Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom

Here's some Wednesday Wisdom

Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging. —Joseph Campbell

Between the lines by K.Gibson

Monday, March 24, 2014

Work-life balance: The Impossible Dream?

Work-life balance. What do you think when you hear it, or read it?

Whenever I hear someone talk about work-life balance, I nod politely agreeing yes, it’s hard to come by—like finding a unicorn, under a double rainbow, with a pot of gold waiting beside it.

As Nigel Marsh says in this Ted Talk, it doesn’t have to be impossible if we take some personal control instead of letting others/employers do it for us. Discussions of things like flex time, casual Fridays and paternity leave, “only serve to mask the core issue, which is certain job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged on a day-to-day basis with a young family,” he says.

Wow, so we choose to work in order to pay rent or a mortgage, to put food on our table, and to hopefully, help put our kids through school. And buy cars, clothes and electronic gadgets. Yet, this work actually takes enjoyment away from some of those very things. Doesn’t it feel like we should be able to have it all—without the stress?

Marsh thinks we need to recalibrate our lives in order to strike a work-life balance that works. “We have to be responsible for setting and enforcing the boundaries that we want in our life,” Marsh says.

If you watch the video, you’ll see he makes a great point about realizing what to balance (intellectual, emotional and spiritual), and what we can actually accomplish over a certain time period—say, a day.

What’s your ideal day? If you’re not sure, make a list of your ideal day, as Marsh recommends and see what matters most. Did you put work at the top of your list? Then why spend so much time doing it? It’s time to get real about what you want and when you can accomplish your goals.

“We need to be realistic, you can’t do it all in one day,” Marsh says. It’s such a simple statement, yet so very wise. I often find myself, and others, anxious to cross off every single last thing on their To-Do list in one day. Maybe I need a To-Do List Manager

Marsh suggests creating a more realistic time period for reaching our ideal work-life balance. “We need to elongate the time period for which we judge the balance in our life,” he says. “But we need to elongate it without falling into the trap of I’ll have a life when I retire.” By then there may not be kids, a spouse or interests left to enjoy.

Okay, I get it. So, where do I go from here? I suggest thinking about your ideal day, or maybe a couple different ideal days. Why more than one day? Because, maybe you’re a parent craving some time to do your own thing occasionally, not every day. Plus, if you have expensive taste, but not a ton of cash, driving a Ferrari to lunch at the yacht club every day may not be realistic right now. Make a list of what you can do now, and a list of what you’d like to do, over time.

You’ve got a list, or two. What next? Do what you can, when you can. If work stresses you out, and miss family time, schedule a day, or an hour and take your kid to a museum, or the park. Marsh says even the small things matter.

What is your ideal day? Mine would involve a lot of family time, playing outdoors, reading, writing, music and food. Maybe even a ride in a Ferrari, someday.

Cloaked by K. Gibson

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ah-mazing! Katy Perry - Dark Horse (Sang in 20 Styles) Ten Second Songs

I have to start by admitting my kids are the main reason I listen to Katy Perry every day now. They're not tweens or teens, not even close. And I can honestly say is this song (Dark Horse) is getting a lot of play at home, and on the road along with the rest of the Prism album, which I've found surprisingly enjoyable. Don't be a hater, I have eclectic music tastes. Plus, my kids are, thankfully, still young enough we don't have to explain the lyrics. 

I have never seen anything like this guy, with his Frankenstein tattoo (yeah, gotta look to find it), singing in so many varied styles. Get through the crush of heavy metal and you'll find Sinatra, The Doors, Pavarotti, John Mayer, Run D.M.C., and more! Listen for yourself.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

After St. Patrick's Day funny

This is a day late, but it was too fun to share.

I noticed this sign posted on the door of a local pub yesterday…just after a short, disheveled looking, red-haired guy peeked out and squinted at the midday sun. A leprechaun? Perhaps. Most certainly, he enjoyed a long St. Patrick's celebration.

A sign like this would come in handy around here. Ever wish you could post a sign like this and get away for a day? What would you do?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Seuss Saturday

We have kids; therefore, we know something about Dr. Seuss. Confession, I'd probably read the occasional Seuss book even if we didn't have kids, but since we do, it gives me a reason to enjoy Green Eggs and Ham more often.

This year is the 110th anniversary of Dr. Seuss'/Theodor Geisel's birthday. In honor of Dr. Seuss, I thought it would be fun to share a list of books we’ve enjoyed from the Seuss collection. Some you may know, others might be new. Pick a few and share with your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, or read them yourself, it's okay, really. 

Sampling of Seuss Books:
The Cat in the Hat
Green Eggs and Ham
Hop on Pop
Horton Hears a Who!
The Lorax
Yertle the Turtle
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Fox in Socks
The Foot Book
The Eye Book
Dr. Seuss ABC
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
The Sneetches
How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Here's a brief blurb from Publisher's Weekly about the debut of an online Birthday Club you may want to check out too. The rest is here.
March 2 marked the 110th anniversary of Theodor Geisel’s birth, and Random House Children’s Books, in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, is commemorating this milestone and the enduring legacy of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author with the debut of Dr. Seuss’s Birthday Club. The online venture offers a platform for families to become better acquainted with the colorful characters that populate Dr. Seuss’s books (worldwide sales of which total 600 million copies), and provides members with tools and ideas for hosting a “Seuss-ational” birthday fete. (PW)

Here’s a link to the Dr. Seuss Birthday Club.

Here’s a link to Seussville, a site with games, activities, books and more!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stuck indoors, again? Read a book (or ten)

Winter is not leaving without a fight, it appears, so if you’re huddled up inside today, tomorrow, until summer, here are some book suggestions to keep you company.

I also found some news for any Anne Rice fans reading this blog. The author of Interview with the Vampire is releasing a novel titled Prince Lestat about vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, in October. Here’s some more info if you want to read more. 

The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg. FBI Agent Kate O’Hare and internationally know thief Nicholas Fox return with more excitement and adventure.

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean. Since it’ll be a long time before any of us can wear shoes of any kind, other than boots.

Slammed by Colleen Hoover. Because she’s a writer, mom and ninja who can spin a tale like crazy. Plus, this and a few others are already optioned to hit the big screen!

Since it’s Seuss month, and my baby just had a birthday: Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss. Read something fun with your kids!

Happy Reading!

P.S. I like taking pictures of drinks and sharing them when they look this good. Cheers!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Need a quickie meal? Me too!

It’s a week packed with all sorts of work projects and celebrations – our little guy turns 3! So, I’m planning a quick meal from “Weeknights with Giada” by Giada De Laurentiis, followed by a little downtime with the kids, party preparations, book editing and indulging in some Nashville drama (which I sometimes live tweet :) with my honey.

I’ve cooked most of my life and love sharing food and stories with family and friends. I aspire to be a New York Times Bestselling author, and you can imagine I stay pretty busy as a wife, mom, freelance writer and budding novelist.

Even on busy weeknights, I like to prepare meals at home. It gives me a chance to feed my family quick, healthy and delicious meals like this one for Wagon Wheel Pasta with Pancetta and Peas, and indulge my inner Food Network Star.

I have an entire bookshelf in my kitchen dedicated to cookbooks and recipes, so there are many choices. Giada’s cookbook was a gift, and I’ve found several recipes in it that worked for us. If you’re busy and need a good family-friendly meal, try this one. In order to use what we already have and keep the troops happy, I reduced the peas just a bit and added in some carrots. Even our kids love this!

Here’s a link to Giada’s website where you can learn more. If you want the full recipe, I think you need to sign up or buy the book. Check it out, she has other recipes available online.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Warning to Winter Storm Titan: I’ve got my pickle juice ready

If you live north of the Bahamas, it’s probably been an interesting and long winter. Either you’re under piles of snow, dodging ice storms, or listening to most of us complain about the piles of snow and ice storms. Doesn’t matter, we all dealt pretty well with it until a few weeks ago. Now, the conversation is about when spring is coming and warm weather getaways. 

So, as this week's named winter storm approaches, (when did we start giving these things names?) I’m preparing the family for the next phase in keeping snow and ice at bay—pickle juice.

No, I’m not drinking it, although I have before, and wow, has it got a kick. I actually got the idea from Jersey. New Jersey. And Wisconsin. Sometime around the end of January talk started circling about whether our area would beat the all-time record snowfall for the month. Snow became the focus of our discussions, on the news, at school drop-offs, and as everyone repeatedly rushed the stores to grab supplies before the next system hit.

During all this snow, it appeared our area dealt with it as best as can be expected with state/county/municipal budget reductions (read: fewer crews, fewer snow plows, and less salt). What I learned as the discussion continued, was other areas had run out of road salt too. What did Wisconsin do? Turned to cheese of course. It was too good to be true, but the New York Times reported it! Milwaukee was working on a program to “repurpose cheese brine for use in keeping city roads from freezing, mixing the dairy waste with traditional rock salt as a way to trim costs and ease pollution.” Apparently, it coats the roads better. I love they even specify what kind of cheese works best. It’s worth a read, even if only for a giggle, although if it works, we could all be doing it.

I like economical and ecologically friendlier—even if it stink up the streets—option. Besides, we’ve been to seven stores this past week, and no one has salt! I don’t even normally spread the stuff, it took us three years to use the last container we had, but work and school won’t wait for a May melt.

We need a pickaxe to get through most of the snow turned ice left behind from January. And since Winter Storm Titan is about to bring more snow, followed shortly by Winter Storm whatever-its-name is, I figure it’s time to try the pickle juice. I’m talking about actual pickle juice from a jar that still contains edible pickles. 

So, we’ll see what the week brings. Perhaps, we’ll never have to buy salt again, or maybe we’ll attract the local animals for “Pickle-fest” and be forced to move. You know, on second thought, maybe we’ll just skid our way in and out of the driveway and wait for the spring thaw!

Happy Snow Days! #springwillcomeagain
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