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March 30, 2010

Ah, bacon.

About a week and a half ago now, Steve and I were discussing upcoming weekend plans, extending well into April.

Steve: Oh, Poker Night is Saturday.
Me: Which Saturday?
Steve: Start with today, and keep going until you bump into a Saturday. That's Poker Night.

So, this past Saturday was that Poker Night for the boys. Two of the girls and I decide to cook for them. And we decided to wrap as many things in bacon as humanly possible.

Bacon. Sometimes, bacon is the most delicious thing ever in the world. And other times, it wouldn't even occur to me to take any steps towards having bacon on my plate.

It could have gone either way: delicious, or overkill.

We ended up wrapping the following: asparagus, cheese-stuffed jalapenos, hard boiled egg halves, shrimp, and garlic-stuffed cherry tomatoes. And then we breaded (not baconed) zucchini, more shrimp, and more of the cheese-stuffed jalapenos.

All in all, I think it was rather delicious. I also think the girls and I drank more wine than we ate things wrapped in bacon, but it all worked out.

And then I crafted! I spent Saturday baconing and Sunday crafting, and I think it was a pretty fabulous weekend.

March 27, 2010

Movin' On

This is the story of my career. So far.

Four years ago, I came to this job. I'd been a Customer Service Supervisor for just about a year when the opportunity to be promoted to an Operations Manager at another office came up. I knew going in it would be hard--the ops manager was leaving to have a baby, the CSS was leaving to go back to school, and the branch manager had been out on medical leave and wasn't coming back--but I didn't know how hard.

I had a staff that had loved their old management family, and did not take kindly to the newcomer. They made my life as difficult as they could. Because I was the only supervisor in the branch, I was working six days a week, ten-plus hours most days. No one wanted to help me get anything done, because it "wasn't their job". One by one, they all quit.

I heard through the grape vine that someone I thought should have had my back was of the opinion that I may have been promoted too quickly and I wasn't ready for the job.

I cried. A lot. Many days, I cried all the way home from work, which was a 45-minute commute on good traffic days. It was a lot of crying.

Eventually, we got a full management team. I hired an awesome staff. A few people have rotated through in the last few years, but it's always been good. We've gotten to be more like a family. It's not always easy and we don't always see eye-to-eye, but we support each other and we get the job done.

Somewhere along the line, I got pretty good at my job.

Yesterday, I got offered a new job.

I have a job-angel, see. My JA got me hired as a CSS, as an Ops Manager, and now she was instrumental in my getting this job.

At first, I was a little hesitant--it's a promotion in responsibility, but a sidemotion in salary. And really, if you factor in the fact that there is no opportunity to earn any kind of incentive pay like my OM job has, it's sort of more of a backmotion in salary.


It's a new set of challenges and responsibilities, and it's a job I think I would really like, and really be good at. And there's room to grow.

And I'm excited! It'll be hard, and scary, and I may feel overwhelmed at first, but I will just look back at myself four years ago, and have confidence that I can do it. I'll be pretty good at this job, too.

March 23, 2010

Ear lowering

This weekend, I cut Steve's hair.

Now, up until this point, I'd never cut anyone's hair! Unless you count cutting dolls' hair as a child. Or trimming my own bangs, which, let's be honest, is really just following the edge the hairdresser left and making it a few centimeters shorter.

There were a few reasons Steve wanted me to cut his hair.

1. His mother has cut her husband's and three boys' hair over the last nearly thirty years. If this non-professional (with 30 years of non-professional hair-cutting experience, of course) can do it, so can I!

2. My mom has cut my dad's hair, also for the last 30 years. It must be in my genes.

3. Steve always goes to the beauty school where, although the girls are well-trained in hair cutting theory, many of them are absolute real-hair cutting novices. Her name was Nadia, it was her first time with a man...

So. We bought a set of clippers and set to work. Even the longest clipper setting seemed awfully short to me, so while I used it to do the back and sides, I cut the top by hand. Steve's hair is curly, so I can't honestly be sure any of this was even. In fact, I'm fairly certain it wasn't. But it was done, and, as Steve pointed out, not any worse than what those beauty school beginners have done in the past.


When the clipping and trimming was done, Steve told me to take the attachments off the clipper and "clean up" the edges. My first mistake was starting on his left sideburn, instead of the back. Somehow, it didn't occur to me that without the attachments, the clipper was more of a shaver. Yes, that's right, I REMOVED HIS LEFT SIDEBURN COMPLETELY. I just meant to make it shorter! And neater! ACK!

Steve swore it was fine, and even laughed at my horror. Maybe I should have taken the right one off, too, to make them even... but I didn't. I cleaned up the right one appropriately so that from one side, at least, his hair looks normal. It's possible that from the front, he's entirely lopsided, but from the right, he's good.

So. First haircut not entirely a success. I have at least two more to go to make the price of the clipper set worthwhile over getting haircuts at the beauty school. Hopefully, I improve significantly by the next time.

March 19, 2010

Pooper Dog

Chloe is such a funny dog. She's still pretty much terrified of strangers, or children, or people walking by the house, or traffic, the doorbell, heels clicking on the pavement, being followed... she's a little quirky. But she's also FUN! When she's in her playful, runny mood, she will literally run in circles around me, still attached to her leash, while I turn around and around and around to keep up with her. We both end up a little dizzy.

This was our morning walk:

Chloe: Bird! Look, bird! Flying bird! Maybe I can REACH it! ::bounce, bounce::
Me: Come on, crazy. This way.
Chloe: Oo, this way has a SQUIRREL! TWO squirrels! Chasing each other! I can chase the squirrels too! Right? RIGHT? Squirrel!
Me: We're not chasing squirrels. Here, come on...
Chloe: What's that? A car! I think it's a car. Do you see the car? There's a car coming from over there. Car! And now it's going that way! Can we follow the car?
Me: No, we're focusing on the business at hand. Let's go.
Chloe: Oh, LOOK! Someone running! I know I'm usually afraid of people, but this one's RUNNING! We can chase her! Like the squirrels! Or... MAYBE I'LL JUST RUN AROUND YOU IN CIRCLES! This is FUN!
Me: Oh, boy...

Lots of people in my complex have dogs. LOTS. We know most of them. We know which ones to run over and play with and which ones to stay on track and keep away from. And most people we encounter regularly know how quirky Chloe is. She will play with their dog, but if they (the human) try to pet Chloe or get to close to her, she will back up and bounce away and go back to doggie time.

There's one woman with a chihuahua named Minnie who does not like big dogs. Minnie, not the woman. (Oh, another weird thing is that I know all the dogs' names, but none of the humans'!) Anyway. Minnie's mom calls Chloe "Cleo". There is a dog named Cleo in the complex, but she's a small, white, fluffy little thing. Chloe is a 55-pound Shepherd/Rhodesian/something mix. Not small or white or fluffy. And no matter how many times I say Chloe's name in a conversation with Minnie's mom, she does not pick up on her error.

The other day, I walked out of the house with Chloe, and from down the sidewalk and around the corner, I hear "CHLOE!!!" in a happy, speaking-to-a-puppy voice. I could not see the human attached to it, but I knew it was Minnie's mom. I thought, Can she even see us? How does she know I just came outside with Chloe? And HOW DID SHE FINALLY GET HER NAME RIGHT??.

Well. As we rounded the corner, I saw Minnie, her mom, and CLEO AND HER MOM. So somehow, this very nice and friendly woman who loves dogs has gotten Cleo and Chloe irreversibly mixed up.

Long time...

Oh my gosh, I can't even believe how long it's been since I last blogged here! Let's see if I can catch you up:

- I met Steve's parents for the first time with an ocean kayaking trip around one of the Channel Islands (about an hour's ferry ride from the Ventura Harbor). I didn't die, although I did decline to go into one of the caves as the waves were crashing violently against the jagged rock walls. Turned out it was a good call, as the next people to try to navigate through ended up being slammed against the wall and dumped out of their kayak. There was a little blood, but they were fine and I was GLAD I'd put my foot down. So to speak. Otherwise, kayaking was much fun, and it was gorgeous on the water.
- Steve and I saw JOURNEY with Night Ranger at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Great concert!
- I went to Chicago, saw Animal Crackers with the fam, went to breakfast with Jamie, Craig, and Emily. GOOD TIMES.
- I participated in my fifth Aids Walk Los Angeles, and helped to head up my work's walking team.
- I saw the Bangles and Heart with Roni at the Greek Theatre. It was apparently a Very 80's Music October.
- I got my new, fabulous Windows 7 desktop computer--FREE!!--with gift cards I earned with credit card rewards points. It's awesome to get free stuff.
- My company got sold to a Big Bank on October 30th. It was shocking and very, very sad and there were tears and anger and numbness for many reasons which I don't think I'll get into now. I'm still sad about it as I write this entry on March 19th!

Here, have some October pictures:
On Big Thunder Mountain Gettin' ready to kayak On the ferry to Santa Cruz Island Karate Chloe

- I took Chloe to Steve's, where his roommates were dogsitting for Arroyo. Chloe LOVES other dogs so much that she had a FABULOUS weekend running around and playing with Arroyo. So much fun!
- I spent Thanksgiving with Sandra and Gen having turkey dinner at the Marmalade Cafe (a bit less happy-making than homemade Thanksgiving dinner, but still good).
- I turned 29.
- I got a new Android cell phone.

- I got my eyebrows threaded for the first time ever!
- December was mostly full of holiday prep. There was an ops managers holiday breakfast and our office holiday dinner (with White Elephant-style boardgame gift exchange--fabulous idea!), and much Christmas shopping.
- I went home to Chicago for Christmas. Steve came with for the first weekend, which was lots of fun. We went downtown to Macy's and to generally walk around, had breakfast with Em and Meghan, and spent time with Grandma and Grandpa. We got a lot of snow and did a lot of shoveling, and then my flight back to California was delayed something like eight hours. Bah.
- Grandma Jennie passed away on December 29th, after a long battle with Alzheimer's.

Have some December pictures:
Dancin' in the streets Snowmen!

- Spent New Year's with Steve's family (and his second family) in Fresno
- Went to the How I Met Your Mother 100th episode event at the Paley Center with Elaina, which included a panel with cast and creators/writers/directors (I forget who all was there from behind the scenes).
- Started researching grad schools for my possible MBA
- Went to San Diego with Steve to visit Theresa and Dan. We went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park, which was tons of fun!

- Went to some informational meetings about MBA programs, bought a GMAT prep book.
- Spent Valentine's Weekend first with a dinner party with Steve and his roommates, and then a day and a half in Ojai with Steve. It's a quaint little town and we spent a lot of time window shopping and walking the trail that runs along the entire length of the town. Very relaxing!
- Got called in for my very first jury duty. Got called up to the jury room and spent two days on jury selection before I was dismissed by the prosecution. I had actually really wanted to be called for the jury, although it would have been a difficult case (alleged sexual abuse of a child by her father).

- Paley Festival has taken up most of my March. It actually began February 26th with the Modern Family panel, then March 4th with Dexter, March 13th for Glee, and then a non-festival Paley Center panel on Castle on the 16th.
- Interviewed for a possible new job March 3rd, which I have still not heard an answer on.
- Went to Puppetry of the Penis with Elaina & friends, and it was in a teeny-tiny theatre, we sat in the second row, and everything was extremely up close and personal. It's amazing how, once the shock value is over with, you get kind of detached about looking at two guys' junk being twisted and stretched into all kinds of weird positions. *laugh*
- My new-in-November cell phone DIED. Very tragic. Still waiting for the replacement. Le boo.

In the "More" section, there are pictures from Paley Festival.

OKAY! So that's really what I've been up to over the last five months. Whew! I will try to update more frequently now that holidays are over and (hopefully) work stress will be lessening. Our conversion date is May 15th, so it may be hectic/stressful until then, but I'll still make an effort here. *laugh*

Modern Family, 2/26/10

I had forgotten my good camera, so although I was actually sitting the closest in this panel, the pictures are the crappiest. Oh well. Actor names in the captions on flickr, if you're interested.

Modern Family Modern Family

Dexter, 3/4/10

I wish they would have started working on the upcoming season already, so that we could have gotten some kind of yummy tidbit. An annoying know-it-all producer-type monopolized most of the panel, but oh my gosh, I LOVE this show and everyone involved (except the producer lady). Michael C. Hall was still going through his cancer treatments, but seemed in relatively good health and spirits. LOVE! Really. Love.

Dexter Dexter Dexter Dexter Dexter

Glee, 3/13/10

Glee was by far the most fun panel. They showed the newest episode, which renewed my excitement to have the show back on the air in a few weeks. And the entire panel was having such a grand old time up there! They were cracking each other up, which I loved.

Glee Glee Glee Glee Glee Glee Glee

Also, Matthew Morrison did not, to my knowledge, have cancer, and thus should not have been wearing that hat. Fashion mistake.

Castle, 3/16/10

Not part of the Paley Festival, the Castle panel was held in the tiny theatre at the Paley Center. They aired the first part of the upcoming two-parter, which was cruel and unusual because now we have to wait TWO WEEKS for the outcome! There was one girl in the audience who was sitting up real tall and leaning forward and thus blocking every picture I tried to take, but I managed to get a few okay ones.

Castle Castle Castle Castle Castle Castle Castle