Thursday, December 30, 2010

I am, but

Many people know that one of my favorite websites is "StuffChristiansLike.Net" It's a satire site run by an employee of Dave Ramsey to laugh at the things we do as Christians. Browse around and you will find things that will make you laugh like a score card as to how Metrosexual is Your Worship Leader. A few days ago, the author asked for readers help with his upsoming book.
"Whenever I travel and meet people or connect online with folks, our conversation inevitably drifts toward a simple question, “What do you do?” The most common answer I hear, from people of all ages, is simple: “I’m a __________, but I want to be a ___________.” That’s what my next book is about and I need your help.
If this sounds like something you’ve ever thought about before, if you’ve ever felt like your job wasn’t using your to your full potential or that you weren’t doing what God designed you to do, I’d like to talk with you. I’d love to hear your story
"

I decided to share my story. Here it is.

I am an accountant, but my heart is with the youth of my church. I don’t want to become a youth minister. Honestly, I think my skills and talents are more closely aligned with accounting. My talents aren’t getting a group of teenagers to follow me. I don’t have the charisma for them to do so. I usually end up sounding like I’m barking at them. I enjoy though the small moments when I can feel like I’ve connected with a teen and helped them learn and grow. More often, they teach me something than I teach them.
I’m currently looking for a job; therefore I’ve been reading books like “The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting the Job You Want.” I don’t think the author is a Christian. However, he said that people should never say, “I’m a plumber” or “I’m an accountant” rather we should say, “I’m Lauri, and I work as an accountant.” The idea struck me as truth that we limit ourselves to what we do 40 hours a week rather than the other 128. People often ask me if I’m a teacher. No way. I enjoy playing with teens and sending them home to their parents not beating Algebra into their minds. I often think it’s because, and I don’t know where the disconnect occurs but, we expect Christians to not work in the for profit world. Why is that? Wasn’t Joseph a carpenter, Moses a shepherd, Paul a tent maker? Yet they helped fulfill God’s world. Why do we feel the need to apologize for doing the same thing?

What's your story?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thought of the Day

"The prospect of a long day at the beach makes me panic. There is no harder work I can think of than taking myself off to somewhere pleasant, where I am forced to stay for hours and 'have fun'." - Phillip Lopate

To Do Today: Learn how to relax and enjoy life.

I found out when I moved to Internal Audit that the head of the department sent out a thought of the day everyday. I was posting them sometimes as status updates. It seemed very popular so I thought I'd post some I have saved and those I get weekly from Franklin Covey along with my thoughts.
I find that the opposite is true for me. I can almost always find things to do that are pleasant. I wonder if this is a part of the cultural of "busyness" that we have. It's a waste of time to relax or rather not to be doing something productive. If we aren't we assume that we are being lazy. Why do we think that? God commanded us to keep the Sabbath or to take time to rejuvenate.
I'm actually not sure it wouldn't help solve our problems. What if we only worked 40-45 hours a week? Would places have to hire more people? Would unemployment go down? Think about it. Why do we have to do everything? Do we truly think the world will quit revolving if we don't do everything?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gift Exchange

Gift : 1. something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present. 2. the act of giving. 3. a special ability or capacity; natural endowment; talent: the gift of saying the right thing at the right time

Give: 1. To present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; bestow: to give a birthday present to someone. 2. To relinquish or sacrifice: to give one's life for a cause. 3. v. to make a gift or gifts; contribute: to give to the United Way.

White Elephant Gift Exchange: An exchange of items found around the house of little to no value that have outlived their usefulness. The goal is to be humorous rather than to give a gift of value or that benefit the receiver.
Which one of these things is not like the other? I’ve always been taught that it’s better to give than to receive and while giving the focus should be on the one you are giving the gift not you. As a Christian, I learned that one should give to God in secret. By extension this means to me, we shouldn’t be trying to make ourselves the center of attention when giving a gift. It has always seemed to me that the goal of a white elephant gift exchange ends up being to make the giver the center of attention. Isn’t that incredibly selfish? I read this online a few days ago:
“One of the biggest lessons I learned is that for many people, gift giving is a chore. YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT, SCROOGE.
- If you are shopping for a wedding present, it means someone you care for is starting an exciting new chapter in life. You should be filled with joy and enthusiasm. If you can't muster at least a good grace about it, why are you even buying a gift?.
- If you are shopping for Christmas/holiday presents, you presumably have both some money AND friends and/or family. Lucky, lucky you! What a gift to be able to share with others. Attitude is everything.”

All of this is very, very true. Why then do we turn it into something centered on ourselves? Please consider this before you participate in your next gift exchange.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tennis Lessons

I've spent the past few months taking weekly group tennis lessons. How does an adult start taking tennis lessons? I've always wanted to be able to play the game. I've never had anyone want to play with me. One of the ATP series takes place a couple miles away every summer. When I was twelve, I was reading the sports section of the community newspaper. The sportswriter was impressed with a 17 year-old player named Pete Sampras. Cool! He was only a few years older than me. The writer seemed to think his potential was limitless. Flash forward twenty years and we know how that turned out. I convinced my best friend in high school that he was cute. In the era of Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Martin, and Chang, at least the Grand Slams were covered on tv. I was watching.
This summer, I had time on my hands. I received a postcard from a health center associated with an area hospital. They were offering classes called Tennis in No Time. I decided this would be it. Afterall, I had promised myself that I would exercise more while I was looking for a new job.
I took the TNT class and then they offered a follow up class for June. In July, it was the TNT grad class. In August, the TNT PHD class. By the time the regular classes started in September, I was hooked. I even had an extended Facebook conversation with someone I met at Laurapolooza about the benefits. It's exciting to know that I'm not the worst player in the class, as opposed to every year of gym class. Brian, the instructor, kicks our butt once a week. I can tell that I can run from one side of the court quicker than I could in May. One of the ways, I know this? I've lost 15 pounds and 10 inches since I started tennis. I haven't changed anything else besides not going to work. :) I know I have a lot more to go, but I'm pretty happy about making that much progress.

Now let's just see if Santa brings me a tennis raquette for Christmas...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Button string

I know how many Laura Ingalls Wilder posts can one person make? I wanted to show you a craft, I think I have finished.
At Laurapolooza, we were given several different crafts. One was a button string. Laura and Mary strung Ma's buttons on a string at one point to entertain Carrie. I strung the original buttons we were given. Then I realized I still had many of the packs of buttons you receive when you buy a shirt. I decided to expand the string using those. Why hide them in a drawer?
Here's some photos:

The whole string

The left side


The right side

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My First video blog

My first try at a video blog. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Support the local team

The Reds are National League Central Champs!!!!
It's been a long time coming to this baseball town! Cincinnati may have several major college teams nearby, a minor league hockey team, an NFL team, however at the heart it is a baseball town. I was born after the Big Red Machine and still know most of the team. The beginning of the season I wasn't sure who all the players were, but I think everyone has a pretty good idea now.
On Thursday, I decided to go buy a t-shirt. After all the sweatshirt I got when the Reds won the World Series is in the pile to make into a quilt as it is so old.
I went to Wal-mart to get some other things and looked. There was a rack of Bengals clothes at the entrance, a bunch of OSU racks, and one rack of Reds gear. They didn't have any NLC Champs items. They did have tshirts from the opening of the ballpark in 2003 that they were trying to clear out. I'm sorry how gross is that? "We don't have any new stuff, would you like some stuff that's been sitting on the shelves for 7 years?" I hope no one goes for it.
Next in the mall was Kohls. Same story except they did have room for North Carolina stuff. Why should you be making room for stuff that is no where near here?
We drove on down to Kroger's. After all, they are a local company so the odds are better. Nope. No Reds items at all. Bengals, a little bit of UC stuff, again a whole lot of OSU items.
Last chance was to go to Meijer. We walked in and right there were several t-shirts!!! Yes finally. The clerk said they had been selling them like crazy.
One thing though that annoys me so much. Why do people not root for their local team? Do they think they look cooler because they are rooting for a winning team? They don't. Is it because you like the player? Really, is it something she stands for? Or because they used to play for your team? Those are good reasons. Those may be good reasons. But he's cute, or he stands for something that almost everyone does aren't good reasons. Or they really mean - this guy/team wins and my local team doesn't.
Lean in really close while I whisper this to you - they aren't winning because of you. Your school isn't getting the recruits a lot of the time because the recruit is disappointed by the game day atmosphere or to put it bluntly the lack of butts in seats. The professional team can't compete with bigger teams for the bigger names because they don't have the money from the shirt and ticket sales or the ad revenue from the ratings on the games.
Stores won't stock the items because they don't sell. People won't buy because they won't look cool. But bottom line: being apathetic or only rooting for the winning team makes you look stupid not cool.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting things done

First, I wanted to start with some miscellaneous item. I've been posting links on my Facebook page whenever I post an entry. Several weeks ago, I added my Twitter to the people about Laurapolooza and onto Stuff Christians Like. Those sites have led to me having twitter followers that are random people. I signed for this blog to have ad space. So twittering the topic might be helpful to draw actual comments. Since Facebook and Twitter are linked for me, the end result would be the same.
Next and the point of the post, something that's frustrated me always and is rearing its head lately.
People who complain about the way something is done but won't evaluate it
It's easy to say at work, "It's always been done this way," or "they won't change because 'it's always done this way.' " Both statements are equally wrong. Just because something is done time and time again doesn't mean there isn't a better way because of something new. No one enjoys being around a stick in the mud. However, something may be new but it might not give the same information or the needed results. If something is going to be changed, an explanation needs to be given to justify it. It will be quicker or more accurate because of fill-in-the-blank.
Something that has been shown to me lately is so many people's unwillingness to look at something and realize that continuing to complain about a problem isn't a solution. It might not harm the product if tried, but it could help. So what if it hasn't been done before? We are batting zero at the moment. Trying a new bat won't get a hit, but we won't know until we try. Failure to try or to consider anything out of the time worn comfort zone really is giving up. I think we need to start asking the question more often, "What do we have to lose?" and then actually waiting for a moment to see if there's an answer. If not, than try as best we can.
I feel like this might be a confusing entry, but there are several things that I can't talk about openly, but that I need to express my feelings around those things.
What do you do when you feel this way?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where were you?

Many people are posting this on Facebook today. I wanted to answer it, and it turns out I'm more longwinded than an update allows. Big surprise?
I was in Disney World. We had arrived on Saturday and gone to the Night of Joy. Like I was going to let Micheal W. Smith, Plus One, and Jars of Clay be performing near me and not see it? MWS had a new CD coming out on the 11th that I had pre-ordered. I kept joking that because I was there they should arrange for me to get it early or something. It was a rainy, but we had fun. My Mom commented on how nice the teens at the concert were. They weren't anything like the ones the news shows. I agreed, because working with the youth at church made me quite aware of this.
On Tuesday, we were getting ready to go to the Magic Kingdom when they said something was happening at the Trade Center on the morning show. For some reason, I thought of how there are always protests at the World Trade Organization meetings and that they must be meeting at the Trade Center. My Mom came in from taking the trash out and I told her. We thought it was a small plane. We were wondering how you could evacuate the people over the place the plane crashed. We were watching as the 2nd plane hit. I remember saying that the building was swaying but saying no, it's the wtc - it can't fall over. We went to the park. I remember being on Pirates of the Caribbean and as the pirates attacked the town, wondering if there was a navy about to launch an attack on NYC out there. We rode several rides and were fairly distracted when we couldn't get on a ride. OK, we'll go into the Haunted Mansion. When we came out, all the rides were closed. Rumors were flying about the Pentagon and a car bomb at the State Department. People kept asking why they wanted us at our hotels/campgrounds. I thought that if we were attacked, the bodies would be much easier to identify if we were at the hotel with our registration. A pretty gruesome thought. We boarded a boat. I ended up sitting on a ledge by a window as we were all crowded. I realized that the country was going to war. We couldn't let someone do this to us without reprecussions. I was 24. My classmates who had enlisted were going to be the ones who were fighting the war. I started going through lists of people in my mind and praying for them, that God would keep them safe in whatever followed.
I called my office when we got back to the camper. The company had brokers and reinsurers in the building. They had already closed for the day. Many got out safely. I know there's a VP who has saved an email that he received from the 19th floor of Tower 2 at 8:55 in the morning. Later, I read that Marsh and Aon employees made up 65% of those who were killed. At one point the following month, Shirley was trying to get something fixed with Aon. The response was that they were trying, but all the clerical people had been killed and their managers as well. They were stuck trying to find someone who could work the system before they could make any adjustments. Aon was one of the companies that was being investigated by Elliot Spitzer a few years ago. I wondered if the problems stemmed from being forced to bounce back so quickly from the attack. After all, it was the executives that were killed, just the replaceable clerical people which is so so untrue.
Where were you?

Friday, September 10, 2010

TGIF!

It's Friday afternoon! For me, this usually means - two days that I don't have to get up way to early or go to work. Being unemployed means that those two days aren't all that different for me than the rest of the week. If I won the lottery that would be great, but I'd have to start buying tickets to do so.
Any way, the point of this post is to say that I have a fun weekend ahead of me!
Tonight, my friends and I are going downtown to eat dinner. At the company Christmas party, the employee and guest were each given a $75 gift certificate to one of the nicest restaurants in town. This brings the price down to a semi-reasonable amount. We are going to go down and use the last one we will have. However, we have decided that we will still go down occaisonally and try some nice restaurants downtown. It's fun, and I know that my one friend, who lives on the opposite side of town from the rest of us, finds this to be a little more convenient than to always be driving out to our houses.
Tomorrow is the home opener for the Miami RedHawks, and I have season tickets. In the past few years, we have quite frankly sucked. Last week for our first game, we played Florida. They had problems adjusting to a time after Tim Tebow, however we beat the line without any major injuries and looked good doing it. They are the #3/4 team in the country. Tomorrow, we are playing a team that didn't win any games last year. I'm liking our chances. As it's 9/11, the school is having a tribute to the military. I remember the game against Kent being the first game after. It was very moving. You could feel a sense of unity between the teams and all the fans as the band played. Several times, we have had fly-overs. High speed ones are fun, but the one low speed one with a carrier was awesome. On the third anniversary, we played U.C., the bands did a tribute. I don't know if it was simply inspiring or that week, I had visited the Flight 93 crash site and found it so moving. If you haven't visited it, I suggest you do.
Sunday is the fall kick-off for youth group. I'm excited by it. It's really the start of how Nicole and I want youth group to be. The kids are great. The room looks great. I think it's going to be a fantastic year!
What are your plans for the weekend?

Monday, September 6, 2010

COBRA Coverage

This will not be discussing new healthcare rules. Rather this will be discussing current rules and corporation's math skills.
At my previous employer, I paid for 50% of my health insurance on a biweekly basis for a high deductible plan. Under COBRA rules, I am able to keep my coverage if I pay 102% of the costs. It is 102% so that administrative costs can be covered.
Let's go over the math. $13.85 for medical and $4.23 for dental every two weeks for a year equals $470.08 or $39.17 per month. Now if I have to pay 102% that would be $79.91 per month. Correct?
I get the bill for the coverage. I call up, they can't go over the math, but they can assure me it is correct. The bill is for one month is $355.53. Now this would be at 100% of cost $348.56 per month or to convert that back to a biweekly pay period it would be $160.87. This would mean I had only been paying slightly over 11% of the costs. Believe me I can't find the documentation to cite, but this is not the figure we were given. We were told 50%, but even this isn't 25% or 33%.
To make this more affordable, the government is subsidizing the cost. I know this is quite controversial between the Republicans/Democrates/Tea Partiers. While not taking a side completely, I do know that I'm fortunate that at the moment I can qualify and that not everyone could afford the full cost. After the government credit, I owe $124.44.
For the sake of argument, if that was my full premium than previously I was paying 32.11% of my premium. Still less of a percentage than I was told.
Bottom line: Rather than debating if the government should be handing out money. I think it would be much simpler if the government required the corporation/insurance company to send an explanation of benefits or costs. Here is how much you paid, see employee handbook this was x percentile. Here is the full cost per year. Here is the administrative cost we are allowed to add. This is how much you owe per month. I believe someone is switching something and I can't get a good read on where it's occuring, but the numbers aren't working as you read above. If the cost is the true cost, maybe it would encourage people to realize how much they are spending because I'm pretty sure hypochondria is driving up some of the cost. Pet Peeve: we were told at one point each man, woman, and child had on average 14 distinct perscriptions each year. As this is more than one per month, and I averaged one every three years, I can't help but wonder how often this was truly needed.
I'll step off of the soapbox now.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday - Truly Outrageous

Here's the picture of the actual cartoon character. One of my favorites when I was younger.



I watched this video tonight. This make-up artist is really interesting.


Here's the link if it doesn't imbed correctly.

I decided to try it myself. I'll try to upload the photos of what I used and how it turned out at the end. First, I used a dark purple eyeliner around my eyes. I took an old bright pink lipstick and sketched the shape around my eyes and filled it in. Then I took a pink eyeshadow and went over the lipstick. Next, I took the darker of the purple eyeshadows and placed it in the crease of my eye. The lighter purple eyeshadow went on the lid of my eye. I took the pink glimmer and spread it all over the area I've covered. I had put on some foundation and some coverup to make my skin look a little better, but nothing odd. I used the pink blush on my cheeks and put a little glimmer on them, neither used very much as you can see from the picture, Jem doesn't have much blush. Next was the lips. In the video, she puts concealer and foundation on them. My lips would peel off my face if I did that! First I used a damp washcloth on my lips, then I used a lipbalm. Then I tried to use the darker of the lip glosses. This was way to translucent. I placed over it the lipstick I had used as a base on my eyes. Then on the outside of my lips, I used the lighter of the lipglosses. Over that in the center, I placed some of the pink eyeshadow. How do you think it turned out? I used MS Paint to show how my hair should be pink.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sunday - Laurapolooza finale

I woke up Sunday morning to find out that my roommate and suitemates had stayed for the pageant. They got home around 2:30. Honestly, I was so tired by the time we got back that I was glad we skipped it.
I finished packing and loaded the rental car. It was parked near the dining hall. I went in to have a bite and to say goodbye to everyone. It was such a fun time. I enjoyed meeting everyone and hope to be able to go to the next one in 2012. I hope my vacation time will work out. I heard about the Anne of Green Gables seminar on PEI that was the month before and is in 2012. They should stagger those so they aren't the same year.
I stopped to get a Mt. Dew at a gas station. I know I've said it before, but I blame the many teenagers I've hung around for this. Either that or I don't like hot drinks or brown soft drinks, which rules out a lot of other choices for caffeine. I'd lost the satellite radio so I spent a lot of time scanning the radio and missing my SYNC. I exited at the Mall of America to fill up the car before I returned it. There are no gas stations near the mall! Seriously, why would that be? I started looking out for them, but with little luck. I took the airport exit. The only choice from there is the airport. I had to circle through the airport, then go back to another exit. Finally, I was able to fill up the car. I drove back to the airport and dropped off the car. I grabbed my luggage. It's quite a bit heavier after the three new sets of towels, a set of sheets, and three different times at the Walnut Grove table/bookstore. I get to the check-in - Minneapolis doesn't have curbside check-in, sigh. Joyfully, the flight is overbooked, but my luggage is within the weight requirements! I again walked to the terminal. This involved two trams, several escalators to go through four terminals. I checked in and found that they would give me $300 if I was willing to be bumped. What did I have to get home to do? I accepted because I found that they'd give me dinner as well. I started reading one of my new books since I couldn't get online. After four days, I was going into withdrawal! The two people didn't make the flight, so no money, no dinner, but I did get a free drink ticket. I got a dry white wine, so I have something for recipes. Since any wine we buy is sweet. The flight was uneventful, and I arrived home.
To wrap this up, I thought I might add some comments and suggestions.
1. Roger Lea MacBride's daughter - invite her to speak. She controls the rights, and I don't know if we have ever heard from her. She must have some thoughts about it that to me would be interesting to hear.
2. Stephen Hines - Again someone who has devoted a lot of time to digging through old records and published some books about Laura.
3. I have ideas but no idea where to start. Some of the business aspect of the marketing of the books, the effect of the tourism dollars on the towns as well as the larger community. In other words, Brookings and Mitchell, SD have visitors stay there. How much of their tourism is driven by visitors to De Smet. I'm sure this is true for other towms as well.
4. A few more breaks. I wouldn't want to cut anything out, but a little more time to grab a drink or go to the restroom and not miss anything would be nice.
5. Better to-pack lists. I forgot hangers aren't provided in dorms. I think the towel issue was a surprise to the committess, and won't be a problem because it will be mentioned next time.
6. Internet access in the dorms. I think going along with that the college needs to know that those coming in are different from those coming for orientation. I had a discussion with the guy at the bell desk because they weren't going to alter their check out hourse just because people needed to leave earlier. For one day, they can open earlier rather than me missing a plane.
7. I liked the make & take crafts. I know there were quite a bit of leftovers. I'm wondering if the crafts could have been in the bags we got at check-in. Have a place to complete them, but this way everyone does get one.

Just a few tweaks. I want to stress this really was the most fun I had over the summer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Laurapolooza - Saturday

I bet you thought I was going to leave you hanging. It's been over a month. No, it's just that I keep trying to get different things accomplished during the day (say find a job) that this gets pushed off. Here it is - the last day of Laurapolooza. Now there will be one more post after this talking about going home and wrapping up my impressions.
The first speaker of the day was Wendy Corsi Staub. Evidently, she's a best selling author. Unfortunately, I've never read any of her books, so maybe I've missed something. Her talk was about how the Little House books affected her writing. Except, I wasn't sure how they did that. It felt like she was a fan, but that there wasn't much she added that any one of us in attendance couldn't have given the same talk.
Next up was a second talk by Ann Weller Dahl. I don't remember much. Something about her tone or her take on the topic just struck me as very dry. I, also, had the impression that she believes that since she is a teacher, her job is more important to the world than any other job and she's not shy about letting us know that.
The last item was a panel discussion, "Loving Laura in a Lindsay Lohan World." Lindsay had obliged to make that reference very, very current. It was great. Everyone sharing how the books affected their lives. I found out the woman who had a book coming out, who recognized me from Twitter, was actually Twittering as Halfpint Ingalls. This is going to sound wierd, but I like the LiveJournal community, 1Bruce1, that mocks the Sweet Valley series. The publisher of the new book is courting them for publicity. I mainly lurk. But the authors excitedly follow Halfpint Ingalls who may follow me. Small world and kinda fun. Does any of that previous paragraph make sense to you?
It was time for the spelling bee and tin pail lunch. Mom and I had made a period costume for me, after the blog suggested we dress up for this and the ice cream social (but I was to late for that) I dressed in the morning since I doubted I would have time to go back. Waiting for my suitemates to go to breakfast, I heard one of the attendees say to her husband, "I'll never understand the compulsion to dress like Laura." First, if you knew me, you'd know that dressing up like that isn't something I do. Or that the new outfit may have doubled the number of dresses in my closet. Second, read the blog. You were asked to dress up. I managed to spell apropos correctly after four people missed it. Go Me!!! But I lost my place on the second word, grammactical. Oh well. We started the meal. The buffet was quite good. However the meal was marred by the attack of the helicopter parent next to our table. I'm not going to dish on the details, but suffice to say it was Exhibit A on the problems with helicopter parenting: failure to realize your adult child exists apart from you. I, also, found out that Laura and her husband Jim wouldn't be going on to Walnut Grove. I so enjoyed meeting them and having an official photographer when any of us wanted our picture taken. ;)
I changed into modern clothing and met down in the lobby to see if anyone wanted ot car pool with me to Walnut Grove. It's over a two hour drive. We'd be returning late, and we might as well save on the gas. I ended up riding with Melanie. She's from New Hampshire and is developing a first person portrayal of Laura. She was dressed in a very authentic costume all week. We had fun driving. She found a notepad, in a thrift shop, from the 1915 PanPacific World's Fair in San Francisco that Laura attended (See West from Home and tell me if you don't wish that 1. the tower of jewels was still standing and 2. if you don't want a scone.) I am soo jealous. We arrived and toured the gift shop. Yes, I had personally assured that they could pay the staff for that day. Then I hurried down to meet the bus. I stopped to hear the end of Dean Butler's talk. Things learned 1. I'm not sure one of the attendees understood the difference between the real people and actors. I sort of think she thought he had dated Laura Ingalls. Evidently, he married the actress that played Donna's mother on 90210 in real life. Never knew that. 2. The kiss at the end of Sweet Sixteen was Melissa's first kiss. Her Mom's crying ruined the first two takes. I guess it's good she wasn't Danica McKeller's mother on the Wonder Years when Winnie and Kevin had their first kiss at 12. So many people were waiting in line for autographs. I walked onto the bus with another conference attendee, and we commented on the access we had all week. There was never 250 waiting in line in front of us. She was Australia. This is the power of Laura - would Walnut Grove and Mankato be your first choice of vacation locations? Would you fly for twenty-four hours to reach there? She was excited to find out the tour was on school buses as they don't have those in Australia. Those of us who are Americans were shocked that this could be a good adventure to someone. The tour was good. Pretty much the same as the one we took in 1986. It was a little off in that the tour guide pointed out some things that are conventional wisdom, like Laura simply didn't remember that it was Nellie Owens not Nellie Oleson. When most agree that it was a conscious choice to have the less favorable characters with disguised names (ie. Bouchie become Brewster, Powers became Pryor) and that Nellie was actually a combination of three girls. We saw the pageant site and other highlights of the town. We went out to Plum Creek where most people went wading. I did that a couple years ago. I knew I was going to be doing a lot of walking, so I had worn gym shoes and socks. Since I didn't want to walk around with wet socks, I skipped it.
We came back and went into the community center for dinner. It was a nice barbeque dinner. I highly recommend it if you are going to Walnut Grove for the pageant. I was lucky enough to be sitting near some Wilder insiders. It was interesting. I found it interesting that at least one said they would be a lot more comfortable if Alison Angrim's book was titled "Confessions of a Prairie Brat" instead of "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch." I made sure my ride was going to wait for me to head out to the pageant site, and I went SHOPPING. There's an antique store that had some fantastic Little House on the Prairie scrapbooking supplies. Then I went to the Oleson's Merchantile to buy an Italian link bracelet for my aunt's birthday. I may have picked up a charm for myself to go with the bracelet I bought two years ago. I then wandered around town for awhile taking photos of Main Street, Highway 14 (the Wilder Memorial Highway) and myself by the Ingalls St. sign (the flash reflected so you can't tell why I'm standing by a street sign :( ). The forecasted rain was starting while we headed out to the pageant site. We got there to the news that we should wait in the car for half an hour. Melanie and I proceeded to watch one of the scarier thunderstoms I've ever seen. We watched it move in. We watched lightening go over 180 degrees around us. After two hours, they started letting us in. It was 10:30 pm and still lightening. We decided to start the two and a half hour drive back to Mankato. It went, well, the ligtening was still happening, in fact it stayed with us all the way back to Mankato. I don't know if it's because it's the flat prairie, but I've never seen a storm last for four hours! One cloud kept lighting up and in the flashing light looked like a funnel cloud. Luckily, it wasn't. We stopped in a Sleepy Eye gas station to pick up drinks. Remember how they were always hauling things to Sleepy Eye? We pulled out talking about how quiet the Prius was which was wierd. We had went about a block when we saw flashing lights, lights flashing at us. Turns out we didn't have the headlights on, but we got off with a warning. We were both exhausted by the time we got back to the dorm. I started packing up what I could so that I wouldn't have to get up quite so early in the morning. I was going to type up this blog after that, however I was just so tired that I fell asleep.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Justice for Bear-Bear

Recopied from Meeshka's world - http://meeshkaworld.blogspot.com

Justice for Bear-Bear
Everypup, kitty, hamsterrier... I have something very serious that I want all of you to do.

On Monday, 2 August 2010, in my community, a wonderful husky named Bear-Bear was shot and killed in a local community dog park.

Bear-Bear was adopted from Tails of the Tundra Siberian Husky Rescue, which is where Sam the Spineless Bionic Hip/Knee pup, and Loki came from.


On Monday, while Bear was playing in the fenced in dog park, like he did most nights at the same time, an off duty DoD officer arrived with his wife, and his German Shepherd, Asia, on leash. According to Bear's caretaker, the dogs were playing, when the Officer felt they were playing too rough, demanded the caretaker get Bear, then stepped back, pulled a 9mm handgun and shot Bear.

Anne Arundel County Police and Animal Control arrived and proceeded to stand outside the fenced area questioning the officer and Bear's guardian, while Bear lay on the dirt dying. Witness accounts say that they treated the officer like an old friend, while they held a taser on the guardian and wouldn't let him enter the pen and help Bear. Eventually he was allowed in, Bear was loaded on a stretcher and taken to the Annapolis Emergency Vet. Nothing could be done to save Bear, as the bullet (a hollow point) had pierced several of Bear's internal organs. He was put to sleep.

The Officer stated that Bear had jumped on his dog and bit him, then when the Officer tried to get Bear off his dog, Bear lunged and tried to bite him then bit his dog a second time. Witnesses, who the police did not interview say otherwise. Animal Control did not file a report because they found no bite marks or injuries to either dog, except for Bear's lethal gunshot wound.

County police closed the case and stated that there was no criminal charges.

We need your help! A massive social network movement is underway to get justice for Bear-Bear! We have succeeded in informing the County Executive to re-open this case. We want you to keep the pressure on the county, the county police, and the Federal Officer's workplace. His employer currently states that no charges will be filed and he will be returning to work tomorrow (5 August 2010).

It doesn't matter if you live in Anne Arundel County Maryland, please call and demand justice for Bear:

John Leopold, Anne Arundel County Executive
(410) 222-1821
jleopold@aacounty.org

Anne Arundel County Police Western District
(410) 222-6155
P02438@aacounty.org


Fort Myer Public Relations (Officer's workplace)
(703) 696-0596
Director of Public Affairs
(703) 696-4979


John the facebook support page:
and the Justice for Bear-Bear support page on Facebook

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I will be reading from my Master's thesis and doctorial dissertation

First things first I have walked between 10,500-13,800 steps each of the past three days. Go Me!
Second things second, the sheets did not pop off! And I didn’t sleep well, but I was shocked when the alarm went off.
At breakfast, I asked about the linens without a good answer. I was with some Board member and gave some comments as they were discussing things for next year. I wasn’t criticizing, but we were talking about things that can only be learned by doing something once to see what happens and where the holes are.
The first speaker was Bill Anderson. He had a slide presentation of the home sites in the 70s and color photos of Laura. He mentioned that in his interview with Rose’s friend Helen Boyleston, she said that Almanzo was a world class cusser. She thought she knew all the swear words and he taught her some. I found it interesting during the authors panel, on some questions the authors would just pass the mic down to him as he was their source. Rebecca, Jonni and I were wishing to spend an afternoon reading scribbled notes and seeing never published photos that are in his basement. He did mention in October – December UM Dearborn is going to be having a display – I will get there. Some people may not know it yet, but we will be going.
There were simultaneous sessions next. Big surprise I went to the crafting one. Those women were just way more talented than I could hope to be. I loved seeing it.
At lunch, I ate with the woman from supper last night who still claimed she had never heard of Dean Butler before and is not on Facebook. OK, I believe she’s not on FB, but having never seen the tv show I find highly doubtful. The other two at the table were born in Japan and moved to Toronto in 1985. They had questions about current US politics, and it was an interesting discussion.
I went to the make and take crafts. Yesterday I had picked up the stuff to make a tin pail with candy, button string, and flour sack embroidery. Today I made 4 namecards and a corn husk doll. However, I was running late and missed most of Pamela Smith Hill. Bummer. It was announced that they were cutting the dinner to half an hour so that we could see both of Butler’s documentaries.
Sarah Uthoff was next talking about book design and the publishing industry. A little nerdy. I would have loved it to focus more on the graphical design and marketing, but again I’m a marketing major with librarians. I feel like I’m saying that a bunch, but it’s just that I know my perspective is different because of that background.
Kay Weisman discussed illustrating the books and the change from the Helen Sewell illustrations to the Garth Williams illustrations and the later small chapter books. It’s an interesting change how it goes from the adults and yeah there’s a child there as well to focusing on Laura and that the family looks like they are waiting to wait on her.
Gayle Abrahamson and Jane Palmer discussed temperaments and Sensing versus Judging and Thinking versus Feeling and classifying Laura and Rose. It was a little dry and I think they ignored how bull headed and stubborn both women were.
Emily Wooster presented and Gender and the books by comparing the description in Little House on the Prairie to women’s diaries from the Oregon trail. Interesting to an extent, but it included a lot of reading from her doctorial dissertation.
Next was a panel about Indians and the books. They first played a video of an Osage historian, who is 1/8 Osage. He thinks the books are factual and from a white little girl’s perspective influenced by said little girl looking back 60 years later. I did like his comment about “Did the Osage wear fresh skunk skins as Laura said?” His response was to think of fresh skunk skins as breech cloths? My goodness, they were human and no one in their right mind would do such a thing. That got a big laugh. Next was a guy who talked about the Minnesota Indian Wars. It would be nice if he had connected that to the books. Finally, the speaker was a woman who talked about the American Indian Movement occupying the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1972, and the press coverage. She did saying “I will be reading from my Master’s thesis and Doctorial Dissertation” at the beginning. This to me announces that we could take a nap. Then she talks and talks, as we watch dinner time creep up. She says “In Conclusion” and keeps talking and then says “Finally” a minute or two later she ended after cutting into our dinner time. We rushed to dinner.
I ran back to my room for my camera and newly charged batteries. The Almanzo DVD is really good. I may have cried when Father gave him Starlight. It was all filmed in New York and had a Morgan horse expert. The comments about the food are interesting. Then Dean Butler took questions. I’ll say he has a different perspective than most about the lawsuit between Friendly Productions and the Little House on the Prairie, of course consider he knows the Friendlies. Michael Landon did not have a beard because he didn’t want you to not fully be able to see his face. That the play may permanently go to Branson, and if it does there’s a good chance he will be playing Pa (Opposite Melissa Gilbert’s Ma?) These Happy Golden Years is his favorite for obvious reasons, though he does like the Long Winter as a book the best. I took several pictures because on the screen they looked so dark, but Rebecca was next to me doing the same thing. The next was the Laura DVD. I cried during it as well, when she died. The 15 year old that plays her in the De Smet pageant played her in it, and was so good. Many of the illustrations were done by the woman who did the coloring books, and were so good. I want a copy so bad!!! But it’s not on sale yet. He’s looking for a distribution channel. He financed the Almanzo DVD himself, and it’s only sold through the home sites in small quantities. He thinks this one may be of interest to the Hallmark Channel or History Channel or something that would repay him the $200K it costs to make. And of course he can’t sell it to us before those things happen. I really hope it happens quickly!!! One thing, I knew but I never heard the comment stated like this. After 4 years of grasshoppers, the Minnesota governor declared a day of prayer. It was very shortly afterwards that the grasshoppers took to the air and left. The show received a standing ovation and choked the director up. I will say this as well. He got rid of the bad 70s haircut, but he has put on some weight in the past 30 years. I know people want to know details, and I will, but I’ll add, I’d like to meet the person who hasn’t put on weight in the last 30 years.
I called home and took a walk afterwards, because it was only 9. I’ve downloaded my pictures, and typed this out, and it’s now 11:50, so I think I’ll sign off to make sure I’m ready for the Walnut Grove field trip and pageant tomorrow!!!
Does anyone have questions that I haven’t covered?

Crazy Obsessive Stalker Fan Girl

One of these nights when I crash, I am going to really crash. I’ve barely slept the past two nights. Right now I feel fine though. Last night, my fitted sheet came off my bed. I ended up sleeping on the plastic mattress cover. I think the sheets aren’t extra long. Remember that. I got up/got breakfast. We made our way over to the student center. Amy Lauter’s welcomed us. I realized that I was surrounded by people who were crazy fan girls, like me. Okay some boys, but John Miller even said during his talk that Cap Garland sounds like the frontier hunk. (I might have a small thing for Cap. It’s really too bad that he died in his 20s) Then Amy mentioned being OMG, OMG that Dean Butler came to the ice cream social and talked to her. He and John Schneider were the crushes of her childhood. I was too young I think for that, and most of you know that I was NEVER a fan of the show. But she was talking in the same manner I was last night. I did meet the woman sitting behind me who is an Ingalls and a cousin of Laura’s. “Squeal” in fan girl pitch.
The first speaker, Kelly Ferguson, talked about her upcoming book about traveling to the home sites wearing a pioneer dress. She announced she would be reading from the book. BO – Ooring, but it was hysterical. I think she should do something with Allison Angrim; they would be so funny together.
The second speaker was Ann Weller Dahl about “The Other Laura Ingalls Wilder: Journalist, Philosopher, and Poet. Don’t remember much, but she’s written some curriculums and had lots of questions. However, and I may not win fans here. She struck me as the type who asks questions in a tone that says she’s a teacher which gives her insight that the rest of us mortals can’t have.
The next speaker, Michelle McClellan, was talking about “Place” and how what was at the location was important. I see her point, but I understand in some ways why the locations present themselves the way they do. It is their history not just Laura’s.
Dale Cockerell, a musicologist was next. Interesting. Laura’s memories are so good because they were set to music. I so feel that’s true. In fact, I think I belong to a Facebook group called, “I wish important moments in my life were set to music like in movies.” He mentioned how unusual it was, especially out on the prairie, to be able to here live music daily.
I missed the beginning of the next speaker, Jenna Hunnef. She was speaking about risk in the books. At times, it was a little too angry about white males. I don’t think many of you would be surprised by my stand that yes, bad things have happened in the past, but as they don’t know, move on and focus on the future and making it the best possible one for yourself.
This brought us to lunch. We sat down a table away from the “Reserved” table. Guess who was there? Everyone was talking about how they didn’t expect him to come to anything but the premier of his documentary and the fan girl feeling. The LIWRA gave out its first life time achievement award to William Anderson. I had heard he wasn’t as old as people expected. I, also, knew his first book was published around the time I was born. And that I have at least a dozen of his books, some in more than one edition. (Are you getting the Crazy Obsessive Fan girl thing yet?) They asked Rebecca to pose handing him the award afterwards. I went to get a picture and an autograph on a book I had brought. I sort of managed to make sense when speaking.
After lunch, John Miller spoke. His biographies are probably my favorite, though I’ve not read the latest, though I did buy it. There were many references to the St. Louis Cardinals in his talk. He had strong thoughts about the Ghost in the Little House and Holtz’s suggestion that Rose wrote the books and put her mother’s name on them. And the recent “New Yorker” article that loved the Holtz book, ignored his latest, and called his other one pedestrian. I don’t think he agrees with Laura and Rose on politics, but I think he must know enough people that agree with her. To me, he comes across saying that because of “X and Y they believed Z, rather than look at those bitter people who cling to their guns and their religion” as I read other historians say when deconstructing the past. He does laugh about the fact that Rose if she was alive would be leading the Tea Party, and that Laura probably would appreciate them.
The next two were right up my alley. I think several of you know that I find the apologetics of the Bible fascinating. These two speakers basically talked about the apologetics of the Long Winter. The first was Jim Hicks, a physics teacher who found the settler who sold Cap and Almanzo the wheat. He’s pinpointed the date as 2/14/81-2/16/81, as there was a full moon at the time. He measured the speed of horses, angles, weights, co-efficient, friction and decided that the settler was probably 6-10 miles away, rather than the 15-20 in the book. However, we know Laura was way off on the distance of the Prairie house to Independence. She gave the name of the settler as Anderson, that he might sow oats the following year, and some nearby ridges. When he looked that distance from town, he found a settler named Neils Anderson, who filed the claim in the beginning of 1880, planted 10 acres, the following year planted oats AND he bought out the claim and filed on the next section, like he came into some money, by I don’t know selling some wheat, he was working in the Great Lakes the next summer (didn’t have time to get seed?) The next was Barbara Mays Boustead from the National Weather Service, who studied all the data to see if the winter was the snow Armageddon that Laura describes. From Minneapolis, SD army forts, Omaha, Des Moines, and El Paso all say it was one of if not the coldest & wettest winters. And that blizzard before meant a torrent of something, but after 1881 was used almost exclusively for snow. She pinpoints the date of the seed wheat trip to probably 2/16/81-2/18/81, but the comment was that look how close those dates are. I think it’s the accountant in me, but I wanted copies of their talks.
Next was a homesites panel. They need more money, they have plans, nothing earth shattering to me. Some details about past lawsuits. I think some people don’t understand and it reminds me of some Miami Alumni stuff, that these are businesses. Yes, they can apply for grants, but that money has to come from somewhere. There’s part of me that would love to have a Laws Hall & Associates type class develop a plan for them. I think a lot of the fans and volunteers are librarians and teachers, who haven’t learned about public relations/accounting. This starts to get on the authors panel. I understand how Laura left Rose the rights. Rose left them to Roger Lee MacBride, her adopted/honorary grandson. He left them to his daughter. This outrages some people, but I understand that it was their property to do as they wish. It might be nice if they would do some things, but I don’t really see that they have a moral obligation to do so. As well, some people seemed to think that the Iowa School for the Blind is sitting on records about Mary. Why would they have kept them? The off chance in 50 years her sister would be famous? There was a suggestion by the author’s that Holtz’s conclusions in Ghost shocked MacBride into being tighter with the source documents.
I followed Rebecca and Jonni out after it. They were talking about dinner. I was going to tag along to the dining hall. They had a special dinner to go to for board members. I’m not a board member (whine, not that I’ve done anything to be invited) I went to dinner with some people I had talked to before. Fun, but I did find out that the Dean Butler who is my Facebook friend? That’s not a professional page, it is his page. This means it is possible that he has read us joking about me getting my picture taken with him. Not crazy obsessive stalker fan girl at all. And long story to digress from here, but some can tell you that I greatly fear appearing as crazy obsessive stalker girl about a variety of things at times. I did find out the woman sitting next to me had never seen “Who’s the Boss?” (Seriously how has one never seen it? Classic 80’s tv), so she didn’t remember him playing Mona’s much younger boyfriend.
Next we had a reception to meet the authors. I bought a book about Pepin that is autographed, and a Little House coloring book autographed. I had two authors autograph the program. Two authors were autographing and giving away the pamphlet. I bought two CDs from the musicologist and had them autographed. I had John Miller autograph a book I had brought from home. I mentioned that we follow the Cardinals, but to make sure that they stay behind the Reds. We talked for a few minutes about baseball and the similarities between St. Louis & Cinti. I liked that because I think he’ll remember me as not just someone who liked LIW. Then I went to get in the long line for Dean Butler, everyone all day was talking about it. It just seems weird that this Hollywood celebrity would want to hang out with us in Mankato, but he was at all the sessions. And yes, I have a picture!!!! Then I found out the Board dinner was with him! Jonnie was talking about how she was good during dinner, but hyper aware that he was sitting next to her. But she saved the fan girl behavior until this time, I figure at least it’s got to be good for his ego.
We came back, and I went to get new towels as the website said we wouldn’t be brought new towels, but that we could go get them. I went because I had showered with the washcloth so using it to wash my face just grosses me out. The guy at the desk told me that we weren’t entitled to them. I may tell Amy about that tomorrow. Anyway, I decided to go buy towels (yes literally this is how much it would gross me out) Target closes at 10, I was there at 9:50 buying three sets of towels and an extra long set of sheets. It looks like it fits the bed better, let’s hope they don’t pop off.
I think that’s everything. I’m still looking for a way to get online, but I’ll post this as soon as I can.

Getting There

I am typing this out in Word tonight until I can figure out in the morning how to get online. I left for the airport straight from my tennis lesson (where I hit some really good volleys, BTW). After missing a flight a few years ago, I’m always nervous about getting to the airport. I was doing 60 down the highway and have often commuted through there doing 20 mph, but it felt like I was crawling. I parked at Airport Fastpark, since experience has taught me that they are much, much better than long term parking (as in I probably wouldn’t have missed the previously mentioned flight). When I checked the bags, the guy told me I had plenty of time. Since I was a little hungry and a lot thirsty I got a strawberry kiwi smoothie at Smoothie King. Highly recommend. I drank it, read some of People. We boarded the plane I felt it was a little late, but not too bad UNTIL the pilot said that a battery charger wasn’t working in the cockpit, which wasn’t a big deal but since we were still connected to the jet way, it had to be fixed before we could leave. I will give them credit they did give out water, let us use the restrooms and our cell phones. We finally left about 70 minutes late, for a 90 minute flight. I was not happy, but knew my issues were nothing like the people who had connections. I finished the “On the Way Home” portion of “Little House Traveler” and started “West from Home.” I really wish we could still go see the Tower of Jewels from the 1915 World’s Fair.
We arrived at terminal C and had to wait for awhile to pull up to the gate. I got my carryon that was gate checked and started out the concourse, then took a tram, and went down an escalator then past 8 baggage carousels. Got my bag, went down the elevator, around the corner, down the hall, to another tram, up two escalators to the long car rental line. I ended up doing self check-in. I said one person, 2 bags. I had reserves a Focus size car, as that’s what got me to the airport. It suggested the perfect fit would be a Suburban. I’m not sure why except they wanted to make an extra $55/day. I received an Impala. I dug out the GPS and tried to put the car in gear. Chevy (with yes, uncomfortable headrests) has the gearshift between the seats, but no letters those are by the speedometer. Whose freakingly stupid idea was that?
I entered rush hour traffic to find that the power point wouldn’t always feed out a charge. This renders the GPS useless. Luckily, I had Yahoo directions. Except the car took away the odometer replacing it with “Calibration Complete” I have no idea what the hell that means, except that it makes it difficult to judge how far you have gone. So as you can tell, you should by a Ford. I picked up dinner at McDonalds while driving. I do have XM stereo and was encouraged when Tobymac’s “Get back up again” started playing. I’ve wanted to adopt it as a theme song, so good sign!
I passed the KOA we stayed at in 2008, but fairly uneventful drive. I checked in and dropped my computer bag in the room. I wanted to go talk to Rebecca and meet Laura (and everyone else). I could tell my roommate had checked in, but didn’t know who she was. I went down to the ice cream social. After getting my ice cream, I sat down with Laura, her husband, Rebecca, and Rebecca’s friend Jonni. Another man came up to sit down and talk to “the other man” there. Found out he’s John Miller. Who? He wrote “Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder”, “Along Highway 14”, and “Laura’s Little Town on the Prairie” (which I have brought with the hopes of getting it autographed). Everyone chitchatted. I was noticing a man talking to one of the nearby women. I thought it looked like, but no, he’s a celebrity surely he’s not coming to the whole conference, but it was – Dean Butler!!!, Almanzo from the TV show. Even those of you who think my interest is weird, know who he is.
After a while, I went to move the car, get my suitcases, and call home to tell my Mom to quit worrying that I had died in a plane/car crash. On my way back in, I had one hand holding the phone and the other pulling the two suitcases that were latched together. The man coming out held the door for me. I tried (and I think was successful) at not giggling like a 14 year old girl because Almanzo had held the door for me!!!
I put my suitcases in the room. It’s nice, but I’d forgotten the things that hotels provide that dorms don’t. It has A/C which I’m grateful – the car told me at 6pm it was 94 degrees. There are a few other things it has that are nice, but a few things that Miami had that this doesn’t. I went back down to the social to talk to those lingering. I met some nice ladies. One woman’s son and her friend had already gone up to the room. It turns out that the friend is my roommate! They seem nice, and they got to know each other when they were adopting two boys who were friends in Calcutta, but didn’t meet for 18 years, while one was visiting Burr Oak. Stories like that are really interesting to me.
It’s now 11:30 and everyone’s asleep as I type by the light of ye olde laptop, so I think I’ll sign off for now. I’m getting up at 5:45.
Good Nite!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

What I am reading

Hopefully this works to show you what I am reading. Does anyone know how to add widgets to blogger?



Lauri's book montage



A Soldier for Christmas

Looking for History on Highway 14

A Soldier's Reunion

Six Hours One Friday: Living in the Power of the Cross

Songs Sung Red, White, and Blue: The Stories Behind America's Best-Loved Patriotic Songs

McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader

Preacher Creature Strikes on Sunday

Traveling Michigan's Sunset Coast: Exploring Michigan's West Coast Beach Towns - From New Buffalo to Mackinaw City

Little House in the Big Woods

Wild Goose Chase

Leaving Carolina: A Novel

Substitute Daddy

Ozarks

Contemporary Collection

Roadtrip

Trading Places

Blind Date

Surf's Up

Nothing in Common

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl



Lauri's favorite books »


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Job Hunting

First - yeah me! I went to Curves this morning to find out I'd lost 2.5 inches. I know one down one hundred more to go, but I'm trying for steady gradual progress. Not something where I go all out for a week then realize it's for the birds and quit. And it's movement in the right direction.
This afternoon I have a meeting with a recruiter. Or a head hunter or whatever you want to call them. Everyone tells me that they are essential to finding a job. Honestly, I have yet to appreciate it. They help the companies by gathering a large number of resumes. Helping individuals? I'm not sure how they help me besides being another layer of gatekeeper to pass by to get to the company. They meet with you and then you never hear from them again. And let me not forget to add: all the information they collect. Really you need my Social Security number that I'm told to not give out? I filled out all your paper work a year ago when you called me last since I didn't move and sent you an updated resume - why do I need to fill it out again? I know. You want me to spend a lot of time waiting around so that I think you are really important.
I hope this doesn't sound whiny. It's more frustrated because I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and in the end the new job is going to come a different way so that I've wasted all this time. Wasted the time playing a game. Why can't job hunting be more honest?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thoughts

Take time to think - it is the greatest source of power.

Take time to laugh - it is the music of the soul.

Take time to read - it is the fountain of wisdom.

Take time to be friendly - it is the road to happiness.

Take time to love and be loved - it is a God-given privilege.

Take time to give - it is too short a day to be selfish.

Take time to play - it is the secret to perpetual youth.

Take time to work - it is the price of success.

Take time to Pray - it is the greatest Power on Earth.

-Don Krumme's Daily Goals
(October 1, 1931 - July 2, 2006)


I'm supposed to have time to do these things right now. And I feel like I'm busy from the time I get up to the time I go to sleep. And yet, I can't fit it all in. I hope maybe that if I tackle some piles that they will go away or get quicker and then I will have time. At least I should have a change this week. Is there ever anyone who has a to-do list that they can actually get through every day?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Accomplishments

I thought I'd share what I've accomplished since being unemployed.

1. The grout in my bathroom is white! EEWW I know, but it was something that I needed to do. I'm hoping everyone has one of these: the stack of things that need to be gone through. It's not gone, but it is much, much smaller. I'm hoping that if I can get rid of it, that it will be easier to stay on top of it going forward. Shut Up! I know, I know, but at least I can hope.

2. Walking. I have a pedometer that I wear, and I keep trying to push myself to more steps every day. I've been dividing it up into six month periods. Before my battery died last summer, I was averaging 4,906 steps and 269 aerobic steps a day. At the end of the winter which included a month of bronchialspasms, I was averaging 148 aerobic steps and 3,709 steps a day. Today, my average is now 321 aerobic steps and 4,601 steps. I may not be quite where I was for total steps but my aerobic steps are getting better.

3. Speaking of exercising, my last Tennis in No Time is on Thursday. I think I'm improving even if I still have zero ability when it comes to running. Friday night, they are having a party to celebrate. Can you guess what I did? I bought a new outfit! I've always thought tennis skirts were expensive. <http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=2806334> Right now, my budget doesn't permit $60 skirts. Okay, except for formal events and coats I've never spent $60 on a piece of clothing. I was talking to one of my classmates who now is wearing a tennis skirt. According to her, Kohl's has them on sale for $15. This fits into my budget quite easily. Mine is a solid navy. Then of course I got one of these shirts for $4.99 in gray with a navy print - I can't find which one it is
My Mom is thrilled. I mentioned to her that the instructor graduated 2 years after me from a different high school. She keeps telling me to go early and flirt. Flirt with the tennis instructor - would it be more cliche?

4. I like to craft. I like to start projects. Maybe one day I'll be able to say I've finished as many projects as I've started. In fall 2008, we went to New Jersey for a week. One day we went to the Point Pleasant. It has a much nicer boardwalk than Atlantic City. We drove down to another outlet to the beach. I found a bunch of shells. I decided to make some shadow boxes with sand and the shells. Right after we got home, I bought the sand at Michael's - and they sat in my closet all this time. I finally put them together last night. Word to the wise - put the hot glue on the box and stick the shell to it. If you line the shell with glue, the heat goes straight through to your hand. I, also, at one point stuck my finger into fresh hot glue. Wow, does that hurt!!! I'm fine now. I am trying to insert a picture here. Let's hope it will be by the description.




What have you accomplished recently?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blogs

Take 2 - I erased after I typed the first three. That so annoys me.

1. http://girlygirl.typepad.com/ - Kristen Billerbeck's blog
She wrote the Ashley Stockingdale novels. She blogs about life in the Silicon Valley and writitng.

2. http://stuffchristianslike.net/ - Jon Acuff's blog
A sarcastic take on Christian subculture by a Christian. You'll laugh until you realize how close the serious Wednesday posts hit to home.

3. http://www.northwapiti.blogspot.com/ - Karen Ramstead's blog
Canadian woman who runs purebred Siberians in the Iditarod

4. http://www.miamihawktalk.com/home/ - Miami Hawk Talk
The sports messageboard for my school.

5. http://community.livejournal.com/1bruce1/ - 1bruce1
Commentary on the Sweet Valley series. Why did we read these?

6. http://www.beyondlittlehouse.com./ - Beyond Little House
Great blog about Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, May 3, 2010

I want to win a camping trip


I entered to win camping from KOA. Well, here's the description from the website:

"We’re looking for individuals, families and couples who love to camp at KOA and who are willing to document their adventures with a Flip® video camera and let us post them on koakompass.com, Facebook and YouTube. Those who are selected to participate will get 6 nights of KOA camping, a bag of camping goodies valued at $100 or more AND a Flip® video camera!"

I am willing! Here's my entry. What do you think of it?

Hi,
Who?

My name is Lauri. Joining me would be my parents.

Where?

If we were to win this contest, we would divide the days between Traverse City and Petoskey, Michigan. Both are favorite destinations of ours. And everyone around the country needs to know how wonderful the kampground run by the Rose family is in Petoskey.

Why?

My family began camping in 2000. We have a 32 foot fifth wheel Cougar. My parents are both retired with plenty of time to enjoy RVing. Me? I’m currently unemployed. I need something to look forward to experiencing. Besides, what else do I have to do with my time? We can show the fun of climbing a sand dune or participating in an evening of Bingo and the kampground. We usually have at least one camper malfunction. We can show others how we would fix it. More importantly, we could show the kindness of KOA Kampers as someone usually offers to help.

Thank you for your consideration.


(P.S. Koti, the adorable Siberian in the picture, here. I love my family. I'm cute and it's all about me. I want them to win, so really you have no choice but to name them the winnes, because life is all about what I want.)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Derby Day

First, I think in my last post I talked about working out. It did work - four pounds and three and a half inches lost in April. Still have a long way to go, but hey it's in the right direction.
Today is the running of the Kentucky Derby. I'm not into horse racing, but I have to watch the Triple Crown. One year in college, my Dad and I spent two hours on the phone together watching the race. This was a toll call. After that, my Mom suggested I come home for the weekend. Twenty dollar phone calls were frowned upon. I think I'm goint to pick Super Saver. Calvin Borel has been doing good at the Derby lately, but I'm hesitant to pick a favorite. The favorite never wins at the Derby - I'm not sure why.
Churchhill Downs is just over two hours from here, as is the Kentucky Horsepark. That leads to an interesting feeling. It's almost "our" event. We've toured both. We could go if we wanted. I know people who are going. One year I will. I bought "1,000 places to go before you die: US and Canada" I'd like to do as many as I could and the Derby is included. The Queen has been there. All sorts of celebrities. The tv show will show famous restauranteur, Jeff Ruby attending. The best restaurants around here are Jeff Ruby's. The weather there? Pretty much the weather here. Raining less here than there at the moment, but we will probably get it in a couple hours.
Tell me who is your favorite horse today?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Making me an actual priority


I know I need to consistant in working out.
I know that I should be in better shape.
I know I don't enjoy exercising.
I know that exercise makes me tired rather than energizing me contrary to what "they" say.
I know that I always have a reason why it doesn't fit into my day.
Well right now, I know I don't have the last excuse. My resolution for the changes I'm going through.
Tomorrow night I have orientation for six tennis classes. I have very little, okay well, I'm a klutz. I enjoy watching tennis. I was (am) a huge Pete Sampras fan. I used to like enjoy hitting a tennis ball against the side of our garage. I took a tennis class in college for part of a semester, but I'm still bad. Hopefully, I can get a little better and meet some new people.
I have been getting up early in the morning so that I can get to Curves first thing. It's my place to go in the morning and reason to get out of bed since I'm not going to work. I have been going to Curves for several years. The system works when I follow it. Hopefully, I will be sharing positive results with you as I do this.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Losing my job…..

I posted about this on Facebook a couple days ago. I wanted to explain in something longer than a status update. This didn’t completely blindside me and is part of the reason I started this blog so that I could share this journey. Hope it helps someone and/or that I do not bore people too much.
I started working with the company the summer I graduated from college. I was in the Accounting Department of one subsidiary. Over the next few years, I moved from Accounting Clerk II to III to IV to Associate Accountant. I wanted to move to Accountant I. However, my manager and the department head weren’t willing to give the desk that title. Though they said I was doing the work and getting the pay of one. Why not give me the title? I was trying to move into the parent company, as I realized to move up in the subsidiary someone needed to die or retire – and that was probably a good twenty years away. No one could give me a good reason or deficiency why I wasn’t being selected after I received interviews. I decided to call Miami and find out what it would take to obtain my Accounting degree. That would remove a possible objection, right? I had a Marketing degree, but the Accounting sometimes wants that specific degree. It turns out I was two classes away. I decided to complete it. I won’t say juggling both was easy, but I knew for me that I needed to do it. I graduated in May 2008.
The end of October/beginning of November, a position opened up in Internal Audit. We were currently being audited, and I promptly gathered the materials requested. When I handed them over, I asked for interview advice which the two guys gave. One of the managers, who had previously audited us, called to offer advice. It went well. I was glad to leave the subsidiary behind since it felt sometimes as if I was navigating the set of Mean Girls.
I started and was impressed with how much there was to learn about the breadth of the organization. It was a little odd that except for a couple managers and an administrative assistant – I was the only female. The guys seemed to accept me and tended not to play games.
In the fall, I began working closer with my particular manager. He was a stickler for everything. He found 6 ways to improve the audit over last year’s. I only found 4, well I failed on 2 counts. There were 40 samples and on 1 Adobe file, I forgot to add the page numbers in the footer – inexcusable. A question was asked – a specific answer was expected, not a general one, but please start speaking immediately, a good auditor doesn’t need to take 2-3 seconds to think and gather their thoughts. Okay, I can accept that these are areas I need to improve.
We took a couple trips together. I found out about the “socializing” after work. I tend not to be a big socialize and was frankly amazed that 5 drinks could be a minimum. I know I tend to be naïve in this area, so I emailed a friend. He’s a Marine, and they aren’t as naïve as me, correct? I found out that yes, I would be out drinking male Marines. I don’t think I should be doing that. However, I will have the occasional glass of wine. One of my co-workers didn’t drink at all because he’s Baptist. However, I found out later that he volunteers to be the designated driver and will “try to enjoy his time.” While I wasn’t volunteering, they are on a business trip they should be behaving responsibly. Beer for breakfast on the way home to pick your daughter up from pre-school? I’m not going to help you. The waitress uses incorrect grammar? I’m not going to laugh at your jokes about her, in front of her. I don’t care as long as I receive the correct meal. Besides, so what? It doesn’t mean she’s an entirely stupid person.
At the end of February, I was told I just wasn’t meshing well. I wasn’t confrontational enough. (Because everyone wants to work with a confrontation person?) I was being put on a Personal Improvement Plan, but truthfully I was being given sixty days to start finding a job. I tried to be true to them and give the company eight hours a day. But I wasn’t happy that after 10 and a half years, I was going to be fired with no attempt to help me move towards a part of the company, I was more suited. Of course, I knew that at least three divisions had made cuts in personnel so far in 2010.
Then on Thursday, the split was made complete. Tomorrow I apply for unemployment. The Lenten series at church was “The Wild Goose Chase” because the Celtic Christians referred to following the Holy Spirit as a Wild Goose Chase. And I’m waiting to see where He leads.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Movie Night

I didn't post last night because I had movie night. It started at church as an idea for a singles Bible Study. It morphed to something loosely based at church but includes others and is not a Bible Study. For a long time, it was just my best friend and I going to watch a movie with Hat Girl (her license plate). We do do a quick devotion since its sort of a church thing. And it's always nice to see how it fits into what is going on with our lives. I lived in a triple my senior year of college. We invited the other girl one night and now she comes every month. Oh! One of the girls I had in youth group is now 21 and she was looking for a group with other single women. She comes most of the time. She's wacky, always with a new boyfriend or new story about her job. Recently another girl I had in youth group started coming. She's out of college. Her life is really in the same place as ours.
We start with catching up on each other's lives. This takes a good hour. There's always a dessert that we shouldn't have, but can't resist. Then we move onto a chick flick. I found out about the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants here. Great books and great movie. Of course, we've had duds as well: Elizabethtown and last night's The Ugly Truth. We still have fun though, and I look forward to it so every month.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Faith

It's Sunday, and I thought I'd share another important part of my life: Faith & Church. Until I was seven, I lived across the street from the church we attended. I remember getting gladiolas for Easter, playgroup, and singing in the children's choir. I remained in choir until I got to old in the 6th grade. Then for the next 4.5 years, I helped out with the 3-5 year olds choir. We had moved farther away by then and we all waited until I could drive myself. As I finished 6th grade, I joined the youth group. I'd love to copy the paper I wrote in college about youth group, but of course it has long since disappeared. I made life long friends there, and learned how to apply what I believed to my life. I loved every minute of it. I learned to pray about everything, which I'm sure has amused God a few times, and that His Hand affects every part of my life. Probably a lesson that I'm still learning. About three years ago, my church started a second campus. Still affiliated, but with it's own minister and location. I thought that I would miss a lot of those people. They were probably very excited. About six months later, we visited and stayed. That was hard for me to believe that the church we attended for so long, that we were being called elsewhere. Even harder for me to believe that the youth group I had grown up in and volunteered with for 10 years, that I was choosing to leave. I work with the new campus youth group and love it. I may talk about them here from time to time, but never by name and never by specifics. As other people's minor children, I don't think it's my place to give details about them. Or if they trust me with details about their lives, it isn't my place to share.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Laura and the Little Houses


Here's me on the front porch of Charles and Caroline Ingalls' home in De Smet, South Dakota. I joined Toastmaster's earlier this year, and gave my first speech two days ago. It was my ice breaker/get to know you speech. I decided to speak on my love for Laura Ingalls Wilder. It went over very well. I knew at the beginning I started talking to fast, but I slowed down. I was complimented for my use of effective hand gestures. HA! A few of my friends have commented that I use my hands to much when I talk, especially while I'm driving so I was quite pleased with that. I thought I'd copy the draft of my speech into a blog post, because to understand this, is to understand a big part of me.
Thank you Madam Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters, and Honored Guests.
Close your eyes and picture with me your second grade classroom. It’s the end of May. The teacher has dimmed the lights to show a filmstrip! Open your eyes. This may not sound like the start of a life changing event, but it was. The filmstrip was about the Little House book series and its’ author Laura Ingalls Wilder. The library was already closed for the summer, but I promised myself that I would check the books out in the fall. I began with Little House in the Big Woods and quickly moved through series. My classmates knew that the last person to check out any book in the series would be me. Except the Liberty Elementary library did not have a copy of On the Banks of Plum Creek. I may have mentioned this travesty to my parents once or several dozen times. That year St. Nicholas brought me a copy in my stocking. I’m not sure what we learned in school that day. I learned the horrors of a grasshopper plague while reading the entire 400 page book in one day.
In 1987, my parents bought our first minivan and said we were going to Yellowstone. I knew enough of the US map to know that South Dakota is on the way to Wyoming. I was successful as you can tell from the picture of me standing on the front porch of Ma and Pa Ingalls’ house in De Smet, South Dakota. The next year as we came back from the Grand Canyon, I suggested (or insisted) that we stop by Mansfield, Missouri. Laura and Almanzo moved there in 1894, and stayed for the rest of their lives. By 2005, I had managed to visit all the marked “Little House” sites. These are all in small towns. Some might have disappeared, if not for the cash the tourists bring each year. Before you feel too sorry for my parents, I should add that my father is a history buff. He may have rolled his eyes when I announced a visit was part of the year’s vacation. Once there, he appeared to greatly enjoy the sites and discussing the relationship between the books and US history with me afterwards. In fact, the odds today of a discussion are still quite good during a long car trip. While at these home sites, I found many biographies. Yes, it is quite a collection that continues to grow.
Several years ago, I found the Frontier Girl message board. To quote Anne Shirley, I had found my kindred spirits! People who spend time debating whether “The First Four Years” was written between the Pioneer Girl manuscript and the book series or if it was written after the book series, as the timeline suggests. Or how close daughter Rose’s short story, “Innocence” mirrors the year the Wilders’ spent in Florida. (Consensus being that the family didn’t enjoy their time in Florida but Cousin Peter’s wife most likely didn’t try to kill Rose.) I developed many friendships that didn’t stay just on the message board. This fall, Zoie and I traded daily messages with Jamie, Laura from Michigan’s daughter when Laura was hospitalized with pneumonia.
You may not be aware of it, but most textbooks for the blind are printed in Louisville. In January, the company held a birthday party for Mary Ingalls to celebrate the opening of an exhibit on her life. They noted she was one of the most well-known blind people. Unfortunately, many people think she was married and lost a child in a fire. Events completely created for the tv show. Several days before, I called to RSVP. I was told that both parties were full, but I could be added to the waiting list. I consulted Zoie, one of the presenters. We agreed - if I drove down in the snow, I would not be turned away. It was a fascinating event. Afterwards Zoie and I were chatting. The coordinator told us about the 500 person waiting list. I couldn’t believe how many shared what my friends and family consider to be my very odd hobby. This may explain why this summer the Laura Ingalls Wilder Research Association is holding its’ first conference in Mankato, Minnesota. I can’t wait. It will be a time of meeting friends for the first time; talking with authors that I wait for the release of each of their books; watching the premier of a documentary created by Dean Butler, Almanzo in the tv series. It promises to be the highlight of my summer.
I thank you for the chance to share with you how one small event in elementary school continues to affect my daily life.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hockey Night



First - I have a follower. Yay!!! Thank you so much!
Hockey Night I am borrowing as a title. I believe it's a Saturday night tv show in Canada comparable to our Monday night football. I am not a hockey fan. I cannot understand how the game works. O.K. I know the goal is to get the little black disk into the net, but strategy, plays I can't see them. However, I spent last evening watching hockey on tv at a half empty pizza place. Moreover watching a hockey team lose 7-1. I am, however, a huge fan of my college.
I knew in high school that I'd ended up at a business school, and was considering Marketing. I was leaning towards one about 45 minutes from my house. It had a reputation as a preppy party school that half my class would end up attending, but I was, also, finding out that it had one of the best business schools in the country. I was sold. My parents noticed that it was the most expensive of the state schools. We went to the Northeast on vacation that summer and took a tour of Boston. I loved all the brick and brass in the homes that we passed. We passed Harvard. It's, um, eclectic. My Mom's comment was that she was disappointed she expected Harvard to look like Miami, not some random buildings plunked down in the middle of the city. I was invited to Red Carpet Days. I went up on a college visit to check out the school. I stayed with my Sunday School teacher's girlfriend. I think I was really there to check out Campus Crusade for Christ. I enjoyed myself there and met people who were welcoming. I applied early decision and only there. It never occured to me that they wouldn't accept me. And they did. I have since found out that there are many people that they don't and that it's quite the competitive school.
Once there - well I could say I loved every minute of it, but that's not true classes and roommates stressed me completely out at times. But I loved the campus. The women I now consider my best friends are the girls I lived with. We may not have all been roommates, but we were in the same dorm for most of the time, and truly lived together.
Basketball was big stuff at my high school, college basketball especially. I found that most students weren't into sports unless the teams were really winning. However, I became a fan. In the past couple of years, I've made it up to a basketball game a year. Excitement for basketball was the campus buzz my senior year with Wally Szerbiak leading the team to the Sweet 16. I went to one hockey game in four years, but have now been to three Frozen Four game watches. At this time, no one can buy a ticket to a game. And as long as we are talking ice, I have to brag that Miami's synchronized skating teams are next to none. In 2006, we did better internationally than any Americans except Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto. Yes, that is comparing them to Sasha Cohen and Evan Lysachek. So they are keeping very good company.
And now we come to football. I have been to almost every game for the past 15 years. While I was there, we were decent. We beat a Northwestern team that one the Rose Bowl that year and whose only loss was to us. Junior year we read in the papers that Randy Moss was going to run all over us. His Heisman dreams died at Yager Stadium as he spent most of the time on his back being tackled. Senior year we went 10-1, but didn't go to a bowl game though 3 teams we beat did. (My feelings on bowl games may be a post for much later). Soon after graduation, we watched "Touchdown Travis" Prentice break the college scoring record. It was maybe the next year that my best friend, her parents, and I started getting season tickets. What a time. We had a redshirt freshman become quarterback. Perhaps you have heard of Ben Roethlisberger? It was a high. I can almost pick myself out in this video with only a few fans remaining. I will point out that the Monday afterwards I emailed my friends and said that since the play is called Big Ben, and we don't have any players with nicknames, I think shortly you'll be hearing the quarterback called Big Ben. Just wish I could have cashed in on that.

Since then, the team has spiraled downhill winning 4 games in the last three season, but we will remain faithfull, if not sarcastic. And of course, Ben is not helping our name right now. (Ben if you are reading this I have advice for you. Take the girl to dinner first, and don't have sex in a restroom. Just saying that might help you some.)
At one point, I answered an email. I became a member of the local chapter board. At one point, I became the social chair. It was a learning experience. And somehow I ended up planning the event for the largest chapter for the bicentennial celebration. It was tough, but I made it through.
I had to share this with you as part of introducing myself because knowing me means knowing that "Miami was a university while Florida still belonged to the Spanish." I'm going to add some photos in so that you can appreciate Robert Frost's line that "Miami is the prettiest campus that ever there was"