Monday, January 13, 2014

"Student" Is Still ALIVE: A Blogger's Right To Change Her Mind

Okay, so I said in a fit of probable Christmas depression that I was done with this blog.

The problem is, it's not done with me!

There's already so many noteworthy things going on in 2014. My head is chocked-full of lessons. I need to share these things and most of all, I need to share these things with you, my subscribed and my random readers!

So, here's how it's going down:

I will post around once a month, possibly twice. That is, unless I'm having a banner month, which if this month is any indicator, there will be LOTS, LOTS AND LOTS to discuss.

So please stay tuned, enter in your email address, COME BACK FOR SECONDS!

That's all for now but more is coming VERY SOON!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Sneak Peak Of My New Book That You Don't Want To Miss, FREE For The First 1k Downloads!

The winter holiday season has officially begun! Can you believe that this year is almost over in six weeks or so? Has the year seemed like a sprint or a marathon to you?

For me, the year sprinted through. This was a good and a not so good thing at times. There were certainly times when I felt that I needed life to slow down. But you know what that taught me?

It taught me that sometimes, change doesn't happen as fast or as slowly as we'd like. However, if change takes place, we simply need to accept the changes in the timing that they need to take place. This lesson is extremely pertinent to what's going on with my personal life.

Speaking of changes in my personal life, I'm beyond thrilled to announce that production on my first non-fiction title has started. Actually, the introduction has already been completed. You can get a sneak-peak of the introduction when you visit This Site Here

Of course, you'll want to sign up on my waiting list so that you can learn when the book will be released. I'll also broadcast exclusive content that will only be available to my subscriber list. And best of all, the first 1000 to download the book will receive it FOR FREE!

I'll post soon about a couple of nifty DVDs that taught me reinvention and self-contentment. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Warning: Are You Trying To Fill A "Bottomless" Pit Person?

Peter Russo (Cory Stall, House Of Cards)
Resilience. It's a word that plays a part in your life, if you stick around long enough. You will experience things that will require for you to call upon your inner resources...if you have them. But what if you don't have them? How do you deal with life? If you're like characters such as Peter Russo (House Of Cards), you deal with issues by not dealing with them. You handle life by the swig or by the snort.

We are first introduced to Peter Russo while watching the Netflix produced, U.S. version of House Of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Peter Russo is a U.S. congressman who hails from my hometown city, Philadelphia. Specifically, Peter grew up in a working-class, blue-collar Italian neighborhood in South Philly. We don't know how or when, but Peter manages enough strength to overcome his roots and break out of "the neighborhood", finding himself on Capitol Hill.

Yes, dreams can come true....including personal nightmares.

See, in spite of scaling the heights out of the dead-end pit that is his S. Philly neighborhood, Peter voluntarily creates his own personal pits and valleys. When we are introduced to Peter, we are also immediately introduced to his addictions. Worse, Peter is the addict of (What I feel is) the worst variety: He's a functional addict. 

He holds down a very high-profile career and what little emotion he allows in his life, he lavishes upon his school-aged son and daughter.  He's got his cover-ups and his routines down to an art-form. In his mind, he can have his addiction and his lavish, powerful lifestyle, too. There's no reason for him to change and as we see in the House Of Cards season one series, Peter has very little incentive or desire to change, despite the trail of broken hearts that he leaves in his wake of self-destruction.

I won't spoil the rest of the Peter Russo story line but I will share that I had strong reactions to observing his story line. See, I've known various varieties of Peter Russos. Not all of them were substance abusers either (Although I've certainly known my share of those people too! ). Some people were victims of previous circumstances, circumstance beyond their control. I definitely know about that, too.

There was a time in my life, around 12 plus year ago, where I came to coin a phrase for myself that guides me through life: "It may not be your fault but it is your problem". In other words, I learned to hold myself accountable for what was mine. I even learned how to hold myself accountable for behaviors that became mine, as a result of "stuff" that was cast upon me by others. In short, I started taking steps to "fix" what was broken in my life. I learned that it's not about the stuff we go through or experience, its all about our willingness to come out on the other side.

But you know, some people never learn this lesson. Some people find it beneficial to run, hide, blame, drown, project. And you know what I've learned about folks like these? It's often best to leave them wallowing in their crap! Sick and as strange as it may sound, there are those who love rolling around in the cesspool of their souls. Peter Russo's character was such a person, although there were moments that hinted otherwise.

The issue of addiction, dysfunction and personality disorder is very sensitive, especially for those of us who have or currently do love someone who struggles with these. Without a doubt, there are plenty of times when people who struggle with these will tempt others to walk away from them. While we live in a society that teaches the virtues of compassion, there are times when the compassionate thing to do for ourselves is to protect ourselves and walk away from a "bottomless pit" of a person.

Believe me, the person in question won't miss you when you're gone.

Here's a really cool Google Hangout interview, featuring actor Cory Stall who portrays Peter Russo.

Monday, November 11, 2013

How My Thoughts About Being A Veteran Has Changed: Veteran's Day 2013

Last year, I wrote a post about my thoughts about my service in the Air Force titled Happy Red Tails Day!

Today on Nov 11th, Veteran's Day 2013, I spent the weekend wondering if my thoughts about the military chapter of my life has changed. I've been thinking about that time in my life a lot lately, especially in light of the seemingly never-ending conflict in the Persian Gulf.

Things were definitely a lot different back when I served in the Persian Gulf back in 1994. I was serving there as part of a peace-keeping mission in Saudi Arabia. At the time, everything thought that sending troops over to the Gulf (Or, "The Sandbox" as we troops called it) was basically a formality. The first Gulf War was officially over. That war ended so quickly, we had no reason to believe that this would happen again.

But it did.

And personally, my heart breaks a little for all of the troops who never made it back to the States like I did. I remember how exhilarating it was for all of us troops to get the announcement that we were about to cross in over land from the Atlantic, flying into the Philadelphia International Airport. We all broke out in cheers and started a HUGE plane-wide pillow fight that made the flight attendants laugh.

I'm getting teary-eyed at the memory, even now.

Many people have asked me what it was like to serve in the military and specifically, what it was like to serve in Saudi Arabia. I said then that it was a once in a lifetime experience. I had some challenging moments but I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. And you know what my thoughts are now?

My thoughts about being a veteran is an increased level of pride, as the years go on. I won't pretend that I saved the world with my typewriter (And later on, my desktop computer). But I did my part to support the world-wide effort. I was a part of that fabric. I feel an empathy and a sense of satisfaction that is only earned from well...literally earning my stripes!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Claire Underwood School Of Playing Your Position: A Case Study In Marriage

Courtesy of Amazon
One of my favorite movies, Living Out Loud, has a line in it that stuck with me years later: "There's all types of marriages". This phrase became glaringly apparent after viewing a new Netflix produced DVD series, House Of Cards. 

The viewers are introduced to the Underwoods, Frank and Claire. Frank is the (Not so) good U.S.Congressional Representative and narrator of the story. But to me, the real meat of the narration is all about watching Claire serve as a foil to her husband. The marriage of the Underwoods is definitely a case study worthy of examination. 

We aren't exactly sure of how long the Underwoods have been married. We do know that it's been quite some time, enough time for Claire to have figured out her place in Frank's world and specifically, how to play her position as the right hand to his left, the oil to his engine. But make no mistake: Claire Underwood isn't a stereotypical Washington wife who is nothing nor has nothing without her very powerful husband. 

According to Claire, Frank's agenda was to win Claire, despite her numerous suitors. We see in the story that indeed, Claire is a woman who is used to being pursued, ruthlessly.  If there's one thing that Frank Underwood is a master at, it's being ruthless. Frank Underwood is nothing if not single-minded in winning his agendas.  It was Frank's ruthless declaration of his intentions for Claire that let her know that this was a man that deserved her beauty, her loyalty and most important (At least for the Underwoods), her cunning mind

As a matter of fact, it's her cunning mixed with her coolness that is the glue that holds this marriage together. Make no mistake: There is love in the marriage and lots of it. There is no Frank without Claire and as we find out during the course of  Season One, there is no Claire without Frank (Slight spoiler alert, wink!). As I watched this cool, blonde, Amazonian beauty work her wiles and her spells to support her man, I couldn't help but to think that if she were a real-life Congressman's wife, she truly could open up a school. As matter of fact, housewives might do well to take notes from Mrs. Frank Underwood. 

She's a highly-sophisticated, polished, Ivy-league educated version of the "Ride or die" chick. Complicit, careful and calculating, is she.  But she's also a study in contrasts: She's cold and compassionate, both at the same time. She's responsible and reckless to a fault. She'll bleed for Frank's causes, as long as they don't interfere with her own. And as we see in the series, sometimes the causes of the Underwoods overlap evenly while sometimes, they don't. 

Frank and Claire mean the world to each other, in and out of the bedroom. Their devotion to each other displays itself, sometimes in and out of the confines and boundaries of the marriage itself. Seriously, name a wife that you know of who can casually declare to her husband that her former lover is in town, has invited her to his hotel room and yet, she willing decided to go home to her husband and get rewarded for this act of supposed fidelity? Name a wife you know of who can endure the ebbs and flows of her husband's faithfulness, as long as she knows that her position as the wife is as secure as Fort Knox?  

That's the curious case of the Underwood's marriage. A woman like Claire Underwood could have had her pick and choice of men, even while being Mrs. Underwood. But she chooses to play her position and she's in it to win. But as we see in House Of Cards season one, there was never a question that she'd lose!

Here's an official trailer for the series

Sunday, October 27, 2013

DU-OOOH! I Took Too Long Of A Hiatus!

See this guy right here? That's how I've been feeling, DEEP DOWN INSIDE! I'll spare you all of the reasons why I took so long of a break and simply offer you, dear reader, my apologies. It won't let this happen again without an announcement. 
To that end, I'll be updating the site with new content within the next week. As a preview, I'm reviewing a cool new DVD series that I "marathoned" over the last couple of weekends. I'll share what I've learned from the series about
1. Marriage
2. Are There Some People Too Broken To Be Fixed? 

Here's a hint: It's the latest, hottest show produced on NETFLIX starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright! If you want to read my latest post when I produce it, PLEASE SIGN UP in the opt-in form. 
Seriously, I'm back and ready to give you, dear reader, more interesting thoughts, lessons and perspectives. Also but non-related, are you sick and tired of pumpkin yet? 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

10 Statements/Questions That Will Kill Your Friendships With Your Single Friends

Okay, I came across an article originally published by Woman's Day. The title of the article is 10 Things Never To Say To Singles. For proper citation purposes, the original article can be viewed here:

Now usually, most of my posts will be motivating, positive, thoughtful and bright. Tonight's post will still be motivating, and thoughtful. However, there's nothing sunny about what I'm about to say. This is definitely a "Bitter Rinds"/ "Sour Lemons" post.

See, when I read the original article, I was immediately intrigued. Being a single of a certain age, my ears perked right up, eager to see a list of things that one should never think about saying to their single friends.
You see, although Sex And The City has done A LOT to validate singles, especially the over-35 single, I still can't help but to feel that I'm like an overgrown child that has been designated to sit at the kiddie table, blowing bubbles in my milk.

I can't help but to feel the pressure of taking control of this marital 'waiting game' by simply giving up the game altogether.

Society can cheer us singles on with all of the "rah-rah" mantras but the reality is, it can be downright challenging for me and for others like me to maintain our dignity as a self-sufficient, functioning single adult, doing the best we can with the lives we currently live. This is why I and others like me don't need to be on the receiving end of thoughtless, patronizing, immobilizing comments like the ones I'm going to post.

Here is my version of the "list from hell" , of things you should NEVER, EVER say to your single friends, unless you are secretly planning on ending your friendship with said single person:

1. Why Aren't You Maaaariiiiied? (WHYYYYY aren't you married? WHHHHHHHY aren't YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU MAR-REEED?!?)
Cause I'm not, you jerk! I ask myself that question all the time. I've been planning different versions of my wedding dress since oh, around 1983-1984. Do you know that it's all that I can do to NOT blame myself for still being single?

But seriously, is this not the most pomp, most self-satisfied, superior question you can ask a single person? I think so. But wait, it gets worse :D

2. Ya ever tried the online dating thing?

Yeah, actually I have. I might even try this again when the time is right. I don't need you (Snobby so-called friend) telling me when that time is right!

3. You might be acting too picky!

Oh, excuse me for having standards. I'm sorry I wasn't born in the 1950s or 1960s, when the best that a woman could hope for was to "get the ring" and be taken care of. You see,  I was born during women's lib. This means that the world expects me to take care of myself. This also means that I don't have to settle on a marriage partner!

4. You'll find "the one" when you stop looking for him.

Okay, someone get me a bucket right now! Of all of the trite, talking-to-a-four-year-old things to say to someone!

5. What happened to that guy you were seeing?
He's gone! That's why I'm currently single. I don't need to be reminded of that, screw you very much!

6. You singles have it great!

This is one of my personal favorites. Yeah, it was really great to be single when I had the flu and I was too weak to even get out of bed to get a glass of water from the kitchen, with no one to help me.

It was so friggin' awesome to be single when I had to go to the emergency room, with no one to take me there or back. I loved coming home with no one to cook for me or care for me. I super enjoyed being single when I had surgery and no one was there to tend to me or comfort me.

And, can I please share how much of of thrill it is to work even when I'm feeling sick, crappy, depressed, anxious, etc., because there is no one else to pay the bills but me?

Yeah, GOOD TIMES! Oh, I could go on and on...

7. Get out more/Get off the computer/Stop working so much. THEN, you'll meet "the one".

And who's to say that I'm not "out there". More to the point, who is anyone to tell me how much work to do, or not do? Why are you painting me out to be an anti-social freak? Apparently, you know of this magical place where men are JUST WAITING for me, IF ONLY I would just get "out there".

8. You need to smile more, wear different clothes (On and on)
Okay, how many back-handed complements or directly horrendous orders can one person come up with? This is such a horrible admonishment, I can't even express this in words that I'd post on this blog.

9. You're still so yoooouuuuuuuuung.
No I'm not! I'm friggin' 41 years old. No, while I'm not the friggin "Kript Keeper", I'm not 4. Or 14. Or 24. I'm not even 34 anymore.

I'm not friggin young. Stop patronizing me like I am!!!!

10. Everyone isn't meant to get married

Okay, why don't you just give me a white flag to wave while you're at it?

**Bonus barf-tastic statement/question: Why do you need to get married/have a man?

I just "lurve it" when patronizing folks (Okay,  mostly women) make me feel like a needy, pathetic thing just because I want a permanent partner in my life. I especially "lurve it" when I'm told to just...settle for a dog, or a cat.

Look, I don't EVEN want to know what's going down in the homes of these super pet lovers, but I'm saving my lovin' for the right HUMAN man. No apologies!