The Internet Experiment: Unplugged 24 Hours

I wish I could say it was easy.

I wish I was one of those people who engages and connects with physical things and not so much more with cyber things.

I wish I could say it didn’t change me, but it did…..

You wouldn’t think it would. A mere 24-hours with no access to games, Facebook, or email. No big deal, right? Normal people do it every day.

Do you know the last time I was without internet access? Before my laptop days…..before my smart phone days…..too long ago to really remember.

It makes me realize how I traded out one set of addictions for another (theory of my life).

The good news is…I did it.

I shut down the Mac. I powered off the iPhone and I put it on a shelf for 24-hours.

In fact, I left my phone on the shelf and left town. It was not even in my possession.

In a way I think I cheated a little. I knew I would be in a car for 6 hours of the 24, and in my defense, I have service during those three hours. But isn’t it a little easier to entertain oneself in the car versus a regular every day? Probably…

At 8pm, I faced the unknown. What do I do with NO social networking? No screen to tap. No notifications to review. I felt really bitchy twitchy. I felt a little out-of-body. I tried watching TV, but I just couldn’t get into it. Finally, Sydney, Brandon, and I went to out to eat. We left Jason on his Mac (no fasting for him!). Upon return, we fired up RockBand and I banged out my frustrations on the drums (such a great stress reliever). We actually toured with our band and did pretty well.

I went to bed EARLY, and the next morning…it wasn’t so bad. We left for Oklahoma to see my mom. I read a book (and darn near finished it). I tried not to look at Jason or Sydney’s phone. I was a little fearful I would SNATCH it from their hands and begin tap tap tapping the screen. I had to hold my fingertips close to my chest. Thankfully, I never embarrassed myself in the heat of an iPhone moment.

I watched the clock most of the day, and hated myself for it.

Sydney and Brandon watched ME most of the day (to see if I’d break down? Cry? Convulse?).

I did none of those things. I imagined life without an iPhone and internet service. I imagined the olden days when I lived in the country and we did not even have cable.

We explored the creek beds. We played board games. We talked. We listened. We had friends and family we visited in person.

Maybe, at the end of this experiment, I realized…….there are a lot of issues about the operation of my life I need to examine.

I’ll be honest. I really didn’t miss much. In fact, I probably missed the internet more than it missed me.

There were certainly some emails I expected to get that I didn’t.

It was disappointing…..yes…..but also, life enhancing.

I don’t have to be addicted to anything. I can put my phone down for a day.

I can disappear and it’s ALL okay.

I thought this post would come out differently. I planned this post to be funny. Amazing what happens when you are faced with yourself and nothing in between you and your soul.

I highly urge you to unplug one day, and just see what happens to the you that is waiting there.

“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become. -Unknown

When Good Catering goes Bad……

And what they do to make it right.

Not too long ago, we had On the Border cater lunch in our office. It was a special occasion from our car rental companies that were visiting. I LOVE On The Border. They are based in Dallas, Texas. They serve some of the best texmex and fajita fare in the metroplex.

I have been a fan since 1990 when I moved here.

So the day they were catering fajitas, I was over the moon. Like everyone, my mouth watered at the smell. I could not WAIT to chow down.

So I filled my plate and brought it back to my desk…that’s when I noticed this (gross warning).

My stomach churned a bit because that meat looked funky. I poked it with my fork to see if it would moo, but it didn’t.

The chicken looked fine, but the beef? Gads, it was not medium rare. It was simply not cooked. I like medium rare. I like a little pink. But fleshy purple? Not a fan.

I heard the microwave whirring from the kitchen as others decided to cook their meat a bit.

Another co-worker commented they were not eating the meat as it is too raw.

I looked at my plate again, and for once, lost my appetite. I took a few bites of the chicken fajita, but my stomach was in knots. Me, the master of mexican food, did not feel like eating.

I was disappointed. I would have expected a catering manager to check the food before going out. To deliver food looking that gross just seemed unheard of.

Not one to speak-up, or send food back at resturants, I did something completely out of character for me.

I called them and complained. The manager Brady “heard” me and said he would get back to me. I even emailed him the raw meat picture. A few hours later… word back.

So I did what any good consumer would do. I used the power of Twitter. I tweeted about the event to my 1,116 followers.

And they did hear me then, I got a responding tweet to call the corporate headquarters the next morning.

So, i did just that. The person that answered the phone knew who I was. She had been “alerted” about the tweet.

I told her the whole story. She promised to look into it and notify REGIONAL managers.

Within two minutes of hanging up, I recieved a call from Brady, the manager, I talked to the day before. He said he had authorization to do whatever would make me happy. A refund or a re-order. Rather than a refund, I agreed to the re-order for us.

It came the next day deliverd by Brandon the catering manager. He asked for me and apologized in person for the raw meat. He was very sincere and gracious. On the Border really did respond to my concerns, and not only was the meat cooked to perfection. Everything was perfection.


Perfectly cooked beef fajitas.

The entire order was redelivered.
These are the fajitas I know and love!

I bring this up today because we just ordered fajitas for the office today. From guess where? Yep! Same place. They remembered us (me) and had strict orders to make sure we were happy before we left (I was!). Again, everything was perfect, professional, and delicious.

Not many people take the time to address when a company makes good, but I am. They deserve credit for being a company that stands behind their service and quality.

If you haven’t been to On the Border before, and have one in your area, I highly recommend them. And if you are a company with catering needs, I suggest using them for wonderful texmex and great service.

I can’t thank them enough for reaching out to me and roasting closing the gap from my experience. Heh.

I, and my company, will not hesitate to use them again (like we did today!).

And now? Maybe I’ll speak up more often (and tweet).

All pics taken with my iPhone 4S.

A Taste of Spring in the Heat of Summer

My Mother’s garden.

In the Spring, the hands of my mother turn the soil. She picks each plant lovingly and places it in the dirt. She pats the ground around it and wills it to grow beautiful.

She works her garden all the year, but most especially, spring and summer. Sweating, watering, and arranging until she gets it just about right (but it’s never done).

We look upon her gallery of color and placement as if in the finest of museums. From one garden bed to the next, there is more to gaze upon and revel in. Hidden delights find your eye in wonder. Magic sparkles and weaves throughout the yard, delighting in fairy tales come true.

I don’t know if I every thanked my mother for her work, or for the love of gardening, she has instilled in me. I don’t know if she knows how much I appreciate the beauty she brings to life.

I took my camera to Oklahoma, in hopes, I could capture her joy and return it to her.

Mom, you make life more beautiful by just being in it. Thank-you for what you share with us, and for what I can share with all of you.

Gardening is a very special gift. It’s a mix of nurture, artistry, and love. There are many lessons taught in the garden of life. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Martin Bird House

“There is always music amongst the trees in the garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”

A peek in the Garden

When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.”

Cottage Blooms amid the Statues

Snap Dragons

Statue Garden in Oklahoma

“A little garden in which to walk, and immensity in which to dream.”

Garden Pansies


“All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of yesterday.”

Garden Girl Statue

Rose Bud

“As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.”-Ben Hogan

Rose Bloom

St. Francis in the Garden

“”True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.”
— St. Francis of Assisi

Yellow Bells

Garden Bird Statue

“To plant a garden is to believe in the future.”

Garden Statue Home

Stargazer Lily


“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844

White Snap Dragon Bloom

“Flowers whisper “Beauty!” to the world, even as they fade, wilt, fall.” ~Dr. SunWolf

Mushroom Statue in the Garden

Fisherman and Son Garden Statues

“Count the garden by the flowers, never by the leaves that fall. Count your life with smiles and not the tears that roll.”

Sunday Healthy Reflection

The best inspiration is not to outdo others, but to outdo ourselves.

– Anonymous

    Winning victory against yourself

No one likes to lose. The thrill of victory after competition is hard to match. But the wins that leave the most significant, long-term impressions are the ones where you win against yourself. Beating a friend in a game of hoops is much less meaningful than setting a personal best time while running. We live in a highly competitive world, and everything around us screams that we’ve got to be number one in order to feel successful. Truly though, the best measuring sticks are your past and your potential–not against someone else’s standards. Raise the bar for yourself!

Brought to you by Sparkpeople.

Outdo myself. What a concept.

Seems like most of my life, I tried to be who my mom wanted me to be. Who I was supposed to be. Then, who my husband wanted me to be. Who would make everyone happy. Who would make everyone get along.

When I become a mother. I measured up to other moms. Was I going by the book guidelines? Doing what other moms did? Was I teaching my daughter the right things? Moral things? I beat myself up if i didn’t reach their standards.

Did I live how other people live? Work as hard? Have as much?

It seemed life WAS about measuring up to everyone else around me.

Now, as I near a new year, the year I turn forty, I have finally, not only grasped the concept of potential, but the victory of winning for myself.

I take on photography as an amateur and student of knowledge.

Knowing I’m only as good as my last shot.

And my last edit.

I can do it….for me.

I am not competing with anyone else. I’m just doing what I love. Learning what I love, and not being afraid to try.

I write. I blog. Maybe, it’s not as good as other technical writers. I may not win a writing contest, or be featured, or get published, but as long as I write from my heart, it’s all that matters.

In relationships, I can be me. I am accepted and loved just as I am. I don’t have to pretend to be something I am not. I can love who I am. Because I am true to myself and I believe in what I can do.

As a mom, I can tell my daughter and step-daughters. I am far from perfect, but willing to learn from and help them learn too.

As an employee, maybe my numbers won’t be first, or at the top, but I can take pride in what I do. I can admit to having a bad day and not fall apart over it. It’s okay. Some days are better than others. I can grow in my field. I can be stress-free.

I don’t have to be the best. I only have to be better.

What are you reflecting on today?