Monday, October 29, 2007

Email etiquette

So we've entered a whole new world where anyone can enter your home during all times of the day and night through your computer. They can do it anonymously, whether this is intentional or not, sometimes we don't know. We can hit the "reply all" button, change the subject, erase the content and create a whole new email. But what if some of the people that you replied to don't know who you are, or more specifically, what if their spam blocker alerts them to your presence? Now you become this crazy solicitor that is stalking them...because let's face it, there are crazy people out there that will do anything to get you to answer them or log on to their site.

So what happens when I send out an email to say, 20 people. One of those people hits the button and forwards something to all of the people I originally emailed. They don't know everyone on my list, and all my people don't know them. One of those people doesn't like what they were forwarded and responds. I feel bad because essentially the address came from me. Should I be responsible for keeping their anonymity? Can I do that? I don't think I have the computer skills for that.

Now what if you received something from someone you don't know? You can just delete it. You can open it. You can respond if you want. You can try to figure out who the heck sent you something. Maybe you don't care. Maybe you're sick of all the junk. Maybe you're in a really stinky mood and lash out. It's just like how you react to someone on the phone or a lousy sales person or customer. Unfortunately, I think we all kind of disconnect from what we say through email. It's like we're not really talking to a real person and can say things we'd never say in person. Or maybe we just say something in jest, but the other person doesn't get it because there was no "JK" ("just kidding" case it takes you forever to catch on to those savvy new acronyms, like it did me!).

I'm know I've been on both ends of this quandary and am trying to be better. It's easy to send out a mass email requesting help or info. It really gets the job done a lot quicker, you can do it at midnight if you want, and you don't have to wait for people to call you back. That's how I look at it. I've learned to hit the delete button quite well, especially when I get a lot of forwarded mail and am not in the mood to look at it. Heck, it's just like junk mail...if you're in the mood you might peruse it, if not, just toss it!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wag more, Bark less

I have seen that bumper sticker on several vehicles now. Don't you wish that people were a little more like dogs sometimes? Dogs are loyal and forgiving. Dogs don't hold a grudge. Dogs really respond to positive reinforcement, not just when they're in the mood. They are always there when you need them, and when you don't, they are fine just lying around. If you make a mistake they don't remind you of it.

Actually, I guess it really does depend on the dog. There are those dogs that just yap, yap, yap all day long. Or the dogs that have to have their nose into everything. We don't have either of those. They drive me crazy. Just like people that yap all the time drive me crazy. Especially when it is a mean yap. Keep it too yourself or go yap at someone else! It makes me sad that they don't have anything better to do than to stick their nose in my business and try to make my day miserable. Of course, then I come home and am greeted by a great big tail wag, or two, or three! (my dog, and the kids)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hop on Pop, or Mouth off to Mom

Maybe, if I pictured my girls a little more like this...

I would feel less like this...

I've been mad and grouchy at them all day because they were rotten this morning when I left them with my mom. Individually they do fine with her, together they are dreadful. Then I yell at them, they are disrespectful to me, and it goes round and round. What to do?!

Thou shalt not

Take the Lords name in vain...or something like that. Basically, don't say God unless you are talking to Him or about Him. Right? It's always bothered me when people overuse His name, but especially when it comes out of the mouths of children.

I was at a Halloween gathering my girls were invited to. The kids were on their second round of food and spotted some of the sweets that they had missed the first time. My friend's daughter spotted the Nutter-butters and asked who brought them. I told her that I had and she said, "thank God you brought these" as she bit into the cookie. I automatically replied that I didn't think God really had anything to do with it.

Later, her mom "thanked God" for something else that I couldn't really argue about. And who knows, maybe He did guide me to Safeway and put those scrumptious cookies on sale, 2 for 1.

Dear Construction Workers,

I remember back about 20 years (yikes, am I that old?!), my aunt, who was a Jr. High English teacher told me about a sign that she saw. It said, "Constrution Zone Ahead" and yes, it was misspelled. She commented that it was signs like that that gave construction workers a bad rap. Well, I'm here to tell you that it is more than misspelling! In fact, I'll forgive you any grammatical errors, punctuation, spelling issues, and even the sewer smell that permeates from the open streets while you are ripping open pipes...just PLEASE learn how to place cones so they cause the least amount of congested traffic.

I get that you have to merge traffic before the lane actually ends. I get that you need a lane free so that your big trucks can maneuver a ease. I get that you are trying to do your job. But do you really have to back up traffic 2 miles because you won't let people turn right? Do you really have to block off the yellow lane BEFORE cars can enter the left turn lane? I actually saw 3 cones stopping people from entering a lane at one point, and then given the go-ahead a mere 20 yards later.

Is there a class that you take? Can you get a raise for completing the class? How about national recognition for the least congested construction zone? No, probably not. I bet the power trip is much more satisfying. Hey, watch how I can ruin the days of hundreds of unsuspecting drivers in the valley. I bet I make 50 people late for work today. Wah, ha, ha (evil laugh)! The power!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kyra "volunteers whenever help is needed"

So I'm reading Kyra's report card this morning...confident reader, working on cursive, very good in math, well organized (whose child is she talking about?!), popular, excellent work ethic, very good artist...blah, blah, blah...and then her teacher writes, "she volunteers whenever help is needed". I actually teared at that line. I'm raising a child that can live in the real world, offer real help, and not sit around while everyone else does the work. I'm so proud! It's not that I don't care about the academics and other stuff, it's just that you never know what sinks in from home. This school is terrific and everything but I know they don't have a class on volunteering!

I love Kyra and I think she's terrific. I try to tell her that more than I criticize her. I do my fair of apologizing to her because I seem to be very adept at making all the mistakes and saying all those things that you shouldn't. Fortunately I don't do it more than, say, 3 or 4 times a day.

Yay for us, Kyra is helpful!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Reading 101: the E rule

"The 'E' at the end of a one syllable word is usually silent". I hate that rule. Although the 'e' usually doesn't really make a sound, it virtually always has a reason for being there. "Magic E" might be a better name for him. I don't know. I don't call him anything. (why is E a him?!) Here's what he does...

For beginning readers the E is usually making another vowel say it's name. Like in name, Pete, time, home, fume (AEIOU). Each time "the E jumps over the consonant, hits the vowel on the head and says, 'say your name in the alphabet!'" You won't see the E jump over for another E very often. They tend to stick together (feet, seem). On the other side, I don't know if you ever see AE together, the E always jumps over for that one (cake, tame). Sure, there are other ways to make a vowel say its name, or make the "vowel long" but that's another lesson for another day. Right now we're talking about that cool E at the end of a one syllable word.

Give and gave. In give the E doesn't make the I say it's name. In gave it does make the A say it's name. Why? No idea. What I do know is that "V doesn't like to be alone at the end of a word". You won't see it in English. That makes spelling easier, but reading harder.

Cheese and please. You don't need the E, the vowel sound is already long, right? Right. But what about that S? Isn't he supposed to say 'ssssssssss' like a snake? Yep. Often times if an S is followed by an E it will sound like a Z. So what about freeze? I don't know, someone went E happy.

Choice. E makes the C say SSSSSSS.
Dodge. E makes the G say JJJJJJJJ.

Of course there are "cheater" words out there. Hmmm, like there and where. They don't follow the rules. You know them, my favorite is "choir" (shouldn't that be spelled quire?). Kids love that. "Cheater". It means that the word is wrong, not them. In the lower grades many people call them sight words but that is often misleading. Cat and dog are not sight words, you can sound them out and they are phonetically correct. In my book (not an actually book), a sight word is something you can't sound out.

That's it for today. Magic E, Super E (for Justin), whatever you call him, he usually has a purpose.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

From Special Ed to breast milk

I recently met a mom in the parking lot at my daughters school and she proceeded to tell me about the great presentation she had gone to the week before. This man, Rick Lavoie, is a wiz in the world of Special Education and really knows how to reel in an audience because he is a master storyteller. Now this mom and I are not great friends in the respect that we hang out together all the time. We've never even done lunch. Conversations are limited to school functions, softball games, and birthday parties. OK, once we talked on the phone for an hour on a Saturday. But she gets me, and we end up talking about everything and nothing. So how did we end up talking about breast milk?! (niether one of us are lactating!)

This speaker was on an airplane once and was seated next to a man that asked him if he was in the education field (he was working on a presentation). Mr. Lavoie said yes and was asked if he had any kids. Yes, 3. The other man commented that he wished he had 3 kids. HAH, apparently the man had 6! What's the point of this recap?...if you are in education, people want to know if you have kids of your own. It makes you more credible.

Immediately my thoughts run back to the hospital after I had given birth to my second daughter. The nurse that was there to deliver Tasha was fantastic, recognized I pretty much knew what I was doing and left me alone. On the other hand, the night nurse gave me the run-around, poking, prodding, and checking off her list everything she was supposed to. Then came the lecture of how to get your child to latch on. She was maybe 18. Did she want to demonstrate?!

From there the converstation just went uphill. Reruns of soaking through padded bras, spraying extra milk out in the shower, and an excellent visual of a 2 week old infant in the lobby while mom is upstairs in her power suit on a job interview. The baby was with grandparents, not the receptionist! I know what you were thinking.

The other point of this posting is to warn people that any conversation I ever have with you is fair game unless you say otherwise. Amy suggested that the real title should be "from breastmilk to special ed". Good one!

Don't blame me for your incompetence

I'm tired of people taking their ignorance out on me, especially when I am the customer and they are the ones that are supposed to know things! Do I really need to explain your job to you?

Last week I stopped at a card shop because it had a post office in it and I needed to mail something. As we were leaving Tasha spotted a fuzzy poster that she wanted to buy for her friend because it was her birthday. Of course she wanted one as well and I was in a semi-generous, non-confrontational mood and it wasn't like it would break the bank. Then there were the overpriced, scented, matching princess pens that matched the poster. What the heck I thought, I'm only out 5 bucks. We make our purchase, go to the car, break out the pens so she can color on the way to the park, and I start the van. Then it comes..."mom, these pens aren't working". And they aren't, neither are the other pack we purchased for her friend. (that would have been a great gift!) Back into the store, check another pack, and another, and another. Is it possible that hanging these felt tipped markers with the tip up is a problem? So I ask to return them and she can't. What?! She doesn't know how to do a return and her boss is gone. Can I come back later? Fine. The next day I return and she starts to help me after summoning her boss. She proceeds to return the whole purchase when I question what she is doing. Shouldn't she just return the 2 packs of pens and credit my debit card? No, that's not how they do it on that register. Wait, didn't you say you didn't know how to do this? Whatever, just please credit me my money! (yes, there was a bit of frustration in my voice and I did walk away, but I did not even raise my voice) Meanwhile, her boss comes to help her and I study the 40 or 50 packs of pens that are still on display so another little girl can be disappointed...then I hear it...I hear her tell this man that the customer is getting all irate about it. Are you kidding me?! Me irate? I had to come back another day to make a return because you were too stupid to do it in the first place!

Then today I'm waiting for Tasha at the library and decide to check out the cafe upstairs. I peruse the menu quickly looking for the 4 non-coffee drinks (yes, it's actually labeled that way). I ask the girl if there are strawberries in the fruit smoothie. I'm thinking this place is in a library, it's like Costco and we don't have choices here, it's one kind of smoothie. She doesn't know what's in it and turns to the other lady to repeat my question. She tells her that they aren't fresh strawberries but that it's a strawberry concentrate. I confirm that there are strawberries, thank her and walk away. Then I hear the girl talking to the lady and say "whatever". Yes, it was in reference to me! How do I know? Because when I turn around and start walking back she has that, "oh crap, she heard me" look on her face. At this point I see the paper with the 4 or 5 smoothie variations posted at the end of the counter. I acknowledge that I didn't know that there were several flavors, I thought they had one smoothie, and that it does can't say "whatever" when your daughter is allergic to strawberries! Whatever...I walked away, went downstairs, and cried in the bathroom.

So why do I let these people get to me? Why can't I let it go? Why do I come up with evil plans to send everyone I know to the card shop to buy the pens and a poster, use them and then return both items because the pens don't work? Maybe because my husband is always complimenting or complaining about different stores' customer service. I don't know, maybe now I can let it go...

(by the way, it was The Cornerstone Card shop on 40th street in Phoenix, tell them the irate return lady sent you! HAH!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

In Memory of...

Bill gave me a hard time about creating my blog. He said I was scared to do it because once I had a blog spot I wouldn't have anything good to write. AS IF!!! I've had thoughts racing through my head for the last few weeks, thinking, "if only I had a blog". So instead, I read what everyone else wrote on their blogs and comment. Honestly, it wasn't fear that held me back, just the need to make my first entry an honorable one. So here it, dedicated to the best Mother-In-Law any girl could ever have!

Last week I was sitting outside Barnes and Noble at the new Tempe Marketplace. If you've been you will know that they have one of those cool water squirt play places for your little ones. If you haven't, you might find out the way I did. Tasha and I had just stopped by the area to check it, get a smoothie and a shot of wheat grass from the juice place. She was happy and we decided to walk around to see what was there and open. When we got to the water place Tasha of course wanted to get her feet wet. Amazingly, she said it without a whine so I let her. She stripped off her shoes and socks and proceeded to tip-toe through the water spurts, covering the smaller ones with her foot then leaping off to avoid letting the water hit her. I took a picture with my phone and then attempted to send the shot to her dad with a message. I'm not great at texting so it took a while and when I looked up Tasha had become a little more courageous with the water. The bottom of her shorts had taken a few squirts, but she was still doing fine. I stopped her from play long enough to pose for a shot. After sending it I decided that I needed a different angle so I got up to realize that Tasha really was enjoying the water. Her (jean) shorts were now drenched all the way through to her underwear and the bottom of her shirt was drenching. How funny was that?! I guess we would not be going to the story time inside B and Noble at 11, would I?!

So what does this have to do with my mother-in-law?! She would have laughed at me, called me a terrible mother for letting my child get soaking wet, then congratulated me for letting her live in the moment. I loved that about her! I realized that the moment it happened last Wednesday and I teared up sitting there watching the granddaughter that she never really got to know. Oh, how I wish she was here to confirm what I already know...Tasha is just like her father. I'm sure that I never behaved in the stubborn way that Tasha does and Bill's mom would have stories to tell on Bill. Bill is the one that set his room on fire, not me!

It is simple times like those when I miss the people that have made it past this life on earth. Moments like watching my kids lick stuff off the counter when I miss my grandmother and wonder if she saw that. Rooting for the underdog in a World Series game when I miss my grandfather. Stupid tow-trucks and the winding road up to Payson that make me miss my father. But we were talking about Bill's are a few tidbits that I learned from her that make my life better:
1. Frame your favorite picture and put them in the bathroom, that's where you spend most of your down time!
2. Use a snapshot as a bookmark. (this is fun when you pick up the book months later and had forgotten about that picture)
3. Keep all your nail stuff together and mobile, then you can do them whenever and wherever.

Those are just some of the silly things that I observed from her life. She was a clever, patient, kind woman who was always up for a lunch date, shopping, or a little chit-chat. I know Bill misses her every day, especially since she would always listen attentively to him. The best thing is that if she were alive, I know she would read this. She finally figured out email, and once she got rid of dial-up she was good to go on the Internet. Here's to you Mom!