Archive for June, 2008

Lighting up the Night

So, the Omaha storm took my power out for some time. I am grateful I have it back, as many still do not.  I will say that one thing struck me Friday night in all the blackness that was my neighborhood and all of the surrounding neighborhoods – the darkness seemed unusual to me and so did nature.

What I mean is, around 10 or so, I was brushing my teeth by flashlight (not a single candle in my entire place – how is that for prepared) and heard firecrackers.  I looked out my bathroom window and the most amazing fireworks display began. It lasted for quite a long time and was absolutely magnificent.  Without any of the normal house and street lights, the display was that much more illuminating and beautiful.  I was a little awe-struck to be able to see all of this from my window.

More than that, when I went to bed shortly thereafter, I could see all the fireflies in the back yard and the empty field next to my place.  I don’t remember seeing that many fireflies since I was a kid and it’s most likely because I either don’t bother to notice or don’t put myself in a position to see nature at night.  But with no AC, all the windows and blinds were open and could see the little butts of fireflies lighting up everywhere.

It seems that electricity really does change how we view things and with the incredible darkness and quiet of the night, it was actually hard to sleep. Not because of that, but because it was nice to be up and aware.  Just lovely.

June 30, 2008 at 12:43 pm Leave a comment

A night never imagined (again)

I am in a local coffee shop trying to stay on schedule for school (researching, etc.) but also to escape.  Yesterday, around 5 or so, Omaha got hit pretty hard by severe storms.  There hasn’t been any confirmations about tornados, but they have confirmed hurricane-like winds of 80 and 100 mph ripping through the city.

I can honestly say it was scary beyond belief and being able to see it because it was so early in the day was not helpful at all.  Yes, I was watching it, from my closet, the farthest interior room.  The last time I remember something like this was in 1996 with Hurricane Fran when it passed right over Raleigh, NC.  It happened largely overnight but I remember trying to sleep through it so that I could wake up and believe it to be a dream. No such luck then, or now.

So, I am escaping the lack of electricity and food for some news, adult interaction, and a little normalcy.  Once I do a bit of schoolwork, I will head out and see how I can help some neighbors.  It’s an ugly mess but we will get past this!

June 28, 2008 at 8:48 am Leave a comment

Perception is Reality

This is a tough one for some to understand or even believe, but it’s true. Perception is reality in the eye of the beholder.  For example, NBC news believed that if Maria Shriver continued to work for them, there would exist a conflict of interest in her reporting while Ahnuld was Governor of California. Surely she there are more topics to report on than just politics, but their belief was that the perception was reality, so they came to an agreement (!!) in which she stopped working for them.

There are examples of perception is reality in all areas of life. If you are sitting at your desk at work around 2pm, eating your lunch (and you are taking your lunch hour) while checking your personal email, or checking your Facebook page, or watching the latest funnies on YouTube, or even shopping on, your coworkers could perceive this to be you goofing off on the job.  They could perceive that you are a slacker or someone who uses the the clock to your own advantage when you should be working.  This is their perception.  Unless they absolutely know you are taking your lunch, how would they know that you had a meeting from 12-2 and are taking your lunch late that day?

Now, one could say, it’s not anyone’s business how one manages their time and that is certainly true, but when you rely on said coworkers, it’s never good to give them ammunition.  Something to think about!

June 27, 2008 at 11:42 am Leave a comment

What was I thinking?

I am in the midst of writing my thesis for my master’s program.  The final draft is due in five weeks and for some reason that just doesn’t seem like enough time.  I have no idea what I was thinking!  It was around this time exactly three years ago that I was starting my final class for my MBA.  Our final class in the program was writing a thesis of no less than a 100 pages in 10 weeks.  Mind you, that 10 weeks consisted of determining your topic, gaining topic approval, researching the literature, and doing some sort of survey or questionnaire, while also writing the paper.  It was a mind-boggling time.  Our support network was huge in the program (I highly encourage this and couldn’t have managed it without my school chums) and there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t talk to my friend Rodney at least once during his thesis or mine (more like five times).  (Thanks Rodney!!)

Why would I put myself through that torture again?  I can honestly tell you I have no idea. I found a great MS program in Leadership that I wanted to study and so I went for it. I was already enrolled in a PhD program but asked for a leave of absence.  And now, 13 months later, I want to bonk myself on the head!  Telling myself that there is only 12 more weeks to go isn’t really helping either because I know that time will go fast and not slow down like time usually does when you become more aware of it.

For right now, I will just keep doing what I do best when things get a little heady – laugh.  I will do this in any way imaginable – talking on the phone, watching comedians, people watching, going out with friends, making my cats chase a laser light they can never catch, or visiting some of my fave websites that always knock me out.  But I still can’t help but wonder what I was thinking last May when I started this!

June 26, 2008 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

The laughter is still with us

It was a bit shocking to learn of George Carlin’s death.  I guess I was so used to seeing him look what seemed the same way for so long, that in my mind he wasn’t aging anymore.  I had the opportunity to see him once about five years ago in Raleigh, North Carolina. I thought he was great and my sides heart like crazy from the laughter.  I ended up not seeing the whole show due to a date issue (that is another story all together) but have always been grateful that I was able to see him at least once.

I know there are people who follow bands, etc. like a religion. I have a friend who followed Jimmy Buffet, another who followed The Allman Brothers, etc.  I was never one of those kinds of people.  Maybe I am just too boring, or maybe it’s because I look for the next adventure, I am not sure.  I was able to see Jerry Seinfeld perform shortly after the television show ended. That was a great night and I never thought I would stop laughing.  I don’t need to see him every city; I just needed to see him in one city.

Right now, my goal is to see Jim Gaffigan perform in Omaha this coming October (probably because he’s a Hoosier, like myself). So far, I don’t have someone to go with or a date, but hopefully that will change in the near future.  Sure, I have seen him on Comedy Central do a show and love him on TBS’s My Boys, but I would like to see him in person just once.  For me, one time is all I need.  I count myself lucky that I had my opportunity with George Carlin, a true comedian and artist.

June 23, 2008 at 7:31 pm 1 comment

Headline grabber

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about “hurtling through space”. I have heard that phrase somewhere before but cannot recall where. Regardless, I feel as if it’s completely descriptive of how I feel lately. I don’t mean relative to my own life, but about the world in general. It seems like all it does is rain in Omaha lately, especially in the evenings. My friends in NC tell me the drought and heat are getting no better ( I don’t miss any of that at all). The earthquakes, the cyclone. Even typing that just doesn’t sound real.

But then this morning, I read an amazing headline:

Everything seemingly is spinning out of control

now doesn’t that just say everything? It does to me anyway and then to read the article. It put into words most, if not all, of what I have been thinking lately. I am not sure if I am relieved that I am not the only one, or if there is more to my thinking after all. Neither is comforting. But what I did appreciate was reading two journalists so eloquently encapsulate much of what I had been thinking about lately and will give me an opportunity to move forward toward doing something instead of just dwelling. The power of knowledge never disappoints.

June 22, 2008 at 2:37 pm 1 comment

Don’t need hindsight to see 20/20

I just had my annual eye checkup. This is the one yearly doctor’s appointment I never miss and actually look forward to.  Why? because this is my ninth anniversary of 20/20 vision.  I say ninth anniversary because I had LASIK in 1999 and it is one of the best investments, expenses, splurges I am continually grateful for.

For anyone who has worn glasses or contacts for any length of time, you know what a pain both can be.  I started wearing glasses in kindergarten. They were hideous brown frames that were shaped like stop signs.  Believe me, my style didn’t graduate to much better as I got older and I had plenty of chances. During elementary school, I was getting new glasses on the average of every six months (yes, my eyes would progressively get that bad).  I remember, in third grade, the ophthalmologist suggesting we try bifocals. Oh yes, what a every four-eyed girl wants, to become six-eyed!   That was a horrible experience and didn’t help at all. She also suggested contacts, but my mom wouldn’t have any of it. Darn the luck.

In eighth grade, I finally convinced my mom that it was time to let me try contact lenses.  Because my eyes were so bad and the astigmatism so great, soft contacts were never an option for me.  Let me tell you, if you think soft are bad, try hard contacts.  It’s like having glass in your eye all the time.  But believe me, I would have done anything not to have to wear glasses anymore.  I had to gradually build up to wearing them, 2 hours a day, until I got to 8 hours. That first day I wore them to school was a highlight for me.  I felt like a new person.

I have done dumb things for the sake of vision – like sleeping in my contacts (mostly in college), not cleaning them every night like you are supposed to, wearing them when I went swimming (even opening my eyes under water with them on) and other stupid things like that so people would never see me in my glasses.  But for LASIK, I had to wear my glasses for a full two weeks before surgery because the hard lenses had actually warped my eyes so much, they had left an indent.  I can tell you, I never left my desk during that timeframe and didn’t do anything but go home.  Yes, I hated those coke-bottle glasses that much.

I can say that every day since I have had LASIK has been awesome. I have enjoyed what this surgery has done for my quality of life and will never regret the decision.  If you are on the fence about it, I would love to hear from you.  As someone with -12 and -13 vision and the thickest glasses you will probably ever see (even after I would pay the extra money to make them thinner), I would never trade this for anything and I truly mean anything.

June 21, 2008 at 6:05 pm 1 comment

Take the Pledge

Please take the pledge to fight animal cruelty. Pass it on to your friends, your coworkers, your family. It truly upsets me to hear or read about the many cases of animal cruelty that the ASPCA and HSUS uncover on a too regular basis. I say hear or read, because I can’t watch the videos on tv or online. I couldn’t even watch the Oprah episode on puppy mills; had to delete the TIVO’ed episode. I knew I would be a weepy mess and my heart would ache for days. I will never understand those that hurt animals. I just can’t fathom how a person could do that and truly hope we continue to use the legal system to deter further examples.

Please, please, please take the pledge to fight animal cruelty. Pass it on to your friends, your coworkers, your family. If you are like me, you are already a member and make frequent contributions to both organizations. I thank you, but more importantly, the animals thank you.

June 20, 2008 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

The kindness of strangers

I still believe in the kindness of strangers. I still believe in smiling at anyone (well, everyone really) where ever I am.  I remember the first time I ever went to NYC and was prepped by others in advance that I just couldn’t talk to anyone or smile at everyone like I always do.  My response was utter shock at the warning.

Here is a piece of advice I want to share with everyone.   Please listen to others and let them have their say, but always remember that you can accept, reject, or ignore what was shared with you.  I think we fail to remember that we have a choice after being presumably told what to do.

So I exercised this choice during that first trip to NYC and every subsequent trip. I will continue to do so. I refuse to change who I am at the core, which is someone who naturally just smiles or talks to anyone around.  I may be looked at oddly (since when has that bothered me) but at least I know the real me showed up.   Fear doesn’t get you anywhere and I mean that literally.  Fear holds you back, talks you out of trying something new and keeps you from enjoying the spontaneity of life.

I have had the great fortune of living in some truly wonderful cities that embraced this side of my personality.  Indiana, North Carolina and now Nebraska have all been wonderful places for me to meet all kinds of wonderful people and have been grateful for every person I have encountered.  Have you met someone new today?

June 19, 2008 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

Little turtle that could

I was on the highway recently and noticed what looked like a big rock by the side of the road, slightly in the lane. I moved a bit to the left so that I would not hit it and as I got closer, I noticed it was not a rock at all but a turtle. When I drove by, he stuck his head out and then started to book it across the lanes. I have to say, if I had the ability to yell out via a bullhorn to the cars behind me, I would have.

Yes, so that they too could avoid the turtle. I know, I know, insurance companies tell you to hit the animal and not to swerve because all that does is cause your insurance to go up. But I refuse to do this (much to the chagrin of my insurance carrier. Twice now – once due to deer and another because of a rabbit). If animals don’t have feelings, why do they whimper? or cower? Sorry, until there is strong evidence to suggest that animals do not have feelings, I will swerve every time.

June 17, 2008 at 8:11 pm Leave a comment

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June 2008