News-ance or New-ance?

I’m an equal opportunity hater. I hate all political pundits equally and at the same time, I’m equally addicted to all of them. I don’t play favorites… I watch them all and I can’t believe the absurdity that has become the nightly network news. Everything is hyped to nth degree and the collective pitch of their fevered voices could be partially responsible for my insomnia. Can someone tell me what qualifies as news in this country? I have no clue anymore. Apparently, it’s anything anyone wants to rant about on TV. I just watched Bill O’Reilly argue with a guy over a Christmas tree. Can you please leave Santa out of it? He’s old, grey and jolly fellow who just wants to shower kids with gifts. Ummm, when I describe him like that he kind of sounds like that creep, Sandusky. Yikes, sorry Santa man. I know your intentions are pure… or are they? I digress.
Back to my rant… I mean point, WHAT IS UP WITH THE YELLING? Seriously, can’t we all just get along? Aren’t we missing the point when we start screaming about lost family values? What happened to kindness? Where is the respect? Where is the morality in sensationalizing sexual affairs? Is that what we mean by upholding family values? The democrats hate the republicans and the republicans hate the democrats. And, everyone hates Mitt Romney. Poor guy, he’s been banished from the kingdom all together. It is so bad for him that the only person who will even lunch with him is the guy who beat him in front of the entire world. Yes, the news is that President Obama and Mitt Romney have a play date… Oh, what I would give to be a fly on the wall during that lunch. What will they say to each other? Will Mitt finally cry? Sadly, we will never know.
I’m now watching Ms. Maddow screeching about something and at least it’s not about Christmas. But, she’s talking way too fast for the average person to follow. Slow down, girl. Catch your breath. I know you’re passionate, but you are making me really nervous. Is it me or does all of this feel fake? The acting, the bellowing and the conjured up emotions. I don’t know… just give me the facts and let me decide if it warrants vitriol. Anderson Cooper is somewhat tolerable, but I hate that he has to witness everything first hand. Did anyone notice him in the eye of the storm during Sandy? I thought he was going to get blown away. This man couldn’t wait to get to Gaza?! What is wrong with him? Again, I get the passion, but it is all way too much. Just relay the goddamn news… you don’t have to bring it live each and every time.

I want Peter Jennings back! He was the voice of calm and reason every night in our house when I was growing up. My mom made it quite clear that she was crushing on him big time and who could blame her? He was pretty hot and he spoke with that dreamy news accent that you couldn’t attribute to anything in particular. I really wish he didn’t have to die. RIP Peter. You are missed. The only person who does it for me these days is Charlie Rose. You can actually learn something new from his nightly rountable. But, what the heck is he doing on the early morning show? It is painful to watch a revered anchor cover the fluff only suitable for half awake dimwits. Please Charlie, STOP before you lose all your grace.
There is an element of class lacking in today’s news and I don’t see it improving unless we, the public, demand better quality and content. No more loosely disguised opinion passed for news. Please, I don’t care what you think. Just tell me what happened; give me the facts and keep your feelings and fanfare out of it!

I wrote this pitiful poem as I was watching the news and I think it’s befitting of this lackluster post. Please don’t judge me too harshly.

In an empty court in an empty kingdom
I fascinated a nameless king
with a vacant look in his distant eyes
he encapsulated my lullaby
I trapped his sight within my eyes
blinding him to the scene
but he broke my stare with a chilling prayer
arresting my sensibilities

I think I had vampires on my mind. So much for a good night’s sleep…

Random Musings

Never underestimate the power of a well tailored suit.

Must I Write?

Yesterday, I found this blog. The writing stopped me dead in my tracks and demanded to be recognized. Have you ever experienced that before? I was moved in a way like I’ve never been before. My heart quickened as the words enveloped me. I sat there quietly staring at my screen while my brain flirted with a million thoughts a minute. Who am I? What am I doing? Am I a writer? Where is my story? Why can’t I write like this? Is this normal? I mean it, is it normal to feel jealous over someone else’s words? W O R D S? They don’t belong to anyone, right?! There is a part of me that wants to tell stories- pure, addictive, screaming fictional tales soaking wet with the human spirit. I’m not very good at writing that story. And then there is this me that pops up on your screen. The straightforward me. The idealistic me. The me, who likes to cook for her friends, design on a dime and solve world hunger one pancake at a time (there’s a real story there), the living, breathing me. I can write about her all day long! She is easy for me. She’s constantly interrupting me to remind me that her glass is half full. But, her…  I can’t even hear her voice until I read her words on someone else’s page, when she slaps me silly and sulks in a corner for not noticing her all this time. Ugh! How do I connect the dots from me to her?

I remembered reading an essay awhile ago by Rainer Marie Rilke (letters to young poets) about writing. It felt appropriate to read this to myself tonight. It also felt fitting to share some of the highlights, because I’m neither the first nor last to have a bout of self-doubt, and as long as I’m keeping myself honest this spell will continue to remain unbroken.

“Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose…”
“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” 
“And your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perhaps bewildered and embarrased, perhaps also protesting. But don’t give in, insist on arguments, and act in this way, attentive and persistent, every single time, and the day will come when, instead of being a destroyer, it will become one of your best workers–perhaps the most intelligent of all the ones that are building your life.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke

ExtraVirginOLiVEoil… WHAT?

I’ve been reading a lot about blogging lately and they all insist that in order to be successful you need a schedule. Your audience needs a program, to know what to expect. A rhythm to your flow, so to speak… I don’t know if I agree. So far, I’ve been writing whenever the inspiration has struck. Sometimes, it is in the middle of the day, yes, right in the middle of the work day. I’m sure my employer is thrilled! Other times, it’s when I wake up or at the end of the day after my thoughts have had sufficient time to stew and boil, until the words can wait no more. I’m vigilant about what I write. I’m not censoring myself, no, that’s not what I mean. I think that doing is more important than succeeding and the how is more important than the when, where and what. So, I simply write… doing so without any calculation of the outcome. I write about anything and everything that interests me. I search for the essence in the things that motivate and move me. You know, grandma’s recipe to that secret sauce, the perfect combination of love, kindness and self-transformation! My tone is decisively optimistic and if I had a slogan it would be, GO FOR IT!
But, there is a nagging question of what? What do I have to say about anything in this world? What do I, a B writer on a good day, have to contribute that hasn’t already been done by millions before me? I think about this a lot; because the last thing I want to convey is that my life is some sort of example on how to live. Like I have any of the answers… I don’t. I’m not an expert in anything. I’m just a girl in progress… trying to evolve. Still, I feel there is something bigger than me happening here, so what the heck, man? What is my issue? What am I doing? What gives?!?!
Two things happened over the weekend to guide me towards an answer:
1. I was watching Meet the Press this morning, as is my Sunday morning ritual, and here is what I learned: Our country is evolving. The Middle East is evolving. Eurasia is evolving. If we, as individuals, don’t evolve then we are going to miss a golden opportunity in the history of the world. It doesn’t get any more direct than that, does it? This past presidential election is a prime example of what happens when you are unwilling to evolve your cause and rhetoric. You lose. If you think about it, history has always been shaped by a handful of forward-thinking individuals who were able to see around corners before anyone else. If, in the next few months, individuals in Washington, in Gaza, in Warsaw, in Tehran, in Lahore, in your city wherever you are, aren’t able to come together, abandoning old ideals and yesterday’s promises, evolving with the times, then we will have missed an opportunity to advance the purpose of our civilization.
I’m realizing an important truth about the times in which we are living. It is fluid. The power structure in the world is shifting and the world is getting flatter and more transparent with the help of technology. With it comes the power to the individual… to people like you and me to change, evolve the world with our words, thoughts and actions. The citizens of tomorrow are not interested in hierarchy; they are increasingly leaning towards autonomy, in my opinion. They will want more and more ownership of the world around them, more elasticity with their work, blurring the lines between public and private work.
2. I read an article in the Harvard Business Review which instructed that you should write your resume as it will be in the future and work backwards in order to be successful. Figure out what skills are needed to be hired for the position you want and set a timeline to get them. I’m a lowly worker in the corporate world. My problems are miniscule, personal. I have no ambition of accumulating wealth or power. I want to live comfortably in a peaceful world. I want to be useful. What can I do? There is that bloody word again… I have been feeling powerless for quite sometime about the what and as a result I’ve been doing nothing about the when, where and how. Boy do I need to evolve! Perhaps my blogging style should be my living style. Whenever there is a need, I should do; wherever there is a call, I should go. Take ownership of the world around me; stake my claim in anything and everything that interests me. Simply do.
There is a sense of idealism in the air that is waiting to be inhaled. It is an odorless gas, but I think I smell it. I’ve got a couple of volunteer projects lined up and let’s see where they take me. I’m looking at my life with a fresh set of eyes and it is coming up all rosy. Writing is my therapy and prize. I want my life to speak for itself, so that when I commit words to paper they will be of value. The what will carry its own weight like a lotus, solidly rooted in the muddy earth yet, delicately floating upon a serene lake.

Decked by Decoupage

Thanksgiving is over. The turkey has been devoured. No more football- unless you are into college sports. Now what? Midnight sales? Black Friday? No, thank you, I’m staying as far away from the stores as possible this weekend. I hate shopping anyway. Still, I was itching for an outlet. The James Bond marathon on TV was just not cutting it, but while on the subject.. how hot is Daniel Craig?! Really?!

When I was younger I used to be very crafty. I lived for weekend yard sales, picking through other people’s random junk to find that beautiful birdcage or painting frame and then refinishing it to suit my taste. It was a lot of fun and I really got into it- thank you HGTV for fostering my interest with new projects and techniques every week. A few months ago I caught the bug again… I painted and distressed my kitchen chairs to a nice teal patina.  It was a bit tedious and took a lot of elbow grease, but by the time I got through it, the sleeping decorating giant inside me was wide awake and hungry. I’ve been scouring the web for DIY projects and decorating ideas ever since then and I’ve found a few awesome projects that I can’t wait to try. I’m soooo glad Al Gore invented the internet!

Here’s an easy way to update an old desk or that beat-up bookshelf. Did I mention, there is absolutely no skill involved and it cost under $10, and when it’s done it looks like a million bucks?! Yep, this one is a keeper!

What you need:
1- 8fl oz ModPodge (You can find this at any craft store)
1 sponge brush
Assorted magazine pages (I found ELLE magazine works particularly well, with all the beautiful ads and product displays, but whatever your preference.)
An old bookcase, wallshelf or desk.

What you must have:
Creative juice
Some patience
Loud music

Clean the furniture to remove any loose dirt.

Tear out magazine pages and keep them ready. Pick theme or a color and just be creative. Try not to make a mess like I did… Oh what the hell, be messy! Have fun!

Pour the modpodge on the surface and evenly spready using the sponge brush.

Take the pages and arrange them however you want. This is where the lack of skill comes in very handy. You can arrange them in whatever pattern. I went for a random effect.

Apply the modpodge liberally and cover the entire surface. Don’t be shy. This is the agent which will bond the paper to each other and the desk.

Let is dry. You may find some spots are lifting, don’t worry. Use a wetrag to gently press in place and wait for the whole thing to dry completely and apply another coat of modpodge or even a polyurthene sealer.

That’s it. You’re done! Easiest project I’ve ever done and it looks, well, see for yourself… doesn’t it look fantastic?!

ThankYouMorePlease

Hope all of you had a lovely Thanksgiving. My day was just perfect, start to finish. The turkey turned out fantastic (see pic). I received tons of compliments and stuffed my face until I could no longer move. Success!!!

The dinner was the perfectly seasoned in every sense of the word. I was surrounded by lovely people… such sweet, sensitive spirits that I felt like I was floating as I walked home under the crisp autumn air. Good conversation, good food and good entertainment- is there anything else better than that?! I’m still buzzing…

As I was waiting for the turkey to roast, I wrote a small poem reflecting on the spirit of Thanksgiving, which I shared during dinner. I was nervous, but I think I came out today as an aspiring amateur writer with my very first impromptu reading… Ask and you shall receive. Amen! I hope you like it!

11/22/12 Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is not about giving thanks
it’s about being grateful

Just be strong, they said
you can do it
can I?
Just believe, they said
you’ve been saved
have I?
Just be happy, they said
you have your family.
did I?
Just be glad, they said
you’re alive
am I?
I didn’t know
I screamed at the heavens
I wondered if they heard me
did they even know me?
and then it hit me
I didn’t believe in Gods
I didn’t heed their sermons
my faith was stunned
I was lost
even to my face

Thanksgiving is not about giving thanks
it’s about being grateful

Giving thanks is not easy
unless…
you are ready to be grateful
for all the unanswered questions
for your smallest mistakes
for your deepest darkest defects
for your massive blunders
for your strongest adversaries
and your weakest friends
Beholden for your damaged heart
and for all the damaged people around you
for your transgressions
and your colossal failures
for your terrible sins
for the rage inside your broken heart
for your tears and your battles
to save your own humanity
for your courage to stand up
finally
for yourself… and others
for your kindness and goodwill
for your spoils and your bounties
for your family in all their colors
for your friends with all their intentions
and for your blessings, even the worst ones
Give thanks for all of it
the sum of everything
the master and the servant
only then will you genuinely believe
the true meaning
of what it really means
to be grateful

THANKSGIVING IS NOT ABOUT GIVING THANKS
IT’S ABOUT BEING GRATEFUL

patent POLAR

Wrapped in a bubble
He
flashed his eyes
shining like a nascent star
She
was cool
like a a riddle
Unraveling into the infinite sky

Lithe as a bird
She
was racing
soaring like a painted kite
He
was pale
like the living air
Allaying with the great divide

Twisted in crimson
She
danced all night
skipping to the sinking beat
Suited in navy
He
stood still
Unyielding to the harmony

Hard as rock
He
bowed
intransigent to the fantasy
Silently
like a mountain
She
puffed with
each
new
breath