the hyphens that define my life

Misrepresentation February 23, 2016

Filed under: Family,Gardening,Life,Work — multihyphenatedme @ 12:07 pm
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Over the holidays I was in a gift shop and found a congratulations card created for new parents. This card, created by Elliot Maxx, a Northwest stand-up comic, states: “The reason parenting is so difficult: The job itself is completely unrelated to the application process.”
Allow me to repeat: The job of parenting is completely unrelated to the application process. Let that soak in for a minute. This hilarious come-to-motherhood fact strikes a chord with me not only because I am a mother of 4 absolutely perfect children, in my day job, I am a recruiter, a headhunter. As a recruiter, I talk about jobs, the application process, job descriptions and qualifications all day long. My children remind me daily that the job of motherhood is completely misrepresented by the application process. A mother’s reality check, a recruiter’s nightmare. Blatant misrepresentation. How is the case of this fraudulent misrepresentation not the lawsuit of the ages?
Let’s all agree, making babies is fun. Fun is not part of most job descriptions nor a requirement for most jobs. There are fun parts of the mom job, but not all parts of the mom job are fun. This jokester card got me thinking, what if we applied for all jobs in our lives in the same “wink wink cuddle cuddle” fashion of becoming moms? For example, I want to be an artist, I want to be a CEO, I want to be an attorney, or, my favorite, I want to be a surgeon. What if we just clapped our hands and clicked our fingers and, as if by magic, in a very short 9 month window of time, the job you declare, any job from artist to surgeon to welder, is yours. Why not? After all, motherhood requires higher education which none of us receive, a lifetime of responsibility with no prerequisites, just a nine month waiting period before you can put your assumed innate maternal skills to work.
Let’s take this train of thought to the next stop. Other than proclaiming, “I want to be a mom!” is there any mom job that I would want other than my own? Do you go around saying, I want to be that kids mom? I don’t. I already have enough chips off the old block, you can keep yours to yourself. There are some moms that do a far better job than I do and I truly admire them. And there are those times on occasion, I will admit, I have said quietly to myself, give me 10 minutes with that kid and this mom will straighten them right out. Fear not, I promise I have not said or thought this about any of your kids.
I digress. Back to the question, is there any other mom job that I want? Mother Teresa? That’s a lot of giving goodness. I am not that good. Mother Goose? Being the imaginary author of fairy tales and nursery rhymes sounds like a good gig. My rhyming skills are weak, definitely don’t ask me to rap. Old Mother Hubbard? I’m not that old and I don’t want to live in shoe, though I do have plenty of children or so it seems some days. The mom job I most appreciate is the super hero of all mothers, Mother Nature.
My kids often ask me what super power I would want to have. As they ramble off a list of super hero powers – flying, telekenisis, xray vision, morphing…, I interrupt and say, every time they ask, growing things. That’s not a super power, they say, and stomp off disgusted with my lameness. Growing things, call it gardening if you wish, is my super power, following Mother Nature’s lead. Plant a seed, give it what it needs – warmth, love, attention, food, shelter – and POW! In true super hero fashion, that seed will grow. Isn’t that motherhood at its finest? Do we offer anything more as moms?
We all learn how to be moms through observing our own mothers, our grandmothers, aunts, moms of friends and, of course, TV moms. The mom we mimic most though is often unrealized and underappreciated. Mother Nature guides us by example. Love and warmth from the sun’s rays, occupying our minds, bodies and spirit with mesmerizing natural beauty. Mother Nature provides food to hunt, fish, gather and grow to feed us and naturally formed shelter to protect us.
As much as Mother Nature gives, she also shares traits of most moms I know. If we children do as we’re told and play nice we are rewarded, the sun shines, the plants grow, all is good in the world. Well behaved children means happy mom. If we misbehave, Mother Nature display the ultimate wrath throw down. Her head spins just like mine, only she unleashes hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and blizzards. I just lose my mind. Similar wrath in her house and mine, just ask my kids.
Though growing things is my desired super power, I do not meet all of the qualifications required for the Mother Nature job so I won’t apply should the position ever become available. Meeting the qualifications for a job has never stopped me before. I’m not certain I was qualified when [ahem] “applying” each time I became a mom. I often say I have the best job as a recruiter. Truth is, the sweetest job is to be my kids mom.


Eviction Notice Served June 28, 2013

At one point today, I found myself working from the kitchen table.  Vince has become too comfortable with his temporary makeshift office housed in my office space.  It wouldn’t be bad, sharing an office, but he talks SO loud on the phone, doesn’t like music, or at least my music, and doesn’t appreciate my commentary to whatever he’s doing or my fun conversations with my colleagues. Go figure. You’d think he’d get up and work elsewhere, but no.  So today I gave my husband a generous ten days to get his office in order and move his crap out of my space.

Calmly and rationally (my head wasn’t spinning and I wasn’t shouting) I told him that I needed my space and he really needed to be completely out within 10 days. Eviction notice served. He totally agreed.  Shazam, just like that, I will be in my office soon.  I’m in my office now, writing this post, with Andre, age 7, on my lap talking to me incessantly about Minecraft.  Boxes of all shapes and sizes are lined up against one wall as not only is this room my office, it is also the guest room and houses our exercise bike.  My plans include storing all of my sewing and craft stuff in here too.  An action packed room and all totally possible. The reality is that I’ll never be alone.

When and if the office ever becomes mine, all mine, I will post a photo.  Until then, I’ll do my best to be patient and understanding as my high maintenance husband figures out his space, which by the way, isn’t office-slash-anything. He needs his space. So do we.  The days of sharing an office with my husband may be numbered but I’m thankful daily that we’re both able to work remotely, from home.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking of my friends in the Southwest, broiling in this heat wave.  You could feel the increase in temperature here in Spokane today but the heat is only beginning to soar.  I don’t do well in the heat.  Highs to 104 on Tuesday.  Eek!  Nothing compared to the desert temps I know.  Stay cool! Stay hydrated!

Tomorrow morning we pick up the last of our boxes shipped via Amtrak. Have I mentioned I’m never moving again?  Packing and moving is one thing, unpacking and getting settled is another mess all together.  Trying to put your stuff in a new house is really a game of putting square pegs into round holes.  We’ll get it done, but after our first week, the work that still remains is daunting.  With the heat, I don’t want to do any of it.  I’m hoping we go jump in the lake this weekend.  Doesn’t that sound better than unpacking boxes?

I just started reading Franny & Zooey but JD Salinger, left behind by the previous owners,  A book that I have never read.  What book are you reading?  Jumping in the lake, reading a book, drinking an ice-cold beverage and relaxing is what I look forward too most this weekend.

TGIF, this office is closed.







Working Girl June 26, 2013

Filed under: Life,Work — multihyphenatedme @ 10:59 pm
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There are three things you must do if you really want to experience a cross-section of humanity in your town:  buy or sell something on Craigslist, go yard sale shopping, and visit your local Wal-Mart.  Hitting up yard sales is on my must-do list but with only being in Spokane 5 full days, I’ve managed to buy something on Craigslist and visited Wal-Mart (only because it’s closer than Target and I was lazy…I mean busy).  Yowza, Spokane has some fascinating people.  Trader Joe’s alone draws them in across the Inland Northwest, Canada, Idaho and Montana.  Wal-Mart, wherever you are, never disappoints as it attracts the most incredibly bizarre people ever.

I had to buy a vacuum.  I don’t move vacuums or brooms or mops.  I don’t want my old dirt in my new house.  Insert Vince’s eye roll here.  Chalk up new cleaning tools as a moving expense.  I went to Wal-Mart to buy a vacuum.  Being the freak magnet that I am, a random man started talking to me as I was reading all the mind-boggling vacuum marketing buzz words. Nothing major, just idle conversation about vacuums and house cleaning.  Then he asked me what my husband did for a living to allow me to stay at home all day.

I paused.  I gave my response some thought before saying a word.  I weighed my options, do I really want to get into it with this guy?  No. Why is he asking?  What a random question.  I decided I didn’t want to get deeper into conversation with the guy so I told him to have a nice day and quickly walked away with vacuum in tow.

On this day when the Supreme Court grants equal rights,  racism is still inexcusably in the nation’s spotlight, I was stunned that the assumption was made that I don’t work and I am dependent on my husband.

Let’s clear this up here and now.  I’m dependent on my husband for car repairs, taking out the trash, tying knots, driving all trailers, building all things, dealing with the animals,  explaining all things technical and teaching our boys how to be boys.  I love him, I need him, but dependency is a strong word. This isn’t about him.  The Wal-Mart guy’s comment made me think why does this guy think I’m not employed.  Perhaps my workout outfit, no make up and shopping at Wal-Mart at noon on a Wednesday had something to do with it.  All valid points to be sure. Even in my yoga pants I could work somewhere.  Why would this guy say that?

My feathers were easily ruffled today as I am a working girl.  Daily I am working myself ragged every day, unpacking, cleaning, entertaining kids, feeding the family three meals a day (why do we eat so much?) and working full days too!  I work!  I work hard too!

I have worked since I was twelve.  I had a paper route for the Sandusky Register.  I rolled, rubber banded and stuffed my cloth messenger bag full of papers, then jumped on my hot pink bike complete with gold glitter banana seat and rode my route delivering papers in rain, snow or shine.  Monthly, I went door to door and collected payments and tips.   My next job was selling t-shirts on Venice Beach with a friend who’s parents had an airbrushed t-shirt business.  Once I turned 16 I was a union worker as a box girl/grocery bagger at Lucky Market in Westchester.  Then I worked as a hostess then waitress in many restaurants.  And so on and so on. I have always worked. Thirty-three years later, still working.

Granted, I am incredibly fortunate to have a job that allows me to work from home.  Have you tried working from home?  It isn’t easy.  Working from home may not require fancy work clothes and make up but it does take strong focus and discipline.  Not everyone has the opportunity to work from home, but in today’s virtual world, working remotely is becoming more available and more common.

In the end I decided the Wal-Mart guy was just wack-o.  Just in case my image is sending the wrong message, I scheduled a hair appointment tomorrow night.  It is never wise to judge a book by its cover (or a girl in her yoga pants), but sometimes the book needs to spruce up the cover.  A good haircut is the answer to everything.


T-20 Milestones May 30, 2013

Today we reach two of our many milestones in our T-countdown to our move from Placentia California to Spokane Washington.

First, congratulations to our daughter who completes her first year of college today!  We’re incredibly proud of her hard work and focus…well, focused most of the time….well, ok, focused enough.  She has worked 25+ hours a week, has carried 13 units each semester and has plenty of time for a social life and family time. Good job girl baby!

Our second milestone happens tonight, opening night of Wizard of Oz at the Brea Civic Theatre.  Our oldest son is the Wizard and our third grader is part of the Lollipop Guild trio as well as a Monkey.  The boys are excited to perform. We are excited to attend the gala event and see them in action.

T-20.  Where did the last 10 days go? My husband and I sat down last night and made a list of what is left to do, assigned each task and crammed in a few more fun events into our schedule.  Action packed.   Guaranteed there will be no dull moments.

Somehow in the midst, perhaps as therapy or as a stress release or both, I’ve managed to blog for 10 days straight! Thanks for reading and cheering me along. My new favorite thrill is to have someone sign up to follow my blog. Go ahead – thrill me.

Blog editorial – my boss LOVED my post yesterday.  His royal CFOness apparently needed the limelight cast his way or just really needed a laugh.  Didn’t I tell you he is a great guy?


T-21 Stress vs. Pressure May 29, 2013

Filed under: Life,Quotes,Work — multihyphenatedme @ 7:04 am
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My boss is great.  I’m not just saying that because my review is coming up in a few weeks either.  “Really Good Guy” in the dictionary is illustrated with his picture, he’s that kind of guy.

For about a month I’ve been really annoyed with my boss, our CFO .  Not for any reason I could even call him names, quit my job or even throw a good tantrum.  He’s ticked me off for being right in such a way my whole complaining mantra has been shot full of holes (he’s a hunter, I think he’ll like that metaphor). I got nothing to bitch about.

Last month while giving his presention at our operations meeting, he defined stress vs. pressure.  Stress, he said, was the result of the unknown.  You stress because of what you don’t know will happen as the result of an action or inaction.  Pressure, on the other hand, is what you feel when your to-do list is longer than time available to completed.  You know what needs to be accomplished but feel pressure as the result of time restrictions, available budget or personal capability.

No longer can I run around like a chicken with my head cut off (no metaphor to his life here – not that I’m aware of – just saying this is how I act on occassion, sometimes more often than I should) saying “I’m so stressed out”.  What a buzz kill.  There is no fun in saying “I’m under a lot of pressure”.

I’ve been CFO’d.  You know, like you can be pranked, only not as hilarious or fun. Ashton Kutcher is definitely not involved. Being CFO’d is more like a reality check that leaves you saying “duh”.

Ok CFO-man (like superman but not as fancy, definitely no cape and more allergies than kryptonite), I listened. Let’s see how this applies to my life:

Moving in 21 days while increasingly busy at work while the kids are rehearsing and performing in a musical while our daughter is having her wisdom teeth pulled while in all the kids are in their final weeks of school while the house needs to be packed and cleaned creates a serious amount of mounting pressure.

Pressure pressure I got pressure. Oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah” ~ Kinks lyrics

The pressure I can deal with and I have no stress because I know my review is going to be awesome.


Las Vegas Living April 17, 2013

Filed under: Cooking,Life,Work — multihyphenatedme @ 11:24 am
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Las Vegas isn’t for everyone.  Though Las Vegas does offer something for everyone.  Many years ago I lived in Las Vegas for 6 months.  I wasn’t  a stripper, a cocktail waitress or a show girl but go ahead and think that I was if it  helps your mental picture of me or lend any credibility to my story.  For the past four days I have attended a Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Conference on Recruiting and Talent Management.  I’m a recruiter.  No, I don’t recruit strippers, cocktail waitresses, show girls or gamblers, but – again – if that helps you, go with the belief.  Most of Vegas, to me, is repulsive.  The smoking, gambling and drinking is gross.  I love Vegas for the gracious delivery of people at their best, in their finest hour.  If you want to people watch or have random interaction with people, Vegas is the place.  Last night, along with a fellow SHRM buddy I just met, we went to Ri Ra, an Irish Pub reported to have good food, good beer and good live music.

Did I say last night?  That’s an overstatement.  It was really late afternoon.  We rolled in at 5:30 PM.  It was early.  Our plan was to go early, have a beer before dinner to get seats before the crowd arrived.

We sat at the bar.  Two women in our 40-50’s with our SHRM tote bags in tow.  We were chatting over our Guinness when this guy from the bar table behind us wedges his way in to order drinks.  The bartender, a woman, asks what he’d like and he gave his drink order and added “Are you from Ireland”?  She nodded.  He added “God that’s so sexy.  Don’t mind me, my wife is right there, I just think anyone who speaks with an accent is sexy”.  He walks away and the bartender says to us “Idiot”.  We laugh in full agreement.

A bit later, the same guy wedges in and orders shots for his group – his wife and two other women.  His conversation topic this time is whether or not “the car bomb” is a real drink in Ireland to which the bartender said no.  He carries the shots to the table, asks someone to take a group photo and instead of the typical “cheese”, they all yell out “car bomb”!  The bartender, my friend and I look at each other in shock.  The bartender says, “He’s worse than an idiot, he’s ignorant too”.  At that point, just over 24 hours had passed since the Boston Marathon bombings.  Car bombs, any bombs, are not something to be celebrated.

The fun is not over yet.  My friend receives a call she had to take out of the restaurant.  The guy comes back to settle his tab.  He sits half a cheek on the stool occupied by my friend’s bag in her absence because he’s really too plastered to stand for any length of time. While he’s waiting to be processed out, he looks at me and says “Can I ask you a question”?  “If you’re able” I reply.  I’m a “may I” kind of person.  I constantly make my children rephrase the question or answer with “I’m sure you ‘can’ but you definitely ‘may not'”.  He was too inept and inebriated to even catch the correction so he asked “If you were on a desert island and could only have one food, what would it be”?  Really?  Fine.  Quickly I respond “Apples”.  He then told me his “choice would be garlic bread” as if I cared.  Then, stumped by my response (where is the bartender with his card?) he said “Really?  Apples.  Apples huh?  Why apples”?  (Where is that bartender?  Where is my SHRM buddy?)  I explain that apples are versatile.  They can be dried, juiced, sauced, baked, peeled or eaten whole.  One thing you can do a lot with.  You’re going to get really thirsty eating all that garlic bread.  At this point his eyes are crossing, his mind is boggled and he is clearly stumped.  He said with little hostility, “You just shot me down.  That wasn’t very nice”. Though I wanted to say “I’m sorry you’re an idiot, choose who you engage with more carefully”, I, instead, said “I’m sorry  you think I shot you down, I’m a foodie.  I think a lot about food”. The bartender then shows up.  He gives me a sideways drunken scowl and returns to his wife and friends.  The bartender notices the exchange and after he leaves asks what happened.  I told her he didn’t like my food choice.  She looks at my plate of fish and chips in front of me and says “idiot”.

The fun isn’t over yet.  Las Vegas never sleeps.

The two bar stools to my left become available (the entire exchange with the guy happened on my right).  Two Irishmen sit down.  I know they’re Irish because the Irish bartender knows them and they start raped fire talking in accented tongue that you could maybe catch every third word.  They order Budweiser.  What?  Irishmen ordering Budweiser in an Irish Pub?  I couldn’t let it go, so I asked them “Why are two Irishmen drinking Budweiser in an Irish Pub”?  They tag teamed their reply.  The first guy said “We drink Guinness for breakfast”.  The second said “We drink Budweiser as our early supper”.  Instantly I loved them.

In spite of my love for them, the Irishman on the end got excited about something and knocked over his Bud causing his friend to jump up and knock over HIS Bud, both of which ran down the bar and all over me.  The Ri Ra staff and the Irish gents were all very kind and gracious in mopping up the me and the mess.  In the end I was still soaked.  In Budweiser.  Soak me in Guinness, slather me in Kerrygold and call me brown bread.  Fine.  I can deal with that.  To be drenched in stinking Budweiser was insulting.  I paid my tab and left.

I held my head high as I walked out and traipsed through the casino and hotel to my room.  Smelling like Bud.

Though I add last night’s experience to what I don’t like about Vegas, I do leave with good memories.  The lunch break I spent in 85 degree sun poolside with one of the best veggie hummus spinach wraps I’ve ever had and reminded me why I love resort living.  The conference itself was excellent and provided great takeaways I look forward to implementing soon.  Happy hour at MIX in THE Hotel was a great deal with a beautiful view of the strip.  The lobster cesaer salad and tuna tartare appetizers alone are worth a return trip.  I highly recommend THE Hotel over staying at Mandalay Bay.  A beautiful room with excellent service. Though I’m thankful for the experience and opportunity to be here, Las Vegas, to me, is a good place to leave to those that really appreciate what it fully has to offer.




Creative Project #1 February 25, 2013

Filed under: Creative,Work — multihyphenatedme @ 11:39 am
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One of my personal challenges for 2013 is to create something each month to get my creative juices flowing.  Good idea, but I had no plans or ideas for January.  My employer came to my rescue with a wall mosaic project in which employees had the opportunity to design one or more tiles.  I thought this would be a great family project and signed up for six tiles.  My family, however, was not interested.  A couple of weeks, six tiles, minimal rules were the seeds of my first creative project for January, 2013.

My employer consists of a creative bunch of designers.  And me. We are similar in that we both have ideas.  Their level of execution is incredible.  The amount of raw talent in Ware Malcomb is amazing.  Then there is me.  I try.  I follow directions.  I do my best.  Raw talent, however, is not part of my make up.  Let’s just say I’m still learning.

The project consists of 93 tiles with approximately 59 pieces have a designated black and white area to create a – WM – logo.  Four of my six tiles had a designated black and white area.  These areas could only have black and white, the other areas could be any color but not contain any black.  Here are my tiles:

wm mosaic 6 tiles

Three tiles were painted with acrylics. One was newsprint with an acrylic wash. I hand sewed a quilt block for one and the last I raided my sewing box and created a stars and stripes with fringe, silver lame and hot glued clear stars.

I loved this project.  Not only did I play with different mediums but it challenged my comfort zone.  Submitting the tiles was one of the most nerve wracking, anxiety riddled moments of my life.  Seeing my tiles on the wall, collaborating with this incredibly talented group makes me happy and proud.

wm mosaic