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THE ADVENTURES OF SCUBA STEVE

adventurer. photographer. humorist. aspiring filmmaker. goonie. Live to 🌏 travel. Minneapolis.

40 Positive Things About Turning 40

One of the most enduring things about aging is that turning 40 seems like a Big Deal. And it is — but not because you’re “getting old.” It’s a big deal because you’ve successfully made it this far, and have a lot of life experience worth celebrating. In case you’re having a hard time thinking of all the good things about being 40 (that’ll happen after four decades, see #21), here is a list of 40 positive things about being 40.

1. 40 is the new 30.

2. Actually, 40 is the new 20.

3. But then again, you’ll be glad you aren’t 20 anymore.

4. You’ll probably hear “wow, you look great for your age” more and more.
5. Chances are, your days of having to deal with what to do with your hair are numbered.
6. Your tastes are set in stone, and that’s a good thing — no more wondering if it’s “cool” to like such and such movie, song or TV show.
7. Bedtime is something you really, really look forward to — almost as much as you used to look forward to going out with friends.

8. You’ve earned your crow’s feet and laugh lines.
9. The “kids” in your life (either your children, nieces, nephews, etc.) are getting old enough to do real chores.

“Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research.”

 – Carl G. Jung

10. People take you more seriously — with age comes experience, and with experience comes respect.  Theoretically, that is how it should work.
11. Some things really do get better with age — like wine and your choice in whom you spend your time with.

12. If your clothes start to get tight .. chances are you’ll rather buy new ones that try to shrink back into your old ones.

13. You don’t let the haters get to you.

14. But if they do, you don’t let it get you down too long.

15. If you haven’t done that big thing you’ve been avoiding by now, you probably won’t — and that’s ok.
16. You can say “when I was your age” with authority and people will listen.
17. If you aren’t up on the “cool thing,” people will understand. You rejoice in your non-coolness!
18. A “mental health” vacation day is no longer a luxury — it’s a necessity.

19. Spending $100 dollars on a household appliance finally seems reasonable.
20. The repertoire of movies, TV shows, songs and maybe even books you can quote is pretty lengthy, which impresses your younger friends to no end.
21. But if you can’t remember your favorite line from your favorite movie, blaming memory loss due to age is acceptable.

At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.

– Ann Landers

22. Forgiving others is easier because in all likelihood you’ve made the mistakes they have at this point. Forgiveness is much easier when you realize we all make bad choices sometimes.

23. Your priorities are probably a little more in order than they were in your thirties (no, you don’t need to spend half a week’s paycheck on buying anything consumable).

24. In fact, money management is something you’ve learned a thing or two about — or as Erica Diamond of Women on The Fence puts it, don’t “spend next week’s paycheck”.

25. You’re saving money you used to spend on going out because you know the way you’ll feel in the morning isn’t worth it … and you’d rather sleep.
26. Same goes for the fancy coffee drinks — isn’t a nice staycation in the Spring worth forgoing a month’s worth of frozen foofy sweet beverages?

27. When people say something unkind, you have a thicker skin … and a larger repertoire of witty retorts.

28. You also realize unkind people are probably worse off than you.

29.  True friends and family will really bring their A-game if/when you need them.

30. But you also can feel totally fine having to rely on yourself to solve the problems at hand.

At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty the wit; at forty the judgment.

– Benjamin Franklin

31. “Fear of missing out” has been replaced by “Fear of missing an awesome night watching TV.”

32. You know the sheer joy of taking off your work clothes at the end of a long day and getting in your comfy clothes.

33. You’re comfortable saying “because I said so,” because you’ve learned your instincts are usually right, even if it angers someone.

34. You’re comfortable waiting out that adult tantrum when you’ve said “because I said so” because you know this, too, shall pass.

35. You’re also okay with occasionally handing over a “verbal victory” to keep them from throwing that tantrum in the first place. Everything in moderation.

We don’t understand life any better at forty than at twenty, but we know it and admit it.

– Jules Renard

36. “Everything in moderation” is your motto and it’s been good to you.

37. Though sometimes mottos are meant to be broken, and you know that’s okay, too.

38.  You are much more appreciative of the family and friends that you have surrounding you and grateful for each day with them.  For … nothing lasts forever.

39.  … I forgot what this one was supposed to be.  See, a few hours in and it is already an epidemic.

40.  The most important thing that nobody tells you about your 40s is this: You are who you are, and probably, who you’re going to be.  Although, it is never too late to make a change.

There.  I feel much better about turning 40.  Thanks.  I needed that.

 

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Me and my sister, Michele in 1978

 

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Things You Didn’t Know …

A few bits-n-bobs about me … feel free to skip to the end if you’re not in a #gameon type mood.

Things About Me … Part 4

1. The TV show(s) I never miss is… Game of Thrones, NCIS, Blindspot, Blacklist, Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Big Bang Theory, House of Cards, Sense8, Peaky Blinders, Penny Dreadful … I’m am Netflix Codependent!

2. The most memorable thing I have ever seen is… I have seen many things in my short time on Earth, but highest regard is held for my witnessing the beginning of a life, and the end of a life. That is a rare and special moment.

3. My favorite comfort food is… Pizza. “Good” Pizza.

4. The thing that embarrassed me most in my life is… My ineptitude to budget and save money.

5. If I could do one thing over, it would be… I would go back and reiterate to my younger self the importance of never giving up on anything.

6. The best gift I have ever received was… love from family and friends.

7. The place I would most like to visit/revisit is… Glasgow, Scotland

8. The one thing I always wanted to learn how to do is… Fly a commercial plane

9. The coolest thing I ever purchased for myself was… my many cameras, which fueled my love for photography

10. If I could design a perfect day, it would be spent… traveling abroad

11. The person(s) I would most like to meet, living or dead, is/are… my grandparents that died before I had the chance to meet them.

12. I feel my best ability is… my ability to fake it till I make it. Persistence is key.

13. The thing people always think about me that is wrong is… I don’t always like being around people. I do have my limits too.

14. If I could be reincarnated I would come back as…. Myself. Why would I want to be anyone else?

15. My worst bad habit is … PROCRASTINATION

16. I have a secret desire to… wanting to be a Traveling Tour Guide/Director

17. If I had 100 million dollars that I had to spend in one day, I would… Give the majority of it away to my family and friends who need it, and then I would make sure to book flights so I could travel for the remainder of my life.

18. My favorite animal is… Hmmm, that’s a hard one. My cat, Bella, would expect me to say her … but I think baby goats are adorable too.

19. The best movie I ever saw… THE GOONIES, duh! Life hasn’t been the same since that day in 1985. 😉

20. The most important thing I hope to achieve in my lifetime… to love unconditionally, and to be lovable in return. After all, as human beings, love is our greatest gift to give.

21. One of the biggest “YES!” moments in my life so far, is when I…

Wow, there have been several. Was able to move home to see my family, was able to stand atop the Great Wall of China, was able to walk the streets of Venice, Italy and visit the Vatican, was able to teach others the lifesaving skills of CPR and First Aid.

I have been Blessed with many great things in my life, and no matter what challenges rear their ugly heads, weekly it seems, I am eternally grateful for the Blessings I have had and continue to have.

What about you? Do you have a few moments to share your list with everyone?

Have a great day!

Choices. Decide. Live.

A desire for change and advice given by those whom it was solicited are directly reflected in what you are about to literarily consume.  It is my hope that you, if finding yourself with a similar set of circumstances, will find the “stuff” contained within this little ditty helpful and of a guiding nature. 

Live for you. Make choices for you. Make decisions for you. When someone tells you that “You’ve changed.” They are saying that you have stopped living your life the way THEY think you should be living or want you to live. Strive for Change. Be the Change.

Everything we do in life is a choice, and I think most of us realize that, but what most people don’t seem to realize is that everything we don’t do in life is also a choice.  Every day we choose to do some things and to not do other things.  Sometimes choosing not to do something is the wisest choice.  However, there is a huge difference between choosing not to do something and choosing to do nothing.  Most people would like to change their life in one way or another.  How about you? Are there areas of your life that you would like to change?

What is stopping you?

Anytime you want to, you can change your life, but just wanting to change is not enough. You must make a choice to change.  Doing nothing and wishing things would change is the course most people choose. Consequently, nothing ever changes.  The thought of having a different life, or a different quality of life, is very appealing to most people. It’s easy to imagine being in better physical condition, having a more rewarding career, and enjoying more meaningful relationships, but only pretending doesn’t get the job done, does it?

Obviously, more is required

We have all created our present situation by the choices we made in the past.  If we chose to do nothing, then our situation reflects that.  Recognizing that we live in a world of our own creation means that we are responsible.  If we don’t like our life the way it is, then we are the ones responsible for making changes.

Does the thought of change make you feel uncomfortable?

One of the most common reasons why people are uncomfortable with change is because they haven’t yet accepted full responsibility.  For some reason, it seems to be a natural tendency to shrink away from responsibility.  This kind of mindset creates a sense of helplessness.  It means that we are looking for change outside of ourselves. We may look to our friends and family to make us happy, or we may look to our careers to make us feel fulfilled. In a situation like this, if things don’t turn out the way we want, we tend to blame our friends, family or our careers.

No one else can make you happy, that’s up to you

No career or other person can bring you satisfaction if you are dissatisfied with yourself.

Here are 10 feelings that we are each responsible for:
1) Happy or unhappy

2) Fulfilled or unfulfilled
3) Satisfied or dissatisfied
4) Encouraged or discouraged
5) Loved or unloved
6) Worthy or unworthy
7) Approved of, or disapproved of
8) Deserving or undeserving
9) Grateful or ungrateful
10) Secure or insecure

Look at this list and ask yourself, “Have I personally taken responsibility for these feelings in my life?” If you find that you are still looking to outside sources, such as family, friends or your career, then perhaps it’s time to accept personal responsibility.

Liberate yourself:

Accepting responsibility is actually a very liberating experience. Once we recognize that we are the ones in control, it makes life much simpler.  Granted, we can’t always control what goes on around us, any more than we can control the weather. So what can we control?

The point is, once you make a choice, there is always a way to follow through. The hardest thing is often just making the choice to get started. You have an enormous amount of power to control the quality of your life. Don’t settle for doing nothing.

It all starts with a choice.  A decision.

Make a choice to have the life you want.

Choose a place to start working on it.

Make a choice to get started today.

Until next time…

(*Thanks are in order for Jon P. for sharing his vast knowledge, brainstorming, and advice for this little ditty.)

Bucket List of the Top Have You Done/Experienced? …

The following are things on the “Bucket List” of Life. 👍 indicates something checked off of the “Bucket List”. How do you measure up?

Fired a Gun 👍

Gone on a blind date 👍

Skipped school 👍

Watched someone give birth👍

Watched someone die 👍

Visited Canada 👍

Visited Hawaii 👍

Visited Las Vegas 👍

Visited Asia👍

Visited Africa

Visited Florida 👍

Visited Mexico 👍

Visited Australia 👍

Seen the Grand Canyon in person👍

Flown in a helicopter 👍

Served on a jury 👍

Visited L.A 👍

Been to New York City 👍

Cried yourself to sleep 👍

Recently colored with pencils 👍

Sang karaoke 👍

Paid for a meal with coins only 👍 Made prank phone calls 👍

Laughed so much you cried 👍👍

Caught a snowflake on your tongue 👍

Had children

Had a pet 👍

Been skinny dipping 👍

Rapelled down a building or cliff

Been downhill skiing

Been water skiing 👍

Been camping in a tent 👍

Driven a motorcycle

Jumped out of a plane

Gone to a drive-in movie 👍

Done something that could have killed you 👍

Done something that you will regret for the rest of your life 👍

Rode an elephant 👍

Rode a camel 👍🏽

Eaten just cookies or cake or ice cream for dinner 👍

Been on TV👍

Been in newspapers 👍

Stolen any traffic signs 👍

Been in a car accident 👍

Stayed in Hospital 👍

Donated blood 👍

Had to pay a fine in the past 12 months

Gotten a piercing

Gotten a tattoo

Driven a standard car 👍

Ever owned your dream car

Been Married

Been divorced

Fell in love 👍

Paid for a strangers meal 👍

Driven over 100mph 👍

Worked in a pub

Been scuba diving 👍👍

Found a dead body 👍

Lived on your own 👍

See, aren’t you glad you know more about me … Hee Hee Hee 😜🤪😝😎

Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse, Snowzilla … Take Your Pick

Winter Storm Xanto Spreading a Snowy, Icy Mess from the Upper Midwest to the Great Lakes and Interior Northeast

According to the National Weather Service, Winter Storm Xanto (pronounced ZAN-toe) will continue to bring snow, freezing rain and strong winds from the upper Midwest to the Great Lakes and interior Northeast all the way into Monday.

Xanto has officially brought 12.9 inches of snow to Minneapolis/St. Paul, making it the third heaviest April snowstorm on record there. If the storm total rises above 13.6 inches, Xanto would be the heaviest April snowstorm on record in the Twin Cities. The National Weather Service in Minneapolis/St. Paul has called this storm historic for mid-April in their area.

Timing the Snow

Sunday

• Snow, possibly heavy, along with strong winds, will persist in parts of the upper Midwest, particularly, the northern Great Lakes.

• Bursts of lighter snow may pivot through parts of Missouri and Illinois, as well.

• Snow, sleet and/or freezing rain will persist in a band from Lower Michigan to upstate New York and New England. Some of these areas may see precipitation transition to rain, at some point.

Monday

• Snow or rain mixed with snow will continue in Michigan, Wisconsin, northeast Ilinois, Indiana and Ohio. Some snow may spread as far south as eastern Kentucky.

• Ice or snow changing to rain may linger in northern New England.

• Any additional accumulations in the above mentioned areas on Monday will be light.

How Much Snow and Ice?

The heaviest additional snow is expected in northern Wisconsin and upper Michigan where accumulations of more than a foot are possible.

The weight of snow coupled with high winds may lead to some tree damage and power outages, as well.

Typical for spring snow, warmer ground temperatures and compaction of snow piling on top may mean less snow may be on the ground, particularly on streets, than is forecast in our snowfall forecast.

Additional ice accumulations of a tenth to a quarter inch are possible from lower Michigan into New York and interior New England. The ice could lead to some tree damage, power outages and slick travel.

Snowfall Reports

Here are the top snowfall and ice accretion totals by state, as of Sunday morning:

Snowfall Reports

• Iowa: 14 inches in Ringsted; 4.7 inches in Sioux City

• Kansas: 5 inches in Bird City; 3.2 inches near Goodland

• Michigan: 17 inches in Boyne Falls and Elmira

• Minnesota: 19 inches in Canby; 12.9 inches at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport

• South Dakota: 20 inches near Okreek and Winner; 15 inches in Huron; 13.7 inches in Sioux Falls

• Wisconsin: 24.1 inches in Tigerton; 11 inches in Green Bay; 8 inches in Eau Claire

Xanto Recap

Winter Storm Xanto dropped into the Northwestern United States on April 11th as a strong mid- to upper level jet stream disturbance. This disturbance crossed the northern and central Rockies the following day before becoming a strong surface low pressure system in Kansas and Nebraska on Fri, Apr. 13. The sluggish strong low pressure system continues to batter the Midwest and central Plains as of midday, Apr. 14 without much eastward progression.

Plains/Midwest – April 13-14

Thundersnow and snowfall rates up to 3 inches per hour were reported in South Dakota and western Nebraska. Blizzard and near-blizzard conditions from eastern Colorado, much of Nebraska, much of South Dakota and parts of southwestern Minnesota. Blizzard warnings were issued for parts of six states: South Dakota, Colorado Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota.

Use extreme caution if travel is necessary, as NO TRAVEL IS ADVISED in most of the region.

Celebrating Vietnam Veterans

It’s Thursday … and the 115th Congress (2017-2018) through the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 has deemed today, Vietnam Veterans Day!

When U.S. veterans returned home from serving in Vietnam, many were spat on, called filthy names and some reported being physically assaulted.

That was a tragic period in our history driven by people’s perceptions of the war. Fortunately, as a people, that mindset is behind us now. And I hope and I believe we’ve gotten to a place where the American people realize how much we really should be grateful to the men and the women who served this country in Vietnam during that very, very difficult time.

More than 42 years later, veterans near and far are being recognized for their military service as part of National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

I have always had the greatest respect and admiration for ALL members of our military, active or retired and especially those that gave their all to defend this democracy we live among.

To all the Veteran’s of the Vietnam Era (including my Dad), I can only offer you my thanks, respect and gratitude.

Have a great Thursday and be sure to celebrate a Vietnam Vet today!

Behold, for it is The Ides of March

Happy Thursday, friends!

It is March 15th, which happens to be the “Ides of March”. You’ve no doubt heard of Caesar … the person, not the salad dressing … well, believe it or not, it’s all about backstabbing politicians. 😉

“Beware the ides of March” was famously scribbled by William Shakespeare in his play “Julius Caesar” as the ominous warning given by a soothsayer to the soon-to-be ex-Roman emperor as he made his way to the Capitol that fateful day in 44 BC. And although good old Bill probably thought it was far from a throwaway line, even the great poet and playwright could not have imagined the life it’s taken on the 500 years since.

Not only did Shakespeare’s words stick, they branded the phrase with a dark and gloomy connotation that will forever make people uncomfortable. It’s probable that many people who use the phrase today don’t know it’s true origin. In fact, just about every pop culture reference to the Ides—save for those appearing in actual history-based books, movies or television specials—makes it seem like the day itself is cursed.

Did the death of Caesar curse the day, or was it just Shakespeare’s mastery of language that forever darkened an otherwise normal box on the calendar? If you look through history, you can certainly find enough horrible things that happened on March 15, but is it a case of life imitating art? Or art imitating life?

Perhaps it was Julius Caesar himself (and not the famous dramatist) who caused all the drama. After all, he’s the one who uprooted Rome’s New Year celebration from their traditional March 15 date and moved it to January…just two years before he was betrayed and butchered by members of the Roman senate.

WHAT? Backstabbing Politicians? FOR SHAME! 🔪🗡⚔️🛡

BIG Person … Small Plane.

*steps on soapbox*

The fact that an article like this even has to be written in this day and age, just goes to show how increasingly rude, cruel and inhuman this free society we live in has become. Failure to evolve as a race is NOT progress.

Having traveled outside the “United” States, it is apparent that we are living in an increasingly foul cesspool in our country, and it’s embarrassing.

It is every citizen’s responsibility to be a decent human being.

*steps down off soapbox*

What it’s like to be that fat person sitting next to you on the plane.

My breath tightens immediately when the call comes. It’s my boss’s boss, telling me there’s an important meeting in another city. Or maybe it’s a friend, inviting me to her wedding in California. Sometimes, it is a family member whose health is failing, and the time has come to say goodbye.

The news hits hard — it’s a high-pressure time for my job, friend, family. My heart is pounding and my breath is tightening. I close my eyes, feel my feet on the ground and my breath in my throat, trying desperately to avoid the embarrassment of a full-blown panic attack at work.

I will have to get on a plane. And I am fat.

There is a common trope about this very situation, shown frequently on TV, in illustrations, in casually irritated conversation. Fat people are shown on planes all the time: loud, obnoxious, elbowing people, taking up space, getting cheetos crumbs all over ourselves and you, our whole existence designed to make you miserable. That caricature doesn’t just hurt when I see it — I crumble under its weight. I am a confident woman with wonderful friends, like you, and a fantastic job. But when I see that caricature of who I’m expected to be, I crumple, sinking so quickly into a wave of depression and alienation. It couldn’t be further from my experience.

There’s so much that happens before I even buy a ticket. I research policies, because every airline has one now for “passengers of size.” All of them include the possibility that I will be charged double, or denied a seat on the plane on the day of the flight, leaving me to explain to my boss, partner, friend, family why they won’t be seeing me this week.

Southwest famously let director Kevin Smith board, then publicly escorted him off the plane for looking too fat for his seat. United will refuse to board you unless you agree to purchase an additional ticket at the day-of price, and who has $600 to spare? I check first class prices, where seats are slightly wider and put me at less risk of passenger complaints. $1000. I move on.

JetBlue doesn’t have a policy — which means it is the most unsafe of all. I flash back to my last flight on JetBlue, when a passenger loudly complained to a flight attendant while I sat next to him, about how he couldn’t be expected to travel like this. She moved him to another seat, switching with another passenger. She wouldn’t make eye contact with me for the entire flight. Neither would the other passengers in my row. I was so big, and so invisible. This could happen again. I blink back tears.

The anxiety doesn’t subside once I buy a ticket — it distills, intensifying for weeks leading up to the flight. I think about how to eliminate every other stressor. Passengers hate it when someone takes too long loading their bag into the overhead compartments. I pay to check a bag, so that my fellow passengers won’t have any additional reasons to complain about me.

I practice how I will sit on the plane, pushing my body against the cabin wall, one arm holding the other firmly over my chest, so that I will make no physical contact with the person sitting next to me. I bring mints, so I won’t need anything to drink, so that the flight attendant won’t have to reach across the row for the fat person. I research whether the airports I’ll pass through have a history of confiscating seat belt extenders. If I bring my own, I’ll be spared the white hot spotlight of asking the flight attendant for one.

In the days before the flight, friends tell me I seem distant. A few of my closest friends know that this means I am getting on an airplane. They get quiet, uncertain of what to say or do. The night before the flight, my best friend and I get drinks at a neighborhood bar. Normally, we speak boisterously, laughing uproariously and making friends with other patrons at the bar. Tonight, we don’t say much. Our happy hour ends quickly, and we silently walk home.

I don’t sleep that night. At 1:30 am, I think about everything I’ve been doing to get healthy. Last month, the doctor said my blood pressure was good, and that I had a healthier exercise regimen than most of the patients she sees. She couldn’t figure out why I was still fat. Neither could I. For nearly a week afterward, I felt inexplicably sad. At 3 am, I fantasize about what could happen to spare me from the humiliation that feels destined to happen. Maybe if I wear two layers of spanx, which itch and hurt. Maybe if there’s a surprise snowstorm. Maybe if I start throwing up.

Then, in the morning, the airport. The nervous fumbling at security. The uncomfortable lean against the wall at the gate. Scanning other passengers’ faces. Who is friendly? Who else is fat? Is their face knit into knots of worry and hurt? Is mine? I run to the bathroom, lock myself in a stall, and will myself not to vomit.

Boarding begins. I line up first, not because I am impatient, but because I’ve selected a window seat, and I want to be settled before anyone else in my row. If I have to step past them, I will hear the familiar, belabored, disdainful sigh. The throat cleared, the muffled groan. These are the sounds of my body being seen in public.

I get on the plane, get into my seat, fix my eyes on the baggage handlers below, and avoid interacting with anyone unless they address me first. I grasp my arm and cross my ankles, making my fat body as small as possible. I have carefully observed what makes other passengers snap at fat passengers, roll their eyes, complain to staff. For me, these are inviolable norms.

Someone pulls out their phone as they pass. I remember the countless, surreptitiously filmed youtube videos of fat passengers on planes with titles like “Gross Obese Fat People on planes overweight” and “fat man slobbering on airplane, sleeping, snoring, drooling” and “BAN DISGUSTING FATASSES.” I make myself smaller still, doing my best impression of a calm person. There’s nothing to see here. Move along.

When the flight takes off, I realize that I’ve done something terrifying, impossible and ordinary— I have boarded a plane. This time, I won’t have to pay for a second seat, blink back tears in my seat, be escorted from the plane. I’ll arrive.

I understand why all of my fellow passengers are on edge. Because everyone is uncomfortable in airplanes. They’re designed to fit as many people as possible — which doesn’t lead to comfortable seats for anyone. Flying is costly, uncomfortable, stressful. Bags get heavy; flights get cancelled; relationships get strained. No one, it seems, is having a good time. And at the peak of all that stress — boarding the plane — the person my fellow passengers see is me. Rather than being a compatriot, stuck in the same frustrating, uncomfortable situation, I become a scapegoat for all that frustration. I become the other.

In that way, air travel is sadly familiar, a microcosm of what happens so often as a fat person. I am watched — and judged harshly — as I try — and fail — to fit into a space that was made for someone else. I am always too big, always too much, always unacceptable. I must make myself smaller and smaller, reducing and reducing endlessly, my stubborn body resisting at every turn. Still, I am never quite small enough to make anyone else comfortable.

Before the flight lands, I begin thinking of the return flight. I try to be present with friends & family, try to prep for my work meeting. I use every tool I’ve got to manage my anxiety, my butterfly beating heart and shallow breath and tight shoulders. Despite that, I don’t sleep soundly for days.

[yrfatfriend on Facebook]

Rules to Live By …

1. Never shake a person’s hand sitting down.

2. Don’t enter a pool by the stairs.

3. The man at the BBQ Grill is the closest thing to a king.

4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer.

5. Request the late check-out.

6. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.

7. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.

8. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.

9. Play with passion or not at all…

10. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look them in the eye.

11. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.

12. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.

13. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for another.

14. When you marry someone, you marry their whole family.

15. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.

16. Experience the serenity of traveling alone.

17. Never be afraid to ask out the best looking person in the room.

18. Never turn down a breath mint.

19. A sport coat is worth 1000 words.

20. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising it.

21. Always thank veterans.

22. Eat lunch with the new kid.

23. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.

24. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.

25. Manners maketh the person.

26. Give credit. Take the blame.

27. Stand up to Bullies. Protect those who are bullied.

28. Write down your dreams.

29. Always protect your siblings (and teammates).

30. Be confident and humble at the same time.

31. Call and visit your parents often. They miss you.

[Rules adapted from: “whatgirlswant” on Tumblr]

The Haircut

Happy Sunday, friends! Today … a story: The Haircut

One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, “I cannot accept money from you, I’m doing community service this week.”

The florist was pleased and left the shop. When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a police officer came in for a haircut, and when he tried to pay his bill, the barber again replied, “I cannot accept money from you, I’m doing community service this week.”

The police officer was very happy and left the shop. The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Then a congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill, the barber again replied, “I cannot accept money from you, I’m doing community service this week.”

The congressman was elated and left the shop. The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen other congressmen lined up, waiting for their free haircut.

… and that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our great country and the politicians at the helm.

There is complete truth in the saying: BOTH POLITICIANS AND DIAPERS NEED TO BE CHANGED OFTEN AND FOR THE SAME REASON.

Have a great Sunday!

Love Has It’s Day …

Happy Wednesday, and what happens to be the day devoted to LOVE!

As a human, it is difficult for me to comprehend why hate, violence and divisiveness continue to be so visible in the world, yet our seemingly inherent ability to be compassionate, kind and to love each other, falls to the wayside.

As we struggle to define love, the ancient Greeks seemed to have no problem at all defining multiple kinds of love.

I think we all go through each stage at one point, but if you want a better definition of the kind of love you give or the kind of love you seek, here are the seven kinds of love according to the ancient Greeks.

1. Eros: Love of the body

Eros was the Greek God of love and sexual desire. He was shooting golden arrows into the hearts of both mortals and immortals without warning. The Greeks feared that kind of love the most because it was dangerous and could get them into the most trouble. Eros is defined as divine beauty or lust. Eros is mainly based on sexual attraction and it is where the term “erotica” came from.

2. Philia: Love of the mind

Also know as brotherly love, Philia represents the sincere and platonic love. The kind of love you have for your brother or a really good friend. It was more valuable and more cherished than Eros. Philia exists when people share the same values and dispositions with someone and the feelings are reciprocated.

3. Ludus: Playful love

Ludus is the flirtatious and teasing kind of love, the love mostly accompanied by dancing or laughter. It’s the child-like and fun kind of love. If you think about it; this generation loves Ludus more than anything else.

4. Pragma: Longstanding love

The everlasting love between a married couple which develops over a long period of time. Pragma was the highest form of love; the true commitment that comes from understanding, compromise and tolerance. It is pragmatic this is why it is referred to as “standing in love” rather than “falling in love” because it grows over time and requires profound understanding between lovers who have been together for many years.

5. Agape: Love of the soul

It is the selfless kind of love, the love for humanity. It is the closest to unconditional love. The love you give without expecting anything in return reflected in all charitable acts. It is the compassionate love that makes us sympathize with, help and connect to people we don’t know. The world needs more Agape.

6. Philautia: Love of the self

The ancient Greeks divided Philautia into two kinds: There is one that is pure selfish and seeks pleasure, fame, and wealth often leading to narcissism and there is another healthy kind of love we give ourselves. Philautia is essential for any relationship, we can only love others if we truly love ourselves and we can only care for others if we truly care for ourselves.

7. Storge: Love of the child

This is the love parents naturally feel for their children. It’s based on natural feelings and effortless love. Storge is the love that knows forgiveness, acceptance and sacrifice. It is the one that makes you feel secure, comfortable and safe.

Defining love can help us discover which kind we need to give more of and which kind we want to receive. If we incorporate Eros, Ludus & Pragma into our relationships and Agape, Philia and Storge into our lives, we will reach Philautia and live a happier life.

I love all of you, and am thankful for having you in my life … even if it’s only ONLINE.

Happy Valentine’s Day! 😘😍

Remembering Elie

(Cover Image: The infamous Arbeit Macht Frei sign at the entrance to the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland.  The wrought iron sign displaying Adolf Hitler’s twisted belief that “[Hard] Work Sets You Free”.)

Remembering International Holocaust Remembrance Day, also known as Auschwitz Liberation Day, which commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.

“It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.” ~ Elie Wiesel

Out of the hundreds of thousands of human-beings mercilessly slaughtered during the tyrannical reign of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s of Germany, today I am going to share the story of Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel, KBE … a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and graceful Holocaust survivor.

Today, we remember Mr. Elie Wiesel.

800px-Eli_wiesel_house_in_sighet01
The house where Elie Wiesel was born

In March 1944, Germany occupied Hungary which extended the Holocaust into that country.  At that time, a 15-year-old Elie Wiesel and his family, along with the rest of the town’s Jewish population were placed in one of two confinement ghettos set up in Máramarossziget (Sighet), the town where he had been born and raised.

 

 

In May 1944, the Hungarian authorities, under German pressure, began to deport the Jewish community to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where up to 90 percent of the people were exterminated on arrival.  Elie was 11 when the Second World War broke out and 15 when he was sent to Auschwitz

“Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his creatures; peace is our gift to each other.” ~ Elie Wiesel

Immediately after they were sent to Auschwitz, his mother and his younger sister were exterminated.  Elie and his father were selected to perform labor so long as they remained able-bodied, after which they were also to be killed in the “showers” (gas chamber).

Elie-Wiesel
“For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile.”         ~ Elie Wiesel

 

Wiesel and his father were later deported to the concentration camp at Buchenwald. Until that transfer, he admits that his primary motivation for trying to survive Auschwitz was knowing that his father was still alive: “I knew that if I died, he would die.”  After they were taken to Buchenwald, his father died before the camp was liberated.  In his best-selling novel, “Night”, Wiesel recalls the shame he felt when he heard his father being beaten and was unable to help him.

Wiesel’s tattooed body was forever marked with inmate number “A-7713” on his left arm, as a horrid, constant reminder of the suffering and atrocities thrust upon Elie and the world.

The camp was liberated by the U.S. Third Army on April 11, 1945, when they were just prepared to be evacuated from Buchenwald.

Buchenwald_Slave_Laborers_Liberation
Jewish slave laborers in the Buchenwald concentration camp near Jena, Germany.                   (April 16, 1945)

Elie Wiesel wrote 57 books in all and was the subject of countless other books dealing with his reflections and experience both during the Holocaust and about racial prejudice and intolerance in general.

Dalai_Lama_and_Bush_welcome_Elie_Wiesel_(2007)
President George W. Bush, joined by The Dalai Lama, welcomes Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007, to the ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., for the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal to The Dalai Lama.

For the decade after the War ended, Wiesel refused to speak or write about his Holocaust experiences.  He was consistently encouraged to tell his inspiring story by other writers.  Finally giving in, Elie unexpectedly opened the door to emotional, mental and physical healing.  His ability to bear testimony on the horrific events of the Holocaust so eloquently was one of the reasons efforts to erect the Holocaust Memorial succeeded so quickly.  Probably the greatest testimony to his life will be the thousands of young people that he educated and enlighted during a glittering academic career in the United States.

More than any other person on the planet, he drew the attention of the world to the Holocaust.  He acted out its lessons all his life: he won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1986; he wrote copiously about the Holocaust; he campaigned for the establishment of the Holocaust Memorial in Washington; he was a social activist and an anti-Apartheid campaigner.  He is also one of few Americans to have received an Honorary Knighthood and in 1985,  Wiesel received the Congressional Gold Medal.

Holocaust survivor, human rights defender and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel – died on July 2nd, 2016 at his home in Manhattan.  He was 87-years-old.

“What else could one do having gone through certain events? I believe a human being – if he or she wants to remain human, then he or she must do something with what we have seen, endured, witnessed. I mean naturally the human being wants to forget pain.”  ~ Elie Wiesel

2018 U. S. Government Shutdown

Dear Federal Elected Officials:

As a Minnesotan and a fellow American, this shutdown is inexcusable and the finger-pointing needs to STOP. This is yet another reason you all need to be out of a job come re-election. The saying that goes “diapers and politicians need to be changed often and for the same reason” has truth ringing to it.

This situation is disrespectful to the American people, disgraceful on the world stage and unforgivable to those depending on bipartisan compromise when it comes to safety, health & well-being and immigration reform.

Get your act together, come to the realization that you are not in Washington to serve yourselves and your personal agendas … you are there for We the People.

You owe a solution to the American people.

Get to work!

We The People …

My fellow Americans … I don’t get political often, but when I do, you know I’m forlorn…

WE THE PEOPLE … WE ARE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

ONE MAN should not be allowed not the love I have for this country. ONE MAN should not be allowed to change the love I have for my fellow citizens. ONE MAN should not be allowed to change my belief in kindness and equality for all. ONE MAN should not be allowed to change decades of progress for this and in this country … progress that is multifaceted, change that is inclusive and breaks down barriers, instead of building WALLS. ONE MAN should not be allowed to cause the downfall of our GREAT NATION.

WE THE PEOPLE … WE MUST ENSURE PROGRESS CONTINUES.

WE THE PEOPLE … WE MUST ENSURE KINDNESS AND LOVE WINS OVER HATE AND FEAR.

WE THE PEOPLE … WE MUST BE HYPER-VIGILANT IN REGARD TO ENSURING THIS REMAINS OUR COUNTRY. EXPRESSING OUR COLLECTIVE VIEWS. TAKING ACTION TO KEEP ONE MAN FROM CHANGING THE WORLDS VIEW OF US.

WE THE PEOPLE .. WE MUST REMAIN ENGAGED IN THE PROCESS, NEVER RELENTING FOR A SECOND.

WE THE PEOPLE … WE MUST MOVE FORWARD, TOGETHER. TOWARD OUR FUTURE.

Fascism is not our future—it cannot be; we cannot allow it to be so—but this is surely the way fascism can begin.

WE THE PEOPLE … WE MUST … WE ABSOLUTELY MUST. IT IS A HEAVY RESPONSIBILITY THAT RESTS ON ALL OF OUR SHOULDERS.

WE ARE THE PEOPLE …

Bidding 2017 Adieu …

Happy New Year’s Eve, friends!
Another year will soon begin and with it, new hopes, dreams, and aspirations – a beckoning desire that sprouts in every human heart that speaks of all the happiness, prosperity and goodness to come.

The year past may have shown a dark state of affairs around the world with stories of war, tragedy, and failures of humanity, never ceasing to seize the world’s attention.
But the excitement of a new year also brings with it an anticipation of a better future. This is one real moment that will touch the very fabrics of all human emotions that entails not only hope but a reason to keep smiling and living life as it unfolds.
“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties”.– Helen Keller
To all who have shuffled off this mortal coil this year, and to those that have gone before them … we strive to carry on and make the world all that they ever dreamt it could be.

The Harbor in Sydney, Australia – New Year’s 2018 (07:00 CST 12/31/2017)

“I wish you enough …”

Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter’s departure had been announced. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said: “I love you and I wish you enough.  The daughter replied, “Mom, our life together has been more than enough.  Your love is all I ever needed.  I wish you enough, too, Mom.”  They kissed and the daughter left.
The mother walked over to the window where I sat.  Standing there, I could see she began to cry.  I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?” “Yes, I have,” I replied. “Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever good-bye?” “I am old and she lives so far away.  I have challenges ahead and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral,” she said.

” … to love another person is to see the face of God.”
When you were saying goodbye, I heard you say, “I wish you enough.” May I ask what that means?”  She began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down through generations.  My parents used to say it to everyone.” She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more. “When we said ‘I wish you enough’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them”.
Then turning toward me, she shared the following, reciting it from memory …
“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess,
and I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.”
She then began to cry and walked away.  They say it takes a minute to find a special person. An hour to appreciate them. A day to love them. And an entire life to forget them.

Wishing you ‘enough’ in the New Year!

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