Life – Thursday Thoughts

It’s late. Just finished the next episode of a program I got addicted to, Scandal, about which I now feel very mixed. The characters started out wearing white hats, and they are all turning out to have done major sins that are starting to out-weigh their virtues and attractiveness. The show is now getting to be more of a display of cleverness rather than heroic virtue. It’s still captivating.

At the end of the show my dog, Awesome, fell asleep and started to do something that made me wonder when Advertising and big Pharma are going to get together and put on late night TV commercials asking:

“Does your dog’s snoring keep you awake at night? If so, give him K-nine Kno-snore. Not recommended if your dog suffers from thirst,  seizures, flea bites, leg humping, allergies, hunger, liking to be scratched, or low testosterone. Caution: Side effects of Kno-snore may include, but are not limited to: heart attacks, strokes, hair loss, hives, gout, puffy lips and dry skin.”

A suggestion about your significant other: Find out what makes her/him tick. The pattern is ask a question, pay attention to her response, and then give something back to her about how you feel about the question. The key part is to pay attention to not only what she responds with, to but also HOW she responds e.g.:
Is her response quick – like it is something viscerally close to her feelings, or is it a slow response like it’s getting thought out? Did her energy level pick up or was is a flat response? Did her eyes open wider or remain the same? Did she animate more – like using her hands to express herself? Did her breathing pick up or remain level? Do her eyes and face seem happy, or agitated, or unengaged?
Pay special attention to what animates her and gets her juices flowing – those are the things that are close to her and make her happy. Notice what they are.

Also, by paying attention to her tone, pacing, breathing, energy, you can sense when she is making a decision. I remember setting up a time to do explore a possible business opportunity with some other people. I got the date of my free day reversed and she couldn’t reschedule to join me on the changed day. Since I no longer had another person going with me, I reviewed my priorities, and thought I could better spend the time finishing another activity before starting a new endeavor.

When she and I talked on the phone a day later, she asked if I had gone to talk to these people. I told her I hadn’t, and I could tell by her voice that she was disappointed that I hadn’t done it. A red flag went up as I “heard” her making a judgement of some type about it. I usually don’t feel the need to justify myself, so I let it go by. In retrospect, I should have focused my attention on the flag and asked her why she sounded disappointed and taken the opportunity (never let a crisis go to waste) to discuss it and explain the circumstances to her. You’ve got to try something to find out if it works.

Another suggestion: If there is something that is important to you that you want to ask her/him about, but you feel awkward cause you don’t normally talk about the subject, or don’t know how to ask it, don’t delay until you figure out a best way to do it – it’s better to just go ahead and ask her. It may be ill-formed, and not in the way Shakespeare might have asked it, but go ahead and ask. You will be able to replay it later in your mind and figure out how the Bard would have said it, but if you don’t ask, the moment will have passed, and you didn’t get your idea or need out there. Not throwing it into the conversation will end up making a much more awkward situation. It will set off her female antenna and she won’t know what it is she’s picking up. It’s a lot easier, and safer, simply asking it.

Regarding asking, I read today that the word courage, derived from the French word for heart “coeur”, had an original meaning of “speaking one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” The writer, Brené Brown, continues: “Asking for what you need is one of the bravest things that you’ll ever do”. What is in one’s heart can be a statement or it can be a question. Stating what’s in one’s heart does take courage. That’s something I want, and need, to consciously practice.  We should all work on building that muscle.

Have you ever wondered why some things that seem so right, that fit so well in so many ways, that really “should be” – fail to thrive and survive,
and other things that are odd fits, that struggle, that appear “on borrowed time” – can’t seem to be killed regardless?

A prayer:
God, I am a wealthy man (thank you) but I am not a rich man.
Please send me a woman who is either too rich, or too poor,
to care. Or just a woman, neither rich nor poor, who simply doesn’t care…
(and help me surprise her about the rich part).
Thank you for listening.

Life – Wednesday – Odds and Ends

A tip – for when you are doing repetitive exercises that get challenging towards the end. Say you’re doing 50 pushups. It gets tough when you’re in the 40’s because you remind yourself that you have already done 45 pushups, then you’re doing a 46th push up…

Instead of this, count backwards. When you’re in the last tough ten of the series you can focus, not on the difficult road you have traveled, but on the small remaining task – eight pushups diminishes to seven, then six (and you know you can do six), five – you’re almost there, four- you can do this, three- I can do three!, two – I can do this, one -just one more – I’ve got it!!!! Yes!

President Lincoln had a lot of wisdom. Two of his quotes that I like are:

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

 

In her enjoyable book Happy for No Reason, author Marci Shimoff observed that people seem to have an internal “happiness thermostat”. They can win the lottery or lose a leg, and after a while the euphoria or depression dissipates and they return to their normal state of happiness.  I think Lincoln and Shimoff are both right. I try to be conscious of my own state of happiness and make the conscious choice to keep it up (especially if things don’t go as I would like them to go).

Lincoln2

 Lincoln was not a good looking man. With today’s emphasis on telegenics, he would never be elected today.  In the Lincoln – Douglas debates, Senator Douglas accused Lincoln of being two-faced. He responded:

“Honestly, if I were two-faced, would I be showing you this one?”

I had the great fortune of meeting a person who astounded me. She was a person who inspired one to think about the possibilities of life. She was intelligent, happy, immensely curious, artistic, an explorer, willing to try out new things, up for adventure. Being around her was interesting and exciting and joyful. Old dreams that had been dormant began awakening. Things that were “just thoughts” began to look like they could  become very do-able realities that I wanted to make happen. She was also a very “planfull” person. Her life was more organized than 95% of the people I know, complete with goals she had chosen for her life.  I thought to myself that “this is the way I want to approach and live my life”. I am truly grateful to have had my life changed by getting to know her and seeing how she LIVED.

There’s the old joke:

If a man speaks in the woods and there is no woman there to hear him, is he still wrong?

Some advice to guys:

1. If your gal ever asks you what can be done to improve the relationship, and you answer what you think, and she responds “is that all???” (see joke above), do not be defensive or sit there like a bump on a log. Turn it around into a great opportunity and ask her what she would like to happen to improve the relationship. Another situation is that if (when) you screw up, accept that you did it and honestly tell her “I’m sorry. If I could do it over, I would do it very differently. I can’t change the past, but I can change the future. Next time, how would you like me to handle/do it?”(and do it that way). It could make a huge difference.

2. If you are fortunate to wake up next to someone you love, take the time to softly wake her with a massage starting where her neck and head join, move down along the shoulders and down the shoulder blades, down both sides of the spine, hips, butt, thighs, calves all the way down to the heel and sole of the feet. (Don’t get distracted). She’ll love you for it and it’s a great way to start the day.

Love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections

These Life / Music pages encompass good parts of life in general. It includes thoughts, quotes, lyrics, poetry, video, links to  interesting sites, and things that I find interesting or well done.

There have been a few songs recently that have spoken to me. The first is John Legend’s “All of Me”. Some of the lyrics are:

My head’s under water,

But I’m breathing fine
You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind
‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, oh…
You’re my downfall, you’re my muse
My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues…
Cards on the table,
we’re both showing hearts Risking it all, though it’s hard…”

 

 

 

The second song I heard recently in a movie “About Time” which I liked a lot. This movie was similar to one of my favorites – “Ground Hog Day”, only this time, he has a choice.  The movie’s premise is that the men of this family are able to travel back it time. If something didn’t go as they desired, they could travel back and do something different to see how the outcome changed (repeat as needed) – with some funny improvements which I cheered. There were also some sad choices, too, but, overall, they mostly were improvements to their lives.
During the movie there was a spirited love song (usually they are slow) called “How Long Will I Love You” that is a celebration of love. Play the song and grab the person you love and dance with them. I include a link to the Youtube video of the song:

 

How Long Will I Love You by Boden, Sweeny & Coleman (audio)

 

Blitzen Protects Unconscious Girl

A year ago, 13 year old Annie saw five week old Blitzen at the National Animal Welfare Trust shelter in Cornwall, England and fell in love with him. She asked her parents if they could take him home, and the family decided to adopt him.  A year later,  about 4:00 PM in the cold winter afternoon, Annie said goodbye to her mom and took Blitzen out for their regular afternoon walk. An hour passed and Annie had not returned home.  When it got dark and Annie and Blitzen had not yer returned home, her mother got concerned and call the Cornwall police who assembled and sent out a search and rescue team.  With the sun down, the temperature had dropped furthere and become extremely cold. There now was great concern about Annie getting hypothermia.

The darkness made the search more difficult for the team. Slowly, the hours passed, 7 o’clock, 8 o’clock then 9 and the search team kept looking. They were starting to feel the cold, but they kept looking. 10 o’clock, then eleven, the team the team searched with their flashlights to woods, bushes, ravines searching for Annie.  Around midnight, a team member saw the light from his flashlight reflected in two animal eyes. He went closer to investigate – the eyes were Blitzen;s eyes. He called out to his teammates and they converged towards the dog and saw him curled around Annie as he tried to keep her warm.  As they got closer, Blitzen rose up, left Annie  and placed himself between Annie and the strangers to protect her.  The search team members were able to convince Blitzen that they were not going to hurt Annie. Only then did he let them to proceed. Blizten returned back to Annie and laid down next to her again. The team members saw an injury on Annies head – apparently she had slipped, fallen and hit her head knocking  her unconscious. Blitzen had stayed by her side for those many hours keeping her warm and protecting her until she was rescued.  Annie was carried to the road where an ambulance picked her up and took her to the hospital where she stayed for two days making a full recovery.

We don’t know exactly what time Annie fell, but if Blitzen hadn’t stayed with her and kept her warm she could have died from hypothermia”.  His “determination to stay by her side undoubtedly saved our daughter’s life”. “We saved him and then he saved Annie…He’s a “fantastic dog”.

Kabang Protects Two Children

In December of 2011, two young sisters started to cross a busy road in Zamboanga City, Phillipines, when a motor tricycle suddenly appeared near them. Seeing that the two girls were about to be run over, Kabang, a mixed shepherd, dashed out onto the road and placed her body between the two girls and the onrushing vehicle which crashed into the dog. The dog was badly injured, but her heroic act set off a chain of events ending in an international effort to raise funds to save her life and repair her injuries.

Kabang traveled to the United States are she was worked on by veterinary doctors from the University of California-Davis. Seven months later she returned to Zamboanga City. The injury was so severe that a dog lost the upper part of her snout leaving her with a gruesome appearance with only half a face. Upon her return, she was welcomed by the city’s grateful residents and treated to a motorcade. The City Council issued an executive order recognizing her as the city’s ” Ambassador of Dog Will”. Officials said ” if there’s something to be learn from the whole experience, is that the impulse to do good and make sacrifices present and everyone in that if non-humans  like Kabang can do it, so much so could humans”. In committing her sacrifice, Kabang “literally lost half of her face but etched a lasting impression of her heroism in the consciousness of those who have read her story”.

Rocco – Police Hero

Pittsburgh January 30, 2014

It was like something out of a horror movie- the worst nightmare for police officers.  Rocco, a police K9 dog, was accompanying two police officers who were in a dark basement trying to capture a 21 year-old convicted sex offender also wanted for a violent home invasion.  They moved cautiously in the darkness trying to not get surprised. They had no idea what the man might be armed with or what he might have found in the basement that could be used as a weapon.  Rocco felt the tension and all of his senses were on full alert. He detected the escapee who then lunged at the police officers with a knife.  In the violent life and death fight, the attacker injured both Rocco’s handler and the other police officer.  Rocco also fought the felon, and it was he who got the attacker to drop his knife – despite receiving a 6 inch slash along his back muscle, that cut into and destroyed his kidney,  and chipped bone from his spine.

After multiple surgeries trying to save him, Rocco seemed to improve only to suffer setbacks.  Rocco then began to bleed internally and and quickly lost ground.  Rocco received transfusions of 1 1/2 times his blood volume.  Six police officers kept a vigil for their K9 partner.  Sadly, Rocco died from his wounds inflicted in the fight.

Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, whose foundation provides dogs for police departments, said” our condolences go out to Officer Phil Lerza in the loss of his partner Rocco…  (who has) faithfully served in the Pittsburgh Police Department for the last eight years.  It is unfortunate situations like this that keeps our foundation doing what it does and why we’re so passionate about trying to help protect our law enforcement officers.  Thank-you Rocco for your service and dedication”

In the wake of Rocco’s death,Pittsburg City officials ordered flags to be flown at half mast at all city buildings to honor the fallen canine officer.