Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Some answers

Well, part of my little "EMP" experience from yesterday has been explained! I continued to have very odd problems with my credit card this morning so I gave in and called the bank. For the second time in six months my debit/credit card has been canceled by the bank due to "skimming fraud."
Never heard of it?

Skimming is the theft of credit card information used in an otherwise legitimate transaction. It is typically an "inside job" by a dishonest employee of a legitimate merchant. The thief can procure a victim’s credit card number using basic methods such as photocopying receipts or more advanced methods such as using a small electronic device (skimmer) to swipe and store hundreds of victims’ credit card numbers. Common scenarios for skimming are restaurants or bars where the skimmer has possession of the victim's credit card out of their immediate view. The thief may also use a small keypad to unobtrusively transcribe the 3 or 4 digit Card Security Code which is not present on the magnetic strip. Instances of skimming have been reported where the perpetrator has put a device over the card slot of a ATM (automated teller machine), which reads the magnetic strip as the user unknowingly passes their card through it.
Second time in six months I "may" have been a victim of this. My bank detects that there was skimming fraud activity at a place (most likely a gas station) that I have been known to frequent, and then for security purposes, shuts down my card for my own protection. Doesn't mean I was actually targeted or a victim or hurt by it. But for my own safety they shut it down. I do love my totally awesome credit union for always taking such great care of me.

So here I am 2,000 miles away from my bank and it will merely take 7-10 business days for my new card to arrive. Time to break out that credit card I never ever ever use and take advantage of it for a few days!

I think I got hit by an EMP

EMP= electro-magnetic pulse. Capable of wiping out all electronically transmitted everything. As explained by me.

I think I broke the internet today. Or maybe I got hit by an


Let me explain.

I went to the store today for some fun summer clothes. At the check out my card couldn't be read. At all. I tried a different card. Nothing. I left (a little embarrassed) and went to an ATM. "Account cannot be accessed at this time." Huh?

Got in my car. Suddenly it won't start.

I grab my phone to twitter/call/facebook/vent to the world. It won't work.

Suddenly the car does work.

I drive up the road, go to another ATM. It doesn't work period. Can't even put my card in.

Got home, and suddenly couldn't access my email account.

I screamed and ate some ice cream, and everything was okay. Phone worked, bank worked, email worked.

Obviously, I was just walking around in my own extra powerful magnetic force today. I call it the Erin Magnetic Pulse.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Right Brain Can Beat Up Your Left Brain

Left Brain= the logical, rational side of your brain, predictability and order, follows rules and procedures
Right Brain= the more creative, big picture, innovation, change, oriented side. Really hates being in a box.

Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz
The higher of these two numbers below indicates which side of your brain has dominance in your life. Realising your right brain/left brain tendancy will help you interact with and to understand others.
Left Brain Dominance: 16(16)
Right Brain Dominance: 16(16)
Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz

(Okay, so maybe there's no way my right brain could beat up your left brain. It was just a dumb joke anyway.)

How to Tap Into Right Brain Thinking (yes, sorry, I am linking to an Oprah article. Like her or hate her, she does attract some of the best thought leaders on to her show!)

With the drama of getting me packed and moved across the country, and now the drama of getting my mother packed and moved out of the country, it is time for me to start thinking about me and that scary place we call the real world again. 

Rather than just search for all the usual and typical jobs this time, I'm spending a lot more time asking myself what it is I WANT?! Do I want to keep working in the volatile and cutthroat world of marketing? Do I want a major career change? Do I want to go to school? Do I want to join the Peace Corps? Do I want to live here? There? Back there? 

I don't know.

And so rather than just let the left brain take over and be all rational and predictable, and apply for the usual suspect of jobs, I'm going to spend some time with the right side of my brain. I'm creating a vision board. I'm splurging and buying a new camera. I'm visiting some of my favorite towns over the next few weeks. I'm going to take pictures and collect things, and start cultivating all those things my right brain needs to stay alive. I'm looking for inspiration and asking myself the bigger and more difficult questions. 

I loved the article I linked above. It addresses something I've seen for a while, but haven't heard anyone talk about yet. The business world is changing. We are no longer just drones in an office space. We create content in many different ways. Which is so interesting because the bigger corporations get the more left brain oriented they become. They run like machines, all based on rules and procedures, and yet expect the employees to create content. Creation inside of rules limits personality and potential. 

It is all a very interesting concept. I invite open dialogue on it! Join me, will you? 

Inshallah (or something like that)

God willing and the creek don't rise, my mother will be leaving in less than 12 hours to go join my dad in their new home In a Land Far Far Away. (Since I'm forbidden from disclosing their whereabouts (yes, I know I've said it twice already on Facebook today, and then went back and deleted it) we'll call their new foreign home In a Land Far Far Away.) We've had quite the range of emotions and experiences for the past 2 weeks getting her ready to leave. On Saturday we got the word that her diplomatic passport had not been approved and she wouldn't be going. (We also got the word that my dad's top secret clearance hadn't been approved because apparently he once lived in Russia. Not only has he never been to Russia, but they approve people for clearances all the time that have been to Russia! Never fear, this is now being fixed. But let's just say we're all rather tired and yet amused by the antics of the federal bureaucrazy. I accidentally typed "bureaucrazy" instead of "bureaucracy" and decided it was too fitting to fix.) Back to my point, so on Saturday we thought she wouldn't be leaving for another month. So we stopped rushing and stressing. And then on Monday around 4 pm we found out she was going. We jumped through some hoops* and by the time most of you read this, she'll be on her way to a Land Far Far Aways.

*My sister Natalie, begetter of my cute nephews, and I were on the phone today discussing the situation. Natalie said, "I can't believe the hoops she has to jump through!" Her son overheard her and asked, "What kind of hoops? Mom! What kind of hoops does Nana have to jump through?" He thought there were actual hoops somewhere.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Happiness in the Single Journey

***The following is a work in progress for professional publication.***
Happiness in the Single Journey
“Being a mother is the greatest job on Earth.”
“Someday you will find someone to love you as much as my spouse and I love each other.”
“Why aren’t you married yet?”
“Family is the most important institution.”
These seemingly simple and oft repeated phrases can be painful and heartbreaking to an unmarried or single member of the Church.
Questions of “Why am I still single?” “Why doesn’t anyone love me?” “Why does he get to be married and not me?” “How can she be married twice and I still haven’t found one husband?” “I’ve prayed for it and I’m a good person, so why hasn’t the Lord sent me an eternal companion?” “How am I ever supposed to fit in at church when it is all about families, and I don’t have one?” “Why should I have to sit through another lesson about parenting when I’ll probably never be a parent myself?” “What is the point of going to a ward activity geared towards children? I’ll never fit in!” and so many other questions of doubt are common and not unusual in the minds of a single member of the Church.
Unmarried members often feel alienated or left out of the general membership of the Church. Without children, or spouses, what place is there for them at ward activities that are so often family oriented? When lessons and advice are given regarding strengthening family relationships, what do they have to offer to the lesson or to take away from it?
One of the most difficult parts of being single, particularly for those individuals who have passed the more culturally traditional younger years of courtship and have entered into their thirties, forties, and older, it is wondering why they have not found a spouse? Why have they not been so blessed? “Am I so hard to love? What’s wrong with me? Am I not faithful enough? Why doesn’t anyone like me?” All of these questions can be painful and difficult to ask, often lead to unhappiness and self-doubt, and at times can lead to an individual’s slow departure from activity within the Church.
Elder Neal Maxwell in his book “And These Things Shall Give Thee Experience,” counseled that we are not being punished when we do not receive that which we desire. Sometimes the Lord has other plans for us. It is our job to do our best, and be happy, no matter what the situation.
To find happiness and contentment in our lives, no matter our situation, is often the ultimate challenge. Whether it be the family dealing with financial downturn, or an infertile couple longing for a child, or the desperate desire to find love and a mate, the challenge to find “joy in the journey,” even when the journey is not the one we expected or wanted to take.
President Thomas S Monson said it this way, “This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.”
Elder Maxwell described these challenges (to find joy in our experiences no matter their difficulty) as one of the “hard doctrines” of the Gospel. He quotes author C.S. Lewis, "Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently, He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace."
Being single is not a curse, or an affliction. It is not a punishment that you must overcome. It is simply that the Lord has other plans for you. What role is it He has carved out for you? What do you have to offer? The Lord knows you, your talents, and has provided you with the circumstances so that you may do your best. It is not an accident that you were born at this time and place. You must find your self-worth and be an instrument in the Lord’s hands. No individual’s worth is more than that of another, regardless of marital status. “The worth of souls is great in the eyes of God.” There was no postscript that said “Except some will be worth more than others because they got married and raised a family. Through no fault of your own you will not be worth as much.” The Lord values you, and has put you in the situation where he needs you. Give yourself to the Lord so that you may be the person He needs you to be.
You must find your calling and magnify it. Some will be called to be mothers and fathers. Others will not be held back by the constraints of a family so that they may serve in other ways to the wards, communities, and even the world around them. Being single is not a limitation or condemnation. It is the opportunity to expand and do more, while living a Gospel centered life. Marriage does not solve any one’s problems. You must be happy with who you are above all else.
Do not consider your life to be a trial. The Lord knows you and your abilities. He has prepared you for this time and place, and provided you with the opportunity to serve Him. Find your joy, find your happiness, by serving Him. Do not underestimate what the Lord has in store for you, regardless of your marital status.  
***This is a work in progress for professional publication.***

One more reason to love her

One of the best, most heartfelt, and honest blog posts by TRS is up and running today. A great testament to staying true to who you are and what you believe in, and not dumping those beliefs just to be with a man. Go read it!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The State of My World Today

I haven't really told you all what my big picture situation is, have I? Let's see if I can explain. In numberical lists, because I like lists.
1. I'm unemployed and job-hunting. Unless I want to work in fast food, (and I don't) I will most likely not be finding my next job in Roanoke. So my options are open and I'm looking around in various cities. DC and SLC are on the top of that list. But I'm open to just about anything. It is all about finding the right job, not just finding a job.
2. I'm in Roanoke, VA, which is about 4 hours south of DC. Roanoke is where the bulk of my extended family lives. I was not raised here, nor have I ever called it home before. But it is where my parents currently live.
3. My parents actually don't live here anymore. My dad has already moved out of the country, and my mother leaves to join him next week.
4. I came here for the time-being to try and be a help to my mother while she packs and prepares to leave. Am I of any help? I have no idea. But I'm here.
5. I don't actually intend to be here for long. My mother has suggested I not unpack my car. I unpacked it anyway. (Must find the root of the smell emanating from within!!)
6. I do plan to be up in DC over Fourth of July weekend. My trip is far from packed or well planned yet, so I'm open to invitations!!
7. I am applying for jobs in my typical theater of work (social media marketing and trade show planning), and looking around at my options for a career change. It isn't easy to make a major career change at this point in the game. But I'm entertaining options nonetheless. For instance, I would LOVE to teach marketing or business at the high school level. (I have NO desire to teach otherwise.) I really enjoyed my earlier working years where I was more of an office manager and travel scheduler. I wouldn't mind doing that again. I also wouldn't mind temping a few days a week, or working a steady part-time morning job, and focusing on writing gigs to fill out my income.
8. For those who have asked about my brother and his girlfriend, who have been deployed to Afghanistan for a few months, they should be flying back to the US tonight. (But then, we've been hearing that from them for over a week now. They left Bagram a while ago. They just haven't actually made it home yet.) I can't wait for them to get back and to see them again!
9. I'm itching to go to Kings Dominion. Anyone in VA game??
10. There is no #10. But a list stopping at 9 feels strange. Oh wait, I thought of one. I got my eyebrows threaded today. I had never tried it before. Verdict? WAY better than waxing! I loved it. Considerably less pain, over faster, and considerably cheaper. I'll go back.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another day, another chance to write

So again, just in case we aren't Facebook, Linkup, or Twitter friends, (where I apologize if you are getting inundated with my promotions of me) here's the link to another article I wrote this week!

This time- Mormons, Arkansas and Polygamy!

Little K's Big Day

Being back in Roanoke means being right back in the middle of all things family- and I couldn't be happier! I had hardly been in town one night yet when my cousin, Special K, called and invited me to her daughter's, Little K's, birthday party. As with all good 10 year old girl's parties, it began with a slumber party with her girlfriends, included a trip to a water park, and culminated in a trip to the mall. Her special present was a surprise to her- getting her ears pierced.

I conveniently skipped the slumber party portion of the party, but I did get this summary of it, "We got SOME sleep. We went to sleep around 2 a.m.... maybe." This was said with numerous giggles, so one cannot be truly sure. The water park portion of the day was a lot of fun. In spite of 30 SPF we all got some serious color. Special K and Little K will be feeling their redness for a few days I am sure. Thankfully, I only got browner, but my face did get a little pinker. And frecklier. Which is totally a word, because spellcheck didn't stop it.

On to the mall with 3 ten year old girls, and 2 rather silly grown up girls. Have I mentioned that Special K and I were built-in playmates growing up? And college roommates? And have a tendency to truly be ourselves together? Our mothers do not approve. We don't really care, such is the hallmark of our friendship.

So back to the mall. Little K didn't know she was going to get her ears pierced. We just roamed the mall as only women with cash in their pockets can do, and conveniently ended up in Claire's. I have pierced my ears before in life, but one ear had closed up (because I rarely wear earrings, because I'm allergic to cheap earrings). So I had decided to get my ears pierced again with her. Little did we expect that in spite of begging and wanting to get her ears pierced (like all little girls do at some point), she would chicken out when it was offered to her!

I went first, in hopes of showing her that it wouldn't hurt and how fast and easy it is. Funny thing, it really doesn't hurt at all to re-pierce an ear! This wasn't good enough for Little K. So we left so she could think about it, and then came back later.

Try #2- Little K contemplates the situation!
She's not so sure about it. There are some tears. She watches a little 3 year old get her ears pierced. The little girl doesn't cry, flinch, or wince. Little K is still not convinced. Due to a little snafu involving her mother's legal identity, there is a hold up.

Try #3- Success!

There are a few tears and she admits she's just crying because she's all wound up, but that it doesn't hurt.
Suddenly, we see smiles!

Showing off our matching fake diamond, allergy safe, crystalline daisy earrings. And our sunburns.  (Sidenote, I am still in my bathing suit. And Little K was so sunburned her mom had to stop and get her a tank top to wear because her t-shirt was hurting her shoulders! Poor kid!)

It is fun to be back with cousins!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Manute Bol

That 7 foot 7 inch man behind me is the incredible Manute Bol. This picture was taken (a very very long time ago) when I was an intern on Capitol Hill. (That would be the Congressman I worked for also in the picture. He's probably 6 ft as it is- notice how I don't even come to his shoulder!) Manute Bol was playing for the Philadelphia 76ers at the time, and was lobbying on the Hill regarding issues in the Sudan. Meeting him resonated with me, and I followed his career and issues for many years after that. I was very sorry to hear he passed away this week.
Something interesting I learned about him was that all the money and glory of the NBA never went to his head. He sent the bulk of his earnings back to take care of others in the Sudan. He never missed a chance to educate people on the situations in the Sudan. He was truly a very good man.
On the lighter side, I can still remember shaking his hand. I am a mere 5 ft 3. He is 24 inches taller than me! When I shook his hand I remember it wrapped all the way around mine. It wasn't just his finger tips folding around my hand, but his hand completely enveloped mine. I also remember as we were posing for this picture that I turned around to look at him (he was a funny guy and cracking jokes) and realized I was staring right at his belt buckle. I barely came above his waist!
Another funny part I remember was that the male legislative assistants in our office were SO excited to meet him. They kept peeking out to see if he had arrived yet a dozen times that day. Finally, in walked a very tall, black man. And the L.A.'s were so disappointed. The man was tall, but nothing all that impressive or striking. But the man laughed and said, "wait, wait, he is coming!" He was just the bodyguard/handler/translator! (Also seen in the picture. He's probably 6 ft 7.) A moment later in walked Manute Bol, and he had to duck down to walk through the standard 7 ft doorways! (The L.A.'s were thrilled, and also had their pictures taken with him. I believe they all posed with him standing on a coffee table. They were still shorter than him.)

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my dad that I didn't get to talk to today. He of the ever-changing license plates, lover of music (as long as it isn't country), passionate politician, constant learner, gospel student, and the really cute grandkids. Thanks for all of the patience and help, particularly this past year. And especially thank you for all you did to help me go to Haiti.

Friday, June 18, 2010

New life, new town

I've arrived at my new life in Roanoke, VA. Half my belongings are in a storage unit in Arkansas, half of them are overwhelming my car. For the moment I am EXHAUSTED from packing and moving, and then making the 16 hour trip solo with a dog. (It turned out to be more of an 18 hr trip, thanks to pit stops and the need for a 3 am nap.)
Now... to figure out what comes next. I've been getting the inevitable, "So what are you going to do?" question - a lot! The answer is, I HAVE NO IDEA! But I'm working on it.
I have a few little irons in the fire. Things are going to be very different this time around. I just can't say how and when or where yet! Stay tuned! Life in progress!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sometimes I think Chuck Norris would make a better POTUS

I think this will be one of the few times I put up a clip of Obama. (I just don't find him inspiring or charismatic enough to repeat him. Ever.) But this one was just too good. I love the Lolly Pop Guild at the end.
Also, I find it totally unclassy that in a public interview the POTUS sais "ass to kick." Seriously, I have a hard time with that guy being a role model and world leader. Think it, just don't say it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Published Twice in One Day!

Much to my surprise I got published twice today! I am also beginning to write for the Examiner on the LDS religion. This will not be a point-of-view column, but instead more of a news oriented, factual, no bias article situation. And the more views I get, the more money I make! So click away! Pretty please!
(and if we are already friends on Facebook and Twitter and Linkup and you are getting this for the third time- sorry!)

A Single Thought - again!

I've started writing my old column, "A Single Thought," for Meridian Magazine again! Way back when - 5 years ago- when I stopped writing it, I was co-writing it with Juli. But this time I'm taking a different angle and writing it solo. And I am hoping for a LOT of audience participation! Please come check it out!

Monday, June 14, 2010

All Things Subject to Change Without Prior Notification

As you may have noticed, things are changing fast and furiously around here. I would love to update you on all that is happening, but I imagine by the time you read it, something would have changed again.
On Saturday morning I put my apartment up on Craigslist. I had a few responses fairly quickly- including one from a former co-worker who had no idea she was replying to my ad! Long story short, she's on a business trip this week, but her stuff is moving into my house today!
As soon as I can get all of my stuff packed, sold, and into storage, I'm out of here. I'm on my way back to VA. There are much more fun and exciting details about job interviews and major career changes I can't really share with the blogosphere quite yet.  But ask me personally, and I'll be happy to share!
Until then I'm dreading packing all over again (this time I won't have Juli here to make it all happen!). Thankfully a good portion of my stuff is still in boxes. I never had the heart to unpack my office or living room. And then I have to find the energy in me to make the 14 hr drive back to Roanoke. The kitties will be staying behind with the new tenant and her little boy, so at least I won't have to repeat that nightmare.
In the meantime, I can't wait to get back to VA. There are so many things I love about VA during the summer! New River rafting, all the beaches, lakes and water skiing, hiking, camping, horse back riding with my sister, Fourth of July on the Mall, crab houses, family reunions, and so much more. I have to remind myself I'll be in Roanoke, not Arlington!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oh Yeah

I just figured out how to put the Facebook Like button on my blog all by myself. Not too shabby for a girl who doesn't know much HTML!
Feel free to click it just so I can feel cool!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bad News in a Fortune Cookie Part 2

So you may be wondering what kind of bad omen the empty fortune cookie brought?
Well, let's put it this way. I'm unemployed again. I'm not going to waste my time explaining what all happened, the mistakes, the misunderstandings, etc. Just trust me when I say this- it is all for the best. I am so much happier now. No more crying in the parking lot before work. No more depression. The little black rain cloud is gone. As soon as I heard the words "we're letting you go," I did cartwheels in my head.
So what comes next? I have no idea. But there are good things happening already. I'm making plans to leave Arkansas in the near future. Where am I going? No idea. But I'll probably get there in about 2 weeks. Until then I need to go spend some more quality time out at the pool with a good book.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fortune Cookie

A few days ago I was at lunch with co-workers in a Chinese buffet. When the traditional cracking open of the fortune cookies came, mine was empty. The others all had thoughtful little quips and quotes about their futures. Mine was empty. We all determined that that was just a very bad omen.

Today I opened up a fortune cookie and found the following-
"You will soon be crossing warm water for a hot vacation." Please, fortune cookie gods, be right!

When You Move Beyond Your Fear, You Feel Free

I never forget the people who make me feel bad about  myself. The people who make accusations, insults, or rude remarks. Especially not the people who do it publicly and embarrass me. Not only do I not forget them, they haunt me. I struggle to forgive them, and often do. But the sting and the pain still last. I spend way too much time remembering how they hurt me, wishing I could go back in time and say just the right thing. Say the thing that proves them wrong, or makes them feel equally bad.
How often do I want justice when I have been wronged? Will I ever actually get it? I want so badly to prove them wrong, show them I'm not what they said. I want to show them who I really am, or maybe just who it is I want to be.
And then I read these two lines in "Who Moved My Cheese?"
"The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese."
"When you move beyond your fear, you feel free."
These were not earth shattering concepts. I know that I have always known them. But this time it hit home. It is time to stop feeling the pain, time to stop thinking about how I would tell them they are wrong. It is time to move beyond the fear [that they were right] and live as the person I want to be. And not just to live as the person that I think they don't think I can be.
See the difference?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A Flirt I Am Not

Tonight I flirted with a guy in the apartment complex clubhouse. He's probably 10-15 years younger than me, and most likely gay*, but he always flirts with me, so I flirt back.
It was a good, healthy flirting session.
And then I realized my zipper was ALL.THE.WAY.DOWN. the entire time.
Go me.

*based upon the fact that he flirts, but does not check girls out, and he was watching a Kathy Griffin special on Bravo, sang along to Glee, and wears skinny jeans.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Who Moved My Cheese?

About 10 years after everyone else read "Who Moved My Cheese?," I got around to reading it this weekend. I LOVED IT.
If you are not familiar with it already, it is (at its' most watered down point) about preparing for and accepting change in your life. Or learning to accept and handle when you don't get what you want in life.
I've had to accept and just deal with a LOT of changes in the past few years. Some I have handled with far more graces than others. Actually, let's put that the other way around. Most I have handled with far less grace than others.
This book really opened my eyes as to how I was reacting to life. And it wasn't all just about my professional life. I realized I could apply it to my dating life and other aspects of my personal life as well.
For even the slowest of readers, this book can be read and digested in under an hour. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it!
(I have also read one of the author's other books, "One Minute Manager." I wish it was mandatory reading for all business owners and managers! Great stuff!)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Blog Updates

I am under the impression most of my blog readers probably read my blog via a blog reader, and not directly on the site. For those of you who haven't been to the actual site recently, you haven't seen a lot of my new updates.
You may have noticed there is a new background, new header, new layout, and more importantly, new ads! There is also a new feature where you can rate a post, or share your feelings about it. I love feedback, so I hope you'll use this feature!
As I try out these new ad features, I'd like to know if you see anything inappropriate. If you see an ad for something you are fairly certain I wouldn't want to be associated with, please let me know!

Trust and Checkmate

Trust- it is a tricky, tricky word. The balance of who to trust, when to trust, and when to open up and allow yourself to trust. Sometimes it feels like a never-ending mousetrap that you just can't beat.
I have brought this subject up here before. How much has pop culture changed our views on trust and honesty? Have we been so altered by pop culture (believing all major conflicts can be solved in 30 minutes or less, and with a laugh and a hug at the end, all love must involve sex, and passion is always an excuse to get what we want) that we no longer have a reason to trust others?
Did that make any sense? Hang on, I'm getting to my point.
Tonight as I got into a strange little argument about trust with a friend, I found myself wondering what the purpose of trust is. We (and by we, I tend to mean Generation X) see trust as a chess game. I make a move, you make a move, and either we earn each other's confidence with our strategy, or we catch each other in a checkmate, never able to trust the other.
In such a world, is there any purpose to trust? Can we actually trust in trust? Or is trust something that comes and goes? We trust you for now, while you serve our needs. But once you are no longer needed, you no longer have our trust.
Are there still sleepy eyed dreamers out there who choose to trust and love without forcing the other party through hoops and tests? Is there such a thing as unconditional trust?
Generation X is defined by their lack of trust in an employer. As a member of Gen X, I can see why. My last several jobs have all ended because the employer was dishonest or could not pay its employees. In comparison, many GenXers are jaded against "the man." They go to work, work hard, make an honest living, and find themselves looking up at the mansion on the hill where their boss lives, while GenX scrambles to make ends meet. Gen X grew up watching the Iran Contra Affair, the Cold War, and President Clinton's infamous, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." Gen X witnessed 50% of marriages end in divorce. Gen X grew up on television shows built on dishonesty.
So how can we ever expect Gen X to unconditionally love and trust?
I don't know. But tonight I am going to reread Stephen Covey's Speed of Trust.
The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything

The No TV Challenge Continues

Tonight as I sat down with three books to read it hit me, "The No TV Challenge is working."

It has now been just a few days short of two months of living in Arkansas. Which means it has been two months that I have been living without real TV access. I have a television (a lovely 32" Philips LED), and a Blu Ray player, but no antenna or cable. I haven't sworn off watching ALL TV. In fact, I watch quite a bit on Hulu or other online outlets.

At first I was watching just as much TV as I used to, but I was watching it all online. But this has slowly but surely changed. Now I only watch my shows once or twice a week, when I sit down to watch all of them at once.

So have there been any other major changes? YES!

I am a pop culture junkie, so reducing my exposure to pop culture was painful at first. With my job I am online all day, every day. When I get home at night the last thing I want is to spend that much more time staring at a computer, so I'm not getting my pop culture fix online either. At first, this was tough. I missed it. I needed it. Now? Who really cares? My aversion to all things reality shows has intensified drastically. Just the sight of certain magazine covers with their stupid cover girls makes me gag.

I do miss the news. I still spend a little time each morning checking headlines. But I've reduced the amount of news I want quite a bit. But I still want more interesting news!

I'm reading a LOT more. I'm reading about three books a week now. And, for the first time in my life, I'm suddenly reading a lot more non-fiction. I'm not sure if that is related or not, but it is interesting to note.

The only thing I'm not getting exposed to enough may be movie trailers. Again, I'm not sure if this is good or bad. I love going to movies. I am trying to cut back on my "fun" expenses each month. Not going to the movies is a good way to save a few dollars each month. Not watching TV means not seeing commercials. Not seeing commercials means not knowing what movies are coming out!

All in all, I don't miss the TV anymore. I still have Netflix (though I'm considering cutting that expense out as well), and my boyfriend Hulu. And tomorrow I'm going to get a library card, because I'm no longer saving money by not paying for cable with all of the books I am buying!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Help Me Pick!

I won a blog contest over at (NO) Sex in the City today. My prize is a bathing suit from Shabby Apple Swimwear. And I can't decide which to get!

It is really hard to tell what these suits would look like on me, or how they would fit. The model is, shall we say, not anywhere near as endowed as I am in the chest, hips, or butt regions. I really like the red and white striped one, but she's so flat chested she doesn't fill out the suit. It makes me wonder if I would look obscene in it, or if it has any support.

But I love them all. And I love input!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Seeking Creative Inspiration

Today I set off with one goal in mind- to be inspired. I was desperate for some creative infusion, some inspiration, some color, and some feeling. So I headed off to Eureka Springs, Arkansas to see what I could see. I had done minimal research on the town, other than to discover it doesn't have hot springs or mineral springs. It is natural springs that you used to be able to drink. And that while it is gay and family friendly, it isn't dog friendly. So I left my dog behind, and struck out alone. 

Here are a few of the scenes that I found that inspired me. 

Upon arriving in town I just drove around and found myself following the signs to "East Mountain Overlook." This was the scene I found. (Have I mentioned Arkansas is green and more green?) After spotting the beautiful hotel across the hills, I had to go find it. It is the Crescent Hotel and is built in true Southern Victorian style. I loved it! The staff were incredibly kind and attentive- and I wasn't even a guest there!

Just below the Hotel was St Elizabeth's Chapel. A beautiful, quaint little Catholic Church with statues, stained glass, and beautiful gardens.

Each of these little statues had "Pray for XYZ Family" on them. The Christ statue at the end was donated by a family trust. I thought that was so beautiful. Of all the ways families can spend trust money, I think it is wonderful that they chose to make a beautiful prayer garden with a beautiful statue of Christ.

I was in the mood for beauty and art. There were many beautiful stained glass windows throughout the town. This was my favorite of all of them. It is an angel comforting the ill.

After the chapel and the hotel I worked my way down into the quaint little historic district. Like so many quaint, historic districts, there are lots of kitschy little shops selling anything but authentic or vintage materials, and an overabundance of fake leather jackets and tacky t-shirts. But hiding among the rocks was a few beautiful gems.

The architecture and colors of the town really stood out for me. I loved looking up at my surroundings. I found myself staring at buildings and colors than I did at the t-shirts hanging in the store windows.

This town is, after all, built around springs. There are dozens of them all around. Some are big, some are little, some have picturesque gardens, some are in people's backyards. This was one of my favorites. I found inspiration in the colors, the coolness (it is set down about 10 feet below street level and very chilly), and yet the calmness of it. I was sitting on the circular stairs leading down to the spring when I took this picture. After I took it I just sat and took it all in and enjoyed the serenity.

 I asked a sweet older couple walking by to take a picture of me for evidence that I was really there. I found out that they were high school sweethearts from Oklahoma, and have been coming to Eureka Springs since they were kids for the "healing properties." Life long love like that is very inspiring.

This old house may not seem like an inspirational seed, but it was. It stood out for having character and being independent. In a town of quaint, cute, Victorian, and syrupy sweet, it was fun to see stubbornness and a rebel attitude at its best.

After 3 years of living in Utah, I still marvel at all the colors and shades of green you can see in just one spot in Arkansas.

Another spring that just jumped out at me. I loved the ivy, the colors, the walls, even the little gate protecting it.

 In the yard of a little yellow B&B (there are B&B's about every other building in Eureka Springs), I found this miniature rose bush. From this angle you can see the little children statues and the steeple of the church beyond.

To me this is southern living at its finest. A big huge sitting porch with a ceiling fan, white wicker furniture, and a porch swing. Not to mention it is pink and has flowers growing in every nook and cranny. Every house in this town makes you want to sit down, drink a lemonade, and take a nap in the breeze.

I found what I was in search of. I even found myself sitting in a beautiful cafe, writing a story, sipping a cold Diet Coke, and looking out over this beautiful view- (if you look VERY closely, you can see a little white spec just tot he let of center at the top of the treeline in the distance. That is the 7 story Christ statue from the "Great Passion Play." I didn't get the chance to go out there to see it. Maybe next time.)

All in all, I found what I was looking for. I found myself finally remembering who I am, what I like, and what it is I like to do. Here's just a few of those things I remembered and discovered. 
I like antiques. Not replicas, not shabby chic from Target, but actual, true, antiques. 
I love just about all dishware from the 60s and 70s. 
I love Delft pottery and Wedgewood China. 
I love cheeseburgers (and I ate my first one since moving to Arkansas). 
I love to write. 
I love colors. 
I love dresses and hats from the 40s. 
I love furniture that tells a story and doesn't come from a big box store. 
I love fresh flowers in every room. Even when I am completely broke, I still find a way to have fresh flowers by my bed. (Tonight they are beautiful white calla lillies in a beautiful antique milk white vase I bought for $3.)
Nothing makes me happier than a little girl with long curly hair in a sun-dress running through a flower garden. 
I love colorful words that paint a picture. Not all words have to make a point directly. Sometimes it is the picture that you remember better.
Also, last but not least, I love kittens. Which is how this little lady came home with me. Her name is Sweet Pea.

I came home inspired to finally make my apartment my home, and not just the rooms that hold all my earthy belongings. I put out a few of my new treasures (all purchased at the antiques shop), cleaned up my room, and got busy decorating from the inspiration and scenes I saw today. I'm going to bed and starting off this week contented, happy, inspired, and feeling more like the woman I want to be. 

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