Saturday, June 28, 2008

I Love to Singa

My most favoritist cartoon ever:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lucky(?) Number Seven

Last weekend marked seven years of dance for my daughters. They each performed in seven numbers. Seven dance numbers = seven costume changes and seven hair style changes. I look forward to the day they have mastered the ballet bun. We will celebrate with wine and roses perhaps... or at least Mom will!

We were at the recital hall for seven hours of dress rehearsals on Friday and seven hours of recitals on Saturday. The work that the dance moms put in on those days is usually lost on the girls. They don't always understand how much preparation, patience, and humor their mothers muster in order to assure that the dancers LIVE long enough to get on stage. More than one mother had to take a deep breath and walk out of the dressing room to avoid losing it with a prima dona daughter. What is it they say? Something about "payin' for your raisin'..."

I danced with the Little One to Momma Mia in the Mother/Daughter number. We had fun. And I was singled out as the one to watch for cues by the moms who were struggling with the steps. Cool!

Mikel and the Not-So-Little-One danced to a Hello, Dolly! medley. He looked handsome in his tails, she looked beautiful in her red velvet gown. He carried a cane and she a parasol. Very elegant. I don't believe I saw one mistake by either of them.

This summer the girls are taking technique and attending a Gregg Russell workshop. They are enrolled in six classes each for the fall. And, thanks to a friend's daughter, they now have it in their heads that they need to take horseback riding lessons. I wonder how they are going to pay for it all! ha, ha

Looks like a real vacation is out this summer. Between business trips, dance classes, church camp, and workshops there just isn't much time left. Too bad we don't have a holodeck like in Star Trek, The Next Generation.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sad News

Tim Russert
May 7, 1950 to June 13, 2008
I learned this morning that NBC News' Washington Bureau Chief and moderator of Meet the Press died yesterday. I know practically nothing about politics. What little I do know can be attributed to Russert's appearances on the Today Show and my occasional viewings of Meet the Press.
Working and advocating for the underprivileged has taught me that value of paying attention to the political process. The irony in that is that most folks who work in the trenches with the poor and vulnerable have little interest in what the cronies on the hill are up to. Russert had a way of keeping it plain, and I was actually able to understand him. And if guests on his show resorted to circular rhetoric to avoid answering the tough questions, he held them to task.
He loved his father, even wrote a book about him. He loves his family. He loves his country. To know this much about love, to have to this much love to give, he surely felt loved himself.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I've had the privilege of working under a series of terrific bosses over the past 8 years. It seems funny to me that I've outlasted them all. Maybe I'm wearing them out! Nah, the first three were younger than I and restless in that way young professionals are sometimes.

My most recent boss was more "mature" than I. She was the most professional person I have ever worked with. I say "worked with" because even though she was my supervisor, she had a knack for making you feel as if you were an integral part of the decision-making process. She not only asked for input - she also incorporated it into the work plan.

And she cared about us. When one of my peers (another of her subordinates) was visiting family in her home country on the African continent, we received word that civil unrest had erupted nearby. My boss was on the phone immediately trying to reach her, needing to know that she was safe. She defended us fiercely, and we returned the favor.

Impossible as it is to believe, even in social service agencies ethics can collide with policies and procedures. Most of us at this agency, regardless of our licensing, operate under a code of ethics. And most of these codes cite first and foremost that we are to "do no harm." We take this very seriously. It matters. It dictates our behaviors, resonates in our hearts. There is no acceptable outcome for violating this edict.

Such a conflict arose last week. I am not at liberty to publicly discuss the particulars, and I respect my agency too much to bash it. My boss was asked to do something that could potentially lead to harm. She was torn, and she tried desperately to reconcile the conflict. She failed. She is gone.

I told her that I was deeply saddened to see her leave. And I also told her that I have never been prouder to be associated with anyone. For the time being I await a new supervisor. I figure my run of good luck is probably played out. But I've got my rabbit's foot nearby just in case.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Trouble with Tribbles

It was bound to happen eventually. I put it off as long as possible. I tried everything - dragging my feet, dressing her up in lace and ruffles, baby-talk, Radio Disney, putting my fingers in my ears and chanting, "la, la, la, la...." Too bad for me. The Not-So-Little-One has begun puberty.

She will kill me for sharing this, but a parent's job is to embarrass their children, and I happen to be a master at embarrassment. She will kill me for telling you that she now has hair (about 2 or 3) under her arms. She will kill me for announcing that she is officially not a little girl anymore. I think I can take her, though.

When I was junior high we had to dress out for PE. It was the 70s, and we wore these awful one-piece sleeveless uniforms that looked a lot like over sized onesies. My parents were very old-fashioned and in complete denial of my maturing body. I was not allowed to shave. I made a C in volleyball that year because I was too embarrassed to raise my arms, revealing the tribbles that resided there.

I vowed that I would never be that unreasonable. So when I noticed the peach fuzz under her arms, I promptly went out and purchased the Not-So-Little-One a razor of her very own. It sat on the counter for several days. I showed her how to hold it, emphasized the importance of water and shaving cream, demonstrated the correct stroking technique. She ignored the razor.

Until this morning when she called me from home to ask if she could shave. A report should be coming any minute.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Losing It

Emotions - we have a ton of them. We have more emotions than we can even identify. We can call some of them by name, like anger and sadness and frustration and happiness. And a lot of times, when we run across one that is a little unfamiliar, we bend it to fit one of the names we know. Have you ever done that? Have you ever lashed out in a fit of anger when what you were really feeling was fear? I know I have.

Anger is the emotion we kiss on the mouth most often, yet it is the one we struggle to express appropriately. What we want to do, on a visceral level, is scream and throw things and break things and curse out loud. And when we are little kids, we get as close to this as we are capable. Until, that is, someone smarter (insert "older") tells us that this is not the right way to express anger. To me that translates to "just don't get angry."

Says who?! Okay, calling people names might not be advisable. Broken stuff might need to be replaced. Screaming might wake up your little brother. But I suspect the real reason we are taught to turn our back on anger is that the folks around us feel really uncomfortable and don't know how to react to us when we lose it. Anger offends the tender sensibilities of the genteel.

Even the experts can't agree on the costs vs the benefits of getting mad. Read several articles and half of them will tell you that stuffing anger will lead to emotional and physical distress. The other half will say that blowing your top could lead to, you got it, emotional and physical distress.

I've tried it both ways. I've kept things bottled up, and I've flipped the lid. Neither makes me feel much better. But... there is something awfully satisfying about letting loose a long string of words that would make your grandmother blush. I'm just sayin'.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Need for Speed

Speedy update as I watch the clock for quitting time...

Went to see the new Indiana Jones movie last weekend. I love me some Indy, baby! He's still pretty dang hot, but I have to admit that he is slowing down a bit. His delivery of the famous one-liners was a bit stilted. And.... that darned Karen Allen showed back up in this one and stole him out from under me. He was supposed to be saving himself for me! Curses....


It's hot outside. Been spending way too much time perspiring lately. Water parks, pools, baseball games, directing choirs in long robes. Thank goodness the a/c has been fixed. And it works GOOD!


The mom of my daughter's friend was telling me this morning that her doctor wants her to lose 20 lbs. She was lamenting that she has been to the gym nearly every day and hasn't lost a single pound. As I watched her walk away, I realized that she is MUCH smaller than I. I wear a size 8 (can't believe I am actually making that admission) - she must wear a size 4. If she loses 20 lbs, she will be wearing a size 0. I must find out who her doctor is so that I can be sure to steer clear of him/her. Unbelievable. Excuse me while I go run 10 miles...


Got to ride go karts last night. I love go karts! As a matter of fact, I love anything that goes fast. Motorcycles, jet skis, boats, roller coasters, you name it. Mikel tells me that I have basically two speeds myself - "fast" and "asleep." Might be the reason I get so many speeding tickets.....


Gotta jet. More later.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Leading Ladies

Recently I wrote a tribute to some special men. Today I will try to do justice to a few women who have had more than a little influence over who I am.

My mother met my father while he was stationed in Japan. She was already in the work force at a young age, having skipped a few grades due to her academic prowess. I do not know if it was love at first sight or even a great romance. I know that she wanted very much to come to the United States, however. She attained citizenship at her earliest opportunity.

She endured a cruel mother-in-law, hateful neighbors, and a controlling husband. I won't say that she never allowed her hurt to show, but I will say that she never gave up. And despite the hostility she met in the communities around her, she never stopped loving this country.

She, above all others, taught me to love Texas and to be proud of my rich heritage. She wasn't allowed to work outside the home, although she had tremendous talent and intellect. So she concentrated her skills on running a tight household. She could stretch my father's enlisted military paycheck every direction. She made unbelievable sacrifices - while she was hospitalized in Germany, and my father was drinking away every cent of his pay, she would hide the nonperishable parts of her meal and send them home to us so that we would have something to eat.

She taught me to think for myself and to find ways to be victorious in a male-dominated world. I took the lessons to heart.


My senior advanced English teacher, Debra Seigman, was one of those gifted educators that taught her students much more than the curriculum required. While we learning about Chaucer and Goethe, we were also learning to treat others with dignity and equality. We were learning not to judge others and not to accept everything we heard as gospel.

Mrs Seigman would tell stories of her childhood in Pennsylvania, one of several children born to physicians. We were teenagers, so of course we would yawn and roll our eyes and mouth to one another, "What has this got to do with Shakespeare?" And without knowing it, we were learning values.

Although I never made the outside world privy to the pain of my family life, I always suspected that Mrs Seigman intuitively knew I was drowning. She reached out to me in that sly way that wise women do. She made a few small concessions when I did poorly on an exam, having been up late the night before licking my wounds after a beating when I could have been studying.

The kindness did not end after graduation. She sent a wedding gift the summer I married my first husband. She sent adorable little crosses that she purchased on her travels overseas when my daughters were born. I receive a Christmas card rich with news of her family and her adventures every year.

I will tell her soon what she meant/means to me. I will not let that opportunity slip through my fingers.


After graduate school ended, I landed in the capable arms of Linda Eatenson, a counseling supervisor of immeasurable experience and wisdom. Once a week I would drop into the comfy chair in her office to discuss my clients. I always knew immediately by the look on her face when I had screwed up with a client, yet I never felt beat up. I absorbed every word like a sponge. She helped me recognize my own gifts and showed me how to use them to help my clients.

She always saved a few minutes at the end of supervision to ask about me. I welcomed the chance to vent. You see, Linda and I were peers before she became my counseling supervisor. Our offices were across the hall from each other, and we were both program coordinators. We sat together in meetings and cracked jokes. We talked about the environment and politics and religion. We didn't always agree, but we always respected. So it was natural for us to blur the lines a bit when we were together.

Linda has moved on from the agency in response to vast changes in policy and philosophy. She walked straight into another job that has been pursuing her for some time. She will flourish, of this I am sure. I will be okay, too, but there is a hole. We promised to stay in touch, but you know how that goes when folks have busy lives.


Teaching, nurturing, testing, persevering. Leading. Loving only as women can.