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Tea With The Queen!

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Join me for a fun and fabulous Holiday Tea in my home on December 10th. This is a fundraiser to support my Soroptomist Club. Please go here to reserve your spot! Space is limited!

Not only will you get to enjoy delicious home made goodies, and a signature drink, but you can finish your holiday shopping too!

“Dress for Less?” NO! Dress for FREE!

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Ladies listening to talk
The ladies being given the big list of “2 Rules” before shopping!

We hear a lot about dressing for less, sustainable fashion, thrifting and doing with less. How about dressing for free? Who wouldn’t love to dress for free?

A while back, when I was married to a financial IDIOT, there was absolutely no money left at the end of the month for buying clothes. Heck, there wasn’t even enough money to pay the bills, lets be honest! There I was, working as a Realtor, in the day where you wore a suit, heels and PANTYHOSE for work every day. To “be a success,” you had to dress in the “appropriate attire!” Great if there was money to do so. One can only rework your combinations of suits so many ways before you begin to look tired, and feel bored!

Woman in Chinese robe
Char got this AMAZING Chinese silk robe with embroidery at one of the swaps! The back has a huge stitched dragon on it! I was a bit jealous of this one!

A PLAN IS FORMED

I had had an idea kicking around in my head, but wasn’t sure how to do it, or if it would even work. I decided to try to put together a clothing swap, where a bunch of women got together and brought some of the stuff from their closet that they weren’t wearing. I didn’t have a big “structure” to it. No specific way for it to be done. I just wanted to get together for a fun evening, and hopefully everyone would find something fun to add to their wardrobe. At that time I had never heard of anyone doing it.

I’ll never forget the week I was having the first swap. My computer had crashed and wiped out my whole client data base. My phone had crashed and wiped out all of the phone numbers for friends, family and clients. I had 3 big escrows fall completely apart (all of the properties I had in escrow at the time I believe). I had WAY more bills to pay then there was money, in fact, it was probably one of the million times my ex had managed to overdraw our bank account by thousands of dollars……….

Not my best week, to say the least!

Char got this gorgeous LBD at one of the clothing swaps. Imagine the places you could wear this little number!
Stella in a classic white top and slacks she got at one of the recent swaps!

But, we had the clothing swap set. It was to take place at another woman’s much bigger home. I went, feeling about as low and depressed as I think I possibly could! We had a few dozen women, there was a lot of laughter, a few drinks, and FREE clothes to shop for! I remember coming home at the end of that party, with a huge stack of beautiful clothing- much of it with BRAND NEW TAGS on it! I couldn’t have felt more lifted up! It had been forever and a day since I had had anything new to wear. And here I was, with what seemed like a new WARDROBE! I remember one outfit- a turquoise top with a long golden India inspired skirt. The woman who had brought it to the swap said she’d only worn it once. I LOVED it! I had the perfect belt and jewelry at home. There was a Realtor’s event coming up at the race track, so I took a hat I owned, spray painted it bronze like the belt, added some flowers and turquoise trim and felt like a million dollars- all for the price of the paint and flowers!

My daughter KT with one of her finds! This dress looks GREAT on her for business functions!
My daughter KT with one of her finds! This dress looks GREAT on her for business functions!

AN ADDICTION IS SEEDED…

That was the beginning of two addictions- clothing swaps and dressing for little to no money, and still looking like a million dollars! Here I am- twelve years later, LONG away from that financial sucking marriage, in a position to spend whatever I want on clothes, but still LOVING “dressing on a dime!” It’s my passion!

It’s a rare day that I don’t get a number of compliments on what I’m wearing, and that I have gone into a clothing store and paid retail for ANYTHING I wear, other than undergarments and shoes.

Woman posing in dress
This fun and comfy little dress could go from casual to dinner, depending on the accessories you’d choose! Not bad for FREE!

COULD I spend more on my clothing? ABSOLUTELY! I’d rather spend my money on travel, adventure and nice restaurants. OK, I’ll admit, I’d rather have a $15.00 fancy-schmancy martini, than spend $150.00 on a dress. It is about priorities. There is no better money spent than on travel, in my opinion, and I’d rather travel more lavishly, and go looking great in an out fit I spent five dollars on!

Woman in black dress.
Karen found this great dress at one of our swaps! Imagine what you could do with it! Here she wore it to my Breakfast at Tiffany’s brunch. It would also make a great flapper dress, not to mention a fabulous LBD for a dinner date!

IT’S SIMPLE, NOT STRUCTURED!

People always ask me what the “formula” is for the clothing swaps. A question I get often is, “Do people get to take one item for every item they bring?” or “Do they put the value of an item and trade for similar costs?” OH HELL NO! Ain’t nobody got time for THAT! I’m not into all that structure!

Woman in robe
Char found this fabulous brocade robe, lined in terrycloth at one of the clothing swaps! So pretty and so cozy!

The way we do it is SIMPLE! I just put up a few clothing racks and make sure there is some table space cleared. As the women come in, they hang up clothes where they can pile folded things, and come into the kitchen for a little food (and a signature martini.) Everyone brings a little something to share.

I ask the women not to start “shopping” until it looks like most of the women are there and the clothes have been put out. That way everyone is on a pretty even playing field. I’ve only had that rule, and one other in the dozens and dozens of clothing swaps I have done.

Woman posing in outfit
I got the lime green jacket at one of the swaps, along with the necklace. Neither are something I would have bought, but I’ve worn both NUMEROUS times! The dress is a Ralph Lauren that I got with new tags ($138.00) at a resale store for about $10.00! It makes me think of a Monet painting! Not bad for a $10.00 outfit, huh? BTW- You can purchase this purse from my on line store!

The second rule had to be put out there after someone showed up with her daughter, and, unbeknownst to me, grabbed huge stacks of clothing and walked out the door stating they could get money selling them……SERIOUSLY? So now I give a little 1 minute talk before declaring it “shopping time.” My talk is basically, “Don’t be a piggy! Take a few items, try them on and then take a few more when you put the ones you don’t want back on the racks.” It’s pretty simple!

What typically happens is that women who may not even know each other grab something off a rack, hold it up and say to another woman, “This would look great on you! You should try it on!”

A happy clothing swap participant! You can see the melee’ in the background! Clothes and people EVERYWHERE!

When I have the swaps I have to send my man away for the evening. We have women in every nook and cranny of the house trying on clothes. Every surface is usually COVERED in clothing. One woman might find 10 items she loves. Another, only one. Often women bring in huge bags of clothing, and they tell us they don’t want to take anything home. They are purging!

At the end of every swap I have numerous black trash bags full of clothing that gets donated to a local women’s charity. If there are women at the event who have a charity they’d like to take some of the clothes to, they are more than welcome to grab them and donate them.

WHAT IS VIABLE TO BRING?

Woman in black dress
Char got this gorgeous LBD at one of the clothing swaps. Imagine the places you could wear this little number!

What gets brought to the clothes swap? Obviously women’s clothing, but we’ve had some gals clean out hubby’s closet and bring those clothes. Kids’ clothes too! Shoes, belts, jewelry, scarves, parkas…… anything you can think of. We’ve even had some really great household knick-knack stuff brought here and there, and it’s usually snapped right up!

Some of my FAVORITE clothes have come from these clothing swaps! I personally HATE to spend money on exercise clothes. I am not one to wear casual clothes much, and my exercise clothes get worn for one thing……. working out. I have gotten GREAT exercise leggings, tops, tennies, sports bras,,,,,,everything I need to go to the gym! It’s like a DOUBLE BONUS to me to get this stuff free. None of it is that attractive to me, so being able to go work out without spending money on that ugly stuff make me REALLY smile!

Stella and Patti in clothes from one of the swaps.
Stella and Me at one of the swaps, both wearing outfits we have gotten previously at a clothing swap.

There is definitely something about bringing items from your closet, and kind of “knowing” the person who ends up with it! It seems easier to part with those pieces of clothing that might have cost you a lot when you bought them! We’ve even had a mini “fashion show” a few times when I’ve asked women to come wearing something they got at a previous clothing swap! Women always get a kick seeing someone else wearing what they have brought!

Gerri, shopping outside at a clothing swap
Gerri shopping. We had so many clothes we had to move racks outside to fit everything!

It’d do great to bring items from your closet, and kind of “knowing” the person who ends up with it! It seems easier to part with those pieces of clothing that might have cost you a lot when you bought them! We’ve even had a mini “fashion show” a few times when I’ve asked women to come wearing something they got at a previous clothing swap! Women always get a kick seeing someone else wearing what they have brought!

People ask if there are “fights” over the clothes. I won’t lie. There have been times for all of us where someone else spotted something we would have loved to have. But, it’s all in good clean fun. Many times two gals have had their eye on something, and one kindly says to the other, “You take it. It’s going to look better on you!” Stella and I both grabbed for the same pearl and rhinestone “statement necklace” one time, so we decided to have shared custody of it. We pass it back and forth as desired!

All in all, my clothing swaps are a hit. I’ve only been to one other than the ones I put on. I loved it. I’m a bit confused as to how I got there, however. I got an invitation through Facebook. I didn’t recognize the names of the gals putting it on, but I figured one of them probably had come to one of mine as a guest of a friend and decided to reciprocate. I went. They didn’t know me and couldn’t figure out how I had been invited. I didn’t know them. It didn’t matter, because I ended up with a boatload of great clothes!

Woman with a martini
I don’t know if Ohla found any new clothes, but she definitely found the martinis!

If you haven’t tried doing a clothing swap, do it! It’s a great way to weed out the dead wood in your closet and to get some fun new garments. At the very least, it’s a great excuse for a girls night out!

Picture of martinis
We can’t just shop! There are always martinis and food involved too! This time they had 2 different martini choices!

If you haven’t been following me on Instagram, I invite you to do so. @TheQueenofDarnNearEverything. I often post my “dressing on a dime” outfits, which come either from clothing swaps, thrift stores or plain ol’ hand me downs! It’s a fun way to see how you can dress on almost no money!

October is Breast Cancer RESOURCE Month!

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When dealing with cancer, giving up is NOT an option!

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

October has come to be known throughout our country as “breast cancer awareness month.” Someone asked me the other day, “What the hell does that mean?” We are all pretty aware that breast cancer is rampant. I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t been touched by it in a profound way, or is unaware it exists. Everyone seems to have a sister who had it, a friend who is dealing with it, a friend’s parent who died from it, or the neighbor who is suffering from it- most of us have a number of people we know who have been through it, if it hasn’t hit us personally.

People who aren’t too close to it may not realize how financially devastating dealing with cancer can be. Some think that everything is covered by insurance- so what’s the big deal? However, many things aren’t covered at all. Some only partially. My good friend thought she had a great insurance policy, until she got cancer. Then she realized that “outpatient” procedures weren’t covered. Chemotherapy and radiation are outpatient procedures. She had bills in the tens of thousands in a matter of one treatment round. (She has been getting treatment now- every 3 weeks for over 6 years…… add that one up!)

Then there are the treatments. There is a biopsy. Then possible mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. None of the 3 are a walk in the park. A combination of them is a very tough nut to crack. The way one person’s body reacts is completely different than how another’s reacts. No one knows what to expect until they go through it. And while they are going through it, day-to-day life goes on. After the actual treatment there may be reconstructive surgeries. More recovery. More missed work and downtime to deal with, not to mention the pain!

Can we also consider it Breast Cancer RESOURCE Month?

AVOID STRESS

Then….. there is the stress. Stress of the unknown. Stress about how to continue working, taking care of a family and paying your bills. Stress over the fact that the treatment your doctor would REALLY like to see you have isn’t covered by your insurance plan. Stress about how you look, how you feel, if you will recover. Stress about whether the treatments are working, will continue to work, and if they will completely cure the cancer, or if it will morph to another area of your body, or if it will show up in another form. Once you are considered “cured”- stress over the tests years later to make sure you are still clear of cancer.

The stress is ironic, because what’s the first thing EVERY doctor tells you? AVOID STRESS! Sure doc, that’s just what the little ladies facing their breasts being cut up, throwing up from chemo, and being burned by radiation are going to do. They are going to AVOID STRESS! That’s a great piece of advice.

I could describe the journey of woman after woman. Many who I know personally. My longest-time friend, Linda has been battling cancer for over 6 years. My sister went through it 5 years ago. Two different wonderful women I know through business networking groups we were in years ago recently went through it. A friend I know from dancing is going through the battle right now. Every one has had a different journey, every one has had a different treatment, everyone has had a different attitude.

Instead of those stories, I decided to share some resources that I am aware of that help women going through breast cancer. A few are national and some are local to Southern California. (If we have something here, there is likely something like it near you too. )

SHADES OF PINK CALIFORNIA

Shades of Pink California  board of directors
Shades of Pink California board of directors

Shades of Pink California is an amazing resource for women here in the San Diego area. (There is also another Shades of Pink in Michigan, which our local group was modeled after.)

What they do is to provide $2,000 grants to women going through active breast cancer to help with unexpected financial challenges. Potential grantees are referred to the organization by oncology nurses and nurse advocates at local San Diego area hospitals. About 90% of the grants are used to pay rent. Almost all grants are awarded within 48 hours of the application, quickly easing a bit of the stress the women are dealing with.

Local Encinitas resident Vembra Holnagel currently heads up the 6 year old foundation which she helped to put together with her daughter and a few other friends. I know Vembra to be a “giver” since WAYYYYY back. We worked on fundraisers together when our children were in grade school. She hasn’t changed. She continues to make our community a better place for those in it!

Shades of pink tee shirt
Shades of pink tee shirt

Stories about the women they have impacted, or how to donate to this small, but powerful organization can be found on their website. This is an article that the Union Tribune recently published about Shades of Pink California.

CLEANING FOR A REASON

This is the best thing EVER! In fact, it is what originally got me thinking about doing this article. Cleaning for a Reason is nationwide with 547 partner companies donating their cleaning services. If a woman is undergoing chemotherapy they provide FREE housecleaning once per month for 4 months!

How amazing is THAT? All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor give them a note confirming the treatment.

As women, when our house is out of order it adds to our stress. When you are ill, the last thing you want to do is clean your home, and adding a paid house-cleaner would just add to the financial burden already mounting up. I have to give Kudos to whoever came up with this idea, and God bless the companies that participate! Pass the word on this one to someone you know who might be able to use the help. I’m sure that if you felt so moved, you could also donate to this great cause!

CHEMOCARS

Have you ever thought about the logistics of someone getting to and from chemotherapy and radiation treatments? Sure, many may have a spouse, friend or loved one who can pitch in and help them. But what about those who don’t? What about people who aren’t well enough to drive, or don’t own a car?

A young man named Zah Bolster, living in the Charlotte area saw the need firsthand when he took his own mother to her treatments. He came up with an ingenious plan, and partnered with Lyft and Uber to provide special ultra low rates to transport patients. So far, ChemoCars is only in the Charlotte area, but he hopes to expand the service to help other patients throughout the country.

BE WELL

Yoga is known to be a stress reliever, and Be Well offers Yoga for those working through cancer, those in recovery and their caretakers. Classes focus on using the breath as a vehicle to cleanse the body and calm the mind, building strength, improving balance, increasing flexibility, improving the body’s immune system, and creating a state of deep relaxation to help promote self-healing. Classes are offered throughout San Diego and Riverside counties. Their website also lists a number of resources that I have not covered in this article! Be sure to check out their fabulous list

TATTOOBIE

Alissa Leahi is a cancer surTHRIVor. At 39, still reeling from the breakup of her marriage and with 2 small daughters she found out she had breast cancer. Her first surgery removed all breast and nipple tissue. It was followed by other surgeries and chemotherapy.

Alissa’s attitude throughout was pretty amazing. Her mom brought up the idea of masectomy tattoo art. It was a new idea to Alissa, who had never heard of it. However, there was one problem. Alissa couldn’t decide on just one piece of art to live with permanently. So, she came up with the idea of Tattoobies- temporary tattoos designed especially for women with breast reconstruction following mastectomy. These beautiful temporary tattoos help women to feel beautiful and in charge of their body and body image. I love their tagline, “Tattoobie is on a mission to reconnect every woman with her inner artist, warrior, and exhibitionist through playful sensuality and bold self-celebration.”

For every set of Tattoobies sold, one is donated to a woman going through cancer. Isn’t that impressive? Go to their site, and tell a woman who can benefit from Tattoobies to visit too!  

SUSAN G. KOMEN

The Susan G. Komen foundation is best known for the big “3 Day Breast Cancer Walk.” It was suggested to me that I might connect with them to see what they offer. The link here goes to the San Diego area, however, I’m sure you can find them anywhere. When I went to their link, services include care coordination, food assistance, financial resources, healthcare assistance, support groups, transportation assistance and more. They seem to be very well rounded in the services and help they can provide to women dealing with this beast!

I saw this tee shirt and just had to put it in this post.
You can get it here.

THE CARE PROJECT

The CARE Project Inc., is a non-profit organization created by a breast cancer survivor to emotionally and financially support male and female breast cancer patients. Located in The Inland Empire in Southern California, they give one time grants for utility bills, rental assistance, gift cards for groceries and household items, Chemo “CARE” packages and more. The even have a Prom Project, where they will help a teen of a patient get to prom by sponsoring all their prom expenses!

Their website also lists a number of fabulous resources to be found in their area.

SEXY SURVIVORS

What an amazing group! This organization doesn’t just help cancer patients, but also veterans who have been through trauma. The founders knew that body-confidence and relationships deteriorate during treatment and surgeries. This effects both the survivor, their partner, and the family. The patient often isn’t given the tools and resources to deal with the changes in their bodies, the reaction of others, and the way this will effect intimate relationships. Check out their website to learn more!

SUPPORT GROUPS

My mother went through cancer over 40 years ago. Back then there was a national support group called Make Today Count, which was for people with long term or life threatening illnesses and their families. My mother and I attended regularly, and my sisters were also involved. Having other people who were going through, or HAD gone through similar experiences helped us more than I can say.

I don’t know that Make Today Count even exists today, but many hospitals, hospice organizations and cancer organizations offer support groups. Google your area and you will see what is available.

Keep in mind, each and every one of this type of group will have a different “personality.” Depending on who is leading the group, what the organization over the group is, and the particular attendees, they will all feel very different. If one doesn’t seem to be a fit for you, try another. Just like every Zumba class you attend will have totally different songs, energy and passion, so will a support group! Make sure the one you choose “dances” to your beat!

In sharing these resources, I obviously haven’t even put one drop into an ocean the size of the Pacific. However, if one of these resources can be of help to even one woman that is reading this, or one woman that you know, or I know, it’s worth having written it.

KEEP ‘EM HEALTHY!

Meanwhile, ladies- do what you can for breast health. Many of you do mammography. I personally don’t do that any more. I believe that the crushing of my breast, which have implants, along with the radiation is a bigger risk than it’s worth.

If you wonder what “the girls” look like with thermography, these are mine last year.

Personally, I use thermography– which is said to find breast cancer 6-8 YEARS before it will be found on a mammogram, and I do breast ultrasound. Many insurances won’t cover these procedures, but whether they would be covered or not, I feel it’s worth it to keep my breasts healthy, happy, unradiated and unsmooched!

I am by no means giving medical advise, I’m just sharing what I believe and what I do to know my boobies are safe. My sister went through breast cancer about 5 years ago, and should anything ever decide to take up residence in my girls…….. I want to know as far ahead as possible!

So, as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel says, “Tits Up!”

.

Coach or Con?

Raves & Rotten Reviews, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, Uncategorized, work

Patti recently at a "branding seminar."

Patti recently at a “branding seminar.” Do I appear to be GRIMACING?????

Motivation Moment Momma

I love to learn and feel that we can always pick up new ideas and skills, and build upon those we already have. Being a former Toastmaster, I love hearing a good speaker, and watching a powerful presenter on state.  That being said, I have attended various “motivational” type of seminars for years.  I’ve been to many of them— the “Success Seminars” that used to come around yearly In our area, Tony Robbins and many others.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when you get an invitation to a “free” all day seminar, you are going to be upsold.  I get that.  I’ve bought various training CD’s over the years, and have worked with Real Estate coaches through the Tom Ferry company.  I know that people putting on seminars are there to make money.

However, an experience that I recently had with one of these “gurus” left me a bit unsettled.  No, I’m lying when I say that. It left me irritated, angry and outraged, if the truth be told.  Recently, I received an invitation to a one day “branding” seminar in San Diego.  On the advertisement for the day you see a number of celebrity’s faces, making you think that they will be a part of the event.  Instead, when I arrived at the said address, it turned out to be a small Marriott hotel in Mission Valley, and the meeting was being held in a small ballroom.

The woman who greeted participants upon arrival wasn’t the most cheerful or friendly person I’ve ever met, but by the end of the day I understood why that might well be. They advertise that registration started at 8, the event at 9.  Not knowing what morning traffic might be like, I always like to leave a bit of extra time.  I got there about 8:20, and was tersely informed that the doors would open at 8:50. That was interesting, because the lobby had about 4 chairs, all occupied.  There is nothing better than standing around in your heels for 30 minutes. I found it interesting that you not only had to show your ticket for this small event, but had to prove it was you with a state issued ID.  Did they think that ticket scalpers were copying and  selling tickets to this FREE  event in some seedy back alleys of San Diego? It was seriously an unneeded step to the “checking in” process. She was sitting there with her laptop, after all, and this wasn’t a 20,000 person amphitheater..

The meeting room was set up for about 80-100 people, not a surging mass of humanity, by any means.  The morning was started out by two different speakers. One of them was far more polished than the other, but they both gave some interesting information.  Then, speaker number 2, a man named Reggie got us prepared for his “boss”- a person I will call “The Wolf.” You may ask why I would refer to him as “The Wolf” rather than his real name?  I have been told by people I know in the industry that if you refer to this clown by name, he will, in no short term have his lawyers  all over you like flies on shit.  So, I won’t be referring to this guy by name, but his name is actually an animal VERY close to a wolf…..

I had no idea that “The Wolf”  was the man behind the event when I signed up, but I’ll be honest….. I didn’t have any idea who he was anyway.

“The Wolf” is about 36 years old, and took command of the small group of people.  He began to share about his big event that he puts on, which is going to be in Anaheim Nov 20-24th.  Initially I was interested.  He told how he works with a number of celebrities and has them talk at the event.  Rudy Giuliani, Silvester Stallone, Arnold Swarzenager………. On and on went the list  went.  “The Wolf” told us about his event, how he got where he was, etc. He even admitted that he pays the celebrities a HUGE amount of money to be there, so that he is a success “by association”... a step he teaches at the one day seminar.

I was still neutral about him by the time we broke for lunch.  I thought he was arrogant, but probably had some valuable information I could learn from.  I admit, I purchased his  $250 program where you could listen to all of his training programs.  Again, I believe we all can learn and improve.

One part of the morning that I wasn’t uber impressed with was how he talked about the fact that Southern California just didn’t bring out the number of people it should for his type of training.  Especially San Diego.  He went on and on about how people come to his big event from 80 plus countries, but people from our area don’t show up.  Sorry buddy, this isn’t my fault. Quit complaining to us about it!

The Bully in the Room

Soon after lunch, “The Wolf”  asked us who owned their own businesses, and might like to come up in front of the room.  Many in the room raised their hands, and he called 4 of us up.  He put 2 on each side of the room, a male and a female.  He started on the other side of the room, looked at the young man over there and said something about how he can read people and their body language, and this was the man in a nutshell….. things like scattered, not enough focus, no systems, no help…. Blah, blah. Things that probably cover about 90% of entrepreneurs- especially in the age of those under 40. He then asked the young man what he did for business, and I was a little shocked when his “coaching” immediately seemed like he was demeaning and putting him down. There was nothing in his manner that was kind, helpful or positive.

Then he spoke to the first woman. He threw out a number of her “character traits”- many of them the same as the young man, but also added, “Your hair hurts you, but no one will tell you.”  She had a hairstyle with some braids and mahogany color at the front. Then he asked what she did, and she told him. She mentioned what he had to say about her hair, and said, “I just went through breast cancer and…..” But before she could even finish her sentence he interrupted with “That is just another excuse. I don’t want to hear your excuses and how you are a victim.  I have had many clients with stage 4 cancer and they just keep quiet about it.  No one likes a crybaby.”  I was appalled and shocked that anyone would be so insensitive or rude.\

Agree……… Or Forever Hold Your Peace……

When anyone from the audience had anything positive to say about someone in the front, he turned to them and lambasted them. “You are enabling her to have an excuse.”  “I don’t care if you like her hair.” “You are as bad as her.” Blah, blah.  Soon, people knew they were going to be singled out, and few were willing to speak up, unless they were showing agreement with him.

Then he got to the young man next to me. He and I had exchanged names.  His name was Ryan.  “The Wolf”  was absolutely brutal to him. Ryan said he coached people on how to sell over the phone.   When he said the list of character traits he felt that Ryan couldn’t sell at all.  He called him a fraud.  He had a word that he used frequently, calling Ryan a “fugazi.” This is “The Wolf’s” word for being a fraud, or an imposter.  (I have no idea how this is spelled, or if the word actually exists, so I’m spelling it like the theater in San Francisco.)

Then he came to me, told me my list of traits and asked what I thought. Again, many were what can be said about many entrepreneurs— scattered, doing too much, no focus,  etc.  But one thing he said didn’t ring true at all, and I told him. He said that I struggled financially. I said that he may be correct on some things, but not the financial part.  I told him “I’m not a multimillionaire like you are (because that is his claim), but I live a very comfortable life.  He then asked what I did. I told him I’ve been in Real Estate for years, but I’m moving out of it to pursue some other interests I love.  He asked what I made in real estate, and I responded that I have earned 6 figures for many years.  “What do you mean by that?  Like what? How much?”

To begin with, I think that’s totally inappropriate to put me in that position in front of an audience of people.  It’s not their business. I responded that my income had been about 125k-175K most years.  He asked what I am doing now, and I said Comedy. Although I am doing a number of other things, I figured that was the simplest thing to say at the time.  He then turns to the audience and says, “Does anyone believe this woman? Does anything she is saying ring true?  Why would she walk away from real estate if she was making that kind of money to go to Comedy, which doesn’t pay anything? She is a lyer.”  On and on he went berating me, and calling me names, just as he’d done with Ryan. I was so rattled up front by the time I sat down that I could hardly put together a normal sentence, I have to be honest.  I must have looked like a complete fool!  (If you know me, you know I don’t rattle easily!)

I’m sorry, but this is not coaching. This is bullying, straight out. Coaching helps people, it doesn’t try to destroy them.  We sat down, and then he still went on about us.  He asked people in the audience to tell him why they think I am “not truthful.”  One woman stated that it was because I referred to him as “honey” when I was up there.  Believe me, me calling him honey was FAR better than what I would have loved to call him at that point.

He then went on, referring to all of us who had been up there in derogatory ways.

“Crowd Think”….In Action is FRIGHTENING!

Then it got even more interesting.  He asked the audience who liked him BETTER now that they had seen him in action, some raided their hands.  He asked it again, because he obviously didn’t get quite the positive response he wanted, then as he looked around more raised their hands.  He asked how many still felt the same as before, and a few did. Then he asked who liked him less.  I was the only one to raise my hand.  He acted stunned that I would have had the nerve to raise my hand, and asked me why I felt that way.  I told him I thought he was a total dick the way he spoke to, and about people. I may also have said that if I was his mother I’d be ashamed of him! Of course that was turned around to me being “an angry woman.”

What was amazing about the number of people who raised their hands to each question was that it seemed to really be an example of  “group think”.  For the first time in my life I understood how it could come to be that people like Hitler get others to follow a jaded way of thinking.  People don’t want to stand out, they don’t want to be singled out. They want to go along with protocol. They hope to “fit in” and be accepted.  It was really frightening. I immediately knew in my heart-of-hearts that all of these people could not POSSIBLY think that what he did, what he said and his treatment of us up front was A-OK!

The way he treated others was by no means OK…….

After his demonstration up front,  had his woman assistant pass out some papers, face down, which were to try and sell us his coaching package.  It was evident when we “were allowed” to look at the paper, that the printer was obviously running out of toner when they had been copied.  When he saw it, he went ballistic on his staff member. I was appalled that he would call her out and say the things he said in front of a room of people.  That’s when I understood why she was so stressed out in the morning when we were doing check in.  I can only IMAGINE  what this nut job must be like to work for. A leader doesn’t rip apart an employee in front of a group of people.  He sits you down, face to face afterwards and discusses how to do it better the next time around.

Then it was time for a break so they could “interview” those who were willing to spend the big bucks for coaching (so they could determine if they were worthy of being coached by “The Wolf”) At the break, Ryan walked by and said he was leaving, we’d be in touch.

When we came back from the break and “The Wolf” saw that Ryan had left he began to call him names again, once again making big use of the word “fugazi.”  He then proceeded to tell the audience that he KNEW Ryan wouldn’t be back.  He kept bringing him up throughout the afternoon, putting him down the whole time.  He then went on to say that Ryan would probably post something negative about him on Social media, but if he did, “The Wolf”  would turn his lawyers on him and get whatever little money the guy had.  SERIOUSLY? If someone makes a bad comment about you, and what a complete douchbag you are, you are going to have your lawyers handle it?  That just shows that this guy has some serious issues.

Julia Roberts…. He’s Not Your Friend!

He showed a number of pictures and videos of him with various celebrities. I was surprised when he showed a photo of him with Julia Roberts.  She is wearing glasses in the picture, and looks like a “regular person” rather than the glamorous woman we are used to seeing in the movies. Next to the picture he showed an ad she’s in for Lancome, and in a condescending tone said something to the effect that she should use those cosmetics all the time, so she didn’t look like she did in the picture with him. He went on to say how awful she had looked “in real life.” What a jerk!

Like Ryan, I had been tempted to leave at the break too, but didn’t for two reasons.  I didn’t want to give someone like him the satisfaction that he had “won” or “broke me.”  I also knew his personality enough to know that he would talk crap about me to make himself feel better. And, by now, I wanted to see just how big of a jerk this guy was, and how the audience would respond to him the rest of the afternoon.

Narcissistic Disorder Poster Boy

“The Wolf”  spent a good part of the day telling and showing us with pictures, just how very, very wealthy and successful he is. He also made a big deal about telling us how much he gives to charity, and showed us pictures with orphans, etc.

If you aren’t familiar with Narcissistic Disorder, “The Wolf” could be their new poster boy! He is as charismatic as they come, but his true colors bleed through quickly, and brilliantly.

His “coaching” is interesting.  We were OH SO LUCKY to begin with, because his claim was that he wasn’t due to be there that day. He only came at the last minute because one of his trainers couldn’t make it, and he’s a guy who “does the right thing.” Sure, I believed him.  I believed him just like I believe the tooth fairy will show up in the bedrooms of every child who loses a tooth today. Right after telling us how he filled in at the last minute in San Diego, he was mentioning how VERY busy his schedule is, and popped up a list of his many events coming up over the next few months.  Weird that San Diego was listed on that list, for September 15th, when he wasn’t scheduled to be there.

Late afternoon, another one of his staff members (I think his name was Myron) was doing a segment, giving us “30 Ways to Succeed” or something similar. one of the steps said something like “Be like The Wolf.”  As he started to explain what was meant by that, “The Wolf” butted in and told him he didn’t know what he was doing, that’s not what was meant by that, then proceeded to publicly humiliate him in front of the audience.  He asked if he’d “listened to the tapes.” And he said no. “Why not?” Myron replied that he’d requested the tape, but had never gotten it. “How many times did you ask for it?”  Myron said five times.  “From who?  I highly doubt that.  And why didn’t you ask me?  I’m right here.  Well, on our ride up to Orange County we’ll have 90 minutes in the car, and believe me, we will be discussing this the WHOLE way.” This wasn’t the end of it.  Oh no. “The Wolf”  brought it up a few more times, letting Myron know he was in big trouble.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  You could see his staff member clenching his jaw and red faced with embarrassment.  WHO CLAIMS TO BE A SUCCESS, A MENTOR, A COACH and treats people like this?  And how do people think it’s OK for him to get away with it?

We were pretty darned lucky though, because we were getting “the best deal” he has EVER given on his coaching programs! Geez, it pays to be in the right place at the right time! If you are wondering, we could get $100,000. Worth of coaching for only $4997 (if you didn’t finance it. If financed it comes up to $5997,  and— wait for this $7 MILLION worth of coaching for only $19,997! Such a steal! And what do you get for that?  For the “big bucks” he puts you up on stage at his big event, (but shhhhhhhh……. Don’t tell anyone if you’ve never spoken before, because the millionaires in his audience don’t want to know that he’s put an inexperienced person up there for them to listen to!) After that, you will then be recruited to speak around the world! WHAM! It’s just that easy-peasy!

In the time after the afternoon break, it was brought up a NUMBER OF TIMES, by “The Wolf” and by his other trainers that we should take the training, no matter how little money we had. That should come first above everything…..

After the event, a few interesting things happened.  About 10 people from the audience came up and told me that they were impressed with how I handled myself up front, with him being such a (bully, jerk, a—hole…).  I thought it was interesting that they would seek me out, yet none had had the nerve to raise their hand to say they didn’t like him (back to the crowd-think mentality I mentioned earlier)

Why Work for a Bully?

I went up to Myron and asked him how in the world he could work for someone who publicly humiliated him, Myron’s response was “He is making me into a better person.”  OK Myron.  Line up in the corner with the women who take the blame for their husband beating them.  You’ve got a lot in common buddy.  Someone asked Myron for his card when I was standing there, and he responded that he isn’t important enough to have a card! YIKES, grow a pair Myron, or that beautiful wife you kept mentioning might just find herself a man.

Last, and this one was just plain weird……. A lady I hadn’t even noticed all day walked up to me and said, “I wonder if you can help me.”  I asked how, and she said, “Can you help me by paying for me to take “The Wolf’s” training?  You know, the last one he talked about.”  WTF?????? This woman must have thought  I was REALLY some sort of special stupid! She was asking me to pay $20,000 for this guy’s coaching!

“The Wolf’s” big event, should you be compelled to take it, is up in Anaheim the third week of November, with a “bonus day” should the other 5 days not be enough for you. Make sure not to buy any holiday gifts this year, so you can keep those bank accounts full to take the “big coaching” package. Due to all of the millionaires “The Wolf” is expecting in this crowd, I’ll bet you’ll have to be springing for the whole 100 G’s on the package when you are up there.

Check out this link for an interesting article someone sent me about someone similar to the person this article is about!   Sometimes, a scammer is just a scammer!

BTW- I just got back from an AMAZING 3 day event put on by Brendon Burchard, and the experience couldn’t have been any further from this one!  Every one of his speakers were positive, caring, had integrity and were heart centered! If you are going to go to a seminar to improve your business, go to one of Brendon’s! Don’t give The Wolf your money!

A Small Sacrifice for Our American Heroes

Events, Every Day is an Adventure, Giving Back, Helping Our Heros, Living a Royal Life, Out and About, Serious Shit, Uncategorized

One of the units which received boxes from Operation America Cares

One of the units which received some of the boxes from Operation America Cares

Operation America Cares

I had known about the monthly packing events for a few years.  I meant to get around to it, time after time, but never had.  Then my great-nephew joined the marines in late June, and suddenly what they were doing jumped further to the top of my list.  I put it on my calendar, made a few phone calls, and showed up.

When I spoke to Linda Milimaki she told me to come about 8:45.  I pulled up at 8:50, because, once again, I had pulled away from my house without my cell phone, and needed to go back for it.  When I pulled up to the beautiful Escondido neighborhood that Linda lives in, I saw a flurry of activity.  Cars were lined up and down the street, the driveway was filled with tables, and her  3 car garage  was wall to wall tables and people in an “assembly line” filling up boxes.

This simple little hand lettered sign greeted me as I walked up the driveway, already bustling with volunteers diligently at work!

This simple little hand lettered sign greeted me as I walked up the driveway, already bustling with volunteers diligently at work!

The organization I had come to help on that Saturday morning is Operation America Cares. The organization was the brain-child of two sisters who found out that many of our troops never receive a care package or mail from home. They wanted to change that by providing a little ray of sunshine into the lives of some of those troops.

The Start of Something Great

They packed their first 35 boxes for Christmas in 2008. Since then there have been over 24,000 boxes send out of Linda’s home, with the help of donations and monthly packing “parties.”

I was first introduced to this endeavor through my local Realtor Caravan meetings a few years ago.  Every quarter we choose a local charity, and collect weekly donations. At the end of the quarter a check is presented to the chosen charity.  After hearing about Operation America Cares, I invited one of their volunteers, Cheryl Sutcliff, a local lender I know and trust in our community to come and speak to my Kiwanis club.  I was president of the club, and wanted my members to know about the need.

When Cheryl stood in front of our group with one of the boxes filled with the items sent off monthly, I felt like I was watching Mary Poppins pull things out of her magical carpetbag! I couldn’t believe how many goodies were stuffed into that small “Priority Mail” cardboard box!  Each and every item had been well thought out for the wants and needs of a young military hero.  There wasn’t one inch of wasted space, and nothing that wouldn’t be appreciated and enjoyed, by at least one young man, and most likely shared among a number of them!

This is just a small portion of the items organized to go into boxes each month. I was impressed with the efficiency of the whole process!

This is just a small portion of the items organized to go into boxes each month. I was impressed with the efficiency of the whole process!

One of the things I found most fascinating about the boxes was the fact that they send a little zip-lock sandwich bag filled with some spices.  One of them is taco seasoning from Del Taco.  It turns out, as I was told that the MRE meals lack flavor, so the taco-seasoning is a HUGE hit with the young men!  When told that their hot sauce was the one the young men preferred the most, the Del Taco at 9822 Magnolia Avenue in Santee, CA volunteered to donate enough to be sent off every month! Kudos to them for repeatedly stepping up to the plate for our military!

When I pulled up to Linda’s Escondido home that Saturday, it was a bee-hive of activity! I couldn’t believe how much was already happening by the time I arrived. One of the first things Linda did was to pray for the people working and for the military who would be receiving the boxes. She then read a few letters that had been received from some of the recipients of the boxes.  You would have thought that the boxes held the greatest treasures in the universe when you heard the heartfelt thanks for them!  It brought tears to my eyes to think that the simple little “shoebox” size boxes would bring such joy!

This letter and a handwritten note went into each box that we packed for our servicemen.

This letter and a handwritten note on a greeting card went into each box that we packed for our servicemen. Often, pictures drawn by schoolchildren in the area also go into the boxes. Because school was out of session, we didn’t have any of the children’s drawings to put into the boxes this particular month.

I approached one of the women working, who seemed to be knowledgeable about the procedures,  and she gave me a brief  “assembly line” walk through, and  set me to filling up boxes.  I went through the assembly line process and filled a few of the boxes.  It was then time to “repack” the boxes, and I was instructed in that.  Because there are toiletry items, and food items, they are separated into 2 different zip lock bags, so that if something should leak, everything isn’t ruined. There is a real science to packing the boxes so everything gets there safely, usable and fitting in the box. Everything is boxed in a Priority Mail box, which is $16.75 for all you can fit in the box, no matter what the weight.  And fit it in, they do!  Toilet paper, socks, a book, a magazine, numerous snacks, both salty and sweet, talcum powder, eye drops, toothpaste and toothbrush, lip balm, crossword puzzles and other assorted items fill the boxes to the brim! Every box also gets a hand written note, and often pictures drawn by children.

A few of the volunteers of Operation America Cares, preparing the monthly boxes to be sent to our Military Heros who don't get recognized personally by family or friends.

A few of the volunteers of Operation America Cares, preparing the monthly boxes to be sent to our Military Heros who don’t get recognized personally by family or friends.

After I had helped fill a number of boxes it was mentioned that they were very short with hand written notes this month, so I went into the house to sit down and write out some cards to our Heroes!  This was right up my alley!  I LOVE writing letters, notes and cards! When I was younger and moved away from home, I used to hand-write up to 60 letters a week to friends and family!  (Obviously, that was Pre-email and Facebook days! I still miss handwritten letters updating us on what our loved ones are doing!)

We were writing notes to go into the boxes for our service men. Every box gets a handwritten card in it.We were writing notes to go into the boxes for our service men. Every box gets a handwritten card in it.

We were writing notes to go into the boxes for our service men. Every box gets a handwritten card in it.

I had the pleasure of sitting at the kitchen table in Linda’s house and write out notes with a few other volunteers.  The time flew by, and before I knew it, packing was done, and it was time for a photo with all of the packaged boxes and the volunteers from the day.

The boxes go to Military in all four branches who typically don’t ever get any care packages from home. Linda works closely with the Family Readiness officer at Camp Pendleton, and he gives her names and addresses of chaplains and commanding officers who have requested boxes for their men in the field.

I was happily surprised to see Liz Beach Hallin, who I've known since she was a small kid. Although Liz is fighting her own battle with MS, she was there to do her part to help our military. Liz was there with her husband Micah, and her mom Sarah Beach. Liz has a brother, Kenneth, who is in the Army. My son and Kenneth were friends as small boys, and Kenneth always said he was going to go into the military!

I was happily surprised to see Liz Beach Hallin, who I’ve known since she was a small kid. Although Liz is fighting her own battle with MS, she was there to do her part to help our military. Liz was there with her husband Micah, and her mom Sarah Beach. Liz has a brother, Kenneth, who is in the Army. My son and Kenneth were friends as small boys, and Kenneth always said he was going to go into the military!

The Starfish Story

 

What two sisters put in motion 10 years ago is awe inspiring!  I’m so glad to have been a part of it! What I can’t help but think though is HOW MANY MORE young marines could use one of these packages each month!  Probably, literally THOUSANDS!  Please don’t misunderstand and think that I am in ANY way putting down Operation America Cares.  Heavens NO!  What I’m saying though is that we could use 50, 100, 500 more “chapters” of this charity across the country, doing what is being done here for our young military heroes!

It makes me think of the Starfish story.  There are a few versions of it, but the gist of them are all the same.  The story goes something like this……..A little boy is walking along the beach, and thousands of starfish are washed up on the shore, going to die.  He leans over as he walks along, and continues to throw in one starfish after another.  He is walking with his grandpa who says to him, “Why bother? You can’t make a difference, with all of these starfish dying on the beach.” The little boy’s response is “It makes a difference to this one.”

That’s what Operation America Cares is all about.  It’s making a difference to that marine who receives a package.  Hopefully, that package puts a smile on his or her face, knowing that someone they don’t even know has thought about them, and making their day better as they serve our country. It is a very small drop in the bucket, but it is a drop that wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for this amazing organization!

A picture of some of our young military Heros receiving one of the packages. Look at the delight on their faces, over something so simple!

A picture of some of our young military Heros receiving one of the packages. Look at the delight on their faces, over something so simple!

A Job Well Done!

The packing is down to such an efficient routine that it was over quickly! When we were finished, Linda took a photo of that months’ volunteers behind the 150 boxes we had prepared to be shipped off.  It takes a number of vehicles to get the boxes to the post office, so I volunteered to fill my car up.  I wanted to see the process “start to finish” so to speak.  One van and two cars filled to the brim, and off we went to get the boxes on their way to our well deserving military in the field.

The volunteers who worked at the July packing day, with the completed boxes ready to go off to the post office!

Some of the  volunteers who worked at the July packing day, with the completed boxes ready to go off to the post office! What a great group of people, doing their part to say “Thank You” to our heroes out in the field!

You Can Help Too!

You may wonder how you could help this worthwhile cause.  Go to their website. Make a donation, if you can to c,over postage, or to purchase items they may be short of one month. Perhaps, think of starting a similar organization in your area.  I don’t think we could possibly over saturate the “market” of needy Marines! If you are in the local area, purchase some of the supplies listed below,and get them to Linda for future packing dates.  Write some notes to marines to be included in future boxes. Arrange to come and help pack boxes one day.  Whatever you do to be a part of the this endeavor, you’ll be blessed by being a part of it, I’m sure!

Please, go and check out the website, and do what you can to help!  http://OperationAmericaCares.org

The back of one of the volunteer's shirts. She is a proud marine mom!

The back of one of the volunteer’s shirts. She is a proud marine mom!

 

Are you local to Operation America Cares, and wondering what you might purchase to help the cause out? Some of the goodies that go into the well planned out boxes are listed below:

What’s In a Box?

ITEMS INCLUDED IN THE CARE PACKAGES
(MOST OF THESE CAN BE PURCHASED AT A DOLLAR STORE!!)
  • $$ for postage (currently $16.75 per care package)
  • Socks crew or athletic (no shorties please)
  • Eye drops (any brand) The wind, sun and desert sand hurt their eyes!
  • Triple anti-biotic ointment/Neosporin or other anti-biotic cream w/pain reliever
  • Advil/ibuprofen/generic pain relievers
  • Insect repellent – no aerosol spray cans
  • Sun screen – no aerosol spray cans
  • Full sized baby wipes/body wipes (80 count or larger)
  • Hand santizer – individual size
  • Chap sticks
  • Kleenex – travel size
  • Gold Body Powder (available at the Dollar Tree for $1.00 each)
  • Disposable razors
  • Shaving gel – no aerosol cans
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrushes/dental floss
  • Toothpaste – regular size tubes
  • Toiletries from your hotel stays
  • Soap – any size
  • Gum – individual packs
  • Mints – individual packs
  • Single serve drink sleeves – for adding to bottles of water
  • Single serve coffee sleeves – such as Starbucks VIA
  • Top Ramen – no cup of soup (to big for care packages)
  • Canned soups, stews, fruit
  • Jerky – all flavors
  • Energy bars and snack bars
  • Nuts – individual bags or small cans
  • Sunflower seeds – individual packs
  • Dum dums, tootsie roll pops and hard candy.  Must be individually wrapped
  • M&M – individual bags ( they melt in your mouth, not in Afghanistan)
  • Cookies  – individual packs
  • Condiments – small giveaways from fast food restaurants and such – any kind!!!
  • Peanut butter/jam – individual servings
  • Crossword books/word game books/travel games
  • Magazines – no older than 3 months – please focus on men or social mags such as People
  • Paperback books – no romance novels please
  • DVDs – can be recycled
  • Blank paper, envelopes/pens – for them to write home
  • Thank you notes – written from us to them!  If you include your name and address, you may get a letter!
  • Pictures and notes from kids
  • Zip lock bags – gallon, quart or snack size
  • One more picture of a happy recipient of one of the boxes. You can see that by the time they receive them, the boxes look like they have been through the ringer!

    One more picture of a happy recipient of one of the boxes. You can see by the time they receive them, the boxes look like they have been through the ringer!

    Feel free to contact Operation America Cares directly, or get your donations to me and I will be happy to put them in Linda’s hands when I go over to volunteer for the next “packing party!”

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!

 

Dancing— My Drug of Choice

Cocktail Time, Events, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, Health = Happiness!, My Humble Opinion, Sexy After 60!, Uncategorized

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

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

Dancing— The New Meditation

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

Meditation Stresses Me Out!

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

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

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

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

Meditation Fills My Mind…

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

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

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

Dancing is my “Drug of Choice!”

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

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

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

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

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

Ladies dancing together!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dancing video, Kingston Mines

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

 

 

Emily Post is Dead…..

Entertaining, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Uncategorized

Emily Post is Dead….

Whatever happened to Emily Post?  Back in the day- (and I realize “the day” was a while back, and things have changed) society lived by a set of rules, known as etiquette.  The rules for how we conducted ourselves was large. About 2 or 3 inches thick as I recall.  There were details in it that didn’t really make a rats ass of difference in most people’s lives.  How to properly seat people at a dinner party.  Leaving a calling card when visiting.  When and how to use obscure pieces of flatware.  Those things probably won’t change our lives, at least life in todays’ society one bit.

But, there are still some rules of etiquette that SHOULD and could be implemented.

I probably entertain more than any 10 women put together. And I am amazed each and every time that an invitation goes out, just how rude people can be. (Sorry, just have to call it like it is!) I do realize that many people don’t entertain in their homes, and may not realize the amount of work that goes into it. Perhaps THAT is the excuse.  WHATEVER the excuse, I’d like to share a few easy rules for being a guest in someone’s home, which just may get you invited back.

A Few Simple Rules for Being a Good Guest…

  1. RSVP.

Just take the time to RSVP for the love of God!  It’s not that difficult!  I absolutely can’t believe the people who never respond in any way.  No yes, no no, no maybe!  Come on people!  If you don’t want to go, can’t stand the host, would rather pull lint out of your belly-button, or lice off of your significant other-  JUST LET THE PERSON WHO ASKED YOU KNOW YOU WON’T BE THERE.  No. A simple no.  Nowadays, other than a wedding invitation, most of your invitations can be responded to via email, response to evite, or via text.  JUST TAKE A FRICKIN’ MINUTE TO LET THE HOST OR HOSTESS KNOW YOUR INTENTIONS!

The “Maybe” response……. I understand the Maybe response- if your daughter is due to give birth sometime the 3rd week of January, so your response is “As long as we aren’t on our way to Nebraska, due to Janie’s impending birth.” That’s a good reason for a maybe.  Absolutely.  It’s the “maybe’s” that make the hostess feel like you are just waiting to see if something better comes up which really piss me off.  Look, if you can’t give a definite YES, I’d like to be there, because you really DON’T want to be there, give a resounding NO, and move on. If you have to see what your work schedule is, and they don’t let you know until the Tuesday of the event…… OK on that.  But just maybe, a maybe that, once again looks like you are waiting to see if possibly Angelina Jolie is going to invite you over for drinks, but… if she doesn’t, you might show up are rude….. just plain rude…..

I think that California is particularly prone to this. Everyone wants to wait until the last moment to commit, fearing they might miss something better.  As Bon Qui Qui would say. RUDE!

I recently had a big party for my 60th birthday.  I rented a room, had a band, and had it catered.  I BEGGED people, via Evite to just let me know whether or not they were coming.  In the end, there were 60 people who never responded one way or the other.  That could be up to 120 people who may- or may not be there.  Kind of a BIG difference when you are paying to cater something.

I entertain enough to know what the average response rate is, and I had my numbers within 5 people of who actually DID attend. But SERIOUSLY?  If I didn’t entertain on almost a weekly basis, I wouldn’t have had any idea how many people to tell the caterer to plan on.

2. HOSTESS GIFTS—- Not to “Wine”……….

A girl can only use SO much wine!

I think it is really thoughtful when people bring a hostess gift for the hostess.  You definitely deserve Kudos for the thoughtfulness.  Can I give you a hint on what NOT to bring for said hostess gift.  2 items I suggest you forget about bringing to a hostess. (Keep in mind- I’m the girl who has held about 10 events in the past 3 months).  PLEASE, rethink the bottle of wine, and cut flowers.  At one of my housewarming parties a few years ago I received over 30 bottles of wine.  As a single woman who rarely drinks wine, and then, only white wine ( and, I’ll admit it- shit white wine at that), there was not a chance I was going to ever drink that much wine, not to mention, be able to store it.  Can I just say…… IT IS UNIMAGINATIVE!  It’s boring.  It’s the easy way out, and most likely, it’s wine some other unimaginative, boring person gave YOU!  Come up with something that the hostess might really be able to use.  It’s simple. It’s more fun.  And it says you really care.

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers……. Anymore…..

The other item to stop bringing…… cut flowers that need to be put in a vase.  The last thing in the world a hostess has time to do when a slew of people are walking in her door is figure out where a damned vase that will fit your flowers is! AND, if her cupboard where vases are stored is where my vase cupboard has been in all my previous homes, it is 6 feet up, above the oven, and they are stacked in there in such a way that opening it may be life threatening.  DON’T DO THIS TO THE WOMAN WHO JUST MADE YOU A MEAL!  Either bring a plant that is in a ready-to-go container, a flowering plant or flowers in a vase.  Don’t add stress to the woman who just put this event together. It’s stressful to figure out what to do with a bouquet of flowers when so much is going on!

A potted plant is a great gift! A hostess doesn’t have to find a vase, take time to arrange it, and can plop it down and carry on!

Use Your Imagination…..

You might wonder, what in the world you are supposed to being a hostess if not wine and flowers? Bring something seasonal.  An ornament or decoration if it’s the holiday season.  A pretty fall accessory. An orchid or other flowering plant which can be set down and dealt with later.  If you know the hostess has a passion for something, bring something that speaks to that.  A friend recently brought the cutest little mug set to a party I gave. One said “The Queen of Damn Near Everything.”  The other “The King of Whatever’s Left.” Something for both Don and I, that said she’d thought about it!  Another friend brought a lovely orchid.  For about 8 weeks, I had blooms that made me think of her. Neither cost more that most bottles of wine, I’m sure! But they spoke volumes to me when I received them.

This was a hostess gift that showed me the giver KNEW me, and took time to bring something fitting my tastes and quirks!

3. DON’T BRING A GUEST WITHOUT TELLING THE HOST

I am probably the most “more the merrier” person in the world.  Unless I’m putting on an event that can only have a specific number of people for a good reason, I always say “bring whoever you want.”  HOWEVER, if you do that, can you PLEASE clue the hostess in that someone she may not know will be arriving?

On more than one occasion I have been in my home at a party and see someone I don’t know, enjoying food and drink.  It is very awkward to walk up to a person in your home, and inquire who they are, and how they got there!  It’s really not that tough to clue the hostess in that you have brought a friend, and introduce you, or to tell her your friend may be stopping by. COME ON PEOPLE- should we have to tell you this shit?

4. DON’T WHINE IF YOU AREN’T INVITED TO SOMETHING.

As a host or hostess, we can’t invite ALL of the people ALL of the time.  I have had numerous occasions where, at a smaller gathering I haven’t invited someone that might come to other gatherings I have.  When you are having a sit-down luncheon for example, only a certain number of people can fit at the table.

DON’T BE THE PERSON WHO GETS ALL BUTT HURT BECAUSE YOU WEREN’T INVITED!

I can’t begin to tell you the many times I’ve seen people getting all up in arms because someone had an event and they weren’t invited to go!  GET OVER IT!  We aren’t in 3rd grade.  We can’t always invite every damned person we know, AND….. I’ll bet those of you who get all butt hurt NEVER INVITE THOSE SAME PEOPLE TO YOUR HOUSE! It’s always the ones who want to be invited to every damned thing who never invite others to their house! They typically don’t entertain, yet they WANT to be entertained!

Take a look at your social skills people!  Are you being a good guest?  Taking time to RSVP? Inviting your favorite hostess to your house now and then? Remember your mother’s old saying, “To have a good friend you need to BE a good friend!”

We are all adults here.  Let’s look back at some of Emily Posts rules, and take a bit of time to follow some of them.  You will be glad you did!  (And so will the hostess who invited you!)

The Best Gift(s) That I Ever Got….

Adventures With Attitude!, Comedy, Fabulous After 50, Family Time, Giving Back, Uncategorized

When Christmas is close we can’t help but think about gifts.  Both gifts we have given others, and gifts we have received. One of my favorite Christmas songs was on an album (yep, that’s how I still think….. album) by Barbara Streisand.  “The Greatest Gift I Ever Got” talks about the gift not costing a lot… Although, truth be told, the gift she is speaking about is a baby. And babies do. Cost. A. LOT!  However, I digress…..

When you think back about the gifts you have received over the years, it most often isn’t the ones that cost the most that you remember.  And, being the age I am now……. a whoppin’ old 60, I have a LOT of gifts I can think back on.  Most AREN’T remembered years later, sad as that may be.

Sometimes the ones we remember are the goofiest ones ever!  The ones where you received them and thought….. “Really? Really? This person thought this was an appropriate gift?” “They really thought I’d like this?  Need this?  WANT this?”  I remember when I married my kids’ dad… (remember readers, if you’ve been paying attention, I either have to number them, or refer to them by a phrase that will help you to remember.  This husband was husband # 2, “My kids’ dad” is the phrase I typically use. There could be a pop quiz on this at some point, so write this down so you can refer back later….)

Again, I digress……where was I?  Oh yes. When I married my Kids’ dad, we had a big wedding.  All the typical bells and whistles….. the hotel reception, band, food, drinks.  I was marrying a man with more kids than a basketball team (I think, anyway.  I’m not much of a sports person.)  So, it’s not just two little newlyweds starting out life. We were the Brady Bunch on steroids.  Some jackass gives us 2……. count them 2 REALLY ugly rust colored cloth placemats with matching napkins.  Dollar stores didn’t exist then, but if they had, these wouldn’t be sold there because they weren’t nice enough. I DO, however, remember them some 38 years later……. The ugly rust “sets of two”  were closely followed up by the 2 “napkin rings” another wedding attendee gave us which looked like hamburgers that you stuck your napkins through. Almost equally ugly on the gift giving spectrum.  Both attendees were obviously friends, to have given these gifts – and in the quantity they chose. Just in case we decided to have a romantic little “hamburger” picnic somewhere without the kids in tow, I suppose………

Back to the story line here.  When you think back to the best gifts that you ever got, they usually aren’t the most expensive.  They are often the most thoughtful.  Many times, they were something that someone took the time to make for you by hand.

I’ve been giving this a bit of thought of late. What was the best gift I’ve ever gotten?  I can’t really narrow it down to just one gift.  But I can narrow it down to a few.

I had wanted to skydive since I was a teenager.  I never had done it, for a number of reasons.  The biggest reason was that my husbands (yes, plural. And yes, all of them) always said the same thing.  “No wife of mine is going to jump out of a plane.” WTF is wrong with men- that they don’t want you to jump outta’ a plane? Possessive bastards!

So, after I got rid of the last husband…. (in case you are paying attention, and want to have the answer for the pop quiz. he was #3 and is fondly referred to as “The financial fuck-up.”  Write this down so you can refer back when needed.)

As I was saying……. after I got rid of the last hubby, I wanted more than EVER to jump out of a plane.  I’m a thrill seeker, and I love trying anything daring, fun and different.  My daughter surprised me, and her brother by buying us tickets to sky-dive together!  A TOTAL surprise, and one of my favorite gifts EVER. After all, if you ARE going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, and if the worst should happen, go with all of your children along. That way you won’t leave behind any grieving kiddos!  As you can probably surmise by the fact that you are reading this blog……… it all worked out well in the end!  SUCH great fun, in fact, that we all 3 purchased another ticket to come back again and jump out together one more time!

Don, my current (and permanent- if I’ve got any say in the matter) man  bought me a hang gliding experience last year, but time hasn’t permitted me jumping off a cliff yet!  I can’t wait to do it though!

St. Nick isn’t the only one who brings great gifts!

One of the other gifts that meant the world to me came from a person  I don’t even know.  A number of years ago, a package came in the mail.  In it was a beautifully framed, counted cross-stitch picture.  It says “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Heb. 13:2”.  In the package was a note, thanking me for letting this person in to make a call when they were lost.  You can tell how long ago this was, because it was before we had cell phones!  We lived in Rancho Santa Fe, and it was pretty easy to get turned around and lost out there.  And I was one of those trusting people who let someone come in and make a call to figure out where they needed to be.  It had happened more than once, so when this unexpected gift showed up, I barely remembered the incident.

When the gift arrived in the mail I was surprised.  Number 1, it hadn’t seemed like a big deal to me.  Number 2, I had done counted cross stitch, and trust me…… I don’t like ANYONE well enough to spend the time and effort to do it for THEM!  This little 6×6 framed saying has remained out in my home every day in the 25-30 years that I have owned it.  It is very pretty, but it’s much more than that.  Every time I look at it I have 2 thoughts.  What I did, in the smallest kindness, for whatever reason meant a lot to someone else.  AND, what they did for me meant so much to me.

We don’t know how a small kindness might affect someone else.  Just a kind word telling someone what a great job they are doing, how festive their holiday attire is, how you noticed THEIR kindness to someone else could mean more than you will EVER know.

So, in this time of gift giving— busyness, hustle and bustle, please remember to give the greatest gift of all.  Kindness.  It doesn’t cost anything, but can make the world of difference.

 

 

Creepy Christmas Carols

Comedy, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Uncategorized, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

I published this article last year during the holidays……. all in the name of fun.  Now, this year, people have actually started CAMPAIGNS to get many of the songs I mentioned in last year’s article banned from being played!  STOP YOURSELVES PEOPLE!  It’s enough already with political correctness! OMG!

Now I’m wondering if I’m like the old saying- “When EF Hutton speaks, people listen.  Holy crap!  Did people take my kidding rant SERIOUSLY and decide to go after these old classics?  THAT must be it!  I must wield more power than I realize!  Alas…….  read what I wrote last year about the Classic Christmas Carols……. then hate me for life, because you will soon never hear some of them again! (I’m also adding a hysterical link to a video just put out about “The Date Rape Song.”

Below is the article from last year-

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I fully understand that most of our Christmas Carols were written quite some time ago – and standards of what is acceptable have changed dramatically during that time.  Am I the only one who shudders when you hear some of those “old classics?” Many are not only “politically incorrect” they are “socially incorrect.”

Think about it.  In We Wish You a Merry Christmas– a bunch of strangers walk up to your door, and start singing outside.  When you open the door, they demand “figgy pudding” (and God only knows what the hell THAT foul sounding concoction is).  Then this intrusive bunch of strangers says they “won’t go until they get some.”  It’s like spontaneous trick-or-treating of sorts, but you have no idea that this rude bunch was going to show up- and you are supposed to be Johnny-on-the-spot with some damned  figgy pudding! Or maybe, it would better be called Martha-Stewart-on-the-spot! ( I’d doubt that even Martha would have figgy pudding whipped up, ready for carolers! And – I’d also bet, you don’t just show up ringing the bell at Martha’s house unannounced!) I can’t imagine too many of us would be ready to welcome a large group of strangers into our home unannounced and feed them dessert!

Where was Santa when the bullying was taking place?

Then of course, the one that really makes my blood boil.  The ultimate “it’s OK to bully someone” song.  Rudolph The Red Nose Raindeer. Rudolph, the poor little raindeer with the big red nose.  This poor little guy is different from the other “kids” and gets teased, made fun of and ostracized from raindeer society.

The big guy in the red suit obviously knows this bullying is going on, and he doesn’t do anything to stop it either.  But then- alas- when there is a USE for poor little Rudolph- he is called upon and becomes the hero of the raindeer hierarchy. Am I the only one who is pissed off by this little song?  Come on- why didn’t anyone stick up for little Rudolph earlier in this little ditty?  Fuck you Dasher and Dancer, Donder and Blitzen, and all your other little raindeer bully friends………And shame on you Santa and Mrs. Claus for letting the bullying happen in the first place.

How about Santa Claus is Coming to Town.  Again, Creepy!  He “Sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.”  This sounds more like Stalker Santa than not,  in my book! Picture some fat old guy hovering about in your bedroom,  looking over you when you are a small child asleep in your room.  Uh………. no thanks! I’m not going there  for just  a few little presents under the tree Santa….. I have my standards!

Oh my goodness- another song that is very odd when you think it through.  I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.  What’s it do to a little kid to see his slutty mommy screwing around under the same roof where daddy lives?  What’s THAT say to a developing little psyche? Mommy is kissing AND tickling the chubby old guy, and this kids sneaks in and sees the whole scene! Right under the same roof where daddy was probably the sole breadwinner in those days! I have a feeling that once daddy gets told mommy is screwing around with another guy, this kid is going to find out it isn’t so “funny” after all!

The guy in this song just doesn’t get the word NO!

The REALLY creepy song?  What I call the original “date rape” song.  Baby It’s Cold Outside. This woman CLEARLY states numerous times she wants to leave, and he insists she stays.She says “I really must go, the answer is no.”  Still he insists she stay- saying there are no cabs outside, because it’s cold!   Whatever happened to that saying- “No means no?” Not only does he keep insisting she stay, but it sounds like he slipped a rufie into her drink! She says, “What’s in this drink?” CREEPY!  CREEPY!  Mr. Date Rape himself is the star of this little ballad!

“Say, WHAT’S in this drink? (Maybe a rufie?)

NOTE: Since I published this article last year, there is a new video out, which I think is hysterical. You’ll want to watch it!   The Holderness Family is just too darned funny!

Santa Baby takes “gold digging” to a new standard!  Work it sister, and get the old geezer to buy you diamonds, furs and cars! There is a GREAT standard to teach the kids!  Money can’t buy you happiness, but using those womanly curves can get you the goods!

The list goes on and on…… this is just the tip of the Creepy Christmas Carol lyrics.

My last comment on Christmas Carols…….. I know I have a number of screws loose, but am I the only person who gets creeped out whenever Karen Carpenters songs come on? I don’t know WHAT it is, but the whole time she is singing my mind plays a constant loop of “dead woman singing.”  I don’t think that when Whitney Houston songs come on, or Nat King Cole, or Bing Crosby- or any number of other artist who have gone on to the big gates in the sky….. but Karen Carpenter songs cause damage to my brain, because that is all I can think of……. Dead woman singing.  I know, someone should have me committed…….. put away for a long time so I don’t do further damage to myself or those around me.

My mind tends to go to places the average Joe, or Josephine wouldn’t begin to imagine.

A little PS to this article…. Do you remember the song Grandma Got Run Over by a Raindeer?  Well, check out the following YouTube link!   It gives some real credibility to that song!