La Vie en Rose

And so it begins…our trip to Paris!!! :-) Somehow I managed to get through this week – I’ve been sick, fighting a dreadful ear infection, 14 hour work days, last-minute passport issues, late night work events, raging insomnia…it has been ridiculous, but we made it through. We are on our way to Paris! I will be posting updates as I can throughout the week – but you can count on a some good posts full of pictures upon our return. Yaaa!!! Vive la France!!! :-)

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Waiting at our gate :-)

xxx

Little Moments

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Muppets!!!! :-)

It was my brother’s birthday last week, so the Wee One and I called him to sing and wish him a happy day. During our chat, I was telling him about our upcoming trip to Paris and all the things I’m excited to show the Wee One. As usual, he started making fun of me and how much I spoil her – which is kind of true, but I don’t believe that she is a brat. I try to give her every thing and opportunity that I didn’t have, and I smother that kid with love love LOVE…which isn’t a bad thing. I know that my brother is happy and excited for us – but his remarks got me thinking about the beauty of the simple things in life. :-) I’m a person who needs to stop, unplug, and reboot every so often as I seem to lose track of the simple pleasures around me – between my 12-16 hour work days, the number of nighttime duties and events that I have, my Wee One and her busy little life…it’s no wonder I sometimes lose my way a bit. Let’s make a list of the sweetest things we can think of…that’s guaranteed to make us feel better, right? :-) Here we go! :-)

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Great coffee :-)

-Drinking a good cup of coffee in bed :-)
-Sitting at the piano, placing your hands on the keys, and listening to the pretty tinkling as you start playing
-Audrey Hepburn singing “Moon River“, or Cristin Milioti singing “La Vie En Rose“…perfection :-)
-Pancakes
-Going for a walk
-The smell of oranges, vanilla, and rain :-)
-Waking up in the morning to the sound of silence, no obnoxious alarm clock in sight
-The smell of bacon cooking – yum :-)
-Holding hands
-Fresh flowers in a vase on a table
-The first sip of an icy cold beer on a hot day – bonus points if you’re drinking it in a delightfully trashy dive bar :-)
-The sound of a laughing child
-The Muppets. All of ‘em. :-)
-Falling asleep with the TV on
-Sheep…such adorable, awesome animals :-)
-Sushi!!
-Comfortable shoes
-Warm blankies on a cold night
-Spooning :-)
-A perfect cocktail with lime in it :-)
-The song “Dream A Little Dream Of Me”…in English and in French :-) Bonus for this Mama Cass version…the best ever: Dream A Little Dream Of Me

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Yummy!

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The perfect mojito :-)

I could go on and on, listing all of the silly things I love…and I will be watching my inbox if you fancy sending me what’s on your list! I know that at times (a lot of the time) I make my life wayyyyy more complicated than it needs to be. I’m not the only one who does that, I know…it seems to be a sign of the times. With all of today’s modern conveniences, we also make things exponentially more complex. Every so often it’s good to turn off, to shut down all of the noise, and just be alone with yourself and your thoughts (frightening though they may be) – luckily my warped little mind and I get along pretty well…we’re both easily amused. :-)

Xxx
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The Tracks Of My Tears

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Love this!! :-)

Do you watch “Girls” on HBO? I looooove it – this season has been decidedly different for me, but I’m loving it nonetheless. Did you see this past week’s episode? Blew my friggin’ mind, it did…for about a hundred different reasons. First, this episode really highlighted the painful truth about friends who grow apart – it was kind of heartbreaking to watch Marnie try to plan this super-fun girlfriends weekend when no shits were given by the other girls. Speaking of the other girls….the bravery of Lena Dunham blows me away – girlfriend was in a teeny bikini for practically the whole episode, curvaceous, gorgeous bod just hanging out for the world to love…and it was a-ma-zing. Seriously. That shit moved me to tears because I can’t imagine ever liking myself enough to do that. Do you know that over the years I have apologized to others for the way I look. For real. Like some sort of psychopath. I swear I need a kick in the arse…seriously, who does that??! Grrrrr!!!!!! I wish that I could embrace this attitude:
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I thought I was walking this lonely road of self-loathing alone until I read this piece by the brilliant writer – and my spirit animal – Mandy Stadtmiller:

The secret any man who sleeps with me eventually learns is that I have a scar underneath my breasts.

I’ve had laser treatments on it a number of times to make it less visible, but the scar is still there. It is a vocal imperfection, taking away from any centerfold potential a man might construct in his imagination.

Imperfection. That’s what I know my body represents. The secret of this will eventually come out.

If I take my clothes off, my breasts will cover the scar, in the right light, at the right angle, cupped in the right way, but as happens during sex, much of the body is revealed. “What happened here?” “What’s that from?” “Does it hurt?” Or my favorite: “You know, if you got a boob job, then it won’t even be visible at all.”

These are some of the things men have said to me about my scar upon seeing it for the first time.

I once wore a black lace bodysuit and I camouflaged the scar with tattoo-covering makeup, and I glanced into the mirror at the blurred forged perfection through the lace. I saw a glimpse into an alternate identity. This hallmark flaw, gone and covered. I splashed the water from my bathroom sink up onto my chest, angry at the airbrushing I was doing for — who? Myself? My pride? I washed the makeup off.

The story of my scar is quite simple and quite common. For many children.

When I was 9, doctors advised my parents that because I had a slightly concave chest, or pectus excavatum, I could have surgery to correct it. I don’t know if it was medically necessary. Neither do my parents. They just nodded yes. I remember the main argument was that I would look better in a bathing suit if I had the surgery necessary to correct it. I don’t remember being given a choice. I don’t remember much of anything except for being given the option for unlimited ice cream in the hospital and not wanting any of it, nauseous in the gray hospital bed, feeling my body had been split in two.

“This form says you had surgery to correct a ‘pectus excavatum,’” a doctor once perked up as he read my chart. He is there to examine my legs. He looks me over. “Can I see it?” he asks. I unbutton my shirt and show him my breasts. “Mm-hm,” he says. The doctor performs a minor injection to rid me of a spider vein in my ankle, but instead of ridding me of it, it worsens. I have the scar to this day. Another imperfection. More questions. More stories. More apologies.

There is a saying that energy from various situations in our lives stays with us as we go along. That unless we work out the energy to release it, that energy — trauma, fear, shame, sadness, fear — stays with us in our body throughout our lives. It’s lessened over time, but it is still there, a little fuzzy cloud around how you feel about yourself.

In the past, with any man who might see me naked, I used to go through the litany of what was wrong with me, to apologize, to excuse, to point out what I could not control — to try to get in front of the story — and relay The Story of the Scar. It was as if I understood from a very young age that the primary duty of my body was there to serve, and any fault that a man might find was a failing on my part as a woman. And so like clockwork, before any intimacy, at the start of any intimacy, I would begin my story the same: “I had a surgery when I was 9…”

There it was.

Part of me wanted to hand a card out to any prospective man who might ever see me naked with an annotated explanation: “Here are all of my faults as best as I can categorize them. Let us begin.”

It was only after I got sober in 2010 that my speech simply ended. Suddenly, the unbearable became bearable. The pain dissipated without meaning or judgment — and morphed into simple facts. There it was, a scar. It was neither bad nor good, it simply was a part of me.

And so this weekend, there I lay, naked, about to be intimate with a man who I have never been intimate with before for the first time.

This man is not someone who I expect anything from, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is the nature of our relationship. I feel good about what I’m doing, and I feel good about the clarity with which I see everything around me. I don’t need this man. He is here for my pleasure, not the other way around.

“We don’t have to do anything,” he says. “I know,” I say.

“I’ll be reading about this, won’t I?” he says.

I’m tempted to write nothing to show just how little this means to me, but I like the idea of writing about the scar. About the power of the stories we tell ourselves about our bodies.

“I miss getting high,” I tell him as I lay there beside him, and I mean it. I don’t mean that I plan to relapse, to drink again, but acknowledging this fact is my way of getting high in the one way I allow myself to now: through speaking truth.

This night has been building up for months, for over a year. He turns out the lights, and he holds me. “Let’s look out at New York together.” We do.

He kisses me and starts undressing me.

If this man can see me, if he ever really sees me, I know he never will. No man can. 

I’m the only person who can ever see me. I know that now. And there’s no need to apologize.
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I’sn’t she amazing? I know. I love her. :-) I’ve done this thing she talks of a million times -apologized to others for my scars, the width of my arse, my mop hairdo that always looks primed and ready for some serious floor cleaning…but why? What’s wrong with these things? I’ll tell you – nothing. Zip. Zilcherooni, friends. Not a damn thing. I will never be discovered by a modelling agency at the local Piggly Wiggly (we don’t have those here, but I sure wish we did. I’d shop there every day, just for the name alone), but hopefully I won’t frighten small children, either. But even if I do, so what??!
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I am covered in scars…some of them are pretty significant and noticeable, while others have faded to the background, just part of the landscape. My left forearm looks like it has been through a lawnmower, my right elbow is right tore up (but that scar resembles a smiley face, which is kinda cool)…there’s tons of them. All. Over. Me. Each one a small badge of honor to whatever life event they were a part of (that elbow scar? Surgery following a broken elbow that happened while taking some of my favorite students ever skating…I think of them and smile every time I look at the scar). The scar – no, gash – across my left hip is one that I’m the most sensitive about…which is dumb, as it is rarely seen. I had bone harvested from my hip and planted into my left wrist, leaving me with permanent wound marks in both places. I hate that hip scar so much – it symbolizes so much to me: the failed attempt to fix my arm (while buggering up my hip in the process), the unhappy place I was at in my life when that operation happened, the agony and misery of trying to look after myself on my own after the surgery, with my arm in a cast from fingertips to shoulder and my hip all bandaged up…it was just a rotten bloody time, and that stupid scar is a hateful reminder of some of my darkest days. Perhaps a day will come when that scar will serve as a sign along the road, reminding me of how far I’ve come. Perhaps someday… :-)

In other news, I spend too much time in my head, you know that? As bloody busy as I am you’d think I wouldn’t have time for obsessing over trivial shit, but I do. It’s gross. I constantly fret that some people think the things that I do – and therefore me – are stupid. I don’t mean intellectually, because I think I do fine in that area…I mean something different. For example, I try to do thoughtful things like making up stupid poems, celebrating silly occasions like Birthday Eve, and bursting into song whenever the spirit moves me. I do these things to show love and encourage fun and happiness…but at times, I fret that people barely tolerate the things that I do in the spirit of good-hearted fun, and that they think I’m foolish and stupid. I usually don’t give a roaring rat’s arse what people think, but when it’s somebody I care about, I do. A lot. It bothers me. The thought of those that I care about thinking badly of me just breaks my heart. I wish that I could just do me and have that be enough – and it usually is, but…how to move past those times of self-doubt?

An expression I’ve always loved a bunch is ‘living out loud’…good, right? I have never been accused to disappearing into the background – truth is I wouldn’t even know how. But still I’m plagued with self-doubt. How do you get over that? How does a person learn to just let go? What’s the secret? I came across this article with eight tips for boosting self-confidence and moving past the doubt:

1. Stop comparing your accomplishments to your friends’ and colleagues’ accomplishments.

I find that I am most successful in my personal and professional life when I am following what works for me, and what makes me feel good, even if it is different from what someone I look up to is doing.

2. Forget about what everyone else is thinking of you.

When you care about what everyone else is thinking of you, you inhibit yourself. You’d rather do nothing and not get judged, than do somethingand risk criticism.

Worrying about what other people think of you will continue to hold you back from doing something potentially huge for yourself.

3. Just make a decision, and then correct your course as you go along.

Usually your first reaction is going to be your best since it typically comes from a place of intuition rather from the ego, and before outside opinions get in the way.

4. Write yourself a hand-written letter.

5. Listen and/or read positive material on a daily basis.

6. Write in a gratitude journal at the end of each day.

It’s far too easy to wallow in pity and focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do have. Giving those feelings energy will only create more situations in which we come up empty handed.

Instead of focusing on what you are lacking, focus on what you do have, and what you haveaccomplished. This fosters a feeling of gratitude, and when you invest energy into gratitude now, you’ll start to find that you’ll be rewarded in the future.

Feelings of gratitude put you in a positive frame of mind. When you’re feeling positive, you’re feeling good. And when you’re feeling good, good things happen.

7. Identify your biggest fans, and then nurture those relationships.

8. Go to your mantras for support.

I’ve learned that by surrounding myself with my biggest fans, by focusing on my own goals, and by practicing gratitude I can experience love more deeply, minimizing feelings of self-doubt.

What do you think? I like a few of the ideas a lot – the gratitude writing is something I’ve flirted with off and on over the years, but I’ve never built a consistent routine around this. I should. I hear so often that people who practice this are far more at peace with themselves and their lives, so I should probably give it a whirl. There’s a beautiful red Moleskine journal (the best – and only kind I use!) sitting on my nightstand right now…there’s no time to start like the present!!! :-) I also love the idea of not comparing your accomplishments to those around you – I used to struggle so much with this one, but I think things are improving here. Yaa me!! :-) One idea I’m not so sure about is the whole mantra thing – I have read about it, thought about giving it a whirl, but ended up feeling stupid, so I never followed through. Here we are with the feeling stupid again…all things really are full circle, eh? I need to work on this. Starts now. :-)

How do you do it, friends? How do you manage your self-doubting behavior and focus on being your best you? Is this something that matters to you or am I just being neurotic and worrying for nothing? I can’t wait to hear your feedback, friends! :-) I’ll read it after I’m finished with the gratitude journal for today. ;-) There’s so much to be grateful for. :-)

Xxx

Forever and Ever, Amen

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I love this - she's taller than him and neither are bothered. Why doesn't real life work this way?

Were you a “Dharma and Greg” watcher? I was – I never missed it. I still can’t flip past it in reruns without stopping and watching…I love that show. The character of Greg, played by Thomas Gibson, was a great foil to the majesty of Jenna Elfman’s Dharma…she remains, to this day, my favorite character of all time on a TV show. :-) I loved her – the character was all that I wanted to be but never was: passionate, spontaneous, funny, charming, witty, sweet, beautiful, enchanting…I just loved her and wished with all my might that I could be that way. However, I’m probably too practical, too logical, even a bit too realistic to give in to all of the whims and flights of fancy that her character exhibited. Sad trombone! :-( I do have my odd Dharma-esque moment, though (see Exhibit A: The Teddy Bear Pawsport that I made):

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…but who among us wouldn’t want to let ‘er rip and indulge in tons of fun like Dharma did all the time? Exactly. :-)

Anyway – let’s talk about Jenna Elfman for a minute. She was absolutely radiant on that show, and has pretty much sparkled in every single thing that she’s done since then. It doesn’t really matter what project she’s in, she is always the very best thing about it. Every. Single. Time. I think she’s beautiful, and I have often dreamed of going to bed looking like this:

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And waking up like this:

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It has yet to happen. However, I remain hopeful, ever the optimist. ;-) I’ve always heard her talk about her marriage to actor Bodhi Elfman and admired the way that they’ve made it work – not an easy feat in Hollywood. However, I have a whole new respect and the most profound admiration for the two of them after finally sitting down and listening to their podcast ‘Kicking and Screaming’ – if you haven’t given it a listen yet, you really need to. The two of them are funny, and their stories – and storytelling – are absolutely amazing! I have laughed out loud so many times, I can’t even tell you. It’s awesome. :-) The best part, though, is the love between the two of them…I’ve never witnessed anything like that myself, and hearing them feels like the warmest, fuzziest sweater that’s also totally exhilarating and exciting and fabulous. That makes no sense, but…trust me, they are terrific. Today happens to be their 19th anniversary, but they’ve been together 23+ years…and they are young – he’s 44, she’s 42. That’s so crazy, eh? I’m so jealous it’s not even funny. I can’t imagine finding your life’s love at that young age…how fantastic! :-) If you listen to them, their love and fondness for each other is nearly overwhelming — I love that connection between people…it’s a truly beautiful thing, don’t you think? Who wouldn’t want that???! It’s gorgeous :-)

If you have a bit of time, give their podcast a listen – sit back and prepare to be so entertained. :-) They’re awesome – and Bodhi is just a freaking gem…I adore him. :-) Who doesn’t want a bit of Bodhi in their lives???!!! :-)

This girl does. :-)

Xxx

PS: Happy Anniversary Bodhi and Jenna!! :-) ♥♥♥

I Choose You

The Sara Bareilles song “I Choose You” is pretty much destroying me these days – it’s just too magical for words. Click here to give it a listen – I’m going to post the lyrics here in case you want to sing along (which I heartily recommend):

Let the bough break, let it come down crashing
Let the sun fade out to a dark sky
I can’t say I’d even notice it was absent
Cause I could live by the light in your eyes

I’ll unfold before you
Would have strung together
The very first words
Of a lifelong love letter

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you
(Yeah)

There was a time when I would have believed them
If they told me you could not come true
Just love’s illusion
But then you found me and everything changed
And I believe in something again

My whole heart
Will be yours forever
This is a beautiful start
To a lifelong love letter

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you

We are not perfect
We’ll learn from our mistakes
And as long as it takes
I will prove my love to you

I am not scared of the elements
I am under-prepared, but I am willing
And even better
I get to be the other half of you

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you
I choose you

Don’t you love it? Me, too – I think that song is perfect. :-) (Sidenote: Why is Sara not the biggest, most popular artist in music today? She’s so bloody talented, smart, witty, and just all that is right about music these days – she deserves all the prizes.) Anyway – back to the song…I’ve really been thinking about the whole concept of choice lately – in my mind, I find it so liberating, in kind of a Lord of the Manor/Master of my own Destiny kind of way. There are a lot of things that I do every day because I have to – that’s life, the albatross of obligation that all of us wear around our necks…but I am really trying to focus on spending my off work time doing precisely what I want, and only the things that I choose to do. I used to hang out with some people because I felt obligated – but I don’t do that anymore. What’s the point? Doing that made me miserable, and I felt really fake – even if I didn’t particularly fancy their company, that doesn’t mean that they didn’t deserve better than me, acting like the Crown Princess of Hypocrite Island. Gross. :-( So I don’t do that anymore. I haven’t taken to being unkind and mean to people, I just don’t see them…And I leave it at that. I have a hard time finding things in common with a lot of people – I can usually find something on a surface level to talk about, but in terms of making a real connection, it just happens so rarely. Recently, someone at work very unkindly described me as ‘dingy’ and ‘weird’ – and while I think she needs to get on her broom and bugger off, she is sorta right. I am weird – and thank goodness for that! I like unusual things (case in point: I’ve been up in the middle of the night to watch curling this week – and it has been bloody awesome :-) ), I do things a little differently, and that’s just fine with me. I don’t expect people who want to be part of my life to share my strange and unusual passions and behaviors, but I do gravitate towards people with whom I can find some common ground, and common interests. Don’t you? If you didn’t, what would you ever find to talk about?

This weekend, I chose to celebrate Valentine’s Day and love by taking the Wee One on a date – it was great! :-) We had a gorgeous dinner on the patio outside at Beto’s On Broadway (which I highly recommend – our food was fabulous!), and then we went to the ballet. We saw Ballet San Antonio’s production of “Firebird” – a gorgeous show, featuring a lot of the dancers from “The Nutcracker” at Christmas. It was such a lovely evening, and we had a blast – here are some pictures:

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I choose this right here :-)

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Al Pastor Taco and Chicken Poblano Empanada - heaven :-)

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The Wee One's dinner of a grilled chicken taco and fries :-)

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Sugar the Teddy Bear tied one on ;-)

We had a whole lot of fun, which was just the best! :-) The Wee One and I are off to spend a week in Paris in a few weeks, and we are SO excited! :-) Paris is a magnificent place, and I can hardly wait to show her all of my favorite things in the city I love so much. :-) The best part, however, will be the time spent with my girl. There ain’t nothin’ better – I will always choose that. :-)

Xxx

Eight Days A Week

 

If you haven’t realized, Valentine’s Day is this coming Friday, so we are now officially in Love Week. You can’t miss the signs of love everywhere – the stuffed toys and boxes of chocolates pouring off the store shelves, the never-ending stream of obnoxious TV commercials (I beg to differ, by the way – I’m willing to bet that on any given weekend, more kisses begin with beer and tequila shots than with Kay, but…what do I know?!), and the local restaurants promoting their Friday night dinner special events. Whether you have a Sweet Baboo or not, I hope that you will find a way to show someone some love this week – I hope that the love is returned, but if it’s not, then that’s okay, too. I love you – so it’s all good. :-) There’s a lot of pressure on people to do Valentine’s Day right, don’t you think? I hate that – we should show love every day, not just on special days that are endorsed by Hallmark and the Ferrero Rocher company. I try to always show those that I care about some love – I’m not always successful, but I mean well. :-) What are your thoughts on this? Are you a looooooooove show-er???! ;)

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San Antonio :-)

 

Here’s a fun one for you: Did you know that online retail giant Amazon recently named San Antonio (where I live!!) the most romantic city in the United States?!??!?!  Here’s the article: (*and here’s another one!)

SAN ANTONIO — Whether it’s riding in a horse-drawn carriage down Houston Street, eating a candlelit dinner at an intimate restaurant on the River Walk or having a cocktail atop the Tower of the America’s, San Antonians know how to spice up a date.

In fact, just ahead of Valentine’s Day, the Alamo City was named the most romantic city in the country by Amazon.com, who tabulated purchases per capita from 2013 of romantic propaganda ranging from Marvin Gaye albums to adult toys.

“Love is in the air in San Antonio,” said Stacy Keller, a spokeswoman for Amazon, adding that this is the first year San Antonio cracked the top 20 since the list began five years ago.

The purchases recorded include romantic novels, movies and albums, as well as “sexual wellness products”, which include adult-themed novelties, lotions and condoms.

Seattle, Knoxville, Miami and Alexandria, Virginia, rounded out the top five, respectively. Round Rock, ranked 14th, is the only other Texas city on the Amazon list.

New York and two cities in California, El Monte and San Buenaventura, finished as the least romantic cities.

This cracks me up, and I’m not sure why! I know that indeed there are TONS of romantic things to do here in SA – it’s such a pretty city :) – but I kind of think that even a dirty, ugly city can be romantic if you put the effort and love into it, don’t you?? :) What makes for romance in your eyes? :)  Considering what you know about me (which is probably way too bloody much since I’ve not been blessed with much of a filter), you probably think I’m a miserable princess who is ridiculously hard to please. You’d be wrong, because I’m not like that (I hope), not even a little bit. It takes very little for me to be excited and happy – I’m not a girl who would ever expect a man to buy me a giant sparkly diamond ring…if I want a ring, I will buy it myself. I am so grateful for any and all kindnesses that come my way – I love it when someone buys me a bag of my favorite candies or a coconut water, because they know that I love them. :) I love few things like I looooove a silly poem – and someone will never go wrong by quoting some of the great romance master writers to me. I don’t need to be wined and dined…the way to my heart includes a stop at the nearest Whataburger for a patty melt (no joke – patty melts are my life). While I love all of the fancy things in life, I don’t depend on someone else to get them for me – if I want something lovely, I will find a way to have it…it’s pretty simple. I think that true sentiments from the heart matter far more than any sparkly bauble, don’t you? :)

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Mmmmm...patty melt :-)

Here’s what Ludwig von Beethoven wrote to the love of his life – his immortal beloved:

Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us – I can live only wholly with you or not at all – Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits – Yes, unhappily it must be so – You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart – never – never – Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. And yet my life in V is now a wretched life – Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men – At my age I nedd a steady, quiet life – can that be so in our connection? My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day – therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once – Be calm, only by a clam consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm – love me – today – yesterday – what tearful longings for you – you – you – my life – my all – farewell. Oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
ever thine
ever mine
ever ours

Beautiful, eh? I know…those words up there? Worth more than any sparkly jewel. :) Ever thine, ever mine, ever ours. Le sigh. :) I hope that you have a happy Valentine’s Day this week, my dear friends…and I hope that you have the love that you need and deserve. Je vous aime. :)

xxx

PS: Here’s “Something” for you :)

Under The Sea

I’ve been wanting to check out San Antonio seafood restaurant El Bucanero for ages – and last night, I managed to pry my arse off the couch and away from the Olympics to make the trip. Good news, friends – it didn’t disappoint! I’ve driven by the place on Blanco a million times, and while the building itself appears to be nothing special at all, the parking lot is always packed, no matter the time of day. That’s usually a sign of good things – as well, I know some people who loooooooove this place, and their enthusiastic recommendations were spot on. I love it when that happens, don’t you? Yaa!! :-)

We got a table immediately, no wait – which surprised me since the place looked so busy. The decor is interesting – there are murals of sea creatures all over the place, and there’s no shortage of color. The Wee One thought it was fabulous, I thought it was tacky yet awesome – we were both right. :-) The menu is huge and kind of overwhelming – good thing that our super-lovely server brought us a complimentary guacamole to munch on while we decided what to order. I had a mojito – which was freaking AWESOME (high praise coming from me, a noted booze hound and mojito lovah), and finally gave up on the menu, deciding instead to order what the guy at the next table was having. :-) Here’s what my dinner looked like:
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It was the most delicious, delightful ceviche EVER (fun fact: my auto correct wants to change ceviche to cervix)…shrimp, octopus, fish, lobster, assorted other morsels of goodness…I can’t even tell you how bloody much I enjoyed that meal! I brought half of it home – it was just crazy yummy! Yaa!! :-) The staff at El Bucanero were really great, and the entire experience was a huge hit. Loooooooove this place!!! Yaaaa!!! :-)

Don’t you love it when a place exceeds your expectations? Me too!!! :-) ♥♥♥

Xxx

I Believe

This is pretty much what I believe and how I choose to live my life:

Beautiful, eh? I love this – and I try to live it every day. I think it’s really important to model this kind of thinking for my Wee One as well, and I had a great opportunity to really show her earlier this week. I picked her up from school in the middle of the morning to run her to an appointment downtown – getting to see her in the middle of the day was a huge treat! :-)   As we were parking, I noticed an older couple struggling with the parking payment machine. Although there were some other people standing around watching them, I felt compelled to ask if I could help – they explained that they had stuck their credit card into the wrong slot on the machine and that it was wedged inside and stuck – and yes, they’d be grateful for the assistance. I noticed that the gentleman was wearing a Team Canada Olympic hockey hoodie exactly like one that I have – I asked if they were Canadian, and they were (from Edmonton); I told them that I hailed from Manitoba, and then plunked down on the ground to figure out how to get their credit card out for them. While I used my keys to work on loosening the card, they chatted with the Wee One – and still the other people just stood there, taking this all in. Why they didn’t offer to help, I don’t know…whatevah. I had the card nearly out but was going to need some Tweezers to finish the job – happily, they were traveling by car and had some in their luggage, and we had the card out in no time! :)   I helped them with retrying their parking payment – we realized that part of the problem was that this machine didn’t accept their Canadian credit card. I happily paid their $10 parking fee for them, and gave them their ticket – and set about the business of paying for my parking. The man tried to pay me, but I didn’t want his money – if you can’t do a good deed for your fellow man, then what is the point in being alive, eh? However, he insisted – and gave the money to the little one, who didn’t know any better and was excited to add it to her Paris fund piggy bank. :)   We thanked them, and headed on our way – but before we got too far, they called out to us again and asked for some directions and help. They wanted to see the Riverwalk and the Alamo, of course, so we walked them over to the edge of the Alamo property, and showed them where the stairs to the Riverwalk could be found. I also pointed out a bunch of other sites to them, recommended the river boat tours, and some excellent lunch spots in the downtown area. As we walked and chatted, we shared some details about our lives with each other, and they invited us to join them for lunch – however, since we both had to return to work/school, we politely declined and went on our way. As we walked away, the little one loudly declared, “We make friends and bring joy everywhere we go!” She’s right, you know - I kind of do make friends and speak with people in my travels, and I’m happy that she’s learning to do that as well. This is so important to me – even though we live in a huge city, we can treat those around us like they are our friends…remember, strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet! (*Don’t worry – she understands that she isn’t to speak to strangers on her own and she’s well-versed in Stranger Danger rules and practices)

This type of encounter would have been pretty commonplace in my hometown in Canada – I remember sitting in the local watering hole with some of my girlfriends once (20 years ago, in fact…where the hell does time go??! The years pass by, and yet I look no older – mysterious! ;) ), when a young man walked in and tried to order a drink – in French. The woman working the bar was not a French-speaker, so she called me over to see if I could help. I introduced myself, translated his order, and then invited him to come and sit with us. His name was Stéphan, he was from France, and was on an agricultural exchange for the summer in a nearby town. He’d been so busy on the farm since his arrival in Canada that this was his first night out. He sat with us all evening, practicing his (very) broken English, and I filled in the blanks with he and the others at the table. He asked if he could see all of us again, so we gave him our numbers – and then proceeded to spend the summer taking him places, showing him the sights, teaching him how to golf (one of the most hilarious things you could ever imagine)…it was great. :) There was no great love affair between us – it wasn’t about that (even though most of my girlfriends thought we were doing ‘le shag’ on the daily); it was about being kind, helping somebody out, and doing things to make someone else’s life better. And you know what? There’s nothing better than that. :)

That picture up there is really on to something, don’t you think? Next up for me: Be courageous and wild at heart. Look out, world!!!!! ;)

xxx

Love Is Strange

Love is strange, you know that? Think about it – what do you find attractive in the object of your affection? Is it their smile? Their eyes? That ass when they bend over? (If so, it is clear that it is not me that you’re in lust with) Their sparkling personality and dry sense of humor? What is it that draws us to others? (And they to us?)

There are some people in this world that we can all pretty much agree are totally fancy-able…I’m looking in your direction, Ryan Gosling and George Clooney! ;-) However, it’s the real life couples that I personally find fascinating, don’t you? Think about the couples you know – do they go together? Does the pairing of them make sense to you? In a lot of cases, you’ll probably say yes – but I’m fairly certain that you know at least one couple that has you scratching your head…either their personalities are a total mismatch (he’s super personable and fun, and she’s an absolute bitch with only ugliness in her heart, or he’s mighty handsome and a nice guy while she is unattractive both inside and out). It just boggles the mind.

Do you ever wonder what it is about you that others find attractive? I absolutely do – I rarely feel like anyone truly knows me and is actually qualified to be attracted to me, so I wonder what it is that they think they see. I know that I’m not much to look at, but I think (hope) that my personality kinda sorta makes up for it (kinda). I think that my mind is by far my best quality – but most people don’t take the time to appreciate my brain. The truth is that most men seem to be afraid of chicks with brains, which is completely and utterly dumb. I remember going out with a guy years ago who asked me once to keep my crazy competitiveness under wraps at a pub trivia with his coworkers because he didn’t want to beat his boss’s team, plus he didn’t want his coworkers to mock him for being on a team with a smarty-pants and mooching off my brains. I was so pissed – first, what a dumb thing to say…and, secondly, anybody who knows even a wee bit about me knows that I take trivia very seriously….and I do not lose. What a jackass. I wonder where he is now? Probably miserable. Hope so. ;-)

My point with this little stroll down memory lane is that if the dude from that story knew me even a teensy bit, he’d have known better than to insult me like that. This is the kind of nonsense that makes me say that I feel so few people know me at all – on the one hand, that’s probably really sad, but…maybe, on the other hand, it’s not so bad. While I find it scary as hell when people see inside of me and actually get me, it also generally means that they have made the effort, and that they get it…and that is awesome. Too bad more people don’t – it’s a liberating feeling, don’t you think? :-)

So…back to my original question: what do you find attractive in others? For me, I’m drawn in by someone smart, with an excellent sense of humor. I like those that are ambitious, who constantly seek to better themselves and the world around them, and have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. I’m not into lazy people (ick), nor do I like those that are unkind. How about you, friends? What makes your heart go pitter-patter?

I came across a great article today entitled “15 Ways to be Irresistibly Attractive” – I would like to be irresistible,wouldn’t you???! Here’s what the article had to say:

Be true to your values.  Be honest.  Do your best.  Do things that bring you closer to your dreams.  Take care of yourself, your family, and your friends.  Treat people with respect.  Be the person that makes others feel special.  Be known for your kindness and honesty.

In other words, invest love into your life.  Because when you love life, life will love you back.  And there’s no attraction greater than love.  People will notice the goodness surrounding you, and they will be naturally attracted to you.

  1. Do the right thing. – Never be afraid to do what you know in your heart is right, especially if the well being of another person’s feelings is at stake. There is no punishment in the world more severe than the wounds we inflict on our soul when we do what we know is wrong.
  2. Stop the gossip and superficial judgments. – Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds gossip about people.  Life is much too short to be lived talking about people, gossiping, and stirring up trouble that has no substance.  If you don’t understand someone, ask questions.  If you don’t agree with them, tell them.  But don’t judge them behind their back to everyone else. 
  3. Lift others up. – If you want to lift yourself up, lift someone else up.  To be happy and free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the happiness and freedom of others.  When you put faith, hope, and love together, you can nurture positive ideas, relationships, and dreams in a negative world.
  4. Give words of encouragement to those in need. – A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.  We all hit a time when we lose hope and need someone to put their arms around us and say, “I’ve got you right now.  You are not facing this alone.”  Be that person when you can.
  5. Be positive.Think positively; speak properly; apologize rapidly; forgive quickly.  Evolve your being and inspire yourself and others.  Say it out loud, “I am sorry negativity, I have no time for you.  I have far too many positive things to do.”
  6. Embrace your uniqueness. – If you don’t embrace your uniqueness, you will spend your entire life striving to conform to the impossibility of being someone else.  By celebrating what makes you different, rather than wasting time trying to be the same, you will discover your unique gifts that nobody else in the world has.
  7. Do things for fun and passion. – When you stop doing things for fun and passion, you stop living and you start merely existing.  If you truly want to change your life, you must first change your mind and your actions.  Once you are ready to truly devote your time and energy to what calls to your soul, you will find your life unimaginably enriched. 
  8. Be gentle. – When you least expect it, something great will come along – something better than you ever planned for.  Mother Nature opens millions of flowers every day without forcing the buds.  Let this be a reminder not to force anything, but to simply give beautiful things enough love and an opportunity to grow naturally.
  9. Drop the need to always be right. – Someone else doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right.  There are many roads to what’s right.  You cannot judge others by your own past.  They are living a different life than you.  Express your opinions freely and politely, remembering that if your purpose is to ridicule or prove others are wrong, it will only bring bitterness into the world.  Respecting the opinion of others, without judging, always carries more weight than simply being right.
  10. Be loyal.  Be honest. – You can’t promise to love someone for the rest of their life, but you can sincerely love them for the rest of yours.  When it comes to relationships, remaining faithful is never an option, but a priority.  Loyalty and honest affection mean everything.
  11. Be flexible and keep an open mind. – What looks like an obstacle or road block is oftentimes just life steering you in a better direction.  Be flexible and keep an open mind to all the changes that are forcing you to grow, and helping you better align yourself with your vibration and purpose.
  12. Believe in yourself and all that you are. – Know in your heart that there is strength inside you that is greater than the challenges you face.  No one can do it for you – you have to choose to use your wings.
  13. Believe in your dreams. – Who you hope to be someday is already a big part of who you are now.  Your dreams are real.  They do not exist in the past; they live in the present, and when you stay committed to doing what needs to be done, you carry them closer to reality as you walk through the gates of tomorrow.
  14. Walk the talk. – You can make whatever you want out of your life, but first you have to not be afraid to try.  We all have to start with ourselves.  It is time to walk the talk.  Take the journey of making the difficult decisions and taking action.  Start removing things from your life that are taking away your happiness, and start adding things that bring joy in to your life. 
  15. Embrace the possibilities of tomorrow. – Don’t let your past dictate who you are, but let it be part of who you will become.  No regrets.  No looking back.  Just hold onto life and move forward.  We have no way of knowing what lies ahead, but that’s what makes the journey even more exciting – that’s what makes life worth living.

Isn’t this an AMAZING list? I know – LOOOOOVE!!! I think there are some really fantastic points on this list – and things that I really, truly believe with all my heart. Let’s see how we can apply some of these ideas and practices to our lives, shall we? Just imagine how bloody attractive we’ll all be!!!! ;)

 

Hubba hubba!!!! :)

xxx