Archive for April, 2012

“Fall down seven times, stand up eight”

My post today was going to depict dog-eared folks who have beaten the odds. They’ve achieved success on bountiful levels despite battered introductions and experiences in this world.

It was going to be about those who have essentially clawed themselves free from what would be seen as unsalvageable ruin and rubble and found their way to a breathing hole. People who have taken ownership of the debris and repurposed it into a life of their own; a life to be proud of.

I was going to write about Kevin (The Kid) Lewis who persevered his sadistic, abusive parents and the debacle they called a ‘home’. He struggled with right and wrong, suicide and self-deprivation long past his escape from outside influences and went on to follow his dreams of acceptance, family, writing and movie production.

I would’ve written about Nick Vujicic; born with a rare disease called Tetra-Amelia Syndrome. Yup, no arms, no legs. Contemplating suicide at the tender age of eight, love for his family carried him through the tough times. Nick went on to achieve vast successes, large and small. He is a University Graduate with a double major,  a preacher, an inspirational and motivational speaker, the founder (at seventeen) of Life Without Limbs, a non-profit organization and an author. In February 2012, he married his sweetheart. Talk about getting up when you’re down.

I could’ve told you about Randy Pausch; Husband, Father of three, Science Professor and Childhood Dream Achiever. He trusted in optimism prior to his Pancreatic Cancer and it served him well throughout his life. His ‘glass half full’ outlook carried him, respected and accomplished, to his death. It also scored him three years as opposed to the original three-month prognosis.

When told he had three months to live due to his tumor-riddled liver, he simply continued on with his lifelong legacy; positivity, video logs for his wife and children, one last book and one Last Lecture.

I’d ‘ve brought to your attention, Elizabeth (Liz) Murray. She came into the world through poor, drug-addicted, eventually HIV positive parents.  When her Mother died of AIDS, Elizabeth, fifteen, was homeless and left to fend for herself. She graduated high school in just two years while supporting herself and her sister. Snagging the New York Times Scholarship for needy students, Elizabeth was accepted into Harvard U in 2000. She left in 2003 to care for her ailing Father, continuing her schooling at Columbia to remain close to him.

He succumbed to AIDS in 2006, permitting her to return to Harvard to complete her Psychology degree. Today she is a motivational speaker and founder of the company Manifest Living.

My post would’ve included Aron Ralston. Somewhat of a pro climber, Ralston took an ‘easy’ hike and became imprisoned Between a Rock and a Hard Place. After five days of hallucinating and sipping his own urine, he had little choice but to amputate his trapped right arm with the dull blade of a multi-tool. His fortitude and fight for life carried him up and out of the canyon to eventual safety.

Aron is now an expert rock climber, using various extensions for his prosthetic arm, one of them being an ice pick for glaciers. He’s a motivational speaker, an author, a husband and a father. If you haven’t read his book, I strongly urge you to do so. Not only is it can’t put it down riveting, it’s fantastically written. This guy had the moxie to survive and the writing chops to prove he was meant to tell the story.

I was going to write about these people who are brimming with negatives turned positives, who ooze strength, courage and determination, who have taken their pain and unfairities and spun them into the stuff dreams are made of…the material of Superman’s suit…hero producing, goal achieving champions of challenge.

I was going to sing their praises and draw your attention to their utter and absolute amazingness.  I was excited to write about all of them…and then I realized they don’t want me to speak for them. They insist on speaking for themselves.

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There are those who were latchkey kids, kids who didn’t have the ‘right’ clothes, were bullied at school, friendless…kids that endured self-indulgent, monstrous parents.

Some who had it rough. Like, real rough. Dirt poor, beaten, sexually abused, neglected, starved…abandoned.

There are folks who were never shown an ounce of love. Not nurtured, not praised, not cared for, not raised.

There’s the temptation to think; if only we had…which brings us to the people who had a solid upbringing, unconditional love…money galore and chose to piss it all away on material possessions and self-abuse…early ending lives. Spoiled and severely unhappy, lonely, effed up, tragic humans.

Then there are individuals whose success, fame and wealth seem to lead to a balanced and gratified existence. An existence suffused with paying it forward.

The world is full of different kinds of people with different principles, morals and motives. What makes us what we are? What makes us what we become?

At the risk of a cliché, life is what we make of it. It really is. We can let our journey make us, break us, drag down or define us, but the path we walk is our choice and every day is a new dawn because the rest is still Unwritten

“I am unwritten

Can’t read my mind

I’m undefined

I’m just beginning

Pen’s in my hand

Ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you

Open up the dirty window

Let the sun illuminate the words

That you could not find

Drench yourself in words unspoken

Live your life with arms wide open

Today is where your book begins

The rest is still unwritten” (Natasha Beddingfield)

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Seriously. Because we don’t have the little two by four inch flimsy scrap of paper we’re banned from getting the best deal? The carrot is dangling (that’ll be the last talk of carrots for a while, I promise) right in front of our noses and they’re not going to feed it to us?

Truth; I strongly dislike coupons. Okay, hard truth; I hate them. So, if you’re a voucher lover, you better look away because you’re bound to get nettled at some point during this post.

They drive me nuts. We, as customers, are supposed to search for them, cut them out, hoard them in our already bursting wallets and then make sure we remember to use them at the register. Am I missing something? Nope. We work for them.

It’s incomprehensible why, when we’re standing there in the flesh and want to drop a wad of dough, we need to have sought out these little dockets in order to get a discount.  Can’t we be rewarded just for showing up? For bringing in our business?

And, back to bursting wallets…are they bursting with the large amounts of cash we’ve saved using our coupons? Nope. They’re bursting with forgotten coupons and plastic cards, clever coupons in disguise.


It’s ludicrous that we need to fill out forms, divulging our personal information (otherwise known as selling our souls) so that we can get the cheapest deal. Am I wrong? Don’t think so.

Understood. It’s advertising…a ploy to bring in more business, we get it, but we’re already there…and we’re not feeling good about it.

We’re putting down for a three hundred dollar meal and can’t have the free ten dollar appy because we didn’t scour the local paper wielding a pair of scissors before leaving the house.

Professional Coupon Cutter

We can’t get the ‘club prices’ at the grocery store we’ve been shopping at for years because we’re driving our spouse’s car and their key chain doesn’t sport the magic price fob. Urgh.

Coupons suck and frankly, ironically…they’re a rip-off.

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Follow Bugs Bunny’s lead by gnawing solely on carrots and the spray tan biz would go belly up. Devastating, and I for one am not willing to risk it.

Every person has something to offer. All hold a unique element to throw into the pot. As mentioned before, although we may very much like carrots, it’s with the help of celery, onions, peppers, garlic and even a little salt that they are brought to their full potential. Varied components, in the right amounts, infused in a favorable environment, compliment one another, making a balanced and strengthening soup.

Being able to relate to people on different levels brings out new and diverse aspects of our character. The ability to accurately measure ingredients, taking only what is needed, is a skill, not a compromise. “To each their own” is not just lip service.

Life is a melting pot for living and learning and there’s plenty of broth to go around. Give some. Take some.

Speaking of lip service, what better lips to mouth the words; “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”

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Like for a TBH…

The likes, the pokes, the requests, the comments, the followers and our (with any luck and a few brief encounters) overflowing ‘friends’ lists are virtual validation. Whether we admit it or not, to us they’re confirmation that we’re awesome human beings.

They’re our second chance; an opportunity to snatch some of the attention we missed in school, an enabler to hang onto the worldly, well-liked whippersnappers we used to be or a window for reinvention, in case our first draft wasn’t working out.

facebook exists under the guise of passive hobby, but in reality, there’s not much passive about it. Dynamic statuses are written, lively comments are made and shameless self-promotions are flogged. (one day I’ll share my page with you) And it’s all very much the opposite of passive. In fact, one could venture to say that facebook, or should I say, its users, can be downright aggressive.

For a platform that is supposed to be airy-fairy, it can carry the weight of a cinder block. Users preach from their soapboxes, post links and videos to support their stances, tag undesirable photos, type words that would never otherwise be spoken and, since we’re being honest, let’s be honest…being limited, blocked or deleted stings for more than a second. So why should we have it?

Top Ten facebook Flogs

1. Connectivity: It’s invaluable to have familiarity with family and friends you wouldn’t normally see and having it through facebook is different than an email or a phone call. It allows us off-hand inspection of pages. It’s informal and approachable.

2. New Connectivity: “Friending” someone new is fun. Especially when they’re someone we will probably never see in real life ever again. (?)

3. Visualization: Photos, words and personalities come alive. I went to my _ _ high school reunion a while back and I likened it to the figures in a wax museum walking and talking. Creepy…

4. Socialization: facebook allows for casual contact. Little or no commitment, while remaining in the loop can be a huge draw. Yes, sometimes we can be sloths.

5. Events: Users can create or be invited to an event, check out the details, scan the guest list, see who’s replied and whether they are not, maybe or definitely attending, all with a few clicks.

6. Optimization: It enables users to reach a large amount of people all at once, personally, professionally or promotionally. It’s also a podium that can intermingle and showcase all three appropriately. (there are exceptions)

7. Puppy for Sale: People have a need to belong and on facebook, most everyone does. No matter dispositions, idiosyncrasies, or quirks, there’s a place for all to call home. Groupers, gamers and go-getters alike will find their niche amongst the 850 million registered peeps.

8. Information Facilitation: A nice way of calling out the nosy parkers; facebook is a haven for users looking to catch up on the latest (and greatest) happenings in the worlds and minds of others. And of course, it’s there for the taking.

9. As Easy as: anything that’s not hard. It really couldn’t be much simpler to navigate. And, that’s me talking, which means it’s easier than easy.

10. Why not?  Overall, it’s just pretty darn amusing.

And, if you managed to stick with me this far, here’s a bonus flog:

11. Control: It’s so very satisfying to delete, ignore or squash a cruddy comment, like the bug that it is.  Just sayin’. 

*This article is published on Ezine

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I made it to ten. Ten posts, ten snippets, ten little pieces of me out there for scrutiny. I gotta say, I’m pleased. And, not nearly as concerned about the scrutiny part of it as I probably should be.

I haven’t, so far, made my pieces particularly personal, but they do all come from some aspect, big or small, of my innermost musings. Musings I don’t often share. Thoughts that never see the light of day. Feelings I’d normally keep to myself. Introspection unglued; cut and pasted into a global village. All resident buzz welcome.

What this blog is…what it will become, is unbeknownst to me. Unlike so many others, I don’t have a theme or a premise. That would take too much focus on my part. Hazy was supposed to be a whimsical epithet, but really, it encompassed what I was thinking when contemplating a Web Log. I had a very punch-drunk perception of the life I wanted it to have and so far, I’m still in the misty.

For me, the fun lies in the obscure. The freedom of the unknown is inviting. Cracking open a new post, sitting back and watching where it takes me (don’t be fooled – I’m not doing the driving) is captivating.  Well, for me. I can only hope that for you, it’s at least mildly entertaining.

I enjoy coming across inspiration in the most surprising places. I take immense pleasure in another way of looking at things. I’m ecstatic my reflections have somewhere to call home.

Ten posts, a handful of readers and only two fibs.  Let’s not adjust the sails…the mystic’s a sweet place to be.

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Expectations. The dictionary lists anticipation, hope and trust as synonyms. It depicts its meaning as; something to look forward to. It’s a positive word that packs a punch. But the pressures of expectations can be smothering. Their wallop can knock you out of the game.

We can’t help having them. We expect to wake up (most) mornings. We expect to see the sun if in Hawaii and a lot of us sadly, can expect to gain weight if we eat, ooh, let’s say…colossal amounts of chocolate or umm, cream buns. Damn it.

But, who decided they’re great? The expectations, I mean. (Cream bun greatness is a given) Is it a good thing to have them…these assumptions of life and the connections we make in it?

I suppose the palpable ones cause no harm. Death and taxes for example, not that they’re at all harmless; both can be quite fatal! Although, if you’re reading this, you’ve been lucky enough to experience only one of them. Alas, assuming death and taxes will play a role in our lives doesn’t change their impact or the way we live.

So when it comes to the people in our lives, should we expect things of them? Is it possible not to? We all go into a relationship casual, professional or personal, believing we’re journeying down a mutual path of give and take. Is it wrong to believe…to assume that? Because you will do something for someone, should you expect the same in return?

I’d like to think we can all “hope, trust and look forward to” the basics – human kindness, respect and a few tricks on the trapeze. Okay, I guess we don’t have the right to expect awe-inspiring circus skills. (Just checking to see if you’re still with me) But, expecting, assuming, trusting and believing that folks will do for us, what we would do for them can definitely be a ball-buster.

Everyone brings something different to the table, and that is what makes for a savory broth.

I don’t know about you, but my soup is never carrot exclusive. 

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I’m feelin’ ya, Freddy.

I did start a post yesterday. And I did all the right things…ate hazardous food, scurried here and there, whipped up passable sustenance for my family, threw jeans in the wash (my skinny jeans must be ready, mum) and watched American Idol. Still, the words would only trickle, no drip out, one by one. There was no spatter pattern (I’ve learned so much from watching Dexter), no rhyme, no reason. The case had gone cold.

I know what I was trying to say. The point I was attempting to make, but I couldn’t connect the dots. I wasn’t pickin’ up what I was puttin’ down, so how could I expect you to?

My finger hovered over the publish button, longing to blast out another midnight post, but I realized this isn’t the playing field where we sacrifice quantity for quality. I recognized more is expected than petty, amateur ramblings and gibberish. I realized that my readers assume I will provide interesting and articulate points of interest. You have high expectations. Yes, all three of you. And I didn’t want to let you down.

In the end, I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t hit publish. I checked my stats instead. Yesterday, I had the highest amount of visitors to my blog yet. Huh? Hazy’s Top Five raked ‘em in! I hate to tell you, but it was my least favorite post. (hopefuly we can still get along) When I shot that one into cyberspace, I thought I’d lose you three, but no…apparently you love lists. (Yay me!)

Writing a novel is pressure; 50, 60, 200 000 words. Yikes! But unless you’ve already produced one, acquired an Agent, had it published and are on a deadline for the next, you’re pretty much writing it at your own pace. No one knows what page you’re on or how many more you have to go. And no one cares. I am learning that writing a blog is a big deal. I have established pressure. I have invented a daily grind. I have created an expectation. And I’m absolutely thrilled.

I’ll post my grocery list later. I need the views.

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Yesterday it was chocolate eggs. Today it was laundry, appies, red wine, a trip to Thrifty’s, a purchase of Element ankle socks (for my fastidious tween boy) and ‘trucks’ for my daughter’s longboard. Maybe tomorrow it’ll be Vodka and toilets…

Whatever it takes, wherever I wander, however much chocolate I eat, it’s there. In the back of my mind, the blog is always looming. The blog and its Saran Wrap; the writing…and what to write. I just started. How did this become a part of me…so crazy quick?

I let it, that’s how. In fact, I threw the door open, dragged it in, handcuffed it to the chair and fed it cream buns. Same way I get all my friends to stay. (That’s normal, right?) I am now addicted…to blogs and cream buns.

So, why do we blog? We all have our reasons, equal and assorted. And since I don’t know what yours are, I’ll share mine:

Hazy’s Top Five Reasons To Blog

1. Treasures Unearthed. No hiding in the drawer beside our beds. Like sending out a message in a bottle, it’s cast off into the waves to fight or flight.

2. Danger Free Zone. Building it doesn’t mean they’ll come. (Sorry, Kevin) When we throw that bottle out into the ocean, there’s a flutter in our gut…a little fear that we might get a response. FYI: #blogginganonymouslyislikewearinganinvisiblecloak

3. Baby Steps. Is there a step quota for tots learning to walk? (No is the answer for those of you who don’t know much about tots) So, how much do we have to write? As much (or as little) as we want. After all, it’s not a novel. It’s not even a short story and the tot is not on a treadmill, unless we want it to be.

4. Prowess Perfection. We hone our skills by writing regularly and receiving feedback. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and really, a paper cut hurts more than a nasty comment or a bad review, so don’t pick out a headstone just yet.

5. Connect Creatively. Whether it’s with ourselves or with others, making a connection with our capability is good for us, good for our health, our minds, our bodies and our souls. Free your mind…and the rest will follow. (Thanks, En Vogue)

Gee…not one of my top fives is about getting famous. Who knew?

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I was having a tough time getting started this morning, so I ate two…okay, three (but they were small!) Nestle Aero Easter eggs and now I’m ready to go. I’m ready, that is, to tell you about fib number two.

In “Fibbing on the Front Line” I claim that saying I snatched back a piece of my life, which happened to be writing, was a bit of an overstatement. Actually, I call it a fib, and go on to describe the fear, my fear, of sitting down to do what my heart desires.

No doubt, it is tough to write. It is difficult to create a world with your own words, your own ideas…literally a figment of your imagination. Will people get it? Will they like it? Will they even read it? And then there’s the; what if they read it? Good Lord, just close the lid now.

But wait! That last one…someone might read it, understand it…heck, there’s even a definite possibility they could indeed enjoy it. Holy moly. You could be an Author!

So, back to my fib. I did write. I created a 56,000 word, fluffy, chick-lit (apparently you’re not supposed to call it chick-lit anymore) novel. Yup, I did. I took the NaNoWriMo challenge and banged it out in thirty days, start to finish. I scrapped caution and quality and let the words flow…free like the wind. It was very liberating and ultimately, a rocking goal grabber.

The gist of NaNoWriMo is that you, very simply, write. You lay down 50,000 words in 30 days. That would be 1,666 words per day, give or take 20. You don’t edit, you don’t backtrack and you don’t fret. You just…keep going. It works!

But then what? Well, you edit. Or, as was my case, you let it sit. And, sit it did, for about a year. I couldn’t get myself to touch it. I was overwhelmed by all the words I had so freely let loose. Don’t get me wrong; if it weren’t for NaNoWriMo, I most likely never would’ve gotten as far as I did. I give Chris Baty huge props. But the rest was up to me. I had to throw myself across the finish line.

When I first began the challenge, my goal was, of course, to achieve the 50,000 words by the deadline. But, there was more. I wanted to send it to an Agent…and I wanted a response.

So, I hauled it out, dusted it off, and I edited. For another year. Now, that might lead you to believe I ended up with a masterpiece, a great Classic. Hardly. The end result was the original skeletal frame sporting a bit of flesh, maybe a few major organs…and some ‘functionability’. But, I was proud.

I sent it to twenty-five Agencies. I heard back from all twenty-five. Yay me! Obviously, they were all rejections or I would’ve typed “YAY ME! (duh) but still, their responses were filled with positive encouragement and polite comments. They’d actually read my babble. My gibberish! Okay, another yay me.

But, as the saying goes, give ‘em an inch; they’ll take a mile. Greed has struck. Indulgence is slowly overcoming my fundamental sheepish contentment. I want it published. I want to be an Author. I want someone else to say; YAY YOU.

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