Friday, May 29, 2009

Bracing Myself

I'm thinking about getting braces. I actually have an appointment scheduled in a couple of weeks. I'm rolling the idea around in my head as I roll my tongue over my teeth. My teeth are really okay, but it did get my attention a couple of years ago when my youngest child matter of factly referred to my fangs.

It seems while my attention was elsewhere the last couple of decades (think four active kids and a full time job and marriage), a few teeth continued to rotate. My husband just sees me and doesn't notice the details. Ditto for me as I see myself from the inside out. But children speak the truth and I finally noticed.

Should I get braces? I thought about it, even asking my dentist for a referral to an orthodontist. But then there were college bills to pay, soccer games to cheer, band trips to chaperone, along with the many other activities that are part of being fifty something with parents, children, work and community woven together. Then came a wedding with the brief flit that it would be nice to have straighter teeth for wedding pictures. But the wedding is about the bride and the pictures show the joy and the love, not the physical details of the role players. The wedding came and went and I didn't think about braces again.

My mom, who was not privy to these thoughts, and I were talking this week and she said "I want you to do something for me." I said "okay" without reservation. (That's another advantage of being older. I know if my mom asks me to do something, I generally can and should do it!) "I want you to get braces." "Do I look that bad?" "No, of course not, but you can look better and you should look better. And we probably should have done braces for you when you were young. I still regret that we didn't."

Now I don't think that I should have had braces as a child. I don't know whether I will end up with braces as an adult. But it is liberating to know that as parents we don't have to know what's right every minute, but have a lifetime to watch and notice and help provide what's good for our children. And if we miss something the first time around, well then just try to do it better the next time it comes up.

Thank you Mom.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Green State may save me from the Nanny State

Earlier I wrote about my angst related to the proposed national tax on colas and other "sins." I don't think I need to be told what I should eat. You can give me information, but I can make my own informed choices.

I'm also appalled at the environmental lobby run amuck. The Green mantra has become a religion, and always comes with a capital "G." Now I recycle, I minimize the use of bags and packaging materials, keep my thermostat set a at reasonable temperature (just under 80 degress) during the Texas summer and take other actions to avoid waste.

But I have thought the hysteria related to carbon emissions to be completely out of control. That is, until I saw the following in an online article...

"The climate committee is analyzing emissions from farming and will suggest measures to reduce them. However, it has concluded that people will have to change their habits.
The Carbon Trust, a government-funded firm, is working with food and drink companies to calculate the 'carbon footprints' of products - sometimes with surprising results.
Coca-Cola, for example, generates only about half the greenhouse gas emissions of Innocent's 'smoothies.' Cadbury's chocolate generates about 4.5 lb for every 2.2 lb eaten - less than half that from the CO2 of the same weight of chicken."

It looks like the greenhouse gas gurus may save my Coke and chocolate after all! And I promise I'll reduce my carbon footprint by taking several days to eat my 2.2 pounds of chocolate. Now if we can just keep the various government and political organizations busy arguing about what they have decided is best for you and for me, perhaps we can continue making our own decisions like the mature adults we are.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fashion Statement

Have you been noticing the sports announcers and commentators these days? They are making statements on national and local broadcasts, fashion statements. The color orange is everywhere. I saw one guy in a loud blue plaid suit with an orange shirt. And did you see Charles Barkley with his orange shirt flowing above and below the screaming button of his jacket? Then there was the pink plaid suit with the pink tie. The list grows daily.

I thankfully moved on from the clothes of the late seventies and early eighties. I cringe at the photos. What were we thinking?

What are they thinking?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Dog Ate My Homework

Or: How to Entertain your Client on a Friday Afternoon

Or: One of the (very few) Downsides of a Home Office

Earlier this week I had to send the following letter:

"Dear Amy,

The dog didn't eat my homework. She ate my check. Please find enclosed the remnants of check #_______ . Would you please replace the check at your convenience?

I was enjoying the feud between the senior household cat and the puppy, watching as the cat knocked items off the counter to annoy the barking dog. I just failed to notice that one of the items was a piece of mail."

Who knew the little fur ball could shred so much with so little time and teeth?

At least some people found it amusing! I'm not naming names right now, but you might want to watch your backs.

At some point I will have to write about the history of the puppy. For now, please know that I am a first time dog owner and this chewing thing is an adjustment. It brings a whole new meaning to the 5 second rule. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Yes, it is. In the days when instant gratification is the priority, we've managed to perservere for thirty years. Thirty years! How do you stay married and committed for thirty years? It takes love, commitment and trust. Most of all it takes trust.

Thank you, sweetie, for loving me, committing to me and being trustworthy. I'm looking forward with delight to the next thirty years.

Happy Anniversary, I love you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If a tree falls in the forest.....

If you write a blog but no one reads it, are you a writer?

I have a keen interest in putting thoughts on a page, but I'm not sure I want anyone to notice. I think I'll wait until I'm either witty or wise and then let it slip that I have a blog. I was thinking by the time I hit my 50's I would be witty or wise or both. Perhaps not. Perhaps you have to be 60 before wisdom blooms.

Until then, I'm sending the link to one of my best friends, who has expressed a desire to write but lamented the lack of opportunity. Here's the challenge to my friend. Write and I will read it.

Back and Forth

We got a ping pong table for Christmas. Since it doesn't require any real athleticism, I've been able to hold my own with the boys. In fact, my 20 year old won't play, since he can't beat me easily.

My 14 year old wants to play every day and weather permitting we have been, for months now. Since I consistently beat him (a longer reach and I played much in my teenage years) I wasn't playing most competitively.

This weekend we decided on a strategy where I spot him 7 points. When you only play to 21 that's a bit of a spot, forcing me to bring my "A" game.

The funny thing is, as I played with him at a higher level, his skill level rose dramatically. In a matter of days, I'm barely holding my own with no spot at all.

Hmmmm. Is this a lesson in raising expectations and getting results?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Let them eat cake!

Our lawmakers are considering an excise tax on coca cola, gatorade, etc. Here is my dilemma, should it come to do I support Coke so it's still around and waiting after a new Congress has reversed the tax?

You see, a coke over Sonic ice is my vice. I don't smoke, I drink moderately, I'm at the very lowest end of my recommended weight. So Congress wants to call my Coke fix a sin? Congress wants to tell me I'm unhealthy?

I certainly have the fortitude to switch vices to avoid a "sin" tax. Chocolate cake works for me.

And while they're at it, tell Congress to pass a dozen similar taxes. The money I'll save from changing my habits to avoid the behaviours Congress has deemed sinful will allow me to reduce my working hours. Since I'm self-employed I make less than sixty cents for each dollar earned anyway.

Our leaders seem to want to use tax policy to change behaviour but don't extend the concept to conclude that I can change my behaviour to influence tax policy.

I'll buy no sinful products and reduce the income and employment taxes I pay by working fewer hours. It's much easier for me to cheerfully adjust my lifestyle than pay for the lifestyle of others.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I'm motivated to nap, that's about it. Puts me in league with my 20 year old son. Who would have thought we'd have a lifestyle point in common.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Times, they are changing.

I'm sitting in my office, at home, converting email from Outlook to Apple.  My relationship with the Vista operating system is coming to an end.  I am the last holdout in my family to convert to Mac.  Now that I can run Windows on Mac, there's no reason to postpone the change, and maybe my kids will quit making fun of me for my choice of computers.

It amazes me how technology has changed my life.  In my twenties I was a tax manager in a "Big 8" accounting firm, with a secretary that typed my letters using carbon paper.  It was a big deal for her to get a word processor and lose the carbon paper.  

As often as not, I was signing tax returns prepared by hand.  At best, they were completed using processing input sheets shipped to an outside company for processing on their computers.  Long distance calls were logged in for billing purposes and staff long distance calls were monitored.  Fax machines were depended on, but you had to make sure the information on the fax was preserved before the information faded from the special paper.

Now I sit in my home office, able to work full time without administrative assistance.  I have clients across the country and across the world, seldom meeting personally, but communicating with email and instant messaging.  Technology lets me complete and transmit documents virtually instantly.  

What a glorious time to live - old enough to appreciate the changes and young enough to learn how to apply them!