Thursday, December 31, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
We all let ourselves down occasionally. We may really want to do something, but other aspects of our lives get in the way, preventing us from doing so. We are each a work in progress, (hopefully) evolving and moving toward a better incarnation of ourselves. I'm definitely a different person than I was 5 years ago. Hell, I'm a different person than I was a year ago. Lessons have been learned. Knocks have been taken. I've picked myself up, dusted myself off, reassessed, and kept moving forward. I know how easy it is to get caught up in what went wrong, but it also helps to remind yourself what went right. The saying "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" is a bit trite, but it's true. Every single day that you live is the opportunity for a new beginning. It gives you something to build upon and to strive for. If you don't like some part of your life that is within your power to change, then change it. Today is right here waiting for you and it's full of possibilities!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Now that I've mad you laugh, I want to make you think. As time progresses, it seems that the world has become filled with more and more turmoil. Everything that happens is pivotal and shapes the direction that our lives take. Those things make us who we are. There are some things that we can maintain control over and others that we can't. As you find yourself stressing out about getting Christmas dinner on the table a bit late, remember to look at the big picture. In the grand scheme of things, will it really matter if dinner is at 4:30 instead of 3:30? If you did have time to make the rum balls, tell Uncle Phil to have a few more and finish watching the game ;-). Have a safe and happy holiday season!
Friday, December 11, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
When I was 15 I saw a documentary on public television about the making of Sgt. Pepper. I distinctly remember George Martin at a soundboard talking about all of the arrangements and instrumentation. I was fascinated, so when I got the chance, I went out and bought Sgt. Pepper on cassette. This was 1990 folks. I didn't have a CD player yet! Anyway, I constantly listened to Sgt. Pepper, my favorite song being A Day in the Life. As I listened to the music I became more and more absorbed in The Beatles and wanted to learn all that I could about them. My junior year in high school I did a research paper comparing and contrasting Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour. See, I had it bad! By that time I had Magical Mystery Tour, Abbey Road, Rubber Soul, and Revolver on cassette.
Although all the guys are great, there was just something about John that called out to me. Maybe it was his troubled childhood or his sharp, cutting wit. Whatever it was, John became my favorite Beatle. When I see his artwork and read his poetry, the depth of his creative mind astounds me! Wrapped up in that creativity was a very loving soul. So loving that he thought nothing of signing an autograph for the man that would end up taking his life mere hours after the autograph was signed.
I was never truly able to understand the world's loss of John Lennon until I was older. He was that rare combination of genius, vulnerability, humanitarianism, and sincerity that's hard to match. There are many who have come after him who are similar in many regards, but they will never be able to catch the lightning in a bottle that was the essence of John Lennon. He greeted the world with an open heart and the world keeps him in theirs. As you rest in peace, John Winston Ono Lennon, know that your messages of love, peace, and togetherness shine on, just as you do. Your fans will love you forever!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Although I know that it's not wise to try to embrace the world, it's also not wise to act as if there aren't people out there that would benefit from a bit of genuine kindness with no strings attached. All it takes is a smile or a kind word to brighten what might've otherwise been the worst day of someone's life. I know that it makes me feel better on a bad day when someone says something nice to me or does something nice for me. It never hurts to do something nice for someone. When you do something that makes others feel good, you usually feel good, too. Give of yourself freely, expecting nothing in return and your heart will feel lighter.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This year, while you're scarfing down turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, take a bit of time to truly consider what you're thankful for. Trying to make it in this world is the hardest that it's ever been. Death and destruction seems to mount with each successive day. Throughout history there has always been poverty, disease, and war, but we now live in an age where we can see immediately what is taking place half a world away. Seeing all of that can make a person despair of what the future holds. As long as you do what you know to be right and surround yourself with good people, you can endure anything that comes your way. As the saying goes, count your blessings, but not just on Thanksgiving day. Do it on any day when you feel life dragging you down. If your heart feels heavy, think of all of the people out there who love and cherish you. If your bank account is looking kind of empty, be happy about the fact that you have a residence that enabled you to open that bank account and that you're not living on the streets. If someone hurts your feelings, feel the pain then let it go. No need to plot revenge (although it can be lots of fun!), because the universe always makes things as they should be. Because we don't know everything, it may be hard to see the purpose of the things that happen around us, but trust that you and yours will be okay. Things aren't totally mapped out, but our actions do influence the outcome. We may not always get what we want, but we always get what we truly need. Be grateful for the choices and the opportunities you have. Don't squander them or weigh them against what someone else may have. At this moment you are exactly where you're supposed to be. Embrace that knowledge and send your love and joy out into the universe. I guarantee that there's someone out there who would welcome it.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I've ordered soaps and a body lotion and am very satisfied with my products. The skin on my upper arms was very dry and bumpy. I've often heard it referred to as "chicken skin". There's an expensive cream on the market that targets that particular problem. I've been considering buying the cream for quite some time, but just didn't want to spend the money. Even when I had gift cards for Sephora (where it's sold) I didn't want to buy it. Now I don't have to because Hailey's Dragon Garden makes a product that solves my problem. The Acai Berry Lotion with Calendula is one of the first purchases that I made. I use it almost every day on my arms and legs and it leaves my skin smooth and hydrated. I didn't even notice that the bumps on my upper arms were going away until the other day. I just happened to take a look at my arms when I was getting ready for work and noticed they didn't look dry anymore. Also, the texture of my skin has improved quite a bit. I'm very impressed with how well the Acai Berry Lotion has worked and I paid about an eighth of what I would've paid for the high-end brand.
As I said before, I've also tried the soaps and I love them! They lather very nicely, leaving my skin feeling soft and smooth. I highly recommend these products to anyone that's looking for an all-natural way to care for their skin, but isn't able to spend the big bucks.
Friday, October 23, 2009
There's also a debate about high fructose corn syrup that's been going on for quite a while. The evils of hfcs are touted, but there are also councils that present information saying that it's harmless. It's very prevalent and shows up in the oddest places. For instance what the hell is hfcs doing in my Stove Top Stuffing? Yeah, some stuffing is made from cornbread, but hfcs isn't supposed to be in my cornbread either!
Debate about these things and the introduction of the soda tax are ways that our government is looking to fight obesity. There are now many more commercials about making healthy choices when it comes to food, and fast food places are offering healthier options. That's great, but it doesn't change the fact that in order to eat healthier you have to pay an arm and a leg for groceries. Processed foods and sugary drinks are much cheaper than fresh fruits, vegetables, and organically produced goods. Minorities continue to have problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. These are all diseases that could be controlled or stabilized with exercise and a healthy diet. While grocery shopping, when given the choice between fresh fruits and veggies or a bag of chips for their kids to snack on , the chips will overwhelmingly be chosen because they're cheaper. Also, grocery stores tend to run specials on the less healthy stuff, so that makes people more apt to buy them since they're getting a better deal than usual. In this economy every penny counts even more than ever, so if eating healthier means having to pay more for your groceries then it'll continue to fall by the wayside. That money has to go to more mundane things like the mortgage or the rent, heat, and electricity. Those are just the basics. That doesn't even take into account such things as clothing, car payments, and car insurance.
If you want people to have healthier lifestyles and lower insurance rates, you've got to give them alternatives that will work for them. The majority of the country does not live in a McMansion and drive their SUV to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods to pick out fresh produce and organic ingredients to make a healthy balanced meal for their children. They're living in small houses, cramped apartments, or trailers; hoping that the car will crank so that they can go to A & P for a box of frozen fried chicken, some instant mashed potatoes, and a can of green beans (oops forgot the packet of Kool-Aid) so that their children can have a hot meal.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Some of the things that might keep us from doing so are lack of time, the feeling that maybe we don't deserve it, or feelings of guilt for actually spending time on ourselves. The example we saw our mothers set can also be a factor. My own mother is a very selfless woman. She sacrificed a lot to provide a loving home for my father, me, and my two brothers. There are many things she wanted or wanted to do, but felt that she needed to put us first. Looking back on it now, I wish that she had put herself first more. I think she missed out on a lot because of us.
That realization is a big motivator for me to nurture myself a little bit. Deciding to lose weight is one of the ways that I'm taking care of myself. Not only does it help me physically, it also helps me mentally and emotionally. There are a lot of us out there who are emotional eaters. Whenever someone or something hurts us or makes us sad, we grab a bag of chips or a pack of cookies. In the moment that food tastes pretty damn good, but afterward you're pissed at yourself because you ate a whole package of cookies that will be taking up residence on your thighs momentarily. Once that thought strikes you, you get depressed. If you're depressed you might wanna reach for that pint of Ben and Jerry's. Now you just ate a package of cookies and hated yourself for it. Why are you reaching for the Ben and Jerry's? Because maybe it'll make you feel less depressed. It all becomes a vicious cycle, one that I've been caught up in many times. One day I reached my breaking point and had to put up a big STOP sign.
Now that I've done that, I'm able to look at my life and the world around me from a better perspective. We all want and need to be loved by others, but we also need love from ourselves. Breaking out a little bit of Whitney Houston "Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all". If you love and nurture yourself, you'll feel so much better about yourself, which will in turn enrich your relationships with other people. I find that when I take good care of myself I have better interactions with those around me. Funny how that works, huh?
Friday, October 2, 2009
That's what happened to me at my Weight Watchers meeting last night. During every meeting we do celebrations as a means of receiving positive feedback for our accomplishments, whether they be scale-related or not. Last night, during celebrations one of the other members said that she wanted to give a shoutout to me because I inspired her to start running. Prior to WW, I was not a runner at all, not even when I was younger. Back then it wasn't a matter of my being heavy (I was skinny until I was about 14), it was about me just not wanting to push myself to do it. During this past summer our WW group set individual 6 week goals and my goal was to be able to run for 15 minutes. In order to reach that goal I ran a little bit each week, increasing the amount of time until I got to 15 minutes. After I found that I could do that, I decided to push myself to run for 30 minutes. Once again, I just kept incrementally adding time until I got there. My final goal was to be able to run all the way around the lake near my apartment, which is 3.5 miles or so. A few weeks ago I was able to do it for the first time. I did it over Labor Day weekend. After that first day, I decided to do it again the next day to make sure it wasn't a fluke. Day 2 I was able to do it, so I decided to go for the hat trick and run around the lake 3 days in a row. On Day 3 I had to push myself a bit, but I still made it.
I used that story as a celebration in the meeting 2 weeks ago, and a girl in the meeting, Amy, decided that she'd give running a try. When she talked about it last night, she said that she was on a track and would run for 2 laps and walk for 1 lap. She did that 4 days in a row. She said the whole time she was doing it, she was thinking of me. That made me so happy because that was unexpected proof that I'm having a positive impact on someone else's life. I always say that when I die, I want to do so having made the world a better place for my being in it. Although things I do or achieve might not necessarily have a global impact, I'm glad that I can truly touch and inspire the individuals that come in contact with me. Not only does the fact that I inspired Amy to start running make me proud, but it also motivates me to keep reaching toward my goals.
Friday, September 18, 2009
I know that life is damn hard and that it can thrown many a curveball, but it would be easier to deal with those curveballs if one could just let go of the anger and the bitterness. Got a co-worker that you absolutely can't stand? Associate with them as little as possible. If you have to work with them on a project, try your best to maintain a professional demeanor. Got a friend who's either a user or a liar? Once again, limit your time with them. Also, branch out to find new friends and new activities. Have a child, old or young, that continually makes mistakes or gets into trouble? With the older kids, you may have to wash your hands of the situation and let them try to make it on their own. Take comfort in the fact that you raised them the best that you could and that everything works out the way it's supposed to. As for younger kids, you still have a chance to try to steer them in the right direction. If what you're doing isn't working, then try a new approach. Also, remember that mistakes are also learning experiences.
Those are just a few examples of the things in life that can make us feel miserable. If you are dealing with something that's not on this list, just remember that only you can make you happy. You know what it is that you want and need. Lots of times fear holds us back from reaching toward our goals. Rarely do things ever fall into place the first time out of the box, so don't be discouraged. It may take one more attempt or it make take 100 more attempts. No matter how long it takes, persistence does pay off.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Although the story has its cute moments, it's a serious subject. Girls are trying at younger and younger ages to look older. I didn't start wearing makeup until I was 13, which, upon reflection, was still way too early. My mom has never really worn makeup so she wasn't sure what an appropriate age would be. It blows my mind to see little girls all tarted up in heavy makeup and and wearing short, tight clothes. They're exhibiting sexuality that they aren't equipped to deal with yet. I'm not going to make a broad generalization and say that all men are dogs, but quite a few are and they're just waiting to prey on young girls who are trying to assert their independence by making a foray into womanhood. These girls are too immature and too naive to realize that those men will tell them anything they want to hear to get what they want.
I know that times change and that we need to change with the times, but it never has been and never will be okay for a young girl to parade around looking like a prostitute or a stripper. There's nothing wrong with a young girl wanting to look good, but she needs to be taught the difference between looking good and looking trashy. As the past 20 years have gone by, I've worn less and less makeup. Most people don't even know that I wear makeup because I use it only as a subtle enhancement, which is what it's meant for. I'm sure that my niece will find another way to broach the subject of makeup with my mom, because kids are persistent, but I know that my mom will stand firm.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
As for the road to hell being paved with good intentions, in your heart, you know what you are trying to accomplish. What problem could that possibly cause? Well, unless you express yourself and your intentions in a clear manner that can be understood by all, your actions can be misconstrued. The hell part comes in when you try to backtrack and explain yourself after the misunderstanding has occurred. At the root of this is communication. We've been conditioned to hold in how we really feel about the things that other people do if what they're doing rubs us the wrong way. Wouldn't want to upset the apple cart! Unfortunately, we can't hold it in forever and there's always something that manifests itself as the last straw. Once the dam has been broken, the feelings come spewing out, unfiltered and oftentimes in a very hurtful way. When that happens, it causes more of a problem than the other party may have originally believed existed. Tact and diplomacy are two things that are essential in effective communication. They eliminate unnecessarily hurt feelings and help an issue to be resolved in an expedient manner.
If you have a problem with someone or something that they've done, let them know as soon as you possibly can. Don't let it fester until it boils over. Of course emotions will be running high, but try to keep them in check and discuss the problem in a calm and rational way. Taking jabs at the other person may make you feel better in the moment, but it will continue to escalate the situation, when it should be moving in the other direction. I'm a very sensitive person who cares deeply about other people, which causes me to be hurt more than most. I used to wonder how anyone could do or say the things that others have to hurt me, but then I realized that not everyone is like me. Maybe I didn't communicate my wants or needs clearly and effectively. If I did, then I know that nothing I do or say is going to change the situation, so I just move on. Learn from the experience; put it behind you; and you'll be ready if it happens again.
Friday, August 7, 2009
The GA Funny Farm is an animal sanctuary whose primary focus is rescue cats. They currently have 59 and are trying to raise money to fence in a large portion of their property so that the kitties can roam free without fear for their safety. Learn more at http://www.gafunnyfarm.org. They are almost halfway to their fundraising goal and every little bit helps. If a large group of us band together and give whatever we can, no matter how small, we can make a big difference.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Two types of shoes that are the bain of my existence are Ugg boots and Crocs. Ugg boots have actually been dead on the fashion scene for a while. I know they're all cozy and warm, and during a New England winter, I might be able to excuse wearing them to work, but why wear them all day? Do you enjoy having feet that look like a sasquatch's? FYI, Uggs jumped the shark quite a few years ago when Marlon Brando was spotted leaving the hospital in a wheel chair, wearing a pair. Think about it. That was a long time ago because Marlon Brando has been dead for 5 years, but the Ugg parade marches on.
Now on to Crocs, those misshapen hunks of rubber that turn your feet into brightly colored blobs. Now I know you're not spending all day gardening, so why would you wear something that's roughly the equivalent of a gardening clog? Those babies are wide-open and have holes so if you're just randomly walking in dirt, your feet or socks are gonna get filthy. Speaking of filthy, I saw a girl walking barefoot in Downtown Boston because her flip flop had broken.. I love Boston, but damn girl, you're gonna need a tetanus shot when you get home! For the love of God, stop by Payless and get some $5.00 flips flops! There was a Payless nearby, btw, that's why I mentioned it. Anyway, back to Crocs. As time has gone by they've tried to spice things up by creating different styles. That doesn't change the fact that it's a rubber shoe that will make your feet sweat and therefore, stink to high heaven! Word has come down the pike that the Crocs folks are bankrupt and I can't say that I'm sorry to hear that. Even with bankruptcy those monstrosities could hang around for a long, long time.
That's enough from me for now. Here's my official disclaimer that this is all in good fun, so that Ugg and Crocs worshippers don't send me hate mail ;-).
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Need a t-shirt? Visit the Merch Shop.
GDG Fan Club members get 10% off on all purchases. GDG Web Team members can earn shirts and get points for buying a shirt.
Tell the world. It's coming: August 15th: International Gavin DeGraw T-Shirt Day!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
He touches on the fact that Michael changed his skin color and is not the biological father of his children. Anyone with eyes in their head knew that before there were ever any DNA tests. Bleaching one's skin doesn't change their genes. If you're Black, you're Black and if you have children with someone who's not, then some part of your genetics is going to show up. Those kids are white. So what? That's no concern of mine.
O'Reilly also sees Michael's need to change his skin color as Michael turning his back on the Black community. I feel like Michael's choice had nothing to do with any kind of dissatisfaction with the Black community. I think it had more to do with his dissatisfaction with himself and maybe with the man who raised him. There are horror stories about the way that Joe treated Michael. Joe has also proven himself to be someone that the public should have no sympathy for as evidenced by his appearance at the BET awards and his "need" to promote his new record label and its artists during a time when he should be mourning his youngest son.
Michael Jackson surrounded himself with people of all races. While I really wish that he hadn't decided to have all of that plastic surgery and change his skin color, I don't see it as him trying to break away from being Black. I see it as him trying to break away from his childhood as Michael Joseph Jackson, a child who some could say was exploited for his own father's personal gain. His change in looks is the farthest he could get from that. I feel that his decision goes deeper than race. As a Black person, I feel that I can speak on it with much more insight than someone like Bill O'Reilly.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
At one time or another, we've all said (whether seriously or jokingly) that we'd love to have some famous person's life, but when it comes right down to it, what price did they pay for their fame? I won't go into the myriad of problems that each of these people had because the dead deserve respect. It's a shame that the famous people of this world don't get the same respect in life. I know that many of them court the press, but their business is their business until they decide to make it ours. As Ed, Farrah, and Michael are being laid to rest, it would be great if their demons could finally be laid to rest too.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Gavin has been involved with Musicians On Call for years and has visited many hospitals around the country. In honor of 10 years of bringing music to the bedsides of patients, MOC aims to raise $10,000 in 10 weeks, and Gavin is asking for your help!
Monday, June 22, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Committing to something doesn't carve it in stone. Instead it gives you direction and a guideline to follow. As the situation changes you can adjust your plans to accommodate it. Life is always going to manage to throw a wrench in the works at some point or other. The way that we deal when that does happen shows what we're made of. It's hard to keep moving forward when something knocks us back. After fighting the good fight over and over again, the desire to give in can become very strong. I speak from experience on this one. It's easy to take a divergent path, but if you do that, you'll have to start from square one again, which is harder than continuing when you want to quit. When you're in the moment, it's hard to remember this, but keep it tucked away in your mind so that it's handy when you need it.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
My point is not to place blame, but to contemplate this loss in my life. I saw him every day for the first 19 years of my life. After I went to college, I made a point to see him whenever I would visit. He was always happy to see me and would give me a big hug. Over the past few years his health started to deteriorate and I had planned to visit my family this summer so that I could see him again. Unfortunately, I never got that chance. That hurts because he was a very special person. He touched a lot of lives in big and small ways, and I know his memory will live on. The thing is, I think this loss will be tougher for me, than many others have been. His innocence was something rarely seen in adults. He was someone who truly loved unconditionally because that's all he knew how to do. He was able to hold on to the pure love that we all feel as children, that is eventually tainted by our life experiences. One thing we can all learn from him is to search for that pure love that once lived inside of us and let it break free. The people in our lives that we care about deserve that kind of love. Rest in peace, Uncle Danny. I love you.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
The point is that we all should strive for self-satisfaction. We should like who we are and not worry about what other people think. That's hard to do when you're bombarded from all sides with ideals and expectations you can't possibly live up to. That's when you have to step back and ask yourself what you want and how you can go about achieving it. Just wanting it and striving for it might not always get you what you want, but it never hurts to try. If you fail, that might be an indicator that you need to go in another direction.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Initially, we were told by the landlord that we'd have a new stove on the Tuesday after Memorial Day. Tuesday came. No oven. No phone call. On Wednesday he called and said that the oven was on backorder and wouldn't be in until Friday. Yay. Another whole week without my oven. That really sucks!
Since the death of my oven, grocery shopping hasn't been much fun. As soon as I think of something I might like to have for dinner, the thought occurs to me that I'd need the oven in order to cook it. There's only so much you can do with a toaster oven, and the microwave is totally hopeless for some things.
My boyfriend's birthday is coming up on Monday, so I would like to be able to cook him a nice dinner and a cake. Here's hoping that I get the new stove on Friday. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
The best thing about this album is the fact that Gavin didn't record it for critical acclaim. He said that this is an album for his die-hard fans and speaking as one of them, I thank him from the bottom of my heart. If pure, unadorned music is what you want, then FREE is the album for you.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Today Gavin DeGraw's new album "Free" drops and I must say that it's quite remarkable. His intent was to record it as an indie record so he only spent about 2 weeks in the studio. It's always great to listen to him talk about the recording process and what he wants to achieve. As you may remember, he also spent some time in Uganda as a part of his work with Nothing but Nets. To hear him talk about his time there shows what a true humanitarian he really is. The man's got a good heart, and he makes me proud to be a fan.