Sunday, November 28, 2004

Christmas Shopping


I am going to try to buy as much of my list online this year. The easy part is I already have my youngest daughter's birthday and Christmas present already bought. My son can't seem to choose what he would like, so it's totally up to me. And my oldest daughter "never cares" so I will give her a gift plus ca$h! Pretty easy. I am not exchanging gifts this year with my boyfriend. He's spending all of his available cash on a mobile home, so no gifts this year. That's fine with me. Just makes it easier.

Actually, I would like to buy my family a vacation and a computer. Or fix my desktop computer ONE MORE TIME and buy a laptop. I would love to have my own laptop. Just never know when I'll need it! I have these fantasies of sitting in a cafe in Paris, with my laptop, emailing and checking on my business, while I am having the best coffee and pastry on the planet!! Just relaxing and enjoying some time. So, that would be the best gift of all - vacation, work, and computer all in one!

Well, you never know. I'll start looking now and deciding which is the best way to spend my money.

In the meantime, I have been shopping for accessories for my newly painted kitchen. I bought some pretty fun things last night - some wine decor and pudgy chef decor. Very cute. Plus, I bought some frames, so I could finally frame the prints I bought in Oxford, England in 1999. Gonna get them hung up today, as a matter of fact, in my living room.

But for now, happy shopping ......... online!

My favorite stores:,, delta airlines and Best Buy so far. I'll add more to it, as my list grows!

Saturday, November 27, 2004


How much do you respect the covenant?

My cousin has this theory about failed relationships - it's called BREACH OF CONTRACT. It makes perfect sense. When you meet someone and begin a new relationship you put your best foot forward to make a good impression. You are on your best behavior while the relationship is new. During the "courtship" the relationship continues to be good. Both the guy and the girl are willing to compromise for the better of the relationship. They like each other's friends, go to sporting events together and are even willing to go to the Symphony to enjoy each other.

As the relationship matures, they love spending holidays with each other's families, shop with the future in-laws and even entertain the soon-to-be brothers- and sisters-in-law. They share everything - their hopes, dreams, aspirations. They plan a wedding - which we know takes alot of time and planning - and then suddenly the relationship is elevated to a MARRIAGE!

The honeymoon year(s) are upon them and things are still perfectly wonderful. They are working on their careers, buying a new house, still hanging out with their friends and basically their life is continuing as it was before the marriage - blissful.

Then, either planned or unplanned, they welcome children into their family to make them "complete". They are so excited and enjoy learning the newness of parenthood together. Then, after some time, they have another child and possibly another. And get busier and busier, oftentimes separately. Sometimes the woman takes time off from her career to take care of the children. This is an honorable decision, if they can afford it financially.

The man goes off to work and meets so many young, professional people, including other women, throughout his work week. Everyone is so polite and nice because that's the way it is when you have professional relationships, everyone's on their best behavior.

Meanwhile, back at the house, the woman is feeling left out, trapped by the very choice she made to stay home and be the "mom". She interacts with kids all day long, takes them to the park, cleans the house, runs the errands and cooks the meals. After a period of time, she feels like a "scullery maid"! (that's for you, cousin :) She doesn't feel appreciated, she doesn't feel romantically satisfied, she doesn't feel wanted by him. Sometimes, she gains weight and her self-esteem becomes very low. She has changed since the beginning of the marriage, blames everything on the husband and gives into a depression. When the man comes home from work, she bitches at him, nags him to help her, whines about him not spending more time with her, and so on.

She has become someone that she was not. BREACH OF CONTRACT

At the same time, there's him. He goes to the office, possibly has martinis during lunch and flirts with the women in his office or his female clients. It all starts fairly innocently. Just a brief smile here, some eye contact there, lunches which can turn into dinners, drinks which can lead to intimate conversations, and time spent with someone that thinks he's terrific and not the poor bastard that "just doesn't understand". He plays golf more than he ever did before. He ordered season tickets for him and his brother or a friend. He works late into the night. He drinks more than he ever did. He doesn't talk to her or spend time with her.

It's seriously a relationship in decay. It's sad, it's what happens and they both "BREACH THE CONTRACT". The contract that said they would love each other, take care of each other, be with each other, grow over time with each other and support each other. It's a contract that promised one thing, yet delivered something else.

So, if you're relationship is one like this - think about it - who's breaching the contract? Is it you? So, go on a diet, workout more, get back into that sexy shape that your spouse loved so much! Talk to each other, fix it!! It's the best way to be.

If it's not fixable, agree to disagree and part friends. Why take each other to the cleaners? Why pay the attorneys more than what you'll get in the end? Why hate each other? Why torture the kids because you can't get along?

But in the end, look back, analyze what went wrong, take responsibility for your part, learn from your mistakes and move on. When you find someone else, because you will, remember that now you have baggage and more-than-likely so do they. It gets more complicated because there may be hurtful relationships in their past that they cannot get over. There might be kids on both sides, or not, either way, it can be complicated. Remember that it will NEVER be perfect, but it will be what you put into it. If you love and support - the hope is that you will get love and support back. Conversely, if you bitch and complain - you will get back unhappiness and discord.

Just is short and love is viral, it only grows as you give it away.

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. :)"
- The Beatles, 1969

Friday, November 26, 2004

Thanksgiving with my kids

the day after is our time.

Yes, that's right, the day after Thanksgiving is our time as a family to invite our friends and loved ones over and share the feast with them. I am a thankful parent, as you must know from reading my blog. I am a grateful friend for all of the support that I get. This is one way for me to show people how I feel about them. I love to entertain but over the last couple of months, so much has happened with my 'love interest' that I didn't feel comfortable inviting a bunch of people over this year. Maybe after he moves out, I will begin to entertain more extensively again.

So, I only mentioned it to a few people, some of the "regulars", but due to conflict of schedules they were not able to make it. But I still enjoyed cooking for my kids. They were all here and ate dinner, enjoyed each other totally. Yesterday, we were fragged in different places, visiting their Dad's side of the family. But not today. Today was my day, our day.

Thanks kids, you are the reason why I strive so much to excel. You are the reason why I work so hard. You are the reason why I love so much!! :)

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Family Feast

and fun!

I always thought my family was typical, even normal. But, have realized over the years that we are a totally awesome family!! Everyone is married or divorced and remarried or just divorced (like me!). We all have kids, houses, careers, cars, and the normal stuff in life. We had terrific mothers: ethical, moral, strong, determined, survivors, role-models. Some of us had crappy dads - but the moms were so awesome, that it made up the difference. And for those that didn't have great moms, there were really strong grandmothers helping out!

We are a close-knit family, very supportive of each other, helping each other out when needed. We get together about 4 or 5 times a year, Easter, Summer party, Thanksgiving & Christmas at least, plus any graduations or weddings in between! Originally, there were 4 sisters, which turned into 55 descendents counting spouses. Every year, all the cousins, parents, aunt & uncles get together and share stories about life, vacations, careers, kids, actually everything! When I mentioned these dinners to my friends over the years, they're reactions surprised me. I thought all families did this, but come to realize that there are families that live in the same small community and don't even know each other! What a blow-away!

I used to have a pretty poor self-esteem issues. I used to think that because I was adopted and they were all part of the "Real" family that they didn't care as much about me as the rest. But, over the years, I realized that I was not right in feeling that way and they loved me unconditionally. I could tell you some stories that put it to the test, not sure if today will be the day :) But overall, through the years, I have arrived at a place where I am the most comfortable in my own skin than ever before. I have the most confidence and the most satisfaction in being who I am. It's a wonderful feeling!

Anyway, there's about 25 or so that get together on Thanksgiving. Then at Christmas everyone shows up that is in town. Thanksgiving is much more relaxed. Much easier to spend time and talk with everyone than at Christmas. And this year was no different from the others. One of my cousins, with whom I share my birthdate with, never comes to Thanksgiving Dinner because she lives out of town. Over the years she has lived in Nashville, Cleveland and now Washington D.C. But this year, she was at dinner - the first in 18 years! I missed her so much and at Christmas, we don't get to talk as much as we like. Her brother (my cousin), his wife and girls live in Cincinnati. Due to both family obligations and the age of their daughters, they didn't attend all the dinners. As a result, I've not gotten much time to get to know her either. The three of us hung out and chatted for hours. It was fantastic!

During that conversation, we talked about the kids - how, when we were kids, we were NOT allowed to act up in any way. We had to eat at the kid's table, until we were married. We were expected to act appropriately, like we were out in a restaurant through dinner and if we misbehaved, or even one of us, and a parent had to come to the table, we all got in trouble. We laughed about the fun we had as kids. Dressing up, pretending, playing Mouse Trap and other board games. We would go outside and play. The goal was to play nicely, behave and allow the parents to have some time together. I totally respect how they raised us.

Now, things are a little different. The kids sit at the table with their parents. We suspect it's began because they couldn't behave without their parents sitting right there. Then the way they behave when they play is so different from what we were allowed to do. They are loud, physical, pick on each other, not really play together. They are growing up now, the oldest of that generation is 12. We guessed they will get better as they get older. At least we hope so!!

We discussed about marriages and why they break up - so much so that even our family is not above the divorce epidemic. My cousin had an interesting theory - she called it the "BREACH OF CONTRACT". (I am going to borrow that and start a blog just about the Breach of Contract.) What that is, is when after a "period of time" in a marriage, they have kids and get busy with the family or work or the school/community, and forget to pay attention to each other, forget to work out, forget to be the person that they were when they fell in love. Then they wonder why things are such a mess. It's clearly a Breach of Contract. It's so totally true and goes both ways for husbands or wives that change.

Then I found out that my cousin who lives in Washington D.C. and I have so much more in common than I thought. For one, we both supported George W. Bush and are conservative republicans - just like the rest of the family. We both like to read auto- and biographies and listen to Sean Hannity! And of course, we get our news from Fox News, Fair and Balanced. It's terrific!! She shared with me that she and her husband were able to go to former President Ronald Reagan's funeral. I would have loved to attend his funeral. Nancy Reagan's limo drove past them, she waved at them and she said it was very moving. I would love to take a trip to Simi Valley, CA and visit The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. It would be a great trip!!

We ended up talking until everyone was leaving around 10pm. It was fantastic to have 'girl time' and just catch up, learn more about each other and build the legacy to carry on into the generation. So this year, Thanksgiving was a total blessing!

I can't forget to mention: Hi Mom, I sure missed you! I hope you are enjoying your time with Grandma and Grandpa, Dad and his family, your sisters and all others that have gone before me! Hi Aunt Ruth and Aunt Edna! Miss you too!! Love you all!! And can't forget about Dad - love you and miss you! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

A time to give thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to you! Today is a time to reflect and give thanks for all the wonderful miracles and blessings we have in our lives. I am very appreciative of so many gifts from God.

> My outstanding children - they make me proud every day of my life.
> My endearing friends - we have stood by each other over the years through thick and thin and everything in between.
> My close knit family - my parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, those here and those that have gone before me.
> My satisfying career - not everyone can say that they enjoy what they do.
> My house that provides us with more than just a place to live - but the memories of a happy family.

I just want to thank everyone for everything that they have done for me and allowed me to do for them. My life is rewarding and I am content in the pleasures that God has bestowed upon me. All the times that were rough, so that I could appreciate the times that are sweet! Like now!

Happy Thanksgiving - enjoy the turkey, the food, the family and friends!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Mobile Homes and Moving In

wonder how soon?

I think he will be happier living alone. He's already raised his family; they are grown up and have moved out. Hey, I don't blame him, there is a lot of activity in my house - I mean, 3 teenagers are living here right now. They come and go at all hours of the day and evening because of work and school. It's quite a bit if a persons not used to it.

I know I will be happier not dealing with the clutter and extra stuff crammed in the basement and kind of all over the house. I am such a "neat freak" that I am having a tough time with too much stuff in my house, too many clothes in my closets, things not organized or put away, for way too long of a time. He moved it in back in March while he still owned the condo and was painting it and fixing it up - so it's overrun my entire basement for that long. It's definitely got to go!

One possible solution would have been for him to move the boxes and other stuff into a storage unit. That really isn't a good solution for him, he likes his stuff to be with him. His grand scheme is simple: buy a mobile home now and move in. Then "one of these days", when my kids are grown and gone, I can sell my house. He and I can build a house out in the "sticks" where we have some privacy. While we are building, we can live in the mobile home. Then we can move it to the property to have as a guest house. Sounds like a plan! So, the search for a mobile home is on. Today, we looked at one that was REALLY nice.

So, for now, we are kind of in limbo. Although, he can move into a temporary situation if the need arises. I won't hesitate to insist if the situation warrants more space between us. It is kind of comforting in a way, it's not really like a break-up in some ways, but I often wonder if it will lead to a break up. I mean, it's going to be wierd again - him living somewhere else, but in many ways, I will enjoy having my time and space back to myself. Especially with so much going on in my life right now.

I like to fix up my house and I will miss him being here, just fixing things as he sees fit. So, that part will be strange, but I can always ask him to fix something for me. And I won't mind sleeping alone. I rather enjoy it. I get a much better nights sleep without him tossing and turning. He likes to listen to the radio and I can't sleep with it on. He's a night owl and I'm a morning person - GEE, I THOUGHT I WOULD NEVER SAY THAT!! So, there are going to be some advantages.

On the flip side, I will miss having dinner with him at night and having someone to talk to. I wonder if that means that I will blog even more as an outlet. I also wonder if he'll see other people. He might meet someone that just adores him. I tell you it's not hard to adore him - he's so sweet, kind and nice. He's been wonderful to me over the past (nearly) 3 years. I know everything about him and he knows all about me. I will miss that. I don't like that part of a relationship - the inital getting to know you stuff is fun - but the REAL person - now that's different. Getting to know that person and trusting them. That takes work and I don't want to do that for now. I just want to have a nice evening, nice fun, and enjoy the things that we enjoy - news programs, sports, and talking. I like movies and he's not much of a movie person - but for me he watches them. :)

Well, we'll see what happens. I know that in many other ways, I will miss him being with me daily. But only for a short time, I'll get used to it. I mean, he can always come here and I can always go to his place. That's why he is asking me to go with him - so I can be part of the decision. Maybe this time alone will allow him to get some things in order for himself. Give him his own space - which he desperately needs - provide him an sanctuary for his thoughts and privacy for his daily activities. I do love him and only want what's best for him :)

Gotta go, only have a few touch-ups on the kitchen - want to get it done!!

Monday, November 22, 2004

my NEW kitchen

I'm almost done!!

I've been painting a little each day since Saturday. Mostly 2nd and 3rd coats as needed, some cutting in and lots of breaks in between. Now, I only have to touch up the red where I cut in for the first time last night and one spot of green. It needs another coat. Other than that, I'm pretty much done with the painting.

Now, I have to scrub the floor, put the refrigerator in the corner, to try to save some room. Then start putting things back together. I'm not sure I want to put everything back the way it was, I think I can rearrange. I would really love to put a small desk in there for the computer and a bill paying area. That way I could get it out of my bedroom. Then I would like a small table with at least 4 chairs. I used to have a table, but it's too big so I gave it away. I've been using Robert's but since he's buying a mobile home, he'll need his furniture. Besides the chairs are broken. I would prefer to have a new look that's my own.

I'm pretty excited, I stopped while I was out today and looked at dishes and accessories. I think now I'm definitely going with a fruit/vegetable/floral combination. I've seen some beautiful towels, rugs, dishes and accessories. I bought the towels but that's it for today. I want to look at a few more places. Then I want to find some colorful ceramic accents to hang over the cabinets. Wow, it's going to be soooooooooo nice!!

Well, I'm off to clean and start moving things back. Yippee!!
Pictures later....

My remodeling project

it's looking pretty terrific!

I'm afraid of color. I have lived in house my whole life where everything was stark white with beige carpet and the only color in the rooms were the furniture or slip covers or pillows. Nothing overly dramatic....

My living room is the first room in my house that got dressed up 3 years ago and I still love it! I get so many compliments on it, from my neighbors that can see in, my friends that come over and my family. It's a wonderful room. Anitque white on 3 walls, then on the wall with the fireplace - the fireplace is bright white high gloss, the wall behind it is a deep royal blue. It's gorgeous, the wall really pops and the fireplace pops off of it! I'll post pictures!

So next room I tackled was my bedroom. I did that 2 years ago. I was going to go for a fantastic shade of pink/red with leaf-green accents, but at the last minute, I chickened out and just went with the leaf-green walls. I want to accent some of the furniture in the room with some purple and pinks with leaf-green mixed in. I think it will look great and I am just looking for the right patterns and colors to mix. I need inspiration or I can't do it.

Now, my kitchen. Well, if you have looked around my website (click on the sun at the top of the page) then you will see my DIY link and how ugly my kitchen is. That was until a couple of days ago. On Friday, I went to the hardware store, picked up the paint and came home to empty out the kitchen. I moved some of the serving pieces to the basement bar for storage and to make more room in the cabinets. On Saturday, my youngest daughter and I started working on the kitchen. She caulked and sanded the blemishes on the walls and ceiling. We taped off the kitchen and she painted the ceiling, then cut in the walls. I rolled out the ceiling and the walls. The colors are VERY DRAMATIC and beautiful!! Two walls are a bold red/orange and the other two with some extra cuts are a subtle sage green. Absolutely wonderful. I've been taking pictures and will upload them tomorrow.

My goal tomorrow is to finish the green and the cuts, pull the tape off and start making the kitchen look like a kitchen again. I'm going to make curtains - I have some fabulous fabric that I bought at a yard sale from a designer. I paid $5, he paid about $160/yard and there's close to 5 yards!! What a great deal and it looks marvelous!! Then I'm going to get a new shelf to put in front of my picture window for plants and the microwave. I'd like to accent with as much color as I can. It's great, I didn't realize that color begets more color!! It's a totally wonderful thing! I'd like to hang some shelves above my cabinets for little plants and doo-dads. A new table and some great looking tablecloths and napkins. Matching dishes and glasses. So far, I've spent a total of $125 including a runner, fabric, and paint.

Tomorrow, I'm heading to the carpet store and order linoleum to be installed by the holidays (I HOPE). And that should pull it all together :)

I'll be so excited to start entertaining!!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Politics Among Friends

Agree to Disagree...

I received this email from a dear friend of mine today:

We are all receiving and sending pertinent email, reading articles online and in print, watching the news, listening to the radio, or locking ourselves in a dark room--trying to make sense of the stunning election result. This made me think and I wanted to share it with you. It's impossible for us all to reach the exact same conclusions about how this happened, why it happened and where we go from here, but I did take away something positive from this essay.

In the 144 years since Lincoln was elected as the first Republican to the White House, Democrats have only held office 60 years while Republicans have held it 84 years. Even this is deceptive because there have been long periods when Democrats have been virtually shut out completely. From 1860 to 1932, a period of 72 years, only two Democrats were elected (Cleveland and Wilson) for a total of 16 years. The anomaly is the period between 1932 and 1968, when Democrats actually were in the White House for 28 years. Since 1968 we have reverted to our earlier pattern -- between 1968 and 2004, Democrats have only been in the White House for 12 years (Carter's one term, Clinton's two terms.)

The message from this pattern is this was not the "Armageddon" election; it was business as usual. While the Democratic Party is strong in many states at the state and local level, it's always been a hard road to elect a Democrat president. What this reminds me of is that this country is, and has been for a long time, culturally conservative. Nor is the Christian right a new phenomenon. Christian fundamentalism -- reading the Bible literally -- is an American invention and rightwing Christians have always attempted to impose their views politically. The high point of that
activism was actually in the 20s when they managed to get a constitutional amendment passed banning alcohol and when states passed laws outlawing the teaching of evolution (remember the Scopes trial.) So, again, I think it's a mistake to view the election as some kind of turning point.

What is different is not that the strength of cultural conservatives and Christians but that there is now a cultural counterweight to those groups which is, if we just go by the vote, almost half the country. We are the counterweight and we are not just some embattled minority. Depending on the issue (abortion for example) we are in the majority. The pace of change in the consciousness of the culture has been breathtaking; when I was in college in the early 70s, gays and lesbians couldn't get a license to practice law in California because homosexuality made them morally unfit per se and until 1974, California had a sodomy law. Now we're talking about gay

The right is not made up of super humans. It's made up of a lot of frightened people who want to turn back the clock but history is inexorable and the real history of the last few decades on a social and cultural level, at least, is not the right-wing primacy but the increase in diversity and sensitivity to and tolerance for difference that is reflected in, among other things, the incredible gains made by the lesbian and gay rights movement.

Progressive people need to own their power. The more vicious and vocal people on the right may claim that we are not Americans but that's only true if we agree with them. Let's not. Langston Hughes said it in a race context that's relevant beyond race: "You are white -- yet a part of me, as I am a part of me. That's American./Sometimes perhaps you don't want to be a part of me./Nor do I often want to be a part of you./But we are, that's true!"

The election was not the end of anything and not the beginning of anything. It's another day in the struggle to create a different consciousness in a very hidebound culture. What I plan to do is sit down and write a list of 10 things I can personally do to keep the struggle going.

- author is an attorney in Florida, I will reveal upon request as this was from a public email that was sent to many mailing lists throughout the internet. Please write to me if you would like his information.

I have received many of these types of emails since the re-election of George W. Bush. I have a response to these folks where ever they are out there....

I take offense to quite a few of the issues raised by this attorney and others. First of all, if the Democrats have done so poorly, why don't they reexamine their platforms and their candidates. If they are truly the party of the people, then why are most of their candidates silver-spoon rich types who can't fatham what it's like to get a student loan or be turned down for one; work nights while going to school in the daytime; being a single mom living on welfare and food stamps; working their ass off for minimum wage; riding the public bus; living on the street; or any of the other plights that regular people go through. At least the Republicans don't pretend to know what it's like and they don't pretend to say they are going to "save everyone". No one can "save everyone"!

Then I take exception to the fact that reading the Bible is an American-made tradition. My grandmother and her brothers and sisters came to the US from Germany. They read the Bible before they came here and took it literally. Maybe this attorney is a member of a religion that doesn't read the Bible on his own, and only knows the Word of God from having someone else read it to him, perhaps he only reads the responses. I really don't know, but he is totally uninformed.

As for being "frightened" - get real! The only frightening thing is to sit through an election where the candidates don't even reveal their beliefs, their platform, only their negativity. We are in a fricken war, that was caused by a terrorist attack. All the rhetoric from White House aides, former administration, the media and even Hollywood does not fool the grass roots of America. Afterall, who's kids are fighting the war? That's right, the grass roots. The people that the media has called "STUPID" and that this man refers to as "FRIGHTENED". Terrorism is frightening and people that don't take a strong stand against it are stupid.

Look, I have voted many ways over the years. I have cast my ballot for Democrats, Independents, Republicans, and even the Green Party. I have voted my conscious over the years, and unfortunately the state of the union required us to stay the course, fight the good fight and not have to deal with all the unknowns of John Kerry. Look at him - he's so totally out of touch with the regular folks; a Vietnam Vet - that had quite a few other vets against him for reasons that ONLY THEY CAN UNDERSTAND BECAUSE WE WERE NOT IN VIETNAM WITH THEM!!

I am an American, a proud American. I have worked hard to grow in my career, to improve my life so that my kids would know that there is a better way. They have learned that hard work and perseverance pays off. My kids are independent and have their own beliefs. Two of them voted for John Kerry and that's fine. They are entitled but they didn't cry when he lost, they didn't get depressed and they didn't send emails to their friends that were offensively accusing their friends of being less of a person for the way they cast their vote.

For the record, I totally love my friends and I especially love the friend that sent me this email. His was the straw that broke the camel's back. I have received all sorts of grief from my friends, tons of emails, videos to watch, nearly shrines to Michael Moore and others. Then, I have seen them literally crying over the election results. I have avoided this topic of conversation over and over again at work and at social events - until now!

Please understand that in four years, I will vote for the person that I think is the right person for the job. I believe in equal rights for all people including equal pay for equal work - that is a fight that has been going on for over 30 years and I'M STILL WAITING!!; gay rights & marriage/civil union - which ever is the best choice; women's right to have an abortion (not partial-birth abortion); fathers paying their child support; men being arrested and convicted of domestic violence, rape and other crimes against women and children; living in a safe neighborhood with police that are not corrupt, attorneys and judges that really help to see that the law is upheld; animal rights; single women that get help by training them to become self-sufficient. I don't believe that women get on welfare continually have children to live in the 'lap of luxury'. People that believe that have never seen the size of a welfare check and had to figure out how to pay for the water or the electric!

I believe that people should help other people, but that the government doesn't need to tell me what to do, when to do it and how to do it. I am an adult, I am responsible for myself and my kids, not the government. It is my responsibility to pay my bills; have health care for my children; show my children the difference between right and wrong; teach them how to make choices and decisions understanding that there are consequences for their actions. My greatest legacy is to have children that become adults that participate positively in life, make a change. But part of that is to NOT JUDGE others and assume because their beliefs are different from mine that they are STUPID.

I hope that all those folks out there that are sending these types of emails will finally get it and realize that the election is a done deal. Better luck next time!!

Friday, November 19, 2004

another thought....

My friend was bitten by a dog on Friday. I am so concerned about her, I just want to tell her how much I care for her and think about how this accident that happened, looking for the "why" in it all. So far she's healing beautifully and I hope that continues. I am praying for you, girl! Luv ya!!

"If you are going through hell, keep going."
--- Sir Winston Churchill

Great IT Community

meeting talented people

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting a great group of guys! These guys are talented IT profs that work together to produce fantastic projects. I could feel the synergy in the room when they were interacting. They are a very close group and are tightly fit. And did I mention how funny they are? On my! It was a blast!! Reminded me of days of old when having fun at work was "allowed". Thanks guys, for having me over!!

One of their projects is the The Cincinnati Zoo, it's a great site, with a perfect use of flash. There is a butterfly and an exotic blue-spotted frog on the homepage that look 3-D! It's wonderful. The rest of the site is HTML and is full of zoo information, upcoming events, and conservation info with compelling reasons to visit the zoo.

Another site that they have created is the Arborwear tree climbers clothing line. I am unfamiliar with this clothing line, although I've heard of it. Apparently, the target audience are professional tree trimmers, tree climbers; in other words, people that are proficient in using chainsaws on trees!! They have an interesting-looking guy on the website that is their "spokesperson". (It's just his head as far as I can see.) He points out the various features and benefits in each style of clothing. My favorite is Oringal Tree Climber's Pant and the saying is "Protect your crotch. I can't stress that enough." Something I never pondered to be important to a guy who's climbing a tree - OUCH!! Seems like good advice.

Thanks guys! I enjoyed meeting you!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Managing All Parts of My Life

wearing my project mgmt hat

Seems like almost every situation in life requires management to some degree. Seems that I am either managing time, organizations, procurement, risk, moral & ethical issues, budget, scheduling, prioritization, people and/or communications both at home and at work. Well, it's my job, so I expect to be wearing my PM hat at work. And at home, managing a house and teenagers definitely requires management skills. So why am I sometimes surprised at the positive outcome my life has and my work has. I love what I do both at home and at work! It's easy for me, comes naturally :)

As you know, I have a daughter that's a senior in high school and a son that's a sophomore in college. Both of them live at home, which I totally LOVE!! They are great kids that don't give me any trouble whatsoever. I'm truly a blessed mother. I've raised them by myself with a lot of help from my friends over the years. There have definitely been some bumps in the road, but we never gave up, we stayed the course, pressed on every day and I never quite believing in my family - my kids. And now, it's all paid off. I feel like we've made it to this point and are very successful, that makes us all very happy. I just can't say it enough! They are wonderful.

The interesting part of all of this, is that now that they are young adults, they act more and more responsible. They encourage each other and me. They are truly interested in the things that I have going on in my life, just as I am interested in what they have going on. They even like to spend time with me and invite me to join them from time to time. It reaffirms that I have done my very best (as I always try to do) and with alot of prayers and patience, it really pays off!

Some of my friends have told me that I should write a book about my life experiences. Not an autobiography, no one would want to read that, but I would love to write a book about certain life lessons. But I am not sure about the time commitment to do that. In an ideal world, someone would front me money so I could stay home and write, write, write. That would be great. Even going off to some remote place with no distractions and compose my compelling story.

I could probably do that if I wasn't also trying to balance family, work, community service and personal life. You know, there's something to admitting that I am not SUPERWOMAN!! The "S" on my chest must stand for "something else"!! But just because I am not Superwoman, doesn't mean I'm not a "SUPER" woman :) (oh my, that was too corny wasn't it?) I think I am a terrific person. I try to be compassionate, caring, nurturing and loving. If my legacy is a life of honesty, integrity, morality and ethics I would be very happy. I would love for people to remember me for those characteristics. I have never asked someone to do something that I wouldn't do. I have a high expectation of myself, therefore I have the same expectations of those around me. I strive for excellence and expect all others to do the same. Sursum ad Summum!! Rise to the Highest!!

So, as I embark on time off of work and shift my priorities to my house, I am excited. I will accomplish those tasks that I have identified as higher priorities. I will do a great job and enjoy doing the work!

I'm off to the paint store to get started!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Time Flies.....

are we having fun yet?

The year is quickly flying by. I totally enjoyed summer, growing my garden, sunning myself on my deck, hanging out with my sweetheart and the dogs, relaxing when I could. Fall is going by so quickly, I just can't believe it. Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas soon to follow.

This Thanksgiving, like all the previous, will be enjoyed with my cousins. My grandparent, parents, aunts and uncles have all passed on now, so it's up to "us kids" to keep things rolling along. We have a blast when we get together, laughing and joking; catching up on what everyone's doing; sharing vacation pictures - Oh, I can't forget to take mine with me; and of course, eating and drinking and watching FOOTBALL!! It's a wonderful thing, lots of fun for me and my sweetheart.

Now, then, there's the kids. Not too much going on for them. There isn't many other kids around the same age as mine, so needless to say, they get bored. This year, however, they are not going to be bored because they are going to their grandma and grandpa's (on their dad's side of the family). They will have a blast. Lots of cousins their own age and interests. Plus their grandpa just had major heart surgery and the whole family will be there to celebrate and give thanks. This year, I would venture to say, that they have more to give thanks for than most years in the past!!

To prepare for a blissful and thankful day, I am taking some time off of work. :) I have about 11 days that I still need to take between now and the end of the year. So, I'm going to take holiday beginning this Thursday until after Thanksgiving weekend - sweeeeeeeeeeet! I have quite a few projects that I am going to be concentrating on during that well-deserved time off.

I'm having a contracter come out tonight and estimate my kitchen floor. I think that I would like pergo, first choice, but if I decide to use linoleum or something else, that's ok too. I just need a price to start comparing.

First thing is I'm going to work on my kitchen. Going to buy the paint and supplies that I need on Thursday. Tape it off and start painting on Friday. (Friday night, I'm heading to the Contemporary Arts Center to a Gallery Walk! Private showing of some of the exhibits - will be a great time!) Hope to have it all done and put back together by Sunday. I'll post my progress in pictorial view on the site :) Then I'm going to make the roman shades with the gorgeous fabric that I bought over the summer that is still riding around with me in the car - to avoid dog hairs!! I also have a rug in my trunk and plan on picking up some new pictures, dishes (that I am going to try to order today) and decor. Maybe even a new kitchen table - unless I can urge my sweetie to have the chairs "professionally" repaired.

Then on Monday, I'm going to a friend's house and we are going to work on jewelry for part of the day. Fixing what we can, matching up missing stones and making repairs to jewelry that needs glued, tied, rewired, etc. That will be fun, mostly because it will be someone to do it with and she and I will have a MAJOR gab-fest!! Lots of relaxing fun for that.

Tuesday will be a day to take care of some personal things, such as shopping for the turkey and all the goodies that I will prepare on Friday (yes, the day AFTER Thanksgiving I traditionally prepare a nice meal and invite lots of people over for that.) Maybe, I'll try to get some Christmas shopping done that day. Just a few things - well, that's all I'm buying really. I'm actually sticking to a budget and not going over. In the afternoon, I'll work on the basement and continue to get things organized and done down there.

Wednesday, I'll continue on the basement. My goal is to have the whole house whipped into shape by the end of the weekend. If I just work on it during a normal working day time, I will be successful!

Well, lunch is over, gotta get back to work :) as time flies by.............

Friday, November 12, 2004

Visit from a Friend

I have to visit Japan!!

A dear friend of mine from my days at UC came to visit Cincinnati from Japan this week. She and I have now been friends for almost 9 years. Her husband works for P&G, home-based out of Kobe, Japan. She now works there too and is tops in her career!

In school, she was a year ahead of me, but we quickly crossed paths as I was double majoring and taking many core classes very quickly to get done on time. When we met we knew right away that we would be friends. She was the "Student of the Year" for her graduation year and a year later, I was the "Student of the Year" and Valedictorian for our college. We both interned at school in the networking department. And we both absolutely LOVED working in the networking department. I had entirely too much fun working there. Her project became mine to implement, maintain and enhance.

After she graduated, her husband's temporary US assignment was over and it was time to move back to Japan. That was very, very sad for all of us at UC because we loved being with her so much. But when she got to Japan, she was quickly hired by P&G and began her illustrious career! She just won a prestigious award for the great job she does!! Congrats!

She's visited Cincinnati a couple of years ago and fortunately, was with a group at P&G that I was doing business with, so we were in meetings for part of the week together! That was totally cool. This trip, we just made sure to have time to visit.

Went to PF Chang's in Norwood for a scrumptious dinner: ordered SICHUAN STYLE ASPARAGUS and STIR-FRIED SPICY EGGPLANT served with Brown Rice and a red wine that was highly recommended by our server (my boyfriend's son) and for dessert we shared BANANA SPRING ROLLS which were to die for!!

And even though the dinner was absolutely delicious, the time with my friend was the MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING!! We shared pictures - funny, I brought mine in a digital camera and she had hers on a camera phone - very techhy by accident of course! We chatted about our kid's, careers, coworkers, spouse/boyfriend, parents, health, and school. It was as if we see each other all of the time. Now that's a real measure of a friend, isn't it?

Thanks for visiting me, I look forward to coming to Japan to visit you!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Oh Dear! It's a Deer!

Funny thing happened to my friend...

One of my friends at work told me today that last weekend something unfortunate happened to her while driving on the expressway. The truck in front of her hit a deer and the deer "flopped" down in front of her Cadillac, then she ran over it. All four tires left the ground, making her car airborn. The deer grinded under her car from front to back. Fortunately, she was not hurt and amazingly, her car was driveable!! What a freaky thing to happen!

Well, the comedy actually started this morning. She had been noticing a "burning roast" sort of smell while she's driving her car. So she stopped at the Cadillac dealer to have the car checked. The Service Manager came out to discuss what he found when the car was checked:

They removed a hoof from under the car and offered to show her the rest of the deer meat that is still clinging to the underbelly of the Caddy. She gracefully declined the offer to view the dead meat. But then, to her surprise, they refused to do the cleaning of the car! They charge $75/hr and refused the work! Unbelievable! So now we know where all those guys that don't change diapers work! They work for the Cadillac dealer in the service shop!

Good luck finding a detail shop my friend! and Thanks for the laugh! But most importantly, glad you're ok.

Monday, November 08, 2004

TGI Monday???

Monday's can be good days too :)

Well, it's a Monday and I would have never suspected that it could be such a good day, but lo and behold it was! I had the opportunity to do one of my favorite things this morning, and that's meet with clients. It's nice to hear good feedback and to know that I can help them with their project needs. Plus, I feel the relationships are good so that's really what it's all about.

I met someone new today, a real team player. He is all about the relationships too. We talked about how the relationships really are the key to building business. Oftentimes, projects come from small building blocks, so if you don't mind starting out small with some companies, they appreciate it and come back with more and more. I've seen it happen all too many times. I've built upon each win over the years and learned from both the wins and losses.

I had a mentor years ago that taught me to give people what they wanted and in return, I would also get what I wanted. The philosophy was hard to understand at first, but then by putting it into practice, I began to see the pay-offs. And today, after many years of putting others needs first, I have not been disappointed in having my needs met. It's great!

So today, I would like to tip my hat to my great mentor, Lenny, oh so many years ago! Thanks Lenny, your advice was timeless!!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

A Postive Attitude

Will Get You Through!

There are times when everything looks gray or dark and I get a feeling of hopelessness. I know everyone feels that way from time to time. I do not get that way too often, things in my life seem pretty normal with a few exceptions. The good thing is when I get like that, I really try to find the positive in every situation to make the best of it or to help lift my spirits. I know that God is helping me when I'm in those situations. He picks me up and carries me through life's fires.

When I was younger, I always thought that I had to "make a deal" with God - you know, what I goes something like: "God, if you get me out of this, then I'll never do it or that or whatever again." The thing that I came to realize is that God's Will is really what's best for us, so when in those tough spots, because I still have them, I have learned to pray differently and ask that God's Will be done so I can learn the lessons put before me and that God lifts me up and carries me through it. Just making the focus on God's correction and growth has made all the difference in my life.

I still face tough decisions and make plently of mistakes, oh boy, do I ever!! But at least when I do I am able to take the responsibility for what I have done, accept the lessons, and learn from them. I guess this is both patience and wisdom. Both things I have prayed to receive in my life. I know I'm not "done" but I'm well on my way. My goal is to make mistakes that have less impact and to try to learn from the lessons to not repeat those mistakes.

A positive attitude is very important in every day life. This attitude comes directly from the heart. It is the one thing that gets me through life's challenges. Then when I am not being challenged, a positive attitude allows me to enjoy life and all situations.

I pray for you to have a positive attitude, trust God and learn your lessons wisely.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

My Daughter, the Senior

It's a great adventure!

Well, we're getting there. It's my daughter's senior year and we're quickly approaching mid year. It's been quite a journey. She's a wonderful young woman, very opinionated, very smart and very attractive. She has lots of friends and her teachers like her, her boss likes her and everyone that comes into contact with her likes her. I don't think that she realizes how smart she really is.

Tonight we had her senior portraits taken. It was fun to watch her be nervous while we were at home fixing her hair. Then at the photographers, she was fixing her hair while getting ready. She changed into many outfits and seemed to enjoy it. The photographer took about 24 or 25 poses including school portrait. We will see the results in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping to have the prints back in time for Christmas.

But then there's the time that we got to spend together. I wouldn't trade it for anything. She and I had time alone in the car driving to the mall and then to the photographers. It gave us time to talk and enjoy each other's company. It's been harder as she's gotten older to get time with her and the time is just as important now as it was when she was younger. I miss the large amount of time with her now, but it's part of life. What it actually makes me do is cherish every moment that I do have with her.

Well, gotta get ready for work tomorrow! TGIF Tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Blog the Vote!

Election Day 2004

Yesterday was election day. I thought that it would be a very tight race, like in 2000. I didn't think that my opinion was very popular among my co-workers, so, I worked to keep my opinions to myself. It seemed to be the best way to go.

The refreshing part for me is that most of my friends' thinking is mainly the same as mine. But even with them, I try hard to not discuss politics with people, it's just a good policy to keep some things private.

Having said that, I can honestly say that in Presidental Elections, I have voted for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans depending on the candidate, their positions & ideas and the State of the Union at the time.

I live in one of the swing-states: Ohio. In fact, no republican president has ever been elected to the office without taking Ohio. My county is traditionally republican and has been ever since I've been aware. When I was younger, my parents, aunts/uncles, cousins, were all very active in the Republican Party. We went to Rep Party meetings, active in our precincts, hosted the polling location at our house, belonged to Daughter of the American Revolution and DeMoley.

Living in Ohio, both candidates and their running mates visited our area multiple times. There were people taking signs out of yards (from both parties) and I even had a friend that was out one day and someone actually covered the bumper sticker on her car with the opposing party's. There were more commercials on about the race and to be honest, I'm glad it's over and no more ads running for a while.

The polls in my precinct were crowded in the morning before work, with long waiting lines. I decided to wait until a little later in the morning and head back over there. It was a good choice. No lines, walked right up to the table and then to the voting booth. But there were lines in some parts of Ohio that lasted hours and hours! What an incredible day!!

Well, I hope you got out and voted for your candidate, whether or not he won.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Trick or Treat!!

Kids come a-begging!

Halloween. Time for ghosts and goblins to run through the neighborhood looking for treats. I rarely get a good turnout. There aren't as many kids on my street as there used to be, especially little kids. And let's face it, they are the cutest, aren't they? So I give them the most :) I give them candy bars and suckers and anything else that I have in the bowl. The teens are fun because I know some of them. And they travel in large groups so that's fun for them. I'm glad they still go out and trick or treat. The longer they can stay kids and enjoy kid-things, the better off they are.

I handed out candy bars, tootsie roll pops, gum and M&Ms. The kids were happy to get my treats and they were so cute. There was a princess, spiderman, skeleton, fairie, Bengals football player, and many more. All so cute and polite. Full of energy.

My kids are older teens and don't trick or treat anymore. They attended Halloween parties over the weekend. Then on Sunday, my daughter helped pass out candy with some friends and my son attended a function at church. So, they are pretty much on their own and enjoying the season their own way.

It's nice to be at this point in my life, where my kids are less dependent on me and more independent and becoming self-sufficient. I'm pleased with the way things are working out - although, not perfect, it's working for us. I'm proud of them :)

Happy Halloween! And now here comes the fast-lane to the holidays!