The Story of my Breakfast

I like to eat eggs for breakfast, especially on weekend mornings when time allows. I’ll have two, usually, and enjoy them with some sort of whole grain product. I like eggs scrambled, in an omelet with vegetables, shirred, fried, poached, pretty much any way eggs can be prepared.

I just returned from a business trip in Idaho yesterday, after breakfast. I have been living with my 21 year old son, out of economic necessity, his and mine. I moved in with him when his roommates all transferred to other schools, pursued new lifestyles and joined the military. My rent had been raised, and as we get along quite well, we decided to be roommates until we both found a better situation.

Twenty one year old, athletic, active, hard-working young men can consume a surprising number of eggs. Mine is no exception. Our arrangement has been to each buy our own food. I shop at Whole Foods, he shops at Target. Eggs, for some reason, fall outside of this agreement, and I’m not really sure why. If eggs are in the refrigerator, they are community property. And I don’t mind. Except that we’re out of eggs. And grocery money, simultaneously.

I am a big believer in breakfast. I’ve read too many Jillian Michaels’ books not to be. My daughter and I often ask “WWJD?”, “what would Jillian do?” Besides, it’s an excuse to eat food, which I love to do. On mornings when there is little time, or no eggs, I will prepare another healthful breakfast consisting of a fruit, a whole grain and a lean source of protein. One of my favorite “weekday/workday” breakfasts is yogurt and oatmeal. I buy the actual oatmeal, not the quick oats, just because it has more body and a nicer texture, and is less processed. I not only read labels on food, but try to count up the number of processes food has gone through to make it to my grocery cart, the fewer the better.

My yogurt habits, like many of my eating habits, have changed slowly over the last two years or so, during which time I have managed to lose and keep at bay nearly fifty pounds. Now I have your attention. I used to buy any yogurt that was “natural”, usually berry flavored. As I began to consume less and less sweetened products, this yogurt became entirely too sweet to eat. I then began to “cut” it with plain yogurt fifty/fifty. Then, something amazing happened.

Late last summer, I visited my new boyfriend. We’d been friends for a couple of years, having only met once, at a bar (a story for another time) while I was on a business trip in Alaska. It was all completely innocent and platonic. To begin with. We texted and talked for a couple of years. He came to visit and we fell madly in love. A couple of months after his visit, I went to visit him. He is truly an Alaskan man, he hunts, gathers, grows and traps most of what he eats.

One of my fondest memories of this particular trip was berry picking on the tundra. It is remarkable just how many species of edible berries grow absolutely everywhere on the tundra. I’d never even seen tundra before and it was so incredible. It felt like walking on a sponge. It changes color seasonally, and is full of low growing berry bushes. We talked and picked and talked and picked, blueberries, mostly. We filled our ziploc bags and talked and picked and talked and picked some more. It is a day I will never forget and will always cherish.

We also picked raspberries during my visit, they grow in his yard, near his greenhouse. We also picked raspberries at a friend of his home, his friend being his high school English teacher. How many of you are friends with your high school English teacher? Speaks to character, as far as I’m concerned.

My S.O. (significant other) knew I liked berry yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast, when not having eggs (he isn’t a fan of eggs, but I think we can still make this work). He had gone out of his way to buy a tub of plain, Greek yogurt. He expected me to stir fresh berries into the plain yogurt and eat it. Now, I had, once before, stirred thawed, frozen, store bought berries into plain yogurt, and to be honest, it produced a gag reflex upon consumption. But, I wasn’t going to turn down his thoughtful gesture. I stirred the berries into the yogurt, added just a touch of local honey, and it was fabulous! He didn’t like it. Oh well.

After my (reluctant) return home to my store-bought lifestyle, I received a big box of frozen delectables from the far north, including moose, salmon, grayling, grouse, and the ziploc bags full of berries we’d picked. My yogurt this morning was full of blueberries I picked off the Alaskan tundra and raspberries I picked from a retired English teacher’s berry patch. I stirred in local, organic honey and so thoroughly enjoyed it with my oatmeal. Best. Breakfast. Ever.

Meanwhile, my son has come downstairs for breakfast. He is sitting across from me, we both have our MacBooks open on the kitchen table. He is solemnly eating his blackened grilled-cheese sandwich (the only food he has left in his stores, cooked on too high of a heat setting). This is rather pathetic. I may have to scrounge through the couch cushions and see if I can come up with enough change for eggs for the week, and for yogurt, I’m almost out.
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Scarlett, on Love

I have fallen in love several times. I have fallen out of love nearly as many, usually in response to the ignorant mistreatment and neglect of said former loved ones. I long for an enduring love, a soulmate, and hope the lessons I have learned in my previous attempts will guide me in my quest.

My thoughts on “true love”, however misguided or naive are as follow:

Passion should be met with passion – not physical gratification

Affection should be met with affection – not tolerance

Touch should be met by touch – not distance

Desire should be met with desire – not duty

Friendship should be met with friendship – not indifference

Romance should be met with romance – not complacency

Love should be met with love – not fondness

Excitement should be met with excitement – not routine

Enthusiasm should be met with enthusiasm – not boredom

Courage should be met with courage – not trepidation

Honesty should be met with honesty – not silence in lieu of the truth

Tenderness should be met with tenderness – not criticism

A sense of adventure should be met with a sense of adventure – not fear

Anxiety or fear should be met not with impatience or pacification, but with sincerity and honesty

Love should be comforting

Don’t tell me what my heart wants to hear just to quiet me. Tell me what your heart is saying so I have the freedom to choose.

If someone gives you their heart, don’t place it in a box upon a shelf while you try to figure out what to do with it. Don’t just take it down off the shelf on occasion to look at and decide it is good and you may still want it. Don’t leave it on the shelf for periods of time, untouched, locked away out of sight, if only to prove to yourself that you can live without it.

If you have someone’s heart, treat it as you would a garden; tend to it, nurture it, enjoy it and in return you will be rewarded with many things both lovely and nourishing. Neglect it and it will wilt, wither, die, dry up and blow away with the dust o the wind.

“True Love” means you treat the heart you’ve been entrusted with in the manner you’d want your own heart to be treated.

Upside Down Pineapple

My mother gave us a pineapple. Pineapples tend to be stored right side up once purchased. Am I right? You buy a pineapple and you bring it home and stand it up on the counter. Think about it. Gravity. The juice will gather at the bottom of the fruit if you leave the pineapple right side up for a period of time. So, when we got home, my S.O. (significant other) placed the pineapple in a ceramic crock, upside down, to allow the juice to flow towards the top and sort of “equalize”.

My son’s girlfriend was visiting and observed my upside down pineapple. She gave me a quizzical look and asked me if I knew what an upside down pineapple meant. It means something? Now, pardon me for being naive, I am not quite sure where this type of knowledge is acquired or who, exactly, is in charge of making these things up, but, apparently, if you are a swinger, at least in the neighboring county, and you place a pineapple upside down in your grocery cart, you are communicating to every other swinger in the grocery store (are there that many of them?) that you are down. For swinging, that is. Again, who makes this shit up and where does one go to become educated on all such matters. Is there an app for that? Are there other rules as to the placement of fruit in one’s grocery cart that establishes, publicly, your position or participation in certain behaviors or activities? Something with papayas or mangos? Bananas? I’m a little scared! I buy a lot of fruit. Is this method of communication limited to the produce section, or does it stem out to other ares in the grocery store? The meat counter, bread aisle, canned foods? Does it go beyond groceries? Clothing stores? The gas station? Am I unwittingly communicating with segments of society all sorts of things by turing on my turn signal? How many times my blinker blinks before I execute a right hand turn, for example?

I prepared dinner for my son and his girlfriend last night, beef pho. It was pretty good if I do say so myself. We told her about our experience at the dining experience the previous evening at a particular restaurant in this same, sordid, swinging community. She got that look in her eye, again. “You know, that’s where all the swingers go to meet”. Geez, it looked like a pretty normal crowd to me. I mean, I don’t expect swingers to look different from, shall we say, non-swingers. I suppose they are just regular folks with different spare time interests than the rest of us. I am not sure how to proceed, though. I do know this community is known regionally for the popularity of this particular spare time activity. So, do I stop frequenting any business in that community for fear of inadvertently miscommunication myself? I think that’s silly. Do I take the initiative to create a website and mobile app for identifying communicative behaviors so those who swing can swing and those who don’t, don’t make a boo boo? And another question; are the boundaries the county line? Because I am quite fond of shopping in the closely neighboring community. I need some clarity here!

I used to live in this particular county, in this particular community, in fact. I’m grimacing a little inside at the thought of what I may have said or done that could have been misunderstood. For example, did I ever say to anyone, casually, and unwittingly “swing on by and visit some time” or “I think I’ll just swing by and pick up a take and bake pizza”. Does picking up a take and bake pizza have more meaning than, simply, I’m hungry and don’t want to cook? I know this is probably not something I should stress over a great deal. No matter what I do or say that may mislead to swinging set, I am not going to swing. I mean, I am progressive and open minded and all, but I’m a monogamist. Call me old fashioned. To my credit, I’m a very capable and adventurous monogamist! But a monogamist.

I’m not quite sure what I’m to do with my new found wisdom, along with my complete ignorance and naivety; I suppose I will shop for pineapple very carefully, and perhaps at the opposite end of the neighboring county. Really, though, who cares what others think? Perhaps this is all urban legend to begin with. Maybe I’ll just put all this nonsense aside and live my life in blissful ignorance and shop for pineapple wherever and however I please!

Beauty Is On The Inside

“Beauty is whats on the inside” This is true, beauty comes from within. My less politically correct expansion on that topic is that your inner beauty is visible externally and you’d better be working on it 24/7 for the desired results. Whether we admit it or not, we all want to be good looking/better looking. We all have “issues” with our personal appearance. And if you don’t admit to constantly comparing yourself aesthetically with everyone you come in contact with, you’re lying. 

Sources of internal beauty that are visible from the outside – aka – How To Be More Beautiful 

Self esteem – if you don’t have it, get it

Healthy self image – if you don’t have one, get one

Fitness (not thinness) – nothing makes you feel hotter than feeling more fit than you did last month

Sexuality – learn more to enjoy more, enhances self esteem and self image 

Services (waxing, hair styling/color, massage, chiropractic, manicure/pedicure, etc) – costs, but doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Aesthetic qualities go without saying, the boost to your self esteem and self image (and sexuality) are the reinforcing qualities. Once you believe you’re worth it, you’ll see that reflects outward and others will believe it, too. And if you can only afford one self indulgent service, consider the power of brows. Men and women, have your brows professionally done. Ladies, if you aren’t enhancing your brows with makeup, you’re missing out. Brows and lashes are the only real makeup you need to improve your appearance significantly.

Nutrition – you are what you eat. I’m awesome, how about you?

Nourishment of mind and soul – books, audio books, online resources

Healthy relationships – get rid of any relationship that in any way undermines your self-esteem. Now. 

Things you can do on a daily basis to just feel better and boost your self esteem and self image:

Wake up at a decent hour – set an alarm, but make sure you’re getting adequate sleep

Spend a few moments thinking before you get up (meditating or journaling on affirmations and gratitude, do some visualization) 

Get up at a decent hour

Drink 8 – 16 ounces of water

Eat a small, healthy breakfast with protein, fruit, and a whole grain

Work out – even if only 15 – 20 minutes

Drink water

Drink coffee or tea, if you must, learn to limit to one serving per day

Shower and shampoo

Primp (guys, shave/trim, girls, makeup and hair)

Floss, brush with whitening toothpaste, rinse with whitening mouthwash

Dress like you’re going somewhere, even if you aren’t

Do something meaningful (work, read, write, volunteer) – make your day worthwhile

Drink water

Eat a healthful mid morning snack, for example, eight whole, raw almonds, fresh or dried organic fruit (1 piece of fresh or 1 serving per package label if dried)

Eat a generous healthful lunch, 4 ounces of lean protein, a few servings of veggies, preferably organic and raw, a whole grain, like quinoa (sandwich bread with “enriched” flour doesn’t count)

Drink water

Continue with meaningful tasks 

Have a healthful afternoon snack, similar to morning snack

Drink water

Work out again/some more, some time during the evening. Get in some cardio, take a group exercise class like Zumba. Take a yoga or Pilates class. Find a crossfit gym nearby. Run. Be active. Move your body.

Shower and primp

Have an early, healthful dinner – four ounces of lean protein and fresh (organic) veggies prepared healthfully. Try limiting whole grains with dinner once or twice a week, again, quinoa or bulgur or something interesting like that (avoid bread with “enriched” flour). Try to limit “bread” to once a week. Same with a gooey desserts. Choose carefully and enjoy them to the fullest when you do indulge. And do indulge. Deprivation is never part of a lasting plan.

Drink water

Have dessert – my recommendation – one exquisite, crafted beer or glass of wine and a small piece of (organic) DARK chocolate (the more sweets you cut out of your diet, the less sugar you’ll need to satisfy your sweet tooth. The same goes for salt.)

Do something enjoyable with your evening. Visit on the phone/in person/Skype with someone you enjoy, read, write, shop, have sex, all of the above

Get ready for bed – wash your face, remove all makeup, floss, brush, rinse

Wear something to bed that makes you feel sexy – or nothing, if that does the trick

Meditate or journal on your day – observe what felt good, what went right, jot down affirmations and gratitude. Spend a few minutes visualiziing.

Go to bed and get plenty of rest, the right amount of sleep differs from one person to another, but should be between 7 – 9 hours per night.

Other crazy things to consider:

I know it is against feng shui, which I am a believer in, but, put up mirrors. Budget for and buy pretty mirrors that accent your decor for every room of the house. If you see yourself more often, you’ll be surprised how making little adjustments in your outward image (hair, makeup, dental hygiene, etc.) improves your reflection and your self-image and self-esteem

Take pictures of yourself. Use the timer on your old fashioned camera or your webcam. Take a picture (or a few) of yourself every day and look back at them often. Work up some nerve and try a quick video. Send friends short, videos on funny things that happened to you, or a video love note to a significant other or a family member you don’t see often. You’ll learn about how to enhance your overall appearance, your smile, your expressions, you’ll learn about what camera angles work for you. Its quite fun. If you struggle with feeling sexy, with sexuality, you can take this a little further (for your eyes only, or for a limited and controlled viewing audience e.g. your significant other), take pictures of yourself in pretty lingerie or partly undressed. The beauty of digital photography, is you can take a hundred photos, they don’t need to leave the house to be developed, and you can delete all but the couple where you look marvelous!

Teach something. Become a volunteer or paid instructor for something you’re good at, whether its software, music, dance, organizational skills, scrapbooking or origami, find yourself an audience. Having to prepare and teach in front of other people, live or in video format, helps you learn to put your best foot forward. Once you learn which is your best foot, put that foot forward everyday, whether you’re teaching, or not. Watch some YouTube videos on topics that interest you to see what others do. My favorite are Jenna Marbles, Kandee Johnson and other fashion and make up video blogs.

Give up soda. Including diet soda. We were never intended to digest such garbage and our bodies just don’t know what to do with all that sugar/all those chemicals

Give up processed food. When buying food, ask yourself “how many processes has this food gone through?”. Veggies should be grown (organically), picked, transported, displayed. Meat should be raised (sustainably, humanely, and organically), slaughtered, butchered, packaged, transported, displayed. The fewer process, the better. Now think of a box of macaroni and cheese or other meal helper, frozen entree, canned/boxed food product; read the ingredients, if you can’t recognize the ingredients as whole plants or animals, if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, you really should not be eating it. Again, our bodies have no idea what to do with most of that stuff. And, alarmingly, some of the most highly processed and unwholesome food out there are your reduced calorie, reduced fat foods we resort to when we want to “eat healthy” or lose weight.

Make someone smile, somehow, each and every day. Say “Hi!” to people who make eye contact with you. They’ll smile and say “hello” back, which boosts your self esteem, and theirs! Its a win-win!

Treat yourself to something small, but special, once a month or so. Something that dresses you up; cute trendy shoes, a scarf, a cardigan. It doesn’t have to be major, but if it makes you look and feel great, you deserve it, and the fact that you buy it for yourself lets your subconscious know that you think you’re worth it. 

Get out of the house. Go for a walk and say “hello” to people you pass. How many of your neighbors do you actually know? Go window shop somewhere you’ve never been before. Learn about a new neighborhood. Go to an art gallery. Joine a “MeetUp” group that interests you and attend a fun outing. There are so many things you can do, even by yourself, that are fun, relaxing, and broaden the boundaries of your everyday world. Explore theses. Often.

Make a point of having a conversation with a complete stranger on a daily basis. If you find interest in people, they will find interest in you. When you realize that people find you interesting, your self esteem rises exponentially. Even the most ordinary of people are extraordinary in some way. With every person we come in contact with, even if only briefly, even if only once, we become richer and more interesting ourselves. Every contact or connection we make adds to the fabric of our lives, the color, the pattern, the texture, all become more interesting, more intriguing and more appealing. Even as ordinary people, we can become extraordinary through the connections we make. 

Once we realize that we are more than ordinary, especially in our own estimation, we become irresistible to others. 

 

Think Tank

I have always believed in cleanliness. Well, ever since junior high, when I figured out it wasn’t cool to have stringy, greasy hair. And to smell odd. Ever since then, though, a daily shower has been as necessary as getting out of bed, I am convinced that I am not fully awake until I have had my shower. A day without a shower just doesn’t feel right, I feel foggy, groggy and out of sorts. I swear I almost have a dull headache for lack of a shower. I have the luxury of working from home when not traveling all over the country, and on those days, it is assumed by many, since I don’t video conference, that I am in my PJ’s, no makeup, hair in a ponytail. Perhaps the sweats, if headed to the gym right after work. Perhaps the ponytail. Occasionally bare faced, but only if running really, really late. Then I usually apply make up on my break. But I am always, always showered. I can count on one hand, in five years, the number of times I have taught a session from home without the benefit of a shower first. And only once, ever, in person.

I have a close friend who agrees with me. She told me once that she’d heard a theory that taking a shower normalizes the positive and negative ions on or around your body or some such thing, and that some of us are hyper-sensitive to this imbalance, which a simple shower corrects. This explains the foggy, groggy feeling. Sounds pretty far-fetched, but if you were me, you’d believe it. 

I also hate going to bed dirty or gritty or sweaty. I will often take a shower before bed, too, only to sleep a few hours, then get up and take another shower. They say that cleanliness is next to godliness. I had two today. And I didn’t even get to go to the gym. 

I believe that showering daily, preferably at the beginning of your day, boosts your self esteem. You feel clean! You know you smell good! Your skin and hair are shiny and fresh. If I don’t shower in the morning I spend the whole day wondering if people can tell. Do I smell, is my hair stringier than usual? Does my skin look dull? i. Just. Feel. Like. Ick.

I also think showering regularly (as many times a day as is necessary and practical) is good for your sexuality. You’re just so much yummier if you’re clean. Everywhere. And don’t just take my word for it; in “Veronica Monet’s Sex Secrets of Escorts: Tips From a Pro”, she recommends the same thing for a pleasurable experience for both (all) parties involved.

I will forever extol the virtues of a daily shower. And, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but the best ideas come to you while you’re in the shower, if you’re paying attention. I like to consider the shower my own, personal “think tank”. I’m serious. I have solved more problems while in the shower. I’ll just be standing there, wearing nothing but a perplexed frown. The water will be pounding on my back and I just pause. Ok, zone out. And BAM! That’s when it happens. The solution hits me! 

I was having a terrible time with my work computer a month or so ago. Something went haywire between the time I left one client’s location on Long Island on Friday and the time I got home on Saturday. The computer failed to start, I’d get almost all booted up and it would crash. Blue screen of death. I had to leave the next day for Milwaukee, with a dead computer. Talk about stress. It was in the shower after arriving at the hotel that I masterminded the series of actions I would take that ultimately led me to patching the sick computer together just enough to get through the next two days of training with the client. In the shower, zoning out and BAM!! 

I ended up swapping out hard drives and reinstalling all my software. One software didn’t load right, so I uninstalled it and tried to reload it, but I kept getting an error message that there was already an instance of a database for this software, blah, blah, blah. I took a shower. Zoned out. And BAM! I was able to identify the database file, remove it, and successfully install the software! 

So if you have a problem and you just can’t think of the solution, take a shower. Give yourself enough time to kind of zone out. Close your eyes and let the water pound on your back for a few minutes. Don’t deliberately think about the problem, keep it just on the edges of your mind. See what happens! 

I’ve heard several “self help” guru type folks, especially those into the powers of the universe and visualization, say you should write down a list of things you’d like to find a solution to just before you go to bed. Read it before falling asleep, and your sub conscience will solve the dilemma while you sleep. That may be true, but I am usually too sleepy to remember the problems, let alone the solutions, when I wake up. Once I’m in the shower, though, BAM! There it is! 

Need to really brainstorm? Try drinking your cup of coffee before getting into your shower! You’ll solve not only your problems, but all the problems in the world! I swear it. The cure for cancer, for AIDS, is just one cup of coffee and a hot shower away. World peace, global warming, just a cup of coffee and a shower away. 

Scarlett’s Letter 1/15/2013

Silver Linings

I tend to be a little cynical. A bit sarcastic. Pretty critical. And in all the reading I do, I know this is not the way to true happiness. Whatever. I find cynicism, sarcasm and criticism to be kind of funny, in the right context and the right company.

In all the “happy, happy, joy, joy” self-improvement books I’ve read, I have learned over and over and over and over again that cynicism is no way to happiness. What if cynicism MAKES me happy? It doesn’t. I know. But it usually makes people laugh, and if I can make people laugh, it makes me happy.

Today I travelled, for work. Air travel and all that goes with it usually unleashes the most savage cynic within. Today, I made a concerted effort to replace cynical thoughts with “happy, happy, joy, joy” thoughts. I looked for silver linings in all those dark, travel clouds.

To get from where I live to, well, just about anywhere by airplane, I have to take a 6:00 or 7:00 AM flight. That means I have to get up about the time the bars close. I value sleep, the kind that occurs in my nice bed, not the kind you get on an airplane. The silver lining; it takes me an hour to get ready, so by the time I leave the house, all the drunks are off the road. They’ve either made it home miraculously or are themselves struggling with sleep, in the county jail.

Let’s first talk about my destination this week. Idaho. Not some hip, happening college town like Boise. Nope. Two hours east of Boise in the middle of nowhere. I am here to teach accountants to use their new audit software. Whoa. So my job sounds pretty boring, but in New York City or Chicago or Miami, it’s a pretty cool job. In the middle of dairy cow land Idaho. Not. The silver lining; it’s quiet here. I can catch up on that lost sleep. I won’t accidentally wander past a shop with cute shoes or a scarf on display and overspend. I won’t overeat because as far as I can see there is a truck stop and a Subway – I just won’t eat. Luckily I thought to pack apples, oranges, peanut butter, chocolate and I bought two bottles of local wine at the airport. Just in case.

The airline. Today I flew Alaska airlines. I normally fly United. I am royalty on United. Not like inherit the throne royalty, more like the obscure duchess no one ever heard of, but still, royalty. On Alaska, I. Am. Nobody. No priority check in line, no free checked bag, no little carpets to walk on. I was allowed to board the plane pretty early, but only because I was practically the last row on both flights and Alaska boards from the back forward, once royalty is seated, of course. Silver lining; I earned valuable miles that I can use to visit my sweetie because Alaska is the ONLY airline that flies there!

When I arrived at the terminal and went to check my bag, as I exited the elevator, I saw a mass of people, hundreds of them, by the Alaska counter. The little zig zag maze they use to wrap the line around the lobby in an orderly fashion was full and spilling another hundred out into the unorganized area of the terminal lobby. These stray people took it upon themselves to create their own crazy, out of control, where the hell is the end to this, line. Mouth agape, I wheeled my big, bright purple suitcase along the twisted line of very grumpy people. Finally, I asked, “is this the line for Alaska Airlines?” One lady nodded yes and another shook her head no. The no-head-shaking lady’s male companion explained that they were in line for American Airlines, who had cancelled their flight to Dallas (which I think is American’s only flight out of my airport). Alaska’s line was just to the right and had three people in it, plus two at one attendant’s window, and three at the other. Great. This should only take a minute. Nope. Remember, I usually fly United and I have priority, so I share the line with other people who fly a hundred thousand miles a year. On one airline. The folks at the ticket counter this morning? I don’t think they’d actually ever been on an airplane before. I finally got my bag checked and was on my way … to security. The silver lining; obviously, that I wasn’t flying American this morning!

Believe it or not, I have nothing to say about security this morning. And I wasn’t even in the priority line! There!

Starbucks next. All I can say is, don’t stand in front of the bananas to place your order. The associate behind the cash register is calling on me to make my order and you and all your (oversized) carry on luggage are blocking me from the banana I want to purchase. Silver lining; she won’t make that mistake again.

Starbucks in hand, I make my way to double check the gate assignment for my flight, even though I have an app for that, I like to cross reference this type of information (I told your I am quite “particular” about things). After a full minute of scanning the various flights, I come to the conclusion that my flight is not on the board! Cancelled? I hurriedly make my way to the gate, which is, of course, at the extreme far end of the terminal and I have to pass about twenty empty gates. Could they not have parked the plane a little closer? Upon reaching the gate, a man is standing there looking very relaxed, very at ease, very peaceful. I’m in crisis mode here! There are four upcoming flights listed on his little display, none of them are mine. And I have a connecting flight! And I am meeting a coworker, we coordinated our flights so neither of us would have to wait too long for the other! I simply cannot deal with a cancelled flight today. I think back to all the people standing in line at the American ticket counter. I ask the sleepy man “Seattle. 7:00 AM!?!” He very slowly turns his attention towards me, smiles benignly and says “you’re in the right place” ever so calmly. I am not soothed. “The flight isn’t listed on any of the boards!!!!” He replies, slowly, still smiling, “it won’t be, computer glitch’. I flop down in a chair and consume my Starbucks fare. For the next half an hour, until we boarded, people kept walking up to the counter and frantically asking about the 7:00 AM flight to Seattle. He greeted each and every person with the same smile and slow, soothing response. I couldn’t have done that! I would have made a poster, or stood on the counter and shouted, or something, so people would stop asking me the same question over and over! I have to admit, I admired him for his demeanor, and caught myself smiling every time someone else approached him. I was so waiting for him to snap, to just lose it. It didn’t happen. I glanced at a man sitting next to me and observed him smiling at all this too. Silver lining; I think there’s a life lesson here, but I’m not sure. I’m still thinking about it.

It is cold and flu season, so why are so many people open mouth coughing and sneezing? I had so many germ showers today I can’t possibly consume enough Airborne and echinacea. I think a lot of straight whiskey is the only thing that could kill all those germs, I’ll just drop the Airborne into the whiskey and wash the echinacea down with it! Silver lining; if I live, without contracting some hideous disease, I will have super antibodies and won’t need a flu shot. God. My mom may have been right again. About getting a flu shot.

Somehow I missed the memo on the seating chart. I’m gathering this from my observations, but I think there is a section of the airplane where people with lots of small children all sit together. Like a play group, but without a sandbox. I was in the center of it for both flights. I have never seen so much snot, never heard so much shrieking as I did on my flights today. I think they should have their own airline, families with small kids, that is, with a sandbox, and valium for the parents, and maybe the kids, too. I love kids, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t take mine on an airplane until they understood the meaning of the word “shhh”. The silver lining; I realized, looking around at all these little babies and toddlers, in forty years, they will be running businesses and corporations, and our country. For a moment I felt hopeful, inspired, and really proud of myself for thinking of that over all the noise. But then, I got a little scared, we’re headed for disaster, I’m pretty sure.

It is cold in dairy cow land, Idaho and there is snow everywhere. I’m a Cali girl, I don’t drive in snow, and when I do, I drive a big, safe four wheel drive SUV with the appropriate tires. The rental car company gave me a choice of a Chevy Impala or a Chevy Malibu. Wow. I’m torn. Death on wheels or death on wheels? And not even a stylish death, a very plain, nondescript, under-performing death. On wheels. Racking my brain, trying to figure out the benefit of one over the other, I decide to use color as the deciding factor. Something that will stand out against the snow when I careen off the road. “What color are they?” I ask. “White. Both of them.” Well, shit. Got any spray paint? In red, maybe? My co-worker and I finally decide on the newer of the two. Actually, the girl behind the counter made that suggestion and we just shrugged and and went with it. I text my S.O., he lives in snow like no other. He thinks I’m a crazy driver, I know. He texts back “The key is no G-force in the corners, slow launch and add 30% more distance for stopping. Other than that drive it like you stole it.” Obviously, he has driven with me a time or two. Silver lining; we made it here alive in our white, late model Chevy Malibu and I can now drive better in snow than I can walk in snow!

So it is time to prepare for tomorrow. I’m in my hotel room, got the heater cranking at 90 degrees and I’m about to bust out the wine and some chocolate for dinner. I’m going to iron my outfit for tomorrow and catch up on some lost sleep. I wonder how my UGG boots are going to look with my business professional attire. No way am I walking in that white shit tomorrow with slick soles!

Scarlett’s Letter 1/14/2013

I have a song in my heart! And it’s Monday morning. Today is off to a good start, even if I do have the client from hell looming ahead of me this afternoon.

I was feeling wobbly yesterday and was in a quandary as to what to do. In the end, I did sort of a hybrid approach. I worked out. Hard. I completed my first “Fit Test” for Shaun T.’s Insanity DVD workout series. I thought it would kill me, but afterwards, I brushed the sweat from my brow, grabbed my gym bag and went to the gym for an hour of blistering cardio. That was the infusion of endorphins I needed.

Upon returning home from the gym, I cooked a healthful dinner; a small pork cutlet, wild rice and carrots with Brussels sprouts. Of course I used about a quarter pound of butter to prepare it all, but that’s how I roll. I had a Jamaican Red Stripe beer along with that and for dessert, a hot shower, some lavender scented candles, shea body butter, some classical guitar music, a piece of dark chocolate with chili inside and a glass of merlot. Short of getting a massage, I could not have been more relaxed.

I’d texted my S.O. earlier in the day, in response to a text he’d sent me (it’s all strategy, I don’t want to appear too eager or needy, even if I am). I asked if he could set aside a little time for a “conversation” after my workout. We usually say “phone call”, I was hoping my careful selection of words would offer a little pause, concern, something just short of foreboding. I think it was ineffectual. He knows I’m wordy.

Then I sat down with my MacBook and scripted what I wanted to say, not like I’d read it script style, but more of an outline, again, carefully selecting words I thought had impact and significance.

So I called him late in the evening, MacBook opened at my side. We had our usual chat about weather, dinner, the events of our respective days. Just as he was preparing to conclude the call, I asked if we could talk a bit about “things”. Per my script, we revisited a couple of topics we had started during his visit, which occurred somewhere between two glasses and two bottles of wine (I couldn’t tell you, the whole week and a half is sort of a purple haze). These topics were what sent me wobbling, I think. It was good. We cleared the air, though I think my air was more polluted than his, to begin with. All is well. I am at peace with where we are. He is a good man; he listens, he is wise, he expresses his thoughts clearly, he is even tempered and so, so, so patient. I’m a lucky girl.

I finished my glass of merlot after our conversation, in bed, with my current read, “The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships” by Mali Apple and Joe Dunn (highly recommend). Every paragraph I read resonated and I caught myself whispering “yah!” After finishing my wine and reading some more, I fell asleep in my usual manner, Kindle thump to the head. After the third time I dropped the Kindle on my face, I turned off the light and slept blissfully.

Now I am ready to face my Monday. Bring it.

Scarlett’s Letter 1/13/13

Good news! I hardly broke any rules, so far today! I got up, sent my ritualistic “good morning” text to my distant S.O. to which I eventually received a reply, and made my bed. I did head downstairs before getting ready, but I gave myself a break on that because it is Sunday. I fixed a BIG, but very healthy breakfast, which we’ll just call brunch, and I did share it with the kid before he headed off to work. I had 99% of the dishes done before the food hit the table. I love that when I can pull it off. Since then I’ve readied myself for the day and have even done a load of laundry! And as a bonus, I did make it to the gym last night for a good hour of cardio! All is right.

The point of my rules and routines is to make sure I’m set up for a full, productive, worthwhile and satisfying day, and that I’m taking the steps I need to take to remain relaxed, keep focused on my values and principles and to succeed at making progress towards my goals for the different roles in my life . To evolve.

But I feel wobbly.

Without going into all the grotesque details in one post, my life has been in a constant state of flux for the past five years. In the next month I will be moving for the fifth time in three years. I am on the brink of filing for divorce from a marriage of nearly twenty three years that probably should only have lasted fifteen. Nine if you happen to live in California, because anything over ten years is a “long term marriage”, which basically means one party or the other, is going to get completely screwed. That would be me. Vowing to never, ever be so weak as to fall in love again, I have, and with a man that lives 3,000 miles away and has no plans, ever, to live elsewhere. In time, I can relocate and am willing to do so.

Would you feel wobbly?

I really want this new relationship to succeed, though we seem to have a lot against us. Distance. Timing. Careers. Economic resources. But we’ve managed a friendship for over two years and a relationship, a long distance relationship, for six months. I know relationships evolve and change, that’s how they grow, but there is a part of me that wants it just like it was. It has changed, not in a bad way, I don’t think, but it isn’t what it was, and I can’t put my finger on it. Being the over analytical soul that I am, I am trying to dissect the nuances and am probably reading way more into absolutely everything than I should. And in this behavior, I am acting differently. He is acting differently, either because he is feeling differently or because I am acting differently. Argh! I dissect and analyze and stress and worry.

And feel wobbly.

Am I wobbly and questioning, analyzing, dissecting and stressing because of the relationship, or because of the upheaval of moving yet again? Or both? How much credit do I give to my inner turmoil when my outer existence is so tumultuous?

I am an avid reader and have read many, many, many books on relationships, love, friendships, sex, self-improvement; in all of these books, communication is a core pillar.

One voice tells me to talk to him about it. But if I initiate a conversation about my analysis and dissection of the little subtleties and nuances and have overreacted and misinterpreted everything said and unsaid, done and not done, am I creating unnecessary trouble? The other voice says “just let it ride”, we are awesome together in every way, enjoy it while it lasts and if it lasts forever, yay! If it doesn’t, cry for a while and move on. This is the voice I’d like to listen to, but I think my innate tendency to analyze, dissect, stress and worry will continue to build on the insecurities I have already created for myself. It may eat me alive. I can’t imagine there is anyone else out there that is as well suited in so many very important ways as he is. I am nearly fifty; I am not getting any younger, better looking or more desirable. I hate to waste my time if this is an ill-fated relationship because I don’t really have time on my side. Yet I hate to create trouble where there is none to begin with.

There is probably no right solution here, and I’m not looking for advice. I find that in writing things down it helps me think through things a bit more thoroughly. I have not made a decision as to which voice I am going to listen to just yet. I probably need to work out vigorously and reconsider all this while the endorphins are pulsing through my body. I have been on an endorphin withdrawal lately with the holidays, the kids and their friends and my S.O. all visiting from far off places, and a hectic several months of business travel preceding this. I have been on a bit of a hiatus from my usual endorphin rich routine. Maybe the inner turmoil will subside with a daily infusion of endorphins and I will become my well-balanced, sane self again. Perhaps that is the only change that has occurred between lover boy and myself; myself. I like this thought. Off to the gym I go.