Category Archives: Writing

Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge…

I have been nominated by my soul sister, Laurie Wheeler (a.k.a. Fearless Leader of The Crochet Liberation Front) to participate in the Gratitude Challenge for the next 5 days. Each day I am to post 3 things I am thankful for, and then nominate three friends to take on the challenge.

This started on Facebook, but I decided to share it here too.  What better way to reboot my blog than with gratitude?  Here goes….

Aberrant Crochet's Gratitude Challenge - 6,400 seconds today - Have you used one to smile?

I just fell in love with this guy! You?

1. I am grateful for social media. It sounds like some sort of modern cliché, but the fact remains, be it Facebook, Twitter or Ravelry, I would not be in touch with a whole lot of cool people (and some cool family) if it weren’t for social media. And sometimes that’s what keeps me going.  Keeps me praying for others.  Helps me to remember.

2. After years of a completely different reality, I’m grateful to now live in a well-built home that isn’t threatening my sanity every day.  And there are fish ponds! 🙂  I ♥♥ my house!

3. I’m grateful for work. Nearly every lick of which has been brought my way thanks to a friend and word of mouth somehow.  Because the people I know rock.  And I will give them my all for believing in me.

Now to pour myself a cup of energy, dust off some courage and get to the day….



Filed under Editorial, Random Thoughts, Writing

Memories Of Terrible Tuesday – 35 Years Later

Tomorrow, April 10th, 2014 will mark the 35th anniversary of an event that changed my life forever.

When as many as 38 confirmed tornadoes danced the Red River Valley.  More destruction from the same weather cell would spill into the next day, affecting parts of Arkansas and Missouri for a total of 59 tornadoes confirmed.

Photograph of the Seymour, TX tornado of 10 April 1979.  (Wiki commons)

Photograph of the Seymour, TX tornado of 10 April 1979. (Wiki commons)

They later called it Terrible Tuesday.  Many remember that a mile wide path was carved through Wichita Falls, TX, killing 42 people.  But another tornado also came up through the edge of my hometown of Lawton, OK a few hours before.  And we lost 3 people too.

I remember it being called an F4 or F5 long ago, but it seems that time has downgraded it in the records to an F3.

They say that particular tornado split into two, possibly three tornadoes after it hit town.

I believe it happened at my house.

I always get emotional when I remember that day.  I was 7 and a half, and I remember the day like last week’s trauma.  The jewel green look of the sky when we were at the Safeway grocery store on Ft. Sill Blvd.  The way the air tasted, tingly like a weak 9 volt battery playing in the back of your mouth.  The way everyone ignored the weather in Oklahoma and went about their business.

You gotta understand.  Tornadoes were no unusual thing.  However, usually they were small.  Maybe they take out a barn or something.  Maybe they never touch the ground.  Maybe we get a little excitement, but rarely was it that big of a deal.

People ignored tornado “warnings” all the time back then.

I remember standing at the back glass door, staring at the heavy rain when we got home.  Watching the hail come down and get louder and larger.

My mother worked for the American Red Cross at the time.  She helped train folks in disaster preparedness.  I’d watched every film our local chapter had to offer at the time.  We knew well that the safest place in the home was as close to the center as you could get and away from windows.  And we had regular drills at school, filing into the hallways, crouching on our knees with our heads face-down towards the floor and wall, our open textbooks held to cover our necks and heads.

On Monday night before, there was a PTA meeting at Will Rogers Elementary School – the school I attended and lived across the street from.  Mom and her director gave a presentation to our school and parents about tornadoes, what to look for, where to go, what to expect. The biggest thing I remembered from that meeting was the Red Cross director talking about hail and rain.  He held strings of white beads in front of a poster to represent hail as he described the pattern progression of a storm.

He said, “It’s not the rain and hail you need to be afraid of. It’s when it suddenly stops.

It’s because a tornado sucks everything up.

I stood at our back door, watching the rain and hail get harder and larger.  Suddenly it was like a switch had been flicked and there was a stunning moment of silence against the jewel green sky.  My mom hung up the phone and yelled “Kids, hit the hallway!”

The hallway in our antique home, a house old enough that it still had some of the gas pipes for lighting in the walls, was a tiny 4-5 foot circle that our bedrooms opened to before spilling into the living room.  I grabbed my cat Taffy and my little brother’s hand and we sat down low.  There was just enough room for us and mom.  She managed to flip the breaker before the first crash.

They say a tornado sounds like a freight train….

But I never heard it.

I heard my swing set crash through my bedroom window.  Nearly every window in the house broke.  The sound of glass and boards flying through our home filled my ears.  As did the sounds of my little 5 year old brother screaming as he writhed in my hand and tried to get away to run.

“Hang on to him!”

Of course he was scared.  I tightened my grip on my brother’s wrist, and suddenly my cat bolted from my arms.

And somewhere, in the middle of all the crashing noises, there was a sudden pounding on our front door, just maybe 20 feet away.  Mom got to the door to let my friend Francis in, along with her brother and sister, from across the street.  We didn’t get to play real often, and she was a little younger than me, but Francis was one of my best friends.  Her father was in the army and her mother was at work, so the kids were home alone that afternoon.

I heard Francis’ sister say over and over, “The table fell on me.  The table fell on me!”

One of them was barefoot (or was it two?).  And somehow, they made it through the storm and across the street to our house before their home collapsed like a pile of cards.

And then, as they huddled into the tiny circle of our hallway with us, it was over.  And somehow, our home filled with debris, none of us were hurt.

“There is no tornado. There is no tornado.”

Mom had grabbed our radio.  An announcer emphatically urged the public not to panic, that reports of a tornado were false.  “There is no tornado. There is no tornado.”

Dad had seen the tornado from downtown where he worked, just a few miles away.  He raced home.  Mom said he kicked in the only undamaged door left in the house.  My grandma lived a block away.  She saw a board come at her through her hallway and managed to get into the hall closet in time.  It would be three days before I saw my cat again, thankfully alive.

Stepping out into the world after that was surreal.  Destruction and chaos surrounded our still standing home.  We lived on a corner diagonally across the street from my school.  Surveying the damage, half the school gym was peeled away and gone.  On one side across from our corner, a neighbor’s house was missing its entire roof.  Francis’ house on the other side across from our corner was a pile of rubble.  And the house across from us next to hers had completely vanished.

People used to steal our apples all the time. I guess they won’t anymore.

Trees, rubble and power-lines were everywhere.  The neighbor’s old tall tree beside us just missed crashing through my parents’ bedroom.  Our old sycamore tree looked shaved on one side.  The apple tree didn’t survive.

Bits of someone else’s swing set were in our yard.  Unbroken dishes that didn’t belong to us had miraculously shown up inside our house.  Even food had been blown around. For decades our neighbor had a saltine cracker framed that was put through their ceiling.  I heard that it finally fell out one year when her husband was fixing the roof.

The day took on an even deeper experience as it was also Passover night for our family.  We weren’t Jewish, but our church at the time kept Passover services after sundown on April 10th that year.  I forget why it was a day earlier than other Passover services.  Some sort of argument about the right way to figure the date.

Normally, children were not allowed at these solemn services.  But there would be no babysitter in our home that night.

We were late for the service, but I remember the deacons and other volunteers helping us in.  My brother went with my father and I with my mother for the foot washing ceremony.  I watched as a woman removed my mother’s shoes and washed away the mud and grass from her feet.  I watched as the symbolism impressed itself upon her.  Tears were in her eyes and suddenly everything felt raw to me.

More tornado sirens would go off that night. 

Some of our church members drove up from Texas for the service.  I heard that one of the families returned to Texas that night to find their home completely gone.  They thanked God they were at services instead.  Everyone murmured how we were all indeed “passed over.”

I remember sitting in a little diner that night, mom and dad talking, trying to figure out what to do.  We couldn’t go home to sleep and we didn’t really have the money to eat out or get a hotel, but there wasn’t any choice in the matter.  I remember hearing mom talk about how the mattresses would have to be replaced, that there’ve been cases of glass being embedded in mattresses by tornadoes.  The diner had those little juke boxes on the tables.  “Don’t Say Goodnight Tonight” was playing at a table nearby.  It was really popular back then, but to this day, that song feels like a haunting to me.

To my knowledge, our neighborhood and school district on the edge of town was the only part of town affected. I’ve often wondered how many people were saved thanks to mom and her director’s lecture at our school the night before.

A lot would change after that.

As the weeks would pass, our community would come together to help each other.  I remember the American Red Cross bringing relief bags with food and toiletries and the irony of it.  Grandpa came and helped my dad fix our roof.  The repairs seemed to go on forever.  And I remember how a year later, it still seemed like we’d never recover.

Our neighbor who lost his roof fixed up his house and moved away.  I can’t remember his name, but I remember that he had red hair and had been so kind.  I liked him and was angry that the tornado took him away from us.  The new neighbors never could compare.

Francis and her family also moved away and I never saw her again.  Never got an address; don’t even know her last name.  It felt like injustice and I’ve always wondered about her ever since.  I remember when the cranes came to clear away the rubble of her collapsed house.  I kept hoping she’d come back.  But it was like a curse had fallen on our neighborhood.  Her home’s lot remained empty for a long time.  And the empty lot left next to Francis’ home (where the whole house had disappeared) remained empty for the longest.

And for years, my brother and I cringed with every swirl of wind, every time the leaves blew into curls, every time a storm pounded our roof.  And for years it was hard on our parents too.  It took a long time to balance the trauma we all felt.  And the financial blow was no small thing.

I would later grow up and move on.  But every once in a while, there’s a look in the sky and a taste in the air that throws me back into the memories of a serious 7 year old child who would never forget.


Filed under Friends and Family, Random Thoughts, Writing

I Wish You A Day Of Ordinary Miracles….

I give you a favorite snippet sent to me once, that I’ve embellished upon.  I do not know who the originator was.

“Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles….
A fresh pot of coffee you didn’t make yourself.
dandelion_wallpaper_1280x800An unexpected phone call from an old friend.
Green stoplights on your way to work.
The fastest line at the grocery store.
Your keys right where you left them.”

And I tried to think of more ordinary miracles and added…

A good sing-along song on the radio.
A meaningful compliment paid to you.
A coupon for your favorite snack.
A discount at the gas station.
A $20 bill you forgot in a pocket.
A word of gratitude paid to you by another.
An “A” on that test, or equivalent at work.
And a chore already done.

I’m sure you can think of more ordinary miracles as well!

As we move into this holiday for Gratitude, I just want to say thanks for sharing with me, for brightening my day with your responses, for supporting my quirky dreams and for sharing with others.  Thank you for your bright lights and thanks for your feedback each step of the way.

I wish you the brightest of daily blessings….
~ Julia

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Filed under Inspiration, NaBloPoMo, Writing

The Balance Between Communicating Too Much And Not Enough

I like details.

I like specific questions. I like specific answers.  I like conversation.  And most especially (besides sheer writing for the joy of it), I like thorough two-way communication.

But sometimes, no matter how much you like to communicate, you find yourself on uneven ground, face to face with someone else who does not communicate the same way as you.

communication_blocked_signedI’ve been told that I’m too bold, and that I’m too timid.  That I’m too detailed and that I don’t communicate enough detail.  And so often times, it begins to feel like some kind of dance.  Which direction will this dance partner take me today?  And will I be able to follow suit?

And that’s without the “do I take them literally, figuratively or read between the lines” sub-rhythm that I also know all too well.

Since I like writing, and because I like being thorough, when it comes to letters and emails I can tend to get wordy if I’m not careful.  And I tend to write the same way I’d converse with someone.  Some people really like that.

But not everyone.

Some people will only communicate over email in cryptic short bursts.  And more often than not, these are the people who tell me that I don’t communicate enough.  When the reality is, I gave them so much information, they just didn’t really read it.

Often when I catch on to someone’s short communication pattern, I will try to pattern after them, and keep my responses short like theirs.  My husband is more like this.  I’ve figured out that I need to keep any emails I send him short, focused and sweet, or call him instead.  One or two lines, no more.  Otherwise, he won’t read my email.  He just won’t.  And then I’ll hear later how I never told him something.

However sometimes, especially in business, I can’t justify using short burst communication, because there are too many important details that need to be addressed.  And this is when I really need whomever I’m working with to get over their preferences and adapt to me so we can get things done.

And yet, the cryptic short burst communication type folks will still tend not to read what the information they are sent.

Sometimes I try to relegate communication to “phone only” with these individuals, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people seem to refuse to use phone conversations anymore.  Which to me is quite weird, because typing is such a one-dimensional way to communicate, much less in a few sentences of 8 words or less.

I’ve seen more misunderstandings take place thanks to only communicating in text over the internet than anything else in all my life.  Ninety percent of the time, if someone would just pick up the phone, there wouldn’t end up being a misunderstanding at all.

There’s a little rule of thumb my husband taught me that he used in his sales job and that I view as a golden truth: If it takes more than two emails, it’s time to pick up the phone.

But you can’t force someone to call you.

These are the times that try my professional soul.  And sometimes my PTO motherhood soul.  And sometimes my wifely soul too.  Though hubby and I have the luxury of recapping with each other every day.

So when that important communication blunder takes place, what can you do?

One idea: Try to head it off before it takes place.  Establish a particular format or a thumb-nail sketch of rules that you use to govern your communication by.

For instance, I used to require a phone number before I would work with anyone over a custom order and insist on talking with them over the phone at some point.  It helped a lot.  It kept me from hours on the computer just trying to talk to people, and it kept me from misunderstanding something because all I got was a 10 word response.  Having phone access gave my clients and I both a much clearer understanding of one another.  Not to mention it kept people from forgetting about their orders too.

However, I’ve gotten away from that practice, thinking perhaps I didn’t really need it, especially for internet sales.  And it hasn’t worked out as well.  Some things work out just fine and others, not so much.  When I’ve asked for someone’s address four times, it gets a little annoying after a while.  So I’m probably going to reinstate that rule again.  Along with a general structure of required information that I want before I even consider their project.

When push comes to shove in business and communication, we need a structure and a plan.  Since the only person in the world we can truly control is ourselves, sometimes we just have to check ourselves, try to listen to the beat, roll with the music and dance anyway.  But other times, we need to build checks and balances into our system to take care of potential issues that arise.  Like my phone number requirement for custom work.  Or a basic who, what, why, where, when, how approach.

The truth is, people really mostly want to hear about themselves, what interests them most and be pampered.  And it’s our job as professionals to figure out what all that is. We listen, we ask, we take notes.  But somewhere in there the customer has to meet us in the middle.

I’m here to serve you.

I’m not however a mind reader.  I do not offer, nor do I provide that service.

So it’s your job to 1) help me understand how best to serve you and 2) help me understand what your expectations are.  Because I cannot deliver what I don’t understand and I cannot live up to something I have no idea exists, much less never offered.

Which means all I have left is to take you at your own words.

All ten of them.


Filed under Business, Crochet Ruminations, NaBloPoMo, Writing

Follow Your Heart – It’s Not Really That Clichéd – Crochet Ruminations

You know the best advice I can give an artist seeking to sell for profit is to follow your heart when it comes to creativity and listen to your customers’ feedback.

Every time I’ve ever tried to do something my heart wasn’t really into, from that creative artistic point of view, it never would sell well.

In the beginning, I got a lot of shoulds on what to make from peers and others who had input to give me, but who weren’t ever buying from me.  “You should make dog clothes!”  I don’t own dogs and I don’t know the first thing about shaping for them, I don’t think so.  “You should make purses!” Well, I might make a couple, but if I’m not really a bag lady myself, how can I possibly find it interesting enough to create them for profit or be in tune with what people want in a crochet purse. “I just want to see you succeed,” another artist told me at a show after giving unsolicited advice.

And you know what else?  Not once has a customer treated me that way either.  Kind of interesting.  Maybe they like my ideas just the way they are.

And that’s just it.  I have always succeeded by being me.  And not by trying to imitate someone else.

I believe people buy handmade and art because they are expressions of someone, and they are drawn to that spirit.  When it’s authentic, they’re fans.  When it’s not, there’s nothing to distinguish you the individual from someone else.  And when we listen to fans and to the people who are actually putting money into our hands, we’re listening to people who have tapped into our creative spirit.  Which can be really helpful when we’re feeling a bit lost and need direction.

Anyway, so though it sounds clichéd, seriously – follow your heart in your craft.  Pour yourself into it.  And if you can’t?  If there’s a block? Then find an avenue that isn’t blocked.  Nowhere does it say that you have to be a yellow pencil.  Be inspired by someone?  Sure.  But genuinely do your own thing!


Filed under Business, crochet, Crochet Ruminations, Editorial, NaBloPoMo, Writing

Heartbeat In My Ears…

My true story. 

There’s a heartbeat sounding in my ears.

“See mom, these are the Hot Wheels I want to keep, because they have moving parts.”  The rest can go to the fundraiser.

Moving parts are always more interesting.


I hear the crashing sound of a demolition crew.

Wait….  That’s not right.  I’m sitting at a stop light.  At an intersection on the edge of town.  Nothing but trees and cacti on my right.  I turn to my left.


There’s an infinity in the space between moments.  Did I leave my body?

Heartbeat.  Silence.

My child!

If I left my body, it wasn’t for long.  But I’m frozen.

The pickup driver’s hair is blonde.


My earliest childhood memory takes place in my father’s arms at an amusement park.  My parents told me that I must have been about 18 months old when they took that trip.

I’m staring at a ride that looks something like a huge airplane propeller with rockets on each end.  It’s painted red, white and blue, with one end red, the other blue and a band of white at the axis.

The propeller spins and there is a boy in the blue rocket.  His shirt is yellow.  He’s screaming his head off and I can see a look in his eyes.


A black pickup is hanging in mid-air.  It twists and grows larger.

Fractured glass.

The driver’s hair is blonde.  There is a look in his eyes.

My hand flies out in front of my son.


It’s Friday before Spring Break 2005.  I’m going to see Grandma Dot and Grandpa Jack.  I packed the antique dishes Grandma Dot’s great-uncle gave her, that she passed on to me.  He was the US ambassador to Mexico once and he brought her back this set of white dishes.  I want to ask her for more details to complete the story about these dishes.  She always remembers the stories to everything.  But when I tried to ask over the phone, she wasn’t sure which set I was talking about.

They were last to load into the trunk.

“Darling, let me keep the kids.  I know you wonder if this might be the last time they’ll get to see the kids or not, but you’ll be stressed out trying to keep them away from the breakables at your grandparents.  I’ll keep the kids.  Just go, enjoy your time with your grandparents.”

My husband is wonderful.  Though guilt worries me.  What if this is the last time Grandpa is able to see his great-grandchildren?  But John’s right – Grandma’s house is not child-proof by any means.  I remove the car seats from the back seat, say goodbye to my children and leave them with John.

I always say prayers in the car when I go on a trip.

It’s Friday before spring break and Interstate 35 is filled with college students, excited for the break.  Mid-terms are over and I see kids hanging out of cars at 65 miles an hour whooping up the day.

It’s dangerous.  But I also remember college mid-terms and how delirious they make you feel.  Stress that only the young can take.  Why do we do that to them?

At mile marker 299:  The highway suddenly goes from three lanes to two, with no warning.

Some kids cut off a yellow moving truck; they’re trying to merge and going too fast.  The yellow truck practically stands on its brakes and every car around it suddenly fishes right or left to avoid collision.  There is a full shoulder on the left which only lasts for about one mile.  The young man in front of me and I quickly and successfully move to that left shoulder and safely get by.

Suddenly, there’s a force from behind me that is so great.

Can sounds blind you?

I look to my rear-view and see the demolition hitch.  It’s coming through my back window towards my head.  The white Ford F-350 doesn’t have a grill on the front.  There’s something else attached.  It looks like the front of a snow-plow.

The truck is so much higher than my silver Altima, that it never hits my bumper.  Unbounded, it plows through my back window and seat. The trunk of my car is center-punched down the middle.  Slammed, I collide into the car ahead of me.

For an instant, everything is black.

My hood blows.  Glass sprays like snow.  My shoulder hurts like hell.  My air-bag never deployed.

Just two weeks before this, I saw a little silver car smashed between the highway median wall and a semi truck on the way to the kids’ school.  I came home and told my husband, “I don’t want to drive a little silver car anymore.”

I guess I got my wish.

I start shaking uncontrollably and burst into tears.  I am going numb.


It’s just like a movie stunt, except without exciting music, and without a drumbeat.  Just my heart, ringing in my ears.

The little black truck is hanging high in the air – twisting, flying towards us.

I am frozen.  Caught between stories in time.

My stories.  My traumas.  My time-warp.  The words ring through me, “I just got a new home and now my child and I are going to die.”

And those aren’t spoken words.  There is no “hearing” of them.  They impress on the very soul, like a stamp.  Like a vice.  Punching through the heart and being.

My hand flies out in front of my son.  The truck slams to the ground on its nose and bounces, flipping towards us.

The driver’s hair is blonde.  I’m boxed in.  I can’t back up.

There’s nowhere to go.  I am frozen.

It is silent.


Filed under Editorial, NaBloPoMo, Writing

The World Needs More Letters…

Here’s an inspiring TED video I wanted to share:

The above video is about the world needing more love letters.  And well, it struck the romantic cord inside of me.

It’s been awhile since I made a point of writing letters, but I used to.  I used to write letters every Saturday to my friends at college who waited to get mail from home.  Even though it was a small and close-knit theology school, going to college there was sometimes a lonely place, where you wonder if everyone you ever knew back home forgot about you once you left.  You work so hard, have little money, live in a strange world with people you don’t know and many feel the vacuum left behind without the nurturing comforts they were used to most of their life.

Trust me, letters and care packages from friends were nearly as welcome back in my college 20 years ago as they are in the military.  And not everyone had loving family and friends back home to write them for them.  Little handwritten Saturday notes with goofy cartoons and stickers were a way to brighten someone’s week.

Later I wrote letters for cancer victims and children.  Again, it’s one of those things people forget about doing anymore.  Sometimes at the very onset, people get a flood of attention and well wishes, and a bunch of greeting cards with little more than a name signed.  But come 6 months later?  When things are still scary and no one remembers anymore?  There’s not even that signed card.  Three months, 6 months, a year after a loss, a trauma, a triumph: these are times people need encouragement most of all.  And yes, we need them after triumphs too.

You could send them an e-card, perhaps.  And that’s something.  But there’s nothing like the power of a handwritten note that says, “I’m thinking of you.  I’m still here.  And I’m proud of the fight you’re putting up.”

I also used to keep hand-written journals.  In spite of being a dysgraphic adult I far preferred journaling by hand than by computer.  I have ever since reading Harriet The Spy when I was a kid. Unlike Harriet, I wasn’t interested in writing down what people did when no one was looking, but I did very much enjoy the meditative process.  It’s something I haven’t done in a long time.  But today, I can still pick up one of my handwritten journals from 4th grade and immediately travel back in time.  Flowing through every stroke of the pen, every stroke that I made, I reach back in time and hold the hand of that child I once was.  Remembering what it was like to be that kid.  Even from so long ago, the connection is so strong I almost remember the stroking of each entry as if in the moment.

The handwritten word is so very powerful.  And it’s a wonder that a dysgraphic person like me ever learned to love it.  Even if I do struggle with it to this day.  It’s too easy to take the art for granted.

I have tried to collect letters and recipes in the handwriting of each of my family members possible, alive or dead.  Even my grandparents had trouble understanding my desire for hand written recipes.  They wanted to type them for me and I kept saying, no.  Please give me recipes in your own handwriting.  Because that’s unique.  And when I touch the letters, it’s like reaching out for your hand.  I want my own grand kids to know you, some way, some how in a way that can’t be done so personally.  What better way than through food prepared and written about by your own hand?

Handwriting is an art form and it carries more emotion in the formation of each character than anything typed.  There’s simply more voice in the strokes of the hand-written word, vs. the print of the digital.  And I must admit, like my Grandma Dot, I have saved every single real letter I’ve ever received since childhood.  One of my favorites contains advice that a group of out-of-state high school friends collaborated on and sent me, trying to help me with a stalker situation I didn’t know how to handle.  Each one signed their names.  I have no idea where any of them are today.  But I hang onto their letter and hope to see them again someday.

I can’t think of the last time I’ve received a handwritten letter myself.  I think this weekend I will challenge myself to hand-write a letter to someone.  Maybe roll the dice or draw a name and just do it.  Even if I might have to do some recon to find a mailing address. Maybe just write something to leave out in the world somewhere for someone else to find unawares. But just sit down and for once, write a real letter.

What do you think?  How about you?


Filed under Editorial, NaBloPoMo, Writing

Or perhaps it’s simply that we cannot hear ourselves…

“[The musician]… said that he felt just about everyone could train to be a decent singer, but the main challenge was that people don’t hear themselves the way other people hear them, so their pitch is off. They hear one pitch in their heads, but what they’re actually singing (and what other people hear) doesn’t align with what they think they’re singing.” ~ Steve Pavlina

The above quote is from an article on the Law of Attraction by Steve Pavlina (see link above).  I wanted to share it tonight, because it struck me that this analogy is a good reminder about life in general.

What are the messages that we project? Are we really in tune with that?

In my line of work, in charity work, in the education system, in local business – I run into people every single day who think they’re professional, but don’t project it. Who think they are loving, but do not project it. Who think they are thoughtful and considerate, but do not project it. Who think they have life figured out, but they don’t project it. Who think they are kind, when they absolutely are not.

And we can say well… they are doing the best they can.


Or perhaps it’s simply that they cannot hear themselves.

If Buddha, or Jesus, or Krishna, or another spiritual master were in our presence. Perhaps Mother Teresa? What would we reflect and sound like in their presence? Would our song suddenly be in tune?

Why should it be any different with our fellow man?

It strikes me as one of the lessons of Job (as in the man from the bible). That great wonderful person we think ourselves to be? You know, how supposedly we have committed to being something greater than the sum of our molecules? That spiritual life we wish to embrace?

Are. We. Really. That?

Do we really mean it when we say we are committed to the service of the greater good? Because we cannot serve others very well when we cannot get past ourselves.

So when there’s a little squeeze, when we are pushed out of our comfort zone, do we show the world something different? Do we project being a good and kind person?  Or do we say, “The energy’s off,” or “That person’s not right.” Do we say, “It wasn’t meant to be?”

Do we write off, or worse yet – harm, a fellow child of God because we do not (or wish not to) hear that it is we who we are the discordant ones?


Filed under Editorial, NaBloPoMo, Writing

Life Enriched: My Fascination With Spiders And Webs


9 foot Halloween spider web!

I’ve owed you guys a post and explanation about the whole spider web fest going on in my yard and in my designs.  I also owe you some more photos, since after all, last night was Halloween!  (You gotta see what I did!) So I guess it’s about time I give.

First with the writing.
Later with the Halloween photos.

Truthfully, I’ve had an enigmatic fascination with spiders since childhood. One of my favorite childhood stories was about a pet wolf spider named Wolfie.  (Come to think of it, oddly enough, I later had a cat I also named Wolfie after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I only made the pet spider – pet cat connection just now though. Interesting.)  I was also the first one my girlfriends called when the creepy-crawlies showed up in their space. Julia the spider-wrangler to the rescue.

I love spiders. Fiercely like most people don’t.

Energetically, I think spiders – especially cobweb spiders – often naturally show us where the stagnant places are in our homes – those neglected areas that need attention. They create action where there is none. Metaphorically, I try to imagine Grandmother Spider pointing out things that need attention in my life and I try to picture where that would be. “Oh look here honey. You forgot this area. Here, let me help freshen it up.”


Garden spiders – I see them a little differently. Grandmother Spider’s protective nature seems to come out in them, in a delicate and breathtakingly beautiful way.   Then there are the little black jumping spiders I generally nickname simply “Harry.”  They show Grandmother Spider’s nature to dance in the sunlight and play.

I also often talk about how spiders are Mother Nature’s first fiber artists and I adore their individual and distinctive webs. Water_drops_spider_web_800px.jpgOrb Weavers are particularly fascinating in their design! They have such interesting and distinct designs, each one using a special technique and signature marking of its silk fibers.  I’m fascinated by the focus, patience and skill each spider displays, not to mention their grace and dance. Each web is like a fingerprint and I’ve toyed more than once with the idea of making a collection of different crochet spider webs, recreated to the design specifics of each unique species. It would be a neat undertaking.

I watch spiders, play with them, catch them, study them, and hold them in a place of reverence.

And that’s the truth.

But the whole truth is far more complex than just that alone.  There’s another side to it.  While I adore spiders, I also deeply distrust and fear them.  Almost inexplicably.

It’s a paradox.

You’d think with all my spider experience and fascination, that I’d be the first to own a tarantula or at least to pet them at a zoo.

But not me. Not by a long shot. Just watching someone else hold one gives me the creeps.

You see, another part of the truth is, there’s a constant attraction/repulsion magnetic thing going on inside of me when it comes to spiders. And I’ll never let them touch me. I just can’t. No matter how fascinating spiders are to me.

I can’t. do. that.

And I won’t allow the poisonous ones to live. Those are two lines I can’t budge on.

Needless to say, I have trust issues. As long as I can see them, I’m just fine away from it unless I have a jar – thank you.  Come near me, surprise me, crawl on me?  Forget it.  I’m your worst enemy.

How’d it all come to be?  I’m not sure I know.

But philosophically, I deal with it the same way I deal with every other challenge in my life. Education and observation.  If I’m going to be afraid of something, I want to understand it very, very well.  I’m just not into this fear of the unknown crud. Far easier to deal with the fear of what I do know.  So show me that face.


Common Cobweb Spider

My earliest memory of a spider is actually from a dream I had when I was about 4-5 years old. A honey-colored little cobweb spider suddenly grew from a tiny little creeplie in the kitchen corner into a giant creature before my eyes. And then it told me (still dreaming here) that it was going to devour me. Yup. It said plainly, “Julia, I’m going to eat you.”

Right. Well, at least it’s honest. Awesome.

And in my dream, fearlessly like a dutiful little daughter, I stood there staring up at the enormous creature and said frankly, “Don’t eat me; eat my dad. He’s bigger!”

I have no idea why I still remember that young dream, other than out of some sort of sense of guilt. But my adventures with spiders had only begun.

The next spider introduced to my childhood was the docile wood spider. Silly little bumbling creatures that are visibly more scared of humans than any other spider I know. They practically fall all over themselves just trying to run away from you. I tried to find a photo of one for you, but have been unable to locate one.  And I’m guessing the name “wood spider” is probably one of those “folk names” that families hand down and is not likely an “official” name.

The wood spiders I grew up with are simply brown and tan striped and look similar to wolf spiders, though not nearly as husky or hairy, nor nearly as brave.  They are the first spiders to run at the sight of you or when the light is flipped on.  They liked to live in my dad’s woodshop and warehouse at work and some were so big. As a kid I sometimes wondered if maybe they were really hairless tarantulas instead, only more leggy and less body. And except for the fact that they seemed to trip over their own legs a lot.  In fact, I’ve never seen another kind of spider that seemed as likely to simply lose a leg like this kind.

It was around this time that I first read Wolfie and other books on spiders.

It wasn’t too long later when I got to see tarantulas.  Like, a lot of them.  Somewhere around that time, there was a bumper crop of brown tarantulas out in the Wichita Mountains outside my home town. I remember we were on our way to and from a drive up Mount Scott, and the road was covered in brown tarantulas. So many of them were being smashed by cars going by. There was no way for the vehicles to avoid them and the tarantulas were coming out of the bushes into the road in droves. It was like some sort of giant tarantula migration. I stared at the numbers of mangled bodies on the road and felt both sad for their misfortune, yet thankful that they couldn’t jump into our car (I hoped). And still, they kept coming.  I could see they’d never have a chance against a motorized vehicle. Silently I wished they could hear me think at them, “Please don’t cross the road! There’s nothing there but danger!” Part of me really, really wanted to see one up close and to save all the spiders. And part of me just wanted to be the hell out of there.

Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider

As mentioned above, I was also introduced to a species of jumping spider that I simply call “Harry.”  I remember them playing/hunting on my Grandma Leona’s sliding glass doors and crawling the ceilings at home. I used to tap on the glass near them to make them jump.  They always struck me as a weird combination of cats and dogs in personality.  Cat-like reflexes with dog-like enthusiasm and play.  They are amazingly gifted at catching flies! And unlike brown recluses, I have never been attacked or stalked by one of these, even though they are hunting spiders. When they are scared, they like to warn you by jumping a bit like a dog does when barking at a stranger. But I find usually they lose their initial fear pretty quickly and like to play.

Dangerous Brown Recluse (Fiddleback) Spider

Dangerous Brown Recluse (Fiddleback) Spider

Fun, more docile spiders were not to be the sum total of my experience though.  Brown recluses soon crossed my young path and set a precedent for everyday survival, as you might remember from my stories past. It’s a story born of necessity. A clan of spiders surrounded my workspace, and for years no one would believe me they were there.

So out of sheer survival, I learned more about “fiddle-backs” than any normal child. Probably just desserts for offering my father up as a replacement snack long ago. Even if it was only in a dream.

Let’s fast forward…

Over time, as I watched spiders and noted their individual web designs, I became more and more fascinated. And I tried to share this fascination with my children, so they would learn the differences between the spiders they saw and come to appreciate their gifts and lessons too.  Some of the best entertainment we had together with spiders actually came from blowing bubbles into the webs woven by garden spiders on porches between roof and banister.  The glycerine bubbles and the tiny bubble blower you can get from Gymboree are the best.  Watching a spider attack a bubble only to have it pop is a sight to see.  They don’t have facial expressions and yet, somehow you know what’s going through their minds by watching their body language.  One spider was really upset that she could not find that fly she knew she just caught.  We never laughed so hard!

But in all of this, I can’t say I’ve lost my revulsion either.  I still can’t hold a spider.  I still don’t like being surprised by them.  I hate it when they drop on me from my ceiling and oh yes, I will scream and dance and throw things and hunt until I find it, because I can’t stand the idea that it might be inside my clothes somewhere.

And that moment you walk through a web you didn’t see?  Umm, yeah –  I still go ballistic-ninja. If you ever see me dancing around a yard, fencing with a stick, now you know what’s probably up.  I know it was a comedy, but I totally related to the scene in the movie “Arachnophobia” when that spider crawled up the main character’s body.  Only I’m not paralyzed by it.  I’m transformed into a something my kids don’t recognize as me.

Some years ago, at our old house, we had two mimosa trees in front of our house.  I decided to crochet a spider web and hang it up, doing my best to make and pose it as realistically as possible.  Noting little bits I’d observed in just watching how garden spiders will craft and hang their webs.  There has to be proper tension and support.

And it grew from there, every Halloween, into what you see today.

sideviewofspiderwebinaction_watermarkedMaybe someday I will overcome the fear part of my revulsive fascination with spiders. And maybe not. (I’m thinking after all this time, the later is most likely.)  But unlike others, I do face my fear dead on, day after day.  It’s called working with your fear, not judging it, not pushing it, not making it into anything that it isn’t.

By accepting my fear and distrust of spiders, and by embracing it, I also allow myself to still see the wonder in amazing creatures and their personalities and talents that I might otherwise miss.

And perhaps that’s what overcoming really is.  Perhaps that alone sets me free.


Filed under Halloween, It's An Aberrant Life, NaBloPoMo, Writing

The Spider Invasion Has Begun!

Part 1:  Or…  “My Supplication To The Gods Of Seasons,”  As It Were….  Is that a change in the air…?

We had our first actual taste of fall weather here in Austin the day before the fall equinox.  And I do mean taste.

Not just that metaphorical brief fleeting experience of an amazing flavor. But that thing you experience: when the air you breathe outside has more than just essence, but a distinctively fresh flavor to it. And it’s a breathful taste that I find invigorating.

Yep, the web is that big.

Yep, the web is that big. And he’s 5’10”.
Want one? Click the picture.

For here in Central Texas, we don’t often finally get to taste fall until later in the year. You know… closer to winter.

We’re always behind the rest of the world in our spring and fall seasons.  And when the seasons do arrive here, they are generally more like speed bumps in the switch between two main seasons of hot and cold.  A veritable two-week tribute to spring or fall, but so rarely a full court press of the real thing.

Never the case with summer though.  Never with summer at all. Do you miss summer where you are?  Come visit us in July and get your fill.  You’ll never miss it (or us) ever again.

So to have that first taste of fall arrive here on the actual equinox is like some sort of amazing blessing. Nay.  It’s more than that. It’s a sign.  A bright sparkly one.  The seasonal gods have smiled upon us this year.

Miniature snowman scraped together off the truck.

Miniature snowman scraped
together off the truck long ago.

Dear seasonal gods:  While we have your attention, could we maybe have a snow day this winter?? With real snow to play with and not just wet ice?  I mean, if you don’t mind and all. After all, it’s been years.  The kids are teens now. And well, we want to make snowmen together again, even if only miniature ones. Oh! And snow ice cream too.  …oh please, please, please…

But please also make sure no one has to get out and drive in it though. No one here knows how.

At the first hint of “the taste,” I immediately threw open all the windows. Fresh air in the house, it’s so wonderful. And it whispers to me. Not only were we blessed with an actual spring this year (lasting more than two weeks), we’ll be blessed with an actual fall too. 🙂

With October finally here, the most wickedly fun of all holiday months (and dear hubby’s and my birthday month), I’m feeling more alive. Even if more in spirit than in body.

And that’s saying a lot. Because I haven’t felt myself since breaking my right ankle at the end of the summer road-trip adventure that I took with my teens. It’s been two months + 11 days of blurred trauma, surgery, and complications. :/ As of today, I’ve only just been walking about 3 weeks.. ish.

There’s definitely an interesting story to tell there, and one I want to share with you, as I’ve learned quite a bit too.  But it’s a story that will have to wait for now.

spiderwebinafternoonsunWhy?  Because the spider invasion has begun at our house, and it demands adoration. Its story refuses to be put off.

Well, at least not after tomorrow.

Stay tuned for part 2….

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Filed under Crochet Patterns, Editorial, Halloween, Writing

I realize my life is more interesting, but you still need to get one of your own…

Ever have one of those lives….?

“Is there anything you don’t do?”

These are the words I have heard over and over again the last couple of months, from completely unrelated directions.  From folks who do not even know each other.  Whether it’s the crochet hooks I carve, the piano tools in my truck, the two-week gluten-free paleo meal plan I wrote, the charities I support, the new kids’ robotics group I’ve embraced, the books I’m writing or the tech event I’m going to help the host with – these words have recently popped up everywhere.  And I’m not even touching on all the mom hats in my life.

I can make one of these for you if you like it.            $1.50, free shipping and my thanks!

On the one hand, the question is a bit confusing and absurd.  Of course there’s plenty I don’t do.  What kind of question is that?  Wait, am I supposed to answer that?  Still, the repetition from all directions was getting my attention.  And I had to work hard not to suddenly stare at the speakers when the words popped out of their mouths, as if I was caught on the set of Twilight Zone or Doctor Who (oh if only).

So the question has been repeating in my life and now inside my head.  “Is there anything you don’t do?”

The words were expressed each time with amazement and shared as a compliment.  Which I found a bit embarrassing with each broken-record-exact-quote-repeat. I nearly found myself ducking, as if catching some ball out of the corner of my eye that had been chucked at my head.  Yaaaaahhhhhhh…….!  Where’d that come from?  I didn’t say anything to warrant the statement.  It came out of no where.

Sure, I have a lot of interests and have done a lot of things.  A lot of people have.  And I’m a pretty open person.  But I don’t generally tend to talk about every facet of my life, except as it relates to someone or a conversation.  Maybe if you ask a question or get to know me, but there’s no need to talk about unrelated facets when we’re trying to get something done.  It’s just not logical to do that.

The only exception is really this blog, where I tend to write about whatever crosses my brain and the keyboard at the same time.  Sometimes it’s analysis I find interesting, want to record and think others might enjoy.  And sometimes it’s simply analysis that I myself am in need of, and work out in writing. Sometimes I’m even experimenting or actively exercising my writing skills.  It’s a blog.  It’s fluid like that.

Still there was no logical reason, not even from my own behavior, to warrant the repeated question.  These people don’t even read my blog that I’m aware of.  But I find that when the Universe repeatedly throws something in your lap, especially from seemingly unrelated directions, perhaps it’s begging a second look.  What are you hounding me for Universe?

And I’ve begun to wonder – what is it that I don’t do?

I mentioned this repeated message to an acquaintance a couple weeks ago.  They suggested that perhaps what I’m not doing is getting rest and taking care of myself.  That I’m doing too much and not saying no enough.  This is not too unlike a conversation a good friend of mine and I had about 8 years ago.  About how when people are so amazed at your super-human ability to accomplish and handle so much, that it probably should be a sign of being out of balance and how it’s not healthy, nor necessarily something to be proud of.  That no one is meant to keep up that kind of pace and not pay a dear price.  If you care about your kids and family, pace yourself and invest in your quality of life so you can stick around and be a good parent and mate, not a crabby-cranky-exhausted-sick one.

Truthfully, I must admit that I’m not sleeping enough this week since the kids went back to school and because I’ve stayed up late to get work done.  Even tonight I’ve been wrangling with cleaning up an audio file for hours.  However, I also know in my heart that rest and downtime is not what this message is about.  I’m pretty anal about that already.  No one knows better than I the importance of pacing your life.  It was one of my life’s biggest lessons and nearly cost me mine.  I literally woke up one day and could not get up.  Umm, been there done that, got that bat right between the eyes.  And that’s not it this time.

So back to the question, only this time slower, with a grin, a twinkle and a sly tone….  What is it that I don’t do?  Hmmmm….

The interesting thing is that though it took me by surprise and now has my attention, this experience does not feel like a warning.  No… I’ve felt that warning before. 

There are new things afoot in my life…  This time it feels like an invitation.

And perhaps one to play a game I haven’t tried before.

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Filed under Editorial, NaBloPoMo, Writing

Simply Twisted Poetry – A Fiber Love Affair… Contest!

The Crochet Me Blog announced a fiber related Haiku contest yesterday. The contest itself is actually sponsored by their sister publication Weaving Today, but looks like even crocheters can jump in and enjoy the fun.

The prize? Not only a chance for your haiku to be published in their magazine, but some luscious Bijou Basin yarn as well! Which is a yak yarn, btw. Um, yeah, I’d love to sink my hook into some of that. And I’m sure you would too, so I imagine the competition will be steep! And in either case, you know this contest will be a load of fun! If only we could win all the yarns, right…..?

Not much of a poet? Need to brush up on your haiku skills? No worries, you have until October 15th to enter up to two weaving or fiber related haiku for the win. Check out the links above for more details on the contest.

In the mean time, I’ll be practicing some of mine over the next few weeks. Feel free to share your fiber haiku creations, complete with links to your website if you have one, in the comments below! After all, I’d sure like to tweet about them and share! So hook me up!

hook slides into place

wrapped in bittersweet fiber
I am at peace once again

silly alpaca
your fleece a silky wonder
luscious clothes I make

by Julia Meek Chambers


Filed under Crochet Community, Crochet News, Writing

Brown Recluse Therapeutics…

This story, originally published by me on March 3, 2010, is republished from my blog The Difference Between A Duck.

Today was warm and beautiful outdoors.  I’ve never had a green thumb – in fact it’s generally what I’d consider brown.  But enticed by the fresh air and clear skies, I headed outdoors to work on my back yard.

Mainly, there was a lot of trimming and raking to be done.  I hear there are all sorts of trimming rules for the health of your bushes and trees, but I know none of these things.  However, I wish to entertain with a cook out, and to clean things up.  And I haven’t ventured out to maintain anything back there in months.  So I did it the slow way – trimmed around, stepped back to look, placed chairs, stepped back to look, trimmed some more, tried to reach here and there, until it looked ok.  I think.

I should have used gloves though.  My hands are very sore.  And the loppers we have are bent, so their work wasn’t the finest nor quickest, nor for that matter, painless.  Still, the back yard does look better.

As I uncovered stones and timbers while removing old leaves, various spiders scurried about.  And I was reminded of my childhood down at my father’s shop.  And the wars I fought against the brown recluse invasion there.  I don’t generally believe in killing spiders, save the dangerous ones.

It was years before my Dad realized I was telling him the truth about the poisonous spiders I worked around in the wood room.  I wasn’t just being a scared little girl after all.  And by then, of course, I’d learned to cope with my circumstances – by hunting them.  By knowing their habits and every move. And by catching them in jars in case someone would finally notice not only the markings, but the numbers.

I was the only one in the family who not only didn’t wear glasses, but had eyes that tested better than the norm.  Details were obvious to me in an instant from any distance.  Though perhaps sometimes a curse.  I could see things that others could not.  It is sad to me that today I should wear weak glasses while working on my projects, not because I can’t see them, but because my eyes do not adjust from close to far as quickly anymore. They tell me the cones are aging.  And I still test better than 20/20.  What a strange circumstance for me.

It’s my guess that the sheer numbers of recluses at the shop caused them to be less reclusive than “experts” claim them to be.  I wonder how many experts have worked in a building practically owned by a recluse “clan.”  Though that makes them sound friendlier to family than they really are.

I turned over a rock in my backyard.  Sure enough, there was the tunnel in the groove and the tell-tale hunched body with the sand-dollar shaped back and famous “fiddle” back shape.  When they are surprised like this, they hunch and hesitate like a cat before they spring or run.  As if to decide which choice to make.  But even so, the process is very, very quick.  Micro-seconds at best.  And in spite of their reclusive nature, when disturbed they have no fear. If you are in their territory, all bets are off.  They do not hold back.

For but an instant, memories flood back to me of flipping timbers outside the wood shop, hunting for the spiders and egg sacks I knew would be there.  Every week, killing every one, because their numbers were growing and the docile native wood spiders were nearly gone.  Recluses were taking over the place, killing off all the rest and no one believed me.  Then the memory washes over me.

Flipping a timber – you had to be quick  – and I was an expert by then.  You don’t flip a timber slowly when you know it’s the home of an average of 4-6 recluses each, that you can see on the outside.  And there were many timbers lined in front of Dad’s wood-shop and storage shed for parking.  Your movement must be quick and you barely touch the timber when you execute.

But this one time, one of them was quicker than lightning.  As if it knew exactly what I was doing and exactly what would happen.  Remember Arachnophobia?  The demon soldier spider predicting every move?  When I saw that comedy, I immediately identified with that detail.  The timber flipped and it was on me in the same instant.  Racing up my arm.  It was an old one – big and quick.  The old ones were the only ones who managed to survive my jars.  Put a bunch of brown recluses together in a jar and soon there is only one left alive.  The biggest one.  They are extremely resistant to all poisons, except their own.  I never touch them, even when dead.  And here was a healthy one with strong markings – racing up my bare arm.  The image has been frozen with me ever since.

As quickly as it was on, I swiped my hand down my arm and flung it into the grass away from me.  Danced back and then pounced and crushed it under my shoe.  It was some time before I stopped trembling.  And at the same time, it was empowering: escaping the brown recluse bite.

Today I eye the quite small recluse under my stone.  Not old like the big ones back home.  It hunches.  In the same second I crush it.  As easily today as a quarter of a century ago.

You can buy my my spider web crochet pattern right here!

Halloween Spider Web – A Variable Pattern from Aberrant Crochet

$4.25 (includes license to sell finished product)


Filed under Writing

The Top Eight Things That Tick Me Off…

This article was originally published on my blog The Difference Between A Duck on May 5, 2010.

Dan Rockwell over at Leadership Freak asked a potent question on his blog this morning:  What ticks you off as a leader?  And what ticks you off about leaders?   It was an awesome question with a lot of answers.  I find his daily blogs to be thought provoking and succinct.  You might check it out.

I work long hours in the volunteer world where you often learn a person’s true caliber.  There are times the drama really ticks me off.

So with the encouragement to take a day and have a healthy rant…

Here are my top eight things that tick me off.

1) Don’t Lie – Those who claim credentials and experience they don’t really have. A PhD and a DD are not the same thing. Nor are a myriad of other credentials alike.  This also goes for those who claim illness or tragedy they’ve never experienced too.

2) Know Your Limits – Those who refuse assistance when they are running behind, “no I’ve got it” and then ultimately fail the deadline or project altogether when it could have been fixed if they had accepted help (or delegation) when offered.

3) Know Your Facts – Articles, reports and claims promoted arbitrarily as fact and w/o references or proof. “Statistics” that have no source. Using the phrase “we do it all the time” as proof that something works, is main stream, or should continue to be allowed, etc. (and gripes me even further when once or twice in reality becomes “all the time” in a debate).  Then there are those brand newbies who do the opposite arbitrary claim “it obviously wasn’t working” to justify disrespect to loyal employees and a complete policy make-over, when the claim is simply untrue, illogical and unsupported by any research or facts.

4) Embrace Maturity – Drama in a professional environment drives me crazy, along with those who would rather start WWIII than accept criticism, difference of views or simply admit “Ok this could have been better.” Those who are more concerned with “winning” an argument than taking care of a customer.  This also includes taking things personally for no apparent logical or professional reason.  More time is wasted trying to undo assumptions made about non-existent intent.  Really, it’s not all about you.

5) Communicate – Leaders who fail to communicate and then suddenly freak-out and look for the nearest scape-goat.  On the other side, leaders who don’t know how to deal with a situation or person, so they literally hide from them. That would go for volunteers/employees too. You don’t have to be a naturally great communicator, just at least try!

6) Listen – Not reading emails/reports even when they are simple bullet points and then having to email/call them again and again.  Refusing to take phone calls.  Not asking questions.  Assuming without logic or basis.

7) Be Responsible – Own and take credit for mistakes as much as successes. It’s part of life.

8 ) Armchair Quarterbacks – Those who sign up to volunteer, can’t be reached when it’s time to work, and then complain about how things were done.  That would also include those who sign up, can’t be reached when it’s time to work, and then take credit for being there when they weren’t, knowing people they don’t, doing things they didn’t and including it on a resume or in a job interview.

So what about you?  What really ticks you off as a leader?

Thanks again for the therapeutic whine Dan……!

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