American Reinvestment and Recovery Act

Why can’t the donkeys be more like the elephants? For the past year, I have been ranting about how the elephants “take no prisoners” while the donkeys are busy “reaching across the aisle”. Consequently, the donkeys have lost two hooves and may be legless in two years. The Dems need a PR firm! They need to follow the McDonalds model… never stop advertising! The Republicans are always “in your face” with one thing after another (i.e. Rangel, big government, abortion, guns, blah, blah, blah), and they have great slogans “support the troops or support terrorists”.

If you asked one person what has been done with the stimulus money, they wouldn’t be able to point to anything. A PR firm would splash accomplishments everywhere, all the time! I finally saw a sign showing where stimulus monies were spent. The sign was next to a road construction project and said something like “This project is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009”. Ugghhh! First of all, it contained too many words to read as one sped by. Secondly, we have short attention spans so why not keep it simple and say something like “Stimulus money at work… 400 jobs created”. Short and to the point.

Please…. Won’t someone hire a PR firm for the donkeys before they haven’t a leg left to stand upon.

While I’m ranting…. let me get one more thing off my chest…. Will someone please tell President Obama that he doesn’t have to take credit for everything. For example, todays headline “Obama proposes 2-year pay freeze” should have said “Orzag, OMB chair, proposes 2-year pay freeze”. Then Obama doesn’t look like the bad guy.  So, when there’s good news the press can say “Obama ends the war in Afghanistan”.

Reminder to President… nice guys lose elections.

It’s Okay to Take a Day Off

Choosing between being conscientious and going with the flow is part of my daily decision tree matrix, and the conscientious side of me usually wins…. But not today. Today, I linger over the newspaper. I write a letter to the Editor of the Washington Post and I will skip my exercise class. Today, I will do the important stuff. I will take time to meet and talk with the mother of my grandson. I will eat whatever I want. I will blog, work on my story for an upcoming storytelling salon and maybe, just maybe, somewhere along the way I’ll fit in a couple of “probably should do” stuff, but not too much, and I won’t feel guilty that my husband works as I play.

We don’t give ourselves enough time to just goof off. We are so caught up in the mundane, routine, and downright unimportant stuff that the really necessary soul-feeding things get lost. But not today. Today, I will goof off and it’s alright. Sometimes, I look at my grandson and just want to follow him around and do all the silly things he does. But is it silly to run out the front door, around the house, and back into the rear door. Is it so silly to hide in the closet under the hanging clothes and jump out to scare the next person to pass by? I remember my kids doing that. I remember doing that. I remember the smell of my parents in their clothes closet.

Not only is it okay to be irresponsible (once in a while), it’s a moral imperative. Maybe we should designate one day a year as “national goof off day”. The one day when no is allowed to be “responsible”. A day when everyone over the age of 18 must follow in the footsteps of a four-year old. A day to remember what it feels like to explore, to marvel, to touch, feel, and smell everything. 

I invite you to take a day with me.

Stay tuned

Singing Outside of the Shower

Looking around at those I love, I realize that many are stepping wayyy out of their traditional boxes. Louis, my lifelong friend, is now a Blues Band leader and harmonica player. My husband, Clay stepped out a few years ago and became a motorcycle rider and avid dancer and dance instructor. Marsha, another lifelong friend, is now a master swim instructor. What makes these activities special is that they all represent major life changes. Most have been staid business people, government employees, and trainers. Now they have branched into something entirely different. 

Tired of watching from the sideline, I’ve decided to get out of my box, but it’s a struggle. Been in the box for so long that my body has conformed to its shape. Having always lived a very organized, structured, and rigid life, it’s really hard to “get loose”. I want to sing outside of the shower… want to dance in the streets… want to…. want to….. want to GET LOOSE.

So, the first step in my journey out of the box was to take a storytelling workshop. I’ve always enjoyed watching the greats like Cosby, and thought “why not give it a try!” I actually dipped my toe in the waters a few years ago by telling my story in competition and took second place (loudest applause from my friends put me over the top). Just tried it again and was successful (meaning I didn’t make a fool of myself”, but it was hardddd and scarryyyiiiieee. 

During my career, I’ve spoken before audiences of 300 or more including speaking at Congressional hearings, but telling a personal story before an audience of 40 people was the hardest public speaking thing I’ve ever done. It took me out of my comfort zone (i.e, out of my box), and that was a good thing.

Currently preparing my next story.

Stay tuned.

Indescribable

At dinner with friends last week, I was attempting to describe the landscape that surrounds us everyday. That which they too see, but don’t see. I described the supposedly mundane experience of walking to get the newspaper from our driveway in the morning with the sun light reflecting on the trees; the cloud formations; the color of the vegetation; the smell of the air. Like a digital picture frame, the picture is constantly changing, depending on the angle of the sun, the strength of the breeze, and the movement of the clouds.

It is a reflection of one of the many subtle changes in my psyche from a year spent without color in the desert land of the UAE. Like a once blind woman, I can now see.  I’ve always been surrounded by this kaleidoscope of colors, but I didn’t see it. I took it for granted. I stopped noticing, and never appreciated it. I never understood how much the environment fed my spirit.

When I first arrived in the UAE, I was smacked in the face with the absence of color. It felt unnatural and surreal, but I didn’t understand its effect on me until I returned to the extraordinarily colorful east coast of the US. Couples and families take weekend trips to the mountains to experience the changing leaves without acknowledging the colorful scenery surrounding them every day.

As I sit in my sunroom-cum-glass bubble, I am surrounded by natures Fall display and I revel in it. May my eyes remain unclouded by everyday noise.

Stay tuned