Saturday, March 30, 2013

Liebster Award!!

I am happy to attempt a second go at posting the "Liebster Award" format and to thank Kirsten Hart again for nominating this blog. I know how much time it took me to find blogs that I found interesting enough to 1) follow and 2) nominate. Not that I’m being snooty (maybe a tad) but there are a TON of family/our kids blogs and I just didn’t think that was the kind of theme I wanted to nominate.  In the end, I spent a LOT of time trying to find blogs that were current, and fall into the “less than 200 followers” category while keeping an interesting mix going. Most are everyday people, just like me, who just like to air their thoughts. Other blogs are artistic or philosophical in nature. In the end, this is a sweet exercise in seeking out blogs you like and letting others know about it. 

So...if you are a reader, please check out the blogs I list below. And if you are a nominated blogger, I encourage you to do this, it really was fun and a great way for me to get out of my bubble and seek out other bloggers that I resonate with. :)

Things To Do:

1. Post the award on your blog (see above)
2. Thank the lovely blogger(s) who gave you the award and link back to their site(s)
3. Post 11 random facts about yourself
4. Answer 11 questions that the presenter of the award has asked you
5. Nominate 11 new bloggers with fewer than 200 followers that you want to pass the award on to 
6. Ask your nominess 11 questions

Away we go!

11 Random Facts About Myself

1. I played accordion as a child. The lessons were my parent’s way of placating my incessant whining for piano lessons. They assured me if I excelled at accordion I would graduate to bigger and better things. ALL LIES I TELL YOU!! Tsk. I endured learning Star Wars and La Vie en Rose on the squeezebox with many other poor nerdlets being primed for Geek Recovery.

2. My first international trip was about three years ago to Quebec, Canada (I'm from California). I went there on business, oh, 6 or 7 times over the course of a year and a half. I say if you’re gonna do something and can’t go big, at least go over and over. And over.

3. My first international trip SHOULD HAVE BEEN Ireland...was booked for a solo week in Dublin, with plans to see the Dropkick Murphys play the Olympia Theatre, all primed to see the Book of Kells, Half Penny Bridge, and Tara and then effing Iceland exploded. Pffft. 

4. I think nerdy gym rats are sexy. What’s not to love?? They’re smart, they read, they lift weights. Sometimes all at the same time. I tell you what. Recite Shakespeare or Nietzsche during your alternating one-arm chest flies and I. Am. Yours. And I think it’s perfectly acceptable to have a workout at the gym count as a date. 

5. “I can put my whole fist in my mouth” Actually, this was Kirsten’s number 5, but it’s just too awesome to delete. For the record, I just tried and no I can’t. I guess my mouth is too small, which is weird for the amount of sound that comes out of it...

6. My nickname at work used to be ShoeTart. I considered having another blog about that, but this one is enough to keep up with. 

7. Someday I will go to Ireland. And Scotland, England, France, Italy (Cinque Terre and the Danieli Hotel in Venice to be exact), Greece, and then find out where my Lange and Sandstrom kin are in Sweden and Germany. If there are no exploding volcanoes that week, that is.

8. I can do wavy things with my tongue. Some people think it’s fascinating.  I just think it’s weird, but, basically, so are some people. Nooooooo, I will not post a video.

9. I can listen to the The Bruces sketch by Monty Python over and over and still giggle like it is the very first time. NOOOOO POOFTAS or STUCK UP STICKY BEAKS HERE. Amen...(Pooftas are fine but I draw the line at the SUSBs.)

10. Speaking of British humor, I grew up watching BBC comedies on public television in the 70s and 80s and it is because of Benny Hill that I learned “to assume is to make an ass out of u and me.” Badump! Thankfully something told me it was not ok to go around thumping little old bald men on the head. BUT, I must admit, that might explain why I love Jethro Gibbs slapping DeNozzo upside the head on NCIS. I literally never connected those two things til this very moment. It also explains my random need to speak in a horrid Cockney accent for no apparent reason.

11. I am not your friend if you’re going to barf. We don’t know each other, I don’t love you, I have just booked a ticket for clear across the country and had to leave 5 minutes ago if you are going to spew. Do not do it around me. NOOOOOOO. Nonononononono. Nope. No. Way. EVER. (blech). By the way, I haven’t thrown up since I was ten years old. I have endured 3 day hangovers and two pregnancies and not once did I do the V. I think it’s a phobia but I’m not sure.

11 Questions Answered

1. How do you like your coffee?
Often and in droves. Usually with foofoo creamers like Vanilla or Cinnamon or Peppermint. I only do black coffee if I am desperate. Coffeecoffeecoffeeeeee.....

2. If you were a sandwich, what type of sandwich would you be? Why?
Peanut Butter and Jelly. Simple, comforting, yummy. Not that I’m any of those things necessarily, I just can’t really think of another sandwich. I guess I could be grilled I guess I am not a 'wich gourmand.

3. What is the strangest job you’ve ever done?
I volunteered as a candystriper in high school at a hospital and twice took decedents down to the morgue. I got the toe-tag end and yes, the feet were sticking out. I don’t think they let teenage girls do that nowadays....

4. If you could be invisible for a day, would you use your invisibility for good or for evil?
Oh for good!! Not that I’m a fancy-schmancy do-gooder, but it would be a blast to run around all day doing nice things for people and watching them react, never knowing who did it. But, then I’d probably blog about it later. 

5. Other than invisibility, what skill or talent would you like to have?
SINGING! Oh, I sing in my shower and my car. But I would love to be able to sing beautifully, not just loudly.

6. What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
Let me reach into my Bag of Shivery Memories: Ah yes. 16, post shower, walking around the house alone buck naked. I cross in front of our front door with a very large window without thinking anything of it as our home was fairly set off from a quiet street. There’s a delivery person standing there. I froze for the nano-second that we made eye contact. I ran and hid for what seemed like half an hour. The damned woman (thank GOD) would not leave. I eventually found a throw blanket and had to sign for the package. Which occurred in complete silence and with zero eye contact.

7. If you could commit one crime and get away with it, what would it be?
Daily driving over the speed limit doesn’t count? would have to be stealing copious amounts of money from grifters/crooks and going on a shopping spree and then giving the rest away. Kind of a semi-selfish Robin Hood crime.

8. What is you favourite ice cream?
Anything chocolate-I love mint chocolate chip. Or Mocha. 

9. If you could be a fictional character from film or literature, who would you be?
Hermione Granger. What can I say? She’s smart, tough, waves a mean wand, is a turner of time...and gets the guy in the end. 

10. What is your favourite song lyric?
Egad. Music is my lifeblood. I have hundreds of “favorite songs”. How can I pick a lyric??? of my favorite songs is Skylark, so: Skylark, have you anything to say to me? / Won’t you tell me where my love can be? / Is there a meadow in the mist / Where someone’s waiting to be kissed? Yep. I’m an incurable romantic. It’s sick really.

11. If you could rule the world for a day, what would you change?
Anger...there’d be zero anger across the globe. No lying, fighting, killing, shouting, raping, screaming, cussing, shooting or war. Just everyone simply happy for one whole day.

11 Liebster Nominees

1. It’s My Life (dear Tommy!)

2. Lacey Dearie’s Tangled Web  (dear Shaz!)

3. The Mad Hapa (dear MD!)

4. Broadcastellan (ruminations on 20th century media)

5. Peaceful Turmoil  (Spiritual outlook. Last post was 2012, but I liked the theme)

6. The Black Tibetans  (great band...)

7. Random Shots by Chris (love the photos)

8. Cafe Cartolina (oops...waaaay more than 200 followers, but I love the vintage designs!)

9. Josh’s Imagination (amazing artist!)

10. My Own 100 Hikes  (love to hike and this site has nice photos to go with the narration)

11. Watch the Signs, Love (poetry, musings, attitude. I LIKE!)

11 Questions For My Nominees

If you were nominated and you want to accept the award, don’t forget to answer these questions about yourself in your post.

1. What do you do to break creative block?

2. Where do you go to feel serenity?

3. Who was an inspirational figure in your life? How/why?

4. Taboo subjects...what WON’T you talk about in your blog?

5. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

6. Weirdest encounter with a stranger (alien abductions don’t count):

7. What is a fear you had to face/overcome in your life?

8. It’s your day off and you have no access to computer, phone or television. What do you do? 

9. What one thing would you do for yourself if money and time were not an issue?

10. Best childhood memory:

11. Kirk or Picard?

Have fun people!!! And thank you again Kirsten. 

Thank you Kirsten Hart

I was so pleasantly surprised to find a comment from Kirsten Hart who nominated my blog for a Liebster Award. I copy and pasted her directions and questions and spent about two hours finding  blogs that weren't family/baby/class oriented (jeesh, there's a LOT of those kind of blogs here!!) and everything was set, links were up, graphics in place....and then it posted wonky and in the end the TWO (yes, two) drafts I had both got deleted.


I would love to nominate the bloggers all over again, and answer the questions Kirsten asked and come up with fun questions for my bloggers to answer...but TWO hours gone, pfffft, just like that.


I can't at this time. My foot is asleep, brain is mushy and my butt hurts and....and....two hours. Gone. Maybe later? But right now I have to go outside and breathe fresh air and talk to humans.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Happiness In 1,000 Words or Less

Oh, come on. I can do this in a thousand words or less. Talking about happiness that is. Maybe it should be 10,000 words or less. I'm not the most succinct blogger.

I am so happy for the first time in such a long, long while. Finally, all the turmoil is behind me...all the painful trudging to get through divorce and bankruptcy, unloading my condo and finally getting out from under Bank of Not My America (what a bunch of crooks).

Someone told me just last week that I look and sound better than I have in the 5 years he has known me. When I told him I felt more powerful spiritually, emotionally and physically now than I have felt in, oh let's say about 20 years, he said it shows...and he added that I will begin attracting more people like that into my life.

Yeehaw! *throws cowboy hat up in the air and does the Curly Shuffle. (Not really).

It's about time. I have no time for toxic relationships, of which I have had a few. "No shite," say the regular readers.

Good news is that I am practicing "To Thine Own Self Be True" more and more accurately in the last year and a half. I find I am unable to tolerate certain behaviors and I seem to be heeding red flags more and more. I am able to come to decisions and take appropriate action much sooner than ever before. It's not easy, and sometimes it hurts. But in my heart of hearts I know I am doing the right things these days. For myself, and for my children.

As for attracting wonderful, healthy, happy people into my life, well, that is happening already.  This past weekend I had an opportunity to attend an unofficial all-class high school reunion and met up with a very special and powerful group of people who have been on the sidelines cheering me on as I crawled through painful events in the last 5 years. They listened to a few years of rantings, sobbing, fear, laughter, hope, crazy ideas, irrational thoughts...they endured all the ups and downs of the emotional rollercoaster I was riding with sincere support and love. This weekend they got to see a kooky, happy, self-assured person who is enjoying breathing the fresh air of hope and adventure and serenity all wrapped up in one, big contented sigh.

To my circle of friends: Kym, Tony, Heather, Terin, Erin, Tristine and Fern, as well as those who couldn't join us (my Aunt Mary, my good friend Kim, my dear Mark and Tommy (who isn't a high school alum, but has been there through thick and thin all the way from Scotland!) thank you from the bottom of my heart for your friendship and kindness. Yours are the smiles and kind words and cheers and sarcastic jokes that make my world go 'round.

I look forward to meeting more people who prefer optimism over negative wallowing, laughter and music and adventure over fear of the future, action and hope over stagnation.

I love my life. I love my friends. I thank God for all the blessings in my life.

P.S. I am so remiss in not including my parents and my children in the happiness list!!! And there are so many others...Max, Chris, Shannon, Pam, Goose, Esther, Karen, Renee, Chris...I honestly cannot possibly name everyone who has blessed my life.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Emergency! I'm On Fire Put ME Out

I have slowly come into the 21st century over the last few months...swapped Blackberry for Android, got uppity with a laptop, which of course required obtaining internet which, in turn, forced me to get out of the Redbox line and sign up for Netflix.

I may now be technologically slick, but Netflix has caused me to become glued to my computer in ways I never considered. Just when I was feeling all futuristic and such, Netflix catapulted me back in time.

It started innocently enough with the Mystery! shows BBC aired in the 80s and 90s. Then – of all things – my KID turned me back on to Murder She Wrote. We watched a movie or two, there's some good stuff I want to watch...but...

...then came Emergency!

It is my latest obsession. I have no idea what put the show in my head, haven't thought of it in years. But now, oh! NOW it is ON. I mean that in the strictest street sense of the phrase as well as  literally...currently I have Season 2, Episode 6 ("Saddled") rolling in another window as I type. Hey Doc...speaking of illness, I think I've got it bad. *coughcough*. I hear this high-pitched sound all the time and see flashing lights. Am I gonna survive Doc? AM I GONNA LIVE DOC???

Holy crap.

Of course, anyone who knows me knows I have a special place in my heart for the fighters of fire (my happy place mantra is "Firemen in kilts") but I didn't put two and two together until I saw John Gage on the screen. And then all of a sudden it flooded back to me...being a little girl, about 6 or 7, watching Emergency! and (drumroll......) crushing on firemen.

Holy Mother of God, it is all t.v.'s fault. A lifelong affliction of a fluttering heart at every sight of a big, shiny, red...firetruck.

I think I may have a personal goal to watch a year's worth of episodes in a week. (illlllll....nessssss.......).  What tiny, little weekend social life I have has been trumped. So. *doing math in head...rats. I hate math.* Let's just estimate that I am unavailable to the world for the next few weeks. My children will have to feed themselves. Who needs to work. Sleep sucks! (I actually quite miss sleep...)

What's funny is that now I am a grown woman I totally look at John with a different viewpoint. Yes he was cute, yes he was funny, but gosh he sure was a tool of sorts. Ok ok. A cute, funny, totally adorable tool. But nowadays I am kind of partial to the intelligent, thoughtful, steady, (although long-suffering) DeSoto with a heart of gold and an overbite. Awwwww.

(And I never knew he was a ginger...which makes him even nummier...)

Some of the reasons I enjoy Emergency! besides the boys in blue:

Classic Cars. I love the open cab truck they used in the first two seasons. I have a thing for classic vehicles and that one is definitely an eye-catcher. And the old ambulances! Verrrrry cool. I keep waiting for Drs. Venkman, Stantz and Spengler to bounce out of the back one of these days.
The open cab I love so much. 
Fans will recognize this as the stock scene for when the truck left the station for a call.

Who ya gonna call?

Fashion Emergency. It's an all-encompassing parade of why we should never dress like the 70s ever, ever, ever again. But more on the chic Dr. Brackett later... Oh...and because I was so stunned, I actually took a screengrab of a particularly iconic 70s ensemble...both for men and women. Feast your eyes and then poke them out with pointy things:
...and now you're blind... Dear God, this is never going to happen again, right? RIGHT??
Groovy man...

This was high fashion at the time. 
And this. WHAT. THE. F....
Bad designers! BAD BAD just go sit in the 

corner and think about what you've done. 



More WTF?! It's always fun to watch the scenarios and wonder if today's firefighter/paramedics would laugh their heads off, cringe, or cry at the things those boys do...thank goodness for progress, technologically and medically.
Please notice the man bent in half under the car engine... 

Legacy! Emergency! was a boon to the paramedic industry across the nation, and looking at the forums, fanfic and fan pages, a lot of today's firefighters and paramedics made their career choice after being hooked on the show as kids.  The rich history of the show goes back to Hollywood drama royalty with Jack Webb's production company spearheading Emergency! as a spinoff from Adam-12 (my next obsession) which was a spin-off of Webb's Dragnet. If you're as interested as I am in the background of the show (there's LOTS of blogs and fan sites) I was impressed with and

Melting Pot (Not THAT Kind of Pot): I remember 70s television. A lot of the stuff they used to say you can't touch in today's world of t.v. and there was a lot of stereotyping even in an age when television was beginning to bust the mold and bring a sense of ethnic reality to the small screen.  Emergency! wasn't immune to stereotyping, but I think the producers and writers highlighted the diversity of Los Angeles sincerely and in the spirit of education versus jumping on a "We The People" campy bandwagon like so many other shows of the time.

An LA Time-Capsule: Because the show often had outdoor scenes, you get a great view of LA in the 70s. I spend almost as much time watching the background wondering where they are at and if the places are still around (see the photo tour link above).
Traffic has been a part of Los Angeles since the beginning of time. That and smog.

Just another LA corner...

Brackett vs. Early: It's almost like asking which captain do you prefer, Kirk or Picard (I Brake For Picard). *Author note: I originally wrote that as Break, which in the context of this blog is quite apropos. Then in fixing it, I, in turns, mistyped Barke, Bake and Brae, all of which made me laugh hysterically which means the sleep deprivation is kicking in. Ok. Continue reading. Although Kel was quite the clotheshorse I'm afraid it's just not enough. Even for this fashionista (stripes on stripes on stripes! WHO DRESSED PEOPLE IN THE SEVENTIES???). 

B  v. E
And the winner is: EARLY. I just prefer Dr. Early...his voice, his face, his bedside manner. And as a jazz lover, well, Troup's classic 60s lounge singing gives him the cool edge in my book. Is it weird that I think his hair was cute?
Such a cutiepie. Love that messed up hair and grin :)
(why did I pick a sweaty picture? WHY?)

Speaking of Dr. Brackett: WHAT THE HELL IS WITH THE BLUE EYESHADOW?? Really. Am I the only one that finds it distracting? Well, almost as distracting as his wardrobe. I noticed they cut back on Dixie's makeup...but not Brackett's. Maybe they thought that much blue eyeshadow in a given scene was mind-boggling. They were right. It's like a 5 o'clock shadow on his eyelids. Oh well. I still like that grumpy Dr. Brackett, mixed patterns, makeup and all.

5 o'clock eye shadow.
Even Dixie is frustrated.

Chet's Twin. I went to high-school with Chet Kelly. Well, not really, but my buddy Mark is a dead ringer for him. A complete doppleganger. Seriously. I'd post a photo comparison here, but you'll just have to take my word for it. He used to be a dead ringer for Alan from the Hangover, but now it's all Fireman Kelly and I think my good friend should work on growing a porn-stache. By the way, he was in total denial when I posted a picture of Tim Donnelly as Chet on his Facebook page and insisted they were one and the same. Whatev Mark...I know the truth. :)
Chet's signature pornstache. I love Chet.

Cool Cameo Appearances: A teenage John Travolta, William Katt (Greatest American Hero),  Cicely Tyson (Roots), Sharon Gless (Cagney and Lacey), Henry Jones (you would know him if you saw or heard him)...I can't possibly list all the wonderful actors here.

Coffee. Were these people in the Navy or something? (Apparently that's an inside joke in the military but I thought I'd fling it anyway). Coffee at Rampart usually meant a serious discussion was about to befall you. Apparently Rampart's Mission Statement included this fineprint: "All problems a spinal tap or IV can't solve WILL be fixed with coffee." A noble philosophy to which I totally subscribe. I don't drink, do drugs, smoke...but caffeine...that is it. Do not remove from me. You will need your own personal Gage/DeSoto should you try to cleave mug from hand. No touchy me cuppa.

Deep thoughts require caffeine. Always. 

Eating. Is there an episode where they actually sit and eat? There are food preparation scenes, scenes where they clean the dirty dishes (which indicates food ingestion), there is even a shot or maybe two where food gets close to mouth... but they never actually EAT. There's always a kid in a hole, or a chick with a body part caught up in something or some shmuck stuck in a tree that requires them to run away from all things edible.

Get ready! Get set!

Aaaaand....GO! So close...

Food as a tool to make a point, not for nourishment. Again, SO close...

*Addendum: Season 2, Episode 8, "Trainee". Food has been ingested. WOOT!

Alarm face: Is it me or do DeSoto and Gage always have a perplexed look on their face when the alarm goes off? Is it that they are deciphering a sound code? I tried to listen to hear if there were different tones. Which, ironically, caused me to appear as though I, too, was applying great mental pressure the moment the alarm sounded, leaving all three of us with furrowed brows. SIDENOTE: Does DeSoto actually ever really smile ever? I mean...reallllly smile? Or laugh out loud? I'd like to see him just break up once. Produce a real chortle...a belly laugh. A DeSoto snort. This one's for you Kevin/Roy :D

Alarm face.

This is DeSoto joy. I think that's as big as it got in the first two seasons.

OK...OK. Give me a break, I'm only halfway through Season 2 so I am sure there is more to question, love and write about.

Emergency! has been a bit like eating mac and cheese...comforting, familiar...a childhood favorite. But with the hawtness associated with firefighters and paramedics. *sigh* I'm sure I'll get back to the gym and coffee with friends and other stuff I did before Netflix brought me to the brink of sticking my big toe in the bathtub faucet and calling 911, but for now, I have a double-date with Gage and DeSoto tonight. All night. Allllllll night...

Which makes me hungry for cheddarized pasta bits...

NOT from the show.

Parting shot. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the ONE SCENE from Emergency! that stood in my mind all my life. And, no, I have not replicated this scenario. Yet. Just kidding.
Really. I am really kidding. *God is going to stick my toe in a
faucet just to get a really good laugh.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Another Lesson in Switching it Up

Generally, many of my posts in this blog come to some kind of solution of how to get into a positive state of mind, even the ones in which I bitch relentlessly. I guess the reason I write about this a lot is because I’m usually trying to switch from negative to positive and writing is a useful tool for me. Lately there is so much sadness in friends going through really tough situations I have lived through. I know in my heart my friends have to walk through the pain, after which they will grow tremendously. But I wish I could wave a wand and make it all go away. I wish I could just grab them by the hand and have them forget the assholes who hurt them and pull them into the sunshine and heal! I wish I could SWITCH ON HAPPINESS for them. 

Aw. Wouldn’t it be great to look in the mirror, slap my face and shout “SNAP OUT IF IT!”? I think of Cher in Moonstruck when I say that but in my head it’s more of a prolonged scream than her bedroom-eyed, “what the hell are you thinking?” Italian Brooklynite kind of delivery. Of course, she did slap Nick twice. So she trumps me there.

I will acquiesce that not all misery is snapoutofitable. If I’ve been hit by a bus, I’m gonna be in misery and a body cast for a looooooong , long, long time. Dealing with the death of a loved one, financial ruin, divorce, kids not doing their homework AGAIN...this is all stuff I can fall prey to misery over. If I am James Caan and Kathy Bates is swinging a mallet around, I am definitely in misery but the good news is that it will end in about two hours. 

But is it as simple as a figurative (or, in some cases, literal) slap in the face to snap out of it? When I am miserable and the world seems to fall around my ankles like crap-filled underwear and I claw my face and yell at God and feel sorry for myself, is it so easy to change up my mindset and go from misery to happiness? 

Well, it kind of is. Sort of. It gets easier the more I practice it. And, of course, there are times when I just say eff it, and wallow in the yuck for however long it serves me. And believe me...just about everything I go through in my life is some situation I have created  somehow – good and bad – and it is all there to serve me for some reason. So if I’m in self-induced misery and complain and cry...sorry to break this news to you, but that is serving a purpose in my  life. I am in no way saying that is wrong. It’s not, necessarily. I just have to be aware that I choose to be in whatever state of mind I’m in. I also have to be very careful to not allow bitterness and resentment to overrun my thinking because when that happens wallowing in the yuck will eat me alive from the inside out. 

And here we are back to the real question: How do I switch from miserable to happy?

The simple answer is: Grow the fuck up. Be a woman for God’s sake. Own my situation and take control of my reaction(s) to them. Stand up, trudge forward and fix the broken pieces steadily, live one moment at a time and remember to keep breathing. Ok, that’s pretty blunt and the nurturer in me wants to me to hug myself. But that’s the cold hard truth. I know it is a process, however, the beauty about states of mind is that I am completely in my own power to change my mindset at any time I choose to change. The only thing that stops me is my negative thinking habit. Some people may not even be aware of the way their thought processes affect them. What the hell do you do when your perception isn’t even suspect? 

When I’m rational (let’s be honest, I can go from calm to insane in about 5 seconds. And you know where and when: traffic and end of the day when my kids are whining) it helps me to take a look at my state of mind and break it down into smaller parts that are easier to digest. So what is Misery to me?

Fear was instilled in us eons ago to keep us alive. Fear keeps us from walking down dark alleys (unless you’re in a teen horror flick), jumping out of a perfectly good plane without a parachute (or, in some cases keeps us (me) from jumping out of a perfectly good plane WITH a parachute), or spitting in a dinosaur’s face. Good, instinctual, healthy fear serves to keep us living another day. Nowadays the word “fear” is kind of diluted to describe less life-threatening situations. I once heard fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. Hmmm. Sounds suspiciously like...

Meaning, and to quote Mark Twain, “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” And that’s really just a fancy schmancy way to say I’m a worry-wart. To combat this, I make myself think about where I am and what is happening at this very moment. So let’s do that right now. At this very moment I’m not being held at gunpoint, I’m not dying, not being raped, I’m not walking around in public half naked (hello! those are just awesome anxiety dreams, right??), I’m not going to jail, not being hit by a bus, my children are not hospitalized, we’re none of us starving, no one is - at this very moment - screaming in my face and accusing me of awful things, no one is suing me for anything and last I checked there is no T-rex lurking in the backyard waiting to eat me. Soon what is real turns into a gratitude list. Whatever it is that I am worried about usually isn’t happening to me at the time I am feeling the “fear”.  And the moment my head says, “Yeah, but....” I just need to reiterate the facts of right here, right now and accept that for the moment all is ok. Before I know it the moments add up and I realize more days than not that I am fine, always have been fine, and probably always will be fine. 

I have entitlement issues that rival the Queen of England. And yet I’m always worried about what you think of me just as much as I’m judging you. It’s like a frickin scorn contest. Who can out-eyeball who. So I have to ask: How much of my misery is based on 1) how I perceive myself, 2) what I worry others think about me and 3) how I think about others?  If I was judged by everyone the way I judge myself I’d be a quivering, crying mass of jello.  And I really do fuss in my head over what you are thinking of me. I still have issues with making you believe I am ok, that I am always doing the right thing and that I’m a very good person. As for me judging others,  I’m trying to make up for some lack in myself somewhere. I have to remember that every time I say or think something negative, I bring more negativity back to me. This is a daily struggle for me. I can be spiritual one minute and stand in line at the grocery store pissed off at the people in front of me for no good reason other than they are in front of me. If I can remember that I don’t know ANYTHING about what someone else might be going through, it takes the sting out of my barb. Funny thing is I usually don’t stop and remember that so then God steps in and helps me trip over cracks on the sidewalk, or over a flower bed or walk into a wall. True story. Happens a LOT. The most important thing for me to remember is I don’t deserve to be beaten up emotionally or verbally, by myself or anyone else and I certainly hate being the kind of person that beats others up.  I’m human, so are you, so let’s live and let live.

Well, I know that when I am angry I am ugly and disgusting and pretty stupid. And irrational. I can maintain sanity for only so long before I snap. Newsflash: my anger is masked fear/worry, so I must ask myself what am I afraid of? For example, there are phases my daughter goes through where she snivels and whines as soon as she sits down to do homework and I react in anger because my worry chain kicks in at 6000 rpm: I know it is manipulation (because she is just like I used to be), then I’m afraid she’ll get into bad homework habits, which means she’ll not do well in school, which means she she’ll grow up having self-confidence problems, then get depressed and shut herself away from life OR she’ll go the other way and make friends with other kids who are totally bad seeds and we all know what that leads to! Drugs! Sex! Teen Pregnancy! Living on the streets! She’ll grow up not being able to cope with the pressures of life...OH. MY. GOD!! SHE’LL GROW UP LIKE...MEEEEEE! (For the record, I didn’t do the drugs, teen pregnancy, living on the streets thing...) Anyway: Aha. That’s it. There’s the real fear. I don’t want her to make the same mistakes - OR WORSE - that I made. That is my fear that fuels that nugget of anger. So. Today’s lesson? Go back to False Evidence Appearing Real and realize what I am really upset about. And know that most times I’m tired too which causes my positive defenses to plummet and we should all just take a time out and eat ice cream. 

Whoopsie daisy. I can control my thoughts, I can control my actions. But that’s about it. Can I really control an outcome? Oh, I have no doubt in my mind there are amazing men and women who can orchestrate events that come off without a hitch. It is probably because they have no doubt that it will be any other way. But in a space of misery...there is SO much doubt involved, isn’t there? If I am in a space of misery, I doubt myself, the events I have created, everything begins to unravel and the more it unravels the more I try to grasp the strands in a desparate attempt to tie the threads together hastily to save an outcome I really know nothing about. I sweat, I shake, my pulse (and my mind) races because I know I am losing! If. It. Is. Not. This. Way. It. Can’t. Be. Any. Way. At. All. Oh please. There MUST be a time when I let go of the threads and let them fall where they fall. Most times the outcome will be better than I could ever imagine. The knots I tried so vainly to tie together? Just a mess. That’s all they are. A mess. When I let go and say, “I’ve done what I can, now let’s see what happens” the outcome is as it is supposed to be. Acceptance is the opposite of control. Do I always have to like an outcome to accept it? Nope. But not all the kicking and screaming and whining in the world is going to change the way something is. So I (try to) accept it and move on. Otherwise my only option left is to  change what I can and the only thing I can change is myself. Good luck having great results with trying to change other people. By the way, the more I manipulate others to behave in a way I think is right, the more disturbed I’m gonna be when the outcome backfires on me. The most freeing phrase I’ve ever learned is “I don’t know, God please help me.”

There goes that control freak again. When I force things to happen the way I think I want them to happen...well, let’s just say there are times when I DO get what I think I want, only to spend a lot of time pushing through the regret. “If only I had just let things happen naturally...” Nope. I must have everything the way I want it RIGHT NOW WHEN I WANT IT. Oh, how the Universe sparkles in knowing laughter at that silly notion. The Universe / God will gladly provide us if we ask. But how and when isn’t in the cards darling. Oh that’s so unfair. Truth is the most beautiful and valuable lessons can be learned in the process of something, not in the end result. 

What’s the point. There is absolutely nothing in my life that has already happened that I cannot change. Impossible. So why do I waste so much energy and emotion regretting something I can’t undo? Why do the stabs of pain and shame feel so sharp? It is so hard to forgive myself (that whole judgment thing) for some of the things I have done. The thing that I need to remember is just don’t do it again. To regret an experience in my past is one regret many like experiences is to be someone who is unwilling to learn and change. And that will, on my deathbed, be the biggest regret of all.

So for me the Misery Entree at Heartbreak Diner is comprised of equal parts Fear, Worry, Judgment, Anger, Control, Lack of Patience and Regret. 

The tonic? Faith, Humility, Tolerance, Acceptance, Patience and being Teachable. If I can just turn my negative thought, whatever it is, into the opposite to bring in a new, positive thought, and keep practicing that (at first it is really hard to remember to stop and breathe and assess), soon enough it is not such a long process to get out of my misery and into some happiness.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Turdy Is (NOT) As Sturdy Does

Sometimes I just want to slap some people and shout, “WAKE UP!! LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO BE MISERABLE!”

I’m so flippin’ preachy. Thing is I am the first to laugh at myself  because I have reached professional levels of morbid reflection, falling prey to worry and succumbing to insecurities. So who am I to preach?

Yet again, this question spurred  on a whole thought process of why can’t we all just switch Happy on and go out there and have happiness every day and achieve the things we want and be content with what we get?

I almost don’t know what to say next. (But you know me better than that...come on now...)

I feel like I don’t know what to say next because I subscribe to the philosophies of Law of Attraction, Manifestation, Power of Positive Thinking and the like.  So to say anything other than positive is like raining down the doom of Mordor on my sweet life, so that I am a quakey little miss standing rooted to the ground thinking “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts” (any X fans reading this??) because if I do those bad thoughts will come true so I must think good thoughts but then why am I not a billionaire, married to the perfect man and happily, madly in love with the perfect romantic traveling life???? 

I have a fulltime thinker installed in my head and it really is a chore to get it to stop working. I have tried reading books about not thinking and I can’t get past the part where it says I have to stop thinking. I just don’t get it. Yet. I have hope. There’s always hope. Until then, I think often and fiercely so let’s get back to my original question: Wait. My original question was, “Who am I to preach?” So...let’s get back to the next question: Why can’t we all just switch Happy on?

I think (hahahahaaaaaaaa) that is because most of us in this world have a thinking problem. Our thinking was and is shaped by every life event we have ever created for ourselves and by our parents and teachers and other children, by television, music and films...everything we see and hear has a part to play in why and how we think. Stripping all that away takes time, discipline, practice. A lot of us (me included) are too busy or impatient to get to that spiritual point of not thinking. Some even walk around not realizing their problem IS their thinking and therefore will never get the benefit of actually driving themselves crazy trying to unthink.

I don’t know what is better. Black and White or all kinds of shades of Grey? (No I haven’t read the book(s) yet). Black and White is either or. If I’m not happy I am sad. If the situation isn’t (insert description), then I will behave like (insert reaction).  Grey is all kinds of crazy possibilities. Sometimes, in my case, too many. I analyze to the point where I have forgotten the question and then just go eat chocolate.

We spirits in human form are complex beings, wouldn’t you say? Some of us are just happy, some of us struggle to be happy, some of us never achieve real happiness ever and die miserable.

I know the key lies in being grateful for the things I have been given and have earned in my life. But it doesn’t have to stop there. The next step is to allow myself to go bigger and better. “But that makes you a hypocrite!!” I can hear you shout from across the globe. Ah, caveat there.  It is possible to have true gratitude for life as it is, AND to dream for more. It’s like that bullcrap line “You can’t have faith and fear at the same time.” Oh, I am here to tell you you can. Sometimes I have a little fear and a LOT of faith, sometimes vice versa. But I have both. I AM striving to have more faith than fear on a regular basis. but that’s another blog. 

I do also know this: I CAN choose how to feel, and that IS conducted through my thoughts AND actions.

That bears repeating because it is so important: I can choose how I feel. How I feel is conducted through my thoughts and ACTIONS. I almost passed up a golden opportunity to focus on that little nugget.

Manifestation believers say our thoughts have power. Yes, I believe they do. But thought alone isn't going to kill (or make) us. ACTION that follows thought is what puts the whole shindig into play. Good thoughts + positive action = happy results. Bad thoughts + negative action = not happy results. Confused thoughts + opposite actions = neutral results. Confused thoughts + sloth = weight gain and channel surfing. No life lived there my friends.

So if I think/say I’m a piece of shit and I ACT like a piece of shit, then I am definitely a turd. If I choose to focus on being ok today... if I choose a thought process that promotes me being happy today,  I am accepting today for how it is, and my actions follow through with those thoughts and utterances, then I’m not so turdy.  I am, however, sturdy. See what I did there? I know that was kind of stupid, but I’m leaving it in.