Saturday, March 31, 2012

My New Boyfriend

My writing class is keeping me from writing!   Every week I sit down to write here and find myself  distracted by the writing I am supposed to be doing for my class.  As a result, neither the blog or my classwork is getting done.  However, my golf game is improving.  When in doubt I just go play golf!  That is pretty much how the last few weeks have gone.

The class is not exactly what I had hoped it would be, but damn if I'm going to just give up.  It is a memoir writing class and I thought it would be a good starting place for my writing and give me some good tools.  The class is definitely challenging my brain and forcing me to examine my life.  This is not always easy.  "Write about your greatest fear" is one assignment this week.  Does my irrational fear of breaking down in a car on a road trip count?  What about my most recent fear of writing extremely boring and trite essays compared to my fellow students?  At least I won't be guilty of writing a ten page essay about civil rights in the '70's, an apartment in Paris and food in Ireland and then volunteer to read it out loud, in a monotone voice, causing the teacher and the rest of the class to fall asleep.  The teacher did stop him at one about page 5, and said that in an effort to save time maybe we should "move along" which lead to one of the most uncomfortable stand offs I've witnessed in a long time.  He said, "No, I haven't gotten to the part about the verdict yet."  We were very close to our own civil rights event at that point so the teacher just let him read the entire paper....yawn.  I paid money for this??!!

Don't get me wrong, there are some excellent writers in the class who have had very interesting lives and really should write their memoirs.  I am humbled every Monday.  I leave class and think I need to do a lot more living before I have anything memoir worthy to write.  I sit next to an 87 year old man.  He is/was a doctor.  He wrote one paper about how when he was in his 40's he was electrocuted and his 15 year old son "breathed" him back to life!  There were some hilarious parts in his story too, especially the part about being driven to the hospital in a Hearse because the small town did not have an ambulance.  When they got to the hospital and he was taken out of the Hearse everyone who knew him at the hospital thought he was dead.  He said that near death experience changed his life.   He is my new boyfriend, he is so charming!  I may have to fight off the 75 year old lady who sits on his other side, I think she has her eyes on him too.  Note to self... if I am ever old and single, I will sign up for a memoir writing class, it's where all the cute, interesting, old men hang out.

So I will force myself to sit down and write this weekend.  I will try to single out my happiest moment and my greatest fear and come up with some profound verbiage to delight and entertain.  It's gonna be a long weekend.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Art of Being

We all know people who are great hosts and hostesses.  These people can throw a great party or just have you over for dinner and make you feel like they are genuinely happy to be with you.  There is an art to being a great host, some people have it and some don't.  Hosting is not just about serving the right food or decorating or the right wine....although the right wine can never be underestimated!  There are just people who make you feel welcome and at ease.  They are happy to see you and they listen when others talk without looking around for the next conversation, try to be the center of attention themselves or constantly check their cell phones. They are genuinely interested and present in the moment.  They are good at just being with people.

I think it is an art to be with another person and make them feel welcome, important and at ease without fussing too much... because that just makes some people uncomfortable (or is it just me?).  I always think of the bible story about Mary and Martha.  It is usually in the rotation at church during the summer when we are in Nova Scotia.  Coincidentally, it is when we often entertain and are entertained.  I am always torn between being Martha and cooking, serving and cleaning or Mary and just being with the guests.  Jesus did say, " Mary has chosen the better part."!  Maybe a caterer would facilitate my being Mary!  I know so many people who are wonderful at being Mary. I try to take queues from them, sometimes it works and sometimes I know I fall short and pay too much attention to the details.  Is it so hard to just sit with another person and have a meaningful conversation without being distracted? 


Thursday, March 15, 2012

March Madness

I am not talking about basketball here....

Have you missed me?  I missed you!  Things have been a bit dead here on the blog for the last two weeks, sorry.  It is not that I haven't had some great thoughts running through my head, it is just that I haven't written about them or when I tried to they seem to have escaped my steel trap mind.  Where was all this activity back in icky, dreary, boring, long January when I would have happily entertained guests, traveled to interesting places (Ok, I did travel to two great places in January), played golf 3 days a week and had to carve out time to do mundane things like laundry?  It is feast or famine and right now it is a feast!

One thing that was suggested in my writing class was to find a great book of quotations to use in our writing.  I admit, quotes are a good tool to spark the brain, give you direction or support a point.  It is also nice to have someone else say what you want to say... and say it better.  I call it cheating!  Pardon me if I cheat a little.

 "I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine." by Caskie Stinnett. 

What would life be like if I woke up every day looking at this?  Wow!  Would it become routine?  This is only one of the panoramas I was blessed to see over the last week, far from my daily routine view of flat land covered by cement and retail spaces!  I found myself saying over and over, "I could really get used to living out here in sunny, dry, beautiful California!".  Do they know how lucky they are?  Maybe, maybe not.  They are all too busy driving their convertibles, letting their hair blow in the breeze and then sitting outside eating lunch with a glass of wine. I could get used to that too!

Speaking of wine...we tasted a lot of it on our visit to Sonoma.  Just so you know, it is possible to have too much of a good thing but that did not stop us!   I dare say we sent home enough wine to keep us pickled for a few months.  I look forward to reliving our Sonoma wine tour at home when the goods arrive.

On our first morning, we left least for me and headed to an off the beaten path winery.  We drove up, up, up on Barf-a-lot Road, climbing back and forth through the mountains to a very beautiful winery.  I was just a little green and dizzy by the time we arrived. 
My view looked a lot like this....

instead of this....

The winery was well worth the long and winding road and we found some beautiful flowers at the top too!

After we tasted all the wine in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys we went down to San Diego so TJ could network with a few thousand other people who work in the oil and refining business.  I went along... because I could!  The last time this conference was in San Diego I was a little less than 100% so I was really looking forward to experiencing San Diego with both arms and both legs in working order. The first thing I did was go for a run along the water... because I could!  San Diego is another one of those places that is just too beautiful for it's own good.  It's just not fair! 

One highlight of the time in San Diego was a tour of Balboa Park with a professional photographer.  He gave us a lot of history of the park and a few photography tips along the way.  I showed up like a dork with my pocket size digital camera, that I personally think takes some pretty good pictures sometimes.  Almost all the other women on the tour showed up with bazookas.  They had some serious ammunition to take their pictures with, I was using a cap gun compared to some of them.  So for your viewing are some nice pictures of Balboa Park through the eye of my cap gun.


yes, the entire car is covered with beads!
The cap gun did a good job!
I really enjoyed San Diego...until the second to last night...well it was more like 4 a.m. when the food poisoning hit me!  I was down for the count, every part of my body ached for about 8 hours.  It was very bad timing too because I did not want to miss my lunch date with George W. Bush.  You remember him, the former President of the United States of America!  I drug my tired, aching  body out of bed, showered, dressed and hobbled to the luncheon.  I prayed that everything that was left inside my body would just stay there for at least the next two hours.  It did and the speech was very good, he even pronounced all the words correctly.  I am glad I made it.  Now I can check that off my bucket in the same room as a former President of the United States.

This post has gone on too long and there is still so much to say.  Looks like spring break will take up more than one blog post again this year!  Adios gang until next week!

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Names Have Been Changed To Protect The Innocent*

*of whom there were none.....

At the beginning of our trip one of the guys asked the group if we had ever heard the song "Red Solo Cup".  That question lead to what would be the unlikely and hilarious theme song of our ski trip.  Our husbands serenaded us with "the song" from the  middle of a ski run while we were above them on a chairlift.  We had our shuttle driver get an entire bus load of people sing  "the song" to TJ when he climbed into the bus alone.  This actually made him a bit famous and he was given a shout out in the hot tub...."I know him, he's Solo cup guy!"  Hehehe...if "the song" was sung once, it was sung 50 times during our trip, go figure! We are all responsible adults (really!) and there we were singing that stupid song, over and over, it must have been the altitude!  It ran through my head at bedtime, on the ski slopes and I still find myself singing it occasionally and if you listen to it you will be singing it all day too!  If I ever hear "the song" on the radio I will get a little smile on my face and remember all the fun we had at Steamboat!  It was that kind of trip. 

The Red Solo Cups!

The only un-fun part of the trip was when they closed one side of the mountain due to high winds and everyone had to ride one lift to get to another less windy area.  No tempers were lost in this mass evacuation.

Last run of the trip, nothing broken except my heart because this means winter is officially over, at least for me.

It snowed the day we left...perfect timing!

Spring can arrive now, I've had my snow fix for the year...I guess. 

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