Archive for December, 2008

A new year, a new you?

Here’s wishing everyone around the world a fantastic New Year!  My hope is that 2009 is a great one for all.

December 31, 2008 at 6:44 pm Leave a comment

Special Holiday Message

This poem was written by a soldier, from one of the western countries, stationed overseas.
Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to all of the service men and women
for our being able to celebrate these festivities.  Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe.
Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.
Please, do your small part to plant this small seed.

So, in honor of my friend Rattan’s request, here goes:

T’WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE,
MADE OF PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY,
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO,
IN THIS HOME, DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES,
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT,
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR,
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN  DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED,
A BRITISH SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO,
OF WHOM I’D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALIZED THE FAMILIES,
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS,
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE,
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM,
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN’T HELP WONDER,
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE,
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGHT BROUGHT,
A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES,
AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED,
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
“SANTA DON’T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON’T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS.”

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN’T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL,
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED,
FROM THE COLD NIGHT’S CHILL.

I DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE,
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR,
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, “CARRY ON SANTA,
IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.”

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,

December 24, 2008 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

Season’s Greetings, Feliz Navidad, Happy Hanukkah

Here’s wishing  you and yours


a wonderful holiday


And


A fantastic New Year


With much

health, happiness, and success in 2009!

December 24, 2008 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

Wrong Choices in the Auto Bailout

I hate that there are folks, just like me, struggling to either get ahead or get by.  With Chrysler indicating they will shut down all of their plants for a month and Ford following suit in some capacity, I understand the fear that employees would have about their futures.

I am going to be unpopular for saying this (not that it will stop me) but I don’t believe we should bailout the auto companies.  I think it’s time that EVERY organization re-examine their pay structures for those elite few — the CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, Boards of Directors, etc.  Is there a reason they must make 500X what the average employee makes? Is there a reason why GM and Ford CEO’s said they would reduce their salaries to $1 a year, If and ONLY IF, they received the buyout?  Is there a reason why these persons reflect the best and the brightest, or so their exorbinant pay would leave you to believe? If these champions of industry are so great at what they do, why are we in this mess to begin with?  They are the ones to be held accountable. I think they should lose their jobs. How many employees would their salary save?

It reminds me of the movie Dave, in which a look-a-like President turned out to be better than the actual President.  I could go on and on with this rant and provide oodles of data, research and other supporting materials for my argument. But there will be others on the other side doing the same. In my opinion, the champions of industry got themselves into this mess and they should be the ones to get us all out; not the government.  The government isn’t the one who has escalated your pay, your stock options, your perks to the point of abandon.

December 22, 2008 at 8:48 am Leave a comment

2008: The Year of Reconnecting

As most do at this time of year, it’s time for reflections on the past year (just in time for New Year’s Resolutions).  Time Magazine does it via its Person of the Year and a few runner-ups.  Sports Illustrated does this via their Sportsperson of the Year and other notables.  I loved both choices!! Then there are the Top 10 movies, books, songs, etc. of the year.

For me, when I look back on 2008, there are some pretty prevalent themes but the one that stands out the most for me is reconnections.  This year, I have reconnected with friends, old boyfriends, and roommates from high school and college.  Some of that I can thank for my high school reunions (yes, two); some I can thank Facebook.  I was also lucky enough to reconnect with some family members; thanks once again to Facebook.

It’s been a year of rekindling, reminiscing, and renewing.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s been an amazing ride and look forward to deeper connections with all!

December 21, 2008 at 12:48 am Leave a comment

3-1-1 … or stupid FAA tricks

I have been back and forth from Omaha to Chicago for the past three weeks.  There is a silly little rule that if you want to carry on anything in the way of gels, lipstick, hairspray, toothpaste, etc. it must be less than 3 oz. and fit into a ziploc baggy.  It is the most ridiculous nonsensical requirement.  And to top it off, I have forgotten, on a few different occasions, to pull the baggy out of my carryon bag and have it x-rayed.  Complete oversight and once realized, felt incredibly scared for having forgotten. But, I was not “found” out.   So, what is the point of making millions of travelers go through this charade if they aren’t even going to enforce it?

December 20, 2008 at 8:23 pm 1 comment

Happy Go-Lucky

I recently saw a film that I thought was perfect for me.  The film is called Happy Go Lucky.  I want to share some thoughts from Sonja Lyubomirsky, a social psychologist at the University of California, Riverside and author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want.  I shared my review with some folks in my Happiness Club but felt that Sonja echoed my thoughts and expanded upon them better than I ever could:

I’m no movie critic, but I can say this:  Happy Go Lucky was really intriguing.  At first, you imagine you might hate it, but then it grows on you.  It’s about a woman – played fantastically by Sally Hawkins – who seems like she’s way too happy.  She’s relentlessly upbeat.  She sees everything and explPoppyains everyday events in a positive, optimistic, and charitable way.  (This gets downright dangerous sometimes, when she approaches and empathizes with a mentally ill homeless man, who may be violent.)  And she appears invulnerable to nasty people, a characteristic that serves well as fodder for some terrific and nerve-wracking scenes with her driving instructor.

Initially, I was convinced that the central character is just nuts (excuse the non-technical term) and totally dysfunctional, but then I realized that I may have been wrong all along.  The movie really made me think – in fact, so much that I couldn’t get it out of my head.

One of the questions that Happy Go Lucky brought to mind is whether people can indeed be excessively happy, dysfunctionally happy.

Psychologists argue that many, if not all, human traits have optimal levels.  With regard to the trait of happiness, studies show that people who report themselves as happy at age 18 will obtain more years of education and earn higher incomes in their 30s than will their less happy 18-year-old peers, but that those who score above the 90th percentile in happiness will actually do somewhat worse.  Interestingly, however, the pitfalls of being “too happy” are not observed in the domain of social relationships.  It has been known for a long time that happier people are more likely to get married, to have fulfilling relationships, to boast more friends, and to have higher-quality social support.  But if you rate yourself a 10 on a 10-point scale of happiness, you are still slightly better off in your romantic and social life than someone who is happy but not super-happy.  So, once a person is already moderately happy, becoming even happier may have costs in some domains, but not in others.

So, where does that leave our heroine of Happy Go Lucky?  You’ll have to see the movie to find out.

December 19, 2008 at 9:54 am 1 comment

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