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Saturday, July 26, 2008

The weather


In life there are things we can and things we cannot control.

One of the things we can't control is the weather.  Yet have you ever spent time worrying about the weather?  Most people have worried to some degree.  And usually it's in the context of some or another event: a wedding, a barbeque, or perhaps a sports event.

But what good comes from this type of worry? Nada. Zilch. Zero. Nothing good comes from it.

So is there anything we can learn from this? Always consider the things you can control and do your best to focus on making these circumstances as good as can be.

As a bride, plan on taking pictures at the park but be prepared to settle into the studio if lady luck showers you with rain. In the meantime, don't turn into Bridezilla about the weather...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Heaven welcomes Randy!


Today the world lost an amazing thinker, researcher, and teacher. More than that, three little, wonderful little kids lost there Dad, and those wonderful kids' Mom lost her husband...

For those of you whose lives have not been touched by the public struggle of Randy Pausch and his valiant battle with cancer... please do yourself a favor: go to www.randypausch.com and watch the entire "Last Lecture," Randy's story about Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.  This hour will undoubtedly change your life!

Randy's spirit and legacy will live on in his book, The Last Lecture, and in the inspiration of all those who, like me, have come to feel connected with his incredible attitude.

"You can't change the cards you're dealt... only the way you play your hand."

Here's to a man who happily played his cards to the fullest... and here's to the hope that all of us needn't wait to be diagnosed with a fatal illness to learn that we, too, can make the most of life ... one moment at a time...

Friday, July 18, 2008

If only...

Did you ever notice that some folks run their lives on the "if only" or "what if" basis? If only I could win the lottery... then I'd be happy. If only I could get marry and have kids, then I'd be happy. Or later, what if the kids moved out and I got divorced, then I'd be happy.

Truthfully, we have to decide that there is no better time to be happy than NOW!

So adapt the attitude of happiness. Be grateful for what you have NOW. Avoid excessively thinking about what you don't have or what you want.

You'll be much happier as you adapt to this way of thinking!

Not convinced? Try it for a while and let me know....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I think I can...


Ah, the power of possibility!

To "think I can" is to view one's place in life as a forward moving, progressively thinking phenomenon.

The moment we allow our minds to focus on the doubt, the fear, the uncertainty... this is the moment the fat lady sings -- because at that instant it's game over.

A road trip is a good analogy, it seems to me.  To get anywhere, one must get out the map and find the YOU ARE HERE spot. Then there's the step of determining where you want to go... because if you have nowhere you want to go, that's exactly where you are going to end up: NOWHERE!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Thursday

If the week had the equivalent of the well-described "middle child syndrome", Thursday would undoubtedly get the title.

How sad, really.  Because if you think about it, Thursdays represent one seventh (or virtually 15%) of our lives!  Thursdays are not a day "just to survive."  Thursdays are like any other day when we have learned to live in the moment: Thursday is the PRESENT, the gift, that cherished piece of time never to be had again.

So always practice living in the moment, whether it it's Thursday morning or Sunday evening. Enjoy the moment for whatever positive thing it brings. Not possible? Sure it is! You just have to remember that you have this choice: I can focus on the blatant negatives in my world or I can find the positive aspects in my world. This is a choice we all have at all times. And clearly sometimes the choice is easier-- when we are enjoying the game, the party, or the praise of a situation.  It's much more of a challenge when it comes to the everyday ho-hum of traffic jams, incessant phone calls, irritating demands, and so on.  But, for the sake of your happiness, take responsibility for your choice in the knowledge that focusing on negativity will unquestionably lead to negative feelings. 

And take it from Happy, The Blogger: once you choose to find and focus on the good things about cloudy days, good things about rain, etc., etc., you will be able to choose to find happiness in every moment and literally feel the glow of the sunshine within.

Does this sound too good to be true? Does this sound like the effects of some illicit substance?  Hardly! I invite you to stay tuned and to keep reading...

Oh, and Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby Angels!

On July 9th, 2001...

Richard Ceolin Wietfeldt
Mary Therese Rose Ceolin Wietfeldt
Lucas Ceolin Wietfeldt
Josef Ceolin Wietfeldt...

You gently tiptoed into the world
and though you only stayed for a short while
what an imprint
you have forever left on our hearts.

We love you, Baby Angels!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy Sunday!

Balance.  We hear about it all the time.  People refer to it universally as an understood truth, that ideal that intersects garden salad and strawberry cheesecake.

The sad part is that most of us don't have it and don't even have plans to learn how to get it!

Modern day life is a treadmill of sorts: Work, Eat, Sleep... Work, Eat, Sleep...  Perhaps this is why we call it the rat race. ('Hamster race' just doesn't carry the joy of the alliteration of the two r's!)

Ironic in a way, isn't it?  Neanderthal Man worked about 24 hours a week.  And wasn't the whole point of mechanization and technology to make life easier?

Yikes!

Don't get me wrong: I'm not suggesting we all move to the hills and live a cottage-industry existence... But I am suggesting we pause a moment every once in a while - Sunday being perhaps a very good day to do so - and consider what really matters in this life.

Do we have to survive a bout with cancer to learn that life - our life! - is precious?

Yes, there are bills to pay and therefore work to be done.  Let's all choose our expenses wisely so we don't have to work so hard.  Let's all choose to use our time wisely -- according to our own value system, not to what advertising is dictating...

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Pier Giorgio!


In life we are blessed, truly blessed, with only a handful of people we can wholeheartedly call our dear friends.

My family and I are indeed truly blessed to know and love Pier Giorgio DiCicco, poet laureate of Toronto.

A warm inviting smile, eyes that twinkle as if Irish, a hilarious sense of humor, a speaking and singing voice to die for, an intellect that should have been housed by a university, not simply an individual...

For all you do everyday... for all the lives you lovingly touch... for all the times you have been unapologetically politically incorrect...  THANK YOU!  And may God bless you on this, your birthday, and on all days!

For my dear friend: Happy Birthday!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July!!!

This is the magical day when, each year, literally hundreds of millions of people band together... to show how independent they are of each other?

History may not be my strongest suit, but check out the wonderful Fourth of July Friday Funnies!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The PRESENT

A day to celebrate!

Why, you ask?

Because, as someone very wise once said, "Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery, today is the PRESENT, a gift from God."

If you think about a present for a moment, these are generally gifts on special occasions.  Perhaps a birthday, or other important anniversary.  Presents tend to come with colorful paper - perhaps even a bow or a ribbon.  And we, unless only three years of age, tend to treat such a present with tenderness and respect... for no matter how much the expense, this is something to be treasured because, as the saying goes, "it's the thought that counts."

Ladies and Gentlemen, children of alllll ages... today is truly the PRESENT.  And here's a little "secret" for you: Life is lived... in the present.

So practice shutting out the skeletons of yesterday.  And don't give a voice to the anxieties of tomorrow.  Yesterday and Tomorrow do not exist.   No matter who you are, no matter how rich or powerful a person you may be, yesterday cannot be brought to life and tomorrow cannot be experienced now.  Today is the only day you can live right now.  Please don't allow today - this PRESENT- to become tainted or poisoned by the toxicity of what does not exist.

May you live today and each day in this spirit of appreciation, knowing that this day, Thursday July 3rd, 2008, will never be lived again.  And so it is with everyday...

A day to celebrate!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summer Fun


The resident joke of Torontonians is that we really only have two seasons a year.  The first and longest is winter.  Winter lasts anywhere from 8 to 17 months.  Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration.  Winter weather may last from Novemberish to Aprilish.

Which means the only other season runs from May to October... and that season is called CONSTRUCTION.

And with construction comes traffic.  Lots of traffic.  And since road repairs are only necessary because winter is so long in the first place...  sheesh! It's pretty easy to understand why people get upset with all the traffic.

Here's the thing.  We can focus on our upset and just get plain angry.  Or we can look at the evolving situation and decide not to get upset...

Which makes more sense?

(Did I hear someone say something about Florida???)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you!  Happy birthday, dear Canada, happy birthday to you!

Time to celebrate each and every little thing Canadian!

Which begs the question: What are we celebrating?  Is there a bigger celebration?

Is this day about beavers and RCMP? Large double, doubles and poutine?  Is it about the discovery of insulin or the innovation of the iced cappuccino?

D'oh!  Yes, even Bart Simpson is Canadian.  (Don't believe me? Check Wikipedia!)

See, as I look at myself, I'm half Canadian, half American, half German, and half Hungarian.  I've also got a bit of Dutch in me.  (Hence the wood shoes.)  I've eaten so much pasta and veal, I've got to have Italian citizenship by now.  In the end, I guess you could just say I am FULL OF MYSELF...  When it comes to the Olympics, whom do I cheer for?

Usually the underdog, actually.

Take a step back, though.  Truth is, it is nice to belong to a group.  It feels right. It's cozy.  There is a feeling of strength in numbers. It leads to a superficially improved self esteem by way of association.  That's what nationalism, first and foremost, is to my understanding.  And perhaps one can reasonably argue that waving your country's flag at the Olympics is not a bad thing.  The problem is that all this nationalism - this attempt to belong - is really very superficial when you think about it.  Especially today and for the last century or perhaps few centuries.

When Jesus was a kid He didn't travel very far from home.  Donkeys weren't unionized, but at the same time they sure didn't work like vehicles of today.  Until modern travel, people typically married within their city-state or village.  Individuals became parts of couples, couples were parts of families, families were parts of communities, and so on...  Geography meant something generation after generation.  Greed being what it was (and is), foreigners- that is, people different from "us"- were to be feared.  But then there were some world travellers who ventured by water...  Until finally the real explosion happened.  Horse and carriage and wind and sail were replaced by motorized transportation.  Soon the dream of air travel became a reality.  All of a sudden Sally didn't have to marry her cousin Harry, because there were lots of hairy people out there!  The gene pool of each geographic region on the planet suddenly changed, never to be the same again.

Canada, indeed much of the so-called "developed" world, is really a melting pot of so many backgrounds.

And doesn't this really highlight a central point: we are all part of the global village!  Black or white, yellow or albino, Canadian or Klingon... we are all just part of the global village.  As such, the thin line on the maps of the world, to me at least, signify very little.  

Perhaps surprisingly, what they tend to signify is something ugly.  Because it seems to me what these boundaries are really saying is: "We are us, and you people (outside our boundaries) are not. So bug off!"  That's admittedly a bit gruff.  But if you look at the state of the world, is it inaccurate?

It really is about perspective... and, as many an astronaut has commented, looking down on the world from space one can see a lot of details, like Niagara Falls, for instance, but one cannot see any lines dividing the various places that are home to all.

At the risk of being considered a rain cloud on your parade, let me say again Happy Birthday, Canada!  And here's to the ongoing building of tolerance of all people.  Here's to breaking down the fears of xenophobics everywhere!

CHEERS!

(Wow, already 141 years old.  Geez, that Botox must really be working.  You don't look a day over 50, Canada!  Botox use for anti-aging: also Canadian!)