Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Does this couch make my head look big?

So if you've attended Cal Poly Pomona within the last decade, you've seen them:  Fraternity rush "booths". 

Yes, the word booths is in quotations.  It's because they are no longer booths like they were initially intended to be.  Information booths or tables have now become hot spots or hang out locations.  This may seem like a great idea at first, but I've come to see them as horrible excuses for recruitment tools. 

I would like to slap the idiot that decided to start bringing as many old, smelly, broken couches as they could to the recruitment events.  Perhaps he decided that passively sitting down and making potential new fraternity members approach his group was a good idea?  Or perhaps he thought by creating conversation spaces for guys to hit on girls or catch up on homework instead of actively recruiting new brothers was the right idea? 

Maybe the guy that wanted to bring a half-dozen couches to recruitment was the same one that decided to give out free shirts to sorority girls to recruit for them?  That's it!  He said in his meeting, "Hey guys!  Let's get cute girls to wear our rush shirts with their short shorts and jeans skirts!  Then we can sit by and let the girls advertise for us while we chill on our old and dirty couches!" 

Then someone else chimed in, "I second that!  If I were a freshman, I would definitely join the fraternity that has the hottest girls wearing their shirts and the most amount of couches in the quad!  But, I think we should add a DJ to our couches because everyone likes music and we won't have to talk to the new guys if the music is really loud!" 

And that's how it was born: the worst idea for a fraternity recruitment booth.  Girls in short skirts and fraternity tee shirts.  Couches so the fraternity members can sit by and intimidate potential new members.  DJ's so you can't hear a word of what is said between a fraternity member and an interested student. 

Here's a little advice to avoid the "tools." 

Don't ask ladies to wear your shirts.  They have shirts of their own to wear.  Believe me, that shirt will soon become a gym shirt, a rag, or a goodwill donation.  Heaven forbid she becomes an ex-girlfriend, because that shirt will be burned.  Oops.  I mean that I've heard rumors about girls burning the free shirts.  Besides, if guys are trying to join your organization just because you know the hottest girls, then do they really deserve your bid?

Don't let the fraternity guys sit around on their butts doing homework or eating at the recruitment tables.  If they need to eat, have them eat at a table away from the recruitment event.  If they have homework to do, send them to a computer lab or the library.  Your fraternity will benefit and their grades will benefit as well. 

Don't bring a DJ to the recruitment table.  It's a huge distraction to potential new fraternity members as well as the rest of the students that are in class or having meetings while your group is dancing around to the latest stupid rap song. 

And finally, learn to recruit.  A very intelligent man once told me that his fraternity used to give their members a single objective during every rush: Recruit someone better than yourself.  Teach your members that and I guarantee they will realize that they (1) are not the greatest person in the world and God's gift to your fraternity and (2) your membership pool will improve greatly. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

So it's my dad's birthday today, so I thought I'd give you guys a little glimpse at why I'm pretty sure he's the most amazing father in the world...

He rode Dumbo about 1,000 times with me when I was little.  And I always got to control the up & down switch! 

He took me to Las Vegas on my 21st birthday and toasted me at midnight with my first legal drink! 

He's been married to the same woman for over 30 years. 

He joins in when I go off on my crusades to raise money for breast cancer awareness. 

And I join him when he wants to walk around and look at plants and birds. 

So Happy Birthday to my plumbing, tile laying, kitchen remodeling, bbq-ing, book reading, sci-fi watching, scotch drinking, amazing father! 

Friday, April 23, 2010

So today I was counting my blessings...

I was sitting back today and counting my blessings.  I like to do this every once in a while when I'm stressed out just to re-focus myself and get my priorities in order.  I have a lot to be thankful for and usually I count about 10 things in my head that are blessings and my tension has decrease by half.  You should all try this technique some day! 

So today something at the lab was really bothering me.  Things bother me every single day at the lab, but I usually just fix the problem and walk away.  Today I couldn't do that.  So in my head I started counting blessings. 

"One: I am blessed to have a roof over my head that I share with someone that I love so fervently." 
"Two: I am blessed to have that roof so close to such amazing friends and family like Rose and Devin." 

I stopped.  Those last two names were pretty calming and soothing by themselves.  I didn't need to count any higher than two today. 

Mike and I moved here on March 25th and we didn't have a kitchen set up or a laundry area.  Since that time, Rose has fed us and opened her home to us to do laundry on several occasions.  As an added bonus, he son Devin is a playful little booger who likes to have his picture taken! 

Rose mentioned something about the pulled chicken sandwiches that I was making for dinner sounding yummy and I immediately invited them over for dinner and a time to look at Devin's photographs.  Let me tell you, we had so much fun!  I love watching Devin motor around and pick items up off of the tables and floor!  And seeing my dear friend Rose as a mommy?  Well that's fun too!  She's so calm and matter of fact about everything.  She knows what he's going to do even before he actually does it. 

So today they are my blessings.  May you all find yours...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Little Family History

I really have some of the greatest Californian family history!  My father's father was a pilot and worked for Mr. Howard Hughes at one point in his career.  My mother's father was an accountant who for a short time played for a little baseball team known as the San Diego Padres.  But today's discovery takes the cake in my opinion: today I found a tie between my father's mother and myself. 

Before I tell you about her, I should warn you that my grandmother passed away in 1994.  I was 9 years old and she died on one of my friend's birthdays.  Sure, I have photographs of her reading me books as I sit on her lap.  Yes, I remember her at Christmas Eve dinners and Easter brunch, but I never really got to know her.  My grandmother's memory began to slip when I was growing up.  Instead of calling me her granddaughter, she would get confuse and lump me in with other children our family.  She then thought I was her great-granddaughter, but she always remembered my name. 

"Pink" Gramma & I
Easter 1988

My favorite thing that she did was giving us our presents in a paper or plastic bag with the wrapping paper and the unsigned card in the bag as well.  She remembered to buy the present and get out the card and wrapping paper, but for some reason that last step of wrapping the present and signing the card just slipped her mind. 

These are the memories of my grandmother. 

But the stories?  I loved the stories.  The romance story between Pearl and her husband is one of great laughter and length.  I'm sure in my head it's been blown up and dramatized, but it truly was a great story.  It's one I'll save for another day and another blog, once I've gathered up more details. 

Ms. Pearl Steele was born on April 27, 1905.  I don't know much about her childhood, but I do know that she went to UCLA in the 1920's.  At that time, not many women were going to universities and her acceptance was very prestigious for her family.  It was there that she studied to become a teacher and according to the members of my family, she was in a sorority.  Some folks in my family even said that not only was she in a sorority, she was one of the first members of that sorority at UCLA.  Of course, no one could ever prove this or even say for sure which sorority she was in. 

Most family members recalled her talking about being a Chi Omega or an Alpha Chi Omega, but we never found her badge to know.  She spoke once about having a car sent to pick her up for a southern California sorority luncheon and they were honoring her with a 50 year pin or some sort of award.  This would have been somewhere in the lat 1970's or early 1980's. 

A few years ago, there were rumblings about UCLA going through an extension process and gaining another sorority on their campus.  Well last year, that rumbling turned in to a reality and a wonderful and beautiful chapter of Alpha Chi Omega was welcomed back to UCLA's grounds.  Recently, I emailed their chapter president in the hopes that she could supply me with more information about my grandmother.  It was a long shot, but I took it! 

But she had no information for me.  My heart broke.  I was back where I started and still didn't know much about my grandmother.  I should have known better than to get  my hopes up; they were a young chapter and the President wouldn't have access to national records.  But at the end of her letter she said she would forward my question on to one of their National Officers.  Well, I had imagined that it would take weeks or months for this lady to find out any information, but today I got my answer in the form of a very nice email and a cell phone photograph. 

"Hi Kipp! 

I looked up your grandmother's name, and found her right away -- so yes, she was an Alpha Chi Omega initiated at our UCLA chapter in 1926.

This date might not seem significant to you at first, but I know that the UCLA chapter was founded in 1926.

So not only was your grandmother a member of Alpha Chi Omega, she was a charter member!!! Her photo is hanging on our wall, and her name is on our original charter!

Amy Kalnoki
Chapter Consultant"
She wasn't just an Alpha Chi Omega, she was a charter member and he photograph is hanging in their halls!  All those rumblings and recollections of my family were true! 

Now all of you Zeta Taul Alpha's know why I was so damn Panhellenic for all of my collegiate years: I had the legacy of another sorority behind me and the love of ZTA around me!  So here she is, my grandmother and the other members of the charter class of Alpha Chi Omega at UCLA.  I feel so much closer to her just to know that we shared the love of a fraternity and warm bonds of a sisterhood that we carry throughout our lives.  I'm also so incredibly proud of her, that her photo hangs in those halls and she is forever remembered by beautiful young ladies that follow in her footsteps. 

Pearl Steele
April 27, 1905 - March 8, 1994
Bottom row, third from the left
Alpha Psi of Alpha Chi Omega Charter Members
UCLA 1926

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm hurt

Yah, I know what you're thinking. 

"Oh no Kipp!  You're hurt?  What happened?  Did you fall down while snowboarding again?  Did you try to hurdle a bush like you were 16 again like Eddy?  Did you pull a muscle moving furniture?" 

No.  No.  No.  I am not physically hurt.  I am emotionally hurt.  It's taken me about 3 weeks to come all of the way through my stages of grief, and I'm hurting.  I feel like a friend of mine has died, but really she's very much alive.  She's just dead to me

I should preface this story with this: Two times over the course of the past 3 years, my co-worker has stopped talking to me.  I never know why or how this happens, but she does it.  She up and ignores me one day and after a lot of begging and pleading and cards, she starts talking to me again.  But she never tells me why she stopped talking to me, never. 

So here it is, March 2010, and one day she stops talking to me.  This time she has informed my boss and other co-workers that she isn't speaking to me.  She doesn't say why, she doesn't say when, but she says I've offended her in some way and she's not speaking to me. 

This is some one that I consider a friend, possibly a long term one.  She's been to my home.  We've shared meals.  We went on a road trip to Napa together.  I attended her son's first birthday party. 

It's not like we just worked together. 

So here we are, almost 4 weeks since she decided we are no longer friends.  My birthday came.  She didn't even wish me a happy birthday.  I sneeze, and even if she's 4 feet away from me she won't say "God bless you."  I come in every morning and say "Good morning!" and all I get is a weak "hello" or a sorry excuse for a greeting. 

When other people pass by our desks, her face lights up with joy and she says their names with such enthusiasm that it makes me nauseated.  She talks on the phone loudly to all of her other apparent friends and family throughout the day, and even though I don't always understand the conversation I am jealous.  They could be talking about bananas or throwing away garbage, but they are talking

I am a person that values my friendships tremendously.  I have that horrible fault that says "once a friend, always a friend."  Friends can hurt me, break me, make me cry and some how I always forgive them.  I would rather you punch me in the face instead of seeing my friend suffer. 

But with this said, I think I have to let this one go.  No more apologizing when I don't know what I did wrong.  No more defending her when people at work are angry with her.  No more asking her how she's feeling or telling her to have a good weekend as she leaves the lab on Friday afternoons.  I wave the white flag.  I surrender.  We are now strangers. 

And thank you to all of the truly great friends that I have left.  The ones that have heard me tell this story over the past few weeks and ask "WHY DO YOU CARE?" or say sarcastic things like Shannon did, "Wait, Kipp, you have friends besides me?  How dare you!  I don't think I can handle that!  I'm not speaking to you anymore!  " 

But most of all, to Mike for telling me not to care the first time she stopped talking to me.  And the second time.  And for listening to me every couple of days when a wave of sadness rolls over me and I tell him, "I miss my friend."  He politely reminds me that she was never a friend, and to get over it. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To update, or not to update?

Sorry I'm falling behind on the updates, but the truth is that I cannot process any pictures at the moment and what good is a blog update without any pictures? 

So here's a teaser. 

  • Our toilets all work and work well thanks to Mike. 
  • Our doors are all painted and hung thanks to Cierra and Mike. 
  • The doors all have new and pretty door knobs.  (Even the front door, which I wasn't planning on but Mike surprised me with!)
  • Our kitchen has almost all of its cabinet doors courtesy of the Phelan family. 
  • 3 out of 4 sinks in the house have been replaced. 
  • 2 out of the 3 countertops have been replaced. 
  • All of our clothes are in the closet or our perfect "new" chest of drawers courtesy of the Choi family. 
  • I layed tile in the laundry "room."  (Great place to start by the way, no one will ever see my little "oopses.")
  • Our microwave is almost ready to be hung over the range.  (Which is kind of funny because I'm really used to cooking without a microwave right now!)
  • I cook almost every night.  That's right folks.  I'm cooking.  Pot roast.  Chicken parmisian.  Spaghetti and meat sauce.  (More than 3 steps is cooking, and I complete more than 3 steps just about every night now!) 

So I guess that's it for now.  I promise to post pictures once I get Photoshop up and running again.  But until then, just flip through the old posts! 

Love you all! 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Photo of the Day

Here he is. 

The apple of her eye. 

The pep in her step. 

The change at the bottom of her purse. 

Okay, maybe not that last one. 

Here are the Lee's.  Devin and Rose.  And boy are they fun to photograph.  He's active.  She's funny.  They're both gorgeous.  Man oh man.  May I always be blessed with friends and God children and wonderful as they are. 

Photographed April 3, 2010 at Central Park in Rancho Cucamonga

For those of you that care, I've started a blog directly related to my growing obsession with photography. 

Fairy Godmother Photography

Enjoy!  Have a blessed day! 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Photo of the Day

Devin 121 Learning, originally uploaded by kippyskippy.

Devin at Central Park in Rancho Cucamonga.

His wonderful mother, Rose, is teaching him how to drive a stick shift. Sure, you might think that 9 months old is a little young. However, consider for just a second that he started walking at 7 months old and he's already escaping from his crib.

April 3, 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Today's Breakdown is Brought to You by...

Today's breakdown is brought to you by the letter "M" and the letter "E" and also by the number "9." 

Yes, those are the words echoing through my head as I get ready to head to sleep tonight.  It finally happened.  After about four straight weeks of remodeling and only nine days of living in our new home, I snapped.  As Mike and I were hanging a teeny tiny bathroom cabinet door, I freaked out.  I hung the door.  I grabbed my keys.  I went for a walk. 

By the way, going for a walk inside of a gated community is kind of like reminding yourself that you're a rat in a cage.  I walked to the south wall.  Then I went to the east wall.  Finally I headed all the way to the northwest corner and found our front door.  I walked in the front door and stood in the kitchen.  Mike came in the back door. 

"Where did you go?"  He asked. 

"For a walk." 


Kipp, come one.  Why did you go for a walk?  You are acting like a lunatic.  These past few weeks you've been behaving like some medieval twit, an ignoramus, you're not yourself.  Finally I answered him. 

"Because I didn't want to be here." 

And with that, I began tidying up and grabbing the most miniscule specks of dirt off of the carpet and floor.  He picked up on that right away.  It was a classic case of "don't look me in the eye."  With one swoop, Mike had grabbed me and started hugging me.  I was a waterworks.  I kept thinking of the character on the old show Third Rock from the Sun when the female alien discovers her ability to cry.  She comes into the room one day and when the rest of the aliens see her crying and ask what's wrong with her, she screams out "I'M LEAKING!" 

I, my friends, began leaking. 

A few minutes later and after the demolition of a few tissues, I had stopped leaking.  I had down graded my outburst from a Stage V tear attack to a Stage II mood swing.  We hung a few doors, moved two dressers, and headed off to Lowe's. 

So for anyone that knows Mike or has met him, please know that this man is a saint.  After almost four years of dating and nine days of living together, he hasn't killed me and/or run screaming away from me and my family.  God bless Mike.  God help him. 

But hey, at least I admit when I'm a lunatic.  Happy Easter. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Photo of the Day

Marine Walking, originally uploaded by kippyskippy.

Shot January 15, 2010
Marine Corp Graduation
San Diego CA

My cousin recently graduated from basic training and my family & I were invited to the ceremony. This was a shot from his graduation (no, it's not him) but I really liked making it look like a really old shot!

By the way if you're ever invited to a USMC graduation ceremony, GO! Grab your camera. Get their early. Start taking pictures. It was the most fun I've had in a long time. Oh, and bring a long lens.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Photo of the Day

02 18 10_0020 PW's B&W, originally uploaded by kippyskippy.

Here's a little Devin for your day!

Taken February 18, 2010 on the day he walked for the first time. He's sucking on the lens cap to my Nikon (yes, I gave it to him) and I'm sure his loving mother, Rose, is watching him as she sits to the right of the photograph.