Archive for May, 2011

May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I never really think to much about this. As it turns out it’s just another day off, although today I chose to come into work. It’s the first time I have worked this particular holiday in eight years.

As always I sat on my front porch drinking coffee with my husband, reading emails, playing words with friends, checking groupon. The usual stuff. Not thinking anything about the day. It just a day. Then…….my iPad started beeping with all the site subscriptions I have. Everyone was writing about Memorial day in one way or another.

The lives that have been lost; the lives that have been forgotten. The injured. The found. Every life has a value to someone. Every person has been loved. Everyone gone remembered in some way by someone.

I work with Marines. I have lost friends, and acquaintances to war. I remember them often. The smile on their faces. The sound of their voice. The kindness in their hearts. The things they loved to do with their free time: skydiving, sailing, rock climbing, biking, etc. They are all amazing men.

At work guys don’t speak of the war much. I never really ask. Their home. There with family and the war is in the past, although I hear my share of stories.  Most are amazing and totally different than what you hear in mass media. It makes you wonder, so I no longer watch stories about the war.  The Marines are proud and I am proud of them.

I have meet boys who are now men that have lost their sight, their arms, their legs, the normal mental state. I used to feel sorry for them. I don’t anymore. They are proud of their misfortune. Proud of the job they have done. Willing to do it again without regret.

I don’t think about all I am grateful for everyday. I should. We have many freedoms that others don’t.  I should be more grateful. It’s a shame we need a day to celebrate the one who sacrificed. Those who have lost their lives for our benefit. Those who have sacrificed their lives for the ones they love. The country they love. It’s a shame that as a people we forget. We get so involved with the day to day we simply don’t have the time to remember. At the very least we have today.

In loving memory of my friend.

May 29, 2011

Chaney Ranch

This is an updated post. Jantz sent us a video he made of our son. And quit frankly I am super stoked about it.

May 29, 2011

Funny little things

Years ago long before kids. My husband and I were grocery shopping. As I walked down the isle I said, “I can’t remember that one thing. I know I’m forgetting something.” Just that split second as we came around the isle he says while passing another slightly older couple, ” If we’d had sex last night you could had made a grocery list.” more often than not I just ignore him, but I hear the older gentlemen laughing and whispering to his wife, so my husband gets the glare and the eye roll which makes him proud. That is one of my favorite memories without a doubt.

When my daughter was three we were at Sams club. I told my daughter to wait with nana while I put her brother in the car. She didn’t. She ran into the parking lot. I took here back to nana. She ran into the parking lot again. I was getting irritated at this point. Then she wouldn’t get in her car seat. She made her body stiff as a board. I was seriously irritated. This went on for a few more minutes. I took her out and we were standing at the back of my SUV discussing. Ok, I was talking and she was being a stubborn child. So, I picked up a gallon of water and proceeded to pour some of it over her head. I figured this ought to cool her off. Nope. She said, ” Now I have to change my jammmies!” I love that moment. The look in her eyes. The tone of her voice. Her stubborn attitude. I will never, no not ever forget that day. That is truly my awesome daughter.

My son is funny to. He is very observant. He can turn observation in to a comedy. Just the other day we were at Food for Less. I asked him to bag the groceries and mentioned that my bags were in the cart. I proceeded to finish paying and as I turned around I noticed he didn’t use my bags. “Didn’t you hear me say the bags were in the cart.” “Yep” he says. “Those bags are for Vons. You can’t use them here.” I did not know this. He was quit serious, so I took him for his word. I will know better next time to bring the appropriate store bags. My son is very mechanical and sees the world without shades of gray. Not a day goes by without observational comedy. What’s not to love about this.

May 28, 2011

Words with friends

Every now and again I get a Words with Friends bug. I just can’t seem to stop myself from wasting my time making simple words. I’m never really into the score, but who doesn’t like winning.

Now, I have been known on occasion to use a descrambler. There are times when I get stuck, or just don’t see the words before me. I usually prefer to go with a simple two letter word, and just man up to the embarrassment. It’s easier.

It doesn’t take an educated person to know that some words just are not used in the English language. At the very least there not common to most people’s vocabulary.

Paca – a large burrowing rodent in South America
Boskage – a mass of trees, or shrubs, wood,grove, or thicket Boscage
Bummalo – a small Asian fish
Crumbum – a despicable man
Epimysia. – muscle sheaths

I haven’t the foggiest idea about these words. Never heard them. Of course, it’s not to say that a person educated in Asian fishery wouldn’t know or use the word Bummalo, but words like this are not common. I think it highly unlikely, also, that people even bother to look up the strange words they are spelling.

Vowels make up everything. I learned this in first grade. Phonics are the key. If you can sound it out you can spell it out. Although it may not be a word, it’s defiantly worth the effort: ie, ea, aa, r, s, t, g, between vowels, ed at the end. It all about the sound. Simple vowel sounds is how we communicate. They are how we translate thoughts into words.

Scrabble is mind challenging, strategy orientated. It makes me think. Warms up the brain and for me is much funner than suduko. So the next time you play Words with Friends try using your mind unsteady of the descrambler. You never know what crazy word you will come up with. Not to mention blocking them from using triple.

Picul – a unit of weight used in some parts of Asia
Trinal – having three parts; threefold
Nutria – the light brown fur of the coypu. I’ll let you look that up.

May 28, 2011

Customer service

Do you remember about five or six years ago maybe just a bit longer? You could walk into any store and nobody would acknowledge you. It was hard to find help, because all the clerks were busy doing their own thing. I remember walking into Lowes one day. I couldn’t find one person to help me, nope not one. I left. I was irritated that no one seemed to acknowledge that was there to spend my money for their services. A lack of customer service then, for me, was the norm.

I remember the day that changed. I was in Vons. The produce department is the first department you enter, and since I go early their is always a guy stocking the shelves.

“Good Morning, is there anything I can help you find.” he says with a smile.
“No, I’m good thank you.” I return.

I was put off at this at first. I didn’t know what to think. I was in customer service shock. Now I have come to expect it. Demand it actually.

Recently, I was in Target. My daughter and I were wondering around looking for an item and as we stood in the middle if the isle looking lost and confused not one but five employees walked by us with no acknowledgement. No good morning, no hello’s, no can we help you find something. Nothing. We left and bought our item at another store, simple.

Customer service gurus.

From a consumers perspective, and a moms I believe Apple and Starbucks are the most successful because of customer service. I say this a lot.

Have a greeter at the door that can welcome you and direct you to your needed item.
Have staff on the floor to answer questions.
Keep your store well lit, and stocked.
Smile, be friendly.

This just seems like common sense, yes. It should be. Some statistics show that we pay more for better customer service. I believe having more staff on the floor is worth it.

One of my clients recently bought a used Apple Mac book and a new IPad. The Mac book had some code problems so he took it down to the Apple store. They fixed it for no charge. He describe how friendly and knowledgeable they were. How they spent time and attention on his issues. He was impressed and excited. This is the type of experience that will make or break a company. Because of his experience he will no doubt tell everyone he knows.

Customer service is indeed the leading key to success.

May 28, 2011

Really

I never noticed this until I heard it from some redneck southern comedian….no insult intended.

“My car got broken in last night and they stole everything.”
“Really”
“Nope, I just made that up.”

“We are sold out.”
“Really”
“Nope, I just don’t want to sell it to you.”

“I failed my drivers test.”
“Really”
“Nope, I just want youth chauffeur me around.”

Your getting it……right. Up until the day I heard the comedian. I didn’t realize how funny really was used in this context.

This is really hot!
She is really pretty!
You are really silly when you use really out of context.

In the right context the word is very useful description. It emphasizes greatness, largeness. But thats no fun if you ask me. So a big thanks goes out to our really redneck comedians for really rocking my vocabulary. Now if I could just find one to help me with sentence structure.

May 26, 2011

Homemade summer camp

I have been stressing out for about a month trying to find a summer program for my daughter. This is a major priority. When her mind is board she get depressed, anger and out of control. I can’t say I blame her. What active, intelligent person wouldn’t. She’s a smart kid and I’m a lucky mom to have her.

The college schedules finally came out except there was just nothing great being offered. There we’re two potential classes on Monday except that is my day off. Monday is the day we go to museums, explore San Diego, etc. Needless to say I have been frustrated trying to find intellectually stimulating programs in my area.

Then like a bright idea the lights kicked on. I can incorporate our Monday travels into a lesson plan. She can use her Itouch 4 with video and camera to document her journey. Then she can blog. What a brilliant idea right. I am so proud of myself for seeing the obvious.

It builds creative writing, critical thinking, and life skills.
People can share opinions through comments.
She can edit blog designs to enhance web skills.
She gains knowledge of IPhoto and IMovie though editing her footage.

I don’t even need a professor for this. The upside of this brilliant plan is I won’t be sitting in a parking lot for hours on end, waiting. The downside is that she doesn’t meet knew people hanging out with mom. Of course I am still looking for a dance camp or something else along those lines. As for math a workbook will do. She has great self motivation, so no instructor needed there. In the event she gets stuck You Tube videos offer valuable instruction for the minimal cost of free. Incidentally Apple also has excellent tutorials on all their programs. This will enhance her Internet and listening skills. Summer planned. Now mom can have a relaxing cup of coffee while surfing coupon sites to pay for all of this.

May 24, 2011

We survive

When I was a little kid I lived in Oklahoma. I remember the storms, the tornado’s. I don’t remember the exact day or time when three tornado’s ripped through our town. From our house you could see them over the trees. They were huge. I was little.

Tornado’s have no mercy. They come to destroy; take the very heart of man. As a kids we would run outside at the awesomeness of these great storms while our parents watched skies. It was only years later while I was in college there that I realized the true devastation that they caused or the fear and despair that they brought. In less than 10 minutes everything, all of it, monetary, mentally. It’s all gone. Hope is all that can be let and you struggle to find that.

Sunday a young marine was sitting in my chair. As I cut his hair I noticed his wife, girlfriend was quite upset talking on the phone from across the room. He explained that her aunt was missing and the tornado had leveled the area in which she lived.

The day after the tornado, when I was a kid, we went to school like normal. On arriving one of my friends told me her house had been destroyed. Bummer. That’s all we had and we went back to our daily lives. Then, as kids, we didn’t realize the impact. It was an adults world. We played. I’m not sure what happened to her and her family. In fact I don’t even remember her name. Only the destruction that her family faced.

In southern California we have wildfires. They can be tragic. Home are lost. Animals are slaughtered by the flames. Lives are changed. In times like these the people here do all they can for others. They open there heart and homes. There is no life left untouched and no hand left un-held.

One year I had the opportunity to help a horse ranch. The flames weren’t far and any blade of grass could set the ranch ablaze. So we weeded for hours. All the hay, and feed had to be moved in the barns and the horses had to be watered done. It was all preventive. The mere sight of embers blowing in the air was a warning that this needed to be done without haste.

I look back at my life and though I don’t think about it everyday I have escaped destruction and devastation many, many, times. I’m sure you have as well.

I guess the point here is…..humans survive. Though I can’t run around the world to lend a helping hand at times of destruction. My heart does go out to these families. All of them. I admire the strength they find to get though. The hope the have to move on. The compassion they feel towards others. It makes me wonder why there are wars.

To the families in Joplin and the rest of the world. My thoughts are with you,  all of them.  You are strong and will rise above this. I know in no way will my words ever help. They wont change the devastation. I merely wanted to think out loud for a moment about the strength of mankind.

May 23, 2011

Driving

Today as I am driving to the gas station after dropping off my kids I notice a man walking across the street before. He was of average height and build. Looked to be normal. Had everyday casual clothes on. Just walking across the street going from point a to b. I wonder where he is going. What he mint be thinking or whom he might be thinking about. Then like poof his whole life story pops in my head. I have made it all up.

He grew up here loving to surf and play guitar. He’s a musician by trade, but work is tough. The pay even tougher. So when he comes to run his errands he parks in a central location and walks. He figures it’s a good way to think and get exercise because he cancelled his gym membership. He needed to money to feed his two kids.

His wife is an RN at the local hospital. She is well educated and loves the sound his guitar makes when he plays. That’s how they fell in love. In a small jazz club. Recently she had to take a pay cut. He finds ways to save money by clipping coupons, walking, and car pooling with other parents.

You know his daughter is quite the budding ballerina. She dreams if being the princess in this falls play. His son is a star football player and practices hard to make it to the draft, although that is years away. Both kids play guitar to humor dad, but neither want to be a musician.

I have named him Joe because it’s an easy name. Joe is rather content walking. A happy man and I smile at the happy life I have given him.

After I get fuel its off to the dance studio to register my daughter for next season. I notice an older women sitting in her SUV just outside. Of course I have a story for her as well.

She’s a grandmother of two rather bouncy young girls. Who she takes care of while their mother is at work. No, she doesn’t live with them, but there’s are plans for that in the future when the housing market gets better and she can sell her house.

In the car she is discussing the dance schedule with her daughter. Who use to love to dance. She has fond memories of that. Now her granddaughters fill that void with twirling bodied, swinging arms, and dancing feet.

This is my usual day. Making up stories about people. Today they were happy. Sometimes they are tragic. But, there is always a story to be told.

May 23, 2011

Professionals vs Common sense

I read this article: http://nolongercensored.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/a-living-breathing-relationship/

“I’m not a professional and therefore can’t answer this question… professionally!” This is a direct quote.

At what point in time did professionals become the authority and common sense get throw out the window. The author makes clear, concise, valid points. Surely points that any good professional would make, for a price. Yet with some good old fashion common sense and experience he has come up with these on his own. Which, by the way, has saved him a bit of money both on a divorce attorney and a psychologist. With that he can take his lovely wife, assuming he’s married, out to dinner the next time he forgets to take out the trash.

I have a friend with a wife and 3 year old child that’s going to counseling. Their problem… communication. That’s a killer for any relationship. That’s common sense, communication. In fact without it we can’t even order a burger. We know it’s best approach. Yet we take a pass from using it when it comes to relationships, especially when it’s mixed with respect.

I’m mad at you and don’t want to talk now. Just say it, respect it. Space does wonders.
This is not working out. Ok, later.
Have two tubes of toothpaste, two computers. I do because I leave the lid off the toothpaste and I get angry when he’s on my computer touching my keys. Communicate these points. Easy fix.
Agree to disagree and let the dog lie in peace.

My husband and I have nothing, not one thing in common, except our kids. He loves to travel, I don’t. He loves the extreme, I don’t. He likes the news, I don’t. He likes beer, I don’t. He likes PC, I don’t. I don’t like anything he likes, but I like him. Why because of communication and respect. It common sense.

Another quote:

“What’s mine is hers and what’s hers is hers…wait! Just kidding! ”

Really, it’s true. Men see the world in these terms. They are willing to give up all worldly possessions for the woman they love. My husband is happy with my old, so I can have the new referring to computers, cars, monetary items. I’m happy. He’s happy. Items can be replaced. People can’t and I want to keep this fish. Common sense. I know you see that, right.

So why do people have to be so mean when it comes to relationships. Drag it out for months only to devastate some poor unknowing fool in love. Narcissism ring a bell.

You don’t need to be a professional to figure out that common sense = happiness, to include communication and respect. Exclude narcissism.

I hope I did justice to the original writer. Please check out his site. He makes very good points in all his posts. Truly, a professional with a great deal of common sense.