Parallels

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Slept like a baby last night; woke up early feeling relatively refreshed, considering the nagging pain on the bottom of my left heel.  Pushing through the morning walk with Lizzie, I tried not to notice the slow drizzle that was undoubtedly frizzing my hair in record time.  I walked as if it were summer and recounted two conversations held last night.

I could picture his perfectly chiseled face all scrunched up in question, flailing hands in the air, as he emphasized that they just don’t understand what I’m talking about.  I was touched that they cared enough to call and ask, instead of just assuming.  True friends can easily be found extending a gentle hand to pull you out of the fish bowl you’ve been swimming around and around in, getting nowhere fast.  I envisioned them staring at the speaker phone, barely breathing in an effort to hear every word.  In return for the reach, I gave them what they asked for.

Next call was heartfelt and informative.  I could see his deep blue eyes and furrowed brow agonizing over the past two day’s events.  He swayed from confused to adamant.  There’s no right or wrong, but there is awareness.  Sometimes the paths we take harmoniously align in parallel, sometimes they don’t.  When balance is interrupted, and you are stripped of the comfort and security that you’ve come to rely and depend on, you have no choice but to look within and begin the rebuilding process.  At the end of the day, we answer to ourselves.

Balance has been restored, let the rebuilding begin.

 

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The Power In Numbers

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As the quarter makes a mad dash to the profit margin close, it seems we’ve all fared well with our numbers, given the bad economy.  I’m happy with my numbers for the quarter.  However, as I sit and think about other numbers in my life, I realize the magnitude of the power they hold in my life.

What if my numbers hit the lottery?  My life would change in so many ways.  It is ridiculous of course to count on that happening, but it’s a nice dream nonetheless.  How many years have passed by without living my dream or achieving my goals?  Too many.  How many pounds before I do something different?  How many weeks before I get to the lake?  How many emails that skirt around the real issue?  How many forever’s that never panned out?  How many sleepless nights? How many years before I get freedom?  How many bottles of wine before I realize wine doesn’t agree with me?  How many weeks before Lizzie figures it all out and conforms?  Too many.

Numbers don’t lie.  They are proof positive, in your face when you’re calculating how long, how big, how much, how good, or how bad.  It’s what you choose to do with those numbers that makes the difference.  I can’t go back to the way things were, I can only push ahead for better days to come.

How many days will it take to re-evaluate the numbers that surround my life?  As many as I need.  I’m on day two; perhaps the longest eye-opening days I’ve ever known.

 

 

Table For One

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With the first day of Spring settling in, I find myself faced with things I need to do, want to do, and things I’m forced to do.  Spring Fever encourages all of the things I want to do, but negative forces around me push all the things I need to do and things I’m forced to do.  It seems there’s just not enough time to get everything done, and of course I like to lead with things I want to do.  My environment seems to spin in a whirlwind of resistance and negativity.  I don’t like it.  I don’t want it.  Shouldn’t I be doing what I said I was going to do when I grow up?  Instead I am held back by the forces that be.  It’s a battle and a struggle that’s taking a toll on me.  I wish my dad were here, he’d understand and give me some profound advice like “EFF them, put yourself first!”  That’s the Greek side.  My Italian side, however, has manged to succumb to the age-old Italian Guilt that has been instilled since birth.  I could never just say “Eff them” and not do what needs to be done, no matter how easy my family makes it look.

I want to hike and breathe the fresh air while my dog exhausts herself running up and down the trails.  I want to work my body so hard that I’m soaked with sweat from head to toe. I want to cook and entertain my friends and family as we laugh our asses off on the farmer’s porch, at the bon-fire, or on the boat.  I want to watch a swarm of dogs chasing each other with big grins and wagging tails.  I want to watch my son bursting with excitement as he tells me of his latest dream-car crush he has to have.

Many nights I look around at the empty table and wonder what’s ahead.  It’s exhausting and overwhelming just thinking about all the things that need to be done to live and maintain a simple life.  I’m the glue that holds everything together, but it comes with a price; my freedom and piece of mind.  I don’t get much of either.  No one really seems to care or help on a regular basis.  It’s just too damn easy to turn your back.

The words  “Be careful what you ask for” ring loud in my head as I sit at my Table For One…

 

What is Pink Slime ?

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If you know me at all, you know I am not a meat-eater.  I just don’t like it. Period.  My son is a meat-eater.  In fact, I am the only vegetarian of all my friends and family.  However, because I love to entertain, and I’m surrounded by meat-eaters, I still cook with meat.  That said, I decided to research Pink Slime since the media frenzy hit last week.  This is what I’ve come up with.

Pink Slime a/k/a Lean Finely Textured Beef, once solely used for dog food and cooking oil, is made by gathering waste trimmings, such as beef scraps and cow connective tissues, simmering it on a low heat so that the fat separates easily from the muscle, followed up by spinning using centrifuge, which completes the separation.  Because beef trim is infamous for carrying pathogenic bacteria (E. coli O157:H7 and the non O157 STEC bacteria) the mixture is then sent through pipes where it is sprayed with ammonia gas to kill bacteria.  It is then frozen and shipped to grocery stores and meat packers at which point it is added to most ground beef.

This week, former USDA scientist Gerald Zirnstein, told ABC News that 70 percent of the ground beef we buy at the market contains Pink Slime. ( 70 percent people!) Further, he reported that Pink Slime does not appear on the label because USDA officials, with links to the beef industry, are the folks who label the meat.  There is no mention of ammonia, connective tissues or scraps because paid corporate lobbyists have done a bang-up job of convincing government officials that we don’t need to know.  If we knew, we’d probably make better choices.  Maybe.  Shouldn’t we have the right to decide what we put in our bodies?  Ammonia was not meant to be ingested by the human body.

“The only way to ensure that the ground beef you’re buying is 100 percent, is to make sure it has the USDA Organic seal on it.” – ABC News

In case you need a visual of Pink Slime, this is what it looks like when it arrives at the grocery stores, before it is incorporated into processed meat like hamburger.   Shameful…

It looks like something that should be living in a cave near the ocean or something.  Are you eating that?

 

From now on, I will not be serving anything that has Pink Slime in it. Ever. Period.

Food-Friends-Fire & FUN !

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Wow, what a great weekend!  It was the Mac-Daddy of fun with an awesome bon-fire, awesome friends, great food and so much fun (I’m still enjoying it in my head)!!  A friend suggested we try jello-shots.  Well, that was a first for me.  I had no idea how to make them, and had never tried them, but gave it my best shot (no pun intended) and made them the night before.   Wow, they were strong!  My guests totally enjoyed them and that’s when the games began. 

It’s been about a month since the gang has been together.  With everyone being busy with family stuff (life, death and birth) the gang has been going in different directions.  This weekend we all came together and had a blast!  Get together started in the afternoon with a bon-fire and we just kept on going until we were all laughed out.  I’m already planning the next get together and I’m thinking they’ll be more jello-shots and games featuring “Barry The Claw”… HA!

A special bonus in the early evening was the arrival of ‘Brandi’.  She is an adorable Golden Retriever rescue puppy whose life is about to change drastically.  She was adopted by Ken and Sandy who just lost their beloved Morgan.  Brandi has big shoes to fill but after seeing her paws, she won’t have any problem.  This dog was every bit of adorable; and she’s a hugger too!  I didn’t want to put her down!  She’s a perfect addition to the lake, and she couldn’t have been adopted by a better family!  Welcome Brandi!

See you soon friends!

And Then There Was One

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the last surviving member of your family?  I never thought of it before this week when someone very close to me lost the last remaining family member, her father.  She’d lost her mother when she was just a young teenager and just about 13 months ago she lost her brother.  Like me, she only had one sibling, a brother.  Like me, she was very close to her brother.  I never met him but at the Wake I could feel how close they were.  It broke my heart as she fell apart trying to be strong.  Selfishly, I thanked God it wasn’t my brother lying there. 

Wednesday Jodi lost her dad.  He’d been sick for a long time and was having dialysis 3-4 times a week.  He was bitter and angry, a common trait in sick elderly people.  Jodi remained strong and committed to his well-being, no matter what he lashed out at her.  She was loving and doting as she carried the weight of the world on her tiny shoulders.  She cared for him daily, never missing a beat in her own busy life.  The quiet strength and enormous courage to carry on, day after exhausting day, all manifested from the incredible love a daughter has for her father.  I know it well.  It’s amazing how strong such a small person can be.  Tired and worn, she never gave up.  She’s amazing and inspiring;  she’s modest and unassuming.  She is bent, but not broken.

Jodi and my brother share a special bond few people ever get to experience.  All you have to do is look at them and you can feel the love.   Many times I’ve silently admired their relationship although I’ve never been at their level.  It takes a blinding trust to give yourself freely to another. 

Although we all love and support her through this difficult time, it will be my brother that cradles and nurtures her back to health and happiness.  I wonder if that is some kind of divine intervention.  Although the last surviving member of her family, she is not alone and is surrounded by people who love her.

Rest in peace Tony. 

May the weight of the world finally be lifted from Jodi’s shoulders so she can enjoy her life.   It’s deservedly her turn.

Are You A Bitch ?

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A co-worker of mine sent this to me today.  I thought it was worth passing along, to my bitches that is…

22 Signs You’re a Total Bitch!

Define…

BITCH
noun (1) female dog, wolf, fox or otter
(2) a woman whom one dislikes or considers to be malicious or unpleasant
(3) a difficult or unpleasant thing/situation
verb to make malicious/spitefully critical comments (informal)
(Black english) a woman (non derogatory)
strong and/or sexy woman (informal)

There are different levels of bitchery as there are differing definitions of what makes a bitch.

The Bitch-O-Matic!

Level 1 Good Girl; Inner Bitch!

We all have an inner bitch. You know that girl more prone to do naughty things, like let a girl walk out the loo with her dress tucked into her knickers or laughing out loud, even rolling on the floor laughing (metaphorically) while someone/in good health or not/young or old/anyone takes a public tumble. You may even partake in a gossip sesh every now and then.

Level 2 Inner/Outer Bitch

Every now and then your bitchiness moves from naughty to WTF?! You have rare moments of meanness. You are guilty of a couple of the signs below.

Level 3 A Bitch We Could Love

You’re a bit of bitch, most of those you know and love get that, and love you anyway. Simply because you’re not at the level where you’re destroying their lives. You’re amusing and provide many fun times!

Level 4 Bitch!

Yes lady, you’re a bitch… a few of the below signs apply to you. People bitch about you a fair deal and you find that the only friends you have are either other bitches or those who have known you since childhood, so they feel some degree of loyalty.

Level 5 You’re a TOTAL (Complete and Utter) Bitch!

…so self-absorbed you don’t even realise that, most of the world can’t stand you but choose to exercise tolerance. The following signs will indicate just how much of a Level 5 you are. You may have even lost a friend or three.

 
 

Why?

Firstly the bitch I’m talking about is not the self-assured, strong, dominant, able to stand up for herself, knows what she wants kind. I’m talking about the spiteful, deceitful, manipulative, will crawl over anyone to get what she wants kind.

Obviously Level 4/5 bitch is not where you want to be, more so a Level 5.

Why would I want to know what kind of bitch I am, I hear you cry….Simples. No one, likes a complete and utter bitch…not really anyways.

Knowing what kind you are, might help you understand why others interact with you the way they do… and it might even evoke a positive change.

Another reason, you’re not one but having major suspicions someone close to you is and you’re in need of confirmation. You know deep down she’s a bit of a bitch but you’re wondering how bad it is.

 

The Signs…

You’re the ONLY ONE that matters. No matter what your friend/co-worker is talking about you find a way to relate to you. You my even better their story.

You let a friend go out knowing they looked like shit without saying a damn thing!

Out shopping, you’ve encouraged a friend to buy an outfit that is not flattering on them.

All you do is criticise…NOT the constructive kind and you not about anything yourself.

Concerning boyfriend/girlfriend/potential lover/relationship.

  • Ignoring the girlfriend ruleand going after a potential boyfriend, girlfriend or crush.
  • You’re a Cock Blocker. You do all you can to make sure a friend doesn’t get a guy, who’s totally interested in her. Hell, you even swear on your family’s life you’re a lesbian to him.
  • Man stealer. Deliberate, you’ve stolen or tried to steal a friend’s guy/girl!
  • You got together with a friend’s ex, regardless of her feelings about it OR you got together with someone’s ex because you don’t like her, flaunted the relationship in her face.
  • You got with someone’s ex or stole a boyfriend/girlfriend and you’re not even interested in him/her.You just did it to cause some hurt.
  • Convince a shy, lacking confidence friend to approach a crush, knowing he’d reject her. You bitch! She may never attempt talking to a crush ever again.

You’ve ditched a friend for sex. In a public place, on a night out..wherever, whatever. At some point while out with friends, you chat up some guy, who agrees to go with you for naughty reasons and you pull a Harry Potter. No text or call. You just leave your friend/s there. If you do call it’s after you’ve had some. They probably even spend the rest of the night looking for your skanky behind. OR you’ve got friend/s sat somewhere waiting on you to meet them, while you’re getting busy and it’s often the booty call/ONS kind (not that, that really matters…just saying)

Messed up relationship between 2 best friends or friends.

Taking someone’s things without asking and when confronted you think she’s overdramatic…besides you were only borrowing it right?! *I hate when this happens*

Let’s people have sex in a friend/roommate/flatmate’s bed when she/he’s away. If you’ve done this, you’re disgusting. That’s a violation of privacy and just plain grimy.

You bitch about all your friends to different friends, creating a bitching circle so at some point you have gossiped or bitched about every friend you have; to every friend you have.

Spinning stories/plotting/pitting friends against each other.

You’re only friends with others just to use them. You’re MO is what you can get out of the relationship. *Tsk Tsk*

Kept a job opportunity a secret from a friend looking for a job; so you could get it.

You’ve manipulated a friend for you’re own benefit.

Use Facebook or any online means to publicly humiliate someone. Note to you, it’s a form of bullying.

Always bringing others down verbally…hell even physically now and then!

You’re sat there, angry as hell that I just described you and had the audacity to label you as a spiteful woman most can’t stand….sorry…Not!

 

Are you ?! Is she?!

If you’re reading this to gauge you
and you’re a Level 1-2; let the good times roll, it’s OK to be naughty sometimes…on the bright side you’ve got a backbone.

If you’re a Level 3– be wary of your actions, you don’t want to hamper any good relationships.

If you’re a Level 4/5– you just may need to change things: Karma is a bigger bitch then you’ll ever be.

Remember stab enough people in the back, you eventually get one of your own!

If you’re reading his to gauge a friend
and it turns out she’s a level 4/5…emphasis on the 5…especially if you’ve been on the receiving end of some of the more diabolical signs. No one should be treated like that and no one should treat anyone like that.

If she has no plans of changing run a mile and a half and then some more.

You will be the ONE getting burnt soon enough so Be Careful!

This was written based on the experiences of others as well as my own. I’ve been on the receiving end of more than a few of the above, and you just have to let them go…trust me on that!

Bitch-O-Matic Poll

What Level Bitch are you? Be honest now….

  • Level One – I’m a good girl whose a little naughty
  • Level Two – I’m a good girl, but every now and then I get a little more than naughty.
  • Level Three – A bitch we could love!
  • Level Four – I’m a bitch…
  • Level Five – Bitch, bitch, bitch that’s me and it’s fine if you don’t like it honey…

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If you’re friend’s a TOTAL Bitch, would you dump them!

  • Hell…yes especially if quite a few of the above applies.
  • No…I value my friendships even if one of them’s toxic
  • Not sure….

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