It’s Your Choice

I’ve spent the last hour or so going through my Inbox at my home email account. I forward everything to this account to organize, read or act on when I get home. What I’m starting to learn is that I almost never have any time to organize, read or act on anything at home. Things pile up and it takes hours to go through. The good thing is when things are months old, they don’t seem as important and I’m able to delete a lot of crap I deemed important the first time around.

One of my former work friends sent this to me and I thought it was a good life motto. It was a sweet story too. I’m putting it here so I can delete it from the Inbox:

John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, ‘If I were any better, I would be twins!’

He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, ‘I don’t get it!’

‘You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?’

He replied, ‘Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or…you can choose to be in a bad mood .

I choose to be in a good mood.’

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or….I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or…I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life ..

‘Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,’ I protested.

‘Yes, it is,’ he said. ‘Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.

You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live your life.’

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some
60 feet from a communications tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw him about six months after the accident.

When I asked him how he was, he replied, ‘If I were any better, I’d be twins…Wanna see my scars?’

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

‘The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,’ he replied. ‘Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or…I could choose to die. I chose to live.’

‘Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?’ I asked.

He continued, ‘…the paramedics were great…

They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he’s a dead man’. I knew I needed to take action.’

‘What did you do?’ I asked.

‘Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,’ said John. ‘She asked if I was allergic to anything ‘Yes, I replied.’ The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Gravity”

Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.’
He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude…I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ Matthew 6:34.

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Things that make you go “hmmm”.

722 of 1001 Done, 709 of 1001 To Be Read

Since I couldn’t find The Ragazzi by Pier Paulo Pasolini (#502) I finished book #722 in my list of 1001 Books to Read Before I Die.  It was Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis.  I saw a table of classics at the library a few weeks ago and after a quick check on my Android I settled for this one.  My review:

The only thing I liked about this book was the timeframe.  After watching Boardwalk Empire on HBO, I’ve become quite enamored with the Prohibition Era.

I did not like George Babbitt.  He reminds me of a close friend of mine…making a stand only when everyone else is, voicing opinions the same as those around him, flip flopping on issues and being important only in his mind.

The issues were good- women’s suffrage, the morality of business and prohibition.  I couldn’t handle George’s conceitedness and the way he treated people around him. He was insufferable.

This book was the 1920’s version of the movie American Beauty.  Man dissatisfied with his life, not knowing what he wants out of it.  Flirts with the idea of an extra marital affair.  Blah blah blah.  We all get dissatisfied, George.  I still don’t believe you had a thing with Tanis.  I don’t think you would have the balls. 

My intense dislike of the main character probably held me back from liking this classic as a whole.  I’ve had it with annoying, whining protagonists.

Zombiegirl now picks number 709- The Devil in the Flesh by Raymond Radiguet.  Okay, this one is french, pretty scandalous and written when the author was 16-18 and having an affair with a married woman.

Am I small-minded to say I can’t wait to read this? 


Bridge to Engineering. Come In, Engineering.

Hoo, baby.  It’s been crazy.

This past few weeks has left me totally drained, devoid of energy and emotion.

I don’t have the energy to READ my favorite blogs let alone WRITE in one.  I have so much to say and no energy to say it.  Or write it.

I don’t have the energy to upload my pictures.

I don’t have the energy to do…anything.

Work, weather, CONFLICKS and holiday shenanigans have drained my core.  Scotty, we need more power, now.

But Captain, if I push these engines too hard in the condition they’re in, they’ll blow apart!

We wouldn’t want that, would we?

Stay tuned.

Scorecard 2011 Week #1

I wasn’t going to post my New Year’s Resolutions on my blog.  Everyone in blogland is posting theirs and recapping what they didn’t do/accomplish in 2010.  I didn’t want to post empty promises to myself and get depressed when I read them over next year.  As Beena noted, making resolutions just sets one up for failure. 

But I do have four changes I want to make in my life.  And I do need to keep track of how I’m doing, so bear with me- it’s going to be a weekly thing.  By the time a few months go by and it becomes second nature, I won’t have to stress (and bore you to tears) about it.

Change #1- No more sugar- natural or otherwise.  This week, I give myself a 98% success rate.  There are leftover cookies at my house and the Frost Valley candy sale going on, but I haven’t touched any of it.  The only sugar I’ve had was accidentally when I bought a coffee at the train station.  The coffee guy knows me and put sugar in the cup before I could stop him.  Frankly, I didn’t even realize it until I tasted it.  After four days of no sugar in my coffee, it was too sweet.

Change #2- Bring breakfast everyday and three days worth of lunch in to work.  I’m reserving the remaining two days for Stir Fry at the 299 Park Avenue cafeteria and my weekly Chipotle fix. I can NOT give those two lunches up.  It’s what I live for.  I give myself an 65% success rate.  I forgot to bring lunch yesterday and forgot breakfast and lunch today.

Change #3- Follow a cleaning schedule.  A mix of Flylady and  I need to do a little each day to maintain the cleanliness and organization of the house.  Unfortunately, I crapped out by Tuesday, so my success rate is around 10%.  Reboot.

Change #4- Go to the gym everyday.  Yoga on weekends.  I love doing these things and I’m paying for them, so why don’t I do them?  Because I’m too freaking tired all the time.  I know it’s no excuse, so I’m determined to exercise every day.  I didn’t this week, though, due to some untimely (New Year’s Eve) girly problems.  This change will start Monday, January 10th.

I’m also working hard on my 101 in 1001 list.  I was a total slacker last year and I have a little bit over a year and a half to finish.  There are projects underway that are helping me meet those goals.

So they’re not really big changes but they are changes I can manage and they’ll help my health and well-being in the long run.

Okay, place your bets…

Countdown to Christmas – Calamaties Part Deux

I’m feeling 98% better now.  Seems I had a sinus/lung infection.  Thanks to Kansas and her Pizza Posse, the whole house caught the cold she brought home.  For some weird reason it lingered and festered in my body.  Enough that I had to drag my ass to the doctor for a round of antibiotics.  Beena’s on AB’s too.  That’s a good thing because she started student teaching today.

The week before Thanksgiving, I had a few of Z-girl’s friends over to help decorate turkey sugar cookies.  I brought out my box of cookie cutters and Dad gave me the rest of Mom’s, so my collection doubled.  I used her big turkey cutter and the girls and I baked then decorated.  Zombiegirl went for the shock cookie- a zombie bunny, complete with blood dripping from it’s fangs.

She’s such a weirdo.

I got the recipe from Recipe Girl’s No Fail Sugar Cookies.  I think I should always cook/bake something with the title of “No Fail” from now on.  These cookies were really good and really easy.  I got the royal icing recipe from the The Hungry Housewife– the same lady I borrowed the Oreo turkey idea from last year.  I was pleasantly surprised by the way the turkey cookies came out:

This was my first attempt at decorating sugar cookies (the semi-professional way.  Decorating cookies with Mom as a kid shouldn’t count.)

They got rave reviews at Thanksgiving at the in-laws.  No one wanted to eat them.

What’s with my desserts and no one eating them?

Don’t answer that.

I was psyched to make Christmas cookies the same way.  I have all these great cutters and the perfect icing…I couldn’t wait.

December ticked slowly by and the cutters stayed on the counter mocking me.  I wanted to wait until everyone was free before we baked, but if I waited that long it would be President’s Day.  I mixed up a batch and tossed it into the refrigerator to chill.  It was DAYS before we finally sat and started on the cookies.

On Christmas Eve Day.  Yup.  We finally found the time to bake the day before Christmas.  Have I mentioned Procrastination is my middle name?

 We rolled and cut and threw them into the oven.  A whole nativity was cut out as was every Christmas tree we had a cutter for.  Finally, they were baked.

Go ahead, ask when we decorated them.  After the presents were opened, ping-pong games were played and before the “guests” arrived, I tossed together the icing ingredients into the mixer and sat the younger girls down to decorate. 

When I pulled the icing out, for some weird reason, it was a little too thick.  I chalked it up to me pulling the wrong recipe up in Gmail.  What I didn’t realize as I ran from my office to the kitchen (because I was too lazy to print it out) was that I shorted the recipe about 1/4 cup of water.

Did I mention I suck?

I gave the girls all the colors they asked for and like the troopers they were they spread the stucco-like icing on the cookies.  I was too stressed (sick) to care.

After dinner, Beena took a good look at our cookies.  I think she used the words “vomit” and “sick” while talking about them.

 What is this, an Oompa Loompa?

         This snowman looks like he was hacked with a machete to his neck.           

This tree has star pus.

This holly looks stucco’ed.

This is the only pretty cookie…


Everyone’s a critic.

They tasted really good, though.  The lack of water in the icing brought out the sugar taste REALLY well.

New Year’s Resolution #1- Read all directions carefully.


Okay, give up?  Want to know what 23 is? 

January 1, 2011, or 01/01/11, or 010111 is twenty-three in binary.

Wait, what?

I was introduced to the concept of counting in binary by my evil Facility Manager, Ducky.  She would flip me, her assistant Facility Manager, the secretary, the chair, the Xerox machine- anyone that pissed her off- the bird on a regular basis and yell “Fore!” when she did it.  Being that she was a golfer, I always assumed it had something to do with her game.

I finally asked her about it.

It wasn’t “Fore!” she yelled out viciously, it was “Four!”  Seems she was taught by someone in a bar somewhere how to count the binary on her fingers.  For those non-geeks out there, binary is the method of counting using only zeros and ones.  Each digit in a binary number system represents a power of two. The first digit on the right represents the 0th power, the second represents the 1st power, the third represents the 2nd power, and so on. So the number 1 in the decimal system is represented also as 1 in the binary system. The number 23, by contrast, is represented as 10111 (16+0+4+2+1).


Anyway, that someone in a bar somewhere taught this nut how to count to 31 on one hand using the binary system.  Since I’m just getting over being sick (and tired) and just not all that interested to put the time into explaining when there are much better sites out there to do so, look at this site.  It explains all…

Fun, huh?  Of course, Ducky never realized what she started when she taught me and then I went home and taught the girls.  Seems she didn’t know the true potential of finger counting binary- her limited sight let her see only to 31.  If she wasn’t too drunk, I’m sure she would have remembered her tutor mentioning that you could count to up to 1,023 both hands!  When I showed the girls, I transitioned to the other hand for 32 but got it all wrong, so I did a little internet research and found a website and a really nice man to explain the jump from one hand to another.  His email back to me:

Hey, Susan-

If you only made it to 59, you didn’t progress to 32 for the pinky of the left hand (if you’re right-handed). If these are fingers (palms facing you):

 |||||  |||||


this is the pinky of your left hand and its value is 32 (since the right hand starting from the thumb is 1 2 4 8 and 16. After you get to 31, all the fingers of the right hand make a fist (representing zero), and the pinky of the left hand comes up (just the pinky) and then you got through 1 to 31 again on the right hand.

 Here’s 32 with both hands

 —-|  —–

Notice the pinky of the left hand is the only one up.

Here’s 42:

—-|  -|-|-

which would be the 32 pinky and an 8 and a 2

Here’s 518:

|—-  –||-

which is 512 + 4 + 2

Here’s 1000:

|||||  -|—

512+256+128+64+32+8 = 1000

Hope this helps!


The girls caught on immediately and could go on and on counting.  My limited brain and I grasped the concept but couldn’t keep up with the lightning finger speed of my nine and eleven year old daughters.  They would quickly flip up the middle finger, giggle and yell “Four!” and race on to 31 and beyond. 

Thanks, Ducky.  You’ve given me binary, so every time I see a 0 or a 1 I think of you.  Whenever I flip someone off, I definitely think of you.  When I roll the dice, I often think of you, but that’s a story for another time.