I’ve been tagged

So I guess this is a game that bloggers like to play called a “meme.” I have no idea what that means, but I’ve been “tagged” for it (or actually asked to substitute for Mike, who was tagged) so here goes.

10 years ago—Married just over one year; developing training programs for a local convenience store chain; getting lectured by my dad to finish my Master’s degree.

5 years ago—I was chasing around a not quite two year old. Everything else is a blur.

1 year ago—Probably either preparing for or recovering from one of the three hurricanes that came through our area around this time last year.

1 day ago—Tracking down copyright and revision dates for Every. Single. Product. currently sold by my company. I can’t believe no one has ever documented this stuff before. Took Maia to Hip Hop lessons. Went out to dinner at Tijuana Flats (yummy Mexican).

5 Favorite snacks:

1. Smartfood (white cheddar popcorn—yum!)
2. French Fries (preferably from McDonald’s or Wendy’s)
3. Pringles or Ruffles (it’s a tie)
4. Twix or Peanut M&Ms (it’s a tie)
5. Nacho Cheese Doritos

5 Songs I know the words to:

1. Piano Man (Billy Joel)
2. Copacabana (Barry Manilow)
3. I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)
4. Leader of the Band (Dan Fogelberg)
5. The Boxer (Simon & Garfunkel)

What I would do with Five Million Dollars:

1. Share with relatives (mine and hubby’s)
2. Buy a bigger house
3. College fund for the kids
4. Church and charities
5. Invest for early retirement

5 Places I would escape to for awhile:

1. A cruise (going anywhere is fine with me)
2. A cabin in the mountains
3. A condo or house on the beach
4. Any moving vehicle (car, RV, train, etc.) traveling cross-country
5. Anywhere quiet and peaceful

5 Things I would not wear:

1. black nail polish
2. anything that exposes my belly button
3. a nose ring
4. a hat with big pink feathers on top (I really saw this today)
5. blue eyeshadow

5 Favorite T.V. Programs:

1. Lost
2. Good Eats
3. American Idol
4. Amazing Race
5. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

5 Greatest Joys:

1. My wedding
2. The births of my kids
3. Snuggling with my husband
4. Snuggling with my kids
5. Vacation!

5 Favorite Toys:

1. My new laptop
2. My iPod
3. My piano
4. My library card
5. My teddy bear “collection” (it’s just two, but they both have special meaning)

5 People I will Tag to play:

Whew! This took forever—far longer than just writing my own post for today! I’m out on this meme thing in the future unless it’s a really cool one. I’m not forcing this on anyone. If someone reading this wants to be tagged to play, just leave a comment and volunteer yourself. You’re it.

You reap what you sow

As previously mentioned here and here, I’ve had some good fortune over the last few weeks, which gives me much to be thankful for. I can’t help wondering, though, why me? What have I done differently from anyone else to deserve the things that just seem to fall into my lap? Kent says they don’t fall into my lap; I work hard for them. He’s right, of course. I do work hard. It’s not simply good luck. Hence the title of this post. I believe God gave me the resources, tools, and circumstances to make my own luck, but what I do with that is up to me. You get out of life what you put into it. Some of it is hard work, and some of it is attitude.

Still, I feel that God has blessed my little existence, and I don’t really know why. I have a friend who says that “every worldly circumstance has a spiritual meaning.” I believe he’s right, but how do you figure out what that meaning is?

Good Eats

So I’m not a foodie, or a cook (my poor family!), but one of my favorite shows is Good Eats on the Food Network. This is not one of Noah’s favorite shows, because every time we turn it on, he petulantly proclaims “No Good Eats!” as he furrows his brow with a little pout. I think this is because it doesn’t star Elmo, Barney, or The Wiggles. Anyway, I just found out yesterday that host Alton Brown goes to my sister’s church. How cool is that?

My other favorite show is Lost. Season 2 premieres September 21, in case you were wondering.

I wonder what good eats Alton could whip up for the poor folks stranded on that island on Lost?

I am SO busted…Not!

I like to think I was a pretty good kid in high school. I was quiet and mostly kept to myself; didn’t get into too much trouble. My youngest sister tells me it’s the job of the oldest to “break in” the parents, but that I was MARY POPPINS and did nothing to help her cause. Oh, cry me a river!

Except there was that one time I successfully snuck out of the house. I almost got away with it. Actually, I did get away with it for oh, 17 years, give or take.

I almost got caught at the time. I had popped a screen out of the window and forgot to put it back. My dad found it and blamed my younger sister (not the one who calls me Mary Poppins). Hey, it’s not my fault she did the kind of stuff that would make the parents suspicious of her, not me. I didn’t let her take the heat, though (I’m nice that way—Mary Poppins, you know). I confessed at the time that it was I who had removed the screen. I just failed to mention the rest of the story. I saw no point in incriminating myself any more than I needed to. Being a generally good kid and all, my parents bought my version of events and never, as far as I know, suspected that I had really snuck out that night.

Strangely enough, this story came up several months ago at a family funeral, of all places. I don’t remember how it came up and I’m not sure why I decided the time was right to confess the real details, but as it was being discussed, I found myself butting in with a “Well, actually….” I proceeded to admit that I had, in fact, left the premises of my home after curfew that night in the company of friends.

My dad’s response? Without missing a beat, he said, “You’re grounded!”

What a comedian. Surely there is a statute of limitations on these things?

My 30s

A coworker of mine turned 30 not so long ago. It was a remarkably uneventful milestone given his attitude three years earlier. At the time, he was quite morose about turning 27 because it was close to 30, which was old. I, being 31 myself then, wasn’t so sympathetic. I jokingly asked him to remind me when the big 3-0 approached, so I could take the day off to avoid his depression.

Well, that birthday came and went for him without incident or fanfare, but it reminded me of the advice I gave him three years ago. I guess it wasn’t advice so much as my own perspective on turning 30. You see, my 20s were great for me. I accomplished a lot and had much to be proud of and thankful for. During my 20s I finished college, found a wonderful man, bought a home, started a family, and was gainfully employed in a job I loved. I didn’t look at my 20s as being over. Instead, I looked forward to my 30s as being even better. Maybe I’m too young to be musing about growing old, but I saw my 30s, and still do, as an opportunity to build on what I had already done. (Plus, it’s a lot easier to establish a professional reputation when you aren’t still wet behind the ears.) Why dwell on what is behind you, especially at such a young age, when there is still so much to look forward to? Naturally milestone birthdays are a time of self-reflection, but why worry about what you can’t change? Namely, the passage of time. Change what you have the power to control and accept the rest. I know that’s easier said than done, but I’d rather make the most of my life instead of solemnly marking the fact that it marches on.

I hope I still hold this opinion down the road, but don’t hold me to it. I reserve the right to change my mind. I am a female, after all. Talk to me again when I turn 40, or 50, or 75, or 102, and we’ll see if this outlook of mine still holds water. For now, I’m still just a young whippersnapper.

I had planned to post on an entirely different subject today, but that one will have to wait until tomorrow because right now I want to blog about my really good, most excellent day.

It started out great when I got on the scale this morning and realized I’m only 5 pounds from my New Year’s weight loss goal. I actually wore my skinny jeans last weekend for the first time in longer than I want to say. Victory is within reach!

Then Mike wrote about me in his blog and sent his readers here to visit me. I’m honored that anyone would think what I write is interesting enough not only to keep coming back, but to send others here as well!

As if it were possible, my day got even better after I arrived at work. I was offered a promotion! I knew off the record that it was coming, but I didn’t know exactly when. Today it is official. Yes, this blogger is now in charge of all research and development at my company.

In even more good news, I’ve just returned from the guidance office at my daughter’s school, signing paperwork to have her screened for gifted. Her teacher from last year was so convinced that Maia belongs in gifted, she recommended we have her privately screened if for some reason she doesn’t make it through the school’s testing. I’m proud to have spawned such a smarty-pants offspring!

And the day is only half over. All this is enough to give one a big head or something. There is another post in me somewhere musing on why I’ve been blessed with such good fortune lately. I do know from whence my good fortune comes, but I need to collect my thoughts so I can write something readable on the subject. That may take a few days.

My new toy

It’s true, I’m secretly a technology geek at heart. I must have all the latest gadgets, and drool over the ones I can’t afford. My latest and greatest acquisition is a laptop computer complete with wireless network, as previously threatened. It even has that long-desired DVD burner so I can make DVDs from our digital video (assuming I could ever find the time for such a task). Hooray for me! Oh wait, I’m the poor sap who has to pay for it. Well, that’s okay. Give me more gadgets that are supposed to make my life easier but take up ever-increasing amounts of my time, I always say.

Next up on my wish list? A cell phone that syncs with Microsoft Outlook so I can shed the PDA. That one will have to wait, though, since I’ve way exceeded the non-existent technology budget for this year. In the meantime, a girl can dream, can’t she?

This is a little story I like to tell whenever the subject of procrastination comes up, which it did today at work.

At the company I used to work for, we had a 401(k) plan with a five-year vesting schedule that was all or nothing. My money was always mine, but if I left before I had put in my five years, I was not entitled to my employer’s contributions. Or so they said. When I moved on after just three years, I assumed I had given up the rights to their part of the money.

Soon after leaving, my dad began a constant campaign of nagging me to roll over my own portion of the funds into an IRA, rather than letting my former employer continue to control it. I, like the dutiful daughter I am, paid absolutely no heed to the lectures. I agreed with him wholeheartedly and then went about my merry way. This went on for a full two years at least, until I finally decided (being a considerate daughter and all) to put my dad out of his lecturing misery. So I consulted our family’s financial advisor to begin the process of setting up a rollover IRA. I soon discovered that not too long prior, my former company had been sold and the old 401(k) accounts were being managed by some new outfit or another that specializes in such things. Apparently during that accounting transfer, they wrote off the unvested employer contributions that were still sitting in old accounts and the money was suddenly mine again.

In this instance, procrastination paid off, literally, to the tune of a couple of G’s. Our retirement nest egg is just the teensiest bit fluffier as a result. Who says it doesn’t pay to procrastinate?

I’ve had to temporarily suspend my reads in progress in favor of writing since I only have so many hours in the day, which means no new book reviews for a while (but stay tuned, my review of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell will appear in a blog near you as soon as I can make time to finish reading it). In the meantime, then, I present this list of a few of my favorite books. I can’t help it, I simply must write about reading periodically. Clearly, I’m a fan of classic children’s literature since there are so many on my list.

Children’s literature (roughly in the order I first read them):

Fiction:

Classics:

Nonfiction:

This is harder than I thought. There are so many books I have loved. I almost feel guilty singling out favorites because I know there are many I am missing. This list is in no way exhaustive. These are just a few of the ones I would read over and over (and have, in some cases) for their entertainment or educational value.

My pet peeves (or not)

I was going to write a post about the things people do that really get on my nerves, but I’ve deleted it because as I started writing, I realized I can be guilty of doing them too. Isn’t that the way it always is? We recognize faults in others long before we think to turn the microscope inward and see the same in ourselves. So much for getting on my high horse and ranting. At least I’ve spared myself the embarrassment of being called on it by those of you who know me. Tomorrow I’m going back to thinking nice thoughts. So ends the would-be tirade.

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