Monday, June 30, 2008

Day #5

Things are finally moving forward around here! I am starting my new job on Wednesday and I'm so relieved. I am glad to finally be contributing financially to our family again. I married a social worker...employment is not optional for me (at least if we want to stay off welfare and out of jail for bouncing checks).

This will be a big change from teaching. I am being given a computer, printer, Blackberry phone, and all the peripheral equipment I'll need to conduct trainings. I even received my tickets for my first business trip today. I know it'll be soooooo hard being away from my family for a few days at a time, but at the same time I'm kind of excited to finally be in the "grown-up world"!

In addition to a new job, I am making some other changes as well. I did something today I've never done before in my entire life...

I joined a gym!

I've never been a gym girl. If I'm going to exercise, I figure I might as well be outside doing something like swimming, paddling, dancing, or otherwise moving and enjoying the great outdoors. Living in Phoenix though, there's just one problem with that kind of logic. It gets really, really hot here.

And it stays hot for about 5 months of the year

In shape + active = good.

Heatstroke + dehydration = bad!

So, if I'm going to lose 25 pounds, I guess it's off to the gym I go.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Day #4...Smoky!

Can you think of any way to make 110 degree weather any more annoying and wearing on one's nerves?

I have an idea. Fill the skies with thick, black, throat-searing, eye-stinging smoke from a good old-fashioned brush fire. To keep it interesting, let it burn for days and days and days...

We had an oh-so-brief rainstorm last Wednesday that included some lightning. Apparently one lightning strike ignited this brush fire to the west of where we live. For over four days, we have been sucking ash from the "Ethan Fire", pictured here:

Not fun at all :-(

I really hope this fire burns out or is put out soon. We've all been waking up with crusty eyes and sore throats. It's getting old. I guess after our wet winter and drier than usual spring, it was bound to happen.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Day #3...BEEFY!

Ever wonder what $500 worth of 100% organic, grass-fed beef looks like? C'mon, you know you're curious...

Before I show you, there's a back story.

A little over a year ago we joined a local produce co-op here in Arizona. This has been a great way for us to save some money while exposing our family to some fresh fruit and veggies I might not ordinarily pick up at the supermarket. The biweekly produce baskets have been good, but it's the bulk purchases I live for!

In the past 5 months, I have made out like a bandit on things like spices and rice. I purchased nine different varieties of rice (a total of over 50 lbs.) for $20. We have rice coming out of our noses! Have you ever heard of "red heirloom rice" before? I have it! Feel like a little 100% wild rice? I can hook you up! My family is becoming a bunch of rice snobs. No Uncle Ben's allowed in this house.

Well, back to the beef...

Today I picked up a quarter cow. That's right, one-fourth of an entire cow! These are free-range, all grass-fed cattle. No being shoved onto a grain lot for the last few weeks of its life, no hormones or antibiotics. Just happy, smiling, skipping, dancing moo-cows living peacefully in the meadows of Wickenburg, Arizona right up until their last moments before becoming steak. I like to imagine the beef in my freezer recently looked like this:

If you're a meat-eater, there are many benefits to eating grass-fed beef. I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, but you can certainly learn about it for yourself on websites like

The co-op I mentioned occasionally does bulk purchases of beef. I got to choose my cow and went to pick up the finished beef today. We ended up with over 145 pounds of fresh beef, packed and labeled and ready for my freezer! That's less that $3.50 per pound for premium beef, everything from ground beef to filet mignon. I'm so excited!

Now, I've dragged this on long enough. Here's what $500 worth of premium beef looks like:

I'll be honest. My family will never go through all this beef before it goes bad. We love our steaks and roasts, and Kevin has that whole man thing going with his grill, but we have to be practical. So, we are splitting this haul of flesh with our dear friends and fellow carnivores Jenni and Frank.

I'm already imagining the possibilities.

Did I mention I'm going to lose 25 pounds by the time I'm done with my 100 days of blogging?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Day #2

I recently looked through some photos of our family from about 8 years ago. This was around the time that I had one baby approximately the same age as our son is now, and another just 18 months older. Yes, I has two back-to-back babies. I wasn't especially young. In fact, I was over 30 when my younger daughter was born. Still, 9 months after having my second of two rapid-fire children, I was back into my prepregnancy clothes. Sure, they didn't fit exactly the same as before, but they were decent. No camel toes, no muffin tops, you get the idea.

I never had to work at losing the baby weight. I figured it kind of fell off because I was nursing and working full time and all-around busy.

Let me tell you almost-40 body is not parting with this round of baby chub quite so easily. In fact, I've actually gained some weight since having my son! UGH!

I was thinking about it last night, and realized this whole 100-days-of-blogging thing might be a good opportunity to set some other goals for myself as well. I would like to lose about 25 pounds. 25 goes into 100 quite nicely, don't you think? What the heck...I'm going to add a little twist to my blogging goal, just to keep it interesting.

Here it is: I will lose 25 pounds by the time I reach my 100th day of blogging!

Wish me luck...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day # 1

Today we went to the beach! Yes, Arizona has beaches. Actually it was just a really big swimming pool with a zero-depth entry and some sand around the edges but hey, they call it a beach.

After spending over 30 years of my life living in "Surf City" California, I am a beach girl at heart. Rather, I am an ocean girl...with my mom's Irish complexion I was never much good at acquiring a tan whilst lounging on the sand, slathered in baby oil. I am much more of an in-the-water, surfing, canoeing, or swimming kind of person (while covered in gallons of SPF 50 sunblock, a rash guard, and a big hat).

I'm used to a beach that looks like this:

The "beach" we went to today didn't quite cut it. The water was 90 degrees, there was certainly no room for a 6-man outrigger, and there were (((gasp))) NO WAVES!!!

It looked like this:

Not quite the same...

I suppose the most important thing is the fact my kids had a good time. Even the little guy enjoyed splashing around. He is quite the water bug. I just wish the weather would let up for a bit. At this point I'd be happy with a few days in the high 90s-low 100s! These 110+ degree days are killing me!

The 100 Day Challenge

You know, as the official winner of Jen's Bloggy Giveaway, I think maybe God is trying to tell me something. Or maybe it's just really late and I'm sleep-deprived and delusional, but either way I'm thinking I should take the baton (so to speak) and carry on in the tradition of Miss Jen.

So, starting tomorrow, I will attempt the feat of blogging daily for 100 days. I can't promise genius, but I will guarantee honesty. This could be fun. Then again I may be kicking myself in a few weeks.

Here we go...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm A Winner!

Since getting into the whole blogging thing, I have a new hobby. Sometimes, when I'm bored or can't sleep or just want to tune out for a little while, I go blog-jumping. That's my term for hopping from blog to blog by clicking on embedded links. So, I may start off on my friend Ashley's blog, then click on one of her "favorites", then skim that blog and move on to one of their favorites, and so get the idea.

Anyway, a few months ago I was blog jumping and stumbled across Jen's blog. Shortly after, Jen began a "100 day challenge" to post daily for (you guessed it) 100 days. I really found myself looking forward to her daily posts. I enjoy her sense of humor, and relate to her frustration with things like finding clothes to fit our freakishly skinny children (we swear we feed them).

Jen just wrapped up her 100 day challenge, and in honor of a job well done, she decided to give something away. I'd probably head for the wine rack myself, but hey! Jen asked for folks to leave comments in which they described one (outside the box) thing for which they are thankful. I was game, so I stated how thankful I am for Cheerios. Anyone with an 8 month old baby can probably figure out why.

Well, my comment earned me an entry into a random drawing for Jen's mystery goody box and I WON!!! Can you tell I'm excited? I never win anything!

Today, I stand atop the mound of victory. I am a champion. I rock!

Ok, I got lucky. But I am excited to check out my prize. After so many weeks of grumpy blog entries from me, I really needed something like this to lighten me up. Thanks Jen!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

No Relief In Sight!

Today was the ninth straight day with temperatures in excess of 110 degrees.

Today was the seventeenth straight day of temperatures over 100 degrees.

It's supposed to continue this way through the 4th of July.

I hate Phoenix!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Beach Test

What the Beach Test Says About You

You like people, but you're careful about who you get close to. Friendship is important to you... so important that you aren't just friends with anyone.

You have cold feet when it comes to love. You have a lot of uncertainty until you convince yourself to dive right in.

You are a passionate person. You are free wheeling, fun loving, and ruled by your emotions.

Your sense of humor is very physical. Your facial expressions or spot on imitations of people are hilarious.

In my case, so true!

Hope you're having a great weekend :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Something Happening In Haiti

Breaking News: Something Happening In Haiti
I love this country. It is one of my favorite places on Earth and touched my heart so deeply when I visited. Somehow, here in the U.S., the only time we hear about Haiti is when something awful happens. It seems like Haiti's unofficial name is now "Haitithepoorestcountryinthewesternhemisphere". This video spoofs that tendency to assume the worst about this beautiful, but admittedly troubled place.

Hope you get a good chuckle out of this one :-)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Is This The One?

This afternoon I received an email from the educational software company with whom I interviewed twice over the past few weeks. I was offered the position. I should be jumping for joy, but instead I'm just more conflicted.

Late last week I spoke with my former boss, the principal of the school in California where I taught for the last 6 years we lived there. There is an opening there for next school year, and she said she'd love to have me back on board.

I know, I have been trying to find the escape hatch from the teaching rut for years, and here it is now right in front of me. Still, the opportunity to go "back home" (Phoenix is most definitely NOT my home), be closer to my family (as dysfunctional as they may be), and be back in a work enviornment that is friendly and familiar really appeals to me at the moment...not to mention going back to a world where teachers make a livable salary!

This is a dilemma, admittedly a better dilemma than I was in one week ago, but a dilemma nonetheless. I'm going to have to sleep on this one, and pray hard on it as well. I hope things are clearer in the morning!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Little Miss Negativity

Ok, I'm about to go into gripe mode...check out now if you're not in the mood for it (there, I gave fair warning).

Here it is, Father's Day afternoon. We had a nice morning, taking my husband out for a surprise matinee and then to lunch. I should be relishing the fact that, despite the heat, we had a pretty nice day.

Instead, I'm sitting here as my husband watches the US Open on TV, getting more and more angry and frustrated. Tiger Woods just made an amazing shot that kept him in the running for the championship. The crowd went wild. The commentators had a zillion insightful comments. My husband got all excited. I got pissed.

Why in the world do professional athletes make the kind of money they do? What in the world is soooooo important about putting a little ball in a hole (or a basket, or a goal, or an endzone...)? Here I am, struggling to find a job that will just pay the basic expenses for a family of five, and some guy with great coordination and some God-given talent makes tens of millions of dollars a year?

I am wallowing in self-pity, I know. I hate that I even went there in my mind. It's been a rough two years, and things are not turning out the way I'd hoped for my family and myself. I need to focus on constructive, positive thinking.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dare I Hope?

Today I had a second interview with an education software company for the position of trainer. Two weeks ago I met with the training director, and that interview lasted over an hour and covered a lot of ground. I felt pretty good about it, then had to sit and wait. I was relieved to get a call late last week asking me to meet with the regional manager for another interview. I am one of four candidates in the running for this position.

Today's interview went well, in my opinion. I felt prepared for all of the questions I was asked. I think my 10+ years in the field of education and my confidence working with technology make me very well qualified for this particular job. I also think it could be a good springboard to future work in the field of corporate training.

I am keeping my fingers crossed. I was told to expect an answer by early next week. It would be so nice to have some idea of the next step in front of me. The past few months have been uncomfortable for me. Painful, stressful, miserable, and uncomfortable. This is what held me back for so many years and prevented me from leaving teaching sooner, this fear of going through exactly what I've been going through. I'm praying hard that, in the end, it will have been worth it on so many levels: financial, familial, personal, emotional, spiritual, etc.

Speaking of's interesting how things sometimes have to hit me upside the head to get me back on track. I was on the phone with my godfather last week, grousing about the fact that I was so stressed and worried about my job and financial situation. He asked me, simply, if I'd been neglecting "stuff" spiritually.

I sat there stunned on the phone, with no logical way to justify the fact that I had, in fact, put all "that stuff" aside as I spent a bunch of time and energy trying to "deal with things". My sweet godfather reminded me to take a little time to just sit down and be still, and put my prayers out there. He was absolutely confident that things would work out. That's one thing I love about him; he has this total faith that is calm and unshakable.

Guess what? I finally made time to do precisely what he'd suggested last week. As soon as I did so, I mean literally that same day, things started moving again.

Go figure :-)

Friday, June 6, 2008

So Far...

...I have applied for the following jobs:

  • Switchboard operator at a local hospital
  • Patient transport tech
  • Health unit secretary
  • Patient registration
  • Training manager in HR at a lab services office
  • Associate buyer at the same lab services company
  • Educational software trainer
  • Researcher/writer/editor with a finance forensics firm
  • data entry

So far I have not been hired for any of these positions. I have been turned down flat for most of the health care industry jobs listed above, and am waiting to hear back on the lab services positions.

You're probably wondering about the attempted leap from education to health care. For the past 17 months I have been quietly taking classes to meet the prerequisites for admission to a local nursing program. I figured that was a field where I could have a flexible, family-friendly schedule but with greater earning potential than teaching. I hoped to get an entry level job in the field while attending school, especially because most of the hospitals around here offer tuition reimbursement. My plans seem to be thwarted at every turn though, and I have to wonder if someone upstairs is trying to tell me that nursing is not the way to go after all.

It has been weeks of applying, interviewing, and waiting. I am getting more and more discouraged as the days go by. I had hoped to take my children for a short trip to visit my mom out of state this summer, but we can't make any plans while my work situation and our finances remain up in the air. I have also been jonesing for a visit back to California. I haven't been "home" since January of 2007. I really miss my friends and family there and wanted to go back for a quick visit. For now, it looks like we're stuck in Hell, I mean Phoenix, for the summer. Same temperature and atmosphere, different locale...