Thursday, August 20, 2009

Welcome back Top Chef!

What started out as a summer guilty pleasure has turned into a full on obsession. Well, obsession is probably a little strong. I've been watching "Top Chef" since season 2, back when it used to just be a summer show. It was great because all my other shows went into reruns and I had something new to look forward to one night a week.

Anyway, here we are at season 6. On Facebook, I already dubbed this season as "Tattooed Chef". Seriously, could these chefs be any more tatooed?

I've done a pretty good job with the last two seasons, in my attempts to predict who will win. My picks always make it into the final show, that's for sure.

This time around, I'm picking one of the brothers to go to the finale. The older one, Bryan, I think his name is.

Hannah already has her pick for the chef she loves to hate -- Eli. Yeah, he's kind of full of himself, but he hasn't proven to be as horrible as horrible Lisa. I think Jennifer will be the chef to hate. I already don't like her.

It's bound to be another good season, however. I don't watch any other reality shows, so I have nothing to compare it to, really, but I think that Top Chef is very well edited and put together. I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009


I was just contemplating one of the great frustrations of being a parent. You set up what you consider to be a few simple, reasonable rules, and yet the children seem to either forget about the rules or just pretend that the rules even exist.

For example, the remote control for the TV belongs in the basket on the end table when it's not being actively used. I have told the children many, many, many times that this is the way it should be. That by following this rule, there is less confusion in life.

And yet, constantly I find the remote left on the couch, the floor, the cabinet that holds the TV. What gives?

When asked, the children admit that yes, of course, they know the rule and understand. And yet they continue to choose not to obey. I wouldn't mind so much if they were merely ignorant of the rule, any rule, really. But it's the willful disobedience, and the lack of the child's desire to do what is good and pleasing in the eye of the parent that I find so exasperating.

Do I love the child any less? No. But it brings even greater joy when the child chooses to do the right thing. When I am less exasperated, it enables me to expend more energy demonstrating my love to my children and everyone is the better for it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Taming your inbox

Here's a truly great article about organizing your email inbox. To quote:
But many people are struggling with e-mail overload and overwhelm these days, and from my consulting and training on the topic, I think I’ve figured out part of the reason why: people are keeping their information in e-mail format rather than converting those e-mails into what they really are: information, tasks, calendar events, and/or contacts.
I used to think I was so organized because my email box has so many folders and subfolders to store my old messages. After reading this article, I've spent a good chunk of time this afternoon going through my email at work and doing exactly what the author recommends. It's quite liberating, really.

I've created several new documents that "document" library procedures and now have all my usernames and passwords in one giant spreadsheet.

Speaking of being unorganized, our new library security monitor was mentioning that different staff members run the closing procedures differently at night. Well, no wonder. The closing procedures document was made up of no less than four different documents printed out and put into one binder. There's no easy way for the staff to figure out which online documents to look at when doing the closing procedures.

So my other big project for the day was to pull all that information into one, easy to access document that both the staff and the security monitor can use -- AND to properly label any other documentation that the security monitor and closing staff might need. Mission accomplished! (I think!)

Uh-oh -- the air conditioning in the library just went off -- again! Curses!

Monday, June 08, 2009

What do you do with a surly teenager?

Calling all parenting experts! Or just people who have management experience. How would you respond in this situation.

Some "friends" of ours have two daughters. One is 14. We'll call her "teenager". The other is 11. We'll call her "little sister". This family has fallen into a pattern of behavior that so far only results in the parents getting angry, teenager sulking and little sister ending up stuck in the middle.

Sample scenario. Parents want the whole family to do something together. It may be running errands, attending a church event or even just going for a walk in the park.

When parents bring up the topic, teenager says that she does not want any part of it and wants to know why parents are always punishing her by making her do things she does not want to do. Parents acquiesce and say that teenager does not have to go. Little sister says she will go, so parents end up going with little sister and little sister ends up with a small reward, usually a trip to the ice cream store.

Upon returning home, teenager finds out that a reward had been made and is now even angrier because, had she known that she was going to get a reward for going, she would have gladly gone along. Parents tell her it was her choice, but teenage still storms off to her room and slams the door in typical teen fashion. What follows is parents lecturing about how slamming doors is not appropriate and it will not be done, etc. etc. End result : no one is pleased with the outcome. Well, maybe little sister is, but she feels guilty for getting the reward and knows that she will pay for her actions at a later date somehow from teenager.

So, parents know that they have fallen into a pattern. Parents know they need to do something unexpected to break the pattern, but what? They are stumped. In recent cases, teenager has been forced to go along with the family and even gets the same reward, but chooses to remind the rest of the family that she does not want to be there and is merely being forced to do so.

Some options:

The "over my dead body" approach. Parents realize they can deliver one whopping, screaming speech to teenager about disrespect and backtalk and threaten and deliver the "as long as you're under my roof..." speech.

The "what goes around comes around" approach. When teenager balks at family participation, parents still acquiesce, however, the next time teenager wants something, parents act like teenager does, telling teenager that they don't want to take her to the mall or they take her to the mall but remind teenager constantly that they don't want to do it.

Keep doing the same thing. Maybe teenager will finally "get it" one day and figure out that to do things as a family when the parents want the family to be together results in rewards for everyone.

There has to be at least one other approach, doesn't there?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tra-la, it's May...

And in the blink of an eye, May has come and gone. I have many, many good reasons for not posting during May.

What did we have in May?
Honors band
A visit from the Wilders
Mission trip fund raisers and meetings
Final choir concert
Lost season finale party
Friday night wine tasting parties
Band world tour (I got to chaperone!)
School field trips
Final band concert
School fund raisers
Final flute choir performance
Bell choir rehearsals
Final school projects
Weekend in Michigan
8th grade banquet
8th grade graduation
Job interview round one
Poplar Creek Library grand re-opening

And on top of all that, I've been going to a cardiologist to monitor a developing heart condition. I had both an echocardiogram and CT angiography to monitor my enlarged aorta, a condition which my father had surgery for last summer. The probable culprit is a condition called Marfan's Syndrome. My father probably has it and I probably have it and both our kids exhibit several of the symptoms of it as well. Right now we're in the process of getting a formal diagnosis (or not) and getting a second opinion from another cardiologist to determine the best course of treatment at this point. I'm sure learning a lot about how the HMO works!

So I've had a lot on my mind. We're getting Hannah ready for high school, trying to figure out how summer school works, getting Michelle ready for Walcamp, making plans for summer in general.

It's been a month of highs and lows. I'm glad it's finally behind me.

Thursday, April 30, 2009



Blessings be with them, and eternal praise,
Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares!
The Poets, who on earth have made us heirs
Of truth, and pure delight, by heavenly lays.
O might my name be numbered among theirs,
Then gladly would I end my mortal days!”

William Wordsworth

Wednesday, April 29, 2009



Maiden, though thy heart may quail
And thy quivering lip grow pale,
Read the Bellman's tragic tale!

Is it life of which it tells?
Of a pulse that sinks and swells
Never lacking chime of bells?

Bells of sorrow, bells of cheer,
Easter, Christmas, glad New Year,
Still they sound, afar, anear.

So may Life's sweet bells for thee,
In the summers yet to be,
Evermore make melody!

Lewis Carroll

Monday, April 27, 2009

Your turn: submit a limerick

I can't think of anything good for today's post, so it's up to you, readers.

Today's assignment: submit a limerick.

It could be an old favorite, or if you're in need of a challenge, submit one of your own.....