Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You know it is Spring when...

  • The dust you clean off the window sill is yellow. Can we say pollen?
  • When you go outside in the city and it smells like cow shit - oh I mean mulch.
  • When the sun is out and the sky is blue
  • When it is 70 degrees by 3 pm but started out at 32 degrees when you left the house. Layers, Layers are your friend!
  • the tulips are out and surrounded by dandelions
  • When the stores are fully stocked with winter clothing and the summer stuff is on clearance
  • You see limos everywhere - it is time for the Prom you know

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Creativity like wine, gets better with age...

Last night we went to the Smuggler's Cafe located in the Big Dog Motorcycle showroom. The band playing was Paradox -a great cover band. The guys in the band seemed to be around our age and they were all really talented. The played well, sang well and the songs were tight. A great rocking experience!

H and I were discussing creativity last night and I told him I think we grow into our creative expression - at least I have. In my twenties I was so busy with the rat race and trying to be who I thought others wanted me to be - trying to be a grown up - that I forgot just how important my creative spirit was to me.

As children, I think we use creativity daily, to solve problems, to express ourselves. Children use art and the creative process to find what appeals to them most. They draw, paint, mold, build and design.

As adults I think some of that quest for knowledge, that desire to create and the process gets lost in the day in and day out struggles.

It is no big surprise then, that as we get older - in my case - entering my mid 30s, that we try to rebuild that process. Many moms I know make note cards with stamps or scrapbook. Take cake decorating classes or learn to sew. Knitting and other needle work are also popular choice. The hobbies are a way to tap that inner creative child. Creativity feeds the soul.

For me, I went back to something I had done since high school. I journaled, then I decided to do the public journal - my blog. Then I moved into stories and poetry. Now I am freelancing and pursuing my fiction.

H is talking about picking up with piano lessons or maybe guitar lessons - something he has not done since a child.

Being creative is soulful, enjoyable and challenging. Ultimately, I think it keeps us young.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

An extra 100 plus pounds is alot already...

Today L, E and I took our first bike ride of the season. I say we, but in reality, they ride in the trailer or as my German friends call it, the caboose and I ride, dragging them along behind me.

Now I am not complaining because I love the rides. It is so much fun and very freeing to be able to get around town on the trails, there are so many great little hidden parks and paths. I cross trained and well honestly trained for the 1/2 marathon dragging them all over town. At the beginning of last spring I could barely make it to the library with them in tow and by the end of last summer I was coasting all over town, for miles and miles.

So while it is all good - I must say that over the winter - some little people have put on some pounds because the extra 100 pounds - well it seems a bit heavier and we are just getting into the beginning of bike season. Wow, I think I am going to have to add an extra workout to feed my biking habit. Or wait - maybe I can get the city commissioners to regrade a few of the steeper hills around town - I mean really it is a small thing to ask, right?

Friday, April 18, 2008

I wonder...

Today E and I went to the park that is very near our house. Our neighborhood is very close to a river and next to the park is a small wooded area and I guess you could call it a valley, but there is a steep incline going down to the river. This wooded area is the nesting area for vultures and some hawks. We have a hawk who lives in our back yard at certain times of the year. She is beautiful to watch and very regal.

So today as E played on the slides, I was sitting in the swing and watching the vultures and hawks fly around. The sky was a crystal blue, so clear and there were no clouds. The birds looked as if they were floating in the sky, their black wings shiny in the sunlight. Now I can tell which are vultures and which are hawks based on size. The vultures are larger birds and rather bald.

I think when we think of hawks, we think of them being strong and powerful birds of prey. They are regal, in fact I think kings have kept hawks for display and sport for centuries. Many sports teams have a hawk as a mascot. As does my alma mater.

Now vultures on the other hand, they get a bad wrap. They feed on dead animals and sometimes prey on dying animals. In common speech we say things like - the vultures are circling or so and so is a vulture.

But to watch them fly today - the vultures were just as graceful, just as powerful and just as beautiful as the hawks. They flew in perfect circles on the wind currents. It was lovely to watch. So peaceful and yet so powerful.

I imagine we associate vultures with death and that is what makes them seem less majestic and powerful, but is it really more majestic to stalk and slaughter a little mouse or other small mammal as a hawk does or is it better to eat that which is going to go to waste anyway and spread bacteria in the process? Vultures serve the communities in which they live by eating what is left to waste. I read online that in India and Pakistan, when animals die the farmers and herders leave them in the fields for the vultures and because of over use of a particular drug in the live stock, which is deadly to vultures, much of the vulture population has died and the rate of illness among the farmers, due to decaying dead flesh is on the rise. Diseases such as botulism are kept in check by vultures and without them it is spreading through the towns and villages.

Both birds serve a purpose, the hawks keep us from being over run by rabbits and field mice and the vultures keep our wooded areas and fields free from dead animals, which spread disease. In flight they are both majestic and graceful, full of power and beauty.

So I wonder, why do we value one above the other...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I think it goes without saying that most of us have a fair number of balls in the air most days. I have often struggled with balance, in various forms and shapes and sizes. My mind is always busy. Always. I am a thinking machine. I almost never dream, at least not that I remember and my theory is my mind is so busy with thinking and dreaming while I am awake - that when I am asleep, I am asleep and my mind is recharging for another big day of all manner of thoughts.

I am working a fair amount now on free lance projects and I will admit that my fiction writing has taken a back seat, which is ok. There is the creative ebb and flow to my life, which is important. I am working to establish a plan, to work in writing fiction. I have a story which I started along time ago and I have decided to finish it this summer. It is the right time and I want to finish it. So that is my creative writing goal for the summer.

I have alot going on with my freelancing. I am setting up my website and I am networking slowly and I am commitment to making this happen. This time last year I was flirting with calling myself a writer. Now today - I AM A WRITER. I am making money writing. I am developing my craft. I am learning. I am taking it to another level. I write because it is my passion, I have always written, now I am sharing the fruits of my labor with people, in very public ways and I am growing and I am a creative being and for the first time in a long time, the little voice in my head is happy and occupied and feed and not angry at me for ignoring it or telling it we cannot do thing.

So on one hand I have added balls to the juggling routine but on the other hand I am so much more at peace and the voice within me is happy and finding an outlet. That is true balance I think. The schedule and the laundry and the calender, will eventually work itself out. The mental peace is vital to all of that. I have - I think for the moment - found the mental peace I was craving. I have a focus, the voice in my mind is focused because I am attentive to it. It no longer needs to throw ideas at me, I have its attention and it has mine and we are one.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Business of Government.... Part 5

is to pass laws that really make sense and actually DO something. Why have a rule on the books if it makes no sense and does nothing. I will give you an example. Today E and I went to the Post Office. I need to set up a P O Box. I will tell you why I need the box later. Rest assured I need to get the box. I went online last night and checked out what I needed to secure said box. (For those of you wondering? Two forms of ID one with a picture and $20!) So I was ready. I had my cash and my IDs ready - hello I am at the Post Office at lunch time with a 2 year old - you better believe I was ready to rock and roll.

So I wait in line and tell the lady what I need. She rolls her eyes and comes back with a short form for me to fill out. I need to be verified she tells me. Great I think - she will look at my ID and then I fill out the short form and I will get my box. WRONG! I have to list my name and address on the short form. My pot smoking psycho mail carrier, yep the one who cannot even manage to keep my mail separate from my neighbors, is going to verify that I get mail delivered where I say I do. Then they will call me, then look at my ID and then I can request the P O Box. WHAT?

Now because E was with me, I just did as I was told and left - how is this helpful. I was told by the nice lady this is the process based on the Patriot Act. Ah Ha! I knew it. That ACT was written and passed by very stupid people. People who want to look like they are actually doing something.

What does it prove - if I say I get mail at a certain address. I mean anyone could say that. I get mail at this address - and often I might add, for people who have not lived here in over 8 years. I get mail for the people who lived here before us and their dog. Their dog gets mail. I guess therefore with the right fake ID their dog could get a P O Box under the Patriot Act guidelines. MMM, I bet that would work for terrorists too! MMMM.

This is just yet another example of just how stupid a place we have over regulated ourselves too. I seriously think the next presisent needs to call a State of Emergency. Every Senator, Congress person and aide and secretary need to take every single law on the books and look it over and be charged with task of scrapping 50% of them. There are too many meaningless and useless laws on the books. This includes the tax code, all of it. If it does not make sense and is not practical - it goes. It is basic really. Safety is important. Good fiscal processes, important. Chain of command issues, important. Communication processes, good sense. The tags on the mattresses - kinda silly.

If you read the law out loud and it a) makes no sense or b) you laugh your ass off because it sounds so stupid then a good rule of thumb - would be to rewrite it or just delete it.

Seems like time well spent to me.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Gone Glitter Gone

Sadly I must say that last weekend I retired the nose ring - for now. While I had no troubles at first, I did about a month in, while washing my face, pull rather hard on the ring. Ouchy! That hurt a fair amount. Then a few weeks later again and I well, then it just swelled and hurt and ached and nothing worked.

I asked alot of people who had them, and got a lot of opinions. I was literally quizzing women with nose rings, everywhere I went. I was salt water soaking, then icing, then saline mist. The whole nine and nothing would work.

So last Friday, I took it out, which hurt so much and I thought maybe a day or so later I could put it back, but that just did not happen. It healed so fast - that now I am convinced that H was right all along, I was having a reaction to the metal or to the ring altogether. Which is very possible, given that I can only wear 14K gold in my ears and nothing else. Sterling silver for an evening maybe.

I will say I miss my nose ring, it was a very important symbol to me and I liked it very much. I may try it again at the end of the summer, but keeping it dry and out of the pool with the kiddos seems like a terribly difficult task - so for the summer I will leave sleeping glitter lie and consider my options!

Saturday, April 5, 2008


H recently bought a SD card on this website! He needed a new one for his phone. I think I might be investing in a new pin drive. I am a back up maniac. Early in my writing career - I had written something and it vanished. Also after the implosion of the I back up everything that is really valuable and I am trying to figure out how to easily backup this blog.

So if you are shopping for memory and the like - check out this site, Memory Suppliers, H was very pleased with their site, their shipping and naturally the price.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Jelly Beans might have been the better choice kind sir!

So I have mentioned the ground delay in Memphis. No one likes a delay and no one likes a delay on the ground while crammed into a CRJ-200 commuter jet. L and E are great travelers but this was a bit more than they could take. E was all done waiting after the 2.5 hours we waited in Baton Rouge, he was tired and he was all done.

The young musician behind us was also done, he kept complaining on his cell phone. The man next to me was very pleasant but did not like the delay. E in a fit of 2 year boredom and so forth resorted to kicking the seat in front of him and I kept reminding him that it was not appropriate. I tried toys and I tried snacks and I tried all manner of distractions. But it was more than he could handle. Now did he scream, no. Did he cry or yell, no. He was just antsy and kicking the seat from time to time.

So the man in front of us, glared over at us and let me know he was not enjoying our little troubles. Well too bad. I am not enjoying it either and it is not like there is much I can do about it, short of really making him scream, so in the grand scheme of things - get over yourself and suck it up like the rest of us.

I told him politely I was working on it and would continue to try and get E to not kick his seat and then I offered this man a jelly bean. He refused and then I smiled sweetly and suggest he could always request to be reseated.

That weirdo went for the reseating - see I knew something he did not know - the only empty seat was the one right next to the bathroom. I had observed this fact on one of our many potty trips. Now no one wants to sit by the bathroom and certainly not on the CRJ-200.

So this man who was so seriously annoyed with E's very benign 2 year old antsy behavior. Spent the entire 1.25 minute flight being elbowed and having views of everyone's butts as they used the bathroom after the two beverage services we had received while enjoying the ground delay.

So at a minimum Mr. Annoyed should have gone for the jelly beans! Or been like the nice professor from OU, who talked with us and spoke to E a bit. He, the professor, he got offered chocolate! Which while he declined - he should know that I seldom share my stash of emergency chocolate! Mr Annoyed? Well he was annoyed the entire flight - which E slept thru - out like a light the minute we took off!

So see - the Jelly Beans were so the better option!

Service IS part of what you pay for, contrary to popular opinion

It seems like every year about this time I suffer from a bout of horrible horrible customer service, I get mad, maybe I complain and maybe I do not and sometimes I ger it resolved and maybe my constructive complaining helps and maybe it is just a form of polite venting but I am at it again.

On a trip to Baton Rouge it was very smooth sailing until the very last leg home. In Memphis there were weather delays and we barely made our connection. Once they herded us onto the plane, we sat there for over 2 hours. Apparently the baggage handlers took a 2 hour break or a mini strike or something. They left everyone's luggage on the tarmac in a monsoonal rain storm. The flight crew tried very hard to get the situation resolved and frankly were as irritated as the rest if us. A little known fact that I will share with my readers - the flight crew does not get paid until the plane door is shut. So while we waited on someone to load the luggage and remove the jet bridge and then push us back, the door was open and the clock was not running. The pilots were however very helpful and kept us in the loop. The flight attendant cheerfully and might I add with much sincerity, served beverages, hunted down magazines and blankets and was very nice.

Now here is the deal. I expect there to be bumps in the road. H has stories which would make for a full length feature film. It is often a comedy of errors. Bottom line - however and frankly were flying is concerned I can forgive and overlook alot - but when I buy a ticket and spend upwards of $400 per ticket - I at a minimum expect to get from point A to point B on the day I paid for. Maybe not on time and I am willing to accept delays. I am willing to waive the drink and snack portion of the party. A functioning toilet domestically is optional. But I would like to get my checked bag and I EXPECT IT TO BE WELL TREATED AND NOT SOAKING WET.

Now I will say I have shared my concerned with NWA and they have been very nice in email and I hope that they can make change within their organization. At a minimum the person in charge in Memphis needs a reprimand or wait, better yet - lets pack all of his or her clothing into a suitcase and stick it in the shower for 2.5 hours. See how they like that.

Next on the poor service hit list - Columbia Gas - my natural gas service provider - no wait cut the service part. My natural gas supplier. I have for the pro bono job been trying to arrange to have install the automated device for meter reading at our rental house. We paid for the do-dad, now I want it installed. Other than the very pleasant Patricia I spoke with last today, everyone on that 800 line needs some serious personality and friendly lessons. I am the customer. I do expect to treated decently and I do expect to be able to ask for certain things - like being called before they come, so I can get across town. I am not willing to waste an entire day in a vacant house waiting on them. Needless to say twice this little adventure has not worked out for me - and when I asked for a supervisor - I was hung up on (the rep before Patricia.)

Seriously - they may be the only game in town and that is a crying shame, but they cannot just treat people like that. Our time is just as valuable as their service techs and it is silly in the world of cell phones and PDAs. For the love of Mike - I get my email on my phone. You cannot tell me that the service tech cannot call personally when he or she is on the way. I am not buying it. It is just plain silly.

The guys who delivered E's bedroom furniture from Value City - personally and politely called me to let me know they were going to be 2 hours early and could I accommodate that? Yes absolutely and thank you for your call!

So unless Colombia Gas is employing a totally non-English speaking workforce - I think they could manage a personal call, so that I could tell the person - great I will met you there ASAP and by the way I am driving there from Dublin with my two kids, one of whom is sick - so if for some reason I hit every single blooming traffic light, please give me the benefit of the doubt and wait. I will be there as soon as I can possibly manage. If you are really nice, I always have chocolate in my bag and will gladly share it for your trouble.

I would also like to add for all those folks who think it is perfectly acceptable to flake out, not show up and not follow through on what they say they will do. Stop it already. You are ruining it for those of us who try very hard to hold up our end of the bargain and those of us who enjoy being treated like an adult and not a petulant child!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

13 Great things about my trip to Baton Rouge

1. I got to see my good friend N and L & E got to play with J & J. We have not seen each other since they moved about 18 months ago. Which was too long - but we picked up right where we left off and I just enjoyed seeing them and their new home so very much!

2. The weather! It was lovely the entire week. A bit cool a few mornings - but the sun was out every day and the N is right - the sky this time of year in Baton Rouge is an amazing shade of blue. The clouds were puff white and it was perfect. It is has been almost 6 months of very cold and gray at home and I reveled in the warmth and sun. I will however note: On Sunday it was very warm very early in the morning and it was humid and I can totally - totally see why the summer is oppressive on Baton Rouge.

3. Crawfish. Ok they are serious good eating. Yum-O! We had them for dinner the first night in Baton Rogue and they rock. They are boiled and then you break the tail away from the body and eat the tail meat and then suck the fat and juice out of the head. It was spicy and messy and flavorful and I loved every single bite. N's husband is a native Louisianan and he knows all about the crawfish and was so glad that we enjoyed the treat. Now is the season and they are plentiful. We also bought them at this fish market which was a fun experience - with the life catfish tank and all sorts of fish and shrimp. I will also own up to a moment of sheer denseness. Typically you boil the crawfish with corn and tatters. So we got home and N put a small pot on the stove and began to boil water. Now we had bought 10 pounds of crawfish. They were not going to fit in the pot. I was perplexed. So I asked about that and N laughed and said, well they are cooked already. Didn't you smell them in the car? Duh! They had smelled so good in the car as we drove home - they were all ready cooked!

4. Alligator Bayou. This swamp tour is a great experience and wonderful learning opportunity for everyone - young and old. It lasts about 3 hours and it is a great way to learn about alligators and the swamp and the eco-system. Also as we were coming back towards the lodge - I got great pictures of the sunset. The nature is breathtaking and it is sad that so much of the swamp is disappearing. It is a great harmony of nature and home to so many creatures. It was well worth the price of admission and I would certainly do it again.

5. Everyone is rather friendly. Very nice and kind. I would not go so far as helpful - but polite to be sure. As an example. when we arrived in Baton Rouge, I took both L & E to the bathroom - which is normal and necessary. So by the time we go to baggage claim, apparently they had decided my bags were unclaimed. Now - there are very few people working at the airport and no one really wanted to be responsible for finding my bag and it was a bit of a comedy of errors chasing them down, but can I just say that I was called Ma'am alot and thanked for my patiences. Which while not overwhelming helpful, it is polite. N shared with me that logic rarely enters the equation in Baton Rouge!

6. The new mall and shopping area where Whole Foods is located. Very nice shopping and very pretty and with the weather there - outdoor shopping is very nice.

7. My kiddos were so well behaved. They were very good - even being off schedule and lacking a bit of sleep. I was so proud of them. They each got a new book when we got home - and they so deserved it. We had a rough flight home (details in another post) and they rose to the occasion - big time.

8. The Royal Standard. What a fun place to shop. Rooms of nifty and interesting things. N and I went there on Saturday and it was a truly great place to shop! I bought a few neat things.

9. Relaxation. The pace is slower in the south and we took full advantage. This trip was peaceful and quiet and at a pace that suited both the kiddos, H and I. A real plus!

10. The State Capital building. It is very tall and we went up to the observation deck and totally enjoyed the view. It is lovely. The same about the Levy. It is very nice and like a park and offers a great view of the river.

11. N & R's back yard! Complete with a pond and lots of trees and flowers. It is a lush paradise and it was so nice to sit outside and enjoy the Spring! No coat required.

12. The fragrance of Spring. The orange blossoms, the azaleas, lilacs and honeysuckle. All combined to make for a wonderful spring smell. I loved it. It was sweet and light and just perfect.

13. Baton Rouge is off the beaten path and it is interesting and I am sure there is more to uncover and it seemed to me to be growing and developing and in time it will have all the amenities of large city - I just hope that it keeps it small world charm. I love going somewhere where the pace is a little slower and I can just be. Baton Rouge seemed like that kind of place. Another plus - it is very close to New Orleans - you could make it a trip of two cities very easily.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The gig

For those of you who are interested in my freelance gig you can check out the magazine here. The articles are ghost written, so I can let you know which ones are mine or you can guess and if you are right, then you know my style well and I will give you a prize!

The format has gone from bi-monthly to monthly starting in April and the April edition will be out very soon. You can also sign up to get the magazine via email - so that you can have delivered right to you!

It is fun and I enjoy the work very much. The concept is good too, at least in my opinion. It is a way for small business owners to "talk" about their business and vision and I think that as a marketing tool is a nice idea.

Flirting with edge of insanity - with my dreamy parachute letting me float on over the edge

Well I am back from vacation. The kiddos and I went to Baton Rogue to visit friends. It was a great time. The weather was perfect and we had a wonderful, relaxed time. I will blog more about Baton Rogue in a bit.

The week prior to vacation I was seriously on edge of insanity. In a way I have not been in a while and it was both thrilling and exciting and just a bit much. I was swamped with the normal getting ready to go out of town tasks of packing and gathering all the items we would need and the planning of travel wardrobes and the like. H was gone the entire week. It was the longest stretch that he has worked in a long time and that is always hard, being the 24/7 parent for 5 days is challenging.

In addition it was holy week, so there was much happening at the pro bono job and in addition we were in the midst of trying to find a new organist. Lots of email and discussions and so forth.

If all of those balls in the air were not enough, I was very very busy with my new career. I have picked up a most excellent freelance job and I love it and it is challenging and fun and well, we were in high gear and I was writing alot and interviewing people and I can honestly say that on Saturday night as I finished the last profile, my brain hurt. It ached just a little. But even still it is energizing and exciting and I am so pleased that I have found a way to work from home, mostly on my schedule and get paid to do what I love. To actually use my talent to inform others and serve a purpose.

This time last year, I was highly doubtful of my talent and of the possibility of being able to dream a little and make it happen. I was sure that other people where lucky enough to do that and be successful. But today - in this moment - I know exactly what it feels like. I had a plan, I had an idea, I went ahead and gave it a shot and hoped for the best. I devised a plan and executed it. It took some time and some patience but it is happening and it is happening in a manageable way and I am loving every second of it.

Finding some balance is going to take some time. Getting the family flow down is going to take some time. Making sure that I do not run into brain drain is a high priority, but aside from that - I am floating on the clouds. I may not yet be making a huge amount of money, but the money is flowing and I will savor every milestone - small and large - because it is realizing the dream, which is the big pay off for me.