Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

December 31

Today's quotation:

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.”

Wayne Dyer

Today's Meditation:

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!

Nikos Kazantzakis

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

Holiday Reading

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

What is Christmas

It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.

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

Tacky Christmas Sweaters

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

A Dunder Mifflin Christmas

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

A Wedding Invitation

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

After Eight Years of Dumb

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

Eat Right, Work Out....Fall Apart Anyway!

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...........