Friday, April 30, 2010

The Perils of Email

That might sound a little strange; after all, everyone loves email, and it's a fantastic communication tool, right? The problem with email, though, is its extreme (and sometimes borderline fatal) impersonal nature.

In the past few days, I've had some major issues with email. It's gotten to the point that I've all but decided to give up on emailing someone I know. A few days ago, it was early in the morning and I sent a quick note to a friend to give her a hard time about something. I meant for it to be joking, but I wasn't effective at conveying the teasing at 6:15 a.m. As a result, she thought I was really upset about something and this made her very upset. It took a phone call and a lengthy discussion to straighten it all out.

I got through that almost unscathed, but then another issue with email came up. I was bothered by something, so I sent an email to my friend just to vent about the situation. Somehow a minor point that I made in that email became the focus of the email in her eyes and instead of her reading the email as something that was concerned me, she took it as me being concerned about something SHE was doing and became very defensive and upset with me. What a mess!!! I had a difficult time straightening that out, and it was emotionally exhausting!

When you're reading words on a computer screen, you really can't begin to know what the person who typed them was feeling at the time. You don't know the "tone" that you would hear in a voice, and you can't see any body language that might be helpful in understanding. As a result, feelings get hurt and messages get conveyed that were never meant at all! It used to be that a few "lol"s would clear up that things were supposed to be funny, but that beloved "lol" is so overused in email and chat nowadays that it means virtually nothing at all anymore. Honestly, the last time you typed "lol," were you TRULY laughing out loud?? I didn't think so!

So what is a person to do in order to avoid these pitfalls that come naturally with the onslaught of emails that we send and receive on a daily basis? I don't really have the answer...I'm really still a bit saddened over the problems I've had lately. I think the first idea is to pick up the phone when it's something serious. Some topics really shouldn't be fodder for email discussion. Never forget that email is not only impersonal, but far from private. One keystroke can send your words, which might have been meant for one person's eyes only, to a whole host of others. Can you afford to take that chance?

I bet you can think of a time that you were hurt or offended by something in an email. If you didn't clarify the sender's intent, maybe you inadvertently misinterpreted what he or she was trying to say. The best thing to do is ask, so you can know for sure that you are understanding things correctly. Yes, emails can be carefully worded and read by the sender to ensure they said what they meant to say, but somewhere between the sender's mind and the reader's eyes, things can get completely out of whack.

I know this post really has nothing to do with anything about which I've blogged in the past, but the topic has been on my mind since these problems occurred, and I thought sharing the frustration might be at least a little therapeutic for me. If nothing else, maybe you'll think twice before sending an email next time you're upset or need to talk something out. There is no underestimating the power of a more personal touch.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Just Another Pleasant Valley Sunday....

Here in status symbol land... In case you don't know, those are lyrics from an old Monkees song. Yes, I used to love the Monkees! In fact, when I was in the hospital after having my now-nine-year-old daughter, the very first morning of her life, I laid in my hospital bed holding her and sang "Daydream Believer" to her. I used to watch the show as often as I could and had the classic crush on Davy Jones. Such a sad peek into my past. :-)

I actually had a dream the other night about blogging. I guess that was a sign that I should put up a post for a change. I've just been so insanely busy that I haven't even had time to think about blogging. Tomorrow is a big day, and once it's over, I head straight into planning another event. The house concert with Bill and Kate Isles is tomorrow and I am so not even close to being ready for it. I still have so much more cooking, baking, cleaning, and setting up to get done! It's a LOT to accomplish. I've never taken on such an event in my house, and right now it looks like we will have 30-40 guests - yikes!!!

Once I survive this event (assuming that I, then it's head-first into planning a Kickball Tournament at the girls' school. This is the first of its kind and DH and I are in charge of the whole thing, which is frightening in itself. The good thing is that the kids and staff seem to be really excited about it; this is wonderful! We opened up the competition to 8 teams, and already have 4 signed up and have paid their registration fee - yay! It should be a fun event for the kids. We're getting a trophy to display at school with the winning team on it, and I think I'm making chocolate trophies for all the kids on the team. How exciting to get to eat your trophy! :-) They will also get ribbons to commemorate the win.

I guess I should really get back to my "catering" for tomorrow. I'm making all sorts of snacks and desserts for the concert guests, and there are many things left to do. I'll have time to take a breath about 10:00 tomorrow night. Wish me luck until then!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


How often do you find a post about gardening that is linked to Rick Springfield? Never? Yeah, I thought so. :-) But I just can't resist mentioning the great Rickster, as his very first album was titled, "Beginnings." I used to own said album, but somewhere over the years and the many moves, it's been lost or destroyed. So sad! It even had an error on the LP for the title of one of the songs. Instead of "Mother Can You Carry Me?" my album said, "Mother Can You Marry Me?" That always cracked me up! But, I digress....this is, after all, a gardening post, right?

The photo above is of my garden. It's significantly smaller than what I attempted to "farm" last year, but I think it will be more than adequate! It's still about 500 square feet. When I got up this morning, it was a grass-infested mess and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed about getting it ready to grow (hehe).

This morning, however, I got out my handy-dandy cultivator. We bought it last year, but it had never been out of the box. After studying the instructions, I thought I could handle it, so off to the garden we went. It took me a little while to get the hang of it, but then it became great fun to turn those irritating grass patches into mulched soil! I spent almost 2 hours out there between tilling and moving mulch around. DH had made mulch out of all of our fall leaves and piled it in there - it made quite a heavy layer of nice mulch that I turned into the ground.

As a result of my labors (and my sore back and arms that I know I will feel even more tomorrow!), the above photo is what I have now. It actually looks pretty good! And I think I have just enough mulch. The newspapers we laid down last year to prevent grass and weeds are a bit annoying, as I thought they would have decomposed more by now, but I'll deal with them. I almost feel like I have the beginnings of a modified lasagna garden. Whatever you want to call it, it's going to work for me!

I'm hoping tomorrow to do some planting. My inside seedlings have taken off like wild and are already outgrowing their tiny pots after not quite 2 weeks. Crazy! I also need to buy tomato plants, as I've never had luck bringing those up from seed. What is nice is that I learned today that a mall gift card we received for Christmas (to a mall we never visit!) is actually good at anyplace that takes American Express. Woohoo!! I'm going to use it tomorrow for garden stuff! That will at least help a little.

I will keep everyone posted as to the progress of my garden this year. I'm hoping for a more successful season than last year, and I'm also going to be using a lot of the seeds I received from Hometown Seeds. So far, so good...I will keep you up-to-date. Happy gardening, all!!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rural Route 4

No, I haven't taken any gravel road trips recently, though I'm definitely not opposed to the idea! :-) Last night I went to a show at a local bar here in Shawnee, Kansas, for a live performance by the band Rural Route 4. I wasn't sure what to expect, because I was warned that I might have to hear some Marty Robbins (and if you know me, you know I HATE Marty Robbins...just ask my friend, Mark! lol), but I was completely impressed with the entire show!

Rural Route 4 is a group of four guys with typical daytime lives who spend a few evenings a month making music as a great cover band. The band consists of:

Scott Heidner, lead and harmony vocals and rhythm guitar
Troy Heidner, lead and harmony vocals and drums
Terry Heidner, lead and harmony vocals and bass guitar (and the dad of Scott and Troy!)
Bill Thompson, lead and harmony vocals, lead guitar, steel giutar, banjo, and the "brass section" of the band - ya gotta be there! :-)

These guys do a wide variety of tunes that would please any music fan, from Merle Haggard to the Eagles to AC/DC, and not missing anyone in between. The harmonies are perfectly on key and the sound is incredibly smooth. They did not play one song I didn't enjoy, even though there were several that were unfamiliar to me. Heck, I truly believe that if they would have played a Marty Robbins song, I would have enjoyed it and never even known it was Marty!!!

One thing about them that definitely impressed me was Troy's ability to rock out on the drums while never missing a beat on the lead vocals he did. His harmonies were great, too. That takes some serious talent! They are also all very friendly and appreciative of those who come out to see them play. On breaks (their show was over 3 hours, so they definitely earned them), they mingled with the fans and I got the chance to chat briefly with Scott. They also took (and welcomed!) requests all evening and interacted with the fans from the stage area. It was a really fun night!

If you're local to Kansas City, Topeka, or Lawrence, I definitely think you should check them out. The music is great, the variety absolutely rocks, and the guys look pretty good, too! ;-) They do have a page on myspace that I found, too. You can click on the link or go to I thoroughly enjoyed the show last night, and I hope to see them again sometime. For my Kansas City readers, they will be back at Jake's Place on Johnson Drive on May 22nd. The complete tour is on their myspace page. Hope you get to hear them!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Request of my Readers

Those of you who know me, know that I am very involved in my kids' schools. I volunteer as much as I can and I'm on the Board of both PTAs, etc., etc. I love volunteering and the schools need all the help they can get!

One of the projects I tried recently was applying for a grant through the Pepsi Refresh project. Pepsi chose not to advertise during the Super Bowl this year, instead deciding to take that money and use it to fund projects to make the world a better place. They are currently accepting applications for grants, and approving 1000 a month to be submitted to a public vote. The top ten ideas will receive the grant money they requested.

I applied for a grant for Chinn Elementary School to finish our Walking Trail. It's a wonderful concept that the students can utilize to get exercise. The problem is, since the trail was laid, the school has grown such that portable building have been erected. As a result, now parts of the trail cannot be seen from the center, and therefore teachers are not able to fully utilize the trail. They put student safety first, and must be able to see all children at all times.

Chinn would like to lay a new section of the trail that WILL make it fully visible, and able to be used by the students. But this costs a lot of money that we don't have. I have asked Pepsi for $5,000, which will fully finance the re-laying of the trail and finish our school's project. My idea was approved for the April vote!!!

Could you please take a moment and help me out by voting? You can simply click on this link: and vote for the idea. All they ask for is your name, email address, and birthday. They won't sell or spam you - it's just to allow for the one vote per day per email address.

You can vote EVERY DAY. Right now we are #165 out of 1000, but we have until the end of April to make that magic top 10. It's a great start, but I can use all the help I can get! Thank you soooooooooo much!!!!