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!
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!
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.
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……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…and LONG, LONG legs!
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…..
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…. 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. 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!
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! ( 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!
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 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!
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 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.
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/)
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!
Do you feel that you are living life to the fullest? Is your life meeting your expectations, or are you often left feeling disappointed?
I believe that everyone can, and should lead what I refer to as “A Royal Life.” This isn’t the life that the monarchy is living in Buckingham Palace. It isn’t the life that William and Kate are living…… It’s living YOUR BEST LIFE, while in the midst of “real life.” We can all take simple steps to improve our lives and to make our life happy, fun, fulfilling and prosperous.
If you think there is room for improvement in what you are receiving from life, please take a look at my attached video. It the first video in a series of 3 videos- Living a Royal Life.
Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to my blog so that you don’t miss any of the upcoming series and other fun and fabulous articles, events and adventures!
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!
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.
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!)
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…….
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….
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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!
Seriously? What the hell has happened to common sense in our country? ESPECIALLY in my state of California?
A new law California law has been proposed which would cause a server to be fined $1,000.00 OR 6 months in jail if they put a straw in a drink of a patron without first asking. COME ON PEOPLE!
I’m just as concerned over our environment as the next person, but for the love of Pete! (At this point my daughters always ask me- “Who is this Pete guy and why do you love him?”) But I digress………. Again I say, “For the love of Pete!” This is ridiculous! This is the “last straw” in the lack of common sense in the US.
Have you ever been a server? Do you know how crazy it can get being a server during the rush of lunch or dinner? And you are going to tell me that if they forget to ask if you’d like a straw, and put one in your drink automatically, they are going to be fined $1,000.00? Or worse yet- go to JAIL?
“What’s your mom in for Jimmy?” “She got 6 months for doing the crime. She put a straw in a customer’s drink.” Heaven forbid! Cuff her and remove her from society! In fact, let’s protect little Jimmy from such a horrible person and put him in a foster home!
Common Sense Has Left The Country
Holy Shit, are you people kidding me? Common sense has left the country. I think about the time Elvis died- so did ANY sort of common sense. Maybe he took it with him.
Sure, we can all cut down on our plastic consumption. There are many ways to do it. And, yes, servers could ask if you want a straw. Or, we can, as consumers say we don’t want a straw…… But does every damn thing in this country need to become a friggin’ CRIME?????
Our court systems are overburdened. Our jails are bursting at the seams. And we are now going to prosecute AND jail people over straws??????
For the love of Pete. Again, I’m saying it. Whoever this Pete character is, for the love of him, STOP THE NONSENSE!
I hadn’t even heard until about a month ago that this straw issue was a big deal. Now, suddenly, it seems to be a problem of epidemic proportions. The whole world is going to come to a screeching stop if we don’t start arresting servers, charge them huge fines and end the use of straws……
Ughhhh…… Reusable Straws……
A San Diego restaurant is using aluminum straws for it’s patrons.
For the love of Pete. Since the whole nonsense started I have now seen ads for us to purchase “reusable straws.” That sounds like a great and sanitary idea…… said no-one-in-their-right-mind-ever. Come on people! Imagine THAT catastrophe! I’m going to pull out this little telescopic straw at a restaurant, use it, and put it back in it’s little case…… YUM…… Mold, spores…… oh the possibilities are endless!
I brought this up on Facebook when I saw the ads, and people said, “You’ll wash them!” Well, even if I did take a stroll into the restroom of the restaurant, and wash it (which, believe me, might happen about… not at all) ……. you are putting it away in a little carrying case WET…… shit is STILL going to happen that is not healthy while it’s buttoned up, in the wet darkness of its little plastic, unbreathable case……….
For The Love of Pete…….
These aren’t really straws, they are glow sticks from a kids’ event we were at last night, but they looked kinda’ cool, so you’ve got them here folks! Of course, they too are made from plastic, so common sense says that the days of glow sticks are numbered!
Common sense. Let’s just use some. How about going back to paper straws? I don’t remember feeling suicidal when paper straws were in common use. They seemed to work just fine at the time. I’ve even seen articles that there are, believe it or not, pasta straws that work well with just about anything other than cola products.
A friend of mine went to a restaurant in San Diego recently and they are using aluminum straws. Again, I wonder how sanitary the straws will be. How in the world are they getting into the middle of them and cleaning them properly? The other concern I have with aluminum straws is that we have been told that aluminum is linked to Alzheimer’s. I’ve read that drinking from aluminum cans should be avoided. So now we are going to drink out of aluminum straws, which probably aren’t too sanitary? At least later in life, due to the aluminum, we won’t remember what the problem could be….
Another alternative is glass straws……….. what could POSSIBLY go wrong with a glass straw? Oh for the love of Pete, let’s not even DISCUSS what could possibly go wrong with a glass straw. If I need to discuss it with you, you are too stupid to live.
There is a solution. There are a number of solutions. I’m not sure WHAT the right solution is, but I’m sure we can solve it. For awhile anyway. Until we decide the solution is another problem we have created. For the love of Pete………. it never ends!
There are alternatives to plastic straws! Where is our common sense?
The last straw here, for me, is jail time and large fines for servers. Seriously? A number of servers I know could end up on the street if they had to pay a $1,000.00 fine! Imagine what 6 months in jail would do to them? Aren’t the consequences a bit excessive for the crime?
Yes, we need less use of plastic. Yes, you could cut down on straw use. Yes, we need to work on helping the environment…….. And YES- people need to get some common sense, and stop making everything in our country a damned CRIME!
That’s my 2 cents worth, and I’m not even charging for it!
Here is a reusable aluminum straw you can keep in your purse. Just in case you feel the need. (I’ll be checking in at the nursing home in 20 years to see how the Alzheimer’s is faring…. https://mfhousehold.com/products/straw
I just came across this article about how absurd the whole “plastic straw” controversy is, and how the numbers basically got pulled out of the air by a 10 year old kid! Interesting!
Here is another video about the law which could arrest servers in California who give out straws…….
Sea Glass. I never really have given it much thought. I’ve seen some interesting jewelry made from it- typically at craft shows. Occasionally in a beach town tourist shop. I recently read a novel where the main character made jewelry with it as her trade. Basically, that’s about as much thought as I’d ever given to sea glass.
A few weeks ago we were floating around on a small cruise ship off the West Coast of Africa. On our last sea day there was a talk being given on sea glass jewelry. Choices being limited as to things to do at exactly that moment in time, I thought I’d attend the talk.
Sea Glass from Goree Island, thanks to Simon Cook
The talk was given by another passenger Jean Forman. She is a sea glass jewelry artist, and had a lot of interesting information to share.
I was amazed at how much there was to learn about something as seemingly “simple” as Sea Glass. Sea glass can often be up to 100 years old. It is becoming more valuable, as less and less glass bottles are being made. To find a piece of red or yellow sea glass is very rare, as virtually no bottles are made with those colors any longer.
Simon Cook’s photos of unusual “Sea Glass” treasures he has found over the years! Stoppers, marbles and other unusual pieces.
I was surprised to find out how valuable one of these rare pieces of glass could be! Jean stated that some pieces of the glass could sell for hundreds of dollars due to its rarity.
Jean shared that sea glass should have a “providence”- just like valuable artwork has a providence. Her jewelry all has a tag on it that tells where she found the particular piece of glass. In her talk, Jean stated that she has had great luck finding sea glass on beaches in Greece, Glass Beach at Fort Bragg and most recently, on our cruise stop in Goree Island in Dakar.
To find sea glass, you want to look on beaches where you see rocks. As the rocks come rolling in, so does the sea glass.
Glass found on Goree Island, in Dakar on our recent Silversea’s excursion through West Africa April 11-27 2018
One of the stops on this trip was at Goree Island. We actually had to take a ferry over from our ship. According to Jean and one of our expedition team, Goree Island proved to be a fabulous place for the sea glass collector! Both of them found a great bounty of sea glass to add to their collections!
As with anything valuable, or collectible, there are books that talk about the different colors of sea glass, and what type and age the bottles they come from may be. Obviously, some types and colors are more rare than others. In doing a bit of research on Sea Glass I found that some of the “extremely rare” colors of sea glass would be orange, red, black, teal and gray. Many of the more rare colors of sea glass were made from tableware. Most of us are more familiar with the soft greens, blues and white sea glass, which are the most common colors. That glass most often came from mass produced bottles, such as 7 up, Coca-Cola and other drinks.
Simon Cook’s creation of sea glass inside a glass tube lighted from within. Really lovely!
Simon Cook, of the expedition team on the Silversea Silver Cloud shared pictures of some of his sea glass. He had unusual stopper shaped glass, round marble shaped glass and other interesting pieces. He doesn’t make jewelry from his glass. He displays it in interesting glass bottles and vases. He shared one small bottle, which had been his father’s. In it are over 800 pieces of glass! You would never guess that to look at it.
Simon Cook’s bottle of Sea Glass
We’ve all heard about tumblers where you can make your own “sea glass.” You can also purchase it at stores such as Michaels and Hobby Lobby. This would be referred to as “cultured sea glass” and, obviously not as valuable. If a jewelry maker doesn’t give you the provenience of the piece of glass, it’s probably been made and/or purchased in this manner. It’s still lovely, but not as valuable as the true sea glass.
I’m not one to walk the beaches very often, but when I do, I’m always scouting for shells or other objects. Now I’ll have to take the time to look for a bit of beach glass, and see what story it has to share.
Sea Glass on the beach
To check out Jean Forman’s beautiful, hand crafted jewelry, go to https://www.custommade.com/by/luckyseaglassjewelry/
Thanks also to Simon Cook from the UK for use of his sea glass pictures for this article!
Everything You Need To Know About Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
One of the side streets in the Red Light District. You can see the red lights down the street.
As an American, I think it’s normal to be curious about the Red Light District in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a bit of a curiosity all the way around, with its legalization of drug use, prostitution and other carnal pleasures that aren’t legally allowed in the glorious US of A.
Amsterdam, seems to me the epitome of Liberalism, although I don’t believe that is what they call it. When you go to Amsterdam there are a number of sayings that you will hear the locals say. “As long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else, go ahead and do what you want.” “I see you through my fingers”, which means that they know what you are doing, but don’t really care.
The thing about this type of attitude, is that it seems to work. While the prisons and jails in America are burgeoning, in Amsterdam and throughout the Netherlands, it is just the opposite. They are nearly empty, and some have actually been closed down and turned into other uses, such as hotels.
A very typical Amsterdam Street. 4 story buildings, bikes and a canal down the middle!
All of Amsterdam, due to the water and canals, is mostly made up of buildings 4 stories tall. You will see an occasional 5 stories, but most of the 5th stories are made up of just one room. Narrow streets, divided down the middle by a canal. One narrow lane going one direction on one side of the canal, the other direction on the other side of the canal. The sidewalks are even narrower, so many of the pedestrians walk in the traffic lanes. Add to all of that THOUSANDS, literally THOUSANDS of bicycles, and it’s a bit of a clusterfuck! Then you have small “alley like” streets that run perpendicular to the main streets. These are equal to one narrow lane, and many don’t even have sidewalks.
Charming. That’s the way to describe Amsterdam. Completely charming. The architecture is beautiful. Most every building made of brick. Due to the quagmire it is built on, many buildings tip a little to the left, to the right or a bit front wards or backwards. Some may tip 2 or 3 of the direction that I mentioned. No one seems too worried, as they are 200, 300 or 400 years old and haven’t gone anywhere yet!
The amazing thing though? You don’t see aggravated drivers. You don’t see aggravated pedestrians. The bicyclists, for the most part are pretty calm weaving to and fro between it all….. Again, the Amsterdam attitude of you do your thing and I’ll do mine. Let’s all just get along.
A typical store throughout Amsterdam. You can buy various drugs, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms and much more!
The Red Light District
So, back to the Red Light District. What is it like? The streets look basically the same as other parts of Amsterdam, except there are a plethora of sex shops & erotic shops (which are just a sex shop with a different name!), sex “museums”, and a number of bars which have some sort of sex show or porn show. It kind of reminds me a bit of Bourbon Street in New Orleans- just missing the jazz music.
Keep in mind, little “coffee” is consumed at an Amsterdam coffee shop! The “coffee shops” are where you can go and puchase and smoke weed- all very legal. Just walking past most of them you can get a “contact high!”
The biggest difference that you see are the Red Lights, and the windows which accompany the Red Lights. Some blocks may have none, others may have 2, 4 or 12. So what does that all look like? Picture your typical front porch light. With a red bulb placed in it. Then, next to, or under the light will be a window, and the window usually has Red Velvet curtains in it. When the light is on, and the curtain is closed, that means the lady (the prostitute) is busy with a customer. When the light is not on, you will usually see the curtains closed. No one is working in that window, at that time.
Typical example of the windows the girls stand in.
An Open Curtain – Means Open for Business!
And then the thing that we Americans find SO fascinating……….. when the curtain is open, and there is a girl in the window. What do you see then? Most of the women you see are in their 20’s. They are wearing some type of lingerie. Most often a bra and panties with heels. It can vary of course. I was really surprised that I never saw any type of “bustier”, stockings and garters. I would assume that look would be prevalent. I also never saw any “nighties”. There were a few with the “school girl” look of a short pleated skirt. One had her nipples only covered with a couple of (ouch!) star-shaped stickers.
There are areas, evidently, where one can find some more “mature” women, larger women or even women-who-might-not-be-women. Those areas are a bit off on their own, not on the main drag.
The women are in their little “window” area. Many of the windows are groups, usually 3 together. Those windows are about the size of a typical front door. There were a few other windows, even smaller- typically set down about 2 feet below street level, and they were about 3 ft. by about 4 ft. then, there were other larger windows, about 6 or 7 feet wide. The wider windows actually showed you the whole room- bed and all. All of the beds were covered with a dark blue vinyl. Most of the rooms you could see were very clinical, not too “homey” and unattractive. We never saw a shower, and seldom a sink in any of them.
These are the “rare” windows, in that their curtains aren’t red velvet!
One of the larger “rooms” we saw in the main area had the usual vinyl covered bed, but also on display were numerous sex toys, wigs, whips and other BDSM equipment. The woman in this window was a bit older than the average girl we saw in other windows. (Darn it, I snuck a photo of her room, but can’t find it in my camera!)
The World’s “Oldest Profession”
So…….. How does it work you wonder? The women are behind their windows. Some are very actively interacting with the crowd, giving a cute wink or smile, a “come hither” look. Others look bored beyond belief. Some look plan ol’ scary and like you’d better not bother them. Some were on their cell phones. When someone has an interest, they motion to the lady, she opens her door, and negotiations are made as to the services offered or desired, and the price. We were told that the typical price is 50-75 Euros. That is for the “service” not for the time, and most sessions are considered about 15 minutes long. Evidently, if you want a specific time period, that is negotiated up front. Don’t ask me what happens to the poor gal who gets a guy who lasts forever and a day……….. I guess they have provisions for that!
Rules of the Red Light District
There are certain “rules” that everyone is supposed to abide by. Pictures of the women while behind their windows is strictly forbidden. There are a number of plain clothes police walking around, and they don’t take kindly to rule breakers! It is also said that the girls have been known to come out, grab your phone, and throw it in the nearest canal, or stomp on it and break it!
This is how people are expected to behave in the Red Light District. Sorry about the color, the nearby red lights were distorting the white background…..
There is actually a “10 Commandments” on how to behave toward the prostitutes which is expected. You can find it posted in the area.
They are as follows:
Do not take photographs or film
Do not tap or spit on the window
Be respectful toward the women
Do not peek through cracks in the curtains
Do not stand in front of the doors or windows
When visiting, pay in advance and discuss beforehand what is and is not permitted
Never have unprotected sex
Be Hygienic (clean and well groomed, not intoxicated)
When you suspect force or coercion, call the police on 09008844
Aggression is not tolerated.
There are a specific number of licenses given for the Red Light district. No new licenses have been issued for quite a number of years. One person can own more than one “window” which they rent out by shift. There are approximately 300 of the windows, or “prostitution rooms.” The ladies pay a specific amount per “shift” which is typically 10 hours. Most of the rentals are 150. Euros per shift, but some, depending on the location, day and time, could rent out for more – or less.
It is said that most of the ladies are “independent”- they work for themselves. But there is still some amount of “pimping” “managing” or as they call it ”lover boys”. Evidently, “pimping” used to be illegal, but in the past few years it was deemed to be legal. However, things are closely watched, to make sure that sex trafficking is not going on. In theory, in Amsterdam, everyone who is working as a prostitute does so of their own free will. Local authorities continuously investigate and inspect the working conditions of the prostitutes. It is also encouraged that if any customers suspect that someone is being forced into prostitution, they should report it, so the woman can be helped. There is an anonymous phone number that can be called to report issues, and that number is prominently displayed around the Red Light District. The safety of the prostitutes is taken very seriously in Amsterdam.
This is the suggested behavior for “on the job” success!
Taxes are filed by the women, in fact we went past a Tax Accountant’s office- and he advertised that his specialty was filing taxes for the Prostitutes. There are also required routine medical test to make sure they aren’t passing on any diseases.
In Amsterdam, there are also brothels and individual escorts. All must be licensed. The brothels are located all around, not just the red light district. It is the responsibility of the brothels and the owners of the “windows” to make sure that the women are properly checked out, and that none of them are being forced into work by anyone else.
I don’t think much sleeping goes on in these rooms! This may have been a bordello, but no one would really give us an answer on that!
Museums, Museums…….. Everywhere!
Another interesting fact about Amsterdam is that it seems you can call just about anything a “museum” and charge people to enter. In the Red Light District there were The Sex Museum, The Eroticism Museum and The Museum of Prostitution, among others.
We visited The Museum of Prostitution. It was interesting, but I wouldn’t say we picked up any astonishing information, or learned any big fact about prostitution in the Red Light District that we hadn’t picked up by talking to someone we knew who lives in the area.
Patti in front of the Prostitution Museum
Obviously, we weren’t the only ones a bit curious about the famous “Red Light District.” It is estimated that over 6 million people visited the Red Light District of Amsterdam in 2017, and that over 60% of all tourist go to see it personally.
So, let’s see if we have this right. Prostitutes are licensed, taxes are paid, diseases are kept to a minimum, things are policed for everyone’s safety, the jails aren’t filled beyond capacity- and the rest of Amsterdam basically feels like “live and let live”- basically not caring if someone partakes or doesn’t partake.
Can someone explain to me why in the world our country is so antiquated and doesn’t do the same thing? If people want to participate in prostitution on either end of the spectrum, they are going to. Filling our jails with adults who have both consented to a sexual act doesn’t make sense to me. People involved in that act shouldn’t have to worry about their safety, whether it is the woman, or the man.
I’m all for the Amsterdam attitude of “live and let live” and “as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else, go ahead and do what you want.”
I hope this little article answers some of your curiosity about the Red Light District!
If you know me, you know that I love being pampered as much as the next girl! In fact, earlier this evening Don and I went for a 90 minute massage. We go pretty often. Many would call me spoiled, and I don’t feel bad about it for a minute.
Nails, pedicures, facials…… I’m a regular at pretty much all of them.
So, of course, when I saw an article about the most “out there” spa treatments, I was sucked into reading it stat!
The idea of most of them left me cold (or hot- but not in a good way!) Treatments where they switch from freezing you to heating your body parts with hot volcanic rocks, within moments of one another. People ringing little bells and making noises while you are having a massage. Metal bowls laid on your body, and sound vibrations being used to “calm you.”
Shammans, High Priestess’, detoxifications, Nature bathing, Chakra Clearing, Chants, Bell ringing……… the thrills go on and on.
The one that sounds like pure torture to me are the “silent spas.” Holy shit- people go for 2 to 5 DAYS without anyone talking? I would be out of my fucking MIND with days of total silence. Please, let me give birth to 12 elephants without an epidural before I have to sit around in complete silence! Are these people training to be some sort of monks? And for this people are paying good money? Something is wrong with this scene! THE SOUND OF SILENCE…. A little bit goes a LONG way in my book!
Call me old fashioned, but my idea of pampering is to take my clothes off and have someone massage me. I don’t want Chatty Cathy working on me, but should I want to let her know I’d like a little more pressure, I want to be able to speak up and get it done the way I like it!
Bells ringing, vibrations vibrating, chakras being cleared, water being poured on my head, rattles, wind chimes and other assorted “hocus-pocus” are just not my cup of tea.
Boring. Old fashioned. Dull. Call me what you want, but when I’m being pampered, I prefer things a little more subdued. I don’t feel the need for the Shaman and his dancing band of thieves to show up and set up a show. I think my Chakras are doing, fine, thanks for asking. I’ll keep the bells on the windchimes outdoors.
Give me a quiet room, a little bit of “Origami music” (check out my Origami music side story, which is at the end of this blog) and if we are really going all out- a heated bed, and I’m a pretty darned happy camper. I prefer the “cozy” of a warm massage bed to the extremes of being frozen and heated to excess……
So, as I previously said- Keep the bells, the Shamans, the dings and the dongs, the good vibrations (I’ll keep the vibrating to the privacy of my own bedroom, thank you very much). Just get out the massage oil, a semi dark room, my man on the adjoining massage table, and let’s stick to the basics.
Now that I mentioned “Origami music” I feel the need to explain. A number of years ago, I owned a gift ware company. When we worked the gift shows, it was damned hard work- on your feet for 8+ hours straight, trying to write as many orders as possible to keep the company profitable. I always took 2 other girlfriends with me to work the markets.
At the LA gift show they had chair massage set up. I told the girls that if we made a certain goal that day, I’d spring for chair massage on our way out. Sure enough, goal achieved we went to get the massage. My friend Kim was one of the hardest working people EVER. Always doing for others, but seldom doing anything for herself…….. So, as we all settle in our chair massage contraptions, and just start to relax, Kim says, in all seriousness…. “This is great, but we need a little of that Origami music.”
HUH? Origami music? What is that, music to fold paper by?
To this day, I can’t hear “massage music” without thinking about it being “Origami music.” Thanks for about 20 years of laughs over that one Kim Hartley!