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


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"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Who am I and Why am I here?

I thought I would introduce myself for my first post. I am a soon to be single woman living in the suburbs. That's where the title developed. Of course that title is taken, so I added the '011, like the 90210, except not. I didn't put the full number, because I don't want to broadcast to the world wide web, my exact location. As for the first part, I enjoy my life and can tell you my life is not "Sex in the City", and I'm pretty satisfied with that. One reason? I'm a Christian and very involved with my church. It effects all of my life, but please keep reading. A post soon will discuss this. As will other interests, favorite internet sites, Blitzen, my dog and pride and joy.
I'm an auditor with an insurance company based locally. I want to protect my privacy and my friends, but I, also, want to be honest. We will figure this out as we go along. I love comments. Please leave one. Ask questions. Another reason I've started this is to help improve my writing. I remember in school being given writing prompts, feel free to do so. Hey, I had to speak at Toastmaster's last week on why Pete should NOT be in the Hall of Fame. Yes, that's a location hint.
I've read blogs that are so intent on impressing the reader with their professionalism that they out yuppie Alex P. Keaton. Then there are blogs people keep to update their friends. I want to find a balance. One that helps me, but is truly still me.