Random Observations

When You’re the Household PR

Emails to the kids’ teachers. Calls to the various utility¬†vendors who require 90 minutes of hurry-up-and-waiting. Coordinating of cross-family events, right down to explanations of why so-and-so is late or forgot can’t make it.

I’m the PR of my family. Nice to meet you, and let’s swap cell numbers, shall we?

You don’t have to be in the marketing industry to be your household’s public relations. Often this important yet thankless role falls to the cooler head in the herd, and you might be a pro at just about anything with that type of talent. You’re the one who can keep the conversation flowing on the sports sidelines, or smooth things over with the service staff at your favorite venue.

Being the calm-cool-collected one might seem favorable on its face, but the burden can be tiresome. Family and friends grow to rely on you for the rational answers, so you’re the first one they call. Teachers know you for being responsive and reasonable, so their messages come straight to you. The utility bills are often in your name because you had the patience to get the service started in the first place, thus relegating yourself to months of repeated contact with one representative after another who asks for your security answers.

Being the household PR can blow sometimes. But would you entrust this epic duty to anyone else?

How about no? | Rachel, Really

Social Media

The Wifi Welcome Mat

Welcome to the 21st century, when welcoming a guest into your home should consist of indicating if they can keep their shoes on or not, taking their coat, showing them where the bathroom is… and providing them with your wifi password.

Earlier this week I visited my parents’ home with the intent to crash overnight before taking my son snowboarding. I had my laptop in tow, fully intending to crank it up and knock out some work during the evening.

Except I couldn’t. When asked, my parents weren’t immediately sure of the name of their wifi network. That was quickly determined, but then the matter of the password caused a bit more delay.

This is the new normal.

As someone who works almost exclusively over an internet connection via smartphone, tablet, and laptop, I had to take a moment to collect myself and recall that not everyone lives and dies by wifi. And that’s perfectly OK. If I know the names of both wifi networks and their passwords at my home, that doesn’t mean I’m a better hostess. What it probably means is that I need to put the tech down way more often than I do.

The day following this evening of internet elusiveness, I found myself at a ski lodge watching my son’s snowboarding lesson. Amazingly, once again I was met with no wifi (not even paid access). As a result, my plans for knocking out some work with the laptop I had toted along went out the door. Another result was that I was able to focus more time toward watching my son experience a day of learning a new sport which may become a regular activity in his life.

Going without a solid wifi connection can cause problems, sure. But I’m finding lately that it leads me to reassess some priorities and shine a light on areas where I need to perhaps back away from the electronic device and focus on the real life right in front of me.

It’s not like the internet is going away, right?

Random Observations, Still Learning After All These Years

Trying Not to Suck at Something

I’m not a good cook.

No, seriously. There are things in life I can face with no fear: volunteering to go first at karaoke, taking the last remaining spot in Zumba class (which happens to be right at the front), joining my kids in goofy running on a playground, and so on. Once I was on the way in to work and an entire tree of snow dumped on my head – goodbye, hairstyle. I laughed in the bathroom mirror and went to my desk ready to explain my hair throughout the day.

So I don’t balk at many things. I balk at cooking. Why? Because in the kitchen I’m a lot like this:

I wish I was exaggerating, but it’s a sore spot. I was lucky enough to marry a guy who is great in the kitchen, but the reality is that he can’t cook every meal – nor should he – and teetering between cheese quesadillas and Annie’s mac-n-cheese each night might be what the kids love, but it’s not what we need.

Facing a cooking task is tough for me because, while I feel fairly confident in many other things, I go into each trial expecting things to go badly. And they have; I have good friends and immediate family members who have choked down something I’ve made.

But dammit, I’m going to get this done. Would I rather not? You bet. Will I fail again? Duh. Am I going to keep at it? ¬†(sigh) ¬†Yes.

Which is why this morning I prepped up the slow cooker with all the fixings for chicken noodle soup. My outlook was bleak and I fully expected to come home to something either very burned or very awful. Instead, I just had to add a touch more salt and we were all able to dine on a tolerable-bordering-on-tasty helping of soup.

So now I feel a bit more like this.

For now. :)


Random Observations

What Happened to 2014?

Instead of sending out one of those “here’s what happened to us this year” Christmas letters, this makes way more sense to my sober brain at 11:33pm on December 31st.

In 2014:

  • I tried out bangs. They finally evolved into a reasonable state, but when I first had them done I felt like I was wearing a wig.
  • bangs in 2014

    New bangs for some bucks.

    Both kids finally started attending the same school at the same time. This development caused me much rejoicing and a decrease in gas consumption from removing the constant treks to Littleton for daycare.

  • At work I received a promotion and rapidly began to work harder at any job than I have ever worked at before. My laptop bag began to get far more use, and my workplace organization went through at least a few reboots just to help me accommodate all of my new tasks.
  • I graduated college from my 20-year higher education plan with a BS in BS: Bachelor of Science in Communications. I totally have my tassel hanging from my Jeep’s rearview mirror to remind me to avoid going to more school (and more hours of reading, paper writing, and message boarding) at all costs.
  • I turned 40! How do I feel about this? AMAZING. I really and truly feel fulfilled at this stage in my life. I still have things to accomplish, but our family and my sense of accomplishment are both solidly intact and progressing right along.

    Rachel is 40!


  • I started cycling with a purpose. It all began on Bike to Work Day when I decided to get off my lazy ass and commute on two wheels to work and back (with my husband uttering cheers of support mixed with exclamations of “it’s about damn time”). Once I realized I wasn’t dead from the effort, I figured cycle-commuting was something I could conquer. Physically it was a great endeavor, and you wouldn’t believe how gorgeous the sunrise is over the Denver Tech Center.

That’s the somewhat-short and sweet breakdown of 2014. I’m really looking forward to 2015, though I have to admit I’m not sure if and how it can surpass this last year. Many I know have been through one hell of a ringer and want nothing more than to bury 2014 deep down, and my hope for them is for peace and being able to effectively bid adieu to this last year.

For my part, I’m ready for tomorrow to get here in roughly 3¬†minutes.


Why Holiday Movies Save the Holiday

I’ve noticed a trend with each holiday season which I’m not proud of: I start over-wanting.

Things are good, and I certainly have just about everything I need and most things I could ever want. So why do I feel my wheels spinning and turning fruitlessly in a muck of dissatisfaction?

Believe it or not, I think I’m overdue for some screen time with my holiday favorites to get out of my funk. Why? Because those classic, bittersweet, laugh-through-tears holiday flicks often remind me of two things: I’m glad for what I have, and I’m glad for what I don’t have.

Die Hard is one we watch each year (my husband’s self-declared favorite Christmas flick). No, really – as much as I pulled an extreme eyebrow raise when he first suggested his stance, I was ultimately convinced. It’s Christmas-time at Nakatomi Plaza when shit goes down for John McClaine, and we relish each and every line. We also consider that life could be far worse: my husband and I are happily married, which means he doesn’t have to worry about traveling across the country into a fish-out-of-water setting where he winds up battling terrorists with C4 and a machine gun (“ho, ho, ho”) while quipping his way through filthy air ducts. We’re able to laugh through the action and get nostalgic over the shoulder pads and hairstyles while appreciating how far we’ve come.

Love Actually is my favorite must-see of the season and I shall never be swayed from that trench. I love the diversity of the storylines and characters, watching them each experience highs and lows in their lives based on their own situations and dysfunction. Jamie wastes his love on a cheating hosebeast, but ultimately finds it again with Aurelia: you should see the looks my husband and I give each other as they repeat each other’s thoughts in different languages while falling in love. Watching Karen struggle with Harry’s flirtations and possible affair with his secretary brings both of us to quiet reflection (ok, I go straight to the tears while my husband rubs my shoulder) about how precarious a marriage and family can be through a series of fairly simple choices. Daniel and Sam? GAH. That’s my favorite story of all – though I think my husband digs Billy Mack and his producer Joe the best – because of the loss and gain both experience so vividly.

See? Even while I’m reliving these scenes of fiction in my mind, as fictional as they are, I’m carried out of my own ridiculous dissatisfaction and reminded of what there is to be thankful for… even if it IS just a movie we watch each December. We all have our thing(s) that help us reassess and recenter; this month, mine just happens to be a couple of movies. Yippee-kye-yay, because love actually is all around.

(image) crossroads between football and being a woman
Rants and Raves

Can I Be a Female NFL Fan?

I’m at a crossroads with the NFL. ::waves to everyone else who is here or has been here::

I’m a woman.

I get steamed when I dwell on the fact that my husband could be doing my job for roughly¬†30 cents more per hour than I make because of his anatomy. I want politicians to drop their¬†battle to legislate my choices about my body when, if they had to experience a menstrual cycle, they’d quickly mobilize to rectify anything necessary for their appeasement. I am frightened daily for my daughter who has a 1-in-5 chance of being sexually assaulted in her lifetime.

So yeah, I’m incensed that when it comes to abusing a woman, figures of prominence – specifically ones who bring mighty income into certain pockets – get a proverbial slap on the wrist. This last week the NFL “endured”¬†(go ahead and take a moment to fume over that word choice) one of the worst weeks in its history with report after report of yet another player charged with violence.

For example, thanks to the NFL’s policy of punishment for certain offenses, Ray Rice initially received an irrelevant two-game suspension for knocking his fiance out in an elevator. It wasn’t until the video was released by TMZ that backpedaling began to reassure fans and the general public that the NFL began to back itself – and its commissioner Roger Goodell – into a corner of revamping punishments and appeasing the masses.

I’m a football fan.

This is where my roads cross. I really dig watching pro-football. I’ve watched it over the years with friends, cheering on our team, reacting to calls and plays – all the things that make watching football socially fun. Do I get into the finer details of plays and strategy? Nope. I leave that to my husband.

Which is another point with which I struggle. Watching football is something my husband and I do together. He chuckles at my quips about the awful NFL commentators; I react in awe to his uncanny ability to assess flagged calls aloud before the commentators can. We cheer on our team together and converse about it throughout the week as we hear updates and speculate on results.

An additional disclaimer to this is that I in no way am or have ever been abused by my husband or any other figure in my life. I enjoy an existence which is thankfully free from that level of degradation and harm. I know that is not a truth for millions of women across the globe. Therein lies my crossroads.

I’m a voice.

I need to decide what to do with this conflict. Many options are before me:

  • Do I stop watching football altogether because thus far it has prioritized money over humanity?
  • Do I abstain from involvement with fantasy football leagues to indicate my displeasure?
  • Do I continue to watch football games to selectively cheer on players or teams who¬†haven’t compromised my beliefs as a woman in this society?
  • Do I up the stakes of my digital voice to keep the conversation about player violence alive after the hoopla assuredly dies down?
  • Do I keep reaffirming for my kids that¬†abusing another human being can be glossed over based on certain circumstances/

These are just a few things to consider; there are certainly more. I don’t write this to get sympathy, since I deserve none. This is hardly as difficult of a crossroads as women encounter when they must face their abuser daily – even hourly – in full-on survival mode. Which is probably the most important consideration I can assess as I decide what to do.