Saturday, June 29, 2013

"what we think, we become...."

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.”
― Leonard Cohen
 One of the reasons I love having an online forum is the ability to share information about people and organizations that truly inspire. As some of you may know I was planning on participating in the Marine Corps Marathon this October in Washington DC. The choice was influenced by a personal goal, my admiration for a nonprofit called the Mission Continues and it was the impetus to engage in a physical fitness routine and stop smoking. (A swift kick in the ass so to speak). Three weeks after committing to the marathon, I quit smoking cigarettes for good after twenty years of holding on to an addiction that my family hated but most of my co workers never knew about. Currently, I'm running/walking/weightlifting/stretching five times per week and running 5k's. The choice to raise funds and awareness for Team Mission Continues was made in April. Monday will be the half way point on the timeline to Sunday, October 27th. Nearly fifty percent of my personal fundraising goal has been achieved. A sincere thank you goes out to those who have contributed. My former cigarette and snack food money goes toward my goal. All donations are applied to a philosophy of service much greater than ourselves.

 A few days ago I received an email inviting me to attend the NASDAQ opening bell ceremony in New York City as a Mission Continues team member. What? They are inviting me to be there? Are they serious? Is this a "real" invitation or am I being punked? After reading the invitation in amazement I felt a sense of honor and pride. How could my emotions and feelings possibly come close to the sense of achievement and determination the Mission Continues fellows and all those who have dedicated their lives to the Mission Continues feel?  Restoring meaning, and purpose, strengthening community and camaraderie is why the Mission Continues is so life altering for many veterans.
 On  Monday, July1st, 2013 at 9:30am The Mission Continues which is a national veterans' service organization that helps post-9/11 veterans transition from the military to leadership roles at home through community service, will visit the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square. In honor of the occasion, Gonzalo Duran, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and Mission Continues Fellow will ring the Opening Bell. Although attending is not possible, I will be watching the live webcast:
 NASDAQ Opening Bell will be available at:
Founded in 2007 by author, retired Navy SEAL and TIME 100 2013 honoree Eric Greitens, The Mission Continues has  currently assisted nearly seven hundred post-9/11 veterans use their varied skills, talents and energy to overcome challenges facing all of us right here at home in the US. Through a revolutionary model that provides for both veterans and the local community, a six-month service fellowship, veterans volunteer to help others and build new skills that create a meaningful civilian career.
The Mission Continues tagline is "It's not a charity, it's a challenge."  They are changing one life at a time and many of us are not even veterans.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Happy Birthday? No such thing......"

"Well, birthdays are merely symbolic of how another year has gone by and how little we've grown. No matter how desperate we are that someday a better self will emerge, with each flicker of the candles on the cake, we know it's not to be; that for the rest of our sad, wretched pathetic lives, this is who we are to the bitter end. Inevitably irrevocably; happy birthday? No such thing."-Jerry Seinfeld Seinfeld episode, "The Visa"

 You were born  in 1973 and will be turning forty this year or this month or tomorrow. What exactly was going down in the world when you decided to grace us with your presence?
 The Watergate Hearings began in the United States Senate and President Richard Nixon told the nation , “I am not a crook.”
Chrysler and other US car makers closed a number of plants affecting 100,000 workers.
Gas was 40 cents a gallon and you could purchase a dozen eggs for forty-five cents. The average cost of a new house was $32,500.00 and the average American workers salary was $12,900.00.
    U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam and the United States involvement in the Vietnam War ended.
   Skylab, the United States' first space station, is launched.
Popular films include:
 The Exorcist,
 The Sting with Paul Newman  and Robert Redford
  and American Graffiti directed by George Lucas featuring a very young Richard Dreyfuss and some kid named Ron Howard.

 Popular TV programs were The Partridge Family, The Price is Right, Columbo, The Odd Couple, the Waltons , M*A*S*H. and "School House Rock" made it's debut on ABC. (Check it out here)
 Popular music included  Sweden's ABBA, David Bowie, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, the Eagles, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones had one of many hits with "Angie". The number one album for most of 1973 was " The Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd.
 June 26th, 1973 the London production of Grease premieres. It also happens to be the premiere date of my brother Steve.
 Superbowl VII Miami beats the Washington Redskins.  The Braves, Hank Aaron hits his 700th homerun.  George Foreman defeats Joe Frazier by a knockout in two rounds to take the world's Heavyweight championship. Believe it or not it's HBO Boxing's first telecast.
 Richard Petty wins the Daytona 500 in the #43 Plymouth for Petty Enterprises.

So what does the face of forty look like? Try Mario Lopez, Paul Walker, Heidi Klum, Brady Smith, Jason Kidd, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Kate Beckinsale and Jim Parsons, American television actor best known as the character Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory.

Turning forty is not a big deal unless you make it a big deal. Honor it. Own it. Instead of  feeling intense regret over what "should a, could a, would a.. have been" or spending months in somber reflection get over your SELF. Be happy you are here to celebrate another day. Truthfully, if you think you're old at forty you are going to have a hell of shitfest time aging. And all of us are aging. So if you want to define all of your deepest human emotional experiences on this extraordinarily unique journey by a simple set of BS digits be my guest. But I wouldn't waste valuable time. You have family to love, things to do and see. Get on with it.  Happy Birthday! Love you!

Friday, June 21, 2013

"if the moon was made out of spare ribs would you eat it?"



Moon-Catchin' Net

 By Shel Silverstein


I've made a moon-catchin' net,
And i'm goin' huntin 'tonight,
I'll run along swingin' it over my head,
And grab for that big ball of light

So tomorrow just look at the sky,
And if there's no moon you can bet
I've found what I sought and I Finally Caught
The moon-catchin' net.

But if the moons still shine in' there,
Look close underneath and you'll get
A clear look at me in the sky swingin'free
With a star in my moon-catchin' net.
  There is something intensely beautiful  and profound knowing that the ones you love may be standing on the earth marveling at the same night sky,
 magnificent moon and dazzling stars wishing, " if  only you were here with me..." Here is your gift.. the unwrapped moon, bow tied splendor of a supermoon that shines like all the light in my heart. Look up. Look up. You are always loved.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

" eyes without a face..."

"It's not even enough to write what you know. You have to know interesting things. You have to put yourself into a world where you have experiences"- John Hodgman

                                                                                                                                                                            A   few years ago an unusual trend called planking was all the rage being captured on cell phone cameras and gaining notoriety in YouTube video clips.  Although planking has been around since 1994 the general public was now being made aware of its dangers due to a few unexpected and tragic accidents.
     Acton Beale, a 20-year-old man, plunged to his death after reportedly "planking" on a seventh-   floor balcony in Brisbane, Australia. Planking is also called the "The Lying Down Game"  which consists of lying face down in an obscure location with both hands touching the sides of the body. The term planking refers to mimicking a wooden plank. Yes, planking sounds a bit odd but not nearly as unbelievably strange as the new but probably now passe fad among Japanese pre-teens called "worming"
 or eyeball- licking.
     Apparently, this bizarre fetish is a display of affection equivalent to getting to second base with your crush. The Japanese media have reported the trend started a little over a year ago from a music video by the Japanese band Born, in which the lead singer gets his eyeball licked by a seductive woman. It's a damn good thing boy toys One Direction didn't initiate an armpit-licking craze featuring Harry Styles. Even a nostril lap up would be preferable and genuinely more healthy. It seems obvious that affectionately licking your loves eyeball might not be among the best ways to show you care, doctors have concluded the practice can spread viral conjunctivitis or "Pink Eye,"  Conjunctivitis is an itchy and highly contagious eye ailment feared by grade-school teachers and especially parents. It took awhile for adults and authority figures to catch up with the trend. "Honey, why is our son wearing an eye patch to school?"  By the time parents, adults and the media figure out what's "cool" the craze is cold. But that is the way of the world.

      Luckily, here in the States the trend hasn't appeared to have caught on. Our enterprising American youth spend so much time playing with their smart phones they have developed a phenomena  known as "sleep-texting" which all things considered is better than "sexting" or using snapchat.  Snapchat is a mobile photo-sharing app with one distinct feature compared to other ways people might share photos on their cellphones. Snapchat photos, once viewed, disappear from view, after a pre-set length of time. However,  as we all know phone or computer data never really disappears completely. So even photo's of freakish eyeball-licking can be recovered. Bad news for impulsive teenagers but great news for protective parents.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

"don't make me turn this car around..."

“I never got along with my dad. Kids used to come up to me and say, “My dad can beat up your dad.” I’d say, “Yeah? When?” ~ Bill Hicks

Happy Father's Day! Here is a very entertaining video compiled from actual photo's shared by families for the website Awkward Family Photo' Have a good laugh and enjoy your time together. It goes by in the blink of an eye.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Drew, Drew Bo Boo, Banana Fanana Fo Foo..Fighter..."

" Happy birthday to Drew... you live in a zoo.."

 Happy Birthday, my handsome sweet nephew. This is your monkey card (blog). The monkeys name is Uncle. The monkey, Uncle bought you a hat for your birthday. He got it on sale at Target. It was marked down to 99 cents. Uncle had saved part of the paycheck he earned playing cymbals while accompanying a singing street vendor. Uncle complains day and night, "Oh, my arms hurt." But really what are his alternative employment options? Now with the internets people aren't sending as many monkey cards by mail. They don't need monkey models any more. Everything is monkey air brushed and Photo shopped.  Anyway. Uncle loves your hat so much he won't give it back to me. We even took it to a mall kiosk and had it Bedazzled with" Drew Myshirtfits"   He has been asked politely over and over but he refuses to take it off. I had to chase him through a Kirklands, a Dollar Tree, Old Navy and finally Hot Topic before he set off an alarm running out an emergency exit. Imagine my embarrassment, being seen in a Hot Topic. After chasing him around and around in the parking lot for an hour there was no possible way to grab the hat, package, address it and ship UPS before the close of business so it would arrive on time for your 22nd birthday. Uncle said he is deeply regretful and wants to cheer you up by telling you a few of his favorite jokes.
 So there is a man in a movie theater who notices what looks like a monkey sitting next to him.
"Are you a monkey?" asked the man, surprised.
"What are you doing at the movies?"
The monkey replied, "Well, I liked the book."
Okay, so you don't seem satisfied? You act like a monkey tells you jokes every day. You, Millennial's and your laissez faire attitudes.  I suppose if he had texted you a joke you would be more impressed. Okay, how about this one?

    A policeman in the big city stops a man in a car with a monkey in the front seat.
"What are you doing with that monkey?" He exclaimed, "You should take it to the zoo."
The following week, the same policeman sees the same man with the monkey again in the front seat, with both of them wearing sunglasses. The policeman pulls him over.
"I thought you were going to take that monkey to the zoo!"
The man replied, "I did. We had such a good time we are going to the beach this weekend!"

 So I hope this blog will suffice for now. I miss seeing your adorable face and hope you have a wonderful celebration. Give your Mom, Dad and Bri a hug from me. It really was a beautiful hat.  Happy Birthday!! Love you. Auntie, Lisa

Saturday, June 8, 2013

"Ready, steady, go..."

"Sergeant Hulka: Soldier, I've noticed that you're always last.
John Winger: I'm pacing myself, Sergeant." -Stripes

      People with a fierce competitive drive appear to have an extra edge in life. They seem to possess that elusive inner spark or divine force propelling them to win.  It's an admirable trait I lack. My non competitive spirit is made even more apparent as I watch highly motivated runners sprint right past me during a race.
      When I worked in customer service, management teams tried to create competition between consultants with smack talk. "Hey, Lisa. Rey said he helps more customers in thirty minutes than you can in eight hours. More calls, more customers, more money." "Oh, that's awesome. Tell him I  said congratulations on his success and don't forget, Friday is Hawaiian Shirt Day" This slightly sarcastic compliment would inevitably frustrate managers who were trying to analyze  your psychological weaknesses. They wanted to discover your motivations so they could break you down, remold your psyche, transform you into the ambitious goal oriented associate that made them appear more successful. Being non competitive can be frustrating  for others. "Increase sales or you may be looking for a new job" is a phrase that has "inspired" few.  When we evaluate our own motives and look deep inside we know what allows us to be successful. The  majority are motivated by money, others fame, power or competition. This is the fuel which drives business and industry across the globe, the movers and the shakers. We are all driven to pursue our passions. We are driven to pursue our own passions.
      My motivation for participating in this mornings  5k race was to pet dogs. Honestly, it was to raise money for spaying and neutering programs, a park and it featured a canine expo. My registration number should have inspired me to "go fast" since it was "88" or Dale Earnhardt Juniors National Guard Chevrolet race car number. But the Run, Walk and Wag 5k was over flowing with many pleasurable sensory distractions.  Besides creating awareness for spaying and neutering the race also raised funds for a beautiful park with a gorgeous cross country trail.  However, after several days of rain in our area the course was rather slick and muddy. Hiking up my dirt splattered running sweats I splashed in pools of murky rain water. As a kid that is a major treat but somehow loses its appeal as an adult with a time limit. At one point I had to laugh at myself for tip toeing through the treacherous terrain like a spoiled prancing princess. Where was my chivalrous prince charming to lay down his royal cloak so a fair maiden could cross the puddle? All the focused runners were trampling unfazed through the cool morning air of forest foliage. The pack began to stride ahead of me as I struggled not to lose balance or fall in the mud. Soon all the runners were lost in the distance out of sight.
     Alone with my ipod charged I was listening to Foster the People's "Call It What You Want" happily half jogging, half dancing along a slick slippery trail. Was that a snake? Are there bears in this area? What if someone jumps out at me from behind a tree like a Ninja? Where is the water stand? Surely, it's been more than four miles by now. Maybe I should buy a watch. What a fabulous view and no camera!. What if a tick attaches to my ankle and I get Lyme disease? Look at that gorgeous Golden Retriever, how can I not stop and pet him? Where is the finish line? Oh look, a Labrador! Let me pet you too. Maybe I should stop at the restroom. Hello, may I pet your dog? Hey, that guy is hot! Finish line.
 This was not my best race record time. It was a really fun, enjoyable way to spend little over an hour and raise money and awareness for a great cause I believe in. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves our journey is always more important than our destination. 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

..."great dog or THE greatest dog ?..."

"All dogs are Zen Masters. They teach us awareness. They teach us the only moment is now."

        Life Lessons from My Little Buddha was a tribute article I wrote to my dog Maddie (or unofficially Maddie Mooshie Diamond Lotus Buddha). Maddie passed away from an inherited blood disease one year ago this month. She was just shy of her twelfth birthday. Although I love dogs and  consider my self an animal advocate , I have yet to completely mourn the loss of my "Little Buddha". When the time is right I will  be able to adopt another dog. There is an affinity I have with the cocker spaniel breed. In my experience most cockers are happy, goofy, soft, snuggly and sweet little cuddle bunnies. Cockers always want to be by your side. They shadow you from room to room, swirling at your feet like the great train of a wedding dress. A spaniels gentle expression and large soulful eyes melt my heart. I love all dogs and even have a habit of saying it aloud. My sister-in-law's pup, Parker  is told daily and my sister Laurie's dog, Dash  gets a "hello" over the phone. An " I love you, Dog" goes out to strangers pets being walked down the street or those seen playfully romping in the park. Yes, I adore children and love a multitude of human beings(faults and all) but there is something about dogs that bring out all the"feels" in me. 

 Below is a link to the complete tribute article.

Be in the Moment