Saturday, September 29, 2007

Good Bad Movies

I'm not sure if my husband and I coined this expression, but it is part of our signature spousal language. We always know what one another means when we say..."I'm so in the mood for a good bad movie." Let me define.

Good Movie: Thought-provoking. Can induce laughter or tears, or both, but definitely requires post-movie discussion. Not always a crowd-pleaser. Sometimes a critics pleaser. Has some social context. Overall quality film-making.

Think: "Good Will Hunting"; "Philadelphia"; "Schindler's List"; "Life is Beautiful" (subtitle version please!); "It's a Wonderful Life"; "October Sky"; etc.
If you don't know these movies - you MUST rent them!

Bad Movie: No plot. No character. Bad acting. Bad score. Bad photography....Bad Bad Bad.

Think: "Daddy Day Camp"; "Idiocracy"; "Spiceworld"; "Battlefield Earth"; "Xanadu"
If you don't know these movies - thank your lucky stars. These are hours of my life I can never retrieve.

Good Bad Movie: A very individual definition. Not everyone agrees. It requires a strange combination of inadequate and yet compelling storytelling. It is pure entertainment. Enjoyment for enjoyment sake. Rarely thoughtprovoking, often laughable in its plot line...and yet NOT a turnoff. Most often, not afraid to laugh at itself without spiralling downward into completely stupid or violent behavior. There are sub-categories created by venues...fantasy, chick-flick, comedy...but very rarely drama. Bad drama is just...well...bad.

Think: "The 5th Element"; "Galaxy Quest"; "Must Love Dogs"; "Dogma" (or most any Kevin Smith film - until he met winning withJ-Lo in the movie); "Ladyhawke"; "50 First Dates"; "Beautiful Girls"...I can go on and on.
If you don't know these movies...give them a try. Remember I categorize them as good BAD movies, so view at your own risk.

One other category of movie is out there - the Indy and/or Documentary. I don't usually rate Indy's as good, bad, or good-bad. I just admire the hutzpah of these people willing to turn lives and bank accounts upside down to tell a story they are passionate about.

One of my all time favorites - because I have to grin every time Brian Herzlinger does (he is the main character and writer/director of the film) - is "My Date with Drew" If you haven't heard of this or seen it on the Independent Movie Channel - YOU MUST!! This absolutely authentic guy, living in L.A. and trying to make ends meet wins a game show (a pilot) and gets $1100. He decides to take this money and try to make a film...he decides the subject will be how an ordinary guy can use the 6 degrees of separation to access a famous celebrity like Drew Barrymore.

This could have been a scary stalker movie, but it wasn't - it was utterly charming and I have saved it permanently on my DVR so I can catch that grin whenever possible. I won't spoil the has its own unique charm. All I can say is - I highly recommend it.

Last, but not least - still in the Indy field is the bizarre movie "Hedwig and the Angry Inch". Okay this movie is DEFINITELY not for everyone. Unlike the Drew movie - which is essentially G-PG, this one is warped and definitely R. It is a rock-musical (started in theater) that showcases the life of a transexual. How can a bizarre rock-musical be touching? I don't know. But it is. Really. I tentatively recommend this for the more adventurous viewer.

What are your favorite good, bad, or good-bad movies?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Blogs Blogs Everywhere, But No New Blog to Read (3-post Friday!)

As a blogging novice (still)... what is the best way to locate blogs of common interest. My crooked path so far has been all about going from a friend's blog, to her favorites list, to a favorite on one of those, and so on. But as mentioned before, I've stumbled into a bit of a mommy blog world - and while I love you all - sometimes the pregnancy, baby, parenting stuff gets overwhelming.

For instance, I'd like to learn more about work-life balance issues for working women - parent or no. I'd like to find people who are reading and recommending great fiction to read. I'd like to find people with interest in environmental concerns. I'd like to find people who are movie aholics. Luckily the blogs I've stumbled to so far have ALL OF THESE THINGS. But I want more...(plus I owe a list of 10 to forward on the Smile Award!)

Suggestions, anyone?

Haircut Dilemma

I had a friend once say to me..."It's harder to find a new hair stylist than it is to find a new gynecologist." Hmmm. Well, I guess that's true. And really - a bad hairstyle can effect you and your mood much more (and for a longer duration) than a bad visit to the gynecologist.

In that mode, I've stuck with the same salon for probably 10 years now. I've been trying to get up the courage to do something new with my hair. You can see from the pictures on the right margin that over the last 8 months I've grown my hair much longer. But it is DRIVING ME CRAZY! How do you people with long hair stand this??? It takes FOREVER to dry (hence my hair dryer fritz the other morning). Plus, I think I may be one of those people who doesn't have the right shape head to prettily sweep hair up in a clip and go. Ponytails and clip-ups always have a Pippi-Long Stocking-esque look on me. Kind of pieces sticking out at 90 degree angles from my head. Last, but not least, I have that so attractive nape of the neck hairline that goes almost down to the base...making me feel like I haven't really evolved that far from the gorilla clan.

So here is my dilemma. What to do on my next return to the salon. Go for a totally new style? Keep growing and see what happens? Try a new color completely (red? brunette?) My hair is naturally a brownish-blonde (I think) under about 7 years of highlighting.

Here were some suggestions from friends.

1. Go back to a previous short style I had, and darken up the color.
(Don't judge me by the dorky pose - this was for a promotion press release)

2. Keep it longer, but layer it and go for a funky flip. Maybe change to a strawberry blondish color.

3. This is too blonde for me (I think?) and essentially just a neatened up style to what I'm wearing now.

4. Go darker and short layers...

I need help! Please vote, respond, something.

Signed -
40 and bored with my look.

Rock Garden, Anyone?

Today, for the first time in 2 months, I walked up to my front door. Normally, I drive around behind the house to park and come in the kitchen. The backyard is where everything happens in the summer. It's where we have our garage access, pool, shed, parking, etc. We never go in the front yard. So imagine my surprise when I discovered this:

In case you can't tell what it is, let me enlighten is a 6.5 foot high dandelion. I swear. Have you ever even heard of such a thing?
It's true the close up you can even see one of the dandelion heads, which has already sprayed its seed all over my yard.

This is an eye opening experience for me.

Now I have always known I am not a gardener. I love gardens, but I am not into all that maintenance and who the hell decided that weeds can be plucked out on a Sunday and be back in full size/bloom by Tuesday?

I'm all about letting nature take its course, but I think I went a bit far this time. Maybe its time to invest in that rock garden...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Short and Sour

Today sucked.
(Mostly because it was so long and I even worked through lunch).

Tomorrow will suck too.
(I have the twin of the meeting I held on Wednesday - another 15 engineers to get into line).

I still have my period and cramps, I'm hungry and it is 10:40 PM.
(And tonight I'm staying in the crappy hotel across from my office - that has NO ROOM SERVICE so I can be back here at 7AM.)

Ah...the sweet rewards of success.
(F that)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Day - Blow by Blow

5:45 AM - ALARM ALARM ALARM (No f-ing way am I getting up)

6:30 AM - Hubby: "Weren't you getting up before me to get in early?"

6:45 AM - Hubby: "Hello??? Are you getting up?" (finally drag my ass up)

6:46 AM - CRAP - got my period today, cramps are starting...this should be a fun day.

7:15 AM - Hair Dryer Overheats (half my head still soaking wet)

7:45 AM - Finally out of house...MUST HAVE STARBUCKS

7:50 AM - 8:45 AM - Drive to work...average speed 15 miles per hour on 4 lane highway


8:45 AM - Realize B-berry signal was turned off since 8PM last night - have 75 emails to process before 10AM meeting....Good thing I stopped and got my caffeine fix.

10 AM - Meeting I have been having advance nightmares about begins...I am facilitator...All I can hear in my head is the Pepto Bismol song.

12:30 Noon - Meeting half over and not quite the disaster I anticipated. However, put 18 engineers in a room (at VP level mind you) and ask them to agree on anything... nuff said.

3:00 PM - Meeting concludes ONE HOUR EARLY! A first!!

4:00 PM - Start to process additional 200 emails that arrived while trapped in torture chamber (aka meeting) No major emergencies and one nice surprise - My first blog award!

5:30 PM - Still wrapping up, but ABSOLUTELY leaving work at 6PM, no exceptions (unless I keep blogging!)

All in all not the horrific day I anticipated...but there's still the ride home.

And Me Without An Acceptance Speech...

I have no words of my own.
Corny Quote Alert!
I'll be stealing from some of my favorite sources.

"You Like Me....You Really Like Me"
- Sally Fields of course.

This is a cool award because what could be better as an accomplishment than to have someone tell you that you made them smile. Don't get me wrong...equally as important is making me cry...

"Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion"
- Dolly Parton, Steel Magnolias

...but a smile is worth a lot.

So I guess I need to pass this along eh? I'm a real novice to this blogging thing, and 3 of my favorite blogs all got this at the same time (thanks for hogging the good ones Shari....) so I have to do some research. So I'll be surfing tonight...I'm seeking smiles, grins, giggles, and guffaws.

What a great thing to look forward to!

In the meantime...

"Thank you again, for your support"
- Bartles & James (one of the best ad campaigns ever).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Too many topics, too little time....

Promised I'd blog about my cat - so Shari can compare I'll start there. His name is C.K. Dexter Haven (I will give $50 bucks to the first person who understands that reference...)

ok...not really...but I'll be impressed.

He is a black cat, made spooky by the fact that he FREAKS out when anyone other than my hubby and I are in the house. No kidding. Like hissing, spitting, screaming, freaking out. Hard to believe he's the same cat that likes to curl up on us while we sleep but there you have it.

My best Dexter story is when we were selling our town house. Because he is SO anti-social, we would lock him in the basement whenever anyone wanted to see the place. We'd put up a sign and ask that people not open the door and promised if they were REALLY interested in the house, we'd find a way to let them see the basement area.

Comes time for the offer and inspection and the prospective buyers, realtor, and inspector are crawling around the house. I'm trying to carefully move the cat from one room to another without him scaring the bejesus out of everyone (honest, it is god awful freaky how he gets)...but no luck. As I'm carrying my screaming hissing clawing friend up the stairs I see an ARC OF CAT PISS shoot through the air and cascade down the wall.


Wanna buy my place now?

Strange thing is...they did!

Instant Brady Bunch

So earlier today I was thinking about our choice not to have any children. My hubby and I are proud DINKS (dual income no kids) and it's worked for us thus far. Funny thing is, if some huge national or global disaster strikes, we could become the instant Brady Bunch. We are listed on wills as the legal or financial guardian for no less than 6 kids!

Seriously. Who really thinks we are well-suited for this assignment? We work like maniacs. When we aren't working, we are pretty much hermits - hiding in our house away from the "mean-to-me's" out there in the world.

Most times (can you believe not every time?) we were asked in advance. And I gotta tell you, we thought about it pretty damn hard before saying o.k.

When you plan to be a parent - you pretty much plan (I hope you realize) to turn your life upside down and to never never never be the number one priority in your life again. If you didn't - SURPRISE! And shame on you. Of course your child should be the priority.

Of course. Of course. Of course.

So, when you plan to offer yourselves up as guardians/potential parents - the same deal applies.

Of course. Of course. Of course.

When one of my best friends in the world asked us to consider this job, she made sure to tell us it comes with $$$$. Now while we may be a couple of greedy dinks, this was not necessary, until I realized what she was really telling me was - you (or hubby) can quit your job to do this. In fact, what she was REALLY telling me was - you (or hubby) SHOULD quit your job to do this.

Of course. Of course. Of course.

Then she said, "I know you've made a choice not to be a parent. How do you really feel about this?" I took one look at the pictures of her kids I have plastering my house, thought about the way I love those kids like they were my blood, and knew it was a different choice.

You see, choosing not to have a child is one thing.
Choosing not to love a child is another.

Of course. Of course. Of course.

Monday, September 24, 2007

It's the Little Things

I regularly bust my butt for my job. Most of the time, it's noticed, but not necessarily recognized. Imagine my surprise when my boss forwarded me the following email.

BOSS: I thought you should see this. Don’t sell your client service short – not everyone performs at the level you do, and it is appropriate to be recognized. (If this was the norm, I don’t think {Senior Engineer} would have taken the time to share this). You really do outstanding work every day and are a great ambassador for the team.



Last Friday at around 4:30 a client called with a panicked last minute request for company information on our firm. A Town board meeting had been scheduled for Monday evening to discuss re-development plans for a 15 acre parcel in Ridgefield, NJ. The firm is providing environmental due diligence support to a team of developers, architects and attorneys on a project to re-develop a total of 45 acres of former industrial property along a creek. They wanted to prepare a package of team qualifications to leave with the Town mayor and council.

Anticipating that the office would be empty late on a Friday afternoon, I went down to marketing and found {Wenderina} working at her desk. When she heard my problem, {Wenderina} immediately offered to help, asked questions about the project and the purpose of the meeting and walked me over to the room where the marketing materials are stored. She pulled out a few appropriate brochures and asked where they had to be sent and when. After hearing the documents needed to be sent to two addressees for Saturday delivery, {Wenderina} offered to send the materials out to fill out the shipping forms and drop them off at FedEx on her way home.

What I originally thought was going to be another late Friday afternoon headache with no support to be found anywhere, actually turned out to be a pleasant surprise and a positive experience. {Wenderina} made my problem her problem and, on top of everything else, was pleasant to deal with. All too often we only hear when something goes off the rails. We should recognize when someone steps up and goes above and beyond to get a job done.

My thanks to {Wenderina},

Senior Engineer

This was by far one of the easiest tasks I've done in years...but sometimes, it's the little things that matter.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Sundays

My husband I and I suffer from a chronic case of the Sundays. This ailment can occur at any time between 6PM on Friday until 7AM Monday...but generally reaches peak effect sometime Sunday afternoon. It is the dreaded, "I don't WANT to go to work" whine that starts in your head and travels to the gut and back up again.

Sometimes we locate temporary cures for this - a house project helps; the rare Sunday night social plans; but most weekends it takes hold at some point and doesn't let go. It's not like we hate our jobs or anything - we actually kind of like our jobs - but we just don't want to do them...especially on Mondays.

"Why not?" you ask.

Are you for real??

Years ago, we were once again throwing money out the window buying lottery tickets. I know. I know. But well...we're human and that damn "you've got to be in it to win it" gets us once in a while. Our conversation that day went like this:

Hubby: Hey, Lottery is $50 Million! Sweet. Let's get some tickets.

Me: You know it!

Hubby: What would you do if we won??

Me: Um...well...quit my job...

Hubby: Duh. But what's your dream? What have you always, always, always wanted to do if you had the money.

Me: Um...I really don't know. How sad is it that I don't have a lottery dream????

Hubby: No sweat. I have enough dreams for the both of us.

How sweet is that??

Okay, another cure for the Sundays. Remember something sweet my husband has done or said. That ought to keep me going for quite a while.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chip and Dale...A Buddy Story

{Setting a scene...bear with me....}

I think the last week's strange sleep habits are messing with our minds. We've both been working late and also had some insomnia - on top of that, my husband had to work all day Friday, and then return to work for a system upgrade at 11PM and work until 4AM, then he had bagel duty for his lodge (there will definitely be a future blog about the Grand Poobah and his lodge) so he was up at like 6:30 again to head out.

While he was out working last night, I was - well- you know- reading and posting blogs. Until about 2AM - sick sick sick. Amybow is right, there is an addiction starting here. At some point in our grogginess I was given the house chore of adding water to our pool to bring level up (no need to go into why level was down...just trust me). When I stumbled outside in my pjs and flip flops into the strange humid late September heat this morning to drop the hose into the pool I noted something odd on the side of the pool. Closer examination revealed a sopping wet and quite dead chipmunk.

Now, unfortunately, we are no longer surprised to find dead chipmunks in our pool. There seems to be a few suicidal ones each season. I judiciously decided to do what I usually do when discovering some horrible gruesome gross task. I ignored it and waited for my husband to return home.

Scene is now set.

Me: Hey, you're home...I'm glad.

Hubby: Yeah, I'm beat - I need a nap.

Me: You deserve one sweetie, but first...uh...I think there is something over on the side of the pool.

Hubby: Oh yeah, some kind of dead thing. I figured that might freak you out

Small note, he had not warned me or anything in advance!

Me: Yeah, well, I know you're in a suit and everything, but can you....???

Hubby: Yup.

No complaints, not even a sigh. He gathers requisite tools to dispose of wet rodent. As he hovers over it I see him shudder.

Hubby: Man this really grosses me out.

But he does it, good hubby. I am hovering inside the house speaking to him through the window cuz I'm a big grossed out chicken. SUDDENLY....

Hubby: Oh crap there's another one.

Me: Where???

Hubby: We've got a floater.

Grabs skimmer and gently starts to scoop.

Hubby: (talking to dead chippie) Hey, did you sacrifice yourself to save another? It's a buddy story.

Me: ??????

Hubby: I was wondering how the other one drowned but was OUT of the pool. Must be this one helped him out but died in the process..."Stay Alive, No Matter What Occurs..."

In case you don't recognize this it is quote from one of my fav movies Last of the Mohicans - Daniel Day Lewis was HOT in that movie.

Me: Giggle.

Moments later

Me: Giggle.

Hour later.

Me: Giggle.

This is what makes marriage work. Sleep-deprived humor.

Blog Envy

I was starting to get cocky. I admit it. I've always considered myself a writer, and really, the only reason I haven't written that best seller yet is I don't have the time and energy after writing crappy marketing engineering stuff and stupid memos all day. Last couple of days, I've had lots of replies to my posts. Granted...I dragged people into my site by sending them my link, but they read it and replied, right?

Truth is, after surfing around some of the blogs out there, there are way better writers than me. Amybow would tell me I'm slipping back into that mode of being too hard on myself again. Maybe. Self-criticism, self-hatred, and self-examination are all things that go hand in hand. Honestly, I don't hate myself - but I'm beginning to get a little blog envy.

I'm learning that the way these blogs work is in some wierd way you connect these dots. I've always loved connecting dots so skipping around random blogs on a crazy path from someone I know, to someone who knows them, and so on is not really a stretch for me.

Ironically, I've stumbled into the mommy blog world. Me, the anti-parent. Don't get me wrong, I love kids! I even like to play with them...sometimes...when they are cute and not too sticky or whiney or stuff. I do NOT do diapers. Never have, never will. Luckily - my hubby has been on the same page with me from day one. No longing glances across the beach at the cute little girl in her day-glo swimsuit, no heavy sighs watching the fathers and sons at the ball park. We see, we appreciate, we even feel tender toward the scenes...we do not feel envy.

I'm rambling a bit here. But give me a break, as I said, I'm reeling from blog envy. There is one culprit in particular - That Chick Over There - from Jason. For the Love of God. Before I got off on a storytelling tangent above, I was mentioning the pathway through mommy blog world. I started with dear friend her blog because I learn more about her and her sweet baby every day. That led me to Shari...funny wacky...totally love her blog because I found so much common ground and same sense of humor (seriously - Death Toll: 3 was beyond brilliant) on a site about being a mom... Shari then led me to That Chick Over There. The first post I read - screamingly funny - about the horrible dumbing down of america evidenced by job applications and resumes. As an English major and semi-professional marketing writer - I found it horrifyingly hysterical. I clipped it out and forwarded it to colleagues (couldn't link to her blog because - gasp - they might find a way to traverse my crooked path back to me).

Back to Blog Envy (really W, stay on track here). So Chick, as we'll call her, sucked me in with the laughter. Then I did what I usually do in my totally anal way - I scrolled to the bottom of her archive and started reading...from Post #1. I figure anyone can score a good story at some point in time, but can you entice me to follow you through your journey day by day? Oh yeah. She definitely could. Almost 2 hours later, I've only gotten through November and December 2006 and I'm completely enthralled, and intimidated beyond belief.

Yeah...she's funny. But you know what, she's also incredibly honest and willing to share moments of such incredible beauty about her children and her life, and willing to share the ugliness that can creep into life too. I don't know Chick, but I do. I know she has had a hard life. I know she realizes she is luckier than most right now, but she is afraid of the frailty of that luck. I know she has talent and drive. I know she is insecure. I know she loves and is loved. She's had like 2,940 hits on her site. I've had 27.

Can you freaking believe this? I was afraid this Blog Stuff would be like Reality TV gone amok. I'm making it sound a little soap opera-y too. And yeah, sometimes it is both. But to get a glimpse into people's lives this way and see real honesty out there...amazing.

So, I thought - I can't blog anymore...I can't possibly compete. What do I have to say? Chick has written 12,000 words of her first novel (as of December 2006, by now she may be publishing!) and I'm trembling at posting a note.

But here I am. All my anxiety (that is my overall theme right?) out there for the world, and I'm gonna keep blogging, dammit.

Post-script: Weird blogging coincidences.

WBC #1
1. Sent a reply to one of Shari's posts today at 9/21 10AM
2. Received an email notification that Shari (who I've never met and only linked up to in blogging this week) posted a reply to my site today at 9/21 9:45AM.

WBC #2
1. Tripped into Chick's site (mommy blog linking)
2. She works in the same industry - environmental field - as I do.

WBC #3
1. We are ALL diet soda fanatics...hmmmm

Friday, September 21, 2007

Blogging Fans & New Friends

I've made my first pure blogger connection. Does this qualify me as a truly global communicator? Okay, granted, I only made it as far as KC, but hey, it's still outside my normal travel zone.

To Shari (of KC fame) - you have added a new word to my repertoire (even my hubby loved it) - FANCRAPTASTIC. This has to be quite the signature word in your life, but I'm borrowing it and will always give you credit. Having you respond to my blog was a highlight during a highly stressful day today. I kept getting these little pop up mails indicating you had commented, and I was grateful you had fun viewing my anxieties and random thoughts (really, that reads sarcastic, but it's not!)

To my big sister J - heart of the family - you are welcome to my innermost thoughts (especially those I choose to post on the world-wide-web) and I hope it reduces the continental distance between NY and CA. Your wise words about being careful about what we put into print is so true. I'm going to wickedly enjoy that one posting on Lights On, Nobody Home for one more day and then will banish it from the site.

To wonderful, magical Kiki - welcome to my blogger world and what will hopefully expand our relationship beyond the bounds of work colleagues into true friends. I find you to be an exceptional person and look forward to knowing you (and your husband's travels through Qatar) a little better each week.

To my true soulmate and hubby - you were the first person I shared this blog with and I hope it adds a little quality time to our conversation time - which is so rare these days. Your new job, and my old one, are sucking a lot of time out right now (payback for that rare 2 week vacation we took) - so let's make sure we keep carving out time for one another, and when we can't quite do it - thanks for never giving me a guilt trip. (P.S. I don't know how my lady readers do what they do and kids too!)

To my inspiration - Amybow - you save my bacon and my mind nearly every day at work. I am actually jealous of LP since she keeps you out of office Mon and Fri, but since you stay within range of IM/email, I'm dealing.

To my dear friend SDS - the opposites in our lives are only surpassed by the strength of our linked hearts and minds. Every time I'm with you I learn something new about life, about logic, about heart, about balance, or so many other things. This is a value beyond words.

Okay, so it is 1:15Am and I got a little philosophical, sentimental, not to mention verbose. But I have to share one more thing. My Brother-in-Law - J's intrepid partner - arrived for a short visit today and fixed himself a cocktail after the long ride. This one was a new one on me. Jack Daniels Whiskey and Mountain Dew. (yes you read that right). So to you brother...I say, pour one more and let's "Dew Jack Shit".

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blog Action Day 2007

Mark the date on your calendar folks - 10.15.07 - Blog Action Day...Blogging for the Environment!

The Lights Are On....But Nobody's Home


In the last couple of weeks I've had several teeth clenching, tongue-biting, eye-rolling moments with people at work.

(This part was really funny - sorry if you missed it)

So my question to the universe is, when you have people that you actually genuinely like (I really do) but you find working with them is requiring that you buy a dental device to stop your teeth grinding, what can you do?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Trivial or Tragic

A friend commented that I haven't been blogging in the last few days. (So this is for you Amybow!) The last few days have been strange and in a continual fluxuation between the trivial and the tragic.

Trivial: I noticed a moment last Thursday when I was smiling for no reason. At that moment I felt really happy. It actually stopped me in my tracks. I thought about examining it, but was afraid to dissect it and destroy it. So I just tried to enjoy it. Downside is, how can you recreate or repeat something if you don't know why it happened in the first place.

Serious, but not tragic (thank god): Mom was in the hospital on Friday with chest pains. Luckily it was diagnosed as gastritis and she is following up with other outpatient tests to be sure, but it was frightening. Mom had a hysterectomy at a young age (only about 2 years older than I am now) due to cancer of the uterus. One of the side effects can be heart issues because of the loss of estrogen. So far, she's tested well, but it was frightening (yes, I typed that twice).

Trivial: TV marathan this weekend. I did accomplish a few chores, but ignored take home work, classwork, and anything else that would engage my brain in any real activity. I even turned off phone (after checking in with Mom early in the day) to avoid any unnecessary chatter. Thought about blogging about some of the "deeper" movies like 21 grams (wow, freaky) etc, but just couldn't get up the brain power.

Trivial, but exhausting: Preparing for big executive meetings at my office can be a marathon race filled with unexpected hurdles and changing course. I have 3 to prepare for next week. I become exhausted just thinking about them, much less actually preparing for them. This is another case of focus focus focus must be the key - instead of my usual procrastination tactics. A friend told me today of a triangle where the base corners are (left) where you are; (right) where you want to go, or horizon and the top corner represents your comfort zone. The path is much longer to go to comfort zone on the way from where you are to where you need to be, but we usually take it to avoid the uncomfortable/stressful/anxious direct line on the base. I have to think more about that as it relates to my job and life choices.

Tragic: Received a call on Monday from a best friend from high school. She's one of those people that you have history with - back to the painful days of middle school - and yet whose presence in your life survives neglect, changing lifestyles, distances of geography, and all the other factors that cause friendships to fade away. We talk rarely, we see each other even more rarely, but on this day she called me. She had to tell me her little sister was killed in a traffic accident. I have no words to express the sorrow I feel. This was the kid we used to shoo out of the room on the hour while we did our teenage girl things. She grew to be an amazing woman and I'm sorry I didn't know her in her adult years. She was only 31 when she was killed - a moped has no chance against a taxi in the streets of Spain. My goal is now to support my friend - try and fill some of the hole in her life - and learn about the life that her sister lived.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Passport Virgin

Tops on the list of things that feed into my anxiety about new and different ... unfamiliar ... change ... any and all of the above is traveling to new places. I've pretty much licked this on domestic travel - but I rev myself up pretty good just making sure I have a BINDER of info on where I'm going and what I'm doing.

For example, business travel requires:
  • Triple checking my bag for all essentials (and non-essentials)
  • Mapquest and Google Maps of city, town, county, and driving directions between any and all potential locations - NO WANDERING OFF THE BEATEN TRACK ALLOWED.
  • Printed travel itinerary with all travel confirmed (at least once).
  • Airport parking stub with listed row, floor, and other pertinent info to find the car in the dark on return
  • Internet lists of cabs, limos, restaurants, etc. in immediate vicinity of hotel (although 9 times out of ten I'm either with colleagues who handle all arrangements or I'm in hotel room getting room service.

God forbid the travel involves extra unplanned time. My hotel room gets a lot more use, because I'll never explore a city on my own.

The other day my boss said she might be sending me to Vienna, Austria to scope out possible venues for an international conference coming up next year where we might have a client event. To anyone else this must seem like a boon! To me, it sends ripples of panic and I have to stock up on extra immodium for those new gut clenches.

Face it, I'm a passport virgin. I have one stamp in my passport and that's only because you can't get in and out of Mexico anymore without it. The Vienna trip threw me for such a loop that I emailed my Mom and asked her to travel with me if it happens. Granted, it's a great opportunity for us to travel, but just as importantly - it's my Mommy there to take care of me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering a Colleague

On 9/11/01 a colleague of mine, who worked at Marsh & McLennan on the 100th floor of the WTC was lost. His name was Rick O'Connor. I can't claim to have known him exceptionally well...we had only worked together for a short time before he left for a new position. But we did work together quite a bit during that time and many of his characteristics remain fresh in my memory.

When talking he often placed his forefinger and thumb on his eyeglasses and jiggled them up and down on his nose. It was like a tick, but it was charming. He was an avid e-bay fanatic and went so far as to purchase a vintage car on-line for his teenage son. He was a tremendous family man and truly lit up when speaking of his wife and children.

At work, he had brilliant ideas and always thought outside the box...dragging me along with him. When I described him to my friend S today, she laughed and observed I tend to be moved by convincing arguments by others. She is so right about that. My first gut reaction to new ideas is usually resistance, but my immediate next thought tends to be, but if we were to do that - how would we do it??? Rick always brought that out in me.

Hard to believe it has been 6 years since his funeral. Every year on this date, I pull out his photo and post it up on my bulletin board. Everyone deserves to have someone remember them. Today, I remember Rick.

Monday, September 10, 2007

School Days, Work Days

I survived my first weekend of school - surprisingly well. As long as I can avoid the math classes I fear so deeply, I think I might actually make this thing work. Today is Monday and I am now back at work. Officially, and fully, back at work. It is 9:15pm and I just finished some of my "important" tasks and am now prepping to go home.

My question of the day is - will I ever change? Will I ever be able to leave work at 5PM or somewhere near it? Do I want to change is probably the question most of my friends would say to me... Truth is I love the people I work with and wouldn't give up the talk-time I spend at work just brainstorming, sharing professional and personal challenges, etc. But what I would like to change is my ability to focus and complete key tasks and re-prioritize or distribute the others. Maybe then I could leave by 7pm?

Like my hero Scarlett always said, "Tomorrow is another day."

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Classic Anxiety Dream

So...back from vacation and the next anxiety rears its head. It's back to school time!

After 20 years of absence, I'm heading back to the classroom to pursue my master's degree. I anticipate the classic anxiety dream this evening...I'm heading to the exam and I can't find the classroom...or the popular alternative...I'm heading to the exam and I haven't attended a class or completed an assignment all year....AND it's a math class (YIKES!!!)

I'm hoping I get back into the swing of things pretty quickly. Obviously my old study habits are still intact since it is midnight the night before my first class and I just completed my assigned readings and packed my bookbag. My hubby gave me my lunch money for tomorrow, so I think I'm fully prepped.

Sweet anxiety dreams!

27, 12 1/2, 1000

Shopping is rarely a life changing experience. But today I stopped at a new shop on Cape called Emancipation Imports - a part of The Emancipation Network (TEN). The store had been featured in a local shopping guide and promoted unique hand-made gifts made by survivors of slavery or women and children at risk for slavery due to poor economic and governmental situations.

The store itself was tiny, hardly bigger than my kitchen, but true to their promotion, there were many unique and beautiful items. I selected a suede hand-bag, a small woven carrier for my blackberry, some bracelets for gifts, and reluctantly passed on some additional jewelry for myself. The store owner told me since I had spent more than $50 I could either select a messenger bag made of recycled materials or a t-shirt with TEN written across it. I had noticed the bag earlier and in red print on the front it said 27, 12 1/2, 1000 as well as the words END SLAVERY and It was striking but I had no idea what the numbers meant.

This is when shopping took a turn. When I asked the meaning this is what she told me.

27 is for the estimated 27 Million slaves in the world - TODAY in 2007!
12 1/2 is the average age of the slaves
1000 is the estimated dollar value placed on a human life in the slave trade

I was blown away and literally brought to tears by these statistics. I took the bag and will carry it every day to remind me. Please visit their site and support this important cause.

Was I really complaining about a mouse in my beach house?

A Sailing We Will Go

Today we joined our Windy Gulch landlord in a sail across the bay. He is an experienced sailor, but we are not, so we trusted in his ability to give direction.

When we got to the boat, I began to learn a little more about Mr. S. and his penchant for cheap fixes. (I already had a bit of a feel for this in the shack). He showed me how he had taken the plastic tops from a non-dairy creamer and a cool whip container to create watertight covers for his gauges. "why pay $100 for this when I can add a little duct tape and caulk and use something for free??"

So, my trust was wavering a little - was this boat held together with duct tape and caulk?

Our first attempt was aborted by a lack of wind, but the 2nd day we had luck with a lovely gusting northerly wind that pushed and pulled us across the bay. Some of the gusts felt like we could tip over, and I had another moment's pause when our captain went below and put on a life vest...but didn't offer us any...but the adventure turned out to be a highlight of our week.

Afterwards we enjoyed cocktails and snacks with Mr. and Mrs. S. on the bench that overlooks the beachwalk back at Windy Gulch and we were reminded why despite all its faults, we continue to return to Windy Gulch each year.

The Mouse is Dead, Long Live the Mouse

Yesterday all of our friends said goodbye to the Cape and left my husband and I on our own in the Windy Gulch beach shack. We experienced a short period of empty nest syndrome, but soon settled into our own routine. Because we were only 2, we moved over to the attached "cottage" (a.k.a. converted garage) where in our first week LH had stayed and had successfully survived having a mousetrap bring a close to the life and career of a small field mouse who had taken up residence.

We had been in the cottage approximately 8 hours and I had given up on any hope of sleep in the torture chamber described in the Windy Gulch property brochure as spacious and airy bedroom. I moved out to the main room which consists of kitchenette, table/chairs, love seat and two twin beds. Lo and behold a small visitor skittered around the edge of the room and then disappeared into a small cupboard in the corner. Hmmm...I know we had emptied the trap of our furry this either a spirit siting or a relative.

The next morning, as I sipped my juice and watched the rolling surf from the adjacent deck, said Mouse once again made himself known, slowly zig-zagging across the wooden slats seeking a dropped crumb here and there. Whether it was the peace of the ocean surf or the resignation of a beach shack dweller finally accepting my surroundings, in my mind the phrase arose....The Mouse is Dead...Long Live the Mouse.