Happy Birthday To Ya

Actually, Happy Birthday to me! 🙂 Yesterday was the big day, and it was a good one – the whole weekend was, in fact. Yaa! 🙂 I had to work at an event on Friday evening, but it went by pretty quickly which is always a bonus. On Saturday, I worked a bit and went out for a lovely dinner at La Gloria with my family – their food is AMAZING, and their sangria ain’t half bad, either. Woohoo!! After a beautiful Sunday morning with my Wee One, I went up to Austin to go to the famous Franklin BBQ for lunch – and what a lunch it was! After waiting nearly 3 hours in line (I cannot believe that I did that, but it wasn’t too bad….I made friends in the line, had some drinks, ate the samples that they brought around, played some games – it was a pretty good time), I got my food – and I am so happy to report that it was well worth the wait. I had the tastiest brisket that I have EVER had in my life, some really solid potato salad, and pickles. Yum. I tasted their sauce and decided that I had somehow perished and ended up in heaven…it was THAT good. I kept tasting a coffee flavor in it, which I found positively magical – there were no labels on the bottles, so I had no idea what I was eating. I looked it up online when I got home – turns out it is Espresso Barbecue Sauce…and it’s incredible.  Here are some pictures:

A small piece of the line, full of pretty fun people :-)

A small piece of the line, full of pretty fun people :-)

Samples that were brought to us in line - SOOOOO GOOOOOD!!!

Samples that were brought to us in line – SOOOOO GOOOOOD!!!

The whole waiting in line thing is such an epic part of the experience that they have a line etiquette manifesto - I love that!

The whole waiting in line thing is such an epic part of the experience that they have a line etiquette manifesto – I love that!

Yummy!

Yummy!

It's the sign!

It’s the sign!

Me taking a picture of the Franklin's sign!

Me taking a picture of the Franklin’s sign!

I love their mascots!

I love their mascots!

This is where the cooking magic happens

This is where the cooking magic happens

Hot Stuff!

Hot Stuff!

 

I brought brisket home for my Wee One, as it is her favorite food (she’s got some Texan in her) – she nearly melted into a puddle, she was so in love with what she was eating. Yaaa! For the mama of a kid with severe food allergies who has struggled all her life, there are few things as gratifying as watching her devour food and really enjoy it – without worrying that it will make her sick. Yaaa! 🙂

 

I get excited about birthdays, as I feel that they are kind of like a mini-New Year’s Eve…and you get a fresh start. I intend to make some changes this year – trying to drink more water, eat better (although that went right down the shitter this morning as we had a waffle party at work – however, we are still celebrating my birthday, so technically the healthier eating doesn’t really start until tomorrow 😉 ), exercise more, stress less… I always say these things – as do most people – but I want to try to make the effort. I do so many things to try to help those around me – I really ought to put a bit of time in to trying to help myself.

Happy Birthday – here’s to another great year! 🙂

xxx

 

PS: My Dad gave me Lambie on the day I  was born – she and I are the same age, but I think she’s totally aged better than I have….what do you think? 🙂

My lifelong BFF :-)

My lifelong BFF :-)

 

 

P.S. This is Austin

I decided I needed a change of pace this past weekend – so I did no housework, and devoted myself to fun. Woohoo!!  I kicked off the weekend with some Strawberry Vodka Lemonade made from scratch – here’s the recipe:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 8 lemons)
4-6 cups cold water
1 cup vodka
INSTRUCTIONS:
Make a simple syrup by combining 1 cup sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan.
Place over medium heat until the sugar in completely dissolved; swirl the pan occasionally. Let cool.
Once the simple syrup has cooled, puree strawberries in a food processor or blender with ½ cup water.
In a large pitcher, combine ice, strawberry puree, simple syrup and lemon juice – this is where you add the vodka! 🙂
Add 4-6 cups of cold water. The amount of water you use will depend on your tastes, so add as little or as much as you want to achieve desired sweet/tart balance.
Rim your glasses with sugar before pouring, then garnish with fresh strawberries or lemon slices.

 

 

On Saturday, I treated myself to a mani/pedi, which was wonderfully relaxing (I go to a new place – Palace Nails – near to mi casa…and the staff there are AMAZING!!! I so highly recommend them!! Yaa!!! 🙂 ), and headed to San Marcos for a spot of outlet shopping. From there, I went on to Austin….and man alive, do I love me some Austin! First stop was my beloved Bangers, where I had my very favorite thing ever: Poutine!! Woohoo!! It was delicious, as always! The beet and goat cheese sausage that I had with it was surprisingly delightful – I highly recommend that! 🙂 From there, I walked down Rainey Street to check out the other establishments – and ended up stopping at Clive’s for a bit. I’ve not been there before, but I would definitely go back – it was great! The weather was absolutely glorious, and sitting outside was fantastic – the air smelled fresh and clean, full of promise…and everywhere I went, the music was GREAT: lots of late ’80s and classic country (I had no idea that I had ever listened to so much country music that I could sing along to pretty much every song), classic pop…great stuff.

Poutine - AKA the food of the northern gods :-)

Poutine – AKA the food of the northern gods :-)

Yaa! It's Bangers!

Yaa! It’s Bangers!

Next stop was a stroll over to Sixth Street – where things were happening, as they usually do on a weekend night. I returned to one of my favorites – The Jackalope – and had my picture taken (again), mounted on the signature ride of the place. It was great! From there, I strolled down the street, marveling at the sights, the sounds, the smells….Austin is such a great town. I made a stop at Voodoo Donut for an “Oh Captain, My Captain” donut…it was not awful at all, friends, let me tell you. I think I’m more of a fan of Gourdough’s Donuts than Voodoo, but all donuts are good donuts, so….everybody wins!!

The Jackelope!

The Jackelope!

A light inside The Jackelope - I friggin' love beautiful light fixtures!

A light inside The Jackelope – I friggin’ love beautiful light fixtures!

Oh Captain, My Captain - a Captain Crunch donut. Yummmmmm....

Oh Captain, My Captain – a Captain Crunch donut. Yummmmmm….

Heehee!

Heehee!

I stopped in at Friends Bar on Sixth, and heard a band that I REALLLLLLLY liked a whole lot – The Chris Castaneda Project. I am going to have to keep checking on these guys online to see where they are playing next….I thought they were fab. 🙂 The next stop from there was the Chuggin’ Monkey club, to hear a bit of music courtesy of Tish and the Mizzbehavin’ Band — this lady could sang, friends…she was great! I would have LOVED to hear their set from beginning to end, as I think they probably put on one hell of a show. Fantastic!!!

By this time, it was getting pretty late, and I decided to head back to my fair berg (the dog needed to be let out). After a quick pit stop at Home Slice pizza (holy shit for good, btws), it was a quick and easy drive back to SA. I LOVE Austin, I love the atmosphere, the eating and drinking, the music (good God do I love the music), the dancing (even if my dance partner did look up to the sky and ask in the sweetest, most exasperated voice, “Please, God, get her some grace” as I busted my moves beside him). I like the anonymity of Austin – everywhere I go in San Antonio I run in to people I know (which is great most of the time)…but sometimes it’s nice to just be a face in the crowd, to not have anybody asking you to do stuff for them, and to just relax. It’s good for the soul.  🙂

xxx

To Make You Feel My Love

My very favorite food is mussels, specifically Moules Marinières, and I would happily eat them every single day of my life if I could. I love them THAT much. I learned how to make this amazing dish in the summer of 1996, at a restaurant in Brussels, Belgium. I went to eat at a lovely, quaint restaurant not far from my hotel. I ordered the Moules, and was absolutely DAZZLED by the amazing, simple meal that I was served. They were extraordinary, and I was sure to let my server know just how very, very much I had loved my dinner. He and I chatted at length before he ran back to tell his chef how much I had enjoyed my happy little Moules. The server came running back a moment later to let me know that the chef wanted to invite me back to his kitchen to teach me how to make his recipe. I was ecstatic, and put on the apron they provided lickity-split…and worked in the kitchen with him for the next three hours. He demonstrated his technique, and then was kind enough to let me practice by preparing dishes for the many guests that passed through the restaurant. It was one of the most fun – and delicious! – nights of my life!! I loved it so much – and I have made that same recipe over and over again, hundreds of times over the years…and they turn out perfectly every single time. Gorgeous. 🙂

I loved that trip to Brussels, and have been back 5 times since (it’s a great city full of wonderful people), which is why what happened there this week has hurt my heart terribly. My thoughts are with the people of Brussels – I will never understand people who claim to do things like this in the name of whatever God they believe in – no God that I know would support such horrible actions. And no God that I know would celebrate people who carry out these devastating events. They are not martyr heroes, they are stupid, selfish, hateful beings who need to direct their anger and upset inwards, towards themselves…and leave the rest of this beautiful world alone. I don’t need to tell them to go to hell – I’m pretty sure that God (or whoever it is running things upstairs) will have already taken care of that.

Adele sang a song for the people of Brussels last night at her show in London – it’s pretty, check it out:

 

Send some love to the people of Brussels – we can’t let hatred win.

xxx

Les Poissons

Before we begin, let’s pause to enjoy this “Little Mermaid” classic for a moment, shall we?

Now…on to today’s topic: paella! I attended the 7th annual Corona Paella Challenge at the Pearl Brewery here in San Antonio last Sunday, and I had a fabulous time!! The food was amazing, the pink lemonade sangria was the stuff of dreams…and the smells in the air made me swoon. I had students competing in the high school division (they came in 2nd – woohoo!!! So proud!!!), and I did a great job of tasting the different professional chefs stuff as well. Yummy!! Here are some pictures:

From the peeps at Boudro's....amazing!!

From the peeps at Boudro’s….amazing!!

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Look at that gorgeous paella!

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A beautiful day to be outside 🙂 to

This dish - from local restaurant Hearsay - came in 1st in the Modern Classical Category. The scallop in that sucker was the best scallop I've ever had. WOW!!!!

This dish – from local restaurant Hearsay – came in 1st in the Modern Classical Category. The scallop in that sucker was the best scallop I’ve ever had. WOW!!!!

I hope that this stuff flows like water when I make it to heaven :-)

I hope that this stuff flows like water when I make it to heaven :-)

Look at the presentation - gorgeous!

Look at the presentation – gorgeous!

The area at the Pearl is so pretty :-)

The area at the Pearl is so pretty :-)

 

I had never been to this event before, but I certainly hope that I will make it back again. It’s a beautiful way to spend a Sunday —- and an excellent way to sample some great food! Yaa! 🙂

xxx

Centerfield

Oh, put me in coach, I’m ready to play today
Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today
Look at me, I can be centerfield

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I attended a True Colors staff development session on Monday, and I can’t stop thinking about my results. If you aren’t familiar with True Colors, the program is a (from their website) “model for understanding yourself and others based on your personality temperament…Each of us has a combination of these True Colors that make up our personality spectrum, usually with one of the styles being the most dominant…Identifying your personality and the personalities of others using True Colors provides you with insights into different motivations, actions and communication approaches.True Colors works because it is based on true principles and easy to remember and use – in all kinds of circumstances – from personal relationships to professional success.” Our entire staff did the inventory, we determined our dominant personality colors, and then we partnered up with colleagues that shared our color to create a presentation for the rest of the participants that highlighted the strengths of our particular personality type. I ended up being an Orange – we Orange people tend to have these common traits: energetic, risk-takers, quick-witted, creative and innovative, natural entertainer, high need for mobility, hands-on learner, playful and charming, skilled in crisis management, competitive, likes tangible rewards and positive feedback, freedom and adventure, impulsive and spontaneous, productive in informal environments, and a natural negotiator. I laughed out loud…while I don’t know that I’m particularly charming, most of the rest of this list seemed pretty damn spot on. Read this paragraph from the True Colors book we were given: “If your brightest color is ORANGE, you tend to be action oriented with a strong desire to test the limits. You tend to become restless with routine and repetition. You prefer a hands-on approach to problem solving and desire visible outcomes. You are competitive and bounce back quickly from defeat. You are drawn to adventure and you enjoy being in the spotlight. You thrive in an environment that promotes flexibility and freedom.” Holy. Shit. If that’s not me, than I don’t know what is….crazy. I like things like this because, while I am already well aware what kind of person I am and I know pretty much what I’ve got to work with here, it’s great to have a reminder of the things that make me me, and it reminds me how I appear to others, which is a really interesting thing to consider. While I find most of my qualities to be perfectly normal and amusing, I can easily understand how I might annoy the shit out of some people – without meaning to (most of the time), of course. It was a great training – if you ever have the opportunity, check it out. It’s fun! 🙂

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The presenter at our training is someone that I’ve got to know over the past year or so, and I really admire her and her career. She was a teacher, an administrator, and is now doing staff development presentations and consulting – and she is damn good at her job. Something else that she does is life coaching – which I think is fascinating. I wish that I could afford to hire her to help me get my poop in a group, but…sadly she is way too expensive for the likes of me. However, she and I were talking about the principles behind life coaching and how very common sense that work is – I found this article that kind of supports that idea.

“I want to get out of my dead-end job.”
“I want to make more money.”
“I want to finally open up my heart to love.”
“I want to accept myself for who I am.”

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Any of these sound familiar? You’re not alone. Most of us want to experience some kick-ass changes in our lives in 2016. And here’s the best news: You can make those changes all on your own. As luxurious and awesome as it is to have one-on-one support from a life coach, it’s not always in our budget.

But with a little help from Dan Sullivan—a thought leader in the field of growth and development and coach to some of the most successful CEOs in the world—it’s possible to get clear on what you want and how to get there, without paying up for professional help.


His questions, which appeared in The Success Principles, have helped me and my clients enormously. All you need is an open mind, a notebook, and an hour alone for one amazing coaching session. One thing to keep in mind: Imagine someone you trust is asking you these questions and answer with your whole heart—don’t hold back!

4 Questions for Personal Growth – Life Coaching Questions
1. If we meet three years from today, what has to have happened during that three-year period for you to feel happy about your progress?
Picture yourself at age 27, 31, 49—however old you will be in three years. What vision makes you most satisfied? What will your life look like? Where will you be? What will you be doing this exact date three years from today?

The more specific you can be, the better. The universe responds best to passion, clarity, and intention. Write down every detail—from what your home looks like, to the total in your bank account, to the activities that will fill your day, even where you’ll vacation and with whom (this can include a spouse you are yet to meet and/or children you hope to have).

Remember: Base this on what you want—not on what you think you should want or what other people want for you.

2. What are the biggest dangers that you’ll have to face and deal with in order to achieve that progress?
Be honest with yourself. Do you drink too much or watch too much TV—anything that doesn’t let you be focused enough to start a side hustle or make an effort to meet new people? Do you shy away from taking personal development courses or going to meetups that will allow you to make connections and learn important lessons? Do you sabotage yourself with thoughts of “I’m not smart enough/confident enough/ready to leap forward?”

Of all the dangers and distractions in the world, the biggest danger is often our limiting thoughts about our potential.
Of all the dangers and distractions in the world, the biggest danger is often our limiting thoughts about our potential. The vast majority of these seem real but are not in fact true. When we consume all of the same fear-based beliefs over and over again, we live a limited life—a half-life.

3. What are the biggest opportunities that you have that you would need to focus on and capture to achieve those things?
Do you have an inspiring story you can share with the world to help other people? Do you live in a city full high-achieving professionals, a few of whom you can perhaps connect with? Do you know someone who just moved to a city or country that could hold opportunities for you? Are you WordPress-savvy (or know someone who is) and can set up a beautiful blog in no time? Are you really good at helping people with interview skills and happen to live near a college campus?

The opportunities are endless when you truly open your eyes and look. Remind yourself of what came up for you in question one and search for the breadcrumbs that surround you right now. I guarantee that they exist.

4. What strengths do you need to reinforce and maximize? What skills and resources do you need to develop that you don’t currently have in order to capture those opportunities?
This is the ultimate question as it requires action. Ain’t nothin’ that happens in life without action, my friend. Do you need to develop some online marketing skills? Take a crash course in blogging for beginners? Work on your confidence in networking or dating? Maybe you need to read up on how to ask for a raise, create a business proposal to convert your hobby into a profitable side-gig, or meditate to release anxiety.

The Takeaway

Always remember the vision you have for your future. That’s my most important tool for staying on track. When I was working in a cubicle for a boss, I realized it wasn’t for me, so I started a business in my free time. When I was growing up, the need to experience the world tugged at my heart so strongly that I made a move to Syd

 

Isn’t this great? I really REALLY love the first question – “If we meet three years from today, what has to have happened during that three-year period for you to feel happy about your progress?” This is a really powerful question for me, as I am a person who struggles to feel happy about the things that I do…and I am not entirely sure why. I think that I had a completely different vision of what I thought my life would be, and I am fighting to get over the disappointment that I feel regarding that issue. When I look at things objectively, I am not doing too badly – I have a good job, a lovely sweet Muppet child, a roof over our head that I like most of the time, a car that works, and food to put in our tummies. These things alone make me more successful than a great portion of the world’s population. However, I had always hoped that I wouldn’t have to struggle quite as much as I do, that I would have day-to-day companionship to share the journey with me, that I would have some degree of financial freedom (which, thanks to my student loans, is one hell of a long way away), that I’d get to travel more, and that life just might not be so damn hard all the time – but it is. However, the fact that I am able to get up every morning, put one foot in front of another and keep on going is a beautiful thing – and I need to remember that more often. As the hip peeps on the Internets would say….#blessed. 😉

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I also love the fourth question that asks about maximizing and reinforcing strengths. I don’t know if I will stay in the Education industry for the rest of my career – at this point in the game, I probably will…but who knows what will happen? I always figure that I am little more than one inappropriate joke away from being tossed out on my ear anyway, so…I need to work on skills for a back up plan. A dear friend of mine is approaching their own retirement this spring (lucky bugger!), and is looking to transition into another career. He has met with a corporate headhunter, and has completed a number of interest inventories and tests to see what kind of work he would be best suited for – I friggin’ LOVE this!! I want to give this a whirl – I would love, at some point, to try working in the real world. I might find that it is a terrible fit for me and walknotrun straight back to the nearest education institution; or I might find that it is the perfect place for me to make a difference and make lives better. You never really know until you try, eh? I doubt that I will be able to retire until I am in my late 60s/early 70s, which is still a LOOOONG way away from now. I would like to figure out some ways to make the next 27-30 years as painless – and productive – as possible. I don’t know how many marketable skills I have, but I need to find out. I think it would behoove me greatly to work on identifying what I have to offer, and figure out how to make the most of those skills. I’m not getting any younger, so….it’s time to do what I can to look forward, and make plans for the rest of my years.

Life can be so frightening – yet exciting, eh? 😉

xxx

 

Maybe It Was Memphis

My wee travel partner and I just returned from a quick trip to Memphis, and I cannot tell you how awesome it was – have you ever been? If not, walkdontrun straight to Memphis right now- what an outstanding city! 🙂

One of the highlights of the trip for us was the Memphis Zoo, quite possibly the loveliest zoo I have ever seen. We visited with some panda bears, which was the Wee One’s favorite – and the giraffes were straight up adorable. Love! 🙂 Here are some pictures:

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We did some great eating while there – one of the standouts was a restaurant called Kooky Canuck, highly recommended by some locals, which featured Canadian food, if you can imagine! I was thrilled! 🙂 I had some poutine (because of course I did), Montreal-style hot dogs, and great Canadian beer – it was a delicious meal! 🙂 We sampled some Memphis-style BBQ, which we loved (especially since the place that we visited on Beale Street was a rockin’ blues club with two goats in the backyard – so awesome); another standout meal was at a place called Cafe Eclectic – everything there was yummy, especially my Elvis sandwich (grilled peanut butter and banana, ordered from the kids menu – so.good.).

Such a fun place!

Such a fun place!

Behold...poutine and DIVINE hot dogs!!

Behold…poutine and DIVINE hot dogs!!

An Elvis sandwich - grilled peanut butter and banana, drizzled with local honey. YUMMY!!!

An Elvis sandwich – grilled peanut butter and banana, drizzled with local honey. YUMMY!!!

Dry rub ribs, beans, coleslaw, and a roll....those ribs were the stuff of dreams, friends! :-)

Dry rub ribs, beans, coleslaw, and a roll….those ribs were the stuff of dreams, friends! :-)

Beale Street at night

Beale Street at night

The Southern Belle cocktail - I highly recommend it! ;-)

The Southern Belle cocktail – I highly recommend it! ;-)

One of the goats!!! :-)

One of the goats!!! :-)

Statue of WC Handy :-)

Statue of the Father of Blues WC Handy :-)

Speaking of Elvis…we visited Graceland! I was surprised by how much I knew about the King, and totally taken aback by how much I LOVED it! 🙂 We did the iPad tour (narrated by the lovely John Stamos – he can whisper in my ear any time he wants), which was very cool and informative – and the tour of the mansion and grounds was really great. I loved Graceland! 🙂

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We also visited Sun Studio, where Elvis began his recording career. This wasn’t exactly the Wee One’s cup of tea, but I loved it a whole big bunch – we stood on the spot where the famous Million Dollar Quartet picture had been taken, I held the microphone Elvis sang in to, I touched the piano played by one of my musical favorites (and first concert I ever attended) Jerry Lee Lewis. The history there was magical, especially for a music lover like me – our tour guide Jane was awesome, and I loved the whole vibe of the place (did you know U2 recorded “Rattle and Hum” there? Neither did I!). Yaa! 🙂

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We went to see the Broadway musical “Pippen” at the historic Orpheum Theatre – it was fantastic!!! 🙂 That’s a show that’s not to miss – the acrobats, the sights…it was great!! 🙂 We particularly loved the sing-along number (I didn’t see that coming!) – such fun! 🙂
We visited the Peabody Hotel to witness the march of the historic Peabody ducks. This sounds silly, but let me tell you….it was fabulous! If you aren’t familiar with the story, here it is:

The Peabody Memphis Ducks

In 1933, Frank Schutt, General Manager of The Peabody, and a friend, Chip Barwick, returned from a weekend hunting trip in Arkansas. The men had a little too much Jack Daniel’s Tennessee sippin’ whiskey and thought it would be funny to place some of their live duck decoys (it was legal then for hunters to use live decoys) in the beautiful Peabody fountain.

Three small, English call ducks were selected as “guinea pigs” and the reaction was nothing short of enthusiastic. Soon, five North American Mallard ducks would replace the original ducks.

In 1940, Bellman Edward Pembroke, a former circus animal trainer, offered to help with delivering the ducks to the fountain each day and taught them the now-famous Peabody Duck March. Mr. Pembroke became the Peabody Duckmaster, serving in that capacity for 50 years until his retirement in 1991.

Nearly 90 years after the inaugural march, ducks still visit the lobby fountain at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day.

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We were only in Memphis a few days, but I can guarantee that we will be back as soon as we can – we loved it that much! Memphis is an absolute treat to see, the people are outstanding and the very best example of Southern hospitality that you could ever hope to find, and it has a warm, happy feel that will leave you a person changed for the better. I heart Memphis! 🙂

xxx

 

Paris, Je t’aime

I’m heartsick over what happened in my beloved Paris on Friday. I will never understand the hatred that lives in the hearts of some people, and I will never get why they can’t just take their miseries out on themselves, and leave the rest of the innocent, beautiful world alone.

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Even though I’ve quit Facebook (three + weeks and going strong), I read about this post online – I wanted to share it with you:

you never think it will happen to you. It was just a friday night at a rock show. the atmosphere was so happy and everyone was dancing and smiling. and then when the men came through the front entrance and began the shooting, we naiively believed it was all part of the show. It wasn’t just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre. Dozens of people were shot right infront of me. Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends dead bodies pierced the small music venue. Futures demolished, families heartbroken. in an instant. Shocked and alone, I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless.. Holding my breath, trying to not move, not cry – not giving those men the fear they longed to see. I was incredibly lucky to survive. But so many didn’t. The people who had been there for the exact same reasons as I – to have a fun friday night were innocent. This world is cruel. And acts like this are suppose to highlight the depravity of humans and the images of those men circuling us like vultures will haunt me for the rest of my life. The way they meticoulsy aimed at shot people around the standing area i was in the centre of without any consideration for human life. It didn’t feel real. i expected any moment for someone to say it was just a nightmare. But being a survivor of this horror lets me able to shed light on the heroes. To the man who reassured me and put his life on line to try and cover my brain whilst i whimpered, to the couple whose last words of love kept me believing the good in the world, to the police who succeded in rescuing hundreds of people, to the complete strangers who picked me up from the road and consoled me during the 45 minutes I truly believed the boy i loved was dead, to the injured man who i had mistaken for him and then on my recognition that he was not Amaury, held me and told me everything was going to be fine despite being all alone and scared himself, to the woman who opened her doors to the survivors, to the friend who offered me shelter and went out to buy new clothes so i wouldnt have to wear this blood stained top, to all of you who have sent caring messages of support – you make me believe this world has the potential to be better. to never let this happen again. but most of this is to the 80 people who were murdered inside that venue, who weren’t as lucky, who didnt get to wake up today and to all the pain that their friends and families are going through. I am so sorry. There’s nothing that will fix the pain. I feel priviledged to be there for their last breaths. And truly beliving that I would join them, I promise that their last thoughts were not on the animals who caused all this. It was thinking of the people they loved. As i lay down in the blood of strangers and waiting for my bullet to end my mere 22 years, I envisioned every face that I have ever loved and whispered I love you. over and over again. reflecting on the highlights of my life. Wishing that those i love knew just how much, wishing that they knew that no matter what happened to me, to keep belieivng in the good in people. to not let those men win. Last night, the lives of many were forever changed and it is up to us to be better people. to live lives that the innocent victims of this tragedy dreamt about but sadly will now never be able to fulfil. RIP angels. You will never be forgotten.

-Isobel Bowdery

 

Powerful, eh? These lines just killed me: “I promise that their last thoughts were not on the animals who caused all this. It was thinking of the people they loved.” My heart just breaks for these people, their families and friends, their city….their home. It’s beautiful to think that their final moments were spent thinking of what really mattered in life…as it should be. This makes me so sad. 🙁

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Please think of Paris and the beautiful French people as you go about your day today. Join me – and the rest of the world – in support of Paris. In moments like these, we all feel powerless to help…but in fact we are not. Engage with the world around you, be involved, and help make it a better and more loving place…change can start with one person.

xxx

 

PS: Please watch this clip of the brilliant, lovely, and so profound John Oliver as he so eloquently expresses exactly how I feel about what has happened in Paris:

How To Save a Life

How about we start today with some stories that will make you feel good and fuzzy in your heart? Here you go:

1) This article – it tells the story of a bride who survived cancer as a teenager following a bone marrow transplant from a complete stranger. The heartstrings get pulled when you see pictures of her – and her donor – dancing together at her wedding. I cried….not that surprising. I’m a ball of mush. This story is awesome. 🙂

This kitten has nothing to do with anything that I am writing about - I just thought she was really cute :-)

This kitten has nothing to do with anything that I am writing about – I just thought she was really cute :-)

2) These questions – they are 36 questions, designed to help determine whether intimacy between two people can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. Basically, can you contrive closeness or does it have to happen organically? Well, the extent of its effects aren’t totally clear yet, but the questions definitely encouraged a deeper connection than conversations of similar length between similar people that we would consider “small talk.”

These 36 questions build on one another, beginning more generally, and growing more specific and personal as you work your way through the list. How intensely or quickly your feelings or your partner’s will change through this process is a mystery. That they’ll grow is something you can count on.

So, rather than waiting for love to find you and then holding on for dear life when it does, why not invite it into your life, accept the results as they appear, and think of a “successful relationship” as one from which you learned something new? If you’re up for it, give these questions a try.

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

 

Looks fun, right? I know!! So, if you’ve got someone that you’re thinking you might be compatible with….start asking!!! 🙂

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3) These pictures from the annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade – the very fact that dog parades are a thing fills me with tremendous amounts of joy. Yaaa! 🙂 I’ve been to Tompkins Square in the East Village many times- it’s near some of my favorite places in NYC: Manitoba’s Pub, Josie’s, Sushi Lounge, and the Yuca Bar, which isn’t Yuck-a at all! (see what I did right there? Heehee) I love this part of the city, and I can’t even wrap my wee brain around how cute the dog parade must be. Some year I will go!! 🙂 Woof! 🙂

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I hope that I’ve brought a couple of smiles to your day so far…if you need me, I will be plotting costumes for my own dog to wear (not for a dog parade, but just because costumes are fabulous), and working on my answers for the 36 questions up there. You just never know when someone might ask! 😉

xxx

Thank U

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! It’s a beautiful day to celebrate being Canadian, and to acknowledge all of the wonderful things that we have to be thankful for. I had a glorious weekend – took the Wee One to see the ballet “Swan Lake” at the gorgeous Tobin Center here in downtown San Antonio, and followed that with a trip to Houston on Saturday to see one of my very favorite Canadian bands ever…the Tragically Hip. It was AMAZING!!! Let me tell you allllllll about it! 🙂

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The show was at the House of Blues in downtown Houston — a fantastic venue. It was small, and the show was kinda like having them perform in your own living room. The audience was FULL of Canadians – which is where the real magic was. We talked to complete strangers, bonding over where we were from (Calgary, Edmonton, St. John, Ottawa, Montral, and Victoria), and past great Hip shows that we had seen along the way…it was like a big ol’ love in. The audience was pretty much composed of Canadians and the few Americans that love them…it was fantastic! Once the show began, we made our way close to the stage, a drink in each hand, and danced and sang along for just about two magical hours – it was incredible!! They did almost all of their greatest hits (except for ’38 Years Old’ – I’ll post the video below), lead singer Gord Downie delighted with his oddly fascinating dance moves (I could watch that man move for hours on end, no lie), and I felt like I was at home. I knew three people at the show – yet felt like I was surrounded by a sea of friends. There’s something to be said about hanging with like-minded individuals, sharing a common love for something, and having a shared experience – it was a really, really great night. 🙂

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Here’s ’38 Years Old’ for your listening pleasure:

 

Here’s my favorite Hip song:

All right

Bourbon blues on the street, loose and complete
Under skies all smoky blue green
I can’t forsake a dixie dead shake
So we danced the sidewalk clean

My memory is muddy, what’s this river that I’m in?
New Orleans is sinking, man, and I don’t want to swim

Colonel Tom, what’s wrong? What’s going on?
You can’t tie yourself up for a deal
He said, Hey, north, you’re south, shut your big mouth
You gotta do what you feel is real

Ain’t got no picture postcards, ain’t got no souvenirs
My baby she don’t know me when I’m thinking bout those years

Pale as a light bulb hanging on a wire
Sucking up to someone just to stoke the fire
Picking out the highlights of the scenery
Saw a little cloud that looked a little like me

I had my hands in the river, my feet back up on the banks
Looked up to the lord above and said, Hey, man, thanks

Sometimes I feel so good I got to scream
She said, Gordie, baby, I know exactly what you mean
She said, she said, I swear to god she said

My memory is muddy, what’s this river that I’m in?
New Orleans is sinking, man, and I don’t want to swim

Swim

 

 

I did the Hip proud on Saturday night…with a beer in each hand, I, too, danced the sidewalk clean. What a night! 🙂

xxx

PS: Quick – here’s some things that I am thankful for: the Wee One, my family/friends/loved ones – both new and old – that I love so much, my coworkers and students at my school, the people who make me happy and spend time with me, the roof over my head, all of the wonderful things that I have going on in my life….it’s damn good to be me most days. 🙂

 

Under the Sea

I took my Wee One to see the Broadway musical “The Little Mermaid” last night…and it was gorgeous!! 🙂 We both loved it so much!! Such a beautiful show – I loved the new songs that were featured, the sets and costumes were stunning, and the fact that they kept it so true to the movie made my heart super-happy. 🙂 The two of us cuddled and held hands in our seats, singing and dancing along…it was probably not that thrilling for those seated around us, but we had a brilliant time! Yaaa! 🙂

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The Little Mermaid

 

The reviewer for MySA.com didn’t enjoy the production as much as I did…perhaps I just went on a better night:

Before “The Little Mermaid” starts, the scrim that hangs in front of the set seems to shimmer and bubble thanks to a water-themed projection, and the subtle water sounds can be heard.
It’s an enchanting beginning. The pre-show reminder to turn off any electronic devices — or, in “Mermaid” terms, any “shell phones” — promises a lot of fun, too.

The show doesn’t 100 percent live up to all that, though it does at times.

The musical, which kicks off the 2015-’16 Broadway in San Antonio season at the Majestic Theatre, is based on Disney’s much-adored animated adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. It is built around Ariel (Alison Woods),a strong-willed mermaid whose fascination with humankind is anathema to her father Triton (Fred Inkley), the king of the sea. His destruction of her altar of human detritus that she’s found in the waves makes her vulnerable to the skulduggery of Ursula the sea witch (the wonderful Jennifer Allen). Ursula, who happens to be the extremely estranged sister of Ariel’s father, offers her a deal that she should refuse. She will make it possible for Ariel to live as a human for three days so that she can pursue the handsome prince (Eric Kunze) she’s been mooning over. If he kisses her in that time, she can stay on the land. If not, she’ll be imprisoned by Ursula. The cost for this questionable service is Ariel’s crystalline voice.

The cast is appealing across the board. Woods brings Ariel to vivid life, and she has strong chemistry with Kunze. Their solo numbers are well-done, and the romance is fun to watch. Inkley is strong, too, capturing the conflicting emotions Triton feels as he struggles to figure out the one child he has who doesn’t seem to fit in. Melvin Abston is a lot of fun as Sebastian, the crab who is one of the few denizens of the deep who understands Ariel. And Allen is clearly having a blast as the eeeeeevil Ursula.


Putting the big swimming moments — Triton hunting for Ariel, Ariel rescuing the prince, and Ariel rising to the surface — up into the air is a terrific approach. And having the mermaids constantly undulating is a great visual, too.

Some of the show’s weakest points are those that evoke stronger screen-to-stage shows. The puppets and Vegas-y pageantry of “Under the Sea” calls to mind “The Lion King,” without as much imagination; and the song “Positoovity,” a tap-dancing seagull bit, as entertaining as it is, plays like a weak cousin of “Hakuna Matata” from “Lion King.” The scenes in the prince’s palace, where the staff fusses over the mute Ariel, isn’t nearly as much fun as similar scenes in “Beauty and the Beast.”

The show’s look, too, is hit-and-miss. The bauble-strewn setpieces that represent the ocean are a lesson in the importance of lighting: Sometimes, when the lighting is just right, they glitter and gleam; when it isn’t, they look chintzy and cheap. The effects aren’t terribly jaw-dropping, either, and Triton’s trident, which is supposed to be tremendously powerful, also looks pretty flimsy.


There were also some sound problems during the first act at Tuesday’s opening problem. That was especially disappointing during “She’s in Love,” in which Flounder (Marco Ramos), a fish with a crush on Ariel, couldn’t be heard most of the time.

Overall, the show is hit-and-miss.

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The show is playing here in San Antonio for a few more days – if you have the chance, check it out!! It’s so much fun!!! (and those sets – dynamite!! It totally looked like Ariel was really swimming!!!) Yaaa!!! 🙂

xxx