God Bless American Airlines

Travel Stinks. I hate it. Especially for work. But sometimes, just sometimes, there are perks that make it worth it. Here is an example that is NOT one of those perks (edited for amusement of course):

Dear American Airlines,
I have been an Aadvantage member for what feels like a lifetime, having flown close to 300,000 miles with your airline over the past few of these years. I was even enchanted enough with your services to pay the additional money required to sit in the Admirals Club on occasion.

During my relationship with American Airlines I have encountered a level of unbelievable poor service, which I had not previously considered possible, as well as continued rudeness of colossal proportions. Please allow me to elaborate on the most recent incident so that you can either pursue your directive as the Sr. VP of Customer Service and seek to rectify these difficulties – or more likely (as I suspect) so that you are able to have memorable (and fun) reading materials as you travel to your most pressing golf tournament or fritter away the hours at your local bar.

For my continued torturous travel on your airline, I received two American Airlines ‘Fly Three, Fly Free’ award certificates earlier this year. These were valid through 2004 for flights within the Continental US only barring more blackout dates than I can list on this sheet of paper.

After reviewing schedules with my family, a September / October timeframe was chosen to redeem these for a trip. On September 9th I spoke with an agent at American Airlines (lets call her Miss Happy), as required on the certificate to schedule travel. She walked me through the 435 steps needed to schedule the travel, and our trip was booked for October 26-29. We then secured accommodations and transportation which we were practically forced to take out a home equity loan to cover. Our record locator was issued, and the flight showed “purchased” on aa.com. Now in most circles, this means the trip is confirmed. Amazing how you appear to have missed that little piece of knowledge in your business.

On September 29th we received a call from some schmuck (lets call him Mr. Dick) at American Airlines regarding our planned trip. We were told that the trip was not valid due to a Saturday night stay requirement which had not been met. Say what? Where in the .04 pt Extra Small Font was that little juicy morsel? After being transferred to a supervisor that perhaps doubles as a waitress at the local waffle house (we will call her The Bitch), we were told that American Airlines understood that THEY made the mistake in planning this trip. They admitted they were WRONG. The Bitch admitted that MANY people were misled and she was SORRY. She admitted that they neglected to mention the Saturday stay which was required.

We were then told that as compensation for YOUR AIRLINE'S mistake, our trip would have to be cancelled. Nice. Thank you VERY MUCH.

You screw up, I pay.

Interesting new slogan: American Airlines – where we do whatever the fuck we want because we don’t give a shit about you – our loyal, idiot customers.

After receiving a call from yet another supervisor we were informed of the following:

1. American Airlines made a mistake and booked our trip in error – neglecting to make us stay over a Saturday night (your mistake, I pay the price)

2. The agent that booked the trip had been reprimanded and they are all truly sorry for the inconvenience (beaten with a wet noodle and sent home early)

3. They have no options but to stick to the rules and cancel our flights (screw you)

We were given the following options:

1. Reschedule the trip when a Saturday stay could be included (spend more money to take our free trip)

2. Purchase tickets to Key West for the desired flights (spend WAY more money than needed to go somewhere you were just picking out of lack of anywhere better to go before the end of the year)

3. Use our frequent flyer miles to purchase tickets to Key West for the desired flights (spend pretend, but still valuable money to go on your free trip – and pay a fee to do it)

4. Cancel the trip (and continue to be screwed)

I find the above options to be less than adequate for the following reasons:

1. There is not sufficient time to plan another trip prior to these awards expiring given the black-out dates and the holidays (there are about 1.3 days free between now and the end of the year)

2. Extension of the planned trip is not possible due to the annual Key West festival, making accommodations impossible to secure with such late notice (too many freaks staying in the hotel to allow for us to hang out an extra day)

Based on no other reasonable options, we have decided to take it up the tail pipe and use existing Aadvantage miles to purchase these tickets so that we do not forfeit the money secured for the hotel and transportation. This has left me with a deficit of 50,000 miles (which I had planned to use toward future flights), big hcosts for a hotel room, costs for having pets taken care of, costs for car rental – all so we can have a free vacation compliment of American Airlines.


I am now left with two unusable reward tickets that expire at the end of the year with approximately 1.3 days of available time to use them. Bravo. FANTASTIC customer retention plan you have going. Were you perhaps personally responsible for turture in some third-world prison prior to this?

REQUESTED ACTION: I would like American Airlines to extend the deadline of these ‘Fly Three, Fly Free’ award certificates through March 2005, so that we have ample time to plan another trip. If this is not possible, I would like the 50,000 miles placed back in my account to compensate for the error that American Airlines made. Or perhaps you can just go fuck yourself. That would work too.

I am available to discuss this issue further, and expect to hear from you no later than October 15th, 2004. I may be reached at the contact number listed below. If you do not respond, I will have no option but to take fingernail clippers and a nail file on my next flight. Oh the demons you will unleash.


Turtle Joke

Two turtles go camping and pack a cooler with sandwiches and beer.
After three days of walking, they arrive at a great spot but realize they've forgotten a bottle opener.

The first turtle turns to the second and says, "You've gotta go back and get the opener or else we have no beer."

"No way," says the second. "By the time I get back, you will have eaten all the food."

"I promise I won't," says the turtle. "Just hurry!"

Nine full days pass and there's still no sign of the second turtle. Exasperated and starving, the first turtle digs into the sandwiches.

Suddenly, the second turtle pops out from behind a rock and yells, "I knew it! I'm not fucking going!"

Football Pick Outcome...Double Ouch!

Week 3 picks:

+Arizona at Atlanta

-Baltimore at Cincinnati

+Chicago at Minnesota

+Cleveland at N.Y. Giants

-Houston at Kansas City

+Jacksonville at Tennessee

-New Orleans at St. Louis

-Philadelphia at Detroit

+Pittsburgh at Miami

+San Diego at Denver

-Green Bay at Indianapolis

-San Francisco at Seattle

-Tampa Bay at Oakland


-Dallas at Washington

Week 4 Picks

(Brittany = Italics, Me = Bold)

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

Indianapolis at Jacksonville

New England at Buffalo

N.Y. Giants at Green Bay

Oakland at Houston

Philadelphia at Chicago

Washington at Cleveland

Atlanta at Carolina

New Orleans at Arizona

Denver at Tampa Bay

N.Y. Jets at Miami

Tennessee at San Diego

St. Louis at San Francisco


Kansas City at Baltimore


Email Fun - All in a Day's Work

Email actually sent by my boss:

-----Original Message-----
From: Amnesia's Boss
Sent: Today
To: All the people that are dumb enough to work for me
Subject: Thanks!!!

Folks - Sometimes I get all caught in the daily fire fights that I forget to say thanks for all the personal sacrifices you all give day in and day out. So I want thank you all and know that I will strive to minimize the need for those sacrifices when and where ever possible. Thanks for what you do every day to make us all successful.

My husband's interpretation of above email:

"Hi, I'm a sucky boss and plan to continue to be one. Thanks for covering up for all my screwups. Don't expect anything to change, and count on continuing to work super long hours. Oh, and don't count on any bonuses or raises for your hard work, just this crappy note."


The Dancing Banana Returns

Just when you thought it was safe to read again...



Blasted Football

Football Picks - Week 2 outcome...ouch

- Chicago 21 at Green Bay

- Denver at Jacksonville

+ Houston at Detroit

+ Indianapolis at Tennessee

- Pittsburgh at Baltimore

- San Francisco at New Orleans

- St. Louis at Atlanta

- Washington at N.Y. Giants

+ Seattle at Tampa Bay

+Buffalo at Oakland

-Cleveland at Dallas

+New England at Arizona

+N.Y. Jets at San Diego

-Miami at Cincinnati

+Minnesota at Philadelphia

Week 3 picks:
Arizona at Atlanta

Baltimore at Cincinnati

Chicago at Minnesota

Cleveland at N.Y. Giants

Houston at Kansas City

Jacksonville at Tennessee

New Orleans at St. Louis

Philadelphia at Detroit

Pittsburgh at Miami

San Diego at Denver

Green Bay at Indianapolis

San Francisco at Seattle

Tampa Bay at Oakland


Dallas at Washington


Jack Hensley - Rest in Peace


Don't look at this if you are disturbed by beheadings, blood, meanness, stupid people, horrible acts of violence, political unrest, torture, bad people, broken families, missing people, father-less children, widowed wives, and overall sadness.

This video - although horrible all on its own symbolizes so many evil things. I just don't know what else to say.


Every Day

One ought, everyday,
to hear a song,
read a fine poem,
and, if possible,
to speak a few reasonable words

--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Where Did I Come From?

"Where did I come from?" the baby asked its mother.
She answered, half-crying, half-laughing,
and clasping the baby to her breast,
"You were hidden in my heart as its desire, my darling.
You were in the dolls of my childhood games.
In all my hopes and my loves, in my life,
in the life of my mother, and in her mother before her,
you have been nursed and nurtured for ages."

(Poet Rabindranath Tagore)


Beep Beep! Screw You.

I hate bad drivers. They are everywhere here. EVERYWHERE. And – I don’t work well with bad drivers. I never have really. They make me want to fight.

9 or so years ago I got into one of these bad-driver-related fights. And it went a little like this:
I am driving down Ward Parkway in Kansas City – a very nice, older neighborhood that connects downtown-ish areas to the suburbs. I am in the middle lane. There is a sign stating that the left lane is ending. The left lane ends. A block later a mean man in a big old truck zooms up on my left side, squeezing me over, so he can have my spot.

I assume he did this so he wouldn’t have to merge when he was supposed to.

I stop. He gets in front of me. I do the shrug – holding my arms in the air – giving him the “what are you doing, you dumbass?” look. He makes a few odd gestures which would normally signal “help me, I am on fire, call the medic”. I yell. He yells. He flips me off. I flip him off. He pulls over. I pull over. He gets out of his car. I get out of my car. He yells more. I yell more.

This guy – about 40, six foot, very fat…old country boy and quite mad – is not happy that I called him on his shitty driving. I, a 26 year old, 5’5” 115 pound girl – am not happy and willing to do everything in my power to take him out.

A police man pulls up. Takes one look at the situation, and tells me to get back in my car. Now. And – he is NOT kidding.

I get back in my car and wait. The big idiot gets a ticket – for what I don’t know. And, I get a lecture for starting a fight with a grown man. The police man was quite upset at my inability to just let the situation go and behave. I heard the whole “you could get yourself killed trying to fight with grown men” speech for a very long time.

I finally arrived at home expecting a sympathetic ear, and found none. Yet another lecture from my husband and his parents. Nice. Years later when I recounted the story I got the same darn lecture… And yet – I learned NOTHING.

Once again – today – I ran into another bad driver. This woman…the idiot that she was… was turning left from a small neighborhood onto a MAJOR road. I was turning left from this MAJOR road into the small neighborhood. She pulled out in front of me waiting for a break in traffic. I drove right in front of her and turned left. She honked. I honked. She flipped me off. I flipped her off. She yelled at me. I yelled at her. Luckily she saw a break in traffic and left. Saved me from pummeling her. Or another lecture.


What Do I Worry About?

When I was in sixth grade, I got thrown up against a wall at a track meet. I ended up with a concussion that lead to a fairly bad head injury. I was dizzy, throwing up, my vision was blurry. I pretty much felt like ass for days. My mom took me to the doctor and the barrage of tests began. Scans, vision tests, blood tests, x-rays, psychological evaluations, spinal taps – you name it, they did it. They finally discovered a clot, or mass, or something…not sure what really. It went away. By itself. Over night. Not sure why either. Everyone was baffled. I woke up, I felt better, they ran more tests – and saw no mass where it had been the day before. I went home and that was the end of the story.

Sometime during all of those tests when they were trying to figure out what was wrong in my head, I was sentenced to talk to a child psychologist. I went to this guy and he stared at me a lot and asked me some very open-ended questions in an attempt to find out if I was a disturbed little sixth grader. The only question that he asked which I still remember was If you could have three things – any three things – what would they be?

My answers:
1. All of the money in the world
2. A dad
3. For my mom to be happy

Based on these answers, my mother was told that I worry to much. I worried about money, I worried about her – he thought that was not normal. I of course, thought he was a quack. Still do. But – at the same time, I DO worry too much. About everything. All the time. In fact – I have this little sleep issue. My husband says it is more than little. I don’t sleep very well. Ever. I lay awake until the early hours of the morning and I think. And I worry. And I think some more. But – I don’t sleep. What do I worry about you ask? EVERYTHING.
· Money
· My kids
· My marriage
· My job
· Retirement (OK – so I am not even close to retirement, but I still worry about it)
· My nephew
· The day o f the week
· The placement of the stars in the sky

So - how do I stop worrying, stop staying awake? How do I become a normal awake-during-the-day, asleep-at-night person? Is there hope for me?

Must go worry about dinner now.


Tick, Tick, Tick Goes the Time

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (80%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (26%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Left brain dominant individuals are more literal, articulate, and to the point. They are good at understanding directions and anything that is explicit and logical. They can have trouble comprehending emotions and abstract concepts, they can feel lost when things are not clear, doubting anything that is not stated and proven.
Right brain dominant individuals are more visual and intuitive. They are better at summarizing multiple points, picking up on what's not said, visualizing things, and making things up. They can lack attention to detail, directness, and the ability to explain their ideas verbally, leaving them unable to communicate effectively.
Overall you appear to be Right Brain Dominant

Another Time Waster

Enneagram Test Results
Type 1 Perfectionism38%
Type 2Helpfulness34%
Type 3Image Focus54%
Type 4Hypersensitivity46%
Type 5Detachment58%
Type 6Anxiety34%
Type 7Adventurousness54%
Type 8Aggressiveness82%
Type 9Calmness54%
Take Free Enneagram Word Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Personality Test

Advanced Big 45 Personality Test Results
Group Attachment50%
Impulse Control46%
Emotional Stability57%
Take Free Advanced Big 45 Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com


Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday

Well, I am supposed to be all witty, insightful, charasmatic and such here - truth be told, I am seldom any of those things and...today is one of those days where everything is off. I am traveling - which I HATE. I am dieting, which I HATE, and I have a ton of work to do - which I HATE. So if you have come here for a pick-me-up, move along. There is nothing to see here.

I am in Albany. New York. Please stop laughing.

To all of those who live here: I am sure it is a wonderful place to live, grow up, raise a family...blah blah blah.

Who goes to Albany? Let me tell you. NOBODY. NOBODY goes here. They all just grow up here and do their damndest to LEAVE. Cute town really, but not much to attract people. Not much to excite them or keep them here, or even entertained for 36 hours when they are here on business. Nope. Not a damn thing going for it. I - for one - am not coming back. Ever. 'Nuff Said.

Last night I saw Sting and Annie Lennox in concert. It was fantastic. I tried to take pictures, but was not having a good picture night. In fact, not one single picture resembles anything even close to looking like a concert. I tried using the Night option, but could not get a still enough pic to keep the lights from running together. My zoom is not good enough to bring the very far away stage close enough to see, and the guy in front of me had ears so big that the camera kept focusing in on them instead of Sting. Nice.


My weekend was equally as fun - full of camping and fires and tents and dogs (Zieggy tried to fight with a horse) and lots of wine and Oktoberfest and crazy hats and darts and being designated driver and LOTS of not-working - wich I am a HUGE fan of. I love weekends. Now it is over...and I am sad.

Back to work.



Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!!!

Arrrrr - Shiver me timbers...and all that pirate stuff.

And for you - pirate jokes:

A little boy is trick or treatin' on Halloween.
He is dressed as a pirate.
At one house, a man asks him, "Where areyour buccaneers?"
The little boy responds, "On either side o' me 'buccan'head!"

A pirate walks into a bar with this enormous steering wheel stuck down his pants.
The bartender can’t help but ask, “What’s with the steering wheel?”
“ARRRRGGH,” the pirate answers, “it’s drivin’ me nuts.”

A pirate walks into a bar and the bartender says, "Hey, I haven't seen you in a while. What happened, you look terrible!"
"What do you mean?" the pirate replies, "I'm fine.
"The bartender says, "But what about that wooden leg? You didn't have that before."
"Well," says the pirate, "We were in a battle at sea and a cannon ball hit my leg but the surgeon fixed me up, and I'm fine, really."
"Yeah," says the bartender, "But what about that hook? Last time I saw you, you had both hands."
"Well," says the pirate, "We were in another battle and we boarded the enemy ship. I was in a sword fight and my hand was cut off but the surgeon fixed me up with this hook, and I feel great, really."
"Oh," says the bartender, "What about that eye patch? Last time you were in here you had both eyes."
"Well," says the pirate, "One day when we were at sea, some birds were flying over the ship. I looked up, and one of them shat in my eye."
"So?" replied the bartender, "what happened? You couldn't have lost an eye just from some bird shit!"
"Well," says the pirate, "I really wasn't used to the hook yet."


My Earliest Memory

I am not very good at remembering things. I am challenged to remember things that happened only moments ago. In fact, I had a dream last night supporting this very fact. I dreamt that I couldn’t remember where I lived or where I was going. I would forget things only a moment after they happened…and I would tell you more about it – IF I REMEMBERED IT.

I don’t know when I started forgetting things…my mom used to tell me I had the best memory ever. So somewhere along the way I seem to have broken it.

Because of this little memory issue, I am not sure when my earliest memory is. There are some events that I remember, but perhaps just from hearing the stories about them so many times. Like the time my brother dropped the crowbar on my foot when I was three and he broke my toe. I am not sure that I really remember the event so much, but think that maybe I have made up images in my head to go with the stories.

I think the one of the most vivid, real, early memories was around 4 or 5 years old. My mom had been divorced for a year or two and was finally embarking on the dating scene. She had covered all of the bases. New dress, check. Makeup, check. Poofy hair, check. Babysitter, check. She had asked her friend Tish from the hospital to babysit us. Tish was in her 20’s, responsible, nice, fun…had most things in her favor. The only problem was the she didn’t really know what she was getting herself into. She had never experienced a terror like my brother and I. She really can’t be blamed for what was about to happen.

My mom left all of the usual information – name of restaurant, doctor’s number, police number, fire number, closest relative, neighbor’s number, hospital number and she left. She left the spawn of Satan with poor, unexpecting Tish.

Tish: sitting in the family room reading some dopey magazine
My Brother: investigating the fireplace in the living room, looking very mischievous
Me: following my brother around like his shadow, because that is what I did best

Tish: oblivious to the sneaking and trickery going on in the next room
My Brother: hiding in the fireplace, pushed up against the very edge behind the small brick wall so that he could not be seen from outside the fireplace
Me: standing inside the fireplace, hidden on the other side like his shadow, because that is what I did best

Tish: beginning to wonder why it was so very quiet in the house, beginning to looking for us
My Brother: silent, hiding in the fireplace
Me: silent, hiding in fireplace like my brothers shadow, because that is what I did best

Tish: after looking for over an hour…upstairs, in the basement, in the closets, in the garage, at the neighbors, in our rooms…after looking EVERYWHERE, calls my mother. She is crying as she calls my mom at the restaurant and tells her that she has lost us – we are gone - perhaps kidnapped. She is truly freaking out.
My Brother: silent, hiding in the fireplace – smiling ear to ear
Me: silent and grinning, hiding in fireplace like my brothers shadow, because that is what I did best
My mom: madder than a bat out of hell.

My mom came home, stood in the living room, and shouted in her loudest most angry evil-mother voice GET OUT HERE NOW!

We came out of the fireplace, covered head to toe in soot.

My mom's date was over - at 7:00, Tish went home - at 7:00, and we went to bed – at 7:00.

Flash forward a month or two later. The memories of the last dating disaster had faded a bit and my mom decided it was time to try again. After convincing Tish to PLEASE COME BACK AND WATCH MY BRATTY KIDS ONE MORE TIME I SWEAR THEY WILL BE GOOD...and threatening us within an inch of our lives, my mom set out on her date.

Tish: sitting in the family room reading yet another magazine
My Brother: playing in the living room, chasing me - around the small square coffee table in front of the sofa
Me: playing in the living room, running away from brother – around the small square coffee table in front of the sofa

Tish: continuing to read her magazine in the living room, hearing us laugh, thinking what sweet children we are
My Brother: sitting on the sofa very quickly, putting his feet on the small square coffee table in front of the sofa, pretending to be an evil troll…demanding that I pay the toll to go through
Me: ignoring the evil troll, running right into my brothers legs, breaking my fall on the corner of the small square coffee table in front of the sofa – with my head

Tish: running to see what the horrible noise and screaming is all about
My Brother: staring at me in horror imagining the trouble we are about to be in
Me: laying on the floor bleeding all over my mom’s white shag carpet, screaming bloody murder
My mom: madder than a bat out of hell – again

Tish called my mom at the restuarant - again. My mom came home - again. Stood in the middle of the living room – again. And yelled at us – again.

My mom's date was over - at 7:00, Tish went home - at 7:00, and I went to the hospital for stitches at 7:00.

Tish never babysat for us again. Ever.


Normal Is...

  1. being adopted and growing up always knowing this fact
  2. being surrounded by your mothers hippie boyfriends who ride motorcyles after she is divorced
  3. breaking your toe when your brother drops a crowbar on at, when you are 4 years old
  4. hiding in the fireplace with your brother so that the babysitter cannot find you and has to call your mother to come from her first date after her divorce
  5. telling your grandmotherly-like babysitter to shut up and getting your mouth washed out with soap
  6. watching your brother get in a fight when you are in first grade and jumping in to help, giving the bully a bloody nose
  7. fighting with your brother over Brady Bunch vs. Star Trek, and losing. Every. Time.
  8. staging a pretend wedding complete with presents and guest for your 10 year old brother and his girlfriend
  9. not remembering a single day of your mother's second marriage that lasted 6 months
  10. moving in with another family in 4th grade to become part of a religious disaster
  11. moving out of said religious disaster 6 months later and into the most horrible neighborhood imaginable
  12. having to refinish the worlds most beat-up house with your mom and brother at the age of 10, including taking down walls, stripping wallpaper, and tearing down a garage
  13. getting sent to the good schools, 45 minutes across town and arriving to a pack of screaming and angry parents that didn't want the poor kids there
  14. watching your brother get sent to a school for bad kids because your mom can't control him anymore
  15. working at McDonalds for two weeks and then quitting because 5:00 am is just too early to be at work on the weekends
  16. having parties when your mother is working nights, getting caught, and almost sent to a private school
  17. having the private school your mother wants to send you to turn you down because they will only have a year to reform you AND they are sure it will take longer than that
  18. not dating in high school because you are ashamed of where you live
  19. having to pick a suspect out of a lineup after he stole a diamond ring from your work (by swallowing it and running away)
  20. recognizing 2 police officers in above lineup
  21. getting in an accident in your mother's car the very first she lets you drive it all by yourself
  22. having to stay at home your first year of college so that you can save money to go away next year
  23. hating college your second year because you are so far away from home
  24. living with your boyfriend and his parents for a summer and working two jobs so that you never have to be around his mother
  25. marrying above boyfriend and never ever liking his mother
  26. having your mother die two months before your first child is born
  27. having a baby three months early weighing in at 2.2 pounds
  28. meeting your soul mate while married to someone else
  29. leaving your husband and giving up up full custody of your children to be with your true love
  30. regretting giving up full custody of your children years later when your ex husband turns into an evil, horrible person thanks to his new girlfriend
  31. falling in love with stray animals everywhere and wanting to adopt one from Greece, but having your husband think adopting foreign animals is a bit extream when there are so many in the states that need homes
  32. finding the absolute worst looking, sickest dog in Texas and adopting it
  33. letting your job drive you over the edge of crazy
  34. thinking cows are the most awesome animals and mooing at them every time they are within sight
  35. being a vegetarian for years and then going on the Atkins diet
  36. wanting another baby at 36 years old
  37. feeling normal and totally NOT normal at the same time


Peanut Butter Jelly

Who among you can resist a dancing banana?

My Favorite Teacher

Did you ever have a favorite teacher in school? Is there that one person that seemed to make the world of difference for you in difficult situations growing up? That person in my life was Ralph Radecki. My Latin teacher. He still teaches at Clay High School in South Bend, Indiana to this day. He teaches 30 classes a week of Latin...amazing really.

I remember wondering what the big deal was with Latin - why did so many people want to take Latin? There was a waiting list to get into the class. Amazing. Everyone wanted to take this old, dead, foreign language. I was stunned. And...I wanted to take it too. I had to. Everyone wanted to, and I wasn't going to go against what everyone else wanted. The reason they wanted to take Latin? We all heard that there was very little Latin-learning going on. And it was true. Sort of.

For the first six months of Latin class we listened to stories. Greek mythology stories. The. Whole. Time. We did not learn a single piece of Latin in that six months - but we learned about the Trojan War, Psyche, Zeus, all of the great gods and their stories...stories of their mothers and fathers, adventures, trials. We heard six months of stories. Every day was fun - learning something new.

After the first six months, Ralph threw in some Latin, although it didn't really felt like we were learning anything. We would play risk, watch movies, plan our bi-annual party. It just didn't feel like traditional learning.

We continued in this odd learning manner for the next few years. We would spend weeks watching I Claudius. We read Spoon River. We watched Fellini movies. We wrote essays - in English, about movies - in English. We played games, we had class outside... we just didn't seem to be learning any Latin. I later learned, while taking placement tests for college, that we had actually learned more Latin that needed to get the required 8 credits...no idea how that happened.

My 4th and last year of Latin took an interesting turn. We spent months discussing why Ralph had spent the first six months of class telling us stories. He had actually done all of this - his teaching method - with a plan in mind. There was a method to his madness and it was now up to us to figure out what that method was. As you can imagine, there were as many guesses as there were kids in the class.

Did he tell us stories to:
- help us learn from history
- make us think for ourselves
- rope us in and then teach us before we knew what was going on
- teach us his beliefs so that we make a better place for him
- entertain us because it was fun for him
- show us different ways to learn
- make us loyal to him so he would have teaching jobs
- trick us into learning Latin without knowing it

and a million other reasons... all of them wrong according to Ralph. He claimed to have students coming back to him years later - after finally figuring out what he had been doing - what his goal was. I saw a few of them come back myself. I too have thought of going back to see him...to talk about what he was doing. I think of him often and wonder what the goal was.

Years later I read a book - Tuesdays with Morrie. It reminded me of Ralph - of the teacher I had such respect for. I understood the bond that Mitch had with Morrie...it made perfect sense to me. All of the lessons that Mitch learned from him, and didn't really realize it until so much later...

"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning."

I still don't know what we were supposed to learn from that experience in Latin class. But I have learning many things just thinking about it.

I have learned that:
- you can learn from a single experience for years and years
- that a person can make a difference just by caring about people
- that time invested in relationships is worth it
- that it is okay to trust people
- that learning can be fun
- that the act of learning is important - learning to learn, and not so much the things you are learning
- that a good teacher will stay with you forever
and so many other things

I read something from The Once and Future King that fits well here:

"The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn."


The falling trees made no sound.


Dog Letters to God

Dear God,
How come people love to smell flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another? Where are their priorities?

Dear God,
When we get to Heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it the same old story?

Dear God,
Excuse me, but why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not one named for a dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We dogs love a nice ride! I know every breed cannot have its own model, but it would be easy to rename the Chrysler Eagle the Chrysler Beagle!

Dear God,
If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?

Dear God,
Is it true that in Heaven, dining room tables have on-ramps?

Dear God,
If we come back as humans, is that good, or bad?

Dear God,
More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.

Dear God,
When we get to the Pearly Gates, do we have to shake hands to get in?

Dear God,
We dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent IDs, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?

Dear God,
Are there dogs on other planets or are we alone? I have been howling at the moon and stars for a long time, but all I ever hear back is the beagle across the street!

Dear God,
Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?

Dear God,
Is it true that dogs are not allowed in restaurants because we can't make up our minds what NOT to order? Or is it the carpets thing, again?

Dear God,
May I have my testicles back?

The Rim

I have always enjoyed photography. And now, thanks to digital cameras - I actually have the ability to take a few good pictures if I am very very diligent, and use trickery and software to fix the flaws of lighting and an unsteady hand.

I took this picture in Arizona at Tonto National Forest. I love this area...the mountains, the trees, the wildlife. The whole area is a miracle.

This Time Of Year

Football Picks

OK – so I didn’t publish picks last week for the games – but if I had it would have looked like this (picks in bold)

New England 27, Indianapolis 24 - I grew up in Indiana and tend to pick the Colts – no idea why

Tennessee 17, Miami 7 - I am a fan of Miami…I think it is because I like the dolphin

St. Louis 17, Arizona 10 - no reason here…I never had much faith in Arizona

Cleveland 20, Baltimore 3 - I hate all Ohio teams

N.Y. Jets 31, Cincinnati 24 - I like saying “J E T S, Jets, Jets, Jets”. And – that is why I will pick them. Every week.

Detroit 20, Chicago 16 - I like the Bears. I remember the silly shuffle song of days gone by…can’t help buy pick them.

Jacksonville 13, Buffalo 10 - buffalo is cold. Brrr.

Pittsburgh 24, Oakland 21 - Oakland is icky. Pittsburgh had that cool defense in the 70’s we all loved..so now I still like them.

San Diego 27, Houston 20 - Houston just doesn’t do much for me.

Seattle 21, New Orleans 7 - Seattle has a cool stadium.

Washington 16, Tampa Bay 10 - I am a fan of Florida and have never really like the redskins.

Atlanta 21, San Francisco 19 - Atlanta… I just can’t like that team.

Minnesota 35, Dallas 17 - I always always always pick AGAINST the cowboys. I can do that – I live in Dallas.

Philadelphia 31, N.Y. Giants 17 - I like the Giants. They are big.

Denver 34, Kansas City 24 - I always pick against KC too – I can do that. I lived there for 7 years.

So I round out at 8 out of 15. Sad. And funny – I did pretty poorly looking at the scores. But then – there is NO method to my picking teams. Sometimes I go by color, area of the country, vibe I get when I think of the team name… not exactly a science there is it?


Green Bay at Carolina - I don’t know why….I just feel like they will win. Cheese Heads. Hehehe

Carolina at Kansas City - normally I pick against KC, but I just don’t like the Panthers.

Chicago at Green Bay - I really am a Green Bay fan

Denver at Jacksonville

Houston at Detroit

Indianapolis at Tennessee

Pittsburgh at Baltimore

San Francisco at New Orleans

St. Louis at Atlanta

Washington at N.Y. Giants - thinking of apples in the fall...just seems like the right team to pick.

Seattle at Tampa Bay

Buffalo at Oakland

Cleveland at Dallas - Dallas sucks

New England at Arizona

N.Y. Jets at San Diego - J.E.T.S - JETS JETS JETS

Miami at Cincinnati

Minnesota at Philadelphia

So we will see how that works out. I must warn you - my pics have NEVER amounted to anything...ask my husband.

And I will leave you with words from one of my favorite fall songs....

Well, there's a feeling in the air
Just like a Friday afternoon.
Yeah, you can go there if you want
Though it fades too soon.
So go on, let it be.
If there's a feeling coming over me,
Seems like it's always understood this time of year.


A Letter of Forgiveness

Dear Summer,

I forgive you for being too short. After all, it is not your fault. Fall has long been barging in where it really doesn't belong. Always showing up early and throwing leaves off of trees, swirling freezing winds around, and making the sun set earlier than we would all like. Spring is never in a hurry to leave - shortening your time even more. It enjoys pouring rain from the clouds, refusing to let the sun warm us all.

You are smack dab in the middle of two head-strong seasons and you really don't stand a chance of survival. We need to figure out how to give you more confidence...so that you can stand up to these two bullies. What we need is a plan!

Tell you what: I will change all calendars - removing the months of September through May and you will be set. No longer will we have cold, sunless, or rainy days. No more will we experience hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, sub-zero temperatures. The days of early sunsets and late sunrises will come to an end and we can have warm sunny days forever...

It is at least worth a try.


Tomorrow I Will Do It Differently

Tomorrow I will wake up early

I will wake up happy and ready to face the day

I will go jogging before sunrise

I will eat all three meals

I will not eat junk food

I will be pleasant to people - in traffic, in meetings, at home

I will work all day long and not screw around on the net

I will accomplish things, reduce my to-do list, make progress

I will not fight with anyone at work

I will not tell my boss to get bent

I will not spend more than I have budgeted for

I will not argue with finance people about capital expenditures

I will not threaten to quit my job

I will play with the dog - without complaining about it

I will listen to the girls whine and will grin while doing it

I will put away the clean laundry

I will sweep the floor

I will clean the catbox before it gets nasty

I will clean the bathroom

I will work out in the evening

I will read the paper and learn what is going on in the world

I will wake up from this ridiculous dream and be thankful if I only accomplish one thing on this list!!!!


I've Never

Have you ever played the I've Never game? Not much good ever comes of it...one person announces something they have never done - innocent enough, and people who have done that thing drink. The heartache comes when one person states an activity for the sole purpose of making a specific person confess to something they don't want anyone to know about. Evil, evil, evil.

I remember a bad game of I've Never. One where my boyfriends best friend was on a first date. We will call him Mark - pretty much because that is his name. His date, Miss Innocent, was a prize in his eyes. He had somehow ended up with a sweet, innocent, genuinely nice girl and I found it necessary to ruin everything. Oh boy the fun I had in store!

So we began the game fairly slow and innocent:

Me: I’ve never… tried cocaine
Some people drank, others did not

My boyfriend: I’ve never been to Mexico
Again, a pretty equal disbursement of drinking and abstaining

- And the game progressed. Nothing very exciting happening until my turn again.

Me: I’ve never banged Susan H in the fraternity men’s bathroom LAST NIGHT right before asking out Miss Innocent for our date tonight.

Yep. That is me. Mark and Miss Innocent didn’t make it through my evilness and this game ended just as most of the I’ve Never games ended in which I have participated…everyone left mad.

In celebration of such fun, I present a list of items that I’ve Never done. And I imagine this time, nobody will get hurt.

I’ve Never:

  • tried cocaine, X, LSD or anything stronger than marijuana
  • had sex with more than one person in a 24 hour window
  • held my breathe until I passed out
  • been arrested
  • wished I lived in a foreign country
  • wanted to go back to high school – or college for that matter
  • wanted to be a police man
  • drank so much I threw up, and then drank the next night too
  • thought that revenge was a worthy thing to invest time or energy in
  • seen The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
  • used most of the things I learned in school
  • liked soccer
  • liked the job I have right now
  • liked the color red
  • thought I was pretty
  • had enough energy to do everything I want in a day
  • felt like I feel like I have A Plan for my life
  • been to Mexico
  • liked 70’s music, clothing, or anything about those years
  • much liked the game I’ve Never


Bad Country Song Titles

So what is on my mind?

No idea really. Do you ever have those days where you are thinking about everything and nothing – all at the same time? It is caused, for me, by lack of sleep. I just cant sleep. I want to – I really do. But. I. Can’t. At all.

Three days now – no real sleep. Maybe 2 hours total over the 3 days. That is not very much time. And I don’t sleep more than 10 minutes or so at a time. I am sure it won’t kill me, but it is making me have swimmy-head. And it is not that I am not tired. I just can’t go to sleep or stay asleep. I have always had trouble making my head stop thinking and allowing my body to go to sleep – but this is an all-time new for me. I usually sleep in the early morning the best. Now, I fall asleep around 2:45 and am up before 3. For the day. I might fall back to sleep around 5:30 or 6 for another 10 or 20 minutes. Then I am up. Awake. Worrying about everything that has ever taken place on earth. Crazy. Don’t know why. Nothing should be that important that it needs thinking about ALL THE TIME. But my head won’t listen to reason. And it won’t go to sleep.

While not sleeping, I started thinking about great names for country songs. Keep in mind – this is on NO sleep…here is what I came up with – along with a few added by folks at work. They wanted to join in the fun too:

  • My Sister, My Wife
  • My Truck Is Bigger Than Yours
  • She Took The Tractor When She Broke My Heart
  • 15 Is Legal Somewhere
  • Books Is For Burnin’
  • If I had An Armadillo, I Could Make A Great Stew
  • My Horse Is My Only Friend
  • My Sister Left Me For My Horse
  • This Trailer Aint Wide Enough For The Three Of Us...So Your Brothers Gotta Go
  • I’m Changin’ My Name And Movin’ Out Of The Trailer Park
  • I Didn’t Mean To Hit You, Officer
  • Hold On To My Bottle, While I Hold Onto Your Wife
  • Daddy Says I Kiss The Best
  • The Pumpkin On Our Porch Has More Teeth Than My Wife
  • My Porch Caved In And Killed Three Dogs
  • Blackeyed Trailorbitch Blues


I Want...

To always be touching each other - holding hands, arms around each other, kissing, hugging

To hear and say I LOVE YOU 100 times a day

To feel when something is wrong with us

To do everything together

To miss you when we are only apart for a few hours

To raise a child together

To feel incomplete when we are apart

To share our lives until death do us part

To be with you

Please Come Home

I miss you so much.

Our house feels empty.

Normal things feel difficult and everything feels like it is just out of reach.

I cry a lot now.

My best friend, my only close friend, is gone
I no longer hear I LOVE YOU
I have hurt you
I can't sleep in our bed without you. I am lonely in ways that I never imagined possible
I have asked the one I love to leave, and you did
I have to face everything alone
Everything is more difficult now
Even breathing hurts
I have nobody to talk to about all of the important things, and all of the non-important things
Each day now lasts twice as long, each night lasts forever
Your office is empty
There is nobody to wake me up
I have to walk the dogs by myself
I have to cook and eat alone
You arenot here to jog with
I don't like to watch lightening bugs alone

I need to be with you so that we can move to austin together , have a baby together , and grow old together

I am crying all the time, which makes me cry more

I love you. I am so sorry.

Please come home.