Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Time out

Gotta take a break! Sick kids, concerts, halloween and insanity have me way behind. More SOON!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Five Signs You're Raising Army Brats

1. You call them to attention and they move to attention.

2. They not only can define PLF (I am not sure what exactly it is but I think it is Parachute Landing Formation - landing from a jump with knees and ankles together and soft to cushion your landing), they do them. Often. From Everything.

3. You get them to leave Grandma's house with hand and arm signals for "Rally" and "Move"

4. They have zero interest in GI Joes because they live with one.

5. Conversations like this:
Senator and Khan run up stairs

Khan: "Where's daddy? I'm hungry!"
Me: "He'll be home in a minute, sweetie, and then we can have dinner."
Senator: "Oh, he must be the late man today."
Khan: "Late man? Oh! Papa's the late man today!"

Sound of Senator and Khan running back downstairs

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What if we throw a party and no one comes?

Sarge and I plan on renewing our wedding vows this year. It's important to me because, well, the first thirteen years had their ups and downs (mostly downs on some fronts and mostly ups on others) and we're still together. I think that's cool. Isn't it cool? Okay, maybe it's not cool.

Regardless, since cool isn't my specialty, renewing our marriage vows means a lot to me and, because it's not a "milestone" year - the 5th, 10th, 15th, etc.- it feels right to do it now. Think if it as a way of saying every year is worth celebrating. After Kuwait, after the PCS move from hell and in the middle of the puddle of poop the rest of our life is seems like the right time to remind ourselves that what really matters is us. The constant in the past decade and a half is that we have one another and the knowledge of that seems to help us get through everything (even if it is eventually).

The other reason is that, while not a "bible-thumper" per se, I feel like it is important to bring our faith into our marriage. Partly, it feels right for us to receive the sacrament of marriage because I feel very blessed to have the husband I do and the children that we share (I am blocking out the time when I was ready to kill them). And partly to cement the fact that we are married. Yes, it's a political statement somewhat. I don't feel that government needs to define marriage between a man and a woman. My religion did that for me. I don't care if "Jake" and "Josh" want to live together and share benefits. Go for it. Participate in a cermony officiated by a government official or person authorized by the government to make it official and have fun. If your church extends you the sacrament of marriage - so be it. So I'm feeling that it is time for Sarge and I to be "married".

But here's the real problem: When we got married the first time - almost no one came. Thirteen years later it still hurts. Is it okay to not invite people because we know they won't come and it will just piss me off when that happens? You know, not invite them because they won't come anyway? If that is the case, how do we know who to share our day with? How can we convince them it'll be special?

Oh and uh... how do we have a party with no money?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Two-Fer!

But it's been a really long time since I posted a Blogthing so here you go:

You Are A Poplar Tree

People tend to look up to you, and it's a bit lonely at the top.

Inside, you are not always self confident, but you show great courage.

Mature and organized, you are reliable in any situation.

You tend to have an artistic or philosophical outlook on life.

You are very choosy in love and take partnership seriously.

I need it like a hole in my head!

But I've started another blog. I know right? I've got a couple or three already but my hope is for each of them to be different and maybe you don't want to read about the fact that I'm a headcase or about my slowly dying hopes to build an independent travel promotion business but you might enjoy reading about my new objective for 2008. After nine or ten years as a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do, I have decided that maybe a black belt isn't beyond my reach after all. To keep you updated on that goal (if you care)and to keep myself motivated, I'm blogging the trip. Check it out here.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Seven in '07 Update

1. Lose 70 lbs: Well, if losing the same 20 twice counts I'm halfway there! No. This was not a good year for the old diet, that's for sure. I am making a solemn vow today to begin again and hopefully drop 30 by the end of the year.
2. Run a 5K: Not yet, but I do still have time, don't I?
3. Find a Job with a future: Ah what a quandary! I have a job and I like it a lot, but I will always be dependent on the budget and the dreaded SEIs (Student Evaluation of Instruction) to keep it. I need a PhD to have a future in my job and I've already got too damn much student loan debt for my salary. An MBA in Western Wisconsin is worth less than $40K a year. It makes me want to throw up. Money's not everything, but everything costs money, you know?
4. Build a Nest Egg: Uhm... No. Not even close.
5. Develop Some Willpower and break some bad habits: Some, but alas! Not all.
6. Stop Being My Own Worst Enemy: Well, for the time being my worst enemy is the real estate market.
7. Take Hubby on a Vacation: This isn't going to happen. We've not had two days alone since he got back from Kuwait and we're not likely to anytime soon. We'd hoped to go to a friend's wedding in Jamaica next summer, but if our financial situation doesn't improve that won't happen. Neither will another adoption and that is beyond depressing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Finally some hope for America!

Need a laugh today? I did and I sure got it here. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Site Redesign

Don't be confused. I've re-worked and would love your feedback. Of course, consulting requests and referrals are welcome too!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday Link Love

Are you a foodie like me? Do you just need some new ideas in the kitchen? Visit They're loaded with them.

Speaking of eating... Going out? Want to make sure you can get a table? Check out This site lets you make reservations online for restaurants in many major cities across the USA. I will definitely use this when I travel because, well, I live in Tomah and Culvers doesn't require reservations. Yes, dear readers, my options are limited.

I also found another great time waster site. You know, like MySpace or Facebook, but this one is a little more grown up. There are articles and all kinds of other things in addition to profiles and blogs for the reading. But you, people, need to keep reading this blog in addition to checking out

Friday, October 12, 2007


I don't know about all (7) of you, but my house is always a disaster and it makes me crazy! My professional background includes training in LEAN. I love LEAN. LEAN is so common sense and wonderful that everyone should do it.

In my personal life, however, I can't seem to get it done. Clutter surrounds me. I can never find anything and it feels like I'm always either picking up after someone or , yes, even after myself. I can't seem to get, much less keep, a grip on the chaos.

Anyone have any ideas? Maybe I'll find a lovely prize for the winner!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's Wednesday...

and I owe you a blog post. I don't know what to write about. I'm discombobulated. I can't even explain why. Obviously, I've got a lot on my plate: a job that, I've been assured, will be "new" for at least the rest of this year; all those pesky kids, the hubby and, shall we not forget the $200K monkey on our back in West Michigan. I guess "overwhelmed" would not be too strong of a word, you know? It seems like it never ends and will never get better. I'm not depressed or anything - not even taking my happy pills believe it or not. I'm...resigned.

And then, I get pictures. JP sends me a picture of a little boy who will hopefully be her son next year. I'm thrilled for her. Her e-mail guides me to a website with lots and lots of descriptions of kids that need families. That always haunts me. Then, these two descriptions:

75004: This is Nargiza and she is from Kyrgyzstan. I am attaching the picture we have of her as well as her medical information. We have had two families (that recently traveled to adopt other children) write up a description of her to help her get placed. Here they are:
Family A said: "Nargiza was a little spitfire, absolutely full of life & she could get really wound up! I don't know how she is mentally, but that little one is very affectionate and loving. She wanted to play with all of us, and simply adored bubbles. She sat down and looked at the picture book I brought for anara the first day and loved it. She did walk oddly (like she'd been riding on a horse or maybe she's just very bowlegged...), and seemed to have a curve in her back/shoulder area when I placed my hand on her."
Family B said: "She's a handful!!!!! Anyone who has spent more than 30 seconds in Beck's house will know who Nargiza is... the staff tends to be reprimanding her frequently. The kid is absolutely over-flowing with life! She's extremely inquisitive about everything and never misses a chance to be picked up by any and all visitors. In fact, she was the first kid in my arms on my first visit. There is definitely something going on with her, physically. Her hips seemed to be spread in such a way that her legs are even with her shoulders, meaning her legs seem to be spread apart, so she kinda walks like John Wayne. Hilary (Family A) said she felt some sort of mass on her back."

75005: This is Indira and she is also from Kyrgyzstan. I am attaching the picture we have of her as well as her medical information. We have had two families (that recently traveled to adopt other children) write up a description of her to help her get placed. Here they are:
Family A said: "Indira seemed like there could be something not quite right...her head seemed a little on the large side. I would not say that she is seriously retarded. I'm not a doctor and I don't know what to look for specifically. She joined in with the other kids when there was a new activity like the bubbles, chips, or balloons. She was more quiet and reserved but very sweet."
Family B said: "Indira tends to be more quiet, self-sufficient. She enjoyed the bubbles. Because of her quiet (but I wouldn't call her timid at all) nature I didn't get to interact with her as much."

And these two pictures:

And Indira:

Do they touch my heart because they're adorable or just because they're kids who need a family? Little Nargiza sounds like a female version of the Khan!

So here I sit. Broke and getting more broke and I feel called to adopt these kids. Why? To keep up with the P's? (I've got six - her three are beat 2 to 1, so that's not it!). What the hell is it? How the hell are we ever going to be able to afford this? How do I get my mind off it?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A day late and a few thousand dollars short...

Sorry for slacking yesterday. I'm preoccupied. My beloved JP has corrupted me again. That's all I'm saying. It is 100% JP's fault. She knows what she's done and she's not ashamed. I'll leave it at that.

Friday, October 5, 2007

And the winner is...

JP of course. She has seen her hubby and I "discuss" the merits (or lack thereof) of NASCAR vs. my beloved NHRA. Number 4 is the fib. NASCAR sucks.

#3: I have a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do and once took second in a sparring tournament. I'd have taken first, too, if they'd allowed contact to the head. I gave up almost as many points as I scored because my opponents kept dropping their hands so I hit/ kicked them in the head. It's just what I do.

#2: Yes, I am one of those people. My favorite shows are Good Eats, The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. I DVR them all. Oh how I love my DVR.

#1. Ian, you made my day when you said that was "badass". I'm not really a badass (am I JP?), but I call myself a Lean Thinker. Being a Lean Thinker means that I have no tolerance for waste - particularly wastes of time and money. I also understand that if you want your process to be Lean, you have to standardize it. Sometimes, it gets me in trouble. Sometimes that bothers me. Most of the time, however, it does not.

I first got in trouble at the Sunday School teachers' meeting because I had asked the person (who coincidentally HAD the information) for my curriculum materials instead of the Sunday School Superintendent (Shoot me! I didn't know she was in charge since I'd never talked to her before the teachers' meeting). I teach the high school class. I like it and I think that some members of our church (not all, evidently ;) ) were happy to see me back because no one else had volunteered for that class. It doesn't bother me. I'd rather deal with the high school class than a preschool class any day.

I raised the super's ire further when I talked about what I had planned for my class. The three curriculum books I was given to choose from (Volumes 1, 2, and 3 of the same series) are written at about a sixth grade level. I know, from my previous year teaching this class, that the high schoolers hate them. They're boring. I said so. I've put together a plan to do a series of short programs rather than one year-long curriculum. We're starting with a book that I think is quite good. It's called "The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus". It's short, easy to read and tells a compelling story. And, when you've spent two weeks playing X-box because you've got nothing to teach from, you grab what you find on the shelf. Yes, believe it or not, there's a Bible Game for X-box. It's awesome - if you're teaching a High School Sunday School class and need to fill the time up. This was the point at which I was told I didn't need to come any more because I'm not teaching the same thing that the other classes are teaching. ~Shrug~ I'm a rebel.

I'm pretty sure that by the end of the meeting the Sunday School Superintendent was 100% sure she didn't want me back. Because after that, a couple of aspects of my personality came into play. First, the aforementioned lean thinker. I hate indecision. "We want people to do this on these days, except for this one of these days when we want them to do this." Well, the activity they want to do on "all" non-communion Sundays is valuable and enriching for the kids. They'll like it. The adults will like it. It's value-added. The other activity is frivolous and people won't remember which non-communion Sunday is which activity if they try to add it in. So, I said so. I did preface it like this: "Forgive me, but my background is in Lean. Lean is about standardization. If you want people to "always" go [here for this activity] then you always need to do that on non-communion Sundays. I'm not saying that the other activity has no value, but it might be better after Sunday School on that fourth Sunday rather than before." When the question arose about what to do when there's a fifth Sunday in a month, I suggested having the other activity there. Ooohh baby, did I get some decidedly Un-Christian looks.

Then my hackles were raised when the attendees of the meeting started bad-mouthing parents of teenagers who don't force their children to attend Sunday School after they are confirmed. Well, kids, I am one of those parents. I didn't make them go because the class was boring. Here comes Lisa the Marketeer again. "You know, as a parent, you have to choose your battles and parents tend to focus on those they can win. If our class is boring, kids aren't going to want to go and it is not worth expending the energy to force them. What we need to focus on is creating a value equation for our high school students and offering them something that they will want to participate in."

~Sigh~ It was a long night.

I don't want to sound like a bible thumper here, because I'm really not. I believe in a higher power and I have felt that power work in my life. Because I was raised in the Christian (Lutheran) faith, the concept of Jesus Christ as my savior works for me. I try to live my belief that you need to treat people the way you want to be treated and respect the differences between people that make us all unique! Do I think the Lutheran Faith is the best? No. It's just best for me. Whatever works for you, works for you and that is awesome. I also believe that I'm not going to hell just because I choose to buy groceries rather than give 10% of my gross to my church and I do not necessarily believe you should cut down trees to build bigger churches when you can just as easily worship at the tree. Being the Sunday School Superintendent is not a position of power, but rather one of facilitation. Not a "you need to run things through me" but rather a "How can I help you?" position. Is this wrong? Someone needs to tell me if it is because I really don't think so.

Happy Friday. Sorry for the Jesus-rant.

Peace and Blessings,


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thursday: Three Truths and a Lie

Which is the fib?

1. I attended a Sunday School Teacher's meeting last week and was told I didn't need to come back.
2. 90% of the Television I watch is on either Comedy Central or Food Network
3. I have won awards for my ability to beat some ass.
4. I love NASCAR

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

5 Things Meme

Five Things I Love Right Now:
1. My hubby
2. My children (despite the fact I'm not entirely sure I want to be reinstated as the mom)
3. Hot tea. It's wonderful on cold nights and I'm learning the varieties!
4. My job.
5. Snuggle bugs (especially the four and ten year old variety, but the 43 year old ain't bad either *wink*.

Five Things I Hate Right Now:
1. My hair. I wish it were magically long, not grey and beautiful ;)
2. My checkbook balance
3. My house in Michigan
4. The town I live it. Sucks is so inadequate to describe it.
5. My house

Five Places I Wish I Could Be Right Now:
1. Ulan Ude
2. A warm sunny beach
3. Getting a massage
4. Italy
5. Napping

Five Things I Wish I Could Do:
1. Sing
2. Speak a second language fluently
3. Play the guitar
4. Play piano
5. Adopt daughters RIGHT NOW!

Five Famous People I'd Like to Meet:
1. Jon Stewart
2. Stephen Colbert
3. Colin Powell
4. The Dalai Lama
5. John Force

Now its your turn. (and Tal, this means you. You now have something to blog about ;)

Monday, October 1, 2007

New Leaves

Just a quickie this morning, loyal readers. I'm turning over a new leaf this month. In preparation for NaBloPoMo next month, I'm going to try and update this blog at least three times a week - hopefully Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I'm also working on making time to exercise and managing my time better. I think that will help me put things in a lot more positive light than they've been lately. I know they've not been very positive. In fact, I'm pretty sure I still have a couple of rants up my sleeve, but I'll put them off for a day or two at least.

Meanwhile, thanks for reading and make today a GREAT day!