Thursday, September 27, 2012

love long lost, soon to be regained

i miss my art.

miss it bad.

like a dear old friend has left, never to return again.

my passion is to throw myself into the obsession of the moment.

all in.

that's been me always.

i find something of interest.  the interest grows.  i obsess.  i research, read and suck the marrow out of it and then i move on.

was that my art?  was art so involved that it took from adolescence to adulthood to suck the marrow out?

i hope that's not true.

i think the obsession of my children has consumed me and will likely not let up.  ever.  no marrow to suck out.  no end.  a never-ending obsession.  full of pleasure.

i think i must make room for art in my now busy life.

i feel something missing.

i feel it's my art.

i feel a need for release.

i feel a need for creation.


...and it's coming.  soon.  with fervor and force.  an explosion of ignored creativity suddenly released.

i feel it roiling under the surface.  the creativity is there.

it's time to create...

if i could only find the time.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

How Are you, Good or Well?

I work in an office where we have more than our fair share of intelligent, well educated people.  Often there can be deep (and I'm not joking here) discussions about proper grammar usage.  I fit right in.  However, they take it to another level.  Common every day conversations are open to grammatical correction.  Take, for instance, the everyday greeting of 'How are you?'.  My response is always 'I'm good, thank you.  How are you?'.  Inevitably I get a response of 'I'm well.' with a bit of emphasis on well as if to correct my grammar.  Who's in the right?  Well, we both are, but I'm more in the right (of course,  hee hee).

What's got me blogging about this as if it's one of the world's foremost topics is one of my colleagues (who will remain nameless) actually said something to me about it!  Here it is explained by Grammar Girl, I will post a portion of her explanation here but to get full deep understanding go on over to her page for the explanation.

"Aside from the linking-verb-action-verb trickiness, another reason people get confused about this topic is that well can be both an adverb and a predicate adjective. As I said earlier, in the sentence He swam well, well is an adverb that describes how he swam. But when you say, “I am well,” you're using well as a predicate adjective. That's fine, but most sources say well is reserved to mean “healthy” when it's used in this way (1, 3, 4). So if you are recovering from a long illness and someone is inquiring about your health, it's appropriate to say, “I am well,” but if you're just describing yourself on a generally good day and nobody's asking specifically about your health, a more appropriate response is, 'I am good.' "

More than proving my point with this post, I'd like to just say...lighten up, good/well...doesn't matter to me; I get the idea!

P.S. Though I'm posting about grammar, please don't correct my punctuation in the comments section..I've always been an over-user of commas, dot-dot-dots, and hyphens... I can't help myself..............  :)

~ end rant ~

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why Summer Vacation is EXHAUSTING!

To my dear friend in Jersey (you know who you are, I love you to pieces!) who heralded the first day of summer vacation and the excitement and fun that comes with it only to find yourself completely exhausted at the end of that first day of summer vacation…

I thought of you late last night- I and many of our mom and dad friends can relate to this exhaustion brought on by fun.  You are a stay at home mom of three children.  I *was* a stay at home mom of two.  I couldn’t cut it!  It was too much work and so I went back to the office job!  SO first…I applaud you!!  You ROCK!!!!  You’re at home all day with three demanding children and you are not in an insane asylum (yet)!
So here’s what I thought late last night:  the exhaustion is not from doing stuff specifically, it’s from doing anything at all!!!  Even the simple act of getting in the car is an undertaking!  Before kids, if I wanted to go somewhere I got my handbag, my keys and sunglasses and got in the car.  Took me 2 minutes (tops) to get on the road.  That simple everyday act with kids thrown in the mix turns a 2 minute act into a 45 minute adventure – sometimes longer!  Take the following scenario that any of us could claim has happened to us…
[THIS IS NOT A DRAMATIZATION!  But still do not attempt this at home!]
Kids come with accoutrements one has to pack up for an outing. There’s the wee one that can’t walk yet and has to be carried everywhere, the middle-one who is all cuteness but needs help with everything still, and the oldest who is a ball of energy and curiosity but still needs help with most things.  All the kids have to be helped into their clothes and shoes, you have to remind the potty trained ones to go to the potty and ultimately have to follow them in there to insure they have gone, wiped, flushed and washed their hands all while keeping an eye on the one who isn’t mobile yet but manages to maneuver his way around to the electrical cord and is gumming it when you return from your 3 minutes in the bathroom.  [Maybe that only happens to me.]
So…getting in the car…now that we’ve all pottied it’s time to pack up the car.  Today we are going to the gym and then to the pool.  The gym has a daycare so no need to bring anything – fun and toys are covered.  Wrong!  Wee one is still in diapers and that means he needs clean diapers, wipes, and spare clothes (just in case).  You’re working out for an hour…kids get hungry and thirsty and they get loud about it – so you throw in some light snacks and sippy cups for their time in the gym daycare.  There. Finished.  Let’s get in the car.  Wait, no, we’re headed to the pool too.  Let’s get three swimsuits, water shoes, towels, and something to have for lunch as well.  Better bring a change of clothes, food gets messy.  Oh yeah and sun block, and of course the new sunglasses little girl recently got!
Into the car we go!  So you hoist up the 25 pound bulky car seat with wee one in it, corral the kids out the door, which is not unlike herding cats!  Wave hello to the neighbors across street and pile the kids in the car.  You start strapping them in their car seats so they aren’t able to get into mischief while you load up all the snacks, diapers (darn!  forgot swim diapers!).  You unload the kids (because you can’t be seen leaving your children unattended in the car!); you all go back in the house leaving the back to the minivan open with half your things piled in and the doors open causing that annoying  Bing! Bing! Bing! to sound letting you know your keys are in the ignition with the door open (Thanks!  Really needed that constant warning... you know, just in case the car drives off by itself). 

You return with the swim diapers and load the brood back in the minivan, strap them all in again and finish loading up the trunk.  You get in the driver’s seat and you smell something rotten.  Ugh - diaper explosion!  You turn and look at your wee one who is grinning at you as if he gets the joke.  He’s actually quite happy to have unloaded that mess from his body!  You and the brood all pile BACK out of the car (because you can’t be seen leaving your children unattended in the car – won’t those damn neighbors please go inside!) and you take wee one back inside to change his diaper.  This is no simple mini-diaper explosion (actually there’s no such thing)  you find the diaper explosion went all the way up his back…so after a quick dip in the baby bath and clean clothes and diapers you all head back out to the car.
Finally ready to go only now it's taken so long to get out the door that it’s already snack time and the kids are complaining they're hungry as if they've never been fed their entire lives!  But you're a smart've got snacks in the car get out and run to the trunk to get the snacks.  You return to the driver’s seat and you pass them out to the kids to shut them up so you can (maybe) drive in peace to the gym.
Meanwhile, the childless neighbors across the street have been outside watering their lawn and watching your circus act in complete mouth-opened wonder.  They’re wondering what the hell is wrong with you.  Seen from their perspective you have:
1.    Loaded the kids in the car
2.    Taken them back out, leaving everything strewn in the driveway and the keys in the ignition (the bing, bing, bing drawing their attention)
3.    Loaded the kids BACK in the car
4.    Took them back out again
5.    Loaded them in the car AGAIN!
6.    And now you are you just sitting in the driveway with the motor running
They think you’re weird.  They know you’re that person in the parking garage at Christmas time that gets in, turns on the car but never backs out while they wait to take your parking spot.  They shake their heads at you and go back to watering their lawn.
You’re pulling out of the driveway and realize in the chaos of …all of that… you forgot YOUR accoutrements!  You’re still in your PJs!  You haven’t changed to your gym clothes; you didn’t pack YOUR swimsuit or food for you!
Much to your neighbor’s amazement, you are pulling back up your driveway after only making it half way down and you and the kids are once again getting out of the minivan!  You go in to pack your things because you won’t give up; you can’t give up (I would’ve by now, by the way) you are going to have fun damn it!
~ ~ ~

Monday, March 26, 2012


Photo from another Jennifer with a blog post on being nice:
“Kindness is more than deeds. It is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch. It is anything that lifts another person.”

-          William Shakespeare

I’m a happy person in general; I wake up happy and chattering.  My husband, I’m sure, wishes I wasn’t so very happy so very early.  I think that a natural by-product of happiness is kindness which spreads more happiness and kindness in others.  As a happy person I’m constantly shocked at all the effort that the perpetually unhappy put into remaining in their state of unhappiness.  If I smile at you or wave hello, don’t you feel just plain silly staring at me or not waving back or acknowledging in some fashion that another of your species has just communicated with you?  As I move through life I take these moments of encountered grumpiness as a personal challenge.  A challenge to turn them around; I wear them down with kindness, jokes and sometimes pepper that with some hilarious (I think) sarcasm.

Customer service, for example:  Do you know what it is?  If you live in the District of Columbia chances are you don’t know what it is – it’s hard to find around here.  Countless times, at local grocery stores, pharmacies and fast food restaurants I have gone through an entire transaction without a single word being spoken or even eye contact being made.  I hate to call you out on it, but Rite Aid, you are consistently the worst offender of this form of…um…customer service.  This is why stores like, Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan – where every single check-out clerk seems genuinely happy and the Flying Fish CafĂ© on Mt. Pleasant Street where they always remember me and my routine order, continue to get my business – I strongly suspect this is the key to a successful business.  Perhaps Rite Aid feels they don’t need to waste time with smiles; perhaps they feel their customers have little choice but to shop with them – wrong, I go to the happy pharmacy people at Harris Teeter.  When I am trapped into frequenting an establishment with constantly grumpy people I kill ‘em with kindness.  I wear them down.  I tell myself, something has made them grumpy or sad, maybe things aren’t great for them right now, but maybe I can bring a smile to their faces… or…who knows, maybe the grumpy feel affronted by my cheerfulness and they will never change, but a huge part of me can’t believe that.  Every single time I come in and am affronted with their turned down faces and furled brows I smile bigger, I chat more, I say thank you a lot and you know what…after a while (some places longer than others) they come around.  They kind of turn one corner of their frown up, and they engage in chatter, and in rare instances I gain total victory by being greeted by a huge smile and a “how are you?!”.  SUCCESS!

Being kind can get you things too and I mean really, really good things.  One of my first jobs in DC was with a startup.  The nature of starts ups is everyonge pitches in.  For me, one year, that meant helping set up for a big conference in Atlanta when our company found itself without a marketing director.  I’d like to say it went smooth as silk thanks to my high intelligence and quick thinking but there were things I didn’t know – things that even someone as highly intelligent as me (that's some of that sarcasm right there) couldn't have known; only the experienced would have succeeded here.  In arranging to have our booth shipped to the conference I had no idea that we were required to use Union crews to off-load our truck.  So there I am, standing there the day our booth arrives in Atlanta for this giant conference and I have no way to get the booth off the truck and set up.  Do I scream at the guy who is standing there forebodingly, who is clearly quite angry with me; seemingly determined not to let things move forward?  It seemed hopeless, but, no, I don’t have it in me to bark at people.  I’m the type that works hard to avoid confrontation.  Instead I look him in the eyes and make the problem his problem as well as mine.  I invoke smiles, I give apologies, I’m honest and tell him I had no clue this was the process and confess that I’m out of my league, in over my head and was pinch hitting for the marketing person who was no longer with the company.  Then I said, “What do we do?”  WE.  What do WE do?   Meaning me and him.  During my chatter and jokes and smiles and admission of being at fault his crossed arms became uncrossed.  His jaw loosened and softened and by the time I was done and asking what we should do he was patting me on the back and assuring me he could work something out.  He did, too, and don’t think I wasn’t grateful either.  I showed my gratefulness with a big fruit basket that was initially intended to be set out in our booth conference room.  THAT’S how you get things by being nice; THAT’S how to be nice.  No attitudes of entitlement, no barking and demanding, just a pleasant tone asking for help. 
By being nice you make it easy for them to help you.  That same guy not only helped me out of that pit but warned me of other pitfalls and basically held my hand through the whole conference right up until I was packed up and shipping the booth off to storage.  He was the person I called when we had a problem with the electrical wiring in our booth and who I called when I had other random problems.  He also got many more thank you gifts from me each time he helped.  He liked helping me and wanted to help.  Can you imagine that having been the case if I had gotten into a shouting match?  I might have gotten the trucks unloaded after a long argument, but I certainly wouldn’t have gotten all that other assistance!

That same trip, after it was all over and we’ve all headed to the airport to fly home we find the airport covered over in people.  People jammed into the hallways, sitting on the floors, standing in line at the ticketing agents’ kiosks.  It turns out the entire north east was being hit by a massive thunderstorm and a kazillion flights had been delayed or cancelled.  I get in line with the rest of the crowd to see what’s happening with my flight.  I’m next in line and I watch and listen while an extremely well dressed man berates the ticketing agent.  He’s screaming at her, red faced, spittle flying out of his mouth while he screams and bangs his fists.  The agent, who clearly has seen this type of behavior before, continues to tell him over and over “Sir I’m sorry, take a look around you, all the flights are sold out.”  Then, my favorite thing ever to hear big-ego-types say, the man actually said: “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!”  To which she coolly replied sir, I do, but it does not change the fact that the flights are sold out; can you move on so I can help some of these other people in line?  He’s mad, but he’s finished.  He moves on and up I come.  I look at her and I say “did you help him figure out who he was?”  She laughed, and so did the agent next to her.  I then handed over my boarding pass and said, “It looks like my flight has been cancelled and I gather from that last conversation that everything is full.  I’m happy to fly into any of the three airports in DC but if they’re all full I’ll just take whatever is the next available.”  She looks at me, looks at the agent next to her, leans in and says “Honey, I think we have a flight we can get you on today. “  She does her thing, prints out a new boarding pass and as she hands it to me says, “thank you for being patient and kind.”  I smile back and say “I do hope the rest of the day goes better.  Thank you very much.”  I walk away and look at my pass for my gate number and I realize she had moved me from my coach seat to First Class – WOW!  I ran back and said with a huge smile – “OH MY GOD –thank you!”  She whispers, “it was the last seat.”  Meaning, the man barking at her could have gotten that seat had he been nicer; instead all he did was make it available for me.  Thank you angry guy!
Just be nice people…you will go miles and you’ll do it in first class too!