Keep your Spark in the Dark

Many are guilty of it, including billionaire business magnates.

First let me speak from personal experience. I had a gal assist me with the housework a couple nights a week. I told her I was off sugar. I needed to lose weight. I asked her to videotape my impassioned declaration to the Universe that I was going to drop 50 lbs. 

She gobbled up my enthusiasm and imitated my passion for losing weight. She stopped eating sugar too. She took it a step further by exercising nightly, and turned to her mum for support. Needless to say, she went from frumpy to fabulous, and so did her mom!😭 As for me,  I just maintained my weight, and she and her mum got skinny.

Something strange happens in human contact that propels some people to steal other people’s dreams, ideas, and desires, or else just get motivated by them.

Keep the big dreams under your hat and be careful.

As my acting coach always told me, don’t give your power away!

 

When it’s Springtime in Minnesota

Today was a glorious day! 68 degrees Fahrenheit, or 20 degrees Celsius, and a nice, cool breeze.

You never know what kind of weather you will get in Minnesota, especially in the Spring.

You never know if you will get a snow storm or a heat wave. Minnesota weather has a mind of it’s own.

On days like today when the weather is perfect, you feel like having a party!

Yesterday my Poodle Cole turned 13 years old. To me he is still a puppy, full of pep, and joie de vivre!

I just took him, and the Pomeranian out for a walk in the beautiful sunshine.

Perhaps later on I will get the motivation to finally mow the front and back lawn!

Tonight we must celebrate Spring in Minnesota because days like this don’t come every day!

Our minds, hearts, and homes

Whatever happened to honor and respect? 
Some people don’t care what they say, what they look like, or even live like, much less do they care if it offends you!

You may call it freedom, but it comes with a high price.

I understand some people have real mental issues. There are people​ who have real problems dealing with their issues, and would like to let everybody know it.

On a different note, many have been enticed into believing the world owes them a living, and they whine to everybody who will listen to garner pity for their feelings, or else make major excuses to justify themselves.

No matter how you slice it, most people have lost touch with two basic human values, honor and respect.

It is evident everywhere you look.

So what’s to be done about it?

The underlying principle is always the same. It boils down to personal responsibility.

And the question to ask is always the same. 

Who or what do you want to be? 

You decide to be the person who shows honor and respect because your attitude affects everybody in one way or another, including you.

It’s time for an honor and respect wake-up call.

Start with yourself and you are guaranteed you will make your life easier, better and more valuable.
If you show honor and respect for yourself in everything you do and say, others will respond in a very good way. 

Don’t tear yourself down, and don’t beat yourself up. Be the change you want to see in the world. 

After that, show respect and honor to your family. Show respect and honor with people at work and at play.

I don’t wish to lecture anyone, but I believe the lack of honor and respect is at the core of society’s​ problems.

Things won’t get better until a sacred sense of honor and respect pervades all the spaces in our minds, hearts and homes. 

The Joy of Snacks

A snack can be anything from meal-like to minute

In America we live in a culture of snacks.

Snacks dominate our day.  We love to eat.

These days there is a trend toward a grab at healthier snacks. Perhaps at the back of our minds we think we will be skinnier if we eat healthier. This outcome may or may not happen, but we remain hopeful.

In olden days, people would eschew snacks for three square meals a day. You wouldn’t want to ruin your appetite, right?

Our appetite is stronger than ever. There are so many tempting snacks.

Even though we strive to eat healthier, the typical snacks are still as popular as ever. French fries, potato chips, chocolate bars, ice cream, donuts, tortilla chips and salsa, soft drinks and cupcakes.

More than 50% of Americans enjoy a cup of coffee everyday instead of tea. We are a nation of coffee drinkers and we like it that way.

Of course, we shouldn’t mention obesity. But the obvious truth is most of us adults are overweight or obese. It’s not like in the movies where most of the women and men are skinny and sexy.

No doubt about it, one of the glories of life, is the often ignored, albeit often indulged in, ubiquitous snacks.

If you plan to visit with a radio DJ or want to see a friend to practice guitar, bagels and cream cheese are always popular. Bring snacks and you’ll be well-loved.

What are some of your favorite snacks? 

Here are ten of mine.

1. Cookies. 

2. Tortilla chips and dip. 

3. Chocolate, preferably Belgian with hazelnuts.

4. Tangerines. 

5. Fresh fruit salad. 

6. Tea and muffins.

7. Coffee and donuts. 

8. Pistachio ice cream. 

9. Cheesecake with Italian cherry sauce. 

10. Black licorice such as that found in a big box of Good and Plenty.

Next time you look in the mirror at your body in your swimsuit, and you bemoan your excess adipose tissue, remember a lot of it was bought and paid for in snacks!

Fashion Feels and Real World Tears

What’s that on the shoulder of your Calvin Klein jacket Amy? It’s an unknown stain, and the weight of the world!

You may love to shop. You may feel good after you buy an item or two that you love! Just like a drug or a drink, there is a high after you buy.

Especially if you live in the Western world, you can’t escape fashion. It’s everywhere!

You look good, you feel good, right?

The words fast fashion have a negative connotation. It means you consume cheap trendy goods to dispose of them quickly because they don’t last.

Why waste your money?

You may buy a top for $3 made in India or Vietnam or any other place, but the lack of durability and value is the basis of fast fashion. The low-cost is really a high price when you consider the lack of biodegradability of the fabric.

What was the provenance of the top you bought?

The origin of your new top may belie a horrible history in it’s creation, especially if it’s made by underpaid, uninsured workers.

Once you’ve used your purchase to your delight and have consumed it’s considered worth, what will happen to your used-up cast-off?

The top may perhaps be made of a fabric that lacks the ability to disintegrate into the earth, and will only wind up burned or buried under the ground. Fast fashion pollutes.

It’s excellent to look good. It’s excellent to shop thrift stores as well. It’s best if you look for good quality first, low price second.

Recycle your clothes, instead of throwing them into the landfill. Donate them to others. Let them be recycled or upcycled!

When you buy, consider avoiding acrylic and highly-flammable petrochemical-based fabrics, such as 100% polyester and go for biodegradable textiles such as wool, silk and cotton.

However, don’t always consider cotton to be the best, if it pollutes and drains earth’s natural resources, in order to ensure production.

Just like you find out where your food comes from, find out where your garb comes from.

Make sure that it’s not being made by exploited workers paid slave wages.

In order to keep everyone up to standard there has to be more transparency in the fashion industry.

If your favorite brand won’t tell you where your clothes originate from or what is in them, skip the brand and shop local.

There are companies in the world that will tell you where they harvest their textiles and how they make their products.

Find out how earth-friendly they are, and not only will you be better off, the whole world will benefit now and in the future.

Plus, you’ll be able to wear your fashion with confidence. Then like a good citizen of this planet you will really be in fashion!

Memories of my Mum

Amy Zents with her mum in British Columbia in 2010

My mother was born on February 27th 1936. On February 27th, last month, she would have been 81 years old.

I have a lot of precious memories of my mother, sadly she got disabled in her sixties. She had the right-of-way walking through a green light when she was run down in the crosswalk by a truck driven by a drunk driver.

She was lucky to survive after she sustained a massive brain injury and lost her sight & hearing. This was a decade before she died. Her poor husband who is older than her had to take care of her and nurse her until he himself passed away. Then she was in the care of others and had to be put in Assisted Living.

After her husband passed away, and my mother was unable to walk the dogs or care for them, we adopted their two dogs.

My mother and her husband had adopted them as puppies and raised them for five years until my husband and I brought them to live in Minnesota.

The two dogs are named Cole and Pixie.

My husband James and our two furkids

After my husband Jim and I picked  up the dogs from my mother’s house, we were shuttled to the airport by my mother’s friends.

The two dogs were checked in at the airport and we all had to take the Big Metal Bird from Seattle to Minnesota, first crossing over the Pacific from Victoria Island in a noisy boat, the Seattle Clipper.

The two frightened dogs had to hunker down in crates near a loud engine.

I went from being footloose and fancy-free to becoming a dog mom. And that’s what I’ve been doing for the past seven and a half years.

The dogs have taken over my life. No matter what we do we have to always take the dogs into consideration. Especially since the Pomeranian as a diabetic.

Cole is 12
Pixie is 13

But they are a memory of my mum. They are her legacy to me because she loved them so much. When she could no longer walk them because she was too disabled and her husband had passed away, then I agreed to rescue the two dogs and not separate them from each other.

They are very happy and contented living in our house. They are a lot happier given free rein of the place.

Back in British Columbia they barked so much the police were always being called because they were bored and depressed penned in a little entry area of the house.

My mother couldn’t take care of them the way they needed to be taken care of. The dogs were much younger then and were high-spirited. They needed a lot of exercise and attention. Actually, they still do.

Some of my happiest memories as a child was seeing my mother walk through the front door after she had been at work or grocery shopping. It makes my heart rejoice when the dogs get all excited when I walk in the front door. It’s fun to see them jumping up and down and glad to see me!

Everytime I look at my dogs I am reminded of my mother and how she loved animals. Although I grew up in the heart of urban Toronto, we always had animals as pets.

There were the white mice, Flinky and Twinkie, cute cuddly cats named Sammy and Susie and others, a tan chihuahua named Fritzie, a brindle Bull Terrier, a brown and white guinea pig named Joey, Myrtle the Turtle, a budgie bird, and many others over the years.

Having pets is a good thing. I think it taught me empathy more than anything. I’m very grateful to my mother for being an animal lover and for her two dogs who light up my life everyday.

How to make head space in a cluttered mind

So many things to think, do and worry about.

Feeling that less is best is different than living up to that belief.
My attempts at making space in my home by getting rid of clutter has been very difficult for me, but I continue the quest. 

I also want to create space in my mind. Lately I’ve been doing three different things in the morning to calm myself and center myself.

Here is my regimen:

1.

I light a sweet-smelling garden rain candle, and I set the timer for 5 minutes. In that span of time I try to let go of all thoughts that intrude in my head.  It’s amazing what I think about when I stop and listen to what I think. 

2. 

Next, for five minutes I do stream-of-consciousness writing. I write whatever thoughts come into my head. My chicken scrawl is only legible to me because I don’t want others to be able to read it or for me to incriminate myself!

3.

Last, but not least, I review what I’ve written. I look and see what my concerns, actions, accomplishments and fears are. I notice when I complain and when I congratulate myself for doing things I didn’t want to have to do. I notice the recurring themes.

Summary

I’ve only been doing this practice for a few days. So far the thing that I’ve discovered is that I really like living a low pressure, stress-free existence.

I’m raising my consciousness to appreciate my downtime. Although I think about the future, I also try and become more present. It’s not always easy when anticipating a yucky task or chore, but it’s nice to know that I’ve carved out a tiny little niche in which to meditate and reflect on what I think. 

However, I don’t think the goal of meditation is to think, but to empty your mind. 

I’m not quite there yet.