Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's So Cool to be a Girl!



Especially in the 80's...

Piano Music

Had lunch with a girlfriend yesterday that I haven't seen since my baby shower 12 years ago...what a blast catching up! Her husband is a talented piano player. She gave me one of his cd's yesterday and I've been listeing to it in the car. Feel free to check it out...

Farewell John Edwards...

May his platform of addressing economic injustices for the 35 million Americans living in poverty live on (or impregnate) in the hearts of those who have power! (we could argue who has power in America but I digress)

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Story of Stuff


During an enlightening evening of making homemade potstickers with the neighbors, discussing politics, vacationing, work and "stuff", someone threw out this link...very interesting...see for yourself.


Extraction - Production - Distribution - Consumption - Disposal

I Am Guilty!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Moon at Sunrise - Believe it or Not

The moon waiting patiently for the sun to come up so he can retire.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Perspective

The letter came by US Mail. Unlike the ordinary methods of communication I utilize daily like email, text messaging and instant messaging, this letter was hand delivered to the physical mailbox that sits on my manicured lawn in front of my house. As I walked across the lawn to the mailbox I thought about my husband. If he could have witnessed me actually checking the mail in this manner, this deliberate act of cutting across the lawn instead of using the sidewalk, there would have been a discussion about how I was smashing the grass or stunting its potential spring growth. I say “discussion” as if the conversation could have the ability to be two sided but in reality the discussion would consist of him asking “do you have to walk across the lawn?” and me ineffectively rolling my eyes to add drama to the situation…because that’s what I do. But, hubby wasn’t around to see the cataclysmic tragedy of my cute little feet dancing across the lawn sooooo…cut across I did like the rebel that I am!

Upon opening the mailbox I immediately notice the junk mail that we are still receiving despite paying for a junk mail removal system. After wading through the advertisements and the bills, I come to a letter, hand addressed to me. I recognize the return address and with a smile on my face, I throw all the other mail back in the mailbox and skip back across the lawn to my front door, enter the house and plop down in my office chair excited to read a hand written letter.

By the time I have read this letter, I am aware as I usually am, that I am probably not the first or the only one to have read it. I can’t be sure of this, but I always assume that the letters written by prison inmates are read by someone before they are allowed to seal the envelope.

You are probably wondering if I get a lot of mail from prison, if I am one of those women who have low self esteem and find it gratifying to have men with tarnished backgrounds sending me letters asking me for photos of myself. Well I’m not one of those women so keep reading.

I’ll admit that I do have a friend on the “inside.” He has been there for a few years and could quite possibly be there for many more depending on his appeal process. He was my friend prior to going to prison so if you could please resist the temptation to picture me standing outside the prison clinging desperately to the electronic chain link fence pining over a convict who wants a prison marriage ceremony, I would really appreciate it. And now that we have cleared that up…lets move on.

The letter starts in the usual way, catching me up on his daily routine and the only two things he is allowed to do all week that is enjoyable (pray and play music). He fills me in on who has written and who he’d like to hear from because writing letters is a way to not only help him keep his sanity, but it helps pass the “time.” He thoughtfully asks questions about my family and remarks on my last correspondence to him. That’s usually the bulk of our letters…when you sit in a little room for most of your day, you don’t create much to talk about. This is understandable, so I try to keep him entertained with my writing (sad as it may be) and life on the “outside.”

But today as I sit thinking about my reply to him, I can’t help but think of something he said to me in his letter last week and more importantly, the things he has not said to me in all of his letters over the years. What he said was this - “all in all, I can’t complain.” In my head I am thinking “REALLY???...You sit, eat, sleep, and poop in a tiny room 24/7, writing with God knows what since they probably don’t let you have a pen for fear that you pen yourself or someone else to death, knowing that you have been convicted of a crime that you are innocent of and you really can’t complain?” But he doesn’t complain. Instead he uses his time to build his friendships and his relationship with God and sends letter after letter without one complaint. He's gracious and thoughtful and punctual with his writing. And although he is human afterall and nobody would fault him for moaning a bit, he chooses not to.

And so as I sat at my computer today, grumbling about the fact that I am having some computer issues and bellyaching about what to cook for dinner; I stop for a moment to allow some perspective to pass through my thoughts. I pause to appreciate that I have a computer (or three) and a dinner that I will not be serving up on some sort of safety tray with dull, non-threatening utensils. My life, with all its flaws, I wouldn’t give up for anything.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I Have A Dream, 1963

Hi Friends...If you've never listened to the whole speech, here it is in its entirety. It's beautiful. His words will fill your soul and restore your faith in humanity. As I read and listen, I am saddened and proud, depending on how I look at it, by the fact that if you replace the word "negro" with gay or handicap or woman or senior citizen, you can hear Martin Luther King, Jr.'s voice speaking for the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ALL.
Thanks for being here...Michelle



"I HAVE A DREAM" (1963)
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men - yes, black men as well as white men - would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "for whites only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends - so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification - one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father's died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!"

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi - from every mountainside.

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring - when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children - black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics - will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Distribution statement: Accepted as part of the Douglass Archives of American Public Address (http://douglass.speech.nwu.edu) on May 26, 1999. Prepared by D. Oetting (http://nonce.com/oetting).

Permission is hereby granted to download, reprint, and/or otherwise redistribute this file, provided this distribution statement is included and appropriate point of origin credit is given to the preparer and Douglass.


Also, if you are interested in reading more..."I've Been to the Mountaintop" and "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" both by MLK, Jr.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My Favorite Place

Half blinked into existence
One third fragments of my breath
A paradisaical moment
But features more like death

No escaping without words
Locked up inside the master
Yet can be lost forever
Without its conscious capture

Where apples can be oranges
And it’s logical to see
Loved ones gone to heaven
Now right in front of me

I met a man there once
Buying tickets to the show
We talked as if we were old friends
Yet his name I did not know

Traveling distant lands abroad
No grain of sand did pass
Inside a quixotic time machine
Devoid an hourglass

On our journey we met a girl
Riding upon a three legged giraffe
I did not think it odd at all
When I heard his long neck laugh

It’s whimsical and magical
And woven with the thread
Strands each from real and make believe
Sewn right in through my head

No fear or death comes round this place
Unless I do not go there
For if I fall not to a dream
I might well land a nightmare

Michelle Hix 2008

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Coffee at Sunrise


I took this picture yesterday while having my morning coffee on our back deck. Not the greatest picture but it was kind of cool how the whole world seemed orange for a moment.

Whoa! 20 Years Goes By Fast...

Found these in the basement. Thought I'd post them for a good laugh...109 lbs. of bangs and eyebrows and braces (the reason for the stern look)! So much has happened since these pictures were taken 20 years ago...if only I knew back then what I know now. (I would have jumped...just kidding!)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

For My Techie Friends

The Medieval Help Desk...


Remember

Laid awake, eyes open most the night
The alarm forgot to ring
Running late I microwave yesterday’s coffee
Can’t find a mug to bring
Cold outside, I accidentally grab your scarf
Just can’t seem to purge a thing
It makes me remember, yes, I remember

Out of groceries, picked up a few
Couldn’t find that penny at the bottom of my purse
Thought I saw you in the parking lot
That just made it worse
Probably a good thing it wasn’t you
The words I haven’t yet rehearsed
Trying to remember, yes, I remember

Clicked the button, the garage door opens
And then our song came on
Sat there in the car, listening
I’m feeling so withdrawn
Thinking of the times we laughed
I just can’t seem to recall one
But then I remember, yes, I remember

Watched the news, my heart still aches
Too many deaths unexplained
You used to watch me watch the news
Until your loyalty feigned
Now even if you were here right now
I’m not sure trust could be regained
Don’t want to remember, yes, I remember
Michelle Hix 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

How To Forgive and Quit Your Bitchin'

Over the past few years, I have spent some time thinking about forgiveness and fortunately (or unfortunately) have had the opportunity to perfect the process. When I was younger, forgiving was all about making someone feel bad for what they did and then calling a truce when being mad got tired or I finally bullied them into repentance, ha ha. After the truce, I would still feel bad. And when you feel bad, you treat people badly. And when you treat people badly, well, you feel like crap. Vicious I tell ya! It wasn’t until I realized that forgiveness is a process that involves only one person (moi), that I truly began the process of forgiving people.

But what does forgiveness look like?
I will describe what it is for me, which may or may not follow the biblical, moral, or societal norm, but hey, that’s me!…its what I’ve got!

It’s nice when the catalyst for forgiveness is repentance…sort of gets the ball rolling…but let’ assume I don’t get that luxury. I can’t let myself continue to be the victim by waiting and being held captive to the other person’s indecisiveness to repent or the ignorance of their act. It simply slows down the process and makes forgiveness contingent upon someone else. This simply won’t do as I haven’t got all day!

Should we try to forget after we forgive?
Some say yes, but here’s my take. Forgiveness is a gift that brings inner healing. If we don’t forget, we can open this gift over and over. If we forget the act or the sin against us, we forget the gift also. And if we forget the sin or act, we blindly and unknowingly make ourselves vulnerable to the same sin again. And you ask"shouldn’t we turn our other cheek to the perpetrator?" Yes, we should, we should make ourselves vulnerable with our eyes wide open and while holding the knowledge of the sin against us. I think this allows us to make better decisions and possibly even prevent the act of wrong doing against us…or at least it prepares me to box your ass if you get out of line.

How it’s done!

Well, for me anyway, after a period of feeling badly, I make the conscious decision to stop sulking, I bite my pouty lip back in, unfold my arms and get off the fainting couch…the drama is over. I say to myself “I can forgive you”. This usually occurs in the shower, where I do most of my brainstorming and some of my critical thinking for the day. Then I make a mental list (no paper in shower) of things that I like about this person, things that they have done for me, ways that they add to my life, things that I appreciate about them, and really neat shit that they have bought me over the years. I am making this sound simple, but honestly, this could add up to a month of showers. Sometimes my husband opens the water bill and says “Who were you mad at this month?” You just never know until you start the process. Each day, I add good thoughts about this person and slowly let myself think less of the knife in my back. This process starts out very deliberately, but then something natural takes over and I start doing it without any effort and without even realizing that I am doing it. Once it becomes more natural, I’m pretty much over the hump, rounding third and almost home free. The power of positive thinking is nothing short of amazing and the law of attraction starts to apply by bringing peace to my life through my own thoughts. After which, I simply hand the knife back to them and say “I’m only giving this back to you because I love you."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

At a Loss for Words



This might make an inmate ask for solitary confinement.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Better Than I Deserve

Today I was reading Just Shemley and he has been blogging about “Emotional Labor”…the term used to describe a form of emotional regulation used in corporations so that employees present a uniform “fake” emotion to all customers in order to stay consistent to an organizational rule or organization-wide emotion. As a society, we have adopted this behavior and use it daily when someone asks us the question “how are you?” We simply reply “fine thanks, and you?” Instead of being genuinely interested in how someone is or genuinely interested in telling someone how we are, we just find it easier to not be bothered.

As I was reading, I was reminded of when I worked in the tech industry. Before I was a writer, I was managing a building for the same company. I was usually one of the first people in the building and many times the last to leave at night. Several high level managers were also there early/late. One day, one of them changed my life.

Early in the morning as I walked by his office, he said “Hi Michelle, how are you?” Now, this is a very very busy man. Very busy.

I replied with the usual “fine thanks, how are you” and kept walking.

Then I hear “No…Michelle…come back…REALLY, HOW ARE YOU”?

Ashamed, I backed up and stopped at his office door. He asked me to come in and sit down. So I did. At that time he asked me again how I was and we started a conversation and a friendship that has carried on till this very day, years after we have stopped working together. I always look forward to having a conversation with him.

Some years later, I was introduced to the ministry of Dave Ramsey. For those of you who don’t know of him, Dave Ramsey has a radio program and a financial ministry called Financial Peace University. Hubby and I took his 13 week course many years ago after the purchase of our first home.

When someone asks Dave Ramsey “how are you”…he replies “Better than I deserve”. I always thought that this was a good response because it makes people ask “why?". Its not your typical response. The bible teaches that the blood of Christ is a covenant sign that God not treat our sins as they deserve to be treated. It says that the fullness of God’s wrath has already been cast on Christ and because of that we are spared. You can choose to believe it or not…but either way…that leaves us sittin’ pretty good don’t cha think? How cool is that?

But seriously, “Better than I deserve” is probably true for me most of the time (or all of the time biblically speaking) and I don’t mind being reminded of that…I am one lucky girl!

So when someone asks you “how are you?”…think about your response…you have many opportunities every single day to change your answer to something other than “fine thanks.”

I wish that as a society, we would just stop using the question. It just doesn't seem to make any sense that we'd keep asking a question that we can predict the answer to 99/100 times.

I've Been All Over the World This Week with a Man Named Graham (shhh...don't tell my husband)

I'm sorry the frequency of my posts have slowed down. I'm having a tough week. No inspiration. I have however, been reading your blogs fiercely! Which is really my favorite thing to do, especially after a long day. A new blog I have been really enjoying is One Man's Travel Blog. There are a lot of travel blogs out there but I specifically enjoy reading about Graham's adventures because of the way he writes and the amazing stories he tells through his pictures. His desire to experience the world and its cultures are so heartfelt and intense. I love to see it through his eyes. I think Graham must leave a piece of his heart everywhere he goes in order to make room for how much he brings home to share.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Six Word Stories

Okay folks, time to lighten things up a bit. Below are some six word stories that I wrote once upon a time. Never heard of a six word story? Basically, you have to tell a story in exactly six words. Pretty simple. Its not a statement or a quote. Its a story with, if possible, a beginning, middle, and end or at least six words that represent a much larger concept that plays out in the reader's mind. Try one yourself and post it in my comments.

- Open. Scoop. Brew. Pour. Sip. Ahhh.

- Poop. Poop. Scoop. Poop. Poop. Scoop. (for all you cat lovers)

- Stumble. Fall. Forgiven. Repeat as necessary!

- Can I push this button? oops.

- Negative. Negative. Finally two pink lines!

- Order when ready...Pumpkin latte please!

- Gaze. Smile. Touch. Sigh. Tingle. Melt.

- Pine. Velvet. Flowers. Dirt. Goodbye love.

- Fall. Catch. I'll always be there.

- Ouch. Mom. Kiss. Bandaid. Koolaid. Hug.

- Gasp. Beat. Skip. I love you.

- Friendship. Passion. Love. Baby makes three.

- Hang up. No you go first.

- Eyes closed tight. Pony please. Blow.

- And just like that…she vanished.

- Colonel Mustard…caught with murder weapon.

- Will you? Yes. I’d be honored.

- For sale. One water spout. Too rainy.

- Knock knock. Come in. Thanks Peter.

Friday, January 4, 2008

RIP Major Andrew Olmsted

Each day, many good men and women die. Yesterday was no different, except that one of those deaths was a man who was tragically plucked from this earth while making my life a safer one to live.

Andrew Olmsted was a husband, a son, a writer, a soldier, a friend to many...the list goes on and on. Today, people all over the world are celebrating his life and mourning his death.

Death was no stranger to Andrew. He was an American Soldier in Iraq.

Andrew enjoyed blogging and also wrote for the Rocky Mountain News here in Colorado. You can find his blog posts on countless blogs all over the Internet including Obsidian Wings, All Things Conservative, and of course, his own blog Andrew Olmsted.

Andrew's final blog post was posted today by his friend Hilzoy. This was a final goodbye that he wrote several months ago in anticipation of his own death, of course hoping that Hilzoy would never have the need to post it.

Read it here Final Post.

In his final post, Andrew asks that his death not be used to further any political agenda. I respect that.

And I say, thank you Andrew, for I am living because you were willing to die.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Obama/Huckabee Iowa Victories

Seriously? Huckabee? Is that really even a name? I can't even say it without feeling like I have a hairball in my throat. And good golly why does it have to rhyme with so many other words like suckabee and schmuckabee and garbage truckabee and ... what's that other word it rhymes with? You can fill in the blanks. Oh yeah, by the way, if he wins I am going to upchuckabee.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Photography

I enjoy photographs and paintings of people more so than landscape. Here's a link to one of the best photographer's I've ever come across...he also has one of the best photography sites out there. He makes you want to know their stories...

Jeremy Cowart

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Training Notes

Week 1 - Day 2
Workout: Treadmill Run
Pre-workout Meal: Banana & probiotic mango juice (unfortunately pasteurized but I was too lazy to juice)
Workout state of mind: "I am doing this...I am really doing this." 15 minutes into my run, that thought was replaced with "This is boring...this is really boring." 30 minutes into my run the thought was again replaced, this time with "I wonder if my butt cheeks jiggle when I run and are the people behind me watching my butt cheeks jiggle?" Later, in the locker room while standing in front of the mirror, I tried to run in place while looking back at the cheeks...it was inconclusive.
Time: 33 minutes
Distance: 3 miles
Well, not bad for my first day of training. I wanted to kind of take it easy. Although obviously I need to beef up those 3 miles to 4-6, I wanted to start out a little slow. I varied my pace between a 10 and a 12.5 minute mile. Broke a sweat somewhere about 15 minutes into the run and then I felt really good. My right hip was a little tight so I will plan to stop short of hurting it (not sure where its coming from since I've never had a hip issue) in the future and hope it gets stronger before I start running longer distances. My only problem was boredom. Since I was in the front row of treadmills at the Bally Fitness Meat Market, I didn't have anything to look at except the wall. It was torture. I'd much rather run outside but it was soooo cold this morning. Half way into the run I started conjuring up exhilarating images in my head to keep me energized...images of me jumping off a cliff and falling really far before I pull my parachute just to get my adrenaline flowing. But then I got so bored I imagined myself accidentally tripping and taking a nose dive off a cliff without a parachute. Tomorrow I need to move to the back row of treadmills for the eye candy factor and I need to borrow my husband's tiny little iPod.

"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or gazelle - when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."
- Unknown