Recent happenings

The last month or so has been very interesting, to say the least. I FINALLY found someone else who loved the show “The Cleaner” – kind of amazing, if you ask me. I have taken on a new role in my family, taken out 15 years of frustration on a family member (he totally deserved it, and I know he understands where I’m coming from now…), been dating a crazy amount of guys, continuing to shoot (photography), running, and doing a lot of thinking.

I have been thinking a lot about death. There are extraordinary circumstances, I can assure you. I’m not thinking about MY death or anything, but just death in general. We all are going to die. This is not a threat… it’s a fact. No one is invincible. No one lives forever. Everyone’s body is constantly being plagued by environmental factors which may cause them to get any number of diseases that may ultimately result in their demise. When diagnosed with one of these, all you can do is deal with it and hope it doesn’t kill you. I understand the whole support system – totally agree with it, in fact… but still… we have to realize that eventually we are ALL going to die. It’s part of life.

So with that, I’ve also been toying around with why I’m here. I have a saying that I tell myself every morning. “Remember… all we are commissioned to do in this life is to LOVE. Love each other. Love ourselves. Love God. If you LOVE, you will see the world open up to you in a way you never expected.” I tell myself this in hopes that I will remember to walk a path that brings joy, happiness, and love to those around me for the time they have on this earth. If I can make one person’s life brighter each day, my life is complete. I intend to have a positive outlook on my deathbed – no matter my circumstance that brought me to that place – and all the days in between now and then. The only things I can do in the meantime are take care of myself as best I know how and to LOVE! This is why I am here. What’s your purpose?

Back to photography :)

One of the things that I really love is photography. While I’m not a great photographer, and probably will never be, I do appreciate the nuances of this art and admire those around me that are engaged in it. I also have fallen in love with going out and shooting again – something that has been lacking for the last three years. I would like to attribute this to my recent personal renovation.

You see… this summer, I have lost 45lbs. While I’m currently at a “plateau” – well, really more of a I want to drink coffee and eat what I want for a few months – I plan to keep losing weight and be down another 40lbs or so by next summer.

I know what you’re thinking – HOW DID YOU DO IT? My answer would be… The right way. I cut out the junk food, fatty foods, salty foods, and started eating mostly fruits, veg, and unprocessed foods. I also started exercising like it was going out of style.

The best part about all this is that I have tried to make it FUN. While I really enjoy going to the gym, I’ve joined up with a couple of groups for hiking and running, started running 5Ks (all proceeds go to charity!), and started belly dancing classes.

All this, and I WANT to get out more. I WANT to meet people. I WANT to be young and vibrant. I no longer feel the effects of 30 years of wasted life. I LOVE and EMBRACE all that life has to offer. I cherish the relationships I may have once let slip. I try my best to keep up with as many people as I can, as much as I can.

In all this, I reignited my passion for photography and have started attending a meetup group once a month or so. I’ve met all kinds of interesting people and hope to keep meeting them and being able to learn and teach them. It’s amazing being this new person… :)

So here’s one of my images from August’s photoshoot.

Taken August 2010 - Copyright MKE

The inevitable

Everyone goes through momentous occasions.  Let’s say, for instance, your 21st birthday, your wedding day, the birth of each of your children, the purchase of your first home, the sale of your first home, your 30th birthday, etc.  The list is not exhaustive, but you get where I’m going.

So, I just had one of these. My 30th birthday is today.  I have been telling people for months that I am already 30. I have been so stoked about it coming. Not afraid, nervous, sad, or any negative emotion on the gambit. Really – EXCITED.  Maybe that’s weird.  So, let me explain.

There is something about a woman in business – especially in a “man’s profession” like mine – that is difficult. Even more so for a woman in her 20’s.  There is no difference if that woman is 23 or 27 or 29, it’s all equally arduous.  So much so, that when a woman turns 30, there is some kind of magic force field that drops from around her and people start warming up to the idea that she’s serious.  It has nothing to do with the fact that she has mentally or physically proven herself in this arena, no.  It’s simply a matter of age.

I have been told that this is not necessarily limited to the working environment, but it is definitely rampant in such place.  Since I spend approximately 57% of my conscience time in this facet of my being, this is what I choose to comment upon.

What is it about people (both men and women do it) that make them not take 20-something women seriously?

Partly Ben Stein

I got the following e-mail from my Dad:

SHALOM…..
Remarks from CBS Sunday Morning – Ben Stein

I only hope we find GOD again before it is too late!!

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.  And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees.  I don’t feel threatened.  I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are; Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me.  I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.  In fact, I kind of like it.  It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu.  If people want a crèche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.  I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.  I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country.  I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him?  I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old.  But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different:  This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her (regarding Hurricane Katrina), ‘How could God let something like this happen?’  Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.  She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.  And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’

In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.  I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.  Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school, and we said OK.  The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself.  

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide).  We said an expert should know what he’s talking about.  And we said okay.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out.  I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell.  Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.  Funny how you can send jokes through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.  Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.
 
If not, then just discard it…. no one will know you did.  But if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.  

My Best Regards,  
Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

 

It’s not all actually Ben Stein’s words, but I can’t believe how true they are.  

http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/confessions.asp

When did we become so bitter and analytical and judgemental that we forgot to LOVE each other?  Get out there and LOVE your neighbors whether they are black or white or jew or gentile or straight or gay or tall or short or smart or dumb.  We are all people.  When did we forget common decency and respect of all individuals?

Loving life as it is.

Loving life.  This is something that many people struggle with.  Even me.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, however you want to look at it, I have a case of undying optimism (like MJF).

I’ve been thinking about life and all it has to offer me A LOT lately. Then I decided to think about it on a deeper level, and really had an epiphany.  To somewhat quote one of the most idolized presidents in the history of our great nation, Mr. John F. Kennedy, I have decided take the most famous quote from his inaugural address and reflect my life into it. So I tell myself this… Ask not what your life can provide to you, but what you can provide to others lives. 

A similar concept was started even prior to the 1961 address of Mr. Kennedy, by another president who was well loved, as shown by his terms being the longest any president has ever held in office.  FDR established the New Deal which provided jobs and other gevernment aid programs which, based on history books, benefitted EVERYONE in the long run.

So I ask… What can I do?  First, locally, make a difference.  Get out and help at a soup kitchen, volunteer my time, energy, or money to charity programs, donate books or clothes to help those less fortunate than me, etc.  Some of these things are even tax deductible.

This is my new mission.  To help those around me have a better life.  To make sure to give back to the community in any way I can.

“Crossing the Threshold” episode aired 9/8/09 on A&E

One of my favorite TV shows is “The Cleaner”.  The writing and casting on this show is absolutely amazing and has put this show in a special place in my life. I believe anyone can glean the incredible message and apply it to their life, both current and past.  I have included the monologue from “Crossing the Threshold”, which aired on 9/8/09 on A&E because I think it’s an incredible message.  Of course, written in my script it is no where near the same impact as Benjamin Bratt’s incredible voice and his verbal punctuation.  You have to see it to believe it. You can download the episode at www.aetv.com sometime later this week.  Sometimes I cry all the way through it because it defines a part of my life (maybe not the same addictions, but addiction none-the-less).  Here is the monologue from 9/8/09’s episode titled “Crossing the Threshold”.  Part of this monologue defines how I feel right now as I am still battling some demons.

People do a whole lot of things in the name of “Love”. More than I ever thought possible. When we first made this deal – you and me – I remember thinking about that. About love. I never really felt it, even when it was offered to me. Because I knew I didn’t deserve it. So I could never understand it. A pastor I know, one of the better ones, he pointed me to a verse in the Old Testament, that went something like this. There are three things that amaze me – no – four things that I don’t understand. The way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship at sea, and the way a man loves a woman. And once I got clean I understood them all – the eagle, the ship, and even the man and the woman. But what I knew best, what I knew from my gut, was the way of that serpent. And how he can destroy the most beautiful love of all.

There are four things that amaze me, even though now I finally think I’ve begun to understand them. In fact, it’s the very fact that I understand them that makes them so amazing. The way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a ship at sea, the way of a serpent on a rock, and the way a man loves a woman. And for me, there’s a fifth thing – more amazing that the eagle, more inspiring than the ship, more potent than the serpent, and even more beautiful than the man and the woman. It’s the way of the family. Because without them, there’s nothing worth loving.

>”Crossing the Threshold” aired 9/8/09 on A&E.

I think we all have had some kind of addiction in our life to where this show can bring out a side of us. For me, there have been many. Some of the lesser ones I struggle with on a daily basis. It’s tough, but this show helps me understand that it takes so much hard work and support to overcome these addictions. Something like this makes you appreciate all the hard work you have put in to get you where you are now and how much more work you will endure to keep you there. To all my fellow addicts (and you may not know who you are yet) – start working towards your goal and NEVER give up!

True Blood Review seasons 1 and 2 (thus far)

From the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse series, Alan Ball has taken this story about vampires and other magical creatures in Southern Louisiana and put his dark spin on it. Although his story is not 100% in line with Charlaine’s books, the story does follow rather closely to the original story. The series airs Sundays at 9pm est on HBO. The final episode of Season 2 will air on Sept 13. Season 1 is on DVD at your local retailer.

I have been in LOVE with vampire stories since middle school (so that’s about 17 years). I love the fact that these vampires are all that vampires should be: lustful, seductive, “old”, scary, vengeful, allergic to the sun, etc. The books, and the show, also include other magical creatures such as werewolves (which we will find out more about next season), witches, telepaths, and fairies (I think that’s next season too). 

Yes… I read Twilight, too.  There is something about the sexiness of the “popular” vampire that has formed since the 1940s that gets me.  While I like the Twilight series, written by Stephenie Meyer, I had a tough time getting through the last 2 books.

That was not the case with the Sookie Stackhouse books.  Nor is it the case with the show.  There is something “magical” in the casting, writing, directing, and acting of the story that is intriguing.  While the show is no substitution for the books (I’m a little dork biased towards books), the show has developed a mind of it’s own.  I have really grown to love Alan Ball’s writing this season and even like the way he takes some of Ms. Harris’ minor stories to make them shine in the show.

So, without a doubt, I recommend both the books and the TV show to those of you interested in this type of thing.  Let me also note that I am a HUGE fan of the Underworld movies/stories, and I very much liken the vampires in True Blood to those in Underworld.  The main difference would be the other magical creatures.  Please support this show so we can see more!

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