Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fossils:The Devil's Handiwork

Continuing on my religion commentary from my last post...

Hopefully all will find this as funny (and smart) as I do. No offense intended.

Holy Holy Holy

Today I attended ANOTHER funeral. I seem to be "of an age" where this occurs more and more. Now, those of you who have read some of my blog, or seen my replies to my linked blogs when religion becomes a topic know I'm a little anti-organized religion.

Hey, don't get me wrong. If that is what gets you through a tough day, week, month, year - God Bless (ha). But I am having a hard time finding any of the peace I used to find in a simple church service. I get caught up in the hypocrisy, the commercialization, the subliminal messages, etc.

Today, for example, I attended a Catholic funeral mass. Now Catholicism is a funny thing. No offense should be taken by any of you devout Catholics out there. There is quite a lot of beauty in a Catholic service. Steeped in tradition and in ceremony, it can be very moving. But I have to say, congregations don't seem to stop and smell the roses much in these services...I mean you guys have got assembly line communion down to an art. I keep thinking if they can find a way to serve the "host" on a conveyor belt to get through it quicker they will. Geez. And those memorized responses! Nevermind that those of us not raised Catholic have no idea when to sit, stand, or kneel, but then you spit out those responses at like 200 words/minute so I can't even understand what is being said? I looked up some of the responses once, and they were beautiful! Like poetry....but without cadence or emotion, you could be reading me a grocery list!

Now, on top of this, there was only about 2 minutes spent on the person who died. I mean, this could have been anyone's funeral. If there hadn't been a picture of her on the front of the program I wouldn't have known if I was in the right church. And why, oh why, does the priest feel that a funeral mass is the right place to lecture people on their religious habits? Aren't we supposed to be celebrating a life? saying good-bye? forgive and forget? I really don't need to have someone tell me that if I participate in more church activities I'll have a quicker route to heaven than those who don't. Seriously.

As I sat in the church and listened to Ave Maria (great music of faith is I find as close as I get to a real religious experience), I looked up at all of the icons - Christ on the cross, Mary in her alcove, the many stained glass depictions of religious scenes. And I wondered, really, does God look down on us from heaven and just wonder...HOW THE HELL DID THESE PEOPLE GET THIS SO WRONG???? They are so embroiled in ceremony and memorized scripts...not to mention totally high on the incense (What is THAT all about anyway?) that they've forgotten the basic teachings of the "christ" (or if you prefer prophet) Jesus.

Let's just try to boil religion down to the following:
  1. Be good to one another. You don't really have to LOVE your neighbor. Just treat them as if you did. And if you do something bad to someone - don't ask God or your priest for forgiveness or penance - ask that person. Seriously.
  2. Be honest. Don't lie or cheat. Really, this is just basic respect and responsibility.
  3. Care for those weaker than you - children, elderly, family, friends, strangers. Just give a little back.
  4. Try to leave the world a better place than you found it.
  5. Take a little time every day to find a moment of happiness and gratitude for your life. Give a shout out to your god, goddess, or - if you prefer - your family or friends, and express this moment to them.
That's it. That's my religion*. Anybody wanna join?

*Offer is subject to the following terms: No membership fees or requirements. No newsletter. No ceremony. No memorization. No special holidays. No gifts. No returns. No iconography. No statues. No pulpits. No leaders. No followers. No theme music. No preaching. Absolutely no hypocrisy. Maybe a little judgment here and there. Sarcasm and swearing allowed. Eye rolling required.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Define a "Sick" Day

This morning I woke up with a killer headache. After assessing my work schedule I decided to stay home and try to sleep it off.

I'm crackberried up, so I don't think there is truly any real "off" day anymore unless I absolutely power down. I decided to put it on silent and go back to sleep and I only checked it once or twice during the morning. Feeling better in afternoon, I took part in more active emailing and also a conference call.

I remember when a sick day literally meant you were off the grid. Unless your boss was a real slave driver and tracked you down by phone on a declared sick day, you were off the hook.

I am a self-recognized workaholic. Right now BOTH my hubby and I are working long hours (this is a boring recurring theme in my blog!) and it is a more interesting process to stay in touch with one another and get in that quality time.

Tonight we had a meeting scheduled with a financial advisor, but hubby has work crises and must work late. I'm taking my drugged up head out to the appt and am happy to carry the load. We're really partnering to get things done these days.

Last week my friend, colleague, and sometimes conscience Amybow put out a post reflecting on my horrific work habits. I'm not sure I can explain myself appropriately to people who have children or more demands than I do at home. There is a sense of satisfaction I get from accomplishing lingering work tasks that doing a load of laundry at home just can't compare to. I am well-paid and well-recognized at my job and I admit to reveling in feeling needed there. I harbor no illusions that should I get hit by a bus tomorrow, the company would go on just fine without me. In contrast, my husband and family would not - I mean they would, but it would be hard. I've read Tuesdays with Morrie, I've heard all the statements about people who never regret spending too little time at work when they are old and gray. But, despite the fact that it sounds does give me satisfaction.

I guess it comes down to choice. When it is someone else's choice or priority that drives me to work long hours, that is tough. When it is MY choice and I've weighed it against all my other options for my time that day, I'm okay with it. There are not many jobs/companies that give you the freedom to make that choice, and 9 times out of 10, it is my choice.

So, how I define a "sick"day is feeling crappy and feeling that it's okay to stay home in bed today. It's also okay to keep my crackberry near by and participate as I feel is necessary in the work day.

Reality check anyone? (be kind...but be ego can take it)

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Wow - I've been off line for a few days a quick blog of random items.

Family came and went. Of the weekend, Friday was best day - and when I went to bed so happy to have had a laughter filled evening, hubby wisely said..."well, that was undoubtedly the high we'll stare at each other for a couple more days..."

Performance anxiety. Today I had to give out three more evaluations. I wimped out a bit on the harsh criticism after last week. Funny how different the view is from either side of the evaluation form.

Rich woman-poor woman. I was wondering why my pocketbook felt so empty...then I reviewed all the stockpiled expense receipts in my bag and found I was owed $3800. I'm sure I'm actually owed more, but who can keep track of all those little expenses. As long as I get back the big bucks for the hotels and multi-person meals, I'm cool...and so is hubby to recoup those visa bills!

DVR overdrive. With all the hours we've been working our DVR is running near capacity. I foresee some marathons in my future. I think I can schedule something in on .... December 26?

BFF. How funny is it that Shari had to send me a specific note to let me know she gave me an award on her blog? My self-obsession must be slipping that I didn't even catch my own name in her post... Thanks Shari! As my hubby says, you are "cosmicly (comicly) linked" with me!

Overused phrases: I have to protest. I love a good trendy term as much as the next person, but this "That's how I roll" thing is getting out of hand. I don't think there is anywhere I haven't heard it. It reminds me of the old valley girl craze back when I was but a little chicky in highschool and I was taken with the "gag me with a spoon" phraseology. Ugh!

Too Many Acronyms. Okay, I work in a consulting firm that serves the government. I'm fully aware of the penchant for shortening everything to the simplest acronym. I find it particularly painful when the nicey-nice person who works with me and would NEVER swear in front of me...a GIRL... but often says NFW like we don't know there is a four-letter word in the middle. And I had just gotten used to LMAO and now there is LQTM. Thank god that Google can help me search out definitions for these. I wonder if we have the power to begin a new acronym here on my blog? One of my friend T's favorites is SFPs. Stupid Fucking People. Now that is an acronym worth using.

Last Random Thought. A tribute to my hubby (yet again) who not only cooked up a storm for a house full of my family this weekend, but he was patient and lovable host, photographer extraordinaire, and beer brewer professor all in one. Who could ask for more?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Surviving Today...a Trilogy

Part 1
The meeting went better than anyone could have predicted. I was so nervous my hands were freezing and sweating at the same time.

(Hubby just popped in to room and said, "Say hi to all your blogging buddies out there." So, HI!)

Now, back to your regularly scheduled program.

It was only 30 minutes long (my part of it) and I couldn't describe it if you paid me a million bucks. I was totally in a zone and having an out of body experience. Amazing how we can tear ourselves up that way, isn't it?

Anyway, at the end of it? the most astounding thing happened. She thanked me. She thanked me for being the first manager in a long time who has actually cared. She told my boss that she totally respects me and appreciates the way I deliver my messages. She even told me that she remembered I had told her a long time ago how I got very uncomfortable when I had to give bad news to people and she told me it never came across that way. She cried, and then said the tears were because she heard what we were saying and that she appreciated the support and attention we were giving her. Honest to God, it was like coming to Jesus.

I sent her home afterward and asked her to come back ready to start fresh but to pay attention to the written consequences in the memo. The next downslide will be the last. I hope there won't be one.

And so we live to fight again another day...

Part 2...
They're heeeerrrreeeeee. Well at least 2 of them. Mom and Unc arrived today and are settling in. I arrived home at 6PM (miracle) to find them huddled under a blanket (okay, get your minds out of THAT particular gutter). They were freezing because up until yesterday it was 75 degrees out and who needed heat?!?! We never turned on the thermostat!!! It was only down to 68 in the house, but poor Mom and Unc had been quite chilled to the bone. So I cranked it up a few degrees and also lit a fire in the fireplace.

I experienced some role reversal since hubby has always had the more regular hour job (until now) and he is usually home during the cocktail hour and handling the cooking while I am still struggling with the homebound commute. Tonight I was here until he called at 7:15 to tell me he was just leaving work. No sweat. He picked up the slack for me many a time in the past. I regrouped and stretched my culinary talents to the limit by putting a tray of crackers, cheese, and fruit together to get us by and called the friendly neighborhood applebee's for takeout.

After cocktails, conversation, a crackling fire, and Applebee's culinary delights - all were suitably mellow and ready for entertainment. What do 4 over 40 adults watch when left to their own choice? Happy Feet of course! (don't ask.)

Part 3...
I explained my attack of cleaning fever last night to help balance my stress and anxiety over the coming work day. As a result, when I left here this morning I felt that my mom would be impressed with the state of my household. Don't get me wrong, she never complains or criticizes...she just tries to help. Any I have to say, when she does things like cooks us dinner, weeds our gardens, etc. it is labor we greatly appreciate. But this time, I thought I'd have her scratching her head wondering how she could help us out. No random food on counter, all dishes put away, no need to dust or vacuum, I even sprayed air freshener everywhere. Their bed was made up like the Hyatt I stayed at last week with layers of covers in various folded scenarios, and I even left fresh towels out in their room. What was the one thing I forgot? There were about 10 pieces of paper I had tossed into the wastebasket in the bathroom adjacent our home office. And so the following conversation ensued:

Me: I can't believe the kitchen garbage is so full...I just emptied it last night...

Mom: Well, there was garbage in the bathroom wastebasket so I emptied it. Maybe that filled it up part way.

Me: (cuz I just can't let it go - 2 alpha females in one space...) Oh. Well. That REALLY should have gone in RECYCLING since it was all PAPER.

Mom: Oh.

{Pause. }

Me: (cuz I can't be mean to my mom for more than 1 minute at a time). That's ok Mom. I'm really not that good at recycling anyway - last week I cleaned out the fridge and there were some leftovers gone bad that I just couldn't face and I threw them in garbage. Container and all.

Me and Mom: (Laugh...) Good to know neither of us is perfect!

Always good to remember every day that no one is perfect...including yourself. Oh...and be nice to your Mom.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Too Busy to Dread (almost)

Tomorrow is going to be a really tough day. I have to give some bad news out at work and draw a line in the sand for a member of my team. This person is someone I really like, but who cannot seem to get it together enough to perform as a consistent member of the team. We had two choices, to ignore it (an organizational habit) or to address it head on. After 10 months straight of near weekly coaching, the decision has been made (by a cadre of professionals) to address it head on. And then the cadre all looked at me to deliver the message.


I won't use the old platitude, "This will hurt me more than it's going to hurt you..." And this IS what being a manager is all about. But I much prefer the part where I get to praise people and hand out raises and promotions than when I have to call someone on the carpet.

Up until about 7PM tonight I had been too busy to dread tomorrow. But it has caught up with me. When I get stressed - I do chores. So, I funneled the energy into grocery shopping, taking garbage out to curb (night before! that NEVER happens), sorting recycling, changing cat litter, making up guest bed, cleaning kitchen and anything I could do to keep busy.


Those of you who work with me and read this blog will only know about this about a split second before the person this is about, so I can't be too concerned. Although I continue to rely on your discretion. I really really really REALLLY hope this is the wakeup call that is needed to turn this around. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of successful history to base that on.

But lets all think happy thoughts.

And if you believe, clap your hands....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another 3-poster (not like the bed, like the blog)

A colleague sent me this...sorry for the quality, but had to share - this is totally my job - marketing in an engineering firm (although hopefully I'm a little more honest and ethical than Dogbert). Scott Adams is a KING!

Family Update

Thanks to all who have expressed care/concern for my family in southern CA. As of this moment, I'm happy to report, all are safe and sound and fires seem to be avoiding their homes and properties.

Sister J: She's the coolest. When school was cancelled so she didn't have to teach, she and a colleague went to stores to try and get donations of craft and activity/toys for kids in shelters to keep them active and busy.

Brother T: His home, wife and 2 boys are safe. He is now tracking his wife's family who are in the Hyatt and hoping they have a home when fires are done.

Sister M:'m grateful and happy. Continuing strange behavior including being more interested in why tv shows are being pre-empted by the news...???

Other clan members...packing and heading my way. My anxiety has lessened and my excitement has peaked. Can't wait to see my gorgeous great-nephew and the rest of the clan in 3 days!

Raise Your Hand If You're Compulsive Like Me

Ok. I am facing up to some serious psycho issues in my life. I've noticed a huge increase in compulsive behavior.


Now, I've always worked too many hours...but it has been on the rise lately. (FYI - Picture at right is NOT me, but is my feeling of work and attitude lately!)
And also? I can't seem to go to bed at night ...I find myself unable to turn off the tv no matter how awful the program is that I'm watching. Then, I've been eating at 10 times my normal speed. Like I eat a BAG of m-n-ms in like 2 seconds flat. What is UP with that?

And blogging?? - forget it ... I am addicted to the daily post...and of course I have to read umpteen other blogs while I'm on line. I noticed that there is a movement for those people interested in writing to join a blog (NaNoWriMo) that challenges people to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Now, this is very appealing to me, but come on! I work 60 hours a week, I've outsourced everything possible at home (yardwork, housework, hubby is chef and handyman, hubby also has kick-ass career now too so we are hardly ever home), and I'm going to school for my master's ... I really DO NOT have time to write 50,000 words in 30 days ... do I???

Moderation has moved from being something I strive for, to being something I can't even define. Time is flying by and I'm totally without balance. I need some structure and some limits (like a 2 year old) and someone to STOP THE INSANITY.

I'm afraid if I don't start taking some control back I will become a crazy-eyed insomniac workaholic with a severe weight problem and an addiction to Prilosec.

Now if only I could become a compulsive work-out addict ... something that had an upside or a benefit to my wellbeing...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Drawing a Blank (and other random thoughts)

Today was my first day back in my office for a while - I've been in travel mode most of the month. So I came to work thinking I have SO much work to do....and I filled my day...but not sure what I worked on? (I hate that feeling!)

I have been drawing a lot of blanks lately when it comes to making my list of things to do. This puts me in full reactive mode, which is never good, but which delights my last minute "clients" (aka colleagues at work) because the minute they send me an email or give me a call I immediately switch to work on their job...cuz my memory? a total blank...and I cannot remember what the hell else I'm supposed to be doing!!!

Family Update:

Today in southern California there are massive wildfires. I have 3 siblings living there. My brother T is being evacuated from his home. My sister J had the school she teaches at close down due to air quality problems. My other sister M? The one I don't get sometimes? yeah ... she's at the movies with her husband (FYI - he is a federal fire-fighter...and he's going to the movies)... Yeah, I still don't get her.

All the news are saying - stay at home, listen to news, be ready to move, etc....our brother is already evacuating ... and she? is at the movies.

Big sister J and I? We are just shaking our heads at it all.

Good grief.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Eggs, Anyone?

Today was a red letter day for me. I finally managed to successfully fry (edible) eggs.

Now, for those of you out there with culinary talents - bite me.

Until now, I've only managed scrambled. Turns out these two things are key:

1. Cooking on Low
2. Patience

{Note: when I shared this triumph with hubby he declared, "Well, you've never cooked with THOSE ingredients before, have you?" Very amusing.}

Who knew? I've always been a burner or microwave on high and let 'er rip kind of chef. Hence my propensity for overcooked/burned/dry food...and the local pizza parlor on speed dial.

How, you may ask, did I finally crack (no pun intended) the egg mystery? Well - I actually opened a cookbook...two to be exact. Now while my hubby cooks excellent food from gourmet recipes and has some vintage books as well...I have two mainstays.

1. Cooking for Dummies
2. Where's Mom Now That I Need Her?

Today's results - a yummy fried egg sandwich on french bread...mmmmm mmmmm good. And a good sense of accomplishment to start my day.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Missing My Pop

Today, I'm going to share some memories of my Dad.

Missing my Dad happens at odd times. My family always has him in mind, but we tend to talk about him most on those expected days - his birthday, or mine, the holidays, the day he died, etc. But my greatest moments of remembrance come when I least expect it.

At first, it was quite often. He died in March of 2003 - at the age of 77 - of complications from lung cancer. Goddamn cigarettes. I hate them and the tobacco companies that never admitted that nicotine was an addictive substance. He was a wonderful father to me - a flawed man, to be sure, but a man who put his family above everything and, I think, paid for most of his sins while he was still on this earth.

A few weeks after he died I turned a corner at the grocery store and saw an elderly man - you know the retirees who get second jobs there? - handing out samples of some kind of snack. He had on a baseball cap and he just gave me the sweetest smile and I lost it. Completely lost it. Sobs and gulps and everything. Luckily my husband was with me - quite unusual for us to be shopping together, but fortunate for me that he sent me to the car while he checked out our cart. I spent a good 20 minutes in the car sobbing my eyes out, but was pretty much ok by the time he got out to me.

Today, I watched an old musical on tv...the Music Man with Robert Preston. We took my parents and my in-laws to Broadway to see this musical several years ago and I remember how much my Dad enjoyed it. He always seemed to be just as happy sitting at home on the couch with us, but that day he really glowed and stood with the rest of us giving a standing ovation at the end and in the car ride home he just kept saying, "That was great...just great..."

Music always brought something out of my Dad. Whether it was singing old british bar ditties with his brothers after a few too many pints, or especially things like school concerts, or church choirs, he was always so moved by them. I have a dear family friend who had professional operatic training and sang at my wedding. She also sings every year at the Christmas Eve service at a local Methodist church I attended as a child. She sings O Holy Night and leads the congregation in the candlelight singing of Silent Night. Every year I gulp my way through it as her voice reverberates off the rafters. It moves me just because it is beautiful. And it moves me because I remember my father also gulping. And at the end, he always said, "That was great...just great..."

Me, Mom, Dad, and Hubby at Yankees Game - Cap Day!

So today is one of those days. I'm thinking of him an awful lot and I'm missing him. I wish he was sitting with me on the couch laughing at Robert Preston's Music Man. At the end of the movie, in my heart, I heard his voice though, saying "That was great...just great..."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Great Aunt-dom

(yeah - 3 posts in one day...can you tell I'm out of the office??)

So, as I've repeatedly said...I'm not a mom. My sister J asked me the other day (as I coo'd over pictures on 60 piggies blog) WHY? I wasn't a mom. "'s easier to admire from afar." I said. Anyone who has seen the kid meltdown circulated on YouTube can relate to that one.

But look at this precious photo. This is my one and only great-nephew. This was too perfect not to post!

William Tell Overture for Moms

I'm not a mom - but this is too funny! I know my mom-blogger friends (and anyone who's been a mom or a kid) will love this.

10 Things I Know to Be True About Air Travel

  1. There is no such thing as personal space.
    If you are expecting people to not totally invade your space (and you not to invade theirs) give it up. I have been inappropriate touched by more strangers on a plane than on the subway - seriously.
  2. The plane NEVER fills up from back to front.
    Every flight I take they call up the first class passengers (we hate them) and then start calling rows from highest to lowest. Yet, somehow, when I get on the plane, there are always more people seated in the rows in front of mine than in back. What's up with that? Are you really in a rush to get squeezed into that seat when you're going to be stuck there for 5 hours?
  3. You can't fly with a broken bathroom door.
    Since 9-11 the problem of drunken flyers has lessened considerably, but there's always one. In a recent flight I took which had been severely delayed, it was obvious one guy decided to wait out the delay doing shooters at the airport bar. When he got on the plane, not only was he obnoxiously drunk, but he had to piss - really badly apparently - and while we were still at the gate he bombed down the aisle to get into the bathroom and proceeded to break the door. Now, in case you don't know, you can't take off with a broken door on the bathroom. If it can't close and lock it is a delayed flight became delayed another hour while we sat on runway glaring at drunken passenger while maintenance fixed door.
  4. Flight attendants hate us.
    These are no longer the friendly skies. We are the necessary evils for these people to get their paychecks. They don't really care if they run over our toes with the beverage cart, splash us with overfilled cups, force on us the grossest meal in history, and then get mad if we actually want to use the restroom during the 2 hours they are serving snacks.
  5. People really don't understand the carry-on rule.
    I saw a man bring on a suitcase that was larger than the old Touristers (the ones with the Gorilla in the tv ad?) and STUFF it into the overhead bin. It took up 3/4 of the bin and the lid could barely close. Ok - who let this guy on the plane and how come I had to check my small bag because I had a tiny purse and a laptop case?
  6. G-O-D...D? is apparently a 4 letter word.
    I was surprised to realize recently that in addition to all of the curse words, the airlines are now removing the word GOD from movie soundtracks. At least Continental is. I googled this phenomenon and found that it hit the news in a couple places when people saw the movie "The Queen" and noticed that a character said "__d Save the Queen". The editing company blamed a new employee, but yesterday's in flight movie was "The Fantastic Four" and there were several "God's" removed from the soundtrack. I think we have a rogue athiest editor on our hands...
  7. Health Food... No Such Thing.
    A friend told me (long ago) that if you sign up for vegetarian meal, you might actually get something fresher and healthier to eat. I never really followed this advice, but on yesterday's flight another passenger near me got the "special meal". It consisted of frozen cheese pizza, potato chips, chocolate brownie...oh and a small sad salad with ranch dressing. No meat...that's for health either.
  8. Baggage claim is an unfriendly place.
    Ok, I get it. You've had a crappy time on a crowded flight where everyone invaded your space, you have leg cramps because you boarded early and exceeded your blood circulation tolerance, and the guy in the next row broke the bathroom door. But DAMN people, can you at least help the lady in the wheelchair get her suitcase and walker before they go around the conveyor belt for the 4th time?
  9. Pilots know how to fly....but air traffic controllers are GODs.
    During last week's travel, I was boarded onto a delayed flight, grateful to be getting to my final destination. It wasn't until we were on board and the door was closed that the pilot announced - "um, yeah, they've closed LaGuardia to incoming traffic so we're gonna have to sit on the runway for 2.5 hours until we can take off..." (ok - the flight was supposed to have a duration of 45 minutes and now I'm stuck on the plane for 2.5 hours! Could you NOT have told me this before I got on plane?)

    I call my limo company (whose personnel cannot speak english) to carefully explain my new estimated arrival time. Flight Attendant gives dirty look to my electronics usage.

    10 minutes later, pilot: "Um yeah, now they're saying we're gonna take off shortly...stay tuned..." I think about calling Julio again, but decide I'd better know for sure.

    5 minutes later, pilot "Flight attendant be seated for departure, we're next to take off". I quickly dial Julio - who answers "que?" to my rapid english about new arrival time. I have to slow down and I am SO illegally on the phone on the runway. Now passengers are giving me dirty looks too. Hang up seconds before take off. But thank goodness Julio now knows the score.

    40 minutes into 45 minute flight...pilot: "um...yeah...we have been re-routed to Philadelphia (I've now flown from Pittsburgh to D.C. to Philadelphia trying to get to NYC) and will be circling there for about an hour until we can land at LaGuardia - there's too much traffic coming in for them to handle"

    30 minutes later - we land. Timeline a little off, but at least we're on the ground. Julio's man is patiently circling the airport waiting for us. I take it he knows the score better than the pilots. He must have an in with Air Traffic Control.
  10. No Flights Til February!!!!!
    If my luck holds and the schedule stays the same, I'm off flights until my next conference in February. Oh joy! Feet firmly on ground, elbow room to spare, and my own (un) healthy eating habits to enjoy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Irrational Fears (an inspired post)

Today I read a new blogger - Haley's Random Thoughts - check her out - she's new and she's cool. (Oh, and she's Shari's totally awesome little sister.)

She inspired me to return to my roots and talk about a little bit of the crazy anxiety that got me started on this blogging thing. Her topic today - Irrational Fears. So here are my top 10 ... today ... (yes there are many more).

1. Under bed storage. Seriously. There is something about the weight of the bed over me as I squeeze under the box spring to grab a shoe or some random item that has been kicked under the bed - totally freaks me out. Unexpected benefit - space is pretty clean (well at least there's nothing under there but the dust bunnies and some pull out shoe storage containers).

2. Airplane landings. Considering the travel I've been doing lately - it's kind of a hassle, but I have to say I never think that damn plane is going to stop when the flaps go down and the brakes screech. (Sometimes I feel like this in my car too....momentum is not my friend).

3. Going backwards fast. Okay - this is similar to Item #2 (except hopefully my plane is not landing backwards), but I have a theory on this one. See story after list - it's a doozie.

4. My oldest brother. Okay - this is not a fear so much as a dread - an anxiety - an uncomfortable state of being. - an extreme annoyance. Needless to say, just thinking of him brings on heartburn. I'll need to gear up for a future post on this one.

5. Getting old and sick. I'm sure many people have this, but I dwell a little too much on this. You know that movie "Driving Miss Daisy"?? FREAKED ME OUT. Had nightmares about ending up in nursing home dribbling my food for weeks. Ugh.

6. Disc Jockeys. When all my friends were calling in to request songs from the radio, I never would. I think this is actually a fear of being embarrassed or made a fool of in public...but I do some public speaking now without too much anxiety...and DJs still intimidate me.

7. Getting Lost. I have the worst sense of direction on the planet. My husband literally uses me as an anti-compass. "Which way should we turn?" he reply "Right"...his reaction - immediate left turn. Times we've gotten lost through this process. Z-E-R-O. It's uncanny.

8. New & Unknown Medicine. Last time I took a new antibiotic I ended up in the emergency room with a body temperature of 94 degrees. Yeah - 4.6 degrees below normal - and these bizarre flowing chills and heat waves up and down my body. Why? who knows - my body just didn't like the drug. Once it was out of my system I was fine.

9. Face with Block. Okay, you know the shots. When some stupid news segment is talking about obesity, or fashion don'ts, or ugly feet, or sagging boobs, or something like that and they show these random people walking down the street with a little black block across their eyes and nose to stop you from recognizing them. The fear is that I'll be watching and RECOGNIZE MYSELF! It's a vanity thing.

10. Getting Caught in a [White] Lie. Is there anything more embarrassing? I mean I really make every attempt not to lie - and I DO NOT LIE about important things. But there are those moments, when you just need to make a SLIGHT adjustment to the truth to save someone's feelings, or graciously avoid some noxious event, etc. Anyway, I hate it when the tangled web gets exposed.


So here's the tale of the Labor Day Trip. When I was a baby and people had not yet figured out that car seats should be in the back seat and facing backwards - I was in the front seat/center facing forward. My grandparents (god rest them) were in the back seat. My mother parked the car and went into a building to pay a bill.

Well, the car had some kind of problem with it and somehow released park and went into gear. Note: I claim no responsibility - I was under 6 months old and should not have had the strength or reach to move the gear shift...but might have

We were parked on an incline and the car began to roll backwards down the hill. Imagine then, my sweet but elderly grandfather trying to open the back door and climb out to try and stop it and my sweet but elderly and freaked out grandmother yanking him back in screaming something about how he would kill himself.

Car keeps rolling and somehow (no lie) slides backwards through the busiest intersection in town ("on Labor Day Weekend no less", my Mom always interjects) bounces off a parked cadillac and hits a building (or vice versa - the family story has gotten a little garbled.)

Then, imagine if you will, my mother coming out of the building and seeing a telephone truck parked where her car used to be...looking down the hill and seeing my grandpa walking up shaking his head back and forth.

"To this day," Mom always says, "I have no idea how I got from standing there looking at a telephone truck to standing beside the car and holding you. All I remember is this guy screaming about his cadillac and me losing it and saying - who cares about your damn car - my baby and family might have been killed." (Go Mom, you don't mess with Mary Lou)

End result - Don't ever put me on an amusement park ride that goes backwards fast. I regress to a 6 month old with screaming grandparents in the backseat and a cadillac in my path. Gets freaky fast.

The Aussies

Today I was in meetings all bleedin' day...7AM to 5PM all in one room. And why am I still in an ok mood? Well because I was with the Aussies. Is there anything more entertaining, enticing, and downright adorable than an Australian accent? I mean come on...once you get past the whole bad Crocodile Dundee memories - it's just cute as hell. Add to the fact that these guys are passionate about the environment and can speak about it in cute accents all day, and I'm smitten.

Huge added benefit was hanging with my sisters tonight. They are both living here in San Diego right now and it was great fun to see them for a few hours. Of course, you have to love that when I got a voice mail message on my blackberry from one of the Aussies, they made me play it on speaker phone...not once, but twice. We all swooned as he signed off with "Cheers..."

So all in all - you can't ask for much better than to be trapped in a room with 4 adorable Aussies and then being able to share it all with your sis'.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blog for the Environment

I work in the environmental engineering field (as a marketing professional, not an engineer) and I've always been interested in environmental causes, but frankly the last 12 months or so have been downright scary. Our planet is definitely experiencing some growing pains, and I for one, have some fears about what will come next.

So, I'm participating in Blog Action Day - where we all try and focus on the environment for one day of blogging.

I'm just going to keep it small and talk about what I've been trying to do ever since I saw "The Inconvenient Truth" and started trying to determine what one person could do to make a difference.

1. I've changed nearly every lightbulb in my house out to CFL (fluorescent) bulbs. They use much less energy, have a longer life, and have a great little curlie-que shape. Interestingly enough, when first turned on, they are a little dim, but as they warm up they brighten. They are a little more expensive up front, and you must dispose of burned out bulbs responsibly since they have a small amount of mercury in them, but they are a great way to start making a difference.

2. I have stopped running water unnecessarily - especially while brushing my teeth and washing my face. I never used to think twice about running the water continuously as I did this, but now I realize how much wasted water there is.

3. Only cold water laundry. I'm convinced with a good detergent and pre-treatment, there is no need for hot or even warm water anymore.

4. Running dishwasher on energy saver mode.

5. Using the timer settings on my home thermostate and using the fireplace for cozy winter evenings to supplement the heat in our main living room.

Intended improvements for the near future:

1. Purchase a rain barrel to capture rain water for watering the garden in the spring/summer.

2. Purchase a hybrid or high mileage vehicle as soon as one of our current vehicles needs replacement.

3. Investigate solar energy for house and pool heating/electricity source.

4. Investigate single source power switch as shown on "Living with Ed"

Remember - you don't have to change the world, to save the planet. Start in your own home, your car, your job...every little thing when multiplied by the planet's current population makes a difference. Don't let ANYONE tell you it doesn't matter. It each and every one of us.

Make a change today!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Forgiveness and Celebration

Oct 14, 2007. 18th wedding anniversary. All is forgiven.

The Hallmark Card from Hubby
For my Wonderful Wife.
I just can't imagine my life if I had never met you, fallen in love,
and been smart enough to know you were the one...

I could never do without the big and little things you do daily
to delight me, surprise me, and make me happy.

Give me forever, and I still couldn't find the words
to tell you all the ways you make my life complete...

But there's one thing I can do and do very well...
and that's love you with all my heart.

This was one of the best cards ever.

And when I said, "I'm so glad you think you were smart to fall for me"...Hubby quickly responded, "Yeah, well, I bought the card before yesterday."

Luckily this interchange ended in a laugh and our 19th year of marriage began.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Turns Out...the Devil Doesn't Wear Prada

The Devil actually wears white cotton hipsters from jockey, clothing from the Sears career wear section, and shoes from Payless. That's right - SHE is ME!

Yes, today I am taking on all of the labels, Devil (not) Wearing Prada, Queen of Mean, Psycho Bitch from name it.

I've made allusions in recent posts about my natural bent toward bitchiness made worse when I need to travel, but let me own it - I am a bitch. In particular, I am a bitch to my husband. My bitchiness is a natural trait, but it is a little like compulsive eating (which I also do) it is without intent or malice. That doesn't make it any easier to take.

This is not a confession meant to cleanse my soul (I don't believe one can erase a sin simply by telling someone about it - white collar or not) but it is my attempt to recognize and to change something I'm not happy with. Today, after my unprovoked snarky outburst, my husband actually had the guts to say to me I was mean, just mean, MEAN. How ugly. Not him for saying it, but me for causing it. Then later, he said he was tired and felt like a punching bag. Ouch.

Honest, this is not an attempt for me to beat myself up. I truly was awful to him and for no good reason. Even now, hours later, I cannot imagine what got into me. This is probably not the right forum for this - I mean it's honest and all, but hubby does read this blog sometimes, and I don't know how he'll feel about me putting it out to the webisphere, but it's on my mind - and what I blog is the littlest things and the biggest things that are on my mind.

I was reading a book for school the other day - Personal Styles & Effective Performance - and it actually talks about how people must recognize social styles (behavior) in others and be versatile in adjusting to make things functional. It also says that this versatility take so much energy, and is so typically used in the work and public life, that personal time and life suffers.

"'s important for couples to find constructive ways to release the pent-up tensions that accumulate during the day. Such outlets can prevent people from exploding at each other for no apparent reason, or equally destructive, from avoiding the relationship entirely."

"Ironically, we tend to take out our frustrations on those people who mean the most to us, because of the 'safety' implicit in an intimate relationship. There's an inclination to feel: 'This person has accepted me as I am, for what I am. Therefore, I don't have to try as hard to please.'

Does this make me feel any better? more justified in my behavior? No. Does it give me any ideas on how to fix it? The book suggests exercise or meditation - um...yeah...should be doing that for lots of reasons so I'll give exercise another try. And maybe some Yoga again.

In the meantime, let me start with this.

An apology.

A truly deeply heartfelt apology to my man.

Since I was 19 years old he's been the center of my universe. He may think that I am my own center - but it's all a big show.

He is it. He's my best friend, my love, my history, my future.

He's the one who tells me I look beautiful when I have no makeup on, a bandanna on my head, and a much too tight old college t-shirt and shorts on, stained with god knows what. He's the one who tells me I look great and I don't need to lose any weight. He's the one who thinks I'm good, sexy, smart, funny, talented. He's the one who will order mild wings because I can't endure the hot ones (even though he loves it hot). He's the one who maintains the boiler, the pool, the washing machine, takes out the garbage - but he also does most of the cooking and irons his own clothes. He takes care of his family and mine. He's a phenomenal host and a truly gracious and kind person. He's smart - really smart - and he loves to learn, which is a real turn on. He watches chick flicks with me and doesn't require an equal number of shoot-em-up testosterone films. He listens...really listens...when I want to talk. And when I don't...he's cool with that too. He giggles like a little kid when I tickle his feet - and though he doesn't let me do it often - it's always a treat to hear it.

In short, he brings me and others joy every day.

So, in recognition of all he is and all he does, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for doubting you. I'm sorry for attacking you. I'm sorry for working late and falling asleep on the couch too many nights. I'm sorry I don't/can't cook for you like you cook for me. I'm sorry for forgetting all the incredible things you do when I get pissy about any little thing. I don't ask for total absolution here, just hoping that tomorrow - you'll smile at me/with me again.

Cuz today royally sucked and tomorrow...yeah it's a special day...and I don't want to believe I might have spoiled it too.

In approximately one hour it will be October 14th, 2007. Exactly 18 years ago to the day that you waited at the altar while I walked toward you on my sweet Dad's arm. You said "I Do" so fervently that the congregation actually giggled. Thanks for hanging in with me through it all. You've been a great husband and a true partner. You've been there when my "anxious moments" have seemed overwhelming, and you help me remember all the good times we've had along the way. Together we make an unbeatable team.

I love you - forever and a day.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Good Friday

I took the day off (yes I did!!)

Why? You may ask.

Well - for a very important reason. I finally got my hair cut. Now, I know what you're going to say. It doesn't look that different in the pictures (top 3 before, bottom is the after) but I promise -it is 3 inches shorter and quite a different color...truly...but maybe it is a little more subtle than expected.

Feeling good after my cut and color went so well, I went shopping for some new clothes. I mean, why not, let's spend some more money. Ignoring the fact that my size is not what I want it to be, I headed to Kohl's to investigate the new Vera Wang collection.

Wow - cute stuff...although the wash and wear fabric is definitely a little less than what you'd expect from Vera. Found a great suit and a top - which made me happy because I had forgotten to take my suits to the cleaner and was facing an empty closet for my trip to San Diego on Monday.

The big score, however, was at Annie Sez where I found THE little black dress. Including the Calvin Klein label.

How much was it?

Wait for it...are you anticipating?


No way, you say... Yes way, I say.

I have wanted a little black dress ever since I saw Breakfast at Tiffany's when I was a little girl. I've never found one that fit me I've got it! Add a new pair of killer black pumps, some long crystal and fake pearl necklaces, a fun crystal and fake pearl bangle, new hot red lipstick and some fun eye shadow...and I was cruisin.

All in all - a good friday.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A.D.D. Blogging

[AKA - Holy Crap! I'm a total bitch with zero patience.]

Cookie Complaints.
Hubby: Welcome Home! I have MORE cookies. Try the white chocolate macadamia nut! Or the raspberry chocolate chip! This weekend I'd like to try the rum raisin.

Me: This cookie is bland. This cookie is dry. Do you or I really need any more cookies in this house? You really aren't the baker in this house. Why don't you make us something good like stir-fried vegetables or something.

[Holy crap - I am such a bitch!]

Seasonal Snores.

Me: [Jerk bedding to wake up Hubby]

1 minute later


Me: [poke hubby to turn over]

1 minute later


Me: [huffing and stomping and slamming - exit to guest room]

[Holy Crap - I am such a bitch!]

Studies in Impatience.

Staff Member A: Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah

Me: [sigh. eye roll]

Staff Member A: Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah

Me: [tap fingers. sigh. click pen]

Staff Member B: This is our plan. We should do A, B, C.

Me: [perking up - finally someone with something smart to say]

Staff Member A: Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah

Staff Member B: [eye roll. points to door. leaves me there to fend for myself.]

Me: Well, I'm done. Everyone else done? Call me when you have more to tell me.

[Holy Crap! PLEASE DON'T!]

Monday, October 8, 2007

OK Go - Here It Goes Again

Happy Monday. This is an oldie, but a goodie...and always makes me smile.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


One of the things people think is glamourous about my job is business travel. Um...yeah...let's review the typical business trip.
  1. Packing. Have to lug heavy briefcase with all possible assignments, giveaways, laptop, power cords, network cords, brochures, and backup materials needed. Not to mention having several business suits, blouses, shoes, accessories, and evening wear for client entertainment all in one handy carry-on size bag. If you need to check a bag see item 5.
  2. Security. Have to find a way to gracefully yank out the laptop at security without tumbling all other contents onto the conveyor belt...and then have to find a way to SHOVE it back into the bag after x-ray without destroying all other material stored in bag. Oh, and this 4 oz liquid restriction thing for carry-ons?...bite me.
  3. Delays. Let's not even talk about mechanical problems, weather delays, crew shortages, and other fun things that tend to delay at least 50% of all trips.
  4. Airplanes. I hate all aeronautic engineers purely for their interior space design. No such thing as leg room anymore. I'm nearly 6 feet tall...I'd like to arrive at my destination just once without bruised knees and a prickling sensation in my feet from lack of circulation. Last week a guy in front of me pushed his seat back and bonked my nose...truly...
  5. Destination: Luggage? No Luggage? It's a crap shoot.
  6. Hotel: Internet access - dicey at best. Cleanliness - usually looks ok but did you see all those Dateline specials with the blacklight camera???? Last week I arrived late at the hotel and lucked into an all smoking floor. My father died of lung ashtrays in my room?? - not a good thing. FYI - for all you smokers out there. PLEASE ... SERIOUSLY ... Febreeze (which was the hotel service desk solution to my complaint) only helps the space smell like a scented ashtray. (Sorry...but it's true)
  7. Itinerary: Usually early AM meetings with colleagues. Followed by AM meetings with clients. Then go go go go go for bulk of day. Don't forget client entertainment dinners, and post dinner wind-down with colleagues (if you're lucky). Meals - good but heavy on the red meat and wine...not to mention having to make conversation with strangers and hope that there will be a 5 second interval where you can subtly pitch your company to make all this travel and expense worthwhile.
  8. Clients: If I could figure out a way to consult without clients I'd be a happy consultant. Tonight I had a client harass me for my political views, pick on my favorite sports team, criticize my company website because it didn't have a complete listing of every employee and their direct dial number, blame me for our switchboard operator's inability to transfer a call, belittle my efforts to fight global warming ("how did you get to the conference today? your flight burned through every bit of good your fluorescent bulbs have saved"), and this all before the entree was served. A fancraptastic time was had by all. (thanks for that word Shari!)
  9. Sightseeing: Ba ha ha ha!!! Face it - to the business traveler, this is City X. You get to see airport, convention center, hotel, local office, MAYBE a nice restaurant, and that's it. Taxi ride to and from airport is your sightseeing tour. Enjoy it.
  10. Return to Item 1 for return trip scenario.

So because this what I experience when I travel for work, I have a persona - let's call her TW (travel wenderina) who can be a bit of a bitch to live with in the days leading up to a travel assignment.

Note: travel for work = stress at home.

My husband has unlimited patience with me. It's true. We've discussed it. He does NOT have unlimited patience as a regular characteristic. But for some reason...with me?... he's wired for it. THANK GOD!


Me (blackberry email to Hubby): Much less energy in class today, but made it through....Anyway, I'm at LGA and just waiting to board...Love you. Sorry if I was grouchy TW this morning. Gotta kick that girl to the curb someday.

Hubby (blackberry return mail to Me): I like every version of you! Love ya.
P.S. I am working on {x, y, z} before I make more cookies.

How awesome is my hubby?
And I'm not just saying that cuz he reads my blog (hi luv...miss ya!)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Learning is Fundamental

Today was school day in our household. I was heading back for my 2nd of 3 weekends of intense classwork for my Master's program...hubby and brother-in-law were taking off for an all day class at the Culinary Institute of America on baking.

I'm not going to lie to you. Getting up this morning to go to school was a pure battle of wills. All I really wanted to do was stay in my pjs and putter around the house. I really didn't feel like turning on my very tired brain to achieve my class participation goals (since that is 60% of our grade in this class) from 9AM until 5PM.

But I have to say... class was really great today.

The class is all about Leadership and Management skills. Each person in the class was assigned the job of presenting an issue that had some relationship to what we are learning about leadership - in life, workplace, school...whatever. This is my first time returning back to school after 20 years of avoiding any advanced education, and I have both dread and high expectation of this program.

Today, my classmates WOW'd me. Each story was totally unique - and yet it all came back to the same basic principles of leadership that we've been reading about. I thought I'd share some of the highlights.

Former priest/monk.
In his 40s.
Working as Administrative Assistant at College.
Looking for the next stage of his life and career.

Presented story of being given an assignment with an unattainable financial goal for fundraising.
He doubled previous year's collections, but still fell short of the goal set by Catholic Diocese. While he was led to believe he would be given an award - it never came to pass. Funny moments - former priest/monk who says stuff like, "I was so pissed!" and "The bitching really got to me." and "I think they actually LIED to me...their priest!"


21 year old Muslim woman from Israel.
Working as an intern in financial bond company while attending school.
Life goal: return to Israel and solve some of the issues of the Middle East through political position. (Wow...good luck with that!)

After being told by a clueless manager that she'd be better off staying as an intern and it wasn't really to her advantage to seek full time work at the company, she didn't buy it. She took on a huge project, getting out key financial reports while THREE of her senior co-workers were out of the office. Result - She got an offer from another department in the company (ditching clueless manager) for a full time job. You go girl.


Ecuadorian Man - Twenty-Something.
President of his own not-for-profit organization supporting development of Ecuadorian Youth in NYC (while holding down a full-time job as HR rep in another company).

Highlight: He founded this organization with a small group of people from Ecuadorian community in NYC and has been sponsoring programs every month including GED programs, seminars on financial management, career counseling, health management, etc. AND he is getting more than 50 butts in the seats ON AVERAGE at these events. I remember having energy at his age, but not vision and execution skills to get this to work. Impressive.


And there were so many more.

Works HR at the World Wrestling Entertainment (nuff said).

Runs IT and serves as Resident Advisor at local college struggling with security in the wake of Virginia Tech.

Manages international division of an 11 location district of shipping company - only has interaction with one other female in her role and they are in constant competition. (Ladies - we really MUST learn to HELP one another!!)

Became supervisor of a manufacturing quality control laboratory at the age of 26! He manages 7 people - all in their 30s-50s and has instituted totally new processes and procedures to revolutionize the functions.

Dennis (aka Archie due to flaming red hair).
Assistant Coach of college hockey team in competition for division championship who has structured a five-tiered personal score card with expectations for the player's development including teamwork, academics, hardwork, commitment, and development (called the "Arch-o-meter!) "Our goal," says Archie, "is not just to build better players, but to build better men." Honest. He really said that. Cool.

Production manager for regional newspaper and periodical publishing house. As overnight press manager he found himself literally refereeing smack-downs between two female employees. (At this juncture, Jon wanted to know if they were recruitable for the WWE...)

Got to dissect (and maybe vent a little) about leadership (or lack thereof) for two department re-organizations in less than 3 years. (seems boring now, but class seemed interested...)


But my husband and brother-in-law??

They rock the house.

They brought home their classwork!

A school day that finished with milk and fresh baked cookies.

Oh - the - joy!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Women In Art

This is one of my favorite YouTube posts. Turn up the volume and enjoy!

Friends Who Get You

Is there anything better than a friend who gets you? Who can call you out when you are being fake, who can laugh with you at those painfully embarrassing moments, who never lets you forget all the good, bad, and ugly moments in your life?

Got this card from one of the best friends ever - LH/Chicago! - this week... and god did it make me laugh.

Interior Message:
Some days are the buttcrack sand in the swimsuits of our lives.

Holy Cats that's funny.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Top 10 Daily Observances

1. Observed Bumper Sticker: "If you're not completely appalled you haven't been paying attention."

2. Observed Street Sign: "Slow Children At Play" (think about it...)

3. Observed Grossness: Cubicle neighbor with 2 inches of gunk on her phone who wanted me to listen to one of her voice mail messages. (Cure: hit speaker button with pencil...)

4. Observed Quote of the Day: "That which doesn't kill you makes you funnier"

5. Observed Home Moment: Hubby with wacko kitty curled up contentedly and purring on his lap at end of day.

6. Observed Environment: Hot Hot Hot October (or is this August). Strange to have changing leaves and 85 humid degrees.

7. Observed Magazine Cover: Paris tell-all about her time in prison (gag)

8. Observed Touching Moment: Shari and Chick's blogs today - tenderness and pain - thanks for your honesty and sharing.

9. Observed Success: Amybow gets high praise from the Chairman of the Board - rare prize indeed.

10. Observed Creative Punctuation: Love the way Chick adds "?" in middle of sentence to indicate lilt in her voice...very unique...very Chick.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


To further avoid my whining - I left my blog and scrolled through my favs. Chick had a great post today on I'm copying her (again, cuz she always inspires me!) and asking any of you out there who are reading and haven't posted a comment to just de-lurk and say hello!

Whine Alert

I'm having one of those days.

I can hear the 2-year old inside me whining, "I don't wanna, I DO NOT WANNA!!!!" with every task I come across. The 40-year old exterior is working with it - being diplomatic, trying not to snap people's heads off when they interrupt me or do something stupid, trying not to dissolve into frustrated tears, etc.

But the 40-year old is tired and really wants to whine.


The "too much-to-do" syndrome is really getting old.
The whining in my head is also getting old.

[deep breath and count to 10]

Okay. 40-year old is taking charge of 2-year old again.
I will get to the end of this day with some sense of accomplishment and organization ... somehow ... maybe my itunes will drown out the whine.

Monday, October 1, 2007

On a Serious Note

M and I had dinner tonight. Over a fabulous tapas dinner we once again connected. This woman was the heart and soul of my middle childhood. We met in middle school and were the best of friends all through high school. We drifted in and out of each others lives in college and beyond. Reconnecting and then drifting apart again. Nothing came between us except normal life challenges and a few hundred miles of geography.

When she called recently to tell me her sister had been killed in an accident, I had no words.

I still have no words.

All I have is my love for her and my desire to ease her pain. I shared with her moments in my life when I experienced loss. But I cannot share something as profound as losing a baby sister. Our heads agreed that it is something that you get used to, but you never get over. Our hearts told us, getting used to it is unfathomable.

We shared a drink, a meal, a short walk, a drive among the Peachtrees, some wonderful laughs, a tear or two and when I returned to my hotel room I thanked God for the sisters I have been given - those two that have come to my life through blood, and the several others that I have found through friendship.

M - I cannot ever replace your baby sister, nor would I want to. But you have more sisters than you may know. I will always be one of them.

What is WITH the Peachtrees?

Greetings from Atlanta.

Evidently this is the city that grew so fast and had such a limited vocabulary that it could only name its streets Peachtree...something. Tonight I'm staying in a hotel on Peachtree Road NE. Apparently there is also a Peachtree Road NW.

My dear friend M who lives outside Atlanta picked me up to have dinner tonight. We wandered around the City a bit - really didn't make any wrong turns, but were amazed that while we were looking for Peachtree Street (yes, apparently it forks off of Peachtree Road NW) we passed the following (no lie):
  • Peachtree Avenue NE
  • Peachtree Way NE
  • Peachtree Battle Avenue NW
  • Peachtree Hills Avenue NE
  • Peachtree Memorial Drive NW
  • Peachtree Park Drive NE (this is about when my giggling started)
  • Peachtree Valley Road NW
  • Peachtree Circle NE
  • West Peachtree Street NE
  • Peachtree Place NE
  • West Peachtree Place NW
  • Peachtree Center Avenue NE


Okay - I know I am a Yankee. As a Yankee I am supposed to be predisposed to mocking the South. It's not really my style. But seriously.

No really. Seriously.