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Friday, December 31, 2004
Cherish everything 
Life is sweeter than you realize... so realize it.


With all the news of the tragedy in Asia, I've just been super sensitive to all the good things in my life. I find just drinking water seems so precious, because I know there are people who are struggling to find it. Every time I open my door, I say "thank you" to the warmth and old furniture; even the dust doesn't seem so bad right now.

I'm not one to make resolutions, but if there's one thing I plan to commit to in 2005 is this:
Take nothing for granted
Tonight I sent money to Action Against Hunger. It says one family can be helped with my donation. It's a start.

Other places to help (thanks to Google):

7:14 PM

Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Say it still... 
Sometimes what you have to say is inappropriate at the moment; but if it's important enough, it's worth saving for later.


With the devastation left behind from the tsunami, it seemed so trivial to talk about getting a magnetic poetry board for Christmas. Still my mind wandered over the words I put together; which seem somehow a little relevant to the times as well...
Know everything, but in moderation...

Do not speak 'if', but 'how'

Paradise is in your solitary heart...

Remember, a drip, a puddle and the sea are only as tiny as they think.

Live life like you love it.... play, imagine, celebrate dance, sing, teach...

OK, I think I will.

7:31 PM

Sunday, December 26, 2004
Instead of rushing around for sales in the aftermath of Christmas specials, think about those who struggle in the aftermath of this morning's Tsunami. That sweater is not nearly as important as making a difference in time of need.

Show the true meaning of giving this holiday season, donate to the American Red Cross International Relief Fund now... while you're thinking about it.

2:59 PM

Saturday, December 25, 2004
Of footnotes and fruitcakes... 
Family holidays are always interesting occasions, filled with candles and cookies and cheer; where songs are sung, and a lot of words go unspoken...


I went to a friend's family holiday. I've know everyone for a looooong time, so I know a lot of the family gossip history... so it's interesting to watch the corner-eyed glances, the whispered conversations and quick snides that bely the underlying footnotes of their lives.

The stories are best seen in the children, who try to consciously play games while unconsciously dealing with the games their parents have been playing for years.

But I don't want to talk about the past, but rather the future. The lesson I saw today was the power of children's dreams. It's important to teach them good value and the skills they'll need later in life, but it's equally important to let them find their own way; to pursue their own dreams. If you force them to live your dreams, they'll resent it... and you; and eventually grow into distant strangers who do their own thing anyway.

If you see the glances and the comments at your own party, watch what you say and do. The children are watching.

10:38 PM

Friday, December 24, 2004
Lost a gift... 
Sometimes it's not what you get, but what you lose, that's the gift.


OK, you can just call me crazy now; this way you won't have to hate me when you finish reading this. I stepped on the scale this morning to discover that I've lost 6 pounds. Yes, I changed my diet; no, it wasn't a resolution. Yes, I intend to continue losing through the holidays... and yeah, ok, maybe I am crazy.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to go back on the only thing that worked for me in the past. It is lower in carbs, but not crazy like the popular diets. Why now and not after the holidays? Because I'm not a slave to resolutions. Resolutions have built in escape clauses (not to be confused with Santa Clauses :-). By February, the gyms are no longer stuffed and the pants are... no thanks.

I think I also just got tired of fighting with food. I redirected as much will power as I could and went back on this plan.

Only fruit before noon
Any fruit, as much fruit as you want (or can stand). I've been eating apples, pears, grapes and oranges... but you can have whatever you want. No other food allowed. Nope. Nada. You can drink fruit juice or water... heck, even coffee sometimes. Just no other food.

Never mix starch and proteins
Starches and proteins have different digestive needs. Mixing them slows down digestion and can make you tired, bloated and fat. Meat with veggies, good! A veggie sandwich or a chicken salad, great! Spaghetti and meatballs? fahgettaboutit!

I also try to go for lower carb breads like flatbread, pita or tortillas.

Try to make 70% of your meals vegetarian
That means add the green salad and veggies folks! You could also just have an all veggie lunch or dinner if you don't want to mix.

Cheat... but in moderation
Yes, one cookie. No, one box of cookies. Chocolate has no carbs... is that just amazing???

Stop when your less-than-stuffed
When the hunger goes away, stop. If you don't finish your plate, save it for later. Having half a lunch at noon and half a lunch at 3 pm is actually be better for you than a full lunch... so don't force it.

Get a Nu-Wave oven
No, I don't get commission on these. I just have one and love it! I just throw food into it, add seasoning, punch in the time and walk away. Just moments ago I put in all these veggies, added teriyaki sauce and seasoning, checked emails, came back 10 minutes later to turn everything over and add more sauce and left for another 10.

This was my lunch
(click to enlarge)


1:32 PM

Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Square pegs... 
If it doesn't fit, it's time to quit.


I've been talking to a couple of friends lately, all of whom have been going through some rough times at work. Their stories are very similar to each other, and oh-so-familiar to mine. The advice I give them comes from more experience than I care to remember.

They're just now starting to "see the light" and it's dark.

For me, I remember the turning point. That's because it can all be tied back to the arrival of one person into the department. I didn't know it then, but it was the beginning of the end.

As time went on, and things started to turn against me, I fought harder and harder and success slipped through my fingertips. New management came in and didn't see the success of the past. They made up their own minds and judged accordingly. Their decisions added nails to the coffin that was my career. I saw it happening, but was at a loss to what to do to stop it. I kept telling myself, and my team, that "they just don't get us"... as if somehow it was their fault and not our own. I knew we had talent and potential, but did that really matter? We just no longer fit into their plans. That didn't make us wrong; but it was never going to make us right either.

Finally, one day, the road came to an end for me. I knew it; maybe management still didn't see it, but I did. The roads ahead were no longer paved; the path was no longer invited.

Then opportunity struck... and I took it.

Now I live a life 180 degree away. I'm supported and I have a future full of growth! It wasn't an easy decision, but it was the right one. It wasn't giving up, but it did mean quitting. (Lucky for me it's with the same company, cause it keeps all those benefits, salary, etc while making an easy transition).

So as I stood in the parking lot tonight, trying to stay warm in the chilly night air, I told numerous stories of people who went through the same thing -- a manager that was near complete failure, who moved and quickly grew the new department to 40 people; the guy whose career was damaged when his boss lied on his performance review, who left and grew to become a manager who told the truth; and of course my own story. My tired old story... the one with the tales of woe...

...the one with the happy ending.

9:23 PM

Monday, December 20, 2004
Give a little 
Giving in is not giving up...


Yesterday I started this fit of sneezing and blamed allergies. By evening my throat hurt and I had a fever. I had a feeling I'd not be going into work today.

Being a slow week right before a holiday, and having stored up 100 hours of sick time, didn't exactly encourage me to jump out of bed either.

I decided to just give in. With emails and rescheduled appointments behind me, I hunkered down with a ton of pillows and blankets and just put myself on rest leave.


It was just what I needed. Here it is 12 hours later (no I didn't sleep THAT much, lovely thought that it is) and I'm already feeling better.

We'll see how I feel with 92 hours of sick time tomorrow...

7:44 PM

Sunday, December 19, 2004
Well I coulda told you that... 
Every once in a while, indulge in some silliness...


(Was surfing through BlogExplosion, and landed on Teddy-risation to find this...)

Just in time for the holidays...

You Are a Fruitcake!

You taste like nothing else in this world. And get ready, you're about to get tossed!

8:42 AM

Saturday, December 18, 2004
Reflection - Part 2 
You can't measure a journey by the last few steps you took, but rather how far you've come from the start.


This is the second half of the meme I started the other day:

21. Did you get to spend time with loved ones in 2004?
Yes, family and friends on many different coasts. It's been a blessing.

22. Did you fall in love in 2004?
I fall in love with people, places and things on a daily basis... not necessarily in that order.

23. How many one-night stands?
I have one night stand, with a lamp and my alarm clock on it... oh, what was the question?

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Ellen, cause she makes me laugh... and once a group and I played hooky and went to see a taping (shhhh ;-P)

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't like to hate, though I lost more respect for someone than the little I had the year before.

26. What was the best book you read?
The Spiritual Side of Management

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Fantasia, from American Idol. I didn't watch the show religiously, but I knew she'd win from the very beginning. I'll admit I liked the show... because it was the only reality series that focused on people reaching their dreams instead of drsatically changing themselves or backstabbing one another. It had Hope.

28. What did you want and get?
A life better than the one I started the year with.

29. What did you not want that you got anyway?
The flu.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Open Water. Left me shaking for days.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Went to Central Park in NYC with my parents, brother and his wife. It was a wonderful time together. I turned 43 (gulp)

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Getting more than two out of six numbers right.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
Stuff I shouldn't have bought meets stuff I threw away years ago.

34. What kept you sane?
The voices in my head.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Arnold. Not that I believe in all his politics, but just the fact that he's come this far and seems to be actually doing something for the state... that's just impressive.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
A local issue about our new Town Center. I had strong opinions and voiced them.

37. Who did you miss?
There's some friends and family on both coasts that I haven't gotten a chance to see this whole year. I need my annual fix!

38. Who was the best new person you met?I've met some wonderful people through their blogs... and some offline too. They're making my life sweeter just knowing them.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:
Don't give up on people... especially yourself.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Since I mentioned Fantasia earlier, I figured the "I believe" lyrics will do:
I believe in the impossible
If I reach deep within my heart
Overcome any obstacle
Won't let this dream fall apart
See I strive to be the very best
Shine my light for all to see
Cause anything is possible
When you believe yeah

11:10 PM

Thursday, December 16, 2004
The best med... 
Giggle, guffaw, chuckle, hee-haw, chortle, teehee... or laugh. It doesn't matter what you call it. Just do it often.


Yesterday, a coworker came up to me and thanked me for making her laugh. Today one of my old coworkers told me that she doesn't laugh all that much anymore, saying
"You're funny even when you don't know it
I think that was a compliment...

The other day someone heard me on an audio track and said that the Smurf music should be playing behind me (I'm still debating on the whether THAT was a compliment... hmmmm).

It just makes me think about how important humor is. It doesn't just "lighten" the mood; it causes a whole big change in your body... blood pressure lowers, endorphins get released... you actually do feel better when you laugh. And it builds relationships between people. Humor is attractive... and it's much cheaper than surgery.

People used to laugh at me when I was little. When it's your aunt and uncle from Levittown, that's great. When it's bullies at school, that's another matter. I won't go into the trial and traumas of grade school here; but I will say "thank you" for those tough times. I learned to laugh. I learned to make others laugh.

And that makes all the difference in the world.

7:35 PM

Monday, December 13, 2004
You can't measure a journey by the last few steps you took, but rather how far you've come from the start.


As the year winds down, it is a good time to reflect back and make a summary of the year's accomplishments. While this isn't exactly an inventory, it's a start. This is the first half of a meme I got from Crystal. Thanks babe!

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
Owned a bird. He's adopted. His name is "Shredder."

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I resolved to exercise and eat right, and I kept that. They're not resolutions, but evolutions in my being... that's what I make.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin had a baby boy, "Diego."

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My friend's father recently went. I was fairly close to him and the family.

5. What countries did you visit?
I didn't leave the country this year, but travelled four times to other states.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
Finished, published books.

7. What date from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July 11. My birthday. I went to Central Park with my parents, brother and sister-in-law. I've never been with all of them on my birthday, ever.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
My new job, doing video production.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Having not made the last job the best it could have been.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I suppose colds and pink eye count, but not enough to worry about.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Pants a size smaller.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
A co-worker, who made a promise that showed he was a man of character.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
BigBigBoss, who showed no support and bureaucrated my career to a pulp.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills, bills, bills... but paying off all old debt (ahhhhh!)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The drive heading to my first day of the new job. It had the most hope.

16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
"Who's sorry now" by Connie Francis... old song I know... but it was the one that went through my head as I left that old tired place.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
   i. happier or sadder?

   ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner (or so I'm told)

   iii. richer or poorer? Richer, in so many ways

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish I spent more time on my books.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Eat all those carbs :-)

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With friends... and too many carbs.

10:29 PM

Friday, December 10, 2004
The weight of waiting... 
Don't put off for tomorrow what you don't want to come back and bite you in the morning.


I knew this day would come... it's not like it wasn't coming for the last 13 years... but I'm just about completely out of stock of my "Lil Words of Wisdom." It's just the timing was so bad today.

I met a terrific lady who wanted to purchase 14 of them to give as gifts to homeless women in a shelter. As I headed home to get copies I was ecstatic to be making a difference, but as I tore through my room in search of enough copies, my enthusiasm drained to disappointment. All I could find were 10 copies. Wow. What a bad time to run out.

Returning to the office, I made a promise to make bookmarks of my sayings, free of charge, for these ladies... as my gift. It's a tiny gesture to cover over a much bigger chasm in my own life.

Well, I'm inspired to get going on the second printing... better late than never.

10:17 PM

Thursday, December 09, 2004
Perception Deception... 
There's your reality, then there's other people's perception of your reality. You have to decide which is more important.


Dealing with other people's perceptions can be trying sometimes. Unfortunately today I wasn't able to dissuade their opinion before it was too late for reality to bite.

I already missed going to Day One of the DVExpo because of ProjectABC is a rush, but it's been delayed until tomorrow; meaning I could run over for Day Two and still not jeopardize anything. Boss (B1) wants me to be on standby "just in case" despite numerous notes stating very clearly that this would NOT be approved for production today.

Sure enough, the day went by with no more word from anyone. Sometimes being right can just be so wrong.


Posted more Kauai Pix, check 'em out.

10:08 PM

Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Every once in a while, look back and be humble. A lot of people went through an awful lot for you to be here.


Today is a convergence of two memorial events. The first one being Pearl Harbor, which started an awful lot of violence and bloodshed between people... and the second one being Chanukah, which is about rebuilding after a lot of violence and bloodshed between people.

Hmmm, now aren't you in the mood to party?

It's really not that simple and should never be belittled in any way. People did extraordinary things, and overcame hurdles we can only imagine. It's just a shame that people had to lose their lives so we could have something to celebrate. Come to think of it, an awful lot of our holidays are about death and/or rebuilding.

You'd think we'd learn.

World Peace. It's not just an ideal we wish for on a greeting card. It's necessary if we ever wish to see tomorrow.

9:52 PM

Monday, December 06, 2004
No mo' Spam you... 
Some Spam can grow on you, others grow like weeds...


I've now left the land of Spam and returned home... back to the old grind of daily life. It ain't so bad. It's cold here, but work is kind of like a comforting blanket. It's got a familiar feel and smell to it. Even with a few well worn holes, it's still what you know.

I miss Hawaii already. It was a great trip... but not a very good vacation. I need to go back sometime soon to relax. I'm glad I was there, you know... but getting back to work right away is exhausting.

Plus I have 2,000 pictures to go through... but it's all good.

What isn't good is the other Spam... the kind that has clogged my email and (worse yet) the comments in my blogs. I've gotten used to deleting emails, but cleaning out the comment section is a real pain. Their computers do it automatically, so it's no problem for the spammers to just click a button and invade everyone. They just don't have the right. It's violating.

If I had the time and the inclination, I would do this (maybe you can?)...
Charge an advertising fee for anyone putting spam in your comments... then send them the bill. When they ignore you, sue them in small claims court... or better yet, get a class action lawsuit together. It probably wouldn't amount to much, but if you're bored or sick-and-tired, it might be fun to try.
By my California clock, it's somewhere between late and what-do-you-think-you're-doing-staying-up-this-late-fool... so I'm off to bed.

Hope to see you all in a Spam-filled, Spam-free world :-)

11:23 PM

Saturday, December 04, 2004
Live your life worthy of a legacy...


Today was the culmination of the trip... the memorial for the Patriarch of my friend's family. Rain had threatened all morning, but as the Reverend began the service in Hawaiian, the sky was a bright blue; rivalled only by the blueness of the ocean behind him.

Well over a hundred people were there... it helped to have eight kids, seven step-kids, 24 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren, not forgetting the nieces and nephews. Not everyone there was his direct family, but everyone was Ohana. He was well known and very well liked. Even the Mayor came.

The ceremony was in several parts. The first one, as I mentioned was at the Ocean's edge. The second part was up the river, where he loved to go crabbing. He was such a part of that river, that it only made sense that his ashes should be joined with it.

The river still had its muddy hue, from all the runoff of the rain these past few weeks; but its shores broke gently, with a quiet whisper; waiting to welcome its friend home.

After another prayer, his son and grandson set off in a boat to the center of the river. As another grandson began to sing Over the Rainbow on the Ukelele, the rain started to come down. Hard. "Come on Grandpa!" he shouted, "is my new ukelele!" He leaned over; his huge body shielding the ukelele as he continued to play. As I continued to film the video with one hand, I unbuttoned my shirt and pulled it up over my head to protect my camera. What a sight I must've been!

People did not run from the rain; they just kept on singing as the ashes were released. Then with a big WHOOSH, a dozen doves were released into the air!!

As the birds disappeared into the air, and the ashes into the water, the rain slowed... then disappeared as well. As if on cue, the sun once again filled the skies.

Who said he didn't have a sense of humor! (Actually, in Hawaii, rain is considered a blessing... and after this, I can totally see why)

The third part of the event was the best! Potluck at a granddaughter's house. Chicken Adobo, Chicken Heka, Pancit and Sushi... gotta love Filipinos in Hawaii :-)

And as the day winded down, and families who-hadn't-seen-each-other-in-years departed for their own little parts of the world, a double rainbow appeared in the distance.

A final farewell... a legacy in lights.

11:46 PM

Thursday, December 02, 2004
Break time! 
We all need time to get away from it all... even away from our vacations.


This trip was supposed to be a vacation, but the changes have kept me quite busy. I don't regret being here for my friends and their family. I couldn't think of a better gift to give them than being with them. It's just the go-go-go is get-get-getting to me.

This morning was the first real moment of "ahhhhh" relaxation (maybe cause it's the first real morning without a torrential downpour). I walked the 300 feet to the beach and just sat there to watch the sunrise. There's just something about the water that relaxes and stirs your soul. Plus it sounds much better than the machines you buy at The Sharper Image.

The air had the slight chill that makes your skin tingle; and makes the sun more inviting. I just took it all in.

And took more pictures of course.

9:05 AM


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