August 30, 2007

I Think They're Finished

The house painters that is. They still have to come pick up ladders and other equipment. The lights have been put back up, the gutter downspout is in place... if there is more, I don't know what it might be.

The entire job consisted of painting the house and trim, staining the ceilings of the porches and the floors of the porches, oh and let's not forget the deck... the evil deck that was the cause of much money flowing out of our bank account and directly to the carpenters (not that they didn't deserve it, they did a fabulous job! but really we weren't quite expecting such a expenditure)

Today was finishing day. Therefore, by the end of the day today, I was "painted in" except for one single door on the far side of the house. Tonight is also trash night... which meant, I had to drag the trash and the newspapers out the far door, trek all the way around the house, put them in their proper cans and drag them down to the street. I would have left this for beloved husband, but he's been out of town all week and will be arriving home around midnight... kinda late for taking out trash, especially when you've been on planes all day.

As long as none of the doors stick when I try to open them tomorrow, all will be good. With the added bonus of not having workmen roaming around all day. Let's hope it's not necessary to do this again for several years!

Happily, the hands and wrists are better today, but still tired. I'm just glad the aching is gone.

Posted by: Teresa in Life Stuff at 12:22 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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August 29, 2007

The Art of Public Speaking

Okay so I was going to get off the computer, but isn't that always when you find the best stuff to post? Of course it is! And being me, I can't let it sit until tomorrow even though it won't make any difference at all - I am compelled to do it now.

Everyone has read about or seen the video of the Miss Teen South Carolina making a total botch of answering a question during a beauty pageant. If you've missed all the fun, the vid is here, I'm not going to bother posting it.

AWTM has yet a new video of this young woman making an appearance on the Today show. Head on over and read the post and the subsequent comments. The thoughts range from her being ummm... quite lacking in the little gray cells all the way over to... she's okay she was just nervous.

I fall in the middle, let me tell you why.

First off, it's very easy to make a complete and total botch of something when speaking publicly. In today's world, it's even worse than in the past because someone is always standing around with a camera then putting it on You Tube. To condemn her as an idiot for a poor answer in one single instance in a high pressure situation is pretty extreme. I know I've said some really dumb things in my life that I would never want to be used in judging my alleged ability to think!

That being said, it looked to me as if she was completely unprepared for the question section of the pageant. I mean completely - as if she had never practiced at all! I find that to be amazing. Everyone who has watched one of these shows knows that there will be questions. I wasn't sure how much was nerves during the pageant itself, but I could tell when she talked to the Today show hosts, she has very very little in the way of public speaking background. As public speaking will be the primary duty should she win the pageant, the lack of attention to this portion of the program astounds me even more. It's not like it was a secret or anything.

I was a member of Toastmasters for several years back in the Chicago area. (my father was a member many years ago that's how I knew about them). I went through the entry level CTM (Competent Toast Master) program (10 speeches each with a different focus) and it taught me a great deal.

Off the cuff speaking was practiced at every meeting. We had 2 different formats. First was a 30 second "go round" a subject was chosen and everyone at the meeting had to stand and give a 30 second blurb on what they knew or thought of the subject. The whole idea was to be concise and stay as close to 30 seconds as possible while still presenting a point.

The second type of practice was limited to 4 people per meeting chosen at random. The questions were also chosen at random. You had to speak at least 1 minute 30 seconds, but not go over 2 minutes. (we had a timer's box and a stopwatch just for this- with lights showing green, yellow (over 1.30) and red (stop now). Listening to people answer was nearly as informative as answering yourself. But it was also excellent practice for thinking outside the box and coming up with outrageous stuff, not to mention marshaling your thoughts to present a cohesive answer that could be understood. There was voting for best answer too.

The biggest thing the experience taught me is that - it's darned near impossible to just walk up and "give an answer". No matter how easy it looks, it's a skill that must be practiced, just like these girls practice putting on makeup! Doing it right does not simply "happen". To believe it will, is to put yourself into the hot seat where this young woman has found herself, much to her chagrin.

I'm sure, from the answers she gave during the Today show segment, she had been quickly practicing, and maybe even had a bit of rehearsal along with knowing the questions ahead of time. It was a very sympathetic interview. But even with all of that, she was strung so tightly it looked like she would shatter if anyone touched her.

I feel badly for her because she shouldn't be so derided for one silly answer. I want to shake her for being so cavalier in her approach to this portion of the contest. However, it can be used as a lesson on how NOT to approach an opportunity to speak. Yes, there are ways to practice this skill so you don't end up on You Tube being derided.

As for me, I haven't practiced in quite a while, I certainly wouldn't want to get up and speak like that without having... oh maybe a year or so to get back up to speed. Yeah, a year might do it - or maybe not.

Posted by: Teresa in Current Affairs at 09:10 AM | Comments (12) | Add Comment
Post contains 855 words, total size 5 kb.

It's in the Hands

On Monday I way overstressed my wrists and hands at my Pilates class. I don't usually do things like that as I'm very good about stopping when something hurts. (yes, call me Wimpy and feed me hamburgers...) So, when I dropped off the exercise I figured I had stopped quickly enough... apparently not. At least, I'm sure I would've been good if I didn't also type like a maniac for hours a day.

I've been using Arniflora gel (an anti-inflammatory that doesn't reek to high heaven) which helps quite a bit, but they still hurt. That means I'm going to step away from the computer (well, except for work stuff - for the rest of the day and tonight) If I don't, I find myself going around leaving comments like mad - answering emails with my own long winded emails and basically aggravating things.


In the meantime... remember this story from a couple weeks ago? Today Slashdot has this story which made me laugh.

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 07:03 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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August 28, 2007

And I Only Had Two!

If you haven't seen or heard about this yet, here's an ebay listing done by a mom with 6 kids who is selling Pokemon cards. (the auction is over so you can't bid). The description will have you laughing hysterically... especially if you have kids.


Yes, she has a blog she only recently started... BECAUSE I SAID SO. Read it and laugh. She's an incredible woman - I would not be able to ride herd on that many kids (even if they were mine!) and keep my sense of humor. I bow to her - she is a saint.

Hat Tip to my friend Charity for the link.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 01:43 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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August 27, 2007

The Teen Years Angst

I was over at Contagion's place, reading about that time all parents dread... leaving the teen at home alone. Anyone who has gone through the teen years will be willing to tell you that this is the worst time for any parent.

Oh young parents think they must take lots of time with babies and toddlers, and that's a wonderful thing... but the real test, the one that will scare you spitless, is leaving a teen at home alone for any length of time. No matter how responsible, you just "know" they're gonna get into trouble.

I was lucky enough (well maybe not according to my kids, but according to my peace of mind) to be able to work out of my house by the time darling daughter was finishing high school and young son was just starting. It's just no fun when your parents are always hanging around... but there I was, the obstacle to unfettered joy by the young 'uns.

Periodically things would happen, reinforcing my belief that me being home was a good idea for the most part. But into everyone's life comes that inevitable moment when you must leave them alone... if you want to know what happened next - it's below the fold. more...

Posted by: Teresa in Ummmmm at 06:57 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 1136 words, total size 6 kb.

August 26, 2007

Just Out of Curiosity

Dear Local Target Store,

Why would you stack dozens of plastic storage boxes and not one single lid that matches them? You are in the business of selling these items, am I not correct? There are multiple signs imploring me ever so earnestly "Don't Forget the Lid!". Yet, not a single lid of the type required for the boxes I wished to purchase, were to be found anywhere in a two aisle vicinity.

Yes, I could have hiked from the very back of the store to the very front, seeking an "Associate". However, as it was a Sunday and the entire large scale adult population of the city along with its large scale children running in all directions, appeared to be needing last minute school supplies, I decided to give it a miss. Playing dodge 'em with these people to arrive at the aisle with the boxes was bad enough, realizing I would have to run the gauntlet for the return trip while carrying large plastic boxes was nearly enough to make me think twice... however, I could not face making that trip at least 2 more times plus waiting in line for customer service.

There is also the little detail of explaining my plight, walking back to the area, and waiting for whatever length of time is necessary (upward of 30 minutes I would say) for said "Associate" to go on the great lid hunt, with the very likely result that none would be found.

Sadly, I do not have so much excess time on my hands, that I can take a gamble whenever I need a product your store is supposed to stock, on the off chance you might actually have it on the shelves. Therefore, I shall be moving on to other stores for my future shopping expeditions. Tootles.

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 06:15 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 306 words, total size 2 kb.

August 25, 2007

One Closet - Half Done

I finally got myself moving. I'm cleaning the closet in the guest room, which is the first step toward rearranging and refurnishing the entire room. (basically new bed, dresser, and TV stand) Can't do anything until 2 different closets are cleaned out.

First is the closet in the room itself... what a mess. I ended up schlepping extras into that closet when we moved in. After all, no one is really using that room, so the closet is a great place to get boxes out of the way. But over the past couple of years, my husband and son (when he's home on leave) have dug into the boxes looking for things, strewing contents on the floor, mainly wires for various electronics, which then had other stuff thrown on top of it... and before you can say - pick it up! A complete mess is born.

Some boxes have been returned to the closet as they were. They contain young son's things from his old room. One day, when he gets back to the states, he can decide what to do with them. In the meantime - they are fine as they are. Other boxes were unpacked. I need to find some plastic containers to hold the extra stuff. I'll do that tomorrow. In the meantime, I still have to go through the clothes up on the bed and figure out what to save, what to trash, and what to donate.

I just needed a break because closet cleaning makes my eyes cross. Closets are like the TARDIS in Dr. Who... I know it must be a dimensional thing or there would be no way so much stuff would fit.

Next comes the closet in my office. One of the file cabinets will move upstairs to the newly cleaned out closet and the two book cases in the guest room will be carried down here for me to put in this closet. It will be fabulous to have all those extra shelves. And (according to my measurements, they will fit beautifully! Then I'll be able to walk into this closet too! Not to mention I'll feel so much better to have all of this done.

I guess it's time to go finish everything except the items that need extra storage boxes. I'm nearly there! If I stop now, it will be weeks before I get back to it, that wouldn't be good.

Posted by: Teresa in Life Stuff at 11:42 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 407 words, total size 2 kb.

Time to Laugh

If you watch any college football - Gigi has the most hilarious post. It might be an oldie, but I hadn't seen it before. Ummm... go 'bama. Hehehehehe...

Now I'm off to the dentist yet again. You may remember a few weeks ago I was having nearly continuous bracket trouble. Well, things were going pretty well after the last visit and I thought I would make it for the entire month (next appointment was mid-September)... silly me, what was I thinking! Yesterday afternoon, the back bracket holding the rubber band, broke yet again. Luckily it turns out to have been pretty good timing as the dentist could fit me in today to fix it so I don't lose too much on the tooth moving back to where it was.

This is driving me straight up the wall though. I just want the damn tooth moved and get this over with. Oh well, I guess I'll eventually get there. But, at this rate, it might take longer to get this one tooth moved than it took to move all the rest of them...

That would be why Gigi's post was just the thing to read this morning.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 05:15 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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August 23, 2007

Glasses... Or Not

After all this airline stuff along with some of my usual problems with my contact lenses, I have been seriously considering investing in glasses rather than continuing to wear contact lenses. (I have bifocal contacts... but when it comes to fine print - forget it. this is most annoying at restaurants and when I'm perusing labels)

As it stands I'm at the top limit of the bifocalness that can be provided by contact lenses. Of course when I take my lenses out, I can read everything just fine. I guess this is good, but it puts me in a bit of a bind.

Before I get to that, I should also state that I MUST wear sunglasses outside. Ever since I got contact lenses, I simply can not deal with bright light easily. Even on overcast days I wear sunglasses - it has to be very heavy cloud cover before I take them off while driving because my eyes will start to water. (most annoying) Thus I would need one set of glasses that are sunglasses.

So now we get to the bifocal part. Yes, when my contacts are out - I can easily read - although I end up holding the text fairly close because I'm nearsighted. This means I can't decide if I should get bifocals on the glasses or not. Will I be able to see things like the speedometer while driving with regular glasses? How irritating will it be to take glasses off and put them on again to read stuff?

With my computer screen, I can read it very easily with my contacts in, but when I wear my old glasses which are simply my backups and no bifocals, I have to take the glasses off and sit up close to see things.

Glasses would make travel MUCH easier because I wouldn't have to schlep around lense solution and saline (no I am not able to wear mine 24/7 it bothers my eyes too much). But, it's easier not to have glasses on my face.

And so I ponder... what to do... what to do.

Posted by: Teresa in Ummmmm at 03:19 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 353 words, total size 2 kb.

The Passport

Back near the beginning of June I sent in my passport renewal. I received my new passport today. So now I can travel...

Let me rephrase that - I suppose if I ever go anywhere, I'll have it. So far the "going somewhere" thing hasn't really ever happened. The occasional trip to the midwest and Tennessee last year the trips out here just before moving. That's about the extent of my wild and crazy jet setting life.

Will a passport change that? Well, as I had an active passport for 10 years and never used it, I have a feeling I know what the answer to that question might be.

Oh well.

Posted by: Teresa in Travel at 01:07 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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