Attitude Of Gratitude

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This is a really tough time of year for a lot of people. It often feels like the last ditch effort of the previous year to send a bunch of us off the proverbial cliff. Depression, for many of us, drains our energy and reminds us of the people we’ve lost. Others feel lonely and abandoned, less than. Excluded. This year, on the heels of the most divisive elections and the most intense seasons of ugliness, I’m choosing to “act as if” my life is bliss and just see what happens.

The only other thing that works for me is a gratitude list. It has the ability to quiet the damaging tornado winds of criticism and negative self talk, (A.K.A. bullshit) my mind tries to trick me with. So here it is. Feel free to borrow, or steal from this list if you’ve never taken the time to actually create a written list. Committing these thoughts to paper gives them more power than you can imagine, and who doesn’t need more power right now?

  1. My spouse. I am such a lucky girl.
  2. My friends. How could any of us ever manage our lives without the wonderful people      who love and support us even when we are assholes?
  3. My family. Exactly as they are.
  4. My dog. Get one and see.
  5. My Sobriety. I got sober two days before Thanksgiving 28 years ago. That’s a long time without a drink, but I got to live my life rather than die, and that’s an incredible trade off.
  6. My experiences. I am such a lucky girl. Yes, I know I’ve mentioned.
  7. My health. So many people have serious health challenges. Mine is not perfect, but I have nothing to complain about when I see others standing tall despite theirs.
  8. My passion, skills, and talents. Otherwise I’d sit in a closet all day eating stuff that wasn’t good for me rather than writing, growing food, and figuring out where to move next.
  9. My life. I am so over the moon grateful that the Universe took a chance on me. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
  10. Cake. And just like that…bliss.

 

Love, People.

 

 

 

 

 

Granny Is A Hotrod And Why We Should All Chill Behind The Wheel

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When did driving become such a Mad Max movie? I feel like the odds of airbag deployment rise with each venture out of the garage. Let’s face it, the traffic is horrible everywhere. I used to live in Los Angeles, which is gridlock city. Now everywhere looks like L.A.

This is an excerpt from a book I wrote when I lived in the City of Angels. Let’s review these Road Rules, shall we? Surely they won’t apply to anyone reading this, but feel free to print them out, and place them gently on the windshield of the asshole who cut you off at 60mph without so much as the courtesy of a one-blink turn signal. That is, after you’ve followed him into a well-lit parking lot and seen the asshat walk away. (For both open road and city driving)

Road Rules

  1. Please do not text and drive. Other people die when you’re stare at your phone rather than pilot your 2,000-pound weapon.
  1. Leave room to pass safely. Remember the old adage/rule/law about leaving enough room to pass so that the vehicle being passed didn’t have to slow down? Pretend that person you’re preparing to pass is an EX, as in ex-girlfriend, ex-husband etc. Think Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards kind of room. Then, put on your celebrity sunglasses and fly like the wind before cutting back over.
  1. Use a turn signal. They’re not just for dangling bottle openers anymore. They were actually installed to give the poor bastard behind some clue about what you’re up to.
  1. Just drive. This isn’t the time to: Clean out your nose, read the paper, have sex, watch TV or dial up everyone you know because you’re bored. Unless of course, the traffic is completely stopped, in that case, let your conscience be your guide.
  1. Keep food items simple. While it’s true that fast food joints come out with more cup holder chow all the time, there aren’t enough Shout Wipes in the world to handle that 70-mph, In-N-Out burger that imploded on your slacks making you look like a complete slob to everyone who sees you. Just nasty.
  1. Don’t tailgate. If the driver in front of you can’t see your lights in their rearview, you’re way too close, like depending on the speed, maybe up to six car lengths too close. There’s nothing to be gained from ‘drafting.’ If you’re so worried other cars will squeeze in you’re probably too high strung to be driving anyway.
  1. The ‘California or rolling stop,’ isn’t a real thing. Stop, means stop, just like no means no. Otherwise that big, red eight-sided sign would be called a Stoptional.
  1. Try and stay in between the white lines that designate a driving lane. Drifting in and out while texting, or sleeping forces other to pay more attention. Nobody wants to do that.
  1. Don’t throw trash out the window. The planet is in enough trouble without you adding to it.
  1. If you’re still smoking, here’s a consciousness check: just because your window is down and you dangle an arm out, your car still reeks and everyone knows you smoke whether they say so or not. Smoke if you choose to, but take responsibility for it by not throwing your butts out the window.
  1. Don’t make rude gestures. The other day, a granny gave me the bird because I didn’t burn rubber off the light change. If flipping people off has become that mainstream, I’m finished with it. We rebels need some new material. Next thing you know, yuppies will be covered in tattoos. Besides, the chance someone pulls a gun and blows your head off is 1 in 6.*

*Yes, this is a statistic of my own making based on my discovery that one in every six people I meet in any city is completely crazy.

These are just a few things to brush up on before heading out among the masses. Lastly, a thought to consider: Instead of just looking out for number one, if we could all look out for one other person, the chances are, we will all get home safely.

*Disclaimer: I used to drive a taxi, (job#18) so I know about this shit. I hope you can take my word for it.

I’d like to hear your road rules…Holler.

My Disease Is Not Fatal But May Require More Than Magic To Cure

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I love learning about people who are able to turn their passion into vocation and use it to create the life of their dreams. Don’t you? These people have figured out how to find the love and apply it to every, single thing they do. It’s intoxicating, really. One could almost say, magic.

I imagine this must be the case for author Marie Kondo who wrote, “The life-changing magic of tidying up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.” She talks about skipping recess as a child in favor of organizing shelves of books and tidying. While the other kids played, little Marie was already working on a plan that would change the lives of millions of people and her own. The jury however, is still out when it comes to me.

I recently picked up a copy of this book. I was drawn to it for two reasons, A) The title told me it was “Life changing,” and I’m all about changing my life on a regular basis, and B) The hilarity factor. Anyone who knows me very well understands that I am afflicted with a disease coined by those closest to me as, “Flat Surface Disease.”

I’ve been tormented by the sloppies all of my life. I’ve tried every known remedy. I’ve had the “In, Out, and Hold,” basket. (10 points plus a free set of hanging file folders to the person that can remind me which class taught that useless philosophy) File cabinets, boxes, labels, label makers, sharpies, binders, and a variety of other magical organizing accouterments have made their way into my life. And have become resting places for receipts, junk mail, notes, phone numbers and recipes torn from magazine pages. I have my grandmother’s calendars with her notes about the daily weather and who came to visit. She’s been dead since 1979. See a pattern?

I still have hope. A New York Times, #1 bestseller, the book sold 3 million copies according to the little circle on the cover, which is actually printed right on the book so I guess they either stop counting at 3 million or change the announcement circle in the next printing.

Maybe this will be a life-changing book that can at least help me overcome this one malady, although it seems results can vary. People have written to the author to tell her how all kinds of changes have occurred for them after reading her book, everything from weight loss to starting a new business, serious life changing stuff. Kindo practically guarantees it. “If you adopt this approach—The KonMari Method—you’ll never revert to clutter again.” We’ll see. I’ve never walked by an empty flat surface in my life without wanting to use it as a placeholder for something. I’ll let you now how it goes, as soon as I remember which pile I put the book in.

 

 

 

How Social Media Has Added 15 Years To My Life

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Social Media and I have an uneasy relationship. It’s like avoiding your drunk uncle at the family reunion and then discovering he’s the designated burger flipper. If you’re hungry enough you’ll swallow your discomfort, walk up, and say hello.

My job is writing, and if my intention is to share the words I write with anyone other than a few close friends who think I’m clever, I have to put myself out there. What that means anymore is Social Media. It stands as the gateway to my dream.

It’s an avenue I avoided for years, a place reserved for hipsters and the intrinsically cool to share their thoughts and opinions on everything from cat videos to the current political clusterfuck. Not the place for someone like me—holed up at home hour after hour engaged in what I think is serious writing.

I used to scoff at friends obsessed with constantly checking their Facebook page. And let’s face it, me sending a tweet is as effective as shooting a message into space via potato gun, then sitting at the Very Large Array (VLA) and waiting to see if there’s been contact from another life form, i.e. hipsters and the intrinsically cool.

But here’s the thing about Social Media. I got involved, surfed the learning curve; I posted and tweeted. And my self-esteem walked itself back 15 years. I don’t mean my crow’s feet lessened and my body leaned up. I mean there’s nothing like someone calling what you felt was a clever reply to a post, stupid. Nothing smashes someone’s self-esteem to smithereens, like being called stupid. It pushes every button we have, and most of us have a stupid button among the others residing near our fragile egos.

Twitter. How cool, I thought, to follow writers whose books you’ve studied every word of, or comedians and celebrities you admire. You can actually send them a Tweet! And just like in real life, they live in one world, the rest of us in another. This pretend place will not bring us closer together.

Perhaps I’m playing in the wrong sandbox. (Also, crow’s feet reduction should be a pre-requisite on this crazy play date). Honestly, I don’t think people are as nice as they used to be. I need the Social Media where people encourage and champion each other. The one where I can bounce ideas around, and hear what other people think who don’t have to spit on me when they speak. Please tell me that place exists, and then if you would, kindly send me the directions.

In the mean time, I’m getting younger by the minute doing my job, writing and navigating the gatekeepers to get my words out there, and hope to hell someone will read them. Otherwise I’m headed to the VLA and beaming my shit out into space.

Also, don’t bug me because I’m checking my Twitter and Facebook Page every few minutes to see if anyone’s liked my last post.

5 Things I Learned From Having 55 Jobs

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People look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them you’ve had 55 jobs. Sometimes there’s a sigh and an upturned lip, which I interpret as pity or possibly gas. It’s hard to tell. But finding employment with that many companies, and working with thousands of people provided me with so much more than experience, it made me really good at a lot of things and an expert at falling down and getting up again. Over. And. Over. Again.

Sometimes I’ve felt like an expert at failure, but the truth is, I’m thriving in my life, and that makes all the difference. I spent years in jobs I hated, working in places that didn’t quite fit, and it took a long time to figure out that being miserable was not a requirement of my life. I gave up my limiting beliefs that traditional work was the only thing of value, because that was never what I truly believed.

So here are a few things I learned along the way and if it works for you, Huzzah! That’s great, if not, well, I’m a believer in, take what you need and leave the rest. It’s all about the journey, right?

 

  1. A sense of humor is mandatory.
  2. Show up, not just physically. Be prepared for excellence all around.
  3. Pay attention when people speak to you, from the janitor to the CEO, it makes a   difference. Besides, it’s the janitor’s wife that makes the good burritos and you want one of those, right?
  1. Are you flying the Space Shuttle? Operating on someone’s brain? If not, take a deep breath and tackle things one at a time. The world will turn.
  1. Bring the love. If you’re the boss, you need to lead with love. If you are an employee, bring love to the work you do. Lastly, if you don’t have any love for what you’re doing, consider finding something within your work or elsewhere where your love light can shine. Because we all need the light it creates so we can see ourselves better.

What have you learned about yourself from your job?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sky’s the Limit, People

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Have you ever had a fantasy job you wished you’d have pursued? For me it’s the job of an Air Marshall. I thought it was called Sky Marshall, maybe because I imagined it to be like a western movie in the sky, a new sheriff in town and all, but no. Air Marshall is the correct term.

The title makes the job sound a little more serious than the position I made up in my mind, for instance, according to FederalLawEnforcement.org the following is part of the Defensive Tactics Training: “Trainees must be able to use rapid and coordinated body movements to defend against a physical attack or control an individual. As such, their joints must be flexible and able to withstand force during non-lethal control techniques, Trainees must be able to perform in all course requirements, which may include being thrown, placed in restraints, being taken down.”

Is it me or does this training sound to like getting your ass kicked until you’re almost dead, but not quite dead?

The aircraft tactical training includes this: “All trainees must be able to successfully maintain a kneeling barricade position at least 10 to 15 times during a two-hour session.” WTF? Like those popcorn jumps in spin class that blew my knees to smithereens?

Then there’s a lot of running, weight lifting and other tortures to make sure you’re in top physical condition. And…I’m out.

Granted, I’ve wanted to do a lot of things just to see how the weight loss program worked like, joining the Army for the boot camp workout, or getting a spot on the show, Survivor for the starvation/immunity challenge conditioning program.

Maybe I just want the authority to hold people accountable for reclining their seat into my lap when their hair couldn’t possibly be any greasier, or constantly kicking the back of my seat. Why is it that, the person behind me is always the one sicko on the plane who coughs so hard I can feel the expelled puff of stinky breath on the back of my head? And it never fails that when I’m trapped on a plane, the person in front of me has the foulest gas on the planet. There should be someone available to ticket these people for their breach of sky etiquette. Let’s face it, farting in an enclosed space like an airplane should be a felony.

This is a job for a Sky Marshall, so unlike the rigorous training and inherent danger of an Air Marshall, the former could get free airfare, while they just sort of, monitor things until a citation needed issuing.

The only required skills would be the ability to sleep on a plane and a strong desire to read. Obviously, some tact is involved. Nobody likes to be called out in public for bad behavior. This is why people who make poor eating decisions the night before a flight resulting in a flatulence disaster should just reschedule, because if you’re on my flight, I can’t say what might happen.

How about you? Are you living your dream?