Change is Good

There’s a bulletin board near my house I keep meaning to take a picture of. It’s near the supermarket, and I never have my camera with me when I go grocery shopping. It says “Change is Good” and is advertising Kyle Zimmerman Photography’s move to downtown Albuquerque.

Every time I look at that sign I feel like it’s reminding me that my decision to move to The Duke City was a good one.  That I am exactly where I need to be now.

There’s another Change is Good sign over on Carlisle Boulevard, right next to what became Obama Election Central in Albuquerque.  Fitting, don’t you think?

Well as we all know by now, change did happen. It may not have been the “change we need” (thank God) but in fact the CHANGE we deserve.

I don’t consider myself to be particularly patriotic. I don’t fly the flag. I couldn’t care less about singing the national anthem (who can hit those high notes anyway?).  To me, the most patriotic acts we can perform are voting, free speech, assembling as we see fit…  and exercising the rights granted to us by the constitution.  That said, I do believe that this is the best county in the world. Sure, some other countries have great things (ancient history, fabulous food, multiple languages, universal healthcare) but the United States is truly the land of opportunity.  Barak Obama is the absolute embodiment of that kind of opportunity.  I am thrilled with the results of the presidential election.  Change is Good.

The cynic in me realizes we won’t have a huge change. We may get small steps in the right direction.  I don’t know why all those far right conservatives are so afraid of Barak Obama. He’s not that different than the other politicians in Washington.  Except in one big way.  His positive vision for the United States, and as far as I have seen, he has conducted himself with grace and dignity.  We deserve this kind of change.  We actually deserve more.

Emails sent to Barak ObamaToday I went to the website for the office of the president-elect, aptly named Change.gov.  There was a place there to submit your own story or your own ideas. Now I don’t naively think that Barak Obama is going to read the email I sent.  Perhaps some poor student intern will be slogging through all the emails and trying to ascertain which ones of us are kooks. But I may get some sort of automated response.  My email may be sorted and stacked with a whole lot of other emails then counted and analyzed and put into a pie chart to show President-Elect Obama.  I hope.

On election night I had some friends over for an Election Night Vigil and Chile Party.  The vigil didn’t last that long. In fact, it was somewhat anti-climactic.  I had memories of the 2000 election that went on for months.  I didn’t think this one between That One and McCain would go on that long, but I thought it may last until 11 pm or so.  At least until after all the polls closed.

The one issue that was not settled by the end of the evening was Proposition 8, the ballot initiative in California that would actually CHANGE the constitution of the state to specifically deny the rights of same sex couples to marry.  And so Wednesday morning came, and the news that the proposition had in fact passed.  Seriously that dampened my joy at seeing Obama elected.

And so back to That One’s new website.  And my email.  Here is what I said:

Given the recent legislative initiatives banning same sex marriage in several states– including a change to the constitution of the state of California to legalize discrimination– I would like to see federal leadership on this issue. It is wrong to deny rights to any segment of our populace. I was dismayed with VP-elect’s answer to the question regarding same sex marriage in the debate. It sounds like we are arguing semantics but really, the issue is more than what we call it. It is an institution that is licensed and recognized by the government, and affords certain responsibilities and privileges to the parties involved. Call it what you like but it ought to be offered to any couple who wants to join and form a family.

For the record, I am not gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The fact that California (the state I called home until a couple of months ago) passed Proposition 8 makes me sick, and put a cloud over what should have been a grand night for our nation. I hope President-Elect Obama will take the lead and ensure that ALL citizens are afforded equal rights.

I hope you will join me in voicing your opinion and letting President-Elect Obama’s intern know what your concerns are. Whether you’re scared you’ll have to be working until you die because your 401K and your IRA are in the crapper, or you want the troops out of Iraq, or immigration policy that works…. or your kid gets cancer and you’re worried about hitting the lifetime cap on your healthcare plan.

Change is good, but only if we take full advantage of it.

It’s not about cancer

If you don’t know who Randy Pausch is, you should. Dr. Pausch is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and he has three to six months to live. And LIVE he will…. This video, “The Last Lecture” is well worth watching even though it is over an hour long. Get comfy, pull up a chair grab a coffee and listen.

Randy Pausch’s PhD means he knows a lot about computer science and virtual reality, but this lecture demonstrates that he knows a lot about living life and how to achieve your dreams as well. Key points that resonated with me:

The importance of People Who Help Us: family, friends, collegues, bosses. We can’t achieve success alone.
Having lost my mother at an early age, and having a father who was absent in a lot of ways taught me early on to do things myself. I’ve been spending the last few years unlearning some of that. It’s not only OK to ask for help, but sometimes, to really be successful, it takes more than one person, and when you have a team of talented, dedicated people working together you can make a difference in the world.

How people perceive you can limit your ability to succeed.
Like it or not, Perception is reality as any good marketeer will tell you!

Do the right thing and good things have a way of happening.
This is a hard piece of advice, especially when you look around and see people that seem to be successful by cheating or lying, and it looks so easy to do it that way.

Be good at something.
This is another one that’s challenging. Sometimes it takes a long time to figure out what you’re good at.

Get a feedback loop and listen to it.
This is one of my favorites, I call it a personal mantra. My current mantra is “Live Like There is No Tomorrow” which to me means living life to its fullest, being prepared to take advantage of opportunities, and asking for help if I need it.

What’s your personal mantra? Who do you find inspirational? and if you have a minute, say a prayer for Randy Pausch and his family… especially his three children.

Pray it forward

If you’re like me you go through the routine of your day. Maybe you start out with a latte at your favorite gourmet coffee stop on your way to work. Maybe you get ticked off at the guy who cut you off or the woman who is going too slow. In the fast lane.
You go to work. You have lunch with friends, run some errands on the way home, cook dinner, tinker around on the computer a bit then go to bed.
You start the whole thing over the next day.

And maybe somewhere in the routine of the day you come across a post on a blog by a woman who asks the question:

….what you would do if you had only 12 months left to live. What would be really important for you, the things that mean so much, that you would regret if you didn’t do them and left this planet soon….
READ MORE HERE

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As you read further you discover that this young woman, young mother, who’s name Jen is similar to your own but she has only one ‘n’, is asking the question because she has an agressive form of colon cancer.

Maybe that gets you to thinking about what really IS important.

You wonder what WOULD you do. Or maybe you just DO.

Needle Ninny

Been meaning to post this for a while…. my sister, like me, is not especially fond of needles. Unfortunately, since she has breast cancer, she’s been forced to deal with a lot of needles. And she has gone one step further even, doing acupuncture, voluntarily even. I’ll let her tell you in her own words:

http://video.nbcsandiego.com/player/?id=162500

sorry I couldn’t find a way to embed the video here, but go ahead and click if you are 1. curious about my sister 2. interested in acupuncture and how it could help breast cancer survivors.

Shameless Plug

Gyro Debby
This is a shameless plug promoting my sister’s (ad)venture as a Gyrotonic instructor.

Most of you know Debby’s story…
in 2000 she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It was caught early,
and after the standard course of treatment the prognosis looked good.

But (there’s always a but), in 2004 it was discovered again, this time as metastisized breast cancer…
landing in her bones, specifically her pelvis. She was treated with chemo, and with radiation.

The drugs left her weak and thin and the radiation left her hip muscle damaged– at one point she was even using a walker.

In her quest to regain her strength, and improve the range of motion in her hip, through a friend who is a physical therapist, she found Gyrotonic exercise. If you had seen my sister in 2004, you would not recognize her today. She not only looks great, she is successfully keeping the cancer at bay and her physical fitness has improved significantly. In fact, the attached postcard is a picture of Debby on the Gryotonic tower.

Debby liked the exercise system so much that she determined to become a certified Gyrotonic instructor, which she completed earlier this year.

The exercise system is similar to pilates. You work one-on-one with an instructor utilizing the machine’s system of weights and pulleys for resistance training. I liken a Gryotonic session to something between a workout and a massage. The next day you definitely feel like you got a work out, and all the stretching and rotational movement makes you feel like you got a massage.

A private session is usually $65, but as a new Gyrotonic instructor, Debby is offering a first time client special of $35 for an hour-long session…. She’s working out of a pilates studio in Encinitas on El Camino Real just north of Encinitas Boulevard. (The Pilates Place is located at 317 N. El Camino Real Suite 109, Encinitas, CA)

I know this is not for everyone– maybe it’s not in your budget, maybe Encinitas is too far– but (see, I told you there’s always a but!) maybe you know someone this would be perfect for, and you could pass this along.

If you have any questions, give me a holler, or an email, or call Debby direct.

Thanks for reading! No obligation to buy anything, ever…