Haiku Horizons: Play

Bloody mud piles, play

dig your mean gut, soul, under

Won’t cry over you.

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Playful pup, mint grass
Going home with family
Kisses with trust, joy.

 ADOPT A SHELTER DOG IF YOU CAN, SO MANY WONDERFUL DOGS AVAILABLE
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 The play begins, hush
song notes are dancing like brides
tiptoe in white gowns.

 

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How To Debone A FISH


Imagine taking a serrated knife and slicing the length of a body right down to the soul. Picture a piece of that fresh fish, covered in the juice of two fresh lemons that you need to debone, carefully and delicately. That slow slicing is, in itself, is a work of art. It is also a technique that happens in your mind. Your mind is calm and steady.

I have tried so hard to get rid of pretension, most of the defense mechanisms, all the external comments, the noise, the insensitive remarks. I don’t need them in my life, nor do you. We need balance, clear thoughts, not the mean chatter of other “so-called friends.” They do more harm than good. Stay away from people who do not serve you well, sever relationships with false people, those that tempt you to behave badly.

Don’t go down to anyone else’s level. Raise yourself up. Have high standards for yourself, try not to judge others but accept them. All of us need to take a break in our hurried lives. You don’t have to go anywhere to do that, not an expensive gym or retreat, you don’t need an airplane ticket or a ride on a white, bulbous sailboat.

Center yourself, wherever you feel most comfortable.

Pick a place where you won’t be disturbed. It can be on your bed or your favorite chair, someplace that speaks silence to you. If you want soft background music, fine. More importantly, this can be in your mind. Simply close your eyes. Concentrate.

 

Feel your breath going in, going out. Maybe it won’t feel natural in the beginning, that is perfectly okay. What is perfect on the first try? Try to get in a pattern of breathing slowly, inhaling and exhaling. If external thoughts race in, accept them, don’t try to push them away, they are part of you. Let them appear, and let them go away while you go back to your steady breathing, your rhythmic breathing..

Once I feel that I am completely relaxed sometimes I find myself  rocking in that place, sometimes I feel so tired that I want to sleep, I have nodded off when practicing this in a class.   Spend time outdoors, watching nature, listening to sounds, bird songs, children laughing, notice the color of the bunny’s tail you see on your green grass, the noisy seagull on the beach hovering over your leftover cheese sandwich.

 

Focus on beauty and not disaster. Be grateful for what you do have and do not focus on what you don’t have. Believe me, I know that sometimes that it is difficult. Do it anyway. Go out of your way to be kind to a stranger, or wave to a baby that is fussing in front of you. Be aware of how your face looks, does it match how you feel?

Live a simple life, every day. Stay in the present. Relish your age, get old gracefully, stop worrying about what anyone else thinks. Your happiness will glow and shine through you. Look deep inside you. Love what you see? Tell people you are grateful for them being in your life. Dance with joy.

The Many Ways of Making Amends

SIN EDITAR

SIN EDITAR (Photo credit: angel almanzo grupo 52)

People should think about how they behave, in general, especially if there are disagreements and disharmony. To some people saying “I’m sorry” comes naturally, to others it’s a huge, stubborn struggle. Around the world there are different techniques, prayers, rituals to atone for your sins.  In the Jewish tradition, the day of Atonement falls on Yom Kippur where practicing Jews fast all day to atone for their sins. They fast from sundown, the night before until after sundown of Yom Kippur. Catholics have confession when they go to church and can confess their sins where they are given a penance, some real duty to do and their sins will be forgiven.

I am more a spiritual person than a religious one. I don’t need a special day to atone for my sins, I try to do that every day I can, I often fail. I am a faulty individual who has to think back and concentrate on what I have done wrong and how I can make it better. It’s really as simple as that. Acknowledging that you are not perfect is the first step.Acknowledging other people are not perfect is the step after that.

I have never minded apologizing to my kids when I was wrong. I find it easier to apologize to my children than to my husband, I’m working on that…I have family members both in my family and in my extended family who would rather eat dirt than apologize. They will dance around an apology by changing the subject a hundred time and still will never say “I’m sorry.” It’s really not so difficult if you can swallow your foolish pride and admit that you are wrong. By not doing so you are only making things more difficult and complicated, creating more of a drama for everyone. It may infuriate me but there is nothing I can do to change it. Here, I need to start breathing slowly and accept them for who they are. I never said it was easy.

In my opinion only, I don’t think you need to be in a Temple or Church or Mosque or any other organized religion to believe in a spiritual and greater power. That’s my message, you don’t NEEED to do anything special if you want to atone for your sins, you can sit on a park bench and watch the stream go by, adopt a dog, do a good deed, help an elderly person weed her garden. Anyone or thing that you love and cherish as a holy being is wonderful if YOU believe in it. You can think about things you want to improve upon in the future. We all should do the best we know how to do and then try just a little harder.

Dedicated: to The Three Sisters

Photographs copyright of photographers.

Written copyright of author.

Apologize

Apologize (Photo credit: WolfS♡ul)

Are Lance Armstrong And Honey Boo Boo REALLY Related?

Cyclist Lance Armstrong visiting the NIH (Nati...

Cyclist Lance Armstrong visiting the NIH (National Institutes of Health). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What are the chances? I know! I couldn’t believe it either! Imagine my surprise when I read somewhere that Lance Armstrong was the third cousin, twice removed, step-uncle to Honey Boo Boo’s step-sister’s cousin’s,  mother-in-law’s niece. Well, okay, I did know this but that’s because I made the whole thing up; I lied. It seems like there’s a lot of lying going around these days so I figured I’d just tell a teeny tiny one and add to the chaos. The only difference?  I copped to it right away. I told the truth immediately and willingly because I know lying is wrong and some people would do anything to get away with an incredibly wild ego ride that lasted many, many years. I’d say more than seven years. Right, Lance hon?

Now, that brings to another little hon, it brings us up to Honey Boo Boo, a legend of her own making. I  swore I wouldn’t write about Honey Boo-Boo, I promised myself that I would just bite my tongue so hard that it bled but once again “bad” has just changed definitions for me. There are thousands of people who just love little miss cutie -pie- sunshine and then again, there are people like me who just don’t care about the her and her family and the mud, pigs, junk food and little beauty queen contests. So? I choose not to watch the shows. I’m not going to bash her and her family for goodness sake, if they want to do what they do, it’s fine.I’m more of a Grey’s Anatomy/Parenthood kind of gal. That’s my decision and that’s okay. For the people who love Honey Boo Boo go for it, no one is hating here.

As for Lance Armstrong, now that’s a harder conversation because I’m pissed. What an arrogant son of a bitch he seems to be. I didn’t watch every minute of Oprah’s OWN special so I’m still not completely sure what he did or didn’t say directly. Did he apologize straight out and sincerely, or not. I hear that he came close but didn’t seem really remorseful. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Whatever happened there are two sides of Lance Armstrong and I acknowledge that. There is the lying, cheating, arrogant Armstrong that wanted to conquer the world at ALL costs, fooled the nation, allegedly threatened players and their wives who wanted him to tell the truth and went to extremes to hide his doping habit that went on for many long years.

The other part of Lance Armstrong is the Livestrong Cancer Non-Profit Company. I will defend THAT Lance Armstrong ONLY because he gave a lot of money and brought cancer awareness to people and that was a good thing. That’s it. I too, wore that yellow junky bracelet with pride because I believed in him. How do I feel now? Like most people: disappointed, betrayed and disgusted, it’s the point where the two sides of Lance Armstrong meet. Personally, I only liked Lance when he was married to Sheryl Crow, and as soon as he left her when she was newly diagnosed with cancer I never liked him again. Done. Go figure, what a prince of a guy. He lost me then, it showed character, or lack thereof (not that I know the details.)

So, even if Honey Boo Boo is NOT related to Lance Armstrong they have one thing in common, I have no interest in either of them. For me, they are both a waste of time, energy and quality television. I am happy for the people who love Honey Boo Boo’s show, they should enjoy it while they can and I am deeply sorry for all the Lance Armstrong believers, myself included, that got swindled out of the meaning of a true champion. Lance Armstrong was not and is NOT a hero of any kind, he is not the role model your kids want to be; he was/is an immoral, deceitful, arrogant, liar who hurt many people especially his family, his own kids. “Don’t defend me anymore” he said to his son. Really?

If I had to pick a hero between Lance Armstrong and Honey Boo Boo, I’d go with the kid, at least she is honest. She’s being herself and that means a lot these days. As for Lance Armstrong, he’s probably still lying, I’d bet money on that one. If anyone agrees to let him ride competitively again, they are even crazier then he is.

* I posted that particular photo because he was speaking at the National Institutes of Health, oh the irony!

Life 101

PEACE!

PEACE! (Photo credit: Snapies ~ hiatus!)

Norman Rockwell Mosaic  "The Golden Rule&...

In my fantasy career, I’ve always wanted to teach a class, much like Jerry Seinfeld’s old show, a class about nothing yet everything. It would start with young children, kindergarten or nursery school age so they learn, at an early age, what is right and what is wrong. Maybe there would be a corresponding class for parents as well. It would be a class about life, a place where kids could ask any questions they had; it would be a safe place, teaching children about valuing differences, good vs bad behavior, being kind to one another, volunteering and diversity. That’s the agenda. If you start talking about love and different families early on maybe there wouldn’t be such horrible numbers of teen suicide and bullying. You also need to talk about all kind of different people, that each person is equal and should be treated with kindness and respect.

I expect naysayers and scoffing but the truth of the matter is, that life as we know it, is not going very well at all right now and hasn’t been for a long time.  We can’t say it won’t work if we don’t try it. Teach them that children and parents are all different so respect them equally and that families come in different varieties, they are families just like your own. Love is love. Our goal is that no one will know the word “bullying” anymore.

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s we were pretty much sheltered from the “real world.” I remember having drills where we would hide under our desks because of the Cuban Missile Crisis but no one ever explained it to us. The world has changed, technology has changed, violent killing games are readily available for kids to play, violence on television, it’s everywhere.The world we live in now is a scary place: devastating losses, natural disasters, friends and loved ones dying of cancer and heart disease and many other things, people with psychiatric disorders that go untreated. We saw that on Friday with the mass murder of children and adults in Newtown, Connectict’s Elementary School.  I used to try to shove the thoughts away and put them on the back burner. We, as a nation, can no longer put these issues on the back burner. Things need to change NOW.

I wrote this article months ago but never published it. After Friday’s shooting in Newtown, Ct. of little children, babies really, and staff, I’m even more convinced that a program of this kind needs to be started as early in a child’s life as possible. There will always be children who have special needs or need psychiatric help, there is nothing wrong with that. However, these children need to be diagnosed and treated and cared for responsibly. I don’t respect the press when they declare the shooter had Asperger’s to explain the motivation.That is NOT okay and isn’t true at all. I think they are terribly WRONG and irresponsible. Do we need stricter gun laws? Yes. We also need, more and better mental health facilities that people can go to get the help they need. There is no shame, there shouldn’t be.

Parents, teachers and therapists need to be involved in the care of your child. Everyone should work together to give your child the best help available. I know it takes time and I know it takes money but this is not something we can “think about.” This should start right now. For the students: if you have problems, please involve your parents or the school counselors and get the help you need as soon as you can. If the therapist is a wrong match for you, find one that you like. It’s important. Talk about your problems; we will listen.We will be your support system. We will be there. We DON’T want to let you down but you need to communicate with us so we can help you. Please try and know that we will too.

Telling It Like It Is (Mostly)

'Lie to myself'
Lies

Is This What They Call A White Lie?

Both. I am more likely to tell it like it is, however, it depends on the situation. I have common sense and if it’s not a good thing to say politically or in a work situation then I wouldn’t say it. Luckily, I can think quickly on my feet and I can stall automatically. Socially, I’m honest, sometimes too honest. I try to be diplomatic but I don’t like to lie. That said, if a girlfriend got a horrendous haircut and asked me if I liked it, I’d have a hard time saying that I hated it. I would find something to say like “it’s really interesting” or “it makes your eyes pop” but I couldn’t come right out and hurt their feelings, no matter what. I think you can always turn things around to make something sound positive even if it is bending the truth, just a wee bit.

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If You Could Read Minds, For A Day, Would You? (Plinky Prompt)

The Crystal Ball

Image via Wikipedia

  • If I Could Read Minds
  • When you say “hello” I know how you are feeling….
  • I would definitely read minds, but not to freak you out, I have a small amount of that ability already. I didn’t ask for it or train for it but I have always been super intuitive. I sense things, feel things, when others don’t. I have learned not to be scared of it, not to be proud of it but just to accept it and honor it. I have always been a very sensitive person (sometimes it’s a gift, other times it’s a curse) even when I was a child.
    I’d want to know if people were true to themselves, are they lying even when they are complimenting me? Are they truly kind or do they just want recognition. Truth and honesty hold a lot of weight with me; maybe because I am a Libra; always a Libra no matter what that new horoscope alignment says.
    There are times when a blink of an eye conveys a message to me, often I can feel and understand what is not said in a conversation. Sometimes, when I call people and they answer the phone with a simple “hello?” I will say “what’s the matter?” I’m not always right and since I am so sensitive I can read more into something that is there. But, I’m right WAY more than I am wrong. The only exception, I am not good with certain things when it comes to myself because my own anxieties or emotions overwhelm me and I am not objective. That’s when I need my sister or one of my two best friends to listen to me and separate the anxiety away from the reality.
  • Previous Answer

An Honest Thanksgiving

Tender, juicy roast turkey - the main attracti...

Image via Wikipedia

It will be Thanksgiving in just a few days. While we all are looking forward to moist turkey and my husband’s famous stuffing made with mushrooms and apples, raisins and water chestnuts, I have a small request. Please be kind and sensitive to one another. I don’t worry about what things will taste like; I know they will all be delicious. The only thing I worry about, quite honestly, is drama. Holidays can bring up all sorts of feelings: loss, bereavement, jealousy, resentment, sadness, and despair. Old wounds start to feel new, grievances and perceived injustices start to bubble to the surface. Before we dig in to the mashed potatoes my mother made (cough, cough, bought from a restaurant), and cranberry sauce let us think about each other first. During dessert let us try to rejoice in each others’ company instead of waiting for the air to get thick with tension as dense as brown gravy.

This year, for the first year I have actually mentioned to several members of the family that I am asking for a “drama-free” Thanksgiving. I have chronic pain, my husband has been feeling sad because of  lack of work, please try to remember this.  Work  alongside us, tell us things will be alright eventually. Life is not perfect but Thanksgiving should be about what we are grateful for, not what we lack.

I don’t want to hear sullen complaints about the food or the appetizers and I’m happy to cook and clean, taste, stir, serve and clean-up. I will not be happy with arguments, whispered secrets said too loudly and explosive outbursts. Please just leave your coats and any agendas at the door and please, please think before you speak. Be courteous to everyone else. Don’t brag, insult, or be insensitive to other people’s needs.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends. May it be peaceful, filled with great warmth, love, gratitude and great food. I am thankful for all of you.  Now, let us eat.

My Favorite Celebrity

OPRAH, ANUS. ANUS, OPRAH.

Image by nayrb7 via Flickr

Oprah? Ellen? BOTH!

Ellen DeGeneres

This one would have been a no-brainer until about a year ago. Oprah was my girl, I love the things she does for people. I love the book groups, love how open she is and the difference she has made in the world. But now, I also love Ellen, pretty much for the same reasons. She’s funny, she makes me feel happy after I watch her show, she’s generous. She doesn’t have a book club, nor has she opened a school in Africa but that’s fine: she makes me laugh and has a huge heart. I have to admit with the economy the way it is (horrible), unemployment and the fear of terrorist attacks, I just want to forget reality, if only for an hour or two per day. I really don’t want more drama, so I turn to Ellen (while I tape Oprah). I want comedy and sunshine and the ability to forget my own troubles and I want so desperately to laugh. Both women have changed the world with their generosity and kindness, with their honesty and with their passion. My favorite celebrity? Let’s just call her: “ELLPRAH.” The best of both wonderful, smart and generous, women. I’m proud to be a fan.

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Cheeseburger On The Lam–The Aftermath

I was feeling so proud of my blog last night, the 104 entries, the fact that I stuck to it, it was my  challenge and it was my accomplishment. It was my biggest accomplishment after, of course, the births of my son and daughter. Last night however, things changed and I have the painful stomach ache to prove it.

After hearing a lecture in school on Internet safety during Seminar Day, both of my children were made aware of the dangers of their  photos, ANYTHING on the internet with their names attached to it.  Inconveniently that same day I wrote a blog about my two teenagers because both my husband and I were in bad moods and felt incredibly cranky. First mistake.

To those of you who read my blog called “Cheeseburger On The Lam” aka “The Teenagers” let me tell you that I shouldn’t have written it. I want to apologize to my children for publishing something that they took offense to. I have been feeling sick, really sick and stressed out all day because of it. Honestly? I didn’t think it was that bad, just cranky parents needing to let off some steam. But, my children took offense to it and I deeply apologize for that.

It was a mistake, I now know, to publish it, because they were very angry, defiant and upset about it. I was hoping the audience were parents of teenagers that could possibly relate and to those people who are also unemployed and tense. Unfortunately, the audience of two that mattered the most to me, were my children. Thanks Seminar Dude. You ruined our evening and I do not, repeat not, think you were referring to vague references of sons and daughters written by a cranky parent!

It started a prosecutor extravaganza which was no fun for anyone that lasted a good hour. Before I even published it I even sent the blog to my husband asking him if he thought it was okay to publish, he said it was “Excellent!”  So, I published it but what I really should have done was just thought about it a little longer. If I copied my husband and asked if it was okay, then maybe I was ignoring my own, deeply hidden thoughts or questions of judgment. I  really don’t know.

So, here in print, I would like to apologize to my children for offending them. NOTHING is more important to me than these two amazing children. Children who bring such utter joy to my life. I would do nothing to hurt their feelings on purpose and if I did than I am deeply ashamed. The buck stops here.

I always tell my children, to be honest with me; I am now being honest with you. Yes, your dad and I did feel frustrated yesterday, the climate in the house had reached a point that we were very high-strung, over sensitive and uptight. So, I did what I do best and wrote about it, never thinking you would take offense. From now on, I promise you, I will think before I write and certainly before I click “Publish.”

I love you both more than my life. The thought of upsetting you made me feel horrible all day; yesterday’s meeting was not fun for anyone. I hope you accept my apology and now we can move on. Parents make mistakes, just like every person. As I’ve always taught you, if you have done something wrong, just be honest and apologize. Back at you.

Love, Mom

*******P.S. SORRY DAUGHTER FOR THE “OTHER ONE” TOO!