Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Monday, April 18, 2005
He came from out of no where. Swooping down, nearly settling on my head, then making a beeline for the nearest tree. His shrieks and squawks echoing in the early evening air. He drew the attention of Jack, our American Eskimo dog and from that moment on, his outdoor ritual was broken. No longer did Jack dream about trees and fence posts, instead his mind was on the brightly colored noisy thing in the tree just above his head.
The parrot seemed friendly enough. He seemed about as interested in us as we were in it. I called out to my husband, who brought the camera. We managed to get quite a few shots, until the bird flew down and rested upon our back fence.
I wondered if it were hungry, then wondered what I had in the house that he could possibly eat. I flashed upon a bag of dry dogfood that Jack doesn't eat and an "ah ha" moment was born. I hurried inside and brought out a handful of dry dogfood and a little bowl of water. If the bird could have spoken, he'd have given me his heartfelt thanks. He ate as if he were starving and drank water like he hadn't seen it in days.
He was very friendly and even nibbled upon my husband's finger at one point. Howver, any attempt we made to catch it was neatly adverted. He sidestepped and hopped away just far enough to stay out of reach.
It grew late and the sky darkened. We could no longer see the parrot as it sat just on the other side of our fence in a neighbor's tree. We went inside, saddened by the fact that we would no longer see our little friend. My husband did some research on the web, with the pictures he took and discovered our visitor had been a Sun Conure.
In the morning, once again, outside to give Jack a reprieve, I heard a familiar screech. Looking around, there he was, sitting on the neighbor's clothesline. Excited, I hurried to call my husband on the phone to tell him that the parrot was still around. Hearing my voice, the parrot flew into our yard and followed me to the back patio. He sat on a plant stand while I hurried to get him some more dry dog food and a bowl of water.
Pondering what to do next, my husband suggested I go out and get a cage. So, I did. Hurrying to the pet store within a mile of our home, I purchased a cage and a bag of parrot/conure food. At home, I stepped outside to find the parrot sitting on our gutters above the back door. I put the dry dog food away and poured a small portion of the new food into my hand. It had him intrigued and he came to investigate. With a bit of coaxing and some quickness on my part, the Sun Conure was soon happily munching away on his new food in his new cage.
Determined to find his owner, we checked newspaper lost & found ads, the internet, vets and animal/bird hospitals, and even pet stores. No one reported a missing Sun Conure. We've taken a liking to the little fella and he's more than happy to make his home here with us. Already he's settled into our routine and seems to enjoy our company.
We've named him Bailey. And Bailey has a home.
Monday, April 04, 2005
"Freedom to make mistakes." What does that mean to you? Have we come so far in this imperfect world that people must not make mistakes for fear of punishment?
I don't claim to know everything that goes on in the world, and for the most part, my views are clouded by what I read in the newspaper or hear on the television. However, my world is words, my life is words, my work is words. I live to write and as a writer, I know that what I put down on paper may not always be what ends up as the final copy. I accept that. What would life be like if everything I wrote had to be perfect the first time? What if there was no freedom to make a first draft or edits? I, for one, would probably be very hesitant about each word I wrote, knowing that I didn't get a second chance to fix an error.
Isn't that what we can do every day when we speak? Do we get a chance at a draft before we say our final message? Can we make edits to our words later? No, we do not, no we cannot. Our words, once spoken, can never be edited. Oh, sure, we can say, "but, that's not what I meant," or, "you misunderstood me." Apologies can always be made for something we said, but once said; always heard, and always remembered.
In this modern world we have the technology to speak and write instantaneously. I've observed many Message Board discussions where a topic is introduced and without inflection or actual voice, great debates emerge over mere words. Important topics disappear over an exchange of "you said/I said" and viable questions go unanswered as conversations run tangets from the original subject.
Debates emerge with quotes taken from previous messages, until the entire subject disappears in the nether-regions of cyberspace. No longer do simple conversations occur, comfortably across a table, between friends or acquaintances. Nevertheless, great debates are waged every day, from desktop to desktop across the world, between complete strangers of varying backgrounds. Over what? Mere words.
Words, in my opinion, are the most powerful weapon in the world. With one swipe they can cut deeper than any sword. With one quote they can change an entire nation. With one statement they can be used against you for the rest of your life.
We've gone so far in this great nation to debate over the definition of a word and its meaning in context and out of context. And, for what? To prove a point, to be heard, to define ourselves - to have the chance to say what we mean or change what we said.
Words, once spoken, always heard, never forgotten.
"Freedom to make mistakes." So, what does that really mean to you? I believe, that as people, we are not perfect, and should give each other the chance to make amends for words chosen inappropriately, in either the heat of the moment or the passion of the discussion. And, as such, we should be more careful in what words we do choose to use.
No matter how important you are, or what position you hold in the long chain of life, there is always going to be another out there - listening, observing. Choose your words carefully, when speaking or writing. You are being heard. Make sure you are heard in the way you want, not just to make noise.
The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything else. -- Edward John Phelps
Monday, March 14, 2005
You can find the book at Amazon.com, that's where I got mine. Run out and get yours today.
Friday, March 04, 2005
In realizing my own mortality, I begin to reflect on my life. What have I accomplished so far? Am I happy with my life? With where I am now. Do I have any regrets? Would I have done anything differently? Could I have done anything differently? Have I led a prosperous life?
I can think of various forms of prosperity and determine how they pertain to my life. What forms of prosperity do I think relate especially to me? Spiritual prosperity? Physical prosperity? Intellectual Prosperity? What other forms call out to me to be counted? Emotional prosperity? Financial prosperity? Creative prosperity? How have I been affected by these various forms and where do I see them as I lead my life along the paths I have chosen?
Spiritual Prosperity - As I've grown older, I've definitely come into my own spiritually. I came from a Christian background and with that basic foundation I've studied other formats to help me understand my place in the Universe. I've studied as a Shaman and in doing so feel so much closer to God and the Universal Life Force. My life has developed a deeper meaning and I live it with an eye to living in the NOW rather than in the past or future. I give myself over to God and walk with him through my days.
Creative Prosperity - I've been blessed to live my life as a writer. I can't paint or draw, but I try. Writing has been my creative outlet for so many years, I've lost count. It's like breathing to me. I just do it.
Physical Prosperity - I live with various diseases and illnesses in my life, but I don't let them take over. My physical well-being is based on my mental health and when I feel healthy I act healthy. The mind-body connection operates continually.
Intellectual Prosperity - I've become attuned to my intellectual self. I rely on it more to aid my creative side. It helps me to write better and read more.
Finanical Prosperity - As I become more involved in my financial goals, I see success and experience success. By guiding my life along my chosen path, I combine my intellectual self with my finanical self and create a solid foundation for my future.
Emotional Prosperity - My emotions are no longer a jumbled mass of confusion and disarray. I've sorted through them, identified them, named them, and given them creadence. I can feel emotions without fear of losing myself. My spiritual self knows and guides me as I experience life.
As I experience life, I realize I am living it the best way I know how and that is a good thing. Would I have chosen a different path to reach where I am today? I don't think so. Especially if it would have changed anything along the way. I am who I am because of my past. The past is over. I concentrate on the now that is today.
What will tomorrow bring? Will the doctors find something in these test results and what will it be? Whatever they find, it will be helpful. Worrying about it won't make it change. I'll deal with it when the time comes. I concentrate on the now that is today.
Don't let life pass you by. Don't be so caught up in what is happening tomorrow or what happened yesterday that you don't see what is happening today. Life your life for today. Today is what is important. Today is what matters. Now, is today.
Saturday, February 26, 2005
This message is for the wives. You know who you are. You've asked your husband fifteen times to pick up his dirty socks from the living room floor and each time he just walks right by them.
We've all been there.
Raise your hand.
Yes, me too. I became this parrot that repeated itself, constantly. "Pick up your socks." "It's garbage night, don't forget." "Have you fixed the kitchen counter yet?" "Did you remember to stop at the bank today?"
So, here's a little test. You may need to read this article if you:
A. Find yourself constantly reminding your husband to do things he hasn't gotten around to doing yet.
B. Count your husband as an additional child when someone asks how many children you have.
A while ago my answer to this little test would have been a resounding "YES!" Not anymore. Here's why. Oh, and I'll get back to the dirty socks story in a minute.
1. Use Positive Reinforcement
Be very vocal and forth willing with your praise. No matter how insignificant you may think his contributions are, pay tribute to him for each task.
Did he rinse his plate and put it in the dishwasher? Mention that you noticed and how happy that made you. Did he take his plate from the table to the kitchen? Another reason to praise him! Your husband loves you and wants to please you. But, he can't read your mind. If you show him what pleases you, he'll remember. And he'll do it again.
2. Use the Bartering System
Another easy way to help your husband with his list of chores is to exchange a chore for a chore. Work out a chore/task agreement that suits you both. Of course, neither one of you are going to willingly take on the chore of cleaning the bathroom or doing the laundry, so some sacrifices will have to be made. Use this to your advantage. For doing the laundry each week, you get one night off cooking. Even if you get to order a pizza. Don't break your budget.
Or, for keeping the vehicles in tip-top shape, hubby gets his favorite home-cooked meal. And, if that means using his mother's recipe, do it. It'd be worth it, wouldn't it? Besides, I bet if you modify the recipe just a little and add your special touch, you might even hear, "Gee, honey, this is better than my mom's!"
3. Keep a central "honey-do" list
This solution has really worked for me. I found a really cheap and easy way to keep track of the list of tasks I ask my husband to do. I bought one of those magnetic marker boards from a discount store. Then I put it in the one place that everyone visits every day - the refrigerator.
On this list, I put all the tasks I ask my husband to do. If I ask him to fix the kitchen drawer, it goes on the list. If I ask him to check the dryer vent, it goes on the list. He finds a sense of satisfaction in crossing off items once he's completed them and I find a sense of satisfaction that I don't have to nag him constantly about what to do. It's on the list and he sees it every time he opens the refrigerator.
4. Enlist technology's assistance
My husband uses his computer for everything. It turns on and off security lights, monitors servers, and even runs the lights and pumps on his saltwater aquariums.
So, why not let the computer remind him when a task needs to be done? This worked out well for both of us. We use Microsoft Outlook and all I have to do is send my husband a "task" notice with what I want him to do. I can set the reminder option to even remind him when it's due. I can also set recurring tasks. For instance, every Sunday night he receives a reminder that the trash needs to go out.
No longer do I nag my husband about what needs to be done. His computer does. Because of this handy touch of technology, he no longer complains to me about telling him what to do and when.
5. Find a Place for Everything and Make Sure Everything Has a Place
Do you get frustrated with pens everywhere or not being able to find one when you need to write down a message? Me too. I took a large mug and filled it with all the pens and pencils I could find. Then, I put it right next to the telephone in the kitchen. Then, I trailed everyone by the hand to view the marvel I created. Everyone "ohh'd and ahh'd" over my creation with only the slightest bit of sarcasm, however, I no longer have to hunt for a pen when I'm on the phone.
Each suggestion is simple and easy to implement. Before long you and your husband will find other things to talk about like "who told the kids they could stay the weekend at their friends" instead of racing around at 6 am to make sure the trash can is at the curb for pickup. Besides, lighten up. With the kids gone for the weekend, you have the house to yourself!
Now Back to the Sock Story
I've lost count of the number of times I've walked around the same pair of dirty socks in the middle of the hallway or bedroom floor. And, yes, I too, couldn't stand it anymore so I picked them up between my thumb and finger, holding them straight out in front of me as if I'd just picked up a dirty, smelly object. Oh, wait, I just did - my husband's dirty socks!
What did I do with them? I put them in the dirty clothes hamper of course! Was that the end of the dirty socks on the floor? Are you kidding? Of course not!
The very next day there'd be another pair of dirty socks. Just as if they'd sprouted from a tiny seed left by the other pair. Sometimes, if I'd ignore them, they'd multiply, but never in the same place. Oh no, those little demons were too smart to congregate in one place.
I'd find a pair next to the sofa in the living room. Then another next to the bed, on 'his' side, of course. They wouldn't dare try and sprout on my side.
Sometimes, I'd even find a pair in the kitchen. Don't ask me how they got there, I'm not sure I even want to know.
My solution for sprouting socks? I put hampers in easy reach where my husband changes clothes. And, if a sock or two happened to sprout in an unlikely area, I just pull them like weeds and put them in their respective hampers.
Come on, there's more to life than arguing about whose socks are on the floor, right?
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Monday, February 14, 2005
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Saturday, January 29, 2005
Men and housekeeping go together about as well as peanut butter and pickles.
Okay, so some of you are saying, "hey, I like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches." And, to that I say, "gross!" But, it proves my point that there are probably some men who like housekeeping too.
My husband isn't one of them. He'll be the first to admit it. After he tells you about all the other stuff he does around the house, like the yard, and the gutters, and the electrical repairs....well, you get the picture.
I agree, he's a lot of help when it comes to yard work and cleaning gutters, but when it comes to cooking and cleaning toilets, I'm on my own.
Which makes his grumbling about the other men in his office priceless. His exact words were, "If all guys act like the guys do at work then all men are f***ing worthless!"
I almost fell out of my chair laughing so hard. I hurried for pen and paper so I wouldn't miss the best single opportunity I would ever have to hear him disparage his "own kind."
My husband works in an all-male office. Very rare these days, but it's true. The Business Manager is female, but she isn't in the office full-time, preferring to work from home, so the six guys are on their own.
My husband complains that these guys won't do anything to clean up after themselves or each other unless it absolutely needs to be done. And that's only after they've let it go until howls of complaints fill the air.
According to my husband, they won't replace toilet paper or paper towels or even let anyone know when something has run out; like the toilet paper or paper towels!
My husband is a little spoiled in this area because at home I buy those two items in bulk. We are NEVER without a roll of toilet paper or paper towels. To me, these two are the "must have" items within reach at all times. Every bathroom in my house has a constant supply. I vigilantly track the inventory, always replenishing before supplies run out. To my husband we have a toilet paper fairy that magically replaces rolls after he uses them. But, all that fades in comparison to the time he spends at work.
He has to live in the real world at work. In their world, no one tracks inventory or replaces supplies before they are gone. They don't have wives or mommies to look after them. They're lucky if someone even mentions that they're out of TP.
However, I'm seeing a good side to this torture he endures every day. It's helping him to see how much responsibility there is in keeping a home running smoothly.
Last week, they ordered lunch into the office and had no supplies to eat with. My husband, ever diligent, went shopping for plastic ware and paper plates while everyone else sat in the office watching their food get cold and waiting.
My husband told me that he bought two sets of everything and kept one in his office in case they ever run out again. I asked him, "What does that teach anyone?"
He looked at me blankly and said, "Well, we'll have stuff when they think we've run out."
I chuckled and said slowly, "You're teaching them that you'll be there to provide for them so they don't have to worry about it."
"Just like I do for you."
Understanding dawned slowly on my dear husband's face. Although, he wasn't as amused as I.
With stubborn defiance, he said, "Well, I'll just keep the supplies for myself and when they run out I won't give them any."
I didn't say a word. I only murmured and nodded my head in a wifely kind of way. Inside I was thinking, "Oh sure, let me try that theory out here at home."
I wonder if he would be as supportive of that method of teaching if I used it by only washing my clothes and not his? Would he be standing in the closet, naked as the day he was born, nodding understandingly at the lesson he was just taught?
Yeah, right. And one day I'll enjoy a nice peanut butter and pickle sandwich.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
I needed a new shredder. I'm a shredder freak and I basically wore out my old one. So, did I find my keys, grab my purse, put my dog in his crate, get in the car, drive to Office Depot, walk the store, find the shredder, wrestle it into a cart, go through check out, wrestle the shredder into the car, drive back home, let my dog out of his crate, put my purse and keys away and set up my new shredder?
I got on my computer, logged into Office Depot, compared thirty different shredders, clicked on the one I wanted, entered my credit card information and verified my order.
Office Depot will deliver the shredder tomorrow. I didn't even have to pay delivery charges because my total was over $50.00.
Is that just over the top way too convenient?
Monday, January 24, 2005
I noticed a theme in the cards we exchanged. Both of us chose cards stating the desire to spend more time together. It's strange that we both felt compelled to express our needs in words yet we haven't spoken the desire outloud.
Most days it just seems that there's never really enough time for us to spend together. We have the demands of work and home and by the time those chores are done there's not enough time or energy to spend just for us. Is that what life is supposed to be all about?
It seems like our private time together goes by too quickly. If only we could find a way to add more hours to the day. Logically, that means cutting out some of the work and activities that we do now. Is that possible?
One of the things I love doing with my husband is talking. We started our relationship talking and I'm sure right up to the end, we'll be talking. If we could add more time in our life so that we could just talk, that would make me very happy. I love talking with my husband because he listens to me and he lets me have my own opinion. He doesn't tell me that my ideas or opinions are stupid or dumb either. We have wonderful debates about day to day issues as well as popular political topics.
So, do we already have enough time in our life? Do we need to learn how to manage it better? Rearrange our priorities? I think so. So, the dishes sit in the dishwasher for another day and some e-mails go unanswered for another 24 hours. Is it going to be all that bad? Will the world end? No, not hardly. But, I'll get to spend some extra time with my husband and that makes all the rest insignificant in my world.
Friday, January 21, 2005
Nothing makes me queasier than watching my husband hover over my open computer with a screwdriver in hand. Just the thought of him removing the tiny screws from the casing gives me the willies.
Now, I’m not a faint-hearted female that drops at the sight of a needle or a bloody nose. I’ve given birth to three children and had my share of cuts, bumps, bruises, and trips to the emergency room. Heck, I can even watch real surgeries on the Health Network channel while eating dinner and I don’t bat an eye. But get me in view of my open computer and I go into a tizzy.
The words I dread the most haunt my nightmares. “I gotta open it up.” My heart pounds; my palms sweat. I can’t sit still. That one little statement can cause me to fret and fume for hours. My brain ceases to function. All I can think about is what could go wrong. Even undergoing surgery to remove suspected cancer tumors didn’t leave me as fearful as the horrible images I was envisioning during a simple network card swap out. Dread nestled deep into my bones. What if my beloved computer didn’t boot up again when I turned it back on? What if I lost important; unrecoverable story ideas? What if I lost my setup files? How would I remember all my favorite settings?
The first time I saw the insides of my baby I didn’t think it was going to be so bad. Shoot, I’ve opened other people’s computers up lots of times to replace a floppy drive, add hard drives, or swap out a network card. No big deal, right? Wrong. Not when it’s your own baby that is lying on its side, case off, cables drooping. There’s just something that wraps its gnarled claws around your heart and squeezes tight when it’s your own baby.
After several unhappy episodes, my husband has learned to give me fair warning when he needs to perform open-case surgery on my PC. We’ve learned the hard way that it’s just better if I don’t watch. I have to leave the room or else I’m a nervous wreck, worse than any expectant father pacing a too-short waiting room.
No matter how many times my husband reassured me, I still wouldn’t rest easy until I saw for myself. I’d hover anxiously over my husband’s shoulder peppering him with questions. “What are you doing?”
“I told you. I’m giving you more hard drive space.”
“Ok, but what are you doing?” I didn’t like the look of those pliers dear husband held in his hands.
“Sheesh. Will you get off my back?” He meant this literally.
I backed up a couple of steps, removing my death grip from his shoulders. “Why isn’t that cable connected?”
“What cable? Darn.” He dropped a screw.
“Don’t you need that?”
“Not right now, I don’t.”
“Want me to get it for you?” Eager to help my husband, I was already reaching in to pluck the little screw from the bottom of the case.
“No! Get back.” He pulled his hand out of the innards of my computer, a large flat box in his hand, dragging cables and wires like entrails.
“Oh.” I eyed the excised box. I didn’t feel so good. “Is that supposed to look like that?”
“What? It’s just a hard drive. Don’t lean on me, I need room.”
I backed up again. Spoilsport. I only wanted to see. “What did you do with my files?”
“What do you mean, ‘what files’?” Panic set in. “The files on that drive you just took out of the computer?”
“I moved them to another drive. Hey, don’t touch that.”
I had been stroking the brightly colored cable dangling from the inside of the case. I thought if I made contact, my baby would understand somehow that I was still there. “Um, what drive?” I peered into the empty cavity of the case trying to find the other hard drive.”
“Not in there. On the server.” He wedged his hip in between me and the table, trying to get back to work. “You mind?”
“Are you finished?” I was anxious to get my computer back together.
“No, I have to put the new drive in if you’ll let me.” My husband’s attempt at dry humor. I wasn’t amused.
“Alright. Here, do you need this?” I handed him a flathead screwdriver.
“Do you want to do this yourself?”
Uh oh. Threats. “When are you going to be done?”
I didn’t like the sound of that. “Depends on what?”
”Depends on if you leave me alone to finish the job.”
I took the not so subtle hint. I was relegated to the hallway outside the office. Under penalty of undisclosed torture I wasn’t allowed back into the office until my husband was finished.
I paced. I fretted. I offered encouraging words. To my computer.
I kept my distance but peered around the corner of the doorjamb as far as I could. I studied his hands, watching every movement. He reached for the case covering. “Are you done?” I called out.
My feet did a little happy dance. “How much longer?” Already I was thinking about all the extra space I’d have with the bigger hard drive to save the hundreds of websites I know I’ll want to review some day, download more games –er, research material, and copy all those cool free animated graphics to add to my own website some day.
“A few minutes.” Now, if you know my husband, a ‘few minutes’ means anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Disappointed, I paced. And, I fretted. And I called out words of encouragement. To my computer.
Finally, I was allowed back into the office. Only after I promised to sit in my chair away from the desk and not touch anything.
One screw, then another, then another went back in place at each little hole in the casing. I watched as dear husband searched from side to side. “What are you looking for?”
“Oh, was that the one that you dropped earlier?”
If looks could kill I’d probably be six feet under right now.
“Ummm, I mean, didn’t a screw jump out of your hand earlier?” Whew. I think I glossed over that snafu nicely.
After sending another nasty look my way, dear husband fumbled about; albeit unsuccessfully to retrieve the little screw from the depths of the computer. “I have some spares, I’ll fix it later.”
“What do you mean later?” I was shocked. How could he put my baby back together without all its screws?
He lifted the computer from the desk. The screw scraped ominously along the bottom as it rolled.
I opened my mouth.
“Don’t say a word.”
I shut my mouth.
I patted my computer. “Don’t worry,” I whispered to my baby. “Even I didn’t get put back together with all my parts when I had surgery.”
I looked up just in time to catch my husband rolling his eyes.
We’ve finally worked out a system when it comes to computer upgrades and repair. If I hear the words, “Are you going to need your computer today?” I go shopping. For a long time. And I call before I come home.
His job? To make sure all evidence is cleaned up before I get home. Oh, and that my computer still works.
The perfect arrangement.
I don't intend to have any sort of structure to my blog, only that it be an open frame to post my thoughts on what inspires me and what moves me. I'll post my spiritual aspirations along with any thoughts I might have on current events, if I'm so moved to do so. Heck, I'll even post about my dog, Jack. He's such a character, he should probably have his own blog.
This Sunday is my 7 year anniversary. My husband and I are planning a wonderful dinner at Bern's in Tampa, FL. I just made the reservations for Sunday. Bern's is one of those places that really make a production out of the meal. Every course is served with serious dignity. While the meal isn't too extravagant, your waiter gives you time to eat your meal and extra time between courses to let your meal settle before the next course. Don't expect to be in and out in an hour or less. This is a true dining experience and as such takes a couple of hours or more if you include the kitchen and wine cellar tour. The entire place is dark and romantic, the various rooms, if dipped in gold, would be straight from Donald Trump's decorator. The best part of the entire restaurant is upstairs, in the dessert room. The dessert menu is bigger than a phone book and contains enough decadent descriptions of luscious treats to give you sugar shock while you read. Of course, you don't have to eat dinner at Bern's to visit the Dessert Room, you can make separate reservations just for dessert and a drink in one of their private dessert rooms equiped with a video monitor so you can see and hear the piano player as he plays in one of the larger rooms. Requests are always welcome.
After re-reading my blog, am I a walking advertisement for Bern's Steakhouse? Hardly. But I do enjoy the place, the food, and of course the desserts. It's definitely a special place, perfectly made for those special occasions. I'd recommend it to anyone who came to Tampa for a visit.
I guess, most of all, I'm looking forward to going out to dinner with my husband to a special place and having some alone time together.
Whether you enjoyed my first posting or not, I hope that you'll comment. I'd like my blog to be an open dialog between me and my readers.