Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Facebook challenge

I cannot believe I have come so far.  I took a self-made Facebook challenge to stay away for a week. My week ended this past Sunday at 2pm, but I didn't realize I hit the mark until a couple of hours later. After that, I figured I had made it and I could log on anytime, but then I didn't.  It felt strange. All the facts that motivated me to stay on Facebook and to check status' constantly were suddenly irrelevant.

I had always told myself that I was on Facebook for the great articles or for the motivational memes, but then I would find myself swimming in this sea of psychosis.  The public forum of people bragging about themselves, or sharing too much, or too little or making irresponsible comments and the culture of likes and throwback Thursdays and basically the culture of being imprisoned by social media.  In a culture of attention seeking individuals, somehow you get to the comparison of lives and who's better than who and who did what and the constant ego parade.  Then you get into the smearing of people's happiness and sadness that you may not want to partake of constantly.

You see the anniversary posts that make you want to throw up and say "get a room!"  The posts that basically go, "to my best friend, my lover, my wonderful soul mate who completes my life..." are you throwing up yet?  "To my every thing, you have been wonderful and accepted me for who I am and for my faults, and I love you and we've had a great X number of years together and I can't wait for more and ... "  I get it.  Marriages are hard.  Getting through the years is a celebration.  Those heart wrenching speeches that you want to tell your spouse, should be told to your spouse and your spouse only.  The world doesn't want to know and we could care less.  The person who should get the message should get it in person from your own lips, not reading it through Facebook in such a public forum.  Don't get me wrong.  I was quite wrapped in it that I didn't know myself anymore.  I couldn't understand self without understand Facebook and that is a very sad state of affairs.  An illusion of friends that don't exist and throwing real friends in that same pool.

I haven't gone back yet.  I plan to, but not like an everyday thing or an every moment thing.  I'm still enjoying my time off and figuring out the new rules of returning.  I need to define for myself the reasons I left and I need to address them adequately before returning.  I also need to be honest about why I stayed for so long and what I truly did enjoy during that time.  There is, of course, the X-ing of friends.  Yes!  That's going to be important for me.  I'm thinking as I write this that I should make a list of friends that I need to de-face and move on.  I use the word "friends" loosely.  These are Facebook friends I'm thinking about deleting.  We need to realize the difference between "friends" and "Facebook friends".

I once heard someone say that it doesn't matter unless it's on Facebook.  I do understand the power of Facebook.  I also understand its evils.  With great power, comes great responsibility.  My thought: Use Facebook responsibly!

Best wishes,

Saturday, April 25, 2015


Clayton Community Theatre's production of Shakespeare's Macbeth was a wonderful presentation of the original script of the famous Scottish Play, as it's so known in the theatre community.  Disclaimer:  This is my first exposure to this play.  I have always known that Macbeth was one of the famous tragedies, and I guess I just never got around to reading it or watching it, until this past Thursday evening.  Would it be appropriate to say that I was quite charmed by the performance?  Or should my feelings be different because it was a tragedy?  I don't know, but I was enthralled by the whole story and performance and I couldn't get enough.  That's the sad part of being sucked into a play.  I cannot comment too effectively on technical aspects because I was lost in that world.  It was a magical world.

I will say that I once heard that Shakespeare is meant to be seen, not read and it is so true.  When I watched the production, it all made sense.  It's not the same as a high schooler trying to write a book report on a play, that's so verbose and rich with language, it doesn't register.  I guess, that's why I haven't ventured to read the plays.  I would rather watch and appreciate the story unfold.

As far as acting goes, I must say that Colin Nichols and Erin Struckhoff as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, give stellar performances.  I felt their characters very believable and as an audience member I was as much a part of their struggles as they were.  The three witches played by Mary Robert, Mary Klein and Denise Saylor, were lovably evil.  You could tell they were having too much fun portraying the horrible mystical beings.  I did like the appearance of Hecate (Gwynneth Rausch) with deer horns, as an ominous figure out in the distant up stage right.  It was very effective.  This play has a lot of great actors and the cast is large.  I would make notable mention of Ethan Jones as Macduff and Brad Kinzel as Banquo.  It's truly hard to make mention of every person in this play.  Heather Sartin had one scene but was fabulous.  I was very moved.  In all of this, I must mention Brad Slavik and David Hawley.  They both seemed like they had a lot of running around to do and a million (I'm exaggerating) costume changes and character changes and I thought they handled them all very effectively.  If I didn't mention each actor individually, I apologize.  You all did fabulous.  Great job all!

When there's a great play, I know the credit goes to the director Nancy Crouse.  I had actually come in on one day to help out with moving stuff for the set up of this stage and I was very impressed with Nancy.  Her vision for the play comes through.  When you walk in and see the set, you realize how fabulous it is and all the entrances and exits as she wanted it, was very effective.  I know, looking at the play, the fast costume changes and moving locations, must not have been easy for the actors, but Nancy pulled it off.  She got her crew to perform her vision and a beautiful performance it was.

Music was fabulous.  Jermaine Manor has composed original work for this piece and it fits like a glove.  I didn't realize until after the play, when I was told, that they were playing some of the music live.  Like I had said earlier, I was quite in a trance.  When everything fits, you don't pay attention to the parts because it all comes together as a whole.

With all of this, I had a couple of concerns.  One was the opening scene.  I think they had a lighting problem.  They were sword fighting in the dark and I thought it extremely dangerous to the actors.  I thought that perhaps they were trying to create the ominous scene of night and lightning, but I was wrong.  It was a lighting hiccup.  The only other hiccup was one scene change before the banquet.  It took too long and I wondered if someone forgot their entrance or their lines and it took me a while to realize that it was a scene change and when I realized that, I thought to myself, "wow!  long scene change!"  Other than what I had mentioned Nathan Schroeder did a fabulous job as lighting designer.

Costumes were by Jean Heckman and Tracey A. Newcomb.  If nothing else, go watch the play for the costuming.  I was very impressed by the number of different costumes that were being paraded on stage.  Great job!

I know this was a very large production cast and performance cast, so I want to say that everything came together beautifully.  I would recommend this production of Macbeth by Clayton Community Theater.  Go watch it!  It continues from now through May 3rd.  Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The list

I haven't been on Facebook for 3 day now.  I am very impressed with myself.  The first day was hard. I would look at my phone constantly, out of habit, wanting to click on the FB button and then I would just stop.  Yesterday, accidentally I did click on the button, but got out as fast as I got in.  I saw the name of a friend of mine and the words "Face Book" flashed a brief moment on my mind, Immediately though, as if I had accidentally placed my hand on a hot pot, I clicked out of there. Today, my desire to get on Facebook is much less than the first 2 days.  I'm more curious as to the notifications I have, but it all can wait.  I need to stay away for a week.  I do not like addictions.

Why would I start a topic of lists and talk about Facebook?  Well, when I used to do Facebook every couple of hours, ok, every hour, arghh, fine, every few minutes, I would come across articles that invariably had lists in them  Top 5 places to visit and why.  7 ways to get that raise.  6 things happy people do differently.  The funny thing with lists is that they have a strange mesmerizing quality to them. They give you the perception of something very significant in a very short time.  I know, I've always been told that there is no short cut to success, but sometimes the list gives you a sample and a starting point.  The number is what makes it, I feel.  A few points is easy to get through!

Time is the ultimate variable.  We are too busy in our lives to have time for anything longer than a half a page.  Maybe we can read a page.  With lists, somehow it makes our mind feel like a page is shorter.  Our mind just knows.  When we see the number 5 for a list, we know it's easy to get through.  If we saw 22 ways to whatever, I would save it for later and never get back to it.

I understand that time is a significant variable.  What if time was not the variable?  What if the writing and the style mattered as much?  There are times I come across a list and I will go to it and invariable find the author long winded and just not making sense.  Even a list gets long!  Have you come across those lists that have 5 points, but all 5 points are essentially stating the same thing? That's a whole another problem.  I believe authorship is important and in today's world, lists make authorship less important.  Can quality suffer as long as it's bite sized?  I don't know.

I was considering writing a list but then what would I write about?  5 things every new blogger should know?  I'm a new blogger and I still don't know the 5 things let alone write a list to populate it.  For now, I don't have a hot ticket blog with a list that I can post on Facebook.  Maybe someday I'll make that post and maybe it'll be my lucky day when my blog gets shared all over the place.  Until then, I'm being hopeful.

Best all,


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

12 Years A Slave? Not really. Forever a slave!

Yes, this post is about the movie.  I watched, not expecting to be taken to a cliff and thrown off.  I think the memory of the movie that truly cuts through me, are those scenes where the whip cuts through the backs of the slaves, leaving raw ravines of flesh.  It's a visual, albeit created by makeup, that grabs you and churns your insides.

I'm not here to talk about the movie or the uplifting end.  Yes, I cried at the end and although it was a happy ending, it was bitter sweet.  There was no justification for the ordeal and I know that was the nature of the beast, but how does one digest that?  I remember, either from the movie or the commentary, that the author tried to take the men who had sold him to trial.  He lost.  Twice.  For me, despite the end, there was still no retribution and that's horrible.  I know, life is like that.  I know we say, what goes around, comes around, or we talk about karma, but really how much of that really mattered in those times when slavery was going on?  Did the slave owners ever get tied up and beaten like animals?

Here's the deal.  I am not advocating for the reverse either.  A human being is a human being is a human being.  Period.  It's unsettling how America just goes on, as though nothing really happened. How can one delete that much inhumanity?  The concept of "owning" people like property, is just beyond me.  I know.  This is old news and why am I giving you a history lesson?  It's just that it really sinks in after you see the movie.  Even if I owned a thing as property, say my home, or my car, or my clothes, or my iPhone, or my coffee mug, or just anything at all, would I treat it with as much disrespect and disdain as Solomon Northup or any of those men and women were treated?  I'm sick to my stomach and my eyes well up with tears at the history.

I'm very grateful to live in a world and a time where I have a pretty decent life and I don't have much fear of death knocking on my door any moment, but am I being complacent?  It's not just our history of slavery.  There's just so much more and perhaps I'm being un-realistic about my current world, because I am a Muslim and America loves Muslims!  Right?  WRONG!  But here's the material point though.  Can a country like this ever raise it's ugly head again?  Ever?

A country that has so brutally abused and handicapped the African Americans and until today struggles with race relations, doesn't deserve respect.  Does it?  How can we as Americans accept our lives when we are drowning in our prejudices and drowning in a history of absolute embarrassment. The country owes a debt to them that can never be re-paid.  And what do we do instead?  Ahhh, you get into issues of Ferguson, harsher verdicts, no I take that back, extremely harsh and unfair verdicts for the African American and just all that jazz.  We think slavery is abolished.  What happens when a white police officer beats the crap out of a black person, because he can!  Isn't that similar?  Ooooh.  I get it.  He didn't use the whip, so it's not the same thing?  Seriously people.  How can we even say that slavery is abolished.  It is a power trip, a control psychosis, and it's a demented mind set.  They may justify by saying, "That African American was up to no good!"  Or "He was causing trouble."  Or "He was walking and I could tell by his walk that something was wrong."  Puhleez.  Give me a break here.  This post is hard for me to continue really.  I feel like throwing up.

I know this post is really about our history of slavery, but it's also about our history moving forward. After slavery, what did we have?  You have the WWII internment of the Japanese.  Why not?  This country is filled with self-deception enshrining an ideal but miserably failing to uphold it.  The land of the free.  Free to abuse all that aren't white and don't think white.  That was war, but come on!  How does our legal system get away with dissolving one's rights?  Now, in today's society, there's the whole deal with distrust of Muslims.  Media everywhere loves to hate us.  Let's get together and have a giant big hate-fest, shall we?  Because we don't function if we don't hate each other or cause dissension among the ranks.

This whole rant is getting me riled up so I think we should return back to the movie and the issue of slavery and just end.  I know if a child did something wrong, a mom would ask them to apologize and say sorry.  That's manners right?  In this case, it's not just doing something wrong, it's beyond that.  America and Americans where are your manners?  You owe an apology to a lot of people.  A lot.  And you owe a lot of people more than that!  For starters, I for one want to personally apologize to every person of any ethnic group or race that has been affected by the cruelty of the people in this country.  My country.  I'm embarrassed.  You could tell me to go home then, but this is home.  It's just that my home has a lot of issues that need to be dealt with.  Some say that this is the best country in the world.  If it is, God save us all.  We have a long, long, long way to go.

Best wishes all,

PS.  I hope I'm not being offensive to anyone in particular.  It's not my intent.  It's just unreal to me because I keep asking myself, "how can someone be so horrible to another person?" for no justifiable reason.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Challenging myself

I have been on blogger for almost 8 months now and I wonder about my readership.  Does it really matter?  Of course it does.  Yes, I love to write and I would write irrespective, but the thrill of having people read my work, makes everything suddenly more worthwhile.  I guess, it's a form of validation.  I try to think of ways to get my blog more readers.  Well, to be honest, I am clueless about such things.  How does someone find my blog anyway?

I wondered about how people got chosen for "Blogs of note" and looking it up on google, I realize it's really random.  Or so they say?  Also, I notice there are a lot of bloggers out there.  When I say a lot, I mean a lot.  How does one compete with that for readership?

I know, I'm supposed to share my blogs on Facebook as often as I can and write as often as I can but the topic of this blog is challenging myself.  I'm going through a few challenges, but for now, for this post, my challenge is to get off Facebook.  Not completely though.  I think it would be more accurate to say, to use Facebook in a non-addictive way.  I find myself checking Facebook every hour as though a very important status message will show up, or someone will make a comment on my post and when I sit back and think about the truth, it's pointless.

Facebook, to me, has become this vehicle for narcissism.  Here's my selfie and I'm putting it on Facebook.  Don't I look cute?  I'm sorry, but I'm not into the bragfest.  As a matter of fact, it annoys me when there's too much unwanted sharing.  There are some amazing articles that are shared that I truly enjoy.  I have used that as an excuse for being on Facebook, but I'm really trying to downshift.  I'm taking a self made Facebook challenge.  A form of detox, if you will.  I'm trying to get more control of myself.  I'm tired of being the Facebook zombie starring at a screen, thinking the world will magically change at any given moment.

So, where does this all relate to my blog?  As I mentioned, I would love to grow my readership.  I know Rome wasn't built in a day.  Instead of staring at a Facebook screen, I would like to challenge myself to write more blogs and after a week of no Facebook to just go on to post my blog.  I would also use Facebook for my business and post there to keep things moving forward.  Also, I plan to limit my Facebook time to maybe a maximum of 30 minutes, if that, a week.

I took the challenge yesterday and it has officially been 24 hours since I have checked Facebook.  I feel that when I get back on Facebook, I will have a blog to post and I will have my priorities straight.  Instead of watching the craziness of the world, I can just delete the people I don't want on there and streamline my friends.  If I keep my blog posts public, I can perhaps grow my readership.  We'll see.
I know my blog about being a Muslim and the Ferguson verdict got a lot of hits.  I don't really want to be known for religion or politics though.  Blogging is such a balance.

Enough of my rants for now.  I'm still fasting from Facebook.  When I get on, I'll pick a few of my blogs to re-post, perhaps.

Best wishes all,

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Machu Picchu - Finally. Day 4.

How do I describe the start of this day? Well, for starters last night, my room mate Salman woke up pretty much every hour to first throw up and then sounded like significant diarrhea. I tried to sleep through it, but when I woke up Salman says he's NOT going and he's going to stay in Ollantaytambo! I was quite confused. He basically said his diarrhea was so bad he can't take the train. I couldn't convince him otherwise. I got ready and called Boris, our tour guide. Boris came and told him that there would be bathrooms at the train station and the train. Besides this was Machu Picchu. He came so far for this! Boris told him he would get antibiotics and he should be fine. It was speculated that it might have been the *chicha* - an alcoholic drink made from corn. Anyway, that was speculated cause I didn't have any.

Finally we made out way to the train station after breakfast. Salman didn't have any breakfast other than black tea. I finished ALL the prickly pears and most of the mangoes. I think I've been eating really well on this trip and enjoying the new tastes.
Anyway, Boris let me take his seat as he had seats by the window on the left - the best way to go.
Great views of the Urubamba river and of course the mountains.
It's always interesting when one blogs about a trip they took several years ago.  As I'm trying to add pictures and all, there's a picture of breakfast on the train.  I guess, we got a little snack on our way there.  I have no recollection of what kind of sandwich it was.  I'm guessing there was a drink, because there looks like there is a cup holder in our little breakfast kit.  Just a note.  I think the basket that the little snack came in is just darling!  After years of travel and being presented with plastic trays, I think the basket is a nice touch.  I think I should add a few more pictures of the train journey before I go into pictures at Agua Calientes, the city where Machu Picchu is.  Also, for those of you planning a trip to Machu Picchu, there are a couple of ways you can get there.  You can register for the 5 day hike up the mountains and you get to Machu Picchu to watch the sunrise there on the 5th day, or you could do the easy way and take the train like I did.  I must admit that I'm told that I'm quite adventurous.  Well, I guess I may be because I wanted to do the hike, but in retrospect, I'm really glad we did the train and the traditional way to see Machu Pichu.  Why  not?  After all, if I had done the hike, I'm sure the views would have been great and it would have been an adventure burned into my mind, but I would not have seen all the other places that I got to see in this trip.  Anyways, here are more pictures of the train journey, the Urubamba river and the surrounding mountains.

And then we got to the train station at Agua Calientes and went to our hotel El Mapi. Best hotel so far, but poor ventilation in the bath room! :( I don't have a picture of the hotel room, but here are views of the hotel from the lobby and outside the lobby on the streets.

You have to admit that there is something eclectic and wholesome about this place.  It's a perfect place for friends getting together and having coffee!  Forget Starbucks.  Who needs Starbucks when you've got Agua Calientes!

So, as I'm taking pictures, I here sounds of music coming from the street.  I guess they were having some religious festival that day.  So, here's a video of one of the groups that walked by the hotel.  There's another video, but blogger limits me.  Let me try to upload on YouTube and see if I can upload that video at some point.  But for now, this video will have to do.  This is my first video upload on Blogger, so please forgive me if it's a mess!

Anyways, since we got to the hotel by 10am, our room was not ready. We left our luggage (overnight pack) at the hotel and off we went to a bus. This was it.  This was our moment.  This bus was going to Machu Picchu!
The bus winded up the mountain on a very narrow lane on the ledge. I must say it is scary just ONE way, it is a lot scarier when a bus comes the other way and they manage to pass each other. The views of the mountain reminded me of Avatar - Pandora! Mountains converged with green and just plain beautiful in its grandeur. Tried to get pictures, but not clear from a window. Tried to take it all in.
Then we went to Machu Picchu and there we were, looking out at the same mountains and the stream that ran below it. And of course, there was Machu Picchu. Set between these mountains. It was just beautiful. Like PARADISE. Can't describe it really.

 As we were going through Machu Picchu Salman had to go back for the rest room again! So, it was just me and Boris continuing on the tour. Later on we were able to find Salman and finished the rest of the tour.
 After the tour, we had options of going back to Machu Picchu and hanging out or climbing to the Sun gate. So, to the dismay of Boris, I wanted to climb the Sun Gate path. Boris joined me. Salman stayed back. 

The climb was an hour and tiring as it was fully uphill. Walk was easy but going up hill in the heat was difficult. But the views were great. Here's a picture with me and a Llama.  Well, they are all over the place.  I do have pictures of them roaming freely around Machu Picchu but this guy was on the trail on our way down from the Sun Gate.  I must say that by the time you get to the Sun Gate, you can barely see Machu Picchu.  It's so far away but you are way up a mountain at that point.  Machu Picchu looked small from way up there, but the views were great. I was glad to know that Huayna Picchu mountain hike was still not higher than where I went so I'm glad. No desire to climb Huayna Picchu. Would be too scary for me and being so steep I'm sure I'll have a rough time up the mountain. In case you are wondering what Huayna Picchu is, well, it's one of the mountains surrounding Machu Picchu and I'm told the hike is strenuous.  After reading Trip Advisor reviews, I so badly wanted to do that hike and I had mentioned it to Boris.  He told me to tell him if I still wanted to do the hike after I had hiked up Pisac mountain and I'll have to re-read my blog on Pisac but that was a tough hike.  I lost my desire for hiking up Huayna Picchu after Pisac.  I knew the views would be brilliant but I wasn't willing to risk it.  I think there had been 7 deaths so far on the hike to Huayna Picchu and Boris talked about the day he was there and saw someone just fall off that mountain.  He said, they had ropes now to hold onto as one climbed.  No thank you!  Anyway, Machu Picchu is called the City in the clouds because the mountains rise into the clouds and you see the tip of the mountain based on whether there's a cloud or not.  I am posting another picture of Machu Picchu with the low hanging clouds so you get an idea.

 So tomorrow we go see a waterfall after an hour hike. I'm looking forward to it too, but I feel the highlight of my trip was today. Tomorrow we should be back in Cusco in the evening. Oh and the iced tea at the reception area in our hotel was great. But I can't drink much because I'm peeing like crazy due to hypoxia! But I'm doing well... :)


For those of you who are new to my blog or at least to this series on my travel to Machu Picchu, well, this is a several part blog journalling my travels to Peru.  I kept a little journal while I traveled and wrote as much as I could every night, but the blue color is what I'm adding now, several years later, from memory. Hoping it all flows.

Here's wishing you all happy travels and best wishes.

What do we really have?

Interesting thought occurred to me.  When I talk to people, I constantly hear of things that are not right in their lives.  Basically I hear complaints about not having enough money, or not having the right relationship, or not having time to enjoy their lives and the list goes on and on.  If I asked you to add to this list, you could populate this page in no time.  Here's the real question though.  We all know what we don't have, but do we know what we truly have?

I'm not here to advocate for the far side grass is greener.  Perhaps you truly don't have the things you feel you don't have and I'm not diminishing it at all.  Our needs can be consuming.  I can't help wonder if our needs would not be so consuming if we consumed them with thoughts of what we did have.  So, I challenge you all to focus on everything you have, every little thing, and if you did it, what would happen?  Would you start with the computer, or phone, or device you are reading this blog on?  Well, that's a really big thing.  Not everyone can afford that.  OK. Let me be oh so boring and oh so basic and oh so I've heard this before.  What about food, shelter and clothing (FSC)?  We talk about that in sociology classes and evolutionary trends of man's need for FSC, but let's think about it for a moment.  There are millions of people around the world who don't have the luxury of something so dumb and boring as FSC.  If you ask me if I'm seriously talking about FSC as the big thing we have and if I'm asking you to focus on you having FSC instead of focusing on all those things you don't have (the Mercedes, the bigger home, the boyfriend/girlfriend, whatever, whatever, and whatever), then the answer would be yes.  Yes, I am asking you to think and focus for a minute about FSC.

Let's break it down further.  Let's talk about food.  What did you have for breakfast?  What did you pay for it?  Did you lose sleep over not being able to have breakfast this morning?  Let's not talk in terms of what you had, let's talk about what you could have had for breakfast.  Here's the thing.  This morning my husband and I went out to these donut shops and we had a warm apple fritter.  It was amazing.  I don't want to talk about health issues here, but the thing is that the first donut shop didn't have the apple fritter, so we went to another donut shop and got the amazing fritters.  Never once did we consider these donuts as a privilege to even enjoy.  We went, we conquered, but what a blessing it is?  We were able to drive to the shop, which means we have a car, with gas, let me add.  We had the money to pay for the donuts.  If I wanted some other breakfast, we could go and eat and not think for a moment of the Grace that has been given to us.  Sometimes we need to step back and just see what we take for granted everyday.

Let's switch to the shelter part of the FSC equation.  Where do you all live?  Do you have a roof over your head?  Do you have a way of controlling the internal temperature of your environment (a luxury, I must add)?  As I'm typing this, I see the rain pouring outside my window and I'm all cozy here with this blog and never once considered the luxury of protection from the rain.  Please don't get fresh with me stating that you love the rain and all that.  Yes, yes, yes.  We all love to play in the rain, but what if you didn't have the option to get dry after that and were left out in the cold and wet with no home to go to?
That leads me to my next question.  Once you are home from the wet rain, do you have a change of clothes?  How many options for clothing do you have?  So, you see, if you were to take your thoughts away from the not-haves to the haves for a moment, you'll realize and feel grateful for every T-shirt and pair of jeans and dresses and ties and whatever else you own.

I love writing about this topic because I could go on and on and on.  I feel a sense of deep happiness and gratitude when I shower.  It's the abundant amount of hot water that I'm blessed to have and the luxury of soaps and shampoos and that in itself fills me.  One of the secrets of life that I've come to realize is perception.  If we perceive ourselves as having, then we have.  If we perceive ourselves as not having then we don't have.  The truth is that no matter what you wish or desire or get to, there'll always be something bigger and better and we set ourselves up for failure constantly that way.  We are set up and destined for unhappiness.  Why not change that?

There is another topic which kinda falls into this topic but I won't really talk about it in this post.  It is the topic of holding on to what we have when one element or aspect of what we have, falls apart.  Maybe you lost your marriage, your car, your job, or God forbid a person close to you has passed away.  How do you hold on?  I just want to say briefly that we all have our days and horrible things happening to us, but somehow, we have to stay afloat and breathe one breath at a time, one day at a time, until we make it and until we can focus on what we have and what we gained from our loss.
My aim is to try to help people be more positive and feel more positive so the world can be more cheerful.  We don't have a choice.  We have to try and we have to move forward and we have to believe or we stagnate and our minds and our thoughts decay and what would we be left with then?

Stay hopeful.  Stay grateful.
Best wishes to all,


Friday, April 17, 2015

Keeping track of thoughts

When I started this blog, the one advice I got was to write down blog post ideas.  Well, I did write ideas down.  I have a few sitting on my iPhone notes even as we speak, but the funny thing with jotting down idea points, is emotion.  I feel that when I get an idea or a thought to write, it comes with feelings and invariably those feelings help my words and my expressions.  If I'm not in the moment, even if I'm writing about it, I lose the moment and my writing shows.  I feel it'll be a disjointed fact page missing the beat.  Sometimes, I get lucky.  The thought returns with the emotion and so there you have it.

Last Christmas, 2014, I was invited yet again to the annual Mercy Christmas dinner.  I have always looked forward to this dinner.  They have 4 ice sculptors, live classical music and a buffet of food that will fill you if you tried just a bit of everything.  Shrimp cocktail is what I primarily indulge in and then I suffer not being able to try a lot of the other foods.  Dessert is the chocolate fountain with strawberries, and other fruits to dip in, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.  There's a plethora of little cakes and eclair type things.  It feels quite heavenly really.  It's funny how excited and happy one gets when they are presented with a ton of desserts.  I usually feel like a kid again.  Anyway, it has sort of been a tradition for me to go to this dinner for the past several years.  It's a dress up affair, and the only thing I need to figure out is who I'm talking with me.

2014 was strange.  I got invited again.  I was free that evening.  I had a date, my husband, and he was free also.  We both had nowhere to be and we had a nothing evening ahead of us, and yet, we didn't go!  Yes, just like that.  We didn't go.  I looked at him and explained the hospital dinner that we had been to the year before and basically stated that I didn't feel up to it.  The whole thrill of a free fancy dinner had somewhere evaporated and there I was suddenly all mature and grown up and taking charge of my life and doing what I wanted even if protocol dictated otherwise.  I can't recall what we did.  I think we just hung out at home, ate some left overs from food I'd cooked in the past and just snuggled watching television or a DVD.

I did not miss the grand Christmas dinner.  The pomp and circumstance that made me so excited to go to this fancy dinner had finally died.  I have made it.  Even this experience had worn thin.  In the deep recesses of my mind I am grateful.  Grateful to have had the experience, grateful to be able to recognize the facade of the fancy, and grateful to have spent a quiet evening at home instead.

I started this post talking about how I have notes for what blogs I want to write and how I need an emotion to write them.  Interesting enough, this post is not in my iPhone.  Maybe it is.  I haven't checked of late.  I am sitting at my office ready to leave home and the thought of the Christmas party came up.  The thought of a blog post that had disappeared suddenly peeked through the clouds and said, "write about me."  As I was close to leaving, I decided to add it to my notes on my phone, but then I changed my mind.  Why not add the notes to my blogger and keep it as a post that is not published?  I could go home and finish it or finish it some other time.  At least, it would be on blogger.

Well, 5 paragraphs of notes later, I think I only need to edit this one before I post.  See what an emotion can do.  It writes the post itself.  I need only to sit on the computer.  Perhaps I'll look at the iPhone notes and see what I want to write about next.  See, if they talk to me, but if not, I may just wait for more ideas to suddenly break through and hope I'm at a computer when that happens.

Best always,


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Magical past poisoned by our future.

I look at our world today and wonder.  Have we moved forward or run backwards?  I guess the thought that really prompted this post is Dubai.  A city of glitz and glamour.  A Las Vegas of sorts, if you will, and yet it holds nothing for me.  I'm usually an optimist.  Nothing?  Dubai has to have something?  I thought back at a time when Dubai wasn't "Dubai".  I was just this city I went to school in and a city I grew up part of my life in.  Somewhere I'm smiling at the picnics of the olden days.  Driving through dessert sands.  Seeing camels here and there.  The peace that comes with such memories cannot compare to anything man made that is based on one's income.  A conceptual change really when you start viewing people by the make of their car or the size of their home or the purse they carry.

I'm switching gears, sort of, but there was a patient who came to my office.  I make it a point to find something complimentary about my patients and to tell them.  I look for a nice purse or a scarf and it opens up the conversation.  So, a long standing patient of mine came in and we were talking about "stuff" and I noticed her purse.  It was a brand I did not know and it looked nice.  "Interesting purse," I remarked.  "Oh!  It's a Furkin!" she replied.  "A what?  Furkin?  Never heard of that."  "I call it a Furkin but it's a look alike to a Burkin, but since it's a fake Burkin, I call it a Furkin!"

I asked a bit more.  For the ladies in this audience who already know what a Burkin is, you know where this is headed.  For those of you who don't know what a Burkin is, well, it is apparently a purse and the starting price is $20,000.  Yes, in the thousands, not the hundreds.  I still feel spending in the hundreds for a purse is insane and when I heard thousand, I was blown away.  Now we know what we are worth or how we are supposed to be judged.  I guess you can be a total a$$ and have a Burkin and it's all good.  Has our world really come to that?

I've always been philosophical.  I've never been part of the rat race.  Funny thing is when I wanted to be, I couldn't compete (wasn't wealthy enough).  And when I can compete, I could care less to.  I could go out today and buy a fancy car and that would be it.  It would be me with this ridiculously over priced car and everyone gawking.  I could feel like I'm something special but really is that how we operate?  I've always been a bit philosophical but going to the Galapagos Islands (oh yes, posts about that trip is coming sometime) has changed me in ways I can't explain.  I've changed so much, I can't go back to the old me and it's not bad.  This me wants to sit in some uninhabited corner of the world and just watch and experience nature.  I return to a world that is so inhabited that we destroy nature to create an illusion of something that can do nothing for one's soul.

Back to Dubai.  I miss the cool dessert sand in the evenings, and the endless dessert that offers you neither fame nor fortune but connects you to something that heals you from within.  Something no doctor can procure a cure for.  Give me some degree of civilization.  Not this maze of mirrors where even your compass is a reflection pointing in the wrong direction.