Google’s got it goin’ on


Dissatisfied with your (or your husband’s) company’s benefits (or lack thereof)?
Check out what Google offers their employees (and get yourself really pissed off):
Google’s benefits

Some of the perks include:
* 12 weeks of maternity leave at 75% pay
* 6 weeks of parental leave at 75% pay
* $500 take-out food allowance to families with new babies
* adoption assistance up to $5000
* free healthy lunches and dinners on-site
* childcare
* tuition reimbursement up to $8000 per year
* on-site oil change, car wash, dry cleaning, massage therapy, gym, hair stylist, fitness classes and bike repair
* employee referral program ($2000 bonus)
* plus all the basics – medical, dental and vision (not to mention doctors are available on-site)

Can you say holy crap?? Go ahead. Say it. HOLY CRAP! Now that is a company that knows how to treat it’s employees. I bet their retention rate is extremely high. Who would want to leave a company that will bend over backwards for you?

Where do I sign up?? πŸ˜‰

I should probably add that the reason I was even looking at Google’s perks is because my husband was day-dreaming that his current company would get bought out by Google. ::sigh:: We’ve all got our dreams.

Free Tibet


I’ve seen the bumper stickers and heard the expression “Free Tibet” for years now, but I never really understood what was going on over there or took the time to learn about their plight.

So last night Jody and I sat down to watch “Tibet – Cry of the Snow Lion.”

Ten years in the making, this feature-length documentary was filmed during nine remarkable journeys throughout Tibet, India and Nepal. Taking viewers to the long-forbidden “rooftop of the world” with an unprecedented richness of imagery, the film powerfully chronicles the dark secrets of Tibet’s recent past through interviews, personal stories and archival images.

It was such an eye-opener and so very sad to see how the Chinese have and continue to repress the Tibetans. I can understand this kind of treatment happening in the past, but here we are, in the year 2005. What is wrong with the rest of the world that we allow this genocide to continue?

If anyone is interested, there’s a good history of the Chinese rule over Tibet over on Wikipedia. I’d try to explain it myself, but that site does a far better job than I could do.

One of the things that’s really frustrating to me is that in 1989 the Chinese government likely kidnapped the new Panchen Lama (a six-year-old boy who was chosen by the current Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama). They then named their own Panchen Lama, thereby acknowledging Buddhism, but trying to keep it under their control. The Panchen Lama will be responsible for naming the reincarnated Dalai Lama after the current one dies. I don’t know if the Chinese really think the Tibetans and Buddhists are going to acknowledge the person they made their puppet Panchen Lama chose, but I can’t see that happening. But what will happen to Buddhism?

Watching that movie and hearing the stories of the horrible things the Chinese have done to the Buddhist monks and nuns is heart-breaking and incredibly frustrating. Here are a people who don’t seem to have a violent bone in their body, yet they are being imprisoned, tortured beyond belief and often killed. How can this happen? How can they continue to get away with it?

It made me very upset over the current state of affairs. I want to do something, but I don’t know what. Part of me thinks a large-scale organized boycott of all products made in China is necessary, but that seems so extreme. And would it even matter? Ugh.

I want to raise awareness at the very least. I am sure so many people have no idea this is going on. I mean, I didn’t! I knew Tibet wanted to be freed, but I had no idea why or from what! A “Free Tibet” bumper sticker seems so cliche. Will anyone even care to find out why Tibet needs to be freed?

I decided to look up “Free Tibet” stickers to see what is out there and I came across a website that reports some very different findings than what is portrayed in the movie. Of course, there are two sides to every story and while I still think that a lot of what the Chinese did and does is absolutely wrong and extreme, I’m wondering if some good didn’t come out of their occupying Tibet in the first place. Hmmm. (Scratching my head.) Guess I have more reading to do.

Playing catch-up

I know, I know. I’ve been a total blogging slacker lately. Not only have I been remiss in blogging myself, but I haven’t been checking in on my blogroll very much either. (Hanging my head in shame.)

It seems like this past week has been and September especially is going to be busier than the rest of the summer. It could be because some of my friends are back in town now so we have things planned. Could be that my in-laws will be driving up from OK and staying with us for a few days this weekend. Could be that our first official API meeting will be held mid-September. Could be that we are going on vacation at the end of September to Massachusetts (and meeting my parents there). Plus Ava is sick again with a virus. I had my annual physical today (whoopee), and I’m on gardening duty this week. Oy. So much going on. Not that I’m complaining, I like having things to do (well, I could do without Ava being sick, but at least we aren’t on vacation!). πŸ™‚

I’ve got lots of things mulling around in my head that I hope to blog about in the near future, starting with the movie Jody and I watched last night – “Tibet – Cry of the Snow Lion.” But I will start another entry for that. πŸ˜‰

In the meantime, I will do my best to be a good blogger (leaving comments and the like), but please don’t hold it against me if I don’t leave comments on every entry. I try, I really do. πŸ˜‰

SPF – Me and a friend

It’s that time again – time for another round of Self Portrait Friday!

This week’s theme is “me and a friend.” I am feeling lazy and tired so I’m only posting two pics. :oP

This first one is of my sister (and good friend) Carrie and me taken in May 2005. (My God, we actually look kind of alike in that picture. Gasp!)

The second one is me (and Ava) and my friend Brandy (and her son Creed) taken in March 2005.

Go see who else has friends over at Katy’s blog. πŸ˜‰

Random thoughts

I feel like I haven’t been posting anything of substance lately except pics, money woes and rants about my stinkin’ refrigerator.

Here it is, almost Friday again (where did the week go?) which means we are gearing up for another SPF (Self Portrait Friday). Katy hasn’t announced the theme yet though.

And do I have anything of substance to write about today? Eh, not really. :oP

Ava is sleeping on me with a boob in her mouth at the moment. I’d go lay her down but she really needs to get a good nap in today because we’re heading out to a meeting (for the advisory committee of that new attachment parenting group I’m involved in) in a litle bit and I want her to be well-rested. So I’ll just keep her here with me. πŸ™‚ The group’s first meeting is less than a month away! I’m excited but also a bit concerned as I wonder what kind of turnout we’ll have. Guess we shall see.

I cut Ava’s hair last night. She was in desperate need of a trim. Surprisingly, it didn’t turn out as bad as I thought it might. Maybe I’ll post a pic. I just took one of her earlier because besides the new haircut, she’s also wearing a new dress today – one that Aunt Carrie bought her in India. She got her a couple punjabi suits too, but they are too small for my large Western baby. πŸ˜‰

I do want to give a shout out to Brad over at Greystone Inn. He was nice enough to put up a link to my AP store on his site. πŸ™‚ Thanks, Brad. One of the storylines Brad’s comic strip follows is the adventures of Mac and Samantha – new parents who are practicing attachment parenting. He now has a book for sale with a collection of his AP strips called Prodromal Teeth. “The best of the Greystone strips about pregnancy and parenthood, reformatted into a graphic novel layout. Positive themes of attachment parenting such as breastfeeding and natural childbirth make this a terrific gift for parents-to-be.”

Well, the lil chica has arisen, so I’m off. πŸ™‚

Tagged again – a new meme

1. Name as it appears on birth certificate: AKG
2. Nicknames: Ame, Amus the Maevis
3. Place of Birth: Michigan
4. Favorite food: Mexican, Vietnamese or Indian.
5. Ever been to Africa: No
6. Love someone so much it hurts: Yes.
7. Been in a car accident: Just a fender-bender
8. Croutons or bacon bits: Neither.
9. Favorite day of the week: Saturday
10. Favorite restaurant: Efrain’s (yummy, cheap Mexican food!)
11. Favorite sport to watch: Hockey
12. Favorite drink for summer: Water
13. Favorite ice cream: Moose Tracks or Mint Choco Chip
14. Disney or Warner Bros.: Eh, I guess Disney though I think there’s some reason I should be boycotting them. LOL Carrie? Refresh my memory.
15. Favorite fast food restaurant: Chipotle.
16. What Color is your bedroom carpet: I have no idea what you call this color. Dirty?
17. How many times did you fail your driver’s test: 0
18. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail: Heather
19. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card: Hmm, probably some home decorating store.
20. What do you do most often when you are bored: Blog, write, cook/bake
21. What time is Bedtime: 12 or 1 a.m.
24. Favorite TV shows: Nothing right now. I’ve been watching Rock Star INXS a little bit here and there, but that’s about it.
25. Last person/s you went to dinner with: Jody and Ava
26. Ford or Chevy: Neither. Honda.
27. What are you listening to right now: the computer whirring
28. What is your favorite color: Green (but not to wear)
29. Lake, ocean or river: Ocean
30. How many tattoos do you have? None
31. Have you ever run out of gas: No, but WAY TOO CLOSE CALL on a deserted road while driving to Oklahoma with our two dogs (before Ava was born). Thankfully, we came across a gas station that was about to close for the night.

Tagging Halloweenlover, Laura and Tiffiny.

Good news, good news and bad news

The good news is the Whirlpool repairman was able to come today instead of Wednesday as originally scheduled.

The other good news is that he had the part it needed and the fridge is fixed!!! Yahooooooo! πŸ™‚

The bad news is the part that needed to be replaced was electrical and therefore, NOT covered by the warranty after all, so we’re out $180. [insert jaw hitting the floor here]

As Charlie Brown would say, “Uuuuuuuuuugh!”

Lil update on the fridge situation

The good news is that repairing our fridge – which died on Friday – (barring any unforeseen circumstances) will be covered under our warranty which expires on Oct. 4. Hooray!!! πŸ™‚ (Couldn’t have cut that too much closer now, could we??)

The bad news is that we can’t get it repaired until probably Thursday. Groan!!! πŸ™

This morning I cooked 14 chicken breasts that had all thawed when the fridge/freezer died. I plan to refreeze them in a friend’s freezer until ours is repaired. I’ve also baked 4 loaves of zucchini bread from a monster zucchini picked from our garden a while back.

I’m not really enjoying living out of coolers on our kitchen floor (I never was very big on camping), but it sure is making me plan well in advance what we are going to eat for dinner this week.

Anyway, I’m very relieved that we won’t have to shell out the money for a costly repair or a new fridge, though I did get a handful of replies off my posting on Freecycle and Craigslist from people giving away a fridge or selling one at a reduced rate. It’s nice to see that people (strangers to me even) are ready to jump in and help out if needed. πŸ™‚ Yay for the kindness of strangers! πŸ™‚

What REALLY stresses me out

Ugh! What a day! I started off yesterday feeling in a funk and it just didn’t get any better as the day progressed. Around 5:30, I discovered water all over our kitchen floor. I opened the freezer only to find that everything in there had thawed!! Neither the freezer nor the fridge was cooling anymore. OMG!

When Jody got home from work, he cleaned off the back and vacuumed out underneath it, hoping that would fix the problem. But it seems he was too late. It looks like our compressor has bit the dust. πŸ™

The Whirlpool repairman Jody talked to on the phone said it would cost a bare minimum of $350 to replace the compressor, but it could definitely be more. UGH!

Our fridge was only 5 years old. I thought they lasted forever!

We have 0 extra money right now. There’s no money to buy a compressor. There’s no money to buy a new fridge.

I’m asking around to see if anyone we know has a fridge they are no longer using (to sell or give away). It’s a long shot, but I even posted on Freecycle. Can’t hurt to try.

Lesson learned – be sure to vacuum off the back of your fridge and underneath your fridge on a semi-regular basis to avoid compressor burn-out. I hate such expensive lessons.

So anyway, this fridge thing usurps all other things I posted about as “stressing me out” yesterday. Yes, it takes the cake.


Update: Well, it turns out the compressor SHOULD be covered under our 5-year warranty (which will expire in October – eep!!). Hallelujah! (Keep your fingers crossed.) So now Jody is on the phone trying to schedule a repair and get it all straightened out. We’ll be living out of coolers packed with ice in the meantime. It’s like camping right in our own kitchen. πŸ˜‰ Ah, what an adventure.

SPF – β€œWorked up, stressed out, and worn out”

Katy says this week’s theme is:
“Let’s see what gets you worked up, stressed out, and worn out.”

I’ve got a few things up my sleeve that fit that theme quite nicely.

1) My dogs
My dogs have been stressing me out like crazy lately. They tear up our semi-new sod in the backyard and have been running away every chance they get. Note the hole they’ve chewed into the gate! Arg!

2) Doing laundry
It’s neverending! Whew! :oP

3)Lack of time
It seems like there’s never enough time to do everything I want/need to do. I’d have a picture to illustrate this, but uh…I’m out of time!!

4)Lack of money
Just like time, there never seems to be enough $$ money $$.
(I cheated on this pic.)

4) Last, but certainly not least – EverQuest II
EQ (aka EverCrack!) gets me very worked up. – My dh hasn’t been playing it much lately (thank you, Jody), but I still can’t stand this game. Did you know there have been real life suicides linked to the game? And one woman’s 3-year-old daughter died while she played EQ. See this story and this story and sadly still this story.
Anyway, you get the point.
This … game … infuriates … me.

Update: I feel the need to clarify that I am not a gamer and I do NOT play EQ – not now, not ever. I just have no desire to play games. It’s my husband’s obsession er, I mean hobby, πŸ˜‰ not mine. And yes, he’s played more than just EQ1 and EQ2. It was World of Warcraft for a while and also that Star Wars game. Blah. Not a fan of games here.

See what gets the rest of the bunch stressed out over at Katy’s blog.