Monday, December 21, 2009

By Dickens' It's What Matters

One New Year’s I watched the Muppets Christmas Carole. It came to the point in the story where Scrooge stares terrifyingly at the grave asking the Spirit what it meant. I wondered why this came to be such a heightened crescendo of fear. To me, the most terrifying scene came before, in the murky tunnel, where thieves having taken his material possessions, laughed like craven witches. They had no care or compassion for this human being. All that mattered was what they could get for his items - and this, for me, was horrifyingly sad.

Scrooge’s name has become a synonym to being a miser. Yes, his heart had become hardened, but why? How did he become the man that we see when we first meet him in the story? We’re shown the pains of his past and the route he took to avoid seemingly future ones. When the Spirit brings him to the graveyard, to me, it's not the fear of death that haunts Scrooge, it's the fear of not having mattered. He's confronted with a life not truly lived, one where he'd holed himself up, barricading himself from all that matters, including not mattering to anyone. Perhaps this is my own fear.

I look at what truly matters in my life. Is it debts? Or is it times I've spent well with friends. I look at this story as a tale of living beyond fear because I don't want fear holding me back from experiencing what matters most to me in this world. What matters most in the world to me? It's what I discover and re-discover every day living here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trail Thoughts

Heavily in my thoughts, a ‘thunk!,’ caught my attention. Looking down, my foot broke a twig and brought my mind back to the trail. I was about ¾ of the way up to the overlook. “Curious,” I thought. I recalled my first trek up the trail, a few months ago. Every step held my full attention. Not knowing what laid beyond each bend, I looked around carefully, even fearfully. How far was it? Pant, pant pant. I didn’t know if I could I make it up the mountain.

Now, I drifted on the trail, lost in my thoughts until a sharp noise, a darting lizard or a snake laying on the trail forced me to refocus. The walk that daunted me so much in the beginning was now so familiar, I didn’t fret the distance. Having become so familiar, I rambled, without much thought of how much easier I could climb the trail. Until I heard the “crack!”

I appreciated how far I’d come in just a few months. Then back to my thoughts again…

Now again, thinking about my walk, I wonder about the things that 'throw us for a loop’. Do they happen to force us to pay attention to our surroundings if we are just ‘coasting along’? Do tightrope walkers do it for the thrill of feeling each heart-pounding second as they step into the high air? When we thrill seek, do we do so in order to remain present for just a few seconds? Maybe it’s just me - someone who is prone to coast in dreams and thoughts until some random noise reminds to pay attention to what is right in front of me. And also what I've left behind on the trail...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Have a nice day!

As I drove through the vineyards on my way over to my coffee shop destination, I couldn’t retain my snarky thoughts. At home, I stewed over the insincere misuse of “Have a Nice Day!” But seeing the patchwork of yellow and burgundy grapevine leaves sprawling before me, how could I retain such negativity? A falcon passed overhead – one of my favorite birds. Before my departure, I thought of one my encounters at the coffee shop. A new trainee, middle-aged, seeming out of her element wished me with rote insincerity, “Have a Nice Day!” I expected this from the more chain-like, ubiquitous Starbucks but not at my precious Peet’s Coffee where I usually was helped by funky hair-dyed, pierced Goths that were surprisingly chipper. I thought, I’d even prefer the usual Goth, downturn, “can’t be bothered to exert my energy on you” persona.

So chipper me entered the coffee shop, and I got served by the “can’t be bothered to exert energy on you,” Goth. I picked up my coffee and slunk away. I considered taking my earlier statement back. I didn’t want to helped by a downturn, “can’t be bothered to exert my energy on you” person. Setting up my computer at the table, I realized that I had forgotten to get an internet access code. I went back to counter, now singled-handedly ‘manned’ by one server, and waited behind a gaggle of seniors struggling to navigate the curious names of the coffee items. Fortunately, the former mis-user of, “Have a Nice Day,” who’d been stationed at the bean counter, came to my rescue seeing that I needed help. She guessed I forgot the code and I only had to do a short-hand to have her print one out. She didn’t offer me, “Have a Nice Day,” but a very sincere act of service. How I appreciated that!

How things change in a drive… In a thought…. In an instant… Or instance…

What brought all this “Have a Nice Day!,” frenzy on? I recently watched George Carlin's classic, "Have a nice day!" routine. It's hilarious and perfect for the moment when someone's "have a nice day..." can push you over the edge...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I love you Charlie

As a life long fan of Charles M. Schultz & his beloved Peanuts characters,I had to visit the Charles M. Schultz museum located in Santa Rosa, CA. I finally got the chance last May. As I approached the museum, the Charlie Brown Christmas theme blared out from outside speakers. On the inside, cheery, enthusiastic workers in bright yellow shirts greeted every visitor. I asked the ticket seller what it was like to work there. "It's great that we get paid to be here," he replied. "No kidding!" I thought. And this response echoed on. “Best job ever”, the volunteer docent ticket replied to my inquiry. In her 70's, she told us she'd been a fan for years and was an honor for her to volunteer there.

In the video cove, I watched a short movie about the museum and Charles M. Schultz's life. The inspiration for the museum came from Charles M. Schultz’s wife and friend who wanted a place to house Schultz's work for everyone to experience. His wife even transferred his office so his fans could experience how her husband worked every day.

Thinking about his wife's affection for his work makes me teary-eyed. I have a certain sensitivity. I can feel the feelings around me. Once walking down the street, happily, I became overwhelmed with sadness. I turned my head, looked over, and saw a young woman sitting on a tree stand, crying.

Whether it’s a gift or a curse, I can tap into emotions. I think it makes me a stronger writer and possibly a better humanitarian. Because of this “sensitivity” I don’t venture to places lightly. A sport’s bar can be toxic to me. Not that I dislike sports, just the anger that can erupt around when a goal isn't scored. Such emotions hurt my inner being. As I passed by the exhibits I became overwhelmed with tears. But these were happy tears. I realized it was because there was so much love in the museum. Everyone who came to the museum, young & old shared this love and filled up the museums walls. And this filled up my inner being with happiness.

Upstairs were the relics of Schultz’s life: His early drawings; His World War II uniform; His first printed cartoons - all the things that made him the artist he was. In another room was where his wife moved his office. He had a giant desk, of course. Opposite that were glass-cased bookshelves filled with books upon books ranging from Dickens to Fitzgerald (I’m going by memory, I can’t remember them all). He had a bust of Beethoven, of course, and Mozart.

Ruminating on what he chose to surround himself by, I felt Schultz's cared deeply about the world and this influenced his work daily. I loved his cartoons as a kid. I didn't realize the irony in his work until I was an adult. Regardless, I felt the love. Perhaps he had the "sensitivity" too and channeled it into his work.

Everyone has their own reason to be drawn to his work. For me, it's his humanity and great spirit as an artist. And that's why I love Charlie. And I truly appreciate the rarity of place to have so much love in it that I became overwhelmed with joyful tears.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Morpho's Magic

The Morpho butterfly is one of the signature butterflies in Costa Rica. Beyond Central America, I'm not sure where else you'd find them, although I swear I small a tinier version of them in Sonoma this past spring. That might be wishful thinking...

Hard not to think magically when you look at this butterfly. With wings closed, their brown bodies blend into the background. When wings are open and they fly, you then see a completely different butterfly with their blue beating wings. I tried hard to capture their image in flight, yet somehow, I like this blurry version better. They remain magical that way.

I think of the lesson in the Morpho butterfly. When still, they're wallflowers, to blend into the background. There are times in life where that is a necessary function. But if no one ever sees you, they'll miss the beauty of who you truly are. Sometimes you do have to get off the ground and fly, to show the world what you really have.... This is what I'm trying to do in my life right now. I have the blue dye, wire, and tissue paper all ready....

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Printable Affirmation Cards

On one of my twitter adventures (or twitteratures, twittertreks, twitternavs, etc., etc.) I found Kind Over Matter, a GREAT blog full of inspiration, fun, and very, very creative items. And they are very generous with them.

Every Thursday there's a giveaway.... Yipee! Plus, you can download affirmation cards. Click on the link at the bottom of the blog and it'll take you to the Kind Over Matter blog. There you'll find step by step instructions on how to download and create these great cards. Happy Affirming!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dr. Gates stand - is it really black and white?

Colin Powell is the latest bigwig to opine on the Henry Louis Gates v. Cambridge Police Dept. I have the deepest respect for Colin Powell as I do for Dr. Gates. Powell, after all, went against “his” administration to resign over the war. Is there a bigger act of defiance?

Powell commented that he didn’t agree with Dr. Gates actions over yelling at the Cambridge Police in a recent CNN article:

In the article, Colin Powell shares having been racially profiled again and again - he, one of the most respected men in the nation. He questioned Dr. Gates wisdom over making it an issue. My thoughts immediately were, if one of the respected men in the nation suffered being racially profiled numerous times, why isn’t this a huge, enormous issue? Why isn’t he applauding Dr. Gates for bringing this issue to the forefront?

Colin Powell talks about picking the right time for your battles. When is it the right time? Dr. Gates was tired after his long, long, LONG trip back from China. But was it really the China trip – or a life time of the little injustices building up? Did it hit at the right time that he wasn’t going to back down? He was fed up, sick and tired. It reminds me of Rosa Parks saying, that day, she was tired and she didn’t feel like sitting on back of the bus. What if she gave in that day? Played by the rules set for her? Am I stretching it too far by using that analogy or are they part of the same....

In my own life, I try to play nice, but little things stew. Girls are taught to play nice and get along with others. You don’t want to be seen as a nasty bitch – but then again, I’m making this about me. But why not? Is this just a black and white issue or is it a story we all can relate to in our own unique way? Introducing the Gates issue on Countdown with Keith Olberman, Lawrence O’Donnell recounted his own interaction and arrest with the police – a similar situation to Dr. Gates. He mouthed off. Doesn’t that go against our 2nd amendment rights – being arrested for saying what you want to, especially on your own property? Christopher Hitchens of Slate magazine outlines that point here:

When we can’t question authority, here, in the U.S. who are we becoming? An Irish émigré told me that growing up in Ireland, he looked to America and its ideals but America now has to get off its duff and stand up for its original ideals of freedom and democracy. I couldn’t deny what he saying. Freedom isn’t a campaign slogan or something to take for granted while it’s being whittled away for someone else’s gain (i.e. Homeland Security, Patriot Act, etc., etc. and anytime you couldn't say what you truly felt for fear of retribution either by your boss, co-worker or even a loved one). It’s your right to be. And sometimes seeming unreasonable, is the only reasonable way to maintain that.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Watch a Mole San Francisco

Others play whack a mole but in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, a group of us waited patiently for a mole to come out of his hole to snap his picture....
I squealed when I first saw him which sent him scurrying down to his hole. I then apologized to my fellow watchers. He was just so cute though! He did come out a few minutes later and chewed on his grass while we kept a safe distance. They don't make coats out of these beautiful creatures anymore do they?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Just Never Know What'll Take Sometimes

I’ve been told I have a green thumb. For some plants yes – others, well, they’ve gone to their grave, but not until I’ve exhausted all possibilities for keeping them alive. I love my plants, but sometimes, I have to concede, some weren’t meant to last with me.

I learn a lot watching my plants grow. I’m no expert in plant soils, fertilizers, or even watering. I take them being alive as a bit of a miracle. It’s up to nature or their nature and if I can read them right and give them what they need. I can fuss over some but the plants I work best with I leave alone to do their thing.

I get a few hand me downs – and I usually don’t say no to more green friends. I try to control my urge to buy more and when I do, try to select ones I imagine to have the best success with.

Last June, to spruce up my patio for my birthday party, I bought 4 plants – one fuchsia, two drought resistant plants (the wisest choice for living in parched California) and the last, a hydrangea. The fuchsia I bought for the hummingbirds. The drought plants had wonderful flowers and had the best chance, I thought, for survival in the hot heat. The hydrangea, I considered, was a bit of a vanity plant. I love their beautiful flowers and they always remind me of grand Victorian mansions that they seem, in front of, inevitably planted. I always wanted one but didn’t know anything about them except that their flower petal colors change depending on the acidity of the soil. Would they even work growing in a pot? My desire won over practicality – sort of. My reasoning was that I wanted to buy a bouquet of flowers but wouldn’t a live plant be more practical….

We had a heat wave. The fuchsia tanked. No matter how much shade I tried, the fuchsia couldn’t rebound. The drought plants flourished. The hydrangea lost all its flowers. With leaves still on the plant, I considered that it wasn’t really dead.

A week later I saw a woman complaining to a clerk at Trader Joes about her hydrangea dying. I thought of mine. Was it really the plant, the store, or the owner?

In August, I set to move to Wine Country in Northern California. One of the drought plants became riddled with black bugs I couldn’t get rid of. I made the heartbreaking decision to toss the plant. I didn’t want to risk taking foreign bugs to a new location. I packed the flowerless hydrangea into my car with my numerous other plants. (I actually drove twice back and forth to move all my plants. Did I mention I love my plants?).

At my new place I had all the free soil and pots I could want thanks to my new landlords. I repotted the hydrangea and the drought plant. Winter came. I didn’t realize how cold the Wine Country gets. It got down to 20 degrees. The cold and the rain took a toll on many of my plants. My hydrangea looked barely alive. The stems browned. Most of the leaves had gone. I pondered tossing it but the better part of me told me to wait and see.

Spring came. Most of my plants rebounded. My drought plant bloomed when I first replanted it; it then completely dried up. I had tucked the hydrangea in a corner near the gate. I hadn’t paid that much attention to it until one day I noticed all new leaves on it. They continued to grow. I noticed some leaves browning so I moved it out of the afternoon sun to where it would get morning sun.

This past June, to my surprise, the hydrangea started to sprout flowers. Now it’s in full bloom. Had I tossed it out when it looked dead, I never would have these blooming flowers now. I took that as a great lesson. You never know what will take hold. Last year I would have bet on the drought plant. Then again, I set to live in Mendocino and ended up in Sonoma. You don’t know always know what’s going to pay off in the end. The only true proof is to pay attention to what’s about to flower.

Ya just never know what will take sometimes - it's always best to have an open mind :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Twitterings of Twitter

I get it. Twitter has become my new addiction. I didn’t quite get it at first. Just signing up seemed confusing. Once past that, I stared at the starting question Twitter asks, “what are you doing?” Hmm, I paused. The truly literal answer would be, "writing on Twitter". And if that was always the answer, I would get stuck in that loop forever – like a bad Abbott and Costello bit. So, I went a step beyond that and entered into the restrictive text box, "trying to figure out Twitter". I noticed, reading others first twitters that they too had a similar response. A lot of us had to grapple with what exactly this medium was (is) and what the point was – if there was (is) a point.

I spent the first month or so trying to figure it out. What do I say? How often? I followed a few friends but decided on no celebrities. My friends posts ranged from saying the somewhat literal answer to “what are you doing” like, “eating a burrito” to a PR friend’s posts ranging from Hollywood to PR about Twitter. All of a sudden, people, I didn't know, started following me. What to do? Do I have to follow back? I looked at one. His tweets seemed to be mostly social, to his immediate friends, of where he was right then (like what bar he was going to). I didn’t feel I needed to know that. Then I got the followers showcasing their “photos” – ok, wannabe porn stars. So, I blocked them. I blocked a few others on the reason I didn’t feel a connection to them; I wonder now if that was such a good idea. Is it wise to be selective and snobby on Twitter? I’m still learning the etiquette.

This week I decided to take the plunge to build who I’m following and vice-versa. I searched under “green” and “zen”. I added a few groups and people I connected to in that category. What happened? They followed me back. Then I had a few more people follow and I followed them back – after reading their profiles. This phenomenon is amazing to me. In a matter of days, I tripled the amount of people following me. (Ok, it’s now 21) but still, where else can you see such immediate results. I posted a tweet about violins and now I have a Latvian, heavymetal violinist following me. Who knew? (After sharing this with a friend, he told me he tweeted about watching Veronica Mars and now he has the Veronica Mars fan club following him. I tried that but do not as of yet have them as followers).

I get it now. I get why people love it and find it fun, informative, silly, deep, helpful, etc. I get tweets on green news, zen sayings, projects made from recycled products, to fun quips from friends. How you use it depends on you: who you want to follow and in turn, who you want to follow you. Some people want to share news, some to plug products, others to feel connected to a specific community. For me, it’s about connecting to and creating community and finding like-minded people the world over. It’s truly the expression of the Universal. There’s a place for everyone to tell us “what they’re doing”. I love it!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Politics of Pretty

For silly blog Sunday.....

Never would I have guessed that the good-looking Barrista was an English major. Surfer, possibly. Frat boy, yes. But then I overheard his consternation over the way these kids today are using language, or lack thereof. Since it’s one of my pet peeves (see words matter post) I honed into the conversation. He told me about his little sister and how annoyed he was in her high handed usage of the word “like.” “Oh yeah,” I said, staring into his eyes. I probably should have told him I used to use like, more than I drank water or even breathed air before I graduated Laguna Beach High School. Then, on purpose, I eradicated it from my vocabulary so that no one would think I was an idiot when I moved to Northern California to go to college. (I still use like on occasion but I’m more guilty of using um or you know as space fillers). I would tell him there’s hope but I gathered post high school, his sister is still speaking without thinking – i.e. using catch phrases everyone else does. I told him my biggest peeve phrase, “you know riiiiiiiiiight”. He shuttered as he poured my decaf. Sorry I said. We talked a bit and then he chose to close the conversation about telling me about the afternoon discount. Was he paranoid that my cougar “ness” was flirting with him? That I would ruin his cool? Why – because he’s good looking? I did the unthinkable as he gave me the receipt. I thanked him with, “oh nice!” I shirked off.

Why do these pretty people alarm me so and thwart me from my usual wittiness? It was like I like was in high school or something. Is it really that easy to digress? Or did I not like get over high school or something?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Getting someplace

My zen equalibrium is most disturbed driving, particularly when I'm trying to get to work. I try in most cases to calm down, and go with the flow; but when pressed for time, I admit if I'm behind you and you aren't going the speedlimit, I'm calling you all sorts of things I wouldn't say to your face. I'm probably flipping you off although when I do that, I don't put up my finger in fullview. My innate politeness won't allow that. You probably noticed I'm mumbling to myself, unless you'd mistake that for singing.... yeah, I'm singing, something like grr$#$@!@!!! But seriously, the speedlimit isn't a suggestion. If it says 50, it really isn't ok to go 35. Why am I in such a rush? Well, I've timed leaving my place to the last second I have until I have to drag my butt into the car and give my time to someone else. I get especially annoyed when my time is wasted by some bozo who's driving 35 in the 45 zone, slowing me down so I can't get to a place I don't really want to go in the first place. You'd think I'd be grateful to that person, delaying my time.... But I'm not. Because it's my time and I'd rather waste my time at the job on the internet... but I digress.

My bitchy driving habits, particularly when pmsing, don't make me proud. I really had to calm down when I moved back to the Bay Area after living in amped up L.A. When I can, and I have the time, I love to drive to Napa on the Old Sonoma Road. I don't know the actual speedlimit on this road. The only trace of the speedlimit is around the bends. It takes a lot for me to go fast in the area because the bucolic scenery is full of vineyards, rolling hills, cows, resevoirs. I try to drive a decent speed though because as I stated above, I don't want to be the person I can't stand, the one who drives below the speedlimit screwing others up. Yet equally annoying is the person riding your butt, even though you're going the limit, if not more. That happened to me the other day - an annoying monster truck bore down on me. I looked at the speedometer. It read 55. How wasn't that fast enough? Yet the guy crossed the double lines and passed me. "Ass!" I mumbled. Granted, I was pmsing, but his action totally pissed me off. Why? Why did I care? If the dude wanted to race, who was I to stop him? Yet I was offended. This where I had to ask myself why his action offended me so much. Was he judging me for not going fast enough for him? Was he calling me an ass as I passed? Possibly.... Why, because I call "slowpokes" asses? I often have to stop myself and ask, why is this such a big deal? Was his action really that rude - and even more importantly, why is the 5 seconds of this interaction that important? Or is it the 5 seconds actually important?

Inevitably, this interaction will play out again with someone else. It has in the past. A guy with a van tailed me and I decided to pull over. The van told me that he was a family man and I created a scenario that he was late picking up his kids. Why did I give that guy a break but not monster truck guy? Car judgment. I'll admit it. I'm much nicer if a Prius cuts me off than say, an SUV - it's true. I have a lot of work to do in order to reach a better place with my car bias. And to be ok when someone wants to pass me. What do I care what they're doing and where they are going and how? It's a mystery I've yet to solve.... Fortunately, I found a great resource on Twitter today. They're called Zen Driver giving all sorts of helpful tips to offset road rage - and to give everyone "a brake". After all, it's how you enjoy the drive, not how fast you get there? Wonder if the Buddha would have just let someone else drive while he meditated... hmmmm.... something to think about on my drive home....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Solar Chocolate Chip Cookies

I just saw this recipe today, so I don't know if the cookies are "out of this world".... (I can't help solar puns or any for that matter) But I'm excited that such a perfect combo of two of my favorite things exists: green living and chocolate chip cookies!

I haven't tried it yet but if it continues to be 100 degrees out in my Sonoma hood, I may try it this week if I don' venture to the beach first!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael, you had me at Thriller

It was close to two weeks ago, sitting at my computer at work where I saw the news crawl, “Michael Jackson is dead”. I did what I normally wouldn’t do at work, or anywhere else. I did, what I consider to be, a tasteless action. I clicked onto the TMZ website. I hate that site with its dirt slinging malicious slant but at that moment, it held words that I didn’t want to believe but needed to see – Michael Jackson had died. I read TMZ’s report, which relayed that Michael was taken to the hospital after getting a call that he wasn’t breathing. I still didn’t truly believe it. After all, I was reading TMZ – ready to spread whatever they could get their hands on, true or false. I waited until I saw it confirmed on MSNBC. Then I sat there somewhat stunned and close to tears. I was alone in my little section. I wanted to bolt out of my chair and run to the nearest person saying, “Did you hear the news?” But I thought, they would think it’s ridiculous. I wondered if they would find it strange that I was close to tears over the loss of this person. My work buddy returned and I asked her, did you hear? She had. She actually heard a few people joking about it and scoffed, internally. She summed up the experience beautifully. “No matter what you thought of the man, a human being has died!,” she said steamily. (That isn’t verbatim but I hope I caught the essence).

My work buddy and I talked about his music and his impact. I told her, I didn’t know a moment of my life without Michael Jackson. I grew up with him. I remember watching him on TV as a kid and my mother remarking, “He has rubberbands as legs.” I remember him as being talented and a wonderkid. There was no one like him.

As a young teenager I saw a picture of him as the “adult” Michael and remembered thinking how cute he was. So I clipped out his picture and added to all the others I was into like Harrison Ford and Adam Ant. I remember rushing home to be there for the exact moment that MTV played the world premiere of Thriller. I was awed. And I tried to do the moves. I moonwalked. Not as badly as you would think. I didn’t wear the glove – I was a preppy after all. But like most people I knew, I owned Thriller. Mind you, in that, that was quite extraordinary. Although I wore conservative, preppy clothes, I did it because I didn’t want to follow trends. I wanted to be my own person. I didn’t want to listen to the music everyone else did. I didn’t buy Thriller because it was the thing to buy (it took me YEARS before I bought a Madonna album). I bought it because I truly loved the music – and I listened to that album way past its trendiness.

I didn’t follow much of Michael’s music later on. Not because I didn’t like it but because my focus changed. I had become heavily involved in anti-war activist work and I wasn’t tapped into anything mainstream, including music (and by that time, Michael was mainstream). I remember though, during that time, being at Moma’s Royal Café in Oakland, and Michael’s, Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough blared through the restaurant. My friend and I started grooving at the table. Then our food came. Our server dropped off our dishes and did a turn right to the beat. We clapped and continued to dance. This isn’t the typical way white suburbanites act while having brunch but such was the impact of Michael’s music. We had to “get down” because his music was so upbeat.

After that, the dark years of Michael being accused and ridiculed descended upon us. I had doubts whether the accusations were true but I did feel differently about the icon I grew up with. Then maybe because the later years were so hard, I wanted to reconnect with Michael’s “old” music (the time prior to all the ugliness) so I bought Off The Wall. It had been years since I heard Rock With You. Then it seemed like I heard the old hits everywhere. I went to Peets on Piedmont and the cashier was rocking out to She’s Got Me Working Day and Night (mind you, probably an art student with his piercings and died red, half -shaved hair). At a friend’s party I talked to a bassist about the greatness of Off The Wall and the genius of the rhythm section. Despite all the negative press of the later years, however, or whatever you thought of the person, his music touched people.

For me, Off the Wall got me through the trying time of finishing school. Having an almost choking writing block, whenever I felt paralyzed by the work, I would put on Off the Wall and danced – especially to the line, “Do what you want to do. They’re ain’t no rules, it’s up to you.” I held onto that line like a mantra because it’s true, it is up to all of us to do what we want, regardless of what people say about us.

I heard the spirit of Off the Wall over and over again during Michael Jackson’s memorial service. Reverend Al Sharpton, for me, said it best. Michael got knocked down and he got up – over and over again. Because he had passion and because he had love. Love for music. Love for the world.

My work buddy had said she felt for his children because Michael was so greatly in debt. “What debt?” I thought. What could HE possibly owe the world – a person who has given so much? The outpouring of love from around the world shows just that; that people felt they owed so much to him, his voice, his compassion, his talent and his music. I heard an interesting tidbit on the news. With the recent sales of Michael’s music, if it continues at this rate, his debt will be paid off in a week. It’s hard to hear Michael spoken about in monetary terms but such is the world we live in now. Hearing those statistics didn’t surprise me – but I thought of it in much more positive terms. I thought in a way, his fans, his friends were repaying him for all that he brought. It reminded me of the scene in Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life where all of George Bailey’s financial problems were solved when friends and neighbors all rallied around to repay him for all that he gave. In fact, the whole memorial service reminded of It’s a Wonderful Life – when you got past the negatives the media tended to portray and heard the incredible stories about this person you realized the immense impact he had the world over. He truly did have a wonderful life. He got to do what he wanted to do – no matter what other people said about him.
He lived Off the Wall.

I don't think of him in the negative shadows the lawsuits cast. I'm beyond that. His music, spirit and soul transcends space and time. I’m forever grateful to him for helping raise the vibrational level of the planet to a higher place where love can ring through. May it keep on ringin'........

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Big Red Ball

I’ve been analyzing why some exchanges with some people seem so wearing. I’ve contributed it to the red ball theory. What is it? Well, it goes something like this.

Someone engages, hires you, etc. to work on a project. You discuss ideas. You excitedly brainstorm. You puff up all these wonderful ideas into a big red ball. You throw the ball to your companion (co-worker, boss, etc.) and it lands on the ground. That person may be busy, occupied with other things – whatever reason, they don’t catch it. Ok fine, the ball is still firm, so you go to pick it up and try throwing it again. You watch the beautiful, bright ball go up in the air and then crash to the ground, again. Hmmm. The other person did say they wanted the ball tossed, didn’t they? What to do? You try again. You run over, pick up the ball, and throw again. Still, it lands on the ground. And now, the ball is slowly starting to deflate. You keep at this until suddenly the ball is completely flat. This has happened to me recently. I kept chasing after the ball until I ran out of steam. The bigger question for me is, am I the person throwing the ball? Or the ball itself?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The headline today reads recent CFO of Freddie Mac hangs himself. I'm truly upset by this news.

I've been pondering, more like wallowing in, why the people responsible for this economic mess aren't taken out of the way, banished, held responsible or at least paying back something, anything for causing so much suffering.

I know few people, including myself, who aren't completely stressed by today's economic downturn. Why are we bearing the brunt of other's complete irresponsibility!

I'm not suprised that as Obama brandished a stern finger at those at the helm of the economic fiasco, he's been seen as a father disciplining the kids. These actions are nothing less than sophmoric. And we need a stern parent right now because the kids haven't been acting with any rules. They've been testing how much they can actually get away with. A good parent knows that kids need rules and discipline. Kids are taught to share and play nicely with others. Aren't they?

We've been aghast at how these so called finance wizards have been behaving. Bonuses? Lavish parties? Who really do these people think they are? Are they just a bunch of spoiled brats that feel entitled to everything because no one has told them NO! before?

Why haven't these people been banished to their respective "rooms" without supper?

Party time is over. Sadly, for all of us who don't have the disposable income this is true for us as well...

With mass shootings on the rise, I wonder if this is, as some have commented, due to stress of our economic times. If so, why are they not targeted at the culprits? (not that I advocate they should... ) Then I read about the hanging. He didn't come on board as CFO of Freddie Mac until Sept. Could he have had anything to do with their shenanegans? Was he bearing the responsibility of others and that being too much to handle, he ended his life?

I felt for him, I felt for his family. I felt the same as I did for the teenage boy in Long Beach whose father shot himself after his killing spree at his job. Sad, knowing he doesn't have a father now to turn to.

Finding who to blame hasn't settled my mind or fixed my own problems. I have to do that myself. I have to be my own parent. So I whine and then settle down to business. What else is there to do?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Responsibility. Why this is on my mind today, I don’t know. On the responsibility spectrum, you once could have considered me on high red alert although I try to bring myself to a calm blue, or at least a violet these days.

I guess my thoughts began in the shower as I wrestled around the bucket I have to catch shower water. I have it there to justify showering over ten minutes, although we have well water so it’s not draining the municipal resources. All the same, I don’t want to be wasteful. On that, I remembered these little girls washing their hands in the bathroom at the Asian Art museum. I heard a loud rushing sound. Startled, I looked over to see girls washing their hands under taps turned to full force. With the city in water restrictions, their wastefulness shocked me. I thought of saying something but that raises an ethical question for me. Who am I to tell other people’s children what to do? I looked for their parents and didn’t spot any waiting for them. Were they outside? Was it that important I give up my space in the waiting line to track them down just to tell them, your daughters don’t need to wash their hands for 5 minutes with the taps running at full force! For all I knew, they got that behavior from their parents.

The quandary for me telling kids what to do stems from harsh childhood experiences where adults, other than my parents, scolded me for actions I didn’t know were wrong. Like when my friend Debbie and I found one machine at the supermarket giving free gumballs. Delighted, we kept turning the knob to get another gumball and shove it in our mouths. “That’s stealing,”snarled an adult. “What?,” I thought, shocked. It didn’t occur to me that it was and here this woman was calling me a bad person. A thief! I didn’t get over it. That’s my own quirk. Even in my more adult years (if you can call college that) when friends snacked on food bins in the supermarket without paying I wouldn’t. That’s stealing. I told them it was. Didn’t stop them though, nor did I try to with any force.

I’m responsible – yet is it my responsibility to point out to others where I think their actions are potentially harmful? How wasteful were those girls really being? What would I do with my own children? I’ll never know.

In high school, I never took drugs. Why? Because I thought of future conversations with my future kids. If I caught them doing drugs and they countered, but you did it, I could say with impunity, “No I didn’t, not in high school. You can do whatever you want at 18, but not that under my roof…. “

At college, the pretend conversation with my future kids became moot. After learning the environmental and social devastation of overpopulation, I decided never to have kids. That would be irresponsible. And I, was responsible.

I spent a good part of my early twenties being a do-gooder – working for social harmony. Burned out, I quit being an organizer. Still feeling guilt over it my friend Gina said, Jen you’re not responsible for the world! Well, if I wasn’t, who would be? I mean, gosh, the world was so fucked up.

Well, I got tired of being responsible for the world. It didn’t revolve around me after all. I wanted fun so I sought a career in entertainment. Was it fun? Sometimes, the times I didn’t take it too seriously. But boy, when I did and my uber-responsibility came out, you’d think the show would stop if I didn’t perform my job above and beyond. Well, I didn’t want to let anyone down. That was all in my head though.

I had a good time to think and stop. Having all that weight on me manifested into a bulging spinal disc. If I tried to stand up straight, it hit my sciatic nerve causing debilitating pain. I had to crawl on the floor to the kitchen to feed the cat. I couldn’t let him go hungry.

I got back surgery, my cat died (by stroke), and I had to go to physical therapy. Touching the tension in my shoulders the therapist commented, “You’re really responsible. You have the weight of the world on your shoulders.” That comment really hit me – in the right way at the right time. Yes, I was responsible. Maybe too much. Maybe more than average and certainly more than I needed to be.

I’m not completely cured of fretting over the world. But now, when I receive those pleading donation letters in the mail, rather than cursing myself for not having the money to send, I throw them away. I don’t have the money. Let them find someone else. I’m here to take care of me. And I don’t have to be responsible for someone else, which is why, now, I still don’t want to have children. From the greater Universal perspective, we can only be responsible for ourselves because it us up to us to forge our own lives. That isn’t to say we don’t help others when we can. It’s our choice though as to whether we do it or not.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Different Roost

The overcast day reflects my mood. I'm feeling cloudy, and a bit bedraggled because of financial stress. I set off to Trader Joe's in need to replenish my soy milk supply. I take the longer route along the country road rather than the highway. I love winding up and down on this road taking in the view, so much so I have to force myself to keep up with the speed limit of 45. Birds twitter and flutter around. Vineyards span out into the horizon. As I near passing under an overhanging telephone wire that crosses above the road, I spot a large black object sitting on it. It could be anything. I've seen partial tree trunks on some. I think it's a bird though. As I pass under, the wings become more clear and so does its bright red skin flap on its head and whatever you call the dangling red skin that rooster's have. A rooster? What's a rooster doing sitting on the telephone wire? I let out a giant laugh. It's just a silly sight. My spirits totally perk up. A rooster sitting in the oddest way springs me out of my dark mindset. I mean, anything is possible right? A rooster....

Monday, March 30, 2009

What is Age Really?

Last week at the groovy health food store in town, the check out clerk asked me, “So… do you get a senior discount?” I stared at her, quizzically. She stared back. I continued to stare. “It’s 55,” she said, this time, with a little bit of doubt in her voice. I continued to look at her then said, “Well, I’m 40… Maybe I’m not getting enough sleep.” I didn’t say this meanly, just kind of astonished. All my life, I’ve had what they call a baby’s face and people always guessed me as being younger. Over the years, and wrinkles, people have come closer to guessing my age. I do love it though when people exclaim, “wait, you’re 40, but your skin….” It’s for the most part, minus 2 deep creases on the forehead, wrinkle free and very, very rosey.

I wasn’t wearing makeup, my dark lines more pronounced. After hearing I was 40 the clerk said, “Well, you look young… it’s the gray hair. Some people go gray early.” I bit back saying, “How could you know, when so many people dye their hair?” But there were others in line and not the time, I felt, to delve into the topic. I joked that maybe I should take the discount. “Don’t be offended,” the clerk pleaded. I assured her I wasn’t. Then in the car, I checked myself out in the car mirror. “I do look awful,” I thought. With my hair pulled back, the gray streaked stood out prominently. And the brown sweater did nothing for me either.

The question was, why do I, and I’m not alone, equate looking old as looking, well, crappy?!

As I drove home I briefly thought, maybe I should go back to dying my hair. I had to catch myself. Purposefully, a year and a half ago, still living in L.A., I bravely said, “I’m going to stop dying my hair and get ok with my gray.” Gray hair began speckling my hair since age 24 and I’ve been paranoid about it ever since. And working in the youth-driven Entertainment Industry, stoked this paranoia. I never wanted to go to an interview with my gray roots showing, especially in my mid-thirties. “I can’t wait to have gray hair,” said a twenty-something co-worker once. “I wonder if you’d say that if like me you went gray at your age,” I snorted. “Well, I can’t wait, I think it’s beautiful.” Beautiful? Hrumph. Now I know what Krista was talking about. Now that I see as something pretty and sparkly. But the clerk’s comments did catch me a little. Do I really look 55?

What does 55 or even 40 really look like these days? We see actresses touting 40 who look so – young… Meaning, smooth foreheads, no gray, and toned bodies. I often look at those smooth foreheads wondering, what’s their secret? Do they not stress like I do or is that Botox…

I told a pal about the clerk’s comment. “What? Why would she say that?!,” he responded as if he were defending my honor. “Well, I tried to remember all the times I stuck my foot in my mouth,” I responded, having reasoned that out already in the car. We discussed how you can’t tell age these days and he shared how he went through a hair dying phase. “What, really?,” I said astounded. He’s one of the most self-assured, grounded people I know. Like me, paranoid about his gray and working with younger men, he fell for the trap. Then one day he realized that he was at the age when gray meant mature. Just the other day, though, he checked out the gray hair of the other men in the office wondering, if they are at the same age, where’s their gray. He realized they must be hiding it under dye. Wow.

What is it that we are all hiding from? Can we change to a society where it’s ok to be gray and not just for the senior discount? Not feel worn out and useless? That we aren’t too old to stay in the game?

I still moisturize my skin ritualistically, trying to abate the wrinkles. They’re coming though. I hope when they come, I’ll be mature enough to handle them.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How Priorities Change in the New Economy

I don’t consider myself an extravagant person but there a few areas I do splurge in life, one being hair products; specifically, Aveda hair products. I love how they smell, and more importantly, how they work. On the hair care spectrum, the price isn’t outrageous but it isn’t cheap either. One consolation I have in what I spend is that I’m part of the Aveda rewards program (called Pure Privilege). So when I spend 13 bucks for conditioner, I get points, adding up to one day, a great big gift. And every birthday, I got a free perfume of my choice. Weee!!

The program offers several “tiers”. If you have so many points you get to select from that tier. I believe I’m at least a level 3, if not more. I’d been waiting for the granddaddy level, the one where you get the full spa package. I mean a full pampering spa package! Who wouldn’t wait for that?!

Times have changed. I couldn’t contain my excitement today opening my Aveda rewards gift – a full line of cleaning products from Seventh Generation. Did I say cleaning products? Yes I did. One of the tier 2 gifts is Seventh Generation clothes detergent, dishwashing soap and all-purpose spray. Back in the day when I first signed up for the program, I thought, who would waste points on cleaning products? My eye was on the big prize. Back then, my cash flow was more than a trickle. But lately, looking at soaring prices of cleaning products I rethought my rewards. I needed those products now and I had the opportunity to cash in points to get them without spending anything.

It’s funny to me that in our new economy we're stuck cleaning up old problems. No wonder cleaning products are topping my priority list. Plus they smell good and work well too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Go Smug Yourself! - I’m green with smugness and I’m freakin’ proud of it

That's right, go smug yourself and be happy.

Conversing with a friend awhile back, I told her all about the Sonoma Vegan Potluck. Excitedly, I said how all of us brought our own plates and silverware in our canvas grocery bag. “So Northern California”, I said. “That is,” she agreed. And proceeded to tell me about an episode of South Park which I just had to see. So funny. It ragged on the smugness of San Francisco and L.A. and other environmentalists. With quips like, "Look at how awesome we are for driving hybrids".

Wait, what? Why would I find that funny? I drive a hybrid. And yeah, I think others should too.

Over tone deaf IM, she didn’t read my enthusiasm. She didn’t catch on what I tried to convey – my happiness that I found such like-minded people here in my new community.
Oh well. I just let it lie and moved onto another topic.

Then today, writing about how I don’t use saran wrap I thought, wow, I do sound smug. Aren’t I the awesome one because I go around washing out my plastic bags for reuse.

Then I thought, “smug that!” I like being awesome. I like scoring eco-brownie karma points to counteract my other, what I consider unsavory acts. Like when I forewent buying Preserve toothbrushes for a more commercial brand. Preserve brushes are great in that once done, instead of them ending up in the landfill, you can return them to the company to recycle. However, I don’t feel like they clean my teeth very well. (sorry Preserve!) So I went for a more commercial toothbrush – angled, ergonomically correct. And my teeth feel very clean now after brushing. So, I put my teeth above the landfill. I know what you’re saying, “boo hoo.” It’s just a toothbrush… and teeth are important. Well, yes, but environmental guilt has governed my life for a long time.

It’s hard to be eco-awesome all the time! It doesn’t, however, stop me from judging others over there in my smug corner – like when I see friends/family/others using commercial, petroleum-based dishwashing liquid when there are so many better ones on the market…. Who me? I use Seven Generation of course and love it. I know that we'll run out of petroleum one day. Don't you?

Tight Wad Meets Eco-Friendly Citizen

Me, a tightwad?

Recently the AP ran an article about how “tight wad” behavior is catching on. These are the people who cut the shampoo bottles in half so they can get every last drop. That person is me – as an eco-friendly citizen. I cut the bottles in half, get out every last drop so that I can wash them out and put them in the recycling container. I reuse Ziploc bags. I even use the plastic bags with reusable seals that once contained salt, nuts, etc. Same concept. Not very helpful though if you own stock in Ziploc. Oh well! And it takes a lot – A LOT, for me to actually purchase saran wrap. Why? Because I can’t for the life of me figure out if it’s recyclable. Somehow I think it isn’t. Instead, I use a plastic food bag that I secure on top of a container with some type of recycled string. Although it just dawned on me I can use those extra shower caps that I got for a buck… (ala, the wrap with the elastic on top which I think Glad makes) Now, if they started making a saran wrap type product out of bamboo, I might consider using it. Ooh – what a great idea. I wonder if that is actually available… Yeah, this is the kind of stuff that gets me excited.

For me, calling using all that we have as "tight wad" behavior shows me just how off path a society we have become. Every thing is easy to use and easy to throw away. Yet, what's left over is mounds and mounds of trash clogging our landfills. And plastic, for anyone who doesn't know this, doesn't break down in the landfill. It's forever with us, like a badly coded gene.

Now we are in this state of “financial collapse,” using what we have before we buy more has caught on. That also includes making things before buying them. Like laundry soap. Why spend 5 dollars when you can make it at home, and control what goes in it. So I tried to get to the site that the AP article mentioned where you could learn how to make it. No go. I, like others, who read the AP article tried to click on the site where you could learn to make your own laundry soap. The woman who ran it apologized to viewers trying to get on. She had thousands of hits and her site crashed. Wow. Does a phenomenon like that make Johnson & Johnson nervous? (I have nothing against them or Ziploc for that matter… it’s just something to think about).

One helpful motivator helping me pare down has been moving into a smaller space. In particular the bathroom where I have less cabinet space and a shower, only. Bath products are my weakness. I see lotion on sale and think – how can I pass up coco shea butter. It’s such a great deal. And a good product. And look, it’s made environmentally friendly, and, and. And, no. I simply don’t have the room. I don’t have the long cabinet anymore where lost, forgotten products sit in the shadows. I uncovered all of those in the move. And with less space I have to use all, I MEAN ALL (I’m talking to myself now) before I buy more lotion. Sigh. There was some nifty, eco-friendly hand soap on sale at Target… down to 7 bucks rather than its original price of 15. Sadly, I did consider this and had to catch myself… So what if it’s on sale and might smell good. Liquid soap for 7 bucks? I have a recipe somewhere for making your own liquid soap out of soap scraps. And I have the soap scraps saved in a container…. For the day I really need it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Danny Boy - a cow with a few other names

In the spirit of St. Patty’s day, I wanted to share the story of “Danny Boy,” the no kill cow. My neighbors run a kennel next to highway 121. On their field near the kennel, you’ll find the beloved cow Danny Boy, chewing his cud, his great brown eyes staring out. Whether he knows he escaped an early death, it’s hard to tell by his peaceful and content smile.

Danny Boy’s original owner named him Chuck – pun intended. Raised by a member of the local 4H club, his massive size put him out of the show competitions. The next step would have been to sell him for slaughter. The only problem was he was too sweet to eat. His nature too gentle, too endearing, his owner needed to find him a home. So he came into the care of Mary Beth and Dave – a wonderful couple who run a kennel next to their home. “No killing here”, Mary Beth assured his owner.

Mary Beth changed Chuck’s name to Danny Boy but her kids call him Norbert. He’ll answer to either. If you stand by the fence and call to him, he’ll come running, anxious for a friendly pat. Maybe he thinks he’s part dog, but no matter. He stares out onto the fields near the grapevines, soaking in the beautiful sanctuary of Sonoma. I love that I live near such a cow and such neighbors and I like Danny Boy take refuge in the beautiful Sonoma Valley.

Maybe the lesson we can learn from Danny Boy is that we can change our fate when we act with pure love and guilelessness. With nothing to fear, there's no reason to act in any other way - like Saint Patrick just chased all the snakes out of Ireland... We can act, as Lincoln called it, with our better angels....

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Time out :)

After living in Israel where all services and business take an actual full day off, otherwise known as Sabbath Saturday (or for the Muslims - Friday, Christians - Sunday) I wondered what the impact would be if we turned back the clocks, here in the U.S. and took one full day off. Was it that long ago when stores and businesses were completely shut down on Sundays?

Now we go 24/7. No reprieve. No stopping. City office buildings stay lit all weekend, regardless of the amount of people coming and going. Everything stays at the ready, printers, computers, fax machines – in a constant state of alert. How much energy do we consume, without taking a moment to consider what is truly necessary to stay on? How much energy are we wasting, needlessly?

I reveled in glee when I heard the Post Office is considering cutting back on one day of mail delivery. Why? Because with one less day of mail trucks driving, I imagined the energy saved. I would never want to cost anyone their job but with email and other competing mail delivery services, business is down and the need isn’t necessary. Tuesday, the least busy mail day is being considered as the day to discontinue service. Will people protest this because we’ve become so accustomed to having six day mail delivery? I don’t know. When we get used to having something, how hard is it to adjust to when it’s gone? How will other businesses and services adapt to the changing times?

Maybe it’s the little steps that count to get us used to cutting back and rethinking what is necessary. If we can’t spend a day, how about an hour, just one hour cutting back on all that we use? How about we do it around the globe? Sound good? It’s already on the way, thanks to WWF organizing Earth Hour. They’ve asked for participants to take a time out on March 28th, 2009, 8:30 pm. You can check out the action at: I've already been strategizing how I'm going to get behind the fridge to unplug the microwave. I like to plan ahead...

Monday, March 2, 2009


Ugh – the financial news! I keep watching. And becoming more depressed, as it seems everyone is listening to the news. Seeing more stores closing down. Watching things fall before our eyes.

It had been raining all week last week. Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice them but at the corner of the small fish pond near the entry of my in-law apartment were three open daffodils. I love daffodils! A little weather beaten, only one turned towards the sky. I ran inside to get the clippers. I clipped the severely bent one first, then another, and decided on the last one. It would rain again soon and they didn’t seem strong enough to last outdoors.

I put them in my antique silver vase and set them on my kitchen table. Clipping the bent stems seemed to have completely revived them. So pretty. So happy. I couldn’t help but feel joyful looking at them. How swiftly my mood changed. How lucky I felt to have moved to a place where daffodils were right outside my door.

Invigorated, I decided to take a walk down the road, despite having to pass by the pollen, riddled trees. Rather than scowling I choose to pass by nicely, even welcoming the yellowing flowers that fueled my allergies. It might have been over a month since I had taken a walk down the road. The grapevines still lay in winter hibernation but between the vines, wild mustard had grown knee tall. You couldn’t miss the bright yellow spots of the mustard that spread all over the valley. But less conspicuous were the daffodils that bloomed in front of the vineyard fences. And I spotted more wildflowers coming up – some yellow, some white and purple.

These flowers probably sprout every year. Nothing in their path to stop them coming. No bad economic news to stall them. Spreading beauty for all who choose to look. Now more daffodils are blooming outside my apartment. When I was a kid in upstate New York, after a long winter, I would look expectantly at the place where the daffodils grew on our property. One day they would finally appear and that meant spring, and the warm weather would be just around the corner. Maybe beyond their happy, trumpet shape, that’s why they bring me such happiness. They remind me of good things to come. Or maybe, more to the point, that good things are already here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fair Play

Back in the summer, at a friend’s birthday party at a club, I sat next to an interesting person, another writer, who had grown up in Canada but was originally from somewhere in South America. I don’t recall exactly where. What I remembered mostly about her was her agitation. She couldn’t sit still in her seat. Why? Because the Lakers were playing. Was it a playoff game? Possibly. I don’t remember because I don’t follow sports, most likely for the reason that she does. She’s so invested in the outcome of the game that she couldn’t be present and enjoy the evening. Her partner went into bar to check the score. She’d look expectantly, almost fearfully at her partner’s face. She couldn’t take if the Lakers messed up and didn’t score. Knowing would ruin her whole evening. Wasn’t it already ruined because she spent the night ruminating over the outcome? I say ruminating but really she squawked and squeaked, “Lakers” when cheers belted from the bar. More interesting to me was the fact that she and her fellow writing staff of the Soap Opera she worked for was up for an Emmy. She had a real potential to win but she seemed almost blasé about it in comparison to her consternation over the Lakers. I can see where I’m projecting my priorities but winning an Emmy is a far higher stake than what your favorite sports team is doing. It’s just your career and future as a TV writer. But maybe that reality was too much to bear… and focusing on your sports team is far easier.

I still find it hard to understand why people get so worked up about sports. It is just a game, is it not? There’s always another season… And is not the fun in it in the playing and not just the winning? Oh, if only I could do statistical analysis as to the potential for one person to always win what they play. In the way the game is structured, there is a winner and a loser; or is that just a perception? Isn’t the true essence of game play about how well we participate?

I asked the writer why she got so worked up about a “game”. I believe I threw her because perhaps she hadn’t thought about it. She’d played basketball ih high school and she thought maybe she put herself in the other sportsmen’s shoes. Something about missing a shot. Isn’t there always another shot to be made? I remembered this exchange because of a news item I first saw on the Rachel Maddow show.

A high school basketball player who technically was bared from the game wanted to play because his mom had just died that day and he really needed to play. In order to let him play, the rival team would have to take a penalty shot. They wanted to forgo this but rules were rules so they had to take the shot. What happened? The player missed it on purpose. I cried when I saw this because compassion won over competition. I saw the true essence of game play. They forewent the rigid rules to play what they felt to be a fair game. Perhaps in light of the high-paid ball player admitting to steroid use this past few week, he and his fellow players can relearn their own game, that true sportsmanship truly is about how you play the game… and that fair game always wins, no matter the score...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Words Matter

"It's all good.." Is it? When I hear a phrase like that, my proverbial panties get all twisted up. I have a pet peeve about using expressions that I deem as vapid speak. What does that expression really mean and what are you trying to convey? Or is it just a sound noise used to fill in the gap of a sentence or response. Here are a few more examples: “You know”; “riiight”; “I’m all about that." The latest ‘in phrase’, “I know riiiiiiight,” bugs the literal crap out of me. It’s been around for awhile and normally in the realm of use of the Y generation but it’s infiltrated into a more global usage. Well perhaps saying global is stretching it. I heard it on E! News, afterall.I had to switch off the station after hearing the hosts exchange tidbits ending with “I know riiiiiiiiight?” What is so “riiiiiiiiiiight” about it? Isn’t it all rather wrong?

I’ve been pondering my peeve as to exactly why it bugs me. I thought it was because using a vacuous phrase spoke to the level you are relating to someone. If you are just filling in the gaps in the sentence, are you “phoning” your conversation in? How are you really relating to the other person? Are you finding meaningful words to convey your thoughts or just using what is convenient? Not all conversations warrant a deep response. And “I know riiiiiiiiiight” is a confirmation of what the other person is saying. I wonder though, because I tend to ponder things deeply, whether we know exactly what we are agreeing to.

How many times have we all used a phrase that is a popular expression without any understanding of the power of words? Words create everything here. They put thoughts into action. I have a phrase, “if people knew what they were really doing, they would just stop it.” If we all truly understood how our pervasive thoughts and words create our own reality, we wouldn’t use words so flippantly. We would use care and say what we really mean and want. Today I realized that what truly bugs me about “vapid speak.” Words do having meaning and we need to pay attention to what we are saying, how we are saying it, and who we are speaking to. I have the bad habit of using, "ok" to move along a conversation with someone I don't agree with. Then when I hear someone say ok to me, I wonder if they are saying ok, if they are truly saying, ok, I agree or rather the opposite. I wonder this because I myself am not using the expression properly. I need to stop and find a different way to handle that situation.

How often do you say yes to something when you really mean no? But saying yes, means yes, and people and the world respond to it. Mean what you say and say what you do. Words lose their meaning when we don't value what they mean or act upon them accordingly. I've lost faith in what a person says if that person hasn't remained true to his or her's own words. The world might be more quiet if everyone headed their words... But those words spoken would be worth listening to...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My New Blog

I've begun a new blog called, My Year of Living Manifest-fully. It's detailing my manifesting experiences that I hope will inspire all. It's still at the beginnings stages but please check it out when you can.