Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Unemployment Countdown

Not that I'm ready or anything but today marks the official 30 day mark for my end of employment with MoreMegaBank

30 calendar days
22 work days
12 in-office- butt-in-seat days

(BTW... I mailed my new manager a note and got a response back where he called me by the wrong name. Not like I'm Betty and he called me Elizabeth, but he called me Patty. I felt really valued.)

Have a great day,


Guest List

The wedding topic of the day is the final guest list. 
All the web sites and magazines say that finalizing the guest list is likely the most stressful part of planning a wedding and I have to agree.  So far it is the only thing we have bumped up against that has been difficult.
I love the site we selected for the wedding - we'll be married in the back yard near a beautiful tree and then take the party inside where two bartenders will be waiting with all sorts of adult beverages while the caterers will roam through the crown offering multiple appetizers.  Eventually, there will be food, dancing, a cake and other fun treats to make this day of ours special.
The only thing about the location is that due to something silly like the fire code, we are limited in the number of guests we can host.  It is not an unreasonable number and it is good to have limits which has allowed us to budget for this event in a realistic way.
The first swag at the list came to almost 100 souls over the limit.  We had a discussion about forfeiting our deposit and searching for an alternate location, but as the other places we had seen were... um... SHITTY, we opted to stick to our place of choice.
Going back over the list was a much more stressful activity that involved something that I haven't traditionally done well... TRUST.  J and I first opted to limit the children who were invited to out of town guests and family and then as reality set in we have opted to make this event an adult only event. 
I have to say that I struggled with some of my people who may not attend because their kids aren't invited.  I am aware that children add a certain innocence and joyous flair to a wedding, but I couldn't pick which of my friends or family wouldn't be invited in order to accommodate the children.  Those of you who married in your 20's likely didn't have to deal with this on such a dramatic level. 
My book group ladies and my close girlfriends were so kind and understanding when I told them about this decision.  I'm sure that most of our people will understand; but I worry none the less.
As it stands today we are 'over' in our list to the tune of 35 people.  I am sure that once invitations go out that there will be folks that can't attend and ultimately we will not be over our maximum capacity.  We have already been informed of at least one couple who will not attend because of what I think is a horrid misinterpretation of God's Divine Plan.  (WHAT!?)  J is from a Catholic family and there are a few members of the clan who firmly believe that unions between a Catholic and a non-Catholic is not sanctioned and they will be not support us by attending.
Honestly, since I'm likely to never have a loving bond with this particular couple I don't really care.  It is unfortunate that such a strict interpretation of the rules holds folks back from participating in family events.  FOR THE RECORD:  My in-laws are extremely supportive of this union and have been welcoming and loving towards me.  They, like the most of the close family nearby, see how well suited J & I are for each other and how (sickly) happy we are.    This boycotting aunt who lives in the Midwest somewhere is more of an interesting anomaly than anything else (and... she takes the overage list from 35 to 33.)
During the negotiation phase on the list I lost my zen attitude regarding this party.  Poor J was faced with a dark & cloudy TP who couldn't express herself in reasonable terms.  I was in the wrong emotional zone and was fearful that we were going to have to make unfair cuts on the list of our friends to accommodate the folks that we were 'obligated' to invite.  J was patient, but basically told me to trust him.  I do trust him implicitly, but this was stressful.  But, just as he said he would this week he produced a list of names that works.   I'm sure it wasn't easy as he has an extremely large extended family that as near as I can tell, are not "distant" extended family.
So, at the end of the day, we have a reasonable list and will now start the fun process of addressing save-the-dates, invitations and getting the word out. 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Treats on the Doorstep

As "the bride" it might be a safe assumption that as the wedding draws near that packages will arrive on our doorstep. I am pre-humbled by this occurance, but the little kid in me LOVES to get good stuff in the mail. ( I think this is why I order things online.)

The best package yet arrived on our doorstep last night while J and I were dining on Spicy Wings at the Wingdome. Yes, that's right, the wedding invitations arrived!

They are very grown up, yet still a little casual ( like me). In spite of the large number of boxes there aren't that many pieces to put together, but I have an activity to keep me busy for a while!


PS - We purchased our invitations at Costco - which I highly recommend. We were provided with proofs via email and were able to make changes and verify that everyone's name is spelled right! AND... they were at a significant savings over traditional stores. There are some beautiful custom invitatations that we loved, but we couldn't invest $7 and invitation, so happy and thrilled with these we are. - Yoda.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another Facebook Game... TP Needs

Here’s how it works: Google “[your first name] needs” and share the first 10 results. That's it: it is that simple. But be honest! Tag 10 people, including the person who tagged you, and pass it on... ( I don't do the whole send it to 10 people or small puppies will die thing; so here it is for your 'enjoyment')

1) Terri needs you now

2) Unlikely Terri needs a feeding tube.

3) Terri needs rehab! Terri needs sunshine and fresh air. Terri needs food and water. Terri needs mercy.

4) Terri Needs is on Facebook

5) Terri needs to not be blinded by the dollar sign, in the end it is family that matters.

6) Terri Needs Your Help!

7) Terry needs money on flikr

8) Terri needs : you & your wedding

9) Terri needs our help urgently.

10) Parenting special needs children ... by Terri Mauro

(My 'needs' are very much influenced by Terri Shaivo.)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Change of Life

No... this isn't a post about menopause. Calm down!

The business of moving is a pain in the butt. Thankfully, I have been taking my time in moving my things to storage, and making tough decisions about my "things." Letting some things go to Goodwill is easy. The kitchen strainer from 1965 that was a reject from my grandmothers kitchen is an easy thing to part with, whereas the bridesmaid dress from my friends 1994 wedding was tougher.

I'm not sure why parting with the dress was so hard. The lovely navy blue silk dress no longer fits (too big!) and after having worn it to her wedding and Janie's wedding and a number of parties the dress saw a number of outings that most bridesmaid dresses don't. The peach taffeta number with ruffles and bow from the 1989 wedding saw one day of action. We looked cute, but PEACH? no thank you. Maybe donating the navy dress was tough because at the time it was purchased I was too big for the dresses in the store and had to have it custom made. It was a specially horrifying experience, but it was also a costly one. My friend, the gracious bride covered the cost difference between what the store bought dress would have been and the cost of a custom dress. Still, neither of us were rolling in money. At the time we were angling to earn our age - meaning if we were 25 then we would have made $25,000 a year. My income that year would have allowed me to drive, but not vote. So, while I spent more on those cute red shoes in my closet, the dress still feels like it was an investment.

There is one last item hanging in the closet at the condo. It is also a bridesmaid dress. And, I honestly and truly thought it was beautiful! (I'm not just saying that because the bride related to that dress reads this periodically - I really did love it.) The problem with that dress is that it was also an investment - although at the time it was purchased I was close to retirement so it was less impactful. And... the dress is HUGE. Other than the wedding dress that is hanging in secured storage at the dressmakers, this dress was the most expensive clothing item I have ever purchased. There is no altering that will make it wearable, although I'm tempted to take it to the dressmaker and ask if it can be made into something - i.e. a smaller TP sized skirt. But, with no fancy parties in my immediate future (other than the wedding ) investing MORE into the dress seems like a bad idea. So for now, the way way to big dress hangs. J says I should part with it, but it just isn't that easy.

A friend who is moving back to Seattle and starting a new job on Monday has asked to stay at my empty condo for a month, so we were over there last night making it somewhat presentable. Everything is packed up out of the bathrooms and bedroom. The kitchen is 95% done. There is random food in the pantry and the freezer still has remnants of dinners not cooked. I'm hopeful that my new renter will eat the place clean. She's a 100 lb featherweight, so I doubt she'll eat anything, but I can always hope.

I still have some work to do at the condo. I have to roll up and remove the Pottery Barn rugs and remove the love seat to make the living room more "roomy." We'll be inviting cousin Anton (who is young and strong) to come over for furniture movement and dinner on a weekend to wrap things up. How exciting to have 20 year olds in the family again!

I feel fortunate that I'm selling when I want to, not when I have to. I do want you to send a shout out to whatever benevolent being(s) that you trust in that someone falls in love with my little home and wants to move in permanently. It would be a relief to go into unemployment without a mortgage payment.

Oh my... the fact that I'm underemployed right now is so very apparent. talk talk talk talk

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Denver Trip

Thursday, J and I jetted off to Denver for his dad's 70th birthday and co-engagement party for us. Friday, John and Susie hosted a pizza party at their local parlor for a large number of family members. I was able to meet the best man and the good childhood friend. Both were super nice guys!
John (my future FIL) made reference to a night they all spent at Bucca di Beppo in the Pope Room. Check out the Pope hat. I was sure to move my chair away when he popped that on his head. I clearly didn't move far enough away because when his hand dipped in to the holy water (aka my water glass) I was blessed by accident as the "sacrament" flew across the table.

This is J's cousin checking out "THE" ring. I do love it, and don't mind showing it off, but I spent a lot of time over the weekend with my hand being checked out.

Pope "John"

The engagement/birthday party was held at the private school where Susie (MIL) works. It was a small affair with 50 of their closest friends.

This is me with John, and J popping in as the 'goofy' picture ninja.

Lastly, this is J and I by the 'bride & groom' dolls that adorned the fireplace. They are cute, but the fact that they had name tags (our names) was a special bit of cheese.
The party was lovely, and John & Susie's friends were so kind. It is clear that they adore J&S and think J is the cats meow.
In addition to the parties, we dined at J's favorite haunts in Denver. Sam's #3 for a wonderful breakfast, and then a trip into downtown for the hottest burrito I've ever not been able to eat at Benny's.
Monday night, J and I snuck out on our own to the Chop House for a date night. I felt a little guilty about spending an evening alone with J when we were only with his family for 4 days, but it was our valentine's day outing.
We (the whole big Seattle group) took the light rail into town and had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. We wandered around in the downtown mall area and checked out the Brown Palace (a historic Denver hotel.)
In addition to J and I, three sets of cousins from Seattle came with us for the party. It was nice to spend the time together. I'm happy with all the family bonding. If you read back over our journey I first said that I thought J was "overly into" his family, but now that I know them, I must say that I was wrong.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yes, I AM judging

The story about the octuplet mom hit the news like a happy breath of fresh air. We were all thrilled for this family with the outrageous number of babies, but they were healthy and in light of the doom and gloom of the news lately how nice to hear a good story.

Of course, as the days progressed we learned that she already had 7 kids and that she intentionally tried for multiple births.

I think the media believes themselves to be impartial in their presentation of this story, but it is clear that they are judging her and looking down their noses at her choice. Me, I won't even pretend to be unbiased. I think she's a little unbalanced when it comes to her desire to be a parent. I think I heard her say "I wanted unconditional love" OH MY GOD... GET A PUPPY.

So, I have sat back in silent judgement, but no more. I think that the love of children needs to include smart decision making about financial support as well as emotional support. I don't doubt these 75 kids will have lots of love in their life, but I worry that if they should do something like grow up and move out that they might have some trouble with mom. I don't know how they will pay for college - but before we get to that, how about well baby check ups? How is she going to cover that?

I saw a headline on that prompted this tirade. Octuplet mom $50k in debt, asking for $$$ Video

OH MY GOD...did she think that the TLC channel was going to offer her a tv show? Sorry lady, crazy only gets you airtime on COPS or American Idol and even then only for a minute (if you're 'lucky'.)

Usually, I try to take the zen approach when someone makes a decision that I wouldn't, but in this case her decision has lots and lots of impact. I DON'T APPROVE.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One Word

I'm on Facebook and enjoying the expenditure of time, but some of the 'games' I think are more fun for here (especially since I don't like the copy and pass it on type messages.)

"Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on. It's really hard to only use one word answers. Be sure to tag the person you received it from!"

1. Where is your cell phone? desk

2. Your significant other? j

3. Your hair? head

4. Your mother? funny

5. Your father? aging

6. Your favorite? garlic

7. Your dream last night? wedding

8. Your favorite drink? wine

9. Your dream/goal? bliss

10. What room you are in? white

11. Your hobby? blogging

12. Your fear? helplessness

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Italy

14. Where were you last night? funk

15. Something that you are not? male

16. Muffins? muffintop?

17. Wish list item? house

18. Where you grew up? Ilwaco

19. Last thing you did? blog

20. What are you wearing? smile

21. Your TV? huge

22. Your pet? dead :(

23. Friends? FANTASTIC

24. Your life? blessed

25. Your mood? content

26. Missing some one? Grandma

27. Car? Highlander

28. Something you're not wearing? condom

29. Your favorite store? clothes

30. Your favorite color? red

33. When is the last time you laughed? 5:38pm

34. Last time you cried? 5:15pm

35. Who will resend this? nobody

36. One place that I go to over and over? potty

37. One person who texts me regularly? J

38. My favorite place to eat? table

39. My favorite food? pizza

40. My favorite person? J

I don't understand...

While watching the Grammys Sunday I was following along with the LA Times live blogger during the show.  It was a delightfully sarcastic interpretation of the event.  J was loving the music, but didn't have that "girlfriend" snipping thing happening.  I'd ask "What is she wearing!?" and he'd blankly look at me as if to ask, why does it matter?    It doesn't matter dude, which is why it is fun to mock them!


However, J and I were on the same page about the silly performance of the Jonas Brothers and poor Stevie Wonder.  The JoBro's were swarming around Stevie like gnits on a hot summer night.  I fully expected him to start swatting at them to shoo them away from his personal space. 


Justin Timberlake gets props in my book for pulling together an additional performance that night with less than 2 hours notice.  I want to hate this guy for being in a useless boy band (see Jonas Brothers) but he has talent that I can't deny.


The reason JT had to pull together an impromptu performance is that Rhianna (a smokin' hot, young singer) pulled out of the show a few hours before the curtain was to rise.  It has been all over the news that her "boyfriend" Chris somebody apparently beat her up after they left a party in LA.   Reports are that he not only hit her, but that he may have severely bit her.  Bit, like with your teath!?


I've supported the Eastside Domestic Violence Program for a number of years now and do understand the domestic violence scene.  I get that people do learn their coping skills from the environment in which they were exposed and that some people resort to hitting because they don't have the words to say "hey, you are pissing me off right now!"   I also understand that DV can happen to anyone, there isn't a specific type of person who is more prone or more vulnerable and peope certainly do not CHOSE to be in that situation.


Intellectually, I know all of this, but I simply can not comprehend a scenario in which I would be so out of control that I would hit and bite my partner in anger.  I know I'm fortunate that I was raised in a household where conflict was solved with words.  Sometimes loud words, but there was talking and listening and then more talking and listening.  I can only recall one incident where there was swinging of an object in anger.  (And I think my dear teenaged brother deserved to get swiped with that dish towel for what I remember was a frustrating set of mistruths that were presented to a parent at his or her wits end.  And... in that scenario, I also recall the parent in question removed themselves from the situation because they were so mad.  Knowing when to self-impose a "mommy or daddy timeout" is a useful skill.  My lack of experience in 'loosing it' makes it hard for me to understand how a situation like that goes down.


So, here's Rhianna a rich and successful gal who has a boyfriend who is equally rich and successful boyfriend.  They "should" be immune to these things.  That isn't the case, but from the outside looking in it is easy to wonder what they have to be angry about.  I hope that she has a strong support system and that Mr. Brown gets help too.  I don't believe that he has to be an "abuser."  I hope that with help he could be in a healthy relationship with the right person.  (His parole officer?)   I do sincerely hope that who ever he ends up with in the long run isn't Ms. Rhianna.  I don't know them or their relationship, but I would hope that she get's the heck away from him forever. They clearly aren't good together.


These are just my opinions, for what it is worth.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Wedding Minutia

Things are humming right along for the wedding. We met with the caterer last week to discuss the floor plan at the "Manor" and the meeting went great. I think I love our choice for caterers.

Pyramid Catering had great pricing, pulled together a clear bid and seems to be a partner in this nutty event. Not only did we discuss the floor plan, but we talked about the timing of the event (which was stressing me out a bit) and then we had a lengthy discussion about the color of the plates. Yes, in addition to chair covers we are concerned with white vs. cream plates. With all white linens in play we decided to upgrade to white plates at a cost per unit of $0.02 additional in the rental fees. No one will notice or comment on the 'white plates' but the additional $18 in rental charges seemed worth it for plates that match. I likely wouldn't have noticed myself until it was mentioned by our coordinator, but once the color difference was pointed out, I needed to fix it.

SERIOUSLY... I'm about to lose my job and I'm "worried" about white vs. cream plates. WOW

The other fun (to me) news is that we ordered our invitations. Woo woo! J is a great sport... it was about a 2 hour activity to get all the details worked out and he stayed with us the whole time. I know he could care less about the selection of claret vs. maroon for ink color but he stayed focused.

Last night we started looking at wedding rings for J. Like most things for the wedding, the man jewelry is far less expensive than the woman jewelry. That's ultimately a nice thing, but it might be easy to think that the man-band means less because its value priced, but that isn't the case.

Anywho... other exciting news is related to the wedding favors and I can really only share that with the girls in the wedding party - so neener neener, no details for you.

Ok... gotta go. There will be more news on this topic as the months roll on.

New Digs

As part of the shrinking staff at former MegaBank they are consolidating staff in the building. Instead of supporting 18 people on floor 6 and 24 on floor 7 and so on, they moved us up in the building to fill in spots on other floors.

In this reshuffle I lost my "office" but learned this morning that I gained a window! I'm on the 21st floor and look out over the Puget Sound. I can see the ferries zipping across to the islands and can watch the big ships pull into port and drop their wares. I also have a view of the new Four Seasons hotel, which is mostly roof to me, but they are still working on it, so there's activity.

I have to say that this view is pretty great and it's too bad that the circumstances in which it came to me are so awful. But, I am determined to enjoy it for the next 46 days, or 30 days if you take away holidays, weekends and some schedules "remote working' days.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

OH - MY - GOD !!!!

I don't know HOW I will kill him, but I know why....

I have had a song in my head all day and it finally went away, but he just cranked the stereo and it is blasting Taco's "Putin' on the Ritz."

"If you're blue and you don't know where to go to, why don't you go to, where fashion sits, Putin' on the Ritz!"

KILL ME NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

Swing Shift Data Processor

For the most part I am resigned to my impending job loss. I am trying to make the most of this temporary time of lesser responsibility at work and enjoying being home at the amazing hour of 4:15 every day.

I have the financial piece worked out and with 11 months of severance coming my way I am confident that the wedding and house purchase plan are completely within reason.

I have a potential job lined up and am excited by the prospect.

However, I am having stress dreams that wake me up at night and then I can't get back to sleep. Last night I dreamed (I want to say "dreamt" but clearly I can't spell it, or it isn't a word) that I turned in my laptop and blackberry and got my severance check for $1,000. I was trying to figure out how to pay my mortgage and got so twittered that I woke up.

Some stress is normal and thankfully I have the support of family and friends. I've been unemployed before and now have the benefit of more experience, superb references and a level of confidence in myself that I didn't have in 2001. I will be fine.. but damn it, why can't I stay asleep?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Last Nights Dinner -- Yummy

Adapted from the February 2009 Real Simple Magazine.

Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie.

This was super yummy and pretty easy to put together! The only bummer... I couldn't eat more of it. (Damn the gastric bypass when the food is wonderful!) The second picture is the left overs after dinner last night.

chicken and vegetable pot pie

what you're going to need
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped (I used medium, and wish I had used 1 1/2 onions)
4 carrots, diced (medium to small carrots, peeled and then diced)
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used one I didn't mind finishing with dinner.)
2 cups milk
1 10 oz package of frozen peas (peas don't actually come in 10 oz. sizes anymore, so I used 1/2 of a 16 oz package, and about 5 oz of frozen corn - because I had it.)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme ( DO NOT USE LEMON THYME... it is very fragrant.)
kosher salt & black pepper
9 inch pie crust (I used frozen crust cuz I just don't love my family as much as you might love yours.)
1 1/5 or 2 quart baking dish (round or oval)

what you're going to do:

Cook chicken in pot of simmering water until cooked (10-12 min) , drain, let cool and shred (I cut my chicken in to manageable chunks so it would cook evenly before the water cooking.)

Once chicken is done, set it aside, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat (use a pan big enough to hold all the ingredients) Add onions, potato, and carrots and cook until they are softened. (8 - 10 minutes depending on your comfort level with crunchy veggies. I like the crunch, my dad likes the mush, so I would cook it longer for him.) Don't let the onions darken. Add the flour and cook, stirring for about a minute.

Add the wine (have a glass yourself - you're making dinner for pete sake!) and cook until it is evaporated. Add the milk and simmer until the mixture thickens. (2-3 minutes). Stir in chicken, peas, thyme (not lemon thyme), salt and pepper (to taste).

Once mixed together pour into a 1 1/2 - 2 quart baking dish. Lay crust on top, pressing to seal. Cut several vents and put pie on a baking sheet. Bake about 30-35 minutes at 400 until it is golden brown.

If you're not looking to completely remove all carbs from your world I would use the second pie crust under the filling. (Put the bottom crust down and THEN add the contents, but if you don't want to follow my directions, you're on your own.)

This makes a very big serving - they say 6. I say if you're serving anything else, it could serve 8. If you're a small(er) family, then divide the mix into 2 and bake one, freeze the other.

Don't forget what I said about the Lemon Thyme - it really changes the flavor of this dish in not a good way.... NO LEMON THYME. Lemon Thyme BAD.

In our next blog, What I learned about cooking with lemon thyme vs. regular thyme.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sweet Nothings

Last night there was a CSI marathon taking place in the livingroom.  We were many many episodes behind and wanted (needed) to see how Grissom left the show, but in order to do that we couldn't skip ahead.
I tell you this not because it was such a great departure or a stunning tv moment that left me in tears.  I tell you this because too much of one tv show can skew your view of the world.  I noticed this when watching episode after episode of Sex and The City.  I would find myself wearing odd clothes with my bra handing out the back, bitching about all the men I wasn't dating and hiking around the city in too tall shoes.
So, after the THIRD hour (not quite... because we don't do the commercials) there was a murder of a husband.  Poor guy was bonked on the head, and then burned to a savory Cajun crisp using the gas water heater, a mason jar and (no kidding) corn meal.  It was a very McGyver moment in my opinion.
J and I were sitting on the couch and I leaned over and whispered sweetly into his ear,  "I would never kill you like that."
He responded by quickly moving away and asking "Just how do you intend to kill me then?"
I mean please, would I even announce what was part of my evil plan? 
There's no plan. Honest.  Really...
Oh, and the update on the chair covers (because I KNOW you've been losing sleep is that the higher quoted price includes them coming back and picking up the items.  Now THAT is worth the extra 50 cents.   I know, I know, 70% of the people at the wedding will not even notice the chair covers, but I will. 


Monday, February 02, 2009

Wedding Rant

Oh gosh... the first real rant about the wedding. You know how I am about customer service.... if it sucks, I blog about it.

At the Seattle Wedding Show, whose side business is selling my email address to every vendor on the face of the earth, I found a chair cover company that I wanted to use. Oh, good Christ, she's blogging about chair covers! Their prices were reasonable and they could deliver and set up the covers.

So, this week I emailed to get an official quote and sure enough, the prices are MORE than the price sheet from the wedding show. I emailed a qualifying question (i.e. "is that the price before or after the 10% show discount?") and was told the amount was the post discount price.

I emailed back and asked why their pricing was different than the price sheet, but haven't heard back. I'm worried because even at their inflated price, they are still the best price in town...

But, do I really want to go with a company that is FLAKY? Can it be that the biggest pain in the ass about "my special day" will be over chair covers?

wait... check that, I meant to say "our special day."