Tuesday, December 16, 2014

15 for 15

So I saw this post on Jaimee Ratliff's blog and thought it was some good stuff.  I posted it here and also linked to her site at the bottom in the event you want to check out her space.

I only have one modification to the list below and that is to Number 10. I am a firm believer in giving people what THEY need rather than what YOU want to give them. Platinum rule and all that. But that is just me. Maybe I've read The Five Love Languages too many times.
New year. Happier me.
I've never been a huge fan of the resolution list craze and I don't believe in holding off on pursuing goals that can be accomplished before the first of the year. That may be the overachiever in me talking. I'm all about personal development, but getting in better shape, eating healthier and spending more time with family can all start now depending on how bad you really want it right?
So for the purpose of this list, I'll focus on what it all comes down to anyway -- being happy. Starting new routines, kicking old habits and living the way we really want is largely based on our desire to genuinely be the happiest person we know. Who doesn't want to be that person?!
Before we raise our champagne flutes and toast to the beginning of the New Year, here are 15 ways we can be happier when it's time to greet 2015.
Cues the "Auld Lang Syne."
1. Slow down and enjoy the little moments. 
Stop being too busy to taste the flavors in your food, to hear yourself think, to watch the sunset or to listen to the words of your favorite song.
2. Say no to time-wasters and space-fillers. 
Your days are valuable and should only involve valuable things and people. You can't be everywhere at once and you can't be everything to everybody. Choose what and who is deserving of your time and let the rest fall by the wayside.
3. Be more honest and open with yourself.
What do you really want to do with your life? Is the current path you're on something you're passionate about or are you doing it because society's roadmap told you so? Stop getting in more debt attending a grad school program that does not align with your passion.
4. Take more risks.
Seriously. Get out there and get messy. Make mistakes and fail a few times. Fail again after that. Let the challenges help build your character because the success that follows will be worth it.
5. Assess your circle of friends.
Are you constantly giving and listening to other's drama and not receiving anything in return? Do the people you lean on really support and uplift you? Do you genuinely feel like they have your best interest at heart? Remember, the five people you spend time with the most are a telling sign of who you are.
6. Realize the past can't be changed.
Like ever. Stop reliving what could have been or obsessing over how the situation may have played out differently if you would have gotten one more word in or reacted better. It didn't work out for a reason. Take the lesson from it and find comfort in knowing that what's meant for you will come in due time.
7. Find the time to help someone in need. 
Lend a listening ear or a firm shoulder to lean on. You never know when the person doing the needing will end up being you.
8. Stop making excuses for not living out your dream.
If others can do it, so can you. A few years from now, you'll be upset with yourself for all the time you wasted and find yourself stuck dwelling on what could have been.
9. Be happy for others.
Being jealous or fake happy is draining. Genuinely be happy for other's success because you'll want them to be happy for you when you share your good news.
10. Give what you'd like to receive.
If you're seeking compassion, show it to others. What goes around, always comes back around.
11. Leave expectations at the door.
People grow, change and make mistakes. Some people will help you while others will attempt to bring you down. Don't expect too much from anyone either way. The only person's actions and mind you can control is your own.
12. Validate yourself.
Don't worry about what others think or don't think of you. What weight does their opinion carry anyway? Think highly of yourself and give yourself permission to be great.
13. Stop settling.
Being single is better than being unhappy and working 80 hours a week doing something you love is better than working eight hours a week doing something you hate.
14. Respect your own privacy.
Keep some things to yourself. Not everyone needs to know every detail about your relationship or what's going on at your job, even if they are family and friends. Savor certain moments despite the burning desire to show and prove.
15. Live in your own purpose.
Don't follow the crowds. Trying to emulate others deters you from that special path you were meant to take. Be inspired from their journey and put that energy into whoyou were meant to become.
To see Jaimee's blog visit This Way North.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's been an interesting few days...

And not in a good way.

Since Friday, I have found out all of the following:

  • A family friend suffered a massive stroke and is not expected to ever return home, be able to care for himself or be able to communicate again.  This is not how Stan would want to live.
  • My friend's father suffered a massive heart attack Friday while driving, crashed his car and died at the scene.  He was only 61.
  • Another friend, who lost her dad at age nine, lost her stepfather on Friday too.
  • Two sets of long married friends told me they are ending their marriages.  My heart breaks for them and their children.  
  • Two other friends, working for two different companies in two different parts of Atlanta, were laid off from their jobs.  One was totally blindsided, the other less so.  The 4th quarter isn't the best time to be job hunting.  What a way to head into the holiday season.
At this point, I jump when my phone rings, terrified at what news I am about to hear.

So, it's been a helluva few days.

And it's got me wondering why these trying, terribly sad things are happening to such tender, loving people.

And what I can do to help them.

And thanking my lucky stars for the minor struggles that ruffle my feathers but really, are nothing to note in the grande scheme of things.  Thankfully.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thing I Need to Remember. Related - I am Ready When He is....And Also, I am about out of Patience....

"If it is your time, love will track you down like a cruise missile."

- Lynda Barry

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ed Sheeran + Kiss Me Lyrics

I've been a slow convert to the cult of Ed Sheeran but damn, this song might just get me there.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Simply put, this just makes me happy

And today, I need that.

from Salon.com:
On Monday night, “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” fans were treated to a heaping dose of ’90s nostalgia on “Dancing With the Stars.”
Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton on “Fresh Prince” reprised his famous “The Carlton” moves to none other than Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual.”
The theme of last night’s “Dancing With the Stars” was “Most Memorable Year.” Ribeiro’s number was inspired by his memories of “Fresh Prince” in the 1990s. ”It was a wonderful time in my life … but I was also pigeon-holed,” he said according to USA today.”That was a struggle.”
Recapture the magic here - The Carlton on DWTS

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Negative, Party of One, Your Table is Ready...

Why must people be so damn negative?


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

20 years ago this week Friends premiered...

I was just starting my senior year at WVU.  I watched that first episode and was hooked.

When it ended ten years later I was still a religious viewer.  

And I could never have guessed how my life would change over the time Monica, Chandler, Joey, Rachel and Phoebe graced my airwaves.

In the ten years since Friends has been off the air I find that quotes from episodes typically make their way into conversations on an almost daily basis.  Still.

Probably my all time favorite scene - The One with The Quiz for the Apartment

My closest friends from that time had different names - Jon, Katie, Heather, Brent, Beth, Holly, Dan, Greg, Chilik, Lauren, Matt and Becci.  

But our 20s - really were magical.  And I wouldn't trade one minute of it for anything in the World.  

And I go back in a New York Minute if I could.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lessons will be repeated to you - in various forms - until you learn them - Unknown

Building on yesterday's post, I awoke today to find this in my inbox from a friend.
Strange timing that this showed up today...

And then this afternoon, I stumbled upon this - Surrendering to Things We Can't Control

I guess the Universe agrees with me that my revelation yesterday was spot on.

And it sent some friendly reminders to keep me focused on this subject.

Makes me wonder what form of "lesson reinforcement" I'll experience tomorrow.

Monday, September 22, 2014

I Finally Get It...

Like a foreign language that suddenly rolls right off your tongue or a math problem that suddenly makes sense, after 41 years, I finally understand what the message at right means.

Which is odd because until today I thought I knew exactly what it meant.

And it's not because I've recently gone through a breakup.  Heck, I've not even been on a date since the Bush II administration.

Maybe it's because I am a days away from a family gathering that will be full of love and laughter and heartbreak that will include at a minimum:
1 -  us sending one couple off to start a life together while we face
2 -  another who - after almost three decades - are going to have to relearn how to navigate the waters alone again; and finally
3 - my sweet aunt, who will be attending her first family wedding EVER without her husband..my dear uncle who died last July.

My heart swells for the first at the joy that awaits them.  

For the second, I feel an unbearable weight of devastation that has left me sleepless these last few nights and near tears the last few days.  I don't know how to help them.  I don't know what to say.  These two have been a beacon of martial hope for me and while I know this situation is in no way, shape or form about me, I am terrified I am not going to be able to hold it together long enough to be there for them if/when they need me.

As for my aunt, well, I fully just expect to cry.  And though that might not be the best course of action, I can't see a way around it.  As they say, when in Rome.......

It's interesting.  I have been thinking that maybe I've been such a nut about this because I will have to face my aunt for the first time in my life with out my uncle at her side.  And then go to see him by myself at the cemetery where so many of my other family members rest as well. For whatever reason, this trip to the cemetery is going to be tougher than all the others I've made. 

Let's recap that - It will be tough for me to see her with out him. 


A little re framing goes a long way folks. 

That said, it is going to be hard on all of us for varying reasons this weekend.  

For me, maybe because I couldn't attend his funeral.  While never a fan of funerals, I will admit they do provide a sense of closure that yours truly apparently needs when it comes to saying goodbye to those she loves.  Because it occurs to me that perhaps there is a part of me that believes my uncle is still alive.  Rationally I know that isn't the case but this will be the first time I will have visited that side of the family since he died.  

Maybe this will just finally make it all too real for me. Maybe I want to continue to believe he is still alive and come Friday when I see that headstone this carefully built fantasy is going to come crashing down, like it or not.

For whatever reason it dawned on me today that there are people in my life, people in my family, that I will never truly understand.  I will never see the World from their point of view, will never know their life experiences and will probably never choose to react to situations they way they have.  

But today I realized this - They can't stop me from loving them.  I may not have the relationship I want with them but I know that in their own ways - even if I don't understand it, even if it isn't in the form in which I need to receive it - they do love me. They may say it and not show it.  They may show it and not say it.  They may say and mean and still hurt me! But the real gift is that I know even if they don't know how to say/show or do, they feel it.

I am blessed that they try their best to show their love in their unique ways.

And I grateful I get to reciprocate in my own way too.

So with laughter though tears, we carry on with hope and grace and love.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Oranje Lion

Well, World Cup watching took an interesting turn today.

In 2010 when the Dutch broke my heart in the final game...at a party where I was the only one wearing Oranje....it was brutal. This song sums that experience up - http://youtu.be/LrrGKR8Xii4

This year the at least they exited with the final game still left to play. Which has me sad but ancestorially speaking after Dutch I am mostly German, so Sunday you will find me at Der Biergarten rooting for the old homeland of yore.  With my German Mickey Mouse shirt proudly worn.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bullies Beware

Wise words to live by y'all.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Finally Back online

Back in the Saddle Again

After the death of my long serving Dell two weeks ago, I find myself with new machine.

The transition hasn't been too smooth.  For some reason when typing my mouse randomly jumps into the middle of previously typed words.

It's driving me nuts.

So, if you see really weird typos...you now know why.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Be You

Monday, April 14, 2014

Reading is Fundamental

I am a reader.  I am known as a reader.  When at parties, people ask me what I am reading; I am always asking for book suggestions.  I write reviews on books.  I’m in a book club where we actually READ the assigned books.  Point in case - this year, I bought a book trilogy on New Year’s Eve and purposely stayed in so I could get book one finished in the wee hours of the New Year after the ball in Time Square dropped.  

I wasn’t always a reader. 

In sixth grade I was a good two grade levels behind where I should have been in terms of reading comprehension.  In retrospect, I was terribly embarrassed that I was in the “special” reading group, even though no one else in my life seemed to care in the least.

I have two opinions as to why I was so far behind:

  1. In the chaos of my home life no one – ever – suggested turning off the TV to pick up a book.  Certainly, as the youngest of six children, you would think that maybe one of the other seven older people in the house may have opted to read me a bedtime story every now and again.  You’d be wrong. 
  1. I believe I had a very mild case of dyslexia that was not diagnosed.  It was hard to read so I didn’t do it.  But I also recall struggling with cursive writing and flipping my b’s and d’s and my f’s and j’s.  So, that may have had something to do with it too.
So, what happened to transform me from an under-performing reader into a book addict? 

Three things….and all of them happened in 1983.

1 – In the winter of that year, ABC aired The Winds of War miniseries.  A life long lover (as much as one can be at the tender age of 9) of History, I was enraptured by the airing of this miniseries.  I used every trick in the book (including hiding on a staircase out of sight during the broadcast – and then running like mad to get into bed before my dad checked on me) to see as much of this story as possible.  There were no DVRs, no OnDemand back then.  I don’t even think we had a VCR at this point in time.  Bottom line was if you missed a show, you missed it.

I loved every minute of this series and I think it fueled my passion for History as much as it did for Reading.  Anyway, I found out this series was based on a book.  And I discovered that there was a sequel.  And so in May, when I got my birthday money, I decided that I was buying the sequel, War and Remembrance – all 1042 pages of it,  and that I’d read it during the week my family would spend at the beach over 4th of July.  And I did just that.  And everyone thought I was crazy…including the guy at the bookstore who tried to talk me into getting something else.  But I was committed and I did finish it over that week at the beach. 

And maybe it was a bit heavy for a 10-year old but it didn’t scar me for life and if anything, it made for interesting dialogue with my Mother, who had actually lived through WWII, had her own victory garden and remembered being in NYC and getting caught in an air raid drill while at the circus.  And she told me about her friends whose daddies didn’t come home from the War too.  All good stories for a fairly sheltered kid such as myself to hear and contemplate. 
2 – My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Price, read to us every day after recess and one of the books she read was the Bridge to Terabithia.  It was a story set not too far from where I grew up and told the tale of two lonely children and the magical kingdom they created together.  I was swept away by this story.  I loved it so much that in 7th grade I reread it on my own.  Bridge to Terabithia was the first book I ever reread (but it would not be the last!) other than a Dr. Seuss or another little kids book full of nursery rhymes and the like.  I still reread this on occasion and have avoided watching the movie that was made a few years back because I know what is shown on screen will never life up to what I pictured in my mind’s eye as a 10-year-old.

3 – Given my growing interest in reading, I got a set of Choose Your Own Adventure books for Christmas that year.  The beauty of these gems was that you got to pick where the story went.  Different choices yielded different results and so you could reread them 20 times and get a different ending each time.  These books appealed to me because I was reading something different each time, they appealed to my Father because they would get read more than once...rather then be left for dead on a bookcase in our basement for years to come.  I’m 40 and I still have that very first set of Choose Your Own Adventure books I ever got.

All this said, I think I was turned on to reading because it offered me something I didn’t have a lot at the age of 10 – Control. 

I got to decide what to read.

I decided how fast (or slow) I’d read it.   

And in the case of Choose Your Own Adventure books, I got to dictate the outcome.

No one was telling me to do it; there was no expectation attached to it. 

It was just something I GOT TO BE IN CHARGE OF.

And at 10, what’s not to love about BEING IN CHARGE? 

Hell, at 40, what’s not to love about BEING IN CHARGE? 

And I am jealous of all the kids out there who have been born into a World where Harry Potter has always existed. And of all the other stories they will get to read for the very first time. And how they will carry those memories with them forever. 

What will they remember?  

Maybe some words to the story, sure, but most certainly they will recall, with startling clarity, the memories of their lives from the very first time they read the tale.

So, read anything good lately?

PS - for a brief history on Choose Your Own Adventure books, visit - CYOA Article brought to you by the folks at Mental Floss.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Talk about Being Born Under a bad Sign

I was supposed to be at this festival this weekend - Coachella

Instead, I am at this one - Dogwood

Is anyone else hearing the old song from Sesame Street about one of these things not being like the other?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jaded, Party of One. Your Table is Now Ready.

So I tried to start subsequent blogs over the years.  None of them took.  I guess your first one is the one that sticks with you.

The latest blog incarnation was a disaster brought to you via WordPress found at /http://couchtocoachella.wordpress.com/  I can safely say I hated using WordPress.  I found it tedious, hard to use and generally a pain in the ass.

And so, like many before me, I choose to return the Devil I know (blogger) rather than continue to wrestle with an allegedly newer, better version of the Devil (namely, WordPress).

I've made a subtle name change to this blog which is symbolic of the evolution of this space.  Or at least that was my intent.

And I have no idea what I am going to write about. Or how often I'll post.  Or what it all means.  Or who killed Kennedy and why they did so.

So the journey continues. Settle in. It could be a long voyage.