Life Comes at you and from there it is all about the choices we make, how we deal with those choices and how we act and react to the people and things around us. My goal: Happiness. I surround myself with happy people when I can. And if by chance I bring some happiness to others along the way it just goes to show; It Is What It Is

Friday, December 30, 2011

What's a "Good Person"?

I watched my friends children for her so she could go out on a date with a gentleman she met, who knows, maybe he will someday be her husband.  I let a friend of a friend borrow my car so he could get to work, otherwise he would have had to call in and maybe lost his job.  I worked at a camp for differently-abled children and gave a young boy a hug and hope that things would be okay.  Do any of these make me a good person?

I have been struggling this year with the whole "Good Person" thing.  What makes someone a good person?  What doesn't?  I even posted a status on Facebook asking that question and no one answered.  Does that mean that no one else knows the answer either?

Yesterday, while talking to someone very important to me, the topic came around to funerals, friends and attendance.  He had just attended a funeral for someone who he knew, but not well, and the church was packed.  He commented to me that he wondered if when he died there would be anyone at his funeral.  Strange, I have often thought the same thing.  My thoughts started in that vein after my mom passed away and the temple, funeral home, and cemetary were all filled beyond capacity.  Who would come to my funeral?  Does a full chapel mean I was a good person?  and why the hell do I need to wait til I am dead to figure that out?

I have a friend who's mother is dying.  I truely like her mother and have had multiple conversations and have asked her advice on a bunch of different topics.  I am not a close family friend to the mom, but I am to the daughter.  I have been trying to bring them meals and make things as easy as possible as they go through this awful ordeal.  Am I doing this to be thought of as a good person?  Isn't this what any decent person would do?  Who wouldn't do what they could?

Why the quest for me this year?  I really have no freaking clue.  If anyone can tell me I would be excited to know.

I can tell you one thing however - earlier this year I decided the theme for 2012 for me was going to be pay it forward.  I don't have a lot.  I can't afford to walk into K mart and pay off $10,000 in lay-aways for the holidays, sometimes I can't even afford to give Salvation Army a buck.  But I can make a meal and give a friend a hug, I can listen when you are down, laugh with you when times are good and lend a hand when you need one.  If that is what it is, then I guess I am ready to accept it with humility and grace - I am a good person!

Friday, November 4, 2011

I May Die Fat and Happy, or I May Just Die!

Today I took a PIYO class at my gym.  For those of you who don't know what PIYO is, it is a combination of Pilates and Yoga, or a sado-masochistic nightmare.  Let me share with you my experience.

I was talked into this by a former personal trainer of mine. She said "come on, try it.  I love it and you will too.  It isn't boring, the instructor moves the class along.  It is WONDERFUL!"  I should have known - Barb weighs about 98 pounds, soaking wet with a full pack on.  She is also an Ironman Triathelete.  I was in for trouble!

I brought my mat and my water and prepared for an hour of PIYO.  Mistake number one - did the stair machine before coming to class.  Mistake number two- wearing socks - slipped all over mat, they came off quick.  Mistake number three - looking around class and seeing I was probably the biggest person there, and I do not mean tallest.  Mistake number four - not turning around and walking out the door while I had the chance.

As I unrolled my mat in the back of the class, away from all the full wall mirrors that let you see EVERY flaw in your body, Barb brought me a cheat block and a set of weights.  She said I might need one or the other or both.  Yippee!

In walks the instructor.  She is an amazing aquasize instructor and I like her classes because they move along and are challenging.  I actually break a sweat in the pool.  BUT, this is on land, and this whale does much better where I weigh one fifteenth of my body weight - in the water.  Ugh.

First we stretch.  Not so bad.  I can do this.  It is quick, by Yoga standards.  Fairly painless, and I can still breathe.  Three minutes in this all changed.  It was like dancing the jitterbug with only one leg and a full measure behind the music.  Because I am fairly unfamiliar with Yoga poses and completely unfamiliar with any kind of Pilates, I needed to watch the instructor then contort my body then look again to make sure I had it correctly - which by that point she was doing something else, then try again to catch up.  Lets just say an onlooker would have been highly amused.  Downward facing dog, now press down into plank, now monkey ankles and up to downward facing dog, now down to plank, monkey ankles, now left knee forward now hold!  Now monkey ankles and right knee forward, back, forward, hold!  Now push back to downward facing dog, walk to forward extension and rollup to namaste.  Thank God, a chance to breathe - but no, we are here for two counts now back to downward facing dog, now plank, now monkey ankles - you get the picture - Are You Freakin Kidding Me? 

Finally we got to go into extended child pose - I like this pose - It is basically a chance to hide your face on the mat and cry your tears privately before getting up and doing it all again. 

At one point we were laying on our bellies, arms in front of us, legs behind us, doing the swim.  This was ok, until she said hold for a count of three breaths. Three...   ...   ...   ...   ...   ...  SERIOUSLY?  Two...   ...   ...   ...   ...   Okay Now.  One...   ...   ...   ....  I had no choice at this point I had to say something - "Instructor," I said,  "I breathe faster than you!"  I would die, either from holding the freaking pose, or from lack of oxygen if I slowed my breathing that much.

Then we threaded the needle- this is the first time physically my body said "you want me to do what?"  I figured it out, but it was definately not a normal body position.  Once you tie your body in a knot it is imperative that you have the correct position so you can untie yourself without injury.  Needless to say, I was able to untie because I am sitting at my computer.  Also, I did not die, as you can tell from the same reason, I am up sitting at my computer!

So, if I can walk tomorrow, I might take this class again next week!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What's In It For Me

Recently, I was talking to a friend who told me I was one of the most selfless people she knew.  I would do anything for anyone.  I looked around to see who she was talking to.  She thought that was funny, but in all seriousness, I was not being funny!

I see myself as being very selfish. 

So this brings me to my questioning thought: do we ever see ourselves as others see us?

My best friend is married to one of the most intelligent creatures on this planet (and she is no dummy herself).  He is intellectually smart - knows lots about lots.  But even more than that he knows what he doesn't know and does two things aboout that - He is smart enough to shut his mouth when he does not know something, not pretend he does, and two, he does research to find out what he wants to know to improve himself or just for curiosity to gather the information - maybe for next time.  On top of all that he is one of the most humble people I know.  It is both an honor and a priviledge to call him friend.  And yet, with all this, he does not flaunt his intelligence.  As a matter of fact, he stammers and clams up in front of others whom he believes are smarter than he is.  He does not think he is all that!  This man does not see the innate goodness in himself either intellectually or emotionally.  Neither does his wife.  They are good about pointing it out in each other, and have a little thing that when one of them puts themselves down the other makes a bad buzzer sound like on a game show.  I wonder if they realize how wonderful it is that they have this?  Everyone should have their own little buzzer in their head that says "Hey, get off of yourself".  I am glad they have it for each other.

But, I digress.  So why is it that I feel like I am selfish, and lazy, and overall not worth it?  I am not feeling sorry for myself, or 'wo is me', it is just an overall opinion I have of myself.  Was it messages I heard as a kid?  And with all that, why is it that others don't see me the same way?  When I do things, well after I do things, there is a thought that goes thru my head of "What's in it for me?"  What do I get out of doing whatever I am doing?  Why do I think that?  And, when I do do something nice I don't like it when someone tells someone else.  I feel embarrassed, or worse yet, that now I have to do something nice for the next person.

And yet none of this is verbal.  It is all a struggle between my own ears.  I used to think I was a very simple creature.  Not to swift, not real kind or caring, just existing and trying to stay out of major trouble.  I have since revised that opinion.  An ameba is a simple creature; one cell, not a lot of choices and, I am not sure 100% on this, but no brain (is the nucleus considered a brain?).  Therefore I must be more complicated than I thought.

Off I go now, back to work.  Thoughts on paper with no answers.  What was in this for me?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Who Do THey Think They are?

I woke up yesterday morning and as usual listened to the news headlines as I drove to work.  Top in the news was that a republican senator from upstate NY had changed his mind and was going to vote for marriage equality in the upcoming vote.  Then, while I am working out at the gym I see that Governor Cuomo is urging everyone to talk to their represntatives because they are only two votes shy. 
I have been excited about the push towards equality in NY state until yesterday when I just got mad.  No, not just mad, furious.  Why the hell is there a need for a vote?  Who determined that two people who want to get married and commit themselves to each other need a vote to have that done?  What happened to civil rights?  And who is voting?  These people who are sitting in Albany are voting and they are not the public, they are not the popular vote!  I know we the people voted them into the position to be the vote givers, but what makes one person go against potentially their morals and values and ideals to vote for something that their people want?
And again I state why are we even having to bring this up for a vote.  Was it only this past century that mixed races were not allowed to marry?  Two women, two men, is that mixed races?  it is not even mixed gender?
Back in the time when laws were written, somehow it became law that a man must marry a woman and a woman must marry a man.  Maybe this was so people did not marry their dog or their neighbors goat.  But now the laws are antiquated.  Lets just take them off the books.  There are no needs.  Yet we are voting - and I am using that term loosely.
Play the game Balderdash and you will see all the assinine laws on the books in different states across this nation.  Most of them don't mix religious values with civil rights.
For goodness sake, my hope is they just pass this and move on.  Such a waste of time, effort and money for a right that should be no less a right than John and Jane marrying!  Sue and Mary, Dave and Rick, etc so on and so forth.  It should be a non issue.  Lets make it so and stop wasting precious resources on crap when there are so many real things to do!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Head versus Heart

Last week, due to unfortunate circumstances, I needed to purchase a new car.  Not that I had not been thinking about a new car recently, but it was not really the right time and I was hoping my old gal would get me through til Sky graduates from college.  But that was not to be.

Because I work 75 miles from home in an area that does not understand North South travel with public transortation, AND, my job rarely includes my staying put in the office for more than a few days at a time - much to the dislike of my office manager who tells me that even tho she gets more work done when I am not there she does like my company, I had no time to lollygag on this decision and needed to get a new car and get on with life.

I had been hearing about this place about an hour plus from home that had great quality used cars, the salespeople do not make commission based on what you buy, and you have a three day return policy - no questions asked.  I had also heard some people talking about the place and they only had great things to say about their experience there.  So I called - at 8:30 on a Wednesday night.  They answered the phone!

"If I was to come in and test drive some cars tomorrow, would I be able to drive home in one - all paperwork completed and be done?"   Absolutey, was the answer.  Sweet, I wanted to be there when they opened, drive some cars I had already picked out online, and be done with it.  Remember, I don't really want to buy a car at this point.  I have two more payments on Sky's car and then I am car payment free for a while.  Not to be!

So we go, and I drive a 2006 Saturn Ion,  I drive a 2007 Saturn Ion.  As I am heading out the gate with the 2006 I spot a really sharp black car, and next to it a freaking hot black car and heave a little sigh.  These cars ooze sex and just gave me a visceral reaction of "I would love to be owned by them!"

My salesperson got out of the car right then as I am drooling and says "They are both within the price range you told me".  Can you imagine this picture - I put the litte ion I was driving in reverse and backed it like three footbal fields through a maze of cars and right back into its little spot and told him to get the keys!

I looked at Renee and said if I had to buy something I might as well get something I LOVE! Right?  So we drove a 2004 Black on Gray Nissan Sentra with 66000 miles that was loaded - power everything, nooks and crannies, moon roof, cruise and a fin on the back.  Clean, flush mounted sharp tires and drove like a dream!  The back seat was even comfortable!

Then, we drove the Infiniti.  2 door little sports coupe.  Lower to the ground than my Saturn that I love.  Black with black rims, sports tires, black leather interior, LOADED.  I mean seriously, like a sex dream.  Back seat not so good.  Until you sank into the leather cushions, your head (even mine) hit the rear window.  Once you sank in, a bit dfficult to pull yourself out of, but who really wanted to.  This was a 2005 with 68000 miles.

Ok, drool aside, the Nissan made way more sense.  It got 22 miles to the gallon to the 18 - 19 for the infiniti, more comfortable, especially the back seat, and it was priced about $2500 less.  Lets go look at the car facts.  Renee says, wait a minute and lets look at the engine.  It had a new alternator, radiator, and hoses.  The rest of the engine compartment had a layer of rust on everything.  It wasn't bad, but in the next few years I would propbably have to start doing some repairs - obviously they had already replaced some parts that were rusted through.

Ever get cold water thrown on you.  I still wanted it, but the overall longterm headache now started to eat away.  I redrove the Saturns, looked under the hoods, and drove away in the 2007 Silver Saturn Ion 4 door with 32500 miles.  No bells and whistles, no extras.  I have to manually roll down the windows and open the gas tank.  The speedometer ond odometer are off set to the right and the radio is a simple am/fm/cd.  It is a simple car and gets about 30 - 35 mpg, depending on my usage.  It is dependable, has had no accidents and is incredibly comfortable to drive.  I am actually amazed at its comfort.  I will need to get a cruise control installed, maybe when I get back from florida next, but all in all I got myself a reliable, sturdy car with a good reputation, and as my son said, "Thanks for buying American Mom"!

So why can't I come around to being totally happy about this? Why am I so dissapointed still that the Nissan had so much rust that I couldn't write it up and take it home?  My passion was not met, although my physical needs were.

How much of life do I go through meeting my daily needs, doing the things that need to be done and being the places I need to be without meeting the passions of my heart?  How many others lead life the same way, letting their head over rule their heart for what they know in the long run is the right thing?  What would life be like if it were the other way?  Heart over ruling the head.  I think Mayhem.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Today I needed to get to the doctors office for my annual physical and I left the house in plenty of time to get there with even a little time to spare since they always have funky paperwork for me to fill out even tho nothing has changed since the last time I was there.

Anyway, I am tooling along on the highway when I come around a curve in the road and suddenly have to slam on my brakes.  TRAFFIC.

Now, I know it was "rush hour" and I know that there are many cars on the road.  I mean I grew up on Long Island where you were taking your life into your hands just to get onto one of the parallel roads that run the length of the island, but to do so during rush hour you were surely to be committed as suicidal.

I understand accidents and construction.  I understand needing to move 3 or 4 lanes of traffic down to 2 or 3 or worse yet one, puts a strain on the already strained capacity of the roads.  I guess I even understand rubber necking - that morbid curiosity that makes us all slow down to see what gore and grossness we can when there is an accident or someone changing a tire. 

What I don't get is when traffic is virtually stopped, I mean sitting still turn off your engines stopped, then go, then stopped, then go - alright, you get my point, for a mile or so, then it just opens up and everyone is moving along again at sixty miles an hour and then two miles down the road it stops again and you go through the same pattern.  There is no accident, there is no car stalled in the left lane, or policeman giving tickets or even one to be seen.  There is no on or off ramp causing everyone to yield to incoming vehicles.  I mean what the heck?  Is there some giant hand descending from the heavens yielding a giant stop sign playing havoc with the commuters?  Are God and Zeus having a contest to see who can piss off the most drivers in a five mile span?


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vacation or Eye Opener?

I returned yesterday from a week vacation in the Caribbean islands.  Gordon, Carol, Renee and I have been planning this trip for well over nine months and it came to fruition the last week in February.  This was a combined birthday present for Gordon and Renee, both of whom just turned or will be 50 within the next or last 6 months!  Anyway, they are my bestest friends, and travelling with them is way more than a guided tour through the tourist locations of the world.  I expected and did see off the beaten track places and did things that won't soon be forgotten.  However that is not the purpose of this blog today.  If you would like to catch up on the fun stuff and what we spent hours and hours laughing about, look for Gordon's blog - called Skeptophilia, and read his account of two little islands.

I want to talk about being a spoiled American.  I have spent my life, if not in the lap of luxury, at least comfortable in my own part of it.  I have lived in nice places, done fun things, owned cars, taken vacations.  I have a house that I own which most of the time is comfortable, clothes on my body of my choosing, and food on the table that is both healthy and tastes good.  All that cannot be said of many in this world - and I was brought face to face with that reality on this trip.

I grew up on Long Island and my mother had a lust for the city so we went there often.  Sometimes we drove in, sometimes we took the train.  I have seen the homeless in the stations and the pan handlers on the streets. But nothing prepared me for the poorness of this tiny two island nation, nor the attitudes of the people living there.

For the most part the people that we came in contact with were average TT's, middle class in their standards and who looked to the viewer like happy people.  The people we talked to from business and restaurant owners to cab drivers and shop owners all were extremely nice and we enjoyed our contacts with them.

However there is way more there than the average tourist sees.  We were driving through a small town looking for a post office when we drove off a main street to see what was to be seen.  A man ran up to our car.  Thinking he needed help, or could help us find the post office, we rolled down our window to speak with him.  He grabbed Gordon's arm and begged us for some money to help him eat for the day.  "Only 20 dollars please, please I have no food or money to eat, please."  This man had no shoes on and was running down the street (I could not walk out to the garbage bin barefoot due to how rough the streets were).  Also, understand, that 20TT dollars is little more than $3 American.  And this man was begging for $3 so he could eat.  We had been clearly told not to give anything to people on the street and this man would not take our gentle but firm "We are sorry, but we have nothing for you".  We eventually had to drive away with the man still trying to reach in the window.  How can you not have feelings after that?

That was not the only time we were approached by someone asking for us to help them out.  Another time a local shop keeper yelled at the man asking us for money.  He told us she was simply greedy and wanted our money for herself, but she shooed him away.

We also saw a man bathing in water that any one of us would not set a toe in, much less bathe our entire bodies in or put our face in, but he was and he did.  We saw a man being stoned by some teenagers.  In both these cases our cab driver who was a decent fellow said the man bathing and being stoned were crack heads.  He said they lived in the water front community where we saw the man bathing in the polluted water (He was making a joke, but it was hard to see the humor).  We saw these "houses" which looked smaller and not as well put together as the shed in my back yard.  We saw children, babies, playing naked in the streets there.  Houses made of corrugated aluminum as their walls and ceilings, and in many places, not just this ghetto, sheets hanging for doors.

In our guide book it stated that the average income for men is $12,400/year and $5500 for women (doing the same jobs).  There are many inequalities between the genders, but this was huge.  But even with that, it is inconceivable to imagine living on that little money!  We went to the supermarket for our 5 day stay on Tobago and spent $760TT on groceries - that is equivalent to ~ $125 American dollars.  That was for 5 days and we were going to eat some of our meals out.  That also did not include much in the way of fresh fruits and vegetables, or meat.  But yet the many Tobagan people seem to live on the money they make.

I am not even sure that everything I am writing makes sense.  I just know that on the whole this was a huge eye opening experience for me.  I am not sheltered, I have seen the news and met enough people to know, intellectually that the entire world does not live the way I was brought up, or even the way I live now.  I guess it has just never been in my face the way it was this past week.

I am thinking that I now need to take a good hard look at what I have, where I am, and where I am going and remember that I could be a lot worse off than I am.  It is all about perspective.  The phrase comes to mind that "The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything that they have!"  So I have taken a look at some of my goals and am looking at my life with a slightly different perspective.  "The richest persons are not the ones who have the most, but the ones who need the least".  My eyes have been opened.