Casey's and Sloane's Blog

Motherhood & Game of Thrones

I will not deign to believe I hold more than two things in common with Mindy Corporan, the woman who lost her son and father in the senseless shootings in Overland Park on Sunday. Number 1: The honor of sharing a small business award three years apart. Number 2: Motherhood.

It’s the motherhood part of our commonalities that had me thinking about “Game of Thrones” – a show I have never laid eyes on and never will – as I drove down Main Street yesterday with my son. We were on a mission to rent a tuxedo for prom. We were laughing and smiling and telling stories of our day apart. At 17, he is a joy to be with, and he opens up to me often but stays within the privacy confines of the deep friendships he shares with others. Of this, I am proud.

Senseless violence did not visit us at all yesterday on our journeys. A person reared and saturated in hate did not keep us from living our lives. Of renting suits, meeting new people, making deposits, planning dinner, finishing homework or reading our books.

AIDS Walk kickoff

I never want to have violence touch my family as it touched that of Mindy, a woman I shared a cocktail with the year she won a local small business award. I never want bullets to end my father’s life as Mindy’s ended. I never want to wonder why my son is lifeless beside the open door of a car as Mindy did.

I want to believe that if a hater comes to end my life or the lives of those I love, it will be like the distant past – like “Game of Thrones”. I want to believe that I will see them coming. I want to taste their hatred on the wind, and I want them to smell my fear. In other words, I want no guns involved. I believe that when the words a weak person lives by are too strong and hateful, that person can hide behind the power inherent in a gun. I want to believe that I will have the opportunity to physically fight for all that is right when I am attacked by all that is wrong.

“Games of Thrones” is a fantasy, and I know that. I abhor violence deeply. It makes me nauseous and unable to watch it on small or big screen. I cover my eyes, cower, and wait for it to end.

I refuse to live in fear. I will continue to drive down roads with my son in the sunshine. I will continue to fight for justice and equality. I will continue to work for a world where mental illness is taken seriously and doctored accordingly.

I will not cover my eyes, except to weep for a woman who has lost so much at the hands of a hater. I will learn from her and do as she asked us all: I will live.

Sloane

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Posted in Children, Death, Family, Motherhood | 8 Comments

One Night Stand

I had a wonderful Saturday night. So many elements leading into it: warm weather, freshly cleaned car, one-day-old pedicure, great work day behind me.

Saturday night held a charity fundraiser in her grasp for me. A stunning and mysterious location would hold a little over 1,000 people who wanted to do good while having fun. Many friends had served on the planning committee and gave it everything they had. Truly, no detail was missed.

This photo was sent to me the day after the event. Neighbors and friends were everywhere.

This photo was sent to me the day after the event. Neighbors and friends were everywhere.

My husband was unable to join me due to a client project, and I looked no further than a girlfriend who has shared bits and pieces of her life with me while I have done the same. We now have a great foundation for a friendship that keeps growing after ten years. She delights me and is a great date.

Having married my high school sweetheart, I have never had the learning curve of a one-night-stand. Whatever that curve holds for others – and I’m sure it varies – I just want to go back to Saturday night. One more time. Friends everywhere, drinks easily at hand, conversation that stimulated, outfits and costumes befitting a “black & white masquerade”, kisses, stolen glances, and little nibbles of food too delicious for plates.

I am lucky. I know it. But not luckier than the men and women served by the Kansas City CARE Clinic who will be served with the dignity and respect we all deserve when pledging allegiance to good health and well-being.

These are two things I felt deeply on Saturday when my world was spinning gloriously. I was healthy and well.

Sloane

p.s. If you want to see more photos of BLOOM, check them out on Facebook here.

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Posted in Celebrations, Friends, Philanthropy | 1 Comment

Reaching

This past weekend I sat in the sun. I was yearning for the effects of naturally obtained vitamin D. We have yet to place all the furniture on the deck or the porch, but the wrought iron straight-backed chair and an end table used as a foot stool provided just the comfort I was looking for in a lounger.

The same crazy yearning and reaching is happening inside the house as well. I have posted before about the geraniums I now place in the kitchen for the winter. Right now they are blooming like crazy, and their faces are smashed against the window glass to capture the magic of daylight. My son and I noticed that every branch on both plants is leaning strongly to the south.

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But what appeared today was over the top.

Our household orders produce from an organic cooperative. It arrives every week and is exactly what we requested a few days earlier via the computer. Some weeks we order well and eat every morsel, and some weeks – like last week – we have one item that just sits in the produce drawer. Languishing. Lonely. Cold.

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Broccoli rabe was the latest victim. By the time we reached for it on Sunday to cook it, it was past its prime. A little yellow. A tiny bit slimy. So we pitched it into the bin of uncooked and organic food scraps that houses our cast-offs until I can get them to my mother’s chickens. The feathered ladies pick over it after we scatter it in their yard and days later provide us with the best eggs ever.

Today I came downstairs and the broccoli was reaching for the sunshine and BLOOMING! I was stunned and immediately told the dog all about it. These blooms fought their way through a pound of carrot shavings and the skins of three beets. They had to make a 90-degree turn to reach their goals. They worked hard. It stuck with me all day because they really were acting just like every other living thing in our home.

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They wanted back outside, they wanted everything the sun had to give, and they wanted to bloom and stretch.

Sloane

. p.s. You can read my geranium blogs here and here. Both have a little bit to do with plants….

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Posted in Food, Mental Health | 6 Comments

Rant

I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am not a pessimist. I do not dwell on negative thoughts.

However, I am being challenged on most of these positions by the fact that our fax machine spits out faxes from companies wanting to sell products/processes/loans/systems to us at work. Really? This is effective marketing?

It is waste. Pure and simple waste. I feel sorry for the fool that actually faxes back the form with their pertinent personal data for a chance to win a cruise with other gamblers through the Caribbean. And I would definitely give my social security number to a faceless fax machine for a chance at reduced-cost tax preparation.

STUFF has a fax machine that sits next to me and directly behind Casey in our office. We scrape the bottom of the toner cartridges because toner is expensive. We use it up. We let it tell us 30+ times that the “toner is low,” and even then we do nothing. We do nothing until we can’t print a project we just sent to the printer. (Our machine is a fax/scanner/printer.)

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The great thing about the brains in our machine – or the curse – is that, when ink is getting low, it stops automatically printing incoming documents. It continues to print what we send to it, and then, when it gives us the “toner is empty” screen, we gripe and moan and change the cartridge.

When that happened today sixteen (16!) different faxes ripped out of the machine offering us the cruise listed above, a qualifying business loan for $327,000, and a directory listing verification form for the upcoming edition of the Yellow Pages. As if people look at the printed Yellow Pages.

These little gems had obviously been pent up in our machine waiting for us to get off our cheap butts so those anonymous companies could waste our ink and our paper.

Business is expensive enough without these intrusions. If you want to really get my attention, call me. An actual phone call is truly kickin’ it old style.

A fax just makes me think the ink and paper industry is out to make us buy more and all the bad guys are in cahoots. But I don’t believe in conspiracy….

Rant over.

Sloane

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Posted in Mental Health, Small Business | 7 Comments

Where Does The Time Go?

I planned to write a blog today. I really did.

Is it really 10:23pm already? Where does the time go?

This is not how I spent my day.

This is not how I spent my day. I swear.

Casey

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Posted in Blogging, Humor, Women, Work | 5 Comments

In Constant Search of Authenticity & A Meal I Will Never Forget

I like my world with a bit of grit. If I spend more than a couple hours in a location that is sterile, homogenized or commercialized I start to get depressed. I begin to pace like a caged animal. I get short and snappy with others. I start to worry that the world is in serious trouble. And, I have to stifle my urge to scream.

I don’t understand the appeal of chain stores, themed restaurants or branded theme parks. I went on a cruise once and seriously considered jumping ship more than once. I just wanted to feel the water. Looking at it from five stories up was pure torture. I was desperate to feel the cold water. To taste the salt. To be pulled by the waves.

I have a burning desire to travel before the cultures of the world are “walmarted” and “targeted” to death.

What will the world look like if all the small authentic businesses and communities disappear? You can’t rebuild, recreate or paint on a patina that will ever replace an original. It falls flat.

When I find authentic locales. I get excited. I don’t want to own something or eat something that is one of the millions manufactured. I want to own a one-in-a-million piece of art or eat a meal that can’t be found anywhere else.

I crave authenticity.

Which is why I will never forget the first time I ate at Le Maire’s in Sedalia, Missouri.

IMG_201Le Maire's Seafood Restaurant & Market40126_180849 It wasn’t the original location, but it was original in every other way.

IMG_20140126_174302 IMG_20140126_174325The fried clams were made as a starter just for us.

IMG_20140126_174444 IMG_20140126_174523The place was spotless. We did share the place with 5 other tables. But, I didn’t take photos of the people because I “outed” myself as a crazy out-of-towner with my photo taking and it seemed rude.

IMG_20140126_180619The catfish dinner is the menu “must have”. My daughter insisted on ordering the adult sized platter and put away all six pieces of fish. Please note there is no oily residue on the plate.

IMG_20140126_180828  The painted walls and murals created a festive Cajun mood.

Le Maire's Seafood Restaurant & MarketThere is a little grotto at the entrance honoring the founders, Joe and Frenchie Le Maire.

IMG_20140126_174215My daughter recommends the Gumball Coaster near the checkout counter for entertainment while you wait for your fresh fried catfish.

My Mother suggested the stop. She had known about it for many years. I threatened to never speak to her again for keeping it a secret this long, but my anger slipped away during the fried clam starter. The happiness I felt at discovering this truly authentic eatery made me giddy.

Casey

 

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Posted in Attractions, Food, Memories, Mental Health, Small Business, Travel | 8 Comments

Most Important Job

There are work days that are so cut up – with meetings, events, and activities – that at the end of the day I look back in wonder. Wonder at what actually got done and what was left to be tackled later.

Yesterday was one of those days for me and my rich, full life.

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Over an hour clearing my e-mail accounts while the sun tried to rise. A meeting with an artist who is fearlessly taking his work to the “big time” at a New York trade show started my day at STUFF. An hour at my desk on details that can overwhelm if left too long in one spot. A trip to a local charity for check signing and a quick meeting. A powwow with another charity about fundraising at their annual luncheon. Another hour at my desk and an hour on the floor with customers. Two hours at a networking and food-tasting event. A ride home on the urban interstate while the sun sets, with a sister who challenges me and is a creative force to be reckoned with.

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However, the most important job I had yesterday was in a rainforest. During the heat of noon time. Deep in the heart of midtown with a tour director that knew so much it was overwhelming, as was the crowd. Traveling up the Amazon with a small voice as your guide is the way to go. A third grader who knew not only about the “animal” she made for the project but who knew about the 40 others. I did not travel alone and was smart enough to know this was a trip the whole family would enjoy.

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Like most nature vacations, this one was suited to your traveling pleasures. If you like to learn more data and see graphs, charts, reports and videos, she had that on hand. If viewing art that replicates the local flora and fauna turns you on, she had that too. If poetry and the spoken word are your thing, she provided that as well.

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My son, who will be 17 next week, attended the same school as my niece, who led me up her Amazon yesterday. Her rainforest adventure immersed her – and her mother! – in the wonders of the piranha, while my family had absorbed all there was to know about leafcutter ants eight years ago. Ants that still hang in our play room at home.

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Yesterday I was a rainforest visitor. I was tagged as a traveler before my trip began, a name tag I didn’t keep but should have worn all day and to every meeting. A personal reminder that the most important job I have is listening carefully and absorbing all the wonders while traveling in the deepest, darkest, and most formidable places…which can be my desk, a conference room, or the interior of my own mind.

Sloane

p.s. The following photos are a reminder that the scariest creatures in the rainforest are the humans….

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… my niece …

 

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… my sister, mom and husband …

 

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… my niece and my friend …

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Posted in Attractions, Children, Travel | 7 Comments

Grown *ss Man

Him, as he walks into my room: “Mom, it’s time to play your favorite game.”

Me: “Which one is that?”

Him: “Help Dakota find socks that match all of this,” as he points to his outfit for the dance.

Of course I played.

 

I posted that snapshot of life with my son to my Facebook page a few days ago. It accompanied this picture:

d and s

That is my son. With his date to the WPA (Women Pay All) Dance. No matter the age, when they are kids they look grown up the minute they put on a sport coat. Or, in the case of her parents, I’m guessing it’s the high heels.

Lately he’s been telling me, “Woman, I am a grown ass man, and I don’t need you tellin’ me what to do!” He even kicks in with a little bit of a drawl delivering it.

This kid lays me out with his solid, quiet humor. So much bluffing about being grown up and blustering about being able to do it himself. I’ve been hearing this since he was three – what he doesn’t need from me and what he can do himself.

Until it comes down to socks.

Sloane

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Posted in Children, Clothing, Family, Motherhood | 2 Comments

Cousins & Hairdos

I do not envy my son the following things: youth, thick hair, brainpower, speed, agility. Or even his dry, quiet humor.

I do, however, envy him his cousins. He has more than a full house of amazing people to live his life with. Two in Chicago, one three blocks from home, and three more in our town. My cousins were not the best. Maybe this was because we were too close in age, we lived too far apart, one of them stole from me, or we spent so little time together that we had little in common.

This past weekend, we traveled to Chicago to begin the process of looking at colleges and universities for our son, a junior in high school. The highlight of the weekend was not the campus tour, the great road trip, or the fantastic food. It was watching my son get his hair done by his cousin, Emily – an untrained but enthusiastic twelve year old.

hair beginning

The beginning. The basket is chock-full of doodads,

She of the “super-thick Asian hair” was stunned by how thick his was. Within minutes of greeting him for the first time this weekend, she said, “Tonight I want to do your hair.” Dakota, my son, was pretty much not in full favor, but he played along for the rest of the day, during the walk to dinner – where he was the vehicle – and all through the dinner at a local restaurant while my niece regaled him with the instruments, gels, cremes, clips and equipment she planned to put to use. He playfully hemmed and hawed and told her to pretty much forget it.

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The end.

She didn’t. When we all got home from dinner, she raced to retrieve all her implements and, clamoring back down the stairs, proceeded to get Dakota to sit up straight in the chair so she could begin.

He gave up and gave in. Before it was all done, they were both laughing and shooting selfies.

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The selfie.

I have spent a few days looking at these pictures and digesting the smiles and smirks. These guys love each other and have a trust between them I will never know.

I do not envy him much. Not his cool demeanor, his calm personality, or even his temperament. Those I pretty much adore.

Sloane

cousins totem

Cousin Totem Pole: She rode on his shoulders to dinner. I figure she was planning her attack on his hair from that vantage point.

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Posted in Children, Family, Travel | 9 Comments

When I’m Done, I Share

My Dad really doesn’t like the sound of Garrison Keillor’s voice. I guess it’s pretty much like me being scared out of my wits by Christopher Walken’s voice. Heck, the whole Christopher Walken, really. But I was headed somewhere….

This weekend I finished my National Geographic magazine. There is really only one way to read the magazine, and it goes like this:

1. Rip open the plastic bag it arrives in and think briefly about how much you miss the brown paper sleeve it used to come in.

2. Immediately find your son and give him the Geo Quiz on the mailing label. Watch his face as he nails answer after answer correctly.

3. Go through the magazine. Read the editor’s letter. Read the short articles in the front. Read all the captions on all the photos and maps.

4. Fold down the corners on the articles you plan to go back and read after perusing the entire magazine.

5. Go back and choose which articles to read in which order. It does not have to be in the order they appear in the magazine. Choose carefully the story you want to end with.

6. When finished, copy pages you want to keep for files and ideas.

7. Hand over the magazine to your son. Remind him of the really good articles that he should consider truly reading, knowing full well he only really participates or accomplishes steps two and three.

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Lake Calhoun and “the cities” in the distance. Credit: National Geographic magazine.

The last article I read today was a piece Garrison Keillor wrote about his personal geography of his beloved Minneapolis-St. Paul. I enjoy listening to him on A Prairie Home Companion – a treat I love sharing with my son and husband – and I’ve read many of his books. His style of memoir is very enjoyable. And, during every show and every book, I think of one thing I want to tell my Dad about.

Today was no different. The last five sentences of his article were absolute magic. I immediately wanted to call my Dad and read them to him.

I believe my Dad likes hearing these stories and things from me. Maybe because he hears a voice he loves, not Mr. Keillor’s.

Sloane

p.s. I have been receiving National Geographic magazine since my grandmother gave me my first subscription when I had my first apartment. It was a Christmas present I received until the year she died. Purchasing it for myself has been a yearly reminder of how much I was loved. Still am, really.

 

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Posted in Entertainment, Family | 2 Comments