Monday, November 28, 2016

Keeping the Holidays Happy

Now that one holiday season is behind us, we have the next one to look forward to.  I know that for me, I need to try to work on being prepared mentally and physically for all that is part of the holiday season so that we all have a joyous time together.

First, and I believe one of the most important things to do is to, take time to reflect and remember the "little things" that happen as the meal is being prepared or the house is being decorated.  If I don't, it seems to go by in a blur.  I know that this is when my journaling comes into play.  Plus, it becomes a time that I know what it is that I want to realistically accomplish.  Each day leads up to the next in a more organized fashion, as far as taking it by steps.  This is how I must take it or else I become overwhelmed.  By hearing the talk from my friends, they feel it too, so I know that I am not alone. There is nothing more overwhelming than a table stacked high with gifts to wrap.  When I take it in stages, it becomes a more meaningful and fun task with holiday music playing and a little hot chocolate or a skinny vanilla latte.  

With reflection comes in meditation; at least for me it is a perfect fit, like salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs. However much time you wish to devote to meditating is up to you, just closing your eyes for a moment to reconnect your mind, body and soul is all that it takes.  I think that you will be surprised at how this can affect your well-being. 

As you find yourself running around, sometimes like a chicken with its head cut off, be sure to take the time to do something that is just for yourself.  Stop off for a favorite tea or coffee or cocoa, meet a friend for a brunch or lunch out at a new restaurant, go to a yoga class or take a walk or run...just take care of yourself, mentally and physically.  If I am not careful with the goodies that go to my mouth, then there will be a need to go heavier on the physical aspect.  There are times that I must use warfare tactics such as drink a lot of water, move away from the buffet table, think about how miserable I will feel if I eat everything that I think that I want    -   now is the time to be picky.  Make the calories quality calories.  

Light!  By this, I mean it is important to not burden myself or others with insignificant events.  What happens will happen.  The marshmallows may burn on the sweet potatoes.  I have even had the marshmallows catch fire in the oven.  (I learned not to open the door to the oven...just let it burn).  It will all be okay. Tis' not the end of the world.  It is a laughable moment and has now become a story to tell each and every year because it did happen more than once. There is no family get together that is like the Hallmark Family.  Accept one another for all of our quirky imperfections. "Laugh loudly, laugh often and most important, laugh at yourself." Chelsea Handler

For some people shopping and what to get the ones they love becomes a stressful period.  Hearing the countdown of how many more days till Christmas can be daunting.  Instead of the usual gifts of jewelry or ties look at gift giving in a more creative manner, such as lottery tickets, a cooking class, a museum entrance fee, a garden of herbs or succulents for inside,  jelly/beer/cheese/ of the month club....the list goes on and on.  Pinterest has oodles of DIY gifts that are very desirable and low cost. There is always the "Wish List" that families can share with one another from Amazon.   

All of the jibberish above are simply ideas that I set in my mind to help prepare me for a happier way to move through the holiday season without feeling that everything must be perfect.  It is okay to not be okay.  Taking the negative out makes more room for the positive.  If I am not up to giving it my all then I won't pretend.  Let the loved ones around you know.  It is much more important to take care of my emotional well-being and a great gift to myself, as well as those around me to try not to act fearless.  It has taken a number of years for me to understand this concept and I feel like today, it has now become a part of me.  I hope something in this blog helped even just one person get a handle on overcoming the possibility of feeling unhappy through the holiday season.  In this case, I practice what I preach...why?  Because it works! 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Positive Anything Is Better Than Negative Nothing

There is no way that any of us can escape friends or colleagues who are negative.  We all know that they are not the most enjoyable people to be around because they can spin anything toward a negative direction.  It is draining on those of us who work so hard at focusing on the positives of most any situation.

Some of the things that I have learned to manage negativity is to channel it back to a more positive mindset I will share with you. There was a time that I was totally taken aback by negative people and I had to hop on the bandwagon basically for myself, if for no one else.  Why? Because I refuse to entertain negativity.  Life is too big and time is too short to get caught up in empty drama.  

Of course, positive people also can have some negative thoughts, it is just that we do not let these thoughts control us. In other words, I refuse to let these thoughts take over my life.  I have learned that if I can't be positive then at least be quiet. What good does it do me to go around with a scowl on my face, complaining about a problem instead of digging in and working with others to come up with a solution.  My thoughts are if people who say it cannot be done would stop interrupting, then those who are working on the positive spin could finish a lot faster.  It does seem as if negative people have a problem for every solution.

There is one major no-no which is to never get in a debate with them.  They have views that are not going to change, no matter what reasoning you give.  Unless you wish to swirl deeper into their negative thoughts, move on and just give them a moment to vent and perhaps ask if there is anything that you can do to help. Usually there is not a thing you can do, however, this will pull the rug out from under them for a moment.  (Be careful not to let them see that grin on your face, because this can be humorous and quite entertaining.)

There is a way to work on cultivating the skill of seeing the good in the person rather than their negative outlook on life.  And remember, if all of this fails, you do have the power to simply avoid them when you can.  Some are easier than others to do the avoidance tactic (especially if it is someone that you must work with).  Negative people thrive on worry and can't live with whatever is going to happen will happen, whether we worry or 

An example of this can be the person spotting some angry clouds on the way to the beach, telling the group that the best part of the day has already past.  They always imagine everything will go wrong.  Pessimists cannot limit their exposure to bad news.  With the social media the way it is today, we are able to get all news quickly and our negative friends love to be the first one to share it because this is what they thrive on, even though it contributes to depression and anxiety.  It can color a negative person's outlook on life, yet they see it as another way to complain.

Negative people usually become underachievers because deep down they feel as if they are not smart enough or athletic enough or good enough to make it all come together.  They really love the word, "but."  Let me give you a perfect example; "It looks like a lovely hotel BUT I wonder how clean they keep the rooms."  There is the "BUT" rule that comes into play.  This rule states that anything said before the word but is bologna (really, it is bullshit, I was just trying to be polite).  The person thinks it is a stinky hotel and they don't believe they keep the rooms clean, nor do they wish to stay there. That would be the translation.  

Each day during my meditation, I keep a positive mantra in my head to repeat at the beginning and at the end between concentrating on clearing my head and breathing.  Usually, I post this positive thought on my FaceBook timeline.  It is a positive start to my day.  It is fantastic that other people click like it or love it or have something nice to say such as, "Thanks, DJ.  Just what I needed to start my day."  Truly, I don't go and search for something that someone else will like or not.  In fact, some friends and family have told me that they love the posts and they have never clicked or share on line this fact at all.  That is fine.  

Where the problem can come in, is when a negative person pops up with a negative comment and tries to rain on my positivity.  Yes, it is open to all to share what they wish, however, it is my page and I can delete such nonsense so that they can go and share their negativity on their page.  Energy is contagious, positive and negative alike.  I will forever be mindful of what and who I am allowing into my space.      

Friday, November 18, 2016

In a Relationship With Food

There are so many times that I say that we can't always look at things in just a black and white manner.  There is almost always a huge gray area out there and today I plan on talking about the so called gray area of food.  In particular, our relationships with food. People who consider themselves to be foodies based on their gourmet appetites need to move over for those of us who love food, just that it may be a simple and less scary type of food for us.

Knowing that I am not alone in always trying my best to eat what is good for me, yet also helping me to lose weight is uppermost in my mind.  From all that I have read, it is best not to be on a "diet," but more to pull together from all food groups in moderation.  It is what you will have to do eventually, when you come off the so called diet. That is where yo-yo dieting got the name.  For me, it is changing my mindset on food. This mindset is fine to have a good relationship with food, whether it be bizarre and out of the ordinary dishes or more of the familiar ingredients in dishes we love.

Eating healthy is my number one concern.  From there, I know that I must have portion control and not even to be a part of my discussion today, there must be exercise involved somewhere at sometime. That is for another blog, another day.  Really, just focusing on food and eating.  As Julia Child said once, "People who love to eat are always the best people."

What brought this blog to my mind, is that my husband and I have birthdays 5 days apart, which is coming up soon.  The past few years we have each taken a turn at preparing a dish at home for the birthday boy/girl.  Talking and drinking wine together in the kitchen while one cooks and prepares with love the meal for the evening.   It has always been very enjoyable and relaxing.  

This year, I came up with a different idea, basically because our city has become a restaurant mecca, so to speak.  Many of the chefs and their restaurants are becoming nationally known.  We have not been to many of them, as we usually stick to our tried and true restaurants.  I suggested that we have one big celebration birthday dinner out.  Steve agreed and told me to pick the place.  

I looked up several restaurants that have received very high reviews, then proceeded to see if their menus were on line.  They were.  This could be good or bad, depending on how you want to look at it.  All I can say is that I had to have google beside me to look up what something was on almost every item from the appetizers to the desserts.  It is not that I have turned in to a "meat and potatoes" kind of person.  NEVER!  I love many other dishes. However, I do prefer to know what I am putting in my mouth. When I started to find out exactly what some of these menus items were, it told me that I am definitely not a 'foodie,' in the sense that this word is tossed around in today's times.

A foodie is not just a person who enjoys good food or has a particular interest in food, as I know that I do.  I love to cook and share new recipes with family and friends.  On weekends especially, Steve and I like to plan out a new menu item and make sure that we pick up what we need at the grocery store.  I suppose you could call it a hobby that we enjoy doing together.  The main idea here is to let you know what a real foodie is.  To be able to have that label attached to yourself, you must have a refined interest in food, especially on the gourmet side and you live to try new an unusual dishes.  

Some of the items that were on the menus of restaurants that I wanted to consider are listed here:

  • Maine lobster pancakes
  • quail or pheasant sausages, veal jus
  • foie gras
  • strawberry tomato sorbet
  • beluga caviar
  • escargot
  • saffron crawfish
  • cornmeal dusted oysters
  • buffalo
  • elk
  • turtle soup
  • pork belly
  • beet salad with goat cheese and peaches

On the three menus that I looked over, there may have been two items that I would want to order and eat.  One other thing that I noticed, is that the menu items that were unusual and at times required me to look up exactly what they were, also had very steep prices attached to them.  Now, I do not mind paying higher prices for good food, it is just that I must be able to eat the food.  You won't hurt my feelings if you say that I do not enjoy adventure in eating. Probably because I am trying to watch what I eat, this could be a good thing.

In the pictures above are foods that I am sure most of you recognize.  Maybe not the first one?  It happens to be foie gras, which in case you did not know is duck or goose liver.  It is a picture of one of the many ways I saw it mentioned on menus; to use it with preserves, or it may be sauteed in a cast iron skillet or it may be put on a perfectly good filet mignon as a gravy.  The seafood plate has some things I most definitely would order, it is just that you can't order just those things.  It is all or nothing.  Good old fashioned hamburgers and hot dogs can be a choice, although that is not a healthy way to eat all of the time, I would most definitely take a hot dog dinner from Sonic Drive-in versus having a meal of pork belly and oysters.  So?  Call me a cheap date!

Oh, and by the way...I did find many great, new restaurants that have more of what I consider normal food for us to go out and try for our birthday dinner.  I love the saying from Ruth Reichl, "Pull up a chair.  Take a taste.  Life is endlessly delicious."  However you choose to eat, this is what it is all about.  bon appetit

Wednesday, November 16, 2016



Beginning this week November 14, 2016, my blogs will be published every Monday and Friday.  I am discovering that I am in need of more time to work on my novel that I hope to have published next year, or at the very least in the process of publishing.  Thanks to all who come to visit my page and I do hope you will continue to read what I write and feel free to add a comment at the end of any of the blogs.  Friday's blog will most likely be on picky eaters...never really considered myself one, however, I most definitely fall in that category.  I guess that I am not a 'foodie' after all.  Are you?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Awe Inspiring

What inspires you?  When you become inspired were you aware that those goose-bumps were good for your health, your creativity, your happiness, and all round well being?  To be awe struck is to have a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear and wonder, according to the dictionary's definition.  I suppose fear can be put in the picture, it is just not what comes to my mind when I think of being wonder struck.  

When I see or hear something that takes hold of me I feel that I am overwhelmed to just how small I am in the scheme of life.  Feeling awe inspired is different for all.  Even how often you feel this kind of awesomeness surrounding you is different for all.  According to research, apparently the average person experiences awe 2.5 times a week.  This is a time that I am very happy to not fall in the average category.  I do believe that for myself, I am in awe at least 2.5 times a day.  Also, where the heck does the .5 fall in to place? Let's just round that up to 3.  (Notice that I did not go down to 2 - always thinking optimistically.)

The benefits of having this feeling of awe within yourself is totally amazing.  I knew that I felt better, I just did not know specifically why.  This is a research study that is rather new, as far as delving deep into the psyche.  Having this feeling can do some of the following:

  •  it is one that will most definitely make you happier
  •  it also gives you the perceived feeling of having more time
  •  gives you hope by seeing the big picture
  •  seeing the big picture adds to your creativity
  • can demonstrate that there may be something magical about every day life in general, a place of wonder, joy and gratitude
  • connects to nature with a calming effect which lowers stress
  • improves the immune system
I am sure that as you look over this list of bullets, you can see how they all connect in one way, shape or form.  Call me the slow learner...all I was really aware of is that it made me feel better. So, if you do not believe that you are feeling awe inspired enough, or if you just want to experience more moments of being awe inspired, keep reading.  Not all of us can afford to go out on special mind boggling trips like a safari in Africa or whale watching tours (now those would be awe inspiring, just not your every day kind that the average Joe/Jane will experience on a frequent basis.)

What can we do?  As an old commercial used to say, try it, you'll like it...I just simply will share some of what resonates with me or was shared with me and maybe some will give you goosebumps, too:

  • music, whatever kind inspires you (of course live music puts you in the driver's seat for goosebumps) but will work with earphones, loud or all time favorite is in the car singing along loudly
  • sunrises or sunsets (better of course if you are on a balcony at the beach) anywhere will work and be able to have you feel that you are just a small part of a great big world
  • kids playing, either by themselves or with others (no inhibitions, and if an adult is brought into the play such as to join a tea party you may witness a 250 pound man hold a little teacup with his pinky up in the air with no questions asked)
  • babies smiling and giggling (have you ever watched babies when they laugh and you witness them laugh they do so with their whole bodies)
  • just adding three more granddaughters to our family which now makes four, there is nothing in the world that gives me more goosebumps than to snuggle up with one of them 
  • someone actually told me that they were in awe when being at a political rally (no, I am not going to touch that one)
  • unbelievable animal/nature pictures or videos (This can be major videos such as the BBC Planet Earth series or funny little Face Book clips on awesome unbelievable animals which is why they are so popular).
  • while on the subject of social media and other devices, you can take a break from them and watch the clouds, stars, rain, rainbows, etc.
  • take an Awe Walk -  it could be on your usual path for a daily walk or jog, just take the time to smell the roses and notice what is all around you
  • take advantage of nature around you such as the Super Moon that just occurred last night - the last time that happened was in 1947 and it will not come around again until 2052 - amazing!
To be able to allow awe inspiring moments will challenge us to what we think we already know.  It should be uplifting.  Even though researchers are just now starting to study this subject deeper, many years ago Albert Einstein stated, "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  It is the source of all true art and all science.  He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."  I rest my case!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dance Me to the End of Love

Last night I heard the very sad news that Leonard Cohen had passed away. Still to this day, I am somewhat amazed that there are so many people who do not recognize his name, even if they are not a big fan of his, as I am.  Once they are told that he wrote the song "Hallelujah" then they know who I am talking about.  That may be the only song they know of by this singer, songwriter and poet, but that is okay.  It took him 5 years to write it and it brought him back into the limelight, which in my opinion is where he always belonged.  It was the most covered Cohen song of all time. Even in the movie "Shrek" it is heard.  It is a very moving song sung by many different artists with just as many versions.

Leonard Cohen was 82 years of age.  He had just released an album that was produced by his son Adam in his home, due to his father not being able to get around physically.  It is titled "You Want It Darker."  This title rather goes along with Mr. Cohen's life, in that he did have his moments on the dark side.  

Speaking for myself, I have no problem saying that I am okay with my crazy, as we all should be. I know that life has so many chapters that one bad one does not mean it is the end of the book. This is how I imagine that Mr. Cohen lived his life.  There are times that you just have to tell the negative committee that meets inside your head that they just need to sit down and shut up. Knowing that I need to surround myself with peace and positivity is what gives me the kick to knock it up a notch.  Reading about Leonard Cohen's life and how he chose to live it, seems to follow a plan of always taking a while to reflect and then go into action with a plan.  

By no means am I comparing my talent or life to Leonard Cohen's. I could only hope to have a touch of his talent the size of perhaps his little toe.  And then that is wishful thinking.  However, what I am saying is how many of us can relate to how he lived his life out? He was born in Canada and his family owned a posh clothing store. His father passed away when he was only nine. He claims that being around the store and later working some in the store is where he received his education on style.  He definitely scored an A+  on that subject.  I am speaking more of relating to how we deal with making lemonade out of lemons.   

Many critics wrote that his music was too dark, his music had a funeral tone to it and his voice was a weary monotone.  Some of it was a monotone such as a poet reading from his poetry.  Then, there is a whole different side to Leonard Cohen.  Many fans became fans after seeing him perform live, which was something that he did not particularly like to do, but did it so well. 

Lucky for me, I did get to see this unbelievable talent perform in Memphis at The Orpheum just three years ago.  Never did I think that I would get to see him live.  His quick and bouncy movements on stage, his stamina of performing for three hours and his quick witted side remarks did not give away his age.  It was a remarkable performance, one that I shall never forget and I know that my life is better for  having his music in it.  I can only read about how he was able to bring 600,000 very rowdy fans to a silence, after being on a high with a Jimi Hendrix performance at The Isle of Wight Music Festival in 1974, with his soft, comforting voice alone.  He had the audience begging for more of his music and style.  

He started his career as strictly a poet and was very successful in publishing poetry. While putting some words to music, he thought that guitars impressed the girls, so he joined a band for a short time. It was his fascination with human relationships that spurred him on with his writing.  He was in and out of the limelight, even at one point giving it up and becoming a Monk.  How he chose to deal with his ups and downs of life was his business.  We all have our own ways.  

The one thing that I grasped from reading about his life is that there may have been some 'down' times for him, however, he always found his way back by not ever letting go of the spark.  In his own words, "I don't consider myself a pessimist.  I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain.  And I feel soaked to the skin."  In my own mind, I see him believing that we all have cracks and may be broken for a while, however, the light will get in as long as you keep yourself open to it.  That is why I know that I am okay with my kind of crazy.  

His raspy/gravelly voice continued to go deeper throughout his records.  If you listen to one of his first albums, it is quite a bit lighter sounding than his last ones.  To me, he just got better.  He did dance to the end of love and his music and words will live on in time.       

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The People Have Voted

The election is finally over.  At least there is an announced winner and there is another side who lost.  Even at this time, this writer is not stating for which side she voted.  Remember, I am the one who wrote a few blogs back about the etiquette of talking politics with others.  My momma always did teach me that it is a sense of good breeding and a fine sense of decorum to not approach the subject with others.  She expected us to show that she taught us how to be dignified.  Whether you agree or disagree, it is why I believe the way I believe.  Don't psychiatrist always say to blame it on the mother?  I, for one, always found this lesson that she taught kept me out of a lot of heated debates that would have all been for naught.  

The actual election day is over, now we have other issues to deal with in our country.  If your candidate won - don't gloat!  If your candidate lost - don't despair.  Quite frankly, I have already seen bunches of gloating and despairing in the social media and it is not even 10:00 A.M., local time, yet.  

One very true item that was posted stated that it was distressing that people on both sides are STILL name calling.  People can still disagree all they like but they need to please do so respectfully. Insulting one another gets us nowhere.  It does not change minds. We are all in this together, whether we like it or not.  So we may as well, join hands and come together with acceptable compromises and understandings.  

This morning it was disheartening to find friends still saying mean-spirited things about those who voted against what they believed. This is now the time, if ever there was one, to pull together to achieve a harmonious country again.  It is okay and it is even expected that we will disagree.  Let's just disagree with class and respect.  We need to partner with one another instead of disagreeing in anger.  Open your heart and ears to listen to another view, instead of listening until you hear the part you disagree with and then shutting down.  This type of behavior will paint you into a corner that you can't escape from with dignity.  We all need to improve our listening skills and this will help us grow in our thoughtfulness.

I believe that we have to first be able to admit to ourselves that we don't have all of the answers.  If most of you are like me, there are things that I am aware of that need to be changed.  I do not have the answers of how to change them for the better. This is why we need to listen to others without judging. Change is not always a bad thing. Being creative with a possible new ally could create new beginnings and answers in a positive way.  Remember, our great country has a check and balance system that our forefathers established.  One person can't dictate the outcome.  For so many Americans, it is very scary to give up what we think we know and yet we all need to widen our perspective.  We can't always control the way another person presents themselves.  What we can do is to listen and not judge.  What may or may not seem to be presidential behavior to some, is just what others may want to see in order to have changes occur.  

We all just need to suck it up, Buttercup...whether our candidate won or lost...and move forward together in a harmonious relationship for the good of the United States of America. Just as Margaret Wheatley said, "It's not differences that divide us.  It's our judgments about each other that do.  Curiosity and good listening bring us back together."   In the concession speech that Ms. Clinton gave she stated in one way or another that now we owe the newly elected president an open mind and a chance to lead.  She also acknowledged that our country seems to be more divided than she realized.  

How do we fix that?  We all know that it is not an overnight solution.  We must all admit that we need to come together and show that we are united. No one person or perspective can give us the answers that we need.  

P.S.  This will be the first time that I have ever written a post script to a blog of mine.  This was published before noon today.  At about 3:30 this afternoon I watched a two minute blurb from The Ellen DeGeneres Show.  Obviously it was live because she took the time to offer words of hope after the election.  Her words were so very much like what I was feeling and wrote in my blog today that it validated, in my mind, what I was trying to get across and hopefully with some success.  We need to come together now and see the best in America and the people who live here.  We all have different ideas and this is why America is a great country.  The election news anchors used labels for the voters.  We need to take away those labels because we are all more alike than different Ellen stated, citing humorous examples of this.  She used the same words that I did in stating that we need to have kindness and respect for one another.  Of course, Ellen being Ellen, did not let it go at that. She said that there is one exception to that rule and that is for the people who leave the shopping carts in the middle of a parking space.  They need to be shipped out of the country!  She did end her segment with a video of precious animals being kind to one another.  I do not have the video to share, however, I do have a few pictures that will help us all see how kindness can help us achieve togetherness.  (If you are interested, you can view the whole 4 minute clip on

Monday, November 7, 2016

"You Are So Beautiful"

The definition of beautiful according to the dictionary is: attractive, pretty, handsome, and good-looking.  I would say these words are rather vague as to defining beautiful.  The first four pictures above are from magazines that are of some famous women who are considered beautiful (all in their 50's - 70's).  Yes, more than likely air brushed and plastic surgery for some, however, if you compared seeing them live at an event or interview on TV, they look pretty much the same.

The next set of pictures are of women that have chosen to have a make over, in order to stress that if a woman wants to look a certain way, she can through the use of make up.  Calvin Klein hit the mark when he said, "The best thing is to look natural, but it takes make up to look natural."  I would like to add that it takes skill to apply make up that looks natural.  Not all women want to go through those motions, nor should they.  We do have the power to be our own kind of beautiful and this can change from day to day, even hour to hour.

We all, as women, need to decide what it is that we want or need to be happy within ourselves.  Just knowing that our DNA has a lot to do with our appearance and that we should work harder to not put ourselves down based on this fact.  Imperfections are beautiful. Every famous person who is considered beautiful will be the first one to tell you a part of their looks that they do not find beautiful. It is okay.  We all need to be our own kind of beautiful or else we will look like perfect little molds coming out of some beauty machine. When is the last time that you flipped through a beauty magazine or watched a runway of models showing off the latest designer fashions?  Cookie cutter beauty is what you will see.  Instead of being like a stone that is found everywhere, achieve to become the precious and rare diamond that is viewed as having your own kind of individual beauty.

This is where we all need to remember that beauty is how you feel on the inside so that it all reflects in our eyes, our souls and our hearts. A very important mantra that I, as well as many other woman need to repeat frequently is to remember that being beautiful doesn't make you happy.  Being happy makes you beautiful.   

This picture of Katie Couric really demonstrates what I have been blogging about.  She is happy from within herself.  Her beauty shines in both pictures.  One without make up and the other one with some make up.  We all need to remember that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and to stop being so rigid about what makes a person beautiful.

Let's put an end to the advertising agencies dictating to us about using an anti-aging cream and showing in a picture how our skin will look if we use it.  (Oops...they forgot to mention the model in the picture was in her 20's.) Or that the beautiful eye lashes can be ours if we use a certain kind of mascara.  Now, I don't know about you, but there is not a human on this planet who has lashes like what is shown in magazines unless they have lash enhancers on with the mascara.  These companies are finally being called out on some of these misconceptions.  Another favorite ad is for those using Spanx, a body shaper product, only the person showing what Spanx can do for us is already a size 6.  What would she need a body shaper for?  It is to make the consumer believe that her size 12 -14 body will look like the model if we put on Spanx.  

We are all unique and beautiful human beings.  Go out in the world with your smile and your beauty will most definitely come shining through.  After all, it does take your beauty on the inside to come shining outwardly for the real beauty to be seen by others.   

Friday, November 4, 2016

We Are America - John Cena | Love Has No Labels

Those of you who know me are quite aware that I do not get into debates concerning politics or religion.  In fact, one of my earlier blogs is about how my momma taught me that it is not polite to have these conversations outside of the family (and sometimes, not even then).

With all that is happening in our country today based on the upcoming elections, I felt compelled to share this video that I just happened to randomly come across this week.  I can't even claim it as 'research work' for a blog.  There it was.  For those of you into wrestling, you may even be surprised that I had to look up who John Cena was.  Never heard of him, nor have I ever seen him.  So him being the spokesperson for this patriotic short video had nothing to do with me liking, nor disliking this video.  It just spoke to my heart and gave me goosebumps.  It has nothing to do with any political beliefs.

The fact that he defined patriotism as the love for our country and not just pride, actually came from a speech given in San Francisco long ago in June of 1896.  So much of what our forefathers said then is true today and we need to listen and learn.  We need to make a difference.  Love truly has no labels.  We are all human so it's time to embrace diversity and for all of us to rethink any bias that we may have.

Patriotism is thrown around quite frequently, sometimes in a positive way and sometimes not.  Lately, I have seen such harsh words coming from all sides of the political boundaries, and all in the name of patriotism. It is, after all, the people who make up this great country of ours.  So many people tend to forget that groups of minorities are included in this number.  For example, as pointed out in this video, women make up 51% of the people in the U.S.  By the time other groups are added in such as African-American, Latino, Asian, disabled, gay/lesbian, senior citizen (and the list goes on) our minorities make up more than half of this country.  

The big take away point for me was that labels define us and give us the freedom to celebrate our patriotism.  Some of what I am hearing from those around me, whether in person or on social media, is that if you don't agree with me then you are wrong and you must not love America.  Wasn't the United States set up to be a country where we have the freedom to make our own choices and speak our minds from our hearts and what we believe?  Real people make up America and we are called the United States for a reason.  

We need to stay UNITED.  This does not mean that we must agree on one set of standards from any political party.  We have the right to choose.  Some sources that are throwing out incorrect information would have us believe differently.  I, for one, have been trying to find where some of these sources come from and have discovered that many of them are made up and have no substantial evidence to be a fact.  Then on the other hand, some do have truth, yet have been distorted to twist and turn indecisive minds.  

Let's face it.  Most of us do not have the time, nor the energy to check out each fact as to whether it is true, distorted or totally false. Most of us believe what we want to believe and then spread it to others, sort of like the game that is played where a fact is whispered into one person's ear and then they relay this to the next person until it gets to the last person.  This person then states out loud what was whispered to him.  The statement is not what was originally stated.  This is in our human nature.  What I am suggesting, is that we be more tolerant to others who are most definitely proud to be in the United States.  There are other ways (legal ways) to handle those who are here on a different mission.  For now, let's just pull together for the love of our country.  We really do need to stop labeling people and things and just remember that love has no labels.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Who Needs Health Care?

Perhaps I should rephrase my subject line of Who Needs Health Care?  We all need it, obviously, however, the providers are becoming more and more difficult to deal with these days.  They actually have become the insurance dictators.  There are many times when the lives of human beings depend on the decisions they make.

Let's start with just trying to sort out where the problems begin. First of all, a patient becomes ill and goes to see the doctor. Through the doctor's expertise and years of medical school, he gives his diagnosis, prescribes the therapy, medicine or intervention and said patient is off on his way.  Not so fast!  No longer is it a matter for the doctor to decide alone.

It seems that there is a whole lot of red tape to go through before that can happen, at least in most cases.  Some first hand examples to share with you may clear this up, in case you have had the good fortune of not having to deal with any of this due to your excellent health.  (or maybe you need to drop me a comment so that I can check into the insurance that you have, just in case I may qualify)

A few years back was my first experience with an insurance company policy that was most definitely on the inane side of a business. And I may add, a business who is highly compensated for what they provide.  Being a woman going through all kinds of  'the changes of life,' I was having a problem with pimples.  Yes! Pimples, like the kind that poor teenagers have to deal with. Apparently, it is a common symptom for my gender and age, so my doctor prescribed a cream to use on my face to deter pimples. Nothing that I was using from the over the counter medicines was working.  I dropped off the prescription.  The problem started when I returned to pick it up from the pharmacy.  The pharmacist called me over to the consultation window where they can talk to their customers privately.  He leaned over to me and said that he was sorry, but my insurance would not pay for this acne medicine because in their words, not his, I was too old.  

This was the stage setting where I had my 'southern come-a-part.' Not at the pharmacist and I did explain this to him.  It was the fact that someone sitting in a chair at a desk or in some little cubicle thought that he knew better than my doctor as to what medication was needed?  And he had not even seen me?  He based this on only teenagers get acne?  I worked on breathing in and out slowly in order to ask my next question, which was, "What can I do about this?"  The pharmacist told me that the doctor would have to call the insurance company to explain this to them.  Again, I was having to control my annoyed state of mind, thinking to myself, that my physician was going to have to take time out of his day to call this guy who definitely was too big for his own britches to tell him why he prescribed this medicine to me.

Well, yes, my wonderful doctor did make the call, and I did get the medicine the next day.  The pharmacist told me that the insurance companies were questioning doctors more and more.  I suppose there are some bad apples in every profession, however, I am also sure there is a better way to keep tabs on doctors and the prescriptions they write. 

Since that time, I had to deal with a very expensive dry eye drop medication that was prescribed to me.  The pharmacy said that I needed to call the insurance company before they could fill it.  I did call them and after going through the robo-voices of push this button if you are a patient, push that button if you are a physician, press two and then the pound sign if you want to continue...really? My belief is that they put you through this just hoping that you will give up.  Well, give up is not in my vocabulary at this stage. Finally, a live human being came on line with a very heavy foreign accent and he told me that his name was Bob and asked how he could help me.  Aha!  Just like one of my previous blogs  - customer service = oxymoron!  

When I told him my problem, he informed me that the eye doctor would need to call for a prior authorization.  After the insurance company gathered the information, then a meeting would be held to determine if the insurance company felt it was compelling that I use these drops.  This was totally outrageous to me.  The insurance companies have become Mr. Big Stuff, Who Do You Think You Are?  Well, I can tell you that they have the power to do whatever they want.  Is it right?  NO!  Is it legal?  YES!  Is there anything that we as the consumers can do?  Yes and No!  We can watch our public elected officials and vote out those who allow this to happen through the insurance lobbyists.  This will not be an overnight process.  

Another process to go through, is to establish communication to employers about the providers that they use and the wording that is in these insurance contracts.  This is not an overnight process either.  Doctors need to get involved also.  They are now being asked to spend their time, or hire someone to take care of individually calling to verify their diagnosis and receive prior authorization concerning prescriptions to some business person who does not know 'Jack Sprat' about the patient.  Perhaps the AMA could begin lobbying in Washington as hard and often as the insurance companies do.  Doctors do not need to have headaches over this ridiculous and demeaning procedure.

This past summer, I became a breast cancer survivor.  When the process of the biopsy, surgery, radiation treatment and medical oncology all started in the stages that they all take place, I received a letter from my insurance company.  The letter stated that I needed to be sure that the physician called them first to get a prior authorization so that they would approve what was being done to me.  If the doctor did not do this, then it was explained to me that I would be responsible for the total amount charged.  This came to thousands of dollars.  It did not matter that my insurance claimed that I was using a doctor that was in their network.  They wanted to be sure that he was prescribing what the insurance company felt was the right interventions.   

I believe that it is time that we all became more involved in the field of insurance companies.  They are charging employers so much that there are companies who are dropping this benefit to their employees.  Then what?  Now is the time to start shrinking Mr. Big Stuff down to the size where he belongs.