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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

You know how you sit around a Thanksgiving table and someone inevitably forces you to say what you’re thankful for? I hate that. The moment the thankfulness begins, I feel my stomach start to reject all the food I just stuffed into it. It’s always the same thing as you go around the table: family, jobs, shelter… Not that these aren’t things to be thankful for, but I think we say what we believe we should be saying. If I were honest, I would have said: Cadbury Chocolate (the real stuff from England, not that fake stuff from Hershey’s), whoopie pies, pants with elastic waistbands, and my iPad mini!
But this Thanksgiving is different. This year has brought many changes into my life. Some are welcomed changes that should have happened long ago, some – well, some were not so welcomed. When Susan got sick in August, everything changed. It’s not like she got sick and then got better – she’s sick every single day. It’s a daily process, a daily understanding of how precious life really is. Every day is a gift. We don’t take it for granted, we’re grateful for every moment. It’s taught me not to look back, but rather to live in the here and now. We’re not promised more than that, so… we choose to be happy with what we have. Right here, right now. Of course, we haven’t given up the whole going back to Paris thing, so there’s always that…
Tomorrow when Susan and I carve up our turkey, and she inevitably asks what I’m thankful for I will honestly say to her the following: I’m thankful for you, for the doctors who saved your life and continue to keep you alive. For family, for my friends (who are also my family and surround me with love, acceptance and laughter). For love, for time, for the courage to let go of people who only brought negative things into my life. For sunrises and sunsets. For the birds who bring me such joy on our patio.  For Tawn Battiste’s whoopie pies in my freezer, for pants with elastic waistbands, and yes, for my iPad mini!
Happy Thanksgiving.

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Today I was sitting in a Panera Bread eating my lunch.  This man came up to me and asked if he could sit with me and chat.  Not wanting to offend, I said yes.  Turns out he was a “Christian Minister” and what follows is part of the conversation…

  Minister: Are you a Christian?

  Me:  Well, what do you consider a Christian?

  Minister: You live your life in accordance with the Bible, you follow the teachings of Jesus, you go to church, you tithe to your church, you follow the bylaws of your church – and you spread the word of God everywhere you go.

  Me: Well, by those standards – no – I am not what you would consider   a Christian.

  Minister: Well then – what are you?

  Me:  I’m a human being.

  Minister: NO – what religion do you believe in?

  Me: I believe in human kindness. I believe we are all one people – all deserving of love, respect and kindness.

  Minister:  So – you have no faith?

  Me: I have an abundance of faith.

  Minister: But you don’t go to church, you follow no religion – how can you have any faith?

  Me: Some days it isn’t easy – but most days I believe in the goodness each of us have within ourselves to help others, to love others, to show respect and kindness toward one another.

  Minister: You’re a dreamer.

  Me:  As are you.

  Minister: If you don’t follow the teachings of Jesus, you are damned to walk the road that leads to hell.

  Me: I don’t believe in hell.

  Minister: Well, what do you believe in?

  Me: Love, Kindness, Goodness, Tolerance, Respect,

  Minister: You need Jesus in your life.

  Me: How do you know this? You don’t know me at all. You know nothing about my life, you know nothing of what I do in my life – And yet – you judge me. 

  Minister: I’m not judging – I’m telling you, you need Jesus.

  Me: And if I don’t have Jesus?

  Minister: You are on the road to hell – there is no saving your soul – there is no hope for your life…

  Me: I live a good life – I’m kind, I’m loving, I’m tolerant and respectful and yet – you’re telling me if I don’t have Jesus – nothing about my life matters?

  Minister: Jesus can save you.

  Me: I don’t need saving.

  Minister: You are on the road to hell.

  Me: Well – my road is paved with good intentions.

  Minister: You need Jesus

  Me: You need to leave now…

This – this is what makes me crazy.  This man had never seen me before – and God willing – will never see me again. And yet – he felt he had the absolute right to tell me my life didn’t matter unless I had Jesus making all my decisions.  This man was an ordained minister – supposedly a man of God – telling me my life didn’t matter. He certainly did nothing that would entice me to follow his religion. If anything – he convinced me I don’t need to go to church to be a good, loving, kind, caring person.

I have people of all religions and no religions in my life. I love them all, I respect them all, and I do not judge them. I respect that this is what they need in their life to get them from day to day, and I would never tell them their life didn’t matter – every life matters.

Apparently, I’m on the road to hell – I wonder where that intersects with the yellow-brick road?

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There is this perceived notion that we always have to be happy – that we always have to be up and smiling – that we have to show the world that all is bright and cherry in our world.

The thing is – we are not always happy – and the sun isn’t always shining in our lives – and sometimes just sometimes – there is not one ounce of cheer to be found – anywhere…

And you know what? That’s okay – you’re okay.

Life isn’t always happy. Sometimes life is quite complicated and happiness isn’t on the list of priorities we have. Sometimes our priorities are simply to get from day-to-day or hour to hour or moment to moment.

We don’t always wake up bathed in sunshine hearing the birds singing their sweet little tunes.  Sometimes – well – sometimes we just don’t hear the birds singing – anywhere.

That’s okay – You’re okay.

We don’t have to always feel inspired or always feel that we have the answers to everything in the Universe. We all have our dark sides – we’re all human. No one person can be happy and confident and inspired all the time. It’s the darkness that sometimes leads to the most brilliant sunshine.

The trick is to take the good with the bad – feel however it is you’re feeling – talk about how you’re feeling, write about how you’re feeling; cry, laugh, scream, whatever you need to do. And then you need to move on.  And by move on I mean really let whatever it is go.

If 10, 20 or even 30 years down the road finds you still talking about something – you haven’t let it go. You’ve actually let whatever “it” is run your life for all those years.  Let. It. Go.

Mostly – just be gentle with yourself.  Understand that you’re human and life isn’t always about what’s right in the world – life is sometimes all about the messy bits.

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This morning I made the decision to break up with the NFL – The National Football League. I’ve been having a love-hate affair with the NFL for well over 50 years, and finally – I have had enough.

It’s sad to walk away, but sometimes – sometimes we have to do what feels right for us – for our well-being, for our sense of what is right and wrong. For me – it is time to walk away. Time to put my NFL hats and my NFL t-shirts on the shelf and spend the time I would watching football doing something constructive, and spend the money I would on hats, t-shirts, etc on something more positive – you know- like a trip to England or France or Big Sur.

Watching football was a nostalgia thing for me. It was Sunday afternoons in the early 1960’s at my Aunt Jeans laying on the floor watching the Baltimore Colts with my Dad and my Uncle Mike. It was a bonding kind of thing – not so much of a drinking, yelling, eating and cursing kind of thing.

I love football, but when we went to the Stadium last year to see the San Diego Chargers, I thought that perhaps the wand search was a little too much, along with all the rules about swearing and fighting and drinking – seriously – are we not adults? Do we not know not to drink too much and punch people? Obviously, we do not.

Susan and I stopped going to night games when we had to lay down on the floor of our car and call 911 because people were running through the parking lot shooting at each other.  Again – there was alcohol involved in this incident and something about someone wearing the wrong jersey. Seriously – you’re going to shoot someone because you don’t like their jersey?

The whole Ray Rice thing was the last straw for me.  I feel that the NFL cares little for me as a woman, or as a fan. I don’t care who instigated the fight – I don’t care that she married him after he knocked her out – I care that he’s the pro football player trained to hit and injure. He’s also a man and should know that you never strike a woman – no matter what – you walk away. And I totally care that the value of knocking out a woman to the NFL is a two-game suspension.

  • Vincent Jackson got a 3-game suspension for unlicensed driving.
  • Terrelle Pryor got a 5-game suspension for violating the NCAA’s improper benefits policy
  • Plaxico Burress got a 4-game suspension for shooting himself in the leg – He was later sentenced to two years in jail for violating the stringent gun laws of New York.
  • Michael Vick was suspended indefinitely before the 2007 season. He served almost two years in federal prison. He was permitted to return to the NFL and was suspended for four games of the 2009 season.

Breaking up is never easy, goodbye is not always goodbye, but for now – the National Football League is not something I want to associate with. If they were to apologize to women for their lack of respect, and talk about domestic violence – I’ll pull my hats off the shelf – until then – my Sunday’s just freed up!

So, if you are watching and drinking and yelling – remember that the NFL places the value of women at two games.  For me: it’s time to walk away – and so I shall.  For the truth of the matter is this:  Football is a game – domestic violence is most surely NOT.

no nfl

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Any of you ever struggled with an addiction?  Tobacco, alcohol, pills, food, sex, drugs, caffeine, sugar?

Any of you know anyone who has struggled with an addiction?

If your answer is yes, then you should understand how addiction affects families, friends, and friends of friends. It’s far-reaching and the damage slides down the hill quickly and lasts a very long time.

You should also know that stopping the addiction is not as simple as saying:  “just stop doing it.” It’s so not that simple. So not that simple.

Any of you ever been abused? Sexually, emotionally, physically, verbally, financially, mentally?

Any of you know anyone who has been abused?

If your answer to either or both of those questions is yes – then you should understand the struggle – the fear – the shame – the damage.

You should also know that there is no time limit on how long one will struggle and to tell someone to: “just get over it” and “move on” is so not the answer.

I don’t understand the level of ignorance and hate that have come along with Dylan Farrow and her letter about Woody Allen and the drug induced death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

I don’t understand the lack of thought process that goes into the people who have written comments and blogs calling these two people any name they can think of.

Dylan Farrow is a human being trying her best to live in a world that has treated her unkindly and a man who abused her on many levels – and continues to abuse her on many levels. If you have been abused – you understand and you would never comment. If you haven’t been abused – then quite honestly you have no right to judge her or speak ill of her.  None of us really have that right for none of us know what happened when she was 7 – or what is happening now.  Woody Allen isn’t beyond reproach – not then – and not now. 

Phillip Seymour Hoffman died of a drug overdose.  The demons in his head won the battle – and Phillip Seymour Hoffman lost his life.  If you’ve ever been addicted to anything – you know of what I’m speaking of when I speak of the demons and you probably would not make any comments. You are probably sitting quietly nodding your head in mournful understanding thanking whoever and whatever you believe in that it wasn’t you dead in that bathroom with the syringe in your arm – or a bottle in your hand – or pills – or whatever…

For those of you who are perfect and have no vices and have lived a life that has not involved a struggle of any sort – I ask you to have compassion and understanding.  Practice the whole “cast the first stone” thing and when you have the desire to write or comment on anything – do so with kindness.  You don’t know how or why a person is where they are in their life. You don’t know their journey – you don’t know what they have been through.

We don’t practice enough kindness. We like to cast those stones and throw those comments and blast the lives of people we don’t even know. 

Look in the mirror and then decide whether or not you really should speak.

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I was told many times in my life I would never be a success, I believe the phrase was: “You’ll never amount to anything.”  I heard it so often, I started to believe it. My parents never encouraged me, never pushed me, never expected great things from me, in turn I didn’t expect great things from me either.

How does one measure success? Is it by how much money you have? How many children you have? How many times you have or haven’t been married? How many friends you have? What sort of work you do? Where you live? What kind of car you drive? Where your place is in society?

Or

Is success measured by who you are as a person?  Is it the amount of friends you have or the quality and the character of the people you choose to call your friends? Is it the amount of money you have or how you choose to use the money you do have?  Is it whether or not you have a job or how you choose to spend your time being a productive member of society?

And

Is success measured by where you come from or where you end up?  Is it by what you were told as a child, or what you say as an adult? Is it by the family you were born in to or the family you chose to end up with? Is it being stuck in the mud of “You’ll never amount to anything” or is it living your life free of secrets and lies?

I don’t measure the success of my writing by how many columns I write, how many people read my blogs, or how many articles I get published.  I measure my success by the emails I receive from people who read my words and are helped out of a very dark and lonely place and by the people who read what I write and are changed by something I said. I feel most successful when someone simply says: “Thanks for writing this.”

I measure the success of my life by the fact that Susan decided to share her life with me. By my friends who don’t judge me but instead just love me. By Susan’s children who have accepted me as another Mom who loves them and now trust me to be a part of their lives. By my grandchildren who simply know and love me as Grandma Barbie, and have learned that I am the Grandma who will cave first!

If success is defined as a favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; then my life as it is at this moment in time – is most certainly a success.

How do you measure success?

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I think I’m getting old.  Then again, perhaps I’m just sick of the crap…

On the Stephanie Miller show this morning they were mocking and making really sick jokes about the horrific flesh-eating incident in Miami Beach.  I actually like Stephanie Miller but, I had to turn the show off.   I found their jokes disgusting, and I wondered what was wrong with people when they can make jokes about something that is obviously not funny.  I mean, a human being was shot to death, and another human being is struggling to stay alive with no family to offer support and love.

What is funny about a homeless man?    And what is funny about a man sick enough to eat the flesh off of another man’s face?

I would think this would be a chance to address social issues, and things that are lacking in our so-called democratic society.  It would be a chance to address solutions and offer some sort of comfort and support for those who have absolutely nothing.  I have no idea what it’s like to live on the streets, but I do know I would never, ever mock or joke about those who do.  I always believed it was our responsibility to look out for each other, to do what we could to help and give comfort.  It makes me sick that we’ve become so cold and callous as a nation that we find humor in the sickest of human conditions.  Isn’t it enough that the man was living on the streets? Must you mock and joke about the physical attack on him?  What is wrong with people?  It’s like mocking the kids who ride the “short bus?”  Really? There’s humor in a disabled child?

Then again, I don’t know why I’m so surprised at this callous reaction to an obviously sick situation.  Look at what is our Presidential election…  It’s disgusting…  Both sides attacking the other – both sides trying desperately to “buy” the election with their precious super pacs. No one addressing issues that really matter.  This isn’t politics; this is just rich American hooey.

And who suffers?  Well, it’s the homeless man or woman, the homeless family, the unemployed, the folks living paycheck to paycheck who know they could end up in their car or on the street at any moment. It’s the elderly, and the mentally ill, and those who need constant care.

We don’t need jokes about how bad the human condition is in this Country.  We need people to stand up and say – this is wrong, we need to make it better. Instead of mocking and making sick jokes and giggling like a 12-year-old boy, put your time on the radio or television to good use.  Do good things, offer compassion and good will. Don’t spend precious time promoting hate and divisiveness.  It just makes you look small and silly, you know, like Rush Limbaugh.  If it was your Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Aunt, Uncle, or you living on the street – well, just think about it…

Americans are better than this – Well; I still like to think we are better than this…

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