Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Yep, there really should be light shows for ALL holidays.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Bossy Photographer

One of Kristina's most coveted special privileges is getting to take the occasional picture with my camera, and remarkably she sometimes even manages a fairly successful photograph.

However, in recent times she has gotten increasingly dictatorial in composing her shots.

"Mommy I want to take a picture of you. With Gramma. Gramma go stand with mommy. No, stand closer to Mommy. Now hug. Everybody say hippopotamus! Say HIPPOPOTAMUS!!! Mommy, you're not saying hippopotamus. Now smile. No no Gramma, a nice smile. Say LASAGNA! Mommy you have to say lasagna for me to take the picture! Don't stop hugging. Gramma stay there!! I'm trying to take your picture! NOW EVERYBODY SMILE!"

Yep, I can't imagine where she gets it from.....


Kristina photography, unedited.

Mexicans Make Good Sandwiches

I have some coworkers who grew up bi-culturally, where the family really was most definitely Mexican in every possible sense (except for the detail of living in the US), but they also went through the public school system and as adults now are very capable and comfortable navigating the mainstream American culture.

And they continually blow me away with their bilingual skills. Instances like where one will stop mid-sentence with me and turn to say hello to their family walking through Target in Spanish without the slightest pause, and then turn right back to me and continue our conversation in English.

They also have conversations with each other that are fascinating, where one will be talking in Spanish and the other answering in English, and they keep going back and forth like that for 10 minutes or more.

(And I sometimes I really do start to wonder if they even notice that they're speaking different languages to each other.)

But they also take the idea of sandwiches to a whole different level.

Today at lunch, several coworkers and I were remarking on the sandwich one had brought.

It really was a fairly impressive sandwich, the sort of thing you'd get as an overpriced lunch entree from a decent small restaurant, piled high with thick cuts of meat and various assortment of produce and condiments between mega pieces of bread.

I mentioned that another coworker had been making a fairly epic sandwich last week in the breakroom, where he had gotten a loaf of bread, lunch meat, cheese, and then all sorts of things I would have never thought to buy, like a jar of jalapeno slices and an avocado, and was sitting there busily constructing a sandwich more intricate than most of my dinners.

Another coworker said that she thought it was a cultural thing they grew up with, because breakroom sandwich constructor's sister (who also works at Target) ALSO makes really awesome sandwiches.

And then the initial sandwich guy started talking about the superior (and highly secretive) quality of Mexican bread, and although I might not appreciate jalapenos on my sandwich, I DO hold good bread in very high regard and most certainly appreciate the difference good bread makes to a sandwich.

Thus the lunchtime conversation concluded that Mexicans make awesome sandwiches.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friending Coworkers

I have managed to track down some of my coworkers (at least most of the ones I like) on facebook, and today I had the glorious realization of why that is such a good thing to do.

Today had been a long day at work (we'll just sum it up with those in charge keep getting annoyed at me for not successfully completing the work of three or four people and that makes me sad, because otherwise this will turn into another long whine about how working at the bottom of retail kinda sucks, and that actually wasn't what I wanted to write about just now), and I posted a probably-not-going-to-get-me-fired-for-it facebook status update conveying that general sentiment.

And my coworkers commented on it!!

(You have no idea how much that made me want to dance around throwing confetti and singing the theme song from Friends.)

And it was a truly lovely mix of genuinely heartfelt encouragement and sarcastic references to tomorrow's less than appealing forecast.

(No really, we have spending forecasts (aka goals) done up through some magical inner workers of the large Target corporation that predict each day's sales a week ahead of time.)

So that was a really awesome thing for me.

And admittedly, it's also about all I have going new friendship wise, as I have yet to do anything with anyone from work outside of work. 

(You know, friendship through the computer, just like how I maintain ALL my friends...)

However, I still wonder how long before one of them notices this little blog.

(Obviously none of them have done a very good job of internet stalking me yet, since the link is totally posted on my info page.)

Because although I don't have any real concern with the coworkers I'm facebook friends with having any reaction besides finding it humorous or uninteresting, the staff at that store gossip worse than the grape vine feed at a small liberal arts college.

Which means it'd be a pretty safe better that if I ever wrote anything actually remarkable about working at Target, it would quickly be being remarked on by all of the workers of Target.

And that makes me nervous.

Not because I have big plans to write horrible things that really shouldn't be written, but because so much of the store operates on various (and often strange or irrational seeming to me) codes of business ethics.

Like, I can't friend the Executives on facebook. Or rather, when I do try to friend them they apologize and tell me they can't be facebook friends with me because they're my high up bosses.

(And then they get cranky at me for explaining how the Target employee hierarchy works exactly like a generic class system when they put me on the spot at Huddle, and want me to rephrase it in the nice Target branded Teamspeak.) 

((And those of you who just got that George Orwell reference are my new favorites.))

So I'm pretty sure somewhere in there (like the pretty-sure-because-I-read-it-in-the-newest-employee-manual sort of pretty sure....) a rule exists against Target employees blogging about working at Target.

But I'm similarly pretty sure a remarkably similar rule exists against making facebook status updates about having a crappy day working at Target as well. And so far so good on that one!

Playing Puppies

Small children are like little sponges, sucking up all sorts of stuff from whatever they come in contact with.

And occasionally, that even includes learning all sorts of horrible things from their big sister.

(I'm sure I haven't seen anything yet... I'm just waiting for when 17 year old Kristina decides to teach 14 and half year old Adrianna how to drive.)

However, SOME of the things passed on from older to younger siblings are remarkably adorable.

Like playing puppies. They are ridiculously cute playing puppies together.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Dented Correction and other Target Tandems

Remember a few weeks back how I talked about how Target is now giving dented cans to the Boulder food bank?

Well, I was totally wrong.

Target does NOT give dented cans to the Boulder food bank, because the denting of the can release a bacteria and giving potentially contaminated food to hungry people just isn't a reasonable option.

(They have to scrounge it out of the dumpster for themselves.)


No more intentionally denting cans under the guise of giving to charity.

(Rip labels instead.)

Also, blog updates may be intermittent for the next couple of weeks. I'm trying to get some things put together and scheduled to go up, but I'm also working opening shifts for the next 8 or 9 days in a row, so I may just not have much time/energy/personal motivation to do much blogging.


It's really hard to force creativity when you're tired.

Oh, but I'm going to be IN CHARGE of instocks for most of that stretch as well, due to my Team Leader (aka direct boss) being on vacation.

So we'll see how it goes.

His briefing yesterday over how he was leaving me in charge and how I wasn't to fuck anything up was to keep the team running awesomely was very reassuring of how confident he is in my ability to handle this.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong? 

*Cue manic laughter*

Yeah, I'll be sure to tell you all the things that can (and did) possibly go wrong next week. It should make for some great blogging material and not the lose of my job. 

I hope.

Don't Judge the Bottles

Rachel over at Grasping for Objectivity recently made a notable comment on my Don't Judge the Nursing post about how the counterpart of judging the bottle feeding also needs to stop.

And she's very, very right.

People should not be judged for feeding their children in a reasonable and nurturing manner.

How parents care for their children is a personal decision to be made within the family, and something as simple as feeding a baby shouldn't be under constant scrutiny by society.

But it is.

And that is very, very sad.

So my question to you is this: Can we personally stop the judging?

It's not an easy thing, to stop looking at other people's children and thinking how you would do things differently.

But it just might be something worth doing for everyone's sake.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Geeks will Inherit the Earth

I have been adoring  this song recently. That is all.

Unexpected Influence

I  have often hoped I will somehow manage to make the world a slightly better place just by being me in it.

And although I'm pretty certain I will never really know what sort of impact I had on other people (and am reasonably at peace with this), I can't help but be excited by the occasional confirmation of having actually done good somewhere along the way.

Near the end of my senior year of high school, the entire music department packed it up and made a trip across the state to some big shin-dig out in Grand Junction. Sadly I cannot remember what this trip was actually for, beyond details like it included lots of performances, all the students from the bands, orchestra, wind ensemble, and choirs, several days in a hotel, and numerous large buses full of high school students.

(As I reflect back on it, I'm sure it was a logistical nightmare to pull of. So major kudos to the band and choir directors.)

There were the moments of crises, like when I realized I had somehow managed to leave my required orchestra dress sitting on my bed at home next to where I had been packing my duffel (however my very smart orchestra director had packed extras, and therefore didn't kill me for this). There were the moments of silliness, like when we staged a tea party in the elevator with everyone in concert dress clothes, complete with live violin music.

(If only we had had picture capabilities on our cellphones back then.....)

And there were moments of minimally supervised flirtatious teenage antics.

There were chaperons, and curfews, and the hotel rooms of opposite genders were separated as much as physically possible while still being in the same hotel. Dire threats were made as to what would become of us should anyone be caught doing hankypanky, and as far as I know students were pretty well behaved.

(We were music nerds after all.)

But a few of us may have still found a little coed mischief.


There was this fellow bandie of mine, whose biggest flaw was being 3 years younger than me, but otherwise whom I liked well enough. And whom I may have let feel my boobs on the back of the bus driving home.

That was the extent of that (see, my morals weren't that bad), and I never gave the incident much after thought with going right into IB exams and graduation and the impending leaving for college.

And that was nearly 9 years ago at this point.

But do you know what he did recently? He struck up a conversation via facebook, and said that he owes me a debt which he can't repay for the years of self confidence I gave him. And he THANKED me. For something which I genuinely thought was non-consequential, because personally it had been. But apparently for him, it had totally rocked his 14 year old world. 

Go me!

The moral of the story: Let the boy touch your boobs on the back of the band bus Something doesn't have to be impactful to you to matter immensely to someone else.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Design Flaw: Pounding Tower

Occasionally I have to think that the people who design toys have never had to spend any time anywhere near their creations being used by small children.

After working in childcare, I pretty much just instated a ban on all toys that require batteries about three seconds after finding out I was pregnant.

And if you are wondering why on earth I would have done that, you obviously have not spent enough time in a room full of toddlers all bushing buttons like crazy on numerous loud annoying things. Because it makes you want to kill yourself gives you a pounding headache and twitchy nerves.

Also, I read an article at some point during my pregnancy where someone tested the decibel loudness of an assortment of (battery operated) toys, both while being used how they were intended and while being held right up to the ear (as is a common thing for toddlers to do). The summary was that most were too loud sitting on the floor, and all were substantially too loud up by the ear. Thus I entered motherhood with a well developed paranoia of my children becoming deaf from a tickle-me-Elmo doll.

(I think I forgot that one when I was talking about various parental paranoid irrationalities.... tsk tsk, bad Marty.)

Now there have been a few exceptions along the way... musical instruments are allowed (and most don't even take batteries anyways), for despite the horrible and probably just as deafening cacophony they make, they are also a creative form of artistic expression which should be encouraged in little ones. (And besides, my kids can't become prodigies if they've never seen a musical instrument before, right?). We did receive a few large hand-me-down entertaining-of-toddlers toys that make all sorts of noises and music and have flashing lights and whatnot, which I probably would have been more morally opposed to if they didn't do such a great job keeping the small people entertained. (Yeah, I know, parenthood corrupts the very fiber of your being.) Things like Kristina's ride on horse do take a couple AAAs, to make neighing sounds when she bounces on it, and I did get Adrianna a light up sea horse that plays lullabies, but I see these as a (very) few reasonable exclusions to the no-battery decree (assuming only one is in operation at a time).

But then, every so often, we end up with a toy that was expected to a great, not-requiring-batteries play thing that should make everybody happy but ends up pissing off mommy to no end being slightly more of a nuisance than anticipated.

My mother got Adrianna this pounding tower toy for Kristina's birthday (yes that sentence is correct, and no, I don't understand Grandparents either), and as I had very nearly gotten one for Kristina back in her toddlerhood it was a pleasant addition to our fairly ridiculous toy arsenal.

Except that instead of just hammering the balls down it like was intended, Adrianna also greatly enjoys shoving whatever other small things she can find and fit through the holes into it.

Like the pinwheels and toy cutlery you can see in this particular example. 

And let me tell you, that stuff is a PAIN to get back out again since the tower does not come apart in the slightest.

Yep. Nice toy. Nice idea. Poor execution as it was clearly never tested by an actual toddler, otherwise they would have made a way to slide the plastic front panel off to aide in stuck toy removal.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cottonwood Farm Pumpkin Patch

Last weekend was beautiful.

There was the perfect amount of autumn warmth and Colorado sunshine and blue skies galore.

(You know, in stark contrast to the snow we had the weekend prior or are forecasted to have again in a few days.)

So I thought it would be the perfect day to take the girls to go get some pumpkins.

Which was exactly the same thought as every other family in Boulder County had.

But a throng of cars pulling into an already overflowing farm parking lot did not deter us from our great pumpkin quest!

This particular farm was not one we had been to before, but was fairly convenient and open when we wanted to go, so it seemed worth a shot. The website didn't make it look exceptionally grandiose, but lets face it, my oldest is 4... as long as it has a cow, couple hay bales and a few chickens running around it will totally count as a successful farm visit.

And we going were there for pumpkins anyways, not farm animals.

Ok, so even Adrianna wasn't all THAT impressed by the livestock... 

But the hay bale maze was fun for a few minutes! 

And Kristina thought posing with this was hilarious. I was slightly disappointed they didn't put a whole on the cat's head so Adrianna could be in it too, although whether I could have logistically even pulled off getting both of them to do it at the same time by myself is also very questionable.

And then, after a quick hay ride of which there are no pictures as I was too busy attempting to keep my children from leaping off of hay bales to simultaneously be working the camera (biggest downside of always doing these things alone. Well, that and not having an extra set of arms to carry the immeasurable amount of stuff that always comes along), we made it to the pumpkin patch!

After some carefully surveying the pumpkins,both girls picked one out and loaded into the little wagons the farm had for just this purpose. After I informed Kristina that I was not going to be pulling her, Adrianna, and the pumpkins back to the other side of the farm, she insisted on pulling the sister-and-pumpkin filled wagon the whole way herself.

And what happened to the pumpkins after we got them home? Well, Kristina balked at the idea of carving hers into a jack-o-lantern, and really wanted to just carry it around with her where ever she went in the house, so they've been hanging out on the front porch since.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Useful Signs

Baby sign language was one of those really trendy things to do a few years back.

Being as I both don't have an infant nor am I particularly good on staying up with the latest trends, I couldn't tell you off hand whether it still is such an "in" thing to do.

But I do want to tell you that it can be an incredibly useful tool for the toddler years.

The advantage of the baby sign language is that it fills the period of time when a baby wants to communicate but still doesn't have much for language skills.

Now someone uninitiated into parenthood might not understand why a baby being able to sign "eat" would be so important, but you had better believe that stressed out sleep deprived parent who is desperately trying to figure out what their little darling is screaming her head off about would see some merit to that ability.

I came into motherhood knowing exactly TWO baby signs, "more" and "thank you", from my time working in childcare.

But when baby Kristina not only picked them up but started using "more" constantly, I quickly determined that I needed to expand our baby sign language vocabulary.

I got the Baby Einsteins My First Signs DVD, which although certainly not the stuff of our usual tv watching (and certainly not anything that I thought would make her exceptionally smarter, as I'd been rather disdainful of the series in the past), was a very useful thing to teach both of us a reasonable set of useful signs.

I rather doubt Kristina would have learned all of them and then integrated them into her everyday actions had I not also learned and then regularly used them when talking to her. So as the parent you might just have to watch it with them, at least until you can remember the difference between "bath" and "ball".

And the biggest recommendation I can make is for you to either look up or make up signs for whatever other objects/actions your child regularly uses.

Because otherwise your little one will for you, or you will regret their lack of doing so.

Do you know how many children who were nursed into their toddler years made up a word for "nursing"? Ask around some time, you'll hear some good ones.

(Tatas is more personal favorite, although nuz nuz and shuffy are also pretty good.)

And in our family, Adrianna loves her pacifier.

So far she communicates her want of it in a three step process: Making loud annoying noises, pointing to where we like to hide them out of her reach, and then pointing to her mouth.

Because she won't say "paci" or give it some other name. And I don't have know the sign for it.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Don't Judge the Nursing

A girl I went to college with recently posted the following on facebook:
"I usually have no issue with breast feeding, even in a rather public venue....but in a church pew? During service? With no cover? When the child is 3? Really? Just seemed a bit inappropriate to me. Bring on the mommy hate."
And it annoys me.

Almost as much as the discovery that she is not also friends with the super breast feeding advocate Cornell alumni Leslie, as she would have done much more than the meager half-assed response I did and not been cowed by the string of equally clueless judgmental young women commenting in agreement with the original sentiment.

Personally, I am not a big fan of the "nurse them until they are 5" mentality.

But I don't care if other people choose to do so. Really, why should I? Not my child, not my boobs, not my choice, not my problem.

And nursing in Church? Well, it's actually a pretty great place to nurse all things considered. You're sitting down, most of the attention should be directed elsewhere, very few people can see your chest (without some serious head swiveling) on account of sitting in rows, and many parts of the service are pretty quiet.

Oh and Jesus was breastfed so I kinda feel entitled to tell any concerned clergy to shove it.

Yep, I've nursed in a church pew.

And just about every other place imaginable. And probably without a cover, since my babies liked to pull them off as soon as they had enough hand coordination to do so and I had a serious lack of caring about it if a blanket wasn't convenient. It complimented my serious lack of caring about where I was as well, since trying to run off and find a deserted corner to pull out the nipple when the baby wants it NOW is a major pain and gets really old when it happens every hour or two for a year.

But even besides the nursing technicalities, they're just boobs. Can we please get over them already?

AND the final point of this rant is what irritates me the most. I've touched on this before, the irony of religious messages being the opposite of much of the religious mantra. Like that greatly overused biblical quote about not judging others least you be judged, or the one about loving your fellow man, or even that cliche about treating others how you want to be treated.

I would like to boldly tell the world to shut your mouth about judging others, especially in areas in which you have no (and I really do mean NO) freaking clue what it is you are talking about.

Let people parent how they see fit to parent and (unless it is actual abuse, neglect, or directly affecting you/your offspring) leave them alone already.

Parenting is HARD.

No really, it's at least a thousand times harder than anyone who hasn't done it can possibly think it is. I promise you, most parents are already doing the best they can. No really, lets see how great you do when you haven't gotten more than 4 hours of sleep a night for months (or better yet, YEARS) and your entire existence centers around catering to the whims of this sticky squawking inarticulate helpless blob (or better yet, blobs) and your house looks like it should be on the show Hoarders and you don't know the last time you managed to not have spit up on your shirt, much less shower or put on makeup or go to a restaurant.

Being bitchy about stupid socially ingrained bullcrap is just praying for karma to come bite you on the ass in a few years when you get around to having offspring of your own.

So please don't unfriend me, I *really* want to watch that happen.

Colorado Fall

Remember in my post about the pretty leaves I mentioned it snowed the following weekend?

Yeah, I wasn't kidding...

Nederland, Colorado October 8th 2011

The children, however, were much more excited by it than I was, and spent the entire (freezingly cold) morning demanding to go out to play in it. 

However, there had been one other delay in getting them out to play in the snow. Although I had overnighted snow boots to arrive the day before once a real dumping was in the forecast, I had not gotten around to getting them hats and mittens yet. 

So a quick trip to the mall was in order for the morning, so the afternoon could include the first snowplay of the season.

And the verdict of snow this year??

Pretty awesome.

(It helped that it melted the next day, and the nice warm play outside days have returned, a common occurrence refereed to by locals as Indian Summer.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Enchanted Forest

Wild Bear, an ecology center for kids up here in Nederland, puts on an annual Enchanted Forest every fall.

And this was our first year attending.

The event is an interesting one, part ren-faire, part fall harvest fest, part nature walk, part costumed characters, part trick-or-treating.... And most definitely a unique quirky mountain town thing to take the kiddos to.

The day started by driving into town to discover a mad house of tourists touring the leaves (people are nuts), which made things like parking a little more of a pain.

Then we got to wait for the shuttle to come by.

One might think that waiting for 10 minutes isn't a particular hardship, but that one never would have had to spend those 10 minutes attempting to keep a small squirmy (and by my personal observations, undoubtedly deaf as a doornail) darter from bolting out into an uncharacteristically busy parking lot while simultaneously attempting to answer the constant flow of questions ranging from truly random to stupidly ridiculous from the other child.

(Thank God I don't have, like, six children.... I think I'd be dead by now.)

Luckily, my children have been taken on the bus just enough that they actually kinda know what is expected of them for behavior while they haven't been on buses enough yet to take away the captivating novelty of the experience, which combined for a very uneventful shuttle ride out to Mud Lake.

(Ok, I never actually saw the lake, so for all I know it was just a chunk of forest with an inaccurate name. But the talking animals referenced it. And adults in costumes would NEVER lie to children......)

Then we got off the bus.

And I realized that the event had a much more hippy-renfaire feel to it than the Ecology Center had promoted.

But my children scorned the option to make fairy costumes anyways.

The main focus of the Enchanted Forest, at least according to the advertising, was the forest walk where you would walk a little trail and meet "enchanted animals" who would tell you a big about themselves and how they live in their surrounding environment.

Astute readers may recall that my oldest, Kristina, hasn't had a particularly positive reaction to costumed people in the past (by which I pretty much mean she screamed bloody murder at every sight of one from Santa Clause to Mickey Mouse throughout her 4 little years of life), so I was definitely taking a slight leap of faith on this.

And you know what? She totally rocked it and had a blast!

(So you know, maybe there WILL be a picture of her with Santa Clause before she's 16.)

First up in the Enchanted Forest we met the Beaver, who had been quite busy building his beaver house all day.

I was impressed by Adrianna's willingness to toddle right over and sit down with other kids (blue hoody sweatshirt in the back row), although some of the Beaver's factual information flew right over the preschoolers' heads.

Next was the Dragonfly.

I was actually surprised by the creativity and effectiveness of the costumes, although I did find it a bit distracting that the high female voice of this actor was the one explaining how only the males have the shiny green tummy just like she has...

And then we came to the Bat

This one I think also got a bit overly technical for the younger kiddos on the tour, but certainly gave a fact heavy spiel about how bats navigate to fly and find insects.

(I resisted the urge to chime in "Like the Dragonfly!!")

And then we met the Mountain Lion

Kristina like the mountain lion the most, but we've also had a fair number of conversations over what to do when you meet a mountain lion.

Next was the Salamander (which, to be fair, I didn't know the mountains of Colorado even had, so it was an informative trip even for me...)

And finally we got meet Mr. Bear, just before he lumbered off to hibernate for the winter.

Also note the cameo appearance of our fairy tour guide who had been leading us along the nature path.

(Yeah, I told you there was interesting level of renfaire sprinkled on top of the ecology.)

After visiting with each animal, the kids got to pick out a prize from the basket, including things like a smooth river rock from the salamander, a coloring book from the mountain lion, birdseed from the bat, and a super natural organic health food bar from the Dragonfly.

(This would be the hippy influence, since had I been the one running the thing I totally would have just given them popcorn balls and small packages of M&Ms.)

Now unfortunately, I had not come properly prepared for there to also be venders set up selling wood fired pizza and local beer. Because otherwise I most probably would have given into my children's requests for some (well, some of the pizza... it's possible that *I* was the one disappointed in the lack of getting beer).

So my poor children had to resort to eating the super natural organic health food bars or spend two hours not consuming food that afternoon.

Kristina took a nibble and declared it disgusting (and to be fair, it did rather strongly resemble seaweed). Adrianna ate hers and then Kristina's, and then threw up 45 minutes later.

(Yep, those were way better to give my children than M&Ms.)

(Damn hippies....)

The girls tried their hands at hula hooping (note their matching University of Michigan sweatshirts courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa), Kristina got to run around with numerous classmates (a side effect of a small town) and then they rocked out on a drum accompanying a folk band.

And then we boarded the infamous shuttle bus yet again, and found our way back to town through the crazy throngs of leaf-lookers.

Sorry about both the delay in getting this published and the lack of appropriate links (especially to referances in past blog posts), blogger and the internet (and spell check!!) have NOT been cooperating with me the last few days. The fact that I got the pictures to upload at all is a huge accomplishement at the moment, and I'm to the point of just calling it good enough. Sucks to be human sometimes, always limited by circumstances outside of your control and easily demotivated by the desire for sleep.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Confessions of My Day

I took a brief nap this morning instead of writing blog posts.

I know, how could I?

Well, it was actually pretty easy. You see, I'd been laying with Adrianna to get her to go down for her nap, and the bed was so soft and cozy and the pillow was just sublime and snuggley baby was oh so snuggley....

BUT, I gathered up what will power and strength I had, and did in fact get back up.

And then found my slightly less cozy bed. After setting an alarm, of course, so I would be sure to get to work on time.

But then it turned out that I didn't need it anyways since Kristina's preschool called a little while later to say she was hacking up a lung and could we please come get her or at least appropriately drug her so she stops scaring the other parents with her absolutely horrific sounding cough.

And then I got to surprise my mother, who was meeting me at Target for child handing-off, with BOTH little girls.

I'm sure she was just thrilled.

And then I went to work. Where I kinda regretted not properly dosing up on caffeine before hand, as I was T-I-R-E-D for much of the afternoon and evening.

However, never fear, for now I am home and ready for bed and those three afternoon sodas are totally kicking in.

Which also means, by my amazing and highly lacking of scientific method (or even a calculator) calculations,  I need to be drinking caffeine between 1am and 3am to be properly caffeinated by the time I'm supposed to be back to work in the morning.

Yes, it is going to be a good night, I can feel it.....

And there were Toblerone bars waiting to be thrown away for much of the afternoon. So either our new "save food, give to needy" program still has some kinks, or someone really wanted to test my self control.

Which was just impeccable. And only mostly just because there were other people around whenever I was back by the baler/trash compacter.

I also had the amazing thought on my drive home about how I'm slowly accumulating more red and khaki, and that I'll work at Target for the next year and continue to slowly collect more red and khaki throughout.

And then I'll have the horrible realization that I have NOTHING to wear that's not red and khaki when I try to dress for a non-Target job.

Yep. Scary nightmare, I know.

OH! And I got an email today from someone wanting me to link to their patriotic apparel website in exchange for a free tshirt. I'm not morally opposed to this, but need to be bribed better (I *REALLY* like My Little Ponies, hint hint Hasbro...) and to receive slightly less spammy seeming emails about it.

In conclusion, Stair Guarding Cat is watching you. Meow.

Leafing Crazy

The mountain towns have many seasons of tourists.

There are the summer ones who are all about the hiking and camping.

Some are real outdoor die hards, who will voluntarily spend a week or two scaling mountains, sleeping on rocks, and eating nothing but pine needles and scant amounts of beef jerky.

Some are more rational human beings, and like to spend a few days at a campground conveniently located next to their car and well stocked with things like air mattresses and s'mores fixings.

And then some have no idea what camping is, and will set up a tent merely on the edge of a mountain highway.

(There's a reason there are "no camping in canyon" signs all over the place.)

Then we have the winter ski tourists. These ones are heaviest in the spring, when the biggest dumpings of snow come.

These ones split up more by economic class, as skiing and snowboarding are expensive hobbies. And yet, many who live here live to do them.

And then we have the fall tourists.

These are the ones that like to things like go for a mountain drive to look at the leaves.


Ok, the mountains are always kinda pretty, and the golden aspens do add a seasonally unique (and very short lived) flavor to it.

But really, the excuse of "looking at the leaves" is just a stupid one. Colorado doesn't have LEAVES, New York and the rest of the East Coast have LEAVES (believe me, I know, I spent two falls raking them).

Too bad nobody listens to me about these important matters....

But it's ok, because the weekend following the en mass appearance of annoying leaf looking tourists brought snow.

Good bye fall, lets bring on the winter!


Side note: all three photographs are from my drive home from work. So sometimes commuting really isn't half bad, at least in the views department.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Improving Business

It was recently announced at daily blood clot meeting huddle that the Boulder Target store was starting a new program for all it's damaged food merchandise.

(You know, the stuff like the chocolate cupcake I stole from the forgotten trash cans.)

So from now on, things like crackers and bread (and cupcakes) at the their expiration date and dented/damaged label canned goods will be going to the Boulder food bank, where they will then make the deciding call as to whether that particular loaf of bread (or cupcake) is still of reasonable quality to serve to their patrons.

I think it's both awesome, and something that they should have started at least 10 years ago.

But hey, now there will be less waste for the corporation, more community involvement, and maybe even a sliver of connection to me genuinely helping people.

Also, I have no idea how much stuff already gets pulled from the shelves (as I don't work in market) that would fall into the "still perfectly good food just not of great quality for selling at Target" category, but I have low personal morals and would not be overly opposed to "accidentally" denting a few (hundred) cans of soup should there ever be a shortage. And I kinda suspect there's a couple of people who actually work in market who just might be of the same mindset as me.

Yep, those punk Target employees sure have been getting clumsy with the canned goods these days.

(You're welcome, people taking meals at the Boulder food bank.)

Very unrelated side note: Blogger hasn't been letting me upload pictures today, which is why there is no dented can illustration with this post, and why the big long post I had been working on for much of the evening about what we did last weekend (it involved a talking salamander and rocking out on some drums with the band) isn't up yet. Because it NEEDS the pictures, while this one can survive without.

Barney the Book Owl

One of the very neat things which Kristina's preschool Over the Rainbow does is send each child home in turn with the special basket containing Barney the Book Owl, a woodland creature story, a class photo album, and a journal for them to add to.

Now admittedly, I may have been *slightly* forlorn to look through the journal and see all the pretty pictures the other children drew (most of which also had detailed paragraphs written in by the parents about the drawings and how much the child liked playing with Barney the Book Owl), while my child proceeded to frantically fill up several pages with wild pink marker scribbles.

But she DID greatly enjoy playing with Barney, and brought him to bed with her for several nights.

However, I had been working a late shift on the day she brought Barney home from school, and therefore hadn't been properly breifed on his arrival to our family since she was in bed already by the time I got home and therefore didn't make formal introductions for us.

And the grandparents totally slacked off on remembering to mention it to me either. 

Which means I met Barney about 2am when Kristina had gotten up to use the bathroom and was stuck trying to work her sleeper zipper while not taking her hand out of the stuffed owl puppet.

And when I asked her "what is that??", she informed me "it's BAAARNEEEEEY", very much with the implied undertone that I'm just being a dope and should totally know who the hell Barney the Book Owl is at 2am when I'm staggering around in a dimly lit bathroom attempting to work a suborn sleeper zipper. 

(If that child knew the word "Duh", she most certainly would have been using it right then.)

It all made a little more sense the next morning when I was both awake and reading the enclosed explanatory insert from Barney the Book Owl's special basket. In fact, it almost seemed like a very cute classroom project.

And then I suggested Kristina color in the previously mentioned journal, and somehow it started to seem a little less cute....

But it's ok, because everyone just LOVES Barney the Book Owl!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Winter is Expensive

I arrived home from work yesterday to have my father inform me that my car had an appointment to get it's snow tires put on today for the suddenly forecasted dumping tomorrow.

At which point I realized I needed to get my children set on their winter gear. Like, last week.


But never fear, Amazon Prime shipping specials are here!!

And snow boots for both of them will be showing up tomorrow. Hopefully before the snow. Or at least before there's enough snow that they can't leave the house without them.

Yay! I feel like super mommy!!

Oh wait, they need mittens too? And new hats? And snowpants? And Kristina will need a new jacket before the winter is out??


That's a lot of winter gear.

And buying the good stuff (you know, the stuff that might actually BE waterproof and marginally warm) costs a lot of money. I found some great mittens for them over at LLBean... that cost $22.50 a piece. For MITTENS!! You know, those thing that undoubtedly at least one of will probably be lost (and therefore need to be replaced) before the winter is even done! And the only reason the snow boots weren't truly ridiculous was Amazon has some sort of promotion going on at the moment that took off $20 from my order (I haven't figured out what it was yet... my guess would be either a two pair deal or buying over a set price point, but still something to look into should you need to go buy a couple pairs of winter boots today too).

And I get to look forward to this every fall!!


Living where there's winter is expensive with kids.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Sisters in September

Scan ALL the Outs!!

I made this for my Team Lead (that would be my lowest level of direct boss for those who haven't been reading past blog posts in great detail), and although it really is pretty awesome just how it is, it's even MORE awesome if you get the memes at play.

(Yes, meme is now considered a real word. Don't give me that look, I didn't perpetuate the internet.)

Now first up, I really should disclose that the only amount of the above pictured artwork I did is the part written in red. The rest of it was done by the incredibly hilarious Allie over at Hyperbole and a Half. And the specific picture is from my second favorite post of hers of all time, This is why I'll never be an adult. You should go read it if you haven't before, it's just pure excellence.

(Oh, and go read The god of cake as well, as it is my favoratest post of hers.)

Also, it makes the picture make slightly more sense, as you'll be expanding your internet cultural icon understanding as to where the "ALL THE THINGS" meme comics came from. See usage examples here, here, and here

So even if my Team Lead doesn't know all the cultural back references (although really, what IS he doing in his free time??), I'm still hoping he'll see the adorableness of how I approach my scanning of outs, since this image it totally how I see myself each morning.

Well, at least on the mornings when I've eaten enough pre-work cookies to have reached the proper levels of sugar-spiked wakefulness to be in any state beyond semi-comatose zombie stagger.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Colors and Time

A few years back, my mother went through a picture overhaul and started doing all sorts of things with various old family photos.

And a few of her projects called for scanning the pictures into the computer.

And a few of those she emailed to me.

And every so often, I come across them when looking for other various things saved in various places on the computer.

This one has an interestingly high amount of ME-ness to it. The expression is one I wore often for photos, and is even the particular smile I personally wanted for my senior picture in high school (although I was overruled for one where I was laughing. I think I look kinda stupid in pictures in which I am laughing. My parents think they're the cutest of them all. Obviously the "parent mind" is at play here).

But the thing that caught my eye most recently was the tutu.

The tutu had been put up for sale in an office window that we passed every day at drop off and pick up at the childcare center I attended.

And my 4 year old little self WANTED that tutu.

My mother said no.

Luckily, she forgot to tell my father about the incident, as I did I when I asked him for it the next day.

Tutu received, life lesson learned.

And oh how I loved that tutu. That tutu was the most wonderful thing in all the world, for YEARS (no really, YEARS) and I was truly distraught when I simply could not manage to get it on any more as I had grown a bit over the 4 or 5 years that I played with it constantly.

But I had not noticed something about that tutu until today.

Do you see that dusty rose/mauvey color that the attached leotard part is? To this day that is probably one of my most preferred colors to get shirts in. I commissioned a custom made hakama in that shade during my stint at the Jade Tiger Dojo. I had a bedroom that color in my later childhood years, and kinda want to make it that color again now (especially since now I don't have to deal with sharing it with a boy, and their whining about not wanting pink floral sheets).

(I'm sure my children at least would be in FULL support of my bed also getting a pink make-over.)

You might even notice a certain blog with a not-overly-dissimilar shade applied to it. 

And yet, I never realized where my liking of that color palate originally came from until now.

Yep, it was the color of most glorious tutu of all.

May it rest in peace.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Zit Painful Shopping Experience

Today after work I stopped by the cosmetics section to get some facial moisturizer stuff.

I don't buy stuff from that whole section very often, between details like a container of most anything usually lasting a pretty solid year (or like, 5+ if we want to talk about the last time I bought foundation) and me being rather disinclined to care overly large amounts about what is going on my face as long as it's not a huge zit on the end of my nose.

Alas, I ran out of under-eye cream a month ago and the general face moisturizer last week and I'm about to be out of cleanser, and this lack of the usual items has been causing some weird skin issues (read - big zits on my chin) to appear. So I finally broke down this evening and managed to spend 5 minutes purchasing some replacement stuff instead of just thinking "oh I should buy that" and never quite managing it. 

However while doing so I was reminded of the other reason why I find buying female facial products to be more of a pain than it's usually worth.

If you go into this section at a drugstore or ever-awesome Target (I know, it may be very foreign territory for the men reading this... all two of you........), you will see a LOT of products marketed towards acne control. Vanity is certainly a selling point, and no-one is ever particularly pleased with an outbreak of zits. Couple that with teens being some of the biggest spenders on non-necessity items and their proneness to both getting pimples and being overly self conscience of said pimples, and it's pretty easy to see such a big part of the market is devoted to zit-zapping claims.

And then the rest of the facial care section is pretty much entirely anti-wrinkle and anti-aging products, which again can be pretty easily understood by our culture's weird obsession with youth (how many famous women are over the age of 45 and how many of those have greying hair? Yeah....) and fear of aging.

But you see, amazingly enough I'm not actually freaking out about getting wrinkles yet, nor do I have much issue with zits (assuming I do my normal wash/lotion routine) these days. I know, this is really crazy for someone in their 20s to say, but I tend to look in the mirror and think my complexion looks just fine.

I just need a way to clean it to keep it that way.

So when the occasion arises that I do need to go buy more things from these aisles, it usually takes me a while just to find the three out of three hundred products on the shelf that AREN'T blatantly marketed towards zits or wrinkles (or both!), and then I have to remember really hard why I'm not just using a bar of a soap for this when facial cleanser costs twenty bucks and soap is like sixty five cents a bar. 

But hey, now I'm totally set for another 8 to 12 months of wonderful (but not overly glowing, mind you) complexion.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

In which I make a Wager

Yesterday was a hard day at work.

My job title specifically is In-Stocks, and yesterday was not a good day to be on the in-stocks team.

Part of what we do is physically move all the stuff the back room is pulling as dictated by the computer system onto the sales floor, which is commonly refereed to simply as the line. If there are lots of things sitting back there waiting to be pushed out, the line is full. If everything has been moved out to the floor, the line is cleared.

Now there are lots of variables to exactly what would cause the line to be particularly full or empty at any given time, everything from when the backroom gets the information (top of the hour) to when the in-stocks crew took their lunch breaks.

Yesterday had one person scheduled for opening, which makes for a harsh start to the day anyways, and it happened to be one of the new guys who also needs to leave after only 4 hours for class, both of which made it that much harsher. Me and one other had the mid shift, and there was one for close.

This was pretty minimal scheduling (as some days will have a total of 6 or 7 people), and a newer break down of times. When I first started, the usual schedule of 4 put two openers and two closers, and I'm not sure how well the change to having the opener leave and two people do a mid is working, but that is merely slight back story and otherwise unimportant to the day.

This weekend is also parent's weekend at CU, which meant the store was much busier than usual. Which is just a big bullseye for causing bad days for those working at Target.

(Dear Cassi, did you see my subtle pun there? I thought you'd be proud.)

So, the opener of in-stocks never did get all his scanning done, much less start moving stuff out from the line. The other mid and I jumped in to do a little damage control in the backroom when we got there, as it really was looking pretty bad at that point. You know, just like it looks at that time EVERY day. But we were getting it under control pretty fast, and thirty minutes later I jumped off to go take care of the drastic count report.

This is something that the opener is supposed to get done as well, except that when there's only one opener they are definitely pushing it to get all the morning scanning and signing done on time (even when they're veteran team members) and with him needing to leave after 4 hours he simply never got a chance to do the drastic count report. But see, this is a commonly occuring problem, and our Team Lead told me to make sure it got done the days I had the mid shift if the openers didn't get a chance.

So again, a little crazy, but not anything strikingly out of the norm for my job.

And then, the Executives started getting involved.

Yesterday had two big problems with Executives. First up, there were too many of them and not enough low level sales floor personal. And second, the one "in charge" of it all was the intern.

Yep, we have an intern Executive. Who regularly makes me want to start banging my head against the wall.

When she was the LOD (that would be the fancy Target acronym for the person "in charge", which I always thought meant "leader on duty" but then someone else said it was "leader of department", so now I'm not really sure) a few days ago when I opened, she started hollering at in-stocks that there were six pulls on the line at 9:30 in the morning and that we needed to come back and get them cleared out right then.

But you see, 9:30 is a half hour BEFORE we are ideally supposed to be done with all our morning scanning chaos according to our Team Lead. And that's not even related to when we HAVE to be done before we start screwing up the drops in the computer system, which would be an entire hour after that. And it takes 2 veteran in-stocks people exactly 30 seconds to move 4 pulls from the line when stuff starts getting crazy, so there being 6 really isn't a concern to anyone on in-stocks in the slightest.

So we'll just put out the subtle idea that she has no idea what the in-stocks team does in the morning, much less any idea of the time frame we follow, and that I find the combination of her lack of knowledge and her need to be yelling at us for things we're not actually doing wrong mildly irritating.

And that was *prior to* yesterday.

And yesterday, the intern Executive took it on as her personal mission in life that the line should be absolutely cleared at all times (but if the line is always cleared, then what do the in-stocks team members DO?? Exactly...), and then started hollering for the sales floor team to come work out pulls (which most totally suck at, and should only be used in truly desperate times like during the back-to-college mayhem), while completely ignoring my attempts to tell her that in-stocks really could and would get it cleared out in the next hour.

So I stopped doing the drastic count report (which is supposed to be done by noon every day, but why worry her about details like that) to go move out another half dozen pulls in thirty minutes.

And then, when I went back to my attempts at getting the drastic count report done for the day at about 12:15pm, a backup call went out to the front check-out lanes. Admittedly, I was totally blowing it off, because damnit, I needed to get this drastic count report done.

But remember how there were lots of Executives? Well, another one that we shall call Lord Voldermaunt started individually calling out via walkie-talkie to the entire sales floor to find out whether they were backing up to the front. I attempted to briefly explain that my partner in crime single fellow in-stocks team member had just gone to break and that I was still trying to get this already late report done while also continuing to ensure that the line didn't take another dive into the shit-basket, to which he responded that I should take a break from doing all that and go back up from the front.

I may have been wearing my not-a-happy-Marty face by this point, but I went up to the check lanes anyways, where I was told by the GSTL (Guest Service Team Leader, the one who is both in charge of the check lanes AND actually standing up there to survey the present damage) that they were fine and didn't need me since 8 people had already come up.

But hey, at least I was fond enough of my job mature enough not to mention this over the walkies to Lord Voldermaunt as I went back to what I had been doing.

I did finally get the drastic count report done and turned in, and promptly made a bee-line to my government sanctioned morning break while only mildly regretting not having a flask in my purse (the chocolate cupcakes in the breakroom significantly helped the regret to only be a mild one).

However, the happiness over surprise chocolate was short lived, as the intern Executive called the daily huddle shortly after my return from break and again demanded for sales floor people to grab pulls upon it's conclusion, completely disregarding details like the arrival right then of our third in-stocks team member of the afternoon and the drastic count report now being done and that we had been our breaks as having any influence to the present state of the (not really all that bad) line or what it might look like in, say, 45 minutes. 

Miraculously, the next couple of hours were fairly Executive free, and even included a pleasant book-filled lunch break for me.

And then the changing of the guards happened, where the opening LOD (that would be the intern Executive I'm just so fond of) hands off the "in charge" aspect of the store to the closing LOD. The closing LOD for yesterday was one I usually get along with fairly well and therefore hadn't been dreading the arrival of, and whom we shall call simply refer to as Capt'n Jack.

Now unfortunately, Capt'n Jack is a yeller by nature. And truly unfortunately, he began his assessment of the state of the store at the front and moved to the back, so he was quite thoroughly pissed at the sales floor people doing poorly with their work before he ever even got to the line in the backroom. And exceptionally unfortunately, his arrival was right after the two mid in-stocks people had been on lunch and the closer in-stocks guy had been on his first break, so the line wasn't at it's prettiest right then.

And so, when he called out over the walkie that he wanted to see in-stocks back at the line NOW, it was a safe bet that this wasn't about to be pretty.

When we arrived, the intern Executive was dishing us up on a silver platter to Capt'n Jack about how she'd blitzed the line multiple times that afternoon and we just weren't getting our work done at all that day and that her needing to rely on the sales floor for moving the line was why they hadn't gotten their zoning done.

(Thanks intern Executive, all of us on in-stocks loves you so much more for pulling shit like that.)

And because we were in the backroom and not out on the sales floor, he could bellow at us to his hearts content.

And then you know what we did? The three in-stocks team members cleared that mother fucking line completely bare-boned empty in 40 minutes, and had a solid 10 minutes after that before the backroom got more pulls together for us.

We *may* have gloated about it ever so slightly.

"Hey Capt'n, your line is clear!"

"Hey Capt'n, in-stocks is going to go run some abandon real quick because the line is clear."

"Hey Capt'n, did you hear that in-stocks cleared the line and that backroom still doesn't have any pulls for us yet?"

So then Capt'n took me and my fellow mid-shifter aside, and made us a little wager. He said that we could get it cleared out again from all the evening drops before we left at 7, he'd buy us Starbucks.

There were a lot of evening drops yesterday (from selling so much crap all day long to all the stupid college students and their parents, since apparently their precious can't possibly buy their own paper plates and Easy-Mac), and we worked our asses off to get everything out.

But we did it, and officially had the last pull out, worked, and the trash cleaned up at 6:50pm.

As I was sipping my venti hot chocolate, I had the thought that it wasn't really worth it. I worked HARD that day. And I didn't want an overpriced hot drink as a reward. No no, I wanted the Executives to leave me and the rest of in-stocks alone.

I fully believe that in-stocks can (and regularly DOES) get all their shit done, and we don't need Executives micro-managing every second of the day  to do so.

And I want to prove it.

I want to wager with Capt'n Jack that if we take care of business an entire day without Executive involvement, he and the other LOD's will back off and stop throwing hissy fits about the line.

Odds of success in this venture? Probably pretty low... but I'm still thinking I may try it anyways.