Women, Food, God and let’s be honest, the occasional Cheeto.

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I’ve been reading this book, Women, Food and God, by Geneen Roth and I am finding it rather compelling.  Geneen Roth has stated that she has lost and gained 1,000 lbs in her life.  Whoa, right?  But if you’re like me, I’ve probably gained and lost the same 30lbs over and over again.  I’m on top of the world, then down in the valley.  I truly envy anyone who consistently stays at a great weight and just doesn’t give it any energy.  Me? Not so lucky.  However, the good part for me about this book, is that I am finding out what I’m not.  Well, you know, sometimes you have to find out what you’re not, to then find out who or what you are.  So, I’m not a compulsive eater, a closet eater, a stuffer, a binger or a puker.  Hooray, right?  Well, but then what is it?  Why is this such a piece of emotional baggage that has to hang around like a bad house guest.

From the time I was in the third grade, I looked around and the cupcakes on my butt, were, let’s just say, a little bigger than everyone else’s.  I played sports…swam on the swim team, played soccer and tennis, rode my bike, a pretty average kid.  I don’t remember hiding ding dongs in my bed or anything like that, but genetically, I was just a pudge.  I leaned out somewhere around my senior year of high school.  Yes, it pretty much did suck, thanks for the “oh my”, it was a long damn time of feeling like the pilsbury dough kid.  As an adult, I’ve swung the pendulum, like we do, freshman 15, starvation in your twenties, post-baby, now 40.  Shit, it’s like it just never freakin ends,  Menopause, I see you lurking around the corner and frankly, you can fuck off.

With all that being said, I’ve been looking into the emotional part of it all, which is what Geneen is really writing about, what makes us obsess about our bodies.  I don’t know the answer to this, is it the media?  Our peers?  Our parents, perhaps? Boyfriends, spouses, husbands, partners?  I frankly don’t know.  It may all be in our minds and then in turn our bodies, perhaps our hearts.  I know for me, I am a very social person.  I associate food & cocktails with being social.  I lack the moderation trigger in my mind, but after a series of unfortunate events, my moderation key is turning into the “like” button from Facebook.  I just press Like in my mind and somehow I can rationalize being moderate and not feel any amount of deprivation.  Maybe that is what it all boils down to-if we could just like ourselves-we wouldn’t feel the need to compare our bodies to Victoria Secret models-cause that’s a total blast. Or we wouldn’t feel the need to long for plastic surgery, we’d just settle into the fact, that we like ourselves, whether that is in a size 2 or 14 body.  I can guarantee, there is no amount of plastic surgery that will fill your heart or mend your soul.  A walk in the park, a chat with a good friend, picking the apple over the Cheetos-yes, all these things will work so much better.  And like I always say, no matter what size you are, shoes are a girls best friend!

Anyway, I’ve found this book to be an amazing read, and if you are looking to heal a path in your life or simply find out, what you’re not, I’d suggest grabbing a copy.  It’s opened up an interesting dialogue in my head. And plus or minus 30 lbs, I have great teeth and a pretty good personality.  And really, Playboy isn’t calling me for photo shoots.  So here begins my journey of liking me and accepting me regardless of the pressure to be Victoria Secret thin. And most importantly to quiet the voice inside my head that says you’re not good enough if you aren’t all things to all people.  I choose me, a healthy, energetic, and magnanimous me.

Social Media etiquette with @EmilyPost

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I read post after post about social media do’s and dont’s, most of it I feel is validated, some of it, quite frankly, is crap, but here is my two cents.

In the beginning, God created tablets, stones, PC’s, Macs, email, iPhones, texting, twitter, facebook, Linkedin and on the seventh day, some will say she created, the iPad.  We’ve been communicating for a long damn time.  But oh, how we’ve all bent, broken and changed the rules. Here are a couple tips, my humble opinions and some random thoughts on social media etiquette, in no particular order…..

Tip 1, would you pay someone to write a letter to your Grandma?  Then don’t pay someone to write your personal blog,  That’s just crap.  Plenty of people are ghostblogging, ghosttweeting, ghostworking….I suppose if you are writing corporate facts thats one thing, but don’t try to be someones personal voice.  That’s like putting your college picture on Match.com, when you’re 54.  Creeper.

Tip 2, RSS feeds have a lovely place in all of this communication hoopla.  I subscribe to many, I love it because it pops up on my homepage and basically says, good morning, Denise, here is some cool shit for you to read today, and I choose, at my convenience, to read it, without having to search through the interwebz jungle.  If you are going to link an RSS feed to Twitter so you have something to tell the world…don’t.  Spend sometime finding your audience and getting to know who they are and what value you can provide.

Tip 3, It’s Twitter, you are tweeting.  Not tweeter, not twatter, you are not twitting.  Just spend like 1 second to understand that.  Ok, thank you.

Tip 4, Here’s a newsflash, that may make all the social media consultants want to rip my face off.  Not all sites are for all things.  Not every company is going to need a Facebook page, or a Twitter account.  Social media is not, one size fits all.  And, I mean really, does that EVER work?  That’s a whole other post.  Really understand where your audience plays, if you are a financial company, I don’t see many of your friends on Twitter, I’m sure this has to do with FINRA laws and regulations.  At any rate, you wouldn’t show up at a cocktail party that you knew was going to be heavily attended by animal activist in a mink, jus sayin.  Know your audience and where they live.

There are so many post about social media, how do you engage? The rules to be successful and on and on and on.  I have one rule…mostly, just use the common sense that God gave you.  Don’t get all bowed up behind your computer screen and start spouting off, Google will keep your stupidity forever.  Just stop, think and then engage, it’s easy really and actually quite rewarding.

So, whatever my two cents was worth…that is my, albeit brief, feeling on social media, today.  Next….why I would never pay $15,000 for Kindergarten, but hey, that’s just me.

If 40 is the new 30, then this is the new “plan”!

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Yes, yes, yes!  I said, when he said, “Will you be my wife?”.  I can remember the moment perfectly, the nervousness, the twinkling lights, the people on the bridge clapping and the shiny, beautiful diamond that was placed on my finger.  I remember staring at that ring all night long, while he snored next to me, feeling utterly exhausted and drained of all the emotional energy he exerted into making the moment perfect.  But you know what? The moment wasn’t perfect and that was OK.  We had gone to several restaurants, him wanting it to be the perfect one and me not clueing in to “the moment”, we went on a horse and carriage ride, that just seemed awkward and looooong. We tried to have a romantic coffee and dessert and ended up at Starbucks, then finally under a twinkly lit tree, he got down on one knee and said, “will you be my wife?” and I think I said, “what?” and this is how it went, sort of, just like that, for the next 14 years.

Nothing in life is perfect, especially when two people come together and try to blend their energy, their childhoods, their ways of having everything be “just so”.  Some, granted, are better than others.  They have plans.  Plans on when to have children, how many, where they will go to preschool, elementary school, high school and college.  What sports they will play, what friends they will have, the perfect family dog, the vacations that are memories for life and the infamous Christmas card that every year, shines like the perfectly placed star on the tree.  But what happens when your life takes you away from your family, your friends and plops you in the middle of an underdeveloped desert where you know no one, you are in the height of your career and you find out your pregnant, then you give birth two months early, get basically packed up and kicked out of your office….jobs are lost, miscarriages happen, you have to give your dog away because she’s not good for the baby, your baby goes to the preschool that you have groggily picked out, because you can have two longer days, instead of one 2-hour morning,  friends disappear and for God sake, you forget to send out the fucking Christmas card?  I’ll tell you what happens.  You survive, maybe a little worse for the wear, but you survive.  My marriage didn’t survive, but my spirit did. I am a walking, talking being of humility, but I am alive in spirit and I don’t crave perfection anymore.

I have a new plan.  It doesn’t involve any derivative of the word perfection.  As a matter of fact, it involves a fairly imperfect dog, a 9-year-old, a garage and a basement filled with crap and a good relationship with my ex and his family.  I am in search of my new normal and I want it to feel amazing, not perfect, just amazing.  Because of whatever shade of happiness is the new black, and 40 is the new 30 and all that horse shit that we keep hearing, then this is the new look of divorce.  It looks like this.  I love my ex for who he is, for the father he is to my kid, for the man he is in the world.  I don’t harbor any ill will, because, I realize, I was no picnic either.  I want my son to love him, have his own experiences with him, and bond like fathers and sons do.  I want him to know that I’m sorry it didn’t workout, that it didn’t look like the fairytale we all wanted it to be. But in a way, maybe it worked out the exact way it was supposed to.  I am now challenged with incorporating all of the good things he taught me over the 15 years we were together.  How to stay calm in the eye of adversity, how to pay bills on time, how to stay centered, show compassion, patience and understanding…and mow the lawn.  And in turn, I think he may have gleaned a few things from me as well.  I hear he is making a mean chimichurri these days.  I know that he and I formed an amazing friendship over the years and created a beautiful child, those are the most important things I will take with me from our journey together. People do the best they can, we all learn from our lives; who enters them, the mistakes we’ve made and ways to do it differently so we’re not stuck in the perpetual spin cycle of life.

You may not get a perfect Christmas card from me, a sparkling model house, a well-trained dog, a picture perfect child, but what you will get, is a hell of a lot life, compassion, heart and honesty.  I have a new plan, and that plan is to take life as it comes, be inclusive of all who matter to me, no matter what phase of my life you entered in.  To follow my heart, stay true to my convictions and to stand strong in how I want the next 40 to look.  Hands up, tongue out, enjoying the ride, even if it is a little bumpy.

Got Milk?

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I’m an avid movie watcher, I love the cinema, film, the fantasy, the adventure, the romance, the reality….I think I come by this naturally, my Dad, he’s the same way!  However, since I’ve become a Mom, I don’t get to as many movies as I’d like, but I’m catching up through HBO, etc….last night I had the privilege and I do emphasize privilege of watching Milk.  I realize I’m a solid year behind the Oscar-winning performance by Sean Penn, but everything in divine order, correct?

His life changed history. His courage changed lives.

1972: Harvey Milk sets out to make a  significant difference in the world on his 40th birthday by not only moving across the country, but truly emerging into his authentic self.  He leaves New York City and the closet and heads to San Francisco, opens a camera shop in the Castro that becomes the salon for San Francisco’s growing gay community, and where he organizes gays’ purchasing power to build political alliances. Through several elections and losses both for a city seat and a state assembly seat, Milk becomes the first openly gay man in the United States to be elected to political office when he wins a San Francisco supervisor seat in 1977.  Milk was assassinated somewhere around his 48th birthday.  White, the shooter, serves 5 years……5 years (?), is released and commits suicide.

It is 2009, fast approaching 2010, roughly 30 years after Milk fought and protested against Prop 6-California Proposition 6 was an initiative on the California State ballot on November 7, 1978, and was more commonly known as The Briggs Initiative. Sponsored by John Briggs, a conservative state legislator from Orange County, the failed initiative would have banned gays and lesbians, and possibly anyone who supported gay rights, from working in California’s public schools.

Is this as perplexing to you as it is to me?  I went to elementary, middle school and high school in Spring, Texas in the 80’s…there were gay students, gay teachers and quite possibly gay parents, although, I can tell you, I’m not sure who all of them were, because, we didn’t make them wear t-shirts or nametags.  We respected them as educators, mentors, community members…..friends.

As I sit here today, 40 years old, fast approaching 2010, I’m in awe about what was happening in the 70’s in a liberal state like California, I had no idea.  But here is where I’m more in awe…why is this STILL happening?  Why can’t we, as a nation, understand that we ALL are entitled to civil rights?  That love see’s no color, no race, no gender, that people are inherently good until proven otherwise, this is what our judicial system believes, why can’t we span this across the whole tapestry of the human race?  Why does it have to be a segmented world?

We have spanned so much history, although the process of acceptance seems a little slow for my liking.  We elected the first black President in 2008, women were on the presidential ballot, gay men and women were elected state, city and county officials, why?  Why, because they have proven, just like everyone else, to be the best person for the job!  This election had Prop 8-that passed-stating that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.  Now, I’ve never claimed to be hugely political, but here’s what I know to be true, if there is “common law” marriage between a man and a woman who won’t commit to the act of marriage before their God and their witnesses, for whatever reason, they still receive full legal rights as a “married” couple.  Then why is it, that if two people of the same-sex, are devoted, committed and steadfast in their belief of marriage, we won’t allow that to happen?  I need a better reason than, “Proponents of the constitutional amendment argued that exclusively heterosexual marriage was “an essential institution of society,” that leaving the constitution unchanged would “result in public schools teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay,” and that gay people would “redefine marriage for everyone else.”

Hallelujah, I can think of a few marriages that I would love to see redefined!

I am teaching my kid, that ALL marriage is okay, if there is love, honor and commitment, then you have my blessing.  I am teaching my child to have conviction for what is right and wrong.  Love and commitment has never been wrong to me.  I am teaching my child to open his mind and arms and to hold close what is important, to love people for who they are, to embrace their differences, their cultures, their beliefs.  Because, that unifies us as one.  That is a tapestry that I want to see woven before I have grandchildren.  Because, who knows? I could have a son, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, that may say to me, I’m gay.  And you know what I will say to them?  I love you and I support you.

We need to continue the teaching, all it comes down to is understanding, the understanding that we all will find our beloved, whether it is a man, a woman, a mountain or a tree….and we all deserve to be free in that choice.  We all deserve to have the same rights, and I challenge you today, To be the change you wish to see in the world!

Divinely we are one.

A September Journey

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It’s been almost 4 years since I started searching.  The task wasn’t easy, rather daunting actually, because, I didn’t know what I was searching for; you think trying to find a needle in a haystack is hard? Try looking for something when you don’t know what it embodies, if it’s tangible or even exists.

The first year, I looked to the earth, in all its wonder.  I looked from the mountain tops, from the beautiful snow-capped mountain tops that made me feel like I could touch God with my hands.  I flew down in freedom, releasing the 100 lbs of bricks that I was carrying, with every swish, they would fall off, one by one.  Through the snow covered trees in and out like a maze, wind in my face and sun on my shoulders…it felt like nothing could stop me.  I didn’t find it in the mountains, but it spurred the journey.

As the snow melted, I yearned for the same feeling, so I pounded out the search in other physical directions, Tae Bo, Nia, tennis, running, anything that would let me release it all.  And you know it wasn’t there either, but I was stronger, faster and ready to keep on with my search…my quest….my knowing, that there had to something out there, and I was going to find it.

Sometimes you have to stop looking outwardly and start looking inwardly.  This was my next quest.  But I wasn’t so good at this, I looked in, saw nothing and gave up.  I looked outwardly again, trying to maybe see what others saw, trying to comprehend what was on display and taking cues from expression.  As disappointing as it seems, when you have nothing to give, nothing comes back to you either.  But I knew it was out there, it had to be, just had to be!

Although, I was convinced that my gem, my discovery, my search was going to be fruitful, I grew weary of swimming up stream.  I began to convince myself that I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for and for that, I was deeply saddened.  I had given up the quest and resigned myself to blend into the world.  It didn’t seem as though others were troubled by this, maybe it was true that I was making it too hard.  That I was looking for something that didn’t exist.  If it was blue, I was blue.  If the world was flat, then who was I to argue?  But after time, I realized, that is not authentic, that is not me, that is not what all the conviction that burns in my belly was to be used for, there needed to be people like me in this world.  People that will swim up stream, people that will shoot from the hip-whether that evokes a laugh or a tear.  People that will go out into the world with a voice and a gift and invoke dancing souls.

And so the calendar turned again….and oddly enough, this journey started in September 2006 and gave way to beautiful discovery in September 2009.  There must be something about September.  Here’s the good news…I found it.  Yes, I found it, I found what I had been searching for consciously for the past 4 years, subconsciously maybe for 40.  Oh right, you are dying to know what it is; it’s red, massively expansive, it gushes and it breaks, but you know what….it keeps growing, and it keeps filling up, and somedays, it feels like it might burst.  It is tangible, it exists and it embodies all things wonderful -love, laughter, light, energy, passion, forgiveness, happiness, sensuality, it truly is endless what it embodies.  And the best part about it is, it’s mine, I can keep it to myself, I can give it away freely, I can put it into the world as a beacon of light.  I searched the world for what I had all along…..a beautiful heart.  Funny thing is, I didn’t find it….someone brought it to me and said, you may have lost this along the way and by their beautiful expression, I knew I had it back for good.

The journey just keeps happening, everyday, thank God.  And here is what I have found, I LOVE the journey; you don’t know when it will twist and turn, when it will delight your senses and kiss your existence, you don’t know who comes along for the ride and how long they will stay.  The journey, it keeps coming and you know what I say?  I say, bring it on!

A Peaceful Heart <3

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Jax says some funny stuff….if you are around him for any length of time, you would know and you would laugh.  He makes my eyes sparkle, and he relaxes my smile and he gives me a peaceful heart.  I love him for his quick ass wit, his compassion for people, his willingness to explore and adventure and most of all how he engages in conversation.

He had mentioned to me last week, as I was sitting at a table with some friends, Mama, how come you are so fun around other people and when you’re just with me, you’re always ‘thinking’.  Which, did get me thinking.  I want him to know how much I enjoy him and his company, sometimes my fun is too adult for him…but I need to get on the level with him so he knows that he is such a huge piece of me.  I mean, really a huge piece of me.  He has no idea that it is like looking in a mirror not only physically but straight into his soul.

That night, he did something, that really will forever be etched in my heart.  As I was sitting chatting with friends, he went with my Mom to a store and bought, with his own money, a silver heart that says, ‘Peaceful Heart”.  Mine melted.  This kid, holy shit, this kid….he is something else.  He is my hope and my future, he is my love and my heart.  He makes me softer and kinder and full of amazing energy-I just hope he knows how much.

And so in my quest to be more fun, I drove him to school today with a pink wig on and a tutu!  I don’t think that was what he meant….but hey you take what you can get! 🙂

I love you kid.

What inspires you?

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My last post about Julia Child and her quest for something to do, inspired me in a way I didn’t imagine.  I was feeling like I had to start over….but then, I went to Palo Alto with Chicks and fell in love with my project all over again.  I am a people person, I like to be around people-they inspire me.  All kinds of people…whether it is brilliant women, amusing kids, men that I can connect with and share a laugh-as well as writers, speakers, artists, musicians, etc.  But I have realized that I love people-people with good energy, creative minds, warm hearts and amusing spirits.  I try everyday to embody that package.

So in becoming re-inspired-I saw it with my own two eyes.  I was interviewed in Palo Alto about Chicks and I saw the twinkle in my eye and the passion that oozed out of me when I was speaking about what I am trying to create and truly I was surprised by what I saw. I inspired myself.  Yes!  You can see for yourself here. I was also completely inspired by women who are highly educated, creative, have a quest for knowledge, a heart to share what they know and a humble spirit.  Truly awe-inspiring.

When you walk like a duck, talk like a duck, you’re a duck!  Meaning, I believe in myself, I believe in what I am doing, I believe that the ultimate reward is all the amazing people that have been placed in my path, this journey…is inspiring! Once I reengaged both mentally and emotionally in Chicks, the doors swung wide open.  I have met the most incredible people in the past month.  And you know, it’s funny, it’s people “with good energy, creative minds, warm hearts and amusing spirits.”  Sometimes you are a magnet for what you want in your life.  I’ve had a rough couple of years, but I wake up everyday and say to myself, “you are blessed, you are loved, smile and get out in this world and be a light”.  Beats the hell out of the rat hole you can let yourself crawl down.

Be inspired, be the inspiration, find what inspires you and dig deep to see how you can inspire people to be the best they can be, and to see themselves in the same beautiful light you see them.