Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ace is the Place least if you value customer service. I have never had a good customer service experience at Lowe's - quite the contrary. Every time I go - every single time - I end up frustrated because:

1) I can never find anyone to help me
2) When I am actually able to find someone, they are decidedly unhelpful: usually rude, unknowledgeable, indifferent, and lazy
3) It takes contacting at least 4 of these people to actually get someone who has any idea what I'm talking about. And I have to find all of them myself - they certainly will not put forth any effort to find each other.

I do like Lowe's Valspar paint. That's about all I like about their store.

In contrast, every time I've gone to Ace, the people have been friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. I am willing to pay a few dollars' price difference, if that, to get someone who is willing and able to help me.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A return to nice

When did people decide that it was okay to be jerks to each other?

I remember when, as a teenager, I brilliantly deduced that I could and should act however I felt inclined because it would be "dishonest" not to. Meaning that, if I woke up and felt like a grump, I was perfectly justified in behaving like a grump, because to try to disguise it would be a lie. If someone asked me a question and I didn't feel like answering, I would just ignore them. If I didn't feel like smiling (and most of the time, I didn't), I wouldn't. Logically, it worked out. Kind of.

The problem is that, when you get down to it, logic and rightness - and even honesty - aren't what life's about at all. They're things to think about and occupy yourself with, but they don't make up the meat of what living actually is. I was very grateful to grow up and rediscover that all the importance in life comes from our relationships and happiness, in feeling happy and making others feel happy too. It seems ridiculous that I could have lost sight of this, since I've always liked feeling happy and appreciated others who treated me with kindness. I guess I'm using a lot of words to try to describe a simple concept: Me like happy. You too?

So, it really bothers me when I hear or read things that are meant to make someone else feel bad. Political mudslinging or slams; digs on online forums; nasty comments made under the cloak of online anonymity; hateful, self-serving protests - there's a whole accepted culture of meanness. It makes me assume that these individuals haven't grown out of the same kind of adolescent funk I was in, and feel impatient for them to do so. Why can't we all be honestly, intentionally nice to each other?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cause graph

This morning when I woke up for good at 4:00 am - for the third time this week - and started thinking about life's injustices and potential blog posts - also a repeat experience for that hour - I came up with this (based on Indexed):

Monday, January 26, 2009


Last week I had to get up early to go to a doctor's appointment. I looked like this:

After showering, I went in to get Olivia. She looked like this:

All cuddled up with her blankie, and with her little feet curled up together...I wanted to wake her up, but I just couldn't. I left the door open and she woke up in just a few minutes, but even that made me sad.

This is week 37 for Baby Girl and me, which means that she could come any time. Olivia showed up a week before her due date, and that's kind of what I'm shooting for again. I've been alternating between feeling pretty comfortable where I am in this pregnancy, and feeling not so comfortable at all.

The whole concept of delivering another independently living creature into the world is so incredible. I'm very excited to meet her.

And, while I'm talking about pregnancy, here are a couple of my dirty little pregnancy secrets. Don't tell my OB, now.

* I don't take "prenatal vitamins." Those things are huge, like horse pills, and I just don't like swallowing them. Instead, I eat fruity-flavored children's chewable vitamins (plus folic acid) and make sure I have a balanced diet. It worked with Olivia, and it's worked with this baby - I've never had a checkup or a test that found anything lacking with my system. I figure it's better for me to take something that I actually feel inclined to take than grudgingly force myself to swallow vitamins that I hate and am tempted to forget about. So, when my doctor asks if I'm taking my prenatal vitamins, I just think, "Well, I'm prenatal, and they're vitamins," and say, "Yes. Yes I am."

* I think it's fun to give my baby "earthquakes" every once in a while - just jiggle her up to make her move. I've also noticed that she responds when I scratch my belly, and then I like to scratch her little feet-bumps.

* I believe in going jogging to induce labor. My mom's getting here on February 7th, upon which you may expect to see a big belly in little red running shorts doing a fast waddle all over Humble.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I have been in major nesting mode lately. I didn't really get a chance to nest when I was pregnant with Olivia. I was so busy trying to get annual reports written in time for my job that I didn't have extra time to do much of anything, and she came a week early - pretty much as soon as I'd finished.

The downside of that was that when I came home from the hospital, I bawled and bawled because our carpets weren't clean - how could I bring home a new baby to a house with dirty carpets?

Anyway, on Friday I called the carpet cleaners. Now that ugly spot in the library is gone, and all our rooms feel so light and fluffy I could just cry with happiness. At least we won't have to worry about that!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I have a monthly prescription. For years, it has not changed. It’s the same medication, in the same amount, in the same form, and the same quantity gets refilled every time. And, up until a couple of months ago, these refills all came in about the same size of bottle.

Look at that last one! With every refill, the bottles kept getting bigger and bigger. I was fully expecting to get a 10-gallon bucket one of these days, just for 30 tiny little pills. (We’re finally back to normal size, though.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mouthful of foot

As I slip into my ninth month of pregnancy, I’ve noticed my “mindedness” (among other things) slipping. Unfortunately, it often feels these days as if it’s happening right when I’m supposed to be saying something. This is bad.

Let’s take, for example, my performance today in my duties as Primary Chorister for our church:

Amber: The Proclamation on the Family is a revelation from God that helps us to understand what roles each family member should have. Why would it be important for us to understand how to run our families?

Kids: (Chirp chirp)

Voice in Amber’s Mind: Don’t say anything stupid now – you need to address this carefully.

Amber: Well, how many of you have experienced, or know someone whose parents aren’t together anymore?

Voice: Doh. Okay, that wasn’t too bad – please just move on.

(Kids raise hands)

Amber: It’s hard to have broken families, huh? Now, how many of you have experienced a situation where…um, uh…the mother is not able to stay home and raise her kids?

Voice: Shut up, shut up, shut up!!!

I tried to smooth this over. I tried to make it clear that families that had untraditional gender roles weren’t bad, but the more I talked, the worse I got, and the crankier that voice became, and it all ended up in a big mess. Which just made me feel stupid for the rest of the day. My only consolation is that the kids probably weren’t listening anyway.

It’s convenient that I have pregnancy to blame this on right now, but I know there have been, and will yet be instances of idiocy when pregnancy cannot serve as an excuse. I guess I just have to forgive myself and trust that my best efforts, offered to and sanctified by Divinity, can be good enough.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Have you called Jenny yet?

A friend recently called my attention to the fact that it’s been way too long since I’ve posted pictures. Ahhh! I don’t really like verbose blogs – I’ve gotten to be a very lazy reader, so I just skim or skip long posts – so I feel kind of sheepish that my blog has become that.

My main excuse is that I don’t really like pictures of myself, and I feel sensitive about posting too many pictures of Olivia because I think she’s the most beautiful thing in the world (at least for a few more weeks) and I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging. But, I also realize that I like seeing other people’s cute kids and cute selves, so I need to get less wordy and more picture-y.

To begin, here’s Olivia trying on one of Daddy's shirts (an adult size small, by the way):

And here’s a shot of Olivia and me a few months ago (by a guy who was trying to grow his photography portfolio of pregnant women):

This picture serves as a good introduction for this post’s title story:

When I went in for my OB appointment a couple of weeks ago, the waiting room was packed – naturally, with other women who are currently shaped similarly to me. I took a magazine and sat down. The TV was on, and in a few moments Valerie Bertinelli came on the screen to happily inform us all that, for the second New Year in a row, she was not going to make a weight resolution! And didn’t we all want to be in that situation, too? Now was the time to make the call that would change our lives!

With resolution, I loudly pronounced, “Well, I'm convinced. This year, I’m going to lose 25 pounds! Who’s with me?”

We all laughed, and our babies kicked us.