Friday, May 2, 2014

Two Guiding Life Principles for Sanity in an Insane World


                 *woman in photo is not me

I have two guiding principles in life that apply to many things. They do not stem from me being apathetic or rude, but from me trying to keep things in the right perspective. These two guiding principles are “I don’t give a rat’s backside” and “kiss my ass” (KMA). 

In context, someone calling me names because they don’t agree with my opinion or a belief I hold to be true would merit an “I don’t give a rat’s backside” attitude. This is because what someone else thinks of me and my beliefs is not only none of my business, but it will not cause the earth to slip off its axis. It neither steals my bike nor breaks my arm, therefore I am not going to get my knickers in a twist over it. This principle is the passive one of the set.

Conversersely, someone deciding they have some right to strip away my rights would elicit a “kiss my ass” response. This is the assertive one of the set of principles by which I live my life. This attitude can also take the form of action. Not violent action, but assertive action. I do not just ignore what is being done-I actively work against it with the KMA assertion in mind.

These two guiding principles help keep me sane and functional in a highly insane and dysfunctional world.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Honeybadger says, "Lay Off My Free Speech!"




I haven't delved into politics here, but perhaps it is time that I do.

First, please allow me to indulge in a little preface to my coming commentary: I am very much an All-American Woman. I bleed red, white and blue. I love my country and my fellow Americans, even the ones with whom I vehemently disagree. You mess with an American because he or she is an American, and you will bring down my wrath upon you.

Trust me, you do not want to go there. Not ever. Have you ever seen those honeybadger videos on YouTube? Yeah, image one of those critters crossed with the Terminator. The result is me when I am really chapped off. When I 'go honeybadger' on someone, I don't stop, I am relentless and I win. Always.

This brings us to today's issue: free speech. Perhaps it has escaped the notice of some, in particular some who claim to be the tireless defenders of it, that free speech applies to all, otherwise it isn't free. Some seem to have decided that free speech only applies to those with whom they are in agreement or those who at the moment have not chapped off anyone with their words.

What part of 'free' do you self-congratulatory, bloviating, talking heads not understand?

Honestly!

I can't stand Bill Maher and I thought Howard Stern's show was stomach-churningly repulsive. Not once, not ever, did I call for either to be silenced or shut down. I believe in free speech, which means for all, even when its offensive to me, personally. If I want to retain the right to free speech for myself, I must also defend that same right for others-for all. [Besides which, I am adult and quite capable of changing the channel-something I suggest more people learn how to do.]

When Juan Williams was fired for comments he made, I was right in there, publically decrying the move and supporting him in his right to free speech, despite the fact that most of the time I find him to be a clueless, sycophanitc lemming. When Martin Bashir 'resigned' following his vile diatribe against Sarah Palin, again, I was right there calling him out on his vileness, but also defending his right to speak like a hateful, retromingent jackwagon.

To those who believe the opposition should be silenced, I pose this question: until when? One viewpoint never remains in power, so those you silence today will shut you down tomorrow. Is that really your idea of freedom-that our rights are determined by the whims of the nimrod who has the power at the moment?

Here's a newsflash, my friend: that is not freedom and its not in accordance, not in the least degree, with the Constitution-our law of the land. The Constitution is the only thing standing between you and me and the power-hungry, self-serving tryant-wanna-bes. It is the only thing slowing down their neverending assault on our freedoms, which they must destroy so they can have power.

Some take this not-at-all-free-speech-but-we-will-call-it-that-anyway lunacy one step further, claiming that silencing those with whom they disagree is the moral thing to do beause its in the name of 'tolerance'.

*Shaking my head*

Sometimes there just are no words.





Sunday, August 11, 2013

Word of the Week: Mudita



As a writer and avid reader, I love words and language. I came across a new word recently that I just fell in love with. The word: Mudita. It means joy, but more specifically, it means the joy one experiences vicariously for the successes and good fortune of others. It is the opposite of jealousy.

Mudita. Mudita. Mudita. I think we could use a little more [ok, a LOT more] mudita in this world, wouldn't you agree?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Learning to Walk Again


This isn't something I talk about a lot, but after having been convinced it was worth sharing, I have been opening up more about it.

I have mentioned publically elsewhere that I have RA [retrograde amnesia]. The same thing that caused that also stripped away my ability to walk without an assistive device. I had to use a cane [needed a walker, but stubbornly resisted] in order to barely wobble around my home, a few steps at a time, and a wheelchair or electric mobility scooter when I left my home. My mobility was declining rapidly, as was my overall health. I was told to "accept" it and make plans for my future in an assisted living facility. I was told at the rate I was deteriorating I would shortly be completely unable to walk and be virtually bedridden. I was told that was to be my future. I disagreed.

It wasn't because it was something I didn't want to hear. It was because something inside me told me it was wrong; that my life was not supposed to follow that path-there was something else out there and it did not involve me being an invalid.

I am a prayerful person and though I was not sure if it was just me or if it was really God, the impression I got was that the doctor was wrong and I would walk again . . and see improved health. So, I took another path. I had to rehab my legs myself since I was being "stubborn and stupid" about the whole thing and I stopped all medical treatment [western medicine] in lieu of experimenting with whatever alternative therapies I could find that had something solid or of merit to make them worth trying [i.e. not just hype and a good sales pitch].

 Now, 13 years later, I walk independently and for distances, too. It took a long time, with much of that time spent "eating asphalt" as my legs would wobble and give out from under me as I worked my way up from being able to take only a few steps to now being able to comfortably walk more than 2 miles and with no leg wobbling.

I have had a lot of setbacks along the way; some so devastating I was taken back to virtually square one. It was frustrating, painful, grueling, and oftentimes seemed hopeless. I hit many plateaus that seemed to last forever-plateaus that left me wondering if that was as good as it was gonna get and if perhaps I needed to rein in my tendencies to "dream big" and "push the envelope" in order to just accept the reality that where I was, was where I was going to stay.

Something in me just couldn't "settle". I had to push harder. I had to go further. I had to see just what it was I could really do. Being "stubborn and stupid" is a plus, for that reason, I believe, because I did go further and I keep doing so. Every step is a miracle and every time I go walking [almost daily and 1 mile minimum] I feel overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for something most people take for granted: the ability to put one foot in front of another and not fall down. The ability to have the independence and freedom that being able to walk brings.

I used to do [25 mile] charity walks before I could no longer walk and now, I will be participating in a 5K charity walk in September-my first distance walk and my first charity walk in many years! [I am SO excited!] I am not quite up to 3+ miles yet, but I am working on it and am quite sure I will be there before the walk. Even if I am not; even if I have to drag myself, barrel roll or crawl over the finish line, I will be finishing it. In the Spring I want to to do a 10K [just over 6 miles], so I have a lot of work to do in the months ahead in order to double my distance [from the 3 miles I expect to be able to do in Sept].

Some suggest that is pushing too hard, too fast. As for my thoughts, well, I see no good reason why I can't accomplish the goal. And, there I go, being stubborn and stupid again. ;-)

The moral of this story ties in with a quote from Gandhi, which I will paraphrase: "If you know you are right, take a stand even if you stand alone." Don't let others tell you what you can't do when you know its something you can. Even when yours is the lone voice saying the impossible is possible.

Because sometimes, the impossible really is possilbe. I'm living proof.




Thursday, August 8, 2013

Free Soloing: Ropeless Rock Climbing with a Fear of Heights




Though I am absolutely terrified of heights [or more specifically, terrified of the painful splat I just know will occur from the inevitable fall from those heights], I have been known from time-to-time to face that fear head-on and completely surprise myself by what I can do. One such occasion was free soloing (ropeless rock climbing) up a 30 ft cliff face.

The back story of my fear is that as a child, I knew no fear of heights. I was part monkey; climbing and jumping off of or out of everything in sight. I am not sure why I sought such adventure or why it abruptly changed from fun to terrifying.

The paralyzing fear of heights hit me suddenly in high school. I was actively involved in, among other things, the theatre arts program and was going to run the lights for the current play at the time. The gels needed to be changed, so my friend, who was running the sound, and myself were tasked with the job.

As I ascended the ladder from the stage to the lights above it. I was halfway up and without warning, I froze. I could not physically move. My heart was racing and I was overwhelmed with fear. The friend I was attempting to help switch out the light gels was just below me on the ladder and me, being me, thought I was joking around. He had never known me to be afraid of heights. When he heard the shaking in my voice and then realized I was also physically trembling, he carefully climbed up and behind me, in order to gently guide me back to the stage floor, within the safety of his arms.

When my feet touched ground, I collapsed into a heap, sobbing uncontrollably. I had never felt such complete terror in my life. It physically and emotionally drained me; and embarrassed me beyond description. From that point forward, even small heights of only a few feet filled me with overwhelming fear. It was humiliating.

So, back to free soloing: fast forward some years to a canyon with a 30 ft cliff face, routinely free soloed by many. With a little encouragement from a friend, I was able to scale the cliff face,despite the terror I felt and the physical symptoms I was experiencing of a panic attack. I was determined to win the battle and not allow an irrational fear stop me. That self-talked worked, kind of. I was so proud of myself. I had made it all the way up. Of course, I couldn't go back down, because that required looking down and that was more than I was capable of doing at that time, but nonetheless, I climbed a 30 ft cliff face with no ropes, despite my fear of heights.

One of my bucket list items is to conquer this fear. Part of that includes working with an indoor rock climbing facility on being able to easily climb both up and down their simulated rock walls. Additional parts include zip-lining and a hot air balloon ride.

Even if I never completely rid myself of the fear and panic, if I can learn how to get past it and just "do" anyway, I will be satisfied.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How to Play Country Girl and Navajo Indian

*UPDATE*
My sweet, funny, rascal of a friend passed away in December 2013. He is sorely missed. ~Kara

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Growing up, I was participant in and witness to a number of "Cowboys and Indians" and "Cops and Robbers" type playing. It was fun to play that type of action-filled, cat-and-mouse game.

Now as an adult, I get to play something similar, which is "Country Girl and Navajo Indian". Yes, I know the PC crowd will be all over the title. Get over it. He calls himself a "Navajo Indian". [So there!]

Here are a few examples of how we play this game:

I have a neighbor who is a widowed, 70+ year old Navajo Indian man. He likes to flirt with me and tease me.

I tend to walk around with a smile on my face and most people who know me in person tend to think I am very sweet [Hold the snickering, please]. Apparently, I appear to be friendly and very "approachable" to strangers. So, bearing this in mind, my neighbor gets a kick out of saying some truly crazy things to me in order to get me to say, almost with a growl, "NO!" in a very firm, kick-butt kinda way, while scowling. He finds it-that contrast-as well as that blatant feistiness-hysterically funny. He is always trying to come up with new things to say that will elicit that response from me. It's one of the little "Country Girl and Navajo Indian" games we play.

He built a trailer for his pickup truck and moved it into the shade. As I walked past him, he got that familiar twinkle in his eye and said, "I'm gonna put a cover on this so you can sleep in it at night during the hot summer." He got his "NO!" [Dirty ole man! I know exactly where he was going with that thought!] and he about doubled over with laughter from my response, which was a bit more vehement than usual.

He is quite the character.

Then there was the time he tried to get 'creative' with his garden hose when I walked past him. Chuh. I moved too quickly and it would have been too bad for him anyway-I wasn't wearing white.

On more than one occasion he has made a point of telling me how much he likes "white girls". Yeah, I kinda figured that one out.

He told me one time that I should move in with him because [You will love this] I am not getting any younger! I laughed and told him, "Neither are you."

So that, my friends, is how you play "Country Girl and Navajo Indian".

Why Richard Armitage Should NOT Portray Batman



[Allow me to begin my little rant with a disclosure: I realize this is going to elicit a massive number of arrows from an 'army', and while I certainly do not mean to offend or upset anyone, I believe I have a point of some merit to make. So, ready, aim, fire away!']


I am a life-long Batman fan. Not sure exactly why, I just know that of all my childhood icons, he is the one that stuck with me and stood out to me the most. Perhaps it was the way he turned deep tragedy into something good-sacrificing so much of himself to prevent others from suffering the way he did. Whatever it was, it made a 'fan' of me for life and though I am not exactly a 'fanboy/girl' in an extreme way, I have amassed a collection of Batman items, mostly gifts from others who have discovered my appreciation of this fictional character. [I appreciate them, but please, no more! I'm not really a 'collector' type.] This includes an autographed photo that has a *story* behind it, which I may or may not share at some future date.

I have read recently that a new Batman will be cast and a variety of actors have been mentioned for the role, including British fave, Richard Armitage. Now, I realize he makes women worldwide swoon with his good looks and sexy, deep voice. [I am female and not immune to his attractiveness quotient.] But, the man can act! Seriously. Too rarely today do we get treated to hunks who are more than hunks, but can actually really, truly, seriously act! I have seen some of his work and I genuinely believe this man is one of the finest acting talents we have today. It is an absolute joy to see him work, and he just keeps getting better! That being said [Here comes the big "but" y'all KNEW was coming], I don't want him to play Batman.

I have no doubt he would knock it out of the park and do a most amazing job. He's got the looks, height and voice for it. He's got the chops to really do something truly amazing with the role. But honey, unless he is putting on the suit to woo me, I don't want him anywhere near it. ["Why not?" you gasp in shock and disbelief]

Because just as James Bond is a British icon and should really only be portrayed by a Brit, so Batman is an American icon and should really only be played by an American. Yes, I know Christian Bale is a Brit and portrayed him in some very popular movies. He did a good job, but that role should never have gone to him. There are some very talented American actors who also could have done a good job in that iconic American role.

I imagine there would be quite the uprising if, say, a Russian was cast to play Bond . . .so why not a peep over a non-American as Batman? I realize there is a PC BS movement to be anti-American/We are the world, but I reject that poppycock as poppycock and support national pride for each and every country, including my own.

Being a writer, I am the first to support artists taking some 'artistic license', however, I believe that much artistic license is a tad too much. Some things are 'sacred' and should be treated as such. [Yes, I feel your angry glares and hear your arrows thudding against my window already.]
Mr. Armitage, I am sure you will never read this, but if you do, please know it is nothing personal and I would never begrudge you the opportunity to take on this role should it be offered to you. What male doesn't want the chance to say, in a low guttural voice, "I AM BATMAN"? What man wouldn't want to drive "the car", wear "the belt" and play with all the gadgets? I am not a male by any stretch of the imagination and I'd love to drive the car, wear the belt and play with all the gadgets. Being Batman or getting to play with all his gear is just too irresistible a temptation to ignore! 
But Sir, with all due respect, I hope you do not get offered the role and that a talented American does. Sorry. [Really, I am, though I also fully acknowledge that my opinion counts for exactly nothing and honestly shouldn't count for anything in regards to your career path decisions. A gal's just gotta say what she's gotta say.]

Now, if Bond is up for grabs, well, consider me signed up on any and all petitions for you to play the role. Not that I necessarily want to see a man who appears to be a gentleman in the role of a sexist man-whore, but it would be quite the feather in your cap and I wouldn't begrudge you that, either. And yes, I realize the point of acting is to 'act', not to 'be'-my feelings on these matters are just numbered amongst my *several* charming personality quirks. ;-)
I'll step off my soapbox now and run for cover. I think I've offended quite enough people for one day, wouldn't you agree?