A weekend challenge

75% of people are afraid of starting a conversation with a stranger. The only greater fear is public speaking. Or so says the author of the book I’m reading right now. So, if I’m going to do these exercises to improve my speaking ability, I’m going to invite you to do them too. And please, let me know how it goes!

When you’re out and about this weekend, take the time to introduce yourself to someone and ask them a question.
There are so many places and ways to do it?

At the grocery store: Do you enjoy that brand? What do you like about it?

At a restaurant: Have you been here before? What do you recommend? or even easier, learn your waiter’s name and something about them.

At a theater: What are you here to see? What films have you enjoyed? What do you think about ??’s latest work?

Anywhere: So what’s your opinion of….

The Store

It’s been forever since I went to The Store. My mom used to shop there all the time when we lived up on 3080 East because it was the closest grocery. I remember it being a neighborhood grocery store where they would call when Mom’s Finnish Rye bread arrived and they would grind liver for Maksilatiko for her. The cashiers knew her by name and trusted her to come back and pay for things without leaving one of us as a hostage (my sister Kat got to stay at more gas stations while Mom ran for her wallet). The Store closed its 2700 East location years ago; another victim of the chain store supermarkets. I thought they were gone for good until I moved to the South Valley and found one on 6400 South. It seems they’ve found a niche to keep them alive in the face of the Walmart and other superstore assaults – – specialty items.
When I first married, we had a small grocery near the apartment run by a butcher. I could get fat trimmed from steaks, dog bones, soup bones (big difference between the two), and the T-bones were to die for. The other items were too expensive there so I went to the superstore for everything else. But being on the other side of the city, the meat wasn’t worth the gas and time it would cost to go there.
The Store has a butcher, a baker, and a confectioner. Not to mention specialty items from all over the world. It’s a dangerous place. I got German chocolates, New Zealand honey, Fresh English muffins with Bitter orange marmalade from Switzerland, milk from cows who never got BGH, and the fresh Tomato soup that I stopped for in the first place. I could go broke shopping there daily but once in a while, it’s nice to give yourself a treat. I wonder if they would grind liver for me. I would expect to have a cleaning fee tacked on just like they did for my mother.

Johari and Nohari windows

Okay thank’s to Stacey, I’m jumping on this bandwagon too. So feel free to contribute to Stasha’s Johari Window.

And if you don’t want to say positive things about me, or think that I could really use having my failings pointed out to me, you can always do this one. I would hope if you do the Nohari window, you would have the courage to leave a name I recognize. After all, if I don’t know my weaknesses, how can I make them into strengths? Let’s face it, for the Nohari window, you’re one of two types of people. Someone who knows me well enough for me to share my faults with, or someone who just thinks they know my faults but has never taken the time to know me…

In The Deep Dark Hours After Midnight

Besides being from one of my favorite filking albums, the song describes my thoughts many times in the middle of the night when I’m the only one awake in the house, the heat is off, the birds covered and the beagle keeps looking up at me with his, “aren’t you going to bed yet so I can get in the garbage” eyes. But I need less sleep than the rest of the family which is why I’m up and they’re not. I guess I should be concentrating more on finishing the taxes but I’m down to 2 accounts left to go and the accountant has tomorrow’s holiday off even if I don’t. I haven’t been to any of the holiday fabric sales and they are good. 1.99 bolts, $1.00 fat quarters and 10% off finish the bolts cuts at Quilts, etc. and JoAnn’s has a 10% off entire purchase, sale and non-sale items. Maybe it’s because I’m doing the taxes and realizing what I spend in stash during the year would take my family on a nice vacation. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the photo expenses but I could justify those by saying they are a business startup, if it was treated more like a business and less like a hobby that may pay for itself someday.
I read blogs today and felt a bit melancholy at how few had my blog listed but then, why should they list mine when I don’t list theirs? I think what hurts is my own perception that some of the people I really admire can’t stand me and don’t respond when I do drop them a line to tell them how much I care. But again, it could just be February talking.
So I stand here mired in my own fear, wondering should I really contact someone I only know online but admire her skill about a paid job that I need in a rush. Is the amount that I can afford to pay an insult to her skill? Would she even respond to me since I’ve heard rumor that she despises me? But then again, the face she puts out on line would never despise anyone. So is this my own insecurity talking. When I pray about it, the answer I get is that this is one of those small things left to my discretion; it doesn’t matter in the eternal scheme. There is someone local who would do the work free but is notorious for not being timely. So here I sit in the deep still hours after midnight, wondering.

*After Midnight is on Harpers, Heralds, and Havoc.

An open letter to the woman who tried to pass me this morning

Finally, winter arrived in the form of a snow storm that dumped a good 11 inches at my house. I love the snow, I love sitting inside stitching facing the window watching it fall down outside backlit by my neighbor’s porch light. I like seeing the kids outside with their sleds and watching the beagle try to decide if he’s going to romp over the top or dig his way through. What I don’t like is that everyone forgets how to drive. I slow down to a safe speed. If I’m in a 4×4 truck and going about 50 on the freeway, why should you think that your Honda is safe at a higher speed and since I’m so slow, you try to pass me on the right? No, I didn’t stop when you slid off the embankment. I have 4 wheel drive but it doesn’t mean I can brake any faster in bad weather. In fact, I probably brake slower since I weigh more (want to really discuss mass?) May I also add that I do not have a winch on my truck? That means I do not have the ability or the inclination to try and pull you from the ditch that you drove yourself into by trying to pass me on the right. In fact, considering that you honked at me on the way past, I’m even less inclined to help. But I’m not completely unfeeling; I did see that you were still moving I did pass my son the cell phone and had him call the sheriff’s department. Of course, I suppose that as soon as you hang up your current call, you’ll probably call them too. I did give them your plate number, explained that you passed me on the right and that you were on your cell phone when you went off the highway. I think they put you at the bottom of the list since they have over 100 accidents to take care of this morning. Good luck and have a good day.

So, what are you doing for someone for Valentine’s day?

I was reminded the other day that St. Valentine embodied the concept of Love. Not sex, not marriage, not “couplehood” but the concept of Love. So how do you define Love? Do you use the Christian concept of Charity? Maybe take it further and go with the Eastern philosophies of complete harmony with the universe? Do you limit it to familial relationships? What about the Pure love of Christ? My husband and I will not be doing anything together on Tuesday night. He will be going out with the boy scouts to deliver flowers to all the single women in the neighborhood. I find it a fitting way to celebrate the life of St. Valentine.
Can I give you a challenge? If you don’t have anyone special in your life right now with whom to spend February 14th, go out and do a charitable act for a stranger. It’s still an expression of love.

Please ignore, this is just a work rant….

You know, I don’t enjoy having the president of sales scream at me about being behind in my reports because I just spent 4 hours fixing a screw-up that the system operator created in order to get the data for the report. I would think that they would be GRATEFUL instead of putting all my paperwork on hold and basically being snotty about it. Next time, I’ll just leave them out to dry (except they don’t have the ability to fix the data since I have access to RAW files and they don’t. So sales is in my face yelling about “why aren’t the reports done?” if he had to go to Idaho they would have had to been done last week. Yes, and last week I wouldn’t have done the claims manager’s job, I would have let everything sit and done it all this week. Not to mention the days I spent doing the IT manager’s job and the office manager’s jobs. Yes, I can usually get all the monthly reports done by the 10th of the month if I’M NOT DOING THE WORK OF FOUR SUPERVISORS!
I took stuff home to do but my brain got left in the office computer (also why the reports I took home over the weekend are not done.) I have determined one thing though. If they don’t believe I work from home then as of today, nothing leaves the office.

Things I learned this weekend….

  1. If you play Fantasia for 10 year old boys who are hopped up on sugar and ice cream they will go to sleep.
  2. Pluto is still funny to kids.
  3. The unedited Bugs Bunny cartoons are even funnier than Pluto.
  4. It is easier to surf than to categorize a year’s worth of transactions in Quickbooks.
  5. It takes longer than expected to categorize transactions that are downloaded from the web instead of recorded by hand.
  6. If you give 10 year old boys Nerf guns they will want to play with them immediately and they will not limit aiming to targets alone.
  7. Don’t count on kids waking after 9 am even if they go to bed at 2 am
  8. Nerf darts leave marks on the wall no matter what the packaging says.
  9. Chocolate cake is too much temptation for a beagle.
  10. Ironing boards are not good beagle launch pads.
  11. Chocolate cake and beagle are not a good combination.

From Kirsten’s Blog

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Shondratasha!

  1. Worldwide, Shondratasha is the most important natural enemy of night-flying insects!
  2. Three seagulls flying overhead are a warning that Shondratasha is near.
  3. Apples are covered with a thin layer of Shondratasha.
  4. Long ago, the people of Nicaragua believed that if they threw Shondratasha into a volcano it would stop erupting.
  5. You would have to dig through four thousand kilometres of Shondratasha to reach the earth’s core.
  6. Every day in the UK, four people die putting Shondratasha on!
  7. If you drop Shondratasha from more than three metres above ground level, she will always land feet-first!
  8. The number one cause of blindness in the United States is Shondratasha.
  9. It’s bad luck to put Shondratasha on a bed!
  10. 68 percent of all UFO sightings are by Shondratasha.

I am interested in – do tell me aboutherhimitthem

I demonstrated the truth of #1 in Nashville last year although, I’m not the one who squished the cicada. #2 I didn’t know but there are some strange superstitions out there. Regarding #3 – it’s safer than Alar. Well Number 4 explains my dislike of smoking mountains… As for #5, I knew I needed to lose weight but REALLY, did you have to rub it in? In Response to #6 – I would just like to point out that it is not healthy for those of you across the pond to lie to me…. And here I thought number #7 was more true of my friend Cat… as for #8 this may be a reaction to the truth of #9 (unless you’re my DH). And as for #10 – – Have you seen my stash room? But really 68%, I was sure that Lorchen has more than I do.

Thanks to Kirsten for this one…

The reworded Rant

Okay, some of you have emailed me about the negativity of my last post. Let me rephrase a few things:

I’m a goal-oriented, ebullient, creative person whose enthusiasm often terrifies lesser mortals. I try to be aware of those around me but may occasionally miss someone on the sidelines. As I told someone who said that they were a wallflower in the party of life, I’m the person in the middle of the floor dancing with the Tiffany lampshade on my head and the coat rack as my partner – and no, I haven’t had anything to drink. (For those of you at the Nashville dinner last year – Wendy had the red-headed slut, I got the pecan tart (which was not scheduled to be on the dessert table) – it was Suz’s slut and tart comments that started me laughing uncontrollably.
I love life, I believe in taking everything that Life gives me and making a positive out of it. Even the challenges are positives. As Nietzsche said, “That which does not break my back will make me stronger.” Everything that happens helps me to grow and develop. I am stronger for the associations that I have on the boards. All of you help me to become better, either through good or bad examples. After all, as Catherine Aird declared, “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” I hope that I’m an example more times than I’m a warning.

I would like to add one thing though. If you don’t feel like you’re part of the party, come in the door – post, comment, and reply – come out to the middle of the dance floor. Take the risk of rejection. Mayor Rudolf Giuliani said, “Courage is nothing more than managing fear.”