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Friday, October 30, 2009

Ten Bold Ways to Discover Your Passion

What do you want to do with the rest of your life? We've heard it said a kazillion times that to achieve happiness we must find something we're passionate about. Sounds easy. Right? Problem is some of us wouldn't recognize our passion even if it jumped off a billboard, landed in our lap and gave us a bear hug. Many of us have maxed out our Visas on books with titles like "Finding your Passion" or "Following your Dreams".  All well and good if you actually possess a genuine talent or pursue a special interest or hobby. Maybe you play piano or guitar or some other instrument. Or maybe you can sing, sew, paint, croche, create crafty stuff, plan brilliant parties, bake fabulous cakes, design gorgeous flower gardens or are a genius with a camera. Perhaps you enjoy running marathons, love to build birdhouses or collect weird and interesting objects. For you lucky and blessed folks...finding your passion should not be too difficult. It's right in front of you. However, there are a considerable number of perfectly nice, well-adjusted, intelligent, kind and noble people out there who have been on a lifelong journey in search of their one true passion...and have yet to discover yet.

To you, I say: be bold, be daring and be totally unconventional in your quest.

1. Define what you are seeking. What activities could you spend all day doing and even forget about meal time? Do you enjoy pastimes that stimulate your creative juices or ones that are relaxing? Would you prefer to be alone with your passion or share it in the company of others? What would you love to do even if you didn't get paid for it? Keep in mind, it's perfectly acceptable to have more than one passion.

2. Take a calculated risk. Do something unexpected. Go back to school. Get that masters degree you always wanted. If you truly despise getting up each day and going to a workplace you loathe---quit your job. Crazy...especial in today's bad economy? Of course. But why on earth would you continue to do something that makes you miserable every single day of your life? Indeed, a job pays a salary. But is the money worth being miserable? Ask yourself: Are you better off miserable or happy?

3. Cultivate your community. Take classes at a local college, night school or community center. Select one course and attend every single class. It doesn't have to be an intellectual pursuit. It can be beer making or stained glass or writing or photography or how to start a business, computer classes or a drama group. Network with other people during classes. Finish the course. You may decide you hate it or it might offer other related avenues for you to explore. 

4. Take a trip. Be adventurous. Often a change of scenery refreshes our soul, expands our mind, changes our perspective and offers a new focus. Travel to some place you always wanted to go...a few hours away or around the world. Better yet, go somewhere that is outside your comfort zone. If nothing a travel book or watch a travel movie.

5. Move or Declutter your life. (I said these ideas would be unconventional.) Do you hate where you live? Is your house or your town making you unhappy? Does the weather upset you? Is it too humid? Too cold? Do you feel trapped?  Would you rather live by water? Or by mountains or palm trees? Would you be happier in a smaller home? I'm not suggesting that you run away from your problems. Perhaps all you need to do is downsize and rid yourself of all unnecessary baggage including people who do not validate your worth. What remains might well be your undiscovered passion.

6. Liberate yourself. Give yourself the freedom to choose. This is not a self-centered approach but more of a realization that you have something worthwhile to offer to others. Never except excuses from yourself or anyone else. Be disciplined. Force yourself to move forward or least in a different direction but never backward. Don't stagnate.

7. Walk away from your fears. Fear holds us back from living life to the fullest. Yet, the hardest thing in the world to do is to let go of your fear. Try walking away from your fear in baby steps. But absolutely no turning back. Are you afraid of heights? Go to the tallest building in your town and take the elevator to the top floor. Sometimes highrise hotels have restaurants on the top. Walk to the windows, stand there quietly and look down. Yes, it's very intimidating. But once you've done will be amazed at your sense of self-empowerment.

8. Surround yourself with supportive people. Learn from them. Exchange ideas. Hang out with people who share your interests, who motivate you. Ask them what they think are your good points and what they like about you. Don't be discouraged by naysayers.

9. Look outside yourself. Help others by volunteering. Inspire those around you with a friendly smile, encouragement, compassion, kind words, thoughtful gestures, a neighborly good deed. Arrange a quiet, romantic evening for you and your special love. Pull out all the stops. Express your passionate side with your children, family and friends. Give them your time and your full attention.  When we give ourselves to others, we reignite the love in our own heart and the passion in our own soul.

10.Embrace your joyful self and Seize your opportunities. Most of us are genuinely decent people. Recognize the goodness in yourself. We all encounter problems. Envision them as opportunities and find unique solutions. Keep a wide-open mind. In seizing opportunities, you may burst upon an unexpected passion. If you could do one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Still haven't decided? Adopt a puppy. Care for it. Love it. And name it "Passion". Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Politics in the Pumpkin Patch

                       If politicians invaded the pumpkin patch:

Democrats would: 
  • Allow the federal government to seize the patch.
  • Create a pumpkin czar.
  • Tell the farmer how many pumpkins he can grow and how much to charge. 
  • Offer a mud option to every pumpkin.
  • Weed out and smash the older pumpkins.
  • Give away free pumpkins to illegal aliens.
  • Spread the wealth by ordering the farmer to give a percentage of his earnings to benefit field mice.
  • Determine that orange is not a politically correct color and insist that all pumpkins must be green.
    • Levy taxes on the plumpest pumpkins.
    • Form a pumpkin union.
    • Provide stimulus money to the foxes who roam the pumpkin patch.
    • Hold a National Pumpkin Day parade with Nancy Pelosi as grand marshal. 
    • Ban pumpkins altogether because they look too much like Rush Limbaugh.

    Republicans would:
    • Find a way to convert pumpkin mash into automobile fuel.
    • Bomb the patch because they heard Osama Bin Laden is hiding out there.
    • Nominate Glen Beck as Pumpkinhead of the Year.
    • Give pumpkins the right to vote.
      • Choose a pumpkin as their presidential candidate in 2012.
      Sphere: Related Content

      Monday, October 26, 2009

      Curious Pumpkin Facts

      1. A pumpkin is actually a fruit and is in the squash family.

      2. Pumpkin halves were used as guides for hair cuts during colonial times. Thus the term "pumpkinhead".

      3. The only place pumpkins can't be grown is Antartica.

      4. In Boulder, Colorado, people put carved pumpkins on their heads and run naked through the streets for the annual Naked Pumpkin Run.

      5.Pumpkin flowers are edible.

      6. The tradition of carving pumpkins into Jack-o-lanterns was brought to America by Irish immigrants. In Ireland, the Irish used turnips but found pumpkins more plentiful in America.

      7. The pumpkin capital of the world is Morton, Illinois, home of Libby Corporation.

      8. Classic tales that feature pumpkins include: It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; Cinderella; Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater.

      9. The biggest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1700 lbs.

      10. Pumpkins can be brewed into beer which tastes good with chili.

      11. Not all pumpkins are orange. They come in many colors including green, blue, yellow, reddish, white, striped and psychedelic.

      12. The pumpkin skin or rind is not edible.

      13. Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites. Snakes are afraid of pumpkins.

      14. Pumpkins are 90% water.

      15. Pumpkins do not make good doorstops.

      16. Pumpkins can be put in the compost heap and reused as fertilizer.

      17. Contrary to popular belief, pumpkins cannot swim, but they can float.

      ........................................................................................................... Sphere: Related Content

      Why Women Shouldn't Take Men Shopping

      Most of us lead full, productive, busy lives. Yet, sooner or later there  comes a time when men, (you know who you are) for lack of anything better to do...will accompany their wives on shopping trips to those big box super centers. This tends to be especially common among retired couples. Typically, most men find shopping boring and prefer to get in and get out while women love to browse. I can easily spend two hours in a Target store. My husband finds what he needs and checks out in less than 6 minutes flat...if he's by himself. To pass time while waiting for their women to finish shopping, some of these fellas come up with creative ways to amuse evidenced by this store letter to one of its customers.

      Dear Mrs. Sanders,

      Over the past six months, your husband has caused quite a commotion in our store.  We can no longer tolerate his behavior and are forced to ban both of you from the store.  Our complaints against your husband are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

      1. June 15: He took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in other people's carts when they weren't looking.

      2. July 2: He set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at five minute intervals.

      3. July 7: He dripped a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.

      4. July 19: He walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, "Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away."  This caused the employee to leave her assigned station and spend half an hour roaming the pots and pans aisles in search of a code violation.

      5. August 4: He went to the Service Desk and asked to put a bag of M&Ms on layaway.

      6. August 14: He moved a "CAUTION--WET FLOOR" sign to a carpeted area.

      7. August 15: He set up a tent in the camping department and told the children shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department to which twenty children obliged.

      8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"  EMTs were called. 
      9. Sept. 4: He used the security camera as a mirror while he picked his nose.

      10. Sept. 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

      11. October 3: He darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the 'Mission Impossible' theme.

      12. October 6: In the auto department, he strapped oil funnels on his chest and pretended to be Madonna.

       13. October 18: He hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through it, he whispered: "PICK ME! PICK ME!"

      14. October 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed "OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!"
      And finally,

      15. October 23: He went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then hollered, "Hey! There's no toilet paper in here."  One of the clerks passed out.

      Disclaimer: The authenticity of this story cannot be verified. But I bet there's a bunch of bored husbands out there taking copious notes.
      Sphere: Related Content

      Sunday, October 25, 2009

      Motorized Lounge Chair

      Baby boomer ingenuity is alive and well. You may have heard about the 62 year old Minnesota man who turned his Lazy Boy recliner into a lean mean, road warrior. The guy customized his favorite lounge chair by installing a 8 hp lawn mower engine, joy stick steering wheel, headlights, stereo and built-in brewskie holder. Just think what he could do with a couch. Unfortunately, the motorized chair ended up in a fender bender...uhhh...make that foot rest bender. Seems that after leaving the Keynote Lounge one night during the summer of 2008 with eight beers under his belt, the fella flopped down on his pimped-up ride and crashed into a parked vehicle. No one was seriously injured. But he was charged with driving a self-propelled vehicle while intoxicated.

      In retrospect, perhaps the guy was just trying to class up the drinking establishment. Afterall, what's more appropriate at a lounge than a lounge chair? Who wouldn't prefer a cozy, relaxing, cushy, leather lounger over a hard, wooden bar stool? After knocking back a few cold ones, maybe he was just aiming for comfort and not a parked car.
      The judge didn't see it that way. This week, the man pled guilty to the incident. He was given a suspended jail sentence and two years probation along with a $2000 fine. His souped up chair-iot will be auctioned off by the local police department. Just goes to show, if you want to rev up your lounge chair and drink beer at the same time....make sure you're parked in your living room. Sphere: Related Content

      Friday, October 23, 2009

      Remember Soupy Sales?

      How many boomers remember Soupy Sales? He is best known as the host of a TV show for kids that aired from the 1950 through the 1960s. Sale's trademark gimmick consisted of smooshing custard pies into the faces of shocked guests. Sales was an innovative TV personality for his time. He was not your kind and gentle, Captain Kangaroo or calm and soft-spoken, Mr. Rogers. He was a zany prankster and full of zip in his Vneck sweater and oversized bow tie. Cute with short dark hair and a goofy, boyish grin, Sales seemed like your loveable older brother who was always getting into trouble. His cool and hip comedic approach attracted A list celebrity guests like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Shirley McClain...all of whom got the pie-in-the-face treatment. He loved music and introduced his young audience to jazz. He even recorded a hit novelty record, The Mouse and performed it on the Ed Sullivan Show, appearing at one time with The Beatles.

      Soupy Sales died this week at the age of 83....after years of declining a nursing home. Probably not a very cheerful place for the once happy-go-lucky, sweet faced comedian. During the course of his career, he claimed he had been hit by more than 25,000 pies. What a delicious way to make a living. I wonder if he would've liked a slice of Boomer Pie. Sphere: Related Content

      Thursday, October 22, 2009

      Cookie Johnson Jeans

      Lookie, lookie, are you wearing Cookie?  Cookie Johnson jeans, that is. Most of us have heard of Magic Johnson, former NBA basketball legend. Turns out he's got a very enterprising wife, named Cookie. She's created a stylish line of premium denim jeans for real life women. What's unique about Cookie Jeans or CJs is that they are geared toward "curvy, fit women". Johnson explains that she grew tired trying on every pair of jeans in the store and not finding anything that fit her curvaceous figure. In frustration, she designed the Cookie collection, which caters to women who don't fall into the stick-like, pencil-slim cut type of jeans. Her jeans are carefully designed with a scooch more material to eliminate the dreaded "muffin top" look. Best of all, they have ample room in the thighs and bootie area. Oprah is a huge fan of Cookie Johnson jeans. Need I say more. Johnson points out that her jeans flatter boomer grandmothers as well as younger women. Flattery, however, does not come cheap. Cookie Johnson jeans are priced from around $150 to $200.

      Personally, I like the idea of jeans that give you room to breath but still look stylish. But I'm not sure if I'd be willing to fork over $200 for a single pair of jeans. On the other hand, if they could transform my pumpkin butt into bootilicious, they might well be worth it. Sphere: Related Content

      Is it Swine Flu?

      Are you worried about catching the swine flu, H1N1?  Seems like nearly everyone I know knows somebody who either has a very severe case of the regular flu or has actually been diagnosed with swine flu. In our upper Midwest city, nearly all the public and parochial schools have been closed for the entire week because so many students have been felled by some variety of flu. This is an unprecedented occurrence for October. If you or loved ones become ill, here is a comparison of H1N1 flu symptoms with common cold symptoms.

          H1N1 Flu
      Fever is rare with
      a cold. 
      Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu. 
      A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold. 
      A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough). 
      Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold
      Severe aches and pains are common with the flu
      Stuffy Nose
      Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week
      Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu
      Chills are uncommon with 
      a cold. 
      60% of people who have the flu experience chills
      Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold
      Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu
      Sneezing is common with
      a cold
      Sneezing is not common with the flu
      Sudden Symptoms
      Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days
      The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains
      A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold
      A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases
      Sore Throat
      Sore throat is commonly present with a cold
      Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu
      Chest Discomfort
      Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold
      Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu
      Sphere: Related Content

      Sunday, October 18, 2009

      Life is Like a Pumpkin Patch

      Ahhh. The beauty of the countryside in the Fall.  Tree studded hillsides glow in a blazing array of glorious autumnal colors... ravishing reds, golden yellows and electric oranges. Rural farm vistas are dotted with juicy apple orchards, corn mazes, giant hay bales, bumpy hay rides and rustic harvest stands with a feast of fall produce. It's my favorite season of the year. But more than anything else, for me, the one thing that tops the list of Fall fun is the wondrous pumpkin patch. Forrest Gump's mama compared life to a box of never know what you're gonna get. I say, life is like a pumpkin patch because it represents the good, the bad and the ugly.

      Last week we were standing in the middle of a field of rotund, orange spheres on the old Steffen farm just outside of town. We make the pilgrimage to this picturesque pumpkin patch every October. It was a crisp, overcast day but the saffron glow cast by a million orange pumpkins lit up the patch like floodlights of sunshine. Surprisingly, my husband and I were the only people in the entire patch. We had the place to ourselves which meant we had no competition in choosing the very best pumpkins and we could take our time making our selections. As we surveyed row after row of these over-sized orbs, we were amazed at the incredible assortment of shapes, sizes and varieties of pumpkins strewn around us. There were your basic round, orange pumpkins. Then there was an array of white ones, deep-reddish orange ones, russet ones, green and yellow ones, tall jumpin' jacks, baby bears (small and flat), skinny, fat, oblong, short and tall ones. It was a pumpkin extravaganza.

      Pumpkins, which are in the squash family, grow attached to thick green, prickly vines that are nearly impossible to break unless you use a sharp, knife-like tool. Rather than having customers bring machetes to hack their way through the pumpkin patch, farm owners, well ahead of time, slice each pumpkin from its vine...leaving a nice sturdy stalk on every pumpkin. The pumpkins remain in the field right where they sprouted but now they're ready for picking by the public.

      And therein lies the secret of the humble pumpkin patch. As in art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to pumpkins. Call me pulpy, but I prefer oddball pumpkins. I seek personality over perfection. Geeky over glam. Unusual shape, uncommon color and unique appearance are my criteria. I pass over the voluptuous designer divas with their smooth, unblemished shells, perfectly round shapes and exquisite stalks. I take pity on the rather homely ones which sit there in the mud...all alone and unwanted. I know there's potential in even the ugliest of pumpkins. I feel like Charlie Brown choosing the  straggly Christmas tree.

      Into a little wooden wagon provided by the farm folks, we hoisted a chubby, deep-reddish pumpkin that resembled a flattened souffle. It's called a Cinderella pumpkin and sort of looks like her fairy tale carriage. Next we chose a baby blue pumpkin (yes, blue) and then a dappled, lopsided white one. We hiked up and down the mud encrusted rows of pumpkins. Still nobody invaded our privacy. There were so many pumpkins, so little time. We selected a tall, skinny, orange and green one with a wrinkled, crooked stem along with several tiny miniature pumpkinettes. Finally the piece de resistance....a very wide, but stubby and stocky, cinnamon-red giant with green stripes, weird, knarly white spots and a chocolate-brown stalk thick as a cue stick.

      And so it was, we took home our unpretentious pack of pumpkins. We did not choose the cream of the crop; the best of show. But we did find pumpkins that suited us...ones with character and interesting knots and bumps and striations. "Pumpkin personality" if you will. As in life, what's pretty on the outside may not be nice on the inside. Yet after it's cleaned, scoured out, cleverly carved and adorned with a candle, the lowly pumpkin evolves into a thing of bewitching beauty. Gathered together on our front porch, our modest band of imperfect pumpkins was transformed into fetching, grinning, jolly jack-o-lanterns.  Basking in the moonlight, with a candle flickering inside each one, their smiling countenances glow and glimmer at all who pass by. They are like the faces of the world...the diversity of mankind.

      Well....maybe that's stretching it a bit. I'm no expert on pumpkin psychology. But that's how I see the pumpkin patch. A tiny microcosm of the good, the bad and the ugly. The good pumpkins generally get selected first. All they have to do is sit there and preen and look perfect and it's a sure thing somebody will buy them. The bad ones don't have a ghost of a chance. They're the poor forsaken blobs that are decayed, smelly and smashed.  As for the aesthetically-challenged pumpkins, they often get passed over because they're different. But it's the very essence of their uniqueness that I find appealing. They may not be pretty but they've got possibility. They are the workhorses of the pumpkin patch because they have to convince customers that their imperfections and flaws only add to their charm and loveability. For our family, it's the ugly-duckling pumpkins that win our hearts every time.

      P.S. And aren't we all a tad bit like the lowly pumpkin? We get to shine for a few, brief moments of life and then our light goes out and we're left to rot in the dirt. Sphere: Related Content

      Friday, October 16, 2009

      Awaiting Baby

      Anticipation. Excitement. Worry. Elation. Suspense. As my husband and I await the birth of our second grandchild, we are experiencing all of these emotions. The baby is a boy. He's due in December. What an amazing Christmas present. My daughter and her husband have his name all picked out. They've decorated the infant's room and it's ready and waiting for the tiny new occupant.  One of their more difficult tasks has been working with their 3 year old son, Cooper, preparing him for all the changes that are about to turn his only-child-universe upside down. They've patiently explained to Cooper that he's going to have a new baby brother very soon. So far, Cooper is not thrilled at the prospect of an interloper intruding upon his nearly perfect kingdom which I might add, he's spent the last 3 years expertly masterminding.

      One of the big issues was transitioning Cooper from his crib in the Winnie the Pooh bedroom where he's slept and played his entire life to a big-boy bed in an entirely different room. Cooper loved his crib and announced in no uncertain terms that he was staying put and not moving into a big-boy bed or bedroom. To entice him to make the change, his parents painted the new room in bright reds and blues...colors specifically chosen by Cooper himself. They transferred all his toys into the new room. To sweeten the deal they bought him a fantastic bed in the shape of a car just like in the Disney movie, CARS---Cooper's all-time favorite DVD flick. The bed is topped with a colorful CARS bedspread and a huge red pillow in the shape of a car. Photos and wallpaper borders depicting race cars from the movie are splashed around the room. It's a car-loving kid's dream space.

      But Cooper was not ready to move. He clung to his crib like desperate flood victims refuse to leave their homes even as water rises to the rooftop. Mercifully for Cooper, there was no flood except for his trail of tears. Child psychcologists might analyze that this reveals the toddler's deep seated anxieties about being replaced as the baby in the family by his new infant brother. Perhaps this was true. But our snappy, little grandson is nobody's fool. He eventually sized up the situation and realized the opportunity that awaited him in the big-boy bedroom. On the appointed "night of transition" his parents tucked him into his brand new bed, read all his bedtime stories and without a whimper, Cooper fell fast asleep. Problem solved.

      A more serious concern for our family is my daughter's health. She has endured a dreadfully ill pregnancy....with a rare condition that causes constant vomiting and nausea. She's collapsed from dehydration and been admitted to the hospital several times over the last 7 months. From the beginning, her doctors prescribed medication to help with the problem but the nausea has never been totally alleviated. We worry about the effect of such powerful drugs on her system for the entire 9 months.

      My husband and I live 1000 miles away from our daughter and her family...adding to our frustration. Over the past year, I have visited them often to help out. Since their guest room has been transformed into Cooper's new bedroom, I was "privileged" (and I use that term loosely) to sleep in his blue car bed. He slept in his old room. It may be a nifty bed for little kids to sleep in but it's still a child-size bed. I could barely crawl in it or out of it because it has high sides and a bulky headboard. The only way I could manuever my way into it was from the footboard end. I had to sort of scrunch myself in and slither myself out, kind of like a Slinky toy. I'm all for fun but in the morning, it took me 20 minutes before I could get my slinkified, old bones to stand upright.

      Right now we're stressed out over the swine flu. Medical reports warn that  pregnant women can suffer serious consequences from this strain of flu. Our daughter intends to get the vaccine when her OBGYN receives a supply. But what about the side effects especially being so close to term? Nobody seems to know for sure how safe it is. And wonder if she gets the swine flu before she's had a chance to get vaccinated? And how will that vaccine react with the medication she's already taking? She's been trying to protect herself from H1N1 by staying housebound so she doesn't become infected. But it's impossible to keep herself and her family in a bubble.

      So here we are awaiting a joyous arrival of new life, yet burdened by the difficult circumstances of a very sickly pregnancy and a Caesarian delivery. We pray. We laugh. We plan. We can't wait til December. Of course we will be there when the baby arrives. We'll take care of Cooper. We'll do all we can to help out. But I will avoid his car bed at all costs.

      Hi readers!  If you enjoyed this or any of my other commentaries, why not subscribe to this blog? It's free and easy to do. Just enter your email address in the Subscribe box which appears in the far left column of this page. Whenever I write a new entry, it will appear in your email inbox. Or you can follow me in your favorite reader. Also, feel free to post a comment by clicking the Comments tab under each commentary. Remember to click the Publish your comment tab to post your comment. There will be a short delay before comments are weed out the loonies. So you won't see your comments posted immediately. But don't worry, they'll appear soon and I can't wait to read them. Sphere: Related Content

      Boy in the Balloon

      Up, up and away in my silvery balloon
      I'm just a little boy but I'm sailing to the moon.

      My daddy built it for me and it's my turn to fly
      Catch me if you can as I float across the sky.

      Mommy, I can't see you so far down below
      I'm higher than the mountain tops all covered up with snow.

      Tell daddy I am sorry; I didn't mean to be bad
      But sometimes when he yells at me I get so very sad.

      I'm feeling free and happy like I'm on a fun vacation
      But don't tell anybody, it's all just my imagination. Sphere: Related Content

      Thursday, October 15, 2009

      Unleash Your Inner Cougar

      Cougars are on the prowl. I don't mean the big game, man-eating beasts of the wild. I'm referring to wily, man-eating older women who cruise the sexual wilds in search of youthful male testosterone. Seems there are a lot of mid-life women out there exuding healthy appetites for younger men. They've popped up on the cultural trend known as cougars. Cougar women tend to be in their forties or fifties and selectively date men in their twenties and thirties, some even the same age as their sons. Many cougars are not interested in long term relationships but enjoy random, rousing, boy toy flings...validating to themselves and others that they are still appealing, hip and attractive. A few cougars try to seduce their daughter's boyfriends....which is definitely not an endearing motherly quality. Some cougar couplings are downright laughable as evidenced by the ex Mrs. Hulk Hogan and her stud cub, what's-his-name. Yet many cougars manage to develop genuine, committed relationships as in celebrity power couple Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.

      Some cougar women are married. Most are divorced, widowed or never married. They tend to be good looking, affluent, vivacious and self assured. As women traverse middle age, many of them discover that men of their same age are winding down and have lost their sense of adventure and excitement. Cougar women unleash a renewed thrill of self esteem, spirit, and youthfulness in the company of exuberant, passionate and intoxicating younger men. Nice, but can these dudes read?

      As for me, I am happily married and do not aspire to be a cougar woman...not that I'd have a chance in hell of making the cut in the first place. I do not cast aspersions on this intriguing mid-life female phenomenon. Nor do I entirely condone it. Instead, it occurs to me that there may be a glimmer of useful, wise and prudent truths hidden within this provocative and somewhat unconventional female behavior. Cougar Wisdom, if you will.

      You may or may not agree with the cougar lifestyle. But I believe there is a cougar in all of us just waiting to be unleashed. Not necessarily for sexual escapades but for enriching our lives. By exploring the traits of cougar women, whether we admire them or not....we can discover and cultivate our own inner cougar qualities.  Women who have reached their prime time of life are seasoned, experienced, grounded and know what they want. You don't have to be a cougar to feel good about yourself. But what's wrong with being self-sufficient, physically fit, attractive, even sexually alluring?  You don't have to grab a boy toy to feel empowered, assertive and sassy. Smart, educated, thoughtful women, quiet or outspoken, silver haired or otherwise, working, retired or reinvented, hip or hip-replaced----understand what's important to them in their lives. Like cougar women, we can allow ourselves the freedom to be non-conformist, slightly rebellious, even quirky, feisty or mischievious. We have reached an age where it's OK to believe in ourselves. We take care of ourselves because it's in our best interest to be healthy and independent and so we will not be a burden to others. We appreciate kindness and we treasure those we hold dear and we value our friendships because we know how difficult it is to find people who we can count on no matter what happens. We are true to ourselves because we have reached an age of confidence. We are vibrant inside and out. Cougar women revel in their conquests. The rest of us may not feel a need to entice twenty-somethings. Nonetheless we have met difficult challenges. Our quests may be more introspective. Our dreams change and we find new joys in life. We realize that age itself is just a number. And a boy toy can be your latest fling or he can be your sweetest grandson. Sphere: Related Content

      Wednesday, October 7, 2009

      Would You Tryst with David Letterman?

      By now, we've all heard about the David Letterman sex scandal. Good ole funnyman, Dave has entangled himself in an inappropriate sexual peccadillo, admitting to having sex with females on his staff a few years ago. You sort of get the feeling it was more than two women. Maybe a lot more. No matter how many ladies he hooked up with, it's likely that his actions promoted an uncomfortable work environment where female employees may have felt compelled to tryst with him out of fear of not getting raises or even being fired. During his late night show confession, Letterman seemed more focused on himself being the victim of an extortionist plot than showing actual regret for the situation. Oddly, he joked about it and the audience joined in the laughter. His critics accuse him of showing lack of respect for his female employees and abusing his power as their boss. Dave's admirers seem to sluff off the scandal as just an unfortunate dumb thing Dave did.

      If you saw Dave Letterman walking down the street, you may not give him a second look if you didn't know he was a celebrity. In my opinion, he's not exactly the best looking guy on the beach. He's skinny and sort of dorky looking. His production company claims his affairs took place before March of 2009 when he married his long-time girlfriend of over 20 years. That puts Dave in his fifties or even 60s at the time of the affairs. Currently he's 62 years old. He underwent major heart surgery in 2000. So when he was boffing all these women, Dave may have been doing it with a weak ticker. Of course, Letterman is savvy, powerful, incredibly rich, has legions of fans and is the Boss....which perhaps is one reason why his women staffers would succumb to his desires. Apparently he's got a pretty peppy libido too.

      Alright ladies, let's just say you worked for Dave Letterman around the time all these indiscretions took place. Perhaps you were married, or in a serious relationship or maybe you were single. You were aware that Dave had a very significant woman in his life who is now his wife and the mother of their 5 year old son. At the time Dave's amorous dalliances occurred, who knows...she may even have been pregnant with his child.

      Hypothetically speaking, would you have given Dave a twirl? Would you have engaged in a romantic escapade with Letterman? If he approached you, would you have felt intimidated by him? Would it bother you that he was cheating on his longtime girlfriend? Would you consider a fling with Dave as bragging rights or sexual harassment? Would you be afraid that if you ignored his flirtations that he'd demote you or fire you? Would you have been flattered by his attention or be offended by his hubris? Would you have the courage to say "no" to Mr. Letterman? It's a conflict of emotions, morals and principles that only the real women involved can fully appreciate.

      Anyway you look at it, David Letterman cheated on the woman he professed to love. He seduced multiple women on his staff. He behaved improperly in the workplace. He dismissed any hurtful consequences and assumed he'd never get caught. Watching his admission on TV, I for one, get the feeling that he's boasting about it. Sure, he might have been afraid for a nano second about the extortion thing. But he worked with the cops and captured the extortionist. So I bet he sees himself as some sort of hero. When you watch him talk about the whole sordid mess, the guy seems proud of himself. He appears cocky about his sexual prowess and pleased that he could be of service in crime solving on the streets of New York City.

      Truth be told, a lot of folks think David Letterman holds the scumbag title in this arrogant, lusting Lothario in a fancy suit. Most likely his show will continue and the entire sleezy incident will be overshadowed by a new sordid scandal. And once again, dear old Dave will have more funny fodder to joke someone else's expense. Sphere: Related Content

      Monday, October 5, 2009

      Would You Survive on Survivor?

      Do you have a Survivor personality? I'm referring to the long-running CBS TV reality program that airs on Thursday nights. I confess one of my guilty pleasures has been watching the show since it first premiered in the summer of 2000. To this day, I think the very first season is still the best one. Watching the show always makes me wonder if I could possibly withstand the rigors of such a difficult challenge. Would I be the first to go? Would my tribe cut me some slack? Would my winning personality help me form successful alliances? What kind of character traits would I need to outwit, outplay and outlast in order to win the Survivor grand prize of one million dollars?

      Fans of the show know that it's an endurance test involving physical and mental adroitness. In many respects, the contestants' social skills and their ability to bond well with others often proves to be a major factor in how long they last on the island before tribal council votes them out. A tricky tightrope balance wherein players can combine personal likeability with deceit and manipulation and exert confidence without the cockiness, often advances them farther along in the game. In the hot, steamy jungle, it seems that clever strategics, persuasive ability and congeniality often win out over brute strength. Not unlike life as most of us know it in the day to day struggle of living in the real world.

      On the other hand, the brain over brawn theory does not always apply to a particular age segment of Survivor females. If you're a "mature" woman player, you'll most likely be the first to go. Typically it's because the older women are not as strong as the younger gals. They are the weakest link and in the beginning of each game, they get dumped faster than you can say: "Snuff your torch, grandma". Personally, I'd love to see an entire Survivor season where all the players are baby boomers. Think Woodstock without the music.

      While cunning, diplomacy and friendliness are of vital importance to winning the million dollar prize, physical stamina certainly is an essential element on Survivor. For 39 bug-infested days, contestants must survive in a hot, primitive, tropical island environment with little water, meager food supplies, no electricity and no running water.  They sleep under a flimsy palm frond shelter which they've constructed themselves and are nearly eaten alive by droves of nasty, biting insects that leave welts the size of a coconut. As if that weren't enough, players traipse around in skimpy, filthy, stinking, threadbare clothes. They are soaked by pelting rain, bake in the broiling sun and are forced to eat slimey, foul, revolting, live bugs as part of the show's weekly challenges. The bug eating would end it for me. I can't stomach eating cooked spinach much less live, squirming worms. On a positive note, an interesting side effect of being on Survivor is that nearly all the players lose copious amounts of weight. OK, sign me up. That in itself would be reason enough for me to want to join the yammering gang of Survivor outcasts.

      Truth be told, I've always dreamed of living on a real deserted tropical island...a female Robinson Crusoe. But as far as enduring on the Survivor TV show? From the moment they throw the contestants over the side of a ship and make them swim toward the island...I'd manage 5 strokes and then yell for a life ring, dry clothes and a martini. If by some miracle, I actually swam all the way to land without being devoured by a shark, I'd inevitably go beserk from the hoards of bugs. The heat and humidy would drive me over the edge. I'd be the first to fall off that damn skinny pole they rig up in the ocean.  As for getting along with the sniveling, rag-tag band of jungle misfits....they'd cut me loose before I could stab any one of them in the back.

      Admittedly, I enjoy watching Survivor each week night. But what would give me and I'm guessing millions of viewers, even greater pleasure is if at Tribal Council, both tribes rose up and grabbed that snarky, smirking, pompously snide host, Jeff Probst, by the neck and plunged him head first into a steaming pile of monkey dung. That in itself would be worth the million dollars! Sphere: Related Content
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