Jan 24, 2010

The Weekend in Review

  1. We did lots of chores. LOTS I tell you. Saturday Megan came over for dinner and she hadn't seen the house since there were so many boxes we couldn't get into the master bathroom. Needless to say we wanted the place to look nice when she came over. I think she got the full transformation.
  2. Costco is scary. Even at 11:30 on a Sunday morning. Costco also didn't have rawhide bones. Odd huh? Lexi got some dental chews instead and while I'm sure they are very good for her teeth, she goes through them in 3 minutes tops. So much for puppy entertainment. I did however have a gift card to use at Costco from returning floorboards back in November. Pretty sweet to walk out with $113 in misc bulk purchases without the old checking account taking the slightest hint. We now have a year's supply toothpaste, deoderant and sea salt.
  3. I'm learning my way around Sarah's Creek (our neighborhood). Lexi and I took two aimless walks this weekend and I think I'm starting to figure out how streets connect a little better. Nikki told me there's a Melissa Street (interesting because we both have bff's named Melissa) but our aimless walks have not shown us to Melissa Street yet. Oh and btw, Lexi has a new collar that she's showing off on her walks. It's raspberry colored and very pretty.
  4. Ross got one of the flowerbeds in the backyard completely taken out. Woohoo! There were 4 flowerbeds when we bought the house and only 1 of them had anything living and well-maintained in it. Since he and I don't have green thumbs at all, we decided to tear out the 3 with nothing good in them and leave the 4th as long as it can sustain itself. Thank goodness we got so many Home Depot cards for Christmas. We seem to spend tons there without even realizing it. Those gift cards are certainly worth their weight in gold.
  5. Ross has a retirement fund! Yesterday we took a few of the savings bonds my grandparents had given me when I was a kid and cashed them in to start his retirement fund with. Fortunately I thought to take our marriage certificate to the bank with me because since I got these bonds as a kid my name is "Lowe" on them though now I'm a "Black." Without the certificate, they wouldn't have let me cash them. But anyways, got them cashed and then helped Ross open his Roth IRA. It isn't the account we plan on having the bulk of his retirement in, but it was definitely time to start. Hopefully he'll be starting a sweet firefighter's pension plan soon that will foot the bulk of our retirement bill.
  6. And now I'm quasi watching this Vikings-Saints game. I don't really have a preference as to who wins since the Texans and the Bears (Ross' team) were both out decades ago. So...GO EVERYONE! WOOHOO! And Ross is at the fire station earning us the big bucks. Lexi and I will be cuddling in bed. (And holy cow, the Saints just made a big play! I better start paying attention.)

Jan 21, 2010

I heart Thursdays

I love Thursdays because they mean the weekend is finally almost here and thank goodness. It's only been a 4 day week but somehow those always feel the longest.

Today I was checking out my performance goals for the fiscal year and by doing some quick math in my head realized we set our Web site traffic goal to be a 25% increase. WTF!? What were we thinking?! That's an absurd goal! Currently we have about a 15% increase compared to this same time last year and I think that's pretty darn good. I chatted with my VP, Cindy, and we agreed that while a 25% increase would be amazing, we'd be pleased with at 15% increase which in many ways is till pretty darn ambitious. 25%....we must have been NUTS.

On another performance eval note, I was evaluating last year's goals and if I met them or not...now I don't mean to brag but I'm very pleased with this particular one. We said the comm department hoped to have 350 media hits in our 2009 fiscal year. Well at just 7 months into our fiscal year, when I was leaving the PR role, we had 475 hits. That's 135% of goal! Yeah...I felt pretty good after figuring that one.

Outside of work metrics, tomorrow is a friend's 30th birthday so we're gearing up for going out a little. Saturday my sister-in-law, Megan, is coming over for dinner and to see the house all done up finally. Sunday Ross is at the fire department and I'm seeking plans...I think visiting a friend and her baby puppy might be what happens. Oh and yesterday was Amanda's birthday and equally important, the first day of Girl Scout Cookie sales. Yes, it was a big Wednesday indeed.

I think that's kinda it though. Just doing the same-old, same-old but I have to say, after the crazy year of house buying and wedding, the same-old is just perfect in my mind.

Jan 17, 2010

PF: no longer just for Pflugerville

On Friday, my in-laws treated us to dinner at PF Changs. It was delish.

I had never had won ton soup but the weather was cold and Ross ordered it for the table. Verdict: winner. It was so warm and flavorful and with my fav, shrimp, in it. (Ross avoided the shrimp so I got to have his helping making it all even better.)

The shrimp in lobster sauce was just as good as it sounds. The lobster flavor wasn't very strong...honestly if it had just been called "seafood sauce" that would have been sufficient. Definitely good, just not distinctly lobstery. The shrimp was perfectly cooked and I ate every bite.

The chardonnay was also delish but for the price, it should have been. Of everything we had, only the alcohol was, in my opinion, a little pricey. Everything else was quite reasonable for the quality. Even with the wonderful atmosphere that usually increases price, the food was all in a ballpark even I was comfortable with (and if you know me, you know I'm kinda cheap).

It's a long weekend for me here in P-ville so on that PF Chang's note, I'm going to retire to my episode of NCIS and some puppy loving.

Jan 13, 2010

My Soapbox on Diversity

This is my blog and I can write whatever I want. Right? Even if it's not politically correct, right? OK, great. Here we go.

Today I read an article about diversity in the workplace. It talked about how diversity is now more than race and gender; it encompases sexual preference, religion, veterans status and a whole slew of things. So far, I agree. When I think about how diverse the Girl Scout executive team is, for example, I don't just mentally divide it out by race and gender. I think about level of education, military v non-military families, sexual preferences, geography, etc. And this makes the execs at my office a pretty darn diverse group. I think that rocks.

But I gotta say, even as a woman who enjoys a diverse set of supervisors, I am just not into this idea that HR or an organization's management actively seeks out diversity. I don't want co-workers who are white or black or male or female just because of that attribute. I want good, qualified co-workers. If all the best applicants have similar traits - well then fine. That's just how it is.

I have a vague recollection of a cousin of mine doing singing auditions where the judges could only hear her; not see her or even read her name. I know that's not always realistic, but in some ways, isn't that ideal? To judge a person only on their relevant skills?

I know you'll tell me it isn't feasible. That there are some jerks in the world who wouldn't hire me based on me being a woman so we must encourage diversity in the workplace. But on the same token, aren't there some people who will hire me because I'm a woman and they need more women on their staff? Honestly...it kinda makes me want to say "to hell with you." If I can't get someplace based on my skills, then I don't want to be there. I don't need your handouts.

I'm sure I'm a little naive and maybe overly prideful. I probably fall into that pretty privileged group that really doesn't have room to complain. But still, it makes my skin crawl to think people get hired for things other than their skills.

I'm sure no good HR person would tell me that diversity outweighs skill sets. I certainly hope not anyways.

Jan 12, 2010

I heart Google Analytics

Every story has two sides right? Yeah, Google Analytics is no different. On the one hand, marketing folks talk a lot about metrics. What kinda numbers to pull for the boss man. Google Analytics is a pretty freakin' awesome tool for gathering those metrics.

But then there's the also smart marketing people who remind us that while metrics are fun, not to get too caught up in them. Marketing is not just about numbers; it's about relationships.

And I know this. But if I told you I didn't totally geek out to Google Analytics, I'd be a big liar. I LOVE THEM. I can calculate rate of change...ok, I don't calculate, Google does - but that's exactly what's so beautiful! I can compare this month to this month last year. I can do an analytic sight overlay and see how often a particular link is followed. I can even find out where in the world my Web visitors are from...all the way down to their state! Might I check my stats for gsctx.org CONSTANTLY? Yes. I'll admit it I do.

To feed the addiction, I've added analytics to my blog. Now I can see just how popular or unpopular this little guy is.

Jan 4, 2010

To Food Yet Not To Food

As part of our new year's resolutions we went out to eat on Saturday. I'll admit, it wasn't anyplace unique. But if I told you the surf-n-turf commercial from Outback Steakhouse featuring LOBSTER TAILS didn't entice me, I'd be a big liar. Usually I'm a little bit of a lobster snob and only want to eat it on the east cost. For the right price though, I can be bought.

My Official Review
My official review of Outback Steakhouse begins with the steal of a deal on the Gold Coast margarita. As a Texan, I'll shoot ya straight - I've had better margaritas. But rarely better for under $3.25. For that price you must be a happy hour coinnesuer. $3.25 all day every day is pretty stinkin' good and the rita wasn't bad either. Summary: suggested. The Bloomin' Onion surely went straight to my hips but it was tasty doing so. I'm not sure what the delicious dip was made out of but delicious it was. Summary: do it, but with more than just one other person, if you want to maintain your girlish figure that is. And finally to the main attraction: steak and lobster. WOW. The 6 ounce steak was delicious. I gave Ross a bite and he strongly encouraged me to eat everything else on my plate and leave that for him. I gave him 3 more bites but kept the rest for myself. It was GOOD. The lobster was also pretty good. I didn't even require the usual dipping butter. Well-seasoned though if you are a true blue New Englander, possibly a little over-cooked. However, again for a chain restaurant in Texas that specializes in Aussie grub and for $14, I have no complaints. None.

Not To Food
That was the "to food" part. The not to food part is this: I want a good diet and exercise tracker. Suggest one please! I like WeightWatchers but I'm not on so serious of a slim down plan to pay for it. Really, I just have a couple Christmas pounds to shed, nothing I can't do by eliminating a little wine and a few frappuccinos. Anyways...suggestions are welcome.

Jan 1, 2010

Resolution Revision

loweC_408010.5 hours into 2010 Ross has asked for a revision to a new year's resolution. Normally I would say no but he makes a good point. We'll only be eating out every other week so that our ongoing resolution to not be broke can be maintained. I suppose he made a valid point with that one.

And because when he's right he gets a big goofy grin, here's a pic of him grinning big and goofy like at the wedding...not because he was right so much as because he is madly in love with the bride (obviously).

Happy New Year!