Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Game of Life

My all time favorite board game was The Game of Life. After you spin the wheel, you get to move across the game board, while all kind of things happened to you along the way depending on where you landed. You got to make a few choices like school or college, and house or vacation. They even let you get a chance to go back to school and change careers somewhere in the middle.

I absolutely loved this game. I can remember how excited I was when I convinced all my cousins to play one holiday and we filled up the board game with our cars. Such a vivid memory is usually caused by a feeling or emotion which in this case would be disappointment. My excitement built up as I recruited players, set up, and we finally started our journey across the colored board filled with life events opportunity, choice, failure, and sometimes good luck. After my car had only completed halfway across the board, I watched them lose interest one by one and despite my enthusiasm and motivation, we just quit. I never understood why nobody liked this game as much as me. I eventually got the computer game when I was in high school.

I miss playing board games especially one that gives me the opportunity to make different choices each time to see where I would end up. If you know me at all, you must be able to imagine the look on my face as my eyes lit up and I shouted YES after someone mentioned playing on their phone a few months ago.  So much fun! We each took turns passing around the phone to spin and watch where our car would land. Halfway through the game I realized that the other players were married and filling up their car with more kids. It kind of felt nice cruising solo in my car and when the game ended I realized something did change about The Game of Life  “I don’t have to get married anymore? “

As I’m doing research while I’m writing this, I’m having a tough time finding the exact date of this change. I remember from childhood this not being a choice and the celebrations allowed the player a chance to spend for gifts. Weddings and baby showers were pretty much everybody else’s favorite part. I even remember once somebody must have landed on all the “fertile spaces” because we were faced with a dilemma. The car is only big enough for a family of six and nobody had ever had more than 4 children before. What really had me confused was why the game was even set up for this to happen. What if we had more players and all the cars were being used. I kind of realized then that four kids or less should pretty much be the standard. 
According to Wikipedia for the 1980s version included:
“Red spaces now always signify a major life event (e.g. graduation, marriage, buying a house, retirement) and must be stopped on even if the spin is greater than the number needed to land on them. The "decision" spaces are now blue and if landed on, the player can choose to follow them or do nothing”

The last time we played about two months ago I only remember that I didn’t have to get married and I didn’t have any kids. I was still riding around Solo for the first time. The Game of Life is always changing. If you are interested at all take a look at the link below to see how many areas of life have been affected so that the game matches up with our own.
I don't think anybody shared my interest in this game because there was no strategy to win. Winning at the end didn't even feel like much of an accomplishment to me.  I simply liked the adventure and suspense of what would happen next.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hearts, Smiles, and Tweets: How to Connect and Build Relationships

Twitter is just like high school, college, and the real world. You make friends with people who are just like you, who share common goals and interests with you, who can teach you something or provide you with information, and eventually people who are learning something from you.

Tweet with a positive attitude and motivating energy.  They say smiling while you talk over the telephone can alter your mood and tone of voice.  I am smiling 25% of the time and laughing the other 75%  so practice  the "smile while we tweet" and see how it goes.  If you were a cheerleader and high school Socialite like myself, you will build your friendships quickly. However if you are not a naturally outgoing and friendly person and expect to have a more difficult time with this, you might consider additional resources to provide further guidance.

Before you Tweet

1. Establish your goals
2. Blog should be created
3. Face book page created and updated
4. Linked account created
5. Any other websites, pages, links that you have ready

Tweet Time

1. Initial First Impression (name, photo, bio, background)
2. Search using interests. You have to find people.
3. Making Initial Contact and exchange of information
4. Watch tweets, find out more about them using bios lists and replies
5. Researching their work by website, face book, blogs
6. Follow “Will you be my friend”
7. Promote and sell yourself to them. Why do they want to follow you?
8. Reply back to messages, replies, say thank you. Show you care.
9. Relationship Forms (Follow and Follow Back)
10. Be Real – you will find out quicly who you connect with

Avoid Getting Dumped

1. Tweet on a regular basis, stay in the picture
2. Content of tweets. Funny, Informational, Inspiring, Current Information
3. Be yourself. It works. Be funny, and personable. Mess up. Ask for help.
4. Stay close to your friends. Reply,Re-tweet and message
5. Share your friends and support each other.
6. Give compliments. Your enthusiasm can only be read.
7. Don’t hold back. The friends who cut you off are not the ones you need
8. Making it a Long Term Relationship (possibly with benefits)
9. Don’t compete. Acknowledge accomplishments and seek advice
10. Remember the little people. Once you make, you help someone else.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nicki Minaj - Right Thru Me (Clean Version)

My Love/Life List (annual update)

Pray every day
Read the whole Bible
Go to church on Sunday (become a member)
Learn how to meditate
Visit the Holy Land
Form a prayer group
Forgive" people from my past, overcome anger
Change somebody’s life
Be positive every day
Say no without feeling bad
Attend a Catholic Mass

Call my family more often
Stay in touch with old friends (email, call, myspace, facebook, etc)
Message all my friends on myspace, facebook
Meet someone new every day
Host a family reunion and maybe trip
Host a reunion with high school friends
Help organize 10-year reunion (October 2011)

Run 30 miles a week every week
Get back into lifting weights
Take a yoga class
Take a Pilate's class
Get back to my previous fitness level
Run a marathon
Run 2 miles in less than 14 minutes
Swim for a whole mile
Complete triathlon
Buy a bike and ride it
Go on a long hiking trip
Be a vegetarian for 1 month
Go 30 days with no soda
Go 30 days with no chocolate

Read 1 book each month
Start a blog
Write in a journal every day
Fill a journal with inspiring quotes, lyrics, images, and ideas
Write an article for a magazine or online
Write a book (published)
Become a freelance writer
Create a website
Build my daughter a hope chest
Make scrapbooks
Make Mom scrapbook or collage.
Learn how to sew (make a piece of clothing)
Take an art or craft class
Make a fashion journal (magazine pics)

Volunteer a few hours each month
Join at least 2 nonprofit organizations
Start a non-profit organization
Organize a charity fundraiser
Give up/dedicate a birthday or Christmas to charity
Go on a charity/volunteer vacation
Get coco (my dog) a work certificate
Rescue a dog

Learn CPR (get recertified)
Learn to drive a stick shift engine
Learn to play golf
Learn to play the guitar
Learn/Practice playing the piano again
Learn how to ski
Learn to snowboard
Leanr to speak Spanish
Learn to speak another language (maybe Italian)
Learn how to cook (classes?)

Learn to surf
Learn to water ski
Complete my college degree (Finally finish the last COMM course
Complete Masters in Psychology or Religion
Teach a college class
Learn Spanish
Learn another language (Italian)
Get a great job
Change jobs until I'm completely happy
Start my own business/work for myself
Become an expert or teach a class

Find my true love
Get married
Go on a blind date
Join an online dating service
Never get divorced!!

Get a tattoo
Get rid of clutter and only keep what matters most
Take my mom on vacation to special place she has never been
Visit all 50 states
Live in another country
Travel or live in Europe (go back to Rome!)
Go to Disneyland
Go on a cruise
Be on Amazing Race! Send Application and find partner!
Swim with dolphins
Go scuba diving
Feed the sharks
Ride in a helicopter
Go white water rafting
Go skiing
Learn how to surf
Go up in a hot air balloon
Go sailing
Go camping
Climb a mountain
Ride a camel
Ride an elephant
Take horseback riding lessons; start riding again
Go to museums, art shows, etc more often
Attend a wine class, learn about wine
Go to drive in movie theatre
Go on a picnic

Go on a trip around-the-world
Go to Egypt
Go to Hawaii
Go to Ireland
Go to Italy
Go to London
Go to Niagra Falls
Go to Paris
Go to the Grand Canyon
See the aurora borealis
See the Great Wall of China
see the rain forest

Financial plan (contact brother for Financial Advisor help)
Find a part time job (preferably from home)
Create a legit budget I can handle
Pay off credit card debt
Pay off student loans
Pay off builder for house
Savings Account (Disaster/Accident covered for 6 months of no work)
Savings Account – Travel/Adventure
Buy a dependable “Green” Car
Build a house (and actually keep it lol)
Build a log cabin or purchase a house on the beach
Buy a new good quality laptop (MAC)

Take dancing lessons
Get a tattoo
Get my palm read (fortune teller)
Learn more about how to plants (how to plant and keep alive)
Get professional pics taken
Learn how to change a tire
Meet the President
Go to Britney Spears concert
Get married
Have Children

Go deep sea fishing
Go hang gliding
Go to a NASCAR race
Go to a prfessional football game
Go to a professional baseball game
Go to a prfessional basketball game
Go to a professional hockey game
Raft through the Grand Canyon

Keeping up with the Christmases: Memories for my Brother

Living in “Christmas Crazy” for over two decades beginning with decorating drama that includes my Christmas tree decoration and light negotiation which took ten years to win and ending in the official one-sided family gathering (Mom’s family) which includes the annual sometimes semi-annual question and/or reference to future events that include what seems like foreign vocabulary words such as: marriage, children, settle down, house. For someone who just last month started the “two more years of twenties” and a brother who is just now entering that “quarter-life crisis”, year which in my case took 3 years to overcome, we have formulated some interesting answers using his innovative mind and my persuasive communication skills. I do believe we might be close to having our traditional, Christian, old-fashioned, redneck, and crazy loud family understand what my brother has been saying now for the past ten years every time we are thrown into the bunch. As we sit there side by side observing the festivities we have the same thoughts in our mind watching the craziness unfold, he will say the phrase or sentence or even just make a comment that I wait to hear each year.
“Kristin, I don’t think we fit in or belong in the family sometimes, how did we turn out like we did?”
“We are different and have our own opinions, open-minded, laidback, where did we get that from?”
“We are the only two not married or having kids and the only two who went to college. I don’t get it”
“Do you think Mom is mad or thinks we don’t love her because we aren’t like the rest of the family?”
“Let’s just go sit in the car so we can smoke and listen to music.”

And this year on the phone Thanksgiving morning: “Yeah I don’t want to go alone. Man I don’t even feel like going. I’m so tired. Gosh. I really just want to go and see Mom, eat, and then leave…..After Thanksgiving my brother mentions hanging out with our uncle. ”Tom is more normal like us, but that’s why everybody thinks he is kind of crazy and different, but he’s not even really from the family, he just married into it”

Dear Jonathan,

It took me 20 years, but now I can answer most of those questions for you now. We only learned 50% of who we really were being with only one side of the family. We are so much alike and we only had one other person who could fully understand us, each other. We did however end up living with the 50% that is crazy, neurotic, goofy, loud, anxiety induced, fast-paced, friendly, overly hyper and dramatic, procrastination and stress was learned along with love, family values, kindness, and being thankful and appreciative for every single things. We were different because we were the only two that would actually say out loud all the things everybody else was thinking or hiding. Hiding imperfections wasn’t being the real people we really were, plus we like to laugh and talk about the problems first and then try to fix or accept them. When we said the family was crazy, we weren’t trying to be unique or different. We were actually just being real and honest plus being crazy would make our family fit in with the rest of the world more.
Remember how I used to get impatient trying to help you open your gifts. Mom majored in Christmas Holiday Management at the North Pole which included a certificate and in depth study of gift wrapping. More specifically she gained experience working with Santa one year as an official gift wrapper in the mall. With red and green paper, tape, and ribbon, along with double layer wrapping techniques and ribbons that could lock up a gift like Ft. Knox, she would always know if you had tampered with any gifts pre-Christmas morning. If you were searching for a hole, tear, or slight opening that might give you the smallest indication of what she was hiding, you would never find it. She was really good at hiding the gifts too. Well second thought her strategy was a familiar trait that I can relate to. Procrastination and being late are not always such a bad combination depending on the event or circumstance. In this case especially, I believe she would wait until the very last week until she would go and fetch toys from her hiding places and then spend hours the last two nights wrapping a majority of the gifts.
This gift could be me making up for not helping you out all those years. I finally found the scissors and I have cut the ribbon and I was able to carefully cut through some of this wrapping paper. I basically have given you a head start and a chance to see what is inside. The only problem is you won’t fully be excited or happy about it until you open it up all the way and take it out the package. Of course many of your gifts required your ever so helpful and bright big sister who would take over the mechanical and set-up by thoroughly reading the directions, laying out the necessary parts, and working to make sure its perfection would receive a 100% if graded. The memories that I’m going to share for you are only my version, only the part of the gift that I am going to help you open. On Christmas morning, I’m going to let you be the one to tear open the rest of the present and even take it out the package. As you read through the rest of this gift, you are going to see, remember, and feel the memories in a totally different way and have even more to add which is going to be your gift back to me. Since I was so serious and perfect and you were so fun and getting in trouble, your memories are going to be so much more fun to me! Enjoy 20-something years of Christmas!

1. Christmas Decorating Day

Christmas Decorating Day, a day that was once scheduled during the Thanksgiving holiday and would be moved up at least one day each year. I believe this year’s “holiday house on high street takeover” occurred the 2nd week in November and if my calculations are correct, I believe our children will be on holiday decoration duty with “Mimi”, the modern and unique name Mom has pre-selected to replace the traditional “Grandma” or “Nanny”, at the end of each summer vacation before returning them back which would put an end to the summer party/traveling that would occur during their absence. I recommend that we initiate an unofficial holiday and name it “Season Decorating Day” or “Holiday House Day”.

2. Christmas Decorating Disorder (CDD)

After the Happy Thanksgiving, they start coming out daily. If Bravo had a reality show for those with CDD then they could film in our hometown with all “The Real House-Elves of Colonial Heights”. Better yet, if they were selecting for the cast based on decorations, my mother could possibly be an easy finalist. Christmas Tree, mistletoe, dozens of Santa’s, reindeer, and snowmen, several Nativity Scenes, located in multiple areas of the house. The kitchen and bathroom get makeovers as well with a selection of themed towels and kitchen decorations. The radio is set to station “Nothing but Christmas 24/7 and I’m sure it is not turned off before New Year’s. My personal favorite was "Feliz Navidad". Is it a coincidence that our future step-dad would in fact be fluent in Espanol and Mexican?

The “holiday-card doorway” is also an annual favorite. What my mother would do if she received a Christmas card from someone and she had not mailed one out to them? Send one out immediately of course as this would be considered a “Santa Sin” that she had made. I don’t know if she ever kept any of the cards as memories? But I do know that I would ask her for them and she would let me have some and I would reuse the pictures to create some masterful artwork or collection that I’m still wondering more about. I honestly believe that I made my own cards for the following year. Yes, I was a natural born Christmas Card Recycler saving one more “Real Christmas Tree” at a time that I still have never had before.

3. Stockings and Stuffers

Trying to figure out whose stocking belonged to whom as they slightly differed. Who has the teddy bear in a stocking and who has the teddy bear in a sled? I believe it was agreed that the sled represented a sport in which we could use gender make the final decision. While my brother’s teddy bear was having fun sledding in snow, my dumb bear was sitting up a stocking? This same debate occurred every year. Could we not afford to have our stockings with embroidered names on them? No we could not. We would also not label or remember for the following year which would result in another teddy bear sled versus stocking debacle. Not! I’m so much smarter than that. I am pretty sure that I always remembered, but I wanted the sled so bad I had to test out their memory every year. I would have tied a pink string or labeled the stocking the first year, but then again “is that your stocking or mine?” made it on my memory list. Stockings are carefully emptied out and sorted through first thing Christmas morning. This is the official “first gift” I assume. Of course my mother is also a “certified stocking stuffer”” and has made certain items official “stocking stuffer must haves” each year. Gum, chocolate candy, lip gloss, nail files for me, baseball cards/etc for my brother, pens, small travel items like toothpaste and lotions and random items that I’m still not sure about but often find months/years later and still don’t understand. Somehow I feel obligated to keep them around for a while at least. My Barbie key chain is actually an item received via stocking last year.

4. The Crazy Christmas Tree

It all started with a fake Christmas tree that was once short enough for our mother, who stood heel-less at exactly five feet, to finalize the Christmas tree using just a stepping stool as she carefully placed the Angel or Star at the top. Blue, yellow, green, red, white lights filled the tree up. My mother was a true professional and would take on this task individually. I just realized the reason for this a year ago when I attempted to light my tree and failed miserably getting tangled in the mess and having issues with outlets and extensions. Garland, ice cycles, even old school style popcorn, we have done it all. Consider the Christmas tree to be the end of the year craft project that represents our family and we experimented each year to make it better than the year before.

My favorite memory and one of my first Christmas memories is making ornaments with my mom and brother. I must have been only four or five at the time. My Mom was cutting out shapes of trees, gingerbread men, ornaments, snowmen. We colored with markers and crayons; glitter was obviously involved as it is in most of my artistic work, other cut out designs, stickers, maybe even stencils were involved in our “Christmas Craft Collection”. I remember the exact feeling I had when she lifted up the masterpiece which I’m sure she was 95% responsible for creating. Somehow I felt so accomplished and successful. We had made a beautiful ornament out of some scrap paper, glue, and glitter, and it was more beautiful than any other ornament. Basically I learned that day that I could turn nothing into something incredible. It was imagination.

Note: I will appreciate these ornaments making it to the tree this year. Thank you.

5. Snowflake Sweaters and Jingle Bell Earrings

Wearing crazy outrageous sweaters and sweatshirts with all forms of holiday print and decorations to include sequins, glitter, bells, and more was once considered a Fashion Must Have. You would be busy at work making noises with bells or any other holiday gadget that could draw all attention on yourself whether it be positive or negative while I would be carefully selecting a pair of Mom’s trendy Christmas earrings which I could easily call ornaments based on the color, size, and/or flashing red or green light that would compliment my entire holiday look as I paired it up with the perfect sweater/sweatshirt, socks, etc.

6. Christmas Concerts and Costumes: Solos and Halos

Attending countless rehearsals for the star role and solos/duets in the several Christmas plays both at church and school. These performances in which robes or halos were worn included several weeks, days, and nights of practice as the performance would be the highlight of the entire year. I have a certain memory of you as an "Angel” Is this correct? Did you ever have the role as "the Angel that visited Mary to tell her about baby Jesus?" My memory is hardly ever wrong even when it is as vague as this one, but I do somewhat recall a “garland halo”.

7. Part-Time Piano Player (Christmas Carols and Background Dances)

I would be playing/practicing several Christmas carols on Mom’s keyboard which would be replaced in roughly three years by a piano via step-dad in which I would perform several solo numbers which have been recorded and even mailed to my fans and viewers aka family members. Using my ever so incredibly awesome "Christmas piano book" which remains to be 1 of the only 3 piano books I ever had before I moved on to my next creative/artistic interest or hobby.

8. Managing The Gifts Under the Tree

Watching you shake presents under the tree and contemplate which would be the lucky winner to be selected as the infamous "night before Christmas gift" (The annual holiday tradition in which we would select one gift to open Christmas Eve night) as I in my what is now known as ADD/OCD/Perfectionism state would frantically rearrange the gifts hourly as if our tree was somehow being graded using a grading scale that include “bonus points” or perhaps be selected as the Christmas trees to stand in the mall beside Santa Clause in the mall in which every child’s picture throughout the tri-city area would be affected by the exact placement of each gift that lie below it. (We’re are parents using this as a form of teasing or was this merely a smart way to help build the excitement?)

9. Watching “A Christmas Story” at least five times. This deserved its own memory! Didn’t you try to get your tongue stuck on a pole one time?

10. Final Round (literally) The Fight in the snow.

I recall a certain 12-year old young blonde girl successfully perform the perfect head shove into the snow of her 8-year old brother which was followed by an immediate retaliation in which a young WWA fan used his frequent practice and rehearsals along with the revenge that remained to be his primary motive. (My face buried in snow for at least 10 seconds compared to my 3 second win against you) Using my ever so impressive communication and persuasion skills passed along by our father, I skillfully crafted the ever so perfect “tattle tale” within seconds sprinted inside the house. The one-sided story was tragically ruined by the ever so clever use of “The Mom Cam" This should be viewed during the holiday festivities in honor of my absence.