When life gives you lemons….

…drive to the store buy three bottles of cabernet, 1 cup of white sugar, 1 cup of OJ, 1 cup of mango juice, 1 ½ cups of light rum, the juice of two limes, 1 orange peeled seeded and roughly chopped, 1 12 oz can of pineapple chunks (juice and all), add your sliced lemon….

….and make Sangria.

Have you ever got the feeling that you were being tested?  That some strong force in the universe was doing its best to TRY you?  Today must be my day. 

If dropping my keys down the two inch space that opens up to the elevator shaft AND the fact that my flat screen TV just broke is not a test then I’m not sure what is. 

Watching my keys do a pirouette down the elevator shaft was a shocking moment – shocking because it’s one of those moments I’ve secretly feared forever…a moment that I’ve told myself could never happen – so to watch my keys move so seamlessly through such a small space left me speechless.  I guess I wasn’t totally speechless, a couple of people looked on as I shrieked YIPES at the top of my lungs.  Everyone was horrified. 

And the TV breaking well that’s just life being cruel….perhaps its pissed that I broke it off with cable (see previous post)…or even worse PERHAPS its paying me back for breaking it off with cable prematurely.  One of the reasons I ended the relationship with cable is because I thought the TV was acting funny due to a glitch with the cable box….but all along it was the TV.

As I’m proverbially curled in the fetal position, and literally drinking a glass of red wine – sans lemons – I’m looking for the lesson. 

I’m listening hard to the universe right now as I have no choice.  My TV is broken, and I’m afraid to turn on my Harman Kardon speakers for fear they might be on the outs too…so it’s quiet…and I think I hear the universe telling me that I HAVE NO CONTROL. 

DS Download:  Maybe sometimes the universe has to remind us of this?  Perhaps I should have known this already – I’ve watched a lot of people that I love realize that they had no control over what was happening to them – I watched them deal with what life gave them, and take tough times in stride.   As life throws us tough times, we will try our best to process them…because tough times don’t last but tough people do…and as life throws us lemons – we will make Sangria. 

I can guarantee the Sangria recipe above will cause ALL involved to have a good time.

Love it Enough to Let it Go

This weekend I ended my relationship with Cable – more specifically, the movie channels (HBO, Showtime etc).  My relationship with Cable had become one sided and I just couldn’t do it anymore.  Over the years I noticed things that I just couldn’t shake.  There was always a sneaking suspicion that Cable only cared about playing the movies that it wanted to see – it never seemed to be concerned with what I was interested in, and that hurt. 

Even though I gave Cable my time and devotion, and paid my bill on time, that still wasn’t enough to inspire Cable to get its act together. 

To be fair, there were good times.  There was that one night when The Great Debaters, The Other Boleyn Girl, and Definitely, Maybe played in succession BUT this was not consistent – nothing about our relationship was consistent.

I was hoping that the good days would offer glimpses into Cable’s true personality…that there was something deeper – that one day, there would be an abundance of quality movies for me to see ALL THE TIME.  But it just was not so.  It usually happened like this:  I would be in the mood for a new movie and Cable would insist on playing Braveheart or Forrest Gump; I would be in the mood for a good chick-flick and Cable would insist on showcasing a 3 hour, Oscar De La Hoya boxing event on HBO. 

Towards the end we just felt like oil and water.  I guess, in a way, we just grew a part.   

DS Download:  Of course, Cable is a metaphor for the one-sided relationships that all of us have or have had in our lives.  The good news is that we have the power to end those one sided relationships.  Use my recent break up with Cable to consider the one-sided relationships in your life.  If you feel that you’re giving to no avail, perhaps you should choose to love the person, like I loved cable …it was great for a spell, but at some point, I had to let it go.

Thankful for Small Things

The thought of being thankful for small things popped in my mind as I was lamenting the very limited sense of smell and taste I’m experiencing because of allergy season.  

My ah-ha moment really made me stop and think about how much we should all appreciate our sense of smell.  It’s tied to our sense of taste and it directly affects our ability to enjoy a meal, or a beautiful glass of wine.  It tells us that we are hungry, and sends a message to our brain that we are satisfied with what we are experiencing.
 
Of all the things we think to be thankful for on a daily basis, our ability to smell should definitely be added to that list.  Although we cringe at the foul smells we encounter, we should be thankful for them, because our ability to sense the offensive smells gives us the ability to sense the smells that transport us to a different place…the smells that remind us of home, or the love we received from people that meant everything to us. 

During the time I lived in New York City I smelled horrible, violating odors on a daily basis…but it absolutely never crossed my mind to attempt to appreciate those smells.  It never crossed my mind to stop, in that moment, and say to myself, If I didn’t have the ability to soak up this sickening smell, I wouldn’t be able to make room for the lovely ones.   

DS Download:  So, on this Friday, I would like to leave my five loyal readers with the following – when you’re in the midst of smelling the bad stuff, try to think of it as preparation for smelling the good stuff.  It’s life’s way of forcing us to understand balance…and that’s what so much of life is about.  We can’t have the good without digesting the bad.  We find this in relationships, on our jobs etc.  Take a minute today to truly appreciate your sense of smell, or whatever it is that you take for granted.  And please, if you talk to me this weekend, and find me complaining about something – be sure to tell me to do the same!

The five questions every woman should ask a man when she meets him

I took a sick day on Monday and while at home I was prompted – by my mother – to turn to Oprah to watch Steve Harvey spout his advice to women for finding Mr. Right.  All in all, I thought the show was pretty cute.  Steve, who can be slightly rude and condescending on his radio show, played well to the cameras, made me chuckle a few times, and gave some worthy advice to some of the single young ladies that had the courage to parade themselves on national television.

However, I was stopped in my tracks by the Five Question mantra that Steve touted at the end of the show…his ending point, was that there are five questions that every woman should ask a man when she meets them – here goes:

1. What are your short term goals?
2. What are your long term goals?
3. What are your views on relationships?
4. What do you think about me?
5. How do you feel about me?

By now, I’m pretty sure that my five regular readers have a clear picture of who I am…I typically can’t remember names, will occasionally forget a face, and will often botch introductions but I will have you know that I was able to type up those five questions off the top of my head with no problem.  Why was I able to do this?  Because these are the five MOST ridiculous questions that any woman could ask a man when she is first meeting him – in fact, those are five sure fire questions to ask if a woman wants to ensure that she won’t get asked on a second date.

It’s not that I’m against getting to know someone and asking questions on a first or second date but, I’m against the idea of a date masquerading as an interview – I am officially pushing back on the notion that I need to have questions prepared.

If you MUST go on a date with questions prepared, how about these five questions (sprinkled throughout the date):

1. How was your day?
2. You mentioned you traveled to x, y, and z…if you could plan another trip sometime soon where would you go?
3. If society wasn’t measuring you up – and telling you who you had to be – what would you love to do?
4. What are your thoughts on importing/exporting? <insert laugh here>
5. Do you feel it was in bad taste for Ramona to refer to the Countesses husband as an old man? <wait for awkward silence> then be prepared to learn that he doesn’t watch the Desperate Housewives of New York City (am i embarassed that i watch the show – yes; is it good entertainment – yes…check out the second video when you click the link).

DS Download:  The only question you should make sure to ask when you’re first meeting a man that seems interested in seeing you again is – do you have a girlfriend?  It can save hurt feelings and confusion.  All of those other questions can be determined on a need to know basis.  Who says that you’re ever going to see someone again after a first or second date??  Maybe you won’t like them – or vice versa, so why waste the time learning short term and long term goals on the first date! 

Good luck out there!

Club Discrimination

If you’ve ever stood outside of a club while a condescending club owner or bouncer deliberated as to whether or not you were “worthy” enough to enter – this post is for you.

If you’ve ever been told you couldn’t get into the club because you were “under dressed”, only to watch the bouncer let up the rope for three of his friends wearing track suits – this post is REALLY for you.

I was inspired to write this after speaking with a gentleman friend that has had a particularly rough time of getting into clubs in the DC area – there is one particular club owner that has consistently given him a rough time.  An incident that stood out in my mind was one in which he was not permitted to enter the club because he was wearing tennis shoes…meanwhile, it was his birthday, the club had already put an advance charge on his card, the owner was wearing tennis shoes while he was telling my friend that tennis shoes weren’t allowed, AND the owner was blatantly letting people that he knew, walk in the club with tennis shoes on.  To add insult to injury, my friend went home, changed his shoes, came back and the same owner still would not let him in – because he just didn’t feel like it.

That is discrimination, and it’s uncalled for.

This is an example of someone taking themselves too seriously and going out of their way to attempt to make another human being feel small.  What’s even worse is that this story is very common.  Many people go through this “hazing” process to be chosen to get into clubs.  If we really stopped and thought about this behavior, and decided it was unacceptable we could cultivate a new way of thinking – a train of thought that reasoned that club owners/bouncers etc. aren’t doing us favors, WE are doing them favors for deciding to come to their club and spend our hard earned money.

DS Download:  We should never forget that we are paying customers.  We should demand the same respect that we would demand from any other service entity.

God gave us talent, and success to share with others – not to hold over others heads.  The next time you are mistreated at a club, make a point never to go back there again.  More importantly, take action and write the Better Business Bureau and tell them of the experience.  There’s no other industry where we would pay, much less, wait in line to be mistreated; why should we accept this treatment from clubs?

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

The final scene in Dirty Dancing always delivers.  True to the 80’s movie format, it all comes together in the end and good triumphs over evil.  In this case the dancers show the Kellerman’s management team that they won’t be controlled – and Baby, literally and figuratively comes out of the corner.  Though, I would like to add that in the finale scene I don’t believe that baby had been “put” in the corner, in so much as she had chosen the corner…I digress.

The story line of Dirty Dancing is beautifully simple – dance can conquer all things.  I think it’s extremely important for us to remember that during these difficult times.

When I ask people if they dance, and they tell me they don’t, I’m definitely puzzled by that answer.  I often think, “hmmm, maybe I should rephrase the question – do you let the music move you?”  That’s what it’s really all about.  You may know how to do the cha-cha slide or the soldier boy – but if Kool and the Gang’s Get Down on It comes on, does your body automatically respond to the music?

DS Download:  There’s truth in dance, and the truth is that you own it.  It’s freedom of expression in its purest form.  It’s our way to be beautiful, and sensual, or our way to look absolutely ridiculous – regardless of who may or may not be watching.  Dancing makes a statement, it says; I’m going to be me and I don’t care what you think. 

In the case of Dirty Dancing, it says – I’m going to twirl around on stage, jump off of the stage, run full speed into a swan dive position that Patrick Swayze will hold me in until I want to come down. 

After a hard week at work, a night of dancing can give you everything you need to shake that load off.  You can go to the dance floor and leave it all there.  As long as you leave everything you have on the dance floor, it can be the only thing that judges you.  SO – If you’re planning to go out tonight, and you find yourself holding up the wall, stop and ask yourself “how would the dance floor feel about my behavior tonight?” – for, if the dance floor cannot be the  judge of you, what can?

Musical Recommendations:
 Old School:   Temptations, Treat Her Like A Lady
 New School:  DJ Fatha Julz – If you don’t know about DJ Fatha Julz, you need to get in.  Listen to some of his tracks at DJFathaJulz.com, then go to iTunes to get them on your ipod.  Some of my favorite tracks are Distorted, 8 Count Girl, Glamour & Glitter..the list goes on.  Ladies – 8 Count Girl will give you the soundtrack to the workout of YOUR LIFE. 

And if you listen closely, you’ll hear yours truly on the So Real track.

A Spring Break For All

I know that President Obama has his hands full with the economic crisis; however, I would like to petition the Obama administration for one more thing – a Spring Break Holiday for all working American Citizens.

Yes, I was once a college student, and yes, I once took part in the rite of passage known as Spring Break; however it is only now, that I’m almost 30 that I can truly say that Spring Break is a ritual that would be better appreciated by those in the work force. 

What does a college student need a break from?

I could not stop thinking about that question last week during the “Spring Break” I had from my graduate course of study.  I actually had a couple of people in my class on Monday ask me what I did for Spring Break.  I was slightly puzzled by this question….I worked.  Apparently, Georgetown thought it was apporpriate for me to be on Spring Break but my employer did not.   

I remember being a college student, coming back from Spring Break and feeling as though the reset button had been pressed.  So many of us need to press the re-set button, but we are unable to because of work commitments.  Spring Break for the working class would produce better business owners, directors, managers, assistants – you name it. 

Europeans absolutely get it when it comes to vacation or “holiday” as they call it.  They don’t see offering a month of paid vacation as a bad investment, they see it as investing in the sanity of their employees; employees, that will then be appreciative of that investment and communicate happiness via performance. 

DS Download:  One of life’s true-isms is reciprocity…reciprocity creates good karma, and good will amongst people, entities etc.  If companies and employees could stop viewing each other as a means to an end, we would all be better off.  Therefore, I say, we write to our congressman and demand a Spring Holiday for all working Americans!  And, if that’s a bit un-realistic to do – in light of the more important things happening in our country and across the world – we can at least dream of a day, when all American Citizens, regardless of age, or academic station will receive a Spring Holiday.