A Blue State of Mind

"The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams." Oprah

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Location: The Western U.S, United States

I spent 48 years caring about what people thought of me. I'm not spending the rest of my life caring about that anymore!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

 Day 2 - Monaco

The coastline of Monaco

I am sitting on a private verandah on the Concierge floor of the HMS Rotterdam, a Holland America ship. The sun is setting and there's a delightful breeze surrounding me with fresh sea air and an occasional whiff of cigar smoke, probably from a passenger in the neighbouring verandah.  I have a small glass of cranberry juice that I've sweetened with a rock candy sugar stick.  Just sitting here watching the yachts parade to and fro in the harbor. I've never seen this many yachts in any one place, but then, I've never been to Monaco. And if the number of yachts are an indication, her reputation of being a playground for the rich and famous and top 1% are indeed true.

But what's taking my attention is not the display of wealth, or the beautiful harbor.  My attention is on the rock candy sugar stick in my juice.  It's mesmerizing watching how it slowly dissolves, little brick by brick to fall on the glass' floor then slowly disappear.

Cranberry juice with rock candy sucker

The girls have gone into Monaco but I stayed behind because I'm too tired, stiff and sleepy.  Didn't rest well due in large part to waking several times during the night because of a ridiculously large, noisy clock that sounds as if someone is trying to come in the room.  Normally I'm not a light sleeper, but this clock sounds as if someone's trying to jiggle the lock and sneak in. And even though I got up and made sure the security lock was in place, that darned clock kept bothering me. So here I sit, watching rock candy melt, listening to the playlist made especially for the trip and glancing up as another beautiful yacht floats by.

My tranquility is being disturbed by my fellow suite owner next door who, after finishing that cigar, is positively coughing up his lungs.  I think he's lighting another because his companion is now yelling at him for smoking.  Now they're going on about the colognes she's bought, and that he has to wear gross-smelling colognes to please her.  Where are my headphones?

More yachts join the never-ending parade. They're in all sizes and shapes, but there's this really huge one that's left. It's about the size of two yachts together and there's a crew walking about cleaning the deck or setting up the deck. I'm now wondering if some of these boats are water taxis coming over from Nice and Cannes because there's just so many of them.

Monaco's traffic jam

Now my neighbors' argument has escalating so I've brought out the headphones. She's still over there screeching. him I can no longer hear. Music indeed has power to soothe and drown out unpleasantness hahahaha!

It's now dusk and the harbour lights are coming on. Not as many small boats in the water now. Even the parade of excessive wealth has slowed. Earlier I could see another big ship in the distance but it's gone. It's either pulled off or swallowed by the cloak of the on-coming darkness.

Here are some pics from Monaco:

Bean poses, Mouse shoots

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Trip to Italy - My Diary

Day One: Friday 9/7

The airplane screen confirming our arrival to Barcelona

It's finally here. I've saved and planned and prayed and it's finally come to pass!  Of course it's rainy and cool here in Phoenix on the day I'm leaving.

Jamela looks wonderful but she's already missing her heart - Ricky.  I'm going to miss my iPad and the use of my phone more than I'll miss anyone else. Ain't that sad?

The plane from Phoenix to Miami is not full so I'll get a refund for the extra seat. Yay God!

In Miami we pick up Bean at the airport. She still looks like a little girl to me. Especially with that pillow in her hand lolol!  Why, oh Lord, does she have to carry that pillow on all of her trips?  OMG! LOLOL!

The flight to Barcelona is not full either, praise God!  The seats though are so small it's criminal.  They've crammed all of these bodies on this ill-fitted plane and it proves to be the longest, most miserable plane ride I've ever taken. Ever.
Here's our section of the plane. See how small it is?

The plane is freezing cold. I've wrapped two blankets around my body for the full flight. My neck's cramped, my butt's on fire, my legs are swollen and tight and there's a migraine promising to knock out my frontal lobe if I don't attack it with acetaminophen.  When will this flight ever end?

Finally in Barcelona. I'm all smiles now!

Finally! On the ground and I didn't pee my pants!  The Barcelona airport looks like every other airport - lots of glass and 1/4 mile from Baggage Claim. One good thing though is there are many rolling sidewalks so it's not that bad actually to get to BC.

There's a shuttle waiting for us! We almost missed it but the Holy Ghost told me to ask some of the other cruise workers how to get to the hotel and the Spirit guided us right to the lady waiting for us!  God is good to us!
You'd be able to see more of the suite but my big head kept getting in the way hahaha!

A portion of our suite in Hotel Melia

The lobby at the hotel Melía is crowded with other cruisers but it's nice.  All these folk from all over the world.  I didn't know so many cruise lines made Barcelona their port. Good to know for future reference.  Our room is a suite and very modern. 

We each agreed that we needed naps after the flight and it was wonderful to sleep lying down on a great bed. Later we toured the city via the city bus.  We didn't know where the but would take us so we ended up at a mall. Oh well.

Me and Mouse wait for the bus

Bean and Mouse at the mall

The streets of Barcelona

Most every room had its own balcony

As we walked and toured, I expected to see a lot of stares and pointing fingers but no more than what I experience every day at home or in the States, so I guess big people aren't such big deals here. Although I never did see an obese person the entire day I didn't allow my insecurities to overwhelm me. I carried myself like a queen so this may have intimidated some, I don't know and don't care. I was left alone, thank God!

After dropping our packages off in the suite we ate at a great Japanese restaurant not too far from the hotel, then walked across the street and had ice cream. The owner had already closed but saw us with our lips hanging out and our eyes silently pleading for benevolence and  opened just for us lolol!

Tomorrow's embarkation day!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The More I Try To Slow Down

     I suppose this is a post about why I can't change my life the way I'd like it to change.

     During the last few months I've been running at breakneck speed because of events and work issues. It all started when I decided to host a birthday party celebrating my 50th. I poured EVERYTHING I had into this party, and I mean everything!  I didn't have an event planner to help (well I did, but she was busy too) and I didn't trust people to get things done timely and orderly.

     Ok, let me include this disclaimer: I am not a perfectionist but I've been known to get a bit off kilter when it involves scheduling and planning.  I appreciate timeliness, is that so wrong? I've never been one of those people who can fly by the seats of their pants. I write out, plan out, list out timelines, find the critical paths to every event in my life, so at times I can drive myself and others crazy. That being said, I'm sure I would have had more support in planning the birthday party if I had relaxed, delegated and allowed the help. But I didn't.  Whatever. Don't judge me.

     The other events this year were planning a cruise to the Italian and French Rivieras. The planning and scheduling involved coincided with the birthday party and almost made me want to start drinking. Added to this was my decision to learn to play the piano.  Added to this was an unplanned work schedule change in hours to support new Australian clients. This means I work when my Australian clients work. Australia is 11 hours ahead of us. Their Monday morning is Arizona's Sunday evening. Get where I'm going?  Yep, I now had to work 'til 3am and party plan and cruise plan and take weekly piano lessons all while trying to find some time for sleeping.

     The good news is I survived both events -two of the happiest times of my life- while avoiding a drinking habit.  The piano lessons continue with pleasant results.  Anyway, while I was celebrating my survival, I told myself I was going to slow down and take it easy. No more of the hectic schedules. I'm  thinking to myself "I'm middle-aged now, I'm looking for a rocking chair on a porch overlooking valleys of pine trees and forests. Or at least a porch that looks out at a tree and a green lawn. Whichever view I can get, I'll take it, as long as the lifestyle is slow and easy." Well, that hasn't happened.

     I decided to tutor my niece and nephew on my free Saturdays. Ok, that's not too much. It's only 2 to 3 hours a week. No biggie. Then I decided to learn Italian. That's just 30 minutes a day, four days a week plus homework. It's all online, I can do that in bed early mornings. Then I decided to start a radio program designed to help and to encourage obese persons to leave their big chairs and beds, turn off the telly and start traveling. A weekly show added to everything else.   Just when I think I've got it all planned out, my life goes somewhere completely new. 

     Well, at least it won't be boring and dull while I search for that porch.

In my suite aprés party surrounded by some of the gifts. I received an iPad, iPhone 4S, jewelry, makeup, assorted items, gift cards and cash totaling $1300. I was and am extremely happy and humbled by the outpouring of love  from family and friends.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Time Keeps On Slipping, Slipping, Slipping...

     So, I haven't been here in a long time. The site says I last posted 11/11, look how quickly time is passing us through this life! This pic was taken aboard the top level of a tour bus in Rome. We're heading back to Vatican City (that's St Peter's Dome ahead) and the pic reminds me of us hurtling toward Heaven or the Pearly Gates.

     A lot of life has happened during the last time I've posted, much of it posted to my FB page or journaled.  Yes, even in the days of Blogger and FB, Twitter and Instagram, I continue to journal. It's second nature to me to journal and it's therapeutic too. I remember my first diary/journal: I was twelve years old and my Aunt Mary was taking my momma and I on a road trip to Oregon to visit my Uncle Bunny and to pick wild berries. To keep me from being bored silly and eventually wear on her nerves, she bought me a small, pink diary with Minnie and Mickey Mouse on its cover.

     That little book with its gold-gilded edges soon became the most important piece of property I had ever owned. Even more important than my stuffed turtle named Timothy.  More important than my Bonne Bell lipgloss in cherry flavour. Every chance I could get time to myself, in a private area, I'd religiously list the day's events, my fantasy life with then crushes Michael and Randy Jackson, my favorite songs or favorite Scriptures. And because I was the only kid on the weeklong trip, I knew my secrets were safely stored with my luggage and safe from pilfering cousins and sister. 

     So, when that little book filled, I bought another more grown up diary from Walgreen's and have carried on adding to my collection to this day.  I don't know how many journals I've collected over time, but it's a good estimate that I have more than 30 of every type, colour and volume.  And though the journals have become more expensive than my little pink diary, this is the one I continue to read each passing year reminding myself of how quickly time changes us.  

     Sometimes I find myself laughing at the dreams and whimsies of that little fat twelve year old, sometimes I wish I could go back and tell her to stop being so frightened of everything and live.  More than anything I wish I could have told her to be courageous or she was going to miss a whole lot of living. But then, maybe it's a good thing she was scary all that time. Then she would have missed the wonder, the joy and the power that accompanies her newfound freedom. 

       Once again, a lot of life has happened since my last post here, and if God is good, a lot more living will be done and privately journaled to be read one quiet, rainy day.