Thursday, May 30, 2013

2 Tough Questions {in an interview}

One week from today I'll be in Hartford networking and {hopefully} be discussing job openings. 

At least that is what I thought was going to happen on the trip.

Then my phone rang yesterday.


About 2 months ago I found a position that I felt I would do great in and most of all, really enjoy doing.

I applied.

I did a bit of internet stalking investigating and found the office manager's name, etc.

I called the next day.  Got the voicemail. Left a message.


I guess I either gave up or after applying for so many jobs it was lost in my memory.


Yesterday morning as I was setting up for Field Day I see I had a missed call from an (860) number. 

It was such a hectic day I had to wait all day to call. 

I called the number and the woman answered with the name of the business and I about fell down.

I couldn't believe they were calling me!

I left a voice mail with the hiring staff member and hoped they wouldn't take too long to call back.

A few hours later the phone rang and it was him.

We spoke for quite awhile and from what I could tell the conversation went well.

I'm assuming it did.

Because he wants to have a face to face interview while I'm in Hartford. 

Let's just say when I pulled into the park to drop the kids off for ball practice and I saw a friend, I didn't wait for her to get close to me to tell her.  I yelled it out the window. 

I'm that excited.

Here is where you come in.

I need help with the dreaded questions they will be sure to give you first thing in the interview:

"Tell me a little about yourself"
"What are some of your weaknesses"

The first one sounds really easy.  But it is the hardest.  How do you tell someone about yourself that has the power to hire you or reject you?

Especially when you are supposed to come across as having an armload of self-confidence and you don't even have a handful of self-esteem?

I know we all criticize ourselves in the harshest way.  At least I do.

So I need help in how to describe myself.  I know I'm high-strung, intense, has a great sarcastic dry sense of humor, dedicated, loyal, hard working, and possibly~slightly~a little bit CDO ( OCD only alphabetized/oddly organized) {or is that just the Swiss/German mix that I am???}. 

Oh. Yeah. And I can bake cookies.

But none of that description doesn't sound professional.  Or even halfway attractive.


I did a bit of Google-ing  "how to answer that question" and the most profound answer I read was "It's not so much what you say its how memorable you make it." 

I'm going to assume that means interesting  memorable and not horrifically embarrassing memorable.

One suggestion was "When I Googled myself this morning I found..."

Another was "My friends say I'm..."

I like that one. 

It doesn't sound prideful and arrogant when you are describing yourself.  It shows you have friends (capable of having relationships) and it represents how you come across to others.

If you could leave a message of how you would describe me to a hiring manager if you were in the interview with me. (If you don't want your comment published, just say so and I won't publish it).

And feel free to leave a list of my weaknesses.

I have a long list already, but there might be something I'm not aware of :-) 

Or maybe be extra kind and tell me a weakness that I can twist into a strength.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

One Headlight {and apparently zero brake lights}

If you live in Rittman I'm sure you've noticed Jack (the Jetta) has been looking rather winky.  She had one headlight out for quite some time. 

She also had a tail light/brake light out as well. 

I can't really complain.  This is the first 'repairs' I've had to do on her.

I have changed headlights before and wasn't too concerned.

Until I looked under the hood to see where the bulb should go.  Then I recalled that as amazing as VW are, they are equally as frustrating to fix. 

So I shut the lid hoping the bulb would all of a sudden start working again.

It didn't.

Because I am going to be driving to Hartford in a few weeks I thought it might be a good time to get them fixed.

I heard that some auto parts stores will install things if you buy them there. 

So after working this morning I ran to one of them and bought the bulbs. (after I found out I had 1 of 3 brake lights working.)  Of course it was a woman who helped me so I had to feel ridiculous and ask her for her help. 

She said she could but needed a few minutes to help the others in line behind me. 

I sat in my car and ate lunch and decided to flip through the car manual.

This is what I found on the page of 'installing new lights':
Because installation of new bulbs is becoming increasingly more difficult and special tools and bulbs are required, it is suggested that you go to a Volkswagen Dealership and purchase the bulb there for installation.

I groaned.  I don't have the time or the money to go to a dealership.

A minute later she came out.  I told her what I read and we then looked under the hood (couldn't figure it out) and in the trunk (couldn't see any access there either).

Frustrated I left to finish my other errands.

After I picked the kids up from school, something made me decide to just figure it out myself.

Reagan and I unscrewed a few things, pulled a few wires, unclipped some clips, and PULLED OUT THE DEAD BULB!  I switched the bulbs and put it back together.  I had grease all over my hands, but all my fingernails were intact and none were broken. (Let's not forget the important things).

I knew the brake lights might be a little bit harder considering there was no access to the bulb.  I decided to use YouTube at that point.

I found an awesome video with a very helpful gentleman with a fabulous eastern accent.

I watched the first 30 seconds of it and then yelled for Reagan and headed back out.

Apparently there is a hidden panel in Jack's trunk that opens to the bulbs.

It took about 20 minutes and quite a few times of Reagan hitting the brakes, but we got 'er figured out!

It felt so awesome to first of all have lights, second of all to know that I did it myself, but most of all because I defied the owners manual and didn't take it to the dealership. Haha.

It just felt good knowing that I did something I was afraid to try.  Sounds weird, but car stuff scares me.  I kept putting it off because it seemed to big for me and then I aced it (with Reagan's help). 

Makes me wonder what else I can accomplish if I would just try.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Back at it

I finished classes in February with only 9 credits left to get my Bachelors. 

I am planning on testing out of them to save time and money.

I wasted the time, but still can save the money spent on taking actual classes.

I kept putting it off, maybe just burnt out from 4 years of straight classes and not taking any breaks (longer than a few days). 

Since I'm headed to Hartford to network for some potential jobs, I thought it would be best if I HAD my Bachelors and not ALMOST having my degree.

So I'm back at it.

Sitting with my cup of coffee and studying.

Can I admit it that I am actually enjoying it?  It feels good to stretch my brain again.

I'm hoping to take one test (if not both) on Monday.

Feel free to nag  check in on me to make sure I actually did it!

Monday, May 20, 2013

How we see ourselves

Things appear to be looking up on the job hunt. 



I hope.

In a little over 2 weeks a friend and I are headed to Hartford.

I have 2 meetings regarding jobs lined up with a possible third. 

One is with a recruiter.  Just a meeting so he can get to know me better and find other options of placements.  Not one specific job is in mind, but its at least a movement in the right direction.  I'm hoping that when we meet face to face, it will make me become a real person and not just a document attached to an email.

The second one (actually, it will happen first) is with a VP at a large insurance company.  We were introduced through a mutual contact.  Since the introduction, she has become a great mentor and help.  She has helped me see that my accomplishments are accomplishments and not something to be brushed off as nothing.

I am meeting with her on the first day and she plans to introduce me to a teammate of hers who has an actual position open. 

So it isn't actual interviews I have, but could definitely lead to something.

As long as I don't blow it.

Thoughts have been rolling around in my head.  I have to find the confidence in myself or everyone will see right through me.  (Although I usually do a pretty good job of hiding my anxiety...hope I can pull it off that week :-)

One thing that scares me is the guaranteed question that all interviewers ask: "What is your weakness?" 

I have a long, long list of weaknesses. Talk to me for 5 minutes and you'll be sure to see at least a few.   But how do I pick one and then turn it into a strength when so often I feel like I let my strengths be my weaknesses? 

One night I was snuggling Reagan while he was supposed to be going to sleep, but was crying.  He felt that he was outdone by his older brother.  I kept reminding him that Riley was three years older and of course he could run faster and jump didn't mean Reagan was not as good.  Riley and I tried to assure him that Reagan was a better athlete than Riley was at his age.  He just needed to keep growing. 

Reagan wouldn't hear any of it.  Finally, I whispered "I wish you could see yourself like I see you" and he snuggled into me and went to sleep.

Later as I was stressing thinking about how my meetings would go and how I could pull of a confident/professional look, I wondered if God ever whispers "I wish you could see yourself like I see you" and how most likely I don't hear that whisper because I am letting the noise of self-doubt and worry scream in my ears.

I am asking for prayers over the next few weeks.  I so badly need to find stable employment and this long job hunt is getting difficult.  I will do my best to update the blog daily and let you know how things went as they progress. 

I'm looking forward to our trip.  I'm planning on 2 days of interviews/meetings and then 2 days of catching up with friends, meeting new ones, and just relaxing.   I'm excited to introduce my friend to my CT friends  family and favorite places.

I'm homesick and ready for a visit.  Few understand how I can be homesick for a place that's never actually been my home, but I am.  And I'm ready to be there for good.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

It turned out amazing

Last night I was dreading today.

I'm sure most of you have caught on to that pretty quickly.

There is just so much emotion in a day like Mother's Day.  There are the women who have no children, there are the women who have given children up because they love them so deeply, there are the women who have lost children, there are women who are fighting to keep their children, there are women who are trying desperately to raise their children right and seem to be fighting a losing battle.

There are the women who have lost their mothers, the little girls who have buried their mothers while they are still young, there are women who have been hurt and abused by their mothers, there are girls who have been abandoned by their mothers.

And along comes Mother's Day

Reminding all the hurting women of the pain.

I was (obviously) really negative this year. 

I've been battling horrible depression (There. I'll admit it.) from lack of results on the job search. 

It makes me question my identity as a women and in turn a mother.

But then my children fixed it all.

I was woke up this morning to smiling faces. 

One was holding a balloon that read 'Happy Mother's Day'

The other was holding a tray (lid to a plastic container...I had to hold back giggles)

With my breakfast on it.

Glass of water.
Cup of coffee.
Snack Pack of applesauce.

Then I noticed by my bed a pile of gifts.

Some wrapped in birthday paper.

Some in gift bags, ranging in themes of Christmas to Halloween.

The had used what they could find.

And that made it even more perfect.

They had little gifts.

Some handmade.

A little fake red tulip.

Riley gave me a pack of purple petunias. 

And a card.

That was hilarious.

And so honest.

The two littles gave me a pack of gum.  ( I LOVE gum)

And Riley's surprise he was so adamant that I needed was chapstick.  (I LOVE chapstick).

What I loved the most wasn't the gifts or that they got me anything at all; but the thought behind them.

Riley picked out purple flowers because my favorite color is purple.

Rhianna and Reagan picked out the red tulip because my kitchen curtains have red in them.

They remembered to get spearmint gum because that is my favorite.

He knew to get chapstick because I have a serious problem/habit love for chapstick.

Riley was so afraid that I would think it was dumb.  I told him that it isn't the gift that makes me happy, its the thought behind it.

I'd rather get a tube of chapstick than an expensive piece of jewelry. 

I'd rather get a small pack of purple petunias than a dozen roses. 

After a long talk, and me making him promise that even when he grows up and becomes a bazillion-aire, he always has to get me a tube of chapstick for Mother's Day.  Even when I'm 97 and barely breathing.  Just to remind him of what really matters.  He laughed and agreed. 

I can't wait until I'm 97 and he is 75 and he is still buying me chapstick.

I have amazing kids.

Its not about the gifts.  Its about the thoughts.  And that's our love language.  We show each other through thoughtful gifts.  Whether its the note we write, the picture we draw, or the flower we pick in the yard; its how we express ourselves.  To us the value of the gift isn't the monetary value, but the thought put into it. 

This afternoon at church, a sweet sister in faith comes up to me, pats me on the back tells me she loves me and slips me a Kohl's gift card. "So my kids can get me a Father's Day gift."  I wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry.  It really touched my heart to know how much she cares about us.

On the way home, Riley slipped another gift card out of his pocket.  He said someone gave it to him so he could take his mom out on a date.  It was supposed to be a secret, but I figured out who it was from.  This friend of mine never fails to amaze me.  She's stood by me through everything I've went through in my life.  I love her deeply. 

I had a bigger surprise later that evening.  My mom surprised us girls with cozy jammies that are kinda fancy.  Not something I would spend on myself, but something I would really enjoy.  My sister Tricie got each of us girls an summery infinity scarf.  Mine was purple.  Again, I love the scarf.  But it means even more to me because she picked that one special because she knew it was my favorite color. 

I realized this evening I have so much to be thankful for.  There are so many people out there hurting.  Who have lost children, who want children, who have lost their mother, who maybe even needs to get away from their mother.  I don't have any of those sad things. In reality, I have it made.

I was dreading today.  But it turned out amazing.

Why I don't like Mother's Day

This past week, a realization hit me like a ton of bricks.

I don't like Mother's Day.

It makes me irritable.

All the flowery cards.  Each one having a poem about how wonderful their mother is and how sweet and gentle she is and how they couldn't live without her.

It irritates me. 

And quite frankly, makes me feel guilty.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a far cry from sweet and gentle.  Oh, I snuggle my kids and hug and kiss them, but I am usually a pretty tough mom. 

And the flowery cards and poems and girlie stuff on Mother's Day makes me feel guilty that I'm not that calm.sweet.gentle.loving.patient mom. 

That's what I thought irritated me about Mother's Day. 

But tonight it smacked me in the face. 

Those mushy cards don't bother me as much as I thought they did.

Its my kids.  My

How upset they get that they can't get me anything.

I tell them to just write me a note.

To just be good.

But they want to get me something and feel horrible that they can't.

I honestly prefer the notes.  They are so precious and make me laugh. 

Laugh right out loud. 

But tonight something happened that made me realize why I don't like Mother's Day.

The kids had a few dollars and wanted to get me something. 

So I quick took them to Rite Aid. 

I told them to just each get me a pack of gum.   I have a serious love/addiction to gum so I would honestly rather get gum and a love note than anything else.

I let them go in alone so I couldn't see exactly what they were getting.

I waited a few minutes and then went in after them.

I told them to hurry up so we could get home and out of the glares of the cashiers.

The two littles paid for their packs of gum and headed out with me.

Riley had a card hidden behind his back (so I couldn't see) while he waited in line.

A few minutes later he came out.


Not loud crying.  But the silent kind, with tears slowly streaming and that look of deep, deep pain on his face.

He said he had something else for me, but he didn't have enough money.

He hadn't been able to find the price for the card, and that since it was just paper he figured it was only a dollar. 

So he had picked something else out for me.

But the card rang up almost $4 and then with the other thing he was surprising me with he didn't have enough money.

He said he was so scared, but told the cashier.

She got really upset with him and was sighing and glaring at him while she took the extra gift off the total.

He paid for the card and walked out.

That's when he came out to the car in tears.

He said choking, "All I wanted was to get you a little something as a surprise. But I couldn't"

He told me what happened. 

And I hated Mother's Day a little bit more.

I slipped him my Paypal card and told him to go back in and get it.  That he could work it off when he got home because it wouldn't be fair that the other kids used their money.  (This part about killed me, but I needed to be fair.)

THAT is why I cannot stand Mother's Day.

Because my kids feel obligated to get me something.  They don't want me to feel left out from all the other moms and unloved. 

But in the process, there are mean spirited people who crush them even more.  It was pretty obvious Riley was just a little boy trying to get his mom something for Mother's Day.  His card was a Mother's Day card.

It irritates me that society has built Mother's Day up into a day of showing our mom's we love them by the size of the gift and the amount we spent.   Not by the size of the hug we give them.

I dread the day.

I'll hear "Happy Mother's Day" and inside the guilt of how I am struggling will eat at me. 

I'm tired. 

I'm weary of doing this parenting thing alone. 

We are battling pre-puberty right now and working through some anger issues. 

It is mentally and physically exhausting and I am afraid I'm failing. 

We have so many talks.  We work on respect.  Every night is a battle of some kind. 

I feel like I am fighting a losing battle.   I'm doing my best, but I'm so afraid my best isn't good enough. 

I am seeing huge improvements from a few months ago, but I'm getting worn out.  And I still have years ahead of me.

And tomorrow it will feel like the world is mocking me.

No, I'm not the mushy, gushy, calm, sweet, and mild mother that is so often portrayed on Mother's Day.

Instead I'm tough, funny, mildly sarcastic, and can wrestle a boy to the ground if he needs it.

I'll probably offend someone with this post.  And that is not my intent.

It just helps to get things out through writing. 

And if you see me tomorrow, don't wish me Happy Mother's Day.   

Just pat me on the back and tell me you love me.

And wait until Father's Day. 

Feel free to tell me Happy Father's Day :-)

That's more my speed.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

frome: Reagan to: mom I love you

Reagan insisted on giving me the Mother's Day card he made in school.

He is the boy that keeps me on my toes and most often rolling with laughter.

Once again, he came through.

This stuff is too can't make this stuff up!

It starts out so sweet.  Then very rapidly goes downhill into hilarious.

(Bold lettering is the pre-printed sentence starter and italics is Reagan's response)

All About My Mom:

My mom is happy when...I give her flawers.

My mom's favorite color is...purple

My mom really likes to...sleep.

My mom always forgets to...get up.

What I really like about my mom is...her sleeping. (So I can get candy).

My favorite thing to do with my mom is...sleep with her.

I love it when my mom...sleeps in.

How My Mother Looks:

My mother's hair is: brown

She is as tall as: 2 of me.

She weighs about: 200 pounds. (actually he erased one of the 0's so that it then read 20 pounds:)

My mom's eyes are: ocwo (aqua...I wish...they're actually a very boring hazel.)

My mom looks best when she wears: her dresses.

Here is a picture of the things in my mom's purse:

pills (advil, I promise:)
tooth pick ( I do????)


I'm only going to add one comment to my defense about all the sleeping commentaries.  I was a for the majority of his life.  Yea. I like to sleep.  Because when you are a sleep is a rare treat :-)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Who is this boy?

If this was a blog written by someone who could take good pictures this post would be filled with pictures of baseball caps, dirty cleats, freckled faces, and a boy with his hat on backwards.

But instead its written by someone who doesn't take good pictures and does even worse at getting the pictures onto her computer.  

It happened this week.  There were three boys standing in my kitchen. All eating fresh cookies and talking about their dreams. 

One said he was working very hard to someday get a scholarship to college from football or baseball. 

One quietly stood in the corner and smiled. 

The third, my son, was goofing off as usual.  He was standing between these boys, creating a symbol of their ages.  The other two boys are brothers and Riley's age falls right in between them. 

As he stood there with his red cap on backwards, sandy blond hair sticking out and framing his freckled face; an instant flashed by where I didn't recognize him. It was almost like a stranger was standing in my kitchen eating my cookies.  

It was just a moment.

A half-second.

But in that span of time, my mind raced. 

Who was this boy standing in front of me? 

How did my baby boy go from a tiny black haired baby to this boy in front of me? 

This boy who is becoming his own person.

Spreading his wings.

Dreaming his own dreams.

Making his way in life.

This boy who has shouldered more pain than some men.

The older brother said something funny and my boy tipped his head back and laughed. 

It brought me back to reality.

This is my boy. 

He's my son.

I am so proud of who he is becoming.

Fast forward to today.

He asked if he could ride his bike up to see some friends.

I let him go as a reward for good behavior.

I love how he called me about 20 minutes after he left to tell me that his friends weren't home so he went to the library instead. 

I love how he loves books.

Lately we've been dealing with learning life lessons.

I love how when he makes a mistake he hears me out and learns from it.

I love how he is so determined to be a better pitcher for his baseball team.

I love how he works hard to improve himself when he messes up.

I love how his nose is dotted with the freckles the sunshine has brought out.

I love his laugh.

Especially when he tips his head back and laughs.

I don't know what the future holds for this boy.

I hope and pray it will be great things. 

The past 10 years of being his mom has simply flown by.

I'm excited for the next 10.