"Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" - Auntie Mame

Sep 14, 2014

Death Becomes Her, Optimistically

Okay, so I stole a title from a reasonably funny, bad movie.

One of the many things my obsessive mind thinks about is dying. Perhaps it is rooted in the fact that my sister and I lost our parents when they were 69. Not at the same time, but at the same age. We joke that every day after 70 is a gift!

My sister approaches it with, "Oh wow, I'll be 69 in five years! Time flies when you are having fun." I come at it with, "OMG I am going to die in 16 years - what can I do to between now and then to find joy?" My obsession is in fixing what is broken so I don't die early. No! No, I don't eat better, exercise or practice meditation. I hypochondriac-ly diagnose myself using the internet. Live long and prosper idiot!

So this morning, I came across a blog that referenced The Death Clock. Seriously. Of course I went to see my imminent doom. You enter your birth date, gender, attitude (normal, pessimist, optimist, sadist), BMI and smoking status. As of this moment, taking into consideration my high BMI, and that my attitude is "normal", my date of death is: Monday, June 28, 2032 at 72 years of age. If I lose 50 pounds, it becomes Saturday, June 28, 2036 - just four more years.

However, if change my attitude to optimism it all improves. If I just change my attitude, I gain 10 years with my date of death of Sunday, August 24, 2046. If I toss in the weight loss, I pass September 1, 2059. I don't have enough money to live 99 years, but it is remarkable what an attitude change does.

With that in mind, I put in my parents' information. My father died in 1991; mom in 1997. When I put in their birth dates and other information (dad: sadistic; mom: pessimist) - the clock came up as "Sorry, your time is up," and showed their dates of passing. Note these dates weren't when they passed - it was actually earlier than their real deaths. To test it, I put my sister's mother-in-law's info in (she alive and optimistic), it says she will live to be 100. I don't doubt it a bit.

So, using the game "The Death Clock" made me remember what is important: It isn't how (or when)  you die; it is how you live your live. Live with optimism and enjoy the journey no matter how long or short it is.

Aug 13, 2014

Today, I Cried



The suicide death of Robin Williams has touched me. I saw him in person once, at Heathrow Airport being escorted through the masses. But that’s not the connection I feel. I thought he was a tortured genius with success, love and fame. But it wasn’t enough to keep him on this earth. That’s what rocks me. He had what we all think would make us happy, but it wasn’t enough. What IS enough?

This morning, I sat in my car listening to the father of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18 year old who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, MO. He said that there was no color, no race, no gender to justice and that’s what he wanted – justice.  A commentator said that in the 100 years since the film, “The Birth of a Nation” portrayed black men as aggressive, stupid animals we are still fighting the very real issues of racism and prejudice.  Why are we so afraid of people who don’t look like us?

Nauseated, I cannot stop listening as the BBC describes the horror in Iraq brought on by extremism. Political, religious, prejudicial, and misogynistic extremism.  The world seems to be reacting because the minority groups being affected share western beliefs. Shouldn’t we have cared when Saddam was testing chemicals on Kurds? Shouldn’t we have cared when women were killed because they showed skin – and I am not talking about sexy skin. Shouldn't we just care for other humans?

As I gathered up my purse, briefcase, coffee and water to get out of the car, I catch a piece on HIV deniers who took ads out in South Africa saying anti-retro virals were dangerous and all they needed was vitamins,South African sweet potatoes and garlic to rid themselves of AIDS. My God, my God, why have those in need been so forsaken? How can those people sleep at night knowing they are killing millions while making millions?

And in my in-box this morning, the latest stats on human trafficking show that nearly 21 million people – let’s be clear – men, women and children are trafficked for forced labor or commercial sex. Not just in some skanky shop on foreign soil, but right here where you live. Department Of Justice has identified the top twenty human trafficking jurisdictions in this country: Houston, El Paso, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Miami, Las Vegas, New York, Long Island, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Phoenix, Richmond, San Diego, San Francisco, St Louis, Seattle, and Tampa. And isn’t it clever for us to think of it as forced labor or human trafficking instead of what it is – slavery.  What are we thinking?!

Finally, the king of scream/yell radio who bitches about everything he hasn’t deemed worthy, Rush Limbaugh has declared Robin Williams committed suicide because the “left” are angry, unhappy people. Well, Mr. Limbaugh, why aren’t YOU mad, angry or unhappy at the world we are living in? Why aren’t you changing it instead of bitching about it? Why on earth would you take profound tragedy – death, disease, destruction, poverty, and slavery – and make it political AS IF you know how to cure the world’s ills but won’t share until we think like you? Why don’t you take your bully pulpit, and although your asshole should be big enough to contain it, instead do something to change the world? Why don’t you put aside the need to be “right” and become someone who does right?
It’s a wonder anyone can get up in the morning, smile and face their lives. Thank God they can and do. 

So on my walk through campus to my office, I cried. 

Jul 22, 2014

The BEST Day Ever - Friday

Anticipating Aura would be exhausted from the last week of school and the long trip, I planned to work from home on Friday knowing she would sleep in and be so happy just playing on her iPad and watching movies.

And so it went.

Until 7 am when my phone rang the first time announcing that the Deer Park Water delivery was in the lobby. Keith (yes, I know his whole story) came dashing in with 20 gallons of water and two cases of bottled tea for me. Ginger is barking and Aura sleeps through it all..somewhat.

Two hours later, Larry from Fresh Direct shows up with my grocery order. Aura is in AWE how I can order my groceries on-line and they just bring it right to me. I don't have to go there, pick it out and carry it home. How awesome is that?!

Around 11:30 am, I heard the first sounds of life up in the loft. Aura says, "Auntie, what time is it? I am hungry!" After boiling up some angel hair and topping it with fresh meatballs and sauce, Aura make the clean plate club with that and another 1/3 of her left-over cheese steak.

She tells me that this is the BEST DAY EVER because she just gets to relax. She does have a hard life: soccer, third grade, two dogs, a little sister, two cousins and a bike. She needs to relax!

Now she is snuggled under the covers watching some Disney show/movie and every so often says, "Later we should take Ginger for a walk to the Liberty Bell." And so we will!