Sunday, April 30, 2006

Vegetable Days

I’m pretty good at figuring out when my body needs a break. Because of the way I travel (and work long hours when I’m not traveling) I run on a lot of adrenaline, just to keep going.

Yesterday, I realized I needed a Vegetable Day (Veg Out for short). Veg Out days for me mean that I stay in my pjs all day. I don’t do any housework, or cook, or work in the garden. I don’t do any job-related work. I read. I nap. I watch movies. I nap. I listen to music and I nap.

Sometimes, if the weather is really nice, I feel a little guilty taking a Veg Out day. But those unwelcome feelings usually don’t last very long. Curled up on the sofa with my doggies, my book and a good cup of coffee, I feel the stresses of the last few weeks slowly and peacefully melt away, recharging my batteries for the days ahead.


I was watching a news report on a soldier who just returned from the war in Iraq (yes the war that officially ended two years ago). He was describing the constant fear of being ambushed or killed by a suicide bomber. He talked about how he worried about his soldiers, his soldiers’ families, and his own family. What would happen to them if he died? His son was only a year old, “he would never remember me” he whispered, his eyes filled with tears. He’s going back to Iraq in two months. He’s going back to the place he called “pure hell on earth.”

The reporter asked him what this experience had done to him. He sat for a moment looking in to the camera, his face working to hold in the emotions that were streaming from his eyes: sadness, grief, fear, pain. “It has changed me” he said. “I know longer believe in happy endings.”

“War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children.” – Jimmy Carter

Friday, April 28, 2006

Think More, Drive Less

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a capitalist. I believe that companies should make profits. But frankly, I think it’s time that something is done about the price of gasoline.


  • The average price for unleaded gasoline is a dollar higher than the same time last year.
  • ExxonMobil reported a $36.1 billion in profit for the first quarter of 2006, making it the largest corporation in the world and larger than the next four companies on the Forbes 500 list combined.
  • Oil prices have increased 240 percent since George Bush’s inauguration in January 2001.
  • ExxonMobil’s recently retired CEO received a $400 million (yes, I said million) “payment for services.”
  • According to the Los Angeles Times (April 13, 2006), Exxon raised Chief Executive Rex Tillerson's pay by 33% last year to $13 million. (The average U.S. salary increase last year across the country was 4%).
  • U.S.-based oil and gas companies have nearly 900 subsidiaries located in tax haven countries, such as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
  • The industry has spent more than $500 million on lobbying activities since 1998.
  • The industry gave more than $100 million in campaign contributions in federal elections since 1998.
  • Higher gasoline prices have a “trickle down” effect on other consumer goods, making it even more difficult for working families to make ends meet.
  • The greater the profits of oil companies, the greater the risk to our national security.

You make take issue with the last fact, but the reasoning is straightforward. Higher oil company profits go hand in hand with higher oil prices (now in excess of $70/barrel).

Higher oil prices result in the massive transfer of wealth to nations who wish us ill or fund the dissemination of hate filled propaganda against this nation and the West. High oil prices are the enabler of dysfunctional governments, tyrannical to their own and in an era of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, increasingly dangerous to the world at large.

In addition to making these countries wealthier, what is it doing to the working families in America? It borders on criminal.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Vigil

In the Middle Ages, an elaborate ceremony surrounded the conferring of knighthood. After certain rites had been performed, the candidate was conducted into his lord’s chapel, where he was told to keep a vigil until sunrise. He was to pass the night by “bestowing himself in visions and prayer.”

This ritual was vividly captured by artist John Pettie in a painting he entitled The Vigil. In it, a young armor-clad knight is seen kneeling before an altar. The light of dawn illuminates the dim aisles of the chapel behind him, but the knight doesn’t seem to notice that his vigil is over.

His weary face is still turned to the altar. His eyes have the look of one who has meditated at length on divine and holy things. His helmet and armor are laid on the steps leading to the altar, but he holds his sword in front of him. Its silhouette is the shape of a cross.

I love this painting for many reasons. Mostly, it is a romantic illustration of history. We all know that the Middle Ages were no picnic. It’s a fairy tale on canvas.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Grand Cayman Day 3-8

Too busy and too tired to post. I thought I could do it (post every night) but I was wrong.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Grand Cayman Day Two

The ocean is the most incredible blue-green color here. Crystal clear and calm. The weather has been perfect.

I walked alone on the beach tonight. The light from the moon was so bright, reflecting off of the white sand. The breeze was warm and soothing. After a long day of work, it was therapeutic.

I sat for a while and watched the moon rise high and though I am far from home, I did not feel alone.

The lyrics of a song played over and over in my head..

"Swim to me through the deep blue sea
upon the scattered stars set sail
Fly to me through this love-lit night
from one thousand miles away
And come into my sleep
Come into my sleep
As midnight nears and shadows creep
Come into my sleep"

I breathe the night air deep, and call it a night.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Grand Cayman Day One

3:00 a.m. alarm....time to get up and get ready to go to the airport. :( Decide to bath my dog Taz as it appears he has gotten in to something during the night that smells very bad.

4:15 a.m. depart for local airport.

6:00 a.m. depart local airport for Atlanta (at this point I've had nothing to eat or drink and I'm thinking I'll get some coffee on the plane, right?)

7:30 a.m. arrive in Atlanta (got nothing on the plane). So I head for the international terminal and locate a Starbucks. (Halleluia!)

9:30 a.m. Depart for Grand Cayman. The flight was uneventful except for the B.P. sitting next to me (see previous blog posting). Got a itty bitty bag of pretzels and a ginger ale. I read most of the way and got really sleepy...but just as I was about to fall asleep....

11:45 a.m. Arrive in Grand Cayman.
As soon as I stepped off the plane, a blast of hot, humid air hit me like Dallas in July. Can you say HOT? The airport is teenee tiny, but quaint. After standing in long lines to get through customs, I got a lift to the hotel.

Much of the island still has the scars left by Hurricane Ivan. There was tremendous damage to the vegetation. Fortunately, it is beginning to return its former lushness. However, there are still a lot of palm trees with no palms.

I arrived at the hotel, checked in to my room, and immediately had to leave for a meeting. And that's what I've been doing all day. I got a brief glimpse of the ocean from a hallway window.

7:30 p.m. I've been awake for 17 hours. I decided not to have dinner - I'm just too tired. So, I'm back in my room. There is a steel drum band playing down by the pool. I like steel drums. Sounds like Jamaica. The breeze on the balcony is relaxing. I think it's time for a bubble bath and some serious sleep.

8:00 p.m. Now they've added real drums (base, snare, etc.) to the steel drums.

8:30 p.m. I've decided that I no longer care for steel drums.

9:00 p.m. A little steel drum goes a long way.

disclaimer: spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors may be caused by the sleep deprivation of the author and should not be used to judge her general intelligence.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Grand Cayman, B.W.I.

I'm heading to Grand Cayman for a business trip. Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking..."tough business trip" right? Actually it will be, for me. The other 265 attendees will hopefully have a great time.

I'll be keeping a travel journal here and will try to post every evening about the day's adventures.

Here's a link to the Cayman's website. It really is a beautiful place.