Thursday, December 25, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Life has been a blurrrrrrr lately, and updating the blog has fallen by the wayside. In an attempt to catch back up a bit, here's a random accounting of activities and thoughts from the last couple of weeks:
- Work has been a whirlwind, and I'm clocking 12-15 hours a day right now, trying to keep up. I think it will settle down a bit in January, once we're done with all the year-end rush. Fingers crossed.
- I just got back from Toronto, where it snowed 3-4 inches on the city before I got out of there. Snow is so wonderful when you can look at it out your window; not so wonderful when you trudge to work in it. Still, being from the relatively warm south and spending much of my time in the tropics, snow is always a novelty, and if it's going to be frigid outside, it may was well snow to make it worth the while.
- I feel like I am way behind on Christmas shopping. Truth is, compared to the short list I'm buying this year, I'm not. But compared to what I bought last year, I am. I feel a bit like Scrooge -- I've been trimming down my list, sending more cards than gifts. But it's sort of the mode in these economic times. Conspicuous consumption is a bit gauche right now anyway.
- Current Christmas plans are up in the air. Plans to spend it with my parents have been dashed due to a flu bug at their house. We may not go now. If not, it's just my husband and I, and no gifts to boot! So we're thinking of being creative this year -- midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, a volunteer gig to pass out holiday meals on Christmas Day. And as for cooking, I think maybe I want to do something like research what a traditional Christmas meal is in Italy, and try to recreate that here. Something completely different, but perhaps establishing a new tradition for us. I'm sort of in the mood to break with the old and bring in the new. I must say that not rushing around to over-buy Christmas gifts this year has been refreshing. Perhaps some good things will come out of this bad economy; perhaps we'll get back to finding meaning in non-material things, and we'll find more joy in the giving of our time to others and in the little things. I'd really like to see that happen.
- Finally, I have managed to work off the extra five pounds I put on during the summer by being lazy, eating too much frozen custard and starting on some new BC pills (which I think is the real culprit). It's odd, because I've lost the poundage during the holiday season and while working for 12+ hours a day, a set of circumstances that usually has me finding the 5 pounds, not losing it.
- I have been eating a lot of sushi lately -- perhaps too much. I need to cut that back to once a week, as I'm hearing about avid sushi lovers getting too much mercury from it (Jeremy Piven), and that's a really bad thing.
- Parents all around me are starting to fail healthwise, including mine. My husband's mother, my neighbor's dad, my parents....all starting to feel their age. I fear that some of them won't be with us for long, but also the road ahead will be difficult for us all, as we struggle to help them with their health issues. Thirteen years ago, my husband's father fell over dead out of the blue (heart), and while that was a shocker, I'm starting to think it might be preferred to the deterioration of health as they get into their 70s & 80s. Sometimes I think maybe we just weren't meant to live so long.
- My shitzuh is the cutest boy ever. For some reason, he has become my constant companion lately, following me around the house at all times. Suddenly, he' s a mama's boy, and that's okay by me.
- I am in a mental panic over the first few months of next year. We still have some ugliness going on with my husband's business that has collapsed, and it is likely to peak in March '09. I am trying very hard to hang on mentally and financially to get through it all. I don't talk about it much...I try not to think about it much....because it sends me into a tailspin, and I have to continue to be functional to get us through this. I have to say that it's amazing what life throws at us and what we can actually bear. I hate the challenge this has presented, but I am thankful for the strength I am able to find. It's terrifying yet interesting to explore the boundaries of what one can handle and still be able to function. I thank God every day for the strength and the blessings He provides. He is the only reason I am still here and halfway sane, given some of the events of the last 18 months that I do not ever speak of here.
- I must remember to pick up my dry cleaning tomorrow. Note to self.
- My brother and his wife are in Europe for Christmas -- Germany at the moment. It's odd turnabout. I am usually the jetsetter, and he's the one at home. But not right now. Not this year.
- Tomorrow is Monday, the start of a holiday week, and I hope enough people have already started their vacation that it starts to lighten the workload for the rest of us who haven't. Please let the emails slow down!!
And with that....I must sign off for now.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
First of all, let me quickly move through the whole 'first Black president' thing. I feel like a bunch of us are patting ourselves on the back, busting with pride because 'look what we did' over here. Hmmm. Of course it's a milestone, for him and the country, but truthfully, when you look into the details of how all that happened, it isn't the exponential leap for mankind that some would purport. Lots and lots of people voted for him (and against him) based on race, and that's really the truth. So while most of his supporters would like to beat the drum of 'transcending race' with this candidate, we really didn't. The racial aspect drove certain behaviors that resulted in his election -- 98% of Blacks voted for him (which alone wouldn't get him elected), but add that to an adequate percentage of Whites who voted for him because he is not George W. Bush, and that definitely provided enough votes to put him in office.
Another thing -- and something no one seems to want to talk about -- Obama is as much White as he is Black, and perhaps a bit more. It appears that the only Black influence on him may have been in the form of sperm, since he is the product of a Black father who did not hang around for long and a White mother who was a bit of a free spirit, disappearing from time to time, while his White grandparents raised him (mostly). Obama does not share the typical Black experience in America -- he grew up mostly in Hawaii, not an inner-city ghetto; he attended prestigious schools (Columbia, Harvard, etc.). So while we can talk about the color of his skin, neither his DNA nor his life experience even remotely resembles 99% of the Black population in America. And yes, he's just as much White as he is Black, but it's a lot less sexy to look at it that way. I felt the same way about Halle Berry being the first Black actress to win an Oscar -- people went out of their way to ignore the fact that she was raised by a mother who is whiter than snow.
One other thing his supporters would have us all believe is that Obama brought out voters in unprecedented numbers, in droves never seen before. In reality, only 1% more of the population voted than in 2004, something like 62% to 61%. So while, yes, that's more, it's not like it was a monumental increase. It didn't even break a record. So in historic context, it wasn't that big of a deal really.
And then there were the 55 million people who voted against him -- I don't have statistics on this, but I would bet that at least some of them voted not for John McCain, but against the Black guy, so again, race played a role. And isn't that just the way things go in the world? So while some would like to put on airs and act like we did something special in this election, I don't really think that's the truth, and I doubt many thinking people are buying that premise.
My next thought on Obama is that we truly don't know who he is. First, the press never vetted him. He was given an unprecedented free ride by the media during most of the campaign. So in the past, we've been able to rely on the press causing any and everything about a candidate to surface and be examined, but not this time. They simply wouldn't do it. It was like a conspiracy to grease the skids on putting their man in office, and no matter what legitimate question about Obama's past came up, it was quickly buried by the mainstream media and the person raising the question was immediately attacked.
And in addition to the ongoing question mark in the press, we saw several different Obamas. In the primaries, he ran to the Left and beat out Hillary Clinton to get his party's nomination. As soon as he hit the general election against McCain, he suddenly moved center and tried to sound like a moderate in all his stump speeches. And looking back, if one does review his voting record in both the Illinois State Senate and the U.S. Senate, he was the most liberal-voting Senator on record. So past actions indicate a hard Leftist, while stump speeches portrayed a moderate. And since the press was on no mission for the truth about this, we still have no idea what we'll get in a real live President from Mr. Obama. It's a total crapshoot. Hard to believe over 60 million people were willing to go with a crapshoot on this, but that's just more proof that other factors like race and Bush hatred played a major role in his election.
And here's something that really bothered me about the Obama phenomenon, and not so much him, but in the behavior of some of his followers. The whole 'he's our messiah' thing was just too much. People turned him into some fantasy saviour superhero of the world, pinning all sorts of hopes and dreams on him, assigning all sorts of super powers to this one man, a politician. The looney end of the spectrum got out of control with it, and we started to see some really OTP things -- children chanting, songs being sung, art being created, Obama depicted as Jesus -- and the thing that came to mind for me, the only other time I recall seeing that sort of behavior and response -- was in the era of Hitler and the Nazis. *shiver* There was an Obama fever in the left-leaning part of the population that resulted in the same types of behaviors and displays I've read about in history books from Nazi Germany in the 1940s. And I find that VERY disturbing. We'd all like to think we are so different from them, that we learned from that; that it could never happen again. But the hard Left behavior during this election helped me to see how all that happened in the past and, if left unchecked, could happen again. And I find that extremely unsettling for all of us.
Adding one cultural note -- I will say this about the race factor -- though this is not a huge milestone to me personally, it probably truly is for the African American community. And if Obama's election has enabled African Americans to see their lives differently, to truly believe they've broken through a barrier now, then I find value in that. If his election has moved us past a view in the Black public mindset that this is a racist country in which a Black person cannot hope to get ahead, then that's valuable to the culture. I would say to those people -- see, regardless of what you thought, the only force really holding you back was yourself -- but they would have never believed that until now (and many still won't). And so it is probably a very big deal for that sector of society, and if it helps to move them forward in any way, it has value to us all. I think it will be difficult now for them to legitimately claim or truly believe that America is a racist country, since it took the votes of a many non-Blacks to put Obama in office.
And so...he is...headed for office.
Even though he wasn't 'my guy' in this election, in general, I find Obama to be likeable, and I do have admiration for him in certain regards. I very much like the idea of a young Black guy in office, vs. the typical old white guy...I really do. It feels fresh. And I love the idea of having young children living in the White House -- it has a feeling of new beginnings to it. I am, however, very concerned about Obama's lack of experience -- he really, truly doesn't have any, no matter what they may argue. He's spent most of his career either administering social programs or running for office. I feel that he has good intentions (who doesn't?) but he just doesn't know what he doesn't know, and the rest of us will have to suffer for that. And then there are the policies he touted during the election which I cannot agree with -- his tax policies, his views on abortion, his naivety on national security -- we seem to be polar opposites on the things that really matter. So while I like the 'idea' of Obama and admire certain things about him, I can't get past his liberal voting record and the policies he embraced during the campaign. My only hope is that, like most other politicians, he won't make good on any of his promises while in office and will be forced to move to the center on most everything, since that's where the majority of the country lies.
And so, in January, we start anew with a fresh administration. I am hopeful that he will do the right thing, but I am fearful of his naivete and of the vicious Democrat political dogs in power on the Hill -- Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and others -- who have a robust liberal agenda and are prepared to try to shove a lot of policy change down the throats of most of us who sit in the middle. I do hope Obama has a spine and can battle those two. My fear is that he neither has the will nor the inclination to do it, but we'll go into it hoping for the best. He seems to be a rather pragmatic guy, not an idealogue, so the bodes well for him listening to a lot of differing opinions and thinking things through. So we'll hope for the best.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Not a major outing, mostly a search for some casual tops to wear with jeans, a few long sleeves to take me through light fall days, because what's currently in my closet is either sleeveless (tanks, strappies, sleeveless tees) or turtleneck sweaters. Nothing in between, except for the tops that have gotten too short and wide after 10 washings.
What is it about casual tops? They never become too long and narrow to wear, always too short and wide. And I am a tall lady, so this is particularly annoying. How does that happen, anyway? Why does everything shrink in that same direction so suddenly? One day it's fine, and the next, the shrinkage fairy has struck. Suddenly, something that fit last week is now too wide for my torso, and too short to touch the top of my jeans. I don't get that.
So anyway, I went out to do a little shopping, and you know what? I couldn't find a damn thing to buy. I have never seen so much trash in my life. Things that are just awful! Bad design, cheap fabric, awful fit, poor quality. Everywhere.
I thought...I'm in the wrong shops....the good stuff must be at a higher price point. Time to upgrade! So I did, and it simply got worse. It was just more bad stuff, with higher price tags.
Who are these buyers? What are they thinking? Who do they think they're dressing with this crap?
I spent an entire afternoon in one of the top shopping plazas in town, and I came away with nothing. NOTHING, I tell you!
Dallas, we have a problem.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I can see this with people all through my life, past and present, including some family members.
This is not the way to be. And it's probably my biggest flaw. I really need to work on this, but first, I'd like to understand why I am this way. Why am I so stand-off-ish? Why am I so selective about who I 'let in', about who I view as having real credibility? Unconsciously, I seem to find something wrong with most everyone. Perhaps I have intimacy issues. Perhaps I am afraid to let them know me.
I really don't know the answer to this.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Couple #1 (them):
He orders filet mignon - $33
She orders mahi-mahi filet - $29
Couple #2 (us):
He orders Caesar Salad with chicken - $15
She orders fish tacos - $14.50
90 minutes later:
The bill arrives. Couple #1 suggests we just split it down the middle. So we do.
I think to myself: I wish we weren't so polite.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
- I just spent 14 of the last 72 hours rolling across the Texas prairie, north to south and then back again, in 100+ degree weather to do a little visit with the folks. Drive was too long, visit was too short.
- My eating habits over the past few days have been more than horrendous. Whenever I go visit my mom, she stuffs me full of the worst foods in the world (but they taste oh so good). This is part of the job of being a mom -- make your adult children eat as much bad food as possible in the shortest amount of time. Food pushers, indeed.
- I am currently hooked on these little red candies called 'Hot Tamales' that are basically jelly beans covered in a cinnamon-charged outer layer and shaped like little red bullets. I am eating them by the handfuls, which is not a good thing. I feel obsessive about it but I think it's really some howling hormones that are out of control. I am not attempting to control them, however, I understand that I will have to deal with their consequences in a few days, when the hormones go away but the extra poundage does not.
- I should be doing some work right now but suffer from a distinct lack of interest in it at the moment.
- I knew John Edwards was a scumbucket. Now, so does everyone else. The lying is probably worse than the affair. People put themselves out for this man; they believed in him. They invested time, money, emotion in him (God only knows why), only to have him look at them and lie, lie, lie. What is it about sex that causes men to risk everything for it?
- Turns out that if John Edwards had come clean early on, it is likely that Hillary Clinton would have won the Democratic nomination instead of Barrack Obama. This makes the second philandering, cheating male politician that has hosed Hillary and tanked her chance at the White House. She really should be developing a distinct disdain for men at this point, shouldn't she?
- We had a cold front swing through today, and it is only 91 degrees out, a welcomed change from the 106 we had EVERY DAY LAST WEEK.
- It's difficult to continue my outdoor exercise routine in this summer heat. I feel myself falling away from it....I go out less often and stay for shorter periods of time. That, coupled with the current obsession with Hot Tamales is bad news for my thighs.
- I have a gyno appointment tomorrow, and the part of that I dread the most is the 'weigh in'. Ugh, that is emotionally brutal. I plan to close my eyes so as to not completely confirm the damage done by the Hot Tamales as of late.
- I am taking some new b.c. pills that are making me antsy. This month is an improvement over last month. I will give it one more month to see if it gets better. Some days are okay but some are making me crazy. Hormones. Ugh!
- The very best thing about my trip to see the folks was my dad. He has recovered from major heart surgery done in January, and he is like a whole new person. I have never seen him in such a good mood and looking so good. It was well worth the trip to give him a big hug and see him smiling and feeling so good. God is great!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
What initially seemed to be a journalistic scoop of dubious moral propriety now seems to be a case of an Israeli paper being played by the Barack Obama campaign.
"Lord - Protect my family and me," reads the note. "Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will."
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Meryl Streep was fabulous, as always. And Pierce Brosnan? Well, he can't hold a tune in a bucket -- still, his bad singing made the show all the more endearing.
This is definitely the feel good movie the summer needed. It's so great to go to the movies and actually be entertained.
Thanks ABBA and friends. Well done.
Post-script to this entry: Since the Friday night opening across the country, critic after critic has picked it apart and panned it, saying things like 'the story line is not believable' and 'the choreography is terrible...it's just people hopping about', and 'the script is mind-numbing'.
PALEEZ! Do you think it might be okay to go to the movies just to have some fun? Does every film have to have some freakin' political message or deep, dark script to be of value? How about something like, 'It's a musical. It's fun. Come and sing along and enjoy your 2-hour frivolous escape from the world'. Huh? How about something like that for a review?
Freakin' critics take themselves way too seriously. They need to get over themselves. They've forgotten how to just go to the movies and have some fun.
And by the way, the film broke records this weekend and made over $30M. So much for critics, eh?
God Save the Queen!
Monday, July 14, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
We drank, we danced, we sang patriotic songs, we waved flags and shot off fireworks. We cheered and broke into applause at anyone wearing a military uniform. It felt good to feel good about the country, regardless of what the press or other people have to say about us. This was just us, celebrating being us....uniquely American...red, white, blue, brown, black and yellow....all singing along to Yankee Doodle Dandy and God Bless America. It was great fun, truly.
I'm sure tomorrow will bring back our differences, but tonight we were all united. And it felt great.
Three cheers for the red, white and blue.
Happy Birthday USA! You've got your problems, for sure, but you're still one grand experiment and a fabulous place to be. Many thanks to my Italian (Dad's side) and English (Mom's side) ancestors who made the trek over many, many years ago. You rock!
Today...a holiday. No work, all play. A neighborhood gathering with food, friends and fun, topped off with fireworks over the ocean. Burgers, cole slaw, Mom's apple pie all on the menu. My contribution? Appetizers. Pecorino and herb stuffed mushrooms. Yum.
Off to the market in search of perfect 'shrooms.
Happy 4th of July!!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Packing up the Florida house to leave it until September. It's been a bit of a drag to be here with the daily rain and all. And it's so quiet in town. The high airfares and gas prices have kept people at home rather than heading for a beach vacation this summer. So the typical off-season slow-down is brutally quiet this year, eerily so. A sad state for what is usually a bustling beach town. Contrast that with the energy of the city in Dallas, where crowds of people are out and about on warm summer nights....and it's no contest -- we're headed back to Big D for the rest of the summer. 110 degree days? So be it!
And it looks like I'll be taking the long way back....Miami-London-Paris-Atlanta-Dallas. Whew! Talk about your scenic route! So I'm busy packing for all that, too. What to take, what to wear....office, downtime, playtime....
So much to do, so little time.....
Saturday, June 28, 2008
This isn't an exact example of it, but you get the picture. Short shorts and very high heels. It used to appear only on selective street corners. Now it can be seen everywhere. Ugh.
It used to be the shorter the short, the flatter the shoe. Unless you were a 'working girl' of sorts, looking for some quick cash.
Now, fashion appears to have gone 'hooker chic'. I see 19 year old girls all over town stumbling along in very short shorts and very high pumps. It looks cheap and ridiculous. And imagine how annoyed the hookers must be -- it's getting more and more difficult for them to differentiate themselves.
I ask -- Do these girls have mothers? I would have never been allowed to leave my room, let alone the house, dressed like that.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
One burning question for my British friends out there: Hose or no hose? It's become a real question here in the U.S., even Barrack Obama's wife talked about it yesterday. (she says 'no' to panty hose)
So is it okay to go to the office with bare legs? I do it here....but how does it play in London...and Paris?
Priorities, you know....
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
I've been in a conference all week, morning 'til night with a dozen colleagues and 3 guys from the UK giving Powerpoint presentations. Started bright and early Monday morning, finished noon-ish on Friday. 4.5 days of being cooped up with the same faces. A really long week.
Actually, I must admit that it could have been worse. The subject matter was fairly interesting and the format of the conference not half bad. They also fed us well, which will lead to a big workout week next week. And one interesting demographic dynamic -- I was the lone female in the class. 14 attendees, 13 of them male. The nice thing is that I trumped most of them in title, often not the case in a career woman's world.
One other item of interest -- having nothing to do with the content of the class, yet still interesting to me -- I don't know what it was, but one of the presenters had something going on in his demeanor that called to mind David Beckham for me. He didn't look much like him, but there was an essence of something there that I couldn't put my finger on -- he said he lived north of London, so perhaps they've something in common there? Thankfully, he did not have the annoying Becks voice. (The Beckham thing is lost on me the second he opens his mouth and that tiny, whiny cartoon voice emerges.) In contrast, this guy had a deep, commanding voice and British accent that made you want to listen to him. Words elegantly rolled off his tongue in a deep vibrato, easy on the ears (if not the eyes). He sounded a bit Daniel-Craigish in that regard, and you all know what that does for me (*sigh*). So that put an interesting twist to whatever he happened to be presenting...even if I (the lone female) was the only one who appreciated it.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
I'm very embarrassed to say that I actually exposed myself to this dribble because I was too lazy to get up and find the remote control and change it. Plus, I was only listening with one ear as I sat and answered my work email. Still, I came away shaking my head over what I half paid attention to.
The topic? 7 Ways to Keep Your Lover
Tyra had enticed 7 twenty-something men to come on the show and tell why they had recently broken up with their girlfriends. She then had a panel of so-called 'relationship experts' to expound on the reason provided by the guys. This, purportedly, would highlight the mistakes made by the dumped women and could teach us all a thing or two about how to keep our man. Ahem.
So here are the 7 reasons these guys dumped their ladies, and thus, avoiding this behavior would be the way to keep your man:
1. 'She withheld sex from me.' When they'd had a big fight, when he'd done something wrong, when she was feeling hurt or not pleased, she refused him a little something-something. Um....Okay. Wow. So let me get this straight. Even if he treats me badly, disrespects me, makes me feel like crap, stomps all over my feelings, I'm supposed to pop open wide and let him go at it. Really? Even if my resulting lack of desire for him is due to emotional duress (and not a punishment strategy), I'm just supposed to lay back and keep him happy. Well apparently so, because all of the so-called 'experts' agreed. The rule? No matter what, don't go without sex for two weeks. The guy has every right to bolt if that happens.
Wow. Score 1 for men, bigtime zero for the progress of women. I thought that women had started to move out of the dark ages where it actually mattered to men that there was emotional participation along with the sex. Now I hear, even from the experts, that this truly does not matter. It's the Nike philosophy. JUST DO IT.
2. 'She was too clingy.' The girlfriend moved from Florida to NYC to be with him, they had a baby, and now, when he wants to disappear at night for 4 or 5 hours to party with the guys, she either doesn't want him to go or wants to go with him. Um, do I even have to expand on what's wrong with this picture? And once again, our panel of experts agreed -- she definitely needs to give him his space.
3. 'She wouldn't clean up my stuff.' Apparently the poor bloke worked all day (and so did she, by the way), but it would have just been the sexiest thing ever if she'd done those dishes that were stacked up in his sink. Again, the experts agreed.
4. 'She didn't trust me.' Well if he'd aligned with 1-3 above, I can see how #4 would happen.
5. 'She was boring.' This guy didn't like the same old thing all the time. He wanted a woman to surprise him with fun and excitement as often as possible. Yes, the experts agreed -- it was definitely this woman's fault that they were in a rut. Dump her.
6. 'She wanted me to be her wallet.' This poor guy had a girlfriend who was just too into him having some money. Wow. A woman concerned about financial security. Amazing! What a concept! Let's see....traditionally, I think this has been the trade-off across the centuries. He gets regular sex; she gets financial security. Yes, yes, that's the unvarnished version of what marriage was about before "love" took over....but apparently this guy is shocked by that. He wants the regular sex (two-week rule, you know), but she can pay her own way. ha! Good luck with that. Women are just lining up for men like this one.
7. 'She wasn't confident enough.' She agreed with him too much. And he wants a woman who speaks her own mind. Oh, yes, I'm so sure. And the minute she overrides him or puts her needs above his, he'll be crying some of the 1-6 above. PALEEZ.
So that's it. That's why these pencil dicks dumped their girlfriends (and apparently, this is how you can avoid such ugliness...).
And all I can do is be glad I'm not out there in the single world, trying to find a decent guy to date or marry. Wow. The de-evolution of women in modern relationships is simply astounding to me. But what's more shocking is the 'agreement' by the 'experts'.
What the hell is going on out there? Geez!
Friday, May 30, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
As the odd sound pierced my cloud of internal thoughts and summoned me back to my physical surroundings, I was sure this person was making this up. No one had a real voice like that. He had to be joking.
But as I came back into full awareness of my surroundings -- a pizza stop in a crowded airport during a layover on my way to Toronto -- I realized that the young man gathering the trash and speaking kindly to people in such an odd voice was actually genuine. As I paid more attention, it quickly became clear that he had some form of mental disability. The cartoon voice and unusually cheerful demeanor belonged to someone who did not live in reality...a simpleton...someone not fully capable of grasping and dealing with the real world.
Our eyes met, and he quickly and happily greeted me in the cartoon voice, "Howdy Ma'am" he said cheerfully. I responded, "Hi there. How are you?", not expecting the response I would get. "Having a good day and just happy to be blessed," he said. "That's what it's all about -- being blessed." I cautiously responded, " Yes, it is."
He walked away, happily completing his job of collecting the trash, smiling at people who brought them their empty paper plates and cups. And I thought....how ironic. Me, with an above average IQ....him clearly below; yet he is the one who gave me something profound to think about. Just minutes earlier, I had been lost in some thoughts about my own troubles, a bit grouchy about the flight, the layover, the trip in general. Feeling a lot less than blessed for whatever reason, none of it really legitimate.
And then this person, this trash collector, this simpleton, comes along and reminds me what it's really all about in two sentences flat. His single statement caused me to rethink my entire day and to reconsider what's really important. I no longer dwelled on the petty minutia or the inconvenience at hand. His greeting had changed my entire day, and I am still thinking about it, even now.
It's odd how someone who passes through your life in a day, even in a few moments, can contribute something valuable. A kind word, a cheeful demeanor, even a smile can change someone else's day for the better.
And he, the simpleton....reflected the light of God, even in his simple state. Something for all of us to admire and emulate. A lesson learned, from a simpleton.
Monday, May 26, 2008
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The most recent evidence of this.... this week's 'celebu-headlines' have included the hitching together of Jessica Alba and Cash Warren, as well as Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz. In the same set of headlines, we read that Shania Twain is divorcing her husband of 14 years, while Dylan McDermott is splitsville with Shiva Rose, leaving a double-digit year marriage in the rear-view mirror.
Now I don't think this is coincidence. I think there must be a quota system on tinseltown coupledom, only so many marriage licenses to go around. When one couple divorces, it frees up another to get married. Tag-team marriages abound.
Now, with the California Supreme Court ruling that gay marriage in California is legal, the new raft of same-sex marriages should result in a fresh batch of spotlight divorces in order to maintain order. Hmmm....wonder who's next?
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
We had a cyclone in Myanmar and an earthquake in China. We have ongoing genocide in Africa. We have wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have ongoing tensions and skirmishes in the Middle East. We have $130/barrel oil. We have rice shortages which threaten the food supplies in half the world.
And what does the United Nations do?
They send a special investigator to the United States to study the effects of 'racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance' in America. A lawyer from Senegal will spend the next three weeks touring the country, from Washington and New York to Los Angeles and Chicago....in search of who knows what.
Now don't think it's a coincidence that this is going on during an election year. I'm sure Mr. Senegal will compile a huge report, to be released during the coming year, only it will have leaks the size of the Grand Canyon in it, and we'll hear all sorts of horrid tales of racism from all across the country while we're trying to decide who to vote for. No, no ulterior motives there.
Yet one more reason to pull the plug on the U.N. What a joke it is.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
- I started my new job on Monday with a 3-day orientation. I was really dreading this class but ended up enjoying it. I hadn't foreseen how much I would like reconnecting with smart, professional people again. Sadly, there were so few of them (none, to be exact) at my most recent job.
- I got the unofficial nod by the women in orientation for 'best shoes' in the class. Nice, but now I have the pressure of a shoe reputation to uphold.
- On day three, I was asked to be a mentor. Wow. Someone decided they wanted me to help guide them in their career. I feel honored and yet so completely unworthy of that.
- I ate very badly this week. Lots of snacking, poor choices, too much food. I think I needed to emotionally balance out the discipline of being tied to a new job with some form of freedom otherwise. So it came out in the food area. I felt free to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. No more of that going forward.
- I was given a rose today and wished 'Happy Mother's Day', even though I'm not anyone's mother. I wonder if that's some form of cheating, somehow. I feel a bit guilty. *sigh*
- The television in the master bedroom went out.
- I closed out my furniture consignment. The store sold most of what I took in, but they didn't get much money for it. It is potentially enough, however, to replace the dead TV mentioned above, so I guess that's something.
- I saw two children in a cafe at lunch today who, from the back, looked like my estranged niece and nephew at the ages they were before we became estranged. I wanted to go into the ladies room and cry, my heart ached so. I can only imagine the heartbreak of their father (my brother) who lives with that void each and every day. I sometimes wonder how he can function with that weighing on his heart. I don't think I would be able to.
- I bought pink petunias and planted them around my front tree.
- Last night, we strolled the neighborhood, had some gelato, sat on a park bench, people-watched and had great conversation with total strangers.
- We ate at a new Korean/Japanese bistro this evening. Outstanding. Food and service. I left the waitress a sizable tip. She deserved it.
- About an hour's drive from here, Jenna Bush (the President's daughter) has just married her beau, Henry. This afternoon, we had rain and hail. I hope it cleared up in time for Jenna's wedding at the ranch. I wish the new couple all the best.