Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Officially


It is official. I just finished requesting all of the information I need to register for photography school.
This is honestly my biggest passion - telling pictures through images.
I am serious about finally doing something about it.
Here's the deal, I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Telecommunications (which is Broadcast Journalism.) I have taken tons of classes on video. Now I want those images to stand still and speak volumes. I want to capture moments. I want to be creative in my own way.
Now is the time.
So I have a plan...
I will enroll in the program in November of 09. Then - by February, I will purchase a newer camera (super nice one.) But June, I will purchase a nice, new Mac. Then by August - I will purchase Photoshop. By the following November, the program will be over - and my hope is to have a portfolio and officially begin working specifically in the world of photography.
What does that mean?
I hope to open a studio.
The good news is - I can start by freelancing in order to build the portfolio.
I know it sounds silly - but I have been wanting to do this for YEARS. Why wait any more?
I have a long way to go - but I have a plan. I will continue to work, and do what I do - then I can make the transition when it makes financial sense.
Also - it is a great back up, for when and if Yass and I move back to Egypt. It is something that requires very little "arabic."
WOO HOO.. so the secret is out.
It's done.
I will add another skill to my tool belt of all things media related. Yippee... I am thrilled.

Looking forward to SHOPPING



Many of you know I have cut out just about everything a self-induced spoiled girl could possibly remove from her life.


I gave up the cable. I gave up the net flicks. I gave up eating out. I gave up going to bars to see bands. I gave up SHOPPING. And soooo many other things..


I have learned to cut exactly $800 out of my monthly budget. That, my friends, was my play money. I call it my play money because it literally was the money I could "blow" every month. This is after all the bills are paid.
BUT there is one more month. Just one. Then I can order my Netflix (though I think I will go back to the 2 dvds at a time - not 6.) I will turn the cable back on (but get basic basic cable.) I will eat out from time to time - but only on weekends, and only one meal. And - most importantly - I WILL shop. BUT - I will monitor my shopping more closely.
I am only going to buy one or two pieces of clothing, versus walking away with several bags.
I am limiting myself to one pair of shoes a month. And only one bag.
New rule - if I buy something new - I have to get rid of one thing. Yes- and donate to charity.
So - with all of this being said, it is time for me to suffer through one more month.
I can do it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lack of Imagination - ABC's of Me

I am not feeling very creative today. Plus, anything I say could be used against me in a court of law.

So I am resorting to the worst type of blog post - a survey.


THE ABC'S OF ME:

The Letter A

Are you available? Not in a romantic way, unless - of course - you are Johnny Depp, Jude Law, or JFK Jr.-come-back-to-life.

What is your age? 3-6. Not even one I can reverse.

What annoys you? My emotions.

The Letter B

Do you live in a big house? No - but a nice sized one bedroom.

When is your birthday? February 16th. There are still plenty of shopping days left. I want an omlette maker.

Who is your best friend? My laptop.

The Letter C

What's your favorite candy? Reeses Pieces is what I mainly go for.

Who's your crush? The man in the dining room.

When was the last time you cried? A few minutes ago. Don't ask.

The Letter D

Do you daydream? Not anymore. :-( Sounds like something I need to work on.

What's your favorite kind of dog? Nanook - aka, my late/wonderful Siberian Husky

What day of the week is it? Monday.

The Letter E

How do you like your eggs? Scrambled with cheese

Have you ever been in the emergency room? Yes - broken wrists, broken thumbs, and menengitus (twice.)

What's the easiest thing ever to do? Offer me coffee. You get a guranteed yes!

The Letter F

Have you ever flown in a plane? Many, Many, Many times.

Do you use fly swatters? Nope. I do not live in such a place where I would have fly swarming my home.

Have you ever used a foghorn? Hell No.

The Letter G

Do you chew gum? Recently I did take up chewing. I hope this urge will pass.

Are you a giver or a taker? Neither these days. Got nothing to give - and no one is offering.

Do you like gummy candies? Just those round peach things.

The Letter H

How are you? S-h-i-t-t-y

What color is your hair? In need of color.

The Letter I

What's your favorite ice cream? Right now - it all sounds good.

Have you ever ice skated? No.

Do you play an instrument? No

The Letter J

What's your favorite jelly bean brand? Jelly Belly

Do you wear jewelry? Yes

The Letter K

Who do you want to kill? Yes. Would I? No.

Do you want kids? No

Where did you go for kindergarten? Macon, GA

The Letter L

Are you laid back? Sort of

Do you lie? sometimes. Only when it is necessary - but i am a horrible liar.

The Letter M

Whats your favorite movie? Under The Tuscan Sun

Do you still watch Disney movies? No

Do you like mangos? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

The Letter N

Do you have a nickname? Yes

What is your real name? Nicole

Whats your favorite number? 5

Do you prefer night over day? equally are appreciated

The Letter O

What's your one wish? I am all out of wishes

Are you an only child? No

The Letter P

What one fear are you most paranoid about? Death

What are your pet peeves? Too many to list.

What's a personality trait you look for in people? Kindness

The Letter Q

What's your favorite quote? Today? F- Off. But in general - Life is a journey, not a destination

Are you quick to judge people? Yep

The Letter R

Do you think you're always right? Usually

Are you one to cry? Lately, yes. So emotional with these crazy hormones.

The Letter S

Do you prefer sun or rain? Rain

Do you like snow? Nope

What's your favorite season? Autumn & Spring

The Letter T

What time is it? 10:48pm

What time did you wake up? 6:05am

When was the last time you slept in a tent? About 5 years ago

The Letter U

Are you wearing underwear? Yes

Underwear or boxers? Undies

The Letter V

What's the worst veggie? Beets

Where do you want to go on vacation? Anywhere out of here - with a soft bed

The Letter W

What's your worst habit? Eating

Where do you live? In an apartment

What's your worst fear? I have already answered this one

The Letter X

Have you ever had an x-ray? yes

Have you seen the x-games? only on t v

Do you own a xylophone? not since i was little

The Letter Y

Do you like the color yellow? more and more

What's one thing you yearn for? peace

The Letter Z

Whats your zodiac sign? Aquarius

Do you believe in the zodiac? it's pretty spot on most of the times

Favorite zoo animal? tigers.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

GOODBYE SEPTEMBER



I am sliding into home base. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The *shitty* month known as September is existing stage left, and it could not happen at a better time!

Granted, there are a few days left, and I know all too well, this can mean catastrophe, but I have HOPE. I will get thru this cursed month.

October has always been one of my more favorite months. I love that it is officially fall. I love that one of my favorite genre's of entertainment is pushed to the forefront - Horror. I love that all three of my favorite Holidays are representing in local department stores (Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas.) I love that the days are shorter.. the nights are longer. I can break out my boots. I can pull out my sweaters. I can surround myself in the colors that make me happy - plum, burnt orange, black, gold, crimson, deep greens and teals... Life begins to take on a whole new meaning. Ahhh.. sweet, sweet October.

This October I am celebrating in style. I am completely booked weekend after weekend. Work will be busy (if I am still there.) My last month of the recession. I will start the month off with seeing the musical Rent at Red Mountain Theater Company. Nothing like theater to bring your spirits up.

Next weekend Yasser, Crystal and I plan to go to Destin/Fort Walton. If you have never seen the absolute beauty of the Gulf of Mexico from these beaches in particular - then you have not seen heaven on earth. We plan to make a stop in Seaside, Florida also.

I need to feel the sand between my toes, the sea breeze to wash the old nasty September away. I even asked my egyptian - just teasing - "Could we take a romantic walk by the sea?" He replies - "Nicole, everything by the sea is romantic. Don't you understand?" Ahhh.. truer words have never been spoken.

The second weekend in October we will celebrate at the Middle Eastern Festival in Birmingham. Here is an opportunity to be surrounded by the colors and rhythms of my absolute favorite culture in the world. I am SOLD. I used to be such a euro-phile. Now, that seems so cliche'. I am going Mid-East all the way. NOTHING is compared to this mysterious part of the world. Nothing. There is an arabic band playing Friday and Saturday night. I am very excited about this. Amin Sultan is performing and apparently he is from Lebanon.

The following weekend I will be participating with the Islamic Center's Health Fair. I am excited to help support my egyptian's community with heart healthy advice.

Then on the 24th - Heading down to Montgomery for the Start! Heart Walk there. That will be a day completely devoted to the media (work wise.) But I enjoy working in smaller communities. It makes the whole media aspect exciting. Smaller towns eat that stuff up. ;-)

Finally I am topping of the entire month with a fabulous Halloween party - Web of Terror. I will be the Black Widow spider!!


Speaking of Halloween - there will be several events we will be participating in also:

Atrox Haunted House

Sloss Fright Furnace

Pumpkin Carving at Melissa & Jay's house

Phantom of the Opera @ the Alabama Theater on Halloween Night. This will be the actual 1925 silent film. However, there will be an organ playing!!

I think October will be full of art and excitement - and I should be able to get my zest for life back!!!

Mud

I don't have a picture that could possibly describe the type of day I am having.

It has been strange, good, exhausting, and down right dirty.

Let me begin -

Miracle upon miracles - I woke up on time to get to the church by 7:15am. I am still shocked I was able to pull it off, but I did. Today was the Prince of Peace youth group's service project - Habitat for Humanity. If you are not familiar with Habitat, please check out the link. Collen, Christiana and I led 6 other youth to a neighborhood known as Avondale in Birmingham. We met the Grimmet family and began working on a "home" for them. I thought - okay, I will spend the day painting, or even hammering a few nails.

LOL

We drove up and lo and behold there was hardly a foundation for the home. I am not sure what you call it when all you have a bricks in one complete square - and that's all. (Looks like a crawl space, etc.) But that is exactly what we had.

We were told by the leader - Jack - to make the work site safe. This was literally day one of construction. *sigh*

As a very small - female dominate group - we proceeded to lift and remove cinder blocks from the property. These things weigh - at least 20 pounds, are filthy and caked with mud. Let's not forget we are slipping and sliding through the mud (apparently it rained the night before.

Next job - stack bricks. We found bricks all over the property, and we began to form another little wall.

Then the bottom fell out of the sky.

We proceed to the "crawl space" and begin to level the dirt - or red clay. This was next to impossible - but we tried. Literally, in a torrential down pour, in mud up to our knees, we dug and dug and tossed the dirt.

5 hours later - we head home.

*sigh*

I walked in my house and I think Yass thought I was learning how to mud wrestle - covered in mud from head to toe.

After a warm shower, power nap and cup of coffee - Yass and I went to see Surrogates. I have to say I would give it an 8.5. It was interesting, entertaining and a okay story line.

I guess all in all - it's been a pretty decent day. I have tried to keep to myself most of the day. Enjoying the egyptian's improved state of mind.

I've got a hard week ahead of me, and I am hoping to savor this weekend and all of it's small blessings.

Even if it involved me sludging through someone else's mud pit.

Friday, September 25, 2009

How do you define yourself?


See the pic at the left? That is my face.
If you saw this picture for the first time, you might think I was into horses, rodeos and frequented country-western dives.
That assumption would define me. Labels. Stereotypes - whatever you want to call it.
But no, that is not really a picture of me. I am actually terrified of horses. I think rodeos are public spectacles that abuse animals legally. You will never find me country line dancing.
So how can I describe myself?
I have been struggling with this for two days now. I was asked to speak at the PRCA (Public Relations Society of Central Alabama) - and a bio and headshot was requested. I got the biggest kick out of sending something funny. Nooooo.. I would never actually do it. But it was really funny to think about it.
I was trying to find inspiration for this mini-bio. For fun, I began looking at my friends descriptions, in particular - my more "creative" friend descriptions:
My sister - I am a penniless poet/painter wandering the beaches of life in search of buried treasure!
My friend Tere (co-worker)- Do I know me?
My friend Angela (college friend/ex roomate/fellow writer) - Hmmm, let's see. I'm excessively positive and can attribute my happiness to being grateful each day for every little thing. I'm double jointed and used to have a fear of down escalators, I hate raisins and celery, but love Moose Tracks ice cream. I have one tattoo, but would like more. I love my two boys and my husband more than anything, except Christ. I'm active in our church where I've been blessed with great friends and supporters as well as a new and improved understanding and faith in God.
My friend Ashley (co-worker) - I'm a reader, writer, marketer, and general advocate of being productive, even when I'm not. I have cats instead of kids and a wonderful boyfriend.
My friend Nancy (co-worker)- I currently focus on several campaigns including Go Red For Women (women & heart disease prevention) and the Alliance For A Healthier Generation (childhood obesity initiative). I am fortunate to have the opportunity to encourage people to live healthier lives. I love what I do and hope you will join Go Red @ www.goredforwomen.org
My friend Brad (high school friend) - I like chicken wings and weekends.
My friend Chad (high school friend)- I'm an 11.4 handicap.
My friend Brent (professional friend from the TV days)- Moved to Nashville,Tennessee from Atlanta,Georgia... in 2004... Grew up in Warner Robins, Georgia ...went to Lee University...I am Executive Director for an educational non-profit in Nashville and own a promotional event company.I grew up singing in churches throughout the United States and Europe and acting on the stage. I have been in over 50 musicals and toured as Seymour in "Little Shop of Horrors"... I like new and original music... acoustic guitar..... like to hang out and have a good time with friends ..travel and give back to the community!
My friend Trent (college friend) - Husband of the most beautiful woman in the world. Actor. Director. Teacher. Lived in NYC. Got married. Went to grad school in Florida. Got professorship in New Jersey. Moving to Jersey. Sick of Florida. Bring on the change of seasons.
My friend Craig (artist and overall cool guy)- Talented, Creative, Unique, and Awesome are the words my friends most frequently use when describing me. (*blush*) Talented, Scary, Weird, and Intimidating are the words the kids in high school used to describe me. (~funny how a few years changes things) My mom describes me as Talented, Compassionate, and Extremely Well Read. Talented. (~yes I am! ...and I DRAW well, too!) ;-) The word I would use to describe myself would be... Symbolic!! I am an Artist more than anything else. Ive been drawing since I was 6. I started formal private Art lessons at 13. When I was 17, I started working as an illustrator for the local paper. By the time I was 20, I had left the foundation year at Atlanta College of Art to begin my career drawing comics. (~ as well as a LOT of other strange and unusual things!) I am blessed to do what I love for a living, but I have had to carve a lot of self-discipline and faith out of my soul to bear it to being. I value the beauty of nature above all else. I believe in the ideals of the Bohemian Revolution: Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love! I'm a night owl and a cat on the prowl. I give out before I give up. I am a Southern Gentleman. I am very spiritual; described best as a Buddist Neo-Pagan Jedi. I can be undiplomatic at times, and that's probably my greatest personality flaw. I don't believe that Art is for the masses and Warholism represents the death of art in the twentieth century. I live and work in a beautiful 109 year-old house in my hometown which I adore. I have a remarkable feline companion named Tuesday.
Okay.... sooo you get the picture. I picked a BIG range of friends (interests/lifestyle/etc.)
But how can I define myself?
In my About Me section I wrote:
I am complicated and passionate about life. - I am fiercely loyal to my friends. - I am obessed with travel and photography.- I have a wicked sense of humor.- I LOVE to dance and I am currently learning Flamenco.- I have hosted 14 students (exchange students) from all over the world. I guess you could say I collect interesting people. I love to surround myself with people who absolutely fascinate me.- I am a warrior when it comes to animal rights, international human rights and religious tolerance. I am a BIG believer in the 1st amendment.- I am madly in love with the most wonderful man I have ever met - Yasser Abdou. - I love to learn about religions. I speak a little french, italian, russian, thai and I am trying to learn Arabic.- I could live off boxed mac & cheese- Also important to know - I really dislike anything that is ordinary.
Or does what I do define me?
American Heart Association
Position:
Marketing & Communications Director
Time Period:
October 2006 - Present
Location:
Birmingham, AL
Description:
State of Alabama - I handle all external communications/cause marketing, media relations.
Or what about my interests?
I really enjoy:- reading- writing- traveling- good conversation fueled by even better coffee- photography- dancing (Flamenco in particular)- watching others perform Karaoke- the Sims- getting lost in libraries or old book sales- documentaries- reality television- swimming
Maybe it is the activities I am involved in?
As of late I am settling into a "newly married" lifestyle. I read for hours on end and spend countless afternoons at the library. I volunteer for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society (dog walker) and Prince of Peace Catholic Church (youth leader). I take Flamenco dance lessons from Irene Rimer. I am a Freedom Writer for Amnesty International and I am a member of the "You're the Cure" network with the American Heart Association. I am a full-time cynic and I love to blog. Swimming, Yoga, Gossiping and Tennis are other activities I engage in..
Heck - I don't even know anymore.
Definition: Nicole Abdou. 36. Destination Unknown.
Yep.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

A good night sleeps puts things in perspective!


I think I feel like the girl dancing to my left here.
I got a good - solid night's sleep. I was EXHAUSTED yesterday. Simply exhausted. I have not been sleeping well in September. As all of you know - the stress has been consuming me.
Last night I tried a few things to wipe this "negative cloud away."
For one - work went pretty well. *hallelujah chorus may begin now
Yes, I think I have pulled the unrealistic off. Sometimes I even surprise myself. ;-) My goals/plans/media impression items are working out.. slowly. I am treating our first fiscal quarter as a priority, and things are lining up nicely. (Normally we bank on Heart Month/events/Stroke month etc to bring us in to the home stretch.) Without donated billboards this year, I have to work overtime to just get half the media impressions needed to keep my job.
But aside from all of that (THAT which does not define me) - Yass seemed to have a certain peace around him yesterday. Something I have not seen in days. He got up, got dressed and offered to go to church with me.
Yesterday was the first Church dinner of the school year. It was FANTASTIC - and sooo not heart healthy: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, and salad. YUM. I have not had this traditional southern meal in a long time.
Bible study went well - we have a LARGE group of kids this year. Lots of new faces. All of the other youth leaders made it - and basically had a good meeting with the kids. We played a little game called "fishbowl" - the kids get to put whatever type of question they have about various issues - and then we break into groups to discuss. Afterwards, we come back together and the Youth Minister gives the "church's" stance on the items. We discussed suicide, euthanasia, annulments/divorce, capital punishment.. I mean these kids had a LOT of questions. Good stuff.
Afterwards, Yasser and I met Crystal and we went to Target. My mar/com friends gave me a $125 gift certificate to Target for my wedding, so Yass and I decided we needed a little retail therapy. We had a good time, and needed that. Soooo much so.
I got home and my body was literally aching with exhaustion - but I could not sleep. So I popped half a lortab (I got for my ankle.. don't worry, I only have 4 more :-) ) and I think I slept soooooooo hard. I had the oddest dreams - but I SLEPT.
I woke up this morning with eyes the size of golf balls. This apparently is a side effect of my sleeping hard. I always have these HUGE bulging eyes, it's really not very pretty. lol
I am awake - with my ground Starbucks coffee, and pumpkin spice creamer. I have my laptop. I have about 5 million conference calls. But it's all good. I decided to take my own advice and pull myself out of this funk. A funk is definitely what I am in.
It is almost the end of September. PRAISE GOD. I just might survive. My numbers for work come in at the end of the week. What is done is done.
October as so many treats in store. Even thought I have one more month of my recession (ie - UAB getting over $800 from me.) I will be back to normal, oh so soon.
So with that - let's lift our imaginary glasses and say "Cheers" and I seriously need to remember that!
PS - congrats to Heather for her big "D" day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.

It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.

We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.

We cannot change the inevitable.

The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” ~ Charles R Swindoll


Amen.

The Imp


My niece, Autumn, is one hilarious little imp.
I miss that kid.
I actually call just about everyday to see what the little devil is up to.
Tonight, I sure wish she was here to make me laugh.
I want to hear her hiss like a dragon.
LOL
Really - this post is nothing more than an attempt to make my sister laugh.
Yeah Heather - check out the pic. HEHEHEHEHEE

Monday, September 21, 2009

Excitement



I think Mother Nature is trying to cleanse the earth this week. Non stop rain for the entire week.


I have to admit- this is the one time driving a VW bug can get annoying. I have this visual of me actually floating away.


God willing I will make through the week. If necessary, I can stop by Dick's Sporting Goods and purchase a pair of oars.


Moving on...
I am really very excited about a few items. Silly items, but the excitement is here none the less.
1. Fall Festivals. I made a list of all of the "Pumpkin Patch" and "Autumn" festivals in the area. Most are free. I definitely think I need to take a gander at one. I also need to bring my egyptian with me. I want him to see how a community celebrates the changing of the seasons. I am just chomping at the bits to see some orange, purple and gold hues.
2. Ethnic Festivals. This has to be my favorite. Oktoberfest, The Greek Festival, The Middle Eastern Festival, and Fiesta (Latino Festival) is all around the corner. Nothing like a few brats with beer, gyros with baklava, hummus and tahina, with a side of guac. I am very excited about the Arabic Band from NYC to perform at the Mid-East fest. I think Yass will love this.
3. Grease. Oh how I loved the movie, memorized all the songs, and used to play dress up as a kid (with the Grease theme in mind.) I get to go see the Broadway Across America performance at the BJCC on Tuesday!
4. Rent. This week Crystal is also taking me to see Rent with the Red Mountain Theater Company. I am thrilled to see two of my favorite musicals this week!
5. Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Florida. I am heading to Destin the first weekend in October. Just Yass, Crystal and I. There is a Seafood Festival and of all bands - Joan Jett & the Black Hearts are performing. We are super pumped!
6. My Halloween Party - yes - I have a theme. Web of Terror, and I, my gentle readers, will be the Black Widow spider. Muhahahaha. Details to come later.
7. I have an appointment with a cardiologist on the 16th of Oct. I am very excited about finally kicking this blood pressure thing in the bottom.
8. I am going to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity this weekend!
9. I think I may be out of the weeds at work. This may have bought me one more quarter.
10. Finally - I will be finalizing our immigration papers for Yasser.
All of this is sooo good!
PS- note the pic above, I am very pumped about New Moon coming out in Nov. Woo Hoo

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Things I don't like that everyone else does...


It is Saturday night. Yass is at the mosque celebrating Eid (end of Ramadan.) I am sitting alone in my house, comfortable in my soft yoga pants & thin cotton t on my super smushy leather couch. I hear the hum of the frig and AC, and the random car below my building.
As I was sitting, relaxing - enjoying this "me" time I began to think about the things I simply do not like that most people do.
When I started listing those various items off in my head, I realized it was kind of funny - especially m reasons why. (Well - humorous to me.)
I have decided to attempt to make a list of all of the things I do not like (or follow, or jump on the 'band wagon') for. I wonder if you will agree..
1. Sushi. Do not even bring it up with me. Even if I even remotely liked raw fish, because it is so flipping trendy, I will not eat it. Almost on principle alone.
2. Amstel Lite beer. Come on people - get a real beer.
3. Drive an SUV. Never have. Never will. End of story.
4. Wear flip flops with everything from a skirt to jeans to work clothes. People are you serious? Flip Flops are for 5 year olds. Walk away from the lazy shoes.
5. Go blonde.
6. I say this now - not sure how it will hold up - but getting Botox. I just know they will find out that crap causes cancer soon enough.
7. Put a single braid on one side of my hair. (That one was for you - Crystal. LOL)
8. Start any status with @------(fill in the blank name.) That crap drives me insane.
9. Follow Nascar or Football.
10. Attend any type of "palooza."
11. Snow Ski. Yeah - I just know I will kill myself. Sorry - no other reason.
12. Support Gun Laws. I think they should be illegal. I am not a fan of the right to bear arms. I am just not. Sorry.
13. Food Network
14. The Bachelor or Bachelorette tv show
15. Walmart. I HATE Walmart.
16. Burritos.
17. Soy milk
18. Also - this is not so much a thing, but a personal rule: If I wore it or did it the first time around - I am too old to do it again. (With Fashion - that is.)
19. Pitbulls- not a fan. They are not "cute" to me.
20. Oil diffuser with the sticks - I HATE THEM. (I do have one right now - it was a gift.)
22. Big screen TVs
23. The Office - I have officially made up my mind - it is just not that funny to me.
24. Friends - never really cared for it.
25. Seinfeld - again, not a big fan.
26. Fake nails.
27. Joining a Junior League or other society "volunteer" group as such. I do not need validation from other women who seems to have sticks shoved up their.... sorry.. I was on a roll there for a sec.
28. There is also something annoying about "Body Jam" and "Body Pump" classes. Maybe it is the name.. or maybe it is the lack of rhythm the white aerobic instructor have.. not sure.. maybe it is a combination of both.
29. Perez Hilton and other celebrity gossips.
30. Finally - citrus. I do not like oranges.
Okay - I will stop at 30. Next time I can think of 30 more - I will share! :-)

What next?

Yesterday was one tough day. As you can see from my previous two entries, I got hit with some interesting decisions to make.

Then last night - another. My special someone is ready roll. Not so much in the USA - but elsewhere. That means, there maybe an international move.

I don't necessarily think this will come to pass. But it is up for discussion. I agree, everyone needs to feel needed and have a purpose. When all of the doors are shut in your face, it is hard to make that happen.

I think we are back where we were a year ago. The "hurry up and wait" game. This time, I am happy - I have my egyptian and I have my job (at least for now) and I have my home and my cute little car. I have my friends and family nearby. But my "love" has no purpose. That can effect so many things.

This is where I have to be strong and encourage him. I swear, I wish I knew of some small little job where someone could pay him a few bucks a week to just do a service for them. But I don't. If I were back home - I am sure we could find some small work. I am not talking illegal stuff - I mean something like assisting with some project and making a few $$.

I have encouraged volunteering. But that seems to be a foreign concept. I thought - well - you would at least get out of the house, and feel like you are contributing to society. But the idea of work without pay is preposterous to him.

I am glad there are some "fun" activities coming up. I hope these things bring inspiration and a sense of "something" to do. We will go to see one of the traveling Broadway series shows - "Grease" next week. "Rent" is also next week at the Red Mountain Theater. Then the first weekend in October we are traveling to Fort Walton Beach/Destin for a quick get-away. Then the Greek Festival is next weekend, Fiesta is soon after that with the Middle Eastern Festival the following week. Lots of good stuff. Not to mention all of the haunted houses will be open soon.

I pray God will bless us with a sense of contentment for him. I need him to feel stable and wanted and ... oh.. this is where men fall apart. They have to have a job. They have to feel like they can provide. Let me tell you, after having a ex who was the exact opposite - it is so nice to be with a man who really cares and intends to take care of our home. He is such a good man. He has a heart of gold. But he has been thrown some obstacles in his life. I hope he can hold on to get to the next part.

I am not sure what else I can say.

I need your prayers peeps. Also- if there are any "side jobs" of something small (raking leaves, sitting with the elderly, running errands, etc.) please share with us. Just something. Anything.

Much love...

N

Friday, September 18, 2009

I did it. Finally.

High Blood Pressure. High Cholesterol. High Triglycerides. Insulin Resistance. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

These are conditions and risk factors I deal with on a daily basis.

It's not pretty. And it's not uncommon. More importantly - these conditions have been apart of my life since I was in my early teens: fit, young, and relatively healthy. Some were brewing just below the surface - others were full-fledged apart of my life.

Now let's factor in age and weight, and we just might have ourselves a little problem.

I admit - I am the worst about being completely healthy. My main issue is sticking with a heart healthy/low carb diet and exercising more often. As for following my meds and staying away from certain things that could aggravate my conditions - I follow the rules to a T. But there are a few other items that are not my strong point.

So - before we go any further... I think I want to just lay it all out on the line. This is what I have to do. This is going to be a part of my wellness. This is going to HAVE to happen - and honestly, my dear friends, I need your help and encouragement.

I will document my journey, as I always do, but I need constructive feedback. I need you to call me out when I am slacking. No one is holding me accountable. I realize ultimately it is my game to call. But I KNOW me - and I am a slacker.

Let's start at the beginning of this little saga. At 13 (and according to my mom - years before that) my pediatrician said I suffered from a "white coat" syndrome. Meaning my blood pressure would elevate at the doctor's office. I was petite, healthy, and exercised (ballet several days a week) - and yet my blood pressure was high. The doctor would make me lay in a room with a book and try to relax. Then they would come in and take my blood pressure several times for one hour. Eventually it would drop to a normal level.

At 16, there were more issues with my blood pressure. The docs thought maybe it was a sensitivity to sodium, so they sent me to a nutritionist at a hospital. I was put on a heart-disease prevention diet. I weight 110 pounds and exercised often. In two month, I weighed 105.

At 18 I ended up gaining a few pounds - made it a whole 130. Went to college and lost a few - then gained a few more. I was eating whatever I wanted, not exercising and drinking large quantities of beer. I continued this behavior up through 24. By the time I left college I had added about another 20 pounds. Blood pressure at mild hypertension. Docs said - just control it with diet and exercise. Yes, that would have worked - but I did not see the big issue.

At 24, I started working at a television station and ended up taking a beta blocker for an accelerated heart rate and mild hypertension. (my dosage was low.) By 27, my cholesterol was 2 points over the recommended level. By 30, I had a hysterectomy (during the attack of the cancerous cells) and they discovered I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. (cause metabolism to bottom out.) By 32, my doc added a diurectic. It was too strong - so he took me off. At 33, we tried a different diuretic that would help with PCOS symptoms & blood pressure. By 35, my beta blocker was increased and by 36 my diuretic was increased. My cholesterol is 50 some odd points over the level, my triglycerides were 3 points off and I was diagnosed with insulin resistance (a common side effect of PCOS.)

Different meds - blood pressure still not good - cholesterol was not checked this quarter, nor my triglycerides. I feel like crap most days. I am sure stress does not help. I ended up leaving my exercise routine due to a chronically sprained ankle.

Today - I decided that is ENOUGH. I called one of the top cardiologist in town. (note: officially I cannot say who the top cardiologist is - but I have to say I have a very good idea.) October 16th is the day. I want someone who specializes in this. I want to fix this blood pressure situation. I want the cholesterol down. I want the trig.s in a safe range. I figure with whatever he and I talk about - and the official lifestyle plan he puts me on (with all of my risk factors) - I am sure it will help with the PCOS/Insulin Resistance.

Yes - I know what I should do. I write about it everyday for work. I work for the American Heart Association. But that does not mean I will follow it. Obviously!

I need this d-o-c to scare me a little. I need him to be soooo honest with me. I am going to tell him this. (PS - we have met several times, he is a spokesperson for me for various scientific releases thru AHA.) I need him to spell it out for me - for my way of living, and develop a plan to help me reach my goals.

When I asked my internist if she thought the extra weight was causing my blood pressure to be high and my ankle to swell - she crinkled up her face and said.. maybe...

MAYBE???

I knew then and there - I have got to take control of this. I have got to seek someone who can really help me - once and for all. Before this gets out of control.

Now I know this may seem dramatic. But it is serious. High Blood Pressure is no joke. With the meds I am on - I feel drugged up all of the time. I am tired, unmotivated, and sluggish. I want to eat better, and I make small strides. But with the PCOS - it's not enough. I need a specific diet (and I realize my next appointment will be with a dietitian) to handle the sodium, fat, and sugar issues. (Please note - my blood sugar is normal. It is the insulin that goes off the charts.)

With all of this being said, I feel like I am taking a really important step. One that will drastically effect the way I live my life. I know I need to reduce stress. With that - I am going to seek holistic options. I know I need an extra push for eating right - and with a "prescribed diet" I can do that. I also want the proper meds in my system - if that is what is needed. I also need to take it easy and slowly and enter back into the world of movement. I am still having ankle issues - so I think a water aerobics class may just be the ticket until the issue is fixed.

It is a start. I am a little freaked. But I want to be around in 10 to 20 years.

Today I took the first step.

Now... let's see what else I can do with what I obviously already know.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I need a theme - NOW!




Every Year I throw a BIG Halloween party. I think I missed one year in about 10. THIS year cannot be a miss.


However, my issue is this - I need a theme. I am telling you - I have tried them all!


I am stuck - and I have only a few weeks until the BIG day.


WHAT IS THE THEME????


I have hundreds of dollars worth of fabulous decor. I have a costume per year of my life. This will be Yasser's first Halloween..


THERE IS SO MUCH PRESSURE.


Okay... need suggestions now.


Thanks!


PS - deadline is Next Friday - then I will reveal!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Songs that make me smile.

I love that the internet allows you to share your greatest wishes, hopes, dreams - and most important GREAT VIDEO.

I want to share with you a handful of songs that always bring a BIG smile to my face. Because after experiencing a day like today - music is my only relief!

In no particular order - here is a taste of the songs that make me smile, sing along - or get me fired up! Enjoy!!























































Sunday, September 13, 2009

In Search of the Prettiest Cupcake.


I am in search of the most beautiful cupcake known to mankind. The criteria for this bite-sized delicacy is quite strict.
I require:
1. Beautiful colors
2. Something feminine - as in the add ons.
3. Cream Cheese icing
4. Strawberry cake
5. Most importantly - sprinkles.



I have YET to find my perfect cupcake.
Whenever I go to the library, I make a point to check out a new cupcake recipe book. I am sure the feds checking out my library list when running security checks on me before Yasser- found an odd array of choices: Greg Iles; Global Warming; War & Peace; Catholic Catechism; How to Make Delicious Cupcakes.
Ever since I was a little girl - I have been thrilled to find cupcakes. Luckily - that seems to be the "treat" of choice at many elementary schools. However, I am rarely around little ones, so my craving for the petite cake is rarely fulfilled. Nor do I purchase them when I am out and about.
To my knowledge, there are no "cup cake" specialty shops in Birmingham. If someone knows of one - please let me know!




Well.. until I find my perfect cupcake - here's to hoping!
Have a great day!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What makes me - DIFFERENT

This morning I decided to take a gander at some of the Facebook status's of my friends. Then I scanned some of my more favorite blogs. I realized something - there is one key factor that stands out to me, that will always make me a little different.

Kids.

Or rather - a lack there of.

Now that is not the only thing that makes me different, but it one that definitely stands out.

Now do not think this is going to be one of those sappy "woe is me" posts. No, on the contrary. I am actually THRILLED to not have children. Yes, I am that rare bird you find once in a blue moon. I never really cared to ever give birth. Nor did I ever really care if I got married.

But I am married, mainly because that was necessary in Yasser's world. But other than that - I would have happily shared a home with him. Yes, I realize it is a sacrament of the catholic church to marry. Yes, you should not live with someone before marriage. Yes... Yes.. Yes. I would tell anyone that. But if I had a choice - a true choice, I just don't care.

When it comes to kids- again - I feel completely WHOLE without them. It makes me stark raving mad when a female "friend" will tell me they feel sorry for me because I will never experience the pleasure it is to be a mom. Guess what? I think it would drive me crazy.

I am a bit selfish. Yes, I will admit it. Giving up time and money for someone else is a hard road for me. Judge it if you like, but I am being completely honest.

Now feelings aside - this also puts me in an interesting corner with conversation with "said" friends. I am 36 years old. Most people in their thirties have kids (if they are married.) This obviously becomes their topic of discussion. So be it. I am happy for them. If it makes you happy - then please, by all means, talk about your children. Though there then becomes a great divide in life expectations. The person with child lives for that child. I, on the other hand - live for.. well.. me. So obviously our needs and wants and dreams become completely different.

Imagine also trying to make friends in your age group. I noticed recently that in Birmingham, a majority of my "new friends" are all younger than me. Single, career-oriented, world traveling, visions of upward mobility in larger metropolitan areas - and happily child free. Most of the people I meet in my age range are married with kids. Homeowners, vacationing on the gulf, SUV driving breeders. (I say that with love. :-) ) Meaning - they want a big, loving family. Which is a good thing.

You see the problem here?

I realize if I lived in say.. New York.. or somewhere a bit more progressive, I would seem quite normal. But alas, I was born in the south - made it to a much larger city, but still - it is the south. As all southerners know - somethings never change. FAMILY is THE most important item for most people here.

Please note - I am not knocking the "family" idea. Hell - it is necessary for the continuation of our species. But it is not my quest, nor my raison d'etre.

I do have a friend or two who genuinely have not lost their "identity" to mommyhood. Note - it is never the man who loses their identity. I do have a few - my friend Telisa for example - who truly try to balance both the development of their character, as well as that of the child. She still travels, she still makes time for friends, she still learns and tries to stay "interesting - however, make no mistake - her main concern is her child. But it does not DEFINE HER. Another person I can think of is my friend Tere in Miami. Amazing person, has a beautiful boy - and her son, Max, is the center of her life - but she is still a complex woman redefining herself and standing strong.

That is my point.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to not realize all of the amazing things the world has to offer. Just sit - find a husband... and well.. everything that goes with that. Be the mom, be the wife, go to church, visit family at Christmas - and visit the time share in Florida.

NO NO NO.

I start to shake when I even think about that. There are temples in Bangkok I have to visit. I must walk a small portion of the Great Wall in China. I have to tilt my head and almost hang upside down to kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland. I must stand in awe of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. I have to dance the Samba on the streets in Rio. I must get dizzy and vomit on the summit at Machu Pichu. I must write a great novel one day, even if it never gets published. I must learn to tango. I must go to every not-kid-friendly restaurant and try the waaay over-priced food, but smile as it melts in my mouth. I must proudly purchase white or tan carpet, and realize yes - it will NEVER have kool-aid stains. I could go on.. and on.. and on...

It is important to know - I LOVE MY NIECE. I do. I love spending time with her. But it is that - spending time. Not all my time. I get to truly enjoy her. Savor her giggles, watch her grow. I love my friends' children - small little spurts of laughing and playing.

I could NOT handle it 24/7.

So in the end - I guess it is good that I never had a desire to have children - since after sickness, that probability was taken away.

It is good.

But still.. I am different.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Olé





¡Dios mío! - how I LOVE Flamenco!!




More importantly - I miss my Flamenco classes. But due to a personal recession - I am taking a mini-break, but will return very soon.








What I wanted to share with my dear readers is why I love to watch Flamenco dancing, hear the music, and just be whisked away with the intensity of the stories.

I have followed various dance styles since I was a very young girl. My first love of dance took place when I was probably 3 - watching my mom dance around in her belly-dancing costume. She would take her shawl and swish it around me - it seemed so magical.

Then later, she and my dad took disco dance classes. (Remember, this is the 70s.) I watched them demonstrate moves in the middle of the living room. (Yes, I probably know every Bee Gees song by heart.) I used to sneak my mom's Saturday Night Fever album into my room and try to imitate their moves.

Then one magical evening, my mom took me to see The Nut Cracker. *sigh* There are no words. I was mesmerized and wanted nothing more than to live in this fantasy world and specifically - I wanted to be the Sugar Plum Fairy.

I remember going home that night and praying that I, too, would get the chance to dance on a stage and wear the pretty pink satiny shoes and a pretty pink tutu. ;-)


So mom and dad entered me in dance lessons. I took ballet, tap and jazz. It started out simple enough. Once a week - turned into twice a week - sometimes Saturdays.

The classes even went from one hour to two to two & 1/2. I was hooked! I danced my entire childhood and teenage years. Up until I was about 12 I wanted to be a ballerina. Then I wanted to be a teacher. There is no denying the fact that I was addicted to movement.


But something happened when I was about 7. I remember my mom used to get up really early in the mornings to drive my dad to work. We had one car - a little yellow dodge colt, and mom would scoop me and my sister up and we would sleep in the back seat while she drove dad. There was this one morning (probably 4ish or 5ish) it was definitely still dark - I heard this song. Maybe not so much the lyrics - but the beat. Bump bump bump.. don don don don don don... bump. That bump-don beat would be the sound of "Another One Bites the Dust."


This song made me want to dance. To move. To stomp my feet. Something about the bass and the beat. That was it. I liked passion. I liked intensity. I liked things that had a very set beat.


Next I found my elementary school version of a disco - the skating rink. Durrs skating rink to be exact. This is where I could let loose (in my mind at least) and feel the music as I attempted to swoosh around in circles in my cheap brown roller skates.


Later I became exposed to more and more international beats. Latin music was one that really struck a cord with me. With it's sassy hip movements and quick steps, you could be whisked away and feel beautiful at the same time. Nothing to me is more feminine than Salsa. Nothing makes a woman look more sensual than this.
I even took an Israeli Folk dance class in my late twenties. This was an opportunity to learn how to dance in a circle, clap your hands and celebrate a different culture.
In elementary school I even tried American Square Dancing. I have to tell you, that is DEFINITELY NOT my cup of tea... but it is good I tried.
Tango, cha-cha, samba - these are all other types of dance I took a little swing at through out the years. Lo ved it all.
But there was one type of dance that has always fascinated me - FLAMENCO. This time last year, I embarked on a new journey - to learn this style of dance.
Let me begin by saying - there is possibly not a more complicated form of dance. Sincerely. It may LOOK simple - a few steps, a few claps, a few arm movements - do NOT be fooled. The combinations are extremely difficult, fast and precise. Your arms are going one way, your feet are burning up the floor, the hands are turning the other way - all the while, you are expressing an intensity many would not understand.
The stories in Flamenco are heart breaking and passionate. The costumes are beautiful and meant to captivate.


I want to invite all of my friends to support the arts in Birmingham. In particular - the latest performance from my dance instructor's school. Don't miss El Amor Brujo on Sat. and Sun., September 26th at 8PM and 27th at 2PM!!! Tickets on sale via paypal to irenerimer@yahoo.com or at Dance Essentials - call 205-873-5377. When you get a chance - please check out their website - http://www.danceir.com/.
I have met some of the most talented dancers and the most amazing people at Irene's studio. Many have become dear friends.
As you go through this blog, please make sure to click on the individual highlighted words - open your mind to different forms of dance. The art form is obviously my favorite- and for those who are looking for a way to get healthy, it is also a healthy option.
I wish beyond anything I had the $$$ to take every type of dance class in the area that interests me. Alas, I must wait. But you can always appreciate - and enjoy the craft.
Again - I highly recommend learning more about Flamenco. I think in this region we are not very educated on the art form.
You know.. Flamenco is a Spanish musical genre with origins in Andalusia and a term that refers both to a musical genre, known for its intricate rapid passages, and a dance genre characterized by its audible footwork.
The origins of the term are unclear. The word Flamenco, which applies to the song, the dance and the guitar, did not come into use until the 19th century.

Flamenco embodies a complex musical and cultural tradition. Although considered part of the culture of Spain, flamenco actually originates from one of Spain's regions: Andalusia.
However, other areas, mainly Extremadura and Murcia, have contributed to the development of several flamenco musical forms, and a great number of renowned flamenco artists have been born in other territories of the country.
It is generally acknowledged that flamenco grew out of the unique interplay of native Arabic, Andalusian, Sephardic, and Gypsy cultures that existed in Andalusia prior to and after the Reconquest.
Flamenco is the music of the gypsies and played in their social community. Andalusian people who grew up around gypsies, and the life, were also accepted as "flamencos" (Paco de Lucía).

"Flamencologists" or "Pro Dancers" have usually been flamenco connoisseurs of no specific academic training in the fields of history or musicology. They have tended to rely on a limited number of sources (mainly the writings of 19th century folklorist Demófilo, and notes by foreign travellers.
Bias has also been frequent in flamencology. This started to change in the 1980s, when flamenco slowly started to be included in music conservatories, and a growing number of musicologists and historians began to carry out more rigorous research. Since then, some new data have shed new light on it.
There are questions not only about the origins of the music and dances of flamenco, but also about the origins of the very word flamenco. George Borrow writes that the word flemenc is synonymous with ("Gypsy").

Blas Infante, in his book Orígenes de los Flamencos y Secreto del Cante Jondo, controversially argued that the word flamenco comes from Hispano-Arabic word fellahmengu, which would mean "expelled peasant" after the end of the Moorish reign, term to the ethnic Andalusians of Muslim faith, the Moriscos, who would have mixed with the Gypsy newcomers in order to avoid religious persecution.
Other hypotheses concerning the term's etymology include connections with Flanders (flamenco also means Flemish in Spanish), believed by Spanish people to be the origin of the Gypsies, or the flamante (ardent) execution by the performers, or the flamingos.

However, in the 1990s works of scholars, such as the above mentioned Rios Ruiz and Álvarez Caballero demonstrated that there is much historical data available on early flamenco.


I want each of you to explore this. Enjoy this. Feel it. Take a class in it.
Ahhh.. I love to dance.. and just had to share this. ;-)
Yes... this is my oldest passion.

Not really sure..


Actually, I am not really sure what I will blog about.
Normally, I take care of my daily rant in the am well it is 3:19pm and there is simply nothing to say.
Nothing I should say.
September did decide to show it's cursed little face. Between financials, a tree falling on my car, work stress, family stress, friend stress - it is amazing I can still keep my sense of humor. Though even in the worst of times, I was always able to keep that.
I know I have a choice - I can either keep a semi-good attitude and deal with life as it comes.. or I can pout, kick, scream, rant & rave. I think I usually fall somewhere in the middle. I can still makes jokes, but really I want to scream.
But that's what life is all about right?? I thought when Yasser got here - and oh how naive this thought was - that it did not matter what happened, I had my love. Yes, I am sooo blessed to have this man. It is amazing to wake up to him. Somedays I want to smother him with a pillow - but I know me, I would immediately proceed to give him CPR. I love him. Plain and simple.
But we are getting dealt some blows that are hard and testing my faith. That's when it hit me. My faith. That's all I know for certain is that God loves me. I know it sounds so silly to my cynical agnostic friends. But man - there is comfort in that knowledge. If it is silly - so be it. I like it. I like where I am. I am happy to be a believer.
I really don't know what else to say today. I think the whole tree thing - and just two hours later I am on the phone with my boss getting grilled about contracts and sponsorships for another hour - I think mentally I am spent. Just tired. Spent.
Maybe once I rest, eat a proper meal and shower I will have a better attitude. Right now - nah.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Definitions. Labels.

I am not sure the best way to start this blog.

I suppose the truth is always the way to go.

I recently read a dear friend's status update asking a simple question. A simple - loaded question. 49 or 50 comments later, I have to respond.

There is a word or idea that is being tossed around like a football on a saturday afternoon - that word is "SOCIALISM."

I think many people I know clearly understand what it means for someone to consider themselves a "socialist." However, I think there are many, many more who are not clear on these basic terms.

I think I would like to try my very best to define these very important labels -and dispell any misconceptions.

Opinion is fine. Definitions are clear. Labels can be untrue.

Let's start with what IS socialism?

Contrary to popular belief, socialism is not a political system; it is an economic system distinct from capitalism.

Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society. That small segment controls capital and derives its wealth through exploitation, which in turn creates an unequal society.

This also does not provide equal opportunities for everyone to maximize their potentialities. In other words - is not in the interest of the public.

That's a general definition.

Although socialist models and ideas espousing common ownership have existed since antiquity with the classical Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle, the modern concept of socialism evolved in response to the development of industrial capitalism.

Marxist and non-Marxist social theorists agree that socialism developed in reaction to modern industrial capitalism, but disagree on the nature of their relationship.

Émile Durkheim posits that socialism is rooted in the desire to bring the state closer to the realm of individual activity, in countering the anomie of a capitalist society.

In socialism, Max Weber saw acceleration of the rationalization started in capitalism. As a critic of socialism, he warned that placing the economy entirely in the state's bureaucratic control would result in an "iron cage of future bondage".

Breaking it down: (Source: World Socialist Movement)
Central to the meaning of socialism is common ownership. This means the resources of the world being owned in common by the entire global population.

But does it really make sense for everybody to own everything in common? Of course, some goods tend to be for personal consumption, rather than to share—clothes, for example. People 'owning' certain personal possessions does not contradict the principle of a society based upon common ownership.

In practice, common ownership will mean everybody having the right to participate in decisions on how global resources will be used. It means nobody being able to take personal control of resources, beyond their own personal possessions.

Democratic control is therefore also essential to the meaning of socialism. Socialism will be a society in which everybody will have the right to participate in the social decisions that affect them.

These decisions could be on a wide range of issues—one of the most important kinds of decision, for example, would be how to organise the production of goods and services.

Production under socialism would be directly and solely for use. With the natural and technical resources of the world held in common and controlled democratically, the sole object of production would be to meet human needs.

This would entail an end to buying, selling and money.

Instead, we would take freely what we had communally produced. The old slogan of "from each according to ability, to each according to needs" would apply.

So how would we decide what human needs are? This question takes us back to the concept of democracy, for the choices of society will reflect their needs. These needs will, of course, vary among different cultures and with individual preferences—but the democratic system could easily be designed to provide for this variety.

We cannot, of course, predict the exact form that would be taken by this future global democracy. The democratic system will itself be the outcome of future democratic decisions. We can however say that it is likely that decisions will need to be taken at a number of different levels—from local to global. This would help to streamline the democratic participation of every individual towards the issues that concern them.

In socialism, everybody would have free access to the goods and services designed to directly meet their needs and there need be no system of payment for the work that each individual contributes to producing them. All work would be on a voluntary basis. Producing for needs means that people would engage in work that has a direct usefulness.

Now what about capitalism? Many people use this word. What does it mean to be a capitalist?

Capitalism is a socio-economic system in which private ownership means profit to the owner. The owner controls the means of production, so the profit belongs to the private business owner. In capitalism, the free market determines the production, distribution and price of goods and services.

A free market is unregulated supply and demand with little government interference in matters of trade. Price agreements are made by buyers and sellers and the market dictates supply and demand. Competition policies may exist in a free market capitalist system.

Capitalistic competition policies are usually based on the efficiency of economic feasibility, while socialistic competition policies are often concerned with unity in a single competitive market. The opposite of a free market is a controlled market. The government controls supply and the price of goods and services.

The labor in a capitalist system is called wage labor as wages must be paid to the laborers. The means of production means everything else required to produce goods including land and the property rights to it. Businesses run on capital and capital is what capitalists have. Capital is items of value that can produce more wealth.

Capitalism is considered a socio-economic system as it is not just a way of earning money and making a living, but is also a way of thinking about social organization.

Capitalism is based on the idea of individualism and that individuals have the right to economic freedom. Communism is considered the opposite of capitalism as it is based on collectivism and shared wealth rather than individualism and individual wealth.

It's important to note the existence of laissez-faire capitalism and its later replacement by the Keynesian system. Laissez-faire means 'letting go' in French and laissez-faire capitalism occurs when the government lets all of its control over trade and economic concerns go and lets the market take over in all aspects.

A crucial theory behind laissez-faire capitalism is that unemployment is voluntary because of the individual choice to pursue economic gain.

Now what is a democracy??
Democracy is a system of government in which either the actual governing is carried out by the people governed (direct democracy), or the power to do so is granted by them (as in representative democracy).

Representative democracy involves the selection of government officials by the people being represented. If the head of state is also democratically elected is also called a democratic republic. The most common mechanisms involve election of the candidate with a majority or a plurality of the votes.

Parliamentary democracy is where government is appointed by parliamentary representatives as opposed to a 'presidential rule' wherein the President is both head of state and the head of government and is elected by the voters. Under a parliamentary democracy, government is exercised by delegation to an executive ministry and subject to ongoing review, checks and balances by the legislative parliament elected by the people.

A Liberal democracy is a representative democracy in which the ability of the elected representatives to exercise decision-making power is subject to the rule of law, and usually moderated by a constitution that emphasizes the protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals, and which places constraints on the leaders and on the extent to which the will of the majority can be exercised against the rights of minorities.

The term "liberal" in "liberal democracy" refers to adherence to the ideology of political liberalism. Liberal democracies feature constitutional protections of individual rights from government power. At present, there are numerous countries ruled by non-liberal political parties - for example parties that uphold conservatism, Christian democracy, social democracy, or some forms of socialism - which are considered to have liberal democracy as their form of government.

How about what does it mean to follow the democratic party??

A Democrat may identify himself or herself as politically or socially conservative, moderate or liberal. Historically, the Democratic party has appealed to academics and professionals with progressive to liberal leanings, although there is a faction of so-called "Blue Dog" Democrats who espouse political conservatism while endorsing socially progressive programs. Many of these conservative Democrats are from southern states which have recently moved to the political right.

The Democratic party has also aligned itself with the plight of minority populations and the economically challenged. A Democrat generally believes the federal and state governments have an obligation to provide essential services for citizens in need, as well as legal recognition and protection for oppressed or poorly represented minority groups. Social Security, public welfare and food stamp programs are the direct result of Democratic presidencies.

A Democrat may also strongly support the needs and rights of workers over the demands of management. Establishing a federal minimum wage was accomplished during Democratic president Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, for example. Many labor unions gained strength during Democratic administrations as well. The Civil Right Act of 1965 was enacted during Democratic president Lyndon B. Johnson's time in office. Democratic president Bill Clinton also signed a law allowing workers to take unpaid leaves of absence during times of family need.

Many Democrats also support the idea of universal health care for all citizens, a concept which led to the development of Medicaid and Medicare. A woman's right to choices about her own reproductive health is also a platform for the Democratic party, which was tested most notably during the Supreme Court case Roe vs Wade. The controversial right to seek out a legal abortion continues to be a source of strong disagreement between the Democratic and Republican parties. Another divisive issue is the use of capital punishment, with many Democrats believe should be abolished entirely, or at least severely restricted.

A member of the Democratic party is free to form his or her own opinion on the party's general political stances or candidates, as is a member of the Republican party. The national parties, however, do hold primaries and caucuses to determine the political candidates who best represent the ideals of the parties as a whole. A registered Democrat votes for the candidate who best represent his or her own political viewpoint, and the winners become the official candidates of the Democratic party.

What does it mean to be a Republican?

The Republican Party in the United States was established in 1854 by a group of anti-slavery activists, rising to power only six years later with the election of President Abraham Lincoln.

The party quickly emerged as a powerhouse, becoming the major opposition to the Democratic party, the center-left political party in the United States. In fact, the Republicans and Democrats so thoroughly dominate the American political system that the United States can sometimes feel like a two party nation, instead of the multiparty democracy that it is.

Around one third of the American electorate identifies as Republican at any given time.

Republicans tend to be white, although the party has made some inroads into Asian and Latino communities, and people who identify as Republican usually have conservative economic and social values. Many members of the party also also Christian, with numerous sects including evangelical Christians being represented in large numbers among the Republicans.

The Republican Party is often viewed as the pro-business political party, and as an upholder of values which many Americans think of as traditional, such as family life.

Like members of other political parties in the United States, Republicans adopt new party platforms periodically. Each platform is designed to reflect the core values of the party while also adapting to changes in American society, and addressing emerging issues so that members of the public know how Republicans feel about hot topics in American culture. The Republicans also routinely nominate a candidate for the Presidency at their National Conventions in Presidential election years.

Many Republicans try to adhere to values from the early days of America. The name of the party is itself an homage to Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, and the party is sometimes referred to as the Grand Old Party (GOP), reflecting its value system. Many Republicans support strict interpretations of the Constitution, and they agitate for smaller government, less regulation in industry, and an upholding of Christian values in the United States.

I want all of my friends to be so careful when you use labels. Educate yourself and know where you stand.

Personally - I am an independent. I fall somewhere in the middle - sometimes considered a moderate.

Think. Understand. Seek. Vote.

B-O-R-E-D


Just the other day I was bragging about how we are saving money bu cutting so many things out. Ha! Well now, my gentle readers, my recession is making me extremely bored.
And hungry.
My main complaint right now - no coffee and no cable. Oh yes. I am without both.
I think the "ill" feelings toward the world are about to erupt.
I miss 'Clean House.' I LOVED Neesy and her fun little mantra - "How do I do all that I do?" I miss Stacy & Clinton on 'What Not to Wear.' Where else can I see the fashionably disabled get a new look? I want to watch Paranormal State and see Ryan and his team attack the demons from beyond. I need my Anthony Bourdain - with his snide remarks and cool demeanor as he hops from fascinating country to the next in 'No Reservations.' What about those days I might want to watch Bear tackle the wild and drink his on urine in 'Man versus Wild.'
I am lost without them. I miss them.
Then coffee - omg - my coffee. Here is the deal. When we ran out, we decided to wait until the next payday to buy our "luxury" items. For now, we have everything that we need for nourishment. I DON'T HAVE COFFEE. It is killing me. I have been trying to see good - but I cannot see any good without this sweet nectar of the gods.
Speaking of the hungry part - I want junk food. Oh yes. There is absolutely no junk food here. For that I have no words.
So here I sit - learning to go without. Self sacrificing. During the egyptian's holy month of Ramadan. I guess this is my form of fasting. No cable, no coffee, no junk food.
In turn, this makes me B-O-R-E-D.
I guess I will head to work now... there is that crappy red diamond coffee there.... blah...

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