In the News

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This week has been busy with news and every one of them teaches a lesson for all of us.

PaulaDeen2012 Celebrity chef, cooking show host, restaurateur, and author, Paula Deen, has found herself right in the middle of some big time controversy for racial slurs that she admitted to using decades ago.  I won’t rehash what’s happening (that’s what we have Google for).  I think the most obvious lesson to take from this is that no matter how much you change your life, no matter what you try to fix and make better, your past will always haunt you.  It doesn’t matter how much money you have, how famous you are — it will always come back.   Whatever you have sown, you will reap.  It will all catch up to you.  I’m not saying don’t have a past — EVERYONE has a past.  EVERYONE has skeletons.  What I’ve learned from Deen is that nothing I do will cover it up.  It will always find a way to come out.   The other thing I learned from this situation is that people will never forget your past.  Never.   There are always going to be people who will say “I remember when you were like this, you did this, or you said this…”  There will always be people who will lord it over you because reminding you of your past mistakes makes them feel better.   When you’re successful or doing good things, someone has to be the party pooper.   Be prepared for that.  Don’t expect everyone to be in your corner.  Because 9 times out of 10, there is someone sitting there writing down all the things you used to be/do/say and ready to pull that list out when it suits them the most.

A 23-year old rising star on the New England Patriots has also found himself in hot water.  This, though, url-213could cost him his freedom.   Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with murder on Wednesday.  I don’t know what’s more sad: the fact that a guy is dead, the fact that a GUN has killed someone AGAIN, or the fact that this kid who was just offered $40 MILLION dollars felt so invincible that killing someone was so EASY to do.  I can get on my “gun” soapbox, but where will that bring any of us?  People will never get it.  It’s so easy to say that guns are safe, but when someone in THEIR family dies from a gun, they’ll never get it.   I’m sad that this guy who was shot, whatever his part in this was, has died.  He wasn’t “just” a guy — he was somebody’s son, brother, father, friend.  I’m disgusted that this kid, Hernandez, has an 8-month old baby who will grow up to know that her father killed someone all because he was “mad”.  She’ll grow up without a father figure in her life. This story just reminds us all the repercussions that ONE choice — ONE LITTLE CHOICE— can have on everyone around you.

p8-4A historic decision was made by the Supreme Court this week.  The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law that barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, was found to be unconstitutional. I will warn you now:  I am THRILLED about this decision.  I am a Christian who loves God and has dreams of serving Him for the rest of my days.  I also have friends that are gay and love them unconditionally.  I also believe that they should have the same rights as every other person in this world.   People are so afraid of anything that is DIFFERENT.  If it doesn’t look, sound, or feel like everything else around them, then they don’t want anything to do with it.   I will never understand why people believe that being gay was a choice.  When I hear of the pain and struggles, emotionally/mentally/spiritually, that my friends go through dealing with being gay, I can’t imagine someone CHOOSING this.   Lord knows if I had a CHOICE, being East Indian wouldn’t be my first choice. But, no matter, congratulations to all my friends who can now have the same rights as the straightees.  Maybe you’ll be better at marriage than the rest of us!

Alec Baldwin made headlines this week.  He and his wife attended the funeral of Sopranos’ star James alec-baldwin-600Gandolfini (RIP).  Allegedly, while in attendance, his wife’s twitter was being updated throughout the funeral.  A writer from Mail Online wrote an article about it and then Alec lost his shizznat.   He went on this huge twitter rampage where he called the guy a “queen” and went on to threaten this guy.   Listen, I am an Alec Baldwin fan.  His comedic timing is incredible and the fact that he rarely breaks character is pretty impressive. He’s spot on.  But the dude needs to CHILLAX.  He is SO busy trying to fight EVERY PAPARAZZI and EVERY GOSSIP COLUMNIST it’s just exhausting — and I’m just READING about it.   Dude, you can’t win. You’re just giving them more ammo.  Now, not only have you given them more reason to write about you, you’ve offended the gays.  They were having a good week, too!  I get that you want to defend your wife’s integrity.   Why wouldn’t you just be mature and come out with a statement explaining WHY her Twitter was being updated?  Wouldn’t that be more logical?    Alec, bud, take it from someone who has learned the hard way — don’t lose your cool over people and things that aren’t worth your time.  You’re married. You’re about to have a baby.  You just buried a friend.   Focus on what you have.  Not what people are saying about you.  Welcome to the world of celebrity.  You’d think you’d have learned that when you were with what’s-her-name (Kim Basinger).

That’s all for this week, folks!

Here’s hoping next week is full of more life lessons 🙂

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Don’t Ignore the Signs.

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One of the important things I try to teach my 2nd graders (or any graders) in Math is that they always have to pay attention to the signs.  When we’re working on addition or subtraction, they HAVE to look at the signs first.  Is it a plus sign or a minus sign?  85% of the time the kids will get over-confident when they’re taking a quiz or a test and if it has a + sign or a – sign, they will always do the opposite.  I try to make connections by using the example of when adults drive.  They have to pay attention to speed limit signs, signal lights, exit signs, etc.  They can’t just drive wherever and however they want.   They have to watch the signs.

Isn’t that true for all of us for life in general? People deal with signs so differently.  Some decide they’re going to just sit and wait for the signs. They’re always EXPECTING something to happen, good or bad, so they just decide that instead of actually being PROACTIVE to either prepare or prevent that something to happen, they just pop a squat and watch for the sign.  Lots of Christians are guilty of that.  Every natural disaster, every senseless act of violence, you start hearing people say, “These are  signs of the end times….”.   My question is, why are you so busy watching and waiting for the signs, shouldn’t you be preparing for the end times?  Shouldn’t you be living your life as a testimony and be of service to those in need, spreading the love of Christ?  Quit waiting for the signs and DO something!

Then you have people who ignore the signs.  In my opinion, these are the worst.   These people who choose to live in ignorance and believe that everything is fine. As long as it hasn’t blown up in their face, then it doesn’t exist.   In my opinion, these kind of people are the most dangerous.   How can you live with yourself if things have been brought to your attention and yet you choose to deny that it is happening?  I think of people who know someone who is being abused.  You see it, you feel it, you know it….the signs are all there, yet you choose to ignore it and then it’s too late.  You can’t ignore what’s right in front of you.  You just can’t.  You can’t sweep it under the rug and hope that it resolves itself.

Ignorance is not bliss.  Ignorance is dangerous.

I refuse to live in ignorance.  I refuse to ignore the signs — whether it has to do with my health, my spiritual life, or any other aspect.  I refuse to ignore the signs.

Comfort Zones

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I have one year.

That’s the goal I have set for myself in terms of changing things and becoming more proactive about what’s happening in my life.  To keep myself accountable, here’s one of my goals:

I want to have met new, non-Indian (specifically people within my small community) people.

There was an interesting fact that I just uncovered this past weekend while I was talking with some friends.

When my parents had my sister, they were not around (in other words, bombarded) by the Indian community.  Sure, they had some Indian families and cousins around, but it was nothing like it is now.  They encouraged my sister to be friends with kids outside of the Indian community, and go to their houses to hang out.  She grew up with a healthy upbringing of becoming friends with other people, beside just Indians.

Then, my parents moved here.

They moved here for the sole purpose to be around more Indians.

And, boy, did they get that.

Currently, in my parent’s housing edition alone, there are at approximately 10-15 families within walking distance.   2 of which live directly across the street from them.  My cousins live two streets away, while three other families live in a neighborhood across the street.

Yeah.  So, you can imagine how differently I was brought up.

I grew up thinking that I should ONLY be friends with Indians.  When I was young, I was allowed to play with my neighborhood friends, but to go to their house?  Hell no.   Sleepovers?  Not unless they were our cousins or my Indian best friend from church.   All my life I carried that with me.   So while my sister has easily made friends outside of the community, and struggled to find her place within the Indian community, I have easily made friends with the Indian community and struggled to make friends outside of it.  Even in college, I lived with the aforementioned Indian bff, hung out with Indians, went to church with Indians, and like Indian boys.   It wasn’t until I entered the workforce was I able to befriend people outside of the Indian community.  Granted, I had friends in college and high school, that was all good and well, but none of whom I could really call lifelong friends.  My sister has allowed me to tag along with some of her friendships that she’s made, but how long can that go on?  I feel like I’m Ramona while she’s Beezus and all her friends are Henry Huggins. Not that she, or her friends, have made me feel that way.  They’ve been nothing but kind and open towards me.   But I think I need to start standing on my own.

Now that I’m older, I feel like I’m drowning in Indian people. Not that they’re all bad, please don’t think that.  I know the more you read my blog, the more you’ll think that I hate my culture or hate being Indian, which both couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I am, in fact, VERY proud of my culture and VERY proud of being an East Indian woman.  But, I’ve grown up in this smaller subculture of Indians all my life and the people within this community can be very…..stifling. Suffocating?  Overbearing?   Cliquey?  Judgmental? …. all of the above.

So I’m forcing myself to get out of it.    images

One way I’m doing that is by joining a Book Club here in the city.   I tried to figure out how I could meet people and make friends — and after beating my head, refusing to befriend coworkers (that’s a whole ‘nother soapbox), and even GOOGLING it (yea, I sure did), I finally came across a meetup of avid readers.   So in a couple of weeks, I’ll be meeting up with random women to discuss a book (that I still need to finish).

I’m nervous.  I’m uncomfortable.  I’m worried.  I’m really anxious.  But, I need to do this.  I have to try.  I can’t keep whining about not having friends and not having opportunities to meet new people if I don’t put myself out there.

What’s the worse that could happen?  I don’t meet anyone interesting?  I don’t like the book club?   At least I can’t say I never tried.  Trust me, since RSVP’ing to the meetup, I’ve tried to come up with several excuses about getting out.  But if I keep doing that, I’ll never do it.  I don’t want to be here, six months from now, making excuses about my life.

My Heart Will Trust

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This was recorded almost 7 years ago.  I recorded my sister and I singing this song and posted it on youtube.  Then, our friend, Donny, whilst in South Carolina listened to it and recorded himself singing high harmony to our video.   And this is the result.   I’m melody, sister is low harmony, Donny is high harmony.  Hope you enjoy.

The Garbage Disposal

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I don’t consider myself a “handy” person.  I am tech savvy.  I am fond of organizing.  I am really good at making lists and schedules. But fixing things?  Negative.  So when our garbage disposal broke down months ago, I wasn’t too pleased.  I’ve lived in this house for 4 years and haven’t needed real maintenance, by the grace of God.  I needed a plumber once, 2 or 3 years ago, to replace a bathtub faucet.  Our air conditioner stopped working (due to dirt that had accumulated in 4 years) so we had a guy come check that out.  But for the most part, we haven’t needed much repairs DoubleSinkDrainaround here.  Thank God.   But then this dumb garbage disposal stopped working.

First, it got something stuck in there and made this horrible grinding noise.  So we just quit using it.   Then, suddenly it decided to start working again.  It was a Christmas miracle!  But, a couple of weeks later, it totally burned out.  It was over and done. So, we knew we would have to call someone to come fix it.  Who to call?  My dad has this disease of calling the most random, the most cheap, repairmen.  I’m not saying spend $$$ to fix something, but please don’t call some guy who has absolutely no training or is by no means qualified to run a business, let alone repair something.  Sorry, I need someone a little more reputable because I don’t have the luxury of spending money every few weeks because he didn’t fix it right the first time.

So, I did a FB call and asked my friends to give me some names.  Instead of names, though, they told me I could fix it myself.

Clearly, they just met me yesterday.

Me?  Fix a garbage disposal?  When did everyone become such comedians?

Then a friend messaged me and asked me what’s wrong and gave me some suggestions on what I could do, if I wanted to try to fix it on my own.

I threw the idea around for a little bit.  One thing I learned about in California was that I needed to become more self-sufficient.  Somehow, I’ve allowed myself to become reliant, even though I so desperately want to be my own.   So I decided, I’m going to bite the bullet and do it. I am going to fix the garbage disposal.

And that’s exactly what I did!

I fixed it!  I fixed the garbage disposal.  I know that’s not a big deal to some of you, but for me that’s a red-letter day in my book. It just proved to me that I COULD take care of myself.  This little thing that really isn’t that hard to fix, I fixed it.  This fear that I have that I need HELP to do things, even the most measly tasks, I am starting to realize that it was just something I created in myself.  Something that was only perpetuated by my environment.

It may be just a garbage disposal to you.  But to me, it’s just a small pit-stop on the road to discover who I really am and what I can REALLY do.

Khaled Hosseini, _And the Mountains Echoed_

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An excerpt from this AMAZING book that I just finished.  I’ve never read a novel where I highlighted lines and had to stop because of something written that took my breath away.  Beautiful story.  Beautifully written.   This is from a character named Pari who never left home, to take care of her parents, and how her parents’ fear of letting her go stifled her.   I related so much to Pari and read and RE-read this part because I felt like she was me.

“…how afraid I am to be free despite my frequent desire for it. Afraid of what will happen to me, what I will do with myself…All my life, I have lived like an aquarium fish in the safety of a glass tank, behind a barrier as impenetrable as it has been transparent. I have been free to observe the glimmering world on the other side, to picture myself in it, if I like. …. I think I have grown accustomed to the glass and am terrified that when it breaks, when I am alone, I will spill out into the wide open unknown and flop around, helpless, lost, gasping for breath.” — Khaled Hosseini, _And the Mountains Echoed_

California Dreams and Revelations.

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Last night I returned from a week-long vacation in California with my sister. We spent the first 3 days in Anaheim, visiting Disneyland and then spent the rest of our time in lovely South Pasadena.  I made lots of observations and came to lots of resolutions for myself, some of which I will share here.   If you are from California, please do not get offended as I loved it there. The weather was total perfection (well, it was while I was there:)).  I could definitely do without the ridiculous traffic and, just an observation, people in Oklahoma are a lot nicer and friendlier.   I even noticed that on the plane back to OKC.  They were more willing to talk to others and joke around.  But to/from Cali? Not so much.

Okay, here goes the things I learned/observed while I stayed in Cali….

  1. I have no love in my heart for young people aged 15-24.  They’re loud, obnoxious, and can be rude.  They’re overdramatic, selfish, and have no regard for others.  Yes, I was probably all of those things and more when I was this age.  I am not denying it.  What I am saying is that I don’t like that age. I know that this is a large age group AND I also know that it’s unfair because I know many people who are 21-24 years old who are none of those things.   But for the most part, they are.  And I don’t like them.   So when my kids are in this time frame, I will be living in a cabin in the woods.
  2. Disneyworld > Disneyland.   Disneyland may be the original one, but it’s not the family friendly place I was expecting it to be.  When you land in Orlando, you FEEL the excitement of Disney.  There are posters, there are tour guides, there are buses.  When you get on the Disney buses, Disney music or movies are played. Streets are lined with posters of Disney.  Even the tree shrubs and bushes are shaped in mouse ears.   You get to the hotel and you can feel it in the air.   The happiness.  The excitement.   When we went to Orlando NOTHING stopped us from going when the park opened at 7am and staying until it closed at 11pm.   Because we didn’t want to miss a THING.   Disneyland?  Not so much.  No posters. No music.  No excitement.   I wasn’t thrilled about it.
  3. If there was any doubt, I am officially a crotchety old woman.  I had no patience for those gosh-darned kids and the ridiculous lines.  I got irritated with the stupid >not naming a specific subgroup of people< who would stand in these lines and not fill the space ahead of them. So instead of moving up, they’d just stand around and let the gap get bigger–and bigger.   There was even one time where people wouldn’t fill it because they didn’t want to stand in the sun, they wanted to stay under the umbrella that was giving some shade.   Meanwhile, there are other people who are behind them and all the way towards the end who have been in the sun longer than they have and needed shade.  I mean, it’s just stupid!
  4. I have to get out of Oklahoma.  Yesterday.
  5. You can take the girl out of the small-town, but you can’t take the small-town out of the girl.  I really thought I could move to California, even South Pasadena.  But I don’t think I can.  I loved the weather.  And I loved that there are so many things to do, lots of which we didn’t even get to do.   But I don’t think I’d fit there.   I like the small-town kind of thing.   I don’t like that I will have to give an extra hour to a trip just because the traffic on the highway is at a stand-still for NO reason.   But, I like that you can walk around to different places.   I like the city at night when people are out and about, eating at restaurants, shopping at stores.  So, I have to cross California off the list and start my search for another place to live.  Any suggestions?
  6. I have a lot to fix.  A lot more than I realized.  A resounding theme I heard a lot in myself was, “If I don’t like me, or want me, or accept me, then how will anyone else?”
  7. No matter who you are, how old you are, where you are, or how independent you portray yourself to be — EVERYONE is seeking validation. “Do you see me?  Can you hear me?” (Oprah) I saw so many people who would do anything for it.  Dress too provocatively at a theme park for families, no less.  Alter personalities when they get the slightest attention from the opposite sex.  They’re (including me) seek validation from someONE else.  I saw myself in certain people I observed.   I suddenly realized how desperate I looked, how hard I was trying to be something I’m not, and how empty I really felt inside.  At one point I even heard myself thinking, “Please see me. Please see me.”  All so I could FEEL better about myself.
  8. I need to be my own.  I have to cut the cord.  And as much as I want to say that others are holding me here, I have to admit that I am holding on to them, too.  It’s time to let go.