Random musings and activities of a 30 something mom, potential sprint triathlete, vegetarian, dog and cat owner, and a evolving urban homesteader just trying to do the right thing in life for my daughter and the world around us. If the blog seems random, it's because life is and hits us all at 100mph.
Friday, June 30, 2006

PostHeaderIcon Training a dolphin and a 4year old

originally posted on myspace.com on June 30, 2006

As I'm reading the following article, I'm thinking that maybe animal behavior is universal, it's just humans complicate it (and then women tend to read too much into it. lol). It was written about her husband, but as I read the article ideas for Abigail kept jumping out at me.

I consider myself a very lucky parent. You see, I didn't have the terrible-two, or the trantrum-threes, I thought I was an exceptionally great parent with the best kid in the world. Turns out, as I've stated before, God has a sense of humor. I have a daughter who is going through the (as I named it), the hysterical-fours.

EVERYTHING is a drama. First of all, everything is in the extremes... a few examples:

~ "Mom, you NEVER play with me."
~ "Mama, we ALWAYS eat this."
~ ::sniffling:: "Mama, NOBODY at school wants to play with me"
~ (my favorite) "I'll NEVER play with you again"

You get the idea.

Secondly, as you can read in my brother's blog from yesterday, she's turned into a bi-polar devil child on a good day. One minute we'll be having a tea-party having fun and then somehow I'll play the game wrong, and she will start screaming, her heads will spin around 50 times, and she becomes "kevin's daughter" (my daughter doesn't act that way! haha).

I'm not so sure how I'm doing on this whole "parenting-thing". Abigail was the first diaper I ever changed. I have no little cousins or anything I ever had to opportunity to help with. Our first day home, Kevin brought me home from the hospital, dropped me off, and went back to work. I was home alone with this baby who really had no clue what she was in for (and frankly, neither did I). I laid her in her bassinet, stared at her, and muttered to myself.... one of us will not make it through the next week. LOL. It's scary to be in charge of the welfare of another human.

So, when she has these fits or refuses to do her chores....I've tried literally taking away every toy in her room and putting it into a trash bag She's definitely her father's *ahem* daughter, because there is NO WAY I'm that stubborn. She'll just look at me and say, "I don't care. I don't like that doll anyway." or "I didn't want to go to the playground.... I like staying in my room." It's gotten interesting in the last 6 months.

Can I please go back and have the terrible twos and just glide through the 4s?????

I'm sure just as I learned to change a diaper one-handed, I'll figure out this discipline thing. Hopefully in the end I dont' have a ungrateful, spoiled, little brat who does not appreciate her family, her blongings, or the world around her.

So, reading this article, gave me some ideas, and some chuckles, and I hope you it interesting as well.

Until then..... anyone want to babysit??????

What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage - NYTIMES
Amy Sutherland is the author of "Kicked, Bitten and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers" (Viking, June 2006). She lives in Boston and in Portland, Me.

AS I wash dishes at the kitchen sink, my husband paces behind me, irritated. "Have you seen my keys?" he snarls, then huffs out a loud sigh and stomps from the room with our dog, Dixie, at his heels, anxious over her favorite human's upset.

In the past I would have been right behind Dixie. I would have turned off the faucet and joined the hunt while trying to soothe my husband with bromides like, "Don't worry, they'll turn up." But that only made him angrier, and a simple case of missing keys soon would become a full-blown angst-ridden drama starring the two of us and our poor nervous dog.

Now, I focus on the wet dish in my hands. I don't turn around. I don't say a word. I'm using a technique I learned from a dolphin trainer.I love my husband. He's well read, adventurous and does a hysterical rendition of a northern Vermont accent that still cracks me up after 12 years of marriage.

But he also tends to be forgetful, and is often tardy and mercurial. He hovers around me in the kitchen asking if I read this or that piece in The New Yorker when I'm trying to concentrate on the simmering pans. He leaves wadded tissues in his wake. He suffers from serious bouts of spousal deafness but never fails to hear me when I mutter to myself on the other side of the house. "What did you say?" he'll shout.

These minor annoyances are not the stuff of separation and divorce, but in sum they began to dull my love for Scott. I wanted needed to nudge him a little closer to perfect, to make him into a mate who might annoy me a little less, who wouldn't keep me waiting at restaurants, a mate who would be easier to love.

So, like many wives before me, I ignored a library of advice books and set about improving him. By nagging, of course, which only made his behavior worse: he'd drive faster instead of slower; shave less frequently, not more; and leave his reeking bike garb on the bedroom floor longer than ever.

We went to a counselor to smooth the edges off our marriage. She didn't understand what we were doing there and complimented us repeatedly on how well we communicated. I gave up. I guessed she was right our union was better than most and resigned myself to stretches of slow-boil resentment and occasional sarcasm.

Then something magical happened. For a book I was writing about a school for exotic animal trainers, I started commuting from Maine to California, where I spent my days watching students do the seemingly impossible: teaching hyenas to pirouette on command, cougars to offer their paws for a nail clipping, and baboons to skateboard.I listened, rapt, as professional trainers explained how they taught dolphins to flip and elephants to paint.

Eventually it hit me that the same techniques might work on that stubborn but lovable species, the American husband.

The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don't. After all, you don't get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging. The same goes for the American husband.

Back in Maine, I began thanking Scott if he threw one dirty shirt into the hamper. If he threw in two, I'd kiss him. Meanwhile, I would step over any soiled clothes on the floor without one sharp word, though I did sometimes kick them under the bed. But as he basked in my appreciation, the piles became smaller.

I was using what trainers call "approximations," rewarding the small steps toward learning a whole new behavior. You can't expect a baboon to learn to flip on command in one session, just as you can't expect an American husband to begin regularly picking up his dirty socks by praising him once for picking up a single sock. With the baboon you first reward a hop, then a bigger hop, then an even bigger hop. With Scott the husband, I began to praise every small act every time: if he drove just a mile an hour slower, tossed one pair of shorts into the hamper, or was on time for anything.

I also began to analyze my husband the way a trainer considers an exotic animal. Enlightened trainers learn all they can about a species, from anatomy to social structure, to understand how it thinks, what it likes and dislikes, what comes easily to it and what doesn't. For example, an elephant is a herd animal, so it responds to hierarchy. It cannot jump, but can stand on its head. It is a vegetarian.

The exotic animal known as Scott is a loner, but an alpha male. So hierarchy matters, but being in a group doesn't so much. He has the balance of a gymnast, but moves slowly, especially when getting dressed. Skiing comes naturally, but being on time does not. He's an omnivore, and what a trainer would call food-driven.

Once I started thinking this way, I couldn't stop. At the school in California, I'd be scribbling notes on how to walk an emu or have a wolf accept you as a pack member, but I'd be thinking, "I can't wait to try this on Scott."

On a field trip with the students, I listened to a professional trainer describe how he had taught African crested cranes to stop landing on his head and shoulders. He did this by training the leggy birds to land on mats on the ground. This, he explained, is what is called an "incompatible behavior," a simple but brilliant concept.

Rather than teach the cranes to stop landing on him, the trainer taught the birds something else, a behavior that would make the undesirable behavior impossible. The birds couldn't alight on the mats and his head simultaneously.

At home, I came up with incompatible behaviors for Scott to keep him from crowding me while I cooked. To lure him away from the stove, I piled up parsley for him to chop or cheese for him to grate at the other end of the kitchen island. Or I'd set out a bowl of chips and salsa across the room. Soon I'd done it: no more Scott hovering around me while I cooked.

I followed the students to SeaWorld San Diego, where a dolphin trainer introduced me to least reinforcing syndrome (L. R. S.). When a dolphin does something wrong, the trainer doesn't respond in any way. He stands still for a few beats, careful not to look at the dolphin, and then returns to work. The idea is that any response, positive or negative, fuels a behavior. If a behavior provokes no response, it typically dies away.

In the margins of my notes I wrote, "Try on Scott!"

It was only a matter of time before he was again tearing around the house searching for his keys, at which point I said nothing and kept at what I was doing. It took a lot of discipline to maintain my calm, but results were immediate and stunning. His temper fell far shy of its usual pitch and then waned like a fast-moving storm. I felt as if I should throw him a mackerel.

Now he's at it again; I hear him banging a closet door shut, rustling through papers on a chest in the front hall and thumping upstairs. At the sink, I hold steady. Then, sure enough, all goes quiet. A moment later, he walks into the kitchen, keys in hand, and says calmly, "Found them."

Without turning, I call out, "Great, see you later."

Off he goes with our much-calmed pup.

After two years of exotic animal training, my marriage is far smoother, my husband much easier to love. I used to take his faults personally; his dirty clothes on the floor were an affront, a symbol of how he didn't care enough about me. But thinking of my husband as an exotic species gave me the distance I needed to consider our differences more objectively.

I adopted the trainers' motto: "It's never the animal's fault." When my training attempts failed, I didn't blame Scott. Rather, I brainstormed new strategies, thought up more incompatible behaviors and used smaller approximations. I dissected my own behavior, considered how my actions might inadvertently fuel his. I also accepted that some behaviors were too entrenched, too instinctive to train away. You can't stop a badger from digging, and you can't stop my husband from losing his wallet and keys.

PROFESSIONALS talk of animals that understand training so well they eventually use it back on the trainer. My animal did the same. When the training techniques worked so beautifully, I couldn't resist telling my husband what I was up to. He wasn't offended, just amused. As I explained the techniques and terminology, he soaked it up. Far more than I realized.

Last fall, firmly in middle age, I learned that I needed braces. They were not only humiliating, but also excruciating. For weeks my gums, teeth, jaw and sinuses throbbed. I complained frequently and loudly. Scott assured me that I would become used to all the metal in my mouth. I did not.

One morning, as I launched into yet another tirade about how uncomfortable I was, Scott just looked at me blankly. He didn't say a word or acknowledge my rant in any way, not even with a nod.

I quickly ran out of steam and started to walk away. Then I realized what was happening, and I turned and asked, "Are you giving me an L. R. S.?" Silence. "You are, aren't you?"

He finally smiled, but his L. R. S. has already done the trick. He'd begun to train me, the American wife.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006

PostHeaderIcon Random Thoughts on Being a Control Freak

originally posted on myspace.com on June 27, 2006

Ok, if you ever read any of my bulletins or remotely know me.... you know I've done a lot of crap in my life, and remarkably, regret very little of it. And even the stuff I regret, led me on the road to where I am today, and I love my life. I may not like every aspect of it, but I'm very content right now.

In retrospect, I'm glad I had Abby at 25, or I probably would have done something dumb and died before now. Anyway, I like who I am and glad for the experiences I had, because once you become a parent (if you're a good one at least), you can't keep up the same lifestyle. I am a better person for all those experiences.

For years, I was impulsive, but now (this shouldn't surprise any of my friends) the older I get, the less I like surprises. I like planning out the meals for the next two weeks, I like knowing what I'm going to wear next day, I like knowing a week ahead what's going on next weekend..... maybe that makes me boring and predictable, but I find comfort in this routine. I even enjoy the fact that in most circumstances and situations, I'm predictable. You may not like it, but you know where I'm coming from. I'm pretty transparent.

No matter how hard I try to map out my life, I know change is a way of life and life isn't always predictable. Right now, I'm struggling with a big one. People come and go in our lives, whether it be through job & life circumstances, life and death, or other reasons. Because of this, things become different (better or worse, I'm not sure), and I am learning to deal with that.

One thing I've come to realize, especially when dealing with death of someone, that if we do not remain fully present with that person... where are we? We are running nonstop, not physically, but from the fear of losing what is around us and everything that is chasing us that we can not escape. Even running from the fear of losing control. Even in our sleep, we exhaust ourselves, because we are running.

So, I think the important thing when we see the (inevitable) change in our lives, is not to be scared of it, but actually to embrace it.

I think our fears keep us from being happy. Happiness is an attitude and our notions of what happiness should be can be dangerous and actually prevent us from being happy. So, how can you be happy while watching someone slowly die? I truly believe in being present in the moment and realizing that the conditions for being happy are already present, you just have to realize it and stop trying to control/manage an uncontrollable situation.

What I said makes sense (at least to me), but putting it into practice is the hard part.

Maybe todays rambling is the result of too much coffee.... I'm sure this post only made sense to me, but it's the random thought for today......
Tuesday, June 20, 2006

PostHeaderIcon The Wonders of Being a Parent

originally posted on myspace.com on June 20, 2006

Two things happened yesterday (which may not mean much to someone without kids) that reminds me why my time with Abigail is so precious. I may teach her how to write letters and we're learning to read basic words right now, but she teaches me so much more about life, my outlook, and what my priorities are. I wonder who teaches who most days.

First, after dinner with 5 other friends (and Abigail used her "good manners" through the whole meal and it was AWESOME) we went shopping for shorts for her. As we were coming out of the store (it was already 8pm, close to bedtime) we saw a duck with her ducklings swimming and drinking out of a pothole in the parking lot filled with water. We sat down on the curb (and was joined by 4 other families eventually) and despite being close to bedtime, watched those babies and their mother for about 1/2 hour until they waddled away single file. I regret taking the camera out of my purse and leaving it on my desk. It would have been a great shot.

Some of the comments Abby shared:
"That mama duck must love her babies"
:::: what can this teach us about love? ::::

"Awwwwwwe, they are sooooooo cute"
All while squeezing me around the neck telling me how much fun she was having.
:::: hmmm.... maybe we miss too many moments like this and focus too much on getting her to this activity or that :::::

Of course, it would not be an experience without the MANY, MANY questions a 4yo likes to ask. Here's a few.... most I responded with, "I don't know honey, we'll have to look it up on the computer when we get home."

"Mama, how does a mama-duck, lay that many eggs?"
"Mama, does each one have a name?"
"Mama, why do they know how to swim when they are babies, but I have to take lessons."
"Mama, can we have a pet duck?"

You get the idea.....

We talked about it the whole way home. We talked about what love means and how you show love. We talked about animals and how important they are to people and nature. We also talked a bit about the environment (because Abby asked if that water was dirty since it was in a parking lot, which I thought was a good question for a 4yo).

Overall, that 30 minutes of watching ducks and watching her share her excitement with strangers and their kids taught me a lot about priorities and how to teach my daughter and that $45 a month in ballet lessons are great, but these are the moments that matter. I could have forced the issue and said, "yeah Abby, that's cute, let's get home honey, it's bedtime", but being flexible led to a great experience for both of us. I'm not always a flexible person when it comes to things, so I was happy with the outcome.

The second thing that happened was getting her ready for bed. We brushed teeth, read our 2 books, sang 3 songs (yes, it's a long routine each night, but I enjoy it probably more than her ) and said our prayers and God-blesses (what we're thankful for). She wanted me to sleep with her for awhile and rub her back, so I climbed into her bed. After about 10 minutes, she leaned over kissed me softly on the forehead and said in a very quiet voice, as if she might wake me up, "Mama, you're my best friend".

:::: heart melting and fighting back tears :::

I realize there are times where I can't wait for her to go to her dad's (then I feel VERY guilty for even thinking that) because frankly, she wears me out somedays.

It's days like yesterday that give me a renewal of what my priorities to her are and sets me back to North on a personal level. Frankly, while the paybacks of being a parents are few and far between, moments like yesterday will carry me for a long time to come.

The wonders of making a bubble:

The wonders of "helping" me cook :

And how a simple pleasure just walking around the plaza can be....

She may not have come at the most opportune point in my life, but the experiences I've had and who I've become since having her, I wouldn't change for the world. Hands down, the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Friday, June 09, 2006

PostHeaderIcon Being Spoon Fed by the Media?

originally posted on myspace.com on June 9, 2006

Ok, this is two blogs in one, though related.

The first part is disappointment that a story I feel is VERY important to the current war and the future of our military that is not being discussed. Secondly, is it not being discussed because of political power & the American public being spoon fed by those in control?

Or is this story simply not as important as I think it is?

The story I'm referring to is that the Pentagon has decided to take the Geneva Detainee rules from the military field manuals, because in a post-9/11 world, things must be done differently (so they say). Here is a partial quote and a link to the article:

"The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards."

Click Here to read whole story

I heard this on a short blurb on a local station, but have no seen it discussed AT ALL on CNN, or FOX, or on talk radio (that I have listened to). Shouldn't this be debated more
fiercely than the gay marriage amendment? I mean, we established that convention after ww2 and the atrocities that were experienced then. (here is a little background on the Geneva Convention if interested : Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It's interesting)

This story has much bigger ramifications than the current war. How can the US decide it no longer has to play by international rules? We then become the outlaws and see ourselves above the law.

Interestingly, the government is able to convince Americans that this is in our best interest. How do they do that? Through use of political power and the media.

There are two main sources of political power (in my opinion). 1: mass opinion. 2: money.

Money can buy soldiers. Opinion can buy unity. Opinion, not money, should be the first and main tool at all times!

Today the media is controlled by the tempters, who gain money by means of what the mass likes to hear most. There is no simpler a goal, then the control of the media. One message can be copied and sent to millions of men, while millions of soldiers would be needed to oppress millions of men. Using the military to control the people is what the stupid leader does, as it is both costly and inefficient. Mobilization of opinion is hard to start, and hard to stop; it picks up momentum. An idea can become a religion, and religion people will die for and blindly defend.

The media of today is reminiscent to me of "newspeak" and "doublespeak" from Orwell's book 1984. In todays media those methods are being used with Americans. Here are a few examples:

1) When they kill, they're terrorists. When we kill, we're striking against terror.
2) When terrorists attack, they're terrorizing. When we attack, we're retaliating.
3) When people decry civilian deaths caused by the U.S. government, they're aiding propaganda efforts. But, when civilian deaths are caused by bombers who hate America, the perpetrators are evil and those deaths are tragedies.

Fifty-two years ago, Orwell wrote an essay titled "Politics and the English Language." Today, his words remain as relevant as ever: "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible."
Thursday, June 08, 2006

PostHeaderIcon Waiting in Line....

originally posted on myspace.com on June 8, 2006

You know, we wait in line a lot. There comes a time though where it is a necessary evil.... the post office, the DMV, waiting at the only coffee shop in the convention center, last minute Christmas shopping, etc. One thing I have noticed though is how much you can bond with those people for those 20-90 minutes of your life. Whenever there is "that person" up front, we all look at each other, suppress a laugh or giggle, and roll our eyes at their expense. We keep each other company and make the wait (almost) bearable. What I realized though is "that person" can take on many forms....

How about the asshole? The guy who thinks his time is so much more valuable than the rest of us? He talks too loud, complains too much, and is rude to the person at the desk. He usually walks off muttering, "can you believe this place????". My favorite is when they complain LOUDLY on their cell phone about the wait, yeah, that's helping morale.

Then you have the BO guy. Yeah, the guy who obviously hasn't showered in awhile and is oblivious to his own stench.

I realize my daughter is an angel and would never do this, but there is always a crying baby as well. There are two types people who stare at the crying baby, the "awe, honey, what's wrong with her?" group and the "OMG, give the kid some nyquil.". I know this because I came within 1/2 sec of telling a lady on a plane once that I had nyquil in my bag if she needed it for her kid. (I'm somewhat embaraased by that moment now, despite being 8 years ago).

Then is my favorite, and most annoying... the couple that insists on making out. Not just a little love peck here and there, but manages to go beyond the, "shouldn't you guys get a motel" comment.

So, considering that the average American spends two to three years of his or her life waiting in line, there is a lot to be annoyed about in line.

Thank goodness for the Ipod and my love of people-watching.
Monday, June 05, 2006

PostHeaderIcon WWGRD?

originally posted on myspace.com on June 5, 2006

WWGRD: What Would Gay Republicans Do?

It seems that many in the republican congress are hell-bent on legislatively taking away the peoples humanity. This week starts the 3 day debate on the proposed constitutional amendment to make marriage defined as a union between a man and a woman.

It would be better if the Republican Party treats homosexuals as respectable citizens instead of pariahs. This is writing discrimination into the constitution and taking away states rights.

As far as I know this would mark the first time a constitutional amendment has been used to discriminate against a segment of the American population. We didn't even have amendments banning inter-racial marriage (though it still illegal, though not enforced, in some states). Amendments most often have been used to spread the benefits of liberty to a larger segment of the population. A couple of examples are the admendments to abolish slavery and allowing women to vote. At the time, those were controversial issues in the same and divisive manner that gay marriage is today.

Even VP Dick Cheney said, "Freedom means freedom for everyone." I wonder why Mary Cheney is not speaking out during the time?

Luckily, it has zero chance of passing by the required 67-vote majority. In 2004, the amendment garnered only 48 Senate votes. It is estimated that this year, only about 52 votes will vote in support.

Personally, I'm undecided about this issue for several reasons, but I am 100% against any kind of constitutional amendment. In fact, if anything, I'm for allowing gay marriage, simply because I do not like laws that restrict peoples rights. In short, lets follow the lead of Massachusetts and leave it up to the states.

Friday, June 02, 2006

PostHeaderIcon Myrna Dick and her Deportation

originally posted on myspace.com on June 2, 2006

Myrna is a sunday school teacher at my church. Maybe you've seen her story in the news? Here it is in brief:

She came to the United States from Mexico with her family when she was 9, entering the US on a medical visa. Myrna is 31 today. After her visa expired her family remained in the U.S. illegally and she grew up in this country. She returned to Mexico in her early twenties to attend her grandmother's funeral. To re-enter the U.S. - to come back to what was her home, she sold everything she had and paid a "coyote" to help her and 37 of her fellow villagers to come to the U.S. illegally. This country was the only home she had known from the age of 9 on - she wanted to come back HOME.

She is among the 11 million immigrants who live in our country illegally. She is married to Brady, who is an engineer with Sprint, and they have an 18-month-old child. Myrna has been a member of our church for the last four or five years, and has served as a Sunday School teacher, a nursery worker, and volunteered in other areas. It was said she falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen (she denies that she ever claimed this). Falsely claiming citizenship is a crime requiring deportation with no possibility of re-entering the U.S. in the future.

You would think that there is a better use of INS resources than this case. I'm just passing this on, think of it what you will.

Seemingly, the controversy in the news is just about illegals crossing the border. It's not. it is also affecting those who have lived here for the last 20 years (many brought here as minors by their parents), assimilated, and are productive & important members of our society. I'm all for immigration reform. Don't get me wrong, I do not promote illegal entry here (but do promote immigration) but in this instance, I am for Myrna to stay here, continue living as a citizen, raising her American child on American soil and living with her American husband. Sending her back to Mexico and forciably separating her from her family is almost the most un-American thing I've heard in a long time.

They are seeking to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Second, if you would like to know more about their story, or would like to register support for her, Myrna's friends have set up a website for her in the hope of helping her stay here with her family. At the website you can find a sample e-mail you can send to your congressman as well as a listing of how to contact congress or the President. There are numerous articles on the site from the Star and Ingram's magazine. Click on this link to visit Myrna's site.

If you got this far , thanks for listening :)

Here is some related news stories:

"She sees a fraction of hope in a proposal sponsored by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo. The draft bill could allow some illegal immigrants who are married to Americans and have children born in the U.S. to remain in this country."

"the family's case is attracting the attention of prominent legislators who say it symbolizes the contradictions of the broken U.S. immigration system."

PostHeaderIcon Random Musing

originally posted on myspace.com June 2, 2006

In the 18-35 crowd.....

do you think more people voted for the next "american idol" or in the last presidential election?

do you think they spent more time watching reality tv or watching the news (the REAL reality tv)?

again.... just a random thing going through my head today....
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Quotes as I come across them......

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, an hour, a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it last forever.” ~~~Lance Armstrong

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I like running because it's a challenge. If you run hard, there's the pain----and you've got to work your way through the pain. You know, lately it seems all you hear is 'Don't overdo it' and 'Don't push yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond." ~~~Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers general manager, NHL Hall of Famer. (Will-Weber's "Voices From the Midpack" chapter.)

The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.~~~Denis Watley

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly. ~~~Thomas H. Huxley (1825 - 1895)