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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

the ups and downs on 2009...

As the year winds down and the final 24 hours approach, I am trying to decide if this has been an overall good or bad year for me. There have been some nice highs, but they seem to have been balanced by some pretty dark lows. I will admit that my lows haven't been nearly as bad as some peoples. I haven't lost anyone in my family to date, and I still have my own health, so what I consider a low right now, is still pretty good in the big picture. So let's take a look....

A few of the "ups" in my year, I finally bought a new DSLR camera, and a lens for it. I love them both so far, and I am looking forward to getting years of use from them. They have already begun to get me noticed at least locally, and in a good way. Ups!! Through the summer months I managed to shed nearly 65 lbs! I was feeling better, and enjoying the lighter feeling in my step and my bearing. definitely an up! I have been writing more and looking at the world from a new perspective overall. I can't really describe the new world view, but It seems to be slightly more positive overall. I see possibilities in stuff that I haven't noticed before. Especially photographically. I have found in my brain a true goal for myself, that is actually achievable, so I will consider that a definite up. I got to see my brother this year! Haven't seen him in a few years and it was way cool to have him around for a little while. Tried Spaghetti squash for the first time, both growing it and eating it! Yummy! Have reconnected with old friends and acquaintances on facebook. That's a little it of a double edged sword, but I will get to that later. That's the first few that come into my mind, I almost wish that I had kept a list this year!! LOL Oh yeah, I have been helped in the paying of my health insurance this year!! That's a biggie!

So now some of the lows, the biggest one, finding out that My gramma has cancer and it is beyond being operable. So It is only a matter of time in how long it will be before we lose her. That sucks. Buying my new camera and lens... Making it REALLY hard to pay my bills. I spent way more than I should have, and now I have to pay the associated bills, so That camera better really start paying off in he next few months or I'm gonna be buried past my eyeballs in debt! At least I'm not gonna lose a house over it like some people, so like I have said, in general my downs aren't all that bad. I haven't had a real vacation in a few years. I have been constantly at work every day that I should be for almost 2 full years. The best I have done is a 3 day weekend, and I usually end up working at least one of those days! I haven't progressed on my goal of getting my own home.

As they come to me from now on I will be adding and subtracting.... so let's see...

Got a new Lawn Mower...+ spent more time in my garden...+ Got to ride my motorcycle quite a bit this past summer...+

Started gaining weight as the weather turned cold...- kept gaining weight...- not getting enough exercise in the cold weather...- joined facebook and now people that I would rather NOT find me keep finding me...- Realized that I HATE my current cell phone and I can't upgrade for another 5 months...-

OH Yeah a BIG plus... Found some of my cousins from my Mother's side of the family and at least one of them is REALLY cool! +++

Yeah there are a million little things that make up all that is my year, and I guess that overall I think it was a good year. So I'm gonna chalk this one up as an overall winner. So long 2009, I'm glad I got through you without too much problems when compared to the rest of the world.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I love Christmas, BUT...

Ok, First let me say that I'm not a scrooge by any means, but there are a few things about Christmas that drive me nuts. They are easily remedied, but highly unlikely to be so. If this is the season of giving why is everyone so freaking greedy? Driving aggressively in the parking lots for crying out loud! Your THERE, take it easy, things will go smoother and you will have less of a problem when you stay calm and take your time. Ever notice how moods are just as contagious as yawns? When you cut someone off in the parking lot, they get pissed, and then they will do something rude to someone else and before you know it the whole dang store is in an ugly mood, and nobody has a merry Christmas.

There was a story this past week, that was just the opposite, A couple paid the tab for a group of diners at a restaurant and then split with not a peep. This lucky group then paid for another table, and left, before the day was over almost 30 such incidents occurred. How cool is that? Just like a bad deed spreads the crappy moods, so do good deed spread the happy moods. Getting into a store and simply using a little of the courtesy that you were taught as a kid makes a big difference in the day of others. A simple please and thank you, or simply saying "Excuse Me" when walking among too close store aisles can make the day just a little more pleasant.

Don't you hate it when people walk right in front of you when you are looking at things on a shelf? most of the time they walk by like you aren't even there, and it's annoying. I always acknowledge that they are there and excuse myself when I have to step in front of them. Generally, this small courtesy makes a difference, because I often hear those same people doing the same thing later on. I often can't say whether they have done it before or not, but I know that they usually do it after, and that's all that matters to me.

How about not budging in line? A very simple thing here that takes 2 parties to pay attention, when you are standing in line, make it obvious that you ARE standing in line, don't dawdle 5 feet back from the next person, get up there and close that gap. This is a 2 fold thing, because without the gap, nobody will be able to line jump, and secondly it will show people where the line actually is. And when the lines stretch out across the aisles, don't just shove through with your cart, again, say excuse me, and allow people to move. Impatience breeds impatience, and when the stores and roads and parking lots are crowded, impatience is the last thing that we need to deal with.

Anyway, those little things can make a huge difference in peoples days. Not only at Christmas, but surely, every time of the year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The "Friend me" paradox...

Ladies and gentleman I wish to present to you an interesting phenomenon, that I have begun to refer to as the "friend me" paradox. This is a situation in which the classmates from your school wish to "friend" you on Facebook, whether they were ever actually your friends in school or not. I could not understand the reason that someone whom I haven't talked to, thought of or even wondered about in over 20 years would wish to have me on their friend list, and yet here they are. 25 years ago they couldn't be bothered to help you pick up your notebook when you dropped it, they teased you relentlessly, or worse bullied you, and now they wish to be your "friend". The people who spent what seemed to be their every waking hour making your life miserable through your whole childhood and teenage years, now wish to be part of your life, and way too many people just let it happen. Why? Is it about the connection to the past, the nostalgia, or is it because you want to find out if their life is now better or worse than yours?

So think about it, if you're on the great social networking site known as Facebook, then you have run into the dilemma of whether to "friend" someone whom you know, but would never truly consider a friend. You can "ignore" them, and hope that they let the matter drop, and you don't actually run into them in person, (and then have to explain why you ignored their friend request) or worse yet, they continue to pester you with friend requests until you finally relent and confirm the request. If the second ( and more common) result is what has happened to you, then you face a new problem, that of actual communication.

Now that you have "Friended" ( interesting how the dynamic English language is adapting to technology) this acquaintance, you have to decide how much you wish to allow them into your life. Depending on how much you actually use or share on Facebook, you may have no need to care, but if you're the kind who shares loads of info, then you may have to tinker around with individual settings, a pain in the ass, but a necessary evil.

There is also the "friend of a friend" thing, a situation that makes the online forum like a crowded room, and one conversation can be overheard by many groups. Do you want your family to see the conversations with your college buddies? How about your friends from the bar? Should they know about your sister's divorce or your brother's colonoscopy? Yet soon everyone that you have on Facebook knows everything about everyone that you know on Facebook.

You need to make some separations and set some limits. Yes, it makes it harder for the various groups to listen in to your various conversations, but it can help to keep your lives separated. The last thing you want is for your work friends to get wind of your fraternity high jinx, and get word to you boss about the time you got photographed sucking a goats teats! Not the best situation for advancement in the office! The real question becomes what do you want to do with your Facebook?

Do you wish to make/find friends? Do you wish to advance your business or career? Do you wish to keep up with family and friends from your past? Each one of these pursuits is what Facebook was designed for, yet in many cases they really are mutually exclusive, and so one MUST take the time to make the appropriate settings so that these worlds don't overlap and cause problems with each other.

And a last thought...There are many types of people who use Facebook ( or any other social networking site) but they can generally be divided into 2 basic groups, those who will clutter your wall with gifts, requests, quizzes and games, and those who will share words and thoughts and things that actually have personal meaning to them. And many are the opposite of what you might suspect!! But that's a WHOLE 'nother Rant!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Motivationally speaking...

Motivation is an odd thing, as some people only need the smallest amount of motivation to tackle the largest projects, and then there are other people ( like me) who need HUGE amounts of motivation to tackle even medium sized projects. I have always wondered where some people get the drive they have to do the things that they do. Why torture your body to run a marathon? Why put your life at risk to climb to the top of Mt. Everest? The old saw, "because it's there," or "To prove that you can," are cute, but what do they really say? If I want to stand on top of Everest, I'm gonna find a WAY easier way of getting to the top, it's just my nature. Doing something hard has never been the thing that draws my attention, at least not physically hard, I do like a mental challenge. I have always been into puzzles, crossword, jumble, cryptograms, I live that kind of stuff, but I see it as keeping the mind sharp and the mind is what you need most when your body is beat up from running marathons and climbing mountains.

Obviously I bring up motivation, because I am looking for mine again. I am not sure what has cause me to lose my motivation for losing weight. I still want to get down, but for some reason I have lost my willpower and I seem to be on the verge of a binge every day. It's a fight, constantly to keep myself from just diving head first into a wheel barrel full of chips and dip, or skinny dipping in a pool full of big macs. The siren call of sugar is torturing my dreams and I don't know why. I am fighting a losing battle lately and It is really beginning to take it's toll. Chocolate, and hard candies, all manner of potatoes and breads just calling my name softly in my dreams. Sometime around the beginning of October, I binged out. I knew it was wrong and I did it anyways, and I have not recovered myself from it. I don't know why, and now the Holidays approach fast and furious, and I am sure to eat way too much of the wrong things for the next few weeks. Do I wait until New Years to Try again. Or do I simply take it day by day.

I know that I am a food addict, and that when it comes down to it, I am pretty powerless over food. The worst part of the whole thing is that My dad is now on a diabetic diet, and It would be the best thing for me to follow as well, because it is what works best for me to lose weight. I don't know why this is so hard for me.

I will search and see if I can find my motivation once again. I know it's here somewhere!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Crazy crap, fun stuff., and who knows what else...

SO my blogging has been a little sporadic lately, but I feel guilty about it!! I have been concentrating so much on photography and editing stuff, and making up stupid status updates on Facebook that I let the blog go dormant for much longer than I want. If the TV is on I'm distracted and I just don't have the concentration to write. I wanna write, but seems like my subjects are all kinds of scattered in my head, and my coherence level is way down. So anyway, here is what I have been doing lately...

Thanks giving has come and gone and it;s already December, and Christmas is approaching fast, but first comes My Birthday. No major date this time just 42 years. Never believe it. I don't FEEL 42, and I sure don't think like I'm 42. Oh well.

Thanksgiving turned out to be another interesting holiday. There is this odd little quirk in my family that people get sick around Thanksgiving, and Gramma stayed true to tradition. She ended up in the hospital with a tumor on her ovary. It was so big that it was blacking her ureter and so the Docs had to put in a stint to keep the kidney functioning. Ok that's not too bad, but the tumor.... turns out that she is what appears to be stage 4 cancer, it has affected her kidneys, her lungs and her liver so far, and the news isn't all in yet. 85 years old, and she suffers from Vascular dementia due to a stroke she suffered a few years ago. The family is in an uproar, because Uncle Steve ( the one who lives with her and is her main caretaker ) wants to get her Chemo, and we all feel pretty strongly, ( and Gramma did to when she had all of her marbles before her stroke) that she doesn't need or want chemo. It is so hard on a body that it is more likely to sap what strength that she has, and so diminish her quality of life for the time she has left that it will be torture. With her dementia and her lack of short term memory, it is likely that she will never fully understand why she is in such pain and discomfort. When she had all of her faculties, she made it known with her healthcare proxy and her DNR that she considered chemo to be extraordinary measures and she didn't want them taken should she get sick and it wasn't caught early. She watched Grampa die of Pancreatic cancer, and she spent 35 years working in one of the Best hospitals in the state, and she knew what she was saying, and asking.

So here was Gramma in the hospital, and Dad and I come home and along the way dad tells me that he doesn't feel good. Ok, I can drive, as we are getting off the Thruway, he tells me just take him to the hospital. Turns out he was a few minutes away from falling into a diabetic coma! His blood glucose was up over 600!! No wonder he was feeling faint!! His blood ox was low and his pressure was down along with his heart rate. Man!! Don't let Gramma get all the attention!! So he spent 24 hours hooked up to an insulin pump, and a few more days in the hospital as the Docs assessed his response and taught him how to test his levels and change his diet. Our house is changing and now Pops is eating much more like Me. More veggies, Less fat, and actually watching carbs like a fiend. We may be able to share more meals again! I just wish it hadn't come to this point to get him back on the healthy train.

Taking Pictures, Pictures of everything I can find. Bands, people, kids, nature, scenery. I take pictures of whatever I can find to interest me. I learn from my mistakes and study my pics to see what I like and what I don't. I like to think that I am progressing, but sometimes I think I am a little static in what I am doing. Perhaps I need some more inspiration, or maybe I need to find the thing that I like. I will find out eventually.

Family and future, don't know which one will make my life more interesting, but I hope I find out sooner than later.