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Stuff I Know… 10 Tips for Living Your Best Life!

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Stuff I Know………..

I’m the Queen of Damn Near Everything, and that means I MUST know some stuff.  I have some things I’m pretty damned good at, some things I’m not so good at, and some things I frankly suck at.  (Singing would be one of the things I suck at, and that REALLY makes me mad. If I could only carry a tune, I’d be an AMAZING singer.  I have no doubt about it! I’m frankly amazed that I wasn’t given a fabulous singing voice!  You all would be able to enjoy listening to me any time you wanted! I wouldn’t be one of those assholes who have a great voice, who don’t want to sing in front of others!  Hell NO!  I’d share anywhere, and everywhere, so help me God!)

That being said, I decided I’d make a little list of stuff that I know- just 10 of them for now. If  you don’t yet know these things- you should.  Trust me. This is shit to live your life by!  You do it, and who knows, you might just end of the Queen of Kinda-Sorta Damn Near Everything!

So here goes:

  1. Dress in what makes you comfortable.  I seldom wear pants or slacks.  I’m just more comfortable in a dress, and that’s what I choose to wear.  People often say, “You are overdressed.”  “What are you so dressed up for?” Do I give a shit if that’s what they think? (I’m often thinking, “Geez, could you put a little effort in to your outfit?”—- But do I say that?  No.  I’m comfortable in my choice. I have to assume they are comfortable in theirs. When I’m having a party and people ask,”What should we wear?, I tell them, “Look, I won’t tell you what to wear, and you don’t tell me what to wear.”  I don’t really care what they wear.  If they want to wear shorts, wear shorts. If they want to wear an evening gown, a cape and a tiara…….. great…… just don’t compete with mine!  Again……. Dress in what makes you comfortable, and don’t let anyone make you feel like it’s not right.  You are a grown ass adult.  You can wear what you want. Screw ’em if they don’t like it!

    In Tuscon a few weeks ago we stopped for lunch at a place called HiFalutin- because where else would the Queen of Damn Near Everything eat lunch? (Too bad my necklace was flipped over! It’s got my Queen of Damn Near Everything saying on it! It was made for me by a lady in England.  You’d love it if you could just see it!) BTW- Speaking of not caring what people think…….. I keep my tiara close at hand for photos. Do I give a shit what people think when I am sporting it for a picture? HELL NO!

2. Do more of what makes you happy.  When I was going through my last divorce…… (don’t ask what number it is,   because  when you find out it’s #3 you will judge me) I decided that I was going to improve my life DRAMATICALLY.  I had been working too hard, having too little fun and had WAY too little money. So, I made a list of what I wanted in my life, and what I didn’t want.  That was the beginning of me “Living a Royal Life.”  It didn’t happen overnight, but bit by bit, day by day my life changed. It changed because I focused on Doing more of what makes me happy!  And, I’m about as happy as a person can fucking be! It works! Trust me, if you make the decision to do it, you can make it happen.  No one else can do it for you! (Travel. I believe there is no better money spent than in traveling. Traveling and exploring are right at the tip-top of my “happiness list.” There is no added charge for this bonus tip………)

Abuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Don & I at the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque a few weeks ago. It was a bit brisk, and I had every layer I had brought with me on……..AND, we had to get up at 3:30 AM to get there in time,  but it was WELL worth it!  What a sight to see all of the balloons there! One more item checked off the “bucket list!” One more GREAT adventure under our belts!

3.  In everything, moderation.  Anything, to excess is not healthy.  I’ve seen people who won’t eat anything processed, any sugar, any this, any that.  And they look like they just got out of a prison war camp and they are ready to die any moment. They don’t look healthy, they don’t act happy, they don’t look quite right.  They have “gone healthy” to excess and it doesn’t look good on them.  MODERATION PEOPLE!  With anything in life, don’t go too extreme one way or the other.  Religion, politics, booze, drugs, parenting…….. You’ve got to relax a bit and not let things go too extreme, no matter what you are dealing with.  Moderation.

The best example of this I know is my friend Stella. Stella is the most beautiful 73 year old you will ever know.  She’s got a great, slim figure. (For God’s sake, for our 70’s party last summer she wore a bright orange, green and yellow plaid suit she MADE in the 70’s and it fit her like she bought it yesterday! Who the hell can do that?)  Stella is a vegetarian and eats very healthy. Yet, she is NEVER that person who expects something special to be made or served for her.  You would probably never even KNOW she’s a vegetarian, because she doesn’t go spewing it to everyone, every minute.  AND, when she’s been at my dinner parties, she will try one of the ribs, or a bit of the meat lasagna.  Stella’s theory is that she eats the right way about 85% of the time, and when she’s out or at a party she splurges a bit.  This is a great example of “in everything, moderation.”  She looks great. She feels great. And she has the ability to have fun and enjoy life, without making herself, or anyone around her miserable!

This is Stella and me at my blog launch ust over a year ago. She is such a beauty!

4. Find a Tribe.  What do we mean by a “tribe?”  Your tribe is a group of people you consider your friends, and who have your back.  As women, especially, you need a group of people you can count on.  Women get so wrapped up in taking care of their family, home, business, etc. that many forget to take care of themselves.  It is SO important to get out, have some fun, act silly and laugh.  You also need to know that there are people who are there to see you through life’s challenges.  If you don’t have a “tribe” you need to grow one and propagate one.  They will make your life EVER so much better!

5. Find time to play.  Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of being so busy with life, so busy with making a living, so busy raising your family, so busy taking care of your house and so busy taking care of others that you don’t have fun.  Without fun in your life you can’t do all the previously mentioned “jobs” nearly as well. Remember the old saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?”  There is more truth to that than not.  Don’t know where to begin?  Figure out a movie you’d like to see, decide a time you are going to see it, and if you can rally someone to go with, take them along.  If not…. go alone and sit for 2 hours doing something for you……….. Then build on it from there.  (Hint:  Not sure who to get to go along with you?  If you are on Facebook, try a post- “I’m going on Monday at 7 to see  Blah, blah, blah movie.  Anyone else want to go?”  You’ll probably be amazed how many other people would love to jump in and make it a party! AND be SO happy you thought of it!)

Bisbee Arizona

On our recent Southwestern Adventure we stopped in Bisbee Arizona for a night. This was on one of their buildings. We love to take time to play!

6. Realize that 90% of what you worry about never happens.   Stop laying in bed worrying and playing the “what if” game.  What if…. I lose my job…. What if my husband leaves me…….. What if we can’t pay the mortgage……. What if my kids don’t turn out right…. What if, what if, what if, what if.  Well, I’ve been there when there has been no money.  I’ve been there when “the worst” has happened. I’ve been there when someone I love died. I’ve been there when I had to get a divorce, didn’t have a cent to my name, had terrible credit, had to figure out how to move out, had to worry about if I’d have the next month’s rent, had to worry about how to pay the next car payment.  But guess what? Worrying about it didn’t help. And a LOT of the things I used to worry about never came to pass. As soon as I decided to stop worrying about them, and living my life in a positive way, things turned around.  How did I stop laying awake worrying?  I decided to create positive plans, which fill my mind and give me something to be excited about. An example, when I had finally just moved out from my ex,  had a place and still wasn’t sure what to do for money, I started planning fun things with girlfriends.  I couldn’t buy new clothing, so I started having “clothing swaps” where girlfriends brought all their unworn clothes, shoes and accessories.  They also brought their own booze and some food to share.  A free party to put on. I ended up with new clothes, which made me feel better immediately and everyone had fun.  My mind would then fill with the details of who was coming, how I was going to lay it out, etc. and no time for me to lay awake worrying…………When you fill your mind with fun details about things that excite you in life, there is no time for the worries to creep in!

Day of the Dead display

Since Halloween is just days away….. we saw a great “Day of the Dead” display when we were out in Old Town, SD last night. It’s a good reminder to us that TOMORROW IS NOT PROMISED my friends!

7. Live in gratitude.   Realize that no matter WHERE you are in this life journey, you have SO much to be grateful for.  In the United States, even the worst of us live better than many around the world.  When we went to West Africa a few months back, we saw village, after village, after village of people who existed in 10 x 12 shacks, with no bathrooms, no showers, no furniture.  Yet they were smiling and happy.  I don’t know of anyone living in situations any worse than I saw there. While your life may not be perfect right now, think about what you DO have. When you focus on the positive, you will attract more positive into your life.  When I complain, I try to stop and remind myself, “These are champagne problems.”  Many of our problems are just that.  Be thankful for a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and sunshine you can enjoy!  The roof doesn’t need to be a mansion, the clothes don’t have to be Gucci and the sunshine doesn’t need to be on a beach in Tahiti! You still can be in gratitude for what you have!

 

8. Don’t save things “for a special occasion.”  We’ve all seen those people. The ones that die and the pretty candles have gone unburned. The “special” china was never used. The prettiest dress in their closet, unworn. The silver carefully polished, but not ever used.  WHY? What are they waiting for?  “A special occasion.” WHAT special occasion? Tomorrow is not promised my friends.  EVERY day is special. EVERY day can be a party.  I have a sweet friend who asked me if I might want to have her mom’s “special china.”  It is the white china with a gold rim.  I have, somehow, with 3 marriages and about 1,000 parties under my belt, never gotten around to buying “good china.” I jumped at the chance.  She brought it to me and showed me that the box had been sent over from Japan when her mother, Japanese, married her father in the war. THE BOXES HAD NEVER BEEN OPENED since then! Don’t you wonder what occasion mom was waiting for to use the china?  Why did she want to give it to me? Because she knows, I USE the “special stuff” all the time!  A few years back, I was putting my silver flatware away after a party, and suddenly thought, “why am I only using this for parties?  What am I saving it for?” I had 4 sets of beautiful silver flatware.  My kids are never going to want it!  If I wear out one set, I can start to use the others! So I took my stainless flatware out of the drawer, and put in the silver.  Friends are constantly amazed when they see me load it in the dishwasher.  “You can’t do that! Silver can’t be put in the dishwasher!”  REALLY?  I’ve been putting mine in daily for about 5 years and I don’t see any problem. AND, I’ve never had to polish it since I use it daily. (I”m willing to bet that my silver flatware is happier than YOUR silver flatware, because it gets to be used EVERY DAY!) I just picked up a St. John knit that still had the new tags on it at a resale shop. I can’t help but wonder……. who the hell pays over $2,000 for an outfit, then never wears it?  Were they waiting for “the right occasion”- then died before that occasion happened?  Hell, I scooped it up, and wore it to volunteer usher! Going to see a play FREE is a special occasion in my book!  People, tomorrow may not happen.  Unpack that china.  Fucking USE it for every day! (Except if it has the metallic rim, you can’t microwave on that stuff!) Get out that beautiful dress and wear it to the next party you are invited to. Don’t have a party to go to? Throw one then!  Don’t have money to throw a party?  Make it a potluck.  (And use the damned china for the potluck!) Don’t you deserve a “special occasion” every day? I know I do!

Check out this great video!

 

9.  People are going to talk about you.  Yep, some are! That’s just the way it works.  Who gives a flying fuck? They may say you are stuck up, or fat, or this, or that.  WHO CARES?  If you are too perfect,they will talk.  If you make too much money, they will talk.  If you are in perfect shape, they will talk. If you put on a pound, they will talk.  If you find the perfect man, they will talk.  If your business fails, they will talk. On and on and on. The haters are gonna’ hate. BECAUSE THAT’S WHO THEY ARE! I find that in many cases, the reason they are talking is because their life is NOTHING to crow about!  If they don’t feel good about themselves, they sure as hell aren’t going to feel good about you.  This bullshit has nothing to do with you girlfriend!  Even IF they dig up some dirt about you, and spread it around, so what? So what? Hold your head up, go about your business, and LIVE A ROYAL LIFE!  You are the only one responsible for your life.  Just live it and forget the haters.  Let them wallow in the mud of their ugly little lives.  Keep calm and wear your tiara!

10. When someone compliments you, accept the compliment. For the love of Jesus, when somebody gives you a compliment, can you PLEASE just say thank you?  Please don’t tell them how old the garment is, or how awful you really look, or how fat you are.  Just say, “Thank you!”  If you want, add, “Aren’t you kind?” or “Aren’t you sweet!”  But STOP refusing the compliment!  Oh my goodness! Daily I compliment people, and the reactions I get from them amaze me.  You get these skeptical frowns, as if saying, “Why did she REALLY say that?”  Women go on and on about how old the garment is, how they really don’t look good, blah, blah, blah……… SHUT UP ALREADY!  Take the compliment, soak it in, realize it was meant to be nice, and move on. And by the way…. stop being a bitch and when you see another woman who looks great, or has well mannered children, or has achieved something in business, or her hair looks great, or  did a great job serving you, or has a beautiful smile or complexion…..take a minute and give her a genuine compliment. You just may make her day or week!  You never know how far that compliment may go to help another sister’s self confidence! And you might be amazed how it actually boost YOU too!

There are so many simple things you can do to “Live a Royal Life.” This is not even the tip of the iceberg!

Remember, Stay Calm and Wear Your Tiara!

 

 

What the Heck is a Date-Daytion?

Adventures With Attitude!, Day-Dation Ideas!, Every Day is an Adventure, Everyday Magic!, Fabulous After 50, Family Time, Living a Royal Life, My Humble Opinion, Out and About, Sexy After 60!, Travel and Adventure

Day-Dations.  What are they?

You’ve heard of “stay-cations” right?  Of course you have.  It’s a vacation where you stay home, or at least stay near home for a little “relaxation.” Therefore – it becomes a stay-cation.  My man and I not only take as many darned VACATIONS as possible, and we also take an occasional stay-cation.  One of our fun little relationship secrets, however, are our “date-daytions.” (I’m thinking of copywriting this word, cause it’s a good one!) -day long dates where we explore, reconnect and have a fabulous adventure. (Check out a suggested list of Day-daytion ideas below!) By taking the time to connect I feel like not only are we doing fun things together but also growing our relationship. I am truly “Living a Royal Life.”  The kind of rich life I wish for all my friends.

If you are in a relationship, I highly recommend making sure to take the time to do these little “getaways.”  I know with the busy schedules we all have it can be hard to do, and  finances can be tight.  But in our area of Southern California there are SO many things you can do for FREE!  Be innovative, be creative!  (If you live somewhere other than Southern California I’m sure that your area has a lot of freebies there too, if you just take time to check them out!)

If you aren’t in a relationship———- don’t use that as an excuse to stop reading!  You are going to find some great ideas you can do with a friend, your family members, your kids……… WHATEVER!  I am full of it……. I mean them. Good ideas!  Keep reading.  You’ll see!

Staying Connected…

Carving out the time is UBER important if you want to stay connected. That’s just my humble opinion.  Not that I’m a relationship expert. My marriage track-record might prove that….  On the other hand, Barbara DeAngelis, who is supposed to be a “relationship expert”  and has written 15 books on relationships, has been married at least 4 times! She’s got me beat!  (Maybe I AM a realtionship expert, who knows?)  Take my advice for what you will.  What I will say is that my man and I have an amazing time together! we love to explore and we look forward to every adventure we have!

Back to date-daytions…….We try to do one almost weekly.  We had a FABULOUS one recently! (But then, they are all fabulous, because we love our little adventures!)  My daughter and her love were going out of town and had to fly out of LAX. We got up WAY before the crack of dawn, because if you’ve driven from North San Diego County to Los Angeles, you know you have NO IDEA how long the drive could take. Especially when you need to be at the airport at 9:30 in the morning. Better early than a missed flight, so we were on the road at 5:45 AM.  Lucky for us, we got up to the vicinity of the airport with more than enough time to spare, and had time to have breakfast together before they departed. Kind of a bit of “bonus” family time!

We had already decided we would go to the Getty Villa and explore while we were up there, but as we got near it, we realized we were both EXHAUSTED, and it was only mid-morning……. so we made the decision to get massages before we hit the museum.  I checked Yelp. found a few places nearby, and we were lucky enough that one about 10 minutes away- with great 4 star ratings had openings for both of us for 90 minute massages, and off we went.  Did we ever LUCK OUT!  We weren’t disappointed either! The place was clean and attractive and my massage was absolutely WONDERFUL! My masseuse was Dina- and she was fabulous!  (Don wasn’t quite as thrilled with his masseuse.) Just in case you are in Santa Monica and want to check it out- It is The Massage Place at 625 Montana Ave.

Taste Lived Up to Its Name!

After the massages we walked around the area for a bit then, this time, Don checked Open Table for a restaurant in the area. We found one called Taste in Pacific Palisades. At first, when we pulled in, I was momentarily disappointed.  It is located in a sort of a strip mall— which wasn’t what I had expected.   We parked, and went into the restaurant, which is actually very trendy and fun inside, but we chose to eat on their outside patio.  We shared a Chopped Sabrosa salad, and it was absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS! (I have to admit- I tried to recreate it at home, but couldn’t begin to match its DELICIOUSNESS!)

A few stores over from Taste was a dress shop with the cutest dress in the window….. so what’s a girl to do but go in and give it a try? The owner of the shop was charming and helpful, and a few minutes later I walked out with a new white summer frock.

“Getty-Up” to the Getty!

That about says it all. Look how beautiful even the entrance to this museum is!

That about says it all. Look how beautiful even the entrance to this museum is!

Then on to the Getty Villa.  Neither of us had ever been to either of the Getty Museums, so this was fun. And- BTW- the Villa is ABSOLUTELY FREE to get in to. They do ask that you go on line to get a reservation, because they limit the number of people who are there at one time. Luckily for us, as we didn’t know this little detail and since it was a slow day and they let us in.

I'm at it again, mimicking one of the sculptures. Some people's kids.......

I’m at it again, mimicking one of the sculptures. Some people’s kids……. Are we the only whack-jobs who mimic the sculptures?

For those who don’t know the difference, J. Paul Getty built the Villa before his death to house his personal collections.  It is designed after an ancient Roman country house called The Villa Dei Papiri.  It was opened in 1974, a few years before his death, but he never actually visited the Villa once it was completed. There are beautiful fountains and pools, mosaic floors, and amazing architecture.  Just the building alone would make a worthwhile visit.

The fountains and ponds throughout the grounds are absolutely beautiful at The Getty Villa. No expense was spared when designing the whole campus.

The fountains and ponds throughout the grounds are absolutely beautiful at The Getty Villa. No expense was spared when designing the whole campus.

Easy to see who they sculpted this piece after......... :)

Easy to see who they sculpted this piece after……… 🙂

One of the items in the collection was a real surprise to me.  If you remember the book and subsequent movie “The Girl With The Pearl Earring,” the sculpture you see on the cover of the book is at the Getty Villa.  Not only did I not expect to see it there, but I was astonished at its size.  The whole sculpture is only about an inch or inch and a half tall! I assumed it would be the size of an average head.  Not something you could put in Malibu Barbie’s house!

(Side note: We since have also gone to the Getty Museum, and enjoyed it just as much. However, you would need a number of days to do it justice.  Plus, they have constantly changing “temporary” exhibits, so you will never be finished!)

 

Small sculpture of The Girl With the Pearl Earring

You probably recognize this sculpture from the book, and subsequent movie, The Girl with the Perl Earring. What you might not realize is that this sculpture is only about 1 inch tall!

After spending a few hours at the Villa, we spoke to the guards as we were pulling out and asked what we should see nearby.  One suggested we go just a bit North and stop at Moon Shadows for a drink.  If you haven’t heard of Moon Shadows, you have certainly heard ABOUT it.  It’s the bar that Mel Gibson was in when he imbibed a bit too much, got pulled over and received his DUI. Then he unwisely decided to call the officer a number of anti-semitic names…….. and the rest is history.  Moon Shadows is one of those places that probably has been living on its infamy for a bit too long.  The inside of it is pretty tired.  But the view is one no one could tire of! They have a narrow porch that literally hangs over the water, and we had a drink and appetizer, and enjoyed the water view and a funny sea-gull who was looking to find a snack left by a careless tourist.

Sitting over the water at MoonShadows enjoying a martini.

Sitting over the water at MoonShadows enjoying a martini.

From Malibu we drove south along the coast, enjoying the scenery, the people, and the buildings.  We ended up in Redondo Beach at The Chart House in time for the sunset.  As is typical in California, the sunset was beautiful, although we didn’t get to experience a “green flash!”

Then reality set in and we had to run a few errands on our way home. I was having an event at our house the next day and I didn’t want to have to fit in running out again, so Home Depot and Trader Joe’s wrapped up our Day-dation! We even have fun doing the mundane together.

Finally, after leaving the house before the sun completely rose, we pulled into the driveway at just about the stroke of midnight…. with a fabulous Day-dation under our belts!

This is a pretty view of some of the gardens at the Getty Villa. Whats strange is that the whole floor is beautiful mosaic, but the only part that shows in this photo is in the shadow of the pillar, like Im on a little "magic carpet!"

This is a pretty view of some of the gardens at the Getty Villa. Whats strange is that the whole floor is beautiful mosaic, but the only part that shows in this photo is in the shadow of the pillar, like Im on a little “magic carpet!”

Day-Dation Ideas:

Trying to think up a few fun little dates but not feeling particularly creative?  Here is a list of fun things we have done on some of our Day-dations which could spark your creativity.  Look for words that are dark blue  and underlined below. They are live links for you to find out info about my getaway ideas.  (I can’t do much more for you than this people, other than take your sweetie on a date myself, and/or pay for your date.  Neither of which are going to happen, BTW!)

Just to let you know, the places I recommend are TOTALLY and completely only because I have gone there, done that, and enjoyed it!  No one has paid for me to go (well, other than my man), or to review them.

Newport Beach Getaway: We drove up to Newport Beach, explored a bit, took the ferry to Balboa Island. On Balboa Island we had lunch, walked around, and found an old arcade with the fortune telling machine which, of course, we had to do! You can kill a whole day just riding around, looking at the scenery, walking through Balboa, and more. Sherman Gardens is a fabulous little garden that is tucked away right off of Pacific Coast Highway.  We went there and had a fabulous time enjoying the gardens! There are also whale watching tours, gondola rides, amazing restaurants, beautiful beaches and more!

Segway Tours: This was a surprise Don did for me- he got Segway Tour tickets off of Groupon or Living Social. We then did a tour of LaJolla on the Segways.  No one else showed up that day, so it was just Don, me and the tour guide! The Segways are really easy to navigate, and SO much fun!  We had an awesome time zipping about, then we finished with dinner in La Jolla! A romantic mid-priced date. Could be done less expensively by bringing a picnic dinner and sitting at the cove enjoying the sunset. The surprise made it even more fun for me! Segway tours are also offered in downtown San Diego, Coronado, Mission Bay, Gaslamp, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and more. What makes them even more fun is that the guides show you little alleyways and paths you would never even know existed if they hadn’t taken you through them!   (Be sure to check out one of the discount sites and you can save up to 50%!)

Boating:  In San Diego alone you can go down to the harbor and enjoy a 1 or 2 hour “bay excursion” which gives you a fabulous and relaxing tour of San Diego Harbor. The 1-hour tour runs about $25.00; two hours is just $30.00. What a great afternoon!  Looking for something a bit more WILD? Check out The Patriot- which is a high speed boat ride that lasts about 1/2 hour. They take you around San Diego Harbor at what seem like death defying speeds, and rockets you in circles!  We went on it just last week, and it was a riot!  $25.00! Come on!  Not only that, but you might just find discounts on either Groupon or Living Social if you try! That’s AMAZING! There are similar things available throughout Southern California.

From a different area?  In the mid-west there are lakes that offer boat rides. Chicago has architectural cruises and sightseeing boats…….. nearly anywhere near water has a multitude of fun, and fairly inexpensive boating options!

Electric Scooters: The new thing around the “tourist areas” in Southern California are the electric scooters. The app’s are free, then the scooters cost $1.00 to start and about 15 cents per minute. They are an absolute BLAST and a great way to get around the city quickly from place to place without having to “re-park” your car! I think there are currently 3 different companies with the scooters in San Diego.We have also seen them in Santa Monica recently. A few weekends ago we scooted from the harbor area of San Diego, through the Gaslamp, up to Little Italy and back in a really short time!  And there are so many available everywhere you go, that when you want to jump off and get a bite to eat, or explore, you can do it and just find another to pop back on when you need it!

The electric scooters are SO much fun to bomb around on!

The electric scooters are SO much fun to bomb around on!

Foot Massages: Another surprise from Don- when we were first dating he asked when I could block 2 hours out of my day, and he surprised me by taking me to a one hour foot massage at a spa near us. They are surprisingly inexpensive and they put you side-by-side in a huge and cozy lounge chair where you get to hold hands with your sweetie and be pampered with your feet, shoulders, arms and necks being massaged! Most of the foot massage places are run by Asians, and they are very reasonably priced. Give it a try!

Play and a picnic.  About 30 minutes from us is an outdoor theater, The Moonlight Theater, where they put on great productions.  Tickets for this theater are surprisingly inexpensive. They have an unusual seating arrangement.  You can either choose a regular seat, or, in between the rows of seats, are a grassy area (no artificial grass) which is about 6 feet wide.  You can reserve a place on the grass, and have a picnic dinner before the play! They provide the low chairs, you just bring your picnic basket and enjoy a romantic time together.  It is less expensive than dinner at a nice restaurant! We have enjoyed it so much that this year we got 4 season tickets, and we try and invite a new couple along each play. Usually  people we don’t know well and would like to know better.  It’s a great way to build some “couple” friendships!

Hearst Castle:  OK, this is more than just a day-dation from where we live, however, I’m throwing this out there.  A few months ago, Don purchased a new car, and the one he wanted happened to be located up in Fremont.  Rather than pay $700. to have it transported down here, we flew up, and spent a few days driving it back home.  We stopped and toured Hearst Castle for 2 days, and had an AMAZING time. We also wrapped a night in Carmel-by-the-Sea into the trip. We stayed at a really darling little place called The Carriage House Inn, and had a darling and romantic room with a fireplace. Three days away felt like a REAL vacation! So, in actuality, this was more like a 3-day-dation…….. which probably falls between a Day-dation and a Vacation……..

Don and Me at Hearst Castle. We ended up touring it for over 2 days, we enjoyed it so much!

Don and Me at Hearst Castle. We ended up touring it for over 2 days, we enjoyed it so much!

Tourist in Your Town:  You know all the things the tourist do when they come to your city?  Chances are, you live RIGHT THERE and have never done them!  We have done “tourist days” more than once right here in San Diego.  One day we  drove to  downtown San Diego, went on the “Seal Tour” — you know them, the boats that go both on land and in the water, (and made unfortunate news recently when one capsized, killing some passengers.)  The tour was fun (and no, we didn’t capsize).  BTW- If you tell them at the Seal Tour desk (which is located at Seaport Village) you are a local, AND show your ID, you will get a BOGO!  (With the money you save on THAT little tip, feel free to take me to lunch!) We walked around Seaport Village, visited some galleries and had a great dinner downtown.  I’ll admit, I think we may have based the whole day around a massage deal I got off of Living Social….. It turned into a fabulous “day-dation” early in the day through the whole evening.

If you are from a different city, say the Chicago area…. what about one of the Architectural Cruises on the river (they are FABULOUS), or time in one of the fabulous museums such as the Art Institute, Field Museum or Museum of Science and Industry? Walking tours are offered and there is a display at the Watertower. There are always dozens of plays you could go to, or listen to music at Kingston Mines.  A stroll down Michigan Avenue can take all day between the flowerbeds, store fronts, and more!

Every city has a lot to explore. Most cities have “city tours” where you might learn about things you didn’t know existed, right up the street! Go to the places you send the tourists when they come to visit. You might be glad you did!

Ride Bikes around Mission Bay:  Take your own bike, or rent one— and ride about Mission Bay.  It is so much fun, and you’d be hard pressed to cover the distance in just one day!  There is so much to see, and so many places you can stop for a bite to eat, or a drink!  The people watching is fun too!  If riding a bike a distance is too much for you, I suggest trying one of the electric bikes. They can do some, or ALL of the work for you!  Check out Surf Monkey Bikes at 853 Grand Ave. SD- and Kalin will hook you up with a beach cruiser, a mountain bike, a tandem bike or an electric bike.  We recently took 14 family members who were in town for my grand-nephew’s graduation from Marine Boot Camp, and Kalin hooked us up with a sweet military discount!

Julian: For those of you from the San Diego area, Julian is just a short, and beautiful car ride away.  And the GREAT thing about Julian?  It has true SEASONS!  Go in the fall to see the change of leaves.  In the fall there are typically great craft fairs at their little community center, with fun, seasonally inspired decor. During the winter you can go to Julian to see and play in the snow, find more great holiday crafts, and find Christmas gifts.  Spring……… MY FAVORITE!  I try to go to Julian in the spring and see the LILACS in bloom!  Lilacs are one of the things I miss the most from living in the Midwest, and I love to see the plants, smell the blossoms and bring a few home!  Summer is lovely in Julian.  Strolling the old fashioned streets is always great fun. The many gift stores are fun to peruse.  One thing I have wanted to do in Julian, but haven’t yet gotten around to, is a tour of the old Gold Mine.  Doesn’t that sound fun?  If you want to make it more than just a day-dation, Julian has a number of fabulous B&B’s where you can stay and enjoy all the little former mining town has to offer!

Laguna Beach:  Laguna is where I first lived when I moved to Southern California almost 40 years ago, so it has a special place in my heart. There is enough to keep you busy any time of the year, between the beautiful beaches, dozens of varied art galleries and restaurants.  If you enjoy tide pools, Laguna Beach has my favorite tide pools to explore.  One of the things that Laguna is well known for is The Pageant of the Masters.  It is WELL worth going for. We visit it almost every year.  Explaining the Pageant of the Masters is difficult, and when you try, it sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry! But believe me, it hasn’t been going for 85 years because it is boring!  When you go up to see the Pageant, make sure to go up early enough to take in either the Art-A-Fair or the Sawdust Festival while you are there.  And a hint from one who knows- make sure when you are purchasing your tickets for the Pageant that you go DIRECTLY to their website.  There are some tricky websites that try to redirect you, and you will pay 4 or 5 times what you can get the tickets for directly through the Pageant!  I put it in my calendar, and go on right after the holidays to purchase my tickets for the next year.  This year we had 4th row seats! WELL worth planning for!

Up-the-Road-A-Piece:  I love to go an hour or two away and stay the night.  For us, that’s up to Orange County or LA area. There are SO many fabulous areas that you can get away to, explore, and feel like you’ve gone on a mini-vacay.  Think about it for those of you who are in Southern California.  A short jaunt takes you to Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Monica, Redondo Beach, LA, Venice Beach……… it goes on and on and on. And each one of those areas have SO many fun activities you can do, so much to explore!  Museums, art galleries, beaches, craft fairs, street fairs, food truck nights………….

Subscribe to San Diego Magazine:  You will find more fabulous things to do, more date ideas, more restaurant ideas and nearby getaway ideas than you could EVER implement!  I keep files for future day-dation ideas…….. just in case we ever run out of our own ideas! They actually just implemented an “insider’s club” which will give you a lot of perks, discounts and fun events!  You may want to check it out!

This list doesn’t even begin to cover the many amazing dates you can dream up with your sweetie, or fun ideas you can do with friends!  If you have something you have found that is fun- let me know and I’ll add it to a future blog!

 

 

Can You Say “Oh Wow” to Death?

Adventures With Attitude!, Every Day is an Adventure, Everyday Magic!, Health = Happiness!, Living a Royal Life, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, You Can't Make This Shit Up!
I saw this down at Liberty Station in San Diego. Love the saying, and feel that it is so true!

I saw this down at Liberty Station in San Diego. Love the saying, and feel that it is so true!

A Wise Quote

I was out for dinner with my good friend Stella a while back, and saw a quote (in a bathroom of all places) which was attributed to being Steve Jobs “last words” before he died.  It was a very poignant quote, and I thought it would make a good discussion for a blog post……

But, alas, just like the internet, not everything you read on the bathroom wall is true.  GO FIGURE!  When I searched for said quote, Steve Jobs last words were not this great quote I thought I’d comment on……

“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to. At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death. In the darkness, I look at the green lights from the life supporting machines and hear the humming mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of the god of death drawing closer.

…Now I know, when we have accumulated sufficient wealth to last our lifetime, we should pursue other matters that are unrelated to wealth. It should be something that is more important: Perhaps relationships, perhaps art, perhaps a dream from younger days. Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me. God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth. The wealth I have won in my life I cannot bring with me. What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love. That’s the true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on. Love can travel a thousand miles. Life has no limit. Go where you want to go. Reach the height you want to reach. It is all in your heart and in your hands.

What is the most expensive bed in the world? The Sick bed … You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear the sickness for you. Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost — Life. When a person goes into the operating room, he will realize that there is one book that he has yet to finish reading — Book of Healthy Life.

Whichever stage in life we are at right now, with time, we will face the day when the curtain comes down. Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends. Treat yourself well. Cherish others.”

There was a lot in that quote that makes you stop and think. Think about the importance of your life, and how you are living it. The quote I read (in the bathroom) was shorter, and a bit differently worded.  However, many of the thoughts were similar.

Steve Jobs had an interesting perspective on death after it knocked on his door the first time around.

Steve Jobs had an interesting perspective on death after it knocked on his door the first time around.

Oh Wow, Oh Wow, Oh Wow!

As previously mentioned though…… This is NOT what Steve Jobs said on his deathbed at all. What was actually said, and confirmed by those present was, Oh Wow, Oh Wow, Oh Wow! I guess that those words could be interpreted a number of different ways, depending on your beliefs.  But needless to say, they are not as deeply profound as the quote I read, or the one above.

Who said those things?  We don’t know. They came out a few years after Mr. Jobs died.

In trying to find the quote I had seen which impressed me, I came across a fantastic talk that Mr. Jobs gave at the commencement ceremony for Stanford in 2005, just 6 years before he died. Entitled “How to Live Before You Die”  , it’s worth the 15 minutes it takes to watch it. Jobs tells 3 small stories about his life, but the last is about living YOUR best life.  He tells about facing pancreatic cancer, thinking he only had a few months to live, and then finding out it was operable.  He shares how your life changes — immediately and profoundly, when you think it is about to be over.  I love SO many of his thoughts he shared during his talk.  Many of his words exemplify what I am trying to share with so many on this blog and in my talks. He doesn’t use the title “Living a Royal Life” as I do, but what he says is similar to what I say, feel and try to share. He says he asked himself every day, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”………. and that if the answer was “NO” too many days in a row, he knew he needed to change something.

Are you doing today what you would want to be doing if it were the last day of your life?  If not, how do you get to the place where you can say a resounding YES?

Well said, and so true! Life is a one time offer, use it well!

Well said, and so true! Life is a one time offer, use it well!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Another quote of his I love in this video is this- “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”  YES, YES, YES, YES!  So many of us are trying to please others, do what others think we should do. We copy what someone else’s idea of “success” is.  Many live their lives trying to please their family- only to find out they could never please their family no matter WHAT they do.  Be you. Do YOU.  No one else will do you as well as you.  You won’t do anyone else as well as they do either……..

If I could have one wish for those I know, love and cherish, it would be that they find the passion in their lives to live the life that pleases them. That they could have a “royal life.” That they could stop doing what they think they “should” and live THEIR best life.  Not my best life.  Not someone else’s best life- but the life that is THEIR best life.

Then…. upon our deathbeds, whatever age that might be, we would all go out with few regrets, and be able to say exactly what Steve Jobs said to his loved ones. “Oh wow, oh wow, oh WOW!

Do You See What I See?

Adventures With Attitude!, Every Day is an Adventure, Everyday Magic!, Living a Royal Life, My Humble Opinion, Out and About, Royal Ramblings!, Travel and Adventure, You Can't Make This Shit Up!
Am I the only person who sees not only a well defined crotch, but a waistline at the bottom of this tree?

Am I the only person who sees not only a well defined crotch, but a waistline at the bottom of this tree?

A Cabo Getaway

A few months ago, Don and I went down to Cabo for a little getaway.  We had really scored on an amazing condo through a fundraiser auction.  The place we were staying was part of the Pueblo Bonita Sunset Beach Resort, which includes three hotels, some private homes,  time shares and condos.  It’s a great place, because you can sign to your room or condo no matter what amenities or restaurants you are visiting.  It makes it so convenient! And between all the restaurants, pools, food court, shops and lounges, you won’t get bored!

Again, I see the sensual pose of a womans bent legs.

This tree had “2 sets” of people.  On the bottom portion I see the sensual pose of a womans bent legs. Then at the top left it also made me think of a torso with legs.  This is a “two-fer” tree!

Tree People

Funny thing is, as we were driving from our condo to the hotel, I noticed the trees that lined a lot of the streets.  All I could see when I looked at the trees, for some reason was what looked like people, turned upside down!  I know, I’m a strange and sick individual.  I will be the first to admit it.  But once I pointed it out, Don could see it too.  Some of our “vision” didn’t translate well in photos, but I think we got enough of them for you to get the gist of what we saw.

This tree looked to me like a set of legs on the left, facing one way, then the waist, crotch and legs of another person facing the other way.....

The “Menage-a-trois Tree” This tree looked to me like a set of legs on the left, facing one way, then the waist, crotch and legs of another person facing the other way and the spread legs of a third person on the right.  What can I say?  Kinky mind I guess!

 

This one looked to me like a torso, with the stomach, then butt, then bend of the knees......

This one looked to me like a torso, with the stomach, then butt, then bend of the knees……Like a woman in a long straight skirt.

Sad thing is, just like the “small world” song that sticks in your head for the next week after you hear it, now when you go down to Cabo and see these trees, YOU TOO will be picturing people standing on their heads, when you see these trees…… Honestly, I guarantee you will!

 

This tree makes me think of a basketball player from the back... you can see the shape of the back of the knees, the butt and the waistline...

This tree makes me think of a basketball player from the back… you can see the shape of the back of the knees, the butt and the waistline…and LONG, LONG legs!

Can you see this soccer player, leg up in the air after his kick- with the arm straight out?

Can you see this soccer player, leg up in the air after his kick- with the arm straight out?

 

This tree, once again reminded me of a womans torso, with her hands upstretched, her breast- with even the nipple showing, waist butt and legs.....

This tree, once again reminded me of a womans torso, with her hands upstretched, her breast- with even the nipple showing, waist butt and legs…..

 

 

Doesnt this one look like someone carved a stomach and belly button into this tree?

Doesn’t this one look like someone carved a stomach and belly button into this tree?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This made me think of uplifted arms holding torches....

This made me think of uplifted arms holding torches…. or laser sabers!

 

 

 

Finding interesting things in the everyday is kind of fun!  Take a look around, and you might be surprised at what you find! If you get down to Cabo and find some of these trees, let me know what interesting shapes you find!

 

 

 

 

Living a Royal Life, Part 3 of 3

Every Day is an Adventure, Living a Royal Life, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Travel and Adventure, Uncategorized
Living a Royal Life. What does that mean to you? for me it includes travel, lots of fun, delicious food and time with my man! My Royal Life may not be YOUR Royal Life! That's OK!

Living a Royal Life. What does that mean to you? for me it includes travel, lots of fun, delicious food and time with my man! My Royal Life may not be YOUR Royal Life! That’s OK!

Living a Royal Life

I have previously released 2 videos in this series. This is part 3 of 3.

Are you living you best life? If your life isn’t all that you want, and you feel like you are leading a mediocre life — what do you need to do to improve it?

This video gives you some moresteps to help you lead your best life.  You must first decide that you DESERVE to lead a “Royal Life.” No one else is going to give you the perfect life.  No one else can decide what your perfect life even IS!

If you want to improve your life, expand your tribe, add to your bucket list and make each day better than the last!

Here are your steps to you holding your head up high, wearing your tiara and learning that it doesn’t matter what other people think about you. Once you learn to “do you” and are comfortable in your skin, other people’s opinions don’t matter.

I hope you enjoy this video, and if you do —- share it with a friend who might also like to Live a Royal Life!

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to both my blog and my Youtube channel, so that you don’t miss any of the upcoming series and other fun and fabulous articles, events and adventures!

 

Not Just Another “Pretty Face”

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Mary Jane Wilkerson as Ms. Senior California 2017

Mary Jane Wilkerson as Ms. Senior California 2017

Age Has Nothing To Do With Beauty!

Why does our society push the theory that when women age they aren’t beautiful any longer? There are a group of amazing women who are proving that theory to be completely wrong! Mary Jane Wilkerson is one of those women.

When you first meet Mary Jane Wilkerson you will be greeted by a slender, attractive and poised 63 year old blonde, with a genuine smile that lights up a room. If you were told that  MJ has held the title of “beauty queen” more than once, you probably wouldn’t be too terribly surprised.

The part of the story that might surprise you a bit, is that her titles in the pageants  came in 2016 and 2017!  MJ was Ms. Senior San Diego 2016, Ms. Senior Palm Springs 2017, and Ms. Senior California of America 2017. As the title holder for Ms. Senior California, Mary Jane also competed in the National Ms. Senior America competition held in New Jersey, October 2017.

Meeting Another “Queen”

Our paths first crossed when we somehow connected through facebook a few short months ago. One of those “friend” connections that sometimes happen, because you have mutual friends, and a particular post catches your eye.  The one that caught my eye was MJ holding a coffee cup, which said “It’s Good to be Queen.” Well, needless to say, as The Queen of Damn Near Everything I NOTICE when there is other “royalty” present!

MJ definitely falls into the category of “royalty.”

This is the picture I saw on Facebook that drew my attention to MJ! I have the same cup in pink! I had to see what this "Queen" was all about!

This is the picture I saw on Facebook that drew my attention to MJ! I have the same cup in pink! I had to see what this “Queen” was all about! ( A girl has to know who else is rockin’ a tiara like MJ does!)

I wasn’t really very aware that “Ms. Senior” competitions existed until a few years ago. When I did hear about them, I told my cohort in crime……. Stella that she should compete! I’m of the personal opinion that there are few- if any- other 73 year olds who could begin to hold a candle to Stella.  That was about as far as my knowledge of the competitions went!

Then MJ crossed my path, and I wanted to know more.  I noticed on Mary Jane’s page that there was going to be the pageant for Ms. Senior California 2018. That would be MJ’s last event a reigning “queen,” so I asked when and where it was being held, and off I went.

All “Beauty Queens” Are Not Barbie Dolls!

Contestants in the “Ms. Senior” competitions must be 60 years or older.. The competition is FAR more than a “beauty contest”- as the contestants are judged on talent, an intensive interview with the judges and their poise on the stage. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the competition to see that the 2018 contestants weren’t all skinny-minny, perfect Barbie Doll types who had had numerous plastic surgery and botox procedures to form them into the perfect woman.  In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see women of different sizes, shapes, ethnic groups and styles! Gray hair wasn’t forbidden, nor were a few well earned laugh lines and “wisdom wrinkles!”

I was very impressed with the level of talent the women showed, although not really surprised.  When I arrived, I noticed a number of familiar faces, both on stage and in the crowd.  I had seen many of them perform over the past few years in CCT (Christian Community Theater) at the San Diego Senior Follies. Singing, dancing, performing and being on stage isn’t new to any of those women!

I must say, I am envious of their talents, because I can’t carry a tune if I had 6 buckets lined up to do so!

Those of you who know me, know I absolutely LOVE long gowns, sparkle and bling! There was no shortage of any of that at the Ms. Senior California pageant in San Diego!

Finding the venue was quite a challenge, let me tell you.  It was at The University of San Diego in one of the theaters, but finding that, once you were on campus just about took a group of Eagle Scouts or world explorers! There were no signs or anything to direct you to the right building.  Lucky for us, we had left plenty of time to figure out the details, so we were in our seats long before the event kicked off!

After the festivities of the pageant, I asked Mary Jane if we could meet one day soon for lunch, and if she would share some of her experiences with being a senior beauty pageant winner.  She was more than willing, so we decided to meet for a delicious lunch at Red O in the UTC area.

This is the day I met MJ. Unfortunately, it wasn't the best photo. MJ was back in the shadows and it looks like I"m with a cardboard cutout!

This is the day I met MJ. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best photo. MJ was back in the shadows and it looks like I”m with a cardboard cutout!

MJ Took Charge of Her Life & Health

Mary Jane, who is a health and wellness coach with OPTAVIA, shared with me her story of having lost almost 60 pounds a few years ago. Her husband, Allen, lost 40 at the same time.  MJ’s story wasn’t that different from many of ours.  After being very physically active for most of her life, MJ took a job in the mortgage industry.  Long work days sitting in front of a computer, along with the “grab and eat” lifestyle that goes along with those long work days resulted in a few pounds here, a few pounds there, until WHAM, suddenly that body doesn’t quite look like you want it too.  When MJ’s daughter was going to get married, she wanted to lose weight in the 6 months she had, but she didn’t seem able to trim down. So, she attended her daughter’s wedding an unhappy size 16.  MJ’s stepdaughter had suggested (many times) she get on the “Take Shape for Life” program (OPTAVIA’s  former name), but it was a while before she jumped on board, and found it to be the perfect solution to not only lose weight, but to get in the best shape she’d been in in years.  That is how Mary Jane became a Health and Wellness coach, wanting to share with others the success she had found in her journey.

So, now slim, trim and in fighting shape, MJ was one of the talented women in Christian Community Theater, entertaining audiences every year at the SD Senior follies.  Many of the women involved in CCT had also been contestants (and winners) of previous Ms. Senior competitions, and encouraged Mary Jane to compete, so finally she decided to give it a try. After all, as she said to me “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”

MJ at one of the pageants. (I'm so jealous of all the sparkley gowns!)

MJ at one of the pageants. (I’m so jealous of all the gorgeous gowns!)

Her first competition was Ms. Senior San Diego 2016. She competed in the State pageant that year and took First Runner-up. Then she competed again, this time in  in Ms. Senior Palm Springs 2017, where she won. And once more competed in the State pageant, where she was crowned, Ms. Senior California of America 2017.

When I asked MJ if there was any of the horrible cattiness and back-biting that you hear about in beauty pageants, she said no.  In fact, she described the all the pageant ladies as “Lovely”, especially at the National Senior America pageant as one of her favorite experiences ever.  She said that the women she met on the national level are what she would consider, “friends for life.”  Accomplished, friendly, beautiful and amazingly talented women. True “Women of Elegance” in her words.

This is a picture that was taken at the National Competition, where MJ met so many wonderful and amazing women!

This is a picture that was taken at the National Competition, where MJ met so many wonderful and amazing women!

MJ did say there was more work to all of it than you might imagine.  Needing to come up with new ideas for the opportunities to perform, and the pageant activities take time. When you win the pageants, there are appearances which have to be made at area events, TV interviews and travel. There is also a performing group the pageant contestants in California  become a part of called the Classic Divas, and they put on performances throughout the year.

Of course for me, the BIG attraction to becoming “Ms. Senior Anything”  would be the wearing of tiaras. I am all about wearing a nice tiara!  I truly believe that “every woman deserves a tiara” and I happen to be the proud owner of a number of them! And then there is yet another excuse for wearing a long gown.  Hell, I’d wear a tiara and evening gown to the grocery store and car wash if they wouldn’t bring the guys in funny white jackets to take me away! (The voluntary wearing of Tee-shirts and jeans by any woman is beyond my comprehension! Give me heels, dresses, bling and I’m happy!)

Mary Jane did share with me that her business suffered due to her time away during 2016 and 2017, so she is now rebuilding it back up to “pre-pageant” numbers she previously had. You can’t take on coaching clients if you aren’t around to do the coaching! I have no doubt that MJ will be right back up to speed in no time. I love one of her quotes, “The Power to Choose is the Power to CHANGE, so Choose to be Extraordinary!”

I truly believe that we can choose to change our lives for the better, one step at a time, until we are leading what I call “a royal life.”  I was pleased to find that Mary Jane and I held the same views on what women can accomplish.

Family Values Are Top Priority

Mary Jane and her handsome husband of 15 years! Don't they make a handsome couple?

Mary Jane and her handsome husband Allen. Married 15 years! Don’t they make a handsome couple?    ( I’m loving the sequin dress!)

Often, people look at a woman who have held a position like those MJ just had, and think they are shallow, conceited or unapproachable.  Mary Jane is just the opposite of all those things.  Besides her warmth and compassion, which is obvious from the moment you meet her, MJ is a person of strong Christian beliefs and values.  Her husband, her family and her friends are her top priorities, followed by her strong ties to the community. MJ is one of the people who makes San Diego a better place by her presence here. Who would make a better “face of San Diego” than a woman like Mary Jane?

Besides building her business back up, and speaking at numerous events in the area,  Mary Jane has recently started a new endeavor, along with two other former Ms. Senior California winners. They have a group called the “California Girls” and are performing throughout San Diego county at events. They love going into senior retirement communities, women’s functions and anywhere their talents might be needed.

The California Girls at one of their recent performances.

The California Girls at one of their recent performances.

You can find more information about the California Girls at www.BollesArtsInternational.com or call 619-807-3280. Find MJ and the “California Girls- Singing and Dancing on Facebook and “Like” their page! (https://www.facebook.com/California-Girls-Singing-Dancing-Entertainment-311668412734634/)

Living A Royal Life, Part 2 of 3

Adventures With Attitude!, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!

Living a Royal Life

A few weeks ago I published the first video in a series of 3 videos on how to Live a Royal Life.

This is part 2 of 3.

If your life isn’t all that you want, and you feel like you are leading a mediocre life — what do you need to do to improve it?

This video gives you some steps to help you lead your best life.  No one else is going to give you the perfect life.  You need to do what it takes to make the happiness in your life happen.

Here are your steps to you holding your head up high, wearing your tiara and learning that it doesn’t matter what other people think about you. Once you learn to “do you” and are comfortable in your skin, other people’s opinions don’t matter.

I hope you enjoy this video, and if you do —- share it with a friend who might also like to Live a Royal Life!

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to both my blog and my Youtube channel, so that you don’t miss any of the upcoming series and other fun and fabulous articles, events and adventures!

No Plain Jane………

Adventures With Attitude!, Family Time, Health = Happiness!, My Humble Opinion, Serious Shit, You Can't Make This Shit Up!
Close up of mom at her Open House Reception. I still keep this picture up to this day- almost 40 years later. Who would think it would be the last time she would sit on that chaise lounge?

Close up of mom at her Open House Reception. I still keep this picture in my home to this day- almost 40 years later. Who would think it would be the last time she would sit on that chaise lounge? My mom really understood that life is short, and made each day count!

Life…Is…Short!

I had intended to write this article and publish it for Mother’s Day this year…….. But alas, we were wrapped up in travel plans, then travel for most of April, and the thought, the time, and the writing never took place…….

I could wait until next Mother’s Day, and release it then… but if you know me, you know my saying… “You never know when they are going to call in your chips.”  Hell, we don’t know what tomorrow brings, so you’ve got to do things today. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.

You may think that is a morbid way to live, but it’s just the opposite.  I do more, accomplish more, enjoy more and live more than many people combined. Why?  Perhaps it’s because I know how short life can be.  I have now outlived my own mother by 3 years. LIFE…IS…SHORT!  I never want to look back and say “I should have.” “I could have.” Or “I wish I had.”

I believe FULLY in taking life by the tail and getting the most out of it EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I often have people look at my schedule and ask me if I ever sleep.  Often, when I have exciting things to do, a lot on my plate and a busy schedule, honestly—— I don’t sleep much.  I can go weeks on end with 3 or 4 hours sleep.  I figure that at some point I’m going to have an extremely long time to sleep… as in eternity…. so I’ll catch up on it then!  For me, typically, every day is a busy day.  That’s how I love to live my life. After all—-as I said previously—- you never know when they are going to call in your chips!

A few months ago, in sorting through some things after our move, I came across a photo album I keep with mementos about my mom. Jane Clark. Her birth name had actually been Jane Hatheway, until she married my father at the ripe old age of 18. To say my parents had a tumultuous relationship would be putting it kindly! YIKES- those two fought like I’ve never seen anyone fight……. (But that’s another story for another day.  Getting married at 18 probably isn’t the #1 best idea in life either….)

My mom died when I was 22, after fighting cancer for about 8 1/2 years.  I remember when she came home one afternoon, while I was in Jr. High and told me the doctors had told her she had cancer, and only had a few months to live.  Of course, my first thought was “what happens to me?”  (Thank you teen age years for putting myself before everyone else!)

A Long and Difficult Battle….

That is when the fight began. Mom began a long, difficult and painful fight with cancer. The cancer she started out with wasn’t the cancer that ultimately killed her.  She was originally diagnosed with Lymphoma, but she picked up a second cancer, Leukemia, along the way, and that was the eventual ending battle of  her life.

Throughout those last years though, my mom helped SO many others in their last stages of life.  38 years ago, hospice wasn’t allowed into hospitals. Dying was treated differently.  We had to “buck up” and take care of one another.  No matter how sick she was herself, my mom was right there, making certain that WHATEVER her friends needed in their last days, they got it!

For one friend, it was important that she had some nice lingerie and a sexy nightie.  Jane provided those things. Some may have thought that at that stage of the game lingerie and nighties weren’t important.  She didn’t question it.  It was her friends’ desire, and that was all Jane needed to know. For another friend, it might be a specific dish they wanted to eat before they died. She made sure they got it, even if she had to sneak it into the hospital.  There comes a time when needs are far more than “medical.” Those needs are often more important than the medicines, the treatments or the “rules.”

The “Dress Rehearsal”

This was my mom at her Open House Reception. She went into the hospital the next day for the last time.

This was my mom at her Open House Reception. She went into the hospital the next day for the last time.

My mom had been in and out of the hospital so many times in the 8 plus years that I couldn’t even begin to count them.  In October 1979 I went on a last minute 1 week trip to Hawaii. While I was gone my sisters told me that they were giving an open house for my mom the day after I returned from the trip.  I wondered why they couldn’t just wait a week, so that I could help more with it. My mom insisted that it happen THAT Sunday. She went in the hospital the day after the party and never came back out.  SHE KNEW it had to happen then, or it never would.

When the end was near for our mom, we wanted to make sure someone was with her all the time so she didn’t die alone.  One of us always spent the night at the hospital for the last few months she was there.

My mom longed to see a local hospice in the area – which could help people like her in their last days.  I remember attending talks by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross with my mom, learning about the 5 stages of death, and what other countries were doing for their dying. Kubler-Ross was a pioneer in the hospice movement in the United States back in the ’70’s.  Our country was, and still is so far behind how other countries deal with death and dying.

“It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had. “ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Because of my mom’s frustration with the lack of hospice care, she started the ball rolling to get a local hospice formed.  After my mom’s death, my two sisters and I helped to bring to fruition a hospice to the Fox Valley. That hospice served my dad a number of years later when he died.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree…

 It’s often said by people that knew my mom that I’m a lot like her. Jane was a talker………. (sound familiar?)  Oh, she could talk!  And you always knew where you stood with my mom. She didn’t beat around the bush………… and this app;e didn’t fall far from THAT tree!  My mom would do anything for anyone, but cross her, and watch out! She would do WHATEVER it took to make things right!  If there was YELP in her day, Jane would have had 2,000 reviews on it, I’m sure! I’m my mom’s daughter there!  I’ll help the underdog any way I can, and when things aren’t right, I’ll let WHOEVER needs to know, until things are made right.

In the album of mementos I have poems and stories written about her.  Reading them, I thought how great it would be to write an article about her. And of course, Mother’s Day would have been a fabulous time to publish it.  Or perhaps her birthday, which is September 16th…. or perhaps, just whenever I get around to getting the damn thing done… Yes. That’s probably EXACTLY when I’ll get it out.  Whenever it is finished. Because THAT is the kind of organized I am.

No Plain Jane

In the memento book is a poem. I have no idea who wrote it, or if it was, indeed, written expressly about my mom. In trying to find it on Google, I can’t, so I assume someone wrote it about my mom. Sorry I can’t attribute it to the right person! Here goes:

No Plain Jane

I know a Jane,

Who isn’t plain

As any heart should see…

She’s more fair than a rose

That in Springtime grows

Yes, she’s beautiful to me.

For Beauty is in the face of love

And lovely is beauty’s name….

And ti’s love that lights the smile

That shines in the face of Jane.

Call other Jane’s plain— if you insist

But please don’t include our Jane.

For many a lovely thing is she

And one thing she isn’t is “plain.”

 

During the years my mom was ill, we were very involved in an organization called Make Today Count.  It had been started by a man named Orville Kelly, who had Lymphoma. He formed a support group so that people could find support among others who had long-term or life threatening illnesses.  Family members were also encouraged to attend.  I don’t know how I would have gotten through my mother’s illness and subsequent death, if we hadn’t had this resource at the time.  (At the time of my mother’s illness there were at least 140 chapters across the United States.  I believe that a handful are still active, one of them being here in San Diego.)

In our Make Today Count chapter, there was a woman I befriended named Kay Catlin. Kay’s journey was just a few months ahead of mine.  Her mother, also a cancer victim, died about 6 months before my mother did. I would often talk to Kay to see if my feelings, my emotions and my journey were unusual—- typically to be told that she had experienced exactly the same reactions to her mother’s illness.

Kay became a writer, and wrote a story about my mother, which was published in the Chicago Tribune on May 7, 1980. Kay wrote the story and gave it to our family at my mother’s memorial service, just a week after my mother’s death, which was December 21, 1979.  We felt so honored to have this wonderful story about my mother published in a major newspaper.

Having lost contact with Kay many years ago, when I found the article I contacted Kay and asked if I could publish it here in this blog, and she graciously gave me permission. Ties that are made in a situation like we were in many, many years ago still hold, as was demonstrated when I contacted Kay.

This is the front cover of the scrapbook I keep that has articles about my mom, marriage cert, birth cert, death cert, etc.

This is the front cover of the scrapbook I keep that has photos, articles about my mom, marriage cert, birth cert, death cert, etc. There was a store that made these scrapbooks many years ago, with your details on the front cover. I really liked them!

Following is the story as Kay originally wrote it and gave it to us.  It was edited some, and the tenses changed for the Chicago Tribune final article.

The Dying of Jane by Kay Catlin

The screen door ricocheted shut one final time. The party was over: the last guest had left. But before the weary hostess could call it a night, there was one more thing to do.

Jane draped her tiny frame across the painted rattan chaise and slipped her hand int the “everything” basket lying next to her on the floor. As she pulled out the tattered list of name and numbers, the freshly signed guest register was brought to her.

Methodically, Jane compared the “invited” names to the “attended” ones. By the time she was finished, it was clear triumph was in her corner.

“Look at that, would ya’, just look at that,” she said turning to her youngest daughter. (That would be me, by the way, just sayin’!) Look, only eight didn’t show. That’s pretty good…. real good.”  Jane was satisfied.

But in spite of her social coup, Jane’s, thought turned quickly back to the eight no-shows. One by one she recited their reasons for being elsewhere. The first had to work.  The next two had previously scheduled meetings, and besides the family of four who lived too far away, the only other people who couldn’t make it had car trouble. That settled it then. Everyone was accounted for.

Things like that matter to Jane. She is the original party person. Even mere acquaintances know she’ll be at any function someone bothers to call a party.  It doesn’t matter what the reason or where it’s held. If there’s a party, Jane will be there even if she’s dying.

And this time she was.  Dying, that is.

Dying is nothing new to Jane. Her doctors say she has been doing that ever since she was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer seven years ago at age fifty.  As a matter of fact, Jane was handed a less-than-a-month-to-go death sentence in 1973 only moments before she was advised not to take a scheduled Florida vacation to visit her parents. The doctor said she’d come back in a box.  Jane went anyway, and looking back, glad she’s glad she did. It was the last time  she saw her mother, who, at the same time was dying from cancer.

Jane didn’t come back in a box, and the doctor who told her not to go has since died himself from cancer.  Instead, Jane enjoyed her trip and, upon returning, decided the one thing she had to do was learn how to live with her disease so if one of her five children ever got cancer, “they’d know how to handle it.”

That was a mighty big order for someone recently divorced who had to keep on working in spite of pain, exhaustion, radiation treatments and chemotherapy. But she says she was too busy living to be bothered with dying. Besides, she had some pretty fail-safe logic going for her.  she figured it was a lot harder to die standing up.  As long as she could stay off the couch and on her feet, she had the odds beat. No one was going to catch her lying down long enough to die.

And they didn’t.

Between her once a month trips to Mayo’s from her suburban West Chicago home and her accounting job, Jane was terribly busy. She’d fly up to Rochester, Minnesota, on a Thursday night and check into the clinic Friday morning.  Saturday afternoons she’d fly back, and by Monday morning it was business as usual. Jane would make up time lost at her job by working Saturdays and week nights. Then, when she got caught up, the whole cycle would begin again. But she never missed a day’s work, and that’s something she’s still quite proud of.

The way Jane tells it, the whole first year was more like a piece of cake than the parcel of hell it really was. Pressed, she will relate stories of the many nights she and her only still-home child would stay up trying to temper the excruciating pan of muscle spasms. She will talk about the days she would pray for the phone not to ring, so she wouldn’t have to reach for it. But those aren’t the things she likes to concentrate on now. Jane would much rather tell someone about all the things she did do, the good times, than dwell on the horror of  it all. Even under pressure, she is an artful dodger of gloom. Any further questions about the endless nights and uncertain, painful days, she brushes off with, “I didn’t worry about any of it.  I’d just call my sister-in-law and tell her to start praying. Then I’d turn the rest over to the doctors and let them do their thing.  It worked every time.” And somehow, it did work…….. every time.

No, it hasn’t ever been Jane’s style to worry about herself. In the face of hardship, she is more likely to light up one in an endless chain of Newports, lean back, and give vent to another positive thought. She even has a pat answer for all those cigarettes.  “Well, they can’t tell me I’m going to get cancer anymore, can they?” So, I figure if I’m going to die, I might as well not be nervous about it.”  Good ol’ Jane!

In-spite of her logic, Jane was doing well until 1975 when her boss quit. A new comptroller took over who was bent on getting rid of everyone.  Not a person to be trifled with, Jane saw what was coming and got rid of herself.  “I couldn’t take that ass one more day, so I blew” is how she puts it.  (BTW- side-note, I can STILL remember my mother venting about the new boss and what an unreasonable and horrible jerk he was! That was my senior year of high-school!)

As she told of quitting her job, Jane suddenly looked down and then slowly turned her gaze upwards again. Pointing her finger to punctuate yet another point, she said, “THAT hurt me more than anything.”

She couldn’t get another job.  It didn’t matter that she was well qualified or willing to work, or desperately needed insurance. What mattered was that Jane had cancer. As far as the job market was concerned, Jane was already dead.

In spite of the fact that she faced rejection almost constantly, Jane continued to look for a job, any job.  She needed reason to stay standing up. Once, she even came close to getting employed. The owner of a marketing firm didn’t so much as blink an eye when she told him, as she told everyone, that she had cancer. She  would be employed and insured anyway.  No questions asked.  But the man died  before the deal went through. It was cancer that got him.

Jane didn’t work again until March of 1977. She had heard about a CETA job and, when she found two bosses who were willing to look away from her illness and toward her qualifications, she was hired. The job instantly became like new life blood to her.  She still feels if she hadn’t landed that job, any job, she would have lain down right then and died.

She worked well and steadily until July. Then she became inexplicably weak, unable to wash or dress herself. She went back to Mayo’s for a check-up and two days of transfusions, but came home having received even more.  A new diagnosis: Chronic Leukemia.

That’s not to say Jane had been undergoing treatments for the wrong disease all along. She just had them both lymphoma and leukemia. Snake eyes.

Jane went back to work almost immediately and tried to keep up. She had to. The doctors’ bills alone were breaking her financially even when the paychecks were steady. But there were intermittent hospitalizations, days off here and there. By March of 1978 the word had filtered down.  Any more days off and she would be out.

A few weeks later, Jane was in too much pain to report for work. She had reached too suddenly for something; that’s all. Two ribs, brittle from years of cancer therapy, snapped, and with them went everything. (I can’t tell you how many times my mom broke a bone by simply riding in the car and hitting a bump, standing up from a chair, or other simple things we do on a daily basis.  It was awful!)

Or so she thought.

With her body literally hunched in pain, Jane had someone drive her to and from job interviews when she wasn’t in the hospital. She knew she needed to get out of bed or she would die.  All she wanted was “to push a pencil somewhere.”  Her mind didn’t have cancer, after all.

On February 15, 1979 she landed her last job.  Each day, one of her children would take her to work and pick her up again in the evening.  It was tough going, but she was needed again. There was a reason to get off that couch.

That lasted until April 6th.  Jane went back into the hospital then and wasn’t released until July 6th.  Two days later, she was back at work.  For a few weeks, she pushed her pencil until on Friday afternoon when she found herself breathless from pain.  It was all over.

During the past months, Jane has only been out of the hospital for a few days at a time.  Each reprieve from doctors’ whites and intravenous drip coincided with one thing and one thing only—- a party.  She made them all. (Again, I told you this apple didn’t fall from the “Jane tree!” My mom never missed a party and neither do I!)

But her party days are dwindling and she knows it. When her leukemia turned from chronic to acute over Labor Day and her disability and Medicare benefits were cut off in October because she had worked three days too many the year before, she was beaten. Forced to apply for Public Aid, this fiercely independent woman was given two choices one afternoon by her doctors. She could either die outright or go through a painful bone marrow transplant, isolation and Chemotherapy program and probably die anyway.  What to do….

Jane decided she was going to go out trying and endorsed the treatments  Then she went home to make her funeral plans.

Already having donated her body to science when she was first diagnosed, Jane worked calmly and methodically on all the other arrangements. She secured the church, talked to the ministers, and had someone come over with sheet music.  Together they looked for “A King is Coming” and “He Touched Me.”  Because she wants those two songs sung by everyone at her memorial service, copies had to be made ahead of time.  Jane knew where she could get it done cheap.

She then named a charity for donations and instructed everyone she met not to send flowers.  “That’s like getting buried,” she said.  “Never could see throwing money away on being put in the ground and having a bunch of flowers around.”  I want the kids to take what I give them and blow it.  I want people to have a good time with what they got.”  And no one argued.

Jane then called her family together and worked out the nitty-gritty plans for the party afterwards,  They were to feed everyone and then go back to the house and have a family party like they always did.  “I want them to play poker, do some charades, and laugh a lot. If they have to sit around reminiscing, I want them to remember the crazy things, the fun things.” Then a devilish grin spread over her emaciated face as she added, “And they all know—- I’ve told them ever since I knew I was dying— that I’ll come back and haunt them if they don’t do what I say.”

With the family still around, Jane parceled out her promised possessions. She took pictures off the wall, rings off her fingers, and held a drawing for her remaining treasures. She sorted out photos and mementos, and gave each adult child his own picture laden history book. She signed over her stocks, gave away her car, and then took out the insurance policies. Each had been carefully studied, filled out, and stamped.

Then Jane sat back in relief ready to reminisce. Since she had sold her home to one of the children a while back, all she had to do was die.  Everything else was done.

That’s when the idea set in.

Jane’s eldest daughter thought as long as everything was taken care of ahead of time, they might as well have a party now, the kind of party people usually have after the funeral, but this one would be before while her mother could enjoy it.  After all, Jane wouldn’t want to miss a good party for anything. Why should she have to die for one last reason to celebrate?

So, while she was home for a brief, uncertain stay waiting for her body to become strong enough to give her at least a fighting chance to survive the treatments, her children called together 80 or 90 of Jane’s closest friends.  People came steadily from late afternoon on to pay their respects, say their goodbyes and share a laugh with the still living.  Jane was clearly on a mental high through the tiring, day-long affair.  She was having the time of her life playing the queen once more.  (Interesting, isn’t it that this was nearly 40 years ago, and my mother was referred to as “the queen.”  Now, here I am- The Queen of Damn Near Everything!”)

A week later, she herself would call the party a dress rehearsal for the memorial service and casually remark that only eight people didn’t show.

Now Jane waits to return to the hospital, knowing she probably won’t come out alive. She exhibits fear only when she refers to the painful, “worst ever” treatments she has to face.  It is not difficult to believe her when she says, “Some things are worse than dying, you know.”

(Jane Clark of West Chicago, Illinois, died December 21 1979, without having undergone the bone marrow transplant. The rest of the details are unimportant. She just died with the same dignity she had known in life.  That’s all.  End

There were a few things very interesting about my mother’s last weeks (about 9 of them), while she was in the hospital.  My mother was a feisty little ball of fire, and you ALWAYS knew where things stood with her. She wasn’t technically “in a coma”- but there were weeks where she basically laid and slept, not really talking to anyone.

We told her sister, my Aunt Pat, that if she wanted to see mom again, she’d better get here for a visit.  I never thought of my Aunt Pat as weak, but my mom must have understood her in a way we couldn’t. When my Aunt Pat came into the hospital room for her visit, upon arrival, my mom sat up, had a conversation with her, then laid back down.  The next morning Aunt Pat came back in, mom had another lovely conversation with her, and my Aunt left for home, saying “She doesn’t look too bad to me.”

We were all mystified at how amazing my mom looked and sounded while Aunt Pat was there.  Later we understood that mom knew that my Aunt couldn’t have taken seeing her sister in an almost “vegetative” state, and did what was needed to help Aunt Pat get through it.

From L-R: My niece Kelly, Sister Sharon, Mom, My niece Michelle and my Sister Dianne. Not long before my moms death. Who knows where the hell I was for this? It looks like Kelly was dressed up for a school dance, corsage and all!

From L-R: My niece Kelly, Sister Sharon, Mom, My niece Michelle and my Sister Dianne. Not long before my moms death. Who knows where the hell I was for this? It looks like Kelly was dressed up for a school dance, corsage and all!

There were also a few times that my mom sat up, called out “Mom” and reached for someone unseen, with such a peaceful look on her face

Then the story that some people think is “just horrible”- but was my mom’s and my personality to a T…… Mom hadn’t spoken for weeks—- probably since Aunt Pat’s visit, and I went to the hosipital after work, just days before her death.  I was wearing Tabu perfume, a heavy scent popular in the 80’s.  As I leaned down to kiss her, out of the blue mom mumbled, “What’s that perfume?”  I told her and she responded, “Don’t ever wear that again, you smell like a French whore.” That’s the last thing my mom ever said to me!  I laugh about it, and let me tell you…… when I get into an elevator with someone wearing that perfume….. to this day, do you know how hard it is not to repeat that line to them????? Often, when I share that story, people are absolutely AGHAST that this would be our last conversation. Not me though!

The other great story about “The Dying of Jane” was that it was UBER IMPORTANT to my mom that she not be buried. She wanted to donate any organ possible, then donate her body to science so that others might learn from her body and prevent others in the future from enduring cancer such as hers. (Once you’ve gone through all the cancer treatments my mom went through, not too many organs are viable, unfortunately. We had learned that the only organ which could be donated at that point were mom’s eyes.) My mom had always been ADAMENT that not one cent should go toward a burial. Back then, not too many people got cremated.

Well, the end was obviously VERY close, and we happened to call the family friend who owned the funeral home, and was going to help us with my mom’s details.  When we spoke to him, he told us that if my mom didn’t die that afternoon by about 4:30, she’d either have to hold out until the next Wednesday, or her body and organs wouldn’t be able to be donated, due to the weekend and holiday.  (Can you believe it?  Back then, organ donation was more of a 9-5 Monday through Friday kind of business.)  I think it was about 3:15 when we got this news, so we leaned over my mom and said, “Hey mom, we’ve got some bad news we just found out. Bruce told us that if you don’t die today by about 4:30, you have to hold out through Christmas, and wait until the day after, or they won’t take your body and eyes. You will need to be buried.” My mom died at 4:30 PM that day.

When Jane had a plan NO ONE was going to screw it up if she had anything to do with it!

Again, when I’ve told that story to some people, they can’t believe we would tell our mom she needed to either die or hold out.  Let me tell you, you didn’t want to cross Jane Clark, and had she not been told once we knew the details, she probably WOULD have come back to haunt us for not getting the body donated!

My mom lived a certain way, and she died the same way—- parties planned and attended and details acted on, down to the last detail!

When we had my mom’s memorial service my oldest sister Sharon read a beautiful poem that pretty well summed up my mom, and the way she chose to die. I’ll share it:

“To Remember Me…”

The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital busily occupied with the living and the dying. At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.

When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don’t call this my deathbed.  Let it be called the Bed of Life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.

Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby’s face or love in the eyes of a woman. Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain. Give my blood to the teenager  who was pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.  give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.  Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk.

Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary and let them grow so that, someday,a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.

Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.

If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all my prejudice against my fellow man.

Give my sins to the devil.  Give my soul to God.

If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked I will live forever.

—- Robert N. Test in Cincinnati Post

 

Would you like to leave a legacy after you are gone?  You need to plan ahead.  Here are a few interesting articles that might help you figure out what would work best for your desires.

For info on donating your organs, go to: https://www.organdonor.gov/about/process/deceased-donation.html

For info on donating your body to science check out this article:https://www.wikihow.com/Donate-Your-Body-to-Science

 

 

 

 

 

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Dancing— My Drug of Choice

Cocktail Time, Events, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, Health = Happiness!, My Humble Opinion, Sexy After 60!, Uncategorized
My friend Richard & me dancing at my 60th birthday party last November

My friend Richard & me dancing at my 60th birthday party last November

Dancing— The New Meditation

I have heard for decades that the best way to relax and achieve inner harmony is to meditate. You can’t live in Southern California without having a hundred people tell you “it’s the way to go.” I call BS on that! Don’t get me wrong. If you meditate, and it works for you, more power to you! I”ll even give you an “Om” to go.

Meditation Stresses Me Out!

It’s just that meditation, to me is the greatest and easiest way to stress out I have ever tried. I’ve tried it more than a handful of times and here is exactly what happens. I sit in this place I’ve decided to be quiet in and cleanse my mind. In approximately 30 seconds a committee shows up in my head. The committee is loud. It’s raucous. They all begin to talk, taunt and tease. I suddenly am filled with thoughts of all of the “productive” things I could be doing.…. Should be doing…..Need to get done. I think of things with work that I have been putting off. I think of things I could be writing for my blog rather than just sitting here wasting time. I think of things that need to be done in my house and how many things I need to organize. The closets that could use cleaning and the drawers that need sorting. I think of things that WILL need to be done for work, my house, my blog in the near future. I think about places I could go for travel and enjoyment and want to look those things up on the internet RIGHT THEN.

Meditation- I give it about 3 seconds til I hit the “crazy” button!

I begin to think about things that really bug me, things that have bothered me for a while and things I didn’t even KNOW bothered me. Now I start to get REALLY irritated at the things that I didn’t even know were bothering me.

Any small problem in my life can take on gargantuan proportions when I sit down to meditate. They suddenly become overwhelming.

Meditation Fills My Mind…

While attempting to meditate I start to think about things I have recently seen on Facebook that I thought were really profound or really cute or really irritating. You know the things I’m referring to such as the political posts that differ from your opinion or the people who voice their totally inane and negative opinions on someone’s post, which were TOTALLY unnecessary. The more I am supposed to “empty my mind” the more that comes in to crowd it and my blood pressure goes up. Which is, I think, the direct opposite of the point of meditating.

All of this brain hyperactivity can be accomplished in record time. I’m sure I’ve just spent at LEAST three hours in the process, and when I look at the clock, I’ll be damned, five minutes haven’t even passed! God bless you if this meditation thing calms you down. It just stresses the hell out of me!

The same people who like to meditate, enjoy Yoga. Don’t even get me going on that one! If I’m going to spend an hour in an exercise class, I want to feel like it’s doing something for my body. I can’t get through half a yoga class without wanting to laugh at the absurd positions (which don’t seem to be building any sort of muscle that I can tell). I want to giggle at the silly names they call them. And for some reason, the people in Yoga class are just too damned serious about the whole thing. It becomes a religious activity for them, it seems. Forget Yoga…..I much prefer to do a few crunches, hold a plank, lift a few weights, or Zumba my way to cardio health. In Zumba you can’t help but have a happy attitude! Why…. because DANCE MOVES are happening there!

Dancing is my “Drug of Choice!”

Don & Patti dancing when Don's foot was broken!

It’s a little blurry- but I love that even when Don had a broken foot- we found a way to dance!

I guess the cat is out of the bag. I’m not a Zen girl. My idea of relaxing is planning a party, figuring out my next event, or dancing. Dancing is my “drug of choice.”

When I went through a divorce about 10 years ago, I decided to take up dancing. It was something I’d always wanted to learn, and it was the first thing I set my mind to when I knew the marriage was over. Now THERE is a stress reliever! There is a blood pressure reducer! And, like meditation and yoga combined, it’s GREAT for your body! Within a few months, although I was out every evening and enjoying a few drinks, I looked better than I had in years! I lost weight and toned up, without dieting or even TRYING! (Looking at my body right now, I think I need to get back on the dancing-every-night-wagon!)

I would look forward to my next night out dancing like a drug addict looks forward to meeting up with his “supplier!”  No matter WHAT was going on, no matter how stressful things were, in my mind I’d be thinking….”Just 2 more nights until I get to dance!”  I’d be in the car, and as I listened to music I could picture what dance would go to the beat, what moves you could do to a certain song….. and there was no thought of the stresses that life was giving me at that time!

Ladies dancing together!

We dance with our girlfriends in grade school, middle school and high school. Even into our 60’s, 70’s and 80’s we still have “girl dances! Girls just wanna’ have fun!

When you dance, the committees can’t be in your head, because you are too busy following the lead of your partner. You can’t think about the problems you’ve got going on, what needs to be done at home or what is going on with work. There is only one focus….. Dancing….. what the next move is and where your partner and your body are going to lead you.

For me, dancing gives me all the benefits of meditation and then some.

If sitting in a quiet room, making your mind blank works for you, then go for it!   Just PLEASE don’t try telling me that it’s a stress reliever! Not for my A type of personality! Thirty minutes of meditation a day would probably put me in the grave within the first month!

My grand daughter Nell, and Jodi "cutting a rug." EVERY age can enjoy dancing!

My grand-daughter Nell, and Jodi “cutting a rug.” EVERY age can enjoy dancing!

No matter what problems I have in life, after a few hours of dancing I feel refreshed, at peace and in tune with my body and soul.

Dancing video, Kingston Mines

This video is a bit dark, and for that I apologize!  My daughter shot it of my love and I dancing in the summer of 2016 when we were back “home” in Chicago visiting family.  The place was dark, it was her cell phone, and we didn’t even know she was shooting it. What a fabulous night we all had though! 🙂

 

 

Lions and Tigers and Pirates…….. Oh My!

My Humble Opinion, Raves & Rotten Reviews, Royal Ramblings!, Travel and Adventure, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

Cruising the West Coast of Africa

Silversea Silver Cloud

The Silversea Silver Cloud on our trip.

We went on a Silversea Silver Cloud cruise up the coast of  West Africa recently.   We went to 6 countries to be exact.  There are basically 3 questions people ask you when they hear you have been to “Africa.” Question # 1- Did you go on a Safari (or did you see any “big game” animals- as both are basically asking the same thing.)  Question #2- Why in the world did you choose to go there, of all places. Question # 3-Were you worried about Pirates.

No, we weren’t on a safari, nor did we see any big game animals. That takes place more in central or east Africa.  What we saw most of were goats, pigs, chickens and cats, because all of those animals roamed  freely- and abundantly – through every village and city we were in. We did see some good sized monkeys swinging through some trees one of the days while we were riding in the bus.

In Morocco we saw some camels at a Bedouin camp, and also just roaming around in the middle of the desert. In Marrakesh we saw few snakes, which were being “charmed”  for the sake of tourist. The snake charmers were scarier than the snakes.  You’ve got to watch out for those guys- they don’t want to let you go without getting the big bucks out of you!

Senegal Village Animals

This picture of animals in a Senegal Village shows about the biggest “game” that we saw on this trip. Camels, goats, cats, sheep, a few pigs and a boar were about the extent of our animal viewing!

Other than that little menagerie, no “big game” stuff. No lions, or tigers, elephants or giraffes.  Wrong neighborhood for them.

Why we chose to go to West Africa is another story.  My man had broken his foot last fall, right after we moved into our new house. (Great timing on his part, I have to say- thank you very much!) He was bored to death, and started looking into places he’d never traveled, and trips that would get him closer to his goal of 100 countries.  A “luxury cruise” up the west coast of Africa came up in his search, and next thing I knew, we were going to West Africa. So, question number is now answered.

Senegal Village

This Senegal Village was fairly typical of many of the villages. You’ll see a goat in the background. This village was one of the few that had any sort of “toilet” facilities. This outhouse had buckets in it to go on. Quite sophisticated compared to many!

Was West Africa on the top of my bucket list of travel?  Heaven’s no!  However, if you know me, you also know I’m always up for any adventure, and always up to try the unusual. So- when Don asked if I’d go on the trip, I gave a resounding yes…….

Captain Phillips, Here we Come!

As soon as we mentioned a boat, and Africa the question of safety and pirates came up constantly. After all, who hadn’t seen Captain Phillips, right? So, of course, we asked our cruise line, Silverseas, if pirates were a possibility or concern. The question was poo-pooed- and we were told that pirate activity is on the east side of Africa and we had nothing to worry about. WHEW!

Silly Americans! We don’t even know where the pirates hang out in Africa. Tsk, tsk, tsk…….

So, onward and upward we went with our plans for our trip.  We decided to tack on a trip to Amsterdam to see the tulips on our way to Akkra, Ghana.  Thank God, because if we hadn’t I wouldn’t have found that great shop with the fantastic 1940’s style dance dresses…….. (Good thing I brought that extra duffel, because it was filled up on day 3 of the 23 day trip!)

Patti in one of her 40's dresses!

This is one of the 40’s style dresses I got in Amsterdam! What a find THAT store was! (And BTW- this is my granddaughter Nell at her graduation from grade school a few weeks ago!)

My prior cruising experience has been on the uber-large cruise ships. Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland, Costa- and yes, I’ll even admit to Carnival- back in the day!  Don has only done small “expedition” type of ships.  This cruise, on the Silversea Silver Cloud was to have approximately 200 passengers.

The “luxury cruise” part of the trip had me from Hello.  Unfortunately, the “luxury” provided didn’t add up to the cost of the cruise in ever-so-many ways………..

But I digress…….

Ghana Port

This poster was on the wall going into the Ghana Port. You would not have BELIEVED the one asking them not to poop in the port! That one was really graphic- but unfortunately we weren’t able to pop a photo fast enough! Things run a little differently in Africa than some of us are used to!

As we pulled up to the port (after a rocky start and less than impressive trip to the ship), Don noticed that the back of the ship had large bars added across the back deck where the enormous water cannons were. Water cannons? Why would the ship need water cannons?  We thought that perhaps the ship goes to other areas where pirates might be a concern……..

So, blithely we boarded the ship.

And, as with all cruises, muster is the first order of business on all ships. A lovely letter awaited us when we entered our suite, telling us when muster was to take place, and how focused Silversea was on making our voyage special, personalized, pampering, blah, blah, blah….

Safety First!

Our welcome letter upon arrival on the Silver Cloud

Off to muster we went.  Then the ship left dock. After familiarizing ourselves with the ship, we went back to our suite, to find another letter………… informing us that we were in a “high risk area for piracy

 

If you are of my age group, you will remember Saturday Night Live, and church lady from years ago. Can’t you just hear Dana Carvey saying “How conveeeeenient!” ( Not to mention the following line- “Who made you do it, was it the Devil?”)

How conveeeeenient that the second letter was given to us JUST AFTER we left port!  And worse- it stated that the “enhanced measures” were in effect from April 8-14.  THREE DAYS BEFORE WE BOARDED THE SHIP!

These assholes knew for 3 days before we got on that Captain Kidd, Blackbeard and Henry Morgan were in the ‘hood, and didn’t bother to tell us?  Holy shit. Are you kidding me?

Then the letter went on in explicit detail telling us how to handle the possible boarding and takeover by pirates. My favorite line was, “in the rare event that pirates succeed to board the vessel, do not panic, and do as they say.”

Roger that.  I am going to stay as friggin’ as calm as a clam.  Yessiree! Ahoy there mateys- nothing to worry about.  I’ve seen Captain Phillips. These are reasonable people……….

Silversea- what in the name of all that is normal is wrong with you people?

Where is Johnny Depp When You Need Him?

The pirate with a parrot on the seashore

Not only are we dealing with totally unreasonable people with pirates in the African waters, none of them remotely begin to look like Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. There is just no upside to these pirates at all.  Just sayin’.

For the next 4 evenings we were told we had to keep our curtains to our decks drawn and not to open the sliding doors. This was mighty convenient, as the AC was also not working on the ship, and we were in near 100 degree heat………..

If THIS doesn’t all spell out “luxury cruise”- I don’t know what does!

In the public areas of the ship, every curtain was buttoned up as tightly as a nun’s va-j-j.  Where there weren’t draperies, the windows were covered with paper and duct tape. And the decks and outdoor restaurant were closed down.  No “romantic strolls” around the deck were taking place here folks! I felt like I was in London during the second world war blitz attacks.

Again, I know I am repeating myself here, but if THIS doesn’t all spell out “luxury cruise”- I don’t know what does!

Another great tip pointed out in the letter was that if the pirates were to approach the ship, and/or board, we were to go to the common areas of the ship and get down with our hands over our heads.  Fuck that shit- I’m hiding under my damned bed and hope they don’t check there for me. I figure that these pirates probably aren’t into doing a lot of work, or they’d have more upstanding jobs.  Maybe they aren’t going to look under all 100+ beds, right? But go hide out in the open- with my hands over my head?  Are you kidding me?  I’m going to come out and line up for the machine gun rally? Come on, I’m smarter than I look! (I’d have to be, or they wouldn’t let me out alone….. But again, I digress.)

(Our Silversea “Pirate Warning Letter”- delivered immediately after the ship left port. At this point it was bit too far for a swim back to shore,  I’m afraid!)

Every Day is an Adventure!

Now I realize that earlier I stated I am usually up for any adventure. I’ve jumped out of planes.  I’ve zip-lined. I’ve snorkeled and dived. I’ve bungee jumped. I’ve married a variety of men.  I’ve had children….. the list of adventures goes on and on.

However, in all those cases, these were experiences that I had preplanned for.  The adrenaline spike is because of the thrill of a “controlled” thrill.  One that most people live through. One that has safety parameters built into it.

Not friggin’ PIRATES! I never signed up for PIRATES!

So, for the first 4 evenings of our “luxury cruise”, while sweating like I was in an Indian Sweat lodge, with my drapes and balcony window buttoned up tightly, I wondered if I would live to see the good ol’ US of A!

There ain’t NOTHIN’ that spells luxury like that folks!

Captain Boczek’s last lines of his letter left me feeling calm, “special and highly personalized” (refer back to letter #1)… “Your safety is of paramount importance for us at Silversea…..”

Really?  Really? My safety is of such utmost importance to Silversea that they didn’t tell me about my tryout for a role in Pirates of the Caribbean before the ship set sail? THAT’S how paramount my safety was to Silversea!

That all being said, I guess we can add a few jackasses to the list of animals previously noted. But they were all on board our ship, wearing nautical costumes!

As you can probably decipher from this post, we did make it out of Africa alive.  No pirate boarding or takeovers.

Don & Patti in Marrakech

The last tour day we had lunch at a hotel which was once a palace. This little room looked like where you’d go to smoke your hookah!

You might have also figured out that I am not going to be the head cheerleader for Silversea!  Oh hell no!  I wish the pirate fiasco and the lack of AC was our only issues on this “luxury liner”, but no…… those were just the tip of the larger-than-hit-the-Titanic iceberg. I’m not even going to mention the numerous small items, like Don finding a shard of glass in his lunch one day. We’ll overlook those “little annoyances.”

Silversea asked for feedback on the cruise, which I provided. Over 6 weeks ago.  Then followed up 2 weeks later- to make sure they had received it. Then again 2 weeks ago again.  No response in any way. Not even a form “we received your letter and someone will get back to you” canned response! The last time around we even spoke to Ricardo who booked our cruise, made him aware of our letters, and resent the correspondence to him directly.  He promised he would “pass it on to his supervisors.” That was 2 weeks ago, with no follow up from anyone.

I’m sure I’m not being ignored.  I think I’ve figured out the problem.  PIRATES!  The pirates probably boarded a Silversea ship which had a company meeting going on with all of the customer service personnel, the head honchos and the marketing people, and they are being held hostage RIGHT NOW!

Someone contact the authorities, and send out a search and rescue team!

Meanwhile, I’ll stick to my “non luxury” cruise lines, and I can get 12 -15 cruises for the money one Silversea cruise cost!  (Not to mention, I’ll have AC in my cabin!)

_______________________________________________I had to add on a little “follow up” addendum to this story. While writing it, I sent a second email to our Silversea representative, Ricardo, telling him how disgusted I was with their company’s total lack of customer service.  I will admit, this particular email was not full of unicorns, flowers and glitter. No, I wasn’t really my most nice on this round.  I did mention in it that I now submitted a review on my experience to cruise critic and that I was now in the process of writing an article for my lifestyle blog regarding Silversea and their Silver Cloud ship.

Miracles DO happen folks! Yessiree! Amazingly enough within a few days I actually received communication from Silversea’s Guest Relations department. They apologized for the lack of response, stating that my original emails were “caught in their spam system.”  OK, hold on here Frank…….. may I call you Frank, Mr. Sansone?  You are going to tell me that Silversea- a large corporation, has a customer service email system, which you ask passengers to send their feedback to (feedback@silversea.com) and when they do, it goes into your spam folder?  Now THAT is a clever way to set things up! Very helpful to all involved……. Of course there was no explanation as to why my letter to Ricardo hadn’t been responded to for over 2 weeks at this point either…….. hmmmmmmm. Maybe their employees letters ALSO go to spam. Again, a clever and efficient way to run things.

So, that all being said, with his effusive apologies- well, kinda- sorta’- this following line of the letter threw me off a bit- “We appreciate your candor in evaluating your experience aboard Silver Cloud which we anticipate will stand out in a positive way in terms of service and product.”  Perhaps something was lost in the translation of my letters when Frank read them, because I would think it apparent to all involved that Silversea, indeed did NOT stand out in a positive way in terms of service and product….. Oh my. Consistant.  At least they are consistent…..

So, in the end, what Frank offered us was some credit on a future cruise, an amount which is basically equivalent to an upgrade from one class of cabin to the next level. SERIOUSLY Frank? Oh, and the other detail is that we must use that oh-so-generous credit for travel within the next two years.  I’m pretty certain that we will be getting our calendars right out and check which of the Silversea cruises are going to fit in our travel schedule. Or………..maybe not.

And last, but certainly not least- the following video has nothing to do with the idiots at Silversea, or even me- but after my rant I thought you deserved a bit of fun- so watch this great video of a young man who has been to every country in the world (how does he do that at this young age?).  He shares some cute little ditty about every one of the countries he’s been to- because…….. as I always say- Every Day is an Adventure!