"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cute Confusion

This was too cute not to share--Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009


A ship in harbor is safe -- but that is not what ships are built for.
John A. Shedd

The quote above was given to me by a former mentor of mine early in my career. It has always remained one of my favorite quotes, and an often needed reminder that life isn't about sitting still and being safe--it is for living--for doing whatever you are "built for"--or meant to do.

Beginning last August, I took what I thought were some fantastic, beautiful risks. I trusted my heart, believed in fate and love, and leaped...only to get so terribly deceived and hurt, that I doubted everything I knew about myself, life, and the whole business of that ship leaving the harbor.

Since then it seemed as if things kept happening-- my life has honestly seemed like a ride on a rickety roller coaster, with no assurances that the track was complete, or that I would survive the ride at all. Even if I did survive, I wondered if I had already lost so much of who I am, that I would be unrecognizable once the ride stopped...even to myself.

Even just within the last month, I have suffered so many setbacks and struggles that I have questioned everything--EVERYTHING. There have been days I haven't eaten because I literally had no money. My car was repossessed, and I am behind on my rent, waiting for my landlords, who have been so incredibly patient with me, to finally decide that they have had enough of my roller coaster ride.

I have had to decide just how much a person, an employer, an insurance company, or a nagging creditor can take away from you before you sink into something you can't crawl out of.

I have compared lives with countless people (which is something I always tell my friends NOT to do), telling myself that in the scheme of things, I had it much better than those battling cancer, the loss of a loved one, or those who had no home at all. But, in the end, your own pain and struggle are still as painful, still as horrible to you, no matter how much better off you are than anyone else.

I have wondered what my purpose in life really is, as I have watched things tumbling around me. I have examined every choice, mistake, success and failure. And the truth is, I have no answers.

In the last week, I was at a rock bottom, and by the end of the week, felt myself afloat again and turned around by the love and giving hearts of friends that are like family to me. It scares me more than I can write to think of where I would be without this nonjudgmental love, without their support and belief in me. Knowing I only have to make phone calls to two different houses and find my most ardent supporters at either number has literally saved me.

So, back to my quote, and why I started this post with it. The truth is, the ship isn't entirely, without a doubt, safe in that harbor. There is no safe place in life where we can corner ourselves and not take risks and guarantee all will be well.

All the more reason to pull out of that harbor, and keep moving...find your purpose. I don't have a clue what mine is yet. And as scared as I am of what has happened recently, I am still out to find it.

Tomorrow is the first step.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Susan Boyle: Truth and Beauty

Susan Boyle Stuns Crowd with Epic Singing

Evidently, most everyone around the world knows about Susan Boyle and her amazing performance on Britain's Got Talent. If you remember, I posted Paul Pott's audition, and this is a similar situation.
Susan walked out on the stage, and was judged so quickly and harshly by her appearance that it made me cringe. Susan is 47, lives with her cat, and told an interviewer she has never been kissed. As she came across the stage, laughter erupted from parts of the audience, and a random person whistled (sarcastically). I think that whistle is what angered me most.
But none of this flustered her, she was cheeky and completely herself.

And then, she began singing.

I cannot believe that this voice, this amazing voice, has not been discovered before. She sang for a charity in 1999, and cut a CD of Cry Me a River that makes me weep and so envious of the pure talent this woman possesses.

I have to wonder, was she not "discovered" because of the same reasons people judged her on the night of her audition? Was she swept aside and judged by appearance alone? Because her voice is not just a good voice, it is magical and pure.

Susan's life will never be the same--and thank God for that. I wish for her to succeed in a way that makes any memories of judgment and disrespect disappear. We are the lucky ones to enjoy her gift.

And I hope the man who whistled in that audience has learned a thing or two about beauty. It may not appear in front of you in the package you expect. It may surprise you, capture you, and grasp your heart from places you never imagined.

It is a lesson for us all.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Just for Fun

Another funny from I Can Has Cheezburger to brighten your Thursday!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Playing for Change

I came to see this video through my friend Judith, and I cannot explain the effect this had on me. To see these musicians from all over the world connecting, to see their faces, their talent--I was just so caught up in it.
I had to find out where this came from and how it came to be. This video was produced by The Playing for Change Foundation, which has such a beautiful mission: To build and connect music and art schools around the world.
In case no one has noticed, art, drama, and music programs are being cut from school curriculums at an alarming rate. I joined the Americans for the Arts last year as I heard more and more about this school or that school cutting these programs.
Many people have said that schools will never cut the sports programs, but the arts always hit the chopping block. I believe this to be true, but I wouldn't want any sports programs to be cut for the very reasons I want to fight to keep the arts and music in our schools. Every child is unique and different, their talents may lie in one area or many. But sometimes that one talent, whether it be painting or throwing a football, is their saving grace. It is the one thing they feel to be their own, and if it's not to be their future, it may be the thing that gives them just enough pride and self confidence to succeed at anything else they want to do.
We also need to educate and raise our children to be well rounded, to expose them to all opportunities so that their view of the world becomes richer, and their contributions to the world become more varied and enlightening. Even if the arts is not a career, a child exposed to the beauty of music or the love of art will appreciate the world in a much deeper way.
I speak from experience. I was an excellent student growing up, excelling in language arts, the subjects where I could express myself and write. I was, however, terrible at math and science. I was and am a creative person, and if I had not had art, music and drama classes in school, I believe wholeheartedly that I would have wondered where I would fit in the world. If there had been none of these classes, I would have believed I was an outcast instead of a unique person with different talents.
This beautiful foundation, Playing for Change, makes me want to drop everything and get on board, go build these schools and inspire children to chase their dreams. We need more foundations like this one. The world's children need them most of all.

Go to the website, join, buy things. Support this organization!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chance Encounters- The Beauty of Fate

As I was straightening up my bedroom last night, I came across a few magazines that were months old, still in my nightstand drawer. One of them was an issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, a past issue, Oprah smiling at me from a brightly covered cover. I started thumbing through it to see if there were articles I wanted to keep, or if the recycling bin would get another addition.

I ended up pausing on a section called Chance Encounters-Do You Believe in Fate? and started reading. The small essays that followed had me transfixed, each telling a more beautiful story than the last. All of the essays touch on different types of fateful encounters, one is about meeting a soulmate, others about small, meaningful twists in life, that had an incredible impact.

I have always believed in fate, even though I have misread moments in my life, thinking they were fate, when perhaps I just wanted them to be. But there have been real, honest moments when something so unquestionably fated has happened to me that I get chills thinking about it even years after the fact.

Two of the essays in the magazine in particular touched me, and also gave me those same chills at the unbelievable moments of fate that led these writers to know that a circle had been completed, and they were exactly where they were supposed to be. It was fate.

Meeting Maggie
By Franz Lidz
A bus route, a pickup line, a phone number: Franz Lidz thought he was simply asking a girl out on a date. Instead he found the love of his life.

On a summer day years ago, I was hitchhiking on I-95 through Maryland—you could do that back in 1975—after spending three months thumbing through South America. The beefy guy who pulled over to pick me up (they did that back then, too) wore red Pro-Keds. I remember this vividly because my eyes kept drifting to them. For the record, I had long hair and was wearing a llama-hair poncho and black canvas Chuck Taylors. The driver just happened to be going to Columbia, Maryland, not far from where I attended grad school. I was 23, majoring in sarcasm, minoring in theater. Offstage, I played everyone but me, whoever that was, holding myself in with a reserve that no girlfriend could breach. If I got too close to revealing any feelings, I'd interrupt myself in midthought and stammer to a stop. Talking in conundrums, hiding behind equivocation, I made myself untouchable.

I found a certain direction in my job driving a city bus in Columbia. Every afternoon I steered through the same suburban streets and ended up in the same suburban mall. My bus was often empty: In this new town everybody had a car. I drove alone and liked it. There was no need to perform, because I was totally anonymous.

One afternoon a girl got on outside the community playhouse. She was a high school senior with clear, dark eyes and an appealing tangle of black hair. She swung onto the bus with an easy grace. I'd been reeling off nonsense lines to myself from the play The Bald Soprano: "I prefer a bird in the bush to a sparrow in a barrow… The car goes very fast, but the cook beats batter better."

"What are you talking about?" she said. Her smile was crinkly; her eyes, knowing; her voice, sly and swooping.

"Rather a steak in a chalet than gristle in a castle."

"Is that your idea of a pickup line?"

"It's Ionesco."

"It's corny."

I could tell immediately that she was my kind of girl: sharp, nervy, and, critically, postmodern. All she lacked was 25 cents. I paid her fare. By the time she got off the bus, I had her name (Maggie), her phone number, and a date. A quarter went a long way in those days.

A few days later, as I arrived at Maggie's house, I noticed a well-stuffed man in a well-stuffed chair. He was wearing red Pro-Keds. He was, of course, Maggie's father. Not all that long after, Maggie asked me if I wanted to get married. I said, "Great idea." While swilling a dollar bottle of champagne in plastic cups, we gleefully told Old Red Keds we were getting married and then hitching to Guatemala. He didn't share our glee. "Do you know the Mann Act?" he snapped. "That's the 1910 law that bans the interstate transport of females for 'immoral purposes.'"

"No," I deadpanned. "Could you hum a few bars?"

We got married anyway, on May 28, 1976, the day after Maggie's high school graduation. For years afterward, her three younger sisters would greet their dad when he got home by asking: "Daddy, did you pick us up a hitchhiker?"

Three decades and two beautiful daughters later, I haven't met anyone else I'd rather be around. Maggie still surprises me, still shakes me out of complacency, still makes me laugh. She's not sentimental; she sensible, decent, and much smarter than me. She showed me how to feel comfortable in my own skin, to embrace ordinary happiness. Which is pretty extraordinary
Tightly Knit: An African Odyssey
By Katie Arnold-Ratliff
As a teenager, Jacqueline Novogratz donated a favorite sweater to charity. Eleven years later, a stunning coincidence in Rwanda illustrated how intertwined our lives on this planet have become.

The Journey of the Blue Sweater

*In 1973, Jacqueline Novogratz is 12 and living in Alexandria, Virginia. As a gift, her uncle Ed gives her a blue wool sweater with an African motif: two zebras at the foot of a mountain. She writes her name on the tag; it becomes her favorite sweater.

*In 1976, a boy at Novogratz's high school cracks a joke about her breasts, highlighted by the tight sweater. Humiliated, she vows never to wear it again, and gives the sweater to Goodwill.

*Like many articles of donated clothing from the United States, the sweater most likely travels to Mombasa, Kenya, after it is fumigated, bound in a 100-pound bale, and sold to a secondhand clothing distributor who in turn sells to local citizens across Africa.

*Novogratz graduates from the University of Virginia in 1983 and lands a job with Chase Manhattan Bank, reviewing loans at banks in troubled economies. On a business trip to Brazil in 1985, she befriends Eduardo, a homeless boy in Rio de Janiero. But when she brings him to the hotel restaurant, the manager turns him away. Novogratz wonders, "What will it take to build a society where everyone has doors of opportunity?"

*Novogratz proposes that Chase implement a loan program for low-income families as well as struggling banks. Her bosses reject the plan, so she leaves to join a nonprofit in Africa that finances small businesses. In early 1987, she travels to Kigali, Rwanda, to help establish a microfinance enterprise for poor women.

*While jogging one afternoon, she spots a young boy on the road. He is wearing a familiar-looking sweater; it is made of blue wool, with zebras at the foot of a snowy mountain. She stops him, turns down his collar—and sees her name written on the tag. It's the sweater she donated 11 years earlier. The encounter convinces her that all of us are interconnected: "Our actions—and inaction—touch people every day across the globe, people we may never know and never meet."

*In 2001, her sense of purpose renewed, Novogratz founds the Acumen Fund, a nonprofit that encourages entrepreneurship as a means to combat global poverty. To date, the Acumen Fund has helped a company in India provide clean water to more than a quarter million rural residents; an agricultural products designer bring drip irrigation systems to 275,000 small farmers worldwide; and an African malaria bed-net manufacturer that employs more than 75,000 people produce 10 million lifesaving bed nets each year.

*Novogratz writes about her visits to the companies she's helped finance, posting entries on the fund's website (AcumenFund.org). The entries evolve into a book about her experiences, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, which will be published in March. She plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Acumen Fund. "Rather than seeing the world divided among different civilizations or classes," she writes in the prologue, "our collective future rests on embracing a vision of a single world in which we are all connected. We all play a role in the change we need to create."

Read more chance encounters here.

articles and photos courtesy of


Saturday, April 11, 2009

For Shame!

I saw this story a few days ago, and was curious and startled by the premise. In Spain, there is a deep fear of public humiliation, and personal honor is very important. So bill collectors there have devised an unusual way to get their money out of their debtors. They either send out their own agents in costumes or hire actors for the deed, and these costumed collectors descend upon the homes or businesses of those owing money, and publicly harass and expose them. They may not even speak, and only follow them from their homes to other places. Or they might loudly proclaim the nature of their arrival.

Can you imagine? I mean, thank goodness this isn't the policy in the US right now, or there would be a parade of costumed creditors outside my door right now.

This tactic is working in Spain, but it makes me sad. I know what it is like to be unable to pay your bills and you feel badly enough. Public humiliation like that, especially when personal honor is so important to the Spanish people, is cruel and unusual punishment. There may be some who well deserve the visits from debt collectors in costume, but I am sure most of the people are just unable to pay their bills for the same reasons we all are.

I thought a lot about how this would go over in America, too. This premise would last days, maybe only weeks before someone involved a firearm when seeing Zorro at his door, loudly telling everyone he or she was in debt. No one would take those costume jobs here.
Well, unless they really needed a job desperately, or if they were in a lot of debt. Ironic, huh.

Spain's Costumed Debt Collectors: Final Notice?
By Lisa Abend

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, Montserrat Vila sat in her Barcelona apartment, waiting for the bullfighters to appear. They were not coming to show off some cape work in her living room. In fact, they were not real bullfighters at all. Rather, the three men, dressed like matadors in garish tight pants and embroidered jackets, were coming to collect a debt.

It's safe to say that at the same time elsewhere in Spain, a monk, a Zorro, a clown and a Pink Panther were doing the same thing. Read more....

article and photo courtesy Time.com


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Senseless Tragedy

Cynthia Furr and her 2-year-old daughter McAllister died last Saturday, the victims of
two drivers street racing.

It has taken me a few days to be able to post about this story. Things like this make my blood boil--senseless fatalities, stupid actions, all by people old enough to know better.

This past Saturday, here in NC, a twenty-year-old man, Tyler Stasko, and a FORTY-FOUR-year-old woman, Carlene Carol Atkinson, decided to race on a public road at a little after 6pm. Of course, the race got out of hand, and the car Stasko was driving plowed into the car of a woman innocently driving out of her neighborhood. She, her two-year-old daughter, and a thirteen-year-old boy who was riding with them were all killed.

I have read comments from readers of the articles about this case that feel passionately about the punishment the drivers should receive, and several people have commented that the intent was not there. No one intended to kill anyone. Excuse me, but if you are driving a 3000 pound vehicle at top speed on a public road at 6pm in the afternoon, you lose the option to claim no intent as far as I am concerned. If you are over the age of six, you know that this is dangerous, stupid and could cause your death or someone else's. By the age of 20, and certainly by the age of 44, you can well grasp this concept.

Here in the Charlotte area, it seems we have a problem with street racing, and I think it's time we started treating these incidents for what they are: serious crimes; and when innocent people die because of these actions, it is MURDER, plain and simple.

Another piece of information that contributes to my strong feelings about this case are that Stasko already had a traffic violation under his belt, for failing to stop at a stop sign and having no operator's license. But Atkinson had 16, yes SIXTEEN speeding tickets already behind her. AND she left the scene as soon as Stasko crashed, not waiting to see the aftermath, or take responsibility for her part in it.

Nothing will bring back the victims. But we shouldn't wait for one more senseless tragedy before we get tough on these crimes.

Related articles:

Investigators seize 2nd car suspected of racing

Driver in fatal wreck jailed

Woman linked to wreck has 16 tickets

photo courtesy of www.charlotteobserver.com


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Matt and Madeline on OPRAH!!!

Those of you that follow my blog know how much I love Matt Logelin's blog, and how I have watched him the last year through his amazing journey. His beautiful daughter Maddy is thriving due to his strength and love.
How fitting that Oprah is going to have them on her show! Their story is made for her show, and I can't wait to watch! I am a huge Oprah fan, and I am looking so forward to watching her interact with Matt and Maddy. I know this appearance will also bring publicity and donations to the foundation Matt started in his wife's memory.

The air date for Matt's appearance is next Monday, APRIL 13th!! Be sure and tune in.

photo courtesy of www.mattlogelin.com


Why I Love Cats

I am not just a cat person or a dog person, I love them both equally. The video above shows one of the main reasons I love cats, though. Even as kittens, cats will stalk objects, people, dogs, or other cats, with great seriousness. I have always loved to watch my cats creep around a corner to sneak up on me, each other, or a random sock. There is such a playfulness about it, and I never know what they will do next to entertain me.


Monday, April 6, 2009

One CEO Doing the Right Thing

With all the negative news about CEOs and outrageous salaries and bonuses, and the backlash and anger that have frankly scared me a bit, it was refreshing to read this article. You can try and find some flaw in his action, or see it for something other than it is, but personally, I think this is one man trying to do the right thing in the middle of a lot of madness. He is also letting his employees know that they matter, and we all know how important that is.

Kudos Jack Windolf, it's a step in the right direction.

DIY stimulus: CEO gives workers $1000 each from his own pocket
Bruce Watson

Jack Windolf, the CEO of Bollinger Insurance, recently gave his 434 employees a surprise gift: out of his own pocket, he paid each of them $1000. The bonuses, which Windolf called "a mini economic stimulus package," came from $500,000 in deferred compensation that he received when he sold 51 percent of the company last year. Rather than spend the money on himself, he chose to share it with his workers.CEOs have had a rough time of it lately. With outrage brewing about the scandalous bonuses that went out to executives at Lehman, AIG, Merrill Lynch and other huge companies, it's become increasingly lonely at the top. And for good reason.

After all, even a cursory analysis of the evolution of executive compensation over the past few decades is enough to bring out one's inner Karl Marx. By now, the statistics are pretty well-known, but let's review them one more time: in 1982, the average CEO made 42 times as much as the average worker; by 1990, they were making 107 times as much as their employees, and by 2007, 275 times as much. This meant, incidentally, that the average CEO made more in one workday than the average employee made all year.Some studies have suggested that employees don't begrudge their bosses the extra pay as long as the company is doing well. However, even by that metric, CEO compensation has grown out of control. With companies lining up to take government bailouts, it is worth asking exactly what companies are getting for their money. One can only imagine the feelings of AIG's rank-and-file employees, and the attitude among low-level workers at Merrill Lynch must be downright mutinous.

At its base level, the incredible disparity between CEO pay and that of rank-and-file workers suggests an out-sized veneration of the executive suite. Based on pure numbers, the idea seems to be that every CEO is worth 270 trained workers. Disturbing enough as that is, this perspective also goes a long way toward explaining the massive decline in customer service over the past few years.In this context, Windolf's decision is particularly meaningful. Faced with the option of hoarding over half a million dollars, he chose instead to distribute it among all those responsible for his company's success. In a fundamental way, he conveyed a belief that his workers add value to the company, and deserve to share in that value. While $1000 probably won't make all that much of a difference in the lives of most of Bollinger's employees, the respect Windolf has shown his workers is sure to yield huge dividends.

Maybe other CEO's should take note.

article courtesy of dailyfinance.com, picture courtesy of thedailyjournal.com


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Housekeeping and Notes on Blogging

Just a little housekeeping note: My subscription link should really work now. I have been slow to learn about the RSS feed process, what was done for me and what I needed to do. This has led to lots of funny comments from friends, and head scratching for me. I am sure you will all let me know if it doesn't work!

When I started this blog, I was so completely clueless about everything-- what I would write about, what a blog really was, in fact. Now, almost two years later, I have made friends from around the world, have sharpened my writing skills, and have learned more about everything.

Amazing thing, this blogging. I love reading other's blogs and discovering new ones. I love that so many people are writing, expressing themselves and putting it all out there. I can't wait to see what's next from all the bloggers out there!


Friday, April 3, 2009

Did I Say That Out Loud?

We've all been there--sweaty palms, nervous energy, in our best suit: the dreaded job interview. Trying to prepare for all the questions can be nerve-wracking, but thinking of a unique answer that hasn't been used by every other candidate can seem impossible.

Within this list are some we might like to say, but couldn't (or could we?). Either way, you will laugh at many of them, I guarantee it! A warning--a few are a bit naughty. I have only listed the beginning of the list here, click at the bottom to read the full 100.

Help Wanting
100 things not to say in a job interview

1. "Sorry I'm late. I could have sworn you said 'San Francisco.'"

2. "Where I come from, that kind of question will get you shot."

3. "If I smell like Cheez-Its, it's just because I love them so freakin' much."

4. "I don't like to brag about competitive offers—let's just say I've had some interest from a company that rhymes with Flurger Cling."

5. "Does your health plan cover abortion? If so, can I start today?"

6. "My work ethic is so strong, it's practically Asian."

7. "Is Jesus considered a personal reference?"

8. "Would it be possible to be paid in cash? I'm kind of laying low right now."

9. "What in the hell is this Microsoft Word everyone keeps talking about?"

10. "Do me a kindness and scratch beneath my carpal tunnel splints?"

11. "Do you have a speakerphone? My lawyer would like to be involved."

For the list of the full 100 click here.

Photo and article courtesy of www.radaronline.com



  © Blogger template ProBlogger Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP