Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Year's Eve - Seriously

It is the end of the fiscal year at my company. This is a good and a bad thing. Let's get the crummy part over first:

1. I may or may not have reached certain goals.
2. I still have soo many ideas I did not get to complete.
3. The economy is crap, so I seriously doubt more money will be coming in.

Okay - now for the good stuff:

1. NOW- I can implement a plan that makes total sense.
2. I like our new strategy, and hope I will have the chance to give it a try.
3. My territory is changing - again.

I realize this is probably very boring to the vast majority of you, but KNOW this - with a clean slate, I will be in a much better mood and will have more quality posts! :-)

In my world - I am entering the Start! Heart Walk season. Every summer/fall, the American Heart Association has this HUGE celebratory event that raises funds for the organization. This money TRULY goes back into the hospitals for research and education for the community.

With that being said, my territory is a large one (All the way from Johnson City/Bristol, TN down to Pensacola, FL.) That's a LOT of Start! Heart Walks.

What does that mean for the Marketing/Communications Director? That means booking tons of radio and tv shows, writing numerous magazine articles, placing 1/2 a dozen billboards, designing print ads, prepping spokespeople, media tours, chairmen press releases, letters to the editor, pitching feature stories about life style change to the health reporters, taping and producing PSAs about the Start! program, editing scripts, approving logo/branding compliance... etc.. etc.. etc...

It is a busy time of year. But, by the end of September, I get to breathe a little easier until January. There are still plenty of events, just they are a little different. The walks draw thousands of people, that's a lot of maneuvering for the media. Imagine trying to run from the Live truck from the TV station with a spokes person to the live remote going on with the radio station, to the "talent/tv/radio personalities" on stage to asking the guy with the really big camera if he is with such and such publication - to dropping by my media sponsor's booths, making sure they are "feeling the love" to trying to stay cool in the HOT southern summer weather.

I am a department of one - did I mention that??

Last year, I elected my husband and his friend from Egypt to accompany me to the walk, and volunteer as my assistants. Guess what that day happened to be? The first day of Ramadan. Which means - the first day of the fast. Needless to say, my hubby did not fair well in the heat. And when these guys fast - I mean - they don't even drink a drop of water.

C'est la vie.

I knew I had style.. ;-)


I RECEIVED THE STYLISH BLOGGER AWARD!


Sweeeet! Many thanks to my dear, bloggy friend, Mama Hen! PLEASE check out her blog - she has to be one of the nicest people alive, and her little "chick" is cute as a button.


  As you know, with all blog awards you have to do something. I have to tell five things about myself and pass it on to my five "most stylish" blog friends.

1. I am currently taking ballroom dancing.
2. I am married to an egyptian.
3. I like to put vinegar on my mac & cheese.
4. I gag at the sight of mayo.
5. I know numerous phrases in seven languages.

NOW - for my five MOST stylish blog friends:

1. Cassandra with her fabulous Cassagram! Each week she has a celebrity crush, and from what I can tell - she has excellent taste - STYLISH!
2. Leanne at From Chaos Comes Happiness!   
She has a way of explaining every day life in a witty and sometimes touching way. Also - she totally created her header and other stuff - SUPER creative - STYLISH     
3. Abby's Blog - Abby Sunderland is a 16 year old who tried to circumnavigate the world solo. Recently she was stranded at sea (after 1/2 a year sailing ALONE) - she was rescued in the middle of the Indian Ocean. She faced death defying feats - and is still standing tall and is proud to say she tried - STYLISH.
4. Foxy Pink Cheetah - with a name like that - how could you NOT want to read more. She is the epitome of STYLISH.
5. Finally - I have to pick, Diane - from Diane's Words - between her job, her ability to adapt to third world countries, then live to write about it all - amazing - and super STYLISH.


There you have it - some STYLISH ladies just waiting for you to follow!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Connections

“Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others...for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” ~ Albert Einstein


I am pretty sure that I have written about this before, but maybe more so in a "what draws me to other people" sort of way." Today I want to talk about connections with other people, places and things.

We have all experienced that moment when either:
1. You meet someone that you have an instant "kinship" with.
2. You see something you want to purchase and it is the perfect item you have been looking for.
3. Or you go somewhere and feel such an attraction to a place, and feel as if you have been there before or should remain there forever.

Why do we do that? Is this some type of divine moment? Is the universe trying to tell us something? Is this feeling connected with the whole intuition piece?

I can count 1/2 a dozen times this has happened to me. Places are easy to remember - I feel a "rooted" feeling. I am not sure that is the word I want to use - but extreme calm and almost like.. dare I say it.. a "love" for a place.

I feel that when I return to Savannah. I am in love with that city. You guys know I am not one to want to take root anywhere, but yes - I would move there and stay. I also felt that instantly in Alexandria, Egypt. Weird to say - but I felt like I had been there before.

Now I am going to share a story, and I hope you do not think I am a complete freak for sharing it. But here it goes:

When I was a little girl, I started having these reoccurring dreams. (This is a whole other blog post - but I will focus in on one dream in particular.) I dreamed I was older, and I was walking down a narrow street or alleyway in an old city. It was not America. People had dark hair, and the women (in my mind) looked like gypsies. There were lights strung from building across the street to another building. I could hear music. I could smell (what I thought was incense.) I felt like I was in love.

That's it.

Now fast forward 30 years- I am walking down the street at night in Alexandria with Yasser. We turn a corner and there was the street. I stopped, looked around and realized the "gypsies" I saw were women with hajib. The lights were strung across from Ramadan. The "incense" I smelled was the spices being sold on the street. The Dark haired people were the egyptians. I did not tell him at the time - but I thought to myself.. OH MY GOD.. I have dreamt of this place.

That is a prime example of the connection I felt.

I do the same thing with people. Sometimes, after a very good conversation, you feel such a kinship with someone. Age, race, educational background - none of it matters. There is a genuine "attraction" (not sexual) - but intellectual. I love when I meet people like that.

As for things, I have a few items in my possession that I would never part with (if I can help it.) They feel like an extension of who I am. Now, I am not talking about a tv or some other crap like that - more like my great grandmother's crucifix, which at close inspection is not very beautiful - but when I look at it - I think it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

What people, places, things are you connected with?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Not Naturally Positive

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
~H. L. Mencken



I've got this little problem. I can see the good - but I always think it will be short lived.
 
I have hope that things will get better - only to fall apart again.
 
Perhaps it is just my experience, but life seems to be one BIG roller coaster ride, and I am no fan of the adrenaline rush.
 
I try really hard to talk myself into being "positive." Not that I am a depressive person, I just tend to always have a snide thought running through my head.
 
I wish I could have a procedure, similar to lasik, where my eyes are permanently tinted with rose-colors. Then, perhaps I could see things less clearly.
 
And that's just it - I see things too clearly sometimes. I rarely get caught up in the excitement. Yes, I do get excited. Yes, I have expressed it here. But it is usually short lived.
 
With that being said, I have tried to find websites that teach positive thinking. Over and Over they say to give yourself affirmations. To a cynic - that is just plain ridiculous. However, they say that the unconscious mind will believe what you tell it, and respond accordingly.

How funny that would be -if it really worked. (Which I highly doubt!) Here is what I would tell my unconscious/subconscious brain:

1. You are soooo skinny. You look awesome, no worries for you!

2. Man, you are the most graceful person in the world.

3. WOW - You are waaaay smarter than most people.

4. Eating?? Nah - you don't need it. Just take a vitamin, drink lots of water and ignore those dizzy, weak signals.

5. You have an amazing singing voice. I think you should audition for American Idol.

6. While you are at it - head over to America's Next Top Model, because you ARE about 6 feet.

7. Fuel for the car is over rated. Who needs to stop and get gas??

8. Bills? They don't exist.

9. Taxes - Nah.. neither do they. You do not need to pay them. Don't worry - no one will get mad at you, or haul you off to prison - because you are AWESOME.

10. You should really tell people what you are thinking, and hand out tons of advice, because you are the most wonderful person anyone has ever met.

Ahhh... positive thinking! What would you add to my list?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Pod Shuffle

I thought the ultimate diva should grace the top of this ridiculous blog post. It is Sunday afternoon, settling down for the night, and was sent an Ipod shuffle survey to my email. If you have never done one of these - basically, grab your ipod, hit shuffle, answer the questions per song that appears.

I think it accomplished many things - 1. It's an excellent time waster. 2. It proves just how cheesy my music collection is and 3. I am the ultimate procrastinator (yes, it is time to cook dinner..)

If you don't have an ipod I suggest two ideas: 1. take your cd spinner thing and close you eyes and randomly point to a cd. or 2. listen to the radio and just add whatever song comes on next.

For me - it's ipod shuffle time! Give it a try!!

You're at a dance party & someone comes up to you & says: Get Up Everybody (Salt N Pepa)


Your Grandmother just died... she is: Three Candles (Schonhertz & Scott)

(Insert song here) really annoys you  Easy Skanking (Bob Marley)

You are a movie director. You yell, "____, camera, action!"! So Into You (Atlanta Rhythem Section)

You're on the phone with your bf/gf & you say, "I think i'm going to:" Rudolph (Bing Crosby)

Someone drops your cookie & you yell: Columbia Stockade Blue (Willie Nelson)

You see Megan Fox at Walmart & scream: Voodoo Woman **lol

You're on the phone with your mom, & couldn't understand her, so you say: Mishra Piloo (Ravi Shankar)

Oh No! Your room mate just puked EVERYWHERE & they say: Operator (Manhattan Transfer)

You like your drinks: In Luv Wit a Stripper *hahahahahaa

You fall in love with your brother, and think: I'm a slave for you (Britney Spears).. geez.. lol

"I'm sorry, but I don't: Leaving on a Jet Plane (Peter, Paul & Mary)

You are uncontrollably addicted to drugs & need: Get Low (Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz)

You are going to die at: New Attitude (Patti LaBelle)

You look at an old man & think: I would die 4 U (Prince)

You are at a club & a creeper walks up to you & says: The Dragon's Daughter (David Lance & Paul Speer)

You think you are: Let's Get Together (The Youngbloods)

"Hello, (insert song here) Bob, & I'm gay :) Feelin Love (Paula Cole)

You are in France & see one of your friends, so you go up to them and: Boadicea (Enya)

You're bf/gf breaks up with you harshly & you think to yourself: I want to take you higher (Sly & The Family Stone)

You are at a restaurant & yell to the waiter, "I need a": Been Caught Stealing (Jane's Addiction)

Your kid comes home from school & they say to you: Wild Boys (Duran Duran)

You go to Hollywood & you are completely: Three Little Birds (Bob Marley)

Your crush just got a gf/bf and you think to yourself: Vertigo (U2).. amen.. lol

You are giving your best friend a pep-talk and you say: Amazing (aerosmith)

Your friend says to you, "may I": Jackson, Mississippi (Kid Rock)

HEY BATTAH BATTAH: Not ready to make nice (Dixie Chicks)

You are having a conversation with your bf/gf and say, "I don't want to": Deal Cell (Papa Roach)

Your kid comes running into your room in the middle of the night & screams: I wanna Love you (Akon) lol

You get a 100% on your math test and whisper: We are family (Sister Sledge)

You look at your friend and say "let's go catch some": America (Santana featuring P.O.D.)

"I'll love you,": Santa Baby ( Pussy cat Dolls) lol

That's it!!!

Told you - total time waster.

NOW- I feel shy

Believe it or not - I can actually be a very shy person.

Yes, I am - I swear! You don't believe me? Ohh.. you have NOOOO idea.

When I was a kid, it took everything for me to talk to other people. Typically, you had to approach me first. Not because I thought that I was a better person, but because I knew if you approached me, then you must want to know me, so I would let you in.

(Hmm.. a little insecure, perhaps?)

Then middle school came around - same thing. Then I discovered girls could be MEAN. I had to develop a bit more thicker skin.

By high school - let's say, 11th grade, I had a bit more attitude, a bit more hmm.. "swagger".. a bit more "acting skills" behind my belt.

But still - it was DIFFICULT for me to make the first move.

College/first jobs/etc... same thing. I laid low - and waited for people to approach.

I was told, much later, that I did not seem approachable and that I seemed a bit.. dare I say it... snobby??!!

WHAT??

But I think that is what happens, too many of us are actually super-shy and it comes off as stand-offish and "snobby."

Since then, I have planted a smile on my face, let go of a ton of insecurities, and found my way  to being the "first to approach". What's interesting, I can now command a room, joke with the shy ones and actually help bring THEM out of their shell.

I tell you all of this because this afternoon I have to meet a lot of people. My egyptian has a company picnic (his first official career/job in America) and boys and girls, let's be honest, appearances mean A LOT in his culture.

I have no idea what to wear, and I am starting to feel that shyness creep in.

First of all it - it is hot as hell outside (I am in Alabama - when I say hot, imagine the hottest it can possible be, with high humidity and absolutely no wind) and it's outside - translation - mosquitoes. I know the egyptian does not like me to dress with too much leg (hell, I am 5'1 - how much leg can one shorty have?) So I am struck with a dilemma.

I had to write all of this out this morning just to purge this insecurity and shyness. I know I will plant a smile on my face, pick the right thing to wear, and be witty and intelligent all wrapped into one (hell - this is what I do for a living, let me pretend I am getting paid) - but for now.. I am that 12 year old girl, walking into that new school - but this time, oh this time, I have the hot guy on my arm!

My Peeps

“If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair. Because five minutes at the fair, you'll be going, 'you know, we're alright. We are dang near royalty.” ~ Jeff Foxworthy


That's me with the "parentals."

After spending an evening discussing life, politics, religion and family with an egyptian, a russian and a jamaican (I am not kidding!) I began thinking about my the type of family I came from.

Many times I have tried to explain different aspects. I have talked about my super-creative, messy, and sometimes "mouthy" mother. I have discussed my hardworking, super quiet, father. I have shared with you the trials and tribulations of my sister and her daughter (my Autumn.) I have even shared a few bits of information about my egyptian.

I have shared pics and random stories about my friends, my co-workers and my activities. I have pointed out my favorite "bloggy friends" and my favorite websites.

But when it really comes down to it - who are my peeps? If a picture tells a thousand words.. then what in the world are my pictures trying to say??

















These pictures, hands down, win the worst pictures of all time. Where else can you go from "caught in the moment" to bad hair/clothing choice to "what kind of face are you making" to.. "seriously, you had your sweet, conservative muslim husband pose with two hussies from Hooters?"

I added everything from pics of me as a child to pics of me in Halloween costumes...

So - I ask myself (and you) again - what do these pictures say??

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Reaching for that star!

I'd rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who is reaching for a star. I'd rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; for a might have-been has never been, but a has was once an are.  ~Milton Berle


I still have plans. BIG plans. I figure, at 37, there is still a whole lotta stuff I need to accomplish.

When I am planning anything (and it is something I try really hard not to do too often) I set out on my little fact gathering quest.

Same thing when it comes to work - strategic plans.

It's time to begin the prep for the next decade of my life. I figure I need a three year stumbling pad to work out the kinks.

Here is what I know for certain:

1. I am 37. (okay.. we get that)

2. I am married. (translation - I have to consider someone else)

3. I do not have children. (Nor will I ever.)

4. I have a degree (awesome  - opens a few more doors)

5. I have 15 years experience in my field (good.. good..)

6. I am mobile. I don't own a house.

7. I pick up foreign languages very quickly

8. I have friends and family in several countries: America, Egypt, Brazil, Columbia, Italy, Belgium, France, Moldova, Mexico, Australia, Iraq/Kurdistan, Cambodia, Thailand, Germany, Spain, Indonesia.. (means, if I want to start over somewhere else, I have a support system to do so)

9. I like taking pictures

10. I like writing


Now.. what is it that I REALLY want to do??

I remember back when I was 30, I attended a meditative/life coaching class at a metaphysical bookstore in Macon, Georgia. (Okay, if you don't know me - I am always trying new little adventures to broaden my scope of  the world.)

One of the exercises we had to do was to close our eyes (go thru this whole clearing of the mind thing that I can't remember) and then imagine the life you want.

Now that seems a bit much. Let me explain more.

You had to visualize yourself waking up - what did you room look like? I saw white bedding (which I have since purchased) and lots of windows. There was a beautiful cat laying on my bed - then I went downstairs and poured a cup of coffee, opened my lap top and did my daily morning writing. (Like i do now, sans cat and sans stairs.)

What did my home look like? It was an older townhouse in a downtown historical area.


PS - this is all guided imagery.

What did my day look like? I left for work. I was literally asked to look at what I was wearing. I got this total visual of white button down (flowy) and black cropped pants and cute black ballet flats (very J. Jill)

I walked downtown and with coffee and croissant in hand, spoke to the other shop owners and opened my business. What was my business? It was a photography studio.

People - this was the first time I ever imagined this.

Since then, I have tried this exercise over and over. Once it was a coffee/shop book store. Once it was a restaurant.

But two things always remained the same - I lived in an older townhouse in a historical downtown area. My "business or office" was always in walking distance and was facing a river/water (coastal city is necessary.)

I was surrounded by books, coffee, photography/art. Intelligent, creative types.

Moving forward - what does that mean for me? I am still trying to decide. But it looks promising.

Will it be in my beloved Savannah? Will I be across the big blue ocean in my husband's home town of Alexandria, Egypt? Will I be pushing my way through the crowded streets of Bangkok? Will I be hailing a cab in NYC? Will I be strolling leisurely down a crooked lane in Noli, Italy?

God only knows.

Perhaps I will be driving up to the same office building I am now.

Time will tell.. the Destination? Still Unknown.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Defining my Destination

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

I think this blog is a complete disaster as far as blogs go. Seriously.

When I began this whole blogging journey, I just wanted to keep an online journal. That was the complete goal. I previously had a different blog - but I lived a different life. I was married to my first husband, living in Georgia, hosting exchange students, gardening, and sitting at the cake sale table at the Knight's of Columbus fish fry at church. See where I am going with this?

I was in a different place.

I ended the last blog right before my divorce. I had just moved to Birmingham, got really, really sick (meningitis) and was stuck both emotionally and spiritually.

Things happened.. times changed. Now I am living a more authentic life. I am with who I want to be with, my activities are things that make me come alive, and my work is a compilation of all the skills I have tried to master through out the years.

So- this online journal was supposed to be a way my exchange students (all 14) and my family could keep up with what was going on with me.

Then a few months later, a few friends wanted to see what was going on in my life. Then old acquaintances joined in.

Next thing I know - I began venting. Or taking a topic and doing a little research and sharing it with my friends and family. Then I started getting a random follower that I had never met. That was kind of exciting.

I decided to take it a little more seriously, so I began trying to change up the design. THEN I discovered Networked Blogs. I might have gained a few non-familiar followers that way. Finally, I joined a blog networking site or two, and each weekend my tiny little numbers grow.

In order to not throw my blog out to everyone on facebook, I created a fan page - so if you WANTED to read it, you could. Verses me putting it on my personal page. The numbers are higher there, than they are here.

Not that numbers matter - but it does bring me to my point.

My blog is a disaster. I do not have a niche'. I just go with the flow, and write about whatever is coming to mind. I would say it is more like a ramble. A serious example of my thoughts and thought process.

The title is dead on - I am roaming this world.. not sure what is next. A while back, I learned with planning- as "prepared" as you may seem, may not necessarily lead to happiness. Nor was there an end result that could ever satisfy me. So - I went with the "Life is a journey, not a destination" philosophy on life.

But this BLOG. THIS blog. I don't have a "Wordless Wednesday" or a "Friday Flip Off" or a "How to.." or example of an "Etsy Shop" or advice for "Mommies."

I am just a girl (ouch, I guess I should say WOMAN) sharing her thoughts. MY life is just that - my life. I get up, I go to work, I come home, I go to my little activities I choose to enrich my life, I love my egyptian, and then I get up and do it all over again.

I guess the difference is - I get up to a quiet home in the deep South that happens to be in a metropolitan area. I go to work where I prep "famous/influential" people to share our "life saving" message, and write scripts, and book television and radio interviews, and design magazine ads - all to raise awareness around the nation's #1 killer. I come home to my eclectic nest - sans offspring or pets. I attend dance classes (could be anything from Flamenco to Cha Cha), I might go walk the dogs at the Humane Society, I might volunteer at my church with the youth, I might be campaigning for Obama (Yep - you heard it right), I might be meeting some friends to see a concert on a plaza in downtown (cultural enrichment).. whatever. I just do what excites me. Then I come home to a beautiful man who happens to be the love of my life. He is a strong, opinionated, egyptian who is a proud muslim and has a love affair with his electric guitar (lord help me) and his laptop. Then I get up and do it all over again.

In the middle of that - I share (in a no-holds-barred) sort of way. I get easily disturbed by the conservatives roaming the streets of Birmingham. I hold extremely high standards for the people I call friends. I am intrigued by the paranormal. I am addicted to "collecting" people. I want to surround myself with people who will not only lift me higher, but will challenge me.

So - compared to other blogs, my blog is one big disaster. I don't have a button you can share. I don't have advertisers. I don't even know how to create tabs on this damned thing.

I just write. That's what I do.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Transitional Transitions

They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom. ~Confucius


There is one thing that I am certain of at this point in my life - change is inevitable.

Simple as that.

It is officially the first days of summer, though in the deep south I believe we went from winter to summer back in April. However, officially the season did just change. Our fiscal year at work is winding down - and with that comes massive change. I am cycling into a new wave of comfort in my "new marriage." Friends are losing relatives (old age - sickness - death.) Marriages are happening. Divorces are happening. People are moving. Moving here - moving on. Change.

How well do you handle change? For me, I like it. Honestly! Or perhaps, I am just conditioned to handle it. As a child, we moved a lot. From birth to graduating from high school, my family lived in 7 homes. In college, I had 8 different room mates. I lived in 5 different places. As a young adult (and single) I lived in 4 different apartments. Once married I lived in 8 different homes.

I have lived with a guy, and married twice. I have had dozens of boyfriends, numerous BFFs, started and stopped a handful of jobs. All of my grandparents and most relatives have died. I have lost three friends to suicide (including one ex boyfriend) and two of my best guy friends died (one in an automobile accident, and one mysteriously in his sleep.)

I have been given bad new numerous times dealing with my health. I recovered. I have come close to making MASSIVE life changing mistakes - and saved in just the nick of time.

I can adjust to any given situation. I expect things to change. I am not sure if I could handle staying stagnant.

Which makes me think of people who chose to stay close to home, and pick (in my humble opinion) safe jobs and take root prefer things to NOT change. Perhaps they thrive on consistency.

I have dear friends, that chose to marry young, have babies, get a "normal" job, buy a house, go to church on Sunday (and Wed), attend softball tournaments on the weekend, and BBQ with relatives.. while saving up once a year for that quick trip to Florida. That's it. That's their reality.

Forever. And ever, And ever. WOW.

My life resembles NONE of this. How different would I be if I chose to settle down in one place? Would I be more peaceful? What if I picked a job that did not have the goal-oriented, fast past and creativity of media and settled for.. oh I don't know.. selling insurance or running a dry cleaners? Would I find satisfaction in doing the same thing day in and day out?

What if, I had chosen to have children (before the hysterectomy)? I suppose I would have to stay put (for school.) How does that work??

The skies the limit for me. The only person holding me back from forever changing is myself.

If you are a stranger to BIG change - I found some tips that could help you adjust:

*** source Psychology Today - the coolest magazine in the world. Written by: Alex Lickerman

When I was a child, I was afraid to go to summer camp. Most kids found the prospect exciting and the experience fun, but I dreaded it. What would the activities be like? Who would my counselors be? What other kids were going? Would I be made to swim if I didn't want to?

After a few days, the camp routine became just that—routine—and I settled down. But transition periods remained challenging for me throughout my adolescence. As adults, many of us still struggle with change-even good change, like starting a new job, moving to a nicer house, or getting married. Just what is it about transition periods we find so challenging and how can we get through them with less stress?

THE GREAT UNKNOWN
In my case, transitions were difficult because they represented a change from the known to the unknown. The unknown, for many of us, feels unsafe. We worry the unknown, once known, will prove to be more than we can handle, a problem we can't solve. It's easy to be confident when you know exactly what you're facing and how to overcome it, but far harder to be confident when what you're facing is unclear. So we try to learn as many details as we can about whatever knew environment we're about to enter, striving to make the abstract more concrete for the purpose of measuring ourselves against it, of finding ways to minimize any potential dangers.

A DIFFERENT APPROACH




But in doing this we sell ourselves short. Why not instead view transition periods as ways to exercise our ability to manage change? If the last time you faced a transition you found yourself a wreck—anxiously overreacting, struggling to get a good night's sleep, snapping at your loved ones out of fear—why not look upon your next transition as practice. Reflect on and catalog your reactions during transitions as they occur. Then each time you find yourself facing a new one, pick one thing you didn't do well during your last one. Maybe you belittled your abilities, failing to believe you were up to the job for which you were hired. Maybe you worried incessantly about how you were going to handle all the details of a move. Whatever reaction you had that you'd like to improve, during this next transition focus on it and it alone. Don't worry about failing to live up to any other expectation. Just strive to improve this one thing. If, when you're through the transition, you find you didn't, that's okay, too. The beauty of viewing transition periods as practice for improving yourself is that you get to keep trying until you do.

Further:
Just do it. It may be a cliche to say that half the battle is just showing up, but cliches are cliches for a specific reason: they're true. Remind yourself you don't have to be perfect and that you don't have to do everything at once. Just getting through a transition is the definition of success.

Look upon transitions—even negative transitions—as adventures. You can change poison into medicine. Even if you're fired. Even if you get divorced. Even if you become chronically ill. We all have the innate ability to create value out of hardship, and in so doing often add an enjoyable dimension to our lives we didn't have before.

Remake your reputation. A transition is also an opportunity to re-brand yourself. Perhaps you called in sick too much on your last job and want to become a better employee. Perhaps you allowed life's small inconveniences to irritate you too much and want to become a more carefree person. If you look upon a transition period as an opportunity to change yourself, you'll be able to introduce a better self to the new people you meet. But take care not to fall prey to the misguided notion that simply by changing your physical location you'll change anything else about your life. Unless you change yourself, you'll recreate the same old life you always had, just in a new space.

Transitions are part and parcel of life, in which nothing ever stands still or remains the same. To learn to navigate transitions therefore is to learn to navigate life itself. Take the time to reflect on how you handle transitions. Plan ways to improve. Because if you can learn to face transition periods with equanimity, not much else will be left in life to disturb you.


Let's embrace change - whether it is personal, professional, financial or spiritual. Change is good. Change is necessary.

How do you handle change?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What have I learned??

The excitement of the last few days has left me a little off kilter tonight. I want more. I swear I could take a dance class every single night of my life. The time during class feels like 10 minutes.

Some of my friends may not be familiar with the types of dance styles I am working on in my class. (Private lessons, might I add.)

The first class I learned the basic Fox Trot, Waltz and East Coast Swing. My second class I learned the basics of Tango, Rumba and Cha Cha.

Here are the examples of the styles of dance I am attempting:

Fox Trot:



Waltz:




East Coast Swing:



Tango:




Rumba:



Cha Cha:



My dance instructor taught me the basic steps (box steps, back/back/side, side/side/back, etc. etc.

Added a few turns, twists - and laughed the entire time.

It is amazing to be able to actually dance with someone who can 1. lead and 2. know what the hell they are doing.

Girls, let's be honest - few men can do that in America (unless they are trained.)

For someone who danced for years, it's refreshing and an awesome expression of art.

Can you hear that?? The pounds falling off?? And the fun begins..

Opposite of Healthy Living



What you see above are fried green tomatoes. Ever heard of them? They are quite the delicacies in the south. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of tomatoes, so I cannot tell you if these are good or not. However, I am told they are - so - go for it!

In the south, if it can be eaten - it can be fried. Seriously. Everything is fried. (Now you know how I got this girlish figure!) A signature dish for a true southern meal would include: fried chicken, green bean casserole, creamed corn,cornbread or buttermilk biscuits, creamy gravy, potato salad, and then add the following, fried: okra, pickles, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, eggplant.. etc. etc.

Not only do we fry it up, we have to have something to dip it in, right? The answer? Ranch dressing.

I must admit, it is not so much the fried item I crave, as it is the ranch dressing I am going to cover it in.

Once you have consumed all of these heavy foods - then we expect you to indulge into an array of desserts. Banana pudding (sorry Leanne ;-), pound cake, chess cake, peach cobbler.. etc. etc.

Makes me full just writing about it.

Important to know, depending on which state you are in, and which portion of that state, you will find different specialities.

Here is an example of what you might find traveling through the southern states (specifically what is known as the DEEP SOUTH - this is where I live):

Louisiana
Crawfish Étouffée



Jambalaya


Shrimp Alfredeaux


Crawfish Fettuccine


Pompano en Papillote


Red Beans and Rice


Shrimp Creole


Chicken Creole


Trout Meuniere


Sauce Piquante


Stuffed Bell Peppers


Blackened Salmon


Mirliton


Creole Baked Chicken


Shrimp Bisque

Mississippi
Grits with cheese

Crawfish

Flounder

Pizza with french dressing dip

Po Boys

Mississippi Mud Cake

Alabama
Fried Pies


Open faced sandwich made with butter and sugar


Alabama Pound Cake



Hog jowl



Pickled pigs feet



Pickled ham hocks



Blackeyed peas



Peanuts


peanut Butter Pie



Pecan Pie



Peanut Brittle



Cajun Frog Legs

Grilled Catfish with Strawberry Salsa.


Dinner Dogs


Chitterlings



Pork Belly



Smoked Pork Sausages


Granpa John's Traditional Cracklins



Alabama Barbecue Sauce (Mayonnaise as its base rather than tomato sauce, vinegar, or any of the other traditional barbecue sauce bases.)



Grits



Collard greens


Fried green tomatoes



Fried catfish



Fried corn



Sweet Potato Pie



Okra

Bread Puddin'

Cornbread

Greens



Fried Chicken



Squash ( Sauteed, casserole)

Georgia
Fried Chicken

Okra

squash

butterbeans

black eyed peas

Brunswick Stew

Boiled peanuts

Turnip greens

collard greens

muscadine grapes/homemade wines

Grits

Peaches

largemouth bass

vidalia onions

Pecan Pie



Rice


Hot breads or biscuits spread thick with homemade preserves.
 
Ham



Pork


BBQ


Cornbread
 
There you have it! A very small list of traditional foods each state prides itself on.
 
If you are from these states - what would you add? If you are in another state, what are the foods of your state (plus make sure you share which state you live in!)

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