New Year’s Eve

It’s New Year’s Eve today. Tomorrow begins a new year and for some reason, which I have never quite understood, everyone seems to feel like it’s the beginning of something. I would say that I feel the same, but the honest truth is that it’s the beginning of nothing but a new calendar. All the spaces that had been filled in before are free and open to possibility again. But what does that really mean?

If your life isn’t what you want it to be, tomorrow morning, you’re not likely going to wake up to a better anything. Your life will be the same, the only thing that will have changed is that you and the world around you will be a bit older, a bit less shiny and very probably hung over. If your life is good, it will most likely continue to be good. Things are really rather on their path and they tend to stay that way. So why is it that we give this day and the one following it so much power?

And because of that everyone expects that we should all go out and do something fantastic, but really it’s just a turn of a calendar page. Nothing more, nothing less.

Still, I can’t help but feel that sudden overwhelming sense of possibility. As bored with my life as I am and as dissatisfied with the way this year has turned out, I am a sucker for the romanticism of the day and I too will fall helplessly asleep tonight (hopefully not too drunk either) thinking that maybe, just maybe, this year will be different. I will figure out what I want, how to get there and fix the things I see wrong with my life.

I’ve made my list of resolutions. I have to admit that sadly they look very much like the ones I made last year. They look like the ones I’d made two years ago in fact. So I suppose that this coming year is one to play catch up with myself a bit. There are the normal ones that everyone makes; you know, lose weight, find true love, improve my life in general. There are the more specific ones that apply only to me; to get back to the stable and play with the ponies more often, sort out my debts, etc… And then there is the one that is mine and mine alone. And that is the one that matters most. It’s one thing. One very small thing that to anyone else would be just a wish. Or a dream. But to me, it’s a need.

And no, I’m not telling you what it is.

But I will say this.

I hope everyone does the same. Find the one thing on that list which is within your power to change and change it. Maybe if we all focus on that one small thing – then next year, things won’t seem as bleak as the year before and we can all look back on 2011 as the year we accomplished something. No matter how small it seems.

Happy New Year.

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Shocked at the Weakness

I’ve been in physical therapy for the ongoing knee issues for about 2 months now. When I started doing the exercises that my trainer gave me to do at home, I was surprised at the difficulty I had doing them to my right side (which is the problem and therefore weaker side). But today something shocking happened.

Dottie, my physical therapy trainer, had me do a simple leg raise. Sitting on the floor with my back straight against the wall to keep posture and with one leg straight out in front of me, the other leg bent – holding my knee as close to my chest as I could while keeping that foot flat to the floor as well. I could barely lift my right leg. My muscles strained and shook and I barely got through 5 of these altered leg lifts. But then I switched to the other side to see the difference. AND OHMIGOD there was a difference. With my left leg straight out in front of me, I could easily lift it, no muscle strain and no difficulty. I got through 10 in half the time and with amazingly accurate control.

Seeing the difference between the two, I have to say, that even though I’m not and that everything SEEMS to work just fine, I’ve never felt so broken in my life.

VOTE FOR ME!!!! (please?)

As some of you know, I take pictures sometimes. Well, I take pictures a lot. But sometimes I get inspired to think that my pictures are actually good enough to occasionally win something. This hasn’t quite happened yet, but I keep trying.

I’m trying again.  I have four entries in the current “GO INDIE” photo contest for PDN & IPNStock and I’m asking you to vote for me. Please? Or don’t vote for me. But support art. And the artists who make it. So if you’ve got a moment, go have a look and vote.  If not for me then for my friend Keleigh – she’s got some stuff in there too. (Search her work under: Keleigh Layton.)

Here’s the link to the Go Indie People’s Choice Vote area: Go Indie Photo Contest

And if you like what you see at the contest, go have a look at my other work here: http://laurenelisabethphotography.net

I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks very much for your support.

Dear TSA…

Last week I flew back and forth between 2 of the biggest airports in the continental United States. In neither situation was I subjected to an unnecessary search, nor was I made to walk through a naked scanner.  But something did happen that struck me as odd. And stupid. And potentially horrible.

I flew back from Washington DC on Sunday night. The Sunday night of the busiest travel weekend of the year. It was crowded in the airport as expected. The security line was rather long. But shockingly, as the line got overly long, TSA did in fact open 6 more security stations to handle the overflow and it was relatively quick to get through.  During the course of my 20 minutes waiting though, two things happened that I need to talk about.

The first was simple, but disconcerting. There was a huge line (this was before they opened the extra stations).  From somewhere in the snaking line there was a scream.  It wasn’t a scream of shock or of being attacked.  It was the sort of sound of someone in an intense amount of pain. It sounded to me like a woman was giving birth. It was that kind of screaming. And it was coming from somewhere in the line but no one could quite find out where.  But it was clearly disturbing everyone in the line, myself included.  No one knew what was causing it, who it was or where it was coming from and in these days of crazy heightened security and risk the thoughts going through my head were random and varied. I can only imagine what others in the line were thinking.  (My twisted head was thinking that maybe this was the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse, but that’s just me.)  The screams and moans were ongoing. For at least 10 minutes, if not longer.

No one seemed to be doing anything. TSA, the security and airport workers did NOTHING. No one walked through the line, no one made an announcement, and not one of the TSA agents on duty seemed to even care the slightest bit.  Finally, after several passengers complained and asked what the hell was going on, did one TSA agent go through the line and pull out the person making the noises.  It turned out innocent enough. The person making the noise was a mentally disabled young man who was accompanied by his mother.  They were finally pulled out of the line and escorted through security.  But why was it that none of the TSA agents thought to make sure that everyone was okay? Why did no one react? Isn’t that what they’re there for?

The second occurence was more disturbing to me.  As I was collecting my things on the other side of the security line, you know, putting my shoes back on, putting my belongings back into my bag, etc… one of the TSA agents noticed something strange.  Someone had left a laptop in a tray that had gotten put back into the stack of trays waiting for passengers to use.  So there is an unattended piece of electronics left in the very crowded security area of an airport on a holiday weekend and what did the TSA agent do?

“DID ANYONE LEAVE A LAPTOP??? SOMEONE HAS LEFT A LAPTOP IN THE SECURITY AREA AT NUMBER 6.”

REALLY??? How stupid are you people? What the hell do we pay you for? We are all told to be vigilant and to keep an eye out and report suspicious or unattended packages.  And here is exactly that – an unattended potentially suspicious item left in security and what does TSA do? They scream and ask who left it behind? REALLY???? They’re too busy grabbing our junk to notice that someone may have left something very dangerous.

I have mentioned that I have been to Israel. I have seen the Israeli security work. This is what is fundamentally wrong with our security system. TSA are morons. No one thought that this might be a threat. But if this had happened in Israel – this would have automatically been thought that it MAY be a threat. The Israeli security would have isolated and confiscated the item before any of the passengers could even notice. They would have tested it and made sure that it was NOT a threat before they made any announcements to the general public for someone to come back to claim it.

I didn’t stick around to find out what happened, but I have to say yet again, that I have NO FAITH AT ALL in our TSA agents. Significantly more training and basic common sense would have to be taught for these idiots in the ugly blue shirts to be at all effective.  I will still fly. I have to. I feel no more safe now than I did prior to 9-11. This system we have in place simply DOES NOT WORK. Spread the word. Something has to be done to fix it.