Thursday, January 31, 2008

This reminds me of George & Isaac




Be sure to watch the little one's face near the end.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Skunked

I went to Arkansas (Little Rock to be exact) this past Thursday to put on an event with one of our admissions counselors. I invited all our alumni in the area and the admissions counselor invited all of his prospective students. This event (which we've done several of in the past) is hosted at the home of former students and usually includes a lot of free snack foods, literature about the university, free school t-shirts, and the opportunity for prospective students and their parents to ask all kinds of questions about OC. The students who come get to find out about the university from people who used to be students there and the former students who come get to connect with each other and feel like they are making a positive impact on their alma mater by helping us recruit our next crop of students.

I've put on several of these events in the past two years and sometimes they are well attended and sometimes they are not, BUT they are always attended.

This one, however, was not attended by ANYONE. We drove five and half hours to a suburb of Little Rock to promote the school to alumni and prospective students and NO ONE CAME.

The only saving grace for me was that I got to spend almost two and half hours visiting with the alumni family that hosted the party as we all sat around their kitchen island on bar stools waiting for the first people to arrive. It was kind of a downer that no one showed up, but the people who were hosting the event were really gracious about it all and I now feel like have a good connection with two alumni in the Little Rock area in case we ever want to try anything like this again.

For the admissions counselor who went, his saving grace was going to be the next day when he did a school visit to meet some of his prospective students.

So the next day came and he got up, got ready, and headed over to the high school. After he had been there for about 15 minutes, the school secretary came in and informed that the decision had been made to cancel school and send the students home because it was sleeting outside and they were concerned about worsening road conditions. So he came back to the hotel, picked me up, and we started our five and a half hour drive back home.

To recap: we drove 11 hours, spent the school's money on a hotel room, gas, and our meals (not to mention our time) and we got to see two alumni and ZERO prospective students. Wait a minute... that's not entirely true. We did get to see one prospective student. The alumni who hosted the event did have a 12 year old daughter and she assured us that if she doesn't get into Harvard (which she probably will... she showed us her first place winning science fair project and it was pretty impressive) that she will most likely come to OC. In the admissions business, they call that "early contact" and apparently there's a lot of value to making contact like that with prospective students at such a young age. So at least the trip wasn't a complete bust from the admissions perspective.

And before you waste a comment to ask, the answer is no. We did not do anything differently while promoting this event. We sent the same post cards, the same emails, and made the same phone calls to the same number of people the same number of times as we always do when we have one of these events.

Monday, January 21, 2008

100 things about AM

1. I am looking forward to summer
2. I love the beach and wish I was going there soon
3. I wish I was going anywhere soon.
4. I love to travel
5. Some of my favorite places are Sydney, Venice, and the Bahamas
6. I want to travel to New York, the Grand Canyon, Greece, Tahiti, Hawaii, the Redwood Forrest, and Yellowstone and on and on…
7. I always like coming home too
8. I like my house to be clean and organized (and no that doesn't mean it always is)
9. I love my swiferjet and feel satisfaction when the cleaning pad is black (ew, perhaps that means I need to use it more often!)
10. I am trying to declutter and organize my house this year…simplifying my life and home
11. I have been home a lot more lately
12. I spent the last week not going to school or working at a job for the first time in forever!
13. It was great. I visited friends, spent time with family, read, did nothing, and cleaned...
14. I need to find a job.
15. I am attempting to not stress about this
16. I am getting asked a lot about jobs… and kids
17. I love children
18. I want to have my own children and I am excited about having them
19. But I will be waiting (see #14, I have no health insurance)
20. We have even talked about when we want to have children and we both get teary eyed with joy
21. Please don't ask when, this is awkward
22. I feel like a bad person to be bothered by the comments people make
23. We are very blessed with friends and family that care about us and what is going on in our lives
24. I am close to my family.
25. I am blessed with great in-laws
26. I am having a man come and tune my piano today
27. I don't like being home alone with people doing stuff in my house (see #66)
28. But, I am excited about having it done
29. I am reading a book about beliefs and how the beliefs people have about themselves and the world influences them
30. It is one of the few therapy/ theory books I have read by choice (without being told in a syllabus I have to for a grade)
31. This is exciting to me!!
32. If I could get every parent I see in counseling to read a book it would be: Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, by John Gottman; I love this book! If you are a parent, grandparent, caregiver, hope to be a parent, are ever around children (you get the idea) please ask me if you can borrow this book, borrow it from the library, or buy it! I think this book is great for parenting but also translates well to relationships in general. It is not expensive and a very easy read. Ok- I’m done. (Luckily I have spared you from the other parenting and marriage books I recommend).
33. I am also currently reading a book about being resilient, the man who wrote this book is a runner
34. I would have called myself a runner in the past
35. I am trying to run again
36. Michael has been running too
37. I love Michael
38. It is so fun being married to your best friend...I highly recommend it
39. I often feel unsure about having a blog, not knowing who is reading it, and how much I want to say about myself and our life
40. I am wondering then, on this note, why I am writing 100 things about myself on my blog for people to read
41. I guess because Michael said he thought it would be fun
42. I am thinking about having fun
43. I like to travel for fun
44. I like to spend time with my friends and family
45. I like to watch movies
46. We saw Juno a while ago
47. I loved it; I laughed out loud and cried some too
48. We had a movie gift card when we went to see that movie
49. I like gift cards
50. I like to shop for fun too whether I buy anything or not (any kind of shopping…grocery store, mall, whatever)
51. I like shopping with my mom
52. I like shopping alone just to be out and walk and think
53. But I have been reading this blog lately and been inspired: http://www.inthetrenchesofmotherhood.com/
54. I like to scrapbook
55. My scrapbooking is way behind
56. I am hoping to catch up this year
57. I planted tulip and daffodil bulbs this fall…I can’t wait to see them bloom!
58. I really can’t say enough about how much I like chocolate and most other deserts
59. I typically don’t agree when people say "this is too rich I can’t finish this…"
60. I like cherry dr. peppers
61. I said I would stop drinking Dr. P when I finished grad school…but I don’t want to
62. Maybe I will quit after the licensing exam… ;)
63. I love Chai tea lattes (but not from starbucks)
64. I like to have people over for parties, dinner, or just to hang out
65. I am happy I can do this more now that I have more free evenings
66. I have a CRRRRazy imagination
67. I sometimes can imagine an entire horror movie happening to me in 30 seconds time (but don’t worry I have a plan, if they come in the front door I will hear them from the bells that are on the door handle, I will then jump out of bed and pull Michael out (of course the adrenaline rush will allow me to do this), then put the top mattress in front of the bedroom door so the bullets can’t get us, then pry open our 50 year old window and run through the backyard to the neighbors’ backyard (because clearly we couldn’t go to our front yard because they might have someone waiting), then down the street and around the corner to Jeffrey and Miranda’s house to use the phone. (Why don’t use our own phone in this scenario, you are wondering…please don’t be ridiculous!)
68. I used the last of my Christmas/graduation/birthday money to buy a north face jacket
69. I have wanted one for a really long time
70. It is wind resistant, waterproof, and has a “lifetime warranty”
71. Then the next Sunday at church they were taking up money for people in suffering in Africa
72. I had just bought the dumb NF jacket and had no money to give…I felt like a horrible person
73. Now I think I should have saved all of that money in case I don’t get a job for a while
74. I gave money to a man for “gas” in a parking lot right before Thanksgiving
75. Then I watched him go around and get money from 5 other people and then walk away from the gas station that was right on the corner.
76. I lived in Australia as a child
77. We were 40 minutes from the beach
78. I love Australia and many people there that impacted my families’ and my life
79. My life was hugely influenced by my dad’s grandparents who I didn’t really know. My dad cries pretty much every time he talks about them. Their legacy of faith definitely impacted the direction and path of his life.
80. I love God and probably cannot fully grasp how blessed I am to serve such a faithful God and how much He loves me.
81. I want to raise kids that have a balance of bible knowledge along with relationship with God
82. I have been pondering lately how to go about doing this
83. I collect the city mugs from star bucks this combines my love for travel and hot drinks
84. Michael says I have too many and asked if I would get rid of some. I asked him if he wanted to get rid of some of his hats, and that discussion was quickly over.
85. I love music
86. I have tons of favorites…but a few are Sarah McLaughlin, Casting Crowns, Colbie Caillat
87. I want to go to the Michael Buble’ concert
88. I really like the movie Return to Me, I still cry every time
89. I also cry at inspiring stories and sometimes commercials
90. I have had 3 root canals…hence the reason I feel like I might have a panic attack anytime I go to the dentist
91. I am quiet sometimes…I don’t know how many people have said to me, I thought you were really shy or snobby and then I got to know you and you are so different than what I thought (um ok thanks, I think that is supposed to be a compliment??)
92. I have tried to learn not to “judge a book by its cover” from my own life experience
93. But I think we all do sometimes even without realizing it
94. I love that we live by Lake Hefner and enjoy taking walks, flying kites, and watching the sunset out by the lake
95. OMG I just told you the proximity of where I live!!
96. I LOVE 24 and liked Alias before it discontinued…I wonder how much impact those shows have on #66
97. One of my all time favorite passages is Lamentations 3:19-25
98. I didn't grow up doing this, but I really have enjoyed getting to go to the lake over the past few years
99. I love breakfast foods and going to zoos
100. There is a lot more to me than just these 100 things! :)

I now tag Luke and Kate, Heather A, (and Amy A, I think this would be a great first blog post!! Think about it!), and anyone else who has some spare time to make this list!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

100 things about MM

1. I'm a big OU football fan.
2. I go to most of the home games and sometimes make it to away games.
3. I met my wife when I was 16 and she was 15.
4. We started dating when I was 17 and she was 16.
5. We got married when we were 20.
6. I turned 21 a month later.
7. My first car was a 1993 white Nissan Altima GXE.
8. I like watching the Amazing Race on CBS but this season has been kind of lousy and I've lost interest.
9. I'm pretty sure AM and I could win the Amazing Race… EASILY.
10. I love to travel.
11. I love to eat Indian food.
12. I want to visit India some day.
13. My favorite possession that requires power is my iPod.
14. My 2nd through 4679th favorite possessions that require power are the songs on it.
15. I like just about every genre of music.
16. You can see some of the artists I like here.
17. My favorite website is Pandora.com.
18. My favorite computer program is Google Desktop.
19. I really like live music, but I don't like having to stand at concerts.
20. I played offensive line on my high school football team.
21. We won the state championship three years in a row.
22. I own three really big state championship rings that I haven't seen in over a year.
23. I love to cook.
24. Most people that eat my cooking say that I'm pretty good at it.
25. I can't stand wrinkled clothes.
26. I iron everything I own before wearing it. The only exceptions are: socks, underwear, and undershirts.
27. Yes, I iron my t-shirts before wearing them.
28. I'm neither a night owl nor an early bird.
29. I like to sleep.
30. It's a hobby for me.
31. I like to go to bed early and sleep in late.
32. I take Sunday afternoon naps almost every Sunday.
33. I started writing a book about 7 months ago, hit a wall about 3 months ago, and haven't gone back to it yet.
34. I would have been a bestseller.
35. Maybe I will finish writing it some day.
36. I like to go camping.
37. My parents gave me a tent a few years ago and I keep it in the trunk of my car.
38. I don't like sleeping on the ground though, so I use an airbed in the tent when I'm camping.
39. My best friend is AM.
40. She has a lot of nick names for me and I have a lot of nick names for her.
41. I will not share them on here.
42. Her newest favorite for me is, "Mitch"
43. I didn't like it at first, but it's growing on me.
44. I've started calling her, "Mitchy"
45. Apparently # 41 was a lie.
46. I'm a sucker for a good chick flick movie.
47. I love to eat snow cones in the summer time.
48. Two years ago, I weighed 255 pounds.
49. This morning I weighed 214 pounds.
50. Weight Watchers, switching from pop to water, and working out on an elliptical helped me lose the weight.
51. Arby's 5 for $5.95 is helping me put it back on.
52. I've never liked running before.
53. For the last three weeks, I've been training to run a 10k road race on May 5th.
54. I'm starting to like running now.
55. I love the beach.
56. My favorite vacation spot is anywhere with a beach.
57. I own A LOT of hats.
58. Most of them have something to do with the University of Oklahoma.
59. My favorite hat is my Houston Astros hat.
60. I'm not a fan of the Houston Astros.
61. I really enjoy reading.
62. Some of my favorite authors are: Al Ries, Jack Trout, Seth Godin, Malcom Gladwell, and Daniel Goleman.
63. Bailey McBride called me a schemer the other day.
64. I think it was a compliment, but I'm really not sure.
65. I admire him more than just about any other human being I know.
66. I'm an extroverted introvert.
67. I've saved every email I've sent or received since 2003.
68. They only take up about 2.3 gigabytes on my hard drive.
69. I enjoy helping other people.
70. I want to work in a job that allows me to make an impact on my world, other people, or a cause that I'm passionate about.
71. I work for a non-profit that helps other people reach their educational goals.
72. I want to make a good living, but if I had to choose between the two, I'd rather make a lot impact than a lot of money.
73. My dream job would involve me leading a non-profit with a global impact.
74. My favorite candy is Hot Tamales
75. Followed closely by Cinnamon Bears.
76. Followed by Nerds, Runts, Bottle Caps, Fireballs, Gobstoppers, Pez (just the candy not the dispenser).
77. I really like candy.
78. My favorite type of food is Mexican.
79. I could eat guacamole and salsa every day of my life and it would never get old.
80. Unless of course I got sick one day and vomited after eating it.
81. That happened to me with Chicken Tortilla soup when I was 13.
82. I'm just now beginning to get to a place in my life where I can eat Chicken Tortilla soup again.
83. I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
84. I believe his son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross so that all humanity could be forgiven of their sins.
85. I'm a sinner who is saved by grace.
86. I need to be more deliberate with my prayer life.
87. I need to read my bible more than I do.
88. I'm pretty excited about being a dad some day.
89. I'm not in a hurry to have kids just yet though.
90. I don't cry very much, but I'll probably weep like a baby the first time I hold my child.
91. I want to raise emotionally intelligent children.
92. I'll probably buy a new car in the next year or so.
93. I'm thinking about the Nissan Xterra or Pathfinder.
94. Then again, I think I'd really enjoy driving a Mini Cooper convertible.
95. I was on the yearbook staff in junior high.
96. We rolled our own film and developed our own pictures in a dark room.
97. I wasn't very good at taking pictures, but I never missed a page deadline and my yearbook teacher NEVER changed my layouts.
98. I'm eating hot tamales as I type this.
99. I want to own a hot tub some day.
100. I usually blog out of boredom.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Workaholics

Sometimes I worry that I might be a workaholic. However, reading this post today on one of the blogs that I subscribe to (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/) has me believing, at least for the moment, that I am not:
A workaholic lives on fear.

It's fear that drives him to show up all the time. The best defense, apparently, is a good attendance record.


A new class of jobs (and workers) is creating a different sort of worker, though. This is the person who works out of passion and curiosity, not fear.

The passionate worker doesn't show up because she's afraid of getting in trouble, she shows up because it's a hobby that pays. The passionate worker is busy blogging on vacation... because posting that thought and seeing the feedback it generates is actually more fun than sitting on the beach for another hour. The passionate worker tweaks a site design after dinner because, hey, it's a lot more fun than watching TV.

It was hard to imagine someone being passionate about mining coal or scrubbing dishes. But the new face of work, at least for some people, opens up the possibility that work is the thing (much of the time) that you'd most like to do. Designing jobs like that is obviously smart. Finding one is brilliant.
Agree or disagree?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

AM's Goals for 2008

To follow MM's lead...I have been giving much thought to goals I would like to accomplish this year. This year is different than others as for the first time in a long time I will not be in school. In fact, this year will be the first time in the entire 5.5 years that we have been married that one of us is not in school. I have thought a lot about how I want to spend my time. For a long time my life has been filled with intensity and deadlines. In a lot of ways I have learned to thrive under that pressure, and at times without it I feel unmotivated to get things done. This year I want to work to find the balance of being productive and allowing myself time off. I want to work to be in a place where I can have a mile long to-do list (I love lists!) and have little to do and still feel a sense of purpose in my life. I want to be able to "be still and know that he is God" (Ps. 46:10) and not feel the need to fill my life with unnecessary business. I am not really sure how to explain what I am thinking other than I want to use my time wisely and purposely to accomplish things and at the same time allow for times of quiet.

So here is a working list of some of the many goals I want to work towards this year. (I prefer to think of them as goals not resolutions...what am I striving for or focusing on at this time of my life)
1. Reteach myself the piano. I was graciously given a used piano recently, and after its tuning in a week I would like to play again. I played the piano from 2nd grade until the end of freshman year of college. It will be so nice to get that part of me back.
2. I want to cook something new 2-4 times a month. In our marriage MM has cooked a lot as my schedule has usually been I work later or have been in school longer. I am looking forward to cooking more and trying new things.
3. I want to get back to having a healthier lifestyle. (It is annoyingly true what they say in the WW commercials...it is a "lifestyle" not a diet). So to quantify healthy, that means being more consistent in eating better and being more active (I hope to join MM in one of the races). I received a WW cookbook for Christmas, and I am also looking forward to trying some of these recipes as a part of #2.
4. Sew. My mom gave me a brand new sewing machine this past year, and I have had no time to even open it. I would like to learn to use it and sew curtains for our upstairs room and kitchen.
5. Organize and declutter every cabinet, drawer, and closet in our house.
6. I want to learn more about gardening. This past summer we attempted to grow tomatoes. This summer we will cheat and buy plants instead of seeds and try our luck. I want to plant a ring planter around the tree in our front yard...and we will wait and see what else!
7. I want to be more consistent with my prayer and bible study times, and also work to be more of an encourager.
8. I want to study, take, and pass the licensing exam.
9. Paint various rooms in our house.
10. Become informed about the election to make an informed decision of who to vote for.
11. Enjoy having the time to read things I want to read. I am currently reading: A Resilient Life: You can move ahead no matter what, and Beliefs: the heart of healing in families and illness

I know I am a work in progress and God is so gracious in allowing me time to grow. I wonder how much less pressure I would feel in my life if I extended myself the grace He so patiently gives. I encourage you to think about how you want to spend your time this year. I know often for me if I am not purposeful in the way I choose to spend my time, it can go by without being used well. I am excited to see what God has in store for 2008!

26


Birthday morning, Michael made me 26 pancakes (a tradition in my family since we were little) topped with Hartman homemade chocolate sauce

I had been saving some money and we went furniture shopping all day (unsuccessfully)

We went to melting pot for dinner, and can I say I just love the melting pot experience!


At lunch with friends
I am blessed with fabulous friends and family!

And finally...


Family after graduation

Some of the girls from our cohort and our advisor

After 2.5 years my masters is complete. Graduation was on December 14th, (week of Ice Storm 2007 and our displacement with no electricity), my project was finished the week after that, and I still had 10 of my client contact hours to finish. I was off the week of Christmas and my birthday. I finished my last hours the week after Christmas, and then finished all other paperwork and wrapped up the loose ends this past week. WHEW! On Thursday night I had my last supervision in Stillwater, turned in library books, and turned in my keys to the clinic there. As I locked up late Thursday night I had much relief for the ending of late nights and the long commute to Stillwater. At the same time for the last several weeks as things have been coming to a close there has been a hole growing inside of me with the knowledge that I would be leaving a place I have come to love, and people I have closely shared the last few years with. So with mixed feelings I am filled with joy of this accomplishment and some feeling of loss of the things that are changing in my life. Change has always been hard for me- even good changes that I want in my life. I think this is so for me because with change there is loss...sometimes the loss is more painful than at other times, but change always accompanies loss.
I am also reminded of the gifts that can come with change and knowledge that over the next few weeks as I settle in to all of this newness, I have received and experienced a huge gift in the personal growth and friendships I have had over the past years.
So what is next...that seems to be the big question for me these days. Well...I've had several job interviews, and am in the process of applying for licensure (yes that's right, I might have just finished 2.5 years of school, but I have another 2.5 years of working under supervision to be a licensed marriage & family therapist).
Now that I wrapped everything up last week...this is will be my first week with no school or job obligations...for the first time in probably 20 years. So what am I going to do? Enjoy it! :)

Michelle and I at Eskimo Joes


My sister and I
video
Here it is on video...it really happened!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Despite the evidence to the contrary, I am not as awkward as I seem sometimes

So here's a funny story. My boss came in my office today to talk to me about something that I'm working on for him. I asked him to come around behind my desk to look at what I was doing on my computer screen. He comes around behind the desk, sees my RSS reader on the right hand side of my screen, and asks, "Is that a job?"

"Uh…."

Awkward silence.

"Yeah"

A little background… about a month ago I found this really cool website www.indeed.com. It's a job search site that I found while helping Annaleise look for LMFT jobs. It's a site that allows you to search for jobs by checking all the major job posting sites in one search. It even lets you create your own customized RSS feed of what you were searching for so you don't have to keep coming back to the site.

Well… out of curiosity and to test it out, I also decided to create a little job search RSS feed of my own and add it to my desktop RSS reader. What can I say? I'm a sucker for cool new internety type things.

The funny thing is, I really enjoy the job I have, I really believe in the organization I work for, and I'm really not looking to leave. Having said that, I wonder what my boss thought today when he saw a new RSS story pop into my reader titled: "EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF ADVANCEMENT - Southeastern Oklahoma State University" as he was standing behind my desk looking at my computer screen.

"Is that a job?"

And all I could say was, "Uh… yeah." I could have made some joke about how they were trying to hire me but that I told them that I was thought I was way too over qualified and that I would just wait until they had an opening at the presidential level. I could have said, "Yeah, but they can't afford me." I could have told him the previous story. I could have given him any number of funny or true explanations. I'm usually pretty good at thinking on my feet like that.

But what did I say to the boss who has been very good to me and made significant investments in me and my development throughout my time working for him?

"Uh… yeah."

Real nice MM, real nice.

I wonder how likely he will be to go to bat for me and invest in my development in the future now? Only time will tell.

In the mean time, if you're looking for a job, you should check out www.indeed.com. It's fantastic… just watch out who comes behind your desk at work if you create a job search and create an RSS feed for it.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Holiday Meals

Caution... this post is a rant.

This post has been brewing since Thanksgiving and now that the holidays have passed, I feel like I'm distanced enough from the source of my frustration to write about it.

First of, let me preface this by saying that I'm really glad that AM and I get to see so many different members of our family during the holiday season. It's really a blessing that we get to spend so much time with so many different people that we care about. Having said, I feel the need to complain a little bit about the structure of these holiday gatherings.

I don't know what holidays are like in other families, but in the families that I'm a part of they usually involve a meal. You might think my complaint has to do with the type of food that we eat, but it's not. The food is usually AMAZING. My mom, dad, and mother-in-law in particular possess exceptional cheffing skills. Sometimes we have traditional turkey or ham, sometimes we have an ethnic themed meal or a cajun shrimp and crab boil, sometimes we have breakfast, sometimes, it's lunch, and sometimes it's dinner. As a matter of fact, some of my favorite foods are served around the holiday table at family gatherings with one of our families.

My gripe has nothing to do with what we eat. It has nothing to do with how we eat, who we eat with, or where we eat it. No, my problem is WHEN we eat.

For some reason at some point in the history of holiday get togethers, the powers that be (i.e. the holiday event planners) in my family decided that 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. would be the magical eating times for lunch and dinner.

Are we getting together for a holiday lunch? OK... see you at 2. This year the Christmas meal is dinner? OK... see at 3

Any other time of the year, most people would laugh at the idea of eating lunch at 2 p.m. or dinner at 3, but not during the holidays. During the holidays, rational eating times are thrown out and it's like all of the sudden any hour between noon and 4 is fair game for lunch. Who in their right minds waits until 2 in the afternoon to eat lunch? That's a sure fire recipe for low blood sugar, irritability, and family bickering. Oh... and if they say we're going to eat at 2, what that really means is 3. While I'm on the number 3, I'd be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to complain about the 3 p.m. dinners. I know people who live in assisted living centers and go to bed at 7 p.m. that eat later than 3. If we eat dinner at 3 (which really means we'll eat at 4) that means we'll probably fininsh eating by about 4:45. This doesn't sound too bad until you realize that you've got (bare minimum) another 6 (probably closer to 7 or 8) hours of awake time to get through with no more meals.

This wouldn't really be such a problem if there weren't multiple holiday gatherings to go to during the day. The problem happens when we've got a 2 o'clock lunch to go to followed by a 3 or 4 o'clock dinner to go to. Who wants to eat a big holiday lunch, choke down some dessert, get in their car, drive 25 minutes, and have to fill their plate all over again for dinner at another relative's house less than hour later?

Even if we didn't have to go to multiple people's houses in one day, these silly eating times would still present us with the dilemma of when to eat our other meals. If lunch is at 2, what time should we eat breakfast? Eat too early and you'll be starving by the time you get to eat lunch and you'll probably over eat. Eat too late to try to compensate for the later lunch start time and you won't be hungry when the time finally comes to eat lunch. If we're eating dinner at 3, the problem is multiplied by complicating when to consume both breakfast and lunch.

Is my family the only family that struggles with this strange, irrational holiday meal time confusion or is this the norm in all families? In 2008 and in the years to come, it is my hope and my wish that meals at family get togethers will happen at reasonable times. Not wanting to trust anything to chance, I propose the following standard holiday meal schedule:
  • Breakfasts should be scheduled between 7 and (at the very latest) 10 a.m.
  • Lunches should be scheduled between 11 a.m. and (at the very latest) 1 p.m.
  • Dinners should be scheduled between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.
I think what I have proposed here is both simple and fair and we would all do well to incorporate this standard meal schedule into our holiday traditions.

If you take issue with having such a strict and rigid standard meal schedule for holiday meal times, please at least humor me by considering the following examples of standardization that have made all of our lives easier:
  • What would our lives be like without the universal serial bus computing standard commonly known as USB?
  • What would putting gas in our cars be like without standardized gas tank openings and gasoline pump nozzle sizes?
  • Imagine how confusing life would be if light switches weren't standardized? What would your life be like if you flipped the switch up and the lights went out? Scary, isn't it?
  • Still not convinced that we need standards like I have proposed? Try living a day without the standard commonly referred to by those in the science community as gravity. Thank you very much Isaac Newton.
Are you planning a family gathering in the coming days or weeks? Use my standard meal schedule and your event is guaranteed to be a smash hit with all who are blessed enough to attend your gathering and benefit from your great planning, foresight, and attention to detail.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

MM's Goals for 2008

I have several things I want to accomplish in 2008, but I don't want to jinx any of them by calling them resolutions. I don't resolve to do any of them, but in an ideal 2008, I would accomplish most of the things on the list that follows.

1. I've never run in a road race before and in 2008, I'd like to run a 10k (possibly the Red Bud Classic). I've already started training this past week and I'm almost complete with week one of four of this running plan to get me to where I can comfortably run 2 miles. Once I'm able to run 2 miles comfortably, I will use that distance as a base to start from toward my goal of a 6.2 mile road race. I've decided that this whole running thing, though challenging, is more mental than physical.

2. Now that AM has finished grad school and will be working full time, I would like to make 2008 the year that we reduce our student loan debt by 50%.

3. I would like to use my mind, my time, and my dime to make a positive impact on an organization that is making a positive impact on society or in the lives of others.

4. I would like to better organize my private world and be more deliberate about my relationship with God.

5. I would like to permanently evict Scrat from our attic. Scrat is the squirrel (at least we think he's a squirrel) that has been living in our attic since we moved into our home almost two years ago. The problem with having a squirrel in your attic is not so much the damage that it does, although I hear that they can do A LOT of damage. The problem with having a squirrel in your attic is that squirrels like to run around, scratch things, and play a lot which (believe it or not) is pretty noisy. Add that to the fact that Scrat's favorite play area is the attic space above our bedroom and that he is no respecter of our sleeping schedules and you have a sure fire recipe for moments of insanity. I've lost count of the number of times I've stood up in bed at 5 or 6 in the morning to bang on the wall and ceiling above our bed in hopes that my banging would scare Scrat away. Most times, the initial scare of the loud pounding causes a momentary lapse in Scrat's activities; however, it usually only takes a few minutes for him to start feeling safe again and resume his playful activities. Luckily I've found a company that for a mere $200, will rid your attic of squirrels and other critters, discover and eliminate their point of entry into your attic, and seal the deal with a money-back guarantee if the problem returns. Their secret weapon? Digger the Critter Dog who valiantly seeks out hidden critter hiding spots in even the most expansive of attics. Scrat beware... your days are numbered.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!


The picture above was taken just before midnight last night, and yes, that is sparkling white grape juice in our glasses. AM likes it and she asked me to post it so here you go.

We don't really have new year's resolutions for 2008, but we do have some things we want to accomplish this coming year that we will share in a later post.

Until that time, happy new year from our family to yours!