A Step Back into the Past

While looking for something in a draft folder in an old email account I came across a story that I wrote while taking a creative writing class about 5 years ago.  I forgot how fun the story was, and though parts of it were made up–to protect the innocent, parts of it definitely were me.  Reading the story yesterday made me chuckle, and also tugged at my soul and made my heart ache a bit for the person in the story–who of course was me.  

This evolution of my life has been gradual–although there have been times I have felt there have been some warp speed changes.  I am constantly urged to write more, to write a book, the truth is I enjoy writing. But mostly I write for myself, as a release of the energy out of my mind–sending it spinning out into the Universe.  Heck, I really don’t know or care if people even read what I write.  

Sharing this story, and a piece of the old me with you….and my belly dancing teacher really was named Jiffy!

Looking for a Butterfly

Martha stood at the back of the room trying to hide in the shadows and to avoid looking directly into the mirror. She stood in the very back corner of the room as far away from the mirror and the other students as possible. The wooden floor felt smooth beneath her bare feet. My word, her toes were naked and exposed! What was she thinking? On the drive down to the dance studio she had thought about getting off at the nearest exit. One with a fast food restaurant so she could drown her sorrows in a cheeseburger fries and chocolate shake, super-size it!

She wasn’t quite sure how the idea had popped into her head to take a dance class. Yes, she had joined a gym and started a weight loss program. Hell, she hated weighing in and having someone see those numbers on the scale. The first time she stepped onto the scale it registered 194 pounds. How did that happen? Twenty years and three children ago she weighed 124 pounds soaking wet

When she arrived at the dance studio, she paid her ten dollars for the class, filled out the medical release form. Good grief, could she really die from this? Other people filed into the dance studio in skimpy tights, midriff baring tops and bras that left nothing to the imagination. There were twenty bodies scattered across the full length of the room with plenty of elbowroom to dance. She was surprised to find women with a little roundness in their middle quite comfortable with showing off their bodies.

She didn’t know any of the women, but she gave a few of them names in her mind as she sized them up

To her right Ms. “I-am-so-skinny-I-can’t-gain-a-pound” was dressed in the skimpiest of sports bras and spandex leggings. Over the top of this she wore a coin belt that seemed to jingle each time she moved.

Mrs. “I-am-not-ashamed-of-these-rolls-around-my-middle” stood in the row directly in front of her in a short red top and low riding pants that exposed her entire mid-section. Around her waist was tied a brightly colored shawl. She almost blushed at the sight of seeing so much of her and her willingness at that size to show so much skin.

To the left Ms. “Twenty-something-full-of-seriousness” reminded her of her oldest daughter Susan. She knew in her heart her daughter would never take this kind of a dance class. She had looked at her mother as if she had two heads when she told her where she was headed tonight. There are just some things that moms don’t do, like shop at Victoria’s Secret or take belly dancing classes.  How embarrassing!

She was a bit wistful when thinking about her daughters, even though they rolled their eyes at the idea of her taking belly dancing classes.  You would think that by the second year that they all went off to college leaving her with a very empty nest she would be used to this.  She missed them terribly, missed the fun summer they had enjoyed seeing 80’s concerts several weekends over the summer.  She guessed it was ok for moms to go to concerts, drink a little beer, dance around and have fun—as long as they paid for the tickets.

It was time to break out of her protective shell and to experience the other side of life. She wasn’t off to a very good start padding her body dressed in big baggie sweats. She realized that the sweats made it very apparent she was a newbie.

She had been pondering a number of changes in her life lately.  Maybe the big baggie clothes acted as insulation from the world, or maybe they were to hide the person inside who was struggling to figure out just what she wanted out of the rest of her life.  She felt that the empty nest had landed her at a major crossroad in her life. Her daughters were growing up; they didn’t need her as much anymore.  It made her a little sad, but she had raised them to be independent, self-assured women.   How did she lose track of that part of herself?

The instructor walked confidently to the front of the room and introduced herself as Jiffy. “Jiffy?” She wondered in her head. It was a pretty safe bet that by looking around, she was the only Martha in this room. Martha’s just weren’t the type of people to take belly dancing classes. Martha’s were probably the kind of women you might find in the middle of a quilting bee, a book club or at the local knitting guild meeting.

Jiffy asked for a show of hands of the new people in the class. She timidly raised her hand. “Oh great, let’s make it even more obvious that I am new” ran through her mind. Jiffy started the Middle Eastern music and the class began with a warm up.

In her mind a warm up meant a little stretching. She remembered the aerobics classes that she had taken before becoming a mother. This was a time to slowly limber up the body to prepare for class. Drill Sergeant Jiffy seemed to have other ideas.

“Assume the belly dancing position.”

“Feet together, slightly apart, pelvis tipped up and arms in the air.”

“Um yeah, I can do this part.” She muttered in her head.

A series of stretches from left to right seemed to limber Martha up a bit. Sometimes she would catch a glimpse of herself in the mirror and did her best not to laugh at how awkward she looked. Everyone seemed to be focusing their attention on Jiffy and watching their form in the mirror.

“Ok, down to the floor.” Jiffy commanded.

“Yes, I get to sit down and rest!” She cheered in her head.

Then the sit-ups began. Not 5 or 10 she was pretty sure it was close to a thousand. Of course they weren’t the normal crunches they were encouraging her to do at the gym.

“Cross your legs and raise them off the floor.” Jiffy smiled sweetly and as she came up for the sit up instead of throwing her arms to propel her off the floor, Jiffy did delicate belly dancing arm movements.

About halfway through she looked around for some sort of club or sharp object to show Jiffy just how much she was appreciating these damn sit-ups.

“Come on let me see you all smiling” was Jiffy’s cheer to the class. She was glad that Jiffy could not read her mind at that particular moment.

The song ended and the torture was over. She lay flat on her back, panting at the exertion from this warm up. She had only done about half of the sit-ups yet she was already feeling the pain.

Jiffy jumped up and announced to the class, “We are going to be working on veil tonight”. In her mind she pictured those old I Dream of Jeanie shows from her childhood and tried to figure out how she was possibly going to dance with a veil slapped across her face.

Jiffy pointed to three racks of veils at the end of the dance studio. “Choose a veil to borrow for tonight.” She held back and let the others do the choosing first. The fabrics were beautiful chiffons and satins with all sorts of colorful shiny edges and designs.

The veil Martha found was a bright fuschia with a striped pattern in the same color but shiny on the edges. The veil was about six feet long and 3 feet wide. She looked in the mirror as she wrapped the billowy scarf around her and felt a bit like a butterfly. In reality she thought she looked like some wildly wrapped up mummy. The mummy part was about to really come true.

“The veil is held between the first two fingers of the hand.” Jiffy demonstrated by pulling the veil across her back and extending her arms. The end of the fabric hung delicately down evenly on each end.

When she looked in the mirror she saw that her veil was a little off center so she adjusted the veil so it was even, she thought that now that the sit-ups were over that class was going to be easier—quite the opposite was about to happen.

Easy, since when had her life felt easy these days?  Part of the reason for coming to this class was to shake up her life a little.  She found as she got closer and closer to that big birthday with a zero at the end she was taking a long look at her life.  Fifty was definitely not the end of the world, but it was feeling a bit confining.  Her old life didn’t seem to fit anymore.  For the last twenty plus years her life consisted of being a mother, before that being a wife.  What happened to Martha? How did she lose sight of that person she was so many years ago?

The iPod shuffled to the next song and a slow graceful melody blasted into the room. Jiffy instructed the class to follow along and slowly made sweeping motions with her arms dipping the veil first to one side and to the other. She smiled, she could do this. She was dipping and dancing and had long since forgotten that there were any other people in the class other than Jiffy. Jiffy dipped, Martha dipped this was a piece of cake.

“We are now ready to move on to a little bit more challenging move.”

“Yikes” she thought, “there goes my comfort level”.

Jiffy twirled the vest around like some sort of Middle Eastern matador and smiled as somehow the veil went from behind her then in front of her and ended up over one shoulder. Martha stared at Jiffy as if she were the female version of David Copperfield standing in front of the class.

“She can’t be serious.” She chuckled to herself, nearly snorting at the silliness of this.

Jiffy did the twirl again, this time slower a step at a time. She really concentrated on Jiffy’s movements. She pulled the veil from the back started to twirl the fabric around to the front and soon found herself wrapped up in the veil like a mummy. As she wrestled her way out of the veil she realized that this action was creating static electricity in the veil and her hair was starting to stand a bit on end.

She caught sight of herself in the mirror. She looked more than a bit disheveled with the veil still tangled around her arms and legs. Her hair stood out like a crazy person. Her cheeks were flushed from the heat and the embarrassment of her mummification just a few minutes earlier trapped in the veil.

She began to laugh

Not a timid giggle, but a real belly laugh at how funny she looked. She also realized for the first time since coming in the door of the dance studio tonight, she was actually having fun.

Mrs. “I-am-not-ashamed-of-these-rolls-around-my-middle” looked at her and started to laugh to.

“Is this not a blast? Hi, my name is Megan. I’ve been coming here for 6 months just for a little fun and exercise. I just can’t seem to get this dancing with the veil stuff down right but I still enjoy the class.”

She loosened a hand from the veil and shook hands with Megan. “I’m Martha, nice to meet you, please excuse the way I look at the moment.”

Jiffy made her way back to the back row and stood between Martha and Megan. “Let me stand next to you and we will work on this together a little slower.” Martha and Megan followed along step by step and caught on to the twirling and ended up every time with the veil delicately draped over one shoulder. Heck, they could even twirl the veil in the opposite direction and get it to appear on the opposite shoulder.

“David Copperfield look out!” she giggled to Megan.

She managed to survive the rest of the evening with the veil. Jiffy introduced all sorts of moves and gyrations with the veil. At one point in the evening they switched from several lines to one big circle walking around the room veils flowing behind. It was quite spectacular to see. Yes, she messed up a few times.  Arms were down when they should have been up, but walking in a circle this way and seeing most of the people in the class she realized that everyone made a mistake here or there. Even the people who seemed very serious and passionate about being totally correct didn’t always execute every move smoothly.

She had been way too hard on herself at the beginning of class. Was she being way too hard on herself and the decisions she had been pondering too?

When class had ended and as she was hanging up her veil, Jiffy stopped and put a hand on her shoulder.

“You did really well tonight. It’s not easy to dance with the veil and you tackled that head on tonight and had fun with it I hope we see you back again next week.”

She smiled, Jiffy had no idea how this small little victory over the veil would impact the decisions swirling around in her head.  Belly dancing was something that she had always wanted to try. For years she had pushed down the things she wanted in favor of making first her parents happy, then her husband and next her children.

The veil had lifted in many ways. It was Martha’s time, her turn to find happiness in her life doing what she wanted toward her dreams of a bright and happy life.  

“You can bet I will be back next week!” She chuckled to herself, wondering what type of torture Jiffy had in store for.

Celebrating the Red, White and Blue….

Abundance….I use this word a lot.  I’ve discovered if  you really stop and take a look around, you have so much to be thankful for, so many things with real meaning–but sometimes you need to look inside to truly see the abundance.  My 4th of July was a day filled with abundance, so much that I climbed out of bed wide awake to try to put these thoughts together in a post.  (I’m hoping for an abundance of sleep after I get this written 🙂

My 4th of July started with a parade.  In my mind when invited to this parade I’m thinking Fort Worth, big parade, brass bands, floats, horses and a grand event.  What I got instead, was a Norman Rockwell painting type event of a local community parade.  There was a band, there were floats, there was even a kazoo band.  I sat in my lawn chair in the shade and had one of those *home town* feelings that my friend Maria used to talk about in the small town that I lived in back in Ohio.  Fort Worth could hardly be considered a small town, but on this particular corner, in this neighborhood I felt that sense of family, community and being part of a long standing tradition.  I was invited in as a guest and was treated like a part of the family. That’s just how the day started….

The rest of the day I was scheduled to be at my happiest place on earth, the Fort Worth Stockyards to spend the day at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic.  I went last year, by myself, and had an absolute blast.  This year I would be joined by some of my dancing friends, and I would be connecting with Billy Joe.  A day with Billy Joe always seems to be an adventure.

It’s July in Texas, not exactly the coolest time of the year, yet there was a breeze blowing, and in the shade it was tolerable to be outside to listen to the music.  The day started with the Randy Rogers Band, I had no idea how many of their songs I knew and that I dance to.  It was clear that they were humbled by the experience of playing at the picnic.  Not every artist or every band achieve that level of success in the music business, in fact I would guess that the odds lean more the other way.  It made me feel good that they seemed to appreciate their success. Abundance, right?

Late afternoon, I had the opportunity to go backstage with Billy Joe to meet Amy Nelson, Willie Nelson’s daughter.  Earlier I had seen her perform with Cathy Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie’s daughter.  I would describe their music as irreverent, but their voices were so sweet as they sang these hysterically funny songs.  I’ve become a fan of Folk Uke, and I look forward to hearing them sing again.

Seriously, backstage at Billy Bob’s? Inside, I’m screaming holy crap am I really back here?  I wanted to pull out my camera and just take photos of the room.  There were people milling about, and we took a seat on the couch to take a look at some photos that Billy Joe had taken.  At one point Jamey Johnson walked into the room, he’d just finished singing with Bill Anderson on stage.  Me, oh yeah, I’m cool, this sort of stuff happens all the time to me.  NOT! I no doubt looked like the Cheshire Cat sitting there in the chair smiling that Mona Lisa smile.

Then the sharing of the photos began that Billy Joe had brought for Amy.  Yes, there were photos of Willie and members of his band performing on stage.  To a person from the outside, that’s probably what it would appear.  But as Amy picked up each photo and looked at the picture, she had a comment for each one.  These were more than just photos of a celebrity, these were photos of her family.  Her reaction was the same as your reaction would be if you were handed a photo from the past of someone that you loved.  For me, it was a very moving experience that I felt honored to be a part of…more abundance.

I was thrilled when some of my friends decided to come along with me to spend the day at the picnic.  I wanted them to experience the event, and I know that they all had a great time.  We had some great stories to share, and a lot of memories were made spending the day with all of the great Texas music.  I can’t begin to count our smiles as we spent time listening to the music and just enjoying being together.

….and tangled up in the middle of all of this was a life lesson…

I’ve been pondering how to put the life lesson into words.  I tend to focus on the positive in life, and to let the negative drop off, as much as I possibly can.  There’s a quote, something I’ve read that’s tugging in the back of my mind that I just can’t pull out to add to this post.  It basically has to deal with not liking something in another person because it’s a trait that you see in yourself that you don’t like.  I had one of those moments on the 4th of July. I had a glimpse back in time to how I once was.  Struggling, feeling the need to have another half complete me as a person.

It’s taken me some time to realize that I complete myself….

I am happy with who I am.  I have an amazing life.  I have friends who add to my life each and every day.  I have experiences that even I can’t believe.  I have two wonderful daughters. I lead a very active and fulfilling life. The list of joy in my life is endless.

My life is filled with abundance…..

I’ve been considering a tattoo.  A word tattoo, abundance of course across my left wrist, in white ink.  That whole pain thing has me a little scared about the whole idea.  Also seeing the good, the bad and the ugly of tattoos yesterday at the picnic has me seriously reconsidering the idea.  I may just pull out a few of these doodle markers that I have and doodle the word abundance on my left wrist.  I could color coordinate it to my mood of the day. The idea was that seeing that word on my wrist would be a reminder of the abundance in my life.  What I realize is that I don’t need a reminder, that feeling of abundance is in my heart each and every day.

Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into. ~Wayne Dyer

I’d rather be sailing…

I can remember seeing that on a bumper sticker growing up.  Just words on a sticky piece of paper stuck on to a car.  I’ve always loved seeing sailboats skimming along the water looking so graceful and beautiful.  In my travels and adventures if there is a sailboat anywhere in the vicinity it is likely to be captured in a photo or two or twenty.  On the wall of my apartment I have a picture of a sailboat and the Mackinac Bridge.

….yeah, I kinda like the way they look.  🙂

I’ve been sailing once before with my friends Frank and Steph.  I have so many vivid memories of my first time sailing with them.  It was an adventure, I can remember it being a little chilly, the wind in my hair, sitting in the *Jackie Onassis* chair. I loved that moment when the wind caught the sail and the boat tipped at an incredible angle and you just savor the moment.  I thought it would be hard to beat that first sailing experience and the memories.

A friend invited me to go sailing last night.  It seemed like a great way to spend a Saturday night.  It’s crazy hot in Texas, but on the water, in the evening it would be cooler.  I was looking forward an evening of fun with friends.  There were 6 of us sailing, there was lots of laughter, good natured teasing and great conversation.  It was one of those “this is why I moved to Texas” moments.

Weaving around, the company, the laughter and the food was a ballet of sorts as sails moved up and down, changed directions and the boat angled on the side.  I did my best to stay out of the way, not trip over anything and to not fall overboard, mission accomplished!  I asked questions, trying to understand what was happening, I really was interested.  In many ways, it was like a dance.  There were steps to be followed, a pattern, and people working in tandem to get the boat to move and respond to the wind.

My part for the evening was to sit back, relax, and to savor the moment.  I loved sailing at night, the feel of the water rocking the boat, incredible.  We ended the evening watching an amazing fireworks display, not from the shore, but from the boat.  I am still in awe of the precision and all that it took to make a 3+ hour sail so smooth and beautiful.

It’s going to take quite a bit to top this sailing adventure…

 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  Mark Twain

A Circle of Friends….

“Be aware that you will always appear to be a little less than some people prefer you to be, but that most people are unaware that you are so much more then what they see.” A quote from Marc and Angel Hack Life  11 Ways to Become the Person You Love—wonderful words about life…and being happy being you.

I had an interesting life observation this weekend, ok, I had several interesting life observations.  It’s me, you know that’s going to happen.

I had a great weekend away with a dancing friend.  I spontaneously posted on Facebook that I was headed off on my annual trip to the Canyon of the Eagles and that I had a cabin with two beds.  I asked if anyone wanted to join me.  I travel alone all of the time, I’ve been to this corner of the world alone and had a great time.  But, Nancy reached out and said she would like to come along on the adventure, and I said the more the merrier, let’s have some fun.

It’s a pretty long drive from my corner of the world near Dallas to the Hill Country of Texas.  There was lots of time to talk in the car, and to really get to know each other.  It was interesting the common threads that we both had in our lives, experiences that we could each relate to.  Yes, we have talked while out dancing, we have talked at those crazy IHOP breakfasts afterwards, but to really sit down, and let the other person see the real you was a wonderful opportunity.

On Friday night, there was no IHOP after dancing night, we were all coming from different directions and leaving at different times.  When the dancing music did the change from mostly country to lots of hip hop I had an opportunity to have a great conversation with a new friend, fairly new to my corner of the world.  Once again, I found lots of common themes, interests, and of course with me, there was lots of laughter–and perhaps a bit of flirting, it was late, I was drinking water, I can’t be held responsible.  :o)

There are some people that I dance with, that I know a lot about, some that I know a little about, most I would like to get to know better.  Because that’s just my personality.  I am a people person, I love people, I treasure the people that I let into my life and call my friends.  I know that for some people, they wonder what my agenda is, what my deal is, nobody can be that nice. Yeah, I can.  I used to say that I’m JUST being me.  A wise friend asked me why I used the word JUST as if that made it seem less the important that I was being true to myself, the person that I really am.  So, I’ve switched that to I’m being me…I’m working to subtract that word JUST out of the phrase.

It’s always an interesting conversation when I talk to new friends about my wide circle of friends from around the world that I have met through social media sites—such as Twitter.  I know that many people think that I’m crazy to be off meeting, sending post cards to and staying with these people I initially met online.  It’s the shadows of the old chatroom days when you would never meet someone online.  In my life, there are no interwebz friends/regular friends.  These people are my friends, an extended family that love, care, worry, tease and harass each other.  You know, like any other family would do?  I know without question, I could make a phone call, send a text, post a status update saying I needed help and have dozens of people respond and ask, “What do you need?”  I just seem to attract those types of people into my life.

On some of those vacations, road trips, adventures I have made to visit my extended online family my best moments are not at events, in nice restaurants, doing cool things.  It’s the times when we sit out on a deck, around a kitchen table or on a patio together just talking.  Talking about anything and everything, person to person, no bullshit filters—wait, there’s ALWAYS lots of bullshit at these gatherings.  I would come home recharged, and wishing that there was a way to recreate that feeling in my world.

Yesterday, I realized I have done exactly that.  I have a circle of friends that I work with who I love as if they are my family and a job that I love.  I have a group of friends that I dance with–it’s the same thing.  We have become a close knit group of friends, yes we dance, but there is much more there than that. I know that if my car broke down, if I needed help with something at the apartment, or I just needed a listening ear, I just have to ask.  I also know that I would do the same for any of them.

While Nancy and I were out on our Crazy Gals adventure, there were so many times when we both wished that the rest of the group could be there with us, to share in the moments that we experienced.  I have a new goal, to find ways to have more of these opportunities to get closer, and to get to know more about these people who add to my life every day.  I see more road trips in our future.  I have a small apartment, but I believe I can squeeze us into my corner of the world for at least dinner.  I believe that we all find ways to do the things that we really want to do. Even with a schedule that has me gone most months for 12 days.

I can make this happen, it’s important to me.  I think that these nights of going out to dance and to have fun are making me younger. The days keep going by on the calendar, but I have more energy than I ever would have imagined.  Who would have thought NOT sitting on the couch every night would give a person more energy???

Ask…Believe…Receive

 

Sometimes, the planets just all align…

In my life, that seems to be the norm, not the unusual.  But, still, there are things that happen that make me pause in wonder at the path the Universe seems to put in front of me.  I look at some of the events, and think seriously, she’s making that up, but in fact, it’s all true.

I arrived home on Friday, made a mad dash from the Park and Fly with no time to pick up lunch, pass go or collect $200.  I was late for a team conference call followed by an online training for a doctor I will soon visit in San Francisco.  Frazzled? Most definitely, but not too tired to go out and have some fun with friends.

When I got to the honky tonk, some friends had arrived before me and had pulled two tables together for 8 people.  I suggested we add another table and all three tables were filled during the course of the evening.  I love my times to go out dancing with a large group of friends.  Some of us have met in dance classes, some through friends of friends, but our circle continues to grow into more and more people each week.  When I took my present job, one of my concerns was would I be able to continue dancing, and to continue my MeetUp group.  I spend more days away from home that I do at home most months.

The job has impacted my weeks of 5 or 6 nights of dancing a week.  Most of those nights were spent in dance studios trying to get better at dancing.  Now, when I am home I can’t squeeze in a night at the dance studio, but I am able to still go out and dance.  My friendships and connections have grown, I’m not sure how that happened, it makes no sense, and my dance group of single people who need a dance partner is at 310 people.  When I am away the members do a great job of posting lessons and places to dance and things hum right along.

I think I appreciate my nights out dancing more now that I did in the past.  I don’t get that many opportunities to dance, so I savor every moment, and although I may not have a lot of new dance moves, I can follow along, mostly.

…and when I can’t follow along.  I laugh.  Because dancing is like most things in my life, not taken all that seriously.  I have no desire to become a competition level dancer.  I started taking dance lessons as a way to go out and meet people and to not sit alone on the weekends on my couch knitting and watching movies.  Mission accomplished…

I gave up my Saturday night of dancing this week after I received an invitation from Billy Joe to head to Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth to see Randy Travis in concert.  It was a spur of the moment invitation and I can’t remember the last time I had been at my happiest place on earth, the Stockyards. I was long overdue to make the trip to Cowtown.

On Saturday afternoon I received an email from a friend.  You know that you are not supposed to have favorites when it comes to your kids, I am pretty sure it’s the same way with orthodontic offices that you train.  But, my friend and her husband are my favorite office.  They are not far from me, and I immediately adopted them after working with them for 3 days.  I try to have dinner with them when I am home, but I had not seen them since December.

“The reason I’m emailing you right now is to check and see if there is any chance you are going to Billy Bob’s tonight. We are going and Randy Travis is going to be there so I wanted to see if we were lucky enough to see you too!!!”

…goosebumps….

I immediately emailed her back and said I would in fact be there.  As part of my adopted Texas family I felt it was my duty as a Texan to introduce them to Cowtown, the Stockyards and Billy Bob’s.  They have been there several times and it makes me smile that they enjoy the place.  When I visited Texas for the first time, a wonderful friend took me there, and I immediately fell in love with the old town feeling.

…and then, there’s Billy Joe.

I took this photo last night in the back area of Billy Bob’s.  The photos on the wall, were taken by Billy Joe.

The never a dull moment, hold onto your hat and watch what happens tonight kind of person who is a part of my life.  We’ve been friends since the first year that I moved to Texas.  He took me to my first Texas State Fair.  We went to hear a band so he could take photos.  We had backstage passes, and we went back to meet the three artists.  Nice people, two guys, and a girl.  I had my picture taken with them, they signed my backstage pass.  An online friend had just told me about this group the week before.  I had never heard them before, but quickly fell in love with their music.  I still love them to this day and feel so happy when I see that Lady Antebellum is doing so well.  🙂

The first time I saw Pat Green in concert was with Billy Joe.  I can remember text messaging my daughter, asking him if she had ever heard of this guy, he was pretty good.  Pat Green is one of my favorite Texas artists, and his song Wave on Wave continues to be one of my favorite songs to dance to…especially with the right partner so I can sing along while dancing.  I also had a great moment at Billy Bob’s seeing Lee Ann Womack…with Billy Joe.  Jerrod Nieman with my dear friend Lindsay, Willie Nelson with Syed and quite a few people by myself (yes, it’s ok to go places alone) the Bellamy Brothers, Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic, Jr Brown and Ronnie Dunn.  Billy Bob’s is a venue that gives you a chance to see musical acts not from a seat in the nosebleed section, but within feet of the artists.  I’ve sat in the front row, I’ve sat in the back row and each of those experiences hold special memories for me.

I did get to connect with my orthodontist and his wife.  I hugged them multiple times, and we talked 90 miles an hour catching up.  We’re going to try to have dinner this week so we can talk a little more.  The doctor just received word that he passed his boards…big news! They have also had some great things at the office.  I experienced so much JOY just being with them.

I am not a religious person, I do believe in the power of the Universe and I think that the Universe works through me, and works through others to align things to happen.  I find that the more grateful I am for the marvelous happenings in my life, the more things continue to come into my life that make me say WOW…

…there’s some kind of magic happening in Cowtown, it’s no wonder it is my happiest place on earth.

My life is filled with abundance, joy, love, laughter, music, dancing, friends and those giant huggin’ the stuffin’ hugs.

 

Once upon a time…

I’m not sure when she crossed my path, when she got my attention.  But one day in my tweet stream I notice a few friends talking to Miss Dazey.  Miss Dazey isn’t your typical social media web guru, but she is a bit different from most people in my tweet stream.  She’s not some in the know young chick.  She writes a blog called the Elder Generation.  Sometimes I catch a link to her blog posts and read her fun stories.  Sometimes I catch what she is up to on Facebook.  She always has a happy greeting for me when our paths cross on Twitter.  I’ve never met Miss Dazey, I’ve never talked to her on the phone but she follows my adventures, she sends me e cards and she does special things for me out of the blue that make me smile.

We exchanged snail mail addresses and I began sending Miss Dazey and Mr. Bruce post cards from my travels.  Somewhere along the way Miss Dazy and her non-social media husband Mr. Bruce sort of adopted me.  Yes, I know, it’s the interwebz silly, how can you make friends with these random strangers?  But Miss Dazey and Mr. Bruce are my friends, and we have a mutual admiration society going on.  They are great people who add to my life.

Miss Dazey has to be Jeanne Robertson‘s biggest fan.  I had never heard of Jeanne before Miss Dazey and I became friends.  She began introducing me to Jeanne’s humor with links, an iTunes gift card to buy some of Jeanne’s routines and for Christmas she and Mr. Bruce bought me two tickets to see Jeanne perform in Dallas.  I was hoping with my crazy schedule that I would be in town.  Miss Dazey fussed over just the right seats, and she was excited for me to see Jeanne perform live.

I chose my companion for the evening carefully.  I knew that my friend Lindsay would appreciate the humor of Jeanne.  We had a great dinner out and made our way to the Majestic Theater in downtown Dallas.  I have never been there, it is a beautiful old theater with lots of gold leaf and a giant chandelier in the lobby.  Lindsay and I made our way to the front of the theater and settled in for a night of fun.  I laughed until I had tears in my eyes.  Jeanne absolutely did not disappoint.  If laughter is good for the soul, my soul took a few giant leaps forward.  I’m pretty sure my guardian angels also got a kick out of the show.  I could feel them there with me enjoying the laughter.

Lindsay and I waited in line to get our photo taken with Jeanne.  I was also on a mission to give Jeanne a giant huggin’ the stuffin’ hug from Miss Dazey.  Jeanne could not have been more genuine and sincere.  It was a real hug and when I mentioned Miss Dazey, Jeanne’s eyes just lit up.  Even the guy taking the photos knew who Miss Dazey was, I knew she was famous!  Jeanne could not say enough nice things about Miss Dazey and all that she does to promote her and her shows.

One day I am convinced that I will meet Miss Dazey and Mr. Bruce in person.  For now, I will continue to send them post cards and keep in touch online.  The tickets were a very generous and special Christmas gift.  The real gift is their friendship, and their inspiration of living life to the fullest.

Thank you Jeanne for the fun filled evening.  I can’t remember that last time I laughed so hard. Thank you to Miss Dazey and Mr. Bruce for such a special gift.  Thank you for Lindsay for sharing the adventure with me.

What will you do today that will make you proud in a year?

When I found that quote a few days ago, it made me stop and ponder.  The quote has been rolling around in my head quite a bit since then.  It’s become my mantra for 2012.  But in trying to understand what this means for me, I think it really is a way of living.  Am I living the kind of life that I am proud of?  The answer is yes, my life is filled with abundance—that doesn’t mean money. Abundance in the things that really matter.

Usually at this time I sit down and make a list of goals, I hate the word resolutions.  Of course, they are pretty similar every year, some goals have been reached, some well, they are there again next year.  This year as part of my attitude of gratitude I decided to focus on 12 things that I am grateful for in 2011.  Eleven, you know that just sounded like such an odd number, let’s go with an even dozen?

  1. I am so grateful for the time that I got to spend with my daughters this year in San Francisco.  So many great memories, lots of laughter and a trip that I plan to repeat in 2012.  Maybe not California, we’ll sort that out when the time comes up.  It’s an annual tradition that I want to continue.
  2. I am so grateful that after each of my trips I took the time to at least write a few paragraphs about the trip.  Yesterday I printed out 6 months worth of stories to add to my scrapbook.  When I am in my 100’s I can sit in that rocking chair and remember those incredible moments and visits this year to places like Australia, Ireland, Arizona, California, Utah and on and on and on.
  3. I am so grateful for the job that I love, the people that are part of my days, and the orthodontists who love the Mac and welcome me into their corner of the world.  I amaze myself at the things I have learned this year.  No two practices are ever the same and that makes live very interesting.  Some of the best trips have been with the other trainers in the company.  *honk, honk*
  4. I am so grateful for my dancing friends.  I’m not able to go out and dance as much with my crazy schedule.  But when I am home, I am always included and in the middle of things.  I feel as if we have just been out dancing the night before.  New Year’s Eve was an epic adventure, and truly the best New Year’s Eve I have ever spent, sorry Dick Clark.  I’ve made many new dancing friends this year, and they add to my life both on and off the dance floor.
  5. I am so grateful for my young vibrant local friends Lindsay and Walter.  It is so darn exciting to watch them both grow into the people that they are meant to be.  Funny, we worked at the same company, but not until I left did we really get an opportunity to know each other.  I love them both, and I know that 2012 will be spent as a part of their lives.  They inspire me!
  6. I am grateful for my friends that have been with me all along the challenges of this life path that I have chosen.  I know that at any moment I could pick up the phone, tell them I needed help and they would be there, I would do the same for them.  There have been a few times this year when I’ve said, “Hey, I need a place to stay and there was always a yes at the end of the line.”  Thank you to the Dude, Brenda, Frank, Steph, Cate, Kate, Ken, Sydnee, Chaz, Michelle, Heidi–you have become my extended family.  New friends that add to my day who I’ve yet to meet Linda & Mr. B. And of course Joe, the most amazing photographer in the world who I adore.
  7. I am grateful for my volunteer opportunities in the Dallas area.  I’ve always believed in giving back and there’s an opportunity every weekend to do that.  I loved meeting the troops at the airport, volunteering to serve lunch at the Salvation Army and my favorite local charity sandwiches for Soupmobile.
  8. I am grateful for a nice apartment, in a great area that is close to the airport and all of the things that I love.  I’ve added some artwork this year and on those rare nights when I’m home sitting on my couch I love to look at the beauty that surrounds me there.
  9. I am grateful for being able to share my stories, my photos, my online ramblings with people who don’t get the opportunity to get on an airplane every week.  I know that some people probably think I am crazy when I am taking photos of food and drinks.  It’s all part of documenting my days.
  10. I am grateful for those moments this year that moved me..made me smile, made me cry.  A weekend in Burnett, Texas to help me center myself, Willie Nelson’s Summer Picnic, Ronnie Dunn at Billy Bob’s.
  11. I am grateful for my health, what I do isn’t easy and I’ve learned this year to really listen to my body when it says it’s time to rest.
  12. I am grateful for the Universe and all the abundance that fills my life.

My unswaying, always in the center of my vision board wishes for 2012, and every year….

  1. Help someone achieve a dream.
  2. Help someone catch the giving spirit.
  3. Make someone smile EVERY day.

You know what? I think that’s more than enough.  Happy New Year my friends.

P.S. Holy Crap I nearly forgot one very important person who I am grateful for.  My friend Carol that started off as my boss, and who I am so very proud to call my friend.  She’s always there for me, a sounding board, a voice of reason and a true gift in my life.