Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Caroling We Go

As we approach "the big day", I have discovered that most stations have officially changed their station formats over to Christmas music. I've decided that trying to come up with 24-hours of solid Christmas music must be a daunting task, as some of the songs I've heard lately don't exactly "put me in the holiday mood".

So to that end, I give you my Top 7 Worst Christmas Songs (I'd go for 10, but sadly just trying to mutter my way through these seven was hard enough):

7. Dominick The Donkey (The Italian Christmas Donkey) by Lou Monte...deep sigh

6. Have a Funky Funky Christmas by The New Kids on the Block
...some times putting out an album for the sake of making a buck really isn't the right answer

5. Dogs Barking Jingle Bells.....I ask you simply, why?

4. Please Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas by John joke, this is REAL????

3. 12 Days of Toto Christmas in Africa....I can't even explain this one properly, so just check it out on uTube...but brace yourself!

2. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer by Patsy & Elmo...hideous song, but yet, just TRY and find a child that doesn't know the words to it! OY!

1. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by Gayla Peevey
...this song, for me, is the ticking-time-bomb of Christmas! I'm fine each year until THAT dreaded day when I hit a radio station that actually plays this thing....and the bloody song is then stuck in my head until New Year's!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Hill of Great Speculation

I've mentioned several times that I pass Dealey Plaza and the Grassy Knoll twice a day on my regular commute to and from work. So I guess it will come as a shock to no one that it's one of the more interesting places that I find my mind focusing on each day.

I know that for many people, this location only serves as one of the most horrific moments in our country's history, and I respect that thought. The first time I visited it, it quite honestly gave me chills. I stood there in the spot where that pivotal moment in our history occurred and the World honestly went silent for me. My Lord, what Jackie must have felt in that moment? The gut wrenching chaos that followed is surreal to imagine when you're standing there in this place that seems as large as a football field in the videos we all watched at school. The reality is though that Dealey Plaza is a very small, one block radias that butts up against downtown Dallas and the West End on one side and a major freeway on the other. It's a very claustrophobic, beautifully landscaped space in which the entire World suddenly changed course over 40 years ago.

It's here in that tiny space of downtown Dallas that I enjoy some of my most favorite people watching on a daily basis. Even in the still early moments of most weekday mornings, as the city is just barely starting to come to life, there are already visitors covering the grounds of Dealey Plaza. You'll see them, mostly in small groups, moving from location to location; trying to get just the right view.

On the North side of the Plaza, where the Grassy Knolls lays, you'll find them feet away from the bronze land marker, gazing up at the rust colored building on the Northeast corner. Collectively they sort out the pieces of information that they have gathered over the years and develop their own conclusions.

Each afternoon I chuckle as I see this one gentleman out there with his television around which, a small crowd is always gathered. A video of the assassination plays on a loop on the television. What does he tell him, I wonder? The crowd is always very respectfully engaged as he points to the screen, then to the rust colored building, and continues his story as his arms remain in constant motion the entire time.

Once in a while you'll see a single person, typically sitting across the street from the Grassy Knoll, just gazing at it. I never see a single person sitting on the hill itself; they always seem to sit across the street, as if out of respect for the hill and what it stands for. For these single people, this visit appears as more of a spiritual journey than an opportunity for speculation, as it is for the smaller groups that move from point to point throughout the Plaza.

There are two things I've noticed about Dealey Plaza over the years. First, you never see people displaying outward hostility there. Even if, within the varied clumps of spectators with their differing opinions, they debate and discuss in a very calm fashion. The second is that I have never found one drop of graffiti or trash on the grounds. And no, I never see any cleaning crews. One of the most trafficked spots for visitors in Dallas, Texas and nothing ever seems out of place. Why is this? Why are people able to discuss such a volitial topic with calm respectfulness and keep such a highly visited place in such pristine condition?

Considering our daily lives, drives and political views spawn moments of hostility and the inability to see another's point of view, I wonder what it is about this place that provides such magical guidance. Noticing all the trash along freeways and streets that community groups and inmates are often relegated to picking up, why is it that this place remains in a constant state of beauty?

I'd like to think that Dealey Plaza, this place of such a horrific moment in time, embodies the dreams and hopes of one man and an entire generation. For in this place, everyone is equal, all thoughts and opinions are welcomed and considered, and everyone respects and does their part to maintain the beauty that is around all of us. I'd like to believe that in this place, a man didn't just die, but rather, still lives on to guide us all.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mommy, Party of One Now Being Served

And so it was that I found myself the only human occupying my house for a 24-hour period this weekend. Now I want to make a distinction here that I was the only human in the house, for saying that I was "alone" would really be a huge misnomer; I was, in fact, all but alone.

As is normal around my house my cat made several guest appearances throughout the weekend. I've noticed that in recent years she's not as under my feet as she used to be; her sitings have become more casual in nature. I typically now notice her as the statuesque figure sitting on the bed or in a chair in whatever room I'm in that occasionally meows at me for support with my task at hand, or just to remind me that she's still there and is now ready to accept whatever affection I have at the moment to bestow upon her.

I also had the constant shadows of my boys to keep me company. As I fluttered around the house accomplishing various tasks, there they were, the ever vigil fawn and black Pugs, at my feet. We moved together as a unit from room to room throughout the day and finally found ourselves, quite literally, in a dog pile on my bed around 10 o'clock last night as we hunkered down to watch a movie and fall asleep.

The constant companionship of my quadrupedal friends provided me with a nature feeling of the house feeling full still, even though the constant harmony of televisions and children playing were no where to be found. They also served as the best alarm system known to man! Even a rogue twig falling on the roof prompted their ears to perk up and listen for additional signs that there might be a potential intruder around. I'm not sure what they'd do exactly if an intruder ever did show. My fear is that they would most likely see them as an opportunity to play, rather potential danger, and wound bound torwads them with the enthusiam and constant snorting sounds that only Pugs can provide. But hey, at least I'd know someone was there.

My three little counterparts also gave me an excuse to say "I was talking to the animals" when I found myself, at several points throughout the weekend, talking to no one in particular. I guess that's another reason why I say I wasn't "alone"; it's in these weekends that I am reminded that I am a real person and not just "mommy", "wife", "daughter". I have a habit of talking to her, this often lost person, during these weekends; something I really should do more frequently (and no not a in Cybil kind of way).

See, these weekends, or the brief moments in time when I am lucky enough to find myself in the quiet solitude of my house or car, give me something that most people can't even find in a therapist's office. These weekends give me an opportunity to clear out the tasks on my ever growing To Do List as well as clear out the cobwebs in my head.

I'm sure to a lot of people if they had a weekend all to themselves, the first item on their agenda would not be to clean the house from top to bottom or to attack their closet, but for me, they were two of the items that took center stage on my weeekend agenda. For me, clearing out my closet was about much more than getting things organized; it was a symbol that the weight I've lost, both physically and mentally, was a success and that I have no intention of going back. Cleaning and organizing other areas of the house were a way for me to show that I am in control once again.

Now please don't take this the wrong way because I treasure my family most of all; but if there is one thing I have learned over the past couple of years, it's that I have to keep my own personal "house" in order, otherwise there won't be anything of me left to give the people I value most in my life. More than getting my soul and mind back in order, these moments in time also give me a sense of normalcy. For most people the idea of walking a flight of stairs or cleaning isn't that big of a deal, but for me and my medical condition, those regular daily activities can be an exhaustive mountain to climb. These weekends are true achievements for me and allow me to feel "normal" again, serving as proof to myself that I am much stronger than I some times give myself credit.

Even if it's 30 minutes in the morning or the time you spend by yourself in your car going to and from work, I think everyone should take the time to reconnect and clear out your mind. Talk to yourself, go's kind of fun, and I guarantee you, you'll be one of the best listeners you'll ever find! Instead of focusing on how tired you are at the end of the day, congratulate yourself on all that you were able to accomplish that day I mean, let's be honest here, balancing life, family and work is not an easy task at all, but it's worth reflecting on in order to appreciate the spectacular opportunities and gifts that those challenge give to all of us.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It's December 2nd and yes, Virginia, there really is snow outside in Dallas, Texas!!!!! I heard the projections last night as I was falling asleep, but being as a) I live in Dallas and b) it's only the beginning of December, you'll pardon me if I didn't give much credit to what the meteorologists were warning.

I had no idea when I woke-up this morning what wonders awaited me outside. I let the dogs out when I got up, just as I normally do. I prodded the older girls out of bed at 6:15, dressed the baby around 6:45 and packed my lunch and standard six cups of coffee in my thermos shortly after, just as always.

With all the girls loaded in the car I hit the garage door button...and what to my wondrous eyes did appear but a beautiful barrage of snowy goodness! The screams of glee from the car were almost deafening as the weather phenomenon registered with the two almost eight year-olds in the backseat. “Snow!!! Oh my gosh, look, it’s snow!!!!” came the screams.

Something so simple can cause such joy in children and fear in adults. For kids it’s a representation of pure merriment and carefree entertainment; however, for many parents I fear it’s seen as impending doom of the commute yet to come. Not for me though, no sir! Under the guise of assessing the situation, I promptly stepped out onto the driveway, peered up at the beautiful morning sky and smiled a greeting to my old friend. I even faked a need to get gas before dropping them off justs so I could stand out in the snow and enjoy the feeling of the flakes as they fell upon me.

No matter how many times I see it or how many times I’ve had to scrape it off my car, snow still holds that same child-like wonderment to me. The beautiful melodic sound it makes as it falls gently from the sky; the amazing power it has to change the entire landscape overnight; the hours of endless entertainment it offers alone or with your children building snowmen, throwing snowballs and sledding.

I had to catch myself several times on the drive in. I would notice that instead of watching the SUV in front of me, I was monitoring the way the snowflakes looked as they hit my windshield. Each flake splat made a unique pattern. Thank goodness the brake lights snapped me out of my mesmerized trance!

Maybe it’s the idea that with snow a new season is officially announced and that new season offers change and a new adventure, or perhaps it’s just an excuse to act like a carefree child again, if for just a moment.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Triscadecaphobia? I'm Afraid Not!

Greetings and salutations a grand "Happy Friday the 13th" to one and all!

I realize that for many folks today is a day of potential gloom, doom and otherwise bad things. However, for me, today is a great day as, well first of all, it's Friday and secondly and more importantly, it's one of the few times a year I get to dazzle folks with my use of the word "triscadecaphobia" (a.k.a. fear of the number 13) My favorite teacher of all time, Ms. Sterret Ann Frank, taught me this word some 22 years ago after discovering that my favorite number is, in fact, the number 13. Ever since then, whenever a Friday the 13th rolls around, I smile and think very fondly of her.

Ms. Frank passed away a few years back from Alzheimer's. She was an amazing, vivacious, tenacious and brilliant woman who became a true role model for me. So, in honor of Ms. Frank, today we shall all pause and enjoy thirteen facts about my beloved number 13...both the good and the bad:

1. On Friday, October 13, 1307 the Pope of the church in Rome in Conjunction with the King of France, carried out a secret death warrant Against "the Knights Templar".

2. Christians consider Friday as the day on which Christ was crucified by the Romans.

3. In Ancient Rome, the citizens dedicated the 6th day of the week to their beautiful Goddess Venus. Eventually this day evolved into Friday, and was considered to be the luckiest day of the week.

4. According to Norse lore, Loki was the 13th god in the Norse pantheon. More specifically, Loki was believed to have engineered the murder of Baldr, and was the 13th guest to arrive at the funeral. This is perhaps related to the superstition that if thirteen people gather, one of them will die in the following year.

5. The number 17 is apparently Italy's unlucky number, because in Roman digits 17 is written XVII, that could be rearranged to "VIXI," which in Latin means literally "I have lived" but can be a euphemism for "I am dead." Okay, so this isn't the number 13, but I just wanted to prove that not everyone hates the fear other numbers. HA!

6. It is the smallest integer with eight letters in its spelled out name in English.

7. In Hinduism, on thirteenth day of death a feast is organized. It is believed to be organized for the peace of the departed soul.

8. In Judaism, 13 signifies the age at which a boy matures and becomes a Bar Mitzvah.

9. Triskaidekaphobia, as a word, was coined in 1911.

10. Friday the 13th has been considered an unlucky day since the 1800s. Geez, you'd think we'd get over it by now though, eh?

11. Alex Rodriguez (began wearing it upon joining the New York Yankees), Dan Marino and Wilt Chamberlain all wore the number 13.

12. Colgate University also considers 13 to be a lucky number. They were founded in 1819 by 13 men with 13 dollars, 13 prayers, and 13 articles. In fact, the campus address is 13 Oak Drive in Hamilton, NY and the all men a'cappella group is called "the Colgate 13."

13. I was 13 years old when I skipped school the one and only time in my life. According to legend though, my Mother knew I wasn't there in under 13 minutes after the first period bell rang. Drat!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Life's Lessons

If there is one thing I've learned as a parent it is that I grow as a person right along with my kids. For me, this week has been a true testament to that theory of thought.

The week started out great! All kids were dressed and ready for school Monday morning in record time! Now knowing how OCD I am, you might think every day runs this smoothly, but alas, we don't typically hit our collective Girl Power groove until about Wednesday most weeks; so to have us all in synch and moving along like a well oiled machine on a Monday morning was a treat indeed!

However, my excelling Monday dreams were dashed around 12:20 p.m. when my cell phone suddenly began vibrating and the name of one of my daughter's school appeared in the caller id. "Uh oh!" was my first thought! The very calm school nurse on the other end of the phone explained that my daughter had taken a hard fall on the playground while running and jump roping. Most children would dare only attempt ONE of those tasks, but not my over-achieving, take no prisoners sir!

I quickly got someone to cover my 1:00 p.m. meeting, loaded all my stuff in the car and drove as quickly as possible, within the posted speed limits of course, to her school. Upon arrival I gazed upon the most pitiful of sites for a mother...a little one, who clearly had just composed herself a few moments earlier, sitting in the nurse's office bandaged up with an ice pack on her eye.

After gathering up my child and all her belongings, I took her home and got her all situated on the couch for an afternoon of recovery. Movies....check! New ice pack....check! Tylenol....check! She snuggled up to me and began the recovery process while I finished my workday from the house. By 6:00 p.m. that evening she was right as rain and was proudly sporting a lovely purple and blue eye.

The next afternoon when she got home, she asked to go outside and play with her friends. "Sure baby," was my reply. I began reminding her of the boundaries of playing all know the drill I'm sure...."stay between our house and the black car", "don't go in the street", etc. My daughter, very politely, cut me off by placing her hand on my arm and said, "Mom, I know it's hard to let me grow-up, but you're going to have to try some time."

Sigh, and there it was! THE moment I had been dreading and hoping wouldn't arrive until my child was at least 30 years old. Mom? Not Mommy? Wasn't this the same child I had just nursed back to health 24-hours earlier? Wow, apparently she's not a baby any more.

Two days prior to this moment, she announced to me that she had discovered "the truth" about Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. As I sat there pondering the moment, I began to acknowledge all those little hints that I had been denying up to this point: picking out her own outfits (which now resemble outfits I've seen on Disney and not a Gymbore catalog), fixing her own hair, refusing to hug me in public, etc.

I guess you could say this was a trail blazing week of new adventures and experiences for both of us then. She took another tumble along the path of growing up and learned a valuable lesson about concrete, and I took another step towards letting go a little bit more in order to allow her to live and grow via her own path.

Just as learning not to run and jump rope is often a lesson one can only learn through personal experience, as is the lesson of embracing the gradual process of accepting that my little girl is growing up.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall-ish In Dallas

Yep, it's that time of year's Fall in Dallas; my favorite time of the year! Fall in Texas is a different thing than Fall up in the Northern states. No here, the leaves don't change into vibrate reds and oranges before they get gently swept away by the incoming crisp Arctic blows. Here the leaves hang on until about mid-November and then give up and over the course of about, oh I don't know, a weekend, die and spiral to the ground in an uninspiring mess.

Nope, you can't use the leaves as a gauge here because Nature works a little differently in Texas. Around here, we don't really have what most would call "the true four seasons". Always needing to be bigger, we don't settle for just four seasons; instead we have six "temperature and activity ranges". I guess if you had to compare it to places that have "the true four seasons", it'd go something like this:

Spring - A four week period when it's about 80 degrees and it's truly beautiful and enjoyable to be outside; flowers are in bloom and the air is amazing! Women get pedicures, men begin preparing their grills and children begin clamoring for the pools to open.

Post-Spring - A four week, Texas only season, observed when the rest of the country is still enjoying moderate temperatures and we begin crawling into the 90s and sneezing all over the place because everything is truly in bloom now. The pools are now open and conversations are beginning to compare droughts of years past as residents brace for the upcoming months.

Summer - The sixteen week period in which the damn mosquitoes are frigging everywhere and the air is sick with the smell of Deep Woods Off! It's so hot that all most women can muster is a ponytail and flip-flops for "dressing up". Children only hit the pools during the early morning and late evening hours because, well, the water is virtually boiling...but hey, for some reason it's a great excuse for men to BBQ! And I mean why're already hot, why not hang out around a grill loaded with a multitude of marinated meat?!?! It is during this period that thermometers in these parts will max out some where around 104 and most Native Texans will begin harking for the return of Winter in order to catch a break from the oppressive heat and drought.

Post-Summer - The eight week period directly behind the never-ending drought previously referred to as "Summer" in Texas. This is the period in time when our temperatures fluctuate between 98 and 75 on any given day and every cricket within 1,000 miles will magically migrate into our great state and begin camping out on the sidewalks, streets and entryways of our buildings and homes. Everything that died, or went into Summer-hibernation, during the previous sixteen weeks due to drought will suddenly wake back up because it will start raining as if ordered by Noah himself. We will all once again begin sneezing all over the place as if it were Spring due to the sudden re-blooming of everything and the flip-flopping temperatures. In case this still doesn't sound familiar to any of you, this section of time is sometimes better known by it's more formal and beloved name of "The Beginning of Football Season"!

Fall - The two week period when it is once again amazing to be outside and we are finally safe from any potential pollen, ragweed or other hay-fever inducing particles. Women will ditch the pony-tail look and will once again begin to curl and straighten their hair as there is no longer a fear of instantly frizzing when stepping outside due to the heat and humidity. During this time men will begin preparing for hibernation during what is commonly called "post-football season" or "football draft season".

Winter - Ahhhh Winter...yes here this is known as the 18 week period when everything will once again die, including the mosquitoes and bloody crickets, and we will break out our heavy coats and sweaters (because to us 40 degrees might as well be the actual temperature for freezing water). Children will begin praying for "ice days" and school closings. It is during this time of year that you will most often hear Native Texans spouting the question of "Geez, how many more weeks until Summer is back?"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Texas Our Texas

So, as my thought process often begins, I was riding along in the car this morning and something came on the radio that got me thinking. Well first of all, let me explain that by “riding along” I really mean sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic in the rain because no one in Dallas can drive when it rains (this is not an opinion but rather a scientifically proven fact).

Anyway, so Three Dog Night came on and as always, being that they are officially on my list of top ten favorites of all time, I sang along with them. "Oh I've never been to heaven; but I've been to Oklahoma. Well they tell me I was born there; but I really don't remember....."

This song has always held a special place in my heart, aside from the aforementioned comment. You see, I WAS in fact born in the state previously referred to as Oklahoma. (Point of clarification on this one though - I was born on an Army Base, so I officially was born on Federal land, NOT the state known to many as Oklahoma.) And as the song goes, thankfully I really don't remember being born there (this is probably why my Mother used to sing this one to me when I was but a wee child).

That's the line that got me thinking this morning. You see, most people would be down right proud, if they even cared at all, to be born in Oklahoma. For example, the majority of my husband's family, well almost ALL of them, are Okies. And if I must admit it, it is a beautiful state, but come on; we all know that “Oklahoma is O.K.”….why be just “O.K” when you can be Texas? (Follow-up point - see, when you're born on Federal land, you get to "choose" your home, when your family is from Texas and you're a direct descendant of Sam Houston, it's kind of an unwritten rule that you too then, are a Texan. Again, this is another scientific fact, as is the rain to Dallas driving ability ratio.)

So while musing over this point this morning it dawned on me; I've never lived any where else that was anything like Texas. In no other state have I ever run across the same statewide, ingrained pride as you will find in this state. Now hear me out on this one…sure, most states have "a state song", but hell, in Texas we not only have A state song, we have an entire damn song book! Go ahead, take a few minutes and start listing them out in your brain.....see, I'm right.

Most states have one official state license plate. Well not us....we have multiple ones to choose from. I'm not just talking about the special plates, like SPCA or university alumni plates; I mean plates just paying homage to our state. I was able to find six plates alone on my drive in. SIX!

Sure, most states have state pride, but how many other states can you personally toss out a one-line motto or charge for? Walk into any bar, school or train station in Texas and yell "Remember the Alamo" and see what kind of response you get. And if you think we keep this kind of pride contained just within our boarders, trying walking in some place in another state and sing out "The stars at night are big and bright...." Twenty bucks says that someone, other than you, will respond with "clap, clap, clap, clap....deep in the heart, of Texas!"

And why wouldn't we be overly proud? I mean, after all, we are the only state in the Union that is allowed to fly our flag at the same level as the United States of America's flag. Heck, even our state tourism board claims that we are "a whole other country"! Take that California!

Here is how bad I personally wanted to secure my roots firmly in the soil that is my home state. On Mother's Day, 1997, while living in New Jersey (I know, right?), I had the state of Texas tattooed on my body. Truth! Later that year, when I moved back home, I honestly stopped and got out of my car and quite literally, kissed the ground as I crossed over the boarder back into Texas. I was home! Don't get me wrong, I loved living in other places, but as they say, "there's just no place like home."

Look, everyone knows that "everything is bigger in Texas." Sure, we might not officially be the largest in population or land mass, but I'll be damned if we aren't the biggest in state pride! Yeeeeeeehaw! (Feel free to wave your proverbial cowboy hat and stomp that boot here...well, after you dismount from your horse and secure your cattle first, of course.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday, Monday

So as I sit here poised to write something witty and entertaining today I realize....I’ve got a big bag of nothing to offer today. What? Gasp! No really, it's true...nada! Could it be that I've encountered that dreaded Yeti known to many as writer's block or could there be something more devious at foot? Personally I feel it's the latter as anyone who knows me knows that I am rarely one who finds themselves ever at a loss for words.

Yes, I actually think what we're now experiencing together, as you read along, is the concept affectionately known as “Monday”. That's right kids, "Monday, Monday", as it's known to the Mama's and the Papa's; "Manic Monday" as it's known to the Bangles; and "A case of the Mondays" as it's referred to in one of my all time favorite cult films Office Space.

I should have known when I woke-up this morning that today would be the proverbial Monday experience; however, I went ahead and got out of bed and trudged ahead thinking that I could conquer anything....even a Monday!

Luckily I’m an evening shower person (I know, TMI), so that saved me time as I laid in bed for an extra hour today; however that didn’t save my hair. Yepper, I have to admit even I was a bit startled when I stumbled into the bathroom and caught a glimpse of the curly inferno on top of my head this morning. “Nope, no time to straighten that out,” I thought to myself. So I dropped in a couple of combs to my hair, lied to myself and called it a hair-style, and proceeded to get dressed and wrangle the kids to head out the door.

By the time I actually attempted to leave the house, I found that not only was I 30 minutes behind schedule, but I now had a child sans a shoe and had forgotten to pack the diaper the night before. As I returned to the house to search out the elusive right baby-shoe and to pack the diaper bag, I started the Monday grumbling process of, "this is NOT going to be the day I'm going to have" to myself. You could almost hear the Universe begin to laugh at me and my feeble attempt at free-will.

As I dashed out the door with the baby shoe and diaper bag, I heard a little voice from the backseat say, "Hey Mommy....we didn't fill out my form for the book fair today." Dratts! "Nope, you can conquer this one," I heard my inner voice cheering on. I quickly regrouped and while backing out of my driveway and closing the garage door, I simultaneously managed to procure $10 from my wallet and toss it into the backseat with a "see what you can do with this, baby." (Note: Rearview mirrors were used by the driver and all children were strapped in at all times during the events explained in this paragraph.)

Having managed to successfully deposit two small people at school, I headed off on my drive to the office. Seeing as it is Monday and all, I decided to stop for a spot of coffee (okay, has nothing to do with it being a Monday, but rather an endless addiction to caffeine and me lacking the energy to actually put a scope of coffee and a bit of water in my coffee pot this morning). As I pulled into the drive of "the Beckon of Hope", known to many as Starbucks, I was confronted with Monday once again. "Four, five, six, seven," my brain continued to tally as I looked at the cars ahead of me. Quickly looking at the clock I made the executive decision that the office would much rather me be 10 minutes late and caffeinated than have me roll in sans the liquid support my brain so desperately craved.

Finally, coffee in hand, and iPod cranking and I was off! Nothing can stop me now! "Aaaahhhh chooooo!" "Oh seriously?!?!?!" I yell to no one in particular as my body jerked from the sneeze and the beautiful substance of my soy mocha coffee went shooting across the dash of my car (as you can tell, I'm really a committed sneezer). But wait....what's that I see....a silver lining???? Not one drop off coffee hit my white tee-shirt. Great Juan Valdez...the gods have spared my otherwise already sloppily thrown together attire by diverting all of the flying coffee goodness onto the dash and floorboard only and not my clothes!

As I regrouped, grabbing a wet wipe out of my middle console and began wiping down the dash while sitting at the stop light, I smugly smirked to myself, puffed out my chest in victory and thought, "Monday my ass, Universe......Monday my ass!"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

25 Random Thoughts from Beckyland

Well a bright and shiny good morrow to you all and welcome to Thursday!

Today I thought we'd mix it up a bit and try out a different format...25 random thoughts that just pop into my head. This is something I do every so often as a bit of a brain dump, but I find that it also tends to relieve stress and make me giggle (not to mention that it tends to spawn topics for other blog posts).

Enjoy the random thoughts and your Thursday!

1. I don't understand the concept of pimento loaf.

2. I am a news junkie, so I think I work at the best place ever (insert random plug for BELO and the Dallas Morning News here)! I love seeing the news trucks for WFAA firing up each morning, heading out to see what's going down in our city.

3. I am the person who draws the smiley face on the foggy window on the front door of our office building each day. Look, it's really early when I get here so I'm a bit punchy. Besides, I can't resist the temptation. :)

4. I don't understand the fascination with Twitter. No offense, but I don't have a desire to keep up with my own every move, much less someone else's. So feel free to make yourself a turkey sandwich and NOT to Twitter me about the experience.

5. I was born left-handed, but some teacher in Kindergarten decided that I needed to change that. Dude, that could have totally scarred me for life!

6. I just heard a "smooth jazz" version of Will Smith's "Summer Madness" on my XM radio. Let me just say that it totally just threw me off....that just wasn't right, not at all man, not at all.

7. Speaking of music, I don’t' really like attending music concerts. I'm not talking about orchestra or operas here, I like those; I mean rock concerts. I find it hard to feel comfortable listening and not dancing and acting ultra goofy during them.

8. I actually like the new Miley Cyrus single. True story!

9. I don't understand adult cheerleaders at sporting events. Okay sure, I get what their purpose is; however they aren't "leading cheers", so can't we just call them glorified strippers and be done with it?

10. If Hogwarts were a real school, I'd send my children there and live for Parents Weekend when I'd be able to visit!

11. Why do guys feel it's okay to cut their nails at their desks? Really? Do me a favor and save that little experience for your wife and do it at your own bathroom!

12. Speaking of guys at work, am I the only one that finds it ultra-icky that they take the newspaper into the bathroom and then return it to the public stack so that another guy can take the paper on the same journey? There is NOT enough hand sanitizer out there to make this one okay with me!

13. If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! (Sorry, told you these were random thoughts.)

14. I actually had a blast car-dancing this morning to Barry Manilow’s "Miracle" on my drive into work. Anyone wanna carpool with me tomorrow? I'm feeling disco coming on!

15. I haven't seen the natural color of my hair since 6th grade thanks to Sun-in and many, many hours spent at the beach. (Of course now it's all about the varying colors of brown and red shades brought to by Nice N Easy.)

16. I have 10 action figures and bobble heads on my desk along with three Buddha statues, of varying sizes, and a Magic Eight Ball.

17. I drink about six cups of coffee a day (according to my coffee pot).

18. I voted for Kinky Friedman last time he ran....and guess what, I plan on doing it again!

19. I am a direct descendant of Sam Houston, the one and only President of the great state of Texas! (Of course then, it was a republic, but now we're just splitting hairs, aren't we?)

20. My partner just got to her desk. She's a scream, but you should know, she's not a morning person. It's taken me a year to learn not to annoy her instantly when she walks in. God love her for putting up with me! :)

21. I'm a cat person. There, I've said it!

22. I won't be watching THE football game this weekend (THE University of Texas vs. those dorks from Oklahoma). Gasp! I know, they could take away my Longhorn status for that....but really, I do this for the greater good. I have WAY too much of my Grandfather in me and watching the game will, for sure, send me into an instant hostile state of yelling and temper tantrums (and often times I even yell at the cheerleaders when they show them) I learned years ago not to do watch it.

23. I can't spell to save my life. Viva la Spell Checker! I was honestly the first kid out in the one and only spelling bee I was ever in. I spelled "waitress" wrong. Sigh.....

24. I love birthdays! In fact, mine is a recognized week long event known as "Becky-palooza" to my family.

25. This post took me seven minutes to write and I found six spelling errors in it when I spell checked it. See, told you I couldn't live without the beauty that is Spell Checker.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Love is All You Need

"One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. That word is Love."

It's on days like today that I find myself waxing a bit more on the relationships in my life; because on days like today, my commute to work becomes more focused and my surroundings more visible. See today, the Dallas Metroplex is blanketed in heavy fog; yet on a day like today, I become much more aware of the visual reminders of love that I travel by each day on my way to and from work.

Each weekday my commute takes me by the DFW Airport and the UTSW Medical Center (which also, for you trivia lovers out there, happens to house the hospital in which President John F. Kennedy died almost 46 years ago). "Hey, that's a bit of a sad point considering your headline today", I can hear you saying. True, but it goes along with my thoughts today....stay with me here.

You see, the hospital and airport, for me, are two of the most magical places within a city. For, in those walls there is the truest gamete of emotions on a constant basis. Turn one way and you'll see families embracing loved ones as they get off the plane or a new father starring down in awe at the new child the nurse has laid in his arms. Turn another direction and you might see a mother, sitting vigil over the bed of her dying child or a young couple saying a tearful good-bye as one of them is boarding a plane and heading off for military deployment.

I find it magical to watch these natural emotions pour out of people. I say natural because no one has to teach an infant sorrow, love or happiness; they are innate emotions that belong to all humans. Sure, a crying baby might not fully understand why she is crying, but thanks to the connection made possible by unconditional love, a mother knows why and will always do her best to stop the crying and make everything better.

These relationships aren't just between family members or lovers, but also between friends. Close friends will travel an emotional highway together throughout their lifetimes, and true friends will never question or judge the honesty of those emotions, they will simply embrace them.

It is on these foggy, hard to see days that I think about these places and the most natural moments of life they house. As I drive past the airport I find myself thinking, "Did I hug my children before I dropped them off" or "have I called my sister lately to tell her how much she means to me?" On these days, the lack of action and follow-through from my heart to my daily life comes into full focus and leaves me to questions, "have I done enough?"

What if something was to happen to me on my drive in today; would the ones I love know how much they mean to me? What if suddenly I was in that hospital...have I provided my family with enough memories and love and carry them through a lifetime?

It's days like today that remind me that even the painful moments in life provide us with great joy later. When someone passes on or a relationship ends and that person is no longer physically part of your life, their memories remain. The moments you spent together had aspects of happiness, sadness, struggle and teaching. For in those moments you learned, not only to love and deal with the occasional challenges that life brings, but you learned about yourself. "There is no remedy for love but to love more." --Henry David Thoreau

So when you wake-up and the morning news warns of hazardous driving conditions on your way into work, don't grumble about how now you'll be late or complain about what an inconvenience the weather has provided you; instead, let it serve as a reminder to you that you are loved and you have people you love in your life. Let days like this remind you to always tell people how you feel about them and to never miss a moment to play with your kids, have lunch with a girlfriend or to enjoy the every day moments that life has to offer. Let days like today remind you of all the opportunities you have in life to live and love.

If you feel alone or without the energy for the day, go hug your child or call a friend for lunch and refill your soul, for as Elizabeth Browning said, "Love doesn't make the world go round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Say What?

I'm guessing by now that it's not a big secret that I love words. I love everything about words. I love how they sound; I love that you can change a meaning just by placing it next to a different group of words; I love that you can say one thing, but mean something totally different just by how you change the sound of your voice when saying a phrase. This is probably why I adore Shakespeare and Thoreau so dearly. For me, they were truly the masters of wordsmith and are the Headmasters of my Circle of Muses (which for the record, also includes Poe, Einstein and DaVinci - I commonly refer to them as "My Boys" and have action figures of each of them on desk at work...true story)....but then of course, I also have a Yoda bobble head on my desk as well.

Anyway it's my love of words that has me going today kids! For those of you who know me, it's not a huge secret that I am a card carrying dyslexic; for that matter, I come from a long line of them. Heck, even one of My Boys was one too! So, as a member of the backwards and jumbled club, I often have to be very careful when reading something for if I just glance, there is a massive chance I'll read something very different than what is actually on the paper.

I tend to have to concentrate when reading. I learned early on to have something low, like music, playing the background at home so I can literally "tune out" the world and focus on what I'm reading. Now, if I really have to concentrate that hard on something, I started wondering about what it must be like for non-native English speakers. Here they are, focusing on the words themselves and we go off and change spelling rules in one place and entire meanings of words in another.

But what about phrases? I wonder what they must think when they are hear us say something like "A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush?" I get this phrase, but ya know, some of them are so out there, that when you're a literal speaker/reader like me, and as I'm assuming many non-native speakers are as well, some of these phrases just leave me scratching my head wondering "what the hell does that mean?"

So for your Monday morning entertainment, I give you a few phrases that have made me giggle, made me wonder and often times, forced me to look them up because I had no bloody idea what they meant (and my Mother always made me look things up...guess that habit stuck with me). Enjoy!:

* "Shake a stick at it" - Okay, really? What good would shaking a stick at anything do anyway? So why would it matter if you did, in fact, have more of something than you could physically shake a stick at?

* "Throw the baby out with the bath water" - Uhmmmmm, see, this has CPS written all over it for me.

* "A good man is hard to find" - Now this one isn't funny to me, it's just kind of sad. Although the story "A Good Man is Hard to Find", is one that leaves you perplexed in thought, I don't think this phrase should. Is it really that hard to find one? And if it is, what does that say about our society? Eeek!

* "A pig in a poke" - Okay, this just makes me giggle! If you just read the words there and you take it literally, it's kind of funny.

* "A stitch in time saves nine" - Nine what????? I've never understood this one. First of all, for me at least, time is an intangible concept that was created by man, so how could stitching something that doesn't exist save nine of anything?

* "Dollars to donuts" - Again, I know what this one means, but my question remains.....why does this combination of words some how mean "certainty"?

*"Drink like a fish" - Sure, fish are in water, but do they really drink? Go ahead, look that fact'll be surprised!

*"The proof is in the pudding" - When I think of this one, I can visualize someone actually digging into the pudding and searching for the proof.

*"Shake a leg" - So I ask you, how could one possibly hurry up if they are busy shaking their legs? This one always caused me to raise an eyebrow as a kid.

*"Sleep like a top" - Aren't tops in constant motion? (for the record, I did actually look this one up and I get it's still just sounded odd to me the first time I heard it)

"As happy as a clam" - So uhm, how would you know if a clam is happy?

So as you begin your work week, remember to watch your p's and q's as you mingle with others until your heart's content.....for as you lay it on with a trowel, your point might just get lost in translation.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Coloring Inside the Lines

So it is the actions of my sister that have me thinking today. Now, you've got to know my sister to understand why I find this so funny and why it's got me thinking. She is a very free spirit and is very comfortable telling you exactly what she is thinking at any given moment. She doesn't dig process for process sake and she despises labeling. She recently was asked to fill out a form for a background check (don't worry, she's a teacher, it wasn't for anything super top-secret or James Bond-like). One of the questions on the form was "Ethnicity".

She skimmed through the choices, "White, Black, Hispanic, Native-American, Other" before making her selection. She, of course, selected "Other" and then wrote "ochre peach" in the line to the side.

Her answer, aside from cracking me up, got me thinking. Why is it that we have bucks on forms that still silo us and why, in the name of Binney and Smith*, do we actually call groups white and black. Have you ever really seen a "white" person? Honestly, look at white crayon....go ahead and grab one, I'll wait......and then hold it up next to a "white person". Do you see a match? For the sake of my argument, go ahead and try the same exercise with a black crayon and a "black person". Doesn't match, does it? Yeah, didn’t think it would.

See, this bugs me on several levels. First, if we're trying to teach kids colors, then let's not muddy the waters with white and black when it comes to people because clearly, people are neither white nor black. Crayola has finally figured that out and now has a line of flesh colored crayons for children's coloring pleasure. True story!

Secondly, why is it that we often see “white and black” as choices next to “Native-American and Hispanic”? If we’re all so hot and bothered about calling people by colors then shouldn’t it say “white, black, beige, somewhat beige and tan?” I mean, come on, if we’re going to do it, then let’s be consistent, shall we?

Third, so many have worked tirelessly to change the mindset that we are not separate races; we are all one human race, so why all the hubbub about what color bucket we can each drop ourselves into? And just because they call it "ethnicity" on forms now doesn't mask it for me because honestly, it is still the same "which bucket do you belong in" question. Why does it matter? Why does it matter what color my skin is or what my gender happens to be? And if we're being honest, my background is so mixed I, like many people I'm guessing, could honestly check almost every one of there little buckets.

Look, if I am filling out an application for a job or a back-ground check, why not just base it on something silly like my credentials or my back-ground? I know, silly me (hang on while I crawl back into my box that I cannot help but to continually attempt to think outside of).

I get that we want equality, but if we're going to continue to ask for and track based upon our differences, how is the mindset every going to change? And riddle me this Census Bureau, how does my sister's ethnicity help her background check and clearance for teaching? Wouldn't it be more important to verify that she, oh I don't know, has an actual teaching degree and hasn't run any children over lately? See to me, those would be more prudent points upon which to verify and track.

The same question was asked of me when I submitted my annual PTA application this week. Apparently the Texas PTA isn't as evolved as the Government (insert giggle here) as they still posed the question as "Race". In honor of my big sister, you'll be happy to know that I responded to their question with "Other - Human Race."

....I believe my application is still pending approval.

* Note: Binney and Smith were the creators of Crayola Crayons back in 1903. See, you even learned something in today's session. Well done all!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sick to Discover

Perhaps you've noticed that I haven't been here in a while...or then again, perhaps you haven't (gasp!). For those of you who have noticed, it's not that I gave up on my favorite corner of the blog world, but rather that I was enjoying a super special week long event I like to call "getting hand-foot-and-mouth along with my girls." Yes, it's a time honored tradition and is sporting good fun! If you haven't ever had yourself a week long quarantine in your own home along with a sick infant and seven year-old, why you're just missing out!

While I was home I made a shocking discovery...I do a LOT! I'm not talking about the stuff nobody notices that magically happens around my house (like cleaning the baby bottles and packing the kids bags each night), we all know that's just part of the gig. No, I'm referring to how much I actually accomplish in a standard 24-hours outside of the every-day tasks.

Just sitting there, stuck on the couch with my laptop left me feeling so absolutely helpless! Answering just emails and IM? Really? That's it? I'm used to doing about 3 things at once. Truly, as we've discussed before, I rarely sit and watch television without doing at least one other thing. After years of counseling, a sign, in my opinion of great parenting, I have come to blame this need for constant movement and entertainment on my Mother. Sure, I can sit and smell the flowers like Ferdinand the Bull while doing absolutely nothing else; but why not smell the flowers while reading a book, listening to music, painting a picture or playing in a park with my kids?

I noticed this trait developing back in college (insert flashback waves and music here). I had a very, very, very hard time settling on just one major. I bounced around between at least four that my post-college-partying brain (I mean, over studied-brain) can recall. I vaguely even remember a double-major stent one year, due to my inability to settle. For me, there was just too much to many amazing options, how could I possible just choose one for "the rest of my professional life"?

Now, some 15+plus years later, I still haven't settle on the "one" perfect career path. I know writing is in my blood and is the main goal for my future; however, thanks to my older sister, my artistic side has once again been opened and I am finding so many opportunities springing up.

Want to volunteer? Well of course, who doesn't?!?! (We've covered this, so you all know how I feel about paying it forward, and back for that matter.) Sure, many people are involved in one, perhaps two, organization either by donating time, goods or money. Ah, but this is me we're talking about here. I apparently won't be happy until I've walked right up to the line of "spread too thin" when it comes to my extra curricular involvements. I have enough obligations here that I truly, hand to God, have two binders to organize my details. This is so not a bragging right, just an example of my overzealous nature.

Then there are hobbies, things I do to relax (see, and you thought I didn't know how). I can't just read one, not me; why at this very moment, I have three books that I am currently reading in rotation with two more already pulled from the shelf, poised and ready to enter the rotation at the first opportunity. I've got a mosaic project, curtains, painting, cross-stitching and updating my stamp albums also in full swing at this moment; not to mention several other crafting explorations sitting on my To Do List to tackle next. Yep, tis true, I actually have a To Do List for projects and hobbies.

See, this is what I was referring to earlier. I never realized, until I was sitting at home, just how busy my "happy meter" likes to be kept. It got me wondering, all joking aside, why? Why do I feel most fulfilled when I'm constantly moving...constantly busy....constantly thinking?

Sunday afternoon, while trying to balance a few tasks around the house with spending the afternoon with my oldest daughter, I got my answer. I am a life embracer. For me, like college, life offers so many opportunities, so many options; I just never want to miss out on anything. I never want to miss a moment of showing my children a new experience. I never want to miss the chance to challenge my artistic side or stretch my creative muscle while decorating my house. I never want to miss the chance to give back to someone, the unconditional love and support that someone else gave me when I needed it. I don't want to miss the exhibit at the history museum or the chance to learn about the past from a great book.

Nope, I was sick to discover that while I was sitting there being sick, I was missing out on so many chances to live.

So I'd like to take this very public moment to sincerely thank my Mother for exposing me to such a variety of things as a child and for opening my mind to the possibilities that life has to offer. Mother, it was you who gave me this inner drive to constantly enjoy and live my life. Thank you!

As for the rest of you, as a reminder, smell the flowers, but don't ever miss an opportunity to live....and I'll see you back here tomorrow. ;)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

And the Envelope Goes To...

That’s! Yesterday in the mail I received my first ever jury summons. Wow! I picked, they really, really like me! (She bows, waving and thanking the crowd!) Sigh, I can hear many of you now, “Seriously, calm down, it’s just jury duty”, but let me explain a little something here; I’ve been of legal voting age for twenty years now, that’s right...twenty years, during which time never have I once been called for duty. Ever!

I know for a lot of folks jury duty is a pain in the butt. I’ve heard the jokes and endured the comments for years as co-workers and others complained about having to serve. I’d always have to explain that I’ve never had the opportunity to serve because I’ve never been called. “Consider yourself lucky,” has been the standard response I’ve received over the years. (Funny, these are also the same people that tell me that voting doesn’t matter and that one vote doesn’t count.)

Lucky? Lucky that I haven’t been able to attempt to do my civic duty? Lucky that I haven’t been able to be a part of due-process? Lucky that I haven’t been given the opportunity to earn $7 for my time, but pay $4 of it for parking? Okay, so the last one was a joke, but honestly, I think it’s kind of a cool gig! (And apparently now you can even chose to donate your $7 to a children’s shelter…right on!)

I suppose that I’ve never been called up to this point due to my nomadic nature; I don’t stay in one place very long because I get very antsy and bored. I like change. Change means opportunity. Change charts a course for a new adventure. Change wipes the slate clean and let’s you start all over. Remember each Fall when you gathered all your new school supplies and prepared to head back to school? Remember how the crayons smelled or the true beauty of that new notebook that was sitting there all pristine just waiting for your newest doodles? See, I’m one of those people who need that feeling every so often, and since I no longer have the opportunity for new school supplies each Fall, I either change where I live or change the inside of where I live.

Like the first day of school, I was so excited that I whipped out my number two pencil and began filling out my form immediately (once a little over-achiever, always a little over-achiever, right?)! can do it online? Aces…even better! I logged in, full of excitement that I am finally able to do my part. Anticipation builds as I answer the questions. Question number eight appears...“I am a resident of Dallas County?”. Uhm, wait, what? Well of course I’m not; you know that because you sent me the jury request to my mailing address, the same address that is on my voter registration and my driver’s license. Duh!

And that was it; that was the moment when my Wednesday because a Monday. Bam! Just like that, my excitement of finally being able to take part in my civic duty disappeared into the fog outside on this otherwise, dreary Dallas morning.

That got me I am hoping to serve and do my part, while so many others do all they can to not be selected. Makes me wonder, if so many people dread the required duty, how good of a job are they doing once they are selected? Are they actually providing a service or simply biding their time until they are allowed to leave?

So what if next time you get that envelop requesting your presence, instead of instantly thinking “ugh, really?”, why not try and look at it as a winning opportunity. You have officially been given a day away from the stresses of your normal work life and have a chance to have an impact on the process. Why not embrace it as an opportunity to meet new people or to spend the day people watching while you wait to be called, instead of viewing it as a forced intermingling between strangers with whom, you’re sure, you have nothing in common with. Stop looking for the loop-hole that will get you out of it, and instead, belly-up-to-the-bar and recognize it as a chance that our Founding Fathers has provided you…kind of like voting. Don’t meet it with a “one person can’t make an impact” kind of attitude; instead, be thankful that you live some place that allows for such an opportunity and remember that, as proven over 200 years ago in our Nation, one person CAN make a difference.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mine is Bigger Than Yours

So this morning I was flipping channels looking for music, an odd exercise I attempt each morning in my car; strangely enough, most “music stations” are full of not-so-witty banter in the mornings, so my channel flipping can get a bit excessive and somewhat of an exercise in futility. But...I digress...back to my channel flipping... So I’m flipping around and something caught my attention causing me to stop. No, it wasn’t Tina and Ike knocking out “Rolling on the River”, but rather a local radio host mid-pomp, raving on and on about the new Cowboy’s Stadium.

What...a new stadium? You don’t say! Right! So unless you’ve been living under a rock or have absolutely no involvement in professional sports whatsoever, then you are fully aware of what stadium I am referring. Yes, the new Cowboy’s Stadium, also known in my house as “Jerry Jones’ latest homage to his apparently excessive endowment” (I cleaned that name up a bit for the kids). Oh please, you thought he built it for us?

True, he has claimed repeatedly that it was “for the fans”. That’s right, way to sell it to the cheap seats there, Jerry! Cheap seats? Why yes, he has made sure to ensure that families of all socioeconomic standings can still take their entire broods to see America’s Team play weekly. Yep, for just $75 a piece, you too can get yourself seats from way up high in the massive stadium (a.k.a.“the cheap seats”). But never fear, Jerry’s ego has ensured you won’t miss a thing with his Texas, super-sized plasma screen dangling mid-field; take that all you televisions at home! So let’s see, if I take two kids, my husband and myself, why we can have an evening of fun and excitement from the upper-level, way in the back, for just $300 (plus tax and fees). Wow, bargain!

What’s that you say? That’s just too much? Well don’t worry; you see Jerry’s palace o’ fun has options (Jerry loves him some options). You can hang out and watch them game from the new Party Level. Why for just a mere $29 a ticket, you and your family can stand shoulder-to-shoulder for four to six hours with some of Dallas’ finest sports drinkers in the world’s largest beer garden. You’ll be able to watch the game from smaller screens, like you have at home, or, if you’re lucky, you can get close enough to the balcony to see the game as you gaze out from the over-crowded Bavarian-wonderland. Ahhhhhh, why doesn’t that sound like pure paradise? Bliss!

I can hear you asking now, “But how will I get there?” No worries my friend, Jerry has once again come through for the great fans of Dallas. Just say no to DART and drive and park yourself! You can park in any of the 12,000 parking spaces (keep in mind the stadium holds over 100,000 folks) or over to the Ranger’s Ball Park, park and walk on over (there are another 12,000 spaces over there). According to the website, “parking prices will vary depending on event and location”, so just to be safe, better bring an extra $25-$50 with you, because, well, you never know.

Look, I’m all for making my city seem better and providing improvements as needed, but was this really needed? I guess if my ego needed to be fed continually by the press on every major network and radio station, then sure. No really, I swear, I had a hard time finding out details of the game or listening to pre-game banter about the players as the airwaves seemed to just be oozing with discussions about the stadium and not the players. Why, for the pregame show, they spent 15 minutes touring the stadium; I lost track of the amount of time they then spent discussing said tour after the fact.

Uhm, did I miss something? Wasn’t this supposed to be about the team and the fans? All I’ve been hearing for weeks now is “the biggest stadium in the league” this or “the stadium has raised the bar for the other owners in the league” that. And I’m sick of hearing about “Jerry’s House”!!!! Dude, Jerry’s damn house is in Park Cities with his wife!

About the time I finished calming down from the radio host’s daily waxing on “how great the stadium is”, my drive guided me past the old Texas Stadium; something it does twice a day in fact. Yes, there it was, that relic of past football history, just standing there awaiting the unavoidable future of demolition that lies ahead. That beautiful piece of history, decorated in blue and silver that housed so many Cowboy memories of my youth.

Looking at it, I can see why we must have needed a new stadium. Why, the parking at the stadium itself and in the surrounding three lots just aren’t shining enough to list as “prices available per event”. The stadium itself, a landmark that I have often smiled at thinking “I’m home” as my plane flew over it, really isn’t flashy enough to be in the same league as Candle Stick in San Francisco...oh, excuse me, 3Com Park that is. I mean really, how could the Cowboys possibly be expected to win a championship in that thing?!?! Oh wait, they’ve done that...5 Super Bowls and 8 Conference Championships to be specific.

Well, who would want to attend a game in an old relic like that then, right? Nope, hold it again; don’t they have one of the longest standing records of consecutive sold out games? Why yes, Rebecca, they do in fact! And uhm, didn’t we have a touch-and-go moment here in Dallas this past week about the new stadium not being sold out causing the game to almost be blacked out here at home? Hummm...then we must have built the stadium so that the Olympic Committee would select us for the next Summer Games? Nope, nope, nope...I seem to recall that title going to New York. then, could someone please tell me, why then, is America’s Team playing in a stadium that has less parking, is way more expensive on a per event level and has the potential of not selling out weekly, preventing the fans of Dallas from watching it on television? Oh that’s right, because Jerry’s is bigger than all the other owner’s…..stadiums, that is.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Good Enough: The New Achievement

So the other day, someone passed around an article about how “Good Enough” really is acceptable now. Okay, so I get that I’m a bit of a freak-o, over-achiever by nature and I don’t sit and do absolutely nothing well (note: I’m actually WAY better at that than I used to be; I can sit and watch a show without multitasking…true story!); however, why is good enough and average now acceptable?

This thought process has actually been building all week for me. The week started with me hearing a news story on how the American economy is number two for the first time ever (we’re now behind Switzerland). No knock on the Swiss, but really? I was shocked by this one...but apparently they’ve really got it together over there. Well done! On the heals of this I was told by a co-worker that their child’s new schedule was really putting pressure on them because it caused them to have to spend more time at night reading and helping their kid adjust to their new grade level and work load. (Uhm, isn’t that part of the parental gig?) But the topper for me was then the aforementioned article.

This all has me thinking now (shocker, I know) about how we as a society have changed. Good enough and average are now the norm. Few seem to strive for something different…for something better. Outside of the sports realm, what do we try and excel in, collectively, on a regular basis? Sure, we say “we’re the best”, but story after story shows that we’re falling behind other countries in education, humanitarian efforts and scientific advancements.

You might be thinking, “but these days have overloaded scheduled thanks to play-dates and excessive sports activities”...right? Perhaps I should clarify then…when I say excel, I don’t mean at things like exhausting our kids with superfluous time fillers and jam-packed schedules. Nope, I’m referring to us seemingly accepting average levels of effort in things like grades, our levels of parenting/hands-on involvement, or advancing and achieving as a society and country as a whole as being “good enough”.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...sure, I see that I’m getting all Andy Rooney on you here, but really, why is good enough okay now, but for the generations before, for the Great Generation and Baby Boomers, good enough wasn’t even an option? Yet some how, when my generation, Generation X, took over, we moved the scale over a tad so we could what, kick back and play with our iPhones more? And while I’m on it, heck, we couldn’t even be bothered to take the time to come up with a generation label that stood for something...we’re now Generation X who has given birth to Generation Y. Lame!

Now I’m not saying that I’m going to look at my baby girls and ask them when they get a 97 on something “what happened?” What I am saying is that if they continually bring home 75s, for example (that’s a C, or “average”, here in Texas), I’m gonna have to re-evaluate the current state-of-the-state to see what we can do drive that up to a B or an A.

I’m also not super keen on being second as a Nation. Haven’t we always prided ourselves on being ahead of the curve...being innovators...being the best of the best? Good thing Einstein and Franklin didn’t just accept the status quo as “good enough”; just think of where we’d be if they had? And what if in the 1960’s the young people of the Nation had decided good enough was in fact, just that? Think of all the injustices that would still be in place.

Why not hearken back to a better system of “normal” when we as a country, united to make things better? Why not help those around us and not simply brush it off as someone else’s problem; push yourself to give a little more. Why not want better for your kids than you had; there’s nothing greedy or wrong with that, is there? Let’s not just hope for a better future for our kids, let’s help create one.

As a generation, let’s demand a better label than “X”...better yet, let’s earn a better label! Why not put more value back in academic achievements rather than in sports; perhaps then it will be cool, once again, to excel in school and not to simply “get by” so long as the student remains eligible to play in the big game this weekend.

Perhaps consider teaching our kids that good enough really isn’t, but that their personal best, whatever level that might be, is what’s more important. Remind them that one person can make a difference and that every voice counts; so learn what you can, help who you can and try and make things better than they were before. Tell them and show them, through your actions, that good enough really isn’t...”For the Times They are A-Changin'” and good enough just won’t do.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Last night, I'll admit, I actually watched the finale for America's Got Talent. Yepper, I watched it all the way to the end. Sure, I had better things to do with my time than spend two hours of my evening watching television, but something about last events mesmerized me. Maybe it was the flashy outfits; perhaps it was the anticipation as they whittled down the top ten to the top five and then finally, the top two; or perhaps it was simply my anthropological curiosity that kept me tuned in. Who would American pick? What do mainstream Americans feel is talent, worthy of $1 Million dollars and their own headline show in Las Vegas?

I was with them on the top five; yep, it made sense to me. Then suddenly, I found myself honestly gasping out loud as the top two were announced (I was really getting into the show at this point)! Why was I so shocked that the general public actually selected an opera singer for one the top two spots? They got rid of the only act in the top ten I could literally see headlining in Vegas (Recycled Percussion, in case you were wondering). Honestly, all but one of the top ten seemed like great acts to me...but an opera singer? As I drove in to work today, the answer hit me.......

You see, there was a point in the show last night when a scantily clad, if you can even call what she was wearing "clad", Shakira took to the stage to perform. It was announced that she'd be performing her new single "She Wolf". Now, to the untrained eye, her lip-synching as she bound all over the stage was, in fact, what she was there for. "Ah yes, what a talented little singer that Shakira is," I just imagined people saying all over America as she began her, uhm.....performance? Suddenly the lip-synching to the horrifically overly dumbed-down lyrical contraption called her "hit single" turned into a night at a local strip club! What????? Wait, let me quickly cover my daughter's eyes and grab my dollar bills before you continue young lassie!

Seriously, I'm not making this up! That skimpy leather draped blonde suddenly began to gyrate on top of a wait....make that, air-hump the speaker; yes, I believe that's what the kids call it these prime time!!!!!! Holy Ed Sullivan, Batman.....what just happened? I was under the impression that this was a family show? Perhaps my family is the wrong demographic for this experience?, back to my car and the drive into work this morning.....OHHHH I get it...THAT'S why I was so shocked! I was stunned to see the top five, no wait, make that even the top two acts, actually showed true talent; not skin.....not the ability to roll around on the stage or dangle themselves from a cage above a crowd while sporting stilettos and a thong like Britney Spears does in her current Circus concert really, these people actually came out and displayed pure, true talent.

As I continued tooling along down Highway 114 listening to my Rosemary Clooney CD (yep, really), I couldn't help but wonder to myself, "WWJD if he saw last night's events?" Nope, not THAT "J", I am referring to John Lennon of course; truly one of the greatest composers and entertainers of our time. John, let me stage a bed-in to protest my feelings of war or write a song that will forever live on epitomizing the level to which all humans should aspire, Lennon.

Could you imagine John, or any of the Beatles for that matter, rolling around on a stage in leather, humping the nearest speaker during a performance? I mean, even Ringo, who made perhaps one of the worst films ever ("Caveman"), would have more dignity than to behave in such an ill manner! When did we go from creating and performing songs that made you think or touched you deeply to accepting songs about hunting down men to have our way with them and strip-club-like dancing as entertainment?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm sooooo not a stick in the mud or your average prude by any stretch of the imagination, but when I sit down with my family to watch something on prime time television, I don't expect to have to race my husband for the remote to change it when a "teen icon" hits the stage to perform. At what point did we allow the sheer greed of the entertainment world to take over and dictate to us what is the new acceptable form of entertainment? At what point did we all decide it was okay for young girls (remember, mine are seven and four-months) to look up to role models, at term I use loosely, who promote sexuality in the raunchiest sense?

Why, just imagine...what if what I witnessed with the top two acts of last night’s finale became the entertainment norm again? What if we went back to celebrating true talent and entertainment that didn't make you cringe? Well, you may say I'm dreamer, but I find it hard to believe that I'm the only one.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lowering the Bar

I discovered last night that someone apparently lowered the bar and changed the rules of decorum for parenting somewhere along the way. I was at the first PTA meeting of the year for my oldest daughter's school. Shocker I know....I'm an actively participating parent...HA! We arrived five minutes before it was scheduled to begin as I was always taught it more polite to be early than late to an event. To my absolute shock, we were the first ones there. What????? Finally around 7:10 p.m. the room was in full buzz with about 60 people, including parents, children and teachers, so they called the meeting to "order".

Yeah, it's that "order" thing that is stuck in my craw this morning. To me, when a meeting is called to order that means it's officially underway and we're all paying attention, seated quietly and participating. Apparently that's what we call an "old school" definition as there was not one shred of order in that room for the next 35 minutes.

For those of you playing along at home, I have ears like a bat; why yes, I can hear, as the saying goes, a mouse fart in the other room, so I get it that I'm a bit sensitive to noise.....but come on! What I witnessed last night was not due to my sensitive ears, it was totally due to the lowering of the bar and the new non-tactile expectations of parenting in the suburbs. See, I've had an issue with this for years, but man, last night really sent me into a tizzy! During that entire meeting, not one parent asked for quiet or for the kids to sit down. Not one teacher said a word in protest. The principal himself simply stood in the back of the room writing in some notebook and was otherwise oblivious to the entire experience. What??????? (And no, I didn't say anything as I sat there with my child, as a new parent to the school, in shock!)

Now I've been called a strict parent before, and for a while I took a bit of offense to that label; however, as day breaks on this bright Wednesday morning, the day after the PTA rodeo, I now see that statement as a badge of honor and a sincere compliment! Darn tootin' I'm a strict parent! Why, my child sat with me quietly for the entire meeting, never once protesting my insistence at her silence (in fact, I don't remember ever having to tell her to be quiet); never once darting up from her seat to dash across the room while a board member attempted to relay pertinent PTA information. Nope, my child sat happily, contently beside me the entire time. And yes, she did partake in the ice cream sundae stand they set-up, but she also ate it without smacking and cleaned-up her own mess, a claim that none of the children also sitting at our table can dare make.

When did this happen? When did we decide that parenting no longer involved the teaching of respecting our elders and the idea of common courtesy? At what point did we as a society take on the belief that children should be allowed to run amuck in restaurants, school events and church gatherings? Why is it now okay for children to be taught "helplessness" instead of being taught how to do for themselves? What kind of future adults are we creating?

Look, I'm not saying that children shouldn't be allowed to be children for heaven sake; no, I'm just saying that if I've been to pep-rallies that were more controlled than this PTA meeting, then perhaps it's time to revisit our collective parenting expectations and responsibilities and raise that bar back up a bit. Think about it, when was the last time you heard a child say "yes sir" or "thank you" without being prompted? Taking a minute to pinpoint that moment are you? Well then, that's too long.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday...Bee Gees Style

Above and Beyond, I believe I would say the Bee Gees are Really and Sincerely my favorite group. I find their catalog of songs to truly be a Buried Treasure in the music archives. And the fact that most people don’t know ALL their songs, well to me, that’s just a Tragedy! For this reason, and the fact that I have found myself a bit Carried Away today, I write this blog around the songs of the Bee Gees.

A Long Time Ago, when I was but a wee babe in my Childhood Days, I discovered the greatest sound ever...the Bee Gees! I was definitely what one would consider to be a Boogie Child as I loved me some disco; to this day 70’s is still my favorite music...I Can’t Help It!

As I grew, I realized that the Bee Gees’ songs held the answers to most of the challenges encountered in an Ordinary Life. Whenever I’ve hit a bump, there they were...the three of them, singing away my misery. Just In Case you don’t believe me, let me show you what I mean:

* How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? – The Remedy is to become Shatterproof and realize that Life Goes On; heartbreak is just another one of the Lessons In Love

* Forgot to study? – Better hope to be Saved By The Bell before anyone calls on you

* Where to go for lunch? - Subway

* Never lie – Always tell the truth and Watch What You Say because your Words can last Forever

* Think Mr. Wrong was Mr. Right? – Well, that was The 1st Mistake I Ever Made, and as luck would have it, it would be like Déjà Vu for me as I repeatedly found myself Paying The Price for Love

* How’s my day going? – So Far So Good

* Crap...missed my curfew, now what do I do? – Take The Short Way Home

* What should I be doing now? – You Should Be Dancing

* Got knocked down? Why, what to do now? – Easy...Never Give Up

* Think you’re having a girl? – Name her Rebecca, of course!

Now I could go on doing this With My Eyes Closed, continuing the Method to My Madness for today’s blog...Until I cover every song, which I’m sure you all Desire...but that could make for The Longest Night.

So instead, I’ll pack my belongings and head Back Home, hoping to cross your path again Down the Road.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pause for Punctuation

I was told recently that I misuse the semi-colon. What? Me? Well I must tip my hat to the person who felt the need to call that out. On my blog....why yes in fact I do! I love me a little semi-colon action! If you've been following me long then you'll notice I don't just have an over zealous love for semi-colons, why I also dig me some explanation points!

Here's what it all boils down to for me. My brain is a continual synaptic symphony of thoughts....yes thoughts, not just one, but many random thoughts constantly popping in and out, over-lapping each other during most of my waking moments. During a slow period I might only have one thought or song stuck in there. I'd love to be one of those people who can make their minds go utterly blank....truly! Wow, a real moment of silence, what that must be like. Nope, for me, even during yoga, the brain is still humming along with thought after thought after thought. The point of that rather lengthy explanation was to state that I write like I think or one long rambling cadence of overlapping thoughts; thus the reason I embrace the excessive use of said semi-colon. Semi-colons allow me to stick the never-ending string of thoughts together on paper the way they appear to me in my head (my head - a.k.a. Becky-land, it's a rocking crazy place to visit actually).

Here is an example of my thoughts at work. I was in the car at a Walmart once and was really deep into a story (about what, I can't seem to remember). Suddenly, as I'm pulling into a parking place, without a beat skipped I said, "Wow, seriously? Mirrors....get 'cha one!" I then immediately apologized for my comment stating, "Oh my! That was catty! Sorry!" and then in the same breath, picked-up my story right where I had left off. My poor car passenger had the strangest look; it was kind of a cross between someone who just saw a true UFO and someone who just spent 10 minutes listening to George Carlin...kind of a half-smile and a WTF look!

Which brings me to the exclamation point; for me, it's the most under used member of the punctuation family we have. I totally heart the exclamation point! (again, probably because of how I talk.) I tend to be a bit, uhm, shall we say, animated? I get excited...a little punchy.....often giddy and that tends to come out in my writing. My favorite “School House Rock” segment was the one on interjection; why that was an entire 3 minutes song and cartoon dedicated to the beauty of the exclamation point! And why not use it, I mean THEY wouldn't have given it to use when creating the English language had THEY not wanted us to use it. Why not be excited? See I think our every day lives are missing excitement any way. Remember being a kid? Remember being excited over almost every story you relayed to your parents?

For all you nay-sayers and critics of free-lance punctuation usage, I say to you, get over it! A blog is a happy fun place to just share your thoughts and hopefully, connect with other people, allowing them to ponder the questions you left with them or to give them a boost in their day via something you wrote. Sure, we all learned the rules of correct usage in school, but hey, sidebar here....we're not in school, so we're not being graded here. In the name of the Blue Book of Grammar I remind you that it's just a blog!

So for all my followers, I give you permission to embrace your inner voice and relay it through word with whatever punctuation you feel best expresses your need. Over use those semi-colons to connect your rambling thoughts and create excessively long sentences. Embark on an exclamation point campaign and show the world just how happy or excited you are about something!!!!! Heck, feel free to end a sentence with a preposition and start one with "and" or "but"; maybe even toss in an emoticon here or there in a personal email. Go on, try it! Not to worry, I won't judge. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wait….What Are We Celebrating Again?

Ahhhhh, kids are back in school, it’s in the upper 90’s outside and I’m wearing flip-flops for the foreseeable future. Must mean that it’s September in Texas! Uhmmmm, wait, did I miss a month somewhere? Well, according to every retail store I’ve been in lately I must have.

See, I don’t “do” stores often. They are crowded, loud and I can actually hear the alarms in some places (it’s a dog-level, ear piercing hummm that just makes my skin tingle). And let’s just be honest here, shall we? I’m a retailers dream, for shiny things often distract me and I rarely leave a store with just the item or items that were on my list. For these reasons, and the fact that I have children, I tend to do the majority of my shopping online. I can be in and out of a store with just the items I want without distractions; I can shop at Midnight if that’s when I finally am able to find the time, and I can compare prices at multiple stores and find coupons before making any purchase commitment. See, the Internet is, in fact, a mother’s friend.

Stores are now even more of a threat to me as they recently have proven to throw off my sense of stability and sanity. Really!

So let me set the stage for here...I was in the grocery store, not my normal local “health” grocery store (that’d be Sprouts for you playing along at home, I truly heart me some Sprouts), but a true massive, chain, marketing driven grocery store. I was scooting down the aisle with my cart with Sarah and Ryan was right on my heals with her “tiny person” shopping cart. We were heading to the pet aisle, as I needed cat litter (and let me please emphasize the word “needed” cat littler here – cat litter is never something good to run out of when you live with a dog person who barely tolerates your “unnatural love of cats” I was really on a focused mission here). As we breezed by I caught a seven foot Frankenstein out of the corner of my eye. What the hell?

There was a slow pause in my pace as my brain began to process this information. It went something like this…..”Sarah was born in May, which was four months ago, right? Great Googgily Mooggily, did I miss her 4 month old shot appointment in September? Wait, didn’t Ryan just start school two weeks ago. Wasn’t that September?” Then I realized it really IS still September! For the love of carved pumpkins Charlie Brown, Halloween has come early this year!

Now I should explain something, Halloween is in fact, without a doubt or single hesitation, my favorite holiday, hands down. I have seven, yes seven, that isn’t a type-o, orange and black tubs filled to the rims with Halloween paraphernalia for my house. Heck, four of the said tubs house my Halloween Village collection alone! I love, love, love me some Halloween!

I have certain traditions that occur on the final Saturday of September each year. First, I purchase two Russell Stover marshmallow pumpkins, one for me and one for Ryan. This tradition started when I was but a babe and my Mother would purchase one for me each year. Yummy goodness as it’s sticky best my friends! Second, I put on “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and my daughter and I decorate the house and fill the evening windows of my house with visions of our light-up Halloween Village.

Since I am such a Halloween junkie, you might think that seeing Halloween appear in my local store 60-plus days prior to Halloween would some how warm my heart. Alas, it has had the opposite affect. Halloween is an October holiday, not a September holiday. How do you think it must make Labor Day feel to suddenly see Halloween appearing on its doorstep? What, Halloween got tired of Christmas taking over its spot so it decided to encroach on Labor Day? What’s next, Valentine’s Day beginning in November? Just think of the repercussions that could have on the psyches of turkeys everywhere!

Look, I’m all for being prepared and planning ahead, I’m completely OCD and am a Project Manager by profession; but in the name of all that is “Something Wicked This Way Comes”, enough with the over zealous holiday marketing! Halloween belongs in October; Christmas belongs in December and please just leave the little Leprechauns and St. Patrick’s Day in March!

If not for my sanity, then do it for the kids. I mean it’s bad enough we teach them oddities like the word quick is spelled “quick”, but then they have to see signs for a company called “Kwick Kar” all over town. At least reassure them that what we teach them about holidays holds true.

I mean really, how can my children believe anything I tell them if I can’t even keep which holiday happens in which month straight?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Facebook Killed High School Reunions

I’m sure this is going to sound very Andy Rooney of me and all, but I can’t help but wondering if high school reunions are becoming a thing of the past. I don’t think it has anything to do with people being busier or classes being less close than they used to; I put 100% of the blame of this phenomenon on “The Facebook”. (Note: I don’t typically call it “The Facebook”, but I sure hear it referred to that it’s a living creature.)

Now let me first explain that I love me some Facebook. I have a profile full of tests like “Which Friend Are You” or “80’s Movie Trivia” and other important information of that nature; pictures of my family, random gifts, like a Michael Myers facemask (just what every girl needs, right) and a wall full of quippy comments from my 200-plus friends. It’s that last little “200-plus friends” part that I feel proves today’s blog title.

Of those 200-plus friends, a vast majority of them are friends from high school. These are people that I ran the halls with, marched in band with, ate with at lunch and joked with at pep rallies. They are people who I formed life-long bonds with and others who helped me build some of my most precious memories. See, I’m one of those people who absolutely dug high school! In fact, there is an urban legend out there that claims that at the conclusion of my first day of my freshman year, I marched into my Mother’s office (she was a principal on my campus), flung my backpack on her desk and said joyfully, “High school was made for me!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting here urgently wishing to return to those days. The memories of those days are a very precious and cherished treasure of mine. I learned so much and grew as a person through four years of trials and coming of age tribulations. I wouldn’t change one single thing that occurred during those blessed days, as I love my memories just as they are.

But it dawned on me the other day as I watched the umpteenth email from my reunion committee come in...with Facebook in the mix of life these days, what’s the purpose of a reunion? I mean look, here is this group of people, working tirelessly to get the Stratford High School Class of 1989 together in October, and alas, the turn out is well...bleak! Why? We all got along. It was a GREAT class made of up 546 of Houston’s most awesome and eclectic group of kids. Why wouldn’t we all want to hang out again to see what everyone’s been up to for the past 20 years? Oh wait, I know...because we already know!

Yes, Facebook has taken away the opportunity to wonder “What ever happened to the class stud?”...”Did our class artist ever make it big?”...”Is the guy/girl voted most beautiful still most beautiful?” See with Facebook, we’ve all stumbled upon one another already. We’ve swapped baby pictures and shared stories of our lives. We’ve connected for play-dates and lunches; some have had family weekends together. We’ve even started business networking with each other. Heck, our class has even pulled together to create a foundation for one of our favorite teachers who has fallen on very hard times, due to heath issues. Our class was able to coordinate a couple of charity fundraising events, such as the recent golf tournament, for his foundation.

High school reunions used to hold such possibilities...such wonder. I guess as change goes, we grow as individuals, life continues to move forward and evolve, and so must our expectations.

So what will the new high school “reunion” look like? When the Millennial kids get together in 2038, what will it be like? Odds are it won’t be a true “reunion” as they will have grown-up with Facebook and Twitter, so they probably won’t ever have a chance to loose those childhood connections. Will their changing of the guards as one class leaves to head to college and another class positions themselves to take-over the school as the new senior class mean as much? Will they return to football games to “remember how it was” 10, 15 or 20 years later?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know one thing – I loved my high school experience and memories the class of 1989 gave me. And even though I feel it has tampered with the age-old tradition and mystic of a high school reunion, I still embrace Facebook and am thankful for the return it has brought me of those connections which were many years lost due to college, families and life in general. Just being able to see some of those smiling faces on a daily basis again has truly filled my heart.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Today's Post is Brought to You By The Number Nine.....and the Letter N

On this auspicious day, 09.09.09, I give you some fun facts and thoughts to ponder about the beautiful number nine:

* Revolution 9 - played backwards, it is thought to say.....anyone? anyone? That's right, it's the Paul is dead theory as you supposedly can hear "Turn me on, dead man."

* 09.09.09 tis truly a rare event! We won't see a consecutive, single diget number set of this nature again until January 1, 2101. (Oct. 10, 2010, will be a double-digit set) I'll so totally still be here....anyone else care to join me? LOL

* The number nine in numerology means forgiveness, compassion and success on the positive side as well as arrogance and self-righteousness on the negative.

* If you're the last of nine children, chances are you eat the least because the other eight, being bigger, are much faster than you.

* Does everyone remember how bloody easy your nine tables were in multiplication? You know the drill: 9 x 4 = 36 because 3 + 6 = 9. Did you also know that you can multiply nine by any two, three or four-digit number and the sums of those will also break down to nine. Like this for example: 9 x 62 = 558, break down that sum 5 + 5 + 8 = 18, and wha-lah 1 + 8 = 9. How bloody wicked cool is that?!!?!?!?!?! Speaking of math, September 9th (that's today kids) also happens to be the 252nd day of the year. I can hear you all going "Uhm, so"...but wait, it gets better. If you take 252 and break it down.....2 + 5 + 2.....what does that equal? NINE! Shazam!

* Nine is the atomic number of Fluorine.

* A human pregnancy normally lasts nine months.

* A little nine religion for ya: Ramadan, the month of fasting and prayer, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Important Buddhist rituals usually involve nine monks. Also, in the Christian angelic hierarchy there are 9 choirs of angels.

* Nine is strongly associated with the Chinese dragon, a symbol of magic and power. There are nine forms of the dragon. The dragon often symbolizes the Emperor, and the number nine can be found in many ornaments in the Forbidden City.

.....I'd give you more facts, but then, that would be ten. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Random, Party of One

The girls and I hit Lowe's yesterday for a quick, in-and-out, dash for a couple of project necessities. We appeared to have made it out unscathed when WHAM, in the check-out lane, Captain Random appeared.

In case you don't know me well enough, let me explain quickly that I am a talker...yep, quite the chatter box by nature. I don't have what one might call "an issue" with striking up a conversation with anyone. Most of the time this is a great characteristic of mine; however, once in a blue moon it leaves me open for an unseen act of randomness.

To set the stage, I was having what one might call "an icky day" yesterday, so I decided to cure it the best way I know how.....playing with my girls. We loaded up the car and headed off to hit a couple of quick errands, grab an Amy's cheese pizza for lunch (total yumminess if you've never had one) and then head home for some snuggles and projects in the craft room. Lowe's was our last stop before the grocery store.

We had our three plants from the clearance section (which is really the only place someone like me should ever buy plants as I don't exactly have what you might say is a "green thumb"....that apparently skipped me in the gene allocation pool exercise), some Liquid Plumber and a few screws and we headed for the check-out. Looky there, see how all the checkers wait at the entrances of their lanes to show you how eager they are to help you with your purchases? Ahhhhh, there's a strapping young lad who looks excited to help us. And into the trap, I mean, lane we turn.

We begin the check-out process. As usual, I'm talking to one daughter, playing with the feet of the other (she's in a car seat, no judgment please), watching to ensure that all items ring up appropriately (still not sure why I don't think checkers can do it without my assistance) and carrying on a conversation with the Michael, the checker. "Did that ring up correctly?" he asked me. Foiled!!! He knows what I'm doing....perhaps I should be more casual in the future, eh?

The conversation continues. I'm swiping my card through the impersonal, modern card machine when he tells me that the scanner didn't read my card. I handed it to him, innocently unaware of what that gesture would cause. "Thanks," he says as he takes my card and swipes it in his NASA designed control panel (seriously, who needs THAT many buttons?), "remember checks?" I smiled, "Yeah, it was a lot easier then wasn't it?" "And more personal too. I used to talk to people a lot more when we didn't have these machines." Wow, a man after my own heart! I laughed, "I bet!" "Guess we should think about that before 2012, right?" Silence......uhmmmmmm.........what?

Quick.....recover your obvious facial expression Rebecca.....say something.....anything! "I know. Guess all you can do is plan, right?" My brain goes back to processing.....what the hell did he just say? Please rewind that conversation and play it back for me if you don't mind auditory, latches on to everything you say brain. Yep, yep, conversation makes sense, yep, yep....WHAM! Nope, never saw that little moment of random drive-by!

"I know, that Nostradamus has been right about everything else. We only have 2 years and 4 months really. Guess we should have some kind of a global summit to get everything together and figure out how to fix it; I mean, he told us what was going to happen, but we still have time to fix things." "I know, guess all we can do is plan and hope we get it right, ya know?" I replied in a state of confusion.

All the while, as the conversation continues, I can hear myself clearly thinking "just drop the damn card in your purse, don't bother with the wallet.....get the, forget the receipt, we don't need it.....start moving the cart forward, but not to fast, stay casual here.....Ryan, stop talking, focus on the exit with you damn automatic doors, open I command you!"

Color me perplexed when I got to the sweet sanctuary of my Gypsie, the sticker covered activist mobile. I quickly loaded the girls in the car, tossed the "last chance at life" clearance plants in the back and started the engine. What was THAT all about? Since I believe that everything happens for a reason and that there really isn't such thing as chance or happenstance, I wondered as I drove away, what was I supposed to learn or glean from that particular situation? What was the Universe trying to teach me at that moment? And then it hit me.....whenever you're having a bad day or you're just not fully on your interpersonal game, embrace the bloody self-checkout lanes for your own protection!