Thursday, August 23, 2012

Best Political Commentary of the Year

You can find it here. I strongly recommend it. So strongly. Like a shark strong.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

AOL and Acquisitions

I found this post in my draft file. I'm not sure why it never posted. Maybe because it's too exciting for you gentile folks. I mean, gentle folks. ... Who needs a backspace button?

Original post:
Why do the words "AOL" and "bad acquisitions" go so well together?

While today's deal was not nearly as bad as some of the peak dot com deals (remember when Yahoo bought Mark Cuban's nearly worthless company for $5.7B?), paying 10x revenue for an established company is... well... not smart. AOL will very likely never recoup the purchase price, nor will it realize most of the "synergies" that were promised.

How many bad deals have been done in the name of synergy?

If I were an AOL employee, I would be asking myself, "Who's steering this thing?"

Monday, August 20, 2012

Extreme Go-Karting

The Fleet and Reservation teams welcomed me into the Brazilian fold this past weekend by inviting me to do some Go-Karting. Brazilians take their Go-Karting quite seriously. The top speed of these things is probably higher than a Geo Metro.

My sequence of thoughts were the following:
1) "This might be a good date to take Ashley on."
2) "Wow, that kart just monster trucked the other one. Is his hand broken?"
3) "How did that guy catch on fire while driving?"
4) "This might not be a good date to take Ashley on."

In the end everyone walked away with only sprains and minor burns, but it was quite the experience.

FYI: I got in 12th place out of 18 people. Not bad for my first time. However, 2 of the 18 were either wounded or tending to the wounded, and 1 of the 18 people I beat was guy who caught on fire. (After he put out the fire he was back in it, but he didn't catch up.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Journeys and Destinations

It's been a busy month. Jake left on August 5 for his new position in Brazil, and I've been here in New Jersey trying to get our lives and possessions sorted for moving. Every item in our home will be sorted into one of five categories: ship to Brazil by air, ship to Brazil by sea, store, take to Utah in a suitcase, and drop off at Goodwill. This sorting process has not been easy, particularly with a small whirlwind named Joseph in our apartment. We keep our bedroom door closed all the time, and I've been putting most everything fragile or that needs to be separate for any reason in there. My room is now very cramped, and it's almost (but not quite) a good thing that Jake's not here so he doesn't trip and die when he gets out of bed in the morning. The international movers are coming Monday, and the domestic (storage) movers will be here Wednesday. They are packing and moving, which is kind of foreign to me. I've always done the packing and moving for all of my moves in the last 10 years (11 moves, I think?), so I feel a little panicky when I look at my full bookshelves and items that would normally have been packed weeks ago. I have to remind myself that it's OK that our place looks like we still live here. We do. And in two days, most everything will be gone. Joseph and I fly out on Friday evening, and guess how much fun a five-hour flight with a tired toddler will be? The real trick will be finding enough to do in a completely empty house for the two days after the storage movers finish. Lots of time at the park and the mall, I guess. Maybe a trip to the zoo if it's not too hot. Oh, and I'm trying to sell our car. *sigh*

On the bright side, Jake is enjoying his work in Brazil. He says that the days fly by and that he finds the job interesting and fulfilling, so that's great. He's also found us an apartment near our friends the Wallentines (they were in our ward in NJ and have a daughter just a little older than Joseph). The apartment has lots of space and is pretty close to Ibirapuera Park, a huge park in the middle of Sao Paulo. One major drawback is that it is unfurnished, meaning that not only is there no furniture like chairs and beds, but also that there is no fridge or oven. We will have to buy or rent those when we move in. It's going to be very different, but I'm looking forward to it even as I'm nervous, particularly about learning Portuguese.

I'm also a little nervous about having a baby there. Although there has been some pushback in recent years, 95% of births in Sao Paulo are via C-section. Um, no. Not unless there is a real emergency. Everything I've read (blogs, news articles, expat websites) documents how difficult it is to have a natural (not just vaginal) birth. There's a teeny part of me that would rather stay in Utah after Thanksgiving and give birth there where at the very least, my doctors and I will be speaking the same language. I'm going to see what I can do when I get there, and make a decision then, but I'm not terribly optimistic. It would be cool, though, to have a baby with dual citizenship. :)

We haven't heard anything on the status of our visas. It could be the beginning of September; it could be the beginning of October. There's no way to know. I'm having a hard time being a semi-single parent (I know, I'm not a REAL single parent. I'm married to a guy with a job and can be a full-time mom, and real single parents have it way tougher than I do, but when you're used to having some extra hands around, it's rough to be the only parent for this long). My patience some days has been stretched pretty thin. I don't know how military spouses do it. I'd go insane being away from Jake for the space of an entire deployment. Hats off to you for your courage and sacrifice. I'm really looking forward to being with my parents and letting someone else have a turn with my terrific, busy, exhausting, wonderful kid.

I haven't slept well this week, mostly because I keep running through my to-do lists and questions and mind-ramblings, and then Joseph's had a couple of early mornings. He'll go back to sleep for another 30-60 minutes, but I won't. When it happened again this morning, I thought to myself, "At this time next week, you won't be here. No matter what, you'll be out and done." Someone once mentioned to me after talking about our recent cross-country drive, "Yes, joy in the journey, right?" and I said, "No, sometimes it really is all about the destination." I guess I'm learning things from this process, but I'll probably need some time to reflect and some distance from the situation before I figure out exactly what, but right now, I'm ready to be done, out, gone. I've just got to make it through the week, and I will. Above all else, I need to finish this carton of Breyer's peach ice cream in the freezer before we leave, and I think I'm up to the challenge.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

DON'T PANIC (in large friendly letters)

As I was taking an elevator up to my fiefdom (i.e., shabby lonely hotel room), I found myself staring at the long list of warnings located next to the elevator control panel.  I finally reached the last warning, which says, "This building has no backup generator. If the power goes out, you will not receive assistance."  ...  ...  Let that sink in for a moment.  ... ... Okay. So, if the power was out, you probably couldn't read that warning anyway. I couldn't help but think of the most logical phrase in the galaxy, found on the cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "DON'T PANIC" in large friendly letters.

On a very different note, I was recently trying to fall asleep on a couch in a mostly empty plane. I thought, "If 10 years ago I could see myself now, what would I think?"  My answers were, in order, "He's probably full of himself," "What did you get yourself into this time?" and, "I didn't think you liked shrimp cocktail." I probably won't be repeating the experience very soon, but it did provide some amusing, probably a bit too accurate, self reflection.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thoughts on the First Trimester

Only a week before beginning this post did I confirm that I'm pregnant with our second child, and because I am a believer in waiting for a bit to announce one's pregnancy, you're only getting it now. But a number of thoughts have occurred to me as I've contemplated and experienced this second first trimester, and not allowing the world to hear my impressions on the matter hurt the deepest part of my soul. :) So in no particular order, here's what I've been thinking about:
  • I'm pretty sure that somehow Joseph knew I was pregnant because the moment I had an inkling that I was, he turned from a sweet, busy, happy kid to a whiny, demanding, tantrum-throwing mess. And it's not just the hormones talking; even my mom sees it. This does not bode well.
  • Morning sickness happened a lot earlier than it did with Joseph by about two weeks, but happily, it is no worse. I never notice how grungy my bathroom is until I'm up close and personal with the toilet.
  • My bionic sense of smell also made its appearance earlier, which can exacerbate the morning sickness.
  • I never appreciated my previous job as a study hall monitor/teenage babysitter. I got to sit all day. Now I have to chase a toddler and fix him breakfasts he can eat without help so I can run to the bathroom when morning sickness hits. Yes, oatmeal is now a finger food.
  • I didn't think trying to keep running would be nearly so hard. I don't feel like eating, so I'm sure that has a lot to do with having no energy, but eating far enough in advance so that I don't feel gross is tricky too.
  • While I was ensconced in the bathroom one morning, Joseph was outside the door and could hear me coughing. He said, "Snoof!" (one of his words for sneezing) and then "Bess you." Aww.
  • Reading a book about dead bodies (Stiff by Mary Roach) while eating (one of my only times of the day to read) was probably not the brightest idea when I already don't feel like eating.
  • Being pregnant surprisingly gives me some sympathy for Jake. I never really feel hungry or like eating; I just feel very full after eating not that much and then feel sick again when I need to eat. Very few foods ever sound good (though Domino's pizza sounded amazing yesterday). He says he feels like that all the time. My husband is a perpetually first-trimester-pregnant woman.
  • One of the foods that sounds good pretty much all the time is cheese, but the muenster I bought last week always sounds revolting. I think it's the smokiness.
  • Joseph was eating breakfast in his high chair while I was again kneeling at the throne when he also decided to make retching noises. Copycat.
  • I think the hardest part of moving to Brazil might be that I don't get to give birth at Valley Hospital. After my rough experience at another hospital giving birth to Joseph, I was so excited to have my baby in a place that respects my desire for a natural birth. I've heard from multiple sources that Brazil has a high rate of C-sections (mostly elective), and that it will be tricky to find a doctor who not only speaks English but will help me with a natural birth.