Week Eight Picks: I found success once I stopped worrying

There’s a passage that hangs on my office wall I read everyday after working. It allows me to take stock in the thoughts and accomplishments throughout the day.

Oftentimes you feel the need to sit down and take stock of the things in your life that you need to do better, that you need to improve, that you need to address, and this is not a bad thing.
But, when was the last time that you sat down as earnestly and as enthusiastically and took stock of all the things that you have done RIGHT?
The time you took to help others, the people you supported merely because it was the right thing to do, the right choices you made when no one was watching

There is always room for improvement in areas of your life, but there is nothing magical or superior about only focusing on the negatives, even if it is with an eye toward making them better.
Balance dictates that you look at the totality of your situation, and that includes giving credit where credit is due.
Today, take a moment to examine your life from the vantage point of what you have done right, and embrace the unique and beautiful wonder of YOU!

There are so many things that linger in my mind when decompressing from my work day. An idea pops in my head and teases me to get back on my laptop and turn it into action. I often found myself in that situation when I first started freelancing full time. I thought having this kind of routine would be beneficial of having a career that I could make my own hours and choose my own direction. Sure enough I was right, but it did come at a cost. I found success but soon learned that I sacrificed the free time I wanted to have in the first place. It was just work, work, work. What good is freedom when you’re always locked inside your Word document?

That was the time I stumbled upon that passage. I discovered that my desire for balance was lacking. It was insufficient because I didn’t have the balance of praise and criticism. There was always something to improve on or add to in my assignments. There was always one more person to call. One thought after another. And with my own fluid schedule, I thought I could knock out all of these notions and run my freelancing business smoothly. I was sadly mistaken. The one thing that I despised when working for “the man” turned out to be what I became. I was that boss that wanted more from the employee who was me.

Reading these sentences made me realize the need to have a stop and start button to my daily career hustle or else it would burn me out. Fortunately, it has made a better writer and time manager. Once I started looking at what I accomplished and not dwelling on what I could have done better or missed out on, the opportunities appeared more.  I was less stressed and not so overwhelmed when on assignment. The game came to me instead of me forcing things.

Now, my career has taken a great turn and I owe all to my change in thinking. I was always about my process as a writer and editor, but my mindset has really over the top. I’m thankful for that. I don’t know who the author of these words were but they’ve very helpful in my life. So, here’s hoping they’ll make good use for you.

Is there any passage you read daily gets you going? Comment below.

WEEK 8

(BYES: N.Y. GIANTS, SAN FRANCISCO)

Last Week: 11-3

Season: 64-40

Momentum is building… 

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS AT DENVER BRONCOS — 8:25 p.m.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26

DETROIT LIONS AT ATLANTA FALCONS (LONDON) — 9:30 a.m.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT CAROLINA PANTHERS — 1:00 p.m.

BALTIMORE RAVENS AT CINCINNATI BENGALS — 1:00 p.m.

MIAMI DOLPHINS AT JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS — 1:00 p.m.

ST. LOUIS RAMS AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS — 1:00 p.m.

CHICAGO BEARS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS — 1:00 p.m.

BUFFALO BILLS AT N.Y. JETS — 1:00 p.m.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS — 1:00 p.m.

HOUSTON TEXANS AT TENNESSEE TITANS — 1:00 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES AT ARIZONA CARDINALS — 4:05 p.m.

OAKLAND RAIDERS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS — 4:25 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS — 4:25 p.m.

GREEN BAY PACKERS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS * — 8:30 p.m.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 27

WASHINGTON REDSKINS AT DALLAS COWBOYS — 8:30 p.m.

 

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Week One Picks: Finding my perfect smile

“You should smile more.”

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This is what I hear often. I particularly don’t like my smile. I have two enormous, over-bitten front choppers that are uncomfortably separated. When I do smile, one might suspect a linebacker is coming to fill my A-gap for a tackle. Also, it doesn’t help I’m 6’3ish” 200-plus lbs. with eyes that pierce steel.

Although I’m a jovial person, my facial features tell otherwise. I’m mistaken for cruel or at least menacing at first glance. Hygiene-wise, I’m on top of my game with my teeth. My problem is conveying happiness to the initial stranger. There are several ways I’m trying to communicate my inner happiness for the whole world to see.

Practice, practice, practice

2014-08-02 12.25.02 2014-08-02 12.25.07 2014-08-02 12.25.11

My smile is one of the original qualities I possess. If I’m going to perfect this train wreck, I got to practice in front of a mirror until I can’t get it wrong. At least I know what I’m working with, so I’m going with a lot of looks here.

The one on the right is known as the standard “Duchenne smile“. It’s the gold standard of smiles. When we do it right and with feeling, the only stressed parts of our face should be the cheeks and corners of our eyes. Although they’re easy to fake, it’s generally a tell of genuine enjoyment. Like this chick below. See how happy she looks…

Click me. You know you want to.

The second shot known as “teeging” where my mouth is slightly open while my tongue is pressed against my teeth. I call it  my “Yes, more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, please”  look.

My third and  “THERE’S MORE BP&J?!? I LOVE YOU!” pose is an example of the LOL smile where—at it’s maximum—my happy vein would pop out in the middle of my big forehead. In test driving these positions, one thing I’ve learned is to recognize how my face feels when I’m truly smiling and memorize it. Doing this, I figured out that I often smile with my eyes but the rest of my face doesn’t follow suit. In order to get the full effect, I often try to go for an “eyes-only” approach. It works well when you want to express pleasure without actually screaming “WOO-HOO!”.

I’m not saying cheese!

The exact origin of how this started is debatable, but understandable. When you say cheese, your cheeks expand and your pearly whites show, but the end result looks forced. I’ve found uttering words that end with an “uh” sound such as “yoga” and “mocha”  work well.

But old habits die hard. So here’s a trick. When the person taking the pictures yells, “Say Cheese,” reply in a condescending manner “Nooo”. The slow motion of your diction will retract you cheeks back into the smile you’ve always wanted. Don’t believe me? Try it.

Find your happy place

While taking these three photos, I was thinking of how amazing it was when man first combined peanut butter and jam which made me all tickled inside, thus causing me elation. Thinking happy thoughts does lead to more smiling, but this could also be the case of the egg leading the chicken. Studies have shown that the mere act of smiling makes us happier humans which takes us to our happy place (and happy vein). But watch out… a frown can have the same effect.

Speaking of which, you know that adage “it takes more muscles to frown than to smile”? Well, someone may have been lying to you. On average, we use the same amount of muscles to do both. The difference is in our zygomatic major muscle. That’s the one we flex when we smile. Chances are, we humans are more smilers than frowners. With any muscle, the more we work it, the stronger it becomes. Thus frowning may appear to be a tad bit harder due to inactivity.

Learning to smile is so simple but becoming cognizant of how it’s perceived is just one of the many life-hackish improvements I’m undergoing. After all, it promotes trust and a better understanding of my fellow humans. It’s just one of those small things that can lead to big opportunities.

And that’ll put a smile on my face.

 

We start fresh. New Season: New Beginning

0-0

WEEK 1 – My predictions are in BOLD

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 4

GREEN BAY PACKERS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS — 8:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AT ATLANTA FALCONS — 1:00 p.m.

CINCINNATI BENGALS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS — 1:00 p.m.

BUFFALO BILLS AT CHICAGO BEARS — 1:00 p.m.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS AT HOUSTON TEXANS — 1:00 p.m.

TENNESSEE TITANS AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS — 1:00 p.m.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT MIAMI DOLPHINS — 1:00 p.m.

OAKLAND RAIDERS AT N.Y. JETS — 1:00 p.m.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLES — 1:00 p.m.

CLEVELAND BROWNS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS — 1:00 p.m.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT ST. LOUIS RAMS — 1:00 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS AT DALLAS COWBOYS — 4:25 p.m.

CAROLINA PANTHERS AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS — 4:25 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS AT DENVER BRONCOS — 8:30 p.m.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

N.Y. GIANTS AT DETROIT LIONS — 7:10 p.m.

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS AT ARIZONA CARDINALS — 10:20 p.m.

 


I will not turn off my iPhone! I will not use Airplane Mode! Let’s have some pasta!

At this time, we request that all mobile phones, pagers, radios and remote controlled toys be turned off for the full duration of the flight, as these items might interfere with the navigational and communication equipment on this aircraft.

You-Lie-Joe-Wilson

What he said!

We request that all other electronic devices be turned off until we fly above 10,000 feet. We will notify you when it is safe to use such devices.

Cheap-Airline-Safety-Instructions--62282

Today is a victory for all air travelers. The BS lie we’ve been giving about our mobile devices and tablets has been destroyed. It’s no more.  The Federal Aviation Administration has finally listened to the ample amounts of studies stating that logging on to Facebook isn’t going scramble the plane’s communication and cause everyone to die in a fiery crash.

But don’t grab your iPad just yet (but we will anyway). The rule doesn’t go into effect until the end of the year which isn’t a long wait. Since the rule has been around for more than 20 years, the many among us have been scratching our heads. Although, the airline had their reasons to protect us. You wouldn’t want to catch a laptop upside your head in a crash.

•••

Turkey, Noodle, Pasta
Enough Ground Turkey to fix up 12 little meatballs
Two cups of diced tomatoes with sauce
1/2 crushed clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried bail
Four ounces of whole-wheat spaghetti/noodles
Two tablespoons of shredded mozzarella cheese

Roll up the ground turkey to the meatball size of your choosing. You can mix the garlic and some tomatoes for a twist. Heat in the oven at 350 degrees for less than 10 minutes.
DSCN2623
While that’s going on, heat up your noodles in a pot (medium-high), drain your noodles (Tip: If you shake your noodle more than three times, you’re technically playing with yourself).
DSCN2622
Stir your noodles with the sauce and/or tomatoes if you like. Make yourself a bowl and add a tablespoon of cheese (for each bowl). Enjoy the meal and thank you for flying MichaelFreeze.com.

LAST WEEK: 9-4
SEASON: 73-46

THU, OCT 31 TIME (ET)      
Cincinnati at Miami 8:25 PM CINCINNATI    
SUN, NOV 3 TIME (ET)      
Kansas City at Buffalo 1:00 PM KANSAS CITY    
Minnesota at Dallas 1:00 PM DALLAS    
Tennessee at St. Louis 1:00 PM TENNESSEE    
New Orleans at NY Jets 1:00 PM NEW ORLEANS    
San Diego at Washington 1:00 PM WASHINGTON    
Atlanta at Carolina 1:00 PM ATLANTA    
Philadelphia at Oakland 4:05 PM OAKLAND    
Tampa Bay at Seattle 4:05 PM SEATTLE    
Baltimore at Cleveland 4:25 PM BALTIMORE    
Pittsburgh at New England 4:25 PM NEW ENGLAND    
Indianapolis at Houston 8:30 PM INDIANAPOLIS    
MON, NOV 4 TIME (ET)      
Chicago at Green Bay 8:30 PM GREEN BAY    
·Bye: Denver, Detroit, NY Giants, Arizona, San Francisco, Jacksonville

What the hell was that?

I was preparing to interview a man who ran a charity that helps people shout louder. It should have been easy. Tell me about your organization. Where did you find the inspiration to help others yell more? What shouting event will you participate in this year? But he wanted to make it hard.

He was 70-year old man with a Southern draw that I thought funny being that he was from the Sudan. Nonetheless, he was excited. After identifying myself as a freelance writer from the greatest magazine of all time, I heard a sigh.

  I have a scoop. I’m building a gated community of shouters. They would live together. They’d shout at each other, of course. And best of all, they live in perfect harmony. The world needs more shouters, but you my friend, you need to be here. It’s no good that I’m shouting on a phone. Be here. In person. 

I was in France at the time and still interested in his utopia of screaming. He sighed again.

It’s just not the same. I can’t share this over the phone. It’s just not right. 

…and time.

WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?! Burger

1 egg
1 pound ground beef (lean)
1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup diced onion
1/2 cup chopped spinach
2 tablespoons Mexican-blend cheese

You start off with an egg. Crack it. Into a bowl of course. Now, put the rest of it in the bowl. Add some pepper or salt if you want.
It’s fun to take your hands and go silly putty. If you get it right, you have four delicious quarter pounders.
I hope you know how to cook a burger. Do I have to do everything?
Medium to High, 7 minutes on each side.

You can call them spinach oatmeal burgers.

You can call them spinach oatmeal burgers.

Thanks for listening.

LAST WEEK: 8-8
SEASON: 27-21

THU, SEP 26
San Francisco at St. Louis SAN FRANCISCO
SUN, SEP 29
Baltimore at Buffalo BALTIMORE
Cincinnati at Cleveland CINCINNATI
Chicago at Detroit DETROIT
NY Giants at Kansas City KANSAS CITY
Arizona at Tampa Bay ARIZONA
Indianapolis at Jacksonville INDIANAPOLIS
Seattle at Houston HOUSTON
Pittsburgh at Minnesota PITTSBURGH
NY Jets at Tennessee TENNESSEE
Washington at Oakland OAKLAND
Philadelphia at Denver DENVER
Dallas at San Diego DALLAS
New England at Atlanta NEW ENGLAND
MON, SEP 30
Miami at New Orleans NEW ORLEANS
·Bye: Green Bay, Carolina

What makes me happy? (cryptic message ahead)

You know what makes me happy?

Going 9-7. Having a winning start. Getting off on the good foot. Football is back and I’m ever so glad. I LOVE simple pleasures.

It was a very good day for that exact reason.  Today, my friend Amy posted a link about reasons why you shouldn’t send your daughter to college. Needless to say, I was so shocked reading it that I began to read again. And again.

And again.

It was like Rebecca Black’s Friday. My anger turned into giddiness. It was a very fortunate moment that I was able to witness the most crackpot of a blog post ever. I can sit down with my kids and tell them about a time when someone shamelessly attempted to put women in their general place.

Bravo! 1950s man, Bravo!

Well, all this misogyny has gotten me hungry.

To my lovely friend who once shared a lunch table with me in high school, I will propose a dish that has NO MEAT.

White Sauce Pita Pizza
(1) small whole wheat pita
White sauce = 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese + 1 teaspoon olive oil + 1/4 teaspoon dried basil or oregano
(1) sliced green onion
(1) tablespoon part-skim mozzarella cheese
(3) slices of tomato (for Shakespeare In The City) or 1 ounce of smoke salmon or 1/4 cup of precooked chicken (Personally, I never buy that because of the boatload of sodium. So, I bake it in the oven, then chop, chop, chop…)

Spread your white sauce evenly on the whole wheat pita. Top it with the aforementioned ingredients and put it in the oven (475 degrees) for about six-eight minutes. Then, DONE!

White Sauce Pita Pizza

We are eating and laughing at the stupid guy from Fix The Family.

254 calories for my fish & chicken brethren and 231 calories for the professor at San Francisco State University.  I hope she is happy now. I am.

Until next time…

MY PICKS (Sorry, dbmeow 😦 )
LAST WEEK: 9-7
OVERALL: 9-7

Week 2
THU, SEP 12 TIME (ET)
NY Jets at New England 8:25 PM NEW ENGLAND
SUN, SEP 15 TIME (ET)
St. Louis at Atlanta 1:00 PM ATLANTA
Carolina at Buffalo 1:00 PM CAROLINA
Minnesota at Chicago 1:00 PM MINNESOTA
Washington at Green Bay 1:00 PM GREEN BAY
Miami at Indianapolis 1:00 PM INDIANAPOLIS
Dallas at Kansas City 1:00 PM KANSAS CITY
Cleveland at Baltimore 1:00 PM BALTIMORE
Tennessee at Houston 1:00 PM HOUSTON
San Diego at Philadelphia 1:00 PM PHILADELPHIA
Detroit at Arizona 4:05 PM DETROIT
New Orleans at Tampa Bay 4:05 PM NEW ORLEANS
Jacksonville at Oakland 4:25 PM OAKLAND
Denver at NY Giants 4:25 PM DENVER
San Francisco at Seattle 8:30 PM SEATTLE
MON, SEP 16
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati 8:30 PM PITTSBURGH