Thursday, December 30, 2010

40 4 40: 13 - Organic Foods, Lifestyle Choices and Effectuating Change

Within the last two years, I've been (sloppily, slowly) making a lifestyle change in the food department to eat more cleanly, consuming more purely raw foods, geared specifically away from gluten and its by-products (i.e. vinegar), because I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance (non-Celiacs).  Just before my awareness of gluten issues in my life, I had been making the changes away from things that contained trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

With the help of a holistic specialist, I went on a month-long cleanse, two weeks of it were nothing but juices.  I did it specifically to break a sugar addiction (it worked for a while....), and to lead a healthier lifestyle in general.  I am a little fearful of getting cancer at a too-young age since it's so rampant in my family. Also, at the time, I suspected I was pre-menopausal.  My mother entered menopause at age 39.  I was 38 at the time.  It wasn't out of the realm of possibility.  Additionally, I was having chronic migraines, five out of seven days a week.  My stomach was upset often, I was moody, crabby, irritable, and sleepy all the time.  I suffered from bouts of sleeplessness.

I just couldn't take it anymore.  I didn't want to feel like a slug just barely surviving life.  I knew there had to be more.  I knew I had to take responsibility and action for my own health.

With a heightened awareness of food, comes several frustrations.  Firstly, and most obviously probably, is the learning curve of what ingredients are safe to eat, and which aren't.  Generally speaking, prepared & processed food are horribly unhealthy for a person's body. 

I started shopping at grocery stores that specialize in organic foods and supply foods that are made to tailor to the health-conscious and/or allergy-burdened lifestyles.

It would be easy to blame convenience for our rising health issues concerning obesity, cancer, heart disease.  It's easy to look to the food industry and say, "you make the food we buy, so it's your fault".  It's easy to blame Starbucks, McDonald's, Chick-Fil-A and all the drive-through places:  "If you'd make healthier foods and offer them, we'd be healthier as a society".  

We have only to blame ourselves.

Certainly there is truth to pure foods being to expensive. Certainly there is truth that fast food restaurants such as McDonald's offer a more cost-efficient meal to a family.  Still, it's a personal choice.

We have the power of choice.  We have the freedom of choice. 

Robyn has several good articles on her website in which she offers buying organically on a budget, various nutritional information articles (i.e. HCFS), and she provides very good information via Twitter.

Q: What did your research reveal about the cost of food and food production?
A:Prior to unearthing all of this information, I was in the camp that thought that organic food was a lifestyle choice of the rich and famous or a hippie movement.  And it completely bothered me that it cost so much.   And in all candour, when we met the management teams of these companies when I was a food industry analyst, I ignorantly dismissed their work as a profitable marketing niche. 


But as I began to learn more, I realized that our taxpayer dollars are being used to support farmers that grow crops with chemicals, while farmers that grow crops without the use of synthetic ingredients are charged a fee to prove that their crops are free of these ingredients, then charged a fee to label these crops as having adhered to this higher standard, and at the same time, are not offered the same crop insurance and marketing assistance programs.  In other words, the way the food production cost structure is set up now, it is cheaper to produce food using chemicals than without them.  That means it’s also cheaper to buy foods made with chemicals. 

Or is it? Products made with synthetic chemicals have hidden costs that affect all of us—these externalized costs are called ag “externalities,” and they include damage and the chemical contamination of water sources, soil resources, and wildlife and ecosystem biodiversity, as well as damage to human health from such things as exposure to pesticides. No studies have been done to assess what the cumulative impact of all of these toxins and their synergistic toxicity are having on the health of our families and environment.

With the use of antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, pesticides, and artificial colors and dyes, some of the greatest threats to our health aren’t actually found in our DNA, but in our food supply. So, while we only spend 9 cents of every dollar on food, we spend 16 cents of every dollar managing chronic disease.  On the other hand, if we choose to invest in organic products and those produced without the use of these synthetic ingredients, we are not only investing in our health, by reducing their families’ exposure to these toxins and the health risks that they might present, which can pay health dividends for a lifetime, but we are also paying the true cost of food rather than the artificially reduced prices of conventional food enabled by the federal allocation of taxpayer resources.  

Choose to not be lazy.  Choose to think critically.  Choose to be active in the food revolution.  Choose to invest time and effort into food preparation.  Get involved locally and nationally to effectuate changes in U.S. food manufacturing practices.

Lastly, hear this, please:  This blog post and I are not intending to be judgmental.  My intent is to educate (mostly myself, haha!).  I readily admit that I still eat chocolate, drink soda sometimes, love a good hamburger at Twisted Root.  I will go through times where I'm eating way too much gluten (thanks Thanksgiving and Christmas)!  I kind of take it for granted that my allergy isn't life or death.  I need to  commit to being better.  And when I read articles like Robyn O'Brien's, I get re-inspired.

Here are a couple of GMO Twitter feeds to which I subscribe (genetically  modified foods). I don't read everything that's tweeted, nor do I preach this as gospel.  Just critically read what you do read.

Non GMO Project

GMO Journal

Food Alliance

There are LOADS of others....click around and learn more! Then ACT! Inspire ME to do the same. :)

~Whoosh!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

40 4 40: 12 - WW: Mark Twain

1. A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
Do you let yourself off the hook easily?

Sometimes I do, mostly I don't.  Just depends on how much PR work and damage control might need to be performed.  :P

2. A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.
Do you think everyone lies?

Yes, I do.  Everyone.

3. A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
What was the last thing that you had to learn the hard way?

I live my entire life learning the hard way....ask my mom & my husband!


4. A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read.
What types of things do you read?

Biographies, autobiographies, true crime, Patricia Cornwell novels (Kay Scarpetta), some religious things.  I have a couple of daily spiritual readings I peek at, and I like to read magazines such as Parenting, Psychology Today and some of the house/travel genre.

I'd like to read more often, but my attention span is so short and when I settle in to read, I fall asleep pretty quickly.  It took me over a year to read Eat, Pray, Love.

5. A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.
Have you ever thought about something that did not exist and later it was invented?

No, I haven't, BUT I *do* have a couple ideas right now.  Anyone want to be the business side of this creative mind?

6. Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.
How well do you think that you observe people?

I vacillate between being overly observant to oblivious.

7. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
Have you ever used humor to diffuse a difficult situation?

Absolutely, and there's a fine line between being disrespectful and adding levity. 

8. Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.
How important is your age to you? Do you ever lie about it or refuse to reveal it?

Age is important to me, but I agree that the boundaries of age are starting to stretch.  In the past, a person who is forty, fifty, sixty years is considered older, but there's a LOT of youth in these ages ranges anymore. 

I am about to turn 40 (30 days or so, but who is counting?), and it's one of those milestone ages where people expect that I'm dreading it.  Truly, I'm not dreading it at all -- in fact, I'm rather looking forward to it.

I feel old when I hear about my friends from high school who have kids who are in college, or are grandparents already.

9. All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.
How important do you think confidence is? Are you confident?

Confidence & lack of it is *extremely* important in all things.  Again, there's a fine line to walk -- the line of being cocky vs. confident.  

People tell me they feel confidence from me, and I suppose, for the most part I am.  There are, of course, arenas in which I lack it.  I find where I lack confidence are the areas that also lack discipline, commitment, obedience.  Enter in:  learning the hard way and letting myself off the hook.  :)

10. Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
Do you do everything you should to be healthy?

Absolutely not!  I am evolving, though, so wish me luck!  (I let myself off the hook too much in the health department!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

40 4 40: 11 - Mademoiselle

I have become enraptured with the scent that can be found in this bottle....

I was walking through Nordstrom's around Christmas and spritzed some at the base of my neck between my collar bones.  All day long, I was distracted by it.  I loved it so much I wanted to seduce myself

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

40 4 40: 9 - Isn't He Handsome?

I'm smiling on the inside, I swear!
It's the day after Christmas and the gifts keep coming!

My Husband and I surprised the kids with a trip to the local animal adoption shelter.  My Little One picked this guy, and he's quite fond of her.

Such a handsome boxer mix!  Everyone who has seen him so far asks, "is he a pit mix?", and  I keep correcting them:  "BOXER mix!".  (Myeah -- I see the pit, too.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

40 4 40: 7 - Christmas Eve Wow

I attended Mass at 4:00 today because My Eldest was singing in the church choir at that time (we typically attend midnight Mass).  The community caroled while we waited for Mass to start, and of course, the whole service was filled with traditional songs.  This night, the parish community was treated to the not-so-traditional "The Rocking Carol".  (It's written in the perspective from the children of Bethlehem when Jesus was born.  The children wanted to rock Jesus.  Isn't that so sweet?  *melt*)

There is *nothing* like the angelic voices of children singing.

I cried.

My Little One looked over to me during song and noticed I was crying.  I had quit singing and closed my eyes to just be in the moment...to soak up the wonder and awe of the coming of Jesus....to hear it in the voices of children and fellow believers.  I was consumed by the moment and was nearly buckled to my knees.  And, it was at this time, at the peak of my humbled wonder, that My Little One put her tender hand on my face and asked me why I was crying.


"Don't worry, love, they are happy tears."

She started tearing up, too.

She hugged me with her fair-skinned delicate arms and said, "I'm crying happy tears, too, mama".

Wow.

Just... wow.

The Love.  The Love present in that moment -- wow.

We enjoyed the rest of Mass, filled with the anticipation of the coming of Christ and all that it promises.  My Eldest did superbly and I am a proud, proud mother.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

40 4 40: 6 - Wonder Woman Converse (WANT!)

Yes, you read the title right.  Wonder Woman.  Converse.  As in SHOES!



To get your own, order here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

40 4 40: 5 - Duran Duran Faves

In anticipation of the new album "All You Need Is Now" coming out on December 21st, I've been swimming in Duran Duran media.  After all these years, I still find Mr. LeBon to be quite yummy.  As of late, he's been wearing a beard, and it's rather sexyhot.  I typically do not like facial hair, but he looks simply edible.

I've been a fan of Simon with dark hair for a long time.  And his hair shortshort like in the "Serious" video has me hormonal like a 15 year old girl....



Another of my ohsofavorite songs that no one except die-hard fans know about is this gem of lyrical poetry:


"Perfect Day" - originally by Lou Reed - is one of Duran Duran's best covers (and videos) ever:



Lastly, funkalicious, dance-able and inyourFAYCEe is "White Lines":



YES, I'm excited about the new single, the new album and Simon sporting the dark hair (and a full beard!) again.  *swoon*

So, tell me.  What's YOUR favorite Duran Duran song?  (And don't feed me some b.s. about not liking them or they're gay.  You know your danced - or at the very least tapped your foot - to them somewhere along the way.  Don't be skeert.  OWN IT!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

40 4 40: 4 - Some Duran Duran for Christmas?

...I have failed at commitment (again).  I owe you (myself) several blogs.  I will catch them all up and make you (me) ohsohappy. 

In the meantime, click on this iTunes link and give a gift to yourself and/or others.  You'll be a more complete person for doing so.  And Santa will thank you.  As will I.



In the words of half my blog inspiration...

~whoosh!

40 4 40: 3 - O Holy Night

"O Holy Night" is my favorite Christmas song.

A close second is "We Three Kings of Orient Are".

Lastly, the exquisite lullaby "Away In A Manger", I could listen to over and over....

Enjoy the new music on the page.

Monday, December 20, 2010

40 4 40: 2 - Food Favorites


Today's 40 4 40 is about my favorite combinations, specific to that which is ingested and legal:
  • Peanut butter & chocolate
  • Raspberry & dark chocolate
  • Popcorn and cherry Coca Cola
  • Old Grand Dad and Coca Cola
  • Coconut & chocolate
  • Piña colada flavored Layla Farms drinkable yogurt drizzled on Red Rock chocolate chip granola
  • Crunch peanut butter & strawberry jelly on a spoon at the same time
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches with chicken noodle soup
  • Tortilla chips & guacamole
  • Fritos & bean dip
  • Ranch dressing, sautéed mushrooms, mozzarella cheese on a well done burger with potato bread
  • Guacamole and tortilla chips
  • Sunflower seeds on salad (or a baked potato)
  • Do-Si-Dos and chocolate milk (kinda goes with the first on the list)
  • Hot lemon tea with honey
  • Pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage and onions on thin crust pizza
  • Spaghetti with meatballs
  • Turkey on the same fork with my cranberry sauce
There are tons more, of course.

~Bon Appétit~

Sunday, December 19, 2010

40 4 40: 1 - Comet

My 40th birthday is quickly approaching. I'm welcoming it with a loving embrace and a smile. WTF is wrong with me?! haha!

Admittedly, I'm sort of resigned to "aging", but then there's a tinge of me that isn't. Truthfully, I'm more bothered that I have that tinge than by the aging itself. I suppose it might be the natural grief process of realizing I'll never achieve that potential that everyone but me knew about, and I'll never have that wild youth I so often daydream about, all that globetrotting I had envisioned, and my body isn't in the shape I thought it would be in at this age. All in all, those are some heavy disappointments in my mind.

However, there's more to me than my shape, my wiley, well-travelled youth and being that doctor, teacher, big screen star. I am humbled by all the OTHER things I am at almost-40. I'm amazed at all that I've done by now.

So, to honor being forty, I'm going to do a serial post of forty things about my forty years. These things might be inspirational, spiritual, insightful, jokes, trivia about me, recipes, a lil ditty... You get the idea.

Today -- a big announcement:

I've been accepted to the University of Texas at Dallas, home of the Fighting ..... Comets? 

Okay, so Comets don't fight.  But they are cool.  (Right?)  Therefore *I* am cool.  (Right?!)

I *will* graduate from this school.  And it'll be with a real degree.  And the plan is to graduate from this school BEFORE My Eldest graduates high school.  That gives me eight years. 

What's eight more years?

~Whoosh~

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WW: Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins!)



Today we picked Julie Andrews. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

1. “All love shifts and changes. I don't know if you can be wholeheartedly in love all the time.”
Have ever felt that you’ve been in love with someone constantly over a long period of time?

I believe you can be wholehearted in love all the time, but it might not be with the same person.  I agree that love shifts and changes -- as it should -- after all, people shift and change.  The constant:  GOD.  God is love and love is God.   On that you can rely.

2. “I am an optimistic lady.”
How optimistic are you?
I'm fairly optimistic.  It's hard for me to be around negative energy.  Avoiding negative energy included not watching the news, reading the news, being around people who are cynical, judgmental, pessimistic, critical.

It would be fair to say that I keep my head in the sand.  Someone once told me that if I do that, I should be prepared to have my ass lit on fire.  I will take my chances....

3. “I don't think today's younger audience... would even know what 1920s musicals were like.”
Do you have any knowledge of 1920 films or musicals? If yes, any favorites?

Admittedly, I don't.  I suppose I know of some silent films, but not musicals.  (It's nice to be in the "today's younger audience" group!)

4. “I hate the word wholesome.”
Play word association. I say “wholesome” and you say:

Goody-two-shoes

5. “I have always wished I could learn to be a potter. I love collecting ceramics; it would be so fulfilling to create something lovely.”
What have you always wished that you could be?

A sports photographer (a.k.a trust fund baby? HA!)

6. “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.”
Tell us about something that you had to persevere through.

I'm not entirely certain that I've perservered anything yet.

7. “Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.”
How do you define your self discipline?

Shaky at best.  I admire people who can be driven, ambitious and stay the course.  I admire those who are strongly convicted and have the discipline in which to stay strongly rooted.

Julie Andrews has found the paradox of freedom in "chains".   There are times in my life where I can see that I experienced the same.  For example, entering into Overeaters Anonymous and practicing the twelve steps was so freeing.  The tools and practices that were encouraged were extremely burden-lifting.  I squirm in pain at the simple choice of what to have for breakfast each day when I'm NOT in program, whereas, if I've given it fore-thought and committed it to a sponsor, I can wallow in freedom and just relax, stay the course and see the light at the end of the (never-ending) tunnel.

8. “Sometimes opportunities float right past your nose. Work hard, apply yourself, and be ready. When an opportunity comes you can grab it.”
Have you ever missed a golden opportunity?

Oh sure.  Of course.  But I didn't think of it like that until it passed.

There have been a few times, when presented with a choice to do or not to do, to go or not to go, I've thought "I should do this", but I trust the process.  If it's an opportunity that was golden, and it passed, it wasn't meant for me at that time anyway.  Plus, I try not to dwell on the past too much.

9. “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and... SNAP! The job's a game!”
Have you ever had that perfect job that was always entertaining?

Being a mother -- fo' sho'!

10. “Sometimes I'm so sweet even I can't stand it.”
Has anyone ever considered you as sweet?

I don't think so.  I've been told I'm sweet, but not so sweet that it was intolerable.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Santa

Just sharing this year's Santa pictures....


My Eldest & The Best Looking Santa I Know!
My Little One & The Best Looking Santa I Know!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Duran Duran - All You Need Is NOW!

Go download your free copy of the new single from Duran Duran.  (<~~ that's the link to do it.  CLICK!)  It's called "All You Need Is Now".  Just like love, this is really the only other thing you need right now.

You'll be a happy camper.  You'll be president.  You'll be the king or queen of the world.  You'll be numero uno.

Most of all, you'll make me happy.  (Added bonus:  you save money!)

WW: Jennifer Aniston

Today we picked Jennifer Aniston. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

1. “A relationship isn't going to make me survive. It's the cherry on top.”
What part of your life do you consider “the cherry on the top”?

Willingness to be better.

2. “I almost resent the whole fashion thing. Good God- never wearing the same thing twice and all of those things. It's a pain in the ass.”
How much does fashion impact your life?

It doesn't.  At all.

3. “I've gone for each type: the rough guy; the nerdy, sweet, lovable guy; and the slick guy. I don't really have a type. Men in general are a good thing.”
What’s your type?

"Men in general are a good thing."  Amen, sister.  Having said that, though, I go for clean-cut men that are bigger than me (so I can feel small and secure). 

4. “Once you figure out who you are and what you love about yourself, I think it all kinda falls into place.”
Do you still learn new things about yourself?

Every.  Single.  Day.  (See answer to question 1.)

5. “The greater your capacity to love, the greater your capacity to feel the pain.”
Have you ever had your heart broken? If yes, how did you get over it?

Of course I have, and it's strictly in the context of boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife.  Every relationship experiences a heart-break.  In my motherhood, my childhood, my friendships, work relationships, yesyesYES I've experienced them. 

How do I "get over" them?  Pray, act, be & do better.  I try to realize the lesson and move forward.  Forgiveness is immeasurable.  Since that's the case, love is unconditional.  (I, by NO means, have mastered this action! See answer to question 1 again.)

6. “There are no regrets in life, just lessons.”
What is the most recent “life lesson” that you have figured out?

That I don't feel worthy to feel my own feelings that might be in conflict with another's.  That's gotta change.

7. “Really try to follow what it is that you want to do and what your heart is telling you to do.”
Have you ever went against what your heart told you to do?

I am guilty of not following my heart enough. 

8. “The ultimate is finding a place where you have no inhibitions, nothing to hide, where you can learn with one another.”
Do you have any inhibitions when you are in love with someone?

Yes, I do.  I am learning to find safety in being vulnerable with those closest to me.  It's extremely hard -- the hardest thing I've ever done.  Being vulnerable = putting those inhibitions into the light. 

9. “Life can be dramatic and funny all in the same day!”
What is something that happened recently in your life that you found extremely funny?

I don't remember the event, but I remember laughing so hard it hurt last week.  I was with others, and we all just fell out laughing. 

10. “The first time I kissed Brad my knees went weak - I literally lost my breath!”
Have you ever kissed someone and your knees went weak?

YES!  And he still takes my breath away....

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Best 20 Minutes You Can Spend Today That Will Make A HUGE Deposit Into Your Life & Those Around You For A Lifetime and Beyond



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Live this.

Make it your legacy

Teach others.

Engage this in your professional lives, your friendships, your parenting, your childhood, your lover/spouse/life partner. 

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Make the selfless choice. 

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Understand.

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Validate

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Empathize

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Invite others into YOUR world.

Be vulnerable.

Allow for growth.

Be teachable.

Surrender.

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THIS. WORKS.

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It.  Is.  Love.
Unconditional.

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Amen.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

WW: Groucho Marx


Is he giving us the finger?!

Today we picked Groucho Marx. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

 1. 'A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere." 
What is a superstition that many have that you think is crazy?

Opening an umbrella indoors, the black cat crossing under a ladder at midnight are two that I find crazy. 

Oddly, I am spooked by the broken mirror superstition.
2. "A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running."
What were you in the hospital for the last time that you were admitted?

Child birth.

3. "Alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse."
What payment do you make that seems ridiculous?

Except for medical, I'd say almost any insurance. 

4. "Humor is reason gone mad."
How would you describe your sense of humor?

It's all over the board.  I enjoy a good, cheezy joke.  I like the dry humor of Brits and the subtle double entendre in words.  I also like a bit of dark humor.  I've even been known to laugh at humor that is controversial, but I try to keep all that in check.  I DO NOT like potty humor -- at all.

5. "I have a mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it."
Who was the last person that you wanted to beat with something or other?

I don't have this inclination often, but, without naming names or describing situations, I can think of a person or five that I wanted to at least slap in the back of the head.  I have no tolerance for stupidity.

6. "I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception."
Would you ever like to change something about your face?

I wish it was thinner so my cheekbones and jawline were more accentuated. 

7. "I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury."
I read an article recently that asked if marriage was still relevant. Other than to raise children do you see the point?

Marriage in the context of a sacrement is relevant, yes.  Civil marriage is contextually relevant.

8. "If you've heard this story before, don't stop me, because I'd like to hear it again."
Do you find that you tend to repeat your stories?

I don't think so -- not to the same person over and over.  I will share the same story with a new friend or group of people.  I'm pretty good about remember with whom I've shared stories.

9. "There's one way to find out if a man is honest - ask him. If he says, "Yes," you know he is a crook."
Do you find most people that are in your life to be honest?

I believe everyone tries to be honest, but we all lie. 

10. "Wives are people who feel they don't dance enough."
Have you ever felt that your significant other did not go out with enough?

I'm not sure I understand this question, but this is my interpretation of it:  Do you feel like you dated your significant other long enough?

No, I don't feel like I dated My Husband long enough.  He and I both acknowledge that our courtship was not long enough, BUT, we also both trust the process and believe we were brought together for a reason bigger than us. 

And for the record, I love to dance and don't get to dance nearly enough.  :P

Monday, November 29, 2010

Music Minute: Sarah McLachlan

Sarah because of which she melodically & lyrically emotes, I bask.
Sarah because the exposure of the vulnerable.
Sarah because of the unapologetic intimacy.
Sarah because ....well... you know why.

Sarah because....well...  just because.


~


Ice Cream
Fumbling Towards Ecstacy
Witness
Do What You Have To Do
Answer
Possession
Tiesto-Silence-Delerium 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pearl Harbor


Kole Kole Pass


My Dad's birthday is today.  I can't let a year go by without acknowledging it, and reminding myself (and you) how much I miss him.

Thanksgiving, as you might recall, was his favorite holiday.  It's my favorite holiday, too. 

Twirling the two always puts me in a bit of bittersweet headspace.

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Last week, I received a message from a stranger on Facebook.  He had joined a group that I started about the elementary school I attended when I lived there.  (Us military brats kind of find a way to stay networked to a certain degree, I suppose.)  He reached out to me to ask when I was there, yadda yadda yadda.  I kept it pretty brief, but then he replied with additional questions.  As a result, I ended up sharing one of my very favorite moments of life.  As I was wrapping up my response to his inquiries, a thought scampered through my mind:  I should put this in a blog.

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When I was 20-ish, My Father was still active duty Army on the brink of retirement.  He had just been promoted to Master Warrant 5.  As a result, he was required to serve an overseas tour.  The choices, as I recall, were Alaska, Belgium and Hawaii.

Daddy made his selection for Hawaii. 

My Parents empty-nested at his departure.  My brother had just graduated college and was off to The Real World (not of the MTV-type, although I'm sure he wishes!  haha), and I was doing the same except I was sans degree since I was still in the middle of a semester as a college sophomore (and failing miserably at it).

My Parents gifted me a trip to visit them for Christmas, and I was able to stay through the new year.  I was looking forward to going because when I was a kid, I wasn't allowed to do the typical adult touristy things like visit the U.S.S. Arizona, go out in the nightlife, and so forth.  As a kid, though, I had THE BEST experience.

In fifth grade, the collective class saved newspapers and aluminum cans all year, and we'd earned enough money to take a class field trip to Hawaii a.k.a. the Big Island (I lived on Oahu, home of Honolulu & Waikiki Beach <~~ not double rainbows, but still pretty awesome).  The point of the week-long class trip was to learn in-depth about Hawaii's history:  the monarchy, how it was settled, the native dances, foods, customs and traditions, language, as well as have some outdoor adventures.  We hiked across Kilauea Crater, which was dormant at the time.  It was frightening for a chubby, short girl to cross over the wide gaps that were emitting steam, the firey cauldron sloshing below my not-so-confident feet.  We learned about Pele, the different kinds of lava (I always thought it was fun to say a'a) and sulfur.  I got to put my toes in the fine grains of a black sand beach.

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About the time of my adult visit to Hawaii, President Clinton ordered the closure of  several military bases . My Dad took me to a Naval base that was shut down, except it had one gate open, and it was a manned gate.  If you didn't have a military ID, you were denied access.

Daddy drove us cautiously up the mountain, the road curvy and laden with vegetation.  The banana trees leaned away from the mountain, and surprisingly, prickly pear cacti protected the mountainsides.  It was fairly early in the morning, rain had fallen as it did most days of my visit.The clouds were low and the air was so fresh.

Eventually, Daddy parked the car and invited me to the scenic overview.  I looked at Pearl Harbor  at the end of a valley.  I smiled just taking in the view, certain I had died and gone to Heaven.  Never had I felt so small.  It was just My Dad and I standing there in the quiet wonder.

When a good amount of time had passed, he said to me, "Do you know what this place is?"

I shook my head side to side and said, "Nu-uh. What is is?"

Daddy said, "This is the valley and path where the Japanese snuck in to attack Pearl Harbor."

In an instant, my heart hardened and I was overcome with emotion.  This place, so beautiful and awesome, truly awesome, then that bit of wicked U.S. history seared through the peace I just experienced, leaving me with a burning chest.  The physical response I experienced was unexpected.
 
I was so grateful my dad had access to take me there.  I am so grateful for that moment with him.  I'm humbled by the visit. 

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Happy birthday, Daddy.  Still miss you.  Still love you.  

xo

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Wonder Woman Itch Is Getting Scratched

There is a comic book store dangerously close to my house.  

The major intersection near which I live divides two suburbs - "mine" and "not mine".  I have purposefully avoided this comic book store because it wasn't on "my" side of the street.  I'm a bit of a snob when spending my dollars -- I try to keep as many of them in my own suburb as possible.  

As my luck would have it, the comic book store MOVED!  And it moved to MY suburb!  It moved right across the street from the previous location, and I couldn't be more happy! 

My Eldest and I drive over and immediately go the Wonder Woman comics.  We sit on the floor and flip through the pages.  My Eldest asks questions -- good ones -- about why all the different styles of drawing Wonder Woman, who are all the names listed on the cover, etc.  I was pretty surprised she noticed all those details, and even more surprised she was into it enough to ask (truth be told, it was a fleeting interest).

Then I realized how out-of-touch I'd become with the newer comics.  I haven't actively collected comics in about 15 years.  I've bought one or two here or there, but I certainly wouldn't call it collecting

On *this* day, however, I am back to it!  I'm back to collecting!

Now, there is much controversy on the new Wonder Woman.  She's in pants and there's some other changes, but the pants seem to be the biggest issue.  Controversy aside, the pants-wearing Wonder Woman is my gateway back into my comic nerdiness, and I'm going to have fun with it!

I decided to go ahead an purchase #601 and #602, and when I was paying, I asked the owner which issue was the premier of The All New Wonder Woman (pictured above).  He answered that it was issue #600. 

"Do you have any?" I asked calmly, but the inner comic nerd was rolling around like an excited dog.  I didn't realize she was THAT new, and here I was with the two proceeding comics!  If I could get my hands on the premier issue, I'd have them all!  

MH:  "Nah.  I'm sold out.  I might be able to call around to some other stores and see if I can work a trade or something, or I could order one, but it' likely to be a second printing -- not the first printing.  I guess it depends on how serious of a collector you are as to how important it is to you to get that first issue in a first print."

Me:  "Well, I haven't collected in a while.  I'd take a second print just to have the collection from the beginning, but if I could get that first issue, first print, how much would it be?"

He shrugged his shoulders, "Not sure, really.  It all depends."

We talked back and forth and he walked over the to comic books from where I just was sitting on the floor.  

Guess what?

He found a FIRST PRINT, PREMIER ISSUE of The All New Wonder Woman! 

Oh!  My!  Golden!  Lasso!  Yessssssssss!  Happy Jackie!!  

Yes, I bought it -- I bought ALL of them!

Psst!  Look how Issue 600 has a lasso written 600 on the cover 
MH is going to call and notify me monthly when the new Wonder Woman issue has arrived.  I am just SO! STOKED! about this! 

Whoosh!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gravestones and Such

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The Cowboys lost, but I'm still smiling.  I figured the Saints would win, but the Garrett Cowboys gave 'em hell for a while.

I'm plenty stuffed, food-fogged and all.

Backtracking to pre-meal, though, My Family and I were riding to someone's house for the Thanksgiving celebration.

My Eldest:  Momma, does Papa have a gravestone somewhere?  (Papa is My Dad.)

I just started crying.  Tears welled up unexpectedly, and I was choked momentarily on the words that would answer her thoughtful question.

I catch my breath after a good thirty seconds or so, and struggle to answer:  No.  No, he doesn't.

More tears, more chest tightening.

Me:  Papa requested to be cremated, and asked that no headstone be displayed after his death.  He wanted his ashes to be spread at his favorite fishing spot.  I think My Mom took some to his favorite golf course, too.

My Little One, who was listening so intently, puckers up in sadness and I see that bottom lip just quiver.  Her fuschia-mittened hands pull moisture from her eyes.

MLO:  Mommy, that story just makes me so sad.

I reach around and rub her thigh consolingly.

Me:  Ohh baby, I'm sorry to make you cry.  It *is* sad, though, and it's okay to cry and be sad.  Just know that Papa sees us and hears us, and he's smiling.  He is in such a better place than we are, love.  It's okay to cry, and try to find happiness knowing that he's with us in different ways, okay?

Boo-hooing MLO:  Ohhhhkaaayyyyy.

A heavy & thick quiet settles in between us all, and I see My Eldest is crying just a little.  I hand her a tissue, and she offers a smile and gratitude.

MLO:  Mommy. *sniff, sniff*  I really wish I got to meet Papa.

The calm I had finally achieved was pushed out by more moist grief.

I nodded my head in agreement, my hand still on her thigh:  Oh baby, me too.

My Husband:  Someday you'll meet him, and you'll just know him, and he'll know you and it'll be like time never passed.

The remainder of the ride passed in mostly silence.  My Little One nodded off to sleep and My Eldest read a book.  Me, I clutched my heart charm that was given to me when My Father died, and I felt the etched "Bud" as I recalled the day My Dad returned to the Earth.

+

I am thankful for my kids, that they are so open and vulnerable, trusting and sensitive.  I'm thankful they have a father.  I'm thankful for My Husband who barely knew My Father, and is like him in many ways.  I'm thankful that I have all that I do and all that I don't.

And Mom, I love you.  So grateful to have you near me & my family.  We just need to get Georgia back to Texas now!  :)

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WW: Judy Garland

Today we picked Judy Garland. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

1. "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."
Have you ever realized that you were trying to be like someone else?

Yes, actually.  At this moment, I'm having deliberate self-discussion to avoid comparing myself to another, having to wrestle that self-doubt demon, writhing around, wanting to surrender and withdraw. I'm reminding myself that I am my own self that was good enough to get in the door, it'll be good enough to sit in the house and visit a while. 

I have recently been peeling back the layers of this very behavior -- the one where I discount myself because I'm not this-or-that, or my job isn't such-and-such.  I'm not jealous, but I get insecure in a hurry.

It's a learned a defense mechanism - the flight.  I feel inferior, less than, so I look to someone who seems regarded as more than.  I have settled into the second nature of being passive and agreeable, submissive and seeking peace.   Eventually, I will just fade away.  As a result, I've allowed myself to be discounted, insignificant and invisible -- the very thing I fear at my core.

Yet, I do that dog-chasing-his-own-tail thing where I whine about not having attention, yet I isolate so that no attention is given.

In order for me to be "seen", I am learning to use words at the time I feel emotionally compromised (thank you Star Trek for coining that term!).  I feel choked on the words and I'm painfully tactless, but I'm determined to get comfortable with it.  Determined!

For those who experience me day in and day out, I'm sure the actions I take, the changes in my usual behavior, will seem extreme.  I'm sure the not-so-passive behavior, the standing up for myself, will seem to be aggressive.  I suspect the pendulum swings to both extremes.

Somewhere between the extremes is a middle ground.

I will meet you there. 

2. "Behind every cloud is another cloud."
Are you more optimistic or pessimistic about things?

I'm optimistic, perhaps to a fault. 

3. "How strange when an illusion dies. It's as though you've lost a child."
Tell us about a time when you realized your perception of reality was an illusion.


The cellular biology of human life.

4. "I've never looked through a keyhole without finding someone was looking back."
Have you ever felt someone was watching you a bit too closely?

Yes.

5. "If you have to be in a soap opera try not to get the worst role."
Have you ever had a job that you were embarrassed by?

It's no secret that I put a high regard on a degree defining my ability (so dumb, I know...shhh!); so, with that said, most of the jobs I've had since I was in my mid to late twenties were embarrassing for me to acknowledge.  The job I have now, I am proud of, and still -- no degree.  (Not sure if that's something to preen about or not, but I will not deny that I'm doing pretty good for myself all things considered....)

The jobs I've been fortunate enough to have were not worthless -- they just weren't what I imagined I would have been doing at that phase of my life.  My embarrassment resided more in that I had not yet graduated college rather than the actual job itself being embarrassing.

6. 'In the silence of night I have often wished for just a few words of love from one man, rather than the applause of thousands of people."
Do you feel that you need a lover to make you feel “whole”?

Yes.

My truth is that I need more than a lover, and I feel more complete by the many lovers (friends, co-workers, family, God, etc.) I previously have had, currently do have and will some day have. 

I also need to intrinsically feel whole instead of extrinsically seek it.  By undervaluing myself, I allow others to undervalue  me.  My challenge is to open more fully, feel more deeply, as well as to embrace my weaknesses and bolster then, and finally, blossom my strengths and allow them to help myself and others.

Plus, I'm nearly convinced that we are never 'whole' while in this lifetime.

Plus plus, I'm fully convinced there is no shame in having many lovers.  We are called to be in community.  Why would we be involved in relationships if we were merely meant to exist, to suffer through this life, to just be a blob without purpose?  Makes no sense....

7. "If I am a legend, then why am I so lonely?"
Tell us about a time when you felt lonely.
I feel lonely every day.  But then again, I'm guilty of isolating.  Is it any wonder? 

Thankfully, I rarely feel alone.

8. "I can live without money, but I cannot live without love."
Would you rather be rich and alone or live with love from a lover?

I would rather live with love from a lover (ahem! lovers), no matter how temporary or fleeting it might be.  I am rich in blessings, and feel chained to this world by money & material things.  Jesus (and The Beatles)  got it right:  all you need is love, love.  Love is all you need.

9. "I try to bring the audience's own drama - tears and laughter they know about - to them."
Tell us about the last movie that you saw where you could feel the drama as though you were living it.

I saw "Red" over the weekend last.  It's a fabulous flick (I'm an action flick junkie.), and yes, I immersed myself into the movie (I want to be Helen Mirren's character!).  I do this with books, blogs, music.  My body and mind easily slip into the fantasy.

Oddly, though, I don't retain many details (too busy emoting!).

10. "I was born at the age of twelve on an MGM lot."
What was your life like at 12?

At 12, I was in the second half of fifth grade, and half of the sixth grade.  This time included a move from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, a six month jaunt to red-clayed Fort Rucker, Alabama, ultimately ending in Fort Bliss, Texas.  (I wouldn't leave Fort Bliss/El Paso until I was 27.  Momma planted some roots!)

It was one of the worst ages I've endured.  My family was in a bit of tailspin, my grades were not up to par (although they weren't bad), I was socially and physically awkward.  This was tom-boy year -- short hair, carrying a plastic comb and a velcro wallet in my back pocket, fighting with boys, fist fighting with girls. 

Twelve was tumultuous.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Autumn

Sapling's first Fall
Seeds Ready for Fall(ing)

Moon crater-ish ant homes

My Little One and I walked My Eldest to school.  On the way home, we observed Fall in full swing around us.  In Texas, it seems to arrive so much later than the rest of the country.  It seems like over a month ago I was reading tweets and posts about my northern friends raking their leaves, feeling the cold snap of fall and even experiencing snowfall already.

Fall is my favorite time of year.  It's a beautiful memory to have shared with My Little One, who is so curious about everything in nature.  (I'm glad I brought my camera, too!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WW: Boy George

Today's Wednesday Wickedness is inspired by Boy George....

1. “I can do anything. In GQ, I appeared as a man.”
What have you done that really surprised people?

What have I done that's surprised you?  You're the authority on that....

2. “I suppose there is a lot of toughness in me.”
What was the last thing that happened that showed you how tough you are?

I don't ever feel 'tough'.  When I endure an experience, in retrospect, I can see my strength, but it's still far from 'tough'.  

Do you think I'm tough?

3. “I try to exist in a world where there is freedom of opinion, where you're allowed to make jokes. I don't want to live in some PC world where no-one's allowed to say anything.”
What do you think about being PC (politically correct)?

PC is political, and we all know how I feel about politics.  *grumble*

4. “I find it difficult to say this, but I'm quite a loving person and I've always been loving to my friends. In the long run, that pays off. I'm very interested in other people, and if you are, they're interested in you.”
Do you have an easy time making friends?

Yes, I do -- perhaps too easily.  I'm so, SO grateful when I am told that people find it easy to tell me their secrets or their feelings.  I feel very humbled by the trust people place in me.  

I was in the therapist's office yesterday morning and we discussed a myriad of topics relating to the human soul, the Divine, and how the Divine is human -- incarnation.  I was so wonky going in, anxious.  Coming out, such peace.  Serenity.  The calm that washed over me didn't settle the stir, but I walked out more validated and confident in my feelings.  I felt more organized -- still do.  I also feel still quite uncomfortable.  The point of all this ramble is that relationships are ultimate.  Undebateably, how people are with one another from how you interact with the bank teller, the flight attendant, the doctor, your lover...the CORE of our existence is to relate to one another.  Kindness.  Love.  Love.  More love.  So yes, I find it easy to make friends.  I'm ever thankful for each and every one of you.  Thank you for loving me.  xx

5. “Remember that I was out of the closet at the age of sixteen. My parents knew I was gay; I`d had to tell them.”
At what age and situation were you in when you “came out”, in the sense of true honesty, with your parents?

Wow.  Tough question. 

I sometimes wish I had more memories so my stories on the blog would be more interesting, but yeah, I have so few.  Maybe Mom will help me out with this one....

6. “People say things about me all the time and I get over it. I`ve had some appalling things told about me.”
What is the worst lie that was told about you that you felt compelled to respond to?

I don't get easily sucked into this kind of drama, thankfully.  If some lies were spoken about me, it's not my business -- UNLESS -- it questions my parenting.  Then I'll punch you in the zygotes with my stiletto.

7. “I'd rather have a cup of tea than sex.”
Are there a lot of things more important than sex to you?

These days, no.  hahaha  I am sort of exploring and settling into my sexual being-ness.  So, it's kind of on my radar pretty big these days.  But, while I explore, I'll enjoy a freshly brewed cup of hot lemon tea, a dollop of honey, please, tyvm.

8. “I knew style and content went hand in hand.”
What celebrity do you find that their sense of style speaks to you?

I've always thought Duran Duran captured fashion and used their music to display it.  They have a unique marriage with fashion.  

Many celebs have incredible fashion sense, but you know what?  I don't!  And I could care less about trends.  I like my classic lines, classic colors and classicjackie.

9. “In the '60s everybody wanted to be the Beatles or the Stones, in the '70s there were bands everybody tried to emulate, like Led Zeppelin. And I think in the '80s you had lots of bands that had quite individual sounds, ... '80s Rewind.”
What do you think about today's music? How does it compare to what you consider YOUR day?

I wishwishWISH I had more time to listen to more music, because there are bands and musicians out there that have INCREDIBLE talent, yet will never make it to mainstream radioplay.  I suppose they might prefer it that way....  Anyway, some of the guys at work keep me in-the-know and I'm glad for that.  Plus, there are a couple other 20-somethings that keep me poppin'.  

I grew up in the 80's and am one of the few people, aside for my Duran Duran love, is not much of an 80's music fan.  I'll listen to some of it, but mostly it's meh.  The radio plays the same songs overandoverandover again, so I'm indifferent to it, sometimes even cringe to certain songs like "Come On Eileen" and "I Ran".  *cringe*  <~~ see!!

10. “Most psychiatrists or analysts are a waste of time.”
What do you think about shrinks and psychologists?

I happen to be a big believer in therapy (surprise!).  With that being said, you have to find the right one!  You should feel uncomfortable each session, yet validated.  A person needs to experience that discomfort to feel alive, to feel growth, to relate and be in connection.  We can't be objective 100% of the time, so it's acceptable to see a person who is neutral and can help organize a set of circumstances, be a jumping board from which to take a leap (not be shoved!), or be just an ear.

Psychology is not an exact science; it's subjective.  Although measureables and norms exist, a person is comprised of such complexities that there's no way to create a box and make a person fit in it. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bucket List: Duran Duran - Vienna

It might be time for me to document stuff I wanna do (in case you wanna do it too, or we can do it together...).  So, I've had a mini Bucket List going in my mind -- never really organized it. The Blog is a good place, non?  OUI!

I want to eat at this place in Vienna some day!


Who is with me?!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Music Minute: Ray LaMontagne with Some Matt Sucich

This guy is amazing -- Ray.  If you haven't heard him, your life is incomplete.  Thanks to me, now you owe me your life!  :P

Enjoy him...he's good.  Like Damien Rice good.  Like hits you to the core good. 

Now Matt...he's no Ray, but he's kind of like Ray. 

And with Matt, well, there's a little story about me crushing on him (you know me...forever boy crazy!).  I first heard of him, somehow, through my reading of [redacted] and thought he was so hot, you know, kinda like [Dan] hot.  His hands and arms caught my eye first.  Then that ruggedness he has about his look at times. 

*swoon* 

At the time, I didn't know Matt sang and played guitar.  Then I found him on MySpace, subsequently on Facebook, then lo and behold, twitter!  It looks like I stalk him.  I promise I don't.  Promise!  But, I've read his blog, listened some tunes and I'm pulling for him.  I'd love to see him make it big.  Maybe he'll even come all the way to Texas.

In any case, enjoy the intimate lyrics, the music that is soulful and enveloping.  Lay down in it, cross your legs at the ankles, close your eyes, intertwine your fingers across your belly and just listen...and drift.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Horn of Plenty

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. 

My Little One has been fascinated with The Horn of Plenty.  We have one that my mother-in-law gave us last year.

Last weekend, we broke out some of the fall and Thanksgiving decor and she carried The Horn of Plenty around as if she were leading a parade.

Last night, I walked by the dining room table and noticed she placed The Horn of Plenty as the centerpiece....then added some additional items.

Cute.

Grateful for all of you this Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sleep Eludes Me

Doctor M:  How much sleep are you getting at night, Jackie?
Jackie: *shrug* Maybeeee....five hours, six.
Doctor M:  You need seven.
Jackie:  In a row?

I'll sleep when I die.  That's my motto for the most part when it comes to sleep. 

I *do* try.

And I don't have it as bad as some people I know.  I know folks who are so productive in their sleeplessness.  I'm always afraid I'll disrupt the household if I read, sew, clean, DO something.  And when I wake up, I can usually turn over and go back to sleep.  But then there are those times when I can't.  Lately, I can't.  My mind is busy.  Running.  Thinking,   Daydreaming (in the night).  Creating.  Wishing.  Wanting.  Wondering.  Praying.  Listening.  Convincing.

And the periods of erratic sleep are sometimes days or weeks, not months and months.  After this restless period, I'll get superdupertired and my body will just force my sleep into submission and then I sleep well for an extended period of time, meaning I start having a good-sleep phase that typically lasts longer than any sleepless phase I've experienced.

But seven hours?  That's pretty rare.  On average, I would say I get six.  

My Husband and I used to have a television in our bedroom.  I love falling asleep to watching television!  Somehow, watching TV settles my mind and body.  I guess when I get interested in what I'm watching, it focuses my mind so it's not scampering about on various bunny trails.  But having the TV in our room disrupts not only My Husband's sleep, it disrupts our communication with each other.  So we've moved the TV out.  Now, on rare occasion (like tonight), I'll pop a squat on the living room sofa and watch some TV in hopes of falling asleep.  But we have a giant flat screen telly that illuminates half the continent.  I've found that I'm more stimulated by it rather than soothed.  *hits head against the wall*  
Tonight, maybe blogging/writing will help.....while I "watch" Daniel Negranu and some hot dude named sexy, young hottie named Lex play poker against Doyle King and some other folks.

There are hopefully moments.  A couple of weeks ago, I went to bed at 10 p.m. and got out of bed the next morning at 10 a.m.  That felt really good in a way, but my back hurt, and I felt pretty foggy in the noggy (yes, noggy instead of noggin.  Just trying to be clever.  Did it work?).  I had to MAKE myself get out of bed that morning -- I really wanted to stay in bed all day, but my guilt got the best of me.  

When my kids tell me they want to be a grown-up, or ask me in objection to words of instruction I've just delievered to them, "Why do adults get to make ALL the decisions?!", I remind them that they will be a kid a shorter amount of time in life than they are adults; and while being an adult has fun moments, it's also filled with a lot of not-so-fun moments.  But, in the context of sleep, I'm sort of ready for them to be teenagers so we can all sleep late.  My guilt of irresponsible parenting won't rule my sleep.  Watch...when they are teenagers, I won't be able to sleep like a teen.  *shrug*  

Here's hoping, though...

Night-night.
xo

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

WW: The Don

Today we picked Donald Trump. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

1. “A little more moderation would be good. Of course, my life hasn't exactly been one of moderation.”

Do you live your life by moderation or extremes?

I live moderately because I can't afford not to!  Haha! 

Ideally, I'd like to be able to have more money to afford a more robust education for each of my children and my nephew.

I have expensive taste and want more travel in my life.  Truth be told, I'd much rather have the money to travel than to possess.  The two collide in that, if I could afford it, I'd have a home in all my favorite locales -- nothing fancy, but something for sure.  Since I love water, I'd have boats -- yachts, sail, pontoon, etc.  So, resting my head at my home in Monte Carlo, then go to Ibiza to sail, or get on the yacht to watch holiday fireworks in the Gulf of Alaska...  yeah, that sounds pretty good to me.  In so far as having the most expensive jewelry, clothes, a very decorated home with hand-made items doesn't appeal to me as much.  I enjoy a nice purse.  And great shoes.

All that aside, though, there's value in living in moderation.  I never want to lose touch with reality or be so removed from people that my life has to be lived for me instead of me living my own life.  It's my belief that modesty allows for that.  It *is* possible to have *too much* money.  But, since I haven't been given the alternative to live and base my words in experience, I'll never know the difference. 

2. “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me - consciously or unconsciously. That's to be expected.”

Have you ever thought someone was flirting with you in a work environment? What happened?

Oh, sure!  It's pretty obvious to me when a guy is flirting with me (women flirt with me, too).  I'm a big flirt myself, so, it's easy to spot.  As far as what happened, well, flirting is fun, so fun happened.  Because flirting exists doesn't mean something beyond flirting exists.

3. “As long as your going to be thinking anyway, think big.”

Have you ever “thought big” and you wound up crashing and burning?

I think big every day.  And I crash & burn every day.  :)

4. “Everything in life is luck.”

Do you believe in luck? If not, do you feel it all happens to us for a reason?

I believe wherever you are is where you're supposed to be.

5. “Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you're generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don't make.”

Have you ever benefited big time because you declined an offer, investment, job (Well you get the idea.)?

I read this question and the context doesn't seem to bend beyond the business realm.  I'm not career driven or ambitions.  I'm not business savvy, nor do I desire to be.  The hunger to advance, to invest, to allow money to rule my life just isn't in me.  So, no, I can't say I've benefited by declining an offer, investment or job. 


6. “I don't make deals for the money. I've got enough, much more than I'll ever need. I do it to do it.”

Tell us about someone that you know that has all the money they need.

In the strict sense of need, most of whom I know has enough, but they want a more prominent lifestyle so they make choices to live in a way that skews need vs. want.  (Dallas metro is kind of Keeping Up With The Joneses-ish in case you haven't heard....)

7. “I have made the tough decisions, always with an eye toward the bottom line. Perhaps it's time America was run like a business.”

Do you think running your country like a business would be a good thing?

I abstain from answering this question because politics exists in business and business exists in politics.  I have fierce opinions about them that are (1) not worth my time to express, (2) not worth your time to read, (3) apathetic at best, (4) ill-informed.  So, no sense spouting off on subjects where I am actively choosing to play ostrich.  I'll stay in denial and play the ignorance card until I have the energy to give a crap about it.

8. “I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That's were the fun is.”

Do you live in the past in any way?

Sometimes I do.  I look back to my days in El Paso and smile at the simplicity there.  Here, in Dallas, it's an Act of Congress to have social time with friends and family.  The city is so huge and there is a litany of events from which to choose -- it's almost overwhelming.  I miss being able to drive over to a friend's house to see if they wanted to go to the mall for a while just to be together.  I didn't need to call ahead, put the whole thing on my schedule, log in an address on a GPS, so on and so on.  

But, Donald has a point here -- focusing on the present does somehow allow for more fun.  I think this goes back to how I'm not much of a fan of the restraints of time (watches, schedules, etc.).  Worrying about what I'll be in 40 years today is a downer and overwhelming to me.  It is definitely hard to balance fun with responsible living, though.  I'm still a work in progress on that.

9. “If you're interested in 'balancing' work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable.”

How are you at balancing work and pleasure?

God's blessed me with a good job and good employer.  I work in an environment that's work hard, play hard.  And the people with whom I work are solid, talented, and fun.  We have golf tournaments, catered food regularly, department outings, holiday celebrations, company-planned and paid happy hours, sporting events, the occasional tickets given to pro sports games/events, etc. 

More fun in my life would have to include the luxuries of time and money so I could travel more by myself, with My Husband and/or as a whole family.  Seems there's never enough money.....the more I make, the more I seem to need.  Frustrating. 

10.“Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”

Tell us about a time that you won the battle but lost the war.

Won the battle but lost the war?  Gosh...  *thinks*

I think I'll leave that alone and go watch "True Lies" which is actually airing at 3 ayem on Thursday but this post is actually posting at 9 something ayem Wednesday...before the Thursday.  *wink*