Thursday, May 29, 2008

Grateful, I am

My sister, Rebecca at Gratitude Practices gave me a plug today. Thank you. You are too, too kind, R.

Anyway, visiting her blog set me to thinking about what I am grateful for...

~ enough

~ having people who love me

~ having people in my life whom I love

~ the squirrels on my back deck who come knocking for food and bring me an unquantifiable amount of pleasure when I watch them

~ sight

~ the ability to feel pain

~ freedom to have opinions and express them

~ being an adult

~ San Pellegrino

~ homeopathy

~ blogs

~ Xena, Warrior Princess

~ prayer flags

~ St. Francis of Assisi

~ reading

~ teeth...even though some of them were bought and paid for rather than the ones I grew

~ finding a lost earring back

~ Ode Magazine

Write about what makes you grateful. Share your list here or on your own blog. Sometimes, a little introspection of the positive nature is a very good thing. Give us all a boost.

Oh, and by the way, it's Love Thursday. Being grateful is a good way to spread the Love.

That's what I'd do...


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Liar, Liar...

Last month unauthorized charges appeared on my Qwest telephone bill from ESBI on behalf of Your Business Solutions. I contacted Qwest. The representative not only wouldn't take it off my bill, but told me that I would have to contact the company who placed the charges on the bill.

I contacted ESBI through email. They told me I would have to deal with YBS directly. "We just did the billing for them."

I tried. I called. No one answered. I left a message on their online customer service form. I called again and left a message on their explicit message saying I had not requested their service and if they did not remove the charge and cancel the service I would turn them in to the PUC (Public Utility Commission).

I waited. I heard nothing from Your Business Solutions. So, as promised, I called the PUC and registered a formal complaint. The very helpful people there said they would look into it and get back to me. In the meantime, they said, it would be a good idea to contact Qwest and tell them that I was contesting those charges so I wouldn't be paying the full amount of my bill.

I called Qwest again. This time the representative told me that she would be happy to take the charges off my bill. Why didn't they do that the first time I called? And I registered a complaint with Qwest for allowing that unauthorized charge to get through.

Weeks passed. I heard nothing. I assumed all was resolved.

Yesterday, I got a message from Charlotte at the PUC. She finally got through to the offending company who said that 1) someone had requested the service electronically from my home, and 2) someone with my name had called and said they hadn't meant to sign up for the service so Reggie (the customer service rep) told that someone that the service would be cancelled immediately. Charlotte went on to say that they might take the charges off, but she couldn't be sure, because they had "everything lined up" on their end. It all looked legitimate to her.



On a phishing site, all you have to do is open the web page and they have you. Then when you notice and call them on it, THEY LIE.

Just writing about this makes my blood pressure go up. How can these people live with themselves?

On the one hand, I could say, "No big deal. I caught it. It is taken care of. Let it go." But they cost me...time and energy...peace of mind...blood pressure. All for $8.43.

I guess if you get enough people who aren't paying attention and you charge them $8.43 a month until they figure it out, that adds up to a tidy profit. I repeat--how do these people live with themselves?

On Tuesday (because I can't do anything before then because it is Memorial Day on Monday) I will call the PUC again and I will tell the rep that YBS lied and I NEVER talked to Reggie or anyone there. If YBS does not remove the charges, I will file another complaint.

So, check your phone bill and watch out for ESBI and Your Business Solutions.

That's what I'd do...


Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Love List a la Meg Fowler

Love Thursday isn't enough this week. I need to rack up the love points because I have been such a crank this week. Once again I am inspired by a fellow blogger,

Herewith are some things I love: makes me belly laugh regularly

Kettle organic potato chips

Weltenberger Kloster Asam Bock

Hawaiian shirts, shorts, and flip flops

driving with the top down listening to Jimmy Buffett on the stereo


the ocean--especially, the warm ocean

spontaneously singing a song that fits whatever is happening at the moment--as if life truly were a musical comedy

Ugly Betty

coffee...pretty much anything but Starbucks

mineral hot springs

squirrels knocking on the patio door for me to come out and feed them

being right

freshly shaved legs that are not bleeding

my bed with the Tempurpedic mattress

crisp French fries...thin cut--no steak fries

big negotiable checks made out to me

being healthy

being inspired and having the juice to act on it

Crocs and Trellos...the originals

getting it

wisteria growing through the trees

Misi licking coconut oil off my fingers

(This is Misi.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Orange Alert...55 degrees and raining

I am home from in Portland. A 50 degree drop in temperature overnight and I am cold.

The trip home was uneventful. We arrived at the Phoenix airport in plenty of time and for the first time, didn't even have to wait in line to go through security. On the way into the security area a sign was posted with today's security alert level--"orange"...that means "High."

What are we supposed to do with that information? Nothing tells us why it is "High." No one tells us what to do differently. What? We are supposed to be a bit more worried today than usual? I am supposed to be more somber and smile less lest someone mistake me for a ne'er-do-well who is up to no good, looking joyful because I am about to do something bad to someone?

Puh-leeze. Does someone's 4 year old pick the color of the day?

If my taking off my shoes and not carrying my shampoo and deodorant on the plane really made air travel safer, I would be delighted to oblige. If the person behind me taking off his belt and putting his chapstick in a quart sized plastic bag truly improved National Security, he would cooperate joyfully and I would stand by in salute, cheering him on.

I will cooperate. I do cooperate. I must cooperate in order to get where I want to go.

But until they can show me how these requirements make a difference, I continue to believe that this is a crock designed to wear us down and erode our civil liberties using fear as a weapon against us. That is the Us v. Them mentality that concerns me the most.

So far, all this type of security requirement has done is lock up an entire day to take a 2 or 3 hour flight and ensure that we all eat lots of bad airport food and buy plenty of bottled water on the other side of the security gate. The vendors are making out like bandits.

Despite is all, I am glad to be home wearing my sweats and slippers, staying in out of the rain instead of the sun. The fireplace is burning and I am going to go watch a movie.

That's what I'd do...

Love Thursday ~ 05.22.08

I LOVE this man.

Never met him. Never talked to him...but I would love to.

I am reading his book--this book. I bought it after hearing Terry Gross interview Gene Robinson on Fresh Air. Among other things, he talked about his prayer life and how he deals with the hate mail he receives as the first openly gay, non-celibate Episcopal Bishop. This man lives his faith, following in the footsteps and teaching of Jesus.

Gene Robinson is a man of Love...and faith...because that's what Jesus asks us to do.

This isn't about religion, folks. It's about Love.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

If I Had My Life to Live Over, I Would...

The beautiful (and I do mean beautiful!) Karen over at Chookooloonks (see her May 20th entry) inspired me by reprinting the poem of 85 year old Nadine Stair. So What Would Wanda Do?

~ Always wear comfortable shoes...and clothes...regardless of the fashion edicts of the day.

~ Care less about what others think of me...or say about me.

~ Take more vacations.

~ Say "I love you more"...and mean it.

~ Learn to surf.

~ Take more risks.

~ Follow my intuition and trust myself more than the experts.

~ Paint more pictures.

~ Hike the wilderness.

~ Fly.

~ Learn to speak more languages.

~ Take better care of myself...even if it means not taking care of others as much.

~ Write more.

~ Keep singing even when others want to take it away from me.

~ Follow my dreams.

~ Have no regrets.

~ Put fresh flowers in my room...especially daffodils and roses.

~ Reserve the right to change my mind.

~ Add to or subtract from my lists and not let anything be carved in stone--by me or anyone else.

That's what I'd do. How about you?


Monday, May 19, 2008

Things to Do When the Mercury Passes 105...

1. Stand on the scale and watch the indicator drop while you melt.

2. Gather the drippings and make soap out of them.

3. Avoid pavement...for obvious reasons.

4. Slap anyone who says, "Hot enough for ya?"

5. In a display of your drinking problem, pour ice water down your cleavage. (Decide that is not such a problem.)

6. Keep your top on. (The convertible top! But did you enjoy the image?)

7. Sit under a weeping jacaranda tree. (They really do weep. It's like sitting in a soft, cool rain.)

8. Drink ice cold beer--or ice cold anything. (See #5.)

9. Get in the swimming pool--naked. (It's a sure fire way to get the pool all to yourself. Well, maybe not for you, but it is for me.)

10. Buy ready-to-bake bread dough and leave it in your trunk while you are at work so it is ready for dinner when you get home.

11. Do Bikram in the park...or the parking lot.

12. Lay your jerky out to cure for the winter.

13. Fly. (Why not?)

14. Act out your inner Warrior Princess. (You might as well enlist the crankiness factor for a positive outcome.)

15. Watch Dr. Zhivago and throw yourself into the landscape.

That's what I'd do. How about you?


Don't It Make You Want to Go Home?

Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation.
~ C.S. Lewis ~

I'm not from around here.

I don't mean Phoenix where I am visiting. I don't even mean the swatch of geography on Blue Planet that I call my home most of the rest of the time.

I am talking about the whole of this orb.

Have you ever felt that way? Apparently, C.S. Lewis did and he got it. This is not who we are.

And here's the part I love about this quote: The longing that I feel is "no mere neurotic fancy." No pathology. The longing is a recognition that we are on the outside of...something.

I want to belong. We all do. It is our nature.

But the fact that I don't feel I belong here isn't just that I don't fit the fads and the fashions and that I don't understand the cultural phenomena of making people "not one of us." It is that I don't belong here.

It is okay that I am here. I can live here and get along, but it is not all there is and my soul knows it. My wanting to go home is not a neurotic notion, but a true longing of my soul.

Thank you, C.S. Somehow, knowing that someone else gets it makes me feel not so alone...not so "other."

See you on the other side of that door, C.S. (By the way, how is it?)


[I subscribe to a daily inspiration called Verse and Voice from Sojourners. The opening statement is their quote for today.]

"But it's a dry heat..."

And I am here to tell you, once it is over 105 degrees it is just too damn hot--dry or not. I am in Phoenix on a business trip. It is a lovely area and not usually this hot at this time of year. I planned to be here now for a break from the damp, gray spring at home in the Northwest. Any guesses about the weather there? Beautiful...85 degrees. It's what I expected here.

It is even too hot to sit in the pool, let alone by the pool. So I am hanging at the coffee shop. They are wonderful here. People hang here all the time and for this five day period, I have become a regular. Good coffee. Good tea. Good people.

If you get a chance, check out a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. (I thought I ought to give them a plug for their hospitality, since I am not paying rent. I am sure they will appreciate both of you knowing about them.)

No sweat,

Sunday, May 18, 2008

10 Things I am Thinking About Doing for Money...

I have been contemplating ways to make a huge chunk of money so I can take a sabbatical to a tropical island. I have ocme up with a few ideas, but I am you have anything to add? Suggestions welcome!

1. Write a romance novel.

2. Sell my the pound.

3. Be a matchmaker. (Not the little wooden ones that make fire...the relationship kind.)

4. Golf. (I'll make a fortune if they pay me for each stroke.)

5. Win the lottery--the ubiquitous "Every Man's Dream"...and yes, I do buy tickets.

6. Start an eco-friendly business that pays employees well and becomes a sustainable operation for the planet and the work force.

7. Sit on a busy street and play my guitar and sing with a big bucket in front of me for tips...and large checks...from admirers who just can't help themselves from contributing to my future and the well-being of the planet once they have heard my dulcet tones and angelic strains.

8. Become a member of a highly sought after Think Tank. (Can you imagine being paid to just think?)

9. Serve on the boards of several large corporations who value my opinion and insight to improve their footprint on the planet...and the experience of the people who work for them.

10. Break a world something...and live off the endorsement contracts.

Come on--help me out. What would Wanda do?


If YOU were Wanda, what would YOU do?

I originally posted this as a response to a comment on the previous post, but I decided that it bears greater visibility--and I want to know what you think.

Let's talk about the police crimes I have seen.

I go to a gasoline cardlock to buy my fuel. Frequently, the local police are there fueling up at the end of their shifts.

A couple of important safety rules are in place to use the cardlock pumps: 1) Don't use cell phones while standing by the pumps outside of your vehicle because of the potential for static spark. 2) Stay by the pump and don't get back in your car in case of fire or pump malfunction.

So what do I see? A gaggle of about four officers fueling two vehicles, all yukking it of them talking on a cell phone.

Another day, the officer who is fueling his vehicle gets back in the car. I am standing by the pump I am using when gasoline overflows his tank and pours on the ground. I stop his pump and pound on his window. He is OBLIVIOUS and says, "Did it shut off?" I told him that it didn't and it was pouring all over the ground. What did he do? He made a joke of it.

And here's the kicker:

I was at a stop light behind a police car where the officer driving was talking on a cell phone. The light turned green. He didn't move, so I tapped on the horn. He took off--speeding through a SCHOOL ZONE. How do I know he was speeding? I was going the 20 mph speed limit and he PULLED AWAY from me. Hmm. It was at this very same place where a friend of mine got a $250 speeding ticket for going too fast. Makes me wish they had caught the cop on photo radar. Do you think he would have been ticketed? I hope so.

So here's my question...if you were Wanda, what would you do having witnessed these egregious errors--all from members of the same police force? Would you let it slide? Would you...? What would you do?


Monday, May 12, 2008

Shame, shame on...whom?


Here is my question

Why do people do everything to "win" by making other people wrong? What's up with that? Is it human nature and something we have to guard against, or is it a result of our narcissistic society?


Dear Lala:


No, no...not shame on you for asking. Shame causes us to behave that way.

When we feel bad about ourselves, that is shame. Some people, have not developed their capacity to deal with those feelings so they project them on to others, making themselves good and the Other bad. That's where the narcissism comes in.

"I am bad" (or as someone I know used to say, "I am the piece of shit the universe revolves around") is shame. "I did something wrong and I feel bad about it" is guilt. We need some healthy guilt sometimes. We need to own up to screwing up and feel bad enough about it that we are not inclined to turn around and do it again for jollies or to make someone else feel bad or to see if we can get away with it. The need to make others wrong so we can be right is not the good kind of guilt or shame.

We try to make the person wrong instead of the behavior. That seems to be a cultural imperative.

Look at our advertising. If we are not like the models we are bad. Never mind the fact that the models aren't even that perfect. They are airbrushed and composites of body doubles and photo shopped to look that good. If we saw the model walking down the street in her natural state, we wouldn't recognize her because she would look like a real person. Yet this is what we are supposed to live up to.

And don't even get me started on Reality TV. Provocative behavior and winning at all costs is required. Apparently, these are the values our culture now promotes because it sells. We live vicariously through this media. Ouch.

Prison shows. Crime shows. Cop shows. Gangstas. Violence. What do we really value? And shouldn't we be ashamed of some of this? I think so.

Parenting styles swing between shaming and over-indulgence. As long as shaming people for who they are instead of what they do is the cultural norm, we will have this tendency.

When cooperation, responsibility for self and to others, respect, and values of interconnected humanity become the norm, then we will ALL start feeling better about ourselves.

Consciousness and personal values will bring us out of this mess. Try to become conscious of the language of shame and the interactions you have with others. That's what I'm trying to do.


NB: None of this applies, of course, to me (in the privacy of my own car) yelling at stupid people doing their imitation of driving.

[...and that last one was a "joke" on me...lest anyone feel a need to shame me for it.]

Failure: Not an option

Dear Wanda,

What would you do today if you knew you wouldn't fail?

Fly. No airplane--private nor commercial. No device to lift me off the ground. No lessons. No learning curve. I. Would. Fly.

I would fly like I do in my dreams...very much like swimming. I lift up on my toes and just keep lifting. Then my arms move in a modified breast stroke. No flapping. The air feels like air, yet my relationship to it is the same as when I am in water. The difference is I can breathe and my hair doesn't get wet. There are no obstacles and I don't get tired. Easy lift off. Easy landing.

Then I thought...ooh--would I rather say "live on a tropical island"? But you know, if I could fly, I could do that, too. Getting on and off the island wouldn't be a problem, and I daresay that if I could fly, money wouldn't be a problem either. I could be an attraction. I could be a delivery service. Somehow, my ability to defy gravity would be my ticket to all things material, too.

Yeah. That works for me. That's what I'd do.

How about you?