No Bad Days In SD

Random thoughts on life, love, work, fun, and anything else that comes up

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Location: San Diego

Optimistic, sentimental, loyal, fun-loving, complicated (at times), sexy woman!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Thinkin' about...Key West and Aruba pix!

I finally put my Key West and Aruba pictures into a Snapfish album. I know, I know, it took me long enough. So I've included a link here that you can go to. Be advised that Snapfish will ask you for an e-mail address and a password before you can view the album, if you don't have a Snapfish login already. I hope you'll find it's worth it!

My Key West and Aruba Pictures

I didn't add captions to the pictures yet (okay, so I'm slow), but you'll see all kinds of people we met and places we saw on both islands. I even took pictures of Carlos 'n Charlie's on Aruba, the restaurant made famous by the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. I also snapped a picture of one of the missing posters for Natalee that were on store windows downtown. I'm not sure you can read it, but I took the picture because the wording on the poster was so weird. It made it sound like her mom thought she had run away. Very curious.

On Key West, there were three of us: myself, my sister, and my friend from Denver. On Aruba, there were three of us also: myself, my sister, and my friend from San Diego.

Good times!! Here are a couple of pix to pique your curiosity:

Friday, September 02, 2005

Thinkin' About... Natural Bridge in Aruba

My sister e-mailed me today to tell me that the Natural Bridge in Aruba, which is one of the main tourist attractions there, collapsed today. I am shocked and sad about that. We visited that bridge while we were there, and it's a beautiful thing that Mother Nature has created. The waves crash in underneath the bridge, which is really coral and was formed by waves over thousands of years. The surrounding landscape is wild and untamed; the wind is strong and warm; the sound of the waves is unceasing. What a wonderful place! Here are a couple of pictures of the bridge.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Thinkin' About... No Regrets

Nothing today but this amazing quote that I have on my bedroom wall:

"I try not to cry about everything I've done wrong," she said, "because I don't get enough fluids as it is already."

-- Brian Andreas

Friday, July 22, 2005

Thinkin' About... HOME!

Ah. Home. The word conjures up such a wonderful mix of emotion, visions, anticipation. I've been back for one week and I am truly, deeply glad to be here. I have lots to write about my trip, and will even post a few pictures (plus a link to a Snapfish album), but that, of course, takes time and organization and sheer willpower to sit down at this computer and do it!

I have missed reading everyone's blogs and missed writing in mine. I'm buried in homework and catch-up at work, but it's all about priorities, right? What is more important than this?

So, this weekend, no matter what, I'm going to post again. And I'm going to read everyone's blogs and catch up on what I've missed. And I'm going to sit here with my laptop and smile and think, it really is good to be back.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Thinkin' About... Vacation!

Man, oh, man. 5 days and counting. I leave on Friday for 3 weeks of vacation (Key West, Aruba, and Virginia), and it's all I can do to keep focused at work and at home. The resorts are reserved, the flights are booked, the cars are rented, the snorkel gear is pulled out of the closet, the passport is good to go, the pet sitters are lined up. Let's see, what am I forgetting?

Found out that our cell phones won't work in Aruba, and I'm uncomfortable knowing that family can't reach us easily if there is an emergency. I know, I know. What did we do before cell phones? But it's a foreign country and it can be difficult at best to find someone. So I'm researching renting one of those global phones. There are lots of choices, but man, they can get expensive!! How much am I willing to spend for peace of mind? I'm going to spend a bunch of money on this trip, so why not another $50 or so just-in-case? Seems reasonable to me. I'll just have a few less 'adult beverages' to pay for it. Ha! Who am I kidding?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Thinkin' About... My Head Exploding

I am currently reading (trying) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig. This book was first published in 1974, and although I've known about it for 30 years, I just haven't ever picked it up. While in Borders Friday night, looking for textbooks I need for a copyediting class, I spotted it and was inspired.

Anyway, this book is both fascinating and frustrating at the same time. There is so much philosophy twisted around the story of the motorcycle trip that I have to keep re-reading sections to try to understand what he just wrote. I have the sensation (usually when I'm trying to read late at night and I'm tired) that my head is going to explode.

My son wants to read it when I'm done. He loves books that make you think and he loves anything to do with motorcycles, so it's only natural.

Thinkin' About... A Dry Well

Rat bastard is dragging my heart around through the dirt and I don't think he even knows it. When I talk about it, it's "I understand. I really do." Then nothing changes. I am an idiot who keeps going back to this dry well.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Thinkin' About... A Honey-Do List

Today's post is really not about much of anything. Just something charming I wanted to share.

Here in San Diego we have an agency called ElderHelp. Their mission is to provide services that allow elderly clients to stay in their own homes as long as possible. They provide services to that end: shopping help, doing odd jobs around the house, bill-paying, running errands, and so on.

Anyway, I've been doing some outside painting jobs for a 74-year-old lady who is an ElderHelp client. She is a doll, really, smart and cheeky. We get along great, but she is a sly one, this lady, and she knows just how to get me to commit to yet another odd job. Yesterday I was painting the cement floor of her front porch. She came to the door, watched me for a while, then asked, in her sweet little-old-lady voice, "Do you think it would be a big job to paint those posts on the side of the porch?" Now, you must understand that the week before I had painted the floor of her storage shed, and during that job she asked (again in that sweet little-old-lady voice), "Do you think I still have enough paint left over to paint the front porch floor? Do you think I could find someone who would do that?" Well, duh. Of course, I said I would do it, no problem.

So back to yesterday. I knew where we were going with this, so I turned to her and said, "Why don't you go make a list of ALL the little jobs you would like to have done around here? I'll look at my schedule and we'll figure out how to get everything done over the next three months." She was tickled at that and disappeared into her bedroom.

I'm painting away, and suddenly I hear...Tap. Tap. Tap-tap-tap. Tap. Tap. She was in her room, typing up a Honey-Do list for me on a manual typewriter! I had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing out loud. It was an amazing sound, something I haven't heard in I don't know how long. I thought, "How cool is that?"

She reappeared after about 10 minutes with a neatly typed list for me. Four paint jobs, all of them fairly simple. I know they'll get done sometime this summer. She's not in a big hurrry. She really just likes the company. But I'm keeping that neatly typed list forever. It's precious and such a throwback.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Thinkin' About... Soldiers (again)

Last week I mailed another care package to the squad of soldiers I've befriended in Iraq. They had asked for DVDs for when they have free time, and bags of hard candy for when they are on foot patrols out in the village. My co-workers and friends stepped up, and together we were able to send a box containing 34 action and comedy DVDs, and 6 big bags of hard candy.

Today I got an e-mail from the sergeant saying that they got the package. I am so touched by what he wrote that I am cutting and pasting his e-mail here (exactly the way he wrote it), in case you'd like to read it. Such a little thing, and it meant so much. As I told my co-workers today while thanking them for their contributions to the care package, one person really can make a difference.


Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Thinkin' About... Key West and Aruba

I'm getting ready to head out on vacation in just about 3 weeks. I already am in 'vacation mode' in my head, which is a very dangerous place to be this far out from the actual event. No matter, though. I'll slog through everything that needs to be done, imagining myself driving with the top down through the Keys. I know it's very cliche to do that, but do I care? Nope. I did it two years ago and had so much fun, I'm doing it again.

A week in Key West (bawdy, rowdy, crazy place where you meet the MOST interesting people!), followed immediately by a week in Aruba. Now there's an island I've always wanted to visit. While making plans for this summer vacation it suddenly occurred to me that one week in Key West was not going to be enough vacation; no sir, not even close. Thought about it for, oh, about 5 minutes, and then decided, why not see how hard it would be to go to Aruba? Guess what? It's not hard at all! The flight is a bit pricey but I don't think money should stand in the way of a good vacation. Ha, I wrote that like I have unlimited vacation funds! I don't. But that's beside the point.

My sister and I often take vacations together; we have similar 'traveling styles' and about the same tolerance for pre-scheduling activities (NONE). Originally a bunch of family members were going with us, but ALL of them backed out. Hmmm, we have two beautiful timeshares on two beautiful islands, and no one wants to go. What to do, what to do. We started inviting random friends, wondering if any of them would be spontaneous enough to buy a ticket and join us. Happily, one girlfriend is flying from Denver to spend the week in Key West, and another is 'this close' to buying her ticket to join us in Aruba. Perhaps I'll post bikini pix after. Good times will be had by all!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Thinkin' About... Insanity

Okay, I admit that I flat-out stole this one. My son's girlfriend brought it from her work (it's one of those annoying e-mail things that makes the rounds), but it made me laugh. So I'm putting it here in case it makes you laugh, too.

Sixteen Ways to Maintain a Healthy Level of Insanity

  1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hairdryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
  2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.
  3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
  4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it "IN".
  5. Put decaf in the coffeemaker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
  6. In the memo field of all your checks, write "For Sexual Favors".
  7. Finish all your sentences with "In accordance with the prophecy".
  8. dont use any punctuation
  9. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
  10. Specify that your drive-thru order is "To go".
  11. Sing along at the opera.
  12. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.
  13. Put mosquito netting around your work area and play tropical sounds all day.
  14. When money comes out of the ATM, scream "I won! I won!"
  15. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot, yelling "Run for your lives! They're loose!"
  16. Tell your children over dinner, "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."

Remember: You are only given a little spark of madness. You must not lose it!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Thinkin' About... A Soldier In Iraq

I haven't posted in over a month; writing here tonight feels so good! So much going on lately, but the best thing was putting together 200 'care packages' for soldiers in Iraq along with some children of my co-workers. I have to talk about that because of the events that followed.

Back in late April, on Take Your Kids To Work Day, about 56 children of my co-workers showed up to see what happens at work. My job was to manage a project with these kids where they assembled care packages for soldiers. Earlier in the week we shopped for 200+ disposable razors, decks of cards, packages of hot cocoa mix, tootsie pops, Bazooka bubblegum, hard candy, beef jerky, and so on. I had found a Web site called, where soldiers can list the items their squads/units/platoons need, along with a specific name and address to mail them to, and how many soldiers would be receiving the packages. (You can't send anonymous packages to Iraq; they just destroy them if you do.)

So we put together these care packages and packed them into boxes according the the numbers of soldiers who needed these items. We ended up with 10 boxes; in each box, I added a handwritten letter to the soldier whose name I got from, telling him about the kids who assembled the packages and giving him my name and e-mail address if he had time to write back.

One week letter I received an e-mail from one solder in Kirkuk, Iraq, thanking us for the care packages. We started e-mailing back and forth, telling each other about our families, our lives, what it's like in Iraq, and so on. He told me other things his soldiers could use: DVDs (for their down time) and hard candy to give to the local kids when they are on patrol. I asked my co-workers to donate DVDs, and yesterday I mailed a box containing 34 DVDs and 6 big bags of candy to the soldier. He told me that his soldiers were excited about the package that they knew was coming their way.

It has been the most rewarding and heartwarming thing I have done in many years, and it makes me realize how the smallest kindness means so very much to our troops. I know many of us don't agree with the war in Iraq, but I do believe that it's our patriotic duty to support those troops who went there when they were ordered to. The soldier I am corresponding with is a member of his state's National Guard; he's a truck driver with a young wife and five kids. He most certainly did not plan a trip to Iraq, but there he is, and to hear him talk there isn't any duty he would rather perform. He makes me proud to be an American. And he's a year younger than my own son, so I feel a very motherly concern for this fine young man. And today he asked me if there is anything I would like for him to send to me and my co-workers! Imagine that. I thought about it and decided I'm going to mail an American flag to him, ask him to fly it in their camp and take a picture with his unit, then send the flag back. I think that would be awesome.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Thinkin' About... Bee Swarms

On Sunday I took two of my nephews and hiked up Iron Mountain here in San Diego. It's a beautiful hike, a bit challenging, but worth every step when you get to the top. That view is glorious!

There is a telescope and a picnic table at the top, plus a mailbox with a notebook where you can enter your thoughts as you sit and contemplate your beautiful surroundings. While one nephew used the giant telescope, and the other drew in the notebook, and a few other random hikers sat on boulders and chatted, I sat on the picnic table enjoying the peace and the view. Suddenly, we heard this noise, which got louder and louder until a MASSIVE swarm of bees appeared from below the nearest cliff. Before anyone could react at all, other than to yell, "BEES!", we were completely surrounded by, I kid you not, tens of thousands of swarming bees. They completely filled the air at the top of the mountain with sound and their little bodies.

Now, I have seen bee swarms when some neighbor kid (okay, it was always a boy) threw a rock at a beehive in the woods. Those swarms would empty the hive and you'd be running from hundreds of bees (maybe it was thousands; who knows?). But this? This was unlike anything I could ever have imagined. I remember having two distinct thoughts: 1) I'm glad I have my cell phone in case anyone gets attacked. We may need to call for help; and 2) I hope the bees don't like the smell of my sunscreen. (I know, the mind works in mysterious ways.)

Funny thing is, those bees were SO not interested in all of us. They buzzed around us for maybe 30-45 seconds, bumping into us randomly as they tried to fly about, and then, as rapidly as they appeared, they flew off down the other side of the mountain and were gone. Basically, "Dude! What just happened?!!" would describe our state of mind, I think.

At work on Monday I googled "bee swarms" and learned that out in nature, sometimes giant bee swarms (up to 90,000 bees!!!) send out the majority of their bees to go start new hives, and this new swarm may be 50,000 - 60,000 bees. Does anyone know if what I read about the massive swarms is even true? I'm guessing that's what we experienced, but who knew?

Friday, April 15, 2005

Thinkin' About... Traveling Alone

Today I'm thinking about traveling alone. For all of my life, I've been fascinated and terrified by the idea of going on a trip all by myself. Part of me thinks I would hate it, always wishing I had a partner to share experiences with, someone to share thoughts with, someone to grab and say, "Hey, look at that!" Part of me thinks I would love it, going wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, not having to worry about what anyone else wants to do, not having to deal with someone else's timeframe.

I see people who travel alone, and I confess that I am in awe of what I perceive to be their bravery, fearlessness, and guts. I've talked to friends who have traveled alone, and I think without exception they have raved about it, often saying their trips alone are their favorites. I suppose traveling alone would force you to strike up conversations with strangers, talk to the locals, and maybe even really look inside yourself.

Lately I find I'm daydreaming about taking a trip to somewhere like Tuscany, all by myself. Just packing up and taking off and figuring out where to stay and what to do once I'm there. Maybe it's because I'm getting older and starting to think about the things I still want to do while I'm healthy and strong. Maybe it's because I'm becoming less fearful and more adventurous. Maybe it's because I worry that I'll spend so many years waiting for someone to go with, that it won't ever happen.

I think I need to start really talking to people who have traveled alone and see if it sounds like something I'd enjoy. I don't even really enjoy eating along in a restaurant, so I should start there!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Thinkin' About... Body Image

Today I'm thinking about body image. Here's a topic that is so fraught with emotion, especially, I think, for women (American women in particular?). I wonder. Anyway, suffice it to say that just about any woman you talk to will have issues with *something* about her body. Is it that her hips are too wide? Is it that her butt's too small? Or too big? Is it that her breasts are not big/firm/small/perky enough? Is it that her hair color is drab? Is it that her skin is too pasty white? Too wrinkled? Too blotchy?

The list of complaints goes on and on.

But how many of us have found old photographs of ourselves, and looked with awe at how fresh, young, and yes, beautiful we looked back then? If you are a teenager, or in your twenties, perhaps this hasn't happened to you yet. Just wait! :-)

Yet, even back when the photo was taken, I'd bet money that you weren't happy with something about your body. Right?

So think about all of it: cellulite? wrinkles? an ample bottom? Celebrate all of it. I'm not saying that you shouldn't try to stay in shape, which really means, do the things that preserve your health and let your body perform at its highest level. But stop obsessing about the little things that are inevitable as we age.

This is a subject that deserves ongoing discussion, but I'm going to finish tonight by saying that each of us is so perfectly perfect just the way we are. Each of us is so beautifully beautiful just the way we are. Someone recently reminded me that I should celebrate my body as it is, because it's just right the way it is. Someone else said, "Each of us should look in the mirror in the morning, before we walk out the door, and say, 'Woo-whee, I've got it goin' on!'"

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Thinkin' About... Domestic Violence

Today I'm thinking about domestic violence. I'm a survivor of four years of this incredibly terrible, damaging, terrifying phenomenon, so I feel qualified to have an opinion about it.

I don't believe that ANY woman 'wants' to be hit. I no longer scoff and say, "Why doesn't she just leave?" I don't think a domestic violence victim is a fool, or stupid, or blind. I think it's a sneaky, gradual, ever-consuming cloud of evil that looks so innocent at the beginning, but over time thrusts its victim into the darkest, loneliest, scariest place she could ever imagine.

So I made up, a la David Letterman, some lists today. You know, the Top Ten Reasons... type of thing. I'm not making light of domestic violence with these lists. On the contrary, I'm acknowledging that, when you are in the middle of it, there are some seemingly valid reasons to stay. And confirming that, even when all seems hopeless, there are truly valid reasons to get out. NOW.

The Top Ten Reasons To Stay:

10. He's really, really sorry. You're the last person in the world he wants to hurt.
9. He didn't mean to hit you. It's just that you made him so mad, he couldn't help himself.
8. You can't afford to leave.
7. If you would only do (insert any activity here) better, it would all be fine.
6. He's just stressed out and doesn't have anyone else to take it out on.
5. When he's not hitting you, he really is such a nice man.
4. He's the father of your children.
3. You really, really love him.
2. It's not his fault; his parents abused him.
And the number one reason to stay: 1. If you try to leave, he will kill you.

The Top Ten Reasons to Leave:

10. He's not going to stop hitting you. And he might start hitting your kids.
9. There are real men in this world who wouldn't dream of hitting you.
8. Your children shouldn't see you being treated like this.
7. It's not you. It's him. He has a problem.
6. It's not going to stop. Ever. He's going to keep hitting you.
5. Your daughter will think it's okay for her man to hit her.
4. Your son will think it's okay to hit his wife.
3. You are a strong, independent woman who should be treated like a goddess.
2. There are people out there who can help you get a new, safe life.
And the number one reason to leave: 1. If you don't leave, eventually you will die.

I'll end with one last thought: once you get the strength to leave, for the rest of your life every day will seem like the most amazing gift from the universe.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Thinkin' About... Military Brats

Today I'm thinking about military brats. Most people know the term: son or daughter of a career military person (meaning: you moved every two or three years your entire life until you finished high school, or some variation on that theme). And if you ARE a military brat, you are painfully familiar with the feelings/memories/circumstances the term evokes for you.

Being a military brat is both a blessing and a curse, in my view. A blessing because it teaches you how to get along with all kinds of people; how to fit in to all types of situations; how to converse with strangers; how to make friends when you are the new kid; how important it is to be welcoming to newcomers when you AREN'T the new kid; how to follow rules and be respectful; how to honor your country and the people who serve in the Armed Forces.

It's a curse for many military brats because we learn at an early age that making friends means a broken heart sooner or later: either you, or your best friend, will move away just when you really get close. It's a curse because if you are lucky enough to have a pet in one tour of duty, you have to leave it behind when you move, and here comes another broken heart. It's a curse because every time your heart breaks while you are growing up this way, you add one more brick to the wall that will eventually surround, and protect, your heart.

You envy the kids you meet who tell you they have lived in the same town their entire life, and have had the same best friend since kindergarten. At the same time, you may secretly mock them for their tunnel-vision view of the world, their small-town outlook, their ignorance of what a big world it is out there. It's easy to be smug and superior about your life experiences, even when in your heart of hearts you long for the sense of belonging these people must feel.

Once you are grown up and you've maybe settled in one city, put down roots, established a career, you may find that you struggle to let anyone get inside that huge wall you have built. Why bother? One of you is bound to leave. If you just don't let them get close in the first place, it won't hurt so much when you, or they, go away.

I think Herman Wouk put it best in his book, The Winds of War. His character, Pug, is talking to his son when they have returned to look at one of the many homes they lived in during Pug's military career. "That's the worst of a service career," Pug said. "You never strike roots. You raise a family of tumbleweeds."

I'm guessing there are some military brats out there who have overcome the built-in hurdles and established loving relationships, lifelong friendships, and strong community ties. I'm still struggling with it in my life, all these years later. I have to remind myself every single day that it's okay to get close, it's okay to care about someone, it's okay to take that risk.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Thinkin' About... Lingerie

Today I'm thinking about lingerie. Haven't thought much about it, actually, until lately. Well, of course there are always decisions to be made about lingerie: do I need new undies? how thrashed ARE my bras, anyway? and things of that nature. But the really sexy, seductive kind of lingerie? Not even on my radar.

About 20 years ago, a co-worker of mine told me how her husband liked for her to dress up in a garter belt and stockings, etc., to "spice things up" in their love life. I was a young woman at the time and I remember thinking that her husband must be some kind of pervert, asking his wife to do such a thing. I mean, really!! It was just inconceivable to me, at that time, that decent women wore such things for their men.

Fast forward 20+ years, and I'm spending time with a man who, 'lo and behold, says that he would love to see me in a garter belt and stockings. To say I was surprised is the understatement of the year. Let's not even get into the whole issue of the fact that my body is, in my opinion, WAYYY past its prime. Here is this hottie who wants to see me in sexy lingerie. After my first gasp of surprise, I thought about it, and started to consider the possibility. Just consider it, mind you. Actually doing it was a whole other matter.

I need to backtrack here for a minute and confess one thing. Years ago, I actually bought a garter belt because I thought it would be nice, if I was ever involved with a man who liked that sort of thing, to wear sexy lingerie for him. Note: it never happened. It never even came up in conversation all those years, with any man I was with. I certainly wasn't raising the issue if HE wasn't, right? How embarrassing!!

But now I had a chance to actually see what it would be like, and with someone who would actually appreciate it. Did I go for it? Absolutely! I've even been shopping at stores that specialize in this sort of thing, and it's really, really fun! I feel sexy, attractive, and yes, years younger.

I'm curious about other women out there who have a) wanted to wear lingerie for their man but are too shy to bring it up, or b) have done this regularly and weren't the least bit intimidated, or c) think it's gross. And everything in between, of course.