Sunday, September 27, 2009

long time, no shoes

The other day, I've did something I haven't done since I was a teenager...I bought a pair of black shoes. Yes, believe it or not, black shoes.

Many years ago, I won a free color consultation at a bridal fair. Remember the color seasons? Well yes, the color suggestions worked for me. I cleaned out my closets, no more black or stark-raving white. The color guide simplified shopping for clothes, everything in my wardrobe mixed and matched. The only piece of clothing that I kept that did not fit in my colors was my favorite black lace cocktail dress and a pair of black pumps.

In fact, a few years after the consultation I wore it to a black and white wedding. In a photo of the bride and me, I looked washed out and about ten years older. I never wore that dress again.

It's amazing how the fashion industry has people convinced that black is a neutral and anyone can wear it. For fair people with light hair and eyes, black is a real killer. In fact, for most people over 20 and under 90, black adds at least ten years.

However, the other thing that I cannot understand is the propensity of black clothing for children. Especially at the holidays. Sometimes it is really difficult to find a pretty holiday dress for a little girl that is not black.

Anyway, I bought the black pumps for work and they are very comfortable. And they really do look more like a dark charcoal...really.

Friday, September 18, 2009

just had to get it right

It's been a while since writing here...After the hectic round of seminars in Del Mar, we returned to a hectic pace of economics classes. Somehow I got behind in the reading assignments and needed to read two chapters a day last week just to catch up.

The professor is amazing, class time flies by and is really enjoyable. However, accounting is next. Most of my classmates are dreading statistics, but I dread accounting. Corporate accounting is the most mixed-up, fouled nest of screwball numbers I have ever seen. It's no wonder all of these crazy companies got away with bilking their shareholders and customers for so long. It really makes you wonder what other companies are also practicing bird's nest accounting.

A long time ago, a very wise person told me to read corporation's annual reports. Before the Interwebs, one could write a company and request a copy. Now they are posted online, and they seem to fall into one of three categories. First, the semi-honest firms that actually publish reliable information to the best of their knowledge. Second, those that skim over the meaty bits and expend a lot of effort to make their shareholders feel good. The third, and worst, are those companies that don't waste time trying to paint a pretty picture, but instead include so much information that it is nearly impossible to separate the worthless minutia and red herrings from the meaningful, and possibly inaccurate data.

Back to the other reason I've been lax about posting, and a really good one, each of the Executive MBA candidates gets a new Dell notebook, which we received last Saturday. It's taken the best part of a week to get all of the programs set up the way I like (I'm still messing with Outlook's custom settings).

And I'm still trying to decide how to give it a steampunk skin. I may have to invest in some of that printable self-adhesive vinyl. Ohh, though how nice it is to have a portable machine powerful enough to run PhotoShop!

So between loading new programs and tweeking the machine settings, it now feels right. And it is so much more efficient. Maybe that means more time to write. Ciao!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

revisiting age

When did they start cloning Dougie Howser? We spent most of the morning at urgent care, and the doctor, though competent, looked like he should have been cutting class and surfing with his high school pals. Whew, I'm feelin' old.

Monday, September 7, 2009

the last official week of summer

This last week of summer has gone by fast. I spent five days in Del Mar at a residential seminar that was the official kick off for my MBA program. It was a week well-spent. We had a taste of some of the upcoming topics and met some of the professors who will attempt to enlighten us over the next 21 months. The week ended with dinner at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, which was a really fun way to wrap up the seminar. However, I do have two papers due, and although one is practically done, I'm having a little trouble deciding on a final topic for the second.

Del Mar, though, is a great place for people watching. There seems to be an unending supply of rail thin bimbos of all ages tottering down the boulevard in too-tall heels. By the looks of their designer costumes, they all seem to think that "Sex in the City" was based on real life. Some of them seem to have figured out the fiction, you can recognize them by the look of vapid disappointment on their faces. Or perhaps they've realized what the Eagles had to say in "Lyin' Eyes" is painfully close to the truth.

If you can peel your gaze away from the bimbo parade, you'll see an assortment of characters that you can find in almost any town. There is the young panhandler who tells a good story about missing a bus and needing money to fix a flat bike tire to everyone he meets. Then there are the artistic types who believe that they have painted a truly original ocean scape, only it's just like the hundreds hanging in beach town galleries all over the world. Don't miss the older health nut in her yoga pants who ties her poor dog to a bench in the sun while she goes into Starbuck's by the side door. Give the pooch some water for grief's sake! And lastly, there is the young mother who leaves her toddler lunching on a bagel with her Hispanic nanny so that she can pop into all of the chic boutiques without the distraction of a busy little child.

Thankfully, DH and DD came and spent the last couple of days at the hotel with me. Perhaps we became fodder for someone else's blogged musings?

Well, I'm off to finalize a topic for paper #2.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

what did I get myself into?

This week was the math refresher for the Executive MBA program that I enrolled in at Chapman University. It was interesting to meet some of the professors and the other students. However, right around 9:30 PM Thursday night when we were rolling on derivatives, my brain started to turn to mush. And, apparently, I wasn't the only one who felt that way.

Fortunately, we are treated like executives, and had a fabulous dinner of roast beef loin, mashed potatoes (from scratch), baby green salad, lemon cake and fresh fruit before class. I know now to load up on coffee before heading down to the classroom. Saturday morning, we had breakfast burritos with fresh salsa, pastries, fresh fruit and juice. Plus lots of coffee!

The math review was helpful, and the professor said what I love hearing after spending hours learning something, "Don't worry about memorizing any of this, you'll never use it again." Argghhh!

Honestly, though, it was like reviewing sentence structure before writing the great American novel-important to understand, but not something you think about as you work.

Next week we head to Del Mar for the first of three residentials. Lots of reading assigned before we get there, so it won't be all fun and games.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

one more first night

Here I go again, starting an MBA program. What in the world am I thinking? This program has a lot going for it, I'm very excited to be a part of it. I was doing great until the last half hour-brain shut down and that was it. Honestly, what fool can concentrate on derivatives at 9:30 PM? Not this fool for sure.

Only one evening and one morning every week for the next 21 months. yeah!

Friday, August 21, 2009

excuse me, when did that happen?

A friend is turning 50 and she is having a big party. No gifts, no fuss, just a celebration with friends and family. I made her a card, "50 thoughts on turning 50 and aging", with fifty quotes both funny and serious.

However, it makes me did I get to know so many old people? My friends aren't old, and I certainly am not old. Heck, I feel like I'm just getting started with this life.

But suddenly, one day, I'm surrounded by elderly aunts and uncles who seem to go from one health issue to another. And my parents, heck, when did my mother get so grey? And my father's beard has more white hair than black. Well if they're old, what does that say about me? I can't be old, I certainly don't feel old. Well, except for that back pain I never had before. And wait, I need to shift my seat because my knees can't take one position for very long. Boy, were my feet swollen today from the humidity.

No, I'm not getting older. In fact, I refuse to get older. Where is that danged time machine anyway?

We can fight aging, though it is a losing battle. However, we can get a little immortality. When you look at your child and see that she has your dimples, a little piece of you goes into the future. And they do say that what goes on the Internet is forever. I think though, a little of Murphy's Law acts on the Internet, the less you want something to be seen (like an embarrassing photo), the more it gets passed around.

I will still live by this:
"You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely." Ogden Nash

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ever want to join the circus?

One of the great joys of having a young child is rediscovering the books that we loved as children. There are the old classics, the new classics, and books that struck a chord with us for whatever reason all those years ago.

My current favorite is "Put Me in the Zoo" by Robert Lopshire and published in 1960 by Random House under the Cat in the Hat Beginner Book label. Using only 100 different words and about 60 pages, Mr. Lopshire tells in gentle rhyme the story of a large spotted animal rejected by the zoo.

Bear-like, but with a long thin tail, he puts his spots through a number of amazing tricks for his two young companions, then asks them:

"Tell me. Tell me, now,
you two.
Do you like
the things I do?
Tell me. Tell me, now,
you two.
Will they put me
in the zoo?"

Oh, the longing to belong in the zoo. Oh, the longing to belong, anywhere.

His new friends have different ideas, however, leading to a different place to belong, and giving new meaning to running away to join the circus.

If you have a chance to read to a young child, revisit an old favorite at your local library.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Lately, I've been having a weird series of dreams. The dreams all start out with driving in a car, and as the dream progresses, the road gets rougher and rougher, until it turns from pavement into gravel, then dirt, finally deteriorating into a crude path too narrow for a car. The road climbs and drops, with the climbs getting steeper and steeper. We cross bridges which all look like they are on the verge of collapse. We abandon the car and walk for a while. For some reason, we never turn back and retrace our steps, but we keep walking farther and farther away from the car. Sometimes we ride bikes until the path ends and we climb a rocky hill.

The locations for these journeys is never the same. One started on a suburban highway and ended in a multi-level mall. Another started in an average looking neighborhood and ended in an abandoned quarry. Sometimes I have the feeling that we are being chased, or are in danger. Sometimes I am looking for someone, or feel that I am in a hurry to meet someone. Who is chasing us? Who am I going to meet? The sweet mystery of dreams.

I usually wake up (exhausted) before arriving anywhere. Is there a final destination? I may never know. Does this mean I'm on a journey that will get worse? Or is it some unknown fear that surfaces in the depths of sleep? Without getting all Freudian on the meanings wrapped up in them, it will be interesting to see how all these stories play out.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

getting started

This blog is starting out a little like a journal-a very public journal if anyone stumbles upon it. I will try to not write anything that I would be embarrassed for my mother to read, however that may make for a very boring blog, even though some of the posts may be about her.

Perhaps I'll write about my great-grandmother. She was weird. Sometimes she would watch me when I was little and I remember that she would put a sweater, scarf and knit hat on me to go outside for a walk, in the middle of August, in a little desert town in the southern California heat.

She lived in a trailer park in a real trailer, not one of those fancy triple-wide mobile homes. It was silver and had an attached enclosed porch that she had filled with potted plants. Inside there wasn't much to do. She had a piggy bank made out of a bleach bottle and she would let me count and stack the coins. After she died, that was the one thing she left me, which was a lot since she didn't have much.

She came to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia as a young girl. She always seemed to be cooking sauerkraut with sausages when I was there. Maybe because my great-grandfather, who died before I was born, was from Germany and liked sauerkraut. The smell of the cabbage cooking really reeked in her small trailer. She knew I didn't like the sauerkraut much and would give me a sausage to eat and let me use as much ketchup as I liked.

That's a start.

Leave a comment if you like.