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Movie Madness - MELANCHOLIA

From the opening moments of Lars VonTrier's latest film MELANCHOLIA (2011), I was hooked.  The exquisite extreme slow motion movement is beautifully orchestrated by Wagner's Prelude to Tristan and Isolde.  We see a bride moving as roots tear at her feet, a mother clutching a child, a horse laying down all as two planets come hurtling toward one another to the inevitable end - the consumption of one planet by another.  It's only later that we learn the larger planet is Melancholia and it is headed toward Earth; because after this beautiful prologue we are thrust into the marriage of Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgard)*.  Justine and Michael are late for the very elaborate reception being hosted by Justine's sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her husband John (Kiefer Sutherland).  As the evening rolls on, it's clear that Claire is hanging on by the thinnest of threads and Claire and John are frustrated by her reluctance to put on a good sh…

I may have to move to Massachusetts

Elizabeth Warren

So remember how I was ranting about how everyone needs to do their part or this country isn't going to be better.  Elizabeth Warren, who was bashed in her Senate hearings and is now running to oust Scott Brown from his seat in Massachusetts, summed it up beautifully for me. 

My favorite part is "But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."  That's what I think this country has lost sight of.  It's a social contract that we agree to in how things will be done here.  The past few decades have been full of finger pointing and blame and not a lot of agreement.

I just don't think that things will get better until we all agree to - well - as I like to say...put on the big girl pants and get to work.  I may not like EVERY decision, but if I can see that your position is for the greater good of the country, I can agree to work for it.  The ME generation has to grow up now and…

Fair and Balanced

I'm a Libra, you know, the lady with the scales.  I spend most of my time trying to find balance in my world.  I bend over backwards to be fair.  I try to see things from other perspectives and use reason and logic to present my arguments.  Lately, I seem to be living in a world where crazy is the norm and rabid emotional outburst is the voice.  I get it people.  Things are messed up and we need to find a better way to run things or there's going to be a pretty major revolution or repression.  Either way  - it doesn't look good.
I live in an apartment complex with 16 units.  In addition to our rent, we all pay a portion of the water bill.  In the summer, we pay a little more because the landscaping has automatic sprinklers. Now, I live alone.  I run my dishwasher once, maybe twice a week.  I shower every other day. I could claim that because I use less, I should pay less than the family two units over with 2 children who surely use more water than I do.  But I don't.  …

Poetry Corner - Poems

I write poems on my lover's back.
When he folds me in his arms,
I let my fingers dance along his arms and slip behind his head.
His curls wrap 'round my fingertips as I go in for the kiss.
Clothes fall away and skin to skin we memorize each curve and sigh.
Then as he slips down at my side and drifts away to sleep,
I write across his back.
The words I wish that I could say.
The thoughts that keep me up at night.
The dreams that only lovers share.
I write poems on my lover's back.

Mama Kitty

If you know me at all, you know that there is one person in the world for whom I would do anything, give anything, fight anyone anywhere anytime, my daughter Bridgete.  And you know that I live in Portland Oregon and she lives in Boston (well technically Quincy) Massachusetts. And you know that I hate it most of the time, but I accept that it is the way things have to be right now. Until something happens like last night.
My phone rings and I hear the strains of Van the Man Morrison singing Brown Eyed Girl - our song.  Bridgete and I have a informational urgency structure.  We need to communicate something, but an answer isn't necessary or at least not right away - email.  We need to communicate and an answer or response is needed, but not urgent - text message.  We need to communicate NOW - phone.  Lately, the phone has been good stuff.  I wanted to hear your voice or I needed to laugh with you or something really great has happened.  So I answered quickly. 
There is nothing mor…

To Be or Not to Be

And so I find an entire month has passed since my last post.  It has been a very busy month with many frustrations and many reasons to rejoice.  So let us start with what has improved.

I have had opportunity to talk to the girls downstairs and they have gotten much better about the noise.  We have detente.

My money is what it is.  I have no real way of increasing my cash flow and so I simply have to become more selective about where I choose to spend it.  And if that means that I don't go out with my friends as often or have to skip the wine and settle for water, then that's what it means.  Long term, I want to see my daughter, I want to travel more, and I want to enjoy my life more.  So a little sacrifice now for greater fun later is okay with me. I'm not happy when I have to choose between NEEDS, but choosing between WANTS is okay.

My health is becoming a greater concern to me, not just because I am feeling unattractive but because I think it is contributing to my greate…

Where did I go wrong?

Fair warning, this is gonna be a long post about how I'm feeling the blues these days.  Feeling it bad.  I need to get this stuff off my chest, out of my head, out of my heart and see if I can't shift the energy around me.  So if you aren't in a place to listen to me bitch and whine and moan about poor, poor me, then go away.  I know I'm having a pity party - but if I can't party here - I'll just go home and have it there, all by myself.

Lately I'm feeling like nothing in my life is the way I would have it - and I don't know how or why it is and I have to find a way to either change it or accept it.  Probably a little bit of both.  I know the signs - my soul is uneasy, my eyes don't want to open in the morning, and the last place I want to be is with other people.  Never a good sign for a chronic depressive.

1) My job is really annoying me lately.  Everyone is feeling the pain of no wage increases for 3 years and yet everything from soup to nuts is …

New Beginnings - or is it starting over?

Almost immediately after I posted my last blog, my car broke down again.  I stepped on the clutch pedal and "SNAP", just like the last time.  Only this time, the pedal did not come back up.  It was stuck to the floor and I was unable to shift at all.  Fortunately, it happened right outside my apartment and the repair shop is at the gas station across the street.  So I pushed it in and called them the next day to tell them what happened. They called me a little later to tell me that this time was the clutch cable and not anything that they fixed in January.  So it wasn't covered by warranty and I would now have to pay another 130.00.
I set the thought aside because I was leaving for a weekend trip with friends to attend the wedding of two other friends.  Lori and BC have been together for a couple of years.  And they are so perfect together.  I knew Lori only briefly before she started dating BC, so I had nothing to compare it too.  But whenever I have seen them together,…

Lent is over - now what?

Sunday was the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week.  I had a lovely white Bordeaux last night with some extra sharp Cheddar cheese and it was quite lovely.  I made it through the 40 days and here I am.
Am I different?  Maybe.  I know that I am feeling the need to comment on certain things...things I usually close my mouth about and trust that people who know better than I do will do the right thing.
My country is in a mess.  Our government is divisive and would rather engage in pointing fingers at the other side than getting serious and really trying to fix things. People are so overwhelmed with information that they can't be sure who is telling the truth or what will help.  Every paycheck I have less and less discretionary money as the basics in my world are costing more and more. I work for a quasi government agency, so the general public thinks I'm overpaid and have better benefits than they do.  I may have better benefits, I will give them that.  But they aren't…

Lent - Day 38

I can't believe my 40 days are nearly over.  My wine merchant is so glad to know I'll be back soon.  Actually, not too soon.  I have 6 beautiful wines that she has picked out for me just waiting to be sipped and savored. 
It's been a very interesting week.  After my family weekend, there has been a lot of family activity.  It all started because my oldest brother Jim wanted one of us girls to do a mtDNA test.  He and my sister Nancy have some notion that there is a Native American Indian somewhere in the family blood line.  They are a bit disappointed that I am only finding English and German ancestry.  So I have sent for a kit and will be testing.  I don't expect to find anything terribly surprising - but if there is one thing I've learned with my family history work it's that there are plenty of surprises.
Last week on NBC's WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?, Ashley Judd found out that she was related to one of the original Mayflower Pilgrims - William Brewster. …

Lent - Day 34

I know I’ve missed a few days – okay more than a few.But I have a perfectly good reason.My sisters were in town!My sisters Judie and Nancy are 15 and 13 years older than I am, respectively.Judie and I developed our relationship as adults because she had moved out to college, marriage, real life, by the time I was a person with thoughts and vocabulary.Nancy was a surrogate mother to me.I went on her dates with her and when she got married, I spent most of my school vacations and weekends with her and her family.Her daughter Nancy is only 5 years younger than I am.That’s a smaller gap than there is between myself and any of my siblings. Anyway – Nancy drove up from Southern Oregon with her daughter Nikki and our brother’s daughter Maggie.Judie drove in from McMinnville and we spent Thursday night and all of Friday together – eating, talking, laughing – lots of laughing. My niece Nikki has a great wit and a wonderful gift for story telling.We think that they should develop a Bluetooth wher…

Lent - Days 26 & 27

Yesterday was another fasting day for me.  This was a tougher one because I was more physically active yesterday than I am on the average work day.  First of all, when I was ready to go to work, the sun was up and the sky was light and it wasn't raining.  So for the first time in a long time, I walked the mile from my apartment to my workplace.  That felt great.  I miss my walks in the winter.  It's not that I'm a fair weather walker - but I have to cross Highway 99 on my walk to work.  And even with reflective wear, I've nearly been hit in the dark winter mornings.  So I have to settle for a bus ride.  I'm thrilled to know that spring may at last be pushing in and I can start walking again.
I was teaching yesterday - one of my favorite things at my job.  I wasn't hired to do this, but I developed this curriculum for the agency because bus drivers and mechanics and rail operators can't advance in the agency without some basic computer skills.  The classes a…

Lent - Day 24 & 25

So I almost made it to Saturday morning.  Technically - I did make it.  But I was taking out the garbage on Friday evening and I had one very ripe banana left.  I had to choose - toss out the banana or eat it.  I ate it.  And it was the best tasting banana I've ever had!  It was sweet and wonderful and even though I felt very guilty - I knew God would understand.

Saturday morning's breakfast was terrific.  I love my Saturday group.  They are such a wonderful group of ladies and I always enjoy my time with them.  The food was so tasty and satisfying as well.  I didn't overeat and felt perfectly sated with the amount of food I had.

The rest of my weekend was kind of up and down.  My temper was pretty edgy, probably a hang on from being hungry.  It's rather difficult to be balanced emotionally when you're hungry.  And your brain doesn't work too well either.

So the upshot is, I spent a lot of time in reflection, both during and after my fast.  I'll be fasting …

Lent - Days 22 & 23

So I've been without food since Wednesday evening.  Last thing I ate was a Caesar Salad at Pub Quiz.  It's about 45 hours later and I can almost taste that salad.  I'm so hungry. 
Yesterday was much easier.  I drank tea and water and some juice last night, but I didn't really feel hungry until this morning.  I was actually a little uncomfortable this morning and my coffee made me a little sick.  So I switched to tea and that has been it.
I was smelling everyone's lunch today.  Usually I don't notice when other people are eating around me in cubeland.  But I was very aware today.  Even now, I can hear someone munching on cookies or chips or something - and I want to go steal one.
Has this been successful in a spiritual sense then?  I think so.  I'm very tuned in to myself right now - to how I'm feeling, what I'm hearing, smelling, seeing.  It's a very heightened experience. 
I wonder how this will feel tonight - when I'm at home and there is …

Lent - Day 21

I had a feeling that if I just committed to this path, then something would appear that would guide me to my next step.  Today, I read about this.Choosing to Fast.

And this is my next step.  For the remainder of Lent, I will fast 24-28 hours each week.  This is an offering to myself.  A chance to go a little deeper into my relationship to food and drink.  And perhaps to find a way out of my emotional eating addictions.

I know it's small - but in some way, I also hope that I am part of something bigger that moves our government into action that makes sense in this budget process.  I'm not going to get preachy here. But I do believe, along with Thomas Jefferson, that the essential role of government is to protect the powerless from the powerful - especially when they would abuse that power over them. Just think about it.  This applies to protection from enemies, foreign and domestic.  This applies to protecting the free flow of information.  This applies to basic human rights - …

Lent - Day 19 & 20

Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing,
there is a field. I'l meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
RUMI

Someone sent me this today.  They had no idea where I was spiritually, what I've been trying to do these past weeks - and how here at the half way point I was ready to give up.   They just shared something with me that had been meaningful to them.  And suddenly I see what I am supposed to do now.
I am supposed to give up.  Not in the way I was thinking.  Not by forgetting my vows and commitment.  But rather by surrendering to the struggle and simply being with it.  By letting myself be vulnerable and sitting with my feelings of fear and loss. 
I am halfway through.  I am at the point on the path where I can no longer pretend that things are going to be okay. I have to keep going forward into my broken-heartedness.  I've reached the crossr…

Lent - Days 16, 17 & 18

This is my father.  Today is the 30th anniversary of the worst day of my life.  March 27, 1981, my father died, 10 days after suffering a fatal stroke.  He was 67 years old.  I was 21.  And my life was changed.  It's pointless to say what my life would have been had he not died.  I only know what was. My father was a kind man.  He was generous, to a fault.  He was hard working and provided the best he could for his family.  And it was quite a family.  7 children, 4 boy and 3 girls.  I was the last.  All of us finished high school.  5 of us went on to college, 4 of us finished.  We had a big rambling house with 5 bedrooms.  We may not have had the best things, but we were warm and feed and loved.   My father was born on the eve of the First World War.  He lived though the Great Depression and served in the Second World War, leaving behind a wife with 2 small children and one on the way.  After the war, he and my mother moved from Los Angeles to Grants Pass, Oregon where I was born an…

Lent - Days 14 & 15

This is getting really hard.  I know that something is happening because of the great disquiet I am feeling these days.
Such frustration though.  I'm feeling so good one moment - clear and focused and optimistic; so sure that good things are right there, just waiting for me.
Then almost out of nowhere - I careen into depths of sadness and tears and like my insides are being torn away.  I guess they are.  Not my physical insides of course, but my spiritual insides.  Old beliefs are fighting to stay active and my newer, better self is fighting them, wearing them down.  It's like there's a war going on 24/7 and all I can do is wait for the outcome - try to negotiate a peaceful surrender. 
The ego never goes quietly does it?
When am I going to stop being prey to ever wicked, nasty, horrible attack that comes looking for me?
When am I going to look at myself and know the real beauty that lives there; and stop hating myself, kicking myself, beating myself for every little wrong …

Lent - Days 13 & 14

I'm sneezing and sniffling again.  But this time I'm fairly certain it's allergies.  I moved to this apartment 4 years ago on April 1.  And every April since then, I have suffered mightily at this time of year.  So one of the trees that are starting to bud is most certainly the cause.  Time to break out the Zyrtec.
The allergies are also making sleep difficult.  Zyrtec should help that, too.  I hope.  Because I need to sleep!!
Other than the allergies, I'm doing fine.  My bread craving seems to have subsided. 
I wish I saw some change in my body, but I guess it's too much to ask after only 2 weeks.
I'm feeling a little creative spark returning.  I'm wanting to spend more time on my book.  It's a bit frustrating right now, but I hope to start carving out blocks of time for it.
Spring is definitely in the air.

Lent - Days 11 & 12

I don't watch the news much.  It's not that I don't care, but rather that I find that most news broadcasters anymore tend to dwell on the sensational, the gruesome, the horrible, the fearful.  And I don't choose to live in fear. 
I try to live in hope, in possibility.  I try to stay informed so that my choices are well thought out and reasoned.
So today, I find myself in pain as war is erupting in another part of the world.  As nature exacts pain on another part.  As economies tumble and struggle to rebuild and tumble again.
So I'm going to focus on three things I know are true.
I know my daughter is the one person I would do anything for.
I know that even when I don't know the best thing for me, somehow I always stumble into goodness.
And I know that wine is the best use for a grape that could ever have been thought up.
I miss my wine.
And my bread.
But somehow this will all come out alright.

Lent - Days 9 & 10

I woke up this morning to bright, beautiful sun streaming through the window.  Now the wet rooftops are releasing steam into the morning air as they dry out - attempt to shed the days of downpour and cold.  It is possible that spring will finally arrive.
And in my adventure of discovery, it is possible that spring will come. My little seed of faith that I have struggled to keep alive in the long dark days of winter may at last be finding roots.  And it is not surprising that these roots are my family - my family of birth and my family of choice.  Everyone that I have let in to my heart has blessed my life in ways I am only now beginning to understand..
Life is not a straight line.  It is, like Sir Paul said, a long and winding road. It doubles back upon itself and goes in circles.  We cross over our own path and sometimes we take the wrong turn and go back over road we have traveled before. We see things we missed the first (or second or third) time we walked this way.  And we avoid t…

Lent - Days 7 & 8

It's been a week now.  And I'm doing pretty good.  I really wanted a sandwich today - warm bread, melted cheese - comfort.  It's cold again.  Wet and windy and cold.  And I want warm comfort.
I finished the most beautiful book last night.  The Elegance of the Hedgehog.  It's about a 54 year old, lumpy, unseen, unknown, unheard, concierge of an apartment building in Paris where the apartments are huge and old and grand, handed down from generation to generation.  Renee is happy to be invisible because the people she works for could never comprehend the complex person she is.  And she sees beauty in delicate camellias, well made tea and cookies, Japanese art films, and Dutch masters. 
"Human longing.  We cannot cease desiring, and this is our glory, and our doom. Desire! It carries us and crucifies us, delivers us every new day to a battlefield, where, on the eve, the battle was lost;..."
Writing like this makes me desire to write and slays me on the battlefie…

Lent - Day 6

Last night was miserable.  My neighbors were watching some action movie with a boom boom soundtrack until well after midnight.  Tonight is quiet.  I think the manager has finally spoken to them and gotten through to them that they have to adjust their habits to live with everyone else here.  Late night movies are fine - but not loud and booming!
I didn't get to sleep until well after 1:00 and had to be up at 6:00.  I was grouchy all day.  Well - until my sister Nancy called at lunchtime.  She'll be visiting with her daughter Nikki and our niece Maggie the first part of April.  I can't wait!  I'll get to hang with my sisters and nieces and laugh and cry and it will be so good.
Nancy and I talked about Mom and Dad, of course. And how tough this year has been for us so far.  But we are determined to shift and think positive and move forward. 
Toughen up and keep going.  That's what we do.  But it is nice to not feel alone in the process.
Well, it's only 9:30 now, …

Lent - Day 5

I was watching Big Love today and suddenly found myself sobbing.  This year, they have had Nicki dealing with being a mom to her teen-age daughter - a daughter she had when she was herself a teenager as a product of a forced marriage.  Nicki has been unable to separate her feeling about what happened to her from what she wants her daughter's life to be.  And when she discovers that the girl has had a sexual relationship with her math tutor, she loses all ability to be reasonable. 
She sits on her daughter's bed and tells her that she is horrible, that no one will ever love her, that she is evil and unworthy of love.  Of course, Nicki is actually talking to herself - but the cost will be that her daughter is now shamed and lost and messed up.  The show wants us to believe that with enough love the girl will be fine.  But I know better.
While she may never have sat on my bed and told me in words that I was unworthy of love and shameful and obviously evidence of a sexual relation…

Lent - Day 3 and 4

I missed posting last night.  I was pretty tired and my neighbors were being very noisy last night.  It made it very hard to concentrate.  I got to bed and as I was falling asleep, I realized I hadn't posted - but figured you would forgive me.

Today was a good day.  I had breakfast with my girls, Suzy, Jenn and Kat, which makes every Saturday a good day.  Then I did a little shopping and have spent the afternoon catching up on various things.

I'm still holding true to my Lenten commitments.  I've decided to share with you what it is I am "giving up."  Bread and wine.  This came about due to a discussion with a friend about systemic yeast infections and how she gave up sugar, bread, and alcohol for a couple months and is feeling more energy these days. It sounded like a good idea to me - but I love bread AND wine and I just wasn't sure I could do it.  Besides, it seemed a little pretentious to give up the things that symbolize Christ in the faith of my youth d…

Lent - Day 2

Well, as far as what I am forgoing for Lent, I did great today.  But it was sure tough.  Had a miserable day at work - one of those where I'm trying to track down errors and discrepancies and whenever I ask someone to explain something - I get the third degree.  If I'm there to track the budget and point out errors when mistakes are made is no reason to get upset.  Either you trust me or you don't.  And today I didn't feel a lot of love coming my way. 
Now that I'm home, I'm looking forward to giving myself the space to let go of the frustration and find that peace within myself.

Lent - Day One

All in all, a pretty good day.  I woke up late and really didn't have time to do a mini meditation to help me focus in on the day.  Still, I managed to focus on my goals and a do feel like there is a seed of something. 
Whether I am able to nurture the seed into something that flowers beautifully and fully is yet to be seen.  But today - I have hope.  And that is no small thing.

Time in the Desert

Today is Mardi Gras, the last big day of celebration before the Catholic world goes into that period of Lent - 40 days until Palm Sunday and Holy Week.  It is meant to mark the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert before he entered Jerusalem and surrender to his death.
As a child, what I remember most about Lent was that we had to "give up" something that we really loved and offer it up to God.  My child always rebelled a little at this.  It felt like I was being punished for being Catholic.  Lots of my friends went to church, but they didn't have to give up chocolate or deserts or meat.  They didn't have to be extra nice to their siblings.  And they certainly didn't have to go to confession whenever they failed to do these things and accept more punishment.
As an adult, I realized that it was much more about using these 40 days as a way of growing closer to God.  It was less about giving up than it was about eliminating those earthly things that get in the wa…

Why is it so hard?

I've become addicted to Adele.  This young woman has a voice that just melts my heart.  I've had her new CD for 3 days now and I have my favorite tracks.  Oh wait, they are all my favorite.  :)

Seriously though, her voice and lyrics just rip into me in a way that I haven't experienced musically for many years now.  But there is a down side to this joy. 

"I often think about where I went wrong.  The more I do, the less I know."  This is from "Don't You Remember"  a song that wonders why a lost love seems to have completely wiped her from his mind.  I wish I could say that I have no idea what this feels like.  But of course there is that one who seems to have forgotten not only why he loved me, but that he ever loved me at. 

And so then I move on to Set Fire to the Rain - "There's a side to you that I never knew, never knew.  All the things you said, they were never true, never true.  And the games you played, you would always win, always win…

Tribute

I called him Sol.  He was named for a character in my favorite TV Series DEADWOOD - Sol Starr.   I acquired Sol almost 6 years ago.  One of my daughter's housemates had found him and he needed a good safe home.  He was a Russian Blue, his fur a lovely shade of gray, and he was pretty beat up, his ears had been chewed on, he had patches of fur missing.  A check up at the vet found him covered with fleas, ear mites, and of course  worms.  He had several teeth missing, but overall, he was a healthy cat.
When I brought him home, he howled in the backseat of my car for about 40 miles - from Forest Grove to SE Portland, OR where my little apartment had everything but a cat.  That first night, I woke up to find him perched on the top of the door.  Being up high would always be his favorite thing.  Well, aside from poking me awake each morning.
Sol moved with me twice in the years we spent together.  First to a house that would come to be known as the squirrel house.  He liked to sun hims…

IN THE BALANCE

I seem to be on the verge of making a choice.  Problem is, I don't know what I'm choosing between.  Everything that I would like to see in my life seems just out of reach, and if I will just commit, then I can have...something.

I've been making small changes in various parts of my life; my health, my work, my creativity, my friendships and family; and while these small changes are making a difference, I feel that I have to commit, fully commit, to those that are the most important in order to actually attain my goals.

So what is more important to me?  Do I work on my novel and forgo time with my friends and family? Do I fully commit to changing my health and avoid situations where I will eat too much, drink too much and be far to inactive?  Do I decide that getting back to Paris at the earliest possible moment is the most important thing to me and get a second job so that I can pay off my debts, save for the trip I really want to take, and again, forgo time with my friends…

Forever Friday

I stumbled on this poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson - The Snow Storm.  I'm not going to post the whole thing, just the opening lines. 

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hill and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.

Part of me wishes, very much, that I was somewhere where the snow is falling today.  I've been very productive this week, and now today, I just want to lay about and doze and read and sip hot cocoa and write long letters to people I miss.

I don't write letters anymore.  I used to be very good about it.  I wrote my mother and friends that moved away.  I wrote love letters to old lovers.  I wrote apologies to people I wronged.  I wrote angry letters to people who harmed me.  I didn't always send these letters, but something about the act of putting pen to paper released me somehow.  Now I journal - which is still …

Can I get an Amen?

So far, 2011 has sucked.  I mean really sucked.  I can see the end in sight and I'm encouraged by little indications that things are getting better.  I'm not going to let this get to me either.  Going boldly forward in faith and hope.

January is typically a tough month for me anyway.  I'm the budget coordinator for my division at work and our fiscal years run from July to June.  So January means I have to check where we are for the current year and start projecting for the coming year.  It take a couple of weeks and lots of spreadsheets for me to catch up with everyone, find out what's changed and what's coming down the pike.   The result of my work means that our CTO can make some informed decisions about spending for the current year and make solid predictions of where we need to invest. 

This year, to complicate matters, I came down with a terrible cold.  I'm still coughing a full 4 weeks later.  It's one of those awful coughs that settles right in you…

Sticks and Stones

For the past several days, since the tragic shooting in Arizona, that childhood taunt has been running through my mind.  "Sticks and stone may break my bones but names will never hurt me."  Even as I child I knew that wasn't true.  Names do hurt.  Words do have power to harm.  Ask anyone who has heard over and over from a parent, "You'll never amount to anything." "You're just like your (mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, etc.)"
In my home, calling someone stupid or retard was a sin.  My mother had a sister with Down's Syndrome and I had a cousin who was mentally retarded from birth.  Those words were never allowed, not even in anger.  
I once called someone a 'fruit'; I didn't even know what it meant, I had heard it on the playground at school.  The word flew out of my mouth and I was immediately summoned by my mother, "Katherine Cecelia, what did you say?"  She tried to explain to my 11 year old mind why…