Sunday, May 22, 2005

Gardening And Life... When The Roots Grow Wild

Last week in between writing for several different clients, my husband and I set to work moving the day lillies.

What should have been a twenty minute job turned into a 2 day project. The lillies had been in the same spot for more than 2 years... slowly growing the largest root system I'd ever seen... spreading rich and thick ...and, unfortunately, mired in chokeweed grass.

The poor things were slowly getting the very life choked out of them.

You see, I'd been so busy the past 2 years building my business, there had been little time to take care of things like weeding the garden and nurturing my plants giving them room to grow.

Life can be a lot like that. You can get so buried in the details you forget to give yourself room to grow and flourish ...and sometimes, the wrong elements can move in to slowly suffocate your hopes, dreams and what you once thought was the lifestyle you always wanted.

Don't get me wrong --- when you really apply yourself in the right situation, you can work super hard for a two year period and the results can be phenomenal --- giving you a lifestyle even more wonderful than you'd ever hoped or dreamed for.

I've been lucky. This is exactly how my life is shaping up.

My next goal is to take my monthly income to the 20k/month level and I'm right on target to do it. I'm also working less, yet earning more.

A friend of mine has not been so lucky.

She buried herself in the wrong situation, determined to be the best in her field working in a major corporation, climbing the ladder hoping to shorten the distance from entry level to the top of the feedchain in 5 years or less.

She dug in deep, immersed in the details, with stunning performance on the job.

The company just went through some major layoffs.

Did all her hard work and efforts pay off?

I bet you already know where this is heading... and if you guessed right, you know she is now dusting off her resume preparing for the unemployment line with a 2 week severance check in hand and a pat on the back thanking her for her accomplishments these past 4 years.

During those 4 years she worked 10 to 12 hour days, tirelessly, passionately building someone else's dreams. She never had time to add any courses to her schedule, so needless to say, on paper it looks like there was little advancement for her during that 4-year period.

What did she learn from the experience?

For one thing, she still hasn't learned to go to work on her own dreams. Instead, like I said... she's dusting off her resume and getting ready to go out and add to the success of yet another company.

I can empathize with her. There once was a time I would have done the same...

It took me more than 20 years to "wake up" and take time to smell the roses.

My Advice: work harder on yourself than you do on your job. It will take you a whole lot further faster.

PS: the transplanting turned out great. The lillies are now flourishing in their new location and it looks like this year my flower gardens will be truly beautiful!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Dead Birds And Other Things

Our 4-year-old came running into the house yesterday, totally hyped up...

"Mom! Dad! Look what I found!"

Nestled in the palms of his two small hands was a dead morning dove he had found in the flower garden. What was unusual about the bird - no broken neck (so we assume it didn't fly into anything) - no outward signs of sores or abrasions (we assume it didn't fly into traffic) - no unusual markings, moltings or anything else.

In fact, other than being stone cold stiff and dead, on first appearance it looked peacefully asleep and in perfect health.

Since we haven't sprayed any dangerous chemicals, even that possibility was out - maybe?

As the editor for the local Healthy Families bi-monthly newsletter in our area, I'm often more "in the loop" than most regarding health news and information in our region. What many people don't realize is that dead birds may be a sign that West Nile virus is circulating between birds and the mosquitoes in an area. Over 130 species of birds are known to have been infected with West Nile virus, though not all infected birds will die.

The Center For Disease Control (CDC) seeks everyone's help for their communities by reporting dead birds as one measure to monitor and track the spread of West Nile Virus.

"By reporting dead birds to state and local health departments, you can play an important role in monitoring West Nile virus. State and local agencies have different policies for collecting and testing birds, so check the Links to State and Local Government Sites page to find information about reporting dead birds in your area. Click here for more info about reporting dead birds and dealing with bird carcasses."

Speaking of West Nile Virus, did you know 777 cases were reported last year in California alone (23 deaths)?

Sidenote: According to a CNN report, West Nile virus first arrived in 1999 in New York. Last year there were 2,470 cases and 88 deaths. The highest number of U.S. cases came in 2003, when 9,682 people were infected and 264 died.

Mosquitoes are reported to be the culprit spreading this virus (and more).

Needless to say, large and powerful companies are already gearing up for sales of their repellents this year ...and DEET is still on the list of the CDCs top repellents. When I was a Purchasing Agent for one Ministry in Canada, DEET was a banned substance on my list of approved repellents (although it was readily available for public use ...just not for use by government workers in the field - go figure).

Sidenote: DEET was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1946 and has been registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as an approved active ingredient since 1957.

Personally, I don't like slapping any chemicals on my skin. I know too well the damage toxins can do and how quickly they can be absorbed by the skin. This year, the CDC has finally broadened their list of approved repellents to include one more chemical (picaridin) and now, a natural alternative (oil of lemon eucalyptus).

Here's something I prefer, which may surprise a few people: Purifying Mist

But that's a room deodorizer, you say?

Yes, it sure is. In fact it's quite effective as both a room deodorizer AND an odor eliminator, and yet it also has a main ingredient that I've found can be quite effective as a mosquito repellent: grapefruit seed extract.

Go ahead --- take a bottle on your next camping trip and test it out.

In my humble opinion, it's a far safer alternative to smearing chemicals all over the skin.

Until next time... Have a super weekend!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Mother's Day - Help! Help!

Okay... everything was going fine, until I hear the call from outside...

Help! Help! Help me! Help!

My little boy in trouble again?

Out the house I dash, and I'm greeted by this picture:

Somehow he had managed to get up on the propane tank (wearing only his t-shirt, by the way) and on trying to slide off, got hung up by the back of his shirt.

Yes, of course I was concerned. And yet, can any mother resist getting a picture of this for the keepsake scrapbook? To be honest, neither my husband nor I could resist laughing. It was really a comical site. I snapped the pic just before his Dad showed up to help him down.

All part of the joys working full time from home.

This one will be fun to share with his future girlfriends. hehehe