Why my morning Starbucks makes me feel like a success.

This may by far be the shallowest post you will ever read on this blog. But let’s be honest we all have our moments of shallowness. So here is mine. Every morning I stop at starbucks, they know me and my drink without me even asking. And I know them, since I see them everyday it was only right to get to know their names. But not the point. So walking into work someone asked me why I get starbucks every morning. To this I shrugged my shoulders and mumbled something. It was 7 am , and clearly since my coffee was still in my hand I hadn’t drank it yet, way too early for questions. But I did give it some thought, and while it is yummy and the caffeine is a necessary evil, the real reason I get starbucks every morning is because it makes me feel like a success. There I said it.

Growing up, while we were never poor we did live on a budget, and starbucks was not in that budget. Plus who can really blame either of my parents for not giving two teenage girls caffeine and sugar in high doeses. Even till this day you don’t want to be around me when I am on a “high.” I remember being around 13 and asking to go, and the answer was no. And I promised myself some day when I was a successful adult, that the answer would never be no, not just for starbucks but for anything that I wanted!! Ha!

As an adult I have learned that there are a lot of “no’s”, and even though I am the one saying it to myself it doesn’t make it any easier. It is still hard to feel like you are too “poor,” for something that you want. And to be honest I cannot afford most of the material objects that people measure success by. I don’t own expensive shoes, and while my purse is a designer, it is the ONLY BAG I own, and have carried it everyday for over 2 years now. Shocking I know a woman who only owns one purse. But my starbucks cup in hand every morning is my luxury to me, it is my little symbol of being that adult who can have anything her heart desires. So yeah it makes me feel successful. It is a nod to the 13 year old me, saying we can’t have everything but we can have some things.

To be honest, I am not the only one who does this. But maybe it isn’t starbucks for everyone else. Maybe it is that manicure, or the newest app. The little things that we buy for ourselves just because we can. None of this has anything to do with need, but I did warn this was a shallow post.

Anti-Semitism is alive and well in Indiana

Anti-Semitism is alive and well in Indiana

What?? Yeah you read that right. Believe it or not Indiana is not immune. It seems so strange to even fathom that there are still those who believe and propagate this kind of hatred. And that is all that it is, hatred. Sure you can have your “reasons” or “facts” but it is based on the belief that without a certain people your life would be better off. That is super scary.

Refer to my previous post, Chubby Baby, Holocaust survivor. I kept telling this old man that I simply didn’t understand how the holocaust could happen and he told me “kiddo there is no understanding hatred.” And maybe he is right, maybe it cannot be understood. But in the face of that he reminded me that it should never be ignored. So that is what I am doing I am not ignoring it.

Purdue University, a well established university recently invited a speaker who was blatantly anti-Semitic. And then went on the advertise this man as an expert on the Middle East. Ignoring the fact that Mr. Bruzonsky’s blog is filled with classic anti-Semitic pictures. I will post the link to these, as I am not comfortable reposting them on this blog.

This man has the right to say what he thinks, to display caricatures as he sees fit, and to speak any crowd that wishes to gather. Yet, the problem I have is that a public institution such as Purdue University supported what can only be described as hate speech while denying the right of what is considered a pro-Israel group to speak. Standwithus was deemed too controversial.

Either Purdue did not properly review this mans history, which is negligent at best or they do not care that they invited an anti-Semite to speak to its students which is unacceptable. So which is it?

So I ask of you, not to condemn free speech but to make a stand against hatred and anti-Semitism being endorsed by one of Indiana’s public universities. There is a petition to sign, please do so. And if you are an Indiana resident (which isn’t that likely) please contact your legislators to tell them that you are not willing to be silent that antisemistim is alive and well in Indiana

The images can be seen here
http://speakingtruthtopower.blogs.com/hoosiers_comical_higher_e/

And the petition here
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/never-forget-a-petition-against-purdues/

Going off of the sidewalk..

Today I got the pleasure of spending some time with my nephew, who is a little over two and half. And he insisted very vocally , and repeated that he desired to go for a “trikey ride.” For those of you who do not speak two year old, and it certainly a language learned slowly, it meant that he wanted to go for a walk around the block while riding his little tricycle.  So upon his instance we went. It was a beautiful day and one around the block was not a like the iron man triathlon. So off we went. Although note to self whenever I plan on being around a two year old I should wear appropriate shoes, as in not heels. 

It was on this journey that I noticed something, his sheer delight when for some reason or another he had to ride off the sidewalk. Which was nerve racking for me of course, cars or dogs or anything could happen when we weren’t on the sidewalk.!!  But this for him was complete joy! Rocks to ride through, potholes to hit and large driveway embankments to drive over. He’s laugh was audible and contagious.

I thought about us in our life, and where do we feel that much joy? We are instead like me, concerned that something might happen when we go off the path, even though there is no safety promised on that path, just the idea that we are somehow safer. And when we are forced off of our sidewalks we don’t meet with joy and laughter but fear, anxiety and dread. We consider cars parked in our way or anything for that matter to be just that IN OUR WAY. But not someone who saw it as a chance to go for a better ride.

Things happen that we cannot control, and things will always get in our way. And yes the street is a dangerous place. But if we have to get off the sidewalk every once in a while, and take a detour maybe we can all learn from a two year old. 

The disaster purse

.

Sometimes I feel my family has a penchant for disasters. Last summer my house was robbed, twice. Yes you read that right. And this past Saturday my mom’s house burnt down. Well technically it is standing, but it will need to be torn down. Everything is gone and I do mean everything. I live two doors down, and I went all MacGyver in trying to find her in a burning house. But thankfully neither her nor I were hurt. And as hard it is this is what we keep reminding ourselves. But if you are a praying person, the cat is still missing.

And it is so daunting and overwhelming to try to help someone who has lost everything. Where do you begin?? My answer to this question is with a purse.

There are insurance commercials in which after a disaster the insurance company shows up with teddy bears for children. Well they need to show up with rack of purses for woman to choose from. Cause I don’t care how bad things are no one wants an ugly purse. It would seem pointless to many but I have a point here.

After my house was robbed my aunt came with several things for me that were taken, including a purse. A cute one at that! And in that moment I had something to hold on to, something that was mine, something that had not been taken. Children find comfort in those teddy bears, show me a woman who doesn’t feel like she is missing something without a purse.

So after the fire I handed mom that same purse from my aunt. I am now referring to it as the disaster purse. It gave her somewhere to put the things she would begin to collect, papers from the fire department, red cross information ect. While rebuilding will certainly take some time, she has somewhere to put important things. She has something to hold on to and to call her own, maybe it is just a purse but it is start.

Chubby baby, Holocaust survivor

I finally made it to the Holocaust museum in Chicago. They had a special exhibit on Hannash Senesh, google her if you don’t know who she is, she is a better role model than any woman who is famous today, and pretty bad ass.. It was a nice exhibition.

And then I went through the permanent exhibit, and while it was good I finished well before my friends. I am a fast reader. But while I was waiting on a bench an old man approached me and we struck up a conversation.  He was a volunteer at the museum, and a survivor of the holocaust. Super charming guy.

And when we showed me pictures of him as a child before the war, right after the war, and his life here in America. But the picture that struck out to me was him, as a chubby baby. Obviously all the holocaust survivors I have ever met are now elderly. But it was just something to think about this elderly man, who walked slightly bent over as a pudgy baby. 

And when I told him he was a cute little chubby baby, and he responded that he indeed was and that I probably was too. This is true, my mom says I rolled before I crawled!! I agreed and by time my friends joined me, we were having a good laugh!!

It is these moments that make me think that beyond my fortune of being born when and where I was born, I could have been that chubby baby, or anyone could have been. 

And I think about all the plump babies, and not so plump babies I know now and I know quite a few. It is apparently baby season for the people in my life. And I wonder what the world will look for them, and what their stories will be when they are Joe’s age.

Stop the noise for a moment, listen to yourself.

When I awake in the morning I turn on the tv to see the morning news. Just in case something happened while I was busy sleeping. Then I hurry around the house getting dressed, brushing my teeth with one hand while applying makeup with the other. And I leave for work ( the tv stays on, but switched to cartoons for the dog. Slightly crazy yes.) Then on my way to work I listen to radio, and when I get to work I speak with all sorts of people all day long, phone calls, meetings and gossiping with the office girls ect.. And then on the way home again the radio…Home to evening news and usually a book. But in this day there is not a whole lot of silence. And I am so busy listening to the world that I cannot hear me.
 
I am not taking a vow of silence. I enjoy conversation and entertainment but I am talking about the noise, the tv when I am not watching, the conversations I stop to overhear, the radio while I am driving but it isn’t loud enough to hear with the windows down. It is filler noise. I never noticed it until someone told me but a movie almost always has music or noise in the background. In EVERY scene. Watch a movie and see how often you hear just a conversation or even more rare..silence. But when it is silent it is because that part is important.
 
But our thoughts are important, our internal dialogue is important, the ability to be silent is important. Listening to ourselves is important, and how can we listen in a world that is always talking. We hear so many opinions on so many subjects every day and agree or disagree but did we ever stop hearing the pundits and start listening to ourselves?
 
And yet we think if we are silent we are missing out on something. Beethoven was deaf, how did he “hear” to compose music. Something  inside him knew, and he was probably more sensitive to that than we will ever be, but we still need to trust that we can hear ourselves in silence.
 
How can you know what you want, what you think,  and who you are unless you start listening to yourself. And the best way to listen is to stop the noise around you, even for a tiny moment each day. 
 
 
 

What have I said??

What have I said? This blog hit 9000 views today. And i thought I would be so excited about that, and while I am not disappointed it makes me wonder what have a I said??

Does any of it matter? Have I said what I believe and what I truly want to say, or do I fill the space with anecdotes that I think people would like to read? And more importantly what do I say every day? If you were or I were to get hit by lightening right now…what you have been your last words. Were we too busy for kinds ones or since we didn’t know were our words meaningless?

There is never a bad moment for kind words, and never walk away from a chance to be kind because you are busy or distracted. One glimmer of kindness is sometimes all a person needs to be reminded that this life isn’t hopeless.  Share kind words, show love, be slow to anger and quick to forgive, be patient with the world around you.. 

So many people I know are struggling in one capacity or another, even myself am struggling and there is so much that I cannot change or fix but I know that a little more kindness would do us all well.  So that is what I want to say be kind, love one another and be you and the rest is details. 

 

This is not meant as a motivation post but rather a reflection of what we say, what we do and what we can do to help those around us, even those around us who try to hide their struggles.

 

And maybe what I say will matter

 

 

The one question I would ask President Obama

The one question I would ask President Obama

During the last presidential election there were many town forums, in which internet users submitted their questions to the then candidates, of course they were heavily moderated by the networks and I am sure the political parties. My question was not picked, and even though the election is long over I still wonder how this question of mine would be answered. So despite not that heavy of readership of this blog, I pose this one question to

President Obama.
President Obama, I am one of millions of Americans who work fulltime but cannot afford healthcare but that is because I am sending my money to pay off my federal student loans. You have stated that “health care is the single most important thing we can do for America’s long-term fiscal health” So my question is simple, on my limited budget, is it more important for me to repay my federal student loans or to buy insurance?

In a perfect world, a working an adult would not have to try to weigh these issues against one another. And for most people the issues will seem completely unrelated. But to millions of young Americans like myself they are the same issue.

I make no qualms about signing the promissory note, promising to pay back the federal government for my education. And that is what I am trying my very best to do, but in holding up my end off the bargain I feel incredibly let down. I was not promised a job after graduation, but it is implicit that with a degree would come a stable , somewhat secure future. Neither of which are the case at the moment.

Mr. Obama, this is something neither of your daughter will have to concern themselves with and I envy them that. And while you have stated you are trying to make healthcare affordable for all Americans, let me state again that it is an either- or scenario. And since student loan debt is now higher than credit card debt in this country, it is an either-or situation for many young adults.

I try my hardest to not get sick, because while I am better off than many in these troubled economic times, an emergency room bill will bankrupt me. But as we all know this is gamble. And I know that for rates to stay low under your Obamacare, you need young people like me who are healthy to join the exchanges to keep rates low for the elderly and ill.

So if somehow this finds you please give me some advice on what to do. Is it more important for me to repay my federal student loans or to buy insurance?

Sincerely,
A young American

PS if you are reading this and find yourself in this spot please repost this link. Still a long shot but I would like it to be read by those in power and those who find themselves in the same boat!!

Missing the moment, to capture the experience?

Missing the moment, to capture the experience.

The fourth of July has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember, with the exception of my birthday. It is a stress free holiday, so much as they can be. And I love fireworks, nothing is quite as American as blowing stuff up in the middle of the street. But yesterday when my mom and I went to the beach to watch fireworks in every direction, people on the beach lighting off ones of their own, kids with sparkles, and the various town that line the shore. It was sensory overload.

Yet there was another glow, not from fireworks, but from cell phones. I would be lying if I said it was distracting, but it was odd. I saw so many families taking pictures, making videos and updating their facebook to say what they were doing. I am guilty of this too! But I thought of a story I read not too far back, sorry I don’t have the link to it, where a family travels to China retracing the steps of their grandfather who had escaped Nazi Europe via Shanghai. It so happened that this family scheduled a tour on the Sabbath, in which they don’t use any technology. And the man goes on the describe being somewhere and seeing things for the first time without the filter of technology. So I put my phone away, and watched the fireworks with no filter, simply present in that time and space.

So are we missing the moment, to capture the experience? Has our documentation of the moment, removed us from the moment? I think back to my Fourth of July memories from my childhood, none of which are captured on film, but I remember them, and vividly. No smart phone needed.

I don’t say this to preach, or stand on a soapbox, the same thing applies to me. I need to stop trying to preserve the moment and live in that moment, and if it is worth remembering, my brain will keep that memory far longer than any technology can.

Why Sugarman matters to me

If you haven’t already seen it I HIGHLY suggest seeing the documentary Searching for Sugarman. It is probably one of the best movies I have seen in 5 years. And as much as I recommend it I should probably be getting some sort of kickback from the production company.

If you haven’t seen it, you might not want to read the rest of the post. If you have seen it or just don’t care continue reading.

I saw this movie, made my dad watch it and when I found out Rodriguez was coming to Chicago, I strongly hinted my dad should buy us tickets. Thanks Dad! And last night we went and saw him at the Arie Crown in Chicago. While I was waiting in line for the bathroom, seriously 4 stalls for 4500 people, I noticed that I was not in age group of the average attendee. A guy at work also remarked that he was surprised I liked the movie so much and the music, because it was well before my time. But I watched the movie and maybe my age provided an insight that no one else saw.

I have watched my dad play music because he loves it, and my brother in law write about England cause he loves it, and I have been encourage to write for nothing more than the love of it.  Often this proves to be futile in the sense of monetary rewards or acclaim. But when I saw this movie and saw that someone made music regardless of the result it inspired me.  He lived his life, regardless of clear results. That is the what we can all only hope to achieve.  To not lose faith in what we love.

That isn’t a message that people who are over 40 should only let resonate with them. I am not preaching but, I know so many young people who struggle to do what they love because either the economy or they cannot figure out how to be profitable, so they stop. Quit. Give up. And with letting a passion die, something else goes with it…

We never know where life is going to take us. If anything we do will be a success or not. But we all have to try and live our lives knowing that if nothing ever comes of our work, that we spent our lives doing what we love.

Rodriguez proves that there it is never too late. Some one somewhere is a fan!!