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Archive for April, 2010

spidey sense

Well, the spider dreams are back again.

When Frank and I lived in Naperville, we lived in a … well… affordable two bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment with washer/dryer in unit.  It was small, but it was our first home together.  We loved it.  Even to this day, the sound of vertical blinds rustling in the wind reminds me of falling asleep in our Naperville apartment.

This was, of course, before I discovered the gap between the screen and the frame of the window that was allowing countless insects into our humble abode.  After I discovered that, the window stayed firmly shut.

We also became big believers in RAID. Take that tiny bugs!

But our efforts were in vain.  Despite closing up the windows and fighting the good fight with the RAID, it was not enough to ward off the earwig infestation of 2004.  As many have heard me say, that was the year that Frank killed 19 earwigs in our bedroom in one evening.  I dreaded picking up laundry from the floor as bugs would regularly fall out of the legs of our jeans and pockets of shirts.

During this time, it’s not surprising that I dreamt an AWFUL lot about bugs.  I dreamt regularly that there were spiders in my bed.  I would wake up in the middle of the night, throw the covers off of the bed and turn on the lights.  But I was always too late – the bugs had disappeared into their sneaky hiding places before I could find them and slay them.

Frank did not believe me that there were spiders in our bed.  But I know better.

See, once we moved to our 9th floor apartment in Milwaukee, I didn’t dream about bugs for quite some time.

When lived in our house in Oak Creek, I dreamt about a bug only one time.  And I believe there was a bug involved, if I am not mistaken.

Last year I was watching TV on my laptop and I saw something scurrying across my stomach.  Panicked, I turned on the light next to my bed and sure enough – there was a spider!  Needless to say, I killed him and turned the room upside down trying to find his possy.

I think I dreamt once about spiders last year.  I think the swift demise of their spider-friend was a warning shot.

This all brings me to last night.  Last night I had a very vivid dream about a spider being on my arm.  I was trying to get it off, but it walked around my arm and stopped below my wrist.  In my dream, I was panicked – the spider was brown and furry and burrowed into my skin.  In my dream, I was frantically trying to find someone to cut out the spider from my arm.  When they did, it was just an empty pocket of skin.

All of this to say, I think that we have a spider problem again.  Anyone know of any good exterminators in the Chicagoland area?

Thank you.

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There is traveling… and then there is traveling with the K Fam.

Thing one: Where is Emily?

Being that I am a model of a light traveler, it takes me about a decade to get through security.  Between getting my shoes, sweater and belt off, tossing my quart sized plastic bag in the bin and pulling out my lap top from my bag – it’s practically a 30 minute process.  If Frank goes through security ahead of me, he’s already at the gate requesting the exit row before I can even get my sweater back on!

Thing two: “Did you know the girl sitting next to me has a cousin who knows your sister’s brother-in-law’s aunt?”

While Frank is happy to hold my hand and listen to his iPod in flight, I love finding out about the people sitting around me.  I’ve had the pleasure of being seated next to a President of a Lutheran Seminary, a guy from the UP going to his son’s wedding in Pennsylvania, an RV Magazine sales rep, a Mormon mother, a singer in a band who recently suffered an unfortunate accident that involved falling on a shard of glass and a guy who was in the mob (seriously – I’m pretty sure he was in the mob!).  Not to worry – if I see someone is reading a book or listening to their iPod, I leave them alone.  But if someone is interested in talking, I just can’t say no!

I’m not saying Frank isn’t chatty, I’m just saying he enjoys solitude a little more than I do.

Thing three: Repeat after me – no checked baggage!

Since one of our primary travel destinations has been Atlanta, Frank and I have had a few… ahem… discussions about my occasional decision to check bags, resulting in at least thirty minute waits at the baggage claim.  Oh, and did I mention the one time that my bags went to Midway and I went to O’Hare?  Yeah.  That was excellent.  Since then, Frank has given me a few lessons on how to pack a bag and has written on my forehead in Sharpie Marker: “No Checked Baggage!”  What can I say?  I hate dragging bags around the airport…

So yeah… “No chopped cabbage!” or… wait… was it,  “No dropped garbage?”  Frank? Hey hon?

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Well, as promised, here is the scandelous dish on our dear pup Ed.

I came home the other night and walked into our bedroom.  Something seemed out of place:

I couldn’t quite put my finger on it initially…

But then I realized what was different…. what was … well, wrong.  Very. Very. Wrong.

Apparently Ed had raided my underwear drawer.

And I think he was just a little bit embarrassed about it.

I guess we know what Ed does when I’m at work…

Aw, Ed, you silly puppy!

***Update***

First things first – I did not notice that Ed’s hands were in the underwear until my dear friend Jamie pointed it out.  woops!

Second – I would also like to say that I did not, in my loneliness while Frank was gone, come up with this underwear scenario.  I have NOT fallen off of the edge of reality (yet).  Frank dressed Ed up before he left for work last week to make me laugh.  I do not ACTUALLY think that Ed does this all on his own.

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commercial break

an oldie, but a goodie.

About 5 1/2 years ago, a war raged on my blog.

A war that almost left our small family of two divided.

It all started with my observations on my life being married to Frank. True, factual observations.

But Frank couldn’t take it, so he fired back. It was all lies.  Vicious, vicious lies.

I’m so glad that we’ve moved past those kind of blog hijacking antics and have become mature, grown-up adults.

… one of whom blogs about a stuffed dog who “lives” on our bed.

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Two fudgey, chocolaty, delicious looking brownies are sitting all sultry-like in my refrigerator.  Untouched, unsniffed and uneaten.

Saddest thing you’ve ever seen. Truly.

But, this has been an exercise in resolve.  Determination. Perseverence. Discipline.

“Emmmmmily… oh, Emmmmmmmiiiiiilllyyyyy!”

Can you hear them too?  It’s the brownies! They are calling for me.

I. Must. Stay. Strong.

Ok, all kidding aside.  It has been rough giving up my refined sugar habit.  And I say habit because that is exactly what it became over the years.  If I couldn’t think of something, I’d just go get a “hit” of sugar.  If I finished lunch, but wanted to make the lunch hour more satisfying – Sugar!

Without it, I realize that I am somehow LESS anxious.  Less concerned about what I’m going to eat.  I know that if I eat a satisfying meal, I don’t have to stress because of all of the extra dessert calories.  I know that sounds strange, but I think that I would go into a nice meal that included dessert knowing that I was going to feel bad afterwards – knowing that I would regret it.  But now, I feel like I can eat a meal and be satisfied and not upset – does that make sense?

I wish I could tell you that I’ve lost a lot of weight doing this.  I’m down a total of 4 lbs.  It’s not great.  It’s the same 4 lbs that I feel like I am constantly losing and gaining and losing.  But at least I’m down and not up, right?

And really, it’s not the brownies that concern me right now anyway.  It’s the compromising situation that I found Ed in when I got home tonight.  It’s everything you’d expect to find on Entertainment Tonight: Scandalous. Scintillating. Skanky.

… more on that after the commercial break!

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sick

I am not a good sick person.  I hate being sick.  Hate. It.

I’ve been sick since Sunday.  I was initially in denial.  “I’m not sick!  I’m just tired…”  But after racing home from work on Monday to be… uh… sick, I had to own up to the fact that I was actually sick.  I slept for four hours and thought, “Well, that oughta do it!”

Not so fast.

So then I went to work Tuesday, still feeling under the weather, but did the ole “mind over matter” biz… which resulted in me running a fever on Tuesday night.  Sa-weet.  I spent today trying to sleep, rest and get better… am I better?  eh, so-so.  Nothing a nice dose of Tylenol Cold won’t cure…

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group work

In college, as a marketing major, I was exposed to endless amounts of group work.  Nearly every class syllabus had some sort of monster “group” project included in it.

And here is the thing that I’ve learned about “group” work: it’s never really an effort of the whole, it is an effort of the determined.

The best group work assignment I ever had gave everyone in the group a $100 in fake money at the end to distribute as a bonus to their fellow group members.  Students were urged to distribute the money based on how much each person contributed to the group.  I remember feeling a great sense of satisfaction when I could reward my fellow teammates who pulled their weight, while acknowledging that we had some dead weight in the effort.  Yes, the group may have earned an”A” for the project, but truthfully, it was because of the work of a determined few.

And what I’ve found in life, at various jobs I’ve had, is that group work in college was probably the single best preparation for life that I had in college.  Yeah, the statistics and algebra helped.  Yes, it is helpful that I can create a flow chart and write a presentation.  All good skills.  But survival of the fittest is really based on how well you manage in group work.

There are still people at every job who have figured out ways to  contribute with the least amount of effort without getting fired.  Some of these people are so expert at it, they even manage to get raises and promotions out of it. These are the group coasters.  They just cruise along, disengaged and generally uninterested. And unfortunately, in every job, there are always the negative nellies.  These individuals want to direct the group without any responsibility of being a leader.  These are the folks at church or in circles of friends that are constantly giving feedback (generally negative) and never offering a solution (or at least a solution that includes something that they would do).

But the people I’ve grown to admire are of two groups: skilled followers and skilled leaders.

Skilled followers are abundantly more important than leaders.  Who cares where we’re being led if the group is comprised of negative nellies and group coasters?  It’s like getting in a car that is pointed in a direction, with zero fuel in the tank.  Frank and I have had to learn to be better followers in different volunteer situations.  I’m not even saying that we’re good at it yet, but it’s a skill we work on and we’ve made progress with.  We’ve learned that good followers bring problems and solutions.  They look at their leader and figure out when they need encouragement, when they need help organizing/distributing work and suggest helpful solutions.

Skilled leaders are important, too.  They cast a vision, they encourage the followers, they set goals and move towards them.  The put a lot on the line – time, effort and pride.

But what I’ve noticed for both skilled followers and skilled leaders is that the outcome is more important to both of those groups than their pride.  True group work is humbling for everyone because leaders often have to get into the trenches and followers often have to pick their battles.

Followers have to be able to determine what is a “strategic” difference versus a simple “style” difference – and if it is worth bringing up.

The best examples of strategic vs. style differences are often found in churches.  There are a lot of people who attend churches that love the mission, vision and direction of the church.  They love the teaching or the programs or the worship or the children’s ministry, but often they do not love ALL of the programs.  Or perhaps they don’t love the style of how something is done – perhaps they would prefer that more percussion would be used during worship or that the children’s ministry had more outdoor activities.  But at the end of the day, the church as a whole matches most of their important criteria.  They go to church, often staying silent on their style preferences because they want to build up the church, not tear it down.

Life is essentially all about group work.  Even if you think you’ve escaped group work, you probably haven’t if you are in any sort of long-term relationship or part of a family.  The question essentially boils down to what kind of group member do I want to be?

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