Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sing it, Ella


Evry time
I see a puppy upon a summers day
A puppy dog at play
My heart is filled with envy
Thats because
My heart is yearning to pass the time away
Like that pup
cause Im all fed up
And tho its wrong to be
I long to be

I want to be lazy
I want to be out in the sun
With no work to be done
Under that awning
They call the sky
Stretching and yawning
And let the world go drifting by
I want to peep
Through the deep
Tangled wildwood
Counting sheep
til I sleep
Like a child would
With a great big valise full
Of books to read where its peaceful
While I'm
Killing time
Being lazy

Life is short
And getting shorter with each day that goes by
And how the time does fly
Before you know, its over
Thats why I'm
In such a hurry to pack my things and fly
To a spot
Where its nice and hot
And hear the birdies sing
While Im being

Argument for Single-Tasking

In short, I stand with those Zen masters who, when asked how they achieved enlightenment, answered, "When I walk, I just walk. When I eat, I just eat."

How much do we need to multitask? At work a few weeks ago, I found myself with 3 phones in front of me. It's become the sad norm in my office to think we can IM someone who is on a conf call. If I booked your time to be on a call, be on the call with me.

Sure it seems like we do get a lot more done, but that's because we're expected to do more.

We are losing our ability to silently focus on tasks. We're disrespecting others, as well as ourselves. My personality changes the minute I read work/project related emails on my phone. The stress creeps in and surges through my veins. And, it spews through my words to my loved ones.

Spring Resolution - Unplug more often. Pursue delayed gratification - should be more delectable.

Comedy of Life

4:13- Finished up a meeting. Commented "What a beautiful Friday afternoon! We're done. This is great. I have a dress rehearsal at 5:40 so I can leave early, pick up my daughter."

4:16 - Listened to voice mail and had urgent message from my client about an error. Checked my email and saw VP was copied on the note. Jumped into action to fix it, needed to get a hold of people in TX & OR to alerted them.

5:15 - Finally, I fired off final email explanation to my VP. Shut down everything and run to the car.

5:16 - Run back into the office to pick up directions to the rehearsal off the printer.

5:25 - Got my Starbucks coffee & kid's hot chocolate with whipped cream.

5:30 - Got my child. Was told "I'll never believe you again when you say you're going to pick me up early." (heart breaks)

5:50 - was lost going to the school and ended up high school, not junior high. Had to ask a kid for directions who ended it with the standard, "You can't miss it!" But we did.

6:09 - walked in late to the rehearsal and my daughter's class JUST finished their dance.. but I threw her on stage to stand with her group for rest of play.Got looks from another mom for being late. Coordinator ignored me. (Note to self: improve networking skills with other moms)

6:22 - checked emails on my phone and got a note from VP thanking me for my responsiveness Client says they will deal with this on Monday. (deep breathe out)

6:25 - someone handed me the final brochure I spent last few weeks designing, and the color looks amazing, print came out well, advertisers and parents will be happy.

7:30 - bought daughter a Happy Meal. Even she knew it was a bad thing and said she felt like having carrots at home.

8:30 - had a rum and Diet Coke with lime; friend came over with his daughters so girls were playing.

9:00 - gave my husband an earful when he questioned me when I refilled my glass.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shakespeare Day (II)

I previously blogged about my favorite Shakespeare memory of April 23rd and about Romeo & Juliet.

So, today, I was browing through my Shakespeare app on my iPhone and decided to read "Romeo & Juliet" (It was a long meeting, I figured I'd have time).

Act II, Capulet's Orchard

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

The last line highlighted is one that I came across in Bartlett's Book of Quotations when I was in high school. It seemed so majestic and pure. I suppose at that age when all I could hope for was to secure a glance from a boy, it was thrilling. The proximity of a the glove on the hand that rests upon the cheek is enough.

The first highlighted phrase is something I noticed today and it grabbed me. Here we go again with Shakespeare. How often do we hear this verse, yet it creates a pause because there's something different.

To carry the moon image further, there's another reference to it.

Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops--

O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable

What shall I swear by?

Do not swear at all;
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I'll believe thee.

To tie the references together, if Juliet is the Sun, then Romeo is Apollo.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Suzuki Lessons in Parenting

I've blogged previously about Annika and her Suzuki violin lessons. She started in kindergarten and we're still going strong two years later. She would rather chat than practice. She frustrates me with her fidgeting during the lessons. Her teacher comments how she somehow moves from one spot to another.

Inspite of all the scolding, she does "get" it. She hears a song and knows where she needs to be. She has a strong musical ear, but needs the body to work with it. Like anything, you have to practice.

So we were alternating between new song and an old song. Watching her learn the new song is tough. So, when she pauses between notes, I tell her the next note.

She says, "Mommy, don't tell me." However, I know she doesn't know this part, so I tell her.

"No, don't tell me!" she says emphatically. She places her bow on the string and tries a few notes on her own. But it's not right. She pauses.

"Ok, what is it?"

I start to tell her and she says, "No, no! I know it now."

But she still doesn't. So I show her the book and point it out since what I say is not valid. She acknowledges it and picks up her violin to try again.

She asked me not to tell her the notes, but to wait til the end of the song. However, I reminded her I need to stop her in the middle because she'll forget by the end of the song where she was.

She finally agreed to pause after ever measure and I would say aye or nay to it.

It was a frustrating lesson. My patience was short and her will was strong. We needed to come to that happy middle ground, but it took time to get there. We had further struggles with lesson as she tried to negotiate with me how much to play.
During this battle, I started thinking about the role of parent in life. I want to correct her, help her play the right "notes." On the other hand, she needs to exercise her own independence. By trying to remember the notes on her own, she'll improve her own skills and memory. However, I need to be there to catch her when she needs it. So, I had to really hold myself back and let her do it her way.

This is just a glimpse of the future, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Streaming Podcasts

One of my new favorite apps on my iPhone is Stitcher. It's downloaded from and it streams podcasts from so many different sites and categories.

My favorites:
The Moth is a storytelling organization and their podcasts are all types of people telling their stories. They make me laugh and have even brought me to tears because they're so heartfelt and open. If this is just the podcast, I can only imagine how riveting it must be live.

This American Life is one of my favorite NPR shows. I need to tell Ira Glass a funny, yet insignificant incident from my childhood and have it set to music as a narrative. On my local channel, it's on 10pm on Wednesdays and 12 pm Sundays (or is it 1pm?). Needless to say, I usual miss it. But now.. (Drum roll flourish).. it's on my phone! So, it's great to listen to it whenever I want.

Recently there was a great episode "Scenes from a Recession," where they spoke to real people behind the headlines - housing foreclosures, shutting down a bank and retail stores closing. I saw this episode was referenced in Newsweek as a great way to break down the financial situation into comprehensible terms.

Then, there's Meitte's Bedtime Stories. For the first two stories, I didn't absorb anything about the stories - I just listened to her speak. She's got an extremely sexy, soothing voice that embraces you as she beckons you to sit next to her as she reads short stories. I'm at work, but I'm so ready to be tucked into bed. Some of the writers are well known, while other may be new, but deserve to be read (or at least voiced with a kittenish English accent.)

Since streaming audio was banned by my office firewall, I feel as if I have a new world has opened up to me. Having this on my phone is great because I listen to these stories while I'm shopping, working outside or driving. Definitely have a new freedom to enjoy these since I'm not tied to a PC.