Sunday, May 31, 2015

Jimmy Buffett and Huey Lewis and the News...

This year, I finally made it out to see Jimmy Buffett with my best friend.  She and I have been friends all through out college and life and we are rarely out of touch.  Now, I admit, back in the late 70s, I was not a huge Jimmy Buffett fan - I was so tired of hearing Margaritaville that I could puke.  That was how often that song was played on the radio.

Some time has passed over the years and I still had not really listened to much Jimmy Buffett.  However, my best friend was a HUGE fan - she still is.  She manages to go see Jimmy play every year.  This year, she asked me if I would be interested.  It is a rarity that we get to see one another, so why not?  Also, Huey Lewis and the News would be opening up for Jimmy.  I could not pass that up.  It has been 31 years since I saw Huey and the band perform at Six Flags Over Texas.  How I managed to get to the front of the stage that night, I will never know, but I was there, looking right up at him.

I have to say, I was really blown away by the fans and the show.  The fans come in their RVs and set up their tail gates.  Some pretty awesome food was being prepared from the smells.  Everyone is in a laid back mode, which is pretty cool.  

When we got to our seats, fans were tossing around beach balls all over the place.  I felt bad for the lady with the wine, as most of it splashed onto her when a ball came her way.  She took it in stride, laughed it off, then served the ball back to the crowd.

Huey and the band started their part of the show when the sun was still up and glaring in our faces.  I really could not see much on the video screen let alone the stage.  But that was okay, all of us were dancing in our seats to The Heart of Rock and Roll.  It really reminded me of when I was back in high school, about to graduate, and watching him perform at Six Flags.

Huey made a comment regarding his age.  The thing is, he does not look like he has changed much and even more, he can still really belt out the tunes as he used to do.  That really impressed me - as I said, I felt I was transported back to my 80s days.

He performed a song I had not heard in quite sometime.  It was a cover of a 60's soul song by J.J. Jackson - But It's Alright.  Talk about an awesome cover.  It is such a cool and poppy song.  My best friend and I were just dancing in our seats.

Once Huey was done with his set, I decided bathroom and a margarita were in order.  I mean, come on, everyone was drinking them and you knew that the song was going to be played.  Now, either those are weak margaritas or I had enough in my stomach to handle the alcohol, but I did not get any buzz.  Of course, I chased that down with water.

Jimmy is a fun act to watch and he does get involved with his audience.  I think he enjoys knowing that his fans have fun at this shows.  Some guys were wearing lighted shark fins on top of their heads.  He commented about how the constant rain we were having was causing the land sharks to run.  It was funny, but still, it was a pretty tame crowd and everyone there is to just have fun.

He played a lot of his hits and had a moment for the steel drum player to take front stage.  That music always sounds so pretty and having a beach backdrop makes one long for a vacation to get away.

I left with a wonderful impression for this show.

I sat here this morning and downloaded some of the stuff I heard.  I was also reminded of some of the 60s and 70s soul my mother would play.  Out of the blue, I remembered a song by a group called "Electric Indian".  The song was called Keem-O-Sabe.  I still have the 45, which my mother almost wore out.  Several years before she became ill and passed away, I used my dual well CD recorder and recorded the 45 onto a CD, then I uploaded the song to my PC.  The recording had all of the pops and scratches, but you could hear the song in all of its mystic sound. 

Today, I found that song on iTunes.  I cried a little bit remembering my mother and how much she loved that song.  I ended up buying it, so every now and then, I could remember my younger days listening to that, Dave Edmunds' version of I Hear You Knocking, and many others.  The music helps me through the tough times.  Also, I know she would be happy to know what an influence she was for me.

Next week - The Rolling Stones!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fat Shaming...

Yes, I am overweight.  I freely admit it because it is true.  In fact, the medical profession would label me as morbidly obese.  I am trying to work on my weight and the whole deal is a process.  Do I imagine myself as being model thin?  No - I just want to be healthy.  That is all. 

All my life, I have had to deal with every hurtful word said to me about my weight and so forth.  It is my battle to fight every day of my life.  Others in this world have to deal with different battles.  Why is it that as a culture we cannot show a little kindness and compassion?

All of these feelings were brought to me when I saw the following article on a posting from Cyberdust.

Lilly Pulitzer - Fat Drawings 

Pretty damn sad to leave those drawings there, but there are so many articles that condemn the overweight.  However, what pained me the most were some of the comments left.  Talk about hurtful.  Many showed compassion, but there was an equal amount would like the fat people to die and go away.  

Wow - how can someone be so cold hearted?  

What touched me is that the person who posted the link is fairly well-known.  I stated my feelings regarding that and he responded to me saying "I agree."  I was touched with the response.

When I talk about accepting our imperfections, I mean, you have to love yourself.  If you want to change something, then change it.  Just strive to be happy and healthy.  Do not ever convince yourself that weight loss will change your life.  It may allow you to do things you never were able to do, but that knight on a white horse or princess waiting is not going to save you.  Also, if you do not change the situation around you, losing weight is not going to change that for you, either.

Eating Out, Eating Right Argument...

The other day, someone posted a mocked up tweet stating the following:

Please, don't write write another article on obesity in America until you explain why salads are $7 and a burger is $1.

People are going to write on whatever subject that they feel is important.  While most of America understands obesity is an issue, let's not shame those who are overweight.  I simply will not stand for that.

So, let's be honest about this.  Why do salads cost $7 vs a $1 hamburger?  We are talking about fast food here.  So, you drive up to McDonald's or Wendy's, the salad costs considerably more than the low end hamburger.   

The $1 hamburger at McDonald's is smaller than regular burgers.  There is no lettuce, tomato, mayo, or any other extras.  It comes with 2-3 pickles, squirt of ketchup, and a sprinkling of finely diced onions.  The bun and meat are smaller than the other burgers.

The $7 salad generally contains chicken (grilled or fried), cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and a packet of dressing.  You may get some sliced almonds or croutons.  Check out the side salad, which is cheaper than the fancy salad.

Let's also be very honest with ourselves - are people really going to buy the "regular" hamburger when they could get a "Big Mac", "Bacon and Cheese", "Swiss and Mushrooms", and etc.  The burger needs lettuce, tomatoes, sliced onion, perhaps cheese, bacon, avocado, and whatever else.  The same goes for the salad, too.

Rather than spouting off about eating out and how come eating clean is so expensive, think about it for a few moments.  Is what you are selecting really healthy/clean?  The only thing that probably resolves that issue is to cook at home. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

When It Rings True...

Horoscopes are always full of so many interesting insights.  Many people believe them and others do not for whatever reason.  For me, reading my horoscope is fun, but as of late, many of these are too telling.  The one I got for Friday really made me sit and think.  I have given much thought to being a writer, but my hesitation is that I am either not interesting enough or no plot.  Basically, reading other critics pounding on various writers, I apply that to myself.  However, I wonder - should I?

You could write fiction or journalism well today. There's a good possibility that you have given some thought to a literary line of work. Why do you hesitate? It's never too late. Find the time to write a story. If you have a negative attitude about the things you do, how will you get anything done?

How True!

My cousin posted this a few days ago and I read it.  Made a lot of sense - give it a read:

47 Things I've Learned in My 40s 

This Week's Crazy Rollercoaster Ride...

This week has been full of so many ups and downs!

On Monday, I joined RandomCathy for dinner and Painting with a Twist.  We had always talked about doing the painting while drinking wine (or whatever beverage of your choice) activity, but never got around to doing it.  Recently, we agreed - Let's Do This!  NOW!

The "Painting with a Twist" franchise is very cool.  You can go to their website, Painting with a Twist, select your location, then check out their calendar.  You can pick out what painting will be done for a particular day.  I think that was the hardest part - picking out the right painting.  We chose the May 18th date, which was Moonlit Cherry Blossoms.  

We met for dinner at Mi Cocina, which was great because it was only two doors down from where we were going to do the paintings.  It was wonderful to decompress from work stuff and relax before going in to paint.  To be honest, I was excited, but also a little worried.  My artistic skills are not the best in the world.  That is just my opinion because I am my worst critic.  I figured the worst that could happen was that I would have something that was just a huge mess.

Now, the "Twist" is supposed to be that those attending these classes bring wine and drink it while doing the paintings.  We ran over to Starbucks (as always) for something to drink, then headed over to the event.  At this particular location, since there are several restaurants, you have the ability to order food and eat while you are painting as well.  One couple ordered a pizza from next door and it was delivered right when we had our first "drying break."

It was small group, but I was good with that.  Everything that you need to do for making the painting is there for you.  The painting we were doing was $35 and that is a lot cheaper than having to buy all of the materials that we used before attending the class.  I loved that I just had to walk in, sit down, then start painting.  

Overall, the class was a lot of fun and very relaxing.  It was so nice to take my mind off of all of my issues for about 2 hours.  I remembered some of my 8th grade art class lessons and tried to mix colors for the right shade.  Somehow, I think I may not have used enough paint.  Some people asked for more paint, but I did not.  I tried to make the most of what I had and make it last.  

The teacher really put me at ease by stating that not everyone's picture would be the same.  It is just like handwriting - no one's handwriting is the same, so when you draw, that is your handwriting.  I try to mimic as much I can with what the teacher was doing, but in the end, I did what I wanted.  

I admit I was highly critical of the painting I did at first.  Everyone else's moon was much larger than mine.  What helped me was to take a picture of it with my iPhone.  When I separated what I was seeing before me and looked at the picture, I thought I did pretty well.  In the end, I am quite proud of the painting.  I just need to get it framed and hung up in the apartment.  

RandomCathy and I both walked away from the experience with very positive thoughts.  One of which is that we do it again, but next time, definitely get the wine and order pizza!

Wednesday was the downhill ride on the week roller coaster.  I met up with a former co-worker to catch up, which was great.  It was what happened afterwards that started a really rocky ride.  

We met up at Chili's for lunch.  I had a burger with fries.  I *thought* no harm in that.  How I was so deceived.  We left the restaurant and I headed to get gas.  As I was getting gas, I noticed I was not feeling so well.  It is close to that monthly deal, so I blew it off and headed off to work.

Once I got there and started working, I started to feel worse.  I turned the fan on to cool off a bit, then I would start freezing.  Again, hot flashes before menopause, eh?  Great.  When I headed off the bathroom, that was when I sorted out the issue was more of a digestive one and not a reproductive/hormonal one.

What did I do?  I popped two Imodium ADs in my mouth and continued with work.  For whatever reason, it started to get worse.  I got another Imodium AD down me, but it was time to just give in and go home.  I have to say, that had to be the hardest 45 minute drive home EVER!

When I got  home, I  had to attend to whatever it was making me sick before walking the dogs.  Once I was past that, I hurriedly walked the dogs, got them settled, and laid down in bed.  I was in terrible agony.  It had been quite awhile since I had experienced something like that and my stomach and other parts of my body were extremely sore.  I did not even bother with eating dinner.  It was not even worth the effort and I was not hungry.  I just kept drinking lots of water.

I got little sleep that night, so I worked from home the following day.  To make matters worse, that little monthly friend showed.  Talk about sore stomach - I could barely walk straight.

I did manage to eat some oatmeal and a chicken dinner, but was still very guarded.  Friday was a little better.  I had lunch with a co-worker which consisted of a salad and french onion soup.  I ended up having Japanese Hibachi that night and was quite happy that the digestive area was beginning to settle down a bit.  The reproductive cramps, however, were in overdrive.

Saturday, I had a mini-reunion with a group of women I used to hang out with when we were in middle and high school.  Even with lunch, I was very guarded on how much I ate and making sure digestive wise that all would be well.

It was wonderful to see these friends.  I saw many of them back in October during the 30th reunion, but a few were unable to attend.  It was wonderful catching up with these friends.  I loved how they fell back into the old groove and felt comfortable enough to open up about their struggles.  Since I am not married or have children, I do not feel I have much to bring to the table in that arena.  However, I do understand some of the struggles.  I felt the honest pain one friend was having with feeling that everything was caving in on her and she was feeling inadequate.  What was she doing wrong?  Was it hormonal?  Was it depression?  All she knew was that she just wanted to stay home and hide.  She had not wanted to see all of us, but came anyway.  I am very happy that she did.  First, she found others with similar struggles.  Second, she needs a break.  Many times, we all need that step outside of our routine and get away from it. 

Mainly, I hope that with that frankness, it has given us thought to come back together in a different form.  Allow us to come together to help one another.  Back in the day, we were together in friendship and experiences of learning life while in school.  As many of us went off to college, got married, and started working, our lives led us away from one another physically.  Now, even though there may be physical miles apart for all of us, we have the ability to come back together and provide that help that heals.  Who knows for certain, but I do know I would like to be there if anyone of them needs help.  Of course, I say that for many people, not just this group of women.

I know that we all cannot meet every weekend, but we can do something every now and then.  I just need to sit back and see how the dynamic of this group will generate itself.

Now, I plan on getting some pretty mundane tasks done around the apartment.  I do not mind.  I count my blessings every day that I am able to relax a bit where work is concerned.  I no longer want to be buried with work that it consumes my very being.  I want life to be balanced.  No one gives you any awards or promotions for working day and night.

Seeing Light...

Today, I finally wrapped up paying off my high interest credit cards.  The feeling was amazing.  For so long, I felt like I was in this huge vicious circle due to unexpected events.  Now, I can start concentrating on saving for a house.  

I won't lie - I was still very nervous about going through this plan.  The positives outweighed the negatives, so I had to take the jump.  I still have a daily choice to make as to what is important and not.  That will continue always, but I feel that I have finally gotten my head above the water.  That is important.

Now, I need to do some research on where I can start putting money in order for it to grow as I save.  Savings accounts these days simply do not do enough for earning money.  I may finally call Fidelity regarding that in the next couple of weeks.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wanted: A New Primary Care Physician...

Today, I had my first visit with whom I hope will be my new primary care physician.  I got a physical today when I just wanted to discuss my back problems.  I figure, the insurance pays 100% for that visit, so okay.  I ended up getting two shots, tetnus and pnemonia, then blood drawn for a full lab, and urine check.

Good thing I fasted for that - I sort of felt that in my bones for the visit.  At some point, it is inevitable that you will have blood drawn.  Better to go ahead and fast, than have to go back at a later time.

I described my back problems to the new doctor.  She wants to get a X-Ray on my back to make sure there are no issues.  I got a list of exercises to do in hopes of clearing up the issue.  There was the discussion regarding my weight.  I gained a pound since I saw the endo.  I just was not going to sweat it.  I am between a rock and hard place.  I am there to get help, so that I can exercise more.  Otherwise, I am caught in a vicious circle - exercise and start having back problems, then back off.  Get to feeling better, then start exercising again.

Overall, she was very attentive.  The office itself has a portal, so that I can get hold of lab results in a timely manner.  Also, I can contact the doctor over the portal with questions and such.  

I was a bit overwhelmed at how large the facility was, but it was very nice.  I filled out the forms for my medical information from my previous PCP and my endocrinologist.  This way, I have the new doctor as my PCP as well as opening that line of communication between the endocrinologist and the PCP.  It bothered me that my previous PCP was so adverse to refilling my medications.  She wanted them all transferred over to the endocrinologist.  I was able to move all but the doxycycline, which I take for Rosacea and acne break outs.  (For those of you telling me how clear my skin is - that is why.)  I had a difficult time getting that medication refilled because the previous PCP would only fill for every 30 days.  We were having issues regarding obtaining blood lab results and her inability to properly discuss the results in a timely manner.  Here, I will be where I was before my first PCP left - getting my lab results via a portal and the doctor sending me a note with information of her concerns and asking for scheduling a visit in a timely manner.

Right now, my main concern is with my back.  Once I get that under control, I hope that I will be able to get back to exercising and getting weight off of this frame.  I have no high hopes of being a size 0, but I do have hopes of having a lower A1C as well as feeling much better.

Indescribable - the Rage and Anger...

One of the reasons I need to get off of Facebook is the animal postings.  My heart breaks when a dog or cat posting from some shelter is posted and I am told that the animal has limited time before being euthanized.  I realize that I cannot save every animal, but there has to be another answer.  It is more than upsetting - it breaks my heart.

The other day, someone posted a news report regarding a 10 year old boy who beat a small dog to death.  The photo posted shows the poor baby in the corner of a door way.  According to the various news sites in the area, the boy unlocked the fence, lured the dogs out (there was a German Shepard as well), chased the smaller dog, cornered the dog, then beat it mercilessly with a stick.  The poor baby died from a fractured skull and severed spine.

I cried.  Then, came such a very ugly rage and anger.  I was angry and full of rage because this child has no concept of the fear and pain that was put upon the animal by him.  What gets me, the kid claims that the dog attacked him.  However, there is no signs of an attack on the child at all.  That really angered me to no end.   There was no sense for that sort of abuse, whether or not the animal attacked the child.

The child perpetuated this murder of a dog.  He lured the animals out of their yard, then attacked the weakest one.  

I know what bothers me the most - I think of my own dogs.  How I would feel if some child killed one of my dogs in that manner?  I know I would probably unleash a type of hell that would make some people's nightmares a happy place, but I am completely serious.  I am as passionate about my dogs' well being as parents are for their children.  My dogs are my children.  

I realize that this child has some pretty serious mental issues.  That cannot be denied.  Whatever the name of the disease, it starts with a child killing small animals, then moving up from that.  Is it that they cannot feel pain or fear for others?  More than likely.  Would the child care if he were beaten to the very point as he did the dog?  No.  Does it bring the dog back?  Definitely not.  However, what do we do about this?

Every time I think back to this story, I get so angry and full of rage.  It is a type of ugly that one cannot explain, but I try to hug my own dogs and reassure myself, I will protect them with my own life.

I have my own worries regarding my dogs and the neighborhood kids in my own area.  Consistently, the kids run up to the dogs, yelling and screaming "Dogs!!!!  Can we pet your dogs????!!!!"  It is like I am the ice cream truck with the ice cream in the back - only I do not have the children's songs playing when I walk the dogs for their business.  

Too often than not, some of the kids are scared of the dogs and I try to hold them back, but the scared kids try to hit the dogs.  I tell them to go away and they won't leave.  Of course, the parent supervision lacks with these kids.  There are some mothers that stand outside, but they are gossiping and not really watching.  So, if I were to yank the kid away, I would be the one in trouble.  I am only protected my dogs.

As I have said in another post, I am not the freaking mobile petting zoo.  Sure, some people will stop and allow the kids to pet their dogs.  I am not opposed to doing it, but only if the kids are calm about it.  I think I am being reasonable.  The kids do not see it like that.  They are more worried about the dogs biting them.  If  you have that worry, stay away and admire them from afar.  Again - this is not a mobile petting zoo.  

After seeing this incident, I am on high alert with the kids.  I feel I have no recourse with kids.  I am not their parents and I certainly cannot punish them when they do wrong.  Maybe that is wrong with the world.  If my mom was not around and another parent was and I did something wrong, I got it from the parent, then the parent told my mom.  I would get into trouble again with my own mother.  That sort of thing sticks in your noggin.

I am trying to find a way to resolve my anger and rage regarding this issue.  I try to ignore updates on the issue because it only brings up the ugly feelings.  I thought it best to get it out in the open here.  Maybe others would feel the same and understand.  I am not a violent person, but these days, it does not take much to get angry with how things are going in society.

Friday, May 8, 2015

That Mid-Life Garbage Women Endure...

Sometimes, I have to face the fact I am no longer a 25 year old.  I am middle-aged and my body is starting to go through some interesting, yet frustrating changes.  One of which is the peri menopausal phase.  I happened onto an article regarding that and found I was experiencing the same issues.

Granted, with all of the constant rain out there the past several days, the humidity is nasty.  So, when walking the dogs, it is not really much of a strain (other than the constant back pain as of late) to cause sweating.  Mix in the humidity with the simple walk and you would have thought I ran a marathon.

I noticed that it takes forever for me to cool down.  Now, if I take a cool shower, that cools down my body.  Still, it is insane to be still sweating when your home is sitting at 68 degrees.  It makes no sense.

The article talked about waking up in the middle of the night with sweat and know you were not sick.  I have gone to bed and my teeth were chattering that my body was cold.  I waking up in a hot sweat soon after that.  Totally mind blowing.

I still have the monthly visit that is part of a woman's life.  It is shorter, but the cramps are a pain.  I would say a little worse than normal.  I handle it fine, but it was something I noticed.

Let's not forget the PMS stage.  For me, PMS was always a time where I was not pleasant to be around.  Now, it is amplified.  Unfortunately, chocolate does not solve that problem.  Still, I can snap, then realize - WTH was that about?

Definitely some things to mention to my gynocologist.  I also have to remember that with type 2 diabetes, the same issues can happen, so I have to be careful how my blood sugar is ranging during these times.  Of course, when it is that time of the month, my blood sugar is high and I have never been able to get it to lower until it is almost done.  That is frustrating.

So, at this time, I am dreading taking the dogs out for that last walk.  I know with the storms all around, it will be humid out there.  I hope it has cooled off for a bit.  That would be nice.

Making a Health Shift...

I was supposed to go out to dinner tonight, but the person who wanted to go out to dinner failed to remember her prior commitments.  Luckily, I was prepared!  I had left overs!

So, as I was eating my heated up left overs, I started analyzing my eating habits.  Perhaps, I am doing this all wrong.  When I attended the diabetes education course, the nutritionist asked when I would have my heaviest meal.  I said dinner.  I was used to having a light breakfast, moderate lunch, and perhaps, a little heavier meal.

I got to thinking about that dynamic.  Perhaps, it is time to switch it up a bit.  Have my heaviest meal for breakfast, something moderate at lunch, and lighten it up at dinner.  Might be a good idea to start having soup and salad at night.  Granted, one can make that meal pretty heavy, but by the same token, that meal can be light, if done right.

Just having so much trouble trying to drop weight.  Let's compound that problem by having difficulties just trying to get the steps done due to lower back and leg issues.  The pain the past few days has been so intense that I finally made the effort to find a new primary care physician and get an appointment for a physical.  I won't get into the issues with my current PCP, but let's just say, when she took over the practice from my previous PCP, we did not see eye to eye and she caused a great health scare for me.  Furthermore, I did not care for her lack of attention when it came to my blood work.  It was a real mess.

I will admit, she got me to a hand specialist for my trigger finger issue.  However, that issue has moved over to my right hand and I am not too keen to get another shot in the hand just yet.  Believe me, it was not pleasant, but it did help my left hand.  I just need to get some more courage gathered up before I go that route.

So, while I have it in my heart and mind to try to be healthy, I need to shake things up a bit.  I also need to get the chronic pain to stop as well.  That way, I can be on my way to being more active.  Easy part - shaking up the eating pattern.  The rest will take time.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Who Hits 50!

After the fire, the fire still burns
The heart grows older but never ever learns
The memories smolder and the soul always yearns
After the fire, the fire still burns

- Written by Pete Townshend 
- sung by Roger Daltrey
Last night, I remembered this song from around 1985/1986.  Pete had written it when Band Aid and Live Aid had taken place.  Profits from the song were to help aid Africa.  However, that was not the first time I had been aware of The Who.
My mother loved music.  Throughout my years, I had heard My Generation and I Can See for Miles and Miles.  The Who catalog is etched in my being along with The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, The Rolling Stones, and many, many others.
I remembered The Who show where 11 people were crushed to death when the crowd rushed the stage.  It was supposed to be the band's last tour in 1981/1982.  Oddly enough, the band would come back together and do another tour.  This tour would be different.
What makes this tour different is that much of the show was devoted to generating funds for various organizations.  One that was near and dear to both Roger and Pete was the Teenage Cancer fund.  A couple of times, I saw a short video where Roger points out that there are places for children and adults, but the teenagers are left out in the cold when it comes to cancer care.  There needs to be a place for the teenagers who are dealing with this disease to be able to be with other teenagers and be teenagers.  Money from the ticket sales would go to this charity.  Of course, there were a couple of other charities, but this one fit so well for a band who represented the teenagers for so many years.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts opened the show.  Joan still sounds as good as she did back in the late 70's and into the 80's.  I remembered her being part of "The Runaways" and seeing her perform in Urgh!  A Music War!  The song she did for that music documentary was "Bad Reputation."  
This year, Joan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  However, along with her, I am surprised that the Go-Go's were not inducted by this time.  Still, she show a lot of strength in her songs and performance.  I love seeing bands that I liked back in high school who can still maintain their performance level today.
So, that little tidbit leads me to when Joan introduces Miley Cyrus onto the stage.  I was not shocked that she was there, but her choice of outfit.  The dress did not cover her breasts, so she sticks black tape over her nipples and heads out on stage.  So many "artists" have done this over the years, that quite honestly, bring something new to the table.  I know that Miley has the ability to really do a song justice - SNL's 40 year reunions how and how well she did "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover."  She knocked that song out of the park and I applauded her for that.  I also applauded her for keeping her clothes on as well.  If you have the pipes, then you do not need to shock people.  Some days, I get really frustrated with Madonna for starting that.  Shocking people is not art; it is a call for attention.
I will say that Miley did a great job doing "Crimson and Clover" and "Hate Myself For Loving You."  (Side note:  I hear that song and think of the Sunday Night Football game show theme.)
When The Who hit the stage, I hate to admit it, but damn, Roger and Pete look great.  For me, I could see that Roger was having a bit of stability issues on the voice, but once he got warmed up, he was back to hitting those notes as he did in the beginning.  Maybe I am not as critical as other music critics - I am there to enjoy the show.  You have to be pretty stinking rotten for me to get up and leave, so my criticism is pretty weak.  
The set list went through a lot of the band's catalog over the years.  When the band went through some of the stuff from "Tommy," I was reminded of being in Phoenix, AZ when I was 9 years old.  This one girl had gone to see the movie in 1975/1976 and that was all she could talk about during "Show and Tell."  So, for me, that was funny, but I was singing right along with everyone else on "Pinball Wizard."
When the band finally wrapped up the show, Roger thanked everyone, including the audience for coming out and helping with their charities.  Pete threw out the line "Fucking teenagers!" as a reminder of Quadophenia for me.  I just had to laugh.
This may be the band's actual "final" show.  Then, again, maybe not.  In all  honesty, The Who will always have a place in my heart.  One of the few shows where I felt I should have gone to other shows because the band was so good.  I was blown away.
People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby
-Pete Townshend

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Taking That Huge Leap of Faith...

Since January, I have been concerned with my financial well-being.  Let's be honest - I am not getting any younger and retirement talk is swirling around me as I get older.  When I looked at where I was financially, I was not very happy.

Vet and medical bills seem to hang over my head a lot.  I did create a checking account with my bonus this year for the dogs.  I think that was a smart move, but on the other hand, I had nothing to pay down my credit cards.  That situation was making me sick to my stomach.

One day, I had discussed my credit card headaches with a friend from work.  He had suggested taking out a loan on my 401K.  At first, I balked about it - I did not need the headaches of filling out forms for early withdrawal penalties.  My friend explained that the money was a loan and you paid yourself back, so the government would not penalize me, unless I failed to pay back the loan.

My friend went into detail about his troubles, which were similar to mine.  Granted, financial advisors will try to deter you from doing this because you won't get any interest gained on the amount of the loan.  Also, there is always that possibility of pumping back up your credit card debt.  That one worries me.

It is not that I want to run out and "CHARGE!"  It is simply a problem that downward spiraled when I was young.  I had gotten to a point in my life where my financial woes were hurting me, so I took the slap in the face and worked on correcting it.  That was when my bonus money was always put to good use.  I would make a purchase on a credit card, pay monthly charges, when I got my bonus, pay off the purchase.  I had my debt down fairly low, but still had work to do.

Soon, life got out of control again, so did the credit card debt.  The things I depended upon to help me financially were no longer there and I made tough choices.  However, that did not help the vicious circle I found myself.

This week, I took the huge leap of faith to borrow money from my 401K to reduce my debt.  The plan is to pay off all high interest credit cards.  That right there will help my situation immensely.  Whatever is leftover, pay a few other credit card bills.  The debt at that point should be manageable and the company will take out a specified amount of money from my paycheck each pay period.  That amount will be far less than what the credit card companies are getting from me.

Once I have all of that established, I want to see someone about how to go about taking some of that money and moving it to another account that builds on that money.  That way, I can build income for getting a house.

Everything seems all good and rosy with that "happy path."  I am well aware of pitfalls, which I have a plan to avoid.  I really want this to work out, so I am out from under this huge black cloud hanging over my head.  Perhaps, that will allow me not to worry so much and enjoy life a little bit more.