Saturday, July 28, 2007

To Put it in LM's Terms

"The egg is in the basket"

(LM is home.)


Thursday, July 26, 2007

One More Day

It's been a long week. Long long days at work, coming home to a puppy who wants to play when I just want to sleep. Wondering how I'm going to get up and go again the next day when I'm so drained from the one I just had. Dealing with craziness in the work place on a daily basis - things I never would have dreamt I'd deal with ever. There was only one thing I looked forward to more than my Thursday night call to my boy - picking him up on Friday after six long weeks away.

When I called, my ex mil answered the phone (the "outlaws" as I call them). She said she had just been talking with my ex. I could tell from her voice that something not so good was about to follow. It seems that somehow there was confusion about when we were doing the swap and she thought we were doing it on Saturday, not Friday. My eyes welled up immediately, and I fought back the tremors in my voice. I said I would just come all the way to Pittsburgh, then, an irrational response, but the only one I could deal with. If she couldn't meet me part way on Friday, I'd come all the way instead of waiting one more day. As we talked, I finally realized that was insane. I realized I was being irrational and said we'd just meet on Friday. I knew she felt badly. I knew she understood. She wasn't doing this intentionally, but her plans prohibited her from leaving tomorrow morning. We finally agreed to meet earlier on Saturday (instead of for lunch) and she put LM on the phone.

He had been watching a movie and started telling me all about it. It gave me time to gather my senses and stop the tears and realize I could do this. We talked about the bunny that had been left at work. He talked about why it made sense to him that someone might leave it at the Y. "Let's say that someone got a bunny. And went to the pet store and bought bedding, and a cage and food and all the things that bunnies need. And then, a couple years go by, and something happens and they don't have as much money. Maybe they have some bad debts. Maybe they have a gambling problem. I don't know, but for some reason, they just can't provide for the bunny anymore. So they try to think. They want to think of a place where there might be people that might want a bunny. They try to think of a place where someone might have the means to provide a good home for the bunny. And they think of the Y." It was just so cute (gambling problems?) that I laughed and I felt better and I knew that one more day wasn't going to kill me.

So we finally decided to get off the phone and we said our goodnights and as I just about hung up, he said, "Hang on, Mom. Nana wants to talk with you again."

And Nana said she had thought about it and she could surely get everything done tomorrow morning and could meet me part way tomorrow afternoon.

And I had to get off the phone so I could cry. Tears of joy this time. Tears of joy.

Within 15 hours I will hold my Little Man in my arms once again.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I'm Just Sayin'

When you are asked to remove a tick from an elderly woman's bum in the first week of employment at a new management job, don't complain. God has a funny sense of humor and it's not of the funny ha-ha variety.

I was speaking with my boss, R, in our very small, shared office space today when a woman out at the front desk was causing quite a commotion. R asked me if I had met D yet, and I said no, as I tried in vain to figure out which employee she might be that I hadn't met yet. As D waved to R and came around behind the desk to our office to say hello, R said, "D just got breast implants. When she comes into the office, say, "My God! What great tits!" I am certain my jaw hit the floor and my expression must have been priceless. NEVER in my entire life would I utter such words, more or less to a woman I have not even met! "I think I'll pass on that, actually," I muttered in disbelief.

As D rounded the corner into our office she was cupping her breasts and proceeded to play with them, touch them and move them around for the duration of the 25 minute conversation in our office. R asked about the surgery, intimate details were shared. During a discussion of the firmness of the new implants, one of my staff members came in (who apparently knew D well, but I don't think it really mattered) and asked if they were 'softening up.' D immediately squished her breasts around and then asked this co-worker if she wanted to feel. M did. She poked a few times and remarked on their solidity.

After a diversion into D's recent vacation, she eventually went back to talking about her breasts with R egging her on. Eventually, D asked R if she wanted to feel. R laughed and said, 'of course!' and poked and felt around at the implants just as apparently many others had done. It was then that D turned to me and asked if I wanted to feel, too. "It's okay," she said, "Really! Everyone wants to know what they feel like! Go ahead!" I declined. I am certain I looked as shell shocked as anything.

R did make a comment about how they had probably thrown "little Christian Amy" for a loop and just laughed. She and D clearly thought this was hysterical.

I have never felt more uncomfortable in a professional setting. Never. And to think, this is an organization who is supposed to be honoring "Christian principles".

Man, can't all my problems be about ticks?

(And to think, that this morning, I thought I'd be blogging about how someone seems to think the Y is the charitable pet organization as they left us a domesticated rabbit in a cage with food and water this morning, on our basketball courts with a note saying, "Please adopt me".)

15-hour work days aside even ones that include uncomfortable sexual conversations, I go pick up LM on Friday. Nothing in the world can ruin my excitement for that!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Top This

Last night I met up with one of my former co-workers. We browsed through IKEA and chatted about our jobs and lives. She asked how the new job was going and I told her about life at the health club, including what I considered to be the very entertaining tick debacle. When I finished, I asked how life was at my old job. She said the new employee that had started a few months before I left was actually fired (a first for the company) for various reasons including because they gave him $10K towards moving costs and he spent it all without ever really moving here. He had rented an apartment locally, but never sold his home in California or moved his family here. Instead, he spent some $8K on blenders, toasters, kitchenaid mixers and a microwave oven for his apartment. He also expensed a trip to NY City with his family, stating it was a scouting trip for schools for his daughter. The company let him know on Friday that he was being terminated for that as well as lack of performance and continual absences.

And he completely freaked out.

He refused to leave. He screamed and yelled. The company, a very dignified group of elite scientists had to call the POLICE to come and take him away. They had to take him away in the police cruiser and everything. My friend said she was right in the thick of the action in her new office location, but at one point was concerned for her safety thinking this guy just might go postal or something. For a place that requires government Secret clearance, passwords, and an FBI background check, how exciting must it be to have someone who requires a police escort upon termination?

Totally beats my tick story by a landslide.

Friday, July 20, 2007

57 Varieties of Guilt

We changed our lightbulbs. We unplug anything not in use. The thermostat is turned down in the winter and up in the summer. We use ceiling fans instead of the A/C. We recycle. We use bio-degradable dog waste bags. I use environmentally friendly laundry, dish soaps and household cleaners. I don't leave the water running when I brush my teeth. As a household, we have tried to minimize the amount of waste produced by our family. We try to limit our negative impact on the environment.

But I have realized I have a long way to go. There is one area of my life that I have been remiss to address. One habit that I have allowed to continue unchecked. It would not be accurate to say we have "gone green", it would be more accurate to say I am still very "red".

Hello. My name is Eliza and I am a ketchup waster. My last wastage was two hours ago. (Hanging head in shame.)

I was raised in the Midwest. Which means I am a firm believer that ketchup is a food group. I will admit, I am nowhere near the connisseur of the condiment quite like my brother-in-law, Bear (who will eat it on Pringles and mashed potatoes if allowed - and who's NOT going to allow Bear to do as he pleases?) but still, I tend to partake of the delectable spread frequently. What I have come to realize lately, however, is that I am a ketchup waster.

The root of the problem (other than believing that ketchup should be consumed on just about everything) is that I'm a ketchup DIPPER. I really don't like to put ketchup ON my food, I just like to DIP my food in for a touch. Which means, I have to put a blob on my plate or in a small bowl, or someplace suitable for the proper dip. Perhaps this isn't the real problem, it's when the need to dip comes into play with my complete inability to estimate. So, when I sit down to eat a sandwich for lunch, and I squeeze out some ketchup onto my plate I have absolutely NO IDEA how much ketchup is really enough. I just know that I don't want to have to get back up for MORE. So I blob. And then I blob a little more. And perhaps just a touch more. And maybe one more squeeze just to be safe. And one more just for looks. And a little squeeze to round it out. And one more just to be double safe.

And so my plate returns to the sink twenty minutes later with more ketchup left than was consumed and I feel guilty and ashamed washing it down the sink.

I know that realizing I have a problem is the first step to recovery. I am proud to at least be able to say out loud that I have a ketchup wasting problem and to let the world know that I am seeking treatment.

And just like many medical procedures, I believe the best treatment lies outside of our country. So, I must move. To some European country where they charge you for each ketchup packet you need. Perhaps I'll move to France where they don't even eat ketchup on their fries! Or maybe I'll just move to China where they have no idea what is so French about a Fry.

All I know is I have to find a solution before Christmas. One more hand written card from the CFO of Heinz thanking me for personally making the year another highly profitable one for the company is more than I can bear.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

7 Months and Light Years of Difference

LM: "Mom! I just had to call, because you needed to be the first person to witness this historic event! I lost a tooth! It just fell out! So, what's new with everything? How's your job? Any more problems with scheduling? What's new with Eli? Did you figure out how to replace the ink cartridge in the printer? I went to work with Grandpa today. I answered the phones and crossed off an old date on postcards for a mailing we are sending out next week. Grandpa even paid me! We went to the hardware store later and I spent my schillings on a new padlock! But not all my schillings, just some of them. Oh, and I found the $10 you hid in my Bible. It was in Luke. Well, guess that's about it. I'm going to go read before I go to bed. I'm almost done with the Tom Clancy novel you sent! Love ya! Bye!"

Little Bird: "Hey Aunt Fred! How are you? I got your package today! Thanks for the funky scarf knitting kit! I totally love it! I asked Papa if he could help me and he told me I had to read the directions and figure it out. Did I tell you that Papa took me shopping today? Well, we went to the store and I bought a new pair of capri pants. They are purple, no, I mean, they are gold, no, I mean, they are PINK, with a purple and gold glitter on the leg. The I bought another pair, but they aren't the same. They have stripes on them. And then I got my SECOND High School Musical t-shirt. Papa didn't know I already HAD a High School Musical shirt already! I wore it right in front of him the other day! "Papa, don't you remember? It's brown and gold and has that saying on the back?" Papa doesn't even remember it!! And I also got a new skirt, no, I mean, shorts, no, I mean, skirt. No! I mmmeeeaaannn SHORTS that have a butterfly on them. We almost bought another shirt but it was purple and it didn't really go with anything that I have so we didn't get it. After the store, Papa took me to a bookstore cause I had never been to a bookstore before. I didn't buy anything, but Papa bought a couple of books. Do you know what they had there, Aunt Fred? They have cd's and you can pick them out and then scan them at this place and then put on these headsets and you can listen to the music on the cd! Right there in the store!! It was reallllyyyyy coool!! But I didn't buy any. Have you seen the new Harry Potter movie? I went with Grandma and my friend Dakota. I haven't read any of the books. My mom said they were too long and would take too long for me to read. I want to know what happens in the last one, though. Is Jacob reading it? He reads books fast. Could you tell him when he knows who dies to email me and tell me cause I saw this interview with the author and she said that two of the main characters die and I think it's going to be Harry and Hermine! People at my dad's office thing it's going to be someone else but I don't think so. Did Jacob see the movie yet? Does he call you every day? I can only call my mom every other day. Today is an ODD day so I don't call my mom today. I'm going to go check my email and see if my mom sent me anything today. Tell Jacob to send me an email. You know what, Aunt Fred? I forgot to check my email for like two months and when I did I had so many emails that I couldn't open my email and my dad had to open it and clean it out for me so that I could get my emails again! I think I'm going to ask Papa if Dakota can come over tomorrow. We're having hamburgers on the grill tomorrow. Today we had to go to the dentist office for Papa this morning. The office was so cold so I went down to the parking lot and sat in the truck to wait for Papa where it was warmer. I was reading this book that I got at a book sale at my school before I left where it was buy two books get one free and I bought this one but it was so sad. It was about this girl, who has this dog. And she's staying at her Aunt's house and they live at a funeral home and so she's always around death and then her dog, it gets away and it gets hit by a car and her friend, he gets the dog and he goes and he buries it next to her aunt's grave at the cemetery, cause her aunt died, and her uncle died and then her dog died and it was so sad, but I finished it today. Oh, you need to go eat some dinner? Well, okay, I will talk to you soon. Love ya, Aunt Fred! Bye"

I'm not sure today, which one I miss more.

Friday, July 13, 2007

You Might Have Felt a Sudden Lapse of Gravity Today

....cause the earth stopped spinning when I realized that I have lived in my town for four years and I have never known we have a SCRAPBOOKING STORE!!!

To think, all this time, I've been stocking up on supplies when I visited my sister in MICHIGAN (you must understand, she has a really cool store there).

They even told me about a CONVENTION in a couple weeks that's not far from me. Classes, demonstrations and VENDORS.

Lord. Have. Mercy. (or at the very least take away my Visa card!)

(Did I mention my birthday is coming up? Hmm....)

Addendum (which is legal speak so Newly is entertained): I changed my mind. If you're looking for ideas for my birthday, here's one.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Of the Things I Regret

You've never even been there, never shared that part of my life and yet I'm reluctant each time to go. I have to force myself, laying arguments against staying in, trying to find the motivation to put myself through it once again. I return home with smoke in my hair, alcohol on my breath and lyrics still running through my head -lyrics I have been running away from since I first heard them three days ago.

How can it be that someone could write exactly what we shared? How could anyone else have the same memory they don't want to forget? How can it be that something I still see as so uniquely ours is so universally experienced? I don't want to think it, and yet I do. I don't want to think of you, and yet, I always do.

Tonight is one of those nights. One of those that I am glad that I can't just call. Glad that it's not quite so easy to drop you an email I'll regret in the morning. Glad for the distance that exists now. Glad and yet, so incredibly torn.

When will it stop? When will you be really gone? When will my heart stop racing just thinking of you? When will my mind stop rehearsing dialogues, conversations, arguments even?


Where are you tonight? Where are you every day? Whatever was it that made our lives be so separate? Whatever was it that was powerful enough to last all this time? Through all this nonsense? Through so many lies? Did you hear those same words and think of me, if only for a moment?

I look at my track record and wonder who I am. One gay man, one married man, one commitment-phobic and one with such addictions and issues to not even be considered. Who am I that I have created this life? Who am I that I am defined by such a past? Who am I that I would rather now hide than face another relationship? Who am I?

Am I still the girl you loved? The one that once caught your eye? The one that was once strong, stubborn and yet mysteriously attractive in your eyes? Will I ever be her again? Do I ever truly want to be? Do I trust the power that came with being her?

At the end of all of this, I will regret so many things, but most of all tonight, with tears once again streaming down my face, I will regret most that I had to walk away. That I had to leave behind the love I wanted most. That to this day I never had you for my own. That these words will forever go unheard.

I would like to say I will regret loving you. But to do so would be a lie. And I promised myself no more of those.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oh My Gosh, A Title!

I couldn't find the person who so cleverly posted scrapbooking page layouts in such a manner as to have it actually scroll from left to right so you could see the whole layout. So, I improvised. We'll see if this actually works. The pics may be too small to even see anything, but hey, I thought I would try.

Christmas 2006
This is my layout for KICK'N (Kid In Charge of the Kitchen Night) - what?! You wanted me to post scrapbooking layouts AND link back to blog posts? Yeah, right!!
Along Came Eli
My Brother G's Visit

My Dad and Second Mom's Visit

The Strawberry Patch

My Deck "Birds and Blooms"
(I wish I had put the lettering on a white background...ugh...hindsight...)

More of my deck, veggies and birds

LM's Eleven Year Old Pics

More Eli
I did a few more, but they are pretty standard and nothing all too special, so I didn't post those. It took me enough time as it is to just crop these pics and put them together in Photoshop!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Scrapbook Help (Still can't put a title in the title bar)

I remember awhile back one of ya'll posting scrapbook pages in such a cool way that it scrolled over the page layout. It was way cool and I dug it but for the life of me, I can't remember who it was that posted it or how in the world ya did that.

So, can ya share?

I have spent the last few days scrapbooking and thought I'd post a couple layouts but I don't know how to do it so that you can see the two page layout together.

If ya have an idea, let me know!


P.S. Anyone know a reason why I can't post a title?

Friday, July 06, 2007

A Day In My Life (blogger won't let me put the title in the actual title spot today)

I was working on correcting the training manual this morning. An ironic task since I am still not fully trained myself. I heard one of the desk staff say something to a patron about going to see a physician. My ears perked up and I listened more closely. I got up from my desk (with thoughts of risk management in my head) and ventured out to see what was going on. Standing at the front desk was an elderly woman in a bathing suit.

"She just wants someone to come look at it."

Quickly deducing that my staff member wasn't about to go look at whatever it was, I said, "How can I help?"

"There's a woman in the locker room who just found a tick and she's a little upset and wants someone to come help," my staff member told me without sympathy or compassion.

"I'll go see what I can do to help," I offered.

The elderly woman informed me as we walked to the locker room that the woman with the tick was a bit concerned and didn't know what to do about it.

As I entered the locker room, I found another elderly woman in a bathing suit (it was aquatics for the arthritic class time) who was bent over staring at the buttocks of another elderly woman who was wearing only a towel, and then just barely even that. I quickly realized, the tick in question, had lodged itself in this woman's arse.

"How can I help?" I politely asked.

"I need this thing OUT!" demanded the tick woman.

"The best option would be for you to make a quick stop at your family physician on your way home from the gym and have a nurse remove it for you," I offered.

"I have a funeral to attend!"

The woman was hysterical. I think, in all her years, she had never had such a close encounter with a tick. In all of mine, I had never had such a close encounter with a naked elderly woman.

The tick woman craned her head around to try to see the tick. "Can you at least draw a circle around it or something so I can see where it is?" To be honest, I have no idea how drawing a circle around the embedded tick was helpful, but with an elderly entourage waiting my every move with critical eyes, I did as was asked and proceeded to draw a circle with my black Bic pen on this woman's arse.

The other woman, the one trying to help then tried to take apart my pen to find a way to pluck the tick out of the buttocks. I suggested that tweezers might really be the right implement, but since we don't stock those as First Aid items, her physician's office was still the best idea. (Don't get me wrong, even if someone had produced tweezers at that very moment, there was NO WAY I was getting any closer to this woman's butt.)

I asked how far away her doctor's office was. Nearby, as it turns out. And she had two hours before the funeral. I suggested she just make a quick stop and ask the nurse or Physician's Assistant if they might help. "I'm certain they are better equipped to handle this issue," I said.

I offered to get a bandaid, and returned to the locker room to help this woman adhere a bandaid over her butt cheek to cover the tic for the time being. She politely introduced herself to me and told me she was a very active member on several gym committees including the upcoming golf tournament. I shook her hand (why not? I've already touched her butt with my pen) and told her I was the newest member of the Member Development team.

In all my years of working for a non-profit, I have never had to stoop so low to get recognition by a power player before.

Monday, July 02, 2007


I was tagged. Katrina asked about my favorite places to eat. Oh, and she limited me to just FIVE. This is harder than it would seem.

The rules are as follows:

1. Name and link to the person who tagged you.
2. Name the state and country where you reside.
3. Name your five favorite local restaurants.
4. Tag others.

And, as usual, I am going to take exception to at least one of the rules. (That's just how I roll.)

First, I was tagged by the wonderful, ever creative, Katrina. Again (stepping on my soap box) if you don't read this woman's blog every day, you are missing a smile, a laugh, a dropped jaw in amazement, a co-conspirator nod every single day. Secondly, I live in Pennsylvania, USA, but that will have little to do with my favorite restaurants (my exception).

My five favorite restaurants are:
1. Arthur's Garden Deli in Rock Island, IL. Maybe it's because my friend Stacy is emailing me job opportunities 'back home' in Illinois, but the thought of a baked potato, or hot ham and cheese, or maybe their salad bar, or any of the concoction sandwiches my ex used to create there, but I could really go for some Arthurs. Of course I'd need some bagel chips, fruit salad and soda to go along with it!!
2. Cheddar's. Again, a restaurant from my former life. Cheddars is the place we went to in college, the place we went to when we were first married, the place we took Jacob when he was just days old (so he could meet our favorite waitress - hi Michelle!), the place I even met dear friends on a return visit home from PA. Cheddars is the only restaurant I know with a pork tenderloin sandwich. The place I consumed as much Thousand Island dressing as possible when I was pregnant. The place where we always ate at half price (did I mention Michelle?)
3. Paganini's in Doylestown, PA. The first nice restaurant we ate at when we moved out to PA. I've only eaten there perhaps three or four times in the 9 years we've lived here, but it's just divine. It's the whole experience. The restaurant is in a rennovated house, with little nooks and hide-a-way spots for tables. The food is melt-in-your mouth good. The servers walk around with warm fresh bread delivered to your bread plate while you dine. Great atmosphere, great food, great memories.
4. McGinnis Landing in Kalamazoo, MI. There isn't anything really remarkable about this restaurant. The food is typical American. It's just that eating there means I'm with my family and that's always a good time. I can remember a time in particular when I was forced to don a HUGE green ten gallon cowboy hat while the staff sang a little birthday jingle to me. Even that memory cannot dampen the joy I feel when I think of being there surrounded by the kids.
5. Calhoon's in Tennessee. I don't know exactly what town Calhoon's finds itself mainly because we usually go by boat. Again, the restaurant itself isn't remarkable, it's the journey there. Out boating with the family, travelling to the restaurant together. The last time our dinner took far longer than expected and we had to navigate home in the pitch dark. Even so, I'd love to be on my way to Calhoon's tonight. (I know the rest of my family will probably head there sometime this week as they are all together in TN. Enjoy some ribs for me!)

If nothing else, this meme tells you a) I'm hungry and b) I'm homesick. I'm just having a little trouble lately putting my finger on exactly where 'home' is.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Back to Square One

By saying "flexible am/pm/weekend schedule" my new boss meant I'll be working every single Sunday from 8am-6pm or I am out of a job. We've had a difficult start to the new job trying to reach a compromise when only one of us (me) is compromising. As it currently stands, I've agreed to work her mandated Sunday schedule in order to keep my job. She reluctantly allowed me to do even that as she was ready to shake hands and go our separate ways more than once since this discrepancy arose. I've offered to work every Sunday from 2-6, I've offered to work every Saturday whatever hours she wants, I've offered to work any evening hours, alternating Sundays, but none of that was acceptable to her.

So, it's safe to say that resumes are back out, I've re-inquired about jobs I had interviewed for before accepting this one and I'm trying to remain optimistic that something better is going to come up that will allow me to still attend church on a regular basis.

It is most interesting, isn't it, that all of this conflict has arisen during employment by a company with the word "Christian" in its name.