New Year’s Non-Resolutions

It’s that time again. Another year gone and time for new beginnings. This is about the time of year that people start contemplating on what changes they need to make in their life and where there is room for improvement. In looking back, I think I’ve had a pretty good year considering the state of the world today so with that said, I’m not changing a damn thing! I have become a firm believer that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This realization sort of hit me this year after realizing that I spent so many years trying to reinvent the wheel for no reason. I am lucky that most of my friends and family have been relatively happy and healthy and the ones who have had extreme challenges this past year reminded me about what’s really important in life and that we have to embrace it the best we can for however long we’re here.

With that in mind, instead of creating the New Year’s anxiety that I seem to foolishly drum up annually for myself, why not try something different and let myself off the hook for once? I have never tried to start the New Year off with the intention of changing nothing or not wanting to shed anything. Those are the buzz words, right? CHANGE. SHED. START OVER. GAIN THIS, LOSE THAT. Bleh. I’m looking forward to a new year hopefully filled with travels, and good health but I decided to create specific non-resolutions for 2011 such as:

*  I’m not going on a diet. I have yo-yo’ed about 5-15 lbs for almost 20 years now. I’m at peace with that. My friends can tell you that I’ve gone vegan, organic, holistic, sugar free, gluten free, and fat free only to throw it all out the window on a whim and order a plate of pesto tortellini with a basket of garlic bread and a bottle of wine. FOR MYSELF. Considering that I do give all of the health fads an honest chance if only for a little while, I see this as my version of finding balance in my diet.

*  I will not be on the hunt for the perfect mate. I just got rid of my not so perfect…or perfect for somebody else, mate, and I would like to continue to focus on pastimes and interesting people instead of finding a replacement. I decided earlier in the year to go back to what I know which is allowing all types of fabulous people to come into my life with no agenda. It’s a formula that has worked, giving me life-long soul mates so if it ain’t broke………

*  I’m not going to try to save money. I know that sounds totally stupid to make it an actual goal  but I have finally burned out on the concept. I’m no richer or poorer than I was a year ago and as my little blog will tell you, I did o.k. Can I buy that charming cottage in the South of France right now? No, but I can afford the occasional plane ticket and cat food. What more do I need? (Although if this economy doesn’t pick up I may be buying cat food for two.)

*  I’m not going to exercise more. I exercise enough. I go to the gym when I feel that I am about to morph into a full-blown sloth, I take the occasional yoga class, walk at the beach when it’s warm enough, and we just acquired a Wii fit in the house which I may or may not use. I like to exercise, in fact need to exercise on some level, but I’ve never been one of those people who looks at a mountain and feels a need to conquer it. Great for those who do. I’ll just sit back and marvel at your brilliance!

*  I’m not going to drink less. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting drinking, nor do I grab rubbing alcohol from the linen closet if I run out of Pinot Noir. But I enjoy one glass of good wine with a nice meal. I also love the 200 different types of Martinis created by a good Vodka, not to mention that my dad’s killer hot chocolate recipe calls for a splash of Brandy. Alcoholic drinks can be enjoyable when you want to compliment a really great dish. Food and a good drink go hand in hand as far as I’m concerned, calories or not. Like everything else, everything in moderation.

BUT DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE PEOPLE! YOU WANT TO BE AROUND FOR FUTURE NEW YEARS!!

*  I’m not going to “get organized” the way all of the magazines say I should. I do the spring cleaning routine in the spring, summer, fall, pre-Christmas, and after Christmas but if you have a borderline hoarding issue with books, photos, and magazines, then “getting organized” doesn’t really help anything. It’s only a band aid. I have what I call, organized chaos. It works for me, I’m sticking to it.

So there you have it. My Napolean stance on New Year’s Eve resolutions. A lot of thought went into my revolt against resolutions and I may decide to make this a part of my belief system. Or, maybe I’m just burned out from the holidays and am too damn lazy and tired at this point to make any!

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I want to thank everyone who has taken the time this year to read my little ramblings. I didn’t know how to put a blog together a year ago and have learned so much just from reading other creative and talented bloggers. I look forward to learning more from those who have this blogging thing down to a science while hopefully delivering happy, fun, and sometimes snarky tidbits to those who have the slightest bit of interest.

Have a safe, happy and healthy New Year everybody! Cheers!

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iphone vs. the Techie-Dinosaurs

Ride the wave? Don’t ride the wave. Ride the wave? Don’t ride the wave. Look. I get it. Change is difficult. I have had to weigh the arguments for and against progress and technology more times than I care to admit. For God’s sakes, I was in the travel industry. Tell me I shouldn’t be bitter about technology! I adamantly believed that it was better to wait and receive a beautifully printed brochure from the Hotel de Crillon in Paris instead of looking at it on a screen instantly. (Although their website is fabulous.) But…… whatever.  I’ve experienced my growing pains, realized that change is inevitable, and progress happens whether we want it to or not. You have to make a choice. Either ride the wave or get slammed by it. And getting slammed by it in the technological sense means constantly saying, “Huh? What the hell are they talking about?!” And there you have it. The species known as The Techi-saurus rex. Also known as the Techi Dinosaur.

This is a flipping joke coming from me considering I held off on getting a cell phone until everybody complained about me not having a cell phone.  That’s right, I was experiencing peer pressure in my adulthood over not keeping up with the latest and greatest but I am quickly becoming the geek I was always meant to be. My own dad has always kept up with what’s new but somehow, I ended up being more cautious about jumping into the technological pool until I know for sure that it’s going to change my life for the better. I realize that to hang on to the way we used to do things can be seen as rebellious, nostalgic, and uniquely individual in an ever changing world. Do you know what else it is? A pain in the ass to those around you. And there’s the rub. Is there is a happy medium? Can you be cool-vintage and anti-establishment with an iphone?

Photo of vintage phone taken with lousy camera phone.

 

Here is an my example of the techie-dinosaur. I have someone in my family who still has a rotary pay phone in his kitchen. It is a phone that I played with as a kid and loved and admired because it was so vintage and cool looking. But it’s a rotary phone and I have been dialing……yes, I said DIALING that phone since I was five. And now I’m forty. He also owned the same cassette tape player until the rest of us got sick of hearing the static and the endless attempts at pushing down buttons that were no longer working. Lest I not forget to mention the black and white television in his kitchen. The same one that produced the most irritating loud static sound as it tried endlessly to find a signal from it’s rabbit ears. What killed that piece of crap? It certainly wasn’t by choice. It was the death of analog.

On the other end of the spectrum are the tech junkies who have ipods, ipads, mp3’s, The Kindle, the Droid, you name it. This would include almost everyone else I know other than the techie-saurus  rex. I have always considered myself to be somewhere in the middle, somewhat interested in what’s new but not always finding a need for some of these changes in my life, only to jump on the bandwagon late every time. These are my current personal battles with the burning question, do I need this or do I not?:

Do I really need to have a GPS? I know how to read a map for God’s sakes which I still find to be a useful skill though some might find that to be as challenging as reading hyroglifics these days. I have to admit that my friend’s GPS has come in handy a few times but this is one of those areas where I don’t feel like the gates of heaven would open up for me if I had one. Maybe I’m wrong.

Do I really have to get an iphone, Droid, or a smart phone of some sort? I have a cell phone that does what I need it to do considering that I don’t need my phone to do too much for me. Some people do, but I need my phone to turn on and play fancy ring tones when my friends call and that’s it. Having said that, my friend decided to show me how her phone has eliminated her need for her computer altogether and now……you guessed it…..I’m looking into buying a damn iphone. She watches Netflix on the stupid thing, has GPS, well you all know. Everyone but myself has one so I don’t have to tell you.

And then there’s the Kindle. I REALLY want this thing but I have spent so many years collecting my beautiful travel books and I love my book cases. I am torn because though I don’t jump on a plane that often anymore, I think that the Kindle is the smartest piece of travel equipment to come along in a long time. (That and the suitcases with the roller blade wheels.) The amount of bulk eliminated from one little piece of equipment is fantastic. But then, if I didn’t keep buying books what would I have to dust every week?

The dinosaurs are the ones who roll their eyes to the rest of us who have shamelessly given into expensive fads and ongoing technology. I admittedly used to be a dinosaur until about the last 5-7 years. I was in Italy one time when an Italian woman in the airport bathroom was sobbing because she dropped her cell phone and it broke into 100 pieces. I thought she was nuts and needed to get a life. Today, I totally understand. I have since dropped my own phone and turned into the Exorcist when it broke into 100 pieces so I now get it. I’m still in a state of limbo with some of this stuff but I guess all I can do is just keep riding the wave and go with whatever floats my boat at the moment. For now, I can’t imagine that I need to clutter my desk with any more stuff!

FRIDAY PHOTO-Happy Halloween!

Sinister Pumpkins! Ooooohhhhh!

Imagine waking up to the Paranormal kitty every morning!

I wish these women would listen to me. I wanted to be the bumble bee this year!

Oh well. Happy Halloween!

Favorite Travel Shows

Samantha Brown

Image via Wikipedia

It may come as a shock but I watch travel shows the way a lot of sports fanatics watch golf, baseball, or football. Even the so-so shows piqué my interest because I might find a destination that I just have to hit someday, perhaps if only in a book or magazine. Almost from the beginning, shows like Wild Kingdom and the old Jacques Cousteau specials caught my attention and made me want to visit every part of the world, or at least learn about what else is out there.

These days, since I don’t see myself hitting the jungle anytime soon, I rely heavily on the Travel Channel for at least mental escapism. For one thing, my Direct TV bill is a lot cheaper than an airline ticket so, I’ll take it. But I also love to see HOW other people travel. There’s more to it than just packing your bags and getting to where you’re going.

These are the travel shows I obsess over:

Rick Steves-I still live for those PBS marathons even though I’ve seen them over and over. He’s an expert. He’s a travel God. The way he travels, he could have won Survivor many times over. He could sleep on a bed of nails and call it immersion travel, and you would believe it. He not only sparked the interest in youths to travel, he took notes on travel mistakes he made over the years so he could guide them, making their experiences easier. He has given the youth market the courage to get out there and discover, and continues to improve upon this year after year. His awe shucks demeanor makes everybody feel like they could do exactly what he is doing, in spite of language barriers and looking like you eat apple pie every day. Not just for kids anymore, Rick Steves’s guide books have become a travelers’ bible for travelers of every age.

Samantha Brown– Damn she travels well, doesn’t she? I haven’t always been a big fan of Samantha Brown, finding her to be a little too perky for my taste but her show is really growing on me. The destinations they’ve been sending her to have been really fantastic and I like that she will try almost anything. A girl after my own heart. Her recent episode of Eze, France still has me dreaming in French.

Current TVUnseen, hosted by two guys named Max and Jason show the unseen side of a destination you may not see on the mainstream travel shows. They recently had Unseen Italy, Australia, and China just to name a few. It’s in depth travel, and great for adventure and thrill seeking travelers.

Anthony Bourdain-No Reservations-And then there’s the king. Love him or hate him, he’s a gentleman when he travels. He is the most hateful cuss on Top Chef when he is critiquing food, but everyone should take notes from him on how to act when traveling to exotic locations. His commentaries are simultaneously insightful and witty, always revealing more than just a locale. He has a talent for extracting personal stories from the most common people, giving the viewer insight on how life really is in their part of the world.

I could go on for days about the various travel shows I love to watch. But that’s also subjective. I consider Diners Drive-Ins and Dives and Ghost Adventures to be travel shows. I would love to hear about what your t.v. escape is. Is it an American Express commercial or that guy who eats live grubs?!

FRIDAY PHOTO-Malta

Taken at the Historical Museum

~Malta

The National Shrine and Basilica of  Our Lady of Ta’Pinu or The Ta’Pinu Sanctuary. This building has faced demolition many times but has been saved by those who cherish it and believe it to be a place of miracles.

~Gozo, Malta

~Taken from the ferry from Malta on the way to Gozo.

Marble statue/lamp post thing. I don’t really know what this was but thought it was beautiful.

~Marsaxlokk Fishing Village, Malta