Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Dog's Life

Those of you with jobs outside of the home...have you ever wondered what your dog does all day? I used to wonder. Now that I'm at home, I have been privy to the Secret Life of the American Dog.

He starts his day taking advantage of still-warm bedding, belonging to a child who should have made her bed, but did not.

After the sun moves from the child's bedroom window, he wanders downstairs to take advantage of the warmth coming in the living room window. You'd think it was cold here, and he needed to warm himself in the sun. Except this is Phoenix, and it is so NOT cold in here.

To break up the day a bit, the dog can pretend to be a cat and lie across the top of the couch, making sure to stay in the sunlight.

In the afternoon, he switches to the loveseat, trying to get that last little bit of sun. Whew...what a day. He's exhausted.

In my next life, I want to be a dog.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


You all know my job, the one from which I am being laid off?


A few weeks ago, The Company sent out a letter to all its employees and clients. This letter very carefully explained the reorganizing of The Company, and the sudden international boom they've experienced. Therefore, it was necessary to open an international solutions center in India. That's where my job is going.

After this letter came out, apparently some employees of the company started bandying about the word "outsourcing." As in, "I can't believe they're outsourcing some jobs to India. I wonder how long before my job is outsourced to India?"

In response to this, an email was distributed amongst managers, I think, to get employees to stop using the word "outsourcing." Why? Because The Company is not outsourcing jobs to India.

Let me explain. You see, if some company, such as JP Morgan Chase, or Citibank, or whomever, hires a company in India like "Callcenters R Us" to take their customer calls, that is outsourcing. Get it? Hiring a second company in India that is in no way related to your company to take your calls? Outsourcing.

However, The Company opened two (maybe three) offices in India. So what we have, is The Company office in Buttfuck, India. So when they move my job there, it's not outsourcing because those people already work for The Company.

In fact, in case you were wondering, the correct term for this procedure is "offshoring." Not "outsourcing." Do you understand that distinction? Good.

Either way, I'm still "unemployed."

But I'm really glad they cleared that up for me. I feel so much better now.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oh. My. God.

Have you ever felt a city vibrate? Phoenix, Arizona is vibrating right now, and in the best possible way.

You'll have to forgive us if we relish this for a little while. Brag, no...but just sit back in wonder and amazement.

You see, our football team, the Arizona Cardinals is going to the Superbowl.

Now right there? Those are words that I thought I, or no one else for that matter, would ever utter.

The Cardinals have a long and sordid history of sucking. Back in 1947, they won their lone NFL championship, about 20 years before the Superbowl even existed. In 1947, they were the Chicago Cardinals.

In 1960, they moved to Missouri and became the St. Louis Cardinals, where they proceeded to suck for the next 27 years.

In 1987, after St. Louis was sick of them, they moved to Arizona and became the Phoenix Cardinals. Then they sucked for 6 more years, and decided to change the name of the team to the Arizona Cardinals, to see if that would help.

It didn't.

They went to the playoffs once in Arizona, in the 1998 season. They beat Dallas in the wildcard game. And then got pummeled by Vikings in their second-ever playoff game.

Basically, they've sucked in Arizona for 20 years.

No one expected this in 2009. They somehow eeked out a 9-7 recorded (while losing their last 3 regular season games) to win the NFC West. Of course, the Pop Warner team I cheered for in 4th grade (yes I did, shut up) could have won the NFC West.

Then something kind of amazing happened. The Cards hosted the wildcard game, and everyone picked the Atlanta Falcons to win. For one reason or another, the Cardinals decided to look like a real, big-boy football team, and they played. And they won.

Well, that was our miracle. The next game would be away, at the Carolina Panthers. It was supposed to rain. I thought that would be the end of it, because as the Cardinals have clearly shown this season, if they have to play in weather that's less than 70 degrees and sunny, they're screwed. (See 47-7 loss to Patriots in the snow).

So they traveled to North Carolina. And my brother, who lives there, got to go to the game. That bastard. All the talking heads picked the Panthers to win. And the Cardinals won again. They actually won pretty convincingly. And there was much rejoicing, especially when the Eagles beat the N.Y. Giants, and we realized that the NFC Championship game would be in Phoenix.

Which brings us to today, where the Cardinals, through the grace of God and Larry Fitzgerald, have beaten the Philadelphia Eagles, won the NFC Championship and are going to the Superbowl. The Cardinals are going to the Superbowl. No matter how many times I type that, it just doesn't compute. Our perennial, lovable losers are the NFC champs.

Now there's just one thing left to decide: Where the party is going to be. The phone calls and texts are already flying fast and furious. The next two weeks are going to be fun in Phoenix...if you're a football fan.


Oh, and Troy Aikman? You can SUCK IT. If you're going to work for the network, you might try being a little more objective. Just saying.

Friday, January 16, 2009

This is Kindergarten Homework?

It's been a long time since I had a kid in kindergarten, so maybe I'm just out of the loop. But I don't remember my older two kids having homework. I think they had a reading bag that they brought home with a little reader in it, and they were supposed to read or be read to for at least 15 minutes a night.

I'm wondering if things have changed, or if it's just Kylie's particular teacher. Kylie gets a homework packet sent home on Fridays, and it's due the following Friday. The teacher splits the work up by days, for example, on Monday night, do this...on Tuesday night, do get the idea. So here's her homework from last week:

Monday - Practice writing your upper and lower case O's. Draw five things that begin with a short "o" sound (octopus) and five things that begin with a long "o" sound (ocean).

Tuesday - Think of five words that have the /op/ ending. (hop, pop) Write a sentence using each of the five words.

Wednesday - Write a story about your favorite insect.

Thursday - Make a list of insects that crawl and a list of insects that fly. Draw and label each insect.

There are blank pieces of paper in the packet to do that work. In addition to that, there were also two counting worksheets to complete. And at the back of the packet, there is a reading log. So not only do you do all that work, but you're supposed to fill out the reading log each night, with the name of the book you read, the author, and any "interesting" words that you found.

Now is it just me, or does this seem like a lot? This is kindergarten. Kylie has an early September birthday, so she's one of the oldest kids (or maybe the oldest) in her class. And she complains about having to do all that. Maybe it's just me, but I think that's too much work for kindergarten. It was kind of a novelty for her at first, but now it's just a pain.

Her "story" about her insect was this: "I cot (caught) a ladybug. I put it in my bug cashr (catcher). Then I let it go."

Ok, three sentences is not a lot, but this is kindergarten, for crisssakes.

So, any of you out there that have kids this age, tell this a lot of work, or is this just the way things are now? I seriously have no idea. It seems excessive to me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


It doesn't seem like a year ago that I wrote this post about Shannon turning 13. But it was, a whole year ago today.

As I was reading over that post, I was thinking about how much things have changed in the last year. How much she has changed, and how much our lives have changed.

Thirteen is a hard year, y'all. I don't think there are any easy years with teenagers, but 13 is hard. I looked at the picture in that post from last year. It was taken the day before her birthday, and she was asleep...making her look a couple years younger than she actually was.

This picture was taken about a week ago. She and two of her friends (Shannon in the Belle-inspired mustard yellow) were dressed up to go to a friend's bar mitzvah. She has developed some (ok, a few) curves in the past year. Her face has become more angular and she dyed her hair black. She wears a lot of eyeliner, and she's grown about 4 inches. And for all that tough facade...she loves Hello Kitty. She got a Hello Kitty little plastic tiara to wear to school today. Because she's silly like that.

Am I the only one who gets sad on my kids' birthdays? I always feel sad, because every birthday is one year closer to them leaving me.

I started to write a whole section here on adolescence, the struggle to become an adult, etc. Then I erased it. I'll write that another time.

Today is Shannon's 14th birthday. And there are times when I think I see a small light at the end of this hormonal tunnel. I hope it's not a train.

Happy birthday, Baby. I love you.

Monday, January 12, 2009

And You're Surprised By This?

I just saw this on the front page of Yahoo!. A story in the New York Post about how shocked a dad of a 13 year-old girl was when he got his cell phone bill with 440 pages of the 14, 528 text messages his daughter sent in one month.

Really? Is this still news to anyone with a teenager? Why, it was way back in October of 2007 when I wrote this post about getting my cell phone bill in a box and not in an envelope. It was after that month that I opted out of the paper bills. And signed up for unlimted text messaging.

By the way, Dad...those are both incoming and outgoing messages on your bill, so she's probably only sending about half of them. At some point, if you can't pry that phone out of her hand, you may have to have the phone surgically removed from her fingers.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Some Fiesta Bowl Flag-Wavin'

Note: All pictures from this post provided by Danni's camera. Except the one of the flag.

Yesterday all this band madness culminated in a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. The band was part of the big crew of people that unfurled a field-sized American flag during the pre-game show. The kids are all under it, and they jump up and down under there to make it look like the flag is waving. It looks like this:

But before that could happen, they had to go out to a community college yesterday and practice flag-holding, with all the other people that were under there as well. There are about 150 kids in our band, and I think holding that flag up takes way more people than that.

So even though the game wasn't until 6pm, she had to be at school at 9am in the morning. Which I thought was kind of silly, but whatever. They like to take these things and make them into all day events.

Before Danni left yesterday morning, I said to her,

"Hey, if you're anywhere near the Texas sideline, you should look around, you know who might be there?"


"Matthew McConaughey."

"No way!"

"No seriously...he's a Texas graduate, and he loves Texas football, and a lot of times he's on the sidelines with the team. They let him down there because he's a big shot movie star and all. Plus, I'm sure he gives them a lot of money."

So, she left. And they went and had their practice, with a good bit of goofing around. Here's how you "practice" holding up a flag.

Here's Danni with her BFF, H. They are so cute. I may be biased.

At some point during the day, Danni decided to try on a band uniform. I'm not sure why. They must have still been at the school at this point, because I know the band didn't wear their uniforms to go hold up the flag.

Danni and H. again, with some other girl that I do not know.

This is Danni and H. underneath the flag at the game, before one of the security people yelled at them to stop taking pictures under there.

Here's a picture of a bunch of Texas fans in the stands, and their sideline. Wait, who is that in the orange leather coat?

Is that...could it be?

Oh. My. God. Oh yeah, you know who that is.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

I Think I'm LOSING My Mind

Dear Interwebz,

I know it's January, and many of you are going to start weight-loss blogs. That's great. I applaud you for your efforts. But will you do me a favor? When you start this new blog, or tell everyone about your progress on your old blog, will you please say that you want to LOSE weight, and not LOOSE it? I think this is one of the most misused words on the ol' information superhighway, and it drives me nuts. Your clothing may become LOOSE if you LOSE some weight, but you cannot LOOSE weight, you are not LOOSING weight, and you make me want to hit you over your fat head with a dictionary every time you say you need to LOOSE weight. Stop it, already.

Grammatically yours,

Friday, January 2, 2009

Resolutions and My Poor, Tired Girl

No, I didn't make any...I'm not crazy. I don't like setting myself up for failure, so I long ago resolved not to make any more dumb resolutions. Yet, on the TV right now, Jillian Barbarie is telling me that she lost 41 lbs with Nutri-System. Well, Kirstie Alley lost 75 lbs on Jenny Craig, and look at her now.

I read somewhere that trying to fight against your body's own natural inclination to be whatever size it's going to be is kind of ... pointless. Yet, we all keep trying. I've often wondered what life would be like if I didn't feel guilty about every bite of food I put in my mouth, unless it's a piece of broccoli.

In order to test this theory, I started my morning with three slices of last night's pizza. And I don't feel guilty. You know why? Because Oprah's Best Life shows don't start until Monday. And everyone knows that the new year doesn't really start until the Monday after January 1st.

Speaking of the new year, my oldest girl has been in a week of band hell. Her first week of Christmas vacation was actually a vacation. She did pick up a couple of extra shifts at work because she actually had the time, but it was mostly vacation.

This week though, the band has been practicing for their appearance at the Fiesta Bowl National Band Championship. When you click that link, there is no picture for Chandler band. I think this is the picture that's supposed to be there. I know it's too small to see any faces, but in the very bottom row where the guard girls are in their blue warm ups, Danni is second from the right. I think.

They were the honorary band selected to participate from AZ this year. The host band, if you will. The rest of the bands were from other states, and for the most part they were state champions. In other words, they were really good.

The band has been working towards this competition all year. Starting on Monday through Wednesday, they had 12-hour practices. Yes, 12-hour practices. Well, I think they let them take breaks for lunch and dinner. But she came home exhausted. Then yesterday was the actual competition out at Cardinal's stadium. The tickets were $26 each, but I'm so glad I went. Because those kids gave the performance of the year. Of their lives. They were absolutely fantastic. And they missed making the finals by 0.11 of a point.

As I said, most of the other bands there were state champions. Our band wasn't really expected to make the finals. But that they came that close just amazes me. I ordered a DVD of the whole preliminary round. It was kind of expensive, because "Mr. Video" likes to fleece you that way. But I didn't care. That was honestly the best show I've ever seen them do.

There was an article in the paper today about it here: "Chandler High Band Vies At National Championship". There's a little video with that story, and you can see Danni briefly at the 50 second mark, for just a moment, at the left side of the video. The actual DVD is supposed to come in the mail in about 4 weeks. I can't wait. My friend Kati went to the competition with me, and since has an awesome camera, she took a lot of pictures which I will hopefully have sometime in the next few days.

If that wasn't enough, their Fiesta Bowl week isn't over yet. This afternoon they will have a short practice, and tomorrow they will march in the Fiesta Bowl parade. If you happen to get the Fiesta Bowl parade on TV in your area, look for the Chandler high marching band. That would be them. I know it's on at 11am here. Then tomorrow night, they will attend an event that is being held for all the participating bands, which is a dinner...or more like a steak-fry...out at Rawhide. You know, if you travel to Arizona for a band competition, from say Illinois or New Hampshire, they have to do something to give you the impression that you're in a wild west, cowboy town. Even though Phoenix is the 5th largest metro area in the U.S., I think most of the country is under the impression that we ride around on horses, everyone is packing a sidearm, and tumbleweeds are blowing down the road. So they'll take them to a dinner out at Rawhide, where all that is true.

Then, on Monday, they will attend the Fiesta Bowl game between Ohio State and Texas. They will be there to help unfurl the huge field-sized flag in the pre-game show. This will also be an all-day event, as they will get to stay for the game. Then she will come home Monday night, stumble up the stairs and collapse into her bed. So she can get up and go back to school on Tuesday morning. I'm telling you, there's no rest for the wicked. Wait...if that were true, the above would all be Shannon's life.