Saturday, November 24, 2012

words to live by ... according to Oprah

Oprah Magazine November 2012
Yes, I subscribe to Oprah Magazine. I hadn't always, but there are few things worth reading in her magazine every month. I don't like any of her columnists: Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Suze Orman. I never read the interviews Oprah writes ... too much Oprah, not enough interviewee. But I do enjoy reading Martha Beck's monthly 'life coach' article. I've actually used some of her advise. I purged a 'toxic' friend after reading her identification of one, and the reasons why one doesn't have to keep a friend who is toxic. The little column that the political analyst, Donna Brazile, writes is good. My favorite piece of advice that she wrote is taped to the wall in front of me:

1. Be the buffalo. 
Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee nation, once told me how the cow runs away from the storm while the buffalo charges directly toward it—and gets through it quicker. Whenever I'm confronted with a tough challenge, I do not prolong the torment. I become the buffalo. 

Oprah also has great taste. I like to look at her favorite things ... they are usually pretty cool stuff.  Doesn't seem to be enough content to continue the subscription ... for the bits I like, it's enough.

It is hard to imagine being Oprah. The stress of being all, to all, must be exhausting. And when I got a look at her favorite quotes, which are shown above, I thought ... jeez, how can one person take ALL of this advice and incorporate into their little lives. I tried to narrow down to one ... and I thought, egads, I already put enough pressure on myself to 'live my best life,' how do I add this? Maybe if I break 'em down.

1. Jung: do I have a light kindled in the darkness of mere being? Am I just 'being?' That I consider this, then, YES! I am more than just being. I have a light, I turn it on. I also have storms, and those kind of come on too, but there is always light at the end of the storm ... or is that tunnel? OK, so what I have in me sometimes is a tornado, that sounds more accurate. And after that tunnel, oh yeah funnel cloud, goes through, there is light. Oh, it's close enough.

2. Epictetus: do what I have to do to be? I am. So I must have done the work to be it. I'm not going to say, oh! I want to be a ... pop star, let's get to work on that right away! No, but what I've become, I've definitely have put some work in it, purposefully and accidentally.

3. Quindlen: oh Anna Quindlen, you get a quote? Really?! Well, I have been told that I am too much myself. I'm just too 'Carol.' I've heard that only recently ... from a sister and a love interest. Well, who the heck am I supposed to be? Oh, I hold my imperfections close to me as they have been my good friends longer than most that I have had. I don't ever intend to be perfect.

4. Tolle: skip. He's a cult.

5. Wilde: now this is my guy! Improbable? Always! But wait, he says ... a 'little.' Yeah, I don't have that in me. As my brother once said about me, 'she's been livin' large since she was born.' He recognizes that in me, and by his pronouncement I understood that he's got my back. Good thing, not many can take ALWAYS improbable.

6. Angelou: no, I don't have anything to prove; except, it would be nice if more saw that what is my enough, isn't something to run away from. My enough can be a little overwhelming.

No sweat, I got this. I just had to consider it. Inspiration is in me. Thank you for reminding me.

Friday, November 23, 2012

peyton manning

The Chicago Tribune 11/23/12
I will tell you upfront that I am die hard Chicago Bears fan. I was raised in a Bears household. We, as a family, have passed on that tradition to the next generation, even though in one instance their father is a ... what???? .... New Orleans Saints fan. Pishposh. I love the Bears! I love the anticipation of an upcoming game. I love that I leave my life for the hours that a game is on, and I can submerse myself in it. A game that can be exciting, and I yell. Disappointing, and I yell. Goes into overtime, and I yell. Or is a blowout, and I yell. Football, for me, is primal scream therapy. A friend likened football to modern day gladiators, and though I had surmised that to be true, I hadn't ever heard it so well articulated. Yes, they are gladiators. They are warriors. They, the Chicago Bears, are Monsters of the Midway. And I don't like any other team, or any other players (especially, and I do mean emphatically, any CHEESE HEADS ... and for those of you in other cultures who may come upon this, a cheesehead is a Green Bay Packer, fan or player. And a Green Bay Packer is .... I won't even bother. I try to think of them as little as possible!).

Ah, but then there is Peyton Manning. There is something about that man as a player that I have always appreciated. He seemed to have an incredible love of the game, an incredible work ethic, and a boyish sense of purpose every time that he walked out onto the football field. A couple of years ago, while he watched his little brother, Eli Manning, quarterback the NY Giants in the Super Bowl, the camera caught Peyton, big brother/Super Bowl winning quarterback, pacing in the owner's box. I don't know if it was more that he was nervous for the outcome of the game, or that he wanted to get in there and throw the ball for his little brother. He was splitting out of his skin. And when he went down, was that two years ago already, with a serious career ending injury, I felt so bad for his team, the fans, and especially him. How would he recover knowing that he would never play the game that he loves so dearly again?

My brother-in-law, a HUGE football fan and physician, told me that with his kind of injury, he wouldn't be back. I would have to satisfy my admiration of him in 30 and 60 second bursts of his charms in commercials of the products he endorses. In my opinion, that injury was more upsetting than what Chicago is suffering now with the injury of the Bulls' Derrick Rose. 

And I guess that I haven't been paying enough attention as I was surprised and heartened that the man who loves football so much is playing at MVP level. Say what? But how could I be surprised? This guy loves the game. He loves football like Michael Jordan loves basketball. And when you have that, and a natural talent and ability for the game, you just can't keep a good dog down. And true to anything that I had thought about him, he picked himself up from that injury and went back to basics. He went back to his old college football coach. He went back to trusting that if he worked hard enough and smart enough that he could get back into the game.

And he has. At 36, awfully old for a quarterback (sorry Brett Favre), he is leading the AFC in passing touchdowns, has the best completion rate, and owns the top passing rating. Incredible! I wonder if the Colts, the team that he played on for years, is sorry now. How could they not think that this man would come back? They knew him. They knew his work ethic. They knew the stuff that he was made of. I imagine that they needed to think of the future, and how to rebuild an offense with a new, younger quarterback. I know that football is a business, but man, coming from a loyal fan, you gotta wonder, do teams have any loyalty?

In the article in today's Tribune, Peyton Manning's Duke college football coach said, 'The appreciation for me was reliving the intensity of a man willing to work beyond what any human can push themselves ... it was an incredible thing. I wish now - and he agrees with me - that we had let somebody come in to document that. Because I don't know if anybody else could have done it.' 

How does one know when one is in it that they are pushing the limits; that they are working far beyond any expectation of what is possible. I take this very personally. It is something to consider for any of us. We don't have to be a star football player. Or anyone else that works at that level of exposure for that matter. But we can, in our own lives, live to that creed. It isn't so much that he took a broken body and brought it back to life. No, it's that he did it without knowing what the outcome would be. He may not have been successful. He may not have gotten picked up by Denver. He may not have thrown another professional pass again. But he worked at it with no one watching, and I would bet that if you had asked him, hey, you gonna do this? He would have said, YES. That's very powerful.

Naturally, Peyton Manning has had a tremendously successful career in the NFL. He's been named MVP 4 times! But his fall, his injury, took him lower than what us normal folks probably would every encounter. So in perspective, yeah, we can do it. Without anyone looking, we can make it happen. And I don't mean just as far as a job is concerned, or school. I mean that we can take what it is that we do every day, work at it a little bit harder, and find that we can pull ourselves up to the next level. Hey, when Michael got older and wasn't as quick to the net, he pulled back. He became the king of the fade-away perimeter shot. Like Sam Farmer, the Chicago Tribune reporter, said of Manning, 'He's not the same player he was in Indianapolis. He has adapted and grown.'

Oh that Peyton Manning! He's my hero. And with his success, I feel a challenge. I can be better. I can adapt and grow. I want to keep on throwing touchdown passes too.

Football. Nothing like it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

bruno mars

If I have a bad day, I can always turn to Bruno and this performance at this year's Grammy Awards. The energy that guy sends off is amazing! When he goes down in to the splits, I squeal every time.

Now, with his new song out, "Locked Out of Heaven," I am the president of his fan club. The album isn't out yet, but I downloaded the single, have it in my car, and it's become my morning anthem to pump me up before I go to work. He's just so ... darn cute! A friend told me that he was on Saturday Night Live a few weeks back, and I checked it out on YouTube. He was a riot. From the opening monologue to the Pandora skit, he was sharp. Of course in his monologue he said that he was nervous about hosting as well as Justin Timberlake ... yeah, he didn't need to be as he was just as funny, and maybe even more beguiling.

I think that what I love about him is that he is a performer. He isn't stuck in a type or only out for quick hits ... he's the real thing, baby. I don't know if I want to pinch his cheeks or ... who knows what, but I am one happy person when I listen to him.

The Grammy performance reminds me of a band that I used to love in college: David and the Happenings. The group was made up of a stand-up bass player, a drummer, and a singer. I think that was everyone ... David was a tall skinny white guy, and he wore a choir gown to perform, mostly, James Brown songs. They were intense, and fast, and a true 'punk' band in my estimation. I would go every night that they played at the Club ... the diviest bar in my college town. And I would dance ... and dance ... and smile.

That's what Bruno makes me want to do too!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Brad Pitt/Chanel #5 Update

I was at my local Chanel counter buying a mascara, and lodged an official complaint against the use of Brad Pitt as the spokesperson for Chanel #5, the cornerstone of the Chanel business; and if I'm not mistaken, the most sold fragrance in the world. The sales associate was very nice given my comment and determination to let her know exactly what I think ... and then she went on to say that about half the people love it, and half don't. But what is remarkable is the fact that men are coming in ... and trying it on! As Brad Pitt is the spokesman, they think that it is a MAN'S FRAGRANCE! Ha! Dum-asses!

But maybe Chanel is on to something ... they are building a new customer for a decades old scent. C'est oui!

The Best Music Video Ever (and in a language that I understand!)

A friend sent this to me and wondered if I might understand it?! I have been known to speak in Leprechaun, which isn't much different than gibberish, except of course without the brogue. And I totally get this video ... it has stuck in my head all day since I first viewed it.

Obviously, as he is an opera singer, he has access to other singers, dancers, props, a sense of performance. I love, love, love the dancers! And the pastels of the girls in class! And the leads!

The song is so catchy that you don't need to know the words. Come to think of it, how many songs do I not know all of the words to and still sing along to them? Many. I guess that it is the point, and this guy does it to perfection.

Monday, November 5, 2012

skye blue skye

the Isle of Skye August 2012
I am on the edge of the world.

new girl

Rolling Stone October 2012

One of my favorite newer shows is New Girl. And Schmidt ... cracks me up. Is a D-Bag? I'm not so sure about that. He is unfiltered, and he says just about what I would imagine any man would like to say outloud in many of the situations that he finds himself in. But I think that all of that bravado is a cover up for what is the pain in Schmidt. Come on, he used to be the FAT guy, and that doesn't just unstick, no matter what the conquests or restylings or whatever may be.

Probably what I like best about the show as a whole is the fact it is essentially about 3 guys who dig each other. I don't think that we've seen that much on television. Usually guys are portrayed as competitors or mortal enemies, but these guys have a genuine affection for each other. Jess may as well be living with girls, or gay guys. They are indicative of what I'm seeing as a 'new' sort of man ... one who is not insecure about his 'feelings' and is concerned with his 'look', etc.

Well, that's not exactly what Schmidt is, but it's close enough.