Saturday, May 22, 2010

Our Bountiful Basket

This morning we picked up our first Bountiful Basket in quite some time. Or pickup location is only available every-other-week, and this was the first time in a lllooonnngg time I've remembered to put my order in on Tues or Wednesday.

As you can see Miley was VERY excited to help us pick up our tasty goodness:

We arrived at our location about 15 minutes early, and I was excited to see they were distributing the goodies! We got in a very short line with some very nice people, and soon it was our turn to empty our veggie basket and our fruit basket into our cloth grocery bags we brought with us. I loaded up the veggies, Aaron the fruit- and the whole time he seemed uninterested in the entire process which surprised me!

Take a look at our loot:
We got:
- 1 head of Romain lettuce (I think)
- 1 head of cabbage
- 2 enormous cucumbers
- 1 bag of mini carrots
- 7 tomatoes
- 5 avocado's
- 3 smaller yellow zucchini (butternut squash?) I don't know they're yummy
- 1 bunch of banana's
- 1 container of strawberries
- 1 container of blackberries
- 6 peaches
- 11 apples
- 1 coconut

Talk about a ton of stuff! I have NO clue what to do with the coconut though- any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Thing I Hate Most About Managing People

Firing people.

However you want to phrase it: Separation, Termination, Fired, "Getting Quit"... they all have the same meaning. In every termination I've ever done, there's this moment. In this moment, regardless of how justified or warranted the termination is, where you and the person your terminating are just two human beings trying to make it in this world. It's in this moment, that my heart aches a little and reminds me that every manager is also a human.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Because My Dad has ALWAYS Been My Best Disneyland Buddy

The People We're Destined to Meet

The other day at work, I was chatting with a co-worker about one of the biggest pro's of our team being the people who were hired. Our now Vice President (JD) has done an amazing job putting his team together, and matching individuals who connect on so many levels. I look at the individuals I work with- like Jamie and Jillian (okay used to work with) and it amazes me how we found each other. Now don't get me wrong, I firmly believe that the three of us would have someone found each other- even without working for the same employer- but it's just amazing to see how people come together.

It really got me thinking about the individuals in my life- and their purpose. I believe each person in my life has a purpose and was put there by God for a higher meaning. However, I've always had this thought (or rather ever since I saw "What Dreams May Come") that maybe our souls are connected in a way, that when we venture to earth- part of it is a mystery, a game of sorts to find each other in our mortal form. I don't know if this contradicts my Christian beliefs- I've heard heaven explained a multitude of ways from various members of clergy. I guess there's just something about it that appeals to me. When I think about the people who I can form an instant connection- and a bond so strong that it doesn't matter if we talk daily or yearly, or if we see each other every day, or once every 5 years- that bond and connection is stronger then titanium.

Jamie and I hit it off instantly- I think she had worked with me for all of 3 weeks before we spent hours chatting on Memorial Day and hit off an instant friendship. The same with Jillian, instantly when we both started speaking on a more regular basis we connected. And then of course there's my husband- the man whom I knew I would spend the rest of my life with almost instantly within meeting him. There was an instant connection- deep within.

I'm sure this can be chalked up to science or emotional intelligence- the reasons why we instantly bond with some over others- but I have to believe there's just a deeper meaning, a deeper connection that allows us to open ourselves up to some more then others- sometimes with very little background about them.

I guess that's just my hypothesis for the evening... what's yours?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Because she deserves to understand the finer things in life...

Honest Dissent or Disloyal Subversion

"Sometimes, even to live is an act of courage" - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Aaron and I sat down this evening to watch the movie Defiance. While we weren't sure what to expect, what we got was an amazing story of courage, bravery, and community. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have a special place in my heart for acts of defiance to the German Reich, SS, Gestapo- whatever you want to call them, and watching this movie ignited a thought burning for an outlet of expression.

My purpose for sitting down this evening was not to detail the story of the Bielski brothers- though they have my undying gratitude and respect for creating a community and allowing Jews to live as "humans" even if it meant building camps within the forest, at a time when society wouldn't allow them too persevere. My purpose was to reflect upon these individuals who stood up against those who were wrong, and protected those caught in the middle.

The stories of Tuvia Bielski (and his brothers), Oskar Schindler, and Hans and Sophie Scholl are often not the stories taught in classrooms- but maybe we'd benefit from learning about their courage and willingness to question what is popular, and defy what they know in their own to be wrong. These are individuals who risked their own lives to save others. While the Bielski brothers and Oskar Schindler have countable lives saved- Hans and Sophie Scholl unquestionably brought a new light to the German people on what was really happening under Adolf Hitler's reign.

These individuals who can be counted one fewer fingers then I have, effected the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals- literally saved thousands, and yet, very few are household names until Hollywood makes a movie about them. In fact, if I were to poll 50 high school seniors, I'd be willing to bet that 75% would know who Oskar Schindler is, but maybe 5% would know of the Bielski brother's, and less then 1% of Hans and Sophie Scholl. In a world where everyone has an opinion of our current government and its policies, how many are truly educated and understand what each of these policies mean. How many individuals voted for Barack Obama because of his catchy slogans, convincing speeches, and media perception of his revolutionary plan to change America. How many people didn't vote for Sarah Palin because of Tina Fey's popular skits on SNL, media comparisons to "Caribou Barbie", and film (which may or may not have been edited) of her stumbling on her words- as apposed to the true understanding of who she is.

I know, you're thinking, "Jenn, if you have a point, make it." Well here's my point- if you think that the millions of non-Jewish/gypsy/whatever citizens of Western and Eastern Europe didn't know what was going on- think again. This is the power of propaganda, the media, and a savvy politician pushing their own agenda people. Millions of people believed that the persecution of these people was not only "okay" but beneficial! That these people were the cause of Western Europe's (primarily Germany and it's allies) down fall- they had somehow caused this, and therefore by eliminating them, they would again prosper. One man started a campaign that changed world history as we know it. One man started a campaign responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews, soldiers of all nations, and countrymen alike. As a society we have more access to information then we ever had before- but how do we use it? How many people know how to look up a bill and its formal reading, or to view how their congressman/senator voted? How many people know where to find majority and descending opinions from Supreme Court cases which shape and interpret our constitution to make law? Very few right? Yet, how many people know how to log in to Facebook- I mean shoot, there's an app for that.

These individuals deserved the memorialized ad honored for their contributions- yet I would imagine that their idea of being honored wouldn't come from statues or parks named in their honor. It would come from every day citizens having the courage to stand up for whats right, and stay informed- before it becomes a much larger task then anyone could imagine, costing the lives of millions, to make a change.

So the burning question I have is- why do we not share these stories? Is it because we feel we have so much more history to cram into our World History classes that they're of less importance? Or in our own way, do we fear teaching our children that it can be considered a heroic act to defy what society accepts as the norm?

I'm not sure I can answer that question for you tonight.

"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels--men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, we may never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion." --Dwight D. Eisenhower, May 31, 1954

Monday, May 10, 2010

Because I have the Worlds Best Mom...

Prop 100

May 18th is just around the corner, and regardless of how you feel about it, the important part is that you get out and vote in this special election. So whats up on the ballot? A $.01 sales tax that would help "bail out" education (2/3 of the money goes here) and public services (1/3 goes to first responders and senior health care). It's a temporary tax, 3 years, that's set to add in excess of $1.7 billion dollars to the books.

While there are many different theories behind those who oppose and support Prop 100- the main supporters are the usual suspects: education, the universities, local municipalities. Those in proposition are those against additional taxes, and the most vocal proponent would probably be the Goldwater Institute, who believes education needs reform, and bailing them out only enables their poor behaviors.

While I agree that our education system needs a major overall (so does our entire state budget and tax flow- for those who are unfamiliar, Arizona has a "designated" tax fund, meaning that even if an entity has a surplus, it can't "lend" cash to another entity because our Constitution is set up as so money that portioned for one department, stays with that department). Additional School Districts need to get a major handle on their expenses, primarily their administrative expenses. Unfortunately, if we allow Prop 100 to fail, in order for the message to be heard and acted on, years and possibly generations of Arizona children will be effected by our educational short falling. It's a lose/lose situation.

As stated earlier- regardless of how you'll vote for Prop 100- the most important thing you can do is get out and vote for this special election May 18th.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Update to my 101 list...

Okay- I'm going to have to make some modifications to a few items...

Green = Finished!
Purple = in progress
Blue = completed what I can at this point (annual/semi annual/etc)

Family & Friends:
1. Have a baby Working on this
2. See Isabella at least once a month every month (5/33)
3. Send out Christmas Cards each year with an annual update letter (1/3)
4. Have a date night with Aaron at least once a month (6/33)
5. Complete annual "Family Chronicles" (pictures and blog entries) (0/3) Working on this.
6. Update my passport- Filled out all paperwork, just need to take it in to get a photo
7. Get Aaron a passport-Filled out all paperwork, just need to take it in to get a photo
8. Complete the 365 day's of Photo's with Aaron, Miley, and any other family members that may come along (0/1)
9. Take a girls only vacation
10. Send each member of my immediate family (Mom, Dad, Andie, Joyce, John, Jared, Aunt Mary, Uncle John, Aunt Betty, Randy, Sharon, Michele, Trey, Kim, Isabella, Ray, and Aaron) a physical birthday card for their birthday. (0/34)
11. Throw a birthday party for a friend
12. Finish Miley's training
13. Take Miley for a walk every night for a month (0/31)

Health & Fitness
13. Lose post-wedding weight (0/20) -gulp- (Ya um... let's just say that I gained another 10 lb's, but I've lost 15... so 15 more to go.)
14. Lose an additional 5 lb's (after #13)
15. Lose an additional 10 lb's (after #14)
16. Lose an additional 20 lb's (after #15)
17. Jog 10 miles in one week
18. Jog 20 miles in one week
19. Jog 80 miles in a month
20. Participate in each Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K (0/2)
21. Participate in each Heart Walk 5K (1/3)
22. Complete the Susan G. Komen 60 mile walk
23. Take a ballet class
24. Hike with Aaron to watch the sunrise once a month (0/33)

Financial & Giving:
25. Complete Baby Savings Fun
26. Have a 1 year emergency fund
27. Reduce monthly personal spending to $50 for 3 months (0/3)
28. Start college funds for future children
29. Purchase a new economical, more fuel efficient vehicle-bought a 2009 Nissan Rogue
30. Payoff vehicle mentioned in item #29
31. Pay for the person behind me at a drive through
32. Payoff 50% of student loans
33. Pick two Christmas Angels, each Christmas (0/6)
34. Place $5 in a special savings account for each item I finish
35. Donate $5000 (from item #34) to a charity of my choice anonymously

Organization & Home
36. Create and file a will
37. Create and file/update a Living Will & Power of Attorney
38. Set up a Trust Fund for future children
39. Purchase new couches- done!
40. Decorate the house (no bare walls!)
41. Go through boxes in the garage and toss out/donate what we no longer need.
42. Go through closets and donate all clothing we no longer wear.
43. Put together the bunk bed in the office, and make it an actually guestroom/office instead of "the other room"
44. Have my wedding dress cleaned
45. See if Aunt Betty can turn my wedding dress into a blanket and christening outfit for future children (note- if she can't find someone who can)
46. Meet my neighbors (0/2)
47. Remove all "shred" boxes from the house (IE: have them shred)- done!
48. Sell or donate all old text books- done!
49. Sell or giveaway all left over wedding items
50. Create my own wedding album and make 3 copies (1 for me, 1 for my parents, 1 for Aaron's parents)
51. Scan all "paper" photo's and back up on an external hard drive
52. Back up all digital photo's, music files, and movies on an external hard drive
53. Learn to use my MAC and all of its functions
54. For each vehicle create a vehicle history binder tracking all oil changes, scheduled maintenance's, tire rotations, etc. (0/2)
55. Get a new energy efficient washing machine (once the dryer is paid off)
56. Learn to use my dryer and all of its swanky functions

Personal Well-being
57. Forgive two people whom I feel have wronged me
58. Go two weeks without something sweet- because I can.
59. Join a women's study group at church
60. Find a church I feel I belong and am a part of
61. Take one trip that I allow Aaron to plan entirely (IE: don't be OCD)
62. Don't visit someones facebook page who A) isn't my FB friend and B) I have nothing to say or genuine interest in what they are doing for one month (IE: stop FB stalking people I shouldn't be)

63. Reach out to 3 new people to form friendships (0/3)
64. Plan 4 different seasonal outings for friends (1/4)
65. Host a holiday party
66. Host a murder mystery party
67. Have 3 "girls weekends" with Jamie & Jillian (0/3)

68. Take someone to Disneyland who's never been before
69. Take Sean to Disneyland for the weekend all by himself
70. Take a weekend road trip somewhere in Arizona I've never been before
71. Visit the Museum of Tolerance in LA
72. Visit the Holocaust Museum in DC
73. Visit Trey in Colorado (on a none work related trip)
74. Take Aaron outside of the US (outside of North America)
75. Rent an RV with my parents and cruise the US
76. Visit Aunt Linda and Uncle Jim in San Antonio (meet the cousins)

Domestic Challenge
77. Learn to cook 5 different dinners
78. Bake Christmas goodies every year (1/3)
79. Cook 10 recipes out of the Deliciously Disney Cookbook with Aaron (0/10)
80. Cook an entire Thanksgiving meal for my family
81. Bake Aaron a Birthday Cake for each Birthday (0/3)
82. Learn to bake dog friendly treats, and bake them for Miley every year on her anniversary (0/3)
83. Master making a delicious bunt cake to rival "nothing bundt cakes"
84. Host a murder mystery dinner
85. Learn to use all kitchen appliances and utensils I currently own.

Work Related
86. Meet with each one of my team members once a quarter for each quarter (0/28 * 13)
87. Send a hand written thank you card to each team member on their anniversary date (0/28)
88. Meet with each district manager each quarter (0/4*13)
89. Meet with deaf employee's and conduct an entire meeting without an interpreter (0/2)

Other Items:
90. Learn another language (conversationally)
91. Tip 100% for good service
92. See my natural hair color (in progress)
93. Go see 5 different concerts from 5 different genres
94. Visit Ellis Island
95. Write on a public restroom wall
96. Take another political ideologies class
97. Finish my bachelors degree
98. Write an article and submit it to a local news publishing
99. Send a care package to a soldier serving our country
100. Put my toes in 3 different oceans (0/3)
101. Visit my grandparents graves on their birthday's (0/3)

Because being a *fairy* Godmother is Awesome....

Is she not the most adorable girl on the planet?

So I was tagged again...

So Shelly tagged me again- same rules as below, just decided to do it again (this time I went into my modified folder to find a different photo).

This would be our second go round into the photo booth at our wedding. As you can tell I certainly had a lot more alcohol then Aaron did- he had none, but he DID put on the batman mask =)

Food Inc.

A very informed (and helpful) lady from the local Nest board I frequent, had posted a recommendation for the movie, "Food Inc". I decided this afternoon to sit down and watch this documentary on the food industry, and the powers behind it.

First of all, let me say, I may not eat meat for a very long time- it was absolutely and incredibly disgusting. I for one will be marching downstairs in about 5 minutes to take the new bag of lime wings we just purchased from Costco this morning, and throwing it into the garbage after seeing how the "manufacturer" of these wings stipulates it's contractors (farmers) breed their chickens. These chickens were literally toppling over because they grew in size so quickly that their bones and internal organs simply couldn't support them! After listening to the testimonies of some of the farmers who grew organically, I will certainly now be changing my shopping habits to Sunflower Market, Sprouts, and other local farmers markets. Additionally I will start regularly ordering my produce via bountiful baskets and learning to love produce of all seasons (read me not being so picky!).

I think what angered me the most, was the political movements behind all of this. The alarming statistics of the 50,000 FDA investigations done in the 1970's compared to the 9100 (and change) done now, is horrific, especially considering how many new outbreaks of Ecoli we hear about ranging from meat, to spinach, to tomatoes.

Additionally- the lock and key the meat packing and agricultural industries have on farmers, labor, and resources is absolutely disgusting- and due to these "veggie laws" consumers are all but gagged from complaining or discussing concerns regarding products. Whats worse are the "Cheeseburger laws" the meat packing industry has gotten passed to make it virtually impossible for you to sue them (and their the ones killing people)!

One point that was brought up during the film, that hit home considering recent debate here in AZ, was how our subsidisation of corn has impacted migrant farmers in Mexico. Basically, with the introduction of NAFTA and the substation of corn, we put over a million and a half farmers in Mexico out of business (they couldn't produce and make profit on corn at the prices we were selling it). Right- so we put them out of business, then make it a crime for them to come to our country trying to survive? What makes matters worse? This documentary also alleged that there is a Meet Packing Plant (or several) that are busing in migrant workers and turning over 10-15 individuals a day, to keep them from being raided (read not losing enough work force to impact production).

So- we shut down their industry, make it illegal for them to be here, bus them in, use them, then deport them when their time comes so we don't raid the meat house and impact what we pay at the local grocery store for a pound of beef?

Wow. What's wrong with that picture?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dear LifeTime Fitness Members

Dear LifeTime Fitness members-

Thank you for your hospitality and always being so kind and welcoming when Aaron and I come to the gym. It's so nice to be around friendly people who you don't feel are oogling you.

However, I do have just two things to ask of you:

1) Please do not drop your kids off at the pool at 10pm, and allow them to play Marc Polo while you're off doing lord knows what. While trying to relax in the hot tub, there was more noise and ruckus in the pool area then I've experienced at Disneyland- created by 4 10-12 year old boys.

2) I respect that people don't want to see my body in all of its glory, thus I respectfully wear a bathing suit that does it's best to cover my problem area's, and not show off all my junk. Ladies, please do not replace your bathing suit top with a cotton tank top- in case you didn't know, when cotton gets wet, it gets translucent... Gentlemen, I do not walk around in a bikini top because I know that I (let alone anyone else) does not want to see my pale out of shape stomach in all of its glory- however, a few of you could do the same courtesy. When your belly laps so far over your waistline- that you have to pick it up while going up the stairs- maybe it's time to also wear a shirt in the hot tub.

Again, thank you for always being so courteous- it's a pleasure working out with you!



Missed Point on "Animal Hybrid" Bill

So the latest AZ bill to attract attention and buzz is the bill that "eliminates Animal/Human Hybrid Embryo's". I have to say, I'm a little frustrated with the media, because while yes, this provision is in the bill, the bill was passed to forbid research that involved using embryonic stem cells for research (still allowing for adult stem cell research to occur within the state).

Aaron and I actually watched the Senate debate on this bill (does this make us lame?). One Senator, who did veto the bill, mentioned how this would only add to the humility and shame that has been laid on this state by the rest of the nation by keeping this provision in the bill. Now granted, she was for human embryonic stem cell research as well- saying that by forbidding this, we would keep new industry out of Arizona by pushing away cutting edge technology.

Of course, who spoke after her- big sandy blond guy with his bow tie mustache saying how Arizona was not in a state of humility and he couldn't be any more proud- really people?

Don't get me wrong- while I think this provision should have been stricken from the bill (this isn't even something that's happening anywhere in the US- nor is it something I believe we have to worry about) I do support the banning of Human Embryonic Stem Cell research.

Lesson to be learned Arizona State Officials- let's really think through all the wording in your bills. A lot of the bad press you've received in the past weeks really could have been avoided, if you'd have thought through your actions. The intent on most items is legitimate, but there's just little follow through.

So, because the point was missed on this one- again another point added to the growing theory that Arizona is the Alabama of the 1960's, regressing not progressing.