Thursday, August 30, 2007

Some New Business

When one runs a far-flung empire like The Morning Meeting, one gets to meet some really wonderful people in some far away (from where I live) places with enormous talent. I made it a point to share these resources with you. First, you all know Amytree of The Expatriotic Expatriate who has just rented a house in the English Countryside, where peace and gentility reigns supreme.

Amy decided to make maximum use of her excessive fashion and seamstress skills and she opened her own shop making 'sexy things'. Do make sure you stop by nineStitches and also, tell your friends about it. What with Fedex today, The Atlantic becomes a puddle.

Amy also mentioned this site, The Overnight Editor and this particular post, which I found hilarious. I hope you do too.

Last, but certainly not least, is a charming woman from France. Mouse writes the FVH Kitchen from a small town in France. she is English and speaks French. She's another Ali. She's also another foodie, just like Ali, and an excellent writer.

There you have it, a few excellent places to visit and really enjoy yourself. Have a great day, and we'll see you soon!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Baby Sitting Under Duress

I am aware that mothers and occasionally fathers all over the World take care of children who cannot talk and are age two. I am aware that all children at this age are reptilian-brained, three headed monsters, incapable of thoughts beyond being feed since they are powered by a nuclear reactor that requires enriched fuel, and the removal of toxic waste. Part of the problem seems to stem from catching the kid who thinks it is a game to try to evade being caught to have his diaper changed.

If I had the requisite ladder, and the 35 pounds of M&Ms to bribe the kid, I would have attempted toilet training as an attempt to do something positive and to head off urges at aggravated harmicide. The theory being that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Imagine I said that with a Southern accent, and sounded exceptionally scholarly, and you'll know where I got it from.

I need to get some sleep now because I need to go shopping in the morning. I haven't got a clue how people raise children. There are no carbohydrates left in the house, no alcohol or beer, and I have gnawed the arm off on the recliner in my sleep. I haven't lost a single pound either.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Am Pleased To Report That Lee of Studio 23 Is Fine

I had the good fortune to chat with my good buddy and friend Lee of Studio 23 earlier, and I agreed to make a post for her as she is exhausted. It appears that she won her Court Case on Friday. Her children will be going to school in her school district, and will live with her. She will share custody of her kids with her husband, as before.

Anything stated incorrectly is my misstatement or misunderstanding. I am publishing the result here since she really can't do it on her blog, since her blog was used against her in Court. A lot of what I am writing is to make sure that it is clearly understood that Lee isn't responsible for this, and why.

Lee will next have to get her kids registered in school and do all of the attendant work that goes with that endeavor. At the moment, Lee is exhausted, and hopefully is headed for some sleep, before she sees her kids for the first time in a while tomorrow.

Courtroom activity can really wear one out. Among other atrocities, imagine being accused of being an unfit mother because you have maintained an A average through your college career, since you must have been ignoring your children.

Unfortunately, Lee has a custody hearing in February, so there are more legals issues to contend with, and more support that we need to give her until all of her issues are resolved. That time can't come fast enough.

Today, The Morning Meeting belongs to Lee. Please let people know they can come here, and Lee will stop in when she can, and hopefully leave comments to all of you. If you are also a good friend of Lee's, it was pure serendipity that I was in the right place at the right moment, or this post would be on your blog instead. The important issue is Lee, not the blog where the post resides.

On to Lee, everyone....

Friday, August 24, 2007

And This Just In From The Government

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated
the Earth with Broccoli, Cauliflower and Spinach, green and yellow
and red Vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live Long and
Healthy Lives.

Then using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream
and Krispy Kreme Donuts. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with
that?" And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "and as long as you're at
it, add some sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled.

And God created the healthful Yogurt that Woman might keep the Figure
that Man found so fair.

And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the
cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to size 14.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad."

And Satan presented Thousand-Island Dressing, buttery croutons and
garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts
following the repast.

God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables, and olive oil
in which to cook them."

And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big
it needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight and his
cholesterol went through the roof.

So God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food
Cake," and said, "It is good."

Satan then created chocolate cake and named it "Devil's Food."

God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose
those extra pounds.

And Satan gave cable TV with
a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels.
And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering blue light
and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the Potato, naturally low in fat and brimming
with nutrition.

And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center
into chips and deep-fried them. And Man gained pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and
still satisfy his appetite.

And Satan created McDonald's
and its 99-cent double Cheeseburger. Then said, "You want fries
with that?" And Man replied, "Yes! And super size them!" And Satan
said, "It is good."

And Man Went Into Cardiac Arrest.

God Sighed and Created
Quadruple Bypass Surgery.

Then Satan Created HMOs.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Some Great News!!!

Daniel Aaron was born, about a month premature, to my nephew, early on the 19th. Details are slim at the moment, and I can't get a picture for any reason. He'll be incubated until late next month, being underweight. I want to go over with some chocolate covered cherries. I can help! Screw the milk, let's have a beer. Pictures when they are available!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Quick Note

Blogger has been unavailable for about 24 hours. I don't know if it's just my ISP or the whole area. Just reporting facts. I have a piece coming.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Guys That Think They Are Retiring

This is a picture of a friend of mine who is retiring at the end of the month. Jack teaches people how to sell. He specializes in small businesses, so his clients are photographers, home remodelers, the person who sells you a sign for your business, the local lawyer or accountant. He was the President of the local Chamber of Commerce the year after my wife, so we have known him quite a while now. What has always amazed me is how far away people came from to learn from Jack. Folks would drive an hour and a half to come to his classes. Wednesday evening, there was a special 'class' for those who had subscribed for a lifetime membership to continuing education.

Jack was in rare form, and he was running the largest class I had ever seen. Jack had found a way to make 'everyone' his friend, and to internalize it. I put 'everyone' in a single quote because he's like CMHL in that there will always be someone that doesn't fall under the spell. Personally, I'd love to have half his hit rate. I'm also not accusing Jack of anything, he's a genuinely likable guy. just like CMHL, you just WANT TO LIKE THEM. I think it's genetic, or it was in the water they drank as kids. Anyway, my mother didn't give me the same water, and my mother-in-law didn't stock it either, although I am keeping my wife, and she, apparently, is keeping me.

But I digress. Jack is retiring at the end of the month of August. Jack is a planner. He has made a lot of money as a Sales Trainer, and a lot of friends. He has sold his business to another man, whom he has brought in over the the last few years and introduced to everyone. Still, Jack performed other functions for people, such as acting as some people's HR Department. He got paid handsomely for doing this function for his client, and he didn't have to do it full time.

About ten years ago, Jack bought a house in West Virginia, about a three hour drive from here. He would pack up his wife and go to West Virginia for the weekend whenever he could. Slowly, he started having some work done to the house, and making things the way he wanted them. Last year, he had a major overhaul done, to the tune of over $200,000, and he and his wife are preparing the house for their occupancy next month. Jack's a planner.

It seems that every couple of weeks, he'll be back in the area, doing those side jobs with old friends that paid so much to him. He'll still be a part-time HR Manager for one person, and help with the hiring here, and do this and that there. Jack will probably make more in his retirement than 99% of the population makes and he'll work less than 25% of the time we do. Did I mention that Jack's also smarter than me?

Friday, August 17, 2007


Glamourpuss, who publishes an insightful journal of her experiences called The Pole Affair and her newest and most spectacular blog creation of creative, descriptive, and imaginative pieces of writing called Clairvoyance, decided to grant me a Thoughtful Blogger Award. By the way, not having read her new blog, you have missed out on some of the finest writing I have ever encountered, the most interesting, entertaining, colorful, vivid and illuminating imagery, and general overall excellence. Not that any of you are running low on excellence lately.

Which brings me to the people I am going to nominate. Blogging has been good to me. I met CMHL who is one of the most most dependable, rock steady, thoughtful people on this planet.

I met Alison through CMHL. The Morning Meeting exists, in large part because of these two. There has been a lot going on and Alison is one of those people who hears from me when things are less than perfect. She's quite a friend.

I have a few of those relationships that you'd never believe if you didn't see it for yourself. Holmes, Judy and I think or thought that Tiffany King of A Dog, A Cat, And A Girl With Fabulous Shoes was just about one of the nicest people we had ever met. She's like a member of the family around here. That means when I was really sick, she knew what to say, and what needed to be done with every problem. She's a source!

Then there's Claudia. I have a need to talk about photography. With Claudia, it grew into friendship. I suspect that if I had the right espresso here, we could talk for days.

And last, but far from least is M@ of Animalmind. You all know M@ as a virile male specimen, better looking than his picture, oozing sexual phermones from every pore. I know M@ as a quiet, contemplative guy, seemingly alone, the kind of guy that could take an ocean going kayak across a vast body of water against the odds. I hope that he can find enough time from all the women that chase him to meet for lunch again this year, or next.

Those are my choices, and I'm proud of all of them!

Monday, August 13, 2007

She Keeps Coming Back To Visit

This is my little buddy who came around when she was barely able to fly. We are a good source of food as far as she is concerned, and she has learned not to be afraid of me with my little camera. When things get down and nasty and there are in-laws everywhere, I find myself turning to the birds like this little jewel lately.

And if you really want to feel good, Echomouse has a neat post about rescuing chipmunks complete with a picture of a chipmunk on a kayak being rescued. There are times when you just need to cheer your way through a good animal rescue story and most, but not all of her commenters oblige us with stories of their own. EM just finished a long trip. Unfortunately, she drove North from where she lives in Canada. I had hoped she might come South, directly to Washington, DC for a visit. A very subtle hint, like a 30 pound sledge hammer.

Now, I always sneak over to Odat's to feel good. For example, every Monday is Happy Monkey Monday. And then Odat does her thing. Odat is on my list. I don't actually have a list. Admiral Perry, the guy who went to both the North and South Pole made lists popular. He actually had going to both poles on his life's goals list, as well as seeing every continent.

On my list, one item would be meeting Odat. She has to be one of the most cheerful, happy, positive people on Earth. I like having that in my life.

I guess the issue becomes who would you like to meet, and what do you do to feel better?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Allan of AllanThinks Lost His Sister

Wednesday is when Allan lost his sister to cancer. I just found out. As is my practice, please stop by his site and leave your condolences. His post can be found here. If it hasn't happened to you yet, you won't know how it feels for the community to come to you when you are miserable. It is an appropriate thing to do until you find out, unfortunately. This is why I ask. Thank you.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Tai Chi Update

I actually have been working on a post about my friend Jack, who is retiring at the end of this month. That's what he has been trying to convince everyone. Me and another friend are taking him out to lunch at the Manor Country Club (not my country club, not my style, nor Jack's to tell the truth) on the 22nd, and I have been teasing the hell out of him.

In the meantime, I have been running with my business, working on the post, and working my butt off in this crazy market. And practicing my tai chi.

OK, I have been working the market a lot, working the business a lot, and practicing a ton. I freaked both instructors out today, along with myself when I did all six sets. There is just something in my personality about goals. And now I will start going on Saturdays and really working it.

And the post about retiring, that's a goal now. I have to go, goals, you know. And please, don't worry about the markets. They are going to correct for a while. Put some cash on the side unless you want to buy some Tech. It's their time of the year. What are you up to lately? Buying or selling?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Me and Tai Chi

This is a picture of the actual building in the Clarksburg countryside where I go to take tai chi lessons. Yesterday, on Thursday, I restarted practicing tai chi again with the approval of my surgeon. My instructors noted that I was grinning from ear to ear with happiness. I am convinced that tai chi saved my life in both April and May of this year. I believe that without a doubt.

Tai chi teaches you to focus and control your energy. It is sometimes called moving meditation. I moved myself from the operating room gurney to the bed in ICU. The epidural that was still in my back helped, and I was ready to get out of bed, which is probably explained by the epidural, which stayed in for three days. I was out of bed the next day when the surgeon came in and let me.

Diabetics heal a lot more slowly than normal people. Yet I healed ahead of the curve. My surgeon has told me twice that he thinks it's my attitude, the fact that I got out of bed and did roadwork, walked with my IV pole and the saline around the hospital rebuilding a little strength and causing the blood to circulate.

The bandages came off two weeks after surgery. You can see a thin line about 4" long from my belly button up. I guarantee you that isn't attitude. I have continued walking, but the surgeon didn't want me to go back to tai chi until yesterday. The fear is that you stretch or twist too much and rip out a stitch internally.

I was released for return to action Thursday, and at 9:30 am, I was on the mats. There are 6 sets of routines that comprise the Form, as the routines are called in tai chi. I do Yang's Long Form, the name of my particular brand of tai chi. I was a little nervous, not having done the form since April. I had done the first set in my living room the night before, and run out of energy.

I warmed up with the rest of the class, and did the first set clean, watching the woman who also teaches me swords. I decided to also try the second set and went into it as most of the class started dropping out where they were learning something. I got into the third set and shut down before we got to the kicks. I didn't have any strength left for that. I rested through the rest of the third set, then I tried the fourth set with the instructor. I made one small mistake, but I was moving a bit too fast. I then sat down and watched her finish the last two sets. She had definitely improved her already excellent skills. I told her this afterwards, and she told me she had a breakthrough.

I went home, and promptly fell asleep. I had done three of the six sets in the form, and I hadn't made a fool of myself. It's going to take work, and I am out of shape. But, I will make it back. For something that looks easy, it's amazing how much of a workout you get, and it's zero impact. I am so happy to be back.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Another Toy Recall This Morning

If you have bought a Fisher-Price toy for a child recently, please read the following article about the latest toy recall due to lead paint. This isn't a personal vendetta on my part, it's more that I never seem to see these recalls in the popular news. Better safe than sorry. There's more at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, I'm sure, I'll look when I get back. More later.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I Schmooze And I'm Proud Of It

The ever-lovely, ever-insightful Odat (have you voted for her yet, just go to her site and look at the items she is nominated for if you haven't voted yet) decided in her infinite wisdom (her wisdom approximates both The Great State of Maryland or New York depending which side of the Mason-Dixon Line you're standing on at the time) that I schmooze. The parenthesis are there to help you parse the sentence correctly according to the rules of BNF grammar, which is how we build computer language compilers, in case you were actually wondering, not that you asked, but, it is an example of schmoozing.

I thought long and hard on the people that I wanted to nominate. I decided on people that I knew I would enjoy sitting and either reading at length or talking to in person. There are a lot, and some have already been honored as Schmoozers, such as Hearts. There are others who are ill or unavailable such as Mist1 (who did post today) and CMHL, who I would nominate in a heartbeat, but aren't capable of being active at the moment. Perhaps when they are capable in the very near future, I hope. And there are others.

But I do choose the following captivating folks in no particular order.

I always look forward to reading whatever Glamourpuss has to say in her eloquent prose. I wish she would come to the East Coast already.

I already have demonstrated to my satisfaction that I can schmooze at great length with Wicked H. I adopted her as a sister.

In a similar vein, I have experience schmoozing with My Reflecting Pool, who is quit a talented schmoozer.

I schmooze all the time with Wandering Girl (a.k.a. Tiffany). She and I have a thing, or is it a thang? Whatever, it covers so much territory that you can't believe it. We schmooze a lot. but not nearly enough.

I have not yet begun to schmooze with MJ. You just wait until she feels better!

And, I have only just begun.