Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I've Been Away

I apologize for being away. You see, my family and I were asked to leave the U.S. immediately and we left our home and all our belongings in less than 48 hours in order to comply with the law. Temporarily settled in Vermilion, I have begun full time work as a small-town reporter/photographer. What this means for my blog? My writing ability is tapped out most days - sorry. Here is a link to my recent column - "Pop Culture Shock"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Dr. Brene Brown has me thinking about vulnerability. In her TED talk, she shares her views on vulnerability being the key to being wholehearted.  As I experience my husband's recent job loss with a pending move out of state or country, I am processing a lot of fear and anxiety.  But (and this is a big but), I am gradually coming to a feeling of vulnerability which is normal, to be expected and, in fact, even welcome. 

Dr. Brown wisely says "you cannot selectively numb" and if you choose to turn off the fear, anxiety and negative emotion, you also shut down happiness, joy and creativity. 

What I see in the current turmoil and uncertainty in my own life is the absolute necessity of discomfort and agitation.  But, when I realize I am only feeling vulnerable (and rightly so), I calm right down.  I don't need to sit with the fear, but I do choose to remain open and vulnerable.  I choose that so I can live my life experiencing all parts of the emotional spectrum.  Because I experience uncertainty, I'm also available for the joy and bliss too.  Now, that feels better.

Monday, February 28, 2011


If you know, in the morning, what your day looks like with any precision, you are a little bit dead - the more precision, the more dead you are.   The Bed of Procrustes by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Friday, February 4, 2011

Death of the Protestant Work Ethic

I've been witness to a death I do believe....the idea that if you work hard and work well you'll be rewarded is fading away.  Of course, Craig's termination at Sanmina SCI is bold evidence that we live in a work world that is unfair.  I had, however, been noticing the baffling dissolution for some time.

I work with several entrepreneur-type folks who are full of ingenuity, creativity and commitment.  They work hard, they work consistently and they do their very best, which is very good indeed.  But their crazy-hard work is not bringing results.

Now, many a consultant and coach would merely say, something needs to change in how you are doing things.  Perhaps, but I don't believe that the entire struggle is due to something the individual is doing or not doing.

Part of the struggle comes from the down turn in the economy to be sure, but I think there is a guiding principle that many adhere to that is flawed in 2011.  Those darn  Protestants sold us a bill of goods! 

These days, it seems to me that working hard and being bright does not necessarily ensure that the world will reward you abundantly.  It is no longer enough to work from sun-up to sun-down.  People are doing that and it still doesn't pay the bills.

There are a couple of things that are true now and I believe they are the key to making it work .... it is about who you know and it is about working at something you love.

The explosion of social media is not by accident.  If we're progressive, we're starting to realize just how powerful "it's who ya know" is becoming.  Secondly, if we're wise, we're starting to realize that life is actually not about the bank account.  Life is actually about maximizing every single moment you breathe so you can feel peace, fulfillment and integrity.

Can it really be that simple?  Get Connected .... Get Happy .... Rewards will Come.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

To Be Sated

I allowed something as mundane as money, something as shameful as ambition, to change everything irrevocably and not in a good way - indeed, in the worst way.  But I was young and idealistic.  I was proud and wanted more, not understanding then that more is always less if you can't be sated.  Dr. Kay Scarpetta in Port Mortuary

Sunday, January 2, 2011


“We're in Corinth,” Dad reported. They had been on the road for five days and they were almost to the Alabama border. “Great, see you after you hit the Huddle House for supper,” I replied and hung up.

Wait a minute! A quick google maps search showed Corinth to be near Knoxville – huh? Why were they 204 miles north and east of us? That was going to be over a three hour drive – too late to make it all the way. I quickly reached for the phone and explained that Corinth was way too far away to make it. “No, we're in Corinth, Mississippi,” Dad explained patiently. Oh. That made more sense. They were 134 miles to the west and that drive was manageable.

I have to say that the tendency Americans have to duplicate the names of their cities and towns confuses me. My friend lives in Corinth, Texas to further mess me up. Just to set the record straight, I live in Huntsville-the-Rocket-City, Alabama; not Huntsville-we-kill-criminals,Texas.

More google research and I discovered that in Canada the maximum number of times that a city name repeats is three. There are eight cities/towns in Canada that show up three times – Borden, Princeton, Beaumont, Richmond, Stratford and Windsor to name a few. (If you trust

Mostly, the triplicates do not appear in provinces that are side-by-side. Victoria is in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Ontario. Trout Lake is an exception though with locations in Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. I guess having lots of Trout Lakes in one area makes sense – lots of lakes, lots of trout; ergo ...

But, as far as I can tell, Canada draws the line at triplicates. Eighty-seven places appear on the map twice. However, I would seriously consider reducing that number to eight-six since they include Lloydminster, Saskatchewan and Lloydminster, Alberta as two entries on their list.

When I began this venture, I assumed that the U.S. repeated place names much, much more than Canada. If you look at sheer numbers they most certainly do. Yahoo contributor Adele Koehnen on the website announces Clinton to be the American winner with 24 appearances! Next in line would be Springfield with 23.

However, I guess when you look at it per capita, both countries show similar tendencies toward unoriginality. Canada's 30 million people top out at three repeats while America's 308 million don't quite reach 30 times so, in this regard, they do not even re-name as often.

I still find it hard to understand. Do zip codes eliminate all confusion? Apparently not for me in my conversation with Dad since zip codes didn't enter into our conversation. How do people in Athens, Alabama differentiate themselves from those in Athens, Georgia only 267 miles apart?

I do have a theory about why the presence of 24 Clinton's doesn't wreak havoc across the country. The United States is just as its name suggests – a group of individual states that do not have strong ties across state lines. The federal level is of little importance or relevance for most people. Even more than that, each state is a group of individualized counties that do not rely upon neighboring counties in many ways. People within their counties are pretty much only concerned with their county as far as I can tell.

I've never met anyone yet that hasn't traveled outside their county, but I do get the impression that such a person may exist. I haven't figured out a way to research that matter without being condescending and insulting so that's just a hunch. I do believe the appearance of two Springfields in Pennsylvania and Virginia supports my theory. I once met a forty-year-old woman who grew up south of Huntsville who had never been to Atlanta until her thirties. (It's about a four hour drive).

Of course I'm making massive generalizations, but, from what I gather, there is little reason for residents of Clinton, Arkansas to trouble themselves with Clinton, Iowa and vice versa. I guess you in Alberta have no good reason to be focused on Edmunston, New Brunswick, either.

You'd think that extremely original place names would clear up any confusion, but I'm not sure that more city names along the lines of Wytopitlock (Maine) or St. Louis-du-Ha-Ha! (Quebec) would lessen my confusion in the least.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."