Timing is everything when learning how to live in the moment

Introspective themes tend to show up in my life when I need them. It’s kind of weird, really.
2011 was “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”
2012 was “I don’t want to be “that” person.” (this is defined in my head)
2013 seems to want me to learn how to “live in the moment” and learn how to say “thank you” to my peers.
Big lessons for me.

Living in the moment

I am a contingency plan person. I am a “play out every freaking scenario to make sure you have thought of everything” kind of gal. It feeds into the “control freak” side of who I am.
Control the environment; control the people = less pain.

Maybe its because I am the oldest child. (I am partially defined by where I fall in line)
Maybe its the ridiculous need to control everything to protect myself as much as possible (I am a product of my upbringing)
Maybe its because I want to fix problems (I am…this is complicated)
Maybe I need a lot more therapy, lol. (I am the sum of my experiences)

The downside: working through all the “What if’s” is extremely limiting and frankly, creatively and spiritually stifling.

Learning to say “thank you”

I am terrible at saying “thank you” when someone compliments me; especially for my vocal abilities.
For some reason I feel the need to make excuses or apologize for what I see as vocal shortcomings or maybe even for the fact that I can sing.
I honestly don’t know why I do this. It’s annoying. I know it’s annoying.
I hear myself doing it and there is part of me that is saying “OMG, shut up, shut up! Just say thanks.”

Maybe I do it because I always think I can do better, especially in the eyes of those who I respect. (I am my worst critic)
Again, maybe I need a lot more therapy, lol.

So… this is really just a very long winded “thank you” to those of you who call me out on these short comings.
You continue to make me think about why I do what I do and don’t do, and more than anything, you inspire me at the right time.
Please continue to do so and I promise to keep working at it.

Here’s to an inspiring and musically fulfilling 2013.

I am so grateful and humbled.
Oh and THANK YOU!!!!!
Love,
S.

I dream of the sea and my mother

The sea swirls and casts thousands of fish at me, but I can’t find my mother.

Holding my daughter, I run down the stairs and outside to the foreign scene.
“Where is she?” My eyes search the seaside road.
I want to get some of the fish that are now desperately trying to find their way back to their blue home.
The birds are feasting. People are are running to grab some of the bounty.
But all I want to do is find my mother.

My eyes desperately continue to search.

This little red foreign car suddenly is pulling in and stops in front of me.
My mother get out of the car.
She is young, vibrant a beautiful. I would say she is in her young 20’s.

She is carrying an armful of random bags and groceries.
“Look what I found!” she says as she opens a container of baby arugula and gnocchi that is covered in red sauce.
They are almost completely gone. She is so excited. She is full of youthful life.

I stand staring at her in dismay.
“Mom do you know what is coming? We have to get everything that is on the bottom floor to the top floors!”

The fish have all been taken.

I wake up.

I Think They Call Us Moderates

People are hypocrites.
People talk out of both sides of their mouth.
People like to be victims and blame someone, anyone else for their bad decisions; Government, jobs, parents, siblings, co-workers, etc.
Over it.
Tired of it.
Disgusted by it.

How about doing the right thing even though you can “milk” the system?
How about admitting that, even though you bitch and complain about taxes and government control, you fully exploit it?

Seriously?
Why do I know so many people who do this and even brag about it?

Don’t EVER bitch to me again about paying too much tax. Don’t complain about those who take advantage of the “system” when you all do the same damn thing!

Don’t buy a new car because you took advantage of a tax break put in place by Obama and then bitch about taxes. Oh, and then make a joke about how you took advantage of it.
Don’t say how you won’t take a part time job because they” don’t pay you enough” and “it’s a waste of your time” and you will lose assistance, and then BITCH about how we are becoming socialists with a leader who has killed jobs. Yet, throughout your working lives, you have sought out every loophole there is to NOT pay taxes, yet step right up to exploit those social programs you so adamantly complain about funding.

SO FREAKING OVER YOU, YOU BUNCH OF HYPOCRITES!!!!

I gladly pay my taxes – even for you! You over-extended, car buying, greedy buggers who bitch and complain about our government debt. You know why? Because I am a part of this society – one that is becoming more and more polarized with the extremist voices.
I work my ass off and exploit every opportunity I get because there might be a bigger opportunity there. I have character. I have drive. I want to be a better, contributing member of this society we live in and accept that civic responsibility.
I want our world to be better; for me and my friends and family.
I want us to evolve.

Where is the common sense? Where is the inner dialogue? Where is the statesmanship?

Even though I am one hell of a pessimist when it comes to human nature, I must have some amount of faith in those of us who aren’t extremists’ and who are fairly rational, reasonable people who do not listen to jack asses like Rush Limbaugh, Shawn Hannity, Glen Beck and the like.
I actually have conversations with people who skew the opposite of me, and I find that we are not that far off in many ways. We are rational, common sense, forward thinking people who don’t need to be right all the time.
We analyze with a common sense approach. We formulate an opinion that’s not founded on an emotional based response. We ask questions. We refuse to be spoon fed. We are not sheep.
Sure, we disagree on a few things, but we really have more common ground than not.
And frankly, we are all too busy working and navigating through our hectic schedules. We are too damn busy to bitch and scream, which is why we are being marginalized and the lunatic fringe are the mouth pieces.

I think they call us moderates. I hope we are the future. I hope for my daughters’ sake, we are the future.

Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad

This is one of my new favorites that I adapted from The Diva Dish.
It’s super easy, fresh and healthy. Check it out.

1 C. dry quinoa

2 C. Chicken or vegetable broth

1 can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)

1 c. cherry tomatoes cut in half

2 avocados diced

2 C. spinach

1 bunch cilantro

1/4 C. onion

2 small cloves garlic

For the dressing:

Juice of 1 lemon zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp. dijon mustard, optional

Extra virgin olive oil, a couple tablespoons or to taste (eyeball it)

1 tsp. honey

1/2 tsp. cumin

dash of salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

1. Make your quinoa according to the package directions. Make sure you don’t over cook it and let it cool down before you mix everything.

2. In a food processor, add your spinach, cilantro, onion and garlic. Make sure to wash you greens.

3. Process the greens, onion and garlic until they are finely dice. Add to a bowl, and set aside.

4. Next add your chickpeas and stir until everything is combined and coated. If the quinoa is cooled, you can add it to the chickpea mixture next.

5. Make your dressing by whisking all the ingredients together. Pour over salad, and mix until combined. Add in tomatoes and avocado and mix. Set in fridge for about 10-15 minutes before serving so the flavors set. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.

John Denver and Guitars

When I think of John Denver, I think of super cheesy songs. “Sunshine on My Shoulder’s” and “Thank God I’m A Country Boy.” Nauseating.

So last night I was putting Livi down for the night and Greg says “I left the TV paused. Kim’s brother is on TV.”
“Huh?” (Inside joke.)
It was a remembrance of John Denver. (Eye roll)
So I sat and watched and was surprisingly struck.

It was “Annie’s Song.” I stopped with the sarcasm and really listened.
The melody, the lyrics and the 12 string acoustic guitar voicing’s were gorgeous.

I watched the whole program and while I am still not a huge fan of “Country Boy,” so many of Denver’s songs are so beautifully constructed.

The show wrapped up with a song called “This Old Guitar.”
This really got me. Tears and everything.
Go ahead. Roll the eyes.

I have always thought of my guitar as a living creature. Let’s face it, it captures all the energy that is coming out of whoever is strumming it, writing songs with it, venting with it, emoting with it, etc.

I feel so guilty that mine spends most of its time in it’s “box.”
When I finally get brave and pull it out, it feels a little foreign to me.
Maybe its emoting back. Pissed off that I have barely touched it in 10 years.

Someday Martin, someday I will figure this “thing” out.

Toxic Assets

Source - Google Images

This term is typically used to describe bad assets that are in one’s financial portfolio.
The kinds I am talking about are the personal ones; the negative energy, the bad attitude, insecurity, stubbornness, self absorption, the need to be right, blaming others.

Assets that dominate every single conversation you have with someone; assets that you carry like an albatross around your neck. The ones that you project on to others and make them not want to be around you; not want to include you.
Who wants to be around Debbie downer all time, right?

It’s exhausting and frustrating when you are on the receiving end.

I have been both the “giver” (notice the tagline of this blog) and “receiver” of  such assets.
It sucks from both sides.
It sucks the energy from the room. It prevents one from having the inner dialogue which leads to personal growth.
It causes one to deflect and project.

But most of all, it provides so much negative internal dialogue that we can’t get out of our own way. We subconsciously sabotage ourselves. We allow others to steal our happiness.
We blame other for our misery and therefore continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.
We should be looking at the common denominator…. OURSELVES.

Get over it! Deal with the issues and move on.
You are missing out on life. You are missing out on happiness. You are missing out on opportunities.
All you will be left with is regret and not much of a support system because people don’t want to be around the “negative shit” all the time.

One of my closest friends asked me how I was while we were having dinner in Vegas many years ago.
I replied with my typical response during that time in my life, which was negative.
She said, “Are you ever happy? Every time we are together our conversations always seem to be about you being unhappy.”
Talk about a slap in the face.

While she does not know this, it was just what I needed to hear from someone who I love and respect. It helped me start the inner dialogue that I needed to have with myself about why my “go-to” was complaining and negativity. It also made me realize just how I impacted others.
I was an energy sucker.

We are all guilty of having moments when we negatively spiral out of control and just need to vent. But when it becomes the norm, that’s when there is a problem.
You don’t even realize that you are pushing people away; people who love and support you.

Life is short. Too short to waste on all the ways you have been wronged.
Here’s a thought.
Maybe we should spend the energy we invest into “all things negative” into how to we might learn the big lessons we have to learn while we are here.
Get out of your own way.
Stop making excuses. Stop blaming everyone else.
Don’t you want to be your own champion? Don’t you want to prove to yourself that you can overcome and be happy?

Crazy talk right?

Mommy, Watch Your Mouth!


I knew this day would come. Today was that day when my lack of restraint, patience and overall personal editing was held up to my face like a mirror.

When Greg and I picked Liv up from school today, she was sitting quietly and playing Lego’s with a friend.
We were greeted by Miss Kelsey, one of Livia’s sweet teachers who proceeded to tell me my daughter was “funny” today.

“Livia was playing earlier with the Lego’s and knocked over one of her lego towers.”
She (Livia) then yelled out “SON OF A BITCH!”
Greg just looked at my with a look that says “This is all on you.”

Miss Kelsey replied “Livia! What did you say?”
To which Livia replied “SHIT!”
To which Miss Kelsey replied, “Livia! What did you say?”
To which Livia responded, “Darn-it?”

“Ok. That’s what I thought you said.”

So part of my giggled just a little bit on the inside. I mean come on. It is kinda funny.
At least she didn’t drop the F-bomb.
But then the responsible parent kicks in and thinks “I really need to watch what I say around this kid.”
Ya, good luck with that.

My mirror has cracks.

The Hubris of Youth

I remember when I was 18, self-righteous, full of hypocrisy and thought I had the full story and knew everything.
Yep, those were the days when you feel immortal and that nothing you say and do will ever come back to haunt you.
And then you grow up and get a little “life dirt” on you and realize that you really don’t know everything; that you didn’t have the full story; that life is full of lessons – really hard lessons that you will hopefully not have to keep learning.
You regret decisions you made and things you said.
You realize that throwing stones from a glass house is not the best approach.

And, if and when you have children, you realize that your parents are very fallible human beings, just like you; that having kids is the best and most difficult thing you will ever do; that you have to suddenly redefine who you are and sacrifice in ways that you truly have no perspective of until you have children. Not always easy, but certainly the point of why we are here.
We don’t always get it right, but we try. It’s personal evolution.
One may not agree with the choices ones parents make, but until you have your own, your perspective will always be narrow.
It’s a very hard thing to distill and work through. It’s a life-long effort.
Avoidance does nothing but prolong the inevitable. You don’t ever get off that easy.

Age and experience, if nothing else, provides perspective.
Let’s talk in 20 years…

The Pull

This is why I avoid it. The minor fall and the major lift….the goosebumps, the song, the music.

I hear my daughter laughing in the other room and my guitar calling out to me. Such a perfect metaphor of my life as I now know it.
I love my life. I do, but I do miss music. I miss that release.

Ya, this sounds like drama, but…. I twists me into a knot sometimes.
I miss it so much.
How can you have both? I have convinced myself you can’t. So I just bury it. I push it down. I avoid it. And then, in a moment of weakness, I seek it out and then I fight to put Pandora back in the box.

Time to put Liv down. Back to reality.