Category Archives: Perspective

The Value Of Role Models; 5 Women To Admire


I guess people have always been sort of a hobby of mine…not that I enjoy being around them all the time, because I’m really more of a loner in that regard. But, I love to learn about other people–the experiences they’ve had, the traits and quirks that make them unique, their perspectives, and finally, how they tend to respond to the circumstances of their lives. This goes double for famous women, who always interest me more than their male counterparts because I can relate my own life more closely, I suppose. 

I get the distinct impression that, when you get to be my age, you aren’t really encouraged to have role models. Women over 40…scratch that…women 30 and over are supposed to either BE role models, live to serve, or be invisible. But, since I also think that no matter how old we get, until we’re six feet under and it really is over, we should enthusiastically pursue our own growth and development–just like we did as children. People shouldn’t say, “I’d love to do/be/pursue __________________ , but I’m too old and/or set in my ways” nearly as much as I hear them say it. While I never would want to be exactly like someone else or emulate them in a creepy “Single White Female” way, I think its healthy for people of all ages to have role models. 

Each of the following women made my list because there is something about them that inspires me…something that strikes a chord. When I sat down to write this morning, as often happens, I’d planned for the tone of this blog to be different than how it has turned out. I intended to write a light sort of piece–slightly humorous, fun, etc. But, maybe that’s too much to ask of myself during the annual period of reflection, analysis, and New Year’s resolution lists…

So…here are a few female role models you may catch me clumsily trying to channel in 2012… 


 This retro cool lady is making a lot of lists these days…for all the right reasons! 

Admirable Quality:  I love her for all the same reasons everybody else does…she’s funny, she’s adorable, she’s sassy, etc. But, the trait that I admire about her most is her ability to seize an opportunity when it arises and make it work for her–not the other way around. I can’t think of anyone else who has had this sort of resurgence of popularity in virtually every era in which they’ve lived. Bravo, Betty! 

To watch Betty White in action on her hit sitcom, Hot In Cleveland, click here: Hot In Cleveland on TVLand


 It’s hard to not love a woman to eats real butter, probably every day, and is damn proud of it! 

Admirable Quality: Aside from her fabulous recipes which I’ve been copying now for a few years, this woman lives life with gusto–eats it up with a spoon! She has a real passion for life that shines through. She’s not afraid to try new things, loves learning about other cultures, and incorporating all of that into a career she loves–cooking. A few days ago, on her Facebook page, she was inquiring about Italian cuisine…that will have delicious results, I’m sure! 

For all the latest Nigella news and recipes, go here: Nigella’s Blog


Whip smart…controversial…utterly fearless.

Admirable Quality: I’ve been getting her columns in my email for a few months now and they never fail to impress me. Caroline is a journalist, and probably the most serious, no nonsense woman on the list. What I love about her is that she is not afraid to tell it like she sees it, and always–ALWAYS does her homework to support the facts of what she writes in her pieces. The lesson for me? Think it, research it so you won’t look stupid, say it–no regrets. 

To read Caroline Glick’s column, click this link: Caroline Glick


Poise, grace, Christy Brinkley-esque good looks–hands down, the best Press Secretary a President could ask for…

Admirable Quality: This woman possesses truly astounding public speaking ability. No matter what she is asked, she responds articulately, comprehensively, and graciously. This holds true even when she is caught off guard. I’d love to develop this more in myself…I can write circles around most topics if I put my mind to it, but I really need to hone my public speaking skillset. 

Watch Dana hold her own on “The Five” here: Dana Perino


Photo Credit: Stephanie Nielson, Nie Nie Dialogues

A blueprint of how to not only survive, but to make your life count in a big way…

Admirable Quality: This remarkable woman is probably also the least known famous person on the list, but I want everyone to know her name. After surviving a life altering plane crash, she demonstrated to all of us, myself included, what is really important in life, and how to keep your problems, handicaps, pain, and loss from crippling you. That is no easy feat for anyone, but Stephanie’s ongoing story is inspirational and humbling. She is the gold standard of role models for women in my book. Speaking of books, I read that her autobiography is coming this Spring–can’t wait! In the meantime, treat yourself and visit her blog here: NieNie Dialogues

Read more about Stephanie here: Mommy Blogger and Mother Warrior

From Slow Road To Burnout To Energized & Motivated; My Hour With Liz Murray


You know, those of us who are doing okay in life…not fabulous, yet not worrying where our next meal is coming from, or how we’re going to keep a roof over our heads–literally, are at risk. We’re at risk for going through the motions…doing what we’re supposed to do…looking good on the outside. But so often we’re crying out inside. Not so much so that we would ask for help, or so as you’d notice, but just enough that we need someone, somewhere, to give us a reason to keep on moving forward, to keep reaching for a better life, to make something beautiful and meaningful in this world with so much sadness…so much ugliness. And today, I, Lisa Casas, aka, “WittyBizGal” got that reason. 

I work with a small nonprofit here in town. We work diligently to give women in our community a hand up. The hand up part is very important because, although we address their immediate needs, our overarching mission is to help them help themselves toward independence–financial and otherwise. About a month ago we held a planning meeting to discuss the upcoming graduation ceremony for our Independence Program. As of that date, there was no keynote speaker, and we were kicking around ideas. Since I’d been thinking about her since last year’s graduation, I suggested Liz Murray, best known for the Lifetime movie made about her life, “Homeless to Harvard”. The graduation committee liked the idea and ran with it, which led to today…

Liz Murray ate lunch with us, then rose to speak inspiring, motivational words to our graduates, first through sharing her harrowing tale of a childhood with drug addicted parents, not enough food to eat, and no external encouragement for her to end up any better off than her role models, who sadly eventually died of AIDS. Then came the truly important part–how she turned that little spark inside of her, that spark we all retain no matter how old we get or how jaded we become, into a flame which carried her through the Harvard intake interview and New York Times Scholarship interview on the same day, both of which she almost, almost blew off. 

And today, with my more or less ordinary life that nobody would ever consider making a movie about,  and my little blog that I think only my friends, family, and probably a few frenemies I’ve collected over the years read, Liz’s words helped me find that spark in myself again. At just the point where I had begun to ask myself, “Why bother?”, I remember why…Among other reasons, the world needs people who believe in themselves, and believe in their own dreams. Because it’s catchy! 

First, believe in yourself, then go out there and motivate somebody else to do the same! 

If you’d like to see Liz Murray’s Lifetime movie, go here: Homeless To Harvard; The Liz Murray Story 

To purchase Liz’s autobiography, published in 2010, click here: Breaking Night 

To book Liz Murray to be a speaker at your next event, try this link: Liz Murray 

If you’d like to follow Liz on Twitter, this is her account: Follow Liz On Twitter 

I’m about 1/3 of the way through Breaking Night myself, so stay tuned for a book review on that! 

Until next time…




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


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. ~

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… 

Hot In Cleveland, Hot Everywhere!


At first I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to this one…from the previews and the hype, it looked just a little too canned and predictable, sort of like The Facts of Life was back in the 80’s. And really, with Betty White’s recent career comeback, we all knew Hollywood would have to find a place to plug that live wire back in! I’ll file this one in the annals of don’t judge a book by its cover, because Hot is way less Facts of Life, and far more Golden Girls, which I’m sure is no coincidence. Like Golden Girls, there are more than a few overly predictable gags, and spots where star of the show Valerie Bertinelli overplays the cute factor. But, there is a lot of really great television that shines though too. And Valerie, like co-star Betty White, really deserved a new venue after her own recent career resurgence, fueled by her astounding weight loss and resultant rockin’ bikini bod, and bestselling heartfelt memoirs detailing her life, her mistakes, and most importantly of all, how she found her way to reinvention and a happy life.

And this little gem of a sitcom is, at core, all about reinvention. The pilot episode begins with main character Melanie Moretti, played by Bertinelli, treating her two best girlfriends, eyebrow artist Joy Scroggs and soap actress Victoria Chase, played by Frasier’s Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick, to a girls’ vacation to Paris to celebrate the success of her new book, a self help advice volume for women. These three are jaded refugees from the land of L.A., where they live as best they can among the dismissive and vapid, and have become more or less invisible and irrelevant in their hometown, all because of what they’re not–18-25, and/or male. Fate does them a favor, when their plane from L.A. crash lands in Cleveland. The “girls” are not happy at first to be stuck in “Cleeee-veland” of all places. That is, until they visit a local bar for a bite, only to find that Cleveland does indeed rock after all. Why? Because in Cleveland, they’re hot! Men not only notice them, but find them beautiful and fascinating again. And, in the back of their minds, they realize that, being honest with themselves, their lives in L.A. are not so hot anymore, and they’ve been given a rare opportunity to start over. Melanie decides to stay, rents a house, which comes with Betty White, aka Elka, the wise cracking, feisty octogenarian who serves as a golden fourth for this trio of friends.

This show is truly delightful! Light entertainment at its best, especially when the world we live in becomes overly burdensome, depressing, and just, well…too much. We all need escape and entertainment, and I certainly did last night after the rough couple of days I’d been treated to courtesy of a fellow blogger, and my own big mouth and stubborn nature. And I love the idea of reinvention…actually I loved the word and the process way before Madonna tried her best to ruin it for everyone. True reinvention, not the phony attention seeking Madonna kind, involves taking chances and being open to change. And it’s about making our lives what we want them to be as well as what they were meant to be, not desperately trying to fit ourselves into a persona and/or a world where we really don’t belong. I think we’ve probably all been down that dead end, square peg/round hole road a time or two.

So, like the ladies of Hot In Cleveland, find the place where you’re hot and live there–literally or just figuratively as a state of mind. And laugh along the way and have some fun….Life really is way too short to live any other way!

Hot In Cleveland can be seen on TV Land…for a schedule and full episodes online, visit the show’s official site here:

The full first season is also available on Netflix streaming video here:

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


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 🙂 <—-I think this one is my favorite!

(Added 7/11/11)

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”