Nov 30, 2012

Black Friday With All My Heart And Soul.

Every year I have grand plans to participate in Black Friday. Some years I have halfway participated. Those are the years I have gone at 6 in the morning or even at ten in the morning even though I am not sure if going at ten even qualifies as black Friday shopping? I have never gone at midnight and shopped all night, which in my mind is what Black Friday shopping means. I am supposing that the reason I have never gone is because I have never had a friend willing to do the whole enchilada with me.But I surprised myself this year and I decided to be at Kohl's at midnight all by my little old self.

Every year my mind starts the "should I go or not" debate the minute I see that 2 to 3 inch stack of glossy, beckoning ads. I pore over every single page.There never seems to anything that I HAVE to have but I always see lots of deals. We are not a very "into the latest electronics" sort of family. Which I am thankful for because I am not sure if I could handle the anxiousness of waiting for a deal that I have a good chance of it not being mine. Anyhow, I always make lists and write down the times the stores open and what is where. It is a ritual I adore. But I rarely follow through...strange huh?

But this year we got home from Thanksgiving at six in the evening and I had had a crazy week and I literally fell into bed and as I drifted off I set my alarm for 11:30pm. When it rang at 11:30pm I was up. I got my sweats on and I was out of there. I drove straight to Kohls and got there about 5 minutes to midnight. There was a line and I got in it thinking I would be waiting for five minute. But midnight came and went and everyone in the line started murmuring and obsessively checking the time. Finally someone figured out that Kohls in Massachusetts was not opening until one in the morning. A lot of people left at this point but I decided to stay. Yes, the thought did cross my mind that I was crazy to wait in line in the freezing cold when I did not even know what I was waiting for. But I decided sticking it out was not going to hurt anything. So I settled in and I eavesdropped on the married couple behind me I loved that they were there together I do ALL the Christmas shopping in our family. I giggled at the antics of the two very loud spanish speaking women who were standing behind them these girls had a direct line to some friends who were over at Walmart so they were giving us updates on the condition of the lines and such at Walmart. In front of me was a guy and two girls and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out which one was his actual girlfriend :) It was definitely some good times :)

When the doors opened I walked politely in and I shopped for about an hour. I browsed slowly through every section and was able to cross a lot of stuff off of my list. And in the end I got $45 dollars back in Kohls cash. Why does Kohls cash make me so happy? There was no line when I checked out and soon I was on my way to the Mall where Target is.

Target was a ZOO. I selfishly grabbed myself some copies of the first two seasons of Downton Abbey. They were only $13.00 apiece and I wanted them ever so much. I carried them around but in the end I could not justify waiting in the most enormous line ever for two dvd's for me...hello :) Although, I must tell you I wonder how many people shop for themselves on Black Friday? Buying things you have needed or wanted? Does that not sound like a person who bought some things for themselves on Black Friday justifying? :) All right I confess I did procure some brown boots, a new wallet, two cushions for my wicker chairs and a plain white long sleeve shirt for myself. But that is ALL I promise :) Did I mention I put the two Downton Abbey dvd's back? Yeah, sad times.

I was in the Mall for several hours. Old Navy, Sears, Children's Place, Radio Shack, American Eagle all got a piece of my money. It was the weirdest feeling to remind yourself as you are walking through a totally full mall with restaurants open selling hamburgers and fries that is 3 in the morning. How often do you get to do that? The only place I waited in line was in Old Navy and I waited there for an hour. There was a guy in Old Navy with a bullhorn, many body piercings, a sassy attitude, and tattoos who was annoying the heck out of a woman next to me with his conversing with people in line and handing out coupons so that kept my attention for awhile.

 My Natalie has a gift for ruining our portable dvd player every year so that was the one thing  I was on the lookout for. Target had one for $39.00 and Target had one for $55.00. Target's were long gone when I got there. So I sauntered into Radio Shack at like 4 in the morning fully expecting all there $39.00 portable dvd players to be gone but weirdly the lady behind the counter had thought she was out of them but had found three behind the counter minutes before I walked in....can you have a miracle on Black Friday? :)

Black Friday gets bad mouthed constantly. And I am not sure it deserves it. Those of us who participate in it are labeled to be certifiably crazy. But I am not sure if wanting a deal at midnight is necessarily crazy? :) If it is crazy then we crazies are all in good company because there is a lot of us out there all through the night shopping away. When I thought about it I really liked the idea that I had accomplished a whole heck of a lot without disrupting anyone elses life. You see, they were all merrily sleeping off their Thanksgiving dinner not even realizing I was gone it was totally free off the clock time for me, no guilt for not doing something else because who feels guilt for not sleeping? :)

The term Black Friday has been around since the 1960's way, way back when accounting books were kept by hand and red ink indicated a loss and black ink indicated a profit. It has officially been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005. 2011 was the first time some of the big retailers shocked the world by opening at ...gasp...midnight :) Like, the drama I managed there? :) This year was the first time several retailers opened at 8 pm on Thanksgiving. I heard lots of complaining about that but if people will be there they will most definitely do it. If we don't want them to open on Thanksgiving then we need to not go which I doubt would ever happen :)

So here's to having half of my Christmas shopping done, to waking up at midnight, and waiting in line to do it :)

Nov 25, 2012

What's In The Center?

I love to know what is in the center. When I get a box of chocolate I am not overly interested in getting a surprise in my first bite I am pretty sure that I really need to know what is in the middle of each one. I will annoyingly ask you with each chocolate I eat if you happen to know what this one is or what that one is. If we are really good friends I will beg you to take a bite first and then hand it over to me if it passes. I want to make sure I get caramel, chocolate, or coconut not any of the other icky ones. I love it when they provide you with a map in the lid of the box telling you what the center of each one is.

While we are on the topic of centers I also dearly love to know what is in the center of people. It fascinates me. And being true to my love of all things center I must tell you I do prefer donut holes over the actual donut. Seriously, why on earth am I talking about the word center?  I have been so excited to tell you about this new question that has been occupying my mind. But in order to explain I have to start way back at the beginning which is way back in...yesterday. You see yesterday Tatiana and I went to see the movie Rise of the Guardians. I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this movie. The first time I saw a preview for it I knew I HAD to see it. And the actual movie did not disappoint me in anyway. It was filled with so many lessons, parallels, fun, and symbolism. But the one discussion that ended up standing out in my mind and that I have been thinking about constantly has to do with the word center.So sit back and get comfy and I will tell you the story.

In the movie the Guardians happen to be Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny, and Mr.Sandman. The Guardians protect the children of the world from evil and in this movie evil is named Pitch and he provides us with our nightmares and he has a plan to make sure none of the kids in the world believe in any of the Guardians anymore. He has some attention issues that you will totally identify when you see the movie :)

Anyway, the Guardians only exist and have power because kids believe in them. If there is no one believing they can not exist they lose their strength and I surmise they eventually disappear. Santa recognizes there is trouble brewing as he has had a sighting of Pitch, so he puts out a call to the guardians and they all come immediately to the North Pole. After they have all arrived Santa lets them know about the Pitch sightings and he also tells them that a new Guardian has been called. They all speculate who it is and it ends up being Jack Frost. Jack is very reluctant to be a Guardian when he finds out they want him so Santa takes him aside and chats with him. He takes him to his "office" and shows him one of those sets of nesting know the ones that you open the top, there is another layer underneath that, then another layer, and another layer until you get to the center? Each of the dolls, of Santa's, most personal, set of nesting dolls, happens to represent some part of his personality...a most clever idea if I may say so myself... he tells Jack about what each nesting doll represents as Jack opens them. When they get to the center there is a baby Santa nesting doll with humongous eyes. Santa explains to Jack that the huge eyes  represent his center, what his core is, what he stands for and that happens to be wonder. The wonder in Christmas lights. The wonder in gifts. The wonder of Christmas trees. You get the idea....the wonder of Christmas. He asks Jack, "What is your center?" Jack does not know what his center is and frankly I had no idea either what a guy like Jack Frost's center would be? Much later in the movie Jack thankfully finds his center and I love the moment when he discovers that his center is fun. He loves to provide fun in the snow.

So you all know me and you all have to know that I am now deeply wondering what my center is :)  When you separate the Jennifer nesting dolls what is at the center of Jennifer? What do I represent? I imagine it would be hard to choose just one thing. I do happen to love wonder and fun maybe I am Santa and Jack Frost rolled into one? :)

Nov 20, 2012

What To Be When I Grow Up?

So for exactly a year and 24 weeks and two days I have been trying to figure out what direction my little old life is going to take. We all have that moment when something crushes us and we have to figure out where we are going after we recover from the crush. One idea that has been bumping around in my mind has been going back to college. My first attempt at college was so "Jennifer." I loved it....every single minute of it. I was at BYU in Provo, Utah. I loved my roommates. I loved my racquetball class. I loved my ballroom dance class. I loved hiking the mountains. I adored playing in the snow until all hours. I loved me a few boys. I loved being the one everyone knew they could count on to play anytime and anywhere. Notice there is no mention of serious classes in the previous statements. Notice I did not say that I loved me some straight A's :) Or even my straight C's for that matter :) I desperately wanted to do good in school and could not for the life of me figure out why I could not do well. Twenty three years later I think I understand what it would take for me to FINALLY succeed in school but understanding aside is it the right thing for me to do? It has taken me about a year to get up my courage to actually talk to someone about the possibilities in the college world that are available to a 44 year old homemaker who has no idea what she wants to be when she grows up.

This morning at 9 am I met with a lady named Lori at a community college about 25 minutes from my house. I felt so grown up walking on a college campus. It felt so refreshing and empowering to just be there. I feel a tad embarrassed that I am in this position at 44 years old. Think of where I could be if I had had some confidence, direction, and courage 20 years ago? I am sure I could have been a much better mother if I had had an education and knew I could do something hard. NO, raising seven kids has not been hard...thanks for trying to convince me that I did something worthwhile though :) Anyway, Lori, the counselor for, "old people who want to come back to college," was very nice. I spent way too much time wondering what she was thinking of me as I was doing my over sharing thing I do :) She ended up passing me off to Robert in the career center because everyone knows you have to have some notion of what you want to be before you can enroll in college.

Robert chatted with me for a minute and then sat me down in front of a career center computer so that I could take a very magic test that would determine what careers on this planet would make all my dreams come true. I was so proud of myself for following all his directions perfectly and not having to ask even one question. This is a major miracle, for you see I am an Olympic level question asker. I never want to do anything wrong so i ask questions to make sure I do it perfectly right...shhh do not tell :) But I concentrated with all my might when he gave me the instructions that I thankfully had no questions.

I had to answer 116 questions about my likes and dislikes. Some of the questions were easy and some were hard. I am not a woman of the world so some of the terminology in the questions confused me. Questions like, "Do you like to get your hands dirty?" were tres easy :) But others that seemed to allude to if you liked to be bossy or not were harder. I knew I did not want to work on or in the ocean. I know I love information. I know Mr Math and I are not great friends. I am not sure if in the end Mr.Computer understood who I was because when it was all over his career suggestions for me appeared to be ALL over the place. I loved it when Robert (the career counselor guy) came back to check on me and as he looked at my list of suggested careers according to my answers he was struggling to know what to say... he looked at that list of 20 careers that I had narrowed it down too from the 40 the computer had suggested and he was speechless. I frankly was too. It was all over the place...hmm just like me :) There was Librarian, horticulturist, Funeral home director, professional athlete?, several forms of nursing careers, several forms of secretary careers, flight attendant, surgical assistant.....what made me smile was right smack in the middle of all my 40 career possibilities was homemaker....yeah, been there done that :)

I am pretty sure that I want to be a high school teacher horticulturist airline attendant librarian tour guide with some nursing on the side :) That is possible right? Everything sounds so incredibly interesting to me. I am trying to force myself to focus, to think about reality, to think into the future and see what I want a career to accomplish in my life... but that is so not me :) You would think that after all the soul searching I have been doing in the past year, 24 weeks, and two days that the answer would be clear. School is not my only option. I could write a children's book. I could continue to do yard work for people. I am very qualified to clean houses forever and ever. I could find a sugar daddy who just wants to read and travel with me :) JK

 So my friends stay tuned to see if I even decide to grow up and then what on earth I am going to be when I grow up :) And if through some weird twist of fate you know what I should be please please please tell me :)

Nov 13, 2012

Hawk's Do Attack Chickens.

So, a few weeks ago the idyllic, "Disneylike" world that had surrounded raising chickens at the Baird's house came crashing down. When you acquire animals you know this time will come you just hope that it won't come to you. All the bad things that the chicken reading material said could happen when you have chickens had not yet happened to us. And anytime I had a concern the husband quickly assured me "it will never happen" ...yeah, right :) I had read oh so much about the chicken raising process before we got them and I very carefully made sure that they:

 Had enough room so they did not get bored and peck each other.
 That they had time every day outside of the coop in the garden and in the yard.
 A super clean coop and fresh water twice a day.
 I begged the hubby to make sure the coop was predator proof.

 I was a dang good chicken mom. Then that ill fated Tuesday came and twelve year old Tatiana had the unfortunate privilege of discovering a hawk attacking Grace, Natalie's chicken. When I got to the scene of the crime Tatiana was sobbing and Grace was just laying there motionless in the dirt, we immediately assumed she was dead and we focused on catching the other chickens and quickly putting them back in their coop as the hawk continued to circle menacingly overhead. As I headed back to grab the last chicken all of a sudden there was Grace in an upright position... very alive. She ended up with two very yucky deep wounds in her neck, a ton of missing feathers, and an eye that she did not open until about a week later. We kept her away from the other chickens for two days so her wounds could heal because I had read that the others would attack her if they sensed her weakness. On the day when Natalie and I tried to re-introduce Grace to the other chickens that she had been with since they all hatched together in May they immediately flew at her and attacked her. I was sick. I called my sister Rebecca who is my chicken resource due to her having a gazillion chickens of her own. She said she had never separated her hurt chickens from the others. You either made it or you didn't on the Hirschi Farm in Michigan. I could not believe what I was hearing :) Don't chickens have emotions just like me? Isn't that poor chicken feeling horrible? Why do they have to have a social order? I have seen Chicken Run I know the truth! Then she rocked my world even more by telling me horses are mean to each other too. WHAT? Has watching 101 Dalmations, Lady and the Tramp, Fox and the Hound that have animals that talk and feel in them ruined my world that much?

In the end I knew Aunt Rebecca was right so I gathered all my abilities to ignore injustice and threw the chicken that had been brutally attacked back in with her "friends" and ran. It just did not seem right that they were mean to her. No amount of talking could convince them to be nice. Chickens have their rules that they mindlessly obey. The more I thought about it the more I realized that social order is always being established life. We don't really peck at each other but yet we do really peck at each other.

After about three days things were back to normal. Grace is definitely at the bottom of the pecking order. She knows her place and she stays there. The others now allow her around and she can eat what is left when they are done. I have to tell myself over and over in my head "they do not have human emotions she does not even care" and sometimes it seems to work :)

It has been many weeks now and Grace is still at the bottom of the pecking order and occasionally I will see another chicken remind her where she belongs. The other chickens do not even care that she was attacked by a hawk. I feel like I am watching a live National Geographic special every time I watch these chickens. I can hear the narrators voice calmly and exactingly describing why they have to do what they have to do. I can hear that same narrators voice calmly describing recess, church, meetings, dances ....need I say more? :)

Nov 10, 2012

Since Then.

Have you ever tried to catch up? The words catch and up together seem to always imply that you are behind and bless my gosh darn heart I am SO behind on my blog. You have no idea how many half written blogs are in my file. I should win an award for not finishing. Are there awards for that? I am often afraid of all I want to tell you so I just simply don't do it. I tend to burst if I do not attempt to connect and I have discovered that my blog seems to meet that need to connect :)

I can not possibly catch you up on all that has happened since I last blogged in September. 

 I mean firstly I am older now than I was then :)
 I have been to New York City to play twice since then.
 I have been to Hoboken to Carlos' bakery since then.
 I have immersed myself in politics since then.
 I have watched the leaves change amazing colors, fall all over the ground, then raked and raked them up  since then.
 I have flown a daughter to Utah to get her wisdom teeth out, because it was cheaper than doing it in Massachusetts, since then. 
I have discovered being disciplined since then.
I have set a goal to go thirty days without sugar since then.
I have gone running in the rain since then.
I have raised six chickens that each lay an egg a day since then.
I have watched political debates since then.
I have read Farm City, Once A Runner, Her Mother's Daughter, Birdseye;The Adventures of A Curious Man, and The Book of Mormon Girl since then.
I have changed doctors since then.
I have been to an Imagine Dragons concert since then.
I have stared at a couple amazing full moons since then.
I have found some amazing finds at the Salvation Army since then.
I have wondered what to do way too much since then.
I have had my parents visit since then.
I have wondered what is wrong with me since then.
I have used a Sephora giftcard since then.
I have studied the Battle of Bunker Hill since then.
I have been to Vermont twice since then.
I have dug up all my dahlia bulbs since then.
I have acquired an American Express Costco card since then.
I have listened to number 6 on the Killers new CD way too many times since then.
I have been pulled over by a cop because my registration had apparently expired since then.
I have found my favorite perfume at the Gap since then.
I have wondered since then.
I have missed since then.
I have worn a Dorthy costume since then.

So I guess that about sums it up.....well not really but you get the idea. I am determined to be better at writing on my little old blog in the future because it is extremely therapeutic for me. Not because it is going to help you learn to make a craft better. Not because it will give you some great recipes for the fam. Not because it will make you wish you had thought of that :) But I will blog simply and selfishly because I need it. But I will adore it if you decide to hang out with me while I am being selfish since I do love connecting while being selfish :)