Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I'm Gonna Lie

So, now you all have fair warning. I'm gonna tell a lie for the rest of the day, into the evening.

I guess it's been a ton of stress that caused it - and I'm going to share the truth with YOU, the faithful stranger on the 'net - I have a growth. You can forget the photo, 'cuz it's not gonna happen. Basically, I have a THING on my chin - to the left of my bottom lip. What looks like the beginnings of an "innie-zit," know what I mean? Those zits that don't really come up to the surface? But you can feel them there - like the stranger in the dark, lurking around, ready to of THOSE. A non-approachable, non-squeezable, can't-find-the-point-of-release zit.

Only I don't think it's a zit anymore. Usually, a zit won't make your entire chin feel like it's been pumped with Novacaine, or make the lip that is at LEAST an inch above it swell, giving you a lop-sided smile. I HAVE had the occasional throbbing zit, but this thing is like a facial fetus with it's own heartbeat.

I've been told, "It's a boil." I've been told, "It's a cyst." And I live in the South, so I've been told to put every imaginable pultice (poultice?) on the thing, even a remedy including urine that IS NOT MY OWN. Not gonna happen.

The Nurse/Husband/Father of My Child is concerned, but his treatments include lots of antibiotics, epsom salts and hydrogen peroxide. That just gave the "non-zit" lots of little nasty white things on top, but still nothing poppable.

I woke up thinking it would be better this morning, but alas, I have Quasimodo-lip. So I'm gonna lie, b/c I have to stand in front of a college class and teach tonight. Who wants an instructor with a BOIL, or a CYST or even a ZIT???? YUCK!'s a spider bite. Pass it on.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Not a Grown Up

I discovered, again, the hard way, that I still have a lot of growing up to do.

I am VERY opinionated - and whenever controversy ensues, I'm right smack dab in the middle of it, offering my 2 cents. Which is not always a good idea. Offering your 2 cents to friends who will love you no matter what is one thing - but doing so with a more critical audience can lead to problems.

I can't really go into details now, but I said something I'd give anything to take back. It wasn't hurtful to the person I was speaking to - in fact, it was an explanation of an earlier conversation - but they happened to be a friend of someone who might have been hurt by what I've said. Vague enough for you? Let's just say, I was talking on the phone to someone I THOUGHT was someone else...and didn't discover it until it was a bit too late. The shock. Then the horror. Then more explaining.

I received some comfort from a friend today, who relayed an even worse situation. She was picking up a group of girls from a dance, and they were telling her all about "Girl X's" behavior at the event. (Girl X was NOT in the car.) Seems "Girl X" was gyrating all over the boys in attendance, causing quite a scene. This friend said to her carload, "With that kind of behavior, Girl X will probably end up pregnant by the time she is 14." She was attempting to pass on a message about inappropriate behavior - and knowing my friend, it was meant as a "lesson" to the others about proper dance decorum. What my friend didn't realize is that one of the girls in her car thought it would be DELIGHTFUL to share this nugget with Girl X at school. Only the translation was, "So-and-so's mom said you're gonna be pregnant by the time you're 14."

Luckily for my friend, she wasn't at home when Girl X's mother called. She never had a confrontation. Even though she and Girl X's mother aren't friends, she KNOWS the mother heard about it, and is probably pissed at her.

So, my situation could be worse. Even though there have already been some conversations between others about my snafu. I called one of the parties who might have been offended by my comment, came (somewhat) clean, and am hoping for the best. Thank goodness I can still type with (as Songbird would say) both feet in my mouth.

By the way, I'm linking here to the Carnival of the Blogging Chicks, though Blogger is fighting me tooth and nail about posting their graphic. Must be more of my Neophyte-ism in action tonight

Friday, August 25, 2006

Whimpering (Softly)

I can't believe how TIRED I am. Only one week into the new school year, and I'm beat. I got in the bad habit of sleeping in during the summer (one of the perks of being the boss), maybe heading to the orifice (office) at 9:30AM. Now, I'm rousted up at 6:45AM, with the task sof helping the child get her breakfast ready, making sure she has all the appropriate accoutrements for the school day, approving of her clothing choices, and driving her to the middle school in time for the 8:00AM bell. Plus having to remember to pick her up at 3:15PM. Not to mention having to keep up with cheer practices, athletic forms, student info forms, homework assignments, and monetary requirements. Plus, I had to teach my first college class this week and finalize the plans for a Rotary District Membership Seminar that I am conducting all day Saturday in a town that is an hour and 45 minute drive for my home.

Oh...and let's not forget that even though I'm arriving at work much earlier, I feel so very far behind. I taught a Realtor New Member Orientation Course Tuesday morning, conducted a sales meeting Wednesday morning, fired an agent Wednesday afternoon, hired a new agent Friday, and approved a new advertisement for the football section of the newspaper to acknowlege my daughter's participation in Mena Bearkitten Cheerleading - all in addition to my normal duties.

And what? Pluto is no longer a planet?? My world is not the same!!!

I know, I'm whining. And my husband keeps telling me that I put too much on my plate. I guess I wouldn't be happy otherwise, or I wouldn't keep doing it!!! I have renewed respect, each and every day, for those who have more than one child, or don't have a significant other. Thank goodness the child's first football game is over this evening, and I'll get to sleep in on Sunday. God knew that people like me needed a day of rest, and for that, I'm blessed.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Whale Tail, AKA Vacation Day Six

When I originally planned our vacation, I wanted us to participate in different activities than we had during our previous trips to Laguna Beach. Plus, Amber is a little too old (thank GOD) for Disneyland now, so the obligatory trip to that venue is no more. One of our activities this year was a Coastal Dinner Cruise, leaving the Dana Point Harbor at 6:00PM. As we were waiting to leave, these birds appeared as sentinels, ready to enforce the rules at any sign of disorder. As we were lining up to board the boat, there were about 40 passengers wearing the same blue shirt with "Smith Family Reunion" emblazed on them. While the three of us were at the front of the line, some of these pushy Smiths decided THEY needed to be at the front of the line (most likely worried that they were going to miss out getting the premiere seating at the top deck of the boat).I can't abide it when people cut in line. Especially grown people, over the age of 50. As we boarded, I was determined to also get those top seats, as they had tables for dining and offered a spectacular view. Each table arrangment could have easily sat 6 people - and there were 8 tables - but the Smiths decided that two people, one on each side of the table, was the perfect arrangement. I finally convinced one of the Smiths that this was a bit unfair, and managed to secure seats for the three of us on the top deck. Roger can get a little nervous when I assert myself, but I do it in my business all the time, so it's second nature to me. As the only non-Smiths in the section, I felt like we had managed a coup. A coup with a view!! The other poor passengers didn't dare challenge the Smith clan, and were forced to sit inside the cabin, with limited viewing options. Two great things about this harbor cruise (besides the food) were the live music, by Mike O'Bryan, and the alcohol! Mike entertained the crowd with classic favorites from the Eagles, Steely Dan, Jim Croce, etc. Most passengers knew every song, and after consuming a lot of alcohol - we were all singing along like drunken sailors by cruise-end. Roger especially enjoyed this, as he admired Mike's Taylor guitar and had a good chat with him after we docked.

It took me a while to gain my sea legs, but the Corona helped me a lot. Amber wandered around the boat like an old pro, shooting photos like mad. We got a special treat, as the captain spotted several humpbacked whales during our cruise. Whales do not usually swim so close to the Southern California Coast during the summer months - but due to exceptionally warm waters, we had unusual luck. The captain decided to detour and do some whale chasing, to our delight! I don't have a really fancy camera like Ree, so my shots lack a little something. But I managed to get two of the whale! A shot of the hump and his spray, plus the tail, right before he disappeared from view! (Don't ask me why I call the whale a "he" - I did not visually verify the sex!) Unfortunately, Blogger is not cooperating today. I have managed to upload two photos, but the whale photos have refused to post. So, for the hump with the spray, click here, and for the view of the tail, click here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Shopping Laguna, AKA Vacation Day Five

One of the best things about having a daughter is that I have a "partner in crime." On every family vacation, we drag Roger along on at least one shopping spree. Poor thing - he ends up sitting on various benches with other men the entire time, rolling his eyes and trading traumatic stories with fellow victims. It is hysterical to observe how a man will perk up the second he sees his female clan emerging from a store. Even more amusing is his dejection as he realizes that they only exited long enough to pop into the store next door. Premature Eshopulation. I only had one shop in mind this trip - Fawn Memories. A must for buying the souvenir t-shirt. Somehow, I didn't end up with one, but Roger got three for himself (the only shop he got excited about).

Amber was a shopping fiend, insisting on getting surf-rat duds at Hobie and a store that had tons of Roxy apparel. After spending WAY too much on the kid (thank goodness I only have ONE), we delighted in Frappucinos from Starbucks and did some window-shopping. An entire day in downtown Laguna isn't enough time, IMHO!Laguna has some fantastic galleries, and as an avid collector of egg paperweights from The Glass Eye Studios, I was particularly interested in shopping for a new one to add to my collection. I didn't find "just the right one," but I DID stumble into The Crystal Image, which was AMAZING! My parents have always been rockhounds, and I caught the bug. This was the last stop on our shopping adventure, and it truly made my day. Rocks galore! And some dang pricey rocks, I might add. Why, you can own your own quartz sphere, with a diameter of 3 1/2 feet, for only $14,500! Needless to say, this was one store Roger made sure he escorted me thru - every step of the way, lest I give in to temptation.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Be Careful What You Wish For

I'm getting really angry. All I want to do is RELIVE MY VACATION, yet recent events keep popping up, and life is going on, and I'm all cranky and stuff.

Before we left for our trip, I heard a rumor that the Assistant Administrator of our local hospital would be leaving for a new job in Texas. That in and of itself is not a big deal, even though my husband is employed at the hospital. The big deal is that said Administrator was planning to teach an undergraduate course in human resource (HR) management this Fall at our local community college. Anyone who knows me knows that I won't be satisfied with my present job forever. Owning my own business allows me a ton of freedom, but my "second career dream" is to be a professor. Since I have an MBA, I am qualified to be a member of adjunct faculty.

The same week that I heard the rumor (which was a bona fide fact), I saw an interesting ad in our local paper. The college was accepting applications for adjunct faculty. Since I was leaving on vacation the very next day, I casually contacted their office to see if they were trying to fill the HR instructor slot. They were unaware that the instructor was leaving, and I was told that they were really just "developing a pool" of "possible instructors" for classes the college "might be adding in the future." So I left for vacation, thinking that I had some time to get my stuff together.

A week after I returned, I assembled my resume' (which is really difficult if you haven't done one in over 14 years), dug out my transcripts, and managed to find some references (also difficult when you've been your own boss for a while). No word for a week. Since classes start August 23rd, I figured they had already found someone to teach the class.

I got the call Monday. Can you teach the class? As thrilled as I was, I was taken aback. What. Have. I. Done.

So, I now have an old syllabus (from 2003), a student textbook, and 2 hours and 45 minutes of classtime, every Wednesday night, to fill with wit and wisdom and experience that will make a difference in students' lives. Wish them luck.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sand and Sawdust, AKA Vacation Day Four

Back to our vacation coverage. It was another day on the beach, as we felt obligated to take in the full Laguna Beach experience. We trekked out to Aliso, which had a beautiful pier the last time we visited in 2000. Roger was determined to rid himelf of the "farmer's tan" he usually sports. (He's not a farmer; he's a fisherman - but the tan is the same.) The Fabulous Resort provided us with beach chairs, boogie boards, etc. as part of our package. What they didn't provide was fur-penetrating sunscreen. When Roger decided (after about an hour) to apply the spray-on sunscreen (which played total havoc with the topcoat on my fingernails), he did so liberally. What he did NOT do was make sure the sunscreen reached the SKIN. A vast majority of it clung to the forest of his chest hair. At least, after 3 hours in the sun, his chest was a lovely red shade.

Though it was hard to even begin to top our experience at the Festival of the Arts and the Pageant of the Masters from the previous evening, we decided to meet up with my parents again later that day and check out one of the top art festivals in the country, the Sawdust Festival! I can say this about Amber, she just loves art. She has a very unique sense of style and taste, and going to these events were the highlight of her trip. It made me so proud to watch her discover artwork that struck her. At some booths she took a lot of time, flipping through the prints in order to examine the artist's work more closely. She was drawn to things that I would normally not give a second glance. To view the artwork thru her eyes was a real treat.

If you ever have the chance to visit Laguna Beach, CA, please make sure it's during the time of these festivals. If you have any interest at all in art, jewelry, glass pieces, sculpture, etc., you will be so glad that you did!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Spanked by Songbird

Okay, maybe not spanked, but more like slapped on the wrist? Nah...I like the idea of getting spanked better. So, forgive me, Songbird, but you are complicit in this recent post. And I know you didn't spank me, but rather felt I should have posted more photos on my flickr site. So I did. There were LOTS of photos taken on the recent family shoot - and so many were experimental (so that the photographer could practice setting up shots and getting the lighting right.) The ones I've posted today are ones I didn't have printed, for one reason or another. Mostly b/c I didn't like the way I looked in them. (I know - vanity is a sin. But they're my photos!) Songbird felt I was too hard on myself, and that I should share some of the "rejects." So, taking the advice of my elders, I am. Be kind to me. Even if I am trying too hard to be like Julie!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Another Photo Break

I'm taking another break from our regularly scheduled vacation coverage, b/c some of you expressed interest in seeing those professional photos we had taken. So they are FINALLY available at my flickr site. This has to be my favorite - I am not a huge fan of photos where the subjects are looking straight at the camera, and this one really captures the essence of the kiddo. It's one we're sure to treasure more as she gets older!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Beginning of the Bloat, AKA Vacation Day Three

On Thursday, I'm not myself. I have peed maybe 3 times in 2 days. No excavation of the bowels, either. I attribute this to breakfasts at Denny's. Unless you order a la carte, the cheapest breakfast deal is $5.99. A HUGE serving of omelet, two pancakes, sausage and bacon. Our fabulous resort served a complete breakfast buffet, but at a cost of $12.99. We ate there on day two, but for day three - it was gorging at Denny's. I didn't even come close to finishing my meal, but Roger and Amber had no trouble.

BTW, remember when you learned how to drive? Most likely, your father taught you. Well, I was in a time warp, as my father rode in the passenger seat of our rented SUV, with me behind the wheel. I'm a great driver, but to my father, I'm still 15. Even at the ripe age of 37. So as we're traveling down PCH, I'm constantly peppered with comments such as:

"Slow down!"
"You're going to turn right up the road!!"
"Don't leave so much space between you and the next car!!"
"We don't run over pedestrians in California like they do in Arkansas. It's against the law here!"
Mind you, these are not gentle instructions, but more like demands. I kept my cool, and got us safely to our destination, which was the fabulous Festival of the Arts! The web site explains more, but not every area artist can partipate. There are all sort of exhibits of fine art, from oils, photography, jewelry, sculpture - you name it. The child was absolutely fascinated by the array of works. A premiere cultural experience, if you ever make it to Laguna Beach during this time of year. HOWEVER, the prime attraction for the Festival is the Pageant of the Masters! There are no cameras allowed, which is a total shame - since there is nothing I can say that would do justice to the experience. Basically, live people "re-enact" paintings and sculptures, and it is absolutely phenomenal. The show is narrated, and accompanied by a live orchestra - and the cast recreates art so faithful to the original work that it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to tell that LIVE PEOPLE are involved. Truly amazing. The recreation of some of Van Gogh's works, as well as "The Last Supper" were among the highlights. Attending this one event made the trip for me. Even if my father looked at my high heels and commented, "Those don't look like good walking shoes."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sand Crack, AKA Vacation Day Two

Our first entire day in So. Cal. HAD to be spent at the ocean. Mom and Dad led us to a secluded beach across from the Montage Resort to gently initiate us into the experience (as seen in the view posted previously here). The beaches in Laguna are unforgiving - lots of rocks, and sheer cliffs above. Amber and Roger tentatively waded out, while I found a sunny spot to brown my skin. I'm NOT a swimmer. At most, I'm a flounderer. More of a sinker. And an astute panicker. I have no interest in putting myself thru any further humiliation in order to overcome this fault. I remember being forced at the age of 13 to take swimming lessons. They finally gave me a "Poliwog" certificate, just to get rid of me. When I was a baby, I used to scream when my mother would get water on my face. Scream to the point that my digestive system would revolt, causing me to vomit in the bathtub.

After seeing Amber pick sand out of her swim bottoms for the umpteenth time, I knew she had forgotten that with the fun of big waves come the not-so-fun sand. She was amazed at the sheer volume of sand and salt that was in her hair, her suit, her everywhere. When we returned to the hotel, we washed gobs of sand out of her bikini. She must have showered for an hour. After a thorough de-sanding, we finally met up with the parental units in Dana Point for much needed dinner (and drinks) at El Torito, as I'm a huge fan of Mexican Food! More about our fabulous resort in the next post...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

They're here!

The official photos from our vacation (well, at least any that are of interest) are finally up at my flickr site!

You'll notice there are only two photos of me. One reason is that the kid and I were the only ones lugging cameras around. Another reason is that the kid doesn't want a bunch of photos of her mother. Well, to be honest, she DID take one of my butt in a swimsuit. You will NOT see that one! Sorry, Internet!!

I did suffer one small problem during the trip - I bloated. So, at the beginning, I was fine (see the plane photo), but at the end, I was 7 pounds heavier. 7 pounds heavier in ONE WEEK! I dropped it all two days after our return, and my ankle bracelet no longer left hour-long indentations in my leg.

Oh well - enjoy the photos!

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Orifice Chronicles, Part Deux

We interrupt our regularly scheduled vacation coverage to bring you...MENA TRACTOR PULL!! Get your lawn chairs - this one's all fun! The day I returned from vacation, I was quickly reminded that I was back in the South. In front of my office is an EZ Mart, which is bordered by a grassy area which slopes down to a big ditch. To the left of my office building is another big ditch, which leads down to a culvert that diverts creek water. Thankfully, the mowing responsibilities for these two areas fall to the Arkansas State Highway Department. (Notice the reverence I give them?)Not too long after mowing commenced to the left of my building, the gentleman operating the device miscalculated the weight of his equipment, and became lodged in the culvert, as witnessed in the photo to the left. At the same time, the mowers were working across the street - and guess what?? EZ Mart Mower became stuck within HIS ditch as well, as you can see here to the right (click on images to enlarge). Now, as difficult as this may be to believe, this honestly happened within MINUTES...prompting me and Lanna to snap some photos. (Okay, I was too embarrassed to take them and sent Lanna to do the dirty work.) But as you can see in this final photo, if you look closely, Mower #1 is barely visible over the guardrail to the left of the photo, while Mower #2 is firmly lodged across the street. Sometimes, I LOVE having an office on the highway!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Snakes on a Plane, AKA Vacation Day One

It's been almost a year since our last flight, so I was anxious to see what might have changed security-wise. I was hustled to the side with my "suspicious" bag on my last trip, so I was pleased that the little airport in Fort Smith didn't put us thru much hassle. One flight to DFW, then another to John Wayne in Orange County for 4 hours of total flying time. No sweat. A couple of airline safety talks were the highlight, as the announcement of what actions to take in case of a "water landing" always crack us up. Roger turned to me during this portion of the airline spiel and asked, "Did you see any pontoons on this plane?" I also enjoy their euphemistic reference to your seat cushion as a "flotation aid." I prefer, "The Oh-Shit Pillow."

We did have one minor incident on our last leg of the flight. Roger had to visit the facilities while the flight attendants were serving drinks. On his way back to his seat, an attendant was backing down the aisle in front of him, oblivious to his repeated verbalizations of, "Excuse me." When it appeared she was about to back over him and trip, he gently placed his hand on her back and repeated his line. She whipped around and said, "Don't touch me!! After 9/11, we are extremely sensitive to people coming up behind us and touching us!" I barely heard this, as I was getting up to let Roger back into our row. She started babbling to me about how inconsiderate people can be, and how flight attendants have to deal with so much these days - semi-apologizing for her outburst. All I could focus on was Roger seething with embarrassment. He felt she was inappropriate, and I agree. And has anyone noticed that the flight attendants aren't as hot as they used to be? I calmed Roger down by noting that the attendant who had committed the heinous act was old, fat, ugly, and had over-bleached hair.

After picking up the rental and checking into our kick-ass resort in Dana Point, we followed Mom and Dad back to their house in Laguna Beach (5 minutes up the road) for some of the largest hamburgers I have seen in my entire life. I wish I had a photo of THAT to share! Watch for the photos on my
fickr site!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Weeee're Baaaaaack!

Ah...7 days of forgetting all about work. Soaking up the Southern California sun. It was awesome. I will have more details about the trip in upcoming posts, but here is a view of the precious little one, as she stands atop a hill overlooking a beach we visited.

I miss it so much already!! Now, I have to spend the next hour checking in on my favorite blogs to see what I missed. Can you IMAGINE being computer-less for AN ENTIRE WEEK?!?!? Yeah - it was great.