The Beauty of Pain

In: Mish-mash, Mom's Oracles, Red Said

Beauty is defined as: the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit. According to this particular definition, I think that it is safe to say that beauty is not necessarily pretty. In fact, I would argue that what I have found to be most beautiful is rarely pretty. More often than not, it is within a state of agony and pain that we can uncover what is the essence of beauty- the sacred place within that blisters our heart, changing our being, branding us forever, hence the exaltation of mind or spirit.

The look of a woman giving birth without the use of “pain killers” is one such image. Face is blotchy, make-up, if there was any, is now sweated off, leaving raccoon smudges, nostrils are flaring, brows furrowed as eyes squint in an intense effort to will one’s physical being to labor on beyond what only a contraction ago seemed impossible. And then, the baby comes and with it the elation of a job well done, a goal accomplished, one’s self-worth increased.

A runner at the end of a long race that has demanded more of his body than his legs and heart could handle is another. A runner like Pre who knew that you might beat him, but you’d have to bleed to do so. He crossed the finish line completely spent and used up physically and yet, there was still a wildness in his eyes and an intensity of focus that was undeterred. That singularity of intent translates into achievement of purpose, enveloping while exuding success. That sweet smell.

Intertwined like yin and yang, masculine and feminine, tragedy and hope, pain and beauty are married in such a way that make the sum not only greater than the parts but dependent on one another for full expression.

 

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Bliss Bling

In: Fit-n-Fab 40's, Mish-mash

There I was, sitting astride the Monster in the paddocks when he up and quit on me! And only after two sessions. I checked everything: he had been fed and fueled; he was fully charged; he had sufficient fluids. What was a girl to do? I got off and then was embraced by an entire team of men, desperate to give me what I wanted- the ride of my life.

Men whom I’d never met opened it up, took it apart, poked, cajoled, and prodded to no avail. The sexy beast was determined to scorn me. I think maybe I’ve been neglectful. And they do need so much attention, these Italians. I relinquished control and have lost him momentarily. But when he comes back, I will love him all the more. track day crush

He will never know that I remained faithful despite the Japanese rolling out in front of me, begging to be ridden fast and dirty. After all, I am a lady so I stayed by the one with whom I came. It did inspire me though to consider that maybe I have more than one need, which in order to be satisfied, will require more than one arrow in my quiver. And so, I pictured what it would be like to ride a Ninja as I lay in bed replaying the events of the day.

And I think I had a sort of epiphany…it’s all about body positioning, looking at where you want to go, and throttle control, which reminded me of skiing. All of a sudden, it dawned on me…I love to carve. And to do that on ice is different than powder skiing, thus requiring a different tool. So I pictured myself with a lightweight, easily maneuverable, and responsive Japanese version and have decided that yes, it is okay for me to have more than one.

Duc won’t mind. He was my first and there is just something about that Italian that is so sexy so I will always return to him. However, his scorn taught me something valuable: With or without him, I must seek my own bliss. Because in that place, I am the best version of me.

By: M7 Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments on Bliss Bling

How it Works People

In: B.I.T.C.H.E.S., Mish-mash, Red Said

Over the last three decades, I’ve discussed the immorality of Government while sharing the message of voluntary agreements as the only moral option. Whenever I have found opposition, it is always in relation to three perceived problems: who will protect “us” from “them”; who will enforce contracts; and what about the needy. Answers include options such as private security, voluntary associations, mutual aid societies, etc. More often than not, the last one is what is most scoffed at…”Nobody is that generous”; “people will starve”; “it’s not fair” are some common responses. I contend that those are all lies perpetrated by the Government. Lies to convince you that you are a bad person who needs governing and that left to yourself, you would abandon all compassion and empathy for your fellow man, despite countless examples showing otherwise.

Jason King, in Pensacola Florida, is one example of someone who saw a problem and sought a remedy…but not at the expense of others without their consent, as the State would suggest is the only viable option. Sean’s Outpost is a homeless shelter for those who have come upon hard times for whatever reason and need help. Inspired by someone whom he met at his best friend’s funeral, he started the shelter and named it in Sean Dugas’ honor to memorialize him. More information on Jason and the use of Bitcoin to support his charity can be found at Bitcoinmagazine.com.

And most recently, Jason has come forth with the exciting news that Satoshi Forest, a property that was purchased via Bitcoin- the dreaded cyber currency that Michael Bloomfuck and the Federal Government cannot seem to eradicate from today’s savvier, soon-to-be Government-free society which will soon end the plight for some homeless people on this 9 acre parcel. Bravo Jason King! And welcome to B.I.T.C.H.E.S.

!SDRAWKCAB LLA STi

In: Mish-mash, Mom's Oracles, Red Said

Backwards Day at Rancho Santa Fe Elementary School was a fun day for my kids. Apparently, it is a common event nationwide when kids wear their clothes backwards, walk backwards, and eat their dessert first. Some can get really creative- one young girl wrote her schoolwork backwards. Though I thought it just a fun way to break up the monotony, I am starting to think that it is all a conspiracy to train us to think that what is backwards is correct.

Trying to pass a few minutes while in between tasks, I checked out recommended videos on Youtube yesterday and came across one that has gone viral. Here it is if you’ve not yet seen it. And don’t worry, the time you spend watching it can actually be considered an investment in your education.
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Yes, this “news” anchor actually said what you think she said. And no, she did not read the book, nor do any actual fact-checking about Reza. And yes, the theme of the show is supposedly about spirited debate. (I think that Reza and Russell Brand ought to be awarded Emmy’s for Best Anchor and Best Expose. Just sayin’>)

Now, the title of my post is “It’s All Backwards” so there must be an opposite to which we can contrast this joke of a news anchor and news show. And I have just the ticket. Funny enough, I was recently asked where I get my “news” from a less-than stalwart opponent in a political debate and I jokingly responded, “Jon on The Daily Show”. Well, am I a prophet, or what?
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Now I am not claiming that I agree or disagree with what Dr. Aslan is claiming. I am simply pointing out that Fox published a news show that was clearly lacking in anything newsworthy and even worse, the anchor was ignorant of the rules of scholarly debate which is the premise of the show; and a comedy show featured an actual interview that left the audience more knowledgeable about the author, his book, and some of the arguments that support his claims. In other words, news was provided.

There was one claim that was made with which I wholeheartedly agree: Not all who follow Jesus are Christians and not all who are Christian follow Jesus. Yep.

Lunch for Two for $10!

In: What's Cookin'?

Over the last decade, I have spent the same amount of money each month on food. Ten years ago, that meant that I had a dinner party at least once-a-week, provided snacks for all the neighbor kids, had a liquor cabinet stocked with premium brands, and bought food at gourmet shops, both for guests as well as my family of four who ate nearly all meals at home since “school” took place at our dining room table. Today, it means that I feed myself and one child with the occasional Whole Foods gift card tossed my college kids’ way…and no dinner parties…and no liquor. Nobody can tell me that the price of food has not quadrupled in that time as I have spreadsheets to prove otherwise. And yet, you can still eat a clean, tasty, and nutrient-rich meal for less than what it  costs to go to McDonald’s. I am going to have a conniption if I have to explain the obvious health benefits.

But with the recent conversations about healthcare coverage, people are focusing on the wrong thing. Sadly, people do not consider the backend expense of poor eating habits and lack of nutrition. I save a bundle by having a healthy family. According to Forbes, medical expenses for the average family of four exceeds what they spend on groceries. Well that is stupid!

If you want to save money on both food and health care, consider eating at home as a start. Step two is preparing fresh foods for your family. And include them in the process. One of my “rules” for my children was that they learn to make 50 meals before they left home. I implemented that “rule” when they were young enough that they thought it fun to chop, stir, slice, and pour; by the time they realized that I could not make them do anything, they already knew a tremendous amount about nutrition, food pairings, and taste, not to mention how to use food to heal themselves.

The next time you are tempted to grab something quick and easy,2013-05-02_14_24_29 try making some grilled fish, rice, and salad. The dishes featured in this post each took me less than fifteen minutes to prepare and cost $10- for two people! That is $5 each. You cannot even get a fastfood meal for that much. And if you are truly that short on time, grill some meats or tofu one day and use it for salads the next three.

Enrich yourself with healthy eating; enrich your life cooking with others; and enrich your savings by abstaining from empty calories. Bon appetit!

 

 

Yay, I Blew It!

In: Fit-n-Fab 40's, Mish-mash

Nearly two decades ago, I had the opportunity to sing a duet with my then 4-year-old daughter at the La Paloma Theatre in Encinitis, California. We were both taking piano and voice lessons from Miss Peggy Lebo at the time. Or well, I was taking lessons and Aziza was playing along with me. So when it came time for a recital that was also a fund raiser, Peggy proposed that Aziza and I sit down and bang out a song that we would sing together from Oliver and Company. I said, “No”. I just couldn’t do it. I could not get on stage and do anything, much less sing or play the piano. That stage fright kept me from doing a lot of things.

But I was heartbroken. How pathetic was I that I was unable to squelch my fears enough to embrace the opportunity to do such a thing with my little peanut who so desperately wanted to sing with mommy. She still performed…with a band and everything. Watching her stand up there with a microphone bigger than her body and sing “Castle on a Cloud” was such a gift and the memory still floods me with pride and joy. And how lucky was I to have that sweet little thing turn to me in the midst of it all, cup her hand in a wave and say, “Hi Mommy!” The best ever!

Now this many years later, it is she who is coaching me through a voice lesson and the audition process. Belting out “Maybe This Time” while we walk down the street on our way to get a cocktail takes me back to the shared piano bench and lesson that came with a cookie afterward. What a blessing.

The audition was okay. I sort of bombed it. But I laughed and had a great time. And no, I did not picture everyone in their underwear like Marcia Brady. Instead, I tried to be as good as I could and as delightful as possible so as to make the experience fun for the panel of people watching me dance and listening to me sing. If nothing else, they will remember me for making them smile. And I am grateful to them for making me feel relaxed and welcomed.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time we challenged ourselves, we had a support system like I did with my daughter who helped and encouraged me, as well as came alongside to see me through? Isn’t that what life is about? Getting out of our comfort zones to try new things, growing, and becoming better, more empathetic, and courageous people is what makes the journey exciting.

I may not get a call back, but I won all the same. Whereas a fear formerly paralyzed me, now courage, strength, and hope have inspired me to strive for greater things for myself. And the next time she asks me to do a duet, you can bet your bootie that I will say “Yes!”

By: M7 Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment on Yay, I Blew It!

Brand Lands Job at MSNBC

In: Mish-mash, Red Said

Dear Mr. Brand,

There has been such an elevated buzz in the offices since news of you agreeing to join our team was learned. The newly-formed relationship was announced on Morning Joe today during the segment, “What Happens When You Suck at Your Job?”  Marketing executives believe that Everyone Loves Their Own Brand, though a poignant title, may be too long given the short attention span of many of our listeners. How about Brand-Aid?

That idea was suggested by Mika’s assistant, Jane Bennett, who has been the victim of profuse pronoun pelting as well. Additionally, she too has a unique look and an imperceptibly non-understandable way of speaking and will therefore, we believe, be a most suitable co-host for your etiquette segment.  And because she is not a stilted, sexually-repressed, intellectually slothful “blond”,  we do not foresee any hiccups due to carbonated drink bottles. Speaking of the plastic eyesores you were kind enough to point out as environmentally unsound, they will be replaced with a lovely china set with which Ms. Bennett will gladfully pour tea each show.

Now, there is just one teensy weensy item needing to be ironed out. It is a silly matter really and one I am sure will be easily resolved. A precise checklist will be written-up by our legal team for you to sign prior to your first episode. And don’t worry, the Tweeters and Facebookers who work so furiously disseminating information will not have access to that list. Though that gaggle will not, the NSA will, of course, because our MSNBC family believes in your safety and security.

And it truly is for your safety and security that the checklist was suggested in the first place. After all, in light of Michael Hasting’s tragic murder, the press really cannot have any assurance of either safety or security to speak at will. You must admit that is fair since the media ought not to have special privileges not shared by the public. I am sure you will agree when you see it, that the aforementioned checklist is hardly a sacrifice compared to the value of your safety and security. A few of the restricted topics include Bradley Manning, Edward Snowdon, and Cannabis Cure. The others are a bit more general and will be explained in detail in your contract.

I do so look forward to seeing you around; you are just so fun to look at. In fact, you remind me of my first crush, David Cassidy, in whose eternal words my thoughts run, “I Think I Love You”. Have a wonderful holiday weekend. Don’t you feel blessed to be allowed to live in a country that has a 4th of July and where God’s grace shines on thee as is evidenced by no bombs bursting in air here?

Most sincerely,

Ima Notsobright

 

 

 

It May Be Terminal

In: Mish-mash, Mom's Oracles, Red Said

Ms Mohs ties for first place as my all-time favorite teacher, of which I’ve had many, because she was unwavering in her resolve to maintain a standard of excellence. It was in her classroom where I was introduced to the “List of 50 Prepositions”, which, to this day, I can still recall from memory. Lord knows how I do appreciate skilled writing and Ms. Mohs was instrumental in my own personal  development. It was not from her, however, that I adopted one of my life mottos which is: Learn the rules and then learn why, when, where, with whom, and how to break them.

In addition to memorizing the prepositions,  there were  so-called “rules” regarding them, one of which was that I ought never to end a sentence with one. Handily, there was a little tune that I learned them to. (See what I did there?) “About, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, at…” and then those that began with “b” and so on. (Oops, I did it again!). 

 You, too,  have undoubtedly heard the self-righteous grammarians who claim one must never end a sentence with a preposition. (They are often the same who claim that you may never begin a sentence with “and”.)  And I am here to tell you, that is absolute hogwash. If you wonder at how it came to be that the English language developed with such a rigid criterion, it has to do with Latin not using a terminal preposition and the educated class trying to fit the language into the Latin-sized box. Oh phooey! It is nearly a dead language for a reason! (Just kidding, Omar!)

And if you are one of those who still insist that you are correct about this ill-thought-out mandate, well we will have to part ways on that. You be you in your tiny, little box, and I’ll be me, happily in very good company!

I say you shall yet find the friend you were looking for. (Walt Whitman)

Mrs. Bennet had many grievances to relate, and much to complain of. (Jane Austen)

The domestic man, who loves no music so well as his kitchen clock and the airs which the logs sing to him as they burn on the hearth, has solaces which others never dream of. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Then she remembered what she had been waiting for. (James Joyce)

Finn the Red-Handed had stolen a skillet and a quantity of half-cured leaf tobacco, and had also brought a few corn-cobs to make pipes with. (Mark Twain)

There was a little money left, but to Mrs. Bart it seemed worse than nothing””the mere mockery of what she was entitled to. (Edith Wharton)

 

Keep Steppin’ Toward Your Goals!

In: Fit-n-Fab 40's, Mish-mash

Altogether and to the tune of “I Feel Pretty”- “I feel icky, oh so icky. I feel icky and blecky and gray!” Okay, that is all I’ve got. I am sure there is some medical condition that goes along with my symptoms. WebMD says either appendicitis or a strained muscle. Now if I had stools that looked like little fingers, it could also be colitis, or something like that. Regardless, it is totally my fault, I am certain, and is definitely a result of the prescription I’ve given myself to create a bigger and bolder me.

As I mentioned in “Serving Size, My Ass” some months back, I’ve been doing a bit of an experiment. Though not stuffing my face with quarter pounders, mostly because I am terrified of eating at establishments where they have to remind their employees to wash their hands after wiping their asses; oh and I don’t consider “beef product” to be acceptable for human consumption (Yeah Andy, I hope you are reading this!), I have been eating as much and exercising as little as the average American 45-year-old woman. I’ve reached two conclusions: genetics and lifetime habits give us the bodies our personalities inhabit. That works for me but some of you poor suckers out there are doomed. Best to kill yourselves now. Oops, just kidding. Unless you are nearly 100, you still have the lifetime habits thing to work for you. So get on it!

We don’t choose to whom we are born, though Hollywood and uber rich people, who have the good sense to know that they are entirely unattractive and ought not to procreate filling the world with mini-me’s, have introduced sperm and egg discrimination, an unnatural selection, if you will. For the rest of us, we’re stuck with the couple who fucked each other. In the memorable words of my then 6-year-old, “The daddy put his penis in the mommy’s vagina and his sperm chased down her egg and got it.” And if they were fat, knock-kneed, and hairy, good chance you too will look like a troll. But as I said, lifetime habits… and a good wax job will help a lot!

And what are some of these habits? Well Grandma Leone taught me to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, which I do, as does my daughter. At some point that habit will affect genetics, I am sure. (I just had a very disturbing vision of a kangaroo pouch developing where biceps are that collects water. Don’t ask me where the water will come from but you must admit that the placement of the pouch is handy because immediately after drinking you can wipe your mouth on your forearm.)

And Grandpa Nick was a lifetime gardener who taught me the indispensable worth of growing a home garden from which one can harvest the vegetables at the time they are ripened with all of the delicious micronutrients and enzymes at their peak. My mother and her parents insisted that salad is something to eat in addition to cooked vegetables, as well, reinforcing the habit of eating raw and colorful foods daily.

And let’s not forget the importance of moving the body. I have seen firsthand what not doing that will do as my mother has become quite sedentary the last ten years. She actually broke her foot getting up to turn off the tele. And to think that our neighbors thought it dangerous for us to be skateboarding off the roof! But truly that has been the most painful part of this process for me. Sitting still is an art form; being slothful is gross. So upon my return last week to what would have been an hour a day of exercise, something anyone can do, even if in increments throughout the day, I thought I’d jump right in. Well let me tell you, moving a body that has not really been moving for six months is a bit of a chore. But if you’ve always been an athlete, it is relatively easy to get back on that horse. Which is what I did and most likely the reason I have now been laid up doing nothing for three days. My strength and muscle memory did not account for the stiffness and rigidity of my ligaments. Damn! Hello 45-year-old body, you suck!

Persistence and perseverance are key. Blown ACL and meniscus, broken leg, broken foot, torn hamstring, dislocated shoulder, Broken nosebroken tailbone are injuries I’ve rehabilitated from and other than being a human barometer, I’m no worse for the wear. However, after this little injury and the last one, oh yeah the one when I broke my nose the first day back after breaking my tailbone, I am going to try walking the horse before galloping or even trotting.  After all, there is still plenty of time to jump fences for all of us. We just have to get there one step, habit, and sometimes faceplant-at-a-time.

But in the eternal words of Rob Schneider, “You can do it!”

mmmm mmmm… Marcona almonds!

In: Fit-n-Fab 40's

One serving of this sweet, delicate “Queen of almonds” provides 70% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin E. You know, the one that your body doesn’t produce but is an antioxidant that protects and repairs your skin! And they are so yummy! Plain or flavored, I find them to taste, well…sexy!

Antioxidants are agents that neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals, which are molecules that damage collagen and cause skin dryness, fine lines and wrinkles. Free radicals are atoms with an uneven number of electrons, and when they form inside your body, they steal electrons from healthy cells like the ones that make up your skin. This can cause a damaging chain reaction, and that’s where antioxidants like vitamin E come in to play.

Almonds are also great sources of healthy fats, protein, and are gluten-free. They are a dream food for people with diabetes, those trying to control weight, and people with any hormone-related concerns. A handful a day will stave off hunger, regulate blood sugar, and reduce LDL- the cholesterol you don’t want.

Currently, I am in love with rosemary garlic-flavored ones, as well as curry-spiced, both of which you can find at Whole Foods.