Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What We'd Like to See on Hallmark Cards

Looking back over the years
that we've been together,
I can't help but wonder...
"What the hell was I thinking?"

Congratulations on your wedding day!
Too bad no one likes your wife.

How could two people as beautiful as you
Have such an ugly baby?

I've always wanted to have
someone to hold,
someone to love.
After having met you ...
I've changed my mind.

I must admit, you brought Religion into my life.
I never believed in Hell until I met you.

As the days go by,
I think of how lucky I am...
That you're not here to ruin it for me.

Congratulations on your promotion.
Before you go...
Would you like to take this knife out of my back?
You'll probably need it again.

Happy birthday!
You look great for your age.
Almost Lifelike!

When we were together,
you always said you'd die for me.
Now that we've broken up,
I think it's time you kept your promise.

My tire was thumping.
I thought it was flat
When I looked at the tire...
I noticed your cat.

Heard your wife left you,
How upset you must be.
But don't fret about it...
She moved in with me.

We have been friends for a very long time ..
let's say we stop?

I 'm so miserable without you
it's almost like you're here.

Congratulations on your new bundle of joy.
Did you ever find out who the father was?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Tag, I'm IT

All-righty, then. Connie of Minnesota seemed so sweet in a comment she wrote to me, until she tagged me. So instead of killing my kiddos for neglecting to put my diet creme sodas in the car when they unloaded the cart at Kroger, I'm going to play along with tag instead! Please note that I am usually the one to unload and I stupidly thought my 15 and 11 year old were old enough to take on unloading the cart. I mean, besides not crushing the bread, how hard could it be??? And I felt pukey, so sat in the car for the first time ever whilst they did the work.

So here we go.

1. Which famous person would you most like to learn that you are descended from?
Thomas Jefferson... what a phenomenal person. He was brilliant, yet still human. I also liked how George Washington said his greatest disappointment in life was seeing the country break into a two-party political system. And Eleanor Roosevelt. Do I have to just pick one?

2. Which famous person would you hate to learn that you are descended from?
Adolph Hitler. No explanation necessary.

3. If you could be ancestor to any living famous person, who would it be and why?
I'd like to be the ancestor of the person who invents warp drive. But oh crap. Someone famous who is now living. Hmmmmm... Okay, let's go with Stephen Hawking. Again a brilliant mind... I think that someone who can think independently enough to overcome the influence of today's media, politics, etc. is amazing and I'd take great pride in knowing I may have played a part in that through DNA or social/familial influence.

4. If you could go back in time and meet any known ancestor(s) of yours, who would it be?
I want to say King Fergus of Scotland, removed 16 or 20 generations. However, I'd really like to meet my grandmother who died when Mom was 14. I would have liked to known my paternal grandmother more, too. They said she was a very funny woman, but she died when I was six so I didn't know her well.

5. Tag five others
Ivy! Chip! Daily Diablogger! Sonia (aka tattoo-girl)! Elizabeth!

Ta-dah! All done! Now I have to go find something to drink. Something refreshing. Something that will quench my poor, parched throat. Something inviting. I guess it won't be a diet creme soda. Kids.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

More Pictures? Maybe?

Here are more pictures of yesterday video editing class... at least I'm going to try again.

There's Chip struggling to get his editing program to take the video he shot. Mine didn't work either.

The Krispy Kremes and coffee were very popular.

The ingredients for tomato soup were not so popular!

Joe give Terrie B. some editing advice.

That's all I have. Long wait for nothing too exciting, huh?

Lexington Plane Crash

This news feels really personal to me... I lived in Lexington for nearly 20 years until about 3 years ago and frequently flew out of this airport. We've long said the Bluegrass Airport is one of the most beautiful airports to fly in and out of because of the gorgeous black and white fences and horse barns.

The husband of a girl I worked with is the head of the fire-fighting team at the airport. I'm sure Scott is in the middle of it all. Yep, there he is at the news conference right now. Scott Lanter... the nice looking tall guy with the moustache and baseball cap. I called Wanda, a dear friend from my 15-year job where we always flew, to be sure no one on the staff was flying this morning. She said no one from our immediate staff was flying, but she didn't know about the "parent" organization. That's the kind of airplane we also always fought to get on... a jet rather than the puddle-jumper.

It looks like the plane must have been taking off heading over Calumet Farm, because Versailles Road is apparently closed (that's pronounced Ver-sails, not Ver-sigh in Lexington) (yeah, it took me a while to get past that, too). I think had it gone in the other direction, we wouldn't see all the footage of Keeneland, etc. The other direction is just farmland and we'd be looking at the private plane terminal and national guard area.

Update: I've been watching this all day. Watching the victim lists, I (thank God) haven't found anyone I personally know. I used to work at UK's College of Agriculture and had heard of one of the professors, but hadn't met him. I had mentioned earlier about a vacation in Lexington. It IS a beautiful town, but I've deleted that comment for now because it's so inappropriate during this time of loss for so many people.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Liveblogging Video-Editing Class at WKRN

It's high noon at WKRN-TV. I'm sitting in a basement room with no windows to stand on my tiptoes to look out. There' s a video feed of what's on Channel 2 right now... looks like a red-headed kid talking to a dark-haired guy in the middle of some woods. Wait... there's some action. He just shot an arrow. Bullseye. Now on to News 2. It is noon afterall.

We're sitting around having lunch catered by the Atlanta Bread Company. My roast beef sandwich is pretty good. I'm smiling at Terri B. and watching Chip as he downloads his videos. I also recognize Kevin Barbieux, the Homeless Guy. Brittney is here.. she's not holding her hands to her head so I can assume the headache has subsided. Mashby is across the room from me. There are two other guys and a gal here who look familiar, but I have no idea who they are. Kerry Woo was here earlier taking pictures. He may have left after his camera broke (he took a picture of me!). Just kidding. But I'm sure it won't be flattering. I'll probably have something in my teeth or look cross-eyed or half-lidded or something.

Joe and Denise are our instructors. So far we've watched several videos and seen examples of editing for continuity, relational edits, and dynamic editing (to convey mood).

Guess I'd better take a quick break before we get started again. More later.

1:30 p.m.

I'm probably the most unsuccessful video editor ever. I decided to use the free software that came with my computer... Windows Movie Maker. I had shot some very cute video of my daughter harrassing our kitty (Kitty) and more of my oldest and her friends getting ready for today's BUZZFEST. (My "cool" friend Ivy is taking them, thank God).

I'm all pumped... these are exciting times! But Windows Movie Maker won't support the .MOV files. Instead of doing any actual editing, I put together a slide show of my family reunion on Windows Movie Maker. I might as well as just used PowerPoint. But oh well.

So for your enjoyment, here are some photos of today's class.

From the left, that's Karen, Mashby, and Denise a News-2 videographer.

2:49 p.m.

I'm back home... still trying to add photos. It has become such a chore on blogger to add pictures! Grrr.. Okay, I've tried about six times now and the pics won't post. We'll just have to wait until another time.

I talked with Ivy and she and the teens are having a good time at Buzzfest. Except none of them remembered blankets to sit on. And they didn't get to ride in Ivy's shiny red convertible because Ivy's husband drove it today.

I'll try to post more later if I can get the photos to take.

I still can't load the photos. Thanks to Kerry Woo for his advice, but that's how I usually load them (singles) and it's still not working. :(

Friday, August 25, 2006

No Headache, but the Sniffles

I don't have that monster headache like Brittney and my friend Mandi, but I sure have the sniffles today. Yes, this cold is all the hard evidence I need to declare it the official start of the school year! Every single year my kids drag home some crud for me to catch within the first two weeks of school. Every single year. I would say "Every. Single. Year." but I know that annoys some people! haha!

So today I have to hit the streets of LaVergne begging for money. I'm working with my company Bob Parks Realty, LLC to raise money for "Christmas for the Children." Every year our local school give us names of children who are unlikely to have Christmas without us and we raise money, buy a full set of clothes (including coats, undergarments, etc.) and a toy for their Christmas gifts. Our Murfreesboro offices are hosting a golf tournament in a couple of weeks and our office is supposed to raise $15,000. So far I've raised about $50. If any of our local businessmen read this blog, please please please contact me and make a donation. UPDATE: I'm not going out today because my colleague just called and can't make it until Monday, plus I feel like doo-doo. Hey maybe WKRN can give us a nice $200-$1000 donation! It is tax-exempt and it's a good cause! :)

Speaking of WKRN, I am very much looking forward to the video editing class tomorrow. I can give everyone my cold. Actually, I'll use a lot of hand-sanitizer and try not to sit too close to anyone. Chip and I are riding together! He's driving since he knows where the studio is. I'll probably just use this free software I have on my computer that Windows provides.

I want to send Newscoma and the Rodent Queen my thoughts and prayers. They are going through a difficult time and I want them to know I'm thinking of them. I hope they have peace in their hearts knowing they are doing everything they can to bring love and comfort RQ's dad.

Okay, I can't breathe, so I'm signing off.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Taste in Music

Following the Sista's lead and trying to "smiff" out my taste in music, here's what I found:

Your Taste in Music:

90's Alternative: Highest Influence
Classic Rock: Highest Influence
80's Pop: High Influence
80's Alternative: Medium Influence
90's Pop: Medium Influence

Well, yeah. That's pretty accurate. Ironically, I used to help host a radio show featuring 50's and 60's music and the alternative show came on right after mine. There was always some friendly competition between the two programs. At that time, I never thought alternative would be my music of choice but I know it's true. The Cure, Green Day, Kate Bush... the list goes on. As does the beat... goes on... I loved Sonny & Cher, too. I'm not a huge fan of country, but I love bluegrass. Don't like jazz at all, but could listen to classical all day.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Family Reunion Revisited

I settled on the deviled eggs. They are always popular, even though they stink up a room something awful while you're making them. And it was when they were the stinkiest as I was making them when people began showing up (20 minutes early!). Our family had rented two cabins at Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park in Dawson Springs, Ky. The cabins were "lodge side" so an easy walk to the game room, gift shop, and swimming pool. Here's a picture of the lake from the pool.

We got there on Saturday... we deprived our children of lunch since they didn't get up until 11:00 a.m., therefore ate breakfast late. We refused to stop at McFatty's because we were going to be paying big bucks for the state park's dinner buffet. After eating, my husband took the girls to the pool. I joined them an hour later, but was only in for about 30 minutes when we heard thunder and saw lightning. I made the kids get out, but there were a couple of other people who just stood in the water looking slack-jawed. Being a buttinsky, I said, "Excuse me. You might be careful since it's lightning." This woman looked at me with her blank stare and said, "Yeah. We saw it." And they continued to just stand there waist deep in the water. Well God bless your little hearts, I thought. I never heard an ambulance so I'm assuming they got out of the water without the lightning striking them. We made it back to the cabin before the rain started... and it poured.

Later that night, we were sitting in the cabin talking and watching TV. We heard the sound of a metal trash can lid hitting the ground. We knew there was some creature nearby who was raiding the trash and thought it would be a possum or a raccoon.

See the bottom of the picture to the left of the tree trunk? That's the fairly young raccoon who hit the trash. Actually when we ran out on the porch to see what made the clatter, the raccoon kind of hung around. So I got my dried fruit trail-mix and dug out the dried papaya (I didn't like it). I threw it at Rocky Raccoon and he loved it. He also like the dried pineapple and dried apricots. And the piece of bread. I guess he filled up because he didn't come back that night. But he reminded me of another raccoon incident. About five or eight years ago, we rented a cabin for a week at Pennyrile. My brother came out to visit and a raccoon did the same thing. Only this time, my brother sneaked up on it while it was in the trash can, slowly reached in, grabbed the raccoon's tail and pulled it out of the trash can. He held it up for about a nano-second. The cabin for one week: $800. The gas it cost my brother to come visit: $5. The expression on the raccoon's face: $Priceless. (By the way, I've linked to my brother's band site on myspace).

The rest of the reunion was good. Lots of relatives, including one ex-wife. I think the new wife wasn't happy about it, but no one blew up. No one got drunk. No arguments. No name calling. Thank goodness no politicking (which means I didn't have to tell anyone "I told you so" from the last election). (But that's a whole different discussion/post). So it was fun! Here are a couple more pictures:

The bocci or bauci or bochy or bochie or bochey players. This is a really fun game, although I'm sure they didn't playing using the official rules. You have the little yellow ball that's rolled somewhere. Then the two teams take turns with their green and red balls to see who can get them the closest to the yellow ball. Points are scored based on who's closest. Definitely more fun that croquet.

A pool shot. We absolutely had the pool to ourselves all day Sunday. It was wonderful! Here are second-cousins jumping in the water together. I was very proud of how they made friends (this was their first meeting) so quickly.

Here's the inside of the cabin looking out the front door. Doesn't all that food look good? This is the dessert end of the spread with a lemon something, brownies, a homemade banana pudding, big bowl of watermelon, peach cobbler, and fresh fruit salad.

Finally, we came home sweet home........

Friday, August 18, 2006

Just Some Idle Chatter

I talked with Ivy earlier... she's still sore, but recovering. I called her not just to ask about her health and well-being, but to discuss a concert. My teen has an extra ticket for an adult to accompany her and two friends to the Buzz-fest. I really don't want to go and I'm not cool enough anyway. My teen suggested that Ivy take them. How do ya like that? Ivy is officially "Mom's Cool Friend." I know the Commentater and Chip must be devastated, but c'est la vie. Ivy also said she'd try to update her blog this weekend to share the whole hospital experience, but with the accident and subsequent pain meds, she's been .... ahem... unable. She'll probably forget most of it! haha...

With the big family reunion coming up, I'm still deciding whether or not to make the "man cake" that Kerry Woo just tried. I'll probably just wimp out and make the stupid deviled eggs.

I'm watching extreme makeover with baby girl. She doesn't think she wants to be a plastic surgeon when she grows up, but volunteered to work at the front desk of her husband's pracgtice. That girl has high aspirations!!! Marry a doctor. I keep telling my girls that THEY should be planning to be the doctor. But the baby wants to be a guidance counselor or a kid's psychologist. That would make me happy.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Racism Up Close and Personal

I'm working with a wonderful couple, helping them buy a beautiful home right here in sunny LaVergne (more fun on a date than Shirley, Tn.). The wife is a woman of color... and her being African-American is relevant to this story. She called me earlier today because she was having a bad day and was hoping I could cheer her up... I don't know if I did or not, but did hear her story on racism that absolutely made my stomach curl.

Let's call my friend Sandy (not her real name, but better than "my friend"). Sandy was in a car accident last Wednesday. She was going through an intersection when a car came out of nowhere and hit her. That driver, a white woman, just kept going. Let's call the woman Tiffany. As she was driving away, Tiffany noticed that several people were staring... she drove up another block and finally turned a corner and parked. Then Tiffany walked the block and a half back to the scene of the accident.

Tiffany tried to talk Sandy out of calling the police, suggesting they just exchange insurance information instead. Sandy said no, she wanted a police report to be filed.

The officer showed up and immediately approached Tiffany asking, "Ma'am, are you okay? Are you hurt in any way?" He never asked Sandy. Then he asked Tiffany, "What happened? Did she damage your car?" Never asked Sandy.

When Sandy said, "Sir. She. Hit. Me." He responded, "I'm not speaking to you at this time. Cease and desist."

She ceased and desisted. But he never asked Sandy's side of the accident. One of the witnesses hung around for the officer. The witness approached the officer and said, "Sir, you're interviewing the person who left the scene of the accident." The officer said, "Ma'am, would you like to be charged with interfering with an investigation?"

Tiffany was never cited... not even for driving on out-of-state plates that had expired in May. Sandy, however, had forgotten her drivers license. It was still in her jeans at home from when she voted on Tuesday. Sandy was put in the police car. She was not charged, but did receive a citation. She said had she not remained calm and respectful of authority, she would be in jail now. But Sandy is livid. She is hurt. She is seething.

And now I am also outraged and completely blown away by all of this. I can not believe this officer behaved in such a blatantly racist way. My friend is a nurse. She is a wife and mother. She is a God-fearing, tax-paying member of the community. And she is black.

What happened to Tiffany? Nothing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Injured Ivy

Okay. I've waited all day for Bad Bady Ivy to post about our "adventure" last night. But I guess the pain meds have her too loopy to say anything!

First, her house looks FABBO! Love the paint, love the furniture. She did a great job! But while she was doing all this heavy lifting and rearranging, she pulled something in her back. But Ivy is stoic, so she managed to work through her pain. Then yesterday she slipped in the shower (she can tell you the hows and whys if she wants). Bottom line, the pain was so intense that I grabbed my teenager for a little pro bono babysitting work and drove Ivy to the Emergency Room.

As badly as I want to relate all the details (Doctor Bumpelsticken paged 200 times, for example), I'll let Ivy share those. BUT, here is a picture of the perfect bow I tied on her hospital gown:

Okay, so maybe it's not perfect, but I love it when I can get the ends of the ties to both hang down. It annoys me when one is up and one is down. Ivy can post the photos of her after she had an epiphany about a collander and the one when the pain meds kicked in.

The good news is her lung wasn't collapsed. The bad news is that she's pretty bruised and will be sore for a week or so. But she's OKAY and that's what's important. That's all from me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

New Blog

I've started a new blog... does it seem like I have too much free time on my hands? This one is all about real estate.

Middle Tennessee Real Estate

My goal is to put statistics online (like how many houses sell p/month in various areas or price ranges, etc.), try to find valuable info (how to identify whether you're working with a predatory lender), and just field any real estate questions that come my way. And if I can't, I'll find someone who can!

So go visit the new blog. One post so far. Thanks!

New "Official" Photo

I finally had a new real estate photo made this past week. My very first client is trying to break into the photography business, so she set up a shoot here at the office. We had about 10 agents who came in and had their photos made. My web page is updated. Here's the official photo... I've actually gotten rid of the fuzzy border on my web page.

Here's my official thumbs-up picture, but I don't know if I'll use it much. My enthusiasm was constrained because there were other agents around and ... you know ... sometimes you have to "act" professional in front of other professionals.

At least I remembered the lipstick! Isn't it weird how our ears get bigger as we get older? Ew. My ears used to be cute. Dainty even. I think I should've worn some pearls (or something) (besides a noose) around my neck. Oh well... I was distracted that day. I had to leave immediately after for my uncle's funeral.

In other news...

The first official day of school went very well. I think the teenager is freaked a little about chemistry. Both girls came home absolutely exhausted. I wouldn't let them nap either or they would've slept the rest of the afternoon and evening, then been wide awake all night. I guess it'll take a couple of days to fall back into the school routine. As I drove my oldest today for her SECOND day of school for the year, she said, "It's weird that this isn't Friday. I feel like I've been in school for six months already." haha. I think she may be in for a looong year.

My youngest is so dramatic. She came home needing a couple more folders (the kind with the brackets, chads, whatever they're called) and a THREE INCH binder. Good grief. The biggest we could find at Kmart was a two-inch so that's what she got. Of course, we didn't go until after her hissy fit was over because we didn't leave immediately. After that I made her wait a couple of hours. Mwaaa-haaaa-haaaa. I should've made her wait until today. But I really suck in the discipline department.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Someday Sunday

I get so depressed on Sundays. I was raised Catholic and went to church every single Sunday and holy day for the first 18 years of my life. Then when I started college, I went every single Sunday for the first three weeks. Then I stopped. I still go to church sporadically, but I've turned into the people I used to frown upon... the ones who only showed up on Easter and Christmas.

I carry a lot of guilt about this because my own light attendance affects my daughters. I know I should have them in church more. I know it. But when I wake up Sunday mornings, I just can't find the drive to get ready and go. I miss church. But when I'm there I feel like a hypocrite. I love God. I love Jesus. But I don't like organized religion. I think while organized religion has done extraordinary things for mankind, it's also going to be the downfall of mankind.

I just can not get over how people FIGHT and KILL in the name of God, Allah, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha... I thought religion was supposed to be loving, respectful. How can organized religions who give us sermons on love turn around and tell us that love is not right when it's two people of the same sex? Isn't love just love? I think when politicians hijack religion to get elected, we should be wary of them. It just bugs me when I see my parents vote for someone just because their church says to do so. I think it's dangerous when a church dictates who you should vote for and if you do not, it's sinful. But even as I say this, I can't say for sure it's true because I haven't gone to church to actually hear it said. But my parents have hinted at this.

Anyway, I miss going to church. I think I need to find that place deep inside of me that will compel me to go. Because I want to. I really do.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What is Wrong with People????

I saw this article today on Comcast news. I couldn't believe it. Just how sick and depraved and cruel are people??? It would be hard to imagine a worse death. I've thought a lot about the death penalty and frankly can't say I'm against it.

The daughter of a man I went to church with was brutally murdered in Evansville, Indiana. She was 18 or 19 and babysitting. The Dad was supposed to drive her home, but raped and murdered her instead. He was convicted and served about 15 or 20 years before being paroled. The father of the girl who was murdered held on to his anger for years, but eventually went and spoke with the murderer. After talking with him over time, he eventually forgave him and became a spokesperson against the death penalty. Here are some articles and other info about Mr. Stevens.

Declaration Personalizes Death Penalty
Oklahoma City Bombing Victim's Father Speaks Out Against Death Penalty
Bill to End Capital Punishment... (press release)
Ironic Twist of Hope at Eddyville Penitentiary

I can't say that I'm against the death penalty because I have (thank God) never walked a mile in the shoes of someone who has had a family member murdered. However, if it was my daughter I would've absolutely wanted to see the man FRY. (You know, I did forget that the son of one of my cousins was killed at a workplace shooting in Indiana about five years ago. I think he was one of three or four people killed. I never met my cousin's son, but I'm sure it was devastating for them.)

What does bother me about the death penalty is reading about people who have been found innocent years later. I believe if there is irrefutable proof that someone is guilty of murder - whether through DNA testing or multiple witnesses - then I don't object. And don't sterilize the needle! But if there is a shadow of a doubt that someone is not guilty, then I can't support it in those instances. I just hope I'm never ever put in a position where I'd be actively involved in seeking the death penalty for someone.

First Day of Middle School (updated)

Today is my baby girl's first day of middle school. Sixth grade. I felt like I did the first day of kindergarten. Got the lump in my throat. Thankfully I had to go to the bathroom (fast) so didn't break down in front of her. haha.

The first date was WONDERFUL. Ivy's Mom is her homeroom teacher and her first class. She has a "best friend" in every single class so she's just elated. Erica and Melissa R. have four classes each with her, plus Lindsay, Morgan, Naomi, and several other girls are in her classes. She's going to have a very good year.

The oldest daughter also seems happy. She has a couple of really tough classes (chemistry and geometry). She said she was content that she didn't know anyone in those classes because friends won't distract her from listening to the teachers. How mature is that? I hope she's not just blowing happiness my way, but if she isn't then I'm a proud Mom here.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Funerals and Family

I just returned this evening from Indiana, having gone to my uncle's funeral. As sad as funerals are and even though my uncle was awesome, I sure enjoyed seeing some of my cousins that I haven't seen in years and years. Why is it we so rarely gather except for funerals?

My sister and I went together on Tuesday for visitation, but decided to stay for the mass this morning because we felt our Mom needed us there. So Tuesday night after visitation, we went to dinner with three cousins and one cousin-once-removed. ha. It was so much fun! We decided on the Chateau in Mariah Hill (the hometown of Florence Henderson). Well after my sis and I got a room, we headed back to the car and I said, "I'm not sure I even remember how to get to Mariah Carey." My sister pointed, "I don't know how to get to Mariah Carey, but Mariah Hill is that way." Duh. We laughed about that all day today, too.

The good news is our family is now planning a reunion Labor Day weekend. We were also struck by how good-looking our family is. They are sure a handsome group of people. I'll have to take some photos at the reunion so you'll know I'm not just bragging!

Monday, August 07, 2006

College Savings Plans a Good Investment

This is different from my usual my-kids-wear-me-out and my-real-estate-work-is-oh-so-interesting posts, but I saw this article on the msnbc.com web site and wanted to share. It's titled Prepay Your Way to College by Jane Bryant Quinn.

Some history, before I moved to Tennessee three years ago, I was the founding staff member of the College Savings Plans Network headquartered in Lexington, Ky. We started out small ... there were seven states (Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio & Wyoming) with prepaid tuition programs ... actually I think Kentucky had the only savings plan. The states banded together and fought all the way to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals against an "entrepreneur" who had filed a patent on a mathematical formula. The formula is what the states used to determine the return of the investments against the annual increased tuition rates. The court did not determine that the guy couldn't patent a mathematical formula, but it DID determine the sovereign rights of states. It was a huge victory for state rights, and even bigger for the college savings programs.

Our next major struggle was lobbying Washington DC to get tax-exempt status on the returns. After many phone calls, letters, personal visits to the halls of Congress, etc. we were again victorious. And according to the article by Jane Bryant Quinn above, Congress just made the exemption permanent. This is all good.

I stepped down as the director of the Network about five years ago.... I was director but not in name because of a micro-managing boss (if you go to the Network's web page you'll not that she doesn't even allow staff names to be listed because "it's not about the staff." I've always thought that was a stupid decision because the constituents needed to know who to contact).

Anyway, if you have children you should seriously consider starting a college savings account them. If they decide to not go to college, then you can use it for yourself or roll it to another child or other relative. If you have brainy children and they win scholarships, then you can just cash it out and use it for a fancy vacation!

Okay, here are some places I was quoted back in the day:

College Savings Iowa Helps Students Save Early for School

Education Plan Freezes State Tuition

There were many more (Sesame Street Parents, Fortune, Money, NY Times, Washington Post), but they didn't show up in my google search.

Oh. My last conference as "director" for the Network was September 7-9, 2001 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At the conference, my temporary crown on my front tooth broke off so I walked around with my hand covering my mouth the whole time. I was presented this beautiful silver plate and asked to make a speech. It was the one time in my life (and should've been my most prestigious professional moment) when I couldn't talk. How embarrassing. Had I made my "thank you" speech, I would've looked like a toothless hillbilly clutching that silver plate.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My Desk

If this is cool enough for Kerry Woo and CeeLCee, it's good enough for me! Here's my desk.

There are photos of my daughters on the left filing cabinet. Also, two bottles of nail polish and a used tissue. The tiger eye on the wall is there to "FOCUS" and I have the "dummies" of my last two mailings on the wall. If you look on the back right hand side of the desk, you'll see a little hurricane lamp made from an old electric glass ball something-or-other. That was a lamp from World-Famous-Sci-Fi-Author Andre Norton's estate. She donated it to our auction to raise money for cancer research (we made over $14,000 at that auction).

Speaking of good causes... do any of you business people want to donate $200 to sponsor a hole at the upcoming golf tournament for "Christmas for the Children"?? We're all supposed to pick up a sponsor and I haven't had any luck at all. Let me know!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Elections and Real Estate

It appears I'm one of about 124 people who voted in LaVergne today... at least for County Commissioner, District 1. My neighbor and friend Doug Shafer seems to be leading 60 to 54. I just showed my daughter the tabulations and said it shows that every single vote does count. I was disappointed to see that one of my colleagues running for Rutherford County Trustee was losing by a landslide. I did vote for him, but in his case my vote didn't count for much.

I've slowed down a bit at work and have been running some numbers to see if we really are heading into a buyers market. I believe we are. In LaVergne, we have an inventory of 5.98 months of homes available. Anytime you slip over 6 months, it turns into a buyers market. So look out homeowners... you'd better have your place in tip-top shape and price it just below market value if you want to move it quickly.

5.98 months LaVergne
5.41 months Smyrna
5.13 months Murfreesboro
5.01 months Rutherford County (outside of the above cities)
5.27 months Davidson County

It looks like LaVergne is the only one really on the cusp of the buyers' market, but the others aren't too far behind. Let's hope with the interest rates dipping in the last week or two, things will improve.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Posting Pictures, Take Two

Okay, let's try this again.

Isn't she a darling? She's growing up on me!

Puppet dog had fun at the party too. He's old, so getting a bit far-sighted. I think we got him as newlyweds in some pre-packaged Christmas stocking. Our cat used to freak out when the puppet dog would "come alive" and chase after it. haha.

And finally, here's one of my teenager (she's on the left) and her friend Courtney from Lexington. I've always loved Courtney because she laughs at all my lame jokes!

I've got to go ... waiting for some folks to show up so they can be disappointed that I couldn't schedule either of the homes they want to see. One required 24 hours notice and the other has a day-sleeper. I sometimes think people just don't want to sell their houses. Go figure.