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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Joyeux Noel a Tous!!

And just like that our Savior's birth is upon us! 

David and I (and Kevin! Whoo-hoo!) are catching a red-eye to the east coast for a whirl-wind week of eating, present-opening, catching-up and baby-holding. (so many babies this year! 4! And a half!)

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Nobody here but us slackers...

...pulling an all-nighter to catch up on work.

It's so much easier staying productive all night long when you have a few people around to keep you company.  Especially people who procrastinate as much as you do, and also have general stuff to finish.

You know what also keeps one productive, past the midnight hours?

A yummy post-Thanksgiving turkey, or two, baking in the oven.  When you get invited to a fancy Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant, you can rejoice because there is no clean-up, but then the harsh reality begins to creep in as the mashed potatoes and rum-drenched eggnog wears off: there's absolutely NO leftovers.  None.  However, thanks to the kind, fiscally-minded folk in my life, this travesty was rectified with two Black Friday-special turkeys.  (.50 cents a pound for fresh turkeys the day after Thanksgiving.  Crazy.)

First David wanted a picture with the Midnight Turkey:




Then Kevin wanted a picture with the Midnight Turkey:



Then they wanted a picture together with their newly-renamed Commitment Turkey:

(aw. brothers gotta hug.)

Then they wanted a picture of me with the Midnight Commitment Turkey, but I wasn't into it:

(dejected about turkeys.)

(accccck take the picture already!)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Stack of Shame


Well, there it is.  I am currently languishing through all of those books. (plus, one or two others technically, but I started those so long ago I would have to restart them as I forget how they start.)

They are all fast reads.  They are all rather interesting.  So...why have I been schlepping various combinations of these books around for months, nay, some nearly a year....?  Meh.  We may never know.  Some people are plough through one book at a time people, others are not.

All that aside, I am hoping to shame myself into finishing all of these soon, by posting a picture here.  (I am very determined to finish that one at the top of the heap and am telling myself very sternly that I must do so by the end of this YEAR.)


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My life in Corporate Coffee

The other day, I was waiting for my beverage at a, uh, certain, well-known coffee chain (I may or may not be employed by them as well...'cause you know, health insurance, etc.) and I got a laugh when my cup arrived...

name fuzzed out to sort-of protect my anonymity


I ::snicker:: didn't realize I made that ::snickersnicker:: kind of impression on the baristas.



(don't worry, they're not terrible people; B is the abbreviation for the fancy, possibly-made-up name for half and half.)

Friday, September 13, 2013

photodump!

Time for some summer photos everybody!

D's math friend got married!!  And we got dressed up and danced, and I nodded and tried to follow along with the conversation...


Ushers, friends, weirdly excited about purple argyle...


Math buds!


We decided to celebrate July 4th with a hike and over night camping trip up to Greyrock.  (Why catch just one fireworks display when you can see them all...?)



Almost there!




















Greyrock


American sublime...ish...
















Then, we drove 17-ish hours to Lake Tahoe for a long weekend and to attend another wedding...

So much Wyoming!










Lake Tahoe at sunrise


Cold!





Ready for a beach wedding
Aaaannnnnd, many more photos to come....


Friday, June 21, 2013

Airport Apocalypse

A few weeks ago, my younger brother and I were chatting in the car after he had picked me up from Philly International airport; I had just flown in from Denver.  He mentioned that some friends of his had heard that there were these slightly terrifying, apocalypse-themed  murals on some of the walls of DIA.  Skeptical of this, I told him that all the times I had flown into and out of DIA, I had only ever noticed the trippy, new-agey sayings engraved and printed on the walls in English and Spanish, but no bizarro wall decorations featuring the four horsemen or similar.

I guess I just wasn't looking hard enough.

Bleary-eyed and exhausted after a long day of travel, stumbling toward baggage claim at around midnight, I recalled what my brother had said and was just telling my husband to keep a look-out for any paintings that would have given, say, John on Patmos the warm and fuzzies, when we passed this:

So, your basic apocalypse: flames, weeping and gnashing of teeth, sad turtle caught in a fishing net, extinct puffin and quetzal in glass cases...

This is a close-up in case you didn't see the lower right of the painting.  That is a dead female child in a coffin.

 I guess it's meant to put any lost luggage into perspective...?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

One time we went to Wyoming

A WHILE ago, a friend of ours from back East came to visit for a week so we decided to take a day trip to Wyoming, because, hey...when will I EVER be this close to Wyoming again?

I admit, I was dubious at first of Wyoming's capacity to intrigue and entertain.  But after a moment or two in the Cheyenne tourist center, rustling through all the brochures describing the local color, we had rapidly compiled a list of varied activities to keep us busy for a day.  (Thank goodness the tourist office ladies were super-patient and willing to answer our million inane, over-eager questions about buffalo and Lewis and Clark and rodeos, etc, etc.)


WYOMING!!

giant boot in Cheyenne

There were quite a few historical-type buildings. Yay.



Teepee! at a Botanic Garden.

Feeding buffalo!

Kinda looks like some sort of Jim Henson creation...



buffalo!



 
everywhere!

Apparently, buffalo can jump up to six feet high and can run for hours and hours without tiring.  Our guide at the buffalo ranch was very knowledgeable and made the tour really interesting; he clearly loved his job and made it easy to appreciate and marvel at these animals.  (there were also quite a few camels.  And llamas.  And a yak? Yes.)

And then we ate Rocky Mountain Oysters which were surprisingly not terrible and there was a REAL live cowboy there who you could barely understand when he talked, and then we finished off the whole day with some buffalo steaks and sausage.  Yum.  Go Wyoming.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Building the Kingdom

I started a new job recently that is definitely NOT a job I could see myself doing forever and involves answering the phone all day which is pretty much the thing I hate doing most on this planet (call centers! nooooo!)  I have been pretty cranky and stressed all week and acting like a heinous banshee; moaning about how terrible this job is and how unfair life and the universe are and how surely I am the butt of some Olympian joke, etc, etc.

And how do my lovely friends (and hubsman!) respond, the ones daily bearing the brunt of my frustration and sourness?  Why, they reach out with love and compassion and get me a gift...

Oh, like a board game.  Looks like Settlers of Catan or something...



Wait...are those, like...doves?  And those aren't....missionaries....?




Whoa what?





















Oh you know, we're just sitting around, playing our favorite game: Build the Kingdom.















And the winner of the game!  If you look closely, you can see the box lid with the name of the game, in the background.



















They went to the Mormon book-store, knowing how intrigued I am by the followers of Joseph Smith et al. and bought this Latter Day Sainted version of the Settlers of Catan.  (you build Books of Mormon, and then converts and then upgrade those to churches.  The resource cards are things like "faith," "repentance," "prayer.")

Shucks, my friends know me so well; they organized my first family home evening! 

Friday, May 31, 2013

It snowed May 1st....

...so we made a Snowy Davis Jr.  And painted him blue.  And then Gabe broke one of his stubby little arms off.  He didn't mean to.  He was trying to get Snowy to hold a cigarette.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

History is all around you

I work in a remote part of Northern Colorado.  There are far more black cows lazily grazing in the open, un-fenced fields on either side of business route 34 than there are morning commuters on business route 34.  A few mornings ago I noticed 2 stone plinths about 10 feet apart, and some official-looking plaques suggesting that the site was some sort of point of interest, right there by the side of the highway, about 10 minutes away from my facility.  My History Antennae were immediately on alert and I made a mental note to check the spot out as soon as possible.

When I lived in France, I was one of those types that gushed over the notion of the close daily proximity of "historical things" that living in "Europe" afforded.  You couldn't go to the public pool, argue with your internet provider, or buy toilet paper without brushing up against, or trodding on some old moldering stone or building of some historical merit.  To me, it was bliss.  After I arrived back in the States, I must (unfortunately) admit that I was a bit of a history snob for awhile, wrongheadedly believing that there was nothing "old" to be seen around here.  Further injustice! to be in the West!  where the "history" is so not really old! like, only! a couple hundred years or so!

One Friday afternoon, my supervisor let a bunch of us go home a half hour early.  The sun, after days of blank, grey sky, was shining, and I sped away from work, curious but not expecting too much from the twin stone altars by the side of the road.  Probably some, you know, pioneer stuff or an obscure battle that I will have to look up later because I've never heard of it, I thought to myself as I pulled up and got out of the car.

But lo! as I approached the graven plaques, what words did I read?  Disbelief!  Did the plaques truly indicate that these stone bases once held the wooden entrance-posts for a German prisoner of war camp?!?!  Why yes!  Right here in the middle of America, a tiny piece of World War II history--my favorite kind of history!  The POW camp, it turns out, held about 3,000 prisoners, all taken mostly from a victory in Africa--one of the prisoners was even Rommel's personal mechanic!

I realize it seems sort of batty, to stand by the side of the road and enthuse over black and white photos of prisoner barracks and barbed wire.  I really have no answer for that; history is just so exciting!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Rollercoaster: an emotional study of Tuesday

7:45-UP.  Feeling pretty good that I successfully carpooled (like an adult!)  Made it safely to work, all while saving gas.  Did not crash and mildly decapitate my passenger in a fiery wreck, nor did one have to meekly excuse oneself while having to pull into a gas station to use restroom, both scenarios being equally mortifying and causing one much night-before worry.

10:00-UP, UP!  As per a recent personal vow, at break, I grab my coat and dash outside to walk briskly around building. (hm, harboring subconscious hope work facility will crumble and fall if walk around it enough times...?)  Have time to make a cup of coffee for class; feel like an efficient, goal-oriented CHAMP!

14:00-DOWN.  Feel very, very low.  Have to take very first "live" call, from a real person for first time ever.  Feel calmer than expected but can't answer ANY questions posed to me by half a dozen or so of the good citizens of America, and thus ashamedly spend next hour and a half limply transferring calls to other, worthier customer service folk.  Worst bit is when I discover I can not help a caller who is barely intelligible, yet very polite with me and who is most likely a shut-in, and while transferring him, accidentally hang up instead.  Feel like heel.   

14:30-DOWN.  One of the few work colleagues I actually spoke to daily, Domingo, gets fired for entirely silly reason.  NOW who will I eat lunch with?  Aghast.

17:20-UP UP.  Complete a whole second carpooling trip, dropping off my fellow carpoolette with nary a scratch to her person.  Am master of carpooling.  What else can I pool...?

17:35- DOWN DOWN.  Devastation.  Part-time internship concerning study abroad sends polite email rejecting me.  WHY?!?!  I was probably going to turn them down anyway as job was mostly sales-related and cold-calling but...oh, the injustice to be rejected first!  Sting. 

17:36-18:40-DOWN.  Feeling unloved and lonely; not a work friend nor internship in the world do I have.  I nailed that interview, why would they reject me?  And so soon?  Marinate in feelings of ineptitude, grief and sadness.  Does not matter that did not really want internship at all and got cold, condescending vibe from staff.  Am failure at internships. Forever.

18:45-UP UP UP.  New book I ordered has finally arrived!  The Darling.  God has heard my cries and sent me a book about Charles Taylor and violent unrest in Liberia to cheer me!!



Monday, February 4, 2013

Jobmania!

Hm. So, since the last time I wrote, I started a customer service job and have gone to interviews for two other jobs.  Jobs, jobs,.....JOBS! 

The customer service job has so far been better than expected, although I am still just in the "training" stages.  While it isn't something I want to do forever, it is nice to know that if the other opportunities fall through, I do have some financial security and it wouldn't cost my sanity and/or healthy blood pressure. 

The interview I had on Thursday was also for a customer service job, but I would get to speak French.  Bonus: better pay and benefits and the team seems super-nice.  Negative: it is an hour away, and all the calls and emails I would have to handle are of the complaint variety. 

Then Friday I had an interview for a company that runs a study abroad website.  I was super jazzed about this one, but then it turned out the job would be mostly cold calling study abroad..programs....or something...?  Actually, I'm not too sure what the job entails as the interviewer was not very clear and also admitted that he hadn't looked at my resume or cover letter yet.  Awesome.  Bonus: the office is very near to where I live and I would get to talk about international education all day, which I LOVE, and this could potentially be a stepping stone to other positions in this field in the future.  Negative: I do not cherish the idea of making cold calls and "selling" something to someone, even if it is free.  The position is just an internship and so the hours and pay are very low. 

Hm.

I am currently making a giant pro/con list on the whiteboard at the moment.  ALSO, neither job has formally offered a position yet....but still...which do I choose....?

(And now I must go do the complete opposite of watching the Superbowl, ie, watching French sitcoms.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cure for the Common Job Hunt (Part 2)

-since my last post, I've gotten a call about one job where I would get to speak French (yay!) and another job where I would be doing the same thing as the first job only no francophonie.  Also, the pay would be a lot worse.  However, as these things often go, I won't hear a formal response from the first job until Monday, which is also the day I would have to start the second job.  So, I'm officially starting a job Monday, but I (hopefully) might not be there long.  Cross your fingers for me. 


-did I mention we got an ice cream maker for Christmas?  Well we did, and part of my wide-open, employment-free days these past few weeks were spent making ice cream.  Lots and lots of ice cream.  We have successfully produced peppermint stick, chocolate-chocolate peanut butter swirl, vanilla, coffee-chocolate peanut butter, graham cracker s'more, and blueberry-raspberry chocolate chunk.  We have less successfully produced root beer-vanilla-spice-cake-chunk...surprise? and licorice.  This last failure makes me very sad as licorice ice cream is one of my very favorite gastronomical phenomenon.  We had even purchased this:

Hello family in Finland!!



so as to make the ice cream super authentic.  (what!?! just FOUND that in a fancy kitchen store!  Just SITTING there!)  Sadly, real Finnish licorice does not instantly real Finnish licorice ice cream make.

Luckily, there was some of that chocolate-peanut butter swirl left over to soothe my Sunday night blues.  Wish me luck for tomorrow, I'm nervous!

boom.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cure for the Common Job Hunt (Part 1)

It has now been about 3.5 months since I wrapped up that whole masters thing and started applying to jobs.  While I realize that isn't very long these days to be looking and that I'm lucky I have a whole bunch of lovely folks to support me and buy things for me and listen to my whiny complaining, the whole cover- lettering-resumeing-follow-up-calling process is really starting to get me down.  A woman in the HR department of one university with a particularly tantalizing job offer (in France!) kindly informed me when I called that they can take up to 7 months to fill a position!  Gah. 

I am someone who is pretty good at filling my free time and keeping myself occupied, but I sometimes neglect that most important of attention-distracters and mood-boosters: exercise.  In order to escape the job-hunting blahs, I've been trying to be more intentional about keeping active.  I really have no excuse to be lazy as David is bursting with workout ideas from his years of experience in the field;  I just have to ask.  My main problem is that I get bored easily and become demoralized quickly when faced with doing a million reps of the same move.  But!  last night, David planned a doozey of a workout for us.  He had a deck of cards and each suit was assigned a certain task; spades was push-ups, hearts was jumping jacks (only those are easy so you would double the number), clubs was air-squats (squats without any weight) and diamonds was kettle-bell swings.  Aces were a two-minute rest.  The idea is simple: draw a card, and whatever the number is signifies how many you must do of the corresponding activity.

The first few cards were all push ups, and they were high numbers (face cards are twelve) and I thought to myself, well, we'll do a few cards, a dozen maybe, then the workout will be over.  But then, no.  No.  We kept flipping cards and then David mentioned how usually, he would go through the whole deck with former clients, and then something in my brain snapped and ragey Wini emerged and then...we went through the whole deck.  The whole deck!  About three-quarters of the way through I started to feel like I couldn't finish, but something about the suspense of not knowing what suit you will get next, and the continual hope that it will be a low number appealed to my need for a constantly surprising workout and I made it to the end.

So, I still don't have a job, but nothing lifts your spirits and validates you as more than a useless lump than doing more push-ups than you ever thought you could do.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Brief Summary of Events...

...in photos!

 These are just a few of the lovely people I 
volunteered with at Camp Joie de Vivre in August 2011.
Home away from home for 3 weeks.

 I went to the Opera Garnier.




 My mom came to visit in September, I went to my last Sunday at church (and cried when I had to get up and speak in front of everyone) and had a farewell picnic with these awesome folks...



 













Back in the U.S., I spent a sunny fall weekend in the Big Apple with some beloved college folk...

 Then I moved to Fort Collins and this guy graduated...
Woohoo! Finally!
We rang in 2012!  With tiaras!


And then in the summer, I went back home for a bit because my sister was visiting with this little man...

...and THEN I went BACK to France and volunteered all up on Camp Joie de Vivre again (and was upgraded to a chalet this year) and THEN I actually finished my masters thesis and defended it.






 My brother got married in October, and David and I got all fancied up and danced all night...







And then Christmas came and I got to celebrate it in New Jersey with
Brothers and a very New Sister-in-law.

And now a New Year has started and I'm back in Northern Colorado and am currently accepting any possible employment leads.

Phew.
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