I'm writing from a hotel computer somewhere between Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado.
Because early this morning a cup of coffee (not mine, I drink tea) was accidently deposited on my MacBook Air.
I got the kiss of death on the computer screen: a white folder with a black question mark in it.
What does that mean? Au revoir, MacBook Air.
It turned on for a while after it was dried out with a hair dryer.
To say I am frustrated because most of the last 15 years of my life personally and professionally was on that computer, is an understatement.
I hadn't backed it up to the external hard drive for over a year.
I wasn't using it that much, except to cross reference information with my desktop and occasionally write on the road.
SO my BAD for not backing it up with a vengeance every week.
There are no Apple stores for many, many miles from where I am staying.
An authorized store trained to take a look at my computer to see if I can retrieve anything from it is also at least a hundred miles away from where I'm staying.
This trip was purposefully one off the beaten trail.
YES! Shit DOES happen.
First, my Air was not synced with the iCloud like my Desktop, iPhone and iPad.
How I overlooked that, well, OPERATOR ERROR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Needless to say I'm angry but I can't be too angry because it was truly an accident.
It's a good lesson to stay present and the moment you go on autopilot things like this happen.
We start going through our day, often mindlessly executing tasks, we space out and then BAM.
Plus, when you write for a living, or are on the road for business, it's essential to keep files backed up and do your best to make allowances for hiccups.
Or big, ugly burps.
Let my misfortune be your forewarning.
Back it up.
Keep the liquids a mile away from your computers.
MOST importantly, even on holidays and vacations, don't check out.
I love this saying from the 1936 Olympic rowing team: "Keep your mind in the boat."
The biggest lesson?
When both of your hands are full, don't try to do anything else.
Unless you sprout a third arm and hand.
I'll let you know next week if my computer is now a really pretty, shiny paperweight.
As always, thanks for reading.
See you again next week! (Hopefully!)
The above quote is from my sweet next-door neighbor.
She's right. We travel.
We are away from home about as much as we are at home.
As we move forward in life we decided to "get it while the gettin's good."
PLUS, we are REALLY fortunate that we CAN travel.
So WHY am I transitioning into a travel website?
It's not REALLY a travel website.
Travel IS one of the great joys in our lives AND because we travel worldwide we have amassed a TON of information about travel.
All kinds of travel.
AND we have experienced so many facets of travel...
retreats with meditation, water sports, nature, wildlife, soaking in hot mineral water, dealing with health issues while traveling, visiting friends and family, making new friends, cuisine, culture, the arts, history, language, traveling with a service dog, eating right, exercise, and the delays of travel.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. (And by the way I just saw a mind-boggling number of icebergs in Alaska recently. Get yourself to Alaska, if you can!)
I was chatting with another writer friend yesterday and he said the subjects I can write about embodied in travel are practically limitless.
What better to write about than the things you enjoy the most AND the things that affect you the most, coupled with expeditions?
I've taught meditation and Qigong while traveling, had singing gigs, percussion performances, taken care of family, rescued lost, injured and displaced animals and made sure, on many occasions, that families on the street got a decent meal.
We have connected with interesting and unusual people.
Not the least of which, we have benefitted from it all with a world view. We see life beyond the four walls of our little town. THAT helps us to understand others and be more global citizens.
That being said...
You don't have to travel the world to get a bigger view of life.
Start in your town or city, then within your county, state, and region.
The U.S. has a myriad of discoveries waiting for you.
Some cities don't even feel like they are in the U.S. They have wonderful foreign influences. New Orleans is one of those examples.
There is a lifetime of travel in the countries that border the U.S.
It's not difficult or bank-breaking to get to Canada. Unless you are traveling to Vancouver, THEN you may need to break into the piggy bank. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Vancouver. I lived there for nine years. But it's cheaper for me to spend a month in Thailand than a week in Vancouver. Sorry, Vancouver.
South of the U.S. there's Mexico, Central America, and South America. Gratefully, my limited Spanish goes a LONG way. ("Learn more Spanish" is on my list.)
A flight from where I live in Florida to Costa Rica is cheaper than a flight from Florida to California!
Keeping an eye on airfare has become a hobby and we have reaped the rewards by booking airfare to Europe with a combination of points and lower flash sale prices.
Do you have a credit card? Most of them offer airline miles:
Chase Sapphire, Capital One Venture, Citi AAdvantage (we use this card), and Alaska Airlines Visa (we also use this one) just to name a few. (By the way, NO airline, restaurant, town, or business has paid me to recommend them.)
On the flip side of travel: We have seen unimaginable wealth and unspeakable poverty. We have come face-to-face with a worldwide homelessness issue.
Everything I have been addressing in my topical "human interest" writing I have also experienced through our travels.
We have learned to cut corners when necessary without EVER feeling we have cut corners.
We BOTH are also VERY "go with the flow."
We know so little is in our control that we don't get crazy about challenges that crop up in our travels. (Ok, sometimes maybe a little. And by that, I mean me.) It pays to keep your cool.
We have a family member who travels constantly and it never ceases to amaze me the compensation received for inconveniences, mistakes, bad service, bad attitudes and out and out bad business. There is a way to complain and a million ways not to complain. Freaking out gets you nowhere except with a headache, stomachache, anxiety attack and possibly escorted out of the building or off of the plane, banned for life. (I've seen it!)
We have stayed in lousy to luxury accommodations. We prefer somewhere in between.
It doesn't mean we don't treat ourselves. We do.
However, we don't take advantage of the higher end accommodations in certain extremely expensive cities or countries. It doesn't make sense for us.
I will talk about that in future posts.
I have "intel" on our personal explorations. Some of the information came easily and some required a little blood, sweat and tears. Again, somewhere in the middle works best for us.
We shop deals and do a ton of research AND have the benefit of military perks since my husband is retired Navy.
By military perks I mean being able to stay at some military resorts throughout the world, and staying in incredible lodging on bases. A cottage in your own cove in Hawai'i? YES! Saying "thank you for your service" is nice, however, the perks are even nicer. My husband earned it!
When our schedule is really flexible, we can fly military flights to destinations all over the world. For free. (That's a lot more planning and flexibility and SO worth it!)
Not to mention we are frequent flyers with 4 airlines.
We watch websites like hopper.com , www.airfarewatchdog.com and the airline and cruise line websites.
We monitor them several times a week.
As far as cruise lines we have sailed with three and our favorite HANDS DOWN is Celebrity. www.celebritycruises.com
We highly recommend getting on a repositioning cruise if you can. We took one Transatlantic from Miami to Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, France and Italy. It was reasonable and a great way to get a taste of several countries. The upside was a beautiful cabin with a veranda, incredible food and peace and quiet. The downside was a freak storm from the Arctic that brought with it 30 foot waves. As dishes crashed in the dining areas the band played. A moment out of Titanic. My husband showed me where the life vest was, gave me a sleeping pill and I slept through it waking to a beautiful, storm-free day. I was a bit anxious, but I'd do it all over again knowing we were on a ship engineered to handle rougher seas. Again, kudos to Celebrity!
In a nutshell, although I'm focusing here on writing about our travels, I will include human interest, holistic health, tips, ideas, feedback, reviews, recommendations, photos, videos, and more.
I hope you enjoy traveling with us and that you, too, can hit the road in some way.
Regardless what I say - go and see it for yourself.
As always, thanks for reading.
I'll be writing next week from Colorado!!
I left Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and here’s what happened:
For personal and ethical reasons I have been working my way towards leaving "the Big Three" for quite a long time.
I have had about 6 Twitter accounts and deleted them all within a week or less of having them. Then against my better judgment and someone's advice I'd make another account, participate for a little while only to delete it again.
I got tired of the drama, the political backbiting, the name calling, fighting, arguing and the seeming lust for 15 minutes of fame.
I also got uncomfortable with reading so many people's deepest, darkest, personal secrets.
My heart goes out to anyone dealing with life challenges. I'm just not sure I want to be privy to all of that information.
I guess they aren't so secret since they are being displayed all over the Internet.
I’m not certain that people understand when you post online to any social media that it’s accessible by anyone, even if you mark it friends only.
The fact that Facebook has over 3 billion users means it is pervasive worldwide. It also means that what you post to your “friends” is not just to your friends. Anyone can read your posts via your friends.
SO it’s to the world.
People have gotten fired from their jobs for posts on the leading social media. People I know! Mostly for their 3 am intoxicated rants about this, that or the other thing. (That reminds me of someone but I can't for the life of me recall who that is.)
People have been caught breaking the law, and cheating on their partners on social media.
They also allow graphic videos of violence, murder and in some instances videos that are just this side of pornographic. (If we want to watch porn it's easy to find. I guess not easy enough if it's all over social media.)
There's lots of sex, sexual Innuendo, profanity, and near nudity Oh, who am I trying to kid? Nudity. Again, isn't there Hamster X for that? I'm just sayin'.
Don’t get me wrong I love the human body. I think nudity is gorgeous, and sex is amazing, but there are some great and not so great ways to express it.
Then there is the ethical issue. The issue of media dominance, and allowing horrible atrocities to be posted. Not to mention election improprieties, bullying, lying and covering up of said lies.
Yep, gonna tell you exactly how I really feel!
Look, this is ME, not anyone else. This is what works and does not work for me.
This may or may not bother or resonate with you.
AND THAT IS FINE!
That’s what bothers me about the three amigos.
Here is what I loved about it:
I made a couple of friends in the 9 years I was on it.
I got several introductions to potential jobs.
I saw wonderful photos, reconnected with friends, classmates, colleagues, and distant family.
I experienced vicariously the adventures, trials, tribulations, successes and failures of the aforementioned people.
I shared, collaborated and commiserated.
I also wasted A LOT of time.
Ok, that may not be a plus...
Here is what happened the couple of times I posted that I was leaving (was I crying wolf? I guess not since the wolf has left the building. Sorry, mixed metaphor.)
I was asked not to go. I was told that what I posted was really appreciated. How was I going to keep up with everyone? How would I know when there are events, parties, births, and reunions? The state of the country? Won't it affect my business, or work? How can I live when "everyone", and the most important news, announcements, connections, etc., are on these particular social medias? Aren't I afraid I will be looked at as an outcast? Or with suspicion? How can I be much of a teacher, writer, artist if I'm not on said social media? Only legitimate businesses and people are on the big social media, especially Facebook. (You can't have a business page without a personal page. Nah, I'll pass.)
Here is what happened when I actually left:
Of the original 3000 people who were my Facebook "friends", I whittled those down to 1800 (this was the beginning of the end), then to 1200, then to 800. I knew each and every one of them. Maybe we weren't pals or close but knew them all personally.
I gathered emails and phone numbers, posted my website, where to find my writing on other websites and my LinkedIn page link.
I downloaded my archive.
I made a commitment to connect in different ways with my connections.
Then one day I just left.
No parting gifts.
Mind you, this was not without Facebook specifically asking me about half a dozen times if I knew what I was doing? They posted photos of my friends telling me who would miss me. (Those who really ARE my friends actually have a life with me outside of Facebook.)
"Are you sure you want to leave? You will miss out on x, y or z..."
In the final stages I could deactivate my account and it would take two weeks for it to be deleted.
Maybe this would lead to second thoughts and in a moment of weakness I would log on and that would start the two week clock ticking again.
This time there was nothing anyone could say that would change my mind.
I had already moved on and broken the addiction(s).
And it WAS an addiction.
I wasn't on the big three every day but I fell into the "check in" trap when I could have been doing so many other things.
LIKE just sitting there and taking a few deep breaths,
getting on a yoga mat and stretching for a few minutes,
picking up the phone, texting, calling or SKYPING with someone,
So what REALLY happened?
NOT A DAMN THING.
People I was already in touch with outside of the triad have stayed in touch with me.
Most people that were not in touch with me outside of the trinity have not communicated with me.
AND THAT'S OK!!
There are plenty of ways to communicate with me if desired.
I haven't eradicated my presence online or through social media. I'm just selective.
It hasn't affected my writing, or travel endeavors whatsoever.
As a matter of fact, I have taken up a few more percussion instruments. I spend a lot more time writing, meditating, AND DANCING!!
I am learning new languages, and strengthening my relationships one-on-one.
Sure, there are those who told me that they only used (fill in the blank), and only messaged and communicated via F, I or T.
That had no effect on me.
That is their choice and this is mine.
I sent a newsletter to 161 people, including many from my F, I and T days. I heard from about 30 of them. Some told me personally, later on, that they had read my newsletter and enjoyed it.
I understand there are those who need the interaction of the biggest social medias, for whatever reason.
I don't judge. Use it as you see fit. (No pun intending.)
These platforms are happy to have as many members as possible.
Members mean money, and lots of it.
It's business. Just business.
For each attrition there are new users.
The triad isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
The sun will still rise regardless of click, comment or swipe.
As always, thanks for reading.
See you next week.
Picture you are teaching a one-on-one class with a student.
In my case, we were working on breath work and energy work in a moving meditation class
We started by sitting in chairs facing each other.
We had closed our eyes and were taking some DEEP breaths to help us relax.
All of a sudden I felt that my student was not sitting across from me anymore.
I opened my eyes and he was standing in the back of the room.
I said, "What's up?"
He said, "I gotta fart."
I tried to be as cool as possible with that statement.
What I mean by that is I tried so hard not to laugh about it.
It was funny and endearing and...
When is anyone so REAL with someone they don't know well; someone they are just beginning to trust?
Mind you, the young men who I taught in juvenile justice took my class after they having their dinner and a shower.
YOU KNOW that gas will sneak up on you after you eat; especially if you are eating a more institutionalized diet.
He said he wanted to be respectful of me and not "stink me out" with the smell. I said that it was perfectly OK and not to be concerned about it at all.
Then he said: “Yea, it's a natural body function."
I was so proud of him for having that attitude.
My students could be so real and genuine, that is why I loved teaching them. They've been through tough times and can still be honest.
Sometimes VERY honest!
So he stood there waving his gym shorts around and actually very discreetly taking a whiff to see if it smelled.
Can you imagine?
All out of respect for me AND so he wasn't holding it in struggling with pain for an entire class.
Maybe we ALL can take a lesson from that.
Then he simply came back to the chair and we finished up the session.
It happened to him again at the end of the class, but by then we were completely relaxed about,
I chuckled because little did I know that it would become an all too regular occurrence in ALL of my classes.
I would be teaching and all of a sudden someone would yell "Oh man, that's disgusting.", then there would be a parting of the Red Sea away from one of the students in the class. There was no hiding who actually committed the "offense".
"Sorry, Ms. KaZ."
"Come on, that's ok. It's natural. I hope you are feeling better."
"Yea, A LOT!"
I would then tell the story about someone I knew who hated when women burped or farted. Women, not men, women.
Or maybe it was just me.
This person said it was gross and unladylike.
He could fart and burp away but for me or another woman to do it - absolutely not!
It makes it difficult being in a relationship with someone and not being able to be yourself. Much less get any kind of relief from holding in the building gases until the "opportune" time to release them.
To this day I'm pretty shy about that.
My student looked at me with a very quizzical expression and said: "well, that sounds stupid".
All I could think of was the quote from the film Forrest Gump about stupidity. It says it all.
That leads me to the timeless and wise saying from the movie Shrek : "better out than in".
Maybe holding in our burps and farts is a metaphor for life.
Sometimes "better out than in".
Words to live by on many levels..
As always thanks for reading.
See you next week.
I do my best to be apolitical, although I LOVE the quote above. Even though the author is a political columnist I don't think the quote is particularly political. I think it is just good, common sense.
It's not that I don't care about what is going on in politics today (AND A LOT IS GOING ON!!).
I DO care.
I DON'T care to get into the arguments that happen lately if you and another person don't agree on politics. Or don't support the same people.
I don't believe everything I hear or read.
I like empirical evidence.
I would like to think that I'm a critical, INDEPENDENT thinker.
I have my biases, as does anyone else!
If I do get political I typically write it, sit on it for a little while, and delete it. Perhaps I write it just to get it out of my head.
All in all, in the end, it's not worth it.
I believe in agree to disagree, dialogue and discussion.
I don’t think everyone has to see eye to eye.
That’s what makes life interesting.
I teach you, you teach me, and every once in a while, when we don’t gel, we come to the conclusion that it’s not worth an episode from the WWE.
However, there are some folks who want to fight to the death and be right at all costs.
I prefer not to engage if a situation comes to that.
I'm content to wish you love and happiness, and exit stage left.
I’m not getting particularly political here. I just have a little story to tell.
I wrote this a few months ago and decided to tweak it and republish it.
I was shopping at the Marine Corps Exchange Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia (near D.C.).
The White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and I happened to be in the same department.
I saw him and his gargantuan Secret Service escort a few aisles away.
Kelly is unmistakable. Quite tall, impeccably dressed and stiff.
Yes, I said stiff. (I think pretty much anyone would be stiff in the White House today. Yes, that was a little political.)
His eyes stayed forward. He walked with a determined and purposeful gait. He did not interact with anyone.
I wouldn't expect any less of a retired four-star general and a presidential appointee.
When my husband, who was in a different aisle, saw him he saw red, but then again he is much more into politics and political personalities.
What I DO know is that I am not in alignment with Kelly's hardline policies on certain important issues.
I was walking down the main aisle and texting my son about the sighting.
My son had a few choice words to say that I won't share. (I will say they were SO funny!)
While I was texting my son Kelly and his imposing Secret Service escort whisked by me.
Right by me.
Kelly and I were shoulder to shoulder.
My husband (who saw the encounter) said that from his vantage point it appeared I hadn’t seen Kelly.
HOWEVER, he said the moment after Kelly and his escort passed by me I nonchalantly lifted my head and rolled my eyes.
He said he wished he had gotten it on video.
Mind you, I knew he was there all the time.
I chose not to look up.
A friend told me that by doing that I threw “shade” at Kelly.
(Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out what "shade" actually is.)
I guess since I can’t say that I’m a fan, maybe I did "throw shade".
The provocative thing is that the air was electric with his presence.
He did not go unnoticed... by anyone.
Being a sensory driven person, I could hear the creak of his expensive, polished, black leather shoes as he breezed by me. (My head was down so I got a glimpse of them.)
I could smell a faint whiff of cologne or aftershave (or maybe it was his deodorant. As I mentioned he got pretty close to me).
He walked like someone who knew he was important.
A man with a purpose.
If I had half a mind I would have stopped him and asked him a few pointed questions.
But, I have more than half a mind and I decided it wasn’t worth it.
that I didn’t want to end up on the 6 o’clock news.
You see, apolitical, critical, independent thinker, with a filter on my knee-jerk reactions. (At least this time...)
As always, thanks for reading.
See you next week.
I am posting early this week because on Sunday I will be floating somewhere off the coast of Alaska without internet!!
I rededicated myself to being vegan over a year ago after a few detours.
The detours were good. They gave me perspective.
I learned my lesson.
I feel better and my digestion is better.
My first attempts began in 1982 when the only real vegan choices I had were salad and oil and vinegar dressing.
As the years have gone by, a pregnancy, nursing a baby )when I crave rare steak and chicken wings), the unhealthy packaged food vegan stage and NOW (Tah Dah!), vegan options are just about everywhere.
I had no problem last year in Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Montenegro or Croatia.
This year I had an easy time of it in Copenhagen, Denmark, There were three vegan restaurants within walking distance of each other.
I had no issues in Sweden, Estonia, or Finland. Russia was interesting and I must say they did their best to accommodate me!
For me, it’s not a fad or a new diet. It's my lifestyle.
It's what works for me.
If it works for anyone else, that’s great. If it doesn’t, that’s great, too. I’m not Draconian about it.
I'm not going to lecture you, .quote statistics, show you horrible pics of tortured and slaughtered animals or force you to watch "What the Health?"
I live my life the way I choose and you need to do the same..
I keep vegan as much as possible. When I can't, then I choose vegetarian. (To tell the truth, if a restaurant can offer me vegetarian food, it only takes a slight tweak to make it vegan.)
BUT if I go to someone’s home and they work hard to prepare me a meal and it has meat in it, I'll eat it. Most people know that I’m vegan or they ask. I find that incredibly thoughtful. However, I won’t turn down food kindly prepared for me even if it contains meat..
A friend remarked how that was very Buddhist of me. I guess you could say that. I just think it's the compassionate thing to do.
There are great health benefits to being vegan.
AND YES, I get PLENTY of protein.
My husband and son are not vegan but they DO eat vegan for their health at least 4 days a week.
All the saturated fat from animal protein is NOT good for the health.
Well, you might ask, what about coconut oil and the saturated fats from it?
I don't use it anymore and mostly because it has a CRAZY amount of calories in just ONE tablespoon. I want to benefit from the calories I eat and a tablespoon of anything is not satisfying, or filling.
Here's my little anecdote:
Recently, I was in the Houston airport.
That airport is like a GIGANTIC mall. I hadn't been in it in years and I didn't recognize it.
There are restaurants for just about anyone.
I found a healthy restaurant with bowls, smoothies, juices and soups.
I asked if the “Buddha Bowl” on the menu was vegan? She said she didn’t know and she would check.
After consulting a chart, she confirmed it was vegan.
While she was ringing up my order she asked ”do you want meat with that?”
I couldn't help but chuckle and think that, honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.
Maybe it was an automatic question, like "do you want fries with that" or "do you want to make that a combo?"
OR there are people who say they are “vegetarian” and actually eat fish or chicken. (I'm not sure I get that but to each his or her own.)
I had to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Maybe the tofu on the menu was classified as a meat add-on along with the beef, chicken and shrimp.
Nevertheless, it still felt like someone was going to pop around the corner and say: “LIVE FROM HOUSTON, IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!"
If being vegan is for you, good for you. If you are curious about veganism, contact me with any questions.
If you eat animal protein - to each his or her own.
That being said, give vegan a try even if for only one day a week.
Get your necessary fruits and veggies and give your digestive tract a little vacation.
AND if you make a face and say " I HATE KALE!" even though it's a "SUPERFOOD", that's ok.
I hate Kale, too!
As always, thanks for reading.
See you next week.
This is my response to the article "The Curse of Always Being Happy” by Qigong and Kung Fu master John Munro.
This is a subject that I have personally been thinking about a lot lately.
For me, there is no light without dark. No up without down. No Yin without Yang, hot/cold, day/night, right/left, male/female (In general. Exceptions acknowledged and honored).
It is when we are stuck in our emotions that it becomes a great challenge.
When the pendulum swings wildly one way, it will swing wildly in another.
We talk incessantly about being happy, and looking for happiness.
What about the ease of being content? A very mild, pleasant sensation. Much like the theory of neutral talked about in the article.
Have you ever noticed how feeling ecstatic can make your heart race and make your actions very amplified?
Have you also noticed how anxiety, too, can make your heart race, make you frenetic, or active in an entirely different way?
These are both still very heightened states of emotional or physical response.
Being more “neutral” helps us remain more unattached in differing situations.
I look at it as going with the flow.
As teachers it is crucial that we go with the flow. No two classes are the same, no students are the same, no responses to the material are the same.
Remaining flexible in these environments makes for better classes and better teachers. If we are constantly in states of heightened emotions it is not good for us or our students.
“Put on a happy face” or “Don’t worry, be happy” may not always be the best course of action.
We have all known someone who just puts on a happy face all the time. They are exhausted putting up a happy front BUT they are not truly happy inside. Do they feel they need to maintain the facade because that is what they feel is expected of them? (That is classic people pleasing behavior.)
Everyone has a less than perfect day. All the teachers we look up to: Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King, Jr. etc. expressed and express themselves sometimes with passion and sometimes with dismay. However, there is still a calm running parallel to that expression. There may be anger, frustration, pain, elation, jubilation and ecstasy but the way it is expressed is gently, lovingly, firmly with reserve and self-control.
Additionally, as teachers in the healing arts, we can put so much pressure on ourselves to be a perfect example. OR our students and critics put a lot of pressure on us to be perfect. Granted, that is more about them than it is about the teacher, but the pressure is there nonetheless. It takes a strong, confident, self-aware teacher to remain unaffected by this external pressure. Why put immeasurable pressure on ourselves to be other’s idea of perfection and adopt that as our idea of perfection?
To walk, talk, live and breath as what we feel or have been pressured to feel is as the perfect master, guru (or whatever you choose to label or not label) is completely unnecessary and counterproductive. It’s a tough role to play in today’s world.
When we develop our emotions to be expressed in a more serene, calm and composed manner, our existence will follow suit.
If we can have the self-discipline to enjoy the middle ground, instead of the tumultuous highs and lows, imagine how much more peaceful our lives can be.
The old story of the monk facing every situation by saying “We shall see” may be one of the best examples for a content life.
So "don't worry, be content."
As always, thanks for reading.
See you again next week.
If you would like to read Master John's article here it is:
.I'm sure you can't tell from the title of this article that it's an end of life story.
The poignant thing is that THIS part of the story is really wonderfully funny.
At least I think so.
You can judge for yourself.
I have a family member who is near the end of her life.
More than being an anecdote, this story is a tribute to her, because she's the proverbial spit-fire...
The somber note is that Alzheimer's is slowly altering her memory, and her behavior and shortening her life.
For ANYONE out there with a family member or a friend suffering from Alzheimer's, my heart goes out to you! Educate yourself. Be patient and loving with YOURSELF AND your loved one. Times like this show us what we're made of.
For the sake of the article I am going to call her Ms. T, both for her privacy and for ease of writing
Ms. T has lived a wonderful life full of family, friends, events, travel, parties, rubbing elbows with notables, golf games and real estate.
She was a whiz at selling real estate AND she was a great golfer. She played with some heavy hitters. In her prime real estate and golf went together extremely well. I imagine they still go together today - BIG deals being made on the 9th hole.
To this very day, in her late 80's, she is a classy woman - always well-dressed, always putting her best foot forward.
She has a closet that every woman with taste and style wants to raid...
...and a smile that lights up a room. A big, broad smile.
Ms. T wears a specific color of Revlon lipstick. Revlon, not L'Oreal, or MAC or Urban Decay, but Revlon.
One day she noticed she was running out of her lipstick and asked her daughter to pick up another tube.
I’ll also add that Ms. T has a taste for good vodka. She loves her evening cocktail hour. Who can begrudge an 87 year-old woman her cocktail hour???
In addition to her favorite lipstick she also requested her favorite vodka in the convenient gallon economy size.
Her daughter, being the loving daughter she is, bought her mother TWO tubes of lipstick.
Ladies, we all know how this goes - eventually every cosmetic company stops making our favorite shade of lipstick and we have to find a new color that never quite matches or looks as good as the old color.
Two tubes is an assurance of continuing to have the right color.
The vodka, well, if you drink vodka you know what works.
(I personally don't drink vodka because it makes me mean. I don't really drink much at all. I can't hold my liquor now. I can hear a friend, whom I’ve known since college, saying: "YOU NEVER COULD DRINK, but you frequently field tested it”. It was college, what can I say?)
Later in the day loving daughter delivered the two tubes of lipstick and the bottle of vodka.
Ms. T asked why she bought her two tubes of lipstick?
In her daughter's mind it was for the aforementioned reasons. They make sense to me.
Ms. T said she may not live long enough to finish the two tubes of lipstick.
"Then why did I get you such a big bottle of vodka if you think you might not be around much longer?"
"Oh, I'll be around long enough to drink the vodka!"
That reminds me of a quote from The Godfather "Leave the gun, take the cannoli!"
"Forget the lipstick, get the vodka!"
As always, thanks for reading.
See you again next week.
For help for you, a family member or friend with Alzheimer’s:
"At this time, make sure your seat back and tray tables are in their full upright and locked position."
Just do it?
And WHAT would that be, you might ask?
Adjusting your seat on a plane!
I fly A LOT for business and for pleasure.
I find airline travel today to be amusing and annoying.
I imagine I am not in the minority.
Here is a little ditty for you to ponder when it comes to airline travel:
Do you ask the person behind you if it’s ok to recline your seat?
Do you just tell them you are moving your seat back, giving them advanced notice?
Do you just move your seat back and the hell with the
Tick off the person behind you?
Spill their drink in their lap?
Give them a fat lip in the process because they are leaning over fishing into their carry-on for their ear buds when you moved your seat back?
You know how it goes...
...your head is still up but your hands are fumbling down under the seat in front of you. Both your head and arms don’t quite fit down over your thighs under the seat (that is unless you have been doing a ton of yoga).
How do I know all of this?
I haven’t given anyone a fat lip OR spilled their drink on them.
I’ve had it all done to me.
I’ve also asked the person behind me if it’s ok to recline my seat back and been met with a dirty look OR a reluctant, guilt-inducing “TSK” with their tongue against the roof of the mouth, followed by an indignant “go ahead”.
I’ve also been told with a smile, “No problem, move your seat back”.
A few times I've told the person behind me that I’m moving my seat back with negligible responses.
And a few times, I'll admit, I just did it.
That was before the seats were crammed one on top of the other and leaning back did not put you in someone’s lap.
(Case in point: the very large gentleman sitting in my lap RIGHT NOW!!)
Yes, I’m on a plane to California.
I’m really fortunate that way.
No, I’m not making a zillion dollars writing.
Although I do welcome what flows in and “the kindness of strangers.”
I have a wonderful husband who is retired and wants to travel while the travelin’s good.
Translation: do it as long as we are ready, willing and ABLE. (I highly recommend it if at all possible.)
I digress - back to the whole airplane seat analogy.
I’m not sure it IS an analogy, because I'm staring at the screen on the back of my neighbor's seat inches away from my face, SOOOO I’m thinking it’s real life.
Admittedly, real life is funnier, more outrageous, scarier, kinder, nastier, and more interesting to write about than anything I can concoct in my head.
And I can concoct in my head with the best of them!
Today, in front of me, I got a seat in the face and behind me I got a scowl and attitude.
I didn’t say anything to the gentleman who shoved his seat back.
Maybe I needed to.
Like: "it would be great if you could have given me some warning before you catapulted your seat back." From the looks of it I would have gotten a scowl and attitude.
Nonetheless, I did what I thought was the more considerate thing to the person behind me and STILL got a scowl and attitude.
(Honestly, put a crying child near me. I can make silly faces and play peekaboo and more often than not get them to stop crying; both the child and the parent. Yes, I hear the nods of agreement out there.)
You might say damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
But I’m not going to.
I’m going to take a screen in the face and still ask the person behind me if I can tilt my seat back.
Someone, at some point, is going to say no, and I’m going to keep my seat upright.
...today’s not that day.
(Insert Cheshire Cat grin here.)
As always, thanks for reading.
See you again next week!
I’ve decided I’m spending the rest of my life in one big sitcom.
I love comedy, dramedy, rom coms, sci fi comedy, you name it.
I love to laugh and I have the (sometimes Botoxed) laugh lines to prove it.
I love getting people to laugh.
Mind you, even a sitcom has some dramatic moments. It's not all Pollyanna, champagne, limousines, and laughter.
I started out in entertainment in musical comedy.
Then I went into comedy plays & television comedy.
Most of my writing has been comedic in nature.
EXCEPT as of late, when I find I've gotten SOOOO serious.
My husband commented that I’m “deep”.
If by "deep" he meant I’m contemplative, analytical, information-thirsty, and occasionally informational anxiety driven, then, yes, I resemble that remark.
How do we use those traits - that aren’t all bad - to our advantage and not be a Serious Sally all the time?
For me, it’s just not fun.
I don’t mind a serious topic or conversation, but when it consumes us, plagues us and is hard to shake THEN we need to step back, take a deep breath and allow things to evolve...
...instead of doing our best to figure them out.
No more “ figuring it out” for me.
Things culminate, conclude and/or coalesce all on their own whether we spend days trying to figure them out or not.
We can certainly do our part when necessary, but pushing the wagon is a lot harder than pulling it.
IF I HAVE to point a finger; just for argument's sake (and I do my best arguing with myself) I point an unmanicured finger at 24 hour social media, news media and the inability to get away from the news.
We have to admit the news IS pretty awful most of the time.
It keeps us in a heightened state of anxiety with unceasing “Breaking News”.
I’ve taken to watching the Graham Norton Show, stand ups on Netflix, comedy films, comedy series and subscribing to the Good News Network newsletter.
"You can't run away from the news." You say. "YES, I CAN!" I say.
Although, I'll admit in the 21st century the news follows us wherever we go.
Maybe it's my way of taking the sting out of stepping on that hornet's nest.
Granted, many funny people have something very deep going on inside (again no shame in saying I resemble that remark).
I tend to get slightly funereal about things that affect me emotionally: poverty, abuse, starvation, discrimination, racism, bigotry, healthcare deficiencies, insufficient housing, lack of clean water (you know, basic day to day issues in the US).
The current state of affairs has turned KaZ into a very dull girl.
One can be VERY SERIOUS and still address it in a humorous way.
I can handle some of the most devastating information if it has a streak of humor.
“He did WHAT, she said WHAT??
“What the fuuuuuuuuuu????”
I'd rather disarm you with laughter that makes you shake your head thinking “funny, but true.”
Give me a factoid that is funny, ludicrous, or causes apoplectic fits of eye-opening amusement.
I prefer that to having my guts wrenched out through my throat accompanied by guttural sobs of anguish. (Such a pretty picture.)
We have ENOUGH of that in the world - AND IN OUR OWN WORLDS.
I call it humor with a bite.
Just watch the aforementioned Graham Norton and his disarming guests, or Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and so on
I’d rather laugh than cry.
I’d rather nod in agreement while tears from boisterous laughter stream down my cheeks.
I’ll take that hard to swallow information with a side of hilarity, thank you.
Quoting Paloma Faith from her appearance on the Graham Norton Show “if it’s all gone to shit, then let’s dance.”
So LETS DANCE!!!!
“Put on your red shoes and dance the blues.” Thank you, David.
So if I get too serious, call me on it.
I'm going to do my best to LIGHTEN UP and call MYSELF on it.
Laughter is an interesting kind of love.
Loving the human condition, and loving ourselves and others.
I'll admit I don’t find all humor funny. Not all humor is for everyone.
Some I find pretty disgusting.
Nonetheless, freedom of speech, baby, freedom of speech.
I have the right to change the channel if it’s not my Cheez Whiz.
I find slapstick and improv hilarious.
One may find a picture of someone holding what appears to be the severed head of a public figure to be hysterical.
(Sorry, nope, but still freedom of speech.)
I’ll take my comedy with a side of compassion, information, pratfalls, innuendo, sarcasm, rolled eyes and guffaws, sans viscera, thank you very much.
You know the feeling when humor hits you at your core.
The game, set, match laughter that strikes so deeply, and is so all-encompassing, that tears and snot run down your face.
Without a doubt, I feel better after a good cry OR a good laugh.
But given the choice...
...I’d rather cry laughing.
As always, thanks for reading.
See you again next week.
KaZ has been in many facets of entertainment, plus the co-owner of two restaurants, a fitness center, a television production company and the owner of a cinema. She did a stint in politics, and in veterinary medicine, She now focuses on writing.
In addition to the above, KaZ is an award-winning vocalist, a former dancer, stunt actor, circus artist, & professional water skier. She has worked as a theater artistic director & writer.
KaZ has been a published writer in magazines & books since the age of 15. She has written plays that have been produced in New York, Florida & New Orleans. She has a featured chapter in the book How To Survive A Move. (Up-to-date she has moved 45 times!) She wrote an article for Organic Wine Journal, and also wrote an article featured at the Ground Zero Memorial.
KaZ co-wrote 2 television informational series & 3 television pilots. One of the pilots, a sit-com, was produced as a reality pilot. KaZ has revisited it and it's now a one season cable series.
“(And ) Then This Happened.” based on life, love, and everything in between in the mid-life years. Loosely based on her life and the life of two of her best girlfriends.
KaZ's many high pressure pursuits led her to meditation.
She began studying meditation in '91. Her initial training focused on Kundalini Yoga with Yogi Bhajan and his teachers. She is a certified Master Meditation and Qigong Instructor, having taught
throughout California, Florida, New York & British Columbia, Canada and online worldwide.
Most recently KaZ taught in a juvenile justice facility, and lectured on mental health in juvenile justice.
With writing being her first love, look for KaZ's upcoming children's books:
from the tales of two grandmothers.
Plus, a play based on letters from her two great uncles during the Second World War.