Sunday, September 29, 2013

Miley Mania

While I was watching Saturday Night Live last night, I learned that Miley Cyrus was going to host and be the musical guest next week.  

I breathed I sigh of frustration.  There seems to be no getting away from Miley.  What do I do now?  Do I watch the show or do I not?

Miley Cyrus has been on SNL before, and she wasn't half bad.  It's just that she seems a little overexposed now.  I don't just mean the Wrecking Ball video, I mean how much she's in the news.  They say that it doesn't matter whether the publicity is positive or negative, at the end it's still publicity.  Oh well, I personally choose not to pay attention to Miley's shenanigans.  That, however, is sometimes difficult to do when the news is shoved in my face all the time.

I think it all began a few years ago when, at age 15, she posed for famed photographer Annie Liebovitz draped in a bed sheet.  The pictures were published in Vanity Fair and stirred a lot of controversy.  There was a faction of people who thought it was inappropriate, while others said that there was nothing wrong with the pictures, as they were tastefully done.  There was talk about the pictures being an attempt to re-brand Miley as transitioning from a young Hannah Montana to a grown up.  Be that as it may, to me that was the beginning of the controversy.

Cut to the more recent news stories.  Forbes Magazine has suggested that the twerking, the wrecking ball, all of it was the continued re-branding of a girl grown up.  I am not buying that argument.  There have been MANY actors who took to the screen as children, who made the transition from child to adult very seamlessly.  It wasn't difficult for the public to accept them.  

Which brings me back to my original question - do I watch Saturday Night Live next week, or do I not?  The show itself has been no stranger to its own controversy, pushing the envelope on numerous occasions.  There was Sinead O'Connor holding up a picture of the then Pope, and tearing it down the center.  There was Ashley Simpson lip-syncing her song.  There are probably several other skits and moments that don't come to mind.  But I still watch the show, not for the controversy but for the fact that it continues to be amusing and brilliant.  It has its peaks and valleys, but it is worth watching.  And I think I will watch next week.  In any case, if it isn't good enough to hold my interest, I fall asleep.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Back Into The Blogsphere

There was a time when I used to blog regularly.  I would make an attempt to blog every week.  If I wasn't out celebrating the last day of the workweek with friends or co-workers at one of our usual watering holes, you would find me on a Friday evening at a coffee shop at my laptop, sipping a cold or warm mocha as the weather demanded.  You would hear my fingers click-clack at the keyboard while I typed fast, trying to put my thoughts on paper before they got away from me.  If I didn't find the time to blog on a Friday evening, I would do so the first thing Saturday morning after I had woken up and had breakfast.  A mug of homemade tea, finished with milk and sugar would warm my soul as I poured out my thoughts into a blog post.

I still remember what got me motivated to write in the first place.  I was beginning to feel that all the technology surrounding me was making things a little too easy for me and that I was losing my creative edge. In a crazy kind of way that I couldn't explain, I felt like my brain cells were wasting away and that I needed to do something to keep them from doing so.  One of the things I used to be passionate about when I was growing up was writing.  So I decided to take it up again.  I remember the first few blogs I wrote. I was treading on water.  I had no idea how my posts would be received, if people would even care to read them or what they would think. These musings made way to the realization that if I really enjoyed writing, it shouldn't matter to me what people thought.

The first year I began blogging saw 29 posts.  The next year, I wrote 21 posts.  Then I wrote just two posts in 2012 and 1 this year.  What happened? I'm not sure I know.

Some of my posts did receive feedback from my readers.  The post I wrote about my father, the posts written from JackJack's perspective, the topical posts like the one titled, "Whose Ethics" and "The Brat Ban", all of them seemed like people were actually reading what I wrote.  So why did I stop writing?  I think I allowed other things in my life to take precedence over blogging.  My job, my business, my husband, my dog.  I allowed them all to get in the way.  Or did I?  Were these just excuses I allowed myself to make for my lack of motivation?  Truth be told, I was running out of topics to write about.  There have been times when I have begun a blog post but given up because it didn't seem interesting enough.  Once again, insecurity reared its ugly head and looked me straight in the eye.  I tried to avert my eyes from it's cold stare, but wasn't quite successful. But once again I have this feeling of not tapping into my full potential, and something inside of me wants to write again.  

This has led me once again to make a commitment.  I will try to write a blog post at least once a month.  Regardless of what I think of the topic and the contents, I will post it online.  I think this will help me be less critical of myself and more open to my own faults and shortcomings.  It will help me to continue my journey of self-improvement and take concrete steps to overcome my underlying insecurity.  

It's never too late to improve, is it?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Remembering Melinda

Tomorrow will mark exactly a month since my sister in law Melinda passed away.  I wanted to write this blog sooner to honor her memory, but the pain was just too much to bear at the time.  The last time I saw her, I told Melinda that I would see her again soon.  Neither she nor I wanted to even acknowledge the possibility that this was the last time were were ever going to see each other.  We had just brought in 2013 together, along with my brother David and their daughters Elizabeth and Rebecca.  We had just celebrated a family wedding.  This was not how things were supposed to happen.  

As time has gone by, I realize that there wasn't any thing that any of us could do to stop things from happening the way that they were supposed to.  I continue to hope that there is a reason for how things turned out in the end.  Meanwhile, please indulge me while I tell you more about Melinda, and what she came to mean to the people she loved.

I remember the first time I met Melinda. She walked into our home holding my brother David's hand, in a white and peppermint colored striped dress.  She wore white sandals and carried a white handbag.  Melinda was so well put together.  She was meeting our family for the first time, but felt so comfortable doing so, you would have thought she knew us forever.

A year and a half later, David and Melinda were married. 

About six months after that, I had a chance to spend some time alone with my new sister in law when she asked me to join her on a short trip to New Delhi.  It had been two months since my father had passed, and 
Melinda thought that I could use a break.  As part of the Air India flight crew, some of the perks that 
Melinda enjoyed was five star accommodation and a food allowance.  Melinda made sure I had one of the 
best vacations ever.

If you were ever privileged enough to experience Melinda’s hospitality, you would realize that she would 
go out of her way to make you feel comfortable and would treat you like royalty.  She would plan the 
most elaborate and lavish meals, take you out, make sure you had the chance to do things that you truly 
enjoyed.  She somehow managed to pull this off even when I visited David, Melinda and the girls on 
the ship in Vancouver BC and then in Astoria OR.  So many people have expressed that even her illness 
didn't prevent her from continuing to extend that level of hospitality over the past couple of years.  

Melinda was so much more than that though.  She grabbed life by the horns and hung on for the ride.  
Melinda had such a zest for living.  She loved music, she loved to dance, she loved to cook, she 
loved to throw lavish parties.  She most definitely enjoyed the finer things in life. Melinda was always impeccably dressed, even for a trip to the grocery store.  Her job as a flight attendant who traveled Internationally provided her with so many different cultural experiences.  She generously shared these experiences with us by bringing home exotic foods and all kinds of knick-knacks from various parts of the world.  Melinda also had this gift of being able to talk to just about anybody and make them feel comfortable in her presence.  I thought that this gift existed only for the adults in her life, but when her first niece LeaAnne was born, I saw how much Melinda enjoyed being a new aunt. Melinda also had a great sense of humor, which included being able to laugh at herself.  I remember playing numerous rounds of the game Pictionary.  Melinda's ability to draw, or rather lack thereof, provided much mirth for the rest of us.  All of the animals she drew came with chicken legs, whether it was an elephant, a cow, or, yes, a chicken. We would burst into bouts of belly-aching laughter at her sketches, but Melinda was a great sport about it.

Somewhere along this wonderful journey of life, Melinda found the Lord and accepted Him into her life.  
She walked away from a job that she had loved so much and had so much success with since an early 
age.  People thought she was crazy, but she wanted to spend more time with her husband.  I watched 
as their relationship grew stronger and watched them become the most awesome parents to Lisa and 

When she was diagnosed with cancer in early 2012, Melinda didn't allow her illness to define her or take anything away from her.  Whenever she provided updates on her health, she always sounded so positive that she would overcome her illness. She made huge strides toward improved health and it was such a blessing to see her so well in January of 2013. Melinda was happy and healthy and was so full of positive energy. Little did I think that would be the last time I spent time with my sister in law who had now become the sister I never had.

Melinda, it has been a privilege to know you.  I miss you more than I thought I would, but there’s so much I’ve 
learned from you.  I have seen inner strength that knows no bounds.  I have seen a positive attitude 
to the worst of times.  You were courage exemplified, you were faith personified. 

I love you.