Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Begin and end each day with an expression of gratitude and thanksgiving. Every morning when you awake you have been given the gift of a sunrise and twenty-four hours to live. This is a precious gift. You have the wonderful opportunity to take this day and live joyously, with appreciation for everything that you encounter. Take a deep breath and be grateful for this exhilarating experience of breathing in life and love. Similarly, end your day with an expression of love, and a repetition of the word for peace, “Shalom.”
As the year draws to a close, it can be very easy to see life as a succession of years rather than a succession of days. If we lose our vision of how great days can be if we make them so, we can lose our ability to make each moment special. And as someone once said, each moment is a sparkling snowflake, and it will very soon melt and disappear, only to be replaced by another sparkling snowflake.
These moments become much, much richer if we experience them through the filter of gratitude. We make our own moments and our own days by the way we approach them, and if the seed of thankfulness is in our hearts, our experiences will be much, much richer.
We all have been given a great gift every single day that we have to experience the magic and wonder, the potential and possibility, of this wonderful world in which we live, the people with whom we live in it, and of our selves. We have opportunity after opportunity to make each day a very special one, yet we so often get "caught up" in all that's going on in our lives that we neglect our opportunities to get the most out of each moment, to make each day the special experience that it can be.
Love, gratitude, and peace. What better elements can we take with us into each day as we approach life anew? What better perspective can we watch life from? From which better starting point can we begin each day, each moment, each new chapter in our lives? We've been given all that we need to continue in this life and actually thrive in it, and if we can stop taking all these gifts for granted, then we can make our lives truly rich, indeed.
As the new year approaches, we can look ahead to a succession of moments, and each moment we can decide how to approach life and living. Each moment we can decide what we're going to do and how we're going to act. It isn't an entire year in which we will make our lives what they are a year from now--it's a series of many, many moments that will help to define the directions in which we go, and the attitudes we take with us as we do so.
Questions to consider:
How can we make love, gratitude, and peace integral
parts of our lives?
How can we learn to focus on each moment rather than
neglecting the moment and focusing on longer periods of time?
What do we have to be grateful for in our lives?
For further thought:
I've stopped thinking all the time of what happened yesterday. And stopped asking myself what's going to happen tomorrow. What's happening today, this minute, that's what I care about. I say: What are you doing at this moment, Zorba? . . . I'm kissing a woman. Well, kiss her well, Zorba! And forget all the rest while you're doing it; there's nothing else on earth, only you and her!
I don't make or generally believe in making resolutions. They seem to me to be setting yourself up for5 failure. Rather I have started to set goals that are attainable. Goals that I know are things that I would like to accomplish, or improvements I would like to make. Nothing as vague as "exercise more", or "go to the gym".
Expressing gratitude is something that I want to be more aware of this year. I want to recognize how lucky I am to wake up every day. I want to be sincere with everyone. Say what I mean and mean what I say. Most important I plan to be,"right here, right now". Living my life in the present moment. Not looking back or forward with worry or apprehension. I am going to take the moment and experience it as fully as I am able.
I recently read a blog where the writer expressed the new year as a clean slate. We all start off a new year with a clean slate and the ability to paint our next year any way that we choose. I like that idea. We make all the choices. The colors, textures...everything that our next year will be is all up to us.
May you choose the colors of your year and enjoy painting the slate of 2009.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
If you love sarcasm and are totally tired of stupid people..... this book is for you!! I knew, as soon as I saw him on the Daily Show, that this book was on my "must read" holiday list! When he has such outrageous quotes, on the exterior jacket, " Whenever I watch TV and I see those poor, starving kids all over the world I can't help but cry. I mean, I would love to be skinny like that, but not with all the flies and death and stuff." Thank you Mariah Carey. Believe me, that is just the tip of the iceberg! I have just gotten to page 44 but am loving it with every turn of the page.
You can not be easily offended because he lampoons everything. Not for the feint of heart! If you don't mind all that then I will tell you that I was laughing out loud at the introduction alone. I highly recommend it.
Aside from that....I am still without a home computer and still using John's laptop to blog. I have not been able to read my e-mail because I can not remember my password and have to take the time to come up with another and go through all of that crap. I suppose I will soon enough,but after so many coffee & Bailey's in the AM I am not sure that I want to attempt because I may not have the capacity to remember a NEW password!
Even after my vacation ends I am not going back to work until Thursday! Like I said before even our hours at the coffee mega giant are getting cut back, so he gave me three extra days off and I am only working 23 hours. At least I still have a job and I am not going to complain. Just weather the storm and hope that it gets better in 2009.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Agnes M. Pharo
This quote pretty much sums up the thought & wishes that I would like to convey to all for this holiday season. I think that it expresses great wishes and hope, but leaves out any particular religious stories or sentiment.
I am only able to post this with John's laptop. Seems that our home computer has some corrupted files. I didn't do it!!! Don't blame it on my corrupting ways!! We don't currently have the time, or plans, to do anything about it until after Friday, so I can not access e-mail or blog too frequently. We really need to buy a new computer, but when faced with the choice we opted to get a new TV for our family gift this year. So I may not be bale to read my e-mail, but we can watch basketball in high def!!
I'll hopefully be back in full print mode by 2009. Hope all is well in all your homes & with all of your families. Happy New to you all!! I'm off to begin my coffee & Bailey's holiday morning!!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
CNN has a fun little piece about the tackiest Christmas sweaters that you have ever received. They have had people send in actual photos. Personally, I have been the recipient of a few of these gems. Given by people who either do not know your taste or who do not even like you or take the time to find a gift for you! My step-mother-in-law was the biggest offender! I have given them to Goodwill and I believe I even have one left in a drawer somewhere. I think that it had giant poinsettias on it! Gag me!
I have never been one of those women who had a sweater with three dimensional pieces/parts that hang off of it and represent a certain holiday or time of the year. Even when I was a teacher I never dared walk in to a classroom with a sweater like that. There are people out there that actually have them for every holiday; Valentines Day, Thanksgiving and St.Pats Day! OMG! There is not anything else that I can think of that might be as tacky as the holiday sweater/sweatshirt.
If you have ever been the recipient of one of these eyesores why not share!! Misery loves company.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Just two more days of working and then I will have eight days of vacation!! I started to celebrate this morning by having some coffee with mint chocolate Baileys and a few Christmas episodes of The Office. God, I love that show!! The holiday episodes are just always so damn funny!
I am able to take eight days off because the coffee mega giant is now feeling the economic pinch and they actually encouraged me to take off extra days during my vacation. It will run Sunday to Sunday. I have the vacation hours to cash in as well as one personal day. After that.....
I have been working full time. After my vacation I have been cut 15 hours a week! I will have just the bare minimum to keep my benefits and that is all. It is getting tough. I am going to try and get back into subbing after the first of the year. I am only working three days this week. Leaves plenty of time to sub a few days a week.
I have decided not to dwell upon the negative, but to just enjoy the vacation, holiday with my family, John is taking five days off as well. This will be Max's last real family Christmas before he gets into the Navy, so that is where my mind will be focused and everything else will fall into place.
Ooopps, looks like I need a warm-up of my holiday beverage! Happy, happy pre-holiday wishes to all and to all a mug of holiday cheer!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Nothing else can get the really religious side all fired up, aside from the sanctity of Christmas, like the idea of gay marriage. Newsweek magazine has done an excellent article on the topic. They point out how the bible does not even define what the majority like to call traditional marriage. How it has been bastardized and screwed around with, homogenized if you will, to make it fit their idea of marriage as a traditional bastion between a man and a woman.
"Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?
Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so."
The article does a great job of pointing out how the scriptural persons and laws were nothing like folks like to paint them out to be. They use a broad brush to make it appear that all the people in the stories were just good men who had a wife and a family when in reality many were polygamous, mean and not of good character.Many of us get married because we intend to spend the rest of our lives with someone that we love. Religion does not nor never did enter in to the situation. Just that law requires that someone marry you, so usually you get a religious person or go to City Hall. So, what is the big argument against gay marriage? I don't see why they should be denied the same rights that I have. If they are with a loving partner that they intend to be with and want to get married, why shouldn't they be able to do so. Those who say that the bible dictates thusly are incorrect. It has been re-written and homogenized so thoroughly that people constantly use that as a quote that marriage is between one man and one woman, but read the article. Nowhere does the book actually make that particular statement! Religious folks just like to trot it out and claim that it does. Maybe the version that their church prints or buys does. It is simply the tradition that they do not want to see changed.
"In the Old Testament, the concept of family is fundamental, but examples of what social conservatives would call "the traditional family" are scarcely to be found."
There really is no such thing as a "traditional family" or "traditional values". No matter who you talk to everyone has their own ideas of what a family is and means. When I was in college I took a class entitled,"Families and Other Intimate Lifestyles" which was a really good class. There are very few of us that grow up in or under anything that would be called traditional. Whether it be with your birth parents, one or both of them, some sort of dysfunction is what is more the norm. Those who continue to wave the banner and scream about what is a traditional family & the values of such make me want to scream. Those are the folks that yearn for the TV version of Ozzie & Harriet or the Cleaver family.
It is about time that this issue was settled and marriage was open to all and we moved on to the more important issues affecting us and the rest of the world. Unemployment,war, hunger and medical care to name a few. Let those who wish to marry sign up for their gift registries and let's move on. Besides who doesn't love a good wedding reception! I'll meet ya at the open bar!
Sunday, December 07, 2008
It seems as if some critics are already picking apart the folks that Obama is choosing to surround himself. They are saying that the choices are all too educated, too smart and from ivy league schools. Well speaking for myself, I think that after eight years of dumb, I am ready to see what a group of really smart people can accomplish!
The fact that Bush pulled many of his appointees out of Texas, and those who were close family or personal friends, has never gone unnoticed. Look what it did for the country! The fact that he barely made it through college, and some of his appointees did not even attend, makes it apparent that we now could use some intellect in the White House.
"All agree that the picks reveal something about Obama, suggesting he will make decisions much as he did in the U.S. Senate -- by bringing as many smart people into the room as possible and hearing them out. This contrasts with the style of President Bush, who played down his own Ivy League credentials and played up his mangled elocutions and the gentleman's C's he received at Yale and Harvard. While Bush brought in a few academics, such as former Stanford provost Condoleezza Rice, he relied heavily on his Texas associates and business executives outside the Ivy League echelons he encountered in his schooling."
After watching Bush mangle his exit interview with Charlie Gibson it was more obvious than ever that the time has come to stop dumbing down the presidency and finally have some thinking going on in place of folksy, down-homeisms.
Friday, December 05, 2008
About 2 weeks ago we had an especially busy day at the coffee mega giant. I had already gotten up that morning feeling a weird little tweak in the area of my right shoulder blade, so by the end of the day I was in great misery and pain. It ached like a toothache all the way down to my elbow. I was miserable. I had some muscle relaxers & pain medication from the previous year, when I had taken a nasty fall on the ice, so I took them. It was the only way that I could sleep! Then I worked for the following two days while taking them. I was stoned out of my mind!!
The folks at work were quite amused, but I knew that I had to do something because the codeine was making me nauseous. So I made an appointment to see a chiropractor that came with many recommendations. They took many x-rays on my neck and back etc. I thought that I had a pinched nerve and they pretty much confirmed that diagnosis, but not the rest of it!
You see the cervical spine that is your neck, should have a natural curve to it, but mine does not. It is totally straight up and down. That explains why I have headaches and am always feeling like I have a stiff neck. The reason why totally stupefied me...I have arthritis in my neck!! He showed me the x-ray and explained how the vertebrae are fusing together. I was floored. I know it is not cancer, but at my age I never thought about arthritis! I thought that it was something that old people got. Oh my god...I can't be old!!!
So, they put warm stuff and electrodes on me to help alleviate the pinched nerve and cracked me up to start the process of trying to break that up in there. I felt immediate relief and it felt good to actually be able to move my neck in ways that I had not been able to in a LONG time. Then the bad news came. As if arthritis wasn't bad enough!!
Seems that the coffee mega giant DOES have excellent insurance BUT.... they especially EXCLUDE chiropractic care! So I would have to pay the $800 + , for treatment, out of pocket. WTF!!!!! Well, that just isn't going to happen. I had to cancel all of my appointments.
You know it just blows my mind how crap can creep up on you. You work out and try to eat right and take care of yourself and there is still stuff that is just going to happen. I am so pissed off. Not at anyone in particular, but just that I feel like my body is betraying me. I just don't feel like I am old enough for this mystery shit to start happening. I am mad because it is forcing me to face things that I am not ready to look at or think about. I am not really ready to "own my age" as they say.
So now... I am going to cost the insurance company even MORE money, which makes no sense, because I am going to have to go see my regular doctor and then see specialists and get more x-rays. They will probably give me some kind of medication and all costing more time and money than if they would just cover the chiropractor! See how the medical community is all screwed up? Good example of how they would rather waste money than to pay for preventative care.
I hate filling out paper work and going to a different doctor means I will have to do that. Take time out of my day for more x-rays and more talking and further evaluations. My mom says maybe they will send me to an orthopedic doctor for therapy and evaluation. More money in to the system.
I wonder how long I can put it off? I was so stiff again last night that I broke down and took another muscle relaxer and even had a glass of wine with it as I soaked in a hot tub. Not smart I know. I could have drowned!! :-) But seriously, it was bad pain and I was miserable. So, I guess I will put my gear on and head to the gym. Maybe walking/running on the treadmill will help loosen me up a bit.
I hate falling apart! Maybe a glass of wine before I go...........
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Monday, December 1st, is World Aids Day. I am very happy to say that the coffee mega giant is also now involved. They have partnered with Bono and Product Red to donate to the Aids in Africa fund.
Even though it is only 5 cents per holiday beverage, as the commercial says, there are a whole bunch of coffee shops and lots of people buying coffee! It all adds up.
I have always been very proactive in the Aids movement, you know this if you have read my blog in the past, and I own several of the tee shirts that are made there that also are Product Red and benefit the effort. We can wear them at work to continue to promote the movement.
Even if you are not a fan of the coffee mega giant I would urge you to go and buy one of the three holiday beverages that are supporting this effort.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
"Some 691,000 children went hungry in America sometime in 2007, while close to one in eight Americans struggled to feed themselves adequately even before this year’s sharp economic downturn, the Agriculture Department reported Monday."
According to this article, at MSNBC, that is nearly 700,000 children. With the economic climate the way it is, more people losing their jobs.....how can it get any better?
- The families with the highest rates of food insecurity were headed by single mothers (30.2 percent), black households (22.2 percent), Hispanic households (20.1 percent), and households with incomes below the official poverty line (37.7 percent).
- States with families reporting the highest prevalence of food insecurity during 2005-2007 were Mississippi (17.4 percent), New Mexico (15 percent), Texas (14.8 percent) and Arkansas (14.4 percent).
- The highest growth in food insecurity over the last 9 years came in Alaska and Iowa, both of which saw a 3.7 percent increase in families who struggled to eat adequately or had substantial food disruptions.
With the cost of food continuing to go up I can not even imagine how some people will manage this craziness. I spend less money and find it far less stressful when John is out of the country traveling because I have far less food to buy. When Max goes in to the Navy it will be even less costly for me. I can not imagine how families with more than one child are able to do it.
When I go the store, these days, I can see the price changes from week to week. You have to really plan and pick and choose what you buy and where you shop. People can complain all they want about Wal*Mart, but aside from the "bag your own" place I shop, it is the only other place to go with cheaper prices. The two big name grocery stores are so expensive! I can not even believe that I used to shop at them! Even their "off brands" or no name store brands are still higher than where I shop now.
I know the pressure that I used to feel to feed my kid and have food in the house, I have great empathy for those trying to do the same in these tough economic times. It is bad enough to be hungry yourself, but it is even more stressful when you feel that you can not provide enough for you kids and they have to see empty cupboards or miss meals.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The patient was being treated for leukemia and received a bone marrow transplant. He had been living with AIDS for at least a decade. It is something that can give renewed hope to many others living with this disease. Just knowing that there are still doctors and scientists out there who are trying things to eradicate this terrible disease.
Having watched as my best friend lost his battle with it in 1995 I am always a bit sad that there are so many new drug cocktails etc. that might have been able to save his life, but came a few years too late.
I still try to support any of the AIDS organizations or other groups that support the research etc. Bono and The Gap are big supporters of the RED movement. Gap sells RED tee shirts that are made in Africa and half the proceeds from every shirt go to AIDS for Africa. Bono also recently spoke at the coffee mega giants seminar in New Orleans and it seems that we too we will be buying in to the RED movement and coming out with some product that will benefit the AIDS movement. I am very happy about that.
There is also a bracelet that can be purchased from Broadway Cares/Actors Equity for AIDS. Mine is silver with a small ribbon and on the underside of the bracelet it says,"Until there's a cure". I wear it almost daily.
I know that there are many other things going on in the world, but this is an issue that is very close to my heart and I would ask that we all try to remember and maybe make a small donation or buy a tee shirt or a small red ribbon.
Yes, many are now living long and productive lives with the disease, but wouldn't it be nice if it could be just a memory, a thing of the past.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Well, I finally got to see "Religulous". A few friends from work and I drove to a nearby city and had dinner as well. All I can say is...it was the smartest and funniest film that I have seen in some time! I enjoyed it much more than any of Michael Moore's films. There were so many laugh out loud moments. There really was some good interviews and much food for thought. We have talked about seeing it a second time, so that we might go with others who have expressed an interest in seeing it. Because there is so much material, and you are laughing often, that I think I would like to see it a second time so that I can digest more of the material. I know there were things that I missed.
If you were even toying with the idea of going, or just have questions about tenets of any religion, I would suggest that you go and see this film. It is also not very long and I thought that it was over way too quickly!! The go out and have dinner, some wine and a discussion.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I have not ever seen an election year that was this unusual. Living in a college town you tend to see many things, but I even remarked to many people, who also noticed this same situation, that I had never seen things like this. All day long it was like a Mardi Gras. People were out and about at all hours and there was an air of celebration and excitement.
We were terribly busy at the coffee mega giant, due to the free coffee for voters, and so I had to wait and vote after work around four. I did not mind because this was the first presidential election for Max to vote and I wanted us to be able to go together. A very exciting moment in both of our lives! We were so busy at work, great to see SO many people who had voted. Thousands came through! For eight solid hours all I did all day was make drinks! I had nearly lost my voice from calling out drinks. Here it is Thursday and I am still hoarse.
Max and I walked to our polling place and did not have more than a five minute wait. He was excited to get his "I Voted" sticker and promptly placed it on the exterior of his mylar Kool-Aid wallet as a memento/reminder.
Then it was time to go to the Election Night party with my friends. We were all so excited to begin watching the returns around eight we finally turned on the TV. Good food and wine were, as always, the accompaniment. Some delicious Fontinella cheese and red zinfandel as well as various Cajun crab dips, spreads, breads and veggies.
As I drove through town, on my way to the party, there were people everywhere! Walking the streets, hanging out on the corner with a Obama cut-out with a tee shirt on it that said,"Vote Obama". I had never seen so many people out on a Tuesday night, let alone an election night, just hanging out. There really was an excitement in the air that you could feel!
We ate and drank and watched many differing channels trying to find one that had the local issues as well as national. Cheering loudly as Ohio was called for Obama!
My friend lives in a very old church. It is in a very, very small little community and sits on a large plot of land complete with parking lot. The owner had put in fake walls and a drop ceiling to make it have rooms. My friend actually has one of the original pews in his office which is in the front area of the old church. Well, the bell in the tower still rings and he will usually ring it on New Years Eve. Well, as soon as McCain gave his concession speech we all got goose bumps and then after Obama was announced and accepted we rang the bell. All of us gathered in the hallway as he pulled the rope and we listened to the bell toll out a new beginning and hopefully better times ahead for our country as well as our place in the world.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Sorry John, I know when you read this it is going to be "salt in the wound" since you were not able to go the concert. Although I am sure that you were kickin' it and having a hell of a good time in.....Oklahoma! NOT!!
Yes, last week I went to a fabulous Coldplay concert. I got the tickets as soon as they were on sale, but with John's work we can never tell when or where he might be going. Oklahoma became urgent and he had to go, so I took along a good friend.
I have never seen Coldplay, but would absolutely go again! It was like a modern day Pink Floyd show. Great lighting and some excellent long musical interludes. They sound as fantastic live as they do recorded. I was very impressed and it takes allot to impress me where concerts are concerned. They did stuff from all parts of there career. At one point they even appeared in the audience, not far from where we were seated, and did a short acoustic set. Awesome!
The opening act was another Brit, Duffy. Don't know if you have ever heard or seen her, but we did also sell her CD at the coffee mega giant. She is a blond, non-drug addicted type similar to Amy Winehouse. A very strong and bluesy sounding voice. She was also good. She filled that arena with her voice. I think I will get that CD now.
All in all an excellent tour, one that I am glad to have paid top dollar for. The prices of concerts are ridiculous and I am very picky about what I will splurge on. I would see them again. Maybe the next time John will get to go too!!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I know that I can answer that question now at 40ish FAAAAARRRRRR better than I could have at 20ish. It is so amazing how much more focus you have when you do hit 40. I have a far greater ability to look at my life and appreciate it for what it is, and I have. I know that there are things I might like to have and do, but they are not gnawing away at me and I am not pining away because I do not have them, or can not do them.
I know that my personal relationships mean so much more. I don't surround myself with countless numbers of "mean nothing" people just so I always have people to go out with or do something with. I have friends that have value to me. They might be low in numbers, but high on what we can give to each other. I know that I don't take on friends lightly. I am much choosier about those that I spend my time with. Quality has taken over for quantity!
I know how valuable time really is and I don't waste it on frivolous pursuits. I only do what I want to do, when I want to do it. I have stopped spreading myself so thin. I say "no" to things. There are days when I will just have a glass of wine and watch junk food television! I may not even answer the phone! That is my time.. There are calls that can wait. I know that spending time on and with myself is a very valuable tool. I have a mental state that is much more intact!! I know that "I" used to come last in the line of things that I took care of, and now "I" come first!
I know how important my own health and physical care should be. That is why I started to eat better and take supplements and herbs. I started running. I write and read much more. These things are important to my overall well-being. This I know. You have to take care of the whole package or how can you be of value to others?
I know that I have finally found a place in life where I can love what I do and not care what others think about what it is I do. Used to be that I wanted to be able to impress with my career/work. Now I am happy that I am able to be with people I enjoy and have a job with minor responsibility, yet a good time. Not to mention the great health care plan!!
I know that I have reached a place in life, with my partner, that is a place of great comfort. I have come to a place of peace within my relationship. I have learned how to be a calming force. A giver. I know how important honesty is in a relationship. Commitment is a powerful entity. I know that by only being comfortable and happy with myself am I happy with someone else. I know that I can give more when I am full.
I know that I have finally become someone that that I am comfortable with and happy to be. How about you.... what do you know for sure?
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I DID IT!! I ran my first successful race. A 5K that was a benefit for the Special Olympics. My nerves were so raw that I was a wreck! I had even given thought to just not running. I thought about skipping it altogether,l but many runners told me that it is common to get pre-race jitters and that they still do. So, John drove me up to the starting point and then it was just a given that I was actually going to run!
It was an absolutely beautiful fall morning here. Brisk, very brisk at 7:00AM sign -in. I was a tad under dressed, but knew that once I was running too many clothes would drive me crazy. I hate to be too hot while running. They had given us a goody bag that included a tee shirt, so I put that on and it gave me that extra little bit of coverage that was enough for the chill morning air.
I was so nervous that it took me a few minutes to find my stride and breath. When we first started running I felt very short of breath, but then decided that I probably wasn't even breathing!! :-) The sun was coming up and all the trees were blazing in full fall leaf color! It was brilliant. We headed east, a few times, but for the most part they had a route that kept the sun out of our eyes. There were a few splendid times when I was able to see the glistening dew on the grass as the sun was hitting it.... just magnificent!! Even though I had my ipod on I was able to think to myself,"What a fantastic morning". I was getting such a thrill out of just seeing the path that they had us running. It was all parts of town and a trail that I have never run before.
They had people along the route that would clap for you and shout encouragement as well. Made me smile. I even got to grab the cup of water from the guy at the water table, take a few sips and then throw it down like I was some real runner!! Wow, I guess that day I was.
As I was coming in to the finish line I could see the big clock that had the time. It was 39 minutes and I just did not want to be past 40 minutes, so I ran as hard and fast as I could. I made it across in 40:02. I was also not dead last!! Out of 294 runners I was 290. Not bad for a first race. The feeling of personal satisfaction lasted for hours. As someone who never could see any reason to run I was feeling pretty damn good about it.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I can not believe this! With everything else that is going on in this country there may be theatres that are concerned about showing a movie that a few might consider controversial? Michael Moore causes more controversy than this film seems to be generating. I have not heard or seen any folks, religious or not, with signs marching around demanding that Bill Maher be strung up or burned at the stake.
It just amazes me that, in a town that thinks it is so diverse and liberal, that we can not even get a free thinking movie like this. That it is okay to show movies that lampoon the president or health care system, but the religious sacred cow, no pun intended, better not be touched. I can see no other reason for them to not be showing it while it is playing in the rest of the country. I know that I can drive anywhere and see it, but that is not the point. Why should I have to go to another town when mine has a perfectly fine 12+ screen facility and not one of them is showing this film.
But if anyone has a need to see some sex, gratuitous violence or teen angst I am sure there is much to choose from.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
I haven't seen Bill Maher's shows in quite some time, but I am SOOO excited to go see his new film "Religulous" that opens this weekend!! He appeared on The Daily Show this week and the interview was not only hilarious, but spot on about religion, the organized and fictionalized ones et al, and I laughed my head off.
"I'm not looking to form an anti-religion religion. That would defeat the purpose," Maher said in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, where "Religulous" played in advance of its theatrical release Friday. "It's the nature of the people who are not believers that they're individuals, they're individualistic. They don't join and all lock arms and say, ‘We all believe this and so it must be true because we have strength in numbers.'"
The numbers Maher and Charles really hope to grab are general audiences simply looking for a fun night at the movies.
Maher, 52, who started mocking religion back in his early standup comedy days, has no misconceptions that "Religulous" will shake people's lifelong convictions to the core. He's mainly looking for laughs such as those the film elicited from the enthusiastic crowd at its Toronto premiere.
"I was so gratified to finally go to a screening with people last night and hear how big the laughs are," Maher said. "Because we set out to make a comedy. I always said, my primary motivation was I'm a comedian, and this is comedy gold.
"When you're talking about a man living to 900 years old, and drinking the blood of a 2,000-year-old god, and that Creation Museum where they put a saddle on the dinosaur because people rode dinosaurs. It's just a pile of comedy that was waiting for someone to exploit."
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
"Given the past week, the debate should have been a cinch for Obama. But, just as in the primaries, he willfully refuses to accept what debates are about. It’s not a lecture hall; it’s a joust. It’s not how cerebral you are. It’s how visceral you are. You need memorable, sharp, forceful and witty lines."
I had hoped that it would be a knoeckout! I had really hoped to glean some information that would be useful, but alas.... I am left to wait for the next debate and hope that they really talk more and stump less.
"Even when McCain sneered, “I don’t need any on-the-job training, I’m ready to go at it right now,” Obama didn’t directly respond, but veered off into a story about his father being from Kenya and how he got his name. (Thanks, Barack, we got that from your book. It’s great for a memoir, but not a debate.)"
"Obama did a poor job of getting under McCain’s skin. Or maybe McCain did an exceptional job of not letting Obama get under his skin. McCain nattered about earmarks and Obama ran out of gas."
I am hoping that their people watched closely, have read all that they can, and that they come armed with information and not sound bytes for the next round!
Slate Magazine had an excellent article about the fundamentals that actually divide the McCain/Obama world.
When Obama talked about the financial crisis, he said there was a demand for new social controls. McCain spoke about the need for individual responsibility.
Obama's described the financial situation as a failure of "we." The Wall Street debacle was the result of a "theory that basically says that we can shred regulations and consumer protections and give more and more to the most, and somehow prosperity will trickle down." The collapse was caused by "an economic philosophy that says that regulation is always bad."
McCain lamented a society that had abandoned personal accountability. He said he would have fired the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. "We've got to start also holding people accountable, and we've got to reward people who succeed," said McCain. The Republican looked at the collapse of Wall Street and saw an "I" problem.
Just an interesting article that presented a set of views and points that I had never read before. Check it out, it is good.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
The other day, at the coffee mega giant, I was having a discussion with one of our regulars. A person who is a highly paid professional. Someone who is very intelligent. They are and their spouse is a professor. During a brief discussion of national politics this person stated that they would ,..."vote for a ham sandwich as long as it was a democrat". Wow! I can not tell you how surprised and dismayed that I was. Here, I have been stressing myself out by reading everything I can to make sure I am getting all of the candidates plans and thoughts. I scrutinize everything.
I have been so worried that I might make the "wrong" choice for president and then have to be held responsible for that choice. I am concerned about getting it right and this person just cares that they have a "D" after their name! Here you have someone that is only voting for the party and could care less about issues as they come. I have been avoiding all the sensationalism and trying to look at issues logically & sensibly. Then this person comes along and makes a statement like this!!
I am sad to know that there really are many out there who just vote based on the party. Am I one, of only a few, who will actually vote for the best candidate based upon the things that matter? Aren't there more people out there who read and make choices after doing research? Rather than always doing what they have always done, or voting the way their family votes?
I have to admit that I am disillusioned with this discovery. I had hoped that more people were like me and that they actually cared about the person who became the leader of the free nation, but it seems that they would prefer a luncheon meat rather than looking at who is the better candidate all the way around.
I 'll bring the chips & pickles.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
They even had Michelle Obama a few weeks back. They are at least giving equal time to both sides. I heard that they even painted a very lovely picture of her to try and soften the edge that many say she has and how she has alienated many from her prickly personality. Maybe they will have Sarah Palin next.
Then we zoom in on Chalie Gibson's alleged interview with Sarah Palin. It was meant to be this big journalistic coup for his network. Well, according to syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer Mr. Gibson actually made a huge gaffe and stole a phrase that was actually coined by Mr. Krauthammer himself and then went on to use it incorrectly!! I think that people who review his script need to take better care and make sure that he is both better informed and prepared. You never know who might be watching. Also, it seems as if took on that condescending tone, that most jornalists have been adopting with Ms. Palin, and that too is getting quite old and tired.
Sort of like Charlie Gibson's reporting.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
This weekend it was time to get the hair color refreshed and trimmed. The place that I go to, Skullz, had recently moved to a new & larger location as well as had much new painting and work done. I decided to get off politics today and show you a bit of where all the magic happens!
I took these pictures with my camera phone so the quality is not of the highest caliber, but they give you a good idea. My hairstylist is Jeremy and he is in such high demand that he was working today, Sunday, for several hours to fit in 5 clients! As well as doing great hair & color he is also a professional make-up artist and has done the make-up for several "big hair glam band" videos in Calif. Not to mention a who's who of drag queens!!
The best thing about going there to get my hair done is that my girlfriends and I will often meet there, when one of us getting something dyed, cut or waxed and bring a bottle or two of our favorite wine and everyone has a glass and a good time!! You won't see that happening at Best Cuts or Great Clips.
By the way, that is my mom & I in the opening shot with my recent color and cut! Obviously my mom does not go to the same salon as I!!
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Not surprising, it seems that her majesty, Oprah, is declining to have Sarah Palin as a guest on her show. At first she outright said no, but as the backlash began she then recanted and said that AFTER the election she would have her on. We all know what a HUGE(no pun) supporter she is of Obama, I think she would marry him if given the opportunity, and it would cause conflict for her. As someone who has never been a fan this does not surprise me.
Although she sure has had her fair share of other "controversial" guests. Tom Cruise mad a total ass out of himself on her show and she continues to gush and fawn and have him on, even after all his crazy Scientology gaffs about post-partum depression and the like. She had writer James Fry back, to chastise him, after he was shown to have lied when he created his best selling book about his drug life and all that other crap was that proven to be false.
So, all these years that she has been an alleged pusher of women's issues and her magazine is all about "make yourself better girls" she is deciding not to showcase a professional working woman/mother who is her biggest demographic? Like I say, I am not, nor have I ever been a fan, and this just seals the deal for me. I hope, as I have heard, that many working and professional women are and will be boycotting both her show and magazine.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
"That's because the very issues that Democrats say make her a political risk -- her newness to the political world stage, her anti-choice stance, her opposition to gay marriage, her support of capital punishment, her disregard for the environment -- matter very little in determining the outcome of elections. Voters -- some of whom dissect policy issues daily, but most of whom don't -- ultimately cast their ballots based on emotion. Not logic. Not knowledge of "the issues.""
When I read this I think of people, like my mom, who don't read much about issues, but who watch the nightly news and the "talking heads" on Fox etc. and take what they say as the gospel about candidates. She "just knows" that she doesn't like certain candidates, but cannot really tell you why. She doesn't like Obama's wife, but can not give specific details about what makes her feel this way.
"In 2004, John Kerry was the champion debater. He was sharp, focused, intelligent. He could call B.S. on George W. Bush and poke holes in nearly any of his arguments. But he was also stiff. He seemed cool and disconnected, not just because of his body language but also because of his words. His policy prescriptions, detailed as they were, didn't connect with his audience. Four years after hearing him speak, I can only recall that, on an intellectual level, I agreed with his points. But I don't remember what he said. His words didn't resonate with me. They didn't stick with me in my gut.
Bush, on the other hand, was the dunce. He wore a goofy smile and dodged questions in each debate. But he was the man people could imagine having a beer with. He drew crowds in with his drawl, spoke in a simple, unintimidating way, and so could get away with covering up four years of abysmal domestic and foreign policy. I probably disagreed with 99 percent of what Bush said, but I can at least remember some of his talking points. He said he worked hard and promised to work hard for American families. He said he understood American families. He said he would protect American families.
Was that a load of bull? Of course. But it sure was delivered in pretty packaging. And, most importantly, it made a large number of voters feel good."
You can see some this in the large numbers that turn out for the Obama concerts that end up actually crying at his mere appearance, they want to feel good and they are so overcome with emotion that this becomes their voting mantra. Drew Weston, from Emory University, is a clinical, personality & political psychologist who has studied this phenomenon and written a book about it; "The Political Brain:The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation."
"(T)he vision of mind that has captured the imagination of philosophers, cognitive scientists, economists, and political scientists since the eighteenth century -- a dispassionate mind that makes decisions by weighing the evidence and reasoning to the most valid conclusions -- bears no relation to how the mind and brain actually work," Westen writes. "When campaign strategists start from this vision of mind, their candidates typically lose."
I think that Timothy Egan, of the NY Times, summed it up best when he said," Palin brings a bit of the "Legally Blonde" aspect to the race -- you underestimate her at your peril."
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Hmmmmm, watch the DNC or 25 cent wing night out with the girls? Wing night, PRICELESS!! I decided to go this little neighborhood place, in a nearby city, that has the best wings I have ever come across. I would even gladly pay more! Not only are they the biggest I have ever seen, at this price, but crispy and not dripping in sauce. The big chain places do not even hold a candle to them! Those places think that if they have a thousand flavors and their wings are swimming in it that they rule. I could care less about the hype & sauce. For me it is all about the size and meat on the wing. This place, The Boulevard, has got it down 100%!!
It is one of those small, out-of-the-way, neighborhood places. You have to get there early to get a table or you will have to sit at the bar. You can not take any leftovers with you, but if you do not order enough, they get SO busy that you might wait a long time for another plate. I got 18 this time and barely ate 10. That is how big they are. They even have a decent wine list and a nice glass of red ( Shiraz) only cost me $4.00.
Quality time spent with the girls.......priceless!! Oh, the DNC.....I'll get the high and lowlights later. I can pick and choose what I want to see. As far as I am concerned it has been over for a long time and I'll just wait until it's the end of October and see where I stand.
Elections happen every four years while good times with friends need to be more frequent.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I finally did a little bit of clean-up here at the 'ol blog! I have added the Drudge Report to my list of links. With all the links and news that they share I think that it can add to our knowledge base about many issues that face us today. So check it out, if you do not already read them, they also include links to many good writers like Dave Barry.
I also would like to issue a hearty welcome back to Esteban over at his blog! He was out of the blogging world for awhile, but has returned victoriously and with a new computer!! If you like to mix it up with the other side and go back and forth with some saucy rhetoric from the other side then you should check him out! Now with Mixter gone, but not forgotten, we will have to shake Esteban cage now and again to keep things lively!!
Finally, speaking of Mixter...it was with great sadness that I finally deleted her link from these hallowed pages. I hope she will stop by, from time to time, and I will miss all the regulars that made comment on her pages and if we are lucky enough maybe one or two of them will stumble by from time to time. She had the best readers and the most exciting comments! Hope all is going well Mixter!!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Mother Jones News has a very good article, "The Audacity of Hype", about Obama and one that has some good thoughts. They presented the question, " Is Barack Obama exaggerating when he compares his campaign to the great progressive movements in U.S. history?", and they asked a variety of thinkers and writers what they thought. Here are a few snippets;
Author, The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
Well, I think he's exaggerating, in the sense that it's hard to understand a great, substantive moment in history while it's still happening. We knew 9/11 was a historic moment, if only because nothing like that had ever happened. But we didn't know—and maybe still don't completely know—what that actually meant. So in the sense that all people who compare the ongoing, shifting, malleable present with the past, he is indeed exaggerating. Let me just state the obvious—electing a black president will be historic, and I guess quasi-progressive. But the substance of what his presidency will be for America just isn't known yet.
Author, The End of Blackness
Kudos to Obama for reaching transcendence, but no way is the undeniable excitement he's generated anything remotely resembling America's past great progressive movements. To point out the obvious, the very examples he's invoking had specific purposes—winning World War II, ending slavery then Jim Crow, enfranchising women. Beyond dethroning Bush II, worthy though it is, what's his goal? Even were he to peg his entire candidacy on ending the Iraq War, that wouldn't transform America the way past convulsive movements did. At best, electing Obama might be seen as the final death throes of a racism that still dares to speak its name, but it might just be best if he stopped playing to his fellow citizens' lazy vanity—look, Ma! I'm changing America without sacrificing anything in the least!—and kept what he represents in perspective. His nearness to the presidency is an amazing, wondrous thing, but America won't be much different afterward, blasphemous as that sounds.
There are many others of varying thought that you might find interesting indeed.
I have been very busy, getting Max ready for his senior year and ready to graduate in Jan. and then off to the Navy. It is more labor intensive than I had imagined it would be. Then, we are getting back in to the busy time at the coffee mega giant. The college kids are back and business is crazy. I am working long and busy hours. When I get home I am too tired to blog and even too tired to watch any news etc. Although I did notice that last Sunday's N.Y. Times had a huge article about The Daily Show and how more Americans are now admitting to getting their actual news info from that show. No big surprise....I have been for years. Kudos to the entire team at The Daily Show!!
Somewhere I am finding the time to train for my first 5K race. It is at Kent State and it is the Bowman Cup 5K. On Oct.11th, I believe, a Sat. I downloaded a training plan for a 5K and have been trying to stick with it. I have to make modifications every so often to allow for my schedule and how tired I might be, but for the most part I am doing a pretty good job. I am excited to run my first race! Had I not gotten the mp3 player I do not think I would have been able to keep going. It makes a huge difference in my timing and desire to keep moving.
Speaking of the mp3 player. I find that I am always making lists now, on scraps of paper all over my house, of songs that I want to download. After I am finished here I am adding today; Bowling for Soup, Pat Benatar and some Aerosmith.
What's up in your neck of the woods?
Sunday, August 10, 2008
It has been over a month since I last sat down and blogged. So much has happened, not just in my life, but in the life of friends as well. I am sad to say that Mixter has shut down her blog. It was one of the first political blogs that I found when I first began to read blogs. Long before she invited me to join her I was a fan. It is going to be sad for me to finally remove her link from this site. I hope that she will occasionally stop by to read this little rag and maybe post some scathing commentary that we all came to love and enjoy! Miss ya Mixter! It was a joy to post with you and the other liberal gals at the Mix.
I was on an 11 day vacation this past week. One would think that I would have had the time for much reading and plenty of blogging, but as life would have it I had a huge curve ball thrown my way and I did not once even get on my computer. During this time we had an incident, at home with our teenager, that sent us in a tailspin. One that I am not going to elaborate upon, but enough to say that it is a hard job being a parent and you never know what is going to come your way. They grow up so fast and suddenly they think that they are adults.
I did buy a new book during this vacation. "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. He was the professor at Carnegie Mellon that actually did give a last lecture as he was dying from pancreatic cancer. My girlfriend is reading it and told me that she was gleaning much knowledge from it, so John and I headed to Borders one night and I got it for 13.00, not bad considering that it was 21.95 originally. I am just beginning it, so any thoughts will have to come later. It is a very small book, so I expect to finish it in a few days.
I also finally got myself an MP3 player to run with. I can not believe how much easier it makes the task of running! I have even increased my gait which means that soon I will have to add on some more time. Could be a curse as well! :-) So, last night as we sat outside with a fire, John & I had my player plugged in to the car stereo, and an entire evening of debate ensued about the music that we each have on our players. He was genuinely surprised that I did not have more music from my growing up years. I only went back and put on a few of the hits from the 80's that I really loved from the beginning of the "New Wave" & "Punk" movements; Clash, Blondie, Squeeze, Joe Jackson. The bulk of what I put on is today's music; Seether, Hinder, Staind, Fallout Boy, 3 Doors Down and the like. John could not believe that I did not have more of the 70's and old school style rock and disco. He has that and Neil Young, Van Halen and guitar rock that never was my thing. We talked about what would be considered "age appropriate" music and why does someone have to listen to what might be considered "more their style" and not outside their realm. It was kind of like discussing religion or politics. Everyone has their own tastes and beliefs. It was fun and we laughed often.
I got a new camera cell phone, we bought Max a car for his 18th birthday and have started to talk about what our life will be like when we no longer have a child in the home. I am going to begin the paperwork to get my passport so I can begin to travel with John. Maybe as soon as next year!
We have been avoiding all news, except the Daily Show. I have not even been reading any of my news sites. I am tired of anything that has to do with the election, the price of gas and how airlines are raising their prices and charging for everything. I LOVED the ad that Paris Hilton came out with as the retort to John McCains ad. It really made me laugh. I think I might vote for her!
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Now, I have been trying to avoid getting too in to this election mess, but after reading this article I was moved to being pissed off, yet again! Seems that Obama is talking about the need to continue and ADD more dollars to Bush's faith based initiatives. He wants to expand them and send more money their way. Now, I do agree with the statement that he made,""The challenges we face today ... are simply too big for government to solve alone," BUT .....
I do not like the idea that he may be supporting the ability to hire and fire based on faith. (Note: The Associated Press initially reported Obama supports "their (faith-based organizations') ability to hire and fire based on faith." NBC reports the campaign says Obama's plan would prevent organizations from discriminating based on faith. The Associated Press changed its wording to say, "some ability to hire and fire based on faith." The campaign says this second version is still inaccurate.)
I think that the religious organizations need to be totally out of the picture and another way found. I do not have the answers, but this seems to be heading into a whole different kind of mess. What about people, like me, that profess no specific "faith" or organized religion? Are we not allowed to seek help because we do not follow the same path as those that dish out the help/food/services? What about volunteering/working for them? Same thing, will they turn down my help because I do not follow their paths?
I believe that it is a slippery slope and one that we never should have entered in to and one that should disappear and alternatives found.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Check it out and see what you think.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Newsweek magazine has an article about what our junk reveals about us. Our clutter, the crap we have piled on our desks and the type of crap that we save or have just not thrown out. Sam Gosling, a psychology professor, has written a book; "Snoop: What Your Stuff says about You".
He says that the things that people have, and keep, can tell you more about them than face-to-face meetings. This stuff serves as the "non-verbal" cues to who and what we are that is not so apparent to the rest of the world.
He uses his study of the Greek way of defining the personality types and even the Myers-Briggs testing styles to come up with the style that he uses to help you equate people based on their junk. He has five areas that he uses; openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neurotic ism. OCEAN for short. How we organize our spaces decides where we fall into each of these areas. Messy people tend to score high for extroversion, but low in conscientiousness, while people with generic or un-decorated bedrooms and office spaces will tend to fall high in conscientiousness, but low in openness.
If this book is inexpensive I think I might pick it up for fun. I would like to take a walk through my spaces and see where it puts me and how closely it is. Years ago I took the Myers-Briggs assessment, for one of those group building/dynamics courses. Trying to get us all to see how to work more effectively with the other "types" in the mix. I came out as an extrovert-sensor-feeling-preceptor. I don't know if any of you have ever taken that assessment, but it is a somewhat lengthy test and then you do find out some intuitive things about yourself and it was quite accurate to my style, especially in the work and group areas. I did see that they also have an easier/user friendly version on the Internet if any of you want to check it out and see where you fall. I am "classified" as the Joker and it does truly fit my work style and life.
As I have gotten older I find that the people that I am most drawn to also seem to have the same home style and types of junk that I do. It must be that we are drawn to those that are most like ourselves. One of my favorite quotes that I keep posted on my fridge is, "Clutter is a sign of life being lived".
And so I live on.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Your Mind is Blue
Of all the mind types, yours is the most mellow.
You tend to be in a meditative state most of the time. You don't try to think away your troubles.
Your thoughts are realistic, fresh, and honest. You truly see things as how they are.
You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about your friends, your surroundings, and your life.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Seems as if I have been on a vacation. I have been eating all the time; cooking out steak, burgers & dogs. Wine of the white & red varieties. Cheesecake. Lots and lots of corn-on-the-cob dripping in butter. Night fires in the pit and late nights. No, not a vacation, but rather John has been home for three weeks!
He left this morning for another tour in Australia. Another new town and a company that has never had one of these machines before, so we expect a 3 week or more trip.
I told him that I was almost glad that he was leaving because all I have done since he has been home is eat. I think I only ran twice and worked out a handful of times. This has really been like a relaxing vacation! It seemed as if we both hung out around the house and got some much needed tasks accomplished as well as watching a little junk TV. We hung out in the yard often and threw enough tennis balls for the dog to feel like we were pitching in the majors!! When she got tired of that we opted for a Frisbee.
We drank coffee outside in the morning and watched the birds come to the feeder. Drank wine and beer outside, at night, and either had a fire where we would take turns poking it, or on the porch under the dim summer lighting that I put up.
It was the most relaxed that I have been in weeks. I have had no interest in politics at all and could care less about the election right now. I have barely looked at the news aside from a little Internet news. Part of my good state of mind is possibly due to cutting out all the negative crap that is out there on a daily basis. I have thought about blogging, but just did not think of anything important to say.
Then it dawned on me...I don't really have to always be timely and pertinent. I don't always have to be engaged in some big discussion or argument about about world events or things that piss me off. Life is too short to always be either angry or blaming someone. It is about the good things, family, friends, a good dog, a nice fire to poke and a bottle of your favorite red or white.