Tuesday, December 23, 2008

So like Elaine...

I have picked up a great free lance gig - writing descriptions about office chairs. It is challenging in that all 300 or so need to be unique and upbeat and of a similar style! Also I should not - in the Thesaurus there are only so many words for elegant, modern, comfortable, ect! So it is a challenge. I love it. This is the kind of freelance work I want. Challenging and focused. My editing and MS Word skills are expanding - all good!

I also have become acquainted with the website Elance (www.elance.com) which I love. The escrow feature in particular! Means I have assurance that I will get paid or at least some formal recourse, given my luck with the defunct magazine earlier this year!

So when I tell people about this assignment, most wrinkle their noses and say, "So like Elaine and the Urban Sombrero thing at Peterman."

Um Yeah - Exactly like that! Just call me Elaine! The Elaine of office chairs!

For those of you thinking this project is silly and potentially mind numbing - let me just say I know a few things about Urethane now - go look it up - fascinating really!

Rules of the Pool

Today L and I had a special mommy and me day. E had his last day of school before winter break. It was his holiday party and movie day. So L and I ran errands and picked the crafts for her tea party next week - then we went to the indoor pool at the rec center. (I had rallied hard for the conservatory but she was dead set on the pool.)

The pool really is nice. Large and with 2 slides. One baby slide and one big kid slide. The big kid slide requires that you be 42" tall and able to pass a swim test or over 48" tall and no swim test! Very simple - so between 42" and 48" you have to pass the test.

L wanted to do the big slide! I did not think she would be tall enough, but she climbed up the steps and low and behold down she came. Happy as a clam. She did the slide no less than 10 times before the the rest period. After rest period and the life guard shift, she climbs the stairs only to come down in tears. The new life guard felt she was not tall enough. (Hello her hair is wet....and flat to her head and the last time she had dry hair.) She is distraught for being denied what she had just done. I climb up the steps with her and got attitude. So not his problem.

So I marched us to the pool managers office. I was not taking issue with the rule - IT IS A GOOD RULE! But I was taking issue with the haphazard way it was being applied. There should be safe guards in place to ensure that all the guards are enforcing the rule in the same way. There should be a wet hair or dry hair allowance. Or the kids have to be clearly an inch over 48". Some safe guard. I get that it is a judgement call, but there are ways to ensure that everyone is making a seemingly uniform judgement. (Mgmt 101)

Like I explained the the pool manager - I take no issue with the rule on its face. I take issue that L is seeing people in positions of authority applying the rule in a haphazard way. It is unfair and creates situations where she feel she cannot trust those around her in positions of authority to act in a reliable and principled manner. To be allowed to do something and then 15 minutes later be denied the same privilege is unacceptable in my mind.

The manager agreed. She is just tall enough or just a tad under and she can swim - so she was allowed to proceed. But I could tell she felt confused and let down.

I hope the manager takes the time to express my concern to the life guards. It seems like no big deal, but in reality it really is a big deal!

I would submit that this is an issue in society at large! We as a culture tend to be selective in rule enforcement. I think it is important to be flexible and judge certain things on a case by case basis - but there is also something to be said for being principled and consistent in rule enforcement.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bread is Dangerous...

I found this elsewhere on the Web and thought I would share it... From my point of view it is funny... While in NYC last weekend, it became abundantly apparent that if I were trapped in Grand Central Station for more than a day, I very well might starve. Other than coffee and fruit, there was very little around that did not involve wheat! Oh the bagels, the scones, the cakes, the pretzels, the sandwiches, and the pasta salad. For me, no different than crack... there is nothing like carbohydrate porn now is there....


Physics 1021 - Bread is Dangerous



  1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.

  2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.

  3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations

  4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.

  5. Bread is made from a substance called "dough." It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average North American eats more bread than that in one month!

  6. Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and osteoporosis.

  7. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after as little as two days.

  8. Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cold cuts.

  9. Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.

  10. Newborn babies can choke on bread.

  11. Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 240 degrees Celsius! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.

  12. Most bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.



In light of these frightening statistics, we propose the following bread restrictions:




  1. No sale of bread to minors

  2. A nationwide "Just Say No To Toast" campaign, complete celebrity TV spots and bumper stickers.

  3. A 300 percent federal tax on all bread to pay for all the societal ills we might associate with bread.

  4. No animal or human images, nor any primary colors (which may appeal to children) may be used to promote bread usage.

  5. The establishment of "Bread-free" zones around schools.

I think it clear... blame the BREAD - LOL!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sometimes I am so nt smart...

The girl who has been waxing my eyebrows has left the salon. They were reassigning her book and frankly the scheduled time was the only time I could go...

Grr... I have been putting it off.

So what did the smart woman that I pretend to be do?

Yeah - I decided to try waxing them myself.... the right eye - not bad, the left eye - um well thank goodness my hair grows fast....

Sometimes I am just so not smart!

The Fox and the Hen House

I know you need experience but why is Obama picking an insider to run the SEC. We need someone who is not tainted and who can carry a big stick & bust some balls. Not someone who is considered a low profile caretaker.

I am as a woman happy to see a woman at the helm. But is THIS the woman for the job. I want someone running the SEC who carries a big stick, busts balls and puts these crooks and frauds in their place. Not a rubber stamper and not someone who has been an insider for a number of years. We need a straight talker like Jim Cramer or Suze Orman. Someone who talks straights and will make the SEC talk straight. Chris Matthews even. Their industry experience is less important to me - it is their low tolerance for bullshit which should receive the top billing in this case.

We need someone who will work with the Justice Department and who will be willing to throw those who cheat and lie and play fast and loose with the public's money and trust under the bus.

Wall Street is now taking my tax dollars to their bank in the Caymans and that pisses me the hell off.

I have my doubts that Mary can effect any real change.

So Obama - with this appointment I have to say I am questioning your normally sound judgement.

We need a pit bull and not another industry lap dog.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Victoria - I have a secret for ya!

So I went shopping last week, alone! A rare event. i had a $10 coupon for Victoria's in my purse. I like their Intimisme line and I had poked around online, a pre-shop if you will. What many of you do not know is I LOVE LINGERIE. I seldom have on unmatched bra and panties. When they are not a set, they go together and look put together. After 5 years out of the game (nursing bras are not sexy really.... although the grippers - well I digress...) and I am slowly building back up my collection.

Being in a single digit dress size and having a very nice set - still perky - post baby 36Cs - one would think I could just walk into VICS and go to town. Yeah - not so much... this is the second time in less than 6 months that I have gone to Vics and left empty handed and left feeling decidedly FAT, unsexy, disappointed and frankly irritated. I eat next to nothing fun and exciting and I run a fair amount and I CANNOT WEAR ANYTHING there.... on a consistent basis.

It is either too tight, sized wrong, cut badly and just generally in my opinion of poor quality. The bras do not hug the girls correctly and the very sexy bustier - yeah well in my size and the size up I looked like a stuffed sausage. (my waist might I say is the smallest part of my body - how is this possible??)

I have just gotten used to the new post baby - post marathon - wheat, corn, dairy, soy free body! While I have always been curvy - I am now thinner and curve. I say no to all kinds of foods - so the weight has come off and I am happy. I was happy before - but I am REALLY happy now.

But what I fail to get is how then can I wear nothing at Vic's. Who are they designing for? The entire point of matching bras and panties and bustiers and garters and sexy nighties - is - I should think - to be visually pleasing to ones partner(s) and to make the person wearing it feel like a million bucks. I am willing to spend money on good lingerie - I have the Felina and Jezebel to prove it.

So why is it then Vicki - that the nicest and best fitting stuff I have bought of late has been at Target or HM? Why is it that you are designing stuff that only fits a certain body type - Twiggy??? Instead of creating bras which only created the illusion of curves under clothing - let's create some that flatter those of US who already have the curves. Let's have 36 C's which fit a 36 C - in Felina I am a 36 C! I am willing to entertain a 38B - which is sometimes what I wear at Target. In this the bigger the better - right?

I so would have bought that blue buster and matching panties and matching wrap and garters and well stockings too - to the tune of $130 to $200 if I had looked sexy. Instead I looked like a meatball. Then I went to Target and bought another matching set - on sale for $4.85 and $2.87 receptively. I felt sexy in it.

I know some women would have bought it anyway - but here is the secret. They would buy it and they would put it in a draw and not wear it and that is sad. Lingerie should make a woman feel sexy and powerful and HAPPY. I guarantee you that a sexy, HAPPY, empowered woman will be back year after year - and is not that the image they ought to be pursing? A set of hot panties and and flattering bra put a special smile on my face and I have to think I am not alone!

I know as a feminist - we are taught that being sexy and dressing sexy is somehow wrong. But I say it is about our power and empowerment. There is great joy and power to be found in feeling and looking our best - regardless of size. If the lingerie is made right - it is about showing off the assets and unleashing the inner Goddess.

I am not sure what the house of PINK is up to - but making clothing that makes me feel sexy must not be on their radar.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Burnt Toast

That is the best description I can come up with for the state of my laptop. Burnt Toast. It crashed and burned. I spent the morning trying to find a laptop repair shop. My third try I stumble upon the sweetest geeky guy who looked at me and said, "Let's see what we can do..." He opened her up and then took out the hard drive. Invited me back to his crazy work area and tried like heck to get my hard disk to show up on his hobbled together work bench CPU. Well it could see it but that was it. Data locked up tight...

I had my MBA paper locked up in the mess and I really did not want to rewrite it. Everything else is safe - either backed up or on the web somewhere I can retrieve it. But the drafted paper which was due today - NOT SO MUCH.

I had 2 goals I told him.

1. Get that paper....

2. Ascertain if the laptop was fixable or not. If not or if it was going to cost hundreds of dollars - I was not going there. I only paid $500 for thing and it is 2 years old. I get the math and I have been told that once bits start to break - well it is like a snow ball rolling down hill.

After a number of tries, he looked at me and said, "Well.... um I think we have a problem with the hard disk."

I think he thought I was going to cry.

I said - "Is it a sure bet that I should just go home and write again."

He nodded. Looking hopeful that I would not cry.

He said he was dying to try some new software and maybe he could get back some of the info on my hard drive. He would charge me only $50 if he could. He was unclear whether or not my problem is physical - ie broken ball bearings or if it is mucked up files. I have a whisper of what he called the clicks of death.

I agreed and since the lap top is basically toast - he is going to check it out - but it likely is a shorted circuit and the motherboard (read expensive....) I told him he could have it for parts and I want the hard disk either way.

We shook hands and I came home and rewrote the paper. Thank goodness I had a robust outline and I can type fast.

Thankfully all my back ups are just fine and I had backed the entire thing up recently. Just not the paper....grrr......

So I guess I will go shopping for a new laptop and I am going to invest in another back up hard drive. I work too hard to lose my work product to the hard disk trolls!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

White flakes from hell

Yep that is my general feeling about snow. I hate it. Snow has no redeeming value. So guess what. We have about 2 inches of the stuff.

Wanna guess where is H???

NOT HOME!

No H is snowed in, in Chi-town in a 3 star hotel, enjoying a hot breakfast, a hot tub, a sauna and a pool. He is studying and on call. He is blissfully alone and surrounded by quiet. Not cooped up in a house with 2 cabin fever ridden children.

What did I do?

I schlepped two kids to the store and back, got gas, and took L to a party. If that were not enough, I shoveled it off the driveway!

How is it that H, who likes snows, always seems to not be here for the chores which come along with it.......

Where is the cosmic fairness in that?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Colors

Since today was so gray...

Your rainbow is slightly shaded red.


What is says about you: You are a passionate person. You appreciate energetic people. You get bored easily and want friends who will keep up with you.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Bomb!

I have created a monster. A clean smelling bath loving monster. L is obsessed with Bath Bombs from LUSH. She discovered these when we went to Lush to get my henna and fav conditioner. The salesgirl showed the kiddos how the bath bombs worked and then L did the same for her class when she was scientist of the week. (hint sodium bicarbonate and powdered citric acid - when they hit the water - bam.... well ok - fizz....)

So the new bathtub is done and we are loving it. (pictures coming soon I promise....) All the better for bath bombs... Wednesday after her brother's Thanksgiving Feast - I took L to LUSH to get some new BOMBS for the new bathtub. For this wonderful occasion she dressed in her Sugar Plum Fairy dance ensemble - complete with three layer tutu... cupcake knee socks... a white turtle neck under the costume and her brown leather riding boots... (Could even I make this up....) the feathers in her hair were the icing on the cake.

We bought the BOMBs and then she used one that evening.. It was purple.

So today, dressed in her angel costume - complete with wings... she is imploring me to let her take a bath and use the flower bomb - becasue in the LUSH magazine (which came the same day as our shopping trip...and it is a newspaper more than a magazine - which she will not put down - she is studying for her PHd in Lush Bath Bombs...) IT said that there is a flower you can keep in the Bomb - after your bath.

What I ask could possibly top that??

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Twilight


Yes...The Best Seller by Stephanie Meyer and now a movie. Yep this is the Twilight I am talking about. My 19 year old babysitter was gushing about it about a month or so ago and I filed that away in my mind and then I heard about the movie and decided I wanted to check it out. The YA market for books is huge and I am a fan of YA fiction - lord knows I read enough of it as kid. Stacks and stacks of books.

I also will concede that on of my works in progress stars a slightly less than human protagonist. (Not a vampire and that IS all I am saying...)

What Worked for Me

The story is beautifully written. While long - it is alot of dialog and moves at a lightening fast pace. It is well developed and I love that the details develop as I read. I felt like I was right there with Bella as she discovered her new home town.

The romance is sweet and very light and I did not feel like it was out of place. There is a wonderful mystery element to the story. It really was sweet and it totally made me want to keep turning the pages.

I tend to write in 1st person and this book is a prime example why that can be so powerful.

What did not work for me

Overall it was a good read and nothing jumped out and said - Hey this is not working. It is not that deep a book - but then Bella is 17 years and a junior in high school and thinks very much like a young woman. It is authentic. Edward is the deeper of the two and at times I felt like the story was telling too much about him and less about Bella.

L asked why there was picture of an apple on the cover and I get the Biblical reference on the 1st page - but I am not sure it as well illustrated in the story as one might think.


Overall

This is a good book for the holidays. Great reading on the plane or train or long car trip. Becasue of the subject matter - vampires and the slightly romantic overtones I would say this book is PG-13 for certain.

You can buy it here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A request...

As all of my readers know I cannot eat wheat, rye, barley, or oats becasue of the gluten. I also cannot eat dairy products or anything with corn in it. As such I hang out on a Celiac's website and another listserv and the topic of food pantries and special food needs has come up.

It got me thinking. What would I do in that situation? I eat mainly fresh fruits & veggies and meat and eggs. Nuts and dried fruits. Rice. What packaged stuff I do buy - I tend to save for when we are on the go and I know I will need a snack. Aside from the rice and eggs, most of the items on my list are on the expensive end of the scale per serving and honestly it takes a good quantity of strawberries and lettuce to fill a girl up.

I am blessed that H makes a good wage and we are financially stable. I cook and bake from scratch and am fairly thrifty when shopping. Processed foods are pricey and fairly nutritionally empty. So all in all while what I am buying is slightly more expensive it is nutritionally dense.

But things could change. What would I do? I am sure I could feed the kiddos. They thankfully have no issues. They could eat the free or reduced lunch at school with no fear of a bad reaction. There are options. But me? I would be in trouble I think. Corn Syrup by my estimation is in about 90% of all packaged food items; from canned veggies to cereal to chips.

I am not alone. There is an astounding number of people with food allergies and Celiac's disease. Many of them are children. Many children with autism are on a gluten free diet.

So this holiday season - even as many of us are tightening our belts as the economy is in a free fall - please consider donating some gluten free items to your local food pantry and include a note - requesting that the food pantry set those items aside for a family with a child or parent with a gluten free diet.

Not sure what to buy consider the following:

Instant rice (but check to make sure it is just rice....)
Canned beans (but check to make sure there is no added thickeners.)
Canned veggies (but check the label)
Rice Chex or Rice Crispies
Canned Fruits or applesauce
Dried beans and peas - but not a soup mix - as most mixes are not gluten free - trust me!
Nuts
Dried fruit
fortified soy milk (but check some add barley and that is so not ok for those of us being gluten free)

Call ahead - will the food pantry accept 10lb of potatoes and sweet potatoes? Maybe some apples? All produce items with a fairly long shelf life.

Another great thought is to give the food pantry some $10 gift cards to a local grocery. The food pantry can provide those cards to families in need of special dietary items.

The bonus is that any hungry family could benefit from the above list - but those with someone trying to be gluten free has such a limited menu to choose from - this is just one way to help the food pantry help that family. Those of us with food related allergies are not picky and not trying to be difficult - we are just trying to safeguard our health - glute or whatever the allergen is -is toxic to US.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's no Boogie...

I know next to nothing about golf. One year at work I rallied long and hard to be included in the annual golf outing. Not becasue I enjoy golf or wanted to golf per se - but I felt and feel it is wrong to exclude anyone from an all office event. It either is an all office event or it is not.... my colleague got paid to golf on a Wednesday well damn straight I am too....

Back on topic...

PGA golfer J. P. Hayes is a stand up guy. He is a man of principles and integrity. He played in a PGA event with an unapproved ball. He also broke the PGA rule of playing a game with same ball - or brand of ball. He owned up to the violation and it will likely cost him a season's worth of play.

Why do I care and why should you? Because HE DID THE RIGHT THING... He made an error and broke some rules. Not on purpose, not cheating or being underhanded - but an honest mistake. Even still the rules are the rules and he took responsiblity for his actions. He did not point the finger at his caddie or blame someone else. He is CEO of his game and as such is ultimately responsible for his actions. He acted with HONOR. An astonishingly infrequently occurrence.

J.P. I am sorry to say I do not know you. I do not follow golf and had not heard of you before now. But I will say this to you... Thank You! Thank your for demonstrating the type of values and sportsmanship and ethics I am trying to teach my kids. You had alot on the line and YET you did the right thing. You stood up and accepted responsiblity for your actions and in an era where executives who make millions fail to be concerned with any of those things - values and ethics mainly instead choosing to focus mostly on their own personal bottom lines - I say thank you.

I will also say this. I live very near one of the Spring PGA events and you are welcome to come over for a drink and some refreshments - my way of saying thank you. I have handed out some tough criticisms here on Thoughts from the Edge - but when I see someone doing the RIGHT thing - well I think that ought to be honored as well. So the cake is on me!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

random girl...

I attract random. I am drawn to random. Random should be my middle name. Mom had an appointment yesterday at the cancer center and I had a doctors appointment after that becasue I am one sick puppy with a sinus infection.

My plan had been to stop at Whole Foods - the one in another part of town, to grab a snack in between my doctors appointments. But no. That was not going to happen. Oh no.

The Whole Foods was on fire or the fire had just been put out. There were fire people still on the scene.

Ok I am at this Whole Foods or the other one twice weekly. Never once has there been a fire and it did not even occur to me to have a back up plan. I think

All I want for Christmas....

L submitted her list. Hold on for this one....

3 jolly ranchers (the candy)

2 lollipops

books

Mulan 2

Yep that is it. It is a departure from years past when she asked for books and cookies. The challenge for Santa I think, will be finding the 3 jolly ranchers...

In all seriousness, L is like her momma. She does not covet things. She wants special her focused time and lots of love and cuddles. Which I have no trouble giving her. She lives for the experiences of life. At 6 she seems to know what is truly valuable.

Pack Your Bags

I love to travel. Everyone who knows H and I know that pre kiddos we lived in a 900 sq foot house by design, becasue we were almost never there. We traveled alot, short distances and long ones. We took at least two week long trips a year and honestly that has slowed a bit after kids, although L has been more places than many people I know. Honestly she has logged more miles traveling overseas than she has within the United States. E first long trip was FLA and his second was Germany.

But for the record there is one place I hope to never go. Disney World. It holds absolutely no allure for me. I have never, not once longed to go hold hands with Mickey Mouse or be whisked away by Cinderella.

In all honesty, Cinderella's castle is not all that exciting. I have been to the real castle Neuschwanstein and it is a site to behold, especially when it is surrounded by the mist that is ever present in the Alps. Real people lived there. They birthed babies there and died there and I swear if you listen you can hear the whisper of time. (trust me the real Neuschwanstein is almost never surrounded by such a clear sky as it is in this picture. I have gone three times and all three times it was misty... I have no good photos becasue it is always gray and raining and yet the castle is a site to behold. I literally catch my breath each time.)

A friend was giving me a hard time about this. I had stated that the bastion of contrived capitalism (Disney) holds no allure for me. My friend poked at me and said, "But you will go to NYC?"

The difference for me is NYC is pure capitalism and with the exception of Wall Street - it is honest capitalism. I have no quibble with capitalism. It is the packaged and homogenized contrived capitalism which is Disney that I have intellectual issues with.

NYC has history and a heart beat and a richness to it, that is not cellulose. NYC is the place of imaginations and not a place out of someone's imagination. There is a realness a depth and a pulse that is there. Now I have not actually been to Disney, so perhaps I am quick to judge.

NYC is the complete package, twinkly lights and a darkness. For a world of only twinkly lights is not real. Realness is the dark and the light, the beautiful and the ugly. For the soul - the soul resides somewhere in between bright twinkly lights and a dark underbelly. Life is not the battle of good verses evil, but rather the acceptance of the gray area in between.

The soul speaks to me. For without pain there is no pleasure and without truth there can be no convincing fiction.

A tiger is beautiful in its ability to lazily lop around the jungle and bask in the sunlight and it is awesome in its ability to take down prey in an unrestrained show of power and dominance.

Realness attracts me and holds my attention. It fuels my writers soul and it fills me with energy. While I might spend much of my life lost in my head, the stories there do not have to have a happy ever after - they have a balance and a purpose and are truly powerful.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Greed is THE Problem...

But how successful the settlement will be remains to be seen. The New York law firm Grais & Ellsworth is organizing a coalition of mortgage investors to contest and possibly sue Bank of America over the plan. The plan, the law firm said on its Web site, "will violate the rights of the investors in the securitizations of (Countrywide's) loans."


Greed. Greed. Greed.

I have stated the bail out is not going to work and this is why. Humans are naturally greedy. They want what is "theirs" despite the potential problems associated with that GREED.

While I think everyone should pay what they owe on their mortgages, and they need to be held accountable for their actions and this includes signing on the dotted line for a mortgage, there is some value in working with them to get the mortgages paid and keep them in their houses.

Having a million people default on their mortgages is WAY bad all around. It is bad for local communities (hello the down side of property tax being the financing method for state and local government and school distracts.)

It is bad for real estate professionals - who pay big time taxes for each sale they are paid on.

It is bad for communities because if people lose their homes a good number of them will enter the ranks of the homeless.

I could go on and on.

I admit the bailing out of these people, some of whom did not qualify for a traditional mortgage is egregious, but the alternative is unpalatable also.

For the folks who are now going to get reduced payments out of their CMOs - the people you should sue is not the banks trying to work out a payment arrangement, which sure cuts into the return of your investment, but it creates cash flow nonetheless. The people you should SUE is the jackass who sold it to you and the dishonest guy who packaged the bad debt right along with the good debt!

These mortgage pools - are a nothing more than packages of crap and I still do not see anyone getting carted off to jail because they committed fraud and let's all be honest - it is fraudulent to sell pools of mortgages in which the top line items are clean A rated paper and the rest of it is not even worthy of being toilet paper. They who bundled it, organized it, sold it, rated it and so forth need to spend some time in a dark hole, with the prospectuses they printed for the CRAP as their only source of toilet paper and then I might feel vindicated. I might be motivated to say that their punishment was sufficient. MIGHT!

As always the rats on Wall Street, those who played fast and loose with the rules are laughing all the way to their bank in the Caymans and that my friends - is the real shame of it all. We pay so they can continue to play.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wheat Free Heaven...

Today we were out looking at shower doors, for the bathroom. We are in the home stretch of the remodel. We happened to be near the Raisin Rack and decided to check it out. I used to shop their older location when I worked in that neck of the woods. It was small and crapped back then, but I was willing to check out the new location.

All I can say is I was in heaven. So many things to choose from. While WFs will carry one type of a certain product, or one or two flavors, the Raisin Rack had multiples of multiples. Which was exciting. I still have to read carefully, maintaining an eagle eye for cornstarch - but it was a pleasure to have so many choices. Some items did not look all that great, while others looked yummy.

I found some hot cereal, which I miss. I was a huge fan of cream of wheat and oatmeal and cream of rice is so-so. I also found some flat breads and some tortilla wrap like things for sandwiches or burritos. Needless to say that was exciting.

I doubt I will make it a regular trip, but I might. It is sorta close to Costco and since most of the items I purchased were frozen, I could stock up - I now have ample freezer space. I will wait to decide until I have tasted a number of my choices and see if it will actually be worth the drive.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Where's the Boat?

That is what E wanted to know after we stood in line for an hour! They charged in this morning at 5:30 am - so I got us dressed and fed and off to the polls. At 6:27 am we were at least 25 deep! We waited an hour!

I am sure many people would have rather my kiddos stayed home - but it is their country too and they should be part of the process. Beside the schools are closed here - so L would have been coming with me anyway. E has preschool today but I was afraid the lines would only get worse as the day goes on.

L was chanting in the car over to the polls - "Smart people vote for Obama!" He is her choice. She voted yesterday at school. I told her while I was voting for Obama - and I do ardently believe he has the best ideas for America - that the most important thing is that people are voting. Not voting ought to be illegal. Today is the only day MY opinion actually matters. Today it COUNTS.

So I voted for Obama, I voted against the casino and I voted for th school issues - not becasue I have changed my opinion about HOW the school board is managing my tax dollars (but then I can vote them out next round and mark my words I am paying attention.)- but becasue the bond issue will be used to fix a problem that vexes me. Anyone can get into the school where L attends. The security is non-existent and there is a man running around my community taking photos of the kiddos - that is a real problem and while I think paying the superintendents housing costs is a bad idea and I was pretty clear on my feelings about the school's NEW MATH - I take my Baby's safety very SERIOUSLY.

So all I can do now is hope that enough people feel the same as I do.

So go vote or in E's world - I might just be motivated to push you off the BOAT. No dead weight! Once every four years - the country asks you to make your voice heard... NO EXCUSES!

Monday, November 3, 2008

How is this different...

I will admit I knew very little about the Middle East until 9/11 and even then I knew only enough to get the geography and so forth. That is until I met JM, who is a dear friend and a very well known anthropologist/archaeologist who specializes in pre-Biblical civilizations of the middle east.

Once I met her I made it my business to read more, pay more attention to the news and to learn what I could about countries like Syria and Yemen, if only so I knew something about places she goes to regularly.

She is about to go to Syria - although this news makes it seem unlikely. When we spoke this weekend she was waiting on her VISA to come through, that seems increasingly doubtful now.

I have very mixed feelings about our response to the "crisis" in the middle east. I think 9/11 was a terrible tragedy and those responsible should be prosecuted in the international court or at the US level.

I do however have issues with the War in Iraq and I certainly have issues with cross boarder raids into other nations, like Syria.

The terrorists who struck on 9/11 feel and believe and I think if you listen to their rhetoric, they passionately state they are engaged in a holy war. They feel their religion and ideology is on the line. I happen to disagree and I think millions of other people disagree - but they truly feel convicted that it is true.

How is our entering another sovereign nation any different. Even if we are following the "bad guys" - please explain to me how it is different. We broke any number of international laws and for what? The terrorists on 9/11 broke those same laws and well then some - but the premises was the same. Each act shows a blatant disregard for international law and sovereignty.

The War in Iraq is wrong and needs to end. The raid into Syria is/was wrong and it needs to end. We should apologize for not honoring their sovereignty.

We need to bring our troops home and focus on what we can control, mainly our borders and who gets into our country and making sure we are well educated and competitive labor force. We are wasting countless resources by trying to police the world and frankly we are not doing that great of a job at that either. The loses in "Goodwill" column are immeasurable by my estimation.

Power and respect come in many forms and I would humbly submit - for at least the last 8 years we have been slowly diminishing both.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Story

L read me Go Dog Go today. The entire thing - solo - with very little help from me. Wow! It was exciting and she was so proud of herself. She is growing in leaps and bounds and learning so much.

She is writing her own stories and asking great questions about the books we read together, like what happen next or why did the author end the story there.

She gets what I am trying to do as a career and see is seeing the power that language, reading and writing hold.

BEHOLD the POWER of WORDs.....

Pictures

While I have a talent for the written word, I am not very crafty, nor can I draw very well, and I thinking I should just not sing... But I have a great appreciation for all of the above. My dad sent me these pictures. He got them from a buddy - so I have no background info, but I gather the gentleman in the picture draws 3D pictures using sidewalk chalk.

I struggle with flowers and hearts using sidewalk chalk. These are true masterpieces.

This one is for JS...



This one really very cool....

This is struck me as special...

Bulky

So I have long resisted the Warehouse store. I have a number of issues with Walmart. I will give them that they have managed to run a retail like college text book case study, but I have a number of issues with their labor practices and well I am just not sure I want to allocate my retail dollars their direction. Hence I have also not been seduced by Sam's club.

We do have a Costco in town. Not close to me, but not far either. J has one near her and loves it. Other friends have had nothing but good stuff to say about it. Oprah is one of their biggest fans.

I have decided that I need to be buying certain things in larger quantities than say 6. L packs her lunch everyday for school. We do not have time to come home on Monday and Tuesdays for an at the table snack. Often the snack is eaten in the car. E still needs to snack on the go sometimes. I can blow thru a package of 6 Z-Bars or 6 cracker snack packs in no time flat.

I used to resist buying the crackers in small portion controlled packs, but with me not eating most of what the kiddos are eating and H gone so much, things go stale and where is the savings in that?

While I do most of my shopping at Whole Foods (given I have to be able trust what is in it....) I still go to the other grocery stores a fair amount to get this and that. Some weeks I will have been to 3 stores and WF twice. This is nuts.

So now that we have a much bigger refrigerator and one in basement and significantly larger pantry, I felt it was time to perhaps think about buying in bulk. My mother is also closer and is interested in either sharing some of the larger items and she was down with splitting the cost of a membership.

So we took a field trip to Costco, bought the membership and went to town. I was impressed. Still 70% of the food is off my list, but I did find some of my favorite snack items in bulk and at a super price. Yippee. I doubt I will shop there for my produce but I got rice milk cheap, crackers and granola bars for the kids. Stuff H likes to take when he travels and all at a really good price.

Everyone was super friendly and helpful. They load and unload your card for you. I did not take the time to look at the clothing and center of the store stuff, but I will, next time I go solo.

L was SO excited. She randomly this week asked if I could get her Go Dog Go for her birthday next year. Lo and Behold, they had a huge table of Dr. Suess books in a three pack and Go Dog Go was one of them. We got that also.

It may be a once a month or every 6 weeks stop, becasue I did stock up this time! I have reached the point in my like where I want to go one or two places and shop and then go home. No more endless chasing my tail and seeking the cheapest price. If I spend over 4 hours a week running here and there - I have eaten up any sayings in my time and the cost of gas.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Soap of the Earth

S introduced me to LUSH a few years ago. Yummy honey soap and KARMA powder. I love the stuff and used it oh so sparingly. But now I do not have to... they opened a location in the Macy's very near to me.

Yippe!

I have been coloring my hair with the Henna from there. The Henna Fluff Eaze is awesome. As it the Rehab shampoo and American Creme conditioner.

I love the fact that the products are natural and almost all of them vegan. I smell good, my hair feels and looks good and I feel good knowing that I am supporting a business, which is making an effort to be green and kind to animals.

If this has sounded like an infomercial - well so be it... I have been giving alot of people a well deserved hard time of late on the blog - so I decided to switch gears and give some folks some much deserved props!

Rock on LUSH!

Keep It Simple - they are 6 and I am busy...

Remember the adage - K.I.S.S - Keep It Simple Stupid. Well someone in the school distract forgot what the hell it meant. They are on their 3rd new math curricula in less than 5 years.

I fail to see how hard it is to teach kids math. I am NOT a teacher, but I am good at math, I have always been decent at math - until like Calc 2 and the numbers suddenly aren't real and frankly I am only into MATH that involves things I can count. I hated Geometry because my brain just does not work that way. I can do percentages and simple calculations in my head and I get what numbers mean, when presented in fancy charts and graphs.

Well the geniuses in the central office of our school distract have blown a ton of money on yet another useless math program. This one involves US at home spending a ton of time trying to sign onto a website - which is poorly designed and just plain crappy. It does not show the kids which letter they clicked on to answer the questions (yeah does not darken the circle - did these people not learn anything from the years of taking tests using a scan tron answer sheet?) It does not record their work and on the work sheets and practice "pages" you cannot type the numbers but rather you have to draw them free hand with the mouse! WTF? Did I mention it does not work with any number of browsers.....

It took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to A) try to get us signed on using any number of browsers. B) try to find the homework, C) try to figure out how you do the worksheets and D) to draft an email to the teacher telling her that this program IS crap and L will not be doing her homework on the computer. I learned MATH with pencil and paper and L will too! I can sharpen pencils - this piece of shit the School Distract paid big bucks to adopt - well one of them can come over here and waste 1 hour and 45 minutes trying to get it to work or they can write me a check for $55 - roughly what I charge my clients when I write for them. Because I am done wasting my time and L's frankly. We lost a ton of nice weather and daylight fighting with that stupid website.

The kicker - there is a help desk - open M-F 8 am to 4 pm - the same hours she is school. Right - hardly helps those of us trying to use the crappy site. Oh wait - they knew it was crap and set the hours accordingly.

The kicker - I downloaded the Amazon Video on Demand player and a movie in my first try and we watched the movie tonight. So I have to say - that the problem lies with the crappy math curricula and website and not my technical prowess.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Marriage is a social contract

I am going to come out and talk about another unpopular subject. Marriage. I think this country is facing some HUGE HUGE HUGE issues and marriage is one of them.

Some people in this country are rather vocal about Marriage being between one man and one woman and all about LOVE. Really? Let's examine this.

Marriage gets me a break on my taxes and my health benefits. It gets me certain rights, specifically if my partner dies. I get tax advantages when inheriting my partner's personal property. Marriage means I can own property with my partner in a special married persons sort of way. The tax advantages tied to marriage are huge. The distribution of wealth in the marriage contract are rather advantageous.

Marriage means my children have certain advantages - specifically where property and their financial care is concerned. It also affords them certain protections and customs for their care - should the partnership dissolve.

Marriage means that my life partner can make certain choices for me or will be afforded certain courtesies should I be ill and in the hospital.

Marriage used to mean - that I was property. That I was no longer my fathers financial burden but rather my husbands.

In many cases I would be the "prize" to seal a land swap or some other deal worked out by the men in power.

Is anyone detecting a pattern here?

Marriage is and historically was about money and legal rights. We as a cultural have dressed it up to be about love. Sure maybe it is. In our culture it is a blend of all of the above. In many cultures around the world it is about property, marriages are arranged and are not "love matches" there is an air of practicality.

I fully support "gay marriage." I think that a culture is strengthen by stable unions. If we are going to afford all these "rights" to married people - then everyone should have the right to pair off as they see fit.

If marriage is going to be about a man and a woman being in love - then nix the special tax benefits and make it about love and all that who-haw.

It should not be about both. It should not be exclusive. A union that combines should not simultaneously exclude others from certain rights.

Taxes are a function of government and Marriage can either be a function of government (social contract) or a function of love or a function of the religious right.

It matters not to me - as long as the playing field is equal and fair.

Are my gay friends no more or less in love and no more or less committed that H and I? Who am I to judge? Who is the religious right? Or defenders of marriage?

If anyone for a minute thinks that the weddings and marriages in the Biblical times had solely to do with LOVE, they need to think again. It was legalized slavery. Women were bought and sold - dressed up as marriage. It was about money and property and getting one more mouth out of the tent and into someone else's tent. Could Love happen? Sure. But it was not about love - it was about money and the clan and honor and it was all about MEN! As an aside - in many biblical cultures - men had more than one wife! Kinda makes the one man and one woman thing seem like a newer concept now doesn't it.

I would also humbly submit that families are best built by free choice and that LOVE comes in all forms and is splendid.

Taxes advantages and wealth distribution should not be tied to a social contract available to a select group. Where is the democracy in that?

The season...

of not eating is here! I am busy writing for one of my clients and I am doing some short blog entries and it hit me - From Halloween through New Year's I spend a disproportionate amount of time explaining why I am not eating X, Y or Z.

Nope no snickers pie for me. Nope sorry no caramel apples, caramel apple pie, pumpkin pie, cranberry corn bread stuffing, corn bread, Christmas cookies, cocktail weenies, fudge, sticky pudding, or eggnog. No Christmas Stoelen, sticky buns or otherwise.

I do plan to explore some me friendly versions of the above once MY KITCHEN is finally done, but the bottom line for me, holiday parties are lean for me and well that is ok. I tend to stay the same size during the holidays and I no longer have to resolve to hit the gym 5 days a week come January.

I am however considering making myself a sign "I eat bird seed! Happy Holidays!" or "Do you know what is in that? Yeah! Me either, so I am not eating it..."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just shut up and nod...

Ok I have developed a skill. I call it "Shut Up and Nod..." I have learned that some things are worth addressing and sometimes it is just better to shut up and nod!

For example, the contractor sent someone over to clean today. Just here and there becasue the trim guys got saw dust all over the place becasue they had not hung up the plastic over the bathroom door.

OMG there is so much dust in my house how in the hell did they notice yesterday's saw dust.

I just held my tongue and nodded. Frankly yesterday I was too tired to think straight, let alone argue...

Today they installed a temp sink and counter.... Why? I get that the counter is going to take a week or so before it is ready to be installed and that we are slowly inching to the finish line - but DO THEY SERIOUSLY think I am going to sort of move into my partially done kitchen. Are they insane? I am not moving anything into that kitchen until they are DONE and vacate and I can clean properly...

So I just nodded and agreed that it was SO nice to have my temp sink and counter top...

Really it is just easier...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bicycle made for 4 +

In my less than veiled attempts to get everyone pumped up about pedal power - I bring you the bicycle surrey!



It has a basket in the front for little people E road up there and L between H and I. E was excited becasue we had found a bike with no handle bars and L was a front seat steerer...

All good and a great way to get around the island.

Just think of the possibilities in the city. Perfect for trips out to dinner, to the grocery and back and forth to school.

Ponder... gas is cheaper but think of all the pounds burned and the gas conserved! Plus it SO is like a car! *note the headlights!*

See what happens...


when you go on vacation and leave the contractors alone in your house!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stowaways will walk the plank

We checked out St. Simon's Island, the island adjacent to where we are staying. There are a number of historical building and a light house. It was dark and my pictures did not come out so well.

But the highlight of the evening was on the way home in the cool moonlight. We had a stowaway. A small greenish brown frog. We had seen it in the morning, but thought it had exited the car. Only to have it return on the ride home.

He sat on the dash board, just to the left of the steering wheel as I drove. He was sitting there all thoughtful and perhaps hyperventilating just a touch. We are all laughing about the frog and what he might be thinking.

I said he was helping me drive and E kept saying I was a "silly girl!"

To enter our island we have to stop at a checkpoint and pay the "parking fee." I wondered idly if the frog jumped out and landed on the toll booth attendant if we got a free pass?

When we pulled in and parked, H managed to usher the frog out of the car and into the grass. All is well that ends well, but I can't help but think I should have told the frog that sometimes, very often, the stowaway has to walk the plank.

AS we went to sleep, H said, "That frog looked a bit familiar. Kinda like the one on your blog."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tea-ed Up!

So I am vacationing in the south. So I wanted some ice tea. We have well water in the cottage on the island and so I used the insta-hot on the sink. Floated my tea bags, poured it over ice, took a sip and promptly spit it out. OMG that was gross! It tasked like boiled eggs and tea. Yuck.

So while we were out this afternoon, I went into the pizza shoppe across from the beach and this is what went down...

Me: Do you have brewed ice tea?

19 yr old surf dude: Sweet or Un-sweet?

Me: How do you sweeten the sweet tea?

19: Um, well with sugar. how do sweeten yours?

Me: With sugar. But you just never know. I am worried about corn syrup.

19: I made it myself. I used plain old white sugar. I do not think anyone has every asked me that before... I doubt we have any corn syrup....

Me: Well see there is a first time for everything. I will take one, lite on the ice.

19: Ok, it will be $1.61...

as I walk out I overhear him say to his buddy - she thought we made our tea with pancake syrup. It is a pizza shop - why would we have pancake syrup....(he kept shaking his head.)

See I am totally freaking out people - but seriously...One never knows. And yes - that sweet tea was divine....

The eagle has landed...

Well we made it. I was up with H at 5:15 am yesterday and I got myself all set and ate before I woke up the little people. E was too cute. I asked if he was ready for vacation? He smiled and asked "Is she coming over?" I laughed and told him we would be going for her.

We picked up my mom and got gas and still made it to the parking area a bit ahead of schedule! I know it seems crazy, but I planned it out on a time line - that is one of my tricks when traveling with children. It pays to not have to run and to hurry. Thinking it through made the trek to Germany doable solo and yesterday was no different.

My plan all worked out. Everything was on time and I had planned ahead and built in potty time and sitting time and in ALT H met us for lunch and there was a small play area. Perfect.

The only hitch is in ATL they have not elevator - so I had to fold the stroller and carry it up 2 flights of stairs on the way in and then again on the way out. Ugh. Seriously. I am not the only one traveling with a stroller. So there I was - L's backpack on, my purse and computer bag and the stroller, whilst supervising E. I will say though the guy behind was kinda impressed. Perhaps he mistook me for a wilting lily and not the seasoned traveler that I am.

The house is fantastic. Great view, nice and roomy. I know most people would pack in more people, but the entire point of this trip is a nice vacation for my Mom and I would rather spend some extra money to ensure peace and tranquility and not be a sardine - no make that a grouchy sardine.

The car rental was a breeze, we hit the grocery and then got to our cottage. Ate a quick dinner and walked the beach before bed.

I promise I will share pictures later... but right now the priority is beach toys and beach time...

Happy Happy Weekend one and all...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

see I am not the only one...

Saw this on Yahoo whilst researching an article. See I am not the only one nay saying on the bail out.... or laying blame at the feet of several key people.

An American in Paris

I have actually never to Paris. I want to go - alas the dollar is worthless and I will remain state side for the time being.

I have spent a reasonable amount of time off and on over the last 20 years overseas, specifically in Germany. I studied abroad, I have visited friends and family. I have experienced German culture not from a tour bus but from the living rooms and pubs, with actual Germans. I went to school in German for a bit and I have just done normal daily stuff.

(Switching gears - trust me we will get back to the topic.)

I live less than a 1/2 from L's school. I have mentioned before that I walk while most of the neighbors drive. L loves to ride the bike train. She enjoys biking. So of late we have been biking. Now I happen to believe that there is biking and then there is riding your bike.

Biking is the kind of activity that requires a special work out type outfit. The point of biking is to work up a sweat, train for an upcoming event, ride for miles and miles and miles.

Riding your bike is how you get from point A to point B. Perhaps it is a distance a bit too far to walk or your mood fancies a ride over a walk. It is not speedy per se, but rather leisurely and calming and peaceful. You can dress in more or less normal every day clothing.

(Back to my topic)

In Europe and specifically in Germany, people ride their bikes all the time. I rode my bike to school. I rode my bike to the market. I rode my bike to meet friends for beers or coffee. I rode my bike to the theater once.

Women in Germany do not wear work out outfits to ride their bikes to the market, they dress nicely, in jeans and a sweater or a skirt and sweater. They wear a trench coat when it is cold and I can assure you they seldom wear tennis shoes. They will be wearing boots, heels, clogs or just everyday leather shoes whilst riding their bike. I would image they would also be wearing a fashionable scarf. Germans wear scarves all the time.

I fail to see why it is different here. I get up before the little people, get dressed for the day and then see to the little people and if my day includes going somewhere in the morning like the market or a meeting or something, I dress for that, ride her to school and then come home and continue on my day.

I am raising this issue for a number of reasons. First and foremost I can ride my bike in a skirt. As long as it is long enough and I am covered who cares. (Um yeah I have gotten dirty looks.)

I can and have ridden my bike in fashionable jeans and a nice sweater and platform shoes. It is doable. There is no reason to be in athletic clothes.

Today I even - hold on - wore my trench coat. It was cold and I was dressed to head out in a bit. I garnered all sorts of disapproving looks.

Many children ride their bikes to school. They are excited to ride their bikes. It is healthy to start the day with a bit of exercise. It is a great way to clear the mind or experience nature.

We have a well documented gas shortage in parts of the country. We are a nation of overweight people. We have an economic bubble about to burst. There is no reason, that we cannot learn to change and look to other cultures and see what may work.

We have built our lives around what is quick and easy and are totally dependent on our cars and SUVs. In Europe a drive thru is a rare site, a bike rack is always easy to find. Mark Twain wrote a charming story about a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. We have a history as Americans as being innovative and forward thinking.

I think a bit of reflection is in order and perhaps it is high time to admit that some of our choices have not been for the best and we need to perhaps contemplate what others happen to do well and learn from their example.

We can change - if is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other - or pedaling with all our might. Just becasue we have "always" done it one way does not mean we cannot change.

I say we slow down, breath deep and think about what kind of world we want our kids to grow up in.

So I am going to head out for coffee now and yes I very likely will be driving my car, although... it is in biking distance and stranger things have been known to happen.

Editing

Have I mentioned that I am a writer but not such a hot editor... I cleaned up yesterday's piece to fix some spelling and grammar mistakes....

I am working to edit better on fly... but well the brain works the way the brain works...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Burn Baby Burn

I have been silent on the Bush - "Hey I Wrecked the Economy with my Lack of Leadership, but damn I have a nice White Cape Bail Out!" dog and pony show - but I think the tumble in the market reflects a number of things. Let's examine them, shall we! (see serious news story here...)

1. The stock market is not the economy. The stock market is both more important than the actual economy and simultaneously less so.

The market or actually Markets in all fairness - are a place to exchange stock. Stock is paper ownership in a company with limited control. Control of the company is on a percentage basis and trust me the company set it up SO THEY HAVE the MAJORITY share - THEREFORE CONTROL.

The market is like a being of its own. It is fed on rumor, speculation - investing in stock is always about speculation. Sometimes the market trend leads the economy and somethimes they lag or are reflective.

The market can be going like gangbusters and the economy can be for shit. Or the market can be doing lousy and the economy can be booming.

At the moment - well they are both for shit.

2. House of Cards.

For the most part the entire banking and brokerage industry is a house of cards. The problem is THEY need us little guys. We bring in our paychecks and then the BANK gleefully plays fast and loose with our money. Same with the brokerage houses.

The problem is - the Banks and Brokerages have been playing fast and loose with each other and making bad loans and bad choices and well it is a big knot which cannot be easily untied and FRANKLY the simpleton we call our President and his addled HENCHMAN cooked up a plan that was a GREAT sound bite but fundamentally flawed. (I think while we are letting people hang we should add the entire government machine - bloated and needs a house cleaning - an overhaul maybe.)

I normally am loathed to agree with anything the far right has to say but I was excited when House Republicans stood up and defeated this BILL the 1st time (I will explain why later...)

Had the SEC and NASD and Banking Regulators been enforcing the rules on the books already some of this might have been mitigated. But when those agencies are stock full of ex-bankers and ex-brokers and they are now policing their buddies - well it is a bit like the FOX guarding the HEN HOUSE is it not?

3. One Man's Collapse is Another Man's Break

I think we can say that the Great Depression was horrible for people. People lost their homes and their life savings and their security - not to mention terrible job loses. I am not saying that we need to experience that again.

HOWEVER - I think that instead of giving Wall Street another dime - the Government should do its job and protect the people. Give me my tax money back. Make it easier for me - while I weather the storm. Freeze credit. We can all live without a new car. Ease the crunch by having a borrowing holiday.

I would not give those greedy rat bastards on Wall Street a piece of chewed gum - let alone billions of dollars. They fucked up - they should pay. They should lose their big houses and big bonus and their golden parachutes.

After the market collapse in 1929 and a period of terrible austerity for most Americans - we had a period of enormous economic expansion. Granted a War helped - but I would argue that when the chips fall - SOMEONE picks them up.

The government should not bail out companies they should protect citizens and they should enforce the rules we have and they should stop accepting corporate campaign dollars and they should throw these cheats and frauds in jail and lose the key.

Maybe if we went after White Collar Criminals the same way we did drug dealers (who by the way run a CASH business... mmmm) people might make better business decisions.

4. Capitalism is organic - kinda like the Hunting Lion

Would you step in front of a hungry Lion about to take down a gazelle. Yeah, me neither. Capitalism is alot like that. It is ugly in its raw organic form. I would argue that of any economic system it is the most organic in that it follows the laws of nature. Survival of the fittest and all of that - BUT it works.

What does not work is all this intervention and rule breaking and all of that. We either have a free market or we do not. We either want a capitalist state or we do not. We either let the cards fall where they may or we reward bad behavior and encourage it to be repeated.

Our economy is built almost completely on NOW NOW NOW and more credit and more credit.

The House Republicans actually asked some of these questions and I applaud that (regardless of their reasons.) The entire mess is a mess of our own gerrymandering and frankly no bail out is going to solve the root of the problem. The problem is cultural and systemic and deep and goes back about 4 generations. We are a culture of greedy Me-First - Gimme, Gimme, Gimme - people - who have lost site of important things - like honor, dignity, community, and compassion.

So I ask you - What really is that House of Cards?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Blog...

I decided to shake things up again. Change the template and all that and well - opps! That messed up my label cloud, so I had to spend sometime recoding and the like, but all is well now. I may be adding some new widgets in the next few days.

I am not sure why I decided I needed to change things up - but I did and well... now it is done.

Food for thought...

I am scared of food and I am hungry... After the bout of itchies, I pared back on my list of safe foods, getting back to basics and once again being a bit fearful of food.

I have said this before but food for me is now scary. It used to be exciting and I loved trying new things and new combinations of things and I loved to experiment. Now I feel like a food Nazi. I ask a million questions, I read every label and all the fine print. If a food has more than 5 ingredients I generally assume it will have something I cannot eat and skip it completely. My source of good choices - Whole Foods has eliminated some of my favorites - for reasons I cannot understand. Their replacement choices - either not within my guidelines or tasteless.

I am afraid of eating out, unless I have been there before. I used to be open to trying new places and now I am less so.

I went to bed kinda hungry last night becasue my stomach was giving troubles and I felt unsettled and frankly nothing sounded good and I am tired of the same 10 things. Part of this is the fact that the kitchen is a mess and well cooking is basically out of the question and the other part is my mind cannot get over the fact that the rash and the stomach upset came from something I ate and well I am still not 100% sure what it was.

I remember when I went on this eating plan, that I struggled and I feel like I am back there again. I am taking baby steps into the scary world of food. Leaving no stone unturned and well apple slices really are the best bet - and the healthy choice, albeit not exciting.

So we are heading out to dinner, somewhere we go often and a kitchen that I trust and all I can do is be thoughtful in my choices and be hopeful that my trust is not misplaced.

Intellectually I know that my reaction the last time and any in the future are likely to be fierce, given that I am so careful - but still it is scary and it does make every meal a bit more of an adventure than I would care it to be. I am lucky my reactions are not classic allergic reactions - no shock and no swelling of the throat - or at least they have not been - but then one never knows.

What I do know is that I am really hungry...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What IS she saying....





Ok I listen to this 3 times and WHAT EXACTLY IS SHE SAYING... I am scared really really scared.

But HEY this little sound bite did ONE great thing for me - Made me scared enough to go get an OBAMA/BIDEN yard sign!

Going...

I have had a great summer, a challenging summer, a complicated summer, a busy summer. Any of those statements is true - the reality is I have had a great challenging complicated busy summer.

True on many levels. As a mom of 2 busy kiddos - busy and great.

As a business owner - challenging and complicated.

As an artist - busy and great and challenging.

As a woman - all of the above and then some.

Sometimes I get lost in the process of my life. I am surrounded by needy (I do not mean this negatively) folks. L and E need me. My mother has and is undergoing 2 great life changes - moving (done - check - yipee) and she is coping with the fact that here time on this earth has a reasonably finite end. Cancer is curable - hers is not.

I am coping with that also. As her daughter....

I also tend to put everyone else first. I have gotten lost. What do I want exactly? Where am I going. What are my goals. I want my business to do well, but that is a slow process. I have been very focused on setting it up - creating a frame work, building some creditability and now the 4th quarter I am starting to pursue projects once again.

I have thrown my hat into the ring to step out of my previous professional role and try something new - leveraging many of the skills I had from my previous position(s) in a new and different way. It would be a contract position and I like the idea of a short term position - a great way to test something out and add something to my resume.

I also like the idea of versatility. I like the idea of economic flexibility. I crave options.

I have also taken a HUGE step and am going to finish my MBA. I can do it in less than a year. A series of 10 6 week classes - taken one at time and online. Perfect for me. No babysitting required.

There has been a series of events which have pushed me to break out of my holding pattern and finally take back the helm of my own ship. I am the Capitian and the Mistress of my Destiny and it is up to me to LIVE my life.

My best friend said it best...

"And I quote....from YOUR BLOG: "Life is really short. I mean really short. When great moments come along - Live them, because once they pass you by - they are gone forever."

Why only live the great moments....aren't all moments meant to be lived to their fullest?! I'm just saying, take your own advice and make all the moments worth living however you need to do so. "


It was the kick in the pants I really needed. I had been sulky and struggling and feeling cornered a bit and overwhelmed too I guess. And yet it is an easy choice - live life or pretend to live life. Develop a plan and execute it or not...

While I think I will be one busy girl over the next 12 months... I feel very positive about it. It is what I need to do get to the NEXT chapter in my life.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Universe Smilied

So yesterday was the first day in a long long time that I worked almost all day. Well from 10-2:30 pm on my business. This had been the plan when we put E in preschool all day, but alas this entire summer, something else happened on either Tuesday or Thursday. I am not really looking for an entire 8 hours - I will take 5 or 6 hours of uninterrupted work time.

I also took some time to work on some personal admin items and this included poking around for better accommodations whilst on vacation, which is 3 weeks away.

We are heading on vacation with my mother on the emphatic advice of both her doctors. We are going to Jekyll Island which is an island off the coast of Georgia, roughly the size of the Short North. Given the late nature of our planning we had secured two very small rooms at the Days Inn.

Now there are a number of problems with this. No kitchen and given my food issues, I cannot just eat anything. I have been obsessing over this for weeks. Size. Two small children stuck in a small hotel room - sounds more like hell than vacation. Noise - there is a large convention there that week and the Days Inn, we stayed at before and well noise was a serious problem.

So I have been meaning to call the two Island rental agencies to see about a condo or cottage, but well I have not had the time or I have had the time and they are closed for the day.

I called yesterday. The first one had nothing. I mean nothing. My heart sank a bit.

I called the second one.

They had one. Not just one. One of the nicest houses on the island. It is on the beach. It has exactly what need - including a kitchen and WiFi (ok I do not need WiFi - but I sure as hell like the fact that I have it....) it has 5 bedrooms (way too many but I will take too many over not enough.)

It is a bit pricey, but if what the doctors say is true - this may be one of the last vacations we can all take together. I want it to be full of happy memories and happy times and I want it to peaceful and rejuvenating. It has been a long summer for my mother. She has moved, she has been told that the cancer everyone in the beginning thought was no BIG DEAL. Is in fact a HUGE DEAL.

My best friends J's dad died yesterday. Her mother died a few years ago - Life is really short. I mean really short. When great moments come along - Live them, becasue once they pass you by - they are gone forever.

We took the house. I am excited for the kids to have space to roam. The adults to have space to be and think and rest. Ocean view and ocean noise.

I am sure there will be tense moments - there always are when little people and big people get out of their element - but I feel way better about have room for tense to diffuse!

I am so thankful for having the time to call at the RIGHT time and finding what I want wanted. Feels like someone was looking out for me!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Kitchen is Huge with no cabinets and no walls

If everyone thought my bathroom was rockin' with no walls - well the kitchen is Titanic.






The lack of ceiling is a nice touch too!


See YOU have no idea what is behind there until you move the cabinets...... (and dry wall!)


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Decision Time

I snagged this snippet from here

But Wait...

All this math may be meaningless if the early-retirement offer comes at a time when your job is in jeopardy (you've been stripped of duties or received bad reviews) or your company is at risk of going under (its stock has tanked, key clients have fled, budgets have been cut more than usual).

Attractive buyouts can foreshadow forced layoffs with far less generous terms. "When the buyout window shuts," says Kra, "it's usually closed for good."

In that case, take the money. Ask if you can stay on payroll awhile instead of getting severance as a lump sum. That way you'll have health insurance while you look for another job.


In this economic climate, I personally think that if the company is or has been in the news and appears to be on shaky ground and a buy out offer comes - look at the terms closely and TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN! I sadly do not think we have seen the last of the companies folding and once the court papers are signed, sealed and filed - well the COMPANY OWES its employees nothing. We have seen this with the airlines filing bankruptcy to break their union contracts and we are seeing it with Lehman on Wall Street.

This is the sad state of affairs we are in. There is zero reward for being a loyal employee and I hardly think the employees are to blame. Gen-Xers are simply smarter than there parents it would seem. The Gen-X motto rings true to my ears - "Screw me once shame on you, screw me again, shame of me."

Corporations have turned the workplace into legal prostitution. Who can do it and for the best price. And sadly who can screw whom the quickest and the fastest and at a profit. It is sad. They can talk about corporate culture and vision all they want - but until the CEO pay is slashed and their pay is exclusively tied to company performance and until we get some honor back into the leadership of the business community - I say this unfortunate trend will not reverse. There is no reason for CEO's of failing companies get big fat paychecks while the little guy gets screwed. It is wrong and it has to stop before the American economy gets back on track.

30 years of faithfully doing a job and maybe you get a cheap clock and a gift card at best and at worse - you lose everything... when the company goes belly up becasue someone at the top played the game fast and loose and got greedy.

We as a country have to decide - as we close the first decade of this century - do we want to show true innovation and clean up our businesses or do we want become a nation known for greed and failing businesses? I think the answer is clear - but then I am just one woman with alot of opinions and a poison pen.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Learning Adventure

Well today was my second court date in small claims court. Normally Tuesday is a great day becasue both little people are in school. Since the court randomly picks the date, I am at their mercy. TODAY however L was home from school due to the power outage and I tentatively called around to see if she could stay with any number of friends and well everyone was busy. Fate was kind and E did have school or I think I might have seriously bailed....

So my 6 year old got her first civics lesson. (Well that is not exactly true - I always take her to vote with me...) We took a "Learning Adventure" to the Court House - which is kinda like a field trip - but WAY Cooler! (Did I mention that I was reasonable good at my former JOB - which was heavily weighted in the consultive sales area of customer retention....) Anyway, we dressed up - cuz I think that is what you do when you go to somewhere important. She had her trusty knapsack loaded with books and off we went. We parked in the Brewery distract so we could walk over the Freeway - I mean really what action packed "Learning Adventure" is complete without a walk on a bridge over the freeway?

We went thru the metal detectors, hit the bathroom - becasue with a 6 year old that is always a crucial stop. Then played elevator hopscotch to get to the court room and then waited... and waited and waited some more.... we met a nice woman, who was the company rep from an airline who was being sued. She was lovely - her employer - well they keep charging you more and more for checked luggage...

Then we went into the courtroom which L claimed was colder than Whole Foods and well it was. We worked on her sticker book and waited and waited. Then the magistrate came in. (Yes he showed this time!) Called the case prior to me, then dismissed it becasue the court clerk had not processed the mail correctly. It was too bad, cuz it sounded interesting....

Then called me. Since I was the only one who showed, he asked me a few questions - I showed off a bit illustrating that I HAD done my homework, he smiled and said, "well since you showed up - You Young Lady get the prize." I took that to mean I was dismissed - as he wrote in his file folder and called the Airline Case, which if I had not had L with me and a parking meter running low, would have stayed for. It sounded crazy and well airline stuff is always interesting. The only industry where you pay big bucks to be treated like a criminal and then mistreated and your belongings lost. (That is another post entirely.)

Then L and I played elevator hopscotch again and then hit the potty one more time and then went to the car. Her reward for being a good helper and an outstanding citizen? A trip to a great restaurant! We parked in the Short North and then walked and skipped our way to restaurant. We celebrated with a nice meal and an awesome Strawberry Yogurt smoothie for her!

I am willing to bet that I will never see a dime of the nearly $1000 owed to me, but it was a great day and like I explained to her, asking someone to do work for you and then failing to pay the agreed upon amount is just like stealing and stealing is not ok.

I at least will have the court judgment to justify the loss on my taxes and well it was the right thing to do. I am going to work on tracking this woman down now - but it will be a back burner item - I need to focus on finding new clients who actually pay!

They Impeached HIM becasue....




Yeah I am confused too......

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dark Clouds on Wall Street

Today is a bad day in the Market. Well maybe not a bad day, but a painful one. The financial markets can be manipulated for only so long and then the Market will turn and expect its due.

I spoke to my friend and investment counselor and former colleague this morning. She was having a rough day and it was only 10:15 am. My former employer is being bought by Bank of America. Actually I think it is a good move for both parties, for BOA it is a great way to get into some big time playing fields on the cheap cheap. For ML, well it is preferable to going under completely. Which to be frank, was a real possibility in my opinion.

Lehman filed bankruptcy. The guys and gals who ran it into the ground, well they are sipping Mai Thai's and loving their windfall via their golden parachutes. The everyday back office Lehman employee, they are watching their retirement disappear down the toilet. Like in monopoly - "Down the Toilet, straight down the Toilet, Do not pass GO, Down the Toilet."

You can talk all you want about a shift in the financial landscape, hard times and the like but the bottom line is - people got greedy. Guys who had limited risk in the game wanted just a little bit more and well the rest of us pay. What many people do not know is that most executives and certainly those on Wall Street, the guy in the big corner office has some insurance in his or her back pocket. It is a golden parachute and he is covered. Why not gamble just a bit more, if you have no risk of lose. When things get bad, you dump and run and or get your buddy to ASK you to step down and you walk away with HUGE severance package.

The average employee at Lehman will be lucky to walk away with their 401K plan account and maybe some COBRA to cover their medical insurance (all paid out of their own pocket.) For those long term employees, the seasoned floor traders, back office processors and the clerical staff, who were close to retirement - kiss it good bye folks. Bankruptcy means that if Lehman pulls it out and can exit bankruptcy, it does so without the obligation to pay medical and pension benefits to existing retirees and the pension - dumped - a thing of the past - all those hopes wiped out in one little legal filing.

I have been feeling sorta bad about walking away from my license and a career that was rather lucrative for me. It could have been more so, if I had been willing to step it up and take it to the next level. Today brought it all back into perspective for me. Sure I made a good living and well it was fun sometimes closing the big deal - but at the end of the day - it is a dirty industries, with a dark underbelly and lots of pit falls. The time required of me to be away from my kids is too much of a cost for the potential reward. While my loyalty had a price - Wall Street is far from a good gamble. Clearly as is the case with Lehman - my loyalty and the loyalty of others is a one way street - when the times are tough - the FIRM will dump and run. And for what - a gamble? Bad Business? Greedy Big Shots?

I think Merrill is doing the right thing. The deal with BOA means that ML will remain solvent and those long term employees will be protected. My advice to the person considering that early retirement offer - jump on it baby. Take what you can while the getting is good! You can always find a part time job or something to fill in the gaps - cuz Wall Street owes you nothing and your loyalty - Yeah that and $3.50 will get you some Starbucks.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sexy, Talented and Smart... People should listen to Matt D.



Not only is he sexy and talented he is politically savvy and smart. He is ASKING some really good questions. The Republicans made a BAD pick and the reality is Sara Palin is not by any stretch of the imagination qualified to run this country. Not at all.

Rash by Salad?

I am pleased to say that with the help of a serious amount of anti-itch cream, not so gentle scoldings by those who love me dearly, some bribing by others who love me dearly and some sheer will and determination (and well time) I stopped scratching and am almost itch free. The rash has faded greatly and I feel better. I was scratching like mad - hence those who love me - sought to help me cope/stop lest I make it worse or tear my skin off.

This is the worse case I have had in over 2 years. Anyone who knows me well, knows I am super careful with what I eat. If I am in doubt I pass. I seldom eat out and only at places that I trust to be ok. I am picky and always ask questions and well try to walk the line.

I used to be a foodie. I loved cheese, fresh baked bread. baked goods. I once took a cab in NYC on a rather long lay over to buy a dozen bagels, took them on the next leg of my flight and then home - because I love them so much. H and I loved eating out and were always trying new places. Recently I have been inspired to step out and try some new things - once they have been vetted.

All that is in the past. Now I eat because I have to. I still enjoy some foods and I will admit to embracing and ferreting out the best Gluten Free, corn free and dairy free choices. Lite on soy to boot. After this weeks' adventure, I am still lukewarm on food. I have eaten very little this week, after Wednesday - because it is just hard to imagine doing so - not knowing what caused such a painful and irititating reaction. I would rather just not eat. (Which is not the answer....) I also am back to square one on food complexity. Not so interested in multi ingredient foods or dishes. Plain and not overly combined appeal to me at the moment.

I have also decided that I think I know what could have done it. I ate a salad from Donoto's which had crasins and walnuts on it. I imagine that one or both of those items had been treated with corn syrup and well - I would have to say that dairy gives me violent stomach upset and corn products - well they are what cases my most violent rashes. I can only blame myself. I have not eaten at Donoto's in a long time nor have I vetted their offerings and when my mother suggest that for dinner, her computer was dismantled and I had no way to quickly do my online research as she had already had the cable turned off for the pending move.

In essences I poisoned myself by taking for granted that the salad would be ok. Ugh! It was a painful lesson to learn. Nothing is ok - unless I or someone I really really trust has prepared it. Nothing....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jon Stewart knows how to TIVO!

And man the Republicans wish he was still struggling with his VCR! It is amazing how 2 faced they can actually be.... I am sure the Democrats can too - but seriously it tends to come from the right hand side most often - in my humble opinion and since this is my BLOG - my Opinion is the one with editorial discretion.

Itchy, Itchy Part 2

Still all itchy and now I have a reddish rash.... not full blown hives but damn near close and OMG am I itchy and cranky and bitchy.

Seriously I have not changed soaps, started eating anything new and excited, eaten anything from the rather lengthy list of NOs, and God damn it I seriously cannot stop eating anything else!

Grr! Grr. Grr. Double Grr......

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My bathroom seems so much larger without walls...



This is what happens when you tell the contractor they can just go ahead and gut the bathroom already. Without all the fixtures - it really does look larger!