Friday, June 26, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson

I don't know where blogging will be 20 years from now, but I like to think that somehow, this electronic record of my life and thoughts will still be accessible. When I go back and read this in the next generation, I thought it would be worth mentioning something of one of the greatest pop icons of all time on the day following his unexpected passing. His death is a shock and a loss. I'm grateful for his music that lives on and plan to listen to his music all day for the remainder of the week. I appreciate Michael's music mostly for the dancibility of it which is a true measure of rock for me. You can't listen to it without grooving which is another thing the man could do was dance. He was responsible for the best music video ever made - Thriller. He also had a few songs that really meant something. One of the most moving songs ever written was "the Man in the Mirror." I watched his performance yesterday of the song live at the Grammy's from 1988 on YouTube yesterday. It's like he gave birth to the song on stage. It was that organic and that awe inspiring. Leaves you feeling both spent and reborn. Thank you Michael for sharing your talent. My life is better for it. Our world is better for it. Rest in Peace.

Paige, this picture is for you.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Things to get your mind off how hungry you are

So Don and I both had really long and busy work days. It's 9:30 and we're just now starting the BBQ to cook some steaks and corn on the cob. Really looking forward to the finished product! Very hungry! So in order to pass the time while the coals heat up and the food grills, we decided to do a co-blog. On the spur of the moment I'll be giving an impromptu interview to Don with questions even I don't know the answers to.

1. Of all the customer's you've helped so far at your new VW job, who did you find the most interesting?

Don: "It's kind of a tie between three of them. One couple was looking for a used car and she happened to be deaf. And recently had a surgery and now is starting to hear. And so filtering the world's noise is very difficult. And she hear things that we normally tune out. #2 was a young duo, our age, who are in the polic academy and when I asked what did they do for a living they said "We're actually not supposed to tell you, but since we're buying a car we have to say something, so we are training to be police officers." And then the third was today where a couple was going to buy a minivan and hopefully tomorrow they will. Two years ago they were in an airplain crash and she has permanantly damage and is in a wheelchair but he is walking."

2. If you had the opportunity to reenact any on stage play you have ever been in, which one would it be?

Probably Barry in "The Murder Room." It was the biggest part I've ever had. There was a character in a play that I did a scene of for a class that I would like to play the full play as this character and that would be Dracula. However, I think I'm still a little young.

3. What do you think is the perfect age for you to be at to play Dracula?

I think I need probably another, well, I'd say age 40.

4. If Bruce Campbell was coming to our house for dinner, what would you cook for him?

I'd probably cook him what we're having tonight (New York Steaks and spice rubbed Corn on the cob) or a Tri Tip.

5. If you had the luxury of being 18 and starting college over again, what would you study/major in?

Probably business marketing and business management. I really think that it doesn't matter what you study in undergrad. A business major has got about as successful career as a religion major and classics major. We're all doing pretty well.

6. List 5 of your favorite movies.

Boondock Saints, The Crow, hmmm, what are my favorite movies? I don't know I'm having a hard time of that one. I'll tell you what constitutes a favorite move for me is high rewatch value. A movie that I can watch over and over again. Those are the ones that usually make my list. Also, from Russia With Love I guess.

7. Your Mini gets set on fire and you have to get a new car. What do you get?

I custom order a Golf TDI.

8. What customizations?

I'd have to know what comes standard and I don't know that yet. But Blue Tooth, Nav, upgraded stereo, maybe Ipod Adapter, upgraded wheels, and maybe a custom color, I don't know it would be yet but I'm impartial to a lot of the blues I see.

9. What if money were no object at all, then what car would you get?

Probably a custom Mini. Probably a Clubman just so that I could have a little bit of utility. Or, I would buy a classic Mini Cooper and have your Dad go nuts with it.

10. What are some of your favorite memories of Cordy as a puppy?

Her snuggling up to the wall heater, right after she was fixed. That's about my only memory of her as a puppy. Oh, I know what my favorite memory of Cordy was as a puppy. The hand game. I miss the hand game. It's a little bit like the claw from Liar Liar only it's your whole hand and you just play like your hand is a little doggy mouth and you play wrestle.

11. How about Seumas?

I knid of like that one when we first visited him at the breeders and he was climbing all over me. That one where he just kind of is looking up at me and I'm looking down at him. I think we've got a picture somewher.

12. What do you miss most about the Weddington House we lived in?

Space and privacy. An actual spare bedroom, not just an office. The gaming room. I can answer the opposite of that question too. I don't miss the windows.

13. You have a $5000 budget and 4 weeks to travel (you don't have to spend it all if you don't want to). Where do you go?

Are you going with me? (Me: Yes, but you don't have to include me in your budget if you don't want to). I'd kind of like to spend several weeks back in Scotland during the warmer months. I don't know that we could do it on a $5,000 budget. It would be kind of fun to go backpacking and just travel by trains and busses, camping, and hostels.

14. Is our dinner ready?

I think so.

Just Another California Morning

I wake up once again to the sound of Diogee barking in the back yard. He's a cute little min pin, a great friend of Cordy and Seumas, but if our neighbor Steve leaves him alone in the backyard at 6 am one more time to bark, I'm gonna kick that dog to the curb. But in truth, he's just barking over the sound of my alarm clock anyway so out of bed I crawl. I let Cordy and Seumas out and stroll out into the backyard. It's 6:30 a.m. and already the sun is bright and warming the earth, a pleasant 65 degrees or so. The cool cement feels good on my bare feet. I give all three dogs a scratch while they tumble and play fight with each other with their frisky morning greetings. After a little picking up around the yard and house and a quick water conserving shower, I fix myself up a quick cup of Americano from Don's delicious coffee press and sit down at the kitchen table with the laptop. I start to go over some work that I brought home with me which I never got to over the weekend. As I'm breaking down the file and as the caffeine seeps into my blood stream my brain starts to wake up and begins chewing over the numbers and figures hungry for a challenge. Lots of questions with this file that don't add up. I continue breaking down the financials, making note of the inconsistencies. I'll have to get a second opinion from one of the veterans at work to see if I'm missing something or if the people that filled out this application are full of doo-honkey. As it nears 8:00 a.m., I face the fact that I must finish getting ready for work. If only I could stay here in my PJ's all day sipping coffee and listening to jazz and work from my kitchen table. It would be so much more productive. Don mentions it is his goal in life to come up with a business plan where we could both work from home. He has no idea what that would be yet. I mention we will need a bigger house. I finish getting dressed and drying my hair. No makeup today, just comfort and practicality. The drive to work is especially pleasant this morning. Having left the house about ten minutes earlier than normal traffic is a breeze, especially considering that it's late June now and there's no more school traffic either. It takes me only 18 minutes to get to work instead of my normal 25. Along the way, I have a moment where I realize that I'm singing rather boisterously to the radio and tapping my thumb to the music on the steering wheel. Ahhhh, so this is what it feels like to have coffee before I leave the house! Normally I don't have my coffee until I get to work. I drive with the windows cracked welcoming the fresh morning air. I have a few extra minutes so as I near work I pull into the grocery store to pick up a few things for work: some more coffee creamer, a bag of pita chips and hummus, and a couple of yogurt cups. As I'm putting my recent purchases away in the kitchen at work, I pop a few slices of turkey bacon in the toaster oven and refill my coffee cup. Definitely not as good as the Americano I had from home but with enough creamer it will do. The awesomeness of the toasted turkey bacon makes up for the unremarkableness of the coffee.

Don recently posted on Facebook that mornings do not agree with him. This morning at least, we agree, the morning and I. In fact, it's the day and evening that promise to be far more pretentious with it's growing demands and interruptions. This morning, it's just me, my coffee, and the work I have in front of me, and maybe a quick splurge for some self-indulging blogging.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


The Lakers just won a champoinship. And I cheered for them. I guess I am becoming a Californian.

The Wife of a Car Salesman

It's Sunday morning, 10:00 a.m. I've just finished a nice homemade cappuccino and now I'm sitting at the computer catching up on everyone's blogs and feeling a bit inspired by all of the insightful things my friends have to say. So maybe it's time to catch up a bit on my blog too. Since I'm not so good at the phone calls, if I don't write often enough, our family wouldn't know if we were dead or alive.

First of all, I'm so proud of Don and his new job at Volkeswagon. Last month was frustrating for sure and he definitely struggled in the beginning with whether or not it was the right decision to take this job. And too be frank, I did too. It was a long commute, long hours, a declining industry. We had our hopes set so high on the Mini Dealership. When that didn't come through, it wasn't so much that Volkeswagon was a close second, but more like the only offer on the table at the time.

So I held my breath and played the supportive wife roll , whatever you decide I'm behind you, while Don waded his way through a frustrating first few weeks of incompetent IT department taking forever to get his computer hooked up and figuring out the strange and bizzare workings of the car business. It's different than he's used to, the biggest factor being that he doesn't close his own sales, his manager does, and therefore he doesn't set his own margins, nor does he even know what they are. He may have flubbed up an opportunity or two in the beginning, and his first sale that he closed was an all day process, but his managers of course love him and kept pleading to just give them 90 days to see what the car business can do for him. Apparently it takes about that long to really develop your contact base and have consistent leads to turn over.

Well, Don seems to be on a much quicker path than 90 days. He's been able to take his professional skills and process and combine them with this crazy industry and already with less than 6 weeks under his belt is coming in 2nd in sales this month. And this couldn't be more exciting for me. I find myself really getting into his job actually. A born athlete like myself, it has been a long time since I've followed anything which resembles keeping score and my competitive nature is really coming out. I told him the other day that I don't even care how much money he makes anymore, I just wanted him to win! Haha. But it is interesting, and I always look forward to hearing about his day, what kind of customers he had, how the test drive went, what kind of car they were into and why. We are riding the tide a bit and the days when people don't buy are monotonous and frustrating but when he does make the sale it's excitement and celebration time.

I'm not surprised in the least that he is doing so well so quickly. He is a professional in a very bizarre industry. He's honest, listens to his customers, cares about their concerns, gets excited with them, and willing to take extra steps that will lead to greater satisfaction overall. One of the sales he closed last week the customer told him that he had already been into the dealership several times and met with several other people. If anyone else had helped him, he probably still would have walked away from the deal but he wanted to buy from Don because he was the only one that he felt he actually connected with and made the sales process a positive experience. Yeah babe!

But yes, there are downsides. Loooooonnnnngggg hours. And there's no such thing as a day off. You're on the customer's schedule not your own so if they want to come in on your day off, what are you gonna do? Give the sale to someone else? Maybe after we have made our first Mil. ;) So no doubt that sucks but we are making the most of it. I've adjusted my sleeping schedule a bit to stay up later so we can spend more time together and I've been cooking late night dinners so we can eat together when he gets home around 8:30p.m. For me actually it works out pretty well. I have a solid few hours when I get home from work before I even have to think about cooking. Excellent! So far I have been filling my time with chores, errands, meal planning, blogging, chilling with my sister on Skype, walking the dogs, cleaning, and a little exercise here and there, and wayyyyyyyyyyy too much time on Facebook.

Now that I'm over the initial adjustment of our new lifestyles, and have made some progress on my home organization, the next big goal coming up is a half marathon with my sister-in-law in October. So I'll be starting a running program for that and have a long way to go to get in shape.

My other big goal is to read 25 books in a year, so I just started #1. It's called "The River Wife" by Jonis Agee. Just something I grabbed quickly from browsing the shelves at the library that sounded interesting. It's a mystery of unfolding family secrets that weaves together the lives of two different women from the early 19th and 20th centuries living out their lives on a quaint river settlement married to a couple of French descendents named DuCharme. It's off to a grabbing start with a big number on a disaster that traps Miss Annie alive in her bed during the devastating New Madrid Earthquake, and abandoned by her family who could not free her from the wreckage, begins to die a slow death until a wandering scavenger comes to her rescue several days later. Although his intentions are unclear, her motivations for survival outweigh anything else and her powerful will to live sets the opening tone for the book. If anyone wants to read it with me let me know and so we can start our own online bookclub! Don figured out a way to do multiple webcam streaming yesterday for gaming with folks up in Washington so I'm sure we can use that same network for a book club. Well, I have to say that post has gotten me a little jazzed up about this book, so I think I'm off to do a little reading. Happy Sunday All!