January 2016 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)
|LET THE GAMES BEGIN!|
|This has been quite the week. My husband and I came back from vacation last Sunday after 7 days in sunny St. SImon Island. Getting back into the swing of things was difficult to say the least. I had one of the busiest weeks at work, I need to prepare for the holiday festivities, but mainly I was anticipating Saturday when my teenager would be returning from a 3 week foreign exchange program in Costa Rica. There is nothing more dear to me than my son.
Its difficult to have the faith and trust and confidence to allow your 16 year old boy to spend 3 weeks with a family you do not know, in a country and culture very different. We strongly believe that encouraging him to travel abroad will make him more open minded to other cultures, teach him the value of tolerance and create an open minded attitude that would exceed what we can do here in Buffalo. We also hope that he will become inspired to choose a life direction. Of course, we want him to have fun as well.
We hardly heard from him this trip. In the past he has traveled Spain for 2 weeks (with school), London for 2 weeks (as a family vacation), Paris/Nice for 2 weeks (with us) and China for 3 weeks with People to People. But this was different. He was with a family and friends actually living there. I spent the week thinking of what he was doing, worrying if he was ok and anxiously anticipating his return home. All while trying not to call, skype or text him.
Frankly it was a good experience for all of us. My husband and I realized we do have a relationship outside of our son - we are still madly in love and truly enjoy each other's company. When our baby goes to college we will be fine.
We picked him up from the airport last night at midnight. He seems so much more mature. Tan and possibly taller, filling us with adventurous tales and high school drama. I missed him so much and am thrilled that he is home. His grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins cannot wait to see him today!
My baby has grown up. He is no longer a little boy. It seemed to have happened overnight. I will miss the little boy he was but look forward to the man he will become.
|"What are your thoughts on alternative healing practices? Defend your view."
I am a believer, a fan and even an advocate for alternative healing practices. Modern medicine is not the be all end all and the medical community certainly does not have all the answers. Why wouldn't you try whatever you could to help yourself?
Specific reasons from my advocacy:
1- There was a time doctors bled patients to heal them. Good think we moved past that.
2 - Chemicals ingested frighten me so if there is a way to help myself without taking a lot of pills, so be it.
3- I used a Netti Pot and it helps. For those of you with allergies check this little contraption out before you pop those allergy pills.
4 - Never have I felt better than when I was doing yoga. You cannot tell me that is is not a successful healing option.
5 - My favorite bizarre (and seriously I have not idea why this works) healing mechanism is soap. My father-in-law swore that his leg cramps disappeared when he slept with a bar of soap. I thought he was crazy until I put a bar of soap in my pocket when I was having cramps. Felt GREAT! No scientific proof but how much better is holding a bar of soap than popping a bunch of pain killers?
However I do have a two caveats or warnings:
1 - Medicine and surgery should be taken seriously. Don't forgo modern methods and place your self at great risk because you only want an alternative method.
2 - There are a lot of claims on the internet that are false and not regulated. Buyer be aware especially when it comes to your health.
|" Several television stations have ‘reality shows” about businesses, is the business/career you have/had "reality show” worthy. Why or why not? What would be the name of the show? If you don't work choose somebody you know and their business/career."
I will present a job I had several years ago that would make a perfect reality show. At the time I was an independent consultant working by and for myself. A friend (much younger than I am) from my masters program asked me to consider joining the company he was with as a project manager. I met with the owner of the company strictly as a favor to my friend.
The owner was this highly technical, young gun who I really liked. He was eclectic, undeniably fair and a little naive. The company sold a CMS and services. They were small but had incredible potential and the right attitude. They could not afford my salary requirements, but I had already fallen for this group and had to accept. I took a position paying 1/4 of my normal rate with no benefits. I considered it a labor of love.
First day I entered the office and met the team. The first floor of the building was empty and in severe need of repairs. The "offices" were on the second floor. It was a giant room, with a few desks, great ceiling to floor windows and a complete sound system set up in the corner. A small bathroom was there but seemed a little scary to use.
Meeting the boys was an experience. Picture this: 6 men, 5 under the age of 23. All wearing jeans, some type of a black t-shirt usually with a graphic artist rendition or band logo on it, and flip flops for those who actually wore shoes. They were the sweetest boys but let's face it I was like a den mother. I show up in a black pin stripe designer suit, my standard 4 in heels, diamond stud earrings and a brief case. The team was so young and so full of testosterone that I referred to my work place as "Acne and Axe".
These boys were hysterical. We had the heavy metal guitar player with long hair, piles of graphic novels on his desk and a vocabulary full of four letter words. We had the young rebel with no confidence whatsoever...a giant tattoo across his chest and arm, an asymmetrical haircut and feet consistently housed in Doc Marteen boots. We had the quiet, skinny kid with multiple piercings and three laptops humming away at all times. We had the easy going guy who didn't own a car (I picked him up for work on a regular basis to make sure he could get in) but never, ever stopped smiling. These boys could code! Some of the best web development skills I had ever seen.
Besides developing and supporting international, multimillion dollar websites from this less than respectable office, we had fun. We would listen to and argue over the music screaming from Pandora. At one point they set up the sound system to cue the song "You're beautiful" when I walked into work in the morning.
Whenever someone did something that made me laugh or made the team more successful, I would buy them all breakfast sandwiches - this happened a couple times a week. We even had cook offs, where my friend and I would each bring in competing dish (macaroni and cheese, chili, etc) and the boys would blinding vote whose was the best. I really liked this idea because I was afraid my boys were not always eating well, not too mention I liked buying lunch when I new they were out of cash or hung over.
One day after work they told me I had to "scratch". I had no idea what they were talking about. They presented me with a black hoodie and instructed me to put it on, hood and all. Then they took me to the turn tables to teach me how to "scratch". It was hysterical.
We all decided to take up racquetball. The boys were incredible (of course, all young and strong) and I was horrific. But I had a terrific workout and they were so encouraging. They also snowboarded and biked.
I dispensed life advice about money matters, girlfriends, health care and career. They showed me to get great food at 3 am and how to lighten up.
The time came when it was time for me to leave. I had done all I could for the company and I was ready to go back to real work with real money. I hated leaving them and still stop by with cookies when I am in the neighborhood.
|"Tell us about your siblings: How many sisters and brothers in order and tell us a story of you and your siblings. If you don't have any siblings of your own, tell us about some siblings in your life."
I am excited about this prompt and the opportunity to speak about some of the most interesting, crazy, loving, significant people in my life. First let me introduce the players: My twin sister A, my younger sister T and my brother S. Each has there own idiosyncrasies, strengths and weaknesses. I would have it no other way.
My twin sister is fraternal, which means she does not look like me. Not at all. She is about 5'4, bit of a bigger girl with straight dark hair. We differ in almost every way. She is a podiatrist in Chicago, married to an accomplished accountant and has two athletic kids. She is so sweet and nurturing, you know the type who always befriended the underdog? That's her. Unfortunatley she does allow herself to be taken advantage of, and is a bit too meek but she is happy. I try to see her a few times a year and we speak frequently.
My younger sister T is the care taker. She is a beautiful woman with two adorable little girls. She teaches kids with reading issues and is probably the most committed teacher I know.
SO I screwed up and did not finish this blog with a save - here is the updates
T has two lovely little girls who light up the room when they enter. The girls come over to try on my shoes and spray my perfume. They both adore my son and can't understand are so jealous when he has friends over. T is my reality check, she keeps me grounded when I am flying high and brings me hope when I am really down. She is the care taker and the princess of the family. She moved in to take care of my house, husband and son when I was traveling 4 days a week for work. My son sees her as his sister.
My brother is funny, sarcastic, intelligent, adventurous and adorable. He is pretty much the bad boy of the group. He is married with 3 kids and I consistently ask him to give me Gavin his youngest boy. S makes me laugh at myself and helps me see the truth in others. We get together regularly which always amounts to too much laughter and too many drinks. He is always, always there for me and I ADORE him. Sometimes I feel like my son is just like him. Can't tell you how often I call S my son's name and my son S.
Once a year my twin comes in for SIblings Weekend. It is t the end of April, where we take my brother and younger sister out to celebrate their birthdays. Always a fantastic time!
My siblings and I have had our differences and there are times I am furious with them, but I am so thankful for each one. I would do anything for them. I love them helplessly!
|"Have you ever had something stolen from you? What was it? How did this make you feel? Did you get it back? Or did you hatch a plan to get it back? Do you think it would have worked?"
Several years ago I was hired as the District Manager for a International IT Consulting company. I was housed at an office in Buffalo where I was assigned two sales people, two recruiters and an administrative assistance. Immediately I fired one of the recruiters and replaced the two sales persons. We had a strong client base, solid revenues and even better margins. Our team was a tight knit group, which impressed our management in PA.
By nature I was a trusting soul. Never did I lock my desk, my office door or purse. The space was limited with my office in the front and the reception area/admin space outside of my office. The rest room was shared by the entire floor therefore it was down the hall.
After about 1 yr and half of working together we became very close. I had this group at my house for the holidays and even invited their families to our summer house. I trusted these people. One month we were informed that our branch was being combined with another. We had about three months to close it down. I had the opportunity to join that branch or take severence. I chose to leave as the other branch was about 1 1/2 hours away from my house. That final Friday was sad. I took everyone out for cocktails, we said our goodbyes and promised to get together again soon.
Saturday morning my husband and I were out shopping when we stopped at an atm to withdraw funds. I usually keep a pretty high balance in that checking account. When I request $200 dollars, I received an insufficient fund error. Immediatley I think there is a problem with the machine as I should have 20 times that amount. I try another atm - SAME THING. Now I am concerned. I call the bank.
After pouring through 3 months of itemized statements, I find that someone has been taking $100 out of my account several times a week at an ATM where I work but one that I never use. I have my card, my husband has his so now I am terrified that someone is watching us or robbing us or something. I begin looking into changing the locks on the house, buying a different car. The whole thing! I really freaked out - paranoid that my baby was in jeopardy that our lives were in some kind of made for tv movie - yes I overreacted a bit.
I emailed my former salesperson and admin asking them to come to lunch because they will not believe this story. At lunch as I am pouring out my fears, my former admin is acting very oddly. So much so that my former sales guy calls me right after to ask what was up with her. I write it off thinking she is simply concerned over unemployment.
I week later I update my former staff on how the HSBC FRAUD department has been great and how I am going to call the police because HSBC feels they could find this person. That night I recieve a three page email from my former admin stating she stole my money. She had seen me enter my pin one day that we were at the ATM together. She would wait until I went to the rest room, take my atm card from my purse, run out to the atm, come back and replace the card in my purse before I left for a late lunch. Funny I remembered one time looking for my card and thinking I left it at the coffee shop downstairs. She had volunteered to check and brought it back with her...hmmmm. She stated she intended to pay me back and would eventually. Although she never said how long or much she took, my records showed just under $8k. I was furious.
Immediately I called the police. I met with an investigator and handed over the email along with a written complaint. A week later they arrested her. Apparently she had embezzled much more from her former employee. Nice background check huh? The judge let her off with community service. HSBC reimbursed me and I do not know what her fines were.
Worse than the money, I was heartbroken. How could I be such a poor judge of character? How could someone I trusted so implicitly steal from me? I spent several weeks feeling sorry for myself and worrying about what other lies existed and who else was out to fool me.
I don't know what happened to her. One day a year or so ago I saw her coming out of UPS store and went to approach, she quickly ran the other way. What's that expression "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me."? I am much more diligent and alert and even safe than I used to be. I don't think I will ever get forget this breach of trust. It was more than just the money.
|"In honor of the journey ahead, list your must-haves for a successful road trip. Feel free to expand with your favorite road trip anecdote."
Although I am not a very agreeable road trip person, I do enjoy the occasional auto journey. There are a few essentials to ensure the ride goes as well as planned.
First we need to be sure to have a detailed map. Even with GPS, I still insist that we have a hard copy of the direction or path that needs to be taken. Of course, that is in a folder along with the confirmation for hotels or other necessities once we have arrived.
Next of course is our clothing, sundries and accessories for our stay. That will change depending on what our plans for our stay will be.
Most importantly are the items necessary for the actual journey, or drive time. We need an audio book, pod casts or ipod play lists for our ears. We usually enjoy the time for stimulating conversation, but we really do need something to listen to. I tend to bring some type of needlecraft - sweater to knit, wrap to crochet, needlework for house or baby gifts, something to keep my hands occupied.
I also have to have my computer or ipad. How else would I be able to keep up with my writing? I bring cards just in case and some magazine. My top picks are The New Yorker, HBR, Bon Appettit or the latest fashion rag (my guilty pleasure).
Food and beverage are next. For me it has to a first stop for coffee, a 6 pack of water and trail mix. I love trail mix!
That's it. All the components of a solid road trip fit neatly into a few paragraphs. Oh and the most important piece - my husband and or son for company
|Beware this blog post is bitchy and may be offensive. Refrain from continuing if you are unable to commiserate, or at least feel badly for me.
Today simply sucked. I know you are all going to say it could be worse. You don't have a terminal illness and you don't live on the streets and you don't have an addiction problem, and on and on. Thats all true but I am still having a s***ty day and choose to feel sorry for myself.
It should have been great. Usually I drive 1 1/2 hours to get to my office on Fridays. Lucky for me I did not have to show up today so I had the day to work from home. My lovely teenage son had the day off as well. So the morning started with him telling me he needs to relax and simply watch tv. Are you kidding me? He has community service forms to fill out, a room to clean, packing for Costa Rica, paperwork for Confirmation, applications for Crew, college research, SAT study, not mention homework. Why is he so damn lazy and then angry with me for trying to make him productive? The day starts with an argument, fabulous.
Did I mention I fell out of bed because I have severe calf pain? I wear 4 inch heels regularly so when I am not wearing shoes or wear flats my calf muscles ache I mean really hurt. Now this was never much of an issue prior to the ripe age of 40. But now it seems my legs cramp up so badly that I need to throw on a pair of heels when I am simply hanging out at home. Looks amazing with those pajama bottoms.
Next I log in. That high end IBM Lenova piece of garbage that is usually called a computer is rendering lines instead of images so I cannot view my screen. This is the second computer in 1 1/2 years that I have had to send back and they return without resolution. So how am I supposed to do my job when my equipment is junk and why am I dealing with equipment problems? Another question is why does my admin need me to track down AR? Seriously is that what I am paid for now? Looks like I will be working from my Mac today and trying to email documents from my IBM to my Mac. This is an incredible waste of time for a crappy $2k computer investment.
In trying to make nice with my underachieving son, I review his airfare for his trip to Rhode Island in July (he is attending a camp at Brown University - see what a terrible mother I am). As he is reviewing the airfare he asks why the ticket is for Feb 5th instead of July 7th? I am so busy that I am not paying attention to what I am doing and booked his ticket for last month. Guess who lost $148 on a one way airline ticket and now needs to purchase another? That would be me.
It's only 11 am and so I decide to let the kid go to the club to work out and play squash - which gives me time to get some work done on those dueling computers. Now I am alone in the house and I keep hearing beeps from the alarm system. I am afraid someone is in the house. I run to lock the back door, I check the kitchen door and I race to check the main door. All set so I am safe right? The alarm beeps keep driving me crazy. I run to the second floor checking all rooms, then to the 3rd double checking windows. Back downstairs the beeps continue. So is it a battery issue or another problem? Thankfully the phone rings to take my mind off the beeping.
Except it is my husband on the phone and he wants us to go scuba diving with sharks in November. He wants me to pull the kid out of school (his junior year) and jump into the ocean with man eaters. He has also apparently lost his mind.
Work calls with more inane bulls***. I have had enough. Time for me to end the day. I go to the wine fridge, take out a much too expensive bottle and pour into my favorite fine crystal. I go upstairs run a super hot bath, set the ipod to Opera Playlist and jump in. Oh sweet relief shortly...
The doorbell. I just need to ignore it. Nope it is not going away. Towel off and run down downstairs. The mormon representatives here to give me literature and save my soul. Oh please not today. As sweetly as I can I excuse myself. Now what?
Log on and complain to my blogging community.
|Newspapers and How I Would Change Them
To clearly understand my point of view, let me divulge a few things. One, I only read the actual newspaper on Sunday while I read the NY Times online (sometimes the WSJ) the rest of the week. Two, I used to work for a newspaper many years ago and still have friends who work for the Buffalo News. Three, I have mentioned this before but I am most likely becoming extremely cynical.
As for format and physical nature, I feel the newspaper is racing toward a slow death. Don't get me wrong I love the walk with my husband to buy a paper on Sunday morning and then the swapping of sections, the highlighting of points to tell the kid, and the cutting out stories to share. It makes for an experience. But in reality, we don't need an actual paper to get the same value.
More importantly and to the prompt point, I completely believe that the papers need to go back to traditional Who What Where When Why and eliminate the subtle opinions and not so subtle biases. What happened to gaining information without having to sift through the fact from fiction. Seems to me reports are so anxious to get the story that they tend to play loose with the actual facts and many times completely ignore the investigative part of journalism. This may in part be caused by the bloggers. There are so many people online gaining hits because of their entertaining writing, posed as news, that the general public doesn't know the different. Thus allowing the newspaper journalist more leeway than I would like or appreciate.
Another thing and this really bothers me, is the definition of news. When I pick up the newspaper or visit their site, I want to see news. I am not looking at The Star or People or whatever shock mag is the dish of the day. I want relevant, current information on newsworthy subjects. I swear the editor of the Sunday Buffalo News may not even know different between opinion editorials, feel good local stories, world news and frankly the word CURRENT. How does Whitney's death (albeit sad) trump the prime spot from uprising Syria or nuclear power scares from Iran?
And what about reporters like Stephen Glass who have not concept of ethics or honesty? Shouldn't the newspapers check their staff a little more closely? I always thought that was part of the editor's job??
The real sad part here is that our newspapers are so much better than the UK and other countries.
|Tell us about your mountain experiences. Holidays? Dreams? Plans
I am a beach gal and thus do not have much in the way of mountain stories, but the one I do have is pretty good. A few years ago we spent a couple weeks in Maui. It was an anniversary celebration as well as a contemplation on new beginnings as I had quit my job and was focusing on staying at home with our son (short lived experience to say the least). None the less, we decided we were going to experience everything Maui had to offer and that included a trip to Mount Haleakalā (House of the Sun) volcano.
Our hotel was a good 3 hours away from this place and we were determined to get to the peak (about 3, 000 miles tall) to watch the sunrise. Everyone warned us to take warm clothes because it is cold that high up. We were in Maui, so warm clothes for me meant a cotton sweater and windbreaker...definitely not enough warmth I quickly found.
The ride to the base was uneventful and dark. My son slept and my husband and I just enjoyed the quiet. The ride up the mountain was incredible, we saw these miniture dear and seriously felt like we were climbing (via the car) into the clouds. At the submit parking lot, we immediately notice how freakin' cold it was. My best picture of Maui is my son and husband in front of the volcano as the sun arises and they are huddled together looking like they are freezing!
We walk to the observation hut and then outside to find a quiet viewing area. Just as we settle in, we see the light coming from the clouds. It was surreal. Here we are on the edge of a 7 mile wide depression, wrapped in clouds as the sun shines magnificently through the sky. If you are not a spiritual person, visit this place and experience the immediate change. We stayed for only about 45 minutes but it was 45 minutes of pure beauty and wonder. All of our senses were engaged.
The ride down was not as glorious. Did I mention we were cold? It seemed forever to get that heat going in in the rental. As we descended (apparently too quickly) my son experienced elevation sickness and basically passed out - scary for a mom! I started getting car sick and those lovey deer became a road block way too often. By the time we reached the bottom all was good again.
It didn't matter, we barely remember that part of the experience and I would recommend this "mountain" to anyone able to visit. As for me, I will stick with my beach vacations and this memory.
Although not a reference to traditional mountains, I think this link is relevant...
|“If you could speak to anyone alive or dead throughout history who would you choose and why?”
Not sure if I am becoming overly patriotic, undeniably cynical or if Super Tuesday is just getting to me but I am going to choose George Washington as my dead conversational companion.
I'd have to let him know that I consider his words and comments reflective of all our founding fathers. l I would want his opinion on the state of our government today. Would he even believe that the constitution is still relevant? Would he find our political leaders simpletons or clowns? I cannot believe he would look at the 2nd amendment today and agree that we all need to carry guns.
I'd like to know what he and his buddies were hoping for the future? What was the real reason behind the verbiage and points made?
Mostly I would like to know where he found his inspiration and hope. I listen to the candidates today and cannot help but think of school yard bullies and twelve year old caddy girls. Their bickering and mud throwing do not give the hope I need to support any leader. We are facing serious issues yet our future leaders feel the best way to approach those issues is through slander and character tear down.
Did George fight with his posse this way? It's probably a good thing I cannot really have dinner with him, because I am afraid of his responses.