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Monday, April 25, 2016

Could Everything Be Rigged In Our Favor?

Imagine my surprise when a blog I wrote over a year ago popped up on my screen. There must be a logical reason for this sudden appearance, but I choose to believe the Universe is conspiring in my favor. There is a personal challenge I am about to start and this little written nudge made me laugh out loud. Usually my words come back to haunt me, today they came back to push me to achieve my goal. This blog was put together with the words and wisdom of others and it was good to read it again. If you are embarking on a new road today, maybe it will be just what you need. xoxo. Here it is....



A wonderful writer, speaker, philosopher and church leader Jeffrey Holland once wrote about the universal problem that hits all of us.  He said doubt, discouragement, and despair blocks our growth, dampens our spirits, diminishes our hope and leaves us vulnerable to other troubles.  His words from March of1980...
"I speak of doubt - especially self-doubt, of discouragement, and of despair.  In doing so I don't wish to suggest that there aren't plenty of things in the world to be troubled by.  In our lives, individually and collectively, there surely are serious threats to our happiness.  I watch an early morning news broadcast while I shave and then read a daily newspaper.  That is enough to ruin anyone's day and by then it is only 6:30 in the morning.  Iran, Afghanistan, inflation, energy, jogging, mass murders, kidnapping, unemployment, floods. With all of this waiting for us we are tempted, as W.C Fields once said, to "smile first thing in the morning and get it over with."

We come back to choice...choice of how we view everything.  

Here is a distinction F.Scott Fitzgerald once made, that "trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement-discouragement has a germ of its own" (The Crack-Up 1945)

As my friend Valerie continues to tell me, "Events are neutral" Hard to believe but so, so true.  We get to choose how we react, we really are the captain of our ships.

From his talk "For times of Trouble" Jeffrey Holland wrote of a story I love.  "Thomas Edison devoted ten years and all of his money to developing the nicks-alkaline storage battery at a time when he was almost penniless.  Through that period of time, his record and film production was supporting the storage battery effort.  Then one night the terrifying cry of fire echoed through the film plant.  Spontaneous combustion had ignited some chemicals.  Within moments all of the packing compounds, celluloid for records, film, and other flammable goods had gone up with a roar.  Fire companies from eight towns arrived, but the fire and heat were so intense and the water pressure so low that the fire hoses had no effect.  Edison was sixty-seven years old-no age to begin anew.  His son Charles was frantic, wondering if he were safe, if his spirits were broken, and how would he handle a crisis such as this at his age.  Charles saw his father running toward him.  He spoke first.

He said, "Where is your mother? Go get her. Tell her to get her friends.  They'll never see another fire like this as long as they live!"  

At 5:30 the next morning, with the fire barely under control, he called his employees together and announced, "We're rebuilding."  One man was told to lease all the machine shops in the area, another to obtain a wrecking crane from the Erie Railroad Company.  Then, almost as an afterthought, he added, "Oh by the way, anybody know where we can get some money?" (paraphrased from Charles Edison, "my most unforgettable character," Reader's Digest December 1961, pp. 175-77)
Virtually everything you now recognize as a Thomas Edison contribution to your life came after that disaster.  A disaster I think I would have not recovered from.



 



Remember, "Trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement-discouragement has a germ of its own."

Why didn't Thomas Edison quit?  What is it about some people that they never quit?  I believe William Shakespeare said it best (doesn't he always?) Remember, dear Brutus, "The fault....is not in our stars, but in ourselves"


I am reading this today with a new outlook of hope....










Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Reason for Menopause - The Grandmother Hypothesis (And this isn't just for Grandmothers)

Know me for longer than a minute and there is an awareness of my need to know "why?"
Some folks have said to me...

"Why do you care so much?"

"Sometimes there isn't a reason or an answer...often the sun just comes up."

"I don't know, please just go to sleep" ( A phrase repeated from my mother when I was 5 and my husband a couple of days ago.)

I won't accept the premise some queries are not answerable. If there is enough information for a question, there is enough information for an answer.

So imagine my profound joy to find a reason for menopause. On paper menopause appears quite useless, but here was a scientific hypothesis for menopause instead of the cruel joke/fraternity prank I thought it was. If I sound less than grateful for the extra weight, loss of memory and skin elasticity, and often just the will to live I enjoyed 10 years ago.....Oops.

I met a brilliant woman at a writers conference (Bloggers after Midlife) who presented on a panel about the positive side of aging. Afterward we spoke for a few minutes and I told her the conversations my friends an I have about the effects of aging. I shared our inadequacies and sometimes sadness at being older. She steered me to a blogpost called the Grandmother Hypothesis. This new friend Lynne Spreen had written an intriguing blog you must read and consider. In her blog post menopausal women are asked to understand how essential they are to the survival of our species. She writes women live a full one third of their lives after child bearing years. If they were here only to reproduce then life spans would only be 35-40 years.

Post-menopausal females bring such a survival advantage to the tribe or pod (protecting and helping the young mothers, finding food, and anticipating danger), that it is equivalent in value to the ability to reproduce.
  • Think about how you protect and help young mothers.
  • Finding food - teaching them to cook, shop, garden, sew, euphemistically finding food can be education, wisdom and patterning of any kind.
  • Anticipating danger - I don't care how liberated you are, walking home in the dark alone is stupid, putting your hand in a lion's mouth or poking a bear with a stick rarely has a positive outcome. Great safety tips...
  • Think about menopause as valuable as reproducing.
I hope SURVIVAL ADVANTAGE TO THE TRIBE wasn't lost on you.

Before you let your emotional sweater snag on whether or not you reproduced, take that off your worry list right now. My stepmother did not reproduce yet she raised and taught me almost everything on Lynne's list.  Not to mention all the endless friends I have that are not biological mothers. But they are all mothers of one kind or another. 

It is exciting to consider a reason for menopause, with a new found purpose to look Menopause square in the face and give her a big kiss....even though she can be a bitch.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Best Weekend Ever!!

In my life I haven't attended a convention....ever. Not of painters, bankers, realtors, clowns or salesmen of any kind. I have never been to a convention. I have heard of them, I have walked past them...I have seen conventions represented on television and heard of unheard things done at conventions, but I have never been to one.

Until just this last weekend when I attended my first convention. But this wasn't just any convention, oh no my friend this was a convention of women who write and everything connected to that. A room filled with CEO's entrepreneurs and analytic experts, all networking and building their bands. There was tweeting and trending, Instagram and snapchat, not to mention periscope. Women with podcasts and book tours. And women who are asked to speak all over the country. It was called - BAM - Bloggers At Midlife.

And just like Ginger Rodgers, BAM goers do everything Fred Astaire does. Only backwards and in high heels. Because they are all doing it at midlife...and although they have a personal brand the group brand was fierce. This group of midlife women gathered together to inspire and remind each other that our best days are not behind us...but ahead of us. We looked menopause, wrinkles and extra weight right in the face and laughed. We dared them to stop us, because women of midlife have stories to tell, people to teach and nurture...we have lives to live! Most of us have raised our children, had a career or two and now it is time to find a way to feed the muse. The voice constantly whispering in our ears, you have a talent, use it, you have great ideas, teach them, you have great worth, show it must be heard.  It does the world harm not sharing our voices, ideas and talents. So what if you are 50, 60, 70 or a 100? - it doesn't matter. What matters is doing what this part of our life was set aside for. We do have challenges. Women of midlife are routinely characterized as Maxine, that ghastly women with the cigarette dangling from her lips, boobs flat as pancakes and hair from the underside of a wombat.





There isn't a instrument invented that can accurately measure my objection to this kind of stereotyping. I know no one like this, and I will not stop until this kind of message is killed.

If any woman from this conference had gotten a "subtle" message from the universe that they were too old to start a business, write a book, or speak around the country, they had a whole tribe of woman ready to ran over that message with a large truck of some kind.

Hey Universe! Did you hear that? I can figure out the computer, I don't smell old and I can start a business.

If my best days are ahead as I suspect they are, it is going to be amazing. Every woman I met understood there is plenty of work to go around and if one woman does well it only means we can all do well.

It was a convention void of competition, politics and small children (except in pictures!!) . For 2 days I didn't see anyone diet...or even worry about dieting. We had a disco party and danced the night away.  When "I will survive" was played we all listened with a different history because we have all survived and now its time to tell that story.







Sunday, April 10, 2016

In defense of Garlic

The other day a discussion broke out with someone about our pasta....I uses the term"our" loosely because although my husband is the cook, I find the bowl for the pasta and I always wash the bowl, So it's our pasta. The discussion went something like this...

"Do you put garlic in your pasta sauce?"

What?

The pause between her words and my reaction could have been timed with a calendar. Do I put garlic in our sauce? No words would come that could properly answer such an odd question. Of course I put garlic in my sauce, I put garlic on my Rice Krispies. Not putting garlic on my sauce would make it just tomato debris. Garlic is the mother herb, the elixir of life....its garlic.

Then she said, "We need to know because we don't like garlic."

You don't like garlic? Just how do you ward off vampires?

No garlic......while processing that I thought of  the people who look at me as though I am being punished because I don't drink.  There are those who wonder how, or why, I ever wake up in the morning since I don't drink coffee.  This is different, this is baseball without a hot dog. Thanksgiving without a turkey, Texas without chili.....Sauce without garlic?

So to  all of you sidestepping garlic, I say, roast it, sauté it, chop it, or  hang it from your ceiling.....but don't neglect the garlic.

Mangia!!!!!




Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sick??


I whine a lot, I get tired, my knee hurts, sometimes allergies bother me, but I don't really get sick. Then last Friday night occurred. I thought something was coming on, I assumed it was allergies.  Then everything started to hurt, even my my teeth! It turned out to be a sinus infection, a pretty bad one....but just a sinus infection. Inwardly, I panicked. I admit it. Before I found out what it was lots of things went through my head.

Like....

1.) If you could barely handle this what would you do if you really got sick?
2.) How much time have you spent thinking you still had plenty of time to do the things you really want to do?
3.) Does everyone know you love them?
4.) You never wrote the book, went to Rome, Paris or Israel, or took your children to Texas.....
5.) Your underwear drawer is embarrassing

Every once in a while life sends you a little note of concern. Are you living your life, or just going though the motions?

If I die with a messy underwear drawer it wouldn't be the worst thing....if I don't get back to Texas, write that book or walk around Rome I will still have lived a great life....but I think I want more.

You too?




Saturday, March 26, 2016

Women are the most powerful and influential people on Earth


I had the great good fortune of welcoming 23 women and an incredible teacher, Valerie Dimick, into my home for a full day of learning what she has gleaned throughout her practice, study and life.

The message is simple, women are the most powerful and influential people on earth. Then using scripture and the words of leaders she shared with us how to access that, because we certainly don't get that message from the world. The teachings of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are the way I steer my ship.  Having said that, I don't expect friends or family to believe exactly the way I do, but this works for me. I respect everyones beliefs and I have found there can be common ground without diluting convictions. In fact others opinions and beliefs  strengthens mine because I find His teachings everywhere and His light in everyone. That knowledge gives me peace. Christians today certainly have their critics, and I have the added bonus of not even being accepted by other Christians because of the religion I belong to. But in order to be true to myself I follow what my North star points to, without the need to be right or have validation. Just Peace. Peace is the one emotion or feeling that cannot be counterfeited because it only comes from God. By whatever God you worship by whatever name - the feeling is the same.

Peace.....

One of the exercises at the seminar was to finally once and for all give up "mock humility". We have all been given gifts and talents...all of us. But when complimented on a talent or gift women notoriusly act small. We take compliments and store them away rarely looking at them or appreciating them. Valerie emphasizes being grateful for what compliments are, an acknowledgment of a gift from God. Marianne Williamson wrote my favorite quote. It is a long quote and can be found in its entirety in "Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "a Course in Miracles"  But for
brevity I am using only a bit of it. "There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as Children do....as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." Notice this part, we are all meant to shine. Think of a world where our gifts and talents are used to the fullest extent. Think about that....Now consider what keeps us from shining. What keeps us from sharing all of our gifts with the world.

Consider this.....

Fear.

Fear seemed to be all I knew. I lived a life of "what ifs". What if we don't get the job, what if we run out of money, what if we get sick, the list is endless and very negative. When I started learning from Valerie I had to deal with my fears first which were I'm not good enough and who do I think I am?
Most people allow one of these fears or both to run their lives. Another part of Marianne Williamson's quote is

"Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?"

Think about that, "who are you not to be?"

I never believed I was "good enough". It was a message I received regularly from my parents, followed by the equally unsettling, "who do you think you are". I don't know where those messages started because I come from "better stuff" as my Uncle would remind me. My ancestors settled Texas in the 1800's never stopping to think if they were good enough or not. Why would they think about if they were good enough? Because if they weren't good enough they would die, it was survive or die. Where did that fearlessness get lost? When did my parents become so afraid that they thought by keeping me small they were protecting me? Maybe it was living through the depression and 3 different wars. My mother lost her father while he was trying to save their ranch during the depression. War was very real to them as they all lost family members in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. With that history is wasn't unreasonable for my parents to try and keep me safe by not wanting me to take chances. Not unreasonable but fear promoting. They didn't support my decision to go to college or the religion I chose. (who do you think you are?) They were happy I got married but did not support our decision to have more than 2 children. (too expensive) They loved our first very small home, but never approved of the home we chose to build. (too big, huge taxes, who do you think you are?). It was a constant message of living small as they passed their fears to me. We learn as children that our parents are never wrong and we spend our lives trying to please them. So no matter what opportunity would come my way I waved it off. When I had an opportunity to write a column for the Houston Chronicle on a trial bases I was over the moon. My parents reaction was, "how much money will they pay you?" If you know anything about writing you know the answer to that. I acquiesced to their disapproval went into my room and threw my purse through the window. I didn't write again for 20 years and I still have problems giving myself permission to write. I could have gone on living small, but life had a different plan for me. I married someone who enjoys leaping off cliffs. With only a few exceptions I reacted to our lives out of fear. Before we got married I went to look for apartments, I looked for sensible places at affordable prices. He hated every one of them and wouldn't stop looking until he found a place with style that wasn't warehouse living but within our budget. He did the same with our first house and then the house we built. I lived in fear and tried to convince him to aim lower, to live safer...he helped me have the faith I needed to live a bigger life. So universe, could I have married anyone better to help me see my fears? It has been painful as I was most comfortable picking the low hanging fruit. My fears would wake me up at night while ideas would wake him up. I was living small, always worried about what could go wrong. He lives by the principle the Lord is in charge, knows what we need and will provide. He works very hard and uses all of his talents, but he does it in a less worried way than I did. He knows he is enough, and all will be well. Valerie gave me the tools to overcome my fears, to get out of my comfort zone which kept me from being happy.  Change has not been easy. But when my feelings of fear got so bad, when it saturated my life so completely and I couldn't function I went after help. I read scriptures, I read stories of other fearful people, I pondered, I prayed, I fasted. And then I found help in therapy with Valerie. Now I replace the negative thoughts with positive ones as quickly as they come. I now know that God does not work in the negative....and I know it is not Him that sends trials to me like a mean and vengeful God...earth life does that but He is there to help guide me through it. I am good enough, I am enough, I am enough. And who do I think I am? I am a daughter of God...an offspring of deity....I can do anything with Him. It doesn't matter what I can do, it only matters what He can do. When I hear myself say things like, how am I going to fix this? I stop...fixing things is not my department. I now can wait with a less worried attitude because I know God will fix it, and I can depend on a God like solution rather than my very human solution. I now know that all events are neutral, money is neutral, trials are neutral....and I have a choice of how to deal with things. When difficult things occur, and they do, I have a choice of how to face it. Being negative, expecting the worst, is a choice as is being positive and expecting God's hand in everything. It is such a better way to live. Being positive and living in truth is a choice.


My life is different now because negative has a red flag attached. I know what negative thinking has done for me - it lies.  And I know what living a positive life is like now, it is truth. I recognize that power in my life, the power to choose truth and happiness and be the influential being I was intended to be.....this is better. Thanks Valerie

Remember it is a Plan of Happiness, right?

Valerie Dimick will be presenting another seminar April 23 at my home. For more information please contact ValerieDimick.com 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

How Does This Keep Happening?

If you have followed me on Facebook you have read about a continuous battle we have had with our dry cleaners. Until last December our relationship was very simple. We brought in a few shirts, a few skirts, a sweater here or there and they cleaned them. Then in December when I needed everyone to be on their game (we are caterers and December is our biggest month) they did a terrible job on the tablecloths I brought in. I usually wash and iron them myself (yuk) but I needed them for an event right away.  I picked them up and went right to the event.When we put them on the tables they were wrinkled, but I had to use them. Afterward I went back and asked them to ask them to redo them, they assured me they would. But when I brought them back they refused to do it because I had used them. I tried to reason with them but they were resolute....so I refused to go back. I didn't put terrible reviews on Yelp, I didn't print their address on Facebook and complain bitterly...I just didn't go back.

But my husband did go back because they are inexpensive and convenient. One week before my son's wedding he took all our favorite clothes in to be cleaned. They lost our entire order.  My beloved black blazer, my favorite brown skirt and my denim shirt that I use as a jacket and his favorite J.Crew Sweater that Mikey gave him for Chirstmas, his blue dress shirt with the pink lining on the sleeves (don't ask, it looks great) and a white shirt.Raymond stayed for an hour while they looked everywhere for them. The owner said he would reimburse us for the clothes so I went back that afternoon and after a bit of reluctance they paid us $360 for our clothes. Think of this, one week before the wedding and we have to try and replace our favorite clothes. It's not as easy as it sounds. Especially when we were getting ready for a wedding and there are so many other things to do.

Yesterday Raymond went to pick up his order at the dry cleaners and the owners wife tells him in the loudest most shrill manner, that they found our clothes and she insisted we have to give the money back.This is the same woman who refused to redo my tablecloths.....I thought for sure someone would have dropped a house on her by now, but no....she is still there alive and well, and still - charm free. Instead of calling and saying, "Great news we found your clothes..come on in and get them!" It was, "We found your clothes now give us our money back!"  Raymond just stared at her and said, "we used the money to replace our clothes - what you are asking is unreasonable." Because this woman is crazy I contacted our attorney to find out if there is anything we should do to protect ourselves. He told me if they sue we countersue for the tablecloths.....

Isn't that just nuts?






Wednesday, February 17, 2016

And the Yard Goes From Winter To Spring


In 3 weeks my son is having his wedding reception in the backyard so we are repairing the damage from winter. It will be much like last years celebration for my daughter's wedding.




 With winter just a few weeks behind us we have lots of work to be ready for March 5.  We do this every spring but now we are in "hyper repair". We have had some warm days and the grass is getting green, the fruit trees are budding but it still looks very desolate.

 




Above and to the left is the Lanai, It's where I propagate plants - my hobby. Most of the plants are "starts" from other plants. The Yucca in the picture to the left is all over the place. Several places in the house and outside. I just started this one, two 2 clean cuts and put it in the dirt - just that easy. This picture below is a sweet potato. I  put a sweet potato from the grocery in the pot. It grows from this beautiful plant to an even lovelier vine, for about 90 cents. Right now everything needs to be pruned, repotted and cleaned.






All of our Ficus trees spend the winter in the garage. They love the heat, die in the cold, so we put them in the garage in December and bring them back out around Valentine's Day. First thing is wash them down and fertilize. Ficus trees respond to food the same way I do...really well.




 I have to import color in hanging baskets and pots. These plants will only last until it gets hot, but for a couple of months they are great color. The bricks all have to be scrubbed down and that is a lot less fun than you might think.



The Roses have to be trimmed and fertilized by Cupids day...Easy to remember. The Climbing roses have to be trimmed and tucked in also. I love the wild look they get through the summer, but they start out trimmed back. And of course, they need their food too. Both of their flower beds are where we grow the herbs and I try to throw some seeds in there for now. But the sage is from last year and so is the lemon thyme. I usually have basil come back...The grape vines you see on the right won't start getting leaves for another month.









Empty flower beds, we haven't decided what to do with them yet. Below is our rock garden, which has lots of drought tolerant plants. In another week I will know how much winter damage there was.



 More propagating. This is a Charlie, one of my all time favorites, It is so easy to cut and put in water, wait for roots and then transplant. They look great alone or at the bottom of larger plants. I love to mix plants, but don't make the mistake like I did at first putting plants together that don't have the same watering needs, disaster!

I have had the incredible blessing of working with 2 horticulturists because of our wetlands. They always said when I asked if a plant would work, "I don't know, try it." So that's what I work from...just try it. It may not work the first time, but you learn something every time you try. We learn  far more from trial and error than anything else. My yard is not what most people would like, it is a wild eclectic mess of drought tolerant in the ground and experimental fussy plants in pots, but every plant has a story to tell.

I will keep you updated, just 3 weeks to go.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Are you nervous? Or Excited?

My brilliant daughter just sent this to me. We share ways to stay "up". To look for the happy, the positive...to turn the tides on the typical, "if it can go wrong it will" and instead expect great things to occur. None of know what will happen even one minute from now so the "what if's" in life are pointless.

We were working in the yard today because my son is having his wedding reception there in 3 weeks. She asked me if I was nervous about the wedding. I stopped and thought, wow, I haven't even been thinking about it. We have had a great deal to do going from winter to wedding and that has been my focus.
So I took a moment to take my pulse on it all. Then she stopped me and said, "I heard the greatest thing, it was something Tracy Morgan said. (We just love him) someone asked him if he was nervous about something and this is what he said.....


Isn't that grand? I adopted it immediately. I'm not nervous, I'm excited, because I can't wait for it to start! Isn't this the greatest reminder? Tracy Morgan our favorite philosopher reminding me if I start to get nervous I will change my thinking.

I'm the mother of the groom and I'm Excited!!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Super Bowl Thought

Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers was named most valuable player of the year. The way it has been described to me is to ask if that player were to be missing from the roster what would the team be like? The Panthers are a good solid team, but with Cam Newton they are a super bowl team. He is the most valuable player and today will be the first of many championships for Mr. Newton. He has grown up and continues to grow into his role as the predominate quarterback in the NFL.
But something else happens today that qualifies for lightening in a bottle. Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos arguably one of the best quarterbacks of all time at the end of his career against Cam Newton the most valuable player this season at the beginning of his career. Super Bowls rarely have such a dramatic story to tell. Peyton Manning has intimated this might be his "last rodeo". To witness what might be the final game of someone who has played with the intensity of Peyton on a stage as large as the super bowl is a rare opportunity. Because it is the super bowl and our attention is directed to the typical distractions of bean dip, commercials and office pools, I am glad we won't be concentrating on whether this is his last pass or touchdown. As much as I love Derek Jeter his last year became exhausting. But bean dip not withstanding I am going to watch a little closer as a symbolic baton is passed. When Cam Newton found out he was playing Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl he said, "We're playing the Sheriff?" No one has worked harder in his career than Peyton Manning, he is an example to all players in all sports. If the baton is passed today as I suspect, I hope Cam Newton takes very good care of it until he passes it on. Very good care indeed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Words, Words, Words

I was young when I heard the word "cryptic".  It had such an intriguing sound...cryptic.  I "looked it up" - for those of you without a 20th Century play book, that was the phrase we used instead of "google it".

Cryptic means mysterious.

Chasing words has been my passion ever since. I love words, short words, long words, and in between. It has been an intention of mine to use as many words as possible. Especially after I heard William Buckley, an incredible wordsmith, answer a reporter as to why he used so many big words.
He paused for a moment and said, "what would a piano concerto sound like if you only used the black keys? I use all the words"

Stringing words together is something that touches my soul in a way few things do. And reading beautiful writing is a joy. Rarely do I have the time to polish what I write. I dislike how many times I use "I".  That is just one of the many weaknesses in my writing. My kingdom to attend a creative writing class...all day long, for weeks. So many times I have regretted not taking advantage of my college classes. Youth was certainly wasted on me.

I yearn to sit at the feet of someone who can untangle my process and guide me through to a place where I can express what is truly in my soul.

And that is the key to happiness isn't it? Finding your passion and pursuing it, whether it is cooking, or sewing, gardening or ceramics...maybe you want to be a speaker or a designer. Maybe you want to turn sugar into salt. It's not too late.

Just be it.

I have sold one piece of writing in my life, one....yet I have the stones to call myself a writer. And why not?

Who makes the definitions anyway?

Very few things are really outside your grasp.

Go! What are you waiting for? Go be that person...Go!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Darth Vader and the Fart Heard Round the World

In spite of the dramatic and difficult things happening in the world today, we cannot forget the universe also conspires to give us gifts to just makes us laugh. Remember the line from Modern Family when the new iPad comes out on Phil Dunphy's birthday? Phil says, "It's like God and Steve Jobs got together and said, "Happy Birthday Phil!"

Unexpected gifts that make us smile still occur.


Something like this...





This is my funny friend Greg, just a regular guy dressed up as Darth Vader for Halloween. His wife Trish is Princess Leia.
Greg and Trish


Before Halloween festivities Greg tried out the new hoverboard his boss gave him. As he made his big entrance Trish filmed it and caught his spectacular wipe out. His daughter Hayley came right over and asked if he was ok, Greg said he thought he hurt his shoulder. Hayley then asked if she should call 911. Greg said, "Are you crazy? I don't want anyone to see me like this!" Greg's 5 seconds of life have gone viral on viral - over 100 million views. He has been on Jimmy Kimmel twice, Inside Edition, Extra, Good Morning America and simply all over the world. He had 11 million views just in Denmark alone.  (?)  The Universe conspired to make my friend Greg laugh. The story those 100 million people who watched Greg don't know is just 8 weeks before that night, his incredible son David was killed in an driving accident.  David was on his way to work out when he was hit by another car. He died at the scene, an unbelievable tragedy. David would have loved this video and would have taken a lot of joy laughing at his dad. Who knows, he might have even been behind it, and enjoyed it even more knowing Greg can't get him back.

Another story of unexpected consequences is my cyber friend Elaine Ambrose. She is an award winning author of 10 books, 450 blog posts and many magazine articles.  One fateful day she farted in an MRI machine during a test on her knee then went home and wrote about it. read it here It is one of the funniest blogs I have ever read. The best part? Watching it go viral. It was picked up by several online magazines that she regularly writes for, then translated into German, Italian, Korean, Japanese and French. After reading and enjoying the blog, people would google her name, go over to Amazon and buy her books! Brand new fans. Fans from a fart. Fart fans.

This is what life can do if you let it. Trish and Greg easily could have stopped living after David died. They could have decided that to smile again would be impossible. But look what happened when they went on living.....

Elaine could have gone home and put her head under a pillow and concentrated on being embarrassed, embarrassed with a bad knee and an inability to stop a fart. But she didn't, she wrote about it and let us all laugh with her and she has so enjoyed what the world gave back to her.

There are gifts life has to offer....in the worst of times, when we least expect it, from the silliest places...

Life is still good. I promise

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bacon, you're breaking' my heart

Today I read a post from a Facebook friend that a drunk driver had plowed into a wall in front of her home at 2 in the morning. I commented that I can eat bacon and still drive. Just saying.

Then I read this column by my great friend Ann Cannon today. I adore this woman, she makes me cry and laugh in the same breath.

But in this instance she speaks truth, so read and enjoy!!!



Ann Cannon: Bacon, you’re breakin’ my heart
image
Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune
Ann Cannon
Dear Bacon,
Is it true what The World Health Organization says about you? That you’ll give me cancer if I don’t quit you? I think the WHO is serious about their claims, too. According to an NPR report, they’re putting you in the same category as asbestos and smoking. SMOKING! Who knew? So instead of cutting class and sneaking a smoke in the bathroom or the high school parking lot, rebellious teenagers all across America can just eat some bacon instead?
Oh, Bacon. You’re the bad boy of the food world these days. You might as well just slick your hair back, put on a white T-shirt and a Levi jacket a la James Dean, and throw smoldering glances from the driver’s seat of your El Camino at all the girls who walk by. They’ll have a hard time resisting you, of course, even though their mothers (as well as the World Health Organization) will tell them not to get involved with you.
“Bacon will break your heart!” They’ll say. “And also clog your arteries! Who needs a boyfriend that clogs your arteries?”
Answer: Me, apparently.
Bacon, I fell under your bad boy spell years ago. Like, when I was in kindergarten. To me, you were the best part of every breakfast. Certainly better than oatmeal. Even better than the silver dollar pancakes my friend’s dad used to make at slumber parties. He was famous for his pancakes that were the size of — wait for it! — silver dollars. And he always instigated a competition to see who could eat the most.
“Hey, girls!” he’d say. “Who can eat the most?”
I won. Always. And then I was rewarded with more pancakes.
But, Bacon, I would have preferred to have YOU as my reward. Anytime. All the time.
I still feel that way, too. And I don’t just like you for breakfast. I like you in my sandwiches and soups. I like you sprinkled on top of my salads and baked potatoes. I like you wrapped (lovingly) (like an embrace) around my meat loaf. 
I also like you for dessert.
The first time I ever flew into Eugene, Oregon to visit my son and his wife, we did not pass, “go,” we did not collect $200 when they picked me up at the airport. Instead, they drove me straight to Voodoo Doughnut where we ordered Bacon Maple Bars. I’ve since sampled maple bacon doughnuts from other establishments, but none has compared to that first sublime introduction.
(And speaking of desserts, I also like chocolate-covered bacon. As if that even needed to be said, duh.)
But whatever. That’s not the point. The point is that you’re a bad boyfriend, Bacon, and I need to quit you. But can I? I have the feeling that even after I send you packing in your El Camino, I’ll still be stalking you online, seeing what you’re up to. And every time you update your status as a key ingredient in everything from bacon jam to bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with cream cheese to brie and bacon pasta (with basil!) to bacon and cheddar scones, my heart will break a little.
That’s right, Bacon. Our mothers were right about you. And they would know.
Because our mothers loved you, too.
Sincerely,
Ann Cannon

Sunday, November 1, 2015

It's November!

It's November!

The month we used to set aside for gratitude and pumpkins which is now simply an extra 30 days of Christmas.

If you let it.

Maybe you love Christmas so much that an extra month of Andy Williams reaffirming this is indeed "The most wonderful time of the year" is right up your alley. If so, my hats off to you, no critique from me...ever.

But I don't want to look past November because I do think it's a month set aside for gratitude and pumpkins.

Did you know if you write down 3 new things you are grateful for every day, after 21 days your brain starts scanning for positive things rather than negative?  I'm going to do it.

And did you know if you clean out your closet knowing that your cast-offs will go to someone who will really use them it's easier to give them away? I did it the other day...it works.

And did you know that if you watch a clip about a little boy and his brother you will smile.....

You really will, I did.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What I Believe....




A dear friend of mine writes a column for the Salt Lake City Tribune and recently wrote the most thought provoking column I have read in a long time.  Ann Cannon is one of those writers that brings emotions you love to feel.  Find her column here.  She wrote about the concept of beliefs and the ongoing "This I Believe Project" (http://thisibelieve.org)  Ann inspired me to think about what I believe in....


I believe being surrounded by books is more comforting than macaroni and cheese

I believe the sound of my children laughing together is the best sound created.

I believe dogs are the best barometer of our worth, if your dog loves you then you are OK!

I believe hugs should be at least 9 seconds long and several times a day.

I believe older people have the best wisdom.

I believe a drum line at a football game could make you forget all your problems.

I believe good feelings from a sweet memory should be brought out and worn often.

I believe in learning, whether a formal education or simply living life, it equals the same.

I believe winning is wonderful, loosing is educational, and having the right attitude about both is inspirational.

I believe Frankincense is a miracle essential oil.  Or maybe magical...whatever, it is amazing, and it works.

I believe the things you should never be without in the kitchen is a great olive oil, fresh herbs, onions, garlic and celery.  With that you can create anything.

I believe you should never make excuses for wanting to set your table with the "good stuff".  Your grandmother will be happy you did.

I believe knowing who "your people" are is important.  Know where are your grandparents and great-grandparents are from and celebrate them!

I believe having a hobby and making time for it is imperative.

I believe lipstick and a strand of pearls help you feel pretty.

I believe prayer is the greatest power on earth.

I believe sitting by a fire in a comfortable chair, with a great book, watching it rain or snow is the essence of comfort.

I believe in having a favorite blanket and a favorite bathrobe.

I believe in the magical powers of a donut you bought while no one was looking.

I believe furniture finds you...

While I believe in the intelligence of order, keeping a few odd things does not clutter make.

I believe some books are holy and are filled with truth.  They make us better for having read them.

I believe God talks to us, and if we are willing to listen, our lives improve.

I believe we are all entitled to our own beliefs and deserve the respect of others as we follow the "dictates of our own conscience"

I believe making assumptions about what people are like will rob you of the potential of a great friend.

I believe the causal effect of forgiveness is intelligence.  Anger literally halts our progression and keeps us from finding the answers that are always there.

I believe in the power of words, be careful how you use them.

What are your beliefs?

Monday, October 19, 2015

If I was questioning Mrs. Clinton About Benghazi

My state department credentials are honestly acquired. I watch Homeland and Madam Secretary. Not to mention I have read spy novels my whole life. From "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" to all of Nelson DeMille, everything Leon Uris, most of John LeCarre, and of course Tom Clancy. I wanted to be a spy but aversion to pain precluded any serious involvement, I would have been more agent 99 than James Bond.

As you can see this resume qualifies me as a Benghazi committee member. Because of my extensive background any questions I have about the attack are appropriate and should be answered. Understand this is all very partisan....if you love Mrs. Clinton then you think this is much ado about nothing. If you are running against Mrs. Clinton then you think this is a way to derail her candidacy.

And if you are a frustrated spy like me you have questions, just actual questions. None of which have been answered because the other members engage in sound bites for the folks back home.

Let's start with my assessment of the situation. Libya is of course incredibly dangerous, but the United States has to have embassies everywhere. The Ambassador of Libya, Chris Stevens, asked for more security sometime during the summer as he could see things were deteriorating. At this same time President Obama was involved in his re-election campaign. Part of his platform was terrorism is on the run. The state department is like any bureaucracy, lots of layers...so maybe Ambassador Stevens request never made it to anyone who could really help him because the lower levels wanted the illusion of safety to continue. Could be. September 11, 2012 comes and the embassy is overrun with Islamic terrorists. The people inside were boxed in for hours and eventually the Ambassador and 3 others were killed. There are tons of details I am not privy to but I doubt a whole lot of people really know what occurred anyway. My sketchy explanation is about what you usually hear, right? I don't know how long the attack lasted, for some reason none of the people who were there have said a word. Not a word, and there are a lot of survivors. That seems odd. We have never had a clear idea of what really occurred there. Like a "Black Hawk Down" eye witness kind of thing.

Then it gets political.

Someone makes up a story that never sounded right to me. A cartoon like video mocking Mohammed made by a low level criminal (who is still in jail) stirred up some religious folks in Libya and they protested outside the embassy where it got out of hand. That was the story. Some guys walking by, got agitated and ended up burning down the embassy and killing the ambassador. No one I know believed it was a video. Or that it was a spontaneous riot. Not a person, not a democrat not a republican, no one.

That's my only question, "Why did you stay with that story, the video story, when you knew it wasn't true right from the start?"

I felt terrible for Susan Rice who got the short straw and had to go on every Sunday morning show and repeat the exact same "it was the video" story. I have told you what my credentials are, I can barely get dressed in the morning and I didn't believe it for a second.

Having an American Embassy overrun and the Ambassador killed looked bad during an election.
And it seemed most folks chalked it up to, "this is the way things are done".  Mrs. Clinton saying "what difference did it make?" at the first hearing is more true than not.

In fact what difference does it make? Does it matter to you that the entire Obama administration sited it was a video for weeks when they knew immediately it wasn't? Maybe not, what would have changed? What difference would it have made if they said it was Islamic militants?

It didn't matter to Mitt Romney who could have used it in his debate.

Several Republicans have proven "it doesn't matter" to them by admitting they see the committee as a way to disrupt Hillary Clinton's presidential bid and not really a way to find out what happened that night.

The only people this really matters to are the families of those men who were killed.

If it turns out Ambassador Stevens asked for more security and was turned down, that needs to be addressed. Protocol needs to be altered....right? No politics, just fix it. Danger occurs in every administration. Lives are lost all over the world in every administration. Ambassadors understand what they do is dangerous.

But why this crazy story when they knew it wasn't true? That is my only question.

I guess, the folks in power want to stay there and the folks out of power want to get there.

Is this about right?








Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Trouble With Rants

So this morning in an "I-Hate-this-endless-summer-heat-and-it-will-never-get-cooler tantrum" I struck out on Facebook at the 6 eighteen wheelers parked next to my house ready to scoop up dirt. The project next to my house has taken over a year and the dust and noise pushed me to my limit. I was looking to make everyone else feel as badly as I did.

So I took a picture and put it on Facebook....along with a rant about how put out I was.

The responses from my friends humbled me to my bones.

I have wonderful, gracious, intelligent friends.

One of my friends recently had a crane fall on her house, destroying most of it. They are 40 days into repairing it. She mentioned it would be wonderful to have trucks and noise be the only things to worry about.

One reminded me of the school they built next to her, not only did she have the construction, but the traffic ever since.

Another friend reminded me I have approved countless projects that have brought the same kind of construction near their homes.

Another friend reminded me of all the workers and truck drivers working on this project who have families they are supporting. They probably wouldn't be happy they have disrupted our lives either. He said I should take cookies to them.

And then one rogue friend sent a picture from Maui of an amazing view, green hills, ocean, and then in an offhand way remarking that was what she had to look at each morning. I did say my friends were intelligent...living in Maui is a pretty smart thing to do.

Another friend agreed change was hard....

Here is the truth...no one wants to listen to a rant...unless it is a funny, tongue in cheek rant that is directed at yourself. That's comedy. Facebook and Instagram is supposed to entertain...my post was a root canal of words. Not helpful at all.

It is so embarrassing to react that way....I could have been so....Zen. But I made a whole different choice. I am that crotchety old man yelling at the kids to get off his lawn, the neighbor who won't give your kids balls back that go over  the fence.

In short, today would have a great day for "a little less human reaction" to kick in.

Tomorrow's another day?

I hope so...



Sunday, October 11, 2015

See Thou Tell No Man

I recently read an article exploring problems in Christianity. The author made some very valid points which caused me to ponder what she had written.

Because I am a Christian.

I am also a wife, a mother, a writer, a plant lover, a rabid football fan and a self styled philosopher. My present thinking is formed, as yours, by my own history so I own it.

My religious views came to me by experiences encountered over a long life. I was not raised in a religious home so I found my way alone. Well not really alone, but it was a very personal journey.

The article pointed out things about Christianity that bothered her, fair enough, they  bother me also. I think of my Muslim friends who are devoutly religious, and yet must endure the consequences of the actions from those followers who distort a beautiful family centered religion. My heart was broken for my Catholic friends as one scandal after another came to light in their church. A church and religion they love. I am also saddened by leaders of churches who do not follow the pattern of the Savior as they stand and condemn those of other faiths or political persuasions. Their intolerance is in direct conflict of the Savior I know. But that is their choice. They lead their churches and it is the choice of the congregate to attend and follow or not.

People will let us down because we are all imperfect and fallible. That is why men and women are not who I worship. I listen to the leaders of my church, but it is still my responsibility to pray about what has been said and receive my own witness of the truthfulness of the teaching. The Lord does not want us to blindly obey.

I cannot offer defense for those who contort the Saviors teachings. However I am personally aware of many examples of kindness and service from people who do follow the Savior. The reason you don't hear much about or perhaps any of these things is simple. They follow the Savior's example.  After the Savior had cleansed the Leper he said, "See thou tell no man" (Matt. 8: 2-4) That is the pattern of peaceable followers of Christ. They go about their Father's business without anyone knowing or expecting anything in return. The peace from the service they provide is all they require. I have been privileged to watch such service up close over and over again.

In prayer I have gone to the Lord brokenhearted for many things I have done wrong. I wouldn't condemn anyone else because I have made so many bad choices. Daily repentance is part of my life and I am grateful for the ability to seek forgiveness, to say I'm sorry, to receive it and then to start over. The relief is life giving because nothing feels as wonderful as forgiveness and a clear conscience. Equally important is giving forgiveness, it is possible to forgive with God's help to soften hearts and then remember we are all damaged, all broken.

My step mother was quite damaged and broken, she had a complicated life and felt there were few choices for her. Because of that frustration she was angry. One voice she listened to was Billy Graham. I believe he was just a preacher from a small town who loved the Lord. Not pretentious, no need for fame, he lived a simple life.His message resonated with her and brought her much needed peace. She was a better person for having listened to Reverend Graham.

Freedom to choose is God's way. He provides very clear instructions as to what will make us happy and successful in this journey through life. Ultimately it is up to us to seek out those teachings and then make our choices. Each morning I pray for strength, guidance and a clear mind. I pray to make good decisions and to find someone to serve. At the end of the day I "return and report" spending time pondering the blessings from the day, just being grateful then I ask for help to repair mistakes, at the end of my prayer I listen. I listen for a still small voice reminding me tomorrow is another day, all is well and everything will work out. This prayer might be your meditation, your quiet time in the car. What we title it isn't important.....it is the time we give to ask for help to bolster ourselves in this world that is important.

It is not my job to judge, only to love. And that is what I have learned from the Savior. I know I fall short, we all do. But with His help when I fall, I can get up again, start over, nd be optimistic that everything will work out.

This is the Christianity I know.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

My Favorite Martian




My favorite Martian has to be Matt Damon.

I am not a movie critic nor am I a movie reviewer...but if I was a reviewer I would give all my stars (excuse the pun) to "The Martian".

I felt a lot smarter having watched the movie because my favorite Martian explained along the way what he was doing to solve a problem.  Not that I understood it, but hey, I was impressed someone was listening in all those science classes I did so poorly in. Good for him...

Think of this...no gun fights, no rapes, no violence of any kind. Add to that, people of all races cooperating to help this one astronaut get home. There is some strong language in places (I feel I must warn about that) but concentrate on the enormity of the problem and how no one gives up, or says it can't be done.

I love a movie that inspires me instead of terrifying me.  I mean besides the whole stranded 30 million miles from home thing, that could be terrifying, but you know what I'm saying, right?

How handy was it that is was the botanist left behind? A genius botanist, and listen to this, he made water! California take note...who knew you could do that?

Also - note to self; do not attempt space travel without duct tape. It seems to be the universal go to product, and the only thing in the movie I completely understood.


Problem with the thieves at the movie theatre...not only is popcorn and a coke $14 but matinee prices end at 4 on Saturday. There are quite a few people at Century Theaters I shared my disappointment with.  Thieves...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Filling a Prescription

Filling a prescription should be easy, in the past it has been easy. And then a hiccup, a road block, some misinformation and the prescription doesn't occur....for days.

When it comes to waiting on folks to unravel a tangled ball of yarn I admit a weakness of impatience.

When it comes to waiting for a doctor to respond, I admit impatience.

I have been requesting a refill of some medicine for over a week. The doctor issued the prescription 3 weeks ago, but he didn't send it to the pharmacy.  So when I tried to refill the prescription I was told by an automated voice that I had no more refills.

That starts the launch sequence.

I call the Pharmacy, the pharmacy calls the doctor....

Doctor waits 2 days to respond, his response is sent to the main office, the main office waits 2 days and sends the response to the pharmacy.

The Pharmacy looks at the prescription and the MG is wrong.  After 2 days they send a message to the doctor, the doctor waits 2 days and sends a response back to the pharmacy.

The pharmacy never calls me, the doctor of course never calls me...so when I called to check on the prescription, I find out it was never refilled, then they tell me the whole story (without all the wasted time, I figured that out on my own).  I call the doctor's office, they say they will send a message to the doctor who will respond within 24 hours.

Noooooooo!

I get in the car and drive to the doctors office, I tell the receptionist the situation and ask her for a paper prescription I can give to the pharmacy.  She tells me the message has been sent and I should hear something within 24 hours.

Noooooooo!

I make direct eye contact with her and say, "I will wait right here while you ask the doctor to write the prescription."

"You'll wait?  It might be a long time."

Seriously? It has already been a long time. but this is about honor now...

She shrugs and disappears, when she returns she tells me it may be 30 minutes. So my message to the universe is my phone is almost dead and if you don't hear from me again I was last seen in my doctors waiting room.

Forward my mail please...... address it to "tenacious"



Note - I did wait, she did return and I did get the prescription refilled.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Girl Just Trying To Have Fun

If you're like me and can't get enough of errands on Saturday read on.

This Saturday is the day I fulfill a promise to go exercise with a friend. As we drive there she tells me about the whole operation.  Do what you can, don't do anything to hurt yourself, don't worry if you throw up or pass out.  

Wait....

I have no intention of passing out in front of people I don't know, I would rather pass out in front of people who would feel obligated to take really good care of me.

Then the woman next to me passed out.  

Wait....

Isn't this the kind of thing they put on warning labels? Don't operate heavy machinery, don't spill this coffee in your lap....don't go to exercise classes where people could pass out.

I worked around what didn’t look fun.  My burpees were lame, my push ups were against the wall and forget  "running man".  I knew my water would break and I'm not even pregnant.  The woman who passed out spent the rest of the class on the ground, feet propped up, a fan focused on her face and an ice pack on her head.  Good to know.

Then a few errands. Go to Kohls, return stuff to Walmart, get gas, haircolor at the Beauty Supply, Sam's for water, chicken and Asian Salad.

It wasn't as easy as you might think.

I watched a woman at Kohls stand for 15 minutes in front of the shoes I wanted to try on. Since the aisles are 10 inches wide there was no room for both of us.  I found shoes but turned around for one second and a salesperson (something I wasn't even aware existed at Kohls) came through and put my box back on the shelf!  And not where it was before so I search then find the shoes.  I go stand in line, to check out only to hear I had saved $68 dollars with my coupon.  Kohls mysterious language of finance. Mark it up to here, discount it, and then try and fool you with a huge number you saved. 

Now gas! The line is forever long so when I finally get to the pump there’s a sign, a very small sign, that reads credit only-no debit.  I look at my debit card and reluctantly drive away to get back in line. Now the line is twice as long so I skip to my next stop...... 

I arrive at the beauty supply to buy my hair color but it isn't on the shelf. I drag an employee away from staring out the window to find it. Then the story they always tell when they don’t want to look for anything is my color is discontinued. Argh!!  As I leave (without hair color) a woman with a Yorkie in her purse asks if she should dye her gray hair blonde. Of course! Not happy with my approval she and the Yorkie ask every woman in the store including the girl with the nose ring, tattoos and blue hair.  

Now Walmart!  I walk in with my bag for the return counter and try to get past the gatekeeper. She puts a sticker on every item I am returning. I have 20 packages of dowels, a broken mixer and some chocolate chips. After 20 minutes at the return counter I feel as though a prison break had occurred. Armed with $42 on a WalMart gift card and endless spending possibilities I buy 3 cantaloupes, a knee brace and a pumice stone.

Now to Sam’s where I walk all the way to the back of the store for bottled water and find they have moved all the water.  A prank Sam's Club pulls often, they like to load up pallets of products then fling them around the store.  Big box store fun.

Then back to the gas pump where the lines are still long but this is errand number last so no choice. Next to me I watch 4 guys pushing a truck to the pump.  

That is how long he had been in line.


Now, who has more fun than me?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Stay in the light






The other day I was annoyed, mad, angry, cresting on a tantrum because I didn't think there would ever be enough time to write.  I have to work and when I am not working I think about work, which translates to me that there isn't time to do what I really want to do.  (I make these leaps often, see my husband on this.)  I know there is a bestseller just under the surface if only I had the time.......uh, oh sure....bestseller...more time should do it, right?

 Blah, Blah, Blah...

As I considered being shortchanged with the whole unfairness of it all, the madder I became. What an unhappy emotion anger is! It robs us of finding solutions or feeling hope. Steeped in anger I was standing in such darkness I couldn't see that this episode was strictly focused on me......

I, I, I, I.

It is true that concentrating on ourselves simply does not provide the right amount of light to create, stay positive, be productive or have hope. But I was too mad to realize that.

I, I, I.....

Then this came to me...

"Creativity cannot occur when anger is your dominant emotion."

I know that wasn't my thought because I was too mad to be smart.  After that idea settled on me a brilliant article on creativity showed up on my emails, which led me to reassess.  The ideas were positive and full of possibilities. It was easy to see my flourescent anger as it glowed alongside what the article was offering.

As my anger abated I realized lots of writers have day jobs.  After all, Chekhov was a doctor.  (Maybe that's why he wrote short stories.)

Who knows if I have a bestseller, or even another readable sentence in me? What is obvious is I am the only one standing in the way of finding out. Creativity ends at the base of anger.  Outside of Mein Kampf what has ever been written in anger that lives on?  Twitter, Facebook and texts are the graveyard of so many careers, relationships or futures when in the hands of angry people and a keyboard.

We must believe we can accomplish what we have been called to do or it will never happen.

Nothing is created with inertia, because energy is required to be creative. What are high energy emotions?  Hope, faith, charity, love, optimism, belief in ourselves and those around us.  Tell your spouse, children or any other loved ones...."I believe in you, I trust you, I love you."

Just watch their reaction after hearing that....they will simply fly!

And then turn those words to yourself....stay in the light.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Vacations Should Be Celebrated!!


Vacations should be celebrated...and the memories shared.

We started in Charleston South Carolina.  My daughter was living there for the summer so we caught up with her and happily let her show us the city. This was the first place of many where I took "before" shots.  I am thinking there might be a diet intervention for me soon.





First place always has to be to the water...... a faraway picture of Fort Sumpter where the Civil War began.





Then we stopped at the African Episcopal Methodist Church to pay our respects.  Ashleigh moved to Charleston 2 days before the murders and lived only a mile from the Church.  The front is covered in flowers and there is a feeling of peace and hope there.  The incredible act of forgiveness on the part of the victims families is what diffused this unimaginable experience....simple forgiveness.  Justice must be served and they will continue to miss and grieve for their family members.  But because they forgave, the healing will be easier to access and pain is somewhat lessended. The city of  Charleston embraced this church and it's members, you can see "Charleston Strong" on sides of buildings everywhere.


My husband added his name to this enormous wooden emblem which doubled as a card so to say.


This picture was a random shot I was so blessed to take.  Two men meeting for the first time and then taking a moment to pray together.  Completely spontaneous and beautiful.

I watched the "Blue Moon" come up over the ocean at dusk.



The next day we took some time to explore Charleston....the yards, architecture and flowers were exactly what I expected from this centuries old city.  My husband who loves Crepe Myrtles was in heaven as every home seemed to have one!

 All kind of architecture...and churches everywhere.  It is called the "Holy City"

Even the jail was interesting....Creepy but interesting


 On to Magnolia Plantation....



The gardens were beautiful.....
 I felt like I was in a Pat Conroy novel....Or Nicholas Sparks?  My husband just kept looking for alligators.

And then the drive up the coast with a stop at a Cracker Barrel for the best biscuits I have ever had. We had the cutest waitress in North Carolina who added to her appeal by bringing extra biscuits.  She whispered in my ear how lucky we were that the best biscuit maker was working at the time....Biscuit bliss.


Then on to New Jersey for the family reunion.  It was quite sad because Grandpop wasn't there....he passed away 2 weeks before.  He and his brothers and sisters were the first generation from Italy.  Both sets of my husbands grandparents were born in Italy and came through Ellis Island.  They didn't know how to speak English, where to live or where to find work.  But they did it, and their history is inspiring.....in less than 100 years this family has produced artists, judges, engineers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, teachers, editors and lots of children!!  

Thank you Remo Tagliaferri for your incredible life.



Everyone just enjoys being together.....my niece Krystle made pasta by hand for everyone....it might have been hard work, but it was so worth it!!


 My Son-in-law Kacy is an honorary Italian


 Lots of very happy, sweet people



The next day we were off to explore New York City.  Look at this fascinating project.  The old "L" is no longer used. Remember the train above the street? So instead of tearing it down New York has made it into a park.  They call it the High Line and it is located on the west side of Manhattan.
The path through the High Line is 1.45 miles long and follows the old railroad tracks with flowers and trees on either side of it. There are lots of benches along the way to sit and just enjoy it all.


You can see the tracks through the whole project...as a County Planning Commissioner I am always impressed with this kind of ingenuity.  It was totally unexpected, and incredibly beautiful.  Only when I looked over the side did I remember we were really in the city.






This is the view from my daughter and son-in-law's apartment, they moved there in May right after they were married.  On this night we rode the ferry back.....shades of "Working Girl"


The next morning we took the same picture, but in the light, then took the bus into the city.

 Raymond wanted to see the view of the city from the top of the Freedom Tower so we spent some time at the 9/11 memorial again before. This picture is an example of the constant care that is given to the names of those murdered on 9/11 at the Memorial. It is interesting to me to see the faces of those who come to the memorial, it is still  an inconceivable act.  When you look into the memorial the enormity of it all simply takes your breath away.  



   The view from the top of the Freedom Tower                                      


We rarely miss an opportunity to visit Little Italy which is also known as the land of Cannolis


Da Genaro Restaurant for Pizza and Calamari...on vacation food has to be exactly what you want, and you can order anything! The fresh Bread with Olive Oil, Basil, Parmesan and garlic was amazing.  I wanted to put it behind my ears it smelled and tasted so good.





Then a people crushing ride on the subway. Hot, crowded, impossible to breathe...but we were going to Yankee Stadium...who cares?  It was a Bucket List game...Yankees versus the Red Sox!!



The game wasn't very exciting, and then I think first baseman Mark Teixeira looked up behind first base and said, "Hey, the Tagliaferri's are here we better step up our game!" Those boys in the pinstripes rode that inspiration and won the game with several home runs and an incredible score of 13-3!  Winning the bucket list game?  Nothing better.







The next day we explored around where my daughter works. So we went to St. Patricks Cathedral, Rockefeller Plaza, Saks Fifth Avenue and Magnolia Bakery.




 On our way to the theatre, (I just love saying that) more pictures of the city.  The lights, the people...the constant bustle....it truly never sleeps, or slows down for that matter.


We were able to see Matilda....and I think we saw the very best Matilda (there are 3 of course) the talent is hard to believe.  Children singing like angels, comedic timing...fun dialog.  We loved every second of it.  The theatre was perfect, the acoustics were perfect, fabulous night.  My husband wanted to buy some bottled water in the lobby and when he was shocked with the 5 dollar price, the guy said, "Welcome to Broadway!!"  



Bliss on Broadway


And then my final shot of New York City.  A city that can frustrate you when you get on the wrong subway, or realize blocks in New York are way longer than the ones back home....you will go broke with how expensive it all is and wonder how no one ever stops.  But it has a rhythm you cannot deny with a pull to come back and do it all over again.