Posts tagged ‘Way of Life’

Step Away From the Alarm Clock and No One Gets Hurt

 

Morning People

You know who you are.  You’re the ones that in a scant few hours will be bounding happily from bed, a smile on your collective delusional faces, ready to face the new day with unbridled enthusiasm. You actually look forward to what the morning hours will bring.  You delight in the dawning of a new day and in watching the sun rise..of hearing the birds begin to chirp as they herald in the new morn.  You greet everyone you meet, without any regard for some of our suffering, with a cheery hello and say things like “Isn’t it a beautiful morning?”  or “Did you SEE that sunrise this morning?”. NO, we didn’t see it, we were too busy trying to pry our eyelids open so we could go out and play in traffic while still trying to wake up.

You people are the scourge of my existence.

I’m a night owl living in a morning person‘s world.  Trust me, even with the rising popularity of all things vampire themed, it’s still not easy to function in a society that is still selfishly geared to people who spring out of bed, eager to greet the day each new morning.  We all know the ones.  They actually smile when their feet hit the floor.  They grab a cup of coffee and appreciate the sunrise with enthusiasm as they ready themselves to effortlessly slide into the ebb and flow of another day. They even look FORWARD to it!  I have it on good authority, that some of them actually hum their way through the dawn hours and greet a new day with a spring in their step. It’s HORRIFYING!!! I didn’t believe it for years either, but trust me..these people are everywhere!

Then there’s me and my kind.

While the above mentioned anomalies emerge eagerly from their warm beds, I’m still blindly swatting toward the offensively obnoxious sound squawking at me from the direction of my alarm clock, in a desperate effort to hit the snooze alarm button for the first time.  Somewhere in my sleep fogged brain, I delude myself into believing that if I can just go back to dreamland for another 9 minutes, I’ll be more ready to face the coming dawn.  Alas, therein lies the problem.  Whether I’ve had 2 hours of sleep or 10, I am never a happy camper when forced to wake up in the morning.

Try as it might, my brain just refuses to function at full capacity when a new day is dawning.  It’s as if a switch has been thrown and the mind that was so active and productive from midnight to 3 am is now a totally different creature.  To say I drag myself out of bed is probably being generous. It’s not pretty.  I do a slow slide out of bed (or off the couch where I fell asleep around 3am) and then stumble toward the bathroom, usually stepping on a bone my dog has so thoughtfully left for me to find.  As I start to hop on one foot and utter things that would make my Mama wash my mouth out with soap, I manage to stub the toe on my other foot against the door frame.  Now that I’m limping, whimpering, and still bleary eyed, I somehow manage to navigate my way toward yet another morning in paradise to begin my day.

In an ever-increasing politically correct world where it’s considered rude to say or do anything that might offend anyone, I want to know where is the concern and compassion for those of us that hate mornings.  Where is the justice and equality??  Where is the outrage for a good half of the population that is suffering?? Why are we, ones that thrive when the sun goes down, being discriminated against in such a cruel, cruel manner?  I think I have an excellent case if I wanted to make the argument for discrimination against night owls.

Trust me, I know.  All you chipper morning people are shaking your heads and thinking..”Why don’t all the non-morning people just get jobs that require working at night?”  Problem solved! Right??  Wrong!  Since the entire world basically functions on the insane scheduling of daytime hours, that just wouldn’t work.  When we’re up and ready to go, you’re asleep and visa versa.  Chaos would ensue, hell would surely freeze over if all the people who prefer the night and do their best work then tried to adjust their working hours around the time when they are most productive.

I’ve done a lot of thinking when I’m up and lucid in the middle of the night.  I could be persuaded not to raise a ruckus and keep things civil if we all had a little more equity. So, I have a proposal to make.

Let’s split the difference.

Every six months, just like daylight savings time (and we know how well THAT works out), society switches schedules.  Instead of everyone working 9-5, for half the year, everyone will work 9 PM until 5 AM.  It’s only fair.  Actually it’s more than fair.  Think about it.  Not only would the people who thrive at night be able to make up for their lack of sweetness and light when forced to get up early with enhanced productivity, but the morning people would STILL get to see their sunrise, it would just be at the END of the workday rather than at the beginning!! 

I know, I know..I’m brilliant! You’re asking yourself why I didn’t come with this idea sooner. 

We’ll blame it on the mornings.  Just imagine what I could up with when I’m actually awake!!

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To Resolve NOT To Resolve, It’s Not a Question At All

The dawning of a new year and this year, a new decade, is once again upon us. I could swear it was just yesterday we were all anxiously anticipating with trepidation the arrival of the dreaded Y2K virus that would accompany the new millennium. A new century full of potential and pitfalls at our doorsteps was a daunting, yet exciting, prospect. Now here we are knocking on the door of the next decade with the first 10 years already written. Those years have been ones of immense change that no one could have predicted with a crystal ball, not even the famed Ms. Cleo.

No matter how long the previous year seems as we navigate our way through it, looking back, it seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye, good times and challenging ones alike. Perhaps that perception is accelerated when viewed through the prism of age. I can’t swear by this theory, although in my case, it seems to be true. Time does indeed seem to fly when looking back on it.

I don’t usually tend to wax nostalgic, but the past year has been one of immense change, both for myself personally and for the world at large. Change, while sometimes welcome, is not always something that I embrace willingly. I’ve found though, that it comes along whether we are ready for it or not and you better be willing and able to hold on and roll with all that comes with it. The phrase coined by Thomas Paine “Lead, follow or get out of the way”, springs to mind when dealing with life’s twists and turns. Life marches on and you can either find a way to cope and enjoy it, or you’ll be left behind. It’s a powerful force that will not be stopped in favor our of inability to keep up.

In my life, I have the opportunity to interact with a broad spectrum of people. From the very young to those that have weathered many decades, one thing is clear. The world is definitely a very different place with very different mindsets from the one I grew up in. I know that this revelation isn’t something that is new amongst the generations that have come before mine. One thing that has changed drastically however, is the way the world views the future and the potential contained in it. Our willingness and eagerness to succeed and the coping skills that used to be fostered into our childhood lessons aren’t there anymore. I see faces with eyes that seem angry or worried or resigned to life rather than excited by it. The eyes are sometimes in the faces of those that are too young to have so much worry or no hope and drive for the future. So many divert those weary eyes and don’t know how to interact with everyone around them anymore. More and more people don’t look others in the eye anymore for fear of what they might see or give away in themselves.

I don’t mean to sound full of gloom and doom. Like it or not, and I don’t at times, I have never been able to fully extinguish that light at the end of the tunnel belief in my thoughts or in my own life. I’ve always known that every day is different and full of new possibilities. Some of those days will be worse than the one that came before it, and some will be so much better, you feel as if you are floating on air. That is the wonder of living itself. I will confess to wishing at times that life was not quite so colorful or full of the all the things that make me grow, while at the same time making me squirm from the lessons they try to teach me along the way.

The past year and particularly the last 5 months, have seen great changes in my life, some positive and some things that I would not have picked if given the choice. I lost a parent, moved to a new home from one that had been a refuge for the past 21 years and have faced a betrayal that I didn’t see until it rose up out of the blue. The past year has also seen the deepening of friendships that I didn’t know I needed, the memories made with children that are no longer small and constantly surprise and make me proud as they continue to grow into adults and precious times spent with my Dad that are priceless. I’ve learned to bend, learned to adapt. I had no choice and in doing so, have as always, learned about myself, my inner strengths and my resolve. Some things I handled well, others I’d probably do over and in a better manner, but that just isn’t something that we are afforded in life. You live and learn if you’re smart and use those lessons for the rest of your days.

Thomas Paine also said, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” I believe he was right in this assertion. We all have within us the ability to make the best of whatever crosses our particular life path. We can make a difference in the lives of those around us if we put the effort into it, but at the same time, the sooner we realize that there are some things that are simply out of our control, the happier we will be. It’s a hard lesson to learn, particularly for me. I’m a nurturer by nature and at times a controller. It’s hard to let go and realize that you can only control your own path and hope that by example and deeds, your life will positively affect those whose paths you cross. I tend to want the best for those around me and to lessen the unnecessary pain of lessons that test the resolve of those I care for when it’s possible or when they will let me.

There’s that word again, resolve.

To me, it’s not something that can be done on the first day of a brand new year. It’s not something to pledge to blindly and stubbornly adhere to when you have no idea what the future may hold. Resolve, to me, is the backbone and strength to weather whatever storms and rainbows that appear along our journey on the road less traveled when they occur. In order to do that, you can’t lock yourself into a particular path or behavior in anticipation of things and events unknown.

This new year of 2011, as usual, instead of making resolutions, I intend to be resolute. To not just proclaim loudly or even privately to myself on a day that is meant to be full of hope and promise and without the constraints of a year yet lived, things that in a few weeks will be left by the wayside. Instead, I want to be resolute in the decisions I make throughout the year and see them through. To be firm and unwavering, yet not inflexible, and to make things happen that will benefit my life and the lives I touch daily. To do and follow through on the things I can actually accomplish right along with the occasional reaching for the stars and to not spin my wheels endlessly on lost causes. I’m resolute in my determination to screw up as little as humanly possible (screw-ups will occur) and to instead progress in positive ways, great and small.

So, once again, on the eve of the brand new year and brand new decade facing us, I resolve not to resolve anything. I’ll take things as they come and adapt, learn and hopefully grow from them as I enjoy all the nuances of life, both the good and the challenging.

To paraphrase the faux-wisdom that I not only have to say on airplanes, but also from a famous movie..fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night, ride and year. They all are, that is the only guarantee in life that we receive. Such is life, it is here to be lived and not observed.

The alternative is simply unacceptable.

Happy New Year!

America Rising – An Open Letter To Democrats

When this video first surfaced a few weeks ago, I thought it was well done and prophetic of things to come. Given the events of the past week, even more so now.

I didn’t vote for what is happening to our country. While I didn’t like the choices for President in 2008, I voted for John McCain. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a conservative that has occasional libertarian leanings on some issues. I have never in my life been remotely considered to be a liberal. I fear the moves being made in our Nation’s capital that continue to erode our country in ways that a few years ago would have been unimaginable. MY hope and change is that people are finally paying attention and opening their eyes…that they are no longer silent.

That said, I applaude this video put together by those that are now seeing the damage being done to our country and that are having “buyers remorse”. While I wish as citizens we weren’t being subjected to some of the unnecessary hardships being amplified by bad government, it’s better late than never to realize one’s mistakes and move to correct them.

For all our sakes, I almost wish the Democrats continue to pay no attention to the will of those that elected them to SERVE, not dictate, with their unpopular, ill-advised and un-wanted legislation that is killing our way of life and that of our future generations.

The day of reckoning is coming.  As I tell my students, there are consequences for each and every choice we make, each action we put into motion.  It’s past time the lawmakers in this country learned that they will be held accountable for each decision they make.

They work for the people, and the people can fire them.

Reflections to Start the New Year


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You Are Cordially Invited to a Tea Party

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There is an interesting phenomenon going on throughout our country today.  In ways not seen on this scale since the war protests of the 70’s, people are showing our government that they are fed up.  Americans young and old are sending the message loud and clear that we are tapped out as a nation and weary of yet more restrictions, bail-outs and tax burdens being heaped upon our shoulders and those of our future generations.

It is not a partisan effort, despite what the ultra-left wing branch of the Democratic party would lead you to believe.  There are Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike participating in this show of outrage and frustration.  We are exercising our Constitutional rights as Americans, whatever our political affiliations might be, to assembly and free speech.  We are, as a people, sending a message that while we respect the office of the President, many of us grow increasingly unhappy with the direction the country is being guided or shoved down a path we do not want.

So, today we protest our frustration and convey our disagreement with policies and new taxes and programs that it are being presented as what “we” want.  I for one, am tired of being told what is good for me and to just shut up, sit back and agree with those that do NOT represent my views, despite what they seem to believe.  I’m angry with the bail-outs that were passed “for our own good” even though the public outrage and opinion showed that Americans were soundly against their passage.

Washington and those currently in office better pay attention to what is being expressed by the people that have elected them as our representatives.  If they are smart, they will not put spin on it or tell us once again what they think we meant to say rather than listening to what we are actually SAYING to them.  This is a warning shot for those coming up for re-election that we the people, are paying attention and are discontented with their actions and disregard for what we think.

So, exercise your right to be heard.  Even if you believe no one is listening, it is a sure bet that you won’t be heard if you don’t even try.  In the past few election cycles it has vividly been shown that even a few individual votes do indeed count.  If you choose to sit on your backside, then don’t complain when you are not “bailed out” like the major corporations or fall through the cracks when you thought you’d be saved from your responsibilities and allowed a free pass.

Wake up and smell the tea brewing! 

Washington, you are not doing a good job at hearing the people you represent and that elected you.  This is not just a fluke or something that will go away if you put your fingers in your collective ears and cover your eyes.  To even give the impression, whether accurate or not, that the views of your constituents are falling on deaf ears would be a mistake if you wish to continue to serve the people that elected you.  Change is indeed brewing in this country, although I’m not sure that it’s quite the change the current administration envisioned.  I beg you, do not make the mistake of dismissing or alienating what is becoming a larger and larger section of the American people clammering to be heard..

On another little, purely personal note, I know that the original Tea Party was located in Boston in 1773.  However, we in the South know the TRUE value of tea.  Look in any refrigerator in a true Southern household, and you will find a gallon or two (or four) of the best SWEET tea that you’ll ever taste.  I know that the Yankees amongst us (hear that oh stoic one?), don’t recognize the simple indulgent pleasure in a glass of sweet tea and insist that having sugar on the table will somehow negate the fact that your restaurants don’t have it available on your menus up North.  You just don’t know what you’re missing.  Perhaps it’s why Southerners always have a smile on their face and something to say to everyone, even making actual eye contact as we do!!  We’re just infused with sweetness from birth through our tea! 😉

So, today in Atlanta, our tea party will have sweet tea flowing freely and our voices as proud Americans will be heard loud and clear.  The only question is, will those in Washington be smart enough to pay attention and react by rethinking some of their proposed actions?

Time will tell.  One thing is certain, ignoring it or making light of such a large group of Americans discontent would be foolish and ill-advised on their part.

 

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”  Thomas Jefferson

 

**The DHS bulletin released or “conveniently leaked” on April 7th is troubling in the fact that it seems to be a not so subtle hint that our freedom of speech is being threatened at least by threat of intimidation and at worst incrimination.  We all need to pay attention and be vigilant of such veiled threats against our freedoms.

Only the Good Die Young? 99 and 44/100% Pure

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I imagine it depends on what your definition of  what “good” is. 

A little bit of American history died yesterday, but we found out about it today.  She was famous, or more accurately INFAMOUS, for all the “accomplishments” she managed to RACK up during her lifetime.  She literally made it HARD for anyone to not know her name.  When she was good, she was very GOOD in so many bad ways, so I guess that Billy Joel’s theory of dying young is TECHNICALLY correct as to how good one is at execution if you want to put the right spin (or torque) on things. 

Marilyn Chambers was found dead at her home on Sunday, April 12th, at the age of 56 by her daughter.  I didn’t see any cause of death as of yet, although I’m sure many rumors will be bandied about.  Whatever your feelings about erotica or in her case, plain ole in your face porn, you were probably at least aware of her name or contribution to the age of free love throughout the 70’s and 80’s.

Chambers was best known for her role in Behind the Green Door,a film which premiered in 1972 to a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival.  Although she attempted a more normal career in Hollywood, it was not to be.  She found her niche in being naughty and took full advantage of her talent and ass-ets to titillate a generation.

A few facts about Ms. Chambers that you might not know..(pay attention, you never can tell when you’ll need such important knowledge to win a rabid round of Trivial Pursuit, the Porn Edition!)

  • Marilyn was born in Westport, Connecticut in 1952 (just goes to show that you can overcum stoic genes.  She grew up amongst stiff upper lips, then proceeded to make other things stiff her entire life)
  • Her first modeling job was as the mother cradling the innocent baby on the Ivory Snow box with the slogan of being the “99 and 44/100% pure” girl.  She should have gone for that last .66 percent since she was dropped from the campaign once her other “talents” came to light. (Hmmm..could that be where the definition of “slapping and tickin’ the Ivories” came from?)
  • Ms. Chambers appeared in 27 films (ummmm…movies?  I don’t think she was ever nominated by the Academy for an award, although I’m sure she serviced a few of the members)
  • Marilyn was a very patriotic girl.  In 2004 United States Presidential election Chambers ran for Vice President on the Personal Choice Party ticket, a quasi-libertarian party. She received a total of 946 votes. In the 2008 United States presidential election she was again Charles Jay’s running mate, albeit a write in candidate this time.  Hey, she was very interested in servicing her country…the whole country…literally!!!
  • In the film Behind the Green Door, Chambers had sex with the well-endowed African-American actor Johnny Keyes. She also fainted at the end of one scene lasting over 45 minutes. The porn industry and viewing public were shocked by the then-taboo spectacle of a white woman having sex with a black man. (Chambers’ parents refused to talk to her for several years after the film’s release, but eventually reconciled with her).  
  • To make her parents just a little bit more proud, she was supposedly one of the few actresses that could fully deepthroat John Holmes’ erect penis.  Isn’t that what every Mom and Dad hope their daughter will grow up and have listed on her list of accomplishments??  (I wonder what they had on their refrigerator to commemorate her talents??)
  • She was married three times and had one daughter.
  • She was reputedly one of the first porn actresses to have her genitals pierced. (ouchie)

So, in a era of free love, Farrah Fawcett posters and Playboy bunnies parading around the mansion and pages of the magazine, Marilyn Chambers managed to be a stand-out among her peers.  To say she was an American icon, even one of irreputable fame, is accurate.  She helped to shape some of our formative years right along with more “mainstream” actresses such as Diane Keaton in Looking for Mr. Goodbar.  While her contributions were never considered art, they were un-apologetically a commentary of the sexual revolution in our country.

Like her or disapprove of her career or behavior, if you are a baby boomer, you either knew of her or some even learned a few of their current “love” moves from watching her performances.  She will forever GO DOWN in history as someone that shaped a generation, in ways large and small.

Easter Ain’t What it Used To Be

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I was raised to respect traditions.  I went through my childhood relishing in the fact that while the world around me was changing at a rapid, sometimes scary pace, some things in life would always stay the same.  Some things were so important, they always took precedent over any other in my life.  You could always depend on their very essence and the spirit of thought behind them.

It was a comforting thought to hold close.   Precious traditions to look forward to were a safe harbor I could count on regardless of circumstance or location.  While the manner or details of their execution might by necessity vary a bit  in form from year to year, the basic tenant of their existence never changed nor wavered.

As a result, I brought up my children with the same value system from my youth.

Even as parents around me found themselves too busy or too “sophisticated” to bother with silly things like building memories, a few of us still insisted on keeping to the things we knew were important.  Traditions like ensuring Santa always had homemade cookies waiting for him on Christmas Eve or throwing a special birthday party at home for our kids complete with games and/or crafts and handmade goodie bags filled with treasures where much thought had been given to their selection, started to become few and far between in modern day families.  It was easier to let Chucky Cheese or the latest mini-golf adventure park handle all the messy “details” of marking the birth of your child rather than being bothered with all that planning yourself.  Family time was quickly being relegated to whatever bits and pieces that could be crammed in around all the REALLY important stuff.  You know the ones, important things like working 80 hours or more a week for that 3rd or 4th car..for the 4 vacations a year or 2nd little getaway home.

Traditions got lost along the way in the rush to acquire more and more “stuff”.  We sacrificed what we thought were non-consequential little bits of our lives along the way so that we could hurry up and wait for all the “good stuff” to get here.  The only problem with that theory was, those “little bits” start to add up to a lot of time and missed opportunities we can never get back with those around us.  Hey, it was all for the greater good though..right?

Wrong.

Just take a long look around at what is happening in our country and in the world today.  Every day on the news there is yet another tragic story of a person or family suffering directly and personally, or indirectly through the actions of a stranger, from the effect that loss of family and tradition has had on society.  People are slipping through the cracks.  We seem to have lost our way in the rush to “improve” or “re-invent” something that didn’t need replacing in the first place.

Traditions matter.  To have something that can be counted on in some form or another from year to year, makes a huge difference in how we handle life’s little (or big) ups and downs.  We all need a support system or something to depend on as being solid…a foundation to quiet our souls when we need to believe in something.

That’s what a tradition is for.  Whether it be something silly that only you or your loved ones count as important or something as vital as a group we identify with and celebrate our mutual beliefs, traditions give us a place in ourselves that can never be erased.  They provide a warm secret spot within our thoughts where we can retreat to anytime the world seems to be collapsing around us. 

Traditions don’t have to be centered on religious beliefs.  It’s not a matter of money.  Special traditions don’t have to cost a penny, they can be from the heart.  They don’t have to be grand gestures.  They do however, have to be consistent..even in times of strife.

So,  even though traditions have to be changed a bit this year at my house, they will be celebrated nonetheless.  I’ll pull out my grandmother’s recipe for a traditional heavy lemon pound cake and make it to celebrate my Dad’s birthday, simply because it’s what he asked for.  I don’t care about the current trend of low-fat, low taste healthy, only eat what’s good for us, that is in vogue.  Tomorrow, as part of an Easter celebration, we’ll enjoy without guilt, a taste from our past and smile.  In that way, my Grandmother (Nana) will be with us as well.  I have no doubt that stories of past Easter dinners at her house will abound for my children to hear yet again and pass along one day to their children.  Tradition will continue.

I’ll put together Easter baskets with special treats or little gifts for my kids to find when they wake tomorrow morning.  I have never bought a pre-made pre-put-together store bought basket in my life.  No matter that they are going to be 23, 20 and 14 this year, they will be almost as excited as when they were little to see whatever has been “left” for them by a Giant Bunny that has hopped by overnight.  Forget the fact that they all stay up most of the night and that Mom in turn, will have to have little if any sleep in order to make sure a surprise is created..it’s worth it.  Their Grandmother (my mom), even though she’s not in good health, will still have her house filled with special decorations and more treats for her grown children and for the grandchildren.  Tradition will live on and be something they carry on with their families one day because they recognize the importance of something to count on, even if it’s silly.

To start the day I consider Holy, I’ll also fall back to my upbringing.  Even though I rarely attend church regularly anymore, the convictions and beliefs I grew up with are strong within me and are passed on to my family.  There are years I will attend a sunrise Church service at the mountain, other years I feel the need to be amongst a congregation of those I know and respect, and some years I spend the morning in quiet reflection and remembrance of what I believe.  Whatever form the day takes, it comforts me to know that some things never change, in spite of the turmoil in the world around me.  I don’t know the answers as to why things happen the way they do, many times to those most innocent or undeserving of the chaos, but I have an abiding faith that there is a reason for every event that happens and that I don’t have to know the reason.  Tradition of spirit and of your own soul is perhaps the most precious gift of all to nurture and not neglect.

So, Easter ain’t what it used to be anymore for many of us.  It makes me sad to see so many traditions falling by the wayside in society.  The loss of family time as stores remain open in the name of political correctness or convenience is troubling.  The cost to the family from the increasing isolation and loss of human contact in favor of digital ways of interacting…the loss of our very humanity in a way as a result, is a shame and dangerous for some of those amongst us.  Especially for ones with dangerous violent tendencies, such isolation has shown just in the past month with so many tragic shootings, what happens when people cut themselves off from others or when we don’t want to “interfere” in someone else’s business.

Traditions are important.  So go hide an egg or two, have a meal with your family or a neighbor that is alone, go to church..heck go to a baseball game.  Start your own tradition if you didn’t grow up with one and cherish it from this point forward.  Give yourself and those around you a glimmer of something to look forward to in years to come.

Give the gift of something solid to hold on to, of something to count on, to yourself.  In these uncertain times, it’s vital…whether we realize it or not.

Recognize the value of small things around you.  Small things are the ones that make the most difference to us all.