Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Turning Another Page Of Life

I can't believe that my birthday is coming again. It seems like just yesterday when I had that birthday celebration in Manhattan, New York last year. We had a very nice dinner at the revolving restaurant of Marriot Marquis and later watched Broadway (Phantom Of The Opera) and  after that; we just hanged out in Times Square until the wee hours of the morning. It was a very nice birthday celebration to say the least.

And here I am again, adding another year to my age. It was seven years ago, when I was welcomed into the beautiful "middle age."  At this stage in life I don't have the casual immaturity of the youth, nor do I have the constant dependency of old age. I have always enjoyed my birthdays with quiet reflection on the four decades of a sometimes challenging but beautiful journey. I find time to enjoy the little moments rather than focus on bigger events. I always make it a point to take off from everyday life and work to just enjoy two days celebrating life.
Lately I have been looking back at my life, along its winding road to the old familiar land marks of love and compassions I have known. It may sound simple but it's more than a cliché. There's no better way to express my gratitude than to say God has been good in my life. I feel blessed when I go to sleep each night counting my blessings and wakes up in the morning with renewed vibrancy and refreshed hope for all that's life is still waiting for me in the future. And though I've had my share of hard times, I know deep in my heart that through it all, God has been good. I believe that the worst of times yields the best lessons in life. 

In a couple of days from now, as I pause to celebrate my birthday, I have one question that I will seek for an answer. I think the older we get, the knowingness of the truth-the ownership of knowing is louder. And that voice is louder definitely: “So am I really happy now?’’ Definitely. And I will surely be more happy on my special day, thankful to God for the health, love and constant support of family and friends and for countless blessings I receive everyday.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Disappearing In This Lifetime?

Change is inevitable in life. Among the things that's constantly changing is Technology. It changes at the speed of light, or so it seems. It is near impossible to have the most up-to-date technology in your home or office, no matter how hard you try. On the other hand, it is not in our best interest to keep limping along with that old gadget. Somehow we need to step up and learn to adjust and learn them . .

Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them.  But, ready or not, here they come.

9 Things That Will Probably Disappear In Our Lifetime....

1.   The  Post Office.   Get ready to imagine a world without the post office.   They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term.  Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive.  Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills. 

2.   The Check. Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. My personal experience attest to this fact. I can only remember one time I used my checkbook. I forgot my wallet in the house where all my bank cards are kept. I had to pay my groceries with my check. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks.  Plastic cards and  online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check.  This plays right into the death of the post office.  If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail,  the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3.   The Newspaper .   The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper.  They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition.  That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man.  As for reading the paper online, get  ready to pay for it.  The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance.  They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.  (Madison's Capitol Times and Seattle's Post Intellegencer are already on models onl

4.  The Book.   We say we will never give up the physical book that we hold in our hand and turn the literal pages.  You probably said the same thing about downloading music from i Tunes.  I thought I wanted my hard copy CD  but quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music.  The same thing will happen with books.  I have a Kindle DX and I can browse a book online and even read a preview chapter before  I buy.  And the price is less than half that of a real book.  And think of the  convenience!  Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.

5.   The Land Line Telephone.   Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore.  Most people keep it simply because they've always had it.  But you are paying double charges for that extra  service.  All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for minimal or no charge against your minutes and you get unlimited text for free. I haven't had a landline since 2005.

6.   Music.   This is one of the saddest parts of the change story.  The music industry is dying a slow death.  Not just because of illegal downloading; It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it.  Greed and  corruption is the problem.  The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing.  Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalog items,"  meaning traditional music that the public knows older established artists.  This is also true on the live concert circuit. 

7.   Television.   Revenues to the networks are down dramatically.  Not just because of the economy.  People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers.  And they're spending time playing games and doing lots of  other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV.  Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator.  Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds.  I say good riddance to most of it.  It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery.  Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix. 

8.   The "Things" That You Own.   Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future.  They may simply reside in "the cloud."  Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents.  Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be.  But all of that is changing.   Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services."  That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system.  So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet.  If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud.  If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud.  And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.  In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld Internet capable device.  That's the good news.  But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?"  Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical?  It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert. 

9.   Privacy.   If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy.  That's gone.  It's been gone for a long time anyway.  There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone.  But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View.  If you buy something, your habit is put into a  zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits.  And "They" will try to get you to buy something else.  Again and again. 

All we will have that can't be changed are Memories. ( In my case, even these are fading). 

For some of you, this will simply elicit a shrug of the shoulders.  You are among the fortunate ones leading the charge to change.  For the rest, usually the older ones, this is not only upsetting but traumatic to contemplate.  As a non-worrier I once knew used to say, "In five years will it matter?"

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Letter From A Daughter

Hi I am the daughter of the author. I had wrestled with my mother to have the permission to write this in her site. This is my Mother's Day greeting to her.

Amie is a woman known to many, and has many different roles to fill in her life. She is a daughter, sister, care giver, grandmother, friend, and for me, I have the blessing of being able to call her ‘Mom’. She raised 2 children into adulthood, single handedly, and she did it well. Her love is boundless and her energy unmatched. She is a source of inspiration to more people than she will ever know. Our mother encouraged and supported us in every sense of the word. Therefore we are able to take our place in the world, and it is a source of accomplishment for my mother that we, in spite of all our family has endured, were and are happy human being.

Fifteen years have passed since we live our life without our father. The incident changed her life, and the life of our family forever.

Mom had to be the tower of strength for us her two young pre- teen age daughters in the coming weeks, months and years. She did it, and she did it well. She was, and still is, a tribute to womanhood, and to motherhood.

My mother, was a rock, and an anchor in any storm.

Mom had to adapt to a life of a single parent to two growing up adolescents, a daunting task in itself. But she never wavered, She was the captain of every storm  and she ran a tight ship. Mom did everything humanly possible to maintain her dignity and independence after our father left us. Later in life did I realized how hard it must have been for mom; young and with two kids to raise alone There are many many nights that she turned into days working to support us, meanwhile neglecting her own happiness, never taking time to relax, time she needed to recharge her batteries. She just kept going.

Mom has always been our anchor and protection, all the while not wanting us to be on our own without her. In her big family, her siblings turned to her for many things and she always have  the hugs that healed the broken hearts.

She is a woman on the outside but tough inside. In the most challenging times of her life the frustrations, disappointments, anger and confusion, were kept to herself. But even as a very young age I knew what my mother was going through. One of mom's legacy to us is the love of God above all things. We were encouraged to work hard and someday make a good life for ourselves, but to always put God first. My Mothers’ faith and constant endless love kept us on track, she never faltered in her faith although the storms would rage at times, we got through with her at the front seat. Her strength in the heart breaking wreckage of her life is truly admirable.

Mom has been an inspiration to her family, friends and most of all, to us her daughters, and to those who know her by her unselfishness and loyalty. If we could give you a gift Mom, we would give you the ability to see yourself as others see you, then you could really see how very special you are. You have taught us so many good values and your legacy are engraved on our hearts forever. Your courage in the face of adversity, and your inner strength is truly a blessing to us.

You are a shining gem to your family and to us your daughters. We appreciate the love you have shown to us, your devotion and determination to keep us together, and last but not least, the way you have cared for us all those years. You are indeed a true ‘woman of heart’, a woman with great faith, and a wonderful role model and mother to us.

We love you Mom, more than you know, and we will continue to love you, forever. Thank you very much!

Happy Mother's Day Ma...