Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Once an ENFJ, Always an ENFJ

Well, I'm on the bandwagon. Thanks to "Like I Was Saying" and the rest of the MIA posse, I couldn't resist taking the test one more time. I'm still an ENFJ. But as I mentioned to a couple other bloggers in their comments, I like to think that I'm a kinder, gentler version of myself. I always tell The Boss that more of him has rubbed off on me than me that has rubbed off on him. Which frustrates the snot out of me - I wish some of my obsessive compulsion "that everything has a place and the world is so much more FUN when it's all in its place," would rub off on him. Now THAT's fun. Yeah!

Click to view my Personality Profile page

When I read this site's list of famous "real" ENFJ's, I couldn't help but laugh out loud, then gasp and feel intimidated, insulted, and amused. These names crack me up - I don't think I'm like many of them, but it's quite a round up. See for yourself:

Abraham Maslow - psychologist
Andy Griffith - actor
Ben Affleck - actor
Ben Stiller - actor, comedian
Bob Saget - actor
Brenda Vaccaro - actress
Craig T. Nelson - actor (Coach)
Dennis Hopper - actor
Diane Sawyer - television journalist
Dick Van Dyke - actor
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - minister, civil rights activist
Elizabeth Dole - senator
Francois Mitterand - French President
James Garner - actor
John Wooden - basketball player, coach
Johnny Depp - actor
King David - King of Israel
Kirstie Alley - actress
Lauren Graham - actress
Margaret Mead - cultural anthropologist
Matthew McConaughey - actor
Mikhail Gorbachev - last leader of Soviet Union
Pete Sampras - tennis champion
Peyton Manning - NFL quarterback
Ralph Nader - attorney, political activist
Randy Quaid - actor
Ross Perot - businessman
Tommy Lee Jones - actor
William Aramony - United Way president
William Cullen Bryant - poet
Okay. Kirstie Alley I can see. She's obnoxiously like-able, like everyone's friend from high school that got you into trouble. But I don't know that I'm really like that. Am I? Well, okay. Maybe I am. A little bit. Not so much that I actually get into trouble. But I do enjoy my naughty little rebellious thoughts and suggestions to fellow wanna-be rebels once in a while. Shhhhh, don't tell my mom.

And Johnny Depp and Matthew McConaughey? I like them, but am I like them? Enough. Enough! Enough already.

But Popeye? Now I know I am like him: "I Yam What I Yam."

Monday, October 29, 2007

On Bad Haircuts and Sermons, Part II

I left you at the end of Part I (here) with the saga of a really bad haircut, but you are probably all wondering what that had to do with sermons. So, here's the end of the story!

That fateful day, (a Friday) I cried on the way home from this bad haircut. Cried for the choppy locks that were sticking out all over. Cried that I was too wimpy to stop her and make her listen better. Cried that I was stupid enough to pay her full price and tip her (albeit very little! A girl's gotta have some dignity, come on!). Cried that I have to start all over again, with my growing out and with my search for a stylist. I don't even want to search for "The Perfect Stylist." I'll be happy to search for a really great one. I cried when I was drying it and when I was styling it. But soon, those tears turned to downright anger. And frustration. I was irritated. And angry. And I griped about it at Panera Bread that night with friends. Did I mention that I was angry?

I went church on Sunday morning. My friends who hadn't heard my sob story at Moms' Night Out on Friday night were complimenting my funky new cut. One very sweet friend even said she wished she could carry off a cut as short as mine. Pups N' Horses kept whispering in my ear, "Breathe! Breathe! It'll grow." I was trying hard not to stew and fume. I was trying hard to receive their complements and be gracious about it all. I was getting even madder at myself; frustrated at how this haircut wasn't just awful, it was ruining my ability to enjoy a Sunday morning worship service and fellowship with my church family! Angry that something as trivial (in the long view of things) as my hair was holding me back from peace and joy. OOOOOOh. I was ticked! Then my dear, wonderful Pastor Brother In Law got up to preach. The subject of the morning?


Ugh. Right away, I squirmed. I resisted. I tried to daydream. I doodled in my notes. And the first thing I said to Pups N' Horses when the service was over? "Well, I guess I really need to forgive that stylist." I was only 1/2 kidding - once I decided that I really must forgive her, I felt so much better. My hair is still way shorter than I intended. And it's still slightly uneven. But, I feel better about it. I can get ready in less than 45 minutes - hair, make-up and everything. And blowing it dry takes less than 5 minutes. But I'm not wallowing in unforgiveness. I'm choosing thankfulness. Like I said earlier, the checkbook is happy - and I'm thankful that I won't need another haircut for at least 3 or 4 months!

Oh, yeah. And I'm thankful that Pastor Brother In Law was obedient
to preach the Word. The Truth.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Favorites Friday (not)

We interrupt regularly scheduled Favorites Friday to bring you an important message. Favorites Friday will (hopefully!) resume its normal programming next week. :)

I'm taking today to brag on The Boss a little bit. Last night, he and his team won the prestigious Human Resources Department Of The Year award for Excellence In Technology. This award is given by Human Resources professionals in the Philly region each year, to acknowledge significant HR advances and innovations and we are very proud of The Boss and his peers.

The award was given to recognize the HR Information Systems Department at Children's Hospital for their conversion to a more paperless and more user-friendly database (among other more technical gobbedly-gook that I really don't understand!). The team spear-headed the project to place kiosks all over the CHOP campus, allowing employees individual access to their own information (benefits, compensation, etc.) and giving managers/supervisors access to updating and managing their employees' information themselves. The Boss's team has gone from a data-entry environment to a database management environment and they are all to be commended on the very long hours, the new things they've had to learn, and the ownership they all share over this innovation. It's improving the lives of all the employees and helping CHOP do more to support the people who are all there to save kids' lives.

So, huge kudos to the HRIS team and the IT team at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Your hard work and long hours of planning, scheming, strategizing, and troubleshooting have been greatly appreciated and now widely recognized! You should all be very proud of yourselves and your efforts. And to The Boss's team: a very special THANK YOU from me, for all your support and participation and "buy-in" - you make it pleasant to be the wife of such a hard-working, focused and motivated Boss :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

On Bad Haircuts and Sermons, Part I

Recently, my hair stylist called to say that she was leaving the chain salon she was currently managing to join a more up-scale (she means pricey!) full service salon a few towns over. That phone call rocked my world. And created all sorts of dread and panic that only a woman could possibly understand!

See, when I lived in South Central PA, I had the world's BEST stylist. I started with her upon the recommendation of one of the patients in the dental practice where I worked as a receptionist. We clicked, and she quickly became a friend as well as the best stylist I'd ever been to. She was completely honest about what my hair could do and couldn't do and was great about pulling and pushing me off the ledge when I'd waffle about trying something "new" with my hair. I'm not foolish enough to believe that my hair is so incredibly unique and that no one could ever experience the same angst I do about my hair and its temperamental nature. But I am certain that there are a few things that make my hair a bit more difficult to work with than the average head of hair. Say, for example, the ridiculous number of cowlicks (what a gross word!) on my lone little head. And the rug-like thickness it tends toward. And the wiry, coarse texture that consistently dries out at the drop of a hat.

So when I moved here to South Eastern PA, I actually spent the first year or so travelling back to my stylist. It was cheaper (for the cut, not the gas!), it gave me a chance to keep up with friends and it kept me looking fine :) However, after a while, The Boss encouraged me to look around and find someone closer. By at least 2 hours! After several mishaps, unfortunate cuts and over processed (read platinum blonde) highlights, I found Jen G (cue singing angels and rays of light falling on her name). She was a godsend - I don't say that lightly. She fixed a botched cut, texturized like a dream and was cheaper than even my stylist/friend back "home." I was happy, The Boss was happy, the checkbook was happy.

Until the phone call. Which led to a really bad haircut. That looks NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING like the THREE pictures I brought to the new stylist I tried. At one point, there was shaving of my head going on. This, after emphasizing that I was GROWING it out for a softer look. Two weeks later, I'm still catching sight of myself and gasping at just how short it looks. There's so much more to the story, but I will save that for a later installment. But let's just say, at least the checkbook is happy. This cut only cost $15 and I won't need another till April. Maybe February if I drink lots of milk and fruits and veggies!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'm Here . . .

I am here. I am still around. I've just been crazy busy! I feel as if I've been running behind my life, watching it wave through the rear window smiling mischievously at me as it speeds away. Not the best feeling in the world, when your four kids, your hubby, and your friends and other family are on board as this life hurtles down the road. So I've been devoting some time to catching up, tightening up the routine, and carving out time to breathe a little. Whether or not the weather wants to cooperate, I've had to devote some time to getting fall clothes out, re-stocking the pantry, planning some menus, getting my grocery lists in order, and sprucing up the house with seasonal candles and fall decor. I had to read a few good books. I had to do some research on homeschooling ideas. I had to crank up the homeschooling. And I had to buckle down and just ADJUST to the school-year routine, already.

I've got a couple posts brewing, including but certainly not limited to the following: bad haircuts and sermons, going back to what you know, and adoption updates. I've got a great poem to share, and some fun new recipes for fall. But tonight, I'll leave you with these book reviews. I haven't read for a long while, but with the football, baseball play-offs, and now the World Series, I've gotten the chance to sink my teeth into these treats. I think you'll like them!
  • Sweeping Up The Heart, by Dr. Paul W. Nisly - this is the story of Dr. Nisly's daughter's death and his grief and healing in the years that followed. My friend "Pups N' Horses" found it at a local second hand shop and thought I'd be interested. I was. VERY. I remember Janelle's death, out on Route 15, when I was just a sophomore at Messiah. I remember the family's grief, the whole community's sorrow. The book is beautiful in its honoring of his daughter and an earnest attempt to be honest and open about the grief and pain of her loss. It was incredibly moving and beautifully written.
  • The Color Of Water, by James McBride - a gorgeous tribute to the author's mother. I loved the way he unfolds what he learns about her and how he reconciles his perceptions with her life story along the way. It was, again, beautifully written and I found myself quite emotional during certain segments of the book. This is a book I could read a couple times and enjoy differently in each reading. And I may just search out additional books by the author.
  • The Boo Series, by Renee Gutteridge - a zany, funny and light-hearted set of three books about a small town in Indiana. From the name of the town (Skary) to the prominent theme of cats (black ones!), it's my only ode to the "season." I found myself chuckling out loud and that was a great thing for me after the previous two books! Plus, after HOURS of bad football games and endless nights of baseball, I appreciated the pleasant diversion these books provided.
My only complaint is that I'm almost done the third book and the World Series JUST started! Oh No!! All my mending is caught up and the only thing left for me to do is send The Boss to the other tv with basic cable so I can watch Breast Cancer movies on Lifetime. Like I need that emotional intensity right now! NOT. But I am here. I've been here - I've just been not HERE but I'm back. I think ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sweetest Thing!

My Li'l Sis brought me a gift today that I will treasure always. It was a writing project that her son did in school. The writing prompt was "If I could fly to anywhere in the world, I would travel to . . . . because . . . . . . "

My sweet nephew, in his darling primary grade scrawl, wrote the following:


because I want to see my cousin Aidan.

Melt. My. Heart.
Puddles. On. The. Floor.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Back On Line!

It's been a frustrating day or two around here: my computer was down for the count, after periodic episodes of freezing followed by error messages that effectively booted me off my own system. I couldn't complete a survey I was being paid to complete, The Boss couldn't load Shaggy's new MP3 stuff. I couldn't even reference my resources to prepare my mini-teaching at MOMS' Group and had to "wing it" with no notes. That's really my own fault, I shouldn't have tried so hard all Monday afternoon (between the letter J and math facts games) to trouble shoot the computer problem. Rather, I should have sat down and done my notes the old fashioned way: with paper and pen! I did get a good start on re-vamping and starting a new homeschool approach with Baby Blue Eyes, but that was all derailed by one very long phone call and a bad head cold.

Tuesday after the MOMS' Group crowd left and I cleaned up the kitchen and got lunch going for Shaggy (home on a 1/2 day) and Baby Blue Eyes, I called Dell for some tech support. No exaggeration, I was on the phone with them for 4 hours and 6 minutes. Most of that time was spent initiating and monitoring the diagnostic tests as directed by my new friend, Jersohn, since we couldn't get the Internet connection to unfreeze. Finally, after about 3 hours, he took over by remote and played with thing for a while. The good news is that it's not a hardware problem. The rest of what he said it might be just sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher to me, after 4 hours on speaker phone, basically stuck in one chair: "waht, wah, waht, wah, waht wah . . . ." Something about internet safety software interfering with the transfer of information and the sharing of data. So The Boss came home, ate a hearty meal of leftovers and dug in to cleaning up and disabling the "waht wah." By then, I was about comatose on the couch, trying to stop the burning in my eyes, the humming waht wah's in my ear and the pounding in my head. I vaguely remember channel surfing, a baseball game, and a fleeting concern over Baby Blue Eye's slight fever and cough. The rest of the night was a blur.

Today, I'm reclaiming my territory! Losing two days to that kind of busy-ness really put a crimp in my plans, but I'm gonna keep rolling. I dragged BBE to an early weigh-in, dinner is prepped, and I ran to Curves when Shaggy came home (again with the 1/2 day, although I have no idea why they have it!). Now I need to power through the mail, "Backpack Wednesday" school papers, Bible study homework and and some Homeroom Mom duties. I also need to find a good recipe for salt-dough for Shaggy's home ec project and get BBE on some homeschooling, even if he is a little sick. At some point, I really need to finish the fall clothes change-out and make lists of who needs what. I probably ought to consider making a list. And cutting the list into two or three days.

But first I need a shower. And a big lunch. A really good one - I worked out hard and I'm starving now. Plus, today is my "cheat day," cuz I weighed in this morning. I lost 3.4 lbs. And I have no idea how. Especially since much of Monday and Tuesday was spent in this desk chair, fiddling around with Restore Systems and msconfigs, while eating one of Shaggy's gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. But I'm up and running again - back on-line. With my computer and now the rest of my week, too!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Favorites Friday

It's cool and rainy here today. There's a chilly breeze, kicking the slightly colored leaves off their branches. It's the perfect day for a "jammy day." Jammy Day started when the gang was all very young and loved long Disney movies as a reward for great behavior or a treat to distract them on a rainy day. We'd all race up to our rooms, change into our jammies, grab blankies or pillows or cherished teddy bears and meet in the living room. I'd pop big bowls of popcorn (sometimes offering this as lunch), pop our Disney fairy tale pick of the day into the VCR, and pile on the couch for snuggle time. That's back when we all fit on one couch!

In recent years, with the arrival of the adolescent and pre-adolescent years, Jammy Day has evolved into a "laze around" and hang out day. Movie and popcorn optional. But still included is the elements of snuggling, blankets, and of course, the jammies. We often all read quietly or spread out through the downstairs of the house making blanket forts or building K'Nex. Crayons and coloring books sometimes replace Disney movies. Whatever the loose definition of Jammy Day has become, they are a necessary respite for the hectic and busy life we share. So, today's Favorites Friday is in honor of our family's tradition, no matter how it's changed over the years.

My Favorite Memories of Jammy Day
(recent and ancient)
  • The first time we all watched the animated version of Charlotte's Web. Big eyes, tears brimming, and happy smiles. What more could a mom want from sharing her favorite story with her two precious boys?
  • Laughing together with glee over the antics of Manny and Sid when we (finally!) got Ice Age on DVD. We still have some of the lines from that movie memorized.
  • Warm little bodies crowded on the couch, wriggling and giggling and pushing and shoving to get comfy. Now spread out over two couches and sometimes the floor!
  • Warmer little bodies, with eyes heavy and sleepy, lingering on the couch long after the movie is over. Soft, sweaty little heads in my lap begging "Watch it again, Mommy?"
  • The peaceful quiet of pages turning and blankets rustling. The not-so-little bodies (mine included!) drifting off to sleep on the couch with no particular schedule to keep.
LadyBug's class is having a Pajama Party at school today, a reward for 100 Accelerated Reader points earned since school began. Baby Blue Eyes and I have been keeping a crazy pace since Sunday, out for something different every day this week and squeezing our Hooked On Phonics alphabet tapes in between our activities. I've had some really late nights and always too-early mornings; even the coffee isn't working some mornings this week! So today, I declare a Jammy Day here at home. Slower pace, quiet morning, and no where to go till later this afternoon.

Enjoy your Friday - I'm off to savor mine!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I've Opened A Can Of Worms!

OOOOH! I'm so excited. Thank you to Camp Hill Girl and Life And Lessons for the great links to sites that further explain the personality summary from my Sunday post. I've done lots of different personality surveys, but can never, ever for the life of me remember what all the letters of this particular one (mine are ENFJ) stand for. I've checked some great sites from both of these gals at which my particular personality tendencies are discussed at great length. Sparing no detail. Taking their pound of flesh as they lay out my strengths and weaknesses for the whole world to see.

Not only did I not remember what all that gobbedly-gook stood for, it seems that it's my personality-type's tendency is to not really care about what it stands for. Unless I actually know someone with that particular combination of gobbedly-gook. And now I do. So I do. Care, that is. I read the description here, and feel somewhat excited that someone out there could capture all that into words. Real words that I understand and can ponder. I love the words. Words flowing on a page excite me. But I am also feeling somewhat irritated. I don't think I completely like being "understood" that way. With all my warts and wrinkles out there. On the Internet. In books. What happened to the mystery of a woman? Will I have any mystique whatsoever now that I've shared the link with all of you?

It's bad enough that after 17 years of marriage (The Boss and I celebrated on Saturday, by seeing The 3:10 To Yuma and chowing down on traditional Irish fare at a new pub he discovered), there's little about me that keeps The Boss guessing. Especially when it comes to the running of our home and the routines of our life (broken down by hours on my well-laid out, neatly written calendar on the fridge, for all to see!). And certainly when it comes to loving me in my lingo: just be with me. Talk to me. A lot. Just talk and hold my hand. While there is tremendous comfort in that familiarity and it certainly acts as a wonderful anchor in my life, I am experiencing a vague feeling of unease that someone out there has written (and quite eloquently I might add!) about me. About me as an ENFJ. I feel squirmy inside, as if I'm trying to escape that giant pin that I see hovering overhead as it tries to tack me to the boards. As if the worms are all wriggling to get out of their tightly constrained little bait can that is yawning open at one end.

So now, I am wondering what completely NON - ENFJ thing I can accomplish in the next two hours before The Boss gets home. But I'm feeling crippled: dinner is already planned. The house is already picked up and tidy. The kids are quietly following their prescribed afternoon routine, singing silly songs while they work on their homework. And I'm sitting here typing my brains out, writing and creating. Doing all those things that (apparently!) the ENFJ does for the people she loves.

Who knew that a fun little blog survey could have the power to open up such a huge can of worms. Now, please excuse me while I spend some time alone. Apparently it's very important that I do that, but only until my thoughts start to turn dark. Then, I must find people. HA! Who am I kidding? If I actually get to spend some time alone, the people find me. Every time. Even with the bathroom door locked and the fan running on HIGH.

Monday, October 8, 2007

I'm a Volunteer!

Today was my orientation to be a library volunteer at our elementary school. I checked books in for the 4th grade class that was there learning how to use different library resources, and then learned how to check the books out. I know that without a doubt this classifies me as a total geek, but I LOVE libraries. Big ones, little ones, community libraries, school libraries, whatever their shape and size. I love them! All those books with their smooth, beautiful covers. The printed words in various shapes and fonts and colors. The smell of ink and bindings and paper. I love them! And I got to play with the bar code scanner machine to do the checking in and out. What more could a geek ask for?!

I had to bring Baby Blue Eyes with me. So he sat in the back at a reading table with a coloring book, books on tape, his new Webkin dog, and his big blue eyes watching all the kids swarming around him during their library treasure hunt. About half-way into our time there, I looked up to see him completely surrounded by 4th graders, looking at his bag, handling his Webkin and talking to him a mile a minute. He looked okay, not too overwhelmed, but holding his own quietly. Normally, I'd "rescue" him (he doesn't love crowds, nor does he love strangers touching his toys). But I wanted to see what he was going to do. After a minute or two, the librarian actually stepped in, hushed all the kids and asked Baby Blue Eyes if HE'D like to say anything. He solemnly shook his head, "no," and she scurried all the chatty patties off to finish their work. I asked him later if it was okay that they were all talking to him at once and he admitted that he didn't really like it. But the perk of "hanging out" with all the big kids and seeing his big sibs' library was enough to assuage that stress, I think. Plus, the other very nice librarian gave us our own library number and let him take out his first "school book" about Giant Animals of the World. Next time, I get to check out some parent resources. Yes! Our library has a shelf or two dedicated just to parents - parenting, home management, crafting, discipline, special needs issues and so on. Oooooh, I can hardly wait!

All in all, a very good morning for Mama Geek and Baby Geekling :)

For clarification purposes, I must tell you all that "geek" has long been a term of endearment in our Gang - we're all very geeky about learning, education, and the like. For example, The Boss is our resident computer geek and it offends him NOT IN THE LEAST when we call him that! Just thought I'd let you all know, we aren't being mean here in the Gang house!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Me In a Nutshell

You Are An ENFJ
The Giver
You strive to maintain harmony in relationships,
and usually succeed.

Articulate and enthusiastic, you are good
at making personal connections.

Sometimes you idealize relationships too much
- and end up being let down.

You find the most energy and comfort
in social situations ... where you shine.

In love, you are very protective and supporting.
However, you do need to "feel special" -
and it's quite easy for you to get jealous
(too true, but mostly jealous of time
and attention, not actual people).

At work, you are a natural leader.
You can help people
discover their greatest potential.

You would make a good writer,
human resources director
(look out Boss, I'm gunning for your job!
or psychologist.

How you see yourself:
Trusting, idealistic, and expressive

When other people don't get you,
they see you as:
Bossy, inappropriate, and loud (OUCH!!!)

So, What is Your Personality Type???

Normally, I hate these "pop quizzes" but today, I find this one to be strangely accurate. The other day, I took one that determines your "super power" and it told me that I could manipulate fire. Mmmmm, I don't think so! The Boss sometimes affectionately calls me his firecracker . . . .

Speaking of firecrackers, have you HEARD the new Josh Turner song, by the same name? OMIGOSH, I love it! Anyway . . . .