January 31, 2013

Resolutions and Stuff

So here we are at the end of January already! Wow, the month seemed to fly by!
2013
Without going back to your blog or a journal for reference... how has everyone done on their New Year's Resolutions? Do we even remember them?

I do. And I'm happy to report that I have done pretty well. I did a random act of kindness; I did have a "pay it forward" moment and I did spend some quality time with some friends that needed me. I'm not one to be boastful or brag so I won't tell any details... but I'm happy with my resolutions and that I am applying them to life. Hopefully by the end of the year it will be easy and won't take a second thought to do any of these things.

I also want to start a new feature and report on how the month went according to the monthly tarot card reading went for me. This month the card was spot on! Most of what the card related to was work issues and I followed the card's advice. The other part of it's meaning was to keep going... that helped me when I was working on the campsite for the crew. I found that, although I was dead tired, bruised and dirty, I had the strength to keep going.

How was your month?

January 30, 2013

Truth and Legends

Reading a new book by a favorite author is like settling into a comfortable, old, overstuffed chair.

I just started the fourth book in a series of six about King Arthur written by Jack Whyte. I love historical fiction and love this author. His style of writing is very easy to read and he makes the story interesting.

It makes me think about events from history. Especially before good records were kept of events in people's lives. How is it that only a few things were remembered? And how was it that some stories became thought of as only legends?

Of course the histories of kings and royal families were kept and preserved... but still things have changed or been omitted whenever old records were discovered or translated. I have read about people doing a lot of research to see who King Arthur really was. One guy says that he has proved who it is; all his research says he was a Scottish King not Cornish or Welsh, so the 'so-called experts' dispute his theory.

Sometime it seems like history is a big puzzle with us trying to fit all the pieces together. That's why I like historical fiction. It seems to fit more of the pieces together. Kind of what Homer does.  

What will someone, someday, centuries from now say about Jim? The man, the myth & the legend....

January 28, 2013

Weekend Work Adventures

It was a long busy week last week. That's why I didn't post for 5 days.

I had a HOA board meeting and it went better than I expected. Then we had a work happy hour with one of the big bosses to thank us for our work last year. Woohoo.. free drinks on the boss!

Then as soon as I got home from work on Friday I packed a bag and headed down to the clan campsite. It's 2 weeks until Sherwood Forest Faire starts and we still had some work to do.

If was a nice night and I was glad I was driving south into warmer weather. I stopped in the closest town to the campgrounds for a bite to eat and I snapped this shot:
Elgin, TX
Since the weather was so nice we left the door open to the camper and I awoke in the wee hours of the morning shivering! I pulled another blanket on me and then over my head and I soon warmed back up. At 7AM I was awake and ready to work.

We cleared land, burned brush and took a break at noon for some food and to show some friends, who showed up to work, around the camp. We finished when the sun went down and after a dinner of rice and beans made in a wok on the fire.

Once I got a drink in hand and watched the full moon rise I was content to stay right there for the rest of the night! My whole body was tired, bruised, dirty and sweaty! I did a quick shower before crawling into bed on that night.

I was home by about noon on Sunday. You don't appreciate a long hot shower until you've been out working and camping in the woods!

January 27, 2013

Self-Esteem

Thank you to everyone who responded to my last post.

I wish I had something great and inspiring to tell you all about how one can find happiness and be happy with yourselves. Great words of wisdom would be nice... but life is an individual journey we must all find our way in. I only have my experiences and outlook on life to impart.

Several years ago I came to an epiphany about myself. I realized that self-esteem is just an attitude. I finally came to just accept myself as I am. I'm not defined by my body for it goes up and down in weight and it grows older. I am kind of surprised that some people still define themselves by the kind of car they drive or their degree in school, or their job, etc. Those are just things that we do.

We can change things in our lives just by changing our attitudes and how we define happiness. For me, I am most content when I have peace of mind and when I live in the moment. I think I have made great strides by not living in the past and constantly reliving or regurgitate something I did wrong in the past. I also don't spend a lot of time worrying about what may happen tomorrow. This moment is all I have and I want to live it fully.

When I look in the mirror I try to see myself for what I really am and then I readjust my expectations. I wish I could look like I did when I was 25, but I don't. Being happy in your own skin is easy for me.... I don't have any other skin to live in! So I now have a choice: be miserable or I might as well be happy and content with who I am.
I just finished reading the book and I recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their self-esteem.

January 22, 2013

Question:

Why do some people say that before they ask you the question?


No... really, I want to ask all y'all a question and that just popped into my head when I started to type a blog post title.

So anyway... back on topic:

Do you feel comfortable in your own skin?

I'm reading this self help book (The title is right over there in the right column under the heading of "books I'm reading / have read this year") Did y'all notice that was there? It's something new I want to do to keep track of what I'm reading this year.

Anyhoo.... back to my question. I don't want the rhetorical answer or one that you think you should say; I want to know what you really think. I don't want the New Year's resolution answer of "I'm getting into shape..." 

Are you happy being you?

I'm gathering my thoughts about this for a future blog post and I just wanted to get some readers thoughts. 


January 21, 2013

Inauguration and Other Random Thoughts

It was a great Inauguration ceremony today! If you missed it I hope you can go back and watch snippets of it on YouTube or other news sources.This was the first time a President acknowledged that gays should be treated as equal as all Americans! It was a proud moment for us!
January 21, 2013
It was also great that the ceremony was held today on the day that the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King. You know, he delivered his "I have a dream..." speech on my 2nd birthday! There was one African American family in the small town were I grew up and they were just part of the community. I was really shocked when I got out into other areas of the country to hear and see the racism that still exists.

Thank the Gods that I have the day off.... after a working weekend I needed this day to get my regular weekend stuff done.

Speaking of Gods... I think that I want to clarify something: I don't have this image of the Gods like the Christians or ancient mythology beings. I guess my belief can kind of be described like: "a higher power" thing, for a lack of better words. I'm thinking it's really an acronym for: "Good Or Divine Something"(G.O.D.S.) There has always been this belief in something more out there in every culture in every time of the earth.

Anyway.... Have a great week y'all!

January 20, 2013

Weekend adventures

I met my friends down at the Sherwood Forest Faire campgrounds. We got an assigned clan campsite! It's ours for as long as we keep it up and in good shape and obey all the rules! (like no illegal drug use, no violence or fires left unattended, etc.)

We hauled logs and built this fence:
big-ass log fence
Got the sign hung:
Impaler crew sign
We cleared out land for extra parking:
across the road
We finished clearing out the land and my buddy Robert built this bench:
cedar bench
And we cleared out another area and built another fence this morning!
Other side of our campsite
Here is our campsite:
morning fog
Whew! I am tired! I think my whole body aches.
Oh... and I have a little bit of a hangover too... we are pirates after all!

How was your weekend?

January 17, 2013

TMI Thursday - Feel Better

I thought I would take part in Sean's TMI challenge on his blog: Just A Jeep Guy.
What makes you feel better when:
Monster's Ball
  • You are sick with the flu: When I have the flu I just want to sleep! I also drive myself crazy saying; "I hate being sick!" LOL! So, it's just best that I try to sleep.
  • You are in a bad mood: Honestly, I usually just want to be left alone. Just let me brood for a while by myself and then I'll eventually get over whatever put me in the bad mood in the first place.
  • You are alone: When I feel alone I start texting friends, just to say hello. It's a guarantee that someone will respond and I can have a good conversation with someone and not feel so alone in the world.
  • You are sad: I go for a walk outside. I draw energy from life outdoors! The fact that life goes on and continues is comforting and I start to feel better.
  • You are mad: Again, I feel better when I'm left alone. A good workout at the gym will help me get out some steam when I'm mad. It's better that I take frustration and anger out on inanimate objects!
  • You are frustrated: If y'all can't tell from my answers already... I'm an introvert! When I'm frustrated just let me tune out distractions and focus on solving whatever issue it is that is frustrating me. I'll get over it in a little while.
  • You are angry: If I'm angry I usually make a snide remark. Or two. Or more.... Sarcasm is not a good quality when one is angry so I try really hard not to continue past that. LOL
  • BONUS - You are horny: Again, I call or text a "friend" or I just take matters into my own hands... (if you know what I mean... and I think you do) LOL!

January 16, 2013

4 Yeas Ago - A re-post

This was my exact post dated January 16, 2009:

Here is part of a letter I mailed today:

Member Records Division, LDS Church
50 E North Temple, Room 1372
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-5310

To Whom It May Concern:

The LDS Church has taken a stand against the civil rights of the citizens of the United States by its support of Proposition 8 in California. I don’t agree with the LDS Church teaching that this is a moral issue; it is about the rights that all Americans should have to marry whomever they want.

Therefore, this letter is my formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it is effective immediately. I hereby withdraw my consent to being treated as a member and I withdraw my consent to being subject to church rules, policies, beliefs and 'discipline'. As I am no longer a member, I want my name permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the church....



I've been think about this for a long time and I finally decided to send the letter today. I have a lot of thoughts, feelings and emotions going on in my head at the moment, but I know this is what I need to do. I am not rejecting Jesus or all the Christian teachings, all this means is that I think there is more out there than the Mormon teaching I was brought up with. And I don't feel that the only way back to God is through Jesus. How else can you live in the 'world community' and not just the a 'western thinking' society.

I have said often that I don't consider myself Christian anymore, I am a seeker of truth and the Mormons, the Baptists or Catholics don't have it all. There is good in their teachings! There is much that helps people in their lives, helps them live better and have compassion for others. They are good faithful people. But there are also good faithful Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews and many others.

The other thought is that this essentially breaks the "sealing" ties with my family. If you believe in that. And to me, that is the key. I don't believe it. I love my mom and dad. They're always in my thoughts and heart. And they will always be a part of me. I don't see how a loving God would separate loved ones in an afterlife, again, if that's what you believe.

Also, a weight has been lifted in a sense. I no longer a member of an organized religion. I am free to worship God as I see fit, not as someone else tells me I should.

Wow. Heavy post and some heavy thoughts.

Here I am 4 years later! This was absolutely the right thing to do! I feel so much better about the direction I'm going in life.

January 14, 2013

Bears

If y'all haven't seen or watched this web.tv series called Where The Bears Are you really must see it!

I found it a few months after they started the show and I love it!! So much so that when I went online a few days after New Years to catch up on the latest episodes... I saw they had made a movie! YAY!

And they are selling t-shirts!
Bear!
Look what came in the mail last week!! The DVD has some un-censored parts too! That means there are some nudey parts!

** SPOILER ALERT**  OK, I was wanting to see some bear-naked bodies but seeing hot Toddy's bear-behind was great!

And now a guy from the show accepted my friend request on FB!  *swoon* OMG and clutch the pearls!

And no, I just didn't like his 'fan page' this is his real life facebook page! I need to go have some personal time with myself for a minute again.

Go watch the show... it's great!

January 13, 2013

Basic Needs

We all have basic human needs.

I believe the bare essential needs are subsistence and survival. Other basic needs we have are for affection, belonging and understanding. Sex and feeling close and connected to someone is part of our basic human needs. How we meet those needs have changed through history and the different cultures and areas of the world.

Humans have evolved a long way from acting on our base instincts. As societies and culture developed we accepted that we needed to act in a responsible manner with other beings. Villages we formed and people began to act together for the good of the group. Then laws and rules were made to keep peace. And from these rules leaders and enforcers emerged.

human needs
As more and more rules were added we moved to a place where some of our basic needs have been demonized. Religions have played a big part of this. People were very persuasive in claiming that they were acting and speaking for God. And it now seems that one of our basic needs of sex has been demonized. We were made to feel badly about our bodies and hormones and we kind of lost our own conscience by listening to religious leaders. Early religions also demonized people who were different; race, gender (women) and classes of people.

Just look at how complicated and busy life has become. We now have TVs and other media outlets telling us what we should want; how we should look; how we should act; how we aren't good enough or important unless we use their product or believe as they do.

This is one of the many reasons I identify with being a Pagan. I don't need to follow someone telling me what is right and wrong. I can figure that out for myself.

Sex is natural. Wanting to connect to others and feel love is a basic need. I respect others and I act as responsibly as I can. I try to live in this moment and there is noting wrong with fulfilling one of our basic needs. I don't think I'm being sleazy at all and who am I to try to tell someone else that their behavior is?

January 12, 2013

Remakes

One of the things I love about music is someone who takes a classic song and does a great remake of it. It's the old familiar music and lyrics, but with a new beat or a new sound.

A few years ago I heard the band Erasure play in a small venue in Dallas. They did the concert this way with their own songs... all remade with different beats and sounds. I wish I could find some of those songs online or on iTunes.

I recently heard this song remade by a favorite jazz artist of mine: Mario Biondi


Happy weekend everyone!

January 10, 2013

The New Macho

mankindproject.org photo
He cleans up after himself.
He cleans up the planet.
He is a role model for young men.
He is rigorously honest and fiercely optimistic.

He holds himself accountable.
He knows what he feels.
He knows how to cry and he lets it go.
He knows how to rage without hurting others.
He knows how to fear and how to keep moving.
He seeks self-mastery.

He's let go of childish shame.
He feels guilty when he's done something wrong.
He is kind to men, kind to women, kind to children.
He teaches others how to be kind.
He says he's sorry.

He stopped blaming women or his parents or men for his pain years ago.
He stopped letting his defenses ruin his relationships.
He stopped letting his penis run his life.
He has enough self respect to tell the truth.
He creates intimacy and trust with his actions.
He has men that he trusts and that he turns to for support.
He knows how to roll with it.
He knows how to make it happen.
He is disciplined when he needs to be.
He is flexible when he needs to be.
He knows how to listen from the core of his being.

He's not afraid to get dirty.
He's ready to confront his own limitations.
He has high expectations for himself and for those he connects with.
He looks for ways to serve others.
He knows he is an individual.
He knows that we are all one.
He knows he is an animal and a part of nature.
He knows his spirit and his connection to something greater.

He knows future generations are watching his actions.
He builds communities where people are respected and valued.
He takes responsibility for himself.
In times of need, he will be his brother’s keeper.

He knows his higher purpose.
He loves with fierceness.
He laughs with abandon, because he gets the joke.


This is a picture of mature masculine, of healthy masculinity - it is one redefinition of masculinity for the 21st century. By no means is this list complete. You are welcome to come and add your gifts to this community. mankindproject.org
©2010 Boysen Hodgson. Used with permission.

January 9, 2013

Our Connections

Have y'all ever thought about the people and things we are connected to in our lives? And not just our connections to family or a spouse or friends. And not just about our connection to others through the internet either.

We are connected to everyone we meet. Our coworkers, people we walk by on our way to work, the person that rings up our groceries at the store, the sales clerk we buy clothes from, the person on the phone with us in India trying to assist us with our phone bill... there are endless connections we make every day. But we're also connected to our neighbors, our neighborhood, our cities and our country and the world.

There is a TV show called Touched. "We are all interconnected. Our lives are invisibly tied to those whose destinies touch ours." ~show producers
I love the concept of this show. It made me think that we don't realize that the things we do could affect someone and that those affects could be felt around the world.
There are other ways we are connected to each other too. It's really amazing to think about; and most of these connections are just random! I rarely believe that things 'happen for a reason'... I think just random things happen and we need to make the most of it and learn and grow from the people around us.

We as bloggers are all connected. There is a great group of people that I know now from writing this blog that I would have never known before. I think that is amazing... It kind of boggles the mind, doesn't it, to realize that we are all connected. No one is insignificant... we are all essential!

January 8, 2013

Out! Update

I thought I'd write an update to yesterday's post. I had some interesting responses to this FB post.

One cousin who I've gotten to know over the last year or so asked how I resigned because she wants to also! I sent her the link to www.mormonnomore.com. :-)

One person who commented was an old high school teacher. She said I didn't have a need to "resign" and posted a link to a Mormon site about gays. Click here if you really want to read it. I skimmed the site and dis-agree with what it says!

Basically I'm not gay, it's just an evil "same-sex attraction". As long as I never act on the attraction I have not sinned. This is so wrong on so many levels!

So, I can be gay all I want but I can never have a loving long term relationship with someone I could connect to on an emotional or hormonal level. I would need to be 100% celibate and have to sit in meetings feeling like a sinner because of my God-given hormones and I would have to berate myself for feeling them. I would have to listen to condescending people talk about this being a "trial" and how I could overcome it if only I prayed enough.

Then I would have to hold out hope that in the afterlife, after death, that I would magically change and be rewarded for never acting on this evil force and I would be rewarded with a faithful loving woman for all eternity!

That is soooo weird to me now! I would much rather live in the moment and enjoy each second of my life right now.

Oh... and I have to remember that this high school teacher, in a school of 200 students where everybody knew everyone's business, stood by and said nothing and did nothing while I was being bullied.

January 7, 2013

Out!

Well.... I did it! I'm out on Facebook as being a former-Mormon! It's FBO!
(FaceBook Official) LOL!

I'll post it again on my "anniversary" of resigning from the Mormon church on the date I dated and signed my letter to them on 1/16/09.
keep calm!

I've wanted to do this for a while now... I didn't want to create any family tension. But when one of my right-wing cousins started posting tea-party rhetoric on her page I added a comment of what I thought. So far she is the only one of my family that has commented on my 'announcement'. She said: The "term is new" to her... so I added a clarifying comment that 'resigning' is the same as asking for my name to be removed from the church records.

So why resign and not just become 100% inactive? It's about making a point.

I am no longer a christian so why would I be listed on the records of a church who's name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? (that's the full name of the church; LDS or Mormon are only nick-names).

So why is this a big deal to me? Well, my Mormon family believes that we are all sealed together for this life and all eternity. I am essentially breaking that bond. My family fully believes that, so this may be traumatic for them.

But it's not for me! :)

I will post this again on the 16th... just in case they missed this post today! I'll let y'all know if there is any more reaction from the fam.

January 6, 2013

Discovering Downtown Dallas

Downtown Dallas is surrounded on all sides by freeways. To the south is I30 running east and west. To the west is I35 running north and south. To the east is the end of I45 coming north from Houston before it tuns into highway 75 heading north to Richardson and Plano. At the north end of Dallas there is a short freeway called Woodall Rodgers. It's only a few miles long and it joins I35 to I45. In the center of all four of these freeways is downtown Dallas.

I work in the Art District in the northeast side of downtown and [major bank] helped sponsor the building of new park in the area. Just north of downtown across Woodall Rodgers is the area called Uptown and the city wanted to join the two.

Woodall Rodgers is below street level so the city came up with a plan to build a park over the freeway. They basically built a deck over the road and turned the freeway into a tunnel.

The park was finished in October and it's close enough to walk there during my lunch hour (if it's not freezing cold outside). Here is their website.

Here are some pictures I've taken in the park:


you can see the roadway ahead

I think it's great that the city did this! It should be a great gathering site for the people in the city in years to come. It is close to several museums, galleries and the opera and symphony houses.

January 3, 2013

A Must Post Day

Come on... It's 1/3/13 today! I number geek like me has to post something today!

I realized today that I have another addiction. It's not a bad one... and one that probably most people don't mind at all.
mint leaves

I love mint!

I love a fresh feeling mouth after brushing my teeth with a mint toothpaste. I tried the cinnamon flavored ones and I was not a fan.

I also have mints in my vehicle and at my desk at work. On the weekend I love to put peppermint extract in my coffee and I love the peppermint flavored creamers they have at the end of the year.

I even have mint plants that grow wild near my front door. On my way to or from work I'll often bend down and pluck a leaf to chew on.

I love a mint julep and mojito too!

In fact the taste of mint kind of settle my stomach if I start feeling a little queasy!

In fact... after writing this I think I'll go gargle and get a minty fresh feel in my mouth before I head to bed.

G'nite ya'll!

January 2, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

I'm not a big fan of making of lists of things I want to do during the year. I often have a theme or a new motto that I want to live by in the new year. Sort of like a new focus in life.

How many of you can remember what your resolutions were last year? How did you do? I remember because of my blog! And I hang my head in shame.

list
OK, so I didn't do so well. I was more confident, but I could have been more complimentary and positive with friends and coworkers and I did very little to "pay it forward".

So what can I resolve to do in 2013? How can I improve my life? I once shared my resolutions with a friend; that I was going to be more kind and compassionate. He laughed and told me that I was already the most kind and compassionate person he knew! So I've learned that you have to put yourself out there... go beyond your comfort zone. It would be easy to have a resolution or theme to 'live more in the moment'... but I feel I am already doing that!

So... here I go. I resolve to: spend more time with friends or someone who may need a friend. I resolve to find something I can do at least once a month that embraces the theme of "pay it forward". I need to make more random acts of kindness by recognizing a moment when it is most needed and acting on it, not walking away.

Does that sound familiar? Well, maybe this year I'll do it!

What are your New Year's Resolutions?

January 1, 2013

January Tarot

The Nine of Wands
1.1.13

























This month I'll feel like a battle of some sorts has just ended... but I'll have one final struggle; an inner struggle. I need to come to terms with where I am and a difficult situation.

This card also tells me to keep going... no matter what!

Happy New Year Stuff

I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year's Eve! I was not in a mood to deal with driving and traffic and cops out on the road... and drunk drivers! So I lit a nice fire in the fireplace and settled in for the night with some Magners Irish Cider!

I've been thinking of holiday traditions. Growing up in the small town in Utah we never really thought about drunk drivers on New Year's Eve even though our small town of 2000 people had 3 bars! Our family tradition was to save one present under the Christmas tree, a family gift of a new board game, to open on New Year's Day.

On my mission in New Zealand I learned of some great New Year's traditions. It was considered lucky if the first person to come visit you was dark haired. It was also tradition to bring a piece of coal and a dime with you when visiting someone to wish them plenty or warmth and wealth for the new year.

When I moved to the south I learned new traditions for New Years. One is eating black eyed peas for lunch or dinner.

For most adults now New Year's Day is "hangover" day and a day to watch the Rose Parade and endless football games.

I like to give my blog a new look at the beginning of the year. What do y'all think?

What are some of the New Year's traditions you know of or celebrate?
(BTW Anne Marie... I've been to the Mummer's Parade in Philly before... very fun!)