Looking Back To The Island….

It was just a year ago that I was in the Caribbean living on an air mattress in my nephew’s living room. I shared that spot with him, and his three cats. Crowded? Ohhh, yeah! Fun? Ohhh YES!!!

Everyday I woke up and did some writing, or worked on some other project I had created, or I helped his landlord around the yard. Some days I let myself just relax and go to the beach or I sat and read by the pool. The ultimate goal everyday being to get to the point where I could go see my friends at the dive shop, maybe get out on the boat or sit and drink my cranberry and coconut rum while watching the sun go down. Ahhhh….the life! (And to think I could not wait to get off that island. Can ya tell I woke up today and I miss it? Just a wee little bit…)

I told a friend the other day that at that point in my life, there was nothing a good cranberry juice and Mailbu Rum could not fix! Tastes delicious (ask my friend Jill who visited me down there – We drank …how many that weekend?) and you feel like you might be doing something good for your body since it has “juice” in it. Oh the lies we tell ourselves….

Today, I am sitting in my living room in LA, bundled up in my sweats and wearing my Uggs, sending out resumes and writing more and more! I could not be happier – Why? Well, that time I took last year to truly take care of ME has made me appreciate what I have in my life now, those  folks that I have surrounded myself with and that time also made me realize that drama and our thoughts are just that – drama and thoughts. Nothing more, nothing less. All we really have to do is be ourselves and get up everyday and do the best we can!

Of course at the end of the day if you want to have a cranberry and coconut beverage, go ahead! Just make sure that you are enjoying the sunset, as well as all of the steps it took you to get there during your day. It really is all about the journey. Cool, huh?

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Baggage Column from Frederick News Post (Re-posted Due To Popular Demand!)

It seems a lot of people I know are dating or maybe teetering on something serious and I decided that I really wanted to write something this week about baggage, and what we bring in to our new relationships or dating experiences.

It seems that this conversation has been broached more than once while I was in the company of others during the last few weeks.

Whether you come from a family that is a product of divorce, or one where the d-word was never uttered, or a former marriage that has recently ended and you are now dating again for the first time in eight years, or maybe this is your umpteenth venture into “seriousville,” we all bring baggage or leftovers from hurt (or not-so-hurt) pasts into our newer ventures.

I don’t think it can ever be helped for anyone to start something fresh without having a few moments where you unwittingly compare the new person to someone of old.

My friend Karen is recently divorced and went out on her first date in eight years the other day.

To say a lot has changed for her is an understatement. She was excited, but nervous and kind of sick to her stomach. Karen has only kissed one person for the last eight years, and she has only known this one man for as far back as she can remember, his peeves, his likes, his favorite food.

That first date was monumental for her, but that poor guy was compared to the ex-husband the whole damn time and he never knew it. She had stowed her excess baggage away in a secretive place for only her eyes to see when she was ready. “First Date Guy” will never get to Date No. 2. Apparently his teeth were terrible, something she now knows she wants in a man (Her ex had great teeth).

My other friend, Troy, has a unique male point of view.

It seems that anyone he has dated and then broken up with has gone on to get engaged in the next relationship after the one with him. His neurosis is really not too visible as he still goes out there to train the next future “Mrs. Not-Troy.” Does he pick the wrong women? Yes. He also comes from a home where he saw his mom go through a lot of hardship, so he feels a genuine empathy for women of the world. He just picks the ones that choose to use him. Baggage or just poor choices?

Baggage is always seen as negative. Personally, I try to take inventory of what I bring with me in a positive light. I tend to look back on the lessons I’ve learned and try to not repeat any of the same mistakes twice (I try … this does not mean it is accomplished at all times, but I do practice making the effort!). We all should, in all relationships from love to friendship to the one you have with the guy at the local corner store.

I chose to pinpoint the dating scenarios here, because those are the ones that always seem to get pegged as “excessive baggage” or they are the topic of this week’s Cosmo.

We all have baggage. What is most important is how we decide to handle our personal baggage: Do we do so with care or just toss it around wily nilly?

I suggest handling it with care so as we gain more experience, we can whittle down to just an overnight bag and not a whole luggage set.

No one ever said dating was easy, but we can make it fun.

For The Love Of Tiger….

Oh for love of Tiger!

I just woke up and I missed the speech by Tiger (I overslept!). In fact in the background on the news at this very moment they are talking about how professional the apology was, that he is “a good man, that temptation got in his way”, blah, blah, blah…Ummmm – he cheated with like eighty people. I see that as selfish, ridiculous and pathetic. Come on. (Please see my blog on respect. Obviously Tiger needs to.)

Now, on to what I did see that is making me type so furiously and feel so dirty right now is that red-headed porn star with Gloria Allred this AM. First of all, Gloria – Honey, we used to work in the same building. Shared and elevator a time or two. Get over yourself.  You’re like an ambulance chaser for the stars.

Now, to the red-headed porn star – Veronica. Look, we’ve all done crap that we look back on and groan over. The difference is that a lot of us have not had to go on the air and apologize for the acts we committed. The statement that gets me with her is that she says she was ok with the fact that she was told, by the honest Tiger, that she was the only other woman in the relationship with him besides the one he had with his WIFE.  Really? You’re totally ok with being the only mistress? She doesn’t have to be in a position of expecting constant lies and betrayal??? (This said by her lawyer!) All I can say is:  Good for you, mistress. Your parents are proud and your fake eyelashes? Atrocious. Tone it down.

Oh, Veronica’s also in a difficult economic position. Maybe she should do what I do and hover over websites everyday and look for work and hope she finds something instead of going out there and publicly announcing, “I slept with him, too!! Me too!!”. Focus those energies somewhere else. Please.

Apparently when she found out about the other 79 women he was sleeping with (the brunette, the blonde, the grandma…etc., etc.) THAT is when she got upset. Not at the fact that a man was with her  and in love with her WHILE he was married?!?!?

One thing I know for sure – And have repeatedly proven through my dating experiences – Is that the person you are dating won’t change. They just won’t. My little red-headed porn star friend, if you met him and he was cheating on his wife, you can pretty much expect that this is now your lot in this relationship. If he does leave her (amongst the paperwork, division of a freaking empire and splitting the kids) I will bet you ANY amount of money, he is going to do it to you, too.

A Tiger never changes his stripes.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

I was watching “The Wedding Planner” the other day (please don’t roll your eyes…we all slip sometimes), and heard a line that really made me think.  Respect turns to love. To have love, you have to have also have respect. It’s like the perfect recipe to any relationship. From a loved one, friendship, even with your mechanic. Respect is a serious deal.

I’m a huge fan of respect. I like that fact that I have people that respect me and I love respecting others. When I heard this line in the movie it made me really look hard at old relationships, as well as those I am currently in (not just in love-like ways), and see where I had lost my respect for those I was dating at some point or friends, family members, even retailers. And how in some cases they have come into my life again to win my respect back or others that I’ve just let them stay on the visible outskirts, not ever really addressing my feelings as to how I do or do not respect them now. It seems to me that at a certain point with some people, well, you just don’t need to deal with it, them or the situation anymore.  Maybe in some cases, we get the lesson, we move on and we just let go so we can move forward and continue to grow. (Or in others we sit and harbor anger and resentment and stab at voodoo dolls and burn pictures. Personally, I like former vs. the latter here!)

Respect is defined as esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgement. It is also the “condition of being esteemed or homered. (Thanks you once again to dictionary.com!) Hell, Aretha Franklin even sang about it, it obviously carries weight in our day-to-day dealings.

As I mentioned earlier, it is not only used for our “love” or personal relationships, but for our other ones as well – the professional ones, those outside of family or the love zone. Take my mechanic – I have been with Aziz for 12 years, ever since I moved to LA. I will never leave him. Why? Because from the get go, he showed me the same respect I showed him. He never tried to over charge me, and when I have had tough times he has always worked with me. I have sent many friends to him and I will continue to do so in the future. Why? R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Now, there is a drycleaner out there that once would not take responsibility for their actions with the way they handled some of my good clothes. It took me a few days and a heated discussion to even get them to acknowledge their fault, but I have never gone back and will not ever go back. Why? Because I lost RESPECT for them. Once my respect for anyone or anything goes away, good luck getting it back (Yes, personal relationships as well!).

Respect is the new cool. Seriously. If we were all out there totally respecting the other person, then what do you think we’d have? A pretty chill new way of thinking and looking at things. Right?

Respect.

Thinking of dumping my cable…

It started as a thought when I realized I watch a TON of TV when I’m at home. And I’m home a lot these days because of the lack of work, so I find myself getting sucked in to terrible television or laying here getting caught up on my TiVo. Last night I was going over my budget in my head and realized I could save some serious money if I get rid of Time Warner for a bit – And also really just have some peace and quiet without the TV.

I am a TOTAL TV junkie. I wake up and put it on to have noise in the background. It brings life into my other wise fairly quiet world here at home. Yet, I never really pay attention to it. Even when watching something I have saved, I find myself doing other things while it’s on, like cleaning or surfing the net, or even playing solitaire on my iPhone.

It truly gives me great fear to think of getting rid of this wonderful line of communication, but I think if I did it, even if I only do it for a few months, it would give me a different perspective. It’s like the blog I wrote for the Frederick News Post recently, where I talk about procrastination. TV is a form of that for me, so maybe right now it serves no purpose.

Well, again, this is just a thought running through my head as I try to make a decision. I’ll let ya know what happens.