When TV collides with life: Trump, House of Cards, FBI & CSI Cyber

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Quick note to start – yes, I am still training and fundraising. In fact, it would be fabulous if you would throw in $30 to the cause. I pretty much need $30/day for the rest of the time to meet the minimum. Also, things are starting to hurt a little. I’ll save that for another update (really!).

Project Athena Harbor to Harbor – $1,800 needed, please help!

And now, on to the main event!

These are the thoughts rattling through my head in recent weeks.

The first, I realized while watching the story about the FBI and Apple unfold that my impression of the whole scenario was being influenced not by any actual knowledge I have, but by the TV shows I watch! As I would read how the FBI needed Apple to create a back door hack into an iPhone that had been used by one of the San Bernadino terrorist attackers, all I could think was “But why? Can’t they just hack it themselves?! They do it ALL THE TIME on CSI Cyber!” You know, just throw the phone at Crummy and he’ll just type away madly on a keyboard for 20 seconds and VOILA! Phone unlocked! That’s all real isn’t it? Seriously I have just been SO unimpressed with the the REAL agents did here – asking the county to change the password and somehow not knowing how to get the backed up data or perhaps even locking themselves out of it? Meanwhile, since it was the guy’s work phone, not his personal one, I seriously doubt there’s anything on it worth having. At this point I am pretty much leaning towards being happy that Apple is standing their ground. Makes me feel pretty good knowing that darn little pass code I have on my phone is so impenetrable!

As an aside, can we talk about how damn awful CSI: Cyber is? I got suckered into watching it since my son and I are addicted to all things CSI and we were feeling major withdrawals when the original one wrapped up. I liked that they transitioned the Ted Danson character over form Vegas to DC, but from the absolutely atrocious episode that aired most recently, it looks like he is now out of there. I swear he probably went to the producers and said “Dear god, please write me out! The writing and acting are pitiful! I don’t need a paycheck this bad!” I mean, CSI: Miami was not anything fabulous either, but at least they seemed to be writing that one with tongue firmly planted in cheek. That’s why the Horatio meme of making a dramatic statement and then sliding on sunglasses is still going strong on the internet! But Cyber has NO CLUE they are bad. They are just…really really bad.

Meanwhile….House of Cards Season 4 dropped. WOW. No spoilers, but I pretty much think I loved this one as much as Season 1. Like most I totally binge watched, though I did spread it out over 3 nights. Here’s the thing though: some of the “Holy shit did they just DO that?” bite was somewhat diminished by what is happening in our very REAL election this year!! Every time I would think “No Presidential candidate could get away with THAT sort of theatrics/scheming etc.”, I would think to myself “Oh yeah. Trump.” That man has broken every single rule of class, decorum, leadership, respectability….whatever you want to call it. At this point I don’t even care what his policies are, I am just stunned at what he says, the vitriol he incites, and now the way his own supporters are behaving at his events. I mean (and this isn’t a spoiler)…there is a segment on House of Cards when an old picture of Frank Underwood’s father standing next to a Grand Master of the KKK is blown up and draped over a billboard in his home state of South Carolina. As always, Frank wiggles out from under what would normally be an End Of Your Campaign moment. But THEN…I immediately flashed to Donald Trump being endorsed by David Duke (he of the modern day KKK/White Supremacy movement). I remembered the many times when he, personally, has re-tweeted statements made by known White Supremacist leaders. Just today there is an NPR story about a family who has never been involved in politics who is now phone banking for Trump. The images show the woman with tattoos on her hands depicting the Hitler 88 symbol and the white supremacy associated star. And is ANY of this sticking to Trump in a negative way to devalue his campaign? He claims he doesn’t know about “any of that” and he simply manages to bluster louder than the people who deign to question him. And does it impact his campaign? Hell, from where I sit it seems to be HELPING him to have latched onto these sorts of voters because damn if he didn’t win a bunch of states again yesterday!

Please take note that in House of Cards, it was about the character’s FATHER’s association with Klansmen. This is directly about the candidate himself. In real life!

I just….really…don’t understand how the GOP 2016 campaign has turned into something LESS shocking than House of Cards! Are we living in a reality TV show?

Please tell me a President Trump would really NOT be worse than a President Underwood?

Just my .02 – I’ll go back to either working or walking now.

 

 

 

Where I’ve Been

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I feel like I should be putting up a “Hello World” post as I have been away from this space for so long.

I’m writing in here now to summarize a week that has been rather mind blowing which is also a culmination of the past 18 months or so which required my full attention in more ways than I could imagine, but which meant that blogging was no longer an option.

So here’s the things I’ve been doing really since about the summer of 2013 which was the beginning of Alex’s senior year – a deep dive into ME and sorting out what it is I want to do with myself as an Empty Nester (aka: the rest of my adult life):

  • yoga
  • mindful meditation
  • chi gong
  • visualizations
  • affirmations
  • journal writing – some deep dives (over on my Torrey Pines Reflections site at one point + nightly gratitude and/or moments of fun + joy
  • working in a group with a coach who specializes primarily in mindful weight loss, but who has become a friend and life coach for me
  • re-opening myself to spirituality – still quite secure in my non-belief in any one God who must be worshiped, but completely open to the unexplained energies of the universe. It’s a faith in the connectivity of all people that thrives on sharing love.
  • Decided to treat a current moderately annoying health issue naturally – no hormones or surgery for 6 months. Herbal solutions and acupuncture instead. I just want to get to menopause as non invasive as possible!
  • stopped being paid to write
  • started a bookkeeping business
  • both boys moved out (youngest off to college so intermittently temporary, but still…)
  • bought tap shoes, an instructional dvd and a portable dance floor and started practicing again
  • invited a roommate to move in – no rent – just because I believe in her, in what she does, and because she was in a really shitty place that was preventing her from reaching her goals. One year plan. She’ll be on her feet again next summer.
  • pulled away so many layers of decades long frustration & insecurity around my ability to have and keep peer related friends
  • completely shifted my mindset about wealth – no longer working from a position of scarcity, but instead from a position of abundance. I now know I can generate it and I am learning to trust myself on how best to use it to reach my dreams
  • For the first time ever this week, I was asked what my Big Dream is – then I was told to cross that out and dream bigger!
  • My Big Dream is to stop working at my day job when I turn 60. That’s nine years from now folks!
  • I’ve learned that I CAN make that happen
  • I’ve *finally* identified when I know to be my purpose in life (coming shortly)
  • Through all of this I’ve learned that my partner is the exactly who I need him to be and I am amazed and grateful beyond belief that NONE of these rather big shifts in my mindset have intimidated him in any way. HE recently commented on how much he loves what I’ve done.
  • I am no longer Crabby Lucy who would rather *not* deal with people.
  • I’ve *loved* meeting each new small business client.
  • I believe in the possibilities – all of them! I started this second business with the idea to have 3-5 clients and maybe make ab extra $500/mo.I have 11 right now. I should have 14 by the end of the month. That’s $2,200/mo right now. Mind=blown! I feel like I still have room to add those other 3 (in contacts with them currently) and one more for sure.
  • I’ve read more self-help/spiritual books than even in my life and I soak them UP!
  • I’ve learned to love myself. I mean it. Yeah, there are still times when one of those nagging Inner Mean Girl (great book!) voices pops up, but I’ve gotten pretty good and re-directing those.
  • I’m working now on truly hearing and listening to my intuition. I do need to trust it more, and I will!

So – my purpose: In my mind one of the reasons that I was often perplexed at why I so often flailed and failed at making friends is because I knew in my HEART that I am the best damn friend you would ever want. Really. During one of my journal writing sessions I just completely took ownership of that. NOTHING makes me happier or fills me with more joy than seeing the people who I love achieve their dreams. Cheering them on brings chills up my spine and tears to my eyes every single time. The same joy I felt rooting for my sons translates over to my friends at the same level. So I will do *whatever* I can to help them cross their own personal finish line. If THEY are committed, then I will look at what they want and figure out how I can help – small or big it doesn’t matter. It takes a village and I am IN IT with everyone with all my heart. It’s why I have the roommate that I do. And now I understand completely that it’s why I am loving every aspect of the bookkeeping business. It’s why I have always loved my day job at the non-profit university (our product is educated people – totally on board with that mission!) I’m supposed to be using my talents in stewarding wealth for entrepreneurs so that their flow of wealth has a clear path so that they can reach their Big Dreams. I work WITH them, not FOR them and they know I am there to lift them up. I tell their story with numbers 🙂 I was already kind of articulating that in my Getting To Know You phone calls or face to face meetings, but now I absolutely get the whole picture. The bottom line is that both my Material Wealth AND my Spiritual wealth are filled in this process. When I lift YOU up, I am lifting myself up as well. I cannot do any of this alone – so why should you?

Where you can find me

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After a lot of years juggling many different things that I both wanted, and needed to do in addition to my day job, now that the high school years are over, I am taking a break.

While a few other opportunities to fill the time that was released when my volunteering & sport shuttling/school nagging ended, I am letting them pass.

It’s time for me to give myself permission to simply be. No guilt. No pressure. I cleaned up my patio & bought some chairs and a small table and I intend to sit out here doing whatever I want. Listen to podcasts, read books, read twitter, facebook, write, bird watch, nap – whatever!

Another task I never thought I’d do

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Tracing letters from jerseys to match the size and font style onto white paper (easier to do the tracing), then cutting out the white version and tracing THAT onto a colored paper that was the *closest* I could find to the jersey letter color. THEN taking the red letter cutout and gluing it onto the jersey to replace letters that fell off. You see, this year’s version of our white jerseys had some LOW quality lettering put on it. Some are just flopping down and can be ironed back into place, but some are completely GONE. And, we need those white jerseys to be placed in front of the seat of each senior on the main dais tables during the dinner.

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In other words, this just needs to look decent for photographs for a couple of hours, because after that, the name plates will be ripped of these jerseys to recycle the numbers for next year’s crop of players.

So, even though the color doesn’t match, it will do for what is needed. And the supplies were less than $5 so yeah, it’s going to HAVE to do!

Me, working with fabrics is a truly scary thing. Almost as scary as the idea of me running was three years ago 🙂

The results of carrying a camera (phone) at all times

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Pictures from my iPhone taken within the last week – starting with Sunday as I flew home from San Jose. Tales of that trip will begin dribbling out on my PP site over the next week or two. Meanwhile, the north San Diego coast line was sort of awesome from the air.

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The coastal foothills were kind of pretty too.

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Darn car windows made this one all blurry, but as I sat in traffic on the coast highway heading home from work this week, I decided to temp my friend with the beauty of the California coast. San Jose was his first trip to the state and he was declaring his love for the Golden State from day 1. I told him to start researching jobs and get his ass out here before the next Michigan winter kicks him around again – and I decided to motivate him further with pics of my part of the state. Though, not always as blurry!

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Kind of impossible to get it both in focus AND straight as you can see 🙂 Even though I was sitting in traffic, there was still a challenge to balance the phone in one hand, maintain contact with the steering wheel, and also hit the shutter button.

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Hey – straight and in focus!

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Meanwhile, back at home, the cats have let me know they did NOT approve of me leaving them for three nights. The way they have shown their displeasure is by sticking as close to me as possible at all times. Amber is particularly unhappy right now because I took her to the vet before my trip for a much needed checkup. She was officially declared overweight tipping the scales at 21 pounds! YIPES!! She needs to get back down to her running weight of 15-16 pounds and the way that will happen is by food rationing. That means that I take away their food at night and only put in 1/3 of a cup at a time to reduce her calorie intake. Sigh – NOT HAPPY I tell you!

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My self portraits may be even worse than my in car photos! This one was a toast I raised in honor of the Supreme Court striking down DOMA this week. A group of moms organized a toast to the occasion one night. I happened to have pink lemonade in my glass. I thought that was rather apropos.

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THIS in car shot came out pretty cool – the only thing I couldn’t quite coordinate (because the light up ahead turned green!) was to zoom in more on my rear view mirror, but you can still see the La Jolla shoreline pretty clearly defined in it. As I’ve tweeted this week – my commute does not suck, even with traffic, but especially in these months with longer days and stunning weather.

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Another horrid self portrait when I hoped to show the surrounding area more than my sweaty face, but the light was all wrong. I haven’t run in weeks. I’ve mentioned my task list previously, but as I anticipated, June has been brutal with the day job and football. That was particularly true since I took a week off work last week and traveled to San Jose. I’ve only submitted 13 posts to Blogmutt (prior months were 25-30), and other than a couple of yoga sessions and Saturday boot camps, my fitness routine has been non-existent. It’s literally been all football or NU all the time except for the 3.5 days out of town. ANYWAY – yesterday I committed to twitter that I would MAKE time to run after work today and run I did. Which felt AWESOME. It only took a few minutes for the muscle memory to kick in and even with the usual ass kicker hills (twice around), I was in a groove. Hoping to get out on the trails for a longer run Sunday.

It sure is fun having a camera at the ready at all times!

Scenes from the past week

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I’m taking an online writing course through Coursera and the assignments the last two weeks have been to describe scenes. We had to specifically use a certain number of sentences and parts of speech and such, but I thought “hey, since that’s the way I am thinking right now, why not share scenes?”

Seriously, just like when I first started on twitter and I found myself constantly thinking in 140 character bursts, this class has me thinking in “scenes”.

So…

Scene 1:

Thursday night, I came into the house after a day at work when I was thankful I did not take the head off of the temp employee working with me. Thankfully, I vented to the August moms group instead, took a deep breath and tried to come up with a more mature strategy for dealing with her than simply yelling “Shut the hell UP already!!” You see, she talks to herself. And not under her breath. For some reason that day she was super duper loud and all day long. I gave her a new lease to add to the database, and I swear to all that is holy, this woman read it OUT LOUD. Then she talked her way through highlighting the critical parts. I had my head phones on and was listening to music, and I STILL heard her. Anyway…the point is, I came into the house wanting CALM and QUIET.

Begin laughing now.

27 was in the throes of a cold bad enough that he was running a fever so I told him to get in his room, keep his germs out of my kitchen and just text me when he needed anything. 16 came home on day two of a slight shoulder strain from spring flag football practice and needed to hop back on the ice machine after a shower. I made dinner, fed the cats, and was just settling down on the sofa to watch TV with the ice bound teen when my phone rang. It was my friend who is acting as the main liaison for the football team. We had some forms we needed to finalize to present to the high school foundation board on Friday. She was updating them on her computer while we talked through the necessary edits.

At some point I was sitting on the foot of my staircase so that my talking didn’t disturb 16, when 27 texted that he needed ice water and then 16 stated he was done with the ice machine time. One on my left, one on my right and another in my ear, all needing something from me at once.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Scene 2:

Tonight – oh, I had been looking forward to tonight for two weeks! At the pizza party a couple of weekends ago, I found out that the same guy who hosted the party conducts yoga classes for the neighbors on Tuesday nights. His garage is converted into a yoga studio, and it is a little slice of heaven. For 75 minutes I was stretching every tense muscle and breathing deeply and listening to calming music and, yeah, focusing kind of hard on learning how to do the poses properly, but at the end it was magical.

He turned the lights down, and there were these beautiful blue and green pinpoint lights floating against the dark ceiling like stars drifting across the sky. The music was even more mystical and calming than it had been during the class. He told us to focus on the parts of our bodies that had been stretched and opened up and…all I could do was lose myself in those twinkling lights. My breathing slowed as he instructed us to try and do, but it was just so wonderful to let my brain GO. I wasn’t sleepy – I’m still not – it was invigorating!  I was completely mindful of my breathing and focusing on the green dots. Who knows why staring at a colorful, starry, sky is so perfect for my brain to get it to slow down. It was the same sense of calm I get when I am on a ship, leaning over the back railing losing myself in the churning water as the boat moves through the open ocean. The brain stops firing in a gajillion directions and slowly brings it’s own waves down to the rythym of the water, or the moving lights.

Tuesdays are my new favorite days of the week.

A weekend in pictures

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Friday night: after a week that was not necessarily as frazzling as last week, but included the extra special ingredient that was a Mon-Fri off and on (mostly on) hormonal series of head/shoulder/neck/sinus aches so…yeah…it sort of didn’t matter that I only had one football meeting to go to (which was actually quite good and productive)…all that dominate my sense of each day was how miserable I was. Grumpy and just working extra hard to keep my wits about it – which I did – but then I would be so so tired. Therefore, Friday night all I wanted to do was sit on the sofa and watch all the shows that had piled up on the DVR. And I did. From 6-11. Me, the cats and the remote.

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Saturday I woke up pain free and HAPPY! Oh yeah! I went to a boot camp and was thrilled to be able to do all the exercises with 100% effort. Then I had a meeting to learn about a new writing assignment for a local client, then I got home and wrote for Blogmutt to clear those off my agenda so I could write for the new client today. My goal was to write two posts, but I swear I was so amped up from feeling GOOD that I was able to knock out three and still have 30 minutes to spare! In a week when I would have been happy to sell 5 posts, instead I sold 7 ensuring another tank of gas will be funded by Blogmutt:

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When my posts sell next week, I’ll hit level 5 in points and earn a Linkedin badge – which is pretty cool because it means more exposure to my freelance writing availability and credentials.

The main event this weekend was a neighborhood pizza party at a house across the street. There, we hung out in a yard that is smaller than mine but 1000 times more functional! The owner put in a completely functional kitchen/grill and pizza oven in one corner and a gorgeous fireplace in the other. He picked up raw pizza dough from a local restaurant and let us choose our toppings. It was so much fun and so yummy! The collage below is from the party – disclaimer – the beer bottle was empty! Seriously 🙂

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I managed to pull myself away at a decent hour and still get up early enough to join Renee for a run out on the switchback trails again. My first time tackling those hills since my IT band has calmed down. I am thrilled to discover that not only could I do the run without issue, but now several hours later after some decent sofa time, it is still totally fine. Hopefully that means I can increase my mileage again…slowly!

View from the top out over the Santa Fe Valley:

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I hope your weekend refreshed you in the same way mine has.