Baby Girl

Yaa!!! :-)

Yaa!!! :-)

My baby girl turned 8 yesterday!!! I can’t believe it!! It seems like just last week that she was a wee three-pounder wearing teddy bear clothes (for realz, the poor little tiny baby friend!!)…but look at her now! She’s so sweet, kind, smart, funny, beautiful…I could not be more proud of the girl that she’s become. :-) We spent the day together for her birthday – the weather here in San Antonio was rainy and rather miserable, so we ended up heading downtown to take in a Matisse exhibit at the San Antonio Museum of Art – it was GREAT!!! :-) Here are some pictures:

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Beautiful! :-)

Beautiful! :-)

Another Tony Danza!! :-)

Another Tony Danza!! :-)

:-)

:-)

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After the Matisse exhibit, we checked out some other collections in the museum – here are some of our favorite pieces:

 

Love these fishies!! :-)

Love these fishies!! :-)

This is a neon pink chair, and I can't even tell you how much I want it!! :-)

This is a neon pink chair, and I can’t even tell you how much I want it!! :-)

The colors in this are mesmerizing!!! :-)

The colors in this are mesmerizing!!! :-)

The birthday girl and her new baby Merry! :-)

The birthday girl and her new baby Merry! :-)

Pretty :-)

Pretty :-)

:-)

:-)

Isn't this just the best? Love! :-)

Isn’t this just the best? Love! :-)

 

The rest of our day was lovely – drink at Starbucks, playing together at home, a piano lesson, dinner with the grandparents at Kona Grill…movie night snuggled up on the couch at home, and a camp out sleepover in the living room. :-) I had the greatest day just hanging with my tiny baby friend…and I’m looking forward to more time like this with her this summer. :-)

Happy Birthday Baby Girl! :-)

xxx

 

 

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

I ended up with a last-minute trip to Vegas this weekend…I haven’t been here in ten years, and after a short time here, I’m reminded that the more things change, the more they stay the same. There are lots of different sights to see since my last visit, cool places to check out (which I’m enjoying), but the essence of Vegas is pretty much the same as it has always been. There’s something comforting, yet distressing about that. Anyway…Friday night, I did Fremont Street -and my goodness, did I see things. There were more crimes against fashion than you could throw a stick at! Yikes!! I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better spot for people watching, though…I ended up stopping for delicious whipped flavored air at Tasti-D-Lite, and sat at a table outside, enjoying the show the pedestrians were putting on. I saw men getting yelled at by their wives and girlfriends, women clearly looking to make some cash (if you know what I’m saying), older couples trying to relive the glory days of their youth (frightening…you know, there really is something to be said for aging gracefully), groups of young douchebag guys looking to see what they can get out of the night – I saw it all. I walked down to Container Park, which was definitely the highlight of my night – such a cool place!!! I ended up having some drinks in a place that felt like home to me – The Boozery. Even though I believe that their target crowd is young, hip people they somehow let me in – and thank goodness they did!! I started with a simple (yet delish!) Pinot Grigio, but quickly moved on to the gorgeous cocktails that the lovely bartender Pinto was pouring. He made a gin and tonic that would bring you to your knees, your eyes awash with tears of joy….it was AMAZING!!! The trick seemed to be in the tonic syrup he was using…it made for one seriously crazy good drink. For reals!!! :-)

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After tearing myself away from The Boozery (such a great name eh?), I headed back over to Glitter Gulch, or perhaps more appropriately the Valley of Lost Dreams. Fremont Street was buzzing with activity, even more people had shown up…and the people watching just got better. :-) I was watching all of the couples going by, trying to get a read on the pulse of their dynamics. Some were easier to read than others, of course, while some left me pretty much scratching my head. If I live to be 100, I will never understand why people who clearly don’t even like each other stay together. What on earth is the bloody point? You only get one shot at life….shouldn’t it be a happy one? I suppose the reason why I’m so interested in these couples is because I’m fascinated by the workings of healthy, functioning relationships. I wasn’t raised around one, my track record is not the best…so I don’t know how they are meant to be. I don’t know what it is that makes people who’ve been together a long time continue to want to be there…probably because I can’t seem to find anyone who wants to spend any span of time with me!! Oh well… I saw a couple on Friday night who had probably been together 20 years…and were still so in to each other that their love kind of sparkled out of them.  I moved closer, hoping the sparkles would land on me and catch fire. :-) Here’s hoping!! :-)

 

One of the highlights for me in Vegas has been the amazing food – I have had some straight up fabulous meals!!! I went to Payard in Caesar’s Palace for breakfast – sweet Jesus was that a gorgeous meal! I ordered coffee, just regular old coffee, nothing fancy – what I got was the very best cup of coffee I’d ever had! So good!! My breakfast was ham and Swiss cheese quiche with a tiny side salad. A meal I’ve eaten countless times before – but the memory of every other quiche  in the world fell away from my mind, forever disappearing in the glow of what I ate at Payard. It was THAT good. :-) I don’t usually partake in the bread baskets on tables at restaurants, but figured I should give it a go here – I’m so glad I did! The different breads were each more delicious than the previous, the buttery crusts were outstanding….this was just a fabulous meal from start to finish. And it was only breakfast. :-)

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I went old school Vegas for dinner one night – Piero’s – what a simply gorgeous meal!! The maître d’s name was Joe, and I’m feeling confident that he was an extra in the movie ‘Goodfellas’…full of sass and personality. The service was impeccable, and the food….oh my, the food. There was a calimari starter, which was excellent despite a very crispy coating. My main course was an old standby for me – veal piccata, with mushrooms and capers…and it was simply breathtaking. SO delicious!!! :-) The ambiance in the restaurant was very old New York, and more than a number of the guests clearly hailed from the East Coast. If you ever have a chance to break bread at Piero’s, please do – you won’t be disappointed. Be sure to be nice to Joe. :-) (Important Life Update – I ate Brussels sprouts at Piero’s…and I liked them!!! Woohoo!! I can now cross that off my bucket list!!)

 

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I visited the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for lunch – they had a most unusual drink on the menu that I just had to try. Behold the Bacon Bloody Mary:

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This bad boy is made with bacon-infused vodka, which is something I don’t see every day…and I figured it’d be bad karma to walk past something like that, so….I gave it a whirl. It was surprisingly yummy – I know, I’m shocked too. Very filling – I doubt you could drink more than one (maybe two at best) of those in a sitting without being so full you wanted to vomit. Good drink, though. I wonder who the guy was who thought to infuse vodka with bacon (you know it had to be a guy) – if you find out, send me his name…I’d like to send him a card or something.  :-)

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Another gastro highlight was Sushi Roku – located in The Forum at Caesar’s Palace, this restaurant is part of the Innovative Dining Group that includes Katana, and Boa. The food at Sushi Roku was simple, yet brilliant – the miso soup was outstanding (you’d be surprised how many places cock up miso soup), and the roll I had – the Katana roll – was unbelievably outstanding. The flavor combination was perfect in my mouth (shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, topped with yellowtail and tuna) – everything was uber fresh…delicious!! Three cheers for the amazing sauce on the side – wowza!! So good!!! :-)

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If you remember when I went to Paris last month, I took the Wee One to the top of the Eiffel Tower – I decided to do it again here. It provided an outstanding view to the spectacular fountain show at the Bellagio, as well as the beautiful lights of the strip. Here’s some pictures:

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All in all, for a quick trip to Vegas, I’ve tried to make the most of it – I’ve walked a lot (according to the pedometer on my new phone, I’m averaging 15,000+ a day! Yaa!!!) , eaten some spectacular food (you’ll notice there’s not a buffet in my sights!), and seen some really pretty things. I did a spot of shopping (hello gorgeous new Kate Spade bag and my much-loved but hard to find Chanel lipstick in color #45!!), saw some art at the Bellagio, and enjoyed the dry, desert air. Viva Las Vegas!!! :-)

 

xxx

 

PS: And I won $300!! Woohoo!!! :-)

 

 

Breakfast At Tiffany’s

On Saturday night, one of my friends from work and I went to Painting With A Twist for a great night of drinking, laughing, and painting – it was AWESOME!!! Even though neither of us won the Tiffany pendant they were giving away, we had a fantastic time! Painting is so soothing for the soul…I can’t even tell you. If only I had some talent!  ;-) Here are some pictures from the evening:

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The original piece that we were working from :)

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Drinking JD always helps with the quality of the painting! :)

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Early stages :)

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Ta-dah! My finished product!!! :)

Fun, eh??? Yaaaa!!! I get so unreasonably excited when I do this….it’s ridiculous!! :-) I mentioned above that we didn’t win the Tiffany’s pendant they were giving away (boo! hiss!) – but I’ve been doing some window shopping online at the Tiffany’s website and have found some lovely things you might want to put on your Christmas list!!

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Elsa Peretti for Tiffany ring

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Tiffany Bow Earrings

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Tiffany Bow Ring

 

I hope you’ve made Santa’s Nice list this year!!! Come to think of it….I hope I have, too!!!!! ;-)

 

Xxx

The One That Got Away

Before I start talking about what’s on my mind today, I want to urge you to listen to the song ‘The One That Got Away‘ by The Civil Wars – those people are soooo insanely talented, and that song is freaking mind blowing!!! Haunting!! Awesome!! Be sure to give it a listen!  :-)

Now to the topic at hand – the one that got away. Do you have one? Come on…be honest. I won’t judge. For me, I have always had a hard time wrapping my head around this idea because I’m a majorly definitive person – when I decide that something is done and I’m moving on, there is no waffling, no second guessing – nada. I am done. I don’t often pine over the past, because I truly believe that the best is yet to come, and people become a part of your past for a reason. I thought that I had a one that got away once years ago, but thankfully common sense prevailed and I realized that he and I, while immensely fond of each other, would have been a recipe for disaster in the long term – we were simply too different. While I was all ‘go go go’ and pondering ways to achieve my dreams of world domination before I was 30, he wanted to retire at the age of 20. Très different, non? I still think of him fondly and wish him nothing but the best – I also think we ought to nominate his wife for a prize for putting up with him! ;) Over the years since then, I’ve had a couple of people that I’ve wondered about (should I have done something differently? should I have tried something that I didn’t think of and would that have made a difference? what should I have done?)…but really nothing that stuck out in my mind as being one that got away.

Like the lyrics of the song indicate (see below), I have met more than a few who should have been ones that got away, meaning I should never have tangled with them and their trifling asses in the first place! I think I knew at the time that they were totally wrong for me, and that absolutely nothing good was going to come from this, but still I gave it a whirl anyway. Ugh. Even I shake my head at myself. :(

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Ahh….Kyle Chandler….if I had this one, I’d make sure he never got away! ;) (and I don’t mean that in a Kathy Bates-Miseryeque way – just FYI)

All of this makes me wonder about people and compatibility – in order for a relationship to work, do the people need to be pretty much the same, or will their similarities become redundant and boring and eventually kill the whole thing altogether? Are relationships more successful with opposites? While we know that opposites attract, does that attraction last? I find this topic – and the related idea of ‘chemistry’ to be endlessly fascinating….what draws two people together? And, even more interesting, what keeps them that way? I was thinking about this the other day and reflecting on the people that I find myself drawn to – if I was going to look for somebody with similar interests to me, I would probably be looking for a gay man, because not too many straight dudes dig art, museums, restaurants, fashion, cooking, wine and cocktail hours, and Sex and the City reruns (or, if they do, I have yet to find one). Thankfully, I have plenty of other interests, too, and I don’t usually have trouble finding common ground with people. Recently, however, I was having a conversation with somebody I had just met with a group of ladies from work, and I was prattling on, chattering a mile a minute when I noticed that their eyes completely glazed over, and they had mentally left the zip code. I wasn’t talking about anything too obscure, just something that I was interested in – when I realized that I might possibly be the most boring person they had ever met! I later remarked on this to my coworker (who had introduced all of us in the first place), and her reply was something flippant about how completely different I am from pretty much everyone who was in that group, and, while I’m flattered to be marching to the beat of my own drum, sometimes it hurts and I want to step in line with everyone else. I don’t know why I always seem to be on the outside looking in, and why I’m always the different one…I try to spin it all the time by reminding myself that ‘a tiger never loses sleep over the opinions of sheep’, but sometimes it’d be nice to feel like I fit in. It would be so awesome to be sitting in a group of people, chattering about whatever oddity has tickled my fancy that day – and not be looked at by everyone else like I had done something highly odd or inappropriate. I love being different, I love the fact that I’m my own girl and that I have my own interests and passions, but I just wish I could find a pack of like-minded people. That’d be nice, don’t you think? :)

 

I never meant to get us in this deep
I never meant for this to mean a thing
Oh, I wish you were the one
Wish you were the one that got away

I got caught up by the chase
And you got high on every little game
I wish you were the one
Wish you were the one that got away

Oh, if I could go back in time
When you only held me in my mind
Just a longing gone without a trace
Oh, I wish I’d never ever seen your face
I wish you were the one
Wish you were the one that got away

I miss the way you wanted me
When I was staying just out of your reach
Begging for the slightest touch
Ooh, you couldn’t get enough, mmm

 

“Just remember this- weird’s good. Embrace the weird, dude. Enjoy it because it’s never going away.” (Tim Tharp, ‘The Spectacular Now’)

 

Tell me about your one that got away, friends. :)

xxx

Passions

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One of my favorite passions - art! :-)

What are you passionate about? Your family, your love, your work, hobbies, sports? Whatever it is, I hope you’re passionate about something – anything…there are few things worse than people with no passions. This has been on my mind lately – a lot. I’ve always been a person with a LOT of interests, and I’ve  been known to obsessively follow one flight of fancy after another, never sticking with anything too long, and sweeping on to the next thing that has caught my eye. On one hand, this has been really good to make me a somewhat well-rounded person (and I’m not strictly speaking of my arse, thank you very much), but on the other it means that I am distinctly lacking in the stick-with-it department. I’m not sure which is the better way to be.

I have a lot of interests, and there’s no shortage of things that I am crazy about. I love big (huge, in fact), and that love applies to those that I care about, as well as the things that I love to do. I have a tendency to care too much for people, and I end up feeling sad when my love isn’t returned, or – if it is returned, it is not with the intensity that I had hoped for. That’s just silly. I have no right to feel disappointed if people don’t love me the way I want them to – I just need to learn to be grateful that I am loved at all. Yet another lesson my dumb ass needs to learn.

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An interest of mine...wine! :-)

I’ve encountered quite a few people lately who seem to have no passion for anything in their lives…and, frankly, I don’t know what to do with that. I find them boring, kind of insipid, and hard to be around. Since I am a person who gives people the benefit of the doubt WAY longer than anyone deserves (seriously – I’m kinda pathetic), I put up with these people, try to share my passions with them, hoping they will feel inspired. This doesn’t happen – all I get is blah-di-blah-di-blah…boring, uninspired, dreadful stuff, day after day. I don’t know why this happens. And I don’t know why I let it bother me! How other people are is absolutely none of my business, but I guess when these people want in to my life, it kind of becomes my business. I want to surround myself with folks who have interests, hobbies, loves, who are constantly learning and striving to grow and evolve as people. I want to know folks who challenge themselves, who step outside the box, who embrace the uncomfortable, and push through anyway. I love people who live life in Technicolor…and I’m just not sure about those who dwell in the black and white.

I recently watched “Eat, Love, Pray” again for about the 10th time. I don’t think that the movie is particularly fascinating and fantastic – rather, I’m smitten with the scenery (especially during the Bali portion of the film, as that is my #1 desired destination)…and I’m also a real fan of the idea of a spiritual journey of sorts. I don’t really think that I am the kind of girl who is cut out for a self-imposed exile at an ashram in India – I don’t have the luxury of that kind of time, the conditions are way too primitive for this cat, and I suck at being quiet so that vow of contemplative silence would be right out the window. As well, I don’t really believe that the answers lie in a higher power enough for this type of spiritual journey. Instead, I believe that all that I seek lies within me; every answer to every question I’ve ever asked is bubbling up inside of me somewhere, waiting to come out, a champagne cork ready to be popped. The question remains though…how do I let that stuff out? How do I pop that cork? I believe that what I need is some peace and quiet, reflective time away from my life and all its demands. I need some quiet, away from work, home, my chores, my dissertation, the laundry, and everything else. I need to be somewhere that I can’t watch Netflix or compulsively check my Twitter feed a hundred times a day. I need to not only listen to the silence, I need to really hear it. I don’t need weeks on end of this – just a few days to ground myself, to remind me of what’s important, and to help me find my way back to those things. Although I love the idea of self-care and making your own well-being a priority, I pretty much suck at the execution of it…I’m always doing for others, when perhaps I need to learn to do for myself.

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I believe that some time spent introspectively would help me to reprioritize the things in my life that I’ve kind of lost my way with, and would help me to refocus my efforts into only the things that I feel passionately about. I started making a mental list of my passions, and it’s getting rather long – yaa me!!! :-) The thing is to find time to pursue and develop my passions and cultivate the things that fill my spirit with joy…and then I think I will be on the right track. :-)

I bet I could do this best in Bali…what do you think? ;-)

Xxx

I Found A Masterpiece In You

Now that I’m finally taking a bit of a summer vacation, having the time to do fun stuff with my Muppet is just the absolute best. :-) Today we took a trip to The McNay Museum here in San Antonio, and we had a fabulous time! :-)

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It’s a bit disgusting that I moved to San Antonio 10 years ago next week (!!!) and have never visited the McNay before, but I’m happy to have remedied that today. I will definitely go back, if only to sit in front of the Monet ‘Water Lilies’ painting that they have and bask in its glory. I’ve seen many many Monet paintings over the years, and the beauty still gets me in my heart, brings tears to my eyes, and chokes me up…but isn’t that what life and art are all about? :)

xxx

Colors of the Wind

This morning, the Wee One and I went to a painting class together, and it was AWESOME! :) We went to a studio in San Antonio called Painting With A Twist, and it was such a positive experience – we can’t wait to go again! :) The picture that we chose to do was called Candy Heart, and their version looked like this:

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Pretty, yes? Our wonderful instructor Cristina (and assistant Rachel) was fantastic about encouraging us to use our own color choices and be creative with how much color and highlighting we wanted to include. We took pictures as we went along – here’s a few of the in-progress work:

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Now….the finished products! :)

 
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Aren’t they lovely??! So much fun! :) Afterwards, we went to one of the Wee One’s favorite places for lunch – Z Tejas – followed by a shopping trip to Sephora.

The rest of the day will be spent swimming, picking a dear friend up from the airport, and just hanging out and being best friends. Weekends with my Muppet = The Best Times EVER!!!! :)

 

If you’ve ever thought of attending a painting class like this one but hesitated because you fear you lack artistic ability, please get in line behind me..and put your fears aside and GO! :) Give it a shot!!! It’s absolutely the most amazing, fun way to relax…and it’s really just so awesome the feeling you get when you’ve created something! :) Loooooooove this!!! I can’t wait to go back!!!!! :)

Thanks Painting With A Twist! :)

xxx

Shiny Happy People Part 3

Welcome to the third in my series of “25 Things That Made Me So Happy I Want To Pee My Pants” – this week has been a really tough one for me, with some long, hard days at work and some stressful disappointments away from work, so I need the joy that comes with making one of these lists BIG TIME. :) Without further ado, let’s do this:

 

Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee (they just opened a new store right near my work and I honestly don’t know if it would be possible for me to be any happier than I am. My dear friend picked up coffee and a Boston Cream donut for me yesterday, and, in that moment, I think my heart actually swelled and I loved her even more :-) )

Acronyms like FUPA, because they are hilarious and foul :-)

Yorkshire Terriers and my Wee One – look at this picture and tell me that life isn’t pretty damn great sometimes :-)
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Willie Nelson – he turned 80 on Tuesday, and I celebrated with beer in his honor. He’s just as cool as ever – may we all be as hip when we’re 80! :-)
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“Silver Linings Playbook” – released on DVD/Blu-Ray on Tuesday, sitting on my table waiting to be watched as I type this. I looooooove this movie so much and can’t wait to watch it! :-)
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The Rain – it’s been raining in San Antonio this week, and things are looking green and gorgeous! :-)

Time Capsules – I’ve never been part of one of these, but my darling friend in Canada has, and I think it sounds like awesome good fun! :-) Now.. what shall I put in mine????! Ideas and suggestions are gratefully accepted! :-)

Mindy Kaling – everything she is and everything she does fills me with joy :-) I love her! :-)

The fact that there is one month left of school! :-) Bring on summer! :-)

Panera’s Fat-Free Superfruit Power with Ginseng Smoothie (Superfruit power puree blended with organic plain Greek non-fat yogurt and boosted with ginseng)  - this thing is AWESOME!!! :) So delicious, and it tastes like a happy spring party in your mouth! :) What an awesome way to commence your day! :)

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The VH1 show ‘Off Pitch’ – this show has me totally dazzled…it’s both awful and absolutely cheese-tastic and fabulous, all at the same time! :-) I loooove it!!! :-)

Spring Flowers – I bought these for myself last weekend and they’ve made me happy all week. :-) It’s the little things, friends. :-)
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Red VW Beetle Convertibles – I want one. Badly. Anybody fancy giving/loaning me $10,000? :-)
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People with good intentions who say what they mean and mean what they say – and they don’t blow smoke up your arse, either. Love those people. :-)

Canadian Model Justine LeGault -and the fact that her simply STUNNING self is on the cover of Elle Québec…and she’s a size 14/16. Gorgeous! Read about her here. Yaa!!! :-)

The Comedy of Amy Schumer – her new sketch show ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ premiered on Comedy Central on Tuesday, and I quite liked it. Check it out! :-)

The pride that comes from standing up for yourself and doing what’s right, regardless of how hard it is. Go on with yo’bad self, friends! :-)

 This video on YouTube – this guy’s wife got drunk one evening and decided to tell him a joke. He recorded it and then animated it…and it’s a riot! (of course, it’s a ridiculously corny joke – exactly my favorite kind!)

A pouffy petticoat like this one (courtesy of my spirit animal Betsey Johnson) to wear under my dresses, and around my house (because what better idea is there than swanning around mi casa in this fluffy thing??!):

BETSEYS PERFECT PETTICOAT BLACK

 

Jimmy Choo Perfume – it smells like I imagine sex with an angel to smell…and that sounds like a hell of a good time, don’t you think? :)

Jimmy Choo Eau de Parfum, 3.3 oz

 

 

 My office at work is full of paintings done by the AMAZING Texas artist Linda Calvert Jacobson (who also happens to be my friend and one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet!) – it is impossible to be anything less than EXTREMELY HAPPY when you are working in an environment full of these: 
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My Wee One made this picture for me…and, during a week like this one when I’ve decided that nobody loves me and everybody hates me and I will die alone in a shanty-town shack with a pot-bellied pig as my only friend – there is nothing better than this. :)
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The sight of little children holding hands

The smell of movie theatre popcorn. And bacon. Mmm….

This picture of cuddling panda cubs :)

Panda cubs cuddling with each other

 

 

Making this list has helped – I would like to share with you a list of things that are currently pissing me off (it would be rather long and spirited, as people have been really shitting on me this week), but…that kind of defeats the whole purpose of accentuating the positive. So…in that spirit – I will end on this good note: happy Friday, my beautiful friends…even if you don’t make a list of all of the things that make you deliriously happy (and in need of adult diapers), that you at least think of those things and recognize the importance of them in your life. :) Being happy = AWESOME!!! :)

xxx

Hard Day

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Today will go down in history as the worst, most stressful day of my professional career. Despite my very best efforts, things went horrible awry, and I suspect that I will be dealing with the fallout from today for many days to come. The situation that transpired was absolutely NOT my fault (thank the lord), but it is certainly my problem – and, since I’m a person who advocates taking responsibility, that’s what I’m doing. I’m happy to announce that I don’t think I will be fired (things weren’t looking so good this afternoon, let me tell you), but there will be repercussions. It has been hard. I don’t know if you’re a praying person – but think a good thought in my direction, will you? I need it. Bad.

One final thought before I go (I will have to write more tomorrow – I’m a shattered mess at the moment)…I can’t stop thinking about “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” (I watched it on the weekend, remember?) – and, in particular, I’m hung up on this idea: We accept the love we think we deserve. This is SUCH a loaded statement for me, a person who suffers from chronic self-loathing and doubt, who figures I deserve nothing. Perhaps, amidst all of the chaos and misery and drama that is my existence, there IS love, the good kind of love that I somehow DO deserve. When I first watched that movie, that line made me feel really awful about myself, as if all of the hard times that I have had (and continue to have) are because that is what I deserve – hard times and misery; however, I’ve had a change of heart, and realized that even in the darkest of moments, I DO have love around me….even if it doesn’t look like what everybody else has, and I’m not a total  loser. I choose to believe that I AM loved, not despite my flaws, but because of them. And that’s okay with me – I’ll take it. :)

I hope that you’ve had a good day, friends…one that is full of love. :) Keep thinking good thoughts for me, okay? I need ‘em.  :) Je vous aime. :)

xxx

I Wanna Grow Old With You

I had a mini-meltdown on Monday over something SO stupid. I got a letter in the mail from the pension administrators for teachers in my part of Canada, letting me know that my meager contributions that I made during the six years I taught up there would result in a whopping $240ish if I collect at age 65, and a thundering $135ish if I draw this money at age 55. Woohooo!!  Going places with all that coin!!! I was completely and utterly depressed – I pay into a pension plan here in Texas, but it is by no means a great plan…so I supplement with a wee bit of money that I put away in an investment account each month. It’s not a lot, sadly, but when you are paid as poorly as I am, every little bit is a lot. The plan from Canada is currently giving me the option of withdrawing that money and rolling it in to something here in Texas – I’m exploring the options, and trying to determine the best way forward. However, I spent Monday morning obsessing about this (and didn’t sleep a wink that night, fearing that I would be destitute and living beneath an overpass in a cardboard box!)- I’ve already resigned myself to the fact that I will need to continue working past the age of 65, but…when faced with some bitter realities and depressing numbers this week, I think that I will be between 72 – 75 before I can retire. That strikes me as absolutely insane. The thing is that I have no other pensions or money to fall back on – this is it, it’s just me. And that is flippin’ scary, friends. :(
I always assumed in the stupid, naive part of my brain (i.e. ALL of it) that I would retire sometime between 55 and 60, live a comfortable life, travel and enjoy the rest of my years, and just generally be awesome. I never thought much about how I would fund that fab life of mine, but…I just kinda hoped it would take care of itself. However, over the years, reality has begun bitch-slapping my stupid ass around (thank Christ) and I’ve been taking steps towards planning some kind of a future for myself, but I’ve still got SO far to go. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I will be 40 next year (Yaaa!) or the pension fund letter this week or what, but it has really been hanging over my head lately. I’ve been thinking a lot about the financial side of things, of course, but…I’ve also been really contemplating the kind of life I want to have. I have been imagining where I want to be 25 years from now – and, just as importantly, where I don’t want to be. Let’s start with that, shall we? I want to have moved on from Education – this industry that I am working in today is NOT the one that I signed up for years ago, and the changes that have happened have not been good. I don’t know that I have the heart, patience or stamina to do this for the rest of my working days, I just don’t. While this year has been monumentally better (best year of my career, no joke), I still don’t know that I want to do this ’til I drop dead. I feel that there is so much more out there for me…and I want to do it ALL. :)

I want to take more painting classes, because the one I took last July was hands down one of the most awesome and pleasurable experiences of my life…it was AMAZING! :) Here’s my picture if you haven’t seen it before (and yes, I am extremely proud – I’d never painted before until this!) :

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I have studied Art History quite a bit, but I want to do more of that…it fills me with impossible happiness. :) I would like to spend time playing the piano more – I play as a form of stress release these days, and it does the trick…there are few things that can take the edge off a shitty day like banging the ever-loving shit out of the ivories in the name of Chopin or Liszt! I want to take up golf again, and not give two shits about whether or not I suck at it…who cares??! It doesn’t matter! :) I want to travel and see some more of the wonders of this world – and I am damn well going to finish ALL of the things that are on my ’50 Things To Do Before I’m 50′ list…and I’ll probably make a new list to see me through the rest of my life! :) I just know that there’s SO many things that I still want to do…I just need to figure out some way to finance all of these great ideas of mine! :) Suggestions are gratefully accepted! ;)

A lot of people that I know in Education have side businesses – a few of them are real estate agents who sell homes in their off time, others are professors at local colleges, one works part-time at a title company…there are so many options out there! One of my friends at work this week shared details of her side business with me – she’s a baker! :) And one hell of a good one, let me tell you! :) Here are some of her treats:

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Chocolate-Covered Oreos :)

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White Chocolate-Covered Oreos :)

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Cake Pops make me unreasonably happy :) Just FYI :)

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Almond Bark is so pretty :)

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Mice - Adorable and Yummy! :)

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Mice – Adorable and Yummy! :)

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Chocolate-Dipped Fancy Fortune Cookies :)

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Gingerbread Marshmallows! :)

Delicious looking, eh? I know!! I sampled some of her wares yesterday (that sounds like a lesbian orgy, but it totally wasn’t, I swear), and my word but they were DELISH!!! Scrumptious! :) If you happen to live locally and be interested in purchasing some of her goodies (cake balls, cake pops, cakes, handmade candy, cookies of every shape and flavor,  cookie baskets, marshmallow, almond bark, caramel corn, chocolate-covered Oreos which look like HEAVEN…girlfriend does it all!), please let me know and I will happily put you in touch with her – not only is she an AMAZING baker, she’s one of the best BEST teachers that I have EVER seen (seriously, she’s magic in the classroom), and she’s a really great person! :) I envy someone like her – she has this awesome talent, and she’s found a way to turn her favorite thing into a side business…SO SMART! :) I’ve been thinking of this for years, and I can’t seem to get anywhere with it. Sadly, nobody is lining up outside to pay me to write (which is a damn shame, because if they did I believe that I’d have found nirvana - no, silly, not the Nirvana with Dave Grohl, although that is one seriously awesome and funny dude, so I’d kinda like to find him and hang out for a bit), and I have yet to figure out a way to get paid for my immense and mildly impressive knowledge of popular culture, so…I haven’t had a lot of luck with the whole side business thing. I don’t have many talents that are marketable, which stinks…I really need to get on that and get something going for myself. The idea of being a crazy old lady with 27 cats in my cardboard box living under the 1604 underpass is getting more and more frightening…yikes! :(

 I hope that you’re having a happy day, friends! :)  I love you a bunch! :)

xxx