Monday, February 28, 2011

Trival Tidbits and Fun Facts

Happy MONDAY! Welcome to this week's installment of Trivial Tidbits and Fun Facts. As you may know, we are striving to make the work week just a tad more palatable. Many of these facts may be useless, but can be fun to pull out when you find the stress of the day gets to you. So, without any further ado, let's have some fun...

If you have a pearl necklace and want do clean it, DO NOT put it in vinegar. Vinegar melts pearls.

For you aeronautics buffs, did you know that the wingspan of a Boeing 747 is longer than the Wright brother's first flight?

Do you ever remember playing Chinese checkers? Remember all the marbles and holes? Did you know that the Chinese checkerboard has 121 holes? All I remember about Chinese checkers is that our "game" degraded into a more fun game of flicking marbles all over the place... I missed my calling.

For the food buffs of this reading group: Did you know that Worcestershire sauce was originally created from fermented (aka - spoiled) anchovies? The basics of Worcestershire sauce can be found during the Roman Empire.

Did you know that A-1 Steak Sauce contains both orange peel and raisins?

Did you know that ketchup was once used as a medicine in the United States? In the 1830's it was sold as Dr. Miles' Compound Extract of Tomato.

How many of you think that bananas grow on trees? HA! Bananas do not grow on trees but on rhizomes. Next logical question - what, exactly is a rhizome? Per Wikipedia, a rhizome is typically a horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, and usually sends out roots or shoots from it's nodes. The banana fruit is actually what grows from those shoots. Wow, some serious information to baffle your friends, coworkers and family with...

Did you also know that bananas are slightly radioactive because of their high potassium content?

Have you ever counted how many kernels are on an average ear of corn? Better yet, did you ever stop to count how many rows were on a "regular" ear of corn? The average ear of corn has eight-hundred kernels arranged in sixteen rows. Bet you won't look at an ear of corn the same again.

For you candy nuts out there, do you remember that Jelly Belly jelly beans were the first jelly beans in outer space? They went up with the astronauts in the June 21, 1983 voyage of the space shuttle Challenger.

More on Jelly Belly jelly beans - did you remember that President Ronald Reagan kept a jar of them on his desk in the White House and on Air Force One?

So that M&M's fans don't get upset - M&M's were developed so that soldiers could eat candy without getting their fingers sticky.

The estimated umber of M&M's sold each day in the United States is 200,000,000. That is a LOT of candy.

Do you know what the letters M&M stand for? The letters stand for the last names of Forrest Mars, Sr. (the candymaker) and his associate Bruce Murrie.

Clans of bygone days that wanted to get rid of unwanted people without killing them would burn down their homes. That is most likely where the expression "to get fired" came from...

For those of you who are dealing with the new legalization of medical marijuana - one of the reasons marijuana is illegal today is because cotton growers in the 1930's lobbied against hemp farmers. The cotton farmers saw the hemp farmers as competition (you have seen hemp clothing...). Marijuana is not chemically addictive as is nicotine, alcohol or caffeine.

So, now that you have had your Trivial Tidbit and Fun Facts "fix" for the week, go out there and baffle your friends and family with your new-found knowledge. Have fun and don't forget to laugh. Life is always tough, laughing will help make it just a little less difficult to deal with.

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Waking Dreams

The other day we talked about why do we dream. In that post we were discussing dreams while we sleep. Today we are going to briefly cover our "waking dreams". I am not sure how others define "waking dreams" but my interpretation of a waking dream is basically day dreaming...

As children you may have done a whole bunch of day dreaming. As we got older, our day dreaming may have either taken on a more practical aspect, or we may have stopped day dreaming entirely. As children, our day dreams may have been about us being super heroes, or astronauts or firemen or policemen or ballerinas. As we became adults, those dreams were put aside and probably replaced with dreams of finishing school, getting a good job, settling down, or traveling the world.

It is important to hold on to the ability to day dream. I do not mean to say that we should spend all of our waking time dreaming about what we want, but we do need to dedicate some time on a regular basis to day dreaming. If we don't dream now about what we want, then how are we going to develop and grow as people? Our "waking dreams" should be what pushes us to be better, or do more than what we currently are. Our waking dreams could be the fuel that fires our desire to achieve bigger goals. The really neat thing about day dreaming is that we can dream about absolutely outlandish ideas or situations, but as we continue to dream, perhaps that outlandish dream may have a kernel of something that we would really want to pursue.

From that kernel of an idea, a dream to achieve something new and innovative may be born. Many of your successful entrepreneurs probably started their business idea based on a waking dream. New ideas, new products, and new approaches to current issues may have also come from someone day dreaming. It may not be a bad idea to have a "dream book" where you record your dreams, aspirations, and even wild ideas. It is a lot of fun to go back through your ideas and see what you have done and what you have discarded. It is even more fun to read some of the wild thoughts you had.

So, do not discard waking dreams or day dreams as a childish idea. Everyone should hold onto their dreams and strive for what they truly believe in. Perhaps one of your waking dreams will be the next biggest invention or will solve a world problem.

If you are looking for a business opportunity and don't know what you might want to do, check out our website, we may have something that would interest you. If we do not have anything that interests you on the website, please feel free to e-mail us, we have other ideas and opportunities that are not posted. We may be able to help you to refine your waking dreams and turn them into reality.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why do we dream?

Many people dream, many people have no idea if they dream. Dreaming can be a blessing to some, and dreaded by others. Why do we dream is a question that has probably plagued humans from the beginning of time. Tonight we are merely talking about dreams while sleeping...tomorrow we will talk about actual waking dreams (like dreams of becoming financially free...)

Do You Still Dream?

What is really cool about dreams is that you can interpret them any way you wish. Some people will go to books on dreams, and find key parts of their dreams that are sort of analyzed in the books. Other people may go to "dream translators" to find out what their dreams may mean.

In reality, if you think about it, dreams are a reflection from your unique perspective of your world. I am not sure others can realistically translate what your dreams "mean" if these same people do not know you, your history, your background, and how you process information. If these "analysts" don't understand you, how can they effectively or accurately interpret your dreams?

I believe we dream as our brain basically downloads data collected from possibly hours, days, weeks or months. As we live our lives, we observe and not everything we see we may consciously recognize. I suspect that when we dream, our minds are processing other data that we did not immediately notice. Our brains then take that data and perhaps blend it in with some of our other fears, concerns or issues that we may not have fully come to grips with consciously.

So, yes, we should consider what we dream about, and more importantly, put those dreams in context of what else we have seen, experienced or know. Sometimes I dream about TV shows that affected me more than originally expected. Sometimes I may dream about my current daily experiences and perhaps, the reactions in my dreams are my mind's way of trying out "alternative" endings or solutions to the problems that were faced during the days.

Sometimes it is good to talk to others (specifically friends, family or someone who really cares about YOU) about what you were dreaming, especially if you had found that dream to be disturbing. Perhaps that other person could answer some of your questions about interpreting your dream because they know you, they understand you, and they may even have an objective view of you. They may see things you describe in your dream that you would never have thought of. This could be very helpful and perhaps even healing, especially if you are dreaming about a problem you are currently dealing with.

Dreams can be fun, and if not, you do have the ability to change your dreams. It takes work and practice, but if you are not happy with how you are currently dreaming, there are ways that you can change the direction of your dreams. We can discuss that method in a separate post down the road.

Until then,have a wonderful sleep and strive to enjoy your dreams. They can be helpful, informative, possibly provide inspiration or even help you solve what you thought was an insolvable problem.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Installment of Weekly Fun Facts

HA! Bet you guys thought I wasn't going to do another week of Fun Facts and Trivial Tidbits...Fooled YOU! Granted, today isn't Monday, so we can't blame the Monday blues, but since today is Tuesday, and perhaps a theoretical Monday for those of you lucky people who got Presidents' Day off yesterday... here is your weekly installment of fun facts and trivial tidbits...

For those of you animal lovers out there...did you know that when hippos become upset or agitated, their sweat turns red? That must be pretty scary for anybody witnessing the event...

Granted, this is dating me, but do you know the name of the lion in the MGM logo? Did you know the lion in the logo was an actual lion? Well, the waiting is over, the lion's name was Volney.

Rhinos are in the same family as horses (except I would NOT ride a rhino...). It is believed that the myth of the unicorn was born from seeing rhinos...

For those of you who might keep cows in your home, don't keep cows in a multi-story home... it is possible to lead a cow upstairs, but not downstairs. The reason is that a cow's knees can't bend properly to walk down the stairs...

For those of you a little older than I (hehehehe...) do you remember in 1977 when George Willig climbed the World Trade Center Building? Do you know what his ultimate fine was??? Can you believe he was fined $1.10 for that stunt? Bet you couldn't get away with that today (on any other building)

Have you ever wondered how the famed wax museum, Madame Tussaud's, got started? During the French Revolution (1789-1799) wax working became a popular art form. When the French chopped off the heads of King Louis XVI and Marie Antionette, they paraded the decapitated heads around on sticks. Later on, the rioting crowds showed up at the door of Madame Tussaud and demanded that she sculpt exact duplicates of the decapitated heads out of wax. Hence the start of Madame Tussaud's Wax Museums...

Continuing on with the creepy wax theme, some church ceilings could also be seen with wax body parts such as arms and legs dangling from them. During the French Revolution, it was believed that if a person wanted an ailing family member to heal, they should construct a wax duplicate of the disease-infected body part and hang it in a church. At least they were wax renderings....

Hopefully these light-hearted ramblings helped brighten your day. Enjoy your Tuesday, or virtual Monday or whatever evening you wish to label it tonight.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, February 21, 2011

How are you Surviving? - Part 2

Last week we briefly questioned how you were surviving. We also identified the difference between a job and enjoying what you do to earn an income. Tonight we are going to cover some places you can go to find other business opportunities you can get involved in without having to give up your current working job.

As we talked about before, working for someone else is not necessarily the most lucrative thing you can do and usually not the best way to make your money work for you. You have most likely heard many people talk about having your money work for you, not you work for your money. In Robert Kiyosaki's book, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad", he talks at length about how most people who work for someone else will not really be able to acquire wealth of their own. Once you have learned what he terms "financial literacy" you then begin to understand how to make money work for you.

The key though, is to not always work for someone else and expect to become wealthy. A job will keep your bills paid (mostly) and a roof over your head (most of the time), but you need to find other means to make money work for you. One way to make money work for you, according to Robert Kiyosaki, is in learning and working the real estate market. Even in this current economy and the massive foreclosures that have been going on, there can be money to be made in the real estate market. Just now, you really need to know what you are doing and when to purchase.

Some other ways that you can possibly earn additional income without picking up a second, or third job is to find a home based business. The start-up costs for many home based businesses is much less than the cost of purchasing your first real estate transaction. Some home based businesses can have you up and running for around $200 (not monthly, a one-time investment). The key here is not necessarily the start-up costs for a home based business, but your desire to work in that particular area.

If you look around, there is a myriad of different home based businesses that you can get involved in. If you have a large group of friends who love to get together for informal parties, there are businesses that cater to that type of socializing. There are also businesses that can be run predominantly from your computer. What you have to decide, is if you believe in the product you are to be selling or providing, and if you believe in the compensation plan.

It is wise to investigate as much as you can into the home based business opportunity before getting involved. You have most likely heard many horror stories about some business opportunities that took people for all they had. It is critical, when looking at small home based business opportunities to do as much homework on both the product and the company as you can. You do not want to get involved in a company that may be "the next best thing" only to discover that they are closing their doors after the first 6 months of being in business. Looking into business opportunities may sound like a daunting task, but, if you have figured out what you want to do (basically what niche you want to be in) and why you want to do this new opportunity, you will discover that the research can be exciting and fun, especially once you have found a company and product that you are happy with.

If you have wanted to be in business for yourself, but are wondering where to begin, the best thing to do is to find a small business person you can trust and start asking questions. You may be surprised by how many people you know at your work that are actually in some form of home based business outside of work.

If you are not sure who to turn to, we may have some ideas on our website, www.hawgwash.net. The opportunities on our website do not represent anywhere close to the depth and breadth of opportunities out there, these are just opportunities that we have first-hand knowledge of and have found to be very reliable. You can also e-mail us with your questions, even if we do not have the opportunity on our site that you are interested in, we have a considerable database of other opportunities that may be more along the lines of what you are looking for. (P.S. - if you are wondering, we do not charge for any advice or suggestions for other business opportunities - we want to see everyone become successful). Our goal is to help people become more financially independent. The logic behind this concept is that if more people are financially independent, this great country of ours will become stronger and healthier so we all end up winning. So, the question tonight is, how are you surviving? Are you happy with where you are headed? If not, start asking yourself, what do you want and how badly do you want it.

Tomorrow we will bring more fun trivial facts to light so you can continue to amaze and frighten your friends.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How are you surviving?

Tonight's topic is on various methods you may take to survive in this economy. Even though it looks like there may be some improvement in the current economy, the job market is not following very well. The million dollar question is, how are you surviving?

Many people are still unemployed, many more are seriously underemployed. Some are employed and earning what they should and most likely the remainder of working people are working at something they don't like, but it pays the bills. How do you stay sane when you are working a job you don't like, but have to work? You know the bills have to be paid, you may have even looked at the prospect of bankruptcy, but don't want or can't go that route. Working just to pay the bills is no way to live your life. Most likely, for those of you who are working because you have to, not because you want to, you come home from work just exhausted and not looking forward to your next day of work.

The key is to find something else you LIKE to do. Even if you come home from a killer day at your J.O.B. (Just Over Broke) and you don't think you could put one foot in front of the other, doesn't mean that there is not something out there that will re-energize you. No, the energizer bunny will not be of assistance here. You need to take a serious look at what you really want out of life. This will help you to start building towards that goal.

Just because you may think you know what you want to do, that will not be your driving force. You need to identify your "why"...why are you working so hard, why do you want to change what you do? Those kinds of "why"s will help you to identify the true goals you want from your personal life. Everyone wants more money, but WHY do you want more money. If it is just to pay the bills, what will you do when all those bills are paid off? Quite honestly, you will not work hard toward a goal if you are not absolutely, positively SURE of why you want to work hard...

Identifying your "why" will be your first step towards building your goals to obtain your dream. What may be helpful is to create a "dream board". This may just be a cork board, or wall in your house where you post pictures of things you really want, places you really want to see. Basically this "dream board" will be the visualization of all the things you talked about WANTING to do, but never got around to doing those things. By posting pictures on your "dream board" and placing your "dream board" in a place that you look at many times a day, you will continue to keep focused on your goal.

When things start getting tough, or you are getting tired, just take a look at your "dream board" to refresh WHY you are driving so hard. Just working will not get you there, you need to make extra effort to get to your real goals. That extra effort is not easy, and it will not be without it's setbacks. Reminding yourself several times a day as to WHY you are doing this will keep you focused enough to work past the obstacles that appear.

Now that you have your "why" identified, and perhaps are building your "dream board", you need to figure out how you are going to earn that extra income that will ultimately provide you the path to your goals...

Tomorrow we will cover ideas on how to earn that extra income and where you can look for ideas.... Hopefully soon you won't be just surviving, but thriving...

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Sense of Humor

Some say I have a very strange sense of humor. I strive to find humor in everything I do. Many things make me laugh, and it doesn't take much to find my funny-bone. More importantly, because I enjoy life so much, it is relatively easy to find humor in much around e. By enjoying life in general (granted there are things that are just not fun or funny) people around you will tend to be happier too. I get my most fun when I see others around me having fun too. Smile and the whole world will smile with you...(or ... the corollary - smile and the whole world will wonder what you are up to...)













Living life to the fullest makes me laugh. If that didn't make me laugh, it would make me cry, so I choose to laugh. If you look hard enough, there is humor everywhere. Have you ever looked at a 3-toed sloth? Please...tell me that isn't the funniest animal you have ever seen...or at least one of the funniest animals you have ever seen.

My sense of humor can be best defined as eclectic... I will strive to find the humor in life, because life is far too short for it not to be funny. Granted there are many, many times where life is not funny, but it is most important to look for the brighter side. If you really think about it, if you didn't have contrast, how could you enjoy life. If the sun always shone down on you, wouldn't life get pretty darned boring? A little rain sometimes makes for a much more interesting story.

Here is another way to look at the humorous side of life. Let's talk to the fishermen of your life. How many "fish stories" have you heard about the one HUGE fish that got away? Originally, if you took the story at face value, the fisherman lost a huge fish. He should be sad because he lost this big fish. But, if you look at perhaps how he lost that fish, then the story could get quite funny... Heck, I caught a pretty good sized fish, actually had someone help me take it off the hook, and then, just as they were going to place it in the ice chest, the fish gave a giant heave and leapt from the hands of a good friend and back into the ocean I had just pulled it from. I should have been sad, but I laughed so hard I cried. It was FUNNY. It was funnier looking at the crestfallen look on my friend's face when they realized they lost MY FISH. I thought it was FUNNY.

Actually, in that story, everybody won, the fish won another chance at living a little longer, I won because I didn't have to kill, gut and clean the fish, and my friend...well, my friend really didn't win, but once they realized I honestly thought the whole thing was funny, well, my friend discovered I wasn't mad at all.

The key to not going totally insane is to keep a sense of humor at all times. Life is difficult, life is tough much of the time. By keeping a good hold on your sense of humor, you stand a good chance of getting past all the hard stuff and actually enjoying life.

Don't forget to laugh. It lowers blood pressure, it makes the wrinkles on your face go away and the best thing of all is that it makes others laugh with you.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

Hi everyone. As you most likely have noticed, I have been offline for a whole week. There is a name for what happened - THE FLU... yup, the creeping-crawling crud. Nothing like wiping you out and kicking you when you are seriously down. Last week was spent dragging myself from one day to the next, with loads of sleeping in between. The good news is that I lost a bunch of weight, not because I couldn't keep food down, but because I was too tired to want to eat anything. This week is a little better, but am still getting really tired fast. It is because I don't want to leave you guys abandoned that I refuse to go to bed right now and wanted to post a quick blog...

Don't get the Flu...get a flu shot...you are not indestructible... trust me, been there...done that... Anyway, on to more fun stuff.

Today is Valentines Day. How many of you are actually aware of the origins of Valentine's Day? Well, tonight, your weekly trivia is on the origins of Valentine's Day...

To put it succinctly, nobody REALLY knows the true origins of Valentine's Day. There...blog done... well, not really. Bet you want to know just a tad more...

Some people may believe that Valentine's Day was based on something romantic that Saint Valentine did...but in actuality, it appears that one of the Saint Valentines (there were at least 3) was sort of a romantic, he married couples even when there was an edict against any and all marriages...

Let's start somewhat at the beginning...pre-Christian... There was a pagean feast of Lupercalia was where names of young girls were written on pieces of paper and placed into jars. Then, each boy would draw a girl's name from the jar and become partners, either for the duration of the festival, or the duration of a year (depending on your interpretation of history). This partnership was not necessarily platonic, so you can easily see how the Catholic church had problems with this Roman festival.

During the time of the Roman Empire, Emperor Claudius II of Rome (aka Claudius the Cruel) was having problems recruiting men as soldiers. He believed that the men were more attached to their homes and women and thus became weaker soldiers for that attachment. Claudius believed that if he outlawed all marriages and engagements, he would have more men willing to become soldiers, and be stronger for the lack of marriage. A Roman Priest, St. Valentine, secretly married couples even though it had been outlawed. He was ultimately caught and beheaded for his criminal acts.

Before this particular St. Valentine died, it is reported that he performed a miracle for one of his jailers who had a blind daughter. Depending again on your interpretation of history, St. Valentine became attached to the blind daughter of his jailer and prior to being put to death, wrote her a letter that was signed "From your Valentine".

Since the Catholoc church did not approve of the pagean holidays, they opted to change the name of the festival of Lupercalia to Valentine's Day (how historians made that connection is still sketchy to me...) and walla...you now have Valentine's Day.

Truly, I tend to believe another theory. Many historians agree that the first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love was by Geoffrey Chaucer (1382). Chaucer had written a poem to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. This whole theory makes more sense and the concept of romantic love was also picked up by William Shakespeare. The holiday of St. Valentine's Day took root and has evolved over the centuries.

So, no matter what you want to believe about the origins of Valentine's Day, have a wonderful day. Happy Valentine's Day.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl 45

Well, another Super Bowl is now in the record books. Going into this game, I had no idea who I would root for. The teams I would have like to see, did not make it into the Super Bowl so I had to pick one of two teams that I really wasn't too involved with.

The good news is that this Super Bowl was a great game. It looked like two monster teams pushing each other back and forth across the field, the teams appeared to be fairly evenly balanced against each other. Even though I did not have a specific favorite, I did end up rooting for Green Bay mainly because Aaron Rogers was the new kid on the block. He had a lot to show that he was no longer second fiddle to Bret Farve. It was great to see a relatively young team do so well in a Super Bowl match up against the more experienced team of the Steelers.

The problem of finally picking a team to root for is that once I started rooting for Green Bay, I got engaged and started yelling at the TV (just like my Dad used to do...hmmmm, wonder where I learned that...). The end result, since the game was so close is that I have a very sore throat.

Overall, it was a great game, both teams played very well, and it was an exciting game. Hopefully the owners and players will be able to resolve their differences for next year's games soon enough to not affect our football pleasure. Watching the Super Bowl is exciting, fun, but tinged with sadness because you know that this is the last game of the season and we don't have any more games to look forward to for quite some time.

Enjoy your after Super Bowl party,

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What My Home Says About Me

A house can just be a place that protects you from the elements and where you can rest safely for the night. A home should reflect who you are and what you stand for.

Former home of Joaquin Miller (poet), Wash., D.C. (LOC)

My home definitely reflects my personality and some of my habits. What my home says about me is that I have wide and varied interests (i.e. eclectic). Currently my home reflects what I perceive the Arizona atmosphere to be, and no, that is not just HOT. The house reflects the southwest tastes and decor, but there is some modern art thrown in just you you wouldn't get bored.


My home reflects my personality, interests and habits. For those of you that know me personally, you know that I have dabbled in many, many things, and am always a willing learner for new ideas and experiences. The only time I would say "NO" would be if trying or learning something would be unethical, illegal or immoral. Other than that, all bets are off, and I am a willing student.


When I start on a new path, I immerse myself on that path until I have answered the questions I had. That is not to say I would be no longer interested in that line of thought, but that I have answered the original questions I had and that I did not want to pursue any further questions...for now. The house reflects this personality trait too, you see the acceptance of western style art, but then it doesn't go too far. In one room you will find caracatures and fantasy artwork hanging on the wall. In another room there is a definite Aisian influence. In yet another room you will find just an odd mix of art deco, traditional art, and other odd pieces of work.


Each room has it's own feeling and theme, so depending on your mood, you are not overwhelmed by any one particular style or series of thought. The only consstant throughout the house is the plethora of books. Again, the books cover a wide range of interest, ranging from the classics to art history, to novels, to biographies, to fantasy, to westerns, to adventure, to history, reference...you get the picture.


So, coming to my home provides a tiny glimpse into my overcrowded, active and always questing brain. It is a fun place to be..(in my humble opinion). Perhaps if you are ever in the area, you can wander on by and take a look-see for yourself.


Until the weekend (I will NOT be posting tomorrow...)

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How is your 2011 going so far?

When people ask me how my 2011 is going so far, I pause and look at them hard before I answer. The answer to that question can different based on who is asking the question. At first you may think I am crazy to even consider providing different answers for different people, but in reality, don't we all provide different answers to the same question to different people?

If a casual friend asks you how your 2011 is going, you would not divulge your deepest darkest fears, but mainly give them the overview of how your year has progressed so far. A close friend would most likely never ask how your year is going so far, if they are a close friend, they would already know. If others are inquiring about how your new year is turning out, well, it really depends on their frame of reference before you can really give them an honest answer.

To answer the question though, my 2011 is going better than expected, but not as well as hoped. Is that vague enough for all of you? Allow me to explain. The great news is that I am still deeply embedded in the consulting work I started in September. This project has been an absolute blast and the deeper I get into it, the more work I find and the more willing the company is to have me around.

I love finding and resolving problems, issues and process flows. Granted I have been a Finance/Accounting person for many, many years, but I absolutely love finding and resolving issues. The new computer system that has been implemented has a few warts, but the good news is that we are identifying the warts and are in the process of removing them. With luck, but the end of my work, the new system will look wonderful and behave even better. The "ugly baby" will become beautiful and a dream to work with.

On the other side, I would have LIKED to have been on the road already, heading out to our new round of rallies all over this wonderful country. The good news to this is that the weather has been VERY uncooperative, and if I had been traveling as I would have desired, most likely I would be stuck somewhere, buried under way too much snow.

So, the good news is that divine intervention has kept me closer to home so far this year and kept me from the worst that could happen. So in answer the the question, "How is my 2011 going so far?", upon further thought, my 2011 is going GREAT!

Hopefully your 2011 is going well so far too.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Favorite Forms of Creative Expression

Many people have many different ways of expressing themselves creatively. I have discovered two methods of personal creative expression that, if asked a few years ago, I would have told you I would NEVER have done. Heck I never even considered myself as creative...I am usually at my most creative when I am tired or frustrated. I realize that sounds odd, but perhaps because I am tired, the mental blocks to creativity are lifted. When I am tired, my brain (which NEVER turns off) tends to free-wheel more and that is when more creativity comes to the surface.

Also, when tired, I am actually too tired to edit the ideas that may come pouring out of my slightly off-kilter brain. It is at times like this I get waves of creativity. The difficult part is trying to harness the creativity and direct it in a productive manner.

One way I LOVE expressing my creativity is in my stone carving. Unfortunately, lately, I have been so tired that I have not had either the time or the energy to carve. When I do carve, though, it focuses my whole being. I am aware of the stone, I can feel the vibration of the stone when striking it with a hammer. If I feel a slacking in creativity, I will pick up a hammer and chisel and start tapping away at various stones I have. These are not random tappings, each stone already has it's design inside, it is the creative mood that chooses which stone is used for that day.

When striking the stone with the hammer and chisel, you feel the vibration from your fingertips up, into your shoulder and throughout your whole body. After carving for a while, you begin to understand how the stone will respond to the various strikes to it. It is at this point that you become aware of how the stone may actually break, even before you make that tap. This is when my creativity is at it's highest. At this point, I have already 'seen' the shape within the stone, now I am letting the stone reveal itself to me. I do not force the stone to do what I want it to do, I am merely being used by the stone, and am the one clearing away all the excess rock to show the beauty that lies within.

My newest expression of creativity is in my writing. I used to write a lot as a child, but got away from creative writing while going through school. Within the last 2 years, I picked up writing again, originally for business purposes, but have been enjoying the creative freedom of writing on a wide variety of subjects. My creative writing is still in its infancy, but since this is a new creative outlet it is exciting to watch where I have been and where I am heading. (Also, it is not as messy and noisy as stone carving....)

Until tomorrow...