Browsing Category

Royal Ramblings!

Faster Than A Jet On Takeoff……

Adventures With Attitude!, Everyday Magic!, Health = Happiness!, Living a Royal Life, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, Travel and Adventure, You Can't Make This Shit Up!
Photo credit, Matt Ben Stone Photography

Denise Mueller-Korenek                                                                                                     Photo credit, Matt Ben Stone Photography

Faster Than a Jet on Takeoff!

I recently joined my local Soroptimist Club. Before joining, I knew a handful of the women in the club, and they were all women I admired and thought highly of.  When I attended my first meeting, was I impressed to learn that one of the members had set a world record for speed on a bicycle.

Just the weekend before I met Denise Mueller-Korenek, Don and I had rented electric bikes and took a ride around Mission Bay in San Diego for a few hours.  I had managed to take a spill on the bike, when I was stopping to talk to Don, and had basically scraped the crap out of my body.  After my fall, going about  12 miles per hour on the bikes had me scared spitless! All I could think of was the damage that could be done to my body if I fell while going “full speed!”  It had me as nervous as a mouse in a cathouse!

So….. imagine what I thought when I heard that Denise had broken “land speed records” on a bike!  I figured she had gone maybe as fast as 40 miles and hour or something!  No. She hadn’t gone 40 miles an hour.  Not even 50 miles an hour.  She had gone 183.9 miles per hour.  On a bike. WHAT??????

In my wildest imagination, I can’t even begin to think what it would be like to go that speed on a bicycle!  183 MPH is faster than the takeoff speed of a JET!  And all she had to protect her beautiful limbs and head during the process were a leather riding suit and a helmet!

An Awe-Inspiring Woman!

The first thing I thought when I met Denise is that I need to get to know this woman better, and I have to do an interview with her for my blog!  Talk about “Leading a Royal Life!”  This is a woman who isn’t sitting back waiting for life to give her an adventure!  She has taken adventure by the balls, and given them a big SQUEEZE!

Denise agreed to sit down with me and explain HOW it is that a woman goes God-danged near the speed of light, on a bicycle!

When Denise broke the world speed record for a bike on September 16, 2018 it was far from the first impressive goal she had set for herself, or- for that matter, the first world record she had broken! Not by any means!  Denise started competing and earning titles in racing bikes when she was 14 years old.  The minute she tried downhill mountain bike racing she was hooked and went on to earn the Silver medal in the Junior World Championships in 1991. When she hit 19 she stopped competing, and basically didn’t even get on a bike again throughout the years that she married and raised her 3 boys.

The Sign at Bonnevile Flats Photo credit Matt Ben Stone Photography

The Sign at Bonnevile Salt Flats                                                                                                                  Photo credit Matt Ben Stone Photography

The Competitive Bug Bites Again

When Denise was raising her boys, she realized the only way she could consistently get a workout in was when she went to a 5 AM class.  It was at that class that she met 3 women who were training to compete in the San Diego Rock & Roll marathon.  Denise and some others decided to go and support their friends, and that’s when the ” competitive bug” hit Denise once again. She decided that she would compete in the 2010 marathon with her middle son.

I guess the saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” has more truth to it than you might imagine, because her son Michael Boever decided he wanted to run 19 1/2 marathons that year at the age of 16. Setting, and achieving goals obviously runs in the blood with this family!

That followed up with Denise running 1/2 marathons with all 3 of her sons within 3 years.

In 2012 Denise ran into her old cycling coach, John Howard, and he told her he’d love to see her participate in a charity event.  Denise hadn’t been on a bike in nearly 20 years, but agreed to do it.

The athlete on her bike. Photo credit Jinna Albright Photography

The athlete on her bike.                                                                                                                                   Photo credit: Jinna Albright Photography

That’s when the “bug” hit her again. Denise planned to break a record in 2016 when she was being towed behind a Range Rover at the Bonneville flats. Unfortunately, after training intensively for 2 years, the last day she was to compete it rained.  At this point, although she had already achieved a  1st ever Women’s record at 147.7 mph, she knew she could do even better! Instinctively, she immediately announced, “We are coming back next year to do this.” (Just as this 2018 record , a distinction needs to be made between being towed to start pedaling vs being towed the whole way.  Some people think she was towed the whole way, which is not true.  She needs to be towed only to be able to turn the large gear over herself,  then she continues increasing speed unattached, but “surfing” the draft of air.)

That wasn’t to be, however, because her sponsor let her know that they couldn’t provide the Range Rover again in 2017, so she had to come up with “Plan B.”  Plan B was to beat the world speed record set by Fred Rompelberg in 1995, which had stood for 23 years.  His speed had been 166.9 MPH. And she would do it behind the same vehicle that Fred had used.  The vehicle required extensive rehabilitation, having not been used for a long time. Denise and her team worked to get her, and the vehicle “up to speed” (no pun intended) so she could compete at Bonneville in September 2018.  With her specially equipped bike, her coach John Howard and race car driver Shea Holbrook they were ready to go for the record breaking ride of a lifetime.

Shea Holbrook, who drove the race car, poses with Denise. Photo credit, Jinna Albright Photography

Shea Holbrook, who drove the race car, poses with Denise.                                                                  Photo credit, Jinna Albright Photography

Denise explained the way it worked. She had to be pulled behind the special vehicle until they got up to a speed of 110 MPH, then she unhooked from the car and rode in the airstream, pedaling until she hit the 183.9 average speed.  Denise’s son was driving the vehicle that followed to pick her up after the ride. Her husband, Chris followed in another sponsor vehicle from Optec to pick up the race car at the end.

Mueller-Korenek told me what it was like when her son came up beside her, doing a facebook live and told her that they had determined her speed at over 183 MPH. All they planned to do was 170 MPH to beat the record previously set by Rompelberg.  Denise said she screamed “WHAT?” when she was told the speed she had hit.

The breaking of a world speed record... Photo credit, Matt Ben Stone Photography

The breaking of a world speed record…                                                                                                   Photo credit: Matt Ben Stone Photography

As she explained it to me, she was going the  average of 1 football field per second, behind the “cup” of the vehicle in front of her.  All she was concentrating on was staying upright and pedaling her fastest. There was no way she could take even a moment to look at her speedometer.

Think about that speed. Think for a moment what would happen if you lost your balance, while going over sand at that momentum.  Personally, although I am pretty much of a daredevil, I can’t even begin to think of the consequences of one slight misjudgment in timing.

There is no “practice” for this type of endeavor.  It’s a one shot event.  Denise prepped physically. She prepped mentally.  But she didn’t get to go to the Bonneville Salt Flats and give it a test run.  Unimaginable!

When I asked Denise what her family thought about her doing this, she said she had their support, because the whole family was used to setting goals and meeting them. She had done it numerous times, her sons had done it with their marathons and other goals, and it just didn’t occur to any of them she wouldn’t achieve the goal.

Denise at the Bonneville flats! She believed she could do it, and she did!

Denise at the Bonneville Salt Flats! She believed she could do it, and she did!                                Photo Credit: Matt Ben Stone Photography

What an inspiring story!  A 45 year old woman breaking a world speed record!  This isn’t a 20 something athlete, this is a mom of people in their 20’s!

What’s Next?

What happens now?  I’d think that if you accomplished what Denise has accomplished that would be enough. But I was  wrong in that assumption. After taking a few months off, Denise is now training to break a record on a special type of bike.  A “Faring Pod.”  This is a recumbent bike, completely encased within a “pod.” The one that Denise will compete in doesn’t even have a window.  You look at a video screen to see where you are going.  The current women’s record is set at 75.6.  Somehow, I don’t think that record will stand on the books for very long!  There is only one place where they run this race in the country.  On a special “road” in Nevada.  Denise plans to go there to break the record this September.  I don’t doubt for a minute that it will happen, do you?

When we give excuses about why we can’t accomplish one of our goals, we need to look at what this awe inspiring woman has accomplished.  She has overcome many of the excuses we constantly tell ourselves.  I’m too old.  It can’t be done.  I’m not as good a another person.  I don’t have the time.  I don’t have the resources. We all use these excuses day in and day out.  Yet Denise didn’t listen to those excuses.  She just decided she would, she could and she did.

What unachievable goal can you set for yourself?

Photo credit: David Kamatoy

An amazing goal is achieved!                                                                                                                                            Photo credit: David Kamatoy

Let’s Cancel Christmas!

Adventures With Attitude!, Comedy, Every Day is an Adventure, Living a Royal Life, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, You Can't Make This Shit Up!
Santa & Mrs. Claus still have that spark!

Santa & Mrs. Claus still have that spark!

I owe all of you a HUGE apology.  A lot of the controversy currently surrounding Christmas, some of the traditions and old time Christmas carols falls solely on my shoulders.  Last year I wrote an article for this blog entitled “Creepy Christmas Carols.” In this article I talked about the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and referred to it as the date rape song.  I mentioned “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” and how it exemplified bullying at it’s best.  Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer and We Wish You a Merry Christmas were all discussed for their questionable  content.  (You may want to refresh your memory by rereading said article, because, as with all of my writing, it’s brilliant.  And OBVIOUSLY, cutting edge.)

I Didn’t Know My Own Power…..

In bringing up all of the aforementioned songs, I was joking.  It was meant to be sarcastic.  BUT……….. alas…… being the HUGE SOCIAL INFLUENCER  that I am, it’s now obvious to me that people took me seriously, and started the campaign against these well loved and old time Christmas Carols!  My article obviously had not gone viral last year to the point that we needed to pull the songs from the radio in the 2017 Holiday season, but at the very onset of this Christmas season all of America was in an uproar over the contents of these songs! Radio stations have banned playing the songs. Baby It’s Cold Outside is now the song associated with date rape throughout the country.  Rudolph’s name will be forever linked with all of those who have been bullied in life!

It’s my fault! The “serious minded” in the country obviously didn’t understand my sarcastic sense of humor!

But let’s not let this trend stop here! There are still FAR more holiday songs and traditions that need to be removed from the season ASAP!  People still have a LOT to be offended about!

Just last week we had our home holiday party. Don dressed as Santa, and I dressed as Mrs. Claus.  Throughout the day, Don would look at me and say “HO HO HO!”  Did he not realize how offensive it was for him to call me that, especially in front of our friends?  Not to mention, I no longer fit the title of Ho, because since we have been together I have been walking the straight and narrow and have given up my “Ho-ey” ways…..

Don had 2 "Mrs. Claus'" to Ho, Ho, Ho to!

Don had 2 “Mrs. Claus'” to Ho, Ho, Ho to!

Most Christmas Songs Are Offensive…..

Then, before you know it, White Christmas comes on!  How offensive is this song to our black brothers, our Asian friends, many other cultures?  Is Christmas only for the privileged white people?  Offensive!  Completely offensive!

Sisters, sisters, never were there such devoted sisters!

“Sisters, sisters, never were there such devoted sisters!”  Straight from the offensive Christmas Song, White Christmas!

 

We Three Kings ……… SO sexist!  Are there only Kings?  No reigning Queens to go visit the Christ Child?  And is it just men who are wise? What are we women?  A bunch of dumb blondes?  They should definitely ban this one from the airwaves too! The sexism is blatant!  Not to mention, is it socially correct to call it “the orient” any longer?

And what about Frosty the Snowman?  He is obviously promoting smoking to vulnerable young children. Many of the Christian denominations don’t believe in dancing, and magic is a definite no-no, yet there is Frosty, wearing a magic hat and dancing around, offending the Baptist at every turn of his heel!

Silver Bells delights in Christmastime in the city.  But what about those who live in the country? Are they left  completely out of the holiday festivities?  There seems to be a definite prejudice here, another inequality that just can’t be tolerated. If you aren’t a city dweller this song makes it obvious that you have no worth, you have no reason to celebrate the holiday.  I am offended for all the farmers, all the country folks, all the small town families.  The song definitely needs to be banned from the season.

Last year I mentioned the  gold digger in Santa Baby, who is obviously using her womanly whiles to get Santa to leave her more than her fair share of holiday gifts!  In light of the “me too” movement, just think how much MORE offensive this song is!  It is promoting sexual harassment at its best!

It’s pretty clear to all that the song Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer is a clear case of elder abuse.  You can’t just go around running over senior citizens all willy-nilly and then sing about it as though nothing is wrong here! Christmas morning is going to be a bit dismal when Grandma is lying dead due to a renegade reindeer! This song also promotes drinking to excess and walking home. What are we teaching our children here? You’d think that Grandma could have learned drinking in moderation by her age, and imagine the whole family sitting by while off she staggers into the snow on her own!  Had no one heard of Uber or Lift?  Grandma could have gotten a WWI with this situation!  (Walking While Intoxicated.)  Not to mention Santa, with the hit and run manslaughter charges. Does he even own up to what he has done?  (Rudolph may not have been leading the charge on this particular Christmas, otherwise the red nose would have probably lit up grandma before the deadly deed occurred!)

Speaking of reindeer, and back to the Rudolph song, we don’t just have a problem here with bullying, there is a very definite strain of prejudice, once again playing out there.  EVERY SINGLE ONE of the animals pulling Santa’s sleigh are Reindeer!  No other species is represented in the song!  What’s wrong with zebras, horses, jackasses, unicorns or mules?  Aren’t they good enough for the fat ol’ guy? Prejudice at it’s best!

God Rest Ye’ Merry Gentlemen…… again, with the sexism!  Sure, the merry gentlemen get to rest during the holiday season, feet up, beer in hand, watching a football game, while we gals are cooking, baking Christmas cookies, cleaning, shopping for the gifts, whipping up the Christmas cheer, handling the kids with their sugar highs and multi-tasking like a whirling dervish.  Are WE allowed to rest?  No, just the merry gentlemen are getting the comfort and joy in this jolly tune!

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth might offend a meth addict who has lost their teeth.  How would you like to be poked fun at if you had a serious addiction?  We need to be far more tolerant of others’ problems, addictions and loss of teeth!

Then there is the old standard, Oh Come All Ye Faithful…. This one leaves out people who aren’t believers of Jesus as the Christ child.  How about including everyone?

The Twelve Days of Christmas is a strange one all the way around. Her true love is sending a REALLY strange set of gifts, the strangest being whole groups of HUMANS. First it starts out with all sorts of birds being sent, which I’m sure is offensive to animal rights activists. Then, groups of people are being sent. Eleven pipers piping? Ten lords a leaping?  Eight maids a milking? Who wants to be responsible for eight lactating women, large groups of men, dancers all over the house. Who would be responsible for feeding and housing this cast of dozens of strangers? Let’s just stick to tried and true Christmas gifts like jewelry, clothing and other trinkets, thank you very much.

The prejudice, scandal, sexism and offensive points just go on and on! Once you look closely you will realize that there is hardly a holiday song you can think of that is “offense free!”  This has got to stop! ALL CHRISTMAS MUSIC SHOULD BE BANNED IMMEDIATELY!

If you are familiar with the hysterical JP Sears, you’ll love his recent video about Baby It’s Cold Outside.

Offensive Christmas Songs: It’s More Than Just The Music!

But it’s not just the SONGS involved with the holiday season that are so offensive! Heck no!  It goes MUCH further than that! The fact that some of us still refer to them as Christmas songs is a BIG no-no right there!  They should be “Holiday Songs.”

The decorations, the traditions, the festivities……… ALL build layer upon layer of offensive-ness to the lives of Americans!

My sister lives in a condominium building in Arizona.  In their lobby is a Christmas tree AND a menorah, trying to represent both sides of the “holiday fence.” Alas, to go a step further, a few menorah decorations were put on the tree.  One of the Christians in the building had a complete melt-down that menorah decorations would be on the tree!  I’m guessing that there was also some Jewish grandmother who couldn’t BELIEVE they would put a menorah on a Christian Christmas tree.  (Thank goodness this was equally offensive to both sides of the “holiday fence.”) Of course, those that celebrate Kwanza were offended that no Kwanza decorations were put up in the lobby to represent them……..

People are offended that Santa is considered a male, and isn’t “gender neutral!” Well, too bad that he is derived from a MALE Saint in the first place!  For the love of God, let’s just forget that and give his sexuality a make-over and make him gender neutral! After all, we are moving right into 2019 and both women AND men have a right to see Santa in their public bathrooms!  Check out what people in The Big Apple have to say about a gender neutral Santa… 

Mrs. Claus sexually harrassing Don

I guess Mrs. Claus is sexually harassing this poor guy! Maybe they will want me in next year’s Macy’s parade as the first “gender neutral” Santa!

Then there is the old movie A Christmas Story.  People don’t want that played any longer because it also promotes bullying!  Yep! There is a fight in the movie, and we all know that fights just don’t happen in real life, every incidence of fights between kids is a definite result of bullying!  But people have missed some of the other GLARING problems with the movie! If you remember the main point of the movie, little Ralphie wants, more than anything, a Red Rider BB Gun!  HOW OFFENSIVE to give this small boy a GUN!  The movie should be banned just on that offensive point alone!  Then, to add insult to injury, the boy receives a bunny costume for a gift!  I find it offensive that he should be dressed as yet another character that has SO many concepts that could be offensive to people!  (Let’s not even get started on Easter.  It has it’s own whole level of offensiveness!) Then, adding further to the many offensive things in this movie, the family ends up having to eat Christmas dinner in a Chinese restaurant. The blatant mispronunciation of  English is offensive to all Asians who have trouble pronouncing their “R’s”…..“Deck the Halls with bows of Whorey“…..

Gift giving and gift buying is another part of the holiday that is offensive to people.  Your budget might be tighter than my budget. Let’s think about this.  How unfair is this?  If little Tommy gets more gifts than little Mary (who may have started out life as little Timmy, but doesn’t sexually identify with being Timmy, so she is now Mary), how do you think Mary is going to feel?  In a society where EVERYONE gets a trophy, is it FAIR that someone gets to have something more than another?  It is clear that gift giving needs to be stopped so that no one is left out of the equation.

What if I Didn’t Think My Sweater Was Ugly?

This is an "oldie but goodie"- and a great example of an "ugly sweater" I thought was beautiful! Excuse the orbs in the picture. Obviously, the Ghost of Christmas past making an appearance.....) I thought this was a beautiful sweater. Now that Ive had it for about 15 years, it has attended more ugly sweater parties than you can imagine!

This is an “oldie but goodie”- and a great example of an “ugly sweater” I thought was beautiful! Excuse the orbs in the picture. Obviously, the Ghost of Christmas past making an appearance…..) I thought this was a beautiful sweater. Now that I’ve had it for about 15 years, it has attended more ugly sweater parties than you can imagine!

You may not realize that some of the holiday sweaters women of my age group have are sweaters we once purchased because we found them lovely.  NOW they are considered UGLY SWEATERS, and complete parties rotate around these sweaters! Does anyone care about OUR feelings? How do you think we feel when our kids go into our stash of holiday clothing to wear something to the holiday office ugly sweater party?  We are crushed, at the deepest level of our core.  Psychological devastation is occurring again and again.  But we try to buck up and work through it!  When we walk into the local Goodwill and see whole racks of sweaters with a sign saying “UGLY SWEATERS” and we note that 5 of them are exact duplicates of sweaters we have owned over the years, do the Millennials give our tender feelings one moment of consideration?

The “White” Elephant in the Room

Most of us have participated in White Elephant gift exchanges. What is the hidden meaning behind the name of this game?  A white elephant is less desirable than the average gray elephant?  Only gray elephants should be accepted? Another sort of prejudice that is being propagated through the traditions of Christmas!  And what does the game itself represent?  You open a gift you might like, but someone can come along, and it they like it, they can just steal it away from you, without any consideration of whether or not you might want to keep your new little treasure?  Promoting stealing, lack of consideration and respect for one another could just be about the top of the offensive ladder!

Our friend Joanna won the ultimate "white elephant" at our White Elephant party this year! Did anyone think about the white elephants feelings?

Our friend Joanna won the ultimate “white elephant” at our White Elephant party this year! Did anyone think about the white elephants feelings?

Just today on one of my local Facebook “garage sale” sites, a woman posted a “hipster nativity set” she was trying to sell. I immediately chuckled when I saw it, then I glanced at the comments.  Offensive!  Poor taste!  Should be removed! On and on! Where are people’s sense of humor??????? Get over yourselves people- you are taking life WAY too seriously!  Not to mention, you being constantly offended is offending ME!

I thought this was really funny, but, alas, should I have been surpised at the number of people who were IMMEDIATELY offended?

I thought this was really funny, but, alas, should I have been surprised at the number of people who were IMMEDIATELY offended?

Strangers Among Us!

Christmas Caroling- another in a long line of offensive holiday practices.  Just last week, on my Nextdoor app. We had someone complaining about carolers who came around their house. They called the local police, complaining that these strangers were ruining their right to peace and quiet in their home!  Imagine the lack of consideration of those people, walking up and down neighborhood streets, singing holiday songs (all of which were probably offensive)!  No wonder this gentleman felt the need to call the local police!  Things like this have to be stopped! You can’t have “strangers” caroling uninvited around your homes! Who knows what evil could lurk in the hearts of carolers?

Carolers we had table-side when we dined at the Mission Inn in Riverside a few weeks ago. Their repertoire will probably be VERY limited once all the offensive Christmas Carols are banned!

Carolers we had table-side when we dined at the Mission Inn in Riverside a few weeks ago. Their repertoire will probably be VERY limited once all the offensive Christmas songs are banned!

The conclusion that I have come to is that we need to just completely cancel Christmas and all that is attached to it. Festivities of all kinds need to stop, because there is just far too much of it that is offensive.  In fact, try and come up with a part of the equation that ISN’T offensive!  You will be hard pressed.

Since this whole thing got started by my article last year, I am just throwing the solution out there.  Cancel the whole thing. Then there will be nothing left to be offended by……. Or to bitch about…….. Or will there?

 

 

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

Adventures With Attitude!, Every Day is an Adventure, Everyday Magic!, Fabulous After 50, Living a Royal Life, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, Sexy After 60!

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!

 

 

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”

Adventures With Attitude!, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, Living a Royal Life, My Humble Opinion, Out and About, Productions & Concerts, Royal Ramblings!, Sexy After 60!
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!

Living A Royal Life… Part 1 of 3

Adventures With Attitude!, Every Day is an Adventure, Living a Royal Life, Royal Ramblings!, Sensational after 70!, Sexy After 60!

Living a “Royal Life”

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!

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!