Honorable Hours

Early to bed, early to rise...

The early bird gets the...

Early, early, early. Why is everyone so in love with the "good people" who use early hours?

We have an uncle who wakes up early and gets to work. He's up at 3:30 am every morning. Oh, he's such a "hard worker." He always departs a party early so he can go to bed by 8pm.

Now, last night I stayed up until after midnight with the washing machine and dryer so that I could make sure the babies had orange clothes to wear to share day today at the babysitter's. I woke up this morning 5:45 am. This means, if I were on Uncle Tom's going to sleep early schedule, I would have gotten up for work at 1:45 am.

Then, everyone would be impressed.

As it is, no one cares, because late nights are not honorable hours.

Fall Back

This is the best week of the year.

St. Michael's Mskis

Dear friends, it's good to be back. It was good to be away, and it is good to be back. I can't wait to spend some quality time catching up on what everyone's written about. Tonight I am trying to spend some quality time with the babies, so they remember who I am. But, couldn't resist posting a quick blog entry.

These retreats always make me realize how good it is to be in the CEC, and to have the greater CEC family around us. I can't wait until you all experience that more and more. The St. Michael's crowd, and San Clemente Diocese, is very cool. There were a lot of blessings that you'll hear about in the coming sermons. I'll tell you a little sidenote.

This retreat was different from others in that we stayed with friends. We stayed with Mean Deacon David, to be exact. He's not mean, but years ago when we worked on the Convocation (he organized the entire thing) he used to put the fear of something in me. Anyway, Mean Deacon David is very kind, and a lot of fun. He and Fr. Husband have become great friends, hunting buddies, etc. MDD invited us to stay at his house instead of the traditional Holiday Inn, and we took him up on the kind offer.

MDD has a family like ours - except MDD and Mrs. Mean have three boys and one girl. They have a lovely home in San Juan Capistrano and redid their guest room right before we came, so we had the most lovely room with freshly laid Pergo, moulding, mocha paint, and lovely bedding.

MDD and Mrs. Mean are a hoot. We had a great time. We ate appetizers with water crackers, my favorite thing. The only thing we didn't get to do was play cards, because we got too tired. It turns out they like to play Spades too, our favorite couples card game.

We were at the clergy dinner on Friday night, a sumptuous affair at the home of Canon Jim. Canon cooks steaks, serves wine no one could afford at their own homes, and really treats all the clergy like kings in a soiree at their home, fully funded by the Canon. We were having a fine time at the dinner when MDD got a phone call from home.

At 10pm, a very loud knock occurred at the door of MDD's home. Their oldest daughter Ashley, age 16, was watching the younger kids. She was afraid. MDD told her to bring in their two hunting dogs, and lock the doors. He also had her bring over the neighbors, two girls who were also clergy kids staying at home alone, so they would be protected by the Gus and Annie, the Wiemeraner (sp?) hunting dogs too.

Ashley called back again, 10 minutes later, to say that people were outside with flashlights and a helicopter was circling overhead. We packed up, said our goodbyes to everyone, and high tailed it out of there. MDD talked to Ashley on the way, reassuring her that he and Fr. Husband would patrol the place with MDD's bows and arrows when they got home, and we'd be there quickly. Apparently Fr. Husband was going to have to whip out Robin-Hood style Fr. Kickass.

Ashley called again, while we were close to Mean Deacon David's house. Annie, one of the hunting dogs, had bitten the two neighbor clergy kids. One on the elbow, and one on the butt. Now MDD was feeling not just anxious to protect his kids, but guilty over harming the neighbors.

We pulled up the driveway, ready to spring out and capture the potential intruders. Then, we saw the culprit. Ashley's car had been tee-peed, and it was the teenagers who had done the knocking and flashlighting. Ashley must have interpreted a random helicopter overhead as a police copter circling. We went inside the house, and tended to the hysterical bunch. Two of MDD's younger boys had been crying, Ashley had been crying, and the neighbor clergy kids had been crying after the dog bites. Both of them had broken the skin.

We laughed. It's so good to know that other people have our kind of chaotic domestic bliss. This family is the St. Michael's version of us. We have never had such a fun time at retreat.


Off we go

See you all later - off to clergy retreat in San Clemente. If anyone needs us please use Joann's cell and not Fr. Husband's, which is missing at the moment.

I could bore you with all the to-do's I have before we hit the road at 1pm - but you'd just cry. Like me. ;-)

See you on Sunday!

We Found the Monkey Blanket!

Thank goodness. It was a trauma that was starting to crescendo. I don't want to leave town without the monkey blanket safely in Luke's possession.

It had been missing for six days, and he'd never been away from it for that long.


I think being tough is a good thing.

Typically, people think of being tough as the football player who's very strong, or the cop who doesn't take any stuff from people, or the school yard bully.

I think tough is the teenager with excruciating back pain every day who still goes to school, and plays sports. The mother who drops off her baby at day care and goes to work even though every ounce of her being would rather be with the child. The son who deals with an inconsistent parent who may or may not show up to pick him up from football practice. The strong man who deals with a chronic illness. His wife who hears about his pains, daily. The daughter of an elderly father with senility. The wife who deals with loneliness and frustration with kids, but smiles when her husband is going to go out with a friend on Friday night. Being scared, but pressing on. Enduring things, bearing things, and not letting them crush you.

I think tough is being able to withstand physical or mental discomfort. To be able to face a challenge with grace. To make others happy, ignoring your own immediate desires - not like a sick wacko, but ignoring your own immediate desires when necessary. To be compassionate to others, and kind, even though it causes you inconvenience or difficulty. To hear and share in the heartbreak of others, even though it makes you cry inside. Digging deep, and finding strength somehow in that magical place where you find more strength, even though it seems all strength is gone. To do your duty, even though it means taking unruly children to a long family birthday party in a house with a lot of fragile nick nacks, or sitting through an Easter Vigil service because it's a small sacrifice compared to what our Savior endured.

My husband is tough. I know of a lot of other people who are tough as well. And they are tough with tenderness, the most important part of all. It means an open heart instead of a hard one, and being vulnerable in the face of potential harm.

My girlfriend Angie is tough. She cared for her five brothers as her own children, because no one else would. She supported the family on her salary as a Baskin Robbins ice cream scooper at the age of 13. She and I would bravely face 120 hungry Lutherans and get food on the fellowship hall counter in 15 minutes or less. At a party, I bark orders at her hard and she prods me for more.

I've never been able to withstand physical pain well. Wah wah wah, complain, complain. But I can face a mental challenge pretty well. Physical exhaustion, emotional aggravation, and hearing inane complaints - yet still smile. Someday I'll be more physically tough. That's the day I'll be back down to my newlywed weight, and maybe running 5 or 10Ks. Or at least respectably be able to finish my treadmill test at the cardiologist. And have a headache or a sore muscle and still go about life as usual.

In the meantime, I'll continue to endure what I can, talking to people though I'm shy, host guests with grace, attend boring events or long church services with kids, and hope for God's help in physical toughness, combined with tenderness, in the future.

The Merits and Perils of Country Music

The radio show I listen to most these days is the Peter Tilden show on KZLA 93.9. Interestingly enough, Peter is a nice Jewish boy from Philadelphia who found himself laid off from talk radio and got a gig in country music, for the country station with the biggest audience in the nation. He's very funny, neurotic, etc., clean and mostly positive.

I used to listen to NPR on the way to work. It turned out that this made me very depressed. All show long, a lot of things going wrong with the country and the world. I started listening to country, and country music is happy music. It really lifted my mood. Then I moved to CEC Home sermons, but those have been few and far between lately due to Bp Adler's travels, so I have been listening to Peter Tilden again.

Country is a lot less nasty than pop/rap/urban music. Much more family friendly. I am not embarrassed or ashamed to have my daughters listen to the songs. Although, truth be told, there are some songs about "cheatin'."

I also have a low tolerance for songs that go "I am so great / all the women know I'm great / everybody on the street gives me props for being great" etc. etc. Substitute appropriate word for "great." Country music usually has a little more of a story than that. They talk about values, God, family, open spaces, etc.

There are some mighty fine singers and musicians. The truth is, nowadays the Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and all the southern rock bands would be considered country. Jimmy Buffett released his first #1 album, on the country charts. Kid Rock has a great country career (OK he is not family friendly but he does have a nice singing voice).

But, alas, sometimes country music can be embarrassing.

Case in point: the other night, I was happily making flower arrangements and watching country music videos when someone came into the room. "Oh, you're watching country music. 'Honky Tonk Badonkadonk'?" Yup, the name of the song was "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk." There's just no response you can make at that point.

I Love My Geeks!

As part of my job I often train new Associates coming to the firm. Some of them come from the recruiting side of the spectrum - very personable, poised, etc. Others come from the research side of the spectrum - a little awkward, know how to find all information but we really have to work to teach them how to engage people on the phone etc.

Well, today I was frustrated because I can't figure out how best to find Fortune 1000 board of directors candidates who are very influential with the powers that be in Mexico. I emailed one of my geek leaning friends I had trained earlier this year and he is hooking me up!

Woo hoo! I love people who know how to do obscure things!


High School Part II

I told you! It was a two list day on Thursday.

Top Ten Things About High School That Have Changed
10. The Principal's announcements that you could never understand over the speaker have been replaced by live TV broadcasts, with music videos, by the students.
9. Chalkboards have been replaced by dry erase white boards.
8. Every teacher has a computer projector so they can teach with powerpoint presentations or video clips.
7. The teachers are younger than you. Well, me.
6. No gang members to rush past, eyes averted. (At least in SCV).
5. Student telephones ring in their backpacks, at least two per class.
4. Emails sent to the teachers keep popping up on the screen, very distracting.
3. Instead of 6 or 7 periods a day, there are 2 hours blocks of classes.
2. The classrooms are painted a nice tan, instead of industrial pink which used to be thought to calm the savage beasts.
1. No driver training! The PE teachers no longer risk life and limb, for insurance purposes you have to go to a private company now.


High School

Post for Thursday's High School Shadow Day: Part I
Today I went to Jessica's school. It was Parent Shadow Day. Parents got to go to classes with their kids, take notes, and in some cases take tests.

Today we went to Modern Civilization, Biology, and Algebra C. Now, why couldn't it be the day to go to Student Government, English, and Theater? Sheesh.

Anyway, some things are the same about school, and some things are different.

Ten Things About School That Haven't Changed
10. You don't say hi to everyone you know, only close pals.
9. Boys answer 95% of the questions asked.
8. You have to rush from class to class, and they don't give you enough time.
7. There are not enough bathrooms.
6. A chill goes up your spine when a pop quiz is announced.
5. Kids group by level of coolness and ethnic group.
4. Your mind wanders and it's hard to pay attention to boring teachers.
3. White slip on Vans shoes are popular.
2. You avert your eyes when the Principal comes around.
1. It's good to be in the company of a true friend.

Wedding Coordinator Roles

Well, it seems as though we at All Saints don't have the proper delgation of roles going for weddings. For future ceremonies, we will have to prepare the following:

Top Ten Wedding Coordinator Roles
10. Make sure the bathroom has toilet paper coordinator
9. Creating tulle puffy clouds along the aisle coordinator
8. Take away tulle puffy clouds along the aisle so no one trips and dies coordinator
7. Get and return the rental/borrowed equipment coordinator
6. Wedding guest housing coordinator
5. Vacuum the carpet coordinator
4. Hand out the rice coordinator
3. Sweep the rice coordinator
2. Wash the surplices coordinator
1. Hand out the programs coordinator

There are more, but I am in a rush, so I will leave it at ten and go with my first gut instincts. Normally I would have let it cook, and gone back to make the list better. But, for today, since I am in a rush, it's some low quality H2O. ;-)


Running Around Like a Chicken With No Head

I have had a very exciting day. Today, a middle aged woman went to high school. I shadowed Jessica.

However, I am trying to get flowers etc. in order for Saturday's wedding, and get the house ready for houseguests.

So, unfortunately, the West Ranch High tale will have to be told another time. I'll just say this: not one but two top ten lists are in order.

Vocabulary Lesson - Media Version

In our home, we have some common sayings. We all know what they mean. When someone else says them, we are somehow happy and comforted. It's sort of like eating your mom's meatloaf.

You have probably heard us saying some of these things. You might not have understood what we mean. Some of them seem a little harsher than what we mean, especially when you don't know we are kidding. Sorry, Carsten.

This list is the version that was influenced by media. There are other lists that are home grown, that will be discussed another time.

Top Ten Mski Family Vocabulary Phrases, Media Version

10. "Shut up! shut up, shut up, shut up!" School of Rock
Used by Luke to be a peacemaker when people argue in the house.
9. "You not the funny." Miscellaneous Comic Show
Korean comedian described his father's constant statements. As in, "you know why the chicken cross the road? because you telling jokes on the other side. and you not the funny!" Used when someone is ...not the funny.
8. "Fool!" Gabriel Iglesias in Concert
An endearing term used in conversation with a close comrade, to create a false sense of separation between two intimate associates.
7. "Hit me as hard as you can" Fight Club
Usually used in the same paragraph as the name of one of the WORMs.
6. "Pikachu!" Pokemon
Used when one is frustrated and mad, with arms raised and body shaking.
5. "I make this black suit look good." Men in Black
Used when one is especially happy about or defensive regarding their appearance.
4. "Do not play with magic you do not understand, Giant." The Indian in the Cupboard
Used when trying to keep someone from doing something.3. "That's funny stuff right there, I don't care who you are." Larry The Cable Guy
Used when others are trying not to laugh at something funny you have said.
2. "That's some high quality H2O". Waterboy
A compliment, as in "that's excellent."

1. "And that's another reason I hate France." Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night
Used at random times when complaining about something, usually with no previous mention of a first event to warrant the "another".


And That's Another Thing I Don't Like About Recruiting...

Really, I like my job. But, one thing I dislike is having to sign off candidates.

For each search, I will find 6-10 qualified candidates. We'll interview them, and then have our client interview four.

These are all people who have the skills, qualifications, and background to do the job. I wouldn't call them if they didn't have that. So, when our client makes their selection, and doens't choose someone, it's usually about another candidate having an exceptionally outstanding background, or they don't click with the candidate.

The process pretty much goes like this. We get a search, and I look through our database for candidates. I do research to find competitors and other appropriate target companies, and find out who the right person is. I call those 50-75 people. In pretty much every case, these people are happily employed. Then, I call and try and convince them to be interested in the job. 10 are interested. 6 are interviewed by us. 4 are interviewed by the client. One is chosen. Then, we tell the other 3 they stink and we don't want them.

It would be nice if I could say the straight truth:
"I'm sorry Joe, they thought you looked goofy in the cufflinks and white tie you wore to the interview..."
"If only you hadn't been a jerk to the receptionist while waiting for the CEO..."
"They thought you were self centered and arrogant..."
"No one appreciated the fact that you rescheduled three times, and we are all so mad at you that we don't care how good you are"
"They didn't like the hair in your ears" (sorry Fr. Husband)
"The client knows you already and laughed when I raised your name."

However, I have to find true things to say but softer, like
"There is another candidate that seems to have skills that fit exceptionally well with the client, and they want to pursue their candidacy..."
"It wasn't a good cultural fit..."
"They really do need ______ which unfortunately you don't have in your background"

So guess what I had to do this morning...


On Being Delicious, Part II

Well. Apparently I was clear as mud regarding being delicious.

This post is part II of the post below. Please read that one first so you will follow along with the rest of the class. :-)

Delicious = troubles. Delicious = hard life. Delicious = in danger. Delicious = being eaten, and being eaten = death.

I guess you have to be a mother of daughters to see that boys seeing your daughters as delicious is bad. Bad, bad, bad. That means that they may be attacked, or victims, at any moment. School, the mall, walking around, wherever.

The Grapdelites were delicious, but that wasn't good. It meant they were constantly being chased. They were constantly in danger of being eaten. That's a hard life. Being delicious is hard.

Yet, the Grapdelites were happy. They accepted the fact that they were prey, and that predators would snap them up in a heartbeat. They still lived a joyful life.

What I was trying to say, not very well, is that even with the burden of being delicious, and being eaten at any time, the Grapdelites were happy. Even with the threat of being eaten hanging over their head. Some people have health, emotional, poverty, or other life problems, but are still happy, even with the threat of whatever it is they have hanging over their head. They are delicious (in danger, or jeopardy) but they find joy. Many times people who are not delicious, and have no problems in life, don't have the joy that the delicious have.

Some of you are delicious. Yet you have found the meaning of life, you have found the joy of the Lord, and you live a richer life with Jesus than those who have never had to look a big angry maw in the face. Though you are in danger, you walk hand in hand with our Savior. For some of you, you always had Him. For some of you, you found Him after you became delicious. In any case, I am proud to know you Grapdelites.

Is that better? I hope so. Grade for the Blog Challenge: D for understandability.

P.S. The baby dinosaur had two categories: the mama, and not the mama. People either fell into one or the other category, to the dad's dismay. That baby dinosaur was very much like Naomi at the time, who was not necessarily the nicest dinosaur to "not the mama"s.

Blog Challenge: On Being Delicious

This is a "challenge" from Fr. Husband, who has double dog dared me to blog on random titles he suggests. This blog challenge may or may not happen from time to time, depending on how I do or don't feel. How's that for a nice commitment?
Today's challenge: Blog title = "On Being Delicious"
Special farthings to people who remember "not the mama"

In 1991, we used to watch a show called Dinosaurs. This was a great Jim Henson show about a dinosaur family. It was sort of like The Flintstones or The Honeymooners, except that the family were dinosaurs. Duh.

I call to your attention:
Episode 8: "Endangered Species" by: David A. Caplan & Brian Lapan / directed by: Jay Dubin
Earl buys Fran two grapdelites, a rare delicacy that they'll dine on for their anniversary, until Robbie meets the goodies and they explain that they are the last two of their kind.Taped: 07/01/1991
(from the Dinosaurs Episodeguide, http://www.thalia.science.ru.nl/funpage/television/dinosaurs/).

These two grapdelites run around the house, being prepped for dinner. They are little type dinosaurs. Very cute, sort of the "lobster" of dinosaur. Anyway, at one point Robbie the teenage son asks if they are upset about always being possibly eaten. They reply, "They can't help it, we're delicious."
What would it be like to be delicious? At every turn, people chasing you. Wanting to eat you. Waiting for you to drop your guard. Then, POOM, your life is over and bon appetit.

Sometimes I think my daughters are delicious. Boys, at every turn, ready to pounce upon them. Our babies are delicious. Predators ready to steal them. My mom thought I was delicious. She didn't want us to come to the house, because the people she thought were watching her might see us and attack us.

The great thing about the grapdelites, besides their scrumptious flavor, was that they accepted their fate. They lived their lives happily. They knew they would always be chased, and at some point they might be caught. But it was their fate, and it didn't stop them from being happy little critters.

God has given each of us a lot in life. Some people are delicious, and may or may not be caught soon. Who knows why?
Sometimes, the delicious are happier, and have found the meaning of life, more than the foul tasting. Some of you are pretty darn tasty, and I am so sorry that you've got it tough. But I'm very proud to know you, and you should be proud to be delicious.


Sometimes, I try to think about what I would like to do for a living if money and schedule were no object. There are some jobs that are fun, except when you do them you find out their downsides.

Being an executive recruiter is not fun. Oh, it can be enjoyable, when you find good candidates, or get a lead on new business, or find out information on a potential client that cinches the deal. Sometimes it's fun meeting clients or candidates. But it's not "ha ha" life's ambition kind of fun, or reward. No one grows up dreaming to be an executive recruiter.

It's been a few days... and I know I for one am getting a little nervous without having a good top ten... so here is

Top Ten Fun Jobs
(Whether or Not They Are)

10. Starbucks Barista
9. Newcaster (my childhood backup profession if I couldn't get the Rock Star gig)
8. Remember When Scrapbooking Store Salesperson
7. Sushi Person
6. Typesetter
5. Matchmaker
4. House Painter
3. Radio DJ
2. Wedding Cake Baker
1. Dreyer's Ice Cream Quality Control Taster

P.S.: This post has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that I am trying to diet.


It turns out, I am made of sugar! Due to weather and traffic conditions, I am working at home today instead of going to the office. Very sad, because I do love to go to the office ( http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=17047164&postID=112776171047328189). However, I didn't want to go out in the rain and melt.

Crazy Korean Potion

Today, I went to the beauty supply and got some crazy Korean potion, Dr. Eslee's products. When I went to go and get my hair cut at the beauty supply, the owner gave me a sample of these products. You have to listen very carefully to her giving the instructions, or else you can't use them - the package only has Korean instructions on the back. I know this because in Gardena, there are a lot of Korean BBQs and other businesses, and it was the same stick and O's that make up their signs.

Anyway, I bought full sized products of these things, and now we'll see what happens. Last time I used it my skin cleared up in two days. I think either my skin will miraculously look fabulous or else my face will melt, who knows, because we can't read what the warnings are, they are in Korean.

Japanese and Koreans don't typically get along. Japanese think that Koreans are hotheaded, and have bad breath from eating kim chee with garlic all the time. Koreans think bad things about the Japanese too, who knows what exactly. The truth is, Koreans are more likely to be Christians, and very faithful Christians, than Japanese. And I like garlic a lot too, and have been known to yell and be hotheaded my own dang self. Perhaps if I use this potion I will turn Korean. Perhaps I already have turned Korean.

If this stuff works, I am going to be very nice to the next Korean I see. That will probably be the beauty supply lady, with me buying more crazy Korean potion.

And One More Thing...

If someone makes a top eleven list, but they repeat one item, http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=11693475&postID=112921741276892111, then doesn't that mean that it's a top ten list????????????


Been Away From Blogland

Well, we had a great meeting last night. Thanks to Peg (www.herman8it.blogspot.com) for a great, real, and honest testimony. Afterwards, we had a shower for Mae at our house. Fun, and yum.

This morning I got up at 0 dark 30 to go to the flower mart. Met Laurie in Newhall at 6am, then headed on to downtown. We got there, and I couldn't remember where the place was. It's been a few years. It turns out we were one block away, but I had to go a few blocks out of the way before figuring it out. This morning we went through Chinatown, bridal district, jewelry district, garment district, fabric district, produce district, then finally hit the flower mart. That's a lot of districts.

I have every orangey gold colored flower there is in the house, it seems. The front room looks like a funeral parlor for Tina Turner (it's about the color of her hair). It is very pretty.

At one point, I thought I would like to be a florist because I love flowers so much. However, being a florist means waking up early and traipsing to the flower mart, carrying very heavy loads of flowers, hunching over them de-thorning and de-leafing for a long time, and the profit margin is not big. I'm happy doing random occasions.

After I came home, I did the daily office online (my rule before doing anything fun online, http://www.allsaints-cec.org/daily_office/) and then intended to do blogcheck. I was so tired, I had to go nap instead of blog. That's pretty tired.

Well, I had a nap and I am back! Doing laundry (no one has any clean underwear) and getting ready for youth kids to come over tonight. Hope nothing major happened during the 24 hours I've been away!!

Two for One Sale

Everyone in blogland is very lucky today. It's two for one for Joann's Blog Adventure entries. Someday, when I get some time, maybe I might even write ten blog entries in one day!

1. Treasures Found
My brother Jerry has Down's Syndrome, and he works at a sheltered workshop. Pleasantview Industries called today, and asked for his social security card. This required rooting through a lot of stuff.

Contrary to popular belief, I know where all the important papers in my office are. I went through all of them, to no avail. Then I went into Nadia's closet and went through some of my mother's papers that we've just stored up there.

Treasures Found in Mom's Papers:
10. Jerry's original hospital birth certificate (unfortunately doesn't work for I-9 purposes.)
9. A lovely picture of my parents and brother, at a happy time in mom's life.
8. A medal from my dad's service in the Navy.
7. My Dad's graduation certificate from Trade Tech, where he got his aircraft mechanic certification.
6. My Dad's diploma from Eastwood High School in Syracuse, NY.
5. A newspaper article on my Dad's mother, who was one of the first class of married women allowed to attend and graduate from nursing school.
4. An order form for a book on the Peruvian Japanese interned in WWII (this is how my family got from Peru to the U.S.).
3. My Dad's honorable discharge from the Navy. For some reason, my mother would keep this in her purse. She also had made about 6 copies of the discharge. She must have feared that they would order him back.
2. My Dad's "head shot" (a polaroid) and handwritten resume to a casting agent. He was in a United Airlines commercial in 1991, when they used real employees.
1. An 8x10 of my Dad and his bowling team in 1966.

I have already scrapbooked the resume/headshot and also the bowling team. I did a nice black and white vintage looking page for the bowling team, and got to write on both pages about some of the memories of my Dad. I feel like I got a little treasure, with so much memorabilia just waiting to be paired with pictures and scrapbooked! I am really excited and highly motivated to do some family history scrapping.

2. Jerry's New Job
The reason why the workshop called is because Jerry is going to get a new job "in the community." He currently works at Pleasantview doing assembly, folding, etc. He is able to work far above this level, but he has had some bad experiences with jobs.

When Jerry had just graduated from high school, my Dad had a friend who owned a restaurant. The friend thought that Jerry should be doing more than just staying home (good thought) and offered him a job hosting at the coffee shop. The family was thrilled. After about a month... Jerry was fired for continually hitting on the boss' wife.

When Jerry first started working in Torrance, he was in the mailroom at Mattel. This was a hard job. You had to deliver mail all over the Mattel campus, and it required heavy lifting of boxes, etc. He had recently come down with diabetes. After a month... he faked a fainting spell at work and was moved to another job. (He then started working with the Redondo Beach graffiti removal squad. During the two years he worked there, he referred to it was "confitti removal." He still hates to see bus benches with "confitti," checks underneath them for gum and shakes his head).

Jerry moved in with us when my parents died, and when we moved to Santa Clarita, Jerry started working at Pleasantview. This was far below his capabilities. After a while he got a chance to work "in the community," supervised by a job coach. He worked at AXO Industries (661), in shipping and receiving. He stole his job coach's lunch and denied it after being caught red handed. He stole $50 worth of candy bars from the box, and flushed the wrappers down the toilet so no one would find them. After a month... he was fired and back to Pleasantview.

At Pleasantview, Jerry would kindly go to get everyone's lunch on Fridays at Telly's hamburger stand. He would collect the orders, and the money, and go and get the food. It turns out that he would never have to pay for his own lunch. He would overcharge the rest of the developmentally disabled workers at the workshop so he got lunches free.

Now, two years later, Jerry is going out to the community again. This time he will be unleashed on Smart & Final. He'll be supervised by a job coach. Now, clearly Jerry is able to do the work. But I am a little worried. He's going to be around potato chips, soda, beer, and candy all day long. I certainly hope he doesn't gain 15 pounds, and Smart & Final find themselves short $1000 worth of merchandise his first month.

Well, they are going to order Jerry a new Social Security card, and then he'll start his new job... pray with me now!


Our family likes audiobooks when we go on vacation. When you are in the middle of a nice 5 hour or 15 drive, an audiobook helps keep the driver awake, if it's a good one. It also entertains us and gives us a common set of phrases for the next year.

For example, if you hang around our house enough, you'll hear someone shout "Evelyn, my butt hurts." That's from the NPR Audiobook I Thought My Father was God http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805067140/002-4257715-8054458?v=glance&n=283155&v=glance. You will also hear "and that's another reason why I hate France" said at inappropriate moments. That's from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385512104/002-4257715-8054458?v=glance&n=283155&v=glance. By the way, Curious Incident is a great book which has a lot of numbered lists.

Those two were probably the biggest hits.

Books that I liked but no one else really did include: Garrison Keillor (various tapes), and the Mitford series, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/014025448X/002-4257715-8054458?v=glance&n=283155&v=glance which talks about Father Tim the Episcopalian priest in a small town in North Carolina, and has a lot of discussion about cake.

One that was a big drag this year was Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316143464/002-4257715-8054458?v=glance&n=283155&v=glance. It started off OK, but when it got to some pretty explicit child homosexual issues we had to abort the mission. Not appropriate for a family drive to Idaho!

I would have liked to do this subject in the format of a nice orderly list, maybe of say, ten. Unfortunately, I don't have ten items to discuss. I think it would have been a much more effective post if I had ten items. Also, my husband counted and so far I have made nine top ten lists. That makes me very nervous. Gotta make another one so it's a nice round number.

Ten items works, people! No more maligning the ten! Ten on!!


Rock Star

And that's another reason why I love country music - the music of America, the music that is not rap, the music where you can understand the words, the music with good singers and the music that ruins your makeup on the way to work because you are boo hooing to a schmaltzy lyric expressly made to pull fake emotion out of you:

(Gee, that could easily have evolved into a top ten list, but I digress...)

Probably three of the last five times Naomi and I have gotten into the car together, this song is playing:

She's Somebody's Hero - sung and maybe written by Jamie O'Neal

She's never pulled anyone from a burning building
She's never rocked Central Park to a half a million fans, screaming out her name
She's never hit a shot to win the game
She's never left her footprints on the moon
She's never made a solo hot air balloon ride, around the world,
No, she's just your everyday average girl

(but)She's somebody's hero
A hero to her baby with a skinned up knee
A little kiss is all she needs
The keeper of the cheerios
The voice that brings Snow White to life
Bedtime stories every night
And that smile lets her know
She's somebody's hero

The song continues on... but really that's about all I need to hear. Actually, I just pretty much stop listening after "She's never rocked Central Park to a half a million fans, screaming out her name". At that point, I like to point to Naomi and tell her "yet."

What happened to my plans of being a rock star? That was why, growing up, I never paid attention to learning how to clean house. I always assumed my entourage would hire someone to take care of that.

Top Ten Reasons Joann is not a Rock Star

10. Downloading is taking a big bite out of recording contracts/salaries.
9. Extra weight left over from four pregnancies.
8. Touring schedule is difficult for a working mom.
7. Can't wear the scary clothing (see "Mrs. Priest": http://joannmski.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_joannmski_archive.html)
6. Forgot to be a rock star at the age of 22, which is the proper age.
5. I don't like the small planes and buses, which often crash.
4. Current last name is not a good stage name.
3. Don't want to shoot smack, take crack, or do anything else ending in ack.
2. Lack of talent, a small deterrent.
1. Papparazzi is annoying.


Blog Comments

I can't help it. I really like to read and comment on blogs.

Not to do any cyber bullying. Although I hear that's fun. Really, it's because it helps me stay in touch with people.

Typically when I see people live, I am holding one baby and trying to chase another. Though I try to give people my undivided attention, I'm sure they feel like they are the fifth priority. They're not the fifth priority. It's just a little tough when the babies are going nuts, and the big girls are busy trying to get my attention to complain about something or other.

I like to read what people are thinking about. And, I like to let them know that their thoughts are heard. It can be an easy little comment or a more extensive one, but one way or another, for better or for worse, I always leave a little dropping. I'm like a bunny, or a rat, who has to make droppings right when they eat.

Better to blog when you know someone is listening, than to feel that you blog alone in the forest with no one hearing your tree falling... I think... or something along that line that is supposed to make sense...

Mrs. Commentator


Never mind, I got it back to English.


Uh oh

Well, just for fun I thought I'd try to change my blog into Japanese. Now, all of the commands and dashboard are in Japanese, but the blog remains in English.

I can't figure out how to change it back to English.

My Japanese is not good enough to live like this.


A Hick Town

I have received a complaint from the readership of this blog that my top ten lists should be in backwards order. This post was already drafted a while ago; in future posts I will try to remember to do a countdown from 10 to 1.-----

Castaic is a funny place. I grew up in a place that had a lot more diversity, was much older and established. It was more dangerous (crime-wise) and the weather was more temperate.

I have lived in Castaic for six years now. I think I've adjusted to it. I feel a little sad that my parents never even knew of or visited where we now live, they died before we moved. There is a great quality of life here - good public schools, nice neighborhoods, lower cost of living than most other places, and large homes. I have really learned to love the place.

Castaic is different than some other places. When you heard a helicopter in Gardena, we would lock the doors and windows because a helicopter meant the police were looking for someone running through the neighborhood. Here, you check to make sure your neighborhood isn't on fire.

Top Ten Reasons You Know You're in Castaic

  1. Your neighbor, your other neighbor, and you drive an SUV.
  2. Your dog escapes and someone brings it back to your house (darn).
  3. Every sports team in town is called the Cougars.
  4. Every time you drive up Hillcrest, and you see someone walking, you ask your kids who the pedestrian is, and they tell you.
  5. You can leave your bicycle outside, your car unlocked, and your garage door open all night and nothing happens.
  6. You know what and when the Love Ride is.
  7. Your neighborhood has wild bunnies, coyotes, snakes, or quail.
  8. You know who "Running Man," "Filipino Walking Lady" and "Fu Manchu" are.
  9. Your friends and family drive at least an hour to get to you and have to complain about the drive for an hour after they arrive.
  10. You recognize the alert and lock your doors when the Pitchess Detention Center alarm goes off.


Today is the Day

I am going back to the low carb diet. Things are a little out of hand.

Please be nice to my husband, he always has to bear my wrath when I am cranky and dieting.

And also, I am spilling coffee on myself every day! Egads.

A Potluck is Best

I have played a lot of team sports in my life, for being a girl. A lot of girls don't play team sports, which is a shame. I think team sports are very important. If our football team did not do its job, the quarterback would get creamed. If the rest of the baseball players couldn't get on base, the team was sunk. Our high school volleyball team had designated roles - the short Asians were setters, the tall Samoans and African Americans were hitters, etc. I was a setter and a middle blocker, which is funny because I'm not that tall, but I was for Gardena High School.

When I first started in my job at the executive search firm, my boss wanted to transform our office. It was an unhappy place, and the staff were mediocre. Many of the consultants wouldn't work with the associates so that meant that I'd have 15 searches and another associate would have four, because their work stank. Later, as we hired better people and I started hiring the best I could find for our office, we had a roundly solid team that anyone would be thrilled to work with. The people are talented, and smart, and fun. Two of the people I hired are now partners, and another is my manager and participant in a lot of firmwide strategic activities that I used to do. I couldn't be happier. I am very proud of my part in bringing together a fantastic team. Our firm is known for its high quality and consistently good people. I teach them to be externally competitive, but internally cooperative.

At our recent womens' retreat, the speaker talked about people being jealous of others who are having a spiritual experience (putting on the bridal dress), and that we should be supportive and let others come into their faith. That is very strange to me. It's as though some would begrudge another her mountaintop experience. Some people acknowledged that they weren't pleased when another had success, including spiritual success. I would much rather be shoulder to shoulder with others who were more spiritual, talented, gifted, or miraculous than me. They'll lift me up! Paul says that the body of Christ has many members (1 Corinthians 12:12-31), and "if one member is honored, all rejoice together."

I think part of our mission at All Saints is to grow the best team to spread the gospel. In some cases we will launch ministries. In all cases we will have lifelong partners in ministry. Fr. Husband will always encourage people to be their best, and give them praise and credit. He'll also correct them, so that they can be better. Sometimes I wish I could be as friendly, as organized, as financial, as musical, etc. etc. as some others. But I don't have to be, because we have people who will fill in the void, and shine. We are all on the same team, and we all succeed when one of us succeeds.

At a potluck dinner, you get to have everyone's best dish. This is much better than one person killing themselves to make a full meal for everyone, and some of the dishes are invariably of lower quality. At our small church we have a tremendous amount of talent, and everyone is bringing their best. We are a delicious potluck. I love it.

Flawed Logic

After considering yesterday's post, I must say that Tropical Island Food has flawed logic. My apologies to all.

That post would probably be better titled Food I Would Eat Daily if Stuck on an Island That Has a Grocery Store with a Cranky Manager Who Will Only Order a Limited Amount of Supplies and the Boat Will Not Take Passengers Off the Island, Only Make Deliveries.

Tropical Island Food

If I were to be stuck on an island, it would have to be a tropical island and not a desert island, since I don't like the desert. Anyway, if you were stuck on an island, and had to eat the same things every day, you'd have to pick things that you would never tire of, and could love consistently. You wouldn't want to pick something like a bacon wrapped hot dog with grilled onions and peppers, you couldn't eat that little number every day. Here's what mine would be:

Of course, there must be great coffee, along with Special K with Berries. This cereal is great. It is really addicting. It's like crack. At least I have been told that crack is very addicting, I'm not sure.
Runner up: Egg Mcmuffin.
2nd runner up: Hard boiled eggs with soy sauce.

The very best lunch of all time is tuna sandwich on wheat with potato chips and Coke Zero.
Runner up: Bean and cheese burrito
2nd runner up: Quarter Pounder w/Cheese, fries and Diet Coke

Fresh Peach
Runner up: baby carrots

Cream cheese with cocktail sauce on top, served with plain Carr's water crackers
Runner up: Pita with hummus
2nd runner up: Monterey Jack cheese and water crackers

Crane Lake Cabernet
Runner up: Gin and Albertson's brand diet tonic (much better than Schweppes)
2nd runner up: Limeade margaritas

Chili on top of rice. Green salad on the side.
Runner up: Chicken broccoli casserole, and rice (yup, for the rice stomach).
2nd runner up: Spaghetti with Classico Four Cheese sauce made with ground beef, salad and garlic bread.

Chocolate ice cream
Runner up: Strawberry shortcake
2nd runner up: Cake

I think that's probably too much food to eat on a daily basis. But it would be OK, because no one else would see me on the island and I could grow in peace.



When I am in my home office, I look out over the beautiful Castaic valley. There are lovely hills, and trees, and homes all over. In the far distance is the Pitchess Detention Center.

Are the prisoners looking back? What does the valley look like from their perspective?

I don't think it would be good to be in prison. Please note, I have titled this list "ten reasons..." not "top ten reasons..." because I don't understand the prison experience well enough to know the true misery of being there. Here are just some observations from outside the Big House. From a person who has never visited The Pokey. My sympathies, and no disrespect intended, to those who have been in The Slammer.

Ten Reasons It Would be Bad to be in Prison
  1. You have to eat bruised fruit.
  2. Same clothes, every day.
  3. Jailhouse orange is not very flattering.
  4. People aren't nice.
  5. Not much privacy.
  6. Guards are in charge of your schedule. I like to be in charge of my own schedule.
  7. They make you exercise an hour a day.
  8. You can't use sharp objects. That would really make scrapbooking tough.
  9. I don't smoke, so I wouldn't have any prison currency.
  10. You might have to work in the prison laundry and do laundry for everyone. That would not be prison, it would be hell.


Conference Calls

In my line of work, we have a lot of conference calls. Sometimes you have to be fully engaged, like when you are talking to clients about candidates. Sometimes, you can listen without paying attention too much - like when you are on a gigantic practice call, and they are giving an update on things happening at the firm.

Top Ten Things To Do On a Conference Call
  1. Catch up on email.
  2. Clean your desk.
  3. Pay bills (psych! as if I would do that).
  4. Look at People magazine, and funny celebrity websites (www.gofugyourself.com)
  5. Go internet shopping, fill up your cart, and never order the items.
  6. Read and comment on blogs, or draft some entries.
  7. Electronic photo cropping, and ordering photos on Shutterfly.
  8. Prepare Sunday bulletin.
  9. Make a scrapbook page.
  10. Email other people on the call making fun of the person speaking.

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Happy Jacket

Today, I am wearing my happy jacket. This jacket makes me happy. It turns out, it makes others happy too. I just talked to a friend of mine here at work, in the hallway, and she said that my jacket makes HER happy, just seeing it.

If you are sad, please spend time with me and my jacket.


Well, today I went to confession. I went down to the church and had confession with Fr. Husband. Good timing too, since it's Rosh Hashanah I joined in with all of my friends from the Tribe in atoning for my sins.

This was my first confession. Being a Baptist, and then a Lutheran, I never really had that growing up. I have been nervous about it for a few days. In the past, I had wanted to have confession at some of our clergy retreats, but the schedule is tight, and then I don't. I think having to confess all of your sins from throughout your life is pretty hard, because there is so much to remember. So, I was fairly general and next time I will be able to point out some specific ones. I'm sure there will be some doozies. Not that I am looking forward to confessing doozies, just saying that there will probably be some.

It was very emotional (that's code for "I boo hooed like a baby"). I am really happy now, and feel very good. After confession, I went and got myself some McDonald's lunch as a little reward. This is turning out to be a great day.

Right to Love

I listened to an old Bishop's Best sermon CD on the way to work today. This CD was from Pro Life Sunday in 2003. This particular sermon had a very interesting conclusion. Bishop Adler read the sermon of Bishop Fiske (Ficke?) in Michigan, and it gave examples of three women who had abortion/baby issues. One of those examples turned out to be Bishop Fiske's daughter, who had been date raped at the age of 25, and went on with her family and church support to continue the pregnancy.

Essentially, Bishop Adler prepped the congregation of St. Michael's to love mothers who may be in difficult circumstances. He said he would be the first one in line to accept and comfort unwed teenagers. In a church with as many youth as St. Michael's, there are bound to be tough situations happening. And knowing that, and preparing the congregation to do the same, will save babies. That's one of the things I love about the CEC - acceptance and love of the whole person, and showing and extending God's grace. Hoping for the best, but accepting the fallen.

Our hands-on love and support to mothers in distress will be more effective than picketing, walking, or other "right to life" activities. Telling teens that if they've made a mistake it's OK, we will still love them and will help them to keep or to launch their babies into another loving family will make a local change and have real results.

This is a pretty hard attitude to promote when trying to keep teenage girls from getting pregnant (especially those in your own household :-)). It's so the right thing to do, however. I will love and accept, and help, whatever person ends up in this situation. It's God's merciful way. Those babies have a right to life, and it is right to love their mothers.


Surprise! Guess What You Touched?

We went to the Natural History Museum yesterday. I took the babies. The big girls were too busy blogging, and the babies don't blog. Yet.

Anyway, we used to take the big girls all the time when they were little girls. Even before then, Rich and I used to go there on dates a lot when we were in high school and college. It was so fun to return to the museums. Boy have they changed. There was a Wolfgang Puck cafe in the museum. Before, there only used to be little men going around with carts of helados (ice cream).

Luke can recognize a T Rex, and he was all about the dinosaur area. I had to tell him the name of every living dinosaur in the place. And believe me, they are not named what they used to be. Where is the brontosaurus? Now it's some kind of an argentinian sauropod. There is a brand new kind of dinosaur, almost as big as T Rex, I can't even remember its name. I've attached a picture of it, whatever its name is. It was discovered sometime in the last 15 years. Luke didn't like it - he thought it was looking at him. The truth is, it was. We were standing right where that big two spiky haired, short arm having dinosaur was looking.

We touched those big giant hairy spiders, I can't recall the name for some reason, and toured the spider exhibit. Well, that was pretty much like walking around our yard. I can't believe I paid $3 to see the same dang spiders I have here at the house. And, Rich and Luke had found a tarantula at Dry Gulch last week (that's what those big hairy spiders are called).

Also, we took the Dinosaur tour, and we touched a T Rex toe fossil. Our guide also told us that Jurassic Park 3 was not technically correct, that the dinosaur fighting T Rex would not be able to sustain the first blow. Alas, I thought Steven Spielberg was a stickler for authenticity. And, then we touched another nice dark oval shaped fossil. A dinosaur poop! Those tour guides are real jokesters.


Have you ever noticed that people at church always sit in the same place? We are supposed to count how many communicants there are every Sunday, and tell the diocese. Sometimes I would forget to do that, and then I'd have to recreate the people who were there at church in my head at home. That's pretty easy, because you can go row by row and figure out who was there. (Luckily, now Amy is in charge of counting and she always remembers.)

We have 2 dogs now. We got a new dog, Chick. More about that another time. Kimo and Chick are marking their territories. Kimo will go and pee in a certain place in the yard. Then, Chick goes and pees on the same place. Then, Kimo will go and pee over Chick's pee. Then Chick again. You get the picture, they are marking their territory. At the museum, they told us that they think the dinosaurs did the same thing to keep other dinos out of their territory.

I am so glad that people don't mark their territories the same way that dogs do. That would make church cleanup really really tough.


I was invited to teach an Associate Boot Camp in Chicago this November. I was going to decline, because I'd have to be away on Naomi's birthday. But instead, I am going to bring Naomi with me and we are going to stay the weekend in Chicago.

We'll stay at a beautiful hotel, the Hotel Burnham, on the Magnificent Mile right off Michigan Avenue. The Hotel is across the street from Marshall Field's. Chicago now has a lot of chocolate cafes, and we're going to find one. We're going to catch a matinee showing of Wicked, a play about the early friendship of the witches on the Wizard of Oz. It's going to be November, and we are going to freeze our California patooties off. We might go outdoor ice skating. We'll go to church at a ginormous beautiful old cathedral. We'll eat Chicago hot dogs, and pizza. We might run around and do a variety of other things too, but those are some of the highlights.

I just can't wait. I've been to Chicago a bajillion times for work, because our headquarters is there, but seldom for fun. It's a great town for fun. When Jessica turned nine, I had to go to Chicago on her birthday to do some testing for a database program that was being programmed. I took her with me and there were all these crazy painted cows all over town. It was during the internet boom, and I assumed I'd do another business trip soon and take Naomi. However, our firm stopped all unnecessary travel and training, and I never got to take Naomi. Now, she'll finally get her chance.