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January 2016 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)
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March 5, 2012 at 9:20am
March 5, 2012 at 9:20am
Every country has its prestigious traditions. Some of those are our favorites. In the community you live now enumerate the good traditions you and your family are anxious to celebrate.

I love traditions! There is something so comfortable about a repetitive event. My favorite and biggest is our Christmas Eve Vigilia. My family is Polish and Catholic so for as long as I can remember we did a special Christmas Eve dinner of 7 courses and no meat. We ate at first star and afterwards "Santa" would visit and distribute gifts. When I returned to Buffalo with my husband and son, I took over this tradition. That first holiday at my house consisted of 11 people (our full family at the time) and a lovely dinner. Now, I have over 30 people attend, I personally cook all 7 courses, and my uncle who played Santa when I was a kid, still shows up fully costumed for my nieces and nephews. I spend a lot of time bitching about all the work for weeks before the day, but afterwards I admit how much i adore doing it!

Just about every month, my extended family gets together to celebrate the monthly birthdays. This is a more lax tradition, but it is wonderful to have all the kids and parents together to sign happy birthday and have a delicious meal together. A fairly new tradition is having my twin sister fly in from Chicago around April/May to celebrate my other sister and brother's bdays. We call it Siblings Weekend and it is usually a very decadent late night.

Most of our traditions revolve around holidays, like dinner at my mom's for Thanksgiving, or Easter Egg hunting at my parents for Easter. Because my nuclear family is so small (just hubby and son and myself), we kind of make our own traditions (or maybe there are more like repeatable events), which may seem trivial but they are really terrific. Some examples:
- cutting a Christmas tree down with friends at a tree farm
- summer weekend on the boat, where we spent at the night and both days on our boat
- Spring Lobster night at the club
- At least once concert at Bidwell Park

The time spent together has really given us terrific memories. I tend to try to find new traditions every year, but that kind of defeats the purpose.

March 4, 2012 at 9:14am
March 4, 2012 at 9:14am
Although I find this an unusual prompt for the blog challenge, I completely see why it would be included as well as why it would be a valuable exercise. But it is difficult for me to choose one blog to jump into, so I am going to put my own spin on it but commenting on different blogger's style. Bit of a cop out but I am tired today.

It seems these blogging challenges present very different types of blogs. We have the intimate, very open bloggers who I find entertaining and inspiring. Julie D and FiveSixer are terrific examples. Their free flowing style and very personal details have me believe that I know each of them almost intimately. The one liner blogs and the quick paragraph bloggers found here also seem to energize me as I wonder how they could convey so much emotion with so little verbiage.

Outside of WDC, I read several blogs and was even known to have my own blog for a couple of years (I did not nourish it so it wilted if you know what I mean). A good friend of mine blogs about 4 times weekly and she is exposed. She shares her husband's work issues, her kids personal issues and her private health issues. I could not do it but I respect her and frankly enjoy being the voyeur. I like to read some of the political or news blogs as I find them informative and thought provoking. If the author is good, I feel I know them as well.

I believe blogging creates a much better community than say a Facebook or Twitter. I think I have this special "friendship" with the bloggers I follow. One that let's me into their lives strictly by reading and writing. The anonymity I cherish is there for me yet I have this group of people who i can relate to strictly on this level. No assumptions based on what I look like, where I come from, what my socio-economic status is, what level of education I completed, where i shop. It is a connection I really enjoy.

So I may have strayed from the prompt here, but hey blogging is about the blogger and this is what I felt today.
March 2, 2012 at 6:04pm
March 2, 2012 at 6:04pm
How was your day? What happened?

Today I was acutely aware and overwhelmingly interested in the significance of small talk. If you have ever been at a party or in an social setting with people you are not intimately involved with, then you have probably found yourself conversing about the mundane and basically engaging in this fine art.

Some people flourish and others dive bomb when relying on small talk. But I find that it is essential to have some level of expertise here. I was watching this room of about 30 professional men, most of whom knew each other on some level. It seems the gentlemen who could speak and avoid that awkward silence were the most surrounded and gained the most attention.

Must say, I am pretty good at small talk. My husband who calms he hates small talk is an amazing conversationalist. So here are my top 5 tips for making great small talk:

- Focus on the person you are talking with. Find at least one commonality. A light compliment works as a starter.
- Ask them questions, people love to talk about themselves.
- Try to stay interested. This can be difficult if the person you are with is a dud.
- Do not and i mean DO NOT dive so deep that you are stuck with that person for the rest of the night. Keep it superficial so you can move to the next one.
- Always smile and exit gracefully.

Most of all stay aware - be engaged with the world around you so you have a bucket of talking points to choose from.

Should you want to enroll in my new class "Bonnie's Socializing Pointers", let me know. *Smile*

March 1, 2012 at 4:07pm
March 1, 2012 at 4:07pm

Today I realized that I have the attention span of a gnat. It's true. You would think a professional adult woman would be able to focus during a technical presentation she put together and was attended by her clients. But no I just couldn't do it.

It started off well enough. Introduction and hand shaking, small talk and inside jokes. Coffee and continental breakfast were served and the room was cool to encourage an alert audience. As soon as the speaker started his slide show, I wandered. Tell me you have been there and that I am not the only one who has lost hours in obscure thought as opposed to absorbing the fine details of the health care integration tools as presented by a key IBM expert.

While the screen presented the migration path to version 8, I noticed our speakers backpack. When were brief cases replaced by back packs? There was a time that a worn leather case with high polished buckles represented a certain prestige. Now it seems the professionals are all coming back from hiking in the woods. Was his laptop in there or was it filled with granola bars, water bottles, and carabiners?

I was brought back to the task at hand when one of my key clients asked about a pattern set for the financial industry. Great question but he apparently stopped at Tim Horton's on his way in so I could not listen to the answer. The small cup was sitting in front of him. Was he going to roll up to win? I never win at those things. The invitation clearly stated breakfast would be served. Why stop and bring in the coffee? Besides I cannot understand the purpose of a small cup of coffee. You have to have the large one especially in the morning. Wonder if he takes it black or with cream and sugar. I will never forgot how angry I was at my business partner of 5 years when he could not remember how I take my coffee. Black. Always black. We had coffee everyday for 5 years how could he be so insensitive! Speaking of coffee, I could use a refill.

Wow missed a lot. Looks like we are breaking. Need to slip past THAT guy, you know the one. He always has bad breath and I simply cannot handle it right now. Opps, caught by the talker....not a buyer just a talker. I smile, nod and notice he has hair coming from his left nostril. Shouldn't he see that and trim it? Doesn't it itch him? And why is it so dark when he has light hair? So gross. Just keep nodding...focus on his eyes. Yikes I am losing it.

The afternoon did not get much better. I missed the demo because the light fixtures in the room were unusual and would look great in my house. I missed the Q&A because the first guy had such a high pitched voice I thought my ear drums were going to explode and then couldn't help wondering how the inner ear actually works. I missed the closing remarks because I couldn't wait to try that chocolate cake on the buffet table.

Finally, I made it home. Not very proud of myself and my inability to concentrate today. Maybe some yoga or a glass of wine will help me settle in. Tomorrow's another day so let's hope I can refocus.
February 29, 2012 at 4:55pm
February 29, 2012 at 4:55pm
When is Free Better? When Not?

My initial reaction is to say that free is always better and I really want to believe that. But I can't and I don't. There are different degrees of freedom, with levels of significance and ramifications at each step.

As a teenager I couldn't wait to be free. Free from my parents and their constraints, their rules. The freedom was in the form of a car and a job. Transportation and a paycheck represented the physical freedom. The emotional freedom was due to age, experience and loss of innocence. This essential freedom proved to be good and deserved at the time it happened.

But what if I took that freedom before I was mature enough to handle it? Maybe a lack of attention to the road or a misunderstanding of the power afforded a driver. This could have caused significant danger to me and others. How about the inability to take accountability for a job which could lead to letting people down or worse? In that case freedom would have been too soon and could have caused dire situations for others.

A pretty trivial example. But not so when you think about politics and the world stage. As I get older and become more aware of other countries' freedoms or lack there of, I appreciate my civil rights. I can disagree with the government, I can worship as I choose fit, i can wear provocative clothes (taste be damned) or I can blast politicians online. I am heard maybe not always taken seriously but I make my choices. With that freedom, though, I also have a responsibility. If my politicians make poor choices, am I not also responsibility for voting or not voting? If I cause evilness because of my words, don" I bear some responsibility for what happens?

Sometimes I think it would be easier to be told what to do and how to do it. So much easier to abdicate responsibility and simply Monday-morning-quarterback the hard decisions. I love my freedoms but I agonize over my mistakes and expressed opinions when I see some of the ramifications. Even though the magnitudes of people frequently hide our exercise of freedoms, it is serious and should be treated as such.

January 26, 2012 at 9:27am
January 26, 2012 at 9:27am
I was hoping it wouldn't come to this. I prayed I would never be exposed. But my luck has worn out and I must come clean. My name is Bonnie and I have a problem: CLOSETS.

Come in and view the spectacle. You will notice I said closets not closet. Sure we have linen closets and coat closets and cedar closets and sports closets and even pantries. However, I also maintain five clothes closets. Yes you read right. I don't like to talk about it, mainly because I am afraid my husband or son will realize the ratio of my closets to theirs and try to even up the share. I CANNOT LOSE A CLOSET. Just the thought is making me shake.

My smallest closet is devoted to formal wear - the gowns, cocktail dresses, matching shoes and bags I have worn to openings, charity fundraisers and holiday celebrations. I even have a blue velvet fitted tuxedo I thought would make a statement in the 90s (What the hell was I thinking?). I have lost interest in the whole formal scene yet I cannot seem to part with that black backless number with the long slits up the side or that copper beaded gown that fit like a glove (note that squeezing into a size 4 at this point would be anything but pretty!). My most valuable item: a crushed dried flower from our 1st anniversary dinner.

Next you will see my "I don't know where to put it so let's put it here" closet. This is a fairly large walk-in with shelves, drawers, hanging rods and hooks. You first notice the tons of hats. I went through a stage where I felt I could bring back the ladies chapeau. I visited Milliner shops on every vacation and amassed quite the collection. Needless to say they spend all their time in boxes on shelves in this closet. You will also find opera gloves/glasses, drawers of scarves, outgrown and outdated suits, old cameras, extra blankets and knick-knacks. My most valuable item: Giant plastic bins of photos (Eventually I will put them into albums)

The transitional closet acts as a staging ground for the change of seasons. I have not been in that room since the end of November and cannot remember the specifics. Let's say we keep it a surprise for me and move on.

Next is my everyday closet. This room is entered from my bedroom and frankly it is a mess. Consisting of a dresser of drawers, two giant cabinets of shelves and an extremely long, albeit sagging pole, this closet is my daily fix. The dresser holds lingerie, workout clothes, hosiery and belts. The shelves are stacked with jeans, shirts, and sweaters. The pole is loaded with suits and blouses and dresses. My suits span the entire color spectrum: black, ink, charcoal, navy, midnight. My blouses as well: white, cream, ecru, linen. The floor is covered in clothes that I tried on and decided not to wear and of course not to hang back up. Sundays the floor is clean by Wed you cannot see past the mounds. These little clothing fits are frightening for spectators. Poor husband. My most valuable item: My grandmother's engagement ring and my mother-in-law's ceramic pin.

Last but certainly not least is the closet I love the best. However it does make me a bit of a cliche so please do not judge. It is my shoe closet. Since I graduated 8th grade I have had a love of shoes, especially vey high heeled shoes. At 5' 7" I am rarely seen in anything less than 4 inches. The demon of vanity in me feels my legs look better in heels so be damned cramped calf muscles, squooshed toes and lower back pain. I do have some sneakers and a pair or two of flat boots but the walls are filled with boxes and boxes of high heeled shoes. I have sandals, peep toes, pumps, stilettos, cage shoes, greco sandals, spectator pumps to name a few. I do not discriminate, you will find a $15 dollar pair of slip in gold tone 4 inch sandals next to my favorite Manolo Blahniks. Jet black suede bumps into leopard print pumps; silver and gold remain shelve friends, alligator boots next to cowboy boots, and on and on. I am an equal opportunity wearer. My most valuable item in this closet is a show box in the lower right hand corner. It holds the homemade cards my son made me as a little boy.

I swear one day I will clean out these closets, tossing the obsolete and refusing to replenish. But for today I will pretend I do not have a problem and simply ignore the excess.
January 25, 2012 at 11:33am
January 25, 2012 at 11:33am
Write one paragraph about the word spiritual and what you think it means to you. Is being spiritual different than being religious? Do you see yourself as being either spiritual or religious. Do you have negative inner reactions to those whom you see as being religious or spiritual? Why or why not?

I am a spiritual being and believe strongly that spirituality is not the same as religiosity. A person can be extremely spiritual without the structure of religion. Spirituality is the hearth and religion is the house that envelops it.

As a spiritual being I look to develop a greater understanding of myself and the world around me; a kind of journey to find the proverbial meaning of life. For me it is an extremely personal path which I tend to keep private. I love yoga and find that my practice heightens my spirituality and gives me balance, even a sense of calm.

I am also a very tolerate person who believes in the "Live and Let Live" motto as well as the
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" advice. Therefore I do not have negative reactions to those who are religious or spiritual. Truly spiritual people are (in my experience) usually good, caring, moral folks.

Religious fanatics on the other hand really annoy and frighten me. The fanatics are the people who hide their hatred and ignorance behind the sword of religion, those who claim superiority and insider knowledge based on a religious affiliation. I find these people who kill and abuse and discriminate against others all in the name of God, to be the most ignorant and evil of our human species.

I was raised in a strict Catholic household, attending an all girls private school taught by Felician sisters. I have had some amazing and comforting experiences with the that upbringing (I also have some bad girl stories but we will save those for a more appropriate time*Wink* ). As I grew up and was exposed to more, I started to question my faith. As an adult I disagree with certain Catholic doctrines, leaning 90 degrees to the left. Because those disagreements make me feel like a hypocrite, I tend to refrain from calling myself a Catholic. The pedophile scandal in the Catholic Church rocked my core, but I saw that as a problem with the management of the institution not the institution itself. Catholics have NEVER been taught to cover up evil or to participate in such evil.

On a somewhat regular basis, I attend services at a fairly liberal Catholic church which is much more tolerant of people who have made mistakes or who live alternative lifestyles. Sitting in the pew and listening to the homily makes me feel comfortable, maybe even safe. When I no longer feel that way, I will look for a new outlet. For now this construct of religion works for me.

January 24, 2012 at 1:40pm
January 24, 2012 at 1:40pm
I have seen plenty of movies that were based on popular books and I can honestly say that I have never seen one that was as good as the book. Because good is a subjective term, I should say I have never seen one that I felt measured up to the feelings evoked by the written word, or one that drove in as deeply into the characters.

With books you have time to digest the character(s) and the experience. You also have to rely on your imagination to fill in what you cannot hear or see. Reading is an active participation where watching a movie is passive. In a movie you only have a couple hours (usually) to immerse yourself in the story. The visual and auditory blanks are filled in and thrust upon you. I would much rather read the book and fill in my own blanks.

For me none of the movies based on novels measure up. The only real exception would be movies based on the classics. I enjoyed The Great Gatsby and Great Expectations and recently Sherlock Holmes to name a few. I think it is a daunting task to create a screen play from a novel. Great for revenue generation I suppose, but not so much in terms of comparison.

I also need to mention how much I HATED "The Time Traveler's Wife". I read this book as a book club requirement. At first glance I squawked about the time travel thing. I despise time travel! I really cannot fathom it. It frustrates me so much and I feel like such an idiot whenever it is presented. You should have heard me bitch during the Terminator series. I even went to far as to try to read about the science behind the space time continuum. No way possible. Just CANNOT get over it...oops went off topic. Anyway, for some reason I did really enjoy reading The Time Traveler's Wife. When the movie came out I could not believe how horrible it was. Basically missing the entire point of the story, and filled with poor acting, terrible dialog and ridiculous scenes. YUCK.

As for novels that should never be made into movies? I say all of them *Smile*

January 23, 2012 at 1:19pm
January 23, 2012 at 1:19pm
What I Know About Myself....

Plato says "Know Thyself". As a teenager I knew EVERYTHING. At least I thought I did. I mean really I was that bitchy girl who was condescending and arrogant with nothing to back it up. Now that I am ...uhh...middle aged...I realize I knew nothing. The more I experience and the more I learn the more I know how much I do not know. With one exception...age has given me the wisdon to know myself.

It's not all good but it's not all bad either. I know that I have an energy and enthusiasm that surprises (or maybe annoys) most people. I have a deep, although not always demonstrated, capacity to love as well as to forgive. I am empathetic, assertive and determined. I care about my appearance without being superficial.

On the other hand, I know that bitchy adolescent is never too far away. I do not suffer fools. I am opinionated, cynical and possess a complete lack of patience. I walk, talk, eat and generally move way too fast to enjoy the little things or to let anyone keep up. My expectations are high for the people I surround myself with. I am the worst proof reader and spelling (in case you haven't already noticed that during this challenge).

In my own mind I am beautiful and brilliant, regardless of what the world thinks.

Albert Einstein says “I don't know, I don't care, and it doesn't make any difference!”.
January 22, 2012 at 1:21pm
January 22, 2012 at 1:21pm
"In what way/ways does blogging fulfill you?"

I never really thought of blogging as fulfilling me but I guess that is exactly what it does and why I come back to it. I was one of the early adapters of blogging. I did it on a barely known site and had no idea what I was doing. I did not keep current and dropped it until about 3 years ago. I started up again and loved it. I would write at least 4 times a week, sharing my opinions on current events, my random thoughts on the day and all kinds of photos when I felt the urge. It was refreshing and it even felt a little dangerous. Dangerous because I was sharing my true opinions for anyone to look at (maybe not that dangerous as my following was only about 12 people). Soon I had "friends" reading my blog but and changing our relationship due to some comments I made online. My opinions caused some controversy. I even had my son ask me to stop when he found out several of his classmates were reading it and commenting to him. After about 10 months, I became disenchanted with the entire exercise. I felt like an exhibitionist and maybe even one those freaks looking for her 15 minutes of reality show fame. I slowed until I eventually stopped.

I started up again with this WDC contest because I feel it fills a void. Maybe I am a bit of an exhibitionist or maybe I just want my thoughts to be validated and my opinions heard. None of you know me so it feels safe. I trust that your comments are honest and not ladled with hidden agendas. You can comment (or not) without consideration of my professional position, social status, appearance or family. It is a connection based solely on what I write. I guess I want to be heard yet I want it to be honest and without real life ramifications.

WDC blogging gives me daily support and that helps keep that feeling of emptiness at bay. As an added benefit, I get to write and hopefully improve my writing with daily practice *Smile*

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