Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - "You Never.....Whaaat?

Since I've connected with several bloggers around the country, I now have some new readers ....many of whom do not know me, except what is written in my blog.  Some of the bloggers are young mothers, finding their way around juggling parenting with working or going to school; some bloggers are seasoned travelers who write about lots of interesting places and cultures, and some, like me, write whatever comes to their mind on any given day, on any subject and hope the journal makes sense, or entertains, or enlightens in some way.

I received a lot of feedback when I wrote about some of my likes and dislikes (loves and hates)....many of my readers identified with some of the things mentioned, and I continue to have conversation, pro and con, about some of the things I wrote about.  It never ceases to amaze me how some people get offended if I do not agree with their view.  Maybe offended is not the correct word...but, I have friends that get upset if I do not feel the same way about something as they do.  It could be about food, wine, clothing or a city.  Honestly people, we do not have to like (or dislike) the same things.

So, for those of you who do not know me, here is just a little blurb:

People Magazine has asked me to be in their Most Beautiful issue for the past five years, and George Clooney continues to stalk me on a regular basis. Okay, those are both lies; the best way to know me in the abstract, is to read the give a sense of what I am about.  Consider the following:

I've never...............

...eaten a Pop Tart
...owned a jar of Miracle Whip
...had a Mountain Dew

...been late for school or work
...taken a cold shower
...been able to sing, except camp songs (or in the shower)
...worn polyester out of gas
...gone to my Prom

My favorite:

...poet is Khalil Gibran, The Prophet holds answers to many of life's questions
...perfume/cologne is Chanel  No. 5
...color is green
...cities are New York, Rome and London is a good Cabernet Sauvignon
...TV show is Madmen
...season is Autumn is Bloomingdale's routine is scrubbing my face

I love:
...surprises - to give them and to get them (although, I have not been surprised in a while -- someone, please, surprise me!)
...Eyedews (a gel eye treatment - fabulous.... to order, mention my name in "sellers instructions"...they know me - really, they do - when you mention my  name, you will receive three (3) free pairs of Eyedews!!!! be in love be kissed, often take long, hot baths.  I take Epsom Salt baths almost daily....gets rid of toxins.
...sleeping in the nude.  Haven't worn pjs or nightgown since I was in my early twenties
...very cold, Sundays when I cook and hang on the couch watching TV all day
...stay out late, and invite everyone over for breakfast at 3 in the morning
...spontaneity - calling up someone on the spur of the moment to do something or invite them to dinner
...sporting events and concerts

....some extras:

...I've taken too long to walk away from relationships that weren't good for me, and ran away too quickly from some that were good for me eyes are grey, but sometimes look blue or green
...I allow myself a sad day, only once in a while
...I'm trying to meditate daily and rid distractions
...I have run in three (3) marathons
...I want to take better pictures
...I am sometimes too sensitive
...I am Pro-Choice

Until next time..........

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - Do Opposites Attract? Being Who We Are

Before I get into the core of my blog, because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I want to take a moment to remember, honor and appreciate those who have battled Breast Cancer.  My thoughts, prayers and good wishes are being sent to :  my friends who are survivors or currently in their fight, and in remission; a family member who is a two time survivor;  to my close friend and colleague, Kim, who lost her battle a couple of years ago; and to my friend who also lost his mother when time, or lack of it, became the enemy.  We will be Warriors with hope.

Many of us know individuals who are in a relationship where we are convinced that they are total opposites and wonder how they got together or even stay together.  Do I believe opposites attract?  I think that is not the real question and has nothing to do with anything. What some may see as flaws in a person, I think it is not accepting the person for who they are, so the assumption is that they are opposites.  And, for any relationship to work, we have to be who we truly are.

As I discussed in any earlier entry, we really can not identify what makes someone attractive to another.What makes us fall in love?  It can be purely a physical thing....and that has its place.  Yes, it is chemistry for sure, and that has been scientifically proven.  What makes us attractive to someone's soul?  The spiritual side of me believes the connection is non-physical , but that does not necessarily lead to love.  The components of love is so complex, it is no small wonder it's difficult to define.  I still believe that a connection with someone is made from the beginning....the first meeting, but that things going on in a person's life often get in the way of solidifying that connection.  It's the external happenings that either explore the connection, or hold us back. Sometimes being referred to as being on "the same page" with a person we are interested in, is merely external forces dictating the relationship flow.

Opposites and non-opposites attract each other.  The test is keeping the connection, or the relationship moving and growing.  What may seem like opposition may be a sense that one person is no longer tolerating what they once thought was their attraction in that person.  Being in a relationship with a high-powered corporate executive, who traveled around the world, making lots of money, may attract someone who barely leaves the house and just gets by.  The excitement, or the attraction probably would be electric in the beginning, partially because it may seem like each would balance each other from one end of the spectrum to another, but, in reality, most likely, the novelty would probably wear off.  Because, if one person is so busy traveling, the other is at home, boredom sets in for one of them, while the other is too busy to notice.  It is not that they are opposite, but, external forces are in play.  The don't get to be on the same page.   And, if they were in love, they seem to not focus on that, and communicating seems impossible.

For me,what my issue has been, is that when I have been in love with someone, I lose myself. So the person someone fell in love with, went away.  Compromise is a good thing, but, I have found, in the past, that I became only a version of myself, and that I don't compromise, I have surrendered.   It comes from a place of fear.  Fear that I won't always be good enough, or that if I am too much myself, I won't be liked.  It's crazy, and I have continued to work on this.  I have always spoken my mind, but, when I have been in love, or in serious like, I have held back.  And, I know that the key to change, is letting go of fear.  My head knows that; I am training my heart.

"Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place." - Zora Neale Hurston

Learning to love my flaws has been challenging.  So, take me as I am, or don't take me, as the saying goes!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - More: Things That I Love and Love to Hate

Since my last couple of postings were somewhat serious, I decided a lighthearted journal was in order.  I wrote in an earlier blog of some of my favorite things; I simply want to expound where I left off, and add some of my pet peeves.....

Movies.  I love going to the movies, and watching good films on TV.  I am not a huge Sci-fi fan, nor do I like most horror films and rarely see them.  I adore some films made way before I was born...I love Casablanca and probably have seen it at least one hundred (100) times.  And, anything with Cary Grant in it, Katharine Hepburn, or Audrey Hepburn, will get my attention.  I love independent, dramatic, dark films.....things that are not mainstream, and always have been a fan of The Godfather 1 & 2....not too much Godfather 3....seen them all many times.  If George Clooney is in a film, I will see it...and not be disappointed.  Same with Kate Winslet...she is fantastic in anything.  And I have been in love with Robert Redford forever. Oh, The Way We Were..... My favorite romantic films are Breakfast at Tiffany's and You've Got Mail.....I especially love them because they take place in New York. Love and Other Drugs with Jake Gylenhaal and Anne Hathaway is a new favorite.  Too many movies to them!

 Hottest(sex) Scene from a movie:  The limo scene from No Way Out with Kevin Costner and Sean Young.  If you have never seen it; rent or download it...does not disappoint.  I still have the fantasy of recreating the scene as a surprise birthday present for someone special!!! 

Most sensual scene:  From Out of Africa with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, when he is washing her hair. Doesn't get better than that. Or more intimate.

Scariest movie:  The Exorcist.  Seen it only once, and that was enough.

Funniest movie:  too  many to name, but, I like Airplane, Weekend at Bernie's, Animal House, and more recently, Bridesmaids....hysterical.  Movies.  They transport us away from ourselves.  Love them.

I love my friends and I'm probably loyal to a fault.  I am also a serial flirt.  There's flirting for fun and flirting with intent.  I do both.  While it often can lack seriousness, for me flirting is also a way to strengthen a bond I have with someone in a fun, sexy way.  And, I never tease.  That is not my style.

The beach.  Crazy for it. them too.  Both help restore my spirit when it has been compromised.
Pillow talk.  No sex. Just talking...side by side, for hours. 
Late night phone calls....I am always calm after the day has quieted down and never get mad if someone calls late and wants to talk.  I miss some of that now with emails and texting.

Okay....some pet peeves.  I hate when I am on line ordering something and you have to put in a code from the image's annoying and has no purpose in my view, and looks like scribble to boot.  It drives me crazy.

I hate labels.  Literally.  On clothes, jars, etc.  I am always peeling them off.
I hate people that don't signal when they are turning or changing lanes.
I hate paper napkins and paper towels, and don't own them.
I hate conspiracy theories..
I hate guys who leave the toilet seat up.  Yep.  that's an oldie but a goodie.
I hate when someone butters their toast, then leaves crumbs in the butter dish.  Ugh.
I hate when people take up two parking spaces.
I hate people that invite you out, then cancel.
I hate greeting cards that have sparkles or confetti fall out when you open it.
I hate ice cream with freezer burn.
I hate people that are always late...really, I hate it.
I hate it when people don't return emails or phone call...makes me feel insignificant, guess it's my issue.
I hate hair on soap.  ewwww. or hair in shower drain.  ewww...ewww.
I hate that I have a draw full of cords that I have no clue what they belong to.  Cell phone? Camera?
I hate an unmade bed.
I hate wobbly tables.
I hate unsolicited advise.
Most of all.  I hate lists.

Smile.  It's the second best thing you can do with your lips.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - Reflection

September 11, 2001....ten years ago today.  Our Facebook and other social media pages, TV, Radio and all media is flooded with images and remembrances of that day that shook us to our core, and changed how we felt about our world, forever. The event left us all questioning our future freedom, and left us with a resolve to rise above the insidious notion that terrorists can take away our spirit. 

I don't think anything I write tonight will be of a profound nature, nor write anything that has not be said or written about:  this tragedy that we have all experienced.  But, what I choose to write is about how we all have made promises we often make after a tragedy; of how we all feel we've had a wake up call and decide to live our life -- not only better -- but with more intention.  To live more in the moment and to experience less regret.

Therapists say that when either witnessing or experiencing traumatic events, our memory of that event is more vivid that happier, joyful events.  Why?  Probably because the event has left an indelible fear of the possibility of another occurrence, and that can keep us emotionally frozen.  The safety net that I, and so many others have, is that we really are all in this together,  and with that comes the hope and optimism that we are going to be alright in the end.

We have all felt the sense of loss with those that perished that terrible day.  It is a reminder to those of us who have lost loved ones, of the void and the hole in our hearts that remain.  Although I wrote about loss and grief in an earlier blog, my thoughts now are centered on how we move forward with our lives, holding our lost loved ones close by and somehow want everything we do to be with their approval.  I know that whenever I am in New York, I can not go to lower Manhattan without  feeling a pit in my stomach that I will be overcome with emotion as I see reminders all around me of the WTC.  I spent so much time there over the years. I flew to New York two weeks after September 11, and it was a surreal experience.  Beginning with the silence at the airports, so eerily unfamiliar, and then to see so many National Guardsmen patrolling the streets of the city, still so quiet even with thousands walking around.  We decided to get out of the city on the Sunday of my visit, to upstate New York, and as we passed through small towns and hamlets about fifty (50) miles north of Manhattan, we ran into many funerals being held for  many of the firefighters, who had given their lives, that made their homes in those small towns.  So unnerving, so profoundly sad.  I think, I, not unlike so many other New Yorkers, were frayed at the edges.

Have we lived each day being kinder?  I know that I'm a work in progress.  How many of us are following our heart....each and every day?  Not only telling people we love that we love them, but also modeling behavior that is an indication that we are trying to live our life with joy and happiness.  We tell ourselves that life is so short and seem to forget that until the next reminder....the next loss we have to deal with.

When my sister, Ann, passed away some years ago, I vowed to live my life without regret.  Because, I regret that I put off going to Los Angeles for just two days due to a business meeting that was scheduled.  I knew she was in serious condition, but, only expected  her to have a long recovery, not succumb in a matter of days.  I am flooded with emotion whenever I am in Los Angeles for a visit and cannot attend the church where she had her funeral without being in tears throughout the Mass.  And, for the longest time, I would not buy cherry-flavored Swedish fish, her favorite candy...I do not remember a time when she did not have them in her pockets.  The past cannot be changed, so having any regret is pointless.

As the evening draws toward closing , the TV tributes wind down, as the remembrances remain fresh in our minds, I am once again drawn to the possibilities awaiting all of us.  A reminder that each day brings a fresh start; a chance to begin again.

for Annie:

When you're weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

I'm on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you

I'll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way

See how they shine
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - The Sexual Objectification of Young Girls

Over the weekend I took my granddaughter, Katey, shopping and bought her a dress because, now as a middle schooler, she has a couple of dances to go to.  She was in the dressing room at The Gap, trying on the dress we ultimately bought.  While looking at herself in the mirror, she said she loved the dress and that there WAS a cute boy she had her eye on and that the dress should get his attention. She's eleven (11) and I was floored. 

Let me be clear.  I love clothes; I always have.  I love getting dressed up; I also love getting attention from the opposite sex .  But, I am an adult.  What is disturbing to me, is the trend today of having very, very, young girls play dress up for real.  Because, the not so subliminal message here is that their sexuality and sexiness begins to define who they are long before they have a chance to discover who they are, and what message these young girls want to put out there into the world.  There have been numerous articles and news reports made about this subject, and for those who have not paid attention, let me clue you in.

If you walk through any department store, or stores like Target, you will see bras being marketed and sold to girls as young as seven (7) and eight (8).  These are padded bras to give them the look of having developed breasts.  Add very skimpy, bikini underwear, and you have a mini version of Victoria Secret models.  Look, there is nothing wrong with Victoria Secret models, they are gorgeous women.  But, an eight (8) nine (9) ten (10) or an eleven (11) year old should not have anything in common with them. As let's be honest here;  Victoria Secret models are objectified. By men, and by women who want to be them. When women accept that they are defined by their sexuality, all women lose some sense of equality.  That is how it is.   As adults, we can choose how we want to be seen by the world.  Young girls today do not have that choice.

  When I see Tom Cruise and wife Katie parading their very young daughter, Suri, in outfits that are very grown up, it makes me cringe.   My daughter used to go out in her princess dresses, wearing plastic high heels, carrying purses, wearing jewelry...but, there was no mistaken that this was purely dress up.  Suri Cruise is often photographed wearing high heels and a line of clothing that is anything but dress up/play clothes.  And, I read that Suri often picks out Katie Holmes clothes for events such as premieres, etc.  Katie:  really?  Seriously?  At the age of three (3) and four (4)?  The question to Katie Holmes is why isn't she picking out more appropriate clothes for her daughter?

Growing up is hard enough.  For girls and for boys.  But, boys have a head start....they are not treated as sexual objects and are allowed and encouraged to explore their interests at a very early age.  Whether that interest is something in sports or academics,  the added pressure of their physical appearance does not play an important role, as is the pressure bestowed upon young girls.  Imagine if you will, the same department stores selling those padded bras to girls, begin to sell jockey shorts that are padded, providing a larger "package" for the boys.  Why not?  That would be a form of equality.  It would still be sexist, but, there would be some balance in marketing to boys as well as the girls.  I think if that would happen, there would probably be some legislature on the table blocking that from happening.  Why?  Because historically, sexism is so widely accepted when it comes to females and seems more offensive if there is sexism directed at males.
I know there are many more opportunities for girls now,  than in the past.  Especially in sports, thanks largely to Title IX, and also in the field of math and science. The challenge is getting past the notion that girls must be sexy at such a young age. Whether we like it or not, or whether you agree or not, objectifying young girls into sexual objects plays a role in gender equality.  Girls are not given a road map to their sexual maturity.  What used to be marketed to young adults in the form of sexy clothing,  has been marketed to very young teens.  And what used to be marketed to teens, in now the target for pre-tweens...ages 8-11.  Sexual discovery is occurring at a much younger age, and it is not healthy.  Eleven year old should not be concerned with being sexy enough to be noticed by boys; but, the reality is, it is very much on their minds.  I am sure the boys are feeling the push to notice the girls also.  I think the struggle to have gender equality is stuck; the pendulum is swinging...but, still with some friction. ......when I was twelve or thirteen, I was not worrying about my sexuality...even though I was crazy about boys.  When a boy told me he was better than me because he had a penis and I had a vagina, I looked him straight in the eye and said " as long as I have a vagina, I can have all the penises I want."!  Well, actually, that was a joke I learned in the seventh grade, but, it said something to me about how the world viewed women, and how I chose to respond.

Those who know me, know that I am a free spirit when it comes to sex and sexuality.  I like to feel sexy,  look sexy and be considered appealing to the opposite sex.  I have already come through the cycle of self-discovery.  Those of you who have followed this blog know some of my history;  know about the rape and other experiences that have caused me pain and have caused me, in the past, to question my self worth.  I do not define myself by any of those experiences, and that has taken a long time.  I embrace how I feel about sexuality, just as I embrace how I feel about equality.  My wish for my granddaughter and other young girls is for them to have the opportunity to discover who they are without sexual nuances getting in the way, to discover their sexuality when they have acquired the maturity to do so, and to pursue their dreams without the cloud of inequality.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode : Boundaries of Love?

Does love have boundaries?  Loving someone is having a relationship, even if it is one sided.....and there are boundaries and rules do apply.  But, before I identify what I think they are, and feel free to agree or disagree, first I will define where I believe no demarcation exists..  the state of falling in love, being in love, and staying in love.  With a partner, or with a friend.

In the past few days, NY State became the sixth state where gay and lesbians couples will be free to wed.  A few years ago, I had minimal opinions about this issue.  As a heterosexual, I did not have any emotional  investment in a decision; I wasn't against the idea, nor did I promote it.  Although I have several close gay friends, we did not speak too much about the freedom to wed.  As this issue became more and more visible to the public, I began to explore my own feelings.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I used to feel that the union of marriage should only be between a man and a woman.  And, with that as my core value, I realized that I, like so many others, were creating boundaries for other individuals, and where did those boundaries end?
Marriage, after all, is simply a legally binding contract, until or unless broken, between two individuals.  Sure, procreation may be part of that, if you believe it to be. But, that is not the only reason to be married.  So, New York State, you got it right.

Most of us, are, at some time or another, very judgmental when it comes to who we love.  Who am I, or anyone else, to decide who someone falls in love with? One doesn't have to search far to find a book, or movie that depicts this scenario.  LOVE KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES.  Why is it so difficult to accept same sex couples, or interracial couples, older man/younger woman, or younger man/older woman? And, dare I say, sometimes a married person falls in love with someone else.  It happens. We really have not evolved as much as we'd like to think we have.   There are so many criticisms; aren't there more important things to focus on?

We really can not identify what "makes" us fall in love with someone.  For me, it's the attraction I feel in the beginning. Others may feel that regardless of how you feel at first, you can learn to love someone.  I say no; you can only enhance what is already there.  I have no preset ideas....I don't care about the size of their bank account or their home, or how they look or dress.  However, having said that, I would not be attracted to someone who is less than well-groomed, and I find laziness a character flaw.  Having met any or all of one's expectations, and you find yourself in love, what are the boundaries?  And why have these boundaries?  A person is not truly free without having something to hang onto.  A balloon usually has a string attached, but, if it is not clutched, it floats away; aimlessly.  Same with love.  The boundaries are pretty basic:  accept love when given, but give love without demanding it be returned.  Love deserves honesty and kindness. Love deserves boundless hope. Love deserves joy, and love should provide a soft place to fall.

 Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
 - Kahlil favorite poet.

Monday, May 30, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode : Just a Poem

Your sweet soul silently reaches for the light;
Your eyes see only what your heart feels
as the wind whispers your name.

Softly, comes the night
Where stars meet the sky near the edge of the moon.
Toward the dawn the stars fade from view.  But one star -
burns brighter;
Against a pale pink sky, and lights one thousand nights.

Keep shining.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - On Vanity

I never thought of myself as being conceited.  But, I know I am vain.  Are they the same thing?  It's a topic I've recently begun to explore.

About three (3) months ago I had knee surgery due to a torn meniscus.  Nothing out of the ordinary took place either before, during, or after the surgery.  According to my surgeon, I was within the normal realm of recovery.

I had expected a certain amount of pain and limitations on walking and other physical activity.  What I was not expecting was, literally, losing sleep.  From the day of surgery, until only a few weeks ago,  I found myself in a constant state of being awake.  I had difficulty falling asleep, then it seemed almost impossible to stay asleep.  The pain kept me tossing and turning most of the night..  Not one to use any kind of meds on a regular basis, I did take prescribed pain killers, as well as anti - inflammatory over the counter medicine.  Still no sleeping for days and then for weeks.  I was averaging about three (3) hours a night.....on a good night.  My body and mind was not used to that.

So, by now you are wondering what this has to do with vanity.  Simply put, I think I started to look wretched.  There were dark circles under my eyes, and lines seem to appear out of nowhere.  I seemed to have aged overnight and I was not happy about it. My daily routine consisted of multiple trips in front of a mirror, where I would study every crevice that seemed like it would appear as I was looking at my face.

Trying to figure out what to do....who was going to see me, how bad did I look?  A few of my friends thought I was nuts, although they did say I look tired.  I began combing through old photos for clues to how I should look.  Then I began to question why I was becoming so obsessed with my appearance.  The truth is I always cared about how I looked.  And, for me, and for anyone else, I think it is a good thing.  What I don't think is a good thing, was how concerned  I was that people who know  me, and know me well, would think differently of me...wouldn't like me as much.  It's crazy, I know, and probably goes back to some old demons that sometime creep their way into my psyche and cause me to question my self worth.

I was always told I was pretty.  I'm not sure I ever believed anyone because I didn't always see whatever people were looking at.  Once in my twenties, and I was in Rome, I had been followed by men almost hourly.  First by the bellman in our hotel.  He would knock on my room door about a minute after I returned to the hotel and asked me to go out with him.  I wasn't interested for many reasons and I certainly didn't trust strangers. One morning I was touring with a group of people and we loaded our bus on the way to Florence, this bellman came onto the bus and asked the tour guide to translate a message.  He was proposing marriage  to me, and I'm thinking I'm in a bad movie.  It didn't help that the tour guide, who was originally from Philadelphia told me she met her husband on a trip to Rome, and married him one week later.  I kept asking her why was he chasing ME.  Her reply you own a mirror?  Did I create this mess?  Do I long for those days again...when I was blonde, thin, and very young?

Well, I'll take the blonde back, and I'm trying to get thin again, but that twenty-something girl was not together. Sure, I never lacked dates, but, I lacked real intimacy with someone and it has taken me years to find a level of trust in myself, and in others, that real intimacy is even possible.

And, when I look at those old photos, I like how I looked.  I did not appreciate it then, and probably spent too much time worrying about my appearance.  To a degree, I still do that, but, for different reasons.  I know that when I feel good about myself, it shows up in my face.  As for the lack of sleep, there was also a great deal of stress involved, not just the knee thing.  I'm a work in progress and wouldn't have it any other way.

While I have some "squiggly" around my eyes, when real lines set in, I know I will have earned every one.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode: repost: Love, Dating and Fear

I had several requests for this repost

Love.  We all want it and we all need it.  Is there a better feeling than being in love?  In feeling loved in return?
Songs, movies, and books perpetually throw love in our faces.  And, in our hearts. And, in our daily thoughts and prayers.  There's different types of  love, but, the most prolific type of  love is the romantic variety.

We all know people who seem to meet the "right" person, fall in love, get married and stay married for life.
With the divorce rate at an all time high, I know the number of people this is happening to, is dwindling.
Are we meant to be with one person, to love only once?  Yes, if we 're penquins.

I've been in love more than once.  Pure, unabashed, raw emotion I have felt for another human being.  With the delight of middle of the day and middle of the night calls, long conversations, serious lovemaking, wild crazy sex,  fun times, future planning and simply living in the moment, I had love.   Then it ended.  And, I found someone else, or they found me.  If  I  believed there was only one person destined to be with me, I would have driven my car off of a cliff a long time ago, having thought there is only one chance at love.  Only one soul mate?.  No, I don't think so.  I am a seeker. A searcher. An explorer.  Love is out there.  There are many reasons why relationships don't always work out....I'll speak of some of that in future blogging.

I have recently thought about the dating scene.  Not just for myself, but, I've thought about many friends and acquaintances I have, some of them in their twenties and early thirties.  Imagine, if you will, trying to date today.  You head out on the weekend, looking and feeling great, you hang with the Glenwood South cowboys (for those not in Raleigh -- Glenwood South is where the bars/restaurants/nightlife is), hoping for a connection.  So, you meet someone.  Okay. And, with the technology today, you expect to hear from them via text, email, or cell phone, before you make it home.  I think the nurturing of a relationship is missing..  It all has become very disposable.  Look, I will not say that I have never had a one-night stand; I have.  But, that was a long time ago, and I don't even think it is wrong -- as long as both parties feel the same way.  If you are looking for a special connection, I do not think hooking up is the right avenue. Not for women, and not for men.  Love will remain elusive...because, like any project, it requires a beginning, a middle and an end.  Romance is not an exact science but, hooking up is merely the end.

I used to believe that having a love affair was dishonest.  Society is governed by codes and rules and our desires don't fit into those rules.  A love affair can and should be a beautiful thing.  Because, prior to having settled into our future, with a mate, isn't the love affair the beginning of that future? Or not. Recently, I flirted with the idea of having an affair with someone much younger than I,  and those thoughts made me smile.  This person is a friend and someone I've known for some years,  who on a couple of occasions said some things, and I in return said some things, where the demarcation line between friendship and something else, was crossed.  Full disclosure -- alcohol was involved.  Did that make the feelings less real?  Aren't drunken words sober thoughts?  Nothing happened, but, I had been willing to explore the opportunity, because I have come to know how short life is and we should all grab onto the possibility of sharing happiness.  And, I am glad we are still friends -- I would not want to lose that.

Finally, fear.  Fear is like wearing cement shoes.  It keeps us stuck from pursuing our dreams.  Especially when it comes to love.  We are all so afraid of being hurt, at failing, that we simply forget to be.  There is a much higher price we pay for doing nothing, than if we make a mistake.  Whenever my granddaughter, Katey, makes a mistake, I remind her the reason why erasers are on pencils.  We get to start over.  Every day, if we need to.   No matter how many times I have fallen down,  I know it only counts that I get up.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - The Boys of Summer

My love affair with baseball began when I was very young.  Although he was born in England, I think my father became a New York Yankee fan the moment he stepped off the boat at Ellis Island.  During the spring and summer months, and into the fall, no matter where we were, we could hear a play by play, by announcer Mel Allen, blasting on the radio or we were watching the game on TV.  My father took me to many games -- I can remember how we would take the subway to 161st Street in the Bronx, meet up with one of his friends who provided our tickets, and my father would always give the guy a six-pack of Ballentine beer.  We sat in what was then the "press level" somewhere between third base and left field; I just loved being there.  Since I was a collector of baseball cards, I often brought my "stash" with me, just in case.  Of what, I am not sure.  I knew every Yankee player by name, by number, their batting average, RBIs, homers, or a pitcher's ERA.  I was still pretty young, no more than 10 probably.  Sounds impressive?  Maybe.  But, just about all my friends were just as knowledgeable.  

I didn't plan on dating a baseball player, but, it was a bonus for me. I attended so many baseball games, all around the country.   And, as a residual of that relationship, I also became close friends with one of the sports writers, who I talked about in an earlier blog.  That relationship/friendship provided some of the most fun I ever had, often with baseball as a back drop.  There was hardly a time during baseball season, or even football season, when I was not hanging around Steve and all his sports writer buddies.  Guys that had names like Houdini, Loose Shoes, Goose, all of whom worked for either top newspapers or wire services (UPI).  We all partied like crazy. And laughed.  I know Steve would agree, we had a blast!  I knew some of the players like Lou Pinella and George Brett (who I actually met at a hockey game and turned down three times -- once was actually for a date!)  I knew spring training had started each year, when I would receive two phone calls...without from a local radio announcer, and one from Charlie Lau, who at the time was a batting coach for the KC Royals, and credited with developing George Brett into the hitter he became.  I never had a relationship with Charlie, even though he would call me often, if fact, I only saw him once or twice when out with Steve and the "boys".  We had many long, telephone conversations, and I was saddened when I learned he had died at an early age, of cancer.
Also, during those years, I worked for an airline as a ticket agent, and all the American League umpires would come into our office,  usually to make changes to their airline tickets...yeah, back in the day...:).  I became friends with a few of them, and one in particular, Dale Ford, would make it a point to call my father whenever he was umping a Yankee game, and leave tickets for him at the stadium.  My father referred to Dale as his buddy, and was always so thrilled to go to a game to see his beloved Yankees.   The last time I saw Dale he stopped into the ticket office to say hi and say he would be calling my father the following week. I told Dale that my father had passed away that spring, and Dale felt so badly about that -- even though he had never met my father and only spoke with him on the phone.  It remains a tender memory for me.

I miss the old Yankee Stadium, but, I must say, going to a game at the new Stadium last year was quite a thrill. Imagine sitting in cushioned seats, with waitress service!  I just find it so despicable that the cost of tickets and all the food etc, is so expensive.  You have to practically mortgage your home.  It's so sad.  The game used to be accessible, as were the players, to the fans.  Even so, I still get excited when watching a game and cheering on my Boys of Summer.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - Slow Dancing

I embrace change.  I really do.  But, it seems to me that one of the things from the past that has changed, is, that no one is doing much slow dancing. Often associated with middle schoolers, the slow dance has taken a back seat to what we used to call "fast" defined as various types of bumping, grinding, and generally booty shaking.  I love all of that, but, I must admit that I miss slow dancing.  

When I go out these days to a club, especially where there is live music, I want to dance.  In a crowded bar/club one can slide their way onto the dance floor and get their groove on.  It's a fantastic way to meet new people, relieve some stress and get some exercise. But, I do miss slow dancing.  It is a somewhat slippery slope for me, because, quite frankly, I hardly ever will slow dance with someone I'm not attracted to.  I've always been that way, going way back to school dances as a teen ...where just about every fifth song was slow. Usually, I would go to the ladies room if someone was approaching me to dance and I did not want to be with them.
Think about it.  When slow dancing with someone you are physically very close to that person.  Think about it.  If you care about someone, if you are attracted to someone, it is one of the sexiest, well, actually, one of the most sensual experiences to share with them.  Holding each other very close, feeling every movement, at times, feeling the other person's heart beat, feel them breathe, you may find a rhythm that can define the relationship.                     Oops, sorry, I zoned out thinking about it..:)

I know some of my readers are still in their twenties, and I have wondered what their take is on slow dancing.
And, I've mentioned this before, but, today's relationships seem to be less intimate than they were about ten or fifteen years ago.  Again, not talking about physical intimacy, although, I am not sure that there is more of that going around than before.  Taking the time to really get to know someone should not be contingent on texting or emailing.  Defining expectations in a relationship seems to be rare.....something that crosses all age groups these days.  It's okay to put in all "out there" and not hold back what we want or what we feel.  For me, I am an eternal optimist and really believe that the more things change, the more they stay the same; just different packaging.

There are so many songs that I love to slow dance to, and some of my favorites are:
"Can't Help Falling in Love "  - Elvis
"Unchained Melody"  - Righteous Bros.
"Someone to Watch Over Me"  - Ella Fitzgerald
"Unforgettable" - Nat King Cole
"Come Away With Me" - Nora Jones

With spring approaching and everyone starting to feel the "blahs" dissipate, I challenge everyone to find a partner and slow dance.  Just once. And, once more.  Maybe we all need a new "Prom".

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - "Breaking Up is Hard to Do"

Although far from being a relationship expert, my experience in breakups has provided me with a repertoire of  drama that surrounds the breakup.  What are the causes of a breakup?  How do we heal from it?  And, when exactly do we walk away?  I believe that relationships need to change and grow once you reach a plateau.  Otherwise, in my view, it's time to let go.

Currently, I am not in a relationship with anyone except myself, which, I think finally puts me in a far better place to enter into a relationship, if, the opportunity presents itself.  I live by very simple rules when it comes to a relationship:  It must be HEALTHY, it must experience JOY, and there must be KINDNESS.  While every involvement cannot promise anything except the present moment, and there are no guarantees to forever after,  investing time and energy to hold on to something that is unhealthy and joyless, is emotional suicide.

I have several friends and also a family member that are in the middle of breakups, marriage or other.  One of my closest friends has been married for over twenty five (25) years, yet, for the past fifteen+ ( 15+) years, has been living with her husband as a roommate.  On the surface, there is nothing wrong with that if it works for them, but, truly, I never thought of it as workable.  They are both great parents who love their kids, and their kids worship both of them, but, I can't help but wonder if they are setting the stage for their kids future modeling their marriage as normal.  I am not judging my friend, and she knows that, and she will acknowledge how stuck she has been all these years.  She is involved with someone else now, and is planning to divorce, but, there isn't any real joy in this relationship either.  It will still be a difficult transition for her, because, there is a certain amount of comfort in not having to make changes and to let go of the status quo, even when unhappy.  Have all those  years with her husband been wasted?  Maybe.  Their kids are great and caring individuals, and that is no small thing, so perhaps they have benefited from their parents misery on some crazy level.  Time doesn't heal; it's what we do with the time that does the healing.

I also have another close friend who is on the fence as to whether or not she should end a relationship of two (2) years.  In this case, the issue is trust.  She knows her boyfriend had cheated on her, and after the fighting, took him back.  Problem reared again, and she believes he has again cheated on her.  As to why people cheat in a relationship requires individual analysis, the reasons can vary from someone just being narcissistic, having fear of real intimacy, or just not be strong enough to say no.  What I've told my friend is this:  she has to determine for herself is she is feeling the joy from the relationship, or is now all her energy being placed on the fact that trust is gone.  If her boyfriend would own up the the lies, only then, can they move past it.  And, only if the choice made is to wipe the slate clean.  That is very hard to do, as I know from experience.  Yet, what seems to an obvious answer,  my friend is having a difficult time making the decision to sever the relationship, knowing it has taken such an unhealthy turn.

Life is a series of letting go.  Letting go of people, of places, of things.  It's hard to look past what is right in front of us, because, we think the bogeyman lives on the other side.  I have made a promise to myself that wherever a relationship might take me, I will no longer let it take me to a place that is unhealthy and joyless.  And, kindness, every day, in every way.....and, I love to play Geisha :)

In spite of a popular quote: "...parting is such sweet sorrow",....I believe another quote:  ..." parting is dumb sorrow, it is going home, leaving yourself behind."


Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - Being at the Crossroads

Many of us have found ourselves at the crossroads.  You know, that place where a decision needs to be made, a change needs to take place in order to move forward with our life.  Often as a result of a major event, being at the crossroads can be an uncomfortable, unfamiliar path. For me, I've been at the crossroads many times, and what I like about being there now, is that I get to choose the baggage to take along.

When we are growing up and finding our way, many of our paths have already been chosen for us -- our religion, our schooling, our homes and to a degree, our friendships.  I tend to categorize crossroads as a group:"the expected " or "predictable" crossroads, or "the unexpected" or "opportunistic"  crossroads.

For many individuals, a life lived with predictable crossroads might look like this -- you grow up in a stable home, go through school, maybe college, get a job, meet a mate, get married, have kids, have grandchildren, finally retire, and if financially stable, have planned a comfortable "rest of life".  The crossroads have been easy.  I am always shocked when I learn that this actually happens to people, especially today, but, I know it still does.

Then, there is the rest of  us.Whether or not we've grown up in stable home, there always seem to be hiccups along the way; along stages of our lives.  For me, the first time I found myself at the crossroads (that I can recall), was when I decided to relocate outside of NY and move to Kansas City to be with someone, who at that time, was the love of my life.  Initially, making the decision to move was easy.  I was in love, yes, but, I also had a friend (his cousin) who was going to move with me.  We worked together and posted for jobs in Kansas City.  However, I was offered a position, and my friend was not.  Shocked as I was, my first thought was not to accept the position.  Love won out.  And you know from an earlier blog, that my boyfriend, who played ball in the majors, was traded to another city shortly after I arrived.  I was sick about it, but, I had already chosen the path, and it could not be changed for at least six that time, I had not only adjusted to Kansas City, but, actually loved living there.  I understood then, that, although I did not call it being at the "crossroads", it was a path of opportunity.

I am reminded of, and often think about, athletes that find themselves at the crossroads.  I've known several professional athletes through the years, and a common thread for most of them, is that they can find themselves, quite unexpectedly, at the crossroads every season, or in the middle of a season.  Here's a group of highly paid, high profiled individuals, who at any given moment can lose it all.  If they are lucky, they can get through every season, regardless of their sport, being a strong contributor to the team, remain injury free, and carve out maybe fifteen to twenty years in their chosen sport...sometime even with the same team.  But, that is rare.  My boyfriend, the ballplayer, ended up playing in the pros for only six years.  Plague by an injury to the same finger, as a pitcher, he couldn't last longer than that.  In some ways, he lived the American dream, but, fell short of completing that dream, and found himself at the crossroads at only thirty one.  He ended up selling insurance, and I suspect, not altogether happy, and I have wondered whether or not he even explored other opportunities for himself. 

As I mentioned, I have often found myself needing to make a decision.  While not always agonizing or painful, I have always been willing to take a risk, because I decided a long time ago, that no matter what decision we make, nothing is forever, and we really do have the power to change things.  And, everything is an opportunity if we look hard enough to find it.  As I find myself job-less, and without much income,  I have chosen to stare down at the crossroads without bitterness or self-pity.  I am using this time to sort through old emotional haunts, and finding ways to exorcise them.  I am also using this time to finish the books I am writing, in addition to writing this blog.

The crossroads is just change.

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
John F. Kennedy


Monday, February 7, 2011

My Life is an Oprah Episode - Love , Love.....Love.

Will you accept a heart that loves,
But never yields?  And burns, but
Never melts?  Will you be at ease
With a soul that quivers before the
Tempest, but never surrenders to it?
Will you accept one as a companion
Who makes not slaves, nor will become
One?  Will you own me but not possess

Then here is my hand -- grasp it with
Your beautiful hand; and here is my
Body-- embrace it with your loving
Arms; and here are my lips --bestow
Upon them a deep and dizzying kiss.
                                           - Kahlil Gibran

It's almost Valentine's Day and my thoughts have turned to love.  This is one of my favorite poems and I just wanted to share it.  

I'll be blogging again in about a week....

Love to friends, lovers and others. xxxooo

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - Some answers to your questions

I have received some great feedback regarding the blog; thank you.  Please note, that yes, you may leave a comment, however, you must use one of the sources, ie. google or yahoo, etc, and sign in to that account. Follow the instructions when you click on "comments"..  Also, if you choose to follow, officially, you must sign up...again, follow instructions.  Having said all of this, I enjoy the emails with your comments.

I have received some questions, so I will attempt to clarify as best as I can, with answers to those questions which were frequently asked.

....regarding:   Loss and Grief.   - my sister Ann was 46 years old when she died.

....regarding    Love, Dating, etc..."what is a Glenwood  South Cowboy?".  I coined the term "cowboy" many years ago when I lived in Kansas City.   I used to go out quite a bit in an area where the bars/clubs were (the Plaza), and one night as I was getting into my car with a friend of mine, I said "well, let's go and check out the Plaza Cowboys".  Think about what a cowboy does :  round 'em up, rope 'em and ride 'em.  My feminist side does not wish to group women with  "cattle", but, honestly, the single/bar scene has not changed much.  And, Glenwood South is where the bars and clubs are in Raleigh.  Oh, and the cowgirls are out too. 

...a lot of interest in this:  "who is the younger guy I flirted with having an affair?"  This would have/could have been an Affair of the Heart (ahem, throat clearing).  Sorry, no name being divulged here.

...regarding:  It's In his Kiss...."who is the guy in the photo?"  That was a guy who played baseball  for the Kansas City Royals.. He is a cousin of one of my friends and we went out on a blind date in New York and I spent most of that summer on many road trips.  I was working for an airline and at the end of baseball season  I transferred to Kansas City to be with him. Problem was, three weeks after I arrived in Kansas City,  he was traded to Houston.  Just rude.  And, yes, he really was a great kisser!

Finally, I received a  number of emails regarding my last post, on being raped.  Thank you to everyone who wrote to me with kind words. It's wonderful feeling whole.

Thank you again for the great feedback.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Life is an Oprah Episode - RAPE

It happened when I was twenty (20) years old.  It was not a stranger, nor was it a date rape.

I had broken off an engagement because the relationship had become abusive.  During jealous rages that my fiance would have, he had begun to hit me and as typical with abusers, had also become remorseful and apologetic saying it would never happen again.  Little was discussed back then about spousal abuse, and in fact, there was minimal support from legal authorities.  There was even less understanding, from almost anyone, if  you were only the girlfriend.  As confused as I was, I knew that this was not the life that I wanted.  This was not the love that I wanted or dreamed about.  I was miserable and hurt, so I ended the relationship and returned the ring.

We would run into each other often; we had some of the same friends and socialized in the same spot (bar). It was a place like Cheers -- everyone knew your name.  One Saturday night, about six weeks after the breakup, we ran into each other at the bar.  I was there with several friends, and as we all parted to go home in the early morning hours, I walked outside to catch a taxi home.  He saw me and offered me a ride home.  While I was a bit nervous about going into the car with him, it was really because the breakup was still fairly fresh.  He had been drinking, so arguing with him was pointless.  It was about a five minute drive to my home; I slide into the passenger seat.  Only, he did not take me home, but, to a local "parking" area near the river wherecouples often go.   Although it happened so many years ago, I can recall every senseless detail. When I repeatedly asked him to take me home, he became angry that I did not wish to be with him. And madder still he became, as I tried to get out of the car.  He threw me over the console and pinned me down, and while I don't wish to be too uncomfortably graphic, he tore my clothes off, punched me in the jaw, and when I screamed he began to strangle me to the point that I had blacked out for a few moments, and he raped me.  When he was done, he put his hands on his head and said that he would take me home.  When I got home, battered and bruised, walked into my bedroom, quickly told my sister what had happened.  If you have seen movies or tv shows depicting rape victims, often they will be in the shower or bath crying and scrubbing themselves.  That did not happen with me.  I took the rest of my clothes off, which I never wore again, and slid into bed.  I stayed there for the next 24hrs, when on Monday morning I got up and went to work.  On Monday evening, he called to apologize, however, wanted to assure me it had not be rape because we had already had sex.

The point of this is not to allow a voyeur's look into what happened, but, rather to share how the rape had affected me.  I had remained mostly controlled and numb about the incident, and I rarely spoke of it.  In fact, until just a short time ago, there were only four people in my life who even knew about it.  I was broken; I had a fractured soul and I was sure that everyone I knew somehow could see through this.  The shame, guilt and disgust I felt would remain part of my daily makeup.  I was tainted; I felt less than, and felt I would never heal from it.  The journey toward healing came many years later, when I realized that the cause of so many of my personal issues, mainly, issues in relationships, were rooted with the rape.  I have never told any one I was involved with, no matter how close we were, what had happened, fearing I would  be seen as damaged.  There was always that wall, and even though some men have tried to figure it out, I would not own up to it.  I had acutely suppressed the emotion I was feeling.  I know now, that talking about it has allowed me to finally feel free....that, and of course, knowing that I did not share any of the blame.  This was something that happened to me at the hands of someone else.   It has taken many years, some with therapy, to come to the healing place and that is why I am talking about it now.   Because, I need to.  Because it has helped free me of it.  And while my first thoughts were not to make the reader uncomfortable, and proactively say I'm sorry, I offer no apology.  There is a small sense of fear, that anyone having this knowledge about me, will look at me differently or feel sorry for me.  Please don't.  I am okay.  I promise.

The shattering of trust has caused intimate relationships to be diluted.  As a survivor, there was always a heightened suspicion of others motives and feelings. This is an issue that I continue to work on, but, I know now that my belief system allows me to be open and receptive to sharing,  and I remind myself that trust is possible.

Sexual assault is a crime motivated by a need to control, humiliate and harm. Perpetrators use sexual assault as a weapon to hurt and dominate others. Approximately 90% of rape victims know their attacker, and one in six women in the United States are raped.  So it is likely that some of my readers share the same experience as I. Know that you can heal and experience recovery - 100%.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Life is an Oprah Episode - Friend and Lovers

Can friends become lovers?  Can a man and a woman really be just friends?  There has been much written about this and the hypothesis is that  the boundaries between friendship and romance is a fine line.  One thought is that to cross that line would undoubtedly ruin the friendship.  I do not necessarily agree with this.

If someone is good friends with the opposite sex and says to become involved romantically, sexually, would ruin the friendship, what comes to mind, for me, is what they are saying is that there is no attraction for them.  Of course, the dynamics of the friendship would change, just as the dynamics of any relationship would change once there is a physical or romantic connection.  Being friends with someone involves intimacy --  not the physical kind, but, intimacy in sharing feelings and vulnerabilities. If they are friends first, often this intimacy already exists, making the relationship deeper and more meaningful.   Not every friendship involves a romantic attraction, but, some do.  I believe it is there from the beginning.  You meet someone and there is a connection; a spark.  You become friends, but, there is always sexual tension; maybe some flirting.  But, the friendship stays intact and can stay that way for many years.  I don't think people really are friends with someone for a long time, and then suddenly wake up one day and realize that the love they share is the romantic variety.  Yes, ending up with your best friend is great, but, I think the "spark" or connection was always there. I enjoy several friendships with the opposite sex that are very deep and endearing.  These relationships are platonic.  And, I have had some friendships that turned into something else.

One of my closest friends is Steve Cameron.  Steve is a sportswriter, journalist, and published author.
(find his books @: - .he has written about 13 sports books and a novel I am a small partner in).
We met as a blind date set up by a mutual friend, Paul Splittorff, a pitcher with the KC Royals.  We went out a few times and while no romance took off ,we settled into a friendship.  Regardless of the physical distance between us, we manage to maintain a strong bond of friendship, not unlike the kind I share with my women friends.  I trust and love him.  We would do anything for each other, and there is never a question of where we stand with each other.  He is, as I put it, one the the "real people", and it helps that we share many of the same political and social views.  He has an amazing wit and intellect, but, I am also inspired by his willingness to remain open and vulnerable in relationships.  Steve is a romantic, even though he may not see him self that way.  We'll be friends forever.

I've also been friends with someone where we did cross the line.  When we met I know there was an instant, immediate, connection for us both.  We worked for the same company and had a professional relationship.  It grew to friendship via lunch and a sometime dinner, but, there was always that sexual tension.  We attended a few sporting events together, but, never went beyond that.  I had left NY and relocated to another city, when, a business trip brought me back to NY.   My friend and I had planned a dinner and  as one thing led to another,  we went from friends to lovers.  Because there had been so much tension already built up, it was quite explosive.  The relationship lasted many years and when it ended, for a while, so did the friendship.  There was a shift is our relationship, but the friendship did not end because we became romantically involved, the friendship ended because it was a painful breakup and time was needed to heal from it.  We are still friends; it's different and I am less afraid of being honest about my feelings than I was in the beginning.

Going from friends to lovers and back to friends does not have to be a disaster.  What kills the relationship -- the friendship -- is being hurt by lies, cheating or dishonesty.  Whenever a breakup occurs,  if there has been honesty,  if friendship existed in the beginning, it will survive the split, and in many cases, the friendship will become stronger.

The point is that there really is no rule to follow, except to follow your heart.