A Little Variety

How can people eat at the same place All. The. Time????

As a whole, human beings are creatures of habit. I know this… Yet I had a mini-meltdown last Friday at the idea of eating at the same place…AGAIN. Hubby and I have a couple of friends that we meet with most Friday evenings for dinner. Back when I was working in a traditional job, I worked non-traditional hours, so I was often working on Friday nights. Fine. Perfect! Hubby would meet up with this other couple and enjoy dinner.

Now that I’m not working in a retail environment, I’m free every Friday evening. Don’t get me wrong…I enjoy getting out. But eating at the same restaurant every. single. time? I couldn’t take it anymore! Seriously.  First, it’s a wing place… Yeah, there are a few other things on the menu, but it’s basic American cuisine of salads and burgers and wings. Blah!

This last weekend, I chose to stay home and relax rather than go out to eat because the thought of going there again drove me bat shit crazy. It wasn’t like I hadn’t voiced my thoughts on the whole thing. In fact, I’d definitely voiced my opinions the week prior to the other couple. Some people can eat the same stuff over and over…. I’m not one of them.

Come to think of it, I think that trait may lend itself to the rest of my life as well. I wonder if I can blame my mom for this… after all, she’s the one who told me when I was younger that I should date as many boys as possible while I was young so that when the “right one” came along, I’d recognize him. Then there was the fact that we moved a lot…Yeah, it’s a hazard of being a military brat…that case of wanderlust that appears from time to time.

Well, I took my mom’s advice… I dated. A lot. And during my teen years, I messed around…a lot, though, oddly enough…I didn’t lose my virginity till I was 20 by choice. Why? Because I just didn’t feel emotionally mature enough to make that call…or deal with the consequences (and I damned sure knew that there was a possibility of all sorts of consequences).

The other reason I waited? I didn’t want regrets. Too many of my friends lost their virginity early simply because they wanted to be cool or because they allowed their boyfriends to pressure them…only to wish they hadn’t done it later. My thought was, I don’t necessarily want to marry the guy I lose my virginity to, but I do want to love him so I won’t be sorry I chose him. It worked for me. No regrets.

However, I also knew I’d want to know what was out there…so I experimented with “everything but”. It was quite the learning period. I had a lot of fun. Truthfully, I think I was 17 when I first experimented with bondage in the form of thumb cuffs…on my 6’1″ boyfriend. I’m 5’3″. It was a ton of fun for both of us. It was also during my teen years that I realized that I had an exhibitionistic streak.

As for the control thing… Well, it’s always sort of been there (some of you are probably thinking to the above cuffs comment and thinking…duh!). Most people who’ve known me well know that I’m not someone who likes to be out of control. It’s why I’ve never tried drugs. It’s also why the only two times I’ve been mildly drunk has been in a gay bar with my best friend where the likelihood of me being a target was not very likely at all.

The things I’ve learned? Variety truly can be the spice of life…for certain people. For others, it instills fear. What about you? Can you eat the same thing over and over again or are you like me? Does it drive you crazy?

While I’m at it…many of you know I’m a huge Gleek…so I’d like to just say…Rest In Peace Cory Monteith. Another talented soul, gone way too young.

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Daydream

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Taken In in my back yard yesterday

Silver winged chariots
Soar,
The distant rumble
Announce their ascent
On endless span of crystal blue.
A blink of the eye
And they disappear
Into
Yards of white
Cotton,
Draped in casual decor,
Sometimes
A delicate wisp,
Like smoke,
Others,
Thick and rich and sweet,
Like cotton candy
From a fair,
Calling to mind
A childhood,
Long past.
They sway
And glide
On gentle breeze,
Re-
Forming,
Changing partners.
A dance,
Guided by the winds,
Molding
To create
Something new,
Different.
moving pictures;
As I lay back,
Pillow my head
Over crossed arms,
Search for shapes and images,
Visualize,
Reminisce,
And dream.

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Wispy clouds from back yard yesterday

Summer is the perfect time to be still and daydream…. When was the last time you laid back and explored your sky? What did you see? Are you a cloud watcher? Do you see shapes? Does it inspire you?

Characters From Our Youth and Lessons Learned

I’ve always been two things: an extrovert and a bookworm. I don’t think one came before the other, but rather grew simultaneously. Before I was able to read on my own, my mom spent a lot of time reading to me. It was the benefit of being both a military bride and stay-at-home mom.

According to my mom, I started reading on my own when I was 3, but before that she would read me Bible stories and a set of books called Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories. I used to love these little stories about children like me. Through those stories I learned the importance of kindness and sharing and doing nice things for others while expecting nothing in return. These stories showed me that my good and bad days were under my own control.

It was also during this time that I found my first favorite heroine. Who was it? A young girl from my Bible stories named Hadassah, who later became known as Queen Esther. Not only was she beautiful, kind and loyal, she caught the eye of a king and won his favor….putting her in the right place to save her uncle who raised her as well as the entire Jewish race. She was, even from my young view, bold, brave and a bit heroic. And so began my love of strong female characters.

As I got a little older I read books like Heidi , but found them to be nothing but interesting reads…until at about 7 or 8, I discovered Little Women. When I met Jo, it was love at first sight. She was a bit of a rebel and outspoken…and (in my opinion) a bit of a tomboy. Yup, I completely related. Maybe that’s also why Jo from The Facts Of Life.

Of course, along the way there was The Wizard Of Oz series, A Wrinkle In Time and Encyclopedia Brown. The first two encouraged me to open my mind to fantasy and other worlds while the second one had me looking for clues everywhere. Of course, he was also my gateway to The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew (I preferred the Hardys, by the way).

Then I discovered Ponyboy Curtis. I was in 4th grade when I read The Outsiders. That poetic soul who wanted to be the loyal friend and brother while dreaming of being a writer/poet. It touched my soul in a way few books have….and opened me to the idea that books and poetry could touch a heart and change a life. It also showed me that there is a hero in all of us if given the proper inspiration. Sometimes, what appears to be a lost cause can simply be a case of being mistreated and misunderstood. I saw a bit of that in Dally… Ponyboy changed the way Johnny viewed the world…and Johnny changed Dally for the better. It also reflected how different people handle loss. Losing Johnny destroyed Dally, but strengthened Ponyboy’s resolve to be the writer he was meant to be.

Not all my lessons were so solemn. I think it was 5th grade when I discovered Kit Montgomery and The Witch Of Blackbird Pond. This is probably what I’d call my first “romance”, but it was so much more than that. Kit was a young lady who sold everything she owned after her grandfather died and travelled from her home in Barbados to stay with the rest of her family in Salem, Massachusetts during the Salem witch trials. Kit spoke to me…the way she stood up for what was right, even when it meant the disapproval of the only family she had left…and the potential accusation that she was a witch. Who would have thought that knowing how to swim and read (and teaching a young girl how to read), not to mention an old, widowed Quaker woman could be grounds for that kind of accusation. It was a lesson in bigotry and the importance of tolerance and love and kindness. It was another example of how people fear what they don’t know or understand…and how family can surprise you in a good way if you let them.

Probably the last character from my younger days was Eleanor of Aquitaine. I think I was in 7th grade when I ran out of books to read in our school library, but we were required to check something out. Shoved in a tiny corner was a book I hadn’t remembered seeing before. Maybe it was the unusual title…or maybe it was that the bordering along the cover reminded me of stained glass, but I checked it out.

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The book was called A Proud Taste Of Scarlet And Miniver. It was a historical fiction based on the life of one of the most powerful women of the Middle Ages…a time when women weren’t really known to have power. She was the wife of not just one king, but two…and her second husband was 9 years younger than her. Her first husband, Louis VII of France, married her because she was land and money rich, while he only had his crown. When it didn’t work out, the Pope allowed their divorce (where she got to keep all her lands/monies thanks to a progressive thinking father) because she hadn’t given him sons. Henry II of England (the younger man) married her next.

Though she’s not the most famous of women, she had always been my favorite female historical character. She was smart, cunning, with a bit of a temper…and she is actually known as the Grandmother of Europe based on the matches she made for her children across the world. Heck, you know you’re pretty badass when Katharine Hepburn played you on the silver screen. What movie? The Lion In Winter. It’s about the time when she finds out her husband cheated on her and nearly lost his kingdom…because her sons went to war against him on her behalf. Yeah, one of them was the infamous Richard The Lionheart. Yup, I’m sure you guys can see why such a strong minded powerful woman would be someone I’d relate so strongly to.

So now you know a little bit about my influences in my youth. What were your influences? Were they book characters? Movies? Athletes? Maybe even musical…? What historical character most impacted you? Why?

I Saw The Light!

View From Pool

It’s been raining every day here for about a month. Am I looking for sympathy? No. I’m just saying that it’s been one of the rainiest Florida summers I’ve seen in a long time, which means I haven’t been able to play in my pool or work on my tan. Today, the sun finally peeked out. There were a few drizzly moments, but even then the sun shown…. Who enjoyed it?

My Drink By The Pool

My Drink By The Pool

Moi, of course! Nothing like a cool beverage, my own pool and privacy…and some good reading. What was I reading? Why the wonderful Lissa Matthews’ book Trouble In The Making, of course! Hey, hot rock star, tattoos, leather… what’s not to like? And of course it was on the racy side. I’ll be doing a sexy review tellin’ ya’ll just why I liked it, too… Just not today. 😉

Isabella

Isabella

So what do I look like now that I’ve turned 40? Exactly the same, of course! Strange how 40 sounded so old when I was 20…and now I wonder what the fuss was all about. I still feel like a wild and crazy twenty-something. Age ain’t nothing but a number…unless you choose to make it something more.

I don't feel 40...Or look it. ;-)

I don’t feel 40…Or look it. 😉

 

So what about you guys? How did you spend your day today? Was there an age that freaked you out when you were younger? Who do you love to read when hanging by the pool or at the beach? What genre?

Independence Day Hodgepodge

Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes both here and on Facebook. It’s meant the world. As most of you know, I tend to get pretty sentimental around Patriotic holidays.

Maybe it’s because it’s my birthday, or maybe it’s because the last couple days have been rough (just had one of my close friends moved to hospice with end stage cancer this week), but I’m not in the mood to tear my guts out today…or think too hard. She says she can feel good thoughts and prayers, so whichever way you believe…I’d appreciate anything for my friend Kenda.

It seems I have several friends battling this disease and winning (thank goodness), but even one loss seems like too many. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been my first friend/family to battle cancer, but she hasn’t lost yet…so all prayers are appreciated. This song is dedicated to all of my friends fighting cancer and all the folks who are loving and supporting them.

Today is also Independence Day… Which, of course, had me thinking back to the men and women who battled for our nation as well as our founding fathers. We had some pretty amazing guys!

With guys like Washington, Edison, Jefferson, Hancock and company, it’s hard to decide on a favorite…but I have a couple. Alexander Hamilton always seemed like a player/stud, so I had a bit of a soft spot for him.

My favorite quote came from Nathan Hale:

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

My second favorite is Patrick Henry‘s:

“Give me liberty or give me death.”

I must have always had some sort of fascination with sailors, though, because my all time favorite (and I have no idea why) was John Paul Jones. There’s something kind of badass about a guy who says, “Surrender? I have not yet begun to fight.” I understand that kind of mentality. I respect that fiery passion.

What about you guys? What are your favorite things about Independence day? Who is your favorite Revolutionary War/Founding Father?

Hope you enjoyed the fireworks on my birthday! 😉

Aging, Gateway Books and Sex Ed

My Birthday Goblet

My Birthday Goblet

This last weekend was a busy one for yours truly. My sister and her guy were in town to throw a “Milestone Celebration” aka 40th birthday party for moi. Now technically, Kitt Crescendo was born on the 4th of July, but for celebratory purposes for my out-of-towner sib, this last weekend worked best.

Above is the sexy goblet she bought, especially for me…that had been filled multiple times with a lovely sangria.

She did a fabulous job with the event and a good time was had by all.

Oddly enough, mine wasn’t the only birthday party I went to that day…though mine was the only one with jello shots, etc. My next door neighbors are good friends…and their 3 year old also had his party earlier that day, so I stopped by.

At the party, I got into a conversation with Julie, grandma of the birthday boy, in town from Georgia. She’s in her late 50’s, recently widowed. During our talk, she found out that I’m a writer, and as often happens, 50 Shades got mentioned. Seriously, I’m going to start calling it “The Gateway Book”. Well, most of us view it that way anyway, but….for this woman, it truly was.

It was a gateway to rediscovering her libido.

Recently widowed, what she said struck me as a bit sad, but not all that uncommon.

“If my husband were alive today he’d be like ‘sure, now you find your sex drive. Why couldn’t you have done that sooner?”

As my dear friend Ande Lyons and I have talked about often, this is one of the many reasons that prompted her to create Bring Back Desire. So, of course, I mentioned the website to my new friend and encouraged her to check it out. Seriously, between Bring Back Desire and GirlBoner even the most inhibited person can find ways and means to embrace their ‘innerwildkats’…;-)

Her story is not so uncommon. She married young, had children, raised them. Fairly conservative upbringing. She’d given up many of her outside hobbies to raise the kids. When it came to doing things for fun, he was the more dominant personality, so she went along with what he liked to do and put her passions aside. No one had really talked to her about speaking up or doing her own thing.

She was content in her marriage. She loved her husband, but “didn’t have much time or energy for sex”. It wasn’t until the “Gateway Book” that she started feeling her sex drive rev back to life, but by then her husband had passed away.  Now she’s on this voyage of self discovery and making up for all the lost time of hobbies and passions set aside. She’s an outgoing, vivacious woman, so why not?

But as I considered her exploring (which has definitely included sexting, men, etc), one thought popped out at me.

I hope she’s being safe!

I mean, when we think about ‘the sex talk‘ we’re usually thinking either teenagers or the basic talk you have with small children. Why on EARTH would we need to have this talk with someone who has grandkids? Seriously. Isn’t the horse already out of that barn? Maybe. But think about this. The last time she’d probably been given the sex talk, the only thing she had to worry about were these:

  • Reputation
  • Pregnancy
  • STD’s treatable by Penicillin

What do we know? She’s past childbearing age, so pregnancy is no longer a concern. She’s older and widowed, and she’s not so concerned with reputation anymore… But now there’s more then just herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. HIV and AIDS are nothing to scoff at. Age doesn’t make you immune.

Does she know to talk safety with her potential partners? Does she realize that condoms protect her from more than just pregnancy? Have her partners been tested? Has she? Somehow I couldn’t picture her daughter bringing this topic up with mom, the way mom may have with her daughter years ago.

When I’d mentioned my general thoughts to my brother-in-law, an ER doc, he commented on the fact that STD awareness discussions seemed to stop once people got out of their twenties and thirties as if the libido disappeared during that time as well. He mentioned that retirement communities and assisted living facilities still had the occasional outbreak of an STD that required treatment among their residents, and when it spread, it was usually pretty rampant.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled to death to hear that the sex drive is thriving with the 50+ set (in fact, this Podcast is faboulous proof that life does not end at 50)… I just hope and pray that those folks rediscovering themselves and their sexiness remember to be safe while enjoying life. In fact, if someone you love may be at this place, talk to them about it. Nothing says love like looking out for someone else’s health while they rediscover the joy of living sexy!

And for those of you who are wondering how I feel about turning 40? I Feel GREAT!!!!

As always, I’d love to hear from you guys, so feel free to share your thoughts, insights or questions…