Friday, January 19, 2007

Pretty in pink

One of my goals this year is to participate in the Rosarito-Ensenada bicycle race, a 40-mile event that takes place twice a year down in my neck of the woods. My father gave me his super-duper light, fast and amazing bike so I could enjoy what has always been his favorite sport. (If you're reading this daddy, I love you!)

Mr. T has been training me on the bike, patiently showing me how to unclip my bike shoes from the pedals (easier said than done!), how to change gears, and how to get out of my seat when climbing hills.

I love the thrill of flying down the road, the challenge of climbing a hill, and the feeling of accomplishment at conquering another personal milestone. What I don't love are the saddle sores associated with cycling.

Sometimes I get so uncomfortable during a ride that I start yelling "Santoooooooos!!" at the top of my lungs. Go ahead and laugh, but I can tell you something: My girly parts are NOT AMUSED.

I have thickly padded cycling shorts and Mr. T even suggested I use a wool seat cover to protect my girly bits. OK, people, that's NOT going to happen!


Would any of you be caught dead riding with this seat? I didn't think so...I'd be the laughing stock of the biking community, people would think I have hemorroids!! No, no, I'd rather suffer the pain than bear the shame.

Because Mr. T has a vested interest in keeping my girly parts happy, he did some research and surprised me with the most beautiful, most thoughtful early Valentine's day present I have EVER received!


Not only did he get me a seat specially designed to accomodate my girly parts, but he also got me a PINK jersey and matching PINK arm warmers!!! Is that not the cutest thing EVER??? I'm such a lucky girl...

So, next time you see a flash of pink zooming past you on a bike, go ahead and wave because it could be me!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

He's "The Olive Garden", she's "Bombay Palace"

Ok, people, I need your help here. What would you do in the following situation:

You've been on two dates with a really nice person. He/she is sweet, nice, athletic, good-looking, has a good job, owns a home, treats you well, calls when he/she says he/she will, and says he/she likes you. Basically, the typical "good on paper" person.

The problem is, you don't find him/her intellectually stimulating. Your conversations are superficial, and he/she doesn't seem to share your passion for different cultures. It's obvious he/she hasn't done much research in the subjects that you feel strongly about, and you feel like there's an intellectual void. Putting it in food terms (because I'm hungry), he/she is an all-american "The Olive Garden" while you are a globe-trotting "Bombay Palace".

You're going on a third date, but you're almost certain this person - albeit good on paper - isn't right for you. How do you let him/her down easy without saying something like: "You're not my intellectual equal?" Or do you just say it and hope for the best?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

No animals were harmed in the making of this wedding

The fate of the vendor...Well, that we're not too sure about.

Before I start, I must say this happened to a wedding planner I know and not to me (although I've had my fair share of animal encounters!)

She was planning a wedding in Acapulco, a beach resort located on the west coast of Mexico. The couple wanted a ceremony at night, overlooking a cliff. They would be illuminated by reflectors and at the moment they kissed, the wedding planner was supposed to open a box and white doves were going to fly out and be dramatically lit up by the powerful reflectors. It all sounds fabulous, right?

Well, the wedding planner looked EVERYWHERE for the darn doves in Acapulco (ah, the lengths we'll go to for our clients) and she finally found a little old man who could provide them. She hired him and got everything set up for the night of the wedding.

Finally, the day of the big event rolled around and she scampered to get everything in place before nightfall. The little old man showed up on schedule and she carefully positioned him and the box of doves behind the altar, where nobody could see him. The sun set and the guests started to arrive. The musicians started to play and the lovely bride walked down the aisle. The couple said their vows, exchanged rings, and got ready for the grand finale.

Meanwhile, the wedding planner was crouched down with the old man, ready to give him the "go ahead" signal so he could open the box and the doves could fly out. As the officiant declared the couple husband and wife and instructed them to kiss, the wedding planner gave the "thumbs up" sign to the little old man. He opened the box, and...

And, nothing. The birds walked around in the box bobbing their heads, making "coo coo" pigeon noises, and pecking at the floor of their cage. In frank desperation, the wedding planner picked up a bird and flung it in the air, just as she had seen it done in the opening ceremony of the Olympics. All the guests saw was a blinded ball of feathers desperately flapping its wings, only to come crashing back down near the box. The wedding planner tried again, to no avail.

She turned to the little old man in frank despair and asked him what was wrong with the birds.

"Nothing," he replied. "It's just that these doves don't fly at night."

Monday, January 15, 2007

Are you naughty or nice?

I remember going to the mall as a ten year-old girl and being fascinated by the Victoria's Secret store. My mother would spend hours among the striped pink walls and it was always a treat when I could accompany her. Everything in the store was frilly, satiny, silky, and soft. Fruity and floral scents wafted through the air while perfectly groomed salesgirls attended to my mother's every need. She would always leave the store with a cute-as-can-be striped pink bag, and I knew that when the time came, I would shop at Victoria's Secret, too.

Pink bag in hand, my mother and I would set out in search of my father and brother, who inevitably got lost in the mall. It would take us 30 minutes of walking in circles to find them (this was waaaaay back in the pre-cell phone age, in case you're wondering), and as we searched for them we'd pass by the "forbidden store", Frederick's of Hollywood. Corsets, garter belts, daring g-strings, crotchless panties, slit cup bras, thigh-high stockings, and marabou-covered stilettos decorated the store windows, and I remember eyeing these unfamiliar contraptions with childhood curiosity and even a slight feeling of contempt at the type of woman who would choose the crassness of Frederick's over the femininity of Victoria's Secret. (Who was this Frederick guy, anyways? I always imagined he was one of those sleazy Hollywood "photographers" who would tell women he could make them into models only to seduce them and con them out of their money.)

Fast forward 10 years. (Ok, 15. Ok, 20! Geez...) I've come to appreciate the seductive power of a tightly laced corset, the playfulness of peek-a-boo undies, and the commanding feeling I get when wearing stiletto heels. I still don't quite understand why the right piece of lingerie can bring a man to his knees, but let me tell you something: Frederick seems to have it down to a science!

So, girls and guys: Do you vote for Victoria or are you a fan of Frederick? (How's that for alliteration after a long workday?)

As for me, forget the pretty pink bag and give me fire-engine red any day!!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Neither Mr. T nor I own a TV

Shocked? Don't be, I'll explain.

Whenever I was going through a difficult period in my life (layoff, body issues, bad marriage) I would use television as a means to avoid facing reality. Instead of dealing with the problem, I would sit in front of the tube for hours (sometimes 12 hours a day!) watching anything that would help deaden the pain and confusion I felt inside.

When I decided to reclaim my life one year ago, one of the changes I implemented was a future without television. I experienced withdrawals for a few days and craved the mind-numbing fog of an "I Love The 80's" marathon on VH1 or an all-day "Law & Order"-fest on TNT (or on 25 other channels, for that matter). My life was changing very quickly, living alone was scary, running a growing company was daunting, and it was tempting to run and hide among the characters whose lives made much more sense than mine did.

Little by little, I discovered that not only did I have the strength to face my problems, but that resolving them instead of quelling them by watching television left me with ample time to have...a life! *gasp*

I left behind an artificial cosmos where the things that matter most are the heft of your bank account, the firmness of your thighs, and the number of notches on your bedpost. I've since discovered a world where dreams really DO come true: a world where I can breathe underwater, discover new career paths, achieve the athletic goals I've always dreamed of, and even find a new love.

One of the first aspects that united Mr. T and me was the fact that we both shunned televisions. Among his many admirable traits, Mr. T has not had a television for almost 20 years! What kind of person would live without a TV for almost two decades, you ask? The answer is: a cultured, educated, nature-loving, athletic, romantic man...You know, they don't call it "boob tube" for nothing!

I am convinced that our relationship's incredible strength is due in large part to the absence of television. (Warning: Sap alert!) While other couples watch the Today show in the mornings, Mr. T and I go for a run on the beach. While other couples dine on take-out while watching sit-coms, we cook together and talk about our day. While other couples watch the evening news, we lay in each other's arms and discuss a future together. While other couples watch sports on Sundays, we spend the day rock climbing. (Sappy? Don't say I didn't warn you!)

If this isn't enough to convince you to decrease your tube-time and increase your life-time, consider this: "If there is no television in the bedroom, the frequency [of sex] doubles," says sexologist Serenella Salomoni, whose team of psychologists interviewed 523 Italian couples about how the tube affected their sex lives.

How's that for a motivating factor?

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Not my brightest moment

"Honey, I think the garbage disposal's broken," I whimpered, staring dejectedly at the brown muck that was obscenely backwashing into one compartment of his two-sided sink. Mr. T got up from the dinner table and came to my rescue. He fiddled with the disposal's on/off switch, stuck a chopstick down the drainage hole, ran some water, and determined that the culprit was a clog in the pipes under the sink.

We emptied out the shelves below the sink and a somewhat grumpy Mr. T placed a large pot under the pipes he was about to disassemble. He muttered his dislike for dirty sink water as he unscrewed the hinges on the pipe. I stood by the sink, feeling useless but ready to help when needed.

Upon unscrewing the pipe's hinge, a gush of brown muck splashed into the pot. Mr. T held it in place as I watched the water drain out of the sink. The pot was filling fast and we could tell that the volume of water still in the sink was larger than what the pot could handle. Mr. T turned to me with a look of urgency and said, "I'm going to pass the pot to you and I need you to empty it and give it back to me."

Happy to help, I gave him an energetic "OK!" and got into a crouching position to receive the slimy cauldron. The exchange went great, with Mr. T holding one hand to the pipe to stop the gush of water while I retrieved the pot from under the pipes. I stood up and very efficiently poured the smelly liquid into the other (unclogged) compartment of the two-sided sink.

Suddenly, from under the sink came the most painful, tortured "Nooooooooooo!!!", followed by a putrid flood of biblical proportions. Time stood still as the brown water covered my toes and my brain tried to comprehend what had gone wrong.

Mr. T stuck his head out from under the sink and looked at me with a combination of disbelief and despair in his blue-green eyes. He sat in a puddle of muck and shook his head.

Apparently, all streets lead to Rome. Or, in the language of kitchen sinks, all sink compartments lead to the same pipe.

"I thought you'd empty the pot onto the patio," he said, his voice deadly calm.

All I could say was: "Umm...Oops?"


Thursday, January 11, 2007


Note: Original title "I now understand why some men have affairs" was changed at the request of a good friend.

One of the activities we enjoyed during our vacation was a tour of the local jungle and Mayan ruins on horseback. Mr. T and I arrived at the horse ranch at the same time as our excursion companions, a middle-aged Florida couple.

From the moment they got out of the taxi, we could tell we'd be in for a treat. The woman - I think her name was Rhonda - was a dumpy, post-menopausal, transplanted New Yorker with the most nasal Queens accent I've ever heard (think Fran Drescher without a sense of humor). The shorts she was wearing made her butt look larger than those of the horses, and with the amount of jewelry and makeup she had on, she looked like she'd be attending the gala dinner on the cruise ship they arrived in.

The man - named Santos - was a Cuban-American with a thick dark mustache, hairy chest, and friendly demeanor. He was generally attractive (in a Latino way) and in good physical shape for a man his age. Little did we know that before the end of the jungle tour, Santos would live up to his saintly name.

The horses were brought out to us and Mr. T and I quickly mounted our docile fillies. While we fiddled with the reigns, we heard a loud wail. Unfortunately, it wasn't coming from a jungle creature, but from Rhonda.

"Santos!!! Oooooo...You're going to pay for this! I've never ridden a horse before!" she exclaimed as the wrangler presented her with a tired-looking mule. Mr. T shot me an "it's going to be a looooong ride" glance and I giggled at Rhonda's petrified face.

We all coaxed her onto the mule, explaining that the animals were very tame and wouldn't do her any harm. She whimpered and grumbled as she got on. Once atop the mule, she exclaimed in her nasal voice: "Santooooooos!!! If I can't do Jazzercise tomorrow, you're going to pay!!!"

The wrangler led us through the jungle, outlining the various species that inhabited the dense vegetation. Unfortunately, Rhonda's plaintive wails scared away all but the mosquitos.

"Santooooooos!!! How do I tell the horse to slow down?? It's going too faaaaaaast!!", she yelled as the mule trudged wearily along the mossy path. "Santos!!! If I can't walk tomorrow, you won't hear the end of it!!"

Santos, meanwhile, wore a pained look. I don't believe he uttered three words during the entire ride.

About 45 minutes into the tour, we stopped at a watering hole supposedly used by the ancient Mayans for bathing. Rhonda slid off her mule, helped by Santos, the wrangler, and the tour guide. Mr. T and I could hear her nasal moans as she gripped onto the patient mule's neck. As soon as Rhonda placed her feet on the ground, the mule let forth a torrent of urine and I almost fell of my horse laughing at Rhonda's disgusted face.

Once off the mule, no power on Earth would get Rhonda back in the saddle. She declared that she would be happy walking the rest of the way. She and her mule walked side by side as our horses trotted gleefully back to their stables.

After dismounting, our group headed over to a Mayan hut to learn how the local villagers live. As we examined the palm and twig structure, we heard Rhonda nasally exclaim: "Santooooos!! Take a picture of me with my horse. I simply must tell all my friends that I rode a horse!"

Mr. T and I peered through the hut's door just in time to see Rhonda posing proudly next to the droopy-eyed mule. I wonder if any of her friends will have the nerve to tell her that she rode a donkey.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Not quite "9 1/2 weeks", but...

There's nothing better in this world than good food and good sex. I'm sure that 99% of you would agree with me. With that in mind, I suggested to a friend who runs a B&B that we should offer an aphrodisiac cooking class for the Valentine's day weekend featuring the culinary talents of "yours truly". After all, I did seduce a certain Mr. T through the stomach...

I was excited about exploring the viability of this venture, but then real life took over right before the holidays and I had to put my culinary fantasies on hold. Well, my friend just contacted me to announce that there is a huge interest in the cooking classes!!! Not only do they want me to do the Valentine's day class, but they also want me to give Mexican cooking classes on a regular basis at their hotel!!

I am thrilled beyond words!!! Nothing spices up my life like a new challenge. I'm doing the happy dance!!! :) :) :)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Deep thoughts

Coordinating a wedding is like flying an airplane: You experience long bouts of boredom punctured by brief moments of sheer panic.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


As I was driving to today's wedding I received a phone call from a very charming prospective client. We briefly discussed his wedding plans and I explained my range of services. He seemed quite pleased with what I had to say and had a reasonable budget, all of which made me extremely happy. Until...

"We're going back home tomorrow", said the groom.

"That's o.k.," said I, trying to downshift and make a U-turn all with one hand while sounding professional on my cell phone. "I will send you more information via e-mail and we can then set up a formal phone meeting to discuss your wedding plans."

That's when he dropped the bombshell.

"Actually, you'll be dealing mostly with my mother and my fiancee's mother during the planning process because they live in Mexico."

I almost drove off a cliff.

"Um, I don't think I'm available for that date." I mumbled.

"But we haven't determined a date yet!" said the confused groom.

", well...I'll send you some information soon. Have a good weekend!!"

I hung up as fast as I could, trying to control the waves of nausea that developed at the thought of having to work with not one, but TWO Mexican wedding mothers! No amount of money is worth that type of torture!

Friday, January 05, 2007

The thrill is gone

The first wedding of the year is tomorrow, but gone are the excitement and anticipation previously associated with coordinating an event involving a dozen vendors and hundreds of guests.

When I started my company just over two years ago, I lived for the moment when my team's efforts came together flawlessly and the dream the clients had been envisioning for many months became a reality. I worked tirelessly on the day of the wedding, feeling almost as excited as the bride and groom, and I glowed upon receiving appreciative comments from guests and clients. My work complete, I would climb into bed feeling proud and satisfied because I'd touched someone's life in a positive way.

Two years later, the good performance and uplifting acknowledgements are still there but the work no longer feeds my spirit. I now climb into bed after the conclusion of a wedding feeling thankful that yet another event is over and I don't have to deal with that particular drama anymore. Planning weddings has become tedious, boring, repetitive, and uncreative. I developed a hard, crusty shell of cynicism as I realized that many couples place more importance on the color of their flowers than on the meaning of their union. They stress out over the most insignificant items and blame me for not meeting their unrealistic expectations.

I see my wedding planning job merely as a way to generate much-needed income, but most of the time it leaves me empty inside, yearning for my true calling. The problem is: I am not sure what that calling is. What I am certain of is this: I don't want to be in the same place at this time next year. I want to find the passion in my life, rekindle the flame that pushes me out of bed in the morning and keeps me awake late into the night.

Inertia, complacency, and fear are keeping me from moving forward. Leads keep arriving in my inbox, my vendor team has become strong and trustworthy, and I've automated the wedding planning process to make it easy for my clients and I to navigate. Faced with this scenario, I am forced to listen to a voice inside my head that asks: "Why would you throw away a good thing?"

I must agree that this voice has a point: I've worked hard for over two years, putting in countless 14-hour days and sacrificing most of my weekends to build a stable source of full-time income that now requires only part-time attention.

Many would consider me fortunate, since I have the opportunity to search for my true calling while still putting food on the table. However, this might be the very thing that's holding me back. When I started my company, it was out of a burning need for independence, autonomy, and freedom from the financial and emotional oppression of my marriage. Am I the kind of person who must find herself in dire circumstances before rising to meet the next challenge? I pray that I am not.

All I know is that the thrill is gone, replaced by apathy and fear of failure. Writing about it is cathartic; reading my own words reduces the dimensions of my quandary into manageable proportions. I've re-made myself several times already: from Human Resources manager to magazine editor and then to wedding planner. It is time for me to step into the magic phone booth and re-emerge as my new identity...As soon as I figure out what that new identity is...


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Going, going, gone...

I guess I can't really complain about a year that started with an ugly divorce (is there any other kind?) but ends with me floating in a turquoise ocean in the arms of my true love...

And so it is that we are off to greet the New Year the best way we know how...Lounging like lizards in the sun. I wish everyone a holiday season full of food, sleep, laughter, amazing gifts, and positive thoughts for the future. See you in 2007!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas

I had been putting off blogging about Mr. T's Christmas present for fear that he would read my blog while on his business trip and discover the surprise. Now that he's on his way home from Chicago, I can safely write this post.

I normally don't consider myself a talented gift-giver. My brother has always been the "thoughtful" one in the family, coming up with creative ideas like giving Sarah Brightman CDs, only to discover concert tickets inside the jewel case. You know, those cutesy "ahhhh" moments...

Not me. I've always been more practical: A sweater for mom, a shirt for dad, a jacket for brother. While I was married, the ex would throw temper tandrums if I didn't get him what he wanted (apparently, he was 54 going on 7...), so I stopped trying to surprise him after my second failed attempt.

Of course, you can imagine my excitement when I came up with the perfect Christmas present for Mr. T!!! And a great part of this gift is that it was also a gift for me! (After all, isn't getting stuff for yourself what makes Christmas shopping bearable?)

When I was married, I always wanted a garden but the ex never "allowed" me to have one (he controlled the money, blah blah, long story...). When I decided that I would not be staying in the marriage, I stopped thinking about a garden because I knew I would eventually be moving out.

When Mr. T came into the picture, I told him about my gardening dreams and he lovingly and generously opened up his back patio for me to revamp. He took me to a gardening store, where we loaded up with beautiful plants, pots, soil, and everything I needed to transform his unkept patio into a lush paradise. I worked hard to revamp the small space in the Spring, spending countless hours potting, trimming, and watering our lovely roses, freesia, and fuschias.

Two months later, a record-breaking heat wave combined with a nine-day trip to Europe killed most of the plants. So much for my dream garden. Check out what was left!

garden before
(Donations for the fern's burial can be sent via PayPal.)

Mr. T had been bemoaning his dead garden for several months now, and I kept telling him we'd get around to it after the Winter frosts. But then it hit me...That could be the perfect Christmas gift! So, look what I did! (Yes, that's the fern in the lower right-hand corner, pleading for mercy.)
garden after
Because Mr. T and I travel a lot and his patio gets blasted by the harsh So Cal sun all day long, I wisened up and decided to go low-maintenance this time. As soon a he left on his trip, I dashed over to Cactus King and acquired the most fabulous succulents and cacti on the planet!! I had always dismissed these plants as thorny, ugly critters, suitable for inept novice gardeners.

Yes, they are thorny and ugly...But apparently, I am also an inept and novice gardener. Touche.

pots small pots large pot
I am now fascinated by these hardy, alien plants. One looks like a warty lettuce. Another one resembles a pre-historic tree. There's a lovely aloe that brings back memories of the Mexican countryside. While Mr. T's patio might not be the lush rainforest paradise we once envisioned, I am LOVING the funky look my new green friends add! What do you think?

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Past, present, and future

Can you be transported from the womb to old age in one day? If so, then today was the day it happened to me.

It all started this morning, when I finally completed my Open Water Diving certification. This was my final chance to get certified before Mr. T and I go on our dream vacation, so it was now or never!

Due to bad weather and high surf at the beach, we ended up diving at Mission Point, a calm, sandy inlet. As I waddled into the cold water, it was apparent that the visibility was disturbingly low. Because I had to get one more dive in before my trip, I popped my regulator into my mouth at my teacher's request and began my descent.

As the pressure of the water squeezed the wetsuit to my body, I looked around me and saw...NOTHING! A cloud of silt surrounded me, enveloping me in a claustrophobic cocoon. I tried to control my breathing as a feeling of paranoia overwhelmed me. I couldn't see my instructor or my companions anywhere, I couldn't even see my hands in front of me...I was completely alone!

I felt the ebb and flow of the currents rocking my body as I remained suspended in the murky depths. I became hypnotized by the sounds of my own breathing, a tinny inhalation of compressed air followed by a rumbling exhalation of hundreds of bubbles. For a moment, I envisioned myself inside my mother's womb: unseeing, constrained by the tautness of her tissues, and conscious only of her rythmic breathing. It was an intensely discomforting sensation...

A few seconds later, a hand grasped mine and broke me from my reverie. My instructor started to guide me through the darkness and I clutched his gloved hand, thankful to leave behind the feeling of aloneness that had sent shivers down my spine. I swam blindly next to him for what seemed like a couple of minutes, and then...LIGHT! We surfaced from the murky depths with gratitude and recovered from our unearthly experience.

"How long were we under?", one of the students asked.

"Ten minutes," responded the instructor. Ten minutes??? We all agreed it felt like two minutes...What had happened?!?!

My diving experience completed, I headed home. While walking my dog around the neighborhood and pondering the morning's unsettling experience, I caught sight of a flashy red convertible coming down the road. Driving it - with the top down in 50 degree weather - was a lovely old lady in her 70's wearing a large white hat. Our eyes met and she gave me a radiant smile as she drove past.

At that moment, I realized I had just seen my future. I have struggled with an unfulfilled passion for convertibles since the age of nine, when I dreamed of one day owning a WV Rabbit. My love for hats dates back even farther: from the age of two I would refuse to travel on airplanes or attend special family occasions without wearing a hat. But it was the smile, the glorious, happy, radiant smile of someone who is at peace with her life, which cemented our unspoken bond.

I smiled back, joyful in the knowledge that I don't have to wait forty years...I am at peace with my life today.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006


A few nights ago, waiting for Mr. T to get home, I shared with my friend R. that I really had no desire to make dinner.

"I'm going to visualize Mr. T taking me out to dinner," I told her via I.M.

"Great idea. I'll help you visualize. Now, what kind of food do you want?", she asked.

I considered her question carefully. Visions of aromatic vegetable curry, cool raita, sweet chutney and perfumed basmati rice filled my head.

"Indian," I declared.

"Oh, yum! O.K., Indian it is!" R. agreed.

A few mintues later, Mr. T arrived and noticed I hadn't made dinner. "Let's go out for dinner," he suggested.

Wooohooo! My first visualization had become a reality! All right, so maybe I helped the Universe along by not actually making any food...

I asked Mr. T where he wanted to go to dinner. He seemed indecisive, and knowing his tastes, I started listing his favorite Italian restaurants. I didn't even think of mentioning Indian because he's not normally in the mood for it.

"Let's go down to P.B.; there's a little restaurant with good vegetarian food," he suggested. Letting go of my Indian visualizations and deciding to focus instead on enjoying a night out with my boyfriend, I happily agreed and settled back to enjoy the short drive.

We pulled into a small shopping center, and Mr. T pointed to a restaurant. "There, that's the restaurant I was telling you about."


I'll be darned...

Monday, November 13, 2006

It really is YOUR life...

I've watched "The Secret" twice since my last post and already I'm noticing a difference in my attitude, my focus, and the situations that unfold around me. The funny thing is, nothing in the film is really NEW to me...I've heard it all before throughout my life, both in spiritual teachings ("Ask, and ye shall receive" and "Ye have not because ye ask not") and in colloquial sayings ("Birds of a feather" and "Like attracts like"). I've sat through courses on quantum physics and have read books on taking control of your destiny. I've even successfully applied some of the concepts to my daily life for "small" things (the type and color of car I wanted, finding a good parking spot, etc.)

What makes the information different this time around is the fact that I feel strong enough and mature enough to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for the changes I want to see in my life and the consequences that result from my decisions. Some people go through life as victims, blaming everyone and everything for their circumstances. I've looked down on this type of person my entire life, but just 30 minutes ago I realized that I used to be one.

From this moment on, I take control of my life, my actions, my thoughts, and all consequences. Watch the movie, read the book, look into the concepts...You might think it's a bunch of hokus pokus or you might find it life-altering, depending on how ready you are to take responsibility for your choices.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Secret

Last night I watched a movie on quantum physics which claimed that the Universe has endless opportunities and blessings available to those who are able to accept this concept and effect a paradigm shift. According to "The Secret", these universal truths were kept hidden from all but the most priviledged minority and were the backbone for the creation of great wealth, stunning discoveries, and admirable personal development through the centuries.

Not one to dismiss an opportunity to improve upon my life, I've decided to wholeheartedly embrace the idea that limitless opportunities are available to me if I know how to ask. It's no coincidence that I came across this film while finding myself at a professional crossroads and, after watching it only once, I've already eliminated much of the fear and hesitation that was preventing me from pursuing my dreams.

The first step in the right direction is to be thankful for what we already have, as this creates a positive mindset and helpful energy. Without further ado, here are:

"Twenty Blessings I'm Grateful For"

1. I am in great health and my body is strong and self-healing.
2. The education I received opens doors for me every day.
3. I know what it's like to truly love a man and I have the opportunity to make him happy every day.
4. My family is supportive and loving; they allow me to be independent and make my own decisions.
5. My true friends love me just the way I am.
6. I have an intelligent, loyal, and loving dog who's my constant companion and friend.
7. I've been given a second chance at love, independence, and happiness and I'm making the most of it.
8. My job supports me financially, while allowing me to work flexible hours and develop other talents and passions.
9. I am able to walk, run, climb, swim, cycle, dance and perform any physical activity that I choose.
10. My brother looks up to me and admires my achievements and intelligence.
11. I have several trips overseas planned for this coming year and have visited 14 countries in my lifetime.
12. My apartment is warm, functional, affordable, and has breathtaking views of the ocean.
13. I have a new car.
14. I speak three languages.
15. I have a talent for cooking, writing, and learning languages.
16. I have a closet full of nice clothes and enough shoes to go a whole month without repeating a pair.
17. I have a wonderful laptop computer.
18. I am constantly coming up with new projects and ideas and I have the energy and determination to see them to fruition if I so choose.
19. I have taught myself to be resilient.
20. I've learned to listen to my inner voice and trust my gut instinct.

What are you thankful for?


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

D-day, part II

I awoke Tuesday (divorce signing day) 100 miles away from city hall and lacking a car to get me there. (If you're asking yourself "Why?", here's the abridged version: T. is lending me the money to pay for my new car while I sell my old one, but he wasn't able to make the wire transfer before the cut-off time on Monday, leaving my new car hostage at the dealership for one more day. I was in the U.S., the divorce signing was in Mexico, and as a Mexican citizen I can't drive an American car south of the border, so I couldn't borrow his car. End of story.)

With no private means of transportation, I resorted to a four-hour trolley and bus ride. I've always loved the "people watching" aspect of public transportation, and Tuesday's assortment of trolley-riding misfits didn't dissapoint.

A man in his 40's with hairy ears boarded the trolley and sat down across from a woman reading an election handbook. He looked at her with a smug, triumphant expression on his face, and it was only then that I noticed the "I voted" sticker proudly adhered to his saggy puke-green polyester suit. Hairy had the look of a little boy whose teacher placed a gold sticker on his forhead for good behavior, and as he sat looking out the window, he was probably imagining how his electoral selections would change the face of state politics.

I left Hairy alone to his musings and focused on a boy of about sixteen, daredevilishly "riding" the trolley without holding on to the safety rails. A mop of black hair sat atop his head and a dark peach fuzz adorned his upper lip. He was obviously very proud of this sign of impending manhood, and I grimaced as I thought of the faux pas we make as adolescents. Peach Fuzz was the stereotypical "geek", from his less-than-stellar attempt at a mustache to his white socks and black lace-up rubber soled shoes. He wore a white polo shirt buttoned all the way to his neck. Clinging to the boy like a marsupial to his mother was a backpack the size of a VW bug. Not only was the backpack strapped around his shoulders, but it was also secured by a chest strap AND a waist strap! His puny 90-lb. frame jerked back and forth as he struggled to remain balanced amidst the accelerations and decelerations of the trolley and the weight of his backpack. His fists clenched, he stared straight ahead, determined to dominate the serpentine beast in whose belly he was travelling. Sci-fi, anyone???

Upon reaching the transit center, I exited the first trolley and boarded the one which would take me to the bus terminal. I sat down next to a window, and Hairy sat down next to me. He mumbled something in an ill-fated attempt at conversation, and when I said "Pardon?", shyness overtook him and he shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.

Thankful not to have to carry on a conversation with Hairy, I turned my attention to a most lively character. The gentleman in question was about seventy years old and he wore shocking shiny red sneakers. His blue jeans were cinched high on the waist by a black leather belt, and around his neck hung a necklace of large amber beads and an elaborate silver dragon the size of my hand. He had four dramatic silver rings on each hand, one on each digit except his thumbs. An unkept grey beard reached to his chest and his eyes were hidden by polarized John Lennon-type glasses. On his head perched a red baseball cap (surely chosen on purpose to match the sneakers) with a large marijuana leaf stiched on the front. The strangest thing about this man was that, although his choice of apparel and jewelry made him stand out, he was actually impecably groomed, as if he had worked on the outfit for a long time.

Then I realized someone might be watching me. What were they seeing? They were observing a 30-year old woman nervously clutching a Starbucks coffee cup in one hand. The way she picked at her cuticles betrayed her nervousness, although outwardly she might have seemed bored. They would see her fidgeting with her Virgin of the Pillar necklace and would erroneously assume she was religious. She appeared tired, a result of the nightmares that had repeatedly awoken her during the night. Looking at her, nobody would guess how life-altering her day would be.

D-day, part I

I am free. I am legally divorced. I am a single woman. I can put the past three nightmarish years out of my head.

Except, I can't. I keep having crazy bad dreams every single night; dreams in which my drunk ex-husband is grabbing me and won't let go; dreams in which he messes something up and the divorce papers don't go through; dreams that make me wake up screaming, my heart pounding in my chest and my breath shallow and agitated.

I'm starting to get worried, as this is not normal. On the surface, I am fine: happy, optimistic, determined, very much in love. Sub-consciously, as my dreams can attest, I am obviously a wreck.

The man made my life a living hell - with my permission - for three years. I have no love left in my heart for him, yet I also don't want to hate him. Hate is unhealthy and conducive only to bitterness, illness, and stagnation. I want to forgive and forget, move on to the happier life I am creating for myself. So why is my sub-conscious not letting me?

Am I really going to have to take this to a therapist? Or will time heal my emotional wounds?

Monday, November 06, 2006


T. had a bad day today and crawled into the "cave" of Martian vs. Venutian fame. Am I the only woman who finds it incredibly annoying when men don't want to talk about their problems? I've learned not to press him for information when he's going through a rough patch, but this does nothing to alleviate my anxiety over not being able to help.

I feel like I just can't say anything right. His need to be alone with his thoughts makes me feel like it's my fault at some level, like I can't offer the love and support he needs to feel better and overcome the obstacle.

The only thing I can do is remind myself that I am not at fault. He will crawl out of his cave sooner or later and be the sweet, loving, supportive man that he usually is...Sooner or later...But the bed is so cold without him in it...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Some people should just stay home

The mother of the bride's shrill nasal voice over the telephone made my head hurt. "...And another thing," she rambled, nearing the end of her list of complaints. "My son-in-law and SEVEN of his friends got speeding tickets just after crossing the border. This is so unfair, it's like they were out to get us! You KNOW this is bad for tourism, I'm going to warn my friends never to go to Baja again!"

I rubbed my temples and spoke slowly, my tone of voice clearly communicating my frustration. "Martha, were these people speeding?"

"No!!! Of course not!!" She replied loudly. "Well, um...OK, fine, they were going over the speed limit. But still...We're American tourists, they shouldn't be giving us a hard time, we're going down there to spend money."

Nice, very nice. It is precisely this kind of "holier than thou" attitude, mostly perpetrated by ethnocentric first-time American travelers, which has tarnished the image of Americans visiting foreign countries. I suppose that, according to these obtuse individuals, only locals should get cited for breaking laws in tourist meccas like Orlando, Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, because visitors are there to spend money and support the local economy. Try telling that one to the cops!

Is it only in third-world countries where these folks feel protected by the almighty Dollar? Would they issue the same complaints if cited in Munich, Paris or Tokyo?

People who support this mindset should do us all a favor and stay home. Not only are they showing a blatant disregard for the laws of a country that welcomes them with open arms, but they are tarnishing the good name of their fellow Americans.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Here comes the bridal rant

monster brideOne of the most neurotic brides I've ever met got married this past July. Although she hired our services to book vendors for her destination wedding, she claimed she couldn't afford our coordination package for the day of the wedding, at a cost of only 3% of her entire wedding budget!

The bride drove us crazy with her ridiculous requests. I believe a total of 86 e-mails were sent back and forth debating the high and low points of buttercream vs. fondant cake. The issue of what color and texture of ribbon would go around said cake also caused the bride many sleepless nights. She demanded orchids on a carnation budget and vacillated for months on the music for her ceremony. We deal with nervous brides every day and are trained to calm them down, but this girl was in need of psychiatric help.

I think my assistant, a patient and motherly figure, summed up our frustration best:
"OK, one more e-mail from this woman and I swear...I'll...I'll...I'll shoot myself!"

We did everything possible to please the bride, and as her wedding day approached and her neurosis reached a fever pitch, I sent her the following message in hopes of giving her a little perspective:

"Jane, one suggestion from a seasoned wedding veteran: Don't sweat the small stuff. The vendors will be on time, your guests will arrive at the location safely and on time, your wedding will be beautiful and a lot of fun...But ONLY if you relax and enjoy your day. Your guests are there to see a happy bride starting a new life with a happy groom. If you fret about the small stuff, you won't be happy and your guests won't have a good time. A positive attitude allows for positive energy, which in turn helps everything to work correctly. This is my advice, I hope it helps."

I heard nothing more from her on the wedding day and knew that all my vendors had arrived on time and had done their job as requested. Three months later, I contacted her to inform her that her video was ready, and she let me know that the classical ensemble played "Here Comes the Bride" as she walked down the aisle, instead of "Pachabel's Canon" as requested.

If you consider that her wedding took place in a Third-World country, she changed her mind about her ceremony music 25 times, and she had nobody coordinating the vendors on the day of the event, it is a miracle that this is the only thing that went wrong. I always inform my clients that weddings in Mexico are NOT about perfection. They are about unique locations, friendly service, delicious food and fun, fun, fun!! Most couples would look back and remember the great food, the fun atmosphere, the love of their guests...You know, the stuff that really matters at a wedding. Not her!

She sent me the following e-mail:

"In the future, you should let people know that you don't think the ensemble can follow order to have the correct song played as I walk down the aisle on the most important day of my life. There is no dollar value that we could have placed on that. It was my wedding day."

OK, news flash to all you brides out there: Your wedding will NOT be perfect. No matter how much money you spend. No matter whom you hire to coordinate the event. No matter how many YEARS you spend planning, and cutting out pictures from magazines, and discussing your wedding in online forums. SHIT HAPPENS.

Ask anybody, rich or poor, and they'll tell you of at least one detail that went wrong on they wedding day.

If it is the most important day of your life, shouldn't you be focusing on the IMPORTANT things, like:
* Telling your groom how much you adore him.
* Thanking your friends for attending your wedding.
* Basking in the joy of family.
* Being thankful for having food, drink, family, friends, and a man who loves you despite your neurosis.

These are the things that you cannot put a price on...Not a thirty-second piece of music that was not only appropriate for the occasion, but which not one of your guests realized was incorrect. If the blessings in your life are opaqued by the wrong song being played as you walk down the aisle, your priorities are all wrong. I feel sorry for her because life has obviously not taught her to be thankful for what she has.