Monday, October 31, 2011

Ten, make that Twelve Things I Like About...Me

1. I like my little elfin ears…and the fact that now you all want to see if it’s true. It is.

2. I like my eyes; that they can shift from a deep brooding blue when it’s dark or I’m thoughtful to gray when I’m angry. And they are startling in the sunlight (and crazy if I look directly at the camera).

3. I like my small hands which mirror my spirit. They are fragile and delicate like a child’s but weathered and scarred having seen labor, love and loss and they are surprisingly strong.

4. I like my sense of humor and my robust laugh. It is as is so much of me too big, too loud and often out of place, but still it is an asset and an infectious one at that.

5. I like the little mole on my nose which looks remarkably like a piercing rendering it inherently cooler, especially since it cannot be removed without causing more damage. I call it my witchy wart and the source of my power.

6. I like my smile. It is crooked and gummy and not in any way classically beautiful. But it is genuine and mine and is an open invitation to the world to celebrate joy. And best of all, most of the time the invitation is accepted.

7. For several reasons, I like my sexy little mole which resides right at the crook of my left hip. One, it is a trait shared by all the women in my family and as I resemble no one in my family, I always like that we had that commonality. Two, it is tucked away, a bit of mystery which makes me feel sensual and feminine. Three, few have gazed upon it, even fewer have pressed their lips to it and of those afforded that privilege, I have no regrets.

8. I like that though I have been hurt over the years, intentionally or un, I have chosen to forgive those who transgressed against me and in doing so I have made misery a decision not a state of being. I also pray that those I’ve transgressed against offer me grace.

9. I like that I’m smart…and articulate…and yet cannot seem to master spell check.

10. I like that I am a muse; that I see in others the potential they may not see in themselves and that once reflected back, they become this greater self they never even knew they had in there. And I like that they give me credit for it, though I was nothing more than a catalyst for what they were already meant to be.

11. I like that I see the world as I would have it be, not necessarily as it is. I see my parents not just for who they are but who they strive to be and how far they came and it makes me admire them all the more instead of blaming them for what I am not. I like my spirit of adventure. And I like that I can find romance in the most mundane of events.

12. I like that I’m fallible because if I was perfect, I’d have nothing to talk about.

This is who I am; the parts of me that make me the happiest, the proudest, the most inspired. As we head into the dark, take a page from my book. Take a moment to reflect upon all that you are, all that you wish to be and how much you have already done to get there. It is Samhain, the time of the harvest. It is the time to reap the bounty of all that you have sown.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Kingdom for a Staircase

So there was this one lovely day when I had a long break as did my lovely British companion, we had an amazing port of call, and permission to walk about together without breaking any rules. Glory be, what shall we do? I really wanted to take him to Eze, this staggering cliffside medieval village. We go to the tour office and they map out the multiple buses we will need to take to reach our destination, but after about 30 minutes of waiting for the first bus to arrive, we decide this is a futile exercise seriously cutting into the limited time we have together so we decide to ditch the idea of Eze and simply explore on foot the beautiful, picturesque village of Villefranche.

“What would you like to do my friend?” I query.

“I’m up for whate’er, so long as it is not too taxing.”

Okey doke. So off we set on our grand adventure. Cut to, we are now lost in the French Alps, climbing uphill from the same village for the second time. I fear we shall soon require repelling equipment. My companion is still friendly but fatigued and at some point I am certain I shall just have to mount him to my back like a Sherpa. We are walking along a stone wall which seems to continue well beyond the horizon line yet I am certain that around each corner we shall find the end and an exit but all we seem to find is more wall.

We come to a little one lane road, hedged with bright pink flowers; beautiful to behold and the scent is intoxicating. There are four cars parked in the lot of nowhere, and even stranger, two police officers ticketing the forgotten vehicles inhabiting this desolate paradise.

One officer looks up, hearing our footsteps and with a look of confusion on his face exclaims, “What is it you seek? There is nothing here?”

What is it we seek? Shelter…sustenance…stairs that go down…any of these things would suffice.

My companion, the more level-minded of the two of us thinks to ask directions and we set out in the direction in which they point. Yes, they are correct. We can see the ship. It is so close it appears we could nearly touch it. Wish we hadn’t tendered* that day!!

*For anyone not familiar with this term, tendering is when a ship drops anchor in a port rather than tying to a dock and guests take a smaller boat to and from shore.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Pause Button

Three years ago I lost my mother, the final chapter in a year of loss and everyone said to me, “Don’t make any major life decisions for a year.”

Then, a year later someone I thought would forever be in my life, the person I truly thought my soul mate walked away and my husband and I separated and everyone who knew said to me, “Don’t make any major life decisions for a year.”

Now a year later I am filing for divorce and everyone is saying, “Don’t make any major life decisions for a year.” At what point does my life come off the pause button? Now, it comes off now. We can’t rewind, we can’t fast forward, so it is time to spend some time on play. And play we shall!


(Although this has passed, I wrote this long-hand when it happened so here is the original transcript)
Today’s tale is not the lighthearted, “oh-you-silly-thing” sojourn which usually occupies this space. Today I experienced my worst flying experience ever. It wasn’t bad food or turbulence or even cancellation frustration, it was apathy. I arrived at the airport 3 hours ahead of my flight boarding time, spent the first 30 minutes finding the terminal from which my discount airline departed. I know now why my flight was to be so short. I had walked half the distance by the time I arrived at the check-in. My venture required a shuttle bus and a trip outside to get to the terminal! I finally entered tired but invigorated as I am heading to England to see two and possibly more of some of my favorite people in the world! The riots have subsided so my vacation was to be hopefully without incident. Now when I went to check-in at my knock-off airline, the misnomer Easyjet not lost on me, I was already filled with a sense of foreboding. I knew not why not one person warned me before I booked at the nightmare that awaited me, as they were all too willing once I’d paid the money to relay their horror stories. Well, no matter, forewarned is forearmed. I had paid the extra fee for my bag and the “nominal” convenience fee of 16 euro, approximately $22 US to use a credit card. I had carefully packed my computer bag in my carry-on as it is considered separate luggage. I was a bit concerned I was overweight-my bags-how rude! But no worries, only 2 kilos. I can manage to move 2 kilos. How much is a kilo, anyway?

“…and then you’ll need to pay an additional 12 euro for the extra 12 kilos-144 euro…”

Now wait, that makes no sense. He explains, “You can only carry on 20 kilos on this airline.”

Right, but I’m not carrying on, I’m checking. So apparently this airline has different rules from, well, everyone, and in order to rip off their customers, they have lowered the weight restriction for checked luggage, something had I known ahead of time, would have precluded my booking with this airline. My one hour fifteen minute flight is now bordering around the $500 mark. Right, no, I will not be doing that!

Ok, I need to cancel my flight and get my money back, so off to the office I go. I explain my predicament, at first angry and then I begin to break down as the full weight of the situation starts to sink in. I may be trapped. I don’t have this money. My option is to leave my luggage in the terminal. The pretty, inefficient woman behind the glass tells me there is nothing she can do, then sits down and begins counting the money drawer; no doubt overflowing now with the ill-gotten gain from other weary travelers. I stand there for about ten minutes waiting for her when I realize, she’s done. She has nothing more to say or do and she will not be coming back. Tears start to well in my eyes.

“Is there a manager I can speak with?”

Reluctantly she confirms there is and makes a quick call. Moments later, two other officials for the airline come over. I explain what’s happened, that I have only 50 euro total on me, meant to last the week and that I don’t know what to do. I am openly weeping now, partly to draw attention to myself to cause a scene but mostly because I am now genuinely frightened.

“Do you have a credit card?” they inquire.

No way, Jose. I pull out my 50 euro note, secreting my credit cards and 20 euro note away. They say I will have to pay something for my indiscretion and agree to all me to pay for 4 kilos-48 euro so that I will have 2 carry me through the week. D*mn, why didn’t I pull out the 20 euro note instead? I agree, reluctantly. But…they want me to get rid of some weight. We have all heard the stories of people weeping as they throw away their material goods at the airport but I always thought it an apocryphal tale. Today, I was that woman. Bags open, trying to shift things and throwing away my own things; nothing of great import, lotions, sunscreen, vitamins. But they were mine. I actually went back and dug my vitamins out of the trash. It is not that I needed those things. It is not that I even would have had trouble parting with them. I left many things behind on the ship, jokingly telling my fellow crew members to go “shopping”. It was that I felt violated. I had to throw away my things in front of an audience of gawking, apathetic spectators while openly weeping because by this point, it was not put on, I was legitimately bereft. It was just such a horrible feeling to be on the receiving end of other people’s unfeeling distain because I couldn’t afford to do otherwise, and because I couldn’t stand the thought of allowing myself to be so ripped off. But violated I was. I saved 100 euro but paid a heavy price. I know we cannot always afford to help everyone in need, but maybe we can take the time to acknowledge them.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Surreal Life

I just unfriended my husband's girlfriend's mother. Now how many people can even say that?