Monday, January 26, 2009

Oh, the possibilities

Watching TV shows over the years that were steeped in pseudo-occult and sci-fantasy --Buffy, X-Files, Heroes -- I’ve thought about what super power I would like to have. I immediately went to the obvious…invisibility, reading minds, flying. But my analytical Virgo brain came up with various reasons why those wouldn’t be practical.

Then one day it came to me...I would love to be a shape shifter. Holy schmoley, how much fun would that be!

I think maybe first I would become Pamela Anderson for a while, as a psychological experiment of course, just to see how differently men would react to me. Next I’d morph into Fergie (the singer, not the Duchess) so I could make out with Josh Duhamel.

Then I’d become the head of the company I used to work for and fire my old boss. I’d spend some time as Bill Gates so I’d know what it’s like to be the richest man in the world. (You’re gonna want to be around then because I will be giving away lots of moolah.)

I would have fun being a Polar Bear who terrorizes Sarah Palin, but first I’d be a master thief who steals all the guns out of her house.

I would love to spend some time as Michael Phelps just to know what it feels like to have an amazing athletic body. Next I’d be Patty Scialfa so I could rock on stage with Bruce Springsteen.

Well, as you can see, the fun could go on forever, so I’ll jump to question portion of this post. Multiple choice:

A) If you could have a super power what would it be?
B) If you were a shape shifter, who/what would you become…and why?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Job envy

Like a gazillion other folks these days, I am looking to upsize my employment status. I’ve been freelancing/consulting in marketing communications for the past two years, but as goes the economy, my business has taken a nose dive.

Being open to any good opportunity, I’ve done my share of research, networking and interviewing. Actually, it was the interviewing process that brought about this blog. I was telling tales of pathetic prospective employers and a friend said, “You know, you really should write about it.”

With that encouragement, I jumped into the blogosphere…but I have not been able to work up the enthusiasm to bitch about the pitfalls of job hunting. I’ve had so many amazingly rude experiences I’ve lost the ability to laugh about them. It has taken on the sound of whining, and it’s not pretty.

Someday though, because I think I may have enough material for a long running sitcom.

The whole “looking for a great job” process got me to wondering about what truly good gigs are out there. Who has the best job in the world? After much thought, and after ruling out ice cream tester simply based on calorie consumption, I hereby declare my choice for person with the coolest job to be.…..(drum roll)……Paul Shaffer.

Yes, the band leader on the David Letterman show. Here’s my rationale:

- He probably only works about 4 or 5 hours a day
- I’m sure he gets paid handsomely.
- He wears whatever he wants to work.
- He hangs out with Dave and other celebrities.
- I bet he gets good tables at the best restaurants.
- He has a creative outlet and works with talented musicians.
- He’s the master of his domain.
- The stress level seems extremely low.
- He laughs a lot and makes music.

But I’m open to other thoughts. If you think there’s a better gig out there, post it here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Size does matter

My neighbors recently have added dogs to their household. The first to arrive a few months ago was a fluffy little Pomeranian ball of fur named Chica who maybe weighs about 5 pounds. She’s all girl, from pink collar to tres chic sweater.

When Dave, my neighbor, had Chica in the yard a while back for her potty break, I was teasing him that a #2 result would be so small it is probably very hard to find the poo in the grass. We’re talking dingleberry.

This last week they added another family member, Cesar, a handsome Mastiff weighing in at a whopping 135. He’s sweet, he’s gentle, he’s HUGE.

Over the weekend I looked out my window to see Cesar in the yard with Dave. Obviously Cesar has been successful in making his own #2 – and I’m assuming we’re not talking dingleberry because Dave was using a shovel and bucket to take care of clean up.

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. In the world of doggie poo, size does matter.

That’s Dave and the dogs pictured here. And that’s the clean up bucket in the corner. If you look close, that black smudge in the window is Mario, the cat. This is truly a blended family.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On the road again: JoJo #2

The musical simian has hit the road again. It's hard to keep track of JoJo. His adventures take him far and wide, but almost always down the central corridor.

Hints are in his poem -- which is, as before, quite telling. I promise, as his travels continue, the clues will become much murkier, twisted and complex. Vote early and vote often.

My friend Speedy would like it here
Homeland far, homeland near
You'll find spicy, crispy, soft or not
Sometimes mild, sometimes hot
Inside -- or out on a pretty day
Standing room only the fifth of May.
Where am I?

Monday, January 19, 2009

A social experiment

My friend, Kathy, sent me this article. (Wave to the folks, Kathy.) I thought it was a wonderful story and I wanted to share it. I think it speaks volumes to how we buzz through our lives with blinders on. Hurry, hurry, hurry. Move, move, move.

But maybe more sadly, it's a modern day parable for how we compartmentalize and perceive the beauty around us. A talented musician playing in a subway is probably a panhandler. A lovely flower in a dusty lot must be a weed. A work of art on the side of a building is just graffiti.

(Reprinted with permission from Kathy, but I think originally it was probably from the Washington Post.)

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents,without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was
organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people.

The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?


What's the moral of this story for you?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

4 8 15 16 23 42

It’s time to return to the island.

It seems like forever since the camera panned around the coffin lid to reveal Locke lying on the padded satin in a traditional dead man’s pose. (Is it contradictory to say his corpse was very life-like?) A gasp heard around the world. This guy walked out of his wheel chair, crawled out of a grave. Not possible. He can’t be dead.

But that’s just one of the oodles of mysteries surrounding the survivors of Oceanic flight 815. Hopefully some answers, along with some new mysteries, will be revealed with the kick-off of the ‘09 season this Wednesday.

I’m not a Lost “trekkie”. (Would that officially be a Lostie?) I don’t visit forums or attend conventions. I don’t have Lost parties or drink a shot of booze every time Ben’s eyes bulge. No t-shirts. No I heart Jack pillowcases. But… name is Pat and I’m a Lost-aholic.

This show gets noted on my calendar and the rest of my life fits in around it. Honestly, I don’t watch much TV, but Lost got under my skin from Day One and I can’t kick the addiction. Even when silly things happen….(a polar bear on a tropical island?)…and when things make me angry …(the death of Mr. Eco)…I remain loyal and enthralled and completely captivated.

Maybe the Dharma initiative is drugging my water.

At the heart of the matter, I am an intelligence junkie and this show is well written. I am a creativity groupie and this show sets new standards for being clever and fresh. I am a sucker for interesting, flawed characters and this show has them by the bucketful.

When Lost premiered skeptics scoffed that you couldn’t keep an island survivor show from bogging down in tedium, but the writers shot down those nay-sayers with the intriguing back stories of central characters. The past couple of seasons they raised their own bar with the flash forward.

I love a show (a book, a movie, anything) that makes me pay attention. That challenges the thought process. That surprises.

If you think Lost is unsubstantial, you haven’t been paying attention. And you probably haven’t been viewing the re-telecasted shows that feature the captions at the bottom of the screen. Reading those insights, everyone can finally “get” all the thought the writers have put into the plot, the hidden deeper meaning.

For example: The winning lottery numbers that plague Hurley…4 8 15 16 23 42….are the same numbers that had to be put into the computer in the Swan every 108 minutes so the island won’t blow up. Those numbers add up to 108…..and 108 is an important number in Buddhist mythology that refers to sins or defilements.

There’s so much more. For all the clever details, the good folks at Wiki have compiled their own Lost reference site. You can visit at:

Now you know where I will be on Wednesday nights for the next few months. Time is running out for this series and there are many, many beguiling story lines to be reconciled:

- What did Sawyer say to Kate before he jumped out of the helicopter?
- How do the Others get off/on the island; why do they keep coming back?
- Who the heck is Jacob and why does he whisper?
- How come Richard never gets any older?

Okay fellow Losties….I know you are out there. What questions do you want answered?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

For Liquid

The Giver of Stars
- by Amy Lowell

Hold your soul open for my welcoming.
Let the quiet of your spirit bathe me
With its clear and rippled coolness,
That, loose-limbed and weary, I find rest,
Outstretched upon your peace, as on a bed of ivory.
Let the flickering flame of your soul play all about me,
That into my limbs may come the keenness of fire,
The life and joy of tongues of flame,
And, going out from you, tightly strung and in tune,
I may rouse the blear-eyed world,
And pour into it the beauty which you have begotten.

Photo by Suzanne Horne

Vaya con dios

I woke up to a beautiful day in the flatlands. Cold as squat, but there’s an amazing blazing sun that makes the brittle weather more bearable.

Because it’s so cold, I gave myself permission to “hole up”. Drink coffee. Move slow. Catch up on some surfing. It was that surfing that brought a cloud to dim my sunshine.

As a relatively new blogger, I like to visit other blog sites from time to time to marvel at the talent that lurks in the blogosphere. One fellow blogger reached out to me from nearly day one. She would leave sweet comments and her encouragement gave me confidence to continue onward in this daunting new world.

Visiting her blog today I learned that her contributions to cyberspace came to an end. On Christmas Eve, Suzanne Horne, aka Liquid Illuzion, left this world. It seems her soul was too gentle to withstand her personal demons.

Please visit Suzanne’s blog, Her talent deserves to be shared. Her spirit needs to live on. If you read the comments and postings, it is very obvious how many lives she touched with her kindness.

I’m not lucky enough to be able to call Suzanne a friend, but the loss of our wee bit of a relationship left a hole in my heart. I saw only her creativity, her generosity, her love of her family. How amazing that she presented such a remarkable energy when she obviously lived with great pain.

Do you have a friend you haven’t heard from recently? Please call them. Have you met someone you’d like to know better? Invite them over. Does something nag in the back of your mind that a person close to you has been less present lately? Reach out.

We never know how short life might be. How fragile another soul. Whoever said “Carpe diem” knew her stuff. Seize the day. Hug a friend. Make a call. Send a kind note.

Vaya con dios, Suzanne.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

JoJo, on the road, #1

Here’s JoJo, the musical monkey, just starting on his ’09 expeditions. He’s a fun-loving, whimsical guy, so he could turn up just about anywhere. You’ll find hints in his poem, and I’m using a wide angle this first time to give you more of a location visual.

Do you know where JoJo is hanging out in this shot? Post your answer and be a WINNER.

Off I go,
The road I hit,
Good thing I’m not a meth addict.
Stopping for a power bar
Vitamins will take me far
Twinkies, hair gel, it’s all here
When did they stop selling beer?
Where am I?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A new day (timer)

At this time of the year, new calendars are going up on walls all over the world. Choosing the right calendar deserves considerable thought -- it will after all be hanging in front of you for twelve months. It may take some searching to find one that properly expresses a little about you. What’s it gonna be? Firemen hunks? Wild flower meadows? Artsy photography? Pamela Sue? Clever cats? Or whatever comes free from the bank?

There’s something unexpectedly exciting about the ceremony of hanging it up. You flip through the months and admire the photos. You choose the proper place for display. But it’s the realization of a new year spread out before you that arouses the thrill of possibilities.

For me it’s the ritual of starting a shiny new Day-Timer that sets my heart a flutter.

The trip to Office Depot is in itself a highly anticipated errand. Stepping through the automatic doors alerts me to the anticipation of what lies ahead. My senses are bombarded by an assault of directional signs, the smell of cardboard packaging, and the buzz of sales associates talking to one another on headsets.

While my brain knows I’m on a mission, my inner child can’t help but be distracted by all the colorful Post-it notes and chunky Lucite pens. The amazing assortment of paper choices has me in a thrall. I search for the calendar section, but to get there, I need to pass by the digital cameras (which much be admired) and the thinnest of laptops (begging to be touched).

And look, there just on the other side of the aisle are the latest all-in-one printers – they copy, scan, fax, print photos, remind you to floss and make cappuccino.

Finally I find myself among rows and shelves filled with Business Planners and Day-Timers. I’m pretty sure I know what I want, but I must look at them all just to be certain. Is it more efficient to plan by week or by month? Is it more convenient to have a small notebook size, a tablet size or a desk cover?

Black says classic, but red would brighten my world. One has more writing space but the other has better paper stock. Another has all the hours of the day, but one without hours is much cheaper. By now my head is starting to hurt and the candy bars at the check out are calling to me.

The decision is made and I finger the cover of my choice. I’m pleased that if offers a month at a glance along with a lined weekly section that will corral my erratic handwriting. In the back are area codes, toll free numbers and important dates that I will never remember to reference, but the effort is appreciated.

At home with my purchase, I climb onto my bed, bringing along my tattered 2008 edition, the pristine 2009 selection, an ink pen, colored pencils and highlighters. Transferring info from old to new is a many splendored thing.

First I check all the notes I’ve written in the margins towards the end of the year. Those are my reminders of things to do. Then I transfer any appointments already made to the appropriate day/time and highlight them in alternating blue or yellow so they can’t be missed. Now I must go through week by week and log in all birthdays and anniversaries for the coming year. That’s where the colored pencils come in.

All this organization makes me giddy with an efficiency high.

Then, just because I can’t help myself, I flip through the weeks of the past year. And there is my life sprawled out in bad penmanship. All the meetings, lunch dates and haircuts. Phone numbers, books to read, names of people I can no longer remember. Recipes to locate, job leads and blog reminders.

As I stare at the scribbles and notations, an unwarranted sadness comes over me and releases in a big sigh. Well, maybe not sadness so much as melancholy. Is it the blatant evidence of passing time? Or a life perceived as too full or too empty?

Ah, no time to be mopey. I’ve got a glossy 2009 Day-Timer, long-lasting highlighters and a year to fill up with new adventures. Time’s a wastin’.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The first day of a new year

Santa was kind. I was lucky enough to get a cute little digital camera for Christmas. I promised myself to use it frequently, to have some fun with it, to capture the world around me, to continue my quest to get cozy with technology.

With all that in mind, I decided to record how I spent the first day of the new year. It may not be exciting. Publishers will not beat down my door for printing rights. But it's my story, a tiny slice of my life.

January 1, 2009: 2:16 a.m.

The fireworks at midnight woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep. After tossing and turning for a couple hours, I gave in and switched on the TV. I don't have cable so the programming options in the wee hours are pretty limited.

Here's is Chuck Norris trying to sell me his portable home exercise system. Actually, he did a good job of reeling me in. If I had the cash readily available, I might now be the proud owner of a Total Gym.

January 1, 2009: 8:48 a.m.

The breakfast for a new year.

Italians have a new year's tradition of eating lentils on January 1. The legend is that because lentils are round and resemble coins, their abundance will bring you good fortune in the new year.

Well, I didn't have any lentils so I grabbed the only round food I could find. Cheerios. Then I got nervous cause the Cheerios have a hole in the middle and I was worried that might effect the whole abundance theory.

So to be safe, for lunch I made silver dollar sized pancakes. (Sorry, no photo available.)

January 1, 2009: 9:46 a.m.

Here I am in my office, at my desk, on the computer as I continue on the path of embracing technology. I've been working on a picture album for my MySpace page that pulls together interesting and impactful world photos from 2008. I thought it would be geek cool to keep my own digital file of history.

Check it out
when you get a minute. Let me know if I've missed any significant world event.

January 1, 2009: 11:20 a.m.

December was a lazy month for me and I didn't make it to the health club as much as I normally do. Couple that sloth mode with a heavy holiday diet and you've got trouble....that starts with "t" and rhymes with "p" and stands for pudge.

I try not to beat myself up when I fall off the wagon, cause eventually my body and my spirit tells me it's time to get back into the groove.

I forgot to take my camera to the health club, so here I am on the fitness ball, doing some crunches.

January 1, 2009: 2:23 p.m.

When the sun is shining and the temp is above freezing, I have absolutely no excuse not to walk the dogs. This exercise is a delicate balance. Murphy has arthritic, atrophied back legs so he can't walk too far. Nelson is a force of high energy that could go forever.

But they are gracious buddies who appreciate and understand each other's needs. Murphy does his best to start strong and keep up; Nels knows when limits have been reached and slows his pace.

It's really more of a smell fest for them anyway. The walking part is just the means to move along to the next really interesting scent and the opportunity to leave something of themselves behind.

Boys will be boys.

January 1, 2009: 3:34 p.m.

The Today Show did a story on a Mediterranean based diet where you eat four small meals a day four hours apart. You also include at every meal a MUFA -- which stands for something in the mono-unsaturated family. I like the idea of the four small meals, but I really love that one of MUFA options is Dark Chocolate!

Plus the other MUFAs are olive oil, nuts/seeds, avocado, olives -- am I missing something? Anyway, those are all foods that can easily be incorporated into my eating habits.

I had told myself I would start eating better in the new year, so this a nudge in the right direction.

The photo is me pushing my cart down the aisle at Shop'n'Save as I stock up on my MUFAs.

January 1, 2009: 4:46 p.m.

There is beauty in the hood!

As soon as I brought the groceries in the house, I took out the trash while still in my heavy outer wear. Tossing refuse in the dumpster, I happened to look out to the west and saw this glorious sunset forming.

I zipped back into the house and grabbed the camera. From my front porch, I was able to shoot several shots of the horizon, above the roof lines, as the colors began to swirl and deepen.

What a wonderful omen. The first day of the new year ending on such a lovely note sets the tone for good things to come. Orange is the color of creation, joy, activity...all elements I want to capture in my easily as I was able to capture this blazing sky.