Tuesday, December 29, 2009


It will be a slightly different New Year's Eve this year. I'll be spending it recovering from surgery.

As I prepare to lose an organ -- one that's been with me for years, one that was highly valued but underutilized -- I am reflecting on moving into the rest of my life without it. Will I miss it?

I'm banking on 'no'. At my age, I really have no use for a uterus. It did not produce children, will not now produce children and would only be there for the downside now -- all the things that can go wrong with an aging organ.

Still, I'd like to offer a salute to my uterus -- it's been good to me up until these last few years. I could still keep it -- it's my choice, although the doctor recommends removing it. It's just that I simply can't find a good reason to preserve it. Even after removal of the tumor, there can still be issues that hamper my life -- another fibroid, continued bleeding, etc.. So with nothing but downside ahead of me, I've elected to have it removed. Oh, I'll still have my ovaries and all, which is the really important part at this point....but now, I'll never have to suffer through another menstrual cycle again. I'd really like to find a way to be sentimental about that, but I just can't. Thinking about that makes we want to celebrate. I never want to see a maxi pad again as long as I live. I will feel no tug at my heartstrings (or abdomen) as I bypass the feminine protection aisle at the grocery store. None at all.

So as I leave my uterus in 2009 and move into 2010 without it, I don't really have any regrets. I don't regret not using it to have children (I'm still not really a kid person and have probably saved some child a load of childhood misery). Up until recently, it was pretty good to me period after period after period. So I must say 'thanks' to my uterus and give it a big salute as I go off into the wild blue yonder without it. Cheers!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Passenger Seat

Merry Christmas all!

What was seemingly going to be an unspecial Christmas has turned out to be anything but. All things came together to make it a wonderful holiday.

We had planned to spend a tropical Christmas in Florida, but my medical issue kept me close to the doctor in Dallas, waiting on my surgery date. We weren't looking forward to being here but as it turned out, we were in the right place at the right time.

Why? Magic! Brought to us by Mother Nature. We had a white Christmas, something we would have missed if we'd gone to Florida. It snowed all day yesterday, and this morning, there's a beautiful clear blue sky with the sun glistening on the white frosting on the ground. This is so unusual for us. What a sight!

And because of the freak snowstorm, lots of people were stranded and kept from their original travel plans. Today, we are welcoming guests for Christmas dinner that wouldn't normally be here with us today.

So sometimes the best things that happen to you are unplanned. It's nice to sit back in the passenger seat and just enjoy the ride.

Merry Christmas all!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Modern & Morally Centered

We live in interesting political times. Both of the major U.S. political parties are working hard to 'size up' the electorate in the post-Obama election period. The latest identified voting group? 'Whole Foods Republicans (& Independents)'. Apparently, existence of this group is news to someone. I find that humorous, because I am a member of this group, and I have been out here voting for a while now.

We seem to have them perplexed. They can't imagine that a progressive lifestyle can fit with conservatism....(say it ain't so)....but this is what they are finding in many of us out here. We are college educated, live in urban areas in modern spaces, walk more places than we drive, and like to shop at Whole Foods Market (that bastion of liberal granola heads). We enjoy diversity, would never tell a racial or homophobic joke, and have friends and colleagues from a spectrum of backgrounds.

And we vote conservatively.


Yep, it's true. We rely on logic (not emotion) and were raised with solid conservative values. Many of us, despite our 'modern and trendy' lifestyle, actually go to church (oh my!) and enjoy a level of spirituality as we live 'progressively'. Imagine that!

We are independent-minded, believe in free markets and limited government, love God and country, respect our military....all the while buying our tofu, gluten-free goods and organic dairy products at the local Whole Foods Market. And we may have ridden there on our bicycles. Puzzling, isn't it?

Another shocker? Most of us like Sarah Palin. A lot. Can you believe it?

I laugh at all the kerfuffle over this 'new group' because there are a ton of us out here, and we've been here for a very long time. They just didn't see us, and they couldn't imagine such an animal. That combination couldn't possibly exist! Yet it does, and in droves. A high percentage of the people I know would fall into this category. We're educated, we're modern, we're progressive and we've retained our moral bearings. Not a bad combination if you ask me.

Nice to finally get the spotlight. And about time.

Monday, November 23, 2009

All I Want for Christmas is a Laparoscopic Myomectomy

While I won't withdraw my concerns noted in an earlier posting regarding soy milk, I feel that I must update this blog with the latest on my 'situation'. I have been diagnosed with a large fibroid tumor in my uterus, and this, not the soy milk, is what is causing my cycles to go wild.

Now, again, I do plan to avoid soy, as the studies I've read have been alarming. But, alas, when I couldn't straighten things out, I went back to my ObGyn for another exam. An ultrasound revealed a sizeable fibroid tumor in my uterus, and it must come out.

My doctor and I first saw the fibroid on a sonogram when I had my ill-fated pregnancy a couple of years ago now. It was very small and not bothersome at the time, but apparently it's grown since then and is now causing issues.

I've studied up on fibroids since getting the news. While they are a real bother to about 25% of the female population in their 30s and 40s, the truth is that most women develop fibroids at those ages -- it's just that they remain small and unnoticed in the majority of the population. Only the lucky few of us have an issue with them. Unfortunately, I am one of those who do.

And although fibroids are noted as a tumor, they are almost never cancerous, and I am hoping that my luck holds on the statistics quoted. No one really knows what causes them or what causes them to grow in some people and not others. But they do, and when they start to wreak havoc, they must be dealt with. I'm opting for a laparoscopic myomectomy -- which basically means I'm having it taken out...as opposed to more radical surgery, like a hysterectomy. I just hope the specialist affirms my choice.

Now, I'd like for this to come out of me sooner rather than later because it is causing havoc with my life and my health. But, I can't seem to get in to see the specialist right away, so here I sit, waiting two more weeks before I can see a reproductive endocrinologist. And I can only imagine that it will be at least another few more weeks beyond that until the surgery can be done. I now have visions of spending my Christmas holidays in the hospital.

This is quite unfun and fairly uncomfortable, but I don't seem to have much of a choice in the matter.

So ultimately, I must apologize to soy milk...somewhat....but I will continue to avoid you in my diet. Regardless.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Welcome Home

Experience a little joy today by watching a few of these video clips......


Monday, November 9, 2009

Kardashians Beat Draper

How can it be?

A million more people tuned in to watch Khloe Kardashian marry her future ex-husband than tuned in to watch the season finale of 'Mad Men'.

WHAT is WRONG with you people?

I consistently stay hugely disappointed in the general public.

Friday, November 6, 2009

No More Soy

I've just spent the worst month of my life having 'female' problems, and it's not over yet. Ugh. Not only is it the physical issue, the stress and emotional angst along the way are significant. I'm exhausted.

My mind has been everywhere on this. Is it fibroids? Cancer? What? I'm working with my doctor to try to resolve it via medication vs. something more invasive. Turns out that we think it's a hormone imbalance, and yes, all of a sudden...out of the blue.

What could cause such a thing...out of the blue? Believe it or not - SOY MILK. I've just read the dangers of soy milk and the most noted issue with it is that it contains estrogen, which mimicks human hormones in the system and can throw a woman's cycles way off balance. How did I track this down? About a month ago, I started drinking two glasses of soy milk a day with a vitamin supplement in it. I stopped because it was upsetting my digestion. Then a week later, all this started. This is after 30 years of relatively healthy female cycles. BOOM. Suddenly, my hormones are out of whack.

A friend tells me that her gynecologist told her not to drink soy milk because she did not want her sensitve hormone balance to become impaired. Seems like a long shot, but it looks like that's exactly what happened to mine.

So here's a warning from someone who's been there - if you find yourself having PMS, mid-cycle bleeding, cramps or other issues, stop drinking the soy. Put it down and walk away from it. But don't listen only to me -- Google it -- articles on 'the dangers of soy' bring up some distressing information. I can't believe this isn't more widely known by the world. Where is the FDA on this?

And reading beyond my own problems, studies are suggesting that infants who drink soy-based milk are at risk -- baby girls are getting as much estrogen hormone from a soy diet as 10 birth control pills! And we wonder why our daughters are growing breasts and starting periods by age 9 or 10. It's the hormones, stupid!

I only hope I can get this back into balance soon. And I will never, ever touch a drop of soy milk ever again.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gratuitous Cuteness

There is no real reason for this post except that I ran into this little guy online and fell in love. I have a slight Shih Tzu obsession, and this fluffball is total eye candy for me. Looking at it makes me happy. I cannot do so without smiling.

I like animals so much more than I like people. Put me in a roomful of furballs anytime.

Eat, Pray, Love, Watch

When I've read and loved a book, I'm always skeptical when I hear that Hollyweird is turning it into a motion picture, and once again, my feelings are the same here. I just heard that Julia Roberts is off jetting around the globe filming Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Will they be able to capture the depths of the heroine's angst at the beginning of the book? Can they capture the bottomless emptiness she felt that drove her to her journey? And what about the joy she experienced in Italy, India, Thailand? Will that come through the screen with the same vivid emotion that leapt from the page? I don't know if they can recreate it.

And Julia Roberts? While she is a decent actress, I wish they had chosen a no-name....someone with an interesting face that isn't so familiar to all of us. Why? Because the focus should be on the story, on the angst, on the joy...not on the actress. Perhaps this should have been made via an Indie film, where the focus is on the characters and the story and the dialogue and not the actors or wardrobe or other peripherals. This feels like a film that could be made beautifully without a big studio budget behind it.

I'll definitely see it when it hits, and I'm hopeful....but mostly skeptical. I fear they will ruin it for all of us.

See you at the movies.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Beyond Ridiculous

This is beyond ridiculous.

I heard someone on TV asking what the point was to airbrush a super skinny model to be even thinner.

The point is that we're all talking about it, aren't we?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Double Miles

Good thing I'm earning double miles on American Airlines right now. For the next little while, I'll probably be one of their most frequent flyers.

Today? Off to Virginia with a drive to North Carolina for a visit to the Outer Banks. Duck, North Carolina. Never been there, so a new adventure. We'll be staying with 5 other couples (family/friends) in the beach house pictured above.

Next....after NC, off to Florida again for two weeks. Then back to Dallas. Then San Diego, Dallas, Toronto, Dallas, Florida, Dallas, Florida and Dallas again. All that with double mileage ought to earn me a free ticket. At least.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

60's Glamour

Plunking around on the internet today, I couldn't help but notice the retro looks being highlighted in places like Neiman Marcus. They're calling it "60s Glamour".

Most of what leaps to mind for me about the 60s is anything but glamorous -- hippies, granola heads, love children -- hardly falls into the glamourous category. So they must be talking about the early 60s....the Jackie days....the days before the Woodstock crowd took over and ruined our wardrobes forever.

I can't help but believe this has been fully influenced by the AMC show "Mad Men". I'm amazed at how one little show on an 'off'' network has managed to grab such attention. But it has. It's on my Sunday night schedule every week. And yes, I started watching it mostly for the fashions. They're fabulous.

Let it Rain

Rain, rain, rain....the rain came down all day today. I don't think there was a moment when it stopped. It quietly, evenly poured every minute. But I didn't really mind. It kept me indoors turning attention to things that needed it like cleaning the house, doing the laundry and packing for my trip to Toronto next week.

My husband wasn't here today, so I did 'girl' things. Post-cleaning and laundry, I got online and wardrobe shopped. But instead of buying online, I went shopping in my own closet. I found an outfit online that I really liked, then went searching in my own closet to recreate it. And I did pretty well actually. May have even saved a few hundred dollars by mixing and matching things I don't normally wear together. The addition of an odd accessory here or there, and viola -- a new look.

All this while watching a 'Sex and the City' marathon, which prompted me to be even more 'wardrobe-creative'. I never get tired of watching Carrie and the girls. It's like visiting old friends.

Tonight? Feels like it's time for a home spa session. I see a white terry robe, a leisurely bath, a facial, a sappy paperback and a glass of Conundrum all in my near future. Not the most exciting of evenings, but indulgent and soul-nourishing, nonetheless. Sometimes a girl needs an indulgent night alone.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fleeting, but Forever

We beheld the spectacle again this weekend of yet another Kennedy funeral. Uncle Teddy this time.

This country is fascinated by the Kennedy clan. They bring the epic story of an American family. Such wealth, such charisma, so much tragedy, all out in public. They're as close to a royal family as we'll ever see here. And with the passing of Teddy, I believe it is all gone now. The Kennedy mystique has been laid to rest.

We all watched this weekend as the family gathered -- children and grandchildren of the famous, classic faces we've all come to know. And in the faces of the grandchildren, we look for the next one, the next Kennedy to carry on, the one who has the style and mystique. Sadly, we don't see it. If it's there, it isn't obvious. It's so interesting how the aura of Kennedy does not necessarily transfer with the mere bestowing of the name and the genes.

I couldn't help but watch Caroline Kennedy - the last of the most famous of the Kennedy families, now the lone child, the lone sibling left to carry the standard for the name. But you know what? She doesn't have it either. She's probably the only one in that small but signficant Kennedy family unit that doesn't. Who can hold a candle to the style and mystique of Jack and Jackie? John Jr. had it, but sadly, he's also gone now.

In a way, I feel sorry for Caroline. Her mother was an icon that made in indelible impact on the world. To this day, her style is studied and revered. Yet Caroline doesn't seem to have any of that. Candidly, she's frumpy, something Jackie could never be. I wonder how much that has bothered her over the years, if at all.

I ran across this photo of Jackie, Rose and John Jr. during a stay at their Palm Beach home. Even on a weekend, headed for church, Jackie's style still fascinates. It is pure classic. And we won't see the likes of it again, not from Caroline nor from any remaining Kennedy. It was fleeting, yet etched in our minds forever.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Everything Old is New Again

Sometimes I find myself relying too much on external entertainment and not enough on creativity. It's easier to find amusement with something new and interesting....a new toy....than it is to learn to better explore and enjoy the things we currently have in our midst.

So today, I declared a new goal -- to explore and appreciate what I have now. To find new ways, new approaches to old, familiar things in my life. To take the mundane and try to make a different experience out of it. Simple things. Easy things. Everyday things.

For example....with just my husband and I at home, we often slip into the bad habit around dinnertime of loading up a plate and parking in front of the television while we eat. We walk by a beautiful dining table beneath a lovely, dimming light fixture that could change the whole dynamic of dinner, and we don't even think about it. We never consider how much better the dinner experience could be if we just changed it up a bit.
So tonight.....no more eating in front of the TV. Tonight, I set the dining table and called my husband to it, told him it was time for dinner. I dimmed the light, poured the wine, and we enjoyed each other and the setting. It made dinner a whole different experience. And I realize we won't be able to do this every night, but I think we should aim to do that more often than not.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Storm Central

2009 has brought us a very quiet hurricane season so far. June....nothing....July, not even a tropical wave....August begins, all quiet. Then suddenly, mid-August, up pop two or three storms, all wandering into our path.
The good news? As quickly as they wandered onto our track, they wobbled right off of it. Tropical Storm Ana is headed west of us, and Hurricane Bill appears to be off to Bermuda....assuming the computer models are right.

Such is hurricane season. When you live on the coast, we just call it summer.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Yes, There is Intelligent Life Outside of the Beltway

I am worried about the redistribution of wealth, and I'm now even more concerned about redistribution of health. But I have the greatest concern that those of us who are voicing our concern and dissent to government-run healthcare are being cast aside as 'extremists' and part of far right-wing organized efforts.

Couldn't it be that regular people, on their own, simply oppose having the government run everything? Maybe some of us want the government out of our lives rather than in charge of our lives. Does that make us extremists? Just because we don't live in D.C. or New York City or L.A. or Chicago, does that mean we don't have a brain in our heads and a right to a voice?

One obvious and constant flaw I've seen in the Obama administration is the inability to take criticism or deal with disagreement. It's an elitist viewpoint that he, not we, knows what's best for us, and that regular people, despite what we say, couldn't possibly be intelligent enough to manage our own lives. This really scares me about our current government. It seeks to control our lives and crush dissent and feels like a Marxist state now more than ever.

Surely, the pendulum will swing back the other direction soon; I just hope it's in time to keep everything from being destroyed.

Worth It

Today? Lazy day, slouching around.

Yesterday? Spent half the day cycling, the other half playing golf.

Yesterday is the reason I'll be a puddle today -- worn out and sunburned. But, it was well worth it. Yesterday was fabulous!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Unhappy Anniversary

Today is the 2-yr anniversary of the terrible thing that happened to us. We're moving into Year 3 of it now.

Without going into what it is, I cannot tell you the angst that it causes in your life. Everything stops. Everything stands still. It all goes on hold until it's over. And you don't know when it's going to be over. So for two years, now beginning three, we cannot plan a thing in our lives. We've simply been living day to day without the ability to move forward on anything. Can't plan a vacation, a purchase, a job change, nothing. Can't look forward over the horizon to imagine what my life will be like in 5 years. Can't be aggressive, can't invest, can't do anything. We have to sit here in silence and suffer through it, and who knows for how long.

Life has handed us something that most people never have to go through. I am finding out things that I never thought were possible. And you'd never believe it, if I tried to tell you. You'd have to go through it yourself to really believe the things they can do to you. My whole view of the world has been skewed. It's the ultimate nightmare, a bad movie indeed.

At the end of all this (whenever that is), I'm tempted to write a book. But probably not, because mostly, I just want to move on and forget about it. The real hell is the process. The process alone ruins your life.

Just Add Water

Palm trees make everything better.

And the ocean, the salt-water smell of the beach, especially at night. It makes things better.

When I come back to the ocean, I am reminded that this is where I belong. I grew up 15 minutes from a beach, and I forever have a kinship with it. I must have salt water in my veins.
Recipe for a better, calmer life -- Add water. Stir.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hiding in Plain Sight

This has not been very good week. It may not have been any worse than any other week in reality, but it feels like it has been, and that's what matters.

I go to the Florida house this Friday after months of not being there. I have to get it together before the Florida friends sense something's not right with me. Most of them are having their own horrific problems, so they probably will not notice mine. It's easy to hide them in plain sight.

I continue to be alone in a crowd. People look at me, but they don't really see me. I won't let them.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Miracle on Front Street

I am blessed.

Yesterday, I was witness to an honest-to-God miracle.

There is no other explanation to this but the awesome power of God.

I watched Him reach out and change lives yesterday, including mine.

I am humbled.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Postcards from Hell

Palm Springs, California.

Desert oasis.

111 degrees fahrenheit today.

This must be what hell feels like.

I don't think I have any eyelashes left.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Rare Jewel

And let's not forget about her.

An extraordinarily beautiful and charming Texas girl, she was from my home town. We all wore our hair like hers for years, too many years, but they were some of the best hair years of my life.

She seems a bit overlooked today, unfortunately upstaged by the death of Jacko on the same day. But she won't be forgotten. That sort of rare beauty doesn't come along very often. She's someone you just wanted to stare at, no matter your gender. And even as she aged, she didn't really lose the sparkle. She was a rare jewel, the likes of which we don't see often enough.

We knew her until she was 62 years old. But the photo above is how we think of her, circa 1976, no matter how old she got. That's pretty hard for a public figure to pull off, to freeze herself in time, even as she aged before us, but she did it.
Well done, Farrah. Another big-haired Texas girls salutes you.


Off the Wall.


That is how I prefer to remember him.

If only he'd bowed out of the spotlight after that.

Didn't we all know it would end this way? It just had to, didn't it?

Day Tripper

Day-tripper, yeah.

Or so it feels that way.

San Diego, Dallas, Chicago, Dallas and San Diego again.

I've spent much of the last week on a jet, going somewhere.

Tonight, I'll end up back in San Diego, which is the preferred city out of the list noted above.

Dallas is too hot right now. 103 degrees yesterday.

Chicago is never where I want to be. Some people love that city, but I have yet to find anything that makes me pine away to go there.

And San Diego....ah San Diego. Lovely city, unpleasant business. Still, the weather is divine, temperatures are topping out at 73 degrees, I am walking distance to the marina and some of the most fabulous sites. The unpleasantries are on their way to concluding, hopefully in the next week or two. And Fourth of July weekend is forthcoming. I'd rather spend it in lovely San Diego than in many places I could think of. So unpleasantries, bleh. I'll try not to let them spoil my stay.

I can hardly wait to go back to having regular problems again, the same problems other people have instead of this albatross that was put around our necks almost two years ago. It weighs heavy. And I'm done with it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

California Dreaming

I find myself once again in California. San Diego to be exact. Lovely city, just lovely. But I am here on some unpleasant business, so it's not all goodness.

Outside of business, however, I have managed to find some good things. The city is fabulous, people are friendly, the weather is divine. So if you have to be some place for something unpleasant, there are definitely worse places to be.

Yesterday, I found time to go to the world famous San Diego Zoo. It's an endless maze of rainforest and jungle, birds and reptiles, lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). One could spend a couple of days there and enjoy every minute. Definitely worth it.

Today? An afternoon spent at the ballpark, an all-American day of baseball and hot dogs. We sat in the cheap seats, and the view from up there of the city of San Diego and the marina is worth the climb. San Diego Padres vs. the Oakland Athletics. Padres win! It was a great day to be at the ballpark -- during the 7th inning stretch, we all got up and sang "God Bless America", and it just felt darn good to be there. Next week, the Houston Astros are in town, and I will be back and in the cheap seats for that one, as well.

So despite the ugliness of the business I am here on, the charm of the city of San Diego has managed to make it all bearable for me. I believe it will be one of my very favorite cities going forward.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Taxi Driver @ 30+ years

I'd never seen this film. When it came out, I was a child, and I recall that it was seen then as so controversial, I've never really wanted to see it. I remember my parents disavowing it, saying it was lude and awful. But last night, it was on one of the movie channels. I have no idea why they'd be showing a movie in prime time that is more than 30 years old, but they were. So I thought I'd take my chance to watch it and see if it was really as controversial as people thought it was during the 70s.

And as I suspected, it was not. In fact, it was fascinating because it was almost like looking into a time capsule of sorts. The fact that it was thought to be so controversial then said something about the times we lived in then and the times we live in now. Certainly, the subject matter was disturbing - then and now- but I remember people decrying the level of violence in it then. And watching it now, that seems to pale in comparison to what we regularly find in today's films. The presence of a 12-yr old hooker still seems shocking and tragic even now, but the way it was handled in the film was so much milder than I had imagined it. I would guess if someone attempted to remake this film today, it would be much more graphic than it was 30 years ago. I won't suggest that is progress.

It makes one wonder about the evolution of culture -- films are so reflective of it. While people were outraged in the 70s over this movie, today it seems relatively mild in comparison. I don't think that's a good sign. I think it means that culture has de-volved. We've become numb and callous to violent acts, to sad human condition. It takes more and more to get our atteniton and shock us. That's not a good commentary at all.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Just Breathe

This is a very big, very stressful next couple of weeks at my house. Some days I can't even eat, I am so anxious. Sleep is almost out of the question. The weight of this thing is making it difficult to breathe. I yearn for the ability to just be a puddle, but I can't. I have go to work every day and function. There is no relief right now, no one to help, nothing to make it better. When the panic comes, all I can do is breathe and offer up a prayer. And no one knows.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Licence to Chill?

Love ya Daniel, but please, please tell me you did not endorse this. It's totally creeping me out.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Thoughts on Vegas....

I recently did a stint in Vegas at a technology conference. I hadn't been out there in a while, and there are always things that strike me about Vegas when I go there, so I thought I'd note a few of them here:

1. I always expect Vegas to be a bit more glamorous (okay, a lot more glamorous) than it turns out to be. Despite visions of people dressed to the nines at the craps tables (too many Bond movies, clearly) what I find is that the casinos are generally full of people who are overweight and underdressed. A constant disappointment and a very sad commentary on people in general. I am often embarrassed for the human race by the time I leave Vegas.

2. Something I would never utter myself, but clearly a significant amount of people in Vegas must say something like this: "Hey, honey -- How about we load up the toddlers and go to Vegas?" Because it never ceases to amaze me how many people are pushing baby carriages in and out of casinos there. Something about that just seems so wrong to me. IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD A SITTER, STAY HOME. What the hell are you doing gambling your kids' college money, anyway?

3. As if there weren't enough pairs of bare (and nearly bare) breasts in Vegas, apparently people feel the need to bring their own. I have never seen so many amateur breasts on display in one place in my life. It's as if women just set them free once they get there.

4. There is no shortage of short, fat, hairy guys from New Jersey named Tony. Every casino fills their quota, especially at the swimming pool. Ick!

5. All casinos smell the same. I don't know what it is, but it must come in a can called 'Eau de Casino', and every single one of them uses it generously.

6. Every casino has managed to somehow cultivate the $15 hamburger. It doesn't appear to be any different than the $8 variety, but it must be, since they are able to get away with charging almost double for it.

7. In case you had your doubts, let me set you straight -- there is NOTHING that is not fake in Las Vegas. Check out the green, grassy medians along some of the boulevards as you wait in traffic. Ah, yes, they are blissfully green. Ah, yes, they are blissfully fake. In Las Vegas, even the grass is plastic.

8. Pay no attention to the hordes of Hispanic men who stand on the Strip and try to hand out hooker cards to your husband as you look on. They're just doing their job.

9. No matter how many times I go to Vegas, I never see Robert Redford at a craps table waiting to buy a night with me for a cool million. Not even once.

10. If you are approached by casino personnel who want to offer you a free stay in the penthouse on them.....this does not mean you are a high roller....it means you're betting too much and are losing a lot. Put your money back in your pocket and leave immediately.

Vegas is definitely a must see at least once in your life, maybe even a few times. But quite honestly, unless you are an uber gambler with piles o'money to burn, you only need about two days in the place. Any longer than that, and it could suck out your soul.

Memorial Day

Today, we celebrate Memorial Day, a time to stop and think about those who have given their lives so that ours may be better. These are men and women far better than I; people who felt a higher calling and sense of purpose; people who gave their all for the freedom of others. What greater gift is there, truly?

My family's roots go deep into this country. My mother's family has been here since before the Revolutionary War, my father's since about 1900 or so. Both families have offered their sons, brothers, fathers in the service of this country. We have had at least one family member in uniform during almost every war in U.S. History.

My mother's family joined the patriots and fought in our struggle for independence from England in the 1700s. Generations later, this same family had sons fighting in the Civil War -- on both sides actually. Cousins unknowingly fought against each other, each fighting for their own way of life. Still, generations later, both sides of my family had men in uniform during World War I, II, Korea and even Vietnam. Some rose to high levels in the U.S. military, recognized as leaders and heroes in service to their country.

So today, I salute all of them. No matter how politically unpopular a war may get, I am always reminded that we are forever in debt to those who step up and fight for freedom. It doesn't matter whether you agree with the reason they go -- fact is, they go, and they do their duty for all of us honorably.
It is truly the soldier and not the poet who has given us freedom of speech. It is because of those who kept watch during the darkness that the rest of us can peacefully sleep. We should never, ever forget that.
Thanks to my own family members and all other veterans who have served so honorably. Your sacrifices have not been forgotten.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Westward Ho!

I'm off to the West again this weekend for about 10 days.

First stop: Las Vegas

Business. A technology conference. Ho-hum. BUT, it's 3 days & nights at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, all company paid....so while I pay my dues during the day and sit in on meetings where people get excited about things like server virtualization and cloud computing (yawn), I'll have my evenings and nights to do the Vegas thing. Not a bad deal at all. I'm not a big gambler, but I do play a bit of poker for fun, and no better place to do it than Vegas. And if I get a chance, I'm going to sneak away in the afternoon and hit the Mandalay Beach. I feel the need to lie there in a bikini (no matter what I look like) and have some guy name Pedro bring me a colorful overpriced drink. *ahhhh*

And then: San Diego

In an earlier post I wailed on Los Angeles and barely mentioned San Diego, which is quite refreshing vs. LaLa land. It deserves a decent nod. I actually find San Diego to be a friendly and charming city where one can actually relax. In fact, if it weren't for the plethora of homeless people downtown (seems to be a California standard), it would be extremely pleasant. But I must say, so far, the San Diego homeless I've bumped into have been fairly pleasant. It's such a lovely city, even the homeless can't help but be in a good mood....unlike the homeless crowd in San Francisco, who I found to be generally unpleasant and scary.

Catch you from the West Coast, dudes.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ever Heard of Photoshop?

Yes, it is New York City.

Yes, it is a low-flying 747.

No, it's not 9-11 all over again.

But try to tell that to the people of NYC who panicked today when this was the sight out their windows.

In actuality, it's an Air Force One photo op -- the White House is updating their pictures. This morning, over lower Manhattan and the Hudson River.

No, really. They were.

They didn't tell anyone; they didn't warn the people of New York City; they didn't even bother to call the mayor and alert him. They just flew the planes in this morning.

People panicked; they left their offices; they evacuated buildings; they ran for their lives. Wouldn't you?

The mayor of New York City is completely pissed, and why shouldn't he be?

Again, a prime example of the AMATEURS we have in the White House.

Imagine the hue and cry if BUSH had done this. Oy.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Work pressure, allergies, hormones from hell, a birthday with a horrible number attached to it, the insanity of 'the thing' that is otherwise going on in my life + a single glass of Chardonnay all culminated in a mini-meltdown Friday night. For five days I felt like something had been pushing down on my head. Finally, I imploded.

I yelled at my husband and said terrible things to him. He sat there and took it.

I fell over in a puddle of myself on the sofa and laid there in a fetal position for 30 minutes, not saying anything. I then gathered myself up, went upstairs, took a quick shower and poured myself into bed.

We didn't talk anymore that night. He came to bed and didn't rouse me. The next morning he got up before I did and left the room. But he came back later and walked over, hugged me and kissed me on the forehead without saying a word. I knew all was forgiven and washed away in the puddle of the evening prior.

That's the lovely thing about being married to your best friend. Sometimes words are not necessary.

And the rest of the weekend was blissful.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Finding My Z-Spot

At my house, we have been going through one of the most horrendous ordeals of our lives. Eighteen months of purgatory, culminating in 10 weeks of pure hell. We're in the middle of the pure hell part right now. It doesn't matter what it is; suffice it to say it's been brutal and completely unnecessary and a waste of time and resources. I never want to go through it again and should have never had to go through it this time, but I must've drawn the unlucky straw. Rather, my husband drew the unlucky straw, and I have stood here by his side to share in the lashings. No big heroine scene....I think that's just what wives are supposed to do.

Anyway, if we have any money (or sanity) left at the end of the pure hell portion of this misadventure, we need to get away and take a break from the world. Need to go somewhere to heal body, mind and spirit, because it's all been beaten to a pulp over the last two years. Need to go somewhere to do some healing, some recharging of the batteries, some clearing of the mind and heart.

I think only you can define whatever that Zen place is for yourself. I've been looking at vacation package ads that push serene beaches, trips to the mountains, desert paradises. All of that is great...for somebody....but I really need to dig deep to find what refreshes my own soul, hits my own Z-spot. Where do I go to in my mind for calm, for cool waters, for my nirvana?

I've been so stressed these last two years, I'm not sure I can trust myself to choose. It's hard to throw on the brakes against the insanity that's been going on to think clearly about scheduling a nurturing event. I may have to let the shock of things wear off for a while, get some perspective back and then find a little corner of the world to run away to.

Friday, April 17, 2009

REAL Makes a Comeback

FINALLY. Someone who is NOT a 19-year old half-naked, spray-tanned, boob-jobbed, lip plumped harlet who can't sing live to save her life.

Real is making a comeback.

NOW PLEASE -- No 'handlers', no makeovers, no personal trainer, no sassy new hairdo, no fashion police, no, no, no. Just leave her as she is. She's perfect.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Full of Empty

What is the municipal equivalent of empty calories? Los Angeles.

Famous street signs.....Sunset, Melrose, Beverly... I certainly recognized them but nothing about them there resonated with me. Storied places....Rodeo Drive, Bar Marmont, the Ivy...I was indeed there but felt like they weren't...at least not in the way I expected them. And traffic! Cars, cars everywhere and nary a place to park....and hordes of people, wandering about in the most soulless of cities. Such is Los Angeles.

I've been there before but it's been a while. And this is the first time I've really been hit with the vast emptiness of it. It's the most crowded empty place I've ever been. It is so full of everything and nothing simultaneously. Have you ever been thirsty and nothing you drank satiated your thirst? That's the feeling I get from L.A. -- plenty to drink in, but nothing to satiate.

I've almost never been in a place that I couldn't make some sort of emotional connection with, but Los Angeles proved to be one of them. It stirred nothing. I didn't like it; I didn't hate it; I almost had a feeling of indifference about it...it was so empty and valueless, I couldn't register emotion of any type for it. Empty calories indeed. I took it all in and got absolutely nothing out of it. It was utterly charmless.

I wasn't there very long but it was long enough to establish a feeling for it, if I were going to have one. And I just didn't. The connection button was stuck on 'off' for me.

We arrived Saturday noonish by car from San Diego (now THERE's a city with some charm), and we drove forever through endless cheesy neighborhoods full of strip shopping centers and fast food on our way to see the storied million dollar places. Ick! This is the dream? This is the glamourous life? To live on the right side of the Beverly Hills city limit sign in the middle of an ocean of junked up areas that surround it? No thanks. I'll take my zip code over 90210 any day.

No culture, no flavor, no charm whatsoever. Sort of like a real life movie set -- all veneer, no substance. And I really have no need to go back for a good while now. I got my fill of empty.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hitting the Sauce

So here was my Friday night:

  • Worked late.

  • Went to dinner with husband at local Italian hotspot.

  • Wore favorite (and expensive) Boho dress and cropped denim jacket combo. Rockin.

  • Had pasta with best organic marinara sauce ever. Fabulous.

  • Paid $11 for a $3 glass of wine.

  • Watched as waiter cleared our table before he proceeded to dump the entire plate of remaining food and marinara sauce all over floor, which included a spattering of it on favorite boho dress. Good thing I liked the sauce so much since I was now wearing it.

  • Manager and 3 other waiters came over and had things cleaned up in less than 2 minutes, except for my dress, of course.

  • Manager kindly comps the entire meal, knowing that the dress will be headed to the dry cleaners in an ambulance ASAP.

  • We tipped the waiter anyway. He was a nice guy, and it was an accident.

Hey, it happens. We'll go back. The food was fabulous and cheap. It cost us the equivalent of a dry cleaning bill. :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Amateur Hour

My apologies to the rest of the planet for having elected a total amateur to office...but I didn't vote for him. I was on to him early.
We're only 6 weeks into it, and it's already become a total embarrassment.

According to newspaper articles, he just insulted the British Prime Minister by totally playing down his recent visit because Obama is 'tired' and 'overwhelmed'; he didn't realize the job would be this hard; he underestimated the volume of work that would be crossing his desk; he needs a cigarette; he's not getting enough sleep at night, and on and on and on. He says he just didn't realize what a big deal it wast to host Gordon Brown, wasn't aware of the protocol, doesn't see the US &UK as having a special relationship and can't figure out why the PM's office is making such a big deal about this.

And it gets even worse -- Mr Brown brought some specially selected gifts, including a pen holder made from the wood of a warship that helped stamp out the slave trade - a sister ship of the vessel from which timbers were taken to build Mr Obama's Oval Office desk. Obama's gift in return? A collection of Hollywood film DVDs that could have been bought from any department store.

I simply cringe for all of us.

And this is the guy who's going to 'make amends' and 'regain US stature' in the world. Right.


My apologies now and in advance for whatever else he does because he's inexperienced, overwhelmed and not qualified for the job. It's going to be the longest 4 years on record, and I, for one, am embarrassed.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Money, Justice & the Media

As a part-time Floridian, I have been watching the most horrendous tragedy unfold in the newspapers there over the past couple of weeks.

Fort Lauderdale, Fl - 2:00am-ish in the morning. A white Porsche endeavors to race another car that revved at it at a stoplight. In 30 seconds and a blurr, it results in the Porsche cracking up, crashing up on to the sidewalk and killing two British tourists who were on their way back to their hotel. Subsequently, the damaged Porsche took off into the night and was abandoned a few miles away. The other car, unidentified, was never seen again.

When the police found the abandoned Porsche, they identified the owner of the car as a rich kid from Chicago who has a record a mile long of drug use, high speed car chases, street racing expensive cars, injuring people (including a cop), and seemingly never having to really answer for any of it. In all the trouble he'd been in, it appears the worst punishment he'd received was probation and a court order to complete a drug treatment program. In fact, he was still on probation from his last 'incident' but the court let him go live in Florida, so he could 'take care' of his parents' oceanfront properties there (like a property management company wasn't already doing that).

Let's see -- one minute you're behind bars in Chicago and being charged with a crime. The next minute you're living oceanfront in Florida and driving your white Porsche around the Ft. Lauderdale nightlife. How does that happen? That's easy -- daddy can afford to hire the best and most expensive lawyers, and he surely did. Oh, and who knows how connected they all are into the Chicago political scene -- it's a quagmire of muck and money. They may own a judge or two there.

But here's the kicker -- the police identified the abandoned car's owner, but when they finally found him, he claimed he wasn't driving the car. Even though he was seen leaving night clubs, driving around in it earlier all by himself, apparently, he's wise enough to the system to just say 'it wasn't me', and now the police have to prove it.

So two innocent people lie dead; two wives have lost a husband; two sets of children (including a new baby) have lost a father. And once again, daddy has hired the best and most expensive lawyers, and the owner of the white Porsche says 'prove it'.

And now, we watch the investigation. I only hope the national media picks this up, as I think it might be the only way some form of justice is going to take root. My fear is that without the media spotlight on it, money and influence will trump truth and justice. Chicago and Florida are two of the most corrupt places in the country, and I can't imagine that excludes the law enforcement there. So I really want someone in the press to take up this story and follow it closely so that all of us can see what's really going on here.

I feel so bad for the innocent families. They are the ultimate victims of money and justice. Had this guy been given the proper jail time previously, he wouldn't even have been in Florida, and two families would still be in tact. What a tragedy for all of us.

No Spring in My Step

Ugh! We change the clocks tonight....an hour forward. Time to spring ahead.

I hate it when we mess with the clock. Although I'm happy to see an extra hour of daylight in the evenings, I hate going through the transition of effectively having to get up an hour earlier to do it.

I've been in sunny California most of the week, in the Pacific time zone, already two hours behind the Central time zone, and it's messed up my sleeping, eating, waking up, etc. And here comes another hour change to deal with. Ugh.

Yet another sign of getting old.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Up in Arms

While I do think Michelle Obama is an attractive woman, I truly do not see her as a fashion icon in the realm of Jackie Kennedy, and I find it laughable that some in the press are trying to sell that notion to the public. Paleez.
While she generally looks okay, I couldn't help but think this look was fairly inappropriate for her first official appearance as First Lady in the First Lady's Box in front of Congress for official State business.

She arrived in bare arms in February (brrrrr) and while everyone else seemed to be dressed for a business occasion, she seemed ready for a social occasion. It was a bit unseasonal, bordering on unprofessional and almost to the level of being distracting. Even the small girl next to her had her arms covered. And Jill Biden (to the right) figured it out.

What was Michelle thinking? Does she not have people to advise her on these things? Does she not know it's 30 degrees outside? Did she not get the memo on the dress code? She could have very simply tossed on a jacket over this, and it would have been suitable for the occasion.
It's occurred to me that Obama continues to act like he's still on the campaign trail (somebody needs to tell him he won the election, and he can stop touring the country with campaign-type speeches). Looks like someone needs to clue in Michelle, as well.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oscar Prediction: A Real Yawner

For those of you who've been reading my blog for a while, you may recall how much I look forward to Oscar night -- watching it as an 'event' every year at my house. My husband and I pile up on the sofa with a bottle of chardonnay and some fresh stone crabs and proceed to critique any and every one who waltzes across the red carpet. A seriously trivial and unimportant activity, but fun for us, nevertheless.

You may also recall that for the past 2-3 years, I've been livid about a notorious brother-in-law who somehow happens to traipse across 15 states and pop into our home for five hours a year, ALWAYS on Oscar Sunday and ALWAYS in time to ruin our Oscar watching plans. And I have to smile and hold my tongue and miss everything. AARGHHH!!!!

And this year? (Drum roll, please.....)

Finally, finally, finally....no visit from the brother-in-law to deal with. No ruined Oscar evening. Friends are coming over, stone crabs are on ice, chardonnay is in the wine cooler. Woo hoo!!

But oddly, I'm not that excited, about the show anyway. I've grown so jaded about Hollywood, its political views, its out-of-touch state with the rest of us, the attitudes, the excesses, the skewed moral compass, the void of real talent....it's getting difficult to even want to watch the over-indulged brats do anything, especially hand each other awards.

Sooooo.....I think I'm going to crack open the chardonnay early, enjoy the company, ogle the dresses and not watch it all that closely. I've actually made it to ZERO of the movies that are nominated....and I'm reading that it's likely to be one of the most boring Oscars ever. Looks like the highlight of my evening will be the stone crabs. Yum!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love at First Sighting

I'm originally from Texas (still have a townhouse in downtown Dallas), but I've lived in or had a second home in South Florida for years now. In Florida, I live about a half a mile from the Intracoastal waterway, with another half mile to the oceanfront.

I walk or jog this trek for exercise a few days a week when I'm here. Beautiful, refreshing route past the marina and down to the ocean. And after all these years of going to and from, back and forth over that Intracoastal Waterway bridge, today I finally saw them for the very first time -- manatees!

I looked down from the bridge today, and there were 3 manatees surfacing. Breathtaking! They were like giant ghosts in the water, quiet behemoths as gentle as they were large. One was considerably smaller than the other two, so perhaps it was a family, out for a Sunday swim and up to the surface of the water, because it was such a warm, beautiful, sunny day out today.

What a sudden, breathtaking view of nature, there and gone in a flash. Fabulous.

Dog Doo and LIKES you, too...

Opening scene: children's playground

Little boy finds little girl playing by herself and proceeds to push her to the ground and tell her she's made of dog doo. Little girl goes crying to her mother, who explains that the reason this little boy did this to her is because he LIKES her.

Enough said.

That's the opening scene of "He's Just Not That Into You", and it could not set the tone better for why relationships with men can be so confusing, from the very outset.

Good flick, chick flick...and my husband always enjoys those with me. I think he thinks he's getting some sort of double secret female insight by attending a chick flick, and so be it. He's secure enough to go, and I like that.

Film was cute. Let me just say I'm glad I'm not in the dating world anymore. What a nightmare.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

That Tickles!

I Googled myself...and here's what came back. People with my name are:

  • On Linked In (me)
  • On Facebook (not me)
  • On Classmates (not me)
  • A Greenhouse Grower (not me)
  • A campaign contributor (me)
  • Manager of Veterinary Services (not me)
  • A Trivia winner (not me)
  • A violator on the West Virginia Board of Physical Therapy (not me)
  • A CRM specialist (not me)

Clearly, other people with my name lead a more interesting life than I do.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

25 Things About Me

1. I'm 5'10 and have been this tall since I was 15. Needless to say, I wasn't asked to dance much (or ever) in high school. I don't think you ever forget those things.

2. I don't necessarily think I'm smarter than other people, but I am probably mentally quicker. I've come to believe this based on several experiences, one of which is that I consistently laugh well before the rest of the audience at a movie. Or maybe I'm just consistenly hanging out in 'slow' crowds.

3. In my mind's eye, I see myself as a bit of a loner. I always have been. It's been my tendency (good or bad) to have one best friend and lots of 'acquaintances'. For the last 15 years, my best friend has been my husband, and I like it that way.

4. I'm a bit of a worry wart, and I don't know why. I wish I could be more happy-go-lucky, but it's not really me.

5. I am a spiritual person. I don't agree that one can't be highly intelligent and also believe in God. The fact is that I'm smart enough to realize that all of this couldn't possibly be here by accident, and I don't understand people who don't get that.

6. When I was five years old, I found almost all the eggs at my kindergarten Easter egg hunt. My teacher then put me in the middle of the circle of children and proceeded to hand out my eggs to the other kids who didn't have any because they were too shy or unfocused to look for them. While I didn't mind the sharing aspect, it was at this point in my life that I knew I could never believe in Socialism. I had worked hard for those eggs, and now they were being taken from me and given to kids who had not. It was an early lesson in unfairness that I never forgot.

7. I believe that people get taller but they don't necessarily grow up. Especially men.

8. As a child, I played non-stop with dolls...baby dolls, Barbie dolls, dolls of every kind. But as an adult, I've never really had any interest in children. Never really wanted any, never felt I was missing something by not having them. I suppose I will regret that decision someday, or at least that's what they tell me. I'm still waiting for it to hit. Right now, the angst for children remains limited to major holidays, where it seems like it might be fun to be surrounded by a large family. Having that angst limited to 1 or 2 days a year hardly seems justification for the lifelong commitment of being a parent.

9. I've always been healthy, but for some reason, I don't think I will live a long life. Actually, I'm not sure I want to. Rather than overstay my visit here, I'd rather go early and leave 'em wanting more.

10. I don't value 'things'. I thought I did earlier in life; now I just see it all as clutter.

11. The best thing that ever happened to me is being born to my parents. The worst thing that ever happened to me is something I won't talk about here because I am still dealing with it and trying to get through it.

12. I found my first grey hair when I was 25. I promptly plucked it out and put it in an envelope and filed it away. I wanted to remember it. I don't know why; there have been plenty since then.

13. I probably look okay for my age. I've not put on weight (even since high school), and since I can keep the greys at bay with hair color, probably my worst aging issues so far are the lines gathering steam around my eyes. I'm not a big fan of plastic surgery, but I may have to break down and have that addressed someday (if that's possible). I'm really trying to hold out for someone to invent the miracle cream of creams to take care of that, instead. On the other hand, I may just blow it all off and grow old gracefully. After all, does it really matter?

14. I am often probably too polite. Some people just need to be brought down a notch, but I am rarely one to do that.

15. I'm not a jewelry girl. I never have been. Growing up, I had a best friend who collected charms for a charm bracelet. She would get a new charm for each birthday, at Christmas, at other giftings. She was always so excited about that, and I never understood why. I still don't. Jewelry is just expensive clutter. It's pretty to look at, but I don't really want it. Unless it's a canary diamond, and then I get chillbumps all over.

16. Growing up, I had an older sister who was fairly busty by the time she was 16. Following on, I couldn't wait for my boobs to come in. And I'm still waiting. They never showed up. :)

17. I don't have a good relationship with my sister or her daughter, but I have a good relationship with my brother and always have.

18. I hate my thighs.

19. I love traditional values in life and culture, but I prefer that other people maintain them and carry them out. That way, I don't have to and society is none the worse for it. It gives me all the freedom without the guilt. An example of this is having children -- I love it when someone has 3 or 4 -- that way, my not having any doesn't have an impact on society. It all evened out.

20. As a child, I always drew pictures of people with a single flower growing out of their head. I don't know why.

21. I can't sing at all. At church, I only mouth along to the words.

22. I used to constantly be late. One day, I turned that all around and am now never late. I don't know how that happened.

23. I love french fries, but I avoid them as often as possible. (see #18 above)

24. My religious upbringing does not teach reincarnation, but I can't help but think that might be a possibility. Would only seem fair to get more than one shot at it all. I also tend to think that there is only one God; some of us call him God, others Allah, still others Buddha. As a Christian, that's not really consistent with standard beliefs, but I wonder if God simply presented himself to different peoples in different ways because He knew we would all relate to him differently. A distinct possibility, I think.

25. I'm thankful for having lived a pretty good life so far.

Friday, February 6, 2009

No Dirty Laundry

Things have been wall-to-wall lately across my small piece of Earth, and while all I can say is I've been terribly busy, I don't even think I could say doing what. Just life stuff, I guess. It's just been a blurr. But nothing terribly interesting in it, so I'm having a hard time finding something to write about.

I have indeed been busy, some days so busy I don't make it out of my sweat pants. I generally work from home office (thankfully) and the progression of wardrobe throughout the day is usually PJs, sweats, and then finally something I can actually leave the house in if I want. But lately, I've been stuck in the sweats all day long. So it's been PJs to sweats, and sweats to PJs, mostly.

I usually get started at the computer around 8am, and before I know it, I'm sitting here in my sweats at 6pm wondering what happened to the day. The upside is that there's very little laundry to do these days. Indeed, I guess I've been busy with everything but laundry. So yes, there is a silver lining in all this blurrrrr.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

It Takes a Stranger

Neither in the mood nor of the mindset to focus on a New Year's Resolution this year, I ended the holidays with nary a one in sight.

Funny how sometimes a perfect stranger can enter your life for a fleeting moment and come to the rescue on these things....as in the case just last night....

It was an unusually warm night in Dallas for January 3....in the 70s, after a sunny afternoon of 80 degrees plus -- a touch of spring in the middle of winter, and the city was buzzing. My husband and I opted for a local French bistro due mostly to its fabulous patio and primo people watching....the food being a secondary motivator. It was just a night to be out and about, and even though our moods weren't the best, we weren't going to miss out.

This would be a good night. There were a couple of omens immediately -- a rare open parking spot up front; the last remaining patio table waiting there just for us. We were supposed to be at this very patio, this very night, at this very time, for some reason.

So we sat, we ate, we had a glass of wine without a terribly animated conversation, unlike the couple next to us who were clearly on a date -- flirting, nervous, trying to impress. Ours was more comfortable, less energetic, more natural -- the conversation of a couple who had been eating together for 15 years. It was calm and familiar.

About the time we finished, another table began to exit the bistro. I had noticed the kindly looking gentlemen -- seemingly a bit out of place -- in a tweed jacket and ascot-style scarf -- dining at the table next to us with a group of people. What I didn't realize is that apparently, he noticed me, too.

At the same time this gentleman went to leave, my husband said something that made me laugh -- a rare moment for last night, as our moods were less light and airy than they should be on such a lovely evening.

As the man passed our table, he stopped....and in a very proper British accent he said to me, "You should laugh more often. Your whole face lights up when you laugh."

At first I was a bit taken aback, mostly that someone -- a perfect stranger, no less -- was watching me and had taken note of my somewhat somber mood. And on such a beautiful gift of an evening. What was wrong with me?

So I smiled and thanked him and told him I would definitely plan to laugh more in the future, and I bid him a lovely evening as he exited the bistro.

And then it hit me -- there it was! This perfect stranger had provided me with the perfect New Years' resolution for 2009 -- To laugh more. And it occurred to me that this was the very resolution I had made the year before, and not only had I clearly blown that, I had even forgotten about it.

So, thank you, perfect stranger, for reaching out and letting me know that I'm wasting some perfectly wonderful opportunities to laugh and enjoy life, even in the smaller moments, especially in the smaller moments. Your entry into my life was brief and fleeting, but I will not forget you or your kind advice.

Yes, sometimes it takes a stranger.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Adios Holidays 2008

It was the best of holidays, it was the worst of holidays...to borrow from a writer much greater than I.

There were some good moments...and no regrets, but in between those fleeting moments, emotional heaviness reigned. Lots going on to dampen the mood, yet I am still thankful for the opportunity to spend another Christmas with my family.

I am very happy to see 2008 go. Both 2007 and 2008 have been horrific years for me. Since trouble generally comes in three's, I'm not expecting 2009 to be much better, but maybe there's a surprise out there somewhere. One never knows.

Happy New Year all.