Oct 30, 2009

No Laughing Matter

Happy Halloween everybody. I love Halloween. It’s the day before my birthday so as a kid it was like having a two day birthday party. That’s me in my costume this year. I am the swine flu. I debated whether to wear this costume.  As the lead HR person you don't want to appear to be making light of a serious situation.  But then I figured, "What the hell...."  Which is one of the principles I strive to live by.

Ironically, while dressed in this costume I got word that we need to postpone my birthday party because my sister’s whole family is infected with some wicked virus. When she called her kid’s pediatrician, he said he was too swamped to see anybody and informed her that H1N1 testing is only being conducted on people who are hospitalized. He advised her to stay home and to stay away from people.

On a much brighter note…. I was giddy at the news this morning that Sarah Palin is engaged in public mud slinging with the white trash father of her grandson. Nothing she does is understated.  A few weeks ago I saw a “Palin 2012” bumper sticker. It sent a shiver down my spine. I wondered if anybody takes her seriously anymore. Good old reliable Sarah never disappoints. She makes a fool of herself every time she opens her mouth. She doesn’t realize that the more vehemently she disparages this kid the worse her parenting skills look. It was only a year ago this kid was being trotted out as the dutiful future husband of her pregnant teenage daughter. God help us if this lunatic ever actually gets in the White House. If she can’t gracefully handle criticism from an eighteen year old kid how does she imagine she can handle leading this country.

Oct 26, 2009

Will wonders never cease?

Whenever I wanted to illustrate to my children how things have changed I pull out the tried and true shockers….. we only had three stations on TV….. we didn’t have computers (or video games)….. we didn’t have ATMs, you had to go to the bank on Friday afternoons and get the cash you thought you needed and once that was gone you were out of luck…. They were awestruck at how we managed to survive in such a backwards reality.

We did manage and some would argue that it was better back then. But that’s only the old and curmudgeonly among us. Most agree that things get better as technology advances. It’s exponential and I find myself amazed at the immediacy and ease with which we can do things these days.

Within one day of my daughter’s wedding I had at my fingertips a myriad of digital images from all her Facebook friends. I have copied them all onto my computer and will send quite a few of them off by email to relatives that couldn’t come.

Her wedding photographer will be loading the professional photos to a website so that she can select them using a web browser instead of the proof books we used to get in the old days. Friends and family can select photos of their own using the same website

I had an IM chat with my daughter while she was in Spain on her honeymoon. She also emailed me some digital shots of the sights they are seeing, (like the one above). It was nice to hear from her and know that everything is OK. I know she’s a grown, married woman now but I’m still her mother. I reserve the right to worry about her until the day I leave this earth.

I recently purchased a TomTom and am happy to report that I can find the nearest Starbucks from anywhere in the United States. I sometimes wonder how we managed to get anywhere before we had mapquest and navi systems. I’m sure that they have freed up a lot of time for gas station attendants.

I finally got a Smart phone this weekend. All the conveniences found on my computer at home are now on my phone. It’s so very Start Trek recorder. The thing I am most excited about is to have google at my fingertips. Good for practical purposes like – How much do you tip a wedding photographer? ($40-$100 depending on how long he/she was there). Also good for the whimsical questions – Why do leaves turn colors?

The world is zipping along at such blinding speed it’s hard to imagine what will come next.

Oct 19, 2009

You just let me handle him.

Occasionally I come across something that makes me feel as if I live in a bubble. Case in point, an article on MSNBC.com titled “Increasingly wives earn more than husbands”. Seriously?  Is this really a problem?  I don’t even have to read the article to know that it will raise my blood pressure by a few points.

According to the article, 65.3% of women and 61.2% of men agreed strongly that they are comfortable with women earning more than men in a household. This means there are 35% of women and 39% of the men are not comfortable with the idea. Why not?

A clue lies in this quote from the article. This is from a gentleman who lost his job and now has to rely on his wife’s income. “We’re Christians, so for me to not be the breadwinner…… it’s not the easiest thing.” I scratched my head for a minute wondering what on earth his religion had to do with it.

Does that mean that non-Christian men like Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim and your plain old atheists are all fine with their wives making more money than them? I'm thinking it has more to do with how "fundamental" you are. And by fundamental I mean old fashioned, antiquated and not in step with the realities of today. A lot of religions keep people locked in that mind set.

To make matters worse these families are struggling because the wife's wages are usually lower than the husband's.  In 2007 only 33.5% of women were making more than their husbands despite the fact that the number of women in the workplace has been steadily growing to the point that we now have about half of the jobs.

Why? Well it's that nasty little pay difference that exists between men and women. Women only make 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns. Additionally, only 77% of women primary breadwinners have health insurance benefits while 91% of the men breadwinners do. Guess the powers that be didn't forsee that the gender gap would come back to bite us in the ass. Who knew that we would have to actually rely on women to provide?

Census Bureau Earnings Exact Numbers 2002
Current Population Survey 1996-2002
Reporters/Editors Men-$41,003 Women-$33,363
Accountants/Auditors Men-$49,042 Women-$33,275
Insurance Sales Men-$49,555 Women-$31,550
Financial Managers Men-$59,871 Women-$39,795
Lawyers/Judges Men-$83,530 Women-$62,635
Physicians Men-$93,740 Women-$69,303
Teachers Men-$35,822 Women-$30,830

I remember back in 1989 when I was first promoted to a management position, my boss sat me down to give me the good news. New title, new office, nice raise. As an afterthought my boss asked. “Will you be making more than your husband?” I didn’t answer right away because, frankly, I thought it was a very rude question. He must have thought my hesitation meant that I was in fact worried about my husband’s reaction. He then asked, “Will he be upset?” I finally answered him, “No, you go ahead and pay me as much money as you want to. He’ll be fine with it.”

I mean, why on earth wouldn’t he be? I would really worry about him if his sense of self worth was damaged by me making more money than him. More money meant a better future for our family, no matter who brought it home. Why would he not want that?  I was right of course, he was ecstatic and has been for every raise and promotion that has come since.

I suppose I should be thankful. The big debate used to be whether women should work at all. Now it's just about fragile men maintaining their egos while their wives work to keep the family afloat.

Oct 18, 2009


Eight months of planning over in one day.  But oh so worth it.

Isn't she beautiful?  And can't you tell how much they love each other. 

My daughter is now a wife and we have a new son. 

Oct 12, 2009

It Ain't Just a River in Egypt

In Blue: MSS - Ms. Say-It-Ain’t-So – She is the part of me that is hitting the reality of my daughter moving out like a brick wall.

In Red: FGG - Frau Get-a-Grip - The pragmatic side of me. Notice she’s German? That’s because that’s where that side of me comes from.

MSS: What is she doing in there?

FGG: She’s packing up all her things to move out.

MSS:  Really? Even the stuff on the walls? I mean, it all seems so final. It’s like there’s no turning back.

FGG: Well it is final, stupid! She’s getting married. She’s off to start a home of her own. Isn’t that what you planned all along? You, with your big talk of raising your kids to be independent, self confident adults, able to take care of themselves. Didn’t you realize that this is what that leads to?

MSS: Well, yeah. But it’s much easier to deal with as a concept than as a reality.

FGG: Sheesh. What do you want? Your kids to live with you until they are 30?

MSS: No… I never thought so. But now that I think about it can’t we just have her husband move in here. We could be sort of like an extended family. Lots of cultures do that you know.

FGG: Quit your sniveling. You have a wedding to put on. You make me sick.

Oct 7, 2009

Warm Fuzzies

By the time the guys came back from golfing on Sunday the festivities were over. The men had vacated the premises in order to avoid the “Bridal Shower”. They planned and hurried each other out of the house so determinedly that you would have thought the shower participants were all carrying the H1N1 virus.

I tried to explain that there really wasn’t anything to be afraid of. All we do is play games, eat food and drink punch. The fear of girl “cooties”, first introduced in kindergarten, is hard to get over.

You ever have one of those moments when everything seems right with the world? It’s like you’re feeling one of those base emotions that goes back to the beginning of humans as social beings. A feeling that washes over you, making you feel happy, safe and secure. I had three on the day of the shower:

1) My mother coming into the kitchen to help me get the shower luncheon on the table. Everybody else was playing the shower games in the living room. She didn’t ask if I needed help, she just silently slipped in next to me and started working.

2) The guys all tromping in after golfing and fixing themselves a big plate of the leftover food from the shower. There is something very satisfying in providing a meal to an appreciative, hungry man. Seems sexist and silly, I know. But base emotions run deep and are not controlled by modern things like political correctness.

3) The sense of calm that came to me as I sat in the aftermath of the shower with my family and close friends.  I realized that no matter how crazy things get between now and the wedding I have the most awesome group of women to help and support my daughter. The constant has been my sister. She is amazing. We also have reinforcements coming next week from Florida in the form of my three cousins. I’m about as close to the three of them as you can get without being sisters. They are awesome.  Besides being there to  help, the party just wouldn't be a good party without them.

I admit that the pending wedding has made me emotional. Maybe that emotional state intensified the feelings of well being. I don’t know and I don’t care. I just know it felt right. God, won’t you all be glad when these endless wedding blog posts are over with.


Oct 4, 2009

The Aftermath

This is what my dining room table looked like after Wedding Wednesday this week.  Click the pic to enlarge if you want to really experience the chaos.  There were 8 of us from three generations with an age span from youngest to oldest of 47 years.  We each had our assignments.  Some assignments were more glamorous than others (like my sister wrapping the ribbon around the flower stems of the chuch pew decorations) but all of them bring us one step closer to being prepared for the big day.

We got quite a bit accomplished.  Those candles and white pumpkins you see are for the centerpieces at the reception.  There was some debate over the placement of the ribbon.  But if there's one piece of advice I have for those helping prepare for a wedding its.... "The bride's opinion prevails."  That's as it should be.  It is her day after all.  The fairytale day that we all dream about, whether we admit it or not.

The centerpiece will be beautiful.  See the little discs of wood.  The centerpiece will be big blocks of wood like that with three candles of varying heights, white pumpkin, falll leaves, acorns and a big spider mum with no stem.  I'll post pics after the wedding.

The small discs of wood are for the name card holders.  That's the reason we needed the wire cutters you see pictured there.  Copper wire got wrapped around that pen to form a circly thing to stick the cards in.  The wire got glued into a tiny drilled hole in the discs of wood.  Very rustic.  My thumb was numb for four days from wrapping wire. 

The basket on the table will be the card holder.  I'm going to make a box with a slit in the top, cover it in pretty ribbon, place it in the middle of the basket and then put real apples all around it.  Struggling a little on dressing this basket up without making it gawdy.

The "Dollar Tree" receipt you see there is from the fall leave garlands that will be placed on the railing around the room.  They will have little white twinkly lights twined with them too.  Oooooo..... pretty.

The clothes pin is for a bridal shower game.  The bridal shower is today.  I really should be off doing something shower related.