Saturday, September 6, 2014

Fun Book Recommendation

What??? You're still reading my blog? Really? I still have readers? You guys have no idea how many times I think I'm going to throw the towel in and give up blogging. I just don't have the time anymore. But other than that, I love blogging and will still fit in a post every now and then. I don't have much to write about. My daughter is doing well in school, has friends, and is happy. So now blogging material coming from her anymore. That's a good thing! I did come across a charming book that I just finished reading. This is NOT a sponsored post. Nobody asked me to blog about it. It's just a book I stumbled upon that is funny and light and frothy and fun! It's a cross between The Big Bang Theory and When Harry Met Sally. It's called The Rosie Project. It's about a college professor with Asperger's who surprisingly doesn't know he has Asperger's. Surprisingly, because everyone around him knows he has it, he's a geneticist, AND in one part of the book, he has to give a talk about Asperger's before a group of kids with Asperger's and their parents. Honestly, this part was the funniest thing I've read in awhile. I don't want to give away too much, but the protagonist decides he wants to find a female life companion and embarks on The Wife Project to find one. I feel the book somewhat realistically portrays someone who has Asperger's and really shows Asperger's in a positive way. If you're looking for a book about quirky people that's funny and endearing, this is the book for you! Sony Studios has optioned the book, and I have no doubt it will make a terrific movie. In fact, the author, Graeme C. Simsion, has stated that he started the book as a screenplay. He is working on the sequel, The Rosie Effect which will be published at the end of this month! Wow! I know what's going on my reading list! What books about Asperger's have you enjoyed?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Time Is Fleeting

We had a first here recently. My daughter went to sleep-away camp for 5 days. This is the longest she's been away from us. One of the days, they took the kids to an amusement park. Needless to say...helicopter parents that we are, we were nervous wrecks! Well, my husband was a nervous wreck. I enjoyed being able to sleep in a little and having more "me" time. My daughter had a blast! She really enjoyed the vacation. She had fun at the amusement park, made lots of new friends at camp, and just had an all-around great time! Her counselors told us what a great kid she is (as if we didn't already know that). When we picked her up, she regaled us with all the fun she had. She also seemed happy to see us. I thought she'd want to stay so badly, that she would hate leaving with us. But as much fun as she had, she was happy to come home. She also seemed different. She looked older, but she sounded older too. She had this "vibe" that she didn't have before. A teenagery-kind of vibe. She sounded somewhat hip, mature, worldly. It was kind of bizarre. While I'm thrilled she had a great time, I'm beginning to feel like the strings are getting cut (or at least very stretched out). She's turning into her own person--not that she ever wasn't, but the reality is hitting me. On the one hand, I'm happy in that she's growing up to be a lovely, caring person. But on the other hand, it's really hitting me that the day will come that she'll go off to college and make her way in the world. While I enjoyed the 5 days of "me-time," the thought of the future and "alone-time" saddens me a bit. One thing I learned with having my daughter away is to treasure the time we have together. It's fleeting.

Monday, June 9, 2014

What's Your Favorite Ice Cream?

It's summertime, so I've decided to do a fun poll to see what the most popular flavor of ice cream is!

Help me out by taking the poll!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Long Line at Target

Target is my favorite store. Period. Where else can you go to pick up some cleaning supplies, a cute dress, and a Starbucks coffee at the same time? It's like my version of what heaven is like. (Okay, I might be overstating it a bit).

Today, my daughter and I went to Target to pick up a few things. As is almost always the case, the few things quickly multiplied to a few tons of things, but I digress.

The checkout lines were horrendous, but I "lucked" into a line that the cashier had just opened, and was ringing up one woman's cart, which didn't look like it had too much it in. Score!

A man quickly joined the woman and added some things to the cart. Okay, that happens. Not a big deal. Then another woman joined them. She didn't add anything to the cart, but she started to question every item that the cashier rung up. Arguing the price on EVERYTHING. "$5.00 for a pair of socks? That's not right! It was 2 for $4.00! Take that off, I'm not going to buy those!" "What??? That necklace cost $6.99? They were supposed to be $4.99. I don't want those. Take them off my total!"

She was haggling over every. Single. Item. I honestly thought I was going to start screaming. However, being with my daughter, I like to try to model better behavior than that, so I tried to keep my cool. It took every bit of patience to keep it together. As I was waiting there, gritting my teeth, all I could think about was that I had never had an incorrect price show up at Target. Never. If anything, I'm pleasantly surprised when something costs even less than I had thought. I find it hard to believe that the prices were wrong for the majority of items in her cart. I almost felt like she was treating the Target cashier as some third world country street vendor; actually hoping he would say, "Ok, I'll sell you this necklace for $4.99. What a great negotiator you are!"

As I was standing there fuming, I noticed that I would have already been rung up if I had picked any of the longer lines. By far.

So, to the people ahead of me in line today: Next time, go to Walmart and stay the hell away from Target. And congrats on winning the Most Annoying People in the World award.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

What's So Important About Cookies?

My daughter recently became involved with Girl Scouts. We had a couple years' break after she was in a Daisy troop that I was a co-troop leader for. We didn't take a break because we weren't interested. It was just hard to find a troop after my daughter changed schools, and I wasn't able to take on another troop since I started working.

When I trained to be a troop leader, I was very impressed with what Girl Scouts was basically about. It was about teaching girls to gain self-confidence and lead--traits that are so vital with succeeding in the business world.

Today, my daughter worked at a booth selling cookies. I'm sure many of you see the girls planted at various supermarkets and other business hawking their cookies. They're learning some basic selling techniques. This is just one of many areas where the girls are learning on how to become leaders. I was impressed as I saw my daughter smile, ask people if they were interested in buying the cookies, then thanking them regardless if they bought any.

I was also particularly entertained by the potential cookie customers. There were those that would flat-out ignore the girls, and quickly go into the store without even acknowledging the girls. I saw one person literally sprint into the store to avoid saying, "No thanks." Seriously?

There were the potential customers that didn't want any cookies, but gave lame excuses such as, "I'll buy on the way out," then go quickly past the girls on the way out without buying. These customers frustrated the girls the most. "Why can't they just be honest and say they don't want any?" my daughter asked. Good question. I tried to point out to the girls that they can probably tell which people weren't interested vs. which people were by noticing body language or whether they asked questions such as how much the cookies cost, etc.

Other potential customers gave us perfectly valid excuses for not buying, such as already buying X amount of boxes. At this stage in the game, that is perfectly understandable.

This leads us to another type of customer--one who cannot resist the cuteness of the girls and can't say "no"--even if they probably should. There were quite a few people who said that they already had a ton of cookies and were starting to say "no," but then quickly caved. I can't say I blame them.

That brings us to the last type of customer: those that somehow haven't come across anyone selling cookies and enthusiastically buying a bunch. We didn't get very many of those customers.

The most entertaining customers were a couple of dads that had grown daughters who were avid girl scouters growing up. These dads love what the organization is about and spent quite a large amount of time at our booth sharing what Girl Scouts provided their daughters while giving the girls lots of pointers on how to effectively sell. It was really amazing to see dads so pumped up about Girl Scouts, and I loved seeing them share their enthusiasm.

As I opened up with in this post, the Girl Scouts want to help girls develop skills to be tomorrow's leaders. As Sheryl Sandberg wrote in her book, Leaning In, women are not in the amount of leadership roles that they should be at this point. Sheryl is teaming with the Girl Scouts to help start a campaign to ban the word "bossy," a label frequently used against women and girls that could ultimately keep our future potential leaders from actually becoming leaders.

So, when you are out and about on your errands and see a group of adorable young girls trying to sell you cookies, I highly encourage you to engage the girls, let them stretch their leadership muscles, and buy a box if you can. If you can't, then respectfully let them know why. Either way, you're helping to mold the confidence of a possible future Fortune 500 CEO.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

You Force Me to Ring Up My Groceries? You Pay Me!

I know, I haven't written in months. I haven't had much time to write or much to write about. BlogHer dumped my ass due to the lack of posts. I'm pathetic. I think my blogging days are done. I just don't have the time anymore.

But that doesn't mean I'll never post again! Oh no. This is a great place to come for free therapy. I get angry. I vomit it up on my blog. Everyone is happy. Well, except for the three people that might happen upon this rant.


So....I'm pretty much working a full-time schedule now. On top of that, I have an insane commute in LA traffic. My employer, being wonderful, lets me work from home a day or two a week. On some of these days, I like to swing by the market to pick up some groceries after dropping my daughter off at school.

This market, a major chain that sounds like something you do when you're very sick (whose parent company rhymes with Broger), has a self-checkout area. When these were first introduced, they were a convenient way to check out your less-than-10 items when you didn't want to wait in the long express line. Everybody wins!

However, when I hit the market at about 8 in the morning, I'm forced to use this because the market doesn't believe in opening up any checkout lines. So, I have to ring myself up and bag my own groceries, even if I have a lot of items. This easily adds 10 to 15 minutes of my time that I really don't have.

Does the vomit-named market give me a discount? Do they pay me for doing a job that an employee should do? No, of course not! They just charge a ton for their groceries and expect me to do their work for them. Last week, they even had a pretty long line of people waiting to check their own groceries out. Did they open up a regular checkout line? No, that would have required them to pull someone from stocking shelves or something (heaven forbid).

Look, Upchuck Market....Does it really hurt you to staff an extra person or two to provide better customer service? I'm sure your employees would appreciate it AND your customers would too. You can afford it (or pass the extra cost on in your prices. I don't think I'd notice the extra dollar in my grocery bill at this point).

But I'm not your employee. I expect you to pay me in the future.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Can Women Really Do It All?

Ever since re-entering the workplace, I've had quite the challenge with balancing work and home life. I work 6 hours a day (not counting an additional 2 hours commute time, round trip) in an industry where 6 hours a day is considered sleeping on the job. But this schedule allows me to be a somewhat SAHM to my daughter. I pick her up from school everyday, make sure she does her homework, feed her dinner, etc. I've managed to have it all!

Only, I don't have it all. What I've succeeded in doing is spreading myself really thin while falling short of everyone's expectations. I don't have much of a career path at work since I can't put in endless hours and travel at a drop of the hat. My daughter has expressed disappointment when I'm late in picking her up (which is often since LA traffic is such a nightmare) or not being able to attend the Halloween parade or other school activities.

Can women be all things to all people? According to a book I read, it is possible. The book is called, Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have it All by Sharing it All, written by Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober. The thesis of the book is straightforward. If both people share in the workload at home, they can both enjoy fulfilling careers. The book's authors concede that it isn't always possible to divvy everything up 50/50 all the time. Sometimes, one partner's career needs will require the other partner to do more of the work at home. But the authors feel that over the long haul, there should be close to a 50/50 split.

This book has led me to start reading Leaning In, by Sheryl Sandberg. I just started reading this book. It mostly addresses the issue of the lack of women leaders in politics AND in corporations. I know when I graduated from college in the 80s, and started working, the lack of women in leadership roles seemed perfectly natural since women were relatively new in the workplace. Now, about 25 years later, women still haven't filled their fair share of the leadership spots. Why is that?

According to Getting to 50/50, a big reason is that women are opting out to raise children. Whether they are leaving jobs such as I did to stay at home, or returning to lesser roles with more flexibility, women are missing out on key opportunities during what would be the prime of their careers.

I've only read one chapter of Leaning In, so I can't really discuss what Sheryl Sandberg has to say, other than it appears she feels that women undermine themselves in a number of ways that hurts them in the workplace.

I'm finding this all interesting. In my magical world, I think it would be great if workplaces allowed for different career tracks, allowing for career growth even for those that ratchet their careers down a notch or two during the child rearing years. I know this probably isn't realistic, but I think there's an immense amount of talent that is leaving the workplace or not working up to the full potential.

What do you think? Can women have it all? What sacrifices have to be made?

Note: I was given no compensation for plugging the two books mentioned, although I do work with one of the books' authors (and no, it's not Sheryl Sandberg).