Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Floridians in Big Apple

"Certainly, travel is more than seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living."                         ~Miriam Beard  



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
--Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (1869)



AOL's add-an-entry feature does not work well this morning. It will not let me change font color. No time to whine to Joe (AOL Journal Editor and techie god). We are headed to NYC and there is a public transport strike. But NOTHING can dampen my spirits. I am beside myself and looking forward to my first trip to the Big Apple.

I will try to download pics and what nots while I am there.

My mother-in-law's advice: "Make sure the kids have their shoes on.  Don't pack their bib overalls."

Happy Holidays to everyone! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Simpler Holidays

Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.

-King Whitney Jr


Our kids have grown and the gift giving mode in our household changed this year. Instead of buying expensive gifts for each other, we bought tickets for the family to go to New York City. We’re spending our Christmas holiday there.


Christmas is just so commercialized now-a-days and the older the kids get, the heftier are the price tags for the gifts they want. We put our foot down and decreed that we will make memories this year instead of subscribing to materialism full on. Instead of buying each other gifts, we wrote a check to help Red Cross on its ongoing hurricane drives and donated some to USO to help deployed young military people pay for their airfares.


Thorstein Veblen was right on track about his conspicuous consumption theory. We are ashamed to admit that wewere once caught in the waves of consumerism and technological ostentation. We went to the department stores/malls and braved the holiday crowds to get that perfect gift for each other. We spent so much money on things that did not even give us joy after a week of having it.


This is not a change of philosophy because of necessity. We are at the point in our lives where we can go out and get what we want if we want to. We  reflected on past Christmases we’ve had that were centered on the material bounty and we want to take a step towards what we hope is a higher plane. We still want gifts but we want those from the heart. 


This year, we will try to celebrate Christmas’ real meaning: sharing, giving, and togetherness. We will make memories to be treasured for eternity. We hope our kids will take their children on vacations at familiar places and say, “Your grandfather and grandmother took us here and we did this.” Each of us is giving each other the gift of time so we can share a memory-making adventure together.


For friends and families: we bought consumables, baked cookies, made personal gifts and we’ll be visiting some. For our nephews and nieces: we got them gift cards from their favorite stores. Yes, that is all we are going to do this year. It is actually liberating to do away with all the holiday spending. We look at people who are frantically searching for that perfect store bought gift for that special someone and feel sadness welling in us. We were once those people.  



Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Kids Made Me Do It!

“You can tell that it's infatuation when you think that he's as sexy as Paul Newman, as athletic as Pete Rose, as selfless and dedicated as Ralph Nader, as smart as John Kenneth Galbraith and as funny as Don Rickles. You can be reasonably sure that it's love when you realize he's actually about as sexy as Don Rickles, as athletic as Ralph Nader, as smart as Pete Rose, as funny as John Kenneth Galbraith and doesn't resemble Paul Newman in any way--but you'll stick with him anyway."

 -Judith Viorst


My teenagers are constantly falling in and out of  “love.”  I just have to keep my mouth shut though I am tempted to say, “You do not know what love means, kid!”


Does anybody really knows what love means? Isn’t it one of those emotions that only the “lover” could define? My definition of love may not be yours kind of thing?


I believe that most love begins with infatuation. Love is not blind, infatuation is. When you are infatuated, you only see the positives and your blinders filter the negatives.  Then the biochemical induced high of infatuation fades and reality strikes. Suddenly he is not that great anymore. He has a funny way of chewing his food. He isa miser. He is not as brilliant as you thought he was. This is when a lot of couples that thought they are “in love” start arguing. That very smile that made you smitten as a kitten now annoys the beJesus out of you. This is the transitional phase where infatuation may turn into a break-up or love.


A lot of people succumb to infatuation addiction. They break up with their partners when the rush of dopamine is depleted. They want to experience that high again and again so they have series of short-term relationships. They are no better than drug addicts because they are chemically dependent too. The only difference is that they do not have to pay for it because their bodies manufacture the chemicals. Some would say that these people are addicted to love. They are not.  They are addicted to the biological chemicals induced by infatuation.       


Love is the more mature and reality based by-product of infatuation. You see the positive as well as the negative traits of your partner but you keep them around anyway. You look at the whole package and decide that nobody is perfect and you will take him as is. It does not mean you will not nag him into changing but after a while you will just give in and rationalize the flaw as a character enhancement feature. There’re days that you will question your sanity because you find his double chin “cute” and his burgeoning middle “sexy.” Love is not blind: its sight is 20/20. Love is crazy: it consciously accepts, challenges, and defies reality.    



Thursday, December 1, 2005

Time Flies!

                                Happy 15th Birthday, J!


Smiley Faced Genius


Almond shaped brown eyes

Full of mischief

Freckled smiling face

Sometimes goofy

Happy and young

Seemingly shallow

You surprise everyone

With intrepid wisdom