"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Dame Agatha Christie

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Contemplating Camelot

"Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief, shining moment, that was known as Camelot" (lyrics by Lerner and Loewe)

I have spent my life feeling a part of that American phenomenon known as "Camelot"...the generation who heard as children in grade school that we should, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country". As I entered my teens and began to look at my future and how I wanted to serve, I was told, "There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why...I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

I watched in horror as we lost first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and then Robert Kennedy. While losing my innocence in the way I viewed the world, I was still encouraged by the ideals that one person can, like a ripple from a pebble thrown in a pond, make a discernible difference.

As the decades passed, we saw our politicians fall from their pedestals with increasing rapidity. Even a U.S. President resigned. Camelot's children grew and we realized that the younger generation of Kennedys were just as fallible as we "ordinary" folks and that mental and physical problems did not discriminate.

I am not one who believes in "The Kennedy Curse" but I am convinced that the responsibility of a life dedicated to public service opens a person's life--in this media age--to immense amounts of pressure. Human mistakes are magnified. Society would rather publicize the negative and sensationalize those mistakes in judgement and forget the still, small, labor-intensive activities that day-by-day make an enormous impact on our future generations.

Younger Kennedys are still available and can keep the dreams of their dads and uncles alive. There is still hope for this great land. Caroline is an accomplished author. Maria serves as First Lady of California and still works in broadcast journalism, recently on a documentary for HBO on Alzheimer's. Patrick serves Rhode Island in the U.S. House. Kathleen served Virginia well as Lieutenant Governor. Timothy is the chairman of Special Olympics, the organization founded by his mother, the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Robert Jr. is active in environmental projects, especially regarding water pollution.

"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die."

Rest in peace, Senator Edward Moore Kennedy...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Khaki Kick

I'm on a khaki kick. I haven't posted lately because (believe it or not) I have actually been making cards!

World Cardmaking Day is coming up October 3 and three of us had originally decided to get together that day to make cards for the troops (we'd send them to Cards for Heroes to distribute). That plan fell thru because of work-related issues for our hostess, but in the meantime my brain must have thawed or something, because I have not only been in my studio, I have been producing cards (you may faint from surprise now LOL).

With troops in both the Middle East and Afghanistan, somehow khaki has become my current color of choice. Maybe it is because of desert and mountain locales; maybe it is because khaki is a fall color; maybe it is because I tend to think of khaki as masculine--whatever the reason, I'm on a khaki kick.

Want to join me?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fantastic Interview!


I know, I know--I never post twice in a day, but I just found this exclusive interview regarding the two Deathly Hallows movies coming in 2010 and 2011 and I just had to share!

(The posted photos from Half-Blood Prince are cool too LOL!) Guess it's time to go back for another showing this weekend...

Seniority Versus Complacency

Interesting discussion at work the past several days--should seniority on the job outrank productivity when bidding on shifts?

I've only had my present job just shy of four years (yikes--has it already been that long since Hurricane Katrina? I guess so--she devastated the Gulf Coast August 29, 2005). There are many people who have come and gone in that length of time; telephone customer service is not often a "job of choice" and subjecting yourself to possible daily verbal abuse is not for everyone.

When I was first hired, we had no shift bids and "prime" shifts were earned pretty much by seniority; if someone left, the next person in line received that shift if desired. That policy changed this year and we have just experienced our second bid process.

I try to ensure high productivity--since I am privileged to be able to work from home, I feel a distinct obligation to maintain my numbers; luckily, I am self-motivated enough to maintain that amount of discipline (at least where my employment is concerned; we all know my crafting life and my housework suffer often--see prior posts LOL).

My paycheck is not my only work-related blessing; I have no need for "office-quality" clothing nor do I spend hours commuting on public transportation (or worse horrors yet--money spent to buy/maintain an automobile). If high productivity ensures these blessings continue, I will do my best to maintain that productivity.

So, even though there are people in my department who have been there longer, I was blessed last bid to receive one of the two most-desired shifts. Although I lost a shift differential then, I gained all my evenings to run errands, go to the library for research, have dinner with friends--in short, have a great life after work.

Once I saw how enjoyable and productive my evenings could be, I vowed to maintain this shift. As of today's announcement, I have succeeded until the next bid. (A short pause here while I reach around and pat myself on the back LOL).

My senior colleagues have not been so lucky and I have heard through the grapevine that some in the office feel that we should honor seniority over productivity.

Past jobs (including one for local government) taught me that as a person "ages" in their job, they become complacent and lackadaisical in their work habits. Once past probation (and certainly once tenured), many employees in many companies believe they are secure in their positions simply because they've been there so long.

If this economic climate (coupled with my Katrina experience) has taught me anything, it has taught me that sitting on my laurels will give me nothing but a sore a**. Thankfully, I can learn from the experiences of others--while I appreciate my seniority as it shows stability in the job, I will count on my productivity to help me advance.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Paws Galore Shopping Bags

Paws Galore Shopping Bags - Set of 3 at The Animal Rescue Site

Aren't these the cutest bags? I believe in animal rescue and click this site as often as I can remember to do so (the other sites that are linked on this page are also worthwhile causes). Today, as I clicked to provide food, I found this ad and just had to share.

I love reusable bags, especially the kind that fold up until needed. I'm often teased by friends and cashiers alike because I carry quite an assortment whenever I shop. (My favorite tote ever is a Barnes & Noble tote with a quote by Erasmus, "When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes".)

These are logo-less and a great size for picking up odds and ends on errand day. The colors are awesome, and 100% polyester means washable (even if not totally eco-friendly LOL).

Skip on over and take a look; the holidays are gonna be here faster that I want them to be, and my personal soapbox pledge is to make my few dollars spread as "pawsitively" as "pawsible"--if gifting to others will also help a wonderful cause, so much the better. Animal shelters and neglected animals appreciate the support.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Great Green Products!

Ya'll know I'm a 3R's kinda gal (and yes, this post has a Texas twang to it; I don't feel "proper" today LOL!)

Anyway, I ran errands yesterday and realized that I am truly starting to put my money where my mouth is...recycled products are getting easier to find all the time and the price points are getting better.

School will be starting soon and I use this time of year to satisfy my cravings for office and crafting supplies on the cheap (is there anything more heavenly than the smell of a brand-new box of Crayola crayons?? Preferably the biggest box available LOL)

For the past couple of months, I have been buying Marcal toilet paper by the case from Staples (although it is available other places, I have it delivered along with other things as case lots of anything are hard to transport when you ride the bus). When I tell folks it is recycled, they really give me a strange look--I guess I should say it is made from 100% recycled paper. It is also safe for septic tanks and is processed without chlorine bleaching. (For people who use paper towels, I believe they also provide that product as well.)

I also needed aluminum foil and can no longer find the individual foil sheets by Reynolds that I have used for years ( I use foil very sparingly and one box would last me almost a full 365 days). When scrutinizing the paper products aisle at Walmart, I found the new recycled foil by Reynolds, made from 100% recycled aluminum. The box is 100% recycled paperboard, printed in soy inks and 50 feet cost me .48 more than the generic. (I should inject here that I usually will NOT buy generic foil--it is often so thin and tears so easily that for my purposes, one layer of "good" foil is cheaper in the long run than two layers of generic--YMMV).

Then I hit the school supplies. Many companies are jumping on the "green" bandwagon (finally--we who had parents/grandparents who lived through the Great Depression grew up with "use it until it wears out" and Girl Scouts were always environmentally conscious--but I digress...). Avery has a series of recycled chipboard 3-ring binders that are not only really nice but as they are chipboard, they are very easy to personalize. I found these at Walmart in a great muted red and a muted green. Staples had satisfied my binder needs earlier however, again with an Avery product--these are even cooler! Available in black, blue and green, they are not only recycled chipboard, but they are made in such a way that you can unscrew the metal rivets and recycle the ring assembly with your metals and the chipboard with your paper products! How awesome is that!!! And again, they are totally easy to personalize...I used sticker letters on the spine to categorize my novel notes--one binder for locales, one for battles, one for the Confederacy, etc. (Oops--digressing again LOL)

I guess I need to emphasize that I do NOT get any financial compensation for anything I endorse (or any links I post for products/companies; well, if you order through my Stampin' Up! website, I do receive compensation as a demonstrator, but that is not the focus of these other posts)...these are just products that excite me and I like to share my excitement...