Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's just the Right Thing to do.

Raised in an extremely conservative household, I come with a lot of backstory and frame of reference for what I "should" do in life.  As I have aged (sometimes not a welcome concept), my opinions have changed.  I have always had opinions and not all of them popular or welcome but they have always been mine.  As an adult, husband, father, employee, and neighbor amongst other things I see that my actions, words, and beliefs have an impact on those around me.

Personally, that is a scary recognition.  I have always wanted to be the one to make the decisions but feel reserved because of the ramifications that come with being the person who pushes the button.  Over the past few years, it is more apparent that if I don't push the button then no one else may.  Therefore, I am officially volunteering as the button pusher! lol  

What does that really mean? Well, sometimes it's as simple as the office product commercials tell me it is, easy. This doesn't have anything to do with being a non-conformist or trend setter but rather doing right by me.  

Negotiate and compromise have become bad words.  People make self-promoting statements regarding their unwillingness to bend/change or compromise who they are and for what they stand.  I can sympathize with the personal conviction and desire to stick to something at all costs.  These concepts/beliefs are paramount when navigating the world where everyone seems only vested in their own best interest. 

However, in groups that function best as a whole vs. individually as pieces, these methods must be observed in moderation.  The current political stalemate is a prime example; if I can get what I want without yielding on anything I believe strongly about then I'm in.  This is an ineffective and counter intuitive position because the outcome will always be the same...nothing.  No one ever wants to constantly be the giver in a relationship and likewise no one should ever be a habitual taker.  As a society, we compromise all the time; when navigating traffic, picking government officials, and even choosing where to eat when our favorite place is packed.  I'll admit that not all of those decisions carry equal weight and for that sound thought should be given to those with the ability to significantly impact our lives. 

What about love?  Historically, it was forbidden to marry outside one's class or "kind". The theme that people should be free to choose who they love has been echoed throughout movies, books, and music.  And for the most part, these stories/tales are well received.  So why is it not so in real life?

I have a difficult time understanding the negative consequences of allowing others to make their own choices.  For example, I recognize the controversy surrounding the current topics of gun control, marijuana legalization, and abortion.  Either allowing or banning any of these has complicated consequences that should be discussed and debated.  Unrestricting marriage does not belong with them.  These are people that want to pursue their dreams in ways that currently aren't allowed or universally protected. What someone else chooses to do or not do does not compromise my beliefs.  There should be no negotiation on their feelings.  In the end, it's just the right thing to do.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I like to move it, move it!

I believe that music is one of the strongest forces that exists.  Music has been a part of human existence for longer than records date.  The right melody has the power to calm, excite, motivate, and soothe you.  The interesting thing is that not everyone likes the same genre(s) of music.  Even within the same kind of music, one artist or even a particular song may not ‘speak’ to you the way it does to someone else.  But nevertheless the power is there.  Messages sung transform the words from script to magic. 

I’ve liked a lot of music in my life covering most genres (sorry Country still no love here).  And over the years, I’ve collected my arsenal of favorites.  There are tracks that get me moving and pumped for whatever is coming my way.  Those that I turn to when times are tough or I’m feeling down and discouraged.  There are the ‘feel good’ songs that I can never tire of and there are those that truly touch me deep down inside.  Those are the power songs.  The ones that not only influence your emotions but motivate you to do something.  I feel that for me, these songs tend to have themes of self-empowerment.  They tell me to be who I am, act how I feel, use my voice, and stand for what I believe.  These songs come to me from artists as varied as Rage Against the Machine, INXS, the Cranberries, Mackelmore, and Enya.  I hate to conform just for conformity’s sake.  Every action takes an effort; make them count…for you. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Not what you thought

This year we decided to create a memorable experience for Christmas. Traditionally, we get together with family, eat some food, and open presents. No family is coming into town and we are not visiting anyone for the holidays. The house is decorated and presents have been planned and purchased. Being Santa is one of the best jobs of a parent. But maybe it’s just because I love guile and deception. Either way it is fun.

There are surprises that you weren’t expecting and then there are surprises that you remember because of the extraordinary feeling/experience they caused. I come from a simple and basic existence. Not a lot to be had or done. My imagination was my best friend; and we played a lot. As a parent, I want more for my kids as I would assume is the goal of most people with children. It’s a fine line between giving them what they want and turning them into entitled and spoiled kids. Those are the kids that grow up and make difficult adults; old habits die hard.

Surprises are a way I like to dance on the line. You can satisfy a want or desire but with no expectation. Clearly this would not work in every scenario like going to the store or mall as usually you are there to buy something and kids know how to exploit opportunity. It’s like they can smell it and gives them drive. You think grocery shopping is difficult when hungry? Try doing it with a hungry child in tow; it complicates a simple shopping trip immensely.

Hope my two readers manage to enjoy the holiday season by whatever means suits them. And remember that being critical doesn’t mean that the other person is wrong but rather that you just wouldn’t do it that way and you enjoy noting the differences.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pour your morning cup...on your face!

You’re probably thinking ‘is this guy really posting about a facial’ and yes, I am. I know this is out of the field of topics that I usually write about but I like it and that is what I do. Note: you are probably going to need the assistance of a commercial grinder like those found at specialty stores or maybe your local grocer (please don’t buy one just for this) and … you need to like the smell of coffee.

Pick your bean, any will do, but remember that if you pick a flavored one that you will be experiencing the scent very close to your nose. You want a Turkish grind if you can get it. It is the most fine, almost like powder. If you can’t get that fine, espresso grind will do fine.

Then it’s as simple as mixing a little in the palm of your hand with your favorite cleanser or water to form a paste. Smooth this over your face in a circular pattern paying careful attention to the eyes and hair line (if you have very light colored hair this could change that a little haha). Once you are pleased with your coverage let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then you’re ready to rinse, tone, and moisturize.

The fine particles in the ground coffee provide great exfoliation and a portion of the caffeine content in the beans is actually absorbed into the skin. This will expose a fresh layer of skin and give your complexion a little boost. This could also be used for a body scrub as well. Think sea salt scrub but better smelling and gentler on the skin.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Check Mate

I do not deal with emotion very well. It feels as if my strongest emotional response comes from trying to conceal my own feelings. Instilled as a young child, the 'men don't cry' mantra is still very alive inside me. Experiences in my life have helped me approach a median but still I fear. Anxiety threatens to take over when my emotional response is set off. I crave control because I think that control promotes safety and protection. I have become the tyrant over my own emotions. Emotional detachment has become a coping mechanism to prevent the pain of loss and abandonment.

Recently, someone close to me passed away. Perhaps odd to others but normal to me, I do not miss their presence. I cherish the memories that I have and nothing more. Thought I was strong, could handle the process. Anxiety and emotions in check. Then I see the widow of the deceased. Content, peace, and love is what I saw. At the same time, my composure was gone. Not detached but still in control was she. The feelings of shame and embarrassment did not come this time. I continue to progress, aware of my weaknesses. Franklin was right, death and taxes.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I am a Thistle Sifter

Finally saw The King’s Speech this last weekend. Let me preface this by saying that I thought it was very well done. I appreciated the period-ness of the film, i.e., costumes, dialect, historical reference.

One of the first scenes is Colin Firth, portraying historically important King George VI, giving his first public speech that was broadcast over the radio. He struggles, stops, and can’t seem to get through his written comments. The movie culminates with the King giving his first wartime speech and some may say that is the basis for the film’s title. But I feel that the ‘speech’ is referring to his manner of speaking rather than one particular occasion.

Speech issues are lifelong struggles. I had a stuttering problem as a child. I was fortunate to have worked through most of it. I still feel the urges of it come on, especially when I have to make presentations to groups (happens rather often with the job I have right now). I always get nervous thinking what would happen if I did freeze up and couldn’t get past a word. Hasn’t happened yet, but I remain anxious. If only I could spout off a string of profanities to get me past those feelings then I wouldn’t have to worry any more. Something tells me that if that happened I would have more to worry about then my stopping mid-speech.

I almost can’t believe that for nearly 3 years I have owned a piece of American muscle, a Harley Davidson motorcycle. It’s no secret; it was a big deal when I got it. I probably rode it 50% to 75% of the time when I drove to work. It was fun, got great gas mileage, and allowed me to use the carpool lane on the freeway. I’m that guy rolling down the street wearing the technical jacket, full-face helmet, boots, and gloves. I would classify my driving style as ‘active lane management’. I’m a very defensive driver but at the same time not afraid to make decisions to get me into the lane of least resistance. It may not make total sense but it works for me.

So last April, the car that I was trading off with died. It was a wonderful old VW Jetta that we’d had for a long time; sad moment. I decided to take the plunge and become a hard core biker, relying on my bike 100% to get me to work. I’m happy to report that a year later I am still in one piece. Close calls were actually extremely limited; I credit ‘active lane management’ haha. Weather in the desert is optimal for this. I think I was sprinkled on twice, even though it was windy several days. Would I do it again? Yes, I still am. One day I should get another car but for now it’s just too hard to rationalize knowing that I can do without it.

Riding a motorcycle has been a longtime desire of mine. And I don’t regret one bit getting one. Of course, I have to throw a big “thanks” out to my wife who agreed to the whole arrangement. And I’ve tried to respect her trust here; no burn-outs, no wheelies, no red light racing. It’s been good to me. Some people have told me that I need a name, but I’m not set on anything. I’m open to suggestions if anyone has a good one. Liberator was recommended by a neighbor; not sure about that one. Anyway, as they say “Ride to Live, Live to Ride.”