Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

Last day of the year. Have a Safe and Happy New Year everyone!!

Goodbye to regrets and things we did not accomplish this year. Hello to a fresh new start and to new beginnings. Time to prepare for fun and challenging things in the year to come. 2011 will be awesome!!!

Feliz Ano nuevo y cuidado con tus amigos and la familia. El ano proximo estare bien, muy bien.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

30 Books Before 30

Maybe I'm crazy. Or maybe I just want to wander a little less aimlessly. As many of you know one of my dreams is to become a well known writer - to someday have a non-technical book published, that people want to read (and not just my friends and family), that somehow inspires at least one person, and that makes everyone examine the everyday items in their life, and slightly chuckle. Well, as I stated in a previous post, the best way to really do something is to study your predecessors. In my case, that means read more. I think we all could use to read more. With school and work, reading for pleasure gets pushed to the back burner. But I must say, I really love it. I love being engrossed in a novel or literary work so much that you don't want to put it down. I love reading books that I later remember so vividly that I thought I had watched the movie.

My most recent favorite has to be The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. Great novel on the conflict of 1st generation-ers - the fine line between assimilation and adaptation. The movie (I hated) does not do it justice. At all.

So, I looked at some lists online and compiled a list of 30 books I want to have read by the age of 30. Some of the books I have read already (in bold), but it's been so long that I don't really remember them all. Many of the books I have not read, and a handful I have started (in italics), but never actually finished. So, I'm taking suggestions for the list - maybe you think I should have something on there that's not, or maybe you would take something off. Then, I'll write about the books that I'm reading, or give summaries for the books that I have read - each in it's individual blog post - it will kinda be like the movie Julie & Julia. Hmm, ok maybe not so exciting, since I can't really blog too much about how my hand turned the page, waiting in anticipation, as to what would happen next.

And if there's a book on there that you also want to read - let me know, and maybe we can read it together. A lot of the classic novels are beyond their copyright and are available free online or through an e-reader. I don't read very fast - so if that was a concern, go ahead and nix it.

One more thing - i have a ton of books that I am currently reading, so I may hold off on starting until the new year, to give me time to finish the books on my list. We'll see. And Any suggestions for where to start? I'm thinking of starting light with The Scarlet Letter.

Here's the list: Comments about the list below
  1. Animal Farm
  2. The Catcher in the Rye
  3. Beloved
  4. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  5. The Great Gatsby
  6. The Grapes of Wrath
  7. Catch 22
  8. Crime and Punishment
  9. War and Peace or One Hundred Years of Solitude
  10. The Scarlet Letter
  11. The Color Purple
  12. Robinson Crusoe
  13. The Prince
  14. Lord of the Flies
  15. 1984
  16. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  17. Madame Bovary
  18. Ulysses
  19. Siddhartha
  20. Uncle Tom's Cabin
  21. Don Quixote
  22. Dracula
  23. The Bible
  24. The Critique of Pure Reason
  25. The Sayings of Confucious
  26. Poems of Emily Dickinson
  27. Beowulf
  28. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  29. Treasure Island
  30. Gulliver's Travels
So what didn't make the list? There are a ton of wonderful books that didn't make my 30 pick: Metamorphosis (Kafka)- seriously, I could not read past a certain part in the book, when he was describing all of his body parts (man turns cockroach) and how his family wouldn't hug him or welcome him home, I was in disgust, I just had to put it down if I wanted to be able to eat dinner that night. So yeah, that did not make the list. Moby Dick (Melville)- hmm not really sure I want to read that much about a whale - yes I realize that it's about more than a whale. I'm open for persuasion, but so far, no dice. The Souls of Black Folk (DuBois) may be put on, I'd just have to figure out what to take off - I bought it two years ago with every intention of reading it. I love Jane Austen based movies, so I wanted to add either Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, but because I had seen the movie [Pride and Prejudice], I probably have a good idea of the author's work. And after all this Twilight hype, I had to add Dracula - c'mon Twilight's got nothing on Bram Stoker, lol. The Complete works of William Shakespeare - well in one word WOW - I think it would take a lot to read off of Shakespeare's stuff, plus I've read a handfull of plays in school - Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew, Othello, etc. War and Peace looks very long - not sure if that will stay on the list. What do you think? Worth a read? And some others that did not make the list: A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens) , Jane Eyre (Bronte), The Jungle (Sinclair), Oliver Twist (Dickens) , A Farewell to Arms (Hermingway), etc. And I'm excited about some of the selections on my list - I've heard so much about Madam Bovary, it will be nice to read the book. The Bible has been a goal on my read list forever. I even bought one of those Read the Bible in 365 days books. So, hopefully with adding it to my list it will actually get done (finally). I may have a separate blog for The Bible, since that will take a year in itself - even if you are not Christian, the basis for a lot of Western philosophy (whether people agree or not) does take root in The Bible. And a Spanish novel - with Don Quixote, will be an interesting add to the mix.

So, hear goes nothing - taking suggestions/comments/interesting fluff on my list until Dec 31st !

(Image from

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What is Wrong with the World? "I AM ! "

On October 25, 2010 I, along with hundreds of others, had the grand experience of watching a film screening of "I AM," a documentary helping to explain what is wrong with the world today and what we can do about it. The director of the film is Tom Shadyac, who has also directed such films as Patch Adams, Ace Ventura, and Bruce Almighty. After the film Tom and co-producer Jackie Zampella answered questions from the audience.

(Pictured: left - Jackie Zampella, co-producer
right - Tom Shadyac, director & writer)

The film repeatedly asks the question "What is Wrong with the World?" and the prevalent and astounding answer is that "I AM" is the answer to that question. That each of us has a responsibility to help make the world a better place than we found it.

The creation of the movie is an interesting story. In short, Tom was in an accident that nearly killed him. He was on the verge of death, and mentally drained and depressed. At some point he reached his very bottom, perhaps his tipping point, and realized that he was not going to go out like that. There was at least one more thing that he wanted to say. And it was nothing but his faith in God that got him out of that bed and gave him the energy to begin the journey of a lifetime. He was setting out to find out what was wrong with the world. And, being a director, he was going to answer the question in the form of a film.

He interviewed hundreds of people - scientists, philosophers, people of various faiths, over 700 hours of film, and compiled it together in the <2 hour film that we watched. The impact can not be described in the words I can write in my blog, but I can share some of the interesting stories that I remember (and took notes on) from the journey.

Some of the interesting studies that were done occurred at the Institute of HeartMath. They were showing the link between the human heart and other living beings. That we are cosmically connected in some way. For instance, they connected yogurt up to electrodes, and with a person sitting nearby, there was noticeably more energy in the yogurt when a sharp emotion (shout or laughter) happened in the nearby person. As if the person was giving off some type of signal to the yogurt. And another study where a person's saliva was analyzed with the person being clear across town. The actions and body responses of the person matched those of the person's saliva, superficially separated. He tested married couples in separate rooms. When one spouse had a bright light shining in their eye, the other spouse's eye had a similar reaction even though they were in a separate room and could not see or hear what was going on.

The purpose of these exercises was simply to illustrate that we are not just individual beings going about our merry way; that our actions and interactions do affect other people, whether we realize it or not. The more that we act as though we are independent and don't need or affect others, the more harm we may be doing.

The film addressed Toms depression and why it is that people get so down on their lives. One of the problems is that when we are in a low time or dark situation that is how we see the rest of our future. The key is to remember that that is just where you are right now, in the present time. If you don't believe it will get better, it is much harder for it to.

I love what he said - "We really need a new definition of normal." There are ideas, at least in the USA that the great American Dream is to have more land, more space, and more material possessions. We are possessive of land - the more you own symbolizes that you have "made it." Sports players, Celebrities, and the most famous of people live in million square footage mansions with BMWs or expensive cars for every day of the week. They buy expensive clothing, outrageously priced jewelry, and import steak for dinner, just because they can. We build up fences around our masses of land to keep our lives private and protected. We don't say hi to our neighbors, we talk on cell phones while riding the bus or train; anything to prevent us from having to have an actual conversation with another human being that we may not know.

The more "stuff" we have, the more we seem to move away from being an equal partner in the community. And that is exactly what we need to get back to. In the film, someone mentioned that a plant that takes more water than it needs will drown. Human nature is probably very capitalistic - we want what we want and we don't care who doesn't have anything. Wouldn't it be better if someone did not have to be poor or hungry because I wanted to eat? If there is more than enough food why should I get 2 loaves of bread and the other person none? What is so wrong with me only taking 1 because that's all that I need? We have become a society where we take it JUST BECAUSE WE CAN; with no regard for the fact that more than you need is a waste.

There is a "delusion of consciousness." We are actually being held hostage by our possessions. Think about it - the bigger your house, the more you have to dust, the more time it takes or you have to hire help. The more cars you have, the more you have to maintain, the more you have to protect, the bigger fence you have to build. When you have a ton more than what you could possibly need you are always worrying about what to do with it, where to put it, and where to put the remains when they go bad. Living simpler is an improvement we all can make.

Lastly, the point was made that an alcoholic will not recover until he or she admits their own responsibility. "I Am" is about us all taking responsibility for the world not being the place we need it to be. We all need to stop pointing fingers at others and step up and do the things that we need to do. We can't compete with the Tsunamis of money, instant gratification of material objects, and the desire of greed and having it all; but hopefully we can lead by example.

I AM the problem, and I AM going to help towards the solution.

To find out more about the film check out Tom's website: "I AM" the documentary. It will release in February 2011. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Adventures in Towland

Because sometimes all you can do is laugh . . .

Here's my true story, written in novel format :) You might want to read this at lunch with popcorn and your door closed. You just might laugh that hard.

*Some names have been changed to protect the innocent, aka, so people don't get mad at me if this gets on the internet, lol. Any rhyming or similarities are strictly coincidental

Dancing, dancing, dancing!! Watch her get down, watch her get down, watch her get down. There we were, twirling around on the dance floor for hours, in celebration of my birthday. We were all set to leave when they played another cool song. So we mamboed to the exit, getting one last hip wiggle as we left the club. It was crowded outside as every other club in the vicinity was closing at this time too. My feet were a bit sore, but I was SOOOOOOO glad that I had carried my flats with me. I don't know how these other women do it, after about 30 minutes my feet were already hurting, but I thought to myself - must look cute, must look cute, keep heels on. About an hour after that, or maybe 2, I finally gave in and put the flats on. It was well worth it.

So the group is all walking towards the same place, and one by one we'd drop people off at their cars. Charletta's car was up first - she was my ride. And we walked a bit further then we thought we had parked; gone too far and stopped. Where's the car? My first thought was that perhaps we parked a bit further up. My friend was like, No, I parked it right here. So then I'm assuming maybe it got stolen. Her assumption was that it got towed. Wow, they really do that? I thought. I had never been towed before, and I remember seeing other cars here (which I guess also got towed). Funny thing is that I remember getting the spot - it was a perfect arrangement. We were driving down Chestnut street and saw no parking, when we turned onto 2nd to make the rounds. There was a spot in front of a motorcycle that was a little tight. But we went for it, and conveniently the lady in front of the spot was getting out, so we had it all to ourselves. We had just finished dinner and were excited to get the dancing part of our evening on. We parked, got out the car, and went into the club, not even noticing the No Parking sign that must have been up. Well this sucks. If you have never been towed, there are no instructions on what to do or where to go, it's like you should just KNOW what to do. Fortunately (and unfortunately at the same time) I had friends that have been in this situation before with us. Reba says to me "Oh, just ask the cop for the number and he'll give it to you." So I walk over to the cop. Mind you Charletta (she drove) is livid and I can see the anger on her face. Well Mr. Copman is pretty nice but he's just spewing information at me. He tells me the phone number like I'm going to memorize it, so then I take out my phone to write it down. Then he gives me four page instructions like I'm going to remember that after I call the place. They should really carry cards or something.

Anyway, I call the tow place and they ask for the make, model, and license plate number for your car (Good information to know by heart, by the way). We give it to them and they confirm (rather happily) that they have the car. So Reba offers to take us down there to get the car. Mind you they close at 3am, and it's like 2:15am, so I'm a little antsy. We get to the car place and they have the stupidest system. There are three lines. In the right most lane is where you verify they have the car and make the payments for the towing fee. When you are done with that you go to the middle lane where they see the receipt and need to verify your registration and insurance (which are probably in your car, so then you have to go to your car (escorted) to retrieve them). Line 3, which we almost didn't see, is when you have everything cleared and you are picking up the car to go home.

In right most lane is an attractive guy. He is giving my friend all the forms and such. At some point my friend is in Line 2 and I'm leaning on the counter of Line 1. He randomly says "Cutie Pie." I look up and say "Are you talking to me?" He replies, "Yes." All I can do is laugh, and say thanks. Then he says "What is your phone number?" And being the coy girl that I am, I ask, "Is this part of the process?" He laughs, as does the coworker next to him and says "It's not part of [the car pick up] process, but it's part of ANOTHER process" Beyond words. I'm just cracking up that I get hit on in a tow station at 3 am in the morning! I have to move so he can help the girl behind me and I go outside (Charletta is still handing paperwork) and tell Reba - should I go for it? She's like sure. And I'm like - it's my birthday, I can do whatever I want!! (lol) So I go back into the office, write my number and name on a tiny piece of paper and try to get his attention, but there's someone he is helping. Hmm, how am I going to do this? Well the pen that I was using belonged to the tow place, so I slipped him the pen and my number and say "Here's your pen back" {wink} He got the hint and took the paper, and I walked away smirking. (I'm so slick, right? ) 

Charletta is on the phone with her insurance company. Apparently she didn't have the newest insurance card in the car at the time and they won't let you go until you show them that. (Note to self - as soon as it comes in the envelope make sure to put it in the care!!). Well it's 4am on a Sunday morning and of course the website is down for maintenance, so access to records is not looking good. Reba and Marques had just left because we didn't want them waiting around and we thought we were good. In the meantime I see this fine looking guy sitting against the window (new guy, not Line 2 guy). Everyone in the tow place is kinda funny because we are all stuck here and no one wants to be here (seriously, you could actually compare it to being in jail). Well there was this Asian chick sobbing her heart out. Loudly. We all felt bad for her, but everyone was mumbling under their breath "Could she cry on the side of the line and move it along?" and "Dag, she sounds like someone died." It was quite amusing. Then this other girl is fighting with the workers at the window because she owes like a dollar on her car. She says "I'm a poor college student. I don't have a dollar. I eat Ramen [noodles]." So me and this fine window guy are laughing to ourselves, and making eye contact and smiling. The seat next to him opens up so of course I sashay over there and sit right next to him.  

"What are you in for?" is my big opening line  - I'm sure I said it a little classier; maybe batted some eyelashes. He tells me that his friend had also been towed. His ethnicity looked very ambiguous to me so I ask him what he is. He tells me he's Costa Rican. I ask him if he speaks Spanish and he does. Little by little I'm getting to know Mr. Window guy. I overhear the guy next to me saying that was his brother. "That's your brother?" I ask him "Yes" Then I overhear something about a wife and kid. I ask Mr. Window guy  if he has kids and he tells me he has a little son. "And a wife?"(add slightly disappointed tone) "Yes" "Well where's your ring?" (slightly hoping he was joking. Yeah, yeah, I could overlook the one kid thing). BAM!! - there it was!! A little piece of metal that I had neglected to see from the other side of the room. "Wow, I did NOT see that" I say to him. He smiles and looks very flattered, but sigh, there's goes another one. I did apologize for hitting on him given that he was married, but he says it's ok (of course he does, so suave) and we continue talking.  As the conversation continues I learn that he's from Cherry Hill and works on BMWs. Of course him and his wife have a Beemer. I poke him with my elbow and ask for a hook up! (worth a try, right) He asks me what I do and I get into my side gig of writing. He sounds interested so I give him my blog address. Who knows if he will check it out. But let me tell you, if this guy were single . . . cuz he's just GORGEOUS!!!

Back to reality - we are stuck at the towing place because we can't get the car, so I call Marques to see if he could pick us up and he's such a sweetie and says he will. 20 minutes or so I say bye to Mr. [married] window guy :(  and we are on our way. I FINALLY get home around 4am and sleep until past the break of dawn. We finally did get the car Sunday afternoon. The guy who asked me for my number (Line 2 guy) texted me. I asked him name? kids? age? and the 3 kids kinda ruled him out. And then we got the car and we went to IKEA.  

Not a bad way to spend at the tow truck place though, right?

Laughing all the way home [at life's irony],


Photo credit:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: Water, Water Everywhere

Well, don't let the title fool you. Remember the saying "Water, Water, Everywhere, but not a drop to drink"? If you've never heard it before it usually refers to someone being stuck on a desert or on a boat in the middle of the ocean. And you are surrounded by water, but it's salt-water, so you can't actually drink it. I mean, technically, you could, but you'd just dehydrate and die. The world is covered in 2/3 water, but not all of this is drinkable water.

Today is Blog Action Day, the day where thousands around the world will post a blog about one specific topic. We'll discuss this topic at different angles, argue different points, but most of all get a discussion going on a topic that affects hundred around the world. Maybe it will provoke someone to discuss this with their colleagues, or fundraise, or travel in search of helping less fortunate people. Somehow, some way we hope to make a different and positively impact our world community.  

So for those new to my blog my angle is this: I like to find the silver lining in everyday things in life, point out the obvious and not so obvious things we all seem to do, as well as look at the simple fixes. When talking about such an impacting topic as access to clean water I want to talk about the practical side - what can I, or you, do right now, where we are, to help with this issue?

Yet, I digress. Back to the topic at hand: Water. The United Nations has formally decided that they would like to do something about the lack of clean water available to an alarming amount of people around the world. An estimated 884 million people around the world [1] (and remember the world population count is ~6.9 billion at the moment [2]) lack access to clean drinking water. If you do the math that's 12%!!! That's pretty high. Especially when, in 2009, there were 4.9 billion cell phone subscriptions worldwide [3] ! Where are our priorities?

Imagine going a day without anyone washing their hands. How gross would you feel after sneezing and coughing without a way to clean your hands? Then knowing that other people were doing the same thing. Maybe someone gives you a hug, or a kid climbs up on your shoulders. Maybe the baby's parents just changed their baby's diaper then went to serve you dinner. And what if you had to ride the subway? And the rats that were scurrying around came to the platform and maybe you saw one on the handrail. And maybe you yourself don't touch the handrail because you know it's dirty, but the guy before you, the guy that pulled the door open with his dirty hand, did touch the handrail. And you were too far behind him to not have to pull the door open. So now you have all kinds of germs all over your body. All you want to do is go home and take a shower, or even get to the nearest bathroom and scrub your hands clean. And this is the non-graphic version. What if that was your lifestyle because you didn't have another way? Maybe it's hard to imagine it here in the US where people are taking 20 minute showers 2 times a day, and swimming in their individual pools in their backyards. But imagine it if you will and see that it is a very grim way to live, plus add all the other stresses of normal living like school and work.

Death due to unsafe water accounts for 80% of diseases every year. Without proper sanitation it is nearly impossible to fight off medical ailments from diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, E. coli, Salmonella, and other illnesses/bacteria [4]. One tenth of these deaths may be preventable with better water access. 

The improvements that can be made are life-changing. Just looking at the cycle of changes [4] points out that people would save time from walking to get water if it wasn't so far. Germs would not be so readily spread if the community had washing stations and were taught improved hygiene. Kids could spend more time in school if they weren't walking to get water or out sick because of diseases caused by lack of clean water. Hand-washing is able to reduce water-related deaths by 45% [4].

I'm not here to pose a 10 page report. The facts are there. There are numerous resources if you want to read more on the topic. The point is that we do have a problem. We have recognized the problem, and we (collective we - as in the whole world) need to do something to fix this problem. More often than not the very developed world philosophy is to worry about oneself and not to fix something until it's broke. Well the developing world needs our help. This is a world problem. We can not continue to hog up all the good resources and not offer it, or aid to those without these resources we take for granted.

So what can you do? you are wondering . . .

1. Ditch the bottle. Ahh, this is a hard one indeed, but yes having bottled water is not the most sustainable way to go. Finish those bottles off, recycle the bottles, and invest in a reusable BPA free water bottle.

2. Tap water - it's cleaner than you think. The tap water in the United States is one of the cleanest in the world. But is it cleaner than bottled water? The debate continues, but a study from affiliates of Harvard Medical School show that some water is not that much, if any cleaner than the water out of your kitchen tap [5]. Tap water is regulated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), while bottle water is regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Local impurities will differ based on filtration systems, the pipes in your home, etc. So if you are really concerned you can request a water quality report and filter your tap water.

3. Be good to your drains. A big reason we have impurities in the water are highly due to what consumers are throwing down the drain. Pharmaceutical drugs should not be disposed of in the sink or the toilet - bring them back to your local pharmacy. Similarly, unless it's drain-o or something that you drank, you probably shouldn't pour it down the sink. Communities will hold monthly or annually hazardous waste pickups to collect your hazardous liquids to dispose.

4. Take shorter showers. Seriously. From the UN Human Development Report "An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the typical person living in a developing country slum uses in a whole day"[6].

5. Fix leaks. A leaky faucet can waste up to 20 gallons of water per day and a leaky toilet 200 gallons/day [7]. That's a total waste.

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, . . . READ, become involved, and make a change. 

Organizations like and help to get wells built and teach about sanitation practices, to prevent water related deaths. There is a petition for the UN to bring clean water to people around the world. And then there are the 5 little things I mentioned on my list. So, now it's your ball game. The world awaits . . .

Works Cited:
[1] UN article -
[2] World Population -
[3] Cell Phones -
[4] Water -
[5] Tap Water -
[6] UN Human Development Report - 
[7] Ways to save water -

Blog Action Day:

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

To Write is to Have Read

It's true, the way to becoming a better writer is to read more. Read different types of writing styles, find authors that you like/dislike. So, I have TONS of books in my library that have looked interesting and I have picked up along the way - I LOVE roaming through bookstores. So now the daunting task is to actually read them.

What am listening to right now? "Parachute" sung by Ingrid Michaelson - she originally wrote it for Cheryl Cole (UK) but when it did so well she decided she'd like to try it herself. I like her version a lot better.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Uber Excitement

Thanks for all the comments on my previous post!! I love your feedback.

Ok, so I feel a little like I just joined a 12 step program:

First there's denial - " I'm ok, I'm really ok "

Then there's anger - "People suck!! "

Then there's acceptance - "Everything will be ok."

So maybe my last post was an angry jab at the sucky people in the world (step 2), but now I've accepted it and I'm moving on. (Ok, maybe it's more like a 3 step program). I AM the new girl in town - on my own little island. 

I can do just about anything I want - I can visit various organizations and stay if I like it and not go back if I don't. I was VP of an organization before - here I have no responsibilities just yet, so its all about finding what's right for me. 

Now to the fun part. I am so excited to try all the new things that I've just realized I could do. I am a big supporter of - if you've never checked it out it is a Great (and Safe) way to meet people when you are the new person in town. (Summary of meetup - it is not a match making site. It is for people to meet with others who like doing the same thing; i.e. if you like baseball but have no one to go to the game with you find a baseball meetup, and suddenly you have people to sit with; or if you want a gym partner, someone to try new restaurants with, someone to go to the movies with, etc, you just find a group on the website that fits your need and you meet those people in a public setting).  So, through meetup, I am finding tons of things that are going on within a 30 minute radius of where I live. And this is an improvement than the 60-90 minute radius I had before.

So I'm excited to go to Zumba, and try a pottery class, learn what permaculture is (something to do with plants I think), learn Japanese, watch foreign films, try tap dancing again, kick someone's butt in kickboxing, write a novel, become a mentor to a child, build a house;  the possibilities are endless. And of course there's the good ole wide world web and Google. So there's so much to do that getting out there and trying it is the only logical option.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. So I choose to think that this whole weeding out process and going through these hard lessons over the past 5 years, has only taught me the skills that I will need in this new process. Of learning who you can and can not trust, about the people that will say one thing and do another, or of the people that will use and abuse just to refuse. So everything is an incredible lesson, and that is what I choose to take from it.

I am woman world, hear me ROARRRRRR!!!

Photo: Paradise Island in the Dominican Republic
(All photos are mine, unless cited in credits)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Too much Effort

I'm basically done . . . with making all the effort. I've used this year to reflect on things and the ultimate conclusion is that people are basically selfish. They take and take and take until you have nothing left to give. And I love to give, but I'm not a rag that you can squeeze. So I'm done. I'm done making all the effort, initating all the conversations, done caring about your problems, when the minute everything is going right for you forget about me; can't even ask me how my day is going. And I thought it was my imagination and that maybe I was being harsh, but nope, after waiting months it's as clear as day. Everyone is concerned with their own little self-bubble. And when they need help or want a favor they are as nice as can be. Once they get what they want good luck even borrowing a bead of sweat.

This social network age doesn't help - being bombarded with facebook updates that I could care less about (like 'I broke a nail') almost makes you immune to news; that even when you hear of good things going on in the world you are just on information overload. So I've learned to delete people, because I don't need to be facebook friends with everyone, not the acquaintances who hardly talk to me, or the people you meet once at a party. We've just gotten so used to being in the know. Well maybe I don't want to know what you are doing if you don't care enough to ask me what I'm doing.

Life is too short to waste effort on people or things that are counterproductive.
'Never make someone your priority when you are their option' (someone).

I'm done making YOU my priority. I love doing it, but all I am is an occassional optional if you are bored, so yeah, no more miss nice girl!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Never the Same

We're at that age where life is really what you make it. At this point, the things that happen, and the decisions that you make can change things forever. To the point where they will never be the same. It's scary actually.

I hate this - feeling as though one thing can alter your life. Whether it's family related, having kids, getting married, starting over, moving, starting a new job, quitting an old job, pursuing your dream . . . you have to figure out if you are doing what you want to do, if you are settling, or if you are taking a stupid risk. If you are single/not married and don't have kids then the decision is not as impactful, but imagine that you hate your job and you are married with kids. You can't just decide to stop working to pursue your art degree; you have to think of your family.

I see so much going on that it really is scary. There's no "Undo" button. Friendships are ending over the stupidest stuff. Sometimes its our pride, sometimes it's as simple as saying sorry. But people get tired of always being the one to cave or get stepped over. Sometimes there's a long lost family member that you have spent so much time trying to forget how they hurt you that rekindling anything with them seems pain-stakingly awful. Or there is someone that you are recently learning that they even exist that you have to think - do I really want to invest the time AGAIN? Is it worth it? It's already been 10+ years.  

There are no quick fixes, as we'd like there to be. You just have to do the thing you really feel is best. Sometimes, if your personality suits, then you take the calculated risk, and whatever happens you are happy that you decided to do it, even if it fails. I ask myself have I ever taken that type of risk? If not, why not? What is it that is holding me back.

I did take a risk, about 3 years ago. It was the scariest thing I had to decide to do. But when all was said and done my happiness was much more important then fitting a mold or doing what everyone else was doing. But there are more risks I'm scared to take. Some of them I might try, but others, well, will they fall by the way side? 2010 has been the year to try new things.

And it ain't over yet . . .

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just Do It!

Funny how your brain and your heart fight sometimes. Logic has no place in some decisions. Yet it rules common sense - let's do the thing that hurts the least number of people, or that makes it easier on everyone. Everyone else, that is. Anyhow, I'm tired of making decisions, of thinking about what if I do this or what if I do that. Sometimes no action is an actual powerful decision and harder to do than doing something. So, I went dancing!! On a Tuesday. And it was awesome!! It was great - I had so much fun, danced with some cool people, listened to a live band (check out the Jazz Lobsters) and just had a blast -not thinking.

So, the cure is dancing, lol. Point blank.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Series of Fortunate Events

I am a big believer in coincidences. I love when things happen in such a way that you are like, dag, that was awesome - if I hadn't been there at that particular time, so and so would not have happened. But sometimes these "coincidences" are not coincidences at all; sometimes they are so well orchestrated that it MUST be the BIG GUY trying to tell you something.

And so here is my story. I am the new girl in town, you could even say a small fish. I moved from somewhere where I knew a lot of people and had built a network over a couple of years, to a town where I know No One. My closest friends are at least 25 miles away. Or. So. I. Thought.

Coincidence #1 - I'm driving home one day from my parents house after the weekend and I'm listening the radio, but not really in the mood to listen to music. So I decide to call someone (since I invested in a hands-free bluetooth). Well I'm scrolling through the list of people and there's people that you just talked to that you really can't call; then people that are more work related that you don't really chit chat with, etc. So I scroll upon Tiffany's name, and I haven't seen Tiffany since I graduated college. We had talked a while ago, but it really was a WHILE ago. Anyway, I call her and interestingly enough she answers, which allows me to tell her where I moved to, which allows her to tell me that she's 10 minutes from there, which allows 30 seconds of girlish screams, and then we could awesomely meet. So that happened and I'm really glad that she's here and I have a good friend in the area.

Coincidence #2 - A couple weeks later I was again driving from my parents home, back to my place and I was on the phone with two friends of mine from my prior residence. Well then put me on hold to order food and I see this guy as I'm parking. He's holding a tennis racquet. He was just about to jump into someone's car (and I still hadn't put my car in park yet) when he forgot something and went back to his car, which gave me enough time to park the car and get out. So before he got into his friends car and I was never to see him again, and since I was on hold, I asked him if he played tennis (obviously he did, but c'mon I needed some ice breaker) and where the courts were. And I asked him if he'd like to play sometime. We both said yes and went about our business and then realized we'd have to exchange contact info - so we swapped numbers. And I've played tennis with Tennis Dude and been able to hang out and meet some other people.

Coincidence #3 - I've been finding out a lot of things to do via the internet. Well, there was a game night that looked pretty interesting. I told a friend about it but she was not available, so I went by myself. I had a great time and met a lady who told me about her Church - which I visited today (see Coincidences 4 and 5). I had a fun night - played spades (I'm pretty good!!), dominoes, jenga, and of course Taboo. Well on the way home I got lost getting to my parking lot - walked down the wrong street - then I got lost in the parking lot and had trouble finding my car (stupid split levels). Then while driving home my gps took forever to load so I was driving aimlessly trying to find a large intersection to get my bearings. Eventually the GPS decided to work and I got into my development to find a woman in a brightly colored, rememberable, top. She was at the game night that I just left!! And her and her friend were walking out of their car just as I pulled out - so had I come earlier or later, I would have missed them. Turns out we are next door neighbors!

Coincidence #4 - At Church today where I expected to know no one, a coworker spotted me and said hi. It was comforting to know someone, and she saw me after the service because we both decided to go downstairs. If I had just left she definitely wouldn't have seen me, and I didn't see her, so it was another coincidence for her to even spot me.

Coincidence #5 - A woman approached me and asked me if I was someone names so and so and I said no. Hours later I'm on my online group and see that she was the same woman who had organized the game night. Turns out she pronounced my name wrong, so I was who she was looking for (kinda like asking a Laura if they are Lauren).

Coincidence #6 - Today at the Church they were celebrating some things and there was an author selling and signing her book. Originally I wasn't going to buy one but the topic looks very good and I like to support my community.

So, I said all this to say, that I really feel like I'm being guided and these people that I am meeting I am meant to meet. It's pretty awesome when you realize it's happening. The BIG GUY's certainly got my attention!!

*Didn't think I had to spell it out but each time I say the BIG GUY I'm talking about God, for the slower audience members, lol.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup

Ahh, the anticipation. I am watching the World Cup right now, 2:30pm EST. The USA is playing Ghana in the qualifying round. Last week USA beat Algeria (photograph above) in the last seconds of the game, moving us to the next round when almost all hope is gone. The excitement has been astounding.

Now, we play Ghana, who we lost to four years ago in the last World Cup. So the pressure is on for both teams - Ghana is the only African country to move on into the qualifying round (a bit dissappointing since the World Cup is being played in South Africa this year) and whoever wins this game moves on and whoever loses goes home, so USA is in it to win it!

So, I'll update again when the game is over.


5:02pm - After some overtime Ghana won - 2:1. Great job USA!!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Dating in 2010

Dating in 2010. It's much different than the courtship guys and girls were used to in 2nd half of the 20th century. I feel like guys really tried to woo you back then. Now you are being cat called "Whoop whoop, how you doin' shorty?" as if the art of being a gentleman is a long lost trade.

Remember those days of getting or sending a hand written note that said "I like you, do you like me: Yes? No? Maybe?" Something about that naive gesture was actually romantic. And now those handwritten notes have become impersonal, impatient texts.

There was an understanding back then. Guy met girl and they found ways to be around eachother - studying, classes, or even "bumping" into eachother through town. You pursued one person at a time. And eventually there was the talk - do you want to be boyfriend and girlfriend? and a simple yes or no (ok, sometimes a maybe). Fast forward 50 years and look at 2010 - now there are literally millions of places to meet your potential soulmate. Since the 1960s there has been the great invention of the world wide web. We can meet strangers virtually, share pictures, and even have a conversation; all without leaving the comfort of our home. So yes, the method at which we are able to meet these potential soulmates has drastically changed, I would even say improved.

But what about dating itself; Is it any better? I'd say no, definitely. Things are much more different down to the mentality of people in society as a whole. Before when guy met girl; guy and girl were only talking to eachother. There was a period of pursuit. And sure, if he got shot down (or politely declined) he would wallow for a bit over his heart ache, suck it up, and move on. Or girl would wait and wait for said guy to ask her out. She too would experience heart ache when he asked some other girl to the soph-hop. Now, it's not always the guy pursuing the girl, now it's perfectly "acceptable" for the girl to be on the prowl. And don't get me wrong, I'm all about girl power (fist up, wohoo), but there's nothing more charming then the old fashioned way of guy pursuing girl.

Fast forward again and there are so many questions you have to ask nowadays because people have this "don't ask, don't tell" mentality. You may be talking to Nick and think it's a picture of two; when Nick is talking to Becky, Stacey, and Monica; unbeknownst to you. You have to ask if he has a girlfriend. But be wary, if he's married, he does not have a girlfriend,so his answer might be no. You have to ask "Are you married?" "Are you engaged?" "Are you gay/on the down low?" "Are you involved with anyone else?" And that last one is sometimes a deal breaker if you haven't had the talk about being exclusive.

So when Sonya thought her and Nick were dating and he knew she thought that but only thought of her as just a friend with benefits, you get another type of heart ache; an all too common type these days. And even those implied contractual agreements lack the fine print with the "benefits'" packages differing in contradictory non-mentioned strings attached, single parenthood, and communal disease.  Because everyone just wants to have fun!

So maybe I sound bitter; perhaps I've been a player in the game without realizing I had stepped on the game board. It's like a never-ending game of Jumanji. Well, game over, and now I'm starting over - and this time I'm doing it my way. Call me crazy, and maybe I'm dreaming of a fantasy world, but the dating style of the 60s wasn't too far off the mark. 

Meeting that one person and having the deep conversation, not being distracted by a text message or a buzzing phone. Laughing over coffee at the sunset and now worrying about if there is a Becky, or Stacy, of Monica, or even Rick these days. Maybe that's a step in a time machine, but maybe it's not that far off; perhaps newer isn't always better. Or maybe better is some compromise in between. I don't know. No one really knows. I just know have a comparison between present and past and this idealistic cartoon image of what I imagine it should be like. And by should I mean how I want it to be.

So, this is my journey; Journey called Life. And we'll see what works and what doesn't. That is the exciting and exhilarating thing about this thing called life. Unwritten rules, implied emotions, and crazy unpredictability. But most importantly, doing what you want to do and staying true to who you are, regardless of what society is doing.

Personally, I prefer things the old way. But you know what the say, don't hate the playa, hate the game.

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Photo credits: and;

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Getting to the Gym

Somewhere between the couch, utter exhaustion, and sheer laziness I mustered up the motivation and energy to go to the gym. It's funny actually, because I was planning on going, but what really got me there was anger and spite. Horrible ways to do something, but overall had a great affect.

I just moved into a new place so I've got boxes gallore. My last couple of weekends have been spent driving 5+ hours, so I actually haven't spent too much time at home. Then I started a new job as well and I'm tired when I get home and really don't feel like lifting another cardboard specimen. Add that to the fact that I haven't had constant exercise since Dodgeball (yes, I'm an adult and I played Dodgeball) ended a couple of months ago. So part of me wants to wait until I'm good and settled before making any more major life committments. But then the little person on my left shoulder says that I'm just making additional excuses. Right shoulder: go ahead, relax, it's good to take some time off. Left shoulder: fine, relax. Be a blob; but no complaining when beach time comes. So left shoulder wins and I decide to get my booty to a gym.

I tried running and glamorous boredom keeps that from being a fun activity. Sure, it's much better with a friend, but something was seriously lacking for me. Perhaps I really need a good music playlist to make it fun, but ehhh NEXT. Tennis is always a good alternative, but you really need someone else to do that.

So then I moved and decided that running wasn't going to happen (although it has been GORGEOUS outside). So then I thought, maybe I could just exercise with On Demand. Yeah, motivation is NOT there. So then I am hunting for a gym near my new area - somewhere along the road between work and home. And I found something for a really good price. But then someone suggested another place and it's also along the way home from work.

So on Tuesday, coincindentally the day I was supposed to pick up my Tennis Racquet from the store after being restrung, I decide that I will check out this gym recommended by a coworker. So it happens to be in the same plaza as the tennis place. So I decide to pick up my racquet, since they said it would be ready after 3pm on Tuesday.

So I go to the front of the store to get my racquet and the manager goes to "check." What felt like 10 minutes later he passes by me without saying a word and I'm like "Excuse me, did you get my racquet." He's like, "oohh the guy is just finishing it up. It'll be like 20 more minutes." It only takes 20 MINUTES to string a tennis racquet - they obviously didn't start it and I was pretty annoyed with the guys attitude like I should be grateful they are doing it at all. So I'm pretty mad so I decide I will go cool off and get the gym orientation and come back.

I go to the gym and some lady shows me around. This gym is $15 more per month than the other one and I didn't really see any additional perks to going there. They had a bunch of classes pre-3pm - don't these people work during the day? - so that's no good. And you have to sign up for their night classes, which seems like a pain. So after I went through the orientation I had a free guest pass for a week. I was out the door when I decided - what's my rush? I was still mad about my racquet and figured they could wait another hour. So that began my workout.

So amid anger, exhaustion, cramps, and spite, I. WENT. To. The Gym. hahaha. And then I went again today to try their spinning class (since I have a couple days left on the guest pass). Spinning is also not for me - I found it boring as well. Definitely a challenging workout but those tiny tiny bicycle seats are not made for my 'bodacious booty,' quoting an old friend.

And now I'm on a roll!!


Saturday, May 08, 2010

Zippp a dee do dahhh

Random. I have thankful, content, and simply happy. It is so easy to write angrily when things are going bad or amiss. However, it is important to note these great moments when you are blissfully overjoyed with life. IT's been a great couple of days. The weather has been absolutely spectacular and just getting to see everyone and do different things has been really fun.

Nothing more than to say - great day.

Thanking God for it!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tying up Loose Ends

I'm not counting down really, but I have about 1 month before everything changes. It's that time again, moving away, starting a new job, making new friends, starting new life habits. And you always have to ask yourself the question - Am I who I want to be? It's a difficult question to answer. Sometimes you are the person that the situation has dictated. If you move to cold Alaska, maybe you will start doing the things that Alaskans do. But are you doing it because you like doing it or just because you are there? The same is true if you are moving from New York City. All those nights of going out on the town - was that because you were in New York and you had to make the most out of the experience or was it truly something that you enjoyed and will want to do no matter where you go? The same is true of the people you meet. Do you enjoy hanging out with your coworkers or do you prefer meeting people outside of work? Those friends that you have that you only watch movies with or only go bowling with, or only go hiking with - are they any better friends than the ones you go to dinner with, or have been to your house? Do you wish you got to know them in a deeper sense?

So, not to get too philosophical, but its these types of questions I'm thinking right now. Fresh slate - now I will be the new fish in a big pond. I can choose everything about who I hang out with, what I do with my free time, how much I exercise, the healthy foods I eat, all that jazz. So now it's really the time to decide - Who is it that I want to be? And is that me?

And in the meantime there's the daunting task of tying up loose ends. Saying goodbye to old friends, and finding closure with the ones that I probably won't keep in touch with. The ones who forgot about you when you were so close that you don't need to worry about as you move further away. The ones who won't call you on your birthday or Christmas or New Year's. The ones who have always been too busy to write or call you back. The ones you just don't have the energy, nor desire, to fight with. The ones who probably don't even know you are moving. Those are the ones you let go.

I'll always be reminded of what my old choir director said - Not everyone can sit in your front row (in comparing you and your close relationships to stadium seating). And it's true, as new people come in there are only select seats for the front row people. And, as hard as it might be to believe, that someone that once held the top spot must now just be another audience member in the aisle, facts are facts.

So tying up loose ends means, moving on from things that aren't positively impacting my life, saying goodbye to bad eating habits and getting ready to cook more, to eat healthier, to exercise more, read more, write more, do all the things that I've put off because I was so busy. It means meeting people and forming relationships with people that are on your same page, heading towards similar goals. Tying up loose ends means getting rid of all of the baggage and throwing away the junk that you don't want to move with, both literally and figuratively speaking.

Like a seed grows to be a plant
We most sow our seeds and wait
For nature to take its time
And allow us to share in its beauty.

So, let's wait to see what happens. And be excited about the future, but first take care of the present and tie up any loose ends.

Friday, April 02, 2010

I'm writing you a 4 page letter

Ok, well maybe it wasn't four pages, but I found this letter today that I had written to a really good friend of mine before moving away. I don't remember if I gave it to him or not, I probably didn't. But maybe one day I will give it to someone,because it's important to tell people how we feel about them, platonically as well as romantically.

Here's the letter, word for word:

Now is no excuse for mushiness. Well . . .ok . . .just maybe a smidge. Somehow writing things down is so much easier than saying them out loud. You can think clearly without eyeballs of pressure staring you down. Drumroll please . . . Nope, this is not a farewell letter. I won't say goodbye, just see you later, but if I never tell people how much they mean to me, now would probably be a good time. As you can see I even stall in my writing. I mean honestly, this could be a potential life-defining moment - you know with the men and women who go on talk shows 20 years later still taunted by the bully that called the fat or ugly? This is HUGE. I have to really choose my words, take out all the sarcasm and ambiguity. Make it plain as day. So, I came up with this: I Love You. But even as I chopped the sentence to contain my subject (you) and verb (love) and predicate (?) (I), it may still render ambiguity. So let me clarify. Firstly, by I I mean myself, the one who wrote this, [Insert name], in case you forgot between me handing you the envelope. And by you I mean You, person holding this letter, owner of letter, and in case this letters is confiscated, name to whom the envelope is addressed. Ok, so the verb was really tricky. How many other words could I put in there - like, adore, enjoy? Care? 'Like' sounded way too middle school crush-esque, which isn't exactly what I was going for. 'Adore' just sounded way over the top - like you would make or break my enjoyment of sunlight, and 'enjoy' just had way too many other (sick) meanings that I wouldn't wish upon interpretation. 'Care' just seemed too light - I care whether my stockings got a tear, and dude you are so much higher than stockings! So that left the word 'Love,' which is often over and misused these days. Love is the hardest word to explain or describe because it has so many meanings - 1) You've go the love your your pet who quietly is always there for you and fun to play with 2) You've got the love of a favorite piece of clothing that makes you feel confident and in control of the situation 3) You've got the love of a distant cousin that you don't really know that well but you know you are somehow related 4) You've got the love of an immediate family member that you have probably shared most of your life with 5) You've got that romantic lust/love thing with the matured middle-school crush, this time in older years 6) There's the love of a significant other whom you can't imagine your life without 7) You have the eternal love of God and all things beyond this world and 8)you've got that self-love hopefully that glows radiantly when others meet you. So yes, there's no better word to describe such a general and specific emotion, all at the same time. So pick a number and you're probably right. But most importantly, I don't tell you this to blush or make you feel good. Really, I share this with you because that's how I've felt and may never have told you. We go through life silently unappreciated and there's no need for that. You're smart, intelligent, humorous (I'll admit it), somewhat attractive (this whole no sarcasm thing is hard), talented, and a myriad of other adjectives. And I think it's no coincidence that we've crossed paths. I know I needed some freshness. This is probably getting long enough where you are skipping words. Don't. I'll soon stop. So maybe you think me overdramatic when you'll probably see me tomorrow, but maybe I just needed a reason to express my feelings to you because you are important to me and I want you to know that as I go take the road to [insert direction]. I've enjoyed the past year with you. I expect great things of you and nothing less (no pressure). Whatever you do that puts a smile on your face every day makes me happy too. So if you ever, ever, for some strange reason, forget about me (like 10 years from now - don't even think about it before then), then always remember me and my letter to you. Good Luck, God Bless.



on Dating

Life amuses me. The most recent topic of conversation was dating. A friend of mine, we'll call her Leslie, was going out with this guy, Sammy. Well first things first, we don't really know that it was a date. Two people agreed to eat food together. Nowadays you never know if that's a date or just hanging out. It's pretty funny actually. So Sam and Leslie met at a mutual friend's house. Then we all happened to be at the volleyball pick-up game and they were on the same team. They got to talking and things just hit it off. He walked her home since no one wanted to get sand in their car, and she offered to buy him dinner as a thank you. As a true gentleman, he declined, but they agreed to go to dinner anyway. Anyway, the night before the "date" I'm talking to Leslie like we're in middle school - you know wondering if this is two friends going out or more, if he's interested or just being nice, etc. And to add complications Sammy was just offered a photojournalist gig in Europe. He took it, but we really don't know when or if he is planning on coming back. Let's just call him a free spirit.

So, dilemma number one is even figuring out the situation, if there is a situation at all. And dilemma two is why get all caught up with feelings if Sammy is going to be in Europe for some indiscriminate amount of time? But then life is happening today and you can't worry about the future and not do things because of what may hapen in the future.

So Sam and Leslie went on their date. It went alright. I think it's too early to judge, but at the same time time is running out. I think he flies to Amsterdam on Thursday. Craziness. What should she do? (Rhetorical, I think the answer is just to go with the flow). Dun dun DunNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN. (dramatically)

I said all this to say that this whole dating "thing" is hilarious. The things we do for love. It's fun, it's scary, it's exciting, and it's well . . . it's that thing that makes us human.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Frustration of Simplicity

I can't help how I feel, even if those feelings are not reciprocated. I can't help it if I hate your favorite shirt or if your biggest flaw is just so irresistible. I can't make you call me back or pick up a pen and write me a letter. I can't get those guys off the wall to ask the girls to dance, just as much as I can't stop the cold and heartless guy from breaking up with his girlfriend through text. It's so frustrating sometimes, but then you realize that you just have relinquish control and it becomes so simple. Maybe I can not help the way I feel, but I can accept you not agreeing with me. And maybe I hate your favorite shirt, but you know what? I don't have to wear it. Maybe I just look at your eyes more intently when you wear that shirt, or I focus on those lovely shoelaces, lol.

I think the point is that when we become frustrated by those things we simply cannot change we have to realize that either we accept people for who they are or we do not. And if you want to be their friend/family member/spouse/etc then you really don't want to change them. It is their individuality that has attracted them to you. And if you decide not to accept them then you walk away from the siutation completely and you don't have to put up with those things you abhor.

So, as much as I hate it, you wear that UGLY shirt. And I'll still love ya!!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Have at it

Those three words are so . . . freeforming. But in a bad way. I am an engineer and I am currently taking an art class. We basically are given a blank canvas and told "Have at it" - do what your heart's content desires. It's so unregulated, unrestriced, so very strange. I am used to standards and guidelines. Give me step by step procedures of what to do and where and when. But that's not how art works. I can't tell you how to paint a landscape to make it your own. I can tell you what I would do, and I could even paint with you side by side, but what you paint and what is truly your work, is of your own mind. No one can tell you what your mind sees.

So this concept of freethought and boundary-less abstract space is so surreal. I know what you are wondering - is the paint class really that deep? Haha, no it's not. And maybe it's hard to explain, but I'm not just talking about painting. I'm talking about always having done something a particular way and then one day - BAM! - increasing your view of the world. It's when coloring outside of the line releases some sort of freedom in you, like you never knew that you could stray from the black line. And so I feel like I've conquered another piece of my brain. But most importantly it gives me this feeling that if I can connect with this abstract task, then maybe there are other things that I can connect to that I never tried to do.

So I am excited. Of course my next question is what now? But sorry folks, no rules, no guidelines, no restrictions. Just have at it!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

on Leadership

I recently attended a Leadership conference with the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees - find out more at It was awesome!! I can not begin to tell you how motivated it has left me. 2010 is the year to do all those things we've always said we wanted to do.

I'm in no way going to capture all of the points I learned about, but I'd like to give you all a taste, so that you too can be the person you desire to be. There's only one rule - if something stands out and is really helpful than share it. Because what's the point of having a world of information but only one person knows it?

The motivational speaker for the weekend was Matt Booth (MB). I encourage you to check him out - - he's got some great things to say.

First we learned that attitude is in fact everything. As cliche as it sounds your attitude will affect the way you look at things and that will affect your actions. Think about it. The example Matt used is people saying they hate Mondays. If you think that you hate Mondays then everything associated with Monday will ultimately be negative. For instance a lot of people waste half of Sunday thinking about Monday instead of enjoying the rest of Sunday. So right there you have a couple of hours of these negative thoughts. You probably were a bit laid back with waking up over the weekend so Monday is the first day that you have to wake up early again. You might have forgotten to set up the coffee because you didn't need it on Sunday so now you have to make coffee and you are always late on Monday. You probably come home tired because you didn't get much sleep because your body was used to sleeping longer over the weekend. So now everything that happened gets associated with Mondays, even though they are independent of eachother. See how that works? MB says to continually Check Your Attitude (CYA).

A nice exercise we did was to write down the names of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Now write a (+) or (-) if the person is mostly positive or negative. There's nothing wrong with having a (-) or two, but if everyone that you hang out with for the majority of your time is negative, that is ultimately going to reflect in your attitude and therefore your actions.

We talked about goals and goal setting. The main idea is to write down what you would like to accomplish. It is much easier to materialize something that 'exists' i.e. putting it on paper makes it real. "Things that are easy to do are also easy not to do (MB)." So write down your goals for the year - not new year's resolutions, realistic goals. Be as specific as you need to in order to accomplish it, i.e. instead of saying run more, say run a 5K before July. Once you write down your goals carry them around with you in your wallet or purse, so that you always have them in case you need to remind yourself of why you are going to the gym 3 times a week. Lastly, review your goals once a month. We tend to write things down and have every intention of doing them but we don't look at them again. If you review your goals every month and 3 months have passed and you still aren't reading more, well maybe that really isn't a priority for you any more. And if it is, maybe it's time you pick up a book.

Similar to what they tell you on a plane - in the event of an emergency put your [air] mask on before putting someone elses. Or in simplified terms - In order to help other people you need to help yourself first. Why would someone listen to you if your life is in shambles and you are doing nothing to stop it? Or if are a big goal setter but you never achieve your goals? Take a step back and work on doing the things that you need to be doing.

We talked about professionalism. Image is really everything. The image you portray affects that attitude of outsiders, and insiders for that matter. When we think of the things that are major factors for a professional image they are things like outward appearance, speech/grammar/language, hospitality, organization, and punctuality. It's true. If people look sloppy or are not very welcoming, you are not likely to go back and/or feel comfortable. Obviously this is different for a more casual setting, but what attracts you to a group is first how they appear, so it is important not to sell yourself short from the door. Because then no matter what you say your first impression has already been decided. Things that the group thought showed an unprofessional image were vulgarity, poor grammar, poor hygiene/outward appearance, non-punctual timing, and a forceful or bossy group.

This is only a snippet of the things that I learned but I hope you learn from it and get out there and start making things happen.