Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Junk Food Wisdom

Nearly 10 years ago I remember imbibing one of my favorite brands of flavored sugar water masquerading as fruit juice. While the drink itself was somewhat forgettable, the brand was one of those that prints sayings inside the bottle cap. I usually threw them away after reading them but there was one that struck a chord with me so I chose to keep it. It read, "If it is to be, it is up to me." At the time, I was working at Brooklyn College, the place where I began but never completed my higher education about 25 years earlier. I had been toying with the idea of returning to finish my degree but kept making excuses and getting in my own way.

Then that bottle cap appeared. I placed that cap in my desk and would peek at it every so often when I needed to retrieve a pencil or a paper clip from my drawer. At some point the cap moved up from the drawer to the desk top where I would see it every day and pick it up once in a while to ponder its message. I didn't take action until a few semesters later, when I convinced myself that all my excuses didn't equal the fact that I was smarter than some of the people I was working for and the only thing that differentiated us was my lack of a sheepskin. (Historical note: Diplomas were originally written in calligraphy on sheepskin parchment, not printed on paper.)

Long story short: I returned to complete my bachelors degree and graduated in 2004. When I left my employment at Brooklyn College, I cleared out my desk and brought that bottle cap home with me, assigning it to a place of honor on my bulletin board where it still stands today. I credit that tiny bit of junk food wisdom with giving me the kick in the butt I needed to get moving on fulfilling my dream. Just goes to show you that you never know where and how inspiration will strike. You just have to listen very carefully to those whispers, wherever they may come from.

Recently I indulged in one of my favorite comfort foods -- milk chocolate. The brand I favor also prints sayings on the inside of the wrappers, many of which I have enjoyed very much. I list some of them here, in no particular order, so that you may also enjoy them.

- Live your dreams.
- Smile - people will wonder what you've been up to!
- Buy yourself flowers.
- Be fearless.
- Age is nothing but a number.
- You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
- Believe in and act on your dreams.
- Break the mold, be extraordinary!

Words of wisdom are sometimes spoken in whispers. Listen carefully.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and all ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Halloween day is my wedding anniversary and this year marks 22 years of marriage for my husband and me. The fact that we have been married this long isn't nearly as impressive as the fact that for the first time in years I actually acknowledged it. I had chosen not to celebrate an anniversary for a long time because I didn't want to put a happy face on what, for me, was a source of misery and constant unhappiness. I would even say as much to friends and family who would call to wish me a happy anniversary, so much so that they stopped calling to offer their congratulations.

This year I decided the time was right to try it again so my husband and I went out to dinner. It was far from an idyllic evening. The restaurant he intended to take me to had closed down. The next two choices had waiting lines out the door. We settled on a steakhouse that had loud music and mediocre bar service. Thankfully the wait time was fairly short and the food was fairly good. In spite of the few shortcomings of the evening, I chose to focus on my husband. Every time I would raise a glass and say "Happy Anniversary", he glowed. Of course he would never openly admit it but he was happy that I was finally acknowledging our anniversary. I think he was secretly happy that I hadn't dumped him as I had threatened to do so many times over the years. (Believe me, if it hadn't been for the kids...well, that's another story.)

This marriage has been a rough row to hoe from the very beginning. If anyone had asked me a few years ago to project its longevity, I would have said it was on life support awaiting the pulling of the plug. I'm not the same person anymore and I have a different perspective on life. Although I don't think this marriage is going to be any less rough, I think I'm better able to deal with the crap. I'm going it for the long haul.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and all ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva