Monday, July 30, 2012

It Happens Every Four Years

It happens every four years – the Olympic Summer Games. In our household the Summer Games hold special interest to us as we watch sports that our children have competed in and spent many hours sitting beside a pool or a track rooting for them. As well, there are several cycling events and, as you’ve read here before, professional cycling is a shared enjoyment of our whole family.
So Friday night we sat together as a family (without one our team) and watched the opening ceremonies. We have all been to London at least twice, a couple of us, three times. So we love England and the English people. Sitting here on Sunday after the ceremony I’ve read many comments that people were not impressed with the opening ceremonies. All I have to say is I loved the forging of the gold ring in the stadium and how the other Olympic rings came into the stadium to form together. And once the rings formed, the sparks flying from them were pretty cool. In addition, once the games were announced open and the fireworks went off spiraling around the top of the stadium and then larger fireworks filled the air was worth a couple of “wows”. The copper petals representing each country joining together to create the Olympic cauldron was extremely original.
From other parts of the ceremony I liked the Queen and Daniel Craig’s James Bond skit with them skydiving near the stadium. In an unusual scene the Brits did a skit dedicated to the National Health Service – not sure something like that would ever happen in the U.S.
The two memorable things about this segment were the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (we saw the play while in London and I would tell you if you ever get the chance to catch this musical – do it!) and the light up blankets on the children’s beds. I definitely think I need one of these to be able to read at night. Or to provide additional light to watch television for the next two weeks catching all the Olympic action.


Go Team USA!

Friday, July 27, 2012

First Place Loser

Several weeks ago at my place of employment a job that I had been dreaming about for years was created and a posting from HR was listed. There were actually three positions listed. I read the job requirements carefully and as every requirement was listed I was able to put a check mark by it. I told my boss that I wanted to apply for the position and she told me that I was more than qualified.
Our company does a behavioral interview process utilizing the S.T.A.R. method. The interview consisted of five or six questions where you have to provide a Situation/Task, an Action, and a Result. I put together 11 different scenarios and prepared myself for the interview. It was exactly 50 minutes and I felt like I nailed the interview.
The next day my boss told me that she had a call from one of the interviewers who commented that I had a great interview. And then the waiting started. I was very optimistic because of my qualifications and the fact that feedback on my interview was good.
Today my boss pulled me aside to tell me that I did not get the job. Again, there were three positions posted. The following is what my boss told me her boss said – I have bad news, you didn’t get the job. But they said that you had a great interview and that you were the best communicator. In fact, she told me, you were their #4 choice.
Okay – there were three openings and I was the #4 choice. So that makes me the #1 loser. Woo Hoo, I’m so proud that I have that title. This isn’t the first time I’ve interviewed for a promotion within my company and was told that I was the best interview or even their 1st choice, but because someone else was being displaced they had to give them the job. Boy, it’s nice to know that the best workers are being held back just because someone who has lost their job can’t be let go because of some HR issue and they get the prize jobs.
Tell me about some time when you were the 1st Loser but were given the pep talk by the person giving you the bad news that you missed it by this much. Comment below or email me at and join my pity party. I’ll be leaving that party tomorrow, but for today I think I’ll enjoy it as I think of things like sliding slices of sushi under the interviewers’ office door the next time they go out of town for a week.

Monday, July 23, 2012

2012 Tour de France

tdf12-st20-jersey-holders_2799731Once again, the Tour de France has held my attention for the month of July.  I must admit that I didn’t give it the full attention of previous years, but I did keep up with the results and watched the majority of the racing.
This year’s racing was dominated by Team Sky, who wrapped up 1st and 2nd place in the General Classification early in the final week.  The Points Classification was finished even earlier with no one challenging Peter Sagan of Team Liquigas as Mark Cavendish, “the fastest man on two wheels”, decided to save himself for the Olympic Games MarkCavendish_2799997and not defend his 2011 title. Although he did not defend, he did manage to win three stages including the final stage on the Champs-Elysees, which he has won four times now, in fact every time he has ridden that stage.
The King of the Mountains competition was won by a Frenchman, Thomas Voeckler. His nickname is Hollywood because if he sees a camera while riding he will make all sorts of facial expressions.  TdF16VoecklerClimb_2797558The Young Rider competition was won by an American riding for BMC Racing, Tejay van Garderen.  Look for him in future races to be a favorite. Also a favorite for the future has to be the 2nd place finisher of the GC riding for Team Sky, Chris Froome. If he wasn’t supporting Bradley Wiggins, he probably would have easily beat him.
611510-tour-de-france-crashAll in all, this year’s race was full of crashes and more crashes. Very few of the cyclists were left unscathed, and yet the continued to race to Paris. This has to be one the most physical sports in the world and those who compete should be commended.
cyclists-sunflowers_746555nPart of the allure of watching the Tour is getting to see the beauty of France. If you watch the live broadcast, Phil Leggett and Paul Sherwin are like travel guides and give you all the details of the towns rode through and the buildings surrounding them. One of our favorite shots is when the cyclists pass through the fields of sunflowers. Just gorgeous!
I look forward to the Olympic Games to see who will come out on top. Some good racing should be seen as well as the sights of London. Go Cavendish!!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

All I have to say is…Why?

Reading the New York Daily News I saw the following article about David Hasselhoff cardboard cutouts being stolen.  The cutouts are being used for an advertising campaign for iced coffee at a convenience store chain.  Thieves are stealing the paper playboy and apparently some people are even asking to buy the cut-outs.  My only thought on this is - why?  I don’t believe he’s talented and I certainly wouldn’t want him in my house.  And he is definitely aging, no Baywatch hottie there.  But wait, I could just stand him up behind a closed window shade and point a light on him to frame a silhouette to scare off burglars. <br /> David Hasselhoff iced coffee ads are being stolen from Cumberland Farm stores all across New England.<br />
Read the complete article here:
But just a note to one of my favorite radio teams out there at the BBC – I do find enjoyment from The Hoff when he appears on BBC Radio with Scott Mills.  When he leaves the show Scott and his team get an awful lot of use out the things Hasselhoff says and does off the air.  Scott Mills Daily is available for download for free on Itunes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Celebrate National Daiquiri Day

Strawberry Orange DaiquiriToday is National Daiquiri Day.  Now that’s a day I can celebrate.  Of course, I’ll be at work until 5:00 p.m., but once I’m home, pour me a drink. 
With the temperatures in triple digits again here in Missouri a nice frozen daiquiri should hit the spot.  Attached to this link are some recipes from the folks at Food Network.  Let me know which one is your favorite.
Mango-Citrus Daiquiri
Mango Citrus

Blueberry Daiquiri
Hemingway Daiquiri
(Made with Lime and Grapefruit juices)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Vacation Planning

With a vacation planned in the next few months, I don’t know what is more fun – the planning and anticipation or the actual vacation.  Well, that’s a lie, the vacation itself is fantastic because you are not sitting behind a desk working.  But the planning and excitement of what you will do isn’t too bad either.  It definitely helps get a person through these long days of summer.
My husband and I are planning a trip to Charleston, South Carolina.  I’ve been there once before with my sister; it was probably at least a dozen years ago.  But this time, I’ll be with my husband who has never been and it will be time to enjoy things suitable for both sexes, not just a girl’s weekend of food and shopping.
french_quarter_innSo, any of you reading this who have been to Charleston, let me know of any of your favorites places to visit.  We will be staying in the downtown area and plan to spend most of our time in that area.  So let me know your favorite places to eat, play, and shop.  Either comment below or feel free to email us at
What’s your favorite thing about planning for vacation?  Share those ideas with me and I might do a later post to share your thoughts with others. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Little Free Library

Reading the Los Angeles Times the other day I happened upon a story about a man’s tribute to his book loving school teacher mother. It all began in Wisconsin where Todd Bol built a miniature one room schoolhouse. He loaded the schoolhouse with books to lend to friends and neighbors. The success of this first little schoolhouse “library” prompted Bol to launch a community of little libraries across the nation and now reaching across the world. Read the complete story here -,0,6029346.story
Reading the story I was intrigued by the idea and visited the website Bol has set up -
This is the original Little Free Library:

The libraries shown on the website are adorable and there is a search guide to find one near you. But alas, there are only two in Missouri and neither one near where we live. The idea interests me but I’m not sure that my restrictive subdivision would allow me to post one in our front yard. But perhaps you could. Take a look at the website and perhaps you have one near where you live.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Show Me the Money!

As you start your work week today at the jobs you all love, I have some interesting information for you. I guarantee this will make you love your job even more.
A few weeks ago my husband and I were having a discussion about business, the economy and the whole executive pay issue. We talked about how the top dogs at companies now make ridiculous amounts of money. This led me to do some research on companies that are publicly traded as all that information is public record.
I read about one CEO (and many others like him) that made a base salary last year of over $1.3 million dollars, not to mention stock and option awards of over $10 million, a cash bonus of $5 million, and other perks of three-quarters of a million dollars.
If you work for an international company, I’m sure your man (or possibly woman, but not likely) in charge probably made something similar last year as well. But here is where I have a problem, on just the base salary alone, I make 3.5% of what a company big man makes. So it would appear to me that I need to work 3.5% of the time he works. So let’s say that he works 24/7. That’s 8736 hours a year. So now when I see 3.5% of that – heck, I only need to work 306 hours a year – that, my friend is only 7.6 forty hour weeks a year. And that means that I should get 44.4 weeks of vacation. Whoop, Whoop!
But alas, my job is not as important to my company as a CEO’s job. The CEO is much more valuable to the company than I am. I can be easily replaced. But since companies look at just financials and numbers, it appears that he does the same work “on paper”, based on the pay, as me and 27.84 of my co-workers. That’s enough workers to fill up two passenger vans or a short bus. Wow, no wonder that CEO needs the free private jet and free luxury housing, even though he could afford to pay that cost over several times.
I am sure that it’s the same at your company. It was the same at mine and it was the same at my husband’s company when we checked the numbers. And based on the following New York Times article this will not be stopping anytime soon -
This crazy pay is a contributing factor to problems with the overall economy and the rise in unemployment. Companies will cut 30 jobs that pay $30,000 to $70,000 to save a million dollars and overload the people who are able to keep their jobs. But imagine those jobs could be saved if they just reduced the stock bonus to the CEO by 10%. Would that be such a hardship for a man who makes millions? I mean, how in the world can a man spend that much money if he’s working 24/7?
So I’m complaining about the average CEO, but I guess it could be worse. I could work at Apple where:
“It's good to be the king, or CEO, as the case may be. At least when it comes to pay. With a staggering total compensation package of $378 million for 2011, Apple's Tim Cook takes the cake for the highest Fortune 50 CEO-to-typical-worker pay ratio. Indeed, it takes 6,258 typ230x300[1]ical Apple worker salaries to match Cook's total pay.”
That is a heck of a lot of iPads, iPhones and iPods folks. 
Alright, now that I’ve totally depressed all of you non-executive workers, close out of the internet and get back to work. You have a lot of hours to put in if you ever plan to reach executive level at your company.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Next Generation in Shopping

On my lunch hour I wanted to take a break and get away from the office. I opted to go to a home décor/crafts store with a two world rhyming name. While there I noticed a mother with two small kids. She was carrying her youngest child, under the age of one, in her arm balancing the child on her hip. The other child was about three and she had hold of that child’s hand. She was trying to maneuver a shopping cart with her elbow and her body. The cart had an unused child seat with a seatbelt holding nothing but the woman’s purse.
I noticed the woman as she was standing at the greeting card aisle talking to the older child about how they didn’t have christening cards and she was sure they had to have them. Then looking around, the woman complained that she couldn’t believe there wasn’t an employee to help her. Of course, I couldn’t believe it either. Where in the world was the personal shopper for busy moms in the greeting card section. Perhaps she could give them all the details of the child being christened and get a perfect card selected by the personal shopper for her.
Continuing on through the store just browsing, I found a red fleur de lis piece of décor for my office. And I found it all by Cool Fleur de Lismyself. No one can ever have too many of fleur de lis is what I think. I pick it up and move to the registers at the front of the store. I approach the registers to see my favorite high maintenance mom.
Mom is pushing the cart with her hip. She is still holding both kids in the same manner as before. Her cart is full. I am not sure what she found to purchase but she must have found a personal shopper to help her get that christening card and all the other stuff in her cart. After she completed her purchase she tells the cashier – now listen to me here – she tells, not asks the cashier, that she is leaving her cart at the register and is going to go get her kids situated in the car. She tells the cashier that she is driving a white SUV and she will drive to the front of the store and she needs the cashier to bring her purchases out to her. Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize this store had personal shoppers and a frigging valet service. I must remember this in the future. 
 What is that you say, this is how to use a shopping cart when you have children.  Amazing!!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

The Gaither Vocal Band sings the Star Spangled Banner like no other.  Sit back or stand, listen and enjoy.  It’s our favorite rendition.

Click Image to Enlarge
For those of you needing a reminder of what today is all about, please read the full transcript of the Declaration of Independence here:


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pappy’s Smokehouse – St. Louis, Missouri

Pappy's SmokehoseLiving in St. Louis, Missouri you can’t exist as a Food Channel and Travel Channel enthusiast without have heard of Pappy’s Smokehouse. So one Friday when we were both taking a day of vacation we decided to trek to Pappy’s to try it out.
Located in an old warehouse just off Lindell we found a place to park in the lot behind the building and walked to find at least a dozen people lined around the corner to order.
We reviewed the menu and decided to get the Rib Combo which includes: A half or full slab of Ribs, 1/4lb. of your choice of meat with 2 sides. Half $15.99. While we were in line to order one of the workers walked by asking if anyone had any questions. We asked him about the size of the combo and if it would feed both of us. He let us know that with the combo you can add additional ¼ lb of different meats for a nominal fee (I believe it was something like 3.99).
The ribs had a dry rub and were apple smoked. All the meat was served without sauce. On the tables there were different sauces including a sweet sauce called Sweet Baby Jane, their Original Sauce with a pepper kick and a Hot Sauce. The meat had delicious flavor and I used the sauce sparingly just so I could try it – my tender taste buds went with just the Sweet Baby Jane.
The sides we ordered with the combo were Fried Corn on the Cob and Sweet Potato Fries. We added an extra side of corn. This was our only disappointment of the day. The Corn on the Cob was a fail. But the Sweet Potato Fries more than made up for it. These fries were thin and the right combination of crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They were coated with a brown sugar coating that made them sweet enough that we saved them until last as our dessert.
We would make Pappy’s our lunchtime destination more often if it weren’t 45 minutes from our home.
See Adam Richman visit Pappy’s below.  Go to 6:41 on the video.