Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday morning thoughts

- Our gym has a bunch of old treadmills that shake when you run, and then two good ones. We always get the good ones because no one else apparently likes running at 6 a.m. However, this morning a new couple walked into the cardio room as I did and took the good ones. And then proceed to "run"only eight minutes. This is deeply irritating.

- As I was driving to work, the Starbucks near us had over 10 people in line at the drive thru and only three of the regular parking spots were full. I guarantee half of those people could have gone inside and gotten their coffee faster if they'd just be willing to use their legs. This is lazy.

- Every morning this week and next week I have to put out treats (cookies, cupcakes, rice krispie bars) for our students who are taking final exams. Then in the afternoon I have to put out granola bars, chips, nuts, fruit snacks and more chips. This is very, very difficult to resist considering I get an intense salt craving at 2 p.m. This task has proven to be very detrimental to my health.

- I would really like to stop hearing about the Tea Party movement.

- Trader Joe's is opening in Omaha and not Kansas City. Ridiculous. If it came to KC, I would be a frequent enough shopper to keep them in business. Just please don't go to the 'burbs.

- I hate when people ignore that racism exists. Evidence in Arizona and Missouri today.

- It's Friday, which is a great way to end a fairly wretched week. Tomorrow we are gardening at a battered women's shelter, shopping at the Farmer's Market, and going to an art fair. Happiness.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Love for the Missouri Department of Revenue

Dear Missouri Department of Revenue,

I know pretty much everyone in the state dreads coming to your house. I certainly do. My experiences with your sister departments in Kansas and especially Minnesota made me quiver at the thought of visiting you, especially at the end of the month.

A month ago I visited and received a new Missouri driver's license within 30 minutes. The actual license, too, not just a bunch of papers. Did you know it took me three weeks to get my license in Minnesota? And I had to wait over two hours just to get those flimsy papers!

Then today I came to see you to get new license plates. You sure made me do a ton of work to prove I am worthy to drive my car in your state. So I left work at 12:15, thinking that I was foolish for going during lunch. I stopped by my apartment to get my check book and arrived at your house at 12:40 p.m.  The first sign that this would go well was the hour and 40 minutes left on my meter!

There were five people ahead of me but you had three windows open. I walked away with my new plates before 1 p.m. and arrived back at work exactly on time. Also, kudos for only charging me $38. Last year I paid $105 in Minnesota.

Thank you, Missouri. You've restored my heart.

Love, Sarah

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Please Jackson County, just take my money

I was appalled when I moved to Minnesota and found out I had to not only buy one new license plate but TWO. And, currently owning a Mustang at the time, had zero ways to attach one to the front of my car. So I kept it in my glove box.. "Sorry officer, I am new here!"

Now moving to Missouri, I have been working on my new car tags for two weeks and still have Minnesota plates.

1. Read long, long web site for new residents on all the ways Missouri will prevent me from getting new plates. Snobs. (20 minutes)

2. E-mail Jackson County office and express my confusion. (5 minutes)

3. Find out that I do not have to have a safety inspection because my car is new enough, however they will only give me tags for a year because next year I have to get one. But, I do have to have an odometer validation check. (5 minutes of real frustration)

4. Search for Minnesota title, registration, marriage license to clear up that whole last name confusion thing, utility bills and paychecks from past two years. (45 minutes)

5. Go to county courthouse and prove I did not live in Missouri in January 2010 or January 2009. Achieved by printing off two years worth of gas bills. Also have to show my Minnesota title. (1 hour, 5 minutes)

6. Show up at Hank's Auto Repair, an official MO inspection site, at 7:45 a.m. for odometer inspection. Hank only does inspections between 7:45 and 8:30 a.m. Other places near my work that would make for a nice lunch hour errand? Four hour wait for a 5-minute inspection. While Hank is doing 5-minute inspection, find out that he only takes cash for this. So I have to run in my skirt and heels three blocks to a rundown "grocer" (who I am pretty sure only sold candy and cigarettes) to get money out of an ATM. Run back to Hank's, pass man with beard to his waist pushing grocery cart. Pay Hank $10 - keep in mind that a full inspection involving wheels being taken off and things under hood inspection is $12. (25 minutes)

I still do not have my license plates. I get that joy tomorrow - standing in line with everyone and their brother who waited until the last three days of the month to turn in their paperwork. It's hard work getting Missouri to take your money!

To be continued...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Our Marriage Rule: Opposite Sex Friends & Strip Clubs

After reading this post at the ever-annoying, but boredom-killing The Nest web site, I got to thinking about opposite sex friendships.

This hasn't ever been an issue with us for the most part, though occasionally we are faced with the dilemma of connecting with old friends, and sometimes even exes. For us, it's just a no. We don't hang out with members of the opposite sex alone. We don't do strip clubs, porn, or other activities that jeopardize the respect and sacredness of our bond. 

Last year, we attended a sermon series at our Minnesota church, Eagle Brook, on marriage. And though I can't really remember the overall theme of that particular week, the story that hit home was on outside perception. If people see you in a car with someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse, what would they automatically think? What would they think about your relationship with your wife if they saw you front row center at a strip club? As humans with instinctive qualities (especially males) is it worth it to put ourselves in tempting situations even if it's just thoughts? We want clean hands but also clean eyes and thoughts. Our marriage isn't worth a lunch date with an ex, a weekend of tempting choices, or an evening at a strip club.

We trust each other, 110 percent. We've never had a breach of trust, or even a hint of it, in the time we've known each other. But I wonder if part of that is because of the standards we've chosen to be married by. Our rules work for our marriage alone. They work for us because of who we are and the kind of marriage we desire to have. And on this issue, we're in total agreement.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Irish folk venture to the hood

Thursday night we ended up at 810 Zone on the Plaza when the NFL Draft was not easy to watch on the computer (gasp!). For the non-Kansas Citians, this is a typical sports bar in an upscale shopping area near our apartment.

We joked around with the bartender who told stories about Twins players hanging out after games at the bar. After looking at Shea's credit card and ID, he loudly proclaims that he is the Irish stereotype. Important note: he was wearing his Irish Twins hat and a sweatshirt that says "IRELAND." Also, he's super short.

Bar tender to us: "Hey man, what are you? A walking stereotype? Shea Ryan Our-Very-Irish Last Name. And who are  you? Rachel O'Flannery?" We talk more and tell him our evening plans. He then announces to the entire crowded bar area that the Our-Very-Irish Last Name's are going to the hood. Shea turns bright red, because, well, he's Irish.

So we finish our beers, and head to "the hood" for a Jamaican concert our neighbor invited us to. (Note: We're fully aware of the area we're going to, we're not naive newbies.) We drive up to the restaurant and then we sit in our car. And sit some more. In the interest of honesty, we were anxious. Because although we strive to live a very diverse and open-minded life, it's still nerve-wracking to know that when you walk in, you could be the only one with White skin. Turns out, we weren't. So we sat there, nervous, but knowing that we'd be hypocrites if we didn't go in.

So in, we went. It was a rundown bar with Jamaican style murals painted. The owner told us about the cover charge. Cash-less, Shea had to go across the street to the ATM. He drove the 30 feet. And then stood getting cash, trying to fit in while being the only White person. He arrived back at the bar, sweating profusely.

The band, after struggling through an hour of mike checks was good. And we both really loved the reggae music. And our neighbors are super fun and appreciative.

At one point, everyone got up to dance. Including the owner who came out from the kitchen still dressed in his red apron to dance with a customer.

Maybe it's not our usual scene, but we had a lot of fun, and minus the cover charge would definitely go back.

It's one of our White privileges that most of us are able to avoid situations where we feel uncomfortable due to our race. We could never be in the minority if we didn't choose to seek those situations out. Yes, we were nervous, but we'll keep being nervous til we're not. Because we'd be missing out on a lot of life if we only hung around with people that looked like us.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2010 Census dilemma

A couple of weeks ago, Shea and I took the U.S. Census worker test. That in itself was QUITE the experience.

We were ushered into a cramped room with about 40 other people to fill out forms for the next 30 minutes. Unfortunately, we had already filled out these forms, so instead we sat and eavesdropped on conversations like how a GED is easy to get and traditional universities (this lady's example: "those Yale schools") where students sit in classrooms are far inferior to an online degree.

Then we all walk into another room where we reenact the SAT except with 28 questions in 30 minutes on directions, simple but tricky math and literacy. Surprisingly tricky questions but all in all, simple.

For the past week I've been getting calls. Despite the fact I indicated on my form that I can only work evenings, they keep calling to see if I can attend daytime training.With each call, Shea gets more pouty that they are not calling him. I reassured him it's probably that they need girls.

So tonight I got a call for an evening job with training starting Monday. Though it pays less than the $17/hour door-to-door jobs (knocking on scary people's doors included), the office clerk job pays $11.50/hour, which is a good $250/week. That's $1000/month, which is nothing to shake a stick at.

  • Only 10 blocks from our apartment
  • Earn money for vacation fund, house fund, or pay-off-the-car fund
  • Temporary, could be very short-term and "variable" work meaning less commitment
  • High turnover =  easier to quit if I hate it
  • Crazy stories for this blog
  • Consistent evenings/potential Saturdays away from Shea, which I already miss him at my real job
  • The above bullet really deserves two lines
  • Mind-numbing work with potential crazies
  • Not knowing if they are flexible if I can't work one night
Do I go to the training? Is the extra money worth temporary time away from the hubs?

Help me decide, and comment please!

Amazing photos from Iceland

Worth looking at. Promise.

Also, more here.

Lazy posting :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Calendar of nerds

I love Google calendars both for the organizational tool and the satisfaction I get from seeing different aspects of my life in color. I have four of them because my life is very complicated. Also, I am a huge nerd.

Green: My life including bill pay reminders, pay days, activities, parties and birthdays. This week's entries include: Jamaica G's concert, Pampered Chef deadline, D + R do KC and Royals v. Twins game.

Pink: Meal planning, which makes grocery lists infinitely easier. This week's entries include: enchiladas, spaghetti, squash/asparagus risotto, chicken tortilla soup and barbecue pulled chicken.

Purple: Running, where I record the mileage I run each morning. This week's entries: "2.5 miles, 4.1 miles, 4.2 miles."

Blue: Shea's calendar, which is technically not mine. However, I basically maintain it by sending him invites despite the fact he refuses to delete old entries that make no sense like "Boston Beer Marathon." Luckily for him, I not only invite him to things like "car payment due" but also Great American BBQ Festival, the Kansas City Zoo 8K Run and first K-State football game.

It's also fun to look back and see what I was doing a year go. Now you're curious, right? Well according to my ever so reliable calendar, last year during the second to last week in April I was having coffee with Rachel, going to grad class, getting paid, going to the chiropractor, babysitting my favorite little lady and going to a Twins game. Odd that I am doing two of those things this year, this week: Coffee with Rachel and a Twins game. Except both in a completely different city.

So there you go, I love calendars. Excuse me while I go wipe off my pocket protector.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Zero pleasure calories

I ran four miles easily this morning, and came into work feeling pretty awesome.

Then at 8:15 a.m, my coworker who had a birthday this weekend walked in with a big chocolate cake. Reminder: I do not like cake unless in cupcake form. And don't really even like chocolate due to the four-day long migraine it can induce. Said coworker says I should get a piece before it's gone. I chuckle and act like yes, I will indulge in a piece fully intending on resisting the urge for something I don't even like.

At 8:20 a.m., coworker comes by with a piece of cake on a plate AND a fork. So I proceed to begin eating a third of this cake with my coffee, mostly scraping off the purely sugar icing. Then remembering how awesome four miles feels, I threw the rest of it away.

Then I got heartburn.

A reminder that: Self control > Zeroing out workout > Eating calories that don't even give pleasure > Migraines

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Day of Free

The Challenge: Find enough free and awesome things to do to fill an entire Saturday. Not only did we succeed but we actually had options to choose from.

 7:55 a.m. Wake up because our bodies are programmed to not sleep in. We're old. Shea abides by Saturday morning routine and makes pancakes while I lie in bed thinking big thoughts.

11 a.m. Finally shower after watching Arrested Development and Darfur Now. Free on instant Netflix.

12 p.m. Free Boulevard Brewery Tour. Very cool, and gave us even more respect for Boulevard Beer. Plus, we got to taste four beers, for free. New favorite was Boss Tom's Bock. We left quite relaxed :)

1:30 p.m. Lee's Summit Kite Festival. Free admission, and a super relaxing way to enjoy the nice weather by laying in the grass and watching the sky. The flyers included both professionals and kids flying kites, music and booths.

5 p.m. Went to Joe's Pizza at Kelly's in Westport. We got a coupon in the mail for a free large pizza to welcome us to the neighborhood. We felt very welcomed. And full.

7:30 p.m. Attended a free concert by the Kansas City Civic Orchestra at the Folly Theater downtown. Major nostalgia for my Gold Orchestra days.

We went from pancakes to beer to Beethoven's Symphony No. 3. Cost of such a diverse, relaxing and fun day? Priceless. Literally.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Documentaries you should watch. And then make a change.

Right before watching Fantastic Mr. Fox:
Sarah: We never watch MY kind of movie.
Shea: They don't make your kind of movie that often.
Sarah: Hmm, true.

He's right, they don't. I like smart movies, which eliminates pretty much all comedy made in the last decade. I like movies that include some element of reality and truth, especially those that involve politics, social justice, journalism or history. Also I do not like movies that include Tobey Maguire, Nicholas Cage or most singers
turned actresses. And, no cartoons unless they are old-school Disney or Up.

Lately, though, the only movies I stay awake for are documentaries. They challenge our thinking, actually provide some education and make us want to change our behavior for a week. Sometimes longer.

Documentaries we've seen that everyone should see:

1. The Color of Fear.
  •   I watched this in class, and it changed my perspective forever. It's just a bunch of men sitting in a room. Some of them are Asian, some Latino, some Black and some White. And they have the conversation all of us are too scared to have but know needs to happen. Racism is real, painful and as White people, we are sheltered from it too often. Unfortunately this movie is not on Netflix, and is pretty hard to find. Check your libraries. But please, watch it and then do something about it.
2. Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible
  • Lucky for you, you can watch the whole documentary by following the link above. Consider it Whiteness 101. It's good, not quite as intense as The Color of Fear, but will make you think twice about how you got to where you are in life. If you want more about how we even constructed an idea of race, watch this at PBS: Race: The Power of an Illusion
3. Food, Inc. 
  • Great documentary about where your food comes from. We try to buy more organic meat, and get as much from the farmer's market as possible. And when we have the freezer space, we'll buy our meat  from a local farm. And I find I read almost every food label and think, "there is corn in this, too??"
4. God Grew Tired of Us
  • Follow the journey of Sudanese Lost Boys who come to the US seeking a new life. They came to the US not knowing how to eat cereal or how to use common appliances. Despite that, they not only thrive in the US, but are able to turn their attention back to their friends and families still living in refugee camps in Africa. 
5. Darfur Now
  • Follows the story of six people trying to make a difference in the Darfur region of Sudan. We've all walked past the people handing out flyers on the street trying to "Save Darfur. " This is your chance to really understand the genocide that continues.
6. Who Killed the Electric Car?
  • One of those eye-opening documentaries where you can't believe you didn't know about all this. It has the familiar tone of look how much these companies are influencing the government and killing a good thing. But it also blames consumers for not being willing to invest in what's right.
7.  Outfoxed: Murdoch's War on Journalism
  • I like this because I dislike Rupert Murdoch. And you should never ever watch Fox News and think you're getting accurate information. CNN and MSNBC are not perfect or unbiased. But Fox News is dirty, and you should turn it off. Period.

You can't care about every issue, and you certainly can't change everything bad about the world. But have an issue, or even a few of them. Make your world bigger.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mid-April happiness

Free Starbucks coffee: Although we were sternly corrected that the free coffee was for Earth Day not Tax Day (even though it IS Tax Day and NOT Earth Day), it was still free. And only about three other people in the long line seemed to know about it, one of which included an 11-year-old. I attribute this to lack of Twitter, and blog usage. It's free all day. Run and get it!

Running: Shea is up to four miles. I'm at three and a handful. But it feels sooooo good, and now we fall asleep at 9 p.m.

Adventures in butternut sqaush: I found a recipe for butternut squash pasta sauce from none other than convicted felon Martha Stewart. I thought we would hate it, mostly because when it goes through the food processer it resembles pumpkin puke. Instead it was quite tasty. This corn chowder recipe was also a winner.

Dog park: We found a dog park we can walk to. Unfortunately Mac is still timid from getting nipped by a large dog in Minneapolis so he wanders around like a anti-social toddler. The dogs in KC seem much more well behaved so hopefully he'll make friends in time. It probably doesn't help his self-confidence though, when we spend the hour pointing out dogs we would rather own.

Car insurance: We got car insurance, and our six-month premium is $200 less than Minnesota with the same coverage. However we didn't get full coverage on Shea's missing-door-handle-and-hubcaps beauty. Instead we're hoping that if it dies, we can buy another Toyota at half-price. Sticky gas pedals be damned.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

KC Foodies unite!

I'm not really sure whether to brag about this or not but Kansas City was named one of the Top Ten cities where foodies can find delight.

Coming in at No. 4, Kansas City was recognized for more than 100 barbecue joints. However, it was also recognized for having the best fried chicken dinner and hot cinnamon rolls at Strouds. Yuuuuck.

In related news, Kansas City came in as the 25th Fattest City in America in 2009. Compared to the fact we use to live in the third fittest city in America.

I guess it's better to live in a city where people get fat on really good food rather than people getting fat with mediocre menus. I will happily get out an elastic waistband for some KC barbecue.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Running on the cheap

I am back up to my three-mile run every morning followed by some sort of agonizing behavior like body squats, lunges or reverse abs. It only took a few times to resume the pre-wedding workout pace despite our four-month hiatus. OK, it was really six months, but whatever. We had to recover mentally. And then move. And then eat candy and sleep a lot. And I don't even LIKE candy.

We joined Gold's Gym, which incidentally has no candy but a whole lot of testerone. We used to go to Lifetime Fitness, which pretty much owns Johnson County, Kansas with its super megaplex gym. However, we aren't rich and JoCo makes me itch.

Lifetime Fitness: Locker room with locks included, free towels (though quite short), hair dryers, lotion, mouth wash and tampons. Yep, tampons. Marathon runners workout here. There are running clubs, pilates, kickboxing, yoga and step. The treadmills have TVs inside them so that I could watch the Today Show repeat its content every 21 minutes. Air temperature was a cool 40 degrees so sweating while running became near impossible. Personal trainers cost a million and one dollars but the one free session meant measuring fat all over your body, running and breathing  into a machine and then determining your body's age (I'm still 18!). Recommendations included running intervals, and putting less butter on  your bread.
Pricetag: $102/month

Gold's Gym: No locks, towels or tampons. Lots of grunting noises and mind-erasing pop/punk girl music. Sidenote: I found this very ironic. Are muscle-bound men really listening to Miley Cyrus? Treadmills have a "stop" button placed perfectly at my fist level, which leads to more math that I am comfortable with at 6 a.m. to determine how many miles I ran. Classes include ones with descriptions like this: "Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that uses circular kicks, acrobatics and various ground movements while sparring." Air temperature is a normal 70 degrees. However, when 12 people line up to run and the grunting men are added in, air temperature shoots up to a balmy 100 degrees. Free personal trainer. Recommendations included circut training, cardio if you really want to and don't eat fruit after noon.
Pricetag: $35/month

I kind of like it though. Because I'm still working out at the same intensity I was before. I can still walk over to the free weight area with my five- or 10-pound weights and lift next to some huge dude who is going to go home and drink a protein shake.

And instead of spending my morning getting ready with random strangers, I am going home, eating breakfast with Shea and watching the Today Show, whose content still loops every 21 minutes.

Friday, April 9, 2010

How we pick restaurants

We have this ambition to find the best (well best, cheap) food in Kansas City so that when we have visitors we don't have to take them to the Cheesecake Factory.

Except we can't ever decide.  We look up the "Best Mexican." But invariably, the review web sites never agree. Yelp says one thing. Pitch says another. Someone has the best tacos but you have to pay for stale chips and salsa. Someone has amazing guacamole but sticky booths. Another doesn't even have Mexican food, it's called Tex-Mex and you're an imbecile for calling it anything else.

And don't get me started on Judy's Book, Yahoo Local and Aol Citysearch. That's right, they don't even get linked.

So we revert to decision factors like how much we like their web site design, the fonts they use on their online menu (OK those two are all me) or how much tequila goes in their margaritas (40 percent proof at Ponaks - eesh)

By now, we usually start contemplating eating cheese and crackers with a side of yogurt at home because making decisions is utterly exhausting.

However, our cheapness usually wins out and we go with the specials. So tonight we will both race home from work, I will jump in Shea's car and we will race to Southwest Trafficway getting to our restaurant five minutes before the half-price margarita special ends.

Being decisive sure works up an appetite!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hole-in-one for moral hypocrisy

I do not care about Tiger Woods and frankly, I'd like to stop hearing about him.

I do not care that he slept with over a dozen women who are not his wife. He's a snake. A bad person with clearly no self-control or morals. Not just one mistake, many many many mistakes that show just how little he regards his vows. John Edwards, Tiger Woods and many others have tricked us into thinking that because they care about inner city kids, poverty, and charities that they are somehow good people. But, it's really easy to look like a good person when you can direct 100 cameras your way when you smile at a baby.

Not only do we get to hear daily analysis of Tiger's (p.s. did you know his middle name is Tont? That makes me giggle.) behavior but how his wife Elin is dealing. The Today Show relationship analyst (is this really a job?) called her approach "revolutionary." As if she has developed some recipe of coping for all cheated upon wives. "She's not supporting but still standing by him at the same time." Pause while I rinse the vomit from my mouth.

I don't care if he returns to golf. Or records more silently-staring-at-the-camera commercials. Nice try, Nike. I wonder what Earl Woods would really think of this campaign.

Perhaps golf fans should redirect their outrage and overzealous interest in Tiger toward the fact that the Augusta National Golf Club, where one of the most prestigious golf competitions is held, STILL does not allow women to become members. Instead, the club's chairman who has called the struggle for women's rights a "distraction" is saying this about Tiger: "Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children."

Really, Billy Payne? As for my children, I hope they don't grow up in a world where clubs, private or not, are allowed to discriminate against Blacks long after the civil rights movement. I hope their role models are not white men who think they can chastise black men for mistreatment of women while publicly defending gender-discrimination policies. I hope that my future daughters grow up in a world where they can become CEOs and play golf alongside their male colleagues at the club if they so choose. If the powerful social and corporate circles meet on the course, and men find it distracting to see a pretty face among them, then maybe it is they who should stay home.

I recoil at the thought that many of this nation's powerful, rich and elite are most comfortable in places where half the population, including their mothers, wives and daughters, are banned from entering. Yet, millions watch the Masters oblivious to the club's policies. Payne says he will admit female members eventually, but on his timetable. Payne's timetable didn't allow Blacks to play golf with the white folk until the 1990s. Hopefully he lets them drink at the same water fountain, too.

The time has come. Women are running companies, traveling to space, running for office and having seven babies at once. They can damn well handle swinging a nine-iron while wearing a collared shirt.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring torment

Common symptoms of allergies that I get are itchy and watery eyes, feeling my throat is a bit smaller than normal and sneezing. Please also add the urge for spring hibernation and feeling like a little man is jackhammering on my face.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Great Compromise

Soon after we found out we were moving to Kansas City, the question came.

"What about the Twins?"

So began the Great Compromise. First we agreed to not get cable TV, and instead went with Internet only. Meaning the only way the Minnesota Twins and Denard Span can be an integral part of our summer is with MLB TV. So $80 and a free trial subscription to Sports Illustrated later, we can watch the 100 + Twins games this year.

And that's not all! That $80 also gets us cravings for Shea's masterpiece "god in a bowl" which really tastes a lot more like processed, sodium-rich flames of hell in a bowl. Also the yelling, distress and general emotional rollercoaster of being a Minnesota sports fan.

Now for the part where the wife whose watching baseball games on TV tolerance level is capped at a more healthy 20 games per season.

We have many weddings to go to this summer. And due to my problem with office supplies and waistbands, I need a new dress or two. I will get a dress to wear for a night or two. He gets over 300 hours of baseball watching. I should work on my negotiation skills.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hippity Hop

Mine look nothing like this, but hey, A for effort.

If only I could figure out how to make circles (for eyes) without that stupid spike as I take the icing gun away. So Happy Easter, from these bunnies who have nothing to do with Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A letter of desperation

Dear AT&T,

I don't expect you to take this letter seriously since the dozens of hours I spend on the phone discussing our relationship apparently mean little to you.

Our relationship went to the next level in January when we requested your Internet services. Since then, we've had a lot of disappointing dates. You've given false promises, left our needs unmet and frankly, the romancing has left much to be desired - the free month of Internet for a service that does not even work is like giving us wilted flowers and a half-eaten box of chocolates. You tried to show your dedication by showing up in person with your fancy doo-dads.

We thought we had worked out our differences. We even tried to renew our relationship's strength by upping our speed to the highest you offered. We wanted to take full advantage of all your wonderful gifts. We called Monday and Tuesday, yet you said it would just take time. When we called Thursday after no communication, you promised to get back to us by the end of your day. You did not.

So, our loyalty to this relationship began to weaken despite the fact that in your sea, there are very few fish. We called Friday, begging that you make this relationship work. Please give us priority. Please consider the emotional turmoil and frustration you have brought into our lives. We never thought it would happen, but you've even caused us to yearn for our ex, Comcast.

You told us that you in fact did understand all this and that we would get another month without the burden of a bill. That you still cherished our loyalty and the on-time payments we have to offer. You swore you would call us back with an answer. Again, you did not.

On this Easter weekend, we will try our best to forgive. But we implore you, please treat us with more respect. Show us you care. Allow us to take this relationship to the next level of speed without another week of begging.

We promise if you keep up your end of the deal, we'll stop the constant phone calls and tears.

Your wishing-we-were-satisfied customers

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bread and sacrifice

Thursday night we went to church for a combination of a Maundy Thursday and Good Friday service. It's my favorite service of the whole year. It's quite bloody and sad, but the most real service I think you can attend.

We both walked away with a new sense of the reason for communion. Though I know what communion represents, it's a difficult thing to internalize when it's not Holy Week. When we first started attending this church, we both balked at the idea of communion every single week. It means taking off my coat. Getting up from my seat. Walking in front of people. Eating something that frankly leaves a less than desirable after taste.

But this time our pastor gave us the visual of Jesus ordering dinner at the Last Supper with sides of greed, selfishness, hate, laziness, indifference, jealousy, stubborness, pride, etc. Because he was strong enough to take it on. And in return, he gave us grace in the form of his body. And all he asks is for us to eat it.

So my new challenge is that everytime I have to leave my seat for communion to eat the just-OK-tasting bread is to remember that my stubborness, pride, procrastination, PMS-induced irritability and anger taste a whole lot worse. And because of a painful sacrifice, it's now the best tasting bread and grape juice ever made.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Google, the King of April Fool's Jokes

Kansas people are hilarious. In an effort to woo Google's high-speed internet, the capital city changed it's name to Google, Kansas. So in response, Google changed it's name to Topeka. Explanation, click here.

Google has had some amazing jokes, my favorite being Google Paper. "Everyone loves Gmail. But not everyone loves email, or the digital era. What ever happened to stamps, filing cabinets, and the mailman? Well, you asked for it, and it’s here. We’re bringing it back."