March 25, 2015


About nine years ago we brought home two cats, Norman and Vera. Norman grew into a large, black lump of fat and fur who basically sits around and waits for someone to give him fresh water. And I'm not kidding. He waits by the kitchen sink for hours in hopes that maybe someone will walk by, take pity on him, and fill his water bowl with cold water. Norman and Rachel are pretty good friends, which works out well for both of them. Norman tolerates Ryan.

Vera, on the other hand...

Vera wasn't a horrible cat, but she did have some health issues for almost five years that kind of made me hate her. We tried really hard to help her, but about two weeks ago it finally became obvious that there was nothing more we could do for her. Somehow mom (me) had to "take care of the situation" (I guess that's listed under "Other Duties as Assigned" in my job description). In his defense, Jake helped. He loaded her into a carrying case when the kids weren't looking.

It was hard to say good-bye to poor Vera, even though it was for the best. The people at the vet clinic were extremely nice, and gave me privacy so I could cry in peace while I filled out the paperwork. They even sent us a nice card a few days later.

But....we, um, haven't told Rachel yet.

Vera went out of her way to avoid the kids so it wasn't unusual for Rachel to see her only once every few days or so. But last Saturday, two whole weeks after Vera left, Rachel asked me where she was. I didn't lie. I told her that I didn't know where Vera was which, technically, was the truth. I didn't know where Vera was. I like to imagine that she's sitting on a comfy pillow in a happy little corner of heaven, basking in the sun and eating while someone is petting her (that seemed to be her idea of perfection).

Rachel hasn't asked about her since last Saturday and I've got my fingers crossed that she won't ask again until she's about 13 and wonders... what ever happened to Vera? I guess if she does ask I'll give her my best, most honest answer.

"Go ask dad."

March 3, 2015

My strengths...

A few weeks ago I joined the "cool kids" group at work and used an online assessment tool called StrengthsQuest (see to discover my talents. I wasn't overly shocked by the results, but I did find them to be extremely fascinating.

There are 34 themes and I only paid to see the top five but I think they are pretty much spot on.

People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.

This would explain why I can't seem to ever finish school and have interest in learning about nearly everything. I bet Jake is a "learner" as well. One learner shouldn't marry another learner unless at least one of them has a job that can support their learner habit.

People who are especially talented in the Belief theme have certain core values that are unchanging. Out of these values emerges a defined purpose for their life.

So, um.... I'm, as my dad would say, "bull-headed" maybe? But, at least I'm learning how to use my "unchanging core values" (i.e. bull-headedness) for good not evil.

People who are especially talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.

A polite way to say controlling?

People who are especially talented in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.

I don't work well with others.

People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.

I can never relax because I'm always thinking about that one last item on my to-do list that I really should be working on.

So I'm a professional student who is guided by my core values and my ridiculous need to control everything. I prefer to just do things myself rather than teach someone else, and I love to cross things off my to-do list.

And now you know.

You're welcome.