23.9.08

Day 37. The Worth Honoring for Ten Days One.

As I mentioned - I am about to go away to Europe...as of right now, I'm "hoping" that I can perhaps post once or twice while I am there or if not, do some MAJOR catch up while I am gone...I'll be back October 6th but in the meantime, i really thought about who would be worth mentioning as the post that will sit here as the most recent mention for the time I am gone...so here it goes.

I adore my friend Andrea Zuniga. I met her probably just under a year ago and in that time our friendship has really deepened. I can say without a doubt that every day Andrea reminds me of the truest definition of a good friend. I have seen her weather events that have been significantly good and significantly bad all with class, empathy and true maturity. Andrea and I joke that we are twins, but the truth is, she blows me out of the water. 

I love that Andrea fosters friendship, community and a love for technology! She has a podcast "geek is Chic" that is great - perfect length, perfect topics, new knowledge every time. Andrea's most recent undertaking again just impresses me beyond belief. Geek is Chic is hosting a podcastathon to raise awareness and funds for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization that fights breast cancer. Some of you already know why this is such an important cause to me but it is to Andrea as well and she is planning a 24 hour "thon" to get the word out there! I mean seriously, how cool is that?!?! And, from the little I know, she has already wrangled a tremendous amount of talent to join her. Not only does this make the event that much more exciting, but I believe that it is a true testament to how wonderful Andrea is as a person, as a podcaster and as a friend.

I could go on and on about her...but I will only say this - Andrea is - without question - one of the truly great people in this world. Get to know her - invite her into your life and give yourself the gift of a great friend. Oh, and read her Geek is Chic blog - join us at the Podcastathon on October 11th  - October 12th and help make a different. Don't forget - Geek is Chic, and SO ARE BOOBIES!!!!!

Love ya girl!

22.9.08

Day 36. The Pink Acres One.

Yes I have lots of friends through social media and through podcasting. One person I met was lovely Christine. She joined a social community that I was part of and for some reason we found ourselves reaching out to each other through twitter and in chat rooms. It was never a focused effort, it came easily. I was even in a virtual podcasting seminar with her...

Well a few weeks ago, Christine achieved a HUGE milestone. My "friend" from that seminar who said she knew nothing about technology has launched one of my new all time favorite shows: Pink Acres. And can I just tell you - this show is not only good for its content, its good for its quality. I mean, seriously, episode one sounded like it came from a seasoned professional. 

And for me, that personifies Christine - she achieves beauty and quality in so many aspects in her life. She takes her time, she is thoughtful and she gives a great deal of goodness to the rest of us in the process. Oh, and her podcast RAWKS!

Week 5. Reflections.

As many of you know, tomorrow I leave for Europe. Stephen and I are going with two other couples and a local Chef who I have known since I was a little girl who hails from Germany himself. In the midst of my craziness, I did ponder what would happen here while I was gone...and after it become one of the 101 things I have to do in the next 24 hours, I started to think about the bigger picture...how can I show my appreciation for those I am about to encounter who are going to help a bumbling American who can speak little to no German?

Appreciation's a tricky thing isn't it - it can be bound up in social, geographical, cultural guidelines. Cracking the code can be tough: tip here, do NOT tip there, always say thank you, don't appear condescending. And it all has boiled down to the fact that I am going to try and be appreciative from my core for the next two weeks. I figure that while I will most likely make social gaffes and faux pas, if I am exuding how thankful I am that I can even experience this - hopefully that will get me through.

So - whether you choose to take on a blog, or a thank you note, or no demonstrative act at all - remember to be thankful in your spirit. I've decided that a lot of good will come from that!

Day 35. The Stadium One.

So I love football...particularly Ohio State Buckeye football...have since I was little. I love going to the games and have seen a lot change over the years...but one thing remains the same, the vendors who haul soda, hot dogs, popcorn, coffee and cocoa and water up and down those tiny little steps all day.

Today was a hot one - within 5 minutes of sitting down I was dripping in sweat...and yet the guy in our section kept on coming. Without fail he was up and down those steps until everything in his little carrier was gone. Then he'd go back, fill up and do it again. All the time dealing with people who I am sure were not always polite, kind, appreciative, let alone sober. This guy even cheered with the team, rallied the crowd and gave a good ol' "O-H" every now and then.

I can't imagine doing that job - not only are you one of a few hundred in an audience of 100,000 people who can NOT enjoy the day but you are doing hard, HARD labor. Well you made my day very enjoyable and, quite frankly, I am sure you helped a lot of people avoid heat stroke. Thanks for your attitude and effort. 

19.9.08

Day 34. The Challenging One.

Last night I ran into someone who has been in my life for about 7 years. This person is alternately someone that I want to see, or something that I would rather be dead than deal with. We know each other in a few different circles and while not as frequently now, we often find our paths cross.

This person and i have had some pretty big knock-down drag-out go's. When we agree its really exciting and collaborative, but when we don't it is often explosive and passionate. And I appreciate that. As much as this person can infuriate me and drive me nuts, I am someone who is rather opinionated (those of you who know me well, stop laughing now). However, one of things I most respect and believe in is that we should all bring our opinions to the table share them and in the end come up with something BETTER than any of the one points of view we started with as individuals. For me - my strong point of view is about overpowering others or "being right" its about thinking through things, fighting for what I believe, and ultimately LEARNING and finding the BEST answer...or at the very least having a really invigorating discussion.

This person is one of the very few I've met who will engage with me in this way, and push against me. As much as we may or may not get along - I do think this person knows me. I don't always understand why they do what they do - but I know that this person will always own their decisions, their actions and fight for these, and quite frankly if you want to discuss it they will and they will hold true to what they believe but be open to what you have to contribute.

I doubt this person will ever happen upon this little post - but I want him to know that I do appreciate his candor, his strength of character and his willingness to see in me that I am looking to learn, discuss and be better and fight through things WITH me...even though that may not always be how it feels.

Day 33. The One for who there isn't an adequate word.

I have a friend H. She is amazing...she's a rather popular local news anchor, she's physically adorable, she's young, she has an amazing family, two little ones, she is strong in spirit, she is funny, she is smart, she is cheeky, adventurous and fun. She deals with "celebrity" beautifully and she is so kind to every single person who just wants a few minutes of her time...

H also has stage 4 breast cancer as a result of her second occurance of breast cancer. If you don't know what this means, it means that she has cancer so advanced that it is considered "incurable". The cancer is now in her bones, her lungs, her liver and a few other places. This is pretty much as advanced as breast cancer can get (and yes it is breast cancer as it is the cancerous cells that originated there - even if its now in other parts of her body).

There are realities of H's situation that we are all aware of, and we don't need to dwell on them. I can tell you that this past year has been one of the more difficult years as far as her health. But the most amazing things about her are lessons that I think every single person should strive to bring into their lives

1) Share your fight with others to give them community and strength. As a public figure - I have great admiration for the fact that she has done this - now more than ever as she must struggle to keep some things private

2) Remember that you are not your problems. H is NOT her cancer. Do not be lazy enough to pigeon hole her as "breast cancer survivor". She is a dynamic person who's amazing gifts are even more obvious as she fights through this

3) Celebrate life, celebrate spirit. For some people, they KNOW there are not many more tomorrows - they are living like it. H doesn't dwell on "coping" she focuses on "living".  Shouldn't we all?

Tonight there is an event for my wonderful, amazing, strong friend. She is allowing an organization to use her fight and her celebrity to raise money to help others with cancer. I am going, I am helping and I am giving money all because its for H. I love you my dear dear friend. 

17.9.08

Day 32. The Culinary One.

Today I was watching the Twitter, and someone who I only know through new media channels is tweeting quite a bit today(he's at a Martha Stewart event but that aside ;o) )...his handle is "Chef Mark" most everywhere. Chef Mark is just one of those people who is so genuine and so compelling that you really really want to get to know him more. Mark is a personal chef with a wonderfully diverse background that you can read all about at his website. But the reason that I find him amazing is that he truly exudes passion and truth in every ounce of who he is. Whether he's "tweeting", podcasting, chatting, leaving a voicemail for a show you know that he knows who he is and he is sharing that with you.

Mark reminds me how important it is to love what you do - to have a total passion for it. He also reminds me to take the time to know who you are and to know what you believe and to come to those conclusions through an earnest, open-minded search for what all is out there...someday perhaps, I'll be fortunate enough to meet him in person. I think I'd just like to hang out and soak in a bit of his essence. I find the way he lives his life to be truly inspiring.

Oh...and he has a cute dog and he's a chef so seriously how could i NOT love him?

16.9.08

Day 31. The Interesting One.

Since I was a child I can remember being aware of the CBS show "Sunday Morning".  Originally hosted by Charles Kurault and now hosted by Charles Osgood, its been an on and off tradition for me throughout my life.

In the past year or so, my husband and I have renewed the tradition. We'll get up on Sundays, make our coffee and breakfast, sit on the porch with the dog for a bit or go for a run but be sure to be back in time for the 9AM start of this show. To my knowledge, its not done anything particularly groundbreaking as far as "news"...but that is why I like it so very much. In a world where sensationalism and "the sky is falling!" media prevails so very often, CBS Sunday morning breaks tradition with every single segment every single week.  This past Sunday, topics ranged from the history of Galveston as it had just been hit by Ike to home schooling. They present in the narrative, biographical, in comics, commentary and visuals, (I would offer that The Daily Show's 'Moment of Zen' was directly inspired by the closing segment of CBS Sunday Morning)

Each segment is an insightful twist that may or may not connect to a story that is in the headlines right now. My husband and I often ponder how in the world they came up with some of the topics they do...but one thing is for sure, they are always different, interesting, and provocative. These segments make us renew our interest in the world and the subjects the stories cover. We have found new artists, new authors, new podcasts and so much new knowledge we could have never been compelled to even investigate otherwise.

In this busy busy world that, as of today is screaming that the financial world is crumbling, society is destitute and the world is going to war an intellectual focus on what really is going on in the world is such a pleasant treasure. Thanks to the producers, creators and writers of this show. It really centers us and enlightens us every week.

15.9.08

Day 30. The Electric One.

So many people have been affected by hurricanes lately, I feel a bit selfish writing this since Ohio isn't exactly "point of impact" for any hurricanes...but yesterday the remnants of hurricane Ike blew through our area - focus on "BLEW". All yesterday was Craaaa-aaazy including some wind gusts in excess of 70 miles per hour. Again, not to minimize areas such as Galveston Island, but there was some pretty significant property damage here and hundreds of thousands without power. We'll be cleaning up for a few days.

But while so many of my friends lost power or had trees fall (or worse) Stephen and I sat in our home watching the wind go crazy, we were blessed to only have to deal with a few power surges and some plants and lawn furniture blowing around. 

So, today, I am thankful for whoever realized it was a good idea to bury power lines underground. I've googled around a bit this morning and can't find any one person or company that started this - but hey, I sure do appreciate them. I know some people still lost power who had buried cables but I can only think that if everyone still had above ground lines that the loss of power and possible damage (fire, more property damage) would have been far worse. So, whoever you are, good thinking! And for all those people who were affected in our area, as well as for those who were hit by Ike much more significantly than we were, I think of you today and send you prayers.

12.9.08

Day 27. The Entertaining One.

I really love the group The Barenaked Ladies. I happened upon them in the very early 90's (yes, before "one week" hit all the radio stations). If you don't know BNL, they are a lovely canadian group that can write some very catchy, and sometimes quite beautiful music. The reason I really love them tho is their wit. 

Listen to a BNL song - all the way through - listen carefully so you understand all the lyrics. Every song is either brilliantly funny or heartbreakingly sad and poignant. The poignant ones are often juxtaposed against a particularly cheery hook - making their art all that more creative.

Above and beyond their music - you can't beat a live BNL show. They improvise, they are funny, they innovate on their music and they are just darn good. Going to a BNL concert always puts my husband on a "real music" diet for at least a month - after hearing stuff like that, you can't handle brainless, manufactured pop or top 40 music for quite some time - you crave "the good stuff".

Art is expressed in many ways, and as everyone says, humor is so much more difficult than drama - BNL personifies this, I think they are genius and I thank them for what they put into the world.

11.9.08

Day 26. The American One.

It is September 11, 2008. Seven years ago, my world stopped. I know many of you have similar experiences. I have a whole story of that time, but that isn't what today is about...remember, we are here to appreciate people. So, all you need to know about my personal experience is that I was living in the very heart of DC in 2001 and was very close to the attack as well as to one of the most diverse populations in a very very small area.

Immediately after the attacks, I remember wondering how things would go down, people were nervous and angry and literally within a block we had koreans, germans, english, africans, chinese, japanese, iranians, iraqi's - business owners, residents, neighbors, Americans. The most amazing moment was walking through the stillness of the night on the 11th and seeing the outpouring of emotion and support from ALL people. 

I learned something that day - an American is someone who loves this country. Lord knows we are not perfect as a nation, but we do have it pretty darn good. And the hidden gift in the immeasurable amount of tragedy that day was that we all came together as a community - united by our belief in who we are as a nation. We are all here for a reason (i hope) and so many of us have chosen to live here (often fought for the right to do so in one generation or another) and ultimately - even with our differences - we love each other and we love America.  Now a days, with the talking heads on tv and the voting battles; the stalkerazzi and the rediculous amount of finger pointing on so many fields I am often sad, because I fear that we have forgotten that when boiled down to our core we are one. We are each American - and within that one word there is a unity, a relationship, a respect and  a shared love. I thank each American for pulling together during that time seven years ago, and I ask each American to hold on to that feeling - united we stand, people. United. We. Stand.


p.s. I've broken my blog rules a bit today - I don't care

Day 25. The "devylish" One.

I am always impressed with the cool things you find in social networks. Sometimes its the heads up on a new technology, sometimes its a hack for your iPhone ;) and sometimes its the best thing, a new friend.

I've come to know my friend Devyl via Twitter and Plurk (note the links here go to her profile). We didn't really interact significantly - to be honest, I found her through a cheeky comment on a plurk one night, liked it and added her as a friend. Since my interest was peaked, tho I didn't always respond, I would follow her updates fairly regularly.  And here's what...

Devyl is one of the most complete people I've met and by that I mean she is funny, she is naughty, she is smart, she is sensitive, she is emotional, she is crazy, she is fun, she is compassionate and she is kind. And I love her for that - I love that she represents all that a woman can (and should IMO) be. She challenges you and keeps you interested - points all around. Devyl, my dear, I hope all women can see what you put into the world and realize that we are multifaceted, complex, REALLY COOL people.

DISCLAIMER: Devyl TOTALLY pimped my project 365 on her blog and I love her for it but that is NOT why I write about her today  xoxox

9.9.08

Day 24. The Impulsive One.

Quite a few months ago my friend Tina and I met to discuss a project we were working on. We talked for a while at Starbucks and all of a sudden it was hours later and we were still having a great time visiting...so we decided to go across the street for lunch...and we spent a few more hours there.  It was one of those organic times that you just happen upon but I think these are also the real foundations of a true friendship.

Tina's quite busy now - she's about to get married and she has quite a hectic job, but every now and then we find ourselves starting a quick conversation or visit that extends into something more than we had thought...that is much more fun. I love that. They say life is what happens while you're busy making plans, and Tina is certainly an example of that - our friendship has evolved out of the cracks in time that we just catch each other. I thank her for introducing me to the importance of always keeping the door open for the opportunity that something more will develop.

8.9.08

Day 23. The Negative One.

I've been thinking and thinking about this one...it seems that recently those close to me have been getting a preponderance of bad news. While I wait for the yin to arrive for many of us (cuz we've had enough stinkin' yang) I've contemplated how we've gotten some of this news and from where.

I would like to commend someone who recently delivered some bad news. I think that to take on the responsibility of delivering bad news and delivering it in a compassionate way, after fully investigating every alternative to be sure that the bad news, is, in fact, correct, takes great strength of character. 

Let me be clear - please don't think this absolves those who like to build themselves up by breaking others down  - I am so NOT talking about those people (we all know some of them). But I think that sometimes, bad news is necessary. It makes us reevaluate what is important, where we are in our personal growth, and where we need to be. I think its each of our personal responsibility to take these challenges as best we can and move forward. So, I do thank this person - for trying their best to prove the bad news wasn't true...for being ever diligent in their pursuit of this news...for delivering it to us...and for putting up with the negative energy that is most always an initial reaction. You are very strong...and I appreciate that you were strong enough to go through this with us.

Week 3. Reflections.

One thing that's really been heavy on my heart this week is the idea of actions versus feelings. To my knowledge, we still don't know the way to see directly into someone's soul...and while we all say, "Don't judge a book by its cover" at least with humans, we still have to go with physical manifestations...even if that is behaviors and actions.

I often wonder about all the hidden fabulousness inside the hearts of people that may be precluded from being more open. Maybe its because they are shy, damaged, hurt, angry or just plain tired.  Looking each day for someone to "spotlight" here really has me thinking of all the people that go "unnoticed".

So I challenge you each to think a bit about the people you come in contact with - be sure you gather enough of the RIGHT kind of information to get to know someone.  One of my personal mantras has always been "walk in another's shoes before you judge them"...now I am learning I need to amend that to include getting to know who someone really is - not just take the easy route...

6.9.08

Day 21. The Bridal One.

Many of you know that my friend Jess is getting married today - and that i highlighted her parents earlier this week. Well - today is the day that Jessica becomes a wife and that deserves some attention.

I remember when I got married - the most significant "gift" we received was some words of wisdom at a shower...as friends of my parents were leaving, they said "we won't tell you Congratulations now, we'll tell you that in ten years". This shaped the way Stephen and I looked at the entire wedding process from then on out - its about a marriage, not an event or just one day. Well, Jessica personifies this...I have never EVER met a bride (including myself) who was so focused on what getting married REALLY meant. She's never worried about a single decision, she's just always looked for the best options, made a decision and moved on. She's worked to include the meaningful people in her life - some made the programs, some provided snacks for the big day, some even made part of her wedding day outfit. For Jess, it was never about "a certain look", "a brand name", or "an image" it was about celebrating the joining of her life with another and celebrating that with the special people in her life.

I have total faith in Jess and the marriage she begins today. Her outlook on life is truly special and I know that she will forever remember this day not just because of some material aspect but because it was everything SHE wanted it to be and it was based in friendship and love. Congrats Jess!

5.9.08

Day 20. The Generous One.

My friend Michele is pretty darn cool. She is tremendously interesting, very smart, a teacher, a loving wife and a really great friend. But Michele is one of those rare people who has a generosity of spirit like only a few people.

Michele's vacations, gifts, time, energy all revolve around doing for others. We were teasing her the other day about what would she do if she had a day to do anything at all that she wanted...and her answers were immediately about going places she knows her loved ones want to go, and doing things with those she cares about and being with her friends and family. When pushed, she certainly had answers that were just for her too, but that's not what's most important in her life.

There are so many people who easily can fall into selfish trends (I'm one of them!) who want for themselves, and focus on just themselves...but Michele reminds me every day that its not about us...its about what we put out into the world and that gives back to us in the most meaningful of ways. 

Day 19. The Working One.

At one of my very favorite restaurants, we visit there so much that we've come to know a ton of the people who work there...recently, they opened a new location and there's a whole new crew of folks we get to meet. One of those is Kareem.

Kareem works as a busser at the restaurant, he's there almost every day, and he is truly one of the most conscientious, hard working people I've ever met. Even before I knew his name, it was impossible to not see his focus and the pride he takes in doing his job well. Kareem caught our attention and as my husband and I watched, we had the coolest experience of starting at the most detailed level and watching that impact get bigger and bigger. Kareem does work that some may foolishly dismiss - he clears and cleans tables, taking each item to where it needs to go, and then resets that table making in presentable for the next guests. But we watched and saw more...he is fast, and unobtrusive, contributing to the experience of people around him; he is kind, smiling and looking to support his other co-workers which contributes to their attitude as well; he is attentive and overall helps turn the tables more quickly which makes everyone get a little bit more money.

I don't know all of Kareem's story...yet...but I have tremendous respect for who he is because his attitude and work ethic tell so much. Kareem is truly a pebble in a pond...causing ripples of positive impact that reach borders he may not even know he's touched.

3.9.08

Day 18. The Celebratory One(s).

My dear friend Jessica is getting married this weekend on Saturday. Today, her parents arrived from Nashville TN...and oh have the celebrations started!

We've got all kinds of happy hours, meet ups, even sleep overs planned for the next three days...and, it delights me. Not just to be spending time with people I enjoy but also, because in these days of hours and hours of television programming dedicated to "Bridezillas" "Platinum Weddings" and "Who's Wedding is it Anyway?" I am so touched by people who recognize this time for what it is...a time to celebrate. I credit Jess's parents for this...

In the months leading up to this wedding, we've never had long discussions about what the invitations should look like, or where are the flowers from, or who sits with who...we've talked about friends, and marriage, and memories and opportunities of the future. Isn't THAT what a wedding is all about? I think a wedding is a time to truly celebrate that two people have found each other and that they care for each other enough that they want to commit to spend their lives together, and proclaim this in front of all those who matter to them. (note I never mentioned the "color scheme" or bridesmaid dresses).  This is going to be a wonderful weekend because it is what it should be - a CELEBRATION. Kudo's to you Tom and Shelley...you're reminding us what this is all about!

2.9.08

Day 17. The Knitting One.

Most knitters have their very favorite "local yarn store" (aka LYS). I haven't been to mine in a while because I often spend too much money there :), but today I was reminded why I love it. The owner of my favorite LYS is Karen. I showed up today at 4:45 (the store closes at 5:30 on Tuesdays).  Karen doesn't know me but immediately came to help me find the exact yarn I needed for a last minute wedding gift for a friend..ahem, wedding on Saturday, don't ask.

Karen also proceeded to take the time to really get to know me "what other projects are you working on" "what yarn do you like" "have you seen this new yarn". I'm sure some of this was marketing focused, but it was kind and personal. When I showed her the pattern that is next on my "to do" list (a special hoodie just for me) she began the search for yarn...there was one I really wanted to use but we couldn't find enough of it. Suffice it to say that Karen stayed 45 minutes after the store closed, pulled down all the yarn of this certain brand from inventory, missed her yoga class, and took a list of my top three color choices to continue the search tomorrow at other stores and on the internet.

Yes, I know, its her business and in the end all this helps her out too - but she didn't have to do any of those extra things...and she did. She helped me feel really great about the gift for my friend, has me excited to start my fall project and was kind, thoughtful and a true pleasure the entire time.  I guess I'll be shopping there a lot more ;)

1.9.08

Day 16. The Wet One.

Hurricane Gustav came on land today. It was the "hot news story" since it was aiming at Nola...having lived through a lot of hurricanes, I like to watch a lot of Weather Channel, its good coverage, without all the sensationalism. Jim Cantore is my favorite :). But Jim gets lots of attention and the person who captured my attention today was his producer.

If you've ever been on a "remote" or seen one, you know there's usually an anchor - all spiffy - and then another person hauling  a whole bunch of stuff: cameras, cables, headsets, mics, you name it they have it. The same holds true for hurricane coverage but more...you've got the "brave meteorologist" out in the storm shouting out coverage but, on the other side of that lens is someone who's not only holding the camera, but managing the technical aspects of the satellite transmission, communication with the studio, getting the set up out of harms way, and oh, by the way getting beaten to and fro by a HURRICANE.  

Imagine if this is your job: Hey, go down to a very uncertain area due to weather and risk your life doing something that will get no recognition to the public and in fact, the only thing that will be highlighted will be your mistakes - when the transmission goes down, when we lose audio, when photos are choppy. And, we are sending you in to a hurricane, or at the very least a tropical storm. 

The "producer" of any remote shot is so often the unsung hero, but when I watched today's coverage and felt like I was getting a real sense of what it was like as the eye wall of Gustav passed through Louisiana, I realized it was truly the producer that I needed to thank. And we don't even know his/her name...