Apparently I Am A White Honkey Dumb Ass

27 06 2007

With work being as crazy as it is, I have very few minutes to monitor my personal work email. Today, the quickly scanned email told me, I was going to be involved in a Diversity Focus Group.

There seems to be much confusion why our company’s members and employees are, in a very large part, Caucasian. It seems as if the minority demographic is not that interested in ultra-lightweight camping trips to the backcountry that involve eating meals that heat themselves in their own packages when opened.

Who knew?

Sometimes it all makes me just so….tired.

Anyway…I walked into the conference room, chatting happily with the co-workers that also happened to be attending this session. After a few minutes of talking, I looked up at the woman who was to be leading this little group – she was smiling and staring at me as if I had suddenly sprouted horns.

I smiled uncomfortably back.

She continued to look really uncomfortable, and I started to look around me to get some sort of hint of what I could possibly be doing wrong.

It was only then that I realized that every single person in the room, besides me and the really uncomfortable smiling lady, was male and Asian.

If it had been an SAT question, I would have been the answer.

I then, being the good example of the Human Resources employee, began laughing semi-loudly and then stated, “I guess my focus group must have been YESTERDAY!”

I found it quite wonderful that I could have spend that much time in that room and never realize that something was “wrong”.

Diversity, smiversity.


The Winds of Change

27 06 2007

I have been keeping something under my hat. With so many things happening lately I feel completely wrung out – an emotional basket case.

Here is the latest….

Hello Human Resources,

I am thrilled to announce that Shari will be joining the compensation team as our Compensation Analyst I. In her new role, Shari will partner with the compensation team to complete job evaluations, conduct market analysis, participate in compensation surveys, and jump into Xcels processing and any other compensation work that arises.

Shari will be transitioning to her new role over the next month as we have asked her to continue contributing in the ESC and to help train new ESC Coordinators while learning her new position. By the end of August, Shari will be working full-time with the Compensation team.

Shari’s new role will build on the expertise she has gained since joining REI ‘s contact center in 2004, and her subsequent moves to headquarters in 2005 and our ESC in 2006. We’ll be leveraging the experience she has gained working with our HRIS systems, and I personally am looking forward to her sense of humor and peanut brittle around holidays (and Xcels) time!

Please join me in congratulating Shari on her new role!

Home, Sweet Home

20 06 2007

I love my little green house.

I rent it. I found it at a very hard time in my life and when I moved in I finally felt truly at home. It has a old ceramic kitchen sink.

And a Dutch door.

And a great back deck.

And roses.

And my landlord stopped by tonight to let me know they wanted to put it on the market this summer.

They just had twins – unplanned – and they are really the greatest people. I understand that this is the risk you take when you rent, but I can’t afford to buy.

And it breaks my heart.

What We Did This Weekend – Pig Edition

18 06 2007

The girls spent Saturday with their Dad for Father’s Day. He took them to the Fremont Fair – which is well known for some strange goings on.

I got a phone call Saturday afternoon from a very amazed sounding Sophie…”Mom? We’re at the fair and, well….there are a lot of naked people here.”

“Oh yeah?” I said, “That’s pretty cool. I bet they’re riding bicycles, huh?”

“How did you know? It’s kinda weird. One guy is painted like a bumble bee, and there is a lady with glitter all over her nibbles.” (Sophie calls nipples “nibbles”. It’s quite perfect, really.) “Here, I’ll let you talk to Maya.”

“Hi Mom.”

“Hey Maya. How are you doing? I bet your Dad was surprised when he saw those naked people on bicycles!” I said.

“Yeah. He told us not to look.” Maya switches to a low, almost inaudible whisper, “I have never seen a man, well…you know….all naked and stuff.”

“Not all naked. I heard they had some paint on,” I said smiling like a fool.

“Mom. You know what I mean. It’s weird. Not good weird.”

“Yeah, I know honey. It never gets any better than that, really. Oh well. At least now you don’t have to wonder.”

“Yeah…I guess” she said with disgust.

At least she wasn’t impressed. The discomfort that their Dad felt made me feel all warm and squishi inside. Really, if one of their parents were going to take them to a naked bicyclist fair I always assumed it would be me.

Sunday was spent in Seattle with my friend and co-worker Daniel. We bought High School Musical (from Disney Channel fame) tickets. Both Daniel and I were under the impression it was being put on by a young group of semi-seasoned actors.

We were wrong.

It was put on by a Children’s Theatre – none of the children being over twelve. Since it deals with High School age issues and crushes and first kisses, etc……well let’s just say it didn’t translate well to the group.

It was painful.

So we spent the rest of the day parading ourselves around Seattle finding the pigs from the “Pigs on Parade” street art show. In celebration of Pikes Place Market 100th anniversary various artists came up with their own version of the famous Pikes Place Pig. (see below)

The one below has weird faces all over it. A bit scary – but a pig can definitely pull it off.

This one was my favorite. It had piercings all over (they were actually all different sized cupboard knobs but I totally got what they were going for). Daniel is, in the spirit of things, showing off his tongue piercing.

Then off to the market to purchase and devour the largest maple donut ever made.

And the waterfront would not be the same without a Merpig.

And the other side of the market boasted this beauty, aptly titled “This little piggy went to market”.

And, of course, we had to go see Sylvester (and the shrunken heads, and the world’s largest barnacle and a petrified whale penis) at Ye Ole Curiosity Shop.

And then Daniel carried the girls through all the people so they could scream and inadvertently kick unaware tourists. Right after this picture was taken Daniel and I stopped to get ice cream. The outdoor speakers were blaring Sinead O’connor’s “Nothing Compares To You” – and although I have not heard that song in at least 12 years – we serenaded the audience while waiting for our Old Fashioned Butter Pecan. I think they were glad when we stopped. They had that “scared smile” thing going on.

As if we hadn’t had enough sugar, we later found a new store called “Chocolate Box” that was just a little bit evil and a lot bit good. The girls LOVE dark chocolate and each got their own bar.

And this pig sat right outside the door.

It was a fantastic day. Sugar. Pigs. Mummies. Bad Musicals. It just doesn’t get any better.

What did you do?

Super Models

13 06 2007

Remember when the girls did the photo shoot last summer? (the Photo Shoot Picture and Learning About the Outdoors Posts)

Well, their pictures from that day have made it on many different posters, emails and even postcards. Here are a few others that I thought I would share with you. Can you pick them out?

Hint: Sophie’s hair is over her face and her shoes are purple…..

Hint: Maya is wearing pink in this sea of faces.

End of the Year Project

8 06 2007

Maya just finished her end of the year project. She has been diligently working on the writing portion for three months at school. Please read her report below and comment on how smart she is. She is in fourth grade and writes better than I do!

Oh, and there is also a very cool poster that goes along with this that she made. It has sand glued on the bottom with real starfish, fake (but real looking) ferns growing on one side, moss and many other fascinating items from her place of choice in Washington…..enjoy.

Olympic National Park
By Maya Kalsta-Watkins

So you want to know how get to Olympic National Park? Well I know how to get there. But you have to promise me one little thing…to have fun!

There are many ways to get to Olympic National Park, but how do you get there from
Puyallup? First, get on Hwy 512 going west. When you get to Olympia take exit 104 to Hwy 101 North. There is another way to get to Olympic National Park, take I-5 North to Seattle and take the ferry to Bainbridge Island, cross the Hood Canal Floating Bridge and get on Hwy 101 to Port Angeles. Hurry get driving up to Olympic National Park! Pack your bags! Fun is waiting!

What is the best feature at Olympic National Park? Well I think it is the Hoh Rain Forest. In the Hoh Rain Forest the trees get up to 200 feet high! Sometimes trees grow over trees that have fallen and when the fallen tree rots away there is a little space under the tree. You can walk under its roots. They call it the Moss Halls because at the Hoh Rain Forest you can walk across moss that is all around you. I hope you want to go to the Hoh Rain Forest as soon as you can! What? Why would you want to go to Olympic National Park? I`ll tell you why! Keep on reading.

Most National Parks don`t have as many different places as Olympic National Park does. Olympic National Park doesn`t just have rain forests it has ocean beaches and large mountains. Kalaloch and Ruby beaches are fun and good family beaches. Mt. Olympus, the tallest mountain in the Park, gets over 200 inches of rain and snow each year. There are over 2,000,000 acres of land to camp, hike, and backpack in. I don`t know anybody who couldn`t find something to do in Olympic National Park.

There are many animals at Olympic National Park because of the different habitats . In the mountains you can see coyotes, Roosevelt elk, cougars, and striped skunk. In the Rain Forest watch out not to step on any banana slugs, long toed salamanders, or Pacific tree frogs! In the creeks and rivers in the park you can find 37 spieces of salmon and Olympic mud minows – which are found nowhere else in the world! My favorite animals are found at the beach like anemones and starfish. Sandollars and razor clams can be found by the bucketfuls. Sea lions, elephant seals, orcas, and humpback whales swim in the water right off the beach. Animal lovers love Olympic National Park!

Olympic National Park was founded by the government . It is run by the National Park Service and the Forest Service. But who owns the Park? We all do! Money from our taxes pays for upkeep and Forest Rangers that work at the Park. One time at Kalaloch beach I got sit and listen to a park ranger talk about different kinds of whales. There are Ranger stations at the Hoh Rain Forests and Hurricane Ridge. You can learn a lot from Park Rangers.

I hope this gives you many reasons to go to Olympic National Park. Its one of my favorites and could be one of yours.


4 06 2007

Sophie on Squid:

“My friends today said they didn’t like to eat squid, but none of them have ever tried it. I told them judging squid is just like judging people by the color of their skin. Geez. They never even gave it a chance.”