Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Manners Rant

"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feeling of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use."
~Emily Post

The more time I spent outside my house lately, the more I strongly dislike people. It seems as though good manners, common courtesy and, dare I say it...common sense, have, for the most part, vanished from our society.

People are so rude and unaware of their surroundings that it makes me want to lock my doors and stay home. Permanently. I just can't stomach it anymore.

While shopping at Costco recently we were forced to stop and wait for the individual who was operating the cart, which was completely blocking the aisle, to move. She saw us (and the 3 other people she was holding up) but couldn't possibly have cared any less. Our presence did not disturb her revere in the least. When she finally got her sh!t together and moved she ignored the glares directed at her - oblivious.

A couple aisles over I encountered a younger version of the above mentioned aisle-hog. He had, apparently, been left to "man the cart" while mom wandered away to god-only-knows-where. This young person was too busy exercising his stellar balancing skills and trick cart moves to notice the adults trying to access the refrigerated shelves he was blocking. Not even "excuse me" or "HELLO?" could break his awesome concentration. Eventually I just opened the door and got what I needed...I pretended not to notice that it whacked him and ended a phenomenal cart maneuver he was executing at the time (picture BMX-type tricks only performed on the sides of a shopping cart...yeah...neat, huh?).

This afternoon while driving on one of our many beautiful California freeways (sarcasm? Me? No!) we were forced to SLAM on the brakes to avoid rear-ending the POS car in front of us that was - lost?...drunk?...confused? Who knows?! But she was suddenly NOT MOVING! Don't recall seeing any brake lights - just remember seeing her "I heart Obamacare" sticker getting larger and larger as it approached our front bumper.

Did I mention this occurred on a freeway junction on ramp?! There were vehicles behind us that were having to slam on their brakes as you think she gave a crap? Hell no! Eventually, we went around did the others behind us. Idiot.

Then there was the person in the grocery store parking lot who had picked out the front know? The one RIGHT in front of the door? You see, the gentleman who was in that space was putting his purchases in his trunk - so the guy in the lifted, fat tire, extra-cab, monster truck decided *he* wanted it next. So he waited...which seems like the right thing to do...except - he didn't use his blinker (so from our vantage point he just stopped) and he was blocking THE ENTIRE ENTRY ROAD - in BOTH directions! 

It was quickly obvious that we weren't the only ones peeved by this person's rude behavior as horns began to honk all around us. We were able to get around him, park and begin our walk into the store before Mr. Special got his mammoth truck parked. How'd that "front row" space work out for you there buck-o?!

Taking care to watch him exit his vehicle (we wanted to see what that level of "I-don't-give-a-sh!t" looks like) we noticed he had two small rudeness apprentices with him. Sigh! That's just fantastic! Then I saw the license plate...out of state...couldn't make out where he was from, but my money is on Massachusetts. *snort*

I don't believe I am the only one who has noticed this shift. It has gotten so rampant that I've noticed people are reluctant to strike up conversations or ask for help when out in public. It's sad really.

Since my mother drilled good manners into my skull from an early age - I still employ them on a daily basis. Usually, it's a one-way deal. That's OK really...cuz the one time I lapse and snark at someone - my mother will find out about it and I do NOT want that to happen. *shudder*

My kids have been raised in an environment that requires them to use "magic words" to function.

The boys have been schooled in Gentlemanly behaviors such as opening a lady's door for her and carrying the heavy stuff so she doesn't have to.The girls learned hostess skills such as asking guests to sit down and to offer a beverage. Easy enough, right?

This is not rocket science people! Manners are not optional! We live in a "civilized society" but many are acting like savages! It's just not OK!

I understand that you are on a tight schedule and running late...but that does not mean that you get to through caution to the wind, cut me off on the freeway and create a hazardous situation to better your position in life. Not one of us is more important that the other - we are all worthy and valuable. If we take turns (just like back in Kindergarten on the playground) everyone will get there - in one piece.

Seriously...if we go back to the basics...waaaaay back to when we were small and had to do what we were told - or else...the world would be a better place -- especially if we got to take naps every afternoon - just sayin'!!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Legacy of Courage

Tonight, I sat down and began to write about how sick and tired I am of rude people. Earlier, I posted on Facebook about the nasty cold bug that is probably taking up residence in my nasal passage at this very moment…I also joined a discussion about how unfair doctors’ office practices are…and then…I saw it, an announcement that stopped me in my tracks.

A beautiful lady that I have known since kindergarten lost her battle with metastatic breast cancer 2 days ago.

For five and a half years she fought with everything she had. Through chemo, radiation, and multiple surgeries she soldiered on, battling the disease while continuing to raise her family. A much stronger woman than I could *ever* hope to be, she gave everything she had until there was nothing left - and then she gave more.

This courageous lady has left an indelible mark upon the lives she touched while she lived among us on this Earth. She has given us an example to follow and a goal to strive for.

Her two gorgeous babies and wonderfully supportive husband will go forward knowing that they have a  wealth of wonderful memories that she worked diligently to create for them - her legacy.

Sinuses , finances and the rude people of this world don’t matter much when compared to the loss of a fellow human being.
There are much bigger things in life.

Family. Friends. Love. Joy.
“I love you”
“You are special to me”
“Thank you”

All those things have far more worth and resonate more deeply within our spirits than all the rest jumbled together.

I have opened my eyes - yet again - and realized the folly of my thinking.

Thank you, Michelle, for showing us what it means to really LIVE! For teaching us how to “Be the Bee”!

Rest in Peace
Michelle Lake

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Every so often I have to slow down and take a moment to look in a mirror.

I’m not talking about a cursory glance to check hair or make-up, no…I mean looking into the depths of the reflection – into *who* I see there.

Most of us focus on the *what* of our reflections – our looks, signs of aging on our skin, clothing lines…but those things are not important – not really.

What matters most is seen only when we gaze deeply into our own eyes – the window to our very soul.

There was a point in my life when this was an uncomfortable exercise for me. I couldn't look for long…I’d begin to squirm and a blush would begin to creep across my cheeks.

Shame will do that to a person.

After years of hearing how wrong I was, how fat I was, how useless and ungrateful I was…among other things…I had grown ashamed of myself.

Wait…that’s not entirely true…I was not ashamed of *myself* …my True Self was always there, whole and waiting to be recognized…she had been forced back, to cower in a dark corner – but she was there. I had learned shame – shame of “self” that was being projected by the constant reminders of the wrongness and imperfections within me.

None of us is perfect – not one. However, we are not so flawed that we cannot exist and thrive in the confines of this world – an imperfect world for that matter.

Society goes out of its way to point out our flaws and imperfections – in high definition on gigantic wide-screens with surround sound & CG special effects…but we must remind ourselves that those are superficial qualities.

Our True Self lives at the core of our being – it cannot be touched by “the world” and all its infectious hatred. Deep down you are exactly as you were the day you entered this world – a true reflection of what YOU are intended to be …with only gained knowledge added to the mix.

Only by gazing deeply into our own eyes can we grasp how amazing this Self is. 

The first time I tried this little “self-awareness” exercise I was in tears within a short while…I found that I wasn’t able to pretend when connected to my Self…I had to face the music, deal with the baggage I had allowed to accumulate and throw away the useless junk and clutter.

After the housekeeping was done…I was amazed! I’m a pretty neat person! =) No, really! I am! SO ARE YOU! You are an amazing, wonderful, loving, lovable human being!! You were placed on this earth for a time – to learn some lessons, to meet others, to love and be loved – and to pass on the wisdom you gain alone the way.

This life is a Journey – the path is much smoother is we connect with who we really are deep down.

Take a few moments to look in a mirror. Lean in. Lock eyes with the person you see there. No pretense, no veils, just you and your True Self. 

Who do you see?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It's Been a While

I haven't been able to write for a long time. It's very frustrating. I'm not exactly sure what the deal is, I just haven't been able to put coherent thoughts down on paper.

The last time I wrote was the morning of a day that was going well. The sun was out, it was warm and I was on top of my game at work. That afternoon I learned that the job I'd held for the previous 4 years was being "eliminated".

Poof! Just like that. No warning.

Something within me snapped. I helplessly cycled through all 5 stages of grief that weekend. The whole thing was such a shock to my system.

Over the next several days, additional stressors arrived in my life (health issues with immediate family) to add to the already overwhelming reality of no job in the very near future.

It was too much. Suddenly, I found myself short of breath while sitting still. My heart was pounding within my chest as if it needed to escape. My skin felt like it was crawling with electric currents. Tears would begin to fall with no warning. Bizarre sensations that consumed physical and emotional energy as well as my sanity. I soon learned that the sensations had a name: "Panic Attack."

For the first time in my life I was put on medications to balance out chemicals in my brain that used to regulate themselves. I have a bottle of pills in my purse - just in case the panic comes back at an inconvenient moment. I meet with a professional several times each month to work through the issues that all this stress has brought to the surface.

Funny...I've been through some serious shit in my life: Emotional/verbal abuse, nasty divorce, the lies of a con-man and raising kids by myself while struggling financially....not once did I fall to pieces like I did this time.

When I step back and consider this odd reaction I come to an interesting conclusion - this is the first time in my life that I don't *have* to be strong - I finally have someone I can lean on. Yes, I have always had a fabulous family and amazing friends but I'm talking about the kind of "leaning" that requires complete trust and absolute assurance that there will be no condemnation, no backlash and 100% support, no matter what. The kind of support one gets from a partner, a soul-mate - the other-half of yourself.

In the past I was not allowed to fall apart. I had no choice but to keep it together and be strong. If I fell to pieces there would be consequences - for me and for my kids. I could vent to my family and friends and they did what they could to ease the load I carried - but I was never truly allowed to just "let go" – to show weakness.

This time, I have someone who is standing WITH me, someone who SHARES the responsibilities of this house with me...someone who does not seek out flaws to point them out with malice...someone who loves me for who I am. Period.

This time - I was safe, protected, surrounded by love.

It was perfectly OK for me to sit and cry if I needed to. I was allowed to verbalize my fears and to give in to the need for comfort from someone else.

SIGH! I never knew it could be like this!

Although this journey is not over - I am still looking for a new job - I have been given a gift...the silver-lining of this dark cloud...I have been given time. Time to spend with my grandparents, my children, my man...time to get things done around the house that have gone undone for far too long...time to create...time to take care of me...time to just "be" and focus on the things that really matter.

For the things I have learned, the blessings gained, I am grateful. Someday I will look back on this time and shake my head...but for now, I look forward to the lessons to come, the gifts awaiting me in the future.

Would you look at that?! I wrote something!! =)