If I Wasn’t Afraid…

Things in Neverland are never exactly quiet, and I have some fun PJ posts in the works that I will hopefully get out in the next couple of days. But right now, I’ve been given a really exciting professional opportunity and I’ve been devoting some of my regular blogging time to making it happen.

I can’t share details yet, but the big picture is that an essay I wrote for work has been picked up by a national industry publication – yay! This is my fourth publication, and the first for a feature article with my very own byline, so it’s still a novelty and very exciting for me. That would have been plenty to feel good about, but then my contact approached me and asked if I would consider being a panelist for an audio conference on the topic I wrote about.

Good thing I read “Lean In” this summer, because my first thought was “Who, me? I’m no expert, I just think thoughts and write them down. And what if people don’t like them? What if all the questions are: what the hell does this chick know about anything?” And then I remembered…

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Well, if I wasn’t afraid (scared to death, terrified, etc) I would say yes and do my research and stand by what I wrote. So I did. I said yes. And now there’s an appointment sitting on my calendar with “Panelist Instructions for Webinar” attached to it. And I’m still scared. Actually, I’m a little afraid just to tell you all that this is happening – I mean, what if they figure out I’m just a girl with an opinion and call the whole thing off?! Or even worse, what if ::gasp:: someone actually listens? Then where will I be?

Deep breath. Maybe by the time it happens, I’ll stop being so scared and, in the most famous catchphrase of all, just do it.

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Pumpkin Fun!

My grandpa Skip had a really awesome custom bar in his basement – real wood, and the top had all kinds of stickers and other memorabilia from all the races that he went to. Here is just a small part of it:

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He was also known for mixing up a WICKED whiskey sour! Just one could knock you for a pretty good loop. When my grandparents remodeled a few years ago, when Grandpa wasn’t able to spend as much time in his man cave (which he had for years before anyone ever used that term), he gave the bar to my brother Kyle.

Last year, after Grandpa’s funeral, my parents, brothers, sister-in-law, husband, and I decided to have a whiskey sour pumpkin carving party at the bar. We had a lot of fun, and Kyle did a damn good job replicating those crazy whiskey sours!

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Last night, we had our second annual pumpkin party at the bar. PJ was a trooper, he was fascinated by the whole process. We went with spiced wine instead of whiskey sours this year, which meant less loopiness but better carvings! Here’s our group shot:

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And the lit pumpkins in the dark:

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That’s a storm trooper, Tinkerbell, a semi-traditional jack-o-lantern, and Captain Hook. Yay for family traditions, pumpkins, and fall!

Simple Saturday Pleasures

Today, we will…

– Snuggle and watch cartoons
– Drink lots of coffee (Mommy & Daddy, not PJ)
– Give the boogie sucking bulb thingie a workout (PJ, not Mommy & Daddy)
– Stop by the farmers’ market to pick up our pictures from fall fest and delicious produce
– Bake cookies
– Have lots of hugs and kisses

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Freezer Favorite: Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole

Here’s one of my favorite freezer meals. It’s an adaptation of one of Tricia Yearwood’s recipes (original is here.).

I cut the butter WAY back, switched in sour cream for the half and half (sour cream is one of the few dairy products that works in freezer recipes), and added green beans to get another veggie in.
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Master Plan: Revealed

PJ is getting more and more interested in figuring out what he can do with his little body. So far his party tricks include:

– Army crawling around his crib
– Making his own personal water spouts at bath time
– Discovering his voice
– Learning to move things with his hands
– Holding onto his feet to help himself sit
– Attempting to help himself to snacks from Mom’s Diner

Those last three are what I’ve come to realize are the Master Plan for housewide baby domination. He’s getting pretty good at maneuvering himself into position, I’m just bracing myself for him figuring out how to get under the shirt. I’m sure it will happen somewhere public with my luck!

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Since I’m here and all, now seems like as good a time as any to feed me, Mommy!

Point of View: The Interview

In response to this week’s writing challenge: The Difference A Point Of View Makes. I hope you enjoy it!

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Part One: Do You See What I See?

I see a tall, gray-haired man shuffling uncomfortably in his seat. He has stacks of paper piled every which way, and he’s glancing through the partially open door, to the paper in his hand, toward another folder in the stack, and back again. He switches papers twice before sighing and standing up, walking towards the door, and saying (in a brusque, somewhat irritated tone) “Unique? Come on in.”

Unique unfolds herself from the waiting room chair, brushes a strand of brown hair out of her carefully made up eye, and slips her phone into the outside pocket of her designer bag. She follows the man past the magazines that she never even glanced at, and settles into the chair in front of his desk.

Over the next ten minutes, they exchange the usual rehearsed lines –

“What made you decide to apply here?” (Don’t say the money, Unique, never say you want money).

“Tell me about yourself.” (Nothing too real, Unique, and nothing that can’t be disproven on Facebook).

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” (Be humble, Unique, don’t let your ambition flag fly just yet).

A few more benign sentences, and Unique is out the door, her phone jumping out of the bag and into her hand almost unconsciously before the door has fully closed.

Deep sighs on both sides of the door.

Part Two: Do You Hear What I Hear?

This can’t be right. This resume says I’m talking to someone named “Unique”? Uni-got-to-be-kidding me! Maybe I grabbed the wrong one? I can kind of see her, she looks more like a Jenny to me. Is there even a Jenny in here? No? Damn. Guess I better get started.

“Unique? Come on in.”

Oh great, she’s on one of those damn phones all the time. Probably Twitting the Faceblog or whatever it is. Oh well, once I finish our script for social media I can get her to put it on there for me while she’s tapping away anyway. At least that way I’ll know I got a few minutes worth of her paycheck out of her.

Ugh, typical. She wants to know about “flex time” and “career development” and is that an earring on the side of her nose? And that vibrate setting isn’t fooling anyone, I hear that phone going off every ten seconds. And oh sure, you can cite my website, but have you read our features in the trade pubs? For that matter, have you ever even read a newspaper?

Thanks for your time, Unique. I’ll call you if we ever run out of real workers.

Deep sigh.

Part Three: Do You Know What I Know?

OK, Unique, you can do this. You can walk in there and show him confidence, show him adaptability, and whatever you do don’t show him how desperate you are to land this paycheck that will finally, finally start covering some of those student loan payments.

“Unique? Come on in.”

A few years ago I would have cringed at that tone and maybe even apologized that my parents chose that name for me. Now I just smile and pretend I don’t hear it. I also pretend not to know why I’m being asked what I’ve come to think of as the “Adventures in Babysitting” part of the interview.

I can see you think you’ve got me figured out – I’m lazy and don’t want to work because I ask about flex time and I have an active social media account (or three). But do you also know that I’m just as likely to send and respond to my work emails from home on a Saturday, or while I’m on vacation, as I am to scroll my newsfeed in a staff meeting? Do you realize that I am coming to work every day (once I manage to get hired anyway) with no real expectation of anything other than blurred lines between my working hours and personal ones? And not just day to day either, I am starting my career with no real expectation that I’ll ever be able to stop and retire. I guess I am just lazy like that.

And I saw that sneer when I asked about career development. Do you realize that before I ever set foot on a college campus, I went from listening to my parents’ records, to taping cassettes off the radio, to buying CD’s, to loading an iPod, to streaming my own custom radio station right to my phone? For better or for worse, when it comes to improvement, my world isn’t measured in years. For that matter, my world can be made or broken with a two minute video that travels around the world faster than a speeding bullet.

So thanks for your time, sir. I’m sure I’ll hear from you when you need to know why that “iOS 19.5 available. Update now?” alert won’t go away.

Deep sigh.

Dear PJ: Your Guardian Angel

Dear PJ,

Last year, on a beautiful October day just like this one, your Great Grandpa Skip took a trip to heaven. He was very sick, and we were glad that he wasn’t in any more pain, but we sure do miss him.

As you grow up, Mommy will tell you lots of stories about Grandpa Skip and how much I loved him. I’ll tell you about all the summer kids’ trips that we went on where your very brave great grandparents took five little kids and one camper and hit the road! We rode four wheelers, and toured museums, and dressed in silly outfits, and had so much fun every year. I’ll teach you how to play Skip Bo, and lots of ways to play poker, and I’ll laugh when you make that stubborn face that you inherited from Grandpa!

He would have been so excited to get to hold you and play with you and your cousins, but it didn’t work out that way. It’s ok to be a little sad about that. Mommy is too, but whenever I am I remember that he has a big job to do – being your guardian angel, and Hope’s, and Jaxson’s, and whatever little cousins come along next.

In fact, the very first night Daddy and I put you in your crib when you came home from the hospital, we both saw a white mist come to take a peek! And while you were teeny tiny, you slept in this special snuggler that Nana made from Grandpa’s shirt. Mommy saved it for when you’re big enough to love it again.

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You’re part of a very special family, kiddo. We laugh a lot, cry when we need to, get mad at each other and say we’re sorry, and most of all – we love each other very much.

Love,
Mommy