Thank You Ralph Marston for the Reminder

I’ve never have a good poker face.  My body language tells all.  I’ve also been known to have Incredible Hulk-like tendencies.  When I was a pre-teen my oldest brother gave me a t-shirt for Christmas that said “I Love My Attitude Problem” on it.  Seeing it for the first time I am sure I rolled my eyes, but deep down inside I was laughing because I know my attitude swings were legendary.  I think young girls on the brink of hormones kicking in are susceptible to the moody madness.  It just is what it is.

Years of experience and learning what makes me tick have helped me mellow and become a more patient and pleasant human being.  (At least I hope so!)  There will always be moments that will awaken the beast inside of me, and over the past couple of days there have been a few tickles to the underbelly of that beast.  So I found it only fitting that today I received an email from my friend Teal Moss, who sends out the daily motivational thoughts of Ralph Marston.  Ralph’s motivation was called “The Positive Side” and reflected on attitude.   I needed this reminder and believe everyone can benefit from an attitude adjustment every once in awhile.

Your attitude may be the biggest thing holding you back. And that’s great news, because you can change it very quickly.

Other challenges and limitations can take much time and energy to overcome. Yet if your attitude is what’s limiting you, then you have the key right here and now to break free.

Your attitude does not define you and it doesn’t really control you. It does, however, exert a powerful influence on the way you see the world.

The simple fact is that with a positive, purposeful and loving attitude, you are able to see and to connect with life’s best possibilities. And simply by deciding to choose it, you can immediately benefit from such an attitude.

You don’t have to let your attitude be held hostage by negative people, events or circumstances. You can choose whatever attitude you wish, no matter what may be going on around you.

So give yourself a powerful advantage. Choose an attitude, right now, that will illuminate the positive side of life, and begin right away to reap the great rewards of your empowering focus.

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ROI: Super Bowl Ads

A thirty-second ad is going for a cool 3.5 million dollars at this year’s Super Bowl.  All companies that fork up that kind of dough are looking for a great ROI: Return on Investment.  Volkswagon strikes back in amazing fashion for this year’s game with a sequel to their 2011 “The Force” called “The Bark Side.”

And a beloved 80s icon takes the day off for more fun:

To have a winning commercial the formula is simple – you must feature at least one of the following:

  1. animals
  2. kids
  3. athletes
  4. a sexy female singer, beauty queen or model
  5. a catchy phrase
  6. a historical reference or iconic figure

Before kickoff of Super Bowl XLVI here’s proof that the formula works with the Top XX ads (in my opinion at least) through the years:

Volkswagon “The Force” (2011)

Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” (2010)

Snickers – Betty White (2010)

Budweiser’s “Rocky” (2007)

Budweiser’s “Donkey Dream” (2003)

Reebok “Terry Tate: Office Linebacker” (2003)

Pepsi’s Britney Spears (2003)

Budweiser – 911 Tribute (2002)

Bud Light’s “Date Night” (2001)

Budweiser “Wassup” (2000)

Monster.com “When I Grow Up …” (1999)

Doritos’ Ali Landry (1998)

Pepsi’s “Security Camera” (1996)

Budweiser’s “Clydesdales Play Ball” (1996)

Budweiser “Frogs” (1995)

McDonald’s “The Showdown” (1993)

Pepsi Cindy Crawford (1992)

Wendy’s “Where’s The Beef?” (1984)

Apple’s “1984” (1984)

Coke “Mean Joe Greene” (1979)

T(r)ail Ways

A year ago this weekend my power was out and the DC Metro area, along with a great portion of the east coast, was blanketed with massive amounts of snow.

The unseasonable weather the past few days reached into the 50s and 60s.  Yesterday I joined many locals who were taking advantage of the mild temps on the trails in Sligo Creek Park.  The route I take ends up being a little over 6 miles.  It’s a nostalgia walk because I find myself on the same path near the same wooded area my brothers and I played in as children.  I vividly recall walking through these huge water tunnels that run underneath the main road so we could get to the other side sans traffic.

I love nature walks.  I love the neighborly nod exchange that happens.  The nod may not always be reciprocated, but I dish it out regardless because that’s just how I roll.  I love seeing what appears to be Stand By Me adventures among the pack of friends I pass along the way.

Before merging onto the trail I encountered one group of boys skate boarding and shooting a hockey puck in a net outside of a house.  I wondered if 30 years from now they’d come back to the neighborhood and have the same feeling I do today about playing outside as a child.  It’s that carefree sensation and pure pleasure of exploring the outdoors; a sensation I wish could be bottled up and pulled off the shelf whenever you needed a boost.   With electronic devises ruling the roost and helicopter parenting I imagine there is a large amount of children these days that have never experienced this.  Well, if they can’t go exploring maybe there’s an app for that.

Random Thoughts #9

For over 30 years, Andy Rooney had the last word on 60 Minutes sharing his commentary on all things random.  Jerry Seinfeld had 9 seasons with his show about nothing.  The world of social media is home for all inhabitants to share random thoughts on a daily basis.  Since it’s the popular thing to do…and of course the theme of my blog (duh!)…most blogs for that matter…I’ve whipped up this Baker’s Dozen.

  1. The intensive care unit is called the ICU.  But the truth is most people hate hospitals and don’t want to set foot inside one.  So to tell someone “I’ll see you” in the ICU is kind of odd.
  2. Why aren’t there “lack-of-speed” cameras? Driving 10 miles under the speed limit is just as dangerous as 10 miles over.
  3. It’s interesting that the hand gesture for “call me” is still based on the look of an old phone receiver & not what it’s like to hold a cell phone now.
  4. Why are people still advertising phone numbers such as 1-800-432-BANK?  If you’re only phone is a cell phone, you’d have to guess the corresponding numbers for B-A-N-K.
  5. I don’t understand why some people don’t open up the carton of eggs to inspect them before putting them in their cart.
  6. Don’t you hate it when you build the “perfect” salad and there’s that one “past-expiration date” cherry tomato that explodes in your mouth and ruins it completely.
  7. You grow up with family members who are not affectionate-touchy-feely folk. Then when one of them is in the hospital all they want is for you to hold their hand and stroke their head.
  8. Why do elbows get discriminated against? Etiquette lessons from Miss Manners and Emily Post tell us it’s impolite to have elbows on the table while you eat. But what’s the rationale that makes that rule stand up in the this day and age?  It’s not like eating with your feet on the table. Well, let’s hope not.
  9. Songs with sirens in them should be banned. They aren’t good on the nerves especially on long, early morning road trips.
  10. No one wants to be told they look tired regardless if it’s true or not. You basically are saying, “You look like crap.” Just ask, “How are you?” and call it a day.
  11. The shopping mall should be renamed the Museum of Male Couch Potatoes.
  12. I don’t understand the concept of House Arrest.  How is being in the comfort of your own home a punishment?
  13. Can’t imagine that bakers would always have extra to justify the expression Baker’s Dozen.

Rainy Days & Fridays…

Rain, rain go away. Come again another day.

If I didn’t know better I would think it’s the month of April.  My neck of the woods is experiencing mild temps and crazy downpours.  I’m ducking for cover.  Click through for a precipitation playlist of 25 tunes.

The B(r)aidy Bunch

Whether you called it getting your hair plaited or braided, as a young child I called it torture.  Having thick, wild hair and being tender headed did not make grooming time fun time.  Hmmm…random side note:  isn’t it bizarre that according to Random House Webster’s Dictionary the word groom has multiple meanings?

  1. bridegroom: a newly married man or one about to be married
  2. a man or boy in charge of horses or a stable
  3. to make neat or tidy
  4. to clean and brush (a horse, dog, etc.)
  5. to prepare or train for a position

Some may say with the amount of hair I have the description of number 4 is accurate since my tresses could be mistaken as a horse’s tail or a lion’s mane.  I guess being born under the zodiac sign of Leo was only fitting for me.  For years my mom outfitted me with various ponytails of braids or Cindy Brady curls:

Swiss Miss wannabe on Kindergarden picture day

Cindy Brady curls under my cap

One of my caregiving responsibilities for my mom is braiding her hair when I visit her at the assisted living facility.  We’ve come full circle – what goes around really does come back around.

My handy work

Braids have been popular for thousands of years.  YouTube is flooded with video after video on how to create all kinds of roped creations.  Here are a bunch of braids that have made an impression on me through the years.

Pocahontas classic braid

I always thought Pippi Longstocking had magical ponytails

Melissa Gilbert paid homage to Holly Hobby as Laura Ingalls, AKA Half Pint

Every woman who came back from an island vacation wanted to look like Bo Derek in the movie ’10’

No one rocks the beads and braids like Stevie

Janet Jackson in ‘Poetic Justice’

Brandy as Moesha was known for her micro-braids

Maybe Dave Thomas’s daughter Wendy was a Pippi fan

Alicia Keys burst on the scene with her iconic cornrows

Reality star Lauren Conrad made the braid trendy again for the MTV generation in the new millennium

I like Rachel McAdams as an actress, and I like her braids!

Retirement Planning

This isn’t a post about 401Ks or IRAs.  This isn’t a post about creating a bucket list for what you want to do when you retire from your 40-year-old career or j-o-b.  This is a post about planning for your final resting place; planning for retiring from this life.

This topic has been thrust into my universe because I am the Power of Attorney for my soon-to-be 75-year-old mother who’s been living with severe dementia the past 7 years.  The private care costs are months away from draining my mother’s accounts and I have to begin the application process for Medicaid.  In order to do this I have to spend down all of her assets and finances to meet Medicaid requirements.  I was given sound advice from a Medicaid specialist at one of the nursing facilities I visited yesterday that I wasn’t prepared to face.  She said:

Are you planning a burial or cremation?  And how do you plan to pay for the funeral?

These questions are not ones we want to focus on when loved ones are not showing signs of being called Home.  My mother’s mind is weak but her body is still strong.  But these questions are necessary for me to focus on in order for me to get financing set aside before I spend all the money down.  I was told I needed to set up an irrevocable burial account.  This type of account funds the funeral costs and cannot be claimed as an asset in the eyes of the government.  I couldn’t thank the Medicaid specialist enough for alerting me of this necessary step. It is now one more thing to add to my To-Do-List:

  1. Get all of mommy’s paperwork in order
  2. Search Medicaid facilities
  3. Visit those researched Medicaid facilities
  4. Contact funeral home to discuss pre-funeral arrangements and set up irrevocable burial account
  5. Fill out and submit Medicaid application
  6. Pack up mommy’s belongings and paperwork at current assisted living facility
  7. Move her to new Medicaid facility
  8. Spend the following weeks getting mommy adjusted to new environment, staff and residents
  9. Spend the following weeks getting myself adjusted to new environment, staff and residents
  10. Breathe

The Medicaid specialist told me not everyone in her line of work is willing to share the pre-funeral planning information with family members.  I believed her since this was the first time I had ever heard about it after speaking to several administrators at various facilities.  I suppose people just assume family members will pool their resources when the time comes because it’s normal for folks to just have an excess of $5,000 – $10,000 just lying around for a “rainy day.”  This irrevocable burial account will relieve my family from a financial burden and provide peace of mind during what will be our greatest time of grieving.

Have you thought about your retirement plans?