Friday, January 26, 2007


I miss my fantasy life. Not the one of teenage variety (that one wasn't that much anyway). No, I miss watching Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica as a 8 year old and feeling the way the show's soundtrack moved me to want to fly in the stars. Sometimes, listening to the music in my car, or with Alexander I get those flashes of how it felt to dream like that. Its difficult to hold onto it for very long. Immediacy and responsibility tie you to the ground as if you were formed with it millions of years ago.

I truly believe that I've been cursed with good long-term memory. Sure it helps out in Trivial Pursuit games, but with technicolor and THX surround-sound recall of past events intimidates and frustrates me more often than not. Coupled with the sense of ultimate responsibility for when things go wrong...I get to enjoy that sense of "what could I have done to forgo this feeling of failure" on a continual daily basis.

Even at night my subconscious loves dredging up times in which I said the wrong thing, did the wrong action, killed the wrong butterfly that spurred the wrong hurricane across the world. There can be a case stated (not a very good one I might add) for taking drugs to just shut the whole thing down for a time. A brief respite from reliving life. Thank God I'm not this poor woman: Link.

But I can't do that. And the staff report has to be done. The house needs to be cleaned. The responsibilities have to be accomplished. In this strip center, highway sign existence we've doomed ourselves to inhabit.

And I'll get to remember it all. Forever.

The Downward Spiral

Anybody who knows me knows that I have a hard time seeing the successes in life. Holistic viewpoints rarely do. Entropy and disorder are my bane. No matter how well you stack them end to end, the books are going to slide on the shelf.
Yesterday was my shelf sliding day. Beginning at 5 am with Meredith and Alexander and I all waking up at the same time and in good moods (we had all gone to sleep early) I made strawberry and banana smoothies and left for the day.
7:57 am - email from the city manager - the council has questions about tonight's agenda.
10:00 am - meeting with the city manager - provide a new analysis and presentation by this afternoon.
Skipping lunch and foregoing other responsibilities we complete the task.
6:00 pm - I watch my boss get yelled at for the actions of developers. Ultimately it's the developer's decision to design his own site and put it forward to the council.
We've been told not to express our opinions. We've been told not to make recommendations. Its the Council's decision to approve or deny. We're only presenting the facts of the development.
Now we're told they want a full analysis of all development coming into the city.
I can provide reams - and tell them exactly what is going wrong.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Kudos, Teeth and Ice

Sorry about the gap in time from my last post. Lots of life has been occurring since last I wrote.

I've finally completed the majority of work I've been contracted out for my consulting gig, while receiving praise from my boss. That really made me feel terrific. Also on the same day the City Manager for my full-time employment told my director that I performed well in a meeting earlier in the week and that he was impressed by my handling of the meeting and concluded that I was a "good hire." So work things are going well.

We had another bout with the ice on the roadways last week. Which didn't do well for my tension. The snow day on Wednesday closed the City, but I still worked 8 hours that day on my consulting gig trying to get it completed. Sun on Sunday was greatly appreciated.

We had Alexander's teeth done on Friday the 12th. We arrived at 6:30am at the hospital for him to be put in general anesthesia to fill 5 teeth and cap (baby root canal) three others. Meredith did a terrific job at getting all of the pre-op appointments, payment, and scheduling all done without me having to do any of it. I could take the day off and support Alex. He was a real trooper. Still groggy from the early wake-up morning, they gave him a mild sedative to calm him down. It was humorous watching a stoned three-year old. He was giggling quietly to himself. Bobbing his head and swaying to and fro. Finally he closed his eyes and put his finger to his nose and told Meredith:

"Mommy, I can't see my finger."

It was nice to have a light moment before the parental stress. Everything was completed within two hours. Meredith and Alex napped the rest of the afternoon. He now wants to show people his "Superman Gold Teeth" although his caps are stainless steel. Soft teeth due to antibiotics and irregular brushing led us to this point. You better believe we're very strict on the brushing morning and night with a good fluoride toothpaste.

We're having to say goodbye to Meredith and Alex's friends Gina and Pat and their son Drew. Drew has been Alexander's friend for almost two years now. They're moving to Ithica, NY in a couple of weeks. We went to they're going away party last night.

Whatever you do, don't see the movie "Click" with Adam Sandler. Weird movie that starts off as a comedy and then progresses into self-reflection in the vein of "Its a Wonderful Life" but much more depressing. I was in tears at the end of it and didn't like it at all.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Are Ugly Cities Killing Ourselves in a Competitive World?

I'm not going out on a limb here. There are surely some quantifiable studies on social aspects of environment to the ability to think, focus, and be competitive in a capitalistic society. However, because I am a product (currently) of that system...and this is my opinion blog, rather than my professional newsletter...I can say whatever I want.

So I'm saying this. Ugly cities contribute to complacency in people. We settle for what is easy and cheap. It shows in our land layout (urban design); our traffic patterns, landscaping and most of all: our architecture. Who can feel inspired by a strip center? Who wants to go out and see the latest construction of the McDonalds or these days...the Chick-Fil-A? Our urban communities are drowning in land uses which are not going to be sustainable for the next 50, let alone 20 years. How many dead Wal-Marts are there? I can think of about 4 that have yet to be adequately redeveloped. Luckily in Denton the dead K-Mart was finally razed (after 4 years of vacancy) to be developed in what is hoped to be a sustainable mixed-use environment.

What does all this say about our competitive nature in the world economy? We're not willing to create. We're only willing to assemble. The parts of our buildings are pre-arraigned. The shiny metal boxes of our vehicles pumping life-blood of petroleum into the atmosphere. I'm guilty of it as well. I live in a suburban community. Large lot, big house...25 mile commute to work - no HOV for me - I drive alone. That's the choice I have. I would ride the train if I could. It would relax me more I think.

Cities in Asia are planning the future of economics, while Americans want their hamburgers and security devices to keep us safe from "the bad guys". Check out Tony Nelessen's presentation to the Texas APA in October concerning Asian Cities compared to American counterparts.

We need beauty in our cities and our lives. Otherwise we're going to be ground into dust like these buildings will be in the next 50 years.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Sitting on the Mobius Strip

Had a great time over the New Year's Holiday. Sunday evening we went to our friend's house (The Uggens) and had a pajama party to ring in the new year. Everyone, the kids and the adults, wore their tasteful pj's for the evening. There was a family from the Uggen's neighborhood who had the cutest little 3-year-old girl with long blonde hair who immediately attached onto Alexander as a new best friend for the night. They played well. She even invited him to her birthday party in February...which was kinda funny.

We played Cranium Pop 5 which was a fun, fast game of guessing. Meredith turned out to be a terrific player in acting, drawing and sculpting. Krista and Erika were fantastic guessers.

The one play of the night was Christopher guessing a Celebrity: "Dolly Parton" before any clue was given whatsoever.

We didn't get home until almost 3am. It was that much fun. We're hoping to have them all over to our house later in the month.

That's what friends are really for.