Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Am Artistic AND Politically Correct

Today was our big HR off site meeting. Feeling warm and fuzzy yet?

Don't get me wrong, I love an excuse to get out of the office and spend some time with my co-workers. I actually really like them all. It's just that I'm not a "meeting person". I find that more often than not nothing really gets accomplished. Things are usually just batted around and re-phrased - then everyone goes to lunch.

And that is pretty much what happened.

The morning was spent re-hashing for the umptillionth time that we are currently undergoing the process of a HR reorganization (since last September). This seems to be upsetting some people greatly. It seems as if we needed to talk about it some more. Change is good people. Just accept and move on. Really.

After the meeting we went to out for Chinese - an interesting choice since Chinese food seems to inevitably put anyone eating it in any quantities into a deep slumber. Then, it was back to the meeting place to end our off-site adventure with a class in landscape watercolor painting.

Landscape watercolor painting.

I like this kind of thing. I'm not good at painting, but I do find it fun to give it a try every now and then. But more entertaining was watching the completely out of their element analytical people struggle to find their comfort zone.

Ha! Now they know how I feel trying to fit into a HR politically-correct role every day!

I present my latest work....."Really Close Up Semi Abstract Flower".

Monday, May 28, 2007

What We Did This Weekend - You're Standing On My Girlfriend Edition

Ahhh...what a difference a weekend makes.

I finally decided to just go to Packwood and force my back to comply with my wishes. It seems that two nights and three days of frivolity is just what the doctor ordered.

We took Grace with us...her parents are more of the five-star hotel type, so as you can imagine this was quite fun for her.

We got to Dave's place in the woods in the mid-afternoon and immediately took to the trail that leads to the waterfall. It is so beautiful there. Man, I love it.

When we arrived there was a middle-aged man standing at the base of the falls. The girls took the trail to the top of the waterfall, and I decided to hang back and let the man have his quiet time. After awhile her turned, walked down the trail toward me, and then said the strangest thing.

"You're standing on my girlfriend," he said.

"Excuse me?" I couldn't have heard him correctly, could I?

"You're standing on my girlfriend," he said again, pointing toward my feet this time.

Of course, I looked down, relatively sure that his girlfriend was NOT going to be under my feet. I peered around, then something caught my eye just behind my heels.

A small cross was meticulously drawn out with stones at the base of the tree. A plastic water bottle held some wildflowers.

Apparently I was standing on his girlfriend.

In a creepy, heartbroken way he pointed out what he said were some bone fragments. "We were going to get married here. I live in a trailer a ways down the trail. One day I woke up and she didn't," he sighed.

"Oh my gosh! I am really sorry. I didn't know she was here....I mean....I had no idea. Geez. Um, I've got to go check on the kids," and off I scrambled.

You just never know who you might meet in the woods. Or for that matter, who you might stand on.

Later Dave came up the trail after the scary guy left and we enjoyed celebrating Memorial Day... In the picture below you will see Dave and his dog Juno "standing on his girlfriend".

And here's a nice one of Juno with the memorial cross and flowers. I like to call this photo "Sitting on his Girlfriend". (Is this funny? Why does it just absolutely crack me up? Is it wrong?)

Later in the day we started a fire and started to collect a lot of people and their dogs. Juno is a lap dog, if you couldn't already tell.

This semi-pornographic pic is of the best dog I have ever met. His name is Frank. He is, get this, a cross between a dachshund and a pit bull. Everything about his says dachshund, but he has a robust pit bull head and brindle coloring. Frank is a gem. I loved him.

Here is a good representation of some of the camp craziness. Dave's "cabin" is actually more like a 1972 single-wide trailer - but being that it is out in the woodsy type area, we refer to it in the cabin-type vernacular. On the right, above Sophie's arm and to the left of the orange wiffle ball bat and 1980's colored bicycle, is Frank again.

On the left, with the group of three people, are the other dogs that graced our weekend. The reddish blur is a beautiful 7-month old red Doberman named Freya. And next to her is the little black Manchester terrier, Manny Biggs. And boy does he live up to his name.

It was like a dog episode of the Sopranos all weekend.

This is all of us heading down the road to the driving range. Dave has about 80 sets of golf clubs, just for the very reason that 35 of his closest friends may some day come camping and want to drive some balls.

Um...the driving range was closed when we got there.

So...we played wiffle baseball. Please note the air horn in Dave's right hand. I got to sound it at every inning change.

This smashed dandelion was third base. First base was a paper plate. Second you just sort of had to visualize for yourself.

Oh, and I'm safe.

A bit later in the evening I was serenaded for my birthday by Zach Zimmerman. He had a very romantic song that he wrote himself called, "Party in My Pants". I was flattered.

Then we all sang a very soulful rendition of Poison's "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" (and they all laughed really hard at me when I told them that it was the theme of my high school prom). There was not a dry eye in the house.

The next day we cooked some Jiffy Pop over the fire, but alas, it was really just hot air and about 15 popped kernels.

Gracie found a butterfly.

Maya was irritated with my incessant picture taking.

Sophie was trying to hide the fact she was drinking a soda for breakfast.

And the following picture sums up exactly why I will be friends with Dave until the day that I die. (The orange sticker reads "Special of the Week")

And some last beautiful pics from our hike back to the waterfall on Monday.....

Happy Memorial Day everybody!


Friday, May 25, 2007

Just A Bit More Whininess, If You Please

It is my birthday eve!

I love my birthday eversomuch, but it has had a bit of a wet blanket thrown over it the last few weeks. (I tend to celebrate the day of my birth for a good month or so.)

The back pain toys with my emotions - yesterday I could have sworn I was almost completely better, and this morning....back to square one. Damn. I'm getting a bit sick of this. My plan to go camping down by Mt. Rainier and hang with the most wonderful Dave may not be possible.

The girls and I have been looking forward to this for months.

On one hand, I will be in pain anywhere - so why not be with someone I enjoy spending time with - and plus also? There is a flea market in Packwood (the town closest to Dave's cabin) that will provide hours of people watching fun. I have been invited to sit in the abandoned gas station that Dave bought his brother to live in (such a good, good story that I have to tell you sometime) and drink beer and socialize with some cream o' the crop flea marketeers.

However, will the drive kill me? Will I be able to stand after a night spent sleeping on the ground? Will it really matter if I drink enough wine?

I will decide, in true Shari-last-minute-god-forbid-you-ever-plan-any-damn-thing fashion, tomorrow.

Now. Here is the real birthday rant. Mickie, the girls' Nanny - she who cannot come up with subtle hints Mickie - got me a birthday present today. It was a nice white shirt (because I have this weird thing about white shirts) in the very flattering size of a 5X. A.Five.Extra.Large.

Una Cinco Muy Grande.

At first I was a bit horrified. Was this how she saw me? Understandably, I am a robust Norwegian woman. 6 feet tall.

But good God, not THAT ample.

I admit with no embarrasement that if buying a non-number size I usually go for a XL or lately (sigh) a 2XL. Yep. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. I won't hide a goddamn thing from the world.

The thing that gets me is that, even though I have begged her to please not do it, she does quite a bit of my laundry during the week. I truly appreciate it and I'm not going to bitch about something so awesome.

But don't you think she would have peeked at a tag or two in the last year? Wouldn't it be relatively easy if you hadn't looked to just walk into my room and look in my closet?

I think she knew exactly what she was doing.

The failed hints of the lowfat yogurt and the Oprah makeover show pointers have obviously not worked.

Now she's bringing out the big guns. Well frankly, she can just fuck right the hell off.

Happy birthday to me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Johnny the Bagger

Yes, I work in HR. But I work for a company that I am proud to say has not fallen into the corporate nightmare of the living Dilbert cartoon.

Until last week.

When I received the link below in an email with this subject line:

"FW: This short video is a great way to think about your job"

Click here to view short video

I am completely freaked out.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I'm Sorry. Really, I Am.

The world has conspired against me. I must have done something really bad- karma-wise, I mean.

The back injury is sllllooooowwwwllly going away. I finally caved in on Friday and called the doctor. Bless her heart, she prescribed me these fantastic little muscle relaxers with Vicodin chasers that have most definitely helped the situation.

But it still takes me approximately 20 minutes to get my sorry butt out of bed in the morning.

I had a breakthrough last night, however, and was able to actually change positions in the middle of the night without first scooting out of bed onto my knees, pushing myself shakily into a bent-over semi-stand and then falling into the bed on my other side.

Who knew I would ever be so grateful to just roll over?

To add to this already fun-filled-amusement-ride-I-call-life there has been a few more, shall we say... issues in the last week.

Work seems to have consistently handed me odd problems to solve. My spreadsheet ability has completely failed. And, to top it all off the Sounder Commuter Train has stolen my well earned $108 that I faithfully fed its little cash-eating, no-ticket-printing minion of a automatic ticket machine. And because I paid in cash I may never get it back.

The "customer service" agent that I called to tell my sad story to sighed heavily and said, "Man, I wish they would just disable that cash function altogether."

Cash is no longer a viable option for purchasing things, apparently.

Does the Back Spasm God take bribes? Will he accept cash? Will oranges and some incense do?

I need some help here people.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day

Apparently one is not supposed to move an entire gazebo by oneself.

I seemed to have had to learn this the hard way. It's always the grasp of the obvious that I have had a problem with.

I woke up Sunday morning, still propped in my chair with eleventy hundred pillows cradling my aching lower vertebrae, to find that no matter what my brain was telling my body, my body was not at all okay in me actually getting up out of the chair.

Mother's Day is never a big deal to me. I don't expect anything but the wonderful hand made gifts from the girls, usually cereal or Eggo toaster waffles with a glass of juice filled aaaaallllll the way to the top. It is fantastic and it is all I want or need.

But throw back pain into the mix and I obviously become a cross between Mommie Dearest and the dying Sally Field in that one movie I can't remember the name of.

The girls' Dad, John, showed up like he does every Sunday and completely ignored me. When he asked what to pick up at the grocery store I sniffled, wiped my moist eyes and then yelled, "Tylenol goddamit!"

Ah yes, I was a peach.

Later in the morning, Natalie (my neighbor and also one of the best people on earth) came traipsing through my front yard with a tray of breakfast goodness. In a beautiful array there was scrambled eggs, a croissant, orange juice, coffee in Natalie's favorite frosted Elvis coffee cup, and a tulip standing perkily in a bottle of Evian.

The eggs and croissant were nestled under a plastic dollar store plate cover....and it made me bawl like a baby.

I think I said something like, "Oh! ohmygoshthankyou. It's just....beautiful...(sniffle...snort...) I'M JUST KIND OF HAVING A BAD DAY AND MY BACK REALLY HURTS (Wail.....)"

And she just looked at me and smiled and said, "Oh, that's terrible!" And hugged me and then distracted me appropriately. And did I mention that she is wonderful?

My best friend in the entire world then drove up in her adorable white VW bug and surprised me with flowers and fancy soap and the gift of her company. And I suck because I was out of it with pain and post-crying and I didn't have anything for either one of these people and MY BACK REALLY HURT....

And then Siera came by with a gift and three roses before she even went to her own Mother's house. She sat down with me and did something that people rarely do - she told me how much I meant to her and that she loved me.....and I cried (because my back really hurt).

Good God.

It was ridiculous. The emotion! I am not at all used to being like that. And I definitely don't want to make a habit of it. It is completely exhausting.

And my back really hurt. But my heart felt really, really good.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Track Tryouts

Maya had tryouts for track the other day.

She is in fourth grade. Fourth.

It isn't like she goes to a school that has a huge population. Each grade has about 50-60 kids in it, and they only let 4th through 6th graders try out for the track team.

In her heat of the 100-yard-dash she placed second. Later that day, her entire class missed the announcement (they make an PA announcement?) on who made the team. I told her she could go to the first practice the next morning to see if she made it. And hey....if she didn't originally make it and someone who did didn't show up....

Well, she didn't make it.

She is taking it very well. She admits to being a little disappointed, but overall is relatively unscathed.

I, however, am pissed. Fourth grade? That is ridiculous.

Sophie did manage to lighted the mood the night that Maya found out the bad news by saying, "Yeah, well anyway, Mom? Do you know that sometimes I fart out of my vagina?"

Sometimes all you need is perspective.


Thursday, May 03, 2007


Sophie received a $10 Toys R Us card for her birthday. Gift cards are all the rage and the preferred present for my girls right now. They immediately tuck their card in its slot in their wallet so it will be immediately available for shopping.

Last weekend I took her to spend her coveted card. We walked around and around and around. She hemmed, she hawed, she changed her mind approximately every 3.5 seconds.

Eventually she narrowed it down to a stuffed "Pound Puppy" and a "Skip-it".

I told her that although the Pound Puppy was quite adorable, the last thing she probably needed was another stuffed animal. A Skip-it, on the other hand, provided exercise and hours of summertime fun.

She still was unsure. So, typical of my pushy, I-know-what-you-want-more-than-you-know-what-you-want way - I made my point again. And more forcibly, I suppose. You know how when you truly believe that you are right and someone disagrees, you make your point again without deviation from the first point, but maybe talking more slowly and at a decibel level a notch higher? Yeah. I did that.

She got the Skip-it.

After she played with it for awhile that afternoon she came inside and plunked dejectedly on the couch.

"What's wrong, Soph?" I asked.

"Well..." she sighed, "I feel like you pressured me into that Skip-it."


I finally replied, "Well, you're right. I did. Wow, I am so sorry. When payday rolls around how about I get you that Pound Puppy? We can't take the Skip-it back now because it is all scratched up, but I think you deserve what you really wanted in the first place."

I figured the Pound Puppy is not going to break the bank at $9.99, plus she hit that nail right on the head.

I felt relatively good that I had made it through this crisis - owning up to my mistake and even better, realizing that Soph was articulate enough to make her way through this issue with reason and calm, not having to throw a fit like a spoiled brat. It all felt really pretty good.

Until this morning.

Ten minutes before I walked out the door she woke up crying. Not just whimpering a little, but the screaming scared crying that comes from a really bad dream.

I scooped her up and carried her to the couch whispering, "It's's not real. I'm right will be alright." I always advocate talking about the dream because I found that when I was small and in my nightmare phase that talking about it seemed to lessen its intensity.

After a few shuddering breathes she faltered into telling me the story,

"We were at the fair, just you, me and Katie. You kept telling me to go on the bungee jump ride. You know the really big one that shoots you waaaayy up in the air on the rubber band things? You kept saying, 'Just do it Sophie. I know you will really like it.' So, I finally just did it. (crying loudly) AND THE RUBBER BANDS BROKE AND I FELL! I didn't even want to do it in the first place." (crying even louder)

Holy shit. See the connection?

I am directly responsible for my daughter's worst nightmare.

Betcha I don't get much for Mother's Day this year.


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