Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Kwanzaa

Etc.


Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, I hope it brings you joy.



I'm fine - just really, really busy. Thanks to everyone who e-mailed or left messages. It's nice to not be forgotten.


Hugs to all!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Late to the Moonie Lovefest!

Crap! Crap! Crap! I got so caught up in the sunny blue skies, sparkling blue-green water, warm soft sand, tropical breezes, mai-tais and all the Hawaii ambiance, I forgot to post my Moonie appreciation. That's what I get for not opening my computer for a week!

Moonie,
You are the greatest and we all appreciate your wisdom and expertise - and snarky sense of humor. Thanks for all you do!

Hugs!
Anti-Wife

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Falling back into a routine

At my new age, it takes longer to recover from big events.

I had a wonderful birthday and truly appreciate all the great messages everyone left on my blog. It was lovely.

It seems most blogs are now full of either election related content or cheers for NaNoWriMo. For those who plan to participate - best wishes to you. With only 4 days in November with nothing on the calendar, I have to pass this year. Can't you do this in January - the calendar is much clearer then and the weather more conducive to staying inside and writing? Lynn Viehl has some excellent advice on her blog today for those who are participating.

I was in Eastern Washington last weekend which means a trip through our beautiful mountain passes. The pictures are from Highway 2 that goes over Stevens Pass.

The fall colors are spectacular this year. The golds and reds are vibrant and the leaves shimmer on the trees.
I took these pictures while driving through the pass at high rates of speed. Aren't digital cameras great? Stopping and getting out of the car would be required otherwise.

Next week I'm off to Hawaii and our annual conference. Because I'm in charge of all the arrangements, it's a lot of work - but it is Hawaii! And, I'm going to spend some time with Pat Wood on Orion. Have I told you lately how much I love my job?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just a phone call

That would have been nice.

My 60th birthday was spectacular – as close to perfection as possible. But a phone call would have been nice.

My day started with a phone call from my favorite 7 year old (the son of a co-worker) singing Happy Birthday and telling me he loves me. Sigh!

At the office, my cubicle was decorated to the hilt. To get into it, crepe paper and balloons had to be moved aside. My bosses and co-workers took me to lunch at a very nice restaurant, made me wear a silly hat and sang as I blew out candles on the cake. I received expensive presents from my bosses and wonderful presents and cards from everyone – then another cake for the whole office (about 50 people) about 2:30. No phone call yet.

Left work at 3 and was greeted by 4 friends at home who took me out to dinner and then home for more cake and presents. There was a wonderful card from my little sister, Dr. Anonymouse with a very generous gift card. Have I mentioned lately how much I love my little sister?

Saturday was another day of celebrating with friends and off to another dinner. Still, no call.

Sunday, Dr. Anonymouse called to see if I was still alive from all the celebrating and to fill me in on her news. Couldn’t talk too long because my contractor was getting ready to leave and I needed to go over some things with him. But no other call.

It’s Tuesday. I’m 60 + 4days now. Life is settling back to normal. My friends, by blogging friends and my little sister made my birthday fabulous.

My mother and older sister forgot.

Just a phone call. That would have been nice.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wisdom of the Aged - Part III


On change


A wise woman once told me, “You can change.” So, I did! It’s harder than hell but it can be done. The most difficult part is convincing people you’ve known for years that you have actually changed. Many people don’t like change and don’t deal with it well. They cling to the past as if to a lifebuoy, afraid of what’s ahead even if what’s behind was worse.

People try to keep you in the past, or continue to make references to how you were instead of letting you move forward. It isn’t always malicious. They may not realize what they’re saying or how they’re acting is hurtful. They haven’t come to terms with their past experiences and allowing you to move forward would force them to deal with their own issues. I understand this and am happy to have found a way out of the maze. I try to live in the present, not the past or the future - to live every day as if it’s the only day that matters because it just may be.

Changing is a constant struggle and requires unwavering attention and introspection. Sometimes to accomplish it, you have to distance yourself from your past. You have to put space between yourself and the memories of who you were. Sometimes that space requires a physical move – far away where you can start fresh without all the people around to remind you of how completely you screwed up your life. It can be emotionally isolating but also liberating. It requires making a decision about what’s most important – placating other people, or making yourself happy.

I don’t blame anyone for my bad choices. That’s the easy thing to do and shifts responsibility for my decisions to others. Once I left home my decisions were all mine. No one forced me to do anything. Some people influenced me more than others but no one controlled my mind. I accept full responsibility for everything that happened to me. I live every day with the knowledge of my past mistakes but I don’t suffer from them anymore. I learned from them and moved on to a much happier life.

I don’t see myself as selling out for not taking my family and others to task for what they did or said to me years ago. I see it more as me taking back control of my life. They no longer have the ability to make me feel bad or inadequate because I won’t let them. They have no more power over me and what I do or how I feel. My choices in life are no longer dictated by what they might think or feel about me.

People who aren’t content with themselves will never be content with another person. Dragging another person into my issues isn’t going to solve them. It’s just going to make two people miserable.

I haven’t forgotten anything from my past. That’s both a problem and an advantage of having a good memory. I remember everything – good and bad, funny and sad, except for a few hours in Haiti, I remember it all. I remember the situations, the emotions that accompanied them and the pain they caused. However, I no longer feel the pain or suffer from the memories. I learned how to put the pain away and replaced it with the comfort of knowing I not only survived it, I grew and prospered.

I’ll never forget. I don’t want to. It keeps me humble and in touch with what’s important. I’m not just a survivor. I thrive. I made a conscious choice to live my life happy. I may be temporarily affected by what people say or do but I have no intention of allowing anyone to permanently change my choice to enjoy life.

I did some pretty stupid things in my past but don’t do them anymore and I don’t allow others to make me wallow in them either. Holding on to memories of how you were wronged is not going to make things right again. Forgiving (or at least forgetting) will. We have to move forward and leave the wrongdoers in our past where they belong.

Choices can be proactive or reactive. You can live life from the outside in, always focusing on external things to provide you with stimulus and meaning, or you can live life from the inside out by giving external things stimulus and meaning. You can live by your own decisions or you can live based on the decisions of others. You can live your dreams or you can live the dreams of others. It’s your choice. You have to define yourself not allow others to do it for you.

I haven’t resolved all the issues in my life, but most things that were so important and urgent 25 years ago are now either non-issues or under control. I appreciate life and have something a lot of people who had cancer or any serious disease will never have - the opportunity to continue working on my issues and looking for solutions.

I have hope for the future and a present full of good friends, a wonderful job, several “families” and a darling dog who thinks I am the greatest – especially when I give her treats. And best of all, I no longer aspire to be a drama queen. I’m very fond of my easy, comfortable, low trauma way of life. If I wasn’t me, I might just envy me!

I have lots of love in my life but not the love of my life. That’s okay. One of those unresolved issues is a fear of relationships. I don’t want to be a hotel again and I don’t want to check into any more hotels. I have too much self esteem now to do that again. There’s a real difference between being alone and being lonely. I recognize the difference and am happier alone than I ever was in a relationship. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up the idea of finding true love, just that without it, it’s still good.

Writing this gives me another opportunity to maintain my perspective. I can focus on the fact I had this health issue – cancer - that overwhelmed me and redirected my life for over twenty five years, or remember that the health issue was my catalyst for change and brought me where I am today. What an interesting conundrum. Did I have the disease, or did I allow it to have me? Or, both? And does it really matter?

Life should be a blessing. Always maintain your perspective. Don’t be afraid to take chances. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Never give up hope. You can change.


Happy Birthday to me!

WooHoo! Let's Party!

Welcome to my 60th birthday party!

Here's what greeted me when I arrived at work today!






Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wisdom of the Aged - Part II

More random thoughts.

I’m a simple low maintenance person who considers blush, mascara and lipstick a lot of makeup. My hair is wash and wear and to the chagrin of my hair stylist, I sometimes cut it myself. In fact, I have to change stylists occasionally because they get tired of trying to fix my self-inflicted mistakes.

I don’t look my age unless you get up close enough to see the lines and wrinkles. I smile and laugh a lot so they’re fully visible. No botox for me! Those lines are badges of honor for a life well lived and lessons learned. I’ll age gracefully – unless they come up with a pill to reverse the process – but I only want to reverse it physically and back to about age 25.

I don’t wear makeup on weekends unless I’m going somewhere. Jeans and t-shirts or comfy sweaters suit me just fine. I like being nondescript in stores because salespeople rarely bother with me. This is one time I’m happy to be the invisible woman.

I’m not a born shopper – except for shoes. I usually go into a store with something specific in mind, purchase it and leave. I don’t wander around a store and just look with no purpose in mind. Several friends are serial shoppers and they wear me out. It’s a concept to which I cannot relate.

I’m not in love with my cell phone. People who never lived without one don’t quite understand this. They think if the phone is off their life will stop. There’s such a thing as being too connected. I don’t need to share my every thought with someone as soon as I think it. The important ones will wait and still be there later.

I learned not to make any definitive statements about what I will or won’t do because they usually come back to bite me in the ass. That’s also why I no longer make New Year’s resolutions.

When people ride in my car, I turn off the radio because I like to converse with them, not just mention things in passing during commercials. When alone with the radio on I like all kinds of music, although I never learned to appreciate rap or heavy metal. When I’m driving down the interstate during rush hour with the radio blaring, singing at the top of my lungs and dancing in my seat, other drivers tend to give me a wide berth.

I like to talk to people who are deep thinkers and well informed because they challenge me to see alternate sides of issues and look at life from a different viewpoint. It may be a cliché, but I like to think outside the box and appreciate people who stimulate me to do so. When I’m tired, or my brain hurts from too much thinking all day, shallow thinkers are great. Then I just nod and smile and appreciate the respite.

I’m still doing drugs, but now they all come with prescriptions from my various doctors. Instead of buying them from dealers off the street, or growing them in my closet, I purchase them at Walgreen’s and pay a deductible.

The older I get, the more I get right but my choices seem to be less bold. Twenty years ago I moved every couple of years. Now I’ve owned my house for fourteen years and plan on staying there indefinitely. I used to be a job-hopper but now am happily entering my tenth year at the same company.

I am spiritual, though not part of any organized religion and don’t go to church on a regular basis. But I’m firmly convinced there’s a higher power into which I can tap in times of need. This brings me great peace. I believe someone watches over me, protecting me from harm and preventing me from making any totally irreparable mistakes. I’m glad they’re there and hope they hang around as long as possible. I listen to my intuition and trust it to move me in the right direction or keep me from being downright stupid.

Religion is a very personal thing and evokes deep emotions. Because of that I try not to discuss it with other people. If someone is searching for an answer I steer them to information that will help them discover their own path because the one I’m on may not be right for them. The result of being forced to make a choice that doesn’t ring true is usually chaos.

I live my life at a slower, quieter pace than many people. I think it’s the rural country girl in me trying to return to her roots, but not willing to give up all the conveniences of city life. I appreciate what I have and realize the difference between a want versus a need. Every year I get rid of more stuff and somehow, never miss it.

Occasionally I have moments of great clarity. They happen at the oddest times and always fill me with peace. They seem to be occurring more often with age. I realize, at that very point in time, I am right here in the present. My past and my future don’t matter. I get a peaceful feeling, forget all my worries and fears and enjoy the experience of just being.

I’m not prefect – not yet! I still talk myself out of doing things before giving them a chance to happen. I can have an idea, build it up, and make it progress into something wonderful, then come up with all kinds of reasons why it won’t work. Therefore I don’t even try it in the first place because I’ve already decided it was doomed before the start.

I can be discouraged and have a hard time shaking off criticism or negativity. So much of it was dumped on me in the past; it’s difficult not to focus on it. I’m moving beyond the old patterns of discouragement and criticism and when things seems overwhelming, remember the old saying, “The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” There are signs in my cubicle at work and office at home that say, “I will not be discouraged!”, to remind me to focus on the positive and good in my life because there’s so much of that now.

I don’t drive looking in the rear view mirror. I may glance at it occasionally for perspective but what’s in my field of vision is what’s most important. The present is precious and a great gift. Learning to appreciate what’s here and now is a difficult but invaluable lesson. And I don’t worry too much about the future – plan for it but don’t worry about it.

The final bit of wisdom comes on the big day - tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wisdom of the Aged

In anticipation of my big day on Friday, I'm sharing some random pieces of wisdom gained from years of making mistakes.

Random Thoughts
Life is a series of choices. Unhappiness and misery are a choice. I deserve all the misery I experienced because I chose it. I also deserve all the good and happiness because that was also my choice. I no longer feel sorry for people who have the intellectual capacity but aren’t proactive in their own situations. I can certainly empathize with them but I don’t sympathize with them.

It’s more important to be happy than to be right. I didn’t consider how detrimental my stubbornness was to my happiness, and how hurtful it was to others. In examining my actions sometimes the things about which I most needed to be right were not really important.

The world is filled with love and happiness and we will find what we’re looking for when we know what we want. This was a difficult concept for me because since early childhood I’d never known real love and happiness. I had no idea what I really wanted and how it was supposed to look and feel. There was no role model to go by. There was no list and no rules to guide me. When I learned to look for the good – I found it.

Every person we meet is a reflection of ourselves. We learn something from them all, and the briefest encounters or the longest relationships provide opportunities for growth. Since I didn’t particularly like a lot of the people I met, it was painful to think they were personal reflections. The most irritating part was that many of the people I disliked kept hanging around. When I finally realized the only way to make them go away was to actually learn the lesson they were here to teach, they gradually started disappearing.

Everything that happens is either from love or from a call for love. All the negative feelings - anger, fear, hatred, envy, etc, - are just a call for love. We can see things differently just by looking at situations and people with unprejudiced eyes. Instead of reacting to the negative feelings with more negativity, if I look at it as a cry for help from that person, it’s easier to tap into the love inside myself and return love to them.

You need to have something that takes you outside yourself - a safe place to go where people don’t care what you do, or how much money you make, or how many mistakes you made in your past. It can be an organization, a sports league, a theater group, a book club, a sewing circle, a hiking or travel group, or you can volunteer. It really doesn’t matter what it is as long as it gets you away from the TV and computer once in a while and creates an opportunity for you to interact with other people.

You have to put yourself out there even if you occasionally make a fool of yourself. And if you do make a fool of yourself don’t internalize it. Laugh along with everyone else. Most people truly want you to succeed. There will always be a few negative, unhappy people who’ll gossip behind your back and make a point of exposing all of your flaws. But most people enjoy sharing in your success. It’s important to just do something.

I learned sometimes you have to take a chance and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

When I screw something up, it’s best to immediately admit it and find a solution.

All my diverse jobs and experiences provided me with a wonderful perspective about what’s important in my working environment. The route I took was filled with potholes – all of which I stepped in - but I don’t regret the journey. Some people are lucky. They know what they want to do in life right away and they pursue it. They find their bliss and follow it even if they have to make sacrifices along the way. The rest of us use the trial and error method. I know people who worked all their lives and were never happy. I learned it’s not easy to give up the security of a job - no matter how bad it is - to follow your bliss, but it can be very fulfilling.

There’s a right exercise for everyone. You have to find what works best for you and stick with it. Eventually, doing it feels so much better than not doing it that it becomes second nature. And, walking from the couch to the refrigerator and back several times a day does not qualify as an exercise routine unless your couch is at least a half mile away from your refrigerator. You don’t have to join a club or buy fancy equipment or exercise tapes or DVD’s to get exercise – you just have to get your butt off the couch and move. It’s important to take care of your body and your health. The older you get, the more things are prone to fall apart, but you can postpone that by taking care of yourself.

Plants can be a lot like the people in your life. They can enhance it, or detract from it. There’s nothing more depressing than a bunch of slug slimy sticks or more beautiful than a bed full of lovely flowers. We can’t be afraid to change our gardens occasionally.

I don’t have a “best” friend anymore, but I have lots of good friends for which I’m very grateful. People come and go. Some stay longer than others, but it’s a natural cycle and when one person leaves another comes in to fill the void. I no longer get upset or melancholy when I lose touch with an old friend. I’m just thankful I had them in my life at all and know I’m all the richer for having enjoyed their presence.

Being part of a family is important, even if it’s not the one into which you are born.
Sometimes the families you develop with others based on common beliefs, interests or activities can better provide you with things you need to nourish and sustain yourself. Learning to be thankful for friends and families you choose to have in your life is a mutually beneficial experience and well worth the effort. Friends are very important. They fill the spaces of your heart and keep you from taking yourself too seriously.

People may not do things the way I think they should but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. There’s usually more than one way to accomplish goals. The roads taken may not always be the straightest and most efficient routes to the destination, but sometimes the scenery is just as good or better by straying from the interstate.

And some common sense - My old VW convertible had a black interior. When I lived in Las Vegas, I learned black is not a good interior color in the desert heat. With the windows cracked open, the ever present sun shields in place and a white towel draped across the steering wheel, you could still roast a turkey in the interior of your car on a summer’s day.

More tomorrow!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Flu

Fighting it! Thank god for Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's another Saturday Night and I.....

Went to the bookstore,

To let John Robison Look Me in the Eye.
(Sing along with me now!)

He was animated and very amusing,

He's really quite a guy!

Okay, enough of the silliness. Last Saturday night I ditched one of my cult meetings to go see one of my favorite authors - John Elder Robison. It was so worth it!

John is amazing. He talked for almost 45 minutes, digressing to tell stories along the way, and never once lost his train of thought or stumbled. He has an excellent command of the English language and is very entertaining.

I don't think the audience was prepared for John. There were so many people there with Aspergers or Autism in their families. I think he gave them a lot of hope, especially when he talked about the TMS study at Harvard and his successes in regaining some of his emotional intelligence.

I won't give away too much because everyone needs to hear him speak and listen to his message. He is dynamic and very interesting.

It was a great way to spend a Saturday night and I now have 3 signed copies of his book - the hardcover I won in a contest when it first came out, the hardcover I bought to lend out to friends and the paperback I bought Saturday.

I will continue to lend out the books because everyone who reads them is enlightened and impressed.

Thanks John for a wonderful experience!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Two weeks - I wonder.......

Just two weeks to go until I turn 60.

I wonder why we "turn" to the next age.

Are we supposed to physically turn around? If so, when are we supposed to do it? At the exact time we were born?

I was born at 3:33 am CST. I don't want to stay up that late just to "turn" 60.

If I must "turn" 60, how do you propose I do it?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I wonder if this would work?

A friend forwarded this - author unknown - and it seems like a great solution to me. What do you think?

I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.

Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a "We Deserve It" Dividend.

To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.

Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up.

So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a "We Deserve It" Dividend.

Of course, it would NOT be tax free.

So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.

That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.

But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket. A husband and wife has $595,000.00.

What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.
Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads
Put away money for college - it'll be there
Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs
Buy a new car - create jobs
Invest in the market - capital drives growth
Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves
Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean or else

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.

If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!

As for AIG - liquidate it.

Sell off its parts.

Let American General go back to being American General.

Sell off the real estate.

Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.

Sure it's a crazy idea, but it can work!

But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

How do you spell Economic Boom?

I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion.

We deserve that dividend more than the geniuses at AIG.

Author Unknown - I salute you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I wonder............

This was forwarded to me and it was too good not to pass on.

I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."

Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well
grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate laywer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

I wonder if I'll ever understand politics!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I wonder........

If I'll ever be able to retire. A year ago, I was on schedule to hang up my work mouse on December 31, 2014 - at age 66. Then I decided I could probably delay that until 12/31/15 because I love my job and waiting would give me even more social security income.

A year later, although I continue to force feed my 401k, contribute to a Roth IRA and have good investments, I'm almost $40,000 poorer. That's about how much I've lost due to the the Amazing George's financial crisis. I still have a good sized nest egg and lots of equity in my house, but this is playing havoc with all my financial retirement models.

I'm pissed and getting pretty cranky!

Working past 2015 almost seems a certainty right now and that really sucks! I started babysitting at age 10. I had my first paycheck job at 13. I always worked during breaks in high school and I helped put myself through college by working part time the entire time. That means I've been working in one form or another for almost 50 years. and contributing to Social Security for so long the government will simply be returning my principal and interest until I die.

A friend asked my advice on what to do in the current climate - sell, buy, wait? I advised her to just sit it out and wait. It's too late to sell. Buying in such a volatile market doesn't seem prudent. My advice sucks - but it's fairly sound. So I sit and wait and dream of an amazing recovery when Obama takes office and reforms our government.

Barring that, maybe Sarah can teach me how to shoot and dress an elk so I won't starve after I retire in my 80's.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I wonder ......

This is from the Everett, WA Herald newspaper. It's about the town I live in. This has been in the news here for the last week and it makes me wonder -WTF were they thinking?

By Julie Muhlstein, Herald Columnist

Innocent children. No lunch money. Food denied.

What a perfect recipe for the heated brouhaha stirred up last week when the public caught wind of a new Edmonds School District lunch policy. Before officials changed their minds Thursday, the district had started the school year enforcing a pay-or-else practice that was nothing short of Dickensian.

Kids behind on bills had cafeteria lunches taken away -- and thrown away, because of food safety rules -- after they'd gone through lunch lines. A substituted cheese sandwich must have been cold comfort after a child was embarrassed in front of other kids.

Reading all that, I could almost hear echoes of Oliver Twist in the work house, holding his bowl for gruel and begging, "Please sir, I want some more."

A day after adding milk to the meager fare, the Edmonds district decided instead to suspend the new policy while seeking a better solution to the lunch budget crunch.

In Herald reporter Kaitlin Manry's article on the issue Wednesday, the money pinch hurting so many families was thrown right in our faces, particularly in the words of Hazelwood Elementary School cashier Barbara Burley: "Could you look into a kindergartner's eyes and take away their lunch and give them a cold cheese sandwich and nothing else?"

No doubt the district's lunch-money shortfall of $207,763 last year had myriad causes, from forgetful kids and irresponsible parents to children who brought sack lunches but decided instead to have cafeteria food. Part of it, though, is real need.

We all know that. Somewhere between paychecks many families bring home, even with several jobs, and the qualifying income for free lunches, is poverty in the shadows. With high costs for housing, groceries, gas and everything else, there is no question some families' cupboards and cash reserves are frighteningly bare.

Of course readers were disturbed by the lunch take-away policy, which put kids on the front line. Manry listened to callers and answered e-mail about the issue all week. What disturbed me was thinking that this is what it takes to stir people up about families in need -- an up-close scenario of a kindergartner being denied a school lunch.

We know there are poor families. We know there are kids living in cars in our own county. We know it, but rarely do we see it. Or think about it. Or get upset enough to do a thing.

Nina Mellish, of Bothell, was upset enough to contact The Herald. The 71-year-old has worked as a teacher's aide and a social worker. In Salem, Ore., she worked at a school in a poor neighborhood where the PTA helped pay for free breakfasts and lunches.

"A lot of these kids would come to school in winter with rubber boots and no shoes or socks," Mellish said. She's seen kids who've had nothing but potato chips for breakfast. "There is no way we should be penalizing a small child," Mellish said. "I really believe little kids should be cared for."

That's a simple statement, but a profound one. It goes way beyond lunches, to health care, educational opportunities and emotional needs. Yes, parents should be responsible. But no, sometimes they are not, for whatever reasons. And kids should be cared for. Period.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I also wonder......

Why people can't stand to just be quiet anymore? Everywhere I go, people are attached to either I-pods or cell phones or some variation thereof.

I know I'm getting old compared to the rest of you, but sometimes I like to turn everything off. Walking my dog and listening to nothing in particular, or driving in the car with the radio off, or sitting at home reading or cross-stitching with no TV or anything makes me happy and peaceful. I do my best thinking at those times.

Why does everyone need noise all the time?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I really wonder..............

How many politicians it takes to change a light bulb?

Personally, I'd say none. They would study the bulb until the building and fixture to which it was attached rotted and fell apart. Then they would bulldoze it, build a new building with new fixtures and pay several government employees to put in new bulbs at the rate of about one per hour to allow for plenty of breaks.

Bragging rights to the person who can comes up with a better answer.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stupidity - I wonder....

I wonder how stupid people make it through life. Seriously! Some people seem so clueless it baffles me how they can even make it through a single day, much less a whole lifetime.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Recovery – I wonder….

I wonder how long it takes to recover from a broken heart? Not the kind where you break up with your spouse or significant other – the kind where you suffer a devastating loss.

I live in a friendly, stable, middle-class neighborhood. People who move here have a tendency to stay for a long time. We get to know each other but don’t intrude in each other’s lives. We watch out for each other when any of us are gone on vacation or when we see strangers in the neighborhood. We share gardening tips, talk about things going on in our lives and sometimes discuss the world situation. Occasionally we gossip about each other and we have gone through good times and bad together.

New York and Washington D.C. are far away from our comfortable little environment. On the morning of September 11, 2001, my alarm rang at 6 a.m. Pacific time. A song was playing and I was in a fog headed for the shower. Ten minutes later there was no more music and the normally light-hearted DJ’s were somber. It was obvious something serious happened, so I turned on the TV and saw the smoke and flames coming from the north tower of the WTC. No one was sure what happened, but the term “tragic accident” was used when -WHAM - at 6:03 a.m. Pacific time I witnessed a plane fly into the south tower.

I’m not often stunned, but I had to sit down because of the shock. I watched for a few minutes then rushed to dry my hair and get ready for work trying not to miss any coverage. The talk changed from tragic accident, but there were no real theories yet on what happened. The scenes from New York looked surreal.

Shortly after 6:37 a.m. the news the Pentagon had been hit was broadcast. Hijacking and terrorists were words used with increasing frequency. While we sat waiting for pictures from the Pentagon, at 6:59 a.m. the north tower collapsed. The scene on TV was utter chaos and it was apparent that even the newscasters were in shock.

Pictures came in from the Pentagon with smoke and flames, then the replay of the north tower collapse, then the news that Flight 92 crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside at 7:06 a.m. and just 22 minutes later at 7:28 a.m. the south tower collapsed in a huge cloud of dust.

I watched for another 10 minutes then left for work, not caring about running late. I listened to the radio all the way in and noticed the solemn looks on the faces of other drivers. People at work were shaken and we all had the news streaming on our computers. It was impossible to talk or think about anything else. We had jobs to do, but our hearts weren’t there. We ate lunch in the conference room with the TV and as soon as work was over, went home to turn on our TV’s.

I pulled into my garage then went over to my mailbox to grab the mail. I was in a hurry to get inside and watch the news, but my next door neighbor yelled at me. I didn’t want to talk and was a little irritated, but she insisted and what she said stopped me in my tracks.

My neighbors – a couple in their late 70’s at the time – their son might have been in the Pentagon.

No one was sure yet. There hadn’t been any confirmation, but his wife said he went into work that morning. He was only 30 days away from retiring from a long career in the Army and wasn’t supposed to be in his office that day, but he was trying to finish up some paperwork. He was a dedicated officer, a good and only son, had 3 children and a stable marriage. I met him a few times and he was a very nice person.

His office was directly in the path of Flight 77.

We spent that evening and most of the next day waiting to find out if he was in the Pentagon when Flight 77 hit.

He was there.

They never found him.

There was nothing left to find.

It was a sad time for all of us and though we were on the other side of the country, it made the whole tragedy very personal and real for us.

I took a pie because that’s how I was raised. When something tragic happened to someone, you took food. Olga told me later she was glad to have it because they had so much company. The flowers arrived, and arrived, and arrived and arrived. The official Army vehicles came and went several times. Friends and relatives paid their respects and gradually things got back to normal.

On the first anniversary of the tragedy, I took some flowers and a card to let them know I was thinking of them. They showed me a wonderful portrait someone had painted of him after his death. They were so proud of him. We all were.

September 11th is always a sad day in this neighborhood.

Today it’s even sadder. Last November Olga died. She never really recovered from his death. In June, Lee died too. He was an ornery old cuss, but he needed Olga so he went to find her.

The house is sold and soon new neighbors will settle in.

Olga and Lee never recovered from their devastating loss.

I wonder if they ever would have had they lived longer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Countdown begins

One month from today - October 10th - I turn 60. The countdown begins! As I reach this new milestone, there are many things about which I wonder, so I shall share them with you as we progress to the big day.

Today, I wonder why there were so few comments on the last post. I know almost 100 people read it, but only a handful commented. This is an important topic and whether you agree or not with Ms Steinem, surely you have an opinion. So, thank you to those of you who replied and to those of you who didn't - why not?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Palin - WTF?

Opinion Palin: wrong woman, wrong message
By Gloria Steinem
September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She isPhyllis Schlafly, only younger. Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that eventhe anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the RepublicanParty -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vicepresident. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed,gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" signoff the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there throughridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.

But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first timea boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him andopposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for womeneverywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too manyof us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

Palin appears to disagree with McCain on sex education

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the jobbecause she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't saythe same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years'experience.

Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last monthabout the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer thatquestion until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focusedmuch on the war in Iraq."

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, andshe's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a$1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain'scampaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income orsales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that hedoesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, notlowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God,guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain isfilling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin outof change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference betweenform and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter ofreproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen awoman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq;someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine.McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs whodetermine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about everyissue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes thatcreationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only"programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases andabortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shootwolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state schoolsystem with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National RifleAssn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she doesit herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuelsbut puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't justecho McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade,she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, sheshould bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a humanright but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it alsoprotects the right to have a child.

So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting forPalin's husband.

Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains fromthis contest.

Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and mostwomen at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into thewombs of women.

And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs thanfrom any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.

This could be huge.

Gloria Steinem is an author, feminist organizer and co-founder of theWomen's Media Center. She supported Hillary Clinton and is now supportingBarack Obama.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Chuckle!!!!

I apologize for the lack of posts lately, but I'm busier than that one-armed paperhanger we all hear about. To prevent you from abandoning me completely, here's a little something that made me snort.

Fall Classes for Men at
THE ADULT LEARNING CENTER
REGISTRATION MUST BE COMPLETED
by Friday, September 12th 2008
NOTE: DUE TO THE COMPLEXITY AND DIFFICULTY LEVEL OF THEIR CONTENTS, CLASS SIZES WILL BE LIMITED TO 8 PARTICIPANTS MAXIMUM

Class 1 How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays--S
tep by Step, with Slide Presentation.
Meets 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 2 The Toilet Paper Roll--Does It Change Itself?
Round Table Discussion.
Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.

Class 3 Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat and Avoiding The Floor, Walls and Nearby Bathtub?--
Group Practice.
Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 4 Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The Floor--
Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.
Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.

Class 5 Dinner Dishes--Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink?
Scientific proof against this theory.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM

Class 6 Loss Of Identity--Losing The Remote To Your Significant Other.
Support Groups with hotline available to participants.
Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM

Class 7 Learning How To Find Things--Starting With Looking In The Right Places And Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming.
An entertaining presentation with moderated discussion--bring paper and pen for notes.
Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.

Class 8 Health Watch--Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health.
Power Point Presentation.
Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 9 Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost--
Real Life Testimonials.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined

Class 10 Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks?
Driving Simulations.
4 weeks, Saturday's noon, 2 hours.

Class 11 Learning to Live--Basic Differences Between Mother and Wife.
Online Classes and role-playing
Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined

Class 12 How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion
Relaxation Exercises, Meditation and Breathing Techniques.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 13 How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy--Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries and Other Important Dates and Calling When You're Going To Be Late.
Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered.
Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 14 The Stove/Oven--What It Is and How It Is Used.
Live Demonstration.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM, location to be determined.

Upon completion of any of the above courses, diplomas will be issued to the survivors.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Remarkable people

My little sister is about the only member of my family to whom I’m close. She’s 8 years younger and suffered greater emotional and mental abuse from our parents. She was a young, innocent victim of the nasty divorce war they waged. Both mother’s second husband and dad’s third wife treated her horribly. From age 11 on, I had a terrible home life but she had much worse.

She ran away from home at age 15, came back for about a week when she was 16 and then left again. We didn’t hear from her until she turned 18. Her life was difficult and when she came back her health was poor. Our parents paid lip service to her and threw some money at her health, but they failed to give her what she most needed – their time and attention.

She moved permanently to California where she worked, got her GED and eventually graduated from university. She found a wonderful man at school who loved and cared about her. They married and eventually moved to Massachusetts where she received a master’s degree. She was working on her PhD from Harvard when they returned to California.

She took time out to have a beautiful daughter and adopt a remarkable young man from Eastern Europe. When they learned he is autistic, she became an expert on the subject. Eventually they made me very happy by moving to within 5 miles of Disney World. What a great sister!

Her daughter is starting college this month, her son is making remarkable progress in school and life, she’s a wonderful mother, her marriage is solid, she is a published author, a college teacher and an accomplished, intelligent woman. Despite all the predictions of our negative and nasty relatives, she is a smashing success.

Obstacles were no match for her determination. The past didn’t weigh her down – it propelled her onward.

This week she received her PhD.

I know you’re reading this Dr. Anonymouse. You are my hero. I couldn’t be more proud of you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The wisdom of Andy Rooney

A friend sent this to me and it's too good not to share.

In case you missed it on 60 Minutes, this is what Andy Rooney thinks about women over 40:

60 Minutes Correspondent Andy Rooney (CBS)

As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care what you think. If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting. Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated. Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Older women are forth right and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one . You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress.

Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?", here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!

Andy Rooney is a really smart guy!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A secret to staying young

Someone gave me a sign that says, “The secret to staying young is to lie about your age.”

What a crock of shit! Everyone knows the secret to staying young is liposuction, botox, cosmetic surgery, youth serum injections and overdoses of vitamins and minerals.
My body’s like a car that’s so old and with so many miles the warranty is expired and everything’s either falling apart or needs replacement. No matter how many times you get new oil, tires, or brakes, something else is going to fall apart and the costs just keep getting higher.

In 2 months I’m turning 60 and can guarantee you that youth is highly overrated, except for the physical part. Unfortunately, there’s no trading your body in.

I’m grand now – seriously. I am a grand officer in my cult this year. It’s a great honor and I’m having a wonderful time, but it means meetings 2 to 4 nights per week and many Saturdays – all over the state. This explains my serious lack of blog time lately and my perpetual physical tiredness. Note I said “physical”.

In my 20’s and 30’s I had more energy physically, but emotional demons and mental strain from work and life prevented full enjoyment of each day. Years of experience, personal introspection and therapy exorcised most of those demons, so mentally and emotionally I’m having a fabulous time. But I’m tired.
Walking the dog as often as possible, using the stairs instead of the elevator, eating healthy food, taking my vitamins, following the doctors orders and not listening to advice from unhealthy people hasn’t solved this problem. Friends in high places in the cult say I’ll adjust to the schedule in a couple of months and stop pining for my old, familiar routine. Meanwhile, I limp along trying to suppress my yawns and look alert and interested in cult meetings, then stay awake at work during the week.

Yesterday I went on a work outing. About 12 staff members took about 80 senior citizens to Tillicum Village on Blake Island. All the pictures are from this great adventure.
It was a fabulous day with excellent weather, delicious food and fun. It was also a wonderful lesson in aging. We had 3 people in wheel chairs, about 15 with walkers, and several with canes. The average age of the seniors was about 83, so this level of infirmity wasn’t unusual. Those who needed no assistance and had no trouble negotiating – who actually ran up and down the stairs on the boat taking pictures and walked around exploring the island – were a fantastic example of what life can be like if we take care of ourselves when we’re younger.
With the knowledge gained over time, if I could go back and change anything - I wouldn’t, with one exception; I would take much better care of myself physically. It’s not too late, and I’m working hard to counteract the effect of aging. Now, if they could find a way to take my brain with all my wisdom and memories and put it into a really healthy 25 year old body……..

Monday, August 11, 2008

Openness

A couple weeks ago, Erica made a comment that caused me to rethink my position on authenticity – thus the blog post. After seeing my post, she e-mailed me to make sure she hadn’t offended me with her comment.

Twenty or thirty years ago, my reaction might have been, “What a bitch! How dare she question my authenticity?” Today I welcome the input and the opportunity for growth. I wasn’t offended at all and told her I love being challenged to look deeper inside and examine my actions. Then, the other day my horoscope said, “Sometimes new people enter out lives to make us question ourselves, not just to enjoy ourselves.”

Everyone has the potential to affect our lives if we are open to it. Whether the encounter is brief or lengthy, the impact can be profound – IF WE ARE OPEN TO IT!

People often take offense when none was meant. We become so guarded and engrossed in our own dramas, so sure we are right and others can’t possibly know or understand our situations, we miss opportunities for wisdom and growth. There are messages everywhere – from people, billboards, newspapers, advertisements, nature. Answers jump up and down and wave red flags at us, but we don’t see them.

Life is hectic, people come and go, we are bombarded with noise and information and we become resistant to outside influences.

The simplest encounters can provide great insight if we are open to it.

Are you open to it?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

E-mail updates

This is a slow day at work so I thought you might enjoy sharing the contents of my junk e-mail box. There are only 107 items in there right now. I deleted about 500 last Thursday night, so it’s still recovering.

Lots of people want to give me some training. Do they know something about my current work situation that I don’t?

There are 8 offers for medical transcription programs promising me a bright future and I can start today, work from home and do easy work for great pay. Or I can accept one of the 5 offers to do medical billing. My rewarding career can begin with a nursing degree, or I can take up any one of the 6 current offers for x-ray technician training. If I want to be on the periphery of the medical industry, there are several offers to work in a relaxing environment as a massage therapist or I can take advantage of a wide range of job opportunities in health and wellness centers and spas and resorts.

If I want to stay away from the medical field, Kaplan University is hotly pursuing me with opportunities to learn online while I work. I can become a CSI and get hands on training in forensics. Someone thinks my name is Wilhemina and wants me to know that Google has work available for me. I can even get grant funding from the government for all of these things.

The casting department is looking for actors and movie extras in my area. I always did want to be a star! Helen wants to help me upgrade my skills and advance my career. Janet tells me that local home-workers are needed and Jenny and Denise have information about data-entry positions. Or, I can go to Psychology School! Perhaps the message here is that I need to suck-up to my current bosses a little more.

I’m thrilled to report that I’ve been selected for several Wal-Mart cards and at least 2 Exxon gas cards. Or, even better, a $500 dollar Target gift card. The Wall Street Journal has sent a limited time offer. Dish Network wants to give me 100 channels for only $29.99 per month including HBO a DVR and no cost installation.

Captiva wants to pamper my skin and remove the stretch marks. (Good luck with that one! How many barrels do I get?)

The Acai Berry Association, AHA, American Diet Institute, Janice and Marisa all want to let me know that Acai has been voted 2008 superfood of the year. But does it taste good with chocolate?

My credit score seems to be of great concern. 3-in-1 Credit Report, Credit Report Adviser, Credit Report Center, Credit Security Notice and Credit Report Time all want to assist me in this area.

Aha and the American Diet Institute want to reveal celebrity body secrets to me and WuYiTea is willing to let me know what celebrities know about them. Obviously they know how concerned I am about how celebrities stay so emaciated and artificial looking.

The American Diet Institute and the American Health Association want me to flush up to 50 lbs. Is that 50 lbs of fat or marijuana?

Amy has sent several e-mails about the average US auto insurance rates. Alexandria wants to know why I pay more for my remedys. (Her spelling) Branda has pain remedys (her spelling) at low cost. Damon is offering wholesale prices on all health related items. Pfizer discount is offering a private renewal. (Of what?) In case I have it, both Ringing in Ears and Tinnitus Relief are offering a formula to Stop the Buzz! And, Lorie is offering to ship generic brand remedys quickly and discreetly to my front door.

Approved Auto Loan wants my drivers license for final approval on a loan I don’t know about. Barbain Network will help me find foreclosed homes from 10,000. (They don’t say 10,000 what.)

Car Loan Credit Waiver wants people with the WORST credit possible. (I'm feeling depressed here!) Fuel Solution has a secret to saving me 70 cents per gallon on gas. Funds Available has sent several e-mails about a cash/credit transfer I didn’t make. Truly Affordable Coverage wants to help with my health insurance with instant quotes and expert service. Vacation Flight Card wants to give me a getaway trip for 2. (Do they provide the second person? Do I have a choice among contenders?)

Several people are trying to find me – at least according to Finding People, Person Locator and Reuniting People. Consuelo wants to discuss Next Month with me and Edmond is giving me his phone number in case I need to get hold of him.

And last but certainly not least; Viagra @ genuine Shop wants me to have greater male volume and power and Gustavo Coley wants me to get a bigger penis.

Does that penis come with a man, Gustavo? Do I get to pick him out? I have a list of requirements I can e-mail to you.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Update on my memoir

A friend e-mailed me recently to ask if my memoir is done.

My memoir is done. I don’t mean done as in ready to publish. I mean done, as in finished and safely tucked away. It served its purpose by bringing me full circle and allowing me to exorcise the demons of the past. I looked them in the eye, came to terms with our unresolved issues, and let them go.

My life wasn’t extraordinary. Millions of people went through the turmoil of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. They indulged in sex, drugs and rock and roll. Millions of people had cancer. Millions of people went back to school, had several careers, moved across country and changed their lives completely. Maybe none of them experienced things the way I did, but my life wasn’t extraordinary.

When you start with a premise that isn’t extraordinary, the writing MUST be. My writing was good, but I couldn’t make my story extraordinary. To do that would require trashing my family and throwing my life open to the scrutiny of friends and acquaintances. Neither of those appeals to me.

No matter how difficult my past relationships were or still are, throwing them under the bus doesn’t solve anything. Exposing my version of their flaws would reopen old wounds and embarrass them. Nothing I said to bring closure to the issues would stop the pain and anger they would feel from reading my truth. No amount of praise or explanations from me would dull the pain.

My family and friends aren’t perfect – not even close – but they aren’t monsters. They deserve the opportunity to live the rest of their lives in peace – far away from me. We have a truce. We have limited but polite contact and we all do our own thing. Occasionally we see each other for brief periods then run to our respective homes and de-stress.

I have a happy life now – including great friends, a good job, financial security, mostly good health and the world’s sweetest dog. I don’t want to jeopardize that by publishing my memoir. Any money, or notoriety received wouldn’t be worth it. The price is too high.

I’m slowly working on a cozy mystery and having a wonderful time developing the story and characters.

And my memoir is done.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Honesty

My last post and all the comments discussed authenticity. Most of us seemed to agree that in some situations social decorum might be better than outright honesty. To me, there are some circumstances that require absolute honesty. For example;

Occasionally I delude myself into thinking my Mr. Right is still out there looking for me. In those moments of weakness, Match.com usually gets another 3 months worth of my hard earned pay. After numerous winks, e-mails and even a few quick encounters at Starbucks, no one has managed to hold my attention long enough to continue the exploration. The chemistry was non-existent.

My profile is honest and my pictures are recent and that’s what I expect from others. I’m baffled by those who post false information. A while ago I received an e-mail from Mr. X who said he read my profile and thought we would be a great match. He invited me to read his profile and respond if I was interested.

His profile stated he was divorced, 5’10”, athletic and toned, seemed to indicate he was stable and sane and his pictures didn’t bark at me from the page. A couple of e-mails later we agreed to meet at a Starbucks near my office. I own stock in Starbucks, so everyone has to meet me there to contribute to my retirement.

I walked into Starbucks in my 3 inch heels, which make me 5’10” tall, and looked around for someone matching his description/picture. I ordered my drink, and sat down when a man walked up to my table and asked if I was me. He didn’t look anything like Mr. X, so I thought this was a friend of his that was either scouting me out, or telling me he couldn’t make it.

It was Mr. X.

I stood up and towered over him by at least 4 inches. In his pictures he had hair, but in reality he had almost none and his belly was doing flops over his belt.

RED FLAG

I said, “You don’t look like your picture.”

He said, “Oh, that was taken about 10 years ago. I didn’t have a recent one and my wife threw away everything else.”

RED FLAG

I said, “I thought you were divorced.”

He said, “We’re in the process, but she wants everything so my lawyer and I are holding out. You know how it is.”

BRIGHT RED Flag

I said, “No, I don’t. I’ve never been married. Your profile also said you were 5’10” tall and athletic and toned.”

He said, “Yeah, I know. If you don’t say those kind of things most women won’t e-mail you back. I’ve been on Match.com long enough to know that.”

BRIGHT RED WAIVING FLAG

I picked up my drink and purse and said, “Thanks for meeting me here. I have to go.”

He said, “Is that it? You’re leaving just because I’m not tall and handsome enough?”

I said, “No. I’m leaving because you lied. You lied about your height, body type, and marital status. It makes me wonder what else you lied about or might lie about in the future.”

And I left.

Everyone has flaws and problems. How we handle them says a lot about our character. Lying in a social situation by pretending you’re having a good time when you aren’t is, to me, forgivable. Lies like Mr. X told aren’t.

What do you think, and what would you have done?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Authenticity

“Authenticity" in psychology refers to the courage to live one's life according to the needs of one's inner being, rather than the demands of society or one's early conditioning.

This topic bonked me in the brain a couple of times lately. Erica Orloff did a post July 9th about what we dreamed about becoming when we were young – did we really want to be writers and did we do it.

When I was young I dreamed of being a great actress and standing on the stage to accept my Academy Award thanking all the little people who made it possible. No, I didn’t become a great actress, but I spent a lot of my life acting like I was interested, amused, happy, caring and so on. I was an actress. I just didn’t get paid or win any awards for it. Erica responded that she always tried to live her life authentically. Uh, Oh!

Then I was at a wedding reception recently where of 10 people at the table, I knew 2. I’m not very outgoing unless I know people and am comfortable in a situation. This was not one of those times. I’m almost 60 and I was the youngest person at the table by about 10 years. The woman sitting next to me was from Scotland and only wanted to talk about golf. When she learned I play golf infrequently – last time was about 5 years ago – she quickly turned to the person on her other side.

I engaged in some conversations, smiled, ate, and got the hell out of there as soon as appropriate. As I was getting ready to leave the table, the woman on the other side of golf lady (who was in the loo) smiled at me and asked, “Are you authentic?”

I must have looked puzzled because she said, “You’ve been sitting here for almost 2 hours, smiling, laughing, nodding and talking, but I don’t think you’ve really been here. Was your participation authentic?”

Wow! I hesitated for a moment unsure of how to respond. I said, “I hope I haven’t offended you. I’m not very good at social interactions with strangers. This isn’t my forte. Am I authentic? I’m not sure. You’ve given me a lot to think about.”

She said, “The fact that you didn’t have a ready answer means you’re probably more authentic than many people. At least you’re willing to consider it.”

Am I authentic? With my friends and in most areas of my everyday life, I am. I’m very honest and straightforward – tactfully so (usually). I like the truth and believe being true to myself is as important as being truthful with others.

However, in social situations I’m an actress. The truth is I’d rather be home or with close friends, but that isn’t always possible so I pretend. Normally I’m a very good actress. The lady at the reception is the first person to ever question me. It was odd because I’m the one who is usually accused of being hyper aware – of practically being able to read people’s minds.

So, the answer to her question is yes and no. Yes about 80% of the time and no the rest.

Are you authentic?

Monday, July 7, 2008

My Town Monday - Seattle's Pike Place Market

Between 1906 and 1907 the price of onions rose from 10 cents per pound to $1.00 per pound. (By comparison, a pair of shoes cost $2). Seattle citizens, angry at price-gouging middlemen, pressured the city to establish a public market where customers could 'meet the producer' directly. Saturday, August 17, 1907, about ten farmers pulled up their wagons on a boardwalk adjacent to the Leland Hotel. Before noon that day, all their produce had sold out. After an enthusiastic response from local shoppers, the first building at the Market was opened in late 1907. Within a decade, the Corner Market, Economy Market, Sanitary Market, and North Arcade were built.

By the 1940s, more than two-thirds of the stalls in Pike Place Market were owned by Japanese-Americans. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 February 19, 1942, which forced all Americans of Japanese ancestry in the "exclusion zone" of western Washington, western Oregon, California, and southern Arizona into internment camps in California. Their property, including any stalls at Pike Place, was confiscated and sold.

In 1963, a proposal was floated to demolish Pike Place Market and replace it with Pike Plaza, which would include a hotel, an apartment building, four office buildings, a hockey arena, and a parking garage. However, there was significant community opposition and an initiative was passed on November 2, 1971 that created a historic preservation zone and returned the Market to public hands. The Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority was created by the city to run the Market. Over the course of the 1970s, all the Market's historic buildings were restored and renovated using the original plans and blueprints and appropriate materials.

In the 1980s, federal welfare reform squeezed the social services based in the Market. As a result, a nonprofit group, the Pike Place Market Foundation, was established by the PDA to raise funds and administer the Market's free clinic, senior center, low-income housing, and childcare center. Also in the 1980s the wooden floors on the top arcade were replaced with tiles (so as to prevent water damage to merchandise on the lower floors) that were laid by the PDA after staging a hugely successful capital campaign - people could pay $35 to have their name(s) inscribed on a tile. Between 1985 and 1987, more than 45,000 tiles were installed and nearly 1.6 million dollars was raised.

Currently, the longest tenured vendor at the Pike Place Market is Sol Amon's Pure Food Fish. Inheriting the business from his father, Sol has donned his apron at Pure Food Fish for over fifty years. Sol's presence can often be seen outside his stall chatting with visitors and helping them choose the best fish to bring home to their families. He helps them package his special Alderwood Smoked Salmon or Copper River Salmon to enjoy in their homes after their trip.

One of the Market's major attractions is Pike Place Fish Market, where employees throw three-foot salmon and other fish to each other rather than passing them by hand. When a customer orders a fish, an employee at the Fish Market's ice-covered fish table picks up the fish and hurls it over the countertop, where another employee catches it and preps it for sale.

According to the employees, this tradition started when the fishmongers got tired of having to walk out to the Market's fish table to retrieve a salmon each time someone ordered one. Eventually, the owner realized it was easier to station an employee at the table, to throw the fish over the counter. The "flying fish" have appeared in an episode of the television sitcom Frasier that was shot on location and have been featured on The Learning Channel and was also in the opening credits of MTV's The Real World: Seattle.

Starbucks Coffee was founded near Pike Place Market in 1971. The three partners were inspired to open the store and sell high-quality coffee beans. The first store relocated to Pike Place Market in 1976, where it is still in operation. The sign outside this branch, unlike others, features the original logo - a bare-breasted siren that was modeled after a 15th century Norse woodcut. It also features a large pig statue, a landmark throughout the market.

Pike Place Market's official mascot, Rachel, a bronze cast piggy bank that weighs nearly 600 pounds, is located at the corner of Pike Place under the "Public Market Center" sign. Rachel was designed by local artist Georgia Gerber and modeled after a pig (also named Rachel) that lived on Whidbey Island and was the 1977 Island County prize-winner. Rachel receives roughly $9,000 annually in just about every type of world currency, which is collected by the Market Foundation to fund the Market's social services. Locals make a habit of emptying their pockets and rubbing Rachel's snout for good luck.

My Town Monday is the brilliant conception of Travis Erwin. Please visit his blog for links to other fabulous places.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Hope you have a wonderful 4th of July! I'm taking time off to completely heal and get caught up. Hope to be blogging again next week.

Hugs to everyone for all the e-mails and comments!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why Father's Day sucks

This is a repeat of a previous post, but it's still accurate.

I’d love to tell you all the warm and fuzzy tales about my Dad and our relationship, but that would be utter bullshit. There aren’t any. Growing up, he was always busy – working or playing golf with his friends, or going out to various functions. He didn’t sit around the house much and wasn’t interested in playing with his girls. I always wanted him to love me and he may have, but not enough to pay any attention to me.

Still, at age 11 when Mom and Dad started fighting openly and Dad left, I was devastated. My world crashed down around me and reality took a big bite out of my ass. Daddies didn’t leave. They stayed and loved and protected their little girls, watched them grow up, and then walked them down the aisle and passed them on to their husbands. They didn’t leave!

My parents’ separation was ugly. I remember screaming and shouting and seeing Mom chase Dad through the house with a cast iron skillet and a tennis racquet. It scared me to death. I begged them to stop fighting and my father not to leave - but of course he had to. He was caught having an affair with his secretary and in our very small town this was very big news. My Mom moved my 2 sisters and me to another town 250 miles away and we saw Dad occasionally for the next few years.

When I stayed with him in the summers I worked, either as a bus girl, maid, porter or sometimes at the front desk of his hotel. It kept me busy, but created long, lonely memories. I once overheard one of his employees commenting that I seemed to be a very sad girl. She was right. He didn’t know how to give me what I needed most – his time and attention. I was in his life but not part of it.

I went to college in the town where he lived and worked for Dad part time while in school. Having him in the same town was an advantage because I got to see him occasionally, I had a job, and a lot of people in town knew him and watched out for me. It was a disadvantage because a lot of people in town knew him and watched out for me. I learned to be very sneaky – or so I thought until he ended up having to extricate me from a couple of embarrassing situations. He never said anything except, “Try to be more careful next time.” I think in some ways I was too much like him for his comfort. I wanted him to love me and only seemed to get his attention by acting out. I acted out frequently.

We disagreed on almost everything. He was a staunch conservative Republican who boasted he never voted for a Democrat in his life. I was and still am a liberal Democrat and never tired of reminding him that at every election I was proudly and deliberately canceling out his vote. In fact, that was one of my prime motivating factors for always voting.

When I moved to Chicago the first time, because I was still rather shy and not assertive, Dad decided I needed something to bring me out of my shell and prevent me from being eaten alive by all those big city folks. So, he made me go to a Dale Carnegie course which was a good thing for me. Those were the type of things he did that indicated he might actually care for me. They didn’t happen very often.

When I went back to college and got my 2 master’s degrees Dad gave a party for my graduation and even told me he was proud of me. It was the first time I ever remember hearing him say that. I didn’t believe him.

He married twice after my mother. The first stepmother – the secretary with whom he had cheated - gave new definition to the term wicked . Unfortunately, she lasted 10 miserable years. She left for another man whom she thought had money. She had big plans for him. I heard he dumped her. Karma!

My second stepmother was wonderful and took good care of Dad. He still wasn’t interested in his girls, but since my sisters insisted, she encouraged him to get to know his grandkids. Since I didn’t have any kids, there wasn’t much reason for him to see me. They lived in Florida for the last 15 or so years of his life. In all that time, I was invited there once and it was a command appearance. It was his 75th birthday party and I was told to come, given accommodations and plane fare and then summarily dismissed when the big party with all his rich friends was over.

I dutifully sent Father’s Day cards, birthday cards and Christmas cards and he dutifully sent cards and money on birthdays and Christmas. Occasionally we talked on the phone but there was never much to say so we talked about my 2 sisters and their kids. It was really the only thing we had in common.

He died July 19, 2000. I cried briefly but more because all hope of ever having a warm happy relationship with my father was gone forever than because I was truly sad he was dead. His picture sits on my mantle, but it doesn’t evoke any strong emotions.

The ironic thing is – I look just like him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The light at the end of the tunnel

I see it! It's faint, but getting brighter every day. Stamina and energy are returning slowly and my naps have been reduced to 1 or 2 per day. It's a good thing I didn't realize how debilitating this surgery would be because I might have postponed it and tried Voodoo or something.

However, it's over and my recovery is well under way. I learned:

  1. I'm a horrible, impatient patient.
  2. My hearing is selective (i.e., Dr. says, you can probably return to work part time after about 10 days." I hear, "You'll be working full time in a week.)
  3. I'm a total optimist, except when I don't feel good and turn into a grouchy pessimist.
  4. I hate being incapacitated in any way.
  5. I'm going to start eating really well and exercising lots and get really healthy so my senior years won't be spent alienating all my friends with my crappy attitude.

Sorry I haven't been around blogland lately, but napping, sleeping, drugs and work have required all my energy. However, I'm going to start rectifying that tomorrow by visiting all your blogs and saying hi. Just hi for now. Since I'm so far behind, catching up is going to take a while, so please be patient with me. If you're really good, I'll post a picture of my uber attractive scar!

Hugs!
AW

Monday, June 9, 2008

Book Review - "Queen of the Road" by Doreen Orion

“Soon I couldn’t take it anymore and rather dramatically announced I was going to the back of the bus to kill myself. As always, Tim brought me back to earth. This time with the observation, “So I guess you’ll be in the bathroom, trying to slit your wrists with your electric razor?””

Considering how different Doreen Orion and her husband Tim Justice are, the fact that they are both psychiatrists and able to analyze each other may have prevented a journey to divorce court. Tim being one of the world’s most patient men probably helped too.

She, the princess from the Island of Long who is happy to stay in her pajamas and work from her bedroom all day, is a martini drinking shoe addict. He is an easygoing, beer-loving outdoorsman, dedicated to his patients and practice. When he finally convinces her to take a year off and wander around the country in a 340 SF bus, everyone is stunned – including Doreen.

This isn’t just any old bus. It’s a converted Prevost (the kind rock stars use) with a hand blown glass sink in the bathroom, rare granite countertops, cherry cabinets, stainless steel tiles, full refrigerator, dishwasher, washer/dryer combo, a custom appliqué ceiling, merino wool window coverings, and every electronic device known to man. It’s furnished and equipped better than my house!

The shakedown trip almost does her in, but somehow he convinces her to only take 100 of her favorite pairs of shoes and head out on a journey that will cover 22,000 miles and 47 states.

Each chapter of the book starts with a new cocktail she has invented to reflect her mood on that particular leg of the journey. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Hurlatini
1 part rum
2 parts Midori
1 splash pineapple juice
1 splash sweet ‘n Sour
1 white-knuckled squeeze of lime
Pound martini shaker against emergency exit until window breaks or ingredients sufficiently mixed for tasty self-medication.

Love Me Bender
2 parts passion fruit liqueur
2 parts champagne
1 part raspberry liqueur
Rest shaker on hip, gyrate, drink. If you can still recall the love of your life is making you live on a bus, repeat.

It’s a wonderful book filled with humor, love and transformation. By the end of the journey, they still love each other, both have mellowed, and Doreen finds she can do without many of life’s “necessities” when she realizes she only wore 6 of the 100 pairs of shoes.

“Queen of the Road” is a fun, easy read, appropriate for both sexes. I highly recommend it.