Thursday, November 29, 2007

Listening, Honesty, and Being a Good Friend

I apologize, the photo that comes along with this entry was just too funny, to me, to not include it ,even though it does not really go along with the sensitive and heartwarming piece that I am about to compose.

This is a story that has been in the works for quite some time, but I have finally made some mental notes and decided to sit down and write the darn thing. To be your own person. You would think that by the age of 40 you would be able to carve your own niche in the world. Not be pushed along by your peers. Kind of like high school etc. I guess it still happens. To talk less and listen more. To ask more questions and to REALLY be interested, really interested in the lives of others. The things I must have missed......

I had a friend, I'll call her Bossy McKnow-It-All, and for 6 years I thought that we were good friends. Really, the last year was not one that I should count because that was when it all began to fall apart. When I began my quest to be a better person and to look deeply into my soul is when I began to see and hear the things that she was really saying, and I found that she was not so nice.

There were some really good people that she helped me to lose as friends. I have since called them and apologized for my behavior and we are all now back on speaking terms. They were ladies who's whose company I had once really enjoyed. I hope to again. I have made the right step in the direction of making my life better. Getting pulled into the dramas, that was how she liked to live her life and continues to do so to this very day, I could not stop it. It washed over me like a tidal wave and I was totally engulfed in all of her negativity and bad vibes. At one time someone had given us the nickname of the "chaos twins". I really am embarrassed by that now. It really was like someone took the blinders off my eyes. I began to see and hear her in a totally different way. I noticed how she never really wanted to know how my life was going, but would ask the one introductory question, wait for the answer and then launch into a diatribe about her life. Every statement by someone else and line by line dialog. It was as if she thought that we all wanted every intimate detail of her life.

It was when she began to constantly use the phrase,"It's all about me.", that I began to realize that she really thought that it was and she really meant it. No one else even mattered. That was why she just divorced her husband, of 23 years, and basically left him with the 2 kids. She has a very small visitation, but that was her arrangement. She was only concerned with what people would think, if she the mother, did not want to see her own kids. They are better off living with dad most of the time. She was the one that walked away. She thought that the grass was going to be greener.

Some of the friends form her past told me that they were shocked that I lasted 6 years because she had a history of dropping friends and making new ones almost every 3 years. I really went the distance!! Now that I have moved on there is so much less negativity in my life. The friends that I have are positive people. I take the time and listen to what they are saying.

I am sad for her that she does not even realize what a good friend that she lost. When I told her that things had not been right with us since January of this year, she just quit talking to me. Never wanted to know why or what was I talking about. Either she really knew or she just does not want to hear it and wants to keep living her life in a bubble. That is not any way to live. Without real friends or people that care about you. Sadly she has surrounded herself with "yes" people and people with low self esteem and they feel flattered to have the attention that she lavishes upon them. They feed off each others needy personalities. Not the kind of situation that is either sincere or real. Not one that I ever want to be a part of ever again.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pushing the Envelope of Christianity

Nothing like getting back into a little controversy, or big controversy, after the holiday buzz wears off. I am sure that this is going to probably piss-off a few people, but when I read stuff like this it makes my blood boil. I do not see why groups constantly feel that they have to impress their ideals upon others. Why they can not just say, "Hey, we're here if you need us." Why do they have to go to such great lengths to alienate others while getting their message out.

The two articles
I read were at Mother Jones News. Now, I am aware that the military is made up of many, many different kinds of people with many differing religious backgrounds. If I respect that, then why do others have such a hard time? Why do they seem to want to make this a crusading military of 100% christian combatants? According to Mikey Weinstein, a former Air Force JAG and White House attorney for Ronald Reagan, the Officers Christian Fellowship has their mission statement that reads,"....a spiritually transformed military, with ambassadors for Christ in uniform, empowered by the Holy Spirit." So, my first question is, who makes us the deliverers of Christ? Who are we that we think we must represent Christ to all the world? Why does that have to be the center of our military program? Sounds like the beginning to a Holy War to me.

This summer Mr. Weinstein found out about a plan to send packages , by the Pentagon, to soldiers in Iraq. They were nicknamed "Freedom Packages". They were to contain Bibles, proselytizing materials in both English and Arabic and Left Behind:Eternal Forces, a video game inspired by the Left Behind post-Rapture books in which "soldiers for Christ" hunt enemies who look suspiciously like U.N. peacekeepers. Partly due to Weinstein's efforts the packages were never sent. Weinstein cautions," Whenever you have a virulent form of any faith engaged in the machinery of the state, in the words of the U.S. Supreme Court, we have ended up with tidal waves of blood."

Weinstein says that he has fielded more than 6,000 complaints from soldiers who claim to have been persecuted by Christian Evangelicals, 95 percent of the complaints have come from mainstream Christians. Tipsters have helped him catch uniformed military officers publicly endorsing an evangelical group and ferret out an anti-Semitic Bible study guide on an army base web site. In September, he shunted many of the complaints into a massive lawsuit against the Department of Defense. His lead plaintiff, U.S. Army Specialist Jeremy Hall, alleges that a major at Iraq's Speicher base threatened to block his reenlistment in the Army in retaliation for organizing a meeting of atheists. If they want to meet why should it be a problem for anyone? If everyone else has a group and a meeting why can this group not have their own time? What's good for the goose should also be good for the gander, don't you think? Fair is fair.

A then Democrat and now Republican, Weinstein represented Regan during the Iran-Contra affair, criticizes the former president of creating the opening that lead to Evangelicals in the military, but says that George W. Bush dropped the floodgates. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation group counts among its supporters; refugees of the Bush years such as David Iglesias ( one of the U.S. Attorneys that was dismissed this year), Ambassador Joe Wilson (husband of outed CIA operative Valerie Plame) .

In 2002 General Jerry Boykin told a congregation of Baptists, in Oklahoma, that "America's enemies will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus." These are the kind of people that really frighten me. These are the remarks that give other countries the notion that we ARE on a religious crusade. There is nothing wrong with soldiers having their faith, going to their particular services, but when it becomes fanatical, like anything else, is when it becomes scary.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gratitude & Thankfulness

I hope that all of my faithful readers & dear friends have an enjoyable holiday with family & friends. I also hope that the spirit of gratitude fills your soul, not just turkey & pumpkin pie. I know that I have much to be expressing gratitude for and on those days and in those times when I feel like complaining most I know that I have to stop, and take stock of my life and see what is really important. On that note, I leave you with some quotes from the Living Life Fully web site that I read and quote from so often.

I am so GRATEFUL to be alive.
I am GRATEFUL for every gift and ability life affords me.
I am GRATEFUL for each and every experience I have had that has made my life what it is today.
I am GRATEFUL for the lessons I have learned.
I am GRATEFUL for the opportunity to learn more.
I am GRATEFUL to be an expression of the divine life moving in me and through me.
I am GRATEFUL to be awake.
I am GRATEFUL to have a consciousness.
I am GRATEFUL that my life can be a reflection of divine consciousness at any given moment.
I am GRATEFUL that today is the only opportunity I need to live in the fullness of joy, peace, and unlimited abundance.
Today, I will plant seeds of GRATITUDE in my life, knowing and believing that they will bloom to the goodness and glory of the Divine.
I am so GRATEFUL! For all I have received and all that is yet to come!

Iyanla Vanzant

A thankful person is thankful under all circumstances. A complaining soul complains even if he or she lives in paradise.


Let us give thanks for this beautiful day.
Let us give thanks for this life.
Let us give thanks for this water
without which life would not be possible.
Let us give thanks for Grandmother Earth
who protects us and nourishes us.

Daily Prayer of the Lakota

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Buffoons & Polygamy

Warren Jeffs was convicted ,Tuesday, of 2 counts of rape as an accomplice for his role in the marriage of a 14 year old follower to her 19 year old cousin. He received two consecutive terms of 5 years to life. Mr. Jeffs is the leader of what continues to be a small sect of followers, in Utah and Arizona, that follow the teachings that were outlawed by the main Mormon church and call themselves the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints. They still operate under the idea that these practices are directed from the "Man" up high.

The church is known for arranging marriages of young girls with older men. Sounds like a perverts dream! The girl was told that the marriage was ordained by God and her refusal would put her salvation at risk. Nice. Scare tactics about burning in hell etc. to scare someone into marriage. Way to go. Another example of a man taking his power and holding it over others to control and dominate their lives. Even more egregious because he is also using the word and personage, or whatever, of God. I guess you can not get much higher on the power food chain than to use God.

Under Utah law the victim had the right to receive $5,000 in restitution from Jeffs, but said that she did not want it. She said, " My restitution is knowing that I spoke the truth and the justice system has done its job." Not that the money would have made the whole thing feel any better anyway. It is those lost years of childhood, teen years and innocence that she will never get back. The memories that will forever taint any, and maybe all, of her adult relationships.

The best part of this story came out about Mr. Jeffs time in jail. Seems that as a man of the cloth he does not have much faith in religion. I thought that suicide was an ultimate sin to God, yet we find out that while in jail Mr. Jeffs tried to hang himself. Obviously he was not successful, but doesn't God frown upon that? I guess he just is not as strong a believer as he likes to state. Or, he is just another cowardly low-life that realized he has no redeeming qualities and his life has been a sham.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Adult Material : Ladies Night & Heavy Artillary

Last week I did two things that I have never done before; 1. I went into a sorority house and 2. I attended a ladies toy party in said sorority house!!

Let me explain; I work with a really cute girl who is the president of her sorority. She mentioned at the coffee house that she had recently attended one of these ladies toy parties and would any of us come if she had one herself. Naturally we are a fun bunch and we said yes!! Well, it was everything and more than I anticipated. It was full of young girls, 19-21 that all had really skinny, tight butts with cute pearly white teeth. They all looked exactly the same with their tight, straight leg jeans tucked in to UGG boots. The only way to tell them apart was blond, brunette, redhead. seriously! Only the 3 of us from the coffee shop were older than 30.

Well, we played a musical chairs type game where you passed a very large and rubbery device. Whoever got stuck with it when the music stopped had to sit down. Well, I was the final winner and you can see my photo holding the pen that I won as my prize.

She had male organ drink straws and we got pens that were topped with them. She made cookies in those shapes as you can also see from the photos.

What surprised me the most was the amount of money these young girls were spending on some very serious heavy artillery!! Almost all of them spent $80-100 dollars on this stuff!! Some of the gadgets looked like major warfare items from the Army and Navy. Not to mention that they made horrendous buzzing noises and required a truckload of batteries that you had to remember to take out between every use. Also, infections were a concern so you had to buy the cleaner that they sold for that artillery. Too much crap and stuff to buy. I can hardly remember to change the batteries in my smoke detectors let alone worry about them bursting or exploding inside some device that you have to clean after every use. Now I know what these girls are doing with the money that their parents are sending them or maybe it's their student loans. Anyway, it was a far cry from the Tupperware and Mary Kay parties of my past!! I tasted more fruity gels and goos than I have in a lifetime. I may actually be getting a few cavities from all that. The girl who won the edible panties said she thought she and her friend might just eat them out of the package on the way home. Kinda like a fruit roll up.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Good Friends & Great Food

Last Saturday one of my very best friends from high school, Jon,came from New York to celebrate his moms birthday. So, he invited me to attend dinner with them at a small, but excellent place that is known for their spectacular seafood dishes. It's situated on a small lake and has windows all around that you can look out and see either the lake or fantastic night skies.

Jon has lived in NY since we graduated. At one time he was an actor and a dancer. He has a fantastic little apartment right near Central Park that was built in the 1920's by the Astor family. These days he is a graduate of NYU and a playwright. He still has family in this area, so we try to see each other every time that he comes this way.

I had a fabulous dinner!! It was hard to choose they had such a great menu, but I finally settled, after 2 glasses of a great Cabernet, on a chicken breast that was topped with delicious crab meat and then a cheese and a light sauce with a hint of lemon and herbs. It was HUGE and I could not finish it no matter how much I wanted to try! It came with excellently prepared and seasoned red skin potatoes and some of the most succulent green beans and red peppers. The beans were perfect in their crispness and not under cooked. I hate it when the veggies are too crisp! We had started off by sharing several appetizers of seafood pizzas. They were unlike any I have ever eaten because the crust was so light and buttery I could not believe it. One was topped with crab and the other shrimp. Then a delicious herb cheese and fresh tomatoes. Mmmmm-mmmm good!! I will go back. I could not believe that all these years I have never been there to eat. I just had never considered it. The one reason may be the cost. They were very pricey. Jon did pick up the check, but it would be a nice special occasion place. Not exactly a place that has a kids menu. Max would probably not appreciate all the flavors and subtle nuances of seasoning etc. For example their prime rib was $30.

I am mostly posting this so a few of you might get a partial glimpse of my newest hair foray.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Time & Talents

" Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your line of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed."

Sydney Smith

This was the beginning quote in the series of articles that I read today from the Living Life Fully web site. I read these every few days and use them as my inspiration for writing and journaling. The series became very important for me today because they not only reflected some situations that have been happening in my life, but also those of a good friend. Armed with that information I decided that it would not only be good for me to blog about these things, but also as as a reflective tool because I also know others who have been going through changes and the ebbs and flow of life in general. So for all of us I present this material today. I'll call it my Zen Sunday.

I will probably quote a great deal from this first article because I highlighted nearly the entire article. It was was appropriate. "One of the most painful things that I witness over and over is when people desert their true natures because they think that acting some other way or doing other things will bring them more acceptance by others."

This used to be so true of the way I lived my life. I thought that I had to subdue the activities and things that I loved to either be taken seriously as a "grown-up" or to be a success in the real world. Then one day, in the not too distant past, I actually woke up and realized that I could be an adult, but at the same time I could still follow my heart and do some of the things that I love. One of those things is theatre. I was, at one time, a theatre major and had big plans to be on Broadway. When those plans never materialized I pushed them to the back of my mind and pursued a more adult profession. I did not hate teaching, but I always still felt drawn to singing and acting. That is why, for the past year I have occasionally gone out to auditions. I am making the time for myself to go out and do the one thing that I really enjoy. I did not get the last part, but I have another coming up December 3rd and maybe that will happen for me. There me be other talents that you have, but one should not put them up on a shelf because you think someone else might not like whatever it is you like to do. Maybe you like to paint, but everyone else thinks you suck, so what I say!! Do it for yourself.

"What are your talents? What kinds of things come the easiest to you? These are the things that you can not desert, for in deserting them you're rejecting gifts that can make your life much happier, much more whole, much more fulfilling."

I have to say that when I gave it some thought and practiced this approach I was a much happier person to be around. I felt like I was getting something out of my life rather than just giving to everyone else. There has to be something in this for you. You can only stifle your true self for so long before you become a resentful person. You may not realize it at the time, but if you are holding back for someone or something else it never can come to any good.

I used to want to please everyone, and it still matters but on a much smaller scale, and for this change I am also a better person. I make sure that I take the time necessary for myself, I want to have that time alone to read and write and think and plan. When I don't have that time I can feel myself becoming very cranky and irritable. It is never too late to make the changes you need in your life. You are never too old. How much happier you could be by just taking the time to make a few small changes over a period of time than to live your whole life for everyone else, and then one day realize, you did so little for yourself. It is not very pretty to become a martyr and think that you have given up so much for the sake of others because what you have actually done is not for the good of anyone.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Food is Fun!

Whoever the people are that get to be " U.S. Researchers" have to be some highly over paid folks. According to an article at MSNBC these researchers have come up with the end results that people who are emotional eaters do not lose weight as well as those who are not. DUH!!! Hello...... Any of us women who suffer through this could have told them that without the high cost of the researchers and the time it took them to come up with this wisdom. According to Heather Niemeier, a researcher on obesity at Brown University, "We found that the more people report eating in response to thoughts and feelings, the less weight they lost ." More DUH!!! Again nothing that I did not already know from first hand experience. My own mantra used to be,"I eat when I'm happy, I eat when I am sad. Food is my friend." Heather also went on to say that of those people who did lose weight, the emotional eaters were most likely to gain it back. Again, I say......DUH!

As a woman I have always had problems with my concept of my own body image. I let the magazines and other entertainment tell me how I should look. Although I never did suffer from any eating disorders, mostly because I loved food too much and also hated throwing up. I was never a reed thin girl, but almost always built kind of like a female softball player. Hips run in my mothers family, thanks mom!! I even had a boyfriend once that told me that my thighs were too big for his taste. Nice. So, I took various pills and whatnot trying to loose weight through most of my 20's and part of the 30's. Once I was actually too thin from some of these and had those nice collar bones protruding from my shirts. A good and popular look if you live in Hollywood.

It has just been in the last few years that I actually began to accept myself, through much soul searching and reading, and decided to try and just be healthy. Well, once more I jumped on the Atkins bandwagon. Lost about 50 pounds. Hey, I liked the way I looked, but I was sick to death of eating that limited diet and not the same foods as the rest of my family. Plus it is expensive to buy meat, cheese and eggs all the time. Plus, you always have to cook something. There were nights when I was too tired and then would break down and dive head first in to a box of cookies made by some elves!

Food has always been a love of mine. I love to go to good restaurants and try new things. I love the way food is presented. I adore a beautiful desert tray. When we took our cruise, well let's just say that I wore many flowing skirts and elastic waist items so that I might partake of every buffet from one end of that ship to the other! Occasionally I like to go to a beautiful holiday buffet complete with ice sculptures. Like I said, I do love food.

Well, about 11 weeks ago I made a choice. I saw how hard this EMS work was on a body that was less than in shape. So, I decided that I had to do something. I ended up doing something that I thought was just for huge older ladies. I went to Weight Watchers. Boy, was I surprised! There were lots of younger women and some even came with their hubbies. I saw that I knew many of them from the coffee shop or other places in town. I did it for me. Not to fit the ideal that some magazine tells me I should be, I did it for how I want to look and feel, not for what John might think.

Well, I actually am doing it! I am down 14.8 pounds and wearing clothing that had long been forgotten in a closet. I am working out again and doing yoga. I like that it allows me to eat the same food as my family, except in something called "portion control". A new concept to me! I must say that I still have my emotional moments, but I have bought little chocolate bars, that they sell, and they do take care of my needs. If this is what it takes, and it is slow and you do have to eat more fruits and veggies, then I will be in it for the long haul. I know that slow and steady wins the race and is also the safe way to do it. I have given up all the yummy additives from my coffee and just drink plain 'ol espresso now. I try to write more when those really low emotional moments hit. I know though that there will be times when I hit a road block, but then I just get right back on track the next day or the next meal.

I quit buying those magazines a few years ago, sometimes I will glance at one in the store, but I believe that I am much better off working on a body image that is my own and not airbrushed by some guy who thinks he has the perfect idea of what a beautiful woman is.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

What to do With That Extra Hour

The clocks have now been set back one hour and here I sit, on a Sunday morning, wondering what I am going to do with my extra 60 minutes today. The possibilities are endless and with only one day off a week I could choose to go in many directions. Having posted not much substantial recently I think that I will choose to sit here and compile a posting of all the misc. tid - bits that have been happening for the last few weeks.

Suffering from just a slight hangover this AM after having wine and snacks at a friends house and playing a fun game called Scene It. An interactive TV game that has a DVD and is all about movies and trivia and pop culture. Have any of you ever played it? We had a blast. They use some great graphics and music. I am considering getting it as a family game for us for Christmas, although I am not sure that Max is old enough for many of the movies. Some were old black & whites that were WAAAAAAAY before my time. Fun none the less.

All through my life my best friend, from high school, parents have been like a second family to me. They were there when I graduated from college, they treated Max like their own grandchild. I found out this week that Betty had broken her hip and was recovering in a nursing home. The reason that Don, her hubby, has not had time to contact me until now is due to the fact that their daughter, who is only 2 years older than me, is close to dying from cancer. She has moved back in with them and can no longer drive. It is all her major organs and finally entered her brain. I feel so badly for them. This is the second child that they have had who had to move back in with them due to a terminal illness. My friend passed away in 1995 and now their daughter. It must be so hard. She will leave behind 2 adult children, of her own, and 3 grandchildren.

EMS work has been kicking my butt these past weeks as well! We have been busy on all of my shifts and I am feeling it. We have had to transport everyone. The cot weighs 70 pounds and then you add a person, a tank of oxygen and a heart monitor and then try and lift that thing several times in the course of about 6 hours!! Whew!! Into and out of the back of the squad. In and out of a residence, school or workplace. I have been whipped every week. This week the paramedics were laughing because one of our first patients had blue hair and several facial piercings and they let me handle it because they thought he was right up my alley and we looked really cool together with all of our multi-colored hair.

Yes, the top of my head is now all blond with the dark red in the middle and the even darker under that. I think I love this color scheme the most and when I ever have a chance to post a photo I will. I think by now you all know how much Mixter and I love to mess with our hair color.

Another thing about EMS that happened this week is that I have decided to wait another year before going to paramedic school. If I went to the next session it would be right in the middle of Max's senior year of high school and I do not want to interfere with that. I would be tired and bitchy all the time as well as never home. I am not going to do that to him. I want his senior year to be as much fun as possible and all about him, so I can wait a year. It is very demanding and you have to log over 300 hours at the various hospitals and that is not even counting the several nights a week that you have to go to class at another hospital. I feel really good about the decision and so I know that it was the right thing to do.

Max called me while I was at EMS, this week, and told me that as soon as I could get home I should. That there was a huge mess from one of the dogs. IT truly was a mess. Seems that Burt, the Beagle, had gotten sick and blown up like a pinata throughout the entire downstairs of the house!! Out both ends. It took hours to clean up. Poor Max could hardly keep from throwing up. It was a chilly day and we had to open all the windows and turn on fans. I had to throw away 2 rugs and a couch pillow. It was all over the couch, throughout on floors and stairs. Thank god he did not make it upstairs!! Today I am going to use some of that extra hour to go out and buy some new rugs. I waited a day before feeding him again and kept an eye on him and even after a day just started off with a half cup of his dry food. All seems to be back to normal now.

Looks like I am going to begin my new position and training responsibilities at the coffee mega giant in 2 weeks. Not too much more that I do not except with the addition of money counting and actually working 8 hour shifts. At least it will guarantee my hours for insurance purposes. The raise will be helpful too.

Looks like John will be leaving the fair city of Chowchilla, Calif. tomorrow and coming home. A city whose claim to fame is a woman's prison just outside of town. We don't know how long he'll be here before he heads off to Australia. He was there last year about this time. Just in time for the beginning of their summer and our fall/winter. Lucky him, although he will be busy, but the people down there always treat him so well.

So, I think that I have just used up a good portion of that extra hour. Now I will get in to my usual Sunday routine of hitting the coffee shop to read and write, grocery store and laundry. How about you? What are your plans for your extra hour? Use it the best that you can and have a great week!!

Grammar Time

You Scored an A

You got 10/10 questions correct.

It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors.

If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.

As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human.

And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Identity Time

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a New Left Hipster, also known as a liberal, a Netroots activist, or a Daily Show fanatic. You believe that if we really want to defend American values, conservatives must be exposed, mocked, and assailed for every fanatical, puritanical, warmongering, Constitution-shredding ideal for which they stand.

Thank You Mixter for the quiz!! This could not have been more right on!! Although, for number 4 there was more than one choice I would have loved to make.