Monday, May 31, 2010

MEMORIAL DAY

We can remember those who lost their lives serving our country while having a peaceful, loving and pleasant day.

I hope that is the case for you and yours.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Friday, May 28, 2010

PRIORITIZING OUR CHECKS

It is interesting to me how these blogs come together in interesting and unplanned ways. Typically, I don't have a clue what I am going to write about until I sit down at the typewriter. Like a composer at a piano working on a song, the words just start to flow. Like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune I usually do a weeks worth at a time. Sometimes the content is similar from day to day for the week and other times it varies.

I began this week talking about checking things out in the context of a bill. Without thinking about it the rest of the week was really about checking things out in your relationship to preserve the garden of love. When you think about it the latter is far more important than the former. I'd rather get ripped off for $9.99 a month than end up in divorce court (which by the way is the rip off of all rip offs!).

Oddly enough I bet that most people spend more time and energy checking out the mundane and basic stuff than they do checking and weeding their garden of love. Now that's just plain silly. We gotta check it all!

Enjoy a loving weekend. I will continue blogging about relationships next week.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Thursday, May 27, 2010

BECOMING A BETTER GARDENER

In marriage and other long term relationships it is easy to take one's partner for granted. In the courtship stage we put our best feet forward. Over time those same feet start to stink as we ignore the basics of love.

I always say, love is a verb. It is easier to say , "I Love You," than demonstrate it consistently over time. If we went door to door I guesstimate that over 80% of couples have at least one partner feeling their needs are not being met. Similarly, but for children, religious beliefs, financial issues and other practical concerns the divorce rate would be much higher than its current 50%.

Take a step back and look objectively at your partnership. Stop blaming it on him/her.Are you doing everything you can to show your partner, respect, affirmation and loving friendship? Do you want a better relationship? Do you want the relationship to continue? If you answered No, Yes, Yes now is the time to step back into the relationship with a fresh perspective and a new set of re-courtship goals. Find those loving feet and put them forward again. You can do it if you want to. In all likelihood it will be appreciated and reciprocated.

As I have said before, the garden of love needs the equivalent of sunshine, water, fertilizer and weeding.To experience the flowers of love, you need to be a better gardener. You once were. You can be that person again. I am optimistic about that--realistically optimistic.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

MARRIAGE ENRICHMENT

Yesterday I said, "marriage is an unnatural act." For those who don't go back to read the original article (williampenzer.com: A Realistic View of Marriage and Divorce)here's why I said that.

In just about every other zone of human experience variation seems to be an important factor. We wear different clothes, read different books, seek out different activities,go different places, etc. The human animal seems to crave variety. Even the inveterate golfer doesn't only play golf.

In marriage, there is minimal variation unless the couple builds that in through concerted effort. I am, by the way, not just referring to sex here. I am referring to patterns of communications, shared activities, domestic responsibilities,etc.Spicing things up, in and out of the bedroom is important to counter the monotony and boredom that can set in.

Years ago, in a previous life I was an organizational psychologist for IBM. One of the projects I worked on was called job enrichment. Its intent was to build in more varying aspects to a routine job so it didn't become repetitious and boring. I would encourage the same mindset in engaging in marriage enrichment. Take a look at your relationship and see what kind of variety you can build into it to add stimulation and excitement. Might be something fun to work on together.

Tomorrow, let's talk about taking each other for granted. That will grow weeds real fast in your garden of love.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CALLING THE MARRIAGE DOCTOR

I am struck by the number of young couples together more than 10 years who are struggling. It seems as if life sucks out their love for each other. The pressures and stresses of work and finances combined with those of raising children in a more complex and demanding world leaves no time to nurture the garden of love.

Instead, communications fail,distance and disconnects creep in and stink weeds grow tall where beautiful flowers once flourished naturally. Dreams of the past become nightmares for the present and future.

A big problem is combined couple complacency. The erosion is allowed to linger unchallenged for much too long.If your kid had a fever for months and months that continued for years and years you would not allow it to go unchecked. If your marriage has a fever call a marriage doctor ASAP. So much depends on getting help in a timely fashion. In the garden of love too many weeds can choke it, keeping it from ever growing back. That is both irresponsible and sad for all concerned.

In many ways marriage is an unnatural act as I argued 20+ years ago (see williampenzer.com:A Realistic View of Marriage and Divorce). But so, I am afraid, is divorce, especially when young and innocent children are caught in the middle of the weeds.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Monday, May 24, 2010

CHECKING IT OUT

Realistic optimism, which I talked about last week, is not oblivious to the changes that have occurred in the world. It definitely supports being alert on all levels.

I have a bad habit of not always checking the details of a bill. I get caught up in so much that the details can pass me by. As we all know, the devil is in the details. Funny enough, the guy who taught us that, failed his own advice!

In any event the other day I decided to look more closely at my cell phone bill. Thereupon, I saw a charge for $9.99 a month for a GPS fee. I distinctly remember telling the salesperson I didn't want the feature as I would forget to cancel it and I didn't think I needed it given my limited and repetitious routes around town. Obviously he ignored my request for reasons that must relate to a commission. But shame on me for not looking at the bill since December when I bought the phone.

So I called my carrier expecting to be rebuffed,but at least canceling it for the future. To my surprise the pleasant lady said, "no problem" and credited me back the almost $60. It is always nice when the world is fair and when it works well,given that it is not always that way.

The lesson learned is that the onus is on us to check it out in a timely and self-protective fashion.And, there are many its to be covered. Have a safe and fun day.Be kind to you as a counter to the fact that the world won't always be. Be optimistic, realistically.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Friday, May 21, 2010

WILLIE KNOWS BEST:Part III

In the same Time Magazine Interview Willie Nelson was asked," What helps you get through difficult times in life?" His response was:

Positive thinking. Believing that it's going to be O.K. And so far
it has been. Why bitch about anything? You're not hungry. You're not
cold. Neither am I. We're not sick. So everything is fine. If you
continue to live in the now,then things will be O.K.

This Willie could not have said it any better. It is realistic optimism all the way (see Tuesday's blog). As the song goes, "Don't worry, be happy...". Even if things aren't quite right or the way you would like them to be, try to stay positive and embrace this very moment. Now is really all that exists,really!

Hopefully, your weekend will be pleasant and peaceful. Assume it will be. That's all you can do, really!

Bye For Now,

Willie aka Bill

Thursday, May 20, 2010

WILLIE KNOWS BEST:Part II

I don't know how you answered the question ( see yesterday's blog) of what you might have done differently, but here's what Willie Nelson said:

"...I would like to think that I'm happy with the way things are now.
And I would be hesitant to change anything in the past because it would
change where we are now. I like it the way it is.

We could debate that, but it is an interesting answer wouldn't you say?

That answer only works if one is still alive after all the mischief and self-abuse. I don't think Janis, Elvis, Michael, or a host of overdosers would agree. Nor would those whose mistakes have had serious consequences such as Bernie or Tiger.

Perhaps the more important question is, what can I do differently now that can have a positive influence on the rest of my life?"

More on Willie tomorrow.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WILLIE KNOWS BEST: Part I

In an interview for Time Magazine, Willie Nelson was asked,"If you had it to do over again is there anything in your life you would do differently?"

This is an interesting and provocative question. Think about what your answer would be and tomorrow I will share his response. Ask your significant other this question too. Share your responses or not as you like.

And while you are at it think about all the stuff you would keep just as it was and continues to be.

Somewhere in the midst of these thoughts and musings laugh out loud. I hear that laughter is really good for the soul.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

REALISTIC OPTIMISM REVISITED

Yesterday I made reference to the underlying philosophy of this blog--realistic optimism. I believe it is a much needed perspective for our most challenging times.

Last week I received a challenging email. It basically said we need to practice realistic negativism. It pointed out all the flaws and flies in our world from oil spills to dirty pols to Lady Gaga to the economic disasters and wall street fat cats as well as the terrorists among us. It went on and on in that way.

When I finished reading it that I needed a dose of realistic optimism more than ever. If we go with the negative flow it takes us down into the sewer of life. Floating with the flotsam is fraught with despair and depression. Embracing the serenity prayer frees us from looking too closely at the messes and instead focusing on that which is beautiful, pure,kind,loving and warm.

Short of taking our life, all of those previously mentioned cannot take away from us a sunset, a babies gurgling giggle,embracing someone we love, a view of the ocean or a walk in the park or the joy of being helpful to another person.

I am realistically optimistic I can continue to enjoy all of those and more for a long time to come. I hope you are too!

Do something special, small as it might be, for yourself today. Just cause you deserve it!

Bye For Now,

Bill

Monday, May 17, 2010

ON DOING BETTER

On Friday I really liked the "no one is perfeck" quote. It made me think that so many of us were raised with a "practice makes perfect" philosophy. I believe it is really a false premise.

For one there is really no such thing as perfect. For two athletes,musicians,actors, etc. practice a great deal and still goof at times. The same with workers who do their jobs every day and make errors on occasion.

Practice does improve our performance and increases our accuracy or appropriateness.Even people I help report that practicing better ways of responding are able to use that under more stressful conditions.Practicing stress management tools as taught in our Tranquility Center improves your ability to induce a relaxed state of mind and body. Call it calm on demand! Call Mimi Gegg for your complimentary visit.

So, strive, not for perfection, but for doing better and better. Set realistic goals and be realistically optimistic. Most of all enjoy today.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Friday, May 14, 2010

WORDS I LIKE

Speak softly and sweetly. If your words are soft and sweet,then
they won't be hard to swallow if you have to eat them.
James Thurber

Don't get discouraged. No one is perfeck.

While this door is closing,another door is opening. It's our job to
go find that door.
Matthew Perry

Gambling: The sure way of getting nothing for something. (See Tuesday's Blog)
Wilson Mizner

In life, as in poker,you don't need a royal flush to be a winner.
Sometimes a pair of deuces--a weak hand played well-- is plenty.
Gerald Roque

Bye For Now,

Bill

Thursday, May 13, 2010

KISS

Keeping it simple silly(kiss) is the name of today's game.

Over the top is reserved for a select few whose numbers are diminishing by the hour.For the majority, it is a time to simplify, modify and solidify. The extravagances of the past decade need to be reined in. A large group of people are reevaluating their lifestyles. Financial losses are far greater than economic indices might suggest.

Beyond financial issues, simplification keeps many stresses away. It is a time to seek out peace of mind instead of giving someone a piece of your mind over some petty issue.

Our goals need to be: being able to comfortably afford ourselves, contributing in some small way to the common good, feeling pride and satisfaction, enjoying the smaller things in life that sit all around us, loving our partners, children and families and being happy with what we have rather than seeking that which we don't.

Simplicity is truly a kiss; anything else truly a kick in the you know what!

Bye For Now,

Bill

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A SIMPLE MESSAGE

I would like you to have a pleasant day today. Not an amazing day and not a terrible day.Just a day that goes smoothly, with no bad news and with no hitches or speed bumps.A day to be remembered simply because it was easily forgotten.

Focus on having a peaceful day. Anticipate that it will be just that. Picture it in your mind as you leave the house.

Enjoy it for what it is and for what it isn't.

I hope and expect the same for me.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

WATCHING SILLINESS

I am not a gambler and never have been. It has always seemed to me that betting on a random process was silly. How can I or anyone predict the next number on a roulette wheel or the next card on a table or the next die on a craps table?

Moreover, these beautiful megacasinos aren't built on their losses. They are built upon the losses of everyday folk like you and me. Sure, a few people win, but most lose. This is why comps, the seductive bait of casinos, are based on time and amount played. They know that the more time and the higher amounts wagered, the more likely they are to win.The odds are in their favor and they pander to it and to you.

Casinos provide a wide array of perks--free everything--but is it really free? I think not or they would not do it. They know from years of experience that offering VIP status is to their advantage. Your host, while wining and dining you, has his or her hand in your pocket. Their bonus is based your leaving lighter of wallet than when you arrived. Most of the time you do.

Last week I spoke of belt tightening during these difficult economic times. Watch out for your fantasies of making a killing at the gaming tables. Most of the time it is you who will be killed, at least financially.

As the old joke goes, How do you make a fortune in a casino? The answer, By Owning It!!!

Bye For Now,

Bill

Monday, May 10, 2010

UNBUNDLING

Several years ago I predicted that companies would charge separately for their services. I predicted that Air Lines would ultimately charge for using the bathroom. I still believe that might come to be.

On route to Vegas we were charged for luggage check in, water or other drinks, snacks and food. We were packed in like sardines.It was about as unpleasant and uncomfortable as it could be. It was an almost 5 hour ordeal of torture.

The good news is we could use the lavatory without charge. Let's see how long that lasts. Unbundling is here to stay.

I predict that sooner than later banks will charge an entrance fee for entering a branch plus separate charges for all transactions. Hopefully we will still be able to use the rest room for free. Then again, you never know.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Friday, May 7, 2010

JUST A SHOW

We went to the Elvis cirque show in Vegas.It was OK,though it was a strange mix of cruise ship frenzy and acrobatic fare interspersed with videos of the King himself. They seem to have developed a cookie cutter, Danielle Steel-esque model that I would call Hollywood meets History or His Story and His/Their Songs. It is OK, but not worth the outrageous price for 90 minutes. Then again nothing is worth the price in Vegasville!

None-the-less I left a bit sad. I was there when he hit Ed Sullivan's stage which at the time was thought of as risque, if not obscene. Ed should only see the rappers grope their privates repeatedly as if they were about to fall off, which makes Elvis look like a Priest. Well, that might not be a good analogy. Sorry! I was there when he went into the Army and I was there throughout his career of hit songs, movies, etc.He was the man, till he became the boy.

My sadness was related to the conclusion of his story. He went from King and Bling to lost and loser. Drugs and who knows what else brought him down hard. He had it all and he lost that and more. He was a victim of GLOP! He couldn't handle his fame and success. He was every man's fantasy,but could not manage it and became every man's worst nightmare.

I guess I just like happy endings. It saddens me when the opposite comes true.There are just too many stories like his. Rock and roll is here to stay, but many of its key players left prematurely. May they rest in peace. May we learn from them and not follow their lead.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Thursday, May 6, 2010

AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

I have said many times that I think gratitude is milk for the mind. It nourishes us while building stronger emotional bones. It is one of many possible "vitaminds".

It that context amid an unpredictable world I am grateful for having a lovely trip with one of my children and us both reaching our home destinations safely. We need to assume that will happen as we move about the cabin of our lives and feel happy and appreciative when, it fact,those assumptions are validated.

More on my recent trip to Las Vegas tomorrow and next week.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

TIGHTENING BELTS

I spoke of this yesterday.I believe whomever we are we need to be looking more closely at and what we spend our money on.

In the last few months I switched to GEICO (hate to sound like the reptile with a British accent) and saved $100 per month.

I realized my phone system at the office was obsolete, canceled and switched it to my cell phone and saved $250+ per month.

A few months ago I switched to UVERSE and saved several hundred a month as well. I have made some other adjustments too.

Now I am questioning whether we need a home phone given cell service being so easy and popular.

Now is the time to look over your expenses and see what is necessary and what is not.It is also a time to look over your bills carefully because, guess what, some companies cheat.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

IT'S NOT LIKE IT WAS!

Today at the gym in the locker room I heard a man lament the title of this blog. He works for a large retail establishment with branches all over Florida and the South.

He said they expect more for and with less. Not as much pay and not as many resources.Belts have tightened all over the place. I hear about this all the time. He said they are not as humanistic and caring as they once were. I hear that as well.

Nothing is like it once was. Some things are better and many things are worse. But it is what it is.

We need to accept rather than lament, feel grateful for what is and adjust our expectations for what isn't anymore. The man has a good job. In today's world that ain't bad.

Bye For Now,

Bill

Monday, May 3, 2010

MORIKAMI MEDITATION

I went to Morikami Gardens in Boca Raton, Fl today.

It is a lovely, serene, tranquil place that brings one instantly to peace. I joined for a year for a mere $72 that offers free entrance, special shows and events, and a discount in the gift shop and the Japanese restaurant open for lunch. It is a bargain at any price.

So many here don't know it exists.Those who know don't often allow themselves an hour or two to enjoy.There is a national treasure with an interesting history right in our backyard. Go visit. I guarantee you will enjoy it and experience a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Bye For Now,

Bill