Rare Days

Some days just turn out better than you think they will. B went home with two of the kids while Andre stayed with me. This can be a bit of a challenge because basically Andre likes to be left alone…completely alone. Here we are at the ocean basking in the coolness of the water’s fresh breeze and Andre just wants to stay in his room all day. As a person with autism, finding a spot to feel comfortable is his main priority. Dealing with people and the newness of places and situations are the crux in his craw. I did manage to get him to walk along the cliffs one afternoon but he complained the entire time and made the trip somewhat miserable. He does that when he is doing something he doesn’t want to do…he makes it taxing and a chore in hopes that you will never ask him to do anything like that with you ever again.

IMG_7842

So today, I woke him up and told him we were going to a town about two hours away to take the train. He told me he didn’t want to go on the train but wanted to visit the museum. Unfortunately, we got there 10 minutes after the museum closed so instead we went to lunch, walked around town and went into some shops. It really wasn’t his kind of day but on the way home he said, ” I really had a good day with you Mom. Thank you.” Needless to say, I almost fainted for he rarely lets you know if he appreciates something much less tells you he enjoys your company. It was one of those rare moments that is so surprising and lovely that it suddenly feels as if life has picked you up and carried you away to Nirvana. Everything is right with the world and your place in it and after a weekend in which B talked separation, it was such a nice place to be.

IMG_7828

Later this evening I went down to the Lodge. It was one of the situations that you are trying to talk yourself into doing. Should I stay home or leave. Which will it be? The stay at home option almost won out but I eventually, after a heated debate with myself, chose to go to the bar. I took my drink outside to one of the comfy Adirondack chairs and parked myself in it to watch the sun disappear over the ocean while pinks, golds and yellows filled the sky. Flocks of pelicans flew in V formation past the cliffs while Sid the Great Blue Herron strutted his stuff. The temperature was perfect, the scenery divine and I had the place to myself…until a tall good-looking man about my age appeared out of nowhere. As it turned out he was from the local Buddhist temple complex and as we sat and talked I became “enlightened.” I have always strayed to the edge of Buddhist philosophy for years while attending Christian church at the behest of my husband putting my own religious convictions on the back burner. The talk that this gentleman and I had soothed my soul and it felt nice to be appreciated and admired by a nice man again.

Yes, some days take you by surprise. Today was one of those rare and glorious days and it felt just like a day when my garden is in full bloom!

IMG_7826

 

http://odiyan.org/

 

Rekindle Your Inner Spirit

 

DSC00917

If you are like me everyday there are a million things to do. The list of things to do seems to get longer by the day. On those days where I am feeling bogged down by life, sometimes I feel a little sorry for Santa and his list of “wants” from all the little girls and boys on this earth. So many expectations, so little time. This is life today.

It is unfortunate that in this age we live in a society that values things over people, success over integrity and being busy over making time for ourselves. It is sad that we live in a world in which taking the time to commune with ourselves is pushed aside for things that are less meaningful and valuable to our spirit and our soul. Way too often we neglect the ” inner being” or “spirit” within us to our own detriment and ignore that place inside to whom we are suppose to go for answers, inspiration, and to just sit with while listening for those things that will bring us a deep sense of happiness. Too often we ask others for advice; trusting their “wisdom” over our own and forgetting to appreciate all that our inner being will share with us if we will just listen. Sadly, we also neglect to feed our inner spirit with those things that delight it.

I have been practicing taking the time to listen to my spirit for nearly a year now. It can be a hard thing to do. But I find when I take the time to commune with myself that often things are revealed to me that are greatly needed which causes my stress level to drop and a sense of peace to inch into those pieces of me that are run down and tired. I also find that I trust myself more because I know that I can count on my spirit to do what is best for me and to provide answers that will comfort and provide reassurance to the parts of my soul that are open and seeking. I find if I listen I discover that I am traveling the path I am meant to be on.

So today do yourself a favor. Make some quiet time for yourself and listen to what your inner spirit is trying to tell you. Then act on it and look for ways throughout the day that answers are put directly in front of you confirming what you have been told. For there is nothing more beautiful in this world than a woman who can trust in her inner being to guide her gently to her true and authentic self.

Amen!

images-4

 

Stilettos

“Mom,” says Gracie. “I have an orchestra competition and I need black shoes with heels.”

Heels? I think. She can’t be old enough for heels, can she? There is no way. Just yesterday I was rocking her to sleep, picking out her clothes and teaching her to ride a bike. Heels? I am not ready for this! Heels means makeup, makeup means proms, and proms mean BOYS. Crap…not boys! Not yet! Not EVER!

An hour later we are headed for the store doing the joint mother/daughter thing to pick out her first pair of heels. As I drive a feel a pull in my gut warning me that I should just turn around and go home.

” I like these,” she says as she holds up a pair of 5-inch stilettos that any good hooker would covet.

OH HELL NO! explodes like white lightning throughout my feeble brain. My mother’s words of “No daughter of mine…” come flooding back to me and trip over my tongue on the way out of my mouth.

I feel compelled right here and now, in the middle of the shoe department, to the have “the talk” about what is appropriate and what is not at her age. As I drone on she grimaces, “oh moms” and rolls her eyes more times than I care to count but I think my point has been well taken until she whines…

“I’m not a little girl”

“You’re not twenty-five either nor do you have a job and you don’t earn your own money to buy the things that you want.”

“Of course I don’t have a job,” she shoots back. “I am only 12! But if I did I would be buying those shoes!” her hands gently caressing the soft black velvet.

I take this as a cue to hold up a pair of ballet flats figuring if I show her THESE, knowing she likes THOSE, perhaps we can find a compromise somewhere in this warehouse of shoes.

Gracie holds up a different pair with four-inch heels that climb up her legs like a vine on a tree.

“How about these?” she says with a smile that looks more like a dare.

“How about not.”

And so it goes until she shows me the 10th pair with heels that shoot you up towards the sky.

“Honey,” I ask. “Why is it that you are drawn to shoes with such high heels?”

“Come on mom, think about it. I am the shortest one in my class and on the diving team. No one sees me. Just once I want to look up at someone instead of them looking down on me.”

Finally, I get it. Her need for height is a need for being seen. For being like everyone else, in a world where Asians are often not seen nor heard. For being “looked at” instead of being invisible.

I give her a squeeze and suggest we find something that will give her lift but not up to the clouds. We finally settle on a two-inch inch wedge that gives her a little extra notice but not in that over-the-top teenage way.

As we drive home we talk about girl things. Things I once understood but don’t quite get now. Things I have forgotten as the years have rolled by. Big feelings that once threatened to overtake me when I was her age.

“Mom,” Gracie says. “I have a confession. I didn’t really want those big heels. I just wanted to see what you would let me get away with.”

“Really? Why would you do that?”

“Geez mom, I’m almost a teen. I have to start pushing the boundaries someday you know.”

I laugh and I know that she does, but I hope she will wait just a little bit longer before the boundaries are pushed all the way to Siberia. For the truth is it isn’t the boundaries that worry me it is the fact that she is my baby and there is a small part of me, in a world that moves too fast, that wants her to remain that way forever.

Contemplation

images-4

This morning I went to Pilate class in hopes that someday I will be able to bend down and touch my toes with my knees straight. I tell you this with some embarrassment, my face a hazy red even as I write this confession which when spoken aloud might sound something like, “Dear Father. Forgive me for I have sinned. I am guilty of gluttony. Of sloth too. Oh, I forgot to mention acedia. Definitely acedia. Maybe, I should thrown in a little wrath at my lack of impulse control too. Help me!”

Unfortunately, these vices are just the ones that come to mind within 5.2 seconds of the thought. Yes, paying someone to exercise with me feels somewhat tawdry and on the edge of something shameful; like eating a pint of ice cream all by yourself  or having sex in a public place and getting caught with your pants down. In a world dominated by inequity it is the definition of gross irony.

In many other countries I would not have this problem of trying to stay in shape. I could easily be starving. Or walking down to the river to carry water up to my hut for cooking numerous times per day. Maybe I would be journeying five long miles each way to school so I could get an education. Or perhaps I would be picking through trash in a giant garbage heap in an effort to survive. There is no doubt I would be in shape because I would be working from sun up to sun down in ways that tax all your muscles as well as your spirit in order to get the job of survival done. Skinny in these parts of the world is more than just a desire to satisfy cultural “ideals.” Instead, it is a mandatory state that naturally occurs due to too little food and too much work. A choice concerning body image is not found anywhere in the life equation for so many women.

No, this is not the LIBERAL WHITE GUILT that so many speak of. It is witnessing firsthand the back breaking work that is required of so many of millions of people throughout the world on a daily basis. It is trying my hand washing hundred of dirty diapers used in an orphanage in Ethiopia. It is laying brick in a hamlet in Mexico.  It is trying to teach students without the necessary materials. Or laying pipe for fresh water in a remote village. These are the things that have shown me how little I know about hard work, suffering, and how much a dollar means to so many. More importantly, they remind me about the privilege of choice which I possess and I rarely think of as I go about my busy day. A choice that vast numbers of people do not have about what their day brings. Suffering instead of starvation, bombs, vicious gang rapes, and of having to beg in the street for pennies. These are the things of which I know nothing and of which too many know too much about.

So I hop into my car and drive the four miles to my pilates class contemplating the size of my butt and the state of the world, both of which are loose and somewhat saggy. And as I do, I find I have mixed feelings about this life I lead in which I have the luxury of contemplation and not the burden of shoeless feet. And I  begin to wonder about the travels of “the other/my sister/ my fellow human being” as we both make our way down these two very different roads that we both call life and what I can do to help.

images-6

 

 

 

 

 

Holidays

I love a good holiday. A four day one is especially appreciated. I love the time spent relaxing, the time used to connect with those I love and those special moments that the holidays give me to appreciate all the little things that make life precious. As I have reached middle age, I recognize more than ever, that these moments are fleeting… they come and then they are gone…in a flash. The time spent with the four youngest is quickly counting down like the number of  jumps I am successful at completing as I jump rope at my age .

This sense of time moving ahead quickly is apparent as I contemplate my older children. These days Nicole lives on the East Coast and West will be moving to New York City in the coming month. How did this happen? How did my babies grow up and away from us? Grandchildren living in different cities too! I talk to my daughter almost daily but it is not the same as being a short drive away. It makes me wonder where will the youngest be in 10 years? But more importantly, what will they remember about me and our time together as they find their place in the world?

That is one of the reasons I love holidays. It gives us a chance to make lasting memories. The kind of memories that are important. Kayaking, puzzle building, and walks along the beach together. These are the things that matter and with the chaos that is everyday normal life; these types of memory makers seem to get pushed to the back burner to be done “some other day.” But they rarely do. Life intrudes and sweeps away the moments that might make an imprint on our minds. That is why I treasure our time away from our “normal” so that we might spend time as a family away from life’s distractions.

And I hope that these pictures I share with you, will, for a few minutes distract you from your “normal” allowing you to remember all that is good in your life too. May they bring to mind the things you value most and may they spur you on to find time to create the memories that will bring your kids home later on in life.

DSC04273 (1)

Bats getting some “fast food”

DSC04358

DSC04379

 

IMG_9659

DSC04020

My Garden

DSC04203

Halloween Hooters

Sigh. Today I was invited to a Halloween party. Usually I wait to the last minute to get a costume and as  result I get to choose between two: this and that.

But this year I am getting a jump on things. I’m shopping early and there are so many choices when you don’t wait until October 30th to find something to wear.

In case you haven’t guessed, I am not a big fan of Halloween. I don’t like dressing up in funny costumes. I don’t like slogging my way through drunken people with sharp tails and dull wit, being haunted by Casper the Ghost, and smelly vampires who are dressed as blood-sucking politicians. I also don’t like the fact that evil is personified in the face of an 8 yo slasher who comes to my door. But what I really distain is the fact that woman are objectified no matter what the costume is. Frankly, I don’t know if I am just jealous that I will never look like these women again or if it really does offend the feminist in me. For instance take a look at these halloween designs.

Now, I don’t know about you but the history books I was taught from stated that pirates had scurvy, rickets, no teeth, poor hygiene and lice. Lots of them. And frankly, I don’t know how these poor pirates would make it out on the high seas with such skimpy clothing. Looks like a guarantee for deathbed pneumonia and burial at sea to me.

images-8

I suspect that B would like this one and what man wouldn’t?

zu30719867_main_tm1443059706

Having a woman grant your every wish followed by a wide eyed “Yes Master” is probably every man’s dream.Of course, this also encourages that harem/polygamist idea that has been  floating around in the back of their heads since they were six too. But frankly, if Jeannie is suppose to represent a Middle Eastern woman she needs to put on more clothes.

The Angel vs. the Devil on my shoulder thing seems to be another men’s fantasy.

 

And one can easily see why they are such popular characters. I don’t know what Bible the designers are reading but it certianly isn’t the King James. Yet, the most gruesome thing of all about these particular costumes is being forced to wear 7 inch heels to a Halloween party…now that is just worse than burning in hell!

I have recently noticed the candy bar costume has come into vogue. The first thing I will say is that she looks like a Mounds Bar not a Snickers. But what bothers me more is that this is obviously the kind of outfit should come with a warning that every leering weirdo guy will hit on you uttering the words “I enjoy eating snickers” as a part of them melts while imagining that they are removing your chocolate coating.

zu26531271_main_tm1432771455

 

I also have a problem with the action figure costumes. While Wonder Woman may be able to get the job done I suspect it would be twice as hard when you are having to constantly worry if your nipples are showing and pulling up your bustier between punches. And the cape? Well, it isn’t made of ermine to keep you warm as you are flying through the night sky. And how does she avoid gigantic goosebumps when being photographed in the middle of New York in 32 degree weather?

zu3671543_main_tm1379636370

Next up…the animal costumes.

 

Okay, as far as I know all of these creatures can give you rabies. That’s bad enough but that zebra tail looks like something out of an S&M show. That rabies/S&M combo seems just as terrifying as ebola. Cat’s or bummies are both very soft and furry…the benefit of wearing these…I don’t have to shave for several months.

I know there are many men who think that women look good in a uniform and these certainly don’t disappoint. I suspect if the Armed Services used these woman as recruiting tools that we would have an overflow of dedicated new soldiers.

Of course there are always those in the SERVICE industry. I tell you what, if all the hospital nurses looked like that they would be filled to capacity (the hospitals that is)

Yes, Halloween costumes for women this year look like what you would wear to a masquarade ball at a sex club. So I decided to take a gander at the men’s dress up gear.

 

Appears that they only have the penis costume which comes in large and larger. I like costume this because it makes it easy to spot the biggest dick in the room very easily and steer clear.

Which leads me to the costume I have picked out. It seems appropriate for a 55 year old woman…not to frilly, not too fancy, it comes in a very slimming color and I don’t have to wear heels or panties!

zu40547035_main_tm1469811361

 

 

 

Sparkle

images-2

Several months ago I wrote about the chandelier that has been sitting in my garage for the past year.  You can read about it here Assigning Meaning To Things

The fact that B knew the emotional significance to me about having this hung and it never was done still stings a little but for the most part I have let it go. He is busy. We are busy and he hates doing electrical. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt that not hanging the chandelier is not an indication as to the depth of his love for me or how he feels about our relationship. It is all I can do.

All this week B has been up at Boy Scout Camp with the boys. He takes a week off of work every year to make sure that they have that experience. It is hot. It is dusty and he has to work very hard to make sure that Andre’s autism does not get in the way of him having fun and building memories. It is a fun week but an emotionally tough one too. Sleeping on cots in tents is no longer my idea of fun so I am grateful that he does this because he loves our kids and wants them to experience all that they can.

While B has been gone this week, I decided to make myself happy. I decided to take a chance on the goodness I see in our relationship and where I think it is headed. So I called out an electrician and…HAD THE DAMN CHANDELIER HUNG!. It looks beautiful. It is shiny and looks perfect in the room. And it makes me happy which is the best reason of all to have hung it. IMG_9903

So there you go…happiness in a box; happiness within me.  May it inspire me to sparkle and shine everyday as it does. For it no longer matters to me who put it up; I am just happy that it is there.

IMG_9905

 

 

While The Cat’s Away…

Okay, if I am honest here the whole “DRESS UP FOR YOUR MAN” thing weirds me out a little, especially at my age.  When I was 20 I could pull it off because…well…I was 20! Yet, as a feminist dressing up for a man often feels degrading and so out-datedly contrived. And as a mother.. yuck…just yuck…thinking that someday the men in my three daughter’s lives will be oglingimages-9 them as they flounce about in an effort to try to please their husbands.imgres

 

Yet, I do recognize the fact that men are visual creatures and that after being married for so many years that sex can become a tad boring imgres-2 unless you do something to spice it up a bit. But what to wear without looking like a chubby little schoolgirlgirls-skipping-school-costume that really sends a really perverted message?images-14 It is always a dilemma for a not-so-skinny 50 + year old woman. images-18

 

So I decided while the cat’s away this mouse will play…with different styles of sex-wear. I’m starting with the easiest first…stockings.

Frankly, I was surprised at the variety of stockings that are available these days. When I was 20 years-old fishnets were really risque and only the “bad” girls wore them. Now perhaps I should have been “bad” a little more often so I have decided to regress and try these on for size.

zu7934779_main_tm1392071166

I mean seriously if these don’t catch a man’s eye he is stone cold dead.images-3 But frankly, it would be helpful if the manufacturer included a tutorial on how to put these on so the seam goes STRAIGHT up the back of your legs instead of swerving side to side like a cheap drunk.

FISHNETS have come a long way baby! My oh my, the choices are mind numbing these days. Bows, lace, and streamers are now standard fishing gear allowing you to reach even lower depths than before.

zu11223118_main_tm1403104818zud3718478_img2170398_main_1379619512

I have to stop here to confess that I’ve always wondered why these types of stockings are called fishnets. (Yes, those ARE the crazy questions that keep my mind spinning out of control) Yet, as I wrote this, it occurred to me that wearing fishnets have one purpose and one purpose only….trolling for fish… and once you catch that fish in your net it is yours until you decide to throw it back. In this case, size really does influence that decision.

images-20

 

I never knew until today that you could buy stockings with writing on them. What a great idea! I know a lot of women who would like TALK TO MY LAWYER climbing the back of their legs as they were walking away from their cheater husbands. zu6932816_main_tm1388876938YOU DON’T DESERVE ME and FUCK YOU would probably be other popular choices.

 

There are also the RICH BITCH hose. I propose that any woman who wears these sparklers should demand a real diamond for each of the fake ones that grace her legs.zu6295865_main_tm1390849776

 

 

Then there are the WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST thigh highs. zu6369623_main_tm1385773170You’ll have to buy your own flying monkeys if you want to add an element of danger to your sex life.

There are also the sentimental I LOVE YOU type of nylons.zu20591130_main_tm1414434537 Somehow I imagine this just wouldn’t look good on a 50+ year-old broad and I shudder to think of being in a car accident and having the paramedics cutting them off with an onslaught of rubberneckers witnessing this kinky event. I am sure that those paramedics would never be able to work again due to the trauma they had endured.

Finally, a burning question that I have always had is this… do stockings go with flats? I have bad knees and wearing shoes like the models wear  would bring me to my knees which, I confess, is probably where my husband would like to see me, if you know what I mean. But seriously, doesn’t it look like something is missing here?    images-22

So I am off to the store for some sexy seven story high stilettos, a knee brace, and a tube of Ben Gay. I  can only hope that I don’t fall off of them as I greet B at the door wearing almost nothing but a red face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What A Woman Needs To Know

quote2

Lately I have been thinking about what a woman needs to craft a joyful and successful life. Of course, being a ying/yang sort of person, I also ponder  what women don’t need as well. As I have thought about this it occurred to me that what I would write now is something completely different from what I would have written at 20, 30, 40 or even, God forbid, 50 something. Seems to me each decade brings a different sort of wisdom that carries us forward, and yet, we also seem to mislay this wisdom because of the mistaken notion that at various ages in our lives we are “suppose” to live and act in a certain pre-defined ways.  Culturally defined ways. A way our mothers would be proud of. A way that we must act and things we must lose if we are to find “true love” like Katie Morosky in the movie The Way We Were.

I think that as women we often we work so hard at becoming who we think we are suppose to be that we lose who we really are; our souls slipping away before we actually do. So in hopes of avoiding becoming soul less souls sooner than later I have written a list of What A Woman Needs  To Know (Or Doesn’t Need To Care About) for my daughters and granddaughters. Here you go girls:

  1. Laugh. Loud and often. Snorting is even better.
  2. Never compare yourself to another unless it is to encourage yourself to go in the direction of your dreams.
  3. Keep your body in shape for you and for your future health. Never diet for someone else…it doesn’t work.
  4. Get all the education that you can so you can be interesting to yourself and others.
  5. Get all the education you can so you can support yourself in the manner you would like.
  6. The first time he hits you…leave.
  7. If you are being called bitch, cunt, or slut by your “loved” one; then you don’t know what love is. Run away fast and find YOURSELF before you find another partner.
  8. Seeing IS believing.
  9. Every week… without fail… put away $10 into your “If I Die Fund.” Then if you have to leave your love interest you won’t be without resources and if you do die your relatives  can bury you in a coffin instead of a cardboard box.
  10. Vacation often and in places that help you to learn more about yourself.
  11. Learn to disagree pleasantly but if the other party is an asshole let your inner “mean girl” come out.
  12. Being a doormat only wrinkles your dress.
  13. Every time you have sex with a stranger you chip away at your soul. Get to know someone first and for goodness sake use a condom (or 2)
  14. Find someone who puts your needs in line with his/her own.
  15. Pick someone who is smarter than you but doesn’t lord it over you.
  16. You will never sustain that honeymoon glow. Be realistic and just try to keep the extreme highs and lows to a minimum.
  17. Being on an emotional rollercoaster DOES NOT mean that it is true love.
  18. Practice kindness especially with those you love and those who love you.
  19. Grant grace as often as you can.
  20. You can choose to be miserable or you can choose to be happy. Choose HAPPY.
  21. Find the things you really care about and then do them. Often.
  22. When you are older you will realize that it is all about the connections. Nurture them.
  23. If you are unhappy it is up to you to have the courage to take the steps to make some changes.
  24. For years I lived in the past and the future. Now I live in the present and I am able to tie my shoes. ( Yeah, scratch your head and think about that one)
  25. If you don’t take some risks you will never know what you are made of.
  26. Find love in all its many forms. We all need as much of it as we can get.
  27. Once a day do something nice for someone.
  28. Words without action are nothing but words.
  29. You will not always be young and beautiful but if you have good manners and great confidence you will be treated like the queen that you are.
  30. If your thoughts/actions are hurtful or unkind you are blinding yourself so that you cannot see clearly.
  31. What seems impossible will be…until it is done.
  32. Have many “huggers” in your life and be the first to give one freely.
  33. Every person has a story so take time to discover what it is.
  34. Be aware enough to know when to give up and when to stay the course.
  35. Beating yourself up leaves nothing but bruises.
  36. Change your mind only if YOU want to.
  37. Be brave. Take risks.
  38. Replace those negative thoughts with positive ones.
  39. Dance freely.
  40. When you are 30 take up a new interest. When you are 40 do the same.
  41. Be around people who cherish you.
  42. It will always get better especially if you take the steps necessary to make it so.
  43. A hot beverage that is drunk it a hot bath is as near to heaven as you will get without being there.
  44. Get over the notion that LIFE WILL ALWAYS BE FAIR. It won’t.
  45. Your job is to raise your children to be the type of person you would want with you when you are on a sinking ship.
  46. Sometimes the only words that fit are “Fuck You” said with total conviction.
  47. Pulling the covers back over your head is often better and smarter than drinking a martini.
  48. Save for your old age. It will be there before you know it. Yeah, I know you don’t believe it… but it will.
  49. Chances are that when you die you will only be talked about by three generations. Try for five.
  50. If you are living on a beer budget, then drink beer, not whiskey.
  51. Which reminds me, if you are getting a cold get in the hottest bathwater you can stand and lay there for awhile while throwing back a couple of shots of whiskey. The cold will mostly likely not develop but you may have a hell of a headache instead.
  52. You reap what you plant.
  53. Be honest.
  54. Don’t let evil into your life whether it be people, music or movies.
  55. Only be as old as you want to be.
  56. Be thankful and look for everyday blessings.
  57. Expect more than what others think is possible.
  58. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules.
  59. If you only had 6 months to live what would you do? Do it NOW.
  60. Your happiness is controlled by you.
  61. Don’t get complacent in your relationships, in your work and in your life.
  62. Be dependable to yourself first.
  63. Speaking and doing are the same action.
  64. Sometimes in saying nothing you are as guilty as the person doing something.
  65. If you are drinking too much you are probably saying too much too.
  66. Pursue excellence.
  67. As you age you will get hair in places that your dog doesn’t.
  68. As good as it sounds having a threesome is rarely a good idea.
  69. As good as it sounds drinking on an empty stomach is rarely a good idea.
  70. Sit with yourself often.
  71. When you screw up apologize immediately.
  72. On your deathbed you will not be saying “Geez, I wish I had put more hours in at the office.”
  73. The sooner you learn to let things go the sooner you will stand straight again.
  74. Trust your intuition.
  75. Never be afraid to scream or run if you think you are in danger.
  76. If you are feeling uncomfortable there is usually a good reason.
  77. Most of what “others” think doesn’t really matter.
  78. Be silly. Be playful. Be that person that others want to be around.
  79. Say whats on your mind but say it without malice.
  80. If you are in a serious relationship don’t let a week go by without sex. Okay, a few days actually but who wants to hear their grandmother say that!
  81. If your friends and loved ones don’t like your boyfriend there is a reason for that so dump him.
  82. Gossiping is like running a truck over yourself…again and again and again
  83. Going after a married man only leaves you with crucifixion scars.

Born On The Fourth Of July

images-7

Meet George. He was born in Romania and came to the United States due to an unfortunate set of circumstances that ripped apart the land of his birth.  He fled his country with a determination to make a new life for himself and his family… and he did. He is satisfied with what he has accomplished. It is glaringly obvious that George is the type of person who makes the best of what he has been given. He makes sure that whatever he plants blooms where it grows…people, optimism, and opportunity… just to name a few of the things that have flourished under his tutelage.

Today is a day of national celebration and George is driving the shuttle bus that is taking me to the airport after the BIG BIRTHDAY BASH. His enthusiasm is contagious as he talks about what he loves about this Fourth Of July holiday.

“I celebrate this land today too and with great joy,” he says in English broken by his native dialect. “It has given me my independence. Its a place where I can be happy and work doing what I want to do. I get to choose. That was not possible in Romania.”

He continues:

“Here in America, you have chances. You can be rich or you can be poor but you always have hope. And even if you are poor you still have opportunities and chances waiting outside your door every day. You still can live decently no matter what you have or don’t have. I hear so many complain that ‘”I do not have this or that'” but they will never starve here. The citizens of the United States will never know the true hopelessness of there being nothing out there for them…no jobs, no homes, no heat, no food. Here, don’t have to live under the threat of knowing that there is a chance you might be taken from your home never to be seen or heard from again. In the United States, you don’t know what true oppression is and the fear that dominates your life because of it. People here think they have it so bad, but the truth is, they don’t know how good they really have it. They forget to be thankful for every morning that they wake up in a country that honors its citizens and gives them the freedom to be who they want to be.”

“So what is your favorite thing about the Fourth of July?” I ask him.

“Of course it is the fireworks,” George exclaims with the enthusiasm of a young boy “I went down to the river the first year I was here to watch. Never had I seen such a thing. So loud and so big.  To me they were colors of hope and promise and I knew if I reached high enough in the night sky that I too would find my place in this country. And I did. It’s not the perfect place but its my place. That is what I was looking for when I came…a place for me to be me. I like to think that I was born a citizen that day, that I was born on the Fourth of July.”

“Are you going to celebrate tonight?” he asks.

“Yes. I will spend time watching the fireworks with my family and setting off a few ourselves,” I say.

“When you do, I want you to look at all the different colors in the sky, and remember that they look like all the different kinds of people living here. It is a beautiful sight, is it not? says this immigrant turned citizen.

And tonight, as I watch my own family of immigrants celebrate alongside the people of this diverse neighborhood, I think of George, and I have to agree with him… it is a glorious and beautiful sight indeed!