Tuesday, March 27, 2007


While I was working, I took a sales seminar on "Overcoming Objections." I have to say it was not overwhelmingly helpful for my job, but I have found it really useful for working with E & L. Kids are by nature, really difficult to work with - they want what they want when they want it. Talking them out of whatever it is they happen to want - when they want it - is a chore for a diplomat. Equally challenging is talking them into something you want then to want; when they are absolutely opposed to that idea.

I have often thought that my two were the king and queen of opposition. But yesterday in the park, while playing in Muenster, I noticed that the other German mommas were trying equally as hard to organize their preschoolers too.

Apparently - not listening - to any language spoken by parents - is universal!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Planes - Buses - Cars

We made it. Three planes and about 28 hours later we had made it. There were some interesting moments - like the bus ride to the main terminal in Frankfurt. Then we sat a bit and then another bus ride to our plane to Muenster.

After arriving in Muenster we took another bus to our friends house.

We then broke the cardinal rule for beating jet lag and took a nap. Seriously, I could not have stayed awake for all the money in the world. After our nap, we took a trip to the store and had dinner.

Then we went to sleep at 9 pm and slept until 10:15 am this morning. I still feel a bit disoriented but by tomorrow I should be good as new.

I also have to say kudos to P. He was a great help with the little people, which is good as he has one on the way.

I will share one humorous story. We flew on a very small British Aero Space turbo prop to Muenster. To board the plane, we had to climb the shakiest looking stairs I have ever seen. Everyone was in a big hurry and they all apperantly needed glasses - as they shove past me, holding L's hand, with the car seat backpack on, with my purse and E in my arms. I mean - no problem I could stand there all day. I will say one kind gentleman did stop, to inform me that E's shoelaces were untied! Oh, ok I will get right on that with my extra set of hands.

But all in all the trip here went better than expected. I have a great friend and great kids!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Passport - check.... Sanity, uh? check

Yep! Got the passport! the airline tickets! the suitcases packed! New toys/coloring books for the little people! Gifts for the people who so graciously extended me an invite to stay with them (oh, what were they thinking????)(E-books loaded on the Palm. & music too!) Sanity - sure, ah maybe???

So you are wondering about the monologue? Well, I am off to Germany for a trip. Going to be staying with friends and family. I am going to be traveling from the north of Germany all the way to the south and then back up north again to return home. It is going to be a great trip. Which I am going to be making largely solo - with little people. H is meeting up with us for part of the trip, but mostly it is just me. I am flying over with our good friend P. He loves me and the little people! Really he does, but what he loves more is my extra cargo space.

I have a very important travel rule. Take no more than you can actually manage and carry! So even though the 3 of us (me and 2 little people) are entitled to 2 undercarriage bag each (total of 6) - I only have 2 packed. I can only manage two suitcases, with a stroller, a preschooler, my purse and diaper bag. So that is all I am taking! Done deal. P gets 4 extra slots. He is in baggage heaven!

So, while I may not be posting alot over the next few weeks, do check back, as I plan to post pictures as I can and offer some comments as to my travels. So live life to the fullest while I am away!

Friday, March 16, 2007

It's that time again....

Yes, the primaries are coming this fall - and that means the TV commercials from hell are coming back. It also means that the mudslinging is in high gear; which also means that many well educated adults will have forgot the sage advice their mothers' offered them in the 3rd grade - mainly "If you haven't got something nice to say, then say nothing at all!"

Now on the upside, many well educated, witty adults will be generating very catchy bumper stickers for your driving pleasure. Like the one I saw tonight:
" I rather liked it better when the president was getting screwed."

Yes well didn't we all!

But then it gives all something to blog about too. Like this wonderfully written entry from my friend. I have not laughed so hard in weeks! Sadly that is something I might dream about too!

But seriously, I wish they would focus on the issues (cuz there are some doozies! that need to be addressed ASAP!) Like that pesky little police action - oh wait that is the one from the 60s- I meant to say the war on terror and health care and social security could use a bit of assistance.

But I am not going to hold my breath - I am just going to keep my TV viewing to a minimum.....

Random Questions

My college roommate sent this around and indicated she most wanted to hear my answers, so naturally I had to answer! Since I missed the Thursday 13 this week, I thought I would post this instead!

1. What time is it? 11:07 am

2. What is your full name? Thoughts from the edge
3. What are you most afraid of? feeling like I did not do enough
4. How many grandkids? none, we are 20 years from that I think
5. Have you ever seen a ghost? No
6. Where were you born? Columbus, Ohio
7. Ever been to Alaska? No

8. Ever been toilet paper rolling? Once, it was really dumb

9. Ever loved someone so much it made you cry? Yes

10. Been in a car accident? Yes
11. Croutons or bacon bits? real bacon

12. Favorite day of the week? Thursday

13. Favorite Restaurant? Starliner diner in Hilliard, Ohio
14. Favorite Flower: lily of the valley & daisies

15. Favorite Drink: Shiraz or Vanilla Stoli Martinis
16. Favorite ice cream: Can't eat it - but I do like Chocolate Sorbet
17. Favorite fast food: Chipolte
18. What color is your bedroom carpet? cream

19. How many times have you failed your driver's test? 1 (Yes I hit all the pillions!)
20. Before this one, from whom did you get your last
email? my dear college room mate
21. What do you do most often when you are bored?
I have two kids, what is bored again??

22. Bedtime? 10 pm

23. Who will respond to this e-mail the quickest?
not sure??

24. Who is the person you sent this to that is least
likely to respond? H
25. Who is the person that you are most curious to see
their answer? J
26. What kind of car do you have? Chrysler Pacifica

27. What are you listening to right now: nothing
28. What are your favorite colors: green
29. How many tattoos do you have? 0

30. How many pets do you have? none
31. Which came first the chicken or the egg? Egg
32. What would you like to accomplish before you
die? Travel to all the places I have not yet been (I have a list), run a half marathon, get a novel publish, and learn to knit
33. How many people are you sending this e-mail? 11

Cut and paste this on your blog for fun! Have a great weekend!

Saying Good-Bye

Most of us have by our thirties, lost someone that we love. Before I hit my twenties, I had buried my maternal grandfather and grandmother. I never knew my paternal grandfather. In my high school class, I think 4 to 5 five fellow students died due to car accidents and illness. Countless friends of the family had died. My mother worked in long term care and I had often heard about those patients who had died.

H lost his dad while we were in college and just recently his mother.

While all of those deaths have touched me very deeply, the lose I still feel the most some days is for the baby I never knew. Three years ago this week, I had a miscarriage at about 10 weeks. It was a shock. We had been very excited about giving L a brother or a sister, and unlike L, it took us no time at all to get pregnant.

With L, everything was a little overwhelming and extremely exciting. We had no idea what to expect and all the changes that my body went thru were a wild ride. With the second baby, I was more prepared for the changes and was so looking forward to another baby. I was more relaxed about it. I was however - pretty sick this time. Morning sickness all day was my reality, from the second that sperm found the egg - I was a regular in puke city. Everything made me sick. Smells, colors - you name it. (In retrospect, that should have been(maybe?) my first clue.)

But I kept on keeping on and continued to work and did not let on that I was pregnant. We told some friends, but for the most part we kept our joy (and sickness) to ourselves.

This time around I also broke my own rule and one day, while out at lunch time, bought the cutest white sweater knit sleeper. This baby would be coming in the fall and I thought that sweater would be perfect. Normally, I am not a terribly superstitious person, but where babies are concerned, I like to wait until the ultrasound to let the reality of it all sink in. But this time I bought the sweater. I just could not help myself.

I will forever remember the day I went to my first prenatal appointment with #2, all the paperwork and questions and everyone is so happy. H could not get away from work, so I went by myself. It was fine really, I had been thru this before and that early, the ultrasound looks like a peanut. I was sure everything was going to be ok.

Until there was nothing on the ultrasound. Nothing. I knew right away. The doctor knew right away too, even though she tried to be reassuring and kept trying to find the baby from a different angle. There was no heart beat and no little peanut. I was losing the baby or had already lost the baby and my body just had not caught on just yet.

As I drove to get L from daycare, I tried not to cry. I felt so lost. Now I just had to wait. I tried to hold out hope, that the ultrasound was wrong, that it was just too early to tell. But in a few day, I did miscarry. It was not pleasant and I have never felt so empty.

After carrying a baby for 9 months, you are ready to get the baby out. Enough is enough already, but this time, I just felt tired, empty, angry and sad. I wanted to get to know that little one. I wanted to dress him or her in that sweater and take them for a walk. I wanted to love the child that H and I had created from our love for one another.

In retrospect, I should have stayed home from work, to mourn a bit and to rest, but no one at my job knew I was pregnant, so how does one tell them that you now need time to stay home and mourn the dream you have lost. Not to mention, my colleague was away on vacation and I felt I did not want to let them down.

Some days I think I still mourn for this child a bit. H says that this child's soul was recycled and that is how we got E. In fact we got E, our little gift, when we were actively trying to prevent conception. I just could not face it again, but God stepped in and now we have E. I am not sure if Baby #2's soul is here with us in E or not, but I know that I was given a gift in E and I am forever grateful that I did not close my heart completely from trying again. That I did not let my fear rule me.

That said, St. Patrick's will never again be a party time for me. It is the day I was forced to say good bye to someone I never got know. Someone very special and a dream that will forever be a part of me. I still have the sweater tucked away, but I think I am going to give it to our dear friends, who are expecting their first little one. I am ready to part with that part of my dream.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

There is nothing like bad business

Alright - I know most people think I am old fashioned when it comes to business and call me crazy but I thought the entire point was that you were in business to make money. Right?

I remember the DOT.COM craze with all the talk of the new economy. With Venture capitalists throwing money at small Internet start ups, even if the business plan was crap or better yet - "What business plan?" Remember our annoying little friend, the PETS.COM sock puppet. News flash, he is gone.... "Why you ask?" Well, he got a weeks severance when they closed up shop. Businesses need to make money, in order to pay employees, pay the rent, buy and store inventory, ect. So it matters not if it is "new economy" or "old economy" the bottom line is the bottom line is the bottom line.

Now the buzz word is "sub-prime" --bottom line - bad business decisions will eventually bit you in the butt. Just ask Jeffrey Skilling and his ENRON henchmen - there is no business like bad business. Bad loans add up and eventually someone has to pay, the borrower pays, the share holders of the bank pay and we as investors pay when the market slides as it did today.

Begs the questions - when will the high paid CEOs wise up and learn - there is no business like bad business!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Beware of waffles

So, I almost caved today and ate - gasp! -a waffle at brunch. They looked so yummy on the buffet table. I could live without the toast, the biscuits, the English muffins - but the waffle looked so good. Golden and crisp and warm. (I happen to be crazy about waffles. They were at one point in time my favorite breakfast......)

However, I did not cave. I stayed strong and on the wheat-free, dairy-free and corn free program. I mean, I feel the best I have ever felt. My work outs are better - I am running about 4 miles now. Did I mention that I feel great and since I began eliminating wheat and corn from my diet (dairy is an old one) I have lost on average 8 - 10 pounds. Which is huge! Also, no more eczema like rash, appearing out of nowhere from time to time.

Did I mention that I feel great?

So I gave the waffles one more longing glance and headed back to my table, with a plate of fresh fruit, 2 sausage links and a veggie omelet - hold the cheese!

Because honestly - there is more to life than waffles - right?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


13 Songs currently on my Ipod

I listen to the Ipod when working out and writing! Gotta have music!

1. Get Stoned -- Hinder
2. Better Man -- Pearl Jam
3. Say it Right -- Nelly Furtado
4. Sensuality -- Brian Culbertson
5. Space Between -- Dave Matthews Band
6. Joey -- Concrete Blonde
7. Mr. Brightside -- The Killers
8. There She Goes -- Chris Issak
9. It Ends Tonight -- The All-American Rejects
10. Thru the Glass -- Stoned Sour
11. Oceans Away -- The Fray
12. Ever the Same -- Rob Thomas
13. The Hardest Part -- Cold Play

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A dirty little secret

As many of may know, I spent most of my 20s working in a large investment company. Today at breakfast I was reading the New York Times. In the business section, there was a piece about some insider trading and so forth. I really do not want to talk about that specifically, but that topic coupled with the rapid market drop early this month, I thought I would tell you all a secret, one that your banker, your broker and maybe your brother-in-law does not want you to know. Wall Street is the Vegas Strip dressed up and dignified. Nothing more and nothing less.

Casinos vs. Investment Houses

Ok, this covers the physical similarities. On the Vegas Strip you get bright lights, killer architecture (think MGM, Paris, the Luxor) on Wall Street you the NYSE, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan, with their muted masculine decor, upholstered couches, wood paneling, and rich carpet. In Vegas you get the the blinking lights and in Manhattan you get the ticker tape - letters and number racing and chasing.

Professional Gambler vs. Professional Money Manger, et al.

Every professional gambler has a set of rules or guidelines that leads his or her play. Don't believe me? Then watch and listen to them on ESPN, BRAVO or where ever they show poker tournaments and the like. They do. Some call it suspicious, some luck - but it is at some level a scientific or pseudo scientific process at which they base their play.

Money managers are the same. They have a system, a set of guidelines that they work by. They could be technical in nature or more research driven. They will look at the trends, they will evaluate economic data, but at the end of the day it still largely based on luck, just like the professional gambler.

It is no secret that the type of person that succeed long term on Wall Street is similar in temperament as the professional gambler. You have to have coolness, confidence and a bit of arrogance to make it happen.

Quarter Slots vs. High Rollers

On Wall Street there is a place for the little guy and the high roller. While we like to pretend that it is all equal and at any moment the little guy can hit the jackpot in Vegas and that the slow and steady investor can make it big on Wall Street, the reality is that there are different tiers to the investment game, just as there are different perks for the high rollers. This is the way it is - work with it.

With your $50 to put away each month a mutual fund makes sense - a hedge fund does not. With $25 million to invest - the funds come to you. Nothing unfair about it, it is the way of world.

Now that said Wall Street could learn a bit about being kind to the little guy like Vegas. Free drinks are nice, open buffets, nice. Sometimes it is not the "what" of the matter but rather the "how"

Cheating is the flip side of Good Sportsmanship

Ok, well anyone who has watched Las Vegas or seen Rainman, knows that the casinos hate cheaters, card counters, and other riftraft and go to great efforts to ensure that the game is at best fair and at worst fairest to the Casinos.

Wall Street it seems to me is alittle less honorable that way. Trust me, the investment firms have the deck stacked in their favor. They have spent billions on attorney fees to ensure that they have every advantage should you get mad at them. The account agreement you sign is 900 pages long for a reason folks!

They make the rules and have a self governing bodies to enforce the rules. (NASD;NYSE, ect.) I am not sure that the SEC is all that independent, there is alot of influence. They set the fees, change the fees and generally when push comes to shove - their bottom line is what is really really important.

Now that said, they are not ogres. Do not running around telling people that I said all investment houses are bad - it is not a question of good or bad. I am merely being honest. It is impossible to play the game, if you do not know all the rules.

The stock market is a big game - just like Blackjack and Poker. Learn the rules, do your homework and make your best guesses - sometimes you will win big and sometimes you will lose. Your best bet is to be consistent, filter out the noise, know your limits and stay steady over the long haul. Know when to fold'em.

Know that while your broker is very likely on your side and a decent person, that that alone does not absolve you of taking control of your own destiny and doing your homework.

I mean would you trust the drunk card shark next to you in Vegas with every dime you had with you? I hope not! Wall Street is no different ladies and gentlemen.

So know you know the big secret! Use it wisely!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Death by Chocolate....well sort of

You know some days are just better than others. Yesterday in general was a good day, until after diner when I tried to bake my brothers birthday cake. I got L & E settled down, and then set out to bake a flourless chocolate cake. I am on a wheat-free, corn-free, and dairy-free regime and my bro is working hard to lose some extra pounds. So I thought this might be a good choice for us all. (I figured the leftovers could go home to the bros housemates!)

So I grabbed my trusty mix-master, chopped 12 oz of yummy chocolate, melted some butter and beat the snot out of 6 eggs with sugar. (Let's face it, it is always better to beat stuff up with sugar, right?) I lined my springform pan with parchment paper - so my cake would have a smooth top and since this was a special birthday - I went ala Martha and made a stencil out of parchment - "30" that's right - he is 30! I was going to put powered sugar on top using the stencil.

I was living large......

So I beat the eggs and sugar, folded in the melted chocolate and butter and filled up my spring form. Popped it in the over and settle down with some tea, to watch some television as it baked.

So 15 minutes into my rest break, I hear this "Pop, whoosh!".... think it is outside and keep on resting. Then I start to smell this awful burning chocolate smell. (Ok, strange the cake is supposed to bake for an hour!) Go into the kitchen to check it out - Yep, you guessed it, cake everywhere all over the oven. One big, huge, gooey cake eruption & explosion. Yikes. So I switched off the oven and let the thin layer of cake left in the pan cool and cleaned up the best I could.

Needless to say the cake was well -- Toast!

So I served Girl Scout Thin Mints and Raspberries - because really - chocolate in any form is really ok! (I refrained from the cookies and went right for the dark chocolate I had tucked away!) Everyone seemed happy and chocolate satisfied!

Happy Birthday, little brother :)

Saturday, March 3, 2007

It was true then and its true now...

"America was drunk on physical comeliness. America was on a diet. America did its exercises. America, indeed, brought spirituality to its dedication to pink-cheeked, straight-legged, clear-eyed, health-exuding, attractiveness-- a fierce, strident dedication. It was the dedicated spirituality that the dancer might come to experience what we call Art. To what I asked myself, was America coming?"

-- Fred Exeley, A Fan's Note

I first read this book in Elliott Gorn's American Studies 201 survey course at Miami University in 1992/1993. I was very full of angst back then. I was frankly pissed off at much of the world, my parents and well life in general. Looking back I was an emotional stew, but this quote hit me again the other day.

What are we as America coming to? I think our popular culture and frankly our political landscape are looking pretty scary of late. I mean do your own little survey. For example, check out the magazines on display in the grocery. We as a society are more interested in Brittany and Kevin's marriage or lack thereof - than with what is happening in Washington, DC, Iraq, Dafur, & our own communities.

Frankly I really don't care if Paris ever has sex again, but if we have to hear about it, I wish she would talk about the importance of using birth control (especially condoms.)

I also could care less about what diet, so and so is on, but I would love for more celebrities to talk about the need for a well balanced diet, exercise and the merits of being well balanced in your lives. How about focusing on the scary rise of diabities in this country or making sure the school lunch programs actually include fresh fruits and veggies.

I would like for our politicians (let's be frank, our employees - we pay the taxes that pay their salaries) to get their collective heads out of their asses and actually work on the big issue. Like why do so many children in the country not have medical and dental care. Why are families struggling with the American dream, when we are the richest country in the world. Furthermore, they could sit down and shut up and figure out how the hell are we getting out of Iraq and when - before more young American die for a war I just don't get. They could figure out how we, bought such a load of crap from the Bush regime hook, line and sinker. How about they figure out to really strength our borders - effectively. How about looking at why in the last year our food supply has been tainted with e coli.

We are so dedicated to being casual that we have forgotten that to be truly great, truly successful and truly admirable, we must tackle the the real issue, we must be real and we have to be willing to really put in the time. Hard work is messy, it is not neat, it requires you to roll up your sleeves and it requires a huge amount of mental outlay. I am seeing less and less greatness.

So the question is do we, in 200 years, want to be remembered as a nation of beautiful people - empty on the inside or do we want to be remembered as a nation of dedicated people, willing to put forth some serious effort to achieve greatness?

Only we can answer that - one day at a time. (and one vote at a time when the time comes.)

Friday, March 2, 2007

Ice machine Part 3

Ok recently I wrote about my funny ice machine story. Well it is broken again. It has been for a month or so. H called Sears and Sears called today to let me know that they could come by today. Same guy. This is the 4th trip here (it broke this time last year too!) We agreed we needed to stop meeting like this.

Anyway - he fixed again.

The funny thing this time - I have lost my voice. I can hardly talk above a whisper......

Thursday, March 1, 2007

13 Places I would like to visit before I die

1. Australia. I really want to go there. It is such an interesting and diverse place and let's face it the accent rocks! The beaches rock! The Outback rocks! and the wines rock! Plus kangaroos and koala's are cool too.

2. Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. I have been many places in the US, but never there. It looks so pretty, lush and green. Plus Seattle seems like a pretty neat city.

3. Thailand. I have read books with Thailand as a setting and I have seen movies & documentaries about Thailand. I have to say I am not a hot and humid weather kinda of girl, but I think I could make an exception for this destination.

4. India. I have always wanted to go to India. A friend of mine from my study abroad days - did some work in India and Nepal and her pictures were breath-taking. India is one of those place where I think you would have to devote at least a minimum of a month to really see it all and experience all it has to offer.

5. Maine. My mother has been and a friend has lived there, but I have never made it. It looks so lovely.

6. Grand Canyon. Sad to say I have not been there! Flown over more times than I can count, but never been there.

7. Iceland. Well let's face, it is such a rare place. And a country which can produce such luscious chocolate (seriously, bought some at Whole Foods and it is outstanding.) Plus there is Bjork, hot springs, and so much more.

8. Italy. I really would like to visit Italy. Was in northern Italy once for an afternoon, but I would like to take a week or two and really see the sites. Venice, Rome, Florence. My host family in high school spent time on the Island of Sardinia, the pictures look lovely. I think I would like to learn some Italian before I set out though. It is always a better experience when you can speak the language.

9. I would like to go to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. H goes there off and on for flight training and for the occasional overnight layovers. He has brought back city guides from time to time and I think it looks like a good time and romantic. My French is bad, but maybe I would be inspired.

10. England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. My family is Welsh and English on my mother's side. I would like to get there. We were all set to go in the Fall of 2001, but after 9/11 we decided to stay stateside.

11. Japan. I have always wanted to get there too. It has such a rich history and the geography is so diverse. Plus I am sushi obsessed so I think I could eat it every day there - no problems :)

12. Sweden & Norway. I was in Denmark in 1995 - lovely. I want to see the rest of Scandinavia - mmm, maybe a cruise.

13. Alaska. Then I can say that I have been to Alaska and Hawaii. The wild life and the views from TV and friends pictures look so great.

Honestly, I love to travel, so I could go anywhere and be happy. It is such a rush to check out new places and cultures. There is so much to see and learn! ( I am alittle worried about the water someplaces - I have heard some terrible terrible stories....) But nothing ventured nothing gained - right?

The trip that wasn't meant to be; Clearly

Well, the day started bright & early at 5 am. I was up and dressed, checked our flight and the weather (kinda iffy, but hey bring it on.) Got the little people up and dress and fed and we were on the road at 6:45 am. The sky was alight with some beautiful lightening and it was raining, but hey we were rolling along.

Got to the airport and parked at SunPark which I highly recommend. They come right to your car, help you unload your luggage and even helped me with the stroller. Cool. Well worth the few dollars for the tip. (they also graciously let me out of the lot at no cost since my flight did not work out. Very cool. Will park there again!)

Got in to the airport and got my stand by boarding passes. Then waited. Turned out between the time I checked and the time arrive at the airport, the flight got full, mmmmm. Not sure how that happened, but it did. The joys of stand-by.

While I could have tried for the later 2 flights, I decided not to. Too risky, when the last leg was already almost full. So we came home.

The downside is I do not get to see my friend and she is stuck with a gallon of soy milk and a clean house. (Although, H called to say that Atalanta is under a ground stop. No flights going in or out.) It is better to be at home, wishing you were where you had planned to be - rather than stuck in Atlanta.

The upside, I know the jogger fits thru the X-ray machine, the little people were very very well behaved and I can push the jogger and pull my little rolling suitcase at the same time. I am superwoman today :)

I am so glad I am at home........ and not in Atlanta.