Sunday, December 27, 2009

Japan People

The Christmas season brought me a bar of dark chocolate that was perfectly awful. Bitter is not a strong enough word for the awfulness that clung to my taste buds. After gasping and gulping water, I told the Dear Hubs that he too should share in the experience. He took the tiniest bite which was immediately followed by a look of horror and a quick grab for the Crystal Light.

Our son, Mitchell, declared that he loved all chocolate and asked for a bite. I warned him of the impending gag and then offered him a teeny piece. He put the piece on his tongue and in mere seconds was rubbing that same tongue with a paper towel.

"Mommy!" he declared. "That tastes like soil! Who would even eat that? Who would eat that on purpose?"

"I don't know." I answered honestly. "I am sure there are people that think that tastes really good."

"Oh yuck! Maybe like people that live in Africa or something."

"Mitchell! Why would you assume that people in Africa would like that?"

"I don't know. I mean there are giraffes there and they eat just anything. And, lions. Lions eat whatever too."

I looked at him. I was confused.

Sensing my confusion, he proceeded.

"Our maybe like Japan people. Maybe that might like it."

"You know kiddo, you are Japanese."

Mitchell looked at me completely shocked and said, "What?"

"You. You are Japanese."

Mitchell looked from me to his dad and back again. He giggled and said, "I am a Japan people?"

I so wish that more people could view the world with his innocent eyes. I wish more people would look beyond their prejudices and see people from the inside out. I was stunned by the simpleness of Mitchell's discovery and how it completely baffled him. He sees people as people and does not classify them into descriptive categories. To him, we are Mom and Dad. We are not Caucasian and Japanese. I love that! What a place this world would be if we had more mutts and less labels.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reflecting Back on 2009

Reflecting back on 2009, I see that the year started with all the promise of the fattest pig at a county fair. After all, the house was still standing and the tribe was in reasonably good health. In truth, when compared to 2008, the year ahead looked mighty fine indeed.

But, like that pig at the fair, the blue ribbon is all well and good but in the end, you find yourself in a skillet (I really do see a vegetarian diet in my future)!

In my work, I had a fresh slate to work with. After dismal sales in 2008, I was off to a fresh start. I worked diligently to bring my numbers up and succeeded (though my end-of-year numbers are a bit sketchy!). I spent a lot of hours working and a lot of time away from my family. That just makes me sad. I know I would make a stunning stay-at-home millionaire if someone would just hand me the check!

The dear hubs also found success at work though it to came at a price. His price tag? Dealing with an absolute psycho. What should have been an open and shut home sale turned into a fiasco with a listing agent who I truly think had a mental disorder. I inspected my hubs when he got home at the end of each day to make sure his hide was still intact. The deal finally closed escrow and we finally got paid but it took months of agony and headaches to get it done.

In March, I competed in my first duathlon and had my first mammogram. The duathlon was called the "Spring Fling" and it took place on the most miserable day of the year. Rain poured out of the sky. The 400 entrants had dwindled to less than 100. I admit...I made the choice to compete. And, I didn't come in dead last...that honor went to the poor girl who got a flat tire on her bike and had trouble fixing it. I learned that there is a HUGE difference between a road bike and a mountain bike...guess which heavy, metal disaster I was riding. And, I learned that it is very hard to run in the mud...not just because the mud is slippery but because it cakes to your shoes so that you feel like you are running on stilts. I also learned that "playing" in a rainstorm is rewarded with a nasty sinus infection. So nasty it grosses out children.

About the mammogram, I just have to wonder why that upper plate on "The Squisher" is clear plastic? There are few things more horrifying that seeing one's boob completely smashed like roadkill (yep, back to the veggie diet)!

The summer was a nice change of course. We enjoyed a lot of family time and spent a vacation camping at the coast. Our camp was invading nightly by - according to legend - a 65-pound raccoon. I believe that first night we determined that the thing weighed 35 pounds but he has grown considerably as the story has been retold. The first night that bandit absconded with my best Tupperware which was pack full of brownies. The Tupperware was saved but the brownies, though untouched by the raccoon, had lost their appeal. It was our first adventure camping in our four person tent. With two small children we realized a bigger tent must be planned for in the future and that one bag of clothes is not enough for children who seem to have a magnetic pull toward the ocean waves.

In August, Mitchell started Kindergarten. He couldn't be happier to have finally achieved "Big Boy" status. Miss Ellie? Not so much. She was inconsolable. Mitchell had left her behind at preschool and her little heart was crushed. I took her to enjoy a Mommy and Ellie manicure and pedicure but the blues still weighed on her. After many tears and devastating morning drop-offs, Ellie finally accepted that it was what it was and set herself to being a successful preschooler.

We are winding up the year a bit weather-beaten. The kids fell ill with some nasty bugs and I found myself sick with the swine flu (that county pig!). We have struggled this year with finances in a bleak economy. But, have found that time and time again, God has been watching out for us. We settled our backsides into the skillet right before Thanksgiving but received the grace of our health being restored and a little kicker from work to make ends meet. So, we escaped the cooking, just like Wilbur in Charlotte's Web.

I guess that 2009 wasn't all bad. It was, however, challenging. I am not sorry to see it go. I look to 2010 with a hopeful heart and a lot of optimism. When things look bleak my son's words echo in my ears. Once, after falling down, Mitchell sprang to his feet and declared, "That's OK! My spirits are still up!" So, it is with those words I shall look to the New Year. 2009 may have knocked me down (better than knocked me up!) but I look to 2010 with my spirits still up!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Back to the Books

January 1st will mark the beginning of my tenth year in college publishing. That is amazing to me! Prior to this job, the longest I held a single position was three years. Anything longer than that and I would get bored or feel the need to try something new. But, when I entered publishing the challenge became to work through any bouts of boredom and to challenge myself within my current job title. It has worked out well. Ups and downs, good days and bad. Overall, I have to admit that I really like my job even though no one truly understands what it is exactly that I do!

My first job, outside of babysitting, was working as a sales clerk for B. Dalton Books. That is actually where I first met my dear friend Zen over at I stocked books and hauled boxes and suffered daily paper cuts. I ultimately declared that I would never work with books again.

After college, I went to work as a marketing assistant for a manufacturing company. One of my key tasks was to assemble catalogs, package them in boxes, and haul the boxes to the lobby for UPS pick-up. Seriously. I was back in books. I hated having to get dressed in nice work clothes only to sweat and struggle with boxes or worse - schlep through the rain with them.

After a very brief stint in non-profit where I hauled no books I went to work in advertising. In advertising I dealt not with books but with people. Crazy people with money to spend and unfathomable ideas. People that wanted to be treated like celebrities instead of home-builders and gadget makers and fast food assemblers. How I disliked that job! When I found out about the opening in the world of publishing, I went after the job like nothing I had ever done before. I wanted the escape from advertising even if it meant going back to schlepping books.

I, obviously, got the job in publishing and have been hear ever since...back in books! I have a car and a shed full of textbooks covering a world of disciplines. I do find myself hauling books this way and that but the perks of the job far outweigh the perils. And, I figure that hauling books is good exercise...except when it's raining and then it really is just miserable!