Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Category: Observations Page 1 of 4

An open letter to parents…

An open ended letter from teenagers to parents.

Speaking as a teenager these are some things that I believe all teenagers want their parents to know, however they have no clue how to tell them. I, myself, am a 17 year old woman, and about to begin my senior year of high school.

That being said here some things kids my age want you to know.

1.  We do think about college. And yes, we know how important it is for us to go college (and a good one).

We are scared about it. Nothing is as scary as the unpredictable future. Looking at colleges is scary, you’re going to be sent to someplace where you know maybe one person, and that’s if your lucky. We will be in a new town, maybe even an entirely different state. This is the first step to becoming an adult; maybe not legally, but mentally. Our first step to becoming independent. And you think you’re the scared?

2.  When you give us advice, we actually do listen. There is a very good chance we don’t understand it and might think that you’re full of it, but we still hear what you say.

This advice is important because we will know it when we need it. So even if we roll our eyes at you, NEVER stop giving us advice. We are young and have no idea what life is going to throw at us, help us be ready to catch whatever we get pitched.

3.  Senior year is going to be an emotional time for us…

Everything we do this year is the last time we will get to do it during our high school years. That is a scary thought. We have had certainty for the last 3 years and now there is this big mystery box in front of us. And we have no idea what we should do with it.

4.  This is our decision. Its for us to decide please don’t push us to do something we don’t want.

This is a note for the parents who think their kid is making the wrong choice. We don’t even know what we want, but we are going to make the best choice for US. Not for you, not for my favorite aunt, not for the best English teacher in the world. For ME. You might think our choice is stupid, but it’s our choice to make, so let us make it. Even if we do mess it up it’s something we can learn from.

5.  Even though we wish you could, you can’t protect us or bail us out all the time now.

There will be times when we need your help, but you can’t let us run to you every time something bad happens. You have to let us learn to do things on our own.

“Smooth seas do not good sailors make”

6.  Last but not least, We love you.

We are crabby ass teenagers who have a funny way of showing you that we care but never doubt for a second that we don’t love you. We will fight in the future as we have in the past but never once doubt us. We can always count on you to give advice the best you can.

So to the parents thank you for putting up with boring high school sporting events, award ceremonies, choir and band concerts, baking crazy amount of cookies at the last minute, teacher conferences, and for the funding to go on crazy school trips. It didn’t go unnoticed like you might think. So please be easy with us this last, senior, year, cause it’s hard for us too.


Are we dead yet?

So this is the day that the world is supposed to end.

If you are reading this, then it would appear that the Mayan’s were off a little or the joke was right, they simply ran out of room on the stone that they were using.  If the world has ended… then there is no one to read this and it does not matter anyway.

Have fun!

With the best of intents…

How often have you ever been talking to a person that you have not seen in a while, then upon parting, you make that commitment that we all, or at least many of us, renege on?

I do not think that we intend to lie to a person when we tell them that we will call them later, or discuss the option of getting together sometime.  I believe that we make these plans with every intent on keeping them.  Then life just… gets in the way.  Other things happen and we keep pushing the effort to keep that promise off further and further, until, many times, it escapes our thought altogether, or at least until the next time we see them.

I am especially bad about this, and I know and admit it.  I cannot even count, anymore, the number of friends that I have let go because I have not made the effort to keep in touch.  I understand that friendship is a two-way street, and I should not be the only one that makes the effort.  But I should at least try.

It is not that I do not like these people, it is just, as I stated earlier, that life seems to get in the way.  Other things come up and take precedence over the option of calling others or writing letters to people.

As an example, let me tell you about a friend of mine.  He and I practically grew up together and were always hanging out in High School and on the weekends.  When we graduated from high school, we still got together all the time.  This lasted until he moved to Texas.  We were and are still as close as a phone call, but there is something that makes making that effort hard.  I am not sure what, but it is there.

Luckily, I guess, I am not alone.  Before writing this piece, I spoke to several people about this phenomena, and many said that they have had the same problem.  In some case people have even stopped staying in close contact with family members.  There are even a couple cases where the people I spoke to have family that live in the same town, and they still do not keep in touch.

I would like you, who are reading this now, to tell me your stories about this and why you think it happens.  Tell me, in your own words, what you do to justify it to yourself or to explain the reasoning away.  I am not trying to put any of you on the spot, but I would like to get your opinions on this.

Thanks for reading.

Guiding Friends

When you think of your friends or the kind of friend you are to others, how do you see yourself?

Are you one of those passive friends that occasionally gets together on special occasions but rarely sees your pals otherwise?  Maybe you are lucky enough to be one of those people that has many friends and you go out with them all the time and see them often enough that they are almost family to you.

No matter how you are or how you see yourself, how we are with our friends says a lot about us.

I like to think of friendship, TRUE friendship, as a way to extend the boundaries of your family.  As we draw these people into our lives, earn their trust, and in turn, they, ours.  We get to a point where the relationship is almost indistinguishable from another family member.

This does not apply to all our friends.  I mean, we all know people that we consider friends, but we would not leave our children alone with them for too long, or hand them the keys to the house and the new DB9 and go on a three week vacation.  Then again there are people I know well that, if I had or could afford one, I would not give them the keys to a DB9… Sorry Grant and Jackie.

But through these relationships you build, you are not just getting something from them, but you are giving something as well.  Good friendships are a two-way road, you both get something out of them and you both give quite a bit too.  You are guiding each other through the relationship.

If the friendship is right, it can sometimes lead to more, as in the case of my wife and I.  We started off and casual friends that really saw nothing in one another, that turned into a close friendship where we shared the details of our lives and then, eventually, into love and marriage.  We both feel that our friendship is the basis that makes our marriage strong.

I cannot think of anything in life that is quite as important as friendship.  I also think that it is also taken for granted more and more these days.  In part because of things like Facebook, MySpace, and social networking as a whole.  People just do not meet in person anymore, they meet online.  Even when people live in the same town and only a few minutes from one another, they will meet online when they could go visit each other.

Unfortunately, I have started to fall into this process as well.  I have two good friends and a sister that live within five minutes drive from me, yet we see and speak to each other in person rarely, and really, this is just a sign of where we are all heading and might just be the reason we have as many problems in society as we do.

Maybe if we spent more time sitting with one another over a beer or coffee, there would be less problems in the world and we could all be friends guiding friends.

We need heroes… especially today.

When you think of heroes, who do you think of?  Think for a moment and let some ideas come you your mind.

Who did you think of?  A President? Your Mother or Father?  A Close family friend? a Fellow soldier?

It does not matter, really, who you think of.  Heroes come in all shapes, sized, sexes, etc…  Simply putting a label on them is taking away from what they have done, said or meant to you as a person, to make them a hero in your mind.

I am going to share with you, the people have have come and gone through my life that I would qualify as heroes to me.  These are not only people that I know personally, but also people that whom I did not know, but have still have some effect on who I am, what I have become and influenced the type of person I am.

You might be surprised at some of what I share with you.  I would also ask that as I go through this month, sharing these stories, that you would take the time and share your stories with me here, or on my FaceBook account.

So… Let the month begin… April is “Heroes of the Samurai” month.

Mr. Obama… you do NOT speak for me…

Mr. Obama…  You have spent a great deal of time throughout the first year of your duties as the alleged “Commander in Chief” visiting countries and throwing us, the United States, on the sword for whoever would listen.  But I have a few things I would like to share with you and anyone that cares to read this.

My “Am Not’s” and “Do Not’s”.

I am not sorry that we used “persuasive” measures to obtain information from combatants and non-combatant sympathizers during times of conflict (war or police action) in which the lives of other Americans and the lives of our allies is at risk.

I am not sorry that we went into the European and Pacific theaters in World War II and kicked ass.  There are many men and women, Americans and otherwise, that were injured or gave their lives to protect what we were fighting for.  Imagine what would have happened if we had chosen to sit it out? I am sure that even you, Mr. Obama, would agree with me, so do not presume to apologize for what they did with honor.

I am not sorry about what you refer to as American arrogance; I think perhaps you might be thinking, instead of our PRIDE, while some would suggest that this is a “deadly sin”, I disagree. We are a truly great country, capable of great things and have accomplished great thing in spite of what you are trying to do to it and what you are trying to educate us and others regarding it.

I do not apologize for those faults that we DO have.  Ever person, every country and every culture has faults, what we learn from those faults are what make us better people.  Every mistake makes us stronger and smarter and more prepared for our next challenge.  It is not your place to travel the world, advertising our failures and apologizing for them.

I do not apologize for my personal stance against those that practice Radical Islam… a stance that I share with many people, even friends of mine that are also Muslim and do not support the efforts of these radicals that give other Muslims and practitioners of Islam a bad name and make life hard on them. <Link> There are enough other reasons out there to hate one another and while I will admit that the Radical Islamic movement has me concerned, I work each day to know that there is a difference between the two.

I do not apologize for America “Dictating Terms” when we have been asked to go in and help in countries that have asked for our help or in cases where we have gone in and provided assistance even when we were not asked but the situation required intervention on our part.  Terms control what happens after the troops and diplomats have gone home, they are a way of making sure that we were not wasting our efforts.

I do not apologize for slavery…  I’ve never owned a slave nor have I ever had a desire to do so… though I would like to hire a house-keeper to come in once or twice a month.  Yes, slavery was a black mark in our history, but it is nothing new and certainly nothing strictly Euro/American.  In fact, you will find that the black slave trade was in effect IN Africa itself before the white man started exploiting it.  There are still stories of people being sold into servitude in that country to this day.  Does that make the Euro/American participation right? Of course not! But I will not apologize for that which I had no control over, nor should you, on my behalf.

I am not sorry for the United States’ policies towards other countries in the Americas.  We are a sovereign nation; we have the right to protect our borders and to make sure that our neighbors are not acting in ways that cause harm to this great nation.  This requires us to take a strong stance to defend our borders and our policies against those that would do wrong by us.  Mexico cannot and appears unwilling to even try to keep their own people and illegal drugs from crossing into our country, yet if we try to stop it, those that are trained and assigned to do the job are taken to task for it, just look at Officers Ramos and Compean.

We treat countries with respect when they act in such a way that deserves it.  When dignitaries like President Calderon of Mexico and “President” Chavez of Venezuela, among others, start acting like they respect the policies and sovereignty of the United States… THEN, we can begin to ease our policies towards them.



ABBA – Memories of the past

I was born in 1968… so by most counts, many would not consider me to have experienced the 1970’s.  I will grant you that, yes, I was not old enough to participate in the 70’s in the manner many people did, but that does not mean that I did not get something out of them.

My earliest memories are from around 1970… the music, the way it flowed through the house. My mother and father talking, the Television and the reports from Vietnam, which I really did not understand until years later.  The clothes that people wore, especially my mother in her bell-bottomed jump-suits that she made from paisley print materials in bright yellows, reds and greens.

Most of all I remember the music.  I can recall the sounds of the Kingston Trio, Jimmy Hendrix, Janice Joplin, Lawerence Welke and too many others to remember.  But there was one group that really and truely opened my eyes.

After my Mother and I moved to Bakersfield after her and my Father divorced, I went into the mode most children do, and that was to hate the parent you are stuck with.  This is more common than not and most people that have been through it, will know what I am talking about.  In addition to playing with the few friends I made, I lived in music.  I let it become a part of me.  Saturate me, if you will.  I got into the habit of memorizing the lyrics and writing in notebooks all the things I thought about the music in addition to the lyrics themselves.  Unfortunately these books were thrown away or lost through the ravages of time.

One day… and I am not sure when… I was watching TV on a Saturday when KC Casem’s television version of the Top Twenty countdown came on.  One of the first videos that he showed was from a group I had not yet heard of called ABBA… and the video was to “Knowing me Knowing you”.  I was in love.  Not so much with the group itself, but with the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, up to that point.  Agnetha Faltskog.

I was young, not even ten years old, yet here I was, completely smitten with this woman that was on the TV.  Call it my first crush, if you will, but I had it bad.

Fast forward thrity-three years and here I sit.  Still watching ABBA videos and listening to their music.  I have seen the Movie “Mamma Mia” and plan on buying the DVD, I have every CD that is available by them and they are a permanent fixture in both my ipod and zune.  Yes… in addition to loving my wife maddly, I still carry a little torch for Agnetha.  She is still a beautiful woman and I would probably, if ever given the chance to meet her, talk like someone had placed twelve marbles in my mouth in a vain attempt to talk to her.  If I ever had one wish that I would like to have granted, it would be for her and her husband to have dinner with Naty and I someday.

This is why ABBA as a group brings back so many good memories for me.  I listen to them and I remember that childish love I had way back then.  Back when I did not even know what love really was.  Before I was old enough to feel the physical attraction that puberty brings on and completely screws us males teens up with.

I listen to the music and it brings back memories of laying on the floor in the living room, listening to the Hi-Fi on Saturdays after helping clean house… the smell of pledge and floor wax still in the air as I listened to America’s Top Forty.  Writing in my notebooks the lyrics to every song that they played.

Thank you, Anna-Frid, Benji, Bjorn and especially Agnetha, for the music… and the memories.

Maybe Salvidore Dali was right!

This world really is a strange place.  It seems like everything that we do and see does nothing more than prove this point these days.  In fact, I have to stop and wonder if maybe the ones that can truly see things as they are, are not the ones that are usually cast aside as being crazy or eccentric.  Those that see what, to many, appear to not be there.

So the question arises…  did people like Salvadore Dali or Pablo Picaso see things as they might really be, and you and I are the ones seeing things the way we would like them to appear for the sake of keeping ourselves sane?

Don’t get excited, these are not serious questions, they are just observations from a person who has always felt that there is more than one correct answer to the questions in life, the universe and everything… and no, one of those answers is not “42”.

It seems that when ever we think that we are figuring things out and getting the gist of life, there is always something that comes along and proves that we are either wrong, or right, but on the wrong path.  You win the lotto one month after you declare bankruptcy, you wreck your car on the way to get your “Safe Driver” award from your company.  You fail a sobriety test on your way to your AA meeting, you find out you are pregnant a three months after you are told you are sterile and decide to quit the pill and have fun.  Things like that.

There are also those people that seem to hide in the pathway of your life just to jump out and give you a wedgie when you least expect it.  The silly friend that you did not expect to meet you at a lunch appointment.  The crazy aunt(s) that you just recently realized really are the spawn of Satan incarnate (can you say Avis and Marlene?.)

If I have learned any one thing in my forty years of living, it is that the world is a crazy place.  Full of things that are either there to help you or hinder you.  Fortunately the ones that are there to hinder you are mostly innocuous.  Things that catch you off guard and cause you to take a step back and collect your thoughts, then move forward.  Usually this last area is caused by family.  Love them though you might, they are usually the first in line with the monkey wrenches of good intent and well being.

When you look at nature, there are also things there that were meant to throw us for a loop.  Things that just seem odd or not quite right.  Beautiful flowers that are deadly poison, ugly ones that smell heavenly, pristine rivers that hide certain death, grand landscape that will invite you, then, years later when they find your body, prove that nature is still in charge.

Personally I like the way life is.  The adventure is there to keep us guessing.  The random events that we all seem to dread are just another way for nature to see if we are paying attention.  Life and the universe are full of examples of these grand and humorous contradictions…  so maybe it is the crazy that see the universe as it truly is…  the rest of us are blinded by our own idealism.

You see… I think that God… whatever god you might believe in, has a sense of humor and loves to practice it on you and I.  With this in mind, if there is a heaven… I am sure that comedians and philosophers all have the best seats and the rest of us will be the performers.

The art of being nice.

Being nice.

It’s not as hard as it sounds, really.  But if you watch people today, many of them would seem like either they do not remember how to, or chose not to be nice to others.

Where I see the best examples of this is in the retail arena.  Working retail is hard enough, I know, I spent the about twelve years in retail and had the pleasure of seeing almost every type of personality.  The good, the bad and the ugly, they are all people that crossed my path through the course of my retail career, thus giving me a point of view that not everyone has.

I try to be nice to most people, even those that are rude to me.  Granted, I do have my breaking point where when a person is continuously rude or hateful to me, I will crack and return the feelings.  The problem with that, when you reach that point, you have lost.  You are no longer controlling the situation and there is no way to truly recover the control.

More often than not, anymore, I will try and counter the situation with humor or irony.  Most of the time those are invaluable weapons to use against a person that is obviously in a bad or bitter mood, but unlike anger, it will sometimes cause the other person to see their own problem as being a little less important or, maybe, cause them to laugh at themselves.

I like to talk to people that are having a bad day, it is almost as though I see them as a challenge that needs to be won.  A good example of this is a time I was going through drive through at a local Burger King.  When I got to the window, the lady was in a very sour mood.  After I got my food and change, I decided to try something, so I sat there.  She came back to the window and asked if there was something else that I needed.  I said “I know you are having a bad day, so if I give you a smile, will you share it with others?”  She looked at me funny, then I told her a joke… “A horse walks into a bar and up to the counter.  The Bar Tender look at him and asked ‘What’s with the long face?'”

She gave me a genuine laugh and thanked me.  This was the first time I tried something like that, and it worked.  I am not normally that outward, but I taught myself a lesson and I helped someones day get a little better.

To be fair, it is hard to be nice to people that are in a bad mood.  It is hard to be nice to people that are having a bad day or are in the funks.  I know this from personal experience.  That is why I think that the BEING nice part is an art.  You have to learn to be nice in situations that you normally would not be.

So… the next time you are out there, and someone has an attitude… try something new… try and make them laugh at themselves or at you.

What makes beauty?

What is beauty?  What does it mean to be beautiful? What do you consider beauty to be?

More or less I think that too many people attribute beauty to be solely that which is on the outside, beauty of the flesh not of the spirit or the mind, when in reality, regardless of how a person looks, THAT is where the TRUE beauty lies.

Media, today, does nothing to help the matter in that most of what you see on television, movies and magazines are designed, either by intention or happenstance, to shame people who do not appear a certain way, dress a certain way or otherwise fit a certain category.  This is, in turn leading to people hating themselves because they do not like the way they look.

Popular culture is brainwashing us into thinking we all need to look like people like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Tyra Banks and George Clooney, when in reality there is nothing wrong with looking like who we were to begin with.

People as young as in their early teens and as old as their eighties are going in for surgeries to augment themselves, make themselves look younger, make themselves prettier.  Except in rare cases, there was nothing wrong with them to begin with and they looked just fine.  But because they did not look like a super model or a certain actor or actress, they do it any way.

To be fair and honest, yes… I considered cosmetic surgery for a while.  My reason was because of some discolorations I have under my eyes as a result of some malnutrition issues when I was very young.  But that is it.  I am not looking to liposuction my waist, tighten my butt, make my skin more taught… you see, that is what exercising and diet is all about.  It’s called NOT BEING LAZY.

One last thing I think people need to remember is this.  If you are not happy with the way you look, then all the surgery in the world is not going to correct the issues you may have.  If you were not happy being who you are before, what makes you think a little nip and tuck here and there is going to help you?  Doctors should offer FREE extensive counseling to anyone who comes in for cosmetic surgery, that does not have a need for it other than to look prettier.  Be they would never do that because of the potential lost revenue.

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