Friday, February 29, 2008

A Shout out to Springfield

I spent this last week in Springfield Missouri on business. I was dreading it - who wants to go to there? I was pretty confident that there couldn't possibly be anything remotely interesting about such a boring place.
So I did a little research. I found a lot of interesting stuff.

It's the home of more unsolved murders per capita than anywhere in the United States.

It hasSecond-highest number of fast food restaurants per capita in the United States (behind Owensboro, Ky.).

It is the home of cashew chicken

Its Wal-mart Supercenter is the most profitable Supercenter in the country, and was also the site of a celebration for selling the most duct tape of anyplace in the United States.

It gave us the original Bachelor, Aaron Buerge.

It is the home of former Attorney General John Ashcroft

The Federal Medical Center is at the corner of Sunshine Street and Kansas Expressway and has housed Gen. Manuel Noriega, John Gotti (who died there two years ago), Jeffrey Dahmer and Timothy McVeigh, among others.

It is where Trinity Broadcasting Network started.

Jerry Falwell went to school at Baptist Bible College on Kearney Street.

Faith healer Benny Hinn's wife went to Evangel University, which named its basketball arena after John Ashcroft.

It's Brad Pitt's hometown

There are 34 towns and cities with the name “Springfield” in the United States

So it's not so boring afterall...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I'm posting from my blackberry so I don't know if this will work or not. I'm on a trip for work this week. I left on Sunday morning and I feel like I've been gone forever. I'm lucky because I'm travelling with 2 other women from my office that I get along really well with, we got snow today (we're in Springfield Missouri) and I've met a lot of great people and made some killer networking contacts... But I'm really sad tonight. I miss my family and am ready to come home. A few more days to go...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Hope's Favorite Joke

Hey! I got a "P"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Missed Opportunity

A colleague and I were discussing our company's strategic marketing plan for the coming year. And then out of nowhere he asks me this question: "All Christians believe in a predetermined, Master Plan, don't they?" I replied, "Some do, yes." He responded by saying "if someone believes in a Master Plan, then why do they pray? What good does it do if the Plan has already been set?" I was startled at the stark contrast between this line of questioning and our conversation about marketing. My mind was reeling - I know all the things you're supposed to say: "free will" "God's sovereignty" "Jeremiah 29:11" - but in that moment my mind went blank. I froze. I started to stammer out some sort of lame response and he cut me off and said "we don't have time to discuss it right now" and went right back into our previous conversation. And just like that, the moment was gone. I can't help feeling like I really blew it. I look for those opportunities all the time. This one fell in my lap and I didn't know what to do.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Comment Deleted?! What the?

Okay, so as a new blogger, nothing strikes at the heart of my insecurities like seeing the phrase, "This comment has been removed by the author." What is that supposed to mean? (See Comments for Snot Spot entry). What, was the comment too harsh? Too rude? Too long? Too short? Too funny? Too boring? Why didn't they preview it before they published it and decide at that point to just cancel out? Why put me through the agony of imagining the author's intent? Did the author simply decide that I wasn't worthy of his/her comment? What does it mean? I know what you're thinking - "Geez, if it bothers you that much, sign in and delete the entry that says the comment has been removed ya big baby!" But that's not the point! Yes, I can delete the nasty reminder that someout who is reading my blog is Stinkin' Cyber-Space indian-giver, but I can't erase the fact that it happened! I tried to figure out the politically correct way to say indian giver - but I gave up. So, for those of you who are offended, I do apologize. Leave a comment and delete it - we'll call it even. Hey, at least it won't say "0 Comments" at the end of my blog.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Snot Spot

I sang on worship team this weekend. I wore a black jacket. When I got home I took my jacket off and there it was. The biggest snot spot I have ever seen. It was on my left side - just beneath the pocket. And it wasn't just a spot. No, no. It had... contours. Raised surfaces. Texture, if you will. Good grief you could have picked it off me from 5 feet away. Kids. They're always with you.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Still no memories of me...

My quest to be remembered by the staff at Starbucks is ongoing (click here for the backstory)...

It appeared as though I had made a breakthrough on Monday. I was late for work and really wasn't thinking about my anonymity issues. I was torn because I knew I was about to be late for a meeting with my boss, but the thought of facing that meeting without coffee was unfathomable.

So I breeze into Starbucks and stand in line fully expecting to be greeted in the same emotionless, robotic fashion I am greeted every morning. I stop short at the counter when I realize that Selective Amnesia Starbucks Girl isn't behind the counter. I smile to myself thinking "maybe she got fired because she forgot how to get here." My blissful daydream was interrupted by a chipper little voice saying, "Hey, how ya doin'? Can I help you?" I look up and there's this kid standing behind the counter. I've seen him there a couple of times - but he's never waited on me before. I smiled at the fact that he was so friendly - unlike Frigid Memory Loss Starbucks Girl who was still no where in sight. I took my drink and made my way to the drink station to add my usual coffee fixins: half-n-half, splenda and cinnamon.

As I get closer to the drink station, I hear this voice above my left shoulder say, "Do you want some cinnamon?" I'm thinking - who is this person and does he know that he is dangerously close to violating my unspoken rules on personal space? (more on my personal space issues later). I turn and look to see who it is and it's Friendly Starbucks Guy. So now I'm really torn. On one hand, I'm psyched because finally someone there remembers something about me! He remembers that I like cinnamon in my coffee.

But wait.... how does he remember that? How does he know that? The only way he would know that is if he'd been watching me every day. Suddenly he doesn't seem like Friendly Starbucks Guy. No... Now he's more like Stalker Starbucks Guy. I find myself wishing that Groundhog Day Starbucks Girl had been there. He continues walking toward me (he's almost standing on my feet at this point). He asks again "Do you want some cinnamon?" He stretches out his arm toward me (he's holding the cinnamon) - but wait a second - where is he going? He's looking beyond me.... Now he's walking past me.... There's a girl standing on my right. She looks up and sees him - her face lights up when she cathes a glimpse of the cinnamon and she reaches out and takes it from him. She smiles and says to him "Oh yay! You remembered."

Of course he did.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Crazy Man, Crazy Man, Crazy Man, Jack

Crazy man, crazy man, crazy man, Jack
Loves to give mommy a heart attack
Running into walls
and falling on his face
Spreading mass chaos
All over the place.
He’s always into everything
And constantly on the go
I’m forever saying “Don’t touch that”
And “Stop it, Jack! That’s a no-no.”

Crazy man, crazy man, crazy man, Jack
With his beautiful smile
And heart of gold
The sound of his laughter
Will never get old.
He drives me nuts,
He drives me wild
But I couldn’t be happier
That he is my child.
I love him with everything
He’s my little boy
And in spite of the “No-No’s” and “Stop It’s”
He brings me pure joy.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

They change so fast...

I know that babies change really fast - but it seems like Hope has changed a lot in the last few months. She's 6 years old - and once they get to about that age, they don't seem to change as
quickly. But she seems to have hit a little growth spurt. She's grown almost an inch in the last 8 weeks - and now that her two front teeth have come in - she looks so old. Then today - Kurt took her to get her hair cut. When I got home from work, she told me that when she saw herself after her haircut, she was really surprised. She said, "Mom I look really different. I look older - ya know what?  I bet I could pass for for seven!"


Monday, February 4, 2008

Remember Me?

I go to Starbucks every morning on my way to work. I go to the same one. I go at the same time. I order the same thing. From the same person. Everyday I watch as the people in front of me in line are greeted by the Starbucks employees as though they are old friends. Not just greeted. Remembered. And not only are they remembered - but their drink, no matter how complicated, is remembered also. Every day it's the same thing. I hear things like,

"Hey Mardrianna - haven't seen you here in a couple of weeks! Are you going with the double tall, half non-fat, half soy, decaf, no foam, sugar-free vanilla late with a pinch of nutmeg today - or are you going to live dangerously and get it with a dollop of whipped cream and a pump of cinnamon?"

And everyday I wait my turn in line, eagerly anticipating the moment when the same girl that I see behind the same counter at the same time every day will look at me and greet with that same sort of recognition and enthusiasm.

But everyday my hopes are brutally smashed to bits as I step up to that same counter, to the same girl that I see at the same time every day - and without any trace of recognition or warm familiarity in her eyes at all, she looks at me as if seeing me for the first time in her life, and says,

"Can I help you?"

Um, hello?

In my mind I'm screaming, "Yes. YES - you can help me. You can tell me why it is that you can remember a girl who hasn't darkened your door for days and days, who has a name as complicated as Mardrianna, and a drink that requires a dual Masters Degree in Metaphysics and Chemistry to assemble, but you can't remember something as simple as the name Heidi and the fact that my drink of choice is a Grande Red Eye!"

But.... Everyday I let it pass. Everyday I stare into that same blank, little face, smile the same smile and say the same thing: "Grande Red Eye, please."

Everyday. Until today.

Oh, today started out no differently than any other day. I was greeted with the same blank stare to which I have so sadly become accustomed; the same lack of warmth and familiarity; my blood began to boil the same way it does every day as she apathetically took my money without ever making eye contact, while simultaneously greeting the person in line behind me by name and and talking to him about the varying nuances of his drink (which was even more complicated than what's her name's was in front of me). I was prepared to walk away quietly like I do everyday.

But then something happened. She said something new. She didn't just say, "Can I help you?" She said, "Can I help you..... Ma'am."



I don't really remember what happened after that. Somehow I managed to make it back to my car without the police being called. I thought about clobbering her with my purse - I bet she'd remember that... Actually, she probably wouldn't. With my luck, she'd wind up with amnesia. But hey, at least that way she wouldn't remember anyone. I would no longer be the only one who gets ignored at the Starbucks counter! But truthfully, I'd rather be ignored than Ma'am'd. I think tomorrow I'll go to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf....

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Giving Thanks...

Hope's been sick for the last several days with a fever topping off at just over 103. So sad... It's going around though. A lot of people at my office have been sick with it too. I took her to the doctor last Friday - but she said it's viral so no antibiotics. Bummer. She seems to be somewhat better - her fever has come down some but she still looks a little off. Eyes all sunken in and hollow looking, face all bright red. Not my normal little smiley Hopey. But I'm so grateful that she's such a healthy kid. When we were at the doctor's office, the doc looked at her chart and said "Wow! You haven't been here for a sick visit since 2005!" Obviously she's had little bugs since then - but never anything big. What an amazing gift. Jack gets sick a lot - but nothing really out of the ordinary for a toddler in daycare. Again, an amazing gift.

Every time one of the kids gets sick I think of the St. Jude commercial that says "Give thanks for the healthy children in your life." My heart just breaks for children and families who are walking in the valley of serious illness. I honestly don't know how you weather a storm like that. So, as I'm sitting here wiping noses and listening to a little (sometimes a LOT) whining, I smile because I know that in a few days I'll be sitting here having tea parties and listening to her laugh. I don't know that there's a better gift than happy, healthy kids...