Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rock and Roll

Sheri says:

Music is a salve for my soul. I like it all. I’m really into country right now but I grew up on rock and roll.

The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Lynrd Skynrd, Chicago and REO Speedwagon were and are particular favorites. Throw in Bob Seger, Rod Stewart and Elton John. Oops, I forgot Billy Joel, Carol King, James Taylor and Carly Simon. I also love the one-hit wonders. I love Motown. I can be mesmerized by oldies … especially Leslie Gore, The Platters or Patsy Cline.

Every song evokes a memory. I had a crush on a certain boy and this particular song makes me think of him. Or, I used to dance and sing to this song with my aunts. I had a pink, plastic case full of 45s. Then I bought my first album: Like most girls my age, it was Tapestry by Carol King. I wore it out.

My first car had an 8-track stereo system. This was before cell phones. Girlfriends could join me as we cruised around and blared our music. It was the best. No one could track you down. My next car had a cassette player. It ate a lot of tapes but it was still joyful when it worked.

I should’ve realized early on that music was destined to be a part of my life. Today, I live with a part-time musician. We have a CD collection that’s absurdly large. Everyone in my household has an iPod. There’s a gigantic piano in my living room that is played every day. Late night Internet searches are not for breaking news -- they’re for lyrics or figuring out who wrote or sang a certain song.

About a hundred or so years ago when my husband and I were dating, he used to play this game: A song comes on the radio and he asks, “Who is it?” Then it’s, “What was on the flip side?” Now we play a similar game on the piano. He starts playing and says, “What song is this?” I can usually answer but I like to toy with him. I act stupid and say, “I’ve never heard it. Are you sure you’re playing it right?” Then I start singing along.

Music is a part of my daily routine. It’s not only the soundtrack of my life. In many ways, it’s my sanity.

Abby says:

Sheri and I share the love for the same music. Music is in my blood. My grandfather, Frank Parrish, was a singer with Tommy Dorsey in the Big Band era. He traveled the county and the world performing.

Elton John was and continues to be my favorite artist. I remember listening to him over and over again when I was a young girl. I still listen. Give me any kind of music from the 70s. It brings back great memories. I compile and burn all my own CDs for the Spin classes I teach. My attendees tell me they love my class music – it’s like going to a mini concert every Saturday morning when we workout.

I agree that music is great for the soul. I love to listen to lyrics and wonder what was happening in the lives of the songwriters/musicians when they wrote them. I recently read 3 great rock and roll biographies/autobiographies: “Wonderful Tonight” by Pattie Boyd – the former wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton; “Clapton: The Autobiography” by Eric Clapton; “Elton: The Biography” by David Buckley. They were truly fascinating and a great look back into music history. I recommend reading them if you like music at all.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Are Rules Meant to be Broken?

Sheri says:

I don’t like other people pushing rules on me. I think my moral code is solid. Not that I don’t mess up occasionally, but in general I make pretty ethical decisions. My husband loves to announce a new “House Rule.” He has some control issues but so do I. We listen to each other and then pretty much do what we want. After this many years, he has figured out that I will make my own decisions.

I enjoy breaking the stupid rules:
Women over 30 shouldn’t have long hair. I break it.
You shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day. I break it.

History shows us that some of the greatest strides made for women (and mankind) are by people who dared to break the rules. I’ll probably never be that brave. But one of my favorite sayings is, “Well behaved women rarely make history.” I believe that was Eleanor Roosevelt.

I follow the rules of society. I try to be a law-abiding citizen. If I’m in a workplace, I follow the rules there. But every once in a while … especially in my own home, I like to be the rule breaker.

Abby says:

I believe in and understand why we need rules, I’ve just always had trouble being dictated to. It started when I was very young, and my parents set rules. I always considered myself one of the grown-ups, so I constantly rebelled. Nothing has changed. If someone tries to impose rules on me today it makes my skin crawl. Now I really am a grown-up and I don’t require direction.

My “house rules” accumulated over the years include:
· Maggie, my dog, is allowed to sleep in my bed. Most of the time she prefers her crate.
· Don’t pee in my toilet and leave the seat up (please).
· Don’t walk out my door and leave it wide open – for bugs and bees (and strange people) to fly in.
· I only clean once per week. Sorry if that offends visitors.
· Load my dishwasher ONLY if you do it the way I do.
· Don’t use my shower and leave my vanity mirror all fogged up.
· Don’t bother to take your dirty dishes to the kitchen if you’re not going to rinse and put them in the dishwasher.
· Don’t wipe your face with my dishrag.
· Don’t drink out of my milk jug. That’s what cups are for.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Media Hounds

Sheri says:

Ann Coulter made the news recently. Shocker! Many of the traditional media outlets were running clips from CNBC but I needed the perspective so I went to the Internet to watch the interview in its entirety. She’s provocative. She certainly courts the media attention. But, in this scenario, she was making a legitimate point that was misconstrued based on her choice of words.

The catch phrase that caught all of the attention was, “Christians are perfected Jews.” Throw that up on your crawl screen or your blog and watch everyone go nuts. If my little pea brain got it in context, what she was saying was that Jesus was a Jewish person. In the old testament, we honored and learned that heritage. In the new testament, Jesus became the savior for believers. Therefore, he perfected Judaism. This is the foundation of Christianity. Fact or fiction? That's up to you to decide. I know a lot of people who are nodding their heads in agreement.

I’m not a fan or a foe of Ann Coulter. She got her coverage. I’m sure it was well orchestrated. Do you think that choicy phrase was accidental?

There’s far too much intolerance in this world. People like Ann Coulter enjoy fanning the flames. I have friends with all different religious beliefs. I have friends with zero religious beliefs. That is their right. I guess if someone is willing to give Ann Coulter air time, it’s her right to make a provocative statement.

Also in the news, it was announced that Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. I am super suspicious of the politics involved. Think what you want about global warming but the man has won an Emmy, an Oscar and the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. Many scientists dispute his facts. Many others say he has brought an international crisis to the forefront of our minds. I don’t know.

With so many facts in dispute, I feel like the Nobel Peace Prize is a little tainted.

Abby says:

I don’t care for Ann Coulter. I watched her interview several times and I don’t like what she said. Her remarks were terribly offensive to me. I grew up in a Christian household but we never once thought that just because we were Christians that we were supreme over anyone else. I guess maybe I don’t know what religion I am after all. I have friends of many religious beliefs and to me it’s fine if we all think what we believe is right. That’s the Libra in me – everything in balance. Ann Coulter gets way too much media attention and the media just keep coming back for more. She has the publicity thing down. She needs to cut her hair.

Al Gore? I think there has to be something substantial to all his research. Even to those deserving major awards, there are always politics involved somewhere along the line.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Let's Talk!

Sheri says:
Some days I am a huge talker. The phone is permanently attached to my ear. Other days, I am glued to email – sending and receiving. Every once in a while, I want to avoid it all but I can’t. I’ll take a break for a few hours but the ding of email or the blinking light of voicemail beckons me.

I remind myself, especially with the Internet, that any opinion or exposure is now “out there.”

Sometimes things are misinterpreted. Sometimes, I should not have sent that email or left that phone message.

All in all, I spend a great deal of time communicating with my friends and family. Occasionally, I don’t handle it with grace. But, I don’t plan to give it up any time soon.

Abby says:
I want to talk. I personally like talking to people – either on the phone or in person. I think our society is too caught up in email and texting. Sometimes I think it’s an excuse not to communicate. Often times, people take the easy way out of difficult situations and send an email. Email has been an incredibly productive tool for my business, however, there have been situations when it’s also blown up.

I once sat in a meeting with clients and one of them said: “We’ll see you tonight for the presentation.” I said: “Huh, what presentation?” He continued: “Oh, I emailed you last night, didn’t you get the email? We need you to present so and so tonight.” I about croaked. Luckily, I was available. I had not been in the office yet that morning to check my emails. Needless to say, it’s a good lesson in picking up the phone and calling someone if you have something important you need them to do!

There was an article in last week’s “USA Today” about Fridays going from casual dress day to email-free day at some companies – to encourage in-person conversation. While I cannot totally delete my in-box on Fridays I may make an effort to try to pick up the phone more often.

Monday, October 1, 2007

White Lies

Sheri says:

Doesn’t everyone tell some white lies? I do.

* No, your bald spot isn’t increasing.
* What gray hair?
* You look great in that.
* What a cute baby!
* No, that didn’t hurt my feelings.

Actually, I go to great lengths to avoid lying while also keeping kindness in mind. I can dance through a conversation and tango to a new topic.

Brutal honesty isn’t all is cracked up to be. I know honesty is a virtue but seriously, it has its time and place. There are only certain people in my life who have permission to be brutally honest with me. They know who they are and they’re always considerate about it.

White lies are different from big, fat, life altering lies. These might include:

No, I’m not sleeping with her/him.
No, I didn’t gamble away our savings.
I had a physical and it was fine.

The bottom line for me is this: A few white lies to save face or avoid hurting someone are ok. The big lies are never good.

Abby says:

For me, a lie is a lie and there is no such thing as a white lie. Either it is or it isn’t – that simple. That’s my black and white personality coming through.

No, I don’t like to hurt someone’s feelings, but if they ask my opinion, I am going to tell them the truth – hopefully as tactfully as possible. If I cannot, then I won’t answer.

I have told plenty of lies in my life but they were all lies – none of them “white” (or other shades thereof).