Friday, August 29, 2008

Monumental Events in our Lifetime...

WOW...WOW, I don't even know where to begin. As of today, this presidential race becomes more historic than it already was. And Tim Russert is not even here to help me understand all of this.

So we officially have our candidates - McCain/Palin vs Obama/Biden. WOW. I can't even believe it. I will have to find Rush Limbaugh on the radio to see what he has to say about this. My first response was Sarah WHO? More research about her is needed, but be assured, gentle readers, my anticipated stress level about the upcoming elections just increased exponentially. I don't know when I became so Republican, as many of you know I absolutely LOATHE our current idiot and voted for Bill Clinton twice. Maybe it is because of my strong belief that NOBAMA is just not the right man for the job AT THIS EXACT moment. For god sake, he has been a STATE SENATOR for a very short period of time and has spent most of that time campaigning for president...ugh. I wonder if there is some chocolate in this house anywhere??

On a much larger note, this upcoming election is indicative of yet another monumental event in my (and many of my friends lifetimes) Things I can point to that have had global impact...

- Fall of Berlin Wall
- Fall of communism in Russia
- First African American Presidential Candidate
- Country gone to war
- Execution of Saddam Hussein
- The potential failure of 2 American Icon companies - GM and Ford
- The Enron disaster and the crippling effect it has had on public companies (I can explain that in further detail if requested, I have become quite proficient at explaining it to non accounting people)
- Gas at $4 a gallon

And the list could go on and on.

So gentle readers, what other things have I missed? I look forward to hearing your responses....

Life is Coin

I have this really good friend Bill - I play soccer and softball with him. I have probably known him for close to 10 yrs now. It should be noted that my mom thinks "red headed Bill and I should get together" - he is a super nice guy. He got me involved in the church softball league, and I have made a lot of new friends in that league.

Obviously, I was struggling a lot when I lost my job, and Bill sent this to me. I thought it was worthy of being posted.

Malachi 3:3 says: 'He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.'

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study, and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: 'He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.' She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time.The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silver smith, 'How do you know when the silver is fully refined?' He smiled at her and answered, 'Oh, that's easy --when I see my image in it.

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you. Pass this on right now. This very moment, someone needs to know that God is watching over them. And, whatever they're going through, they'll be a better person in the end.

'Life is a coin. You can spend it anyway you wish, but you can only spend it once.'

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dumb or Dumber - Skunk vs Battery

I have recently been spending some time with my fireman friend again - I am never tired of hearing about the types of situations that keep him employed. There are times when their services are needed, but 90% of the time, their runs are related to the STUPID things people do or don't do.

Case in point - last night, the engine (David and three other guys) went on a "foreign odor" run. A foreign odor run is just that - there is some sort of unidentifiable smell in whatever location. So off they go, ladder in tow. The guys walk in the house...and are overwhelmed by the odor of SKUNK. Apparently, these people could not figure out why their dog was rubbing all over the floor, furniture and at his eyes...nor what the funny smell was. As someone who has had far more skunk experience than I had ever hoped, this was baffling to me. I feel sorry for the poor dog.

In the end, three of the 4 guys on the engine had a slight skunky odor to them for the rest of the night. They tried to get the driver in, but he was not having any part of it. He called off the ladder, and those boys just drove right by. Apparently the cab of the engine has the faint scent of skunk to it.

I have had a "dumb and dumber" moment with the fire department - when I first moved in my house, I ended up putting a battery in my smoke detector backwards. As my detectors are hard wired together, they both started going off - this was baffling to me. So I called the fire dept, figuring they would be able to tell me what to do - when I could not answer whether or not there was a carbon monoxide alarm in the house, they determined a visit was necessary. I was quite embarrassed when the one guy pulled the battery out and said "maam, you put the battery in backwards".

So, gentle readers, dumb or dumber...skunk vs battery? I now have brand new detectors and there is no question which way the batteries go in - and also possess about 5 extra 9V batteries as well....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Oh my...

I am always laughing about the things my friend's kids say when I read their blog...but as all of you out there that have kids know, it is always funnier in person. I got a dose of it tonight. Tonight, we went to Belinda's to visit her, Bryce and Teagan. Natalie and Naomi were there as well, so Chelsie is exhausted.

While Bryce was in his tub, B ran downstairs to get Teagan her bottle. I was holding Teagan and Chelsie was laying down on the floor. The conversation went something like this:

Bryce - She is licking her butt! (Laughing - she wasn't licking herself)
Nicole - What does it taste like?
Bryce - Ice Cream

Priceless. I heart Bryce.

Jam Packed Weekend...

Seems like I am always running around like a nut case on the weekend. This past weekend was no different.

On Saturday, I again played the role of "Ultimate Sub" on Natalie's softball teams. We played at a tourney down in Groveport - beautiful fields, right next to a newly built YMCA in the middle of upper NOWHERE!!! They also had a really nice pool there as well. Unfortunately, as it was a new park, there was not a tree in sight. I told Chelsie she needed to thank her mom for leaving her home. Our first game was a forfeit, we won the second game and lost 3-2 in the final. Yeah, that's right, a slow pitch game with a score of 3-2. The balls they use in this league are awful, seem all mushy and like they don't go anywhere. Maybe I am used to the livelihood of the little ball we use on Thursday night...Did I mention it was HOTTER THAN HOLY MOLY out there?

After that, I ran home to do yard work. My yard was a mess and needed some good TLC. On Friday night, I had a really good time repairing my weed eater with my parents - ok, so not really, but thankfully we got it mostly fixed and I got the right part on Saturday to make it work. I worked my butt off in the yard for the next 4 hrs, but it was worth it, I was happy with the end result.

On Sunday, I had soccer at 4 and was again subbing for Natalie at 5:30 for softball. I ran around like a nut case before the mall, to the grocery, new soccer cleats, gas, cleaned the house, did laundry...and then it POURED on us at soccer. Did I mention it was lightning and thundering? And that something caused a tree behind one of the fields to make a suspicious CRACKING SOUND? Looking south to where the softball field was, it was black. As I got closer to the fields, it started pouring and about that time was when Nat called and said the game had been cancelled. I knew there was no way we were going to play - carrying metal bats with lightning around might not be the brightest thing to do - but I still had to go over there anyway. After my shower, I sat on the couch and watched the closing ceremonies of the Olympics.

No wonder I am tired.

Friday, August 22, 2008

How many houses do you have?

So as I age gracefully, I become more and more Republican every day. I am not 100% thrilled with John McCain, but if I am choosing him or Barack...well, there is really no other choice. The only Obama sign anyone would see near me is the one that says "NOBAMA".

So our future president made a really dumb comment last night...when asked how many houses he and his wife own, he told the reporter he would have his staff get back to him. Seriously? I know his wife is loaded, but come on. Way to show undecideds you are for the common man, John. I am sure somehow, some way that comment will affect the stock market and my retirement. Every time I think about Barack in the White House, it causes me a great deal of stress...

Sorry if any of my readers are Democrats...

Extreme Ball Chasing

A letter to Auntie Natalie from Chelsie - last night, we had a double header for our Thursday night softball team and Chelsie chased her ball like an absolute nut. We won the first game and pulled out a squeaker in the second game...I HATE to lose to the team we played in our second game, and thankfully, that did not happen. But it was close...the winning run was on first base when we got the third out.

Dear Auntie Natalie,

After winning back to back gold medals last night in extreme ball chasing, I did go home and pass out. In fact, I was so tired this morning I did not even get out of bed. On the way home, mom treated me to some Timbits from Tim Horton's and I was able to stay awake during lunch preparations (you never know what mom might drop on the floor). As tired as I was, I went to sleep on the floor, to ensure mom could not harass me and that I was not too hot. I was able to enjoy my yogurt kong this morning and will be looking for just the right nap spot for the rest of the day.

I don't think I will see you tomorrow, mom says it will be too hot. I will see you next Thursday as I attempt to repeat my gold medal performance.

Very Sincerely,

Chelsie Belle

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Job Update

I have officially been at my new job for a week. It is different than my old one, but all is good.

I would say the hardest adjustment is just getting back into a routine. While I am grateful to get up and go to work everyday, I wish I had gotten to have another week off - the stress of what happened has caught up to me, and I am tired. I am trying very hard to get back into a routine - I find I am ready for bed much earlier these days!

I am commuting back downtown, and the commute is not bad. I am on a waiting list for a spot in the garage, but it will be awhile. There is a lot across the street, only $80 per month (much cheaper than the garages near the Deloitte building) When I get in the garage, it will be $30. My last stint of parking when I was still with Deloitte was free - AEP had 2 garages and was very generous in allowing us garage passes to get into the "tower of power" as we called it.

What have a learned to date, as the manager of internal audit with oversight responsibilities of the Columbia Distribution companies operations of gas storage, transmission and distribution businesses??? Well, here we go....

1. Natural gas is essentially decaying matter very near the earth's crust - which is why exploration is difficult and costly. Essentially, gas reserves are where the dead stuff is in the earth's crust. Who knew??
2. Methane is the most common form of natural gas - and in its purest form, is odorless. Sulfur like scent is injected to indicate gas leaks.
3. Natural gas is transmitted through pipelines underground. Gas typically moves "downstream" - meaning is moved via pressure in the pipelines toward the end of the distribution line. What is the end of the line? Our homes.
4. I do not receive a discount on my home heating bills.
5. We make no money on buying and selling gas - all that is regulated and varies by state. We make money moving gas (transmission) for other service providers.
6. The more rotten/dead the decaying matter is, the more potent the gas is. Methane gas is less potent than butane gas is - and thus, it takes more energy to increase the temperature of methane than butane.

Probably more facts about natural gas than anyone cares to know...but as I find interesting things, I will of course post them.

My beauty rest calls. Little Belle, of course, has gone to bed and the cat has come to bed as well. Let's hope there is some room for, I mean, I hope mom does not have to fling someone off the bed....

What is Love?

Love is 65 lbs of a 4 legged black furry creature standing on the bed, hugging you - and trying to bite your left ear off.

Tonight, I redeemed myself as a dog mom. Monday night I had an alumni happy hour for Deloitte and last night a Varsity O meeting - both nights had me home after 9PM (grammy and grampie helped out, she was not at home crossing her legs - every one of my readers should know better). I made up for it tonight - she got to chase her ball at soccer, and then we walked a lap around the facility at the Cleveland Av soccer fields. The term "lap" is deceiving, it is about 1.5 miles. She even got to chase her ball during the lap.

When we got home, I was giving her a hard time about "going to bed" - she destroyed the pillow arrangement on the bed today (yes, all 11 of them). I invited her up on the bed to pet her, and next thing I knew, her front paws were on my shoulders and I was trying to keep my left ear safely attached to my head. When Chel gets excited, she feels the need to nibble your left ear - only your left one - with her front teeth. Believe it or not, it frggin hurts! Anyway, we shared a few moments of bonding, and I removed the pillows from the bed to allow her to go to her "spot".

Based on the fact she is passed out next to me, I would say her dog needs have been met for the night and that is a relatively happy camper. Where do I find a caretaker like me????

BMX Bike Racing

Dear Auntie Jodi,

I think I heard my mom say you were trying to convince the IOC that BMX Bike Racing was a sport that needed to be kept around for the London games. Does this mean you have started training for the 2012 games in London?

Very Sincerely,

The Chelsie Belle

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 have inspired me...

If you can get up and bet at the gym at 5AM with a kid, I can get up and be at kickboxing at 5:45AM. They have morning classes on Tuesday and Thursday, and I made it this morning. We will see whether I make it Thursday....I will just think of Jodi being at the gym at 5AM when the alarm goes off, and hopefully that will help!!!

One thing I love about KB is that all the instructors do different things after we are done with our bag work. Some days there are weights involved, some not, some days it is arms only and some days legs only. My favorite instructor taught this morning (Jenni) and after 30 minutes of intense bag work, we did squats and lunges...and for good measure, had to sit against the bags for 90 seconds as our last exercise. Um, can we say BURN?????

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Q for A Cure

This weekend, the theme at our trial was "Q for A Cure". The trial was sponsored by the Central Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Association, and was in honor of two members of the Central Ohio Sheltie family that passed away in the last year from cancer. One was a club member who had 5 shelties and the other was a breeder used by several people who compete at our trials. Shelties and border collies are the top 2 breeds most often seen in agility competition. Light and fast on their feet, one can hardly believe how fast they can move - unlike my big, deep chested, blocky girl. I will take her over one of those breeds any day...she is so much quieter than they are!!!

Our contribution to Q for a Cure was 5 for 9 - so $5. To get her MACH title, she needs to have 20 double Q's - meaning she needs to qualify in her standard and jumpers run in the same day 20 times, to show she is consistent. This weekend was our first opportunity to get a double Q, and we got one on 2 of 3 days. Saturday was the only exception - and it was a jumpers run, go figure. This particular course was the only course I have been in during a competition where I was concerned about getting lost...and with good reason. I was out of position and corrected myself...right was she was going over a jump. Mom's fault, as usual. We were 0-3 on FAST runs, but they were tough this weekend and she still ran well. Overall, I am very, very happy with how she is running. Very, very consistent - I am so proud of her. She is one tired pooch...I let her run hard on Wednesday and Thursday of last week, so she was tired from the get go - ran 4 seconds faster on Saturday than Friday. But she had so much fun chasing her ball those nights, I would never not allow her that pleasure.

We hope everyone had a good I need to go wash the mulch and sweat off me....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One other little bit of commentary...

If those Chinese gymnasts are 16 years old, then I am a 40 yr old that looks 33. Do they seriously think the rest of the world has no common sense? The commentators even said the second girl on the floor routine "looked like a child playing on a playground" They definitely got the "child" part right! Now, to be fair, they won, but I still would not bet anything of any importance on the fact that all of them were 16.....

Back to a routine....

Well, I survived my first day of work. It was not bad at all, went by kind of fast. Lots of reading of course - esp because I will not have a computer until Monday. I will be out on Friday (we are playing agility that day) and the intern's last day is Friday - rumor has it he has a nicer computer, so I am going to take his. Yea for me.

This is definitely going to be different - much smaller group, but very laid back. I think I will have a lot of freedom to make adjustments as I see fit, but will hang back for awhile just to figure out the lay of the land. I seem to have connected with the girls I work with - one of them recently left Deloitte, so that is always a bonus. I am not even turning the Olympics on tonight...I made that mistake again last night - and to top it off, after gymnastics was over, I found softball. I saw today Cat Osterman pitched a no hitter...MAYBE IF I HAD TIVO, I COULD HAVE WATCHED IT!!!! I prefer living in the prehistoric fossil age, thank you.

So back into a routine. I had soccer tonight, Chel got to go and chase her ball like a psycho. It was cooler than normal and cloudy, so no sun, and Chel just had a great time. She seems to be over her issue, whatever it was, and is now resting on one of her beds in the basement. We will be resting on the bed shortly - and in the bed with our eyes closed shortly after that!

We hope this finds everyone well.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Job Update

I will commence employment tomorrow. The HR people told my boss it would be a stretch to start in a week, because of background checks, drug tests, etc. I need to quit staying up all night to watch the Olympics tonight...but it will be good to get into a routine again. I am very thankful for the beautiful weather I have had on my last few days off - and for the opportunity to get up and go to work again tomorrow!!! I will let you know how it goes.

Ok, so some of you might be right....

After staying up half the night to watch the Olympics, I can see why many of you make the argument of why Tivo is necessary. Thankfully, the Olympics are only a few weeks long - I discovered softball on MSNBC about 12:30 AM and turned it off when it was 8-0 in about the third inning. Venezuela discovered that when you groove a pitch to Crystl Bustos, it gets hit 300 feet out of the park...

Monday, August 11, 2008

USA GOLD - 4 X 100 Men's Freestyle Relay

If I see nothing else in the Olympics, I am convinced I saw an Olympic moment second to none tonight when the US men 4 X 100 meter freestyle men's relay team came from behind to beat the French team in the finals, who were supposedly going to "smash" them. I actually came off the couch and screamed when they won! (I think Chel thought I was nuts) I also thought Michael Phelps was going to have a heart attack from screaming the way he did. Totally awesome - they completed outhearted the French, because at the turn in the last leg, I think they were one second behind. They also SMASHED the world record, as did 5 of the 8 teams in the final - I think the US beat it by 4 seconds and set a new Olympic and world record. So much fun to watch - but it is killing me already. You bet I stayed up to watch that medal ceremony!!


Friday, August 8, 2008

Update on Chelsie's Health

As some of you know, Chelsie has been battling some sort of stomach bug for the past few weeks. She has really not been the same since early July - she was on a course of antibiotics to help clear up a skin infection, and just really has struggled since then. After competing at a trial in early July, she was quite ill - threw up 4 times (one of them all over my car as we were about to leave Cleveland - I nearly had a meltdown in the parking lot, this happened 5 days after I was laid off) and had an upset stomach all week. Initially, I chalked it up to the antibiotics wreaking havoc on her sensitive little belly. That worked for a few days, but when her belly was still upset 5 days later, I called the vet. She spent that weekend on a canned food diet and seemed to returns to her normal self. Until last Thursday...

I was able to get some more canned food and more medication to help the situation, as well as a visit with our regular vet on Tuesday. The food and medicine has not been nearly as successful this time, as she still continues to have an upset tummy. Additionally, she has lost 4 lbs in the last 4 weeks - 6 months ago, she was weighing in at 74 lbs, and on Tuesday, she weighed in at 64, 4 lbs. Six weeks ago, she was a trim, svelte 68 lbs and looking great - now, she is a little "ribby" as my vet says.

Other than the weight loss and upset tummy, she is her normal bouncy lab self. We had a significant amount of bloodwork done on Tuesday, all coming back very normal. Dr. B is quite perplexed, and is mildly concerned about the weight loss. I feel much better after this visit, because I was able to get her some dry food - the canned food was not enough and my girl was hungry. I have been able to adjust her food to her activity levels and she does not appear to be as hungry as she was. But we still have no apparent reason for her upset belly. To add insult to injury, the brown dog is spending the night.

I am hoping that my return to work will ease her situation - she is very sensitive to all aspects of me, and it is quite possible she is reacting to my stress. We had a pretty regimented schedule, and I am hoping that once we get back on that, she gets better. We had some nose to nose bonding time this morning...I had to butter her up before I got out the nail trimmers and gave her a pedi. Her poor mom is very worried about her, so if anyone has any other suggestions, I am all ears!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Last Lecture

As all of you know, the last month has been a very challenging one. I got a harsh dose of reality I was completely unprepared for, and am still dissecting how I handled it. Throughout this time, I was very lucky to have gotten great support from family and friends. During this time, one of my friends, neighbor Jude, turned me on to "The Last Lecture" given by Dr. Randy Pausch.

I am not sure how familiar you are with this story - Dr. Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University who was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. He was ~45 with a wife and three small children (I think the oldest was 4) at the time of his diagnosis. He was fortunate to have a period of good health, but the cancer returned and the doctors gave him 3-6 mos to live last October.

Carnegie Mellon has this thing called "The Last Lecture". This is usually reserved for retiring professors, and gives them one last opportunity to share their phiolosopohical views - from the view point of the fact that they were dying. Well, in Dr. Pausch's case, this was a fact, he was dying. The lecture he gave was recorded with the intent it would be viewed by a limited number of individuals who could not be present for the actual lecture - to date, the You Tube version I viewed of it has nearly 6 million hits.

Dr. Pausch's last lecture is an hour and 15 minutes long - I would encourage anyone reading this blog to go out to You Tube and view it. The hour will fly by, and you will be captivated by his lecture. You Tube also has a number of TV programs about the Pausch family - he was on Oprah and Jane Pauley interviewed him as well.

Unfortunately, Dr. Pausch passed on July 25, but over the last 9 months of his life, he touched millions of people. I know at some point I will go back out to watch his Last Lecture again, and I hope all of you do as well.

Weekend Accomplishments

I know we are halfway through the week, so it might be a little late to talk about the weekend, but tough cookies.

This weekend, I learned to wakeboard. One of my friends has a boat, and they invited me out on Sunday. I am a relatively proficient skier, but all the rest of them wakeboard. After some persuasion, I agreed to try. Had I been a snowboarder, it probably would not have been so scary.

So on goes the wakeboard - very different feel in the water than skis. I give the ok and next thing I know, I am standing up!! Then came the panic moment of OMG, now what??? I managed to stay up for a few minutes, but then three boats crossed to our left and I was hosed. On thing I have learned about wakeboarding is that you generally hit the water pretty hard - as evidenced by the faceplant I took my second time up.

Other weekend accomplishments included taking Chelsie to the barkpark, feeding Teagan Q. and playing with Bryce Q. I took my dinner up to B's house after my softball game on Sunday (yes, I wakeboarded and played softball on Sunday) and got to see her and the kids. They are getting so big...and are just too darn cute. Hopefully we will be spending more time up there in the near future as football season has started - can ou believe that?????

Visits to Dodd

I know I have not posted a lot about our visits to Dodd lately, but through all of this layoff stuff, we have been going. Chelsie continues to do great things there, I am so, so proud of her. Last night, her best work was done in the first room we went in - I think the guy had a stroke and his wife and daughter were there with him. He had been drifting in and out and perked up immediately when he saw Chel - I even allowed her to give him a kiss. She sat there for about 15 minutes and he just pet her chest - his wife was very choked up and in tears, she was so happy. She told Chelsie that she needed to stay and nap on the bed with him...

I almost did not go last night - the stress of the whole job situation has caught up with me and I am completely physically drained. We have spent the last 2 days sleeping the afternoon away, and it would have been so easy just to sleep right through, but we got up and out and went. I am so glad we did...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Gainful Employment Obtained

This morning, I received a fantastic offer for the #1 job on my list. I knew I was up there and that the interview had gone well, and was pretty sure they wanted me. Well, they did, and opened their wallet to prove it. I start on Monday, August 11 and will be going in Monday to meet the team and start the paperwork process. (ket as my Cardinal health insurance ends Friday)

Thank you to everyone for your support. A few days ago, I would have been forced to vomit had someone told me yet again this would work out, but I am relieved to know this whole thing is OVER. I hope to get some better sleep these days....

To celebrate, I treated myself to a few outfits at AT Loft and White House Black Market.....and got my pedi. Yes cousin Mich I got the black I just need somewhere to wear it!!!