Thursday, June 30, 2011

Month End

Most of the time when I think of Moth End I visualize the multiple reports that I have to compile for my company, both at the local level and for the division.  Needless to say the first day of the next month is always the hardest, well, that is a bit strong, it is the fastest paced day due to the work that I do.  I rather enjoy it.  I mean, who doesn't like trudging through a month's worth of data and organizing it in a way that others can see the outcome of the month and compare it against sister plants.  Yep, that is me, database junkie.  There is just something about data mining and sifting through "dirty" data that makes me happy.  Oh and then there are those moments of sheer genius when I get to put my developer's muse hat on and figure out a way to make the systems better, much like yesterday, when I get goose bumps head to toe because I'm so excited to make what we have better.  Yep, I'm a bonafide GEEK; but, shhh...don't tell anyone!  After all, most people think I'm this totally awesome top of her game person; oh, alright, if you must, no one actually thinks that - I just like to have a moment every now and then. 

So today, my devotional was very much the thing that I needed to read.  Yes, I don't share them often but I will today.  (Oh before I continue - I might turn the public viewing of this thing back on, but to do so I would need to delete a couple of posts; in which, I'm torn over doing seeing as how it was so therapeutic to type them.) ok, ok, yes I'm getting to my point.  My devotional:  (sheesh...pushy much?!)

God has a plan for my life (yes, it is true, even I needed to hear this lesson)  (oh, and this will apply to all of you as well....)

Hebrews 12:1 - " Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily tangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Emphasis:  his plan is custom designed for me and me alone

I am to: run the race GOD has set for me!
NOT: 1) the race I set for myself
           2) the race others set for me
           3) the race culture has set for me
I will fail if I try to run any other course and I will get discouraged

In order to run the race God has for me I need to look at my SHAPE!
     S - spiritual gifts - What am I gifted to do?  (I know, from the Spiritual Gifts Analysis I am gifted with teaching, knowledge, and discernment in that order)
     H - heart - What do I love?  (Organizing, teaching, reading, creating things that make people happy)
     A - abilities - What are my abilities?  (This one is harder to answer - I get really stuck on the things that I can't do, like sing, play an instrument, excel in sports, etc.)
     P - personality - What is my personality?  (Well, I am a first born, I am very strong willed, I do not tolerate laziness and when there is a job that needs done I expect it to be done...yeah you catch my drift!)
     E - experiences - What are my experiences?  (This last one would take several months to type out, there are so many and of those there are positive and negative, but all are life changing and meaningful.)


Monday, June 27, 2011

My Hobbies: aka those things I want to do, but never get to

Ok, so I have only a couple of hobbies:
1) reading
2) scrapbooking
3) canning
4) card making

Yep those are the things that I have spent a fortune on and well, I never seem to stick consistently with.  Ok, the reading part I do do a lot of.  The scrapbooking, goes in spurts.  The canning, well it can only go in spurts as the seasons dictate.  And finally card making, which was a huge passion of mine years ago (before kids) and I lost track of it when scrapbooking took over and now, I dabble. 

I wonder what I would accomplish if I spent a week (at least 40 hours) just scrapbooking.  Yeah, I couldn't do it.  Now there was a time that I could, but you see, I get rather bored doing the same thing over and over and over again; which is why I think that I have to make a list for work each day.  These are all things that need to get done and when I get going on something that I find I'm bored with I start something else.  In the end, I do get it all done, but I like variety.

Hmmmm...I think I have shared this insight before.  Anyway, I have finished 56 books already this year.  In contrast to that I think I have completed only a dozen or so scrapbook layouts.  Oh it isn't for the lack of pictures to scrap or stuff to decorate a page with, it is well, time and focus.  Ok that is the answer that has been alluding me for so long.  It is focus.  Now, don't get me wrong, I have just tends to escape me from time to time.

Perhaps I have ADD, again, this is another topic that I shared my 2 cents on.  Oh well, guess I will leave it at that.  Or I could prattle on about my Kindle...yes my new favorite thing. (Even after having it 6 months I still LOVE it!)

Saturday, June 25, 2011


So yesterday was my birthday.  Was it memorable, um, no.  Was it horrible, um, no.  In all, it too was just another day, but that is, after all, what I thought it would be.  I worked in Auburn Hills at the World Headquarters from the 22nd to the 24th.  The IT Engineering group took me out for a birthday lunch which I found to be a very kind gesture.  The drive home was not fun, I took a different route home than what I did to get to the Office, it did seem easier, but ugh...the traffic and stress of it all wasn't all that worth it.  In all, would I make the trip again to work up north?  Most resoundingly, yes!

I got a lot of birthday wishes on Facebook.  I thought that was nice; thank you FB team for posting that for all people to see.  I think the birthday wish that surprised me the most was the one from my father, Sam.  It actually caused me to tear up.  Not because he actually did say it, or took the opportunity to reach out, but because I doubt he would have known the date if it wasn't public knowledge.  Oh well, it is what it is and for the small token it was nice and well received.

My mom, got me the Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 1 - super squee - I really wanted this book and was surprised to see she remembered me talking about it.  I can't wait to get into it.  Note:  this book is almost 700 pages long not including the references and the index, which means I am not going to get through it quickly!  She also got me a GC to JCPenney, perhaps I can find some nice summer clothes.  My mother-in-law gave me $50, which will go towards the pressure canner that I want and my aunt gave me GC to a restaurant.  In all, I made out pretty good material gift wise.  My girls made me beautiful cards and my husband had the house looking fantastic for when I came home.  (This was a major stress reliever.)

So now, what am I going to do with the 364 days until my next birthday?  Oh, I have no clue, but taking them all one day at a time seems to be the best plan.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Counting Down

There are 4 days until my birthday.  I don't know why I am even sharing this.  I usually don't get all hyped up about it.  I can't even remember when it meant anything.  Perhaps it is because more than anything I want to be surprised, in a good way, but know that it won't happen and ultimately just want to get it over with.  I've already shared what I would like (Read the Time Flies post from a couple of days ago), but while I am in this funk of a mood and feeling overwhelmingly morose, I think I will just type things out. (Which I am doing more for therapy than to really impart any profoundly substantial information - but hey, this is my blog so I can do what I want!) 

While listening to Pandora today at work (one of my secret joys - who says you can't crunch data and jam at the same time?!) Alanis Morisette's All I Really Want came on.  (Little Mandy tidbit #1 - I love the album Jagged Little Pill.)  I found myself remembering a lot of things, but mostly, truly listening to the words.  I am sure there were times when I was younger that I did just that, but for some reason, today, they really hit home.  Seriously, who doesn't find the lyrics "intellectual intercourse" utterly profound.  I would LOVE to have a conversation with someone, anyone, (preferably my husband) that went deep enough to really make one think.  Alas, each person has something they give up in life; one of mine is conversation.

I recently treated myself to the Essential Collection by Diana Palmer ($6.95 off of eBay - not bad for 7 books I suppose!) and have been enjoying these books.  It is kind of humorous to me though, how romance novels were written 20+ years ago (which these were).  So much has changed between the contemporary of then and the contemporary of now.  In some ways it is endearing, in other's it is comical! Anyhow, there isn't really a point to this other than I am on book 3 of the 7 book series.  (Note: these are all reprints of the original Long, Tall Texan series from the late 80's.)

Back to my melancholy demeanor.  Have you ever been in a funk so bad that you longed to have a prescription to get you out of it?  I can usually read Ecclesiastes and be all good, but this time it runs a wee bit deeper.  (Little Mandy tidbit #2 - the book of Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Bible) Perhaps it is the longing for things that will never be?  Who knows, but there will be a time, soon, that it will go away; it always does, then I'm good for a while.  Don't know why I put all this here, except to get it off my shoulders.  (They weren't built for bearing such heavy loads!) At least now I know why the character Eeyore was created - adults needed a make believe character to associate with, or perhaps it was so kids could have a glimpse of what feelings look like when they have full outward manifestation...yeah, either way you get where I am going with this.

Well, it is 7pm, everyone is asleep, must have been the long day of sitting in front of the TV or playing the Wii, except for Kelly.  (She is actually still outside playing.)  Oh, sometimes, to be young again and to know what I know now.  Yep, those are the things that stories are made of.  Perhaps I should write one?!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Camp

Ok, so I never actually went to Summer Camp, but I have camped during the summer.  A stretch for parallelism I know, but I am just so excited.  Not only have I reserved our camp site for this summer's vacation, but we got the exact same spot we had last year.  This is very exciting to me/us because the kids LOVED this spot.  They had so much fun.  The only bad memory, for me at least, was getting horribly burnt while at the beach on our 2nd day there.

I have some new activities planned for the girls.  I thought we could make Nature Journals.  These can be used to chronicle things they see, drawings of what they see, stuff about the weather, how they feel or what they did.  Squeee...I'm almost more giddy over this than they are.  I can't wait to create new memories and capture as many of them as I can, not only in my mind, but also on film. I just hope that I don't forget to charge my camera battery like I did last year.  Since we get the non-electrical hook-up it wouldn't have done any good to bring the charger with me. 

Non-electrical you say?!  Well, heavens yes!  There is something so incredibly peaceful about having to use what  you have and making do with the basic things.  You'd be surprised at how not having electricity causes you to enjoy things more.  How?  Simply because you focus on what you can and do have.  We also only camp in a tent.  Some people scoff at this because they simply "do not sleep on the ground."  Well, la ti da, you can take your high priced hotel/condo and pack it...we like things simple.  It also helps that at $11.20 a night we can totally afford this vacation!  (Disclaimer:  I am sure when we are older and more gray, we will trade the tent in for a camper - ok, this is my wish, but in the mean time, a tent is perfect!)

So now, with only a  few weeks until the adventure begins, I must start making lists.  (Yes, I am a list maker - I find it keeps me sane!)  Family Summer Camp 2011 - here we come!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Time Flies...

...whether you are having fun or not.  I vaguely remember falling asleep sometime in January and here it is half way through June.  Yes, this is a slight exaggeration, but in all seriousness, where does it go?  There are days when I have nothing to show for the day; no tangible results outside of the fact I can cross a day off the calendar.  Does life hold more than this constant ticking off of days?  Oh, of that I am sure.  After all, there are memories (I discussed this very thing yesterday).  However, the point I am making is this:

What is there when there are no results?  When there are no added memories to the storage banks in your brain?  When there isn't anything but the ticking of a clock and the anxiousness for something, anything, to come your way?   I mean, there are times when I hope and wish and pray for a day to arrive so that I can experience the "thing" it has to offer, then there are days when I want to savor the "nothingness" that it has to offer.  Very circular reasoning, I know.

For what it matters, my birthday is 9 days away.  I am actually wondering how many people would remember, if I was to close my FB account, or at the very least remove my birthday information.  Seriously, how many would think to wish me happy birthday?  Really makes one wonder who cares.  Oh, there are some that do, and many who only do when it will benefit them, in what ever manner that may be.  So why am I prattling on about this?

Well, simply because this will be my 33rd birthday.  I can not remember a single party I ever had.  However, I can remember my brother's and sister's.  I can remember each and every birthday my mother chose not to wish me a happy birthday.  (Mistakes do have feelings and memories!)  I can remember every wish that went unanswered. But, all of these are the things that have created and developed me.  How, you ask.  Simply this:  a birthday is just another day, it holds no more significance than the one before it or the one after it other than what you yourself give it, and that if all wishes came true then this world would be one messed up place, oh wait, it already is...let me rephrase that...this world would be utopia or a fairy tale and since make believe only exits in paper form, then there you go!

And so, as a conclusion to this incessant rambling over is the wish that I have for my birthday this year.  (Mind you, this will be doozy!)  I want a weekend get away with my husband (something we have NEVER had), where I have to make NO plans and it is all taken care of down to every detail. I want said weekend to occur without having to worry about the kids - meaning they are being watched by very capable people.  I want to slow dance with my husband (we don't have a song and we have only danced 2 times in all the years we have been together - both times at other people's weddings!) For a material gift (I'm going to go overly girly on you here) I want an MP3 or CD made up of all the songs that make my hubby think of me and that remind him of memories we have shared. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Remembering When

So today as I woke up and looked at my cell phone I was reminded of the date.  June 14th.  For some of you it is just another day, for other's you actually think of it and know it as flag day, for me and those in my family that remembered, today is the 12th anniversary of my grandpa's death.  I know, you may be thinking it is pathetic to remember, but to me, not so much.  Here is why; I'm not remembering his death, I'm remembering his life, more importantly, that life that I love and those memories we made.

It may come as a shock, and much to my family's disagreement, I was not "grandpa's girl."  No, that was my cousin Jessica.  Me, I was more of a grandma's girl, but I still loved my grandpa more than any other adult man in my life.  Why?  He was my only constant.  He never got mad; well, at us kids, he would get mad at grandma and grandma would have to "talk" to us.  Honestly, she was never scary either.  (I think that is why they are called grandparents - they just get to love you.)  So before I sit here and regale you all with my memories, know that the tears are flowing and I do  miss him.

I honestly can't recall my first memory of grandpa.  He was an over the road trucker.  He drove for Consolidated Freightways (CF)  or "corn flake" as a CB handle would be.  He was a Teamster grievance officer.  I used to love flipping through his log books.  I didn't know what they meant or any of that jazz, but his writing was perfect.  he wrote in all capitals and ONLY blue ink.  I learned military time at a very very young age from looking through these books as that is what he kept time with.  I think grandpa was in the air force in the Korean War, but don't quote me on it.

Grandpa used to spend the mornings of his days home sitting at the kitchen table.  The radio would be turned to WBTU (I don't even know if that station is around anymore) and he would sit there, read the paper, smoke his cigarettes and drink his coffee.  (Judge not, lest ye be judged - besides these are my memories.)  Grandma would always let me have coffee too - I think she always put in way more milk than coffee, but it didn't matter I was sitting with grandpa. 

I was in the 5th grade and was home sick from school when grandpa's new dining room table set was delivered.  I was SO excited.  It was so beautiful.  When grandpa died, I got this table and chairs.  The table has long since been retired and a new one sits in its place in my house, but I am sitting in grandpa's chair as I type this.  I think I will always keep the chairs.  You are right, I don't know if this one is his per say, but I have all  of them in the set, so in the end, I do have it.    I find that over the years I too have learned to love sitting at my kitchen table drinking coffee.  I don't read the paper or smoke cigarettes, but some things are so much a part of a person that the shear act of doing it is a comfort.

Oh, there are so many things I want to share about grandpa.  He worked so hard to provide for his family, at least that is the way that I remember it.  I am sure there are others that had a different vantage point, but this one is mine.  Grandpa is the one who taught me to fish.  This included baiting my own hook and cleaning the fish.  We would go to Birchwood, Wisconsin and camp.  Camping, that is another thing that grandpa did with us.  I think that is why, to this day, I love to camp.  (Well, that and it is cheap and relaxing.)

When I was 17, the summer between my junior and senior year, grandpa had a triple bypass.  He had a big heart, it just wasn't very strong.  (This is one thing that I too inherited - I have a valve issue.)  Anyway, he wasn't allowed to drive, and what more does a high school senior want than a vehicle of their own.  So, here I was driving a Ford F150 extended cab with a double gas tank and cab on the back - yes I was rocking awesome!  That was a HUGE truck - I owned the road!  Would you believe it, my uncle still has that truck to this day.  I only had one accident, I took the turn into the drive a little too sharp and had to have the whole passenger's side of the truck fixed and mom needed a new side view mirror.  (Bet you can't guess who was irate and who wasn't!)  Grandpa turned it in as a parking lot accident.  He was so kind.

Then grandpa passed a way 10 days before my 21st birthday.  I remember seeing him lying there in the casket.  He looked so rested and at peace.  I remember when I gave him my last hug ever he didn't smell like himself.  I went and bought Old Spice and splashed it all over him, then left the bottle in the casket with him.  My grandpa always smelled the best.  His favorite song was Unchained Melody.

I miss him, and know in my heart, that there will be a day I will see him again on the other side of eternity.