Saturday, December 09, 2006

It's a beautiful day...


Sorry you haven't heard from me in a while but I've been busy; and will be busy a bit longer. But I just wanted to drop in and say hello! It's a BEAUTIFUL day here! The sun is shining -- I can tell, because I can see across the street -- and life is good. Got... a little snow, but still have power and light :-) and I'm moving around on my own power.

I am BUSY today! but I wanted to take an opportunity to wish you ALL a tremendous, tremendous day! Take a few minutes in your morning and think of 5 things -- just FIVE THINGS -- that exist in your life right now... that you're happy for.... and make those the focus of your day. If you can't think of 5 things you're happy for -- do try REALLY hard -- then complete your list with a couple of things that you're glad are NOT happening in your life!

Then spend the rest of the day contemplating the good things... and let the rest roll off you like water off a duck's back. Just for today!

And if you REEEEEALLY want to have fun... write those 5 things down, and send them to me so I can celebrate with you (well... when I get back online, anyways... ) or better yet, post a comment to this blog so other people might be reminded of what they have to be grateful for, even in the midst of some things that might not be so good for them.

What? you say? Why don't I start of off? Okay! Grrrrrrrrrrreat idea!!!
  1. I am happy and grateful that I woke up this morning to see another day.
  2. I am happy and grateful that I am gainfully employed and have a job to go back to on Monday.
  3. I am happy and grateful that I am in good health and able to share a smile and an encouraging word with my friends.
  4. I am happy and grateful that I HAVE FRIENDS who care about me and think I'm special and choose to share a portion of their lives with me.
  5. I am happy and grateful... that I have bacon and eggs upstairs so I can go fix myself some breakfast when I finish writing this list !!!

See? Not hard at all is it? I'm sure you can come up with a more grandiose list than THAT!

Have a TREMENDOUS day, my friends; an absolutely tremendous day.

Take care.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

The grass always seems greener...

G'day, mates!

I just returned from an exciting trip to Brisbane, Australia! Put that on your list of things to do, would ya? I had a great time. The climate was great, the people were great, the city -- in my opinion -- was great. Lots of culture, shops, history, beaches... There I sat in marvel of what I thought was a really cool city, and even as I marveled over it, I am told by several young people how they want to leave Brisbane and Australia because there's nothing to do !!! And while I was sitting in Brisbane going "wow", it occured to me that much of what I was "marveling" at was actually available in my own home town, or fairly close thereto. It seems that when we live someplace, we take so much for granted and never really appreciate what we have locally.

On the flight leaving Syracuse I was fortunate enough to sit next to a wonderful young lady who was returning to Detroit. She told me what a fabulous time she had while visiting here in Syracuse and Skaneateles, and she and a number of her girl friends come here several times a year for a "girls road trip" sort of thing. Syracuse!? not Boston or NYC, but little ole Syracuse! while I'm sitting around asking myself what there is to do here!

Well... clearly... I haven't been paying attention and taking advantage of what "is" available to me right here at home. A few weeks ago I wrote an article that asked, "what do they see through your eyes?" I guess that applies just as much to our local surroundings as it does to how people see themselves through our eyes. Someone else thinks my city is wonderful ! so, perhaps I need to see my city through "their" eyes. I always tell people when you go to a new place, to find someone who likes it there, and get THEM to show them around. People who like it there will show it to you through different eyes than someone who doesn't like it there. So in yet another situation, it comes down to attitude! If you want to find a good time, then you will look for and find it. If you're negative on the place, then your mind won't let you see the great stuff.

So... I guess I'll take a look at some of those brochures and magazines put out by the local tourist industry and see what there is around here that I need to be excited about. Maybe you need to do the same thing for your neighborhood, eh?

Let's give it a shot. I'm open to suggestion!

Cheers! No worries, mates! See you around town!

Aussie Kelvin

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

An interesting thought..

As much as I'd like to take credit for "original" thoughts that cross my blog, every once in a while something comes in an email that intrigues me, and gives me pause...Such was the case yesterday. Perhaps you can identify with this, and maybe give some feed back.

First, however, know that I am a friend guy -- meaning that I place a pretty high priority on my friends, and they can count on me in a pinch. It has been my experience over the years, however, that many of my friends don't place the same priority on our friendship that I do, and given similar circumstances will not go the lengths for me that I would typically go for them. That trend, over time, has led me to say that I am a better friend to most people, than they are to me.

Now, lets look at this in a couple of ways. Perhaps I have a greater capacity or capability to give than some; perhaps they don't have the time, or the flexibility that I do, so they can't give back in the same measure. Should I expect them to? If I'm giving out of friendship, does it matter if they give back equally? Am I giving to get back ? or because I feel like giving? Interesting query.

For another view, if I read that statement -- "I am a better friend to most people..." --
written by anyone other than myself (because I'm biased, of course), it would be an easy leap for me to propose that we might be dealing with a martyr type personality: "Look, at what I give for you... I give and give and give, and you just don't give back,'re a taker and I'm a victim." But I reeeeeeally hope that category doesn't describe me!

Here is the statement that arrived in my email yesterday: "Don't make anyone a priority, who considers you an option !"

This is a very powerful statement and, undoubtedly, we've all placed people in a priority status at one time or another... who just didn't seem to treat us with the same priority. And in the short term it isn't necessarily a problem, but in the LONG term... it can become quite a stress point.

So, I invite your comments on this. Tell me what you think, how you feel about it, what it means to you. Keep it positive ! Okay? But I'm interested in feed back.

Have an awesome day!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I Talk Too Much !

Yeah, I said it. And I know that some of you are reading this saying..."Wow; it took him long enough to figure THAT out!" But, it's true. I, Kelvin P Ringold, Sr, sometimes talks too much. Every once in a while, someone asks me a question -- and there's a lot of people asking me questions these days -- and I am under the sometimes mistaken impression that they actually want an answers! Oops!

I have a philosophy: NEVER ask a question you're not prepared to hear the answer to -- no matter what the answer is. Unfortunately, I forget that not everyone is like me :-).

I was in JC Penney's the other day, to buy some new shoes. I'd picked out a couple of pairs, and asked her what she thought -- after all, she's an expert at this right? Well, she hemmed and hawed and said, well... "It's a nice shoe, but.. well... I can't really say how comfortable they are for you..." etc, etc... and she wouldn't give me her honest thoughts. I finally decided, "Okay, I like this shoe; I'll take it..." then she said, "I LOVE that shoe! It's one of my favorites." I asked why she didn't say something when I asked. She said that a lot of people get upset when she answers their question and it wasn't what they wanted to hear. I said, no worries ; *I* am the type of person... that when I ask a question I *want* to hear the answer! Okay ?" . . . and went on to the next pair of shoes I liked.

I put them on, stood up, looked at them in the little floor mirror, and asked her, "Whadya think?" She looked at me and smiled kinda shyly and asked, "you weren't planning on wearing those OUT anywhere, were you? It's a nice outdoor shoe... like walking and hiking and gardening. My family has several pair. Were you actually planning on wearing those with, like, good clothes?" And I cracked up ! I said, "how about like to a bar?" She said, "what kinda bars do you go to?..." then repeated that "outdoor / walking / gardening" response one more time... and all the while I'm chuckling. Then she said, "Well you said you wanted my opinion..." and I laughed and said "...Absolutely, and thank you. I've got some gardening I wanted to do anyway." We had a good laugh, she got a good sale and I got 15% off my purchase for opening a Penney's charge account!

But that's me! I've come to believe that my purpose in life is to provide PERSPECTIVE to people. One of my favorite passages in
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (gosh WHY does he keep mentioning that book?!") says, "Perspective. Use it or lose it." I help take your excuses away, and to be honest, I believe that's why most people (who really know me) ask me things. It's why *I* ask questions of those I trust. My other favorite passage from Illusions (there he goes again!) is, "we teach best what we most need to learn." It is very rare, my friends, that in discussing your question, I don't discover -- or rediscover -- an answer that is pertinent in my own life.

So ask away! I've always got more leaning to do, and we can take our joint excuses away together. Right?

In the meantime, I'm going to go take my new shoes for a walk outdoors, around the garden, and maybe start re-reading Illusions again... Ahhhhh. Happy Saturday!

Have an awesome day.


P.S. If you haven't been there lately, there's a cute story on the home page of Ringold.NET. If you get bored, check it out.

Friday, September 22, 2006

No Sausage Today?

I went to work this morning and, as is my occasional custom , I stopped at the little coffee shop to order my "usual" breakfast sandwich - sausage, egg and cheese on dark rye. A wonderful, cheerful young lady staffed the shop. I bid her a fine good morning and said, " I'd like my ceremonial breakfast sandwich and she said, "Okay, but we don't have sausage today..." I said, "hmmmm... that...well... nevermind," and walked away.

SOMETIMES... I want what I want ! and I wanted the sausage, egg and cheese, and I didn't feel like settling for "the next best thing", because... the next best thing is not what I wanted, and it wouldn't have satisfied the "craving." It might have satisfied the immediate hunger pang, but when it was all over (and eaten) ... that "craving" would have still been nagging me.

I like McDonald's Sausage McMuffin with Egg (there may be a trend, here...). It's my ceremonial travel sandwich. When I go on a road trip, I *always* stop at the first McDonald's I get to, and get a Sausage McMuffin with Egg combo, with the crunchy hash browns and the (now not too bad) medium coffee. As is my custom on the last trip, I stopped at Mickey D's, ordered my sandwich... didn't check it, got down the road about 5 minutes... opened it and... it was an Egg McMuffin --hardly the same thing. I ate it! because it was too much hassle to go back BUT... I still had the craving, so... the very next McDonalds I got to -- 15 minutes later -- guess what? I pulled in, ordered my Sausage McMuffin With Egg... CHECKED IT.... ate it.... ahhhh... was good. MMMMmmmmmm. Satisfied the craving. Of course now, I doubled my carbohydrates and was TOO full -- but the craving was satisfied!

We do that a lot in life! We settle for "close... but no cigar." Good 'nuff ! It's not what I really want,'s good 'nuff. We do it for cars (well... they didn't have it in burgundy right now, but the white was good 'nuff...); we do it for houses (I really wanted a two-car garage but...there wasn't one right now), we do it for relationships (well, we don't really talk the way I'd like to, but... it'll come; it's good 'nuff for now...). And while sometimes those decisions are necessary, a lot of times... they are not. And very often -- I dare say most of the time -- the "next best thing" we settle for doesn't satisfy the craving, and now we have TWO problems ! Not only don't we have what we want -- and still have the craving -- but NOW.... we're stuck with the color we didn't want, the house that's in the wrong neighborhood, the nasty sandwich, the unfulfilling job we hate, the spouse we can't really talk to or... whatever else is the case !

Sometimes... it just worth it to wait for -- or work for -- what you want. Sometimes... settling for good 'nuff, is not in your best interest. But those are the decisions we have to make every day.

So, before you settle for good 'nuff next time... be sure that you really need to. Sometimes, good 'nuff is right around the corner from the "real deal." After I settled for that white Hyundai Sante Fe back in 2001... the burgundy one came in the next day :-( I *really* liked the burgundy. Oh well... maybe the next time I buy a car.

Have an awesome day.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

To Write or Not to Write...

or rather. . . whether or not to write more often! And after some considerable thought, I've decided to change the format of this blog a bit!

Up to now, I've basically mirrored the publication of my e-newsletter Ramblings, but I only publish Ramblings once a month or so --
when I'm inspired -- and I'm told by bloggers in the know, that that's not enough activity to make a blog worth having, and I get requests for more frequent updates and. . . who I am to disappoint my readers. Therefore, I'll be sharing more frequent thoughts with you, about more varied topics, and probably in shorter runs than the full- bodied email version of Ramblings. Still, I plan to offer concepts worthy of your thought and introspection and you'll still have the option of subscribing to full bodied version, or settling for the timely tidbits offered in our new Ramblings "Lite".

And THIS is as good a time as any to start, so let me do so by revisiting a topic we've partially discussed before! and which

Very often we get caught up in spending a lot of time looking at what's wrong with our existence ! -- bills, world affairs, issues in our marriages, the rowdy neighbor(s) next door, a crappy boss -- and it's easy to get grumpy over what's not great.

The other side of that coin asks what IS right with our existence? Yes, you may have a bill for a new car, but what a great car it is ! Chances are you have your health, your intelligence, your friends, your wit, your (crappy or not) job that's paying at least some of your bills -- even though you might think it's not enough. And you undoubtedly have the benefit of many other things that, if you stop to think about them, could be much worse in your life.

There is a law of attraction that works very powerfully in our lives, and is best summed up -- for me -- by a statement from the book "Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah" by Richard Bach:

"We magnetize into our lives, what we hold in our thoughts..."

Sometimes, it's impossible to imagine that many of the things -- especially the negative things -- that are happening in our lives, could possibly be linked to our own actions and thought processes, but a little education can go a long way! and the sooner we learn it, the sooner we can do something about controlling it.

A great start on understanding it is to watch What the Bleep do We Know; a movie -- more of a documentary, really -- which I found to be riveting. If you want to gain an insight into how your thoughts impact your everyday reality.... the Bleep is a must. I know, I've said it before! but if you're still having things happen in your life that you don't want, and you haven't found a way to get to this movie yet? Well... just get it. And once you can handle what the Bleep tells you, then I've got something that will REALLY blow your mind. But... first things first, eh?

Chew on that one for a while!

See you in a day or so.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Schedule that in?

July 4th! How DID the year get to be half over already, without us noticing? Or, maybe you paid closer attention than I did. Regardless, it's been a good first half. I had a great 4th of July weekend, and hope you did, too. But, with 4 days *off* and I was going to get all kinds of stuff done -- build a web page or two, work on several projects, do some yard work (yuck). But, at the end of the four days, I had almost NOTHING done that I had planned. Four wasted days, right? Man!

A few weeks ago I was planning an evening out -- dinner and a movie -- with a lady friend. BTW, folks, I . . . am a planner, complete with 3 pound Franklin Planner system & Palm Pilot with "forever" calendar. It's a compulsion So, being the planner, -- and also wanting to make sure we had a good time -- I sought to find out when we would get together, since we both had crazy schedules. We found an open day a couple of days out, then I needed to know,"okay, where do we want to eat? What time do you want to eat? What movie, and shall we see the movie first and eat later? or eat first? Do I meet you at your house, or would you prefer to meet at mine or the theatre, or would you ra..."

My friend cut me off, looked me dead in my ear -- okay, we were on the phone so that's the closest I can come to a visual for what happened -- and said to me: "Have you ever heard of being spontaneous?" I said, "Of course, I've heard of being spontaneous; but I usually have to schedule that in !"

I could hardly believe I said that, but I did! Schedule in SPONTANEITY! Wow! Well, we had a good laugh over that, and I lightened up (a little), and we eventually got together and had a nice, relaxing evening. But we do! We get all wrapped up in our pursuits: our pursuit of happiness, our pursuit of money (which some people think is happiness), and we get wrapped up in the pursuit of our day-to-day existence, and that's all good! But, we forget that there is "stuff" in life, that we can and should just STOP ... and enjoy -- our family, our friends, sometimes just "ourselves" and our own being, without the burden of having to think, or do, or be productive, or creative or. . . pursue; just for a little while.

So, did I really have a wasted weekend? Oh no! Sunday, I spent the afternoon with a photographer friend and his friends and family, at his lake house, dodging dueling thunderstorms, eating, laughing, talking and having fun. Monday, I spontaneously invited some friends over and we talked and grilled and ate and laughed. A couple of hours after they left, my brother, Melvin, eased into town (12:45 a.m.) from Allentown, PA and we hung out for a while before retiring for the evening. The next morning we got up and had coffee "on the veranda" as he calls it -- I call it the deck on the back of the house. Then, we collected my "spontaneous" friend and went to breakfast, entertained several people in the restaurant (my brother is as nutty as me, and one of the other customers actually came up to us to tell us how much they enjoyed his laugh). Later on, I introduced him to a couple of other friends.

I have to tell you, folks, I love to share my brother with my friends. He is such an awesome person, has a heart of gold, and he makes me feel like I'm his hero. Me! L'il old Kelvin. There is nothing that I could have done on the web or the computer or via email that day, that could have made me feel better than the time I got to spent with my brother-- because we don't get to do that very often. So it was not a wasted weekend at all. It was great, and spontaneous, and rejuvenating.

Last Thursday night I had another spontaneous moment -- I went to the movies and saw "CLICK" with Adam Sandler. It was spontaneous because we decided at the last minute to go see a movie, and we didn't decide what movie we'd see until we were there. As it turns out, "CLICK" was an excellent choice and I highly recommend it to EVERY really busy person out there, with SO much to do that they're too busy to be SPONTANEOUS! Adam Sandler had a universal remote control -- you know the ones; you've seen them in the email jokes -- that helps him control his environment: fast forward through stuff you hate, pause to stop an argument, etc. etc. Schedule it in -- make it an appointment, to see that movie. Prepare to laugh, prepare to be touched, and prepare to think.

And you know, ladies and gentlemen, if you really ARE that busy... making an appointment with spontaneity is not a bad thing to do. Put it in your planner -- make it an appointment. NEXT SUNDAY, between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. make an (unbreakable) appointment with yourself to BE SPONTANEOUS! and during that time, do something FUN, goofy, relaxing. Drive somewhere you've never driven, have your family write some choices on the ground and throw some change in the air and do the thing that the most coins fall close to -- then have fun getting the money back before your kids get it all. Heck; make it fun. THROW $20's ! instead of change:-D. Do SOMETHING. . . to allow your psyche to relax, and appreciate the things around you that you -- we -- miss every day, because we're too busy to notice.

Take some time along the way to your success to have fun, so when you get there. . . you'll remember how to enjoy it.

Those are my thoughts for today.

As always, thank you for e-listening, & I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback

Saturday, June 10, 2006

At this very moment...

At this very moment, my youngest son is on his way to see my mother. This is a huge event, because he is home on leave (U.S. Navy) from Naples, Italy. Mom knows he's coming to the states at some point but she has no idea that he'll come to see her.

My mom SO loves her grand children. This will be a bigger surprise than she may have ever had, because this is his first trip to see grand mom as an adult, on his own, and even without dad (that would be me.)

I cannot begin to tell you what joy this brings to my heart, knowing how my mom will feel when he shows up... in about 20 minutes. It brings tears to my eyes.

Ahhh... Sometimes it doesn't take much to have a really good day.

That's all.

You have a great day too.


Sunday, April 30, 2006


It's been a while since I bothered you and I didn't want you to think I'd neglected you (again).

I was very proud of myself last issue for "keeping my deadline", and publishing Ramblings at a set interval. Right after that issue launched, a really good friend of mine -- awesome photographer and writer for a major photography magazine (someday I'll introduce you to her) -- sent me a lovely note warning me of pit falls in writing something "just to meet a deadline." She mentioned that one of things that made Ramblings so different, was that I only wrote when I was inspired, and that trait made the writing better. I thought about it and, well... I just got inspired.

So, here I am ... not on schedule.. sharing a few thoughts with you.

Some of this you have heard this before, but they tell me that spaced repetition is good -- you hear the same thing over and over, from different sources, then one day... you get it. So many seminars I've attended and left going... "whuh?", Then every once in a while, when I'm sitting in just the right place, with just the right lean, in just the right mood, under just the right light in just the right row and... WHAM! I GET IT. That's the scientific name for that, you -- an "Aha" moment (see something "very technical on it, right here. So, enjoy hearing this again.

Okay, folks. Sometimes, life just POUNDS on us. I'm Mr. Intensely Positive, right? and nothing EVER gets me down. HA! (or is that "Aha"). Well, I wouldn't exactly say that. Things happen in my life that wear me down, just like they do in your life. "Stuff happens" all the time, and most of the time I just flick it off like a wet snowflake, and go on about my business. But every now and then... something really stands on my last nerve and just grinds, and I become less than positive. Then I work very hard to get back to the right frame of mind -- an empowering frame of mind -- that allows me to do something about my situation, because as long as I'm in a negative state, I can't produce anything positive.

"Why?" you say. Why not just enjooooyyy the moment!? BE angry, be upset. Mope, THROW STUFF even ; whine... bitch, moan, scream, complain, and even... BLAME (and -- for the record -- I do some of that too from time to time, but very few people get to witness it ). Gosh...didn't that feel good? Aaaahhhhh.... Well, honestly, most of the time -- at least for me -- it really doesn't feel good, but sometimes it seems ya just need to purge. But once that's done...

... the very next question out of your head -- and you need to say it out loud so your EARS can HEAR you say it, and it can sink into your brain -- is..."Now, how can I fix this?" or "How can I turn this around?" and THEN... you need to EXPECT a positive answer to come out of it (and the be prepared to receive it when it does). You need to LOOK for -- and concentrate on -- the positive, empowering answers to get out of whatever less than positive predicament you are in.

Anthony Robbins -- yes, one of my all time heros -- says that our minds will answer whatever question we pose to it. The problem is, most of us ask the WRONG QUESTIONS! The question needs to be, "How can I make this work?" not... "Why is this happening to me ?". The question needs to be, "What can I do to overcome this obstacle?" not... "Why does all this stuff keep happening to me?" Honestly. WHICH of those questions would you RATHER have the answer to?

I watched a movie recently -- creative documentary, really -- that absolutely blew my mind called, "What the Bleep Do we Know" Wow... what an enlightening video! Beyond the "positive attitude" books and tapes, beyond the "just do it hype", here is a documentary video that actually explains -- and shows in graphics detail (great graphics displays) -- just what happens in our minds, and HOW we program ourselves to succeed or fail. Using the SAME technology they use to show you happens in the brain to create drug addictions, and the chemical reactions inside the brain that creates nirvana for long distance runners, etc., they show you what chemicals are released in your brain and how neural pathways are created inside our brains when we think or feel certain things. They talk about imagination and creativity -- like, the brain doesn't know the difference between something real, and something that is vividly imagined. How we program our minds to work for us or (like most people) against us, and how it works on a quantum physics level.

You're thinking, "pretty heady stuff", but it's not really. Heck, they broke it down so people like me could understand it. You're definitely covered . I highly recommend you see this DVD. Check your library, rent it from Blockbusters or somewhere. If you want, you can buy it here for $13.56 from Amazon. I saw it; I bought it. Period. You should just do this for yourself. It's a real eye opener.

And then.... go back to my site and re-read "Who's in Your Front Row?." This is important! because I cannot overstate the importance of having people in your life -- in your inner circle -- who support you, nurture you, HELP you, and allow you to feel good about yourself. You need to do your best to remove yourself from people in your life who don't. (What the Bleep will help with that part too. Amazing movie, I promise you.)

How many times do we go hangout with someone that we know is going to make us feel bad, but we go anyway? "Gosh, I'd really like to see Martha, is SO negative, and I always feel so yucky when I leave her..." Guess what? You need to stay away from Martha -- she's not good for you, and Martha shouldn't even be close to your front row.

Keep people in your life who give you POSITIVE energy, not who drain you -- and vice versa! If you're being drained... get out. My Front Row is awesome; and fairly small. So, if you haven't read it before check it out at No charge! And even if you have read it, check it out again -- remember that spaced repetition thing.

That's all today. I hope things have been awesome for you, since last we communicated. I was going to talk about my trip to Italy, but decided it's too much, for too little. We'll sum it by saying, I lost $600 in Franklin Planner sytem and Palm Pilot, I made my train to from Naples to the airport in Rome by only one minute, and I showed up at the gate for my flight from Rome to Amsterdam precisely 10 minutes before the plane was supposed to take off. They probably felt sorry for that sad, lost American face.

Yikes! Speaking of sad faces! I almost forgot! Last month someone "turned me in" to the Muscular Dystrophy Association to be "jailed". I was supposed to raise $1200.00 for "Jerry's Kids", and I only made it to $950.00 -- counting mailed in contributions. The fund raiser is still open until May 19th, and my tally will be complete. If you have an urge, and haven't been "fund raised" out this year, I'd welcome any small contribution you might make. If you go to "my participation page" you can donate using your credit card -- tax deductible of course, if you itemize -- and if you don't want the world to know who you are, you can donate anonymously. If nothing else, you owe it to your self to see that SAD FACE I put on that page -- which will never been seen in public again after this fund raiser -- and if you donate, I'll send you a copy of me "in jail" -- something I'm sure my mother would be proud of

As usual, thank you for e-listening, & I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback, via email or as posts.

Have an awesome day, my friends.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Are you a crab?

Hi guys!

I hope you're having a great day! because mine is just fabulous, and I need some other company who is having a great day! And if you're not having a great day right now? then stop... take a deep breath... exhale slowly... and start having a great day Raaaat Now! because today is too pretty to waste.

I gotta say something -- motivation is a many- splendored thing !

A couple of weeks ago... I committed to you -- among other things -- to do a Ramblings at least once each month instead of the sporadic frequency I've maintained over the past couple of years. The day I published that Ramblings and made that commitment, a friend of mine emailed me to say, "well, now that you've put that out there, let's see if you can keep up with it." Now, most people would have taken that as a negative comment, like, "Yeah, I've heard that before. Let's just see if you actually do it this time, bud..." and... that is exactly how I took it.

THE NERVE! I became quite -- and quickly -- annoyed! but in the midst of my (internal) ranting, I thought to myself... but, maybe that's the impression I'd given this person, up to now. Rather than just being a pain, maybe that comment reflected what I'd shown that person... up to now. Perhaps "not delivering" was the norm that I had established for myself in their eyes (remember, 80% of our problems, we cause ourselves, right?) so, rather than continue to be annoyed, I decided to use their comment as a motivator to make sure that I stayed committed to my commitment, and that they wouldn't be right.

For Christmas, a good friend bought me a stainless steel BUNN Coffee carafe. We'd gone to Montreal a few months earlier and apparently she had noticed that I was rather enthused -- or re- enthused -- about wanting to speak French, so she had a saying engraved in French. Well, though I do love French, that 10th grade French class was a LONG time ago, so when I received the carafe and noticed the engraving... now I had to figure out what it said! So, I lay there on my living room floor, staring at this carafe... trying to piece the words together, pulling up all the French I could remember from life and all those old Pepi Le Pue cartoons... and finally... I got it! We won't bother with the actual French, but what it said in English was..."The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." Accordingly. . . it gives me GREAT pleasure to bring you this installment of Ramblings...on time! and maybe a touch early. And to my other friend who said, "let's see if you can keep up with it..." trust me on this one... I'll keep up with it .

Now... this whole thing had nothing to do with what I originally sat down to write about this time, but that's the way things sometimes happen in life. Very often we set out to do something, and some well- meaning -- and sometimes not so well-meaning -- friend or associate will say something that takes the wind out of our sails, and tramples all over our dream -- and I'm even been guilty of it myself, on occasion, but hopefully no more.

A case in point... back in 1985 or 86, I decided to become a professional photographer, and I researched my options and the best fit for me at the time was to take the Professional Photography Course from the New York Institute of Photography It sounded great, but for those who don't know, NYI is a correspondence course, and correspondence courses tend to get a bad rap. I shared my plans with a couple of my (then) friends, and I got stuff like, "Yeah, right. How you gonna become a professional photographer by taking a correspondence course. Ha ha ha... Get real" and I almost let them talk me out of trying. Today, because of that correspondence course, I *am* a professional photographer; I am past president (two years) of the Professional Photographers' Society of Central New York, current treasurer and membership chair of the Professional Photographers' Society of New York State, and in 2008 I become president of the state society. What would I have been doing now, if I had allowed those people's comments to beat me out of my dream?

Linda Hamilton (of "Terminator" fame...) graduated from my high school in 1974, I believe, the year before my sister, Evelyn. I bet all through high school, the kids were teasing her, "yo girl, you ain't no actress... get outta here and get a job." Look where she is today!

We have to be tough! Most of us let people's negative comments give us an excuse or reason to give up. The real fighters use other people's negative comments as motivators and fuel to help them succeed! THEY DON'T KNOW YOUR DREAM! It's your dream, and MY dream...not theirs. They don't feel your desires, your motivations, they don't have your reasons! to do... or be... what it is that you want to do, or be. They have no vested interest in your success.

And sadly, a LOT of people don't necessarily want you to succeed, because if you get up, and get out and start accomplishing and doing, it might take away their excuses for not accomplishing something, and misery loves company.

My friend Zig Ziglar ** calls that the crab syndrome. He says, if you're ever around the docks where crabbers come in, you'll notice that these baskets or buckets full of crabs around, but there's usually never a cover on any of them, but the crabs don't escape. WHY IS THAT? Because, every time a crab starts to climb out, another crab will grab onto him and pull him back down ! A lot of times people are like that, too. Sometimes they don't mean to be, but... they are. (** Zig Ziglar is everybody's friend; we met briefly many years ago at one of his seminars, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't remember me...)

Another friend of mine, Sherry Gomez, wrote a book ( ) on a genetic condition called Velo-Cardio- Facial Syndrome. Sherry wasn't a writer; she was just a mom. I'm not going into her story right now -- that's a future issue -- but Sherry encountered all kinds of grief in writing her book -- who are you? you're no expert, you're not writer. She didn't think she was a writer either, and almost... gave up. But not only did she finish it, she self-published itbecause she didn't let people's negative comments beat her.

" No, son... don't get your hopes up too high, 'cause you probably won't make it..."
" What makes you think you're so good that YOU can be a doctor? you'll be lucky if you get out of high school "
" Business? You don't know the first thing about no business; what you think you gonna do?"
" You can't be no professional photographer. What you think you better than us?"

The words change, but the bucket of crabs is still there.

So you be careful our there! People's dreams are fragile -- YOUR dreams are fragile. In my Ramblings on Goal-Setting (see the back issues at, I suggested that you share your goals with people who were interested in your success! and now you know why. The people in your corner will say," Yeah? Great! You can do that!" and wish you well, and maybe even HELP you. By the same token, you need to make sure that you aren't the excuse that someone else needs ... to quit, and give up on their dream.

That's it for now! I guess you'll have to here about my trip to Italy in the next installment; I do have some stories to tell for that one too, and some lessons learned. installment? How to get your adrenalin up and lose 9 pounds in a week of vacationing to Italy. Subtitled: The train is where?

As usual, thank you for e-listening, & I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback, via email to or as posts here.

"It is for us to pray not for task equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks."
--Helen Keller

Have an awesome day, my friends.

Monday, January 16, 2006

What have you done lately?

Happy New Year!

First and foremost, I hope you all had an awesome holiday and new years, celebrating life with friends and family and loved ones.... and maybe even a few strangers. Some of you lost loved ones last year, and didn't have them to celebrate with this Christmas. But, many of you remembered their spirits and maintained the holidays in the fashion they loved, and I know you felt their smiles there with you and celebrated just the same.

Next, I want to thank you for continuing to read -- and even solicit -- Ramblings. Last year was a slow year for me, but some of you continued to send kind, encouraging email. As a matter of fact, just the other day, while I was trying to decide what to write for this issue, I got a couple of emails :-). One said, "where's my 'blankety blank' Ramblings?" The other was a bit gentler; "Isn't it just about time for another fun issue of "Ramblings?" Well, let's see what we can do.

I usually start the year with an energetic reminder to set your goals and get ready to "accomplish stuff" in the upcoming year! Of course, we still need to do that, and maybe we'll get to it in a later Ramblings, but, this time I wanted to try something different. ( Incidentally, if you need a refresher on setting goals, just visit our archives at and look over the titles. )

Some of you are probably like me. I was sitting around near the end of December, looking over my goals list for 2005, wondering where the heck the year went and noticing how many goals I still had to check off! I said, "man... I've been busy ALLL year. I had to get more accomplished than this!" And I started to feel... kind of ineffectual -- like I had wasted a whole year.

Then I remembered that I'd paid a surprise visit to my friends in Mississippi last January -- and luckily, since hurricane Katrina went through there. That had been a huge goal for me: Connect with old friends in 2005. And I remembered taking a trip to Montreal in June; that had also been a goal: Visit someplace in 2005 I'd never been. Then I got out a piece of paper and wrote down a few other things I'd done, and the more I wrote the more I remembered. Some of the things were on my list and some of them weren't! I thought about the people I'd helped during the year to accomplish some of their own goals; I thought about the thank you's I got from people for small things I didn't even think deserved a thank you, but that it made a difference for them... that day, and I wrote them all down.

I noticed that there were some goals I had not completed, but that I had STARTED -- processes I had put in motion that hadn't had a chance to come full cycle yet -- and pretty soon, after I'd done all that, I was feeling pretty good! I had a page and half (big paper!!!) of things I had done, that I just plain forgot about, but when I put them down on paper -- and a few friends reminded me of some other stuff -- I had a whole different view.

So, I guess what I want to say here, is that planning your goals for the "next" run is a very important -- critical -- thing. But maybe even more important, is taking the time to REALIZE and appreciate what you DID accomplish. In our zeal to accomplish yet "something else", sometimes we don't pause to give ourselves credit for the work we've done, and that is a recipe for burn out. We can't always focus on what's left to be done; we need to focus on what we've already taken care of.

So what did you do last year? Did you make a start, take a step, get better at something? Did you help someone else accomplish a goal or task that was important to them? Did you give a smile to someone who needed one? pat someone on the back that wasn't expecting it? praise someone who doesn't normally get praise? Did you donate to a charity? help an old lady (or man) cross the street? Did you save someone's life? Did you allow someone to save yours? Did you take course, finish a degree, power clean your oven? (ha! I'm am bachelor; you know what a big deal it was for me to clean my OVEN? Okay... so it was self cleaning, but I STILL had to flip the switches and wipe it out later! )

Take out a notebook... and for the next couple of hours (or days), just jot down things as you think of them, that you accomplished in the past year, or things you set in motion (and didn't quit on, except for maybe smoking...) that will be carried into or completed in subsequent years. Then, after you make that list, take a few minutes and go over it, study it, and celebrate your productivity and success. What the heck ! Pat yourself on the back and have a chocolate ice cream cone :-). And then, when you're charged with the energy of what you accomplished last year, sit down and make out your "want to do list" for this year, and see if it doesn't look a whole lot LESS formidable.

Then we'll talk about some other good stuff next time.

As usual... thanks for e-listening. Next issue we'll tell you what we have planned for this year, and if you have something you'd like discussed, feel free to let me know.

Feel free to comment, and maybe we can get some dialogue going.

Have an awesome 2006!

"There are two ways of meeting difficulties. You alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them." -- Phyliss Bottome

Take care.