Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Don't Wanna Twitter!

I am already Linked. I save Face at least weekly, if not daily. There is biznik. There is Ladies Who Launch. There is stuff happening in person too and of course, there's this bodacious blog! One list I am on - (join it!) - keeps talking about the virtues of Twitter and an Internet reality business show I have been following off and on mentioned it last night too. So I asked someone who is more plugged in than I am (and I am pretty plugged in for a busy mommy) and she said yeah. It's not a waste of time. Darn it! Like I need one more thing to keep up with! I want to rebel. I want to run. I want to keep my eyes closed to this phenomeneon but darn it, I have a business to grow and a book to finish writing. I can't afford to hide in the corner.

It's up, you know. Twitter. On another screen, baiting me to come look at it. Yeah, yeah. I hear you. Sucking me into one more thing to get addicted to.

By the way, I need good salespeople. One really great one will do but I'm willing to talk to a few. Here's my ad. Know anyone? Send them my way!

We need help. We create unique, fun jigsaw puzzles - greeting card jigsaw puzzles and custom jigsaw puzzles. We are a 3-year-old, home-based company founded on the third principle of the Nguzo Saba - Ujima, which means Collective Work & Responsibility. We are dedicated to promoting the collective and creative works of all cultures for the purpose of providing quality, authentic, multicultural puzzles and educational products. We are a dynamic duo with complementary gifts and talents and the shared gift of helping others in a variety of ways. We need someone with a passion for sales who can see our vision and help us turn leads into sales. We need you to be able to operate within our parameters of putting people first and always striving to do the right thing despite the general consensus. PLEASE DO NOT REPLY IF YOU NEED TO BE PAID NOW. We need you to work by commission only and help us get where we know we are destined to be so that we can all share in the coming success. If interested, please email us at We would like someone in CT but we are open to finding someone from any location with a passion equal to our own.

Ta ta. Off to Twitter!

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Quick Prayer for Madeleine

I am moved to momentarily stop and ask God to ensure that this little girl - if she is indeed still among the living - is well cared for even if she is not to be returned to her family any time soon. The ultimate conclusion, of course, is that He takes her back to her family. But only God knows what happened and why, and only He can see clearly into this. It pains me deeply to think of a child my daughter's age out there, separated for her family. She is old enough to know the people she is with now are not the people she should be with. Of course, again, we don't know what happened. It could be some other family member that has her for all we know.

As I re-read the story of the McCann's, cultural differences surface again. Just like that Danish mom who left her child in a stroller on a NY street, I suppose we have to leave room for the practices of people in other parts of the world. It just seems to me, though, that when in Rome, don't act like you're home. Keep that child close. Period. Mr. T and I are always doing that dance too - how much freedom do we give them and when? When we're away, there is no give on that invisible leash. But at home, Mr. T is more flexible than I am and I deliberately try to scare him with all the stuff that can happen in our own back yard too - literally. I guess between the two of us, the kids will come out OK but will I?

But none of this helps Madeleine right now. She is still out there somewhere and her parents, I am sure, will never feel 100% joy in life ever again. I know I wouldn't. And that leads me to the third possible conclusion to this mystery, the one no one wants to think about, but I still pray that if worse has come to worse, God please let it come to light so these people can rest in the fact that You have her now. For this moment in time, I wish them peace - one way or another.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Little Women

We have a puzzle emergency. Yes they happen. Especially right now with crazy stuff going on with the customers we deal with at my job too. Overall, it's a busy time with Son's summer program and the puzzles and the vending that is going on in NC right this very moment where we are being represented to potential customers. There's is the book proposal I still need to get back to work on. We've got a newspaper article to our credit now and a podcast too. It's life.

So I am outside on the phone with a die company. Can't get what I want today. I call my manufacturer to tell him the deal. I watch as one woman sloooowly walks down the street assisting another who clearly has issues with her legs. I notice their slow pace and wonder if it's leisurely to the woman who is helping or is she just used to taking it really slow for the sake of this other woman. I think it might bug me a little.

I leave a voice mail message for my manufacturer who is in and out and I keep watching the women walk toward me. As I wrap up my message, they pass me by.

"Ma'am. Ma'am! Ma'am!"

I see the disabled woman is trying to look my way, throwing ma'ams at me like a pushy toddler.

"Um, I presume you mean me?"

"Are you waiting for the bus," she asks for all to hear.

"No I am not."

"I need to take the bus."

I look at the woman with her who watched the exchange like she has no vested interest.

"Sorry. Don't know anything about the buses here. They come. Don't know where they go."

I step to her side on my way back into work. One of the summoned buses arrives just as I finish talking to her. The disabled woman then clasps my wrist as if I had offered it to her.

"I need to take the bus," and she begins to take me along on her little journey to the bus that has now pulled up and opened its doors. So now we are two women walking sloooowly with this woman. The bus driver looks like he knows her. She tells him where she needs to go while she climbs on board. I watch the other woman and tap her shoulder.

"Were you accosted?"

She smiles such a slightly confused and yet patient smile and laughs a little. "Yeah." I watch her wait as the woman gets on.

"God bless you."

"Thank you."

I go back to work.

Life is insane. I can't seem to get a moment of quiet. I think God just took me by the arm and said, "Slow down. You're going to get there. You've just got to help some people along the way."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Why Oh Why

My nephew-in-law is getting divorced.

"Nephew moved in with my mother yesterday," Mr. T told me one morning this week. I looked at him in confusion. I had actually forgotten that fast that he and his wife had just bought a house not that long ago. I was too busy trying to remember how long they were married. I know time flies but could it have been THAT long already? Long enough to give up?

"What do you mean? Where's his wife? What happened?"

Mr. T shrugged. "She's gone."

Nephew is sweet. Nephew is smart. Nephew is handsome. Nephew has a VERY good job. His wife is simply adorable. Mr. T and I are old enough to be their parents if we had started somewhere between the age of 15 to 18, but otherwise we don't usually feel an age difference between us, even when she calls me Aunt Monica. And with her, it was sweet. I didn't mind.

"Why? I don't get it. How long have they been married now?"

"About 2 years."

They were the couple that got married in secret. Just last summer we all went to dinner to celebrate them. They had been together about 2 years before they got married. Maybe longer. They seemed so certain. She looked so content. I am positive Nephew would move the moon for her.

"She cheated on him."

"What?! How does he know? How can he be sure? Did she confirm it? No way! After all this? And just 2 years of marriage? Huh?"

"He did his homework first. Checked cell phone bills. Called a number that was coming up a lot and when a guy answered, he told him who he was and the guy hung up. He confronted her. She said he's just a friend."

"Why," was all I could ask as I shook my head.

"Why'd they even buy a house," Mr. T wondered out loud.

The other nephew's wife is already on everyone's s**t list - mine too - since he got slammed in the face at a party for HER sister and had to get his jaw wired, couldn't talk, etc. and she didn't tell anyone here for days. But this little wifey? I LIKED her, man. Enough to look forward to seeing her when we got together. I guess I can hold out hope that somehow things get resolved but if it's true, Nephew is right to stand firm if she couldn't stand loyal after such a short time. But I hope there's a misunderstanding. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed and praying for them.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

It's Gettin' Kind of Hectic

I can't even list things. My mind is a little scattered and creating lists helps me to get it back together. It's all good, it's all growth potential but it's all over the place and I need to get my thoughts together.

  • I'm talking to multiple buyers and a couple of connected bloggers about the greeting card puzzles.
  • We're preparing a packet of things to send to small, but select, vending event down South where we will be sponsors and they will pitch us to gift basketeers.
  • I'm talking to a storeowner about our next puzzle and letting her help guide the design because she likes the concept and will buy it if the execution is just as good. She also knows toy reps and will connect us there later on.
  • Press releases are going out and we've done one newspaper interview so far. We're doing a podcast interview next Saturday.
  • More networking.
  • More writing.
  • More work!
I kept thinking about my kids. I've been busy all this time but this is different because I am fishing in a much larger pond these days, taking more risks, and I continue to believe we are closer than we realize. It's like exercising. If you do it every day, you may hate it but eventually you start to see results and things get better overall for you though it may never get any easier - just better. If you stop for too long, you go practically back to square one. So I keep pushing. And pushing. And thinking, "I have to make sure they are with me." You can never be too sure just how much your kids know or understand until you take the time to talk to them. It's astounding just how affected they can be by something that you thought was no big deal. Or just how easy it is for them to go with the flow when you think they should be devastated. Unpredictable and flexible. That's them.

So I'm thinking, "I have to talk to them. I have to be sure." People are always asking me where I get my energy from. They wonder how I can do as much as I do. And certainly I have to sacrifice in one area in order to succeed in another but it's not either/or. It's sacrifice on one hand today for success on the other. Tomorrow you may need to switch up. That, my friends, is balance. But sacrifice is always a part of it and, like it or not, the kids will sacrifice too. Maybe you can't do as much with them or for them as you'd like while getting things off the ground. Maybe you aren't as patient as you'd like to be. Maybe you aren't as attentive as you should be. Personally, I think it's better to be honest about these things and I have accepted the fact that some days I will get it all right and some days I won't. But I am thinking as long as I keep them in the loop, we should all come out of this OK.

I went to a dinner tonight to celebrate the latest group of grads from the business workshop I had done about 5 years ago. I had already come home about 9:30 last night because Bizzy Girl and I had to talk numbers for a potential buyer. But I had said I would go to the dinner and I wanted to because one woman to whom I had recommended the program was going to be among the grads. I had to support her. So two late nights in a row. Something I try not to do.

It started at 6 and I was determined to hustle out of there by 9 at the latest, and only that because the dinner was in the same town I live in so it wouldn't take forever to get home. "Gotta get home to the kids. Gotta get home to the kids. We have to talk. We have to talk!" At 9:05 the dinner was done but I had to talk to 2 of the grads who might be good connections for my business. I had to talk to my friend who graduated but she was busy talking to the guy who founded the program, as she should. So I talked to the people with her who also happen to own the store where our puzzles were (yes were. But it's not over. Later on that topic.) It's was about 9:30 when I finally made it out.

Someone, amazingly, had thought to leave the light on outside. Usually I'm the one who thinks like that. I am guessing the kids were just playing around with the lights and didn't realize the outside light had gone on. Before I could get all the way in the house Daughter bounds down the stairs. "Son was crying for you." Great. I am coming home to make sure we're all playing on the same team and he's crying for me. Can you spell GUILT? But he's never done that before. I've come home this same time many times prior. Why tonight?

"What do you mean he's crying? For what?"

"He was waiting and waiting for you but you didn't come home." Oh brother.

So I ask him. "Why were you crying for me? I've come home this time before."

"Usually you come home at 8:30."

"But last night I came home this time. Why cry?"

"Because I love you." Again - oh brother.

If you all haven't figured this out yet, let me clue you in on my personality. I may want to talk about something but if you ask me about it before I am ready, I will get annoyed. I may realize something needs to be fixed, but if you complain about it just the very second before I do something about it, I will get annoyed. I may know my kids are wishing they had more of me but if they tell me they had more of me before I tell THEM let's talk about it, I will get annoyed. This is me. I can't explain it any more than that.

"Let's talk. Mommy has always been busy but things are a little different right now and I may be even busier than before. I am trying not to have things so busy that you rarely see me. I am trying to balance it so I will do something one day and choose not to do something another day so I am here with you. But the fact is I am trying very hard to make something grow and I am doing it for you all as well as me. I am using the gifts God gave me. I love it all and I am happy. But I want to be sure you both know that this is for you too. I want you to see that God gave you gifts and you can choose to use them in a traditional way or a nontraditional way but just use them and be happy. That's what I want for you."

Daughter asks, "Why are you telling us this?" Son simply clings to my arm because that what he does. I stick my tongue out at her and keep going.

"So, what I want to know is, is there anything, as a mommy, you wish I would do or would NOT do?" I know I am setting myself up here for loads of guilt. Bring on the, "I wish you were home more often." and "I wish you'd read to us more." or maybe "I wish you would sit and play more often." I do all these things. But I think most parents feel they don't do it enough. What do the kids think?

"I wish you'd be rich," Daughter says. "I'm trying! Son?"

"Hmmm. I wish you would not be mean to us and take away our blankets and pillows and make us sleep on the floor."

"Excuse me? When have I ever done that?"

"You haven't, so I wish you never do."

"Ohhh kaaay. Well, that's not likely to happen anyway. So of the things I DO do, what would you like me to do differently?"

"I wish you could give us lots of money," Daughter pipes up again. This is not the deep, meaningful, heartfelt conversation I was looking for. "Yeah. I got that. I told you I'm working on it. Son?"

"I wish you'd let us help with your business." Finally. Something real.

"But I do. If I go vending and you go along, you help."

"Oh yeah. Ummmmm." He taps his chin with his finger, grinning in the air as he thinks of God knows what.

"You know, if you have to make stuff up, it can't be too bad huh?"

"I wish you could do magic!" Daughter has found a stray tangent to follow.

"I love you," Son responds to a question that I think only he heard in his head.

So maybe they aren't feeling like orphans after all. And maybe I'll do more to talk about my business to them to make them feel a part of things, which is all they really want from me anyway - to be included. Maybe they are doing just fine.