Monday, January 30, 2012

“An apology might help, but you can change your life without one.” –Robin Quivers

Image courtesy of Baloo Cartoons

Personally, I am not a promoter of apologies. The most admission of guilt you will ever hear from me is a hasty, “I’m sorry,” –and that is only if I recognize I offended you in some way, and only if sincerely mean it.

My only redeeming quality in the “I’m sorry arena” is that I will actually offer an act of contrition, as opposed to just telling you to fuck off and be on your merry way.

Then again, maybe I'm not so bad. I got to thinking about a myriad of pretenses over the weekend --thanks to a series of unfortunate events. Subsequently, as I got to ruminating more and more about it, I realized that my shortcoming is much of a shortcoming at all. 

The reason I am not big on apologies is that I try my utmost to refrain from doing things that require an apology to begin with.

Infuse yourself in that notion for a minute.

So much of who and what we are becomes wrapped up in a feeling of entitlement for an apology when we have been wronged. After all, that’s the “right” thing to do. Yet, will that apology make your world better and brighter? Is it going to fix the ache in your heart? Probably not.

Apologies do not hold any magical properties. In fact, apologies are like Band-Aids. They do not really DO anything, other than cover up whatever is bleeding to begin with. So why wait for one?

The cold, severe veracity is that most people are not going to give you an apology, because they (frankly) do not feel you are owed one. You may as well just get over it. Because the only thing worse than no apology is an apology someone doesn't mean.

Quit waiting for an apology that is not coming and change your life anyway. Because trust me, it is not stopping whoever hurt you from doing the same.
Posted by Shauna Zamarripa On 5:03 PM 1 comment READ FULL POST

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Vigilantes. Criminals. Hacktivists. Petty Thieves. Call them what you will, but I call them revolutionaries and modern-day heroes –yes, I said heroes.

I would be willing to bet that the first time most of you heard about the hactivist group, Anonymous, was when the nameless, faceless entity threatened to take down Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day (Remember, remember the 5th of November). However, that’s not the first time I heard of Anon.

I first became aware of Anonymous after I began researching Scientology, shortly after Tom Cruise went bat shit crazy and showed us his mad couch-jumping skills on Oprah. Gawker --the only website unafraid to house the Tom Cruise video the church wanted pulled from the airwaves -- led me to a nexus of Scientology research, far more disturbing than couch jumping. I kept digging. In the subsequent weeks, I became an armchair expert of sorts in Scientology – which is why I vehemently oppose it -- but, in the end, it was Scientology that led me to Anonymous. 

The inaugural makeup of Anon was nothing more than petty criminals, but I believe the group has grown from it’s infancy and evolved to be doers of good deeds. Right now, in fact, Anon is doing something good for America by raising public awareness about the evils hidden from us in the mainstream media. (Remember Wikileaks? I do.)

Let me break it down for you.

Who owns the mainstream media?
Corporations own the mainstream media. The same corporations who lobby and purchase politicians.

These cigar smoking corporate CEO’s make the decisions about who the media is going to “go after”. If the CEO of GE says calls up an editor for MSNBC and says, “Dig up dirt on Rick Santorum,” the editor will do just that. It’s his job.

The editor (who is now like a dog with a bone) is going to call up a journalist with an assignment. That journalist (new dog, new bone) is going to start digging as he or she is told. Other journalists are going to catch wind of it. Media frenzy ensues. And, while we are all too busy watching the media frenzy, reading only the headlines of articles, we are getting screwed in the background. While we watch with glazed eyes and sent Tweets and debate about the evils of said patsy on Facebook, that same CEO is getting into the backseat of a limousine with the speaker of the House or some other random Senator and handing over a briefcase full of dough. That money is to buy the politician so the corporation can get legislation passed like PIPA or SOPA or NDAA. And we are too busy watching Jersey Shore to notice or to care. 

Then, it’s all buried by charisma and editorials on every news channel and mainstream website. The only place you can get real news these days is from international sources.

Charisma. It is a dangerous bedfellow. Charisma breeds disciples for unqualified leadership and beds of lies. Charisma blinds us to the truths that we should be looking for behind the curtain on our own. Anonymous is lifting the veil. Look and see.
Posted by Shauna Zamarripa On 12:00 PM No comments READ FULL POST

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Just Me

Sometimes, I just sit down and start writing lists. This one began as a 14 item list on my iPhone and then morphed into something else. Something, I think that is worth sharing.

1. If you go out to eat, don't skimp on the tip.
2. Think before you speak.
3. Think before you type.
4. Get rid of the mediocre people in your life.
5. Treat people better than they treat you.
6. Try. Try again. Try harder. Fail better. Keep trying.
7. Never underestimate arrogance and stupidity.
8. Take a few moments each day to be still. Take longer.
9. Exercise. Go for walk. Move.
10. Waste a great outfit on a less than extrodinary day.
11. Go overdressed.
12. Own your voice. Don't speak some one else's sound bytes.
13. Create something.Anything.
14. Don't pay mind to people that don't matter.
15. Pay attention to people that do.
16. Make someone laugh, everyday, loudly.
17. Laugh, hard and often.
18. Matter to you.
19. Never stop learning.Take 30 minutes everyday to read something. Anything.
20. Push. Push harder.
21. Pull yourself up, then, pull someone else up.
22. Make a list of goals. Stick to them.
23. Forgive. Remember. Forgive again.
24. Prioritize little moments. Those matter most because they are what the best memories are made from.
25. Quit looking down your nose at people. You aren't that smart.
26. Look up. Close your eyes.
27. Look at your feet, then look at where they can take you.
28. Adapt.
29. Overcome.
30. Find solutions instead of problems.
31. Seek enlightenment not entitlement.
32. Jump. Obstacles are only as tall as your mind allows them to be.
33. Skip rocks.
34. Put your cart back.
35. A life full of many small acts of kindness is more valuable than a life lived with one large act of contrition.
36. Stop gossiping.
37. Don't believe everything you hear, or read, or see on television.
38. Do something different, each day.
39. It doesn't matter who you were yesterday, it matters who you are tomorrow.
40. Don't intend. Don't try. Just do.
Posted by Shauna Zamarripa On 12:00 PM No comments READ FULL POST

Friday, January 27, 2012

One of the biggest drawbacks that goes along with having a highly intelligent beast like a German Shepherd is that they tend to express grief when they lose a friend.

Last Saturday, I had to put our 13-year-old German Shepherd, Apollo, to sleep. That leaves me with our 4-year-old Shepherd, Aradia.

Aradia on my 365 Project
Aradia has always been around another dog. When Apollo didn’t come home from the vet last Saturday, she wasn’t quite the same happy-go-lucky-dog she has been. Adjusting to being a lone pack member, for her, has been difficult. There were several days that she didn’t really want to do much of anything at all. However, in my attempt to be a “better mommy” to my now single pup, I am implementing “The Dog Project”.

This is a yearlong trek into behavior modification for Aradia using different methods, tricks and positive reinforcement.

Each day, she is walked, groomed for 15-minutes, and we work on a training command. This week, it’s “sit” which she has pretty much down, when she wants to. As we progress on “The Dog Project” I am going to write about her development, take photos and let you in on any new-found doggy knowledge I pick up along the way.

So, I bring you Aradia and Week 1 of the “Dog Project”, starting Monday. Stay tuned!


Posted by Shauna Zamarripa On 10:59 AM No comments READ FULL POST

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

“Gossip, n.: Hearing something you like about someone you don't.” -Earl Wilson

I cannot tell a lie, I have been guilty of rumor-mill-blathering on more than one occasion. Chances are, so have you. I think we all fall prey to this wicked pastime in one form or another. Heck, I read Perez Hilton’s column as religiously as some people read the Bible. Then again, I also read Ann Coulter. I’m diverse that way.

What strikes me as droll about this idle (and somewhat malevolent) pastime is that gossip tends to genuinely vex us when it is “about us.” Because it is only when we hear the end result of the rumor mill that we mount the white horse of morality and ride that high horse into the sunset.

Then again, why bother? I never was much of an equestrian. 

Over the weekend, I received a warning. A cautionary tale about someone I had corresponded with, but never actually met. Apparently, that someone was talking poorly about me to whomever would listen, and my generous pragmatist thought I should know.

I appreciate a good pragmatist.

“Regulators, mount up.” My white horse of morality waits.

Normally, I can shrug most of life’s plot twists off. You see, as an author, I am skilled at writing people out my personal script. However, this time, the news caught me at a dreadful moment. I had just put my dog of 13 years to sleep that afternoon. I did not have the time, or the patience to ride the propaganda wagon on “Old Blue” –a.k.a. my imaginary morality steed.

However, I am no shrinking violet either…

Later that night, as I licked my wounds while swilling a bottle of red wine, I thought about questioning the perpetrator-elect. I started and ended about four different paragraphs in an email, and then shook my head in utter disgust. I wasn’t shaking my head in disgust with the words on the page, but rather, with antipathy for myself.

Why bother with this nonsense? I am not in high school anymore.

To go down this path would mean fueling the infernos of odium, envy and rumormongers. I would give them supremacy. That is not my style.

In order to try to drag me down, you would already have to be beneath me to begin with.

Ultimately, the truth comes out. It always does. I choose to stay the course. I choose to evade gossip and sidestep drama. I elect this, because I would rather be who I am as opposed to just talk about who I am --or who or what someone else isn't.

People who despise you and gossip about you are just confused admirers. They simply cannot figure out why everyone else loves you instead of them. Remember that the next time you start getting riled up over the town crier, and then…choose not to. The best kind of karma is the sort you don’t have to lift a hand to enact.

How do YOU handle the rumor mill?
Posted by Shauna Zamarripa On 9:05 AM No comments READ FULL POST

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One January, 13 years ago, I found a fat, roley poley puppy in a barn. He waddled when he walked. He had floppy ears and horrible breath. But I loved him anyway.

His father’s name was Zeus. Thus, we dubbed our corpulent canine, Apollo, son of Zeus.

I stayed in love with that roley poley puppy all his life. I loved that puppy when turned into a not so rolley poley dog and even more when he became a rolley poley old man. He was always there for everyone in the family. He was a smiling (dogs can smile), happy faced, wet nosed, fuzzy shoulder to cry on. He was my own personal weather vane. He was neurotic and loyal. He was my boy. He would greet me every time I came home and see me to the door every time I left the house; he was always the gentleman.

Over the last year, age became an unwelcome guest in our home. Apollo’s once keen eyesight gave way to cataracts and glaucoma. His perky ears gave way to deafness. His body gave way to ailing joints and a diseased back. My friend was getting older, and I couldn't stop it.

Father time was unrelenting to my pleas for "just a little more" of his gift. I knew, this week, that we were approaching the end. Apollo was slowly losing all of his senses. He didn’t know where he was, didn’t recognize anyone, and wasn’t able to move anymore. He lost control of his bowels and his bladder. His eyes no longer danced with happiness when I would come downstairs in the morning. He wasn't able to move freely. He was no longer able to get up and greet me when I came home. He didn’t have it in him to see my to the door whe I left. I hoped it would pass. It didn’t.

It was time to call the vet. I did. The vet told me that with a dog his age, there was little I could do. Still, I thought we would go to the vet one last time. Maybe. Maybe there was something other than putting him to sleep. No matter what else happened, I just couldn't bear to see him in pain another day.

It was a sunny Saturday. He was excited to leave the house. I hoisted him into the car; but his legs twisted behind him, bound up like a pretzel. This had become a common occurrence lately, so I knew what to do. I untwisted his leg, lifted his hips and lifted him gently into the backseat. I sat in the back with him, stroking his head. He looked up at me, as he always did, trusting and loyal. He laid down on the ride to wherever we were going, sighed an old man's sigh and slobbered on my foot. I didn't mind.

It was the last time he’d ever ride in the car.

Apollo was less than pleased when he realized that our destination was the vet. For 13 years he hated going to the vet. Today, I shared his distaste.

It wasn’t long before we were in the exam room. The vet told us that Apollo’s spine was giving way where it connected to his hips, and it was happening rapidly. His prognosis was not good. The vet went on to say that Apollo was living on “bonus time” as it was. We could either keep him alive, in pain and without his mental faculties, or say goodbye. He said it was a personal decision, but that "if it where him" he would put a dog in Apollo's position down.

We didn't make a snap decision. We had already discussed our plans, depending on what the vet said. Since I believe in quality of life over quantity of life, I knew the days of waiting to make the call were behind us. Apollo wasn't getting better. For the last week he was not in control of his bowels or bladder. He spent his days dazed and confused. He wasn't the dog I knew for so long. I know, I am confident, had I been Apollo, I would have been ready to go. I believed he was ready to say his goodbyes. He had, in his own doggy way, already told me so.

I also know that principals only mean something if you stand by them when they are inconvenient. Keeping him alive and in pain would have been selfish. He deserved better than that.

In those last few minutes, I could see in his eyes he knew who we were, he knew where he was, and lumbered over to the table without complaint. He looked at me, with no hesitation when I ushered him to the table with tears in my eyes. He did as he was told. He knew. He waddled when he walked. He had floppy ears and bad breath. And I loved him anyway. He loved me right back.

We stood next to him. He was stretched out on the table. He looked up at us. He trusted that we were doing the right thing for him, just as he always did. The vet was ready to proceed.

But, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t second-guess every choice I make.

They shaved his paw. The injection was ready. I was standing there, my heart beating so loudly I could hear it in my ears. The tears were flowing. I could hear some of them patter on the ground. I wasn’t sure anymore. I didn’t think I could go through with it.

As the vet was getting ready to proceed with the injection, I could feel the word, “STOP!” welling up in my throat. I opened my mouth through the tears. Just as I could feel the words ready to pass my lips, it was already over. I looked down, right into his eyes, and he looked at me. He was okay. The words choked in my throat. I couldn't speak. In just a few seconds, Apollo breathed a heavy sigh on to my face, it was his last breath. I felt it. My heart went numb. The only thing I managed to blurt out amidst a tearful moan was, “He’s gone.” And he was. His body went limp. He had passed, quietly and painlessly. My friend was gone. I couldn't contain my sorrow.

We stood there with him, for 15 minutes after the vet left the room. It felt like hours. I petted him. I kissed his muzzle. I rubbed my head on his one last time. I said goodbye to my friend. I missed him already. I still do. There is an empty place in my heart that will always be reserved for that roley poley puppy I met in a barn one January, 13 years ago.

Good night sweet prince. Farewell Apollo, son of Zeus. May flights of angels take you across the rainbow bridge to rest. 

The breeder charged me $325 for my AKC registered angel. However, it's like Rudyard Kipling said, "The price of a good dog is a broken heart at the end." My heart paid a price my wallet could never hope to fill. 
Posted by Shauna Zamarripa On 4:47 PM No comments READ FULL POST

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Really. It is. Honest. And I’m not saying that to be a negative person or a Debbie downer. My life, as it so happens, is shit. At least today.

It all started about 6 o’clock this morning. Wails of, “Oh my God, what is that smell?” came wafting up from downstairs. Yet, these were not the queries of younglings anticipating a hot breakfast. These nose-scrunching odoriferous cries go along with the downstairs of my house being plastered in shit. Literally.

There was shit on the carpet, ca-ca in the kitchen, doo-doo in the breakfast nook, crap in the family room and (do not ask me how) even poop on the walls.

Like the responsible, mature adult I am, I hid under my covers pretending to be sleeping, and let the teenagers take care of cleaning duty.

What’s with all the shit?
Well, I have an ailing, older dog; a 13-year-old German Shepherd to be precise, Apollo. He has pretty much reached the apex of his life; his body has begun to give way. He suffers from cataracts, glaucoma, is partially deaf, has weak joints and now, for the past three days, has been unable to control his colon. If that wasn’t enough of a shitty situation, because of Apollo’s weak joints, there are some days the dog has trouble lifting himself upright long enough to evacuate his bowels, so he does it wherever he is; laying down, trying to stand up, or even when he is sitting. This results in his paws, tail and hind legs being constantly covered in shit. Shit that he spreads around as he travels the house. I never knew a single creature could produce so much excrement.

Thus, my life is shit.

Even though the kids cleaned up the mess this morning, I “found” some residual. (And by found, I mean stepped in.) So, as the twins left for school, I tore apart my kitchen and breakfast nook, swept, mopped and am now blogging about my shitty life while waiting for the floor to dry. All in the name of love…and shit.

I suppose that I could waste my time getting mad about the fact that my life is this full of shit, but there isn’t a point. See, Apollo has given me 13 great years. A bakers dozen full of years with wet noses, wagging tails, bright eyes, disgustingly slobbery doggy kisses and (all the while) putting up with my shit. And now that he’s nearing the end, it’s my turn to put up with his. So, yeah, my life is full of shit, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Posted by Shauna Zamarripa On 9:10 AM 1 comment READ FULL POST

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This notion of censoring the internet has my granny panties in a bunch. It should have your granny panties in a bunch too, but not for the reasons you may think.

I am guilty of getting online in the morning, logging on to my Facebook and thinking to myself, “How many people will take this status update the wrong way?” Then, I brush off my apprehension, say, “F**k it,” and write whatever in the blue hell I want to write anyway. Things will get sorted out when I die. And, if I believed in hell, I sincerely doubt a Facebook status would be the thing that landed me in the devil’s lap. So if you get offended all I have to offer is a very sarcastic, “Boo bloody hoo hoo.”

But, you see, this is why I love the internet. This kind of creative freedom is the beauty of an uncensored, unfettered, unrestricted cyberspace paradise. Users are free to contribute whatever they want, night or day, regardless of how redundant, annoying or stupid it may appear to onlookers. (Yes, I'm talking you who posts nothing but motivational quotes and pictures of food all day). There is no shrinking space, suddenly, mystically overfilled with content. The net is infinite, unfillable. Something infinite was designed to exist without restrictions. Certainly without the bane of censorship.

Censorship is the thing banned books are made of. It is an archaic notion that the imposed morality of a few is applicable to the masses. I can show you at least a million reasons why that idea is fallible, but whether or not you agree with me is immaterial. You see, censorship, in any form, is a violation of our first amendment right. If we are stripped of that, we can be stripped of every other inalienable right our forefathers died to protect. That isn’t the America I signed up for. It isn’t the America I vote in, either. As long as I am acting within the letters of the law, the internet should not be my captor, my guardian or my prison soap.

The problem, however, is now two fold. The politicians that were trying to sneak this piece of legislation by, now can’t. At least not under the SOPA/PIPA umbrella.

Let me tell you what this legislation was REALLY created for.
We live in a technologically centric world. You can’t go anywhere these days without seeing someone’s smart phone surgically grafted to their palm --like me. This interconnectivity breeds knowledge and awareness; knowledge and awareness that politicians and fat cats find reprehensible.

Once shrouded in secrecy and shadow, these doers of dirty deeds and back alley handshakes find that today (and everyday) is judgment day; at least in the court of public opinion. If the government is able to infiltrate the net under the guise of censorship, the public would be catapulted back to the dark ages, listening to vicars of the constitution, forced to have information spoon fed to them as opposed to seeking it out for themselves. From there, talk radio would begin to disappear, voices would be silenced, and the public would be pushed back into a bland world of ignorance and darkness. I don’t want that. Neither should you.

What happens now?
Now, the politicians will attempt to pass the bill under a different name, because they know that we (by and large) don’t read past the headlines. The SOPA/PIPA bill will become the “Anti-Child Pornography Act” and in it, will be peppered the hidden internet censorship legislation, just as there has been hidden legislation in acts before it --the “American Jobs Act,” “Patriot Act” and “Clean Air Act” are perfect examples. You weren’t being asked to vote for clean air, patriotism or jobs in a single one of these proposed bills, not really, but you were led to believe you were a villain if you opposed them. This is just another chapter in business-as-usual politics.

Of course, you wouldn’t know that, because you didn’t read any of those bills, did you?  The same is true of SOPA/PIPA. You probably signed a petition or sent an angry letter because Google told you to do it, or because you couldn’t look something up on Wikipedia, not because you understand the bill and why it’s evil. And that is exactly why it will be passed under a different name. Mark my words. Because a bill by any other name, is still just as full of shit as the last one. So I beg of you, take from this, and learn something. Read the next bill. Raise hell. Rinse and repeat. 

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Posted by Shauna Zamarripa On 10:27 PM No comments READ FULL POST

Monday, January 16, 2012

Appreciation is a lost art form. Don’t try and change my mind either. In fact, I’m convinced that showing appreciation (in the general sense) is nearly mythological and is something you only read about in fairy tales. Even in the Bible belt, I remain far more likely to see someone waving a nine millimeter than thank you from their car windows.

I hate leaving my house, because it always ends the same way. I depart full of optimism for humanity; I leave full of youthful naivety, sincerely believing that somehow, somewhere people will refrain from behaving like complete asshats either on the road or at the market –I wouldn’t dare hope for both. And each time I return from my excursions, I come home disenchanted and with the unshakable urge to punch random strangers in the face. 

Except for last Friday.

After I collected the kids from the dentist and their half-day of school and midterms, I had to go to Toys R Us to pick up my daughter’s bike from the in-store assembly service. Much to my chagrin, when I arrived, the bike wasn’t ready. However, instead of pitching a fit because the bike that was supposed to be ready on Tuesday wasn’t ready on Friday afternoon, I shrugged it off and kept a cool head. The manager apologized, promised me that it would be fixed in 30 minutes and refunded my $10.83 assembly charge. I let her know I appreciated her because she didn’t HAVE to do that. When I did this, the poor woman looked like I had just hit her upside the head with a ice-covered, frozen solid salmon. I guess they don’t get many customers like me. As I waited for the assembly, I went next door to run another errand.

As I meandered up and down a few isles in my local Office Depot, I happened upon a lady who offered me a free coupon. She wasn’t an employee, she wasn’t a promoter, she was a fellow shopper. She just happened to have an extra, and she was more than delighted to share with me, she said, “Because I looked like a nice person.” Her coupon saved me 20 percent off my entire purchase. (Thank you mysterious stranger). She expected nothing in return when she handed her savings to me. I let her know I appreciated her. And she, just like the Toys R Us manager, looked at me as if I had conked her upside her head with a frozen fish.

Call my experience what you will. Call it karma, call it God, call it the universe, but whatever you call it, I call it the reward for the rediscovery of the lost art of appreciation. If it’s powerful enough to change my sour attitude, I can only surmise that it is damn well powerful enough to change the entire world. If we (each one of us) took just one second out of our busy lives to let someone know we appreciate even the smallest of gestures, we might find ourselves creeping ever further from the edge of nuclear war and national financial collapse.

Think about it.
Posted by Shauna Zamarripa On 12:12 PM No comments READ FULL POST

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Social media reminds me a lot of the enchanted band from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” Like it or not, online connectivity has morphed into the “ring” that rules many Middle “Earthians.” And no, I’m not just talking about Google+ and it’s particularly simple-minded loop of whatever concept; and no, I am not going to start waxing, “my precious.” I’m going somewhere with this. Stick with me.

Most folks reserve spots on their online friends lists for individuals they know in real life; then again, I’m not most people. I don’t remember exactly how or why I started randomly adding people to my list of online friends, but I did.

Granted, there have been times my willingness to add random strangers has netted me some genuine whack jobs (and I mean INCREDIBLY peculiar people), but I can’t forget that my mouse clicks have also netted me what are arguably the five most important relationships of my life. People I would have missed out on completely had it not been for this social ring that rules us all.

I tried something new. It didn’t always work, it wasn’t always the brightest idea and sometimes it was downright stressful, but I tried again. I failed better. I opened myself up to this big, bad world and this vast, wicked ecosphere gave me something worth holding on to; something groovy. Five somethings to be exact.

So the next time you are inclined to punch that “not now, not ever” option on a pending friend request, think about me; then try again, but fail better. You may never know who you are missing out on until you do.
Posted by Shauna Zamarripa On 12:39 PM No comments READ FULL POST

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Please pardon my tirade, but it is happening whether you exonerate it or not.

If there is one thing Facebook inhabitants do that instantly sets my teeth on edge; makes me seethe with rage from every pore on my 5 foot, 6 inch frame and gets my brain fuming with putrid antagonism, it’s this lone act.

What is this thing that chaps my ass to the point of requiring extra-strength diaper rash cream, you ask? 

It is a naturally occurring phenomenon that seems to repeat each time the dreaded status change of “in a relationship” transforms to “single” and there is an attractive person involved.

I know you know what I’m talking about. 

Only seconds after the “submit” button is employed on the changers end, the baloney begins; the cockroaches emerge from their hiding places. The inmates of the virtual asylum initiate asinine commentary regarding the changed relationship status as if they have a clue vis-à-vis why said affair concluded, when they have anything but.

All hail blissful ignorance, right?

I have a friend of mine who met a great guy. They dated, they tried, but it didn’t work out. Shit happens. There doesn’t always need to be breakup worthy nuclear fallout with some kind of emotional catastrophe at the end –or so I have been told. Life does not always have to be a soap opera and neither do the comments regarding the end of a relationship.

Yet, when her relationship status changed, all of the “his loss” and “you’ll find someone great” came out of the woodwork. There was a clear majority undertone that somehow, someone was as fault, when there was nothing further from the truth. The statements may have been meant as encouraging, but it was clearly coming from a place of unjustifiable and absolute unfamiliarity with the goings on.

It was less than classy.

As I read the ensuing commentary, my blood boiled. Someone needed to set these nimrods straight. Therefore, I felt a need to add some elegance to what was quickly deteriorating into an egalitarian fray. I kept my reply simple and to the point. I commented only, “Love you both. Wish you both the best.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the extra time it takes for you to absorb something you read and type a reply register to you as time you should take to think about what you are doing, opposed to penning a knee jerk reaction? If it doesn’t, it should.

If you take anything away from my outburst, I would hope that it would be this: The next time someone posts a change in their status with their significant other, instead of acting like a total douche and writing a novel that is really only pertinent to your limited relationship experience, consider keep your commentary unassuming and sophisticated. A simple, “wish you the best,” works just fine 100 percent of the time.
Posted by Shauna Zamarripa On 12:25 PM No comments READ FULL POST

Friday, January 13, 2012

Over the years, I have come to realize my epiphanies are about as predictable as the next Broncos victory. They aren’t. My strokes of maniacal creativity are high-speed jolts of unexpected virtuoso, striking at random; eternally unrelated to whatever occupies my mind (or my hands) on impact. These are my MOG’s, my Moments of Genius.

I’m not sure if it’s Murphy’s Law, destiny or a mishmash of the two, but my brainstorms insist on inconsistent consistency; stealthily clobbering me during two specifically inopportune times of the day. First, when I’m in the shower, with soap running down my face and nary a pen or pad in site; and secondly, those final moments immediately before I drift off to sleep. If I had worse self-control, I would spend most of my life filthy and sleep deprived.

Of course, if I suppress my inner muse, my reward is forgetting whatever the bestowment was altogether. It’s a catch 22. I might be clean and well rested, but the Gods of inventiveness prolong frowns on my Nazi-esque personal hygiene regimen and regular REM cycles.

If their scornful gaze wasn’t bad enough, should I ignore their call to action, they taunt me with a blinking cursor each time I try to summon my elite wordsmithing powers during normal working hours. Even my eccentricities are eccentric.

So, sometimes I have no choice but to give in. To let the vision fairies be my guide. The funny thing is that these pixies are also my guardian angels.

You might not know this about me but…in October of 2010, I left the high-paced, high-dollar world of real estate far behind to do what I love to do, which is write. In fact, I took my leap of faith off the precipice of doubt thanks to one of my mid-rinse bath time revelations.

When I jumped, I had it all. I landed myself I a book, an agent and a publishing deal. All was right with the world. All I had to do was finish it.

Then, somewhere along the way, I derailed myself. I stopped editing my book and I started writing columns for Yahoo instead --because that was a source of “right now” cash as opposed to waiting on not-yet-published book royalties, which were non-existent. I rode high on hog, featured on the front page several times over, gobbling up page views and raking in some serious coin because of it. Yet, the downside was that my MOG’s weren’t visiting me as much. I was showering solo. I was sleeping like an infant. I wasn’t keeping to my true north.

I wandered aimlessly through 2011. That year brought a consortium of folks into my life. Some of them were first-class, some were not so good, some were repeats from my past, but all came with lessons that lead me back to my beginning in the end. If not for them, I wouldn’t have found my way back to the path that I should have been on to begin with. In a way, I suppose they became a human embodiment of my MOG’s.

I am not a resolution maker. Frankly, I am a far more astute resolution breaker. However, what I am is a goal setter, and a damn good one. About a week ago, I listed my goals for 2012 --not resolutions, but goals. I have to reach them; I have a time limit. My goals (and my list) help make me stay true to my purpose, my true north. It was putting pen to paper that set me back on the straight and narrow…for keeps. Without this particular flock of folks in my life from 2011, I wouldn’t have made these goals, and I wouldn’t be back on track.

Since I reaffirmed my original plan, my MOG’s have been coming back. Except now they arrive faster, sharper and more coherently…sometimes not even in the shower. Nowadays my MOG’s have been kind enough to scintillate my synapses as I brush my teeth or clean my toilet bowl. And while I know that isn’t exactly opportune, it is a step up from the shower or from groggy midnight bedside chatter. If nothing else, the more frequent visits from my invisible friends are guideposts affirming that I am heading in the right direction once more.

With all that said, if I could impress anything upon you at all, it would be to follow your own MOG’s, your own voices of inspiration, your personal guardian angels, as often as you can. They have never lead me astray, they just visit when I least expect them...and I bet yours do too, if you’d just take a moment to listen more often in those quiet, peaceful moments when the smallest voice of your soul burns most bright.

Can you hear me now?
Posted by Shauna Zamarripa On 8:45 PM No comments READ FULL POST
It’s hard to believe I bought this domain name over a year ago, but with Go Daddy receipts staring me in the face as blatantly as a pissed off pigmy, there is no denying it. Time flies, but not just when you’re having fun.

I sit here and I can’t help but feel like a neglectful shrew; slipshod. I left my baby dormant; doing nothing but collecting pixelated, virtual space dust for round about 13 months –give or take.

Color me expert procrastinator and supreme waster of time. 

What matters is, I’m here now. Life is funny that way. After an entire year of my life spent farting around as effectively as a 92-year-old man with a spastic colon (not literally) and getting so far off my beaten track I had to machete my way back in, I’m home. I’m here. I got this.

This might be my “first post” but no, this is not a inane primer about me. I’m not going to waste time telling you how much I love writing or riding ponies or eating sunshine kisses from koala bears. I hate that type of drivel. It’s hackneyed, trite and meaningless. I’d rather get to the nitty gritty. If you want to know “about me” visit that page. This isn’t it. This is an introduction to my blog.

This is (or at least I intend it to be) my better, more seasoned attempt at an earlier version of a personal-slash-professional blog…before I bit off more than I could chew on a plate that turned into a platter that turned into a UFO-sized space saucer and before my life turned into Area 51. This project is, essentially, a blog I am dubbing: “Take Two.”

What did I learn from my mistakes and from overeating in my life, er, blog the last time?

I learned I need to say “No,” far more often. My heart seems to always be in the right place, but when my daily to-do list began looking like a scroll, ties had to be severed, cords cut and the words, “No” and “Sorry” catapulted to the forefront of my personal tag cloud. So before you ask, the answer is, “No, sorry.”

I also learned that I spent too much time on Facebook. Responding to emails and Facebook messages became a job in and of itself. I was honestly spending two and three hours a day writing…free; answering people I genuinely didn’t even know all in the name of social networking. No more, that’s ridiculous and counterproductive. I learned I don’t have time to be a pro-bono novelist and answer-er of questions extraordinaire. I can’t do it. I have bills to pay. I put a lid on my time budget for all things social media.

This blog is my unedited, uncensored view on the world and those in it. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. You see, this is my own personal, slice of internet pizza. I decide what stays and what goes, and I really don’t care if you don’t like it or whether or not what I say offends your oh-so-delicate sensibilities. You see, God gave you the right to an opinion, our forefathers gave you the right to express it, and the internet gave you your very own place to put it. That place isn’t here. I don't want your negativity. I don't need it. There is plenty of that to be spread around elsewhere. If you can’t play nice, don’t play in my sandbox. If you can play nice, I already like you. You can stay.

After all that, and, if you’re still with me, welcome and thanks for staying. I promise to keep it interesting, if nothing else. 
Posted by Shauna Zamarripa On 5:54 PM 2 comments READ FULL POST
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    Shauna made her mark in blogging starting in 2008 and has been on the front page of major publications such as Yahoo!,, MSN Money, CNN Money and more. Her finance and real estate expertise are world renowned and free to the average user. Shauna also runs a marketing consulting company and is the team lead for one of the largest teams in San Antonio, TX - Rockstar Agents and RE/MAX North. 


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