My New Year’s Resolutions for 2010

It is hard to believe, but 2009 is soon to be a distant memory.  There is always talk about resolutions at this time of the year.  You tend to hear the same ones every year. People talk about quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising more, etc.. Usually, a typical resolution will only last for a few months before a person gives up on it.

I have never liked New Year’s resolutions because why wait until the start of the New Year to start a goal? The time is today to start that personal goal of yours. However, this is a great time to really take stock of where you are at in your life and what direction you will be taking in the next year.  During the past year, I achieved a few of my resolutions from last year.  I am drinking far more water than I used to and have cut down dramatically on drinking soda pop. I still have a problem with making trips to the fast food joints but I am eating a lot more veggies and overall, my diet is a lot healthier. Having said those things, Here are a few of my resolutions for the upcoming New Year.

1. Manage my time better.

This is a resolution that many people have. It is amazing how much time a person really wastes in a typical day.  Spending excess time on the computer, watching television or talking on the phone are ways that many folks waste time.  My problem is just lack of planning and I would like to do a better job of planning my day in the next year.

2.  Watching a sporting event without elevating my blood pressure.

I consider myself a very mild-mannered guy except when my favorite teams are playing. Those of you who are passionate sports fans know exactly what I am talking about.  Sometimes I find myself probably more nervous than the players and that has got to stop.  We fans have very little control over the game and how a player or team performs in a certain situation.  I have no control over a player who misses a tackle. I can control my anger and disgust with my team.  Just enjoying the game more is something I need to do more of.

3.  Improve my texting  speed by 50 percent.

I consider myself a pretty fast typing and I am pretty fast at instant messaging. However, send me a text message and my slowness suddenly appears. Maybe it has to do more with my cell phone! Or maybe not!

4.  Read more books.

I really enjoy reading inspirational, history and sports books. But like most people, I just do not take the time to sit down with a good book. If I can find time sit down and read the newspaper, I can find to read a book.

5.  Meet new people

I have this resolution nearly every year. Since joining a few social networking sites, I have met some really wonderful people from all over the country.  And I hope on meeting more people in the next year.

6.  Get more sleep and rest

I live a very active lifestyle. I work hard and play hard. Some days, I just want to lay in bed and sleep all day!  I have found that going to bed earlier in the evening is a great way of feeling well rested for the next day.  Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is something I need to do more of.

7.  Quit the whining

I tend to whine too much over little things. Like the weather!  I do not like cold weather and I tend to whine more in the winter than at any other time during the year.  There is always a silver lining to everything and I need to have a more positive attitude. I think those brutally cold days really makes me appreciate the nice summer days even more. See! I am already on track for this resolution!

I hope everyone has a great upcoming New Year and please make it the best year of your life!!

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The health care bill is no Christmas present for Americans

Just a short time ago, members of the Senate passed their own version of health care reform with the vote being strictly partisan. Several Democrats boasted that this is indeed, a true Christmas  present for many Americans who cannot afford health insurance. While this may be true for a few and very small minority of Americans, what about the rest of us who really like our health insurance?

When I think of reforming something, I always think of  making a particular process or product better and I fail to see what exactly will be made better with this bill.  The first glaring thing  I noticed is that 25 million people will still not be insured. I thought the primary goal of this piece of legislation is to make sure all Americans are covered? If that many folks are still not covered, then there are some serious flaws in this bill.

The price tag of this bill is another thing that jumps out. So how are we suppose to pay for this sweeping reform? I still have a very hard believing the cost of insurance will actually go down with this bill. In fact, I can see just the opposite. Premiums are bound to go up for many folks, especially the younger people who are the ones with the least need for coverage. And of course, cuts to Medicare will have a great impact to those who need health care the most, our seniors. For those who think cutting the waste out of  Medicare will be enough to pay for this bill and not affect seniors, you guys are extremely delusional! I simply do not trust that a bunch of politicians and bureaucrats will accomplish something like this.  Does anyone out there really believe this will happen?

Probably my biggest concern about this health care reform is what will become of the quality of care in this country.  With many more people having access to health care, can you imagine the wait that one will go through just to see the doctor? Believe me, just ask the folks in Canada what it is like to wait for a simply procedure to happen. It is bound to happen here in the states as well. I simply cannot believe that our quality of care will actually get better. It will be a total nightmare with long waits to see the doctor and a strong potential of having government rationed health care due to a lack of funds.

There are so many other concerns I have about health care reform but overall, will this make our system much better?  I have serious doubts and all Americans should be concerned about what is happening with this debate.  We will all be affected by this and it is unfortunate that a few Democrats are not listening to the voices of the American people.  60 percent of Americans do not support this bill. It seems like this debate is more about a power struggle of ideologies in Washington instead of truly reforming health care. For those Democrats who voted for this bill and especially Ben Nelson, you guys all deserve a big lump of coal in your stockings this Christmas. And come next November, some of you will get deservedly get voted out of office.

Some of my favorite and least favorite Christmas gifts of all time

We all probably have many memories of receiving a Christmas gift that either made us jump for joy or fake that expression of gratitude, when in reality, we probably wanted to say, “What were you thinking, you knucklehead!!”  I want to share a few gifts that I have received during the years that have made both categories.

Probably my favorite gift that I ever received came when I was about 14 years old.  Like many teenagers, I loved music and dreamed of having my own radio/cassette player or commonly know at that time as a boom box.  It was at the top of my list and my parents knew it. I reminded them about 100 times. Well, Christmas eve came and it was time to open our presents. I still remember seeing a present underneath our tree for me that was about the size of  a boom box and thinking that was it!! I  could hardly hold my excitement down any longer!! I waited until I had opened all my other presents before finally, the moment of truth had arrived. The present was before me.  I quickly unwrapped the present and sure enough, there it was! I nearly jumped out of chair in excitement!! Several years later, I still have that gift and believe it or not, it still gets some use!

Picking out a least favorite gift is rather difficult because I cannot really pinpoint a gift that was so bad that I wanted to immediately throw it in the garbage can. I can usually make use of any gift that I receive whether I need it or not. But there are a few that come to mind that were not well liked.

During my senior year in high school, I received a sweater from a certain relative of mine. Not that I do not like sweaters but it had some reindeer on the front. Not exactly the type of gift that a fashion conscience 17-year-old would want to wear to school!! I thought the chicks would really dig that sweater, NOT!!  I have also gotten gifts of bad cologne and of course, those packages of underwear and tube socks. Nearly ever guy in this country probably has gotten a 6 pack of tidy whitey Hanes for Christmas at one time or another!! It is rather unfortunate that some people just do not believe in giving out gift certificates for Christmas.

Hopefully everyone out there will enjoy their gifts and just remember, if you get a gift that you do not like, there is someone out there who would be thrilled to have it.  While that reindeer sweater may alarm the fashion police, there is always some use for it. Like helping me change the oil in my car!!

Remember the less fortunate on Christmas

Christmas is a very special time of the year for me as well as many millions of people around the world.  We all have our family traditions on Christmas and being with family and friends and celebrating the holiday season is such a joyful experience for so many folks. But for many, Christmas is far from that and there is little joy to experience.

This past year has been a very difficult year for many people, not only in this country, but in the world. Millions of people are without jobs due to one of the toughest recessions of all time.  Nearly 1 out of 6 people are underemployed or have no job at all.  There are several families with children, who are struggling just to make ends meet and simply cannot afford to buy any presents this year. Imagine if you were a child and your friends were talking about all the nice gifts that they received while you did not get any.  That is an extremely sad thing to think about, but the reality is, it will happen for several children during this Christmas.

While many of us have families and loved ones that we can share this season with and be together, many people do not have a family that they can experience this season with. I always think about the senior citizens and those in nursing homes who are by themselves and end up spending time alone for Christmas.  Nobody deserves to be alone for Christmas.

The final group of people I want people to remember and it is especially true during these days since we are currently in a few wars, is our military personal over in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Several of these brave men and women have wives and husbands along with children back home. Unfortunately, they will not be home for Christmas and I would imagine it is a somewhat difficult time for the soldiers and their families.

A big part of Christmas is giving and I think those of us who are blessed with plenty during this season need to reach out to the less fortunate.  Just doing things like donating money or gifts goes a long way to making sure someone has a special Christmas. Or inviting that lonely man or women who is alone during Christmas to spend time with your family.  The possibilities are endless but just doing a small random act of kindness can go a long ways in ensuring that someone will have some joy and happiness during this season. It is always great to receive those nice gifts for Christmas but it is even better to give of your time and resources to help those in need.

The horrors of Christmas shopping

Unlike many guys in the country, I do not mind going to a shopping mall at all.  I really enjoy going from store to store to check out the many things that they have to offer, especially the sporting goods, clothing and electronic stores.  As long as I go by myself and not have some overzealous woman hauling me around, I am fine.  However,  shopping during the Christmas season is another story.  A few weeks ago, I stopped by a mall and was quickly reminded of the harsh realities that Christmas shopping can bring.

The first problem starts as soon as you reach the mall or store. Typical parking places near your destination become hard to come by and people become obsessed with parking as close to the nearest door as possible so they can save about 50 yards of walking distance.  It makes totally no sense at all for people to circle the parking lot and burn up gas just so they can save a little bit of walking distance!  I have never been one to fight for a close spot. I would rather park a good distance away so I can leave the area a lot easier. And of course,  I would not have to worry about having somebody ding my car with their shopping cart!!

Once inside, the true horror starts.  Trying to get from point A to B can be a huge challenge.  Sometimes I feel like a running back who is trying to find the nearest hole and lane to get through.  Many people are in their own little world and do not understand that they are blocking the lanes with their shopping carts.  I find it very rude of people to park their cart in the middle of the aisle!  And of course, you have those folks who waddle along at a turtle’s pace without giving any consideration to those behind you.  I nearly plowed over a lady at the MOA the other day when she suddenly stopped walking to do some window shopping! I wish more people would understand how annoying it is to block a walking lane. You need to keep on moving!!

The next bit of horror comes after you get done picking out your item. I absolutely hate standing in line at the checkouts!! And a memo to all stores,  why do you have empty registers and checkout lanes when there are people standing in line waiting to get checked out? Believe me, I have seen this happen many times! Oh, I suppose some of the employees are on break and cannot help.  The managers need to do a better job of  coping with this situation. That  is just poor customer service! Another example of poor customer service is those sales clerks who are not friendly at the check out lines.  It really does not take much to be friendly but I have seen a few cashiers who fail to even look me in the eye when I make a purchase! That is totally inexcusable!! A nice smile and hello can go a long ways to making someone want to go back to your store.

Leaving a busy store can be a hassle for a shopper too.  My worst nightmare is forgetting where I parked. Believe me, I have been there and done that!  I always wonder if the security people are watching me and laughing! And of course, let I not forget the walk to your car for those who do not have those senior moments.  There is always some idiot who fails to be careful while backing out of their parking spot. I never assume someone sees me while backing up.

Going to a shopping mall during the Christmas season is a great way to get into the mood for Christmas. That is if you have plenty of patience and can deal with a few annoyances.

The Tiger Woods fiasco is way overblown

A few months ago, one of my co-workers and I were talking about Tiger Woods and how this guy seems to come from a different planet.  Not only is he the best golfer in the world, he is arguably the most famous person in the world, has a lot of money and is married to a gorgeous woman.  What more could a guy want? I told my co-worker that I was a little envious of  Tiger and what guy would not be? He seems to have the type of life that any guy would dream of having.  However, the recent events with Tiger just goes to show that fame is not always the root of all happiness. In fact, it is usual the opposite.

As an avid golfer, I have to admit that Tiger is one of my favorite athletes of all time. I admire him for the way he works at his game and his drive to be the best of all time.  But the thing that I really admire most about Woods is his mental toughness. That part of his makeup really separates him from just about any other golfer out there. He plays ever single shot like it is his last and I really admire an athlete who puts out that kind of effort.  It was a real treat for me to have seen Woods in person during last years PGA and at another tournament.  The throngs of people following him is something to see!

While Tiger appears to be some sort of super human being, the truth of the matter is that he is just like any other person in this country with faults of his own. I do not know all the facts about what is going on in his personal life and quite frankly, it is NONE of my business and anybody else’s.  If he did indeed cheat on his wife, then that is between him and his wife and nobody else! It is very unfortunate that Tiger’s dirty laundry has to be aired out in public like this.  However, that is how things roll these days with the ever-expanding media. I find it very laughable that the same people who are ripping Woods for these alleged acts of infidelity are probably guilty of the same things in their lives! What a bunch of hypocrites!

If the alleged allegations against Woods are true,  then it would be a sad thing for his family, especially considering he has a few small children. Woods then should be held accountable. But that is between him and his family and nobody else.  I guess it is not such a great thing to be like Tiger or Micheal Jordan.  Imagine if every little thing was scrutinized in your life like it is with these famous celebrities.  One second thought, maybe I am not all that envious of Tiger.