Wednesday, January 31, 2007

the firefly
that talks

When B-girl went back to school after Christmas she had a new gadget in her backpack. I have waited to tell you about this friends because some might say, or have already said, the Firefly cell phone is not an appropriate gift for a 6-year-old child, but it is for mine.

The phone is very basic. It has two buttons to push. One has a picture of a female and one has a male, presumably for mom and dad. The parents program the numbers in and also program the numbers the phone is allowed to receive. No other calls come through. The best part is the 9-1-1 emergency switch that B-girl already knows not to use unless she is in the middle of an emergency. (The reason she knows is that when she was three she called 9-1-1 on me when I put her in a timeout but that's another post). B-girl can press the "mom" key and get my cell phone. Her dad is departed so the other key reaches Grandma.

B-girl cannot pull the phone out at school. It stays in her purse or backpack until she gets to latchkey, better known as daycare. Yes, she hops a bus from school at 3:00 and I pick her up after 5:00, when I get off work.

At first the daycare teachers were a bit shocked because the only other kid who has one is 12. As B-girl puts it "I can have one because I am responsible." I hope that's true!

I explained to her caretakers that she can call me once a day. Her regular daycare workers understand this and it works well but recently we had a new worker...

She has a cell phone and she will call me at work after snack.

Daycare person
Really? Because a lot of mothers do not like to be disturbed at work unless it is an emergency.

Really? When my kid calls me I really don't consider it a disturbance. Besides, if I am in a meeting it goes to voicemail and she leaves me a message.

Daycare person
Okay as long as she doesn't pass it around to the other kids.

She knows what to do -- and not do -- with it.

Daycare person
If you are sure.

Quite sure.

Today she called me to let me know she finished a potholder she has been making for me. I know she calls around 3:45 every workday so I usually have my cell phone close.

She also carries it when we are together. Sometimes while shopping in a store, I will tell the B-girl to call Grandma and ask her if she needs anything. When she talks on her phone while walking through the store I see a lot of raised eyebrows but I don't care.

If this Firefly

brightens her day

and makes her feel safer,

then I will

ignore the buzz

and do my best to

keep this thing lit.

Monday, January 29, 2007

economic salutations

Even the greetings in Michigan have changed...


Joe "Hello, how are you?"

Jane "I'm fine and you?"

Joe "Great, nice to see you."

Jane "Nice to see you too."


Joe "Hello. I still have a job, you?"

Jane "Good. Me too!"

Joe "Luck be with you"

Jane "And you!"

Saturday, January 27, 2007

why can't women act
more like men?

I like men. I am not talking about relationships, although that too.

I have always understood guys better. It occurred to me again watching The Office this week. The boss was being backstabbed and he talked about "hugging it out" after the employee apologized. Of course he also made the employee stand on a desk with a sign that said "Liar" hanging from his neck, but that's another post.

It was a funny line but it did make reference to an interesting point. Men get over things and move on. Maybe not "hug it off" but they certainly do "shrug" it off.

Women can get mad about something and still spew it forth in conversation 12 years later. Men don't do that. I really don't do that too often myself anymore although I used to engage in what I now consider useless grudges. These days the only stories I can remember from years back are the funny ones.

This subject matter seems to be the most glaring in the workplace. Women can be vicious and cruel. Oh they are nice to your face, but then they talk behind your back--about everything, including the scuff marks on your shoes (that you just acquired walking through the snow that morning) or the loose thread hanging from your suit (God forbid!). I don't care what anybody wears.

Recently the only time I have criticized women at work has been about just that, work--or lack thereof. I have worked several jobs in communications and at two of those jobs I had female bosses...

I have to quit typing now until the chills wear off.

My female bosses were unrelenting in their quirky bitchiness (sorry no other way to describe it). One was subsequently fired--the other is still running things the wrong way, judging by the advertising spots emanating from her office.

These days there are more strong women with the ability to progress beyond the stereotypical female roles. These women can hold their own at work and save the tears for a better time--like when you are sitting at home in your pajamas with a pint of Haagen-Dazs watching Grey's Anatomy.

We women do have a ways to go to reach the stage of unconditional acceptance in the workplace. I have watched the guys and am beginning to understand more. Guys just don't put as much emotion into the mundane. They save what little emotions they have for the important stuff and that stuff usually isn't about work. If they do get mad at work, they say what they think needs to be said and move on. They don't brood for hours.

My viewpoint may be subjective because I like sports, politics and current events and hate discussing new recipes, so I gravitate toward male conversations anyway. I noticed this trend of mine at the office Christmas party. I did, however, engage in the passing around the photo of my kid tradition...I don't want to be totally disavowed from femininity, that's not my goal here.

If I need to understand the "traditonal" woman's approach better, then please enlighten me. My good friends who are females are a bit avant-garde, plus, they like to laugh. I think the ability to laugh under stress is key. Have you noticed the men do it more?

I believe if women took some of the drama out of it, particularly at work, they would have more time for achievement. I think they would smile more and not appear to be so bitter.

Okay ladies. Go easy on me. It been a rough week you know.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

the new kid

"We have a new girl in class."

"That's nice. Did you welcome her?"

"Yes. I was one of the first to say hi."

"What's her name?"


"What do you know about her?"

"She is lactose intolerant."


"I said she is lactose intolerant."

"Oh come on! Did she tell you that?"


"Then how do you know that?"

"I heard her mother tell the teacher."

"Are you eavesdropping on grown-ups again?"

"No MOM! Her mother said it so loud the whole class heard and everybody laughed except for me and another girl."

Me (suffocating my own smile)
"Well let me tell you something--those kids should be ashamed because lactose intolerance is no laughing matter."

" I KNOW!"


Lesson for today...

be careful what you say

to your child's teacher

when you're within earshot

of those darn other kids!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My new workday plan...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Happy 80th Birthday Mom
I Love You!

Mom has forgotten more about politics than I will every learn! She got another political read as a gift when we went out Saturday night to celebrate her birthday. Her birthday is Monday, but we are a bunch of working hard all day on Monday kind of people.

Four generations break bread and make Mom proud!

A Fire Department Commander
A Human Resources Manager (edit: Administrative Assistant)
A Michigan State Grad/PR Guru
Two Managing Nurses (edit: nurse coordinators)
A Mazda Employee (edit: Ford Motor Company)
A Power Company Supervisor
A U of M freshmen
An honors high school senior
A bright 15-year-old
and a very smart first grader!

While the staff at Carraba's Italian Grill sings "Happy Birthday" to Mom in Italian she wonders why in the heck we didn't take her to an Armenian restaurant. (Seriously, it was too cold to take her downtown).

My mother is an amazing woman. Someday I will post her story, but it is too long for this birthday wish. Let me just say she is one of the strongest people I have ever seen. I have learned so much from her I can't even begin to tell it all to you.

Mom had me when she was 36. I don't think either she or my Dad were planning on having another child. My brother is 17 years older than me. January 22 is also my brother's anniversary so Happy Anniversary H & P!

When I had B-girl at 37 my mom had a good laugh.

Thinking back to growing up, my mother always told me I kept her "young".

Hopefully B-girl will do the same for me!

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Forgive me if you disagree with what I am about to say. I usually stay upbeat, talk about the silver lining and yes, even fake optimisms.

This whole American Idol controversy has me thinking about whether we are a real deal or soft serve society.

Keep in mind, as I spin this post into a work experience, that I work in the realm of politics and learned ten years ago that it would behoove me not to be emotional about my work situation.

Anyway, I caught a replay of Rosie (The View) raking the Idol judges across the coals because they were actually doing their jobs and being politically incorrect.

Is it me or have far too many people turned into a sensitivity freaks?

People, it is only entertainment and if you don' t like it turn the channel. It is a show reminiscent of the old Gong Show, which was, back it the day, quite brutal to its participants.

I don't really watch Idol every episode but this discussion reminded me of something that happened to me at work...

All IT (that's Information Technology) employees ended this week "mad" at one person and that's me.

Let me just say that they provide my department with a great deal of assistance so it is not good to have a whole staff mad at you.

When a friend told me they were all "mad" at me, I tried to remember when the last time was that I told anybody I was "mad" at them. It's been so long, I can't remember.

The whole thing began like this:

IT assistant was in my boss's office.

We were talking about his need for a new printer (we both use it).

IT says it will not be replaced, we will have to print to the color printer in their office. (This brings up a whole range of issues because we print hundreds of color photographs on photo paper and also confidential correspondence. I have visions of the both of us running back and forth to the IT department while all hell breaks loose).

We are in public relations for cryin' out loud, but will not be "allowed" to have our own printer. I know, it is ridiculous to even type this.

My response to this bit o' news was "Man you guys operate like the Gestapo around here."

First IT person says "I know you are right, but it's not me."

Then, IT person runs back to IT department and tells everyone (including the IT Director) that I called them "IT Nazis". Funny how words change isn't it? Anyway, now all of IT is "mad" at me, and it is quite evident, judging by the cold shoulders I am receiving from the people who were once friendly to me.

Now I ask you--who gets mad over such a thing? What the?

Talk about soft serve!

I decided prior to my return to the new/old job at Spin City Hall that I would not let the small stuff bother me. So this doesn't bother me, but it has affected my ability to get what I need from another department.

Was I inferring anything bad? No. Did they take it the wrong way? Yes.

I am I sensitive to historical facts? I am half Armenian!

Am I going to apologize for joking? No.

Will I ever utter anything laced with the least bit of humour to a techie who works there? No.

Truth be told, I think the whole thing has turned into a grade school drama

And, I don't play that way.

Case in point...

Also this week, a colleague and I worked a ribbon cutting event for a new Best Buy in Spin City.

When we get back to the office an acquaintance comes in and we are talking about the event. My co-worker says "I was one of the first customers and MSUgal was one of the first shoplifters."

My response?

What do you think?

My response was

"Really? Do you have any proof of that because I was very careful to avoid the video cameras!"

Now was I "mad" ? No. Heck no.

In fact, I enjoy banter (it's a family trait).

Did I run across the hall to tell anybody? No!

Do I need apologies? No!

Listen Blogger friends,

if I ever make a big deal about any joking comment,

someone please remind me of this post.

The day I get "mad" at someone for cracking a joke,

please send me to Clown School for a refresher.

And, if I ever need Rosie to defend me because I decided to appear on "American Idol"

knowing full well I can't sing,

then someone please slap me back to being the real deal and

not that wimpy soft-serve version

so many people seem to be morphing into these days.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

shooting star
piercing heart

It is no secret that my young daughter has a fashion sense of her own.

I had some fashion sense in my youth, but now I invest in my daughter more than myself. If I am clean, presentable and have no roots showing, I feel good.

The other day we got dressed to go to the mall. I have to put some effort into this because the mall is situated right in the middle of the Spin City in which I work, so I usually run into someone I know. On this particular day I put on a nice light blue sweater with dark blue pants and Nikes. Add in doing my hair and make up and I am talking about putting in some real effort here.

My six year old daughter goes into her room and comes out looking great--camoflauge pants (in a pattern of light blue, pink, gold and cream) beautiful pink sweater, gold belt and matching purse. Her hair was pulled back into a pink ponytail holder and she looked adorable!

B-girls asks

"How Do I look?"

I say

"If I was judging by your style, I would say you are a bright, shining star shooting through the sky!"

Then the fatal error.

I ask her "how do I look?"

She checks me over from head to toe, looks me straight in the eye and says

"Well, if I was judging by your style,

I'd say you are an old meteorite falling to the ground."

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Last year when I was working media relations for a healthcare system, we set up an interview with one of our health experts and a Detroit News writer. It was this time of year and the story was about Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)

After the story was published I put it on my bulletin board at work to remind me that many people feel the same way at this time of year...

The holidays are over.

The days are very short.

The weather is cold and families are stuck inside.

Sister Sun and Mr. Blue Sky caught a flight for the tropics.

Over this past week, three people mentioned the blahs to me. A colleague was uninspired; My mother said she is tired of the weather; A friend recently told me this dreariness made him seriously consider leaving Michigan.

Strangely, this constant cold rain seems to have had more of an negative effect on people around here. You would think we are living in Seattle instead of Detroit.

In many ways, I think snow might be better. The B-girl, who loves to get out in it, has almost given up on the prospect now. My daughter is an outdoor girl turned cabin feverish grouch. If it snowed she could at least get outside and have some fun.

And me, well, I need more light! How I long for the days when I could leave work at five and still have five more hours of daylight! Daylight, sunshine and warm weather is all I need to avoid becoming S.A.D.

Even though I have the tendency to avoid depression at all costs, I admit I am not quite myself since the holidays ended. We are not even one month into winter and I am ready for it to be over!

Please let me know how you are faring. Any S.A.D. ideas on your end?

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Trying to have a leisurely evening after work.

B-girl goes into the bathroom.

She conducts her business (I know this because I hear the flush and the washing of the hands).

Suddenly, a piercing scream and the word


I charge into the bathroom like a bear defending her young.

The kid has her hands over her ears and is crying and screamimg.

I am thinking the worst.

Somehow in the bathroom she managed to cut herself and she is bleeding.

Or, she has some sickness I am not aware of and is about to pass out.

"B-girl let go and let me see," I exasperate.

She finally lets go of her ears and I check her entire head over once, twice, three times.

I can't find anything and now I am frustrated because my kid is screaming in pain and I can't help her.

Finally I say "show me exactly where it hurts."

The whailing child says to me

"I didn't get hurt mommy."

"Then why are you crying so loudly?," I ask.

"Here look in the mirror and you will see what I saw when I was brushing my hair," she says.

She looks in the mirror.

I glance over and see nothing out of the ordinary,

yet my daughter is still in tears.

"MY EARS ARE TOO BIG!," she shrieks.

I sit on the cozy in an attempt to regain my normal heart rhythm.

"Your ears are not too big," I managed to utter between mini-strokes. "You are fine. Please don't scream like that again unless you are hurt."

"But it does hurt me that my ears are too big," she cries.

"Don't worry you will grow into them," I say to the kid with slightly big but normal ears.

"Okay," she says calmly and skips away.

I stay in the bathroom and throw cold water on my face

to try to regain composure and avoid a mommy meltdown.

Why oh why

do some kids (mostly girls)

turn teeny tiny little things

into life and death dramas?

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Try something different and

Make No Resolutions for 2007!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Yes this is B-girl celebrating at midnight with the New Year clock she made at school. She kept moving the clock arms by hand all night long, all the way until midnight.

It no secret to those who know us that B-girl has more energy than the average child. Unfortunately, she didn't inherit this excess energy from me, so I sometimes have trouble keeping up. At least tonight there is a legitimate reason for my daughter being awake so late, only it is now 12:24 and I am ready for bed. My daughter, on the other hand, seems to be all hopped up on the sheer excitement of it all.

Tonight she stayed up with me to watch the ball drop in Times Square. It's our "tradition". That's what she called it. We were invited to two different places tonight where we could celebrate with friends and other kids, but she wanted to stay home alone with me. I decided to go with it because soon enough she will think staying home with mom to watch "the ball drop" is lame.

So we stayed home together--and like we did last year--we made punch, ate pizza and put out a tray of party snacks. We drank the punch from fancy stemware, played games, danced, watched Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve and made lots of noise at midnight. Can't you just feel the love?

Wherever you were when that clock turned from 2006 to 2007, I hope love covered you like confetti on the streets of New York.

And may

this new year,

our 2007,

bring to all of us

much love,



and most importantly of all...

P E A C E.