Technology to the Rescue

Having picked up Middle’s dreadful cold this week, I haven’t done much but sleep and rest for a couple of days now. Keeping all my electronic devices nearby and charged has been a life saver. I can access my work desktop from my home laptop, so there’s no pressure to go in to the office while I’m a sneezing, coughing mass of germs. I keep in touch with the kids for a little emotional lift throughout the day. Netflix and Acorn TV are keeping me entertained when I’m too tired even to hold a book.

But the award for “Best Use of Technology While Sick” may go to…envelope, please:

Online grocery shopping.

The store I shop at weekly offers free delivery for online orders if the order exceeds $100. We rack up at least $150 each week, so that’s no problem. I’d heard from a couple of friends that it really is as slick as it sounds, so I figured this day of sitting on the couch with blankets, pillows, hot tea, and cough drops was the perfect time to try it out.

Setting up the account was no more difficult that for any other website, except for the fact that my “points card” had somehow been set up with an email account I don’t use. An online chat with Dan, the customer service rep, took care of that little issue. And then the magic began!

Turns out the points card might be better dubbed a “Big Brother” card, as it’s been keeping track of what I purchase regularly, without my knowledge. A little creepy, until I realized that the keeping track made the online shopping a whole lot easier. A good 60% of the items on my list were right there on the first screen. I had to search for the rest, but typing in the names of a few items took a lot less energy than getting in the car and trolling the aisles, on a day when energy is in short supply.

So I’ve saved the list, will add to it over the rest of the day as I think of items I’ve forgotten, and will complete the transaction tomorrow morning.

Big questions still to be answered:

  • How will the produce look? I’m pretty picky about my fresh fruits and veg.
  • What kind of substitutions will I get if my items aren’t available?
  • How close will the delivery be to the time frame I’m quoted?
  • Do I tip the delivery person? I’m thinking yes, but I don’t have much experience with tipping outside of restaurants. Stress.

So…I’ll find out tomorrow whether it’s worth it to go from this:


to this:


Stay tuned…



Faux sunshine.

Here we are in February, the smelly armpit of the calendar year. As much as I enjoy curling up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of tea, a book, or Netflix, I’m longing for some outdoor time. Or at the very least a good snowstorm that would shut everything down for a day or two, allowing us to indulge in that couch, blanket, and tea round the clock.

Instead, in this part of the world, we’ve got grey skies, blustery winds, naked trees, and brown grass. Bleh.

And so, here’s a little pretend sunshine for all of us…a sort of “I like bunnies” for these nasty, hopeless days of winter:




Hang in there!


I’ve found a soulmate…

…and the best part is that I NEVER EVEN HAVE TO MEET HER.

At the risk of driving this introversion conversation into the ground, I have to share that this week I discovered Marzi of “Introvert Doodles.”

If you’ve ever thought you might possibly have introvert tendencies, and if you’ve ever felt like you’re some kind of mutant because of those tendencies, I urge you to Google her and read her Doodles. Or if you’re a lot more hip than I am, check her out on Instagram. For the first time ever, I’m actually considering starting an Instagram account just so I can follow this brilliant woman.

Every one of her sketches hits me right where I live, but this one in particular just about made me tear up, as I recognized a kindred spirit.


image credit: Maureen Wilson, genius

I’m dead serious, this is exactly how I react when the doorbell rings. Especially when it’s unexpected, but often even when I know someone’s coming over. Except I don’t dive under the bed because KILLER DUST BUNNIES.

When I first saw “The Surprise Visit,” I couldn’t help but muse on whether I’d completely scarred our three children with my terror of a ringing doorbell. Certainly they all learned from me NOT to go to the door when someone arrives. I couldn’t begin to count the times I’ve dashed upstairs to a front bedroom at the sound of the doorbell, to peek out the curtains until the interloper gave up and went away. Not sure that’s particularly healthy behavior to teach children, except possibly in terms of avoiding stranger danger.

At any rate, today I salute Marzi and “Introvert Doodles.” Thank you, my dear fellow introvert, for validating my existence.

Survival tip for exhausted moms. 

Emotions are running high both in my workplace (continuation of the labor relations issue) and at home (student teacher  daughter struggling with overwork, existential angst, and the sickening fact of racism and classism in our public education system).

Last night I beat my own personal record and was tucked up in bed, attempting without luck to hide from the world, by 6:30 pm.

Desperate for a few minutes of peace through denial, I remembered a tactic I used to use around the dinner table when we had all the kids at home and conversation became too heated (sibling rivalry), too deep (mathematically, politically, scientifically, etc.), or too jaw-breaking-yawn boring (e.g. protracted discussions about the relative merits of various military aircraft).

One time, years ago, during one of those long, involved conversations around the dinner table, three simple words popped into my head out of nowhere. I held up my hand to halt the conversation and uttered this earth-shattering phrase:

I like bunnies.

The sheer confusion factor immediately brought the family to complete silence. Puzzled, they requested an explanation. I told my dear, darling loved ones that I’d had enough. If the current conversation continued even one more moment, my head was 100% guaranteed to explode.

From then on, “I like bunnies,” became a code phrase that shut things up long enough for me to take a deep breath and enter the fray again.

In this time of killer high emotion in my work and personal life, I’m calling a virtual “I like bunnies.” 

And, dear reader, I’m delighted to share it with you…

Use liberally, as needed. Good luck.

One of life’s little mysteries.

Why does feeling like this:

So rarely lead to this:

Every day last week I came home emotionally spent from dealing with an unpleasant labor relations issue, not exactly my forte. Every evening I was on “supportive mom” duty for our daughter as she had stress freak-outs (perfectly reasonably) over her student teaching semester. I was literally in bed and DONE for the day by 7:00. Not asleep by 7:00, but hiding from the world in my beautiful new bedroom, taking refuge in books, Netflix, and Nancy Drew computer games. I only got two fairly decent – though fitful – sleeps, on the nights I resorted to my old buddy, Benedryl.

Last night, the perimenopausal hot flash hormones kicked back in after a couple of weeks of hibernation, which meant yet another sleepless night.  With the added joy of a sweat-dampened pajama top.

My planner for the coming week includes some unusual events, a meeting that’s unlikely to go well due to the presence of two warring factions, and a continuation of the labor relations issue.

I’m starting to wish I liked wine. Chocolate isn’t quite doing the trick.

On my honor, I will try…

I spent yesterday visiting my mom, in the town where I grew up and where she still lives. We had a lovely visit, chatting all day long.

On the way home with The Husband, who works in that town and commutes every day, we drove past the church just down the street from my former elementary school. It was the place where my Girl Scout troop met for years, so it got me to musing on some memories that still linger, few of them in a good way:

• The time we made change purses laced around the edges in blanket stitch, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out blanket stitch. Tangles of yarn everywhere. Humiliating.


•The time, right after we Brownies “flew up,” when there was an event allowing us to meet the older girls whose troop we’d be joining. A very large, square, pain-in-the-ass girl, who had apparently been told to welcome her new sister scouts, approached and stood inches from my nose. Glaring into my eyes she growled, “I’m your sister.” I tried to argue that she absolutely was NOT my sister, but she wasn’t having any of it. Yeah, I felt real welcome.

•The time we went camping in sub-zero temperatures, none of the leaders could get a fire lit in the cabin fireplace, we ate cold canned vegetables and raw hot dogs, and shivered so hard in our sleeping bags we got no sleep at all.

•The time when we had a Civil Defense lecture, right in the Civil Defense shelter in the church. We were treated to 20-year-old soda crackers (“It doesn’t matter whether they taste good or they’re stale – they’ll at least give you some nutrition.” Yeah, right. Processed white flour and salt.). And a demonstration of “How to open a 20-year-old can of peaches that may have been contaminated with fallout dust, without getting the fallout dust in the peaches.” This meeting left half of us terrified of our futures as radioactive mutants and the other half strangely excited for the day of doom when we’d get to try out our critical new survival skills.

•The time we had a field trip to the governor’s mansion (back when we had a governor who didn’t suck). The tour guide showed us a clay pot made, as she said, “by real, live, Kickapoo Indians.” Being 5th grade girls, this unfamiliar tribe name gave us all a good giggle. Best of all was the comment from the acknowledged Bad Girl of the troop: “Looks like a piss pot to me.”

I think I stayed in Scouting for four years, and I can honestly say I hated every moment of it, except for the piss pot. Probably I only stuck it out because my mom was a troop leader and I enjoyed hanging out with her.

So…what did I do when our oldest started school? Got her signed up for Daisies, and continued through Brownies and Juniors. I can’t say that I enjoyed it much more the second time around. The disastrous experiences continued, but I think I stuck with it that time because Oldest is a good sport so she didn’t complain, I enjoyed the time with her (I was a troop leader), and it gave her a chance to spend time with other girls at a time when we had no near neighbors to play with. Oh, and because her father was nuts for zip lining and rappelling. So much so that he became a trainer, instructing other adults on how to lead those and other challenge activities.

But bottom line, there was pretty much nothing I enjoyed about it. The other little girls were often unpleasant and generally unappreciative, some of my co-leaders were some of the worst parents I ever knew, I despised cookie sales, the local service unit was a disorganized mess, and DEAR GOD THE CAMP SONGS! Death to whoever came up with “Princess Pat.”

So now I’m wondering whether, down the line, I’ll ever have granddaughters who get involved with Girl Scouting. For all of our sakes, I’m crossing my fingers that they don’t…even if it means there’s no one left alive to handle the meal planning during the next nuclear disaster.

Top 4 bad ideas of the week…

In reverse order:

Bad Idea Number 4


Perhaps not so much a bad idea as just a really weird idea. You’ll note that this product is on clearance.

Bad Idea Number 3:


Do these new Pop Tart flavors even require comment?

Bad Idea Number 2


This one’s more in the realm of completely bat-shit crazy. This mom and her family live , sadly, just a few miles away from my home town of Topeka, Kansas. Even better, the follow-up story in this morning’s paper was that this mom was arrested yesterday in the big bust that went down in the Oregon siege. A couple of other little tidbits: She took seven of her ten kids on this crazy-ass trip. And she has a record with child protective services. BIG surprise.

And (drumroll please) Bad Idea Number 1:

This is the one that took up most of my energy this week and kept me from posting until today. No photo of this one, but I’ll describe it for you:

The number 1 bad idea for this week (though it’s a situation that’s been developing  over the last month, really) is to have your workplace’s (which, for clarity, I’ll remind you is a church, NOT a business) best financial year ever, and yet make the call that this will be the year when you, as a governing board, decide that giving your  chronically underpaid staff members an end-of-year bonus is really too much work. You know, deciding who gets how much, and then asking your staff accountant to cut the checks – I mean, how could they possibly manage the stress?

And then decide that instead of a bonus, from now on you’ll take the entire staff out to dinner at a mediocre restaurant. And decide that the organization will also pay for the governing board’s (and their spouses) meals, as well, effectively giving the governing board the same “appreciation” bonus as they give the staff. Oh, and for good measure, come out with a statement that if, for any reason, staff members can’t be at that dinner, they’re fresh out of luck and nothing at all will be done for them.

Because that’s an awesome way to repay the people who did the hard work of creating an atmosphere in which an excellent financial year was possible.

Having shared Bad Idea Number 1, I must admit this is truly out of character for my church/employer. The idea itself sucked, and the way it was handled sucked even more, but even so I know our staff is in a much better place than any other church staff members I’ve ever encountered.

Can’t tell you how glad I am this week is over. Hoping for a bunch of good ideas to come my way next week.

Monday Madness

Weird things about today include…

  • Two cars I saw on the way to work this morning:
  1. A Masarati right in front of me – pretty unusual
  2. A white Taurus with a festive, colorful decal covering the entire driver’s side, advertising hospice care. WTF?!?
  • Warm, misty weather in January, with a slight smell of spring in the air
  • A friend reunion over coffee this afternoon, including
    • Two friends I’ve known for 25 years and with whom I still get together regularly
    • One friend who all three of us have known for 25 years, but who moved to Iowa 19 years ago, and whom we haven’t seen in all those years
    • One mutual friend that we discovered, through serendipitous FB comments on a post I made, was the college roommate and bridesmaid of the friend who moved away 19 years ago


This week is off to a very interesting start!


Attainable goals.

Had a lovely gathering last night, survived by crawling into bed the moment my friends/coworkers were out the door. 

And since I did most of a week’s houswork in one afternoon yesterday to prepare for that meeting (albeit in a rather slipshod manner) I have a pretty lazy day off stretching ahead of me. So this image pretty much sums up my day…though it’s a little premature as I haven’t actually accomplished this particular goal yet…


Caution: Introvert ahead.

Here we go again. This isn’t the first time I’ve posted about life as an introvert, and it probably won’t be the last. Because it’s simply a fact that, as an intense introvert, I am often forced to exist WAY beyond my happy zone.

Tonight I’m having a work meeting at my house. Pros: I very much like the people who are enhanced-16946-1439310680-2coming; we work well together; good things are sure to come out of this meeting; I don’t have to leave my cozy nest on a cold, dark, winter night. Cons: People will be in my space; playing the gracious hostess is SO not me; I’ll have trouble sleeping tonight due to the intense stress of trying to be “on” way past the bewitching hour when “I need to be alone” is the only thought in my head.

When I ran across this graphic recently, I wanted to jump up and scream, “YES!!!” We extroverts are not only misunderstood, but considered somehow “less than” in our society. It is true that I love books, I tend to be serious, and being around a group of people makes me feel awkward. But that’s not the whole story. The more important part of the story is that being with more than a couple of people at a time (except for my husband and kids) sucks me dry; I leave a group experience feeling like a deflated balloon. It can take hours or even a day of quiet, reflective alone time/reading time to build up enough energy to go out and face the world again.

Another thing that’s misunderstood about us introverts: I’m perfectly comfortable addressing a group of people. I get totally fired up about giving a presentation, and have no sense of performance anxiety. I loved spending last Saturday morning doing a leadership presentation, and am seriously looking forward to doing another this coming Sunday. Some of the best articles I’ve read about introverts have said that this trait is common.

So, dear readers, a few questions – I’d love to hear from you. If you, too, are an introvert, how do you re-energize? How do you cope with the requirements of living in the world? And if you’re more on the extrovert side, how do you feel about being with others v. being alone?