Saturday, January 28, 2012

The New Way to Celebrate- a sign o' the times

Gone are the days of Mc Donald's birthday parties; sucking down fake cake and orange drink with Ronald, Grimace, and the Hamburglar looking on.

Chuck E Cheese has been chucked aside as well. (Actually, there are no Chuck E Cheese joints around here, and it's difficult to find a Mickie D's, let alone try to host a celebration there).
No, not anymore. Times have changed.
No kidding, tomorrow, Addie is attending a birthday party here...."Chateau de Seneffe". Check it out. This is where it's at now.

We've trained her to drink "pinky finger up" and smile nicely.

Just kidding- about the training. But no joke, birthday party at the castle! Good times!

Monday, January 23, 2012

He's Over the Hill

At dinner last night, the kids and I were chatting about daddy turning 40 tomorrow. I asked them how we know that he's now, officially "over the hill". How can you tell if someone is "old" kids?

They really got into the conversation, offering lots of sage advice on the subject, from flatulence and varied gait, to reading glasses and beer guts; the kids apparently know how to spot aging as quick as a tick in a New York minute.

They helped to compile this birthday list, for their dear old dad, who officially stepped over the hill today. He claims that "40 is the new 20" and as a result, there should be no fan fare over the occasion. He requested simply, brownie sundaes in lieu of a birthday cake. (I am quite sure this was in resistance to having us light off 40 candles over a blazing cake.) His birthday wishes were well intentioned for the kids, who happen to love an excuse to concoct a brownie sundae dripping with hot fudge. Great dad...and handsome too. After all, it did take him 40 years to look this good.

So without further ado- dear ol dad, Matt, man in the house who is over the hill, lordy lordy, he's 40, and all that jazz....

In case you were wondering what it's like to live at 40, and continue aging beyond,

my sources report that this list, which we call "39 things to determine if you're 40" will help.

1- when you start to read the newspaper

2- when you walk slower and depend on a cane

3- when you sneeze and the result looks like a small hairy rodent is trying to escape from your nose.

4-when you have more in common with 50 year olds than 30 year olds.

5- when you find talking with friends about plumbing is an interesting topic

6-when your unfashionable, old wardrobe becomes fashionable again

7- when your t-shirts develop stretch marks

8-when you think you hear things, like your bones creek, or the bathroom scale snicker at you

9-when you feel obliged to have a mid life crisis, or in this case, to attend a Metallica concert in the     springtime in Europe

10-when aroma of Ben Gay or Icy Hot is your signature smell

11- when your eye sight fails, and in your case, the doc orders you prescription reading glasses

12- driving at 40mph feels like driving at 60 mph

13- older friends assure you that the 40s are "good years"

14- you make "ahhh" noise when sitting down

15- you leave a stencil on the couch in the shape of your backside when you get up

16-when you know full well what ATARI, MASH, and CHIPS referred to in your youth

17-when you develop an unhealthy mistrust of technological advances like digital bathroom scales, speed cameras, and new mobile phones

18-when you want to just "have a nice quiet beer"

19- when you realize, sadly, that the pop culture bus has taken off without you

20-when you have the desire to drive to the seashore and just sit there

21-when you use the phrase " I was young once", but aren't sure about it.

22-when you get grey hair, or hair loss, and began to resemble a troll

23- when you begin to use the word "comfort" in selecting new shoes

24- when you have to exercise rigorously to maintain your pear shape and friction rashes develop from sweaty skin chaffing. nice.

25-when your pals give you birthday cards which make use of the drug name "Viagra"

26- when the doc actually begins to take your complaints of aches and pains seriously

27-when the health and safety inspectors are needed to insure safe lighting of candles on birthday cakes henceforth

28-a new land mass, known as gut island, grows such that your inny belly button becomes an outy

29-you realize that sometime ago, perhaps in your 20s you knew everything, but now you know next to nothing

30-you notice the school moms are looking a lot less "hot" and seem to be aging along with you

31-when you run, your gut lapses 3 paces behind you

32-your children help you cross the road

33-you wish technological advances would slow down, or even halt until you can catch up and catch your breath

34-your weekend "unshaven" look becomes your standard "rugged" look

35-you've ever used a wooden tennis racket

36-you putter around the yard; or, even worse, you day dream about puttering around the yard

37-when middle ages seems a suitable reference to you versus historical figures

38-when your back goes out more than you do

39- when you realize that the best birthdays are the ones that haven't arrived yet

Happy Birthday Matt! You old man you :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Mom Gap - my resume

So, I've been reworking my resume, which is quite tricky writing after a 10 year hiatus of functioning as Navy wife, stay at home mom, and world traveler. There is a woman, Veronica, who I can consult with to review the resume at a local military facility. Veronica said to me, upon reading the first draft of the resume, "Why don't you fill this gap in a bit more with the things you do at home? Those are important things you know! You can tell them you know how to clean the floor. Move your family. You know how to organize and put things away." I thought to myself, dear Veronica, I was once the person on the other side of the table doing the resume reviews, the hiring, and managing of pharmacists. They are not seeking a pharmacist who can stack and fold laundry and clean floors dear woman! The customers who enter a pharmacy could care less if I can tell them where the best souvenirs are located in Guam, or about the easiest way to breastfeed an allergenic baby. Though, unfortunately, I am now certifiably educated in a variety of matters which have little to do with over-the counter- meds, narcotics, hypertension, and flu vaccinations.

On many occasions over the last 10 years, during this 'gap' I have looked straight into the mirror and wondered "How did I get here from the pharmacy counter?" " What am I doing here?" (Then suddenly, a sticky person tugs on my leg and I shake myself back into reality). The 10 year gap is a long and arduous one. But is it a gap? Perhaps from the work as a career pharamcist. Though I cannot commit to labeling it as a "gap" in my life. Not at all. I have gained infinite menial skills during this time.

Current articles suggest that tending to the "mom gap" should be done honestly on the resume, and or, in the cover letter in a few sentences. What I have amassed in 10 years cannot be summaraized in 2 sentences people. As a result, I thought that perhaps, if a potential employer looks upon my current pharmacist resume that I have drafted, and wants to discuss the reason for "gaps" in that resume, maybe I could just send a "mom" resume to explain that hiatus? Here it is. Human resource people, feel free to fire away and tell me what-cha-think. :)

M Hill
Wherever the Navy Sends Us
Anywhere on Earth, 01234
24/7 on call

OBJECTIVE- To clarify the glaring empty gap from a current resume while moving from the role of stay-at-home-mom back into workplace as a pharmacist, with ongoing mother of four duties and living in true military fashion, not knowing for certain where the next assignment will occur or when our household goods will be delivered.

EDUCATION - On the job training began in September 5, 2002 and has been continuous ever since on a recurrent, exhaustive basis. Cumulative educational experience gained as a result of 80+ hours in child labor; 1000+ days of deployments endured (albeit some not so gracefully); Location for educational experience includes playgrounds, nasty rest stop squatter bathrooms, restaurants, the laundry room, and any street corner between Chamorro Village, Guam and Florence, Italy, and Fukuoka, Japan.

Advanced degree in toy assembly obtained by Christmas 2004.

Domestic Engineer 2002- current
Excellent communication and organizational skills as demonstrated by endless recovery of lost blankets, bun buns, and filing of infinite glittered art projects. Competent in any pursuit outside laundry room or kitchen. Successful implementation of time out strategies and pacifier removal. Dominates realm of product safety testing; analyzed 1/2 million cheap plastic toys and items not meant for human consumption (but were weathered in various upper GI tracts). Responsible for home based, non for profit, domestic social experiment; handling all book keeping, photographic records, and customer service department concerns. All disputes and grievances between two or more parties supervised and resolved, based on current law and regulation, with fair and speedy resolution. Expert in crisis management, able to put out fire (literally and figuratively) in record time. Capable of locating and sub contracting personnel so work is completed and schedules are met when work falls outside scope of personal, physical ability.

Pharmacy Related Experience 2002-current
Examined and eradicated wide variety of unnamed, potentially harmful fungus from food containers upon return from husband's office and school backpacks alike. Capable of compounding and preparing colorful, healthy meals in which no items touch each other. Maintain good relationship with medical providers; preserved professional network in all health care settings, to include, ER appearances, dental exams, doc visits and occasional overnight hospital stays. Continuing education practiced on international level while assisting frenzied parents with diagnosis of warts, fevers, need for stitches, eye wounds, hives, molluscum (don't ask), cuts, bruises, scrapes, anaphylaxis and head lice. Parental expert on OTC medications, dosing regimens, medication administration and drug regimen reviews.

Motivational Speaker Cheerleader and Team Builder 2002-current
Life coach and personal assistant with over one thousand lectures to small, unappreciative audiences in locations all over North America, Europe, and Asia, in various languages. Operator of crisis management hotline, encouraging people to do their best and make good decisions. Intense training in washing of uniforms. Excels at 'whooping' louder than other parents in packed auditoriums and concert halls. Realistically conveys enthusiasm for up to 4 games of "go fish" or "old maid". Academy award winning performances for "Wow! You went on the potty!" and "Mommy's not mad, she just needs a little time in her room"

Relocation and Travel Planner 2005-current
Successfully relocated gaggle of small sticky people and 2 large hairy animals, in various household movements, over 24,247 miles, internationally. Unparalleled leadership qualities; led team to variety of successful outcomes such as packing suitcases, infinite airport security screenings, sharing for longer than 10 seconds, and map reading skills

-fluent in English, basic French, baby, toddler, child, and currently in study for "tween speak"
-expert in bodily fluid and human waste removal
-leader in mini gadget repair, backed up toilets, shrew and gecko disposal, jammed zippers, wild boar waste
-Assembly of Thomas the Train track layout in less than 5 minutes flat
-Able to clothe a naked Barbie doll in less than 3 minutes (sans the skinny tights)
-Progressive in suppression of curse words and can bite tongue repeatedly
-Capable of being indispensible one minute and utterly embarrassed the next
-Impressive knowledge of extractions to include small teeth, violin bows from VCRs, quarters from car CD player, and popsicle sticks from DVD player

-Repeatedly rewarded special title "Mom" in years 2002, 2004, 2005, & 2008
-Maintained title for "Mother in Charge" (not unlike "pharmacist in charge") in absence of other employees and throughout deployments in years 2003, 2004 & 2007
-Highest honor "I Love You", granted on intermittent basis from 2002 -2012
Addie, Stella, Emory, Arleigh

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Real Men Wear Pink....and Hand-Me-Downs

A work in progress. Each morning these slippers and pajamas appear before me in the early morning, well before the sun rises. I see those slippers coming, then smile to myself. Ringing through my head, a mantra,
“Another day- another opportunity to help him learn to be a gentleman.”

His dad tells him to look people in the eye when he shakes hands. Although he usually just looks down to his shoes.
We wait, if we remember, for him to offer to open the door. Usually it’s way too heavy for him to push or pull open.
We encourage him to help others, girls or boys, when there is a tumble, or an accident, or a “bad decision”. Even when he‘s not the one responsible. He usually awkwardly tries to help, if he can. Often he has no idea how to even begin to help.
We encourage his words to be true and kind, even when it’s tough. Even when his sisters just stole the soccer ball from him. Even when his little brother got carried away and knocked him a nice one in the lip. Even when other kids at school chose foul words.
We try to impress upon him that he has control of his actions. Even when he’s running through the house at max speed and sporting the coolest new Batman costume ever.
We teach manners, but interruptions still occur. Occasional forgetfulness sometimes sets in so that ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ sometimes become redundant lessons.

A long way to go. A lot of ground to cover. Lots of mistakes still to be made, all around. But it’s all a work in progress, like I said. For now, the fact that he shows up every morning in the kitchen, wearing a smile, crazy hair, striped pjs, and his sister’s hand-me-down pink slippers….I have to believe that we’re off to a good start. (Let's hope.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ski Trip 2012

Thank you Matt, for taking the kids and taking photos.
To Addie and Stella too- I've never been so glad you guys earned and take care of your own little cameras!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guess Who?

Guess who Arleigh and I visited today? Here’s a hint….

 Can you name them all?
Great time. Though it was chilly. Chilly enough for your tongue to freeze to a pole!

The giraffes had it for comedy today. This poor giraffe seemed to be on a weight loss program, as the food was just barely out of reach. It's tough being a small fry eh?

Arleigh’s highlight was meeting a zookeeper who was on her way to feed the Koala’s. He was completed fascinated that the koalas eat vegetables just like he does.
They fuzzy bumpkins had Belgian endives on their dinner plates tonight! Whodda thought? Belgian endives?

 OK- Had trouble with the hint? Here are the answers...

(Yep, sorry, the vending machine was a stumper).

Better luck next time. And we renewed our passes, so of course, we can look forward to lots of next times.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year! (Wink, Wink)

Amazing how time flies. Cliché I know, but it’s 2012 already folks!

In the years leading up to 2012, we’ve managed to attain some lucky accomplishments.
Some unforeseen, and some quite a challenge to attain. The point is, we to continue to look forward.

So far,
100% of the offspring here have traveled to over 12 countries in their lifetime

75% of the offspring are now fluent in 2 languages (spelling however, is another story).

The other 25% of this offspring thinks he’s fluent as well

100% of offspring can dress themselves

0% can find the laundry basket

50% operate their own email account

75% of our offspring can ride a bike

50% can hula hoop for an extended length of time

100% are now potty trained (Whoo-hooo!)

75% are literate

50% can swim, well enough to join a novice level swim team

0% gave attained all adult teeth (50% have some adult teeth)

75% can play more than 3 songs on the violin

50% can cook a meal if necessary (a more palatable meal if supervised)

0% have obtained a driver’s license (thank goodness)

75% like salad, sans any chesse that's blue or green

100% have been trained to fold clothing and make beds (though about 25% only ever actually use this skill)

0% have obtained a high school diploma

100% can suck down an Italian gelato in seconds flat

50% can pack a bag for a camping trip or travel

100% can hop on one foot

75% can tie their own shoes

50% can tell time

100% are healthy and happy, which is a blessing on its own

25% can belch on command (Thank you dear neighbor, Mr. Jose, in Guam)

100% are capable of hugs and kisses on a sunny day

And now we‘re proud to announce that,

75% of the circus act can wink.

May you see an endless array of unforeseen and challenging accomplishments as well in 2012!

(Wink Wink!)