Wednesday, November 2, 2011

While in a deep sleep...........


I don't even know what a deep sleep means anymore.  Sleep evades me more and more these days.  I am beginning to see what my future really looks like.  Sleepless nights leading to long days of wandering around in a  brain fog, babbling senselessly until someone slaps me and says "what the hell are you talking about?"  My brain is so full that it is hard to put it rest.  I am not unusually worried about anything but I am constantly trying to put things in order, making lists, solving design/work problems.  The rational me says I need to do this during normal "working" hours but for some reason the rational me and that part of my brain that has become irrational don't seem to want to cooperate.

When I was in college I could rush home between classes, lie down on my bed and be asleep within minutes.  30 minutes later I was up, quite refreshed and back on the curb out in front of my apartment building, waiting for the next bus back to campus.  Those were the days!  Relatively speaking, I was way more busy then than I am now.  I worked 30 hours a week at a design firm, went to school full time majoring in interior design, took care of my dad who was going through chemo and still had plenty of time left over for extracurricular activities.

Now I find myself missing meals, forgetting items at the grocery store (sometimes even with a list), not spending quality time with friends and family, skipping fun events because I am too busy.  How did this happen?  I need to blame something or someone so I blame it on technology and my husband.  Between the two I have been required to carry more useless information in my brain, sitting on "g", waiting on "o", for instant access.  How did it become my responsibility to know exactly what is in the refrigerator, where everything is positioned in the refrigerator, at any given moment of every day? How did I allow this to happen?

I do know how this happened, I love knowledge.  Not just knowing a list of facts but knowing the details of who, what, when, where and why.  Thank you iPhone and Wikipedia.  It used to be okay for me not to know the answer to a question.  Now all I have to do is Google it (oh, yeah, thanks Google!) and I become a freaking genius.  In my need to be helpful and knowledgeable I have created a monster.  My husband tells me that it is easier and faster to ask me where something is than to spend the time looking for it himself.  Huh?  I know that many women can relate to this, unfortunately, but seriously?  I was not there when he placed his car key on top of my car in the garage so why am I the one taking time out of my extraordinarily busy life to help him get back on track?  Doesn't he understand that I was in the middle of researching the nesting habits and gestation periods of Bluebirds?  Which reminds me, I need to go and compare the data for the optimal times to view the changing colors of the leaves by state and altitude.   Maybe in my next life I will come back as a house cat where I can languish my days away in a sleepy stupor, throwing glances of  nonchalance at the busy people.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The grass is not always greener...........


My mother told me this week that my niece Lilly thinks I am the smartest person in the family. This news does not make her parents very happy.  I don't know exactly what I did to deserve this honor but I will take and wear it proudly.  When my sisters had children, I worked very hard to teach each one of them how to say my name before they learned Mama or Dada.  I would sing songs to them that consisted only of Lalalalalalala thinking it would move them along to saying Lisa faster.  Turns out that the "L" sound is very hard for children to say.  I should have known this.  When we lived in New York we had a neighbor that could not pronounce my name when he was 3 years old.  He called me Weesa Wecky.  His family and mine have not forgotten that to this day.  I have heard from one of his sisters that he has overcome his speech impediment, thank goodness.  He is 39 years old now, with children of his own, but to all them I will always be Weesa Wecky.   Looking back on all of the children that I helped raise, people find it odd that I never had children of my own. When I say people I mean my family (mother, sisters, aunts).  I don't have a specific reason why I never had children but honestly I have never felt childless.  I started babysitting when I was 10 years old.  My sister Juli once told me that she thought I would marry a fireman and have 6 children.  But, then again, she wanted to be a french fry when she grew up so I am not sure that her point of view was realistic.  Of course, that was when she lived on top of the refrigerator. With 6 people living in a 2 bedroom house we were always looking for a place to call our own.  It wasn't out of the ordinary to find one of us in a kitchen cabinet or another living under the desk behind the television.  We shared one bicycle between three of us for a while until Jill got that cool bike with the banana seat and tassels coming out of the handle bars.

Sorry, I digress.

 It is no wonder that I grew up with a nurturing sense about me.  I was raised by many wonderful women in my extended family.  Being the third of four children, I have always had a sense of wanting what was fair and equal.  To this day I like to lend a helping hand and can usually make time for almost anyone in need.  Yes, I become disillusioned by reality quite often (okay, I become down right pissed off) but it doesn't stop me from being honest, standing up for what I believe in and jumping right back in.  I really don't know how women today survive with a full time job, children, husband and everything that goes with it. My hat is off to each and every one of you. I like to think I could probably pull it all off some how, if I had to, but I am glad that I don't have to, honestly. I'm a pretty good "project" manager but I like my life.  There is something great about being admired by the nieces and nephews for being myself (the fun, nice, smart aunt) and not having to be the "disciplinarian".  Taking a good look at my own life,  it appears that my grass is very green in my own backyard.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Silence, please!


For the last few years Karen and I have not been able to spend much time together.  Life took us in different directions and we both had other business to attend to.  I can't vouch for her but I can say for myself that during this time I missed her terribly.  It was all I could do not to pick up the phone every time I had something or some thought to share.  It was what I had done for so long that it just didn't seem natural not to do it.  This year we have made a concerted effort to change that and I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to be sharing laughs with my friend once again.  For two people who are so incredibly different we are so similar.  I guess that's where the saying "great minds think alike" comes from.

In the town where Karen lives there is a free concert on the first Friday of every month.  I made a promise to drive there (pathetically only an hour away from from my house) and spend the night or weekend enjoying the cultural events or what ever else we chose to do.  This summer has been an unreasonably hot one so needless to say we made it to the first concert of the series in May but have opted to find other things to do the rest of the summer.  Last weekend, as hurricane Irene was threatening to bring enourmous amounts of rain and damaging winds to the southeast, it also pushed a front of incredible heat and high humidity ahead of it.  At 8:00 p.m. Karen and I decided to take a walk into downtown to listen to what remained of the concert.  By the time the sun went down the temperature remained at 93 degrees.  Even with a slight breeze the air was stifling.  We found an open spot in the park and stood there listening to a lively rendition of the Blues Brothers for maybe 15 minutes when we both looked at each other and said "I'm hot!".  We turned to walk the ten minutes it takes to get back to Karen's house from the park where the concert was.  On the way back we walked into another park area next to the river that was created a couple of years ago in an otherwise heat filled, dismal parking lot.  This park just happens to have the best fountain that you are actually invited to play in.  You bet we did too!   Feet first, then legs, then arms and before you know it Karen is in the thick of the down pour screaming "wee!" like the other children and then, of course, I had to follow.  The water was the perfect temperature to cool off and definitely way cooler than any pool we might have found.  It was even better than a cherry popsicle.

The next day, we didn't have any plans what so ever.  I think that is the best way to start a Saturday morning.  Since it was holiday weekend Karen checked the local paper to see what sort of events were happening around town.  For the last 6 years I have always been in Taos, New Mexico for the Labor day weekend so when Karen mentioned that there was a Pow Wow going on at another one of the local parks I felt compelled to go.  Plus I was sure that someone would be selling turquoise and silver.  It was blazing hot by the time we arrived at the park but most of the tents and exhibits were set up in the shady areas of the park.  As predicted there were a few vendors selling traditional southwestern jewelry but that is not what we ended up being drawn to.  Karen bought the most beatiful necklace made of elk horn, pearls and jasper  from a woman I described as an "Indian woman".  She politely corrected me and explained that "Indian" was like a noun and that essentially everyone, including me and Karen, were considered "the people".  She was from Nashville and told us a great story about how she ended up in Nashville.  She said as she was driving north from Florida she drove through Tennessee.  I don't remember where exactly she was driving to.  As her car rolled through Tennessee she felt a real sense of peace, as if the land were speaking to her and she just knew that was where she belonged.  Her decision seemed so simple. The message I got from this story was when you can quiet your mind and your heart, the right things will happen.  I also got a beautiful Elk skin bag that feels like silk from another vendor.  I may never carry it but I will take it out periodically to run my hands over it.  It makes me happy!

There is something about absolute silence that frightens most people.  There is so much noise every where you go that it is almost impossible to turn it all off and just be.  For some silence can be associated with the aftermath of a natural disaster or a man-made disaster (remember 9/11 and no planes flying in the sky for days), the dark of the night or the moment right before something scary is going to happen.  I regard silence as an opportunity.  I relfect, rejoice, correct, plan and just let my mind wander and create.  What would you do with total silence and absolutely nothing else to occupy your time or your mind?  How long could you stand it?  I personally love the peace and quiet and get cranky when I don't have it (and need it for longer periods than most people require).  So I ask you today to shut up, turn it off, sit down and let be what will be.  Silence, please!

Monday, August 29, 2011

We're Big Pants People


I thought that bad drivers were the one things that really got me going but today I discovered that there is another act of unkindness that makes my head spin.  In my line of work every project is a collaborative effort.  This can make or break the project depending on the chain of command, communication, timeline, budget  and egos involved.  Of this list, communication is by far the most important element.  If team members are not telling each other what they want, need and expect of one another then how, I ask, can anything get done? Currently I am in the middle of a big renovation project that has a very tight schedule.  Needless to say, everything that can go wrong has gone wrong.  Some days it is so overwhelming that I don't even want to get out of bed to put any pants on.  But I persevere and do what I promised I would do.  After all, I am a firm believer that the person who pays you to do the work makes the rules.  I rarely forget that there is always someone else who can do my job.  For repeat business, relationships are key.  In order to develop a good relationship based on trust, you have to be a person of your word and learn how to communicate.  Say what you are going to do and then do it.  In other words put your big pants on, we're big pants people!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Clap, Clap, Point: Famous First (and Last) Words

Lisa and I started this blog almost 2 weeks ago and so far, I haven't said anything. Shocking, I know. At least is it for anyone who knows me. Why? Because I am a glorious talker. I talk to everyone ... friends, family, neighbors, strangers. I talk at the dinner table. I talk on the phone (a lot). I talked all through school.  Used to get in trouble for it. Every report card I ever got said "good student ... talks too much".  Hell, I like to talk so much I learned to talk in French. And Italian. And Russian. A few years ago, I even learned American Sign Language so I could talk to my neighbor's sweet elderly aunt. She used to come outside and try to sign with me when I was in my garden, and it drove me crazy not to be able to talk to her. If talking were an Olympic sport (which it clearly should be), I would be the world champion. Then again, Olympic sports are for amateurs. So maybe not. After all, I am a professional. I talk for a living. In fact, I've often dreamed of going back to every grade school teacher I ever had and telling them "Ha! ... I get paid to talk now!"

Of course, even if it wasn't my job, I'd still be a talker. I love it. And I am good at it. No, make that GREAT at it. One might even say I was born to talk. But, believe it or not, I wasn't born talking. In fact, according to my mother (and she should know), I didn't talk until I was almost 3 years old. Yes, you heard right.  Me ... silent ... for nearly 3 years. Shocking, I know. So what was I doing all those quiet years? Apparently, I was clapping and pointing. If I wanted a toy, I'd clap & point, and someone would give it to me. If I wanted food ... clap, clap, point. If I wanted to get down from my high chair ... clap, clap, point. If I wanted up ... clap, clap, point. Neat trick, huh? Well, at least for a while. Mom says one day she finally thought "hell with that ... if the kid wants something, she can learn how to say it".

Famous last words on her part. And definitely famous first (and never ending) words on mine.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The biggest Greenbean of them all


The number one thing that really gets me going has got to be inconsiderate drivers.  Living in a metropolitan city with a population of 5 million plus you are bound to encounter drivers that act as if they are the only one on the road.  Personally I think I am a pretty good driver.  In the 28 years that I have been driving I have had only one speeding ticket to my credit.  It occured one mile from my home on the actual road that I lived on.  The sad thing or rather funny thing was I didn't have proof of registration or insurance in the car at the time.  A week before this happened my boyfriend at the time and I went to his parents house for dinner.  His mother insisted we take the leftovers home and since he didn't want to smell the steak in the car he tossed it into the glove compartment.  A few days later something smelled like it had crawled inside my car and died but neither one of us remembered the steak.  We looked under the car, under the hood, even under the seats.  We looked everywhere but in the glove compartment.  At that time I was driving a 1974 Plymouth Duster which didn't have air-conditioning.  I left the windows open hoping that maybe I drove over some roadkill and the stench would eventually dissipate.  It didn't.  It was early summer in Georgia.  The next day I knew I had to investigate a little further and when I finally opened the glove compartment OH MY GOD!  Something really did crawl in there and die!  It also leaked all over my proof of insurance and my registration card.  I needed to replace them but I also needed toget back to work so it wasn't going to get done that day.  Yes, the same day I got my speeding ticket.  When I told the cop what had happened he acted like he didn't believe me so I offered to let him smell the glove box.  Wouldn't you?  Needless to say he declined my offer, wrote me a speeding ticket, gave me a warning about the other stuff and sent me on my way.

Today I was driving on the perimeter trying to get to doctor's appointment when a dump truck, situated two lanes to my right, suddenly cut over into my lane and stopped in front me.  Just stoppped!  I went from 60 to 0 in .5 seconds.  He didn't wave me on or even use his signal.  Now, I am not an outwardly agressive driver.  I don't tailgate or cut people off.  I use my signal and I even let people cut into a line of traffic because I believe in good Karma but I do thoroughly enjoy cussing every idiot that comes within a quarter mile radius of my car.  I do it in the privacy of my own car, for my own satisfaction.  Today I threw my hands up with the best Italian gesture I know and layed on the horn while a few expletives flew out of my mouth.  I won't even go into the daggers that shot from my eyes shrouded in flames.  I felt justified and vindicated.  I could write a similar story to this one every single day.  I don't even have to get on the highway, I can just pull out of my driveway and there they are.  Fortunately (and I know that this is most fortunate for me) you'll never know if I am ticked off unless your in the car with me.  And just so you know,  Karen does the exact same thing.  When we are riding together it some how doubles our pleasure.  We egg eachother on and then laugh at ourselves.  My husband and my mother think it is ridiculous.  I personally find it liberating in a passive/agressive sort of way.  So I ask you to try and be more considerate of others and if you do something stupid while you are out there driving about town, believe me when I tell you, someone is thinking some really bad thoughts about you.  I know I am.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

You have the right.....


Miranda Rights, Bill of Rights, Civil Rights, do you really know what your rights are?  Do you take it for granted that you are automatically protected by law?  I wish this were true but the folks enforcing the laws aren't educated enough on them to be representing them.  This is my own personal opinion.

Karen is a lawyer as I meantioned previously but she is not just any old lawyer, she is a Criminal Defense Attorney and is currently employed as a Public Defender.  You know, she defends those folks that don't have the money to hire their own attorney. The saying that "crime doesn't pay" is true for all parties involved.  The majority of her clients have been in trouble before.  Like I said, most of Karen and my clients create messes that we are then hired to clean up but they are not all that way.  I am here to say that Karen is phenomenal at what she does.  She doesn't care who you are or where you came from.  If your case is assigned to her you will get the best representation a lawyer can provide.  If she were actually rewarded monetarily for what she does I know that she would be a billionaire.  Think of all the shoes she could buy!  Obviously money is not the reason she does what she does.  She believes in YOUR rights.

I was summoned for jury duty this week.  The young man charged with the crime was represented by a Public Defender.  He was already in the county jail when he was accused of the crimes that we, the jury, deliberated on.  I don't know what he was doing in there in the first place and it wasn't relevant to his trial.  I can only assume that if the information had been made public knowledge it would have swayed some of the jurors opinions.  It is, for me, an overwhelming amount of responsibility to know that someone's future depends on how well he or she was represented and in my, and 11 other jurors opinion, how well the information was presented to us.  I can't even begin to understand how Karen feels representing someone in court.  The information she presents (and of course, in her cases, the State's arguments have to be equally considered) is critical in assisting the jurors in making a fair, impartial and unanimous decision.  Really, compared to that, my messes look like spilled milk.  A little Brawny paper towel and we're done.

I really wanted to call my friend Karen and ask her the questions that were weighing heavy on my mind but I took my direction from the court very seriously.   It took 4 hours of animated discussion, debate and  review of the evidence to reach a verdict.  In the end we found the defendant not guilty on the most weighty charge, a felony carrying 20 years in prison.  We were not privy to the knowledge that the charge was so serious.  Karen shared that info with me after the trial was over and I audibly gasped when she said it.  We did find him guilty of two other misdemeanors and while I hate the word guilty, the evidence was there.  I love the fact that this system is in place.  I hope that I won't ever have to utilize it myself but it is good to know that it is possible to exercise your right to a fair trial and representation.  Know your rights people or at the very least know a good lawyer.  You may just need her one day.