthday parties for her this year - one for her day-care friends and one for family and family friends. Today was the day-care friends' party. We decided to have two parties because A) our house is small and B) because sometimes you shouldn't mix friends.

To cite an example of the latter, earlier this year, at one of the birthday parties Greta attended, where there were both day-care friends and friend-friends of the birthday boy, one of the friend-friend's moms made multiple disparaging remarks about one of the day-care friends to that day-care friend's mom. Wait, what? That's right. One mom, who didn't realize she was talking to the kid in question's mom, said awful things about a kid TO THE KID'S MOM, not realizing her error. I'm paraphrasing, but she made such comments as, "Wow, have they had that girl checked out?" And then when the mom of the kid politely said that the girl simply a bit strong willed and that that trait would be a positive one when she is an adult, the friend-friend's mom dug herself further in the hole by saying, "[Is there] trouble at home?" (Oh, and I should also report that the friend-friend was no little angel. Just sayin'.) I am probably explaining the exchange horribly, but basically this mom who had no idea how insulting she was being was...totally insulting. I give the day-care friend's mom a million gold stars, because she kept her cool with the friend-friend's mom and actually laughed it off. If it were me in that position, I probably would have scratched some eyes out or, at the very least, unleash a verbal fury that would make her cry. Not that I think one of MY lovely friends would pull a stunt like that, but one never knows. Day-care friends and friend-friends are just that - and never the twain shall meet, at least not without cheat sheets of who is related to whom. End verbal diatribe.

Oh! Back to Greta's birthday party. I was sort of extremely nervous to have six preschoolers in my house. I have just never had that many kids in my house, and, um, kids scare me (except for my own). But it was great!

I love this picture. Here are all the girls in Greta's bedroom, squished into her chair.

I also wanted to say that I think it's awesome how involved the day-care dads (and moms) are. I think it's rare for dads to be so involved at day care, in general, and it was really great to see them engaged with the kids. At one point, one dad had all of the kids intently (and quietly!) following along with a book, and at another point, a different dad had all of the kids shrieking with delight as he "scared" them. It was super cute.

Now the house is clean and quiet and back to order. Ahhh. Just one more to go and I can go back to being antisocial for a year.

Fran

Jubilation

File under: home improvement | work

She loves me again. Err, I mean, I got a job!  This update is long overdue. I was actually offered the job last Friday. I've been trying to tell everyone who had reached out to me during my "funemployment" before posting it here, which is the main reason for the delay. I am sure I forgot some people, but, it's been a week and I'm having guilt issues about not posting here.  So, there you go. It's a contract position, and I'll be editing e-learning content. I will be self-employed and working from home.  The thought of a contract position would have freaked me out a month ago, but now it actually appeals to me. According to my contract, they need to give me 30 days notice before ending my contract; that is 30 days more notice than I got at my last job...so by my math, that is actually pretty good. I'll be working with some people I worked with two jobs ago, and they're a great bunch of people. I'm really excited to be on a team of such smart, friendly, and motivated people.

And , there was at least some nepotism involved (Well, minus the family part. What is nepotism minus the family part? Favoritism?), because I used to work with the hiring manager, but I am still patting myself on the back for scoring a sweet, sweet job in 3 weeks and a day. [Pats self on back.]

I have technically already started the new gig, so I've been scrambling to get some projects done around the house before things really ramp up. I really thought I'd be coming out of unemployment with really clean closets, but, unfortunately, that's not the case.  Don't get me wrong - being employed is definitely better than clean closets. The biggest and AWESOMEST project is that I painted the kitchen.

Oh, did I mention I'll be working at home? I am so very excited. I have been told that working at home has its "positive points and negative points." At this point, I would have to struggle to think of the negative points. Okay, I'm thinking about it. [Fifteen minutes later.] I got one! If I come across a spider at work, I will have to get rid of it myself instead of asking the CFO to kill the spider. And, um, that's all I got. Roooock!

Not that you need to see 500 pictures of my kitchen, but I'm very excited about it. Here are some before and after pictures. As you can see, it was a sissy beige color before.

And now, bold green!

The walls of the kitchen were actually pretty rough. I smoothed out this wall quite a bit. Also notable about the below picture is that Greta had taken a paint chip from Home Depot and taped it to the wall below where I taped the green paint chip. It is a deep, deep purple, which is a color I would never want to look at on the walls, but I wanted to humor her. And then this week I was cleaning out our junk drawer, and I was tossing out some other paint chips we'd collected, and I saw that Greta had already grabbed the exact same color during a previous trip to HD. Girl knows what she likes.

Nice and smooth! The color is called "Shamrock," which made me want to get a Shamrock Shake the last two weeks.

Fran

Finally, the recognition I "deserve"

File under: announcement

After submitting this photo to Fail Blog I thought was a shoo-in for making their home page that never made the cut (even though it got phenomenal ratings from people in their voting section [I swear I'm barely still bitter, even though THEY ARE DEAD TO ME]), I was feeling a little nervous about putting myself out there again on the www. But I enjoy The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks, and there is a sign on a building my favorite Korean restaurant is in that I just had to document and submit to the site. I got the good news yesterday that my image made the site! I am so honored. I love the myriad issues with this sign.

I would like to thank my parents for "supporting" me through college, where I "learned" how to recognize a "good" photo op when I saw it. I would like to thank Pat Reed for "buying" me an iPhone for Christmas, without which this sign would never have been documented, because I "never" think to bring a camera otherwise. I would like to thank Young's for being "delicious" and for being in the low-budget "plaza" next to the "You Never" Know? store. And, finally, I would like to thank TBoUQM for recognizing "greatness" (unlike those snobs over at FB).

Fran

Frustration

Sorry for the recent radio silence. The last week has been more than a little annoying. Greta came down with a rather unpleasant cold, and she was out of day care more than she was in it. I then got said rather unpleasant cold. Job-searching productivity down the tubes. Then we got slammed with snow. Blah, blah. Then our Internet was out most of the last two and a half days.

I spent a couple hours yesterday morning at an internet cafe Panera, and then I decided that was for the birds. After you've gotten used to a cushy corner office, you can't sit at some table with dried who-knows-what on it from who-knows-when while you try to fight the overwhelming urge to pee because if you went to pee you'd either have to leave your laptop with your entire life on it out in a public place or take it into the bathroom (ew) and risk losing your food-crusted table while you're hopped up on coffee you didn't want to buy in the first place. And since the one and only positive thing that popped into my mind as I was sitting at a table with tears in my eyes, getting told I was being laid off, was that I would now I have time to paint my kitchen, I decided to paint my kitchen! I painted the ceiling yesterday and then put a coat of paint on the walls. So far it seems to be a tricky color and may need a few coats, but I will be sure to post pictures when the new kitchen is ready for its unveiling.

What else? As I mentioned, I haven't been very productive about the job search this past week. I will say that there are a couple solid tentative plans in the works, so I am not feeling super stressed right now. I have a lot of good people looking out for me, so I know this is temporary and that I need to enjoy this first break I have had from work since I started working at 15. I know it will be over in the blink of an eye (in the grand scheme of things). I will say the feelings associated with being unemployed are still...unpleasant. I went from saying, "I was laid off last week." to "I was laid off earlier this month." to now needing to say, "I was laid off last month." (Stupid short February.) I know why, but that has been a hard transition in my brain.

One more thing. It's almost that time of year again! Greta will be turning four later this month, and we're having two small parties this year so we made two invites. We took many pictures of Greta and luckily got two good ones. I thought people might enjoy some of the outtakes.

This is my personal favorite. Supastar!

Cutsie Tootsie

It was so unusually sunny we were stumped. Most of the pictures were waaay overexposed. Oh, she is doing "karate moves" here.

Princess Crooked Crown

Fran