Monday, June 20, 2011

Understanding your food

I'm just watching the 3rd episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and I'm amazed.

What amazes me the most is the lack of knowledge that the teenagers had about where food comes from.

Butter is from sweet corn?

Chocolate is from a cocoa lake?

Honey is from a bear?

Sausage is from a corn dog?

Jamie: Do you know where almonds come from?
Student: No.
Jamie: Do you know what an almond is?
Student: No.
Jamie: Really? [frowning]

Jamie: Where does guacamole come from? Apple? Avocado? Broccoli?
Student: Apple.
Jamie: Are you Mexican?
Student: Yes.
I'm serious. That was what some high school kids answered. Each question had 3 choices. And the kids were getting these simple questions wrong. [shaking head]

You've got to watch it. It'll just blow your mind. Like Jamie said. These kids are driving cars. They'll be able to vote in another year or two. And they have NO IDEA where their food comes from. Wow!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

You want WHAT for us to get in?

The kids and I attended a birthday party this afternoon.

The party was at a nearby lake that I'd never been to.

I drove up to the main gate of the lake.
Me: Can I please have a map?
Attendant: Sure, no problem. Do you live in the community?
Me: No, I actually live across the freeway in RB.
Attendant:Okay. That'll be 5 dollars for parking
While I bent over and grabbed my purse, all I could think of in my head was WTF? We have to PAY to get into the place to park our cars? There was no mention of this on the invitation. Not one syllable! It's not a ton of money but it would hav been nice to have some kind of notice of the parking fee for non-residents. You know what I'm saying?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Do you know what you're talking about?

I took part in a webcast-conference call yesterday.

We got an Outlook invite to the call about a week ago, so we had tons of advance warning about it. When I dialed in, I had my computer on the webcast and I had my headset on to listen via the phone. I quickly realized that we had no agenda for the call. AND the lead on the call wasn't the most savvy person about the new tool that we were going to discuss on the call.

One part was where the lead was supposed to show us how to move items into the new database. But as I listened, the lead was going through a workflow that was something I would NEVER do. And the manner in which the lead was doing it opened up the possibility of errors/mistakes. Ay-yay-yay!

Thankfully one of the other callers spoke up and conveyed the workflow they were performing to get items into the new database and it was exactly what I was doing. So once they finished explaining their process, I chimed in and said I was doing it the same way.

Then we walked through another process where we needed to load other data onto the database. These would be files where we'd often have 2 or 3 or 4 or even 5 files with the same name. And we needed to keep ALL the versions. The lead didn't bring up the fact that we would need to always "uncheck" the default so that we would NOT overwrite existing files. We'd have to manually update the file names. And since the lead didn't say anything, I chimed in about it. Wouldn't you know it, no one had thought about that particular situation. I'm just thinking that no one had been "unchecking" the overwrite button and were erroneously replacing files. Oy!

It would have been SO nice if the lead had pulled together even a small agenda before the meeting. This way we'd all know what we'd be going over and have some prepared questions. I just had attending meetings that don't have an agenda. One of my pet peeves for sure.

When you are the designated lead, do you always put together an agenda? Isn't the meeting always better than if you go by the flying by the seat of your pants method?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Last night was a doozy

Y'all know the plight I've had with my car these last couple of months.

Last night I was faced with another obstacle.

My darling car greeted me with a dead battery.

Dead as a doornail!

Thankfully my BIL was able to come over and help me.

We took out the old one.

Drove to CostCo to buy a new one.

But, alas, CostCo did not carry my battery size. What the heck?

So where to go? Where to go?

We ended up driving another 10 minutes to the nearest Kragen. Oh yeah, it's changed to O'Reilly now. I found out that the Hubs had bought my now dead battery at Kragen just under 2 years ago. So? So? I was able to get a prorated amount off the new battery cost. Yeah! Rather than having to fork over 95 buck, I only had to shell out $35. Woohoo!

But my darn car! My darn car!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Getting the train out of the station

Monday, Monday, Monday...

Mondays are always a very busy day. It doesn't matter what business niche you're in, Mondays always bring more snail mail, more email, and thus more work. It's always hard to get in the groove of work after the weekend. It's like a train pulling out of the station. Chug-chug-chug. Straining to get some motion going.

Today was no different than any other Monday. My to-do list was long right from the get-go.

I was working a way when a wrench got thrown into my day.

Around 9:30am, the brightness from my screen was no more. The lights above went black. The building went dark. Yes. Our electricity went out.

I sat for a moment and just listened. I half-expected for the lights to come right back on. But alas, that was not the case.
"I hope you all saved your work if you were in Word or Excel!"
I got some hot water from our dispenser while it was still hot so I could drink more tea. I got some cold water so I could drink it while it was still cold. I had no idea how long the building would be out. I sit about 10 feet away from a window, so I was still getting some light. I ended up looking through my mail stack sorting things out. boring!

Thankfully, the lights went back on about an hour after they went out. Turns out that a large section where we're at had no power -- about 500 businesses were in the black. So we weren't the only ones who were greeted with an unexpected obstacle today.

Now were there any glitches to your day today?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Bump Bump and Bump Again

I was so happy in April when I made my last car payment.

Being free of that monthly expense would give me a bit of a financial buffer.

But wouldn't you know it, the darn car has been causing me problems for the past month.

May 11
I filled my car with about 13 gallons of gas. But the tank gauge still shows me just above empty. AND the # of miles to empty counter still showed me as 36 miles to E. I brought my car in the very next day. It was an all-day affair. I ended up shelling out around $350 for a new electronic sensor.

May 23
When my car was in, the guys did a once over on my car. They told me that my brake pads looked like they were getting super close to that point where they would need to be changed out. My car has over 80,000 miles on it and my brake pads haven't ever been changed out that I can recall. Plus I'm planning to take a couple trips out to Arizona and wanted to be sure I had a good set of brakes as I'll be headed over the mountains during that 7 hour drive to and from. Tack on another $300!

May 25
Wouldn't you know it. My car needed an oil change! Yes. I hit the mark and headed to my favorite oil change place and had it done. I always use synthetic oil, so that always brings the cost up. Of course, the air filter and oil filter adds to it. That was about an $75 expenditure.

May 31
I noticed my right rear wheel was making a squeaking/rubbing sound. It was okay when I was braking, but would start up once my foot was off the brake. I brought my car back super early on the 1st and they took a quick look. They thought they'd identified the issue and I got into work on time. I thought I was Scott free! But alas, no! When I was starting my drive home, I opened all my windows and still heard the darn sound. ARGH! So back to the place the next day. While it turned out to be a defective brake pad that they replaced with no charge to me, it was still a hassle to go in there twice in one week. Since I'd brought my car in a few times, the service guy told me that he'd have the glass guy come and fill the two little cracks that I had in my front window at no charge while I was there. Unfortunately, when I got there to pick up my car we found that the glass guy had only done one of the cracks. So the service guy told me to bring my car in Tuesday to Thursday and he'd get the crack filled AND give my car an interior detail. Get my carpets and chairs washed for free? I'm there!

June 8
I was planning on bringing my car in for that free detail. But after I dropped the kids off at school, I started my car and wouldn't you know it. The darn check engine light was one. What the heck?!? So I headed on into the shop. When I told him what happened, even HE couldn't believe it. No interior detail for me! The safe function of my car was more important. Some electronic routing thingy was broken and it needed to get changed out. Another $300 out of my pocket! I went in for a free detail and I end up with a lighter pocket. Ay-yay-yay!

I have to tell you folks that because of this cluster of money sucking breaks on my car...

I may not be a famous person, but I am definitely going to give Ford some bad marketing.

I am going to tell any and every person I know that while my car worked fine while I was paying for it. It completely went south once my car was paid off. That is definitely NOT a deal. You know what I'm saying?

So if you're reading this?


Sunday, June 05, 2011

Keeping up with the rest

Every day I drive to work and back home again. After a leisurely weekend, it's always a dose of reality to hit the freeways.

It never ceases to amaze me where the typical slowdowns occur. There's no accident. There's no debris on the roadway. And yet, there are brakelights going in all the lanes on the freeway.

There was one memorable afternoon where there actually was an actual highway accident. I have a short commute compared to a lot of locals ~ just over 16.5 miles. It normally takes me about 25 minutes to get from my work to the kids school. But on this one particularly afternoon, it took almost an hour. That's right. SIXTY minutes to drive 16.5 miles. How sad is that? I ended up taking an off-ramp that I normally wouldn't take and then go an around-about route to my kids school. If I hadn't? It would have taken me another 30 minutes minimum to get to them. What caused the traffic you might ask. A FedEx truck happened to jack-knife on the freeway about 2 exits north of mine. A handful of other cars were involved and there was diesel fuel all over the freeway. Cars had to be diverted off the freeway into the carpool lands -- which means they had to remove the cement barriers (H-rails?) to let cars in. Big mess, eh?

Sadly most of the time my on-ramp is where things start to get slow. It's amazing that when I get on the roadway and it's stop and go for about 10 miles. But That's just going to work. And since this occurs about 9 out of 10 days, I kind of resigned myself to the fact that I'll have to deal with the slowness. I just turn on my music and sing away.

Going home? The traffic tends to be slow as well. And while I basically expect it? Going home I get more agitated. What irks me the most? Is when there are drivers that don't keep up with the flow of traffic. I mean, when we're going 30 mph what's the problem? KEEP UP PEOPLE!

When there are no issues on the freeway, you kind of expect folks to keep up. So why do I end up seeing folks who are going 15 or 20 miles below the posted speed limit? Everyone else is going 65 or 70 and there's some fool in the 2nd to the right lane going 50. Move it over! What's sad to me is that most are just plain oblivious to their lack of speed and how everyone is having to move around them.

But alas, tomorrow is the start of another workweek. We'll see what the freeways have in store for me. I have to tell you though it won't be SO bad. I actually am taking 1-1/2 days off this week. Yeah! So you slow drivers will have one less car zigging around you!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Being near those you love

For the last year I've been basking in the love of my family.

After I got married, I spent 14 years living in a different state than my family. At least a 6 hour drive in to visit. So it always took coordination to get to see them.

But last year? I made the big move back to my hometown. The city where I started out in kindergarten and finished when I got my Bachelor's degree. My family stayed in one community the entire time I went to school. My parents STILL live in the house where I finished out high school and my time in college.

I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed being near my family. I see my Mom and Dad once every two weeks or so. I get to see my little sister, her husband, and my littlest niece about the same. But my best friend? My older sister? I get to see her almost every weekday. We work at the same company and make a point of eating lunch together. And when we meet up? We talk and talk and talk. About anything and everything. When I moved away years ago, my older sister and I would talk maybe once a month or so. Now? [sigh] Every time we talk, it's such a treat.

What is amazing to me is that my older sister and I are opposites. Since we were in high school we've been best friends. And we're still going strong. I'm just so happy that she and the rest of my family are back into my regular life again. I've missed them deeply all these years.

Who do you cherish? And is that person in your life today?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

What we all know

Life is challenging.

Life is fun.

We all have to find a way to manage our lives the best we know how.

We all make choices that can steer the way the rest of our day, our week, or our year goes.

I am at my own point in life where I need a forum where I can express how I'm feeling about my life.

I'm warning you up front that I am going to vent.

It might be about something big or something small.

But I need an outlet to get things off my chest.

I'm tired of keeping things bottled up.

It's just not healthy for me.

It's your choice to read or not.

But I'd love to hear from you if you're having similar obstacles or situations in your own life.