Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Is It Really News?

I don’t watch the news.  This might be a strange concept for some people – they wonder how I cannot want to know what is going on in my community or nation or world.  To be honest, I do want to know what’s going on but I don’t want to hear about someone who got robbed or raped or killed.  I don’t want to hear about a hurricane that killed hundreds of people and caused billions of dollars in damage.  I certainly don’t want to see images of horror in real life.  Mind you, this does not mean I’m trying to pretend those things don’t happen; I realize life happens and that there is good and bad in that.

What do I want to hear, then?  I want to hear about people who help other people.  I want to hear about what I can do to help, whether it’s sending clean, dry towels to the SPCA, donating my time to help rebuild a house or say a prayer.  The “news” should show more positive stories and when bad news must be shared,  it should be shared with a gentle, genuine concern for who or what it effects and information about how to help – how to turn the negative news into a positive outcome.

I believe we can all be better people.  I believe that if we surround ourselves with positivity, compassion, empathy, love and humor, we will all be happier people, too.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What My Grandmom Taught Me

      I came across this as I was looking over some documents on my desktop.  My Grandmom passed just over six months ago.  I miss her constantly but am so so thankful for the memories we have shared.

      When we love, love deeply and wholly.

Speak kind words.  As Plato says, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  I also like to consider Jenny Lawson (also known as The Bloggess’), added information for our times, “So they’re likely carrying weapons.”  I honestly can’t remember a time I heard Grandmom say something unkind.  I would love to reach that level of kindness.

Take care of our family.  In sickness and health, in good times and bad.  
Do what we love.  If we don’t do what we love, why are we doing it?

Being independent does not mean you are alone.

When all else fails, pray.  My God is a good, gentle God.  Prayer eases worries and brings clarity to unexpected answers.

Be thankful for everything – life is a blessing but we fail to realize that death is, too.  Death sets us free from the pains of this world and allows us to be better.  While we are here, we need to look around and be thankful.  For everything.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oh Brother Where Art Thou

When I was in 5th grade, my brother was in 8th grade and we went to the same school.  We also rode the same bus.  One day, I came home alone.  I had gone to school with him but he did not take the bus home.  As I walked to my house, I simply figured that he must have gone home sick earlier in the day.  When I walked in the door, my Dad walked into the dining room to greet me and asked, “Where is your brother?”  I believe my response was something to the effect of, “I thought he was here.”  My Dad immediately got on the phone (the house phone, remember what that is?) calling everyone he could.  When he called the school, he yelled at them – they didn’t know where he was either.

I unpacked my book bag and got to work on my homework while my Dad paced the house and yelled at people on the phone.  Within 30 minutes, my brother walked in the door.  My Dad, in his caring, in-your-face yelling love, asked where he was.

Now, if you have a sibling, even one that you get along with, every so often when he or she is the one getting in trouble, you kind of enjoy watching the scene unfold.  You have an expectation that it’s going to get loud, someone is going to get grounded and it won’t be you.

So, where was he?  Quote, “I got in a fight.”  Dad asked, “Where?”  My brother calmly replied, “Across the street from the school, at the Catholic church.”  My Dad’s next question, “How did you get home?”  Brother’s reply, “I walked.”  (Do you get the tension here – seriously – a fight, on a church yard?)  My Dad’s response, “The next time you do that, tell me first.”

My response?  If my jaw could unhinge like a snake, it would have been all over the floor. 

Many, many years later, I brought this up with my Dad and brother.  They never considered that I would be floored by this entire incident.  Here’s the side of the story I did not know then.  Someone at school was picking on my brother incessantly (by the way, my brother has always been big for his age.  I would guess in 8th grade, he looked like a high school senior with a baby face).  He had spoken to my Dad for advice and my Dad was very specific in telling him that if all else failed and he was going to get in a fight, do it outside of school and off school grounds.  Oh, and bring a few friends in case he brings some.  Once I told them my perspective, they got a good laugh at it.  Once I heard theirs, I would have totally been one of those friends to back him up!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Voice Over Narration: Yes, I can see that. Thank you.

Tonight, I am sitting on the couch listening to sounds of a movie in the adjoining room.  My princess is sick and on prednisone.  My husband is watching the movie with her.  She’s snuggled up on the floor while he is lying on the futon.  It’s what they do and it is fun to observe their interactions.

My husband habitually narrates movies.  A friend told us once that he should be the narrator for the voice over on movies for the blind.  I know, that sounds made up right?  Well, it’s not (  My girl is starting to develop this same habit not only with movies and tv shows but games, too.  I know someday, she is going to narrate a trip we take,  and that the trip she chooses to start doing this will be the five hour one.  Eventually, they will have dueling narrations at the movie theaters and people will hush them.  Alright, alright, I will be among the people who will hush them.  But you know what?  When she grows up, she’s going to be the best voice over narrator period.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Disney vs. Work: What is the Difference, Really?

Tonight, as I was completing my daily chores, I had an epiphany.  Walt Disney World and work really can be the same experience.  I know, I know – call me nuts but hear me out on this one.

Work has been (fill in the blank here) lately, which is normal – we all have slumps at work.  The past few weeks have been crazy busy, high stress and go-go-go.  People who know me know this is not my style.  I am a very hard worker – efficient, organized, blah, blah, blah.  I am a planner and thus begins the epiphany.

If you have never been to Walt Disney World, make a plan to go.  It doesn’t matter what kind of financial situation you are in right now, you can set a goal to go in two years and start saving.  Have a yard sale in the spring, summer and fall x2 years – put it all away.  If you get a tax refund, put it away.  Planning is a huge, fun part of going there.  I’ve been twice and the last time I went, I planned it for a year.  There is a joy in planning that I can’t explain.  You have to live it to know it.  When you go, you will not be disappointed!!  When you come back, read the rest of this post (or say heck with it and read on anyway).

If you have been to Walt Disney World, a.k.a. The Happiest Place on EARTH, you might get this. It might just be me.  I only know my experience and this is what I will share.

When we pick a date to go to Disney, the planning begins.  We could pick a date 1 year away or 4 years away, it doesn’t matter.  We plan.  Planning includes looking at brochures, maps, blogs, listening to web casts, checking out the Disney web page, looking for a place to stay (do we stay on site or off site), where we might eat at the parks, and so on and so forth.  We make spreadsheets listing which rides we want to go on, where we want to see the fireworks (I’m a nerd wannabe who married a nerd, stop with the hatin’, people), how much meals will cost if we eat here or there, food and drinks to bring in to the park, shoes to purchase at least six months prior to going to break in for the miles of walking we will do, etc.  The whole point is: we plan.

When we get there, we have fun.  Half the plans we spent months planning go out the window (figuratively; we don’t litter) and we enjoy the time we have there as a family and as individuals.  Even when things go awry, they turn out even better than expected because we embrace the experience.  I wholeheartedly believe the positive energy we have when we are there is because of the time we spent preparing for the trip. 

So why isn’t work like a trip to Disney World?  At work, we perform tasks at a fast pace.  When we work on projects, we try to take the time needed to complete it but we have other projects running at the same time and since one project has a later deadline date, we instead focus on the project that requires completion by the end of the week.  Then, next week comes and another project pops up, a new task is assigned, or we are out sick!  When we move past those unexpected hurdles, we come to the realization that that project we put off is due ASAP and we hurry through it, stressed and anxious about the end result.

This is where we need to say STOP.  Breathe.  Realign the priorities.  PLAN.  We don’t have time to do that?  Answer me this, how do we have time NOT to do this?  Think about it, we run around like chickens to the feed.  Eat the corn over here, gobble it up then move to the next pile.  They don’t take time to taste it or even appreciate the company at the meal or the ambiance of the setting.  I, for one, want to taste that corn, admire the other chicken’s feathers, stare into the setting sun and smell the dirt.  I want to enjoy the task at hand.

Tomorrow, when I go to work, I will PLAN my day, my week and my next week.  I will leave space to cover those urgencies that pop up randomly (they always come up) and space to get my cup of coffee in the afternoon.  I will look at my big projects and little projects and begin working on my timelines.  I will refine them as I move through the motions and I will celebrate the victories.  And eventually, I will have such a spectacular plan that even when things go awry, I’m going to embrace the experience.  Join me and share your experiences here!  And let me know how your Disney trip turns out!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Excuse me while I pass out on my guy (remembering the first day of school, 2011)

Today was a big day!  Lily started first grade and rode a bus to school (with one of her friends) for the first time ever!  She was in school all day and had lunch and a snack while she was there.  She met lots of new friends and sat next to a boy at lunch.  The boy had a Pack-it lunch box (which she also has) and this seemed to be the highlight of her day.  Someone else with a Pack-it lunch box, not the boy.

After Lily got on the bus, I drove Ben to Lewes to have his ganglion cyst removed surgically.  Everything went well but when it came time to get Ben ready to go, I decided I had had enough of letting everyone else in my family get the attention today and passed out after I put Ben’s shirt over his head.  Ben was really drugged up from the surgery so he didn’t get too freaked out when I was heaved onto a gurney by another man.  When I regained consciousness, I had Ben take a picture of me (this was a horrible picture, so I decided to use this one instead).

This was really a bad call on my part because I wasn’t allowed to drive him home and my parents had to come pick us up.  Other families get to pick up their kids from jail for drunk and disorderly conduct but not this family!  We are hard core.  The other issue with this was that we were kind of supposed to leave by a certain time and since my parents almost drive up to the speed limit, we had to sit in recovery together longer than most other folks.  It gets awkward after a while.  People kept checking in on me (not Ben) and I was all, “I’m okay.  Sorry,” for the next 20 minutes.

Because I’ve passed out twice in the last month, I was advised to go to my doctor NOW (even though I have an appointment in about three weeks, that is not soon enough).  One of the nurses there was an ICU nurse and she said she did not like my color when I passed out.  Grey is not a color that looks good on me, apparently.  Ben was all, “I thought you were dead.”   My Mom was all, "That's what we do!"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Duck, Duck, Oops!

I stopped by my co-worker’s office to talk to her about something work related.  She mentioned that she was preparing for her class assignment (she teaches, too).  This week, the lesson was about learning how to tell when people are lying.  Students had to tell two truths and one lie about themselves and the other students in the class had to figure out which one was the lie.  It sounded fun, so I threw my truths and a lie her way.  My favorite color is blue.  I have a tattoo.  I ran over a duck once.  It turns out, I really suck at this activity because I accidently told three truths.  I am a horrible liar.  Remember that.  It’s important for the rest of this blog.  When I told her this, she was confused and required an explanation of how one would accidently run over a duck.

I was driving (obviously) to my parent’s house to drop off my daughter before going to work.  I was on a back road where random objects, such as tires, mattresses, refrigerators and the like, tend to be discarded.  So it was a normal thought that there was a brown shoe in the middle of the road on that morning.  As I maneuvered my car to go over the shoe (I didn’t want to run over it), I came upon the realization as the duck opened her eyes with a look of alarm, that I was about to hit a duck.  It was too late to go around her and I ended up hitting that thing dead on.  I looked in the rearview mirror and saw feathers all over the place.  Then I looked at my daughter in the rear view mirror.  She was content as ever, as though Mommy hitting a wild animal was a normal, everyday occurrence. 

I felt really bad; I mean, I have issues with geese, not ducks, but then again, wasn’t the duck kind of kamikaze?  It was sleeping in the middle of the road so it was either suicidal or stupid and either way, who wants that kind of duck to breed and make more ducks?  Not me.  You are welcome, America.