Category Archives: Life

See Ya 45…Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out

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Today is my last day being 45. Tomorrow I turn 46, certainly not a milestone by anyone’s standards, but nonetheless pushing closer and closer to that very big milestone–50. I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see this year go…it’s been a real mixed bag. The arguable success of my nonprofit board service versus the shocking and sad death of a wonderful friend is a good example of the good and the bad, all jumbled up. 

Unlike most people, I don’t make my New Year’s Resolutions on New Year’s Eve or Day–I make them on my birthday, which is my New Year. This year, I thought about resolving one thing for each year I’ve lived but, let’s face it, I’ve lived way too long for that now…too hard to keep up with and follow through on that many different ones. So, I think I’ll stick with 10 realistic goals…and here they are…

  • Set aside at least one hour every day to read a book–no excuses. 
  • Learn all the basic jewelry making techniques…crimping, wrapping, etc. 
  • Take up the treadmill again, 3 times a week. That “But now I walk my dog.” excuse is so not cutting it…
  • Read one Robert Frost poem a day from the complete works volume gathering dust on my bookshelf. 
  • Teach my son his basic math skills…and actually learn them myself this time. Oops! Did I say that out loud?
  • Finish my final master’s degree…only 3 classes to go! 
  • Listen to more music.
  • Learn Robert’s Rules of Order once and for all. I’ve had the book for years but I mean really–who cracks it open unless they have to? 
  • Spend less time on Facebook…Damned addictive, that site is! 
  • Worry 50% less, Smile 50% more…Yes, I have found that it is true…when you frown a lot, your face eventually does stick that way! 

Well now, those ought to keep me suitably busy for the next 365 days…Happy Birthday to Me! 

Flaming…If You Own A Computer And Have Taken It Out Of The Box, It’s Bound To Happen…

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There are a lot of wonderful things about the Internet. Those of us who are old enough to remember the Internet-less world can appreciate just how much having the world wide web at our fingertips can enrich our lives….

For example, if you’re like me, you have no sense of direction. Internet direction programs have saved me more times than I can count…

And…I never have to worry about what to make for dinner anymore. I can go to any one of the available recipe databases, punch in the ingredients I have on hand, and it’ll tell me what to whip up that night to feed the family…


The Internet has also been great for our social interaction too…before, we just lost touch with people we knew, especially when we moved away. Now, with email, instant chat, Skype, and Facebook, we can easily keep in touch.

In fact, it almost seems that there is nothing bad at all about the Age of Technology…aside from the fantasy based possibility that computers will eventually become self aware and take over the world…:::shudder::: 


So, it’s all harmless, right? Well, not exactly…
It never fails…if you’re even a little active online and either commenting interactively in open forums, or producing your own original content and putting it out there for the world to see, inevitably, somebody somewhere will take issue with what you say, no matter how benign or non-controversial it was when it came out of your head and was typed onto your keyboard. In fact, there probably isn’t anyone walking around out there who owns a computer who hasn’t been flamed at least once.

FLAMING: Flaming, also known as bashing, is hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users. ~ http://www.wikipedia.org

It’s human nature to want to discuss our thoughts and feelings about what’s in the news, etc. with other people. And, an open forum with a news story that we’re interested in is definitely a huge temptation to jump in there and make our views heard. Or read, I guess. For me, this is often where the trouble begins. I can be outspoken, but I do always try to state my opinions in a way that shouldn’t incite any sort of legitimate anger from my fellow posters. But, as it turns out, a lot of them don’t need a reason to make trouble. In fact, more than likely, that’s why they are commenting themselves–just for the sake of making trouble and getting some sort of attention in doing so. I’ve had this happen to me when I’ve commented in political and parenting forums, certainly, where the subject matter is inherently polarizing or controversial. But, flaming happens everywhere–you can’t escape it. I’ve had the same thing happen to me on soap opera, makeup and hair, and other types of forums as well. Flamers become angered by your opinions for whatever reason, and this makes them so frustrated that they counter by attacking you personally…the way you wear your hair, your intellect as they see it, the fact that you’re even online when you should be doing other things according to them, etc. Anything they can grab onto in order to try to shut you up because they don’t like what you’re saying, or simply to bring attention to themselves because that’s why they are interacting in the first place. Not to interact and exchange ideas and discuss, but to get someone to notice them. That’s a sad reality, but nonetheless, the truth is that there are a lot of pathetic trolls out there…

A lot of my friends, and Friends (as in Facebook connections) try to avoid the flaming phenomenon by never interacting at all. Or never posting or commenting anything that might be even the least bit controversial. Or both. This is one strategy, I guess, but I tend to believe that if you have no intention of interacting, saying what you think and seeing what others think, then you might as well not be online at all. Or at least not on any social sites or forums open to comments. For example, I have a friend who is extremely active on Twitter. He has amassed far more Followers than most Twitter users, and he has done so by adhering to his own self imposed Twitter rule of never posting any articles or comments which are at all controversial. However, even he has been flamed! And the reason for that is that everything anyone says or does is fodder for flaming to those who choose to make an issue out of it–no matter what it is. Nothing is safe from the flames! 

So, I have decided to just keep on keepin’ on, as they said in the 70’s (my favorite era these days). If I feel like commenting in a forum, I do, knowing full well that some idiot may randomly choose to attack me personally from out there in left field if they don’t like what I have to say. It just comes with the territory. It never feels good and I never enjoy it, but it’s just a fact of life. Like car wrecks. You do what you can to avoid them, be safe, be courteous to other drivers, but know that you may be unlucky that day if you choose to get out there on the road, living your life and going places. And if you’re a blogger, you have to know that you’re a forum commenter on steroids–literally everything you write leaves you, and the life you lead, vulnerable to somebody (or some troll) who might have something to say about it. And in some cases, some crazy might even be so incensed by your thoughts and your perspectives, or the way you live your life that they’ll…ahem…write a whole blog themselves about it just to call you out

I don’t live life timidly. I won’t. That’s no way to live. So, within reason, I plan to keep interacting in open forums, keep writing blogs when I feel like writing, and in general, putting my thoughts out there into the mix with everybody else’s. After all, that’s why Al Gore invented the Internet, right? 😉 

I have come up with a few strategies for living happily in a flaming world though…

  • Above all, don’t take it too personally. When someone flames you, you have to remember that they are bringing all the garbage of their lives to the party, and are trying to dump it all on you. Sometimes, even when they pick something out about you to insult, it’s not about you at all. Maybe you look like their ex wife or something…
  • Don’t ignore them, don’t let them walk all over you, but don’t let them trick you into a never ending, useless back and forth either. Sometimes, that is what they’re really looking for. Some folks are truly that lame. They can’t get people to talk to them any other way. So, I’ve found it’s best to acknowledge that you’ve seen their comment(s), but that you won’t be falling for it. And then DON’T fall for it. 
  • Understand that flaming comes with the territory. If you want to interact with people online, expect a certain amount of conflict. With online communication, people feel much more free to say things that they definitely wouldn’t say if they were sitting in the same room with you. 
  • Give them the benefit of the doubt. Online communication also doesn’t have the richness that face to face communication has. In other words, those visual cues, along with tone of voice that sometimes convey true meaning in a conversation are totally absent in online, typewritten forums. Sometimes a communication misunderstanding will snowball in an environment like this. Maybe they simply misunderstood your words, or the way you chose to put your words together. 
  • Don’t let it ruin your day or take over your life. Trust me, I know that if this happens to you, your instinct is to keep checking back to see what else they’ve said, what others might have jumped in to rail on you too, etc. Don’t give in to that natural tendency. Say what you need to say, then walk away. Resist the urge to keep going back to the scene of the “crime”…:-)

How do you deal with flaming? Please post your tips and comments below… 

Excuse Me Hot Bag Boy, Did You Just Call Me Ma’am?

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“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”. ~ Mark Twain

 

I’m coming up fast on my 46th birthday. Cognitively, I know that that I’m aging…but inside I feel just the same as the day I walked across the stage to take my high school diploma. Realistically, I know that was a long time ago…a very long time ago now. And would I go back? Oh no way! I had no idea who I was that day in June of 1983, let alone my worth or what I could accomplish when I set my mind to it. I like myself today, I truly do. I didn’t back then, I truly didn’t. Now, if I could go back knowing what I know now, as who I am now, would I? Now that is the real question. Maybe, I think. There are advantages to youth…most of them directly related to an 18 year old body and a lifetime ahead of 18 year old possibilities. And that does make me a tiny bit sad, truly it does. 

I think we all go through this. It’s what is known as a Midlife Crisis. Some of us handle it better than others…I’m handling it okay. I mean, I’m not about to go around lying about my age, or trying to prove in some overt way that I still got it. I’ve seen people, particularly women, doing that…up close and personal, and trust me folks, it ain’t pretty! Besides, I’d much rather state my true age and have people say, and actually think, “Wow, you look great for 46!” Instead of saying, “Wow, you look great!” But really thinking, “Geez Louise! Have you been recovering from some godawful disease? Because you look like crap for 36!”  Granted, I look good for my age, but the physical changes are there too…the mirror tells me so. That’s why, when I saw the group get together on Facebook, looking into the initial phases of planning our 30th reunion (for 2 years from now), I began to wonder…where did that girl go? “She’s still here!”, I shout, as the bag boy asks if I “Would like some help out with that, Ma’am?” “Er, not just no Hot Bag Boy, but hell no! I’m fine thank you!” As I push my cart out of the store, I can’t help but check myself out in the big round security fun mirror and think to myself, “Oh, you bet I’m fine! Damn fine!” And then about halfway out to my Jeep I really wish I’d accepted that offer of help, because my middle aged back really, really hurts….:-( 

The lines are blurred for all of us these days–especially women. We live in the age of Cougars and MILFs, and Ashton & Demi, where a woman who spends every waking hour of her life on trying not to look or act her age, can still get a hot young guy to notice her–even marry her, in Demi’s case. And good for her (I guess). And we also live in the age of all sorts of anti-aging creams and fixes, plastic surgeries and “procedures”, to help us look younger than we actually are. And that’s fine too, I guess, but I have to ask…to what end? Aren’t we still 46 (or whatever age we are) when the day is done? Why put that much effort into trying to fool other people, and ourselves, that we are anything other than what–and who–we really are. 

I guess I’m here to state, for the record, that there’s nothing wrong with being 46. For me that’ll happen in about a month. And I feel good about it, really I do. It’s just those shifting paradigms that I need to fully adjust to. I’m not 25 anymore. And that bag boy is perfectly right to call me Ma’am. That’s how he sees me, realistically, and I’ve earned that respect–in spades! 🙂 

In order to help me fully adjust, I pulled a dusty book off my shelf today. It’s a volume I bought myself in anticipation of turning 40. Truth be told, I didn’t really need it then–but I am probably beginning to need it now. It’s entitled Not Your Mother’s Midlife; A Ten Step Guide To Fearless Aging by Nancy Alspaugh and Marilyn Kentz. The authors offer these 10 steps to so called “fearless aging”:

1) Accept it.

2) Take a good look at what to expect. 

3) Let go of what’s not working. 

4) Shore up spirituality. 

5) Get a new perspective. 

6) Find a new passion. 

7) Don’t just vent–reinvent. 

8) Make new goals. 

9) Get a coach. 

10) Awaken to the muse. 

These are great general suggestions. As I read through the chapters, if I find anything specific that is blog worthy, I’ll be sure to write about it. 

I’ve already started on a few of these (all on my own), so I guess I’m doing good already. And I’m probably more okay with the aging process than a lot of women out there, truth be told. But, also in truth, my life is quite literally half over. If I’m lucky, that is, and it’s not actually more than half over. And, although I am still that girl in the white satin cap and gown…I am her and she is me…I have to make some adjustments in my perceptions and sense of self to make sure that young girl can get the very most out of this phase of her life.

And she deserves it…you all really have no idea just how much she deserves it! 

Emotions Declared Unethical–Alert The Media! (But Steer Clear of Jack Marshall, Ethics Savant)

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Note to self: Do not rattle cage of linear thinking attack dogs, already foaming at the mouth. Check! 

Yesterday, I was minding my own business, still seething over the Casey Anthony verdict…I took to the internet as I usually do when I’m looking for information, interaction, exchange of ideas, etc. I like to write, so I did what I do best–I wrote about how I was feeling. This led to, as it always does, me following the tags that I use on my posts to see what other people are thinking and writing on the topic(s). And that, my friends, was my first mistake. I happened upon a blog which asserted that the 12 jurors in the trial were “ethics heroes”. I clicked and read it. (Mistake #2) And, because my emotions were running high, I posted a response, at first politely disagreeing with the blogger’s thesis. (Mistake #3, and boy was it a doozie). 

Things deteriorated from there, when the blogger couldn’t tolerate human emotion, and I, coincidentally, happen to have emotion. He seemed to be confusing emotion with stupidity. After it deteriorated, it got ugly. To be fair, I played my part in the mudslinging (yesterday anyway). As is typical of me, when pushed too far, and unfairly so, I lost my temper and got snarky. Before it was over with, I had both corrected his poor spelling, and called him an ass. It was unpleasant, because, believe it or not, I don’t enjoy arguing. But, it’s one of those things that can’t be helped sometimes, particularly when someone is going out of their way to attack you and, for all intents and purposes, telling you that you are stupid for having feelings. 

I had all but forgotten about it, but when I got up this morning and checked my blog stats, I saw an inordinate number of hits–and those hits had originated from his blog. I knew something was up, so I went to check it out. To my surprise (although why I would be surprised after yesterday’s bizarre exchange I have no idea) today’s attack blog was all about me. That’s right, yours truly! This sack of Spock-like insanity had actually taken the time to re-post the major points of my own Casey Anthony blog, refuting each one, logically of course. And he used my blog name a lot too–he seems to be especially confused as to why I can dare call myself witty. LOL

Here’s the thing…I’m obviously not an ethics expert. Nor am I a legal expert. However, I never said I was. I set up this blog to write about a lot of things that I’m interested in. It’s not meant to be a professional blog, and the “offending” blog was actually even tagged “Opinion”. Life is not a math problem…when something like the Casey Anthony verdict happens upon the news scene, people will have emotions about it. That is, if they have emotions to begin with. And sometimes :::gasp::: those emotions will spill over into their blogs if they have one, or comments to news articles, etc. What my logic minded attacker seems unable to fully grasp, however, is that this is normal. And it’s okay. And, most of all, it doesn’t make me or anyone else the “equivalent of Typhoid Mary” <—-my favorite insult…STILL has me rolling! 

To read the attack piece that has now made me famous, or infamous, I guess is a better word, click here: Emotions Are Baaaaad, Logic is Goooood

Okay, well, that’s it for now….stuff to do today….emotions to feel….havoc to wreak! 

Addendum, 7/7/11

If anyone is interested, I’ve found a truly fascinating trail of breadcrumbs…I was feeling upset, but this made it all better 🙂

http://blog.bennettandbennett.com/2010/04/jack-marshall-the-elmer-gantry-of-ethics.html


http://mylawlicense.blogspot.com/2010/04/ethics-alarms-go-off-its-jack-marshall.html

http://myshingle.com/2010/04/articles/ethics-malpractice-issues/ill-take-turkewitz-on-ethics-over-jack-marshall-any-day-of-the-week/


http://blog.simplejustice.us/2010/04/05/cant-take-a-joke.aspx

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Ethics-2216/Phone-Calls.htm <—-I think this one is my favorite!

(Added 7/11/11) http://familyonbikes.org/blog/2010/05/are-we-self-absorbed-parents/

I’m sure there’s more where all that came from (I mean, how could there not be?), but it’s all more than sufficient to assure me that I am in good, and very intelligent company. Bad doggie!!! LOL Life is good! 😀   

“Captain Compliance” 

Middle Aged Beauty Contestant Wins Big For Charity…Film At 11

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My tendency to enter contests that I don’t have a snowball’s chance of winning was well documented in my archived blog, The Art and Pathology of Pessimistic Optimism; Confessions of a Middle Aged Beauty Contestant. In it, I “told on myself”, as we say here in the South…and confessed that I have a penchant for finding online contests based upon some type of creative entry and driven in some manner by numbers of click votes, that I realistically have no chance of winning, yet am always sure I will win–and win big.

When I turned 40, I was stoked about the MORE 40+ modeling contest, and was sure I was going to win that one despite the fact that I, throughout my well nourished life, have always been consistently a size bigger than what is considered “plus sized” in the  modeling industry–that being a tiny size 10. To my shock and horror, I didn’t even place in that one. Then came the Bare Escentuals Women of B.E. contest, in which I explained in my characteristic entertaining prose, why I am the Woman of B.E. In that case, it was my lack of click votes, and apparently friends, which was the reason behind my stunning defeat. Most recently it was MORE’s Beauty contest, formerly known as MORE’s 40+ modeling contest. I guess the magazine finally realized that there truly isn’t much actual fashion industry call for models who are older than the usual just-potty-trained ones after all, and have morphed their annual contest offering into something more realistic for women over 40.  But, alas, I didn’t win that one either, despite my compelling essay entry on beauty that is so much more than physical. 

Earlier this month I actually found, and entered, a contest that I have a real shot at winning! It’s Capella University’s Inspire Action contest, in which my video entry “Help Me Make An Even Bigger Difference!” is climbing daily in click votes and currently stands at number 2 in its category, “Community”. I won’t actually win anything personally if I get this one…better yet, I’ll secure a $10,000 donation to “my favorite charity”. So, no makeup kits, trips to the QVC studios, cash prizes, or chances to be the next Cindy Crawford for me this time. Nope, it’s better!

The charity I’ve chosen is my organization, Women’s Resource Center. Like most struggling nonprofits WRC needs that donation, and truth be told, I need this win. I’ve had a rough year…okay a rough last few years if I’m being honest with myself and with you. Nonprofit work is my passion and nothing makes me feel more alive than doing good in an organized fashion. Knowing me that’s probably some sort of psychological disorder… nonetheless, I’d really love to get this one…for women in our community who could use a hand up to become independent and to succeed in life on their own. And for me, a woman who could really use a win right about now…

Click Here To View & Vote For My Video Entry:  Help Me Make An Even Bigger Difference!

 

My Life Flashed Before My Eyes…In Technicolor Barbie

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Like most girls growing up, I had a Barbie Doll…mine was the 70’s version, the blonde, tanned California Girl one. Of course, being dark haired and dark eyed and not from California, this did a number on my self image. But, I got over it…eventually.

These days Barbie has branched out, and recently I stumbled upon their Barbie Collector line…a fabulous assortment of pop culture and entertainment inspired dolls. And Holy Moly! My entire life, the t.v., movie, and musical part of it anyway, flashed before my eyes…

My mother was a big time Elvis fan…she and I would watch Elvis movies that ran on Saturday afternoon t.v. back when there were only 3 channels…

The Carol Burnett Show was a favorite of mine on Saturday nights…Nobody is funnier than her comedy team, and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard at any comedy sketch as I did when I saw “Went With The Wind” for the first time…

Ahhh, the 80’s…the excess, the big hair, the catfights! On Dynasty, not in real life…well, I’ve always had big hair…

I did like to have fun! 😉

This little gem of a movie led to leg warmers, off the shoulder t-shirts and a very unfortunate perm…

And present day…my favorite obsession! And the only real Victoria in my opinion…I’m still mad that they replaced her in Eclipse. 😦

To see the entire Barbie Collector pop culture collection, click here: Barbie Collector

Where The World Is Headed & Stopping It Before It Gets There

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I read a great blog this morning on Slouching towards Thatcham about man’s inhumanity to man. The blogger referenced this article in the U.K. newspaper, The Telegraph: “Disabled passengers face rising level of abuse on public transport“, and discussed the fact that despite the popularity of dialogue about basic human rights, those same people pretentiously discussing the rights of others seem to throw it all out the window when it comes to their own daily human interactions. That is my overall take on the blog posting, anyway, and for the record, I concur. Hypocrisy abounds in our supposedly civilized countries, his the U.K., and mine the U.S. I often read magazine and news articles about how stressed we all are in our daily lives these days. I don’t disagree, and I also see how that stress and pressure can lead us to be very short with other people, even rude or bordering on abusive at times. But, when we stoop as low as described in the blog and the article, it’s time to stop, reverse course, and vow to do better.

There is a series of commercial spots that run here in the U.S., and maybe other countries as well…not sure. They’re from The Foundation For a Better Life, and each spot features a vignette depicting different values–values which are clearly lacking in our world today in a big way when the disabled are so routinely abused on public transit that it makes the news, and members of Congress seem to think it’s A-okay to not only lie in a big way, but accuse innocent people of internet crimes in the process–all because of an over-concern for the self, which completely eclipses basic human concern for anyone else. 

I’ve picked five of my favorites (all below, click on the photo to watch the spot) but there are lots more on the website, Values.com. Maybe if we all acted a little more like this, we’d act a little less like that.

Maybe we’d…

Make Someone Else’s Day, In Style

Think of Someone Else’s Needs First…

Go Out of Our Way to Do the Right Thing…

Devote Our Time to Helping Others Find Their Way…

And Heal the Hurt in the World Instead of Cause It…

“Today we are afraid of simple words like goodness and mercy and kindness. We don’t believe in the good old words because we don’t believe in good old values anymore. And that’s why the world is sick”. ~ Lin Yutang