I’m Not Only The Hair Club President…I’m Also a Client — April 9, 2015

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sysperling

Ahhh, the 1980’s, when you couldn’t turn on the TV without hearing Sy Sperling’s famous tagline….

My facebook feed has been like its own little hair club lately.  It seems that everyone is getting new haircuts for summer…so, why not join in?

The before… (with a baby duck….no, we didn’t buy him….this is from last week’s trip to the feed store!)

AtheneDuck2015

Shane came down for the afternoon for haircut moral support….

ShaneAthene2015

He is always great about getting the haircut footage –

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haircut2

haircut3

haircut4

I am donating my hair again, of course.  I got about 11-12 inches cut off, so I hope that will be really helpful to someone who would love to have some thick curly hair!  :)

This time, I will be donating my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.  This is my first time to donate to this organization, since all my previous donations have been to Locks of Love.

(Locks of Love seems to have gotten a bit of a bad rap lately, but I wonder if some of this isn’t just being taken out of context.  They are being accused to selling their wigs, rather than giving them away to children who need them.  In truth, their website has always stated that they do provide free services to those in financial need, but might charge others due to their financial state.  They have also stated clearly that they do sell any hair donations that are deemed unacceptable (too short to use for a wig, too damaged, etc.)  They say that they put the proceeds from these sales back into their organization.  I haven’t done extensive research for myself, but I would hate to think that people would stop giving to them based on a few angry people.  Hair donation, like blood donation, provides a commodity that just isn’t easily replicated.)

***Off the soapbox…I just really have a passion for this!***

I decided to give to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths programs this go-around for no particular reason, other than that Pantene focuses on wigs for grown women who are suffering from hair loss, and adults are just as deserving as children.

Athenenewhair

So, yay for short hair!  It’s always a welcome change after all the time it takes to grow it out, and I was quite ready. I will miss my long hair, but I will not miss those marathon de-tangling sessions!

When Things Are Just Plain GOOD. — April 4, 2015

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I feel like I’m in this golden moment right now. Do you ever get one of those?  I’m just inexplicably happy.  I think my general persona is a pretty happy one, but right now, it’s a genuine all-over, just plain GOOD feeling.

I’ve been trying to find reasons, and I think it’s just a general convergence of a lot of the things I like, all just coming together at once.

1.  Daylight Savings Time is back.  That’s a life-affirming bonus X 1000.  I don’t know what happens to me in the winter, but the constant darkness is just not for me!  Having light in the evenings is really my favorite, even if I’m just staying indoors.

2. I can finally leave the house without a jacket on most days.  (And live to tell the tale.)

3. I am getting “think time” at work.  This is such an amazing feature of this job.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a job where I’m blatantly encouraged to “zone in” on what I’m doing.  My brain is in love.  We even had a meeting just this week where we talking about the importance of keeping interruptions to a minimum.  Yes!

(I went through a phase several months back where I got insanely jealous of those Edward Jones commercials that were constantly on tv.  They were talking about how they believe in their advisors having “think time” to better serve their clients.  My life at the bank at that point was one solid interruption after another, and that commercial made me so jealous!)

I was at work one day this week and I was working on a claim that was really difficult and complex for me right now.  I was going through all my information trying to come out with the right decision, and I didn’t really even know how deeply I was focused until I was done.

When I finished, I sat back in my chair and I felt like I literally came up for air!  I kind of looked all around me, just to make sure nothing important had happened while I was so absorbed.  It was a great feeling.

4. David and I got to continue our Easter tradition of visiting the baby duck and chicks at the feed store.

AtheneChicken2015

They’re just so cute.  :)  They had a different type of chicken this year that I’d never seen there before.  I’m not sure what they were, but they almost looked like little owls from the way they are colored.  They were neat!

5. I am walking to work on days that weather permits and I don’t have another job to go to afterwards.  It’s been really great, and it only takes me maybe one or two minutes longer to walk to work than to drive when considering the time of getting in and out of the car and also across the parking lot.

I was walking the other morning — it was about 7:30 — and I found my singing on the way to work!

Of course, I was definitely channeling this guy:

Right – we don’t sing when other cars are passing us!

Look, I am not the person who goes down the street singing!

But, for right now….maybe I am!

AtheneChicken20152

When Everything Does Everything — March 28, 2015

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David just bought me a brand new tablet.  :)  It’s a Samsung Galaxy Tab S.  Excited!  We got a great deal on it, so we also bought the matching bluetooth Samsung keyboard. I guess I’m starting to build out my Samsung collection, since this adds to and coordinates with my Galaxy S5 phone really well.  It even has a feature called SideSync, where it syncs with the phone and puts the phone on the tablet screen.  It’s like picture in picture, hehe.  I can toggle between the phone and the tablet, and since the phone itself is emulated onto the tablet, I can text with the keyboard.  That’s pretty neat.

Before this, I had an older ipad2, so the resolution difference (especially in reading ebooks) is pretty remarkable.

But here’s the thing — as much as I like all the cool features of this new tablet, honestly, this is just another thing we have that does all the things.  It’s true!  Besides some small novel details, the tablet does the same thing as the phone, which does the same thing as the ipad, which does the same thing as the laptop, which does the same thing as the desktop.  When do you stop needing another thing that does everything?

There are two people who live in this house, so we have a max of two people who can use the internet at any one time.  (We’re still training the turtles on technology use…..)

Peanutwatchinghisvideo

(…..but they already enjoy watching their own videos.  This is Peanut re-living his outdoor shower.)

So if there are only two of us, why do we need so many Internet enabled devices?  We can’t really use all of them at once.  (Although one day I had my desktop, tablet, and phone all going at the same time and I felt pretty gifted to keep all those plates spinning!)

A friend’s husband wrote an article once, and even though it’s over a year old now, it has kept replaying in my mind all this time:

Smart TVs, smart fridges, smart washing machines? Disaster waiting to happen.

This is exactly the problem with the fact that everything does everything.  You can’t possibly keep up!  Do we just throw out my Galaxy S5 when the S6 comes out in a few days?  What about when my new tablet is no longer the latest and greatest?  Not to mention our Wii, which is generation one of the Wii system.  Stand back everyone, we’re retro!

I was at work at the cinema a few months back, talking with one of the guys who works with me.  We were mid-conversation when he got a text, and pulled his phone out of his pocket to sneak a quick peek at it.

“Oh, that was from my washing machine.”, he says, putting the phone back in his pocket.

I just had to laugh at that.  “You get texts from your washing machine, now, huh?”

So he continued to explain that they had just gotten a new machine with all the bells and whistles, and he set it up to text him when it was finished washing.

This immediately made me envious, because in our life, we still have to walk to the machine to see if it’s done!  Our house’s layout is such that the washer and dryer are in the garage.  To get to the garage, you have to walk outside and across the front of the house to check the laundry, which is not super fun when it’s cold or rainy.  Not long after we moved in, we went and got a cheapie baby monitor and put one side on the washing machine and the other side in the house.  Voila! No unnecessary treks!

But to have the texting feature built in….hmmmm….

So, when do we stop needing more of the things that do everything?

Needed: GPS System for Cubicles… — January 21, 2015

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I started my new job on Monday!  I am now working for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas as a Claims Examiner.  I have 10 weeks of training ahead of me, so I can’t even pretend like I can describe my future daily activities right now!  Today was Day 3, so right now everything is still pretty easy.

There are tons of people who work in our building.  (I’ve never had so many co-workers before!)  The funny thing is how many of them I already know.  We, the newbies, haven’t spent very much time out of our training room, but just between trips to the restroom or the break room have given me a lot of chances to see familiar faces.  Most of the people I know are due to me waiting on them either at the cinema or at CVS.  We had to go around and introduce ourselves, and as soon as I mentioned Marshall Cinema, everyone in the room was like, “I KNEW I knew you from somewhere!”  So, that’s been fun.  I surely hope they never saw me at “those moments” when I’m running around like a crazy person because everything’s going haywire all at once!

Once I get out of training I will be assigned my own cubicle.  I’ve never had a space to be like “my own” before, so I’m super overly excited about this.  :)  They already told us that we would not have to share our cubicles, so that really makes me happy.

SmallCube

None of this!!

Our trainers have been taking us around the building here and there to show us around.  The office is in an old K-Mart building, so you can imagine the amount of space that is covered with cubicles.  I felt like we were on parade when we toured the office because everyone was standing up in their cubicles to see all of us new people pass by.  hehe!

They told us we could decorate our space as well.  I heard one person say she was going to get on Pinterest to find something cute for her cubicle.  I’m not really big on moving my entire life into my workspace, but maybe I’ll go out on a limb for this one time…hey, new job, new chance to start over right?

PRINCESS CUBICLE FTW!!!!

PRINCESS CUBICLE FTW!!!!

um….nah.

I’m still the same old me.  :)

But I do have one new irrational fear, and this is serious.  I truly believe that I am going to lose my cubicle and never find it again.  What if they assign me a cubicle out in the middle of everything…all the rows look the same to me right now…what if I can’t find it?!

I don’t want to be like a little old lady who parks her car at Walmart and then can’t find it when she comes out!  I don’t want to wander the aisles aimlessly with a slight panic in my eyes…..crossing back and forth…have I been down this aisle yet?….what if I came out of the wrong side of the store?

Cubicle GPS.  I need it.  :)

Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now? — January 12, 2015

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I quit my job today.

The bank and I have broken up.

“The time has come,
The time is now,
Just go, go, go!
I don’t care how.”

This breakup was a very long time coming. I have been with the bank for more than 8 years, and there was a long time period within those years where I really thought I would be there forever. There was a lot of contentment in that job for me, and I got to do a lot of things that really appealed to my detailed-oriented, let’s-get-this-right nature.

Then 2014 happened.

“Marvin K. Mooney,
I don’t care how,
Marvin K. Mooney,
Will you please go now?

The entire bank culture shifted. Phrases like, “manage out the under-performers” and “with increased terminations, stay in close contact with your branch recruiter so someone is ready in the pipeline at all times in case of an opening,” became commonplace.

Our environment became unstable. We started to lose a lot of longtime co-workers, friends. They left quickly and en masse. All of the rest of us felt that our remaining time was limited.

“Marvin K. Mooney!
Don’t you know
the time has come,
so GO, GO, GO!”

I had somewhat hoped that things would pass and we could try to carry on, but it was futile. Gone were the easy days, only to be replaced with fear — will this be the day to get sent to the house? I spent many days where I could not even take a deep breath. There was too much panic lurking beneath the surface and I felt like I was only seconds away from giving in.

“You can get yourself a Ga-Zoom.
You can go with a…BOOM!
Marvin, Marvin, Marvin,
Will you leave this room!”

Then the day came. I had found another job and I could finally be finished. Time to hand in my notice. David had been supportive the entire time of my quitting, but we wanted to be sure I wasn’t premature about my timing. My other jobs…my managers could not have been any more helpful to me. Both of the managers at Marshall Cinema and CVS were ready to help me — extra hours, more shifts, whatever they could do. I was lucky.

I delivered my notice to my bank manager. After I finished, I walked back to my computer and the area I had called home for several years. I wasn’t nervous. In fact, the feeling was incredible! Suddenly, my shoulders no longer hurt. I couldn’t believe how free they felt! That was a tension I had carried so long that I wasn’t even noticing it anymore. I took a deep breath – no more panic. Everything changed in that moment – all I had to do from there was carry on a few more days, and then move forward into something new.

So I did.

“I said GO and GO I meant,
The time had come.
SO….Marvin went.”

The Time Had Come…

SO….Athene Went.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

marvin

Text of entire book.

On Following the Shells Around the Yard — December 27, 2014

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The weather has been too chilly to take the turtles outside lately, but considering that Cashew has spent almost the entire day today walking around the house, I figure he’s getting good exercise anyway.  (He loves to come check on me when he doesn’t see me for awhile.  I was making pizza a little bit ago, and he kept coming around the corner and into the kitchen to take a peek.)  Peanut, of course, is spending his time wrapped up in his towel.  He likes to be warm and cuddled.  He’s got his head out and is looking around, but is making no effort to run around with Cashew.  He does watch Cashew go past every so often.

I got some pictures of them recently when we were outdoors.  Cashew is the adventurous one. (Cashew, the Ninja Turtle) He’ll go over, under, and around anything.  And, everything is fair game when it comes to food.  He loves to pick up acorns and move them across the yard, and if a small bug or snail shell comes into his path – down the hatch!  He loves to go outside.  If I am by myself, I usually just take him and leave Peanut inside because Cashew is such a handful to keep up with.

CashewOutsideonWall

He was trying to climb the wall here.  There was also a broken piece of pottery nearby that he carried around from place to place almost the whole time we were outside.

Peanut, my clingy turtle, ….never wants to leave my hand!

PeanutinHand

He had no intention of ever getting down.  (And note how huge he’s gotten – he hangs off either side of my hand now!) Cashew gets squirmy just as soon as he smells the outside, but Peanut starts trying to burrow closer and closer to me so he doesn’t have to get down.  Put Cashew down and he’s off running!  Put Peanut down and you get this:

PeanutbyFeet

Pitiful turtle who won’t stray very far.  :)  He’s so cute though.  In this pic, he was seconds away from running over and pressing his shell against the arch in my shoe.  He leans against my shoe so hard that if I move my foot he stumbles to regain his balance.  Poor little thing.  (And he loves it when my pants are long enough to cover him up completely when he’s against my shoe.)

There is only one thing that Peanut loves about being outdoors — our water spigot.

We have a water spigot that sits a few inches from the house.  We turn it on when the turtles get close to it so they can get a drink if they want one.  Peanut just loves it!

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Peanut takes a full shower when he water is running.  He lets it beat down onto his back and he gets into this little pool and drinks and drinks.  He was putting his head under and really enjoying it…..

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…until he looked up and realized I was standing nearby.  Then he ran out of the water and stood up against my shoe again.  Enough outdoors for today!

Cashew, though, is really never ready to come inside,

I always make him get a drink when he comes in,

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but his longing looks outside tell me where he’d really rather be still…

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Two turtles, but completely different little creatures!

Confirmation of Crazy — December 16, 2014

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Well that was quick.

We got brand new next door neighbors a couple of weeks ago.  They are a young married couple with a few dogs, but I have only met the guy so far.  We have had maybe two very fast hellos and introductions in our front yards.  Our house thrives on its wacky schedule and it seems that they work a lot as well, so our paths just never cross.

Earlier this week I was outside with Cashew.  It was nearly dusk, but the day was so pretty for a December day that I decided to take him out just for a second to let him roam around.  I was following behind him and I also was sporadically scrolling through my Instagram feed.  (I lurk there very well.)

Our neighbor comes home from work.  I wave to him and he says hi and asks about our trash pickup schedule.  I am chatting with him in between staring at the ground as Cashew crunches around in the leaves.  He says bye and walks toward his house.

Suddenly, I hear him walking back over.

Neighbor:  “Um, I hate to intrude, but are you all right?”

Me: “hehe, yes, I am fine!”

Neighbor:  “Well, I just realized that you’re just standing here in your yard.  I wanted to be sure you’re okay.”

Me: “Yes, funny story…”  (and went on to explain the turtle following ritual.)

Neighbor: “Oh!  Okay!  Just checking.  One time I came home and my parents were standing out in their yard.  Turns out they saw a snake inside the house.  I had to go get it out for them.”

:)

Dear New Neighbor: I promise we’re not going to be “those weird people” next door!  Please give us another chance!  :)

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