“If I only had a brain…”

“If I only had a brain…”

As Dorothy was on her way to the Emerald City, to seek help from the great and magnificent Oz, she came upon a fork in the yellow brick road. She pondered aloud, “Which way should I go?” A scarecrow, perched on a pole behind her said, “You can go this way, or you can go that way.” As he uttered those words, his arms crossed in front of him as he pointed in opposite directions.

In the 1939 movie, the scarecrow laments his lack of a brain in a song. One verse goes like this:

I would not be just a Nuthin’,

My head all full of stuffin’,

My heart all full of pain,

And perhaps I’d deserve you and be

Even worthy of you

If I only had a brain.

I’m an “Oz” girl. As a child, I either read the books or my brother read them to me. What I never knew until today, was L. Frank Baum (the author of The Wizard of Oz) was a political activist in the 1890s, and it is thought by many that the story is allegorical for the political, social, and economic happenings of that period.

Todays political, social, and economic happenings are fraught with prejudice, hatred, and anger. Last Sunday more than thirty died in two mass shootings. In El Paso, three young children are parentless, as both their mother and father were among those killed. Countless families are grieving the loss of sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, moms, and dads. As a nation, we sit, asking, “Why?” As a people, we ask, “How many people have to die?” I wonder when our representatives will get a collective brain and DO SOMETHING!

In my serendipitous world, I, as Dorothy, would come across not a scarecrow, but an octopus. Because, in answer to my question, “why is this happening?” the octopus points to White Nationalism, the internet, social media, the use of military-type automatic weapons, mental illness, gun show loopholes, the lack of universal background checks, violent internet games. The octopus pointing in so many different directions gets tangled in his arms and can’t go with me to get a brain.   Once again, nothing gets done.

According to polls, the tide is turning, and Americans believe universal background checks are necessary when purchasing guns. Why not start there?

In politics, there are constituents and representatives. As constituents, we put representatives in office. They work for us, and as such, their behavior indicates if they deserve and are worthy of our votes. It’s easy to let them know what you think. Google your representatives, go to their websites. You will find local and Washington phone numbers, and addresses. Call or write, but do something. If enough constituents let their representatives know a vote for them in the next election is dependent upon them doing their jobs, Washington politicians might just get a collective brain.

Today is the 219th day of the year. To date, there have been 251 mass shootings in the United States. More than 250 people are dead, and more than 1000 have been injured.  Do you prefer to act or live in a potential war zone?

 

Todd Tongen

Todd Tongen

Miami lost a friend.  Todd Tongen, WPLG newscaster and weekend morning anchor passed away over the weekend.  He was a brilliant storyteller and an excellent journalist.  Several years ago, Todd came up with an idea, the “10 Taxi.”  In his role as the taxi driver, he would drive celebrities around town.  There were priceless moments in the cab, as he provided us with interviews with such people as Peter Jennings, Ed McMahon, and Joan Rivers.

There was no doubt Todd loved his job. Whether at the anchor desk, or dressing as a “Todd turkey,” while collecting food for the less fortunate at Thanksgiving, collecting books for disadvantaged kids as part of the WPLG Big Book Drive, or traveling over Dade and Broward counties gathering Toys for Tots at Christmas, he brought enthusiasm, exuberance, and energy to his segments.

I never had the opportunity to meet Todd.  However, as an avid viewer of WPLG, I’ve watched him for decades.  In my mind, he was part of my family.   My heart goes out to his wife and sons, as well as his WPLG family as they mourn his loss.

I was looking at Facebook and found a short Q & A about Todd.  At one point, he was asked to give one word that would describe him.  He said, with that twinkle in his eye, “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”  If I were asked, I’d choose joy.   In all the years he shared his life with Miami, he demonstrated his happiness with life.  Joy is contagious, and after a few moments of watching Todd, we were happier as well.  Thank you, Todd.

HAPPY 2019

HAPPY 2019

Hello there, readers.  Here we go again.  I don’t know about you, but the year 2018 seemed to be on a race to get to the finish line.  Wasn’t it just yesterday when we were ringing in “18, “and now it’s history.

Who out there has resolutions for 2019?  How many have already broken them?  How many of you have at the top of the list something to do with “diet?”  I heard on the news that approximately 80% of us are stressing over losing weight.

In the past couple of years, I’ve lost more than 35 pounds.  Someone asked me,  “how did you lose all that weight?”  My response was, “Well, I think it was the heart attack that got my attention.”   That’s a bit extreme, so during this year, we can explore what’s worked for me and also for you.  Keep in mind, there doesn’t appear to be a “one-size-fits-all” diet out there!

I’m thinking about a new Vision Board.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a collage of words, pictures, and aspirations for the coming year.  Once put together, it should be placed in a prominent place as a reminder of what you wish to gravitate towards.  As opposed to a “New Year’s Resolution,” this adds greater intent and resolve.

I plan to spend much more time writing…both on my blog and other venues.  Hopefully, I’ll be posting weekly, and plan to spend more time on health and wellness.  That being said, I’ve embarked on a “Dry January” challenge, the purpose is to enhance your health. It is said when doing this you are more focused, your skin (the largest organ of the body) is healthier, and you sleep better.

Those of you who know me well, are aware I love my wine!  I’ve written before, that I was born in Milwaukee, raised in Chicago, but grew up in the Bay area of California — next door to the wine country!

So here I am, with no wine in the house.   As I write this, we are only on day 7, and I can say I’m more focused.  Once the challenge is completed, I’ll let you know my results.

I’m excited about the prospect of 2019. Until my next post, have a great week and keep the “Happy” in your days!

Vintage

Vintage

My Mac’s speed has slowed, so I made a call to Apple Support.  I believe most of the techs are considerably younger than I, and therefore expect their frame of reference might be different from mine.  After accessing my computer, the technician looked at various potential problems, made some changes, rebooted my computer in safe mode, and then back again in regular mode.  As we were discussing the issue, the young lady said, “Of course, yours is a vintage Mac.”

I have a friend who has (what he calls) a vintage car.  It “came off the line” in 1960.  Many car enthusiasts would insist it is not old enough to be vintage since it’s post-1930.  I have some beautiful old jewelry, but it’s not 100 years old and cannot be defined as vintage.  I, too, have made it to my “golden years,” and I’m definitely not vintage!

How on earth did my 6-year-old Mac become vintage?  Should I ship it off to the Smithsonian?

In this wonderful age of technology, things age extremely fast.  Computer chips appear to age faster than anything.  The computer chip in my dryer died at the age of 3, and the chip in my electric range had to be replaced before it made it to one year.

Although advances in medicine have expanded human life expectancy,  this does not hold true for computers.  Fortunately, the techie was able to make my Mac function better.  It’s slower than it was a few years ago, but what the heck, so am I.

Breaking News…

Breaking News…

Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017:  It’s just been announced that the biggest Black Friday deals will appear today, Thanksgiving Day!  I don’t know why we talk about Black Friday as it is really, “Black Thursday extending into Black Friday and the Black weekend.”  Wears you out just trying to say that.  I marvel at people who get up at an ungodly hour to get the privilege of standing in line, regardless of how good or bad the weather is, to get really “unbelievable” merchandise.

When I was a little girl, my mom and I went downtown because Marshall Fields was having a ” bargain-basement” sale. I’m not sure how it happened, but we became separated.  There were all these gigantic people around me.  Some were fighting over merchandise, and most were stepping on me.  I was frightened because mommy had disappeared and these mammoth creatures pushed me one way, then another.  With no mom in sight, I started screaming through tears, “MOMMY, MOMMY!”  We were finally reunited, but the memory of that event lives on.  Perhaps it’s a form of PTSD, but at the mention of a “sale,” I’m reduced to panic and dread.  I would rather go through a root canal without anesthetic than participate in a Black Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday Sale.  Each year we hear about fights breaking out and people being injured (sometimes severely) at stores.  Mind you, all this occurs at a time of the year in which we commemorate a harvest festival by the Pilgrims — way back in 1621 — a time of thankfulness.

My experience, of course, was “pre-mall.”  We are now entering a “post-mall” era, and the good news is rather than fight the crowds we can surf the web!  But Thursday, I’ll be preparing a turkey with yummy sides while my home becomes filled with the aromas of Thanksgiving.  Rather than searching for gifts, I’ll be arming myself with gratitude.  After all, it is Thanksgiving.

JUST DREAMING

JUST DREAMING

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities.  Dreaming, after all is, a form of planning.”  Gloria Steinem

One of the things that started me on my “Year of Yes” quest, was listening to conversations with my friends.  Most of us are beyond the 50-something years and I’ve observed that our discussions have changed over time.  That’s natural as our lives have changed.  However, I find some of the changes disturbing.

Do you recall your thoughts when you were younger?  They were all about the future.  They started with what was happening at school, then we dreamed of  getting a driver’s license, wondered what college we might attend.  As we grew older, they morphed into career planning, marriage, becoming a parent, plans for vacations or a new home.  There were so many things ahead…things to do, places to go.

What I’m hearing now are stories of our latest medical tests , plans for a CT scan or MRI, and what medications we are taking.  OMG!  All that is important, but is this all there is?

I made the mistake of stating this opinion to someone and was met later with, “I know you don’t want to talk about anyone’s health…”  Obviously I worded my comment incorrectly.  Of course I’m interested in the health of my friends, it’s just that I think there are other things to think about as well.  Of course, there’s always politics but after the last couple of years who wants to increase depression or anxiety.  Think Van Gogh’s “Scream!”

I can just hear someone saying, “But when you’re young you have your whole life ahead of you.”  That’s true, but even if you’re “as old as the hills” you still have your whole life to look forward to — it may not be as long as it was when you were 20, but it’s still sitting there in front of you.

It seems to me we’ve forgotten how to dream.  Do you want to visit the Amalfi Coast?  Do you want to have more serenity in your life?  How about a cruise?

As I begin my Year of Yes, one of the first things I’m planning is to develop a Vision Board.  Have you ever done that?  First it takes some thinking.  Ask yourself open-ended questions like:

“What can I do to make my life more meaningful?”

“Where do I see myself in 1 to 5 years?”

“What makes me truly happy?”

“What’s most important to me?

Then gather some things together:  poster board, magazines, postcards, pictures, scissors, glue stick, quotes that propel you to move towards your dream, colorful pens and pencils…heck, if you’re an artist, paints will work as well.  The point is put together  a picture of your dreams.  It can be about one dream or many.  Create your “dream” picture, then place it where you see it every day. Let it become part of your existence.

Are you interested in creating a Vision Board?  I’m planning on having a Vision Board Party.  At the moment, I’m thinking about February 19 in the afternoon.  I’ll supply some finger-food and magazines, etc.  Bring your poster board, more magazines, pictures, supplies, your imagination and dreams — then expect to have fun.  Of course an RSVP is important so I’m ready for everyone.

Let the dreams begin!

A YEAR OF YES?

A YEAR OF YES?

I am an avid TGIT (thank God it’s Thursday) person.  It starts with Grey’s Anatomy, continues with Scandal and ends with How to Get Away With Murder. As I write this, all three shows are on hiatus till after the first of the year.  And we are left with cliff hangers or even worse shock (OMG, Wes is gone!).

“But,” you ask, “what does that have to do with a Year of Yes?”  If you love TGIT, then you’ve heard of Shonda Rhimes, the creator/producer of those shows.  In my mind, Shonda is very strong, something like one of the gladiators in Scandal.  At least that was my opinion until I saw her thought-provoking Ted Talk, in which she explained her year of saying “Yes” to things she found intimidating (Shonda can be intimidated?).  She found her life was all work.  Ok, it was work she loved, but it was ALL WORK.  Where was the love?  Where was the joy?

Sometime after watching the Ted Talk, a new book was advertised on Kindle — “A Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person,” by Shonda.  It went into greater detail about her year of yes.  From childhood on, Shonda performed mostly solitary pursuits (like writing).  She never wanted to speak in public — yet she gave a Ted Talk.  She never wanted to be an actor but appeared in an episode of The Mindy Project.  Good grief, she never wanted to be interviewed on live TV, and she does that as well.

She and I both love story telling, have vivid imaginations, but that is where similarities end.  I enjoy public speaking, I’ve always loved performing.  Yet, her book SPOKE TO ME and I questioned, “Why?”

My year 2016 started with a heart attack.  As a result,  my focus has been on my health.  However going out with friends, engaging others – you know, living life – was diminishing.  I visited my brother and sister-in-law recently, and suddenly blurted out “I need an adventure.”  They just stared at me.  Adventure?  Where did that come from?

When I was in my 20’s my best friend asked,  “If I can get a job teaching in California, will you move there with me?” It was February in Chicago.  It was 19 below zero.  I started dancing around singing, “California here I come!”  After several exciting years living in the San Francisco area, I moved to Miami.  My new home had beaches and scuba diving  but I was longing for more.  I started looking for a job with an American company in Europe, where I envisioned myself  spending each weekend traveling from country to country.  That was interrupted when I met my husband.  I opted to stay in Miami.

After his death, wander-lust returned.  I was off to the Big Apple.  I figured, “if I could make it there …” (you get my drift).  What is it about February and living up North?  Back I came.   Always looking for new opportunities, I worked in logistics — first managing all products Burger King, later managing aircraft parts for an Army Foreign Military Service contract.  I also worked in Out Placement, Computer Training and Sales of On-Line Computer Programs.  I’ve worked for large Corporations, and small companies.  I even had my own company.  Unlike most people, I like change — even welcome it.

Now I found myself disinterested in the “sameness” of things.  While many of my friends seemed to enjoy a slower pace, I did not.  And then I read Shonda’s book.  It filled me with a desire to say Yes to things I find intimidating and it gave me permission to say No to things that prevented my trying them.

If I was going to have an adventure, I was going to step over the precipice of change alone.  I must admit, it is a little scary…but exciting and compelling at the same time.

Do you want to tag along on this journey?  All aboard!  I’ll be reporting on my experiences throughout the year.