Monday, September 30, 2013

I Couldn't Have Said it Better...

Theme From New York, New York

'Start spreadin' the news, I'm leavin' today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New York

I want to wake up, in a city that never sleeps
And find I'm king of the hill
Top of the heap

These little town blues, are melting away
I'll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere
It's up to you, New York..New York

New York...New York
I want to wake up, in a city that never sleeps
And find I'm A number one, top of the list
King of the hill, A number one....

These little town blues, are melting away
I'll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere
It's up to you, New York..New York New York!!!'

Wish me luck!!! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Search and Rescue: Technical Difficulties Part 3

Let me tell you a very short story of loss and recovery; if it ain't broke, DON'T replace it!! (To be Continued tomorrow)... I just finally got my computer back!!!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Attack of the Geek Squad: Technical difficulties part 2


After five failed trips to Best Buy, I am still without a computer which is greatly affecting my ability to write my blog.  The past two days I've borrowed my dad's laptop, but as of right now, I'm back to texting my blog post off of my cell phone.

**This is not fun...**

Basically, in an effort to modernize, I have opened a whole can of mechanical worms that have left me laptop-less.  I never dreamt all of this would have transpired over this past week.

Today, I actually out-geeked the Geek Squad which is not a compliment by the way! I am still without a computer and am barely hanging on to my sanity. Please be patient with me, while I try to do the same with the Geeks.

Please also send good ju ju for my computer's swift recovery!!!

I will keep you posted!!!!! Meanwhile, I'm going to keep packing my suitcases!!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Get Serious...

Sometimes in life, you just have to get real.  Get serious.  It is part of the growing process; knowing when to put away certain fanciful dreams or unrealistic aspirations... right?  

Isn't that why it's called reality?

Well, lately I am struggling to grasp this entire philosophy.  I am in a process of juggling "reality" with my desire to pursue a (hopefully successful) career in the Arts.  

Yesterday, I sat around for a long time, thinking about this whole business of writing.  I have been engrossed in this medium for a very long time and most recently, developed some regularity with it.  But then someone said I ought to really write, you know, seriously.  

This left me almost short of breath as the word "seriously" washed over me.  Am I not taking my writing seriously... or rather, myself seriously? 

I've only just begun writing again on a regular basis, but lately I have been wondering if I should I apply all this creative energy to a more serious pursuit: like maybe a screenplay or novel.  

But then, I go into a really negative zone and begin to feel (dare I even utter the word) blocked.  And then the blockage seems to creep into the other free flowing creative outlets, spreading a foggy haze.  

And it makes me feel frightfully inadequate. 

So that is where I am at tonight; feeling a little blocked, a little foggy and seriously concerned that nothing will amount from any of this.  

I suspect we all have days like this; and today is just one of those days for me.  

Hopefully, I will snap out of it soon and get back to my regular old self; you remember the one, full of positivity, witty anecdotes and metaphors galore??? Yup, that's the one.  

Seriously... that's about as serious a writer I am gonna get tonight.  


1 oz Malibu
Splash of Pineapple Juice

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pushing Buttons

I once heard it said that 'it's our family who are the most capable of pushing our buttons, because they are the ones who installed them.'  I don't know about your family, but in mine, I would say this is quite true.  People tend to think of this phrase in a negative way, but I am fairly certain that my family's circuit boards are well equipped with all kinds of buttons: some extra sensitive, some are capable of great destruction, while others are mostly pushed to send a resurgence of warm thoughts, shared hopes and love.

It's funny how we tend to carry on whatever our parents, grandparents and favorite uncles instilled in us.  When we are young, we think we are so different from our parents.  And yet, as the years go by, the similarities creep in more and more.  I can only imagine how this will mold and shape the generations to come.

It can be a scary thought; passing along whatever nuggets of wisdom or peculiar traits we pick up from our upbringing.  How much do you borrow from your parents? And which things are you better off checking at the door??

Is it like a recipe that we feel the need to keep secret and follow to the very letter? Or, should we attempt to improve upon the recipe all together??

It's a sticky subject, but in this day and age, I think it is a rather necessary one to consider.

As a writer and storyteller, I tend to sit back at observe others whether I am consciously aware of it or not.  And I can't help but get some sort of bizarre satisfaction over the dialogue that I overhear on a daily basis.  The things people do and say while at work vs. their home environment is rather amusing.  And I am sure, the same can be true for my own little quirks and sense of humor.

Some characteristics are intensified while surrounded by my family.  And I truly believe it has a little something to do with those buttons I mentioned earlier...

The truth is, I think I've finally come to grips with how similar I am to various members of my family, and on the flip side, how very different I am as well.

The most unfortunate souvenir we carry along with us is this business of needling the people we love the most.  I am not sure who decided way back in the day that picking on their loved ones was some fascinating display of affection, but it seems quite common not only in my nuclear family, but also among other families and within relationships that I see all around me each and every single day. Maybe its the way we manage to stand the people we share our past, present and future histories with. Hmmmm...

But overall, I think we could really do without it.  I wouldn't mind if instead of needling one another, we tried harder instead to build each other up.  Now that is a button I wouldn't mind dusting off for the betterment of all our sanity.

Why not try a little harder to keep our hands to ourselves and leave other peoples'
(more sensitive) buttons the hell alone! Or in the very least, press some positive buttons to build each other up while your're on a roll...

I think that would be a refreshing change of pace for sure!


Gin & Tonic! 
1 oz Gin
Splash of Tonic 
On the Rocks with a Lime Wedge!!
Delicious, refreshing and so simple!!!

Here with my big brother... the ultimate picker and best friend!!!  
Below: Two future buttons pushers (my nieces)!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Calm Before the...

From where I sit today, there is nothing but blue skies and calm seas ahead... literally. It honestly could not be a more picturesque afternoon here on the St. Mary's River.  And to be perfectly honest, as much as I am truly enjoying every moment of it, I can't help but wonder what is waiting on the other side of this seemingly picture perfect September day. How sad! 

I have come to realize just how jaded that sounds!! Does every good thing in life always come with a price? How fortunate are those lucky mega-million lotto winners anyway?? Aren't there a hundred different crazy statistics that suggest a wave of bad luck that ensues upon cashing in your winning ticket?? Ugh... I am beginning to sound pretty paranoid.  

I can't tell you when this little habit began, but somewhere along the way, I began to knock on wood.  After every possible statement of absolution or certainty, I would immediately sense some dangling threat of demise out there... just waiting to prove everything to the contrary.  

And so, I began to knock on wood, throw salt over my shoulder (though now I forget which side is the lucky one) and guard my hand mirrors from shattering at all costs. What is wrong with me???

I get extremely uncomfortable with statements like; 'That'll never happen,' 'that's impossible,' or the worst, 'everything will be just fine.'  Aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!! (Knocks on wood.)

Recently, I have attempted to become less of a skeptic; perhaps because I so desperately want to believe that great things can actually occur without some torrid aftermath. Or maybe it's to preserve my delicate hands from knocking feverishly on dining tables, chairs, floors, siding, row boats, pencils etc.  It seems to be some new revised form of superstition, and so I'm not sure how counter-productive these new methods are.  

Instead of sweating bullets for what I fear could happen, I have opted instead to sweat out the anxiety through a ninety minute hot yoga session.  Instead of calming my nerves with an epic freak out, I am turning to the calming blend of essential oils and quiet reflection.  Exhale... Namaste.  

Is it working?? Hmmm, I may have to test this theory for years to come in order to answer that one.  That would only be fair, considering the decades I have spent looking over my shoulder for the, dare I say, inevitable?? 

Although I cannot promise any miracles here, I may just be a few steps closer to striking a happy balance between caution and optimism.  

Could it be possible to just look out and solely appreciate the absolutely perfect day? Given that I just winced while typing the word perfect... I would venture to guess I still have a ways to go. 

But a willing heart is capable of tremendous things! Oh...hello there my little optimistic other half... Welcome back!  

What can I say?? I guess I'm a work in progress.  It's so easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of anxiety over what could happen... 

But no matter what could happen tomorrow, it truly doesn't change how utterly beautiful it is today.  Perhaps this is the calm before the storm.  But if I'm wrong, and my suspicious nature is merely at work again, what a shame it would be to cast that "doomsday" spin on such an otherwise perfect day.

I kick myself and repeat under my breath, "It isn't doomsday. It's Wednesday."  And on that note, I think I will go for a walk and enjoy what is... and not fear what could be. Life is too short for that type of consistent negative mentality.  And this day is far too pretty to feel anything other than peace.


Brandy Alexander

1 1/2 oz Brandy
1 oz Dark Creme De Cacao 
1 oz Half and half
1/4 tsp of Nutmeg

Shake and strain into a martini glass. 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Greatest of These is Love

For a very long time, I have been engrossed in a constant dialogue with the Divine.  It is a very personal conversation we've shared all these years, so I would rather not attempt to quantify what this exchange has meant to me.  What would be the point of that anyhow? As I said, it's a rather private conversation.

I am not someone who has the desire to set out to change other people (for the most part anyway). Ask my ex-boyfriends and they may argue otherwise. And perhaps that says more about me than I would like. Oh well... I guess I can live with that if the shoe fits (me).

What I mean is this: I cannot pretend to understand what life is like in your shoes.  And I would certainly hope that you would extend to me a similar offering.

But what I have come to understand with relative certainty is that the most Supreme force in existence is love.  From where I stand, it is love that is the ultimate trump card.

From love stems the most bountiful and gracious elements of our beings (and furthermore, beyond our beings). From a place of love we may also be so humbled to encounter true compassion, forgiveness, honesty, awakening and surrender. The rest are just the details.

I suppose I am moved to write about love tonight, because from where I sit, I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by so much of it: my family.

Last week, a very good friend of mine suffered a great loss in his family.  And when I went about completing the mundane tasks of my daily life, I couldn't help but notice the sinking feeling I had on my shoulders that hovered about me like a heavy winter jacket.  There was a sadness looming in the air that I couldn't shake.  But what I came to realize over the ensuing days, was the undeniable fact that I was not alone in this feeling... far from it.  All of the friends who know and love this person, felt a weight of sorrow for the experience he is facing.

There was a collective feeling of loss that we felt for our friend.  Though we may not know the loss in the same way as he who had directly suffered it, that did not prevent us from feeling the gravity of it all and carrying it around with us too. Why?  Because we love our friend.  We love him so much that we are profoundly affected by what happens to him whether it is good or bad.

Now imagine that you love your country, your heritage, or even better: our planet... What collective state of mourning, of joy, and unity, would we feel if we could all relate to one another under such a common thread of pure goodness?  I imagine that the effects would be quite profound.

I guess I am coming from that insane and innocent idea that we should all really, really, really, really try to get along.  And that in the end, bitterness, resentment and hostility only serve to corrupt our own inherent goodness and spiritual growth.

I'm on a tangent here; I seek to promote and become a great advocate for true, honest, forgiving, relentless, tireless, simple, sweet, compassionate and unwavering love.    

Because there is no greater human emotion than this in my humble opinion.

Love comes in many forms.  And love is tested in arguably many more forms. But what we do when we are given such a tremendous offering of the heart speaks volumes to our own spiritual journey with the Divine, as well as within ourselves.

To my parents, I have to offer all my gratitude, for showing me a very real and unvarnished path to love and in love.  Theirs is a love story that I have no doubt Shakespeare himself would've envied the chance to have committed to the page for future generations to romanticize, memorize and repeat.

And even better... they have passed on to me an appreciation for such a love.

Whether it is a love of your family, your friend, a country or even better yet, a neighbor, my sincerest hope is that we may all experience love in its most real form.

You know, I'm just a simple person.  I have hopes, dreams and aspirations.  I am not afraid of working hard.  But what I truly wish with all my heart for my time here on Earth, and for yours too no matter who you are, is to have experienced ample and honest love in this life.

Like I said before; the rest are just the details.

Wishing you all lots of love, wherever you may be. And know that you are never alone.


Cuba Libre
1 oz Rum 
Splash of Coca Cola
On the Rocks!
Garnish with a lime wedge!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Case of Cold Feet

You can be sure it is going to be a rather stressful day when every thought that crosses your mind upon waking ends with a question mark.  

When am I going to come back from NYC? When am I going to see my dogs again? Will they miss me when I am traveling? Or will they forget all about me?? Where will I get a job? If I get a job, will I end up staying through the winter in New York? Or will I go back to California in January? How long before my funds run out? Am I making the wrong choice? Is this a crazy plan? What if...? Where to...?  How much...???? When??? Why??? How??? Where??? 

I have to tell you, this is not a great way to start out the morning.  I sat in bed for nearly an hour as these questions ran through my mind; similar to the way the numbers on the stock market ticker race by with endless flux. 

And I couldn't help but ask myself one last question before getting out of bed: 'Am I getting cold feet?'  

I've had months to plan this excursion.  I have had ample time to carefully deconstruct every nagging fear or question.  And yet, out of nowhere, I am suddenly overcome with nerves.  

With nearly one week left to go before my impending journey, I feel more anxious than ever about taking this trip.  I know it is going to be such a good thing for me to experience, but the weight of the unknowns is a heavy burden to lug around... along with my huge suitcases. 

All these questions simply cannot be answered until I get there.  

And so, with that in mind, I am trying to look at it as a long vacation...  I have no clue what I will want to do after I arrive.  I am not sure if staying for more than a month or two will pan out.  But how can I know? I simply can't from where I sit right now.  

I guess this is just how life goes.  You have to take some chances and just hope for the best.  We can't always have all the answers laid out perfectly before us on a silver tray, but we can do our best to handle whatever may come. 

I'm just going to have to double up on the socks and slippers this week, suck it up, take a deep breath, pack my yoga mat... and try to keep my feet roasty and toasty...

Getting all worked up over the many variables isn't really doing me any favors.  Time to live and let go.   Let go and let God.  The rest are just the details. And who needs them anyway? Oh shoot... another question mark! 

Guess my feet are still a little chilly after all. Oh well... Better just enjoy what I have right now in front of me; two warm little dogs who love nothing more than to make every moment count. They are the zen masters of living in the present moment. Their paws are always nice and warm. 


Absolut Stress

1/2 oz Absolut Vodka
1/2 oz Malibu Rum
1/2 oz Peach Schnapps
Equal Parts Cranberry
Pineapple and Orange Juices

On the Rocks!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Unfortunate Mouseacre

It's official; I'm traumatized. For the past few days, I have been engaged in an ongoing internal battle of ethics.  Do you suppose it is ethical to lay out poisonous traps throughout your garage/laundry/storage facility with every intention of wiping out any and all unsuspecting trespassing rodent species??  I used to believe that it was sadly a necessary part of life.  You have to protect your home from these pesky intruders, right?? Well, after the unfortunate mouseacre that I unknowingly participated in over the past few days, I'm just not so sure.

Perhaps to fully understand the gravity of the situation, I probably ought to go back to the very beginning.

A few days ago, I went downstairs to the garage to do some laundry.  No big deal, just another ordinary day.  Until the moment I dropped a bunched up sock and it rolled behind the washing machine and landed right next to one very dead mouse.

The mouse had hacked up a small puddle of what I assumed to be something formerly internal... And I knew without a shadow of a doubt the cause of death: poison.

I was horrified.  But if that wasn't already bad enough, I glanced to the space next to the air conditioning unit and saw another dead mouse in a very similar state: dead as a doornail.

I shrugged it off after a few hours though, after convincing myself that this was just one more unfortunate aspect of survival on this planet.  Sometimes, you have to take out a few rats to protect what is rightfully yours.

But then, this theory was completely shot to shit yesterday upon revealing another gruesome discovery.  Mommy and Daddy mouse had left behind at least five little baby mice.  I noticed the babies after hearing a constant squeak/cry that persisted for hours upon hours.

They were so tiny.  Their eyes hadn't even opened.

I thought for sure that they had been infected with poison, as the two that were still alive were crying and writhing in a way that surely looked like a pain from their stomachs.  Well I was only partly correct.  The babies were not suffering from poison, but rather from starvation.  Who knows how long they had been sitting there, crying out for their mommy.

Well, basically, I couldn't stand it anymore.  So I decided to scoop them into a dish and put the last two survivors outside... to let nature takes its course.

And when I walked away and left them to the elements, I began to cry.  I know, I know... they are just mice!!! For goodness sake, they will grow up to destroy things and spread diseases...

But I honestly can't help myself.

I felt so bad; in one swoop, we had somehow managed to massacre an entire rodent nuclear family.

And so, after I shed a few tears and pleaded for forgiveness from these helpless infant mice, I made a decision... to be a vegetarian...

I'm sorry, but I'm just not cut out to kill anything that has whiskers, fur and snuggles their siblings... I'm just not up for the job.

So I guess, ultimately, the sacrifice of these mice may have saved one less cow from ending up on the grill.

Oh who am I kidding?? Probably not... 

But at least not for me.  Salad for dinner.



1 oz Vodka
Equal Parts Orange Juice 
and Cranberry Juice

On the rocks.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Something Out of Nothing

Guess what I am doing at this very moment? (Que Jeopardy music for a ten second pause.) Did you guess blogging?? Well duh.  Aside from the obvious answer, I am actually sitting in a Little Caesar's Pizzeria enjoying my very own large plain cheese.  I am a girl on a budget remember??

In a last ditch effort to shake the money tree, I have gotten fairly... ummmm -----.  Not desperate! No, no... CREATIVE!!  Yes, let's call it creative.

I rounded up about ten years worth of winter jackets, skin tight blue jeans, boots, wedges and host of other miscellaneous accessories and hauled them off to a resale clothing store.  They estimated that the sorting process would take roughly forty-five minutes and so I decided to kill a few birds with one stone.  Eat some lunch, write my blog and hopefully, turn a decades worth of laundry into some cold hard cash.

Let me tell you something folks; I'm getting really good at this part-time business of turning a little somethin' something out of a whole lot of nothing.  

Here's a few tips and tricks I have learned under the gun... or more specifically, a budget. 

1. Someone may actually pay you for those 6" high heels that were a complete mistake/impulse purchase.

2. Little Caesar's Pizza always sells "Hot 'n Ready" large pizzas for $5.00

3. If you want to insure that your $5.00 pizza is actually fresh, make sure to order a plain cheese pizza instead of the pepperoni.  They typically only have pepperonis sitting on stand by, and not plain cheese.  So if you have ten minutes to spare, then you will have a fresh large pizza right out of the oven for five bucks!

4. All that spare change stuck together in your vehicle's cup holders actually amount to something! And if you are patient, and can multitask while watching a movie, you can roll about six hundred pennies in about thirty minutes.  Well six bucks, may not seem like much, but it does buy you that large cheese pizza we were just talking about.

5. A smile and friendly small talk goes a long way.  (The lovely manager at the pizza shop threw in a free drink for me after I told her what a great job she was doing.)

Sometimes it really pays to get creative!!!

This summer I bought a brand new pair of running shoes, an airline ticket to NYC and a full tank of gas, all with the loose change I had stock piled around my apartment in jars, purses and yes, my car.

It just goes to show that you can make a little something out of what you may have thought was nothing.

So if you'll excuse me, I have to pack up the rest of this pizza and walk over to the resale shop and see how much all that loot has earned me!!!

Just one more small step on this road to the big city.

Count your pennies and your blessings!!!! And by all means, get creative!


Woo Woo

1 1/2 oz Vodka
1 1/2 oz Peach Schnapps
3 oz Cranberry juice
on the rocks!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Another Man's Treasure

All week long I have been dreading the task of going to the Social Security Administration.  Can you blame me?  It has been my own personal experience that any government run institution is a royal pain in the ass; long lines, unruly and impatient children and an either boiling hot or freezing cold climate.  Almost sounds like a dreaded trip to the Verizon Wireless store eh? 

Well anyway.... I finally mustered up the strength to tackle this errand head on today.  Having been fully caffeinated and determined to accomplish this task, I set out armed an ready for a long and unpleasant afternoon.  

When I walked into the local Social Security office I was surprised.  It wasn't nearly as treacherous as I had anticipated.  In fact, I was only one of three people waiting in line. Thank you God.  

"Number twenty-one please, " the man from behind the window called.  That's my number!!! 

After answering a few basic questions, the man looked down at the paperwork and sighed.  I must have looked concerned because he almost immediately explained his long winded exhale.  He looked at my former address and revealed how much he absolutely loved Nashville, TN.  

Before I knew it, we were engulfed in a conversation that reminded me of my own affection for my former residence.  He asked me why I would leave such an amazing city; what had brought me here, and if I ever thought of going back.  

And over the following few seconds, my entire Nashville experience flashed before my eyes.  I thought of my apartment, my favorite hangouts, my wonderful friends and even a few unforgettable memories.  I swallowed hard and cleared my throat as I suddenly remembered where I was: in a government office about a week and a half away from heading off to New York City.  

I suddenly felt a sinking feeling that I had no idea if I would ever have a real reason to go back to Nashville.  Of course I have about a hundred great reasons to visit.  But the thought of actually moving back there one day, washed over me in complete bewilderment.  

I looked up at the man on the opposite side of the counter and gave him the most honest answer I could think of on the fly; "I would have to have a really good reason."

This guy was enamored with and determined to move to the very city I had just departed.  And I couldn't help but hope the best for him.  See, I loved Nashville. I still do.  Perhaps I always will. 

Nashville is the kind of city you can simply exist within without having too much pressure or strain. It is a simpler kind of life.  There is plenty of the world's greatest entertainment, delicious food and some genuinely nice folks.  It is the kind of city that doesn't require much from its inhabitants.  And to be perfectly honest, that was precisely my angst. 

I am not ready to sit idle in a city that allows me to do so with relative ease.  

Perhaps one day, when I am tired of meeting the demands of the world, I will go running back to the South just as fast as my feet can carry me. And living there, I will feel very little push and stress from the rat race.  That isn't such a bad picture; sitting on the front porch in my later years, sipping on a sweet tea.  

But the conversation did refresh my memory of all that I loved about Tennessee.  And oddly enough, the brief exchange between two complete strangers is exactly why Nashville is such a treasure; it brings out the neighborliness in people... even government officials.  

Today was the first pleasant and dare I say, painless, experience I have ever had while at a government run institution.  It was even more pleasant than a trip to the dentist, which is shocking because I pretty much hate having metal tools anywhere near my tonsils. 

It just goes to show that one man's past, just may be another man's treasure.  It is comforting to know that there are always more people lined up eagerly to experience things I have held so dear.  And maybe, one day, I will go back there and have another go 'round of Southern Hospitality.  

In the meantime, I am hungry.  And I think a Big Apple a day is just the medicine I've needed for a long time.  Well that, and a social security card.  

When I turned around, there was suddenly a very long line behind me.  And I couldn't help but smile as I walked out the door,  having accomplished more than what I bargained for in record time. 


Mint Julep

2 1/2 oz Bourbon
4-5 Mint Sprigs
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Muddle Mint and Syrup in a collins glass and then
fill the glass with Bourbon.  Stir with crushed ice. 





Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Well, there is no mistaking it; I've got a lot of baggage.  Literally... As I look around the apartment at the three empty suitcases that I'll inevitably fill, I am suddenly overwhelmed.

Getting ready to go on a trip for an undetermined length of time is a somewhat daunting process.  Do I pack work clothes? Bedding? Winter boots, jackets and scarves?  Do I pack light and have some things shipped if I stay longer?? Oy...

Meanwhile, my poor little dogs are hovering around the luggage and pacing the apartment.  As soon as I pull out the suitcases, they look at them wide eyed and nervous: not this again.

I won't be able to take my dogs with me yet.  It would make the settling in process about a hundred times more difficult.  And if I can spare them the added anxiety of roommates, city traffic, and late nights, then there is no question that I ought to leave them behind... for now.

It's crazy.

I look around and see a patchwork quilt of my life, post graduation.  I feel lucky to have experienced so much over the past eleven years since high school.  What a wild ride.  From the West Coast to the  great Southwest, then down to the Mid South and up to the Midwest; my life looks more like a stack of postcards rather than the images I see in most of my peers' family albums.  But that's just me.  That is the nature of change and adapting to whatever circumstance I seem to be in the midst of. It's an amazing thing, to have had the good fortune of living life in so many wondrous places.

But the baggage I accumulated over the years is bulky, heavy and perhaps excessive. There are some things I am holding on to that may not serve me on the road ahead.  Like my wedding china for instance; someone please tell me what I am supposed to do with that??  The delicate place settings, serving bowls and coffee cups have lasted much longer than my marriage ever did.  And I carry the box around from state to state with precision and care... And I am over it.

Sometimes I imagine taking a trip to Greece, where upon arrival, I unwrap the delicate wedding china and hurl it at the pristine white floor and let it smash at my feet while shouting OPA!!! In this fantasy, I am dancing around the shattered pieces, wearing a crown of olive leaves and a sleek white dress similar to Aphrodite's.

Hummus anyone?

And what about the other items I have hauled around from place to place: pictures, dresses and books of poetry? Shall I stand at the mouth of the East River and toss it in as some sacrificial offering to Manhattan... to my future?? 

Or shall I continue to leave it happily collecting dust in my storage, as I have done for the past few years? The boxes are stacked high; one on top of the other... Talk about excess baggage.

I know that the day will surely come when I will know what to do.  I can sense that I am inching my way closer to the answer with each passing season.  I don't want this much baggage.

I don't need it either.

But the answer hasn't come to me yet.  But I have a hunch that it is waiting for me in this next place I explore: probably under a shady tree, speckled with October's rose and amber hues in the midst of Central Park. Perhaps then I will know what to do and how to shed these bulky items that are no longer serving me. Alas, I continue to pack.

*Note to self: have fun, work hard, be safe and travel light! 


Cape Cod

1 oz Vodka
2 oz Cranberry Juice
Garnish with a lime wedge
On the Rocks!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Left Foot Faith

Late last night, I stayed awake for a long time pondering the nature of faith.  And what I realized nearly moments before drifting off to sleep, is that faith is probably the best gift anyone can ever give to another person.  

To have true faith in someone is an extremely selfless act.  It is basically a show of support that may require more on your part to stand by, than the abilities of the other.  You aren't expecting an outcome. You aren't requiring any preliminary action.  You simply offer a show of support in your unwavering belief.  

Faith in its truest form is infectious and utterly philanthropic.  

I am so fortunate to have experienced this selfless show of faith.  And knowing that there is someone out there who believes in what I say and what I do, or will do, is a gift that I won't ever forget as long as I live.  

Why should anyone have faith in me anymore? Do they see something that I cannot?  Why should anyone believe me?? Why should anyone believe in me?

I guess those are the questions that often come to mind when seeking out support from family or friends.  While I surely haven't intended sell myself short, there have been many occasions where I simply followed my heart and found myself at a wrong turn, a stop sign and a dead end.  It was a frustrating experience to have proved myself wrong from time to time.  But the funny thing is, it was faith that moved me to those decisions.  So was my faith faulty??

The problem is, with the type of faith I was accustomed to giving, I had always hoped for some end result for my own personal gain. But I sadly did not know that going into the faithful transaction.  It was always when the dust settled and I felt a sinking disappointment in my stomach for being let down that I realized that the faith I had given, wasn't wholly free.  Like standing balanced on your right foot instead of your left; you have enough faith that your left foot can hold you up, but you have more faith that your right foot will simply handle the job with greater ease and efficiency.  

The faith I had given, was like a 'right foot' show of faith. This show of support and belief had strings tied closely to my heart and upon the crumbling of the outcome, were therefore were tugged, yanked and ultimately untied.  And when I felt let down, there was an emptiness beyond repair.  

But when I realized last night the true wonder of unwavering faith, I was so filled up inside with gratitude that I could hardly sit still.  What a gift I have been given!  Time to put my left foot forward for a change... and have a little faith. 

There are no strings attached as far as I can see.  It is given so freely. 

I can only aspire to achieve whatever hope a person has afforded me; and honor the show of selfless faith through my actions and experiences in life. 

Perhaps I can also learn to stand on my left foot a little more often, strengthening the balance of the entire being: mind, body and spirit.  And maybe, someday, I can be strong enough to offer someone else that kind of faith and unwavering belief.  Not for any personal gain, but simply as a means of lending a hand, or even a foot if need be.  

It is a challenge these days, to find anything or anyone who may seem worthy of our faith.  We may find ourselves hurt when the lucky recipient of our belief chooses a different way, or worse, fails to believe in themselves at all.  

What a wonderful world it could be, if we push ourselves toward the selfless extension of faith.  Even if it is merely faith in ourselves, faith in a friend, or faith in having faith...  

What if we could simply believe in our own inherent worth and talents, without the pressure of a defined or expected return?  

After experiencing this selfless act of faith, I am determined to cultivate more to spread it all around. It is infectious...

See, that's the greatest thing about truly believing in someone no matter what; you never know how it will affect possibly a hundred thousand more people, all because you planted to seed inside of just one.  


Vodka Sonic

1 oz Vodka
Equal parts Soda and Tonic
Rocks with a lime wedge


Monday, September 16, 2013

Muscle Memory

You know what is so funny?  I went a very long time without writing.  I think it was maybe the year after I graduated from college that I simply checked out creatively.  

I chose screenwriting for film and television as my major, and from that moment on, I was in a seemingly endless cycle of writing and rewriting.  While I loved the process very much indeed, I'll admit that I struggled with the most simple aspect of storytelling: what to write about.  

Some of my classmates made this look so easy.  I envied their ability to concoct wild stories of rescue or political satire.  I would read over their work, look up at them, then back to the page and think; Where the hell did that come from??

I have always had a very natural ease with writing. Whether a poem, an essay, a short story, a screenplay or even something in iambic pentameter, the words have made their way to page without much thought or mental editing.  

But when I sat down to write a screenplay for the first time, I was absolutely stuck.  Instead of just writing one scene, I would get caught up in how that scene would somehow affect the entire script and as a result, I would just sit there in bewilderment at the blank screen. 

Another problem I encountered with screenwriting was chopping out entire chunks of descriptive pros.   You have to switch off that part of your brain that desperately wants to dazzle the reader with delicate and beautiful sentences.  In fact, my professor would often tell us that screenplays should have mostly white on the page.  

So, with that in mind, I began strength training this muscle that I hadn't even known existed before.  It was an exercise in setting up meaningful and effective dialogue.  Writing for a visual medium, means that all those pretty little descriptive pros are actually replaced by everything you see on camera: courtesy of the cinematographer,  the actors and director.  

So when I graduated college, I felt numbed by the process of the rewrite.  Not only is writing challenging enough when you are having to consider its future offspring of film and television, but the aspect of a seemingly endless cycle of rewriting is enough to make any writer want to crawl into a hole and hibernate for about five years.  And so naturally, that is precisely what I did. 

Well, seven years to be exact.  I guess I needed to live a little and gather up some new material.   

And now, all these years later, sitting down to write is so natural it is almost scary.  It is like a muscle memory.  Without much thought at all, I sit down with my laptop and write.  Before I am even half-way through my first cup of coffee, I am more than half-way finished with my daily writing exercise.  

But I have to admit that I am still mesmerized by these writers who sit down and tell an entire story.  That is where I fear that I am a little... stuck. 

The past seven or eight years have provided me with a treasury of new material.  And that may be the very reason I began writing again a few months ago.  I had to put into words some of the harsh lessons I have learned.  And as I often do with most everything in life, I frequently opt to put a comical spin on it.  

But telling an entire story is something entirely different.  It is much more daunting than my daily challenge of writing something new just as soon as I wake up.  A novel? A screenplay? A plot? A theme? A hook? Red Herring? Chapters?? Act 1... Act 2... Act 3... Eh, I don't know...

I may not be ready to sit down for that quite yet, but I do feel that each and every day I write... I am sneaking up on the story that is just sitting up on top of my dusty shelf of a brain, just waiting to be told.

Until then, we'll just have to wait and see what happens next. 


Hemingway Special

2 oz White Rum
1/4 oz Maraschino liqueur
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 of a fresh squeezed lime



Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Zen of Broke

You know what the best thing about being relatively broke is?? If your answer was a unanimous 'Nothing,' then you are sadly mistaken.  I know, I know... it's very chic of me to make this case for the awesomeness of minimalism! 

So very zen of me; packing up the bare necessities for an undetermined length of stay in one of the United States' most expensive cities.

Well, all that being said, that isn't exactly the message I was going for, but hey... I can surely lean on the 'Less is more' approach when the time comes.  What I was actually going for here, was to build a case for making the most with the dollar you've got.  

Let me paint a very realistic picture for you.  

In two weeks, I will board a plane to New York City.  And when I arrive, the already dwindling numbers in my bank account will instantly subtract.  Cab fare to Astoria will cost approximately twenty dollars.  And I can assure you, that will be the only cab ride I will take when I am in NYC.  I simply cannot afford to take cabs everywhere I go.  But when you are just getting off an airplane at 10:30 p.m. with two full suitcases in stow, and all alone in the big city... well, it's the only way to go. 

Next up is the inevitable expense of an unlimited monthly metro card. This will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty dollars.  Ok, at least I've got my transportation covered.  

Next comes food.  

Well, as you can imagine, the possibilities for cuisine of every variety are virtually unlimited in a city like Manhattan.  However, they are very limited when you are working with a tight budget.  Which leads me to my grocery shopping adventure in my very favorite market: Trader Joes.  (Dear God, Thank you for making sure to put a Trader Joes in NYC. You are so loving and kind.) And the good news about a tight budget for food is, I could probably stand to lose five pounds anyway.  

Alright, well that covers food and transportation.  Good. 

Now, let's talk about space.  In New York City, space is very limited.  It is the hottest commodity that is always in demand.  Square footage is one of those really really luxurious things that people like me don't even consider, because we simply cannot afford to.  So, what do you consider?  Well, in my shoes... not much.  

For an undetermined length of time, I will share a room with a friend of mine who recently moved back to NY from a long stint of living in Nashville (where we met three years ago).  Now, friends are key to surviving in NYC. But while space may be cheaper if shared, it still ain't free.  So, I will chip in the cost of one half of one room.  But I am fortunate to share a room with someone I know and trust... because trust me, it could get pretty rough otherwise.  

So there are the basics: food, transportation and shelter.  

Last night I came across a great coupon for a three month gym membership that is right around the corner from my shared room.  I have decided that this is a worthwhile investment, especially when living with a bunch of boys and girls.  

I need my own little escape.  And a place to wash my hair without the looming fear of taking all the hot water in the borough.  So, I think this is a good investment. 

And that about covers it for now.  

So, what's so great about being broke you ask?? Wasn't that argument the whole point of this little essay??

Okay, thank you for reminding me. Here is my zen theory of broke: if I have very little, I can only lose very little.  Genius!  

This is very similar to walking into a glitzy casino with fifty bucks in your pocket... but only fifty.  LEAVE YOUR CREDIT CARDS AT HOME PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

If you count on losing the maximum of what you have on you the moment you walk through that door, well then you ought to have a great time with that fifty and make it last as long as possible.  If you somehow manage to build on that fifty, then great! But you better not count on that odd. 

Where people get in trouble is when they keep going past a certain threshold.  The way I see it, I don't have too far to fall financially.  So, knowing that, as I enter the glitzy, money-sucking black hole of the city... well then that's good.  No big surprise when I am ready to cash in my chips and find a gaping hole where some semblance of a savings used to be.  

I am going to be really zen about this extreme phase of dwindling down.  Because while I can put a price tag next to almost everything in life, I cannot quantify the worth of an experience like this.  

To travel. To spend time with good friends. To see the leaves in Central Park turn with changing season is a luxury I can afford.  And if it cost every last penny I have, I figure this kind of opportunity may only come along once in a lifetime. So, I'm going all in.  You can bet on it. 

A budgeted girl in an expensive world; sleeping on the floor, walking through the park, releasing the fear of being broke and eating rice for every meal, you can't get more zen than that. 


Poor Man's Margarita

2 oz Tequila
1 oz Sprite or 7 Up
1 Lime wedge
Pinch of Salt. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Connecting the Dots

From as far back as I can remember, I've always had a different way of getting the job done.  Didn't really matter what the task at hand was, nor was I really trying to do it differently from everyone else, but I couldn't help it...  The earliest memory of this 'do it yourself' attitude, probably goes back to when I first started kindergarten.  

We were introduced to those "connect the dots" assignments; you know, the ones where the dots are numbered and you follow each one with your crayon or pencil until you reach the end and reveal some kind of animal, vehicle or other basic shape? Yeah, well, apparently I even did that... eh, differently

The teacher (bless her heart) stood over my right shoulder and studied my methodology.  I held my pencil steadily in my right hand, without moving an inch.  Then with my left hand, I guided the paper from dot to dot... So I was still completing the picture, just not the way everyone else was.  

"No, no sweetie, move your right hand to connect the dots, not the paper..." 

What's the problem lady? As long as I get it done, why do you care how I did it? Jeeesh!

And so began my plight with formalized education. See, I realized that I do NOT possess that brain cell that is the most adept to short cuts, or common sense...  In fact when I see these types of people who bust out crazy one handed, multi-tasking trickery, I stop and stare as if they are a magician. If left to my own devices, I oftentimes take a more creative, outside the box approach.  But if you put a book in front of me and say, 'study the history of the universe,' I will...

Which leads me to the much dreaded/feared U.S. constitution exam in the eleventh grade.  It was legendary and 'impossible.'  Or so everyone thought.  But I, the weirdo, locked myself in the basement of my house with flash cards, highlighters and way too much candy, and didn't come out for almost four days.  I went to school, took a deep breath, and was the last person to finish the exam

By the next class, everyone protested that test.  It wasn't fair.  It was too hard. They all failed miserably...  Then the teacher said, "Well I know for a fact it was possible to pass this test, if you all had studied the material. Because there is one student in this class who not only passed, but she got an A."  He looked at me and I immediately slid down into my chair.  When he held up my exam to class and then walked over to my chair, he set it down in front of me with the most subtle grin I'd ever seen; "Well done. Very well done." 

Oh God, it's going to be a mutiny.  You should have seen the way those kids looked at me; like, 'thanks a lot bitch.' 

My score completely blew their collective protests right out of the water.  There was one other girl in the class who passed and she looked at me like we were the most awesome geeks ever!!  She actually was kinda nerdy though, so I knew she was loving every second of this academic torture.  

I had ruined it for the rest of the class.  But you know what? I'm glad.  It kind of made me feel like a super hero or something.  Because the memory of being "corrected" that day in kindergarten for the way I had completed the assignment always bothered me.  I remember feeling so confused and embarrassed.  I didn't understand why I had to be called out for the way I was connecting the dots.  Especially since the end result was still the same... 

And if my way was harder, why not let me figure it out on my own?  Oh gosh, I can't help but laugh at the image of my pint sized self, moving the paper around and not my right hand... Awww... Bless my heart.  

Those two scholastic memories are obviously the ones that made a huge impact on me.  I learned from a very early age that I might have a different way of doing things... not exactly wrong... just different. And that one day, doing things my way, would pay off in the long run.  

I think there are probably a million ways to connect the dots in life.  It may not be the most obvious or standard approach.  But it's not only okay to be different, it may just be the very thing that separates you from the rest of the class.  And that's not such a bad thing after all.  

I suppose I just need to remind myself every now and then of that girl who has managed to get by just fine by connecting the dots in her very own, unique way.  Who knows what that picture will be? Maybe, when I connect that last dot, what I will see, is just me... 

Or an A+... yeah, that would be okay too. 


Teacher's Pet

1 1/2 oz Blended Whiskey
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1 Tsp. Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes of Bitters

Stir on the Rocks
Garnish with a cherry and orange

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sensory Under-load

The silence is deafening.  Have you ever experienced that kind of definitive quiet?  When I first arrived in Michigan three and a half months ago, I recall those first few nights as being a tough transition.  Everything about living in the woods is different.  It was a nice change from the little suburban life that had become too familiar to me in Franklin, Tn. 

I guess I am just the kind of person who needs to shake things up every few years.  Perhaps it is part of what stimulates my creativity and zest for life.  

So, after five years of living in Music City, USA, I came here to Traverse City for a short season of outdoorsy adventures, a slew of festivals and plenty of fresh air.  

I also took a summer job at a popular restaurant in town that boasts one of the best on the water dining experiences.  Since that seasonal job had come to an end as of two weeks ago, I have found myself a little more perplexed by the audible silence that insulates this entire property.  

When the wind blows at night, I welcome the clasping, chatter of the tree branches.  It is as if we are new neighbors, and they have thrown me a house warming party.  How thoughtful. 

Two days ago, I drove up the long and narrow stretch of road that leads to our gate.  At the entrance were three deer.  There was a mama deer and her two spotted twins. It was the sweetest sight.  A few days before that, a family of wild turkeys gathered in the front yard.  They weren't very much interested in sticking around though.  They were just passing through. 

As much as I love being outdoors and taking in all the serene nature that is around me each and every day, I can't help but feel a little... uhh, brainless these days.  La dee daa... there's a deer.  Tweedle dee dee, a turkey passing by.  Hmmm... I'd better get that turtle to cross the road.  Oh, wow, I had no idea Bluejays sounded like that!  Doot doo doot, time for bed....

And round and round I go.  Two weeks of pure wilderness, with the occasional night out on the town, has me going a bit stir crazy.  In fact, my lack of real life human interaction has me a bit short of emotional or intellectual stimuli.  

I sit quietly to myself and stare blankly for an unmeasurable amount of time.  I think of things like: trees, nachos, getting back in shape, and even, an ex-boyfriend or two.  Huh, I guess I have been single now for a year... Oh look, a field of bunny rabbits. 

When you live in the forest, the various woodland creatures are your main source of entertainment.  I have given each of them, a troubled backstory.  Bambi's long lost half sister who got knocked up after running away from home when her step mom was shot by hunters long ago.  And Bambi?? Well, he never visits anymore...  Thumper has sixteen children to provide for and they are all plotting against him in hopes to take over everything he has worked so hard for.  Not familiar with Bambi or Thumper?? Well, I'm sorry... but don't worry, my version is far more entertaining. 

Yes folks, I hate to break it to you but these are the kinds of thoughts a writer endures while unemployed and living in the wilderness of northern Michigan.  

I am about to force myself back into society, as I have come to the sad realization of my current state of sensory under-load.  

Under-stimulated.  Underwhelmed... And under the influence of the day in and day out bleakness of the deafening quiet.  

I guess there is only so much peace and quiet I can take.  

I know that I am in for a harsh change in the coming weeks.  When I arrive in New York City on October 1st, I will probably long for the days when I had a quiet night's rest, and for that matter, my own room/bed.  But such is life. 

I guess that is how it goes.  Everything looks better or maybe just clearer in hindsight.  Sometimes I feel that this stage of my life, we will call it 'the early years,' is some kind of calm preparation before being catapulted into whatever it is that I will one day... do.  

I imagine that all this stillness is like the calm before the storm.  You think?  

Well who knows.  It's not like the past ten years have been all that calm or uneventful.  Quite the contrary.  But I suppose it just goes to show that there is just a certain amount of chaotic energy that I crave in order to feel stimulated creatively.  When I don't have it, I feel the need to invent it; unfairly characterizing the poor turkeys as mafia gangsters whether they want it or not...  Boredom for me, is no bueno. 

Alas... I write.  

Michigan (for an extended period of time) may be a bit of a sensory under-load.  While New York City no doubt, promises to be the complete opposite.  Who needs to invent crazy backstories for the woodland creatures, when the crazies that roam the streets of NYC are vying to tell you all about their actual past lives??

Obviously, I am currently suffering from an acute case of cabin fever.  On that note, I think it's time to go into town today, if only to remind myself what the muffled consistency of traffic sounds like.  

Yes, I think that is exactly what the doctor ordered.  


Bambi's Iced Tea

1 oz Vodka
1 oz Sweet and Sour Mix
Equal parts Coca Cola and Sprite

On the rocks, in a highball glass.