December 18, 2007

O Canada!

And we're off for our yearly road trip. To the French side.

To all my Canadian snowbound friends

with their cars under makeshift white tents in their driveway

who frequent all of the Tim Hortons across the land

where the typical "huh?'" is replaced with the Canadian "eh"?

and where I don't know a lick of French except what my husband says to my daughter:

Change la couche? (Which means change your diaper.)

Somehow, I don't think I will be able to use that phrase much to illustrate my illustrious French skills.

We are leaving tomorrow for a 16 hour drive, with a toddler in the back seat who is only pacified (for ten minutes) by her favorite sticker book. It'll be National Lampoon's Vacation - French style. Please pray for us that she doesn't get bored twenty minutes after we leave the driveway. Otherwise it's going to be a looooooooooooooooong road trip.

Have a great holiday everyone

Au revoir (well, at least I can use that word!) But it gets old fast.

December 13, 2007

Here Comes Santa Clause

Ah, the joys of taking a toddler to see Santa Clause.

"No, no, no!"

Happy again!

Anyone? Anyone?

Long office meetings. Daunting work seminars.

Has anyone ever experienced them? If not, you've been hiding under your desk for the year.

Some of these never ending seminars remind me of the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off when the pesky teacher, played by Ben Stein, notices half the class asleep and decides to ask a question. When nobody answers, he says, "Anyone, Anyone?" in a monotone voice and the camera pans the classroom where most of the students are either chewing their gum, sleeping or looking out the window.

Today, I had to go downtown for a work seminar. Right now, my job is typically working with seniors and setting up community based services.
For the first seminar (lasting three hours), it was all about baselines, probabilities, statistics, formulas and ratios. After the fifth chart regarding statistical evidence and formulas of whether Adult Day Service leads to precursory nursing home placement, I decided to peruse the room a bit with my eyes.

My attention first came to a woman who was chewing her nail tips off and then looking at them (which didn't hold my attention long), then I decided to write down the supposed work out schedule for my upcoming New Year's resolution of joining a gym and working out every morning (which was quite overblown when I put that I would wake up at 5:00 in the morning and go exercise for two hours along with walking the dog, then doing ab exercises at night and so on and so forth), then I looked at my neighbor who was trying to figure out how many words she could come up with from the word Marriott (Hotel).

Finally, a break for lunch.

The later half of the day and the second session (of three hours again) was the Disaster Relief seminar. Everything you need to know and then some of how to prepare your Adult Day Center for an upcoming natural disaster or threat. First of all, I don't own or work at an Adult Day Center and second, three hours of listening to how we have to be prepared for any kind of threat and what to stock our Emergency kits with started to get to be a little too much.

The first half of the afternoon session was interesting but after the break, it slowly went to "Is it over yet?" Toward the last hour, I again decided to peruse my eyes around to see what people were doing. But it's more like I heard what someone was doing.

Down at the end of our row, a woman had fallen asleep and was snoring outright like a grizzly bear inhaling deep breaths and then spewing out a loud, "Argh!" The woman even had her head tilted back with her mouth wide open. Several people noticed, especially when she was exhaling her loud snore. I don't know if the speakers heard her or not, but I don't see how they couldn't have noticed. But they went on, never missing a beat which I guess is a mark of a true meeting presenter.
In all fairness to myself, I tried to listen to what they had to say. But not only was it not relevant to what I do but it was long. Really, really long.
Meetings. Seminars. They are an American right of passage into the business world. Great things can come from them: detailed to do lists from the organizers, doodles and portraits from the creative thinkers and daydreaming for those who are neither.
So the next time you go to one of "those" seminars or meetings, do what I do. Look around at the people and what they do when they are bored. And perhaps a smile will come across your face because we are all more alike than you think.

December 12, 2007

Christmas Gift Exchanges

Gift exchanges.

Whether you have to buy gifts for people at the office or extended relatives that you really don't know, they always seem to come around faster than you think at Christmas time.

And what do you receive? You either end up getting the typical black glove and scarf set or the ever so popular Christmas paraphernalia (that went on clearance the day after Christmas last year) such as the singing stuffed Santa that lights up and drives you nuts or a candy cane striped coffee mug that you'll use one month out of the year. And my least favorite, a musky cologne that can kill anyone who comes within ten feet of you. We all look at the gifts and say a little prayer before we open them but often you are secretly wanting to ask, "Is there a gift receipt for a return on this?" Which people never seem to include for Christmas gifts.

This year for our office Christmas party, instead of buying a gift for the person whose name you drew out of a box, they opted for everyone to buy a general $10 to $15 gift for a man or woman. Do you know how hard it is to buy a $10 dollar gift that suits either sex and 20 some people with different personalities?

I thought about chocolate, but what if the person is on a diet? I thought about candles but what if a man received it? I thought about the typical black glove and scarf set but it's so overused. So I thought long and hard about it, found nothing and at the last minute opted for buying a super duper ultra snow brush and ice scraper. The deluxe version that will never leave any car under scraped during an ice storm. (Yeah, laugh my friends.)

Yesterday was our office Christmas party. Due to a potential ice storm (which the ice scraper might actually have come in handy for, see I'm so intuitive) we canceled the party at our coworker's house (which is all decorated and welcoming) and decided to have the party in the staff meeting room. We had several people bring wine but that had to be replaced with Diet Pepsi because it was at the office.

We were instructed to put all of our chairs in a circle with the presents in a pyle in the middle of the room. At the same time, we were told to go to the center and get a gift. We each opened our own gift and then had to say what we received. Now the stealing part started. All of us received two playing cards and one person had an extra deck of cards and called out the numbers so we had two chances to steal somebody's gift when our card came up.
You can tell a lot about people by how they play this game. You can tell who the really kind people are when they keep their gift which is obviously something they aren't thrilled about just so they don't hurt peoples' feelings. You have the people that just don't care. It's $10 dollars, what really can I get out of this? So they take whatever comes. You have the people that take it seriously and stop at nothing to try and keep their present. And the list goes on.

The gifts included: numerous lotion sets (which I didn't try for because you never know if it's a good lotion unless you know the brand or smell it), a Chia pet herb garden, wine, the Christmas nick-knacks which end up being added to your attic and the one gift which everyone tried to avoid: a pot which strains the fat from gravy.

As for which type of player am I? I'm the over thinker. I analyze who will probably take what so I can end up with a gift that I like. The fun is actually more in trying to predict how it will play out.
Thought process: If I steal the $25 dollar gift certificate that most people want, than my chance of getting a gift I don't want is greater because I'll be stuck with whatever they have. If I go for another gift I like, but isn't the best one, then I'll probably get to keep it because nobody is stealing it. It worked. I ended up with a nice black picture frame that holds 5x7 photos which was perfect for Olivia's Halloween portraits. Unfortunately, my best friend at the office and coworker ended up with the gravy de-fatter. And she doesn't cook.

But it was fun and I highly suggest the steal a gift scenario if your extended family (or office) is tired of buying a boat load of gifts for so many people. Other versions include: drawing numbers and then the person with number one gets to pick a wrapped gift, then number two can either pick another wrapped gift or steal number one's and then number three can pick a wrapped gift or steal any of the people that went before him.

Another family does the same thing but nobody opens the gifts so it's more based on the anticipation of what that gift might hold and at the end everyone opens what they end up with.

And one of my relatives family bring gifts under $5 dollars (gag gifts) and does this so it's more fun than anything else. As for my husband's family, they have a spending amount of $30 dollars for the gift. So it can go anyway you want it. When you can pretty much get whatever you want during the year, it's a fun and memorable way to enjoy Christmas. With less emphasis on buying a ton of gifts which Christmas shouldn't be about anyway.

December 9, 2007

Ten Things

Kriss, a fellow blogger, had tagged several of us to post ten known facts:

I hate dipped food. Ever since my daughter first learned that food can be dipped, EVERYTHING has to be dipped: in ketchup, in mustard, dipped in ranch dressing and in any kind of liquid, spread or configuration which something can be dipped in. Last week, on a long tumultuous two hour drive, we had to get something for dinner on the way. Looking for the easy way out, we went to McDonalds. For twenty minutes, I had to continually turn around and present my daughter with sauce for her chicken McNuggets or she cried. (I would never trust a 21 month-old with holding honey mustard sauce in the backseat of a car.) After many times of turning around, I realized, she wasn’t eating the chicken, she was just licking the sauce off. There wasn’t any chicken being eaten at all.

I laugh continually when I read the book I've almost written which either means it’s a damn good book or I’m a borderline lunatic.

I love chocolate, way too much. But what woman doesn’t, really?

I hate changing diapers so much that my husband has probably changed 75 percent of them. Especially the stinky ones.

I hate going to bed because I don’t want tomorrow to come.

I never thought I would be a baby person but I fell in love with my daughter when she smiled at me. And gradually, when I see babies, I’ve now become the motherly schmoozy person by saying, “Ah, look at that baby!” Before I was like, “Yeah, so what?”

I’m way to idealistic for my own good. I believe everyone should operate on a basic of good ethics, sound principles and a kind heart and many times, because of this idealism, I’m let down.

My greatest luck came about with my husband. He looks at me like I’m the best thing that happened since apple pie. And everyone should have someone who thinks they are better than apple pie!

I believe in God and that we should be tolerant of all religions, sexual orientations, differences of opinions and life as long as it doesn’t cause physical harm to others. Who are we to be so sanctimonious to judge others and then use God as the catch phrase for the reasoning behind what constitutes as our own opinions or translations of what he stands for.

I am a grouchy Christmas customer. I now like Christmas shopping for the first twenty minutes. By the time I have been poked, ran over by a cart, stood in a long line for some “limited release” toy, have seen too many people drop stuff in stores and not pick it up and have been ran over by people in a hurry and people not keeping the flow moving in the aisles, I say, “forget this” and I grab the closest present on the shelf and I’m gone. So what if Grandma is going to get an electric knife in a dented box that was on the clearance shelf next to the front lobby. After Christmas, she can be my guest and mosey on over to take it back with her walker in tow and peruse the limitless aisles in search of a left over fruit cake or a foot warmer.

(Actually, I don’t have a Grandma. I’m not THAT mean.)

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday weekend was great! Yesterday, we went to see Wicked, the untold story of the witches of Oz. There was a man that laughed like a horse throughout the whole musical who sat next to my husband, but other than that, it was pretty damn good. Well worth the bazillion American Express points it took to see it.

Then we went to the Melting Pot for a four course fondue dinner. Today, we went to see the movie, The Golden Compass and then to Sam's Club to get groceries. (Okay the Sam's Club thing wasn't so great but hey, you have to eat.)
And tonight, I am blowing out my candles and making a big ol' wish. Perhaps it'll be the typical Miss America beauty pageant wish for "world peace" however, I doubt it.