Father’s Day!

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Here it is again, another Father’s Day celebration in which we must/should all
remember our dads. My dad is a quiet man whose perseverance despite all the hurdles
he’s had to face inspires me. I watch him as he tends to my mother who has been
bedridden for these last 6 years. It is amazing because I am not certain that if the
roles were reversed, she would have been able to do what he does for her day in and
day out. He is not a perfect person but he has qualities that I deeply admire and
for which I am thankful.

I was reading the other day about a book that recently came out called “Hunger” by
Roxanne Gay. I just finished reading an interview and I also came across some very negative
comments directed at a woman in Australia who also interviewed Ms. Gay prior to the launch
of her book and who then made some very unkind comments in the introduction. Backlash from
the public made her delete her comments and apologize but the damage to Ms. Gay was done and
I can identify with how cruel people can be about fat people either directly to them or
behind their backs.

I am not sure right now where I am in my weight loss/body image journey. I never really
think about being fat until I see pictures of myself where I don’t recognize me as me
but resemble my much heavier older sister! I think it is an ironic kind of punishmen,
self-punishment if you will, since I used to wonder how my sister “allowed” herself
to become so fat. I have had plenty of pictures to look at recently, as my son’s wedding
photographer took and sent us over 1,000 pictures to choose from. On the one hand, I look
too fat to me, on the other hand, I also look extremely happy! I joke that I’m never hungry
(a true statement) but I also know that being winded after climbing a flight of stairs or a
short hill is an aspect that might be changed if I lost a few pounds.

Anyway, my ramblings actually had to do with remembering that my father never, ever made
any comments about my weight when I was growing up. I understand too well the connection
between trauma and weight and always resented Mrs. Obama’s assumption that obesity in
school children was the product of unhealthy foods; it is a much more complex issue.
I believe that there really are ways in which our brain lets go or holds on to our fat
but most “normal” people can’t get that idea and focus only on food consumption. It is a
very complicated journey and as soon as I am finished with a few books I have recently
purchased, I will probably buy Hunger and see where and if I can identify
with Ms. Gay’s take on it.

Happy Father’s Day!

No procrastination

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It’s a terrible thing to admit but I have always been guilty of putting other people’s
projects, chores, responsibilities, etc. ahead of my own. Now that my children are
all grown up and I have the luxury of many additional hours in the day when I can sit
and write to my heart’s content, I find I look for ways to procrastinate so that by the
time I actually do sit and begin writing, it is time to do laundry, or begin making
dinner, or go out to do errands! In order to get that best seller written (and I do think
I have one in me), I really need to put tush to seat and get going on it.

I’ve been reviewing the many events in my childhood that have made me the person I am
today. #45’s narcissistic behavior mirrors the behavior of many people I have met in
my lifetime, including a sibling and an ex-husband. About my sibling, I remember so
many actions that make my blood boil 50 years too late! It is amazing how some things
stay with you.

I am reading a book about Kabul. Every day life there (for women especially) is so
hard (when compared to the Western world) that I wonder how it is people still go through
the motions each day. For poor, uneducated women, there is little to celebrate, in the
book it sounds as if they are slaves and must do whatever they are told or face beatings,
starvations, humiliation, etc. I pinch myself every day that I have a great life filled
with opportunity and financial security. Even in the darkest days of my childhood, I
cannot recall feeling so put upon and burdened. I hope one day the people there may
enjoy knowing what possibilities exist outside their own dark surroundings and can
somehow find their way to them.

bing.com public domain image

Personal development trends

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I have shared before that I was eight years old when my family moved to the U.S.
My mom did not work the first year we were here but by the time I was ten, she was
a full-time employee and 3 of her 4 children were latch-key kids. Our youngest
sister was only around 4 so she spent her days being cared for by a retired couple
and my older sister or I would pick her up from there every afternoon on our way
home from school. This is not an atypical situation for the newly arrived and I
guess I didn’t think much of it at the time, it was just the way life was.

While I am curious about things, I am not the kind of person willing to go through
hypnosis in order to bring up memories of the past, I honestly like my life and see
no purpose in exploring what might turn out to be a negative event. I would love to
know, though, what experience I lived through or observed that made such an impression
on me that I realized very early in my life that I am responsible for everything that
happens to me; that events aren’t necessarily as important as our reaction to them.

For example, as a latchkey kid and an older sibling, I had a tremendous amount of
responsibilities: pick up my sister, do the shopping, start dinner, straighten up,
do my homework, get good grades, etc. It made no sense to complain. My dad rarely
involved himself in household disputes and my mom was a bit of a tyrant and not
in any way shy about the use of negative words or the occasional slap to make us
comply with her orders. Rather than fighting or resenting it, I did my best to
do what was required quickly so that I could spend the rest of my time on my own
interests. The problem with this method is that I was usually ahead of my schedule
but my older sister rarely was ahead of hers and I ended up doing her chores so that
we wouldn’t have to listen to our mother’s screaming when she got home tired, hungry,
and anxious after a long day at work. My penchant for “peace at any cost” became
my mantra but until recently, I never really gave it any deep attention.

I received a phone call recently from someone who was inviting me to participate
in a personal development opportunity. I have been very interested in the Human
Potential Movement since 1971 (or before probably) and I am fascinated by the things
that people do, considering myself an unpaid journey(wo)man in this field. The
invitation, rather than interesting me, annoyed me because I felt I was being
pressured into accepting giving up precious hours on an evening when I would rather
perfect my craft (writing) or do nothing at all, something I rarely indulge in.
When my refusal to attend was met with incredulity at first and an abrupt send-off,
I realized I might have offended or even hurt my friend. Alas, I am too old and now
too aware of what I do want to do with my time to worry too much about it. I suppose
it will be a while before this friend reaches out to me but it is something I accept.

I used to love to watch a larger than life personality when he first started doing
infomercials. Since my desire to make every second of my day count is strong, I was
often sewing or writing into the night and enjoyed listening to his powerful message
of transformation. I was mesmerized by his ability to grab my attention and keep it
and I stopped short of purchasing any of his “empowering” videos or books simply
because I was very frugal and did not have too much money at my disposal.

I accepted that I could change my current situation if I wanted, I held myself
accountable for every single thing that I experienced. I guess you could say,
I didn’t really feel I needed the help but enjoyed the heck out of the infomercials!
A few years ago, I noticed that my “mentor” has changed a lot.
It seems to be all about marketing now, and where his videos and books
were available for under $50 back then, his workshops are now very, very expensive. My
love affair with him has ended and while I understand that many rich people can afford
his events, I am disappointed and saddened that he has gone this route. I have a minor
in marketing and I have never been comfortable with the notion of “making someone believe
they need something they never thought about before”. I think ethics have gone out the
window and I refuse to join that club. As I used to say and haven’t had to in a long
time, I want to recognize the face I see in the mirror looking back at me. At least
for today, I still can.

Image Bing.com public domain

A new beginning begins with a promise…

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Call me old fashioned…I am! I love, love, love the idea behind weddings.
I think the commitment to work on a marriage after the glitter of the wedding
festivities is just a memory is a very sexy thing. In this modern world of
alternative ways to live ones life, I find that marriage is still something
that most young and old people strive to succeed at. Perhaps this is why despite
a failure or two, people continue to remarry. I am one of those people and have
so far succeeded in marriage #2! I am thankful I found “the one” and I am more
than confident, he feels the same way.

I recently attended a wedding that was more than 18 months in planning. Everything
was original, from the bridal party configuration to the wedding favors. Everyone
was happy; both families rejoicing in their children’s union and hoping for wonderful
things in the future. It was exactly what a wedding should be: the joining of two
completely different cultures with one single goal, to go forth in love and health.

May the happy couple and their families continue to be blessed.

Image of wedding cake: Bing.com public domain image

The strange things we do…

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I’ve been house and pet sitting for a couple of days. I didn’t really know what to
anticipate except that I was looking forward to spending a couple of days on my own
with little responsibilities and lots of time to devote to my writing.

As I did yesterday, I have spent most of my day doing things that make it difficult
to sit down and write. For example, I took out the garbage from the disposal shed
and brought it outside where the carting company has not yet shown up to remove it.
I am worried about that because in the urban area where I live, a fine is issued if
garbage is placed outside earlier than the regulations call for or if the area is not
properly cleaned after the garbage has been picked up. This lack of removal has made
a very good excuse for me to go to the window and check out the situation. While I’m
at the window, I might as well look and see what is going on in the world and thus use
up a few more precious minutes that I could have employed writing.

It is raining, so every time I let the dog out for a short run to relieve her bladder,
I need to devote a few minutes to open and close doors, make sure she is dry before
letting her into the house, making sure I pick up her “deposit”…you get the picture.

Then of course, there is the distraction of getting breakfast, lunch, making coffee, tea,
taking a shower, making the bed, sweeping the floors, setting up the food and snacks
for the cat and dog…

It is just after 1 p.m. I have had my lunch and my tea. I am now all set up to begin
to write but find that I am cold so I will have to get up and look for a sweater to wear.
That means spending (wasting?) a few minutes on that and pondering life afterwards. I am
feeling sleepy all of a sudden, the light rain on the window and the slight chill in the
air conduce and seduce me to take a place on the comfy couch like I used to when I was
in high school. There is something about cold, rainy days that invites introspection but
is not a good companion to actual writing. Well, at least I was able to complete this
blog entry.

Image bing.com public domain

Up here in the country!

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My desire to write has brought me at last to a place that is quiet and bereft
of distractions. I have been awake since 8 a.m. and it is only now (5:06 p.m.) that
I have actually stopped doing the busy work (checking emails, deciding what to have
for breakfast and lunch, taking out the pet in my care, etc.) and actually sat down
to write.

It is true what I heard not long ago, writing is an invisible job. No one knows you
are actually creating anything until it comes out and often it takes years before a
story is properly structured and can be read as a book.

Wish me lucK in this endeavour. I have left all my notes with my protagonist’s angst
safely stored in a place I cannot access it right now. What is that all about?

image: bing.com public domain image

Procrastination!

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Signs of spring are everywhere in New York City, even the tiny gardens that have struggled
all winter long so they can flourish now!

Everyone who knows me knows that in my heart, I am a communicator…a networker…a go between.
So if I know this and accept it, I guess it doesn’t make any sense to get upset when people
“hint” that they need my diplomacy to get them from point A to point B with another person, but
I admit sometimes it does upset me.

Sometimes all I want to do is sit at my computer and expand my narrative on my protagonist and
his life so that I can end my novel but instead I look around my home or whatever area I happen
to be in and decide that de-cluttering or making curtains or painting the odd door is really
what I need to be doing. It feels an awful lot like procrastination, a word I rarely use when
talking about myself.

I need to jump in the shower right now, get ready for the day and the arrival of my family to
celebrate a wedding in the next several days. An exciting time to be sure but another way to
distract myself from what I say I want to do: write!

and more on United!

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Avalon Reef Isla Mujeres
Quintana Roo, Mexico.

When I first began to write this blog, I thought I would be dealing with weight issues.
I didn’t really think it through and have come to the realization that writing exclusively
about weight issues is actually quite boring and self-defeating.

I am fat. Objective sentence. Writing or not writing about that is not going to change it.
Signing up for the many (last chance! time running out!) specials run by those whose livelihood
is tied up with those that are overweight and not happy about it has not made a bit of long-
term difference in my case. I am an expert in nutrition, I know what has to be done and just
don’t do it. So spending money foolishly is not very smart. And creating a blog page devoted
to writing about it was also not a good idea. However, I do have the blog and rather than spend
time trying to create another blog, I will just expand the topics in this one.

I’d like to continue yesterday’s essay on United Airlines and their current public relations
daily nightmares! Today in the news, we read that a couple traveling to their destination
wedding was also asked to leave the plane. I don’t know about you, but by this time, I have
an inclination to give United the benefit of the doubt. Call me cynical but I think many
will try to capitalize on the current (negative) reputation to their own advantage. We will
never know the whole truth but I hope the newlyweds will begin their marriage without lies
to each other and that they will be able to trust one another after (or if) they were in
cahoots to get better seats to their destination place. Score for United on this one…but
I am sure it won’t be the last we’ll hear about people’s experiences. I am a long-time flyer
with United and have my own share of adventures, but those I’m saving (all names will be changed)
for the blockbuster I will write!

Image: bing.com free to use and share images.

Flying United!

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Happy Easter and Happy 6th day of Passover to all!

I will be flying next week, via United…an airline that has had a large share of
public relations nightmare episodes in the last few days. I was a Continental loyal
passenger for many years so naturally when the United/Continental merge happened, I
continued to fly, and now “the friendly skies”, they said!

As the editor of a small town e-magazine, I poured over every issue of Hemispheres
magazine and even had my children, husband, friends bring me the issue currently on the
plane whenever they traveled to see me. I used it as an example of trends and writings
and topics, always happy to read the Greeting from the CEO, Jeff Smisek, and later was
eager to read what Oscar Muñoz had in store for us. I was surprised and saddened when
Oscar got ill almost immediately after taking the job and happy when he returned months
later. I can’t say I got quite the same “vibe” from his greeting as I used to with Jeff
but I figured not all of us (!) are writers!

The events of the last few weeks, first with the “leggings” and now with the infamous
forced de-planing of passengers have left me speechless (not an easy task). I, like
Oscar, jumped to conclusions early – no doubt fueled by the quick and incomplete reporting
most media sites treated us to. However, I wanted to give United and Oscar the benefit of
the doubt so I kept hoping for a more thorough apology, a more complete investigation, etc.

I made my own investigations on Oscar Munoz…his ailment after taking office was a heart
attack which resulted in hospitalization and later a heart transplant! A heart transplant, I
repeat! That is so major it has taken me a bit of time to digest it. So many thoughts go
through my head, not the least of which is: Why is Oscar working? He is just getting used
to a brand, new hear! Talk about stress. Oh well, each to his own I guess.

I have never really stopped to think about heart transplants but I do believe in energy and
in a mind/heart/soul connection…lots of material for writing about and thinking about.

My upcoming trip was booked for me a long time ago, on first class. I am confident that
I will be able to keep my seat and that United will be able to find other ways to really
uphold the notion that theirs is the friendly skies!

Keep writing.

Picture of United aircraft Bing.com wikipedia

Work cut out!

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“Oh boy”, my colleague exclaimed after she heard my boss’ instructions to me, “you’ve got
your work cut out for you!”

I didn’t give it much thought at the time, I just began my day like always, prioritizing
the many tasks that would have required someone else many more hours to complete and
got to work. I have always been like that, efficient and a hard worker, rarely whining
and never knowing when too much is too much. As a child, in order to stop my mother from
complaining when she arrived home to a messy house and sink full of dishes, I would do my
chores and others that were left undone by my siblings. Peace at all costs was my motto
and something that has been part of my life for as long as I remember. I blame no one,
I have learned over the years that we are all responsible for the life we live.

The last couple of months have seen me drop projects that take up too much of my time.
Surprisingly, after the first few days of guilt, I find I am quite comfortable saying
no and meaning it. Unfortunately, I have not yet become comfortable with the “extra”
time and instead of filling it by sitting down and writing, I look for ways to distract
myself from that daily goal (read: laundry, clearing out closets, reading the paper,
going on FB, etc.) and at the end of the day, find that I still have not advanced very
much on my essays. One of my goals for this year is to write for AARP with a focus on
age-related issues but I need to really focus.

I am glad that at least for the last few days, I have taken 15 minutes to write some of
my musings into this blog. It is a step in the right direction.

Have a great day and keep doing good work!