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Plans, Posters and imaginary Parenthood

Gawd – I’m feeling the pressure to write some amazing year-end ‘blow your socks off’ post.  No one is putting this on me – I’m quite capable of creating impossible real and imagined tasks all by myself.

So – I’ll just say this.

I have plans tomorrow.

GASP!  SHOCK!

(AND, there’s more, I reconnected with an old friend last night and we’re actually going to see each other … hopefully February!)

The way my plans went down was funny in a kind of sad but true way …

Friend: “We should go to dinner on New Years Eve”

Me:  *Awkward ‘deer heard a leaf crunch’ stare*

Friend: “C’mon!  You said you were going to do more

Me: “I did things this year”

Friend: “Those things weren’t this year”

Me: “Yes they were!!! We did like, THREE things this year!!”

Friend: “No we didn’t”

Me: “Yup, dinner, tortoise ….”

Friend: “Oh, yeah I guess it was this year”

 

But how sad is it that ‘We already DID something this year’ was my go to excuse??? LOL!

Now I’m deciding what to wear …

Either this shirt:

unite separately

Or this one??

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Won’t much matter – it’s not like I’ll be counting down to midnight in it.  We’re going to meet at the restaurant at 4:30.  “That’s when OLD people eat!”  she said … I just raised my eyebrows.

We’re not getting any younger.

Bonus, her adorable granddaughter is coming too – who is growing up WAY too fast, just like every other adorable baby ever born.

*sigh*

Speaking of adorable babies growing up too quickly … my son stopped by yesterday bearing gifts.  No it wasn’t a baby.

(But he had me totally scared the other night when he ran to find me in the house and asked “What were you going to name me if I was a girl???”  After I answered, he pounced off.   I took a beat before pouncing after him “Wait!!!! You’re playing SIMS right???  Please tell me you’re playing SIMS!”)

He was.

Phew!

ANYWAY!  He brought me … Nerdvana!  A Jesse Pinkman doll … an Abraham Series 6 Walking Dead doll and … A 6 FOOT POSTER OF DARYL DIXON!!!!!!!  YES!!!!!!!

I put it up last night.  I was reminded of my teeny bopper days.  I remember carefully removing the center fold of my Circus magazine and adding to my expansive wall décor … my long-haired loves. Mostly Nikki Sixx … Swoon!  And Tom Keifer.   Many  staple related injuries were due to those two.

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Last night a framed Ansel Adams moved aside for Daryl.

Then I decided to be silly with it … (this is why I can’t leave the house people … I am NOT normal!)

I posted this on Facebook with the caption: “I hate for you to see us arguing, but he did just bring up Carol!”

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Listen, I’ll do the dinner tomorrow … but I think I’m only being fair when I give my friends an out.  I cannot be held responsible for any oddness that may ensue at that early seating. LOL!  May the force be with you Denice – you brought this on yourself.

And HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone!  May 2015 be filled with love and light and laughter … wishing you all the very best always!

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“As perfect days are few …”

I was driving home from work today, admiring the shadows cast on the mountains by the clouds hung in the sky … and thought “It has been a perfect day.”

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I instantly knew I would be writing tonight.

I have a peace about me today.

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Nothing extraordinary happened.

I am just very aware of how blessed I am.

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I awoke before my alarm – took my time getting ready.

Received an email that ended in ‘In deep love’ from someone special.

And actually smiled at the mess that Nicholas’ birthday had left in its wake.

Yesterday was pretty amazing.  My son said he had one of his best birthdays ever – and it wasn’t because of any material thing.

He spent time with people he loves. During the day, with his first love – Chelsea, they’ll be celebrating 1 year together this month.   Then I arrived home and he was with my mom.

 

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I was aware in that moment that he’s grown.  That he appreciates that what matters are people not things.

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Back to today.

So I’m reflecting on the day – the interactions with my co-workers/friends.

The successful meeting we had this morning, one of the guest speakers being a dear friend who I’m always glad to see.

Happy about the fact that our place of business is going to be of service in the community.

Happy that I was busy, productive.

Happy that I felt genuine joy returning from lunch and seeing the cars of the ‘family’ I work with – knowing I was going into a building full of people I like.

Then how fortunate I was to be driving a car in working order – to have a job to drive home from – to be able to stop off at the pharmacy and afford to collect my medicine.

I was full of gratitude for every little thing.

Grate FULL.

Then I checked the mail.

There was a brown package for me.

It was from a friend I’ve known for years and years.

She had told me a while ago she saw something and thought of me – and asked for my address.

This was in the package.

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Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives.

Years ago, books like those wouldn’t have anyone thinking of me.

I was humbled.

Then I opened it.

Inside was a letter – and a check.

Dear Amanda (+Nic)

The book is for you  – enjoy and pass on.  The check is for Butters.  Took up a collection, please put towards bill to get snip snip done.  Have a great day.’

(I’ll keep her anonymity.)

I’ve been struggling trying to find the ‘extra’ money to have Butters spayed.

I came very close to looking for another home for her.  I’m a firm believer that if you can’t afford to provide for an animal – can’t afford health care, food or time – then you should not have one!

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When Butters showed up in my yard, I went to great lengths to find her owners.  Even using a connection I have at a television station to have her shown on a morning show.

No owners came forward.

I then went to great lengths to find her a forever home.  No takers.

I could not bring myself to take her to the pound, a definite death sentence.

So, 3 years later, we’ve been her ‘better than the pound’ solution.

But I’ve hated, simply hated that I haven’t been able to have her spayed or provided her with shots!!

It all came to a head a while back – I was frustrated when I had to chase her down the street when she jumped our frail fence.  I panicked.   She can’t get pregnant!  She hasn’t had her shots!  What if she is injured?!

Of course she wants to jump!  Of course she wants to play with other dogs!

I knew all of this and felt SO inadequate as a pet mom.  She deserved better I concluded.

That conclusion was shared with my friends and clearly made an impression.

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So here I am, having my ‘perfect day’ added to by this amazing person – and then I see her Facebook status.

And apparently something has happened.

Her recent status alluded to that and ended with “May the journey we all travel be peaceful as perfect days are few and sometimes far between.”

This friend, who managed to make my perfect day end on such a sweet note is not having a perfect day.

She wrote inside the book ‘Because you just never know! Pay it forward’

To her I say, “I will.  I promise you I will.”

And I ask now for anyone reading this to just take a second and send love and light into the universe to all those in our hearts, on our minds – and in the world.

Holding the plank – and wanting more

I held the plank last night.

In correct position, and with my arms shaking – I held on.

And when I got home, I started to get undressed when I noticed that the work I’ve put into my body these past weeks, is showing results.

I originally took a photo of my stomach for myself.  When I looked at the picture after I took it – I noticed my arm.  I was shocked.  And excited.  And I was sharing that!

I posted it to my Facebook wall, completely ecstatic that my goal of achieving tone was being realized.

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I have other goals.

Other desires.

And what I tried to convey in my last post – was that I am trying to allow myself to want those things.

I found myself feeling on the precipices of a breakthrough – of starting to feel like a woman – in my prime – of wanting more for her.

At the same time, feeling very much confined to my hamster wheel and with no resources for even a change of cedar chips.

I needed to talk it out with someone.

So I did what I am only now learning how to do, I spoke up and reached out.

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I had the most amazing conversation with one of my best friends.

I miss her.

This is the friend who wore a ball gown one casual Friday.

The friend who smeared cake on her own face just so she could turn around at the right moment and say “What cake?”

The friend I danced to P!nk with – and swooned over  Dave Matthews with while we sipped Kendall Jackson Chardonnay.

The friend who was there for me during a devastating chapter in my life.

I love her.

She fought cancer and won.  If that wasn’t enough to make her my hero, she’s bold and authentic, funny and smart, balanced, human and oh so loving.

She also happens to have the maiden name of my mother.  First, middle and last.  The odds of that are bonkers.

So I told her early this week, “I need to talk.  I need a friend.”

We had a time planned, but then another friend needed me.  The thing about true friends, is that there is no explaining, no awkwardness, just ‘can we talk another time?’

Yes we could.  This weekend.

So I called her with tonight with “Are you home yet? What about now? What about now?”

No.  She wasn’t home.  But now was a good time.

She then proceeded to blow my ever so ‘undeserving’ mind with:

“It doesn’t mean you’re not grateful.  It’s okay to acknowledge that you obviously have needs on many levels that are not being met.”

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The thing about getting older, is that the window of opportunity for any significant life change gets smaller.

The older we get, the more likely we may become ill – become lonely – become someone we didn’t plan to be – and there are only so many do overs.

That is reality.

But so many times, ‘reality’ becomes an excuse for not trying.

As she said “We have to candy coat reality a little bit at least.  To make life less bitter.  We have to be able to dream, to want things for ourselves.”

This is true.

I can think of a million reasons why I can’t take a big step and make the little girl I used to be proud and excited again.

But all it takes is believing anything is possible and allowing myself to want something for myself.  And that is NOT selfish.

I don’t know if I’m brave enough yet.

I don’t know if I believe enough in myself yet.

But I’m getting there.

If I can just hold on … even while I’m shaking.

Caramels

I sometimes sit and watch people and cock my head in wonder.
Other people confuse me.
I don’t understand you.
Not because I don’t care or because I’m incapable.

But because I am unlike you
and like you …
but mostly, I feel so very unlike you.

But I am empathetic.
Sympathetic.
I feel you.

If I saw a discarded sweet box in your garbage can, I would buy you caramels.

I just never quite fit in.
Or understand the rules.

I seem always to be the girl who says too much,
feels too much,
thinks too much.

I laugh too loud, emote too publicly.
I cannot hide my exuberance or my sadness.

I have a giant world in my head and heart!
Colorful, fantastic, dark and macabre
Consistent extremes
Always there – always.

I have conversations with you in my head.
“Do you want to just watch movies and eat cake?”
“Yeah! Sure!”
“Can you bring cake?”

I share some of my world with a few
On my terms
And occasionally I’m pulled from my comfort zone because i want to please you.

My special friends are always there
They don’t expect me to be like them
They embrace the parts of my world I show them

Real people tucked inside my head
Characters in my internal play
Scenarios imagined – scripts written
And we eat my caramels
and share your cake

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Paris with a friend

We met very near the chandeliers we had joked about.  I had just given my car over to valet and entered the Paris Las Vegas when there she was.   My best friend.

Timing couldn’t have been better, and given the sea of people, nothing short of a miracle that we found each other at all.

Rewind to Christmas.

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Santa brought me a cold/flu of some sort.  Wasn’t that nice?  I got through the day, and kept a smile on my face – but the day afterwards, I stayed in bed.

I never do that.

Crawl onto the couch when I’m feeling under the weather – yes.  Stay in bed all day?  Nope.

I had no choice.  My head felt like I had angry bees with sledge hammers in it.  Someone must have also sneaked Rice Crispies into my sinuses and ears.

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I was SO determined not to miss my lunch date on Friday that I let my fever run. (We have fevers for a reason no?  The body’s way of fighting whatever has invaded our body?)  I hydrated and coughed and even had that sexy gravely voice.  Joking aside, I haven’t felt that rotten in years, and I was starting to fear I would miss seeing my friend for our annual get together.

I had posted my status on Facebook – to which my friend’s mom commented: Don’t get Lisa sick!

That made me smile – such a mom thing to say – and if my fever hadn’t broken, I would not have taken the chance of doing just that.

But break it did!

I still felt about 40% of my usual self, but excitement cloaked my lack of physical energy with a mental enthusiasm.

Off to Vegas I went.

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The red roped entrance to the only way you can get to the restaurant is manned by a very well dressed secret service looking gentleman – with an earpiece and shiny badge.

Lisa advised we had reservations and we were escorted to the elevator.

It wasn’t until the doors closed and we began our ascent, that Lisa joked “I hope you’re not afraid of heights.”

I am.

But I was still cloaked in excitement – and impervious to such phobias in that moment.

The elevator stopped – doors opened and …

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“Are we on the right floor?”

We were.  This is the first thing you see!

Lisa and I are huge chef/food fans.  If they had said we could sit in the kitchen, I’m sure we both would have leapt at the chance.

But then we would have missed the amazing table we were seated at.

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The very right side corner in the top of the above picture was to be our spot.

The bottom photo shows an advertisement for the restaurant – which, also happens to be our table.

Best seat in the house.

Directly across from the Bellagio fountains.

We were brought menus that weren’t read for a while – too much to talk about!

But hunger won out.  We decided to start with appetizers, well, an appetizer and an entree that we decided would also be an appetizer.

Our drinks arrived first – I had the most amazing concoction … Cucumber Lemonade.

Who thought that up?  I’m glad they did.

Bread and then a tiny vessel (I’m sure it has a proper name) of cauliflower puree with rice cracker seed ‘balls’ was placed in front of us.

It was like cauliflower pudding. Cold and adorable and delicious!

The appetizers followed – Cold Foie Gras Torchon (Duck prosciutto, fig compote, Brioche) and an Assortment of French Cheese (with Walnut Raisin Bread and Apricot Chutney.)

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I was leery of the fig compote – I’m not a fig fan.  But I was absolutely going to try everything!   I’m SO glad I did.  It was incredible!

(Lisa made me eat my micro greens too.)

More chatting – catching up … the staff kept coming by but I wasn’t letting the food go.  I know neither of us wanted to rush the time together, but I also didn’t want to rush the culinary experience!  I was determined to savor each bite.

Eventually we let them take the plates (not without me asking for the remains to be placed in a box that would come with me.)

Entrees.

I had the Baked Crepes.  Filled with Artichokes, Roasted Tomato Coulis and Basil.

Lisa ordered the Aged Parmesan Crusted Chicken.  Potato Gratin and Vegetables shared the plate with that.

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Every bite was delicious – and yes, I made it over to Lisa’s plate too.

There was nothing to box from the entrees.  Plates were cleaned.

More chatting – and the fountains had started doing their fountainy thing.

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You can imagine, there was so much to look at and so much to talk about – but we did eventually get around to dessert.

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The Creme Brulee and Triple Chocolate Cake with Creme Fraiche.

The cake was deceiving – it looked like fudge!  Seemed as if it would be dense, but our forks slipped right through and how they made all that chocolate so light and airy had to be some molecular gastronomy trick.

I had been escorted to the bathroom earlier (Yes, it was ‘that’ kind of fancy – “Pardon me, where are your bathrooms?”  “May I show you?”  Why yes, yes you may.) and told Lisa we had  to go back before we left.

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So after reluctantly prying ourselves away from the table – we went to freshen up and of course, take some photos.

We took ‘selfies’ to a new level at the fancy vanity.

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Oh, and the top left was while we were waiting for our table, and the top right was taken by our very sweet bus boy.

We definitely needed to walk some of that lunch off – so we almost made it to the elevator when I remembered my cardigan was on the back of my chair.  Retrieved that and past the kitchen we went – glancing longingly at the behind the scenes action – then down the Eiffel Tower into the belly of the Casino.

We walked outside for a bit – then back inside to explore Paris.

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It was getting late in the afternoon – I live in a different time zone and knew I still had to navigate the Vegas roads to find my way to a Freeway I was familiar with before the sun got any lower in the sky.

(That’s a whole other post – Vegas drivers are bonkers!  I was shaking at one point – with people taking the 75 mph signs as a minimum, not a limit.  Barreling down on me, as I squinted at upcoming signs to watch for my exit – which, I missed.  I learned a) I’m pretty sure I need glasses and b) If I ever do win the lottery, I’m hiring a driver for long trips on scary fast roads!)

Tangent over – let’s get to the difficult part.

Goodbyes are hard.

Lisa stood with me in Valet – and for some time after I had my car and was trying to merge into the exit lane.  This became comical as she stood beside my car on the sidewalk as cycle after cycle of green/red lights afforded me only inches of movement.

I finally turned onto the strip and looked over my shoulder to see her in the crowd – but could not.

Giant sigh – sad heart.

We talk almost everyday – she knows everything there is to know about me.  The good the bad – and the things we only ever tell one person.  And considering how willing to share I am, you know those things are deep and very private.

She makes me laugh, she knows my likes and dislikes, my hopes and dreams – and she encourages them or brings me back to reality – depending on the situation.

And yet, I only get to see her once a year.

And I was not going to let a fever take this day away.

I feel a little silly – my eyes watering while I type those words.  I just miss her you know? 

I miss my friend.

And I’m so glad I got to share such an amazing experience with her.

So until next year – I love you Lisa.  And thank you for crossing one of my bucket list items off.