Feels like the first time

File under: birthday | milestone | music | work

Try to try, my fanny. Sorry, dudes.

The month of August was hands down the most stressful month of my life. I lived to tell the tale, though, but now I'd prefer to just forget the tale.

Here are the highlights of the last month-plus in semichronological order:

  • We went to the Sauerkraut Festival in Phelps, New York, and didn't even eat any kraut. We saw some good friends and watched a parade and got more free candy than a family should consume in a year.

Greta's first WarHead candy

Dan Zanes at the Harro East

Jessica Lea Mayfield at Lovin' Cup

  • We celebrated 8 amazing years of marriage. I can't think of anything else to say about that except for yay us!
  • Pat and I went to a wedding for our friends Tim and Shastin at the picturesque Allegany State Park. The reception was at a casino and there were many jaw-dropping moments gawking at the crazy gamblers. Additionally, we danced our faces off and enjoyed an adult-only affair without the worry of dropping an F-bomb and having it come back to haunt us. Sometimes it's the little things.
  • Greta wrapped up her last days of daycare and then had a week off with Pat (while I was working 12-14 hours days - whoopee!), and they had some great daddy-daughter quality time. Most notably they went on a road trip to Enchanted Forest for a night. They spent two days at the park and had an absolute blast.

Pat and Greta at Enchanted Forest

Greta and the Dude

Greta in Wonderland

  • Pat turned 35, which means he's a year older than me for two months and three days. He's so old.
  • Greta went to her first afternoon tea. That may not seem like a big deal to you, but it seemed like a big deal to me. She poured half a cup of hot cocoa down her white dress, but other than that everything went swimmingly.
  • Greta seamlessly transitioned into kindergarten. It helps she's going to the kindergarten at her daycare center and is with most of her best buddies, but I appreciated how anticlimactic it was.

First day of school

  • We took our annual trip to Ohio to visit my mom's side of the family. We saw my grandmother, my great aunt, and aunt, and an uncle, and we spent a lot of quality time with my parents. It's hard to pick a highlight from the trip, but I guess I'd have to say the highlight was having a cerveza (or two or five) with my Great Aunt Jean at a Mexican joint in Dayton, Ohio. She's 90 and is the one elderly person who makes Pat and me think we may not need to drive off a cliff together in an old-age pact.
  • To round out the list I will share with you Greta's latest artwork from school: a bag person in her likeness! How creepy! How cool!

Freaky Greta

Ruby approves.


Letting my nerd flag fly

File under: work

By far my least-favorite part about being an editor is when a writer or another reviewer decides to fight me throughout the process. It is really unpleasant. It usually stems from one of the following:

  • The writer/reviewer is insecure and can't admit he/she is wrong.
  • The writer/reviewer has enough knowledge of grammar and style that he/she is dangerous.
  • The editor is wrongmistaken.


There are many other scenarios, I'm sure, but those are the three main issues I face. Also, I don't know what it is, but people seem to get great satisfaction from pointing out when editors make an error and really rub it in their faces.

In my reviews, I always try to be thoughtful, thorough, and kind. Although Pat probably won't back me on this, I will fully admit that I make mistakes and that I don't know everything. (I'm still learning!) But 99% of the time I have a rationale for the changes I make during a review and can almost always support each change with documentation. For the most part, I think I am really good at what I do.

I seem to go through phases where things are hunky-dory. I think I've got this whole editor-writer relationship down pat and that I've truly earned the respect of my associates. And then everything will go to shit, and I'm slogging through the day dodging bullets and hoping for the best. All I can do is try to stay thoughtful, thorough, and kind and give myself a pat on the back after a day's work. (That's the other downside of being an editor: When I do a good job, all is well so my work goes unnoticed. When I make a mistake, that's when people notice. Oh, hai! I was in an interview once where the hiring manager said something like, "If you do this job, you're going to have to be okay with yourself at the end of the day. Editors don't get praise." It's so true.) Also, I read blogs like this one. It's like therapy. This latest post definitely struck a chord with me, as they often do, and I thought I would share.



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 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.


I have today off...

File under: unemployed | work

...and the next day, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day...because I have recently joined the ranks of the 10% of Americans who are unemployed. I just found out yesterday. I apologize to my close friends and family if you're learning about this en masse, but I just hate talking about it, and even though I have suddenly found myself with more time on my hands, I feel like I'm in a dither and like I need to do 5 million things at once. So here's the update:
I am sad because I worked with so many great people and I am really going to miss them. I am actually holding it together pretty well, but there is one editor I worked with who was such a great mentor to me, and every time I think about how I won't be working with him anymore, I burst into tears.
I am embarrassed, and my pride is definitely bruised. One thing that makes me tick is I always want the people I work with to think I'm doing a good job. I hate the thought that anyone would think otherwise or that people who don't know the whole story will think less of me. I am definitely having an issue with the stigma of being laid off. (I survived a lot of rounds of layoffs at my previous employer, and I hoped it would never happen to me, but the way the economy is, it seems so common it is almost a rite of passage.) Ugh, and the thought of having to talk to certain people (you know, everyone has those one or two - or more - annoying people in their lives) about it makes me want to crawl under a rock.
I am annoyed that I need to update my resume, and try on my suit, and go on interview(s), and get settled into a new job with new coworkers. (And even though I am very thankful for unemployment benefits, I'm annoyed I need to figure out how to do that.)
I am scared, for obvious reasons.
I am humbled and in total shock that I completely agree with my company's decision. I fully support them and wish only the best for them. I would have thought I would be too stubborn to feel that way, much less admit it. But that is truly how I feel.
I am honored that so many of my coworkers expressed their kind and tearful support of me and that people have been coming out in droves to offer me emotional support and to write recommendations for me.
I am thankful that I have such a great family. I can't be too sad when Greta and Pat are with me. I told Greta that I wouldn't stay working at my old job and that I needed to find a new one. She said, "Oh no!" and then asked me a few questions about it. We got into a mini economics lesson, and her suggestion was that maybe they should start selling "princess stuff." Smart and funny, she is.
I am also thankful that I wasn't escorted out and that they gave me time yesterday and today to collect my things and thoughtfully organize and pass along my projects. It was also nice that so many people offered to help me with my things that I actually turned some away, and those who did help me made it so I didn't have to do the "walk of shame" to my car alone.
I am excited for the future. I think I have a pretty good chance of finding something similar in my field, but if I want to try something completely new, this is probably the perfect opportunity to do so. And I'm also excited to have some time to, like, paint my kitchen (sometimes it's the little things), and to ultimately have more time with Greta.
I am tired. I keep thinking this is just a nasty dream. Alas, it is not.

Day 28: the spitting image(s) of Fran and Pat

File under: Image del día | work

So, at work right now we're having a Wii Bowling tournament. Without me knowing it and against my wishes, one of my coworkers signed me up for the tournament. Before the start of the tournament, I hadn't played a video game since maybe 1986, and I really wasn't looking forward to looking like an ass in front of my coworkers. But then I played a game or two and realized that Wii Bowling is at least mildly awesome. Possibly my favorite part of the tournament so far has been creating my Mii.

My Mii looks like me! Look, see? (That was like modern-day Dr. Seuss prose.)

The bad news is I'm really not very good at playing WB. The good news is I'm not the worst. That and if there are any superlatives at the end of the tournament that don't have anything to do with skill (eg, Person Whose Mii Looks Most Like Him/Her) I might have a shot at actually winning something.

Off topic but not completely unrelated, Greta came home with a piece of paper (paper that wasn't a scrap or leftover dot matrix paper!!) that was rolled up and tied, like some kind of fancy certificate. Greta claimed it was a present for Pat and me. Pat untied the bow, and we excitedly unrolled the paper to find this.

Pat asked Greta what it was, and she said to him, "It's you - from the time you turned into a monster head." Is that a Satanic figure in the upper-left corner? Like my Mii, the resemblance is uncanny, don't you think?


2008-11-30 22:45:36

File under: work

I don't want to go back there! Waaah. (This is the main reason I don't take time off.)


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