Saturday, February 28, 2009

Living with Technology

Twice this week I have fallen asleep with my laptop on my chest (it happens when you “read” in bed). That’s okay, but it's not so great for those stellar thoughts you were writing that disappeared once your laptop went into "hibernation" mode and you didn’t save it!

Then I posted an interview on Momlogic this week with Sherry Taylor Cummins author of Pink Ribbon Devotions to Go—it’s part of the Ning Social Network. Somehow in cyberspace they confused my “login” with someone else, so now I can’t log back in to answer questions about the interview. I’m locked out of my own “network.”

That came on the day after I waited in line for a passport (another post entirely). It seems I let my passport expire and I need it quickly. But the Passport Office has a set of rules based on “need.” You have to fall into a specific time frame for “hurry up; I need this now.” That means either you need to leave the country in 24-72 hours or you need to leave in exactly two weeks. If you don’t fall into those two “need” categories then you really don’t have a problem. But what if you need to leave in three weeks?

Talking to the folks in the Passport Office is like talking a foreign language. I asked, “What if you don’t get my ‘stuff’ and process it before I need to leave in three weeks?” Her response, “Well, you’ll need to get your pictures taken again!”

I laid my head down on my desk and thought, Lady, we have a failure to communicate.

This week made me realize how dependent we are on technology: computers, social networks, e-mail, Inbox and Outbox. Oh, did I mention: I also destroyed the settings in my Outlook, so my Inbox looks “empty” except I have 1,250 e-mails in it. Now I have to delete everything first in order to separate my e-mail.

I will be traveling for the next two months and my dear friend recently asked me, “Are you bringing your laptop with you?”

Not if I can help it! I think I need a break from technology and wait for my "settings" to be restored and for my identity to be recognized so I can become a "real" person again!

Until next time…

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Color Red

This is the month of sweetheart roses and valentines, but it’s also the month of red.

There are red dresses to symbolize American Heart Health (Go Red for Women!); there are the red heart stamps that I just found this morning stuck in an envelope (I knew I would find them!) before USPS increased postage again in May, and just this morning, I peeked outside to find a red cardinal on my neighbor’s flower ornament. I checked twice to make sure it was real.

Yep, it was real!

I dashed upstairs, got my camera, and gingerly opened the sliding door to the back porch. I prayed that it would stay still long enough for me to take just ONE picture. I held my breath, pointed, and clicked.

So what’s the big deal about a cardinal in the snow?

I have been chasing cardinals for as long as I can remember and it’s as if they knew it was on my passionate to-do list.

“Can’t catch me!” I could hear them squawk back.

But today the cardinal cooperated. And what a better day: fluffy snow and a red tree as a backdrop. Now I can scratch that one off my passionate to-do list.

It sure does the heart good to know that I don’t have to slip, slide, and chase down red birds in the snow.

I love the color red—don’t you?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Day to Remember

While sitting in Border’s Bookstore I desperately tried to finish writing my Valentine’s cards and make sure they made it in the evening mail. As I wrote my last card, an elderly gentleman interrupted my thoughts. He went from table to table pulling out a tattered photo from his pocket. “This is my sweetheart,” he said with tears forming in his eyes. He went on to explain, “We had our last dinner together at the Palms in Willow Valley—it was our thirtieth wedding anniversary.”

I listened intently as he placed the photo next to my green tea latte. “I lost my wife to cancer six months ago,” he blurted out. “I miss her more than you can imagine.”

Several customers who were annoyed that their respite at Borders had been interrupted, moved away to other tables or wandered to the back of the store. I took the photo, cupped it in my hands, and commented on how lovely his wife looked in her violet-colored dress with a corsage of pink roses.

His face lit up.

He went on to explain how they met, fell in love, and had three beautiful children. I laid my pen down and listened to more of their love story. “This is my first Valentine’s Day without my sweetheart,” he finally admitted. He glanced down at my stack of Valentine’s cards and added, “I don’t want to take any more of your time… thank you for listening.”

He shuffled back to his seat, buttered his plain bagel, and sipped black coffee with the photo of his wife propped up against a stack of books he had gathered to read. There she remained the entire time, until he finished, picked up his things, and gently placed the photo of his dear wife back in his wallet.

Tears dropped—one by one—onto my Valentine’s cards as I watched the ink smear on my stack of pink and white envelopes. I grabbed a scratchy brown paper napkin and blotted my eyes before fixing the spills.

Time—he just wanted more time with his beloved. Everyone in Borders was so absorbed in their books, magazines, and bagels they couldn’t give a grieving widower a moment of their time. I have to admit that I was tempted to turn away because I was on a tight schedule, but I felt compelled to listen. I saw in this elderly gentleman’s eyes a hurt that ached for his dear wife. He just needed a listening ear.

Images of his wife—and their once happy life—were gone! This Valentine’s Day will be his first without his sweetheart and a test of his faith. I’m thankful I listened and wished I could have done more, but maybe that’s all he needed—a listening ear.

Valentine’s Day is a time to remember those we love and an opportunity to share just how much they mean to us—not just one day a year—but every day of our lives.

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Skating on Thin Ice!

Today is a record 44 degrees and balmy. I loaded up the car and headed to my other office, “ The Panera,” when I noticed my running shoes laying in the backseat of the car—all laced up ready to go. They only thing they were missing were my two feet. I ripped off my scarf, took off my gloves and coat, and shouted, “Yippee, no more ice!”

You know the saying, “pride cometh before a fall.” I laced up my running shoes and started jogging down the driveway. I got about 25 feet from the car and there it was—a patch of black ice—desperately trying to melt. I don’t remember much after that, but I literally skated on thin ice with my arms flailing in every direction. I heard a pop in my left shoulder (the one with a newly torn rotator cuff), and then came the “zinger”—it’s like an electric shock that doesn’t go away. Good thing I already have a scheduled appointment with the orthopedist on Friday.

I dragged my body back to the car and started out again and thought to myself, The statistics are right…most accidents occur within a five-mile radius from the home. Yes, I guess that applies to skating accidents. It’s ironic that I cancelled a speaking engagement in West Virginia because of black ice and ended up almost “breaking my neck” twenty-five feet from our house.

I called my mom in California and she reminded me that things aren’t that “rosy” in California: there’s fog, rain, and occasional frost.”

“Yes, Mom, I remember…”

But the one thing they don’t have is ice—baby—ice!

Will I miss the ice storms on the East Coast?

Absolutely not!

No more skating on thin ice for this “girl.”