28 November 2005

My first real job!!

Hello faithful readers! I'm now counting the minutes I have remaining as an employee of the Durant Area Chamber of Commerce. Only five more days of answering telephones and doing mailings! (That's really not all I do here;) I start Thursday at Gear UP at SOSU!! It's still pending some signatures from the higher-ups, but Sandy Decker, the Gear UP director, basically told me that's all we're waiting on! It's actually a full-time, professional position. My title will be Information Technology Coordinator for the Gear UP program. For those of you not familiar with the Oklahoma educational system, Gear UP is a college prepatory program created especially for low-income students who might not consider post-secondary education an option. My position sounds like I'll be a computer guru, and I will be working on the Gear UP webpage, but mostly I'll be doing public relations: press releases, brochures, newsletters, etc. I'm really excited about it! It should be a great place to get some much-needed experience in the field and learn if PR is what I want to do.

On the marriage front, Jay is in the midst of basketball season, so lots of traveling. They had a tournament over Thanksgiving (No, family members, he was NOT in the deerwoods just for the fun of it, and no they didn't give him an option of not going to this tournament over the holiday.), so Shadow and I spent three nights at Mom's. Way too much food and just enough family! When I talked to Jay Thursday night, he asked me to tell him what all I had eaten that day. Poor guy! They had Thanksgiving dinner at Golden Corral! Meanwhile, I had three consecutive meals of Thanksgiving...bleh. I really don't like Jay being gone so much, but it's all part of the job, I guess. I hate when he misses family events, mostly because everyone seems to think, as I indicated above, that he just chooses to do more fun things than hang out with my family. I suppose his having a fishing tournament the day of Cristy's wedding didn't help matters too much. I got so sick of saying, "It's a tournament he and all his college buddies have every year, and this year a guy from Minnesota flew in for it..." They literally had it scheduled before Cristy had her wedding scheduled; that's how big a deal it was. But hey, he made it for the family picture and wedding, and still managed to get back in time to win the tournament!

17 November 2005

Potter Mania!!

Here's what everyone needs to start getting excited about right now: Harry Potter 4!! Mom, Kyle, and I are going opening night tomorrow night, which should be crazy-fun! Waiting in line at the release of a big movie (with people you like) is like waiting in line for a sweet roller coaster, only better, because you've got food and it's not 100 degrees! Also, everyone around you is just as pumped about the movie as you are, or they wouldn't be there, so the excitement is electric! By the time you get into the theater, it doesn't really matter if the movie lives up the hype. However, I think HP4 will, b/c this is definitely the best book of the series. By the by, does anyone else think Daniel Radcliffe looks like a brunette David Bowie in this picture? It's at the NYC premiere.

How does Corporate Communications Consultant sound (For a career.) (For me.)? Jay's corporate-America brother Brian called me out of the blue the other day after reading my blog to give me a super-sweet career idea. He said I should put together a corporate communications portfolio of newsletters, brochures, and press releases to market myself as a a way to a way to outsource internal and external public relations. Does that sound right, Brian? Anyhoo, I interviewed at Gear UP at SOSU the other day for a position as Information Technology Coordinator, which is basically digital and print PR and communications. If I get that, I think that would be an excellent way to get some experience for having my own business, while maybe starting slow on the side, getting InDesign-certified and some small clients.

I cannot BELIEVE how close Christmas is!! Every time I go to Wal-Mart (about six times a week), I see that sign that says how many Saturdays are left until Christmas, which is starting to give me this sick, panicky feeling. I'm thinking online shopping will be the way to go this year. Jay's family will be happy no matter what I do. Before we got married, they never knew whether they'd receive something from Jay or not; sometimes he'd give his mom something like a bag of frozen shrimp from Sam's, or his brother a random camera case...so just getting what I call a real gift from Jay (sort of) is probably okay with them.

However, I'm verrry excited about the holiday season because of all the family!! Yay for togetherness! I'm glad we're not one of those families with cliques and conflicts; it's all fun when the Pannells get together! (Well most of the time anyway...)

02 November 2005

What am I supposed to be?

An Assistant Chamber Manager? A reporter for the local (crappy) newspaper? Information Technology Coordinator for Gear Up at SOSU? The first is my current job, which apparently I'm so overqualified for that my boss is interviewing for my position already!! This happened yesterday, and I overheard the whole thing! He actually invited me in to his office (it's open to mine) to tell the girl about what I do. He basically told her not to quit her current job (at Arby's), but he doesn't expect me to stay too long because I have a degree in Journalism, and he knows the pay and benefits are terrible (He didn't say the last part to the interviewee). So I guess now I don't feel guilty for applying for the other two jobs. We'll see.

Other news around Mauck Manor...is really limited. My social butterfly sister left me a voice mail last night while I was in class that went like this: "Hey Kim, you're probably cooking dinner or doing dishes or cleaning house or watching TV, but give me a call when you get this." Thanks, sister! I made sure to give her a call after I made goulash and spinach and watched "The Amazing Race."

Book of the week is Mean Spirit by Linda Hogan. It's a book I'm reading for my Native American Lit class that is actually very enjoyable to read. It's like watching a historical suspense thriller! And it fictionalizes some very important events in Oklahoma history: Back in the early 20th century, when Indians were receiving allotted land to make up for white settlers stealing their homelands, white people would find one way or another to get that land back. Whether the land had oil or not, the white people wanted it, so they would murder the owner, marry an Indian woman, or the government would basically force the Indians to sell by withholding their royalty checks (for grazing leases or oil wells). It was crazy!

05 October 2005

I work hard for my money.

So last week I started a new job. I suppose my title is Chamber Manager for the Durant Area Chamber of Commerce, because that's what it says on my name tag. However, I believe my boss wanted me to be Executive Assistant, but the previous person in my position was under a misconception when she ordered the name tag. When my boss handed me my name tag, I said, "Hey, this says Chamber Manager." He does a quick double take: "What does?" "My name tag." "Oh.." laughs. "I guess we have two Chamber Managers, then." Hmm...good to know I earn and deserve my promotions! Anyway, after my first week, I was a little ambivalent about the job: the pay's pretty demoralizing--I could make more waiting tables--but I could kind of make up my own job description, doing my best at whatever I choose to do, including the Chamber newsletter. Creating and writing a lot of the newsletter should be a good professional experience, but my boss doesn't really seem to consider it a priority. Hence my ambivalence.

The Sunday after this first week, I found a tres interressante job ad in the class ads. Hmmm... to apply or not to apply? That has been my question for the last year. It seems the jobs about which I think, "Oh that would be okay temporarily" (real estate agency office manager, 4-H program assistant), I always end up getting, and the jobs where I think, "Oh this would be perfect!" (marketing assistant at rural enterprises, public information officer at Murray State), I always receive a rejection letter. Post-graduation stress syndrome??!! If I don't get a professional job in the next year, I'm going to be suffering from a serious mid-20s expectations crisis. (I saw it on the Today show!)

19 September 2005

Nightmarish Night

Both my boys abandoned me last night, making for an altogether ominous night alone. Shadow was restless because of the full moon. I took him outside, thinking he might need to relieve himself, but all he did was bark and listen to all the other dogs barking. It was almost creepy how light it was outside. The air itself looked silvery, and visibility seemed the same as daylight at first. Then I noticed that everything wore its nighttime veil of shadows and secrecy. I remembered a statistic I heard once that the crime rate skyrockets on nights of the full moon. Nervous, I called to Shadow to come in. Just then, the high-pitched yips and howls of coyotes filled the night, and Shadow froze. It sounded like a pack of the wild, lonely dogs were in our front yard. Shadow sat down, listening with his head cocked to the side. I called and called for Shadow to come in, visions of night prowlers creeping into my mind's eye. He wandered back to the door, and relucantly came in. As soon as I laid down, he started barking again. STUPID DOG! I got up, put my robe back on, and took the stupid dog back outside. Midnight. Sleep, finally.

A terribly realistic nightmare haunted me in the early morning hours. Kyle, my little brother, went missing. He had been on some sort of trip with friends, and was on some sort of lake or ocean when he went underwater and that's the last his friend Cory saw of him. We were posting Missing signs up everywhere. I remember the intense mental battle of maintaining hope that he was alive and battling thoughts that he was dead. At the end of the dream, I stumbled upon a foot; the rest of the body was buried under something. (I read a Hurricane Katrina article where a woman stepped on the foot of a dead child, the rest of whose body was buried under rubble.) The foot I found was Kyle's; I could tell by looking. For a horrific moment, I stared at the foot, willing it to move, to signal life. It did! His foot actually wiggled, and Kyle raised up, and he was alive! I was crying, and then I woke up. Love you, brother!

What a frightening, lonely night without Hubby... He'll be back soon.

14 September 2005

HOT TUB (gonna make ya sweat!)

Hey people! Sorry it's been a while. I'm sure you've all been waiting for baited breath for this very moment--a new post! Anyhoo, the big news in my life is that Hubby and I just bought a brand-new, super-sweet, ah-so-lovely-feeling, hot tub (That's not it at the right; just a random one I found on the Internet...but you get the idea!)! We've been getting in it every night since we got it--well since we filled it up anyway. Friends and loved ones, come and join us! It's really funny, b/c last night Jay and I were in there, and at some point, I noticed I'd been talking almost nonstop ever since we got in about a hundred different things on my mind: job switch, my theory on J's chubby cheeks (when his hair grows out, his cheeks appear smaller; he just got a haircut, so they look quite cherub-like again. You say chipmunk, I say cherub:), my theory on the relationships of our friends, etc. "This is so cool, because we can get in here and just talk every night," I said. "Yeah," Jay said, and kept messing with his jets. "Or, I can talk, and you can fiddle with the hot tub!" which is basically what was happening all evening. But he listens, so it's all good! (Guy readers-kyle-are like uh, no he doesn't.)

Okay, so let me say that last night's Rock Star: INXS was flippin' awesome! I think I might actually be rooting for JD the monster-jerk now! I think he's been characterized that way on the show, but really, he's a typical, driven, egotistical lead singer-type. Pretty Vegas made me dance all over the living room, with Shadow barking at me like I'd gone mad. And then Money!! But, Marty's perfs of Trees and Villain were both pretty suh-weet! (Bonus points to anyone who can identify where that word comes from!)

One more reality TV comment and then I'll quit: Janelle is going to win BB6! I have this feeling. If she can get Ivette to be the last woman standing with her, she just might have it in the bag, as many people as Ivette has offended and annoyed, even within the Friendsheep. Mark my words!!

Shoutout to lil bro Kyle this week, as he will be turning 17 on Friday! Love you, brother!

01 September 2005

Praying and hoping

I keep thinking the Gulf states will start looking better in the news, but it's just getting worse. People are angry and bewildered: they don't know why their government didn't help them evacuate and why they're not getting the supplies they need now. They're saying people won't be able to come back to their hometown for at least six months! Plus, the Corps of Engineers says it's never faced a problem like this, having to stop up levies and pump out so much water. In addition to deaths caused by the hurricane itself, people are still dying of heat exhaustion because there's nowhere for them to go. (Photo Credit: AFP)

Whenever I turn on the news I want to throw up and cry at the same time. Let me offer all my faithful readers (all two) some advice though: Do something good. That helpless feeling we all feel when we turn on the news and see the devastation can easily be cured by us doing two things:
  1. Pray for the people down there. "The effective and fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." (James 5:16)
  2. Help people. Our church is taking up a special collection Sunday to send down the relief efforts. Also, a lady at my work knows a woman who just took in three stepchildren (in addition to the five children she already has) who just had their home destroyed by Katrina. We're taking up a collection at work and I'm going to Goodwill tomorrow to buy the kids some clothes. The kids and their mom left so quickly, they basically only have the clothes on their backs. Comb your closets for old clothes, grab your little sister/brother's old toys, and take them to a donation dropoff. I think you can even buy toiletry stuff and give it to them. I know Brown's Funeral Home in Durant is taking donations.

That horrible feeling of helplessness and sadness I feel whenever I think about those people is already ebbing away, just because I know I'm doing something to help alleviate the devastation. Let's pray they start feeling some hope as they get the help they need.

29 August 2005

Weekending with the newlyweds

I just told my brother that I think it's cooler to write on subjects than to journal, but I'm going to give in to the powers that be (namely, my laziness), and recap my weekend. Friday night, J's college buddy Clint and his wife Sheridan spent the night at our house. They are a real hoot, and so sweet; brought J and I sno-cones from JJ's Shaved Ice (best sno-cones in Bryan County, but can't compare to the ones on Lindsey St. in Norman). They have two little boys--Hudson and Garrett. Get this: Sheridan and Clint both sell Arbonne, this Swiss skin care stuff. They're trying to get J and me to sell it, but I don't think it's gonna happen. I'm glad it worked out so well for them tho; Sheridan's driving a Mercedes SUV b/c of Arbonne!

Saturday, I was supposed to go the Caddo church's special seminar, "Holding to the Tradition," but slept too late, and then had to feed our guests my super-good breakfast casserole. Yay for trying new things! Then I went out to run errands: rented Bride and Prejudice, which J and I watched that nite--he basically just listened while he puttered around the house--but it was GREAT!! Haven't seen such a fun, clean movie in a long time!! You gotta get up and dance during more than one song (Did I mention it's a musical, my favorite kind of movie?). I skipped over my day activities: shopping at Ross and the Rage: more good, clean fun. Also bought a leather loveseat and ottoman--YIKES! It's a little painful to let go of that big a chunk of change. PLUS Jay and I just bought a hot tub last weekend--I don't know what possessed us to go furniture shopping and hot tub shopping on one day last weekend. (We bought a headboard, and couldn't decide on a loveseat, so I came back this weekend.)

Anyone read N. Scott Momaday's A House Made of Dawn? It's a postmodern, Native American novel--quite interesting, but extremely time-consuming to read. Is it shameful that I didn't know what a postmodern novel was until grad school?!! Professors have always bandied about that word, but I have a hunch that several people in my class, (a senior-level English class/grad class) had no idea what it actually meant until Dr. Tudor explained it. In case I'm driving any of you nuts b/c you don't know what postmodern is either, it's a novel structure that's hard to read: nonlinear plotline, multiple narrators, perhaps visions or memories thrown in to confuse you, lots of symbolism substituted for say, character development...you basically have to take notes on everything to keep it all straight. What on earth was my prof thinking, saying we needed to have the whole thing read by the second week of class?!!

24 August 2005

BB6 going down the toilet

How much do I love reality TV? I steered clear of Big Brother for so long, but like so many reality shows, it has lured me into its clutches. I can't get out! Let me just vent my opinion on BB6, since my hubby will not hear a word about it: Howie completely screwed up the Sovereign Six when he nominated James & Sarah. That was the beginning of the end for them. Rachel saw it right then; I didn't. When, oh when, will reality TV competitors understand that they must put their personal vendettas on the back burner until the numbers are in their favor to serve up some just desserts?!! Now I can't even decide who I'm going for in that house. Howie went ape on April, Janelle is still a strong competitor, but she's looking more and more petty. Rachel's okay, but she seems so dang boring!! Plus, she was the main person behind the colossal goof-up that was the candy-pinata veto challenge. I guess I'm going to root for James, even tho his personality doesn't appeal to me. Any guy who silently agrees to his girlfriend's comment, "You don't have a very smart girlfriend" probably falls into the "typical jerk" category. But he's playing the game the best right now, despite his frantic deal-making when Sarah was still around. If Beau, Ivette, or April end up in the top two, I will be thoroughly disgusted with myself for wasting so much time watching a half mil go to people who sat on their rears and trash-talked in a phat pad all summer long.

22 August 2005

5 things that have made us laugh in the last week

  1. A man making annoucements at church welcomed our friend Amber back from Guacamola. (She spent a month in Brazil on a missions trip.)
  2. Jay came in at about midnight Friday night from fishing; I was dozing on the couch after going out with my mom and sister that night. He came and bent over me and whispered, "I caught my first ten-pounder, Babe," and then went over to the kitchen and started banging around looking for something to eat. "Hey, is this rice stuff still good?" He called over to me, where I still lay with my eyes closed. When I didn't answer, Jay repeated himself. "Do you think I care? Can't you tell when someone's trying to sleep?" I yelled back, and then got up and stomped to bed. If what I do and say when I'm partially asleep is the real me, then I'm mean! The next day, we remembered this scene and laughed.
  3. We got the giggles one night in bed because I suddenly remembered a fight song our friend Jeremy Tims had made up for a small high school where J.T. and Jay and done a basketball camp. Jay started singing, "We are the Turner Falcons...we are the Turner Falcons...Caw! Caw! Caw!" in this high voice J.T. used to sing it.
  4. My professor gave me an awkward hug after a one-on-one appointment. I recounted the story to Jay, and don't worry, he's not worried about me having an affair with the highly self-satisfied, very well-fed professor with the lazy eye.
  5. I followed Jay into the bathroom to tell him the story about the professor.

08 August 2005


Who doesn't want one, really? I mean, what an amazing idea God had for procreation. He could have created a baby-making plant, and we could go pick out which ones we wanted. But no, God combines the DNA of two people who love each other very much so that we have a little combination of the two of us! How awesome is that?

I guess once you get married, people never really stop asking when you're going to start that awesome procreation process, but Jay and I aren't quite ready yet. But I do have some names picked out: Ella and Samantha for girls, and Jesse and Ethan for boys. My thing with names is, the spellings need to be such that when you say it, other people know how to spell it, and when people read it, they know how to say it. My cousin Kiernan and my cousin-in-law's new baby Raegan will be spelling their names for other people for the rest of their lives! And, one more crucial factor: when you say your child's name, three kids don't answer. You want a name that's familiar enough to spell and say, but not so familiar that your kid has to be called Jenny S. or Casey-boy in school. And, I'm all about having family names as middle names.

What does Jay have to say about all this? I seek his opinion on practically everything; generally after delivering a long diatribe on why I believe my opinion is best. Then he usually says something like, "Yeah, I guess," or "That would be okay." Sometimes he disagrees, but he's starting to realize that arguing with me is asking for trouble. ;)

03 August 2005

The Dam Law

Don't worry, no obscenities here. I'm referring to the law that as soon as you get one hole in your life filled with happiness and fulfillment, another area springs a leak. (Remember that scene in National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation?) That's what happened to me in the past year in two months. Here I was at OU, busy as a little bee with all these intellectually challenging activities: interning at Oklahoma Today or editing a section of the student newspaper, taking upper-division college courses, and not to mention planning a wedding. I was constantly reading or writing, and having my hard work rewarded with published works or glowing peer critiques or A's on my transcript. Everything's great, right? Wrong. I was living two hours from my husband-to-be, having to get by with nightly telephone calls and bimonthly visits. In the midst of this whirr of activity, all I wanted was to be a happily married woman. Now that's exactly what I am, but the intellectual and professional stimulation has all but bottomed out.

In short, I CAN'T FIND A JOB! Okay, so I'm freelancing, working part-time as Johnston County 4-H Program Assistant, dabbling in real estate, and pursuing a Master's in English Education. That sounds like a lot, and sometimes it is, but most of the time, I'm struggling to plug this hole in my life. A bunch of part-time jobs is having the same effect on this leak as Clark Griswold's chewing gum had on the leak in the Hoover Dam. I love being a wife and having a home, but I need to use my brain and my skills! (You know, nunchakas skills, computer hacking skills...)


Jay and I haven't had a child yet, but we do have Shadow-boy. He's a six-month old Lab (mostly) we got as a stray when he was four months old. He's added so much to our life, it is almost like we've had a child. Especially for the first month, about 75% of our conversations were about Shadow: his house-training, his eating habits, what he's chewed to bits recently. I'm glad to say that the almost constant Shadow-talk has subsided, but the baby-talk has not. I really never pegged Jay as a baby-talker, but this dog has turned him into one! Just about all he ever calls me is "babe," but Shadow is "you little black toot," said in a squeaky voice that sounds like a six-year-old girl. Sometimes, Shadow is "you little tooty-wooty-tooty," said in an even higher falsetto.


Welcome to my world as a newlywed.

I'd like to start at the beginning of our marriage so this thing has some semblance of order, but alas, I don't feel like recounting the past year and two months. Worthy anecdotes from that period will likely be forthcoming.

Here's dating advice you hear from your mom and read in all those silly girly magazines, but you usually kind of dread: Share his interests! Honey, you better get used to drag racing or deer hunting or web design, or whatever it is this boy is into, because when you're married, you'll find yourself doing the most out-of-character things with your hubby. Case in point: I've now spent three of the last four nights on my Uncle Gary's ranch, shining spotlights around in search of deer. Now before you call your game ranger, let me say, the only shooting we're doing is with a video camera. I'm the note-taker and filmer. Jay is The Boss. He sees a pair of tiny reflected circles 200 yards away and hisses, "Get your camera ready!" I follow his commands and film the majestic beasts staring over at Sqeaky (Jay's junky truck) in total bewilderment. It's actually been pretty fun, bouncing along through Brushy Pasture, Sanctuary, Southside, and Long Pasture. (All these places must have names for the purposes of record-keeping.) We cross Blue River every night, and there's always one deliciously frightening moment when you think the water is going to carry Squeaky away. We've seen two bobcats now. Jay says they attack the deer, and therefore should be shot, but I like to watch them. If it was humane and inexpensive to own a tiger, I would want one.