Before I get started, let me begin by saying how good it is to once again have the time to chat and post with my good friends here. EC has always been a great source of personal inspiration. The chance to watch and experience new learners grow into linguistic proficiency is amazing and something I wish more of my fellow countrymen would take the time to do.
Here's ten things in no particular order that come to mind when thinking of MYSELF. The subject matter may vary from personal philosophy to my favorite flavor of ice cream.
1. WHAT YOU THINK OF ME IS REALLY NONE OF MY BUSINESS.
Of course I have trusted friends, colleagues, and family members who's advice and criticism (negative and positive) is very important in my life. But, from a practical standpoint, if I worried about what the whole world thought of me I'd go insane. For example; As a human being who interacts with many others, I make mistakes on a daily basis. When I'm wrong, I do my best to promptly admit my error and rectify the situation. If the offended party still thinks poorly of me after the appropriate amends have been made, well then, that's their problem. Again, what you think of me is really none of my business.
2. STAYING IN THE MOMENT IS KEY TO MY EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL SURVIVAL.
Loathing the past or fearing the future will rob a person of the blessings that sit right in front of them. "THE HERE AND NOW" are where gratitude, honesty, open-mindedness, humility, and love exist. There's an old saying in my country that goes like this, "One foot in the past, one foot in the future, and you're pissing all over today".
3. I PREFER TO STAY IN AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE.
Instead of obsessing over what's missing in my life or what I can't do, I find it easier to be thankful for what I've already been blessed with (This goes hand in hand with #2 on the list). There may not be a Ferrari in my garage. Perhaps my chosen career field didn't pan out like I'd hoped it would. This doesn't mean I should be any less grateful for the Toyota I drive or the awesome job I get to go to every morning that allows me to help people on a daily basis. Life is good!
4. SOMETIMES THE COUCH LOOKS A WHOLE LOT BETTER THAN EXERCISE AT THE GYM.
Someone much wiser than me once said, "A body in motion stays in motion. A body at rest stays at rest". As much as I love the youth preserving effects of showing up in a sweaty smelling building while aimlessly picking up pieces of iron in a neat and structured manner or running on a belt with re-runs of Oprah blasting on the LCD in front of me, I'd much rather be sitting on my couch with the television blasting Nascar or Formula 1 and a lit Cuban cigar hanging out of my mouth while simultaneously eating copious quantities of bacon. These days I try to stay somewhere in between the two extreme examples listed above.
5. I LOVE TO READ.
Technically, my favorite book isn't really a book at all. It's a text. You can't drag it's title out of me but I'll give you a few hints. The title begins with an "A" and ends with an "A". It's nickname is "The Big Book" and it explains in great detail twelve very important steps one should take when,... let's just say they've been smoking too many Cuban cigars or enjoying copious amounts of bacon (amongst other unnamed substances we won't mention here). I share and teach the message contained in this book on a daily basis. "You gotta give the message away in order to keep it". Besides that book, I read a variety of authors. Lately I've been enjoying the gonzo journalism styling of Hunter S. Thompson. His writings probably aren't appropriate for the beginning ESL student (or the faint of heart) but, I always get a chuckle out of his humorously sarcastic content and the antics of a careless lifestyle. Honestly, he teaches me what not to do when searching for writer's motivation.
6. I'M AT HOME IN THE KITCHEN.
Give me a well stocked pantry, some fresh ingredients, a lit stove or grill, and stay out of my way! It's summer here in California and there's nothing better than throwing a nicely seasoned tri tip of beef on the grill along with sliced and olive oiled vegetables while the Idaho Russet Potatoes are baking in the oven. Invite a few friends over to share it with and you've got a party. When the leaves fall and winter begins, New England seafood chowder is my absolute favorite. It's like a lifetime of love in a bowl. Plenty of fresh shell fish coupled with a little salmon and don't forget the potatoes, onions, celery, bacon, rue, and cream at the very end. Top it off with freshly chopped parsley.
7. FRIENDS AND FAMILY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THE VERY BEST OF ME.
As far as I know it's been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you can't take all that material "stuff" you've spent a lifetime acquiring with you when you die. I'm hoping the same doesn't ring true for interactions and experiences with friends, family, and loved ones. Even in my lowest, darkest moments of the past, there they'd be, trying to lift me up with encouragement and love. Without a trusted inner circle of friends and family, I'd be a wounded ship stranded in rough seas without a sail.
8. I HAVE THE WORLD'S BEST DAUGHTER.
Some of you may argue that you in fact have the world's best son or daughter and I must be mistaken in my assumption. If you do, who can blame you? I honestly hope that all EC parents feel that way about their children. Over the last fifteen years of fatherhood, I've often wondered who's parenting and teaching who? Being a father is the most rewarding journey I've yet to embarked upon. My daughter achieves a 4.0 grade point average, can saddle up and ride a horse better than I ever could, and knows how to tell her fellow male classmates to keep their hands off of her. What more could a father ask for? Well, I guess I could ask for a little more time with her. At fifteen, she's gaining her independence and is often busy. They grow up way too fast.
9. ANOTHER SHAMELESS PLUG FOR THE DOCTOR
California may be my home and I've been known (upon occasion) to proudly bleed the red, white, and blue colors of my dear old American Flag. When it comes to television channel selection, my tastes tend to take me "Across the pond" (idiom meaning across the Atlantic Ocean) to the land of double decker busses and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. My absolute favorite BBC hero is Doctor Who. He's a real wiz at saving the entire universe from complete destruction with a little blue time machine (bigger on the inside than the outside), a sonic device he refers to as a screwdriver, and a great big brain that's led by his two alien hearts.
10. LAST BUT NOT LEAST
In the beginning of this blog entry, I mentioned ice cream. With all ice cream being created equal (which it isn't), there really is only one flavor in my book, and that one is...