Monday, July 30, 2007

Barbie Dolls

Sheri says:
I was a part of the Barbie doll generation. I had several Barbies, Ken, Midge and Skipper. I think I might have even had a G.I. Joe that someone passed along to me.

Playing Barbie is a great example of economics -- the puzzle of the haves and have nots. I had a lot of accessories but certainly not all of the ones I coveted. I made do.

My body has never looked like Barbie. My breasts don't jut out from my collarbone and my legs do not make up 3/4 of my body. I do own some cute clothes and a mind-boggling array of shoes.
As I got older, I used to have Barbie and Ken go on a date -- and do some other stuff. Then she met G.I. Joe.

Abby says:
Ok I think I must be weird and/or abnormal. I did have a couple of Barbie's and they were kept in this very cool pink carry case with her clothing and plastic shoes. The pink case was much cooler than Barbie herself.

I never got it, though. When all my friends were playing with dolls, I was trying to figure out how to "own the doll shop" and be a little entrepreneur. Must have something to do with why I never had the urge to procreate. I missed that gene!

Reconnecting With An Old Friend

Abby says:

In a recent post, we list some of our favorite things to do before summer’s over. One of mine was to reconnect with an old friend. That was the only thing left to do on my list and I finally did it.

I called my friend Becky. We were best friends in high school and roommates in college. We were inseparable. We did everything together. We double dated. We were total trouble. She graduated with her nursing degree, got married and before I knew it, moved away. Other than the sporadic high school reunions, we have all but lost touch.

How does that happen? Especially with me, “Ms. Technology and Email?” How is it that you spend all your spare waking moments in high school and college with someone, then, before you know it you haven’t seen or talked to them in 5 or more years? It’s not that they become unimportant. I guess it’s just easy to get swept up in our day-to-day lives. I guess that’s my excuse.

What’s even worse is that a close family member of hers passed away last year. I feel terrible. I did not know. I even make it a point to read the obituaries because I typically know one person a week who is listed. I am sad.

I am making an effort to keep in touch permanently.

Sheri says:

This was not on my list. I’m pretty good at keeping in touch.

My oldest two girlfriends are people that I’ve known forever. One I met in kindergarten and one in middle school. We’re still extremely close and we work at it. The relationship is important.

I had a group of friends in college that were my core for several years. I’d lost touch with most of them, except for the occasional Christmas card. Then someone in our group died. I didn’t know and I missed the funeral. Within the last year or so, I’ve reconnected with a few of them. It’s fun and nothing compares with that trip down memory lane.

Abby and I lost touch once. Thankfully, we reconnected.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sheri's Gym

Abby says:
We’ve not told you about Sheri’s Gym. Sheri and I started this many years ago. In addition to my marketing company, I also own a side biz doing personal training and Spinning classes. I’ve been teaching fitness classes since I was 15 years old and never got it out of my blood. It’s my outlet from work and stress.

Sheri’s Gym started with 4 women who wanted to get into shape. We met 3 mornings a week at the wee hour of 6:30 am for workout “torture”. I trained them in Sheri’s sun porch using dumb bell weights and calisthenics routines. We were so into it that Sheri’s husband (aka Big Daddy) and her dad built us a “real gym” in Sheri’s basement. It’s darn cool. Mirrors. Ballet bars.

Now, we have a stepper, weight bench, free weights, bands, videos and more for a complete torture regimen by Abby. We watch the Today Show while they workout. We’ve grown to 5 members. It’s chaos. They complain. But, they are in shape.

We even designed a logo and made tank tops and sweat shirts. Whenever I wear my attire, people stop me and say “That’s a cool logo. Where is Sheri’s Gym? I have never heard of it.” I just laugh to myself and tell them it’s a very private and exclusive club.

Next year will be the 9-year anniversary of Sheri’s Gym. The “members” have become some of my very best friends.

Sheri says:
6:30 is bliss. When I worked at Banc One Corporation, I rose and worked out at 5:30. Of course, I was a lot younger then.

I’ve got to give Abby a lot of credit. These are cranky people at this hour of the morning. A lot of the time, she’s saying, “What are you doing? Please pay attention.” Or, someone starts telling a story and we’re all so enthralled that workout comes to a complete halt. Sometimes, everyone arrives and one of us will say, “Let’s just have coffee today.” Abby does not let us get away with that.

Once a week or so, she threatens to quit on us. We’re not buying it. She would have to relinquish all of her “Sheri’s Gym” attire.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Being Domestic

Abby says:
There is something about occasionally being domestic that makes me feel really good. Or, maybe useful. I don’t know. I rarely have the time to cook or entertain, so I relish the times that I do. I think sometimes I am so stressed with work schedules and deadlines that I seek domesticity out – to feel somewhat “normal”. I know I can bring home the bacon but rarely can I fry it up (unless it can be microwaved).

I was reading a trash novel last week and one of the characters mentioned pot roast with red wine and porcini mushrooms. Umm, I thought. That sounds very intriguing. I need to make that. So, I Googled this dish and came up with several recipes. Twenty minutes later, walah! It was great and I have a week’s worth of meals now. My dog, Mags, just lies on the floor sighing at me – this upset her schedule terribly to see me slaving over a stove!

For me, it was more cathartic than doing 5 loads of laundry or planting flowers. I felt like Martha Stewart for a few hours. Back to reality tomorrow.

Sheri says:
I don’t know when this happened but I am extremely domesticated. (Does that mean I have been tamed?) I like to cook, when it’s my idea. I like the smell of freshly laundered clothes but I do not like someone asking me about the laundry. I hate running errands; I do it anyway. We have a big ol’, money pit house. Something always needs done. My in-laws live with us. My baby is headed to college. My husband travels and golfs a lot. The dog needs training. Oh, and I have deadlines.

I’d like Martha Stewart to spend a few hours at my house.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Top Summer Reads

Abby says:
I love to read. It’s my passion. It’s my escape. I love to imagine that I am characters in some of the books I read. Here are my top 5 favorites to date this summer.

“Quickie”: James Patterson
He’s the prolific mystery/suspense king and did not disappoint on this one either. I read it in 2 hours on the edge of my seat.

“When Day Breaks”: Mary Jane Clark
It’s a great mystery intertwining scandal and television personalities.

“Wild Fire”: Nelson DeMille
The military mystery maestro kept my pulse racing with this one. Terrorism is scarier than we could ever imagine. Main character, Detective John Corey, has his usual great sense of humor.

“Bungalow 2”: Danielle Steele
This is Danielle Steele at her finest. Hollywood, trash, sex, cheating, lies and more. Quick read!

“Fresh Disasters”: Stuart Woods
Another Stone Barrington suspense. I think I need to meet him. He sounds fun, sexy and mysterious. And, he lives in Manhattan. What else could a girl wish for?

Sheri says:
I also love to read and I can get a little nutty when I don’t get the chance. It is fantasy yet, I also learn.

My top 5 for the summer have been:

“Dream When You’re Feeling Blue”: Elizabeth Berg
I love everything she writes. This will take you through WWII and the magical bond that sisters have.

“Nineteen Minutes”: Jodi Picoult
If you’ve ever been bullied or worried about someone bullying your child, this is a new perspective. If you’re haunted by the Columbine tragedy or Virginia Tech, you will be mesmerized. It sounds depressing but it is totally engaging.

“Barefoot”: Elin Hilderbrand
Two sisters and a girlfriend on Nantucket. A houseboy. Men who come and go. A summer romp with serious overtones.

“Body Surfing”: Anita Shreve
She always makes me think in a new way.

“The Land of Mango Sunsets”: Dorothea Benton Frank
Good southern humor and lots of family twists and turns.

I like to go back and re-read certain books. I love certain poetry. I love “Gone with the Wind.” I’m pretty sure I could entertain myself with the dictionary.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Working From Home

Sheri says:
Everyone seems to wish to work from home. I do it. Let me tell you, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, you can design your own dress code. Yes, you can enjoy the flexibility of putting a load of laundry in the washer.

Other than that, it’s like taffy. You are constantly pulled in new directions. You can be working on a project and the exterminator calls. You can be washing dishes and a client calls. You never seem to have both feet in the same world.

I could rent office space but I’m stubborn. All of the phone messages and chores would still be waiting for me.

Abby says:
I worked from home for 2 years when I started my business. The first six months were great. I was in heaven. Then, clients came traipsing through my house, sometimes as late as midnight to deliver jobs to me. It was tough – you have to be “available” when they are. So, I never felt I totally got away from work.

I then moved to my current office space. It’s nice. I get up and "dress up" for work. I am now able to separate work and home. And, when I want to work from home, I do and I can. Wearing my bathrobe until noon when I’m on a conference call feels really nice once in awhile.

Sheri says:
Just like we said on our post about technology, I don’t think it matters where you are. People will find you.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Name Game

Sheri says:

I’ve been divorced. I don’t recommend it but sometimes it is the best solution. Some of us make wrong choices. I don’t think there’s any prize at the end of our lives for living with mistakes for 50 or so years.

One of the plus sides of divorce is getting to choose your name. I have used my birth name: first, middle and last. I have taken my husbands’ names. I have replaced my birth-given middle name with my maiden name. When Abby and I worked at the bank, I was going through a divorce and actually sent out a memo announcing that I was going back to my maiden name. I’m not sure I would do that again.

When I married my current (and last) husband, he was adamant about me taking his name. I disagreed but I did it anyway. Now, I’m glad I made that choice. I like having that in common. It’s like we’re related, but not really.

I am finally comfortable with my name. I will NEVER change it again.

Abby says:

Sheri has been married more than I so she has a bit more experience with the name/identity change. When I got married I sort of changed my name. I did the hyphenated Marmion-McDaniel thing which was absolutely retarded. My husband, Ty, did not care for that. He did not understand that I had a professional identity to maintain. So, I then changed my name to McDaniel -- his last name. It never sunk in with some people. One night we were at a party and someone introduced him as Ty Marmion. I thought he was going to die.

Then, he divorced me. I will never forget the minute he made his grand announcement. I immediately started answering my phone at work again as Marmion. He was stunned. I told him, “That’s what you get when you leave. Bye Bye.”

My sister has completely changed her name from Marmion to:
De Marmion. That is our family surname – which dates back to the medieval days. Yes, I am a direct descendent of Sir Robert De Marmion – he was William the Conqueror’s Champion at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. I am a descendent of the Vikings (Normans). Cool!

If I change my name again, it will be to De Marmion. Or, if I get married again, maybe my new husband will take my last name...

Sheri says:

Yes, I have been married more than Abby but I don’t think I’m going to give Elizabeth Taylor a run for the record.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ten+ Things To Do Before the End of Summer

We love summer. It never lasts long enough. That’s probably why we feel compelled to visit warmer climates during the winter. Here are our 10+ things:

Sheri’s Top 5:
Jump off a diving board.
We all did this as children. Go ahead. Get your hair wet. Last year, I attempted a back flip and failed miserably. I did it time and time again until I got it right. I was bruised and miserable but I did manage one good one. I have not done this yet this summer.

Go on a picnic (or at least eat outside.)
I am not a big fan of bugs and flying insects. Yet, I love to eat outside. When there’s a mound of snow on my patio, I love to remember the meals we shared during the summer.

Read a “beach” book.
There’s a time and place for all kinds of reading material. Summer is the time to enjoy a light-hearted romp – the trashier the better.

Visit a farm stand.
Load up. Suck the juice from the in-season fruit. Gnaw on a fresh tomato. Make fruit salad and fresh salsa. Have melon or berries for dessert every night.

Take long walks.
This is more fun with a dog. They are fascinated. “Look at this blade of grass!” I like to memorize everything so I can think of the flowers and greenery when the trees are bare.

Abby’s Top 5:
Even though I am still working as much as I do in the winter, I try to take time out to enjoy the extended daylight.

Read something substantial.
Get in bed early and read a book that will stimulate your thinking. I’m reading the biography of Albert Einstein. It’s heavy stuff but a great history lesson!

Enjoy the flowers.
Plant colorful flowers in an outdoor pot or window box. You’ll feel accomplished and have something beautiful to look at. My favorites are zinnias.

Take it outside.
Change your exercise routine to include an outdoor activity. Walking your dog counts too! My friend Cynthia from Sheri’s Gym started riding her bike.

Vary your cooking.
Cook a healthy new dish you’ve never tried. I made my friend Pam’s recipe for Chinese chicken salad and have been enjoying it all summer.

Reconnect with someone
Call an old friend you’ve lost touch with. Make a good connection with your past. (this is still on my list.)

Sheri says:
I will add:
Catch some fireflies. Put them in a jar just like we all used to do
Grill a lot
Dance on your patio, under the stars
Stand outside during a summer shower
Get a pedicure or give yourself one
Buy a new pair of sandals or flip flops – Flaunt those toes
Wear a bikini

We want to know your list.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Too Technology Available

Abby says:
I love technology. It enables me to work from home when I want to. It enables me to work from my car when I need to. I can see and work off of my office PC network from any computer in the world as long as it has an Internet connection. But, it also makes me available to the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If I don’t return an email within 24 hours people get testy with me. Even when I go on vacation, people think I should return their emails. There’s something wrong here.

There is also something wrong with me. I love to hang on the Internet – all the time. I love to correspond with my friends via email. I cannot stand to be away from the computer – even on the weekends I am Googling stuff I want to know.

What happened to those summers when none of us had cell phones? I went to work at the pool as a lifeguard and was basically unavailable for hours on end. We went to pay phones if we absolutely had to call someone. I remember when I was a teenage swimmer, only kids whose mom or dad were doctors had any type of technology device – and it was limited to a pager so the hospital could reach them. When away from home they returned their pages on pay phones.

I sold the original car phones in 1987 when I briefly worked for Bell South. They were the gigantic monstrosities that came in big, zippered nylon bags. We thought we had arrived. Then there were the big phones that actually mounted into your car console. Look how far we’ve come in 20 years. Now, my phone has the complete Microsoft Office package, email and Internet access. It’s fun but I never truly get away from it all.

I guess I need to get a life.

Sheri says:
I am not as technologically savvy as Abby. But, I do have my cell phone strapped to me most of the time and I get little palpitations when I cannot get to a computer.

In my youth, we did not have cell phones. There was no Internet. It was possible to disappear for hours at a time. College was basically a party line and you could convince someone to lie to your parents. “Yes, she’s in the library.”

There’s something freeing about not being able to be found. I suspect none of us will ever know this feeling again. I feel sorry for our children, even though I’m glad I can hunt them down.

I take vacations. I rarely take one without my laptop. I am never without my cell phone. This sounds very nostalgic but, I miss the days when no one could reach you.

Try explaining that one to your children.

Abby says:
I forgot to mention. When Sheri and I worked together at Banc One Corporation, I remember taking a tour in the main vault off-site. It was a building filled with the brains of the bank – big rooms with big, floor-to-ceiling computers. I also remember the personal computers on our desks; they were huge and used those very old-fashioned floppy discs (and I mean really “floppy). I also remember the day we installed email in the marketing department – it was archaic compared to what we have today but we thought we were cool. I also remember when our office first got voice mail. My mom would call and leave me a message and say “Please pick up if you are there. Can you hear me? Abby, pick up”. Obviously, she did not get the concept.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Customer Service

Abby says:
As long as we’re on the topic of etiquette and manners, let’s talk about customer service. Very basic customer service and how it makes a difference. I get a sandwich to go from the Jimmy John’s across the alley from my office about 4 times a week. I began to notice that absolutely every time I walk through the door at least one person says “Hi. How are you today”? Wow, that’s nice. I finally asked the cashier if it’s part of their corporate culture to do this. She replied that it was. Way to go Jimmy John’s!

Something so simple really makes my day.

I work with a lot of physicians. I visit a lot of physician offices in various specialties every week. Two of my clients have some of the friendliest staff in the country. At JWM Neurology in Indiana, you are greeted immediately as you walk in the door. There’s no hiding behind glass partitions and ignoring patients. The JWM management and docs would not put up with that. The Indiana Hand Center has a patient concierge staff that greets patients as they walk in the door, answers questions, etc. Perkins Van Natta Sadove and Kelley Cosmetic Surgery does have a glass partition but it’s always opened by a smiling face when a patient comes in.

As I make my way around Indiana to visit other physician offices I often get flat out ignored. Sometimes the employees don’t look up at me. Other times they do, but they still don’t acknowledge me or ask what I need. They just finish up what they are doing until they are good and ready to deal with me. Several times, I’ve been ignored then asked if I’m a pharmaceutical representative. Do I look like one? What does a drug rep look like? Do they automatically get ignored?

Healthcare work is tough and it’s fast-paced and stressful, but a little customer service goes a long, long way. And it’s not brain surgery! We’ll leave that to the doctors.

Sheri says:
Most people engaged in a customer service role are extremely young. They have not been trained in proper manners. It does not make it any easier to swallow.

I used to have a healthcare client and we did routine patient satisfaction surveys. We finally stopped because the two constant complaints were: the phone system and the front office staff. I wonder if they’ve made any progress with either one.

I tend to frequent the same restaurants. Probably because I like the familiarity. Just like the words in the theme song from Cheers, “Where everybody knows your name.”

Speaking of names, why does no one under the age of 35 seem to have a last name? If I call, I want to know with whom I’m speaking. I want to be able to follow up. I think only Hooter’s waitresses and phone sex girls (or guys) should be able to get away with this practice. Everyone else should be required to use their full name. Just a pet peeve of mine that I should probably let go.

Monday, July 16, 2007

There Is Some Hope

Abby says:
Well, I think there is hope. Regarding our post “It’s Still a Man’s World” and the restaurant etiquette, I am feeling more positive.

I took some friends to dinner last week for a birthday celebration. There were 3 of us: 1 male and 2 females. We had great food, a great time and a great server. The best part was when he brought the check. Rather than automatically handing it to our guy friend he said, “How would all of you like me to handle the check?”

I was ecstatic! I told him how much I appreciated the fact that he “got it” and about my server snafus of the past where the check is notoriously handed to the man. I told him we had even done a blog posting about it. He laughed. He also received a big, big tip. I’ll be going back to that restaurant.

Sheri says:
Etiquette is important to me. I have drilled it into the children and like Abby, I appreciate the people who get it. I am also a big tipper.

Yet, I’m still frustrated.

When did people stop saying please and thank you? When did screaming into your cell phone become acceptable? Why did parents give up teaching their children to send thank you notes? (Not my friends of course!) When did open-mouth gum chewing become ok? (Or gum snapping which makes my skin crawl.)

I hold the door for the person behind me. I offer to help someone who is carrying a heavy load. I say thank you a lot. It’s not robotic – I am truly grateful.

Automatically handing the check to the man at the table is rude. I’m glad to know some servers are starting to figure that out. Now if we could just get people to remember their manners.

Abby says:
Oooohhh, gum snapping! That is worse than scraping the chalkboard with long finger nails and talking loudly on the cell phone in the public bathroom stall all at once.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wardrobe Overhaul

Sheri says:
My wardrobe needs some help. I wear the same things all the time even though I have zillions of clothing items. Shopping is not one of my favorite activities and I usually end up buying another version of something I already own. Black pants and white shirts abound in my closet. I'm almost guaranteed to come home with another pair of black shoes.

If Abby weren’t so busy, I'd ask for her help. She's the Shopping Queen plus she's not afraid to experiment.

Abby says:
Sheri, I'm never too busy for fashion. I am not an expert by any means, but I do read the fashion magazines, look at the wardrobe tips published each season and pay close attention to the women walking around on my trips to Manhattan.

Here are my 10 personal fashion rules (I live by most of them and fail on some).

* If you're going to experiment with something trendy, try it with a pair of shoes or an accessory. That way you don't have an expensive ensemble that may quickly go out of style. Scarves, handbags, costume jewelry, belts, hair accessories and even make-up are great for trend-setting.

* Try your accessories on before purchasing – preferably along with a clothing item you will be wearing them with – to ensure they achieve the look you truly want.

* If you’re feeling a bit more daring, purchase one trendy clothing item or outfit per season.

* If you haven’t worn it for a year or more, get rid of it or donate it – with the exception of classic items worn only on special occasions.

* When purchasing new clothing items, buy in basic colors that can be worn with other things already in your closet.

* Buy only things that fit you now – don’t hope they will fit later (after you lose that last 3 lbs.). Don’t make purchases just because they are on sale and are “a great deal”.

* Purchase clothes in colors and styles that flatter your figure. I cannot wear pleats – they make my hips look huge no matter how much weight I lose. I cannot wear the wide elastic belts popular this summer. They make me look like a rhinoceros with breasts.

* Purchase shoes that don’t hurt your feet. If you can’t comfortably walk in them, put them back on the shelf (unless like Meredith Vieira from the Today Show, you sit behind a news desk all morning).

* Changing your lipstick color and texture (i.e., matte finish versus gloss look) can portray a subtle, new you for little money. Go for it!

* When you can, change your blush, lipstick and handbag to go with your outfit. If I am wearing a suit that is more of a “cool” toned color, I wear a blush that is more in the pink family and a neutral lipstick (I cannot wear pink lipstick). If I am wearing warm colors, I wear make-up with warm tones. The same goes for the handbag.

Sheri says:
I don’t like or buy shoes that hurt my feet. I have worn the same make-up and lipstick for more than 20 years – when I bother to put it on.

I need to go and buy new stuff.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Middle Age

Sheri says:
One of the more recent catch phrases is: The 50s are the new 30s. For those of us over 40, it's a balm that feels good for the moment. In our honest times, we know the aging process is throwing us life curves quicker than we can keep up.

Let's face the facts.

Middle age is the time where your body begins to betray you. One morning you can read the newspaper and the next day, month or year, you have reading glasses in every handbag and every room. The rock concerts and loud music begin to take their toll. Suddenly, you're saying, "Excuse me?" more often. You can't find your keys. You start a conversation and forget the point. Every doctor's appointment leads to another test, another prescription.

Menopause is either here or just around the corner. Night sweats and hot flashes. Mood swings. Bloating and crankiness. What's not to love?

The looks you took for granted are now sliding downhill like the Olympic ski team. Maintenance starts getting expensive: Your hair is either going to be gray or chemically altered. Your manicures and pedicures take on major importance. More surfaces of your body need to be waxed. All of those metal fillings in your teeth need replaced.

Fashion trends are perplexing. Season after season, the newest look is something we wore years ago. If they're bringing back a certain look that you've already experienced, the designers are not bringing it back for you.

For extra fun, you're probably also dealing with aging parents and children leaving the nest. These life-stage changes bring on new challenges in a marriage and other relationships.

There is some good news.

I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin. I've had options that weren't available to previous generations. I've made good choices and horrible choices but I no longer feel the need to explain or apologize.

Middle age is a wonderful opportunity to reevaluate. What's important to you? How can you accomplish it?

I value the changes, as painful as they may be. I'm envious of the child going off to college --- (Didn't I just do that yesterday?) -- but I'm looking forward to the freedom. I'm often frustrated with my live-in in-laws but I'm grateful for the opportunity to help and witness the closure it represents.

I'm not ashamed of my age. I've earned the wrinkly knees from too much sun and the permanent lines on my face. They're my badge of honor that says to the world: She has lived and laughed. She has spent sleepless nights worrying about her friends or family. There's some wisdom hidden in those freaky lines.

Abby says:
I am actually enjoying middle age, still feel very youthful and am proud to tell people I am 45. Maybe it’s because I enjoy life so much. I still teach Spinning and I could kick most young peoples’ rear ends while teaching my class if I chose to do so. I lift weights twice a week. It keeps me feeling young.

However, unlike Sheri, I have had some work done to alleviate my “freaky lines”. Yes, having Dr. Stephen Perkins and Dr. Bruce Van Natta as clients for the past several years, I’ve totally bought into the anti-aging potions and procedures. No plastic surgery yet, but I’ll have no problem when it’s my time. I have saggy genes in my family. I spent 25 years basking in the sun slathering a concoction of baby oil and iodine on my face, sometimes lying on tin foil to get the best possible tan. It's pay-back time. For now, the right make-up tricks and regular dermabrasions/light peels camouflage my imperfections just fine. And, I did not have blonde hair until about 8 years ago. Call me vain. I don’t care. I’m comfortable in my skin and I’m sure I will be comfortable in my “new skin” should I choose to have plastic surgery some day.

Relative to all the other middle age problems Sheri addresses? Yikes! That’s a whole other blog article or two.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

General Manager of the Universe

Sheri says:

Bad habits are tough to break.

I need to admit to myself that I am not General Manager of the Universe. I'm not General Manager of my family. I may not even be the General Manager of my own life anymore! I prod about everything; I question the minutia; I push people's buttons and then I stress.

The blame could fall anywhere: I'm a Type-A personality. If I don't do it, no one will. Or, they won't do it the way I would -- therefore, it's wrong.

I follow my husband, my son and my in-laws (who live with us) around saying, "Did you remember to do such and so?" These are grown people.

I know a few people who have very laid back personalities. I am in awe of them. They assume situations will work out fine and most of the time, they do. I am not a pessimist but I do assume things will get done properly and better if I've directed it. A tad egotistic perhaps?

Abby says:

For the 20+ years I've known Sheri, she's definitely been a control freak. However, so am I. Guess it takes one to know one! My belief is that at the end of the day, you can only count on yourself to get the important things done. If they don't get accomplished the way you want them, it's your own fault for not following up or acting yourself.

I recently had a client (who is also a great friend) tell me that when we first started working together several years ago, she thought I was a neurotic, retentive control freak. I was always following up with her, sending her reminders, due dates, etc. She then realized I just knew what it took to get the job done. Marketing and advertising are very deadline driven. If you miss a deadline, it can make or break your campaign. The the client becomes upset!

I carry post-it notes in my car -- just so I can write things down that need to get done and/or followed up on. People that ride with me think I'm nuts. It works.

Over the weekend, I asked a guy friend of mine to do something for me over the holiday. Laughingly, he said, "Sure, I guess I'd better write it on one of your post-its or I may forget." He was totally ribbing me.

Sheri says:

There are also post-it notes in my car and every room in my home. I keep a little bag with a mini stapler, tape, a white out pen and a Sharpie with me. I rarely leave home without my calendar and a notebook. Forget food and shelter -- these are my necessities.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Motorcycle Accident

I was having a relaxing Saturday. A morning at the gym and lunch with a couple of friends. Then, on the way home I witnessed a terrifying motorcycle accident less than 2 miles from my house. Getting ready to turn onto a very busy street I saw a motorcycle coming the opposite direction at an incredibly high rate of speed (actually I heard it before I could see it). He flew through my intersection. I thought to myself, “Wow, he’s going to either have a wreck or cause a wreck. Good thing he’s wearing a helmet.” As I made the turn, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that he had literally become airborne. Ah, that bridge. It has a sizeable bump – actually a manmade seam. It must have sent him flying when he hit it.

As I came up behind it all I saw that there were cars strewn about the road – as though they had swerved to avoid him. We all stopped. My heart was thumping in my throat. My adrenalin was racing faster than the motorcycle. I’m first aid trained and was ready to administer it if needed. His bike was flat down just a few feet in front of another car. Amazingly, the motorcyclist was sitting on the sidewalk of the bridge – dazed and bloody, but upright. Luckily no one had hit him, although it looked darn close. I attempted to dial 911 but was on hold for quite some time. I saw flashing lights behind me, hung up and got out of my car to see if I could help. It was an off-duty policeman. Most everyone else drove off but I felt the need to stay around.

I was scared, and I was also angry at this stupid young person who, by feeling the need for speed, was putting innocent people around him at risk. If it had been 10 seconds earlier I would have been behind this idiot and potentially could have hit him – or worse. I wanted to go give him a big lecture about safety and not being invincible. He was also wearing shorts. Not pretty when you lay your bike down, let alone become airborne. If you’re going to ride, wear protective gear. There’s plenty of it available on the Internet. Oddly enough, I have a client who designs and sells protective motorcycle jackets made specifically for women. If you’re a female rider, I’d suggest visiting her website at

There was an ambulance on the way, and the policeman was there so I decided to leave. I pulled away and drove into a nearby neighborhood, stopped my car and almost passed out. I had large bullets of sweat dripping down my face and I felt nauseous. That was scary.

I hope this guy is ok. I wonder if he realizes how lucky he is. On the other hand, he should have gotten a ticket at the very least. It’s just not right to risk other people’s lives. I suspect he has learned a lesson.
-- Abby