Monday, March 27, 2006


Big, red, comfy couch for sale!

It’s the perfect, pillowy couch. Long enough for my 5 foot, 10 inch frame to take a Saturday afternoon snooze but no to long to fit in a small city apartment… Soft and cushy enough to sink safely into without the threat of slipping so deeply into the cushions that you need help getting out… It really is the perfect couch. So perfect in fact that I can’t help but sit on it. I almost feel bad if I don’t. My backside naturally gravitates to it the moment I walk through the front door. My body craves it!

With that perfect couch around, I can’t get anything done. I try to resist its magnetic pull but every night I end up right back there… sitting or laying or leaning on the couch. I have even tried to stack things up on it so there’s no room for me but somehow I wiggle between the stuff and find enough space for my behind.

So the couch must go!

Big, red comfy, couch for sale… if you can get me off of it, you can have it!

Two Little Words

There are a lot of words in the English vocabulary. I don’t know exactly how many but I know there are a lot. And everyday, we use them. Women use more than men by something like 10,000 words per day. Some words and phrases are over-utilized, like "whatever" or "you know?" Often I catch myself inserting one or the other in conversation. Others are flippantly tossed around such as "I love you." Recently, while dancing in a club at 2AM, my dance partner stopped me to tell me that he loved me after having met me only ten minutes earlier. C’mon!

But there are two little words that I don’t think we say enough. THANK YOU. When someone passes the salt around the table, we should be saying THANK YOU. If you are ushered to the front of the line, someone should be thanked. When we are given gifts, even on birthdays and Christmas when gifts are expected, THANK YOU is appropriate. It is even more appropriate after a big surprise or a small but unexpected present. If someone steps out of the way so you can get off the elevator, you should say THANK YOU. If they didn’t move, you wouldn’t be able to get out at your stop. So while common sense tells them to get out of your way, they don’t really HAVE to, so… THANK YOU.

There are many less obvious situations in which I believe a THANK YOU is not only in order but also could be a conduit for goodness and love. Not too long ago a television commercial depicted awkward situations which people escaped simply by saying THANK YOU. How much better would your work day be if once in a while someone came by and just said THANK YOU for being here today. Or, if after you experienced a particularly embarrassing moment, a THANK YOU might let you know that you aren’t the only one who has been through it. THANK YOU might be the perfect way to cap off great sex or it might be appreciated after your best friend holds your hair while you toss up your last six drinks and the toasted ravioli for dinner. Ok, I’ve gone too far but I think you get the idea.

And to all of those who have forgotten or simply neglected to say THANK YOU, I have just one thing to say to you…


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Constant Parade

Entering South Beach is like walking into another world. The area boasts a culture all it's own, a conglomerate of the immigrants that have taken up residence there. And on every street, in every moment, on every day, there is a parade.

Whether you are reading on the veranda of your art deco hotel or dining at a beach-side cafe on Ocean Drive, you can enjoy the constant pageantry of the city. Lambroghinis and Hummers and Mercedes of every kind driven by fashionable dressed men and women wearing expensive sun glasses line the streets. Walking up and down every block, people dressed to the nines march by in a hurry to go nowhere... or anywhere, just to be seen.

There is a lot of "being seen" being done in South Beach. And while you may be seen, you may not get any real attention. The competition is stiff down there. Beautiful people are the norm. They are everywhere. And with the exception of the numerous pairs of perky ENORMOUS breasts that you face everyday on the street, most of that beauty seems natural. The beauty comes in various types and flavors. Tall, short, male, female, Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern, European, fat, skinny, pleasingly plump, gay, straight... There is something beautiful for everyone there, debunking the belief that beauty can really even be defined.

It is an incredible place. And if you are a fan of parades, you should visit. Find a seat and enjoy the show!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tip Jar

I am putting a tip jar on my desk. I have decided that to reward me for doing my job, others should drop loose change in it. My paycheck is not reward enough.

Rather than saying thank you, or giving me a pat on the back, I will just take the CASH VALUE. What do you think the cash value of the phrase “great job” might be? A quarter? A couple of dimes and a stray penny, perhaps?

Spare coins can add up. After a week or so, I may be able to buy a soda or spring for lunch in the cafeteria. This tip jar is going to be great.

I must admit this is not my own idea. I pilfered it from any number of tip jar entrepreneurs that are sprouting up around the country. There are tip jars everywhere. Coffeehouses, smoothie places, that little spot on the corner where you can pick up a slice of pizza… even Subway. If it is appropriate to have tip jars there, then why not in my office on my desk?

Tipping experts insist that tipping in the afore-mentioned situations is not only unnecessary but it is ridiculous. Many tip guides offer advice on when tipping is appropriate:

· Restaurant service… where you sit down and they bring you your dinner, refill your beverages, replace the fork you dropped and clean up after you… deserves tipping.
· A great haircut is worthy of a tip.
· Tipping the bellman who carries your luggage to your hotel room is altogether appropriate.

But in a day and age when nobody seems to be paid enough for the contribution they are making to the world or just to your day, I don’t want to get lost in the shuffle.

I am putting a tip jar on my desk. (I’ll let you know how it goes.)

Monday, March 06, 2006


Some of the most beautiful artwork can be seen in nature. And often it appears at the least expected moment.

On a plane ride home to St. Louis from Florida, I glanced out the window and saw the most amazing sunset I have ever seen. As we soared high above the clouds, a deep neon red orb blazed upon the horizon. Hot pink and orange streaks stretched out from each side and a crisp line separated the frothy gray clouds from the wondrous spectacle painted across the sky.

Too quickly, the bright globe of light sank beneath the gray line and disappeared. A new stretch of warm and gentle pink smeared across the western skies, but only for a while. Then darkness came.

If not for the witness of the passenger at my right, I'd have thought it was a dream.

Pull Up Your Pants

As I make my way around the world encouraging women to embrace their true sizes, I think I may spend a moment or two schooling men on their true size as well. The true size of their pants, to be specific.

Baggy pants that hang on the hips or half way down the back side is the trend. It is a part of the hip hop culture. Despite the fact that men can't move faster than a snail's pace without dropping their drawers, they continue to purchase trousers that are many sizes too large. They have lost sight of the fact that women (or even other men for that matter) are interested in a preview of what's inside those pants. Butts and thighs... don't act like you don't know. Proper assessment of the goods within cannot be made if the packaging is appallingly over-sized.

Some might argue that sagging pants are the perfect way to get a preview... I personally like the look of a man's backside in pants that fit him. And, I am venturing a guess that most women ( and some other men) would find that more attractive that a shot of a guys boxers or briefs or boxer-briefs. No matter the argument you present, however, pants hanging off your ass is simply not hot.

Pull up your pants. Show us what you got. Just don't show us your underwear. It is called UNDERwear for a reason.

Happiness-Where the Responsibility Lies

You can only be responsible for your own happiness. That is what I have been told. So I thought about that for a while... It is true that you can't always make veryone else happy and, in failed attempts to do so, you can't risk losing happiness yourself. But I think to say that you are only responsible for YOUR OWN happiness is a cop out. It is a way to relenquish our responsibility toward others and to focus solely on self which I find to be very selfish.

Selfishness is a dangerous thing. It is territory that one ventures into that goes beyond getting what you rightfully deserve. Selfishness is when nothing that anyone else does for you is good enough. It is when nobody else can make you happy. Seemingly, selfishness is a growing problem in our world, in our communities, in our circles of friends. It is selfishness that is responsible for the decline in customer service. It is selfishness that provokes bullying among our children. It is selfishness that perpetuates nearly every societal ill that we encounter, knowlingly or not, on a daily basis. And it is from selfishness that this idea has blossomed that we are only responsible for our own happiness.

Granted, you cannot rely on others to bring you happiness and you shouldn't place that burden on anyone's shoulders but your own. So, in a sense the saying "You can only be responsible for your own happiness" is valid. Yet is is our duty as members of this humankind to CONTRIBUTE to the happiness of others. Looking out for yourself and what you want in life does not relieve you of your obligation to the rest of humankind.

Daily, I grapple with distinguishing which moments are aptly created for me to please me and when I should curtail my desires to cater to the wants of others. This battle is long and hard-fought for me because it is in my nature to be a people-pleaser. The driving motivation for much of my life is seeing others happy. I find it difficult, in fact to be happy if other people aren't. I feel the discontent of those around me in the pit of my stomach. It wears on my mind, no matter how much I try to ignore it and causes me unrelenting stress. Believe me, I try to press on and have a little happy of my own but it just doesn't seem worth it, if everyone else isn't happy too.

Let me give you a big example that may help you understand what I am saying. After hurricanes Katrina and Wilma hit land, my initial response was to sign up as a volunteer with the Red Cross. The storms took everything from the people living in the areas affected. EVERYTHING. They had the clothes on their backs. No homes. No jobs. No happiness. So I felt it was my duty to contribute in a way that might help them find some happiness again. Meanwhile, I heard about people who were also devastated by the storms because their vacations were ruined... Yes... vacations were ruined.

Now here's a small example. You and a friend are shopping at the mall. Your friend has trouble gathering up her bags. Do you stop and wait so she doesn't have to walk alone? Or do you continue walking and figure she will just catch up? C'mon, does her happiness REALLY lie in whether or not you wait for her? Probably not but small gestures that some consider common courtesies do contribute to the big picture of a person's life. The little things add up. So if you can't contribute in big ways than you just do the little things and you fulfill your reponsibilities to others.


Contributing... not creating. Not developing or managing or maintaining. JUST CONTRIBUTING. And others should not be solely responsible for YOUR HAPPINESS. They are responsible to CONTRIBUTE and nothing more.

I don't know what the cure for selfishness is. But I think the key to happiness is selflessness, respect, consideration and contribution.

Happiness is a little like money. Unless you keep making deposits into your bank account, you are eventually going to run out of money and the bank isn't going to let you take money out anymore. It is essential that you deposit as much happiness into others as you hope to withdraw from them.