Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back

Around this time last year I was sitting in my living room, sick as a dog, writing about the significance of the season.  First there were the special dates and the ways I was unable to commemorate them.  Though illnesses and injuries often hindered my plans, I chose to focus on the meaning of the moments, celebrating in my heart when I couldn't go out.  Then there were the new year's resolutions that I resolved not to make.  I was on a journey of self-improvement (still am), but it didn't begin or end with the date on the calendar.  

Today, I sit in my living room (once again, sick as a dog), thinking about both of those posts, and the year that has passed since then.  It's only now that I see the irony:  in one post so focused on the meaning of specific dates, and then specifically refusing to be defined by the date in the next.  I suppose the reality is that it all depends on us ... and on whether we choose to give meaning to a particular day.

There are so many opportunities (or excuses, depending on how you look at it) to reflect on time past: birthdays, anniversaries, new years (school year, fiscal year, Chinese or Jewish new years, etc.) ... or really just any time we're feeling particularly nostalgic.  So maybe it's because today marks the end of 2011, or maybe it's ... just because.  Whatever the reason, I find myself reflecting upon the past year ... so of course, I'm sharing those thoughts with you.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Not (Just) the Christmas Spirit

I've got a bone to pick with the "Christmas Spirit."  

Now, now ... don't panic - this is not a religious (or anti-religious) rant.  I am not looking to cause controversy, and I am grateful for whatever belief system brings anyone peace of mind, so I would never challenge that.  I'm not feeling the ambivalence of last year's Holiday Purple, either.  Though this holiday season naturally brings the sadness of missing Gram (really, I feel that loss every day), I'm feeling more festive this holiday season than I have in a while.  I finished my shopping early, got our tree decorated in time to put all the presents under it, spent quality time with family for Hanukkah, and I'm now looking forward to our traditional Eve alone and Day with the in-laws tomorrow.  I don't have a problem with Christmas (or any other December holiday) or the spirit of the season ... but if you ask me, that "Christmas Spirit" is a bit of a credit hog.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A New List of Smiles

I had a really good day today (ok, by now it's "yesterday", but I started writing this piece before midnight).  It was an emotional roller coaster of a day, but even the low points had highlights.  Thinking about that made me realize ... it's time for another list of smiles.  So ... without further ado (and in no particular order), here's a list of things that made me smile recently - sometimes even through tears.
  1. I had a really great day with my mom.  Sounds simple enough, but it's been a while since we were able to really talk like we did today, to laugh, to cry, and most importantly, to hug.
  2. Over the past week, I "met" (through a facebook site about one of my Relay For Life events) someone who is struggling with a very sick loved one.  Though her story made me cry, her faith and her dedication to the cause are inspiring.  Most of all, I'm hopeful that we're going to be able to do something to help this family in need.
  3. After a month of questions, tests, drugs and more tests, there is finally some major improvement in my latest medical saga.  We're still working on figuring things out, but progress is good!
  4. Went to see The Muppets with hubby the other day ... and it was even better than I expected!  Totally took me back to the innocence of childhood, but with emotional moments & outstanding cameos that the adult in me could really appreciate.  And of course ...

Monday, December 5, 2011

What Do You Ink?

"The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who have tattoos, and those who are afraid of people with tattoos." ~Author Unknown


Back when I was teaching, I often gave my students free-association writing assignments.  Sometimes they were completely limitless, the only instruction being "just let your mind go wherever your pen takes it."  Other times it was more guided, with a given starting point to see where it led them.  Every time it was entertaining, and led to some great discussion afterwards.

Once, I asked them to begin by choosing a color, and then writing whatever came next.  I asked for volunteers to read theirs aloud, and got some very ... interesting responses.  Of course, there were some of the typical associations.  Yellow: sun ... sunshine ... summer ... warmth.  Blue: sky ... clouds ... having the blues ... sad.  Green: grass ... nature ... money ... envy.  Red: blood ... tattoos ... freaks.  Wait ... what?


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Year in Review

For the Idon'tknowhowmanieth time, I find myself sitting at my computer, ready to write an apology for not having written in a while.  I started this blog one year ago today, and I am now forced to think about what that year has entailed.  I think about what I wanted for this blog: what I wanted to bring to it, what effect I wanted it to have, how I wanted it to make a difference ... and I see how infrequently I've written lately. I am disappointed at what I've put out (or more accurately, what I haven't), and I'm saddened by all the things that I've allowed to get in my way.

My original reason for starting this site was to inspire.  I wanted to show that even though life can be rough at times, we are strong enough to get through it.  I wanted to continually find the positive moments to help us smile through the pain, or make us laugh to keep us from crying. Unfortunately, life seems to have gotten in the way, and I haven't been able to do that anywhere near as much as I wanted to.

But I'm not done yet.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Earthquake + Hurricane - Devastation = Lessons Learned

This is only a test.
I would not survive a zombie apocalypse movie. I can tell you that now. Based on my responses to the natural disasters that hit my area in the last week or two, I would be that "cameo" role - you know, the one that has a great first scene but doesn't make it past the opening credits. Luckily, neither of these events did as much damage as either one could have done. So for me, it's like that really annoying screen/tone that used to come across the tv every so often: This is a test of the emergency broadcast system. This is only a test. If this were an actual emergency, ... I probably should have paid better attention to that part!

I was not prepared for this.  I didn't know what to do in an earthquake.  I didn't know how to hurricane-proof my apartment, or what kind of tape to use on the windows.  I didn't know whether the mandatory evacuation in parts of my village included my building.  I didn't know where to go if I had to evacuate, and I didn't have a "go bag" packed.  I didn't have a clue what to put into such a bag, either.  I did go shopping in case I had to be stuck at home for a few days, but I didn't buy what I would need to go that long without power.  I didn't even have a battery for the clock/radio I have that's designed for just such an emergency (it was a gift years ago - clearly not something I would have thought of myself). 

I guess there's some comfort in knowing that I'm not the only one who's this clueless.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Still Smiling

As soon as I posted my list of things that made me smile, I thought of something else ... and smiled again.  The next morning, something silly happened, and I thought "now that's something that could go on my list" ... and then something else made me smile yet again.  And again.  So without really trying, I just kept finding things to smile (or laugh) about.  So of course, that means I want to share with you.

Here's some of what made me smile since I wrote that list:
    Peace, Love, and ... hard cider
  1. I caught hubby dancing in the mirror while he was getting dressed.  Sooo cute!
  2. My "costume" for the 70s party I went to (mostly what I already own, with a few extra accessories) ... OMG, I cannot tell you how much I love the full-on hippie look ... it just seems to fit me so well!  I seriously wish I could do that every day.
  3. The most ridiculous lyrics I've ever heard (they're a bit vulgur, I apologize):
    "Sex with a mummy - put that p---y in a sarcophagus/Now she complains that I hurt her esophagus"
    I believe my exact reaction was "wait ... WHAT? Did he just say ... REALLY?  Wow ... really, just ... WOW."  I was speechless for a moment, but couldn't stop laughing for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Patron XO Cafe.  It's coffee.  It's tequila.  Need I say more?
  5. At the party - so many silly moments with some really fun new people ... and some awesome old ones (that's old as opposed to new, not as opposed to young LOL). 

Friday, August 19, 2011

A List of Smiles

It has been one helluva week.  So many things have happened - both to me and to people I care about - that made me revisit the piece I wrote about karma earlier this year.  A friend saw the re-post, and asked what was going on.  At first, all I could say was oy vey.  Then I told her about the deaths and grave illnesses I learned about, the difficult decisions and even more difficult discussions, and progress reports on a few ongoing issues (and newly developing ones).  So much suffering in so many directions ... surely, things have to balance out somehow.

My awesome friend offered her sympathy and positive energy, as she always does (just one of the many reasons I love her so much).  She reminded me to focus on the good things in life, even using some of my own ideas against me: "generating good and happy feelings will do just that ... generate more good and happy feelings: that's some form of karma i think." She suggested that I make a list of the good things in my life ("even the silly things like 'i love my keurig,'") as a way of getting this happiness ball rolling.  I absolutely loved the idea, and promised her I would do just that.  So I started thinking back over the past week or two, looking at the world through my peace, love & happiness filter ... and here's what I came up with:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Looking Up

If you've been reading anything I've written lately (I know, I haven't written much - sorry!), you know that I've been having an especially hard time the past few months.  The whole reason I started this blog in the first place was to help get through the rough times, and come out stronger at the end.  I thought that if I could focus on the positive even in the darkest days, surely I would bring more light into my life, and things would get easier. By extension, I hoped I could help spread the positive energy to you, too.

Go ahead, say it: awwww!
Unfortunately, it's not always that easy.  Though I don't really have any secrets, there are some things that are just too personal to share in a public forum like this.  Sometimes the things that weigh me down are not only my issues, and I respect the people in my life too much to air their feelings or issues (even if they're mine, too).  Sometimes the clouds are hanging so low that even though I know there must be a silver lining, I have a really hard time finding it.  And you don't need to read about me just being gloomy ... and I don't want to write about just being gloomy.  

More accurately, I don't want to just be gloomy.  As dorky as it may sound, I actually like being full of sunshine and rainbows.  I am by nature a perky, bubbly, cheerleader-type (even if the blonde comes from my stylist), so while my recent depression has been completely understandable given all that I've been dealing with, it just doesn't feel like me.  Now here's the kicker: it has taken many years of overcoming obstacles, learning from mistakes, and of course undergoing a complete metamorphosis, but the thing is, I actually like me.  So that's who I want to be, and that's how I want to feel.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Life is Bipolar*

*Note - this is not a psychological or medical blog.  I have no credentials in that field; I'm just writing my thoughts based on my life experience.  This piece is not a commentary on anyone suffering from bipolar disorder, and is not meant to belittle or judge those in any way.  If you want to take this personally, please do - but remember that  am the person it's about (and I'm sure many can relate, whether or not they have that diagnosis).  If you want professional information or help, please ... see a professional!

A person is considered bipolar if she suffers from episodes of mania and depression that inhibit her ability to function in life.  In other words, extremely high highs, and extremely low lows, so much so that it's hard to go on. With that in mind, it seems to me that life is bipolar ... (especially mine, especially now).

I know - everyone knows - life has its share of ups and downs.  I've said it before, I'm sure I'll say it again, and I'm certainly not the only one.  After all, "¯You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life ... the facts of life¯" (sorry - it got stuck in my head as I was writing the previous sentence, so I had to torture you with it, too share).  But it's more than that.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Back to My Cocoon

It’s funny … when I think about the past 8 months or so since I started this blog, so much has happened.  My whole purpose was to present the positive, to shine the light, to help my readers (and myself) to see the silver lining in every cloud.  You might think that would come from having a blessed life, with all the great things handed to me and nothing ever going wrong … but really that couldn’t be further from the truth.  It’s only through dealing with adversity that we’re able to learn, to grow.

Over the past 8 months, I’ve certainly had those opportunities.  I’ve written about challenges in health, weight, self-esteem, work, family, and loss.  Through all of it, I’ve found ways to see that it wasn’t always all bad … that even in the worst of it, there was something good to hold on to.  Even now, as I sit in my grandmother’s apartment writing this, I am comforted by her presence that will always be with me.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Plea For Help

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m always working on some project, some event, some charity cause.  Volunteer work is in my blood, and even my jobs have always been in the helping field.  Someone at an old job once lectured me about all my efforts, telling me that I couldn’t save the world.  I told her that wouldn’t stop me from trying!

The truth is, though, she was right.  Alone, I can’t save the world.  None of us can.  But when we work together for a common goal, there’s no limit to what we can do.  So this is my plea to all of you – to join me in my efforts, to help support the cause.

RIP Dad ... we will always miss you
Eighteen years ago, my mom was diagnosed with cancer.  She was lucky – it was in her thyroid, so they did surgery and radiation, and with medication, she’s doing great.  My father-in-law was not so lucky: lung cancer a year and a half ago (though he'd quit smoking decades earlier).  My cousin lost her 20-year battle with multiple myeloma, leaving behind a teenage son and husband who spent his life caring for her – even through his own cancer diagnosis and treatment.  And the list goes on: friends, family members, coworkers and neighbors who have gotten the dreaded diagnosis.  Some succumbed to the disease, but will live forever in our hearts.  Some have overcome, and stand strong to show the world that there is hope.

There is hope.  We can make a difference.   


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Never Say Never

I'll never do that again. We've all said it ... we may have even meant it at the time ... and we all had our reasons.  But then ... well ... life happens, and there we are again.  Right where we said we'd never be, doing what we said we'd never do.  But this time it's different.

This time, I'm not referring to the typical never again scenario.  I didn't get drunk last night, so I'm not sitting with a hangover swearing off alcohol.  I didn't eat so much that I made myself sick.  I didn't get an awful haircut or fall while trying to do a crazy skateboard stunt. 

No ... this time it's more complicated than that.  When I did it before, I thought it was a good thing ... and a lot of good did come out of it ... but then things changed, and as it turned out it wasn't really so good for me to continue.  (Remember, it's ok to quit when something's not right for you anymore.)  And then things changed again ... quite a few times, actually. So now perhaps things have come full circle, and I ended up back there again.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

One of Those Days


Clouds or Silver Lining?

Did you ever have one of those days?  You know the ones - when it feels like a month has gone by and it's only been an hour?  When you say "if it weren't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any"?  That's what today is for me.  There's a lot of other stuff making it feel like one of those weeks, one of those months, one of those years, but those are much bigger issues than I'm going to tackle here right now.  For today, it's just one of those days.

My day so far:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gram

The world lost a phenomenal woman this week.  Lillian Bader, known to me (and by extension, to thousands of others) only as Gram: a tiny little word for the woman with the biggest heart I've ever known.  
Lillian Bader
8/9/19~4/10/11
When I tried to think of what I would say at her memorial, I was at a loss for words.  Me - the speaker, the teacher, the writer - and I was speechless.  I guess that's because, as I said when my friend lost his mom a few months ago, there are no words.  Then I picked up a journal I had, with a picture of a lily on it.  I had bought it years ago because it made me think of her, so I thought maybe if I used that, I'd be able to come up with something.  I asked myself, "what could I possibly say that everyone doesn't already know?"  And then she helped me write this.

I was fortunate to have 36 years making memories with my Gram.  But it didn't take anywhere near that long for anyone to see how incredible she truly was.  Upon hearing of her passing, a few friends shared their thoughts.  Many had only had a few brief moments with her, but even they could see ... so I thought I'd share some of their impressions:
"What an amazing woman"
"She was an awesome grandma" ... to everyone!
"I remember meeting your grandma ... she indeed was a positive spirited woman"
"She was a lovely lady"
"She was and always will be an amazing woman"
"She was such a sweet person"
and my personal favorite,
"I'm so glad I had a chance to meet her.  Her spunk will live on!"

(Not from her 70th - I just love this pic)
My grandma spent her nearly 92 years of life doing nothing but giving ... that is, except when she was taking.  Gram took napkins, sweet & low packets, plastic forks ... pretty much anything she could grab from the counter. But she rarely took for herself.  She took everyone's pop-top rings from their soda cans so they could be used to send kids with renal failure to camp.  She took the miniature soaps & shampoos from everyone's vacations so she could donate them to the Ronald McDonald House.  I remember talking with a friend about the surprise party we were planning for her 70th birthday.  The party was at McDonald's, 'cause Gram was there nearly every day and was friendly with everyone - both the workers and the customers.  My friend looked at me and said "my grandmother wouldn't touch a straw from McDonald's!" ... I looked at her and said "well my Grandma steals 'em!"  

Three generations Making Strides
 Seriously, though, Gram was the most giving person I know.  People ask me why or how I do so much charity work, and all I could ever answer was "it's in my blood."  Mom, Gram & I were always working together for some great cause: Special Olympics, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Relay For Life.  But even that wasn't enough for her.  Through the JWVA (Ladies' Auxiliary), she volunteered at hospitals, parties for children with disabilities, and any other cause she could find.  Even in the past few years, in her late 80s and early 90s, she went to the senior center or the VA hospital to "help the old people."

I remember back when I was about 2 years old, first learning to read: I used to find anything with writing, and try to identify the letters.  She had a bag from AAA, and I sounded out the word: "T-R-A-V-E-L ... tray-vel!"  Gram didn't have the heart to tell me I was wrong, so she just started pronouncing it trayvel after that. I thought I was so smart - and she was so silly - when I heard that, figured it out, and said "no, Grandma, that's not tray-vel, it's travel!"

Gram always took diagonal pics!
When I was a kid, Gram & I took a few trips together.  We went to Pennsylvania - to the Amish Country and Hershey Park, we went on a bus trip to Niagara Falls with a tour of 1,000 Islands.  So many great memories, but what stands out most from that was when we went to Friendly's and she let me get a giant sundae that was bigger than my head.  I needed her help to finish it ... then again, maybe that was her plan all along!

She also took my sister and me down to Florida when we were little.  We visited some relatives while we were down there, but were so excited when she took us to Disney World.  I remember going through the It's a Small World ride, but my fondest (and kookiest) memory was Dumbo.  We went to the ride based on Dumbo, the flying elephant.  My sister got in one elephant by herself, but since I was too small to ride alone, Gram got in with me.  As we went around and around, we watched as all the other Dumbos started flying: higher and higher they went, while ours stayed low to the ground.  It seemed like forever that we went round and round, watching everyone else but never getting a chance to fly.  We all figured that since Gram was on the heavier side, Dumbo just couldn't carry the weight up in the air.  It became a running joke between us, and for years whenever I saw anything with Dumbo, I had to get it for Gram.  Maybe 10-15 years later, I went back down to Disney.  For old times' sake, I had to go on the Dumbo ride. And then I saw it: a button that you press to make the elephant fly.  I guess we just never pressed the button (sorry, Gram)!

Gram's 91st birthday
Gram was such a happy person ... she was always singing. Quite often, it wasn't even a real song, just a melody.  If it was a song, she usually didn't know all the words anyway: she would hum, add a da-da-dee-dum, or just make them up as she went along.  But one song she knew for sure, and taught to me.  She and I used to sing "You Light Up My Life" all the time.  I still think of her whenever I hear it:
You light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days
And fill my nights with song
Gram, you can light up the world now.  And if you ask anyone who ever met you, you always did.

Albert Pike once said
"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us;
what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."

Gram, you have done so much for so many ... you will never really be gone.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cat Call?

As I was walking down the street today, a man cleaning the area in front of his store called out "hey, pretty lady."    A typical New Yorker, I've been trained to ignore such statements, and I kept on walking without so much as turning my eyes in his direction. As I passed him, he called out again; this time, he said "have a great day."  And I felt terrible for ignoring him. So I turned around, and said "thanks ... you too."  And then I felt stupid as I thought to myself, "what makes you think he was even talking to you?"

** If you like what you read, tell a friend!  Actually, tell me too - post a comment below!!  If you don't ... well ... I'm all for honesty, but please be gentle!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What's in a Number?

Back in college, I used to think there was a clear-cut distinction between the people who chose to major in the arts, and those who chose to major in the sciences.  It wasn't a deep or complicated thought process, just a simple interpretation of what I saw.  

Good Will Hunting
Math and science people like to work with numbers and equations: they like things to be clear and precise, black and white. Numbers provide stability, security.  No matter what else may be chaotic in their lives, they can always count on the fact that 5x5=25, or that a2+b2=c2. There is comfort in that certainty.


Old woman or young lady?
Artsy people, on the other hand, prefer the shades of gray (or whatever other colors they choose to work with).  They find different ways to interpret what they see, usually as a reflection of some aspect of themselves.  They are ruled more by their hearts than their heads, which can be both more rewarding and more painful.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Choose You

When we're in a good mood, we can always find a silver lining, no matter how cloudy the situation.  When we're in a crummy mood, we always find the clouds in the sunniest of skies.  I guess it's a reflection of my mixed emotions, then, that I seem to be noticing both lately.  I'm truly appreciative of the positive things in my life, but there's always a flip side.

I got an e-mail the other day from one of the higher-ups at my new job.  It wasn't just to me, but to everyone in the region. Basically, she was cancelling an upcoming staff meeting because there was some other stuff going on that was keeping everyone busy, so the meeting would be "difficult to fit in."  That in and of itself was enough to make me do a double-take.  In most (all?) of the places I've worked at before, there was no such thing as cancelling a meeting because we were busy; we'd just have to find a way to do more in less time.  This time, though, it wasn't even in response to a complaint (that I'm aware of); it was just her understanding what everyone is doing and caring about the people more than the product.  How cool is that?  

But that was only the beginning of the email.  The next thing she said had me completely floored.  I had to re-read it several times, and when I'd fully absorbed it, I forwarded it to a few people.  I had to show off ... and now, I guess, I'm doing it again.  What she said was:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Writer's Block

I have no idea what to write ... so that's what I'm gonna write.

When I was a teacher, I used to make my kids do free association writing all the time: "just let your mind go wherever your pen takes it," I told them.  "You'd be amazed at the things that come out, that you had no idea you were thinking about in the first place."  So, I'm just writing (ok, typing), and let's see where my keyboard takes me.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mixed Emotions


That's kinda how I've been feeling the past few days. I think that's fairly common whenever we make big changes in our lives, but it still gets to me a little bit.  

When we finally reach the point that we decide it's time to move on, we know how very necessary that move is. We know all the reasons why we have to get out of the current situation, and we know how much better off we will be when we enter the new one. We are excited about the new endeavor, and relieved to not have to deal with the stress of the old one any longer.  

Whew!  

Yes!  

Aahhh ... 

But ... but ... 

Huh?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Table for One?

Overall, I think I'm a pretty decent person to befriend.  I can be fun and silly and laugh like a four-year-old, or I can be serious and caring and provide a shoulder to cry on.  I can offer advice or just listen quietly, and I almost never judge, even if I disagree.  I have always gotten along with a wide variety of people (many who do not get along with each other), and generally I look to see the best in people.  I do what I can to spread the positive energy, and to make all those around me smile.  If I were to stop here, you'd probably think I was rather full of myself.  Actually, it's quite the opposite.

The other day, I was talking with my husband about his plans for this weekend.  He was getting ready to meet up with some friends/family out of town, but he was arriving earlier than everyone else and wanted to make the most of his time.  He did some research, and found a few highlights: great places to eat, sights to see, etc.  It sounded like he was going to have a lot of fun ... and that's before he even met up with anyone else!

I was excited for him and all the great things he was going to do, but honestly I was also a bit jealous.  Part of me was just bummed because I couldn't go with him (even after all these years, I still hate it when we're apart).  But part of me was thinking I could never do that.  I have never been comfortable sitting at a restaurant by myself.  I've only ever done it once or twice, and even then it was only because I had to kill time between appointments, and I brought work in with me to do at the table.  If I'm meeting friends somewhere, I wait outside for them to arrive rather than sitting alone at the bar.  And I would never dream of going to a museum, show, park, or other attraction alone.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Waiting Game

I am sitting here in my living room, waiting.


At the moment, I'm waiting for it to be time to leave for a class I'm taking this morning.

I'm also waiting for a package to be delivered.  That probably won't come today, but I'm still waiting for it.  

I'm also waiting to get my tax refund.  I know when it should arrive, and there are things I need to do that are waiting on that money.

Most of all, I'm waiting for a phone call that is going to help me take some important steps towards improving the quality of my life.

I'm also waiting for a commercial break so I can go to the bathroom.  It doesn't matter that I'm watching Dirty Dancing for the thousandth time (at least) and could recite the entire movie verbatim; I still have to wait for a commercial.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What's the Worst that Could Happen?

Aaaaahhhhh ...

That's the sigh of relief. Of relaxation. Of not stressing about the things that have the potential to make me nuts ... the things that up until quite recently, did just that. But no more. Aaaaahhhh!


In the movies, whenever someone asks "what's the worst that could happen," we know we're about to find out.  It's always some disastrous event, and the character is devastated.  A little while later he's dumb enough to say "well, at least things can't get any worse" ... so, of course, they do.  For most of us, though, it's usually nowhere near as exciting ... or as calamitous.  The problem is that we build it up in our minds as though it could be, and that stops us from doing the things we want - or need - to do.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Change the World

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." 
~Margaret Meade

This has always been one of my favorite quotes, and today's amazing turn of events in Egypt brought it to the forefront of my mind once again.

I'm not going to get too political on here, as I do not know anywhere near enough of the history of the country to speak with any authority.  Besides, that's not what any of us come to this site for.  But since a few of my coworker friends are from Egypt, I've been watching and learning a bit over the past couple of weeks.  I've been amazed and inspired by what I've seen, and am left (nearly) speechless.

I am in awe of the strength, unity, and perseverance shown by the Egyptian people.  I am inspired by their  dedication and commitment to their cause.  I am amazed by their ability to remain calm, organized and peaceful despite being taunted, pushed, and provoked.  We could all learn from them.

Mabrook [congratulations], Egypt.  You deserve this victory.  And shukran [thank you] for showing the world that anything is possible. 

** If you like what you read, tell a friend!  Actually, tell me too - post a comment below!!  If you don't ... well ... I'm all for honesty, but please be gentle!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What I Believe

I am not a religious person in any traditional sense of the word (or any non-traditional sense, either), but I do believe in Karma. As I've told you before, I believe that everything happens for a reason, even if we don't understand it at the time.  It is that faith that helps carry me through challenging times, keeping me strong until the good comes through out of the bad.  It is that faith that pushes me to do whatever I have to in order to make that happen.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Done!

Note: Sorry I took an extra day to get to this ... I started to write it yesterday, but the day got really crazy, and I just ran out of time... but without further delay, here we go!

Ok, folks ... I have officially completed my 10-day detoxification program, and here's where I'm at now:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It Couldn't Be Me

I got a few compliments yesterday; it was really nice.  One person said I was glowing.  Later on, someone else said he couldn't figure what it was, but that I just looked really good.  Another person jumped in and said it must be the detox working, that I've got that 'healthy glow'.  A few hours later, someone said I looked great, and that seeing me inspired her to get back on track with her nutrition and health goals.

All of those compliments made me feel great, so I made a mental note: Wear this outfit again.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thank You

I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks.  You people are awesome.

I've really been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster for a little while.  There have been hopeful highs and disappointing lows.  The stress has taken its toll physically, and the physical has stressed me out.  It's a vicious cycle, and I've been doing my best to stay positive through it all (or at least to return to positivity quickly).

In the midst of it all, though, I have gotten so many positive words from some of you, and they have really helped to pick me up when my spirits were low.  I am grateful for the feedback, the encouragement, and the support. 

Overall, I am grateful for you.

** If you like what you read, tell a friend!  Actually, tell me too - post a comment below!!  If you don't ... well ... I'm all for honesty, but please be gentle!

Half-Tox Report

I can be my own worst enemy.

I told you I'd keep you posted about my next step, but I haven't really had anything to say.  I'm now halfway through my 10-day detox, and honestly, I feel ... fine.  I haven't had the headaches, nausea & weakness that they say is expected during the most food-restrictive days (well, I get them already, but they didn't get any worse lol).  I haven't really been hungry, as I can still eat food (very specifically limited food, but it's not like I'm fasting).  Surprisingly, it hasn't really been hard.  I've gone out to eat with friends, and chosen the organic split pea soup and fruit while they had pasta and cookies.  And I'm drinking tea, which is nowhere near as satisfying as coffee, but it still hits the spot.

So the weird thing is that while this is actually a good thing, in a funk I found a way to make it negative.  Though I'm sticking to this thing 100%, I actually started thinking that since I wasn't feeling as bad as they say I might along the way, I probably wouldn't feel as good as they say I should after I'm done.  So while some people may have difficulty sticking with a program like this when it gets too tough, I actually thought about quitting because it wasn't tough enough.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Next Step

Ok, so as you can tell from a few of my recent posts, I've been dealing with a lot lately, both physically & mentally.  I'm doing the best I can to focus on the positive (notice I didn't say trying), and taking steps as needed so that I'm still the one in control of my life.  Today started a new step, and though I know it may be tough, I'm really excited about it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nerd? Dork? Geek? YES!

I'm a geek.  I admit it.  I'm also a nerd and a dork.  Yes, those are three separate and distinct qualities, and I am proud to embody each one of them.  Today, though, I am definitely in all my geek glory.

Let's start with the definitions, as I see them:

Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm Back

How I've Been Feeling Lately
(AKA The Scream by Edvard Munch)
Sorry it's been a little while since my last post ... ok, maybe a little more than a little while ... and while technically I did say from the start that I didn't know how often I'd be posting on here, I did not want to go this long without writing.  I have had a few reasons for staying away, but they're just not good enough ... so I'm back.  Please, allow me to explain:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

OK to Rest?

Normally, I'm probably what you would call an overachiever.  I don't know how to do something just a little bit. I don't just participate in an event, I join the committee to put the whole thing together (or start up a new event completely).  Through most of my adult life, I've had at least 2 jobs at a time, while doing volunteer work equal to a full time gig.  Add to that little side projects that always come up, social events that need to be planned, and errands that need to be run, and ... well, I just never really knew how to relax.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Family

I believe that family is more about what is in your heart than who shares your bloodline.  DNA (or marriage) only determines your relatives.  Though there may be a great deal of overlap, these are two very different concepts.

For starters, we've all got those relatives that we only ever see at weddings and funerals: aunts, uncles, second cousins three times removed (what exactly does that mean, anyway?  how do you "remove" a cousin?).  I've got nothing against them; it's just that we don't really know them.  It's hard to think of someone as family if you haven't seen her since you wore footie pajamas, you couldn't pick him out of a line-up, or it takes two breaths to explain how you're related to your mother's cousin's half-brother's uncle's sister's stepfather's niece.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Not Funny

Ok, so here's another post that's just going to make you laugh ... but hopefully you'll be laughing with me, not at me ... and maybe you'll even sympathize!  

I just saw this awful commercial for the USPS, and had to share... Ok, I guess in a way it's an awesome commercial, 'cause it's something I could relate to SO much (and many of you probably can, too) ... but it's just so wrong!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I love you, Mom.

A friend of mine lost his mother today.
There are no words.

Autobiography in 5

Ok, I can in no way take credit for this.

This is a piece written by Portia Nelson, originally published in 1977.  I first discovered it many years ago, and have revisited it many times.  It has always given me a sense of peace, strength, and confidence to get through difficult times.  It came to mind when I was writing the piece on quitting, and I thought I'd share it with you.

You never know when it's just what someone needs to hear (or read).  Come back to it anytime you need to ... I know I do.

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's OK to Quit

Or ... go ahead, do it!
We've all been raised to believe that winners never quit, and quitters never win.  On the surface, that sounds nice and positive: it encourages us not to give up on our dreams, not to give in just because things may be difficult.  In many cases, that is the spirit in which it's meant, and it can encourage someone to rise to the challenge.  In a different context, though, it can be just that advice - that fear of being a quitter - that can actually keep us moving along a path that is not right for us, and prevent us from living up to our true potential, and realizing our deepest dreams.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What Adversity?

I am inspired.

I was watching New Year's Rockin' Eve, and thought for a minute they were showing flashbacks to years past.  I'm not talking about when they showed New Kids on the Block or Back Street Boys performing (though that was a bit trippy in and of itself - and I'm not sure if I mean that in a good way).  Seriously, though, I was floored when I saw Dick Clark on screen again.  

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2nd-to-Last Bite

Vegetable sushi wrapped in vegetables  © Sooooo exciting!
Ok, we all know that there are some people who eat to live, and there are others who live to eat.  I am definitely in that second group.  

Food is so much more than just physical nourishment.  If done right, it is a pleasurable experience that is best when shared with good friends.  It must be taken in slowly, so that we can thoroughly enjoy it with all of our senses.  The ideal meal includes a variety of colors, textures, flavors, scents.  Each bite must be savored, so we can feel the individual ingredients as they come together in our mouths: the creamy sauce over the crunchy vegetables, the chewy grain with the crispy edge ... the sweet, the salty, the savory ... a perfect chorus of tastes that manages to create harmony while still allowing each individual voice to shine.