Thursday, September 14, 2017

In the blink of an eye

We all have defining moments in our lives; those moments that separate our life from before and after. For Americans, one of our collective defining moments was September 11th.  We can all see how that one moment separated our country from before and after.  As individuals we also have powerful moments in our lives; births, deaths, marriages, divorces, graduations, etc.

Today is the tenth anniversary of one of my defining moments. Ten years ago today my husband took his own life and in an instant I became a widow and a single parent.  Looking back now those ten years feel like they passed in the blink of an eye, but at the time each and every minute of the day stretched ahead of me like an endless marathon.

Realizing that today marks ten years, I was struck by how much my life has changed, and how different my life is today.

Before -    I was naïve and although I knew that bad things could happen, I simply assumed they would happen to someone else.
Before -    My life was organized, orderly and well planned.  I knew exactly where I belonged and what my future would hold.

Before -    I was so busy worrying and focusing on small things that didn’t really matter, but they felt so big at the time.

Going through an experience like that has a way of readjusting your priorities. I am no longer naïve, I know that the people I see on the news facing some horrific situation never expected to be there either.  I realize that despite my best laid plans; I have no idea how my life will turn out.  Most of all I know that there are some things that really matter, like your relationship with your loved ones, and there are some things that don’t really matter at all.  Ten years may have passed in the blink of an eye, but it was a long road getting here.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Dear Internet

Do you ever get mad while using social media?  Here is my letter to the internet. 

Dear Internet -  please stop telling me that I am doing something wrong. I am so sick of stupid articles being posted about how I do everything wrong from opening my banana at the top instead of the bottom or not folding in my tabs in on my tinfoil box. I don't need your judgment Internet.  I don't need you trying to shame people and make them feel bad. How about trying a nice article that says something like "hey did you know if you did this it would be easier" or "have you tried this"… Let's cut it out with the stupid 'you're doing it wrong' articles. 

Dear Internet  - please stop telling me what millennial's are killing today.  Millennial's aren't killing anything, they are exercising their freedom of choice. If millennial's don't want to eat at Applebee's or use bar soap they don't have to.  They are not killing anything.  As far as I can tell we still live in a democracy with a free enterprise system, which means people can buy what they want. And another thing stop saying millennials to refer to an entire generation of unique individuals.   Just giving an age group a fancy name doesn't mean everyone in that age group acts the same; I don't think that every other 53-year-old acts or thinks exactly the way I do, so I refuse to categorize millennial's for no good reason. 

Dear Internet -  let's try to stop over sharing personal parts of our life. I really don't need to know the latest details of your surgery.  I believe that's between you and your doctor.  I'm not saying if you want to ask for prayers, because that's a great thing to do with your friends,  but we don't need all of the gory details.  We don't need to know how much phlegm is in your throat.  We don't need to know your dirty personal relationship details. When I taught middle school I frequently reminded my students that just because they have a thought that doesn't mean they need to immediately share it. Sometimes they could just ponder that thought. I wish Facebook could remind people of the same thing. I know it's ironic because I write a blog and share my feelings, but there is definitely something called over sharing so let's be mindful of what we're sharing on the Internet. 

Dear Internet  - can we please stop being so mean to each other. It would be lovely if we could remember the golden rule; do onto others as you would have them do unto you. Or we could use the timely classic that our mothers taught us; if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. We as a people really have to come together and stop the ugliness that's on social media today. Even if you disagree with someone, you can do so in a kinder and more respectful way. And truly like our mothers told us, if you can't be kind -  just don't say anything at all.  It's OK to ignore people. Like Tina Fey tried to tell us,  sometimes it's better to just be quiet, stay home and eat cake. 

Dear Internet -  thank you so much for cute little kitten videos and babies playing with puppies videos.  Thank you for bringing brightness into our sometimes not so very bright world.  I know I have complained about some of the things I don't like, but there are so many incredible things that are shared on social media, so thanks for helping us to communicate more than every before.  

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Instead of someday – why not today?

If you are like me you probably have a list of things you would love to do someday.  Not quite a bucket list, but that unofficial list of things you hope to do or achieve. 
·      I have always wanted to learn piano. When I was younger, my mom said I had piano fingers.  
·      I have been meaning to work on scrapbooking  (the last page I did when my youngest was four and she is now 24, so it’s been awhile). 
·      I would really love to do more kayaking and maybe even take a class to learn more skills.
·      I want to scan and organize all of our old family photos.  I have boxes of photos to go through.

In the business of life I get very busy and often distracted, and it seems as if there is little time to do the things I have on my list and that doesn’t even begin to cover the extremely long list of all the places I want to go and visit. 

I know, I know, there is only so much time and money and trying to keep up with work and home responsibilities makes it hard to even consider some of those ‘someday’ items on your list but that’s the whole point.  I don’t want to wake up someday too old to do the things I want and regretting the fact that I didn’t make the time when I could have enjoyed them. 

That’s why I have decided that traveling vicariously through my friends on Facebook is not enough.   Starting today I am setting daily, weekly and monthly goals to get going on my list.  I will commit to skipping bad TV re-runs and instead choose to organize photos at least one day a week. 

I am making plans to visit Iceland with one of my good friends this fall.

I may not get it all done right away but I am no longer just waiting for someday. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

I Love NPR

I have been listening to NPR a lot lately.  NPR or National Public Radio is such a great way to spend your time during your daily commute to work. 

I love how varied the stories are and the unique perspectives.  I have been learning so much about so many topics, whether it’s a new book, politics, history, science, etc., there is literally something for everyone. 

A few weeks ago I learned about fruit companies that cross the border each day and the struggles that new legislation brings to their business.  Next I learned that some people are actually renting new tires for their car instead of buying them.  Then I listened to a young woman who is trying to recreate all of the wonderful Greek food that her grandmother made when she grew up.  Each day there is something completely new and different.  Listening to NPR always leaves me thinking hmmm I didn’t know that or wow that was so interesting. 

NPR is officially described as “an American privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the United States.”  Their shows include the very popular Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Fresh Air, and Here and Now. 

One of the great things about NPR is that their shows are also released as podcasts so you can listen at your convenience. 

If you haven’t listened to NPR, or if its been awhile, I encourage you to switch your radio dial and broaden your horizons.  You will be glad you did-I promise.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I wanna go back

Is there one special place in your life?  Is there a place that makes you smile every time you think about it?  That place for me is Antigua, specifically Hermitage Bay Resort in Antigua, where I was married.  My third wedding anniversary is coming up and I can’t help but think about all of the amazing memories from that trip.  As far as weddings go, mine was absolutely perfect.  It was truly paradise. 

My husband indulged me with the trip of a lifetime to the most spectacular resort.  We were married barefoot on the beach, and we were pampered and treated like royalty for 10 days. 

We walked along romantic beaches, hand-in-hand.  We swam in turquoise water.  We snorkeled, sailed and even went scuba diving. 

Thanks to Facebook and their incessant ‘memories’ popping up, I have been thinking quite a bit about Antigua.  Although it is out of our budget right now, I do hope that we will be able to go back, perhaps to celebrate an anniversary in the future. 

Antigua holds a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to return. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Sorry, NOT Sorry

I have been told that I am too political.  Now I do understand that this past year has been incredibly divisive, and not everyone shares my passion for political activism, but I will NOT apologize for wanting to be an informed and engaged citizen.  Quite frankly I believe it is my duty as an American citizen to be informed and to participate in our democratic process to the best of my ability. 

I do not have young children anymore, but I still care deeply about ensuring adequate funding for schools.  I understand that paying my taxes is my duty, but I want to ensure that my tax dollars are going to be used in the best way possible.  I am getting older and issues like Social Security and Medicare have a new importance in my life.  I want to ensure that environmental protections will be put into place so that my grandson will still be able to enjoy this incredible planet. 

I am always willing to listen to people, even those who hold different opinions from my own.  I truly believe that these differences of opinion are what make our democracy so great. 

I do understand that politics can occasionally make some people uncomfortable, but I absolutely will not apologize for caring about the way our country, MY COUNTRY is run.  So to those people who say that I am too political – sorry but I am not sorry.  We are all affected by the decisions made at the local, state, and national levels.  We have to live with those decisions.   I will not apologize if I choose to volunteer my time to circulate petitions.  I will not apologize if I post on my Facebook about an issue or a candidate that I feel strongly about.   It is not only my right – I believe it is my duty as a citizen to care.  I will respect your opinion just as I hope you will respect mine.  If you don’t like what I have to say then feel free to scroll on by – but you can bet I will continue to share my views, and quite frankly I hope you will continue to share your opinions too.