Easter Colors New Beginnings

I am ready for a big-time change.  I am am restless.  I am looking forward to Easter.  This morning, as I sat at my desk, I couldn't help but notice the beautiful Easter decorations  (courtesy of a co-worker).  I am gazing at the sparkling, pink egg that adorns my computer screen, tied with a pink, bow.

As a child, Easter was everything to me.  I loved looking for my Easter basket, which was always carefully hidden away in a forbidden corner of the house.  I couldn't wait to get into the candy; especially the yellow, marshmallow "peeps", and the chocolate eggs.

But my childhood is long gone, and I enter the last lap of my life with cautious optimism.  When I hear the word retire, I shiver.  Retire? and do what?  Retirement to me would be starting a small business and doing what I want, because I am financially independent.  I don't see that happening.

Someone once told me:  Everyone has to:

  • Have something to do
  • Have something to look forward to
  • Have someone to love

Well one out of three is a start.  Seriously, I don't want my epitaph to read "Here lies a woman who  never lived up to her potential."  I have always said that.  I am not prepared to leave this world without making an impact in some way.

Up to this point - I would consider my life very average, with mild success thrown in from time to time.

That is not enough.  I want more out of life.  So, with the advent of Easter, while I won't have the traditional Easter basket, I look symbolically to new beginnings.  A fresh start. 

I gaze at the colors of the egg in anticipation.  Now I have something to look forward to!

Two out of three is even better.

Have You Thought of Becoming a College Professor?

It has happened to more than a few professionals.  You reach a time when you look back at your career, and say "what's this all about?"  You ask yourself if you have fulfilled your dreams.  Maybe you have been out in the cold too long, and haven't found a job that makes your heart sing- and you're not ready to settle.

Why not entertain teaching college? Dream Jobs: Harvard Professor.

Many colleges today do not require you to have taken Education as major in college, but will look at your professional track record to see what you have done for the business.  When I was in my thirties, and I was tending my children at home, I was offered a Marketing and Advertising teaching position at an art college.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.   It was fresh- the students breathed new life into me- and I felt inspired every day after class.

Since I have been kicking around ideas - about creative alternatives to finding work- in a challenged market, this is an obvious suggestion.  Teaching will amaze you.

 It amazed me when I gave my students their final project:  I grouped them into teams of five, and had them create a marketing plan for a company.  Since they were art students', the graphics were a given, and I was delighted in what they presented for their final project.

I learned so much.  It was elating to see the enthusiasm in the faces of students.'

More importantly, I  created a spark  for future careers'. These students' had created their first formal project for their portfolios.  It was exciting to see them evolve during the semester.

What do you do really well?  How long have you been working in the business?  Maybe it is time to take a look at sharing that knowledge .

It is a pro-active way of reinventing yourself.  I know you, too, will be delightfully surprised when you find out how much you know.

Another Surprise from Suleman

Oy Vey- Nadya Suleman is at it again....this time in the buff.  I have to hand it to her, she can find her way out of the tightest spots.  So, the story is she needed $10,000 to rent her new home. Ocotomom Nadya Suleman Topless and Nearly Nude.

What's a girl to do?  This girl said she wouldn't date until her children have all reached 18- has found yet another way to generate the income she needs to keep afloat.  The mother of 14 says she is proud of the way she looks, and  she knows she is beautiful and "doesn't need a man to tell her so."

Nadya, who doesn't own a scale, says she "never looked this good."  I'll say.  I don't know too many people that look "this good". According to Nadya, she never diets and eats what she wants (does she even have TIME to eat?)

I have a different take on Suleman.  I think she is brilliant, far smarter than most of us want to believe.  She has her gimmick,  and is doing very well marketing herself.  Say what you will, she is a survivor.  Just when we think Nadya is going away, she rebounds bigger and better.

Pardon the pun.

I watched her on a segment on Dr. Drew recently.  She was obviously wound up, her speech was so rapid he had to hold her hand to calm her down.  Apparently, she had studied psychiatry, and was bantering around different psychiatric conditions with Drew.

Having created her own 'scout troupe', she was able to get sponsors to provide nannies for her children, get her a home, as well as negotiate a television series.  She quickly got rid of all the nannies, and took on the task herself.

Additionally, she made the rounds on the talk show circuit. Not bad for a stay at home mother, who has garnered national attention when she found out she was going to give birth to 10 children, (with four already at home).

Prior to this, she was taking on clients' as a private trainer. Apparently, being a private trainer couldn't earn her $10,000 in enough time to find herself a new residence.  

She is quirky, and we love that.  You can't help but want to watch her and see what she's up to.  She has that surprise element like Madonna.

She knows exactly what she is doing, and will have no trouble reinventing herself in the future.

It certainly helps that she is drop-dead gorgeous and sexy.

Contract Position: Job to Take in Tight Market

Ever beat yourself up?  I do it all the time.  Not thin enough, pretty enough, young enough, not working in your dream industry - or not working at all ?

I found this article very uplifting, and want to share it with those of you pounding the payment, looking for your dream job: Resume Gaps: How to Minimize the Negative Impact.

For once, I was surprised.  Seems I am doing a couple of things right.  According to the article, Human Resource Directors are more forgiving with gaps in employment.  But here is what they want to see you do in the meantime:

  • Take a temporary or contract position -- 79 percent
  • Take a class -- 61 percent
  • Volunteer -- 60 percent
  • Start your own business -- 28 percent
  • Start a professional blog -- 11 percent

I am doing two of these things.  I am proud of myself!  You see, it is too easy to "get on myself" for not nabbing my dream job.  I took a temporary (contract) position over two years ago.  Frankly, I never thought it would last two years.  I find myself feeling I am both very lucky and unlucky at the same time.  I am very lucky to be able to have something to do, and to pay my bills.  Unlucky that I am not working in my area of expertise.  I know that the longer I am away from my career, I am loosing that much more ground professionally.   

To compensate, I try to keep up with changes through on-line articles and professional groups.  These are no substitute for being employed in my career, but again, the key is making the effort to stay connected.  This is what your future employer wants to see:

1)  You are doing something to stay busy while you search for the job you want
2)  Trying to stay professionally connected so you stay in the radar professionally

At this point of my life, it looks as though  I may have to move ahead with my own business.    I have come up with an idea worth cultivating.  It is not novel, but it will allow me to do what I love to do (write) and generate income.

In the meantime, I can blog away until my heart is content.

And you know what I like about my blog the best?  I don't have a boss telling me they don't like the content or my writing style.  Because when you write, just like exercising daily, you grow stronger and get better.

What are you doing right?  What has frustrated or inspired you while you sit out the tight job market?

When One Dies, Thousands' Left in Their Place

While looking over my Facebook page, I saw this today.  I feel more than awful.   I take so much for granted, it never seems to hit home enough.  It is inconceivable that there are people that suffer this much in the world.  The worst part is, I feel totally helpless.  I am miles away, the money I have to contribute won't change things, but I can write about how I feel- hoping this touches everyone- the way it has touched me.

The child has a smile on his face.  This makes it that much harder.  He doesn't know what the word complain means.  He can't send his steak back in a restaurant because it is over cooked.  A meal is a dream, and whatever food he gets, he won't see again for weeks- maybe a month or more.

Yet I take the air I breathe for granted.  If I don't get to go out to dinner, I feel let down.  The old parent adage that used to circulate, "eat your food on your plate because there are starving children... " never meant anything to me as a child.  Not that it was my fault; because we are so spoiled in this country that it is unlikely we would experience this kind of suffering.

I continue to medicate myself with material things. I look at this picture and it brings clarity to me on the most fundamental level.

Actually, I am ashamed.  When one of these children die, thousands' are left in their place.

I had a boss that once called me a "Miss do-good-er."  Not true.  I never made any great contributions to this world, or have done anything extraordinary.  However, I always try to  help in little ways.  

I  have a heavy heart.  Not that it will make a difference for those that suffer; but I am grateful I was sent this reminder.  

Questions You Don't Want to Be Asked in an Interview

It amazes me that potential employers still ask the forbidden questions.   We all know that any questions about age, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation are all out of bounds.

But that doesn't stop them from asking.  Maybe employers think that the candidates are lucky to be seated in their offices in this dog-eat-dog job market.  Or, perhaps they think that candidates won't catch on when they ask:

*  What year were you employed at Company X?
*   How long have you lived in State X?
*  What year did you leave Company X?
*  What year did you graduate college?

These are all sly ways of figuring out your age.  All of these questions have been asked of me not just once, but at least 3 times by potential employers.  I thought about it, and if I blew the whistle on any of them- or just one of them- I might not have to work the rest of my life.

Okay, they know they're not supposed to ask,  But they can't resist asking.  No matter what anybody tells you about age -or other forms of discrimination- being taboo questions in a job interview, I have found that some employers still ignore the law and keep asking the questions.

Thing is, do any of these employers look at quality of applicants?  As in, what can this candidate do for my bottom-line?  I would like to be evaluated for my unique skills and capabilities, not how many times I've been around the block.

After looking over this article, 9 Common Interview Questions that are Actually Illegal, the suggestion is made to smile and decline to answer a loaded question.  Part of me feels that if I did that, I would be buying into the suggestion that being over 50 in the job market is an automatic eliminator.  It might be factual, but I don't feel buying into the question by refusing to answer is appropriate.  Neither is responding with "why do you want to know?" no matter how much I want to ask.

I am curious about how many job seekers have been asked an inappropriate question.  I would welcome your stories and will happily share them in my blog.

Not so "Comcastic"

I am doing battle with Comcast this week.  Seems that if I don't monitor my monthly bill, Comcast invents new ways to raise the price on me.

The History:   When I moved to my existing residence ( one year or so ago), I was offered a triple bundle price of $ 119.00 a month, not including my taxes.   My bill should be $130.00 a month, which is was for the first year.  Less than two months' ago, I saw that the bill had now gone up to $150.00. Upon calling Comcast, the conversation went like this:

   "Yes, you signed up for the Triple bundle price, but, that did not include your additional equipment charges for your DVR, and your Service Plan Protection. " "Okay", I say, "so my oral contract for two years didn't include these charges?""  No, it did not.  That $119.00 price just includes the triple package price, without the tax or additional equipment."  "Was that disclosed in the oral contract agreement?"  Long pause.  "You are still getting your triple bundle price of $119.00. "  "Okay, I will cancel my equipment then."  
To which, the rep replies:

"If you pay this month's charges, I will adjust your future bills back to the $130.00 price,   including the tax, and you can keep your equipment. 
Hmmmm...something fishy this way smells...

In short, I agreed, (reluctantly) to do this.  Not more than two months' pass and I get another bill, now for $143.00.

"I am calling to dispute my bill.  I went through this drill with you two months' ago, when I got a bill for $150.00.  Please check your recorded conversation with me."  Pause.  "You were sent a recent notification explaining the increase."  "Excuse me, but I have an oral contract with you for two years."  "That does not include the increase on your Service Protection Plan, or your equipment."
Now is this a racket or what?

 I threaten to discontinue  my service, I am taking my business to Century Link, I threaten to report them to the Better Business Bureau.

"This is dishonest dealing, I have been through this two times with you already.   Check your records."  "Ma'am, you are still getting the triple bundle price agreed on of $119.00.  But, the Service Protection Plan went from $2.99 a month to $4.99 a month".   "Alright, then if we add the extra two dollars, then my bill should be $132.00 a month.  Why am I getting billed for $143.00? " You didn't add in the tax," she replies.  
"Why don't we drop the Service Protection, plan then?" suggests the rep.
Whew, this is too much brain damage for me.   I wonder if anyone else has had this problem.   This is another way for businesses to take advantage of customers.    If I want to keep this wonderful triple bundle, do I have to baby sit Comcast if I want to remain a customer?

I suppose "contracts" mean nothing. For certain, the oral contracts, anyway.

Mommy My Mouth is Rotting

I am mortified by this article: Tiny Mouths Filled With Rotten Teeth.

While I was preparing for work this morning, I saw the coverage on  Denver Children's Hospital Pediatric Dentistry, with regard to treating scores of children with rotten teeth.

We are talking so rotten that these children have to be put under anesthesia to be treated.  One child had 16 out of 20 teeth worked on; including crowns, baby root canals, and extractions!

Come on parents! What are we feeding these children?

I did not come from a privileged home.  We were solidly middle class, but even then-  my mother always found a way to get me to the dentist.  It is inconceivable to me that children so young already have rotting teeth.

I understand that some children may have certain conditions or genetics that may predispose them to such decay, but not to the extent that has been reported by this hospital.

"We're booked five months out in the OR, and that's three days a week, two rooms a day. And it just keep increasing," said Janine Costantini, ambulatory practice director at Children’s Hospital Colorado. "The more we do the more we need." 
 It is a city-wide epidemic!  If I tried to ruin my children's mouth by feeding them all the candy bars and sugary drinks they wanted, I don't believe I could do this much damage.

Come on people!  do your homework!  I think this is a form of abuse.   It is out and out neglect.  If children go in for dental care- even on a yearly basis- this kind of decay could be avoided.  

For those that are out of work, and have no funding.  No excuse.  This is your child we are talking about.  Take a temp job, or find a government program.  Any other excuse is not acceptable.

Denver residents have been lauded as being among the highest educated in the country?  I don't buy it.

I hope that parents will research where they can get help for their children if funding is an issue.

Here is a number to call for those that need that assistance:

(303) 488-9700     www.mddsdentist.com

For parents in other cities, google: "low income dental care referral."

Dodging the Cow Dung

Peyton Manning (18)-IOS-022951.jpg
Move Over Tebow

Okay, Pat Bowen and John Elway win.  Peyton Manning is coming to town.  Forgive me for not being overly excited.

I would feel a whole lot better if I heard that Tim Tebow wasn't going to be traded.  But, just as I thought, that's not the case.

I said it before and I'll say it again.  It stinks. Excuse me while I get out of the way of the cow dung.

I can't stand the hype and the superficiality of it all.   Let me blame the media.- after all, they create the sports Gods' don't they?.

Tim Tebow went from the hottest name on Denver's lips now being traded for Peyton Manning.  All inside of three months.'

I am sure wherever Tim goes, he will be a star.  I know he will do so well that he will make us sorry that we gave up so soon.

Tough luck you say.   He will make 40 million instead of 95 million.

If this is love, I want my money back.

You May Be Happy and Not Know It

You might be happy and don't know it.  That's right.  It is a relevation that came to me the other night, when I was busy going about life, taking care of all my errands.  When I had a moment, I stopped, sat down and it hit me.

I am feeling really good.  It was more than a surprise.

The past two years have been a milestone for me.  I am an empty nester now.  I had never been alone in my life, ever.  My son had shared a home with me 5 years.  He left to take a wonderful job in Florida in 2010.  I was panic stricken.  How would I do it? How would I manage to meet my expenses?  I had always had someone in the house to take care of, and now, that was all changing.

I must admit, it wasn't all that bad.  Actually. I enjoyed the quiet, being able to do what I wan to do for me.  I had never really taken the time to decide what it is that I wanted.  Part of it was painful, because I found one discovers things about yourself that are hard to swallow, and you have more than enough time to take a serious personal inventory.

That being said, I did that and more.

Because after spending the past 14 months on my own, I definitely think I have made some strides.  It has helped me grow in ways I never expected.  I found out that, I could still be happy even though:

  • I was living alone
  • I didn't have a significant other in my life
  • I wasen't secure financially
  • I didn't have my dream job
How could this happen?  I have been told and told again,, that money won't make me happy.  I didn't believe this.  I found it could make things easier, but, make me happy? It couldn't do that.  I have had more than enough of bad relationships.  So, I could cross that off my happiness list.

I am happier now without a significant other, than when I had someone special in my life.  That one was  simple, because I  picked the wrong people.  Our values were not the same, and there was little harmony in those past relationships.

While I don't have the dream job (which I swore would make me happy), I have a job that gets me by without stress.  

That's a big plus. 

I don't go home fanning my ego, and my work is not going to get me on the cover of  Money Magazine.  However, it pays the bills.  

Another big plus.

I am sharing this because I was very excited about these revelations. I spent my entire life thinking that if I had the perfect relationship, the perfect job, money put away for a rainy day, I certainly would be happy.  

I missed the obvious because:

  • I have my health
  • My children are healthy
  • I am meeting my expenses
  • I can sleep comfortably at night
Okay, so my life isn't all that exciting.  Maybe I was addicted to constant stimulation,  now I have to be still and figure out why I needed all that stimulation.  It is still a struggle, but life is not all that bad.

The phone could ring a little bit more, and it wouldn't hurt to have more exciting plans on the weekend.

I can deal with this.

And besides, after all is said and done, I still have a few cards to play.

Everything Irish

I received an email today from my sister that I just had to share: Blessings for You.

I know you will enjoy seeing this as much as I did.  It seems appropriate because tomorrow is St, Patrick's Day.

Even though we may not be genetically Irish, we are all "Irish" on St. Paddy's Day.  Ever since I was a wee bit of a girl, I wanted to see Ireland.  I lived, slept, and ate everything Irish.

I was determined that someday I would take the puddle jump to the Emerald Isle.

I got to fulfill my wish in 2001, and then again in 2003.   Ireland was everything I had imagined and more. On the plane, I was seated next to a gentlemen from County Cork .  He was cordial enough to offer me his complimentary airline cocktail, entertaining me with Irish history and lore.

Here is what I saw from the plane- just when we were about to land:
National Geographic
I swore that I was Alice, and had gone through the looking glass, as this was the most beautiful scenery; so lush and untouched.  It was beyond green, with a magical and spiritual ambiance.

Landing in Shannon, I was greeted by a smiling Irishman, who would be my guide for my 10 day stay.

He had this wonderful Irish brogue. Everything you have ever heard about the Irish is true.

They have this little glimmer in the eye, a lovable little bit of of larceny, sprinkle in a dash of feisty, and utterly sentimental and loving.

From the day I arrived - to the day I departed - I felt at home.  If one should loose their way on a street, at least five people will stop to help you!  I can't imagine that happening in the States.

There is a sense of calm, adding to the welcoming aura.

Primarily a rural county, once outside of Dublin, you see farm animals everywhere.  I particularly loved seeing the sheep surround our car as we drove into the quaint little towns.  They have distinctive fluorescent colors on them, so each farmer can identify his own.

Going to Ireland was one of the top ten wishes I had on my life wish list.  I breathed a sigh of relief,  having been privileged to be welcomed by this great country and its' people.

Having been there two times, one would think I had my fill.  Actually, I swore to myself I would return every year thereafter.  Life got in the way, and I did not return.  I think about going back all the time, and pray that I will see Ireland again.  Because there is just one thing I didn't get to see:

The "little people".

There wasn't a Leprechaun is sight.

Miami Beach "Ciro's"

Living in Miami Beach was literally entertaining for my parents'.  My father owned one of he   first Miami Beach nightclubs;  "Ciros,"  during the 1940's and 1950's.

He was portrayed as the Jewish nightclub owner in the movie "Dorothy Dandridge," as he was the first to introduce her on Miami Beach. 

I am proud of you Dad.  You were a visionary. By the way, Ciro's (not to be confused with the Los Angeles club), was said to be a favorite Walter Winchell hangout.

While I was too young to remember,  Nat King Cole, Martha Raye, and others were guests at our home on Nautilus Court.  Part of the Ciro's bar was constructed on our patio, and there was a constant buzz of activity going on day and night in our home. 

Pilar Pillete and John Wayne Wikepedia
Part of the family in those days included Richard "Dick" Weldy; who was married to Pilar Pallete, a former Peruvian actress and third wife of the film star John Wayne.   Weldy was a mainstay at our home, as my father had business in Lima, Peru, and met Weldy there initially. 

 Weldy had a bit of notoriety, he appeared on "To Tell The Truth" sharing his story as a big game hunter in the Amazon.  His other claim to fame:  he worked as a Disney artist and was responsible for the Dragon segment in the film "Fantasia."

Funny thing is, I can remember him at our home with a huge anaconda snake, named Shirley, which he used to put into our bath tub!  I recall being horrified as a child.  Apparently, their skins need water.  So, while visiting with us, the snake was lolling about in our tub!

With all his stories of bravery in the Amazon, he admittedly was frightened of cockroaches.  Florida was a haven for those creatures.  I found it funny that here was this man, dressed up in his khaki garb, with knee high leather boots and a hat, afraid of cockroaches!

Go figure.

Dick Weldy was like a second father to me.  He was present for every major event in my life-including:  high school graduation, my wedding, and unfortunately;  as a guest in my home when I separated from my husband.

Dad also took a shot in the "B" film industry.   My sister, Diane, had a big part in one of his unmemorable films.  Her line?  "They went thataway."  

I have a picture that captures the filming.   Seated in that picture, with my father and my Uncle, was Dick Weldy.  Those pictures still hang in my home, along with a vintage picture of my parents in Havana, Cuba circa 1940 at "Sloppy Joe's."

I was too young to remember meeting any of the celebrities, but I loved hearing Dick share his Amazon and celebrity stories with me.

My brother, Joey, was lucky enough to get him to make a presentation at Nautilus Jr. High School, while he was a student there.

We all have our favorite family stories, I just had to share this one with you.

By the way, I hate cockroaches too.

Meditations on a Widening Circle: Dropping a Dime on Tim Tebow

Meditations on a Widening Circle: Dropping a Dime on Tim Tebow: Photobucket image Excuse me John Elway, and Pat Bowen but you are RUDE...very RUDE...I don't know much about football but I think yo...

Dropping a Dime on Tim Tebow

Photobucket image

Excuse me John Elway, and Pat Bowen but you are RUDE...very RUDE...I don't know much about football but I think you are dropping a dime on Tim Tebow.

Just a month or so ago, he was every one's golden boy when he completed an umpteen yard pass which gave us an in for the play-offs.  Okay, so we didn't get to the SUPER BOWL.  So what?

Give him another season!  You were aware that he was just a fledgling when you took him on; now that his track record is less than sterling you are ready to trade him.


He has tremendous potential, even if your pockets aren't exactly lined at the moment, this man has the "it" factor, and he will make you proud one day.

Tim Tebow has created more positive spin for this city than anyone else has in year; including you, Mr. Elway!

I understand that this is a "business" decision, but really is it?  Maybe it is the coach we should be looking at.   Ahem...

It seems unfair for us to garner Tim with adoration and praise when he was our golden boy, but all too convenient to relegate him to the back of the bus because he had a mediocre season.

I hope your will reevaluate your decision.

This just stinks and you know it.

Miami Beach Kitsch

Bettie Page -Bunny Yeager photo

Miami Beach in the 60's was very different from what it is today.  I would describe parts of it as "kitsch."  The dictionary definition is: pretentious but shallow art or writing.

That describes the era of the 50's and 60's in Miami Beach, Florida.  You remember the glitzy postcards from Florida?  Provocative pictures of busty, tanned, bottle-blonds enmeshed in oranges?  That was a big part of the Miami Beach allure.

For visitors and residents, going to the Beach was a wonderful folly.  One could get a tan, swim, and people watch all day long.  Beaches run a perimeter from lst Street all the way up the coastline.   All were nice enough - but one was absolutely jaw dropping - the 71st Beach.

It was all about "kitsch."

This beach was had its' own flavor.  It was seedy, the sand was dirtied with candy wrappers, cigarette buds, as well as other items left to one's imagination. There was a distinctive smell:  the sand smelt like a mixture of urine, stale cigarette buds, and beer.

 In short, if one was brave enough to go there it was to "see" but not be "seen."

Why anyone would want to go there is another story.  From the moment you stepped foot on that beach, you were accosted by a bible toting Evangelist - literally screaming out scriptures-  always  a side show for bathers.  

In the 1960's, this beach attracted a wide array of people including: The "Little River Rats" (one of the local suburb gang's from the city), Canadian visitors,( who didn't have a clue where else to go), rowdy teens, and vagabonds.

The concession area  had a jute box that attracted the shadiest of characters.  Strippers," ladies of the evening," took to the dance floor in their polka-dotted bikinis, spiked heels, beer in hand.  They delighted in  entertaining an audience of brill cream affectionados,  including children and families.

 I remember one memorable character, with wild red shoulder-length hair that gave solo performances on weekends -keeping tempo with the sounds that emanated from the sand-soaked speakers.

She would dance for hours to "Shake a Tail Feather,"  "Only the Lonely,"  "Pretty Woman" and never miss a beat.  After she finished each performance, men would reward her with a fresh drink when she slithered up to the bar to engage them in conversation.

I remember the whirling around the sandy coral floor, and can still taste the sand in my hamburger that was kicked up from the dancing. 

These were men in their 20's, 30's, and 40's.   I felt like a voyeur, as I was all of 14, with a bird's eye view of the activity.  Having never seen anything like it, this was a great escape for me at the time.

Rebellious teens would meet at 71st beach on the weekends.  It was not unusual to find much older, displaced people mixed in with these groups; as they had the cars -and the "wheels"- they needed to get around.

The Royal Castle  across from the Beach, or the drugstore (just south of it on the corner of 71st Street) were the two additional hang outs. The drugstore employed the first cross dresser I had ever seen, affectionately called "Queeny" by the locales.

If you passed "her" on the street it was appropriate to  compliment "her" on her bleached blond duck-tailed do - as she sauntered down the street. 

I suppose every city has it eccentricities, but Miami Beach in the mid 1960's was very different from what it is today.  It has been, and always will be, a diverse blend of cultures, ethnicities, and style.  No wonder it attracts an international crowd of visitors and celebrities, who just can't get enough of it.

There is something for everyone in Miami Beach. It continues to evolve with each decade.

But for my money, there will never be any beach quite like the 71st Beach in the 1960's.

The images remain etched in my memory.

"Good Fences Make Good Neighbours"

Robert Frost

I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;

And on a day we meet to walk the line

And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours."

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved the works of Robert Frost.  I remember devouring every morsel of information about him when "Look" magazine featured him in their publication following his death.  His work struck a chord in my heart.  I love the rhythm in his verses, I love the way he takes the mundane nuances of life and weaves a universal connection to which everyone can relate.  

I like to study his picture, and imagine all the experiences he had in life which led him to sharing his humble, yet poignant material.  When I read the verses above, they almost "rock" me to sleep.  If I am stressed, his words calm me down.

I have never been a voracious reader, which accounts for my ignorance in executing good mechanics in my own writing.  

But I still feel the rhythm in my veins.  Frost's work ,(like Yeats; T.S. Eliot,;Dickens; F Scott Fitzgerald) inspires me to write.  What especially appeals to me about Frost is the simplicity of his work.   

When I examine the verses I intuitively understand what he is saying.  I don't have to keep digging to understand.    There is no struggling, just surrender and joy.

I especially like his name, Robert Frost.  It fit his image, with his mountain of white hair and his life in New England.

I find that I relate to his work, especially in one of his most memorable pieces "The Road Less Traveled:"

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I can actually see the road. And who has not come to a fork road in their life?  How many times have we struggled with decisions; which again, lends itself to how effectively Frost taps into the human soul.

I shall be telling this with a sigh.  Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

The Plumber and Congress

You gotta love this country, even with all its faults.  Consider this:  "Joe the Plumber" is now officially in politics.  He won the ninth district Ohio primary on Tuesday, with an endorsement from Herman Cain to boot.

You'll recall how he stepped into the limelight... In 2008, Joe (AKA Sammuel Wurzelbacher)- asked then Presidential Candidate Barak O'Bama,  how he proposed to help small businesses.  

That was the shot heard 'round the world.  He created so much media interest it made him  the new darling of the Republican Party.   

Point is, in this country ANYONE can become SOMEONE.  You have to:

  • Be at the right place at the right time
  • Have something to say that addresses a hot issue
  • Be ready and willing to work to affect a change

The scenario reminds me of a scene from the movie "Gypsy" starring Natalie Wood.  When  Rose Louise makes her debut into Burlesque, she has no idea what to do on stage.

One of the strippers step in with the suggestion: " Ya'  gotta have a gimmick."

This is a rather coarse analogy, but you understand where I am going with this.

Apparently Joe has his "gimmick" going  great guns:Joe-the-Plumber-goes-to-Congress

The battle is just beginning.

He  has to face State Representative and Democrat Marcy Kaptur, who has also just scored a victory.

Joe's campaign has already funneled out $60,000 for his efforts.  (We all know plumbers make good money!).

You've got no excuses. 

 If you really want to do something, you can do it, and even be taken seriously...

What's your gimmick?

Maybe a plumber can get a better handle on how to "flush out" the ailing economy.

Feeling Good About You

 We often get so caught up in our own drama in life that we forget about what is really important.  We know there are others that can use or help, but we turn a deaf ear to their needs and focus on ourselves.

My worrying is not going to change a thing in my life.  I can't make things better by worrying about them.

Here is my new agenda:  I have decided to take on others problems and help them out.

 My little experiment.  It makes me feel good, however; it is not always easy.  This requires commitment, and I actually am uncomfortable with commitment.

 I have no real reason not to be happy.  I have my health, am attractive, above average intelligence, all is good.

Maybe I believe I don't have a right to be happy.  Or, alternately, if I am really happy something terrible will happen.

After all, life is all about polarities.

I have noticed that when things are going well, really well, and everything is in sync, the other shoe always falls, and there is another fire to put out.

But if I distract myself with others concerns or issues, all is well with the world.  The importance of self is diminished and I am feeling good about myself.

And so, for me, it is Lent.  I have my own little hit list of what will help me this Lenten season.  None of it is going to be terribly difficult- I don't do difficult too well; but are the steps that will help me grow.

I can't tell you exactly what I am doing, because then that would really be boasting.  Some of tasks involve financial sacrifices, time sacrifices, and some involved doing things that are uncomfortable for me. 

It doesn't have to be Lent for you to do something special for someone.  It can be as simple as saying hello to a coworker you don't like, or offering to help a needy neighbor in some way.  

So go on, grab a piece of paper, or start a new document on your computer and jot down some random acts of kindness you've always wanted to do. 

 Don't make it too hard, or you won't do them.  Just take inventory of things or people you've neglected, or haven't paid attention to lately. Then you can check off a task a week.

And you know what, when you finish you will feel soooooooo good about yourself!

CU Gunnery

I am not comfortable with the ban being lifted on carrying a concealed gun on CU Campus.
To me, this is a recipe for disaster. 

I say this because what do students like to do best in college? Party.  It doesn't take an Einstein to figure this out.  Just because a student has turned 21 does not mean they are emotionally or physically capable of handling a weapon responsibly.

Heck, I am not even ready to handle a weapon, nor would I want to, and these kids are a third of my age.

When your partying, you don't always have your wits about you.  Mix that with carrying a concealed weapon and it spells trouble.

I realize that many students are leery of having to walk to class on an almost deserted campus in the wee small hours of the morning or night.  However, there are other alternatives.

What about pepper spray?  

The goal is to disorient the would-be attacker, and pepper spray can accomplish this.  Why do we have to introduce guns and bullets into an unstable environment- a college campus?

I can see it now, all it will take is one campus ruckus - students' wanting to make a political statement - (like "Occupy") and out will come the guns.

According to CU Regent Kyle Hybl, the gun ban was enacted in 1970, and has been upheld since then:

"All along this was a case about the authority of the Board of Regents as a governing body to ensure the health and safety of our students and faculty," Hybl said. "We are disappointed that this Supreme Court has not upheld our authority."

This is not good karma Boulder.  Wake up.   

I'm starting to feel my knees knocking already.

Read more:Colorado Supreme Court affirms that licensed guns allowed on CU campus - The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_20109533/colorado-supreme-court-affirms-that-licensed-guns-allowed?source=googlenews&google_editors_picks=true#ixzz1oNYPBKFw

A Penny for your Thoughts..

Having just read about a way to score big on the stock market, I am ready to invest.  It is not without trepidation, however.  Last time I invested the market crashed, I lost all my savings!

This article caught my eye regarding Penny Stocks: http://www.smarterlifestyles.com/2011/09/20/discover-a-way-to-beat-the-odds/

So you reader, are going to have to help me out here.  Have you personally invested in them? Have you made substantial gains?

Everyone I know has pulled out of the stock market for obvious reasons.  This investment, however, feels good to me.  I have a little bit saved, and I need to build up what I have.

 It is all in savings, because it is my "rainy day" fund.  Trouble is, I have had too many rainy days.  What started out as a respectable amount of savings has dwindled down to much less in the course of one year.

There are always unforeseen expenses, car, living, weddings, birthdays, etc. etc.....

I have always been against a passbook savings mentality.  Yet, it feels like this is my destiny unless I take a calculated risk with an investment.

Is there even such thing as a safe investment these days?

My mother used to tell me: "scared money never wins," and I am afraid I am still in that category concerning my finances.

I feel that if the money went away so fast it won't take me too many more years to have nothing left.

So here is dilemma, do I or don't I invest? I am going to start to do more research on penny stocks.

Please share your war stories with me.

 A penny for your thoughts please!

Swift Sailing

Harpers Bazaar

I can think of 100 reasons why I like Taylor Swift.  She is everybody's'  little darlin' now,

 I began to really like her about a year ago.  There are those that will argue that she can't sing worth a hoot, that she really isn't a stand out.

I disagree.

She is a joy to watch.  She is a gifted singer/writer.  Taylor has the"it" factor.  Like when all the pieces of the puzzle fit effortlessly together.

I read about how she got her start.  She refused to "settle" when she was trying to break through in the music industry.

Back then, there weren't a lot of takers.

Getty Images- CMA, Nashville June 2011
Apparently, the first recording studio that was considering adding her to their label made an offer she could easily refuse:
  • She couldn't write her own material.  
  • The studio kept telling her she wasn't ready to cut her first record
Her mother cautioned her that this might be her only opportunity, and asked her if she really wanted to pass this up.

There was not hesitation, she dug in those gorgeous heels, and wasted no time in pursuing other labels.

 Soon after, the songstress was approached by a producer with a new record label, he agreed to her terms- she could write her own music- and sing it her way.

This quality is shared by successful people.  They don't give up.

She has a strong independent spirit- a charming nonchalance (as in not thinking twice about adding real names to her girl-looses-boy love songs).

I call that guts.

Apart from that, she has a unique freshness about her.  Being tall (5'11) and striking, she has developed a style that is all her own.

No sooner did she wrap a Vogue photo shoot when she was found gracing the cover of Harper's Bazaar.  She is a chameleon, she morphs to package her talents' to suit the industry.

Add fashion model to the list.

I don't think the economic situation is going to impact Taylor Swift anytime soon.

It is interesting that her appeal is not  limited to the "tweens."  An excellent entertainer;  parents that have accompanied their children to her concerts are now converted "Swifties."

She also has the ability to reinvent herself depending on the venue (remember her Grammy performance?).

Delightfully brilliant.

At the tender age of 21, she still has a lot of growing to do, both as a songwriter and a young lady.

I am really looking forward to watching her continue to blossom.