Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Not Diggin' It

I can already tell that today's gonna be one of those hormonally-fueled days where EVERYTHING is gonna piss me off. Boyfriend asked me, on his way out the door, if I would e-mail his bio to someone. Now that's not a big deal and only takes a few minutes, but he spent HOURS on the laptop last night. I place such a premium on my before-work's ME time. It's MINE...ALL MINE...that precious hour or so before I have to get ready to go to the "factory." And he was infringing on it, dammit! Do your own P.R. work! I get tired of always being the organized one.

I saw an article online recently (N.Y. Times? Sunday? can't remember exactly) about a Harvard study that showed a definite link between creativity and mental illness. Now I'm not trying to imply that anyone in my household is mentally ill--and I'd like to think that I'm creative, too, in my own ways--but damn, sometimes these performers act a little too helpless when it comes to the business side.

So now because I was awake half the night (and killed time trying to get sleepy by surfing and reading a lot of blogs), I'm tired and behind schedule...and now it's already time to get off the laptop. I need to focus on something positive. Here's one thing: I beaded a necklace last night while BF was surfing and we were watching Sting on Oprah. (Yes, she airs here in the evenings.) I hadn't done any beading in months, so that's a good thing. Now I'm gonna go rustle up something to wear that'll show off the new beads.

Shannon inspired me to get beading again. Check out her earrings!

Saturday, October 25, 2003

A real-life Calgon moment

It's been a helluva week for me at work--quite stressful (for here! I'm not used to it anymore!) I finally managed to get out of the office at lunchtime yesterday (for the first time in over a week.) Strolled around downtown. Did a little shopping for the boyfriend and me: magazines for both of us...two CD's (Steve Miller's* "Complete Greatest Hits" and "A Donnie Hathway Collection" -- How could anyone NOT love Donnie Hathaway?)...and the Scarface 25th Anniversary DVD. What IS it about that movie that makes all the brother-men like it so much?

Today's going to be a beach day. We're about to head out armed with our sand chairs and assorted accoutrements. We'll rent a couple of float mats...and let that warm, gentle bay water "take us away."

Here's to a relaxing, recharging, re-energizing weekend...wherever you are.

*Boyfriend spent the summer of '92 performing around the country as a member of the opening band on Steve Miller's we gotta love Steve!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Little Things

Thanks to Shannon for the earrings and to Megan for the pin. It's fun swapping handmade goodies through the mail.

A very happy birthday to my Aunt Betty in Phoenix who turns a youthful 81 today. I spoke to her a short time ago. She had just returned home after a fun-filled afternoon with her oldest daughter. The good times included lunch at Coco's and a trip to the Dollar Store. Aunt Betty LOVES the Dollar Store and I don't blame her--I love dollar stores, too! She said she has suggested to her daughters that they have a "Dollar Store Christmas"...only presents purchased at the Dollar Store allowed. I think that's a great idea.

Just like opening your mail and finding a handmade goodie wrapped inside a sweet note from someone you've never met. So do something thoughtful for someone this week...something unexpected. Send a handmade something to someone...or buy someone a treat at the Dollar Store. Because sometimes little things can brighten our day in a big way.

TV Land

I wouldn't normally use this blog to write about my TV viewing habits, but this is just too good.

Boyfriend is at a gig, so while he's off playing polite dinner jazz I thought I'd indulge in some serious chick TV. I checked out the premiere of the Courtney Cox-produced "Mix It Up" on WE. I have to say I found it quite disappointing. I actually like "Trading Spaces," but this show makes "TS" look like high art. I thought it was really bad...and cheesy. Of course, there's "good" bad and "bad" bad. Because that was followed by...

The premiere of "Diva Detectives - Las Vegas." Given the "real life Charlie's Angels" promo, I just had to watch. My family's been in the bail business for decades and my brother's always done his own bounty hunting, so he's intimately familiar with surveillance and hunting people down. I was curious to see what kind of cases these three Vegas chicks would be handling.

Just like "Charlie's Angels," it begins with a briefing at "the agency." Their blonde female boss appears on camera and briefs them as if they're heading off on some kind of undercover CIA operation. The first case involved a real estate agent who was posing as the owner of his clients' homes and using them to entertain. The second case involved a woman who wanted her Pomeranian snatched from her ex-boyfriend who refused to give it up. Really. (What, Ace Ventura wasn't available?)

The detectives' chatter is so inane that one can only hope there's not a staff of writers coming up with this stuff. If so, how do I get a gig like that? Because it's gotta be highly entertaining to make them sound like such airheads. You really have to see it to believe it. They act as if they've just rescued Jessica Lynch. There's a lot of breathless drama...over nothing.

BUT, the best part is the "Diva Timeout," when the gals head off the spa between cases for manicures and pedicures...and more inane chatter. Surely this will become a cult hit. Only something this bad could be so mindlessly entertaining.


There was apparently a Bigfoot sighting in my hometown recently. The newspaper ran a story in its online version. (They only publish one story a day it must have been big news.)

It referred to the famous 1967 Bigfoot film footage that terrified me as a kid. It terrified me not just because to my 12-year-old mind it made it seem as if the Sasquatch myth might not be a myth after all, but also because it was a little too close to home! After seeing that footage, I lived in fear that Bigfoot lived in all of our local woods. If there were trees, he might be there. I don't recall it ever occurring to me that there might be more than ONE Bigfoot creature or even a family of Dad, Mom and the kids. I just thought there was one huge scary Bigfoot roaming my county. I spent a lot of time lying awake at night fearful that Bigfoot was out there somewhere.

I also spent an enormous amount of what-should-have-been-sleeping time worrying over how soon California might fall into the ocean, since I had heard my mother tell someone that some psychic was predicting that would happen...and soon. (Parents should really be more careful about what they say in front of the kids.) I used to pray that we would move to Nevada.

And we won't even go into how I believed that Lee Harvey Oswald's ghost lived in my Dad's bedroom closet. That creeped me out no end.

Childhood was exhausting. I was a prime candidate for Xanax. Or maybe it's just that insomnia exacerbates an already vivid, overactive imagination. I did used to wonder if all the other kids were fretting over the same stuff I was. Guess not, since they all went on to do stuff like go to college...and have a career. No wonder I felt clueless at 18. Who had time to think about a future, when there were scary things to worry about...right now?!

Saturday, October 18, 2003


Watching a coworker prepare to relocate to the States reminds me of how daunting it felt when I prepared to move here...and how I really had to let go of my perfectionist tendencies once I had a plane ticket, because there are only so many hours in a day and one can only do what one can do. And I wasn't willing to make it a completely exhausting, unenjoyable process. I didn't want to leave the mainland feeling that I hadn't had ANY enjoyment or pleasure during my last couple of months there.

So about 6 weeks out I began methodically tackling what needed to be done, making sure to give myself time to go out to lunch, meet with friends, continue my regular walking jaunts around the neighborhood, see an occasional movie, cotinue to use my fabulous neighborhood library to support my reading habit, and generally enjoy my life as much as possible without my mate (who was already in the tropics). And somehow, it all got done. And I didn't waste a single moment worrying about what didn't get done, because I was ready to move on. And since I was using public transit, friends would offer me a lift (home or to the post office to ship boxes) and it gave us an opportunity to spend time together that we might not have made time for otherwise, which was nice.

I had a yard sale. Some friends and acquaintances came by the house to purchase some of the larger items ahead of time--and after the sale, I gave away select items to friends and donated whatever was left to a thrift store operated by Vietnam vets. And it made me feel good to know that there were a lot of items that had given me pleasure which were now giving others pleasure.

Maybe that's why I've never been that attached to STUFF. I like the idea of using my stuff while it suits me...and then putting it back into circulation, so to speak. It's the same reason I love libraries. I can reap enormous enjoyment from a book without owning it. If I check it out from the library, I get to add my "vibe" to that copy as others have done before me and then put it back into circulation for the next person to search it out or discover it accidentally.

There will always be more stuff. (I know THAT from experience!) The key for me is to be sufficiently tuned in to myself at any given moment to surround myself with only the stuff that's right for me...right now. Because that's an ever-changing, ever-evolving process. There can be great delight in sometimes reacquiring stuff I owned years or even decades before, because it can serve as a reminder of where my true authenticity lies. So I don't chastise myself for having gotten rid of it in the first place, only to buy the same or a similar version of it later. Instead I use that process as a reminder that change is good and sometimes we need to move away from something to realize whether or not it holds true value for us. And if that principle applies to people and relationships and geographic locations, then surely it also applies to stuff. We can use stuff as a directional finder to lead us to our authenticity.

Home may be where the heart is...I use stuff to lead me to where my true home is.

Thursday, October 16, 2003


Does this sound like a recipe for a vacation? 11 days off + a total of 11 flights + a 700-mile road trip + 4 nights spent in motels and 5 nights spent at relatives' 4 different towns + 1 night spent on a plane? Or does it sound like a people-pleasing journey that can only lead to exhaustion?

We arrived back on St. Thomas feeling as if we'd been traveling for a month. We could only muster the energy to look at each other and marvel: "We did a LOT!" It was our first trip back to the States since we moved to the tropics 3-1/2 years ago...and we tried to cover every familial base. The only problem is that we spent (for us) a small fortune and used up our remaining vacation time for the year...and we still don't feel like we had a vacation! But that's okay. Hopefully our respective families were happy to see us--if only briefly--and our next trip to the States we can be totally selfish and do something completely relaxing. My new motto is: From now on, we vacation ONE TOWN AT A TIME! Really, it was too much to try to do in such a short period of time. We may have covered a lot of bases, but we barely scratched the surface.

We did have a good time and it was great to see our families, even though we only had a brief time with any one person or group. Some highlights:

* Spending (unfortunately WAY too brief a) time with boyfriend's 12-year-old son in Portland. Still the same, sweet, fabulous kid. Plans were made for him to spend next summer with us.
* The dinner/roast for my Dad's 75th and my Dad and Stepmother's 25th anniversary
# My brother emceeing: priceless...and hilarious.
# Having my roast go over apparently quite well. I think I shocked a lot of people who didn't realize that I can actually be funny. (That's okay, my close friends know.)
# Getting to make my stepmother's wish come true to have all 6 of us Brady Bunch-combined kids home at the same for the first time in 25 years!
# The satisfaction on my Dad's face as a countless number of people got up to roast him. Not how I'd like to celebrate my 75th birthday, but I guess that kind of thing makes him feel widely liked.
* Having my best friend from high school pick us up at the airport and getting to spend some time with her over the party weekend. We had a chance to catch up a bit after not seeing each other since our 20-year reunion...10 years ago! The best part is she definitely plans to visit the islands. I'm looking forward to it.
* Spending time with my nieces and enjoying them individually...and together. The 13-year-old blonde blows me away at how mature and poised (and beautiful) she is...compared to how utterly dorky, gangly and painfully shy I was at that age. The brunette 5-year-old is as feisty, quirky and independent as ever. She likes to do everything...herself. She's a smart cookie who tickles me with her take on the world.
* A Sunday morning walk with the boyfriend on land owned by relatives. It was only in the mid-50's and foggy, but what a treat to just take in the pastoral scene and the cows, herons, ducks, birds, cats and wildflowers we came across.
* The road trip to Portland -- After being stuck on our little 13 miles long x 3 miles wide island for years, it was fabulous to be in a car and just GO...for hundreds of miles. You have no idea how much I miss LAND. I kept looking out the window on the Miami to San Francisco flight and feeling amazed at all the...LAND.
* Driving through the redwoods and the Smith River canyon--still my favorite place on the planet. And, yes, we acted just like tourists and stopped to take numerous pictures with our new digital camera.
* Walking around downtown Portland with my beau and remembering what a wonderful and utterly livable city it is.
* Hearing the boyfriend sit in and play (drums) a couple of times in Portland. He plays music all the time here, but it was nice to hear him play a few tunes that I actually like! Ha! He's the humblest musician I know, so I got a secret kick out of him blowing into town for a few hours and showing that he's still got the chops.
* Seeing the few girlfriends I had a chance to squeeze in between the family gatherings. It was great to see them all.
* Using the video feature on our digital camera (but unfortunately remembering much too late that we had it.)
* Having mostly great travel weather both for flying and driving.
* Getting to spend a weekend at my brother and sister-in-law's place the weekend before we returned home. It was the most relaxing part of the trip.
* Seeing how good my mother looked. She looked trim...I can't remember the last time I saw her wear jeans. And it's the first time in my memory (since I don't have any memories of my infancy!) when I've seen her with her natural hair color! She's let it go to its natural gray. She also got a short, spiky cut and the whole look really suits her. (Kind of ironic that I've recently gone back to coloring my hair after letting it go natural for 8+ years at the same time that she's stopped coloring hers.)
* Arriving back at my office on Tuesday morning and realizing with glee that I had completely forgotten my boss would be gone for my first two weeks back...yippee!

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Leavin'...on a jet plane...

T minus 32 hours...until we jet off to the mainland for the first time since moving here almost 3-1/2 years ago. And, boy, are we ready! The last load of laundry is in the washer...the shopping for trip items is completed...all that's left to do is to pack a couple of carry-ons. We're packing light because we plan to SHOP! once we get to Portland.

We're taking our laptop so I may try to post from the road, but it might be hectic. We're squeezing in a lot of activities on our 10-day trip. First up: 5(!) flights to get to our (small town, my hometown) destination. We arrive late Friday night. Saturday night there's a big bash (dinner and roast) to celebrate my father's 75th birthday and my father and stepmother's 25th wedding anniversary. We're spending Saturday night at the resort where the party is being held. Sunday there's a BBQ for family members and out-of-town guests. There are 140 coming to the party on Saturday and half that number attending the BBQ on Sunday. I'm going to see a lot of people I haven't seen in YEARS! Including my best friend from high school who's picking us up at the airport.

This is surely going to be at least a temporary cure for island fever.