Thursday, 27 March 2008

linger...from Persisting Stars

...I love to linger in a cafe sipping chai with my friend Kate. In my favorite bookshop while peeking at everyone else's choices of reading enchantment. I love to linger on the trails with my dog and the sun dappled paths. Shop windows with striped, polkadot and paisley materials...

I read this post today...linger... from the blog Persisting Stars....lingering...savouring...relishing....

All things I don't do enough....

I've felt the lack so sharply lately, as I rush between jobs and my kids. My 20 minutes sitting outside at Panera or Starbucks on my lunch, under the beautiful spring sky here in Florida, good book at hand, is never quite enough.

There is always that sense of deadline and due dates and appointments....

I need to linger more....

So in the spirit of Madelyn's inspiring post, here is my list of lingering I want (and so need) to do....

I need to.....

...linger on the beach as the sun rises, and illuminates the ocean with pinks and yellows and reds my camera can never quite capture, but my heart sees completely

...linger at a sidewalk cafe, with tea and a good book, a drawing pad and my pens

...linger in green places in nature, where I can walk or sit. Listen. Feel. Be.

...linger in used bookstores and old bookstores, letting my eyes and my fingers have equal say in the books I choose

...linger over my artwork, giving myself the time and patience and space to arrange and rearrange and re-create

...linger in prayer, stepping beyond the forms and words prescribed and praying with images and ideas and a full heart

...linger in bed on weekend mornings, enjoying the sounds from the woods and the color of the sunlight through the trees

...linger with my children, creating precious unhurried puddles of time when we don't have to be anywhere or accomplish anything

...linger in beautiful places, where I am suddenly entranced, instead of filing it away under the "someday I'll come back here when I have more time" category

...linger with my soulmate, allowing us time to be together in silence without feeling that we need to check activities off an agenda

So where do you linger? And perhaps more importantly, where do you need to linger?

Friday, 21 March 2008

Music and creativity

From an article that landed in my inbox....

Similarly, whenever I hear a radio station urging listeners at work to call in, I wonder: Do employees really think that their productivity, error rate, and performance are not affected if they are paying that much attention to something else? Or do they just not care?

Music has less impact than talk, though I’m not as productive with music on, unless the activity is pretty routine. (Leaf raking appears to be just about as efficient. The bike rack was past my limit.) Nevertheless, I’ll concede that some people may not be less productive when listening to music. Computer programmers, as a class, seem to believe, almost as a matter of “religion,” that music is required for productivity. I’ve worked with any number of them who are “devout” listeners and productive—so I’ll defer, reluctantly.

Ok, I’m the boss, and the owner of the company, so there is more in it for me. But is it really that extreme to expect people to pay attention when we’re paying them for their time? My e-pinion is that “serious” workers don’t have talk and music on. To be sure, some jobs are so mindless that productivity isn’t affected. Or are there such jobs?

-- Bob Brady, BLR CEO

Music and work.

For me they are inextricably linked. My work suffers when I try to toil in silence. My focus is off. I get distracted. I wander away mentally, and sometime physically. But according to the quote above from Bob Brady, CEO of BLR, the fact that HE is not as productive when music is playing means that he and I and every other worker on the planet ought not listen to music while working. Pretty powerful in his own mind, this Mr. Brady NOT of the blended-family-with-six-kids-three-of-them-with-hair-of-gold-

This man, who admits he works better without music on, believes he should decide for the rest of us. Even in the face of evidence, from the programmers he has seen who work best with music, he declares that the rest of us should work in silence.

And we wonder what's wrong with American business!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008


your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously) her first rose

-- excerpt from e.e. cummings "somewhere i have never traveled"

The rose....the one person, the one who is able to "unclose" my heart, this will mean something. To the rest of you, I hope you enjoyed this poetic interlude!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

One man auctioning off his life -- what would yours be worth?

A man is Australia is literally actioning off his life. His home, his car, his possessions, indeed even his friends and job. Man auctions his life | Oddly Enough | Reuters

Reading about his choice -- one made following a bad divorce -- I began to wonder what my life would be worth on e-Bay. But I immediately ran into a problem. My life -- the only things of value in my life -- are my children, my soulmate, my health and my faith. None of them have an e-Bay value.

Once upon a time, I did have a life that I wanted to leave behind. Also connected with a bad marriage. But aside from the house, which was sold and the money divided, I gave much of that life away -- furniture and clothing to friends, neighbors, charities, recycling. Dishes and household items as well. Gone. Left behind.

Maybe I missed the chance for a more memorable and dramatic exit. A public auction of a poor choice on e-Bay. So Ian Usher, I tip my hat to you!

I hope your sale is a symbolic and actual new start for you. Only wish I'd thought of it first!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

How to Increase Your Wi-Fi Signal

Blame it on Zoom, Bill Nye the Science guy, or more recently, the Myth Busters, but I like odd science projects. The kind of kitchen supplies stuff you do at home.

"Real science" programs seldom interest me -- I prefer the arts. But the quirky, odd, gee whiz, McGuyver with a gum wrapper and a bit of wire kind of projects or demos? THAT I love.

Here's one I found on YouTube...I'm going to try it! Watch for the results posted here later this week! And if you try it, let me know if it worked for you.

Friday, 7 March 2008

The story of Stuff

I came across this simple video that just might change your view of our daily lives!

Check it out!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Hi, I'm Catherine's mommy

Soon after my son was born, my first name changed to "Nicholas' mommy." I think it started with that first playgroup meeting. As we each walked in carrying our new babies (they were far too young to play, but it was still called a playgroup...hmmm), and diaper bags and assorted newborn paraphernalia, we were perhaps for the first time, somewhere as someone's mommy. It was that mommy badge that gained us admission to the group. So the identification made sense.

When Rachel was born less than two years later, I gained a longer name..."Hi, I'm Nicholas' and Rachel's mommy." Two in diapers and car seats meant a two part name.

Later, as they became more independent and Catherine joined the family, I began to be more selective. So one moment, I was Nicholas' mommy, a second later, Rachel's mommy, and the next Catherine's mommy. It all depended on who was in front of me -- or rather who was hanging off my arm or wrapped around my leg.

This transformation happened to me, an independent woman with a name and identity, and even a CV, without me even being aware. It just WAS.

While the thought of changing my surname at marriage had sent me into terror (I never did do it), changing from the name I knew to someone's mommy never bothered me. I delighted in the role. So the name was a badge of honor.

But now that my youngest is 10, I've begun to wonder...after she is grown, who will I be? How will I adapt after so many years of being known as someone's mommy?

Those of you who have faced this...any thoughts?

A footnote: When I was walking into my daughter's aftercare last night, after writing this post, one of her classmates was coming out with his mom. He saw me, and gave me a cheerful "Hi Catherine's mommy!" Guess it really is too soon to worry about what happens after!

Monday, 3 March 2008

Carnivals, small town fairs and being a kid

We went to the community carnival last night.

I live in a large upscale area of South Florida -- 4 high schools of about 3-4,000 students each, nice developments, the standard shopping "must-have's" like Borders, Barnes & Noble, Old Navy, Build-A-Bear and Macy's. Chili's, TGI Friday's, Olive Garden. Of course a couple of Starbucks. The main roads are 6 lanes, and three highways connect me to the rest of South Florida.

Hardly small town.

And yet at the community's annual carnival, as we ate funnel cakes and watched the kids running from ride to ride, the feeling was almost the same as in my former small Pennsylvania town made famous by a romantic comedy slice of life movie set in a Kentucky town that shares the same name. (yes, you have to think on a Monday morning!!)

Kids still ran into friends and dared each other to ride the scariest rides with hands stretched up into the air. Parents carrying stuffed animal prizes still trailed behind, introducing themselves to one another by their children's names.

"Hi, I'm Catherine's mom." "Hi, I'm Ashley's mom. She talks a lot about Catherine." (Our own names almost always come at the end of the conversation -- but that's a subject for another blog post.)

Too much sugar. Music so loud you'd think it would drown out the squeals and screams of pleasure and mock terror from the rides, but it doesn't. The smell of fried foods that defy classification on any food pyramid. Fund raiser booths for the local Boy scouts, Girls Scouts, animal rescue and the new church down the street. Impossibly bright lights everywhere, and the giant ferris wheel overlooking the whole thing, carrying every couple in love to a breathtaking kiss at the top.

For years, the Elizabethtown Fair was the big event. (OK, so i took pity on sleepy Monday readers and gave away the name of the town!) Even though we lived 10 minutes from Hershey Park, and went almost daily in the summertime, going to a just-in-town-for-a-few-days fair was much more exciting. It was a place to run into the people you knew, and introduce yourself to the moms and dads of your kids' classmates. It was where kids dared one another to go on rides, and lovers kissed when their ferris wheel car stopped at the top. And being Pennsylvania, of course we ate funnel cake.

This weekend's fair lacked animal judging. No food and craft barns, either. But it was so nice to know that big city or small town, in today's online, high tech world, there's still a thrill in the air when the carnival's in town.