Friday, May 30, 2008

Catalog Choice

I started this trying out this new website online called Catalog Choice. You can go there to opt out of catalogs that are being sent to your house or workplace. Since I just started, I have no idea how well it works but it's certainly worth trying.

I'm trying it because I'm appalled at how many catalogs come into my work. Yes, one of my extremely important job duties is to pick up and sort the mail. Watch out! Anyway, there are tons of people who no longer work here who receive magazines and catalogs. So I started looking online to see if there was a way to get rid of them.

It's free to join Catalog Choice and once you're set up you just log on, type in the catalog and opt out. You can give the customer number on catalog to help the company find you for sure. And if they don't have the catalog registered, you can suggest the one you're getting and they'll work on getting it squared away in the future.

As I said, it's only been a few weeks so it will take awhile before I see a difference but it is nice to try out this easy technique to cut down on wasted trees and postage.

Now, the magazines that come into my work are an entirely different story. Many of them are marketing magazines and sometimes I wonder if I missed my calling. I find them fascinating. Especially with the internet changing the entire industry at such an alarming rate! I just read today about this guy, Jake Nickell who started a company called Treadless. It's so interesting.

But I realize that this is getting really long so I'll save Jake and Threadless for next week I guess. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Going Up In Smoke

I tried to smudge my house this weekend. Sure I decided there was no way that it would ever be clean so I just made it more messy with smudges. No, not really. I used a sage stick and smudged my house to clear out the energy.

It's a pretty interesting idea. Burning the sage creates negative ions. Your aura, and the auras of others, create positive ions which get left all over you, your house and your stuff. By burning the sage, the negative ions and positive ions cancel out thereby cleaning out the energy.

I had been meaning to do this for a long time and my big plan was always to clean the house from top to bottom, clear out clutter and really renovate the space. Then burn sage to kind of start fresh. Well. I'm never going to clean my house from top to bottom at once. I'm pretty resigned to living with clutter as I live with one husband and three dogs in a small one bedroom apartment. So, I figured that I might as well do the sage burn and maybe that would clear the energy enough to inspire me to do the other stuff. Hey, see how that could work?

So we bought the sage from a metaphysical bookstore on Melrose and let it sit on the kitchen table for 3 weeks. It probably wasn't even good anymore after soaking in the negative clutter energy in the house. Still, this weekend we went around the whole house and smudged it. It was a really good thing for us to do, too. I don't realize how many of the things in our house are used. We have furniture and knickknacks from relatives who have passed. We have prints that I picked up at yard sales, a chair from a friend. I'm a firm believer in reusing items instead of tossing them in a landfill. And I do make trips to Goodwill with items we no longer use for them to find a more useful home. But the things that we own used to be owned by someone else it they carry their energy. Hopefully by smudging them, we'll clear them and let them start fresh.

We'll see how long it lasts but I do have to say that I feel lighter in the house. I felt it from the moment I started. But I get the feeling that, since it's only the first time we've done it, we'll need to do it many more times before it 'sticks.'

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Ringer

This weekend we watched the movie 'The Ringer.' Yes it does seem that the movie is in pretty poor taste. In fact, we watched it along with a string of other senseless, silly comedies to get a dose of stupid humor. But, I need to say, it was better than I expected.

The premise is, this really nice guy ends up needing a lot of money and his slimy uncle convinces him to enter the Special Olympics as a ringer for them to bet on. Right there you're thinking, that's the most horrible thing I've ever heard of. The movie apparently got a lot of help from the Special Olympics, though. They participated along the way and gave their support. The story ended up giving me a small glimpse of the training that these athletes go through and it made me appreciate their efforts all the more.

I think what was the coolest part was tucked away in a special feature. The a man from the Special Olympics said he was talking it over with some of the athletes, what they thought about this movie being made and Johnny Knocksville being cast as the lead. They thought that was fantastic. They said that the kinds of kids that go to see his movies are the kinds of kids that pick on them the most. If they see him treating them with respect, then maybe he'll change those bully's minds too.

I live a very fortunate life. I haven't seen much of the worst of people. I don't experience racism or sexism first hand. I wasn't around a lot of bullies either growing up. I haven't seen how mean kids or just people in general could be. So I didn't realize how helpful this movie really could be. And it certainly inspired me to want to participate as a mentor in the Special Olympics program. A friend of mind does and she loves it! It was certainly an inspiring movie after all!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

And then...

Two important things to note.

One. It's thundering! It's thundering! It doesn't thunder in Los Angeles! It makes me feel like it's late August in New Mexico and soon there will be a beautiful downpour. I'm so excited because I almost believe it will happen. I can almost smell the rain from my desk.

Two. You never want to hear this out loud when you're the only one in the room. "You're talking to yourself. Stop talking to yourself." :p Ha!

Too Much Information

I've been doing some research online for some medical stuff. Nothing too serious, no one I know has a life threatening illness - at least they didn't before I started reading. Good Lord! It is very cool that you can get access to all kinds of information to various medical problems. Power to the people! I've heard a lot of talk lately too about how this will be the next revolution in the US. That as people get more and more access to medical information, they want more. They want more options, they become more informed, the demand different care. And, eventually, insurance companies or the government will have to bend to this will. I'm sure it'll take awhile, but the baby boomers might change the world still. They may change the insurance world as we know it, as the grow older, more infirmed and yet more tech savvy. I hope so.

Anyway, in looking up information about a possible allergic reaction, I end up finding all kinds of scary diseases. And then I follow that link and the next and the next and pretty soon myself, and everyone you know, is on their death bed. I'm going to lock myself in a bubble now. It was nice knowing you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Odds & Ends

I am so out of practice. I don't even know what to write. So I'll babble for a minute and hopefully I'll get back into it.

I failed to mention one of the weirdest things my dog does. Watson that is. Sometimes he'll save some of his food to eat later. That's not that strange. If he's not hungry he shouldn't eat. But what's funny is that he leaves half of his food for later. Exactly half in the bowl. Like a half moon amount, with a straight line in the middle with food on one side and no food on the other. That is weird.

Someone asked me how the song went this week that I wrote about the other day. I didn't end up singing it this week. Ha! I ended up singing another song in a different section of the service instead. (Our choir director mixes it up all the time with us.) So, hubris fall averted for one more week.

My friend at posted an interesting article called God Revealed in 500 Strangers by Sara Miles. I liked it a lot. She talks about how she's been feeding everyone, including people she might not rather associate with, through her food pantry at church. She says that it's how she emulates Jesus' life by inviting everyone to his table. It's a really cool story. I would have a really hard time doing that. Yes, yes, I know. If it were easy, then everyone would do it. He asks you to do hard things, right, right. I'm just saying. She said she served thieves, child abusers & gangsters, among others. I'm so judgmental. It would run through my head that maybe those people don't deserve it. Which, I understand, is the point. God doesn't believe anyone is undeserving. And he forgives me with all of my faults so I should forgive them. But it would be really, really hard. Which makes her all the more awesome.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Conspiracy Week Revived

It is not a coincidence. This week the Vatican says it's okay to believe in Aliens. Thank goodness because otherwise I was in a whole lotta trouble. Basically they're saying why couldn't God create life on other planets, he is God, right? Cool. I'm down with that. But that was only the first 'revelation' this week.

Now the British Government has said that they will release all of it's UFO related documents from 1978-2002. This includes mostly sightings that have been recorded.

Two hits on aliens in one week. What does it all mean? It think it's just part of the plan to prepare us for the eventual alien visitation on 2012. You think our governments don't already know for sure that all of this stuff is real? They know. And they know that there is nothing they can do to stop it. So by leaking it little by little, we won't be completely shocked when they knock on our door.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dogs Rock

Dogs rock. My dogs rock. I have neglected to pour out my heart about how much I love my dogs and dogs in general. Today at lunch, I watch a family play with their dog at the park. They ran around and he chased them and ran back and forth. He ran up to their small children but never knocked them over. He was very gentle with them. And he was so so happy. So it made me happy just to watch him.

That's how my dogs make me feel too. Lemon, Esmeralda (Ezzy) and Watson. They make me laugh by being silly, the make me smile to watch them play and they snuggle up with me when I'm tired, sick or sad. They're awesome.

Here are some things they do that make me smile. Watson, being the only puppy, has many more antics mostly because he just has more energy than the others.

Watson loves the flea control commercial where the dog sings 'There ain't no ticks on me.' He'll run in from the other room, even stop himself from eating, to come in and watch it. He likes watching the dogs in the commercial.

Ezzy snorts at us to show her displeasure. If we kick her off the bed or couch, she'll get off but then snort really loud to let us know she's not happy about it.

Watson will bark at the microwave when he's out of water. It took us a little while to figure it out but the microwave is near the sink. He's just sitting there barking up at the counters since he knows that water comes from somewhere around there.

Lemon sighs loud, depressed sighs just to get our attention.

Watson will let you know it's time for him to go to bed. He goes to the front door, pulls at his leash and waits for us. We always run them outside one last time before bed so he starts this ritual himself when he's tired. He'll also paw at his crate to get in when he wants a nap.

Lemon steals the other dog's food when we're not watching but you just say her name and she stops and walks away, even if you're in the other room.

Ezzy is a grumpy old girl who doesn't like getting wet. If it's raining or snowing out, she'll stop eating her food so that she doesn't have to go out as often.

Watson barks at himself in the mirror and in black car reflections.

Ezzy and Lemon love to dress up. If you start to dress up one, the other comes over without being called and waits to be dressed up too.

And all of our dogs snore really loud - since they are pugs!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thank You, Thank you Very Much

Yes. I've been slacking a lot on my blog. It makes me feel awful. I'm sorry. If only the man weren't trying to keep me down by giving me actual work at my job! What do they expect from me? I might have to quit if this keeps up. I'm only half kidding.

I've had trouble deciding what to write. Here's something I've wanted to talk about for a week now but don't have that much to say, just:

Ironman rocks! Go see it ten times!

Phew. Got that out of me finally.

So this weekend I got a compliment and I don't think I handled it well. I rarely do.

I often sing this one part at mass and most of the time it goes okay. I hedge that partially because I've blown the words before (Yes, I have messed up this part before. I've sung it tons of times but if I don't have the words right in front of me a lose my place.) and partially because I'm superstitious. (Ha! There's a funny tangent. Of course I'm superstitious because I believe in God. I mean really, isn't belief in God technically superstition. There is no physical proof, only faith, and God is supernatural...anyway, not my point.)

But I think I'm asked to sing it because I do a fairly good job of it. And someone complimented me on how I did recently. They were touched and cried when they heard it and teared up as they told me again. And I, babbled on like an idiot. I did start out with a 'Thank you.' I at least got that part right. But I can't just leave it at that. I want to acknowledge that how they are being effected by the performance. I want to convey that I'm grateful that they not only were so effected but that they're willing to share that with me. And I somehow want to explain to them that it's not me anyway while not negating everything that they're telling me.

I launch into a fumbling explanation of how, gosh, I start to fumble again even trying to write it here. It's not me! It's not me. I've messed up so many times in mass and I would get so upset about it. I felt I was ruining people's experience because I sang the wrong words or came in at the wrong time. I've been praying and praying to give myself over and let God take care of it and trust that he and the Holy Spirit will put the right words in my mouth and the right notes for the right length at the right time. I pray that I will be able to convey the meaning of the words I'm singing. That somehow the way I sing them will make the words even more alive and help them to reach people and resonate with them and deepen their relationship with God. I pray that I can let my mind get out of the way and not be nervous and just BE these words. Just be them completely and let those words live on their own without me.

And now that I think I've gotten a little better at standing back and letting that happen, it starts to go better, the performance of the songs go better. I'm becoming comfortable enough that I'm in the moment before and as it happens. It's a weird space that I'm rarely in, this weird time shift where everything slows down and I'm in it and aware of everything. And right in that moment I've run to the edge of huge mountain and almost run right over. A part of my pride starts to sneak up. I start to think, in the moment, 'this is going alright. This is okay.' And then I have to spin my arms in forward circles to balance myself and keep from falling over the edge. And I start to pray really fast in that moment that I stay in the words. I pray fast little apologies to God for feeling myself over the words and hope, hope, hope that my hubris won't cause me to mess up. That I won't be punished for losing him in me. (as I have done before, pride before the fall often in the cases where I mess up)

So the only reason that I can say that I performed it well at all is because I'm somehow not doing it, not in control of it. Because somewhere I'm giving up. So how do I tell all of this to someone. How do I explain it's not me when they are complimenting me. I'd be a jerk to say, yeah, thanks but I don't deserve it -it's almost like telling them that what they said didn't matter. And to go into this rambling explanation every time would be weird too. So I babbled for awhile and I'm sure I didn't make any sense but hopefully I said thank you enough times.

I'm so going to blow it next week. For putting all of this on paper. I'm so going to blow it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

In Favor of Mothers

I'm tired and I feel lousy. I have work to do. Real work. Forget that. I gave up yesterday to the man and most of today. I've got a blog to write gosh darn it.

Mother's Day is coming up. Do you know the house had a vote yesterday in favor of mother's day? They voted "Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mothers Day." Ridiculous. Not that mother's day in itself is ridiculous, voting on it is. Someone proposed it as a roll call vote in order to waste time and possibly miss voting on a bill to fund the war. Of course, no one voted against it. Who wants that on their record the next election - "And he hates mother's day! Hates mothers I tell you!" Tax dollars at work I tell ya.

I could make me angry but instead it makes me laugh. We have a very convoluted system of government, strange laws, that whole filibuster with phone book is silly too. But, I am a person of rules. And if the rules say you can do that, then you can do that. If the rules say you can waste time to avoid getting to something you don't want to do, then you're allowed to. (I watched tv last night to avoid dishes, nobody voted me out of my house.) If it's a valid way, within the rules, to speak your mind is by avoiding a vote, thereby saying you don't agree with a bill, then fine. If I don't like it, I can work to get a new rule in there that changes it. That's how it works. If you really care that much about it, then get them to change the rules.

On a related note, that cell phone commercial where the firefighters are voting for stuff using their cell phone that instantly talks to each other really bugs me. The guy makes the comment that this is easy (right easy to use the phone, easy to get things done, right, right.) Yeah, passing laws is easy when everyone in the room agrees with each other. Who would need government at all if we all agreed with each other? Our government provides us procedures to work out the best way to care and provide for our citizens while taking into account varying ideas of what best means. Why does this commercial vex me so? It's just a commercial. Maybe I should do more dishes and less watching of tv.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I have a hard time knowing when to quit. When I'm in an email thread with someone, it's difficult for me not to have the last word. It's not because I feel bossy, it's because I think I'm still supposed to say something. I just can't tell when the conversation is over. It's like I can't tell if they've hung up. I'm so worried that I'm supposed still say something else, even though it looks like we're done talking. I just can't figure it out.

I had a similar problem when I prayed. I wasn't sure that I was done. Here's how I solved it, the sign of the cross. Basically, that is me dialing a telephone. And after all of my prayers are done, I make the sign of the cross again, thereby hanging up the phone. I mean, really, does God want to listen to me go over tomorrow's to do list in my head? Because that's one of the many boring things that might run through my mind later after praying. I have some funny belief that by 'hanging up the phone' now he can't hear me. So if I think some mean thought about someone he didn't hear that either. Right.

And yet I'm constantly praying for green lights when I'm late to work without making a sign of the cross first. Is that an IM to God then?

Monday, May 5, 2008

God Took Out My Internet

I promise it's true. I've been without internet today at work for the last six hours. It forced me to look over my stack of lyrics that I've been neglecting lately. I worked on one for awhile and felt stuck so I moved through the stack and settled on one I've been working on for probably the last 5 months, maybe more I guess. I think I underestimate generally.

Anyway, it's call "Walk" and I've been struggling with it a lot. It's one of about 3 songs I've started lately that are meant to be worships songs, to maybe sing in church. I have two songs on "Without Your Breath" that have a Christian vibe to them, "Thy Will Be Done" being pretty obvious and "Without Your Breath" being a little less obvious. It was a struggle for me to even add those to the CD since I've had a difficult time embracing my spiritual side in my music. I sing every week in the choir and love it! But I felt that my rockstar music needed to be secular to be more accessible. As I said in my very first blog, it's hard for me to be honest. I was afraid that if I showed people my religious side, they wouldn't like me as an artist; that maybe I'd seem pushy. So it's been a long, slow road for me to show that side of me. I've made a commitment to. But it's still hard for me.

"Walk" was really important to me, since I was making a decision to intentionally write something for God. So I didn't want to mess it up. I'm still not sure I'm getting it right, which is very important to me. Who wants to mess up a gift they're giving to God, right? So I've struggled and struggled with it.

Today, with the internet out, I worked on it again and it came together. Is it amazing? I wouldn't say that. But I broke into the verse melody finally and cracked translating the Bible verses I wanted into real lines I could sing. It's got work to go but now it's been opened up. It's really close to done now.

I swear to you, God took down my work's internet, messed with everyone's work today, just so that I could get this song. Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bank of America is Sneaky!

UPDATED: May 6, 2008 Updated material at the bottom.

Breathe in, breathe out. I was so mad this morning but I have calmed down considerably. I went to pay my credit card bill before heading off to work. Bank of America SUCKS! I was paying my bill 6 days early. Online. Apparently they decided to change my due date. After a year or more of the same due date, they changed it. Oh yes, there it was in teeny tiny print on my recent statement, Your due date has changed. So now instead of being 6 days early, I'm two days late. And charged a late fee too, of course. I did a little looking around online and apparently other people are being hit with this too. Apparently, since I was close to paying off the balance, which I was doing with this payment, Bank of America worried that they would no longer make any money off of me, so they moved the date, knowing that I would assume the date was the same, and then be able to charge me a late fee. Oh and raise my interest rate. I'm so very, very angry. So very, very angry. Whatever, they're a big mean company that wants to screw you for every dollar they can, but then it makes me look bad, my credit rating look bad, for me to have a late payment. I'm so so so angry. I was crying this morning because I was so furious! I was stuck leaving for work without having a chance to call them so now I'll have to get all worked up about it to them again in a couple of hours. I am so so so angry. How can that not be illegal? It's not, I looked around. It's just mean. I hate them.

UPDATE: May 6, 2008
Okay. I was very angry but things are fine now. I have to be sure to let you know that, while it was sneaky to move up my date, Bank of America was very helpful in rectifying the situation. I called them and was very calm from the start, something I've read in numerous negotiating articles. I stated the problem and how I'd like it fixed. He did it. No argument or anything. He refunded the late fee and said that the interest rate had not been affected. I paid the balance at that point too and he waived the fee for that. Yes, apparently now there's a fee if you pay them over the phone, it's to encourage people to use the website. I wanted to pay right then while I was on the phone because I was never trying to get out of paying, I just didn't know the date had been changed. That's all. It will stay at that earlier date but now that I know, it's not a problem. So, all appears to be well. I will concede that they were quick to help me. I will also warn you to check your statement every month to make sure your date hasn't moved up.