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.

Labels: ,

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.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Just a click away...

My boyfriend and I met through an online dating site.

There, I've said it. I don't find anything wrong with that, but most people's reactions have made me realize that online dating is still a very misunderstood venture. I've received comments like:
"'re pretty. Why did you have to go online to meet someone?" and "Weren't you afraid you'd meet a deranged lunatic?"

Actually, I didn't have to go online; I chose to go online because I live in a town where most men sport huge mustaches, have beer bellies held up by giant gold-plated belts, and spend their nights getting drunk in cantinas. As for the probablity of meeting a deranged lunatic, I figured I had already been married to one, so what were the odds of that happening again?

I will agree that some people have had awful experiences with online dating. My friend R. went on a date with a guy who was more interested in computers than in women. I believe his exact words were: "Hu hu, my server rocks, hu hu..." Think Beavis meets the Geek Squad.

Then there was Clingy Chris, who after three dates decided that the best way to impress my friend was to emulate every detail of her life. She was training for a marathon so he started running. She wanted to travel to Cambodia so he started looking for plane tickets. She only ate organic food so he emptied his fridge of conventionally grown produce and meats. He called her all day long, every day, and had planned out their dates for the next twelve months. All this, after only three encounters and a few e-mails and phone conversations. Into every life, a little deranged lunatic must fall...

I'm sure you have friends with online dating horror stories, and you might have some first-hand experiences, too. However, I like to think that most people looking for a mate online are like T. and I: honest folks whose lifestyles don't revolve around "the singles scene" (bars and nightclubs) and who socialize with a close groups of friends who are mostly married, and therefore don't have many opportunities to interact with interested singles of the opposite sex.

What convinced me to go online in search of love (apart from the chilling prospect of spending the rest of my life with a beer-guzzling, pot-bellied Mexican macho) was the realization that many of my wedding clients had met in cyberspace. They were all lovely, good-looking people with careers, ambitions, and fun lifestyles. If they could do it, why couldn't I?

I sat in front of my computer and a few clicks later, I was in control of my love life. Online sites make dating easy: Simply read the profiles and determine if the person fulfills your requirements.

Too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny? Move on.
Spends his free time playing video games? Don't think so.
Dreams of one day venturing outside North Dakota? Next.
6'4", Ph.D., world-traveling, rock-climbing vegetarian? DING, DING, DING...We got ourselves a winner!!!

If you or anyone you know is looking for love online, know that there's hope. The person of your dreams (or a deranged lunatic) could be just a few clicks away.