Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Would You Have Your Mommy Call?

I simply must write this, because it so greatly bothers me when it happens:

I receive phone calls every day from people who are inquiring about available positions.  In itself, this is not a problem and is very common.  

What is a problem is when I learn that someone is calling on behalf of their child.  Seriously, folks.  Do you see the issue here?  Do you really expect me to interview someone whose Mommy had to call us?  I can't think of one good reason why this should be happening.  

Can you? 

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Who Was King Tut?

And people say he has no large-scale leadership experience.

The King Tutankhamun exhibit is coming to the Dallas Museum of Art in October, so I ordered in a slew of King Tut, Egypt, Mummies, Pyramids, Hieroglyphs, etc. books and we created a table.  "Who Was King Tut?" was one of the kids titles I ordered.  

...and don't tell me you can't see it...you know you can.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Have You Ever Been There?

Have you ever been there?  Right there?  Standing right there, next to someone when they get the news that a loved one has died?  What did you do?  What can you do?  Nothing, really...nothing that really helps, anyway.

Tonight at closing, as we were all walking to the front to get ready to set the alarm and leave the store, one of my employees was on her cell phone.  She stopped me and told me she wouldn't be able to come to work for a few days because she just learned that her mother had died.  Just then.  Right that very moment she had just learned.  She stood in shock for another moment or two, then collapsed on the floor, crying hysterically.  Of course...of course...what else is there to do?  This is exactly the right time for hysterical crying.   

I got on the floor with her and held her shoulders while she cried, the person on the other end of the cell phone call just waiting, I guess.

There are no words of comfort in that situation, so I said nothing, or maybe I said something unimportant, I don't remember exactly.  It doesn't matter.

This is not the first time I was right there, and it won't be the last, I'm sure.  But at least I was there.  I can only hope it is better that someone be there at that time than no one at all.  Maybe?  I don't know, maybe not.

Have you ever been there?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

State Fair of Texas

I can't wait for the State Fair to start.  It opens on Friday, and I'm getting together a group of friends to go next Wednesday.  The State Fair runs for 24 days and is a huge huge deal.  It draws millions of visitors and is such fun, though it can be expensive.  

It is held, surprisingly enough, at Fair Park, which is also where the Cotton Bowl is located (ever heard of Texas/OU weekend?), the Museum of Science and History, various other buildings, and of course my beloved Music Hall where many of the touring musicals perform.  The State Fair musical this year is The Color Purple.  I've been listening to the cast recording, and it is beautiful and powerful.  I need to quickly pick a day to go see it and and buy my ticket asap.

I live 2 1/2 miles from Fair Park.  It is literally down the street.  Well, down a very trafficky street that makes it unsafe to walk there.  But still, it makes for relatively easy access.  I've been perusing the Fair website and looking at the map to see where the chicken fried bacon will be sold.  It looks to be sold at just one stand north of the Cotton Bowl.  I'll have to make sure I go there at least once that day, maybe more!

I love funnel cakes, corny dogs, hot dogs, pretzels, sodas, nachos, turkey legs, deep fried (insert food item here), ice cream, sno cones, cotton candy, and all manner of fair food, and I plan on stuffing myself when I get there.  My friends will have to roll me back to my car at the end of the day!

Oh, man, I can't wait!  Just one more week.  Next Wednesday I'll be in hog heaven eating all that fine fried food, looking at all the new cars, watching the livestock shows, and looking at all the contest entries in the myriad categories.  Howsabout that?  I got my friendly on towards this State Fair!

Iffen you ask me real nice like, I might even be persuaded to take my camera and snap some pics to post upon my return!

Look at this:  Chicken Fried Bacon – Thick and peppery Farm Pac® bacon is seasoned, double-dipped in a special batter and breading and deep-fried. Served with a creamy side of ranch or honey mustard sauce.   Served at  N30 located on Nimitz at MLK. Winner of Best Taste in the Big Tex Choice Awards competition.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

For Emma

Emma has expressed an interest in going to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, so I have re-posted some photos here.  Some of you may remember that I went on this trip in 2006 when my car was but an infant.  You may also remember that my precious baby car was pummeled in a hailstorm in East Glacier, Montana and received several thousand dollars worth of damage.  Poor baby.  Anyway, Emma here are some pictures to whet your appetite for these two wonderful National Parks:
Above is a beautiful yet stinky hot pool at Yellowstone.
Old Faithful.
Some lake in Glacier NP which name I've forgotten.  Maybe it was Flathead Lake?
The rehabilitated 1937 White Motor Company jammer bus.  The tours all well worth the price in these beauties.
And finally, my most favorite picture I've ever taken.  The tiny land mass in the lake is Wild Geese Island.  We were told this is the most photographed place in the park, and you can see why.  It was gorgeous.

Emma, I think I started this blog with my photos and journal of my trip to Yellowstone and Glacier, so I'm sure you can find all sorts of additional information in the old entries.  

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Maserati and Those Darn Cats

I was behind a Maserati at a light in my neighborhood a couple weeks ago...pretentious cars.  But the vanity plate amused me.  Check it out:

Below is Casper.  The Nawty fluffy kitty who wouldn't hold still for a pic.
And two pics of his brother Gizmo.  

Hacked Off

That blog title could very well refer to a horror movie about dismemberment, but it really just describes my current sentiments towards my apartment complex.

My lease is up December 31, and about a month ago I got a note on my door saying that I must contact a particular person in the leasing office to set up an appointment to discuss my options.  My options?  It wasn't to discuss opportunities or to explain the new renovations, it was to discuss options.  The connotation was negative, but they are not known for their clear communication, so I tried calling to make the 'appointment' anyway.  Why do I need an appointment?  Well, the paper said that if I failed to make an appointment, then that inaction would be considered giving notice to vacate.  Wtf?

On the fourth try of calling I finally got through to someone last week, and we set an appointment for 9am today.  Today I am off (actually, I have a conference call and a district meeting I'm running, but technically I'm off), so I could make the 9am appointment.  So I get up early, after working until midnight last night, and head over to the office to learn that no one had recorded the appointment and the person I was supposed to meet with wasn't in yet.  Super.

So I talked to a different person instead, and she showed me photos of how the newly renovated units look, and they are lovely.  The downside is that if I move into one of those units, my rent will increase 25%.  Geezum petes.  If I stay in my current unit it will increase 7%.
It is highly likely that I will be promoted and move to another state within the next year, maybe even 6 months or less, so I don't really want to move now just to move again.  Moving is expensive and time consuming, not to mention frustrating and hot and tiring. 

I've been here a little over 4 years now, and I haven't liked it for that long.  Should I move, or should I wait it out a few more months? 

Friend in Houston

We have several stores in the Houston area that were affected by Ike, and one of the GMs is a good friend of mine.  I finally heard back from her yesterday.  Her store has power, and her house has power, but most of her staff is without electricity.  She is taking in laundry from her staff and doing it at her house so they can have clean clothes to wear.  She can't get any sleep because it takes forever to do anything.  Standing in long lines for everything.  She said that a lot of retail stores are re-opening without power and that you've never really lived until you've shopped by flashlight in Target with no A/C and no electricity.  

I asked her if I could send a care package to her staff, and she said what they're really all craving is fresh fruit.  They've got enough snacks and pre-packaged food, but nothing fresh to eat.  Tomorrow I'm going to buy some clementines and small apples to ship to them.

Monday, September 15, 2008

More Beautiful-er Day Today

I'm spoiled!  Two days in a row of weather perfection.  Today was every pleasing weather superlative all rolled up into a nice package of breeziness and sunshine-ishousnessosity.  It was...GASP!...actually coolish when I stepped out to go to work at 6:40 this morning.  

Usually, Mondays are 12-14 hour workdays for me, there is just that much for me to do.  Because it was so nice outside, and because I didn't want to sit in traffic for an hour to go feed those cats, I told my staff that I was leaving on time today...on time, by golly!  After they all laughed at me, I told them I was serious.  I was going to work a plain and simple 8 hour shift (7-4), then run out of the store.  I told them they had until 3pm to ask me questions, because at 3pm I was going to make the schedule for next week and take care of some other things so I could leave at 4pm.  Seriously, 4pm, you betcha.

Well, you can imagine what happened.  Those smart alecs!  I made a show of running off the floor at 3 o'clock, much to the amusement of a couple people who were using the walkies to say, "Jenny, I've got a question.  No, I've got a question.  No, me first, I've got a question!"  Wisenheimers.  

When I got to my office I had a couple people who really did need to ask me some questions, and of course we all 'girl freaked' over the star and arrow-shaped post-it notes I had bought at Office Depot on  my lunch hour.  Hey, 225 star-shaped post-its for $1.99.  That was cheaper than the store brand boring pack of plain square ones.  And of course this devolved into a discussion of how I didn't buy the heart shaped ones because, really, wouldn't that be just a bit odd in the workplace. 

And so, I finally was able to start my work, and after a few small interruptions by the 'parade of people', I left at 4:31pm.  And wouldn't you know it...the highway was already full.  Well, poo-pee.  It took me 40 minutes to get to the Cat House.  As I turned the key I could hear the kitties' collars jingle jangle, then they stopped short when they saw it was just me.  Snooty kitties.  They miss their mom.  One had knocked a lamp off an end table, but it fortunately didn't break.  Tomorrow is the last day I'm going to go feed them, and it will be nice to have my time to myself again, though the cats are certainly much happier staying at their home rather than being in a cage at their vet's office.  

I tried to take some pics of the cats, but they kept squirreling around, so I'll see if any of them turned out.  If so, I'll post some later on.

That's all for now, my friends.  Such an exciting life I lead.

Oh wait!  I hear that the big hot food item at the Texas State Fair this year is chicken fried bacon.  Say it with me now...."OH MY GOD THAT'S WONDERFUL!"  You betcha.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Most Beautiful Day in Months

I am not exaggerating.  Today is truly the most beautiful day we've had in months.  Ike ended up just giving us winds and rain all day yesterday, and it's still windy today, but that is the extent of it.  

The sky is fresh and clean looking, even around downtown, and the temperatures are warm but not hot.  It is truly refreshing and gorgeous.  

I drove to my parents house to meet the family for Sunday dinner, and I spent some time outside in their backyard playing with my nephew and the two dogs next door.  My Dad usually keeps a large bag of doggie bones on hand, but was out, so he gave two large slices of strawberry flavored angel food cake and 2 pieces of garlic bread from lunch to my nephew to feed to the dogs.  The angel food cake was met with curiosity at first, then quickly gobbled up.  The garlic bread was eaten straight away.  Silly pups.

Then I drove to my friend's house to tend to the kitties.  I was greeted with aloofness today and felt as though I wanted to say to those cats, "You know, it costs me $7 in gas, $3 in tolls, and at least 90 minutes of my time every day for me to come and take care of your ungrateful snow white asses."  They  must have sensed I was perturbed, as they were careful to meow and present themselves for petting shortly thereafter.  Lucky me.

Today my younger sister was telling us how the people at her work have not seen The Princess Bride.  How is this possible?  She said she was using the quote, "Have fun storming the castle," from the movie as a humorous retort to something that a coworker had said, and it went unappreciated because no one had seen the movie to understand the reference.  Insanity...Cliffs of Insanity, even.

My nephew was wearing cowboy boots with camo shorts and a t-shirt, which is so very little boy.  Cowboy boots with shorts...that's one of those little kid things that will forever be both ridiculous and adorable at the same time. 

And that is all I have for now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ike Is Here...Almost

No rain thus far here in Dallas, but the wind is really picking up.  It's difficult to tell on the 'projected path' screen shots if it is going to actually hit the city or pass just east of us.  I vote for east.  Either way, we're definitely going to get a lot of rain, which, being the weekend, won't hinder traffic nearly as much as if it were during the workweek.  Of course, I work tonight, so it will hinder me.  Thank goodness for 4 wheel drive.

Also, I'm taking care of my friend's cats while she's out of town on a trip, which I'm happy to do.  The downside is she lives 18 miles away.  It takes an hour to get to her house from my store if I happen to leave my store any time between 4pm and 6pm.  So last night I waited until 7pm to go and it just took me 25 minutes.  There's nothing like scooping kitty poo to remind onesself of the downside of owning a cat.  But I scooped, I fed, and I played with those two rascals for about half an hour.  I'll go back tonight after I get off work at midnight.  

We've already had a goodly number of evacuees from Houston in the store yesterday.  I'm sure we'll have more today, as almost everyone is without power there.  I'm doing laundry and running the dishwasher just on the outside chance that the high winds cause us to lose power here.  I'm also baking a lasagna....mmmm, tasty.

That's not all I got, but that's all I can post.  Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, September 05, 2008

We're Really Gonna Do It, No Really

Catboy and I are really gonna do it.  Get your minds out of the gutters, folks.  I mean we're going to walk across the country one day.  Isn't that grand?  It's kind of exciting, actually.

Surely people have walked across the country before.  I wonder how all the logistics played out:  which highways did they use, how much support staff did they have, did they have any sponsors, did they meet folks along the way who gave them dinner and put them up for the night?

What a neat thing to think about.  It's kind of thrilling to have my mind meander through this.

I like to try these kinds of experiments.  Remember my infamous one in January of 2006 where I vowed I wouldn't spend any money for the entire month, then ended up buying a new vehicle?

What are your thoughts?  Do you want to join us when we do this?  I figure it'll take over 100 days.  Maybe you could join us for part of the trip, at least.

Chime in, folks.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bicycling for Cattle

One of my favorite charities is heifer international.  In a recent email newsletter I received from them, this website was referenced.  These 2 guys are bicycling from Alaska to Mexico in hopes of raising enough money in donations to provide a herd of cattle through heifer.

Check out their website, which they update from the road.