Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spelling: hoo karez?

(Up front, let me offer a disclaimer: this one is going to murder my soul, but I'm doing it anyway.)

Eye had no ideeah whut two right today. Its hard too think of things two say over and over again. Peopel want me to come up with new things evry week like its no biggy. Butt it is. It is a biggy. My bran doesnt work that weigh all the thyme.

Its really rediculous how sum peopel think the english language is spellt. And they kinda get away with it. 

Lord have mercy on my soul, I can't do it. My pal Jenny Horowitz, trolley dolley, super hilarious and general swell gal (an Isrealite, you know...) sent me down this path and I thought I could handle it, but I can't. I wanted to do good work for you, because the narcissist in me wants to be embedded in your memory forever. But misspelling every word won't do that. There has to be a different way!!

I got another suggestion from my pal, Mike B, to discuss a woman's "period" and the semantic conundrum of calling it that. And while a recent post on Facebook by my friend Emily T points out that people in Oklahoma can leave high school without working knowledge of human biology, I'm not sure there's anything funny about that. (Okay, listening to someone who went to school in Oklahoma is HILARIOUS, I'll give you that...it's probably a worldwide fact that everyone acknowledges.) Here's the pic:

Finally, I got a suggestion to talk about detoxing; which really just means crapping your brains out (thanks Shelia H!) and while I'm all for a good movement where possible I don't feel very snarky or funny about it. What to do?

Here's what I've done: a little of everything and yet nothing at all! But you've read a post and I wrote a post and this is a post. Mission accomplished.

Have I wasted your time? OF COURSE I HAVE! That's what's so funny! 

Anyway, this might not be the funniest, wittiest or best thing you read all day, week, month, year, ever in all of your lifetime...but side note: you should try it if you think you can do better. Otherwise, shut up and go get a biology book. From the looks of that map, most of you out there have no clue where your lungs are or why it is a woman can bleed for a week and still live. And you should probably find out just how much colon you'll be cleansing before you buy that detox powder.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Part 3

This'll make sense. Keep reading.

So. I've talked about finding your Muse. This is important because we all need inspiration. It can be a song, a friend, a painting, an offer from a friend to use her garage for welding...anything really. Whatever inspires you.

I've talked about what do when your Muse is gone and you've lost inspiration or your path has been interrupted by whatever it is: illness, time, space, anything.

So what's the third step? I feel like maybe I need to explain this now, rather than wait a week, because I don't want to end on a negative. It's important for you to see the positive, and the goodness...because it's out there and it's all within you anyway. You just have to see it.

Let's say you've identified what makes you feel that creative surge. You've spent some time being creative, feeling your best. Let's also say you've had moments where you've felt lost. We all do, it's part of being a human. We are never given a complete paradise and you can attribute that to reasons stemming from the Garden of Eden or just because "that's how it goes."  It really doesn't matter. Times happen that suck.

When times suck, and you look around and do what I said in yesterday's blog -- see the positives around you, dig in and hang on -- a strange thing happens: you see the joy and the beauty in your own little sphere. You tap back into the love, connectedness and value of your life AS IS. You find that whatever Muse you were looking for has been in front of you the whole time.

Remember when Dorothy gets knocked out? In her concussive state she looks outside of her own world for her inspiration and happiness. But what happens? She finds a witch instead. And when she wakes up, she realizes that the home she has, the one that's been there the whole time, is all she really needs. And she connects back to it. She tells her whole story to those whom she loves, and who love her back, and everyone gets a good laugh out of it and in the end, she's happy to grow where she's planted. That's the story. It's timeless because it's true.

Almost always, if we look around us with an open heart, we can see that we have abundant blessings...that we're surrounded by love and acceptance and we don't need anything else. There's no wizard out there who will fix it all. Like Dorothy learns, we learn too that all we ever needed was right in front of us all along. The question boils down to this: how far do you have to go to decide to focus on your own reality? How much do you have to lose, or change, or risk to decide to see the blessings right in front of you?

There's no perfection to be found. There is only that which is enough. And in every religion, every spiritual practice, every paradigm out there we are told that we should grow where we're planted. So get to it, friends. Turn your eye to what you have right now, right here and grow it. It's all you've got. Take care of it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Slap out of it!

Flickr- via Llima

Okay, so before I even start I have to admit something terrible. No doubt you're going to think less of me after I say it, and you might even stop reading this blog for a while. I can't blame you, because what I'm about to admit is so awful that I almost hate myself for it.

I was listening to Enya. 

And it made me think.

I'm so sorry, everyone...but it's true and that's just how it is. I can't help what makes me think and even though I CAN help what I listen to, I was weak and fallible. Blame it on the "human condition" if you like. We all fall down sometimes, right?

Anyway, back to Enya. (Again, let me say that I never, ever thought those words would appear on this blog...) The song is called "Marble Halls" and let's just pretend it's a poem. After all, had I read some Dickinson or Bronte no one would think the lesser of me, except philistines and they can go to hell.

I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls
with vassals and serfs at my side,
and of who assembled within those walls
that I was the hope and the pride.
I had riches all too great to count
and a high ancestral name.
But I also dreamt which pleased me most
that you loved me still the same,
that you loved me
you loved me still the same,
that you loved me
you loved me still the same.

I dreamt that suitors sought my hand,
that knights upon bended knee
and with vows no maiden's heart could withstand,
they pledged their faith to me.
And I dreamt that one of that noble host
came forth my hand to claim.
But I also dreamt which charmed me most
that you loved me still the same
that you loved me
you loved me still the same.

The words to this song absolutely murder me. They're so very romantic and idealistic. They speak of unending love, of vast and dramatic commitment and heartbreaking devotion. What's not to love?! But this is a song, or a poem, or just a list of words strung together depending upon how you read them. They're just words and words aren't real life.

Promises are made and broken every single day. Paths are started and abandoned as well. We think we know something, we think we're on the journey to one place and suddenly we find that something has happened to knock us off kilter. And sometimes that's good. Last week I told you that your Muse will do just that very thing and you should embrace it, savor it, and protect it with all your might. But what happens to us when the journey we start and can't finish, or the path we're knocked off of, is the one we WANTED? What if we're with our Muses and something comes along to break it apart?

All the romantic talk in the world can't fix that, and that's just life. We will have heart breaks and let-downs and periods of intense sorrow and suffering. There will be times when our Muse is silent and it feels like forever...and what do we do then? The times when we feel adrift, and unloved, without suitors or high ancestral names are the very times we need to summon something other than a Muse.

When we're lost we have to tap into our human condition, the same one that brought me to an Enya song (and hopefully your moment won't be quite so dire and awful...maybe hit up Miles Davis or Death Cab for Cutie...even Elliot Smith for the love of government cheese). Or maybe you read the Queens of death knells: Emily Dickinson or Syliva Plath. What I'm saying is that if you open up to the condition of suffering, in all forms, that everyone on the planet is feeling at any given moment, maybe you'll feel less alone. Buddha agrees with me on this one, and you KNOW how I feel about him. (If you don't, read here.)

I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls...but I also dreamt, which charmed me most, that you loved me still the same. Even if it's just a dream, tap into it and trust that you're not by yourself on this journey. Find whatever small positives you can to balance the negativity and hang on for dear life to that.

Sometimes it's all you have, but sometimes it's all you need.

And remember too, that each moment no matter how hard, no matter how tragic, SHALL PASS. It's all fleeting. The beginning of this post is in the past and it's gone. The phone call you dreaded to get is over and it's a memory now. Each day and each moment is fleeting, and there's nothing so permanent that it'll never ever stop. Perhaps your Muse will return to you someday, somehow...in the meantime, trust that we're all having hours and days and weeks and months where we wish we could slip into the dream and stay there. It's called "being alive" and like everything else, it too shall pass. 

So dig in and hang on. We're all in it together.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Accessorize, with Coffee!

via Starbucks.com
(In this case where "via" means "by way of"
and not the name of their fancy instant coffee.)

How many people do you see in a day with a Starbucks cup in their hand? A recent study that I may or may not be making up, reports that the average American spends more than $20 a week on coffee. This extrapolates to over $1,000 a year on traveling COFFEE! 

Incidentally, I stole this stat from a Facebook page belonging to sofiie.

So here's the thing. A plain, regular, no frills Starbucks SMALL coffee, which has a silly name I won't repeat here, costs $1.65. And there are approximately 6-8 ounces in it depending on how much room you've ordered. (For dramatic effect I'm going to assume most of you are weenies and leave two ounces of space for creamer and 14 sugars or sugar substitutes. This is my blog and I can do what I want.) SO. There are 128 ounces in a gallon, which means a gallon of Starbucks plain, no frills brewed coffee costs $35.20. How freaked do you get when a gallon of gas costs over $4.00?

Really, I'm not even going to touch how much you spend on Caramel Macchiatos and Cinnamon Dolce Lattes. Toss in your Rogaine for Men, your fancy hair products, and nail polish?!? Coffee ends up being your most expensive accessory. Gas is the cheapest thing you buy per gallon all day.

Is it my fault you drive 14 miles to find your favorite Starbucks with the cute barista who knows just how you like your froth? No. I'm not here to judge you very much. However you like to accessorize your smart business suits, or sassy skirt ensembles is entirely up to you. You're free to spend as much as you like on gas and complain about it the whole time you are spending upwards of $40 per gallon on your coffee drink.

I'm pretty sure it's what the Founding Fathers wanted for us in the first place.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Finding a Muse

   Photo: Flickr via The iconoclastic yet iconic ionic icon

Everyone needs something that inspires them. Daily life is a simple and effective grinding tool after all. Without a creative outlet of some sort, where does a person find energy or enthusiasm? Pressures from work, from children, from friends and maybe even your family can numb you to joys you might have long forgotten, or not even noticed are missing.

So what can you do when everything around you is pulling you down? When your obstacles seem too tall to summit, or when the reality is that you just aren't going to get "out" of whatever bind you're in? You may be facing illness (your own or a loved one's), you may be stuck in a job you hate but that you can't leave because it's money in a piss poor economy; perhaps your children are entering their teen years and you really might not survive it or you've just found yourself in a rut so deep you can't remember digging yourself there. Trust me when I say that the path you took to get in is a path you can take to get out. You just need a Muse.

No two Muses are the same. Yours can even be different from day to day, and it can be something that's real or imagined. Muses arrive in the form of music, a lost-then-found box of letters between Grandparents during a war, a painting, film or chance encounter with a friend. 

Your Muse is whatever shoves you off your rail and gives you a moment of peace and creative thought. And it's in this moment that you have to be ready to jump and feel gratitude for the moment itself.

This isn't advice to writers, artists, thespians alone. This is advice to every living person, because we all have outlets that allow us to express a creativity that is personal. You might have a special talent arranging flowers, but little time to do it due to increasing demands at a job in the financial industry. And knowing just what color suits the mood for a room isn't all that handy when your daily pressures include overtime at a hospital. However, the creativity inside you is just as important to define and exercise as the practically responsible side is. We aren't meant to live as robots.

So what does this mean to you, right now...because it seems pretty lofty and dreamy for me to sit here, doing what I love and staying up late to do it, and tell you that you just need to sketch if that's your passion, to make bouquets for friends, to paint a room on your day off, or to hang out in a park with your dog and some bird watching manuals. But what I'm saying is that so very few of us are blessed to make money doing what our passions dictate that, frankly, we DO have to find moments as often as possible to sit with our Muses. To listen to them and honor them. They deserve respect because they make us unique individuals; they help to define us outside of our work-a-day lives. 

Find your Muse. Then take a walk with it and see what kind of energy you create. 

No matter what happens and no matter the outcome, you won't be sorry for the time you spent. 

PS...this is post #100. People seem to delight in big round numbers like that, so I thought I'd let you know. If you've read since the beginning, you've now read 100 bits of Liz's brain drivel! I'm sorry. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Lady Chinky Eyes"

Oh Papa John...you're giving a bad name to the Italian-American populace. If you don't yet know the story, here's the quick run-down:

Yeah. That's the ACTUAL receipt and some of my more digitally savvy readers have already seen this on Twitter...the night it went viral. 

So, Big Papa apologized and the employee who typed in "lady chinky eyes" rather than "Minhee Cho" (the patron's actual name...) has been summarily dismissed. I'm sure the folks at the 3070th are in a shambles without the wry wit and subtle humor that this co-worker provided. But what was he/she thinking? Is this a newish sort of technology for that particular employee? When typing in NAME, for the receipt and box identifier, was the fact that "lady chinky eyes" would appear unclear? 

I don't have any kind of big plan for this post...there's no deep meaning. All I can say is that people are, on so many levels, fundamentally idiotic.

Wonder if she ordered horse meat on that pizza?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Elusive Saturday Slap

Photo: Flickr via Roberto_Ventre

I heard something on the radio yesterday. Now, I have said before that I am a bleeding heart, over the top, kind of disgusting liberal...so you KNOW I was listening to NPR. The specific story to which I was listening is irrelevant to my ultimate point, however if you want to know exactly what it was: "A Search for Change" on The Story

In the interview, I heard the most miraculous thing. The man at the focus was talking about his own "radical" notions, as perceived by the Federal government. He had disrupted auctions of public land for drilling and was being indicted. His purpose was to cause civil unrest and make the lives of those whom he deemed responsible for climate change uncomfortable. As he put it, he was dangerous in jail or out of jail. If our government put him IN jail, for expressing a non-violent dissent, what did that say about our free and democratic system? And out of jail...well, he'd just keep organizing. He felt a call to action and he followed it through, and it was costing him quite a lot.

Over the course of the interview, he mentioned talking to Tea Party members. And here's what shattered my mind; like the kind where I literally stopped being conscious of any other thought process for a moment. He said that in speaking with Tea Party people, he realized that his and their goals and ideologies (at their bases) aren't so different...and that ground level dissent, when united, really COULD change things. 

Okay, so let's put immediate politics and theories to the side, because there's much about the radical right movement that my radical leftist tendencies can't abide; however, he was absolutely correct when he said that the fundamental theories are the same: We are discontent. And it behooves both sitting parties to keep us squabbling with each other. As long as we demonize the opposing dissidents, nothing has to change at the top. It's a brilliant strategy to keep the small ones, those tasked with holding the system up, distracted. 

And, because I don't want this to be a political treatise (I don't make any claims of understanding enough to do that) I want to make this point: there is a conspicuous lack of compassionate language among opponents. 

Speaking to one another in respectful tones, with language that reflects a basic understanding that we are in a shared struggle, will FURTHER any endeavor in which we find resistance. When we speak to one another in measured ways, taking care to seek understanding, we don't imply agreement. Rather, we demonstrate basic humanity. Disagreement is allowed and encouraged because it keeps everyone engaged, learning and open to better paths for success. 

In the very core of ME, I don't believe that simply seeking understanding can hurt anything ever. There is no requirement for my agreement when speaking to someone whose views differ. I can walk away from them thinking they're whackos who need really intense help from big Pharma, but I must be respectful of their humanity and right to think what they like. They are someone's sister, brother, mother, father, daughter or son. Whomever we meet, under any circumstance possible, has a basic humanity that I think we're being indoctrinated to disregard...and that hurts.

So that's it. That's what I have to say on this Saturday (morning in my hemisphere).