Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An extra day!

Today is February 29th, Leap Year Day.  A day that only shows up on a calendar every 4 years.

Think of it as a gift!  It's an extra day in your life.  It's a day to think about how we use each and every day.  Today may be a day to do something out of the ordinary. 

Got anything exciting or different happening today?

Remember as a kid, it was the "turn around day", or Sadie Hawkins Day, and girls could ask boys on a date, or to a school dance.   It was a big, scary deal.  What girl was brave enough to ask a boy she has been secretly admiring?   Woooo!  I think we girls talked about who we'd ask, but never got the nerve to actually do it.  ha

I don't have unusual plans for my leap year day today.   I have a list of errands to run.  The usual list.  I will walk my dog a few times.  I do that every day.  Then I go to handbell practice and the Lenten service this evening.  

I hope to spend some time outside doing some yard work. It's to be a beautiful day here.  Highs in the low 70's and just a small chance of rain.  Wow. February has been an amazing month weather-wise.  Remember the saying that if March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb?  Here March comes in like a lamb, and goes out like a lamb.  I have said it before - I love living here in the lowcountry.

Enjoy your extra day - whatever you do! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stereotyping is a selfish act.

Last week I read a "Letter to the Editor" in our local newspaper from a man who felt he knew what kind of person makes a Democrat.  He said Obama voters come in four varieties: the ignorant, African-American, elitist liberals, or "give-me citizens" wanting everything for free.   His narrow-minded list angered me enough to send in a response to his letter.   It ran in the newspaper 2 days later.  I heard from many friends (and even one stranger) thanking me for the response.

In my letter, I wrote that I do not fall into any of his four categories and I was offended that he felt he knew me.  He did not.  I told him a little bit about me, and then at the end of the letter I wrote "Let's all accept each other without stereotyping them.  Let's respect our differences."

It got me thinking about stereotyping, and profiling people.   I do it.  I can look at someone and in a flash think I know something about them.   I think that a person's physical appearance can be a statement.  How they dress, how they wear their hair, and what kind of jewelry they wear.   The kind of car they drive, certainly the house they live in...   all are visuals that "speak volumes."    I size them up quickly:  how much money they have,  where they come from, and even what they believe.

It's not fair.   I also look at someone's cleanliness and their size and form an opinion.   It's not right, but
I do it. I do it even though I do not know who they are.  I do not know their history or their core.

Stereotyping is a hard nut to crack.  It's hard to stop the mind from seeing a person and then immediately making a decision:  good person?  weird? lazy? conservative?  unstable?   poor? 

When Lent started last week I decided to give up chocolate for 40 days (and it is something I will miss, believe me) BUT I think I will also mentally "try" to stop myself from stereotyping. This will be a lot harder!!  I know I can't completely, but if I make a conscious effort then maybe I can learn to accept people as they are.

It ties in well with the Frank Warren "Purpose Driven Life" class I am taking now.  I need to work on thinking life is not about ME. My purpose on earth is not to make people fit into MY categories, or for ME to compare myself to them.  It's not about me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday's Hodgepodge

Once again I find that some of the questions in my friend's "Wednesday's Hodgepodge" list interesting.  So, I will ask & answer them, and invite you to answer them too.

What makes you proud?  What keeps you humble?   Proud:  I am very proud of my family.  My husband works hard and is very devoted to his profession AND his family.  He plans well, and executes well - and then leaves time for fun.   I'm also proud of my two daughters who have grown into smart, well-balanced young adults.  Somehow they seemed to have picked up the right things to learn in school and stayed away from the trouble. They have become much like their father, in that they work hard, and care about their jobs, and also make time to be with friends...and with me!  Thank you girls!     Humble:  Easy.  I look at all that God has given to me because he loves me.  All the people around me are blessings and I am so humbled to have the life I have. 

Where is the catch-all (aka dunping ground) in your house?   It's hard to limit this answer to one spot.  I have a papers catch-all by my phone on the kitchen counter.   Bigger items get taken down to the utility room.   I will say though I have made a point to "use it or lose it" and if something isn't necessary or isn't something I know for sure I will use again, it goes to the recycle center/dump in my town.

Oh - and for some reason my ironing board in the bedroom collects alot.  Clothes to be put away, ironed, worn briefly, etc.

Do you visit state/national parks when you travel?  If so, which one is your favorite?   I'm abit embarrassed to say that "no" I do not search out and visit the wonderful parks we have in this country.  I have been to some, but when I think of planning a vacation I do not think about a state or national park.  Perhaps it's because as a kid I camped on family vacations alot.  Been there, done that.  Also, I live in such a beautiful area it's like living in a park.  We have several State parks near by...Huntington State Park, and Myrtle Beach State Park.  Heading south we have the huge Francis Marian forest areas - and Hobcaw Barony, a preserve with forests, wetlands, and the ocean.  All of these are very close by and beautiful!

How would you define honor?    I think it's easier to define someone who is "honorable". This is a person who lives knowing right from wrong and chooses to live "right" and has respect. It's someone who would not purposely harm another person or thing.  This person sees the good and the importance in everything.  

Angel's food or devil's food - cake?   Devil's food for sure!  Chocolate is the best.  Therefore it is what I have chosen to "give up" during lent. 

The most recent trip you have taken?  How many hours in the car?  Do you zoom to the destination or do you stop occasionally and travel leisurely?  What is your favorite car snack?
Last week I drove to Charlotte from here.  I went to have dinner with my hubby, my daughters, and my niece.  I stayed overnight.  It turned out to be 4 hrs and 15 minutes.   I can most definitely tell you that I am "on a mission" when I get behind the wheel to reach my destination.  When I need to stop I like to combine getting gas, going to the bathroom, and grabbing some food all at once.  I usually eat as I drive so as not to waste time sitting in a restaurant along the way.   My favorite snack:  peanut M&M's (I call them "caffeine pills" ) and coffee.  I like coffee but don't want to drink too much to have to make additional pee breaks! 

Random thought:  Today is Ash Wednesday.  I have seen some people around today who have already been to church and have ashes on their foreheads.  I am going to church tonight.  It's the start of Lent (and yes, I'm giving up chocolate) and the journey to the cross. I suggest anyone who wants to learn more to attend Lenten services.  Easter is the best part of the story, but without going to Lenten services it's like reading the last chapter of a book without knowing all the characters, the plot, without getting the whole meaning.  Do yourself a favor to learn more and commit yourself to it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Life before motherhood

Recently I posted some old pictures from the days when I worked at 98 ROCK in Baltimore. It was many, many years ago (the mid-80's) and it was a part of my life before motherhood. 

One of my daughters saw the pictures and suggested I post on my blog about those days.  I thought it could be fun to do.  I have to confess I have already started a couple of times to write about it before this post, but I erased them.  No, nothing was scandalous and I wasn't afraid to let out my secrets of the past.  Sorry daughters. In fact, far from it!   Thankfully, I can say everything I did was "above board" and in that business back then there were temptations around. 

In fact, I think the blog posts I erased were too boring!  I started out by writing about my first job with WBAL-AM in the news department. I wrote about learning to write radio "copy" and public service announcements.  Boring, right?  I wrote about acting as a producer for evening talk shows, and the workings of a radio station.  Yawn.

So, for my daughter, I'm skipping right to my job as the Promotions Manager for the FM station, 98 ROCK, WIYY in Baltimore.  I was about 23 or 24 years old when I got the job and I thought I was pretty hot stuff. I was responsible for on-air contests and give-aways, and for station promotions at fairs and concerts that came to town.   Exciting, huh?  Yes - it was!  I got the opportunity to meet most of the performers of the rock world at that time (remember it was the 80' hard rock was big, and some glam rock and country rock was around too). It was the time of "Album Oriented Rock" (AOR) and yes, we still played the music on long playing discs - remember those black vinyl things? 

As the Promotions Manager I had the regional record company representatives contact me often and ask to help push their artists and their new music.  I would often get boxes of albums, of t-shirts, special merchandise, and concert tickets to use for giving away on the air to listeners in various contests. I had a"prize room" full of all of these goods.  I was keeper of that key! 

Sometimes I was contacted by the concert producers too.  They wanted our station to be connected to rock shows that were coming into town.  I would schedule our DJ's (disc jockeys - another old term) to come on stage and welcome the crowd and to bring on the band.  Most times I went along.  I made sure the right sponsor was thanked, and that the DJ knew what to say.  I had backstage access to most concerts. 

I also took care of all the station merchandise.  98 ROCK t-shirts and bumper stickers.  We had a "98 ROCK Air Force" club for listeners.  Each member got a pair of black plastic wings. We sent them special newsletters and other promotional material.  Remember this all happened way before emailing, or social medias - no Facebook!   We signed people up at fairs and festivals.  Baltimore had alot of thnic festivals in the summer.  The state fair happened in Baltimore. The Preakness in May.  I drove the 98 ROCK van everywhere, to all the events. 

Are you figuring out this was NOT a 9:00 to 5:00 job???   Really, looking back on those days, being a promotion manager was for the young! I lived it! Some of my days started at 9:00am for the normal business meetings and regular work at the station, but promotions often took place at night and on weekends.

Here are some of my "highlights" of that time:   I met Jackson Browne (yes, briefly - but it was a BIG deal to me) backstage at his concert, I went to MANY MANY concerts. I'll try to remember some:  the Rolling Stones, Heart, Neil Young, Elton John, the WHO, Rick Springfrield, Triumph, Golden Earring, Robert Palmer, 3 Dog Night, America, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Squier, the Stray Cats,  AC/DC, the Doobie Brothers, the Eurythamics, David Bowie, Pat Benatar, Peter Frampton, Joan Jett, Asia...    You know what?  I know I saw lots of "heavy metal" bands but they all ran together to me.  Looked alike, sounded alike. 

Another "highlight" was going to a conference in Orlando for acouple of days.  The band Loverboy performed for us there. 

Here's something funny: I remember so well that Ozzy Osbourne came in to the station one day for an on air interview.  (We had musicians come in often per-concert for an interview.) Ozzy was big at the time - he had just bitten the head off the bird.  Really!  Anyway, while he was in the studio, his manager - who was his wife - was making phone calls in the next office over from me.  Who was she?  A VERY frumpy British woman named Sharon.   Who knew she would get lipo-ed and tucked, and pulled, and become the lady we see on TV now!

Once we had the band KISS come by the studio.  Yes, in makeup.   Crowds gathered outside to see them.

At one point we had a major contest and gave away a brand new Mazda.  That was pretty cool. 

We put out a few 98 ROCK albums featuring local bands and 98 ROCK calendars.

We worked with the clothes store "Merry Go Round" and had 98 ROCK jeans, black satin jackets, shirts, etc. for sale there.

Sometimes this all seems like a life ago...and I guess it practically was.  But, sometimes it seems like yesterday.  It's amazing that some of those bands are still around! I have been fortunate to reconnect with some of my friends & co-workers from my radio days lately, thanks to Facebook.  That's why I brought out the old pictures.   It's fun to "share" and remember.  Yes, I had a life before motherhood. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! 

Today is a day to STOP...and love.  To think about love.  To express love. 

Long ago this date started out as a day to tell that one special person that you love them.  You know, that cute budgy little cupid would fly around and shoot you with his love arrow.  He'd hit you right in the heart and your eyes would glisten and little birdies would fly around your head.   I'm not sure who got the love arrow and how cupid decided.  It wasn't exactly fair - but I guess sometimes love isn't.  ha!

Jump to today:    It doesn't matter if you are in a special relationship with one person, because today really is about EVERYONE feeling the love.  

We all need to feel it live it more.  To express it.  "Love makes the world go round." 

Take a moment today to think about who you love in your life.  I hope your list is long. 

I know mine is. 

Happy LOVE day to all my family and friends everywhere.  You make MY world go round!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The pressures of Valentine's Day

First, I must tell you that my husband suggested this blog topic.  Hmmmm.  Think he's hinting something to me?  He's always sent me flowers on Valentine's Day, and in our early years together he really liked to and he wanted to express his love to me, but now 27 years later I think he's feeling obligated!  ha! It happens.  (It's okay hubby.)

Valentine's Day is one of those holidays that really does put alot of pressure on people of all ages, and in all situations. I think there should be a structured calendar to follow:  length of relationship = kind of, and price of, gift to give.

How about this?

0 to 6 months (still "just dating") =  sweet or funny card and a small box of candy

6 months to 1 year (ready to call each other boyfriend & girlfriend) = sweet card using the word "love" in it and a bud vase with a few roses

1 to 4 years (truly in a relationship) = a sexy and mushy card, and a dozen roses - delivered to work place. Very traditional

5 years of dating to marriage = the dozen roses AND a gift of jewelry!  Where's the ring?  ha

Marriage to first 3 years wedded (without children) = a dozen roses, and a nice dinner out together

3 years of marriage to children's arrival = a little overnight get away (how do you think the children come??) with a special romantic dinner

Children years = get a babysitter for dinner out and a sweet card about being the most wonderful mother of the children, and small gifts for the kids

Teenage children years = a sweet and loving card about loving the experiences we share as a family. Dinner out if it's not on the same night as a child's sports event or music concert.

Married 20 years & empty nesters = obligation of cards and a dozen roses

Married 25 years or more = pick up a card and tell each other Valentine's Day is for the young!

Ok,ok.  I'm half-joking.  But, there is some obligation at any "stage" of a relationship when it comes to the big LOVE day in February.  And, I think men feel it the most.  Poor guys. They want to do what's right, what's expected, but not be too over the top. 

We know the card and candy companies and the florists LOVE the holiday the most!  In fact, they need it to be successful.  As my hubby says, it puts people to work. So, we should all do our little part (or whatever is required depending on your relationship length). 

Valentine's Day is this coming Tuesday.  Are you feeling the pressure?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Love is in the air!

A fellow blogger has a weekly question page, called "Wednesday's Hodgepodge" where she submits a list of questions for her blog followers to answer and share.  I have not been involved to this point, but this week she put up questions about love.   With Valentine's Day coming up it is appropriate, and just a nice think to contemplate. After all, love makes the world go round!

Here are a few of her questions, and my answers.  Feel free to respond too.

1. What is something you are loving right now?

At this moment I am loving my morning routine of sitting at the kitchen table, with my coffee, newspaper, and computer.  My country music is playing on my Ipod and my pug is sleeping on my lap.
My pug wakes me very early each morning (too early) and I take her outside, then she crawls up in my lap for an additional nap.  I think Charlie Brown said something about love being a warm puppy!  He was right.

2. Paris, Venice, New York City, and Rome are considered for of the most romantic cities in the world. Of the four, which would you most like to visit?

I have been fortunate to have already been to 3 out of the 4 cities. The only one I still have yet to see is Rome.  I would love to go there to see the art.  In terms of romance, of the three I have visited, I think Venice is the most romantic. Why?  The canals and gondalas, the cathedrals, the italian food and wine.  A great combination. 

3. Are you a romantic?

Ha! I think my hubby should answer this.  But, I know his answer... no, I am not very romantic.  At least I am not romantic enough.  I blame it on my German Lutheran heritage. Germans are not known for being warm and fuzzy.   Did you notice there were no German cities listed in the question above?  I do need to clarify tho, that although I may not be very romantic, I am VERY loving!  There is a difference. 

4. What's your favorite love story made for the big screen?

My immediate movie selection: "Wuthering Heights".  I can watch it over and over.  Cathy & Heathcliff's love was so strong but so tragic. The movie version with a young Timothy Dalton is my favorite. I love it so much I can recite pretty much all the lines. Other fun movies about love include Bull Durham (it's not just about baseball), the Wedding Date, and Sweet Home Alabama.

5. What's the best chocolate something you've ever eaten?

This is impossible to narrow down to one answer.   Chocolate can come so many wonderful ways!  I love Edy's Grand Ice Cream Double fudge Brownie.  It's the perfect mix of chocolate ice cream & brownies.  Some restaurants make the warm chocolate cake with warm chocolate syrup baked in it.  You cut into it and it's like a little volcano of goodness!   For simpler joy, there's a Reese's chocolate and peant butter cup,  That has both my favorite foods! 

6.  Share a favorite quote about love.

"Make love, not war".   Simple.  Say's it all though.   My other quote is "God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son."

7. Random thought.

At the end of the Hodgepodge questions there is a place for a random thought.  My thought about love is this.  It's one of the best things about growing older (and to tell you the truth, there aren't too many things about aging that's good.)  Love does grow... and it's amazing how a heart can hold it all.  Love changes over the years, but all for the better.  When a person knows true and real love, it is the BEST thing in the world!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's the Morning After.

It's over.   Done with for another year.  All the hoopla is past.  The fun bets, the parties, the smack talk, the BIG GAME is over.

You know I'm talking about the Super Bowl. The biggest and last game of the season.

Now, no more football until August.

It's my favorite sport to watch.  I love college football and I especially love rooting for the Carolina Gamecocks the most.  (Yes, it's absolutely fine to say "Goooo Cocks!" here in the south.)   But, I like pro football too. 

I love Gameday and I love the bands, and the mascots. I love the school spirit, and I love tailgating.

I know there is alot about football that is not good.  There's too much backroom wheelin and dealin, and not enough emphasis on education in college sports.  Players still get hurt sometimes and head injuries are really scary.   The amount of money paid to the athletes, to the team management, and to TV for airing the games, etc, is just hard to fathom for the ordinary person.  And, with that much money and prestige come too many temptations, some that are illegal.

BUT...  I still love football!  It is very American.  (I know baseball is "American's past-time" but not for me.)

So,  I will miss planning my weekend around the games, and I will miss wearing the team colors, and I will miss the fun bantor with friends about our school loyalties.

But....It was a GREAT season!  The Gamecocks had an amazing season despite the change of quarterbacks, and Lattimore getting injured.  The Carolina Panthers looked good with rookie Cam Newton (great player, annoying guy), Tim Tebow showed how to be a faith-filled and a faithful player, and the Super Bowl had two equally talented teams.  The game was exciting all the way down to the final play.  Couldn't ask for more!

I'm looking forward to  the 2012-13 season.  It all starts up again in August.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Calm winter = crazy summer ?

I was talking to a friend yesterday about this unusual and amazing winter weather we are enjoying.  It's been a very beautiful and mild winter so far here in the lowcountry.  I have said a few times recently that I hope we don't have a late cold snap that will destroy all the blooms already popping out on the trees.  My daffs are already starting to bloom.  Trees are budding.  Everything is feeling the warmth of the sunshine and coming back to life already.

Some true South Carolinians tell me that once February shows up around here we are past the cold weather, and that it's the start of spring.

Yippee!!!   I love it!

But, you heard this here first:  The friend I was talking to yesterday told me that mild winters are usually followed by crazy summers.  He said hurricanes (and bad ones) can be more likely.  He told me to prepare for it!  

Now, I have not checked the Farmers' Almanac and don't know how much of what he said is historically factual.  BUT...  I am writing this down now.  Hurricane season doesn't start until July.  So, I may forget his words by then. 

Let this be a reminder! 

Let's see what happens.