Happy Thanksgiving from the Wandering Woman!

This is the time of year that we all hopefully take a moment and reflect on what we are thankful for. It’s hard not to notice that people have really been challenged this past year and don’t feel that they have much to feel any gratitude for. And who can blame them? When you’re trying to get a job after not having one for a while or trying to hang on to your house, or maybe even lost everything this year, it’s nearly impossible to be hopeful much less thankful. I’ve had a challenging year myself but somehow have been able to tell myself that everything is temporary. Challenges are meant to teach us something though most of us have enough character without having to deal with the house falling on top of us. I guess if I’ve learned nothing else this year, I’ve been reminded that we have to be grateful for TODAY. That’s it. I haven’t been able to venture off this year the way I would have liked but instead I found my partner and learned to explore where we live, making me appreciate home instead of looking outward. That’s not to say that my wanderlust has been squelched or that I don’t dream of going to Africa every day of my life, but for finding him, I’m grateful.

Which leads me to our challenge. In the middle of our whirlwind tour of dining around San Francisco and planning all of the fabulous trips we’re going to take together, we were forced to only think about today. He was diagnosed with cancer in the fall, and though his prognosis is very good, we’ve had to answer to the challenge. I’ve watched him soldier on and go to work in spite of feeling sick from chemotherapy, while constantly concerned about how he is affecting me and making sure I’m not upset by all of this . (Impossible.)  The lesson I’ve learned from him is that if he can go through all of this and still pick himself up and live everyday, I have nothing to complain about. (Though it’s hard for a leopard to change it’s spots.)

So today,  I’m so incredibly grateful for his health and him having a good day. He’s able to do what he loves which is cook and make great food for those he loves. I’m also grateful that my friends and family who have been so supportive, are also healthy and relatively happy. Not everybody can be wildly happy all the time but I think everybody is pretty darn close to it. I’m also grateful that my Phoebe kitty is still playing like a kitten and am so grateful for the wonderful connections I’ve made through my little blog. Live for today, enjoy every minute, and tell your peeps that you love them. You might find that you have more in your life than you thought!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tales of the Kitty~Ahhh….L’Amour

Gizmo and Miko showing love in the afternoon.

Ghosts of Lents Past

Happy Ash Wednesday everybody! Now that everyone has “celebrated” Lent in their own way whether in New Orleans or Carnivale in Venice Italy, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and actually decide on what to give up until Easter, if anything at all. For those who missed out on the joy of having your parents make you give something up during this time of the year, a history of Lent can be found here. Any Catholic kid will tell you that nobody got away with giving up brussel sprouts and church on Sundays.

What were some of the things I chose to give up for Lent? How about chocolate? Stupid. Yes, a valiant effort and women know that giving up chocolate is truly a sacrifice but I was still a teenager when I did that which means that I had raging hormones and no chocolate to quiet them. I think my parents almost caved during that one out of self-defense. My efforts however were rewarded on Easter with a large tin of Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookies.

How about sugar? Even dumber, ya? Because chocolate wasn’t painful enough, I gave up refined sugar completely so I had no vice whatsoever. This was during the time that an allergist suggested that sugar may be contributing to my allergies so I thought, great. Lent is coming soon, so I’ll have a reason to give it up to test the theory. (Just test the theory, idiot.)

How about yeast? That’s right, yeast. No wine, no cheese, no bread. Doesn’t make for a very good Catholic, does it? Have I mentioned that I live in San Francisco? Sourdough bread was eliminated from the mix as well. That’s just wrong no matter the cause.

Notice that I’ve always used Lent as a reason to go on a diet of some sort. That’s par for the course with me considering that I get dyslexic with the eating to live/living to eat logic. I’m not a practicing anything these days because that would require commitment after all, but lately I’ve been thinking of getting my Lent on. There is something to be said for fasting or creating a goal and sticking with it.

What do you think? Should I go for the triple crown this time and give up all three??!! Are you giving anything up? I would love to know!

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!

It Figures. The Almighty Junk Sets Off The Rallying Cry.

Applause, applause. Somebody is putting their foot down on the violations to our 4th Amendment rights. I’m really glad that passenger John Tyner said, NO to this violation of privacy that travelers have had to endure for years now. I have to admit that I’m a little peeved over the fact that it took a threatened pee pee to sound the alarm on what a violation the security checks can be at the airport. It has been a Hooter buffet for almost 10 years where we’ve had to allow some random security person to get to second base for security purposes. Now, because we have evolved so much, you get a choice. Be physically groped and molested or give yourself up to a scanner which provides a full-on peep show for the screener. If disabled passengers are not able to stand up out of their wheelchairs or scooters, they get the groping session in their wheelchairs and scooters for their convenience.

The argument is that this is keeping America safe. By the time we collect our dignity and get on the plane, we should arrive to our destinations as the most combed-through traveling citizens of the world, right? This is a fool-proof system so nobody should have slipped through, right? What about that wannabe underwear bomber last year who boarded the plane in Amsterdam? Have we figured out how to prevent idiots and terrorists from boarding overseas and landing here?

Before I am accused of siding with the terrorists, let me just remind everybody about the 4th Amendment. We are protected against unreasonable search and seizure and there needs to be probable cause for having to go through a search. What we are experiencing at the airports are “pat-downs searches” which, according to the Constitution, is to be carried out by an officer. Mr. Tyner was absolutely correct in stating his boundaries. Furthermore, the alternative to pat-down searches which are scanner machines, are as much a violation to our rights as the invasive pat-downs. Have you seen what they can actually see on these scanners? If I’m going to be subjected to such a thorough and revealing scan, than I expect to have the results to my bone density, colonoscopy, and body fat count by the time I get my shoes back on. Even Captain Sullenberger (Sully) has spoken out against the invasive nature of the current practices of the TSA, having watched his wife be subjected to getting searched “in sensitive places.”

No matter where the spark came from, I’m glad this matter is finally getting the proper attention needed to sound the alarm on how wrong it is to put the traveling public through this. We’ve been obediently handing over our rights to our person and having to live with that weird feeling afterward in the name of national security. BS. Thanks for the innovative practices but find another way to protect me without violating me. I have spent so many years promoting the need for travel in our lives and now I hear more and more people wanting to stay home or drive long distances because of hassles like this.  Please TSA, do your job but stay away from our junk and our hooters.

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Now that I’ve stood up on my soapbox, I found a clip from some Aussies who just happen to share my feelings on this subject and summed it all up so well. Warning: They’re a little more laid back about this then we are!