Monday, July 16, 2012

19+ things that make me feel like a winner

First of all, let me say that I resent the fact that Charlie Sheen re-invented the word "winning." It's a great word. Being a winner is way easier than people think because the definition of "win" is very subjective.

I consider myself a winner when I return library books before the due date. (Yes, I still use the library and actual books made of dead trees and not e-reader bytes.) Also, when I manage to get out of bed in the morning after only one or two snoozes ... I usually have about five. Oh, and also when I can easily zip and button my jeans right after they come out of the dryer without having to deflate my lungs first and/or lay flat on my bed and pray that I won't have a mega muffin top when I get up. Those are definitely not winning moments in a woman's life.

Here's a list of things that make me say, "I win!":

  • Finding a random onion ring in my regular fries from Burger King.
  • Saving on my car insurance by switching to Geico ... just kidding. I have StateFarm. 
  • Saying NO to a donut, even though it feels like total loss and devastation.
  • Randomly walking into Palais Royal and stumbling upon a store-wide Buy-One-Get-One-of-Equal-or-Lesser-Value-For-a-Dollar sale!
  • When someone gives me a mention on Twitter.
  • Oh, that one time I clicked on a page on Facebook and ended up getting a coupon for a free Crunch bar.
  • The moment I realize I'm caught up on all my bills and still have enough money left to buy some gum.
  • Each time I slay a dragon.
  • Anytime I make someone giggle and didn't intend to.
  • When I actually win at a game of Scrabble or Words With Friends.
  • Every time I correct a typo (that isn't my own).
  • Whenever someone buys a snack from the vending machine and it gets stuck, and they never get it, and I'm the next person to try for the same item and get two.
  • Getting more than 10 hits on my blog posts. (Hey, aim low, and you're never disappointed.)
  • Spontaneous hugs or compliments (from people I like).
  • When people randomly stop speaking to me, then I realize I didn't like them anyway.
  • The discovery that I have about $6 in change rolling around my purse.
  • When more than 100 people re-pin something I made and posted on Pinterest.
  • Seeing people go back for seconds when I cook.
  • Every time I get an outstanding review on my book, "I of the Storm."

Moral of the blog post: to make you think of all those minuscule things that occur on a daily basis that are more significant to your health and wellness than you realize. Don't hesitate to share some of your own winning moments.

See you next time!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Book review: Pastwatch

Amazon synopsis: In one of the most powerful and thought-provoking novels of his remarkable career, Orson Scott Card interweaves a compelling portrait of Christopher Columbus with the story of a future scientist who believes she can alter human history from a tragedy of bloodshed and brutality to a world filled with hope and healing.

I read random books. There's no rhyme or reason to explain which novel I'll read. Pastwatch by Orson Scott Card has been on my to-read list for years. Thanks to my son's assigned reading, I often got some good reading material, from sci-fi to drama to classics. There aren't many books my kid will rave about or even read completely through, but this one, he did both. That alone intrigued me.
I've always despised Christopher Columbus and his true story of barbaric and inhumane treatment of the natives whose land he stole. I'm beyond grateful for the land I walk on today, but it saddens me to think of the fallen.
I think my favorite character was Diko from the very start. She seemed to have been born with her mother's passion for the Columbus Project times five. I have an admiration for mature kids, and she was just that. No story is perfect, and I love to give the author lots of credit for being over creative and different from the norm. This story was definitely different, which is something that draws me in. I was fascinated by these machines that could peer into the past, and not to mention, so far into the past. How mind blowing that would be if it really happened! The author obviously put a lot of time into studying these ancient cultures and the life of Columbus. That takes patience! As I read, I actually pictured every scene in my mind like a video.
*Spoiler alert*

One thing I loved about this story was that I got to see certain characters go from young adults just starting off in the world to devoted scientists and then married with a kid who follows in their footsteps. Tagiri had a far-fetched notion that changing the fate of Columbus would create a better life for thousands of natives and other people in the world. I swear I even learned more about Columbus in this book than I did in school. Put a science fiction twist on anything, and you've got my attention.

Tagiri's only child, Diko, a very driven young lady, probably double that of her mom, ends up being of the chosen who are sent back in time to interact with the natives and strengthen them against the while men who would be coming. She taught them to stand up for themselves, taught the women to be stronger and smarter and wooed them with her knowledge of what was to come. Of course, she had already studied them in the time machine prior to going, so this empowered her to call them out on things, to them, only God could know, down to who had diarrhea on what day!

The other two characters who also went back in time at different intervals added such dimension to this story. Card touched on the past, present and future of humanity in this chilling story. He showed just how the modern world was shaped, how the Pastwatch team of the book's present day were horrified about slavery and all the brutality that existed during that time, and then they discovered a way to physically go back in time and interact with the ancient societies, including Columbus himself.

I also love that Diko not only went back in time to save the world against Columbus and his tyranny but she ended up making him and better person, and they married and had six kids! Interracial marriage is another hot button Card stuck into the storyline. Love it!

I recommend this book. And it gets my 5-star rating.

Monday, July 2, 2012

12 things I've learned about marriage in year one

Have I really been married for a year? No one is more surprsed than ME. The love hater finally found her match. If someone had told me a little more than a year and a half ago that I'd be happily married soon, I would have tumbled to the ground in hysterial laughter. Seriously. I could and should write a book about some of the characters I have come across in my dating life. It's totally book-worthy.

Like that one guy I was seeing for about 6 months back in 2004. We'll call him Dirty30. Everything was cool. I was about to let my guard down and start truly embracing my slowly-developing feelings for him when one day I called him and ... no answer. Called again later, no answer. Next day no answer. Next day, straight to voice mail. And voice mail thereafter. I was pissed, hurt, confused ... all kinds of feelings, but pissed was the dominant emoticon. After about a week, I got worried. I knew his brother and went to visit him at his job to ask if Dirty30 was alive. The bro informed me that he had gone away to Pakistan the week before to marry his first cousin in an arranged marriage that was agreed upon since birth! (Funny he neglected to mention that to me during our courtship.) The bro also told me that said cousin-bride-to-be had been molded her entire life for servitude to Dirty30. Double yuck. After he came back nice and wed, he contacted me with apologies and pleadings about how he didn't know how to tell me the truth. So, he didn't. Isn't that wonderful? Yea, well, I have a few stories that are just as good.

I gave up and decided to be a diva and rule my empire (which is what I call my life) all by my awesome self. Those who know me know that I was married many moons ago, a fast decision I made in my delirious teenage pregnancy state of mind that turned out disastrous. Oh, well. Live and learn. I got two amazing sons out of it, and I would change one single thing about my past. Regrets are for the weak.

Now, here I am. Life-locked with a 6-foot-2 hottie that treats me like a princess and makes me feel like I am the only woman in the world. It's an extraordinary feeling when you finally see what everything you've ever been through in life comes down to. Phrases like "Good things come to those who wait" suddenly make perfect sense. And true goodness wipes out emotional blemishes and rights all the wrongs. Nothing is perfect, and marriage is truly a work in progress but a worthy endeavor with the right person. He does housework. He comforts me not only when I'm down but when I'm jolly too. He makes sure I'm always smiling and listens to my babble. The only "b" word he calls me is babe, and he loves my cooking. I call that a win/win scenario.

Today's post is humorously dedicated to Mr. Right and 12 things I've learned in my one glorious year of happy matrimony.

1. The past is the past for a reason. Embrace what's new and beautiful and keep moving ahead.

2. It's OK to be seen without makeup at least by this one person.

3. Cooking is way more fun when you have not two - but three manly mouths to feed.

4. My neighbor's name is Glen and not guy-who-mows-my-lawn.

5. Game of Thrones is really GOOD! (Thanks for making me watch the pilot, honey!)

6. I push people in my sleep.

7. Losing half my closet space taught me that I have too many clothes, 70% of which I don't wear.

8. Wal-Mart is a blessing. (Sorry, Target. I still love you, though.)

9. Two incomes are better than one.

10. I'm not always right. (Dammit!)

11. There are a ton of good movies I haven't seen! (He's a movie fanatic.)

12. Sharing really is caring. :)

Thanks for reading! See you next time.